First Love, Only Love
Napoleon Solo canceled his dinner plans at five thirty that afternoon. It had been a difficult week, and he was tired right down to his bones. A formal restaurant meal, even with the most congenial of company, was more than he could face right then so he called his former field partner, smiling despite his fatigue when that familiar voice reached him.
"Illya. Look—I hate to do this but I've had a week and a half. And it's not over yet. I need to cancel dinner tonight. I'll call you Monday to reschedule."
"Oh." There was a brief silence. "All right."
"I'm sorry it's such late notice."
"That's fine. Thank you for letting me know."
"Well, of course—I'll talk to you Monday, then."
"Yes. Have a good weekend, Napoleon."
"You too." He hung up and went back to work, grateful for Illya's forbearance. But after all, now that the fieldwork had ended they met for dinner at least twice a month, and lunch more often than that. So one night wasn't so important, when you looked at it that way. He didn't even really need to reschedule. He'd just drop by Illya's office Monday and take him out to lunch. But it was a shame. He looked forward to their get togethers. Yes, definitely on Monday. He'd make a point of it.
Illya sat at his desk and looked at the phone, still in his hand. His secretary was tapping on the other end, trying to get his attention. "Illya? Hang up, please."
He did so without comment. Napoleon had canceled. He had forgotten completely, that was obvious and while it was childish to care about something like a birthday Illya did care. Napoleon never missed his birthday, having elicited enough background information to understand that it had never been important to anyone. He'd wanted to make up for that, and he had, with parties and dinners, trips and gifts—extravagant wonderful gifts. Illya turned his chair, stared out the window. It wasn't the gifts, exciting as it was to receive them. He could buy himself gifts. It was knowing that Napoleon cared—that much. So all this past Wednesday, his birthday, he had waited for the phone call, the visit, the package—but nothing came. He hadn't worried—Napoleon changed tactics every year so he flew up the stairs to his fourth floor apartment expecting to find something at the door, or on his answering machine or... but there was nothing. By ten thirty that night he had had to acknowledge defeat. He hadn't yet eaten, wanting to be hungry for whatever surprise Napoleon had planned, and hadn't the heart to eat now, either. He washed up, brushed his shoulder length blond hair and went to bed, telling himself it shouldn't matter, knowing that it did.
"Did you and Solo have fun last night?" George demanded the next morning. He was Illya's laboratory partner—a gruff man in his late fifties with iron grey hair cut brutally short. He was rough spoken but Illya had seen through that immediately, had seen the kind heart under the formidable exterior, had been drawn to George from the start. And George, seeing a need without really understanding it, had gathered Illya under his protective wing and the child who had never been loved or cared for found shelter there. Illya adored George, but even George could not be allowed to speak ill of Napoleon, so there was a defensive note in his voice when he answered.
"I didn't see him."
"What'd he send you?"
"Nothing!" George swung towards Illya, astonished. "You mean he" he saw the warning in Illya's eyes and didn't finish the sentence. "Well," he said instead, rather lamely. "Well—well maybe he's waiting for Friday. That's your next get together, right? Tomorrow night?"
"Maybe he wants to do something over the weekend. Like that time he whisked you off to St. Croix."
"Maybe." Illya was caught by the idea. It was true that whenever his birthday happened to coincide with a weekend Napoleon took full advantage. Maybe this time—"Yes. You're right."
"He still could have let you know," George said, uneasy now at Illya's excitement.
"He probably never imagined I would think he forgot. He knows I'll see him Friday. You're right, George." Illya smiled at him brilliantly. "Thank you. I didn't think of that."
"Yeah." He watched Illya walk into the supply closet and shook his head. He wanted to call Solo, to tell him he'd better have something up his sleeve for Friday, but Illya would be furious if he ever found out so George didn't.
And now Napoleon had canceled. Illya sat up straight and turned on the computer. Napoleon had canceled. He had clearly forgotten and that was all right, he was a busy man and lately the pressures on him had been enormous. Illya knew all that, knew that Napoleon's promotion of six months ago to New York Section Head, while everything he had desired and worked towards, had forced major changes in his work habits and schedule. It was only natural that he would forget something like a birthday—not even a family member, just a work friendship. Illya didn't know his eyes were filled with tears until George spoke his name sharply, making him jump, and blink. They spilled over and he wiped them away hastily.
"I'm going home. I've told you three times."
"What are you still doing here? I thought you were meeting Solo."
"Don't say anything."
"I won't." He shifted from foot to foot, then abruptly crossed the room and gathered Illya into an awkward embrace. "I'm sorry, honey." He squeezed Illya harder.
"Thank you." Illya laid his head on George's shoulder. "And thank you again for the book and my cake." George had provided a small chocolate cake with white icing that Wednesday at lunch, with a candle burning in the middle, and a gift wrapped first edition he knew Illya would like. "It was a good birthday."
"I'm glad." George patted his back and released him. "See you Monday."
"Yes. 'Bye, George."
Illya stood in front of his refrigerator and contemplated leftover spaghetti. It would be quick—and he should eat something. While it cooked he checked messages—none from Napoleon although he hadn't expected any. But his mouth drooped as he turned away from the machine and put his dinner together.
He was sitting in front of the television, watching the news, lost in his own thoughts. His phone rang. "Yes?"
"Napoleon!" Despite himself hope rose again.
"I wish I hadn't canceled. I mean—just because I'm tired is no reason not to see you. Have you eaten?"
Illya looked at his untouched plate. "No."
"Would you—would you like to come over? I can throw a couple of steaks on the grill, and I have French bread—I know it's late. Tell you what. Spend the night."
"Spend the night?"
"With you? I mean" he was crimson and glad Napoleon couldn't see him. "I mean at your apartment?"
"Sure. I have that big guest room. Come on, Illya, say yes. We'll watch old movies and drink brandy and not talk about work at all."
They would, though, Illya knew it. Napoleon talked compulsively about his new position whenever he and Illya were alone. But that was all right. He smiled at the phone. "Yes, Napoleon. I'd love to."
"Well, good. Good. Come on over. Bring whatever you need. I'll see you soon."
He packed up and nearly broke a leg running downstairs when the cab driver honked. All the way there he hung out the open window, looking at the streets go by, thinking how much he loved it all, and how happy he was. He beamed at the cab driver and tipped him extravagantly, gave both the doorman and valet in Napoleon's lobby smiles that made them smile back and wish him a pleasant evening, then look at one another and raise their eyebrows.
"Illya." Napoleon greeted him at the door with a drink and Illya accepted it with pleasure. He went into the guest bedroom to unpack and was startled to see that the heavy burgundy drapes were gone, leaving the window unblocked. It was a spectacular view and Illya stood for a moment, looking out before he turned to the bed from which burgundy fittings had been removed as well and now clean white sheets and comforters beckoned. It would be nice, Illya thought, bouncing experimentally on the mattress, to sleep here, to climb into this great big old bed and know Napoleon was right down the hall. It would be very nice but not yet so he unpacked quickly. Napoleon had been in his pajamas and dressing gown so Illya got into his own pajamas and came back into the kitchen, holding his empty glass out for a refill.
They ate steak and salad and crusty garlic bread and laughed and talked and Napoleon completely forgot his fatigue, nearly forgot his job entirely. Why had he even thought of canceling his plans with Illya? When Illya was the only person in the world with whom he could let down those burdens—the only person upon whose understanding and loyalty he could depend utterly. He smiled at Illya across the table and Illya smiled back.
"This is wonderful," Napoleon said sincerely. "I am so glad I called you—and that you accepted."
"I'm glad you called too." He was. He was dizzy with happiness.
"I feel I'm relaxing for the first time in I don't know how long." He got up and cleared the table, settling down beside Illya on the couch. He made no move to turn on the television and Illya seemed content enough to sit there, hands relaxed on his lap and watch the fireplace. And then, as Napoleon leaned his head back on the cushion, memory struck him. He sat up and stared at Illya, who had just stretched his legs out to prop them on the foot rest. "It was your birthday this week!"
Illya flushed, although why he should be embarrassed he didn't know. Because he cared so much, he supposed. "Yes."
"This past—Wednesday. Wednesday, right? Because this is the tenth—oh, Illya." He was stricken to the heart. "I am so sorry. I completely" and how harsh, to say he forgot right out like that, as if it was all right, as if..."
"It's all right, Napoleon," Illya was saying. "You're busy. I understand."
"Busy is no excuse. I—oh, Illya." He stared at his partner in dismay. "I've hurt you."
Illya didn't answer. He certainly couldn't deny it, so he just shrugged. Napoleon moved closer, reached out as if to take Illya by the shoulders, then let his hands drop. "I hate what this job is doing to me," he said instead. "I hate it. I'm losing—part of myself, the part that would never ever forget your birthday, or cancel on you at the last minute. How did Waverly do it, Illya?" It was one of the questions that nagged at him. "How did he keep his—his humanity doing this job?" His fists clenched. "He's the one I wanted to model myself after, not the ones who came after him, and I can't see how he did it!" There was despair in his voice and Illya frowned.
"I think—I think the job was different then, Napoleon. Issues of right and wrong were so clear cut. Now you're supposed to talk to our enemies, and reach agreements with them and it was much easier when we just had to kill them." Napoleon snorted and Illya went on. "And Mr. Waverly had his family. Remember how he used to talk about his wife this and his nephew that, and how glad he was that we were able to finish up in Cannes so he could be on time to pick up his mother in law at the airport?" Napoleon snorted again, with laughter this time. "He had his family. He had his private life—his human life. You don't have that. You date—" he was doubtful. "I don't think it's the same thing."
"No." Napoleon was silent for a long time. "You're right," he said finally. "Waverly had his family. I have no one. No, wait—that's not so, is it."
"No." Illya met his eyes.
"I have you."
"Yes." Napoleon did. Illya was his, body, heart and mind. He would do anything for Napoleon, thought Napoleon was the best man he knew.
"And you have me, Illya. Even though I did forget your birthday. If you ever need me, whatever it is—all you have to do is let me know."
"Yes." They were sitting very close together on the sofa now, gazing earnestly into one another's eyes. It was Napoleon who reached out, brushed the back of his thumb against Illya's cheek. Illya swallowed convulsively, closed his eyes. Napoleon's touch was like... he couldn't come up with a comparison and then Napoleon did it again.
"How can your skin be so soft?" he whispered and Illya shook his head. His face was hot and Napoleon's touch was cool. It felt good, so he rubbed his face against it and Napoleon turned his hand, opened it. "Look at me." Illya did, startled to see how close Napoleon was. Had he been that close before? He couldn't remember. "I have always thought," Napoleon was going on now, "that you have the most wonderful eyes I have ever seen." Illya did—exotic eyes, impossible to read even when not veiled behind those long eyelashes, dark gold against his fair skin. Napoleon's finger brushed Illya's mouth, and Illya's lips parted so Napoleon traced them and then Illya kissed the caressing finger. For one more moment they sat still then Napoleon gathered him very carefully into an embrace and they were kissing, kissing long, and slow and deep—sinking down onto the sofa.
Napoleon untied the ponytail, tangling his hands in Illya's hair when it came loose, moving on him now and Illya clutched at him, pressing them together. There was a final frenzy and then there was glory. Napoleon heard himself shout aloud and buried his face in Illya's neck, gasping and crying out against Illya's flesh, greedy for the scent of him, the taste of him, the feel of him, kissing his throat while Illya arched up against him, and then they collapsed, Napoleon still on top, Illya with one leg and one arm off the sofa, brushing the floor, other arm still around Napoleon's neck.
Silence. They lay there in silence while breathing and heart rates returned to normal. Illya didn't know what to say, was afraid of saying the wrong thing, so he panted and waited for Napoleon to speak.
"Wow," Napoleon said at last and Illya chuckled, a little bubble of sound. Napoleon, delighted, kissed his mouth again. "That was—that was magnificent."
"Yes." It was a good word. He said it to himself. Magnificent. It had been magnificent—for him anyway and Napoleon must have liked it too because he was still kissing Illya's neck and Illya squirmed under him. Napoleon chuckled, kissed his ear.
"You like this," he murmured and ran one hand down Illya's side, slid under his pajama shirt and tickled his ribs, wanting to recapture that laugh, silencing it with his own open mouth when it came. They kissed for a while longer and Illya was hard again, Napoleon could feel it through the thin fabric and how could—well damn if he wasn't hard himself. He moved again, rubbing them together. "What do you say," he began, and Illya smiled up at him. It wasn't only Illya's eyes that were wonderful, his mouth was too—was delicious and Napoleon drew first the upper, then the lower lip into his own mouth, nibbling, sucking. Then he backed off.
"What do I say about what?" Illya wished Napoleon would kiss him some more instead of talking.
"What do you say we get up, go into my bedroom, take off these unnecessary garments and do this again?"
"Yes." He blushed then, at how quickly he had answered and Napoleon threw his head back and laughed out loud.
"Here." He gave Illya a hand up, then began unbuttoning his pajama shirt. "Let's not talk about it," he pushed the shirt gently off Illya's shoulders, making it a caress, "or analyze it," he slid the bottoms off and Illya stepped out. "Or anything." He stripped his own clothes off quickly. "Let's just enjoy it, since it's happened."
"Yes." Illya stood there, naked, and watched Napoleon lock the front door and set the alarm. He accepted Napoleon's arm across his back and they walked together to Napoleon's bedroom where they fell onto the mattress already twined tightly together. They made love on and off all night long and neither felt the slightest inclination to talk about it.
They didn't leave Napoleon's apartment all day Saturday—barely left the bed. They had awakened together and turned each into the other's arms and it was slow, and a little drowsy, and very satisfactory. Afterwards they lay and caught their breath and when Napoleon turned his head to see Illya smiling to himself he leaned over and kissed the corner of his mouth where it curved up and Illya turned his head so their lips met, and they kissed for a very long time.
They ordered their meals in, and Napoleon answered the door each time, in his dressing gown and by the time he was back in bed it felt as if he'd been away for a month. He fell onto his partner with renewed appetite and their meals were eaten cold and neither cared.
He was infatuated with Illya's hair. He wound it around his fists while they made love, holding Illya's head still, plundering his mouth for kisses, kisses willingly given. He spread it out on the pillow afterwards, admiring the effect of the sunlight on its shining strands. He lifted one, pressed his lips to it, laid his cheek on it. Looked at Illya, arms and legs out flung, eyes closed, and couldn't resist him, couldn't resist touching him. Illya protested a little because it was too soon, each separate sensation a shock but Napoleon persisted and Illya surrendered, trusting Napoleon and following the tortuous path he laid out. Desire rose, then dropped, he was brought to the edge then back, back, bare whispers of touch now. Illya was breathing deeply, hands clenched around the fabric of the sheet, biting his lip to keep from crying out, crying out anyway when Napoleon shifted. He pressed his mouth to Illya's throat then drifted downward, sometimes pausing to nuzzle or lick—or bite, very softly, making Illya gasp and arch upward pleadingly. Napoleon obliged, to the edge once more and hovering. Illya cried out again, hands cupped against the back of Napoleon's head, holding him there but lightly—so lightly. Napoleon could feel the fine tremor in his fingertips and then Illya collapsed, asleep before Napoleon lifted his head.
They didn't talk about it. Let's just enjoy it, Napoleon had said and they did. They were perfect together, both knew it and were delighted with themselves and one another. Illya traced every contour of Napoleon's body with one finger, skimming lightly across his back, down his spine, around and up his side, along his jaw, to his chin. He had to stop to kiss it and once he did that Napoleon couldn't be still any longer so he rose up, took Illya by the shoulders and pinned him flat on his back. Illya twisted sideways and nearly got away but Napoleon wrapped an arm around his waist and lifted him, dumped him back onto the bed. Illya tickled him and Napoleon let go, laughing, but when Illya scrambled to the edge of the bed again Napoleon reached under and gripped him. Illya gasped, froze.
"Don't you think you'd better come back here?" Napoleon asked, voice silky and Illya nodded. Napoleon brought him back, carefully, not relaxing his hold until he had Illya flat on his back once more and then he turned his hand, caressing and Illya reached for him, drew him down and they were one again, noisily, gloriously one and then sleep claimed them.
Sunday morning had a different feel. They lay quietly, not talking until Napoleon sighed.
"This has been—this is..." he pulled Illya more tightly against him. "Wonderful."
"I've never even imagined anything like it."
"Really?" Illya turned his head to look at him, curious. "Then this is not standard?"
"No. Oh, no. No. This is—extraordinary."
"I was wondering how people found the time to do anything else."
"Today is Sunday."
"Do you have to go home tonight?"
"Yes. I really do." He did. He had brought nothing to wear to work, and furthermore he had taken home several files and discs which were still in his living room. He hadn't given them a second thought, but he couldn't leave them there. He had planned to go home Sunday night and he supposed he would have to. Both had work tomorrow. He sighed, thinking of it and Napoleon sighed too.
"Maybe we should go out for lunch today. Walk in the park. Clear our heads."
"All right." He smiled. "That sounds like fun."
"Yes it does. It really does."
It was fun. They ate bagels and cream cheese on a park bench and watched the people go by. They wandered around, each thinking how wonderful the other looked—Napoleon in navy slacks and an open necked navy crew shirt, Illya in jeans and brown T shirt. It had been hard to pry themselves apart, but it was a beautiful day and now both were enjoying the unusual outing. Generally when they got together Napoleon had a plan, and their time was carefully scheduled. But today—they walked and talked, sat and stretched out their legs to the sun, walked some more. It was after two when they emerged onto the street again and found themselves in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By mutual if silent consent they went inside and roamed its cool quiet halls. They looked at paintings and ancient artifacts, sculpture and furniture with equal enjoyment. It was enough that they were together. Everything else was extra. The museum closing took both off guard. Now what? They stood outside and looked at one another in dismay.
"Give me a couple of days," Napoleon said finally. They took a cab home and neither said anything until they were back inside Napoleon's apartment, back in bed. "Maybe it'll be good to have some time apart, to think. I'll meet with you Wednesday." Midweek, having given both of them two days to come to terms with what had happened, and then, since surely they would see one another next weekend, two days to prepare. Illya, who had followed Napoleon's thought processes with all his old precision, had to smile.
"No you won't." And Napoleon had begun caressing Illya's ankle, running his hand up his shin, over his bent knee and onto his thigh, then back. Illya swallowed.
How smooth Illya's skin was, and how endearing the wide, slightly knobby bones of his knee. Napoleon kissed it and Illya shivered. "No."
"Why not?" Napoleon kissed his knee again. He was on fire, and if Napoleon thought this would be another long drawn out encounter Illya had news for him, so he caressed Napoleon intimately, boldly, amply rewarded by Napoleon's response.
"Because. You have that all day staff meeting Wednesday."
"Yes." Of course I do. What is wrong with me? He stroked Illya's calf. "I cannot touch you and think."
"That's all right." It was, so long as Napoleon kept touching him. "Thursday will be fine."
Napoleon couldn't help it, he laughed out loud. "Fine. Thursday it is then." He kissed Illya, and Illya kissed him back and neither said another word until they were finished.
"Goodnight, Napoleon." Illya, fully dressed, overnight bag in hand, stood in the doorway and looked up at him. "Thank you for—well." The formal phrasing suddenly sounded ridiculous and he lowered his eyelashes. Napoleon groaned, took Illya into his arms. Held him close.
"How can I let you go?" he whispered, and Illya shook his head. Don't, then, he thought, but knew it was impossible. The weekend was over, the work week lay ahead and this—whatever this had been—was clearly personal, not business and so... he lost his train of thought. Napoleon gripped him once more, tightly, then groaned again, stepped back. Illya turned and went out the door and it closed behind him.
Napoleon sought Illya out Monday morning, standing together in the hall. The hell with having time to think. "This weekend. Come Friday again."
"I'm supposed to go bowling with Jess Coleman Saturday afternoon." And how Napoleon's face darkened! Illya regarded him, surprised.
"All right." He shivered a little. "Um—don't you have a date?"
"I've already canceled mine."
"Oh." That was all right, then. He smiled, and Napoleon smiled too. They stood there, smiling, while people moved around them, offering greetings that neither man heard. "So—what time?"
"Right after work. In fact—take a taxi in. Then you can put your suitcase in my trunk and we'll be good to go from here. Plan to stay over Sunday night."
"Sunday night?" His smile widened and it took everything Napoleon had to keep from kissing it right on the spot.
"Yes. You can ride in with me Monday morning. Bring whatever you need." He was pleased with his idea, and judging from the look on Illya's face he was equally pleased.
"I'd love to. Thank you."
"Illya—you don't have to keep thanking me. This is the happiest I've ever been."
Illya's heart was too full for words, so he could only smile again which was perfectly adequate and Napoleon smiled back and they stood there for another few minutes before Illya's phone rang. They said suddenly awkward good-byes and Napoleon left.
They didn't see one another for the rest of the week, not so much as a chance glimpse in an elevator. Side by side in Napoleon's car that Friday night they sat in silence all the way home. When Napoleon finally closed and locked the front door behind them they went into one another's arms like travelers after a long journey. They clutched at one another, leaned against one another, supported one another into the bedroom, dropping articles of clothing as they went, bodies coming together in the big bed, hearts joined and for the first time all week there was peace.
They did talk over that weekend, talked endlessly—but only of the past. They talked about shared adventures and close calls, successful cons they had run together and missions that had gone wildly wrong right from the start. They remembered endless hours on stake out, or in prison or hiding. They went over their shared past and delighted in every indication that this was coming, that this new thing between them was inevitable.
"All those women," Illya said Sunday afternoon, both giddy with happiness that Illya was staying another night. "Who would have ever thought it." He said this smugly because after all Napoleon had said theirs was the best ever, and the way Napoleon was looking at him now only confirmed it and if he moved just a little closer their bodies would be pressed together all along the length of them. So he did, and Napoleon's arms closed around him and Illya twined his legs around Napoleon's and urged him on and at the finish they clamped their mouths together and it was, it was the best ever. They fell asleep that night wrapped around one another in a kind of desperation—the extra day had come and gone, this was their last night and another endless work week stretched out ahead of them.
They kissed good-bye at Napoleon's door in a frenzy of grief and it was Napoleon who broke, gasped into Illya's open mouth. "Stay. Stay all week, Illya. Bring whatever you need. Please. Just for one week you can—we can steal a week, can't we? Maybe we'll be able to let go of one another next Monday morning."
"Oh, yes." Illya was so happy—he stood on his toes so he could put his arms around Napoleon's neck and cling to him. "Yes, Napoleon. We'll be able to let go next Monday. I'm sure of it."
"We just have to get this out of our systems. Like—like the flu."
"Or poison ivy."
"Right. Like that. So you'll come here tonight?"
"Good." Napoleon hugged him hard. "That's—good."
They lay together that night, Napoleon's arm heavy across Illya's chest, Illya's hand clasped in his own. He smiled into those blue eyes. I don't have to worry about emulating Waverly after all, he thought. All I have to do is live up to whatever it is you see when you look at me. "You," he said, voice husky, and had to stop, clear his throat. "You are my humanity." He caressed Illya's face and Illya lowered his eyes, mouth tremulous. Napoleon kissed him, pulled him in and oh, it was good. Napoleon ran his hand up the achingly perfect curve of Illya's spine and it was, it was very good.
It was an enchanted week. Illya floated through his days, fueled by a happiness so strong it was palpable. He didn't care who wondered, or guessed—and they did guess, his whereabouts no secret. He didn't care what they thought or said. He woke up every morning in Napoleon's arms. They always made love before breakfast, and sometimes after breakfast too. They showered together. They left the apartment, rode down in the elevator, rode to work together. They managed to meet for lunch twice during the week. At night each finished up as quickly as possible and hurried home, to fall into the other's arms again. They ate together, and watched television curled up against one another on the sofa. Tuesday, during the nightly news Illya dropped to his knees and gave Napoleon an enthusiastic—he couldn't make himself say the words Napoleon used so easily—and besides they weren't even accurate, he thought, feeling Napoleon rise and harden in his mouth. No actual blowing was involved and furthermore... Napoleon's fingers tightened in his hair and Illya stopped thinking. Afterwards he quizzed Napoleon about the news and teased him about his lack of recall but the next night he was equally unable to concentrate on the screen and then Napoleon teased him.
Illya stood in the bathroom, brushing his hair. He had come in here to do it because whenever Napoleon saw him with brush in hand he plucked the item from him and insisted on doing the job himself. And Illya loved it, but he didn't want Napoleon to think he expected it, didn't want Napoleon to regard it as a chore so he had showered and shaved and now he was looking in the full length mirror. It surprised him that his face looked the same as before. It seemed he should be different. But except for the shadows under his eyes, bespeaking his broken sleep, except for the little smile he always wore these days, he looked just the same. He leaned closer, and studied himself. He had never really thought about his appearance beyond making sure he was well groomed and neat for work. He knew men and women alike found him attractive—he'd spent most of his life fending off the advances of the first while ignoring the interest of the second, but he'd never really considered what it was that drew them. He touched his mouth. Napoleon waxed positively poetic about that, and his eyes, and his skin, his coloring and his features so now he frowned a little, trying to see what Napoleon saw. Napoleon was not a man to say things he did not mean, and Napoleon found him beautiful. The door opened behind him and he lifted his eyes to see Napoleon reflected in the mirror.
"What are you doing?" Napoleon asked, and took the brush from his hand.
"I'm brushing my hair." He felt inane, saying it when it was so obvious and saw the color mount in his face. Napoleon saw it too, and came closer, right up against Illya's back now, reaching around him to caress his cheek.
"Why are you hiding away in here? Don't you want me to do it? You can just tell me." Was Illya finding his attentions too much? Smothering even? It was true that he couldn't leave Illya alone, couldn't keep his hands off him, couldn't bear the smallest separation, the slightest distance between them. Illya touched his lips to Napoleon's hand.
"No—oh, no. But I don't want you to think you have to."
"I want to." He ran the brush down its length to prove it and Illya swallowed.
"All right. But..." Napoleon dropped the brush to the floor and put both hands in that silky mass, deliberately putting it all in disarray, making it necessary for the job to be done all over again. Illya had to laugh. "So you don't mind."
"I love it." He pressed his lips to the handful he held. He was hard now, and Illya wriggled a little against him, feeling it. Napoleon gripped his shoulders, and turned him. Kissed him. Napoleon tasted so good—Illya sucked on his tongue, feeling it probe deeply, making him think of all the things Napoleon could do to him with that mouth, making him shiver.
Napoleon kissed him, dizzy with it, wrapping his arms around Illya's body, holding him hard. He opened his eyes and there they were in the mirror, pressed together, kissing. He could see Illya's hair falling down his back, brushing his shoulder blades which looked so frail and defenseless—he covered him with both hands, the sharp bones against his palm, Illya's hair tickling him. Illya was standing on his toes now, arms wound around Napoleon's neck, body taut and perfect. Napoleon ran his hands down Illya's sides, stroked his buttocks, his own hands startlingly brown against Illya's pale skin. It was a powerfully erotic image, reflected back to him in his bathroom mirror and he whispered something unintelligible into Illya's mouth. Illya opened his own eyes. He saw Napoleon watching them in the mirror, and smiled. Slowly, he went to his knees, trailing his fingers down Napoleon's sides, kissing his throat, his chest, his stomach... Napoleon groaned, hands in Illya's hair again, surrounding that narrow skull, so fragile between his palms. He watched for as long as he could, watched his hips move, watched Illya, face hidden behind that waterfall of hair, caressing his thighs, his back, his buttocks—one finger right above the cleft, sending an extraordinary wave of desire all through him and he thrust forward again, holding Illya's head and cried out, holding back, holding himself back with all his might. His knees buckled and he fell, and they were face to face, kneeling on the tile floor. Illya was smiling and, when he licked his lips Napoleon grabbed him, shoved him down onto his back, hearing him protest.
"Napoleon—the floor is cold." It was and he squirmed, trying to get comfortable, and couldn't. "And hard—Napoleon?"
"What?" Napoleon kissed his throat.
"It's hurting my head." Napoleon slid both arms under his neck, supporting him. "Better?"
"Well—" it was getting hard to think now. "It's cold." Cold against his spine, his bottom, the backs of his legs. Napoleon warm on his chest, his abdomen. "It's..." and he couldn't talk anymore because Napoleon was kissing him again, hard possessive kisses, silencing him. Then Napoleon was inside him and that was hot, and good. He couldn't remember what he had been complaining about because... because... he wrapped his legs around Napoleon's waist. That pressed the base of his spine against the floor and it was cold, oh, it was like ice there and that was good too—how strong Napoleon was. He was helpless in that grip and that was best of all so he gave himself up to it, let Napoleon control him, let Napoleon bring him to the pinnacle, let Napoleon push him off and they fell together. There was radiance all around them and in them and under them, lifting them up and then they were still.
Napoleon lay heavy on top, gasping. After a moment he rolled off and yelped when he came into contact with the floor. Illya laughed, climbing on top, cushioned now by Napoleon's warm body.
Napoleon laughed too, tried to push Illya off. "Let me up."
"Because the floor is cold."
"Oh? I didn't notice."
"I thought I heard you say something about it."
"No—not me." Napoleon rubbed his back, Illya's flesh chilly against his palms.
"I could have sworn it was you."
"You must be mistaken." He laid his head down on Napoleon's chest.
"Seriously, Illya, let me up."
"I don't want to wrestle around with you in here—you might get hurt."
"What about you?"
"I'm not..." he tried to twist free and banged his elbow smartly on the base of the sink. "Let me up, I said."
"No. I'm comfortable." He gave out a mock snore. "Stop moving, Napoleon. I'm trying to sleep."
"We're going to be late for work."
"Yes, again. Come on, stop fooling and let me up." When his only answer was another snore he gripped Illya's shoulders and tried to push him off. Illya twined arms and legs around him, clinging. Napoleon pushed harder, managed to sit up, bringing Illya with him and then he was sitting on the hard cold floor and he gasped. "This is a terrible location. What is wrong with you?"
"Me! I didn't choose this particular spot."
"Yes you did."
"No I certainly did not."
"Who was in here first?"
"I was only using the facilities in an appropriate way."
"You were standing here naked and beautiful and enticing."
"I was brushing my hair."
"I had just come out of the shower."
"Hmm." He frowned. Why had he done that? "I don't know what I was thinking, Napoleon."
With a tremendous heave, Napoleon got to his feet and now he was holding Illya off the floor and he saw them in the mirror and burst out laughing.
"Look." He turned a little and Illya laughed too when he saw the pattern of the tiles imprinted on their backs. Illya was feather light in his arms and the scent of Illya's hair was in his nostrils, so he carried him out into the bedroom and they fell onto the warm soft mattress. Neither had the strength to do more than lie there in the other's arms panting but that was all right, that was just fine.
Napoleon sat at his computer station, working at home. It was late but he had a lot to catch up on—it had been after ten o'clock when they had arrived at headquarters and that was utterly unlike him, he was an early starter but he didn't regret it, not one bit. He still had to finish up the report he'd been researching however so he sat here now, trying to focus on the screen. It was hard because he'd heard Illya come up behind him and now Illya was standing there very still. Napoleon frowned at the formula in front of him, determined not to be distracted. Illya tickled the back of his neck, just the faintest touch but it made his hair stand on end there and made his hands jerk so there were errors on the screen. He deleted them, began again. Illya bent over, kissed him there and the hell with work so Napoleon spun the chair around and pulled Illya down onto his lap. There was some adjustment of clothing but it was accomplished quickly, and then Napoleon had those narrow hips between his hands and was easing Illya down, down onto his manhood and Illya was moving against him. Napoleon ground them together, and then Illya collapsed forward, head on Napoleon's chest, body so warm, and sweet—too sweet to part from so Napoleon turned off his computer, put both arms around his partner and held on, both holding on, both at peace in the embrace of the other.
They wrestled on the living room floor, rolling over and over, each attempting to pin the other, laughing and tickling and then Illya twisted free and was up. Napoleon rose too and they circled one another warily. They sparred frequently in the gym, each a perfect match for the other, but now they were naked, and fully aroused. Napoleon, for one, was out of patience so he feinted to the left. When Illya dropped back Napoleon hooked a foot behind his knees and brought him down again. Illya abandoned the struggle, reaching for him, pulling at him and in the resulting tangle of arms and legs they lost track of who was pinning whom. In the sweet, sweaty aftermath each declared the other the winner, and once in bed for the night they closed again, and again both won.
They were absurdly happy. Napoleon had never been so happy. The question was, what did they do about it? Here it was Friday, the last time they would go home together, or that he would arrive, late and exhausted, to be welcomed with Illya's kiss and Illya's arms around his neck, Illya's lovely body against his. "I can't even think," he said aloud just before falling asleep and Illya shook his head in mute acknowledgment and fell asleep too.
Saturday morning dawned, and the weekend lay before them. They didn't talk about it at all, and didn't go out either.
Illya inhaled deeply. His face was pillowed on Napoleon's chest and Napoleon's scent filled his nostrils. "What do you want to do today?" Napoleon asked and Illya kissed the warm skin nearest him.
"Smell you," he said and Napoleon laughed.
"And I want to taste you. Come here."
"I want to taste you too."
"Well, Illya—I believe that can be arranged. Let me just..." he arranged things very nicely and there was a long silent interval and then there was bliss.
It was Monday morning. Illya had gotten up early to pack and now he stood at the door again and it was no easier, in fact it was harder, impossibly hard. He put his face in Napoleon's shoulder to hide just how hard it was. But Napoleon felt it too. He opened his mouth to say something. He didn't know what it would be but he had to say something, and what came out was "I love you."
He laughed aloud because all the talking they had done, and hadn't done, all the words that had poured out as well as the ones kept inside—all added up to these three and now Illya was lifting his head, looking at him with eyes wide and luminous with unshed tears. He had dropped his suitcase in his surprise and Napoleon kissed him. "I love you," he repeated. "That's why you can't leave. That's why you have to—have to stay here forever. Bring whatever you need. I love you."
"I love you too, Napoleon," Illya said when his mouth was free.
"Will you stay?"
"Yes. But—don't you have dates? You can't have canceled all of them."
"All," Napoleon said, pulling Illya's hair free of its ponytail so he could bury his face in it. "All canceled. I love you. And Jess Coleman?"
"A friend. I love you."
Napoleon turned him away from the door, brought him back into the bedroom. Kicked that door shut. He undressed Illya first, then himself and their bodies spoke love each to the other, and when they were one love was on their lips and in their hearts. When they were finished Napoleon called UNCLE and reported them both out on personal leave. They talked, lying there naked together and their talk was all of love—past, present and future.
Illya stirred late that night, rubbed his face on Napoleon's shoulder. Napoleon turned his head, pressed his mouth to Illya's temple, the flesh so thin there, Illya's pulse throbbing against his lips. Carefully he took Illya's hand, brought it to his own chest. "With every beat of our hearts," he whispered, "we are closer."
"Yes." Napoleon's heart was sure, and steady—Illya kissed the spot. Napoleon pressed his head back down, folded him more securely into an embrace and, each as close to the other as the beat of his own heart, they slept again.