Two Hawks, Dancing

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Title: Two Hawks, Dancing
Author(s): Debra Hicks
Date(s): 1990 (print), later (online)
Genre(s): slash
Fandom(s): Man from UNCLE
External Links: Two Hawks, Dancing, Archived version

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Two Hawks, Dancing is a slash Man from UNCLE story by Debra Hicks.

It was a 1989 FAN Q nominee: Best Short Story.

Reactions and Reviews

At the heart of this story is an incident in Napoleon's memory that, when revealed to lllya and us, exposes a wrenching truth about the nature of espionage and the cost of emotional attachment out there in the cold. The setting is the familiar recuperating-in-the-boon docks genre with sexual encounters that are at once wonderfully sexy and disturbingly dependent upon power plays. The author in fact leaves no doubt that sex between these two men is a constant power dance on some level. Apart from their being incredibly hot, the sex scenes are striking in their originality, blessed avoidance of erotic cliche, and intrinsic value to the story being told. Impressively, the author manages to build suspense into a story that is by its nature almost entirely static. The scene shifts from a mountain cabin and its immediate environs only once, to a country store where Illya encounters a small child and some bad good of boys itching for a fight. The subtle smoothness with which he shifts gears to dwell appropriately with both extremes in this scene is pure canon, and Napoleon's intervention at its denouement credibly managed. Though it tips once or twice just a little into the weepiness danger zone for my taste and may be a bit too violent for very sensitive readers, this story remains my favorite File 40 offering.[1]

Illya takes a broken Napoleon to an UNCLE safe house to recover from Thrush torture and apparently self-induced withdrawal from the world.

What price would Napoleon pay to protect those he loves? Is it really worth that price? Most importantly, would the people he's protecting accept such a steep forfeit?

Napoleon and Illya depend on each other nearly daily during the series to keep themselves alive, and that has to have created a bond that would rend the remaining partner to pieces if the worst should ever happen. Not that the worst quite happens in this story, but it's a close call.

I love this story. I love that Debra runs with the idea of how one partner would deal with losing the other without physically losing him, and I love that the characters I read in this story are the same strong men I see on the screen when I'm watching an episode, even when one is nearly broken.[2]


  1. ^ from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.3
  2. ^ a 2004 comment at Crack Van