Illya Kuryakin was alarmed to find his partner sprawled on the floor of the basement computer control room. Being below ground it also had numerous pipes running at various angles and heights.
"Napoleon...Napoleon...what happened?" The CEA was less than his normally elegant self as he roused from the apparent run-in with one of the big pipes. Or so it seemed.
"I'm not sure...ouch! My head...what happened?"
"That's what I asked you. Judging by the proximity of this metal pipe, and the bump on your forehead, I would guess that you did not duck when it swung at you". There was an incorrigible grin spreading across the Russian's face, and Napoleon thought it inconsiderate of him to find the situation humorous.
"It hurts. Must be a Thrush plot to disable me". The Russian was concerned, but equally curious about how it had happened. "No doubt. The enemy ambushed you right here at headquarters". The grin was fading, and Illya wondered aloud if they should head for medical. It had knocked his partner unconscious, after all.
"Let's go upstairs and get you checked out. It wouldn't do for you to succumb to a concussion. Plus, you could use some ice on that bump".
"Yes Napoleon"...He knew what was coming. "Can we keep this quiet...I mean, the fact that I ran into this and knocked myself out. It doesn't seem appropriate for the CEA to go down for the count to an inanimate piece of metal". The brown eyes looked imploringly at his partner, hoping for some little bit of sympathy.
"And how do you plan to explain this? You do have a bump on your head, and there are no enemy agents here to blame. And, you can't say that I did it". He added the last part emphatically.
"Umm...well...I don't know. Maybe we just skip medical and go for an ice pack. Really, I'm fine, and you can keep me awake by reading science journals...no that will put me to sleep. Direct me to a secretary. Then I'll have to concentrate on being charming."
"You really are incorrigible, you know that". The blond rolled his eyes and went in search of ice while his partner went in search of girls.
Later that day while surrounded by women in the canteen, a surplus of oohing and aahing could be heard as Illya passed his partner en route to his favorite corner table. "Napoleon, how ever did you escape from the brute?" Concern oozed from the redhead's lips as she tenderly touched the purplish bump on the CEA's broad forehead.
"I..uh...was able to fend off the attack before he could do any more damage. All part of the job, Denise". The smile overtook his handsome features as well as the assembled females. They all responded in kind, deeply appreciative of the bravery and deftness required to be so completely capable. It was just so...Napoleon.
Kuryakin could only shake his head in disbelief. Only Napoleon Solo could turn a mishap with an iron pipe into a spy thriller.
"So, I see you've concocted a story to cover your earlier mishap with the basement". Illya smirked into his coffee as his partner approached. "Shhh...it's just a little cover story for that...incident. Keep your mouth shut and we can live happily ever after, tovarisch".
"Yes, that is what I desire. An eternity filled with covering for you so that you can be a hero. You, my friend, are a compulsive flirt and a menace to my mental health. I will keep quiet about this, but it will cost you...someday". With that statement, the Russian menace got up and left the canteen, his partner wondering how the debt would be collected.
Just days later, in a Thrush cell somewhere in New York City, Napoleon sat stiff backed against a concrete block wall. His partner was still being interrogated about the microfilm he had managed to liberate from a Thrush courier earlier in the day. The fact that they had both been picked up and brought here was still a mystery, but somehow the Thrush grunts had picked him out of a crowd as he waited for his partner. So, here he sat once again, waiting to see what shape Illya would be in when they brought him back. He hoped for the best, which would have to be less damage rather than more, in this case. There was no doubting the UNCLE agent would sustain a stubborn refusal to give up the microfilm, so it remained to be seen the level of frustration that would appear in the subsequent brutality. The agent gave an involuntary shudder when he considered some of the methods they might use on his friend.
He didn't have to wait very long to see the results. The door opened and two guards tossed the blond agent into the cell, just within reach of Napoleon's grasp. He caught the limp body before it crashed to the floor, easing him down as he took a quick inventory of the situation.
"Illya, how bad is it?" His left shirt sleeve was cut open, revealing needle marks and imminent bruising in their wake. The right eye was swollen shut, a thin dribble of blood from a cut on his lip. Someone had ripped the white shirt open, losing a few buttons in the process. The purpose was visible in the welts across Illya's chest, from something electrical possibly. Napoleon couldn't be sure of that; he was certain that his friend was in some pain though, and still groggy from the drugs that had been administered. Damn, he hated it when this happened. His only consolation was the homing device he had activated. The guards hadn't done a very good job searching Napoleon, probably due to their interest in his partner. He still had the little gadget attached to his suit coat, and figured someone should be coming around to check on them soon. For Illya's sake, very soon, he hoped.
Before Illya had come around from his drug induced stupor, the rescue materialized. Napoleon could hear noise beyond their cell that sounded like alarms being raised. Yelling and gunshots, a small explosion and the smell of something like licorice resounded in his senses as he shifted the still unconscious Russian from his lap and onto the floor. He went to the door to get a glimpse of the action, and was met with the worried countenance of Mark Slate. Nothing like the cavalry arriving just in the nick of time.
"Hey mate...whatcha got for us?" Mark took a look at Illya and sighed...
"Again?" How many times had they found the Russian crumpled on the floor of a Thrush cell, with Napoleon looking on as though merely observing the scene? He still didn't know if it was good luck for one or back luck for the other. Either way, Illya seemed to get the worst end of the deal...through no fault of his partner.
"Yeah, let's get him up...gently. I don't know what all they did to him". Napoleon's concern was etched in his face as well as his voice as he and Mark lifted the stricken agent up and carried him outside to more UNCLE agents. Safely inside a vehicle they made a straight line for headquarters, alerting medical that the Russian was in need of repair once again.
During the course of waiting for his partner to regain consciousness, Napoleon had showered and changed clothes; he had also managed to write a preliminary report on their ordeal. It was well into day number two before the blond woke up and was greeted by his friend.
"Hey sunshine. Are you all done with your beauty sleep?" Napoleon was waiting beside Illya's bed, watching for signs of consciousness and hoping there was nothing to merit more concern. As the blue eyes opened, cautiously at first and then full of recognition, he breathed a little easier at his partner's return from the Thrush torment.
"Napoleon...how long?" Always the first question, no matter what the affliction. How long...
"Just about 20 hours, give or take a few minutes. I don't know what they put in your blood stream, but it really knocked you out. Well, that and some physical bumps and bruises". Nothing he couldn't get over.
"Mmmm...yeah, remember some of that. Microfilm?" He knew he had taken it, but right now he couldn't remember where it had ended up.
"You never told me where you put it...didn't have a chance. I don't have a clue where it is. Don't you?" The role of CEA took over now, needing to know where the valuable film had gotten to, since he doubted that Illya had given it back to Thrush.
"I can't...remember. Where did you find me?" Now Napoleon was more concerned. Illya didn't remember him being in the cell with him. How far back was the memory loss, he wondered.
"Illya, I was in the cell with you. They picked me up at the drop site, only they already had you. Don't you remember any of it?" Confusion was evident in the blond's expression. His head fell back on the pillow in a gesture of frustration, his eyes shut tight against the invading light. His head was throbbing now, and he desperately wanted to be left alone. Except, he needed to remember. Napoleon recognized the signs of withdrawal, the evidence of pain that was now visible on his friend's face. 'We're not done with this, yet' He inwardly groaned at this new development.
"Illya, go back to sleep. Do you need something for the pain?" A nod was the reply. All of the man's color had drained from his face as he tried to meld his body into the sheets, disappear and thus eliminate the pain and the confusion. Why couldn't he remember? His sense of duty was in conflict with a defiant need for self-preservation. A nurse came in with some pain medication and a sedative; he took the former while she added the sedative to his IV line. The effect was quick and he began to show signs of slipping back into a deep sleep.
"Napoleon...' Brown eyes were shadowed by the furrow of his brows, a crease indicating his apprehension..."remember that bump you got, when you ran into the beam?" Why was he bringing this up now?
"Yes...I remember you said I'd have to pay for your silence'... A slight grin emerged as the older man remembered the cagey smile that his partner had shot him as he assured that payment would come, eventually. "Why do you ask?"
"I think that perhaps now is a good time to recall that...I ..."
And then he was out.
"What, Illya?" Frustration was on a countdown, and now he had to wait until his partner woke up again. Where was the microfilm, and why was he calling in the frivolous debt they had brokered?