Weapon DanceThis is a featured page

(Note: This is just a little story I made to try and explain Napoleon's bizarre gun handling. You may or may not have notice, but he is not very safe with it. Please forgive any mistakes as I have only seen seasons 1 and 2. Thanks!)

Napoleon loaded his weapon as Illya, noiseless as a cat, moved to one side of the door. Both agents were alert and tense, watching each other and the door for the slightest body signal or movement. It was Illya’s eye twitch that told Napoleon it was time he charged.

And he did. He brought up one foot and smashed the door open, pointing his gun into the room at the first persons that became clear. Illya came right behind him and twisted his own gun behind the door to root out any would be back stabbers. Finding no one, he turned to aim his gun parallel to Napoleon’s.

Mr. Waverly pulled his arm from the THRUSH operative’s unresisting hand. “Good work, Mr. Solo, Mr. Kuryakin.” He turned to the tall man with the expensive suit who stood unhappily by the window. “Now, Mr. Milgrano, I suggest you accompany these young men and I back to headquarters. There’s a great deal I’d like to talk to you about.”

Milgrano sneered. “You may have won this time, Mr. Waverly, but THRUSH will get me out before long.”

Mr. Waverly gave that faintly amused smile. “Really? When you’re being incarcerated in U.N.C.L.E.’s main detainment center?” He turned disregardingly and strode over to his two agents as reinforcements came running through. They quickly moved to search and handcuff the suspects as Mr. Waverly watched.

As Milgrano was led out, Waverly turned to Napoleon and Illya. “I must say I’m rather pleased by your conduct in this rescue operation, even if you were somewhat late in…” He stopped short, his bushy eyebrows rising. “Mr. Solo, correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be scratching your chin with your firearm. With your finger on the trigger.”

Napoleon immediately realized what he was doing and pulled the gun away sharply. It came to rest with the barrel aiming at Illya’s hip. Waverly’s eyes widened in alarm. “Mr. Solo, will you be so good as to holster your weapon at once.”

With a sinking feeling, Napoleon slid the gun into his holster. “Ah, yes, sorry about that sir. It sort of…ahem…slipped my mind.” His pitiful explanation trailed off as Mr. Waverly’s face, which had the beautiful talent of being scornful without showing scorn, frowned at him. “Slipped your mind. Two of the three main rules of firearm safety slipped your mind?” He turned to Illya, who was watching with interest. “Mr. Kuryakin, has this happened before?”

“All the time, sir.” Illya ignored Napoleon’s desperately pleading face and launched into a mischievous explanation. “Mr. Solo’s gun seems not to know the difference between friend and foe. He points it at himself as often as he points it at the enemy. He also holds it with the wrong fingering during moments of deep thought and twirls it around in a most disconcerting, unprofessional way. I cannot think why there have been no friendly casualties, unless it is due to that famous luck of his.” During this speech, Napoleon, safely out of Mr. Waverly’s viewpoint, was staring at Illya with open-mouthed horror at this betrayal.

“Huhmm.” Waverly muttered, turning around to face Napoleon. “Mr. Solo, there will be no more missions for you until you have taken a firearms course at U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. I want to see your report on my desk before the week is out. Mr. Kuryakin, see to it.”

“Yes sir.” Illya watched Mr. Waverly walk out. He turned to Napoleon, whose mouth was still partly open as he stared at Illya, more for form’s sake than from actual shock. “Uh…Illya…” He began.

Illya quickly interrupted him with a condescending pat to the shoulder. “Oh, you’ll be fine, Napoleon. Just think, it’s not every Section Enforcement Agent who has to go back to weapons education after four years.” He strode on to hide his smile as he heard Napoleon rush up behind him, his voice taking on a low, angry tone. “You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you? You knew.”

Illya schooled down his features and shrugged. “I merely took the opportunity when it came.” He wheeled around suddenly as they waited for the elevator. “You’re not mad, are you?” He peered close into his friend’s face for a moment before breaking into a disappointed, “Oh, Napoleon. Such a childish reaction.”

Napoleon tried valiantly to regain lost ground as they rode down the elevator, but Illya had all the cards. Napoleon was extremely unorthodox with his weapons. “I’m not mad! I’m just shocked that you would expose me so heartlessly!”

Illya smiled slyly, hiding it by looking at the floor numbers. “Yes, well, I have always left tact and heartthrob to you. You don’t like how I expose you? Expose yourself.”

“I hardly need to, when I have all these kind, loving friends to do it for me.” Napoleon growled back.

“And you can be sure that I, as one of your kind, loving friends, will be quite willing to take Maria out while her dear Napoleon is busy in weapons training.” Illya placed the final blow. Napoleon lapsed into unhappy, grumpy silence as the elevator opened and they went into the lobby.


“Alright, Solo. First check is weapon cleansing so as to familiarize yourself with the parts.” The instructor, Matthew Fannigan, rattled out his instructions as he brushed back his light brown hair. He felt a little proud but a lot more nervous at teaching someone who was more than ten times his rank. He cast a careful gaze over the young man with his dark hair and his heart melting smile and his brown, laughing eyes. Solo took off his jacket and hung it on the wall, exposing his shoulder holster.

Matthew could tell by the tenseness in Solo’s shoulders and the tight line of his mouth that his new student was strung up with anxiety and irritation. Not a good sign. He went over to the wall and pulled open a filing cabinet. Samar, Selfs, Sindan, Sodder, ah, here it was, Solo. Napoleon Solo.

He opened the file and passed a glance over the picture, recognizing it as the handsome, suave man behind him. Then he pulled out a sheet, not noticing the white scrap that drifted to the floor. His eyes scanned over the summary of Solo’s original weapon course.

Subject: Solo, A, Napoleon.

Number: 14382.9G

Weapon Course Summary

First Quadrant Score: 48.

Second Quadrant Score: 69.

Third Quadrant Score: 87.

Fourth Quadrant Score: 96.

Quickdraw Speed: Under 1 second.

Probability Pattern: Group H.

Accuracy Score: 98.

Maneuver Score: 89.

Overall Potential: Excellent. Section 2 Enforcement Suggestion.

Hmm, seemed a much better than average student. So what was the problem? He reached into his pocket and pulled out Mr. Waverly’s letter, rereading the last words silently. “Mr. Solo seems in dire need of relearning the proper way of holding his weapon. See to it, Mr. Fannigan.” Oh, he’d see to it, alright.

Matthew went over to the table where Solo was sitting. Some of the tension had left his student’s shoulders as he became engrossed in the familiar task of cleaning the gun parts. Matthew watched with interest. Solo obviously knew his gun well, going through the cleansing task with a methodical, swift ease. Sometimes his fingers did an odd flick, twist, or grip on a certain part as he moved them around, but that wasn’t dangerous.

Solo slammed his palm upwards as he shoved the clip into place. He looked up expectantly. “Finished, headmaster.”

Matthew bit down a smile and motioned towards the target range. Solo stood up and held his gun a bit stiffly, pointed in a safe direction. But with a trained and practiced eye, Matthew could see that the control was forced; that Solo was concentrating on keeping the gun pointed where it should be.

Two could play at that game. Matthew leaned casually against the wall and watched as Solo easily bulls eyed stationary targets, moving targets, transparent targets, and outlined shades. That was just child’s play. Now came the real test. “Mr. Solo, if you’ll step through this door, I expect you to eliminate THRUSH targets while blanks are shot at you from different positions. Avoid these as best you can, if you please.” In a realistic, 3d setting, Matthew hoped Solo would relax and show his true style.

Solo gave him a mournful, wry glance. “I wondered when the fun part would come.” He said sarcastically, reloading his gun and standing before the door. Matthew turned on the camera from which he could safely view Solo’s progress. Solo smiled, almost reluctantly, as if trying to hide a daredevil joy. “Into the valley of death…” he began. The light above the door shone green, and it slid open with a hum. Solo leapt inside, and it shut behind him.

Solo shot the first target through the forehead, meanwhile sprinting to the first shelter he could find as shots rang out from the north wall. He got some sand sprayed in his eyes from one lucky bullet, but managed to take down the remaining three targets. Then the south wall right behind him opened up. He seemed to hear the click of the mechanism and, almost on instinct, flung himself over his barricade and rolled to another. Good.

What was better, Solo was loosening up. Besides increasing his damage points, his hold on the gun went what Matthew thought was completely haywire. Solo rested his finger on the trigger the entire time, ran with it pointed at his knee during certain intervals, switched it from hand to hand, and when firing suddenly behind him, he wheeled much too fast and risked grazing his own ribcage. But he did take out every single target.

Matthew turned off the blanks and targets and spoke into a microphone. “Alright, Solo, the enemy’s retreated and you’re left to guard the area. Do so.” He went to get himself a cup of coffee from the table and pulled up a chair.

He waited and watched a good half hour. It was almost funny the way Solo kept perfect gun safety for the first fifteen minutes, but then instinct took over, and he started to relax. Finger always on that hairline trigger, the gun went up to move a stray lock of dark hair. Solo yanked it down suddenly, glancing nervously at where he judged the camera might be. That was the only slip up, but it gave Matthew the info he needed.

“Alright, Solo. I want you to hold your gun properly, keep it pointed away from yourself at all times, and only finger the trigger during active combat. You have another half hour combat coming up.”

Solo made a wry face that had Matthew smile again. He almost felt sorry for the guy. That is, until Solo, following the rules, was easily shot to pieces by the robot guns. Matthew put his head in his hands a moment before opening the door.

Solo came in, wiping sweat and sand off his face. “Listen, sir,” he began, forestalling Matthew’s next words, “Just so you know my right arm has been rather stiff since the Boering Affair and I’m never at my best in closed rooms anyway.”

Matthew frowned. “We’re going to start at the beginning, Solo. I suggest you postpone any more active service until you’re no longer a walking hazard.”

Solo had the grace to look sheepish. “Yes sir.”


The week turned into more weeks, then months. Still no word of any improvement from Solo. Waverly puffed broodingly on his pipe, trying to discern what exactly the problem was.

Illya threw himself into solo missions, ignoring the twinge of curiosity as to how his partner was really doing.

Matthew threw himself into black coffee and long, long training hours.


Matthew really didn’t understand it. Why was it that Napoleon Solo could murder a roomful of class A targets while holding his gun like a slippery water balloon, but when holding his gun in a normal, safe, convenient way, was almost instantly full of holes?

As soon as Solo, or Napoleon, as he now called him, was trained to use his gun properly no matter what, his grades plunged drastically. Such a sharp change from his near perfection in that first test!

Still brooding badly over this, Matthew came into the target room only to hear the bang, bang, bang of Napoleon’s gun. The agent was feeling both the irritation of his teacher and the frustration of being on a graduate level weapons course for two months. His bullets were peppering the targets with much more angry enthusiasm than skill. Napoleon was doing the behind draw exercise again; the targets rose and he swirled around, drawing his gun in time to hit them in the heart. But his movements were still too tight, too tense. The gun seemed to be a red-hot poker he was holding, not a part of him.

His shot suddenly went high and chipped the already very chipped cement wall.

“Napoleon!” Matthew snapped. Napoleon turned to him, brown eyes full of borderline insubordinate rage. His jaw was clenched as he came forward to meet his instructor. “Napoleon, why can’t you relax?”

Napoleon’s voice was low as he glared daggers at the gun, still holding it carefully of course. “Because every time I do I either get you on my back or this gun in my hip! I can’t explain it. It’s what I’ve always done, and maybe always will.” The last phrase was quiet, almost to himself.

“You can’t. Get used to the normal mode, ride with it!”

Napoleon shoved the gun roughly into the shoulder holster. “I’ve been trying that for the past two months!”

Matthew almost looked heavenwards for help with this strange, stubborn American. “Do you want to stay in this course forever?”

“The way it’s going I probably will.” Napoleon growled.

“Oh, bravo Napoleon. Keeping a positive outlook in the face of overwhelming odds.”

The new voice made both their heads swivel. A somewhat short, blonde haired man with striking blue eyes strode into the room. He moved with grace and ease and an air of command, and Matthew had a faint, weak hope that perhaps it was one of Waverly’s underlings come to end the whole project.

No such luck. “I’m Mr. Solo’s partner, Illya Kuryakin. I’ve come to see how the progress goes.” Matthew noticed a slight Russian accent as he shook the man’s hand.

Napoleon turned away, rolling his eyes. “What progress?” He muttered. Matthew saw Illya smile slightly at Napoleon’s back before he turned to Matthew. “Indeed, Mr. Fannigan, what progress?”

Matthew crossed his arms. “If you must know the truth, it’s been a steady drop. As his partner, do you have any advice?”

Illya looked at the wall above Matthew’s head a moment. Napoleon turned around, brown eyes alert as he watched his friend suspiciously. Illya met Matthew’s eyes again. “Oh, I have an idea that might work.”


“You. Are. A. Crazy. Russian.” Napoleon stared disbelievingly across the room as Illya held the paper plates in his hands. “If you think I’m going to risk my job just so you can prove a point than you are sadly mistaken.”

Matthew paced agitatedly around them both. “I can NOT allow this. It goes against every known safety rule.”

“It is not unknown to use live targets.” Illya said quietly.

“With blanks! Not a real, killing weapon with a maniac behind it!”

“Hey!” Napoleon protested.

“What if you get killed?” Matthew continued, ignoring him.

“Then we’d be doing U.N.C.L.E. a favor.” Napoleon cut Illya’s reply off. Illya gave Napoleon one glare. “I have complete trust in your skill, Napoleon. I also have complete trust in the fact that you would never shoot me…on purpose.” He spread out his arms, plates extended. Matthew lugged forward some body armor. “At LEAST put this on.” He ordered.

Illya relented and let Matthew snap on the vest. Matthew stepped back behind Napoleon to watch his shooting form. Napoleon was still unsettled. “I am not doing this.”

“Yes, you are.” Illya spoke matter-of-factly. “Remember William Tell?”

“I’m not Swiss, for Pete’s sake, I’m an American, remember?!”

“How can I ever forget it? Look at it this way, Napoleon. This is, I think, the only way to improve your stubborn methods. Its either this or you spend the rest of your very short U.N.C.L.E. career in here, while I take Elaine to that party on…”

“Alright, smart Russian!” Napoleon growled, “But you asked for it!”

Matthew had a brief worry that Napoleon’s emotion would affect his aim. But it didn’t. In the blink of an eye and in the correct hold, Napoleon shot through the near middle of both plates. Illya smiled smugly as he dropped the remains on the ground. “See?”

“But why can’t he do that with stationary targets?” Matthew asked incredulously.

“In times of desperation Napoleon is capable of various horrible things.” Illya started to take off the armor.

“Thanks. Now why don’t you tell us what we’ve accomplished by all this?” Napoleon frowned, almost reloading his inactive gun on instinct.

“I just wanted to show Mr. Fannigan that you are truly capable of safe weaponry. Now I have a question. How did you ever pass initially?”

Matthew felt like a flashlight had just turned on. “Yes, how? And who passed you? Have you always used your gun like that?”

Napoleon frowned a little in thought. “My instructor was Andrew Zirando. And now that you mention it, I HAVE always been…well, I wouldn’t call it careless.”

“What would you call it, Napoleon?” Illya asked gently.

“Well…” Napoleon’s eyes darted between the two men as he gathered his idea of the situation. “I’d call it a dance, a union, a partnership. My gun is…” he pulled it out and cradled it in his hand, finger brushing the trigger. “Part of me. It can’t hurt me, or who I don’t want it to hurt. I can’t have accidents with this gun. It moves perfectly with me. Like so…” He suddenly flipped it in his hand and aimed right between Illya and Matthew, slamming several bullets into the forehead, heart, and right hand of two targets.

Matthew looked at him a long moment. Then he shook his head. “It’s just…it’s not allowed. It’s not safe.” He went over to a chair and dropped in it heavily. “It goes against the natural laws.” He ended with frustration, ready to tear his hair out and resign. So, Napoleon couldn’t fight without breaking the safety rules, and he couldn’t follow the safety rules without failing in a fight. Why did he always get the difficult students?

“Illya and I thrive on breaking natural laws.” Napoleon holstered his weapon and sighed. For perhaps the first time he showed the despair and exhaustion in his face. He too had been wrestling with this problem for weeks, wondering if it would affect his career, or worse…would he really accidentally hurt a partner? He trusted his hands, which felt so right holding a weapon. But terrible dreams of blood and closing, dulled eyes were hard things to shrug off. Yet he was incapable of using the gun any other way.

Illya looked at that tired face, and then crossed his arms and frowned at the floor a few minutes, deep in thought. Suddenly he looked up. “Still, how and why did Mr. Zirando pass you?”

Napoleon leaned against the table, sitting on the edge and rolling his head back, feeling the neck bones crack. He met Illya’s eyes. “I don’t know. I haven’t got the slightest idea.”

Matthew uncovered his face. “He’s stationed in France right now. I could send him a transmission.”

“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Fannigan.” Illya straightened up from where he had suddenly crouched. “I think I just found his answer.” He handed Fannigan a white slip of paper. Napoleon cocked his head to read over Matthew’s shoulder.

In Zirando’s writing, it went:

Notes on Solo, A, Napoleon, number 14382.9G.

Napoleon is deadly in the field and will in time become an excellent agent in whatever Section he is placed. But his unorthodox methods I have found, with much pain, to be absolutely necessary to him. Without them he is inept, with them he is a trained assassin. It is useless to train them out; he can’t help it. To him, a gun is not a weapon, it is part of him, and should be used as such. I therefore suggest a special allowance be made for him and his ‘special’ methods.

Andrew Zirando.

A grin split Matthew’s face. “An excellent suggestion, if I do say so. I’ll present this note to Mr. Waverly right now!” He jumped up and grabbed his coat off the table, nearly unseating Napoleon in the process. Then he pelted out.

Illya watched him go and then turned back to Napoleon. There was a mischievous light in his blue eyes. “Interesting note. Did all your teachers make them?”

Napoleon was very relieved, and very much master of the situation again. “Yes, they did. I was a very interesting student.”

“Interesting,” Illya kept a straight face. “I shall be interested in viewing your social instructor’s notes especially.”

Napoleon gave him an evil grin, “tovarisch,” he said happily, as the relief made the grin stretch wider and his eyes sparkled, “you read one of those notes, and you will be in a state similar to your paper plates. And I won’t miss.”

Illya glanced at the paper shards before shrugging his shoulders. “I would only be dying in the line of duty.”

“Gor din plikt idag och angrar imorgon.” Napoleon said as he slipped his jacket on, gratefully thinking he would never have to hang it on that hook ever again.

Illya glanced at him, curious. “Just what does that mean?”

Napoleon smiled. “Do your duty today and repent tomorrow.” he smoothed down his dark hair with a careful hand. “William Tell said that.”

Illya slapped the report folder on Napoleon’s chest, whose arms clasped it to keep the contents from slipping out all over the floor. “No, he did not. Mark Twain did. And please, do not sully the Swedish language with that ever flapping tongue of yours.” They strode to the door.

Illya waited until they were both in step, going down the corridor shoulder to shoulder, side by side, as they had always done. “And by the way, welcome back.” He said without looking. Neither said anything or even looked at each other. But Illya smiled, blue eyes sparkling, and Napoleon grinned, brown eyes laughing.


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NappySappy nice subject matter 0 Mar 31 2011, 4:21 PM EDT by NappySappy
Thread started: Mar 31 2011, 4:21 PM EDT  Watch
Fun story to read...it's cool when you see something small in the series and can turn it in to a story! Well done, Solo fan!!
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Anonymous Weapon Dance 0 Mar 31 2011, 5:59 AM EDT by Anonymous
Thread started: Mar 31 2011, 5:59 AM EDT  Watch
Great story! I had noticed that about Solo. He seems to be very casual when handling a firearm. You really showed that well. ".....you seem to be scratching your chin with your firearm. With your finger on the trigger.” Too Funny, but classic Napoleon move. Terrific story.

Kelly C
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