A Solo Family History Lesson

Written By: Alynwa

Publicity Photo“Napoleon, this is a wonderful picture. Were you going to a Halloween party?” It was Sunday afternoon and Illya was at Napoleon’s for dinner. While his partner was fussing about in the kitchen, the blond had poured himself a drink and decided to amuse himself by perusing a family photo album the American had on his coffee table.

“Bring it in here,” Napoleon called, “I’m in the middle of stirring my risotto.”

A moment later, Illya walked in with the album under his arm. He laughed at the sight of the brunet standing at the stove in his shirtsleeves carefully placing and stirring stock into a pot. “You look like UNCLE’s answer to Julia Child!” He sat at the kitchen table and opened the album. “This is the picture; why were you dressed like a cowboy?”

“I’m not.” When the Russian scowled at him in confusion he added, “I just had that photo restored. That is actually my great great great great grandfather Lee Solo.”

Illya’s eyes widened in surprise. “You are kidding!” he exclaimed. When Napoleon shook his head no, he picked up the album and peered closely at the picture. “The resemblance is astounding! Did you always have this photo?”

“No. I was helping Aunt Amy clean out her closets when she came across an old hatbox filled with pictures of the family. ‘I thought I had lost this!’ she said to me and began going through it showing me photos and lithographs of our ancestors until she pulls out this one and says, ‘When you became a man, I realized you are the spitting image of Grandfather Lee, but I had misplaced this box so I couldn’t prove it.’ Illya, when she showed me that picture, I was floored.”

“I can imagine. How much did you know about him?”

“Not too much; I remember my father telling me when I was a kid that Lee Solo was a gunslinger. He had married and had children, but wasn’t really cut out for it, so he left his wife and family behind and headed out West to make his fortune.”

The Russian frowned down at the man in the cowboy hat. “Pardon me, Napoleon, but that does not sound very honorable of him.”

Napoleon had finally finished stirring his chicken broth into the risotto. He sprinkled parmesan cheese over the rice, stirred it through and covered it. He got a glass of water and joined Illya at the table. “That was all I knew about him until Aunt Amy found this picture. She said that he really loved his family and would always send money whenever he came into some. He died in Mexico defending a little village from an army of banditos.

“How does she know that?”

“One of the men who fought alongside Lee in that Mexican village survived and wrote Lee’s wife to tell her she was a widow. He also told her he had Lee’s pay and would bring it to her personally as he didn’t trust the mail. It took him four months to travel from the Mexican – California border to upstate New York where she lived. But he did it, gave her Lee’s pay and ended up staying and marrying her. And before you ask how Aunt Amy knows that, she has Lee’s wife’s diary; it was in the hatbox with the pictures. Her name had been Abigail Solo, but she took her new husband’s name when she married Chris Adams. Of course, the children remained Solos.”

Illya went to get the wine Napoleon had chosen for dinner. Pouring two glasses, he handed one to his partner and said, “I think a toast is in order: To Lee Solo, who fought the good fight and died protecting the innocent. And, to his grandson Napoleon, who continues that fight to this day.”

Napoleon said, “Here, here” and tapped his glass against the blond’s before taking a drink. Putting the glass down he said, “The food’s ready. Let’s eat.”

A/N: Chris Adams is the name of the character Yul Brynner played in the movie “The Magnificent Seven.”

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