Color Me This
Napoleon's head turned at the knock, but he continued to concentrate upon his task, until the second, more anxious rap-rap.
"Coming!" he shouted and walked quickly across the living room to the door. He opened it and grinned at his partner, who was leaning against the door frame. Illya looked tired tonight and Napoleon knew how he felt. No matter how you sliced it, it had been a long week.
"You said something was up?" Illya straightened and brushed past Napoleon. He glanced around, ending back at Napoleon.
"How long have you been in this country?"
"Five years, seven months and an odd assortment of days, why?"
"I happen to know for a fact that you have never taken part in an old American tradition." He led his partner to his small dinette table. It was covered with papers and several bowls were set out on the paper. "We are going to color Easter eggs."
Napoleon frowned at the look of panic in Illya's eyes. "Tovarisch, what's wrong?" He asked as Illya took a step back towards the door.
"I... I have a confession."
Napoleon blanched. He'd never seen his partner looking quite so desperate. "What? You can tell me anything, you know."
"I... am... incapable of decorating eggs. I have neither the patience nor the talent."
"What talent? You just... wait a minute, you're thinking of pysanky, aren't you?"
Napoleon started to grin again. "Not exactly. Sit down, my friend, and prepare to have your horizons broadened."
Napoleon let his head drop back against the couch and stared at the back of the Paas box. The words refused to hold still long enough for his eyes to focus upon them.
Illya plopped down beside him, still fiddling with the small wire dipping rod. "It is really a tradition to take a shot with each egg?" Illya was a little blurry around the edges. His fingers were a colorful pallet of red, blue, and green dyes. "And American children do this? It actually explains much..."
"Well, my tradition." Napoleon tossed the box over his shoulder. "That's how it should be. When one way doesn't work, you find one that does. And what better way than starting one with a good friend?"
"And me too."
"I meant you, you ..." That's when Napoleon realized Illya's eyes were closed and he was softly snoring. "Yes, my friend, you, too."
Napoleon got to his feet and went to the linen closet to drag out his mother's quilt. He weaved his way back to the couch and started to tuck Illya in. The man just looked so comfortable that Napoleon decided to throw caution to the wind.
He wiggled down in between the sofa and his boneless partner and pulled the quilt around them both. Slipping a protective arm over Illya's waist, Napoleon settled down and smiled sleepily to himself. And me, too.
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