Genre: Man from UNCLE, Addams Family
Word Count: 1647
Prompt Illya, Morticia, a missing mug
My dearest bonniejean1953, I hope you enjoy the web I wove for you. Again, my thanks to sparky955 for her beta and invaluable help.
It always happened when he came home after a long absence. His apartment, which, by rights, should be the most familiar thing to him seemed somehow different and changed. Illya knew that only the cleaning firm managed by UNCLE had been in his apartment. The Section Three boys had gone through it just a few hours before he arrived and had secured it for him. All their little cues were still in place when he arrive, suitcase in hand, his head throbbing from jet lag.
Once upon a time, Illya would have prowled the apartment, determined to discover the change, but not now. A few years of being an active field agent had made him more conservative with his energy and he had just enough to get into bed.
If there was indeed something different in the apartment, it had waited this long, it could wait a few hours more. Illya locked the door behind him and set the alarm, then he stumbled into the bedroom, stripped quickly and pulled a clean pair of pajamas out of the dresser. A shower would have been nice, but he was afraid it would wake him up.
First nights back from extended missions were usually bad ones, fraught with nightmares and fitful sleep at best. Even though Illya knew half-imagined fears awaited him, the lure of clean sheets and the familiar drone of New York traffic was too much.
He climbed into bed and went through his normal work routine of tucking his P-38 under his pillow and placing his communicator on the night stand. That accomplished, he turned out the lights and waited for his eyes to suddenly spring open and a surge of renewed energy to course through his veins. Instead, his eyelids drooped and within moments he was sound asleep.
It was the sound of his front door alarm going off that roused him and Illya sat up groggily in bed. Sunlight was streaming into the room and the sound of footsteps was getting closer. Illya’s hand found the butt of his pistol and he aimed it at his bedroom door. Then he lowered it at the sight of his partner, Napoleon Solo.
“There you are!” Napoleon’s voice was half scolding, half relieved. “When Sharon couldn’t reach you this morning, she panicked. Eventually the Old Man called me.” Napoleon looked down at the pile of clothes on the floor as he pulled out his communicator. “Agent is fine. Solo out. Just get in?”
“A few hours ago,” Illya murmured running a hand through his hair and yawning. Then he glanced at his wristwatch. “I don’t believe it. That’s impossible.”
“I’ve been asleep for fifteen hours.” Illya held the watch to his ear.
That flustered Napoleon. No agent slept well after a mission, certainly not one of theirs. “What? Were you injured? Head trauma?”
“Not that I’m aware of.” Illya yawned and stretched. “I haven’t slept that well in years.”
Napoleon yawned. “What’s your secret?”
Illya managed to dig his way out of his sheets and head for the bathroom. “No idea. We are still off the books, aren’t we?”
“We are.” Napoleon yawned again and sank down onto a chair. “Man, I’m beat. Those intercontinental trips aren’t what they used to be.”
Illya nodded, then realized Napoleon couldn’t see him. He flushed, washed his hands and face and stumbled back out only to stop at the sight. Napoleon was sprawled in the chair, dead asleep.
With a smile, Illya reset his door alarm, closed the curtains and gave Napoleon’s arm a light touch.
“Hey, Senior Agent by Two Years Solo, you’ll get a sore neck sleeping like that.”
“You will, tomorrow.” Illya helped him to his feet and guided him to the bed. Napoleon was asleep before Illya got his shoes off him. Smirking, he closed the curtains and returned to bed himself.
It seemed a lifetime before Illya finally was able to shake free the last bits of sleepiness. He opened the window to the fire escape and the front door and let the wind blow the stale air out of the apartment. It was one of those early days in Spring, promising so much, but not fully delivering. Still, the air was soft and Illya knew it would soon turn hot and muggy. For now, he would enjoy it.
Napoleon had eventually staggered home after an eight-hour cat nap, mumbling that he could not remember when he’d slept that well or that deeply. Illya was inclined to agree with him.
He turned back to the room and eyed his small kitchen. He knew the refrigerator would be stocked with fresh perishables and that his pantry was filled with various cans and boxes. UNCLE was good about that.
He’d just started the coffee and reached for his favorite mug when he saw something new sitting innocently upon a counter.
Illya looked at the item in his hand and frowned. “What are you doing here?” He sniffed and made a face, holding the mug well away from him. “Ugh… And why?”
For its part, the mug stayed quiet, the entwined snakes wrapping around it until their tails made a convenient handle. Illya was sure it was his own imagination that he could feel them move against his hand. The inside was stained, so it was apparently well used, even while the sentiment it carried warned otherwise. Worse, Illya could not imagine how it came to be in his kitchen. It was worrisome, it was macabre… then a face flashed into his mind’s eye and he snapped his fingers. Of course, it was all these things - it was Addams.
“Oh, dear.” Morticia Addams was a woman on a quest. Usually the kitchen was Grandmamma’s territory, but now she searched through unfamiliar cupboards with a sense of desperation. “Where could it be?”
“What are you looking for?” Fester abruptly popped out of a thin closet, once used for an ironing board. By rights, he shouldn’t fit in there, but Fester was never one for convention.
“Fester, you haven’t seen Gomez’s favorite mug, have you?”
“That one with the snakes?”
“Yes. I’ve been looking for it for days. I’ve run out of excuses, Fester, what should I tell him?
“Anything but the truth. Gomez had to go through hell on earth to get that mug. It’s a symbol of his strength and of being an Addams.”
“Fester, he got it at Disneyland. All those poor unfortunate witches and warlocks…”
Fester shuddered, “All that pink and the sunshine.” He shuddered at the thought and Morticia stroked his arm comfortingly.
“Try not to think of it, dear Fester.” The house reverberated from a knock at the front door and Morticia brought slender fingers to her mouth. “Now, who could that be? We already gave this month to the Blood Bank and Unwanted Waifs of the Moors.”
A moment later Lurch appeared and beside him was a slender blond man, dwarfed by the servant. “Dear Illya!” Morticia was delighted and she hurried to give him a hug.
“Morticia, you are looking as lovely as ever.” He released her and bent to kiss her hand.
“How about me?” Fester asked, sucking in his stomach and holding himself erect.
“You are looking well, Agent Fester. How goes the secret agent biz?” After pestering UNCLE for months, the rotund man had been made an honorary agent and given a few training exercises. He’d quickly lost interest.
“Boring. I don’t know how you do it.”
“Honestly, neither do I.” Illya held out a bag to Morticia. “I found this in my apartment and I think it might belong to you.”
With a puzzled expression, Morticia opened the bag and then made a sound of delight. “Gomez’s mug! Where did you find it?”
“In my kitchen.”
“Where I left it,” Grandmamma answered as she shuffled into the room. “Hey, cutie, you got some sugar for me?” She waggled her eyes at Illya.
“For my favorite girl, of course, but only if you tell me how it got there.” He gave her a hug and a peck on her wrinkled cheek.
“I saw Mr. Waverly and he was complaining that you fellas never sleep well when you come back from an assignment, so I threw something together. He suggested I leave you some.”
“When was that?”
“Last week. I told those cleaning ladies not to bother it. How did it taste? Should have been like burdock root and just a hint of fungus. ”
“There was nothing in the mug.”
“It must have evaporated or something.” She snapped her fingers. “Now we’ll never know.”
“Believe me, Grandmamma, when I say it worked like a charm.”
“Really?” The old woman sounded amazed. “Imagine that. I wonder if I wrote the recipe down.”
“If you did, I want to commission a quart off of you. I know just the people to send it to.”
Grandmamma giggled like a school girl and started to hurry off. “Oh, will you stay for dinner?”
“Say yes, Gomez would be so sorry he missed you, otherwise.”
“Of course. What are we having?”
“How does batwing burgers and mice tails sound?”
“My favorite!” Fester was abuzz with excitement. “I love it when company comes. I’m gonna go tell Pugsley and Wednesday.”
“Before you leave, I brought you a little something back.” Illya reached into his pocket and pulled out a small blowpipe. “I got that off a witchdoctor.”
Fester squealed. “Thank you!”
“You are too good to us, dear Illya.” Morticia slipped her arm around his. “Now, tell me about the witchdoctor. Lurch, would you bring some tea?”
Illya decided to wait to disperse the rest of the gifts he’d brought back, a charm bag for Grandmamma, a voodoo doll for Wednesday and so on. True, the Addams Family were a bit weird, but weird was relative and Illya adored his relatives.