Cut and Run

by nickovetch

"I didn't say that, exactly, Napoleon."

"What did you mean, then, Illya? It sounded to me like you wanted an out." Napoleon Solo paced restlessly in the small apartment, fuming on the inside but desperately trying to appear calm on the outside. To whit, he stopped pacing and flopped down on the couch.

His partner, Illya Kuryakin, was infuriatingly composed, of course, infuriatingly because they had been in the throes of a passionate duel moments before. Before Napoleon had opened his mouth and said exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. That particular propensity was something he would have to learn to curb if he wanted his prickly Russian to stay the course. He knew better than anyone how elusive Illya was, and how jealously he guarded his privacy.

Illya sighed and looked up through the fringe of hair that always hung too near his eyes. "You know I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, Polya."

"So that's why you said we should cool off? Have a separation? How is that not going to hurt my feelings, Illyusha?" He stressed the endearment to drive home the feelings of frustration he couldn't help harboring.

"Napoleon, don't read too much into it. It was merely do you say...gut reaction to your announcement."

Solo sighed and dropped his head into his hands. He had known the words were wrong as soon as they had left his mouth. It was too late to take them back. Hell, he didn't want to take them back. Illya was the one with intimacy issues, not he.

"Illya. I'm sorry if I spooked you. You know how loquacious I am when I'm, uh..." He stopped, blushing suddenly.

"In the throes of orgasmic bliss?" Illya finished for him. He grinned at his red-faced partner, glad it was Napoleon who was non-plussed for a change.

Napoleon said nothing but fought his first impulse to kiss the smile off his partner's face. That would certainly be the wrong choice of action at the moment. He knew it had been a tactical error to pick that particular moment to tell Illya that he loved him. Though it was true, Illya wasn't ready for the depth of that commitment and Napoleon kicked himself for the indulgence. Now the mule in Illya would be out in full force, kicking and pulling at the bit in an attempt to deflect his own feelings.

Napoleon would backpedal, cajole and generally do whatever was necessary to regain Illya's trust that he would not rush him or the relationship.

"Well, you know how Italians are, Illya. You'll just have to make allowances for my heritage and allow me to wax poetic once in a while without heading for the hills."

"Heading for the hills?" Illya repeated, a genuine look of puzzlement on his face.

"A colloquialism. Means running away to escape the situation." Solo explained.

Illya looked pensive and replied, "Is that what I do, Polya? Run for cover?"

Napoleon thought carefully before responding. Illya wanted a sincere answer. "I think you do to some extent, partner. I know it's hard for you to trust anyone, including me. I'll just have to prove it to you in time. I'm here for the long haul, millii moy."

"Then you will have to make allowances for my Russian heritage as well, partner, and let me be brooding and contemplative on occasion." The harsh words were tempered by a ghost of a smile on the playful lips, and Illya threw a teasing glance in Napoleon's direction.

Solo breathed a deep sigh and let the tension drain from the moment.

"Are we ok, Illya? Still want a break?" he asked his skittish lover.

Kuryakin walked to him and slowly wrapped his arms around Napoleon's waist.

"It's been approximately," he glanced at his watch, "five minutes since our last assignation, Napoleon." Illya rubbed suggestively against Solo's hips. "I believe that's all the break I need."

Napoleon rolled his eyes in a 'Heaven help me' look and pulled his partner's head down for a confirming kiss.

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