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Through the Eyes of a Child Part 1
(Notes: Maybe I need medical help, but I thought Napoleon was really cute when he pretended to have a child's mentality. Just my take on what would have happened next!)
Through the Eyes of a Child
Illya slammed his fist into a particularly fat man’s face, sending him to join his two companions in a nice pile on the floor. Things had started to look bad when he was jailed by the resident military, but it began to look up again when he had managed to escape, find the THRUSH infiltrators, and take out three of them all by himself. It was only a sudden shriek from behind that told him he had failed in a major way. “Stand back! Or I’ll shoot her!”
He twisted around; saw that bald man holding a gun to Leslie’s pretty head. Her eyes were squeezed shut in terror, tears streaking down through her makeup as her young mind fought through fear and confusion and bewilderment.
Dr. Lillian Stemmler stared at Arthur with hatred as he held her daughter’s life in his arms. She clasped the radio hard with her hand, just staring at him in a strange mixture of scorn and terror.
“Turn it off I said! Or this whole place will go up!” A tinge of nervousness colored the usually confident, unconcerned man’s voice as he glanced behind him at the beams of energy that separated him from a route of escape.
Illya stood, impassive. He was watching, carefully, watching for a weakness, for a moment of inattentiveness, for Dr. Lillian’s own emotional response. Every single factor in this room could mean the difference between life and death for Leslie. But there was not a chance he would surrender the first minute that man bid him to.
But Leslie made the choice for him. She bolted. She tore away from Arthur and ran, ran to the one person she had never even smiled at in true affection. She ran to her mother.
Dr. Lillian caught her in her arms, saw Arthur aim, and twisted around suddenly, shielding her child from the bullet that tore into her back. With a wordless moan, she crumpled to the floor out of Leslie’s arms. Leslie’s face was full of shock, and then raging tears.
Illya ran forward even as Leslie, transformed from a timid teenager to a furious tigress, rushed like a banshee at Arthur and socked him square in the chest, pushing him back into the beams. He threw up his arms as his body was electrified, and gave one curdling scream before collapsing dead.
Illya bent over Lillian, pulling her up and cradling her in his arms. Her eyelids fluttered weakly as he felt her going cold all over. He had seen this so many times. You got used to not reacting, but your heart hurt just as much. “Leslie?” She whispered.
Leslie skidded to her knees beside her. “Mother…mother!” She sobbed, “I’m sorry…I’m so…so sorry!”
Lillian smiled. “So am I, Leslie.” Her hand curled around her daughter’s, as she regretted all the years they had lost. Suddenly she seemed to remember something and looked up at Illya. “Kuryakin…Mr. Solo…I’m sorry, Arthur made me, but…” she wasn’t able to finish before she went rigid, her eyes rolled up, and she expired.
An immediate, cold fear sliced up Illya’s spine. He reared up and turned to run. Arthur was dead. Dr. Stemmler was dead. Leslie was saved. But Napoleon could be in trouble,
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He burst into the laboratory, kicking the door down in his zeal. It took less than a few seconds until he noticed his partner.
Napoleon was looking at the roof in a dazed way as he sat, strapped into a chair with bands and wires around his body. But he looked down and saw Illya standing there, gun pointing. A familiar smile spread over his face. “Illya.”
Ah, good, he was unharmed. Though there was something odd about the way he said Illya’s name. It was free of the normal, friendly mocking tone. There was something odd about saying his name at all. Where was the smart comment?
He passed it off as post-drug or torture anxiety and holstered his weapon, walking forward to begin undoing the straps. “I see you managed to get yourself into the usual mess.” He tried to awaken some banter.
Napoleon’s answer was rather unintelligent. “Huh?”
Illya raised his head sharply and took a good look at Napoleon’s face, which was crumpled in confused concentration. “Are you alright, Napoleon?”
Napoleon’s face relaxed and he smiled. “I’m ok.”
“Good.” Illya was not quite convinced however. Especially since Napoleon wasn’t really lifting a finger to help himself. The minute Illya loosened the last strap he slid off the chair and tapped his feet on the floor a little.
Illya stared at Napoleon for a few minutes. “Alright, confess, what did they do to you?”
Napoleon turned and grinned at him. “They set me on fire. Inside. I was an oven!” He stuck his fingers in his mouth and made a whistle like steam escaping, his face growing a little red in his zeal.
“Oven?!” Illya was thoroughly bewildered now. “You mean body heat increase?”
Napoleon just shrugged. “Dunno.” And wandered over to the table, where he fingers some of the intricate bottles. “Pretty.”
Illya turned and scanned the equipment worriedly. A body heat increaser…scanners, power monitors, analyzers, a small fridge, a safe. He saw nothing familiar that would produce this kind of result. Ah wait, what about that Minus X drug? The last thing he had spoken of with Napoleon before they parted earlier in the evening.
He turned around and noticed Napoleon’s shirtsleeve was still rolled up. He walked up to stand beside him, hesitant, as Napoleon stills seemed engrossed with the bottles. Finally, he asked. “May I see your arm?”
For answer, Napoleon just swung his bare arm almost into Illya’s face, still not looking at him. Illya reached for the arm, recovering from his flinch. “Thank you.” He said succinctly. He twisted the arm a little and found the white gauze patch he had been looking for. So, Napoleon had been given a drug. His best guess was Minus X, as Plus X was supposed to increase the recipients into supermen.
The best course of action was to get him back to U.N.C.L.E. where they could sample his blood and perform some medical studies. He rolled the sleeve back down and started to walk out the door. He realized Napoleon wasn’t following and turned around. “Napoleon, common!”
Napoleon glanced at him. One dismissive brown eyed glance. “No.”
Illya resisted the urge to roll his eyes at such childish behavior. Napoleon was not well. Although, he reflected, this stubborn trait is very much his normal conduct. He managed an exasperated, “why not?”
“Pretty bottles!” Napoleon exclaimed delightedly, hugging two to himself and splashing their contents on his suit. Illya tightened his mouth in frustration and gestured impatiently. “Then bring them along!”
“Ok! One, two, three…” He began to gather up all he could see. Illya sighed and crossed his arms, leaning against the doorway.
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“Mr. Solo’s condition is…unique, to say the least. From a medical perspective, it makes perfect sense. But from a social perspective…let’s just say it’s very odd, indeed.” Dr. Karl sat on one side of the round table, Illya on the other. Mr. Waverly presided at the head, while Napoleon was across from him, with his chin on his arms and leaning down over the table, his brown eyes flying from face to face as they spoke.
“What exactly, has happened?” Illya was still not used to this. He doubted he ever would be. It had been four days since they got back.
Waverly took over. “It seems Mr. Solo has been injected with the Minus X drug you heard about. It has the opposite effect of the Plus X.”
“His mind is basically a child’s. I believe you saw the effect firsthand at the military base, Mr. Kuryakin.” Dr. Karl added.
Illya glanced at Napoleon as his partner made a piercing whistle for apparently no reason at all. He looked back at the doctor. “I did. But I believe they have all recovered by now. What is different in Napoleon’s case?”
Dr. Karl took some sheets out of a file and scanned them. “Well, judging by his blood content, it seems he got a rather powerful, concentrated dose. His condition is not only longer lasting but cannot really be expunged by normal means.” He hurried on as Illya’s eyebrows rose in dismay. “It will go away, Mr. Kuryakin, but we’re not quite sure when. It could be anywhere from a few days to a month.”
“Well that’s a relief.”
“He should be sleeping. Sleep is the best thing for him at this stage.” All three men raised their elbows as Napoleon set the table revolving with a few yanks. Napoleon was being rather spoiled during his stay, since no one knew how to punish Section 1’s CEA, much less resist his laughing brown eyes and heart melting smile.
“Sleeping?” Illya asked, giving Napoleon an annoyed look that made him stop.
“Yes. The drug affects his mind, you see. When he’s sleeping, not only is his mind relaxed, but also toxins of all sorts, including the Minus X, are circulated in his blood stream and are slowly purged from his body. The more he sleeps, the faster his system gets rid of that drug. Unfortunately, he won’t sleep. His dislike for the medic ward is the same as ever, but the difference is that he is now virtually a child, with a child’s complete lack of restraint.”
Illya almost smiled, as he suddenly understood something. He looked at Napoleon with mischievous enjoyment. “He threw a tantrum, didn’t he?”
Dr. Karl looked uncomfortable. “Yes, he did. It’s understandable, considering the state he’s in. But only natural sleep will do, as drug induced sleep is simply another toxin for his body to deal with. He will not sleep in the medic ward.”
Waverly took his pipe out. “Which is where you come in, Mr. Kuryakin.”
“I somehow was expecting that. What exactly do I have to do?”
“Since Mr. Solo will only sleep in familiar surroundings, I suggest he return home with a suitable guardian. You understand, Mr. Kuryakin.”
“Yes, I do, sir.” He looked at Napoleon as his dignified partner, thoroughly bored with all this talking and prohibited from twirling the table, was twirling his own seat around and around. Illya mused on what this would really mean to Napoleon. It had the potential to become the most embarrassing incident of his entire life, as his memory wasn’t badly affected. And if it was, Illya Kuryakin should be the one there for him.
But then again, this also had the potential to also be the most difficult mission of Illya’s career. He met gazes with Dr. Karl. “Is there anything particular I should know?”
“Well, being as you’ve been his close partner for a few years, Mr. Kuryakin, you are probably better acquainted with his personality than anyone else. This drug has not affected those. It has only affected his ability to control them. Therefore, he is still a very cheerful, active, almost hyper man. Now, he is much more so. Like a child, he never forgets a face that he likes, such as yours and Mr. Waverly’s and perhaps some close girlfriends.”
“Oh dear.” Was Illya’s only comment.
“Indeed. We must see to it that he avoids them at all costs. Apparently, he has also lost his romantic tendencies.”
Illya turned to look searchingly at Napoleon, not quite willing to believe that.
Waverly accepted it quite stoically. “You can see the gravity of the situation, Mr. Kuryakin. You are essentially dealing with a new man, yet the same man.”
“Will I be exempt from active service during this period?”
“You and Mr. Solo both.” Waverly answered pointedly.
“One more thing.” Dr. Karl added, “When it becomes apparent that the condition is wearing off, rush him back to us with all speed. There might be complications.”
“When is there ever not, with Napoleon?” Illya stood up and Napoleon stopped twirling. “Common, Napoleon, we’re going home.” The dark haired man grinned with happy relief and anticipation now that he could get moving again. As Illya went out the door, Napoleon began to follow. But then he halted, unsure. He was forgetting something, wasn’t he?
Oh yes. He twisted around and looked at the two elderly men at the table. They weren’t looking at him, but talking together in low voices. He cleared his throat. “Ahem.”
Both men looked up. Napoleon concentrated on the one with big eyebrows, the one he remembered best. He raised one hand and waved, smiling invitingly. “Bye boss.”
“Hmm…?” Understanding chased away the surprise in Waverly’s face. He smiled politely. “Oh uh…yes, of course. Goodbye…Napoleon.”
As a child feels when an adult notices him, Napoleon felt all proud and dancing inside as he jogged to catch up with Illya, who was walking rather quickly, intent on getting them both out of there before too many co-workers noticed.
That was, of course, not to be. They met a girl in the hallway. Illya didn’t know her, but Napoleon apparently did, as he sidestepped and caught her into a squeezing, enthusiastic hug. “Sally! Hiya!”
Mortified and surprised, Sally forced her arms between his and pushed him sharply away. “Napoleon! Not here! What are you doing?!” She demanded, her green eyes flashing angrily.
Surprised and not understanding why his friendly advances were met with such anger, Napoleon took a few steps back, eyes frightened.
Illya turned around at the sound of Sally’s voice and quickly rushed back to explain. “Wait, Miss…Sally. Napoleon isn’t well.” He wracked his brain for a sympathetic story that might regain his friend’s good graces with the lady. “THRUSH captured him and he’s been kept under interrogation for weeks. He’s still afraid of his own shadow.”
As if to prove this, Napoleon sidestepped behind Illya, wishing he was small enough to disappear completely. As Sally watched him and kept seeing the scared look in his eyes, she started to melt into pitying sympathy. “Oooh…Napoleon, I’m sorry. You just saw me…and you were so glad to see me! I’m sorry!”
She almost pushed Illya out of the way as she wrapped Napoleon in a hug and gave him a quick kiss. She backed away and smiled sadly at Napoleon’s shocked face. “You look very ill. But still handsome.”
Illya grabbed his friend’s arm. “Ah, yes, he is. Ill, I mean. I’m taking him to a secluded spot for…rest and recovery.” He quickly hustled Napoleon into the elevator and pushed the floor number before turning to watch his partner.
Napoleon dragged a sleeve across his mouth hard, brow furrowed hard as he tried to understand what had happened. “What…was that lady sick?”
Illya sighed tiredly. “Something like that.”
“What’d she do to me?”
“I’ll tell you when you’re older.”
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Napoleon was glad to see his home. Illya could tell by the way the first thing he did was to plop down on the sofa and demand lunch. Illya had to look at those amazingly intelligent eyes twice to persuade himself this wasn’t some huge charade on Napoleon’s part.
Ok, lunch. “What do you want?” He asked.
Napoleon grinned. “Oatmeal with ketchup.”
That didn’t really surprise Illya. “You’re a deprived child.” He put some water on to boil and studied the directions carefully, trying at the same time to work out how long it was till bedtime and to keep an eye on Napoleon.
A loud crash told him his mind was far too divided. He rushed into the living room. Napoleon looked at him and raised his eyebrows innocently. “Oatmeal?”
“It’s cooking. What did you do?” Illya moved forward to look around curiously for the wreck that normally accompanies a loud crash. Apparently, Napoleon had been performing some odd twists on the couch and had kicked the coffee table with one foot. It just so happened that Napoleon’s collection of lab bottles that were in the bag on top had suddenly and irrevocably been decimated.
Well, this wasn’t too bad. Weird meals, broken things, it couldn’t get much worse, could it? He grabbed the bag and began sifting out the still whole bottles. “Get me the broom.”
A few minutes later Napoleon returned and extended the broom to him. He took it without looking and swept up the glass shards. He managed to get it all in the trashcan and raced back to the pot, which was now bubbling over.
Once again keeping careful track of the recipe, Illya somehow constructed some oatmeal that was just 45% lumpy. Of course, if it had ketchup in it, Napoleon would hardly notice. He squeezed some out of the almost empty bottle and took it to the table in the living room. “Here you are.” Ye gods, he sounded like a parent.
Napoleon came in from another room and sat down eagerly. “Thanks, Illya.”
Well, at least manners weren’t restricted to Adult Napoleon. “You’re welcome.” He felt like lunch himself, come to think of it. He went and raided Napoleon’s refrigerator for a meal, making himself three cold meat sandwiches.
He didn’t notice the jealous glint in Napoleon’s eye as he went and sat across from him. It was a few moments and a few bites into the first one when he heard Napoleon’s voice. “Illya?”
“Hmm?” Mouth full.
“Can I have a sandwich?”
Illya swallowed and looked at him suspiciously. In Illya’s childhood, you never wasted food, ever. And that was a principle he had always kept. Napoleon may have thought otherwise, even without the Minus X, but this was different. This was a child Napoleon asking for Illya’s food just because it tasted better, even though he had insisted on his own…special…brand. “What’s wrong with your oatmeal?”
Napoleon gave the oatmeal a good stare, searching hard for a blemish to excuse it. Then he hit upon something. “I don’t like ketchup.”
Now that was a lie. Napoleon loved ketchup. And mustard. He didn’t keep three bottles in the fridge for nothing. He poured them on everything, much to Illya’s own disgust. “Napoleon,” he said quietly, yet dangerously, “that is a lie.”
A flash of terror went over Napoleon’s face. “Wha…what’re you going to do to me?”
Anything Illya had planned to do went out the window at such a response. “Nothing, Napoleon. But you cannot have a sandwich until you eat your oatmeal.”
Relieved but still disgusted at the oatmeal which had lost all its charm, Napoleon sat back hard. “Don’t want to.”
Illya remembered that many children had this difficult mood. He tried to remember that Napoleon was a full-grown adult somewhat taller and broader than Illya. This would take skill if he didn’t want to have to get physical. “Napoleon, am I your friend?”
Napoleon nodded vigorously.
“Do you want me to get hurt?” Visions of flailing, clumsy fists made him rub his chin automatically.
Napoleon shook his head somewhat (Illya thought) less vigorously.
“Then either eat your food or go to bed.” There, bravo. A chance to make him sleep, too.
Napoleon’s face darkened. “Can’t make me.”
“Oh yes I can.” Illya met the challenge, his blue eyes mustering all the threat and intensity he could manage.
Napoleon’s brow furrowed as he imagined…Illya…talking to him angrily…filled him with such dread and uncomfortable feelings…going away…he surrendered. But he still wouldn’t eat the oatmeal. He stood up suddenly, towering over Illya. Then he went to his room, turned once to give Illya the most soulfully wronged and reproaching look the Russian had ever been subjected to, and slammed the door.
Illya listened as the bed creaked. “Goodnight.” He whispered to the air, before picking up his sandwich and biting into it.
**to be continued**
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|NappySappy||hysterical!||0||Apr 18 2011, 9:06 AM EDT by NappySappy|
Thread started: Apr 18 2011, 9:06 AM EDT Watch
Wow....what a fun story to write and a great idea....don't end this one too soon...keep adding chapters for a while....all kinds of devilish possibilities exist. I loved reading this. Especially liked Naps. clearing his throat to get Waverly's attention and then calling out. "Bye Boss!" Too cute!!
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