Security was tight due to the number of dignitaries in attendance. Illya Nichovetch Kuryakin sat with his date, Margie O'Nell, a cute little blonde from the lab, next to Alexander Waverly and his wife. Waverly was the guest of honor tonight, here to receive a peace commendation from the UN. The 'old man' had made countless friends over the years within these circles and many of them were here to honor him.
His partner Napoleon Solo was still checking out the external area of the hall with his date Josephina Nichovia Kuryakin, Illya's sister and a section two agent herself. Illya was watching everyone who entered which was made easier as they were introduced at the top of the grand stairs by the greeter. Finally he heard his partners and his sister's name announced. He looked up and almost dropped his glass, whispering "Momma" but only Waverly heard him.
Before him stood his sister, dressed in an azure blue floor length dress and a necklace of a single sapphire tear drop and matching earrings. Her pale strawberry blonde hair piled high on her head, blue eyes shining and a smile that lite up the room. "Illya, are you alright?" she said, gliding towards him, noticing that he was trembling.
"Fine, is everything safe outside?"
Napoleon glanced at his partner, "Everything is fine out there but you look as if you have seen a ghost."
"Later," was the only word heard, though throughout the evening Illya kept glancing at his sister.
The evening went well and after Waverly was safely delivered into the hands to his normal bodyguards from Section 3, Illya dropped off Margie at home. Napoleon and Jo accompanied him to his apartment. "Okay, tovarisch what has been bothering you all night? I have never seen you so distracted."
Loosening his tie, Illya grabbed a bottle of Vodka and two glasses after pouring a glass of Scotch for Napoleon. "Sit down," he gestured. After downing two glasses of the clear liquid, he looked at his sister, "Do you remember the last time we saw papa?"
Napoleon watched Jo empty her glass and pour another one, "I remember."
It was right before he turned 7 and his sister was 5. Their papa had just been promoted to a general and there was a party honoring him. Momma, Papa, and babushka had taken the two of them to the grand ballroom in Kiev where they had a room for the evening. Babushka allowed them to hide on the stairs and watch the activity below.
The hall was lit by golden chandeliers; the tables set with the best china Music drifted across the room. Women were dressed in long ball gowns while most of the men were in uniforms. Each couple was introduced as they entered the room.
Finally the moment they all waited for. "General Nicholas Ivanivetch Kuryakin and Alexandra Josephiva Kuryakin," and momma and papa entered the room. He had looked so handsome in his uniform; mamma so beautiful in her sapphire blue floor length dress and a necklace of a single sapphire tear drop and matching earrings, her platinum blonde hair piled high on her head.
Everyone in the room stood and clapped as his father and mother entered. Babushka explained to the children that the guests were showing respect for their father. All those present seemed to want to shake papa's hand or pat him on the back. Supper was noisy with everyone speaking at the same time but the conversation often turned to the war making Illya and Josephina sad.
When supper over, the men and women began to dance. The children moved closer and watched as they waltzed deep into the night. Then suddenly they caught their father's eye. He frowned as he looked their way and whispered something into his wife's ear. She smiled in the children direction.
Alexandra Kuryakin walked over to the stairs and smiled at them, "What are my malenʹkie deti (little babies) still doing up?"
Illya and Josephina stood up; he bushing off his suit and she straighten her dress, "Momma we are not babies anymore. We are your grown up children," he told her.
Alexandra smiled again at them. "Yes they were growing up fast. As the war was making it a necessity." She held her hands out to the children. "Come," and led them to their papa.
He frowned as he bent down in front of them, "I believed all my good children would be dreaming already." The two bowing their heads to the floor, knowing that they should have stayed where babushka had left them. Then they heard the rich deep voice of their papa laughing, "But I am glad you are sharing my night with momma and I."
Nicholas stood up from his children and called for silence. Soon the room was very quiet and everyone there was staring at the children. "Ladies and gentlemen. I would like you to meet two of the major reasons for fighting this war. This young man is my son, Illya Nichovetch," Illya straightened his stance and smiled at his father. "And this young lady is my daughter, Josephina Nichovia. Both should be sleeping but have informed me they are now grown up."
Illya blushed at the statement but proudly held up his head while Josephina hid behind her big brother. His father signaled and the music began once more.
He offered his hands to Josephina and held her as they danced together. She looked up at her father. His blonde hair with a tint of red, deep blue eyes, and strong features made her feel safe. He always made her feel safe and she loved the way he was holding her now.
Illya hands were taken by his mother and they followed his father's example. He felt the softness of her hands in his, her shining blue eyes, blonde hair the same color as his, and soft voice singing in his ears. He thought of how she helped him with his prayers at night and read to him as he fell asleep.
The next dance the two children danced together. As they twirled around the floor, his sister's smile was brilliant and he enjoyed making her happy, something that was missing so much lately. After the dance, their parents kissed them good night and they went to bed elated.
Suddenly they were woken up and their mother was calling for them to dress quickly. As they dressed, their father had the car brought around. They were hurried into it and before it left, their father leaned in and spoke to each one. "Illya, my son, you help your mother and babushka with your sister and the younger children. Josephina, help your brother. I am very proud of both of you, and love you very much," then a quick kiss and he was gone.
Illya came back to the present and noticed tears running down Jo's face. Their father died shortly after that night, and they had never returned to their home, but remained at babushka's dacha until the rest of their family was killed.
Vodka was poured for each of them and downed quickly. "Seeing momma that night and tonight you in a sapphire dress just as she had worn brought back so many memories." He said holding her tightly. Together they sat and comforted each other.
Napoleon looked at the two people who meant so much to him. He knew that he had been given a special honor to hear one more vision of their lives before he knew them, but now they needed one another more than him. He quietly left them dancing together to a Russian waltz, Memories, that was being played, and to their memories