Written originally for the LJ Easter Egg Challenge with the prompts heartache and happiness, love and affection.
There was very little to be done for the young man, it would seem. There was a girl involved, of course, a young woman for whom he would have given his life, had she asked it of him. Instead she had asked for his heart, and that, it seemed, was not his alone to give away.
The heart he possessed belonged in part to something else, to an entity that carried about its girth not only purpose but the authority to make demands that the young man could not deny. The girl could not have known at the onset that her competition had no pulse save the current of energy required to make it real and of consequence. It required the man she loved.
The man was Napoleon Solo, and his heart belonged to the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. In spite of Napoleon's willingness to give away his own flesh for the woman he loved, in truth even that belonged to the U.N.C.L.E.
Napoleon Solo seemed destined to play the part of a man who led a cavalier, never say die type of existence. He courted danger and beautiful women with equal amounts of enthusiasm, never stopping to analyze why he excelled with both. All women seemed to love Napoleon, something that continually amazed him and perplexed his new partner, Illya Kuryakin.
Kuryakin didn't know about the woman who had finally refused to bend to the UNCLE dictum of never marrying; had said "No" to the suggestion that the love affair with Napoleon could go on forever without the benefit of security for her, or complete fidelity from him. Napoleon did love Clara, but how could he refuse to seduce other women if the assignment required it? He couldn't. And risking his life for the cause… Why hadn't she understood?
When Illya came on the scene, he had marveled at the female response to his new friend, and was impressed at how easily Napoleon could ingratiate himself into a woman's affections, whether for an evening of pleasure or, in the case of some, in pursuit of some bit of intelligence on an important mission. Solo never failed, it seemed, and the young Russian began to observe with a keen scientific eye, the exploits of Napoleon Solo.
In the midst of these observations, something became apparent to the dour Soviet: Napoleon was engaging in these situations with a very empathetic affectation. He seemed to understand these women better than they understood themselves, and he treated them all as though they were precious to him, somehow, and not merely amusements for a few hours. Solo seemed to genuinely care for each and every one of them. No wonder they fell at his feet, in a manner of speaking.
Illya didn't believe, at first, that Napoleon's demeanor could be genuine. How could the man actually care for all of these women? Little by little, however, the Soviet agent began to solve his own riddles, first by close scrutiny of his subjects, but then with a subtle melting of his own defenses.
Napoleon cared about the women because he identified with them. He would eventually leave them, every one of them, and he knew how they would feel. Illya was certain that a failed love was in Solo's past, and so it became clear, much like the lifting of a fog to the presence of bright sunshine, that Napoleon had once been the lover left behind when the affair was over. Napoleon cared, and offered comfort to each of his lovers, because no one had cared for his heartache when it had come.
What a revelation that had been to Illya. Instead of a cavalier Casanova, as most people supposed, Napoleon Solo was a priest at an altar devoted to loving the victims of carnal knowledge, even when he was the one responsible for the heartache. It was no trick, not a method or technique. The reason women loved Napoleon Solo was because he loved them first.
"Illya, what's that look on your face? Do I have mustard on my chin or something?"
Illya was shaken from his thoughts on the logistics involved with this study he had undertaken. No one in his Soviet background would have believed he could be occupied with something so… so silly.
"Oh, no, not at all. I was just admiring that girl over there. The one with the red hair. Do you not think her to be very pretty?"
Napoleon turned to look at the young woman Illya found so intriguing. Something about her…
"Hmmm… she's not really my type, tovarisch. Why don't you ask her out?"
Perhaps, because really, every woman was Napoleon's type except the one that got away.