The Man from UNCLE and its characters are owned by someone else, we don't know exactly who, but no one is making any money off this story.
Note: The author of this story does have an email address listed at the archive, however he has extremely limited internet access so is unable to answer comments left. That doesn't mean he doesn't want to see them. :-)
Napoleon slipped back into bed, drew cool white sheets higher on his belly and turned his face away from the brightness filtering through worn, breeze-stirred curtains. The air carried the scent of the Mediterranean, of painfully strong coffee and browning croissants from the café below the hotel. The hour was early; the light still slanted and golden with morning. It snagged on the cornsilk hair spread across the other pillow, cast tempting shadows over the relaxed line of the shoulder that protruded above the sheet.
Illya hadn't bothered with a pajama top, again. Napoleon suspected his partner actually preferred to sleep in the nude, but that could be an occupational hazard to a field agent. What if there's a fire? he thought, amused. Or--more likely--an enemy incursion at oh three hundred?
Which was why Illya's right hand was under his pillow, fingers curled lightly around the ridged black metal grip of his UNCLE-modified Walther even as he slept. Napoleon had brought his own firearm into the bathroom with him, and now he tucked it back under his own pillow as he turned on his side. There was still time for an hour or two of rack before they had to be up and showered and breakfasted and dressed. The croissants would wait. He turned his back on his partner and resolutely closed his eyes.
In the field, you learned to take what you could get.
"Napoleon?" Soft as the breeze through the curtains, the unique secondary emphasis on the third syllable of his name that wasn't quite how either the Americans or the French said it. He smiled.
"Still awake," he answered.
"Thank you for the rescue. Again."
Napoleon felt the bed move, caught the warm scent of his partner's body released by the shift of the sheets as Illya rolled onto his back, stretching both arms up and clasping his hands behind his head. Illya could eat anything, fall asleep anywhere. Napoleon had seen him do it standing up, propped in a corner with his head leaned back. "You're welcome," he answered. "How are your wrists?"
Illya lifted one arm, held it out for his inspection. It passed through the beam of sunlight, and Napoleon could see that the angry red abrasions around Illya's wrists had scabbed cleanly. He could also see how the sunlight caught on each individual golden hair, casting minute shadows on the golden skin, and how those hairs rustled in Napoleon's breath as he leaned close.
He glanced from Illya's muscled forearm to his amused, catlike expression. Lips curved in a mocking smile, stubble glittering like mica flakes in the morning light, blue eyes pale through lashes squinted close against the sun. "Hungry?" Illya said.
"I was thinking of sleeping in," Napoleon answered.
Illya grunted. "Well, I'm starved." And knotted spadelike fingers in the close-cropped hair at the back of Napoleon's head, and dragged him close.
"Morning breath," Napoleon warned. His partner laughed.
"Good grief, if I were going to throw you back for stinking—" Illya drew him down, lip to lip for a kiss that promised a pleasant hour or two and a missed breakfast before the plane.
Napoleon leaned into it; no hesitancy and no pretense. It wasn't common or uncommon, frequent or infrequent. Not quite habitual, never quite unprovoked, never discussed after the fact. And to be truthful, Napoleon had to admit--as he admitted his partner's seeking tongue into his mouth, turned his head to breathe the warmth of Illya's steady breath into his own lungs as they pressed themselves together, slung a pajama-clad leg over Illya's thighs and slid atop him--to be strictly truthful, it wasn't as if Illya were the only one who ever made the pass.
Nor had either one of them ever said no.
That, too, was part of the unspoken arrangement.
"I first saw you on the Riviera," Illya murmured against his ear, strong hands releasing Napoleon's head, dropped, slid under his crumpled pajama top to trace the muscles of his back. "We've come full circle."
"We met in Bonn," Napoleon corrected, leaning back enough to slip the buttons on his pajama top. He stripped it off and pressed himself against the silky skin of his partner's torso. Back to back, he thought. Belly to belly. He laughed, and Illya pulled soft, seeking lips and sandpaper stubble away from the line of his jaw and raised an inquiring brow.
"Kingston Trio," Napoleon said, and sang him the lines.
"I don't give a damn, because I've done that already," Illya answered, and grabbed his biceps hard. A fishtailing heave, and suddenly Napoleon was under his partner, watching the light gleam across Illya's shoulders and on his hair as he kissed Napoleon's throat, his collarbone, the crease between his pectoral muscles. Napoleon locked his calves over Illya's, locked fist around wrist in the small of Illya's back and pulled him close. Belly to belly. He arched against the muscular weight, Illya's thumbs bruising his arms.
"Bonn," Napoleon reminded. "You were my contact. KGB, not UNCLE yet. I hadn't even been with UNCLE more than eighteen months—" he gasped as Illya closed his mouth over a cherrystone nipple, just the edge of teeth and then the rough, satiny soothing of the tongue.
"Tell me," Illya said, raising his head. Napoleon whimpered protest. "Tell me, or I stop."
"What am I telling you, Illya Nikolaivech?"
"Why you still can't pronounce my name," Illya answered, and bit. Not hard enough to bruise, but hard enough to leave a mark like a circle of rubies on Napoleon's breast. "Hard e, Napoleon. Like Elijah."
"I rather like the way you mispronounce mine," Napoleon answered after he gasped, and Illya laughed. "What am I telling you?"
"You're telling me about Bonn. Which wasn't the first time we met, but no matter—"
"It was," Napoleon insisted. "In that rathskeller. With the greasy beer."
"And the hoppy sausages. Yes." The hair, the breath tickled Napoleon's belly now, the tongue outlining his navel. Napoleon relaxed the grip of his legs so Illya could stretch out, then tightened them again around those powerful thighs. Illya's hands slid under Napoleon's body, cupped his buttocks through his pajama bottoms. "You were so young," Illya said. "You wore a charcoal suit. Expensive, Italian. Pin-striped."
"You wore leather," Napoleon said. His eyes drifted closed, his body relaxing under the kisses, the kneading touch. His erection pressed hard against Illya's chest; Illya pretended not to notice. His tongue darted into Napoleon's belly button and out again, a mockery of a deep, wet kiss.
"Leather? That hardly sounds like me."
"A leather jacket," Napoleon clarified. "I noticed you as soon as you came down the stairs. I watch people—"
"—every woman in the place turned to look, and half the men—"
"You had a motorcycle helmet on, a black bullhide jacket with scarred elbows, still zipped up to the chin. A silk scarf and boots, and American blue jeans that were tighter than anybody was wearing them, in 1955." Napoleon's breath was getting away from him. His belly muscles fluttered under the rough and soft of his partner's kisses. He bit back on a moan. "You pulled the helmet off and all that blond hair fell out from under it, and the girl I was flirting with had to excuse herself right then and there." A slight exaggeration, of course. But only slight.
"The bike was a BMW," Illya said, sliding his fingers under the edge of Napoleon's pajama bottoms. "I was supposed to be a bourgeois French student touring Europe. It was a more pleasant cover than most."
"You do remember." The delight in Illya's voice made Napoleon laugh, and then the downward drift of his fingers turned the laugh into a shiver. "How was my accent?"
"Impeccable," Napoleon answered. "I knew you were KGB, of course."
"GRU," Illya corrected. "I was on loan to the spies."
"The GRU aren't spies?"
An expressive shrug, slow rolling of those magnificent shoulders. "Different spies." He squeezed Napoleon's buttocks in his palms and lifted, inching pajamas down. Napoleon groaned as a stubbled cheek scraped the place where his thigh joined his belly, as soft lips and tongue explored the hollow of his thigh. Illya's cheek and hair brushed Napoleon's cock; for all the attention Illya paid it, it might have been a million miles away. "I knew you were UNCLE," he said, when his breath could torture Napoleon the most.
"Talk," Illya said huskily, edging the pajamas that much lower, following their descent with his teeth, his lips, his tongue.
"You strolled up to the bar." Napoleon unknotted his hands from the sheets with an effort, and reknotted them in Illya's hair, pulling enough to draw a whimper--half-pleased, half-protest--from his partner, too. It didn't take much. Stoicism wasn't a part of the blond Russian's makeup, no matter how much he scowled. "Unzipping the jacket. Pulling off the gloves, one finger at a time. You pulled out the stool next to mine."
"And I said—"
"Home is the hunter, home from the hill," Napoleon answered, tugging Illya's hair in a forlorn attempt to draw his partner's mouth closer to the trembling, aching erection that he was so resolutely ignoring. "And I said—"
"—and home is the sailor from the sea," Illya finished, shaking his head free of Napoleon's grip and disentangling himself from the clutch of Napoleon's legs long enough to scoot back and skin both pairs of pajama bottoms off completely. "It was a stupid countersign."
"You sat down beside me," Napoleon said, as Illya once again lay down between his legs. "You smelled of leather. Amazing. You put the helmet down on the seat next to you, to keep anybody from sitting there, and you ordered the most enormous meal—"
"The bartender was a redhead," Illya said.
"A pneumatic redhead," Napoleon corrected, and then gasped as Illya nudged his thighs apart and slid his fingers teasingly under Napoleon's balls. The touch was delicate, definite, irresistible.
"Indubitably—" A gentle squeeze, and then the fingers of Illya's other hand stroking his perineum, the silken caress of sleep-tousled hair along the shaft of his cock, the rasp of beard-stubble and the softness of lips and breath behind it. Napoleon's body arched, his feet kicking helplessly, the tension in his calves and thighs just short of a cramp. "God, you're going to kill me. I'm going to die right here."
"Le petit mort seulement," Illya promised breathily, baritone voice a cat's purr, a swath of dark velvet. "Je le jure."
"Jean-Louis," Napoleon gasped, laughing through the agony of his need, the warmth of his partner's skin between his legs. He looked down the length of his own shivering body and breathed, as if he could draw the sight of the sunlight falling across Illya's defined ass and thighs and shoulders into his body like air. Surely he needed it as much as he needed oxygen. Needed it more-- "—please."
"What do you want?" Illya dipped his head, ran his tongue across the papery surface of Napoleon's balls. Napoleon almost howled, remembered the open window just in time.
"Suck me," he begged, and heard the triumph in Illya's voice when Illya said, "Not yet," and wrapped an arm around each of Napoleon's thighs.
"Allez-oop," Illya said, and lifted. Curved Napoleon's spine like a basket, pushing his legs into the air, steadying him there. And then the teeth grazing the backs of Napoleon's thighs, nibbling his buttocks, caressing--
Stopped. Napoleon let his head fall back on the pillow, wondering if he had bitten through his own lip. He tasted salt, but he thought it was sweat. He closed his eyes against the sunlight and moaned. "You were looking at the redhead," Illya said.
"I was looking at the redhead," Napoleon answered. "But I was listening to the blond. Who invited me back to his room to secure the documents, as I recall."
"Smart blond," Illya answered. Whatever he said next was a mumble, as first his saliva-wet fingers and then the darting tip of his tongue outlined Napoleon's opening, caressed, teased, dipped inside. "He could hardly have passed you the files in public. The microfiche, maybe. But not the movie reels—"
This moan, Napoleon couldn't keep inside. His cock twitched; his feet kicked helplessly against Illya's back. He muffled his face in a pillow and shouted, and heard Illya laugh.
"He couldn't have gone down on me on the balcony in the middle of the night, either," Napoleon whispered, when Illya paused enough to let him breathe. "Stupidest thing I ever did."
"Letting a KGB agent suck you off?" Illya's voice was harsh now, ragged with need, his eyes gleaming through the dishevelled fringe of his hair as he rubbed his cheek against Napoleon's thigh. Napoleon luxuriated in the sight of those strong arms wrapped around his legs, trying to tune out the painful red bracelets marking the wrists above the bones.
"On loan." Illya smiled. "It could have come back to haunt you. But it didn't, did it?"
"It did," Napoleon said softly. "You realize the smell of leather still makes me hard?"
"I'll have to wear my shoulder holster to bed more often, then." Which was an image in and of itself, by God. "Pass me my pillow. And what's under it."
"Your pistol? I'll co-operate without violence, you realize—"
"Next to the pistol," Illya said. He folded the pillow double and tucked it under the small of Napoleon's back, holding it in place with his knees. Napoleon slipped the tube of lubricant into his hand, leaning his head back and consciously rolling relaxation down his body as Illya's fingers--greasy now, and slick--resumed their exploration.
"You were planning on this," Napoleon accused.
Illya glanced up through his bangs, shrugged and smiled. "Of course." He chuckled low in his throat, a sound that made Napoleon's breath catch. "You should have seen the look on your face after I transferred to UNCLE, the first time you walked into my lab."
"I didn't call you Jean-Louis, did I?"
"Very fast on your mental feet," Illya admitted. His well-lubed hands were busy on his own long-neglected erection now, drawing the foreskin back and polishing the head to shiny slickness.
"I knew you weren't French."
"You said my accent was impeccable." Illya wiped his hands on the sheets and slid Napoleon's legs up until they were over his shoulders. Napoleon hissed softly, sharply, as Illya's cock nudged his opening.
"It's the way you roll your r's. Tease," he said, and then he groaned through gritted teeth as Illya slowly, carefully edged inside.
"This is teasing?"
"This is--extraordinary—" Napoleon answered, lifting his hips, pulling his partner tight against him. Inside him. His erection flagged at the penetration; he didn't care. They had time to address that later, and he knew Illya would take care of him in every way he could possibly want when they did. For now, Napoleon closed his eyes and lay back against the second pillow, feeling his partner's body over him, within him, the amazing variations of pleasure and the exquisite ache when Illya's cock brushed his prostate, slipped in and then silkily almost completely free of him again. Twinned pleasures, the deeper one sweeter, almost unbearably sweet, and all of it soaked in sweat and lube and the heady smell of Illya's exertion.
Salty droplets fell from Napoleon's partner's hair, scattered both their faces, no haste in what they did but instead a carrying momentum. Perpetual motion machine. Gentle and savage and sweet, so sweet, the scent of sex almost cloying in the back of his throat. He closed his hands on Illya's shoulders, shivering in a vividly kinetic memory. "I left fingernail marks in that jacket."
"You did," Illya murmured, voice rough with desire, eyes closed and his head twisted to one side as he moved, passion and relaxation at war in every limb. Taking his time. Hardly worth hurrying for so little a reward as a continental breakfast, knowing Illya. Fresh croissants be damned. "I still have it."
The Russian opened his eyes and smiled. "As a matter of fact—" And then he gave his hips a brutal, sensuous little twist, and Napoleon gasped. Illya scooted forward an inch, two, almost under Napoleon now and halfway withdrawn, and ducked his head to kiss Napoleon's belly. Bent almost double, back arched like a bow. "Pity," he whispered. "If you were hard, I think I could—"
"I'm impressed," Napoleon murmured, and fisted one hand in Illya's hair. "Now stop showing off and fuck me, please."
Laughter, and sweat, and a sudden unbridled savagery that replaced the teasing and the playfulness as if they had never been. Napoleon dragged Illya so close, held him so tight that Illya could hardly move, except the grinding, erotic wriggle of his hips. Belly to belly, the brush of Illya's sweat-slick abdomen almost too much against Napoleon's half-hard cock, the final moment of his partner's ecstatic, uncharacteristic abandon leaving them both shaking and too weak to move until at last, Illya eased Napoleon's cramping legs down and slid off him with a groan.
"Tell me you're not going to abandon me like this," Napoleon complained, when Illya struggled to his feet and staggered a step away from the bed.
"If I were cruel," Illya answered, morning sunlight gilding him as he walked across the shabby carpet toward the closet by the door, "I should tell you to wait until we get to New York—"
"You're not that cruel," Napoleon said, propping himself on his elbows, wondering if he looked as thoroughly tousled and as gently fucked as he felt. Judging by the look Illya shot over his shoulder, he imagined he probably did. Napoleon imagined reversing the performance, imagined Illya writhing like a cat underneath him. Cupped his half-grown erection in his hand, and beckoned. "Come back here, you. Our flight is still three hours off."
"I know," Illya said, and opened the closet, crouching to rummage through a suitcase on the floor. Illya never bothered unpacking in hotel rooms. Another mark of the experienced agent, sad to say. "You said the first time we met was in Bonn."
"How could I forget?" Napoleon grinned and swung his legs down to the floor. "Especially as you've refreshed my memory so effectively."
"I have not yet begun to refresh," Illya answered. "Besides, the first time I saw you was here. Or close to here, in any case."
Napoleon blinked. "How did I ever miss you?"
Illya laughed. "You were on a sailboat and I had binoculars. It was two weeks before Bonn. You were with a little brunette—"
Napoleon coughed. "I don't remember—"
"Marie D'Etoile," Illya supplied. He didn't look up. "I was supposed to discover if you could be blackmailed."
"And did you?" With an effort, Napoleon drew himself to his feet and padded across the carpet as well.
"I told my superiors there was no indiscretion you could ever possibly be blackmailed with—"
"—and then you took me to bed."
"It was a balcony," Illya reminded. "With a solid cinderblock wall three feet high. Away from all the KGB recording devices in my bedroom—"
Napoleon laughed, relaxing. Looking out for me. Even then. "What are you looking for?"
"This," Illya said, and pulled a bundle of scarred black leather out of the suitcase. It smelled of sweat and petrol and tannin, a heady aroma that rose through the air and tickled Napoleon's nostrils until Napoleon found himself suddenly, achingly, unbendingly hard.
Illya slipped his arms into the jacket without rising from his crouch, looking up at Napoleon with a wicked gleam in his eyes. "A little early in the day for the balcony," he said, shrugging the coat into place on his naked shoulders. "But if you'll just stand back against that wall—"
"Where are you taking me, Jean-Louis?"
The American was speaking in English, and Illya was thinking in French. If he was intended to be French, he would think in French, and-- "Pardon?" He tugged the zipper on his jacket higher, turned back so his face was to the man. Not too tall, built slender. Long fingers on slender hands, and Illya trained his eyes on those.
"Where are you taking me?" The eyes were brown. Clear amber brown, American brown, not Mediterranean. "Jean-Louis."
Which of course was the name the American knew. "I am taking you to my room," Illya answered, walking backwards, his motorcycle boots clicking on the street. Post-war architecture all around them, too much cement, but better than Stalingrad. Better than Berlin.
He smiled. He, Illya, remembering. His controller, the order: Compromise him if you can.
For all his first sight of the handsome American had been in the arms of une petite belle française, he had known the instant he walked into that greasy cellar--in the clothes he had chosen so carefully for his role--and felt the other man's eyes travel over his body--if I want him. He's mine.
"Your room—" a little bit of a purr. Unmistakable flirtation. Illya picked at the scaling sleeve of his jacket with a thumbnail. The jacket dated back to the war. The scars on the shoulder were fresh. It hadn't been a bad spill, but the scent of leather filled the air around them whenever they paused. Air that stung Illya's cheeks bright red; cold enough that in Moscow he might have expected a Moscow frost, flat pale flakes drifting down from the clear starlit sky, frozen out of the wet cold air without a cloud to show for it. The American huddled into his fur-collared overcoat.
Cold for Germany, indeed. "My room," Illya said--in French—"is where the documents are. In my saddlebags. Also several reels of movie film and the microfiche for your superiors. As arranged."
The American chuckled, his gloved hand tightening on the handle of his briefcase. "Will this be big enough?"
"It should be. Here is the door—" Illya stepped aside, holding it open. Watching the spring in the American's calves as he ascended the short flight of steps, the muscles of his thighs bunching. A little shiver.
It is only your orders to seduce him. He laid a hand on the American's elbow as they passed through the door. Is it not well that the task won't be unpleasant?
The desk clerk of the hotel stared rudely as they came in, disapproving eyes following them across the lobby. The American returned the stare boldly, and winked. Illya hid a laugh when the uncultured clerk glanced down. "You know what he thinks of us," he said, close enough to the American's ear to hide the shape of the words.
The American nodded as Illya led him to the stairs. "Yes," he said. "He thinks I'm your trick."
A considered moment, and the American shrugged, seemingly unable to find the word he wanted in French. "A prostitute's client," he said.
"Ah. And you think I'm a whore?" Illya tried to say it teasingly, as the door closed behind them. He couldn't quite keep the intensity from his voice.
"I think everybody in this business is a whore," the American answered. "Is it wise to go up to your room? I do not wish to cause you any--inconvenience."
"Wiser than it would be for me to pass you a bundle of secret documents in the hotel lobby. Let him disapprove."
The American's grin, when it came, was all boyish charm. This will not be unpleasant in the least.
"Just as well, Jean-Louis. He won't remember anything unusual that way. Who do you work for again?"
"I haven't said," Illya answered, as they climbed. "I am a simple courier. I have the papers, and I will give them to you."
Four flights. Five. The American not breathing heavily yet. "You haven't asked who I work for."
"I do not believe that it is my business to know."
The American turned and smiled. "A non-governmental law enforcement agency. We're a public agency, not a secret one. You may have heard of us—"
"The U.N.C.L.E.? I have. They recruit in—" --Russia-- "—Europe, too."
"The pay's not bad," the American said, as Illya opened the sixth-floor door. "You should apply. You might not get past the training, of course—"
"But it's safer than couriering packages for men whose names and affiliations you don't know. And you seem like a smart kid. I'll be happy to put in a word for you--not that my opinion counts for that much. But there are worse trades than law enforcement." The American smiled. It sounded like honest advice, free and clear. Illya wasn't quite sure what to do with such things.
"I'm but a poor student," Illya said. "Perhaps when I have my degree. Ah. Here we are. Would you care to step inside?" His eyes met the American's, and everything was offered in that glance. Come in, come in.
I don't mind if I do.
Just another handsome American. Just another kind of whore.
Oh, mother, Illya thought. If you could see me now. He was rather glad she couldn't.
He closed and locked the door. "There's a bottle of brandy." He would have preferred vodka, slivovitz. Something that didn't leave one with a toxic head and a roiling gut. He gestured to the nightstand. The little room was dreary, the single bed narrow and low. There were microphones behind the headboard, at least one camera that Illya knew of. There might be more. "Help yourself to the brandy," he said.
The American poured some into a paper-covered water glass and leaned against the wall by the balcony door while Illya disarmed the booby trap on his saddlebags and drew the documents, the film reels forth.
"Open your briefcase," he said.
"Have some brandy," the American answered, and passed him the half-empty glass.
It could be drugged. Unlikely, though--he might hand it back to the American after the American was finished with the papers. The room was cold. Illya warmed himself on the brandy, tugging at his zipper, noticing that the American had not unbelted his overcoat.
It's safer than-- The American closed and locked his case. Straightened, stood, propped himself against the bedpost. Hooked both thumbs in the belt of his overcoat and pushed the knot apart. He smiled, and did not move toward Illya. "Now what?"
Compromise him if you can, Illya Nikolaivech.
Now I let you fuck me, Illya thought. And then my superiors blackmail you with the pictures I will take. For the Rodina. The sting in his throat was bile, not liquor. Illya poured more brandy into the cup they'd shared. He pressed it into the American's hand.
"Come outside," he said, instead. "The room isn't much, but the view--incroyable."
The American followed him outside, not bothering to tug his gloves back on. "Christ!" he said, and Illya knew it was half for the spill of lights spread out beyond them, and half for the soul-tearing cold of the wind that ripped their words from their mouths on tatters of white. The American leaned on the waist-high concrete railing, quaffing half of the brandy in a gulp. He offered the glass back to Illya, and Illya took it and drained it and crouched down to set it on the tiles under his feet, where the wind would not roll it away.
Fuck the KGB, Illya thought, quite clearly. Quite tiredly. He wanted to stand up and kiss the American in the glittering darkness, to pass the jagged sharpness of liquor back and forth on tingling tongues. But there could be a cameraman on the building opposite, and while a kiss wasn't quite on the level of blackmail the KGB usually preferred, he was certain they would take what they could get.
And without ever really deciding, he realized that he had decided he wasn't going to give it to them.
What the hell.
He was already on his knees.
He reached out and ran one hand up the back of the American's leg to the knee, curving his fingers so they brushed the other man's inner thigh through his pants-leg. The American jerked and shivered, and then looked down. "Jean-Louis," he said kindly. "When I said I would recommend you—"
"Non," Illya said. "Non. Je vous veux—"
The American paused, turned toward him. The cement was as cold and hard as an icelocked lake under Illya's knees. "Boy—"
"Je suis pas plus jeune que vous êtes," Illya said, and slid both hands up the American's groin, under the drape of his overcoat. His fingers found the American's cock through the expensively tailored wool, tightened on a length already stiffening before he touched it. He heard the American gasp, felt the icy wind on the nape of his own neck through the silk of his scarf, insinuated himself closer. There was a breathless little island of warmth trapped between their bodies, under the coat, in the corner of the balcony where the wind didn't quite reach. The American was shivering violently, his hands tightening on Illya's shoulders as Illya carefully, unhurriedly unbuttoned the other man's fly.
Illya leaned close, the American's cologne and the dark rich musk of his body rising over Illya's own scent of road tar and ancient leather, his enormous, bulky jacket creaking like leather armour in the cold as he rubbed slowly, carefully, with the flat of his hand. The head of the American's tidy, circumcised cock--American penises looked so naked, Illya thought, amused--pressed into the hollow of his palm as he tugged the boxers aside. The American moaned, a soft sound drawn from his lips by the wind, a sound that went down Illya's spine like a caress. He must be freezing to death, up there in the wind. But the hotel room wasn't an option, and now the American's long, elegant hands were knotted in Illya's hair, and Illya was brushing his lips across the harsh, pungent curls. Illya half-expected the American to manhandle him, holding his head hard and fucking his mouth, but instead he sagged against the wall, supporting himself with two hands on Illya's shoulders, and chuckled dark and sweet and dirty in the back of his throat. "So beautiful," he said. "What could you possibly want with me?"
You're beautiful yourself, Illya thought--in Russian, a mistake, because his mother tongue brought with it a shock of guilt and desperation and disobeying orders, ungrateful son--and closed his eyes, and whispered, "Vous êtes beau—"
"Vous?" Amused, silken. Controlled. But Illya could feel the trembling need and the chill as deep as pain in the other man's body, in the way his hands clenched on the armoured shoulders of Illya's jacket as if he would tear the centimeter-thick leather apart by main strength.
"Tu," Illya murmured, and took the American's cock into his mouth. The American's hiss of reaction was almost pained; he hunched forward, drawing air through clenched teeth, and whimpered when Illya sucked, cheek-hollowing hard, letting his tongue do what tongues do best: engage in the most skilled and civilized of conversation.
In other circumstances, he might have let his fingers wander too, especially when the American leaned into him as if his knees were buckling, groaning, obviously holding himself still by main force of will. A true gentleman, Illya thought, and wondered what it would take to crack that control, to make the hips thrust helplessly--
There was a ragged scar low on the American's flat, soft belly, a place where skin like glove leather gave way to glossy stiffness. "Ow," Illya mouthed, tracing it.
The American shivered. "Korea," he said succinctly, as if all the pain in that one small country could be contained in a single word, in a single shrapnel scar. Illya shivered, and breathed deep before he kissed again.
It was dark under the coat, dark and warm, a peculiar contrast to the searing cold that numbed his knees, that must have bitten the American's face and hands red and chapped by now. The American moaned like the wind; Illya let his head slide forward and back, steadying himself against the American's hips, steadying the American against the cinderblock wall. Fuck the KGB. Fuck them all. This isn't so much to ask, just once in my life, something that isn't service, isn't even for me-- Tears stung his eyes. The American's dark, warm scent filled him, headier than liquor. Somehow, those long fingers tightened on his shoulders; even though the bullhide, Illya thought, in the morning they will be able to lift his fingerprints from my flesh.
Tomorrow there would be the questions, and Illya would smile, and shrug, and say but I did as I was told. Is it my fault the cameramen could not capture anything definitive? Are you telling me my sacrifice in the name of the Rodina was all in vain?
"Jean-Louis," the American gasped, a warning--indeed. such a gentleman--and then a convulsive, rattling shudder, when Illya did not back away, and the hot, bitter musk of semen filling his mouth, and one of those long-fingered hands sliding through Illya's hair again, brushing his ear, a lingering, exhausted caress while Illya reassembled the boxers and the belt and the fly, made sure the shirt was tucked straight and the overcoat hanging neatly.
Illya leaned back into a crouch, fingers of his right hand splayed against the concrete, suddenly uncertain. He drew a breath before he looked up, preparing himself for dismissal, rejection, guilt-riddled postcoital disgust--
--the American's hand slipped down, warming his ear, the callused pad of his thumb tugging Illya's glistening lower lip down, coming to rest in the notch above his chin. A breathy voice to match the caress in tenderness. "Beautiful," the American whispered. "What about you?"
Illya swallowed hard in shock, and stood, but could not bring himself to step away. "Nothing tonight," he said, and smiled. "It's late, and—"
"Cold." The American was shivering hard enough to rattle his teeth. Illya took pity on him, led him in off the balcony and poured more brandy down his throat. When the shivering lessened enough to permit speech, the American looked up at him thoughtfully. "You're sure—"
Illya pressed a finger to his lips and smiled, and shook his head, savouring the lingering bitterness on his tongue. The microphones. And Mine. Mine. Mine.
Not theirs, for once--
"If you're ever in New York," the American said, defeated, "look me up, Jean-Louis." He rose and collected his case and knotted the belt of the overcoat, and turned with one hand on the door. "I'll buy you dinner. I meant what I said about UNCLE, too. We can use intelligent men."
"I would," Illya said. "But I do not know your name."
"Napoleon," the American said, eyes twinkling over a sudden, self-deprecating grin. "Napoleon Solo. I'm in the book."
"I bet you are," Illya answered, and waited until the American and the vital papers were well down the corridor before he shut and locked the door.
"I don't think my task for you today should prove too onerous, Mr. Solo."
"Sir?" Napoleon looked up from the pile of paperwork on the rotating desk, giving his superior his full attention. It was his first solo--pardon the pun--face to face meeting with the head of New York's Section One, and he'd spent the night before preparing rather than catching up on his sleep after the last field mission, as planned.
"Here." Waverly stopped fussing with his pipe long enough to drop a manila folder on the table and spin it inside Napoleon's reach. A personnel folder, secured file.
Napoleon recognized the yellow label and flipped it open, expecting the file to be his own. "Dr. Kuryakin?"
"Kuryakin," Waverly said, subtly correcting Napoleon's pronunciation.
"A Russian, sir? It says here he's a physicist--
"I want you to evaluate him."
"Begging your pardon, sir. Hardly my field."
Waverly smiled and tamped his pipe. "Au contraire, Mr. Solo. He's also graduated UNCLE survival school, a voluntary transfer from the Russian Navy's military police program."
"He's a field agent."
Waverly's smile flagged as he met Napoleon's eyes. "That is for you to decide, Mr. Solo. That will be all."
I'll take him to lunch, Napoleon decided, flipping through the file as he made his way to section 4. He checked his watch. Just in time. Pleased with his foresight, he found the proper laboratory as much by the shiny newness of the fresh-bolted nameplate as by the name etched upon it.
Napoleon rapped lightly--crisply--on the door before palming the panel to slide it open. If Dr. Kuryakin were bent over a microscope--or whatever scientists did with their time--far be it from a field agent to startle him.
The door slid aside. Napoleon blinked on a moment's impression of a white-shirted back, muscular forearms beyond rolled cuffs, the black severity of a shoulder holster, a mass of hair that gleamed every shade from buckwheat honey to sun-bleached straw under the overhead lights--
"Please, Napoleon—" A cultured baritone that struck Napoleon like a drink dashed into his face, like a hand placed on his thigh. The scientist lifted his head and turned on his padded stool, an all-too-familiar smile curving lips that Napoleon had far too intimate an acquaintance with. "Under the circumstances, I think you should call me 'Illya.'"
Napoleon's jaw dropped. The manila folder crumpled in his fist, a cold shiver clutching the nape of his neck. He gaped.
"GRU," he said, tasting cheap brandy and feeling cold wind, feeling moreover the uncompromising caress of those incredible, sensual lips. His mouth worked. Gobsmacked. "Illya."
The scientist stood from his bench. Trim, immaculate in black trousers and white shirt, tie crooked and the top button of his collar unbuttoned. Napoleon imagined pressing his thumb to the pulse there, and shivered. "Illya Nikolaivech Kuryakin," he said, extending a hand that Napoleon took, and held dumbly. "You did tell me to look up you--and UNCLE--if I found myself in New York."
"I knew you weren't French."
"Of course." The fleeting smile; it lit Kuryakin's--Illya's--blue eyes with an inner light. "You are here to check up on me?"
"I am here," Napoleon answered, brandishing the file, "to take you down to Facilities and find out if you can fight, Illya Nikolaivech."
"I think you'll be pleased," the sturdy Russian said, and got his coat.
"I am pleased," Napoleon admitted. Illya had insisted on fish and chips, and Napoleon hadn't felt the desire to complain. He'd watched, amused, as the blond Russian slapped malt vinegar on a double order of cod and potatoes and chewed through it as if he hadn't eaten in a week, but he hadn't commented.
"I did spend three years in England," Illya said, noticing his perusal. "This has resulted in a soft spot for curry and Yorkshire puddings, as well, I'm afraid."
"You like to eat."
The Russian laughed and licked grease off his thumb. "I've been told I'm orally fixated," he said, smiling through his lashes. Napoleon hastily looked down at his own fresh-fried dinner.
God, yes. "Does Freud have a great deal of currency in the Soviet Union?"
Illya shrugged. Napoleon bit his lip in order to hold his silence. "Some," the Russian admitted, polishing off another filet with gusto. "I forgot to eat lunch."
"Do you often forget to eat?"
"Only when I'm distracted—"
Napoleon lowered his gaze, watching his own fingers as he flaked a bit of cod apart with his fork. "Illya—" All breath deserted him. He looked up, met those ice-blue eyes, and shrugged. The Russian gave away nothing, quiet, regarding him like a cat. "Did it mean anything?"
"My request to fill the UNCLE assignment?"
"Bonn," Napoleon said succinctly, before he could say anything else. Illya licked his lips, and Napoleon's heart filled up with something that almost hurt.
"Yes—" Illya said, dabbing his lips with his napkin. "How did I do in the unarmed combat trial, Mr. Solo?"
"Dr. Kuryakin. Very well indeed."
"Please don't call me 'doctor.'" Illya shrugged. "For a Ph.D. who is not a professor, it's a little precious, don't you think?"
"Are you always so humble?" Precious. His English is as good as his French.
"Rarely." Illya's mouth curved. "It would be inappropriate of me to suggest that I might feel a physical attraction to my co-worker, wouldn't it?"
"Unprofessional," Napoleon answered.
"Exactly." Illya set a half-eaten French fry down on the pile. He picked up the bottle of malt vinegar and turned it in his hands.
"Your place or mine?" Napoleon asked, before he could lose his courage overall.
That sunny smile was worth any risk to see. "Yours," Illya answered. "I am not unpacked yet."
Napoleon smiled, as well. "Are you always so in command of yourself, I wonder?"
The Russian chuckled, and wiped grease from his hands. "Oh," he said, "only when there isn't time to explore all the options. If you see what I mean."
"Yes," Napoleon answered, firmly controlling his sudden distraction as he reached for the check, "Yes. I think I do."
Vivid, almost incarnadine, the recollection of that cold, brutally institutional balcony. The fresher recollection of Illya's slick sidestep and twist as he dropped Napoleon to the practice mat paled in comparison. Illya. Something tremendously exotic about that name, and Napoleon found himself saying it aloud just to taste it. "Illya."
"Illya," the Russian corrected, straightening from his crouched perusal of Napoleon's LPs. "Ella Fitzgerald," he sighed. "Billie Holiday. Thelonious Monk, Big Mama Thornton. Oh, I am going to like America."
"You like jazz."
"Even more than I like to eat."
"Miles Davis—" Napoleon offered, wanting more from this charismatic, frictionless young man than whatever brutal, ephemeral physicality they had shared before. Wanting him for a friend.
Illya smiled--a faint, hesitant drift of a smile, quickly gone. "Miles Davis. Yes. Jazz is the Great American Art, as ballet is that of Russia—"
The Russian shrugged. "Much to my dismay, I fear that the Germans and the French must claim that title—" He blinked. "I'm sorry, Napoleon. You didn't bring me home to discuss jazz."
The animation fled his face as quickly as it had come, an impassive mask sliding back across his features. Napoleon swallowed in too-plain understanding. "I didn't bring you home not to discuss jazz, either," he said.
"No?" The low voice grew dangerous when it was amused, Napoleon decided. Challenging. Napoleon came three steps forward, deciding that he was glad he had a couple of inches on the Russian. He could already tell that he was going to need every advantage he could get. Pale eyes flashed--
He startled, realizing he was staring, and glanced down. "You don't like people to know you."
"Do you always analyze everyone you meet?"
A grin, the disarming one. Calculated, but warming. "Always. Do you—"
"Do I what?"
Slow blink. Not what Illya had been expecting, and Napoleon felt a little rush of triumph as he regained an edge. He rushed to maintain it. "You didn't. In Bonn."
"It seemed—" Illya tilted his head to one side. "Forward. When I did not even know your name, and had lied to you about mine."
"Forward." Napoleon found himself shaking his head. The man nearly cripples me, and he's concerned about appearances. "Let me show you forward." He stepped up, reached out, and combed his fingers through Illya's hair, as he'd been itching to for--hours. Months. A long time. Leaned forward, slid his other arm around the Russian's waist. "Do you kiss?" he asked again, and let his breath play across Illya's cheek.
"Very much so," Illya answered, and turned to press his lips to Napoleon's.
Yes. That facile tongue, the satiny caress of lips drifting open, of tongue on tongue. Roughness and wetness and the hard square blocks of teeth. Napoleon's hand slid forward to cup Illya's cheek; Illya's fists somehow knotted in Napoleon's hair. They did not step apart when they broke, but stood chest to chest, breathing raggedly, lust glowing between them like the embers at the back of the grate.
Illya put his hand over Napoleon's and pressed it to his cheek, sighing as he leaned into the caress. "You did that in Bonn."
"I did?" Surprise, and then Napoleon remembered. "I would have done more, if you'd let me—"
"It was a bad time." Illya laced his fingers between Napoleon's. "This was sweet."
"Very sweet." Napoleon swallowed. "I don't think I have your expertise—"
"The kiss seemed adequately researched."
"Oh, that. You didn't seem shy—"
"I didn't say I had no expertise."
"Ah." Hesitation and a smile. "A good scientist thrives on experimentation." Illya reached up to unknot Napoleon's tie. Napoleon caught the other man's hands in his own and shook his head.
"Oh, no. This time, I think, it's my turn."
"Your turn?" Challenging, breathy.
Napoleon grinned, and knotted his fingers around Illya's skinny black tie. He leaned in close, lips against the other man's ear. "Bedroom," he whispered, watching the way Illya's hair stirred in his breath, feeling Illya's slow, luxurious shiver. "That is, unless you're chicken—"
Silence. A raised eyebrow on the face turned slightly towards his own. "Chicken?"
"Bok bok bok—"
"Oh, that tears it." Illya reached up, grabbed Napoleon's wrist in one strong hand, and tightened his grip enough to hurt slightly. "Chicken—"
"Chicken." Napoleon had a weight advantage and he knew it, and he used it. The Russian didn't fight him--much. Token resistance only, bending backwards smoothly, and abandoned even that when Napoleon covered the other man's mouth with his own and forced a kiss. I've known you twelve hours, he thought. Twelve hours and all my life, and didn't know where the savagery, the bone-deep trust came from, except the knowledge of what Illya--as Jean-Louis--had done for him in Bonn. Had risked for him, in Bonn. For a stranger. "I think I owe you a thank you."
"For seducing you?"
The voice was cool. Amused. Napoleon meant to crack it. "Because the contact prints didn't show up in my mailbox two weeks later—"
"There weren't any photographs." The Russian lay back against his dark red carpet, propped on his elbows, and Napoleon knelt over him, between his parted knees.
"That's why I owe you a thank you. Illya."
"You keep saying my name."
"I very much like your name. It's not Boris or Gregor or Ivan—"
"—that's what I said."
"You said eye-van." A teasing smile, and the Russian turned his head so that his breath brushed Napoleon's throat. "And you say ih-lee-yah. But that is not my name. Not quite."
"Jean-Louis," Napoleon replied, and calmly began unbuttoning Illya's shirt. His fingertips told him the other man trembled, but the arch, challenging expression gave nothing away. "I am a firm, ah. Believer. In reciprocity."
"Turnabout," Napoleon said firmly. "Is fair play." And pushed Dr. Kuryakin's shirt off his shoulders. The contrast between the panting half-naked man in his arms and the icy, assured, nearly brittle scientist was almost painfully erotic, he decided, a little bit later, when the taste of Illya's skin had thoroughly saturated his mouth. Nor was he the only one entranced with kissing. It seemed the Russian couldn't get enough of it, once they started. And it seemed as well that his desires vacillated wildly, from absolute surrender to rough domination--which last Napoleon was not about to permit him. "No, no," he soothed, pressing the man who was half his lover and half a stranger down against the rug. "Next time—"
"Will there be a next time?" Bright blue eyes and painful honesty, forcing Napoleon to examine his own intentions.
"I hope so," he said, and thought he didn't imagine the smile as Illya's eyes drifted closed, and the underfed Russian allowed Napoleon's mouth to trace the outlines of his ribs under the skin, gasped when Napoleon suckled his small, dark nipples. "Is that all right?"
Napoleon sighed in pleasure, and chalked one up to gender equality. And what are you going to do when you get below the waist, Napoleon?
Oh, Hell. Anything he can do, I can do better--
--except speak Russian.
He laughed against the other agent's belly. Illya traced long fingers through his hair and smiled, propping himself on an elbow. "You don't have to—"
"I," Illya commented, "was trained." Coldly, intentionally, the chill in his voice quite calculated. And equally, Napoleon thought, false. He's uncomfortable being made love to.
Well, that will just have to change. "You remembered the way I touched your face."
Silence, long and soft, and then agreement. "I did."
"Is that training, too? Dr. Kuryakin?"
"No." Such soft, such utter silence. "I volunteered for UNCLE. I wasn't sent."
"It's in your dossier."
"Like my training."
"Like your Ph.D."
"And my facility at sucking cock." Bitterly. With so much self-hate in it that Napoleon pulled back and leaned on his elbows, looking up the plains and valleys of the other's body to his closed eyes, his aching face.
"Are you insinuating," Napoleon replied softly, "that you have skills that I can't learn?"
Silence, utter and complete. Not even an errant breath to break it. And then a hand stroking his face, lingering in the notch under his lip. He remembered. Remembered with amazement and concern--
"You would do that for me." Disbelief.
"I intend to request you as a partner," Napoleon answered, amazed with the ease with which it came. "Partners look out for each other." With careful fingers, he opened the Russian's fly, pushed his pants down around his hips, extracted his hard, sweet cock. "I heard you say you volunteered."
"I fell in love with an American," Illya said, too quickly. "I could hardly stay away, without knowing—"
The words, when they finally sank through Napoleon's dazzlement, almost took his breath away. He wasn't quite sure how he kept his voice conversational. "You fall quickly."
"And hard, it would seem."
The Russian laughed in answer, letting his body drop back against the carpet. And after that, Napoleon saw to it that he said nothing more of substance for a while.
"Put you hands behind your head," Napoleon said, a little while later.
"Why?" Hard to remember why he protested, even, with the wool rug rough against the skin of his back and buttocks and his pants pulled down, binding his thighs together in a manner he was quite certain looked utterly ridiculous.
"Because I asked nicely?" And the dry, warm pressure of his hand brooked no argument.
Illya lifted his arms, laced his fingers behind his head, and closed his eyes. "Better?"
"Yes." Hands on his thighs, stripping his trousers down, taking his socks and shoes with them. Cool air brushed his skin like fingers as he arched his back, assisting. He shivered, kept his eyes closed as his partner--partner. Now why was I not expecting that?--disrobed, rustle of cloth and the faint creak of floorboards under the rug. And then the warmth of skin on skin, a long body stretched out beside his own, skin soft as cashmere and the silken hardness of the erection sliding against his thigh. He opened his eyes, turned curiously, reached to embrace his partner, and was met with a wry expression and a dissuading finger. "Uh uh."
Carefully, slowly, he laced his fingers together again and lay back down, shoulders square, heels together. Dark amber eyes sparkled as the American leaned over him, propped on one elbow, and grinned. "You look like you're expecting an inspection."
He opened his mouth to answer, and gasped instead as his partner's free hand grazed the inside of his thigh from his knee and cupped his testicles. "Keep your hands where I can see them," the American said, and Illya bit his lip and knotted his hands into fists in his own hair, half-shamed and half-aroused by the raggedness of his own breathing as the exploring hand slid up and tightened around the base of his penis. "Yes?"
"Yes." It was out before he thought about, and Illya was amused to realize he was still thinking in English, even now. In America, he thought, I can make love to whom I wish to make love to. Not whom I am told--
Lying still when that hand began to move on his sex was the hardest thing he ever did. He arched into the touch; he couldn't help it. But somehow he kept his hands still, raised, pulling at his own hair until he moaned with the mingled pain and pleasure, wondering if he would bite his lip bloody in the effort to be still. And then Napoleon's mouth covered his, and he opened his eyes, finding himself staring into twinkling brown eyes only an inch or two away. And then the kiss turned into a grin, and the caresses turned determined as Napoleon found a rhythm, and smooth hot skin pressed Illya's body from ribcage to thigh.
Something in that touch, in the vulnerability of lying still, of accepting it--of being made love to, and in the wake of his own devastating confessions--whittled away the last trace of his reserve, the icy wit he hid himself and his need under. I came halfway around the world for this. Which he hadn't quite admitted before, even to himself. I came to America for him. Not for the job. Not for the Rodina.
I will always come for him. His eyes burned before he realized he was weeping; he almost balled his fists into his eyes in shame, but his partner leaned down and kissed his eyelids and the salty tracks of one sharp tear, and smoothed his hair back from his wet forehead.
"Did I hurt you?"
"Please, don't stop—" His own honesty shocked him, but a lie would have been more shocking. He gave himself up to the pleasure, to the contact, to the absolute, sudden knowing--
--and he would always come for me.
His eyes flew open as the hand tightened one last time, as he felt the lancing pleasure of his orgasm like a stiletto and hot, soapy slickness spattered his belly. He gasped, and then he would have cringed in shame, but his partner was pressing his shoulders flat to the floor and kissing him once more, eyes closed this time.
"You're gorgeous when you finally let go," Napoleon said, when he drew back for air, his right hand moving idly on Illya's wet belly.
Illya swallowed hard, untangling his fingers, his scalp aching where he'd pulled his own hair. "May I touch you now?"
The American blinked, and then smiled, as if he'd forgotten. "Please?"
"Good." A growl, the noise a dog might make over a bone, and Illya came up off the floor like a striking snake, pulling his partner--his lover--down again. They rolled through air thick with the smell of sex, biting as hard as they kissed, restraint abandoned in a wrestling match that was half a struggle for dominance and half an acknowledgement that dominance wasn't even a concept that really applied. He pinned the American at last, straddled his waist, the hard cock settling neatly into the sweaty cleft of his ass.
"Good. We have a lot of time to make up for."
"Loser does the breakfast dishes," Napoleon said, and heaved hard, trying to roll him to the floor.
Illya didn't see any reason to make it easy.