Autumn in New York
Sometimes, without saying a word, Napoleon would be waiting for him in the corridor outside the lab, when they had finished their work for the day. He would lead him with his warm hand, using a steady press to the small of his back.
He would take him down to the Russian community on Coney Island. Brighton Beach. They would dine at the Veselka, eating Russian food, Ukrainian food, always black bread. The menu would say Ukrainian Borscht and Meat Pirozki, Golubzi (which Napoleon hated), Goviadina Boyarskaya (which Napoleon loved).
Napoleon would pay and say the evening is not over yet. They would stroll leisurely along the sidewalk, reading signs in Cyrillic, listening to broken phrases in Russian, Ukrainian, and accented American.
Napoleon would have found a smoke-filled, small club where they could listen to good musicians remembering melancholy Russian ballads, or playing jazz, and Illya would think of his youth. The autumns spent opening new books, listening to old professors, taking new notes. Dreaming about his future.
Napoleon would get them vodka, the good sort, strong and potent. Today Illya, vodka for us both.
Afterwards, when it was dark, Napoleon would give him that little smile which made his heart stutter, and say let's go home, Illya. The light from the moon and the streetlamps would make his dark, beautiful hair shine. It would also illuminate his brown eyes.
Inside, in their safe bed, Napoleon would make love to him just the way he knew he preferred. Slow and hard.
Why, Illya had asked once. How do you know?
I can see the hurt in your eyes, Illya Nicovetch. Napoleon had whispered.