-Prompts: Ascend, Blue
Word count: 1063 (slightly over)
The scene was transcendent, which was exactly what the facilitator expected. Twenty or so devotees sat solemnly, poised for meditation and the expectation that each should ascend to that higher level of spiritual perception for which he or she had come to this Westernized ashram in the Poconos.
Illya Kuryakin had once again been cast into the role of a slightly more hip, more youthful version of himself as he sat croslegged, dressed in the white linen required of most spiritual quests of this nature. What the Russian had learned after being sequestered among the faltering faithful was that pot smoking was a natural high that was preferred to hours of meditation, a less fruitful experience for most of them.
Illya had himself been forced to join in several sessions of passing around joints and wine bottles. It was difficult to fake the process of inhaling if the subsequent smoke was absent. Fortunately, some of the UNCLE substance resistance programming seemed to reduce the effects of the marijuana, but in combination with the wine and the haze in the room produced by so many people blowing smoke, literally, the blond agent had indeed succumbed to some of the effects of 'weed'.
The most pleasant consequence of those effects had been a blue-eyed beauty named Heather, a young woman whose attraction to Illya had been instant and fierce. She was lithe and winsome, a phrase he had repeated according to the suddenly prosaic state of mind in which he found himself. He quoted to her several of Shakespeare's sonnets, reveling in her fascination with him and the words.
For all of Kuryakin's self-control in the wake of tortures and temptations of the flesh, this environment and the helpful addition of a joint and a glass of cheap wine, had caused that veneer of self-denial to collapse into a flirtatious personality that revealed a man entirely content with this new, hedonistic version of himself. He remained aware of his mission to dismantle the THRUSH influence within the little compound, and had managed to identify the person he sought within the first twenty-four hours of being there. A team of UNCLE agents came inside under the cover of darkness and removed the man, covertly concealed in a utility closet by the cagey Russian.
What remained was to make his departure one devoid of disclosure of his true identity. Heather was languid as she lay in his arms, a night of mutual self-indulgence a memory now to each of them. Illya was reluctant to leave this place, a gradual realization overtaking him that his life of peril and constant travel was an exhausting one for which he often wished to be excused. He had already been here longer than Mr. Waverly approved as being necessary, but Kuryakin supplied a sufficiently believable story about there possibly being another THRUSH among the innocents. He was fibbing, to use a word his partner must have introduced to him.
That partner, Napoleon, recognized the truth of the situation. Although he had not been a part of this operation, the fact that Illya was not already back at Headquarters spoke volumes about his state of mind, or possibly heart. By all accounts the commune was a genuine retreat for seekers, and the THRUSH presence had been an attempt to subvert the true intentions of those involved there. Illya had put forth the theory that others from the Hierarchy might be present still, but Napoleon wasn't buying it. His friend had suffered a great deal on their last mission, and this assignment was the result of his need for something less demanding. Solo was pretty sure that his friend was just taking the extra time needed to clear his head a little. Considering the marijuana use, a clear head was taking a little longer than usual.
As Illya and Heather enjoyed the warmth of their bed and the added heat of lingering desire, the blond took the opportunity to really look at the woman. Her eyes were a shade of blue that reminded him of the Mediterannean, with flecks of green that gave the illusion of aqua waters sparkling in the sun. Her hair was short and curly, the color of amber honey he thought as his fingers brushed through the tousled mop.
"What are you thinking Illya?" Heather's voice was sweet, as was she. He would regret leaving her here.
"I should get back to my life, I am expected back at work." He wasn't lying, and he hoped that the Old Man would accept the story he was going to tell him.
Heather looked disappointed, but she understood. Real Life was a bummer, and living in this phony environment merely a bandaid for the hurts and disappointments. It was an unwise pursuit, but she heard herself asking the question.
"Can I see you, back in the city?" Illya was thoughtful, but he knew it wouldn't work. She couldn't possibly fit into his life, or understand it. It was too difficult to maintain a lie in order to protect his position within the Command.
"I do not think it would a good idea. My work is… um, consuming." That was all he could offer.
Heather smiled at him, drawing him back into an embrace that would lead to a final adieu of sorts. She also had a life to which she must return. This assignment had been concluded successfully and the spy they were after taken away in the middle of the night. If her superiors were to discover she was involved with a Russian though … the Agency did not look kindly on such things.
"I do understand, and perhaps this was simply a little touch of karma for us to enjoy. We must have done something good to be gifted with these past few days." Illya kissed her, thankful for the bright mind she possessed, the body she had so willingly offered to him.
"I never asked what you do back in the real world." Somehow she had avoided it, and then again, he had offered her nothing about his life. Funny, if he didn't know better…
Heather caught it then, the little niggling thought that a spy has about the other person in the room. She would ask a few discreet questions when she returned to Langley, and then, just maybe, they would meet again.