Napoleon Solo looked down at his ruined Italian leather loafers and sighed. They were his favorite pair, too. He knew U.N.C.L.E. would never replace two pair of expensive shoes in one month. Shaking his head, he recalled what the accountant said when he'd put in for the last pair.
"Why don't you just buy cheaper shoes? You could get a lot more that way."
The suave spy had looked down at the man's tattered vinyl loafers and shuddered, certain the clerk had never been laid in his life. Solo bought a new pair that same night out of his own pocket. Vinyl, he thought with horror.
In his current state, Napoleon decided he probably looked and felt a lot like that bean counter. He was soaked to the bone, cold, hungry, and every joint ached from the fall into the water tower. He was just glad Illya hadn't gone on this assignment. Bad enough to have botched it alone, but to have a certain smug Russian witness his incompetence would be more than his battered ego could take.
Solo sighed again, and keyed his alarm. All he wanted was a hot shower and a warm body beside him. Both waited behind the door.
Solo began peeling the wet layers off as soon as he hit the carpet, although he managed to toss them into the tile-floored bathroom instead of letting them plop onto the floor like his roommate. He started the shower and let it run hot, grabbed a thick towel, and glanced disapprovingly at his reflection in the mirror. I can't win every one, he thought. And in this business there will always be a next time.
He slid into the stall, groaning in appreciation as the hot water hit his chest. He stood, allowing the needles of spray to massage his cold and tired body, turning after five minutes to warm his back. He didn't bother to lather; it seemed too much of an exertion. Slowly, his body warmed and his muscles loosened enough to allow a proper washing. The steam trapped in the stall soothed his cold and aching chest, and he began to feel like himself again. Once clean, he wrapped the towel around his waist and dried off with another. Palming the misty mirror, he watched himself appear in the steam. "Much better," he muttered and brushed his teeth and finished up.
He discarded the towel and hung it on the rack before tiptoeing down the hall to the bedroom. The door was open, Illya's habit making him smile. He stumbled over a shoe, stubbed his toe, and nearly went head over into a pile of dirty clothes. Stifling a curse, he surveyed the Illya-wreckage in the shared bedroom. Solo had been gone three days, and Illya always managed to do a lot of damage in a short period of time. Ordinarily, Solo would be dismayed by the disarray, but tonight he was just glad to be home. The trail of laundry and detritus only meant one thing. Illya was home and sleeping in their bed—a very warm and receptive Illya.
Solo sat on the edge of the bed, watching the lump on the other side stir at the movement. Once he was sure Illya registered his presence, he slid under the covers and snuggled into the warmth his lover's body created. He sighed in bliss, teasing the hair on the back of Illya's neck as he did so. Kuryakin didn't wake fully, merely edged closer to the cooler body and molded to it. Solo groaned in decadent pleasure and wrapped arms around the trim waist. He was asleep seconds later.
Early morning light filtered through the curtains as Solo woke. Disoriented and groggy, he cracked one eye open and looked across the room. The familiarity of both the room and the body in his arms washed over him like a welcome wave. Illya had moved onto Solo's chest some time during the night and currently had his blond head pillowed on his shoulder. He was still deeply asleep. Solo smiled. Sleeping and eating were activities that Illya threw himself into wholeheartedly. Among other things, Solo thought wickedly.
He drew his fingertips lightly across the soft skin of his partner's back, relishing in the intimacy. They had scarce little time to be truly together. Prickly and cynical while awake, deadly serious while on duty, Illya only truly became his while sleeping and vulnerable, exposed.
This was the time Solo cherished and guarded jealously. He was more overt in the relationship. Illya preferred to be circumspect, even while at home. His Slavic nature kept him from overly emotional displays, making him loving but low-key. Solo knew he loved him, it didn't matter to him that Illya kept a tighter rein on his feelings.
But, this time, this place was all Solo's. He could drink in Illya, play his body with fingers, lips and tongue, cherish and marvel at who he was. Napoleon started with shoulders, stroking across the strong planes and sinewy muscle below, feeling his way across the topography of Kuryakin. Here was the bullet wound from Norway. Here was the rougher skin along the blades, marks and scar tissue from Mother Fear's strap. Solo's face darkened when he thought of Illya in her clutches, and his fingers tightened in response. Illya murmured in his sleep and Solo loosed his grip, whispering an apology.
Now his hands wandered south, skipping down each knobby protrusion of spine. Such a strong package in such a small body. Solo knew intimately the power this man held, many times Illya's wiry strength had been the only thing that kept him alive. Lower now, the sleek flanks and long muscles of his torso rippled in repose when touched. Illya sighed in his sleep. Small indentations on the left side told of past violence, before Napoleon had known him. Knife scars, from a battle in another country in another time. Illya's body was beautiful, scars or no. Napoleon knew the story of each mark, each chapter in his lover's life. He cherished, worshiped the blemishes, knowing the pain and suffering of their etching had made Illya into the man he was now.
Illya began to stir and move against his chest. Solo brought his arms up and hugged him lightly. He knew while awake Illya would not allow the kind of inventory he'd just taken. He'd squirm and protest, thinking his scars made him ugly. If only he knew. If only he'd let Napoleon love him awake as well as he did asleep. Solo dropped a kiss on top of his head and decided that someday he just might. And someday was good enough.
Mud. Stinking, slimy, encrusting mud. Solo had his aversion to water, but Illya abhorred dirt. Ever since the gulag, the Russian hated being dirty and unable to do anything about it. Napoleon seemed to understand and never made fun of his cleanliness fetish. Illya smiled as he thought of his lover. He was riding in the elevator, trying not to touch anything but the button to his floor. Thankfully, it was three in the morning, and he didn't have to deal with any of his disapproving neighbors.
Willing the elevator to go faster, he closed his eyes and swayed, nearly bumping up against the rail. He was so tired. His latest mission had been a marginal success, but he wasn't happy with his performance. He rarely was. He recognized this flaw in his character and tried to keep it at bay when needed. He sniffed, the small enclosure reeking with his stench. Lovely.
The damnably slow doors finally opened on his floor and he got out, moving with shuffling steps with his stiffening clothing. He could see his door beckoning, and he ambled a bit faster. Hot water and a hotter lover waited for him. He moaned in anticipation.
Stepping inside, he relocked the door and stripped as fast as he could. A trail of wet, muddy clothes would implicate him in the morning, but he was past caring. He didn't even wait for the water to get hot before stepping into the tub, sluicing the mud from his aching body. He watched the brown dirt mix with the swirl of water and helped it along with a big toe. A couple of clods had to be squelched into submission. Topsoil off, Illya allowed himself the luxury of soaking under the spray.
He lathered and rinsed four times before he felt clean. Sighing, he turned off the cooling water and stepped on the muddy rug. Napoleon will kill me tomorrow, he thought. Well, tomorrow is a long way off. He tugged down the towel Napoleon had used earlier, uncaring that it was still damp. Illya sniffed, smelling the distinctively Solo scent and dried quickly. He has somewhere else he wanted to be.
The bedroom door was shut, and Kuryakin opened it carefully, hearing the slight squeak of hinges. He teased Solo unmercifully about said squeak, but he knew his lover waited to hear the sound that meant Illya was home at last. Illya glanced around the pristine room, grinning at the thought of Solo running around cleaning the entire time he was away. Solo would leave on a mission, Illya would destroy the apartment. Illya would leave for a few days, and Napoleon would tidy it up once again. They really were just like an old married couple. The idea caused his heart to ache unexpectedly, and he sought out the familiar form of his lover bundled in the bedclothes.
"Napoleon?" he whispered quietly, hearing the answering grunt of recognition. Once early in their relationship, Illya had startled Solo getting into bed, and gotten a broken nose as a result. He'd had to make up a lie to tell Waverly. Not that the old fox didn't know about their real partnership, but they had to keep up appearances.
Sliding between the sheets, Illya groaned in satisfaction. Solo's naked body welcomed him, scooting over to plaster against him. "Missed you," Solo whispered, already back to sleep.
"You, too." Illya hugged the lax body, feeling the warmth seeping into him. Napoleon flopped an arm across the bed, then rolled on his back. Illya spooned against his side, running his warm hands across the broad chest. He loved watching Solo sleep. The cares and worry lines smoothed out and made him look soothingly peaceful. Napoleon was beautiful, but it was not something one man told another easily. Even as lovers, Illya had to be careful not to give too much away. It was a deeply ingrained habit, left over from his Russian upbringing. Sometimes, he wished he could tell Napoleon in intimate detail how much he meant to him.
He settled for roving across the well-loved body. He stopped at each juncture of limb and body and let the familiar feel welcome him home. Illya knew where the scars were. He didn't have to look for the bullet wound on Solo's shoulder, the acid burn on his left chest, the calcium deposits from broken ribs. Further down was his appendectomy incision, the only non-violent scar in his collection. Illya knew even more remembrances from missions past dotted the Solo landscape, but he didn't need to touch them all. All he needed was to feel the warmth under his hands, the steady rising and falling of the strong chest, the exhalation of breath against the side of his face. He was home and Napoleon was his hearth.
Illya dearly wished he could take such liberties with his lover while he was awake, but the Russian's makeup wouldn't allow it. He kissed Solo on his cleft chin and felt him begin to respond. Someday, perhaps, Illya would drop the last of his barriers and allow Solo in fully. Someday would have to suffice.
Please post a comment on this story.