Busted—a Summer Solstice challenge
Busted was the first word that popped into Napoleon's mind as his fellow agents burst into the room, unannounced. Granted it was April and Mark, but still... Up to now, Illya and Napoleon had been keeping their relationship on the QT.
Mark grinned, but April's shock was apparent. Napoleon immediately slipped his hands into his pants pockets, looking more like a little boy caught taking cookies than a man in a recent lip lock with his partner. Illya regarded them, pushing his glasses back up his nose with that very talented thumb of his.
"How long?" April's question was just short of a demand.
"A couple of years—"
"Two years, seven months, twenty one days." Illya's tone promised severe retribution if Napoleon forgot—again.
"Chuffin' hell," Mark muttered. "You two are knobbing each other?"
"What?" Napoleon looked from him back to Illya.
"Yes, Mark, but that should hardly be a surprise to you." Illya spoke as if he was discussing the mission they were on. "April, however, needs to sit down. Napoleon?"
Napoleon was at April's side, guiding her down to the couch that he and Illya had sprung from. "But I saw you with Melissa just this week... and Heather the week before that..."
"Do you need us for something?" Illya asked and Napoleon envied his lover's aplomb. It wasn't that he was ashamed of their relationship, but now that they'd been outed, it was more uncomfortable than he'd expected.
"Mr. Waverly is due in five minutes. He wanted to discuss that explosive device you found, Illya."
"I shall meet him." Illya pulled off his glasses and grabbed his jacket. A wicked look appeared in his eyes just a split second before he bounced up and kissed Napoleon. In a heartbeat, he was gone.
"I'm gobsmacked, mate, I truly am." Mark watched after Illya, slowly shaking his head in disbelief.
"Napoleon, why didn't you tell us?" April's voice was soft as if she was afraid it would carry beyond this room.
"We tried to a dozen times, but then something would happen and the moment would pass. This isn't the sort of thing you'd shout from the rooftops, although Illya would, no doubt, be game. He's surprised me on more than one occasion."
"All the way around, mate. To think if Waverly hadn't insisted on us delivering his message, it could have been Hannigan and Cross standing here."
Napoleon smiled at the man and chuckled. "Mark, why do you think he insisted?"
"Mr. Waverly... knows?"
"Do you think we would be doing this without his knowledge? Even if we wanted to hide it from him, we couldn't. There are certain... indications that would have ratted us out after our next physicals. It was safer to go directly to Waverly and tell him." Napoleon smoothed the lapel of his jacket, smiling as the action scented the air with Illya's aftershave. "I am going to assume we can count on your discretion?"
"This is the biggest bit of gossip I've been handed in years and you want me to stay quiet?" April rolled her eyes as if exasperated. "You really are sure of yourself, Napoleon."
He caught her hands and smiled. "I'm more certain of my friends." And then he was gone, following in the footsteps of his partner.
"That was..." April paused, lost for words.
"Yeah, it was." Mark finished coming up behind her and slipping his arms around her waist. "But at least it will take the pressure off us," he murmured into her ear.
"Somehow, I doubt that." She leaned back against him.
"You know what they say. Keep your friends close and your lovers even closer."
"I don't remember hearing that before, Mark."
"Heard it in a pub once..."
"I don't believe you."
"Ask Illya, he was there too. In fact, he might have been the one who said it."
"You and Illya were at a pub together?"
"Uh huh... went there to convince an Innocent to play with UNCLE."
"And was playing done?"
"On more than one level." Mark smiled at the memory of that night and just how skilled Illya was with... explosives. There was the sound of voices and Mark released her. "Sounds as if the Old Man has arrived. We need to go."
"What did Illya mean about you should have known?"
"Water under the bridge, luv."
"And me? Am I water under the bridge as well? Icing on the cake?"
"You, Miss Dancer, are my bridge and my cake. Everything else was just a distraction until I saw what was right before me." He kissed her warmly, then embraced her.
She tolerated the embrace for a moment, then pulled free and punched him lightly on the shoulder. "And from now on, you'd better remember that. Remember, like you, I'm an UNCLE agent and eliminating the competition is one of my specialties."
"Hmm, you and Illya... I'd sell tickets." Mark grinned widely as he held open the door for her.
"Would you? And bet on whom?"
"The winner, of course."
"Mark, wait, you need you..."
But he was out and gone. All she could do was follow.
The three men standing there glanced over at them. There was a questioning smirk on Napoleon's face, Illya's expression was amused and Waverly was slowly shaking his head.
"Carry on, gentleman... and Miss Dancer." Waverly touched his fedora to her and walked away, still shaking his head.
"There are many advantages to having a man as a lover, Mark," Napoleon said. "But only one pops to my mind at the moment."
"And what's that?"
Napoleon held out his handkerchief to him. "Illya doesn't wear lipstick."