"What are you doing, Illya?"
The blond head came up slowly, tinted glasses covered a pair of piercing blue eyes. They targeted the voice, then blinked solemnly as the man they belonged to replied.
"Hmmm…I am sitting here at the typewriter with a stack of folders in front of me. The clacking noise should have given it away, but perhaps you need more clues in order to solve this puzzle."
Napoleon sniffed the air, straightened his tie and returned his own exasperated expression.
"Gee, Illya, is there a problem I don't know about? Are you ill? Or, perhaps you have the proverbial burr up your…"
The phone rang just then, covering up the last word of a very rude remark. Napoleon didn't often resort to that type of rebuttal, but damn, his partner could be so disagreeable at the most inopportune times.
"Yes, Lisa, we'll be there…yes, immediately."
"Lisa, yes I got that."
It was one thing to finish each other's sentences in a way that conveyed a superior ability to communicate. Doing it just to be a smart ass, well that was something else again.
Illya removed his glasses, put his face in his open palms and mumbled something…
"I'm sorry, Illya, I didn't catch that. What are you saying?"
The tone was irritatingly soothing. Napoleon was good at that.
"I said, I am sorry. I should not have …'
He didn't know the word in English, and looked at his partner with his eyebrows raised in the center, a most helpless expression if ever there was one. Napoleon always had a difficult time remaining irritated when Illya did that.
"It's all right, Illya. I'm sorry I left you with all of those reports…again. Why don't you come over for dinner tonight, we'll work on those…together. What do you say?"
The Russian thought about it, shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "I suppose it wouldn't hurt", and headed out the door.
Napoleon followed along behind, wondering if he'd just been had.
He didn't wonder about it long. They arrived at Mr. Waverly's office in record time with Illya almost galloping along the corridors.
"What is so damn important that you need to practically run? I'm winded just trying to catch up with you."
Illya turned around and smiled, the one where he ducked his head a little and came up looking like a kid with his first crush.
Napoleon didn't know what was going on with his partner, but he wanted the grumpy one back. This new guy was sort of creepy, with the smiles and the eyebrows…
"Gentlemen, thank you for getting here quickly. We have not a minute to waste…ahh, yes, thank you Miss Rogers."
Napoleon was surprised for Lisa to sit down next to him. When he turned to acknowledge her, she was smiling at him with a big toothy grin that made him shudder. He didn't remember Lisa having that many teeth…
"So, Mr. Kuryakin, do you have that report ready? I assume that you had no help from your partner, but in your usually competent manner it will have been done to perfection."
Napoleon was a little surprised at that. His boss could be direct and he could be demanding, but he didn't usually try to hurt people's feelings…
What the …
"Oh, yessiree. I have all the reports finished and waiting for your perusal."
Who said that?
Waverly was twiddling his thumbs and had the same stupid smile on his face that Lisa had…and Illya. All three of them were smiling like idiots, and twiddling their thumbs. What was going on and who were these people?
Napoleon was panic stricken, realizing too late that he was alone here with three imposters. Right here in UNCLE headquarters, and the old man was not the old man. Someone else was and…where had Illya gone? This guy didn't even have the right accent. Lisa, well Lisa and those teeth…
'I'd hate to be the main course on her menu tonight.'
Napoleon started to get up from his chair, but Lisa started pulling at him, her mouth gaping open as she attempted to take a bite out of his arm. He thrashed wildly, but to no avail. She was going to devour him and no one was going to help him. Illya was still stupidly grinning at Waverly, while both of them twiddled their thumbs and counted to ten, over and over and over…
"Napoleon! Wake up, Napoleon!"
What was that? Who was that?
"Illya…where…wh? Why are you on the floor?"
The mission was over, their budget was tight and the two men were sharing a bed, once again. Only…Illya was on the floor and he looked unhappy. He wasn't grinning anymore, and his accent sounded right…
"I was having a dream…"
Illya huffed and slowly got up from his seat on the floor. He was holding his right cheek… the one on his face. Napoleon chuckled at that, thinking again of the burr…
"Oh, did I hit you?"
The question sounded innocent, but the other man didn't look amused or placated by it. He looked as though his face hurt.
"Look, I'm really sorry, but I was having the weirdest dream. You were in it, and Waverly and Lisa…you were all grinning and twiddling your thumbs. I thought Lisa was going to eat me…"
Illya's eyes rolled back into his head (not quite, but Napoleon thought he might do it someday), not wanting to hear anything about strange dreams or women trying to eat Napoleon…none of that.
"Please, Napoleon, just do try and sleep without engaging in a boxing match, if you don't mind. I managed to come away unscathed from the mission, and now I think you've given me a black eye. Have you no …"
"No, I have no… whatever it is you're going to say. I had a dream, and it seemed very real, and I apologize for hitting you. There. That's the best I can manage. But I'm telling you, it was really weird."
The blond head disappeared below the top of the mattress. Napoleon hesitated before moving to the edge of the bed and peering down at his partner. What he saw caused him to let out a cry of alarm, because illya was smiling and twiddling his thumbs, and next to him were Mr. Waverly and Lisa. She smiled at him too, and the teeth…
"Ahh…no, get away!"
"Napoleon…what on earth…?"
"You don't want to know. Trust me. I already asked."