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May the Better Man Win

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“I hate these things,” complained Illya Kuryakin, pulling on his bow tie.

“Ties?” asked his partner, scanning the room.

“Receptions,” the Russian replied. “We are inside HQ, so there are plenty of Section 3 agents here for security. Why do I need to be here?”

“Because you are here in your role of Number 2, Section 2,”

The reception was being held by Mr Waverly for the important people in New York. Although U.N.C.L.E. was not tied to a single country, having the Northwest HQ in New York meant pandering to the people who ran the place. The event was already into the third hour, and Illya was tiring of what Napoleon insisted on calling ‘schmoozing’. The American, of course, seemed to be in his element. There was always the chance it was all an act but, when given the chance to show off, Solo usually enjoyed it. Besides, there were many beautiful women at the reception, and Napoleon was determined to end the evening with a date.

“That woman seems to be coming this way,” Illya commented, bracing himself for another inane conversation.

Napoleon followed his partner’s gaze and smiled. The woman was a tall red-head and was wearing black velvet gown which accented every curve. As she approached, Napoleon held out a had to take hers, and he kissed the back of it. She accepted his gesture, but kept her eyes on Illya.

“I hate these things,” she said to him. “They are so tedious. I’m Emily Hall, by the way, the Mayor’s assistant.”

She took her hand back from Napoleon and turned to shake Illya’s

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Hall,” he said. “I am Illya Kuryakin, and this is Napoleon Solo. I too am not fond of such gatherings.”

“I find they can be good for meeting interesting people,” Solo chipped in, trying pull Miss Hall’s attention away from Illya.

“That is a very rare occurrence,” she told him, hardly looking his way. “But there are occasions when someone takes my interest.”

Illya looked to Napoleon and noticed he was sporting his sour expression. It was one he usually reserved for when he lost out on a woman to another man; especially if that man was Illya.

“May I get you a glass of punch, Miss Hall?” he asked.

“Only if you promise to call me Emily.”

She hooked arm into Illya’s and the pair walked away from Napoleon. The Russian turned back to him and couldn’t help but smirk. The CEA didn’t sulk for long however and quickly set his sights on a brunette on the other side of the room.