Napoleon Solo attempted to itch his nose by twitching it back and forth, but there was no relief and the drying blood was making it impossible to ignore. Since Waverly's back was still turned, one hand darted up to rub it and then returned to the table top to be folded in front of him.
"Just exactly what sort of game were you gentlemen playing?" Waverly didn't turn, his attention still focused upon his tobacco pouch.
"It... ah... seemed like a good idea at the time... sir?" Napoleon murmured, keeping his voice as meek as possible. He was hoping to throw himself on the mercy of the court, as it were. With his torn and blood-stained suit, he looked the picture of THRUSH abuse.
"I see. Mr. Kuryakin? Do you have any explanation?" Illya remained quiet, staring at his hands. "I thought better of you, but for you to follow Mr. Solo's lead in this... escapade so blindly. I'm beginning to question your judgment. How did either of you even conceive this to be a positive thing?" Waverly broke off and shook his head. "Dismissed, but don't leave the building. And go get cleaned up, Mr. Solo."
Both men stood and walked quietly from the room. They were about twenty paces from his office and Napoleon's lip twisted into a smile.
"I think that one guy wet his pants."
"I am just thankful none of them was armed. We really should check on that the next time we try something like this." Illya struggled to keep his face sober. "You look like you've been dragged behind a car."
"Figured this was this suit's last hurrah. Waverly wouldn't let me voucher it to be repaired one last time, so I took it out with a bang." Napoleon glanced down at the long tear in one sleeve. "Well, with a knife really, but you know what I mean."
They walked into the locker room, ignoring the open-mouthed stares of their fellow agents.
"Jesus, Napoleon what the hell happened to you?"
Napoleon grinned. "Illya happened. We were just doing some role playing that got a little out of hand," Napoleon said as he peeled off his blood-stained jacket and dropped in the trash receptacle. Illya started to chuckle quietly.
"Just a little." Illya rolled his eyes and then glanced over at his fellow Section Two agent. "Napoleon's a frustrated actor."
"It wasn't just me, partner." He slid free of his shoulder holster and hung it in his locker. "You were well into the thick of things."
"Just following your lead, according to Mr. Waverly at any rate."
"Don't play the sheep card - you were up to your hips in it as much as..." Napoleon was interrupted by the arrival of a Section Three agent.
"Did you guys hear what those jokers in Section Two did to the new recruits...?" He trailed off as he came face to face with Illya.
"Jokers present and accounted for, sir," Napoleon mumbled as his shirt joined the suit jacket. He shivered in the moist air of the locker room as he sat to remove his shoes.
"Hennessey is about to chew you up and spit you out - I've never seen anyone so mad in all my life."
"That's because you didn't see Waverly," Illya muttered, hanging his jacket in his locker. "The look on their faces..." Illya grinned. "I am going to remember that for a long time." He pulled off his shirt and undid his belt. "Even when I'm pulling stake out duty for the next year." His pants joined his jacket.
Napoleon tossed him a towel and knotted one around his waist. "Well, at least the company will be good...partner."
They walked into the shower as one of the agents shouted, "Yes, but what did you do?"
"Fill them in on the detail, Cross, would you? There's a good man." Napoleon said over his shoulder and caught Illya's elbow as he entered the shower, pulling him to one side, a cautionary finger on his lips.
"From what I heard, a bunch of newbies were being given the grand tour and they turned a corner and found Illya beating on Napoleon and screaming something in Russian about being denied a promotion."
"What I heard was that he was chasing Napoleon through the corridors with a bloody crow bar," interrupted another voice.
"Baseball bat..." said a third. "And a blow torch..."
"I heard an AK-47..."
"We're legends," Napoleon whispered and started one of the showers, drowning out the voices.
"In our own minds, at any rate" Illya added, hanging his towel on a convenient hook as Napoleon did the same. "I find it very interesting how the facts are so blissfully and quickly overlooked." He reached for the soap.
"Yes, but I can't help wonder which version Mr. Waverly will listen to."
"Holy shit, did you hear what Solo and Kuryakin did?" A voice drowned out the hiss of the shower and Napoleon grinned.
"Well, on the upside, I would venture to say that neither of us is bored any longer."
"Nor are likely to be in the near future." Illya began to lather his chest, his brow furrowing in thought. "It's not such a bad idea though..."
"What do you mean?"
"Doing some role playing like that. Not the way we did it, of course, but with some modifications, that might be an effective training tool."
"I'm going to let you propose that to the Old Man. I don't think he's going to want to see me for awhile."
"I did concoct the whole thing."
"But I readily participated. I could have talked you out of it, had I wanted."
"Oh, you could have, could you?" He held his hand out for the soap which Illya passed over.
"Yes, by pointing out the ramifications of allowing our boredom to push us to extremes. By suggesting that we head down to the gym or the range and amuse ourselves there instead of chasing each other through the corridor with guns."
Napoleon ducked his head under the showerhead and let the water sluice through his hair, washing the stage blood from it, turning the tile floor of the shower pink. "But it sure was fun."
"Yes, that it was." Illya's hand lingered on a ridge of scar tissue that ran across his chest. "And it was much more pleasant than the real thing."
They looked at each other and smiled. "No medical," both chimed together.
There was a commotion outside in the locker room and the two agents exchanged glances. They rinsed off, grabbed their towels and walked back out. The previous group of agents had been joined by several others and one looked panic stricken.
"What's wrong?" Napoleon used his best CEA voice.
"London office has been bombed. There's no word on survivors yet."
"What? How the hell did that happen?" Napoleon's comment was directed to his partner. "That place has enough safeguards in place to protect Buckingham Palace and there still be enough left over for the Kremlin and the White House." Napoleon hurried dried off and began to dress. "Illya, didn't you design that?"
"Waverly wants you in his office, now," the agent said and dashed out the door.
"That's odd..." Illya tugged on his shirt.
"Did you hear the loudspeaker?"
"Since when does Waverly send an agent to find us?"
"He knew we were here."
"Think, Napoleon. Did you know that agent?"
"Did you hear us being paged?"
"Would Waverly have just sent a courier to deliver that sort of news?"
"No..." And Napoleon's lip started to curl as he adjusted his tie. "You're thinking... payback?"
"It crossed my mind."
"Well, we have two paths open to us. I make a call to Waverly, verify the news, and we ignore them." He knotted the tie and smiled. "Or we play along and show that we are good sports."
"Are we? Good sports?"
"Well, I don't like losing..."
"I don't lose, Napoleon..."
Napoleon's lip curled into a devilish smile. "Shall we play their game? I mean, what else can Waverly do to us?"
"So what else could Waverly do to us? You're a genius, you know that?" Illya rubbed at yet another paper cut on his finger. "How can something so small hurt so much?"
"Wimp," Napoleon muttered, squinting at the writing on the file. "Does that say, 'don't file' or 'Dante's Fill?'"
"Whichever one is more likely." Illya tossed a file folder aside and rubbed an aching shoulder. "We can only hope that this lull in THRUSH activity will break before we do."
"Too late, I'm broken." Napoleon leaned back in his chair and pushed the stack of carefully marked folders to one side. A stack just as big took its place.
"Not yet, you aren't," muttered his partner. "How many files do we really need on the variety of pigs in Central America? This is the fifth one I've seen."
Alexander Waverly watched the two men through the one way glass and smiled. Another day of this and they would both think better of terrorizing their fellow employees. He hated to be this hardnosed about it; he'd had a few moments of his own when he was a younger man. Being a man of action was very hard when faced with large periods of inaction.
A young woman approached him and handed him a communiqué. "Sir, this just came in from our Hong Kong office."
"Thank you, miss." He didn't even try to remember her name, but scanned the paper rapidly. This could wait a day and would be eagerly attended to by his two top agents. It would get them out of the office for a few days and be a better use of their considerable talents. Still, he'd made his point. He just wondered if either man realized it... or even cared.