The suave American eyed his Russian friend and partner appreciatively, or at least with an eye trained by years of experience to recognize what others might appreciate.
"Say there, Illya… umm…where'd you get those jeans?"
The blond was thin and muscular, and often his clothes hung precariously loose from shoulders and hips. The sight of him now…never had he worn his pants as tight as these. The only thing left for the girls to wonder about would be whether or not everything was in working order after being squeezed into the denim that threatened to end his hopes of fatherhood.
"I don't know what happened. The first time I wore them they were perfect. I washed them and now…"
His exasperation was evident, leaving Napoleon to wonder why his very intelligent Russian was wearing them if he disliked the fit.
"So, why don't you take them back instead of wearing them…like this?"
He was caught now, unable to avoid admitting his lack of organization when it concerned doing laundry. These had been his only choice this morning, and he felt particularly ill at ease considering their assignment.
"I should have been better prepared. I admit it".
A slight flush and a roll of the blue eyes let Napoleon know his friend's embarrassment was real, the predicament unavoidable.
"Perhaps we should stop and buy you a new pair. We're going to be in a situation that might…well, you'll probably be at risk in those".
Napoleon gestured with his eyes down the slim body, indicating what Illya had suspected and now dreaded. They were heading into an assignment that would probably throw him into the limelight, and the fit of these jeans was going to be, if not an embarrassment, a real hazard to the reserved agent. When Napoleon had told him to dress casually, he hadn't bothered to take in his dry cleaning. He was glad to have purchased a new pair of jeans, and had liked the way they looked and felt. That was before he washed them. Now they were like a second skin with buttons. Movement in them was a little stiff, and he knew there were bulges where he'd preferred there to be none. Perhaps no one would notice…
"Illya! C'mon, we need to get going. They're expecting us".
They might as well shoot him now.
When the two UNCLE agents arrived at their destination, Illya carefully slid out of his side of the car, careful to avoid pinching anything important as he unfolded his legs into a more comfortable standing position. What lay before him, however, momentarily took his attention away from the snug fit of his jeans.
He and Napoleon were in charge of a new training class for the female support staff of UNCLE New York. Basic self-defense could have been taught by almost anyone else, but the gregarious American had volunteered them for this duty, considering it a fun and, hopefully, rewarding experience to be enjoyed by the two friends. Showing up in casual dress had been a ploy to put the ladies at ease, and Napoleon's attire was jeans and a pale green polo shirt. He looked comfortable and ready to assume the position…so to speak.
Illya, on the other hand, was drawing the attention of nearly every female in the room. His form fitting jeans were leaving nothing to the imagination, and this group could imagine quite a lot on any given day. His black turtleneck was the perfect length to allow a view of skin whenever the slightly built Russian bent over or raised his arms, all of which the girls were encouraging him to do with their various activities. Without a word, they had formed a pact to see as much of Illya Kuryakin as they could.
By the end of the session, Napoleon had a date for Friday night and Illya had an entourage of helpful women. Someone had noticed the tag on his jeans and figured out why they were so tight.
"Mr. Kuryakin, your 501's look new. Have you washed them yet?"
She knew, of course, that he had. It was obvious what had gone wrong.
"I…501? What is that?"
He puzzled over her familiarity with his choice of clothing, but was willing to hear what she had to offer.
"Well, yeah, they're pretty popular right now. Levi's 501 jeans. You wash them to fit properly. Umm…you're supposed to buy them a little loose, and then they shrink…to fit you. That's the, I guess you'd call it their slogan: shrink to fit".
Illya's eyebrows quirked into a puzzled expression, the blue eyes begging excuses at his lack of shopping élan. It made the girl from translation grin.
"I'm Cathy Nebbins; I work in translations…German. I think a lot of people probably make the same mistake you did. It's okay, they're going to stretch out… a little".
He muttered something in Russian, but recovered in time to thank her and ask if she'd be interested in a cup of coffee. She caught a sigh before it could escape, replying instead with a nod of her head and a smile.
"Yes, that sounds nice."
A few of the ladies found themselves wishing they had known the answer to his dilemma as they watched him escort Cathy out of the gym.
By the look of things, shrink to fit wasn't Kuryakin's slogan.