The Nickname Affair
They had been partners for a year. It had taken Illya some effort to get used to Napoleon's mannerisms but now he just silently shook his head or smiled indulgently whenever he witnessed his partner courting the fairer sex. They were now good friends and Illya was quite pleased with the way things were between them.
Napoleon had made it a habit to nickname his friend. 'Smart Russian', well, Illya took that as a compliment. 'IK', even though he didn't like it, he could live with it. And 'Filthy' he chose to ignore. But now Napoleon had gone too far.
At the end of that awful Paris affair the equally awful Madame Grushenka had insisted on calling him 'Illyusha' and 'Illyushenka', as if he was a three-year-old boy sitting on her lap. He had put on his repelling glasses and stared at her disapprovingly until she fell silent, but of course Napoleon had already overheard her.
Never one to pass such an opportunity, Napoleon had decided that 'Illyusha' was going to be Illya's nickname until something even better came up. And it was driving Illya crazy.
He was actually fine with calling Napoleon by his given name and didn't care much for nicknames, but this constant violation of his dignity called for revenge.
Illya was sitting at his desk in their shared office, reading files, when Napoleon entered the room.
"Have you finished the reports for Mr. Waverly, Illyusha?" he asked.
"Yes, Polyona, they're on your desk," Illya replied.
Napoleon looked surprised for a split second, then smiled. "Polyona," he mused. "That sounds nice. Does it mean anything?"
Illya blushed a little. "Um, not really," he said. "I was just trying to find some Russian diminutive for your name, since you're doing the same with mine."
"Oh." Napoleon seemed less than convinced but let the subject go without further discussion.
Two days later:
"Good morning, Polyona."
"Good morning my dear Illyushenka. And how are you today?"
Somehow the affectionate greeting and the evil gleam in Napoleon's eyes didn't quite match. Illya chose to remain silent and just looked at his friend mistrustfully.
His gut feeling had not deceived him.
"By the way, Illyusha, have you met our new British agent yet? Mark Slate?"
"Did you know he speaks Russian?"
"Um, no, I didn't. Good to know. Maybe I can have a chat with him some t..."
"Polyona, hmm? Doesn't really mean anything, hmm? Just a diminutive, is it?"
His partner had moved closer with every sentence and now Illya was standing with his back against the wall, Napoleon's face so close that their noses almost touched.
"N...Napoleon, I just..."
"What, my little Illyushenka? You just thought 'log of wood' would be a good nickname for me? And you had no idea what that could be associated with, did you? No, of course you didn't! It was all totally innocent, wasn't it?"
It was impossible to retreat any further, which meant that Napoleon's body was now pressing into his and Illya could feel the part of his friend's anatomy that had made him think of that nickname in the first place.
He could also feel his own body responding and decided that offence was the best means of defence.
"Yes, Polyona, I admit I was thinking of your ability to perform under any circumstances," he said. "Of course I could call you something girlish, like Napasha. But wouldn't you rather I paid homage to your best asset?"
Napoleon was silent for a moment, except for his rather heavy breathing. Then, reluctantly, he said: "You may have a point there. In fact I'm beginning to like this nickname."
Illya gave him a smug little smile. "I thought you would," he said. "Now, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm starting to feel rather arborescent myself." He made a little thrusting move for emphasis.
Napoleon licked his lips. "Well," he said, reaching for Illya's fly, "with all that wood around, I'd say a little polishing is in order."