Genre: Man from UNCLE - Slash
Rating: PG-13 (mostly for suggestive language)
Word Count: 1804
Prompt: My favorite Christmas song is “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Vince Vance and The Valiants.
Well, sparky955, my love, this isn't coming as a surprise since you betaed this, but I still hope you like it! *hugs*
Napoleon Solo carefully lifted the ornament out of the tissue paper and held it up for his aunt to see.
“Oh, my, I remember when your uncle gave that to me. It was our first Christmas together.”
“They had Christmas way back then?” Napoleon teased.
“Oh, you are so bad.” Amy laughed and hung it on a branch. “Just a few more and we are done. I must admit that the place has never looked so festive.
Napoleon wanted to agree, but in his hearts of hearts, he couldn’t. The radio was playing Christmas songs and one was playing that he’d not heard before. It wasn’t the usual Ho, Ho, Ho version. It was sad and sweet.
I don't need expensive things
They don't matter to me
All that I want, it can't be found
Underneath the Christmas tree
“That’s Vince Vance, isn’t it?” Amy asked.
“No idea. That’s Illya’s expertise, not mine.”
“Speaking of such, where is that delightful partner of yours?”
“Hong Kong, keeping the peace in a turf war.”
“That young man certainly is surfeit with talents.”
“Yeah,” Napoleon murmured. He reached for another ornament and his hand was caught.
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Nothing. There’s nothing wrong.”
“Napoleon Solo, you could never tell me a fib as a child and you certainly aren’t going to get away with it now. What’s wrong?”
“Oh, it’s…” He took a deep breath. “It’s Illya.”
“He’s all right, isn’t he?” Amy asked, suddenly alarmed. She led him to a doily-covered couch and guided him down.
“He’s fine. It’s just… well, I think the chemistry is changing between us.”
“And it’s about time, too. I never thought you were going to get on with it. You only have to look at him to know what’s on his mind.” Amy laughed and reached for a confectionary sugar-covered cookie. “Considering your reputation, it took you long enough. And that’s why you’re sad because he’s not here.”
“I don’t… Amy, what are you talking about?”
“Oh, dear…” The cookie was lowered unbitten, still leaving a trail of white behind. “Perhaps I’ve grasped the wrong end of the stick. I thought that you and he had become… were… well, together.”
Napoleon’s face went blank at the thought. “Oh…” Then his eyes widened. “OH!” He shook his head slowly. “Amy, you really surprise me at times.”
“Napoleon, my love, you didn’t invent sex.” Amy started to stand. “I think I need some tea.”
“I’ll get it.” Napoleon hurried to Amy’s kitchen, happy to be away from his very progressive thinking aunt. It was true. He didn’t invent sex. Hell, he didn’t invent anything.
He filled the kettle and put it on. His aunt’s array of loose leaf tea was a bit overwhelming, but Napoleon settled at last upon one he knew was calming. Right now he needed calming, at least he did if his shaking hands were any clue. It took him two tries to fill the tea ball.
What was Amy talking about? Illya was just Illya. From the moment Waverly had introduced them, they’d hit it off. Napoleon knew enough Russian to crack a joke now and again, but he also knew the Russian way of friendship. It was slow and cautious, like the people. On the surface, there was one version of the person, but another was buried deep within. Crack it and you had a friend, or enemy, for life.
It had taken Napoleon a few months to get beneath the surface and find the real Illya. On the surface, people thought he was quiet and shy, but Napoleon knew the boisterous, life-loving man inside.
So, how did he overlook or did he? Amy didn’t know what she was talking about, except Napoleon knew she always knew what she was talking about. Amy had a sense about people and things. It had made her wealthy and successful.
The water boiled and Napoleon filled the pot with a little hot water to let it warm. Then he tossed that out, dropped in the ball and poured in the hot water. That accomplished, he covered it with his aunt’s favorite seasonal tea cozy and carried the tray out.
The radio was still playing carols, something more familiar now about a Blue Christmas.
Perfect, Napoleon thought. Amy was sitting in front of the fireplace now, looking at a photo album.
“Here we go.” Napoleon set the tray on the table in front of her and retrieved the cookies. “What are you looking at?”
“A moment lost.”
“Looks like photographs to me,” Napoleon joked. He poured out a little tea and then returned it to the pot.
Amy sigh. “Come and sit by me.” She patted the cushion and Napoleon did as he was bade. He knew better than to argue.
“This is my friend, Dolly.” Amy tapped a finger to a sepia photograph. The two girls in it were grinning and one had a flower clutched in her teeth.
“Her name was really Dolly?”
“Just like the President’s wife or a popular musical, your choice.” Amy sighed. “She was such a live wire. She’d wake me up in the middle of the night and we’d hitchhike into town. We’d dance the night away and be back in our beds before cock crow. My father never really knew why I was so tired that summer. I think my mom always knew.”
“Moms are like that. Dad I could convince of anything, but not Mom.” Napoleon looked at the few other photos that followed. “What was so special about that summer, Amy?”
“It was when I discovered true love.”
“Aw, Uncle Albert.” He nodded knowingly. It was well known in the family that Albert had won his aunt’s heart from his first hello. The story went that two weeks after they met, he told Amy’s father he was going to marry two weeks her and in good time they did exactly that. Until death took Albert, the couple were inseparable. She often spoke that he’d given her her first kiss on her 17th birthday.
“Not exactly.” Her finger traced an image of Dolly. “We didn’t mean for it to happen. It just did. At first we thought it was mere infatuation and proximity.”
“So, if not Uncle Albert, then who?” Napoleon looked down at the photos. “No, you don’t mean…”
“I do. We were very happy, but, of course, we both knew it was forbidden. Women could be sisters, friends, devoted companions, but not lovers.” Amy’s eyes grew misty. “Then one night she didn’t come to me as she usually did and I waited for hours, trying to imagine what I’d done wrong. She had never failed me before.” Tears trickled down her cheeks and Napoleon offered his handkerchief. “Thank you.”
“She was on her way to see me when she was struck and killed by a car. They said she must have been distracted to not get out of its way, but I knew better. It was me, you see. I killed her.” Amy began to cry.
Napoleon gathered her into his arms. “Hush, sweetheart, it’s okay. Shhh. And you don’t know that.”
“I do. I’d given her an ultimatum. I was so sure of my love and I didn’t care what people said, but she did. She was so worried about what her father and minister would say.”
He held and rocked her gently. “You know what I think. I think she was coming to tell you to pack a bag and run away with her.”
“We will never know. This is why it’s so important that you look in your heart and think about what I’ve said.”
“Yes, about Illya. If you truly love him, Napoleon, tell him.”
“What if it drives him away?”
“What if it doesn’t?”
Amy’s question stayed with Napoleon as he made his way home through the snow and slush. All around him people were grouped together, their arms filled with packages, laughing and enjoying themselves. This was a time for family and friends and while Napoleon had both, he felt as if he had nothing. Another year of nothing.
He half greeted the doorman to his building and rode the elevator up to his floor. He paused at the door, eyes closed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he opened the door and Illya was there, laughing and ruddy cheeked from having sampled some brandy. The tree would be lit, there would be a fire in the fireplace and everything would be just as it should be.
But it wasn’t. His apartment stood, chilly and empty, just as he’d left it. No tree this year, not anything that smacked of the season. He didn’t want any of it, not a stocking, not a candle, not a tree. All he wanted…
He shook his head and closed the door behind him. He took off his coat and galoshes, then headed for the wet bar. Some scotch and a fire would warm him up physically, but he knew it would do nothing to warm his soul.
Napoleon must have dozed off because when he woke, the fire was nearly out, and his glass was empty. Well, tomorrow was another day. He looked at his watch and it was all of eight o’clock. So much for the wild party animal that was Napoleon Solo.
That’s when he heard the knock and Illya’s anxious, “Napoleon? Napoleon, are you in there?”
Napoleon opened the door and Illya was in his arms, kissing him and holding him and Napoleon’s heart flared. “I love you,” Illya kept saying over and over again.
A log dropped and Napoleon opened his eyes. It was just him and an empty apartment. He’d just been dreaming. Of course, he’d been dreaming.
Then there was a knock at the door. “Napoleon, it’s Illya. Are you in there?”
“Illya?” Napoleon whispered. He pinched himself and smiled. “Just a minute.”
It took him seemingly two strides to reach the door and fling it open. Illya was propped up against the door frame. He looked beat. “I took a chance that you might be in.”
Napoleon grabbed his arm and tugged him into the entryway. He shut the door and then gathered Illya in his arms and kissed him.
He released Illya and half expected a right cross to the chops. Instead, Illya just grinned. “And I missed you, too. Am I to blame that on the mistletoe?”
“There is no mistletoe.”
“Let’s leave the words for later, shall we?” Illya took Napoleon’s hand and smiled.
You are the angel atop my tree
You are my dream come true
Santa can't bring me what I need
'Cause all I want for Christmas is you
'Cause all I want for Christmas is you
'Cause all I want for Christmas is you