Bele Chere

by ChannelD

Napoleon Solo walked into UNCLE's chemistry lab and tapped, lightly, on the counter. Illya Kuryakin looked up from a rack of test tubes and smiled. Napoleon smiled back. "Hey."


"Do you have a minute?"

"I will in about an hour."

"Come up to my office when you're through here. I have something to tell you."

"It'll be lunch time. And I'm hungry right now."

Napoleon had to laugh. "I'll have lunch sent in. How's that?"

"All right. Care to give me a hint?"

"No." He rumpled Illya's hair affectionately. "You have to wait. But I think you'll be pleased."

When Illya only nodded, attention already returning to his test tubes, Napoleon patted his back and left.

Alone in the lab, Illya was smiling. His back felt warm where Napoleon had patted him, and his scalp tingled. He put a hand up and touched his hair, to find out for himself just what Napoleon had felt. It was soft, and slightly mussed now, strands pulled out of the tight ponytail he kept hanging down his back, tucked neatly into his lab coat collar. He smoothed his bangs, but left the rest as it was.

He had been under Napoleon's sway since their first mission, succumbing to his new partner's charm without a struggle. Even after they had worked together for some time, long enough for him to recognize just how calculated that charm was, he was still susceptible. And the more he learned about what lay under the veneer—Napoleon's integrity, his dedication to his work, his ability and his ambition—the deeper he fell. As their partnership continued over the years, as Napoleon opened up in his turn, revealing a warmth—a genuine warmth, quite separate from the practiced charm—that Illya knew was for him alone, his feelings intensified. He had no real hopes for any sort of an outcome while they were still field partners. But that was clearly drawing to a close. And lately—he touched his hair again and hurried to finish up what he was working on so he could clear it away and meet Napoleon for lunch.

Napoleon waited until Illya had finished his sandwich before speaking. "We have an assignment," he said, and watched those blue eyes widen in surprise.

"An assignment? A field assignment?"

"Of sorts. Undercover."

"Really." Illya stared at him. "I must confess I am surprised. It's been—months."

"Nine months twelve days." He grinned, watching Illya's eyes crinkle at the corners the way they did when he was trying not to laugh.

"You've kept track?"


"No you haven't. You have more important things on your mind. You just looked it up."

"Either way, it's winding down."

"Yes." Illya bit his lip.

Napoleon watched him. He wanted to bite it for him, to gently nip at that ripe... he cleared his throat. This discussion was going to be awkward enough, without letting himself get carried away with the erotic images he could create just by watching his partner's face. "I think this will be the last. And it doesn't sound terribly hazardous."

"Those are always the worst ones. You know—they could have asked me. If I lose time on this experiment I'll have to start all over again. It's throwing away weeks of work and all right, Napoleon, stop laughing at me! I know they don't have to ask me. Shut up!" He threw a pencil at Napoleon, who caught it and set it down on the counter.

"I'm sorry," he said, although he wasn't, he wasn't sorry at all. Seeing Illya laugh like this made his day.

He had fallen for his exotic Russian partner on their first meeting—fallen hard. Those cool blue eyes, with their faint little upward slant and those long, thick lashes, only a shade darker than his cornsilk hair—Napoleon had found himself fascinated by them, and by the careful handshake he got, those long fingers resting in his palm. An entirely new emotion welled up, and when he smiled at Illya—whenever he smiled at, or even spoke to Illya after that he deliberately turned the full force of his personality on him, wanting Illya to be fascinated too. After all, Illya's sexual preference was a matter of record.

But Illya seemed impervious to his charms. He watched Napoleon's womanizing with nothing more than an ironic quirk of an eyebrow and a mocking smile, and he disappeared after each mission into his own apartment, his own habits—whatever those were. This only whetted Napoleon's appetite. He flirted in front of Illya deliberately, provocatively, wanting to spark some reaction, but Illya only rolled his eyes and sighed noisily and left Napoleon to his own devices.

As the years of their partnership moved on and they grew closer, and closer still Napoleon had never entirely given up on the idea of their being more. And now—he looked at Illya, investigating the lunch bag to see if by chance something had been left over. Now the fieldwork was ending. They had told him that today on giving him this—this final assignment that he still hadn't gotten around to telling Illya about. He might as well just get on with it.

"We are assigned to the mountain city of Altamont," he said abruptly and Illya stopped scavenging for leftovers and looked at him. "There is an outdoor street fair going on this weekend, and one of our department heads—Doyle Gunther, in charge of Ordering and Receiving—is apparently going into town for it."

"So?" Illya had turned his attention to the untouched half of Napoleon's sandwich. He tugged surreptitiously at the napkin it was placed on, moving it closer to his place as if by accident. Napoleon laughed at him.

"Here." He shoved it all the way over and Illya bit into it with relish. "It seems odd, that's all. He has no family in the area, he's never gone there before, and he has no good explanation for going there now. We're to shadow him and report back."

"What do they think he's doing?"

"They—we don't know."

"Why pick us?"

"Well, here's the thing. It seems this Altamont attracts a great many," he cleared his throat. He had prepared this statement, now it only remained to get it out. "Men—and women—who live an alternate lifestyle. Our cover is to be a couple—er, a pair of these—er, men." There. He exhaled with relief. But Illya was still furrowing his eyebrows in the way he had that made an adorable little ridge in the middle of his forehead. Napoleon elaborated. "Together." He saw realization dawn, and winced. "I'm sorry."

"Together? The two of us?"

"Yes. We're to get a hotel room and, er, wander, as it were, through the crowds, in our pose as a couple. Shadowing Gunther," he added hastily. Illya was looking flummoxed. "I'm sorry. I tried to get us out of it." And that was a flat out lie because he hadn't tried at all. He had protested, of course—he had had to, really, but if he had designed an assignment it couldn't have come out any better. A whole weekend alone with Illya, in some anonymous hotel room with—he had already seen to it—a great big king sized bed. One bed. Just one. For the two of them.

"Why are you rubbing your hands together?" Illya was saying and Napoleon looked down, startled.

"Uh, no reason. Uh, they itch. My palms."

"That means you're getting money," Illya said. "What made them think of us?"

"Apparently," Napoleon leaned forward. "Now don't get upset."

"I won't." Illya smiled at him, and Illya had the most wonderful smile in the world. He had long ago decided that, and he had seen enough smiles to know. It started out slowly in the corners of his mouth, then spread like sunshine across his face, lifting and brightening his features, ending by sparkling in his eyes. "This is really good news, Napoleon, isn't it? It's been a long time since we've been away together. And unless you think Doyle is likely to start shooting at us..."

"No, I don't." He was smiling too.

"But I don't understand why they picked you—us."

"Well." Embarrassed, he cleared his throat. "I hope it won't distress you to hear that apparently—ahem. I was informed this morning that there are rumors about us. Rumors of that nature."

"What nature?" Illya was frowning now, and Illya's frown was no less endearing than his smile.

"That you and I—you and I are—that we—well." This was ridiculous. He was a seasoned veteran of years walking the seamier side of life. Why was he stammering like a school boy? "That we're lovers." Illya's lips twitched then, and Napoleon leaned forward, peered at him. "You—you already knew about that?"

"Of course I do, Napoleon."

"Then why did you let me go on making an ass of myself?"

"Entertainment," Illya said and Napoleon had to laugh. He had worried that Illya would be offended, but he only seemed amused.

"How did you know when even I had no idea?"

"It wasn't hard. People talk about you—carefully, and respectfully—and behind your back. They tease me to my face."

"They tease you?" He couldn't imagine any man bold enough to tease Illya about such a personal matter. "I don't believe it."

"Women are terrible, Napoleon. You have no idea."

"Women? What do you mean? I certainly do have an idea about women—more than one idea, actually."

"You only see that dating side. I see all the rest. They're terrible. They speculate on what we like to do in bed, and who leads when we dance, and why I let you go on dating all those women, and who's on top—it never ends. When you sent me those flowers my life wasn't worth living down here for a week."

"It was your birthday! And they weren't flowers! They were—it was—a plant. A potted plant." He had been very careful to select a plain green plant with no bows or fancy paper to be seen.

"Yes, it was." Illya's face was sober but his eyes were dancing. "Until the next morning, when it put out a very lovely bloom."

"A bloom?"

"A flower. A great big -

"Stop it." He was laughing helplessly. "Stop it right—"


"No it was not pink!"

"Napoleon, it was pink and beautiful with a strong scent." Napoleon had his head down on his desk now. Illya patted his back. "It's all right. If it wasn't that it would have been something else. They like to tease me."

Illya's face was very close to his and involuntarily Napoleon put out a hand, brushed a loose strand of hair back behind his ear. "Well, I'm sorry if this assignment makes things worse."

"Oh, it will." Illya rolled his eyes. "Undercover as a gay couple at a street festival? I can hear them now."

"I don't know how to dress for this. I suppose I'll have to stop by Wardrobe. Want to come with me?"

"You don't need a costume, Napoleon," Illya said and his voice was tart now. "You can wear the same suit you wore to work if you want to."

Illya always could make him feel about two feet tall. "I didn't mean it like that."

"I," Illya went on, but a softening of his mouth acknowledged Napoleon's near apology. "Will wear the jeans I had on at the barbeque last month."

Napoleon swallowed. He remembered. Those jeans had been—tight, they had been tight, they had cupped Illya's bottom like a lover's hands, they had clung to those lean thighs, and as for the front—he cleared his throat again. "That will be fine," he said lamely and Illya looked him up and down.

"We'll be perfect," he said, and there was a mischievous glint in the blue eyes now. "A little hand holding and our cover will be complete. You, having briefly emerged from your so proper closet and me," the smile he gave Napoleon now was decidedly provocative and Napoleon, fascinated once again, prompted him.


"Your bit on the side. Doyle doesn't know me by sight—he's new, and when he was being oriented I was away. We've never met. He knows you."


"So if he sees you, with me, he'll think he has something on you, rather than the other way around."

"So you think we should hold hands?"

"Well, we could wear a sign that says 'queer for each other' but—"



"What are you doing?"

"What do you mean?"

"If I didn't know better, I would swear that you're flirting with me."

"That's funny."


"I was just thinking the same thing about you. Getting into your role early?"

"I don't know." He didn't. But he was looking directly into Illya's eyes now, and their faces were still very close. "You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen," he said huskily, and they widened.

"That's funny too," Illya whispered.

"What is?"

"I was thinking the same thing again. Your eyes, they're like..." he flushed, and lowered his own. The thick gilt lashes fanned out on the pale skin there, and Napoleon brushed them very carefully with the back of his forefinger.


"Home," Illya said, and lifted his eyes to Napoleon's face again. "When I look into your eyes—it's like coming home."

There seemed nothing else to say, so they stood there for a long time, very close, Napoleon's finger still delicately tracing the lines of Illya's face. Finally he sighed, and forced himself to step back. "This has been most informative, Agent Kuryakin," he said, and Illya smiled at him.

"Thank you, Agent Solo. It was a briefing to remember."

"So if you're my bit on the side, we shouldn't travel together."

"No, I agree." Illya frowned, all business again. "It would look better if we met there. Will you take care of the room arrangements?"

"Already done. I'll send you a map of the downtown area with our meeting place marked. Tomorrow is Friday—that's when it starts. Doyle is leaving New York Saturday morning. By the time he arrives, you and I will have already met and spent our first night together." And how Illya flushed up at that, and how becoming it was. Napoleon smiled at him again. "All right?"

"Yes. I'll see you then." They parted and Napoleon went back upstairs, a bounce in his step. He found himself very much looking forward to this last, strange assignment.

Illya sat on the edge of the large stone fountain in the middle of Altamont's town square, waiting for Napoleon. He had deliberately arrived early to scope out the territory, wanting to be sure he had been on target with his clothing recommendations. He had been right. Neither he nor Napoleon would stand out. There were many people who had clearly just gotten off work, on this warm Southern summer night. Colorful booths lined the streets as far as the eye could see, draped with clothing and jewelry and crafts. Loud rock music came from a stage two blocks away, and across the square a South American troupe played delicate wind instruments. The scent of many and differing foods filled the air and Illya was just finishing off a slice of pizza. He had meant to wait for Napoleon and he would wait, for dinner, but he had been starved and everything smelled good. He wiped his mouth and hands with the napkin and rolled it into a ball, pitched it into the trash can.

He was very excited. No matter how much he scolded himself, no matter how he tried not to set himself up for disappointment, he couldn't help but think that this was it. It certainly seemed as if he and Napoleon—as if Napoleon would finally... he shivered. There had been no mistaking that look, or that tone of voice, and Napoleon had touched him, caressed him really. Surely all that meant—surely—but what if Napoleon had changed his mind? What if Napoleon had had second thoughts? He should be prepared for that, shouldn't get his hopes up too high.

On the other hand, maybe he should be more proactive. This was their lives, after all. Instead of sitting here wondering will he or won't he, he could—well. Illya considered. What did he want to happen? He wanted them to be together. So he should make sure Napoleon didn't change his mind. He should—Illya looked around him again. There certainly were extremes of fashion everywhere he looked. His own jeans and blue open collar shirt were positively staid. And it was hot. He sat and thought some more, before getting up and disappearing into the crowds.

When he returned he was flushed with amusement and triumph. He had borrowed a pair of shears from one vendor and cut his blue jeans off short—quite short. Then he had cut the rubber band he'd had holding his hair back in its demure ponytail, and shaken it loose before sitting down at a table and getting his face painted. Now the left side was decorated with a glittery fantastic blue and silver Mardi Gras mask, while his right side remained untouched. A costume after all, he thought, and laughed out loud. He'd apologize to Napoleon later, if Napoleon still cared. Illya leaned over to peer at his reflection in the fountain, and laughed again. He was exotic, and erotic, and beautiful. He was beautiful. He was going to knock Napoleon's socks off. He couldn't wait to see it.

Napoleon dropped both his jaw and his briefcase. He stood stock still in the crowded street and stared at Illya, who pretended not to see him. He had perched on the stone edge of the fountain, legs dangling in the water, eating a dripping gyro. It was very crowded, and quite dark and Napoleon had been almost upon Illya before recognizing him. It was then he dropped his briefcase. Illya put out his tongue to catch drops of sauce, licked his lips, and feigned surprise.

"Napoleon!" He wiped his mouth with the napkin and rose, stretched, feeling Napoleon's eyes on him, up his legs, on which drops of water glistened, up and over those tight shorts, then directly into his face. Their eyes met, and held.

"What the devil," Napoleon said softly, "are you doing? We're supposed to be inconspicuous."

"No, we're supposed to be playing a role. Don't I look like your bit on the side?" He tilted his head and slanted a smile up at Napoleon, whose eyes sharpened. Illya could almost feel the full force of that complex and formidable personality being brought to bear upon him. It was a heady elixir and he sparkled under its effects as if it were fine wine.

Napoleon looked him over once more, slowly, nodded, then held out his hand. Illya took it, their fingers twining companionably around one another. They strolled up the street, pausing occasionally at one booth or the other. Passers-by looked at them, then away. Sometimes they looked again, but the label had been set and they would, Illya knew, be unable to describe them further. It was pleasant, being so anonymous and his fingers tightened on Napoleon's. So here it was. Here they were. He was a little anxious now, now that it was really coming. What would it be like? What would Napoleon be like, as a lover? Skillful, that was certain but controlling too—he had watched Napoleon in action often enough to know. And afterwards—what would it be like afterwards? Would Napoleon really break his long time pattern? Or would he leave as soon as the novelty wore off? They were passing a small caf now, and Napoleon stopped, drew him aside.

"Are you hungry? I mean, I know you just ate, but I didn't have anything."

"Yes, I'm hungry. Why do you think I was eating? Here?"

"Fine." They took one of the little tables bordering the street, and soon enough each had a glass of white wine and their dinner order had been taken. Napoleon smiled across the table at Illya, and lifted his glass.

Illya followed suit. "What are we drinking to?"

"To us, of course," Napoleon said, and clinked his glass lightly against Illya's. "What else? To us."

They drank their wine, and watched the passing crowds. Napoleon's eyes kept returning to his partner, sitting there making patterns in the condensation on his wine glass. Illya's profile was pure, and clean, softened by the blond hair now in disarray around his shoulders. With the mask hidden he seemed more familiar, less the flirtatious stranger. But his expression was as unreadable as ever, and Napoleon wished—he didn't even know what for. There Illya sat, cool as if there were nothing roiling between them, as if that magnificent hair wasn't at this moment rioting down his back, as if his outstretched legs weren't bare to his upper thighs. Napoleon reached across the table to lay his hand on Illya's where it was toying with his napkin. The hand grew still and Illya turned inquiring eyes on him.

Their eyes met, and held. And Illya's were uncertain after all, and the hand under Napoleon's own was cold. Napoleon gave him his most reassuring smile and Illya smiled back—a nervous smile, and something inside Napoleon turned over. Illya was nervous? Of him? "It's all right," he said, unable to bear the thought and Illya nodded, his fingers tightening. "I mean—all we're really doing is holding hands and giving one another love lorn looks." He affected one, and Illya laughed. Napoleon made a shushing gesture.

"Don't laugh at me." He lifted their joined hands to his lips. "It doesn't fit your role."

"How do you know?" Illya demanded, seeming more at ease. "Now how do you know what my role is? Maybe I'm a heartless gold digger and you're not my only sugar daddy."

Now it was Napoleon who shouted with laughter. "Your sugar daddy? Is that my part?"

"Isn't it?"

"I hadn't planned on it. But if so I can clearly see that I need to start spending more money." He called the waiter over and ordered a very expensive meal, looking to Illya at each step for his approval or rejection. They ate and talked and laughed and Napoleon almost forgot they were playing a part. It was so natural, eating together and talking—he was enjoying himself thoroughly and judging by the high color in Illya's face, by the brilliance of those blue eyes and by his frequent laughter so was he. They were lingering over coffee when Napoleon's communicator beeped.

"Solo here." He listened, and felt his face set into its work day lines. "I see. Well, that certainly does explain—yes. Now? Well, frankly Illya has been drinking pretty heavily—as part of his role, of course. I'd rather not—yes sir. Thank you sir." He put the device back in his pocket and looked at Illya, who was glaring at him.

"I have not been drinking heavily. Three glasses of wine, with food, and our mission doesn't even start until tomorrow when Doyle arrives. I'm technically off duty. We were just setting the stage."

"Our mission is over. Doyle has a male lover here in Altamont. That's why he came. Johnson's department is taking over. We are ordered home. That's why I was trying to put it off."

"I still think you could have said you were the one..." then he frowned. "It's over? We're not playing our parts anymore?"

Deliberately, Napoleon took his hand again. "Not unless we want to."

Illya's eyes locked with his. "And do we?"

So here it was. Napoleon tightened his hold. "No. I don't want to play at all anymore. I want you, and me, to be together. In fact." He held his breath, watching Illya consider. He was biting his lower lip again, and again Napoleon wanted to do it for him, and more. He wanted to draw it into his own mouth like ripe fruit and suck on it, send his tongue exploring... his grip tightened and Illya winced..

"Napoleon, you're hurting me. Thank you." He shook out his hand and regarded Napoleon dubiously. "You do?"

"Yes. Illya—please don't be like this."

"Like what?"

"Cool and noncommittal while I'm sitting here opening my heart to you."

"You want me to open my heart? Are you sure?"

"Yes." He reached across the table, captured both Illya's hands this time. "I do."

"You may not like what you find."

"What will I find?" He leaned closer, and Illya looked down at their joined hands. "Tell me, Illya. Please."

There was another long moment. Napoleon waited, ignoring the waiter who hovered round their table with the check. Finally Illya sighed. "You," he said. "Just you."

He couldn't answer. He cleared his throat and tried, but his voice was only a rasp. He cleared his throat again. "I do like that," he managed finally. "Why did you think I wouldn't?"

"It's not light. You always keep it light, or you end it."

"Not this time, Illya. You can trust me."

"Yes." Illya smiled. It made Napoleon dizzy, watching that smile, watching those eyes soften with it. "Yes," Illya said again, simply. "Whatever it is, yes."

"Let's go to our room"

"All right," Illya agreed, and he rose. Napoleon paid the bill and they left, hands still linked. They walked very close together now, their upper arms brushing, hands locked. "Napoleon?"


"Where are we going?"

"See the lights of that Comfort Inn?"


"That's where. What about your luggage?"

"I left it to be sent with yours."

"Good." They entered the brightly lit lobby and, without separating, walked straight to the elevator bank. Napoleon pressed the up button and they waited in silence. When the elevator arrived they rode it up to the fourth floor and got out. Napoleon fished in his vest pocket for the key card, and let them into their room.

Napoleon showered first, unsure of what the next step should be. Whatever it was, he would feel better knowing he was clean and well groomed, so he showered and shaved, used his aftershave and donned the linen pajamas he had brought. They were dark brown, not quite as severe as a business suit but close. Napoleon combed his damp hair in the steamy little mirror. Well, he told his reflection, here we go. He left the bathroom with a decisive stride and looked about the room for his partner.

Illya was working. He had washed the paint off his face, and set up his laptop. He was half sitting on the desk chair at the far end of the room, one leg drawn up, foot on the chair. His cheek rested against his knee. The other leg was stretched out in front of him, and the light caught the fine gold hairs there. Napoleon stood, ready for anything, and watched him. Illya slid a sideways glance his way and smiled. "Hello. You look—well groomed."

Napoleon laughed. "Exactly the effect I was going for. Also clean. I am very clean."

"Is that a hint? Do you want me to go shower?"

"No. I want you to stay exactly the way you are and let me—let us, savor this moment. Because this is it, Illya. You must feel it too. This is it for us at last. There will be no turning back from here on in. I will give you everything I have, and in turn you will give me..." he stopped, and waited for Illya to complete the sentence. And as he waited, as the silence lengthened and Illya didn't look at him he listened to his own words echoing in the stillness. He had nothing to add to them, and wanted to take nothing away, so he continued to wait.

Finally Illya straightened in his seat, then rose, crossed the room. Napoleon reached for him, he couldn't help it and Illya stood very still under his questing fingers. He unbuttoned the blue shirt, pushed it gently off Illya's slim shoulders, let it fall to the floor. Then he unfastened, unzipped, and sent the shorts to join the shirt. Finally he worked both hands under the waistband of Illya's white briefs, pushed them down. Illya stepped out.

Napoleon swallowed, looking at him. His skin seemed to glow in the dim light, and his hair shone like a moonlit river. Slowly, Napoleon went to his knees, hearing Illya's sharp intake of breath. "Is this all right?" he asked, at the same time leaning forward, inhaling Illya's scent. Illya was fully erect and Napoleon smiled at those blond curls, brushed his cheek against them, amazed at their softness. And, when Illya didn't answer him right away he placed a kiss at the very tip of that straining organ. Illya made a strangled sound, hips moving forward. Napoleon waited, and after a moment Illya touched his hair, lightly, with trembling hands.

"I have never let anyone do this before."

"Really?" Napoleon sat back on his heels.

"It seems to be such a—an exposed position. I've never trusted anybody that much."

"But you trust me."


"So is this all right?"

"Yes," Illya said again and Napoleon opened his mouth and drew him in, all of him, Illya's cry piercing his heart. He moved his lips up and down, trying to remember what he liked, and discovering that he liked this—this act that was as new to him as to his partner—very much. Illya's fingers moved from his hair to his face, caressed his cheeks, moved to his lips, making him shiver. Illya shivered too, fingers drifting from Napoleon's mouth to his own flesh and back, curious fingers, seemingly asking a thousand questions. And Napoleon answered him, answered him without words but with his lips and his tongue, his hands, moving ceaselessly. Finally, when he judged that Illya was near the peak he backed off and stood up.

He put his index finger under Illya's chin, lifted it, and leaned in for a kiss. It was warm, and sweet, and full of promise. Illya was unbuttoning the linen pajamas now and Napoleon shivered, forcing himself to stand still for it, to endure the soft whisper of cloth on skin, the occasional grazing of Illya's fingers against his flesh. When he finally kicked his bottoms aside he was on fire, desire pounding through his veins, making his hands shake as he brought Illya down onto the bed.

Illya's hands were cool and they lingered on his back, on his shoulders, drifted across his buttocks, making him jump. Illya repeated the caress and this time Napoleon caught those wandering hands and held them still. "Wait," he gasped and rolled over, on top of Illya who groaned aloud. "I don't want to hurry, I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't hurt me," Illya said, and twisted under him in a way that made Napoleon cry out. He released Illya's hands, which went back to stroking his flanks, his thighs, his... he abandoned the attempt at self control and followed Illya's urging, nudging his thighs apart, looking down into his face, flushed with passion. He entered.

Illya was hot, and tight, clinging to him. He held still for one final moment, feeling the beat of Illya's heart all around him and through him, then he moved, and their hearts pounded in unison.

Later, after the shared shower—which occasioned much muffled laughter as they tried to maneuver in cramped quarters—and after the late night pizza delivered by a teenage boy who was clearly elated by the size of his tip, and after another frenzied bout of lovemaking they lay tangled in one another's arms and laid their plans. They would live together, "forsaking all others" Napoleon whispered into Illya's ear and Illya nodded, they would work together and spend the remainder of their lives—"together," Napoleon concluded and smiled into those blue eyes, which smiled back at him.

"Together," Illya agreed, and their lips met once more, and once more they closed around one another, and once more they were home. Once more—and forever.

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