"You do it and you will die. I swear to the God you hold dear, Napoleon, I will take you apart."
Napoleon could see the fire blaze in his partner's eyes and didn't doubt the sincerity of the threat. The tension between them was stretched taut, ready to snap without a second's notice. And yet, he couldn't... he had to... he just didn't have the strength to resist...
His mind flashed back to the not-that-distant past. To a balmy spring morning during which he'd stepped out on the back porch and listened to the running dialog Illya had going.
"They're cats, you know, they can't answer you." Napoleon flopped down in an Adirondack-style chair and grinned at Illya, stretched out in the porch playing with the kittens. Another week and they would be old enough to leave their mother and move on to their new homes. And Napoleon knew he was going to have a seriously depressed Russian on his hands.
"That's the best part, my friend." Illya reached out to wrestle a little Moutard look-alike. The yellow tabby plastered its ears back against its head and attacked the fingers with all its might. Fingers, that Napoleon noted were scratched and bleeding in a least a dozen places from previous encounters.
Napoleon readily admitted that the kittens were very cute and very sweet, funny and full of hell, but he was also ready to not have his leg climbed like an impromptu tree or have his feet attacked when he walked barefoot into the kitchen each morning. He wouldn't miss the shredded plants, the decimated magazines, the cat toys, or the sheer unpredictability of climbing out of bed each morning to step on a little present, some more pleasant than others, one of the kittens had left him.
Then it struck him; perhaps this was a blessing in disguise. For a long time now, he'd wanted to approach his partner with a suggestion, but the timing was always wrong.
"Illya, I've been thinking."
"I will avoid the usual quips as I am in simply too good a mood this morning." One kitten pounced on Illya's back, claws digging into the thin material of his tee shirt. "Ouch, you demon."
"I want to do some remodeling."
Illya managed to disentangle himself from the kitten only to have another attack from a different direction, intent upon the small gold medallion he wore. "Say again?"
"Remodeling." Once he'd gotten the word out, the rest didn't seem as hard. "This place has next to nothing for storage space and if we expanded out the back, there would be room for a downstairs study. It would be nice to have a proper spot for paperwork. That would free up part of the living room and the spare room upstairs. We could fix it up as a guest room. Maybe put in another bathroom, or just a toilet and sink."
"Okay." Illya rolled and gathered two kittens up onto his stomach. He growled at them, roughing them up.
"I'm serious, Illya, I know how you feel... what did you say?"
"Okay. If you want to remodel, remodel; I have just two requests."
"You throw nothing out without my approval and you leave the kitchen alone."
"Yes... ow..." Another kitten climbed up to join its siblings. "You little bastard." Napoleon knew when to stop while still ahead.
It had been so easy, too easy, that the alarm bells should have been going off in Napoleon's head and they hadn't. Illya had been too compliant, too willing, so not-Illya. He'd happily stepped aside and let Napoleon make the calls, bring in the consultants. Illya had even managed to actually stay awake when the interior decorator showed up with swatches. Well, at least for the first hour.
It wasn't until he walked in after a long night in Taste's kitchen that the reality sank in.
"Napoleon... where's the wall? Didn't there used to be a wall there?" Illya stared. It no more resembled the living room he'd left a few hours ago than he resembled Matt.
"Yes, but they had to move it for the new room, plus this will make access to the living room easier."
"What are they doing to the living room?"
"Ripping out the fireplace and replacing the brick with river stone."
"Excuse me, what?"
"Illya, you sat right there and agreed to it."
"I couldn't have... I don't..." Illya looked around, as if seeing the chaos for the first time. The furniture had been taken to the back porch and heavy sheets of plastic closed off the kitchen and stairwell. Illya's shoulders sagged in resignation. "I'm going to bed..."
"It'll just be a minute..."
"They're going to start on the walk in closet tomorrow and I had to clean the old one out. You said you didn't want to throw anything away without seeing it first, so everything is piled up on the bed."
"Napoleon, I had a hundred and seventy five covers tonight. I just want to sleep."
"Okay, let me clear off the bed and you can." Illya started to dig his way through the sheets of plastic. "So what do you think of this—Cerulean blue for the bedroom carpet and a light sky blue for the walls?"
"You don't want to know what I think of that..."
"Illya, I'm serious."
"As am I, Napoleon. I am tired, I am dirty and I am angry, just let me be... I just want to take a shower and go to bed."
"They... um... cut off the water to our bathroom."
"Excuse me?" Illya's voice had gotten very soft, very even.
"You can use the guest bathroom."
"I don't want to use the guest bathroom. I want to use ours."
"Then you'll have to use the hot tub." Napoleon tried to make it a joke, but he could tell his partner was not in a kidding mood. "It'll be back on tomorrow. They promised..." Illya made a gesture over his shoulder and Napoleon sighed. This was not going well.
Obligingly, Napoleon cleared off the bed and turned down the sheets as he listened to the pipes creak and groan in the guest bathroom. He wasn't sure why Illya hated that shower so much, but he did.
Napoleon was just about to head back downstairs when a photo album caught this eye. He picked it up and settled onto a corner of the bed, opening the cover and grinning at the explosions of memories.
He was still slowly flipping through the pages as Illya, a towel knotted around his waist, another draped over his shoulders, entered the room.
"Look at this," Napoleon said, gesturing to him. Curious, Illya joined him and chuckled.
"It was so hot that day. I think we set a record." Illya touched a photo of them before the minister. "I wonder what Sarah is up to these days."
"And us in dark suits. It was a rush to keep us from passing out during the ceremony." Napoleon turned the page and laughed. "Seems like a hundred years ago. Check out the hair on Matt."
"I miss the afro though. It just seemed to suit him. Look at the leisure suits..."
Napoleon brought up a hand and began to softly stroke Illya's back, his fingertips just grazing the skin. "Hell of a honeymoon though." He caught a couple of strands of damp hair, wrapped them around his finger and tugged gently, drawing Illya's head back. He leaned in for a kiss, unsure of the response, but the lips that met his were welcoming, obliging. Even in a full-out brood, Illya was usually approachable in this fashion.
They sat there, just kissing, reestablishing connections from a day gone crazy, and it took no effort to push his partner down onto the cool sheets, just as it took no effort to let his mouth roam over the still damp torso, nuzzle the damp chest hair, taste first one and then the other nipple. He listened to Illya, let his lover's reactions guide him.
Napoleon moved lower, his breath raising goose bumps as he blew softly, ever nearer to his ultimate goal. He knew Illya wasn't up for a full scale assault tonight; he needed something easier. Napoleon let his tongue glide up one side of Illya's penis and down the other, smiling at the half groan, half sigh that followed.
"I'm still angry, you know." Illya muttered, his hands fisting in the bedclothes. His protest became a groan as Napoleon flicked his tongue across just the tip.
"I know." Napoleon turned his attention fully to giving his partner the blow job of a life time. He concentrated upon Illya's breathing as opposed to more outward signs of his nearing climax. Twice he backed away and endured the verbal abuse Illya hurled at him each time with a good-natured chuckle and well placed kisses.
He slid his mouth up and down, neither quickly nor slowly, but in a maddening pace that made Illya tremble beneath his hands. Then he felt Illya's fingers in his hair, nails digging into his scalp and he knew the game had gone far enough. He increased the suction, slipping a hand beneath Illya and in. Illya arched, cried out and Napoleon could do nothing more than hold on as his own climax rocketed through him.
Napoleon wondered if he looked as sated and sloe-eyed as his partner did. He knew that if he was going to say anything it would need to be in the next couple of minutes or it would have to wait until the morning.
"They promised the water would be back on tomorrow." He kissed Illya, letting him catch a lingering taste of himself on Napoleon's tongue.
"As long as they promised..." And the Russian was gone, a hint of a smile on his lips.
Two weeks later, the water to the new shower still wasn't hooked up and Napoleon was beginning to fear for his life. He'd also discovered that all the money in the world couldn't motivate an unwilling supplier or an overworked contractor.
At least the upstairs bedroom was looking good. A coat of paint and it was ready to go.
He heard rummaging in the bedroom and braced himself.
"Napoleon, where are all my jackets?" Illya, wearing just a tee shirt and his chef's pants, looked up from digging through piles of clothes, most of them Napoleon's.
Like most chefs, Illya had several, most of them white, some a renegade black, but always clean and pressed. In the old days, Illya would go through at least one a night with another on standby if he went into the dining room. Since he wasn't cooking that much any longer, Napoleon had taken advantage of the situation and packed most of them up, keeping a handful of Illya's favorites at the ready. He hadn't counted on Matt's appendix going south and Illya having to go in and cook in his stead. After all this time of them just hanging there, go figure Illya would need one now. Napoleon's mind started to race. Where had he stored the extra jackets?
"Napoleon, we had this conversation prior to the start of this insanity."
"I didn't throw them out," Napoleon protested. "I packed them away to keep them clean."
"I see... then where are they?"
Illya turned, muttering something, and then cried out. He dropped and began to examine the sole of his foot, rubbing at the bruise that a chunk of plaster had left. The Russian that spewed from the man's mouth tested Napoleon's ability to translate.
"Должно быть, я чертовски сумасшедшим, чтобы согласиться с этим!" I must have been fucking lunatic to agree to this.
"Или мужчина в любви" Or a man in love. Napoleon knelt beside him, reaching for the foot, but Illya twisted out of reach.
Не играйте в меня, Наполеон, я не в настроении." Don't play me, Napoleon, I'm not in the mood.
"Я люблю тебя." I love you. Napoleon decided for the front-on attack for which his namesake was so famous. Again he reached for his partner, but this time to snatch up a hand and bring it to his lips, kissing it gently, suggestively.
"Остановить, " Stop, Illya protested, but did not pull the hand away.
"Это то, что вы действительно хотите?" Is that what you really want? Napoleon asked, turning the hand and arm over and licking his way up to the inner elbow. "Люблю тебя, люблю тебя, хочу тебя" Love you, adore you, want you. He skipped the tee shirt sleeve and went for Illya's neck.
"Не." No. But Illya didn't push him away, hissing instead as Napoleon latched onto a much loved spot and attacked it with a mixture of biting and sucking.
"Вы нужны, желаю вас," Need you, desire you... Napoleon continued, licking the bruise. He knew from experience that the collar of the chef's jacket would hide it from view. He pushed Illya down onto a pile of clothes and followed, covering the man with his body.
"I have a restaurant full of diners, Napoleon. I don't have time for this."
"You don't open for another forty five minutes and I have never needed forty five minutes for anything." He knew Illya could easily toss him if he was so inclined. Instead, he felt a rocking up against him and he maneuvered so that they were groin to groin. Napoleon interlaced their fingers and held their arms wide, just meeting thrust for thrust.
"They need..." Illya made one last attempt.
"I need... first served, first come..."
"Oh, Napoleon." Illya tipped his head back to groan at the pun and Napoleon swooped in, claiming his advantage. He lowered his mouth to give Illya a matching hickey on the other side of his neck.
"I was here first. Bed or right here?" he asked, but didn't give Illya a chance to answer, stopping any words with his lips. He shook his hands free and skimmed down Illya's pants, then released himself, sighing at the freedom. Immediately, he negated that freedom by clutching both of them in one hand, matching the speed of his hand with their hips. He knew he wouldn't be able to prolong this more than a few minutes. That was fine; there was always later tonight.
Instead, Napoleon concentrated on keeping pace with his partner, never letting his hand or mouth pause as they moved closer towards their climaxes. Napoleon wasn't sure which one of them came first, it was too close to call, but suddenly Illya's fingers were digging into his ass as he arched upwards, his cry a mixture of pleasure and relief. Napoleon let his voice join in, echoing the cry.
He made sure both of them were finished before wiggling his hand from between their bodies and wiping it off on a convenient sleeve...
"Why do you do this to me?"
"I just get a good head of steam going and you have the nerve to..."
"Blow you... off?" Napoleon grinned. "I can do that too." He gave an encouraging thrust of his hips.
"No, I really do need to go." Illya wiggled uncomfortably. "What are we lying on?"
Napoleon grabbed the nearest bit of cloth and examined it in the waning light of the room. "I do believe we've found your jackets."
"Christ, Napoleon, what am I going to do with you?" Illya bucked his hips and rolled Napoleon off him. "My jackets are going to smell like semen now..."
"Only the top couple. The ones further down should be okay..." Napoleon got to his knees, tucking himself away. "The rest will air out in a day or two."
"In a day or two, they'd better be hanging back in that closet..."
Napoleon had been slowly digging his way through the hallway closet. Every time he got started, it seemed like he was doomed to interruption. But today was different. It was a rainy Monday morning, which meant Vinea was closed, and he'd purposefully arranged for no contractors for the next two days. Illya was still sound asleep, thanks to a busy evening in the restaurant and Napoleon's determination to see just, to coin a phrase, how many licks it did take to get to the center of his Tootsie Pop. He'd started with frottage, moved on to oral, then anal and was about to start another assault when Illya conceded defeat. He'd left the Russian softly snoring, looking as rumpled as the pile of bedclothes he was buried under.
Of course, it meant this morning Napoleon could barely move and he felt as if he'd pulled a groin muscle in the process, but the house was quiet and peaceful.
Napoleon pulled an armful of coats out of the closet and draped them over the back of the couch. They just moved the furniture in late yesterday, some of it newly upholstered, other pieces refinished and gleaming. Illya had done nothing more than quietly acknowledge its existence and head upstairs. Napoleon had been a bit disappointed. He loved how the new fireplace showcased the end of the room and the serenity of the color scheme, all lost on his pragmatic partner.
Napoleon shook his head clear of the thoughts and returned to the task at hand. Years of stuff had been crammed into the back of the closet. He was as guilty as Illya was. When they wanted something to disappear, they stuffed it into this closet.
He pulled out a crock pot a well meaning friend had given them, vases, knick knacks of every shape and size. He grunted as he wrestled a box out and onto the foyer floor. He broke the tape and opened the box carefully, as if this was a long-anticipated Christmas gift.
"What the hell?" He pulled out the top item, a trophy, engraved with Illya's name along with 'first place.' There was another, a crystal diamond, same engraving. And another and another, along with a handful of medals, some bronze, some silver, but mostly gold. "What were you playing at, Illya?"
"It was how I got funding for the restaurant." Illya's voice was still sleep soft. "No one would give me a loan, so I did what I had to do." He sank down beside Napoleon and picked up the closest award. "I don't even remember winning most of them, but the prize money was good. This one was our down payment."
"Did what he had to do." Illya replaced the trophy and stretched his arms skyward. "Seems like a lifetime ago."
Napoleon offered him his cup of coffee and Illya drank it slowly. "It was hard for you, wasn't it? When you first started?"
"If it hadn't been for this house, neither of us would have had a place to sleep. As it was, we did without electricity for the first six months and heat for the first year, with the exception of the fire place. Everything we made, we plowed back into Taste. We ate leftovers from the kitchen, slept when we could..." He broke off to chuckle. "And to think they are referred to as the 'good old days' now."
"Sometimes the best part of the good old days is that they are in the past and best forgotten." Napoleon climbed to his feet and went into the kitchen. He returned a moment later with more coffee and some croissants. "You should display these."
"They mean nothing to me."
"They should. I'd always wondered why Matt had so many and you had none."
"Do what you will with them. Frankly, I'd toss them given the chance." Illya scooped up a protesting Berra Noir. He plopped her on his stomach and began scratching her cheeks. Instantly she began to purr and knead his tee shirt.
"What are your plans for the day?"
"Nothing." Illya yawned. "Go over and see how Matt is feeling. Sleep... modify that new pork recipe I found... sleep... and maybe mess with the Kawasaki and get it ready for a road test... did I mention sleep?"
Napoleon took the cup out of Illya's hand and kissed his temple. "I think perhaps you should go back upstairs and work on that sleep angle right now."
"Have today and tomorrow off. Figured you could use a couple of days of quiet."
"My prince..." Illya draped the cat over his shoulder, climbed back to his feet and started back towards the stairs. "They're gone all day?"
"I'll hold you to that."
Napoleon watched Illya head back upstairs and then he turned back to the awards. Some of them had suffered minor damage from being so carelessly packed while others just needed a good shine. He looked over at their new mantle and smiled. He had just the spot for them.
Napoleon was carrying the last bit of trash out of the guest room and nearly collided with Illya. His partner's face was grease smeared and a bit bleary looking around the eyes, but he looked content.
"Got it running?" Illya had finally shaken himself free of the blankets around noon and headed out to the garage. Napoleon could well appreciate his needing to focus upon something other than food for awhile. And Illya did love his motorcycles. Napoleon used his dust rag to wipe grease from Illya's cheek.
Illya grimaced, but permitted the gesture. "Finally... I'm going to take her out later. You interested in a bit of dinner in Volcano? We can stop by Matt's on the way out of town."
"Well, I was going to paint in here so we could get all that extra mess out of the bedroom, but your offer presents different... options."
"Do it tomorrow. Give me a few minutes to shower and change. I think we could both use a night out."
The thrum of the motorcycle between his legs was like sitting astride a giant vibrator. Adding that to the fact that he sat very close to his partner, with the scent of Illya's leather jacket mingled with his aftershave, teasing his senses, made for a heady cocktail. In spite of the night before or perhaps because the love making had been decidedly one sided, by his own choice, Napoleon was suffering from a need.
He lifted a hand from Illya's waist and pointed to a side road. Illya cocked his head in a question, but throttled down to take the turn without spilling them. He drove along the road, maneuvering the bike between the potholes and cracks in the pavement. It was obvious from the overgrowth that this road saw very little traffic. After a few minutes the road gave out to an open field and Illya cut the engine, letting the bike coast to a stop. "What's wrong, Napoleon?"
"Where are we?" Napoleon pulled off his helmet and listened. Only the chirps of birds greeted him. This is when he tended to reflect upon how different his life was now, but he had something else on his mind. The day was still misty and cool, but the rain had ended hours earlier. Pockets of mist nestled down into the lower spots, giving the field a surreal look, almost Van Gogh-ish .
"No idea. The foothills have hundreds of these little roads. This one looks to be abandoned a long time ago, probably led to a mine or logging area. What's wrong?"
"I've been riding on the back of this motorcycle for an hour... what do you think is wrong?"
"Your bladder isn't what it used to be, my friend. I'll wait."
"As we'd say back home, right church, wrong pew."
"Let me rephrase, I've been sitting on the back of a motorcycle with you between my legs, feeling you, smelling you... now what do you think is wrong?" Napoleon found himself pinned against a tree, Illya's lips crushing his, a muscular thigh pressed up against his groin.
"Nothing wrong, but perhaps something very right," Illya whispered, dropping a hand to cup Napoleon's crotch. Napoleon arched against the hand, which, in turn, tightened. Illya, one-handed, loosened the chin strap and pulled the helmet from his head, tossing it to the ground.
"After last night, I wasn't so sure you'd be up to it," Napoleon admitted, turning his full attention to his lover.
"I'm an opportunist, Napoleon. I take whatever Life is foolish enough to permit me." He kissed Napoleon again, long and lingering, and Napoleon settled happily into the passenger side of the love making, letting Illya choose the course and speed. "You want me to take you now?" Illya asked, his tongue laving Napoleon's ear.
"And if I have nothing to pave the way, as it were?"
"I don't care."
"I think you would very much care after one thrust. I would gut you like a fish." Illya pushed Napoleon away from him and held up a finger. Napoleon frowned, uncertain of what Illya wanted. He walked to the motorcycle and rooted through a saddle bag. After a moment, he pulled out a bottle and carried it back. The fluid in the bottle was thick, like castor oil.
"What is that?"
"They call it Corn Huskers Lotion. I carry some on all the bikes." Illya unscrewed the lid and let Napoleon smell it. "It has a hundred and one uses, although I've not personally tried it out for what I've planned." He put a dab on his fingers and rubbed them together. "Where, Napoleon? Here, the bike, that rock? Tell me."
Napoleon nodded to the rock and started to pull off his jacket, but Illya shook his head and took his off instead. He arranged the coat over the waist high granite rock so that he would have a clear view of the road in case they had visitors.
Napoleon shook one leg free from his pants and underwear and draped himself over the rock. "I can't wait much longer, Illya. I'm going to do this with or without your help."
"With, I think, will be much more fun."
Napoleon smiled as he felt the pressure of Illya behind him, clever fingers paving the way for something much more delightful. He groaned when Illya pushed his way in, lips pulled back in a grimace of pain and pleasure. He pressed back, but Illya evaded him.
"I have plans for you later and if you are too sore to cooperate, it will put a damper on those plans. Have some patience, my love." Illya's voice was soft even as he was easing in inch by inch until they were pressed as closely together as skin, muscle and bone would allow. "Oh mon Dieu, vous sentez si bon, si serrs." Oh God, you feel so good, so tight. Neither of them moved for a long moment and then Illya slipped out and then in again, slowly, so slowly Napoleon wanted to scream. Instead, he tightened his muscles, resulting in a strangled gurgle from his partner.
"Trèbons bon." Illya picked up the pace a little more, allowing himself to set a pace that would both torture and pleasure his partner. Whatever else Illya was, Napoleon knew Illya could read him like a book, knew exactly what and how he wanted it.
Then common sense, propriety, everything was abandoned as Illya began to thrust harder, forgetting all but his own need. His fingers splayed, holding Napoleon in place. But Napoleon didn't mind, his hand kept time with Illya, his eyes closed, his attention turned inward, centered upon just one sensation.
When it hit, it rocketed through him seemingly from the tips of his toes to the ends of his hair. An explosion of relief, pain, excitement, and calm slammed through him and he groaned, his head back, arching as he ejaculated. A few strokes later and Illya joined him, ramming into him one last time and holding him firmly in place.
For an eternity and a second, they stood, still intimately joined, listening to their hearts and breaths struggle to find the peace that spread through the rest of their bodies. Then Illya pushed him way, using the rock for leverage.
"Don't move," he murmured.
"Like I can stand upright," Napoleon complained as Illya returned to the bike and found a cloth. He cleaned them both up and helped Napoleon straighten.
"Um, sorry about the jacket." He winced as he regarded the semen-stained leather.
"The nice thing about leather is that it can take a lot of abuse." Illya wiped the semen up and shook out the jacket. "Besides, I've gotten rather used to the smell." He shouldered into it and grinned. "Is that going to hold you for awhile?"
"I can assure you that the itch has been properly scratched, thank you very much."
"Thank you. It was my pleasure."
The next morning, Napoleon wasn't quite as sure. They gotten back from Volcano around nine and Illya had made good his earlier promise of having other plans for his partner. Napoleon was definitely feeling the burn and nearly ready to swear off sex, at least for the next few days at any rate.
He arranged the last drop cloth and glanced around to make sure he wasn't missing anything. The window was taped over and tape protected all the trim. Heavy cloth covered every square inch of the new hardwood floor. He was a man ready to paint.
Napoleon heard a noise and glanced over at the door way. Illya was leaning against the frame, an apple in one hand, his mouth working on a bite.
"This is it and we get our bedroom back?"
"That's the plan."
"And if I were to help you?"
"We get done twice as fast." Napoleon knelt to shake a can of paint.
"Have you done this before?" Illya's expression was dubious at best.
"I've taken out sophisticated radar, blown up bridges, save the world countless times. How hard can it be to paint a room?"
"I'll leave you to it then." Illya pushed off the door frame and disappeared. Napoleon frowned, disappointed. He'd hoped that Illya would join in with at least once aspect of the decorating.
After an hour, Napoleon knew why painters demanded such a high price for their work. His shoulders ached, his face was splattered and he'd only gotten one small area done to his satisfaction.
He sat, exhausted, in the middle of the room and rested his head on his knees. He was a fool to think he could do this.
"It would be easier if you used a roller." Napoleon didn't look up at the sound of Illya's voice, then he felt the hand on his shoulder, rubbing away the ache.
"It would be easier if I just paid someone to do it."
"Nonsense." Illya leaned forward to kiss his temple. "Let's begin again."
Napoleon was just tired enough and gullible enough to believe him and hence their present situation.
He hadn't meant to flick paint on Illya, nor did he intend to chuckle about it. "You look rather beguiling with dusky rose dribbling down your cheek, partner mine."
"Not funny, Napoleon." Illya used the sleeve of his tee shirt to wipe off the paint. "If you were anyone other than you, I would accuse you of having done that on purpose."
"I'd never do that on purpose..." Napoleon didn't know about motivated him to dab paint on the end of his partner's nose, but he couldn't help it. He was covered with paint and Illya was totally clean, except for that one smear.
"Enough!" Illya snapped. It was obvious he was coming to the end of his good will as they neared the completion of the room. "I mean it, Napoleon."
Napoleon laughed and leaned back, setting his hand down directly onto his paint brush.
"That serves you right." Illya turned back to his wall, moving the roller easily.
Napoleon looked at his paint smeared palm and then at the taut back of his partner. He could see the muscle flexing beneath the thin cotton fabric. Then Illya bent over and Napoleon moved, coming up behind him, his hand poised.
"You do it and you will die. I swear to the God you hold dear, Napoleon, I will take you apart."
Napoleon could see the fire blaze in his partner's eyes and didn't doubt the sincerity of the threat. The tension between them was stretched taut, ready to snap without a second's notice. And yet, he couldn't... he had to... he just didn't have the strength to resist... He slapped his paint coated hand firmly onto Illya's ass.
The next thing he knew he was staring up at the ceiling, a lovely white textured ceiling, and a furious Russian who straddled him.
"These are my favorite jeans."
"And now they're mine." Napoleon bucked up his hips, nearly sending Illya onto his nose. His hand, which had been holding Napoleon's down, moved instinctively to catch himself and Napoleon took advantage and dragged Illya down on top of him.
Illya, however, had obviously anticipated the move and turned to one side, dragging Napoleon over with him. They wrestled for a few minutes, something they had not done in years, and it ended with a breathless Napoleon leveraging his weight to pin the panting Russian to the floor.
"Now you were saying about my dying?" Napoleon asked holding Illya's hands above his head, his nose just a fraction of an inch from Illya's mouth. Illya moved abruptly and lapped it and Napoleon sat back, crinkling his nose in protest.
"Illya, that's disgusting..." he started and then found himself back on the floor in his starting position. Then Illya was bent over him, kissing him deeply, rubbing against him in a movement that made Napoleon forget about their adventurous night before, the fact that they were rolling about on paint stained drop cloths or in danger of tipping over a paint can or two.
Illya's hands skimmed his body, seemingly everywhere at once, finally coming to rest inside Napoleon's sweatpants, squeezing Napoleon's balls just hard enough to make Napoleon see stars. Then he realized the hand was gone, replaced by something much wetter and hotter. Illya worked him with a skill that made Napoleon happy that breathing was an involuntary reflex for he surely would have forgotten.
Just as he was about to achieve the climax of a lifetime, Illya released him and sat back, grinning.
"Wha...?" Napoleon propped himself up on his elbow, feeling as if his nerve endings were about to explode. "Why did you stop?"
"There's more than one way to kill a man, Napoleon." Illya gracefully got to his feet and walked away, Napoleon's handprint waving him a somber farewell.
"What? You little Russian bastard..." he sputtered, teeth gritted against the pressure in his penis. "You need to finish this."
"Do I?" Illya merely laughed and disappeared. After a moment, Napoleon got to his feet and pulled his pants back up.
He abandoned the guest room and glanced around for a hint as to where his partner had disappeared to. He'd kill him, throttle him with his bare hands, once he got Illya to finish what he started.
Illya had stripped off and was stretched out on their bed, glasses perched on the end of his nose, a book propped up on his stomach.
Napoleon stood by the side of the bed, trying to maintain his anger, but failing miserably at the sight before him.
"Those were my favorite pants, Napoleon."
Of all the comebacks that snapped through his mind, the one that made it past his lips was, "I know. I'm sorry... It's just that I'm so tired of all of this and there you were..."
"If you say the Devil made you do it, you will be sleeping on the couch tonight."
"No, all me." He flopped down onto the bed beside Illya and sighed. "I didn't think this would be quite the undertaking that it has been. I just wanted to change things a little. Give us a bit more room, make this my place too."
"Does that bother you? That I lived here before... with Matt?"
"A little. It's like there's an entire part of your life that I'll never be part of. I thought that maybe if I moved things around a little, I could pretend..." Napoleon voice trailed off and he swallowed the lump in his throat.
"What?" Illya asked after a long moment.
"That it never happened. And that we were back in our place in New York."
Illya rolled over to study him. "Napoleon, they call it the past for a reason... what we did... it was the path we were meant to take. And if I had to do it all over again, I would." He reached out and rested a hand on Napoleon's knee. "I do not blame you for what happened. It was my fault as well as yours."
Napoleon sighed, "Still, the regret will always be there."
"And if you had not acted the way you did, perhaps on our next assignment, your luck or my skill would have run out and one of us would be dead. I much prefer things as they are."
"Why is it my luck or your skill?" Napoleon murmured.
"I merely report the facts as I see them." Illya's lips hinted at a smile. "I did not mean for this to make you melancholy, my friend." He leaned in and kissed Napoleon softly. "But perhaps I can do something to relieve it."
Napoleon woke and blinked several times. It was dark in the room. For a moment he thought Illya had pulled the blackout curtain, but his watch told him that it was nearly eight. How the hell did that happen? It had been the middle of the afternoon...
He sat up and thought back. He remembered wrestling and then making love; he didn't remember falling asleep.
He reached out, but only encountered empty bed where his partner would normally be. He got up, pulled his sweat pants and shirt back on. The first thing that caught his eye as he walked into the hall was that the guest room light was on. That was odd. Illya was very conservative and kept lights off when they weren't in use, frequently turning them off as Napoleon turned them on—it was a running joke with them.
For Illya to have forgotten to turn one out seemed very out of character. Napoleon walked to the room and reached into to flick the witch off and stopped. The room had been painted, including the trim and all the painting paraphernalia had been taken away. The furniture had been moved in although it stayed away from the walls. The curtains had been hung, the bed made... impossible. He checked the date on his watch, just to make sure.
Now he knew why the light was still on. Napoleon clicked it off and walked to the stairs. He sniffed and grinned. Even over the drying paint, he could smell the curry. He knew it would be just the way he liked it, sweet and spicy. Napoleon's stomach growled in anticipation and he grinned, patting it.
"I'm right there with you."
He descending the stairs, a hand on the newly refinished banister and noted with satisfaction that the stairs no longer creaked like an old man's knees.
The back of the house was still curtained off, but the living room was welcoming and warm. A fire crackled in the fireplace and Napoleon smiled in contentment at the row of awards on the mantle. He felt a stirring of pride at seeing them.
Walking into the kitchen, he realized it was like a picture of familiarity now. Here he knew were everything was or would be. It was an oasis of order in the chaos of their other rooms. Now he understood Illya's insistence that it be left alone. It was Illya's haven, a place where the Russian could hide and feel safe. The music from a small radio was playing softly, Big Band it sounded like. That meant Illya had started with another program and that one had bled into this one. Said Russian glanced up at him from the kitchen table. He had papers spread out, various recipes and hand written notes. Napoleon recognized that look; Illya had started working on his cookbook finally.
"Wondered if you were going to wake up," Illya murmured, returning to his papers,
"Someone tired me all out." Napoleon deposited a kiss on Illya's head and wrapped his arms around his neck.
"Anyone I know?"
"Only in the biblical sense. The room looks great. I can't believe you did all of that without waking me up."
"Winston helped with the bigger pieces in exchange for dinner."
"Boy always did have a good head on his shoulders."
"He's an opportunist, just like his uncle."
"And his lover." Sinatra started and Napoleon reached down, urging Illya to his feet.
Frowning, Illya stood and Napoleon slid his arms around his waist, pulling him close and moving in time with the music. It have been a long time since they'd danced in the kitchen, at times to jazz, other times to no other music other than their own hearts.
And I've got no defense for it, The heat is too intense for it. What good would common sense for it do?
Napoleon sang quietly along as Illya, his head tucked comfortable into Napoleon's neck, moved with him, easily, gently, as at home here as he was anywhere else.
When you arouse that need in me, My heart says yes indeed in me. Proceed with what you're leading me to
In that moment, he realized that Illya was right. If he had to fight all those fights again, suffer all that pain again, he would in a moment for the chance to be here, together, holding the one thing in the world that truly meant something to him, feeling Illya's soft breath on his skin, feeling both strong and vulnerable simultaneously, feeling that being given the chance to grow old with this man was the most precious gift anyone had ever given him.
He slid his hands lower, one hand unerringly finding the mark it had made earlier as it cupped Illya's ass and Napoleon smiled. The past was the past, the future was tomorrow, but his love was here and now. And that was enough.