Disclaimer: All characters from the TV show Man from
U.N.C.L.E. belong to the show's owners, not to me. I make no money from
writing, I do it for fun. I have nothing worth suing, so please don't.
Note: Anyone who notices a historical goof on my part, please, please, tell me. I tried to get rid of them all, but I'm not perfect..
Summary: The beginning of a carreer with U.N.C.L.E.
Disclaimer: All characters from the TV show Man from U.N.C.L.E. belong to the show's owners, not to me. I make no money from writing, I do it for fun. I have nothing worth suing, so please don't.
Note: I can't promise that this is anywhere near correct for Solo's past. But it's my AU so I guess it could have been.
"Napoleon! You must listen to me, it is important." His grandmother whispered in his ear. "No matter what you see or hear, you must not say a word. You must not interfere or we all die."
"But grandmother, I saw..." The twelve year old boy struggled against her too tight hold.
"Listen to my words," she whispered fiercely. "DO. NOT. INTERFERE. You do not understand what is going on."
"I will not allow my father to disgrace the family." Napoleon growled fiercely.
His grandmother shook him painfully. "He does what he has to do to protect us all. If that means convincing the Brown Shirts that he is a womanizer, he does it."
"But..." he let the word trail off as it finally got through to him. "He's acting?"
"Si." The fear in his grandmother's brown eyes was only too real. "The government has decided that you and your family are to stay in Italy so they can force your grandfather to obey them. Your father is getting you out, the only way he can."
"I don't want to go back to Canada, grandmother." He whispered in her ear as they peered through the peephole. "I like it here."
"Napoleon, we will be at war soon. Your mother is an American. The Germans want Italy to arrest all Americans." Analisa Solo laid her fingers over her grandson's lips. "They have refused your exit visas. You must be prepared."
For the first time, Napoleon understood all the quiet whispers that had filled his home. His mother was constantly silencing conversations when he came into the room. His friends at school were no longer welcome in his home, not the way they had been just weeks earlier. The strange people coming and going during the night that no one realized he had seen. He knew them all, having watched them from his hiding place in the eves.
"How long before we must leave?" He asked, refusing to take his eyes from his father. The older Solo was whispering into the ear of a laughing woman.
"Soon, Napoleon. Once war has been declared between the United States and Germany, there will be little we can do to get you home." The fear in his grandmother's face made him vow to do everything to help the family. It was his duty to follow his grandmother's instructions.
"I will obey, grandmother."
"I know you will, but now you must get some sleep. You have school in
the morning." She
smiled down at him, but there was no real joy in that smile.
Napoleon noticed the men watching the school yard and frowned. Carefully hiding his interest, he kicked the ball towards his friends, making sure it went past them. As the players raced to the other end of the field, he saw more men loitering in the alley. For a moment, he thought they were about to head towards him but then they relaxed as they realized Napoleon was still playing soccer with the others. It gave him something to think about.
"Paulo? Do me a favor?" Napoleon whispered. "Don't leave the house without me."
"Nappy. You are as bad as grandmother." Paulo Solo laughed up at his older brother. "First, she insists we ride in the car to go to school. Then she says I can't go anywhere alone. I am a big boy. I won't get lost."
"It's not that." Napoleon thought desperately, trying to find a way to convince his brother of the dangers around them. "Some of the Brown Shirts, they don't like us to go to school with their children. They might... hurt you to keep you from going."
"But why, Nappy. We're friends with the Brown Shirts, aren't we?" Confusion and worry clouded the younger boy's face.
"Now we are. But so was Avram."
"Oh." Paulo paled. They had been walking to school when they saw a group of Brown Shirts at Avram's house. The young men had ignored Napoleon and Paulo as they systematically tossed everything the family owned into a huge truck. Nothing was spared, nothing was packed... it was thrown, and in some cases, gleefully hurled into a police truck. The sounds of shattering glassware had been loud enough to shock the two boys. Their grandmother had found them there, still watching the destruction, and dragged them up the street, a silent frown on her face.
"But we are not Jewish." Paulo's voice cracked.
"Mama is American and so are we." Napoleon answered quietly. "We are not Italian, so we do not belong."
"Oh." The ten-year-old's eyes were wide, worried. "Will they come for us in the middle of the night, like they did Avram?"
"I don't know. You don't leave the house without me, understand? You don't leave school unless it is with me or grandpapa's driver."
"I'm scared, Napoleon." Paulo looked around the room fearfully.
"It's okay, Paulo. I will take care of you." Napoleon pulled his brother into a fierce hug.
He held the other boy tight as his grandmother opened the secret panel in the wall and stepped silently into the room. His eyes went wide as she smiled at him. Silently, she pointed to a piece of plaster ornamentation on the fireplace and motioned twisting it. Still holding his brother, Napoleon memorized the toggle and nodded to her. Just as silently, she stepped back into the wall and shut the door.
A hand covering his mouth was the first warning Napoleon had of trouble. He woke immediately and lashed out, but his fist was caught by a firm hand. His father's harsh whisper quieted his fears. "Napoleon!"
"Father?" The word shook as it slipped from his lips. "What is wrong?"
"America just declared war on Japan and Germany. We must leave now." The shadowy figure moved over to his brother's bed and shook him awake. "Get dressed. Hurry."
Clothes were shoved at the two boys and then their father was out the door. They dressed hurriedly and went out into the hallway. A moment later, their mother and sister joined them. She held out her hand and Paulo grabbed it. From downstairs they could hear the sounds of panicked voices. The sound of heavy fists on the front door brought a sudden silence to the voices.
"Run!" Eduard Solo yelled as the front door burst open.
Napoleon grabbed his brother's hand and tugged. "Come. I know a way!"
The family turned and followed him back into the bedroom. Napoleon led them to the fireplace and frantically twisted the little plaster flower. The hidden door opened. As he slammed it shut, he thought he heard a gunshot.
"Quickly, Napoleon. We must get out of here before they find the passageways." His mother's whisper shook him free of his panic and he followed as she led the way down through the hidden steps. All around them echoed the sounds of yelled Italian words, but he did not hear his father's voice.
It seemed like hours later when they finally got to the street. Their mother led them down a dark alley and through several back streets to a small park.
"Napoleon, can you get to the Canadian embassy from here without going on the main streets?" She whispered frantically.
"Yes, Mother. I can." He was puzzled, they all knew the back ways to the embassy. It was a game they often played, seeing who could make the trip fastest without ever being seen on the street by their parents.
"Good. Take this," his mother placed a heavy handgun into his hands. "Your father taught you to shoot and now you need to protect your brother and sister."
"But what about--"
"No questions. You must obey. Get them to the embassy. No matter what happens, do not fail me in this, Napoleon." Her voice was fiercer than he had ever heard it, even when she argued with his father, that cold, cutting tone had never been in her voice. Napoleon shivered, nodding his agreement. "Paulo, Simone, you follow your brother's orders. He will get you to the embassy and your grandparents will take care of you until your father and I get there." She swiftly kissed each of them and turned away. "Now, run."
Napoleon stared at the embassy gates. The only way in was through those tall metal gates and they were pulled almost closed. Armed guards stood at attention there, warily looking around as if expecting someone. He looked up and down the street, but saw no one.
"Are you ready to run again?" He whispered. Both his brother and sister looked tired. Several times unexpected patrols had forced them to detour off their route. Backtracking to avoid streets and patrols forced them to take far too long to arrive at the embassy and he had the feeling that time was running short.
"Now!" He pushed his sister to her feet. Paulo was up and following her in a flash.
As Napoleon leapt to his own feet, a sound jerked his head around. Behind them in the narrow alleyway a Brown Shirt was raising his rifle. Instinctively, Napoleon drew the pistol from his waistband and aimed it just as his father had taught him. The burning whine of a bullet cutting the air near his head turned him around in time to see his brother fall.
He dropped the pistol and ran into the street, landing on his knees on the cobblestones. Red blood welled from a wound on Paulo's head. Napoleon reached for him, pulling his brother into his arms, ignoring the blood that quickly covered his hands. A moment later, heavy boots arrived at his side and Paulo was torn from his arms. A hand grabbed him and dragged him through the gate and a grim faced guard slammed it shut.
The sound of his sister screaming brought his head around. Another guard was carrying her through the embassy doors, ignoring her protests that she wanted to be with her brothers. Napoleon turned back to the gates and watched silently as a police car pulled up. Several men got out and met with the gate guard who shook his head.
"Napoleon?" His grandmother's voice was sad. "Come inside, it is cold out here."
"I failed," to his horror his voice broke and he felt the painful tears gathering in his eyes. "I promised mother I would get them here safely."
"Come, Napoleon. Paulo is badly hurt, but he lives. Come inside with me and we can wait for the doctor to tell us how he is, together."
Silently, Napoleon followed her into the embassy. No matter what else happened, he knew life would never be the same again.