by GeorgiaMagnolia

He knew his partner was exhausted, it showed in the pinched look around his eyes and in the tense set of his shoulders. It had been a stressful vacation. Not much of a vacation at all, for either of them, though it was worse, he knew, for Napoleon. His partner had been going nonstop on too little sleep and too much past. He buckled his seatbelt and looked to see that Napoleon had his as well, slouched uncharacteristically against the airplane window. The plane took off and Napoleon roused when the attendant came by with drinks.

"Illya, I'm sorry, you usually have the window, shall we trade?"

"I'm perfectly comfortable, unless you'd rather?"

"No," was all Napoleon said, downed his in-flight scotch and then closed his eyes again.

Illya got worried then. Napoleon liked to sit on the outside of the airline row, the better to flirt with the pretty stewardesses.

His earlier instructions from Alexander Waverly came back to him, "I am going to need you gentlemen in Paris in a few days, so I want you to stay there, you've already got a room booked. Take a few more days of vacation, since this wasn't one, not really. I will contact you again when I need you."

Perhaps Waverly understood from the report that Illya had sent that this had not been the best time they had ever had. Though not the worst certainly, and international relations had been smoothed over, Napoleon at his charming best turning what was left of the colonel over to the authorities and both of them helping the struggling country tighten their security, convincing them not to keep the entirety of their treasury hidden in the accoutrements of royalty. But the longer they stayed, and it was as short a time as they could manage, the smoother and slicker Napoleon's charm got, a sure sign that he was hanging on by sheer will and nerve.

Illya, frankly, was never so glad to board a plane out of anywhere.

They landed and there was a nice young man from UNCLE Paris to meet them, handing over car keys and directions to their hotel, assuring them that their services were not yet required but they should expect contact from Mr. Waverly in a few days. Napoleon simply nodded and took his luggage toward the UNCLE issued car, making no move for the keys Illya still held.

"I think I'd like to sleep for all three of these days," Napoleon commented when they finally got to their room. "And hey, our Uncle sprung for a decent room, wasn't that sweet of him? Two whole entire complete beds." Napoleon and Illya made short work of looking for surveillance in the room, simply from habit not from any expectation that THRUSH or other enemies knew they were here, indeed they hadn't even known they were going to be here until they were.

Putting actions to words, Napoleon toed off his shoes, hung his jacket over the chair by one of the beds and stretched out as Illya searched out the room service menu in the table between the beds.

He hadn't even had time to read the entire menu in both French and English before Napoleon was up again, stripping off and heading for the shower. The door to the bath closed and Illya could hear the water running.

He put the menu aside and went to his own luggage, digging out what clean clothes were left and slipping what wasn't into the laundry bag provided by the hotel. This was a cut above the usual UNCLE reserved hotel rooms. He stripped and put on the robe that had been folded at the end of the bed. He thought about digging Napoleon's laundry out but the water stopped running then and shortly Napoleon emerged, towel wrapped around his hips, riding low so Illya could see the appendectomy scar, which he always checked for, ever since THRUSH had tried to switch out Napoleon for a double. He realized it was a stupid superstition, but then, his partner was hardly acting himself today. He didn't stop to contemplate the relief or the reassurance he felt.

"Laundry bag by the door if you want to add yours."

"Hmm? Oh, yes, thanks. I'll call it in." Napoleon waved toward the bath, "I left a little hot water for you."

Illya disappeared into the bath himself and Napoleon sighed. He could tell his partner was concerned. It was in the way he watched, uncharacteristic of him really, Napoleon realized. Illya was all about action, he assessed a situation in a lightning quick look and chose his way just as fast. This careful waiting had to be making him crazy and impatient. Hadn't it? He thought about the flight, their arrival at the hotel. No, Illya had been relaxed and quiet, much as he ever was. It must just be him then, feeling impatient and crazy.

He traded the towel for the robe off the end of his own bed, this place had a lot more style than the places UNCLE usually stuck them. He wondered about that for just a moment and decided not to worry about it any further. His was to go and to do, not to second guess his employer.

He threw his laundry in with his partner's and then called both the hotel laundry and bar. He slipped his weapon into his robe pocket when the knock came on the door. He tipped the waiter and handed over the laundry in exchange for the bottles, one scotch and one vodka.

He was back on the bed again by the time Illya emerged from his own shower, robed and rubbing his hair with a towel.


Illya glanced at the window and then at Napoleon, "It's past the yardarm somewhere, isn't that what you say?"

"Close enough. Didn't they say something like that on your ships?"

"Subs, Napoleon, I spent all my time on submarines."

"Hmmph," was his only answer. He poured and held the glass out.

Illya took it and raised it in a brief silent toast, and drank it down. He poured himself more and relaxed on his own bed, arranging a pillow behind his back, much as Napoleon had done on his own.

"Dinner in or out?"

"In, would you mind?"

"No, Napoleon, in is fine." Illya thought his partner might be more willing to get what was bothering him off his chest if they stayed in.

After a quiet dinner, which Illya ate all of as well as polishing off almost all of Napoleon's when he wouldn't eat more than three bites of anything, they again found themselves leaning against headboards. Illya read the paperback mystery he had gotten at the airport newsstand, Napoleon a day old newspaper that had been discarded in the airport lounge.

If he were going to be honest, the newspaper wasn't keeping his attention. Napoleon got up, poured another scotch and went to look out the window over the lights of the Parisian night.

Illya waited. Several minutes passed. Several pages were read.

"I despise betrayal. I despise feeling wrong. I especially despise knowing I should have seen it coming."

Illya marked his place in the book with the newsstand receipt and sat the book on the nightstand. He poured himself another three fingers of vodka and continued to wait. There would be more. And then perhaps the festering wound would be lanced and they could move forward again, Napoleon could move forward again, unimpeded by this specter.

"I see no reason why you should have guessed the colonel had gone rogue."

Napoleon was silent again, scotch in his glass disappearing.

"My first clue should have been Waverly's reluctance to give official support. The second clue was the colonel leaving you for captured or dead. It was unnecessary to leave you like that, he had the time, not the inclination. Hindsight being what it is, I realize it now." Napoleon drained his glass. He turned and faced Illya. "Did Waverly send you because he knew?"

"No, Napoleon. I requested leave to accompany you all on my own."

"I didn't ask you to do that."

"Did you need to?"

Napoleon didn't answer, just walked to the table and poured more scotch, then resumed his place at the window. The sparkling lights of the nighttime cityscape held no answers, nor did his own reflection in the window. He closed the curtains and returned to the bed.

"I was young when I joined up, and green with it. We all were. And the colonel turned us from a bunch of know nothing boys full of ourselves into fighting men who could face the enemy and live to see the other side of the fight. We learned loyalty. We learned something of honor. We learned that we were mortal. But we were better for it, in the end. I thought we were." Napoleon stopped, lost in the past again.

Illya continued to wait. Drank his vodka and poured some more. Napoleon's drink was forgotten in his hand.

"He had one more lesson for us," Napoleon paused, "for me. I don't want to be that man. I don't want to find myself at the end of my life scarred inside and out so badly that I would forget the lessons of honor and loyalty. I don't want to be him," he said the last word with a bitterness Illya had never heard before. Napoleon remembered the glass in his hand and drank it in one long swallow, head tilted back and throat working past the burn of alcohol meant to be savored in a sip, not downed like water.

When Napoleon looked up at Illya again, he saw the same cool blue regard he always did. What he did not see was the contempt he saw when he looked at his own gaze in the mirror. He wondered briefly why this surprised him.

"We are who we are and we do what we do for our own reasons. The world is not as black and white as our leaders would have us think, or as much as we would like it to be. We are shadows who move in the grey places between and at the end of the day try not to let that change us into men like the colonel who lose sight of their path. He's human, Napoleon. Even angels fall, can we expect more from ourselves?"

Napoleon thought about that. Looked at his now empty glass and decided against another. He sat it on the bedside table next to Illya's also empty glass.

"Why did you? Tag along I mean."

Illya shrugged in that way he had, head falling just a little to one side and then looking straight on at Napoleon again, serious, attentive, but not pushing.

"I could say because you are the Chief Enforcement Agent or because you are my partner and superior officer, because you are my friend. I could even say that I might have thought you could use my help but those are all only partially correct. The truth is simpler and more complicated than all those things. I did so because I wanted to, because I could. And because," Illya paused then, considering if Napoleon would hear it or not.

He looked up into dark eyes full of pain and doubt, the same doubt he had been watching the last several days, since they had discovered a fortune in gems they hadn't known they were smuggling. "Napoleon, I followed you because I am who I am, and you are who you are. The same reason you returned for me. It really is that simple, and not."

Illya spread his hands, out of words and silently asking Napoleon to understand what he couldn't find words, in any of his many languages, to adequately express.

"You, Napoleon, keep me from losing myself in the grey. You're my compass, Napoleon."

Napoleon just sat watching Illya, listening, trying to understand what he was saying, realizing that he knew, even without the words, what his partner was expressing. Of course he did.

Illya could see the change, see the understanding, see more of his friend and less of the stranger he had been traveling with the last several days emerge from under the shadows.

Napoleon reached across the small space between the beds separating them, brushed hair off Illya's forehead and let his fingers trail down one cheek. Illya turned his head just enough to lean into the touch, his eyes never leaving Napoleon's.

"Thank you, tovarisch," Napoleon said softly, "for being my anchor."

Illya only smiled, a rare full smile that lit his eyes, the smile that Napoleon saw so infrequently that he always took note, determined to see it again.

The second day in Paris dawned clear and bright, a beautiful sunny day that reminded them that life was sometimes sweet. They spent the morning reading newspapers over breakfast at a sidewalk café and then wandered down the busy sidewalk, pretending to be tourists, cameras around their necks.

"Show me where you spent your time as a student, will you?"

"You want to see a bunch of musty library basements?"

"No, Illya, you must have had some free time to spend somewhere besides in classrooms and studying."

Illya thought about that. Yes, he had spent some of his time outside of classes and libraries. But would Napoleon really enjoy the clubs he had frequented back then? Were they even still there? And if they were, they certainly weren't open during daylight hours. But there was somewhere that was available during daylight and it wouldn't reveal anything to his partner that he wasn't ready to show.

"There is a park I rather liked, I went when I could find an hour or two free. And it isn't far if you are up for a walk."

"Lead on, partner mine." Napoleon smiled.

Illya was relieved to hear Napoleon sounding more and more like himself, and on this rare relaxed day, he was enjoying the uncomplicated company. He wasn't about to admit it, at least not to anyone but himself.

Dusk found them finished with a very nice dinner and walking back toward the hotel.

"Fancy a drink some place?"

"I know a place, should still be there," Illya considered for a moment. "We can take in a show if you like, have a drink, probably even dancing later should you find yourself so inclined."

"It might be good to work off all those pastries from lunch." Napoleon nodded and motioned for his partner to lead the way, this was his old stomping ground, after all.

A few winding turns and Illya led the way into a crowded club, glad they had stopped back at the hotel to change into something casual, they might almost blend in with the locals. It was smoky and loud, a boisterous crowd enjoying a floor show and plenty of alcohol to lubricate the machine of enjoyment.

They found a table easily enough, with a line of sight to the door and the stage and the dance floor where the girls were enticing customers out to learn new steps to old songs.

The waiter who took their order gave Illya a look up and down, Illya didn't respond, just watched Napoleon watching the dance floor, wondering if he were already marking one of the dancing girls to cut from the herd.

Their drinks arrived and the waiter made sure that Illya saw the doubled paper coasters he sat the drink on. Illya again ignored him, slipping the piece of paper between the coasters in his pocket quickly, but not fast enough. Napoleon was not as distracted by the dance floor as he had thought. Napoleon raised a brow at him, looking from his pocket and back into his eyes. When Illya only shook his head, his partner leaned close, the better to be heard.

"Gathering phone numbers so quickly? Whose eye did you catch, tovarisch?" He said it with a tease in his voice and Illya recognized the playful mood, but wasn't sure he should call the bluff.

He took the paper back out of his pocket, checking to make sure that it was as he suspected. It was.

"It's a password. For another, rather more private club. I wasn't sure it would still be in business, though I shouldn't be surprised."

"Private club? You did manage a bit of fun in your student days, didn't you?" There was a light dancing in those dark eyes Illya wasn't altogether certain he should trust.

"It never really started jumping until later, we'll give it a try if you are still interested, after a while." After several more drinks, Illya added to himself, picking up his vodka and downing it quickly, signaling the waiter for another.

One of the dancers spotted Napoleon and came to invite him out for a spin and while he was distracted with that, the waiter approached again with fresh drinks.

"My apologies, monsieur, if I misunderstood."

Trust him to get the only polite waiter in all of Paris. Illya shrugged and gave the waiter a look, "Common mistake." He said it with as much of his Cambridge studies in his voice as he could. He smiled and paid for the drinks, dismissing the waiter, who, he noticed, looked a little disappointed.

After several more drinks, a petite redhead with swirling skirts and a twinkle in her brown eyes conned Illya onto the dance floor. When he had successfully handed her off to another gentleman, he returned to the table to find Napoleon with fresh drinks.

"I never knew you were a dancer, tovarisch." Napoleon held up his drink in a toast as Illya sat and took his own drink gratefully.

"There are still a few secrets, my friend, that I like to keep for myself."

The look that lit Napoleon's eyes should have made Illya nervous, but he missed it as he tipped his head back and swallowed the stinging vodka. By the time Illya met his partner's eyes again, Napoleon had hidden the speculation.

"Think your mysterious club is hopping by now?"

Illya reached over and pushed back Napoleon's jacket cuff to see his watch, then looked back at Napoleon from very close. "It should be. Feeling brave, my friend?"

Napoleon smiled, the kind of smile that usually meant trouble for someone. Illya decided to ignore the warning signals his back brain was sending and stood, inviting Napoleon to join him with a raised brow with a nod toward the door.

On the way out the waiter from earlier gave him a smile, the sort that said he was sorry for missing out on something. Illya studiously ignored it and him, focusing on the man following him entirely too closely, the last man on the planet he should be leading off to revisit his old schoolboy haunts.

Old habits came back easily and Illya led his partner through the night darkened streets in a circuitous maze. If Napoleon wondered about the twisting route, he didn't say anything, for which Illya was thankful. Finally, they came to a little alley and Napoleon never hesitated following Illya down a set of stone stairs to a dark door. In the vestibule waited a tuxedoed doorman. Illya gave the password and the man nodded, opening the door and gesturing them inside.

"Kinda like being a spy, eh partner?"

Illya only rolled his eyes and cut a look at Napoleon that said all he needed it to. Napoleon grinned in return.

"This is a terrible idea, Napoleon. We should call it a night."

"Already? Certainly not. We don't have to stay long if you don't want to, but let's at least have a nightcap, hmmm?" Napoleon was looking through the dark interior. Seeing a vacant table, he put his hand in the small of Illya's back and led him forward. A passing waitress nodded at Napoleon as he pulled out a chair, then came back after delivering her tray of drinks.

"You want the usual?"

"Yes," was Illya's clipped reply.

Napoleon ordered a scotch and a vodka and the waitress sauntered off in the direction of the bar.

The jazz combo on the stage was thumping out a sultry mix that brought several people out of their seats and onto the dance floor, but a markedly different sound from the previous club. The drinks, when they came, were strong and with the dim lighting, it was a sensory experience of a completely different sort.

Napoleon leaned back in his chair, content to watch. The room was filled with a broad spectrum of clientele in a wide age range. He picked out several students at a table near the stage, business men at a table mid way between theirs and the dance floor. And a couple of decidedly housewifely looking ladies at the bar. The music was loud but not obnoxiously so. He did notice, however, that the quality of the atmosphere was much more relaxed here compared to the almost frenzied air to the last club they were in. So why was his partner so tense, this kind of dark jazz joint was his usual cup of tea.

He studied Illya from the corner of his eye, noted that Illya did not watch the crowd as he had at the last place. Of course, it was significantly darker in here, but still there was enough light for Napoleon to see couples pairing off to dance to or seek out the dark outskirts of the room to disappear into shadow. He noticed, of course, that the pairings were almost exclusively boy boy and girl girl, and while he didn't find this disturbing or shocking, he was a little surprised at Illya's seeming shyness. Then again, there could be something else making his partner so reticent. Not that he was all that boisterous normally, but usually when it was just the two of them out for a night on whatever town they happened to be in, he could be counted on to hold up his end of the conversation.

Illya sat, one hand in his lap, the other wrapped around his vodka, which was disappearing fast. Napoleon caught the eye of the passing waitress and signaled for another pair of drinks, though his was hardly half gone.

The waitress brought the drinks, took the payment and disappeared again. Illya seemed startled to find another full drink in front of him. But he exchanged it for the empty and continued his steady removal of vodka from the glass.

Napoleon split his watchfulness between his partner and the dance floor. Illya looked only at his glass.

What in all the hells was I thinking, Illya's internal monologue was berating and cynical. Worst idea you've ever had, Illya Nickovetch. He was startled to see another glass in front of his empty one. Napoleon had signaled the waitress while he was busy telling himself how many dozen kinds of idiot he was.

He picked it up and drank a significant portion, then noticed that Napoleon was content to nurse his scotch. Damn, Napoleon was going to draw this out, wasn't he? He really shouldn't be surprised at this self destructive streak, he was an agent of a worldwide organization that employed adrenaline addicts and people who were used to risking their lives on a daily basis, but he knew he usually managed to channel that tendency into more useful endeavors. He wanted to knock his head against the wall behind him. If he passed out he wouldn't have to face the music when Napoleon finally figured out where the hell they were.

Napoleon could feel the smile lurking on the corner of his mouth and tried to stop it. He knew he was going to fail eventually. But would it be before or after Illya owned up to knowing where they were.

Napoleon sipped his scotch, pretty good scotch too, he noted. Once more he leaned back in his chair, close enough to Illya's that it was natural to lay his arm along the back of his partner's chair. He expected Illya to say something, or at least shoot him a glare for having ordered another drink. He did neither. Napoleon continued to sip his scotch, content for the moment to observe the crowd and his quiet partner.

Halfway through his second glass it occurred to him to wonder how Illya had led the way here by such a tail losing course. His eyes widened when the truth came to him and he shot a glance at Illya, who was still keeping his eyes steadily on his glass.

Mother of all that's holy, he knew already, Napoleon thought. He almost laughed out loud. Illya was killing himself for revealing more than he meant to, Napoleon was certain of it. His partner knew exactly where they were, where he had led the way to, what he was... Napoleon stopped himself.

Was his partner offering something? Now it was Napoleon's turn to doubt. He signaled the waitress again and drained his glass.

Here was the biggest gamble he had ever been tossed, and if he blew it, he blew a lot more than a friendship. He paid the waitress and sipped the scotch, brow furrowed in concentration. How best to approach this delicate issue and not lose Illya completely. If he had this figured wrong, well, there weren't harsh enough terms to describe how very very wrong the rest of his life would be without his partner. On the other hand, if he won this gamble, he may well be the happiest man alive once morning dawned.

Illya was at the point where he was ready to run when he felt Napoleon relax against his chair, arm across the back and scotch still being sipped. He hazarded a glance at his partner and found him smiling, seemingly content to sip scotch and people watch.

Not a reprieve then, only a delay. He started to hope that his communicator would ping so that he would have an excuse to hustle Napoleon out of here and ignore any questions he might ask. But as usual, Mr. Waverly's timing was entirely off, no pinging pens would save him from this firing line, damn it anyway. Might as well relax and enjoy what was left of the best partnership, and maybe friendship, he had ever had. He sighed and drank more vodka.

Napoleon felt Illya's sigh, and felt him relax his rigid posture ever so slightly. Now or never, he thought to himself.

Napoleon leaned in, so close that he knew Illya would feel his breath against his ear before he heard the words, "Tovarisch, will you dance with me?"

Illya very slowly turned his head, finding Napoleon kissing close and was surprised to see that his partner looked uncertain, but if he was not mistaken there was a hopefulness lurking in that dark gaze.

Napoleon held himself still, knowing that if he had miscalculated, Illya may well turn to him with a fist to his jaw, and he prepared to accept that, fervently hoping all the while that he was right on this roll of the dice.

While they were locked in that look, the band struck up a slow number, the beat strong and steady and translating itself along the floorboards until both of them felt like their own heartbeats were rocking the walls of the dim little underground club.

Illya leaned, infinitesimally, toward Napoleon before he could stop himself. Napoleon smiled, relief and joy lighting his dark eyes as he leaned to meet Illya halfway, smiling against his partner's mouth as he pressed in for a kiss, the merest brush of smiling lips on his partner's mouth, pulling back to smile again and then cocking his head to one side, the better to fit his mouth against Illya's again, this time waiting, barely brushing his lips on Illya's, wanting Illya to show him that this was welcome, that he was welcome, waiting, determined to wait however long it took for Illya to get with the programme.

Illya felt like his world had exploded and fallen back into place again in the space of only a few seconds. He wondered very briefly if he had downed so much vodka that this was some sort of alcohol induced hallucination, but the lips barely brushing his felt real enough, the fire that mouth lit in the pit of his belly felt real enough, and the way those lips parted as he ran his tongue along them, that felt very real.

He pressed closer and was rewarded with feeling Napoleon's hand slide from the back of the chair and up to the nape of his neck and knead gently. He slid his own hand up to cup Napoleon's jaw, fingers sliding behind one ear and his thumb brushing his partner's cheek. He angled his head to allow for a closer fit and was overjoyed at how Napoleon opened to him, lips parting and tongue inviting him in to tangle and twist and taste. He plumbed willingly, and was given the same measure in return. Time and place no longer seemed to exist, the only real thing was this kiss, this endless kiss, this impossible kiss.

Finally parting, but moving no further away, Illya locked his gaze with Napoleon's. "How long have you known?"

"That this was a very exclusive club? Since we arrived. That you knew before you got us here, about half an hour. That you might return my affections, about five minutes. You?"

"The same, for the most part. I did, ah, frequent this club, back during my years at school."

"I will admit to being a little slow to put it together, you did say you had been here, but I figured the music was the attraction."

"This wasn't exactly how I planned," Illya paused, realized that he was about to lie. "Napoleon, I never planned to tell you. I'm sorry."

"Sorry that you never planned to tell me, or sorry that you did?" Napoleon didn't move, fingers still gently stroking Illya's neck, seemingly forgotten. But the sensory silk of Illya's skin and hair, both so soft and so different from one another, enticed Napoleon and he was loathe to give up the privilege.

Illya closed his eyes and bowed his head, his hand sliding down to rest just below Napoleon's throat, index fingertip brushing again and again at the hollow between Napoleon's collar bones. He swallowed, trying to find the right words. While he was still trying to formulate an answer, Napoleon spoke again.

"Illya, please don't be sorry you told me. We've trusted one another with so much, please trust me in this." Napoleon leaned in to rest his lips over Illya's ear, whispering, "Illya, tovarisch, partner mine, know that I will always guard your secrets as I guard my own, as I guard you, moyO sErtse, my heart, always." Napoleon sighed, knowing that there was very little he could do or say at this point if the gamble was lost, though heaven itself had to know that he wanted to win, this above all things he wanted. Illya remained quiet. "Illya, you're killing me. Say something, deck me, I don't care, just tell me you aren't going to leave."

In a night already full of irredeemable choices, Illya didn't think he could find any more worse courses of action than the one he was contemplating now.

Illya leaned back again to look Napoleon in the eye and found a wariness there, more than likely mirrored in his own look. "Napoleon, this is the worst idea, maybe ever. This is my life, Napoleon, my life lived in shadows and underground and without telling anyone I love. You are a creature of the bright lights and pretty drawing rooms and parties that go on all night. That is a lot to risk for one moment of curiosity. Our partnership," Illya paused to swallow the last of his vodka, turning back again to Napoleon, "our friendship is too valuable to risk for a moment's satisfaction of that curiosity."

Napoleon only smiled. His hand, that was not on Illya's neck, he slid into his own pocket to draw out a slip of paper. He unfolded it and showed it to his partner. A password and an address was written there.

"My moment, as you call it, has been many years in the making, partner mine. You are not the only one of us with secrets, with shadows, with..." Napoleon was stopped by Illya's mouth on his again, a fierce hungry kiss that stole the rest of his words out of his head and left him wanting more of that kiss, that mouth on his, and brought up images of all the ways he wanted to taste Illya.

Napoleon had little memory of how they got back to their room. It involved a lot of dark alleys, but since they were both armed that didn't bother either of them over much. What he did know was that he had never been so happy to lock himself and his partner into a hotel room ever in his life.

Jackets and holsters were discarded, weapons left on the bedside table, and neither was interested in waiting longer. They kissed again, this time locked together, hands exploring and slipping buttons undone, searching out skin to stroke. Shirtless, they fell to one of the beds, kiss never breaking, but vying for dominance, first one and then the other rolling to push suit pants and shorts and shoes and socks away.

Illya kissed his way from Napoleon's jaw, down his throat past collar bones, stopping briefly to tease nipples with nips and soothe with his tongue before licking and nibbling kisses across his belly, detouring to stroke the scars he knew so well, as well as he knew his own, and then lower, all the while the murmurs and gasps from his lover pushing him on, the hands that stroked his shoulders and tangled in his hair never directing, only touching, everywhere he could reach as if Napoleon could not get enough of filling his hands with every bit of him he could reach. Illya hummed when he finally wrapped his lips around Napoleon's hard cock, and Napoleon gasped, hips coming off the bed involuntarily with the sensation, hands pushing at the bed to avoid fisting his hands in his lover's hair.

Illya sucked and swallowed, hard, drawing every inch of Napoleon into his mouth and Napoleon could feel Illya's throat close on the tip of his cock and groaned aloud, beyond the ability to articulate a word, back arching and trying not to explode in that wet sucking heat. And Illya was relentless, stroking and licking and swallowing again and again, every inch over and over, humming his pleasure as Napoleon writhed under his hands and mouth.

And as quick as he was on top with Napoleon in his mouth, Illya found himself on his back, Napoleon had hooked his feet under Illya and rolled him, slithering down the bed to fasten his mouth on Illya's, pushing him up to trade positions so that Napoleon was now the one tasting and exploring and stroking with one hand wrapped around Illya's painfully hard cock and the other teasing fingertips across his nipples.

Napoleon took a similar tour of Illya, kissing his own musk out of Illya's mouth and then trailing kisses across the same territory, pinching biting kisses on nipples and tracing scars with his tongue and hands busy stroking. He reached his goal and took his time learning every one of Illya's inches with his lips and tongue, a teasing exploration of texture and satin over steel and inhaled musk of arousal, until Illya was keening with the need. His hips rocked up, pushing against Napoleon's restraining hands until he took pity on his lover and swallowed him whole, a wet hot sucking until Illya was buried in his mouth, and then he started the stroking, hands and mouth wrapped around him.

Illya was not nearly so gentle, reaching down and pulling his partner up and rolling him on his back again, trapping him and fastening his mouth again on Napoleon's, tongue following the motions of his cock that had just been there, plunging, plundering, taking the scent and taste of their mixed essence and giving it back as well. Cocks pressed between them, their hips rocked with urgent want.

Illya pressed a kiss to Napoleon's temple and then nipped his earlobe, breath warm and tickling as he spoke, low and growling in his lover's ear, "Tell me you have something in that never ending suitcase of yours that is slick and wet and useful."

"Mmm, probably, let me up." Illya rolled and Napoleon went to the bathroom, returning with petroleum jelly from the first aid kit. "Best use of any first aid kit ever, I'd say," he barely had the words out when Illya was pulling him back onto the bed, kissing him again, devouring him as if he had found himself starved in the few seconds it took for Napoleon to return. Napoleon kissed him back just as hard, just as hungry, pulling his lover against him.

Illya pushed Napoleon onto his back, taking both hard cocks pressed together in his hand, stroking the slick substance over them, a fierce smile spreading across his face when Napoleon arched under him.

"Illya, that's the look you get when you are about to blow something sky high," Napoleon whispered.

Illya looked down at his partner under him, bright blond hair falling across his brow, and a wicked grin flashed. "Is it?" and he kept stroking. He knelt up to straddle his lover.

"Illya, what..."

Illya leaned down and stopped Napoleon talking the best, most effective way he knew, with a hard kiss, and positioned himself to take his lover deep. With a flex of hips he pushed the head of Napoleon's hard cock into himself, taking a deep breath to relax his muscles, he let himself sink down until he had fully seated his lover's cock all the way in his ass. He settled back on his heels to rock back and forth, oh so slowly. He slit his eyes open to look down at his partner. Napoleon's head was thrown back as he gasped at the sensation.

Illya continued to rock, pushing again and again to stroke the head of Napoleon's cock on his prostate, his own head thrown back and moaning with the feeling of full to bursting and his building orgasm and then Napoleon reached up and with both hands took Illya's cock and started stroking, firm and strong, one hand cupping and massaging his balls and the other moving up and down the length of his lover's hard flesh.

"Now, Illya, come with me now," and those hands stoking and Napoleon pushing himself deeper and the sound of his partner's voice low and dark broke over Illya like a wave and he came, exploding with lights flashing behind his tightly closed eyes. He caught himself on the headboard and looked down at Napoleon, feeling his lover arch one more time and hearing the moan as he came just as hard, feeling the push deep as he finished what they had started at the club with that kiss. Illya eased himself off his partner and rolled to Napoleon's side, both of them speechless and panting.

When they had calmed finally, Napoleon went again to the bath, washed and came back to tend to his lover. He poured drinks and returned to the bed, sitting the cool glass against Illya's chest.

Illya wrapped his hand around the glass, sitting up with a wince and taking a sip before leaning against the head board as Napoleon was doing.

Napoleon reached up and stroked blond hair off his lover's temple and placing a kiss there. "You might think about easing into that, next go 'round, tovarisch. I could have made the going a little easier."

"Too many years of want, I ran out of patience." Illya took another swallow of vodka, rueful smile playing on his lips. Napoleon's words registered and he looked over at his lover, raised a brow in question.

"You didn't seriously think I was going to settle for one night, did you?"

"Well, now that you mention it, yes."


Illya drained his glass and set it aside, then turned to study Napoleon.

"I don't want to settle, Illya. I want you." He drained his own glass and reached across Illya to set it next to his partner's. Still leaning over him, he whispered, "Did you think you were the only one waiting?"



He leaned closer, kissing that beautiful mouth, much as he had back in the club, tasting the pouted bottom lip with the tip of his tongue before teasing his way inside, lapping at the endearing hint of an overbite and finally requesting entrance, inviting Illya's tongue to taste and play and engage. Illya opened to him and again the fire started and he promised himself he would stoke that fire as often and as much as was needed. This was the fire he wanted to throw himself into again and again, reborn with every touch of lapping flame. And he would convince his recalcitrant lover that it was his true desire, no matter how many tries it took.

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