Pyrotechnics

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

Pairing: Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin

Category:
slash

Rating:
PG

Word Count:
1132

Summary: After the missions are done.

Table/Prompt: Inspired By Poems Table Prompt: Pyrotechnics

Authors Notes: I hadn’t been thinking about writing a series with this, and yet, here we are. This story stands alone fine, but for further context, takes place directly after Decades and well before More Durable Than Gold. All of these take place after Opportunities Taken and Tried in Wars and Battles gives a little glimpse at our boys’ transition from field agents to future Number One, Section One and Security Chief. And then there is a cycle I find myself writing about how they became partners in the first place. And here I thought I couldn’t create a MFUniverse or SlashiVerse of my own, and it did it all by itself.

 

 

“I think we make them nervous, Napoleon.” Illya nodded toward the two men on the opposite side of the room.

“Surely not, we’re harmless.”

Illya grinned, “Speak for yourself.”

Napoleon smiled in response, “You are right of course, one word to their supervisor and we can have them doing guard duty above the Arctic Circle.”

“Well, that’s something.”

“They should relax and enjoy themselves. We’re not here under our own names, we are quietly minding our own business and we have no reason to suspect that our enemies can find us. In fact, I believe our personal enemies are all present and accounted for in various prisons all over the globe.”

“And those that are not are just in various pieces.”

“Oh, partner, that wasn’t even worthy of my worst!”

“You do tend to rub off on one.” Illya’s smirk said a lot more than his reply did.

“Come on Illya, let’s show these young men how a good time is really had, shall we?”

***

“I’m not sure that they are any less nervous.”

“I’m doing my best to put them at ease. Can I help it if I’m on a roll?” Napoleon’s smile was wide and almost coaxed the same from his partner.

The pair of young agents that U.N.C.L.E. had assigned them stood in the background, obviously unhappy with the level of attention the two men were attracting.

“I think they are just unhappy that we made them so early in our vacation.”

“Is it a test, do you think?”

“Of them or us?”

“Yes.”

“No. I think it is just their bad luck, saddled with babysitting duty.”

“Well, this will be one night they won’t have to fear for their lives, we can give them that.”

“True enough, Napoleon. The dealer is returning.”

Napoleon turned beck to the blackjack table as the dealer returned with several more fresh decks of cards. The pit boss that had been standing over the table stepped away but kept a watchful eye on the patrons.

Napoleon played several more hands, winning most of them. The crowd that had gathered was appreciative. Several of the women had sidled closer, only to find Illya steadfast at his partner’s back. The spectators assumed he was a bodyguard and acted accordingly, respectful but mostly ignoring him. He liked that fine.

Napoleon lost three hands in a row and then won big on a split and double down, very big. He laughed and gathered his chips. There were a lot of them, many more than he had started out with.

“Would the gentleman like an escort to the cashier’s cage?” the dealer asked when it became obvious that Napoleon was done at the table.

“I have one, but thank you.”

The dealer reached under the table and brought out a tray for the chips. Napoleon smiled at the man and racked his winnings. He handed the man one of the many black chips from the tray. The dealer nodded and smiled, pocketed the tip and went back to his deck of cards.

The pit boss joined them as they walked toward the cashier, Illya saw the two agents tense and waved them off. They followed at a distance.

“I didn’t recognize your betting strategy, sir, if I may ask?”

“You can ask, but I am not sure I can explain very clearly, not without clearance from several governments.”

Both the pit boss and Illya looked at Napoleon with raised brows.

Napoleon put the tray on the counter and slid it over to the cashier who started to sort and count. “You see, I just retired from a long and satisfying career and my bets increased or decreased depending on how many, ah, adversaries I could remember defeating between the time the dealer called for bets and the first card was laid on the table, however many I could remember determined my bet on the next hand.”

“It must have been quite a successful career.”

“I have a remarkably sharp memory.”

“My congratulations all around, sir,” he nodded toward the cashier who was holding out a paper with his total written on it.

“Thank you, my dear,” Napoleon smiled at the woman behind the counter. Both Illya and Napoleon looked at the figure, Illya nodded when Napoleon looked his way, the total agreeing with the estimate they had each made.

“Would you like that in a check?”

“Why don’t you wire half of that to my account and the other half I will take in cash.”

“Certainly, sir. Your account?”

Napoleon handed her a slip of paper from his wallet with the required information.

When their business was concluded, the two took their leave of the casino employees and with agents in tow, headed for the elevators.

“Have you had your adrenaline fix for the night then?”

Napoleon slid a look sideways at Illya, a sly smile on his lips. “Maybe.”

Reaching the elevators, Illya pushed the button to call the car and turned to the agents. “Gentlemen, we are retired and retiring. You can surely go your own way for the rest of the evening. We promise to have breakfast upstairs do not expect to see you before lunch.”

The taller agent tried to argue, but Napoleon cut him off. “I know you have your orders, and no doubt have been threatened within an inch of your life should harm befall us. I assure you that the retired New York Number One Section One will come to no harm, his retired Number Two will see to it. We were you once, you know.” Napoleon softened his teasing with a grin.

“But sir…”

“No. Honestly. We’ll never tell. Go enjoy Monte Carlo for a night.” The elevator doors opened and the two entered the car. Pressing the up button and watching the agents step forward even as the doors shut them out.

“You know, we never came here on assignment.”

“Odd don’t you think, partner, perhaps they don’t allow flocks of THRUSH to gather.”

“Maybe.”

They made their way down the hall and opened the door to their suite to find chilled champagne and a midnight supper set up on the table. The note explained that it was compliments of the hotel and wished them a prosperous New Year.

Illya poured the bubbling liquid as Napoleon opened the French doors to the balcony.

“To absent friends,” Napoleon held up the glass Illya handed him.

“And enemies gone.”

They sipped as fireworks started to flare over the harbor. Illya checked his watch, then held up his glass again, “To the new year.”

“And many more after this.”

They drank the champagne down and then as the explosions continued to paint the sky sparkling, they generated some fireworks of their own, and the adrenalin was much more satisfying that way.

 

 

PYROTECHNICS (excerpt) by Amy Lowell
Our meeting was like the upward swish of a rocket
In the blue night.
I do not know when it burst;
But now I stand gaping,
In a glory of falling stars.

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