Written for today’s short affair prompt at Section VII.
Summary: In which Napoleon admits defeat at the hands (wires?) of a stubborn TV antenna (post-retirement).
Cross-posted to AO3.
Illya was watching in interest as Napoleon continued to fiddle with the television; shortly after their move to Hawaii after their retirement, Napoleon realized that they had no television. This didn’t bother Illya a bit, but Napoleon had been convinced that they needed one for their downtime. Using his charm and negotiating skills, Napoleon had managed to procure a used television for next to nothing; unfortunately, the TV was showing them next to nothing, as well, but Napoleon was undeterred, certain that he would be able to make the TV work. And as Napoleon sat in front of the TV, creating a tree of wire, coat hangers, and foil branching from the antenna, Illya decided that watching Napoleon attempt to get the TV to work was far more entertaining than anything the TV would have been airing, anyway.
The hours ticked by, and Napoleon wasn’t getting the TV to comply with his demands; Illya sat on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn, watching as, finally, a picture appeared on the screen for a moment.
“Yes!” Napoleon exclaimed, triumphantly. His grin vanished as the reception cut out almost immediately. “Noooo…” He promptly facepalmed.
“Back to the old drawing board, Napoleon?” Illya asked, innocently.
Napoleon sighed and cast a disdainful look at his failed handiwork before glancing back at his partner.
“No,” he admitted. “I know when I’ve been defeated.”
Illya gave him a sympathetic smile as Napoleon wearily sat down on the couch beside him.
“You tried your best, Napoleon.”
“Yeah, well, at least the fate of the world wasn’t at stake this time,” Napoleon added, with a shrug, as he tossed the wire cutters on the floor. “THRUSH never found out my weakness—assembling a working TV antenna.”
“Well, that is fortunate for all of us,” he said.
“Sorry I got your hopes up.”
“I never asked for it, Napoleon—though I appreciate that you sought to keep me entertained. …And I’ll have you know that I’ve found the last few hours quite entertaining indeed.”
Napoleon gave him a wry smirk as Illya unashamedly snacked on a few more popcorn kernels.
“And just how long were you sitting there watching me for?”
“Long enough that I’d prefer not to say in order to prevent you further embarrassment,” Illya replied.
“Of course. Now give me some of that popcorn!”
“Nyet! Make your own batch!”
The two of them began to grab for the popcorn, barely noticing as Baba Yaga the cat entered the living room and watched them tussle, staring at them with her yellow eyes. She then announced her presence with a meow, prompting the two of them to pause and glance back at her. She meowed once more and then turned her attention to Napoleon’s sorry-looking contraption, her tail flicking around in curiosity.
“See, Napoleon?” Illya teased. “You didn’t waste three hours after all—you built a lovely cat toy for our dear Baba Yaga.”
Before Napoleon could come up with a clever retort, Baba Yaga began to playfully bat at the contraption with her paws—and, inexplicably, the reception on the TV screen cleared up, showing a sharper picture than should have been possible for a TV that old.
Napoleon could only stare, his arms extended out in a confused shrug as Baba Yaga looked back at him, almost questioningly.
And Illya couldn’t hold it in any longer; he let out a cackling laugh, practically leaning on Napoleon for support.
“I… I think…” he managed to blurt out between laughs. “You should… have her as… your assistant…!”
Napoleon glanced at him, his heart too warmed by Illya’s laughter to be annoyed with him, for he knew that such a display of mirth from his partner was a rare event—and one that assured him that he hadn’t wasted his morning after all.
Intrigued by Illya’s laughter, Baba Yaga abandoned her play session and joined her humans on the couch, curious as Illya continued to snicker.
And Napoleon just smiled; they were an odd, little family—but they were a family nonetheless.