I Do, I Do, I Do
"I can't understand this. I've faced down a dozen men with guns, undergone torture, teetered at the end of the world and I've never done anything that's scared me so much." Napoleon glanced into the mirror he stood before and caught his partner's gaze from the bed.
"We don't have to do this, Napoleon." Illya stopped fussing with his tie for the moment. With ease, he moved to his lover and slipped his arms around him. "We can stop this anytime, even now. I can go down and tell everyone to go home," he whispered into an ear. "And it would be just the two of us again...alone."
"After all the money we've sunk into this? Not on your life. And all that food, I don't think so."
"Cheap, cheap, cheap," Illya murmured, nuzzling his neck. "How about if we just skip the ceremony then and go right to the sex? I'm about to come out of my skin." He pressed closer and Napoleon smiled at the pressure against his hip.
"Interesting word choice, my friend. Everyone at headquarters always used to peg me as the sex machine. You, my friend, leave me in the dust when you get going. However, you promised—no sex until after the reception."
"I must have been drunk or out of my mind to agree to that." Illya rested his head against Napoleon's shoulder and sighed. Napoleon turned in his arms and insinuated his hands between them, his nimble fingers working on Illya's tie. "Celibacy is not what it's cracked up to be."
"What did you do all those months without sex?"
"I've never gone months without sex, Napoleon. A sex partner, perhaps, but never without sex." Illya waggled his fingers. "It's the 'hand off' part that's killing me. I feel like I'm dying of thirst and handed a bottle of water with its cap glued on." Napoleon shook his head ruefully, finished tying the tie in a matter of seconds and presented Illya to the mirror.
"And believe me, the wait will be worth it." Napoleon grinned. "The first I got married..." The words sudden caught on his tongue. Illya didn't seem to notice. "There you are, perfect."
"And you look pretty good too. Thanks." Illya caught Napoleon's hand and kissed the fingers. "Love you."
"I love you too." Napoleon mirrored the move, his mouth lingering on those capable fingers, tucking away the images that had sprung unbidden to his mind. Joyce had been so beautiful that day, his mom so happy. Chelsea hadn't seen a do like that before and Napoleon was on Cloud Nine. He was marrying the woman of his dreams and his life was stretched out in front of him in a number of various possibilities, all of them wonderful simply because of the woman by his side. Then eight months later it was all ripped away from him with a patch of ice and a squeal of brakes. He remembered struggling with the ambulance drivers and the police, trying to get to his new wife's side, only to see a sheet pulled over her face. Abruptly, Illya's voice filtered through to him and Napoleon blinked away the memory and smiled at the blond.
"Napoleon, are you all right."
"Umm, why do you ask?" Napoleon buried his nose in Illya's hair, inhaling his scent, letting it calm his jack hammering heart.
"You...just went away for awhile." Illya permitted it for a moment and then pulled away.
"Nerves, that's all. Aren't you even a little anxious?"
"Terrified, but since you keep insisting on no sex until afterwards, I'm keeping my eyes on the prize, my friend. This sort of reminds me of going in to see Waverly the first time. I thought I was going to lose control of all my major muscles groups then." There was a tap on the door and both men looked toward it.
"Cara, are you about ready?" Matt looked dapper in his dark suit, but not less nervous. "Sarah is in place and it's time."
"Had I known we were going to have a heat wave, I would have suggested tank tops and shorts," Illya muttered, scooping up his own jacket.
"There's my little fashion plate," Napoleon murmured, gesturing to the bathroom. "You will, at least, comb your hair...with a comb, won't you?"
"Are you two sure you're not already married?" Matt joked. "Chef, are you ready for the long walk?"
"Great, now it sounds like we're facing a firing squad," Illya said from the bathroom. "I feel much better now, thank you."
"Been there, done that, this is worse." Napoleon ran his fingers over his lapels, making sure they were lying flat. "This friend of yours, Matt, she does know CPR, doesn't she?" He took a deep breath. "I may well need it before we're through."
"Or afterwards," Illya said around his mouthful of toothpaste.
"Just be glad you didn't write your own vows, Cara. You just have to remember to say 'I do' at the proper time." Matt adjusted Napoleon's boutonniere and gestured to the bedroom door. "In fifteen minutes, this will be just a memory and you will be together forever."
When it was apparent that Matt wasn't going to let either man stay behind, Napoleon started to walk towards him. "Why is 'Volga Boatmen' suddenly coming to mind?"
"Ey ukhnyem! Ey ukhnyem! Yeshtsho razik, yeshtsho da ras!" Illya sang softly as he wiped his mouth off on a towel. "Which translates to 'All together, all together, once again, one more time!' "
"I do speak Russian, you know," Napoleon said. "I'm sort of happy I did. I still think that was part of the reason Waverly paired us up initially."
Illya entered, smiling a delightful, cat eating a canary, smile. "I was aware, Napoleon, yes. I don't know about you, but I'm only doing this once. I will never put myself through this again, I swear." Then Illya paused and glanced over at Napoleon. "But I keep forgetting, this isn't your first time, is it? Joyce, wasn't it?"
"What a day that was," Napoleon replied, his expression growing wistful. Illya caught the change and he glanced over at his business partner. "Matthew, could you give us a moment?"
Matt glanced from one to the other and nodded, "But just a moment. The guests will be up to carry you down with pitchforks, torches and kitchen implements if you delay much longer."
Illya waited for the redhead to leave the bedroom and close the door behind him. Illya reached out and took Napoleon's hand, leading him to the bed. He sat, pulling Napoleon down beside him.
"The memories, they still hurt, don't they? Even after all these years?" He stroked Napoleon's hair gently. "If I'd thought this was going to put you through one moment of pain, my love, I would have never agreed to it. This ceremony doesn't make what we have any more legal or accepted."
"I would have insisted anyways. I'm not ashamed of what or who we are, Illya, and I want people to know that. I love you just as much as I ever loved Joyce. I just can't help feeling..."
"I'd prefer it, yes."
"The time I spent with Joyce was the happiest time of my life and I spent years running from those memories, screwing anything I could get my hands on just to keep from remembering. Until met you and then, my whole world shifted." He took Illya's hand, stroking the back of it tenderly. "I don't want to lose my world again."
"You won't; I swear." Illya kissed him, merely brushing his lips against Napoleon's, then Napoleon captured his face, pressing their lips together in a searing, no holds barred kiss. Automatically he reached out, pulling Illya close to him, bodies suddenly locked in an impossibly tight embrace. Through it, he heard Illya groan, the familiar sound of completion. Illya dropped his head to Napoleon's shoulder and swore softly. "So close," he muttered.
"You didn't just..."
"I told you I was on the edge." Illya winced. "At least I know why I wore underwear today."
"Just from kissing me?" Napoleon looked down at Illya's groin. "Well, at least one of us will be relaxed going into the ceremony."
"Uh huh, your lips should be registered as lethal." He kissed Napoleon again. "No regrets?"
"Only for time wasted."
"Then let's make the most of what we have." Illya stood up and winced again. "I've got to change first, Napoleon. I'll never get through the ceremony like this."
"Yes, of course, I'll be right outside then."
Napoleon exited the bedroom, half shutting the door behind him. Matt, who had been leaning on the railing, was immediately all attention. "Is there a problem, Cara?"
"Not anymore. We were just having a little...discussion."
"And where is Chef?"
"He needed to take care of something we discussed."
"I see...well, really I don't, but perhaps some mistero is a good thing." Napoleon followed Matt to the hallway and started down the stairs. One of Jesus' boys saw him and darted out into the kitchen. "Ellos vienen, ellos vienen!" He heralded Napoleon's way.
"No backing out now, Cara. Soon it will be Napoleon Solo, the married man." Matt laughed as Napoleon drew a finger across his own throat. Illya emerged from the bedroom, still struggling with his tie as he trailed after them.
"I can't believe I've forgotten how to tie a necktie. I wore one for years."
"Blotted it from your memory, did you?"
"I hate wearing suits. The last time I was in a suit was five years ago." Illya ran a hand beneath his collar. "Or was it six?"
"I could tell from the cut of the one hanging in your closet." Napoleon caught him and slapped his hand. "Leave it alone; you look wonderful."
"I'd feel better if I was wearing a chef's coat."
"And those checkered pants? Not on your life, Kuryakin. I will not walk down the aisle with a man in checks."
"I thought we were coming in the sides."
"Figuratively speaking, I meant. You go in through the kitchen. I'm coming in from the restaurant side. Matt, you watch him, don't let him start messing with things in there or we'll never get this under way."
"And risk you bolting at the chance of delay?" Illya shook his head. "Rocky, you stick to him like glue."
"Already covered, Chef." Rocky appeared and linked arms with Napoleon.
"Come on, handsome, you're with me." He half dragged Napoleon through the living room door.
Illya chuckled and watched the two walk out. "You'd never know that he's faced down entire platoons of enemy soldiers, held the world's fate in his hand and laughed about it." Matt chuckled and Illya sighed. "Wait until it's your turn, Mattie. This wedding thing messes with your mind in ways you can't imagine."
"You ready, Cara?" Matt offered him an elbow and Illya nodded. "No second thoughts?"
"I just had this discussion with Napoleon. This should have happened years ago. We wasted so much time on our pride, Mattie."
"You weren't the people you were meant to be yet, Cara." He brushed the hair back off Illya's forehead. "You have to believe that this is the right thing at the time."
"And the right man," Illya said as they left the kitchen and walked into the courtyard. The area was really too small for any chairs, so most of the attendees stood. Head swiveled towards him and Illya balked. Matt tugged him onward towards where Napoleon stood flirting outrageously with Sarah, the minister marrying them.
"You're really too much, Napoleon," she said softly, a smile never leaving her lips as they watched Illya's approach.
"Would you deny a dying man one last fling?"
"Dying, are you? Is the thought of being married that bad? That's not what you led me to believe during our premarital chat. And he looks pretty hot to me."
"That's the problem. The thought of being married is fabulous; its' the heat that's killing us." Napoleon smiled as Matt delivered Illya and stood behind him.
"Then let's get this show on the road. Will you join hands?" she asked, smiling, and then addressed the group of people. "George Elliot wrote, 'What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?' We are here today to see these two men pledge their commitment to one another..."
Illya concentrated on sliding the ring onto Napoleon's left ring finger, carefully easing it past the knuckle without taking any skin with it. Like his, it was a gold band with three respectable diamonds seated in it. Illya was suddenly and irrationally struck by the difference in their hands. Napoleon's hands were finely shaped, his fingers tapered and elegant, manicured and smooth while his were broad and blocky, scarred from years of abuse, first as an UNCLE agent and then as a chef. Just like them, so different and yet so entwined with one another.
He repeated the words that Napoleon had just finished saying. "This ring is an outward sign of my commitment to you and to our future together. I ask that you accept it and wear it with honor and love."
"I will," Napoleon's voice was rock steady, unlike a few moments early when it had been his turn in the hot seat.
"Then, by the exchange of these rings, your oaths to each other and your love, I pronounce you life partners." Sarah leaned in just a bit. "You know what to do now, boys."
Napoleon dipped in and kissed Illya gently, pulling back almost immediately.
"That's not a kiss," someone shouted. "Do it like you mean it."
Napoleon locked eyes with Illya, who merely hunched his shoulders. "Must I do everything myself, Napoleon?" He took Napoleon's face between the palms of his hands and kissed him thoroughly to thunderous applause.
Illya leaned back in the window seat and sighed. His jacket and tie were long gone, his shirt was half open and he had no idea where his cuff links had gone. He'd gone through all the motions, did the receiving line, ate wedding cake, posed for far too many photos, danced with anyone who asked, and obligingly kissed Napoleon upon demand. He was exhausted from too much celebrating, too much socializing and the inevitable wind down from too much adrenaline. There was only one thing he wanted right now and he couldn't believe that Napoleon was still dancing. The man didn't know when to stop.
Mamma mia, here I go again! My, my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you Yes, I've been brokenhearted Blue since the day we parted Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, even if I say Bye bye, leave me now or never Mamma mia, it's a game we play Bye bye doesn't mean forever
Illya listened to the lyrics to Mamma Mia, surprised at how much they paralleled his relationship with his lover. As Napoleon passed close by, Illya put two fingers to his mouth and whistled. Napoleon glanced up, surprised, and Illya hooked a finger at him. Murmuring an apology to Sarah, Napoleon escorted her from the small dance floor and joined his partner.
"Have you finally run out of steam?" Napoleon asked, settled down beside Illya.
"Me? You've danced with everyone here at least three times. You must be having fun."
Napoleon grinned. "This is so much better than the first time around."
"I was young and still pretty socially awkward. I didn't dance well, couldn't hold my liquor and was terrified of most of Joyce's relatives. Not exactly a fun time. Now, everything's shifted and even better, you're here. I loved Joyce, don't get me wrong, but I never thought of her as an equal. I wanted to shelter her and take care of her, but I never saw her as anything but a woman." He kissed Illya and then pulled away to murmur. "And you I see as nothing but my equal. Dance with me, amante."
"Don't you ever get tired?"
"Why? The night's young. It's only...two o'clock in the morning? How the hell did that happen?" Napoleon shook his wrist and glared at the watch again, holding it to his ear.
"Sort of the question I propose to you. I suspect it's a bit late to head over to Bambridge tonight, but what do you say we blow this place?" He moved closer to Napoleon until his lips brushed against Napoleon's ear. "And blow? I don't think I can wait much longer."
"Mmm, I'm liking the sound of that suggestion very much. We should leave now while I still have some energy left."
"Don't worry about that. You just have to lie there. I'll take care of everything else."
"And now I'm just a little concerned for my continued well-being. Oh, the horrors, Napoleon Solo, ravaged like a common bar wench."
"There is nothing common about you, Napoleon."
Napoleon stood and offered a hand up to Illya, who slid off the cushion easily and kept hold of the hand. He caught Matt's eye and nodded to the door.
"Are you two out of here?" Rocky bounced up, still in his ABBA glory. Illya chuckled at the necktie the waiter wore around his head like a headband. That's where his tie went. He'd forgotten they tossed them in lieu of the traditional bouquet and garter belt.
"Yes, and, Rocky, do me a favor?"
"Of course, Chef."
"Keep the music really loud for the next hour." Illya grinned. "Or thereabouts."