Author's note: Yes, I know the medallion is really a medical alert for David McCallum's penicillin allergy.


The hot August sun crept above the trees on the horizon, turning all it touched to gold.

It shone on millions of acres of corn and wheat and soybeans, all baked golden by its heat. It shone on empty roads and shimmering air, filled with the heat haze of a Midwestern summer day. The natives would say, when they woke up, "It's going to be hot"; the two men who slept in an upstairs room of one particular tiny motel were fairly convinced it already was hot.

The sun's rays crept in through the window of that motel room, left open in the doubtful hope of a breeze. They gilded the white sheets, deepened the dingy brown of the carpet to a rich mahogany, and even made a valiant attempt at de-uglifying the chartreuse bedspread.

Near the bed, they found a much better target for their attentions: a slim man, clad only in boxer briefs, who lay sprawled on his back across the floor. The sunbeams glanced off the narrow golden chain that trickled across the man's sweat-gleaming chest; they painted his tanned skin a ruddy bronze, and turned his golden hair to a flame.

They did not awaken him, because he had one arm flung over his eyes; the other lay bent, his fist curled around whatever lay at the end of that thin gold chain. They did, however, awaken the man on the narrow twin bed, whose name was Napoleon Solo.

"Mmgpfh," Napoleon grumbled, and pulled his head further under the sheets, trying not to wake up. But the sheets proved much better at keeping heat in than sunlight out, and after a minute or two, he had to admit it was a lost cause.

Sitting up in bed, he looked around the room, noticing his partner on the floor. Darnit, Illya, you didn't have to do that. We could have both fit on the bed... somehow...

The light traced the path of the golden chain down to Illya's fist, catching Napoleon's eye. Huh. I wonder what that thing is, anyway? He always--

At that point, Illya woke up; the sunlight's determined attempt to cook him alive had finally gotten his attention. Unlike Napoleon, he awoke all at once, silently; he might have been asleep right up to the point when he rolled smoothly into the shade and sat up. "Good morning, Napoleon," he said.

"Good morning, sleepyhead," said Napoleon. Waking up before Illya was rare enough that he felt it merited some teasing. Also, the first one to wake up when they shared a room got to shower first, and Napoleon felt very sticky.


By the time Napoleon had showered and shaved, Illya was finishing up his morning stretches. He stood with one foot on the wall above his head, his nose against his knee. "I suppose you took all the cold water again?" he grumbled mildly, turning his head to look at Napoleon.

"It was nowhere remotely near 'cold' anyway," Napoleon replied. "Are you going to shower or complain?"

" Just a minute." Illya stepped back a pace, stretched his arms over his head, and flipped upside down to stand on his hands. "Are you going to spend all day standing around in a towel?" he inquired.


Napoleon finished knotting his tie, checked it in his shaving mirror, then scowled at his suit jacket. He'd have to put the thing on eventually, but the day was insanely hot. Instead, he began packing things up and tidying the room.

A glint of gold on the floor caught his eye. Illya's medallion - it must have fallen off when the Russian did that handstand. He hesitated a moment, torn between respecting his partner's privacy and satisfying his own curiosity.

He could hear cheerful singing over the noise of the shower, some language that wasn't English. What Illya didn't know wouldn't hurt him, he decided, and scooped up the necklace.

It turned out to be a circular locket with a catch on one side. Napoleon pried it open.

He just barely noticed the song had ended and the water stopped running, and dropped the locket guiltily. Just in time, as Illya came out of the bathroom toweling his hair.

"Um, you dropped your... thingy," Napoleon said, pointing at the locket.

Illya swooped. "Thank you. I would not want to lose it."

Napoleon nodded and went back to his packing, hiding a pleased smile.

Inside the locket, he had seen on one side a religious image - a Madonna and Child - and on the other side, his own face.

The three people Illya trusted to watch over him in this world.