Two Princes

Fandom: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Pairing: Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin

Category: gen

Rating: G

Word Count:

Just a moment in a mission.

Table/Prompt: Inspired By Fairy Tales Table Prompt: The Princess and The Pea




“You look like hell, partner mine, what gives?”

“Can’t sleep.” Illya propped his head up with one fist while he brought the coffee cup to his lips.

“You? Can’t sleep?” Napoleon tried not to grin, failed. “I’ve seen you sleep beaten up, tied up, standing up, what could be wrong? We have a decent room that even has two beds in it, we haven’t been captured by THRUSH for over a week and we’re getting plenty of exercise tailing our target. So…?”

“I do not know, Napoleon. It feels like sleeping on rocks, I just cannot get comfortable.”

“We’ll be home in two more days, perhaps you just miss your own bed.”

Illya just shrugged and made a noncommittal sound, drinking more coffee.


“Go ahead, you can have the shower first.”

Illya nodded and disappeared into the bath, the door closing with a snick.

It had been a long day that they spent mostly on their feet. Napoleon decided to do a little more investigation, while his partner was otherwise occupied. He slid his hands between the sheets of the bed Illya had been using during their week of surveillance, they were smooth and cool. He folded the bedspread and blankets back and lifted the whole mattress up, nothing but a box-spring underneath. He let the mattress drop and let his breath out in a long sigh.

“Illya,” he called through the door of the bath, “I’m going to find something for dinner.”

There was an unintelligible reply that sounded vaguely like consent.

Napoleon charmed the nice girl at the front desk and while she was in the other room looking for the phone book he requested, he checked the hotel register. He memorized the last few people booked into the room he shared with Illya. As soon as the young lady returned, he made a show of finding the restaurant address and was on his way.

“Open Channel D, please.” Napoleon ducked into a doorway and spoke quietly into his communicator.

“Channel D is open, Mr. Solo.”

“Good evening, Philippa, I need someone in research, please.”

“The shift is just changing, it might be a moment.”

“That’s quite alright, my dear.” Napoleon leaned back against the door and shortly another voice came over the open channel.

“What can I do ya for, Mr. Solo?”

“Ah, Mr. Richardson, just the man I need to talk to, I have some names I’d like looked into, if you would. Quickly, if possible.”

“That’s my business, Mr. Solo, quick,” Richardson’s voice was merry, as it always was.

Napoleon gave the man the names he’d memorized and Richardson promised to have something for him as soon as possible. Napoleon was heading back to the hotel laden with take out and a bottle of wine when his communicator sounded. He paused to open it and tuck it into his pocket then continued down the deserted street.

“You have something for me, I hope?”

“I’m not sure any of this is helpful, but here goes…” Richardson proceeded to explain that all the names he had been given were for upstanding citizens with no known criminal or THRUSH connections. There were two businessmen, one traveling salesman and a young widow with her son on the list of people who had rented their room before them. None were in any way suspicious in word or action.

“Thank you, Mr. Richardson, you have been most helpful this evening.”

“Always welcome, Mr. Solo. Happy to be of help.” Richardson was still chipper as he signed off and Napoleon stopped again to close his pen then continued on to the hotel.


“Dinner, partner mine, I hope you’re in the mood for Eastern?”

“How Eastern?” Illya replied, but was clearing the table of their paperwork as he spoke, Napoleon knew that whatever he brought, Illya would eat.

“Fair to middle,” Napoleon said as he pulled the containers of chicken shawarmah and kallayah from the bag and took the paper wrapped cups from the sink and opened the wine. That Illya barely rolled his eyes at the terrible play on words told Napoleon that his partner was still too tired.

Napoleon toasted his partner with his cup of wine and pushed the remaining falafel toward him. Illya swiped up the last of the hummus with the falafel and licked his fingers after swallowing it in three bites.

“I vote you to get dinner tomorrow as well, this was good.”

“We’ll be home by this time tomorrow.”

“Still, there are Middle Eastern places in New York.”

“That‘s a plan then, we’ll go out to JayRue’s, they have dancers on Saturday nights.”

“Trust you to know these things.”

“Escort duty for some dignitaries last Summer. I was not there to watch the dancers; I was there to protect some potentate and his entourage. But it was good food. I’m for the shower, you get to do the dishes.” Napoleon got up and went to his suitcase while Illya piled the now empty containers back in the bag they arrived in and crumpled it all into the trash. “Why don’t we trade beds for the night, you could do with some sleep.”

“That is hardly…” Illya was interrupted.

“Honestly, Illya, take my bed, the sheets are clean.” Napoleon smiled and took his nightclothes into the bath with a smile. Surely Illya was imagining that the bed was full of rocks. But if it got the dark circles under his partner’s eyes to abate, he’d trade beds with no complaint.

Napoleon smiled again when he came from his shower to find Illya asleep in the bed that had been his all week. He pulled down the covers on the bed Illya had been using and climbed in, snapping off the light and tucking his weapon under his pillow. A short while later he could feel something jabbing him in the small of his back. He rolled to his side and settled. Shortly after that, something was poking him in the side. He rolled the other way and settled yet again. And shortly, something was jammed against his hip. This rolling continued; he would sleep for a short time and then the pain would intrude into his dreaming state and he’d wake to roll once more away from the jabbing, jamming, poking until he was no longer sure if he was sleeping in a bed or living a nightmare of new THRUSH torture. He was never so happy as when dawn brightened the window and he could justify rising. Napoleon went into the bath to see if there were bruises from all the beating he was sure he must have endured. There was not. He took a short, cold shower to wake himself out of the groggy sleepless feeling and emerged from the bath to find Illya rising.

“You weren’t kidding, tovarisch, there may well be rocks in that bed.”

“I am sorry, my friend, I tried to warn you.”

“I am just glad you got some rest, you look a little better.”

“Thank you.” Illya disappeared into the bath for his own morning ablutions and Napoleon decided to see what the problem could be with the damn bed of rocks.

Napoleon stripped the bed and then started pushing at the bare mattress. It didn’t look any different from any bare mattress he’d ever seen. He smoothed his hands over it, testing and pressing. Nothing. He knelt on one side and was reaching across when his knee pressed something hard and obviously not mattress innards, not unless mattresses were stuffed with cylindrical tube feeling things.

He stood and pressed the mattress where his knees had been. Nothing. He pressed harder. Nothing. He knelt up on the mattress again, pushing his entire weight and felt the object again. Carefully he crawled across the mattress, pressing down with the kind of pressure he used to neutralize enemy agents, and felt three distinct shapes, all across the middle of the mattress.

Illya came out of the bath then, in shirtsleeves and suit pants, pulling his holster into place as he came to the side of the bed. “What are you doing?” Illya looked at Napoleon, still with his shirttail out and nowhere near ready to leave for breakfast.

Napoleon stood on the opposite side of the bed with his hands on his hips. “Last night I did a little checking into the past residents of this room, just to see if any of them might have been leaving something they shouldn’t. Two business men, a salesman and a young widowed mother; none of them with anything they may need to hide that Research could tell. But there is certainly something in the bed. Perhaps I didn’t go back far enough in the search, but I only had so much time alone with the register, you see.” Napoleon started to feel along the edge of the mattress where the top and side were stitched together. “Ah ha!”

Illya came around to that side of the bed to see what was ah and ha. The stitching had been pulled apart and was open to the stuffing inside.

Napoleon rolled up his shirtsleeve and reached in felt around and pulled out a pocket knife, longer than his palm and folded up. He handed it to Illya and reached in again, further in he felt another hard non-mattress like object and pulled out a slingshot. Finally he reached in and this time had to push far enough that his ear was mashed against the mattress, and at last he pulled out a thin hollow tube with a handle-like projection on one end.

“What on earth are all these things doing in the bed? And what is that one?”

“This is a peashooter, partner mine, and this must mean that we are true princes, for we can’t sleep on the damn thing.”

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