Okay, I'm sorry I had to resort to Google Translate for some translations (haha), but I don't know a lick of German, so, sorry if the phrases were weird. If the French phrases were weird, then it's because I'm an American learning French. But I hope you will understand and enjoy the story, nevertheless.
This is for csoru on AO3 who requested a fic through the Valentine's Secret Santa for The Man From UNCLE.
Uh, hopefully I got it right but I feel like I need to write more to fully fulfill the request sooo... I'm really sorry. o~o It's my first time writing for the fandom.
UPDATE: thanks for MollokoPlus and rebelliousrose for commenting and making suggestions about the story. it really helps me out (especially on topics i have no idea about) (ex. '60s era, the canon, and wine)
"Illya, I don't recommend that." The edges of Napoleon's mouth tugged downwards momentarily before straightening out. "You're going to end up making a fool of yourself."
"I know what I am doing, cowboy." Illya said tersely. He continued to move through the racks of clothing. "Already established five minutes ago."
Napoleon couldn't help but to lean around the Russian's shoulders and watch him push the hangers over the metal bar. Occasionally, he would lift one off the rack to glance at the fabric, to run his fingers over the fibers, judging the quality and style quickly, only to set the garment back on the rack. Solo was constantly disappointed and uplifted by Kuryakin's choices.
"Stop babying him," Gaby said as she walked in, wearing some new garments she wanted to size up in the mirror. She turned to the left, turned to the right, and frowned a little. "At what point do you say no to a piece of clothing when the price is so beyond your budget?"
Illya and Napoleon exchanged a look. They had been reprimanded numerous times for wasting money on expensive luxuries, not to mention the costs of property damage the two often left behind (no thanks to Illya, Napoleon would often add). They both shrugged instead of giving a verbal answer. Gaby rolled her eyes and sighed, going back into the dressing room. She grumbled to herself about why the men had more expensive tastes than herself.
"Choose carefully. The place we are going will have plenty of people who believe fashion is more important than the wine they drink." Napoleon said. "We're flying to Paris two days from now."
"Oh? And what crime are the French committing?" Gaby asked.
"You would be surprised. There is very bad man who thinks that he is going to blackmail his way into a government position, especially with the new government after the war." Napoleon said.
"What is with all the men who think they can just waltz in and take any position they want, just because they are holding a weapon?" Gaby commented.
"Actually, he blackmails with information," Napoleon continued through the racks along the wall of the boutique. "A weapon would be easier. He is, apparently, quite the sleuth and hacker..." he mused, holding up a belt for Illya to see. Illya rolled his eyes and Napoleon paused to look disappointed at the belt before placing it back with the others.
"Either way..." Solo pulled out a small manilla file and set it casually on the table in front of Illya. "I've already read up. Why," he paused to gloat internally. "Haven't you?" Napoleon's mouth twitched as he looked at the Russian's jaw tightening.
Solo moved to give Gaby her own copy of the files. "Burn them when you're done, of course," he said as he slipped the file through the changing room door. The file was pulled through and Napoleon saw the Russian toss a few flaming papers onto an ornate porcelain plate on the small side table.
"So, two days then?" Gaby came out of the dressing room after a few minutes, holding a few of her own flaming papers. "... And I have to be yours now?" She frowned a little at Solo. Out of the corner of his eyes, Napoleon saw the ends of Illya's mouth twitch.
"Don't sound so excited, Gaby," Solo said. She shrugged back. "It's supposed to be for a week. Waverly gave us a schedule."
"Fine." Gaby said. "Do you even know any French?"
"German, Italian, English, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish," Napoleon listed. "No time for French." The team resisted a collective sigh. How were they going to complete a mission if they couldn't blend in?
"We will learn before flight," Illya said, finally. "We will practice on plane ride over."
"I have never tried to learn a language in two days," Napoleon half smiled at the Russian. "Should be interesting."
"Comment puis-je vous aider, monsieur?" The waiter asked the well dressed gentleman. The waiter stood rather close to the couple in the mingling crowd. Though French balls were a thing of the past, soirees had taken their place as a chance for people to show off their rich investments as well as discuss business and high class opinions.
"Ah, un verre de Château d'Yquem, s'il vous plaît. Je vous remercie." The man said. He and the woman at his arm were dressed richly, clothed in silk and jewels that sparkled like the chandeliers that hung above the party-goers heads. The woman nearly rolled her eyes. When the waiter was gone, she turned and looked up at the man with eyes of a skeptical doe.
"You know that wine is not free, right?" She pretended to fix his collar while the man scanned the ornately decorated, and packed, room. "And your French accent isn't bad."
"Anything less, and the men here would hear about it."
"Tell cowboy that he is paranoid," the woman's diamond earrings said. She translated the message.
"There are eyes..." the man scanned the crowd slowly. "Everywhere." People were dressed in the best they could offer. Dresses of all sorts of fabrics and colors swirled around and men were in their best, blackest suits with silk ties.
"It's good that we keep our eyes out, but I think it's better that we do not make ourselves known by ordering ridiculously expensive wines..." Gaby sighed.
"Hm. It's a shame our friend couldn't learn passable French," Solo smiled slyly at Gaby, knowing full well that the diamond earrings were listening. "He would be such a help right now." There was no response from the dangling jewelry but both could nearly see the tightened jaw line and the white knuckles on the other end.
"Focus," the earrings said tersely.
"I am. I see our host on the far west wall, talking to a group of very shady gentlemen," Napoleon said. He was already starting to move towards them when the waiter returned, balancing the small dessert wineglass on a silver platter.
"Ton verre, monsieur," the waiter nodded. Napoleon took the wine and shook the waiter's hand, leaving a few highly numbered francs.
"Merci beaucoup," Napoleon returned with a smile, sipping the wine and sighing in pleasure. The wine was sweet and fruity, rich with a few toasty notes mixed in. "Ah, now this is the true treat..." He moved back towards the buffet table to choose some satisfactory looking foie gras quenelle to put on a plate, balancing the glass and the plate on one hand gracefully.
"Don't get comfortable," the earring said disdainfully. "We have a mission. Pursue the men." Napoleon nodded, took another sip of the wine and handed the glass off to Gaby and then made his way slowly through the crowd, towards the small gathering of men.
Meanwhile, Gaby went to the lavishly adorned buffet table that was pushed against the large, floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the city of Paris. As she helped herself to a few miniature cherry cheesecake bites, she watched the City of Light pulsate with activity. People below would get into taxis, dressed in everything from casual to extravagant outfits. Of course, the ballroom was facing towards La Tour Eiffel which glowed like the warm yellow beacon it was.
"Bonsoir, mademoiselle. Puis-je vous inviter à danser?" a man said from behind, Gaby. She turned slowly, feeling the hair on the back of her neck stand up. The man behind her was only slightly taller than she was, with hair so black and oiled that it shined like a piece of obsidian. His eyes weren't much lighter either.
"Je ne danse pas avec des inconnus," she said.
"Sie sind deutsche?" he said, surprised. Gaby nearly sighed. She couldn't get rid of her German accent, especially while learning French. Though she was better than Illya's attempt at learning French, she at least could manage herself, but Napoleon was the victor in nearly mastering the new language.
"Ich bin verheiratet," she responded, holding up her fake wedding ring and nodding in Napoleon's direction. He was now mingling with the men, occasionally laughing like they'd been friends for years prior. "Und ich tanze immer noch nicht mit Fremden."
"Lose him," Illya said. Gaby inhaled sharply when she couldn't respond to him and, instead, started up a some small talk with the man. She learned that he was one Adrien Belizaire, a government secretary.
"How did you get invited here when you don't speak much French?" he asked in fluent German.
"My husband is friends with the host," Gaby nodded again to where Napoleon was speaking with the men. They looked less happy this time though, but some were still smiling. "He also works in the government but has been newly hired."
"Oh? I have not heard of a Georges Lavellete yet... Who does he work for again?" Belizaire asked. Before Gaby could come up with a response, Napoleon was suddenly at her side, wrapping a protective arm around her shoulders lightly.
"Cher, je crois qu'il est temps de partir. Monsieur Vigneau nous a invités pour quelques boissons dans son bar privé," Solo eyed the man warily, like any mildly possessive husband would.
"Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, Gaby?" Adrien smiled at her and then bowed slightly before departing. Napoleon's eyes followed him.
"He looked... odd," Napoleon frowned a little. "Where'd you find him?"
"He found me," Gaby said, debating on how she should feel about Napoleon scaring Adrien. "While you went to talk to Mr. Vigneau. Did you at least find anything out?"
"Not much. He spent a lot of money to host the ball... He's actually not too happy about all the costs. While you were talking with your new friend, I dragged the host off and chatted with him for a little while. He was more than willing to talk," Napoleon said.
"Did he have anything to say?" Gaby asked, intrigued.
"Someone was blackmailing him. He was to throw this party because the person wanted him to. No reason. He didn't have a face or a name." Then Napoleon smiled. "But I got a number." He tapped his temple. Gaby rolled her eyes. His ego needed a check pretty soon, and she'd ensure he'd get one soon. But later.
"Also, I didn't know you gave complete strangers your first name." Napoleon said, reaching around to take another hors d'oeuvre from behind Gaby's beautiful emerald green circle dress.
"I... didn't." She frowned again. "He told me his name but I didn't tell him mine yet..."
"Follow him," Illya from his post on the roof across from the ball. "He is too suspicious." He looked through his binoculars, searching for his team mates. "He knows something..."
"On it..." Napoleon said, taking Gaby's hand, leading her through the crowd of dancers. Gaby spotted the retreating back of Adrien Belizaire, just as he slipped through the double doors through which the party goers entered.
"There," she tugged Napoleon's hand back, leading him in the other direction. He followed him, but as the couple crossed the threshold of the doors and the doors clicked behind them, muffling the music and chatter, Napoleon found his legs going out under him.
Down went the American, his muscles no longer obeying him as he collapsed, scrabbling for any source of stability. Gaby's arm was jerked as Solo went down. "Napoleon?!" she exclaimed, alarmed.
"He probably had too much to drink," someone said from the end of the hall. There stood Monsieur Belizaire, holding the 1959 bottle of Château d'Yquem. He smiled pleasantly. "Mr. Vigneau has plenty of wine but not enough to satisfy Mr. Solo's tastes. I got a tip from a little bird that agents from U.N.C.L.E. would be coming to Paris soon. I've got information on all of you."
Gaby looked at him crossly, holding Napoleon's head off the floor. Though he hadn't passed out yet, his vision swam, the walls and floor melding together. He couldn't make sense of what was being said.
"What do you want from us then?" she pursed her lips.
"I'm getting promoted soon and I don't need you in my way," he bent down and set the wine bottle at his feet in the middle of the hall. "Your friend's on his way. I know he's listening. Better work fast to counteract that poison." With that, he exited right, going into another room, leaving Gaby and Napoleon by themselves.
Napoleon then began to convulse, his hands and legs, thrashing as if he was electrocuted again. His eyes were shut, his jaw clenched.
"Napoleon? Napoleon! Don't you die on me! I need that number!" Gaby laid him down completely, unsure of what to do as he shook. "Illya, Illya! I need you here!" She clawed at the diamonds hanging from her ears. She had nothing on her to counteract poison. She could do nothing to stop the seizure of her fellow agent.
"I'm here..." Illya said, touching Gaby's shoulder lightly and quickly, no more than two minutes later. He was out of breath, his hat barely on his tousled hair. He knealt quickly next to Napoleon, moving his side bag in front of him. He flipped the top, and pulled out a case. By then, Napoleon had stopped his tremors and had gone stiff and pale. His hands and face were clammy, his legs occassionally twitching.
"I don't know exactly what he was poisoned with but we can try..." Illya trailed off, pulling out a vile of liquid. He pulled the top off without screwing it off, clasped Napoleon's jaw, practically tossed the liquid in and held Napoleon's mouth. "Swallow. Swallow, if you want to live, мудак," he commanded.
There was no movement for a moment and then Napoleon's adam's apple slid up and then down. Illya sighed, releasing the American's jaw, and sat back on his heels. "For another time... We need to leave." He said to Gaby. She nodded, frustrated that they couldn't pursue Adrien immediately. She sniffed and then rose to her feet, teetering slightly on her heels before going to peak through the double doors before going to the door that Adrien had disappeared through. Her heels clicked on the hard floors as she crossed the hallway. The window in the room was thrown open, the curtains billowing softly but Mr. Belizaire was gone.
"He's gone, Illya," she said. "We need to do more research into him before he hurts someone else." Illya nodded and stood, pulling his side bag off his shoulder, tossing it to Gaby. She caught it easily and threw it over her shoulders, then she went and picked up the bottle of wine sitting ominously on the floor of the hallway. "Maybe we can send this back to Waverly to check."
Illya nodded and pulled the now unconscious Napoleon up, slinging him over his shoulders. "Call a taxi."
Gaby nodded, leading the way out of the building with Illya close behind. She hailed a taxi quickly and all three agents made it inside. The taxi driver glanced at them briefly, probably brushing off Napoleon's unconsciousness off as a drunken stupor.
When the trio arrived to the hotel they were staying in, Illya and Gaby dragged their comatose partner with them. They tucked him into the hotel bed and Gaby and Illya changed out of their "field clothes", altrinating their shifts of watch to make sure Napoleon was constantly watched.
It was only in the night, when Illya had gone to sleep and Gaby was awake, watching Napoleon for any developments, when he woke up. He opened his eyes slowly, looking around the room before they landed on Gaby.
"Gaby?" his voice was hoarse. Gaby sat up, kneeling by his bed, taking his hand in hers. "I'm not going to drink any more alcohol in fancy places..."
All Gaby could do was to laugh dryly to keep from slapping the man who had nearly died. The ego check could wait.
Uh, so that's it. I wasn't quite sure if csoru wanted a lemon or not (haha because I can write them) but I hope I captured at least a bit of their personalities.
Spent way too long laboring over something that was super easy. haha.
*Comment puis-je vous aider, monsieur? = How can I help you, sir?
*Ah, un verre de Château d'Yquem, s'il vous plaît. Je vous remercie. = Ah, a glass of Château d'Yquem, please. Thank you (formal).
*Ton verre, monsieur. = Your glass, sir.
*Merci beaucoup = Thank you very much.
*Bonsoir, mademoiselle. Puis-je vous inviter à danser? = Good evening, miss. May I ask you to dance?
*Je ne danse pas avec des inconnus = I don't dance with strangers.
*Sie sind deutsche? = You are German?
*Ich bin verheiratet = I am married
*Und ich tanze immer noch nicht mit Fremden = And I still don't dance with strangers.
*Cher, je crois qu'il est temps de partir. Monsieur Vigneau nous a invités pour quelques boissons dans son bar privé. = Cher, I think it's time to leave. Mr. Vigneau invited us for a few drinks in his private bar.
*Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, Gaby? = Pardon me, sir. Until next time, Gaby?
*мудак = asshole