The Girls from U.N.C.L.E.: The Calendar Conspiracy Affair

by illyushadarling

His nose in the latest scientific journal, Illya Kuryakin descended the steps to Del Floria's and passed through the curtained dressing room into U.N.C.L.E.'s New York HQ reception area. "Good morning, Illya," trilled the warm tones of the latest lovely operative to staff the desk. Without lifting his eyes from the text, Illya mumbled a technically polite "good morning, Rachel" in return, extending his hand to receive his badge in his usual fashion.

To his surprise, Illya felt a hard tug on his lapel and an equally hard tug on the back of his neck. Before his finely-honed agent's skills could even kick in, his lower lip was suctioned into a plundering mouth, which quickly delivered a sharp nip followed by a soothing lick. Just as quickly, the contact was broken save for a lingering pat on his chest as Rachel secured his identification badge in place.

Illya leveled a bemused yet icy glare at the young woman. "What was that for?" he demanded.

"Oh, Illya, I don't know!" Rachel protested, blushing prettily. "I just suddenly couldn't resist you for one more moment!"

"Yes, well... pray, do resist," the agent insisted, as he made short work of entering the silently sliding door into U.N.C.L.E.'s steely corridors, heading for the office he shared with his partner, Napoleon Solo.

Napoleon was seated at his desk, diligently avoiding writing the report on the last mission he and Illya had shared, when a very disheveled Illya stumbled through the door, and immediately disabled the automatic opening mechanism. His hair was mussed more than usual, his tie was askew, and one shoulder of his suit jacket was half-way down his arm. He clutched a very crumpled magazine in one fisted hand.

"What happened to you, tovarishch? Thrush ambush you on the way in?" Napoleon's eyebrows had crawled toward his forelock in his surprise at his partner's state.

"No!" Illya panted. "Rachel at reception did, then Tammy and Susan cornered me in the elevator. When I got past them, Celeste from Translation practically chased me down the hall."

Just then there was a determined knocking at the door and a plaintive feminine call. "Ill-y-a... please, please let me in."

"Go away, Celeste! I have work to do," growled the Russian.

Napoleon could have sworn Illya actually looked frightened, an expression Solo had rarely seen on his partner's face even when in the hands of the worst Thrush villains. His lips quirked into the patented Solo smile.

"What's so funny, Napoleon?" snarled Illya.

"You, old friend. You have some very beautiful women pursuing you and yet you react as though this is a problem."

"Yes, well, it is a problem when they cannot seem to control themselves and act with so little professional decorum."

"Illya, Illya, lighten up and enjoy the attention. You're making far too much of this, partner."

"Well, what do you make of it? It's hardly their usual behavior."

"Ah, but have you forgotten that the U.N.C.L.E. Christmas party is just two weeks away? They're probably just competing to see which one of them wins the honor of being your date this year."

"You think that's all this is?" Illya asked skeptically, left eyebrow raised. "A little unbridled seasonal spirit?"

"No doubt, my friend. My advice is to choose your date and this will all die down, once the word spreads."

"Perhaps you're right, Napoleon. I shall consider which of them to ask, and request the privilege of being her escort by the end of the day. Hopefully then I will be left alone to do my work in peace."

"Peace on earth, good will toward men," Napoleon intoned with a grin.

"Indeed," replied Illya, with a distinct lack of either peace or good will.

Rachel approached Napoleon circumspectly as he sat in the commissary at noon, waiting for the arrival of his partner for lunch. She glanced about nervously as she perched on the edge of the empty chair at his table.

"Any progress, Napoleon?"

The brunet turned his melt-'em-where-they-stand smile on her. "Patience, my sweet. Everything is going according to plan."

"Are you sure? He's stayed holed up in that office all morning, and won't let any of us near him."

"Ah, but he will be here any moment to join me for lunch. He may be a little skittish of you girls right now, but he's not going to go hungry over it." Napoleon glanced at the doorway. "In fact, there he is now. You'd better make yourself scarce." Rachel scooted away quickly and disappeared into a group of female research agents as Illya made his way through the food line and carried his tray to Napoleon's table. The Russian sank wearily into his chair.

"Been working too hard, Illya? You seem pretty tired," Napoleon observed with just a trace of humor in his voice.

"Yes, it's bad enough that as usual I am writing 'our' report for Mr. Waverly, but I've spent an inordinate amount of time refusing admittance to one female after another. Where did you go? I could have used a little assistance." Illya's stomach wasn't the only thing growling, Napoleon noted.

"Sorry about that. A simple courier run, anybody could have done it, but the Old Man insisted it be me."

"It's a bit suspicious that every time a report has to be written, Mr. Waverly 'insists' on you for something, Napoleon." Illya stabbed at the meat on his plate a bit more forcefully than necessary.

"Ours is not to reason why..."

Illya sighed the sigh of the much put-upon. "Spare me, Napoleon. Right now I just want to - "

"Illya!" "Illya!" "Illya!" Napoleon hid a smile as three distinct near screams echoed off the commissary walls as his partner's lunch was interrupted by three pairs of hands suddenly insinuating themselves into his hair, onto his jacket, and - one particularly bold hand - onto his thigh. Illya rocketed out of his chair and backed away from the owners of those hands, straight into the waiting arms of a clever lady who had positioned herself directly in his line of retreat. Her hands quickly began stroking Illya's chest from shoulders to waist, while the three girls in front of Illya rapidly closed in for the kill. Napoleon watched, glued to his chair, dumbfounded expression on his face, as his typically fearless partner blanched, whirled about, and fled the commissary at full speed. His jacket he left in the hands of one of his admirers.

"Napoleon. Napoleon!" Napoleon looked around, seeing no one else in the corridor. Then he noticed the slightly open door of the men's room to his right. The harsh whisper had undoubtedly come from there, the whisperer undoubtedly his still-panicked partner. Napoleon slipped through the doorway and into the washroom. He was immediately grabbed and slammed none too gently against the door.

"Whoa, whoa! What's gotten into you, Illya? You can't still be spooked by those antics in the commissary."

"Antics, indeed, Napoleon!" his partner hissed. "We should be asking what's gotten into them! This is not mere female dating competition. This behavior is simply... bizarre!"

"Well, I admit they're a little over the top, Illya, but isn't it every man's dream to have several beautiful women wild for him?" Napoleon drawled with a wink.

"I appreciate female admiration as much as the next man, Napoleon, but surely you see that this is not normal behavior! Something else is going on. There must be!"

"Well, it's certainly got you spooked, comrade. I mean, you're hiding in the washroom, for God's sake!"

"I tried going back to the office, but they were lying in wait for me around every corner!" Illya gripped the lapels of Napoleon's tailored Italian suit jacket fiercely. "You've got to find out what's going on, distract them, and help me get out of here!"

Firmly, Napoleon removed Illya's hands from his jacket, smoothing the fabric lovingly back into its former wrinkle-free state. "All right, I think you're over-reacting, but I'll look into it. I do admit, it seems a little odd... I mean, I haven't made a date for the Christmas party yet, and none of them have even approached me. That in itself is bizarre behavior, so maybe you've got something."

Illya looked hopefully into Napoleon's face, blue eyes wide with worry. "Maybe... maybe it is Thrush. Maybe they've somehow... infected the women here. Some strange aphrodisiac. But why are they only drawn to me?"

Napoleon comforted Illya with a firm squeeze to his shoulder. "Stay right here until I come back, Illya. I'll scout out the situation and see what I can learn. And I'll find someplace safe for you to hole up until we get to the bottom of this. I'll be back soon as I can. Stud." With a wink and a leer, Napoleon was gone, and Illya collapsed against the door with relief.

When Napoleon reached the office he and Illya shared, Rachel was waiting for him. "Where is he, Napoleon?"

Napoleon adopted a hurt expression. "So much for foreplay, my dear." He placed a hand over his heart. "You wound me, Rachel."

"Come on, Napoleon, you know we don't have much time. We only have the use of the suite until 4 this afternoon, and if we haven't gotten Illya in there by then, we never will. The calendar has to go to press this evening."

"A good plan takes time, my sweet, time to nurture and grow to fruition."

"Yeah, well, we would have had more time if Mr. October hadn't taken the better part of two hours for his photoshoot, insisting we get him from 'my best angle'."

Napoleon had the good grace to look just slightly abashed before delivering a comeback with his typical egotistical yet endearing confidence. "Ah, but it will be proven to be time well spent when you start raking in all that money from every woman in this agency for this little project of yours."

"Napoleon, it's for charity!" Rachel scolded.

"Yes, 'tis the giving season, and every man in that calendar is certainly giving 'the best part of himself' to warm the hearts of U.N.C.L.E.'s female employees, isn't he?"

Rachel smiled a sexy and sly little smile and slid closer to Napoleon, wrapping her arms around his waist under his suit jacket. Returning the smile, Napoleon cupped her face with his palms and tilted her head up to receive his kiss. Rachel let him continue for just a moment before reluctantly breaking contact and backing away.

"No more distractions, Napoleon. You made a deal. Now go do what you have to do."

Wearing a disappointed grimace, Napoleon blew Rachel a kiss and turned to leave the office. "Yes, milady. Your wish is my command." Rachel rolled her eyes as the door slid shut.

"Illya? Illya, are you still in here?" Napoleon looked around the apparently empty washroom.

"I'm in here," came a somewhat muffled reply.


"Second stall."

With a sigh, Napoleon walked over to the stall and carefully pushed open the unlocked door. Illya was squatting, his feet on the toilet seat.

"Illya!" Solo pretended exasperation while fighting to hide his amusement.

Narrowing his lips, Illya climbed down from his perch and pushed Napoleon out of the stall. "What did you learn?" he demanded.

"Well, it seems you were more right than you know. Thrush has indeed found a way to 'infect' our female employees with a targeted 'love potion'."

"How? And why do they only want me?" Illya asked.

"I'm not sure just how, Illya, but you seem to be their guinea pig. Somehow they have impregnated your clothes with super-concentrated human pheromones. Every time you've passed a woman today - since they dosed your clothes, anyway - you've been giving off waves of sexual invitation that they've been powerless to resist. They can't help themselves."

"Well, that's a relief," Illya sighed.

"You're telling me," retorted Napoleon.

Illya shot him a perturbed glare, then shook his head at the sheer ego of the man.

"I mean, it's a relief because all I have to do to stop this, apparently, is to get out of these clothes. But how do I get past every female in the place to leave headquarters? And what do I do about all the women on the street I shall encounter on my way home?"

"I've got it all worked out, partner. We sneak you down to one of the guest suites in the basement, you strip, and change clothes."

"That could work. If we can just avoid any females between here and the suite."

"Well, then, let's go." Napoleon stealthily opened the washroom door, looked both ways and signaled the 'all clear' to Illya. Quickly they made their way to the closest elevator and Napoleon pushed the control for the basement. It seemed Solo's luck was with them, as they made the trip down without a stop. Stepping out of the elevator, Napoleon scouted out the hallway to the nearest guest suite, checking the door to be sure it was unlocked. He waved Illya over, and the Russian sprinted past him into the sanctuary of the room, tension relaxing from his shoulders as the door closed behind them.

Napoleon turned to look at the room and whistled softly. Illya followed his gaze and looked confused. The room was hardly the utilitarian quarters U.N.C.L.E. typically made available to visiting agents, innocents in need of sanctuary, or its own employees requiring an occasional overnight at headquarters. Instead it was decked out in the colors of the season - vibrant deep reds, snowy whites, and tasteful accents of gold and silver. There was even a small Christmas tree against the far wall, unlighted but elegantly decorated. The final seasonal touch was a brilliantly white small plush coverlet draped diagonally across the crimson bedspread.

Illya whistled in turn. "Who do you suppose they have this made up for, Napoleon?"

"I suspect just some of us who will party too hard at Christmas to safely go home, Illya. Though I didn't expect such... taste. Not on Waverly's budget."

Illya actually chuckled, the first unguarded reaction he had shown all day. "Well, I shall be only too happy to make use of it for as long as it takes to change these infernal clothes." He pulled at his dress shirt with distaste, then looked expectantly at his partner. "Where is my change of clothes, Napoleon?"

"Ah, I knew I forgot something!" Napoleon snapped his fingers. "No, no, it's not a big problem," he mollified Illya as he hastened to reply. "I just have to go get them from the locker room. You always keep a change in there, don't you?" At Illya's nod, he continued. "The first step was getting you safely here; it will take no time at all to accomplish step two and bring your clothes to you." He started to open the door, then shut it again and turned to Illya. "Give me those clothes, partner."

"Why now?" Illya questioned. "I'll just change once you're back."

"I wouldn't wait if I were you, Illya. What if those pheromones are powerful enough to send a signal right through that door to any woman working down here? I could come back to find you thoroughly debauched." Napoleon winked.

Illya snorted. "I should be safe enough, Napoleon. I shall keep the door locked."

Napoleon shook his head. "From what I learned, I wouldn't chance it, partner. The effect seems to be getting worse, from what I've seen. You might fend off a few receptionists and translators, but I heard April is in the building this afternoon. If she gets a whiff of this stuff, I wouldn't bet on that door keeping her out! And don't forget she'll be carrying her gun. Give your clothes to me now and I can drop them in the incinerator on my way to the locker room." Napoleon stared earnestly at his perplexed friend.

Illya tensely rubbed his thumbs against his fingertips as he determined his best course of action. "All right. But hurry, please. I would like my life to get back to normal as quickly as possible." Hastily, he began unbuttoning his shirt, then remembered his tie was in the way. He removed it, then the shirt in short order. Next, he unbuckled his belt and drew it from the loops, dropping it onto the bed. He unfastened and unzipped his trousers and pushed them past his hips, then sat carefully on the edge of the bed to remove his shoes before taking his trousers off the rest of the way. He held the discarded clothing out to Napoleon.

"Um, Illya... I think you'd better give me everything. Even the shoes." At Illya's questioning look, Napoleon continued. "Who knows if this stuff was put on your clothes right in your apartment, and they contaminated everything? Or if it could penetrate through your outer clothing right into your underclothes? The only way to be sure you're rid of it all is by a complete change, right down to your shoes." Napoleon kept his gaze level and intent, so that his friend would understand how serious he was.

Illya hesitated for a moment more, then swiftly dragged off undershirt, boxers and socks. He shoved them at Napoleon, who somewhat gingerly added them to the pile already in his arms. Napoleon nodded to his partner, "I'll be back soon," then slid out the door, turning the lock as he went.

For a while, Illya paced the room, impatient for Solo's return. He'd already been gone far longer than expected, and Illya had a bad feeling that something had happened to interfere with his partner's simple plan. Suddenly, the intercom on the wall crackled into life.

"Illya? Illya!"

"Yes, Napoleon."

"I've run into a slight delay. Mr. Waverly wants me to run a little errand. It shouldn't take long, but I couldn't find a way to get out of it. Just sit tight and I'll be there as soon as I can."

Illya sighed. "Can't you run my clothes down here first?"

"No can do, partner. The Old Man wants this done yesterday. But as I said, it really won't take long. I should be back within the hour."

"An hour? Napoleon, it's cold in here. What am I supposed to do for an hour?"

Napoleon hesitated, then suggested, his smile evident in his voice, "Make good use of that bed, tovarishch. I'll see you soon. Solo out." Then he was gone, and the crackle of static died abruptly.

"Napoleon, wait! Napoleon!" Silence was his only response. Illya glared up at the intercom, then let off some steam by hitting the wall with his fist. Taking a few deep breathes, he analyzed his situation. He was stranded, naked, in the suite, and his partner, his rescuer, was unable to return for approximately an hour. Illya had two choices. He could attempt to make it unobserved to the locker room himself, risking exposure - literally - to whomever he encountered. Or he could take his partner's advice and try to relax. Once again, he sat on the side of the bed. He tested the mattress with his hand, then bounced lightly a few times. It was better quality than what he had at home. Practicality eventually won over bravado and desperation. He decided he might as well make the best of it.

Illya stretched out on the bed and pulled the warm coverlet over him. In moments, he was asleep.

Illya awoke because he was too warm. Someone must have adjusted the heat, he realized. Stretching like a cat, he pushed the coverlet down to his waist and kicked it off his legs as well. He felt languid and heavy-eyed, not yet fully awake. Generally, his professionally engendered sense of self-preservation caused him to come awake in an instant, but here, in the heart of U.N.C.L.E. HQ, his semi-conscious mind apparently felt secure enough to allow him a gentler awakening. He yawned, then stretched his arms over his head and raked his hair off his forehead. Hearing a tiny click, he rolled toward the side of the bed nearer the door and raised himself onto one elbow, the coverlet falling into a soft pile at his groin.

PHOOSH!!! He was blinded by a dazzling flash of light, spots swirling in front of his eyes. Instinct kicked in and he leapt to his feet, nudity forgotten, ready to do battle with the intruder.

PHOOSH!!! His eyes were assaulted once again by that blinding light, so that his barely returning vision swam in and out of focus, beyond his ability to control. But his other senses still functioned. He heard voices, at least two female and one male, from the hallway just outside the door. Mostly blind, Illya began to stumble in their direction. Then he stopped, bewildered. The female voices he heard were not speaking, but giggling! And the male voice - the distinctly familiar male voice - was quietly urging, "Run. Run!" Light footfalls echoed down the hall as Illya verified his suspicions.

"Napoleon? Napoleon, if that's you, you know you are a dead man, don't you? Napoleon!"

Illya, his vision now clearing, headed for the door again, but his partner slammed it and somehow secured it from outside. Illya jerked and pounded on the door, threatening Napoleon in a deadly quiet voice that shook the senior agent more than all the yelling in the world. That voice was promising a world of pain once Illya succeeded in getting his hands on Solo.

"Now, Illya, it was only a little fun, and for a very good cause. Our lovely U.N.C.L.E. ladies are raising funds for an orphanage by selling special calendars. You'd want to help a cause like that, wouldn't you, old buddy?" From the punches vibrating against the door, Solo wasn't quite so confident of his partner's charitable generosity as he wished he were. He grimaced and decided on a different strategy.

"Um, Illya... I'm just going to leave your clothes out here, and, uh, leave. I'll see you later, buddy." Then Illya heard the sound of Solo's hasty retreat.

Panting in fury, Illya leaned against the door and made a quiet promise to his partner. "Oh, indeed, I will see you later, my friend. You can run, Napoleon, but you cannot long evade me. I know where you live."

Illya Kuryakin strolled leisurely through the throngs of celebrants at U.N.C.L.E.'s annual Christmas party. Repeatedly, he was stopped by a soft but insistent hand on his arm as another beautiful woman wished him a Merry Christmas with a blush on her cheek. Everywhere he walked, he felt eyes on him and sensed whispered words just below his level of hearing. One group of women was gathered around a large flip calendar, alternately gazing raptly at the photo of Mr. December and shifting their eyes to follow the living version, sighing nearly in unison. The temperature in that corner of the room decidedly must be at least ten degrees warmer, judging by their flushed faces.

"Illya. Merry Christmas," Rachel greeted him. She looked lovely to Illya's eyes, but a trifle sad, as well as just a little embarrassed. "Where's your date?"

"Ah, Celeste is in the powder room. She said she needed to make herself even more gorgeous," Illya responded with a small quirk of his lips. "Shall I tell her you were looking for her?"

"Oh, no, no. I was looking for you, Illya. I, uh, wanted to thank you. We made a lot of money for the orphanage with that calendar." Rachel hesitated, looking down, then her head came up and her eyes positively danced with mischief. "And I know I should apologize, too. But I'm not sorry, Illya. No," she smiled. "I'm not sorry at all." Then she sighed. "The only thing I'm sorry about is being dateless tonight."

Illya smiled in turn. "That situation will soon be remedied. I have it on good authority that your date will be out of hospital in good time for New Year's."

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