The Truth or Dare Affair
This was written for the 2009 "Down the Chimney" challenge over at muncle. The prompts were: ice-skating, truth serum and chocolate. The beta was, as ever, the fab Di T who's such a star.
He sped along in the gathering dusk, a soundless wraith but for the crisp whisper of his skates on the ice. The pack on his back, lighter now without the explosives, had begun to slip and he slid to a stop in a crystalline shower in order to adjust it more comfortably. He pulled the muffler from his mouth and his breath misted in the frosty air as he repositioned the pack and tightened the straps. Glancing behind him along the fjord he checked his watch—14.59.
The sudden crump of a remote explosion stretched his frost-stiffened face muscles into a grin and he watched the pall of oily smoke rise in the distance above the trees. He savoured the sight for a moment then sighed. It would have been so much more satisfying if Napoleon had been there to witness the perfection of timing and destruction. The compulsion to gloat finally overcame him and he uncapped his communicator.
"Open channel D, local relay for Solo."
He skated on slowly as he waited for Napoleon's response to cut through the static. The seconds drew out and he snorted softly as he imagined his partner disentangling himself from whatever Scandinavian distraction he'd managed to find at the Nobel Institute. Napoleon wouldn't be the man he knew if advising the Institute on security didn't involve some sort of female fringe benefit.
The static continued and Illya slid to a halt again frowning, alarm now prickling at the base of his skull.
"Open channel D, overseas relay."
"Yes, Mr Kuryakin?" Waverly's voice impassive as ever.
"Sir, I'm having some trouble reaching Napoleon. Has he called in yet?"
"I was unaware that we were now your personal messaging service, Mr Kuryakin," the note of rebuke milder than the words implied. "Your report, please."
He felt his face heat slightly at the reproach. "Sir, the THRUSH storage facility is destroyed. I am on my way to rendezvous with Mr Solo but I can't raise him."
"Mr Solo has missed two check-ins," Waverly rumbled. "We have reason to believe that he may have been abducted by THRUSH between the Nobel Institute and his hotel."
Icy prickles danced along Illya's spine as the vague sense of unease coalesced into something more tangible. He managed to keep his voice level.
"Do we know where they've taken him, sir?"
"That will be your job to find out, Mr Kuryakin. We believe he's still in the country." Waverly's voice hardened. "I don't need to tell you how damaging it would be to the international community if THRUSH got hold of those security codes before the ceremony on the tenth."
"You will liaise with our Oslo office," the voice was all business once more. "They're expecting your call. Good luck, Mr Kuryakin. Waverly out."
Illya recapped his communicator, appalled to find that the security codes were the last thing on his mind.
The first thing he was aware of was the low rumble of voices somewhere nearby. The second was the splitting headache that made his eyes water and the third was that, although vertical, he was practically immobile by virtue of the restraints around his torso and limbs. He tried to breathe slowly and evenly to give himself time to take stock before he was required to participate in whatever his captors had in store for him.
"Ah, Mr Solo, I see you've decided to join us at last."
Could do better on the slow and even, then. He forced down the nausea that was vying with the headache for his attention and opened his eyes. The glare of the overhead lights pinned the winner's rosette to the headache.
The room was tiled in white, ramping up the glare factor, and featureless apart from a bank of stainless steel cabinets and a sink ranged along one wall. None of these attributes was reassuring. Even less so was the sight of the white-coated, bespectacled man standing to one side of him, expelling the air from a syringe. He closed his eyes with a groan. Nobody did tacky, B-movie atmospherics quite so well as THRUSH. It had to be THRUSH because at Dr Death's shoulder was a familiar face.
"Ah, good evening Victor." He mentally cursed the reediness of his voice.
"Mr Solo! You remembered—I am touched." Victor Marton beamed and sketched a small bow. "But actually, it's morning and you've slept the best part of it away, you lay-abed. And so much to do before the day is done."
"Well, if you'll just untie me I'll be getting on with it, then. Busy, busy you know?" He wriggled his hands, surreptitiously testing the strength of his bonds. Not one iota of give.
"But Mr Solo, I insist you stay for some refreshment. You'd think me a barbarian if I failed to offer you hospitality."
"You? A barbarian? Perish the thought, Victor. I'm sure that when my partner arrives shortly he'll agree that you're one of the most civilised men we know."
"Now, now Mr Solo," Marton waved an admonishing finger at him. "You mustn't tease. We both know your Mr Kuryakin is nowhere near. He is currently being hunted along a fjord by some of my erstwhile colleagues." He chuckled. "They're a little displeased with him just now. He destroyed a lot of their toys, you see."
Napoleon's tickle of concern for Illya's safety was trumped by his satisfaction that at least a part of the mission had been accomplished. "Ah, such a killjoy, my partner." He shook his head and immediately regretted it as the resultant pounding made him see stars. He heard Marton murmur by his ear.
"Tsk, tsk now, Mr Solo. You do worry so about dear Mr Kuryakin. You've gone quite pale." He nodded to the man with the syringe, who swabbed Napoleon's arm with something cold and tightened a tourniquet above his elbow. "Now Dr Borge has something to make you feel a little better. You see, despite her many irritating failings, my late and unlamented colleague Miss Belmont did have some desirable qualities. Not the least of which was Dr Borge." He beamed at the little man. "Whom she selflessly bequeathed to me."
Napoleon winced as the needle slipped into the vein and the doctor slowly depressed the plunger before removing the tourniquet.
"I'm sure I'm going to love this."
Marton chuckled. "Oh you will, Mr Solo. Trust me. You will."
Moments passed and to his mild surprise he found he was indeed beginning to feel better. The nausea had left him and the blinding headache was already receding to a negligible discomfort, to be replaced by a pleasant lassitude. He was aware of Marton's scrutiny and smiled his warmest smile in return.
"Of course I trust you, Victor. Why wouldn't I?" Something niggled at the back of his mind but the vague sense of doubt melted before he could pin it down.
"Good, Mr Solo. Very good. Now why don't we just have a little chat, hmm? Two old friends catching up?"
"Yes, friends are so important aren't they?" He looked the tall, elegant man up and down and knew he could trust him. "You know, Victor, I have very few old friends." He nodded slowly, knowing his old friend would understand. "Except for you." He beamed as his old friend Victor inclined his head in acknowledgement. The headache had gone completely now and he felt—wonderful. Comfortable, safe, secure. "Oh, and Illya, of course."
A flush of warmth blanketed him at the thought of his partner; his most loyal friend. Illya would save him. There was nothing Illya wouldn't do for him. No wait—he didn't need saving. He was with his old friend Victor. For a moment he was confused then his mind cleared. That was it—he would save Illya. Save him from—he couldn't quite remember what he would save him from. But he knew he would save him. He'd do anything for him. Anything. He'd walk through fire for him. All that beauty; all that power. Illya...
Victor was speaking again.
"Tell me about the codes, Mr Solo."
"The codes? Oh you must mean the ones we agreed yesterday... wait—you know about those?" He hadn't remembered Victor being in the council chamber—but he must have been. He giggled. "Hey, were you the one who brought us coffee and—and those little chocolate things—what are they called again? Lohengrin?"
"The codes, Mr Solo!" His old friend's voice was sharp and Napoleon blinked at him, hurt by the harshness of his tone.
"I'm sorry, Victor. Don't get mad at me. Just give me a moment..." He felt as though he were floating now. Warm and happy and feeling no pain at all.
He was dimly aware of a sudden loud noise that set his ears ringing and there was the acrid tang of smoke and then his bonds were released. He giggled again as his knees gave way and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Oh this was great! He was made of rubber! He rolled onto his side, vaguely aware of someone calling his name. There was a resounding slap and a sharp sting on his cheek.
"Ow! Victor! Don't hit me. Why...?"
He opened his eyes and a face swam before him, huge blue eyes tight with worry.
"Illya!" His day couldn't get any better! He beamed at his favourite friend, reached for his face and pulled him onto his lips for a thorough kiss. Oh, it was heaven. All that wet heat and the strong tongue that met his—and pushed into his mouth and...
"Ow!" His cheek stung again. "Illya—why... why did you hit me? I love you! Why won't you let me?" He felt tears prick his eyes. It was so unfair. The person he loved most in the whole world had just slapped him. He turned for help to his old friend Victor but he was lying on the floor asleep.
"Napoleon—we have to leave. Now."
He touched a hand to his smarting cheek and looked up reproachfully at his friend through his tears. "Illya..." he sniffled. A calloused hand gently stroked his stinging flesh.
"Oh, Napoleon. What have they done to you, my friend?" The hand moved to his arm and he was being lifted gently to his feet. "Come on. We need to get out of here."
He was being urged towards the smoking ruin that was the door when he stopped suddenly and spun round so quickly that Illya almost cannoned into him.
"I do love you, you know," he muttered and flung his arms round Illya's neck. "I've always loved you. You have no idea how much."
Gentle hands disentangled him, and turned him. "I know moi droog. I know."
When he woke the pounding in his head had returned and for a moment he thought his skull might split. His head was spinning and he was suddenly overwhelmed by a wave of nausea. Half raising himself, he vomited convulsively over the edge of the bed. The voiding seemed to go on for ever. Before he was even half way through he was steadied by an arm around his shoulders and felt the cool dampness of a cloth mopping his face and neck.
Finally the spasms in his gut began to abate. He collapsed back onto the bed, pouring sweat and shaking uncontrollably.
"Don't try to move. I'll clear this away and then I'll be back. Just lie still, Napoleon."
He was safe. For some reason it made him want to cry. He shivered and tried to curl up but the shaking increased alarmingly. Illya was back with him in a heartbeat.
"I said lie still, Napoleon," he said sharply and Napoleon felt himself gathered into his friend's arms and locked there tightly until the paroxysm diminished. The voice softened. "You're having a reaction to the drug, moi droog. You'll feel better in a little while but you must lie as still as you can until the spasms pass. I don't want you to injure yourself. You do not have control of your muscles yet."
He tried to thank Illya, to tell him how grateful he was for his kindness; how unworthy he felt; how sorry he was for the trouble he was causing. All that he could manage was a dry croak. He squeezed his eyes shut and felt hot tears escaping. And then his hair was being stroked gently from his face and the tears thumbed away from his eyes.
"Shh, Napoleon. Just lie still. It's the drug, lyubov. Try to go to sleep. You'll feel better soon."
He sighed in relief. He'd feel better soon; Illya had told him so, and Illya was the best person he knew, so it must be true. He'd do his very best to feel better for Illya. Consciousness began to slip away from him again.
Illya capped the communicator and let his head drop forward with a sigh. Twenty-four hours at least before the Oslo office would be able to fly in a helicopter for them. Too busy mopping up the facility he'd managed not entirely to obliterate in his search for Napoleon, they'd missed a weather window and the blizzard had closed in.
He looked across to the bed where his friend lay under a mountain of blankets, still now, and dead to the world. He should be safe to move by the time the rescue team arrived. He sighed.
At least the cabin was well provisioned.
When Napoleon awoke again, it was to a state of unaccustomed tranquillity. He felt a welcome lack of any sense of urgency as he rolled onto his back and stretched languorously. Opening his eyes he focused on the raftered ceiling and blinked as he sought for the memory that would tell him where he was. He glanced across the room and saw Illya seated at the wooden table, cleaning his gun. A warm rush of affection rolled through him and he found himself smiling.
His partner spoke but didn't look up from his task.
"You're awake then."
He pushed himself up and immediately shut his eyes and froze as his head spun. Illya was beside him in an instant, arm round his back in support.
"Steady, Napoleon." Illya eased him back down and peered at him, scowling. "A simple yes or no would have been sufficient."
"I think 'maybe' just about covers it." The spinning began to settle.
"How are you feeling?"
He opened his eyes to find his partner's concerned face inches from his own. "Fine." His mouth felt like leather. "Thirsty."
"Wait then." Illya crossed to the sink in the corner and returned with a tin cup. "Can you sit?"
He nodded, disentangling himself from the blankets and taking the proffered cup of water. Illya eased next to him on the bed and supported him as he drained the cup in one. "More?" He held the cup out for a refill.
Illya refilled it and handed it to him with a wry grin. "Don't make yourself sick."
"Thank you, nurse." He flicked a glance up at his partner. "I guess you don't need any more cleaning up to do." He grimaced at the memory triggered by the dull pain in his abdominals.
Illya shrugged. "It wasn't as if you could help it."
He sipped the water more slowly. "Have you reported in?"
Illya nodded. "I wasn't sure how you'd be when you woke up so we're to wait here for a pick-up."
"About sixty miles from Oslo. We should be safe here until they come for us," Illya paused, "which won't be for a while yet, I'm afraid. Our Norwegian colleagues have better things to do at the moment than giving us a ride back to civilisation."
Napoleon nodded and drained the last of the water.
Illya held out his hand. "More?"
Napoleon shook his head. "No, thanks. How about some food?"
"That's normally my line." Illya grinned as he crossed to a large cupboard and opened it. "Limited choice I'm afraid," he sighed. "Tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit." He rummaged in the depths. "Oh and lots of this." He held up a handful of chocolate bars.
Napoleon winced. "I and my cavities thank you." He shifted his legs over the side of the bed and took a quick inventory. Head fine, stomach empty, bladder full. "Ah...I need to pee."
"Outside and to the left." His partner stood. "Need a hand?"
Napoleon looked pointedly at each of his hands and waggled the fingers. "Nope." He squinted sideways up at Illya who rolled his eyes and headed back to the table.
"Fine," he said testily. "Don't break your neck in the snow out there." He sat down and picked up the pull-through once more.
Napoleon stood and was relieved to find his that his legs more-or-less co-operated. He was almost at the door when there was an exasperated sigh from behind him. He turned as his partner gathered a parka from the back of a chair by the stove and thrust it at him.
"Here. Put this on or you'll catch your death."
"Why, tovarisch, I didn't know you cared."
And was it his imagination or did his partner blush as he turned back to cleaning his gun.
The snow flurried against his face as he tramped across the short distance to the outside facilities. As he stood in the outhouse and relieved his aching bladder he tried to marshal his desultory thoughts. He closed his eyes. It was like watching a badly-edited film—random images hinting at the absence of key data that might make it all intelligible. Fractured memories began to coalesce; the mission; the codes; Victor Marton; the overwhelming neediness...
He'd kissed his partner. Wetly and comprehensively. He was so overwhelmed by the memory that it took him a moment to recall also that Illya had kissed him back. His hand moved involuntarily to his mouth.
And he realised that he very much wanted him to do it again. And again.
Illya stared unseeingly at the disassembled parts of his weapon laid out on the table before him and ground his teeth. A second's inattention in the maelstrom of finding Napoleon alive, and he'd kissed his partner—his vulnerable and intoxicated partner—with all the passion he'd fought so hard and so long to suppress. How could he have been so stupid as to respond to something that was to Napoleon as involuntary as breathing?
The memory burned in him and his groin twitched. He closed his eyes and wondered how they were going to get this particular genie back into the bottle. As his hands moved without conscious thought to reassemble his weapon the revelation hit him that he had no will even to try.
Having dealt with the needs of his importunate bladder, Napoleon zipped up and headed back. He paused, dithering, at the door, reluctant for a moment to go back into the warmth of the cabin. Eventually, driven by the wind-whipped snow, he undid the latch and slipped inside.
The silence inside after the howling gale was startling. He stamped the snow from his feet and threw back the hood of Illya's parka. His back to him, his partner was stirring a pan on top of the wood-burner and Napoleon's stomach growled at the savoury aroma.
"Hungry?" Illya called over his shoulder.
Napoleon swallowed. "Ah—yes. I think."
Illya turned and emptied the contents of the pan onto two metal plates, dumped the pan in the sink and carried the plates to the table whilst Napoleon shrugged out of the parka and laid it over the chair by the stove. "It's hardly gourmet fare. No doubt your sensitive palate will be outraged, but it's hot and there's plenty."
He made his way to sit at the table whilst Illya rummaged in his rucksack, returning triumphantly with a bottle of pale golden liquid.
Napoleon grinned. "Aquavit?" Illya nodded. "I thought you were supposed to be focused on demolishing a storage depot not raiding liquor stores."
His partner poured generous measures into the two metal cups. "Well, Napoleon, the thing about a storage depot is that things are stored there." Illya handed one of the cups to him. "And one of the things that was stored there was a case of this; in the office. It seemed a shame to waste it."
They clinked cups and both took a slug of the liquor. Napoleon coughed slightly as it caught his throat.
"My, my," he choked. "Smooth. Well, smoother than the stuff you normally drink, tovarisch, anyway." That got him a scowl. "Actually, since the stuff you normally drink is mine, I withdraw that."
He held out his cup and Illya topped it up, the scowl never wavering. They drank again and began to eat, the alcohol warming the unwontedly cool silence.
He was still finishing up when Illya dumped his empty plate in the sink and moved to the stove. "Coffee?" his partner called over his shoulder.
"Only if I make it." Napoleon hurried down his last mouthful and stood up. "I've been nearly poisoned enough for one day. All I need is for you to succeed where THRUSH failed."
"Fine," his partner grunted. "You can do the dishes whilst you're up there. I'll get dessert."
Illya moved to the cupboard and returned to the table with a couple of the chocolate bars. Napoleon glanced across as he was setting the plates to drain.
"Ah, the healthy option, I see."
Illya sat and unwrapped one of the bars. Fixing Napoleon with an arch look, he took a mouthful of aquavit then, after a moment, sucked the chocolate bar into his mouth and bit into it. His eyes drifted shut, as his mouth worked the mix slowly, a look of transformative bliss on his face. Suddenly breathless, Napoleon gazed, slack-mouthed; coffee forgotten.
Eventually Illya swallowed and opened languid eyes, the ghost of a smile playing around his mouth. "What?"
Napoleon swallowed convulsively.
Illya took another bite of the chocolate bar—and Napoleon knew he was lost.
He crossed the room in two strides and yanked his partner from his chair. As though anticipating the move, Illya balanced easily on the balls of his feet but didn't try to break the hold. They stood frozen, eyes locked. Panting slightly, Napoleon was transfixed.
And then Illya licked his lips.
Napoleon groaned. Illya's mouth, hovering close—so close—to his; lips almost brushing and Napoleon could smell the chocolate on his breath. He leaned in, and licked the smudges from the plump lower lip, finally allowing his tongue to be drawn into the warm, chocolatey depths.
Oh, and it was bliss. Long after the flavours of chocolate and alcohol had slipped into the background his tongue continued to pursue his friend's unique taste, nibbling and sucking as his own mouth was thoroughly investigated in return. His ears were beginning to sing and he felt Illya's erection begin to grind hard against his thigh.
One of them groaned.
Napoleon pulled back gasping. "Let's—skip coffee?"
Illya nodded, panting as he slowly brought his hand up between them and held it in front of Napoleon's face. The remains of the chocolate bar had melted over his fingers.
Napoleon stopped breathing.
Illya grinned at him broadly as he brought his hand to his mouth.
Napoleon almost came.
With a snarl he grabbed the hand and sucked the chocolatey fingers into his own mouth. He was rewarded by a strangled whimper as his tongue swirled around each finger in turn until they were licked clean. Illya's eyes were huge and a flush spread upwards from his neck as he watched. Napoleon slipped a finger from his mouth with a pop and grinned at him.
"Was that what you had in mind?" he panted.
Illya nodded. "More or less."
The flicker of a smile at the corner of that tantalising mouth was all the warning he got before he found himself sprawled on his back on the bed with his partner's hand inside his fly, drawing him out and then—oh God—he was enveloped in hot, wet heat as that wicked, wicked mouth swallowed him whole and sucked and licked and sucked and...
... he came with a groan.
As the pulsation in his ears settled he was vaguely aware of a kiss to the tip of his now flaccid penis as soft lips left him. He was tucked neatly back into his trousers, zipped up and then blanketed by a warm body. A nose nuzzled into his ear and lips plucked softly along his jaw before he felt his partner's head settle into the crook of his neck. He opened his eyes to a vista of shimmering, blond hair and swallowed a lump in his throat.
"Come here, you," he lifted the broad chin and kissed his way down to the beguiling mouth, its complex flavours now tinged with that of his own semen. Eventually he withdrew, breathless once more, and grinned into languid blue eyes. "Your turn now, tovarisch."
His partner shook his head and dropped his gaze. "That will not be necessary, Napoleon."
"What? Hey, partner where I come from we..."
"No. Napoleon—really, I..."
Suspicion dawned. "Wait... did you...?"
His partner nodded sheepishly. "I'm sorry, Napoleon. I was just too close." The blue eyes flicked upwards briefly. "I almost came when you were sucking my fingers..."
"Oh, Illya..." he let out a gusty laugh and hugged his partner close. "You and me both, my friend." He sighed. "You know what this means don't you?"
Illya's eyes narrowed. "What?" he growled.
"More practice. Lots..." he kissed an eyelid, "...more..." he kissed the other, "...practice."
He nipped the square jaw and Illya gasped then struggled up from the bed.
"Hey. Where are you...?"
"We're going to need more chocolate." He raised an arch eyebrow. "Lots more chocolate..."