The Wine Me, Dine Me, Sixty-Nine Me Affair
This wasn’t exactly the ideal place to spend the night, but Illya supposed it could be worse. He didn’t mind the dark. He wasn’t too bothered about small spaces, as long as the walls weren’t closing in or the ceiling collapsing. The near silence was actually quite pleasant, with only the slight trickle of water somewhere to provide some interest. The water meant they wouldn’t die of thirst in here. The ceiling collapsing, on the other hand… It was a rock fall that had trapped them in this cave. But the place seemed steady now, and the benefit of the rock fall was that if they couldn’t get out, at least their Thrush pursuers couldn’t get in.
‘All in all, we should be fine until they get us out,’ he commented.
‘Huh,’ Napoleon replied in the darkness. ‘That’s all right for you. I had a date with Mindy in filing lined up for tomorrow night.’
‘They’ll have us out by tomorrow night,’ Illya said easily.
‘Yes, but we will have missed our flight by then.’
Illya grinned in the darkness. ‘Think of the positives, Napoleon. It’s cooler in here than it was outside. We have our mission ration packs. I still have some explosive left.’
‘Illya.’ Napoleon’s tone of voice had grown very dangerous. ‘I swear to god, if you try to bust us out of here with any of that I will kill you with my bare hands. It was your explosive that got us into this mess.’
‘It was my explosive that got Thrush off our back,’ Illya responded tartly. ‘And you wouldn’t need to kill me with your bare hands. You have your special.’
‘I wouldn’t need to kill you with my bare hands because you’d die under fifty ton of rock.’
‘Napoleon, if the situation bothers you so, we could start trying to move the rock fall,’ Illya suggested.
He could feel Napoleon bridle in the darkness. ‘Illya. We were told, specifically, by the rescue team not to try that ourselves. They’re experts, and they’ll have proper lights and safety gear. If you so much as step foot near that cave in I swear I will shoot you in the butt with a tranquilliser dart.’
Illya stayed firmly sitting on his behind, afraid by the tone in Napoleon’s voice that he really would do it.
‘Well, then,’ he said. ‘How do you propose we pass the time?’
‘How about a nice little game of I Spy?’
Illya snorted. ‘When we can’t even see our hands before our faces? All right, Napoleon. You have twenty questions. Guess who I am.’
‘You are Illya Nikolayevich Kuryakin, a somewhat average spy and explosives nut,’ Napoleon said uncharitably.
‘You know, I have my special too,’ Illya pointed out, idly fingering the gun in his shoulder holster. ‘All right, if you won’t play twenty questions, I’ll have to think of another way to entertain you.’
‘Huh. Really?’ Napoleon’s voice sounded suddenly interested. ‘Tell me, Illya, what way would that be?’
There was a silkiness in his voice that rather startled Illya. He felt his cheeks heat up in the dark. He was glad Napoleon couldn’t see his ridiculous reaction. Then he cleared his throat and said, ‘I think I can remember the opening chapters of War and Peace. Have you read War and Peace, Napoleon?’
‘Not in the original Russian,’ Napoleon said rather grouchily.
‘Well, that’s all right. I remember a translation.’
Illya pretended not to hear him. He cleared his throat again. ‘Well, Prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than estates taken over by the Buonaparte family. No, I give you fair warning – Well, that isn’t exactly how I’d translate it,’ he interrupted himself, ‘but who am I to argue with the scholars?’ He coughed. ‘If you won’t say this means war, if you will allow yourself to condone all the ghastly atrocities perpetrated by that Antichrist – yes, that’s what I think he is – I shall disown you. You’re no friend of mine – not the “faithful slave” you claim to be ... But how are you? How are you keeping? I can see I’m intimidating you. Do sit – ’
Illya stopped and looked towards Napoleon in the dark.
Napoleon’s voice hovered between terse and petulant. ‘I haven’t read War and Peace. I don’t want to read War and Peace. I certainly don’t want to listen to War and Peace read out to me in the dark by a diminutive Russian who stops every paragraph to criticise a translation no doubt made by an eminent scholar.’
Illya scoffed at that. ‘Eminent scholar indeed. Probably some Oxford grad who needs the cash. Are you saying you want me to stop?’
‘Yes,’ Napoleon said peevishly. ‘I want you to stop. If I wanted to read War and Peace I’d read War and Peace, on my own, in my head.’
‘Napoleon, you are no fun,’ Illya said. He folded his arms across his chest and leant back against a convenient rock.
‘I’m stuck in a cave with an over-educated Ukrainian who’s trying to bore me to death with Russian literature,’ Napoleon replied sulkily. ‘You give me an idea of what would be fun, and I’ll do it.’
‘In the mood you’re currently in, I wouldn’t dare,’ Illya said archly.
They fell into a silence so thick, Illya could hear his watch ticking. In fact, after a while he pressed the smooth disc against his ear and let the sound drive into his skull, because it provided relief from the dripping of water and Napoleon’s laboured taciturnity. Well, Illya could be taciturn too, and for longer, if Napoleon wanted to make a challenge of it.
‘Illya,’ Napoleon said finally. He judged it had been an hour since either of them had spoken. Illya stayed silent, and after a moment Napoleon said again, ‘Illya.’
‘Hmm?’ Illya replied.
‘Are you still there?’
Illya took the opportunity to stretch his legs out across the gritty floor of the cave.
‘Where would I have gone, Napoleon?’ he asked acerbically.
‘Just checking,’ Napoleon said. He still sounded rather sulky.
Next time it was Illya who broke the silence. ‘Napoleon, I’m sorry I trapped us in here,’ he said rather quietly.
Napoleon actually laughed. ‘You didn’t have any choice. It just – startled me a little – when the rock fall began.’
‘At least our communicators work in here.’
‘Yeah,’ Napoleon agreed. ‘Yeah, or I would reserve the right to be quite ticked off with you.’
‘Does your watch have a luminescent dial?’ Illya asked.
Napoleon shifted in the dark. ‘Yeah, it’s – er – about half past six. P.M., I mean.’
‘Dusk,’ Illya said. Then he asked, ‘What’s that?’
Illya cocked his head, listening. First he had heard a rustle, and then a high pitched animal noise.
‘There’s something living in here. I heard something squeak.’
‘Illya,’ Napoleon said, and Illya could tell that Napoleon had turned towards him. ‘Please don’t tell me you’re afraid of rats.’
‘Why would I be afraid of rats?’ Illya asked indignantly. ‘They’re highly intelligent, social creatures. They make very good pets.’
‘Yeah well, logic doesn’t always win through. The men I’ve seen – big, burly men – with phobias of spiders, mice, rats, birds, bats...’
At that last word Illya stiffened. There was another high pitched call, almost above his range of hearing.
‘Napoleon,’ he asked, ‘you don’t think – I mean – ’
‘What is it, Illya?’ He heard Napoleon coming clumsily closer in the darkness.
‘I’m here,’ Illya said, before Napoleon could blunder into him. A hand nudged into his chest, moved up to touch his face, then dropped.
‘Yes, I see,’ Napoleon replied as he sat down next to the Russian. ‘Illya, what were you asking me?’
Illya swallowed. ‘No, it doesn’t matter,’ he said quickly. ‘Hey, what about those games we were talking about? Maybe we could play I Spy – or at least, I Hear.’
Napoleon snorted. ‘What, like I hear water dripping? I hear a flock of bats getting ready to leave their roost?’
Illya stiffened. ‘Don’t,’ he said, before he could stop himself.
‘Don’t what?’ Napoleon asked curiously. His hand fumbled out again, felt down Illya’s arm, caught his wrist. Illya could feel Napoleon’s thumb pressing against his pulse point. ‘Illya, is it bats?’ he asked cautiously. ‘Illya, are you – afraid of bats?’
Illya stood up suddenly, banged his head with a vicious crack, and sat down again very quickly. The pain was so sharp that he felt nauseous.
‘Illya!’ Napoleon exclaimed, fumbling for him again in the dark.
‘I’m all right,’ Illya murmured tightly. ‘Just a – ow – ’ He touched his fingers to the throbbing spot on his head, and felt something warm and sticky. ‘I think I’m bleeding...’
‘Let me have a look,’ Napoleon said, touching his fingers very gently to Illya’s face. ‘Show me.’
Illya took the hand and moved it to the site of the pain.
‘Yeah, you’re bleeding, but not too much,’ Napoleon confirmed. ‘Just – just try not to dance around, huh? There are times and places. I’ll take you to the ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria if you really want to go dancing.’
Woozy as he was from the blow to the head, that idea captivated Illya. He imagined Napoleon in a tux, himself too, waltzing around what must be a grand room indeed.
‘Would you?’ he asked idly, patting his hand to his head again and then tasting the blood on his fingers.
‘Would I what?’
‘Would you take me to the ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria?’
Napoleon laughed. ‘I will take you anywhere your proletariat little heart desires, Illya. I will wine you and dine you and go dancing with you until the clocks strike midnight. Would you like that?’
Illya could hear the amusement in Napoleon’s tone, but all the same it warmed him all through.
‘I think I would,’ he said.
To his surprise, Napoleon’s arm came to rest, warm and heavy across his shoulders.
‘Well, then. It’s settled. I will throw off my date with Mindy and take you to the Waldorf. I will wine you, dine you, and – Ahem.’ Napoleon seemed flustered for a moment, and Illya wondered if he were reeling off some kind of American saying that would go right over his Russian head. But then he finished smoothly, ‘And dance with you all night.’
It was a warm, gregarious offer, and it made Illya smile. All the same, though, there was a hollowness beneath it all. Napoleon was just the type who would laugh at social convention and take his male partner waltzing or tangoing through a crowd of male-female couples. He would get away with it too, because everyone would see that mixture of defiance and humour on his face. But if he were dancing with a woman there would be kissing on the dance floor. If it were a woman he would sweep her back to the table afterwards, buy her one last drink, and then invite her home in the hope that the alcohol and joy had loosened her morals enough so that she would slip into his bed. Illya longed to be able to slip into Napoleon’s bed, and there the hollowness lay. Napoleon was having fun, while Illya was deadly serious.
His thoughts drifted back to reality. It was getting a little cooler in the cave now, no doubt as the air outside started to chill, although the temperature was still quite tolerable. It was hot in Mexico. But he heard that noise again. The little rustle, the flutter, the high pitched cries.
‘Napoleon, there are bats in here, aren’t there?’ he asked.
‘I expect so,’ Napoleon said casually. ‘It’s a perfect habitat. This area is renowned for its bat colonies.’
‘Oh,’ Illya said.
Suddenly the darkness seemed twice as thick, the space twice as small. For some reason he had never considered that there might be anything else alive in this dark, damp place.
‘Illya,’ Napoleon asked him, slight concern edging his voice. ‘You’re not afraid of bats, are you?’
‘No! I – ’ He wasn’t sure how to talk away Napoleon’s concerns, because really the only true answer was, yes, Napoleon, I am mortally afraid of bats. How on earth could he admit that?
‘Illya, you know that most bats have no interest at all in people,’ Napoleon said soothingly.
There was a sudden flutter above Illya’s head, and he ducked precipitately. Napoleon’s hands grabbed hold of his arms.
‘Illya,’ he said in a low, coaxing voice. ‘Come on. Tell me the truth.’
‘Well, wouldn’t you be afraid of bats if you’d been locked in a cage by a madman and drunk nearly dry by vampire bats?’ Illya burst out, his words rushing over one another. ‘I had to have three pints given back to me in that Transylvanian hospital, and then I got hepatitis...’
‘Okay, Illya. Okay,’ Napoleon said. They each knew as well as the other that Illya’s stint with Count Zark had not been one of his most pleasant missions, especially with the infection he had caught in hospital afterwards. ‘But you know, the odds on these being vampire bats...’
‘Are pretty high, considering our location,’ Illya said tartly. ‘Much higher than they were in Transylvania, I’ll add. I was never that fond of the creatures before I met Zark, but after – ’ And he shuddered hard.
‘Well, they’re probably just fruit bats,’ Napoleon told him, stroking his hands up and down Illya’s arms. ‘They’re trapped just as much as we are. They want to get outside for their dinner. That’s all.’
There was a sudden rush, and the air came alive with tiny tongues of breeze as wings filled the cave around them and the high pitched calls pierced their ears. Illya couldn’t help it. He cried out, ducking his head down, and Napoleon grabbed him and held him against his chest. The fear was starting to take over. All he wanted to do was lash out or run, but there was nowhere to run to, nowhere to go.
‘It’s all right,’ Napoleon assured him again. ‘They’re not interested in you. They just – ’
Illya almost screamed as he felt something touch the wound on his head. His heart was hammering in his ears so loudly he could barely think. He flailed out into the darkness, and his hands hit leathery wings, and then something more solid.
‘Hey, that’s me you’re hitting,’ Napoleon reproved him, catching hold of his arms again. ‘Illya, calm down.’
‘I – I – ’ The truth was, he couldn’t. He could barely even speak.
‘I’m trying,’ he said tightly. He was trying, but he was shaking and his heart was racing and it felt harder and harder to breathe. His heart was going to explode out of his chest, and those bats, those bats were everywhere, filling the air, flying everywhere around him...
Napoleon shifted closer and tightened both arms around Illya’s body, rocking him gently.
‘Now then,’ he murmured, as if soothing a child. ‘It’s all right.’ And he started to croon, ‘Sur le pont d’Avignon...’
Illya wanted to protest, to scoff at Napoleon’s idiocy. But he found he couldn’t. He let Napoleon hold him as his heart hammered against his ribs.
‘Come on, Illya,’ Napoleon said between verses. ‘Don’t you know this one? How about Frere Jacques? Sing along. Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez-vous, dormez-vous...’
Illya ducked his head as the bats made another round, but he tried so hard to focus on Napoleon’s efforts. He wrinkled his brow. ‘N-napoleon, why are you singing to me in French?’ he stuttered.
Napoleon laughed softly. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘Just the songs that came to mind. How about Yankee Doodle? You know that one?’
‘Oh – er – ’ Illya frowned again. ‘Something about a horse, and – pasta?’
‘Macaroni,’ Napoleon corrected him. ‘But you’re right. That’s stupid. Why don’t you teach me something in Russian?’
Illya found he couldn’t bring a single Russian folk song or nursery rhyme to mind. Despite the words milling in his brain like angry bees, none of them would sort themselves into sentences. So Napoleon started singing Three Blind Mice, and Illya tried to join in, but his mouth felt so dry his tongue seemed to stick to the sides.
The bats flew over again.
‘I – I think they’re getting angry,’ Illya suggested.
Napoleon snorted. ‘There’s no such thing as an angry bat. They’re just hungry. They’re blocked in by the rock fall as much as we are.’
Hungry. That single word was enough to set off another volley of panic in Illya’s mind.
‘That’s it,’ he began, trying to get at his backpack. ‘I’m going to blow us out of here.’
Napoleon grabbed him again, fumbled, threw the backpack off into the darkness.
‘Illya, you are not. I’m not going to let you kill us both. We just need to hold on and wait for the team.’
‘I’m going to kill you if you don’t let me get out of here,’ Illya swore, reaching out in the darkness, but Napoleon caught his arm again, grabbed his hands, started stroking them.
‘Illya,’ he purred. ‘Just try to be rational, now. They’re just bats. Just mammals. They don’t want to hurt either of us. They just want to get out of this place as much as we do.’
As the bats flew over again Illya gave out a strangled scream, trying to flail his arms again to ward the things away. But Napoleon held him so tightly that he couldn’t move. His heart was beating so hard in his ears that he could hardly think. His chest was becoming tight and he didn’t think he could breathe.
‘Illya,’ Napoleon said, close in his ear. ‘Focus, now. Listen to me. Illya, are you having trouble breathing?’
He couldn’t respond. He wanted to respond but he couldn’t. But Napoleon seemed to understand. His thumb was on Illya’s wrist again, and his other hand on his chest. His stomach felt as if it wanted to come out through his mouth, but his lungs wouldn’t move either. His ears started to scream. He felt as if he were going to die.
All through it Napoleon kept talking to him, telling him ever so softly to try to breathe slowly, holding his hands and gently stroking them. And then the world started to come back again, air started to come into his lungs. He realised how hard he was shaking, his hands almost jerking out of Napoleon’s grasp, but Napoleon kept on stroking, circling his fingers over Illya’s palms.
‘That’s it,’ Napoleon said soothingly. ‘You’re doing well. It’s all right.’
The bats were still milling in the air. He could hear them, sometimes feel them as a wing brushed past him.
‘I don’t think they’re vampire bats, Illya,’ Napoleon said. ‘Just fruit bats. Just wanting to get out of here like we do. Listen, I’m just going to call and find out how they’re getting on.’ Illya heard the metallic click as Napoleon assembled his communicator pen and opened a channel to the local office. ‘Yeah, this is Napoleon Solo,’ he said, and Illya held his breath, waiting for his fear to be broadcast to all of U.N.C.L.E. Mexico.
‘Ah, Señor Solo,’ came the swift reply. ‘How are you holding up?’
There was a slight pause, and Napoleon paused in his stroking to squeeze Illya’s hand before saying, ‘We’re not too bad this end. I was just wondering if you’d – er – managed to revise your estimate on how long we’ll be in here?’
There was a short laugh. ‘No such luck, Señor Solo. We’ve helicoptered the team in as close as possible, of course, but they have ten miles of ground to cover, and then they will need to work very carefully to get you out. There haven’t been further signs of rock falls, have there? If the place seems unstable we might be able to authorise an advance team to parachute in to start the excavation.’
‘Er – well – let’s just say things are a little unstable,’ Napoleon said evasively. At Illya’s uncomfortable movement he said, ‘But – uh – not dangerously so, I think.’
‘Well, I will have my people talk to your people, Señor,’ the voice said after a moment of deliberation. ‘Perhaps Mr Waverly will authorise the expense from U.N.C.L.E. New York. We do have our local budgets to consider, you understand.’
After Napoleon cut the communication Illya squeezed on his hand. ‘Thank you for trying, Napoleon,’ he said. ‘But I don’t think the Old Man will pay for a parachute drop.’
‘Are you all right now?’ Napoleon asked, all concern. He resumed his stroking of Illya’s hands, and Illya tried to relax into the sensation. ‘It all seemed a bit dicey for a few minutes.’
Illya coughed rather than laughing. His mouth felt as if all the moisture had been sapped from it. ‘It felt a little dicey, I can tell you. I can’t promise you it won’t happen again, Napoleon. I wish I could.’
‘You know, you should probably talk to Psych when we get back,’ Napoleon said seriously, and as Illya demurred he said firmly, ‘No, really. Phobias aren’t unusual and they’re not something to be ashamed of, but they can help you work through it.’
Illya turned his head blindly towards the roof of the cave. He could still hear the bats fluttering. The sound made his chest cramp.
‘Yeah, well, I suppose that would be good,’ he murmured. He could feel the fear creeping closer again.
‘You did okay,’ Napoleon assured him. He shifted a couple of inches closer and let go of one of Illya’s hands to put his arm around the Russian’s shoulders. ‘Do you mind?’ he asked suddenly, pausing in the stroking of Illya’s palm.
Illya had barely even thought about the touch, but suddenly he was hyper-aware of it, and of the warmth and weight of Napoleon’s arm over his shoulder. Napoleon was so close to him now, and something seemed to have changed, something he hardly dared hope for.
‘No, I don’t mind,’ he said.
‘And this?’ Napoleon asked, his voice softening, changing, as he lifted his hand to stroke lightly through the hair at Illya’s temple.
‘I don’t mind,’ Illya repeated. Napoleon’s fingers drifted so lightly through his hair they felt like a summer breeze. His heart was starting to race again, but for a different reason. The sound of Napoleon’s voice in the utter darkness was like listening to soft velvet.
‘And this?’ Napoleon asked. And then he felt Napoleon’s breath close against his face, Napoleon’s lips touched his cheek, warm and lingering. When Illya turned his head in surprise they brushed against his own lips, and it was like being set alight.
‘Oh – no, no,’ he managed, before his words were taken by Napoleon’s mouth, hungry on his, but still so soft. Encouraged by Illya’s response, his partner’s fingers were brushing through his hair again, his hands moving so softly and swiftly they seemed to be everywhere; in his hair, on his neck, tracing his jawline, trailing down the thin jersey cotton of his poloneck and across the nub of a nipple that was hard through the fabric.
‘Oh, god, no, I don’t mind at all...’ Illya murmured, catching Napoleon’s lips again, flickering his tongue into the hot mouth, tasting the depths of him as his fingers touched the back of Napoleon’s neck, roamed into the short hair at the back of his head. One primitive impulse; fear, was being replaced by another; lust.
‘No – or yes?’ Napoleon asked seductively, lifting the edge of Illya’s shirt and touching the bare skin beneath now, setting it alight with trails of fire across his flat belly and soft flanks. The word no was suddenly gone from Illya’s vocabulary. They tumbled together onto the dirt floor of the cave, their hands moving in a fever, feeling lines and angles of flesh in the dark.
As Napoleon’s hand started to fumble at his fly Illya managed to say, ‘Yes, Napoleon, yes. God...’
Napoleon’s fingers slipped beneath the waistband of his boxers, touched the hot, hardening rod there, and Illya moaned, ‘Yes, god, yes,’ thrusting his hips upwards as Napoleon freed his cock from the confining fabric. The touch was so intimate, had been wanted for so long, that it made him dizzy. Napoleon’s hand pumped on him, his fingers firm and masterful, and he gasped.
Suddenly Napoleon’s mouth came from the darkness, came down hot and wet to sheathe Illya’s cock in his throat. He slipped over the whole length of him, sucking hard before withdrawing enough to tease back the delicate foreskin and swirl his tongue around the flaring head, tracing the edge in a way that made Illya’s stomach flutter, his loins burn, the backs of his knees tingle.
Napoleon’s hands were holding Illya’s hips against the ground and his head bobbed up and down as he laved Illya’s cock with tongue and mouth and stroked his balls with firm fingers and light, tracing fingernails. Illya was flat on the ground and Napoleon was over him now, knees either side of Illya’s head, and Illya stared up into the darkness, knowing what was above him. It was practically an invitation, that position.
He reached up in the darkness, the backs of his fingers fumbling against hot firmness under taut fabric. He found the zip and released Napoleon’s cock from its prison, then shoved trousers and underpants down roughly so they made a cradle at the back of his own head. He moved his hands over the tautness of Napoleon’s buttocks before allowing himself a deeper intimacy. Finally he traced his fingers along the veined length that bobbed above his head, and Napoleon’s mouth convulsed around his cock, coming off and leaving his length bereft in the cool air.
Illya felt the slick of pre-come at Napoleon’s tip and licked it into his mouth from his fingertips. It tasted salty and slick, and he swallowed it down like a liqueur. As Napoleon drew Illya into his mouth again Illya sought the scent of musk above him and caught Napoleon’s cock into his own mouth, drawing it in as deeply as it would go, so hungry for it that he ached. Napoleon groaned, low and long, altered his position a little to allow himself to sink more deeply into Illya’s mouth.
As he tongued Napoleon’s cock Illya reached to touch the cool silk of his balls, massaged the hard flatness of his perinaeum, and then wetted his finger and slipped the tip across the tight pucker between Napoleon’s cheeks, penetrating just enough to make Napoleon gasp aloud. The American’s teeth grazed the thin skin of the Russian’s erection, and Illya jerked harder into his hot mouth. He tongued the flaring head of Napoleon’s cock until he cried out around Illya’s own yearning length, and the vibrations of his voice almost made Illya come. Napoleon’s hands were fondling Illya’s balls still, soft and then harder, just enough to bring him to the edge. Illya’s finger was penetrating the hot tightness of Napoleon’s body. And then suddenly he was coming in waves into Napoleon’s mouth, screaming out his climax around Napoleon’s cock, and Napoleon thrust in one last time and came too. Instinctively, Illya still suckled at his length, swallowing the thick fluid down and making it part of himself.
They were still in darkness. It was hard to understand how that could be, when the whole cave had seemed to be alight with fireworks only a moment before. But when Illya came back to himself it was to darkness and near-silence. He could hear Napoleon breathing. His mouth was still around Illya’s softened cock, but he had slipped sideways so he was lying on the ground and putting very little weight on the Russian. Illya nuzzled his head across, searching for that warm, musky scent, until he felt the soft, damp cock against his cheek. He reached to trace the slack balls again, and Napoleon whimpered.
‘Dear god, Illya, you’re incredible,’ he murmured after a while. ‘Where did you learn to do that so well?’
‘I – ’ He didn’t know what to say. ‘I’ve never – ’
At that, Napoleon stiffened a little. ‘Illya, was that the first blow job you’ve ever given?’
Illya didn’t know whether to confirm or deny that. ‘I – Does it matter?’ he asked. He didn’t want to think about that. He just wanted to lie here with his head on Napoleon’s bare thigh and breathe in the scent of him, and maybe, when they were both recovered, to try it all over again.
Napoleon shifted, and for a moment he was afraid he was pulling away. But he wasn’t. He was just turning so that his head was up by Illya’s, and he pulled the Russian into his arms and let Illya’s head rest on his shoulder.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ Napoleon said, stroking his fingers in Illya’s hair. ‘It doesn’t matter in the slightest – except that it makes me feel very, very privileged to have been your first.’
Illya smiled as Napoleon’s fingers moved down his face, tracing the contours of his cheek. He lifted his head and they kissed again, tasting each other in their mouths, and it felt like one of the most erotic things Illya had ever done.
He felt so relaxed he was boneless. He lay against Napoleon and Napoleon’s hand stroked his hair and his face. He kept his eyes closed, and felt himself drift closer and closer to the warmth of sleep…
He woke suddenly, aware of the beat of Napoleon’s heart under his ear and the stillness of Napoleon’s arm around him. A moment later he realised that his clothes were still dishevelled, his top still hiked up a little about his ribs, his trousers and underpants pushed down about his thighs. It was so warm in the cave that it hadn’t disturbed him at all.
‘Napoleon, do you hear that?’ he asked, shaking him a little.
Napoleon came abruptly awake as Illya heard the noise again, a tinny sound of metal on rock.
‘Oh, hey, I think our white knights are here,’ Napoleon said, and Illya could hear the grin in his voice.
As Illya moved swiftly to try to rearrange his clothing Napoleon’s hand closed on his arm.
‘Hush, I don’t think they’ll be through for a while,’ he assured him.
Illya caught the eerie glow of Napoleon’s luminescent watch face, and then the American said, ‘It’s almost seven in the morning. We must have slept through the night. And I think the bats have gone to bed.’
Illya shuddered. Then he stiffened as a sudden, new, fear hit him.
‘Napoleon, you didn’t – ’
Napoleon stroked a hand through his hair, his fingertips tender and feeling as if he were blind. ‘I didn’t what?’
‘You didn’t – do that, last night – just to distract me, did you?’ Illya asked, starting to build a protective cocoon around himself again, terrified that the wrong answer would split his heart apart.
The silence was long, but Napoleon’s fingers didn’t stop moving in his hair. Then he said, ‘Illya, I won’t say it wasn’t an extremely pleasant way of distracting you from a pretty horrible phobia, but trust me when I tell you I would never, never use sex like that with you. I was moved to be close with you because I was comforting you, but I never would have gone further without meaning it. That was one of the most incredible moments of my life, and that was because it was with you.’
Illya breathed out a very long breath that he hadn’t realised he was holding. He reached up to touch Napoleon’s face, to feel the rasp of two days of stubble on his cheeks, the little bump of the mole at the side of his face, the cleft of his chin, the softness of his lips. To feel all those things in darkness made them seem all the more precious.
‘Thank you, Napoleon,’ he said simply.
‘You know, we might have time to do it again,’ Napoleon said wickedly, slipping his hand down Illya’s bared stomach towards the wiry curls between his legs. ‘You know, before they get through the rocks...’
Initial instinct told Illya to bat Napoleon’s hand away, but as the American’s hand moved lower a more primal urge began to throb in his loins, and before the rescue team were even close to getting through the rockfall Illya had doubled his experience in the sphere of giving extremely hot and intense oral sex to another man.
The ballroom in the Waldorf Astoria was a world away from a lightless, bat-infested cave in Mexico. Illya could hardly believe that Napoleon ever intended to go through with it, but here they were, sitting at a table at the side of the room, just finishing off the dessert that came at the end of one of the finest meals Illya had ever eaten. He couldn’t even imagine what the bill would come to. Napoleon had forbidden him to look at the prices on the menu.
Napoleon looked exquisite in his tuxedo, and he had assured Illya that he looked equally incredible.
‘We make a perfect pair,’ he had told Illya, and Illya was inclined to agree.
As the Russian put his spoon down after the last mouthful of one of the most exquisitely light and bitter-rich chocolate mousses he had ever tasted, Napoleon smiled at him. It was the kind of smile Illya had seen him shine upon plenty of women in the past, but today the smile had extra light, as if Napoleon were the sun and Illya were the moon. They had drunk just enough to make everything seem possible.
Napoleon got to his feet and held out his arm gallantly. Illya joined him as if entranced.
‘Mon cher, may I have this dance?’ Napoleon asked.
Illya looked into the whirling couples on the floor, an almost wearying monotony of heterosexuality. The sparkle in Napoleon’s eyes was both wicked and joyful, and he couldn’t resist it. He inclined his head slightly, and grinned.
‘I would be honoured,’ he said, then added in a slightly deeper tone, ‘But I’ll lead. I’m the one with the lifetime dancing course, remember?’
If Napoleon bridled at that at all, he didn’t show it. He just shot an astonished waiter a gleeful grin and whirled Illya out onto the polished floor, where they danced until their heads were spinning. The whole world was spinning, from the exquisite parquet floor to the crystal chandeliers, and Illya anchored himself in Napoleon’s brown eyes, in his never-slipping smile. He couldn’t slip his hands as low on Napoleon’s back as he would like to, but he was very pleased to feel the solidity of Napoleon’s ribs under his hand and feel the thud of his heart with every movement as Illya guided him about the floor. There were other eyes watching, some with astonishment, some with laughter, some with open censure, but Illya didn’t even spare them a moment. He just moved in the mass of bodies, in the scent of perspiration and perfume, and let the music carry him.
When the clock struck midnight, Illya was giddy and breathing hard, and Napoleon whirled him back to the table, where they sat and drank a final brandy. If they couldn’t share a kiss there, they could at least touch their socked ankles together under the table, and lift their glasses in a toast, and Napoleon’s eyes promised Illya the world. In a quiet, unnoticed moment on the street, while waiting for a cab, Illya’s eyes blazed and a grin flashed over his face, and he pulled Napoleon against him, the whole length of him, and kissed him hard.
Illya’s mouth still tasted of dark chocolate when they got home, and Napoleon still tasted of brandy, and there was nothing to stop them slipping an LP onto the record player and dancing together as they wanted to, with all the kissing in the world.