He sat on the edge of his seat, his body leaning forward over his desk, and the pencil in his hand beating out an erratic staccato. Illya had been waiting almost an hour for his partner to return from his meeting with their boss. The longer he waited, the more nervous he became.
It wasn't that he thought Napoleon was in trouble; Napoleon had a way of talking himself out of just about any situation, even one involving Mr. Waverly. Any difficulty he may have found himself Illya was sure he could charm his way out of. No, it was that they had been caught on their way out, blithely making plans for their four days off as they'd turned in their badges, which was making Illya so apprehensive. He'd learned long ago that nothing good ever came of last minute surprises.
"Are you sure he means right now?" Napoleon had asked.
"Those were his exact words," the woman, Lisa, had responded, sympathy lacing her words but refusing Napoleon's badge nevertheless. "He wants you in his office, pronto."
Napoleon had made a face, put his badge back on and, collecting Illya with a short nod, started back down into the bowels of UNCLE headquarters. He dropped Illya off at their shared office and continued alone to find out why he had been summoned.
Four days off. They should have known better. But they had both been so looking forward to the time together, time to explore the change in their relationship that had so recently come about.
Illya smiled despite himself. They'd been dancing around each other for months, but either from fear of rejection or plain, old cold feet, neither had been willing to make the first move.
Funny how almost losing someone tended to put everything in perspective.
Their mission had been all but over; they'd managed to sabotage the submarine THRUSH was using in their latest nefarious plans for world domination without even being seen. Their escape through the single escape tower in the forward torpedo room had gone like clock work and they had watched as the vessel started its slow descent into the ocean depths before heading toward the surface. Suddenly Napoleon had started clawing at his equipment, his awkward attempts to reach his tank futile. Illya had grabbed his partner and checking the tank's gauge had confirmed his fears—Napoleon's air tank was empty.
They hadn't been that far down, a hundred feet at the most, but water of any depth was his partner's Achilles' heel and they would have to take it slow to keep from getting the bends. At their last stop, with such a short distance standing between him and pure, sweet oxygen, Napoleon had reached his breaking point; he had panicked.
It had taken all of Illya's strength to keep Napoleon from swimming the rest of the way up—and all his resolve not to take him there himself when Napoleon had stopped struggling and gone limp in his arms. What seemed like an eternity later, Illya had brought them to the surface.
Hauling Napoleon into the waiting boat, he'd torn off both their masks and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Once he'd gotten Napoleon breathing again, he'd pulled him up into his arms and stole that very breath back with a kiss.
His partner froze and for a moment Illya had feared the worst. But once over his surprise Napoleon had enthusiastically returned the kiss. There had unfortunately been time for little else. They still had to get to shore, a hazy and distant line on the horizon, before the rescue operation THRUSH most assuredly had called for got there. Illya had started the small outboard engine and twenty minutes later, as they hauled themselves onto land, they'd been picked up by UNCLE's European branch.
Since then they'd managed only minutes alone. There had been one affair after the other, with no down time in between. Stolen kisses in dark alleys and a quick grope behind a locked door helped to feed the need they had for each other but did little to assuage the hunger. And after three weeks of this, Illya found he was very hungry.
He glared at the door. What in the world was taking his partner? He had just decided to go see what was going on for himself when Napoleon walked in.
"What took you so long?" Illya practically pounced on Napoleon, following him to his desk and hovering at his side.
Napoleon sagged into his chair and, propping his elbows on the flat surface, cradled his head. "I almost got myself fired."
"What?" Illya settled against the edge of the desk. "How? Why?"
"Because I'm being sent on another mission, that's why." Napoleon pulled back and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm off to the wilds of Ecuador in," he looked at his watch, "thirty minutes."
"Yeah, alone. I'm supposed to pick up some Peace Corp volunteer and get him safely out of the country before the oil industry manages to take his head."
"I didn't realize the oil industry was into taking heads."
"Well, they are with this guy. Seems he's been riling up the local population over their treatment by the oil companies." Napoleon snorted in disgust. "Some snot-nosed kid gets himself into trouble and they send an UNCLE agent to get him out."
"I'm surprised Mr. Waverly would do that. He usually isn't one to send us into such...minor situations."
"No, but it just so happens that this kid's father is a US senator."
"I take it you argued with Mr. Waverly about the assignment."
"You could say that. I think I even surprised him at how much I argued."
Concern overrode the thrill of pleasure Illya felt at knowing why his partner had argued so vehemently. "You shouldn't have jeopardized your job just for...for having your vacation plans spoiled."
Napoleon's anger seemed to deflate. He gazed fondly up at Illya and smiled. "I know, but I was so looking forward to the next four days."
Illya smiled back. "There will be other times."
"There damn well better be. At least Mr. Waverly was willing to reschedule both our vacations. I think he knew that was not negotiable." Napoleon shook his head and slowly rose. "I suppose I should get on with it. I still have to go home and pack."
"How long will you be gone?"
"Two, maybe three days. Not only do I have to find the kid, but I have to convince him to leave and then escort him back to Washington."
That's not so very long," Illya remarked as he followed Napoleon to the door, even though it seemed a lifetime to him. As disappointed as Napoleon obviously was, he would have the mission to keep his mind occupied. With his luck, Illya would be relegated to the labs until his partner returned. There would be plenty of time to miss Napoleon and think about what they still hadn't done.
About to open the door, Napoleon instead opted for locking it, then spun around and tugged Illya off to the side where the camera mounted above the door could not see them. He pulled him into his arms. "I'm going to miss you," he whispered, "so very, very much."
"And I, you," Illya whispered back, before his mouth was taken in a deep, knee-weakening kiss.
Too soon, Napoleon pulled away. It was dangerous, even with the precautions they took, to be so daring at work. "I'll hurry back."
And with that, he unlocked the door and was gone, leaving Illya slightly dazed and trailing his fingers over his bruised lips. He missed Napoleon already.
The first couple of days weren't too bad. Just as he had feared, Mr. Waverly had perversely refused him an assignment. Stating a need to placate the head of Section Eight who had been complaining about Illya's frequent absences, his boss had instead kept him within the confines of UNCLE headquarters. So, dutifully, and hoping against hope to keep time from standing still, Illya had buried himself in the lab. Not only had he caught up on all the experiments that had been put on the back burners...literally, but he had managed to actually stop thinking about Napoleon for hours at a time.
He supposed what had also helped was the thought that Napoleon would be home soon. But when two days became three, and then four, Illya found that his time in the lab no longer had the ability to keep his mind from his partner.
Even eating did not help. Sitting in the commissary, stabbing at his pasta salad with his fork, Illya realized that, though he was still eating, he wasn't enjoying it the way he normally did.
"Do with a little company?"
He looked up. Mark Slade stood next to his table, a tray in his hands and a look of expectation on his face. Illya motioned to the chair across from him and then returned to his salad.
"Are you planning on eating that or just massacring it?"
"What?" Illya responded, trying not to scowl at the other agent.
"Your salad. You're acting as if it's the enemy," Mark noted as he took his seat and began to remove the items from his tray.
"It's been a long day."
"And only half over." Mark undid his napkin, setting his utensils next to his plate then snapping out the cloth and settling it on his lap. "Be a good chap and pass me the salt from the table behind you, would you?"
Illya leaned back and snagged the shaker, handing it over to his friend.
"Ta, mate. By the way, where's that partner of yours? He owes me ten dollars and I haven't been able to reach him all week."
He's in Ecuador on a mission."
"Ah, yes, I heard about his run-in with Mr. Waverly. Bad form that, arguing with the boss."
"You know Napoleon, he isn't used to not getting his own way."
Mark chuckled. "As half of UNCLE's secretarial pool can attest."
That wasn't something Illya wanted to hear. "We'd just come off a mission. Napoleon was tired. He should have been given more time to rest."
"'Ours is not to question why' and all that. Anyway, Napoleon's a big boy, and he's certainly handled worse."
Illya was well aware of that. The thing was, it wasn't exactly worry for Napoleon that had him in a mood. Thoughts of his partner made him realize that his was not the only partner missing. "Where's April?" April Dancer, Mark's partner, hadn't been visible the last few days, either.
"On vacation, if you can believe that." Mark made a face. "Seems there's a new man in her life."
"And that bothers you?"
"No-o-o, not especially. Not a lot, anyway. It's just," Mark hesitated, "Well, let's face it, she doesn't seem to have much luck when it comes to her love life." He frowned. "Come to think of it, none of us seems to, do we?"
Illya shrugged. "Would you put up with what we do if you didn't have to? Maybe April should think about dating another agent."
"Oh, no, she's not having any of that. Says it would be too much like bringing your work home with you."
"No, I can see her point. You imagine, not knowing where your spouse was from day to day, or coming home and trading horror stories as to who had the worst injuries?"
Illya hid a smile. He couldn't help thinking that talking about work would probably be the last thing he and Napoleon would be doing when alone together...at least, for a while. If they ever got the chance, that is.
"Besides, I don't think UNCLE encourages that sort of thing," Mark added. "You imagine having to explain that to Mr. Waverly?"
Illya grimaced, the thought effectively killing what little appetite he had left. "I suppose I should be getting back to the lab. Maybe I'll get lucky and something will explode." He stood and started collecting his dishes onto his tray.
"You're not going to eat that?" Mark inquired, pointing to the bowl of chocolate pudding still sitting on the table.
"No, I don't seem to be as hungry as I thought." He picked up the bowl and handed it to Mark.
"Thanks, old boy." The agent happily responded.
Illya picked up his tray. "I'll see you later, Mark."
"Don't work too hard," Mark rejoined. "And Illya," he added as Illya started to move away from the table, "don't worry so much. That partner of yours is very good at taking care of himself."
Illya forced a smile. He certainly hoped so.
Illya let himself into his apartment, locking the door and resetting the alarms automatically. He'd stayed late at work; even after he finished in the labs, he still liked to spend time in the office he shared with Napoleon. It wasn't as if there was anything vital needing to be done. Their paper work had been completely caught up on the day they were supposed to start their vacation. It was just that he had a sense of Napoleon there. With his head down as he cleared out anything that had come in that day, Illya could almost pretend that his partner was mere feet away, busily working at his desk.
But eventually he had to come home. He walked through the darkened apartment, pulling off his jacket and tie to discard them across the back of the couch as he made his way from the small living room into the even smaller kitchen. He switched on the light and opened the refrigerator door.
There wasn't much there. He hadn't thought to be here this week. Even after their plans had been scuttled, he'd kept putting off buying groceries on the off chance that that day Napoleon would be back.
With a disgusted sigh, Illya grabbed the battered box that held the remains of the pizza he'd ordered two nights before. Tossing it on the counter, he opened the freezer and pulled out a bottle of vodka. He held it up to eye level. There was less than an inch of liquor left. He poured it into a glass and carried it along with the pizza box into the living room.
Settling on the couch, he grabbed a piece of pizza and began to eat, mechanically chewing the slightly desiccated fare. From time to time, he'd take a drink of vodka to help wash it down. All the while, his thoughts were of his partner.
What was taking Napoleon so long? Illya had tried getting information from their boss, but as always Mr. Waverly only gave as much information as he felt you were entitled to. Napoleon was on a mission and would be back when it was done. And wasn't the lab keeping him busy enough that he had nothing better to do than worry about his partner? After that, Illya had kept his mouth shut.
He popped the last bit of pizza into his mouth and sat back. Toeing off his shoes, he brought his feet up to rest against the edge of the coffee table, and then took another drink of vodka. He'd eaten just enough to keep the alcohol from going straight to his head, but not enough to mute the warm glow that had begun in his stomach and was now drifting upward.
Rolling the glass between his hands, he contemplated his partner's return. They would both have to act very cool about it. Illya could just imagine Napoleon sauntering in, his jacket thrown jauntily over his shoulder as he gave Illya a friendly wave. There would be a certain amount of banter, of course, each protesting any thought that they had missed the other in the least. All the while, their eyes would be saying something completely different. Somehow, they would finish out the day, and then quite innocently walk out of the building together.
Illya finished off his drink and leaned forward to put the glass on the table. Sitting back again, he laced his hands together behind his head and tried to picture Napoleon standing in front of him.
Would Napoleon be dressed? Not after the first few minutes, no. Illya had seen his partner naked several times; showering after a workout, usually, but also when he'd had to give Napoleon first aid. And there were those couple of times when their captors had stripped them, so he knew how Napoleon would look unclothed—except for one detail. Every time Illya had seen Napoleon naked, his partner had not been sexually excited. He hadn't been erect.
Illya squirmed, his own organ twitching at the thought of Napoleon, naked, with a hard-on, wanting him.
He imagined Napoleon approaching him, that familiar gleam in his eye. In his mind Illya could see the smooth chest, lightly tanned and almost without hair, tapering down to narrow hips. Well formed legs, a thatch of dark hair—Illya frowned, stymied. Then it came to him. Perhaps he hadn't seen Napoleon's cock, full and erect, but he had certainly felt it.
It had happened only the week before Napoleon's departure. They had been down in the labs of all places. Napoleon had followed him into the supply closet when Illya had gone to collect another rack of test tubes. No sooner had they entered that Napoleon had closed and locked the door, swung Illya around and taken his mouth in a searing kiss.
Napoleon's hands had been all over Illya's body and he hadn't seemed to mind when Illya had returned the favor. Frantically undoing Napoleon's pants, he'd shoved his hand inside his partner's underwear and grabbed hold of his cock.
More than anything else, Illya remembered the heat of it. Long and thick, it seemed to almost scorch Illya's hand as it pulsed within his grasp. Napoleon had groaned softly and Illya had squeezed just to hear that sound again.
Just the thought of it was making him hard. He brought his hands down and unzipped his pants. Hooking his thumbs into the waistband of his underwear, he lifting his hips and shoved his clothing down until they were bunched up just above his knees. His cock jutted up from his groin, fully erect. He pressed the palm of one hand against it so it lay against his stomach, remembering how it felt when Napoleon had shifted and his hip had pressed against Illya's groin. His pelvis had begun gently undulating as he pushed his cock into Illya's hand and the movement had sent waves of pleasure up the trapped organ and straight to Illya's brain.
But that's all there had been, for just as Illya had taken it into his mind to drop to his knees and take Napoleon into his mouth, Napoleon's communicator had gone off. With more willpower than any man should own, Napoleon had pulled back.
Reluctantly, Illya had extricated his hand. Napoleon had quickly righted himself and his clothes before answering the call. It was turned out to be Mr. Waverly, needing his heir apparent now.
After closing off the transmission, Napoleon had recapped his communicator and turned to go. He had hesitated at the door, then turned and pulled Illya back into his arms. "Tonight. I'll see you tonight," he'd whispered into Illya's ear and then was gone.
Of course, he hadn't. Well, he had, but not the way they wanted. Instead, they had found themselves flying across the Atlantic, on their way on yet another mission.
Thinking back on that now, Illya tried to imagine the feel of Napoleon's cock in his hand, its length and thickness. He touched himself more intimately, comparing one to the other. Wrapping his fingers tightly around its girth, he squeezed his cock, remembering how he'd done the same to Napoleon.
It seemed to him that Napoleon was slightly thicker but it was hard to really tell, especially since Illya was losing any sense of rational thought as he slowly squeezed and pulled on his own organ. But he could still imagine Napoleon standing there, his legs slightly spread, his thick, beautiful cock in his hand, masturbating himself as he watched Illya do the same.
His partner would copy his every move. If Illya used his thumb to spread pre-ejaculate over the head of his penis, Napoleon would do the same. If, as now, Illya cupped his balls with his other hand and rolled them gently together, Napoleon would, too. The brown eyes would glaze over, Napoleon's hand moving faster over his cock—
With a shout, Illya came, his seed spurting out onto his legs.
He sat for a while, lost in the lassitude of the moment. He didn't know if he felt better or worse now. All he knew was that Napoleon better get home soon.
Finally he leaned forward and dug a handkerchief out of his pants pocket. He gave himself a perfunctory cleaning, stood and pulled his pants back up.
Leaving his glass and the pizza box for the morning, he stumbled toward the bathroom. He'd shower and go to bed. Perhaps that would make the night go by faster, for another day had gone by and still Napoleon wasn't back.
The image in the microscope blurred, only coming back into focus when Illya blinked several times. When it blurred again he straightened up, rubbing gently at his eyes as he stretched out the protesting muscles of his back. A glance at the clock told him it had just passed six. He'd give it another hour and then head for home.
He leaned over again, peering into the eyepiece as he tried to bring the slide back into focus.
"Somehow, I knew I'd find you here."
Illya's head shot up. "Napoleon!"
"In the flesh." Napoleon leaned against the door frame, his hands in his pockets. A five o'clock shadow darkened his jaw and his eyes were slightly bloodshot but he'd never looked better to Illya.
"When did you get back?" Illya slid off his stool and began removing his lab coat.
"About an hour ago. I just left Mr. Waverly's office. He wasn't exactly pleased to see me."
Illya halted mid-motion as he hung up his coat. "Why not?"
"He'd just got off the phone with one not very happy senator."
"The kid didn't want to leave. A bullet in his leg, courtesy of one of the goons who'd been chasing us for three days, changed his mind. But apparently daddy wasn't thrilled to get junior back in less than pristine condition."
"Is the boy okay now?"
Napoleon shrugged, then straightened and strolled over. He began to lightly brush imaginary lint from Illya's shoulders, as if needing a reason to touch him. "He'll live." He chuckled. "I've never seen anyone's convictions change so fast, though."
"You look tired," Illya noted as he put on his suit jacket.
"After I dropped off my charge I took the next flight home. I haven't slept since the night before last."
"Then you must let me drive you home." Illya turned him by the shoulders and gave Napoleon a gentle shove toward the door. "You should be in bed."
Napoleon looked back at him and winked. "I'll even let you tuck me in."
Traffic had died down somewhat by the time they exited the building and were on the road. Still, the drive took long enough for Illya to have to wake Napoleon from the light doze he'd fallen into as they reached Napoleon's apartment building.
Napoleon sat up and rubbed his face with his hands. "Where are we?"
"Outside your building. Curbside service, what more could you ask for?"
"Aren't you coming up?"
Illya shook his head. "Napoleon, you can hardly keep your eyes open. We can wait to...we can wait."
Napoleon looked around, making sure there was no one to see before placing a hand on each side of Illya's face and pulling it toward him. "All I've thought about for the last week is being with you and having my wicked way with your body. I'll be damned if I'm going to let a little lack of sleep keep us apart a minute longer."
Illya searched his partner's face. Determination was writ large there and it wasn't as if it wasn't exactly what he wanted, too. He gave in with a slight nod. Napoleon beamed at him as Illya threw the car into gear and proceeded to the building's parking garage.
Five minutes later they were letting themselves into Napoleon's apartment. While Illya reset the alarms, Napoleon walked through the slightly stuffy abode into the kitchen.
"You want something to eat?" he called out.
Illya joined him at the refrigerator door. Surprisingly enough, it was well stocked. "Where did all this come from?"
"Lisa owed me a favor, so once I knew I was on my way back I called and asked her to pick a few things up for me."
"How convenient that her position also makes her one of the few people with access to all our apartments."
Napoleon grinned. "Isn't it, though?"
Illya gazed at all the little white cartons and covered aluminum container that filled the refrigerator. "She is very good. Why don't you let me throw something together while you shower?"
"Are you implying that I need one?" Napoleon looked at him with mock indignation.
Illya sniffed and gave him a pointed look. "I hate to tell you this, Napoleon, but you aren't exactly at your best."
Napoleon laughed. "I suppose you're right. All right, you fix something for us to eat and I'll make myself presentable."
While Napoleon was gone, Illya managed to put together a substantial but not too heavy meal. Even he was capable of heating up the spaghetti Lisa had purchased from Napoleon's favorite restaurant and prepare a dinner salad. When he heard the shower turn off, he took the spaghetti out of the oven and the salads out of the refrigerator and placed them on the already set table. He was pouring the wine when Napoleon reappeared.
Illya put the wine bottle down and looked up. Napoleon was wearing the maroon robe that Illya had given him for his last birthday. He hadn't tied it so it hung open, exposing his partner's naked chest. All Napoleon had on underneath were the bottoms to his pajamas. Illya felt heat flood his face and his groin in equal measure.
"I hope you weren't expecting me to dress for dinner," Napoleon commented as he walked over and took his seat at the table.
Illya swallowed. "Not at all." He managed to pull his eyes away and hurriedly took his own seat. "I was surprised, that's all. You're not usually one to..."
"Come to the table half dressed?" Napoleon finished for him then shrugged. "I figured it would save time."
Holding his gaze, Illya finally nodded and the two men set to their meals. They ate mostly in silence, both too aware of what was yet to come. From time to time, one or the other would comment on the meal or the wine, but basically it was something they needed to get through. They had needed to eat, so they were eating.
Eventually, Napoleon pushed his plate away, though almost half of his meal sat unconsumed. "I think I've had enough."
Illya looked at his own plate. He'd eaten most of it, the hell with the rest. He put down his utensils and stood.
Napoleon took a last drink of wine as he rose from his chair. With a smile, he slowly approached his partner. Without a moment's hesitation, Illya met him half way.
They stood in front of each other, neither touching. Finally, Illya brought his hand up and insinuated it into Napoleon's robe just beneath the collar. With the slightest of pressure, he pulled Napoleon's head down and pressed his lips against his.
With a moan, Napoleon's mouth opened, inviting him in. Illya plunged his tongue deep inside over and over, trying to taste every inch, loving the wet heat that welcomed the invasion. Somehow, he found his hands entangled in Napoleon's hair, pulling their mouths so hard together it was wonder there was no blood. The little sounds issuing from his partner were driving him wild; Napoleon's desire was a white hot mirror of his own.
He felt Napoleon's arms encircle him and bring their bodies together. Illya could feel Napoleon's cock push against him, as hard as his own. Bringing one hand down, he grabbed Napoleon's ass and pulled their groins even closer. Then Napoleon's mouth was gone.
"Wait. Illya, wait."
It took a moment for the words to clear the fog of arousal that surrounded him. Illya reluctantly pulled back. "What?" he asked rather crossly. Waiting was something he hadn't counted on having to do.
"Wouldn't the bed do much better?" Napoleon nodded toward his bedroom.
Illya looked over. He had to admit, a bed would probably add immeasurably to their pleasure. "I suppose you're right."
"Aren't I always?" With a smile, Napoleon grasped Illya hand and led him down the hallway.
Napoleon's room was dark, though enough light filtered in through the gap in the drapes to make navigating easy enough. They both began to rapidly undress. There was no artifice; they both knew what they wanted. Napoleon finished first, then proceeded to undo the bed and crawled in.
Tugging off the last of his clothes, Illya slid under the cool sheets to join his partner. Napoleon's body was warm and inviting, his strong arms pulling Illya into an embrace.
"I can't believe we're finally doing this," Napoleon gasped out. His hands were already all over Illya's body, seeming unable to light anywhere for long, exploring every inch that he could reach.
They returned to where they'd left off, the kiss once again overwhelming Illya's senses. Only this time, with the feel of Napoleon's bare skin against his own, he knew he'd never be able to stop. It was so much more than he'd ever dreamed of having, this man in his arms, and the proof of Napoleon's arousal, of his desire for Illya thick and hard between their bodies.
Illya broke off the kiss and began to slowly slide down Napoleon's body. Placing a hand on either side, he kissed his way down the heaving chest. He stopped to lightly nip at each nipple, licking and suckling until each was tightly peaked. He heard Napoleon sigh as he continued his journey down, down to the soft nest of hair where Napoleon's cock lay, engorged and heavy.
He moved further down until he was nestled between Napoleon's wide spread legs. Propping himself up on his bent arms, Illya began to nuzzle his lover's penis. He took a deep breath, drawing in the musky scent then burying his face against Napoleon's groin. He stuck out his tongue and licked languidly up one side of Napoleon's cock then down the other. With a wicked smile he looked up at his partner.
Napoleon was asleep.
Illya didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Instead, he just looked at Napoleon, studying his face as he slept. Napoleon's mouth was slightly open, his breathing steady and deep. The lines of care had been smoothed out and with his hair falling across his forehead he looked impossibly young.
Quietly and slowly, Illya crawled up and positioned himself at his partner's side. With his free hand he pulled up the blankets and covered them both. Then he rested his head against Napoleon's chest, its slow rise and fall somehow comforting, and with one arm wrapped possessively around Napoleon's waist, Illya just lay there, content, his eyes slowly closing after awhile...
He looked forward to the morning.