Survival School—known to its transient inhabitants as Cutter's Island.
Jules Cutter, undeniable master of this domain, still had a few years left before mandatory retirement and when he left, his record would be impeccable. This was Cutter's goal: this was Cutter's dream.
For Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin, it was a nightmare. For once in his short if somewhat eventful life, he could see failure staring him in the face. Passing wasn't just a matter of pride for the young Russian, it was a necessity if he was to be accepted into the U.N.C.L.E.. His superiors in the Soviet Union expected nothing less. Failure would mean a return home in disgrace and a return to the constricting existence he'd hoped to escape.
Failure: a word that choked him and sent him deeper into depression.
He was younger than the other trainees here, but that didn't earn him any concessions. Besides, he'd already been in this game longer than most of the other students and had more than a head start when it came to the espionage business. Which was one of the reasons he was sadly lacking in other departments. Sex, for one thing. The young Illya Nickovetch seldom had either the opportunity or inclination to indulge in social pastimes. Hence, to date, his rather poor performance in the SexTechs class.
Illya let his head drop back, relishing the warm breeze that lifted the fine wisps of hair from his forehead, as he surveyed the night sky. High above, the stars stood out like sequins on a black velvet gown. He knew every constellation, their names and their mythology, and wondered for the thousandth time why he had not pursued a more sensible and safe career in astrophysics, where he could cloister himself away with other like-minded souls.
He tried to turn his thoughts away from his problem, thinking of tomorrow's 'Covert Surveillance' class. This subject offered him no challenge -Kuryakin could blend in as easily as a chameleon in dense vegetation. But no matter how mentally disciplined he was, no matter how he tried to apply his mind to tomorrow's task, his thoughts constantly wandered back to next month's finals.
SexTechs. The course required potential section two agents to be proficient in sexual techniques in seduction—with both sexes. While agents weren't expected to have full intercourse, they were expected to have sufficient experience and knowledge to give pleasure to their targets.
This was where he was lacking. He had a minimum of experience with women but none at all with his own gender. He'd never touched a man intimately in his life.
Sex with a man. Even if he'd considered it in the past—and he had to admit secretly to himself that he had—it would have been too risky, given his country's intolerance and harsh punishment for such deviant behavior.
The whole course had been difficult for him. It wasn't as though he were a virgin. He'd had sex several times with a rather persistent female academic at the Sorbonne. And seduction wasn't a problem: he didn't really need to try too hard. His handsome boyish looks and deceptively shy demeanor had attracted the attention of women—and men—without any effort on his part. He just chose not to act on their advances. Sex was a complicated business, demanding time and attention, and he'd discovered he had neither the inclination or the patience for the games that were played.
His head dropped forward, resting on the bony kneecaps of his bent legs. Damn Cutter, anyway! And this flea-bitten rock he called an island!
He heard the light tread of soft shoes behind him but didn't turn. He was safe here at this time of night, on this outcropping behind the cover of this monolith of a rock. Even Cutter wouldn't be out this late, indulging in one of his many annoying spot checks. Besides, whoever was approaching was making no attempt at subterfuge. He allowed the advance but didn't acknowledge the presence until the figure stopped nearby and a softly spoken English voice said, "Hello. Mind a little company?"
He glanced up, briefly noting that the intruder was a fellow student, before shrugging in answer. "Not at all."
Clad only in sweat pants and tee-shirt, the sandy-haired trainee sat, resting his arms atop his bent knees in an identical pose to the Russian. Neither spoke for a moment, enjoying the stillness of the night after the noisy explosives training of the day. After a few moments welcome peace, the Englishman turned to his companion. "It's Illya, isn't it?"
Kuryakin didn't turn, just nodded.
"I'm Mark. Mark Slate." He tapped the blond on the arm, holding out a hand. The Russian stared at it a moment, before taking it in a brief handshake. "Couldn't sleep?" the Englishman asked his silent companion. In the gloom, he saw the blond head shake. "Me neither. Too much on my mind to sleep."
Kuryakin seemed content to sit in silence, deeply engrossed in his own private thoughts. Slate was almost reluctant to disturb him. "This is nice, isn't it?" he said, leaning back against the cool rock. The Russian cast him a quick, questioning glance. "The peace and quiet, I mean," Mark explained. "After today's munitions training. My ears were ringing for hours afterwards. Makes you appreciate this silence even more."
"Mmm," Kuryakin agreed, tempted to point out that he could appreciate it even more if the Englishman went away.
Mark nudged his companion's arm to attract his attention. "Hey. Fag?"
"Excuse me?" Annoyed, the blond's head whisked in his companion's direction, only to see Slate holding up a packet of Woodbines. Of course, the English slang for a cigarette. Though the English and the Americans shared a common language, the meaning of similar euphemisms differed wildly. It was confusing, having to mentally switch from one usage to the other. It was like learning two different languages.
Illya briefly smiled, accepting the offer, before returning his gaze back the black sea. Mark struck a match, breathing in the faint smell of igniting sulphur as he put the flame to the tobacco. He inhaled deeply on his cigarette before offering the lit match to the Russian. The soft glow of flame lit up his companion's face, giving Mark his first glimpse of those infamous blue eyes. Oh, yes, he'd heard about Kuryakin's eyes: the females in his Encryption group had waxed lyrical about them for almost two hours during their last session on deciphering.
Mark watched in the moonlight as Kuryakin placed the cigarette in his mouth and offered it up to the lit match, his hollow cheeks hollowed even more as he drew the flame into the body of the cigarette. Mark thought the sight rather sensual, those full lips sucking on that long cylindrical cigarette. He appreciated it in silence until the flame of the rapidly consumed match touched his finger. "Ouch!" He dropped the redundant match to the ground.
Kuryakin leaned back against the rock, drawing the smoke into his lungs before releasing it in a sigh. The smoke was quickly caught up by the breeze and dissipated instantly. Illya felt a little of his anxiety disperse with it as the nicotine hit his system. He glanced gratefully at the man by his side. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Slate chuckled. "If you didn't smoke when you came here, you will by the time you leave. Survival training! If I survive this, I promise to give up this weed for good. Until then..." He inhaled deeply and another quarter inch of cigarette disappeared in a red glow. "This course has been a real test of character, hasn't it?"
"I will be glad when it is all over. I shall not miss this place." Kuryakin allowed another stream of smoke to escape from between his lips. "How about you?" he asked the Englishman.
"Like you, looking forward to finishing this course and getting the hell off this bloody rock."
Mark felt the Russian move uncomfortably next to him, and asked, "What? What's up?"
The blond head was bent, studying the wispy grass between his feet. "I don't think I'll be graduating."
"You're kidding me. Why? McNab said you have the highest score on the shooting range and I know for a fact that you're top of your class in most subjects."
"There's one I'll fail dismally in."
Illya seemed reluctant to speak, concentrating instead on grinding out the stub of his cigarette on the ground beside him. Once it was extinguished to his satisfaction, he turned back to Slate. "I don't think I'll pass the Sex-Techs."
"Oh." Mark nodded sympathetically. "My sympathies, that's a tough one. It is a tricky subject. If it's any consolation, I think a lot of students are having trouble with that particular section of the course. I'm having problems, too, with another part of the course."
"Really? Which part?" Illya asked, glad to change the subject. It was bad enough, admitting that he was lacking in anything, but talking about it did nothing but add to his discomfort. It was a relief, though, to realize he wasn't the only one going through self-doubt.
"I'm having trouble with the munitions class. Can't get the hang of that bloody detonation process. My timing's either too short or too long. I think Cutter's going to throw me off the island if I prematurely blow up another demonstration table."
They fell into an agreeable silence, each pondering on their own problem. Mark nudged Kuryakin. "Exactly which part of SexTechs are you having a problem with?"
Illya sighed. "The sex part," he said gloomily. He closed his eyes and laid his head back against the rock, wishing the Englishman would talk about something else. It was an embarrassing admission as it was. He didn't want to go into details. The sex he'd had with his physics teacher had been good during their brief, semester-long affair. Older and more experienced, she'd taken it upon herself to educate the young Russian virgin in every aspect of sex, every position and every kink, from anal to bondage to cunnilingus. Illya suspected she had been steadily working her way through the A—Z of Sex.
Relentless, Mark continued to probe. "Specifically, I mean? Which part of the SexTechs?" Slate knew if he didn't push, he wouldn't get an answer.
He heard Kuryakin's heavy sigh of resignation as he squirmed under Slate's interrogation. "The 'sex with the same-sex' part."
"Ah. That," Mark replied simply. He noticed the Russian's hands edgily fidgeting. "This subject makes you uncomfortable. Why?"
"It isn't something one generally discusses with a virtual stranger."
"We're not exactly strangers. We've both been stuck on this bloody island for the last five months, experiencing the same torture every day. If that doesn't make us comrades, I don't know what does."
Slate was right, Kuryakin knew that. He had been too deeply engrossed in his own problems, unaware that others were probably suffering similar difficulties; the same doubts, the same fears, the same lack of confidence. This place did that to a person. It stripped away your individuality, rattled the nerves. Cutter had said at the start of the course that each student would arrive as one person and leave as another.
Slate was talking, drawing him out of his introspection. "You know, most of the men have a problem with this part of the course initially but once they get past the idea of another man touching them, then their hormones take over and they do what comes—er, no pun intended—naturally. Men are ruled by the organ between their legs. We'll do anything to achieve satisfaction, even if it means being pleasured by another man. A hard cock has no conscience. The problem for most regular men is that they are afraid they'll be regarded as a poof. We're not regular men. We're agents for the U.N.C.L.E., we can't afford to have any of those doubts or we can't do our job."
Slate was right—again. Illya needed to view this, not as a slur upon his manhood, but as a necessity, part of his duties as a spy.
Slate was talking again. "Did you check out the manual?"
"I've read the manual." But reading about it and doing it are two different things. "What I lack is... practical experience."
Slate understood instantly. Kuryakin was saying he'd never touched another man. He took a steadying breath before he offered, "Maybe I could help."
The blond looked at him curiously. "How?"
"Well, it may have escaped your attention, but I am a man."
Slate almost laughed as Illya's face went animatedly through a series of expressions—puzzlement, comprehension, then disbelief, followed by a blush that Slate could see even in the low-level light given off by the moon. "You're not seriously suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" Illya eventually asked, when he found his voice.
"Why not? It seems to me, old chap, that we both have a problem and the solution is simple. You help me out with mine and I'll help you out with yours."
Still engrossed in his study of the blond, Slate asked, "Why what?"
"Why would you help me?"
Slate grinned. "I'm helping myself, too, mate. Like I said, I'm having difficulty with explosives. My grades have been really bad so far and if I don't improve them, I'll fail next month's final. Now, I know you're top of your class in the subject. So, if you show me how to create explosives, I'll show you something... equally incendiary."
"You'd be willing to do this?"
"It was my suggestion," Slate pointed out.
"But I haven't ever...." Illya's hands fluttered about, uselessly gesticulating as words failed him.
"Well, I gather that's the problem. Look, don't knock it till you've tried it," Slate replied casually.
Illya looked at him sharply. Slate was flicking the butt of his cigarette away into the darkness. "Have you?" the Russian asked bluntly.
Mark winced, aware that he may have given too much away. Rather than explain, he just nodded. "Look, it's just a matter of adjusting your mental attitude. Changing the way you think. I imagine the society you were brought up in is pretty much like my own. If you can get past the restraints of your upbringing, that's half the battle. And you say you don't have a problem with the theory, so how about a practical demonstration?"
"Why not? We're both in need of something that the other has, so we exchange. I've already taken this part of the course. I don't have a problem with the same-sex part," No, no problem at all... "So I can give you the benefit of my experience and you can give me the benefit of yours. Explosives-wise, I mean."
Kuryakin's eyes narrowed on him before he looked away, giving serious consideration to the proposal. Slate could almost hear the internal debate, weighing the pros and cons, a tick on one side, a cross on the other. Mark remained silent, offering no further advice. This had to be Illya's decision. He saw the Russian's backbone straighten and knew he'd come to a verdict. Illya turned to Mark and asked, "What would I have to do?"
Mark successfully hid his relief. "Well, why don't we start with something simple, basic. Get you used to touching another man."
"Okay, when?" Kuryakin sounded hesitant.
Slate shrugged. "No time like the present."
"Why not? If you have too much time to think about it, you might back out. Strike while the iron's hot." Slate began to pull up the hem of his tee-shirt.
The Russian looked shocked. "Here? In the open?"
"Not all sex happens in the bedroom, Illya. You should be prepared for all eventualities. Didn't your instructor tell you that?" Slate pulled the tee-shirt off over his head. He saw the blond look nervously about. "Come on, Illya, who'd be out at this time of night, anyway? Except, maybe, one crazy Russian and one mad Englishman."
"I must be crazy to even consider it." Following Slate's lead, he pulled his sweatshirt off over his head, folding it neatly by his side.
Illya knew he should say no to this, but he also knew he wouldn't. Part curiosity, part need. If it helped him pass this course, it was worth the risk—it might also help resolve the feelings he'd kept tightly under control for the last couple of years.
Slate laid a hand gently on Kuryakin's shoulder. "You want to pass, don't you? And I don't have a problem with what we're doing, really," Mark replied honestly. No, it was no hardship at all. Being with a man wasn't something new for Mark Slate. His omnivorous tastes where sex was concerned had appeared relatively early in his teens. It was the beauty of the individual that attracted him, the pretty face, an engaging personality, regardless of their gender. Even though he accepted his own tastes as a fact of life, he was aware that society didn't, and though U.N.C.L.E. included it in their training for Section Two agents, Slate had learned over the years that it wasn't acceptable to flaunt his sexuality openly.
Slate tried to compose himself. The last man he'd touched had been Grisham in the SexTechs class. Not a pleasant experience. Grisham had the worst case of halitosis that Slate had ever had the misfortune to come across. Kissing him had been a nightmare. That experience had been a chore: this one, he was sure, wouldn't be.
"Okay, I think we should start with something simple, just to get you used to the idea. Why don't we see how you manage with a kiss?" He put his arm around the back of Illya's neck and tried to pull him closer. He felt some resistance and sighed. "Illya, you have to relax, don't fight it. For now, just keep your eyes closed and imagine you're kissing a woman. It isn't that much different, trust me," Mark told him. He felt Kuryakin shake his shoulders, forcing himself to loosen up. Slate pulled Illya's arm up, encouraging it to drape around his waist.
Finally, Mark moved nearer. "Remember now, you're kissing a woman." Illya's eyes snapped shut as their mouths met. Mark kept it simple at first, fighting against the rising tide of passion that threatened to overwhelm and swamp him. Illya's mouth was perfect, as sweet and soft as he'd imagined it to be. He nibbled at the mouth gently, coaxing it to open with a gently probing tongue, ecstatic when the lips separated and Illya allowed Slate's tongue into his mouth.
Mark wanted to eat this man, to devour him, one tasty morsel at a time; his lips, his tongue, his chin, his neck. Illya was a banquet for a connoisseur like Mark. His tongue teased Illya's forward, coaxing it into his mouth, and once there, Slate sucked on it, like a Popsicle on a hot day. This was heaven. Mark thought he could stay like this forever, connected to this man in this most innocent act of foreplay.
Only, his cock had other ideas!
Mark spent several minutes smooching with the Russian before reluctantly pulling away. He allowed his hand to rest nonchalantly on Illya's upper thigh, resting his fingers just under the hem of the Russian's shorts. His throat felt suddenly dry and he coughed to clear it. "Well, I think you've got the hang of that."
Kuryakin nodded in agreement. "It wasn't that bad," he agreed.
"Ready for the next stage?" Slate asked.
The next stage? Intrigued, Kuryakin shrugged. This wasn't as hard as he'd thought it would be. In fact, it was quite pleasant. "Okay."
"Now we need to get you used to the feel of another man's cock," Mark said, using the same matter-of-fact tone of voice that their instructor had used. He began to pull off his sweatpants, while Illya looked awkwardly in another direction. Mark tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. "C'mon. Lose the shorts." The Russian looked uncertain. "Illya, it's not like I haven't seen a man's willy before," he said reasonably.
Illya hesitated. If he removed his shorts, he was giving consent to an act that would get him imprisoned in his own country. On the other hand, with Mark's assistance, there might not be a need for him to return in the immediate future. It was a good argument in its favor. His hands quickly undid the zip and tugged off the cotton shorts before he had a change of heart. "Now what?" he asked nervously, painfully aware that they were now both naked.
"Just sit back and do what I say," Mark said, following his own advice, so they both rested back against the colossal stone, looking out towards the sea. He glanced at his blond companion. Kuryakin was staring straight ahead, chin proudly tipped upwards as he awaited Slate's directions.
Mark knew he couldn't rush this. Illya needed to be gently coaxed, like a nervous colt, otherwise he'd run. It was a testament to the man's desperation to pass, the fact that he allowed himself to be exposed this way. Mark sat in silence a few minutes, giving Kuryakin time to get used to the situation.
Slowly, Mark's hand rose to his own penis, already partly swollen by the excitement of the circumstances he found himself in. "Now, take hold of your cock," Slate ordered the blond, casting his eyes towards his companion without turning his head: Kuryakin might lose his courage if he thought Slate was watching him. The long fingers rose, wrapping loosely about the Russian's penis. "Stroke it, slowly. Get it hard. Think of some pretty little blonde. Imagine her naked," Slate advised, tightening his hand around his own hardening penis as he imagined his own pretty, little, naked blond. Mark could feel his cock growing rapidly, hot with the rush of blood that filled it, a combination of his own manual stimulation and the sight of Illya fondling himself. "Now, with your other hand..."
"I know," Kuryakin said impatiently. "I have done this before."
"Of course you have," Mark said smiling. All men indulged in masturbation, starting from an early age. At the public school he'd attended, Mark's awakening curiosity had been shared by his fellow classmates. He remembered with fondness, the occasional 'spunking' races he and his young dormmates indulged in as fourteen-year-olds. First one to come, got half of everyone's pocket money for that week.
He glanced over, noticing that the Russian was only very slowly becoming erect. Perhaps it was time to move on to the next step before it wilted altogether.
"Now," Mark continued, using the same instructive tone, "the feel of another man's cock in your hand isn't going to feel that much different from your own. Keep your eyes closed and give me your hand." He watched as Kuryakin shut his eyes and offered up his hand. Mark took it, noticing it was still warm from where it had been, and placed it on his own pulsing cock. Illya gasped and tried to pull away but Mark didn't relinquish his grip. "Illya, do you want to pass this course or not? Now, just relax."
Illya sighed and forced his nerves to calm as Mark manipulated his hand, placing it around his erection. Despite Slate's reassurances, it felt strange, feeling another man's penis.
"Take hold of it," Mark urged, as his companion's fingers curled loosely around Slate's cock. "Tighter," he ordered. Kuyakin's hand squeezed him a little too tightly but Mark welcomed the pain with a light sigh of contentment. It had been a long time since he'd wanted another man's hands on his body.
"Okay, now I'm going to do the same to you," he warned Illya, carefully moving to take hold of the pale semi-erect cock, resting on his thigh. It twitched on contact, and Mark felt his own twitch in empathy. As he began to slowly slide his hand up the organ, he heard Illya's sharp intake of breath and felt the flesh slowly expand in his grip. Like himself, Illya was uncut. Mark loosened his fingers a little, feeling the velvet jacket of skin move over the hardening erection. As Kuryakin's cock thickened, the skin became taut, so that Slate could feel the veins beneath, pulsing with blood.
Illya's hand on Slate's erection remained firm but still, his concentration centered entirely on the sensations that came from his own groin. He could hardly believe he was doing this, sitting with a virtual stranger, both of them naked—holding onto Slate's cock like a drowning man hanging onto a life belt.
And it all felt so normal.
Illya felt Slate's hand wrap around the one he had on the Englishman's cock, encouraging the Russian into motion. Belatedly, Illya released the breath he'd been holding and returned the courtesy, tugging his companion's cock in a slow, steady rhythm that matched the one Slate used.
"Okay," Mark breathed, trying to keep his mind on the exercise. "That's good. Touch it like you'd touch your own. Oh, yesss..." He closed his eyes and allowed himself to enjoy the mutual gratification. He was fairly sure that Kuryakin was enjoying it, too.
After a while, Illya's breathing had deepened until he was audibly panting while Slate masturbated him with a perfect grasp. A couple more minutes and it would be over for his new friend. Slate wanted it to last a little longer. He reluctantly pulled his hand away. "Let's take a breather, shall we?"
They separated, but not by much, each man lost in his own thoughts for the moment, trying to dampen the heat rising between them. Illya went back to his star-gazing, while Slate closed his eyes and considered his next move.
Annoyingly, a high pitched buzz near his face told Mark that a mosquito was close by looking for a free meal. His hand rose to swat the annoying insect away and he caught Illya's scent on his fingers. He scratched at his nose, deeply inhaling the male musk. The aroma made him giddy, aroused, turned his impatient cock into a rod of steel. God, he smelled so good. Mark had to have a taste of this man. Tonight. Now.
When Slate felt he had a modicum of control, he suggested, "I'd like to show you something a little different. Is that all right with you?" He waited for his companion to nod his approval, give his consent. Slate licked his lips and swallowed the saliva that his taste buds had begun to produce in copious quantities. He moved down Illya's body, gathered up the blond's cock and lowered his head until he was looking directly at the eye peeking out of the sheath of Kuryakin's penis. It seemed to be looking back at him.
Slate smiled happily and gently drew the loose skin down, exposing the shiny, dark rose crown of sensitive skin. With a mind of its own, his tongue slipped out and swiped across the head. Stunned, Kuryakin bucked, nearly pushing his cock down Mark's throat. Mark would have been happy to oblige the keen organ, but he was a man who liked routine; first the head, then the long stem, and a taste of those sweet, juicy little meatballs before he swallowed the cock whole. This gorgeous man was to be savored slowly, one glorious inch at a time.
Slowly, he licked around the head, under the rim of the crown, down one side of the shaft until he encountered the softly furred balls at the base. He licked around one, then sucked the plum shaped testicle into his mouth. Illya groaned loudly, squirming under the exquisite assault as Mark transferred his attention to the its twin, before releasing it and licking his way back up the hard cock. When he reached the head, his mouth opened wide and engulfed the organ until it touched the back of his throat.
It was incredibly sexy, having this power over the Russian, the power to bring him such pleasure. And so arousing, knowing he was the first man to touch Illya this intimately, and certainly the first man to taste his cock.
On the Island, Illya had caught the attention of several of his fellow students, though the Russian seemed oblivious—or indifferent—to their subtle advances. It earned him the reputation of being somewhat cold. Mark had suspected that below that frosty exterior there beat a heart of pure passion. And, judging from the responses he was getting, how right he was. Still waters run deep, he thought, remembering something his sister had said once after she'd discovered her innocent little brother kissing her boyfriend.
He set himself a rhythm, sliding his mouth up and down the length of Illya's penis, sucking on the shaft as he manipulated the testicles beneath, applying just the right amount of pressure.
Kuryakin's head was buzzing. He'd only had this done to him once before and the lady wasn't as adept at his particular craft as Slate apparently was. And this most certainly was not in the manual, at least not in such detail. This was something the Englishman had gleaned from experience. "Where did you learn to do this?" lllya asked, sounding out of breath.
Mark let the hard shaft slip from his mouth and grinned up at Kuryakin. "I went to an all-boys school. That's what a Public school education can do for you." He was about to return to nursing the cock in his hand, when Kuryakin shifted position. "What are you doing?" Slate asked. Surely Illya hadn't changed his mind. Kuryakin was turning, lying down, head to toe, with the Englishman. "I'm supposed to be learning, am I not?" he asked reasonably.
Mark could hardly believe his luck. Was Illya going to fellate him at the same time? His answer came when a cool hand gather up his aching cock and a whisper of breath blew across the sensitive head. He looked down and saw the Russian hovering just an inch away, indecision on his face. Mark slowly pushed his hips forward until his cock was pressing at those full lips. The lips parted and Mark felt himself engulfed in the moist warmth of Illya's mouth. It was an effort not to move, not to force more of himself down that beautiful throat, but Illya was new to this and a bad experience at this stage of the game could scare him off for good.
Instead, Mark held himself still and returned his attention to the cock in front of his face, aroused beyond imagination by the twin stimulation. This was one of his favorite positions, soixante-neuf; it doubled the pleasure for both participants. And the Russian was a quick study, a natural. Although he couldn't take Slate's entire length, he improvised, wrapping his hand around the long shaft while taking the head into his mouth.
Slate didn't have that problem. He'd learned to relax his throat, enabling him to take a man's cock right down to the very root. It was a skill that took a lot of practice—and Mark did so like to practice. His hand moved from its position on Illya's hip and slid around to his butt, pulling the Russian in deep. He breathed in through his nose and the scent of Illya's masculinity went straight to his groin.
It was the last straw. Mark didn't think he could hold on much longer. He could feel his impending orgasm, the tell-tale contraction of his balls as his body prepared to discharge its cargo of sperm. He pulled his cock away from Illya's mouth but wasn't quite quick enough. The ejaculate splattered over the Russian's face, covering his chin and cheek with creamy, white semen. Mark hadn't meant to come over his poor apprentice but, amazingly, this seemed to be the catalyst for Illya's orgasm as Mark felt the cock in his mouth harden even more before delivering the thick, warm come down his welcoming throat. Mark drank his fill until Illya pulled his cock from between his lips.
In the ensuing silence, they could almost hear each other's heartbeats.
Mark ignored the lethargy that followed a great orgasm and moved around to position himself next to the Russian. "Are you sure you've never done this before?" he asked.
"Positive. I'm think I would have remembered," Illya replied in between breaths as he lay panting. His heart-rate was slowly returning to normal.
"That was unbelievable," Mark replied, genuinely impressed.
"I had a good teacher." The sweat on Illya's back was cooling quickly in the evening breeze. He turned his face towards his companion. "Really, Mark, how was it? Do you think I'll pass next month's exam?"
Slate lay gazing up at the night sky, but in the pale moonlight, Illya saw the Englishman smile smugly. "Well, if I were using Cutter's grading system, I'd have to say it was adequate."
"Adequate?" Kuryakin repeated, an edge of hurt in his voice. He pushed up onto one elbow to look down into the Englishman's sparkling eyes.
"Mmm," Slate said with a smile. "You just need a little more practice." He raised a hand, combing the overlong blond hair over the Russian's ear. "I'd be happy to oblige."
"Indeed," Kuryakin murmured, mollified. He lay back down, looking up at the stars. They seemed brighter, somehow. "I suppose... I suppose I could do with a little more... training. To be certain I have the basics, you understand."
"Oh, absolutely," Mark replied. "The basics. Then, perhaps, we could move onto something a little more advanced."
"Oh?" Kuryakin tried to sound casual but his voice quivered slightly as he added, "If you think that would help."
Mark slipped an arm under Illya's shoulder and pulled him a little closer. "I think it would help a great deal. And I'm only thinking of your welfare...."
The following day....
Mark Slate dropped down onto his bunk with a heavy sigh, rubbing at the soreness in his thighs. Another two hours on a rigorous assault course he'd just barely managed to complete alive.
Survival School! He wondered if anyone ever did—survive that is. Training was a gruelling eight hours a day—five hours of classes, three hours of practical training—and the remainder of the day, though ostensibly free time, was often spent nervously avoiding one of Cutter's traps or spot checks. It wasn't unknown for the Island's chief to organize physical attacks on students as they traversed the camp.
Still, Slate thought, just another month to get through. It shouldn't be too difficult, especially now he'd found such an interesting distraction for those dull evenings. He smiled to himself. Illya, sweet Illya. Just the thought of that mouth, those lips, wrapped around his cock...
He felt the stirring of an erection pressing against his fatigues and turned over in his bunk to hide the evidence.
Illya's sex education would continue tonight, if they could find some privacy. One of the study rooms, maybe. They had lockable doors and a large table. The idea of that pale skin, naked against that dark, mahogany wood... Perhaps, tonight, he could show him the joys of....
A tap at the door interrupted his musings. The freckled face of John Connor peeked around the frame.
"Mark? Jules Cutter wants to see you in his office right away."
Mark groaned, trying to ignore his aching back and his equally aching prick as he carefully sat up and hauled himself from the comfort of his bed and the seduction of his daydreams.
Mark sat silently on the opposite side of the desk as Cutter's eyes flickered through the file in his hand. The expressive gray eyes roved over one page then another until finally he laid the sheaf of papers down on the table top before him, folding his hands on top. "Your results, so far, are impressive, Slate. High scores on the firing range, karate class, stealth and covert operations. Good results in Sex-Techs. Your overall skill rating is high."
Mark allowed himself a small visible sign of his pride, smiling faintly in acknowledgement. "Thank you, sir. I always try to put one hundred percent effort into everything I do."
Cutter continued. "But your results in explosives handling could do with improving. You're dangerously close to failing in that area."
"I'm working on that, sir," Mark answered truthfully, though munitions were not on his mind at the moment.
Cutter nodded. "Good. I don't like to see any of my students fail."
Cutter leaned back in his chair, measuring the young man before him with a practiced eye as his fingers drummed impatiently on the desk surface.
Cutter was a man who liked to be in charge. In his presence, you didn't talk unless an answer was specifically required. The awkward silence stretched out, grating on Mark's fragile nerves. After a few tense moments, Cutter suddenly demanded, "Well, Slate?"
Caught off guard by the unexpected and vague question, a puzzled Mark Slate straightened in his chair and asked, "Sir?"
"I gave you a task to undertake!" Cutter barked. "I'd like to know if it was completed to my satisfaction."
Ah! Inwardly, Mark smiled, warmed by a recent memory. "Yes, sir. I don't foresee any problems. I think you'll be pleased with the final results."
"Good, good." Cutter huffed. The young pup was entitled to his arrogance. Under his innocuous exterior, this one was confident, intelligent and popular amongst his classmates. Unlike some students, Mark Slate didn't flaunt his sexuality, preferring to maintain a friendly relationship with his fellow students, except when the occasion called for it.
And now, he'd had the perfect opportunity to put his skills to good use. The task he had been assigned had been a challenging one. Cutter picked up the second file on his desk, studying the photo attached to the front.
Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin, exactly the opposite in every respect: introvert, quiet and with as many friends on the island as Cutter had mothers. The Russian kept to himself, avoiding the social gatherings of the students, making no attempt to interact with the others. It wasn't a language problem—his English was near perfect—and the boy was smart, there was no denying that, almost unbeatable when it came to firearms and explosives. An eye sharper than a hawk and reflexes faster than a cat. But an U.N.C.L.E. agent often needed more than intelligence and quick responses to complete an assignment. Information gathering was an essential part of espionage, and a well-rounded agent should use whatever means at his disposal to acquire that information, by fair means or foul.
Sex: it could be used as a means of persuasion, coercion or, even, bribery. All were considered legitimate and useful tools of the spy trade.
Kuryakin was hand shy and green when it came to sex and if he was going to complete this course successfully—and Cutter was determined that the Russian would—then someone was going to have to cure him of his reticence.
"Of course," Cutter continued, fiddling idly with a letter opener, "he'll require more... experience in this area. One on one, so to speak. Will that be a problem?"
This time Mark couldn't hide a smile. One on one—sounded just perfect to him. "You're ordering me continue with his...education, sir? On a regular basis?"
"It shouldn't be a problem for you. Consider it an assignment."
"Consider it done," Mark said a little too quickly. "Sir," he added, as an afterthought. He tried to tamper down his enthusiasm.
It was Cutter's turn to smile. Oh, yes, Slate would see to it that his young Soviet agent wouldn't fail. Of that he had no doubt.
With his customary abruptness he snapped, "Dismissed," and returned his attention to the paperwork on his desk.
Slate rose and left, grateful to be away from Cutter. The man had the sort of personality that would leave a seasoned marine quaking in his boots. He did however, have one redeeming feature—he was a good judge of the young agents in his care and would go to any lengths to ensure their success on this course.
Which was currently in his favor. He should thank Cutter, one day.
Slate glanced at his watch. Just enough time for a quick kip and a shower before his preparations for tonight's meeting with the young Russian. For the first time since his arrival here, Slate felt happy.
One month later.....
Cutter sat with the final results of his students before him and allowed himself to smile. Another faultless outcome, another satisfying result on Jules Cutter's spotless record.
He glanced over the list—all passes, though Li Cheung had come dangerously close to failing the 'Interrogation' test. Still, Cutter had made sure he had an incentive to pass and the 'inducement' had apparently worked. Cutter was able to instil the sort of fear into students that made the threat of torture seem like a Sunday picnic.
His eyes continued to scan down the list of names, checking out the scores.
Slate and Kuryakin. Another two who'd come dangerously close to failing, each lacking in an area that the other excelled in.
Cutter's particular forte was his managerial skills, his ability to manipulate others. Yes, Cutter thought to himself, this arrangement had worked quite nicely. Kuryakin's SexTech's grades, whilst not the amongst the highest, were more than adequate to pass this part of the course and besides, the boy's good looks would go a long way to helping him in any seduction attempts.
The bonus of Cutter's little scheme had been that Slate's skills with demolitions had improved markedly, too. Cutter wondered if he could manage to swing things to keep the Russian on a little longer to give instruction. Kuryakin was a good teacher in this area—as good as Slate was in SexTechs, apparently.
He put the results aside and stood. Time to dispense the good news. He picked up a bundle of envelopes from the top of his desk, and walked over to the students barracks, where the whole group of students had been gathered into one room
His entrance had an amazing effect on the students. The noisy chatter he'd heard through the closed door, ceased immediately on opening it. It was as though someone had switched them off and cut their strings. All movement stopped as the room went instantly silent.
Cutter looked at them for a moment, enjoying the discomfort he knew his stare had on each student his gaze fell upon. Then he pulled up a chair and stood on it, looking down at the heads of the group of youngsters.
"Gentlemen, ladies. Today is your last day on this island. Tomorrow is the start of your new career. Remember, this isn't the end; this is just the beginning. The things you've learned here these last few months are designed to assist you in the field. It may not be sufficient to keep you alive but it goes a long way towards helping. The rest is up to you." He took the bundle of envelopes and held them aloft. "Here are your assignments. You'll be shipped out this afternoon and start your duties the following week." He passed the bundle to the nearest recruit for distribution, then Cutter paused and coughed to clear his throat. "Well... good luck to you all." These were the first encouraging words he'd said during their entire stay.
He jumped down from the chair. "Oh, Mr. Kuryakin, I'd like to see you in my office, oh-eleven-hundred hours." He glanced one last time over his brood of newly qualified recruits. "At ease."
Cutter turned and left and as the door closed, he heard their raucous, excited chatter resume.
He always felt a tinge of regret on the last day. He knew everyone thought him cold but that was the nature of the job. The fact was, each time it was like saying goodbye to his family. At least they were better prepared. One more successful batch of youngsters to send out into the world, better equipped for the task now than they were several months ago.
He crossed the parade ground briskly and headed for his office. Time for a quick snort and a night's relaxation before the next group of neophytes arrived.
"What did you get?" Mark asked, looking over the blond's shoulder at the orders.
"Section Two, New York. How about you?"
"Section Two, London. Back to civilization in the morning, then. First night home, it'll be straight down the pub for a decent pint, followed by a fish and chip supper." His excitement fizzled as he saw the worry on his friend's face. "What's wrong?"
"New York. It's big. I won't know anyone."
Slate smiled. Did Illya really not know how attractive he was? He was a magnet for the birds—and blokes, too. "Trust me, Illya, you'll make friend in no time. And we'll keep in touch. Maybe we'll bump into each other one day." Mark grinned as an idea suddenly came to mind. "Hey, listen. I have a friend in the New York office, a really decent chap. I did a bit of foot-work for him when he was on assignment in London. We became great mates. You should look him up." Mark took Illya's papers from his hand and scribbled a name and telephone number on the back before handing it back. Illya looked at it and his brows rose in disbelief. Mark chuckled. "Yes, I know, but it is his real name, I swear."
"Napoleon Solo?" Illya murmured.
"You should check him out. I think you'll find him very.... accommodating." Mark shoved his papers into his breast pocket. "Hey! Maybe you'll get teamed up with him. Now, that would make an interesting combination," he teased. "C'mon," he said, throwing his arm over his friend's shoulder. "Let's go and celebrate in the canteen with a cup of that boiled piss they pass off as tea."
Later that day, U.N.C.L.E.'s newest agents stood about in groups on the base camp's airstrip. An airplane stood nearby, its noisy engines running, waiting to whisk the young agents to their destinations. All except one, that is; Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin had been persuaded to stay a little longer to train the next batch of recruits in explosives handling.
Most of the students had boarded and just a few remained, making the most of their last cigarette before they boarded the smoke-free airplane.
Slate and Kuryakin stood near the base of the boarding steps leading up to Mark's flight. Mark stepped nearer Kuryakin, or as near as he dared without drawing too much attention. He felt sad. He wished they had more time, and privacy, to say their goodbyes. "I'll miss you, Illya," he told him quietly. "I hope we meet again one day."
Illya smiled. "We will, Mark," he said with certainty. "And I look forward to it."
They shook hands amiably with a grip that was reluctant to part. Slate hoisted his bag further up his shoulder and turned away. As he walked up the steps, he looked back and said, "Don't forget. When you're in New York, be sure to look up Napoleon." He grinned and waved, disappearing from sight into the interior of the aircraft.
Illya stood back and watched as the steps were pulled away and the door pulled closed. He watched as the plane taxied down the runway and lumbered into the air. He stayed until it was out of sight before turning and heading back to the barracks.
Another two months on Cutter's island. Oh, well, it gave him time to get used to the idea that he was now officially an U.N.C.L.E. agent. At least the instructor's accommodations were a little more private.
In an act of pride, Illya pulled his transfer papers out of his pocket to look at them again and his eye caught the unusual name Slate had printed there. Napoleon Solo.... Illya had already made up his mind not call the man. His brief encounter with Mark, while both pleasant and educational, would not be repeated once he was in New York. These things were best left in the closet. Besides, how could you take seriously a man named after a French despot?
He slipped the paper back into his pocket and trotted briskly towards the camp. He had thought to visit the canteen, as a strange feeling lodged in his stomach. At first he thought it was hunger but now he recognized it for what it was; nerves, anxiety, anticipation of things unknown.
In the not-too-distant future, he would have a new job, a new home and a new life. And maybe, one day, new friends. He would have to see. Perhaps he'd give this Napoleon Solo a call after all....