Gen: Man from UNCLE
Word Count: 1422
Prompt: Mouth of Babes. The boys run out late on Christmas eve to get a secret gift for the family, and get locked out. Number One, Section One, and Number One, Section Three trying to get back in the house a) quietly, and b) oh, did I mention that Napoleon lost his front door key and Illya’s is right on his dresser. And, look, there’s a ladder.....
sparky955 I hope you enjoy your little gift. Thanks for all your help through out the year!
It was like a high level stake out and Napoleon had to admit that the stakes were just as high. While it used to be about national or even international security, now it was something much more precious. Now it was his granddaughter’s heart.
“Can’t you drive any faster?”
“Given the conditions, you are lucky I haven’t wrapped us around a tree.” His partner-in-arms, Illya Kuryakin kept his attention focused upon the snow-covered road. It had been a while since he’d had to drive in such a bad snowstorm. “Why didn’t you just get one of these back in September when they were everywhere and merchants couldn’t give them away?”
“Because back then, Irina didn’t have her heart set on one. I heard her tell Santa that a Cabbage Patch doll was all she wanted for Christmas.”
“Their faces look like someone’s backside.”
“You are preaching to the choir, my friend.” Napoleon grabbed onto the dashboard as Illya maneuvered out of a skid. “I’m just hoping that this store isn’t feeding me a line like that last one.”
They pulled up in front of the store and Illya just put the car in park. There was so much snow that it was impossible to see the designated spaces. “At least they are still open. That’s a good sign.”
“Come on.” Knowing there was not a moment to waste, they made their way to the door. For half a second, Napoleon feared it was locked, but it gave easily. A few exhausted store clerks looked in their direction, including one young woman who looked like death warmed over.
“Do you have--?” Illya started and the woman just pointed.
“That pile is all that we have left.” Granted there were only a few boxes, but they had finally struck gold. They had found their quest. Napoleon looked around as if expecting to be tackled from the rear. Both men had been fighting that particular battle for the last three weeks. Women proved to be worthy advisories on these grounds.
“What’s wrong?” Illya had retrieved a cart.
“I guess I was expecting angels singing or something.”
“It’s a doll, not The Holy Grail.”
“Convince our granddaughter of that.” They approached the pile and Napoleon made a face. “I didn’t think I’d have a choice.”
“Does she want blonde or brown hair?”
“Red, if possible. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.”
“We have three, two girls and a boy.”
“She wanted a girl.”
“Okay. Do you want the one that looks like a monkey’s butt or a dog’s?”
“The one with pigtails.”
Illya picked up the box and placed it in the cart. “Now what?”
“What do you mean?”
“Napoleon, I know as a fact that you never shop before midnight on Christmas Eve.” Illya was given a smile, a sweet, just between them smile.
Just before eleven p.m. Illya pulled up in front of the darkened house. “Looks like they finally got the kids to sleep.”
“I wonder how many times they had to read St. Nick’s Visit before they succumbed.”
“My record was forty three last year.” They parked and Illya climbed out. “You get the front door and I’ll grab the first batch of packages.”
“It was brilliant wrapping them at the store.” Napoleon reached into his pocket.
“They needed something to do, I needed something done. I’m not ashamed to admit when I’m maxed out.”
Napoleon didn’t comment. He was busy patting his pockets.
“Please tell me you have your house key.”
“Of course I do…” Illya held up his key ring and then made a face. “And I know right where they are. On my dresser with my change. I took the car in for servicing and didn’t want to give them the opportunity to copy the key.”
“I don’t think anyone would attach great wealth to that hunk of junk you drive.”
“That hunk of junk started tonight, then got us where we needed to go and safely back.”
Napoleon sighed. “I’m not casting aspersions on your car, Illya. I’m just saying it’s not a Mercedes or a BMW.
“To take our minds off the fact that we are, in essence, screwed.”
“I guess knocking would wake up the kids.” Then Napoleon snapped his fingers. “I got it.”
Illya sighed. “Whenever you say that, I know I’m in for it.”
“Leon left a ladder out from when he was hanging lights. I know that the window is cracked open in Irina’s room, so all we have to do is climb up, through the window quietly so that we don’t wake her up and then back down here.”
“And who is going to perform this feat?”
“Well, seeing how the cold weather messes with your hip, I guess that leaves me.”
“What? Just because I’m not in the field, it doesn’t mean I don’t keep in shape.”
“Yes, I’m sure there are several people threatened by your running a mile in ten minutes.”
“Be nice or I will cut your bonus.”
“Since I haven’t had one in the past five years, I will live with that knowledge. I just don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
“I won’t. Trust me.”
“Does it hurt much, Dad?” Lisle kissed her father-in-law’s temple as she adjusted the pillow beneath his foot.
“Not too much. Seeing Irina so happy made it all worthwhile.” Napoleon watched Irina cuddle her doll. Illya was sprawled out on the floor, playing tanks with Alex.
“I’m just sorry I didn’t get around to picking up her room. I asked her, but you know how kids are. I never thought anyone would slip and fall on her necklace.”
“Especially on Christmas Eve. A child’s mind is elsewhere.”
Illya got up off the floor with a grunt. “I’m just glad it’s a mild sprain and not broken. I’d hate to have had to cancel our New Year’s plans.”
“Ooo, some place special?”
“The Savoy.” Illya handed two tickets to Napoleon.
“Isn’t that in London?” Leon said, taking a moment from his attempt at assembling Alex’s Cave o’ Doom.
“We leave day after tomorrow.” Illya’s smile was impish.
“What a great gift!” Lisle’s expression grew misty. “London is always so alive at this time of the year…” She sighed.
“I’m glad you feel that way.” Illya handed her two more tickets.
“What? Dad, you can’t be serious.” Lisle looked at the tickets, then launched herself at her father, hugging him hard.
“Why not? The kids are old enough to be left alone and I have already talked with Pamela and Stephanie about it. They have a little girl Irina’s age and it will do you two good to be adults for a bit. I have a little pull, so I got us a private jet. We’ll be back the day after New Year’s and they won’t even know we’re gone.”
“But once a parent, always apparent.” Leon picked up a piece of plastic and squinted. “Does this say A-5 or A-6?”
“Leon, did you hear what Dad said?”
“We’re going to London.”
“Sure we are… wait, what?” Leon looked at his wife’s glowing face and then over at Illya. “With you two?”
“Is there a problem?”
“Her I can keep up with. You two, I don’t stand a chance in You-Know-Where.”
“Where, Daddy?” Alex turned, all attention diverted.
“Oh my gosh, I need to pack… I need to get organized. I need to…” Lisle jumped up and Illya grabbed her.
“You need to sit down and celebrate your blessings.”
She wrenched herself free, “No, I need to…” She raced from the room.
Leon watched after her and sighed. “I think I need to play Santa while she’s gone. This will answer your questions.” He tossed his father a package and Napoleon tore open the brightly colored paper. He opened the box and frowned.
“I don’t understand.” He took out a long piece of plastic with a ‘+’ painted on it.
Illya smiled. “I do! Lisle’s pregnant! Have you two figured out what you are doing to cause this?”
Leon blushed just a little, then grinned. “Ho, ho, ho!”
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