The Pendragon Affair
-a Man from UNCLE slash fanfic by Taylor Dancinghands
Pairing: Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin
Characters: Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, various O/Cs
Genre: slash, h/c, A/U: Sentinels and Guides, Sentinels are a known institution
Warnings: m/m romance, intimacy, period terminology for African Americans (but not the n- word), tropes and themes lifted freely from The Sentinel tv show, episode 1, season 4 (Sentinel Too, pt 2).
Rating: Mature/PG 17
Length: 19,351 words
Disclaimer: I'm old, but still not old enough to be any of the creators or owners of the Man from UNCLE intellectual property. I swear, my own twisted musings are not costing those people a dime, and I won't be making a penny myself.
Summary: Napoleon and Illya are called in when airport officials in San Francisco are threatened with a laser attack on northbound passenger planes and UNCLE thinks it looks like a Thrush operation. Chasing down the villain's probable base on Mt Tam, our heroes discover that this affair involves Sentinel business too, for Mt Tam hides its own secrets —a forgotten shrine, sacred to Sentinels, which is also imperiled.
Epilogue: "...not all bad news."
Before he headed up the hill to oversee the search of Artos' trailer, Sheriff Richardson offered to have his wife give Napoleon and Illya a ride to the nearest hospital, where they could get their respective injuries stitched. Normally, Illya would have gone with the sheriff, to represent UNCLE's interests in any exotic or advanced technology Artos might have been using. Napoleon could tell that his partner was in no way prepared to be so far from his Guide's side just now, so instead Illya went with him and Lwazi down to the parking lot to talk to the social worker before heading to the hospital with his Guide.
James and the others walked with them partway down the trail until they split off, heading back to their camp to begin dismantling it. Before they left, Napoleon handed out his own UNCLE calling card to each of them, including Lwazi.
"You can call that number any time for help, advice, or if you just want to get hold of either of us, or each other," he said. "UNCLE takes your contribution and assistance very seriously, and considers itself in your debt on that account."
They all thanked the UNCLE agents sincerely and headed off into the woods, disappearing after only a few moments. Lwazi watched them go with an uncertain look on her face.
"Did you want to stay with them?" Napoleon asked.
"Yeah, but… if the police is lookin' for me, I better get things straightened out with the social worker first," she said.
It was only another ten minutes walk down to the parking lot where a handful of police cars, a Plymouth sedan and a Volkswagen bug were still parked. The eastern horizon was just beginning to lighten and they paused for a moment to take it in. Napoleon drew his partner in close, laying an arm over his shoulder, and he felt Illya relax beside him.
"That car," Illya indicated the sedan parked by the trailhead, "has two people sleeping in it."
Guide Dorothy Richardson was awake by the time they reached her, however, her own empathic senses alerted by the trio's approach. She opened the driver's seat door to get out, which in turn, woke the woman sleeping in the back seat.
"Nathan radioed that you'd be coming," she said. "That's Amanda Daniels, in the back seat. She's our local Child Protective Services agent."
"'M awake," mumbled the woman sitting up in the back seat. "There any of that coffee left?"
After a thermos cup of coffee and a few moments to straighten her curly, mouse-brown hair, the petit social worker exited the car and introduced herself to Lwazi.
"I can help you with getting your name legally changed, if you haven't," she offered first thing.
"No ma'am," Lwazi said with real surprise. "I mean, no I haven't, and that would be great, if you could help."
"Emancipation policies for young or emergent Sentinels fleeing an unsupportive home life are very different from other childhood emancipation cases. They are much more likely to be granted. Legal name changes for minors usually have to be approved by the parents, for instance, but not in a case like yours."
Napoleon and Illya exchanged glances, sharing the realization that, as Alpha Sentinels for the US, this was the kind of thing they really ought to know about.
"Lwazi mentioned that she has a grandmother she could stay with, but that her current living situation might not be suited to sharing with a grandchild," Napoleon put in. "UNCLE has a fund for support of individuals and families who have aided in a case, and we'd be happy to offer Miss Kenya's grandmother an ongoing stipend to help her afford a better place."
"That will solve a lot of problems, thanks," said Ms Daniels. "Lwazi, do you have a way of getting hold of your grandmother?"
"Sure, I know her phone number," Lwazi said.
"Then we'll call her as soon as we get back to my office, if that won't be too early," Ms Daniels said. "We'll pick up some clothes and basic supplies for you there, and then you'll be staying with the sheriff and his wife for a little while, until your grandmother gets her new place sorted out, if that's okay with you?"
Several pairs of eyes now turned to Dorothy.
"Oh, Nathan and I often have guests from Child Protective Services," she said. "Just while they're transitioning. It's no trouble."
The last necessary formality involved Ms Daniels fetching the temporary custody papers from the Volkswagen bug parked nearby, and getting Illya and Napoleon's signatures. More UNCLE business cards were handed out, and finally Ms Daniels and Lwazi took their leave.
"She's a strong Sentinel," Illya commented as he eased himself into the back seat of the Richardson's sedan. "And James was a good Alpha for her. She might have fallen into far worse hands."
"James and Ayisha together," Napoleon concurred, settling himself into the front seat. "They showed an excellent example of a good, functioning Sentinel-Guide partnership. Which reminds me, we need to put the UNCLE legal department onto her brother's case."
"I'll mention it in our end-of-mission report," Illya reminded him, communicator in hand. Napoleon was happy to sit back and watch the pre-dawn light painting the passing sequoias with pink and yellow tinted light, while his partner made the call. Illya was thorough as always, though his account of what had happened in the Sentinel Shrine was a but sketchy. He did not omit Ayisha's brother's legal trouble, nor young Miss Kenya's situation, and Waverly was more than accommodating.
"If only he was so generous about ruined suits," Napoleon commented once Illya had finished.
"It is UNCLE's position that an investment in the good hearted and courageous individuals who find themselves assisting UNCLE agents serves as an investment in the future," Illya said, quoting from the UNCLE manual. "Your suits will not go on to be models of civic virtue."
"Well, when you put it that way…" Napoleon sighed, then thought of Frankie, whose future did not hold much promise any more.
"Guide Richardson," he began.
"Please, just Dot," the sheriff's wife interrupted.
"Dot, then," Napoleon continued. "I wanted to ask about Frankie—what's to become of him?"
"Oh, that poor boy," she said sadly. "I'd tell him you bear him no ill will over what happened, but I doubt it will make much difference."
She knew, of course, how Napoleon felt, being a fellow Guide, just as she knew that Illya felt differently about it. "Kendall said he was on suicide watch? " Napoleon asked.
"Part of him is just beginning to realize how he was influenced, and what kind of creature Artos really was," she replied. "But part of him is still devoted to the man. It will be some time before the influence wears off, I'm afraid, and in the meantime he feels terribly conflicted. The real tragedy is that he would have been a very strong Guide, but the guilt he feels will probably prevent him from ever bonding with a Sentinel."
Napoleon shook his head. "I had reached the same conclusion," he said. "If there's anything UNCLE or I can do to help in the future…"
"I've got your card," Dot said with a smile. "And it's not all bad news. Young Henry seems not to have been affected at all, though his Guide abilities are much farther away from manifesting."
"So he was a Guide," Napoleon said. "I thought that might be why Frankie took such a dislike to him, but I didn't sense anything myself."
"He's not showing any Guide traits yet," Dot explained. "But his father mentioned that there are Guides and Sentinels in the family and after I'd spent a little time with the boy I could sense it."
"And now his parents can see to it that he gets the training he needs, and will be prepared," Napoleon commented.
"Precisely," Dot replied. "If nothing else, Frankie's fate serves as a warning to all of us, what can happen if young pre-emergent Sentinels and Guides are not identified and trained. I, for one, will be sure to share that warning with all the parents I meet."
"As you should," Napoleon said.
Illya had dozed off in the back seat, and as Dot drove on in silence, Napoleon soon felt himself falling likewise. It had been a long day and night, and they still had to keep it more or less together until they were finished at the hospital. Napoleon did doze off for a bit, but woke again as they came into town.
"I'll just drop you fellows off at the emergency room, if that's alright," Dot said as they pulled in to the hospital driveway. "I'd stay and drive you back to your hotel, but I've got to prepare Lwazi's room."
"That's just fine," Illya said, sitting up with a grimace. "We can call a taxi when we're done."
They parted with another round of thanks, then made their way into the hospital emergency room, steadying each other as they went. Given the early morning hour, they were the only ones there, and were seen to immediately. To both their great relief, the hospital staff also seemed to understand that a Sentinel and Guide pair who have just come in from some kind of action ought to be examined and treated in the same room.
It was a couple of hours before they were allowed to leave the hospital, Napoleon with his shirt sleeves cut away and Illya with his blood stained jacket draped loosely over his bare shoulders and bandaged back. An uneventful cab ride later, they were at the hotel, the clock in the lobby just striking 10 am. Napoleon steered them first to the hotel restaurant where he ordered them an enormous room service breakfast, then went straight up to their rooms.
The moment the door was closed behind them, Illya was in Napoleon's arms, pulling him into a crushing embrace as he buried his face against Napoleon's neck and simply breathed in the scent of him. Illya knew full well how fragile he became at such moments, after a hard mission where his senses had been taxed to their utmost. He hated it, and still bridled at how helpless he felt, and how dependant, but none of that mattered when he was in Napoleon's arms.
He allowed himself to be gently propelled over to the bed where they could sit together and relax, though not too much, as their food would be arriving shortly. Illya knew he probably needed nourishment as much as he needed to relax his overtaxed senses, but until he smelled food, all he could think of was immersing himself in his Guide's presence.
Much of the stress of the last few hours had come from forcing himself not to think about how that vital, invaluable presence had nearly been lost to him tonight. He shuddered now, as the thought passed through him, and Napoleon responded, kissing his face and murmuring in the voice that never failed to calm him.
"I'm right here, my Sentinel," he said, lips caressing his cheek. "I've got you; I'll take care of you."
Illya drew a long, not-so-steady breath, then drew another, letting his Guide's scent fill his nostrils, feeling the vital strength of his partner's embrace. Keeping in close contact, Napoleon eased Illya's jacket off, so that more of his skin could drink in Napoleon's warmth. He began undoing his own buttons, but just athen, room service knocked on the door.
"One moment," Napoleon called, standing to grab a robe from his suitcase and tossing it to Illya.
Illya was loathe to let Napoleon go, but reluctantly relinquished his grasp to take the robe. As soon as the food was in the room and the food smells all but overwhelming him, however, the need for nourishment overcame even his need to hold his Guide in his arms. Napoleon took the food cart and dismissed the delivery boy with a generous tip, then rolled it up to beside the bed.
"Now we can get comfy," Napoleon said, urging Illya to scoot up on the bed while he prepared a plate of eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausages and hash browns. Once Illya had his plate, Napoleon made up his own, then joined Illya at the top of the bed, shirtless and barefoot. Illya relaxed as Napoleon came to sit beside him, shoulder to shoulder, so that they remained in contact as they ate.
Napoleon was no less famished than he, and Illya took real pleasure watching his Guide inhale his food with equal enthusiasm to his own, for a change. Napoleon watched him as well, catching Illya's side-long glances when they happened to coincide. When they were finally sated, and their dishes stacked carelessly on the cart, they both slumped down together on the bed, falling into each other's arms as though drawn by some magnetism.
The urgency Illya had felt to hold his Guide close was fading, but now came the slower, deeper work of relaxing his vigilant senses, and bringing them back to normal levels. Only his Guide could accomplish this. Only Napoleon could create the sense of safety Illya needed to lower his defenses, and sometimes Napoleon needed to pry his metaphorical fingers away, one at a time.
It was as he began to relax, warm and comfortable with a pleasantly full stomach, lying next to his Guide, that the fight began. The Sentinel within did not wish to relax, and the reason for it came, cruelly, with vivid memories of feeling the life force of his Guide slipping away as Illya held him in his arms. His whole body shuddered with the horror of the memory, but Napoleon only drew him closer.
"Sshh, let it go, lyubov," Napoleon murmured. "It's all right now; we're safe. You can let go now."
Napoleon's use of the same endearment he had used when he was dying triggered Illya's distress even more powerfully. A more violent shudder came, forcing a strangled sob from his throat.
"That's it," Napoleon whispered. "I know it's hard; I know it hurts, but the danger is past now. You saved me, you endured the ordeal…"
"I had nothing…" Illya gasped out, the words finding their way of their own. "I had nothing at all to lose. I don't know if I could have succeeded otherwise."
"I imagine that's how it's meant to be," Napoleon mused, fingers moving through his hair, caressing his face. "I don't expect any unbonded Sentinel would be offered such an ordeal."
Illya shuddered again, remembering the battle, his wounds smarting in sympathy. "My own life meant nothing…" he murmured. "And somehow, it gave me power."
"That power was always yours, Sentinel," Napoleon said, hand coming to rest over Illya's heart. "The power you have is for the purpose of saving lives, and when there are no lives left to save, that power is yours to wield as you wish."
"There was still one life left to save," Illya said, curling close to his Guide. "The only one that mattered. I knew if I saved your life then you would save mine, no matter what risk I took… And you did."
"And how did I save your life?" Napoleon asked, a smile on his lips as he pressed them against Illya's forehead.
"By living, my Guide," Illya said, feeling the sense of home, of peace, and of safety steal into his heart at last. "You save my life every day, just be being alive, and being you, my Guide."
And those, Illya knew, were words he could live by every day, for as long as they both lived.
© 03.31.2018 Taylor Dancinghands