The Doctor OrdersJosephina Nichovia Kuryakin, Section 2 agent, sat on the examining table in Medical. She was receiving her last checkup after the injury she had received to her head.
"You understand Miss Kuryakin, no hits on the head, no exertion, no injuries for the next week."
Although she had been released from the hospital for almost a month, she was still on medical leave for another ten days. The doctor had caught her practicing in the gym the week before and had to ask Waverly to intervene.
The doctor looked down on his patient. These Section 2 agents always made it more difficult than it should be, "I am counting on you two to ensure that she follows directions."
Napoleon Solo, Northwestern CEA and his partner Illya Nichovetch Kuryakin had escorted Jo to her appointment. Not that they didn't trust her to tell them her restrictions, but as with all section two agents, it was better to safe than sorry.
"Doctor you have our word. Just the three S's—sailing, swimming, and sun. We're going to take a nice sailing trip up the coast for the next week. No Thrush, no bad guys. Just the three of us." Napoleon informed him.
Jo was so eager to get out from under medical's radar with all the proper i's dotted and t's crossed that she would have agreed to anything.
"Really doc, I will let them do all the work and just work on my tan," then grinned at Napoleon, "among other things."
Illya shook his head at the forwardness of his sister, "You have all our word, now may she be released to us."
With one last look into her eyes, the doctor said, "Okay. However, remember what I said. You could be right back in here with brain damage if you don't."
After being released from medical, the three headed toward their apartments. Each lived on a difference floor of the same secure UNCLE building. The idea of a sailing holiday came up when Waverly gave Illya and Napoleon a week off after discovering they had been on five assignments with no down time. Something they had not reminded him of either.
Although Illya did get seasick, he loved the deep-sea diving the coast offered. Besides he’d take his peppermint oil that he could put in tea and behind the ear even peppermint candy to help deal with it. He didn't mind taking natural herbs rather than a medical intervention as he rejected most medicines as unnecessary.
Now they were actually getting underway. All three had prepared and were ready to load the car with a week's supplies. Illya picked up the last of the diving gear from Napoleon closet where they stored it after it had been borrowed from Head Quarters. He was dressed in a black tee shirt, black jean shorts, and sandals. His wind swept blonde hair was wild and his deep blue eyes showed signs of excitement. He looked more like a beach bum than a well-trained agent.
Napoleon in contrast was dressed in a white captain uniform, top accented in gold buttons and trim with matching shorts. A Captain's cap covered his perfectly combed dark brown hair and hazel eyes winkling with anticipation of the week to come.
He opened the door, "You're still welcome to bring someone along, Tovarisch."
"How many times must I tell you? I want to dive, read, and eat not necessarily in that order. I do not need or want anything else at this time."
"Okay," Napoleon began but stopped when he saw Jo standing before them.
The black, button-down summer shirt she was wearing was tied off at the midriff, showing quite a bit of skin. Black jean short, shorts and sandals finished her clothing. Her waist long pale strawberry blonde hair was in braids. Although she was 26 years old, she usually looked about 18. Today, someone might take her for jailbait.
"WOW," Napoleon exclaimed, "There’s a lot of you showing."
Usually she was covered from head to toe in a black turtleneck and pants.
"I could cover it up, if you would like," she offered.
Napoleon pulled her inside his apartment and twirled her around drinking in every inch of her. Illya looked at the two of them.
"No twirling, twisting or rough stuff, remember. It would be nice if someone gave me a hand carrying this stuff to the car."
"Okay Tovarisch, let's get those things stored." Napoleon said picking up the last case of supplies. "You," pointing at Jo, "Stay right there."
Placing the last box in the car, the three returned to their apartments to make sure everything was locked up tightly and to let security know that they would notify them when they returned. Napoleon pulled Jo from the chair and placed his arms around her, kissing her deeply.
"Can the two of you rein in your raging hormones until we at least get to the sailboat," complained Illya as he came into Napoleon's apartment, "If we do not get moving soon, we will lose a day of sailing."
"Yes papa," Jo teased her older brother. Illya just growled and led the way to the car.
Sailing the Ocean BlueThe water was cool, the wind light, and the sun perfect. The thirty-foot sailboat was sliding thought the ocean silently. Multicolor fish dotted the ocean waves. Napoleon was piloting the boat along the coastline with an expertise that anyone who didn't know about his love of sailing would find surprising.
Illya claimed to be trying his hand at fishing from the gently moving boat but in reality was sleeping under his wide brim hat.
Jo was lying on the deck in a bikini, the newest fashion of swimwear that April had helped her pick out.
"It will drive Napoleon crazy," April had assured her.
Napoleon had lowered the anchor into the calm sea, allowing them to sway in the current. He glanced over at Jo frequently; appreciating the view. He was now wearing his swimsuit and leaned on his elbow as he lay down next to Jo. She examined the man beside her. The usual shirt that covered his scars was missing, allowing her to see his well tone body that was usually hidden.
"You are blocking my sun," she complained.
Tracing her curves with his fingers he offered, "I thought maybe you’d like me to put some lotion on you." He showed her the bottle of suntan lotion. He began on her shoulders and slowly worked his way down. Soon they were tickling each other and rolling around on the blanket.
Illya was standing before them and cleared his throat, "Excuse me but I thought I should tell someone that I am going snorkeling."
"I will come with you," Jo offered, "How about you Napoleon?"
"That's alright, I'll just lay here and wait for some company," he pouted. He had no love for the water except when he was sailing.
Fish swam around the two Kuryakins as they snorkeled under the water. They were approached by the small schools of fish and were able to reach out and touch them. The peace and tranquility offered by the beautiful blue ocean was something they found rarely. After snorkeling for about an hour, they rejoined Napoleon on deck.
Jo went to bed soon after a simple supper of cheese, sausage, bread, and fruit with wine. Although she won't admit it, the day had worn her out.
The two men spend the night talking—for once not about work but life in general. The sea air, relaxation, and wine soon had them also retiring for the night.
Napoleon and Illya woke to the smell of eggs and bacon frying on the hotplate. The smell of coffee called them from their bunks. Fruit, bread, and fresh squeezed juice also greeted them.
As they sat down to a full breakfast, Napoleon said, "Didn't know you could cook, Jo."
"There are a lot of things you do not know about me, Mr. Solo," she raised her eyebrows in a seductive invitation. "In Russia, you learned to cook a complete meal on a hotplate or ate everything cold. So what are the plans for today?"
"None," both men answered at once.
"We're just going to sail along until we find a nice quiet place to anchor. Then we'll fish, swim, snorkel, or even read," Napoleon said glancing at this partner. "Tomorrow, we'll reach my friends private beach and the small town that’s part of. Then we'll go into town for a nice supper."
Time to do whatever they want was something none of them had often and the day was promising. Illya spent a substantial part of the day swimming and snorkeling. Jo read, swam and lay on the deck attempting to get a tan. Napoleon, studied his maps, tinkered with his boat, and actually was convinced to go swimming with Jo for a while. Although he didn't love the idea, he could see how happy it made her, and that was something he treasured.
Each fixed themself something to eat when hungry during the day. Illya had promised to take care of dinner. He changed to his scuba gear to explore the shallow bottom for lobsters often found in the cold waters off Massachusetts.
Jo's AngerJo and Napoleon laid on the deck talking after Illya left. "Having a good time?" Napoleon asked.
"Yes. Thank you. It has been a long time since I have felt so contended and comfortable," Jo answered smiling at him.
"Jo," he started hesitantly, "You haven't told me anything about your past before coming to New York. Was it all terrible?"
Jo took in a deep breath. Napoleon had shared so much of his life with her, but she had kept her past a secret from everyone. Shouldn't she share with him? She had been raised to trust no one, to never reveal her feelings for fear of punishment, to fight for everything she wanted. No one actually had every asked her what she wanted; it was always what the government or her superiors wanted. Only Illya had seen any of her inner turmoil and even he knew only the basics because he had lived the same life. Now Napoleon was asking her to share.
"Not all of it," she finally answered. "I received an excellent education for which I will always be grateful. However, I was taught the way to think and live. Never encouragement, always threats and punishment. No matter how well you did, they always wanted more."
"How did you handle it?" Napoleon asked.
"Anger. It was easier to be angry and strike back when I could," she gave a small sad laugh sitting up, head on her drawn up knees. "Guess that where my temper comes from. It was how I could have some control over my life. Sometimes it led to more punishment, but even that type of notice was better than just being one of the masses."
Napoleon gathered her in his arms pulling her back down toward him, "You don't need anger to get noticed by me or any of your other friends. We appreciate you for who you are."
"Friends," she said as if the word was unfamiliar to her. "That has always been a non-existence concept for me. We were discouraged from having any. It has been a strange notion for me to accept, but you have all helped. Thank you. I am sorry Napoleon, but I would rather not talk about this anymore right now."
RelaxationWhen Illya returned from snorkeling with the lobsters, he found his two shipmates sleeping with Jo's head resting against Napoleon's shoulder. He had to admit that they looked right together. Later that night, he boiled the three lobsters each about 2 lb. for supper. With a salad and some bread, the meal was a success.
"You know Tovarisch; next time you claim you can't cook I'll remind you of this. It's delicious," Napoleon teased him as he licked off each of his fingers.
Than finished the rest of Jo's lobster that she had pushed in his direction.
"You have found out my secret Napoleon. This is the only thing I can cook without burning it. Illya retorted, "I can always fix you some burnt toast tomorrow morning."
Napoleon laughed, "No thanks, this was wonderful though."
Later that evening the three sat on deck chairs, listening to the gentle sounds of the waves slapping against the bow of the boat. Illya came back from the cabin with their guitars. Playing and singing they spent the night together without fear of death or capture. Jo had once told him, she loved his dancing but to leave the singing to her so it took some convincing to get Napoleon to sing with them.
The peacefulness of the water embraced them as they fell asleep for the night giving them each the undisturbed rest that they were often deprived of while on assignment.
To Chapter 2