Have No Fear

"I do not wish to accompany you on this mission, Napoleon. I think you should find someone else for this particular assignment". The Russian was standing with a rigid posture, his eyes the icy resolve that made most people leave the room and look for something warm. Napoleon just stared at him, his mind trying to find the key to the uncharacteristic attitude, 'and insubordination' he added.

"Illya, I don't know why you're taking this stance, but it's not like you have a choice. Mr. Waverly has assigned us to this and we're going…together". There, that was the last word on it. Illya just needed to get in line and do his duty, even if it did include facing down some dogs on their trek into the Alaskan tundra.

"You know how I feel about dogs, Napoleon"… The ice was back, and no one needed to head north in order to find it. The brown eyes of the CEA of UNCLE New York met his partner's glare and tossed it back with the knowledge that he was the superior here, the senior agent who had the final say on this discussion.

"I don't know why you have this irrational fear of dogs, Illya. It just…"

"I know it's irrational, Napoleon'. The growl was ironic, considering how it came from the canine phobic man. Now, in addition to the spoken fear, his partner was breaking out in a cold sweat at the thought of what two weeks living among dogs might entail; at this his fear was palpable.

"Perhaps it originated in my youth, or some devious planted image from Thrush. I can't explain it, but it's there and it's real and I don't want to mush a pack of dogs and then have to sleep with them at night. I'd rather face a pack of Thrush without a gun in my hand". His friend had a sudden twang of guilt and sympathy. It wasn't often that this stubborn son of an iceberg let his guard down long enough to admit to fearing or dreading anything. How many times had they faced down the nasty Thrushies, sometimes without any weaponry save their own skilled hands? If Illya really did fear facing a long trek among dogs, and he did indeed have to face it, then perhaps it could work to his advantage; this might be his opportunity to overcome the fear.

"Illya, I want you to understand something, and I am not making a power play here. You need to face this and make some kind of peace with your fear, and perhaps conquer it. We are leaving tonight. I have your back, my friend. I won't let you down, nor will I let you be torn apart by the dogs. Do you trust me?"

The blue eyes warmed slightly, letting Napoleon know that there would be no further complaints for the moment. The one thing they had for continually overcoming their fears was the absolute trust they shared in each other. Illya would depend on that now, and for the coming mission. He wiped his brow and took a long look at his partner, thinking that just maybe the two of them could beat this phobia that had tormented him.

Dogs didn't look so bad right now, as long as he had his best friend.