by Cord Smithee


As far as I know, these characters belong to Norman Felton and some massive media empire. Any monies should be directed to those people, not me. This story contains some unusual sexual situations, including questionable consent, although I wouldn't call it non-consensual, exactly.

Such a professional, Napoleon thought, feeling Illya's shudder through his fingertips as he outlined his former partner's jaw. He knotted his fingers in shaggy hair and forced Illya to look up at him. Illya held his gaze for a wavering moment and twisted his head aside, to all appearances sickened by what he saw. You would almost believe he was scared of me.

"What," Napoleon said. "Unhappy to see your old partner, friend?"

The Russian jerked away, whatever scathing rejoinder he might have made no more than a furious gurgle through the gag. His bound hands made it impossible for him to steady himself or break his fall. It took all Napoleon's willpower to let Illya go down, not to catch him. Instead, he turned his back and glanced toward the doorway, toward the two slim dark-haired men in dark suits and white and black security badges who stood framed within it. The one on the left cleared his throat. "Do you find the arrangements satisfactory, Mr. Solo?"

Napoleon smiled with only half his face, stepping away from the struggling figure on the floor, and went to the sideboard to pour himself a cognac. "Ideal," he said, without turning back to the door. He hoped none of the security cameras would show his expression. He wasn't sure he could keep it under control. "Please, lock the doors behind yourselves when you go." Knowing they would, anyway. Thrush wasn't going to waste a lot of trust on him.

Had it only been thirty hours since he presented himself at Thrush's New Jersey Satrapy, handed the receptionist his UNCLE ID, and said "I want to come in?"

It seemed a lifetime ago.

A sharp click told him the door was locked from the outside. Napoleon set his balloon glass down on the counter, snatched up a whisky tumbler and crossed the room on three quick, fluid strides. He pressed the glass against the door--they'll know I'm doing this, of course, but any less suspicion would seem disingenuous--and leaned his ear against it, just in time to hear the fading voice of one of the Thrushies—"...don't like it, don't like having him here. That son of a bitch has killed more of us than anybody except the guy he's got trussed up on the floor. And what he's doing to his partner in there is against the Universal Code of Thrush Procedure in so many ways it's not even funny—"

Broken off suddenly as they turned the corner, and Napoleon sighed and lowered the glass, staring at the door for a moment.

A thumping and a smothered moan drew his attention. Illya had flopped over onto his back, drawing his bound legs up for leverage, and in a moment was likely to heave himself to his feet. "Illya," Napoleon said, filling his voice with false concern. "Just lie back and relax. I'll get to you in a moment, I promise."

He left the glass on the table by the door and came back to Illya, picking him up easily by the collar. He was surprisingly heavy for his size; there was a lot of muscle on that gymnast's frame. Illya was trembling again, eyes narrowed, the tendons along his jaw bulging as he clenched his teeth on the gag.

Napoleon knotted his fingers in Illya's hair again, his right hand sliding under his coat to retrieve the UNCLE special he still carried. He pointed the barrel at the tip of Illya's nose and watched his partner go cross-eyed trying to focus on it. "I'm going to take your gag off," he said, reasonably. "Shout all you like, but if you try to bite I'll knock your teeth out, and that's not hyperbole. Got it?" And then he leaned close, and whispered in Illya's ear, making it look like a sharp, vicious bite—"Three cameras in this room alone, Illya. We're going to have to make this look good, I'm afraid."

Illya nodded, and Napoleon undid the buckle on the leather strap, easing the foam ball out of his mouth. Illya turned his head at once and spat on the carpeted floor, balancing easily on bound legs. He still wore his habitual black, but the shoes and the holster were gone. "You sold me out to Thrush," he said, low and venomously. "You, Napoleon Solo. UNCLE's finest. When Waverly finds out—"

Napoleon smiled around the terrible grief in his chest. "Waverly isn't going to find out," he said. "As far as he knows, I'm spearheading the investigation into your disappearance."

"Napoleon." A softer tone now, a little pleading. Illya swayed, and Napoleon steadied him with the hand that didn't hold the gun. "Surely you can't mean this. Surely—"

Napoleon laughed. "You were the one who broke up our partnership rather than sleep with me, Illya. Whatever happens now is your fault as much as mine."

"If I had known," Illya said coldly, shaking his hair out of his eyes, "I would have done more than ask for a new partner. I would have remanded you to our superiors for sexual harassment and hazing. I should have. I wish I had."

"Yes, you probably should have," Napoleon said, tilting his head to squint at Illya through the pistol's iron sights. "But you didn't. On your knees, partner mine. And remember what I said about biting."

What bewildered Napoleon was how ready he was for the touch of Illya's mouth, when it came. He kept the pistol trained with one hand and fumbled his belt open with the other--no way Illya could manage it, hands bound behind his back--but his dick was already straining at the seam. And when Illya edged forward on his knees and took Napoleon in his mouth--fumblingly, gagging--Napoleon almost came out of sheer shock. He hadn't expected that, hadn't known how erotic it would be to look down at all that chained fatal power, submissive, doing his will, the heat and wetness of that acerbic mouth silenced by the thick length of his cock--

Napoleon knotted his free hand in Illya's hair and steadied his head, thrusting, making the contact look rougher than it was. Trying to hurry things along. Illya made a little thick sound of discomfort; Napoleon ignored it, trying not to think that it was his partner on his knees in front of him, that it was Illya who he raped--no, not raped, not exactly: that part was playacting, and for the benefit of the audience. Not raped.

But something.

"Come on," Napoleon hissed, moving his finger to the outside of the trigger guard. "You can do better than that. I don't want to be here all night."

Just the faintest trace of irony in the blue-eyed glance that Illya shot him, and then the Russian agent leaned forward, letting Napoleon provide his balance, his fingers curling helplessly as his wrists strained at the cuffs. Damn, Napoleon thought, as his partner tightened lips and tongue enough to draw a low groan through Napoleon's teeth. He wasn't lying. He's got to have done this before--

Which was his last coherent thought for a moment, or ten.

Napoleon stepped back, shaken by the intensity of what he'd felt, suddenly, unheralded. Illya turned his head and spat on the carpet again, saliva and semen tinted pink with blood. He raised his chin and looked bitterly at Napoleon, a black glare that Napoleon hoped was stagecraft. And Christ, Illya was hard, his dick straining against the black cloth of his pants. The image sent a guilty, illicit shiver of pleasure down Napoleon's spine. He zipped up quickly, forgetting to level the gun.

As he looked away, Illya spoke. "I hope that was worth betraying everything for."

"If it's not," Napoleon answered coolly, "I'm sure the next one will be."

It had been Illya's plan to begin with, and Napoleon comforted himself with the thought as he holstered the gun under his armpit and crouched to untie Illya's ankles. "Don't even think about trying to get away," he said. "I saw to the security arrangements myself. You'll be interested to know that that sore spot under the skin of your back is an implant. A device that administers a metered dose of sedative, enough to knock you thoroughly unconscious either at the press of a button—" Napoleon exhibited his wristwatch "—or if you should happen to leave the range of the transmitter in this room."

He didn't dare wink, but the moment's eye contact was enough. Illya nodded, as if in reluctant agreement, but Napoleon knew the message had been received, and Illya would be able to find that implant or that transmitter and take it with him if--

--if anything should happen to Napoleon. If Illya should have to escape on his own.

"Do I have your word that you'll behave yourself if I untie your hands?"

"Should you expect my word to be worth any more than your own, Napoleon?" Illya spat his name through swollen lips, but he leaned forward and offered Napoleon his wrists. Napoleon unlocked the cuffs, and Illya stood, working his fingers as if they had been numbed. "I should kill you."

"Except I'm the only thing keeping you alive," Napoleon answered. "And I know you well enough to know that, first of all, you can't be certain of taking me, and second, there's no way you'd risk dying when you're the only man in UNCLE with a certain piece of information that the divine Mr. Waverly must have. Would you like a drink, Illya?"

His former partner nodded, mouth working in distaste. Napoleon hid a wince, but surely it had been better than the alternative. He poured, and Illya rinsed his mouth with cognac before he said anything more. "So I'm here to be your--whore."

"If you prefer to call it that—"

"—I prefer—"

"—Whore, then," Napoleon said, keeping the tremor from his voice. "And hostage, I'm afraid. If I don't do as Thrush demands, they'll kill you."

"I see." Illya gulped the cognac without regard for its quality, and refilled his glass without asking. "I might take your concern more to heart if you hadn't just raped me."

"We need to get a man inside Thrush Central," Waverly had said, and knocked the dottle from his pipe. Napoleon had looked up from the paperwork he was pretending to study and blinked.

"Thrush... Central? We don't even know where it is."

"Then I should say it makes a challenge fit for your abilities, gentlemen." Waverly turned away, dismissively; Napoleon caught Illya's gaze, and his partner followed him to the door.

"I have a plan," Illya said, some time later, in Napoleon's apartment. "A plan that will get both of us into Thrush Central. But you won't like it."

"Don't be so quick to judge," Napoleon drawled. "How can you be sure I won't like it until I've heard it?"

So Illya told him.

And Illya, as usual, was right.

"Mr. Waverly will never approve it."

"Mr. Waverly already has," Illya said. "The situation is desperate enough for desperate measures, Napoleon. I've done a little more poking around, and I found out why Waverly wants a man inside. It seems a new strain of influenza is spreading. It could be an epidemic as bad as the one in 1918. A pandemic, if you prefer. Dozens have died already—"

"What, ah--what does that have to do with Thrush?" Napoleon turned his drink in his hands, aware of the heat across his cheeks, unwilling to look his partner in the eye.

"The distribution of the influenza appears to be unnatural. Specifically, it appears to be a biological weapon, released by our enemies with the goal of bringing the world economy to its knees. Like most influenzas, it is most fatal to the very young and the very old, and the first cases have appeared in New York hospitals."

"Mr. Waverly," Napoleon said, frowning.

"My thought exactly. But if it is a Thrush weapon, then Thrush must have the vaccine. Which means we must get inside Thrush, and secure it."

"Illya," Napoleon said, clenching his hands on the arms of his chair. "You can't be serious. I'm not willing to--I'm not willing—"

Illya laughed at him, and wandered into the kitchen to pour himself another cup of coffee. "All you must do, Napoleon, is play a little role, and--accept a little pleasure. It's not so different from the role I played in the Gurnius affair."

"It's infinitely different."

Illya reseated himself. "I tortured you, Napoleon. This will be at best--uncomfortable. Not even that, if you are sufficiently courteous."

"Illya, you're talking about—"

"Napoleon," Illya countered, putting his feet up on the coffee table in a manner that Napoleon normally would have chided, "it's not as if you're going to do to me anything that hasn't been done before."


And Napoleon unable to keep the shock from his voice, agonized realization until Illya laughed and shook his head.

"Not like that. Suffice to say that a student may learn many things, in Paris." He frowned. "Look, if you like—"

"—yes?" Illya's hesitation worried him. He frowned.

"We can, um. Practice. Beforehand." Illya shifted his feet off the table, glanced down at his shoes.

Napoleon shook his head. "I'd prefer--oh, hell."

"If Thrush doesn't have you bugged closely, we can get out of it with nothing more than a few carefully chosen lies." Illya grinned. "Besides. I'm looking forward to the public temper tantrum I get to throw after you 'proposition' me."

"Illya," Napoleon said, trying to swallow his own long-suffering tone. "My reputation—"

"Look at the bright side," Illya answered cheerfully, unconcerned, toying with his coffee mug. "You won't be the one taking it up the ass. In anything more than a figurative sense."

Illya wasn't actually getting drunk, but it would take a very dedicated observer to notice that, considering how dramatically he slapped liquor into the glass and swirled it around. Without looking up, without emotion: "Are you done with me for the night?"

Napoleon considered, pouring himself another cognac as well. If anything, his--hosts--would expect him to make extensive use of the body he had supposedly been so long 'denied.' He could put it off, one night, possibly two--

--two nights might not be enough to find what they had come here to find. And anything he wanted enough to throw over a lifetime's commitment for was not something he could claim to be too tired for, the instant it lay within his grasp.

"I have plans," Napoleon replied. "There's a bedroom through that door." A jerk of his thumb. "Also a bathroom. I recommend you, ah, prepare yourself." He reached out, and with a tenderness that was not entirely feigned, he stroked Illya's hair. Illya flinched away, a sideways glance of those calm blue eyes--don't believe it for a moment, Napoleon--and Napoleon wished for that moment that he didn't, didn't believe he deserved that flinch. "I wouldn't want to hurt you."

It seemed the sort of sensible precaution a rapist would think of, to manacle Illya's wrists to the reinforced headboard. This, they could have faked. Maybe. If the bedroom weren't under infrared surveillance. If Illya weren't subjected to a medical exam. This was a stupid plan.


Stupid plan.

Except. They were both inside Thrush Central. Where they needed to be. And Illya was naked, lying on his side, his arms chained over his head and his knees drawn up like a dog protecting its belly, his head turned into the pillows so his hair obscured his eyes.

Except for the fact that Napoleon, standing there in his business suit and looking down at his partner in the light of the bedside lamp, was already hard enough to cause himself pain.

He sighed, and began to strip, folding his clothes neatly onto the chair that already held Illya's. They have to believe. They have to believe I'm so besotted with him that I'd do anything, betray anything to possess him.

"Not all you pictured?" Illya asked, dryly. Mockingly. Without raising his head.

Napoleon slid into bed behind him, reaching over his shoulders to turn out the light. It just seemed natural that his arm would fall across Illya's shoulder, and that Napoleon would press himself against his partner's warm, muscled back. Would slide his cock between the silky warmth of Illya's thighs and turn his head to close his teeth on Illya's neck, ignoring the startled gasp he provoked.

I can't do this, Napoleon thought, the warmth and salt of skin filling his mouth. As if his paralysis communicated itself to his partner, Illya pressed back against him--subtly, undetectably--and lifted his head.

"If you're going to," Illya said--irascible, cold in the manner he usually reserved for the lowest echelon of villain, and without a trace of fear—"get it over with, would you?"

"All right," Napoleon said, and did. Roughly, with apparent contemptuous disregard for Illya's comfort. He'd have it over with in a moment, he thought, and damn what the cameramen thought of his stamina.

He wasn't prepared for how it would feel, or the way Illya would stiffen in his arms, arching back against him with his hands locked on the chains of the manacles and his head thrown back on Napoleon's shoulder the way he had done sometimes before, wounded, or in pain.

"Too much for you?" Napoleon asked, trying to make his voice brusque over bittersweet waves of heat and emotion that almost capsized his self-control.

"Slow—" Illya said, through gritted teeth, and Napoleon hoped the begging tone in his voice was playacting, again, and not the agony it sounded like.

"Is that how you like it?" He pressed himself close, hard against Illya's back, and put a hand on Illya's hip to pull him tight. It was the only way to stay still, to keep his hips from rocking into that soft, slick, welcoming heat. God, I hope that's not blood. Please let it not be blood--"You like it like that, Illyusha?" The hated nickname; he felt Illya flinch, hissed as he felt the contraction that went with it, tightened his hand on Illya's hip. "I know I'm not the first one in here." He let his voice go low, silken, erotic. Let his breath brush Illya's neck and ear. Rocked against Illya as Illya pressed his face against the pillow. Forgive me.

Forgive me, my friend, for I know exactly what I do.
"Yes," he said, reaching down, palming the--startlingly--hard length of Illya's cock, pressing it between his hand and Illya's belly, stroking slowly. "You can't pretend you don't want this. You little slut. Stringing me along, playing those games you play, setting me up so you could pull the rug out from under me. Napoleon knows what you want." Illya hissed as Napoleon's hand moved, slow, languid strokes in time with his rocking thrusts deep into his partner's body.

It can't ever be the same again.

I can't ever make this up to him.

I'm going to have to take him apart if they're going to believe this monster I'm making myself out to be, god help us both. I'm going to have to take him apart if we're going to get out of this with what we need, and pray God he can put himself together again.
"Napoleon knows what you want," he said, and Illya whimpered, a sound that didn't have very much pain in it at all, and all the promised vengeance in the world.

"Napoleon always knows."

Illya's cock in his hand didn't feel all that different from his own. The shape wasn't quite the same, and there was the slippery, moving tube of the foreskin to deal with, but he knew the motion that worked for him--and judging by the way Illya's icy resistance melted into a languorous undulation of hips, it worked for him too.

Napoleon worked Illya's arousal hard, holding himself still, using his partner's response to the rhythmic motion of his hand to force Illya to fuck himself on Napoleon's cock. Illya's helpless little panting cries cut into him, somehow sexier than anything he'd heard from the countless women he'd bedded. They weren't moans of protest any more, Napoleon realized. Rather they were short, painfully erotic sounds of need and pleasure, little grunts of effort—Napoleon shifted his weight higher, insinuating his free arm under his partner's torso to draw Illya closer against his chest. He thrust deeply, feeling tightness at the change of angle, and almost went under a wave of panicked surprise when Illya responded uncontrollably, shoving his ass back into the penetration like a cat in heat, moaning out loud when Napoleon's hand tightened on his cock.

"I want you to come," Napoleon said in his partner's ear. He bit his lip, unwilling to tell anyone, Illya included, how agonizingly sexy he found the experience. "I want to feel you come," he said again, pulling his old, cold persona over the words. "Come on. Give it to me. Let me feel you come with my cock up your ass, Illya Nikolaivech, and my hand on your dick, and you can tell me who owns you, boy."

"Nobody owns me," Illya said, his teeth gritted as he fought to hold himself still.

"Ah," Napoleon said, squeezing tight enough to make Illya gasp and squirm away from the suddenly painful grip. The squirming was its own reward, Napoleon realized, sinking his teeth into his lip and then remembering a moment too late that he had meant to end it. "That's where you're wrong."

But Illya outlasted him in the end.

They came for Napoleon in the morning, after he had showered, dressed, straightened his tie, and carefully hung his damp towel over the lens of the most invasive camera in the bathroom. He made a point of turning his back on the Thrush agents and uncuffing Illya from the bed before he left. Illya didn't move, his head still buried under the pillows, his body huddled in what Napoleon hoped was a convincing impersonation of utter desolation.

Napoleon followed his tour guides obediently, but his mind wasn't on them. It was on Illya, who would be--hopefully--rising and making his way to the bathroom, sliding into the shower stall, glass doors still fogged with Napoleon's steam. And he'd be finding the beard scissors and the tweezers Napoleon had thoughtlessly left on the soap dish, and extracting the transmitter from under his skin.

The ventilation duct in the shower was filled by a fan. It was a bare eighteen inches by twelve.

Napoleon didn't think Illya would have any trouble with it at all.

Assuming he was feeling well enough to climb. Or even to get out of bed at all.

Was it worse, Napoleon wondered, sick to his stomach as he was led into an interview room that looked no different from the ones UNCLE used, that I liked what I did to him?

Or that I made him like it?

I fucked my partner. I used him. I manipulated him emotionally and physically, and I used his body like a whore's--

--and I liked it.


I'm everything I'm pretending to be.

The interrogation went smoothly, chiefly because Napoleon smiled and told them everything they wanted to know. Security details, layouts, personnel, UNCLE's future plans. All of it true, every word, the most sensitive information he knew.

The fact that he had permission to tell it, that it would all be changing as soon as he and Illya came back from this mission--or didn't come back--didn't make it any easier. The inhibitions ran deep.

He spent ten hours in very polite, very thorough interrogation, and when they were done with him, they escorted him silently back to his room. One of the guards by the door put a hand on Napoleon's elbow before he entered. "You'll find your little friend sedated," he said. "We caught him in the shower, trying to pick his stitches out. Number 23 wishes you to see to his discipline yourself."

Napoleon swallowed. "Discipline? Is there, ah--is there an accepted procedure for that?"

The guard smiled. "I can get you a copy of the Uniform Codes of Thrush Procedure if you like," he said. "But I'm sure your ingenuity is up to the task."

It was a test, of course. Napoleon pursed his lips and nodded judiciously. "I'm sure I can come up with something."

They'd handcuffed Illya to the bedframe again. Only one hand this time; the other one was curled under his head, and Illya's whole body was relaxed into the fluidity of unconsciousness. Napoleon fumbled with his watch and turned off the sedative flow, touched his former partner's naked hip. Illya's skin was chilly to the touch. They hadn't covered him, just laid him on top of the freshly made bed.

Napoleon tilted Illya onto his stomach, inspecting the fresh line of stitches on his back. From what Napoleon could see, Illya had gotten the original ones out. He hoped Illya had been replacing the transmitter, mission completed, rather than removing it. He hoped Illya had found what they had come for.

He didn't think they'd get a second chance to try that trick.

"Wake up," he said rudely, and slapped Illya across the face. Illya mumbled blearily and squinched his eyes shut, shaking his head. He looked sweet and childish, a sleeping angel, his hair spread over the pillow like a girl's, one strand caught on the corner of his mouth. Angelic, that is, except for the handprint marked white on the flesh of his cheek, slowly reddening. "Wake up," Napoleon said, drawing his hand back once more.

"No," Illya said fuzzily, holding up his free hand. "Napoleon, I had the strangest—" and then his voice trailed off, and he blinked. "Oh," he said. "It wasn't, was it?" He tried to sit up, and the chain on his wrist rattled.

"No," Napoleon said. "And I'm afraid your little escape attempt means I'll have to punish you. I imagine I won't be permitted to keep my pets if I cannot control them—" The door buzzed, and Napoleon shook his head. "Stay there," he said, unnecessarily, and went into the main room of the little apartment he'd been issued. "Come in."

The door scrolled back on a uniformed Thrush agent with a chrome-lidded tray. "Your dinner, Mr. Solo."

"Thank you," Napoleon said, and took it out of his hands. "What time will I be required tomorrow?"

The agent smiled. "We'll know when you're ready," he said. "Don't stay up too late. They have a full day for you tomorrow."

Christ. But Napoleon nodded, and turned away before the door could click shut. He poured himself a drink at the counter, and carried scotch and dinner into the bedroom. "Hungry?"

Illya was sitting up against the headboard, rubbing his eyes blearily. "I haven't eaten since yesterday morning," he said. "I assume it was yesterday. How long was I out?"

"About ten hours," Napoleon answered. "You need to keep your strength up. Especially if you're going to try more stupid stunts of self-mutilation in the shower."

Illya winced and shook his head. "I think I've been convinced of the futility of that particular course of action," he said, and Napoleon's heart sank. But then he caught Napoleon's eyes and gave him a thin, broken smile. "I won't need to try that again."

Oh, thank God. He got what we came for. A sample of the influenza vaccine could be developed. Napoleon almost laughed out loud; instead, he schooled his face into a frown. "I'm supposed to ensure that you understand the Council is displeased with your actions. And I'm displeased as well. They reflect poorly on me." Napoleon set the tray on the nightstand and uncovered it with a flourish. "Hmm. Two nice little filets of beef, enscalloped potatoes, asparagus avec buerre blanc--I hope you're hungry."

Illya turned his face away, his stomach grumbling.

"Mmm. Thought so. Shall I cut your meat for you?"

Illya rattled his chained wrist. Napoleon smiled. "Bathroom?"

"Please," Illya said, blushing.

Napoleon opened the lock with his key and turned back to the tray. "Don't bother getting dressed," he said, as Illya stumped into the bathroom. Illya's response was unprintable in several languages. Napoleon smiled as he applied himself to cutting both plates of steak. Then he took the knife out to the door guard, and was back in the bedroom by the time Illya returned, drying his hands.

"You shouldn't have," Illya said dryly, picking up one of the plates. "I suppose starving myself to death is out of the question—"

"It would only interfere with your ability to escape when you get your chance," Napoleon replied, daintily selecting a piece of asparagus. "I hope you don't mind sharing a glass."

"I mind," Illya said. "But I don't expect that to change anything." He sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled a pillow across his lap to balance his plate on. "Do you intend to keep me naked all the time?"

"Behave yourself tomorrow and you'll have clothes." The food was excellent, but--looking at Illya--Napoleon didn't have much appetite.

"At least there's no ketchup on it," Illya replied, and then silenced himself and ate with a will. He finished his own small portion in a moment, and didn't complain when Napoleon handed over his own plate.

"I'm going to get cleaned up," Napoleon said, and grabbed fresh clothes as he went into the bathroom.

"Please do," Illya replied. "You Americans all smell like rotten meat."

Napoleon left the clothes in the bathroom, both the clean suit and the less-fresh one. He took a chance that the monitors wouldn't notice that the second suit of clothes had been Illya's, and not his own. Illya returned from carrying the plates out to the living room when Napoleon walked into the bedroom again, and their eyes met. Illya frowned, and nodded. "At least I got plenty of sleep today."

His body was nothing that Napoleon should have found attractive. Heavily muscled biceps and forearms, slender shoulders, a narrow but muscular and slightly hairy chest. Uncompromisingly fit, and uncompromisingly masculine. Napoleon found himself staring at Illya's mouth, and felt his dick twitch at the vividly tactile memory of the night before.

Last time, he thought, and glanced away. You're getting him out of here tonight, Mr. Solo. And then you can spend the rest of your life jacking off, thinking about what it felt like--

For one long, dizzy moment, he entertained the wild, mad thought that he could stay here. That he could keep Illya here. Keep him to himself, have him every night.

Except that wouldn't be Illya. And more, it wouldn't be him.

Christ, he thought, as Illya went into the bathroom to brush his teeth. You picked a hell of a time to figure out you were in love, Napoleon Solo. He laid back on the bed and closed his eyes, waiting. Trying to come up with something that would seem brutal enough to serve as a punishment by Thrush's standards, and still leave Illya able to climb through ventilation shafts and run like a rabbit through the woods.

There were the quiet footsteps, and there was the weight on the bed. Napoleon opened his eyes and rolled to his feet. "Lie down," he said. "There's still, ah, the matter of your punishment."

"That old thing," Illya said, and lay down on the bed.

"On your face." Napoleon didn't bother to keep the harshness out of his voice. It was savagery, yes, but not the sort it would sound like to those watching. I bet we're a spectator sport. I wonder how long it will be before the tapes turn up someplace embarrassing? At least it wouldn't be more than embarrassing. Waverly would see to that. "Hands behind your back," as Illya rolled onto his stomach. "That was a foolish thing you did this morning, and I will see to it that you do nothing so foolish again."

Illya nodded, white-faced, lifting his chin to see what Napoleon was doing. His jaw worked and his breath came artistically shallow, but his eyes held nothing but trust. Napoleon looked away, and picked the manacles off the bedside table.

The steel was cold against warm, pale flesh. Napoleon made a little ceremony of tightening the cuffs until they bit into Illya's skin. Illya winced. Forgive me.

Napoleon stood, trembling like a racehorse. Sweat was already prickling across his skin. Illya's voice rose up, muffled. "I should have known you were a sexual sadist," he said, dryly. "I can hear you panting from here. Like a dog in heat. Pathetic—"

Napoleon cuffed him, not as hard as he made it look, but hard enough to knock Illya's head forward into the bed. His hand lingered, then, tracing the outline of Illya's ear. "I bet you spent a very uncomfortable night," he said, making his voice like silk, "since you wouldn't come for me last night. I'm afraid tonight will be worse, Illyusha."

He let the slow, wandering caress move through Illya's hair and down the flexed line of shoulders pulled back by the manacles. "I'm sure I've had less pleasant evenings," Illya mumbled against the duvet, squirming away from Napoleon's lingering touch.

"I don't think you'll be saying that in an hour," Napoleon answered, and crossed the room to the wardrobe. He retrieved three neckties and brought them back to the bed. Two of them he draped over his shoulder. The third he stretched between his hands. "Do you know what this is for?"

Illya craned his head back to see, blinking. "A blindfold."

"Hmm. Interesting refinement. But no, not this time. Spread your legs."

Two neckties later, and Illya lay helplessly prone, each ankle lashed to a bedpost, his fingers curling and uncurling as he twisted his wrists against the too-tight handcuffs. Napoleon licked his lips, forced to look away, ashamed of the desire the image spiked in him. "Good boy," he said, and knelt between Illya's legs with the final necktie in his hands.

Punish him. That went beyond making it look good. Went beyond physical pain and into humiliation, into torture. And it also meant leaving Illya intact enough that they could escape that night, that very night.

Because not only was the risk of detection too great, now that they had gotten what they came for, but Napoleon knew he would break wide open if he had to do this one more time. Please, God, don't let me hurt him any more than I have to.

Praying, he threaded the necktie around Illya's throat and drew it back.

"Napoleon, you're choking me—"

"That's the idea," Napoleon said, letting his voice go warm and seductive again. He didn't tug; this called for slow, gentle pressure. Anything else could hurt his partner badly, and that was not permissible. Illya gagged hard and yielded, arching up from the small of his back like a yogi in 'bow' pose. Bless his flexibility. Bless his strength.

"Hold that thought," Napoleon said, and drew the tie a little tighter before he knotted it around the short link of chain between Illya's wrists. Illya's muscles writhed. He coughed and forced himself back further, struggling for air. He was strangling, fighting for breath, his eyes clenched tight against the pain.

The tie was too broad and soft to cut off his wind entirely, of course. But Napoleon was willing to bet black dots were swimming in front of his eyes. He steeled himself to show none of the pity and grief that wanted to make his hands tremble as he reached down with both of them and lifted Illya's hips into the air, forcing his hands higher on his back, pressing his chest and chin to the bed. Illya struggled, frantic, but the way his legs were bound left him no leverage at all--

But he was still making sounds, a thin little desperate whine that told Napoleon he was still moving air, no matter how much of a battle it might be. "The interesting thing about near-strangulation," Napoleon said, continuing his level tone even when he wanted to scream in panic and go running for a pair of scissors, "is the physical results." He reached between Illya's legs, the smooth, firm hollow of his thigh, and caressed Illya's balls, drawn up tight against his body. Illya's cock was as hard as a police baton, the tip slick and dripping. "You know, there are people who strangle themselves on purpose, for just this reason? Lift your hips, Illya. You'll be able to breathe better. I know you want to breathe."

Illya obeyed, too choked for speech. Napoleon could hear the hard rattle of every breath, see the way he strained for slack in his bonds to get it. I have to hurry this.

But I also have to make it look good.

That was the worst of it. He wanted the reassurance that he wasn't hurting his partner... and he was hurting his partner. Was hurting him brutally, and it was only going to be worse.

He wished he'd have the chance to see what happened to Illya's face when he came. It was the only opportunity he was ever likely to get. And no, he wasn't willing to admit how much that thought suddenly pained him. He pressed forward between Illya's thighs, still stroking him slowly. "You wouldn't come for me last night," he said, rubbing his thumb across the dampness of the slit and bringing it to his mouth to taste. Musk and salt, and a bitterness he hadn't quite expected. His hand was wet when he touched Illya again. With the other hand, he guided his own cock against Illya's opening, feeling the slickness of the lubrication his partner had already applied. "Not last night, no. But you'll come for me this time. You're never going to forget how hard I'm going to make you come."

And please, God. Let me not kill him. Somehow.

Let me not kill him tonight.

Napoleon leaned into Illya, a long smooth thrust, and then he leaned forward, not moving, supporting himself with a hand on Illya's hips and muttering filthy endearments in his ear. Illya struggled against his weight, struggled to get enough air to stay conscious. "Come for me," Napoleon coaxed. "Stop fighting me, Illyusha. Just give in. It would be so easy to give me what I want, so simple, and then you can breathe again. Just as soon as you admit you're mine, and show me you'll behave yourself from now on—"

Illya squirmed, his head pulled back agonizingly as his hands clawed uselessly at Napoleon. He groaned through gritted teeth, just enough sound to reassure. Napoleon slid his hand gently, teasingly, the length of Illya's cock. Tightened his grip and slid it back, a steady pumping motion that had his partner rocking in time despite himself, had him pulling hard against the bonds that held his legs spread so obscenely wide. He gagged again, wheezing, and Napoleon plunged into him hard, just once, slap of flesh on flesh and the struggle to absorb enough of the force to make it less brutal than it looked. Illya's neck was too vulnerable in that position, too easy to wrench--or break, you careless idiot.

Illya turned his head to the side, cheek pressed flat to the bed, arching his back to buy himself a little more breathing room. Napoleon took up a gentler rhythm, hiding his fear and matching the pace with his hand, his eyes on Illya's open mouth, his tight-closed eyes, the swell of his chest whenever he bent far enough backwards to get a decent breath. And Napoleon, too, could feel the moment when his partner's reserve cracked, the moment when Illya gave himself up to the wave of pressure building inside him and thrashed hard enough to lift the upper half of his body completely off the bed. He keened between his teeth, a sound that might have been a roar if he had the breath to manage it, and collapsed against the bed.

Napoleon worked quickly. The manacles would be faster to undo than the knots, but there was no way the man he was pretending to be would leave Illya's hands free at a moment like this. He pulled Illya's arms up forcefully, ignoring his partner's exhausted wince, and yanked the knotted tie loose with his teeth.

Illya slumped against the bed, carrying Napoleon down with him, and managed to get one single desperate breath before he started to cough. Napoleon lay atop him, propped on his elbows, feet pressed to the insides of Illya's ankles, chest and belly brushing his back, and hoped the warmth of his body would lend some comfort and reassurance that he couldn't give with his voice. Comfort, the cruel little voice said scornfully. Yes, with your dick up his ass.

"Can you breathe?" Napoleon asked in Illya's ear, rubbing soothing circles on his hip.

Illya nodded, not wasting any of that precious breath on words. Just breathing in and out, evenly, a faint rasp at the bottom of the exhale betraying what Napoleon had done to him.

"Tonight," Napoleon said against his ear. "Three a.m." And then louder, as he started to move against Illya's limp body: "See how easy that was, once you admitted what you needed, Illyusha? Once you admitted you were mine?" I'm sorry, Illya.

I'm so goddamned sorry--

Illya shivered and pressed his face into the bedcovers. Napoleon got the rest of it over with as fast as he convincingly could.

When Napoleon was done with him, Illya ran a shower. Napoleon joined him under the water, demanding a blowjob that Illya performed with all appearance of being utterly cowed. His own body hid his fingers as they dipped into the drain and retrieved the vaccine secreted there. Napoleon tore Illya's stitches out and squeezed the transmitter out of its pocket in his skin, letting it wash away with the water and the thin traces of blood. They didn't speak; they didn't even need to touch, beyond what they did as a decoy.

Napoleon hung his towel back up over the camera while they dressed, and they went out through the disabled ventilation duct without so much as a glance at each other, moving as seamlessly as ever. And if Napoleon stole sideways glances at Illya, trying to judge his breathing and the bruises on his wrists and his throat, who was to know?

It went off without a hitch.

Except, Napoleon thought, as he slithered through brush on a Carpathian mountainside, following the glint of the moonlight on his partner's soles, except for whatever Illya would think of him in the morning.

Without a hitch, that is, until a two-man patrol stumbled across Napoleon hanging back while his partner limped ahead to recon--and do consider why he's limping, Napoleon--and Napoleon found himself with his hands in the air and a Thrush sidearm pressed against his temple.


Napoleon had the only gun, tucking into his shoulder holster. He edged his fingers toward it, under the watchful eye of his captor, assuring them of his surrender in a loud enough voice so that Illya would know not to come back, not to walk into the trap. It was more important he get out, and take the vaccine with him.

Napoleon raised his gun into the air, dangling from two fingers, his arms limp and projecting no menace at all. The first Thrushie kept his covered while the second one patted him down. "Where's Kuryakin?"

"I don't know," Napoleon said. "He got away from me—"

"You left together," the second one said, standing up. "He can't have got—"


The Thrushie with the sidearm went straight down, as if somebody had kicked in the back of his knees. His arm jerked up as he collapsed; the bullet went past Napoleon's face close enough for him to feel the wind of its passage. The second Thrushie started to turn, started to reverse Napoleon's gun in his hand--

He never got the chance. Napoleon stepped back from his mangled remains before they could fall on him, wiping gore off his face with both hands. There was a moment's pause, and Illya stepped out of the shadows, into a patch of moonlight. "Come on," he hissed. "Grab their guns and run. I just garroted the third one." He held up his Thrush sidearm for inspection. "There's bound to be more, and it's at least a few more miles before we're out from under the jamming field and can call for help."

Napoleon obeyed, jogging forward, following Illya into the darkness without hesitation. "I didn't expect you to come back for me," he murmured, when they paused in the shadow of an oak on the edge of a brilliant, dangerously revealing meadow.

"Because of--?"

"What I did back there."

Illya blinked at him, surprised, and rolled his head on his neck as if to ease some lingering stiffness. He turned away again, scanning the night. "Napoleon," he said. "That was part of the job."

"It wasn't about me hurting you, betraying your trust?"

"I told you we should have practiced," he said dryly, without looking. "It's my fault your first time with a man was so traumatic. I'm sorry about that. I would have liked it to be happier—"


"You have perhaps a better word?"

"I hurt you—"

Illya sighed and glanced back at him, then turned to face him and placed the unarmed hand on his cheek. And then he bounced up on tiptoes and kissed Napoleon once, lightly, on the mouth. "Napoleon," he said. "Will you shut up and stop endangering the mission with your unfounded worries if I promise that when we get back, to our well-earned downtime, I will show you how it can be?"

Napoleon gulped, unable to even categorize the complex of emotions that nearly buffeted him off his feet. "You're... serious."

"I think you have great potential," Illya replied, limbering his gun hand and crouching down to get a clear view across the moonlit field they would soon have to cross. "Now can we hurry up and finish saving the world?"

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