Another day another Thrush disaster thought Napoleon. This time they had managed to wind up in an old Castle in Ukraine chasing after the batty Count Zark. Napoleon sighed as he checked the corridor for little Thrush creatures. When he saw it was clear he nodded to Illya who took his queue and swung in front of him. The door was unguarded, which wasn’t a surprise. Count Zark had underestimated UNCLEs’ ability to find this particular laboratory.
Illya kicked the door breaking the lock open in the process. The room behind it was dark, covered in cobwebs with an unpleasant damp smell. Illya pulled out his torch and cautiously made his way into the gloom closely followed by Napoleon. They had just made it past the door when it swung shut, a heavy metal bar falling into place behind it. Suddenly there were huge white florescent lamps shining into their eyes. For a moment they were blinded, both held their guns, ready to shoot. Count Zark’s voice crept out of the darkness.
“I think, my friends that you have underestimated me.” They could just make out the shadow of Count Zark’s looming form. Zark aimed what appeared to be a gun at his own head. Napoleon jumped on Zark, to try to prise the gun from his hands. Now was not the time for Zark to die, he knew things, things that could save peoples lives. Napoleon felt the gun vibrate in his hands, he’d almost managed to prise it from Zark, but now it was pointed at him. Illya had gotten behind Zark and pulled him back, away from Napoleon. The gun went off…
Illya looked at the space Napoleon had occupied. There was nothing, no blood, no sign of Napoleon at all. Illya tightened his already tight grip on Zark's neck.
“Where is my friend?” He growled. Zark laughed, his laughter slowly turning to sobs.
Napoleon stood stunned, clutching his chest. He looked down at his hands and realised there was no blood, he was alive. He was certain Zark had been stood directly in front of him when he’d heard the bang, but he’d closed his eyes for a split second. Now Zark was gone, and so was Illya. Napoleon’s brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of it.
The room looked different. A layer of dust covered what little furniture there was. He pulled out his pocket flash light and looked around. The florescent lamps were gone. I must have been knocked out thought Napoleon, rubbing his temples. He walked over to the door and tried the handle. It swung open with little effort.
The hallway he had come through not 10 minutes ago looked like it had aged 50 years. There were holes in the wall and large chunks of mortar were falling off.
Napoleon walked down the corridor to a window and gazed out. Everything was derelict, the garden that had been pristine with manicured lawns was now overgrown and covered in a film of grime. In the distance he could see great plumes of smoke, billowing above what looked like houses. It was deathly quiet unlike any silence he had ever known. Behind him something shuffled through the debris, he turned to see a blur running into the next room. Quickly he chased after it catching up to and grabbing it.
‘Ahhhh.’ Squealed the blur. Napoleon looked down and into the bright blue eyes of a very little blond boy. Napoleon smiled, the little boy smiled back, then bit him.
Illya looked at Zark in the hospital bed, he was completely comatose. Mr Waverly put his hand on Illya’s shoulder.
“I don’t believe Count Zark will be able to speak to us for some time Mr Kuryakin.” Illya ran his fingers through his hair.
“Yes Sir. Would you like me to return to New York headquarters?” He asked. Mr Waverly frowned.
“No, no Mr Kuryakin. We’ve sent that umm, ‘ray gun’ to a local facility and I would like you to stay and take a look at it for us.” Illya sighed.
“Oh, and Mr Kuryakin.” Illya turned and looked into the old knowing eyes of Mr Waverly. “Don’t loose hope for Mr Solo. He’s pulled himself out of worse situations than this.” Illya somehow doubted that this time.
“Why you little….” Napoleon had the boy by his earlobe. The bite had drawn blood. The boy tried to pull away, and Napoleon struggled to keep his grip.
“Hang on a second.” Napoleon let go of his ear and turned the boy to face him. “Do you speak any English?”
“Little.” Said the boy. “Hurt me.”
“I’m sorry.” Said Napoleon. The little boy seemed reasonably happy with the apology.
“Who you?” Asked the boy. Napoleon smiled warmly.
“I am Napoleon Solo of the U-N-C-L-E.” He replied.
“Bad man?” Asked the boy accusingly. Napoleon almost giggled.
“Well I like to think not.” The boy seemed to relax. “Could you tell me where I am please?”
“Oleko.” The boy looked around. “Ukraine.” Napoleon sat on the floor.
“Olesko, right where I’m supposed to be. But it doesn’t make sense.” The boy sat on the floor in front of him. Napoleon studied the child he was clean, with reasonably good condition if not slightly old fashioned clothes. “Where are your parents?” The boy sniffed.
“Bad men take mother and Anna. We visit Baba.” Napoleon frowned.
“What are you doing here?” Asked Napoleon. The boy puffed out his chest.
“I get them, help.” The boy smiled.
“Well I think you might need a lookout, and I find myself at a loose end for the moment. Would you like some company?” The little boy nodded and reached out to shake Napoleons hand.
“I am Illya Nicovich Kuryakin.”
Napoleon sat for a while unable to move, his brain trying to make connections, eventually it short circuited. He wished he had a couple of aspirin or a large bottle of Kentucky bourbon. Illya watched thoughtfully for a moment, before growing impatient.
“Mus you be so slow?” The statement shook Napoleon out of his stupor. That was definitely Illya. Obviously the gun pointed at him had some sort of new hypnotic ray Napoleon thought to himself. It had conditioned him into thinking his partner was a 5 year old. The only problem with that theory that it didn’t make any sense.
Napoleon hoisted little Illya onto his shoulders, and Illya let out a delighted little squeal. Grown up Illya probably would have knocked him out. They walked down the overgrown dirt road from the castle toward what sounded like some sort of work camp. Napoleon put Illya on the ground and they crept behind a rock to get a closer view.
“Bad mans.” Whispered Illya, pointing at a soldier pacing nearby. Napoleon recognised the uniform and pulled Illya close to him.
“Mamma and Anna in dere.” Illya pointed at a tent toward the centre of the camp.
“Illya, do you know what year it is?” Illya had to think for a moment.
“One, nine, free, nine.” The situation was making more sense now. It was doubtful Thrush could create a scenario this elaborate just to trick him. The ray gun must have been some sort of time/matter displacer.
Illya was almost shaking with excitement. Holding his communicator close to his lips he called in to HQ. Mr Waverly answered.
“Mr Waverly.” He said, barely containing his excitement. “It’s a time/matter displacer.”
“Pardon?” Mr Waverly replied.
“Basically the ray the gun emits a field which vibrates atoms in a continuous motion in such a way that the space/time continuum is forced to retract and release enabling the atoms to be displaced in time, but remaining in the same general facility.”
“Uhm… Mr Kuryakin could you please repeat that in plain English.”
“It’s a time machine Sir.”
“I see. So there is a possibility Mr Solo is still alive.”
“He is Sir, and I know exactly where he is.”
“Good Mr Kuryakin.”
“There’s just one problem Sir. I don’t know how to use it.”
Napoleon managed to convince Illya that they should return to the Castle and rest until morning before attempting a rescue. Illya’s stomach was rumbling and Napoleon didn’t know when he last ate. Little Illya was nothing but skin and bones. Together they’d searched the Kitchen for food and found nothing. So they’d ventured outside in search for vegetables and found some nettles and old beets.
The tap in kitchen was still running clean so Napoleon washed the nettles and beets. Illya sat on a tall stool watching him, his eyes closing every so often before he jerked himself awake.
“Do you like Borscht Illya?” Napoleon asked knowing Illya loved Borscht of any description. Illya nodded enthusiastically as he watched Napoleon carefully slice the raw beets into small cubes.
“I’m not promising this will be any good, but it has to be better than an empty stomach.” He smiled. “After dinner I have something nice for you too.” He patted the emergency Twinkie he kept in his pocket. Little Illya raised an eyebrow.
Illya felt something wet on his hand. He opened his eyes and realised he’d fallen asleep on the wooden lab bench and drooled on himself.
“Urgggg..” He rubbed his head, it really was hurting. For 24 hours straight he had been trying to work out how to use the displacer and it had ended up going nowhere. Napoleon needed his help and he couldn’t do anything. The bench rocked as he punched it. His knuckles started too drip on the table as he picked up the displacer. At least his head seemed to be less painful now. The black jacket by the door flew into the air as he grabbed it. It was time to go and see Zark again, and Zark was going to speak to him.
“Burrpppp.” Little Illya wiped his face on his sleeve. “Good.” Napoleon poured what was left in his bowl into Illya’s.
“There you go kiddo, you can finish mine.” Illya grinned from ear to ear. Napoleon felt an ache in the pit of his stomach, he had never seen Illya so happy, and all because of a bowl of badly made soup. He would have liked to scoop Illya up in his arms and run away with him if he hadn’t known better.
“Oooff.” Said Illya putting down the heavy bowl. Illya had a big purple smile from where he’s drunk from the bowl. “Mmmm.. Why laff?” Napoleon pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket.
“You have a beetroot smile.” Illya pushed Napoleons hands away as he tried to wipe it away.
“You fuss like mamma.” Napoleon pulled out the mirror he kept for his hair and turned it toward Illya who let out the most beautiful chuckle. “Look like mamma!” Again Napoleon tried to wipe his mouth, but Illya jumped up and dashed across the room. Napoleon chased after him grinning.
“I’m gonna catch you!” Illya laughed, and dashed around him.
Illya pressed his hands onto the window looking into Count Zark’s room. The scans that the doctors had completed had showed zero brain function. He was a vegetable, and unless there was a response in the next 24 hours the life support machine he was attached to would be turned off.
It felt like he was in a maze whichever way he turned there seemed to be a dead end. Perhaps there was something obvious he’d overlooked. He sat on a plastic chair by overlooking the room. Count Zark’s machines beeped in a steady rhythm as he looked down at his loafers. He’d heard that some illegal drugs could bring people out of a coma, but that was just rumour. But what if it killed Count Zark?
That decision was about to be taken out of his hands. As he looked up he saw the medical staff rushing into the room. The alarm on Count Zark’s heart monitor was sounding. Illya pushed past a nurse to get to the paling figure on the bed. Zark was conscious but fading fast, he held out his hand to Illya. For Napoleon, he thought as he took the cold clammy hand in his own.
‘Sobieski’ Moaned Zark, and then he was gone.
The doctors and nurses pushed Illya out of the way as they wheeled the defribulater in. Illya walked slowly out of the room standing out of the way on the other side of the window. The medical staff tried to resuscitate, but it was useless, Count Zark was gone.
30 minutes later Illya still stood looking into the empty room. They had moved the body, and now there were clean, crisp, white sheets on the bed, ready for the next patient. Zark was gone and he had taken Illya’s hope with him.
Napoleon sat in the corner of the room a bundle of 5 year old sound asleep on his lap. Illya had devoured the Twinkie, climbed into Napoleons lap, given him a sticky kiss and fallen asleep. Napoleon carefully took his jacket off and wrapped it around the sleeping babe. Illya was a sweet little child, and it tickled Napoleon to think of how he was going to tease him when he got back. He hadn’t been at all surprised that little Illya was quite so loving, as a grown man he was guarded and secretive. Through their friendship Napoleon had occasionally seen the sweeter side. Thoughts of his friend and the times they had shared drifted through his mind. Tiredness overtook him and he found himself falling asleep.
Napoleon awoke to sound of men shouting.
“Hey there’s someone in here!” Two soldiers were standing in the doorway. Illya jumped up and tried to run past them but the larger of the two grabbed him roughly by the arm. Illya screamed as the soldier wrenched his arm. Napoleon stood up.
“Let him go.” He said calmly. The soldier pointed a gun at him. “I said, let him go.” The soldier laughed.
“Take the boy into the other room. Have your fun.” Napoleon felt sick to his stomach as Illya was dragged kicking and screaming out of his sight.
“I see you are American my friend.” Napoleon scowled at him.
“I am not your friend.” Napoleon replied.
Illya trembled as the large solider bent him over a chair and tied him down. The soldier undid his leather belt and pulled it out of the loops of his trousers, he cracked the leather.
“Children should learn to obey their elders.” The soldier stated as he pulled Illya’s little shirt up. Illya struggled trying to loosen the ropes, he hated it when mamma slapped the back of his legs, and he knew this was going to be much worse. Tears were pouring down his cheeks and his eyes stung, he fought them back, he was a big boy.
There was a loud crack from the other room, and the soldier laughed.
“Sounds like your father is dead little boy.” Illya turned to look at the soldier, he was poised to hit him with the belt. Illya closed his eyes and braced himself as best he could against the chair.
Illya screamed as loud as he could and waited for the impact of the belt. It didn’t come, instead he heard the sound of the soldier sliding to the floor. He opened his eyes, Napoleon stood at the open door, his special in his hand.
“Poleon!” Napoleon gave him a big smile and ran over to untie him. As soon as the ropes were undone Napoleon had an armful of scared Illya. He patted his hair and brushed away the tears.
“There, there. Everything’s ok now.” Illya snuggled into his neck. “Right kiddo, we’re going to have to find somewhere else for you to hide. Those guards are going to wake up in a couple of hours, so we’d better go save your Mom and Anna.” Illya looked confused.
“Bad men not dead?” Napoleon looked into Illya’s eyes.
“Nope they’re just asleep. Good guys don’t hurt people unless there’s no other way.” Illya nodded in agreement.
“We are good peoples.” He replied.
The Library was silent as Illya searched through the reference books. What Zark had said struck a cord with him. He’d heard something about ‘Sobieski’ and couldn’t place it. After hours of searching he found it in a book about Polish royalty. The famous Polish king Jan III Sobieski. After a deeper look into his background Illya discovered he had been born in Olesko Castle.
So he would return to the Castle, but where to start. An earthquake in 1838 partly destroyed the castle. Two wars had destroyed the original castle and a few years ago it had been struck by lightening. He put down the book nodded solemnly to the lady librarian and walked to his car. He would save his friend if he had to take the castle apart brick by brick. The communicator trilled in his pocket, he ignored it. Afraid that it was Mr Waverly ordering him back to New York. Scared and lonely he got into his car ready for the long drive back to Olesko Castle.
Napoleon had found an outhouse for Illya to stay in. But the little boy had refused to stay on his own. So they’d sneaked up to the camp and watched the comings and goings of the soldiers. Illya’s mother and Anna (who turned out to be Illya’s baby sister) were let out of their tent for some air. Napoleon put his hand over Illya mouth as he tried to cry for his mother.
“Shush.” He whispered. “We have to stay hidden or we won’t be able to free them”. Illya grunted and stayed silent. The smaller of the soldiers returned to the camp a little worse for wear. Illya’s stomach started to grumble loudly. The soldier looked in their direction for a moment and carried on to the camp. Napoleon looked down at Illya.
“Sorry.” Said Illya embarrassed. Napoleon ruffled his hair.
“Don’t worry kiddo, it’s not your fault.” He’d have to do something about hungry Illya and soon, but first they had to sneak into camp and save his family.
Hours passed, Napoleon watched as Illya’s mother and sister were fed and returned to the tent. Illya’s mother was stunning, naturally white blonde with piercing eyes. The woman had an air of grace and a stubborn steak like her son. The soldiers had tried to make her return to her tent before Anna had been fed. She’d steadfastly refused, and been given a backhander for her trouble. Fortunately one of the soldiers had intervened and had allowed her to feed the baby. Napoleon admired her strong will.
Finally they were able to sneak up to the back of the tent. Napoleon had seen a guard disappear into the tent earlier but was in no doubt that he could handle him. He wriggled under the small flap, followed by Illya. The first thing he saw was the small soldier he had met earlier with Anna in his arms.
Zark's lab was a mess the florescent lights that had blinded him earlier lay smashed on the floor. Illya had lost his temper. His head throbbed and he sat down on the floor avoiding the glass. He felt stupid, why couldn’t he make any sense of it. Maybe Count Zark had just wanted to torture him, he thought as he kicked the leg of the lab table. It collapsed spilling its contents onto the floor. Illya grunted in pain as large bottle of distilled water fell on his hand. Then he saw it. Taped to the underside of the table was a book. Hurriedly he ripped it off the table. The life and times of King Jan III Sobieski. He nervously opened the cover. It was the instruction manual for the Viseda Displacer. He laughed hysterically tears filling his eyes.
Napoleon held Illya back as he struggled to get to his sister. The soldier smiled.
“What took you so long Napoleon?”
“I could say the same thing torvarish.” Little Illya stared confused at the soldier, and then back at Napoleon. Why was Napoleon being nice to the bad man, he thought to himself. Illya’s mother awoke at the sound and turned to face him, she held her arms out.
“Illysha!” Illya was bundled up into his mothers arms, and squeezed within an inch of his life.
“And whos identity have you stolen today?” Napoleon inquired, seating himself next to his partner.
“Today I am Bernhard Shuhardt, and for dhe sake of confusion I suggest you refer to me as such.”
“How did you manage that?”
“I arrived a few days ago. A chance encounter with a group of soldiers that were to replace the men here.” Illya/Bernhard looked down at his sister in his arms. “I never get a hug now she is grown up. She tells me I am doo sentimental and should toughen up.” He laughed. “She is beautiful is she not?” Napoleon gazed down at the baby in his partners arms. She was perfect, a miniature version of her brother.
“She is indeed.” He placed his hand gently on the other mans shoulder.
Little Illya looked exceedingly annoyed, he propped himself up on his mothers lap.
“Bad man.” He pointed at his grown up self. Illya’s mother softly took his hand.
“No darling, he is a good man. Dhe best man.” She smiled proudly at Bernhard. “He will never hurt us or your friend.” Illya/Bernhard melted at his mothers warm words. He had told her who he was she held his face looked into his eyes, brushed away a stray hair from his forehead and believed.
Little Illya looked a little perplexed but accepted his mothers words, with a little nod.
“So Ill.. Bernhard how are we going to get out of this? I mean you know how this goes.” Illya/Bernhard looked at his feet.
“Yes I do.” Napoleon could sense something was wrong.
“Bernhard, what is it?”
“Nothing.” He snapped in reply. “You should leave the way you came in. There is a vehicle at the bottom of the hill, drive to Kiev my grandmother will be waiting. Take this.” He handed Napoleon the displacer. “I will follow later.”
“Illya.” Napoleon growled, both of them looked at him.
“Take Anna. I am trusting you to take care of her. Promise me you will do dis. Dhat you will get her to safety before all else.” Napoleon nodded.
“I promise.” Illya handed the sleeping babe to his best friend.
Illya/Bernhard distracted the guards as they exited the tent. They ran down the steep hill carrying the children. As they all settled into the truck Napoleon looked back to the hill for signs of Illya. The sound of gunfire echoed, and Illya finally appeared running at the top of the hill. The other soldiers were chasing him. Illya made it half way down the hill when there was a shot, his body jerked. Napoleon couldn’t see Illya’s face as he rolled down the hill lifeless. Illya’s mother screamed and tried to get out of the truck. Napoleon reached over, pulling the door closed.
“We must go.” He put his foot down, there wasn’t enough time to go back and he’d made a promise. Sounds of Illya’s mother sobbing filled his ears as she held the little ones close to her. Guilt ran through his veins like poison, his body trembling as he tried to drive.
They’d driven for hours and tried to lighten the mood by singing songs. At first they’d started singing traditional Russian folk songs, but Napoleon found he couldn’t remember the words. The only song he could remember, the song that was playing the first time he saw Illya out of the office at a club. He’d been dancing with Cindy from the typing pool, and spotted Illya dancing with Marion Raven out of the corner of his eye. He had always thought Illya was a particularly beautiful man, almost feminine. Plump lips that just had to be kissed, soft skin that longed to be touched… Napoleon sighed and started to sing quietly.
“You’ll never know how much I really love you, you’ll never know how much I really care. Listen, do you want to know a secret, do you promise not to tell. Closer, let me whisper in your ear, say the words you long to hear. I’m in love with you.” Illya’s mother touched his arm in sympathy. Little Illya wriggled by her side.
“Like, more peas.” For the first time since they’d left the camp Napoleon found himself smiling.
“In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea. And he told us of his life in the land of submarines.” Illya eyes lit up.
They arrived in Kiev and parked outside the large foreboding building Illya’s grandmother lived in.
“We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine.” Illya’s mother sighed he’d been singing the same thing for hours.
“Shush Illysha, you don’t want to wake Baba.” He rubbed his eyes. Illya had managed to stay awake for the entire ride, over excited at the prospect of seeing his grandmother. They climbed the stairs to the apartment, surprised that when they arrived that the door was open and Illya’s grandmother was waiting.
“Where have you been?” She asked with a perfect English accent.
“Oh Grandma there has been such trouble.” Illya's mother replied, as the group was hurried into the small apartment.
Twenty minutes later little Illya was asleep in his grandmothers lap. Mrs Malin, Illya’s great grandmother turned out to be English. Napoleon suddenly understood why Illya had such a strange accent. Mrs Malin had the air of and old school mistress, her apartment was well organised. Napoleon felt like a naughty schoolboy as she bristled around him, and suggested he wash his hands. Mrs Malin fed them with lavish portions of a hearty vegetable soup and bread, and they sat sated.
“Why did they stop you and the children in the first place?” Illya’s mother shrugged.
“Dey must know about Nicovich. He told me dhat something bad might happen with dhe Nazi party and dat I would be safer if I came here with dhe children.” She reached out for her grandmothers hand. “He was so afraid, I could see it in his eyes grandma." She shuddered. “And Illya… my baby.” Mrs Malin patted Illya’s head.
“He seems perfectly fine to me darling. His usually hungry self.” Nothing else was said as they retired to bed. Illya’s mother settled in the large double bed with the children, and Mrs Malin made up the couch for Napoleon.
“Thank you for taking care of my family Mr Solo. They are all I have.” Napoleon felt a pang of guilt, if only she knew he was responsible for the death of her grandson.
Napoleon watched as the sun rose. Diffused light filtered through the thin threadbare curtains. He sighed, he hadn’t slept at all. He had been thinking for hours and finally decided when the others woke up he was going to return to Olesko Castle to find the body of his friend and take him home. There was a quiet knock on the apartment door. The others were still sound asleep. He took his special out and slowly opened the door.
“Illya!” He hugged the man tightly. Illya gave a muffled grunt, and collapsed on him.
Why was someone shaking him, he was sleeping, Illya thought to himself. He cracked one eye open, it was Napoleon.
“Just another 10 minutes.” He murmured. Whatever he had been sleeping on was pretty uncomfortable, and wet by the feel of it. Napoleon continued his harassment until he opened his eyes fully.
“Get up, stay awake for god sake. You’ve been shot.” Illya batted Napoleons hands away.
“M’fine, need to sleep.” He felt his trousers being yanked down and he suddenly felt more awake. “Get off Napoleon!” He yelled trying to yank his trousers back up. Blood was trickling down his leg.
“Illya. We need to see to that.” Illya sighed.
“Can it please wait till Baba wakes up?”
“Why?” Scorned Napoleon. Illya rolled his eyes, he was cold, hungry, tired, and apparently his wound had opened again. Why couldn’t he get some peace, or maybe some food… His mind started to wonder as Napoleon pushed him onto his face on the couch. His trousers were again unceremoniously pulled down.
“I see.” It was hard for Napoleon to keep a straight face. “You got shot in the ass…” Illya mumbled some obscenities into the cushion.
“It hurts Napoleon, and dhat tumble down the hill didn’t help.” Napoleon pulled a clean handkerchief from his pocket and put pressure on the wound, it would have to do until he could find something a little more substantial.
Napoleon sat on the edge of the couch his hand pressed firmly on Illya's right buttock.
“I’m glad you’re alive Illya.”
“Ahh, could you move slightly to the right I need to stretch my leg.” Napoleon got off the couch and slide onto the floor so Illya had more room. He twisted his upper half to keep the pressure on and found that his face was embarrassingly close to Illya’s buttocks.
“Is that better?”
“Mmmm much.” It was at that moment that Mrs Malin chose to walk in.
“What an earth is going on here!”
Napoleons blush lit up the room as he stood and stumbled, falling onto Illya.
“Owe Napoleon.” Illya groaned in pain. For once Napoleon was stuck for words.
“I uh…” Napoleon stuttered. Illya looked up at his grandmother from the sofa.
“Baba?” He sniffed. Mrs Malin looked at him quizzically.
“You look like my darling grandson Illysha.” She pushed Napoleon out of the way. “How can this be?” She smoothed back Illya long blonde hair and he leaned into her hand.
“It’s complicated Baba.” She nodded, allowing him the warmth of her hand.
“Well whoever you are we will help you.” She shot a distasteful look at Napoleon. “If you quite finished fiddling with this young man would you please go to the bathroom cabinet and fetch the first aid kit.” Napoleon moved as quickly as he could. Mrs Malin turned to face Illya she winked, and he grinned back at her.
“You don’t have anything I could eat do you?” Illya asked his grandmother as his stomach rumbled loudly. Her eyes lit up in response.
“You really are Illysha aren’t you!” She kissed his forehead. “I don’t understand this, perhaps I’m still asleep and this is all a dream. It doesn’t matter, I will always take care of you.” Napoleon returned with the first aid kit.
“Ahem, Mrs Malin I would like to apologise for what you just saw. I assure you I was only rendering what little first aid I could.” Mrs Malin looked at Napoleon.
“You have a very strange knowledge of first aid don’t you.” Illya couldn’t hold in the laugh anymore and it hissed out of his sealed mouth. Illya and Mrs Malin both started to laugh hysterically.
“Oh Baba, please stop. You’re winding him up like a pretzel.” He looked at Napoleon as he realised he had been duped. He flopped down into the nearest chair.
Mrs Malin had been a nurse in the Great War, and had seen and attended to many gun shot wounds. She applied a liberal amount of iodine to the wound.
“Ahhhh Baba.” She held Illya down as he jerked up. A sleepy looking baby Illya appeared at the bedroom door. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, stomped over to Napoleon and sat on his knee.
“Good morning.” He gave napoleon a kiss on the lips. Big Illya sunk his head back into the cushion.
“I am never going to live dhat down.” Little Illya looked confused.
“Did I say Dhat wrong Baba?” She shook her head.
“No my angel you said it correctly.” Little Illya smirked at his older self.
“Is it time for food?” He said as he fluttered his eyelashes at his grandmother.
“Where did you get these clothes Baba?” Illya had been cleaned up, and was standing in a suit that was far too big for him.
“They were grandpa Malin's sweetheart.” Replied his grandmother.
“I didn’t realise he was so big Baba.” Baba sat down next to him on the sofa and put her arm around him. Napoleon had been coerced into accompanying little Illya, Anna and his mother to the park, so they were alone.
“I think there is a belt around somewhere, it’ll help to keep the trousers up. Although I don’t think your friend would mind.” Illya blushed beetroot.
“Baba, don’t say such things.” She massaged his shoulder.
“Do you have a girlfriend Illysha?” Illya tutted to himself.
“Dhe job I have does not give me dhe time for a girlfriend.” Mrs Malin gave him a knowing look. “Baba, it’s not an excuse. I know what you are thinking.” She sighed.
“He loves you Illysha. Before you say anything it’s not wrong to love someone, even if you are two men.”
“Baba, he ‘loves’ everything that vill stay still long enough.” She laughed.
“Then maybe you should stop running. Enjoy yourself”
“Baba!” He shrieked shocked that she would know about those things. She kissed him on the cheek, feeling the heat of his red face.
“Now Illysha, you will be leaving soon, and I would like to hear what you’ve been doing since you’ve grown up.” Illya snuggled into his grandmother and told her about all the good things he had done .
Time passed quickly and Napoleon returned carrying little Illya covered in dirt and leaves. Illya was waiting.
“I like your suit.” He smirked.
“At least it’s clean.” Mrs Malin brushed off Illya’s shoulder.
“Would you like something more to eat before you leave?” Napoleon took charge knowing that it would be hard for Illya to refuse.
“I’m sorry Mrs Malin, we must go. Illya will need some anti-biotic's and would probably eat you out of house and home if we stayed.” Mrs Malin sniffed, as Illya mother squeezed her grown up son. He wiped a tear away from her cheek.
“Father will come soon. He will be safe.” She tried to smile, and he held her for a moment more. Little Illya attached himself to Napoleon’s leg refusing to let him go. Napoleon smiled.
“Illysha, you know I’m going to see you again.” Illya smiled up at him. “You know what, we’re going to have a lot more fun too.” Napoleon picked him up throwing him into the air. Little Illya giggle and gave Napoleon a wet kiss.
“Love you Napoli.” Napoleons heat fluttered as he put the little boy down.
After a few more goodbyes and they were ready. They stepped outside the apartment and the door was shut behind them. Napoleon fingered the displacer in his pocket.
“So where should we do this then?” Illya looked thoughtful for a moment.
“I believe the park is still in Kiev in 1965, I suggest we ’do it ‘ dhere.”
They walked down the dark staircase into the street. It was evening now and it was almost black outside. Napoleon kept hold of the bottom of Illya’s jacket, he wasn’t going to loose him now the goalposts were in sight. Illya walked slowly, seemingly lost in contemplation. They came to an abrupt stop.
“I dhink here would be suitable.” Illya said quietly. Napoleon nodded and took the displacer from his pocket. “We need to be touching for us both to return.” Illya started to program the displacer, Napoleon watched in awe, as Illya’s nimble fingers danced over the buttons. After a few moments Illya turned the displacer toward himself.
“Touch me Napoleon.” Napoleon looked at his friend, a warmth growing inside him. Illya hovered his finger over the button. Napoleon placed his hand over Illya’s, and leaned in. He pressed his lips against Illya’s and closed his eyes. There was a loud crack and they were gone.
“How’s the black eye Mr Solo.” Asked Mr Waverly. “Unfortunate business arriving back and hitting your head on a lamppost like that.” Napoleon hissed in pain as he touched his cheek.
“Yes it was wasn’t it.” He looked across at Illya who was very straight faced.
“Well I think gentlemen that this Affair is finished. Your reports are all in order. You may want to take a few days to recuperate.“
“Yes Sir.” They said in unison. Together they exited the office.
“Did you have to hit me quite so hard?” Asked Napoleon annoyed.
“You should warn a man before you do something like that.”
“So if I ask you before hand next time you won’t hit me.”
“Maybe.” Illya answered coyly. “Anyway Napoleon we must hurry or we’ll miss our flight.”
“Uh.. What flight.” Illya tutted.
“To Kiev, we are going to visit Baba, she insisted.”
“She’s alive she must be..”
“92 Napoleon, and as lively as ever.” Napoleon patted Illya on the shoulder.
“Why did you never tell me you had met me before?”
“Would you have believed me?” Napoleon thought for a moment.
“Why don’t you tell me now?” They smiled at each other as they reached reception.
“When I was a little boy in Kiev….”