Idle Hands

by Charlie Kirby

Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom
     Arthur Schopenhauer

Napoleon Solo was doing his best. He worked hard at his craft and at honing his skill. He should be able to feign interest for at least half an hour.

He flicked a fast look at his watch and kept from sighing. Eventually Thompson was going to run out of things to say... eventually. Even Waverly looked about ready to nod off.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see Illya struggling to stay awake. Of course, he did have an excuse, having gotten in late the night before. The last time Napoleon had seen his partner, he was wandering through the canteen carrying a box of some sugary kids' cereal and studying the Danish in a fashion that Napoleon deemed was lurid and lascivious.

Napoleon returned his attention to Thompson who had started a long and detailed explanation of just why Research needed less funding and Development needed more. Then something bit his ear and he brought a hand to cup it with a startled motion. Instantly everyone at the table looked at him and Napoleon rubbed his ear.

"You okay, Solo?" Gaskill looked damned glad to have something else to focus on.

"Never better..." Napoleon glanced around and frowned. "I swear something bit me."

"In here? A damn fly can't get past our security," Santine, the head of Section Three boasted.

"Could we get back to the agenda, gentlemen?" Waverly asked, reaching into his jacket pocket for his tobacco. "We all have other places to be."

All attention reverted back to Thompson, who cleared his throat and picked up where he left off. He turned back to the flip chart and again Napoleon felt a sharp whack as something hit him. This time he wasn't as startled and shot a glance in his partner's direction. Illya was repressing a smirk and a flash of something shot through Napoleon's mind.

It took him a moment to remember; Illya was digging through the box... Quisp? Something like that and it was advertising a little rocket launcher. Napoleon felt around with his shoe and something rolled beneath his foot. There was no way he could lean over and pick it up, but it confirmed his suspicions.

Napoleon refocused his attention on Illya, who blinked sleepily back at him.

"Wouldn't you agree, Solo?" Thompson was saying, thinking he'd caught the agent off guard.

"I think that Research and Development are already adequate funded. We are all facing cut backs, Mr. Thompson, and I don't think that R&D should be permitted to run wild while the rest of us have to tighten our belts."

Thompson flushed and sputtered. Napoleon knew that as he went, so did the other section heads. After all, he was the Section One Number One in training.

Again, something smacked the back of his neck and Napoleon spun. Illya had a wholly innocent expression on his face. "I move that we adjourn for the week."

"Seconded," Gaskill sang out. He was already to his feet.

The others filed out, save Waverly and Solo's partner. Slowly Illya got to his feet and stretched.

"I'm glad you found something to keep yourself entertained," Napoleon snapped at him. He bent to retrieve the small plastic rockets. "These damned things hurt."

Illya took one and tested the tip. "Yes, I imagine they would."

"Then why were you shooting them at me... friend?"

"I wasn't," Illya protested. "I could barely keep my eyes open."

"Illya, I know it was you, don't deny it. I should take you down to the gym and knock you out."

"You could try, but you wouldn't get very far."

The two exited the room arguing and Waverly watched them go suppressing a grin. He dropped the little rocket launcher he'd retrieved from the trash this morning into his jacket pocket. It had been careless of Mr. Kuryakin to let that little treasure escape his notice. But it had made for a more interesting meeting. And he knew Kuryakin would never out him to his partner.

He bent and picked up the four little blue rockets he'd launched at his head of Section Two. Napoleon had absconded with the fifth one. Oh well, there was still enough to make the board reviews go faster this afternoon.

Tucking away his pipe and tobacco, Waverly slowly left the room, softly whistling Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered to himself.

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