Out of the Mouth of Babes Affair
Stake outs are never my idea of a good time or even necessarily of time well invested. They have their purpose certainly, but for others to pursue, not me.
I had come off from fifteen hours of staring through a pair of binoculars and was just climbing into bed when there was a knock on my door. No, more correctly, a frantic pounding. Before I was halfway there, I knew who was on the other side. I have that sort of connection with my partner. Napoleon only has to be within a five-block radius for me to hone in on him or vice versa.
There as something strange about this knock though, which is why I used the peephole UNCLE had installed in the front door. Certainly it was my partner on the other side of the door, but in a never-before witnessed state of disarray. I have seen Napoleon unconscious, half crazed with pain, drugged or drunk out of his mind, delirious from hunger or sleep deprivation, and crazy with lust, but none of those were close to the panic that was on his face.
I opened the door and studied him for a brief second. His tie was loose, the top button on his shirt was undone, his hair had escaped its Brylcreme boundaries—all this I'd seen before, in fact I loved it when he was rumpled like this. But I never thought I'd see my partner holding a flowered diaper bag...and a baby? I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
"Illya, thank God you're finally home!" Napoleon pushed past me with a sense of relief.
"Napoleon." This time I tried for a statement instead of a question. The bundle in his arms started squirming and whimpering. Napoleon's eyes took on that wild look steer get just before they plunge off a cliff. "Is there something you wish to tell me?"
"I came home and found this..." He thrust the bundle towards me. "...on my doorstep, with a note."
Busted came to mind, but I decided to not be cruel...well, too cruel. "This is a baby, Napoleon."
"I know what it is, Illya, I just don't know what you do with it."
"Love it, nurture it, and after eighteen years, send it to university and hope it doesn't come back home to live with you when it graduates. I told you what happens when you sleep with women. I'm a much better choice."
"This isn't funny, Illya!"
"Napoleon, you're holding a diaper bag with big flowers all over it and a baby in a bunny suit—sorry, this is a little funny." I chuckled at the anger I saw snapping in those brown eyes and very nearly kissed him, but decided that making him sweat was even more fun.
"I don't know what to do with a baby. I've never...never."
"You have a younger sister."
"A year younger, it wasn't like I took care of her or anything. Don't you have any natural... proclivities?"
"Why? Because I'm gay?"
"No, of course not. Because you came from a big family."
The closer he got to me with his bundle of joy, the more I could ascertain as to why the baby was fussy. "Napoleon, this baby needs to be changed."
"I'm serious. You should have a diaper in your diaper bag, didn't you even look?"
"Why would I do that? I don't know what to do with it once I found it. I've never changed a diaper in my life."
"Let me have the child." I held my arms out. I thought Napoleon would leap at the opportunity, but he hesitated.
"What do you know about babies?" Finally he handed the baby to me.
"As you pointed out, I have five younger brothers and sisters. I started changing diapers when I was six." I carried the baby to the sofa and laid it down. "Does the child have a name?" I started pulling off the fleece outwear . "According to the note, it's Leon."
"You poor thing, named after your father—there should be a law." The only thing that's harder than undressing a baby is dressing one, but that was a future worry. I got the baby stripped down to its diaper and looked over at my partner. "The diaper, Napoleon, and perhaps some powder?"
"Watch the baby." I instructed, putting his hand on the child's stomach. "Just keep him from rolling off the couch. My sister did that and broke her collarbone." Thankfully, whoever packed this bag took every situation into consideration. My poor Napoleon...he was just so out of his element here. "All right, watch me. The next one is all yours." I folded the diaper into the correct shape—a task not unlike origami, got it close to where it needed to be, and undid the dirty diaper. "You want to keep this flap in place until the very last second."
"Why?" I removed that last protective bit of cloth and little Leon became the Petergof Fountain. "Oh, now I understand," Napoleon muttered, leaning to one side to avoid being hit.
"Little boys like to urinate when you take their diapers off. I don't know why, nor did the rationale stick with me from my own childhood. All I remember was Vyetka had deadly aim when it came to my father's eye."
We got Leon cleaned up and repackaged and I took a bottle out of the bag. It was already filled, but the contents were cold.
"You need to heat this up and feed him." I pointed to the kitchen. "Wouldn't that lead to a vicious cycle of having to change his diaper again?" Obviously, Napoleon had put some thought into the 'cause and effect' aspect of this.
"At this age, all they do is eat, sleep, and defecate, I'm afraid." Seeing that my partner was firmly frozen in place, I passed the baby back to him and carried the bottle to the kitchen. Finding a suitable pan was a challenge, but I did and ran water into it. Then I set it on the stove to let it heat and tried to stay awake. I was so tired it was hard to remember to breathe.
Napoleon trailed after me, holding Leon awkwardly, half afraid of the squirming bundle. "Oh my God, I am a dead man...Illya, what are we going to do?"
"We? As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger, "What do you mean we, white man?" Napoleon, you are a father; you need to accept responsibility for your actions. I'm sorry, but the child has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes—definitely not from my loins." I broke off to chuckle. "...which would probably be quite the newsworthy event in view of my last few bed partners."
I saw a look of jealousy flair in Napoleon's eyes and sighed. He didn't like me mentioning my past. "But you've had experience...and you like children. I don't...that much."
He was right. Growing up, I'd always figured I'd get married and have a mess of kids, like Papa did, but later, when certain tendencies surfaced, I surrendered that dream. Now it was being presented to me by the one man I'd not been able to so far refuse anything. If I believed in a benevolent God, I'd pray for patience and judgment. With any luck, the child would survive the night. When I returned, Napoleon's paternal nature had gotten the better of him and he sat rocking his son in his arms, talking softly to him. "Then you need the experience." I handed him the bottle and he offered it to the baby. It latched on with a vengeance and Napoleon grinned at me.
"He has your technique as well," I muttered, turning and heading back toward my warm, inviting bed.
"Where are you going?" The panic had returned to his voice.
"Napoleon, I just came off fifteen-hour surveillance and I'm due back in four short hours. I have to get some sleep."
"I'll assign someone else. Here, burp him!"
My least favorite of baby chores, but if it got me off the stake-out, I'd gladly do it. Thankfully, Leon was a burper and belched noisily in my ear. I looked around my apartment for some place to park him for the night. Then I remembered my first crib had been a dresser drawer. I pulled out the top drawer and shifted around my underwear and socks until he fit comfortably in the middle of them.
Napoleon had a triumphant look on his face as he walked into the bedroom. "That's all settled."
"I am going to assume Mr. Waverly loved your news."
"Um, no, I can honestly say love wasn't one of the emotions he expressed to me."
"My mistake, my responsibility. Deal with it."
"That's harsh, even for him." In the meantime, I'd made it as far as sitting on the edge of my bed and could hear my pillow whispering my name.
"What are you doing?"
"I still need to sleep, Napoleon. I've only had six hours in the last three days. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a living example of Newton's Cradle or the embodiment of perpetual motion. Please..."
He looked from Leon, happily snoring away among my socks to my bed and back. "Where do I sleep?"
"You have a choice, the couch or in here with us...with me. Your preference."
He was stripped and in bed before I was. He'd already experience the torture that was my couch. Sleep on that one night and even a bathtub looked good. "Thanks, Illya, for everything. I owe you."
"You certainly do." I was expecting a huge 'get out of jail free' card out of this. Instead I got an armful of UNCLE's finest. Well, any port in a storm.
"I really do appreciate this, Illya." I could feel his appreciation poking me in the abdomen. Suddenly I wasn't quite as tired as I was a few moments earlier.
"How do you get into these messes?"
"As God as my witness, I haven't touched anyone but you in the last year."
"Well, that child is about three months old, so that should narrow down the field." I started to try and remember who Napoleon had been hot and heavy with before he and I...connected.
"Do we have to talk about that now?" Napoleon started nuzzling my ear and I decided that it wasn't quite as important as other things.
There are few things in life I enjoy as much as making love to or with Napoleon. Either way is fine with me as long as we get there. There's that blissful moment of connection with another human being, that sharing of souls—you want it to last forever, but at best, you have a few second before a more instinctive and primal urge takes over, driving us to the ultimate moment of sharing, of trust.
And finally, I was allowed to sleep. For at least what seemed ten seconds later when my peaceful sleep was interrupted by a piercing and demanding cry.
"Napoleon, your son wants you." I kicked him, none too gently.
"Haven't actually proven it's my son, yet."
"With those lungs, trust me, he's yours. It's time for you to solo, Solo."
He wasn't happy, but he dealt with it, making sure he woke me when he came back to bed. "Ingrate," I muttered.
"What do I have to be grateful for?"
"A generous and understanding partner who didn't toss you out on your ear the moment he opened the door and saw you standing there." I never heard his response. I was already asleep.
When I surfaced twelve hours later, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but it wasn't an empty apartment. There was a hastily scratched note on the floor by the front door, saying that Napoleon had been called into HQ. It struck me as odd that he didn't wake me, but no matter.
I'd had sleep, I felt relatively good, physically, and, most important, I was alone. Happily and blissfully alone. Coffee, a shower and a half a box of cereal later and life was starting to look just this side of rosy to me.
I was just contemplating what to wear...should I wear my black suit or my black suit? Decisions, decisions... when there was a familiar knocking on my door.
"Ah the Lone Ranger returns," I said out loud, opening the door. No surprise, Napoleon was there, but he was...unencumbered. "Napoleon, where is the child?"
"His mother took him back."
"And would I know said mother?"
"Never will you know said mother." Napoleon pushed past me and plopped down on my couch. That usually wasn't his style. "She said she wanted to teach me a lesson in responsibility."
"And you already miss him. Napoleon, if you want to be a part of your child's life, you do have that right."
"No, it's not that. What kind of life could I offer a kid? He's better off with his mother. We both are."
"But you think about it." I stroked his arm, smiling as my fingers raised goose bumps.
"That's the funny part. I really didn't. Kids are okay, but I never really saw any in my future. Is that odd?"
"No, not really. Some people are more inclined. Perhaps your sister got all those genes." I moved my hand from his arm to his thigh. "Others just practice a lot."
"Practice? Is that what I do?"
"It must be, for you really do some things perfectly."
"Certainly a specific Russian, one would hope." I pushed him back against the cushions. "So tell me, the mother?"
"What mother?" Napoleon's eyes burned with innocence.
"You will eventually tell me, Napoleon, especially if we are to take this relationship to the next level."
"There's more after this? I'd thought we'd pretty much exhausted all avenues."
"I'm speaking of co-habitation, Solo. We start living together and I will eventually know the identity of the mother. I am a spy, after all."
"And a damned good looking one too, if you don't mind me saying." His hands were roaming over me and that little buzz at the back of my head was starting an itch that only one thing could fix.
"Never, but you're avoiding the question." I worked his jacket off his shoulders, unbuckled his holster and slid it off. "Tell me." I ran a tongue along his jaw, feeling a slight burr of his whiskers against it.
"She gave me an option, leave UNCLE and marry her or give up my rights to the baby."
That made me pause. It seemed unnaturally heartless; obviously the mother wasn't a fellow UNCLE employee. "Napoleon, I'm sorry."
"I'm not—I made my decision years ago. I wouldn't change it for the world, not if it meant giving you up. I've finally found what's important to me." He kissed me. "You're my world, Illya, nothing else, no one else, matters to me."
See? This is but one reason why I love this man. He...ah... never did tell me the mother's name, at least not then. I knew I could find out if I really wanted, but for now I was content to know his mind and level of commitment to me. And there was always tomorrow . . . as I said before, I am a spy...