The Couch Trip Affair
A red faced devil with pointed horns greeted Illya at Napoleon's apartment. "Beware the peril that lurks within," it intoned in a sepulchral voice.
Illya sighed resignedly, "Really, Napoleon. Are you not a little old to be dressing up in costumes...at least when *not* on duty?"
The devil mask was pulled off and Napoleon smiled at Illya. "Come on Tovarish, where's your Halloween spirit?"
"The only Halloween spirit I want is the chilled glass of Vodka that I trust you have waiting for me," said Illya as he walked past Napoleon into the apartment, throwing his coat on the hall table as he went past. He stopped abruptly as he came to the living room. "I see you have been shopping."
Napoleon came up behind Illya, wrapping his arms around him and resting his chin on Illya's shoulder. "Uh-huh. There's an antique shop just down the block. First time I've gone in there and this was just there in front of me...I just had to have it." He licked Illya's ear. "Just like when I saw *you* for the first time."
'This' was a three-seater couch, which was currently in the center of Napoleon's living room, all other furniture having been pushed aside to make room for it. Taller and deeper than a traditional couch, it had deep cushions and was covered completely in velvet so black that it seemed to suck the light from the surrounding area. It was the type of couch that just begged for somebody to sit down and lose themselves in its comforting embrace.
"Mmm," said Illya. "And did it prove just as much of a challenge to your charms?"
Napoleon kissed the side of Illya's neck enjoying the way Illya shivered with pleasure. "Well it was almost as stubborn as you are." He kissed the back of Illya's neck, just below the hairline. "And I think I learnt a few new words from the men who delivered it. One of them even cut his hand trying to maneuver it in through the doorway." By now Napoleon's hands had joined in the action and were sliding up Illya's body. "I thought that maybe we could test it out tonight. What do you think, hmm?"
Illya rubbed his body back against Napoleon, even as he kept his eyes on the new piece of furniture. Most couches, even if they were long enough, were too narrow for comfort...especially for the type of activity that he and Napoleon enjoyed indulging in...but this one...hmm. "I think it has definite 'possibilities'..." Twisting in Napoleon's grasp he turned to face him, taking his head in both hands and kissing him on the lips. "I'm hungry."
"Me too," said Napoleon, pulling Illya close.
"Uh-uh," said Illya, breaking free. "I mean I'm hungry...feed me first, otherwise I may not have the strength to test out your new acquisition."
Napoleon mock grimaced, but knew better than to come between Illya and his appetite. "Okay, okay." He pushed Illya towards the couch saying, "You wait here, I'll be back in a minute," before heading towards the kitchen.
Alone with the couch, Illya walked all around it, taking in every detail of its smooth lines. Running his hand along the back, he nodded approvingly at the soft textures. Yes, this would indeed be much more comfortable than the battered old relic that was now pushed into a corner awaiting disposal. Less chance of falling off at an inopportune moment. Sitting down on the cushions, Illya relaxed into it. Closing his eyes, he almost felt like he was floating.
"Illya, it'll be ready in five minutes if you want to put on some music?" Napoleon's voice from the kitchen startled him and he sat up quickly, feeling some loose change slide out of his pocket as he did so. One of the coins landed on the cushions, the other slid down the gap between the seat and the back. Illya swore mildly under his breath as he stuck his hand down the gap to retrieve it. He had to dig down a considerable way to find it, and came up with an empty packet of cigarettes, an earring, and a ladies comb, before his hand finally closed on a coin shaped object. It was only when he tried to pull his hand out that he realized it was stuck.
Illya swore a little less mildly as he tried to pull his arm out.
"Hey, what's up?" he heard Napoleon ask, and he turned a withering gaze on him.
"What does it *look* like?" he asked, icily. "My hand is stuck. A coin slid into the gap...I was trying to retrieve it...and I appear to be stuck."
"Have you tried letting go of the coin?" This earned Napoleon another withering gaze. "Okay, okay. Here, let me help." Napoleon moved over to the couch and sat down behind Illya. "Okay, on the count of three, we both pull." Wrapping his arms around Illya's waist, he said, "One...two...THREE!"
Illya yelped in pain, as his arm remained trapped. "It's not working."
"Maybe we should get some lube."
"I hardly think that this is the time, Napoleon," snapped Illya.
"I meant for your arm," said Napoleon patiently. "Although I have to admit...seeing you there, all bent over like that and not able to move...hmm, it has certain...possibilities..."
"Napoleon! My arm is starting to go numb!"
"Okay, okay. We'll try it again." Napoleon took a tighter grip on Illya's waist and braced himself against the floor. "One...two...THREE!" Gritting his teeth, he pulled as hard as he could. There was a loud sucking noise, and Illya's arm popped free. He lay back in Napoleon's arms for a few seconds, breathing heavily, before wriggling free and standing up.
"I'm starting to dislike that couch," he growled. "It didn't want to let me go."
"Can't say I blame it Tovarish," grinned Napoleon, stretching out comfortably. He patted the seat beside him. "Come on back here. It's getting kind of lonesome."
"No," said Illya. "I prefer your other couch. It didn't steal my money."
"Illya...it's just a piece of furniture...and a mighty comfortable piece of furniture at that." Illya remained standing stubbornly. "Okay, I'll get your money back."
"No!" said Illya, but Napoleon had already thrust his hand down the gap at the back of the couch. He felt around for a while before saying, "Ah, got it...uh-oh..."
"What's wrong?" asked Illya.
"AgggghhhH!!!!" screamed Napoleon. "Illya, it's got me...help me!"
"Napoleon!" cried Illya, rushing forward, only to stop when Napoleon turned to him and grinned evilly.
"Gotcha!" he said smugly. "I told you it was just a couch."
"You...you..." Illya couldn't think of a suitable expletive. "That was not funny." He stepped back a few paces, glaring at Napoleon.
"Oh come on Illya, it was too," grinned Napoleon. "I mean, come on. It's a couch...an inanimate piece of furniture. It's not as if it's suddenly going to open up and swallow me..." He started to pull his arm out, but the words were hardly out of his mouth before the gap at the back suddenly got larger and sucked his entire body straight into it. There was barely time for him to yell a muffled "ILLYA!" before he disappeared completely.
"Napoleon!" yelled Illya for a second time. Instinctively he ran towards the couch and dove into the gap at the back just seconds before it closed up completely.
It was dark, but Illya was lucky enough to land on something soft. The Solo luck had obviously temporarily deserted Napoleon, as he was the something soft that Illya had landed on. Slight of build though the Russian may have been, he still was a fair weight to have land on top of a person...especially when said person was still dazed from having just been swallowed up by a couch. For that reason, among others, Napoleon wasn't feeling overly happy about the situation.
"Napoleon?" hissed Illya, urgently, even as his hands roamed Napoleon's body, checking for a pulse. "Are you all right?"
"Uggh," groaned Napoleon, "What...what happened? Why is it so dark?"
Illya crouched beside him and helped him to sit up. "Don't you remember? The couch swallowed you up and I jumped in after you."
"Heh, couch swallowed me...heh, good one Illya, and people say you don't have a sense of humor."
"I am *not* joking. Do I look as if I am joking?"
Napoleon reached out blindly and touched Illya's face. Tracing the familiar features, he was forced to concede that Illya did not at least feel like he was joking. The lack of a grin and the way his teeth were clenched was a dead giveaway. "Illya...nobody can be swallowed up by a couch...it's ridiculous. I mean the guy who sold it to me said it was rumored to have a curse on it, but come on, that's just superstition."
Even without any light, Napoleon could still tell when Illya was glaring at him. "Only *you* could buy a cursed couch and use it at Halloween," he said, through gritted teeth. He felt Napoleon's hand on his knee and brushed it off impatiently as he stood.
"Hey, it's not as if I did it deliberately." Napoleon stood as well and reached out for his partner. "Illya?"
There was a hand on his arm and Napoleon could feel Illya standing beside him. "I'm here, Napoleon," he sighed. "It's not as if we can go anywhere. If we even had some light."
"Don't you have any matches?"
"We're stuck inside a couch, Napoleon. They tend to be rather flammable...lighting a match might not be the best course of action."
"Oh...yeah...hey wait a minute..." Napoleon started fumbling in his pockets. "Hope I didn't drop this..." Finally he produced his communicator and twisted it to reveal a small but powerful beam of light. "Section 8 had a few of these baby's made up for us to try."
"A torch in the communicator? How ingenious," said Illya. "Let me see it...I wonder how they managed to make the bulb so small. But why did they not let me have one?" There was a note of disappointment in his voice.
"Maybe because the last time they gave you something to test you dismantled it totally on them." Napoleon shone the torch around them to check out their surroundings. It didn't take long. All around them were soft walls. A quick check of the floor showed it to be made of the same heavy canvas as the walls. "Do you think we could cut through this?" As if in response to his words, there was a low growl and the walls shook slightly.
"I don't think it wants us to do that," said Illya.
"But what does it want?"
"Maybe it's hungry." There was another growl.
"You could be right...that definitely sounded like a stomach rumbling."
"Actually that was me." The light shone in Illya's face and he put his hand up in annoyance to shield his eyes. "Hey, I told you I was hungry!"
"Well we have to find some way of getting out of here. What if we try contacting Headquarters?"
"Oh yes, and tell them what exactly?" Illya imitated Mr. Waverly's voice, "What's that gentlemen? You're stuck inside a couch? Hmm, I think you've gotten your holidays mixed up. This is Halloween, not April Fools Day."
"Mmm, you could be right."
"Aren't I always?" Illya thought for a minute, "But I'm starting to think that your idea about matches might be a good one..." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "If this couch is really planning on eating us...then maybe we could give it a little indigestion..."
"And maybe it'll spit us back up! But what if it doesn't work?"
"Have you got a better plan?"
Napoleon shook his head. "Okay then...what have we got that's easily flammable?" Even without shining the light on him, he could feel Illya's smile.
"This had better work," growled Napoleon as Illya carefully ripped his shirt into strips. He shivered slightly and pulled his jacket closed around his bare chest.
"Cotton is flammable and with a low ignition point," said Illya, crouching over the strips of cloth and striking his matches. "This should generate enough smoke to tickle the couch's throat...or what passes for a throat." He grunted in satisfaction as the cloth caught fire. "Okay, be ready..." Illya held his jacket over the smoldering bundle of cloth hoping to build up a nice cloud of smoke...preferably before his jacket caught fire as well.
Illya's plan worked...but almost too well... They could feel the walls around them start to shake and quiver. But a sudden spasm made Illya drop the flaming shirt onto the ground beneath then. Before he could stamp it out, there was another more intense spasm. "Hang on," he warned Napoleon, who promptly wrapped his arms around Illya.
"Just making sure nobody gets left behind," he said into Illya's ear. It felt like there was a minor earthquake happening all around them. The walls were shaking, the floor too, and the next thing both men knew, they were rolling over the cushions of the couch and landing heavily on the floor, still entwined in each others arms.
Illya was the first to react, "I hate to break it to you Napoleon, but I think your couch is on fire..." He was right, as there were flames appearing in the gap at the back of the couch.
Both of them scrambled quickly to their feet. "I've got an extinguisher in the kitchen," yelled Napoleon, "There's one in the public hallway as well." Hurrying to the kitchen, Napoleon quickly retrieved it and started hosing down the couch. Hearing Illya run back into the room, he was expecting him to join in; only to stand back in shock as the Russian wielded not a fire extinguisher...but a fire axe.
"Illya! You can't just cut up my couch!"
Illya looked at Napoleon, a gleam in his eyes, "Napoleon...it is not safe...it must be destroyed!"
Reluctantly Napoleon stood back and allowed Illya to dismember the couch. As each segment was rendered into firewood, he played the extinguisher over it, making sure the flames were fully dissipated. Finally there was nothing left except a large pile of burnt velvet and shattered wood in the middle of Napoleon's formerly pristine living room.
"My couch!" said Napoleon, a little dolefully as he surveyed the mess. He glanced over at the smoke and sweat stained Illya who was still brandishing the fire axe. "Where are we going to sit *now*?"
"I'm sure we can find somewhere comfortable," replied Illya, an evil grin on his face.
Napoleon's face lit up in response.
It fell slightly as Illya continued, "But only *after* dinner...chopping up couches is hungry work!"
Later, much later, after both Illya's and Napoleon's appetites had been well satisfied, the two men lay entwined in each others arms in Napoleon's bed.
"Napoleon?" said Illya, sleepily. "You didn't happen to buy any other cursed furniture, did you?"
Napoleon, equally sleepy, replied, "No...don't think so...check in the morning...."
Meanwhile in the living room, the credenza sat and waited, knowing that someday soon, its time would come.