Genre: Man from UNCLE A/U (Hot Tropic Nights)
Word Count: 3410
Prompt: I think I'd mentioned a while back a suggestion for Hot Tropic Nights, with Illya getting overstressed with the hotel and Napoleon providing an oasis of calm. And I suddenly had this vision of Uncle holding the next Summit 5 at the hotel, either taking over the whole complex or just the motu. Which would put Napoleon and Illya in the position of innocents.
reapermum, I hope this fits the bill. Thanks for a great prompt and Joyeux Noel. My thanks, as always to sparky955 for her beta help.
“Je me’n fiche,” Illya Kuryakin shouted into the phone.
“What?” The voice on the phone was confused
He took deep breath. “I have a hotel full of people and they need to be fed. I don’t care what you have to do, just get the food here.” Illya slammed the phone receiver down and felt the band in his head tighten just a bit more. He had never been a fan of the holiday season and it had gotten worse since his father forced him into the family hotel business. Before, he would climb in his boat and take off, finding a quiet island away from well wishes. Now he had no choice but to meet it full on.
Even worse, Napoleon was on a book tour, touting his latest best seller. Logically, Illya knew it was what was expected of Napoleon by his editor, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
The phone rang again and Illya scowled. He snatched it up and yelled, “Quoi?”
“Je t’aime,” Napoleon said, softly.
“Napoleon.” The voice was velvet soft against his ragged nerves. “Je t’aime aussi.” Illya shot a glance at the calendar. “Where are you?”
“New York and it’s miserable. What’s it like there?”
“Sunny, humid and we’re out of food.”
“What? How do you run out of food?”
“That was exactly what I asked food service.”
“Talk with Louis. He’ll know.”
The band of tension eased as Napoleon’s voice filled his head. “He’s already on his way back from Papeete with a delivery. I had to charter a flight to get stuff here. Please tell me you are equally distraught.”
“Without having your tight little—“
“Napoleon, votre langue!” He smiled, even though he knew his lover couldn’t see him.
“I was going to say brain, but never mind now. It’s true, I only want you for your body. I miss you.”
“And I, you. I can live with that. When are you coming home?”
“I’m due out tomorrow if the airports are open. There’s a huge storm headed our way.”
“Just come home to me safe. I haven’t had a decent meal since you left.”
“You only want me for my cooking.”
“In both the kitchen and the bedroom.”
“Tu me manques aussi,” Napoleon murmured. “Au revoir.”
Illya stared at the dead receiver for a moment and then hugged it to his chest. It frightened him how much he loved Napoleon, his shy bookish lover. They’d met just a few years earlier. Napoleon was coming off a very successful book publishing and his editor sent him to Tahiti for some R & R. Somehow, Illya was ended up being his guide for the trip and they ended up head over heels in love. It was enough to get Napoleon to relocate to Tahiti and for Illya to give up his vagabond lifestyle. It was fine when Napoleon was here.
There was a timid knock to the door. “Oui?”
Poetai stuck her head in. She was Illya’s head desk clerk. “Um, Boss, I’m sorry to bother you, but I think you need to hear this.”
The door opened wide and there was a dark-haired woman standing there. There was an edge to her and Illya’s hand slid towards the security button.
“It’s all right. I mean no harm to you. Mr. Kuryakin, my name is April Dancer and we have need of your facilities.”
“And it is such that you couldn’t deal with my head clerk?” Illya switched to English, since that was the language the woman was speaking.
“It is a matter of world importance.”
Illya resisted the urge to sigh. “Very well.” To Poetai, he said in Tahitian. “Bring us some tea and Rotui and Heinui.” They were two of the biggest security guards they had on the property.
“What did you say to her?” April asked as the woman hurried away.
“I asked her to bring us some tea and refreshment, two of our local favorites. I’d have preferred beer, but it’s a bit early for that.”
“Hmmm.” She sounded unconvinced. She reached into her pocket and withdrew a card. “I work for an organization called UNCLE, United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.”
“Sounds like a bucket of fun.” Illya leaned back in his chair. “What does that have to do with my hotel?”
“Most of the time it is. Once a year, we have a meeting of our five top officials and need someplace secure for them to stay and meet. Your establishment was recommended to us. It’s isolated, sparsely peopled and easily defended. We would need the entire complex.”
“I have a feeling I should be honored by that, but I’m rather offended. I happen to have a nearly full hotel and there’s no other option for most of them.”
“May I sit down? It’s very hot here.” She fanned herself and Illya nodded to a chair. He kept from smiling, but reached behind him to turn on the air conditioner.
“If you think it’s hot now, you should be here in the summer.”
“Thank you.” April fanned herself for a moment. “We would not need your hotel, but rather your private island. You will be amply compensated for its use.”
The light blinked on for Illya. “You mean, the Sauvage?”
“Yes. Small, easily defended, and isolated.”
“Well, two out of three isn’t bad. There are locals living to either side of it, but for the most part, they just tend to ignore everything. You realize there’s no electricity out there.”
“You have a generator.”
“How do you know that?”
“Two of our agents stayed here.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Connolhey,” Illya said, suddenly.
“How did you..?”
“Michael said they asked a few too many questions. He thought they were from another hotel, though, checking out the competition.”
“That was their cover names, yes..”
“Comes with years of being in the business and knowing how to read people.” Illya looked at his reservation book. “The Sauvage is due to be renovated this winter. I could pull the date back a few weeks. Having people coming and going from there would make more sense.”
“Are you sure you don’t have a side line?”
“You’d make a good agent.”
Illya laughed at that and at the knock, he called, “Entrez s’il vous plaît.” Two large men entered and April looked over at Illya, smiling.
“Really? Do you know I could shoot all three of you without even moving from this chair?”
“Possibly, but you would find a sticky end waiting for you before you attempted to get off the island. I am related to nearly everyone here.”
April laughed. “Please, let us be friends. I mean no harm to you or your hotel. I just need someplace safe for these five men to meet. They are the backbone of our organization and it is vital that they stay someplace where we can protect them.”
“We can do that.”
“We would prefer not to involve innocents.”
Rotui punched Heinui lightly in the stomach. “We’re innocents…”
“Hooey,” Heinui said, laughing. “My woman will be so happy.”
April tried to glare them down, but that only made both men laugh more.
“That won’t work, lady. We’re married. We’re used to it.”
“We don’t want anyone hurt,” April tried again and Illya nodded.
“Neither do I. What do you want us to do?”
Napoleon looked anxiously out of the airplane window as the lights of Papeete drew closer. He’d already changed from his suit and tie back into shorts and a loose top. The other people in First class eyed him as if he’d lost his mind. He had merely smiled and said, “Local.” It was amuse to watch the change in outfits after that.
“Ready to be home, Mr. Solo?” the stewardess asked, collecting his empty glass.
“My heart aches for it when I’m away,” he said. He didn’t add that it also pined for that of a certain Russian hotel owner.
He got off the plane and stood on the stairs, smiling up at the soft rain feathering down.
“It’s raining?!” squawked a woman behind him. “You dragged me halfway around the world for this?”
“Aw, but when it rain as you arrive, it means the island is crying with happiness to see you.”
“What a bunch of crap.” She pushed roughly past him and went down the stairs, storming towards the small airport.
“I’m so sorry.” A man, obviously her husband, apologized as they descended. “She’s from New Jersey.”
“New York and I understand. I hope the island works its magic on her.”
The man paused in front of three women dancing a slow hula. “It’s already working for me.”
“That’s a welcoming hula or we prefer Ori Tahiti. Here we dance for everything.”
“Napoleon?” A woman ukulele player called out and waved.
“Auntie Arava, kia ora!” Napoleon ran up to her and was reward with a strong hug and a double cheek kiss.
“Kia Ora, our beloved son.” In his ear, she whispered, “Cousin Nat is looking for you.”
“Then I shall look for him.”
She slipped a lei from her neck and placed it over his. “Welcome home.”
Now he drummed his fingers against the rim of the window. “But why did Illya ask you to bring me to the Sauvage? We were supposed to be spending Christmas in Papeete with his parents?” The thought of the lavishly decorated home on the outskirts of Papeete tugged at his heart, along with Auntie Lu’s carefully crafted treats and dishes. He felt as if he’d not had a decent meal since first leaving here. It was pure hogwash and he knew it, but he hungered for a taste of the islands.
“I don’t know, brah.” Nat kept his attention on the horizon and refused to meet Napoleon’s eye. That told Napoleon something was up.
“But I’ve been traveling for days. I just wanted a night in a comfortable bed. Beds are bad at the Sauvage.”
“We replaced them last week.”
“Yeah, the… renovation.” He struggled with the word in English and Napoleon realized he’d slipped back. He’d gotten used speaking English with everyone. It always seemed to happen that way.
“Desole,” he said. “Je ne comprend pas.”
“Neither do I, but when the boss says do something, I do it.” He cut engine speed and inched the stick forward. While trying to land a sea plane on the ocean side of the Sauvage would have been insanity, the lagoon was calm and smooth. The plane landed easily and drifted to the dock.
Napoleon didn’t even wait for Nat to tie up the plane. He climbed out and hurried to the main structure on the island. It served as the dining room, gathering spot, bar, and whatever else it needed to be. There was brightly-colored garland over the windows and a Rangi-style Christmas tree, a small potted palm coved in lights, decorated one corner of the room. The tables were pushed together to form one large square and poinsettias decorate the center of it. Everything screamed Christmas to Napoleon, so much more than the bell-ringing Santas on every corner and commercially driven store fronts that desperately begged for attention.
But it wasn’t the lights, the garland, the snow or lack of it that cried Christmas to Napoleon. He hurried across the polished floor and into the back.
“Illya!” Two men spun to face him, both looking startled, but also guilty. They were in front of the stove and seemed out of place. One immediately crammed his hands into his pockets while the other glared. The fact that he didn’t recognize either man was curious. Napoleon thought he knew everyone on the island, unless these were guests and guests shouldn’t be in the kitchen.
“Oui?” came a voice from the back and Illya entered. He saw Napoleon, but his attention was drawn by the strangers.
“Who are you?” Illya demanded in English.
“We… we were assigned to help you. They said you needed help, so here we are. I’m Tim and he’s Simon.” The man worked something in his pocket and Napoleon’s eyes widened ever so little. He swore he saw a gun barrel pressed against the fabric.
Illya seemed to not notice anything at all. “Okay, fine, you can help by going in there and washing up. Here are some aprons for you on the back of the door. And use soap. We don’t want our guests getting sick.” That seemed to elicit a laugh from them. He turned his attention to Napoleon with no joy in his face. “As for you, it’s about time you got here. I was beginning to think that it had been a mistake to send for you. Did you bring the ice?”
Napoleon couldn’t help but looked confused. “Ice? No one said anything to me about ice.”
“All right, fine, there should still be some in the shed. Just tell the woman there to get out of your way and take what you need, LeSalle.”
“Yeah, okay…” Napoleon made a face and headed to the shed. LeSalle was a character in Napoleon’s latest book. Illya had helped him dream up the guy who was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. It told Napoleon that something was going on, but he had no idea what.
He entered the shed and stopped, stunned. Instead of a pile of old crates as per usual, there was a desk with a shortwave radio on it. The woman sitting there looked as surprised as he did. Suddenly there was a pistol pointed at his midsection and Napoleon swallowed.
“Bonjour?” he tried, his eyes never leaving the weapon.
“Who are you?”
“Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin’s partner.”
“Right.” She opened a file and pulled out a photo, holding it up. “You’re much better looking in person. How can I help you?”
“Um, Illya sent me here for ice. There were two strange men in the kitchen and he didn’t seem very happy about it.”
“He’s met everyone we put on the island. What were they doing?”
“Hovering around the food on the stove. When he said something about not wanting people to get sick, one of them snickered.”
“But who are they?”
“The bad guys. Your friend is in grave danger.” She holstered her weapon and pulled out a slender silver tube. Napoleon thought she was going to touch up her makeup as she brought it to her lips. Instead, she twisted it apart. “Open Channel D.”
“But…” Napoleon started as she took a few steps away from him. “Illya…” He made a decision then and there. He grabbed a pack of ice and raced back to the shed.
“Hey, brah, so I got the ice. Now what?”
One of the men had Illya backed in the corner and as he turned, he caught a face full of hard ice. He went down like a tourist hit by a coconut. The one attempted a threatening step towards Napoleon, but Illya was on him.
“No one touches my man,” Illya snarled and slammed a frying pan on the stranger’s head. By the time the woman and a group of men arrived, both strangers were unconscious and Napoleon was tying them up tight with kitchen twine. He’d wrapped enough birds to know how to truss things very effectively.
She looked at them, then at the pair embracing. “Well, so much for rescuing the Innocents.”
“Innocents? Us?” Napoleon murmured into Illya’s neck.
“Yeah, go figure.”
Napoleon wiggled his toes under the sheet and laughed as Hereiti hopped on them. He had given Illya a worthy bout of love making, paying him back for having woken him up not once, but twice in the night. Napoleon felt boneless and lazy, totally content to do nothing more languish in bed today.
The house was undecorated. There was not a card or a stand of garland to announce it was Christmas Eve. That was okay, though. They would soon be on their way to Tahiti and all the celebrations there. Now that the UNCLE people were gone and the hotel was shuttered up for the holidays, it was time to be with friends and family.
“You laugh now, but wait until she does it without the sheets. Joyeux Noel.” Illya, wearing nothing but a parau tied loosely around his waist, entered carrying a tray. There were two small espresso cups, cream, sugar and a French press.
Napoleon watched Illya set the tray down and prepare the coffee. “This is the best. I haven’t had proper coffee in a month.” He sipped and smiled. “Now I am home.”
“That’s what you said when you came the second time last night.”
Napoleon smiled slightly. “I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”
“I see.” He settled onto bed and listened to the surf and the wind. “Le Diable is coming.”
“Hopefully he will stay away until we get to Papeete this afternoon. Wait until you see what I brought your mother and sister from New York.”
“He will weep.” Illya’s father was one of Napoleon’s biggest fans. That worked in his favor and he moved in with Illya.
“You will just have to see.” Napoleon finished his coffee and held out his cup for more. “That sure was weird business at the Sauvage.”
Illya poured and settled on the bed. “You’re telling me. It’s hard to believe there is a world so foreign just bubbling beneath the surface of New York. Did you have any idea?”
“I’d lived there all my life and I’d heard whispers about UNCLE, of course, but not much more. The world was that they are the people you send it when everything else has failed. Crazy to think such a life exists.”
“I’m glad it’s not mine.” Illya stretched out his legs and Ataroa, Hereiti’s brother, plopped down across them. “Cat, can’t you even pretend to have bones?”
“Wait until you try to get them into the carrier this afternoon.” Napoleon stroked Hereiti’s fur. “We will be serenaded the whole way there.”
“I think I’m ready for a swim. What about--?” A knock on their front door caught him mid motion and they exchanged glances. “Who knocks that we know of?”
Napoleon set his cup aside and stood, pulling on a parau and knotting it securely in place. “Oui?”
“It’s April Dancer.”
Napoleon must have looked confused because Illya laughed and joined him. He opened the door. “Bonjour! Joyeux Noel.”
“Merry Christmas to you, too.” April was wearing a dress with a half cape to it. She looked as overdressed to them as the men must have looked underdressed to her. “I just wanted to stop in and say thank you for everything you did. Because of your bravery and timing, we had a successful Summit meeting and the men are on their way back to their countries.”
“And you, Miss Dancer?”
She brushed a strand on limp hair from her face and stepped closer to the building as the rain came. “Me, too. Does it ever cool down here?”
Illya smiled. “This is it. This winter for us. Rain, wind, and we go on.”
“Well, if anytime you guys decide you’d like a change of pace, give me a call. I was impressed with the way you both handled yourselves yesterday. If you ever want to try UNCLE, we’d love to have you.” She handed them cards and an envelope. “And this is for you, in thanks for your hospitality.”
“Thank you.” Illya tossed the envelope on the table with a stack of mail. Napoleon made a mental note that it was there. “I think we’re both pretty happy here.”
“Well, if you ever get bored, UNCLE is waiting. Good bye.”
She held out a hand and Illya shook his head. He stepped forward and gave both her cheeks a kiss. “Au revoir, ma petit. I don’t think we will meet again.”
Napoleon mirrored the action. “Safe travels and safe life.”
“Thank you.” Pulled the half cape over her head, she made a run for the car that was waiting for her.
Napoleon read the card and looked at Illya. “Bored? She doesn’t know us very well, does she?”
Illya shook his head and then grinned. “Last one in the water has to wash the breakfast dishes.”
Napoleon laughed and was on his heels, heading down the path to their small beach. How could anyone get bored with Paradise?