"Halloween? This is something that you do, Napoleon?" The Russian was famliar with some of the western customs, and had spent enough time in England to have witnessed the observation of All Hallow's Eve, but it didn't seem the same as what was being suggested to him now.
"Yes, sort of. I mean, the kids enjoy it; going door to door and asking for candy or treats. They dress up and it's all just for fun. And, of course the costumes are great. We're having a costume party, of sorts, here at headquarters. So, you'll come, won't you?" He put the question to his partner, new partner, hesitatingly. He didn't yet know how the new man reacted to these types of situations. They had enjoyed some success in the field, but on a personal level, the man was an enigma to everyone...including him.
"I understand a costume ball, is that what you mean?" Why must everything come back as a question. Never a flat out answer or agreement...always another question.
"Yes, Illya, that's what I mean. You dress up in a costume and come to a party. How difficult is that?" A shadow passed over the blond countenance that immediately made the American wish he hadn't said it in that tone...impatient.
"Illya, it will be fun, and I think you'll enjoy it. You excel at disguises, and this one won't have the threat of a Thrush bullet chasing you down. What do you say? I'd like you to come, and I know for a fact there are some girls around here who are just waiting to see you in something less...somber". He eyed the man from the floor up to his blond hair, wondering how many versions of black clothing a person could possibly possess.
"I'll think about it, Napoleon. I expect it would be the right thing to do. Mr. Waverly endorses this...party?" Another question. Damn, this man was consistent anyway.
"Yes, Illya. It's an officially sanctioned UNCLE event. It would probably be good for your career to show up. Does that help you make the decision?" I have questions too, thought Napoleon. I can outlast him, I think.
"Yes, I suppose I should come then. If you think I should...do you?" That's it. Damn the questions.
"Yes...Illya...I think you should come".
"What do you think I should wear?" Napoleon almost blew it right there on the spot. Another question...
"Well, what do you think you'd like to wear...Illya?" Did he almost spit out his name? That would be unkind.
"I could come as a gypsy. I have some familiarity with that, and it might be amusing. What do you think?" "Just do it, Illya. A gypsy would be perfect".

The evening looked promising to the handsome brunet as he entered the gala event. Costumes among UNCLE agents and personnel always had a sinister edge to them. It seemed that no one could ever quite get over what they did for a living, and the edgy nature of their lives spilled over into the fun events, like now. Pirates and prisoners, cowboys and a few nurses' uniforms that weren't quite how they looked in medical. Napoleon was looking for his partner, wondering if the Russian would show up. They hadn't talked about the party since that initial conversation...the question and answer session. In fact, they hadn't seen much of each other in the several days since, so he wasn't certain the elusive new man would show up. Then he saw a little commotion and something in his head said Russian. His own entourage of adoring females was curious, as was he when a circle of women clustered around someone, and he thought he heard a squeal as the sea of lovelies parted, revealing a devilish sight. A costume of blousy brown breeches were stuffed into knee high black boots. A red shirt, open to the middle of his chest, was topped by a garishly decorated vest, complete with decorations from a fairy tale of some sort. There was a black scarf over the blond hair, and he was wearing earrings, a stud on one ear and a hoop on the other. It looked as though he hadn't shaved for a week, because there was a blond growth now, making him look older than usual, and apparently the women liked it. The gypsy had entered the room with an arrogance and a swagger that Napoleon didn't recognize. No wonder Illya was so good at disguises, he absolutely could transform himself from the shy and reticent young man they all had come to expect, into this larger than life apparition.

"Wow, Illya...you look great. I think you're the hit of the night". Napoleon had to admit it, as even his own costume hadn't garnered the excitement that the Russian's had. His matador's costume was elegant and striking, but somehow the rough and dangerous looking gypsy was making the women swoon.
"Thank you Napoleon. You look very much the part of your matador. I am simply a humble gypsy". Humble my foot.

The party was a hit, with agents and other section employees mingling, dancing and having fun without fear of intrusion or reprisal. Even Mr. Waverly made an appearance at one point, dressed as usual in his tweeds. He took in the sight of the men and woman who made the organization what it was: a unique and altruistic fulfillment of the vision he had fought long and hard to build. He caught sight of his two special interests; the dark and engaging Mr. Solo, standing next to his new partner and, without a doubt, most important acquisition, the striking blond Russian. They were perfect together, a sort of yin and yang among this group. Opposites in so many ways but pursuing the same righteous cause. Halloween gave them an excuse to be free of the trouble and danger their jobs brought them, but it still somehow illustrated who they were.
Napoleon solo was resplendent in the matador's costume, the glamour and danger coexisting for the agent just as it did for the assumed identity he now bore.
Illya Kuryakin, on the other hand, hid behind the clothing of a sometimes despised and oft times feared image, that of the gypsy. Mysterious and enigmatic to most, the depth of the man, this dreaded soviet, was much like the hidden culture he now portrayed. Invisible to all save those who were admitted into the secret places.
Halloween was, perhaps, merely an opportunity to flaunt without discovery, who they really were in their deepest realities. Alexander Waverly had great expectations for these two men; the matador and the gypsy. One a master of manipulation and charm, the other a master of stealth and deception. They were just what UNCLE needed.

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