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Fic: Enemies (Man from UNCLE, PG)

Title: Enemies
Fandom: Man from UNCLE
Characters: Napoleon Sole, Alexander Waverly, Illya Kuryakin
Rating: PG
Word Count:
Warnings/Spoilers: AU. I know, I can't believe it either. In all honesty, this really should be the prologue to a fic that I will never write. Sorry.
Disclaimer: Fanfic, for fun, not profit.
Notes: For the "Spock's Goatee" Challenge over at tv_universe, where we were given the challenge-- "Your heroes are now the villains, and the villains are now the heroes."

Enemies

Napoleon Solo stood across from Alexander Waverly, fresh stitches on the side of his head and his arm still in a sling. Waverly knew that there was also a bandage around a bullet wound on his senior agent's right leg. It wasn't the injuries, though, that were weighing Solo down. It was the loss of his fellow UNCLE agents that really hurt him. That and the escape of UNCLE’s public enemy number one and Thrush mastermind: Illya Kuryakin.

"I'm sorry, sir," Solo said. "I don't know how he managed it. There was no way he should have been able to escape our trap."

"And yet, he did," Waverly said. It wasn't an accusation, just a simple statement of fact. "His Thrush satrap seems almost unstoppable."

"It's because he's so willing to kill everyone who gets in his way -- that includes his own men. He scarified a half-dozen men in order to insure his escape. I should have anticipated that."

Waverly didn't argue the point. Solo should have anticipated that, but right now Solo didn't need additional recrimination, he was being hard enough on himself. Instead Waverly focused on finding a solution. “That should make it easier to defeat him. Surely it would be hard to control people who are afraid of him.”

"No, sir." Solo sighed. "Despite his ruthlessness towards those who work for him, he inspires a loyalty equal to the fear they feel for him. I’m certain that those who died gave up their lives willingly in order to aid his escape."

Waverly frowned. “You’re sure about that?”

Solo nodded. “We tried that to turn several of his men at the very beginning of the mission—“

“That wasn’t part of the mission, Mr. Solo!”

“No, sir.” Solo was clearly puzzled by Waverly’s protest. “There was an unexpected opportunity. It would have been foolish not to make the attempt. I detailed the operation in my field report, it’s being typed as we speak.”

Waverly tried to curb his irritation. “But you failed. You went beyond operational protocol and you still failed.”

Solo, clearly uncomfortable at the accusation that colored Waverly’s voice, took a breath before continuing. “Yes, sir. None of the Thrush agents we captured were willing to accept our deals. They all were all equally devoted to him.” Solo absently rubbed his bandaged arm. “Thrush is hard enough to defeat when they’re just madmen who rule their little kingdoms with an iron fist and thuggery. Having an intelligent charismatic Thrush commander who inspires loyalty, that’s another animal altogether. I couldn’t even get any of his men to give me a good angle to go after him. According to them, he’s not in it for the money or the power. There are none of the typical Thrush vices or megalomaniacal urges.

"Perhaps..." Solo hesitated, then when on in a rush. "Perhaps we need to try to go right to the top. He doesn't seem to be in it for the money or power. If we try to talk to him directly, find out what’s driving him—“

"No," Waverly cut him off.

"But, sir, if there’s any possibility-- if we could just discover what it is he wants we could get him on our side. We know so little about him. If we can find out what drives him we could try to recruit him directly. Who knows what UNCLE could be Illya Kuryakin on our side."

“Absolutely not.” Waverly hit the table for emphasis. "There is to be no contact. Kuryakin has proven to be too dangerous. UNCLE will not consider working with him. There is to be no direct contact, under any circumstances. Is that understood?”

Solo obviously wanted to protest, but managed to hold his tongue. “Yes, sir.”

Waverly sighed. "Now, I want you to report to the infirmary for tonight. Tomorrow morning we start again. We have report that Kuryakin’s satrap is planning something big in Chicago. I want you to look into it."

"Tomorrow morning, sir?"

“Yes,” Waverly frowned at him. “Unless you don’t feel up to it.”

“No, sir. I’m fine.” Solo struggled to stand taller, straighter, "If you feel we need to get on this right away, we will.”

“I do. We lost six good men on this mission, I don’t think we can afford to let Kuryakin get ahead of us again, do you?"

"No, sir." Solo nodded and then left. He clearly favored his injured leg despite his best efforts to hide it.

Waverly watched him go, a heavy feeling of foreboding settling over him. ’Who knows what UNCLE could be with Illya Kuryakin on our side.’ Waverly ran the statement over again in his head. They had almost found that out. Kuryakin had been on of UNCLEs finest recruits. At one time Waverly had considered him to be the perfect partner for Solo himself as Solo’s strengths would have been a perfect complement to Kuryakin’s weakness. He’d been set on the fast track, UNCLEs youngest rising star. Then…. Well, that had been classified and redacted for a reason. The best they could hope for now was to stop him before he did any real damage.

The key to that was Solo. Solo was UNCLE’s best agent and truly their only chance at stopping Kuryakin. Kuryakin may have been brilliant in some areas but he was young and inexperienced. Solo was a seasoned field agent, experienced, dedicated and loyal. His tactical skills were unparalleled and his intuition about his adversaries was one of his best qualities. He could get into the mind of the enemy better than anyone Alexander Waverly had ever known.

And that, that could be a problem this time. A problem for Solo and an even bigger problem for UNCLE. Which was why speed was of the essence. They needed to end Kuryakin before Solo delved too deeply into Kuryakin’s mindset and motives. It was a risk, sending Solo back into battle still wounded and hurt, but it was better than letting him sit around trying to understand the why of Kuryakin. Because the why of Kuryakin could end them all.

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