"Napoleon?" The voice was weak, but persistent.
His burden shifted on his lap, bringing a soft moan from the pale, too pale, lips.
"Easy, Illya, don't try to move." Napoleon pressed the makeshift bandage harder on the chest wound, narrowing his eyes at the gasp of pain from his partner.
"Sorry, old man."
"I'm all right, Napoleon. Just cold." His words were beginning to slur, and Napoleon hugged him tighter to his warmth.
"Hang on, tovarishch. Help's coming." He had managed to get out from under the jamming umbrella a few minutes ago and placed a call for help.
"I think it will come... too late, Napoleon." He writhed in Solo's arms as a fresh wave of pain hit him.
"No, Illya! Keep talking to me, they'll be here."
"Never been one for conversation, you know..."
"Well, I'm not complaining." Illya's color was turning from pale to blue and Solo grimaced. The chest wound was steadily seeping blood despite his efforts.
Blue eyes looked into his and Illya smiled slightly.
"Have you ever wondered...why I don't...date, Napoleon?" He was laboring now, the effort to breathe written on his face.
"Easy, Illya." Napoleon cleared his throat. "I always thought of you as a monk, I guess..." Solo grinned down at him, and Illya sighed.
"The reason is...that I'm...in love with someone. Have been for a...a long time."
Solo's eyebrows rose. "Well, don't keep me in suspense, Illya. Who is she?"
Illya looked vaguely embarrassed. "She is...a he, Napoleon."
"Does that...bother you?" He drew a shuddering breath.
"No, no, just wasn't exactly what I was expecting. But it does...explain a few things." Napoleon brushed the sweaty hair from Illya's eyes and felt how cold his skin was.
"He must be something to have made you look twice."
"I've looked more than twice, Napoleon."
Solo chuckled at the confession and rubbed his hands on Illya's arms, warming him as much as possible.
"Anyone I know?"
Illya coughed, trying to pull in more air. "He works for U.N.C.L.E."
"He's a lucky guy."
"Famous for his luck, actually. Napoleon..." Illya panted, trying to ride out the spasm in his chest.
"It's okay, Illya. I'm right here. Quiet, now. Conserve your strength." Worried hazel eyes gazed down at him.
"No, Napoleon...I have to tell you..." He moaned and tried to double over.
Solo restrained him. His sharp ears heard the sound of a helicopter approaching their position.
"You hear that, Illya? The cavalry's coming."
"Doesn't matter...now...Napoleon." His eyes were glazed and he was becoming distant.
Napoleon shook him gently. "Come on, Illya, we're almost there."
"Napoleon." It was a whisper now.
The blue eyes closed, and Napoleon felt the trembling body go limp in his embrace.
"I love you."
"Illya, Illya..." But he was past hearing.
The dust-off team swarmed over them, placing Illya on a gurney and working on the still form. Napoleon sat stunned on the cold concrete, unable to stand for the moment. He numbly watched the medic feel for a pulse and breathed again when he nodded.
They wheeled his partner toward the chopper. He got unsteadily to his feet and swayed. Another agent took his arm and helped him to the craft.
He watched as Illya was loaded and shook his head. "This isn't finished, Illya. Not by a long shot."
He had stayed with Illya in the hospital, of course, practically living there at first in the intensive care unit. As the stay lengthened, he had been counseled to go home and get back to his normal routine. His normal routine, however, seemed to include his partner lying in a hospital bed. And his normal response to that situation was to set to like the proverbial immovable object by his partner's side. The only irresistible force that could work against him was Illya.
Illya—lying so still against the hospital linens, his chest rising and falling with calming regularity. The very regularity that Napoleon told himself he should be extremely grateful for was the one thing that unnerved him the most. The pale shadow of his partner lying there was not his Illya. Napoleon blinked. When had he become so possessive? Before or after Illya had confessed to him? He had to be honest with himself. He had always loved Illya; he just hadn't allowed himself to think that he could be in love with him.
Now he was sure of his feelings and coming to terms with the ramifications. There would be adjustments, to be sure. Their jobs, positions, and personalities mandated that they be circumspect, but Napoleon had never been one to keep his feelings under wraps, at least not where Illya was concerned. He smiled at that thought and willed Illya to wake up and call him on it.
But still he lay there, mute and unresponsive. Napoleon grimaced at the irony. Now that he finally knew what to say to his partner, Illya was unable to hear it. Leave it to Illya to find another way to avoid an emotional encounter, he thought wryly. Sighing softly, Napoleon took Illya's cool hand and held on as he had for the last few days.
"Come on, Illya. Fight your way back to me. I need you, partner. I need to be able to tell you..." he trailed off unable to speak around the lump in his throat.
There came a moment when Napoleon had been desperate enough to do something he hadn't attempted in a very long time. Pray. Napoleon had laid his head next to Illya's and cried silently.
Continuing to hold his friend's hand he had begun the prayer without conscious thought, rote memory taking over in his desperation.
"Our Father, Who art in heaven..." he had begun, tears tracking down his face as he sought help for that part he had just discovered was the best of him.
"Hallowed be thy Name," Napoleon continued reciting, dim whispers echoing in the drab sterile room. It took him a moment to realize there were two voices now. The quiet voice of his partner was echoing his words in Russian, the English version triggering a response in his fevered mind. He jerked his head up and watched the waxen face closely.
"...but deliver us from evil. Amen." Napoleon finished and whispered softly, hopefully, "Illya."
The still form stirred slightly, breathing more quickly as he drifted toward consciousness.
Napoleon wore a full tilt smile that lit up his entire face. Giving a silent prayer of thanks, he turned his attention to his friend's struggle for awareness. Tear tracks stained his cheeks but he didn't bother to wipe away the evidence. It didn't matter now. Illya was coming back. His Illya.
"That's it, partner. Come on, come back to me," he encouraged, rubbing the cold hand he held now in earnest.
Illya moaned low and hushed and blinked his eyes open. Napoleon stood over him and exhaled a very relieved sigh.
The blue eyes locked onto his and squinted in puzzlement. "Napoleon?" he asked weakly.
"I'm here, milok." He squeezed his hand to punctuate the reply.
"I'm not dead?" Illya returned, a little peeved, by the sound of it.
"Uh, no, I don't believe so. Sorry to disappoint you, Illya." Napoleon couldn't contain the grin that spilled over his face at Illya's disconcertion.
"Where am I?" He took in the surrounding room and guessed. "Medical?" he hazarded. "I don't remember..."
Napoleon tapped the back of his hand and released it. "It's all right, partner. Yes, you're in Medical. They choppered you in from the warehouse." There was something in his voice that he knew Illya picked up on. His face clouded over and he fixed Napoleon with a stern gaze.
"How long have I been out?" Silence. "Napoleon?"
Solo cleared his throat. "You've been in a coma for the last four days, Illya. Scared the shit out of me, I don't mind saying."
"Four days...no wonder you look like hell, Napoleon. Have you been here the whole time?" Illya asked.
At a look from Napoleon he replied, "Sorry, I needn't have asked."
"Mr. Waverly has been in every day checking on you, too, Illya. He wouldn't admit it, of course, but he's been very worried about you. A gaggle of the girls have been by, also. Some of them even cried, partner." He winked at Illya conspiratorially. "Maybe I should try this maneuver. Be good for my little black book."
Illya nodded, a small smile threatening to take over his expression. He cleared his throat and coughed experimentally. "I wouldn't recommend it, Napoleon. And you have more than enough names in your book already."
I'd be glad to burn it to prove how little it means to me now, IK, he wanted to say. Instead he poured Illya a glass of water and held it out to him. His fingers brushed his partner's as he relinquished the glass. He didn't miss the way the Russian flinched when they made contact. Hurt flashed in his eyes, but he didn't let Illya see it.
"Thank you, Napoleon." He drank the water slowly, eyeing his partner as Solo began to pace the length of the bed, hands thrust deeply into his pockets, fingers worrying the contents. "You should go home now. Get some rest, I'm sure you could use a good night's sleep."
Napoleon stopped pacing and gazed at him, hazel eyes penetrating the space between them. "Trying to get rid of me, Illya? It won't be that easy, you know."
Illya glanced at him sharply, interpreting the hidden meaning in the words. He flushed, dropping his head down to hide the reaction from his partner.
Napoleon's face gentled, the tender look in his eyes unmistakable. He knew how hard this was going to be for his Slavic friend. But the truth hung between them, a truth that would have to be fully explored before it could benefit either of them.
Solo cleared his throat and said, "Illya."
Kuryakin stopped him before he could start. "No, Napoleon. Not now. Please, I-I need some time." He was fidgeting in his discomfort and looked lost and small in the sea of white cotton surrounding him.
"Illya, what's the problem? You don't have anything to be embarrassed about..." Napoleon stopped, unsure of how to proceed against Illya's obvious unease.
"When one makes a deathbed confession the least he can do is to die, don't you think?" Illya said seriously.
Napoleon roared at that, wiping the tears from his eyes as Illya looked truly vexed at him.
"Illya, Illya. Only my partner could wake up from a coma upset that he wasn't dead." Solo chuckled, moved a step closer and reached out to brush the bangs out of Illya's eyes. His eyes narrowed when he flinched back from the touch.
Ignoring the sting, Napoleon asked quickly, "How do you feel, tovarishch?"
Illya turned his head away and said, "Tired, Napoleon. I'd like to rest now, if you don't mind."
Solo had gotten where he was by using his innate sense of when to push and when to let go. This was definitely not the time to push Illya. He sighed to himself but smiled at his friend.
"Sure, Illya. I'll come back later, after you've...rested." He touched Illya's leg once, wanting to reassure himself that he was going to be all right. He walked to the door, but turned before leaving to see Illya watching his back, a worried look on his face.
"Illya..." he began before he was cut off.
"No, Napoleon. I'm not...ready...to discuss it. Please?"
Napoleon nodded, giving Illya the out he seemed to need so desperately.
"Rest, milok. I'll see you later."
"Thank you, Napoleon." Illya visibly relaxed and sank into the bed.
Now, days later, Illya still refused to talk about it with his partner. In fact, he seemed even more adamant to ignore what had happened completely. He had allowed Napoleon to visit and talk shop, but any attempt to talk about his feelings had sent him running for cover. Napoleon indulged the behavior for as long as he could knowing how private the Russian could be.
Solo had tried to track Illya down in the lab when he was returned to light duty, but he discovered how adept of an agent his prickly partner was. He always seemed to be one step ahead of Napoleon. Illya was avoiding him deliberately, pre-meditatively, and with malicious intent. Napoleon Solo had allowed it long enough, and now the time had passed.
He was beginning to think Illya was using his gypsy powers for evil when he got the call from Mr. Waverly. An assignment in Columbia had just come up and he would be paired with Mark for the time being. Lousy timing, Napoleon thought as he packed for the trip. Illya was still on duty somewhere in the lab section. He wouldn't even have time to say goodbye. Solo set his jaw and swore that he and the irascible Russian would talk when he got back, even if he had to sleep dart him to catch him.
A week later a very tired, very disheveled and very frustrated Napoleon Solo stalked into his apartment and hurriedly unpacked. Four days of ferreting out a double agent dug in at the Bogotá office and two days of round the clock interrogation had him spoiling for a fight and in an evil temper; perfect fodder for a confrontation with his tight lipped partner.
Napoleon sighed as his temper began to dispel. It wouldn't do to go charging after him so soon after his return. That tactic would turn him into the Great Wall of Illya faster than you could say Jack Robinson. No, he would get some rest tonight and see Illya at the office tomorrow. Then the real interrogation would begin.
Solo knew sleep would elude him tonight just as well as Illya had done lately. He lay in the dark tossing on the too-warm sheets. His mind was active, replaying a scene in his head for the nth time.
He was on the floor of the warehouse feeling the cold seep through his clothes and into his bones as he cradled the bleeding body of his partner. He had been afraid, paralyzingly so, that Illya would not make it back to Medical in time. He had kept that fear from his eyes and his voice, but he knew Illya felt it as well.
Napoleon remembered the smell of his partner's blood, and the way the dust motes danced in the rays of light filtering into the building from the boarded up windows. Solo thought carefully about Illya's last words uttered in the cold concrete silence of the storage space. He knew he had heard them: he couldn't have imagined them.
'I love you,' he had said before slipping into unconsciousness. Could that be it? Had Illya been delirious? He had seemed lucid enough. No, Napoleon was positive he had meant it. Why, then, was he acting as if it had never happened? Embarrassment, shyness, or denial? If Illya had been reticent in the past, now he was downright mute. Solo sighed and rolled over. He had to get some sleep to be able to function tomorrow. He would corner Illya if need be. But he would talk about it one way or another.
The next morning Napoleon drove to work mentally rehearsing what he wanted to say to his partner. It wouldn't do to start cold against the quick wit of that mind. He smiled as he thought of the verbal sparring they were famous for. Today he would have some powerful ammunition of his own to bring to the fray.
Once inside the complex Napoleon checked in with his secretary, Mitzi, picked up his messages and headed to the commissary. His agent's eye quickly scanned the room. No Illya. Good. He would have the advantage of surprise. He fixed a large cup of coffee, black, and sat down opposite the doorway. There were few agents there this early. He sipped at the strong brew and let the steam curl around his face. He heard the sound of the door sliding open and saw his partner enter the room. He had his face buried in a printout and absently fixed a cup of tea. As he turned to leave, Solo called to him.
Kuryakin turned and looked at Napoleon, surprise etched on his face. To his credit he covered well, and smiled at his friend. "Well, Napoleon. When did you get back?"
As he came closer, Solo noted the weight loss, pallor, and dark, bruised skin under Illya's eyes. He sat down across the table and sipped his tea.
"Last night. I just got here a few minutes ago." The volley he had wanted to begin the skirmish with was forgotten as he realized how much Illya had been suffering, too.
"Are you okay, Illya?" he asked worriedly. "You look terrible."
"Thanks, Napoleon. I missed you, too. And by the way, you aren't exactly fresh as a daisy either." He had noticed the bags under Solo's own eyes.
Napoleon realized that he must look almost as bad as Illya. He cast his eyes down at the tabletop. "Bitch of an assignment," he admitted. "I hate running down one of our own. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth."
"Yes, I heard. I knew Jacobs, too. Worked with him in London once or twice."
Both men were silent, thinking about the implications of distrust and dishonor in their ranks.
"Have you been to the clinic lately, Illya? How's the chest wound?" Napoleon prodded.
Illya was quiet for a moment. He looked up briefly as two agents left the room and then turned his attention back to Solo. He sighed and looked at the table. His fingers plucked nervously at the rim of his teacup.
"It's not my chest that is the problem, Napoleon." Blue eyes locked with hazel and did not flinch this time. "It's my heart."
Napoleon drew in a quick breath at that and stared at his partner. He said nothing; merely let his silence give Illya permission to continue.
"I have been thinking of nothing else since you left, Napoleon," the Russian admitted uneasily. "I am truly sorry for making you uncomfortable with my...confession. I've decided to go to Mr. Waverly and ask to be reassigned to another section." At the pained look on Solo's face, he quickly added, "Or if it will make it easier, I will resign altogether. I never meant for this to be a burden to you, my friend."
Napoleon cleared his throat, unsure if he could speak yet. "Not here, Illya. Let's go to my office." The two men disposed of their cups and walked the short distance to the elevator in silence. Anyone watching them would have seen the easy way they paced each other, one always ready to back up the other. That had not changed even with everything else that had.
Entering his office, he walked past the desk and told his secretary, "Hold all calls please, Mitzi." She nodded and gave a small smile to Illya. Napoleon was shocked to feel a pang of jealousy spark in him for a tiny instant. It rocked him that he was territorial about Illya, not his secretary. He shook his head and smiled to himself. Ushering Illya into his office, he let the door shut and locked it behind them, then disabled the internal camera and microphone. "No escape now," he said half joking, half serious.
Illya sat on the couch and Napoleon parked a hip on a corner of the lamp stand. When the Russian kept silent, Napoleon decided to start where they had left off.
"I'm not sure what you think is a burden, old son. Being in enforcement, being my partner, or...being in love?"
Illya dropped his gaze again and wouldn't meet Napoleon's eyes.
"Napoleon. I wouldn't have said what I did if I had known...I mean, I didn't expect there to be any consequences."
"Because you thought you were dying," Solo added gently.
"I did, too, Illya. You're not the only one whose been doing a lot of thinking lately, tovarishch."
Illya looked genuinely surprised at that and asked a question with his eyes.
"I've been thinking what if you had died on that slab, Illya? What would I do? Who would understand what you mean to me?" He paused, hazel eyes bright with emotion. "The answer is no one, Illya. No one could understand. No one but you."
Solo went silent for a moment and looked into the incredibly blue eyes of the man on his couch. He took a deep breath and plunged on before he could talk himself out of it.
"Illya, you're my partner and my best friend. And until recently, I've never really thought how much I depend on you to be around for me, professionally and personally. When you were comatose...weren't there... all I could think of was how much I missed talking to you, working with you, and just being with you." He spoke in hushed tones now, almost reverently. "And it terrified me to think I might lose that. I'm selfish, Illya, I want all of you. I want you in my life."
Illya's jaw dropped at that honesty and at the sweetness of the delivery. He no longer cared that they were at work, that agents were just outside the door, or that his personal barrier was crumbling by the second.
He searched Napoleon's eyes for the answer to his question and found them to be mirrors of his own. He caught his breath and willed his heart to keep beating.
When he was able, he spoke. "What do we do now, Napoleon?" Too late he realized the question he had asked and the man he had asked it of.
Napoleon stood and drifted over to the couch. He pulled an unresisting Illya up and into his arms, wrapping his arms loosely around his waist. "I have a couple of ideas, milok," he replied as he began a slow assault on the blond man's earlobes. He felt the shiver that ran through his taut partner's body. "Finally caught up with you, wouldn't you say?" He stroked Illya's cheek softly, gently. "Have you stopped running, Illya?" he asked quietly, nuzzling the side of his neck and blowing streams of cool air across the goose flesh there.
"Too tired to run anymore, Napoleon," came the distracted answer. Illya leaned into the warm lips at his throat and said, "Being still...has its advantages." He turned his jaw and sought Napoleon's mouth with his own. The first touch was awkward, but Napoleon felt him melt into the embrace and worked all his seductive skills into the kiss. A slow moan escaped Illya's throat and Solo broke the contact to gather him even closer. He heard a sigh ghost out of Kuryakin and relished the feel of him in his arms.
Solo smiled against the soft hair at his cheek. "Let's get out of here. You need to eat something and then we can go back to my place." He pulled back to gauge the reaction. Careful here, he thought.
Napoleon had to refrain from laughing out loud at the look of pure astonishment on his unflappable partner's face.
"I meant to sleep, Illya, sleep. You're exhausted and I'm running on caffeine."
Illya thought of the many ways he could respond before he closed his mouth and merely nodded.
"All right, Napoleon," he simply agreed.
Napoleon gaped at him and said, "Now I know you're tired. You didn't argue."
He turned the security systems back on and headed for the door. Napoleon didn't need to look behind him to know that Illya followed. He fervently hoped he would do so for the rest of their lives.
The car trip back to his apartment would rank as one of the most memorable ones of his life. Illya was tired, fed, and working his way up to affectionate with single-mindedness that Napoleon certainly admired. Now that there had been an admission of his own, Napoleon sensed that Illya was beginning to come to terms with the fact that Solo did love him, that he was capable of being loved.
Gathering his courage, Napoleon reached over to Illya. They were in a public venue, but still out of sight in the car's interior. He still knew Illya would disapprove of such a display. Or would he? It's now or never, he thought and wondered if this were the last thing he would ever remember doing. He took Illya's hand in his and slowly, so slowly, rubbed his thumb over the back of his hand. Keeping his eyes on the road, he waited for a response. He sheepishly realized he was holding his breath. This was Illya after all, he mused. He could rip my lungs out with his Swiss Army Knife if he wanted to. Solo exhaled silently as he felt tentative fingers close over his. They stayed clasped together until the apartment came into view. Napoleon reluctantly released his prize and pulled into a tight parking spot.
Riding silently in the elevator, Napoleon let his eyes wander over Illya, so close to him yet not touching. Illya glanced sideways at him and gave him a shy smile and looked at his feet. Napoleon felt his heart lurch at that look, having seen it before but now knowing the certainty that it was meant for him alone. He swallowed nervously and thought of other 'Illya-isms' the agent had in store for him. Suddenly his promise of 'just sleeping' seemed an impossibility. Down boy, he told himself and was relieved to hear his floor number ring. Illya looked up and exited first, feeling Solo's gaze follow his every movement down the corridor.
The last trip Napoleon had taken down this hallway had been hurried and his step had been heavy. Now it was as if a chain had been loosed from him; a chain that had tethered him to a world that precluded joy and the peace that love could offer. He had never thought that his partnership with Illya Kuryakin would ever come to this, or that the stubborn Russian would ever have admitted how much Napoleon had come to mean to him, also.
Now as he unlocked the door and coded the alarm system, Napoleon smiled to himself. He watched as Illya shouldered past him and flopped down on the couch. His partner had stuffed himself on Belgium waffles and sausage earlier and was now groaning in distress.
"Want an antacid?" Solo asked with a wicked smile. Illya nodded and Napoleon went to the medicine cabinet. He saw his face reflected in the mirror, and realized how haggard and edgy his countenance appeared. This latest round of soul searching and personal revelation had been telling on him as well.
He placed the tablets in a glass of water and watched the bubbles fizz and dance. He walked the mix out to Illya and held it in front of his face, swinging the glass gently back and forth. Illya's eyes followed the movement like a pendulum until his headache reminded him that it was not a good idea.
"Napoleon, please. Have some pity. I really shouldn't have had seconds. I haven't been eating much lately and I forgot to take it slow." He reached for the glass and Solo let go of it eventually. He watched Illya swallow the bitter liquid and smiled. He had been too keyed up to eat much but had good-naturedly watched as Illya had packed it away.
He yawned and stretched and began to remove his shoes, tie and jacket. The holster was next to go. He went to his bedroom and hung up the suit and peeled off the dress shirt. When he returned to the living room Illya was stretched out on the couch, nearly asleep.
He padded to him and shook him awake. "Illya."
"What now, Napoleon?" he grumbled.
"Get your shoes off my couch, you cretin."
Sleepy blue eyes regarded him. "Oh, sorry." He swung his legs over the edge and toed off his shoes. He shrugged off his jacket and winced when he reached to unbuckle his holster.
"Still sore?" Solo asked as he helped Illya remove the leather straps.
His partner nodded and sank back into the couch, clearly exhausted by the recent turn of events.
Napoleon knelt down by the couch and took Illya's hand in his. He gently unbuttoned the cuff on his sleeve and said simply, "Let me." Illya looked uncertainly at him but did not protest. He repeated the task on the other cuff and slid his fingers under the fabric to caress Illya's wrists. He gently placed his lips on the inside of one cuff and felt the rapid pulse beneath his mouth. Illya moaned in desire despite his exhaustion, and Napoleon smiled against the velvet softness.
The tie had to go next. It was in the way. He didn't remember loosening the knot, only throwing it over the back of the couch. Solo reached up to the top shirt button and slowly let it slip, and then undid the rest on the way down his partner's chest. He was inexorably slow, willing this process to take as long as he could stand. Illya was watching the process nervously as sweat began trickling down his sides. Napoleon was so close, so very close, but Illya seemed unable to bridge the distance quite yet. Warm hands pulled the shirt away from the Russian's slick skin and carelessly dropped it to the floor. Napoleon's eyes softened with regret as he took in the livid skin from his partner's recent ordeal. Solo hesitantly touched the line of scar tissue where the sutures had recently been removed from his chest. He trailed his fingertips across the ribs and gently stroked the pale stomach. Illya gasped at the contact, and Napoleon pulled back.
"Did I hurt you, Illya?" he asked quickly.
"No, no, of course not, Napoleon. I'm just a little tender right now."
"Damn, of course you are, milok. I'm sorry."
He held out a hand to Illya who took it and pulled himself up with assistance. Napoleon drew his partner into an embrace and they stayed for a moment, reveling in the newness. The taut musculature of his partner felt incredibly erotic to Napoleon, as he was used to the feel of the soft curves of women. He traced the smooth skin of Illya's back with his palms, wanting to memorize every iota of him, visualizing what his hands felt in his mind. He was buoyed when he felt tentative fingers running along his spine, glorying in the solid muscle that was Napoleon Solo.
Illya was trembling either from passion or fatigue, and Solo would not take advantage of either emotional state today. He broke the contact and silently led Illya down the hall to his bedroom. He stripped the slacks off him and pulled the covers back, urging Illya down into the inviting comfort of the bed. He lay down and curled on his side. Napoleon slid in on the opposite side and nestled up to the warm body of his partner. Illya was fading fast, but arched back against the feel of the familiar body next to him. They spooned together in quiet acceptance of their new relationship and twined hands together.
Just before he fell asleep, Napoleon whispered in his lover's ear.
"I love you, too, Illya."
The soft light of the alarm clock weaved its way into Illya's eyes as he blinked sleepily in the darkness. The numbers indicating minutes ticked over to display 3:17 a.m. He felt the comfortable mattress underneath him and realized it was not his bed he was currently in. Awake now, he took stock of his surroundings. Ambient light from the street below gave enough illumination to cast a murky dimness about the bedroom. A hairy arm was draped over his waist and more hirsute legs were twined in his. He took in a deep breath and listened to the breathing very close to his neck.
In the next instant, a very large grin took over his face, and he spoke softly, "Napoleon." Although never having lain with his partner 'that way' he would know the familiar body and cadence of breath anywhere. There had been many opportunities to memorize his partner's form in the past, albeit surreptitiously. Providing first aid, using the warmth of his body to ward off shock, hiding in cramped spaces, and sitting out more stake outs than he cared to remember all had given Illya reasons for being close to Napoleon. The fact that he no longer had to be covert about it had him giddy.
Still smiling to himself, he slowly reached out for the limp arm across his side and took it in his hand. Rolling on his back, he placed the appendage on his chest and felt the languorous heat of the flesh on his. He ran his fingertips up the still forearm towards the taut muscles of Solo's upper chest. He gasped when he felt his erection leap at the sensuousness of his actions. He glanced at Napoleon, but he seemed oblivious of the attention. No doubt he was used to waking up with a warm body beside him. Illya frowned at the thought but would not allow it to diminish his happiness.
Clad as they were in boxers, there was not much impediment to Illya's appraisal of his lover's body. He had looked wistfully at Solo before but never with the abandon he was allowing himself tonight. His hand had reached the smooth skin of Napoleon's pectorals, and he played in the sparse hair in the center of his chest. Napoleon's breath was quickening, and he was beginning to respond to touch. Illya rolled toward Solo and watched his face as he emerged from the depths of sleep.
Another caress of the chest and Napoleon moaned softly, opening his eyes to look owlishly at the blond head of his partner. He felt the warm hand against his skin and took it, raising it to his mouth, kissing the fingertips tenderly. Now it was Illya's turn to moan as Napoleon sucked a finger into his mouth, licking and bathing the digit with his tongue. He repeated the process languidly on each finger and was quite willing to treat the other hand equally, but his lover could stand no more.
Illya tensed, his hips automatically thrusting forward at that suggestive touch, and he felt his erection brush across Napoleon's. Still confined by cloth, the touch was nonetheless exquisite in its novelty.
Solo actually growled at the touch, inching his body closer to the Russian's and placing his hands on his hips. He peeled the boxers off Illya slowly, watching as first the tip, then the head, and then the full length of Illya's hard cock was revealed. He drew in a breath at the sight, wondering at its beauty. Illya kicked the shorts off his legs and reached to Napoleon's hips to return the favor. Solo stilled his hand before it could touch him.
"No, Illya." he whispered, his first words of the night. "Let me look at you, feel you, love you first." He ran a trembling hand from Illya's neck to the base of his chest, and continued down to the rigid stomach and felt the protrusion of hipbones as well. He stopped just short of the pulsing erection, knowing it would bring about much too abrupt of an end.
Illya was panting, trying not to squirm under the assault of Napoleon's caress. He felt scar tissue pull as his nipples tightened, drawing the flesh into aroused peaks at the touch of his partner's hand. He hissed at the sensation, and captured Solo's face with his palms, unable to lie quietly and not reciprocate. He pulled the dark head down to his lips and impatiently drew the mouth over his, searching and tasting the unique flavor of Napoleon Solo. He was summarily addicted.
Solo placed his arms around Illya's waist and then delved lower to his ass, running his hands across the firmness and using his fingers to dive into the cleft. He crushed Illya to him as their kiss deepened and foreshadowed the act to follow. Napoleon tongued his mouth, hungry to know all the hidden places of his pale lover, to breach the limits of whom they were separately and discover the new territory of whom they could be together.
He felt questing fingers reach underneath his shorts and allowed Illya to skim them off him. He gasped as he registered strong hands biting into his skin and pulling his pelvis into closer contact with Illya's. Hard flesh glanced off of harder and they began to thrust against each other almost unconsciously, driven by an urge older than memory.
Napoleon rolled Illya on top, mindful of his injury and felt the solid muscular frame settle against his. The normally cool Russian was sweating, grunting his desire into Napoleon's open mouth, unable to hold back the passion any longer. He matched Solo thrust for thrust, and worked a hand between their bodies to grasp the slick cockhead. Solo felt his orgasm close, and wrapped his own hand around Illya's manhood to bring them off together. Both men groaned in ecstasy at the intimate touch they had denied themselves until this night, and built the frottage until its inevitable end.
It came in a spiral of rapturous color and sparkling vision, as their worlds merged together in an abrupt release that was both frightening in its intensity and frustrating in its brevity.
They lay together still, hearts slowing and minds beginning to separate into the inevitable disparateness that comes post coital. The desire to stay locked together emotionally as well as physically was an unobtainable dream, and they were well aware of that intrusive reality.
Illya lay quietly in Napoleon's arms, content to perpetuate the illusion that they were one. Of all people, he knew the cost their profession forced them to pay in their personal life. While he understood the hard facts of this, it did not mean he had to like it. So he merely pushed it to the back of his mind and let it reside with the half-heard whisperings of disappointment and regret that dwelled there.
Tomorrow, Illya mused. He would deal with the reality tomorrow. Tonight was all that mattered.