'Open your mouth, Illya!'
Illya blinked and frowned. His eyes narrowed warily. 'What for?'
'Just do it!'
To say Illya Kuryakin received these words with suspicion was putting it mildly. His partnership with Napoleon Solo was not yet of sufficient vintage to have bred in him unhesitating trust in the senior agent. Illya's own insecurity was constantly vigilant against any attempts to best his intelligence or reveal any professional weakness. Beyond this, Solo was a notorious tease, well known throughout the Sections for his practical jokes and sardonic remarks. Such a command as he had just received was guaranteed to trigger Illya's mockery warning bell, and would normally have produced his brusque refusal followed by his recommendation to Solo that he go to hell. That is, if they hadn't both been kneeling face-to-face, bound hand and foot in the damp basement of a Thrush satrap in Chicago, together with a time bomb which was mercilessly ticking down the final minutes to their oblivion.
'No time! Open!'
Convinced, Illya parted his lips. Surely not even Solo would joke at such a juncture.
Illya complied, bewildered.
Napoleon leaned forward as if to French kiss his partner, who instantly drew back from the approach as a matter of pure reflex, mouth snapping shut, blue eyes widening.
Something about his hunted expression must have alerted Solo to his wild surmise, for the dark-haired agent couldn't repress a short, explosive laugh, his brown eyes glinting, even in his desperate urgency.
'For god's sake, Illya, hold still and keep your mouth open!'
It finally dawned on Illya just what his superior was after. Blushing, he now obeyed to the limit of his ability, leaning forward and stretching his mouth wide.
Napoleon met him halfway and covered the blond agent's mouth with his own. His tongue began searching inside his partner's mouth, tangling with Illya's tongue, brushing across his tonsils and sliding into the soft pocket of his cheek.
They had been bound, each separately, with a single piece of rope which fastened their hands behind them and then led tightly down to bind their updrawn feet. Left lying on the peeling basement, condemned to die in the explosion which would obliterate them and all traces of the Thrush laboratory above. So tethered, they had been unable to perform their usual contortionist's trick of slipping their bound hands in front of them. Napoleon had tried squirming into position to attempt undoing the knots at Illya's feet but had only succeeded in wasting valuable time. His hands were held at an impossible angle by his own taut rope. He then ordered Illya to get up onto his knees and followed suit. Over a minute of intense writhing ensued as they fought gravity and the slithery stone floor, bracing shoulders against the dripping walls and each other in order to propel themselves upright. At last, they had attained a kneeling position facing each other
And now Napoleon's tongue was down his throat, Illya thought, dazedly. Even knowing that his partner was searching for the tiny explosive wire filament hidden in a false cap over one of his molars did not alleviate the overpowering strangeness and sensory overload. Illya had never yet had occasion to use one of these devices since they were implanted and had in fact forgotten all about them. He'd certainly never imagined such a novel method of retrieval. Or that the one doing the retrieving would be so... so...
Napoleon Solo. Legendary kisser. The gossip circulated freely in headquarters, and many an elevator ride had been enlivened for Illya by a excitedly whispered discussion between secretaries on Napoleon's famously seductive abilities. In particular, his incomparable kissing technique. Inwardly, Illya had scoffed at the senior agent's reputation but now... now his ability to think was getting fuzzy, there was a melting sensation in his limbs, and a definite, dangerous heat was growing, hardening, pushing between their tightly pressed bodies...
Suddenly, Illya was fighting his way back up from the entanglement as though he was drowning. Pushing Solo away merely with the force at the end of his lips and rocking back from him to leave a gap between their bodies, gasping and trembling from head to foot.
Napoleon groaned in consternation.
'What is it? I almost had it!'
Illya shook his head, fiercely.
'Come on, Illya! We've got about two minutes! Or do you really prefer death to kissing me?'
Illya met the challenge in Napoleon's eyes and realised what a fool he was being. All inhibition abandoned, he surrendered himself, leaning against Napoleon's body heedless of his own embarrassing condition and allowed his partner to work inside his mouth without restraint. In seconds, Napoleon's tongue had prised the cap from his molar and teased the thread from between his lips. Grabbing it in his teeth, Napoleon tugged the coiled wire free.
'Turn around,' he mumbled through his prize.
Squirming around, Illya held out his hands and Napoleon took aim and dropped the wire into them. Deftly, Illya uncoiled and exposed the ends of the wire filament. Napoleon twisted around until Illya could wrap the wire around the rope between his hands and touch the filaments together. There was a hissing flare, a smell of burning rope, and Napoleon's hands were free.
He quickly removed the ropes at his feet and undid Illya's bonds. Illya rushed towards the bomb to attempt to defuse it, but Napoleon grabbed him. 'No time!' he yelled, dragging Illya towards the staircase.
At the top of the stairs, they kicked their way out of the basement, ran through the corridor and came to a locked steel door. Looking at each other, the moved as one and ran towards the window, crashing through and into the darkened street together in a shower of splintered glass. Napoleon grabbed Illya and dragged him to his feet then across the street and into an alley, just as the noise of a tremendous explosion rocked the ground beneath them, sending a fireball up into the night sky.
Illya doubled over to catch his breath, gasping. When he could speak, he glowered at Napoleon. 'If you ever tell anyone about this, I'll murder you with extreme prejudice!' An arresting thought suddenly occurred to him.
'Wait a minute!' he barked suspiciously. 'Don't you have a couple of those things implanted in your own teeth?'
'Sure,' panted Napoleon, brushing glass splinters off his sleeves.
'But...but...why the devil didn't you use them?!!'
Napoleon grinned. 'Oh, come on, Illya. Where's the fun in that?'
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