"Is this going to be acceptable, Napoleon?" The question rang a bell with the senior agent as he wondered about the hesitancy in his partner's voice.
"What do you mean acceptable? Do you feel uncomfortable with this American holiday? I mean, you can participate as well; it's not something that excludes those of another nationality". His answer was exactly what he believed. Napoleon Solo was glad to be an American, but equally grateful for the multitude of people he called friends who weren't from the United States. Especially his new partner Illya Kuryakin. The man had saved his life several times in the short time in which they had been teamed.
"I wish to honor the tradition of your country, but not at the risk of offending anyone. You understand, do you not? Considering the disparity of ideals in your country and mine, it is not surprising if some people find my appreciation for being here difficult to believe". The blond wasn't apologizing for his nationality, but he did feel thankful to be in America, with UNCLE and in the heart of capitalism: New York City.
"Illya, you are a man of ideals, and of action. If it weren't for you, there are a number of small countries that would be in the throes of tyranny at the hands of Thrush, or some other despotic entity. I know you won't betray any allegiance to the Soviet Union, but I know how you think". At that the Russian cut his eyes towards his friend as if to say 'you never know exactly what I'm thinking'. "Well, I do think I know that you're glad to be here, and you can sit down at a table and give your version of being thankful for the...opportunity. You may not be an American, but as a world citizen we can all be grateful for what has been accomplished by the US, and many other nations who desire peace".
"Hmmm...peace. That's the fantasy, isn't it. That somehow a nation can achieve peace, even though it will inevitably be at the expense of someone else's vision. No one is immune, no one is responsible..." Napoleon rolled his eyes and held up his hand, motioning for his esoteric friend to stop before it was too late. His propensity for long, rhetorical or philosophical diatribes sometimes wore the American down. Even in the short amount of time they'd been partnered, Napoleon had learned that well enough.
"Oh, yes, I apologize. This is Thanksgiving, and I am, indeed, thankful to be here. And, I appreciate your invitation to join you for dinner with your... Who is it we'll be dining with?" The blue eyes were quizzical, the brows slightly furrowed as memory failed to dredge up the details.
"We are going to my sister's house, and they already know you're Russian and everyone thinks it's a great idea to share an American holiday with a...visitor. I can't exactly tell them what you do for a living". A wink to accompany the twinkle in the brown eyes...Napoleon was enjoying playing the part of statesman. His family would love the quiet young man, and he would find the bounty of food more than worth the apprehension preceeding the trip.
"Oh yes, now I remember. Well, I shall be the consumate guest, and will not speak a word of politics or social injustice. My socialist aesthetic is now packed away, stuffed in behind the gun and black turtlenecks. I can wear turtlenecks, can't I?" Now Napoleon wasn't certain if his friend were kidding or not. He chose to believe the bit about politics though.
"That sounds fine, and yes the turtlenecks will work. In fact, it's probably a good idea considering the weather. I think my sister has also invited a couple of her single friends, so..." Now it was Illya's turn to roll his eyes. Single women at a holiday table. That situation was the same at any holiday in any country. The mood would call for flirtation and long walks, both of which he was familiar with. You didn't have to be an American to understand the protocol for an evening among friends at holiday time.
"Oh, and are they pretty? I suppose you get first pick. Or, shall we let the ladies choose?" What was this...conceit? Did Illya feel confident that he would be the one the girls debated over? "I think we should just wait and see".
Dinner was a success, as was the handsome Russian. The two girlfriends seemed pleasantly and equitably divided in their admiration for the two UNCLE agents. Napoleon had captured the fancy of the little blond in the pink cashmere sweater. Her brown eyes made him think of Sandra Dee, and the thought of the long after dinner walk was already conjuring images of stolen kisses and...well, images.
As for Illya, he and the redhead hit it off immediately. She was a sociology major and was completely enthralled by the notion of exchanging ideas and opinions with Illya. Much to his relief, she didn't care if they differed in their world views or anything else; the chemistry was more than making up for anything that might otherwise hinder their communication. Theirs was a very long and satisfying walk into the woods on a moonlit and pleasantly tempered evening. The wool blanket that Illya had managed to secure made their conversation all the more enjoyable.
When the girls were leaving, the two men reluctantly made their way back inside. Phone numbers and pertinent information had been exchanged, although the agents knew that they would probably not be seeing either of the two ladies again. Such was the nature of their professions that they took the moments that were offered to them, never really expecting life to offer them much more than temporary pleasures. The women deserved more than either of them could ever promise or even suggest.
Still, the day had been very enjoyable, the meal excellent and the after dinner company...well, both men were completely satisfied with the lingering contentment.
"So, I hope you have enjoyed your first American Thanksgiving". Napoleon loved playing host and, even though at the home of his sister, he felt responsible for the success of this introduction to the much loved holiday.
"Yes, it has been a very pleasurable experience, and one for which I am indeed thankful. Your family, and their friends'...Napoleon thought he saw a slight coloring in his friend's complexion...
"it was all very nice. I am very glad that I came with you". "Well, I'm glad too, Illya. How about a nightcap before turning in". The suggestion met with agreement as the two men, so different in background, appearances and sometimes attitudes, lingered by a waning fire with snifters of fine brandy and appreciative countenances. It would be the first of many such nights, and a multitude of spoken and unspoken thanks between the two.