Genre: Gen - Man from UNCLE
Word count: 972
This is unbeta'd so any mistakes are my own. this was inspired by an image that lindafishes8 posted a few days ago.
Illya collapsed into the chair and stared up at the ceiling. Granted he wasn’t all that old, but he couldn’t remember ever being this tired after a mission. Every bone, muscle, and nerve in his body screamed for the sweet release of sleep. Yet, there was one thing that governed all of them. It wasn’t his duty or his devotion to work, it was his stomach. It gurgled and complained to him that it had been far too empty for far too long.
However, just being back from a mission, there was very little in his apartment that was edible in the broadest sense of the word. He knew that without even thinking. He’d learned the hard way to be very selective about what foods he brought into his home these days. Now his meager apartment only smelled faintly of onions, thanks to his neighbors to the left and cigarettes, thanks to his neighbors on the right.
There were some cans of soup in a cupboard and perhaps some canned vegetables, a feast compared to some of the things he’d eaten in his student days. There would be a bottle of vodka and ice in his freezer and some condiments in his refrigerator. It would have to do. He simply lacked the energy and strength to go shopping, not to mention that most neighborhood grocery stores would be close by now.
He would have to either use what he had or call a delivery place. He patted his jacket and withdrew his money clip. He had an assortment of bills, but when all was said and done, there was but a single five dollar bill. What could he get for that?
Illya didn’t have time to consider it. There was a knock at his door and he instantly found the energy to leap to his feet and slip his weapon from its holster. Standing to the left of the door, he cocked his Special and asked.
“Antonio’s. I got your order here, sir.”
Illya’s suspicions flared. “I didn’t order anything.”
“This is,” and the voice repeated his address. Illya frowned and nodded, even though he knew he couldn’t be seen through the door.
“Then these are your pizzas.”
“Pizzas?” Illya whispered and his stomach celebrated. That would definitely be better than canned
soup. He tucked his pistol away and cautiously opened the door. The delivery man was just a boy and the hall was empty of anyone else. Illya stared at the boxes, their aroma instantly perfuming the immediate area. “I’m sorry, but it wasn’t me who ordered these,” Illya mumbled, regret tingeing his voice. “I just arrived home. I have no money to pay for this.”
“Already paid for. Can I put these down?”
Even more confused, Illya stepped aside and gestured him inward, still alert for any sudden movements or changes in body language. The young man carried the pizzas to a battered coffee table and plopped them down with a sense of relief.
He looked around at the studio. It wasn’t much, but to Illya, it was more than just a room, it was his sanctuary and his palace. “Thanks! My arms were killing me. I don’t know how many people you can get in this place, but at least you will be able to feed them.” He took out a pad, flipped through until he found what he was looking for and passed it to Illya. “Could I get your signature on this?”
“Certainly.” He quickly scrawled his name and handed it back. The man checked it, nodded and tore off the bottom sheet and passed it back. “Have a good night.”
Illya suddenly remembered the lone five and took it out. “Here. Thank you for this.”
The boy’s mouth dropped. “A five? I don’t have any change.”
“I don’t expect any. You are the answer to a prayer.”
“Thank you! This is… thank you!”
The delivery boy left happy and Illya secured the door behind him. Cautiously, he approached the stack of pizza boxes. They smelled right and his stomach gurgled in happy anticipation, yet he knew better. THRUSH didn’t sleep. He sat to examine them.
He lifted the top of the first box and his attention was drawn to the crust. He knew this pizzeria and the crust would be perfectly crisp and chewy. Then he saw the writing on the inside of the carton and began to grin.
He got back to his feet and opened the fridge. A six pack of beer was chilling on the top shelf with a note folded up and tucked between the bottles. Illya tucked the note into his pocket, selected a bottle and found a church key. Popping off the cap, he took a long swig and burped contentedly.
Grabbing another bottle, then he paused and grabbed a third, he shut the refrigerator and carried the bottles to the sofa. He collapsed happily onto it, a smile on his lips.
“Nostrovia,” he said to the ceiling and dove into the top pizza.
The phone rang and Napoleon Solo scooped it up quickly. He was sprawled out on his bed, flicking through the pages of this month’s Play Boy. “Solo.”
“Tony’s, Mr. Solo. Your delivery was made.”
“Thank you, Angelo. And Mr. Kuryakin was happy?”
“He gave my boy a five. I’d say pretty happy.”
Tomorrow he would give his partner a call, but it would be later in the day, after the pizza and beer had worn off and Illya had gotten a few hours of solid sleep. It was money well invested. A full partner was a happy partner and he’d need a happy partner for when Illya saw his desk. Napoleon’s breath caught when he realized he also left the Section Review files there. Maybe he should have sent along dessert, too…