The Snow Maiden Affair
Napoleon tried to push up on the weight holding him down. It wouldn’t budge. He groaned, and tried to lever himself up with his arms. When that didn’t work, he knew he was in trouble. He gathered his strength for one last attempt. He managed to raise his hips up a few inches before he felt the weight bear down on his again.
"You’re killing me, you know."
Illya chuckled, and pressed his body down on Napoleon’s. "I warned you, didn’t I?"
"Yes, yes, you did."
"And you flirted with Joanne in Research, anyway."
"As if you didn’t know it was just for show."
"Perhaps, but I think you were enjoying yourself a bit too much."
"And this is my punishment?" He was filled with Illya’s cock, but since Illya refused to move, Napoleon wasn’t enjoying himself as much as he’d like. "What if I promise never to do it again?"
"I would not believe you. Still, I believe you have suffered enough." Illya rose up and knelt between Napoleon’s legs. He grabbed his partner’s hips and pulled him up onto his knees.
Napoleon grinned. With his face resting on his folded arms, he relaxed and waited for what was to come. He didn’t have to wait long. Illya may have been punishing him, but it couldn’t have been much fun for Illya, either. Napoleon felt Illya’s tension through their joined bodies, and so felt when it was released.
He cried out from the shock and unadulterated pleasure of having Illya pull out, and then push back in. He did it again, and again, fucking Napoleon hard, making him moan as his prostate was stroked with each thrust of Illya’s cock into his upturned buttocks.
Napoleon reached out and grabbed the headboard for leverage. He began to thrust back, meeting each of Illya’s thrusts forward. He could hear the sound of their flesh slapping together, and Illya’s harsh breathing, and then, finally, his own voice as he keened out his climax. His legs were shaking by the time he was entered one last time, and he felt the heat of Illya filling him with his come. Seconds later, he felt Illya’s head drop down to rest on his back.
They stayed that way at first, neither having the strength to move. When Napoleon’s muscles began to protest, he slowly lowered his body onto the bed, and felt Illya slip from his body. He grimaced in discomfort at the wet spot he found himself lying against.
The bed dipped as Illya got up and headed for the bathroom. He soon returned with a wet washcloth and sat at Napoleon’s side. He carefully cleaned Napoleon’s backside, at the same time checking for injury.
"You don’t need to do that. I’m fine."
Illya slapped him on the ass. "I will decide what I need or not need to do. We must be careful. We can’t take the chance of either one of us developing any sort of injury or infection in this area."
Napoleon’s only response was a deep sigh. There was no arguing with Illya’s statement. If anyone was to learn what they were to each other, both would end up out on the street. Literally. Lots of places wouldn’t even rent to people like them. But it would be even worse for Illya. Far worse.
"Do not sulk, Napoleon. What we have, it is good, yes?"
Napoleon turned onto his back and smiled at his lover. "Yes, it is very good." He heard the trill of his communicator. "But I think it’s just become a little less so."
"I’m going to take a quick shower while you find out what they have planned for us."
"Take the next right up ahead."
Illya nodded, but kept his attention on the road. "I salute the snow plowers for keeping the road clear."
"At least the snow has stopped. I like having a white Christmas as much as the next guy, but this was getting ridiculous."
"Two feet of snow? I laugh at two feet of snow." Illya grinned as he carefully braked and turned onto the forest road.
"No snow plowers here."
Illya eyed the road ahead of them. "I’ve seen worse." He glanced at Napoleon. "But having a white Christmas is nice, isn’t it?"
"It would have been nicer if we had been able to celebrate it at home. It never fails, does it?" Napoleon rested his head in his hand and gazed out the window. "I really did think that we would be able to manage it somehow."
"There is still time. Christmas is three days away." Illya slowed as a group of about a dozen cars came into sight. "It appears that Mr. Waverly has called out all the troops."
"That could either mean that he wants it mopped up quickly, or that there’s so many THRUSH agents in there that it’s going to take all of us to clear them out."
"Let us hope for the former," Illya said, as he slid the car into a space next to the others. He turned off the ignition and reached to open his door, but was stopped by Napoleon’s hand on his arm.
"Illya." Napoleon hesitated for a moment. "Illya, you do know that there isn’t anyone else but you, don’t you?"
"Of course I do. I was joking earlier." He gave Napoleon a look as he opened his door and exited the car.
As they walked side by side to where their fellow agents were clustered, Illya silently castigated himself. He shouldn’t tease Napoleon about his interaction with women. It was just that he found it hard to imagine that his lover felt any sort of insecurity regarding their relationship. Apparently, he did.
"It’s about time you two showed up," Dan Wilson shouted out. He was a recent transfer from LA and had developed a bit of hero-worship when it came to Napoleon.
"We knew you wouldn’t start without us," Napoleon quipped as he pulled his weapon from its holster.
"Don’t let it go to your heads, my dears." April Dancer came up and stood next to Illya. "We think there’s about thirty of them holed up in there. Mark’s attaching an explosive to the door right now, so we should know soon."
As a group, they moved toward the structure, though staying safely within the underbrush. Illya saw Mark squatting next to the door. Two other agents stood next to him, giving him cover. After a minute or two, all three men ran back to join their compatriots.
"All set?" Dan asked.
"All set, guv." Mark grinned and held up the detonator. "Who wants to do the honors?"
"Just throw the damned switch," Napoleon said, his eyes locked on the structure. "I want to get this over with."
Mark threw Illya a questioning look. Illya shrugged, and then reached out and threw the switch.
The explosion obliterated the door, along with a large part of the building. Almost immediately, THRUSH agents started pouring out of what was left. The game was on.
"Problem?" Napoleon asked.
Sylvia Torres looked up from her shoulder, though her fingers continued massaging the area. "Just sprained, I hope." She rubbed it once more before lowering her hand in disgust. "I got a bit overzealous and tackled a guy who was probably twice my size."
"Just make sure to have it looked at," Napoleon said. Sylvia had been a field agent for only a few months. She hadn’t yet learned that they really weren’t supermen.
"Dan will make sure of that. Just because he has a few years over me, he thinks he has to look after me." She grimaced. "Men."
Napoleon grinned. "We’re not all that way, you know. Besides, I think it should be the other way around with you two. Dan took a bullet to his arm."
"Not too. They were loading him into the ambulance a few minutes ago."
"Anyone else hurt?"
"I don’t think so, but it’s hard to tell." Napoleon looked around. THRUSH had cleared a spot for the building, but had left most of the underbrush and trees standing. It had made for perfect camouflage, and would have remained so if not for an alert forest ranger. He turned his attention back to Sylvia. "You wouldn’t have seen Illya, by any chance?"
"Last I saw, he was chasing after a couple of men who’d manage to slip our net."
"I would have gone with him, but my hands were a bit full at the time." Sylvia placed her hand on Napoleon’s arm. "Besides, he’s a big boy, Napoleon. He can take care of himself."
"Maybe, but you think he would have called in."
"Communications are rather spotty around here, so he might not have been able to."
"Great. Which direction did they take?"
"Off that way." Sylvia pointed in the general direction of north. "There’s a path, so it should be easy enough for you to catch up with them."
"Thanks." Napoleon unholstered his gun. "If I’m not back in thirty minutes, call for reinforcements."
Napoleon made his way over to where Sylvia had indicated Illya had gone. Footprints, at least two pair, were plainly visible in the newly fallen snow. He quickened his pace as much as he could, but he wasn’t properly equipped to go cross-country hiking in deep snow. After awhile, the footprints diverged off the path and Napoleon found himself fighting to make any headway at all. He’d gone less than a mile when he heard a shot ring out.
He followed the sound, struggling against the snow and his own fears. Finally, the forest opened up. He came out of the trees to find Illya struggling with a THRUSH agent. The man had come up onto a cliff, giving Illya a chance to catch up. They were locked in combat, but neither seemed to be able to overpower the other. As Napoleon rushed forward, there was a sound like a loud snap, and the ground where Illya and his assailant stood gave way.
Napoleon redoubled his struggles as he made his way over to where Illya had stood. He cautiously edged toward the precipice and looked down. Illya lay face down, perhaps thirty feet below. Blood seeped out from beneath him, discoloring the snow in sickening proof that his partner was mortally injured.
But how to get to him? Napoleon looked around. There had to be a way down. He probably would have found it, eventually, but his worry had made him careless. He didn’t hear anyone approaching, but the burn of a bullet wound dropped him to his knees. He clapped his hand over the hole in his thigh and bit back an exclamation of pain.
He threw himself down just as another bullet zipped by, barely missing his head. He had to get out of here. He couldn’t see where his assailant was, but figured he had to be hiding within the trees. He got to feet, shooting into the forest as he struggled toward cover. More shots rang out. He felt another bullet bury itself in his shoulder, causing him to drop his gun.
Struggling against the burgeoning pain, Napoleon hobbled into the forest and away from his assailant. His injuries were making his progress even more difficult. His leg already unsteady, he felt it give completely as the ground sloped beneath him. He rolled for several feet, crashing into the underbrush. Unable to stop, his surroundings cartwheeled around him. Finally, he managed to get to his feet. He ran.
Illya came awake with a jerk. Then training kicked in and he lay still. He could feel the body beneath him. The man wasn’t breathing. Illya gave a mental check of his own body. Nothing felt broken, but he could feel blood dripping from his scalp.
Somewhere overhead, he could hear someone moving around. he opened his eyes and looked around as much as he could without moving his head. He spotted his gun, about two feet away. Ever so slowly, he reached out and grabbed it and then tucked it in beneath him. He closed his eyes.
The sounds got closer. Footsteps crunching in the snow. It was probably the other THRUSH agent. He’d want to make sure that Illya was dead. He remained still, feigning unconsciousness.
Definitely THRUSH. Reilly must be the man beneath him. When Illya was sure of the other man’s distance and direction, he quickly rolled over and fired. The man went down without a sound.
Illya got to his knees. He swayed, and put out a hand to keep from falling on his face. He knelt there until he was sure the vertigo had passed, then he slowly straightened. He turned over the man he’d fallen on. A pool of blood had formed from the three inch piece of branch that pierced the man’s chest. Illya couldn’t tell how far in it went. Luckily, not all the way through. There wasn’t a good way to die, but being coupled to a THRUSH agent at the same time seemed an entirely unfair way to go.
There was nothing else to be done here, so he clambered to his feet. He looked up. How the hell was he supposed to get back up there? He looked at the man he had shot. However he had come down, Illya could go up. He took a deep breath, and slowly followed the footsteps dug into the snow.
Napoleon heard the snap of the stick breaking in two. He stumbled, and found himself face down in the snow. He carefully rolled himself over, but still felt the pull of his wounds. He was bleeding badly, and he had no idea where he was.
He looked over. His modified cane had lasted longer than he’d thought it would. But now it lie in two pieces, neither long enough to do him much good. He’d have to find another.
It took a few tries, but he finally managed to sit up. The handkerchief he’d tied around his leg wound didn’t seem to be doing much good. It was saturated with blood, and a steady drip rolled down his pant leg. His chest wound wasn’t doing much better. He tried his communicator again. Static filled the air.
He looked stupidly around. He was starting to get light-headed. If he didn’t find his way back soon, he wasn’t going to make it back at all. He chuckled. He supposed he could follow the trail of blood back. Except that at one point he’d fallen down an embankment. No going back that way.
At least he had managed to lose his pursuer. He hoped the man hadn’t gone back to finish off Illya.
The thought galvanized him, and he struggled over to a nearby tree. Still panting from the exertion, he rolled onto his knees. He gasped in pain. Even this little amount of weight on his injured leg hurt like hell. After a moment, he pulled his good leg up and placed his foot on the ground. Taking a few deep breaths, he pushed up, using the tree as leverage.
He cried out, and almost lost his footing again. Holding on to the tree, he rode out the waves of agony. But the pain cleared his head, so once it lessened a bit, he started moving again. One step at a time, his injured leg dragging behind. He had to find Illya.
Illya walked slowly back to the THRUSH station. His head was killing him. The rest of him didn’t feel all that great, either. Luckily, the THRUSH agent had broken his fall. If he hadn’t hit his head going down, he would have been completely fine. The same couldn’t be said for the THRUSH agent. The fall may not have been what killed him–the branch that had skewered him had been to blame–but Illya falling on him couldn’t have helped.
He saw the station through the trees. UNCLE agents were all over the place as they wrapped things up. He approached Mark, who seemed to be the one in charge.
"You look like hell, mate," Mark Slate said, with a grin.
Illya rubbed his head, then pulled his hand away in disgust. Blood was smeared all over his palm. At least now it went with his clothes. "I’ve been better." Illya surveyed the area. "Did we lose anyone?"
"No. Lucky that, though Napoleon’s groupie was shot."
"Serious?" Illya didn’t have to ask who Mark was talking about.
"No, just a scratch, though he certainly played it up. He got a ride back in an ambulance. Speaking of which, you might think about doing the same thing. You look a little green around the gills."
"Nothing that hasn’t happened before." Just because his head was ready to explode, he felt like he was in a fog, and his ears were ringing, were no reasons to go to Medical. It would pass. "Where’s Napoleon?"
"Last time I saw him, he was talking to Sylvia." Mark tilted his head. "You think there’s something going on between those two?"
I certainly doubt it. "She’s a bit young, even for Napoleon."
Mark laughed. "Old enough, mate. Old enough. But he’s got to be around here, somewhere."
Illya nodded, and then felt his knees buckle. Only Mark’s quick reflexes kept him from falling.
"I think you need to get to Medical."
Illya tried to stand on his own, but his legs wouldn’t cooperate. "Perhaps you are right."
Mark put his arm around Illya’s waist to help him to his feet. "All right, one step at a time. And try not to get sick on me. This is a new coat."
Illya didn’t bother to respond. For one, he wasn’t sure if he could keep from vomiting. And as the world throbbed around him, speech became suddenly beyond him.
He didn’t know how long he’d been walking. He’d lost track of time, just as surely as he’d lost track of where he was. He wasn’t even sure why he kept going. No one knew where he was, or maybe even that he was missing. Chances were very good that he was going to die out here.
Napoleon wasn’t one to be anxious about things, so the feeling of restlessness that had stolen over him was troubling. He figured, along with his clammy skin, that it was a sign that he’d lost way too much blood. His body was redirecting his blood flow toward his major organs, trying to keep him alive.
Good luck with that.
Yet he couldn’t quit. That the word wasn’t in his lexicon. He’d fought his way out of situations worse than this. Well, maybe not worse than this. But he had so much more to live for now. Alway before, it hadn’t frightened him, the thought of death. Truthfully, he’d always assumed that he wouldn’t reach forty, never retire to a desk job, or to whatever else lay ahead for over-the-hill UNCLE agents. But now there was Illya.
Was it only this morning that they had lay together, satiated, joyful in what they had found? It had taken him so long to find that depth of joy again, to lose it so soon seemed a huge joke on destiny’s part.
He continued to trudge forward. He’d found another stick, which had helped for awhile, but he knew that he would soon be past help at all. When he fell again, he didn’t even try to get up.
He lie on his back for awhile, his eyes closed. Maybe the word was in his lexicon. It felt almost good, not to try anymore. What was the point? But even on his back, his leg wouldn’t stop protesting. He rolled onto his side, his bad leg on top. That helped a bit.
Napoleon wasn’t even sure why he opened his eyes. But when he did, he saw, not twenty feet away, a column of what looked like snow. It was an odd shape, almost that of a human. But not quite. He blinked, sure it was his imagination playing tricks on him, but it didn’t go away. Instead, it seemed to be motioning him to follow it.
That wasn’t going to happen. He was going to lie right here, and go to sleep. He closed his eyes, but even though he couldn’t see it, the thing nagged at him. What was it, and what did it want?
He opened his eyes again. It was still there. Cursing to himself, Napoleon used all his strength to pull himself to his feet. He swayed, then started walking toward it.
It moved away, but never more than twenty feet from him. More than once, he almost gave up, but it continued to pull at him, demanding that he not stop, not give up. No matter how many times Napoleon fell, it kept him going, dragging him to his feet, forcing him to put one foot in front of the other. At some point, he realized that he wasn’t on snow anymore. He’d come to a road.
He looked up as a light approached. The ground came up to meet him.
Illya watched Napoleon sleep. It had always intrigued him how much younger Napoleon looked while he slept. Perhaps it was the mussed hair, or the hard look that disappeared when Napoleon was unaware. That look had been the first thing Illya had noticed about his partner. It had always been there, even when Napoleon smiled.
Illya smiled. Not anymore. Now he thought that Napoleon was having a hard time keeping it in place. That he was the cause, was a joy and wonder to Illya. That joy had been greatly tested when Illya had woken to find that no one knew where Napoleon was. Napoleon’s message to Sylvia was ignored once Illya had shown up. Everyone had assumed that Napoleon was right behind him.
They had sent every available agent back to find Napoleon. All had come back empty-handed. Mr. Waverly wouldn’t allow Illya to join them. His concussion had been somewhat worse than he’d thought.
He’d had a restless night, but had woken in the morning to discover that Napoleon had been recovered. Luckily, the truck driver who had almost run Napoleon down had had the wherewithal to call for an ambulance and then the police. The police had easily tracked them down from Napoleon’s ID.
Illya squirmed in his chair. They had told him that there would be no lasting damage, that Napoleon would be fine, but it had been almost twenty-four hours since they had brought him in, and Illya couldn’t help but start to worry again. His surgery had gone well, but Napoleon had lost a lot of blood.
The moan from the bed drew his attention. Napoleon moaned again, and then opened his eyes.
Illya scooted his chair closer to the bed. "Napoleon?"
Napoleon looked at him, his eyes only half open. He appears confused.
"Napoleon, it’s fine. You’re back at headquarters, in medical."
After a minute or two, Napoleon managed to force his eyes all the way open. He looked around, and then back at Illya. "What happened to you?"
Illya touched the bandage that encircled his head. "A somewhat nasty cut."
Napoleon touched his own forehead, and then covered his mouth with his hand. He took a couple of deep breaths before he dropped it back on the covers and spoke. "I thought you were dead."
"Sylvia told me that you had gone after me. We didn’t know that, at first. But when you didn’t show up, we realized that you hadn’t come back with the rest of us."
"I saw you, at the bottom of some sort of ravine." Napoleon eyes narrowed in consternation. "There was blood, lots of it."
"It wasn’t mine." Illya reached out and took Napoleon’s hand. "What happened to you?"
Napoleon looked at their joined hands, but didn’t pull away. He seemed to accept that sometimes physical contact was needed, even between friends. Certainly between lovers. "I followed you. I saw you fall. While I was trying to figure out how to get to you, I was shot. I lost my gun, so had to make a run for it." He stopped, as if trying to bring order to his thoughts. "I got lost. I didn’t think I was going to make it out of there."
"But you did. And then you managed to find the road."
"No, Illya, I didn’t." Napoleon pulled his hand away and clasped it together with his other on his lap. "I was all ready to give up. Hell, I had given up. I was lying in the snow, and I was ready to chuck it all, go to sleep and never wake up."
"But you didn’t do that. You found your way back."
Napoleon gave him a sheepish look. "I didn’t find my way back."
"What are you talking about? Of course, you did."
"No, I had help. Someone, or something showed me the way out."
"Something?" Illya asked. He was starting to worry again.
"It was the oddest thing. I’m not even sure I should tell you. You probably won’t believe me."
Illya smiled and moved forward in his seat. He rested his hands on the bed, next to Napoleon’s. "I will believe anything you tell me. You have never lied to me, Napoleon. Why would you start now?"
Napoleon pressed his lips together, and then finally nodded. "Okay, here goes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It was a column of snow. No, that’s not quite right. It was snow, but something else, too. It looked almost human. It made me follow it, and it eventually led me to the road." He chuckled, embarrassed. "I was probably hallucinating."
Illya thought about it. "No, perhaps not. it may have been Snegurochka."
"Snegurochka, or Snow Maiden, because she was made of snow. There are many different tales about her. One says that she fell in love, and so melted away from the warmth of that love. Later, she became part of the Christmas celebration. In my favorite story she is the granddaughter of Ded Moroz, or Father Christmas. She is also his helper."
"Why would she appear to me?"
"You don’t know?" Illya got up and walked over to lock the door. When he returned he took Napoleon’s hands in his. He brought them up to his lips and kissed one, and then the other. "She brought to me the one thing I wanted for Christmas. You, back safe and sound."
Napoleon’s laugh came out as half-sob. "She must have been working overtime, because she brought me the same thing."
"We were very lucky. And if all goes well, we’ll still be able to spend Christmas together. They said they might let you out in the morning."
"That would be wonderful." He smiled. Our first Christmas together. Really together."
Napoleon pulled his hands away, only to wrap his arms around Illya. It was a loose embrace, probably all that Napoleon was capable of, but it was enough for Illya.
"What with our injuries, do you think the CEA of Section Two will insist that we take at least a couple of days off?" Illya asked.
Napoleon’s answer was swift and sure. "You can bet on it."