Hard Rider

by Charlie Kirby

Napoleon Solo opened the door to his locker and hung up his suit jacket. Even though he was now the head of UNCLE's New York headquarters, he still preferred to work out down here in the common gym. He thought it did his agents good to see their boss working just as hard to stay fit as they did.

He was working his tie loose when he heard a now familiar voice, that of his son, Leon. The boy had been the product of his on again/off again relationship with a THRUSH agent. Serena had been a devious foe, a gifted spy, and more than an equal for him both in and out of the field.

When she'd told him that Leon had passed away at the age of four, Napoleon was broken hearted. However, he'd had something more pressing at the time that had drawn his full attention. His partner was in a battle for his life and Napoleon had pushed his grief aside for a more pressing need.

Illya had recovered, but the path was slow. Even after three months, he wasn't able to live on his own and, without a moment's hesitation, Napoleon had moved him in lock, stock, and barrel, a situation that remained to this day. From that moment on, his life seemed to revolve around nursing Illya back to health. Napoleon often wondered afterward what would have happened if he hadn't been so distracted. If he'd paid a visit to Serena, he might have been able to discover her little trick; he'd have learned that his son was alive. But at the time, there was little left over for anything except work and taking care of his partner.

Then Waverly passed and Napoleon stepped into the Big Man's shoes. It was a relief to him to not have to go back out into the field without Illya, and although the Russian would be field certified a few months later, he declined to go back out without Napoleon. Napoleon reassigned him to run Section Three and then, suddenly Napoleon's whole world shifted one morning when he discovered his son lived and was, not surprisingly, making his way in the world as a Federal Agent. It hadn't taken long for Leon to be seduced into joining UNCLE.

And Napoleon's world was complete. His son was near, his partner was whole, and then the world decided to hand them all a little hiccup in the form of Illya's daughter. She was making her way in the world, following in the footsteps of her mother, as a THRUSH agent and it had taken a little cunning, some bravado, and much expertise to bring her into the fold.

Napoleon pulled off his tie and hung it neatly over his jacket. He'd started unbuttoning his shirt when he heard Leon say,

"She is Incredible." Napoleon smiled. Obviously his father's son.

"I'm not kidding. You get your legs around her and you're sitting on top of the world." Now Napoleon grimaced. He'd always been careful to avoid locker room chatter about his dalliances.

"So she's good?"

"She's great, but you can't let your attention stray for a minute or she'll be all over you. Talk about a hell cat. Still, riding her is the closest I've come to the perfect climax. She's all Russian, that's for sure."

Napoleon's frown deepened and he shook his head. That was too much. It wasn't bad enough that Leon was kissing and telling, but to drag Lisle's name through the mud like that was just wrong and he'd not stand for it.

"Let me see that snapshot again. God, she's hot!"

Napoleon rounded the corner and felt his heart kick into high gear. Not only was his son describing an intimate act, he'd taken photos.

"What the hell are you doing?" he demanded and the group of men about jumped a foot.

"Chief, are you okay?" Leon asked, but the pounding in Napoleon's ears made his son's voice faint. He gritted his teeth and tried to draw a breath, but it was as if his lungs had suddenly imploded and he was caught between a rock and a very hard place. He gasped and then Napoleon's world went very dark and very quiet.

He slowly worked his way back to the surface, first hearing the steady beep of a heart monitor and then feeling a comforting warmth in his hand. He never told Illya, but that was one of the nice things about waking up in Medical, feeling the strength of his partner's hand in his. Over the years, he'd come to rely upon that strength more and more.

He sighed and opened his eyes. Sure enough, Illya was sitting there, a relieved smile on his lips.

"Finally," Illya murmured. "I was about to call Giuliani back from his honeymoon."

Napoleon tried to form words, but they stuck in his throat. Napoleon frowned and licked his lips. Illya held a cup close so he could take a sip of water through the straw. He swallowed and tried again. "What happened?"

"You, my friend, have angina." Illya set the glass back on the bedside table. "You dropped in the locker room, thankfully before you started working out. The doctors said it could have been much worse otherwise." Napoleon made a weak motion with his hand and Illya helped him sit up. "The good news is you won't need surgery, just a moderate change to your eating and exercise habits."

"That's good news?" Napoleon tried to sound flippant, but couldn't quite make it.

"You want to tell me what got you so angry?" Illya's voice was soft and coaxing. The man could sweet talk just about anything from anyone when he put his mind to it. Napoleon thought about lying, but knew he had next to no chance of getting away with it.

"He was talking..." Napoleon felt his cheeks begin to burn and he turned his head, too embarrassed to meet his partner's eyes. "About spending time with Lisle."

"And why would that make you angry, Napoleon? They've practically been inseparable since she quit working for THRUSH."

"I mean, private time... personal... time." Napoleon's voice faltered. "He had pictures... snapshots."

Illya started to chuckle. "I don't believe this. Napoleon, oh, my friend," Illya choked, patting his shoulder, affectionately. He leaned forward, close to Napoleon's ear to murmur, "He was talking about his motorcycle. Lisle is making him sell it."


"Because it's a danger and he's no longer taking unnecessary risks." The two men looked towards the door and the blonde standing there waved. "Hi, Dad, we were just checking on how Napoleon was doing."

"He's fine," Napoleon said, sitting up a bit straighter and Lisle started to chuckle.

"You're right, Dad, he is a go-er, inn't he?"

"I didn't exactly put it that way," Illya said, a self-conscious smile playing on his lips.

Leon stepped past the woman and lifted a hand in greeting. "Hey ya, Chief, how are you feeling?"

"Like a mule kicked me in the chest, but otherwise fine."

"He'll change his tune when they take out the catheter," Illya murmured so that only his partner could hear. Napoleon made a face at him.

"So, why is motorcycle riding suddenly so dangerous?"

"Should we tell him?"

"No," Illya said. "It can wait a bit longer."

"Not too much longer," Lisle said, smiling. "This is one of those things that gets harder to explain the more time passes."

"I'd think it would get easier," Leon argued, but he shrugged his shoulders. "Either way though, I'm easy."

"I've already proved that."

"What?" Napoleon didn't mean to shout, but he was tired, his head hurt and there were just too many words that seemed to be hanging in the air.

"You're going to be a grandfather," Leon said proudly. "Well, both of you are actually."

"You? And you?" Napoleon started to cough, but held up a hand to stop Illya in his tracks. "Overjoyed is not the word leaping to mind."

"It's better than the one that leapt from Dad's mouth." Lisle punched Illya in the arm. "Shouldn't use words like that around someone in my delicate condition."

"After you told me, you went to the gym and broke my instructor's arm." Illya just shook his head slowly. "There is nothing delicate about you, little one."

"Tell him that then. Apparently, that is no longer the case."

"I just told her to take it easy. Really, I wasn't trying..." Leon's eye leapt from Lisle to his father and back again. "I'm never going to win this, am I?"

"First right thing I've heard you say since offering to make me breakfast today."

A noise at the door drew their attention and a nurse looked in. "You really need to let Mr. Solo get some rest now."

"Of course," Lisle said, leaning close and kissing Napoleon's forehead. "Don't worry. With any luck, the child will have my genes as the dominant ones."

"Hey, now... wait? What are you saying?" Leon paused and just shook his head. "Later, Chief." He patted his father's hand and slipped an arm around Lisle's neck. "So does this mean you're cooking tonight?"

"Do I look like your cook?"

"No, you look like my..." The door cut her off and Illya chuckled, turning to leave.

"Illya, stay?"

"Of course." Immediately, the man was back at his side. "Are you okay?"

"We're screwed, aren't we? With those two?"

"History appears to be destined to repeat itself, if that's what you mean." He placed a hand on Napoleon's shoulder and squeezed gently. "At least, we will be part of their child's life, a condition denied us the last time around. And together, we can protect it. Your grandchild..."

"Our grandchild..." Napoleon interrupted.

"... will be to THURSH as honey is to a bear."

"Are they even talking about marriage?"

"I think they will, after a fashion. Both were raised by single parents and they have quite a bit on their plate now. Of course, they marry and you'll have to pull Leon from the field. Does he know that?"

"He should, but I don't think he'll mind if his reassignment is interesting enough." Napoleon massaged his chest and sighed. "Grandpa... it has an... old... sound to it."

"Only as old as you feel or so I'm told. Try and get some rest. I'll be by later. I have to go see someone now." Illya started to leave and Napoleon cleared his throat.

"You're not really thinking about it, are you?"

"About what?"

"Buying his motorcycle."

"How did you...no, don't answer that. And yes, I am." He smiled in recollection, his fingers working in remembrance. "Have you seen it, Napoleon? It's sweet."

"You're an old man, being held together with baling wire and screws."

"Au contraire, I'm playing the hip grandfather card." Illya patted Napoleon's shoulder again and grinned. "Besides, imagine me pulling up in from of our granddaughter's school on that."



"Grandson. Boys run in my family."

Illya grinned again. "Apparently, however, not fast enough to elude mine."

Napoleon settled back on the pillow and sighed as he watched Illya exit the room. An angina attack and a grandchild...just when he thought life couldn't get any more interesting. He lifted a hand and placed it over his heart, striving to feel it thump reassuringly beneath his hand. "I guess we both need to stick around a little while longer, my friend. I have a feeling our ride has just begun." And he settled back to dream of tossing a baseball with a miniature version of Leon or even of attending a tea party or two with a tiny blue-eyed blonde. Yes, he had to admit, life, his life, was seldom boring.

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