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An Addams Affair

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An Addams Affair

"I think goats might do nicely." He looked out the window. "Or winter wheat." "Do we even have a cover?" The blond spoke slouched down in the passenger seat of a late model sedan.

"You can check the back seat." The dark haired man fought back a smile. "Not much choice." He attempted with aplomb to be inconspicuous, sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car in a respectable suburb. "There's hardly a dumpster or coldwater flat with this view." Their view was a rambling Queen Anne complete with widow's walk, its clapboards shedding the last vestigial chips of paint. The grounds were overgrown, dead stands of weeds predominating.

"Pity."

A tall, strikingly slender woman looked onto the road with a pair of opera glasses. She let the heavy curtain fall into place with a puff of dust. "Gomez, they're still out there. We should do something."

"A man has pride. Must give them that." The paper rustled and was dropped to the table, revealing a bulging eyed man with a thin mustache and a fine cigar. "You're worried about them?"

"I'm going to send Lurch out." She wrapped her arm in the bellrope and pulled.

"Napoleon." His partner roused in an instant, staring at the silver coffee service blocking his side. "You might wish to roll down your window."

Napoleon looked to the side and then rolled down the window slowly, his right hand ready. The tray lowered, the very lip passing into the interior of the car. He looked to his partner and then back out. The butler had to be seven feet tall. "Um, thank you. This is most unexpected." He poured first a cup for Illya, making a display of the sugar tongs. Waved off, he passed the cup of black coffee and poured one for himself, heavy with cream . The butler stood ramrod. Napoleon gave his partner a look over the edge of his cup before sipping. The Russian followed suit.

"Very good." Illya looked over after another sip, noticing the absence of the butler and Napoleon admiring his cup and saucer. "It must be drugged."

"We're being watched." He smiled in the direction of the house. "First open shipments of dynamite, now this." He sipped again. "How long until it takes effect?"

They were still wondering that well after the cups were empty. Finally, Illya put his hand on the door. "I shall just go thank our hosts." Stepping out, he reached in for Napoleon's cup and saucer. He heard his door closed behind him, and a second, quieter click. He crossed the street and went up to the house.

Napoleon slipped quietly along, ready to provide cover. In the unlikely event that any of the neighbors were up and looking out, their attention would be on the blond and the pale china. He could only hope this feint might constitute some surprise to the inmates of the house. That they were under observation was confirmed by the scant moment Illya had to look at the door knocker and his hands before the door was opened by the butler and the cups and saucers retrieved. Napoleon revised his opinion. At least seven and half feet if an inch.

A somewhat shorter, still hulking man appeared behind Napoleon, rising out of the thorn bushes. Completely bald and even paler than the butler, he cut off any escape. The drug had taken effect.

Morticia was giddy. The dark man joined the blond. "Thank you, Fester." She raked her eyes over the two men. "You have luggage?"

Illya and Napoleon glanced at each other.

"Lurch will fetch it. You'll be our guests."

The butler's large hand flipped over like a salver. Napoleon thought a moment and dropped the car keys into it.

"Uncle Fester, show them to their room."

They wound deeper into the mansion, through cobwebbed, windowless corridors with too many doors. Options for THRUSH's operation percolated during their walk. Finally the hunchback stopped and opened a door, urging them in. The door snapped shut.

Illya looked around the high ceilinged boudoir, dominated by a heavy curtained fourposter. "A step up."

Napoleon looked around, planning the security sweep. "An entire flight." He set a pendanted lamp down as the door opened. The butler, Lurch, entered with their bags, pulled out a stand, and placed them on it. He opened a closet door and pulled out a wooden valet. He halted for a brief moment and then left. "No wonder good help is so hard to find."

Illya flipped open his bag, quickly checking its contents. "Napoleon, open yours."

Napoleon did so, noting they'd done a professional job, nothing was wrinkled. And then he found the spare clip precisely as he'd packed it. He quickly rifled through, finding everything exactly as it should be. He looked at his partner.

"They're very confident." He took off his jacket slipping it onto one of the wooden shoulders. "Which side you prefer?"

Napoleon judged the angles between the door, window and the bedposts. He walked to the left side and plopped down, sinking in a billow of dust.

"Sinister." Illya undressed for bed and slipped under the covers in one fluid movement, gun tucked under the rightside pillows. He was asleep before Napoleon settled.

A thin, wane light filtered through the shutters, spilling shadows across the bed. The blankets were pushed down past shoulders pressed together, the edge following the sweep of left arms before cutting them off from view. Blue eyes opened.

Illya slipped from the bed, scanning the room before him as he stretched. He heard Napoleon, still asleep, shift closer to his gun.

The little girl flattened against the wall, pale face almost glowing with the two pricks of light. She squared her shoulders. It was impossible she'd been seen. She peered back out the peep holes. Her eyes widened and her lips parted. As the stranger twisted and moved he revealed ever more scars. The thin white and pink ribbons of the lash, the peppered ghost kisses of electricity, slightly puckered memorials to knife wounds and gunshots.

She spared a glance to the dark haired man in the bed, finding him rather homely. He must have something to recommend him she supposed. She preferred the blond. She slipped back along the secret passage.

"Nice view." Napoleon propped himself up. He was interrupted in any further comment by the door opening to admit the interestingly named Lurch. The butler was carrying a large porcelain pitcher and basin, with two small towels draped over his arm. He placed it on the stand and set the towels to one side. Then he picked up the ewer and two flannels from the basin and poured the steaming water without a misplaced drop. Lurch paused for a moment and then left.

"Our showers are served." Napoleon slid from the bed and headed for the water, picking up a wash cloth. He noticed a distinct scent to the water.

"Violets and lavender." Illya crossed the room to search the vanity. He returned with a huge silver hand mirror and plucked his toilet bag from his suitcase. A rumor of a smile haunted his lips as he recognized Napoleon's search for an electrical outlet. He lathered up a small cake of shaving soap, covering his face. He wiped his hands and picked up mirror and razor. Illya waited until he was nearly finished before speaking. "I will permit you to use mine." The reaction reflected in the mirror was priceless.

Napoleon was adjusting the knot of his tie when the knock reverberated the door. He glanced at Illya, who, closer to the door, opened it. A barrel-chested dwarf in a striped shirt and shorts was revealed.

"Father and mother invite you to join breakfast in the conservatory."

The conservatory was a stark room full of windows and a singularly unsuccessful garden. The bright light was somehow cold. Their hostess sat at one end of a heavy black table, the mustached man at the other end smoldering at her. At the middle of the table's far side sat a young girl, black hair parted into two strict pigtails above a similarly severe black dress. The boy sat down opposite her, next to the hunchback.

"Gentlemen, did you sleep well?" There was an unnatural gleam in the bulging eyes.

"Like the dead." Napoleon regretted the words as they escaped.

"That poorly? You must be hungry." She looked at Illya. "Come, sit by me." She smiled as her daughter masked her excitement. "Kidney? Eels?"

"Yes, please."

Their host nodded to the seat between him and the boy, Napoleon taking the cue. Lurch appeared behind him. "I'll have the specialty." He glanced at Illya's plate, hoping his concern didn't show. "I fear we weren't properly introduced last evening. My friend is Illya Kuryakin and I'm Napoleon Solo." THRUSH had identified them by now, this was hardly a remote location.

At the other end of the table, Morticia held court. She changed languages. "You're Russian?"

"Da."

Gomez burned with his wife's teasing. She was toying with him, speaking Russian at their table. He might have to carry her away and force her to speak French. "My beloved, my wife, the mother of my children, Morticia. You already know Fester. My son, Pugsley, and my daughter, Wednesday."

Napoleon smiled back at the children, disconcerted slightly by the boy's... glee? and more so by the girl's morose stare. Estimating her about eight years old, her expression belonged on an ancient empress, bored disdain.

"And I, I am Gomez Addams." He dug into his meal with gusto.

Napoleon looked at his own plate with less appetite as it was placed in front of him. He set to it diligently, trying to convince himself it was dinner and not breakfast.

Illya was happy that conversation didn't interrupt the meal. Morticia spoke to the children a few times but that was to be expected. It didn't interfere with his chewing, unlike too many meals he'd had in the West. Somewhere this house hid a very good cook. He did however keep an eye on the table. Pretense aside, they were prisoners, though he approved of being fed as a new tactic. He was momentarily surprised when Lurch took the chair between Gomez and Wednesday.

Napoleon turned at the bloodcurdling racket.

"Children, it's time for you to go to school. Lurch, their lunches are ready?"

The butler rose from his chair and headed out, while the children took their leave from their parents. Wednesday, at the last moment did a very slight curtsy towards Illya before sliding out of the room.

"I see your legendary charm is working."

They continued breakfast, Lurch returning to clear as they finished. Napoleon and Illya kept an eye on each other as they judged the situation. Gomez broke in.

"Let me give you the tour since you'll be our guests for awhile. Either of you golf?" He didn't wait for an answer, striding from the conservatory. As they followed down the hall Napoleon noticed the cuckoo clock. Instead of pine cones, the weights were carved as skulls. Illya gave no reaction.

The tour was quite extensive. After the second score of oil portraits, Napoleon observed Illya more than the decorations. There was more than a glint of rapture as the good soviet looked at the trappings of medieval power. Gomez was more than happy to answer questions about his collection. The more abstruse the better.

"Mr. Kuryakin, you are a connoisseur." He glanced at Napoleon. "Perhaps we should talk over some cognac and cigars?" He opened the door behind him. "Just my study, but comfortable enough. Keeps me focused." He directed them to large leather chairs, and poured three snifters. He sat after bringing the two to his guests, flipping open a humidor. "Just what were you doing parked across the way?"

Napoleon thought the passing way it was said the most disturbing thing he'd ever heard, as if it was an inquiry about a tennis game.

"Keeping surveillance on this house." Illya sipped from his cognac.

"An honest man too." He looked at Napoleon again. "I see you're enjoying this part of the tour more. Nice vintage, no?" Gomez settled back into his chair, the silence joining them as a fourth member of their party.

The next part of the tour was more brisk, not withstanding Illya's longing glances at various pieces of ancient treasure. Napoleon filled in the conversational ground his partner had ceded. His little pleasantries were peppered with occasional tests.

"Here's Farouk." Gomez halted in front of a huge mounted fish with a gray flannel suit covered leg jutting from its mouth. "Splendid trophy. He loved deep sea fishing."

"Seems to have been mutual." Illya glanced around the room, his eye returning to the bearskin rug. He shook his head and turned from it.

Napoleon looked at the bearskin rug closer. Was it breathing? He looked at the trophy one last time as they left the room. He shivered.

"And I've saved the best for last!" Gomez threw a switch, raising the gaslight in the dungeon. "Chez nous est chez vous." After a few moments he left.

Napoleon looked at the closed door. "Is it just me or is this affair getting to an even odder start than normal?" He noticed that Illya wasn't paying him any mind, but instead was inspecting the various equipment in the room. He nodded to the corner. "There are some that would say that's the right woman for you."

Illya shut the iron maiden with a resonate clang, and gave Napoleon a killing glare. He crossed over to the bed of nails and lay down. "You may join me."

"You're enjoying this!" In frustration he plopped down in a large chair with entirely too many straps and hoops attached. He just breathed for a moment. Unhinging them was clearly the goal of this unusual captivity, and Illya was just playing along. He was good at unnerving captors. "How would you rank the accommodations?"

"I reserve comment least the service be influenced."

Napoleon watched his partner for several minutes, finally deciding that if Illya wanted to sleep on his thorny bed, someone should investigate their situation. He paced the room, something off teasing him in the corner of his mind. He looked from the chair, to the chains on the walls, to the maiden, to the rack and to the bed of nails. "Illya, why would a dungeon have a bed of nails?"

"You noticed that as well?"

Napoleon looked at everything again. "A playroom?"

"I might have expected you to phrase it that way. There's probably a medicine ball in a corner somewhere." He grunted a bit as it landed on him. "As I said." He threw it back.

Napoleon turned and caught the ball in front of his face. "Then why put us in here?"

Illya started to speak, and stopped, instead rising from the bed of nails. He marched up the stairs to the heavy door and pushed it open. He bowed with a sweeping arm movement.

Napoleon jogged up the stairs.

There were of course three possibilities. Firstly, that they were being lulled into a false sense of security by a very strange THRUSH nest, taking an odd notion to the gilded cage. Secondly, they were completely in the wrong place and the dynamite was a normal sort of purchase for a house of such inclinations. Thirdly, there were THRUSH nearby, taking cover in plain site.

None was especially more plausible than the others, and both had learned the merely plausible paled in the face of the bizarre actualities their profession exposed.

"You have a plan." Napoleon followed Illya, neither worrying about stealth. Either they were guests, or it would be useful to let THRUSH think they believed they were guests. Either way, it was a change from believing they were prisoners.

"No."

Napoleon pretended nonchalance.

"One can not plan for the unexpected, only be prepared."

"We've corrupted you with the Boy Scouts."

They continued down unknown halls. The agents found themselves in a large ballroom, festooned with dustcovers and dark. A harpsichord accompanied Gomez and Morticia waltzing with abandon. They could have been dancing in flames, or in a crowded room flooded with light and laughter. They saw only the other.

The music continued, spilling forth in a classical rapture. Illya nodded slightly to the corner where Lurch was at the keyboard, not looking at the sheet music obscured by the dark. Conscious an attack could come from any quarter, he enjoyed the music as fully as if he was in a concert hall. He'd stood for less.

Napoleon glanced from the couple to his partner. They were possessed by a passion hotter, colder, deeper than was seen but once in a lifetime. It was awesome and terrible. Illya had the oddest expression. He settled in to wait.

The music ended with Morticia draped on the floor, hand tight in Gomez's. "You found the dungeon complete?" He snapped Morticia up effortlessly. "Lurch can find anything you might require. Rats, thorns, anything at all."

"No, you're a very thoughtful host. We considered a walk in the grounds more agreeable." Napoleon glanced at Illya, now back to normal. He was wistful for the lost moment.

"Of course. The bog is really at its best this time of year."

"The mists rising from it, the sound of desolation." Gomez stared deeply into his wife's eyes. "The mausoleums should be creaking."

"We'll give you a tour." Morticia flashed a promise at her husband.

Napoleon grimaced as his shoes sank into the mud. He tried to ignore Waverly's voice in his head. He looked at the even greater desolation, complete with the mentioned graveyard. Not sedate family plots, but a thorough extravagance of statuary, broken and moss-covered. There were sunken marble stones time had weathered nearly blank, free-standing effigious tombs, and the aforementioned mausoleums. They weaved in and out among them, behind their hosts walking arm in arm.

"Gomez, your parents' graves." The earth was fresh turned. "They were torn apart by an angry mob."

The cause surprised him. "My condolences on your recent loss." He noticed the death date read 1955.

"We keep finding bits of them around the grounds." Gomez made love to Morticia, kissing her arm and neck.

Napoleon was stunned silent.

Illya nodded, considering the terrain. There was entirely too much cover, between various obstructions and its rolling layout. Mobs weren't particularly stealthy. THRUSH however could be. He memorized the grounds.

They retired to their room that night, Illya whistling Russian composers and Napoleon trying to make sense of the situation. It was almost better when they thought they were THRUSH prisoners. Perhaps they were and this was all a means to break them. "Illya, you are taking this in stride. I'm a little surprised. After all, doesn't this", he gestured to take in the room and house, "offend your proletarian soul?"

"A fallacy for drugging the proletariat." He finished his security check before continuing. "None of this is capital." Illya stretched out on the bed.

"Is that so?" Napoleon replaced his gun under the pillow, removing his shoes. They rarely discussed politics; never if one didn't count Illya's barbed bon mots. He was interested in what his partner would say, regardless of whether it was Illya's actual opinion.

"Capital would be factories, farm and timberland, mines..."

"I am a capitalist."

Illya nodded. "Regardless of the past exploitation this all represents, degenerate aristocracy is a mere footnote to a technological society. Unlike their neighbors."

Napoleon smiled. This was pure Illya. "Face it, Illya, you're an unrepentant elitist, tilting at suburban iconoclasts." Napoleon smiled to himself as he undressed, the expression on his partner's face priceless.

Illya opened his eyes, still wrapped around Napoleon. Dark eyes opened, searching for the disturbance. "The howling stopped."

"And I thought something was wrong."

They didn't have a chance to think anything else, as the door flew open, chipping the chest of drawers. Gomez had several pistols tucked into his belt, a sword at each thigh, an elephant gun in his right hand and a blunderbuss in his left. His eyes bulged and his nostrils flared. "We're under attack!" The agents rolled out of either side of the bed. "To the swamp!" He offered Napoleon one of the guns.

"I've got my own." Napoleon distracted their host with the modified Walther. Illya was a bit shy while he collected his arsenal. Their host grinned in a free display of teeth. As they approached the rear of the house, Napoleon heard the shivering of glassware. "Have you seen them?"

Gomez brought them into a room lit only by moonlight. "Not yet. They're below the crypt." Morticia was in the room, dressed in black with a shadow veiling her face. Lurch stood armed in his nightshirt. A chandelier started swinging.

Napoleon stepped aside. He turned to Illya, concerned. The Russian looked grim.

"We've found the dynamite." Illya looked at their host. "What might they be blasting for?"

"The Vault! The filthy dogs, they must be in the Grotto." Gomez stalked, his rage seeking outlet, nearly slavering at the thought of bloodshed.

"Cavern? Under the house?" Illya tried considering what he knew of the area's geology. "How big?"

"The house would barely amount to an island in the waters."

Napoleon interrupted. "How many ways in are there?"

"We can get there from the house." Gomez strode off, Morticia gliding after him.

Illya and Napoleon followed, only to belatedly look at each other.

"We're assuming THRUSH is the attacking force." Napoleon pointed out.

"It's not rats." Illya retorted. "Who knows how much of the surface will fall in."

Napoleon swallowed at that, reading his partner's eyes.

Gomez waved from an open bookshelf. "Come on!"

Lurch hemmed them into the very small hiding hole. They barely noticed the chains hanging from the ceiling before they were falling.

Morticia clung to Gomez smiling, the long slide like a high velocity Tunnel of Love. Behind them the agents were more put out, wind whistling in their ears as they tried not to spill over the chute's sides.

Gomez stepped from the ramp smoothly, escorting his bride by one hand. Her other hand languidly held a crossbow. The agents stumbled from the end, just avoiding sprawling at the bottom.

Napoleon looked at the Grotto wide-eyed. The lagoon was large enough to hide a galleon, not that there was wind for sailing. The ceiling was nearly lost in the darkness high above them. Even if it was under most of the cemetery, it spread under another half a dozen houses beside the Addams' mansion.

Another charge went off and a splash threw water into Napoleon's face. He looked up at the smaller debris still falling. "Illya?"

"Stalactite." He prowled forward.

Napoleon wished he had more between him and the subterranean cool besides a suit of pajamas. He looked up at the ceiling warily and then again in front of him. Soon they reached a gondola and their host handed Morticia in. He covered while Illya boarded and got in himself. Lurch settled in the sternmost seat. Gomez stood propelling the gondola, complete with large hat. They quickly slipped across the water, where they got out in reverse order.

They kept moving in the near dark until they reached a door straight out of a bank robbery movie. He caught his partner's glance. He didn't like this either. THRUSH should be at the door blasting. Speaking of, it was too quiet.

Before he could stop the man, Gomez was spinning the vault dial and wrenching the door noisily open. Inside was startlingly bright after wandering in the outer gloom. It looked more like a particularly shabby club lounge than something THRUSH would be breaking into. He turned at a faint sliding noise.

He blinked. Ali Baba's cave had nothing on the room he was looking into. There were chests heaped with gold, split bags rotting away from piles of gold, gold in coins, jewelry, and small ingots. Nor was everything that glinted gold, as large gems sparkled as well. THRUSH could contract immense mischief with such wealth.

The door closed as quickly as it had opened. Just when he thought THRUSH at least hadn't gotten at the treasure, part of the wall fell in and they were overwhelmed by thugs entering the vault.

Napoleon and Illya were chained with their hands above their hands. Napoleon's feet barely touched the ground while Illya was actually suspended. Lurch had been secured in a sturdy chair and Gomez in a gibbet cage which was swinging disturbingly. Morticia was secured on the end of a long boom lifted above the murky water.

"Now, this is very simple. You tell us how to get at the gold, and we don't torture your wife."

Napoleon looked up at the chains. Under normal circumstances he'd expect Illya to have them out of this in a few minutes. He'd have to see to UNCLE pajamas coming with lockpicks.

Gomez stilled. "Proceed." He made an aside to Napoleon. "She's very good at the dunking stool."

Napoleon looked up at their host and then at their hostess. She was submerged in the water for a minute and lifted back out. THRUSH repeated the procedure, waited for an answer and continued to dunk Morticia. Gomez's 'Splendids' and other praises to his wife seemed to unnerve them. The time she was underwater increased and her moments lifted in the air decreased. Napoleon took advantage of his tiptoe contact with the ground and swung his partner to face the lagoon.

"Impressive. I think she's wearing them out."

Napoleon looked over his shoulder. "We don't want them too frustrated. They'll start blasting again and won't have a reason not to kill them."

"They're worried about the cave collapsing. That much fill will flood the cavern and their escape route."

"Speaking of escape routes." Napoleon fell silent as he felt the scratching at his manacle.

Illya felt the fingers brush against him and he pulled himself up slightly by his own chains. It was dark enough they wouldn't notice he was free until they stepped too close. One and then the other metal cuff opened. He glanced at his partner surreptitiously rubbing his wrists while keeping his hands over his head. He looked up at the tapping against his hand.

The disembodied hand had a thumb hooked through a link and had a throwing knife between its fingers. Illya quickly took it. He pointedly ignored the slight thrum in the chains.

The THRUSH goons were worn from the strain of repeatedly dunking Morticia, who was as fresh as a lily wreath on a fog wrapped grave. Finally they wrested her off the instrument of torture and locked her into stocks. The THRUSH men pulled off to one side, a few keeping an eye out while they smoked.

Napoleon wondered just where Illya had hidden the lockpick. He supposed his partner had reason for even his pajamas to be rigged. Even unarmed and outnumbered they'd be a match for the goons, if it weren't for the captured- 'innocents' seemed the wrong word- Addamses. There were times Illya's blond hair was a disadvantage. He stuck his hands back into the manacles, letting his hands cover the gap. He moved in front of his partner, swinging him behind. "Lur--"

The directive died on his lips. A hand was working the locks and straps holding the giant down. Just a hand. Nothing past the wrist. Moving. Illusion. Camouflage. Toxin. He was a spy, and he was confident that he wasn't imagining that the butler was free, despite the circumstances his eyes were showing. He disliked that Morticia was still a bound target; Gomez didn't seem concerned for himself, so Napoleon would discount him for the moment also.

Illya appraised the situation. Now that Lurch was free, getting to the other side of Morticia and possibly to their weapons was the first goal. He ducked down under Napoleon's cover and quickly rubbed the dusty soil into his hair. He flitted across the open ground.

Napoleon watched his partner from the corner of his eye, pretending deep interest at an unrelated point. The cavern was gloomy even three feet from the scattered light sources. He waited until Illya was in position, Walthers back in hand, and then for the THRUSH to all be looking the wrong way. He sprinted from the chains.

Chaos erupted. THRUSH fired wildly into the dark, Napoleon took a few down with judo until Illya tossed him his Walther. The post of Morticia's stocks was weak and broke against the hard THRUSH head thrown into it. She swept two of them off their feet. Gomez's cage swung wildly, getting even him into the fight. THRUSH pulled back, popping up for the wild shot.

Napoleon was about to order someone upstairs to put in a call to Mr. Waverly, when four new THRUSHes showed. Wednesday and Pugsley were with them, struggling and foot stomping. Quickly Napoleon and Illya were disarmed, this time Illya being pushed into the seat Lurch had vacated. Napoleon they put into leg irons and chained closer to hand.

"Now, we have all the cards. I want the treasure, or the kids suffer."

"Torture?" Pugsley looked up, entirely too gleeful at the proposition.

"You will not break us. We are Addams."

Napoleon shivered at her cold imperious tone. It was the same Siberian draft Illya channeled; she could have said 'We are Russia' like a 400 year old empress as easily. He looked around while THRUSH figured out how to secure their newest captives. Gomez was smiling like a madman. Like a proud madman. Napoleon looked away. Morticia looked like a lioness. Or a ringside boxing coach.

"There are thumbscrews in my room." Wednesday was positively perky as they were strapped to a bench with three arms.

"I have a car battery." Pugsley looked to his father.

"Where is your tray of knives and hooks?" Wednesday looked down her nose at the THRUSH goon looming above her.

"Hot pokers and pinchers. We have coals in the cellar. Braziers and oil, brands and grills." His pudgy legs swung as he inventoried options.

"There is the rack. Pugsley is too short for it. Stone press." She looked around and then back to her mother. "I see the dunking stool has already been used. There is still the lash."

Napoleon was horrified at the helpful suggestions. Then he noticed so were the goons. Apparently their willingness to torture children didn't include being kibitzed. Their chief was sweating and nearly shouting his orders. He glanced at his partner, and back at Gomez. Lurch had also been chained, in his case to a ring in the cave wall. A rusty ring in a porous wall.

He turned at snapping. The disembodied hand was snapping amidst the THRUSH goons. Then it was around the leader's throat. Gomez literally swung into action from his burst cage complete with rapier, while Lurch ripped from the wall. He pulled Napoleon's ring from the ground on the way to the children. Illya had gotten one arm free and was throwing knives into the fight. Napoleon tripped a few goons escaping on his way to his partner.

BOOM! Gravel and dust fell as the ground shook. Napoleon looked at the THRUSH strewn about. Several of them were definitely dead, with their heads at unnatural angles. He tensed for reinforcements.

Fester came out of the tunnel, his pallor flash darkened. "They won't get out that way."

"Fester, old boy! You missed a beautiful battle." He walked over broken bodies, and unlatched the stock from Morticia pulling her up and to him. "You were beautiful, Querida Regina.

"Stop laying down on the job." Illya unlocked Napoleon's chains, now free of his chair. Napoleon looked at Wednesday and Pugsley checking the pockets of the dead. The few living THRUSH were huddled together, being 'watched' by the bodiless hand and Lurch. Napoleon could only stare.

"Thing, Mr. Solo. Mr. Solo, Thing." Morticia resumed her fond reacquaintance with her husband.

"You really can't stay for the ball? You were such a help, it's a shame for you not to meet the rest of the family. Grandmama is cooking up a celebratory feast."

Napoleon shivered, his Latin up to translating their armorial motto. 'We gorge on those who would subdue us.' "Duty calls. We have to take the prisoners to our boss." The THRUSH men had been pleading for hours not to be left alone with the Addams family members. Which was why Napoleon was acting like a dogwalker, holding their leads.

Gomez patted his wife's hand. "They've obligations. However, you will come back and visit. Once you spill blood with Addams, you're family."

Napoleon schooled his face not to drop at that. Instead he turned to look at his partner. Wednesday had managed to secure a boon from Illya, who was reading her bedtime selection, Baba Yaga, in the original Russian.

He smiled when the girl insisted Illya kiss her doll, only to frown when the headless Marie Antoinette was offered. He pulled his feathered tail behind him and headed down the stairs. His partner was quickly at his side, looking cool. "Afraid for your virtue?" His partner's nonresponse was answer enough.

Morticia, Gomez, Lurch and Fester all stood by the door as they came down. The goons shook, afraid they'd be left behind at the last moment.

"Since you must go, I want you to have these tokens of esteem."

"We really can't--"

"Mr. Waverly gave his permission."

Napoleon looked at Gomez, who had spoken to his boss briefly. The old man had said that they should treat the Addams' as allies. He put on his best smile. "Then we accept them with full thanks."

Illya opened the boxes for both of them. The first was a cobwebby bottle, which he pulled out.

"Napoleonic brandy." He smiled at his hosts, staggered at the generosity.

The second box Illya didn't lift out the contents, just staring into the small box. Napoleon looked in, startled at the small gem encrusted egg.

The end.