Room Temperature

by Nyssa

New York City, Staten Island, 1959

The word crept silently into his consciousness, slipping past the dissipating layers of sleep. He was lying wrapped in a nest of blankets, listening drowsily to the soft hiss of a radiator, an infinitely comforting sound that always reminded him of childhood winters spent at his grandparents' farm in Manitoba. But then there had been no warm, solid weight in his arms, no pleasant scent of spent desire in the air. Smiling, he nuzzled the longish hair at the nape of his companion's neck. The Russian—Illya, he reminded himself—slept on, his chest filling and emptying slowly, evenly.

Reluctantly, Napoleon disentangled himself and rose. He padded to the window and parted the blinds. Still full dark. The sign across the parking lot blinked Vacancy, its cold neon lending no warmth to the freezing night air. He sighed, anticipating the chill and dreading it. He let the blinds fall shut and walked across to the little bathroom with the door that wouldn't close completely.

He was standing before the sink, examining his stubbly face in the mirror and regretting that his razor was at home in his own bathroom, when the faulty door swung silently inward. He tensed automatically, without thought, then relaxed as sleepy blue eyes met his in the mirror. He noticed abstractedly that the Russian's own stubble was barely visible, a pale gold tint on still paler flesh.

He saw Illya's yawn and smiled, then drew a deep breath as the Russian's arms slid around his waist from behind. Illya's forehead pressed against the back of Napoleon's neck, and warm breath tickled his spine.

"You're cold," Illya said softly.

"I have to go." Napoleon swallowed as the Russian's lips grazed his shoulder. "I was about to get dressed."

His companion didn't reply, but one hand glided from Napoleon's waist across his hip to his buttocks. Napoleon's slightly accelerated breathing turned abruptly to labored pants as one long finger traced the cleft, from the base of his spine to just behind his balls and back again.

"It will not take long," the Russian said in an accented whisper. His other hand insinuated itself smoothly between Napoleon's thighs, urging them farther apart. "And then you'll be warm."

Napoleon didn't protest, closing his eyes and gripping the edge of the sink for support as the strong hands spread him. A finger probed carefully inside, and he felt his companion's mouth curve against his back in a smile.

"You are still wet here," Illya said. "From the first time."

Napoleon nodded. He hadn't had time to clean up yet. He hadn't even much wanted to. With women he was careful to shower afterward, to scrub away all traces of sex, to go out into the daylight clean and fresh and pristine. With men the sex was even messier, and yet he always felt oddly reluctant to rid himself of its evidence. Strange, he thought fleetingly. Sex with men was dangerous, forbidden, crazy. He might lose everything if people knew. But many times he had lain sated beside men whose names he hadn't asked, massaging their sperm into his belly, clenching his muscles in a futile attempt to hold it inside him. It was all he could have of them, after all.

Illya was entering slowly, the hard hot flesh piercing him, soothing him. He heard the Russian mutter something. He couldn't understand the words, only the fervent pleasure in their tone. Perhaps he was being told how tight he was, how good he felt, how the Russian would like to spend eternity fucking him. He shuddered, and bent forward slightly, providing Illya a better angle.

His companion accepted the offer with a grateful moan, sliding in further until Napoleon felt the soft tickle of hair against his ass. Then there was a cessation of movement, a pause in which the Russian gripped him tightly around the waist, stroking the soft skin there with a gentleness that contrasted strangely with the sharp, hungry bites he bestowed on Napoleon's neck and shoulders. There was pain and pleasure and sweet, sweet fullness, and Napoleon closed his eyes and held fiercely to it all. Perfection was so fragile, and so brief.

Illya began to thrust at a leisurely pace, much slower and easier than their earlier frantic coupling. Then the Russian had been so eager to come that Napoleon had wondered if the bed and his body could withstand the pounding intact, and had gloried in the thought. This time Illya treated him to a slow, gentle, rocking rhythm that felt as if it could go on indefinitely.

Napoleon shifted in his companion's arms. It was entirely too slow and gentle. Impatiently he pushed backward, bracing himself on the sink and giving the Russian's cock a firm squeeze.

He was rewarded with a delighted gasp. Illya's hands planted themselves on his hips in a bruising grip, and Napoleon felt him pull back slightly before slamming forward with such violence that Napoleon staggered. He cried out and glimpsed himself in the mirror, mouth open, head thrown back, cock dark and swollen and tight to his belly. He saw the Russian's face at his shoulder, eyes screwed shut in concentration. Then came the next hard thrust, and the next, and Napoleon almost collapsed as his prostate was stroked. The pleasure was blinding, but it wasn't enough. It was never enough. He heard himself begging for more, pleading, almost sobbing.

His pleas seemed to inspire the Russian. He hissed "Yes," and Napoleon felt a strong hand encircle his cock. He stared into the mirror for a moment, entranced, watching Illya pump him, the stroking in perfect counterpoint to the fucking. Then he closed his eyes; he had to.

Orgasm swept him with the force of a whirlwind, atomizing his consciousness, drowning him in waves of fire. From behind him he heard the Russian's strangled cry, felt one last desperate plunge, and then he was sinking bonelessly to the floor, pulling an unresisting Illya with him. The feel of the cold tile barely penetrated his awareness. Illya's fever-hot flesh was all around him; Illya's warm breath panted whisper-soft on his skin.

He lay perfectly content, sprawled awkwardly on the hard cold floor of the cramped bathroom with the Russian's body plastered comfortingly along his back. He kept his eyes shut and didn't think at all.

But of course it didn't last. Illya began to stir, and then his softened cock slipped easily from Napoleon's body. Napoleon felt a sudden rush of air as Illya got up. He sighed, and rose hurriedly, shivering.

The Russian was regarding him with unreadable eyes. "You have to go now?" he asked.

Napoleon avoided his gaze. "I really should."

Illya nodded silently and they went out into the bedroom.

He turned on the light and began gathering his scattered clothes, remembering with wry humor the undignified haste with which he had shed them. One of his socks was lying entangled with the Russian's white boxers. He touched the shorts lightly before picking it up.

"Do you like women?"

Napoleon looked up, startled. Illya was lying on the bed, propped on one elbow, watching him. He had made no move to get dressed, and his spent cock was lolling tiredly against his thigh. Napoleon thought how it would feel to hold it, warm it in the cradle of his hand.

He bent again to retrieve his undershirt. "Very much."

The Russian was silent a moment. "But you do this."

Napoleon straightened and looked him in the eye. "This," he said softly, "is an entirely different matter."

His companion nodded, thoughtfully, as though he understood. But Napoleon knew he didn't. How could anyone understand?

He tugged his briefs and pants on and sat down on the edge of the bed to don his socks. Illya didn't touch him, but he was close enough for Napoleon to feel the heat of his skin.

"Do the women know?"

Napoleon paused with one sock on. Clara had known. He had never been sure how she had known, but she had. She had cried and asked him how she could make him need her as much as he needed men. And he had wanted to die, right then, because she was crying and because he loved her and because she wasn't a man.

He pulled on the other sock. "Women know everything," he replied lightly. "Don't you know that?"

He heard the Russian's muffled laugh. "I'm afraid I have had little experience with them."

Napoleon stood, stuffing his shirt into his pants, and turned to face him. "You should give it a try. Broaden your horizons."

Illya shook his head slowly. "I go out with girls on rare occasions, for appearances, but nothing more." His mouth turned up a bit at the corners. "I believe they think I am shy and old-fashioned."

Napoleon let his eyes wander over the slim, wiry body on the bed. He would never touch it again, he knew, but he could still feel the silky-slick pre-ejaculate on his tongue, the heavy weight of the balls in his hand, the perfect hard heat of the cock spearing him. Everything that made the Russian a man.

"Aren't you cold like that?" he asked. Despite the radiator, the air in the room had seemed unpleasantly cool to Napoleon before he was dressed.

Illya blinked at him in surprise. "No. I'm quite comfortable."

Napoleon buckled his gun harness. "I have to go home and change," he said. "It's almost six o'clock, and Waverly expects me in his office at eight."

Illya nodded and rolled onto his back. "He does seem the type to demand punctuality." He yawned and threw an arm over his eyes. "My plane leaves at noon and my bags are already packed, so I have some time before I need to return to the U.N.C.L.E. hotel. I intend to spend that time sleeping."

Napoleon had his hand on the doorknob when the Russian spoke again.

"If..." He hesitated.

Napoleon turned around. "Yes?"

Illya was still lying in the same position, with his eyes covered. "If our situations are ever reversed, if you are ever on loan to the London office, I would not be averse to a repetition of last night." He paused. "And this morning."

Napoleon smiled, though he knew the Russian couldn't see it. "I'm afraid that's not very likely. Mr. Waverly tends to be a lot more eager to accept loans than to give them." Besides, he added silently to himself, it's too damn dangerous and you know it. One-night stands were bad enough, but to make it a habit, to be with the same man more than once, to be with ,this man more than once... His soul yearned at the thought. He knew he wouldn't be able to let go, and that would be fatal.

Illya still didn't look at him. "Still, one never knows," he said.

"No," Napoleon agreed softly. "I suppose not." He went out, closing the door quietly behind him.

The frigid pre-dawn air hit him like a slap in the face. He turned his coat collar up and plunged his hands deep into his pockets. His car was parked inconspicuously behind the motel, and the snow crunched under his shoes as he made his way to its hiding place. The engine was cold, and he had to coax it a bit before it roared to life.

There was a traffic light at the corner that turned red as he approached it. Waiting, he looked back at the motel in the rear-view mirror and saw the window of the room he had just left. The Russian had said he was going to sleep, but he hadn't turned the light off yet. It lit the window with a warm yellow glow.

Napoleon dragged his eyes away from the mirror. When the traffic light turned green, he stepped on the gas and pulled out into the light early-morning traffic. It was a long drive back to Manhattan.

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