The Evidence of the Senses Affair
Illya Kuryakin was a cerebral man. His head ruled his heart, his reason ruled his emotions, and he acted according to logic, rather than impulse.
Oh, he knew how to enjoy himself well enough—he allowed himself occasionally to dance with a pretty girl, to get into the groove of a tuneful piece of jazz, or to satisfy his appetite with a feast from the local deli. But he never felt a particular need to do so—they were simply pleasures to be savoured when the opportunity allowed, and he was quite capable of forgoing them if need be.
But he had one fatal weakness, one susceptibility to the senses, which he kept secret from everybody. Even from Mr Waverly, which was a challenge even to an agent of his calibre.
Even from Napoleon, which was twice as hard, and yet infinitely more necessary. After all, even were such things permitted, the man was only attracted to girls. But no matter how much he tried to deny it, there was something about his partner that called to him, compelled him, in such a way that nothing else on the planet could possibly compare.
During the course of a mission, it wasn't a problem. The adrenaline kept the banter flowing, his training kept him focussed, and he found that the challenge—sometimes utter desperation—of the situations they found themselves in concentrated the mind wonderfully.
Even if he was occasionally fascinated by the shine of Napoleon's Brylcreemed hair.
But handling his reactions to Napoleon's endless flirting during a mission was never a problem.
Planning a mission was a bit trickier. This was when the excitement began to build, when the storm clouds of THRUSH plots were seen on the horizon, before they broke over their heads. This was when their minds truly began to mesh together, when they developed the plans that would eventually put paid to the latest attempt at world domination. They would often sit close together, poring over some map or other document, and the musky scent of Napoleon's aftershave often distracted Illya, sometimes at the most inappropriate moments.
But the distraction would only last for a few seconds at most, and their minds were so connected there was never any problem in picking up where his brain had left off.
No, the real problem came after the mission, when the adrenaline dropped away and the fighting had been done, and there was only the tedious paperwork left to deal with. Then the world faded away from sharp Technicolor into dull sepias and greys, and his mind would wander and his concentration dissolve. The reaction was generally in proportion to the toll a mission took on him. If the mission had been successful he would hole up in the lab and use the disciplines required by scientific method to force himself back to normal. If, on the other hand, the mission had gone very badly, it wasn't unknown for him to try and drown his guilt on a bottle of Stolichnaya.
Encountering Napoleon during the calm after the storm was always something of a trial. Even during the darkest times, the times when neither of them wanted to face the world, Napoleon's presence was all-consuming flame in Illya's mind. When they were both in the office hammering out their case reports, Illya would keep his head down and finish as fast as he could in order to get out and away from Napoleon's tempting presence. Even when they were lying sick or hurt in hospital, the sound of Napoleon's continued breathing was sometimes the only thing that kept Illya making his own painful efforts towards life and health.
Illya used his unsociability at these times as a shield. Seeing Napoleon go off with his latest catch was particularly galling when, deep inside, he wished he were in the girl's place. Hearing Napoleon's voice descend into that seductive croon made his stomach clench and the hairs rise at the back of his head. The ever-surprising clap of Napoleon's arm around his shoulder never failed to make his heart skip a beat. And that ever-damnable aftershave positively drove him out of his mind with the desire to taste...
He'd had the chance once, and the memory of the touch of Napoleon's lips against his was locked into his brain. Of course, Napoleon had been half-drowned at the time, which wasn't exactly the ideal conditions for romance. Not that there could ever be any ideal conditions for a romance between them.
So when a particularly nasty mission ended two days before Christmas, the last thing Illya wanted to do was go along to Napoleon's Aunt Amy's for the annual Solo celebratory dinner. Sociability was just not an option after he and an innocent were captured by THRUSH and left in chains to drown. Napoleon had arrived only just in time to save Illya from a watery death. However, Illya was five inches taller than the innocent had been.
This was probably why Napoleon had fussed over his partner so much afterwards. Illya knew that Napoleon was always shaken up by the close calls, as he was himself when the situation was reversed, and always gave him a little more latitude with the touching and molly-coddling afterwards. Not that he could ever take much of that in his post-mission sensitivity to Napoleon. It always made him want to...bite.
But he knew he couldn't do that, so he settled for growling instead.
This time, though, was different. The innocent had drowned in front of him, coughing and spluttering, her desperate eyes fixed on him until the last bubble of air escaped her lungs. With the water approaching his nostrils, Illya had resigned himself to the same fate. And yet, once again, he had been saved at the very last minute and restored to life. By Napoleon. And this time, he knew that the combination of Napoleon's attentions to him and the charm and bonhomie he would turn on for his aunt would make him do something unforgivable.
And that was why, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Illya Kuryakin was sat in his flat in the dark, listening to Thelonious Monk and wondering how half the contents of his bottle of Stoli had disappeared.
And because his partner knew him so well, that is how Napoleon found him.
When he heard the bell ring, Illya ignored it. When he heard the key turn in the lock, Illya fumbled for his pistol, only to drop it when he saw it was his partner. Napoleon took in the situation at a glance, but said nothing, only slumped down beside him and reached for the vodka. They finished the bottle between them, and then, leaning on each other for support, they staggered together to the bed.
When morning came, Illya woke up with a streaming hangover and a mouth as dry and furry as a mummified cat. He found himself stripped to his boxers and wrapped around something warm and breathing, his face rubbing against soft skin. He couldn't remember how he'd come to be there, or who it was who was holding him so tightly, but he somehow felt so safe, so secure with this person. Still, he knew he ought to move away, and tried to lift his head; but the pounding in his temples warned him that any further movement would be punished severely. He sighed and slumped back down into the surrounding arms.
A few hours later he woke again, this time knowing instantly who he was with, and froze. Napoleon's arms were still wrapped around him, and one hand was trailing lightly up and down his spine, making him want to shiver. He could feel Napoleon's breath against his ear, puffing lightly every time he exhaled; a counterpoint to the gentle rhythmic pressing of Napoleon's chest against his. His own legs were entangled with his partner's, and his heart sank as he realised that his morning erection was pressed right up hard against Napoleon's thigh.
Napoleon had to have felt it, even through his boxers. He wasn't particularly gifted in that area, like Napoleon was (and yes, he'd covertly admired that portion of his partner's physique on occasion), but he wasn't small, either; and he was hard to bursting, the blood throbbing through his arteries and pulsing against his partner's skin. But yet, for some reason, Napoleon wasn't moving away. Illya didn't think he could still be asleep. Napoleon was always an early riser, and had drunk much less than he had the night before. But in that case, it was strange that he was still here in Illya's bed. No, he had to be still asleep. In which case, there was still hope of retrieving the situation.
Illya took a deep breath, and gradually started moving away from his partner's body, only to be stopped as Napoleon's arms suddenly tightened further around him, preventing him from moving. Realising that his partner was very much awake, Illya looked up, fearing what he would see in Napoleon's eyes.
Napoleon looked down at him seriously, his chocolaty-brown eyes soberly questioning, the lines on his face giving him an air of uncertainty. Illya found himself blushing and looked away, opening his mouth to say something—anything—that could explain the situation, only to find his lips covered by one of Napoleon's fingers. He looked up again, confused. Napoleon bit his lip, uncharacteristically nervous, and then—deliberately—shifted himself so that Illya could now feel his partner's hardness and heat up against his own. He gasped and felt his eyes stretching wide in disbelief.
Napoleon cleared his throat. "I thought I'd lost you", he said, his voice rough and rasping; then, since Illya was still staring up at him dumbfounded, he leant down and caught Illya's lips in a soft, lingering kiss.
Illya reached up tentatively to wrap his arms up around his partner's broad shoulders, still believing that this couldn't possibly be happening. He pinched the back of his hand behind Napoleon's back as Napoleon teased his mouth open with his tongue. The reassuring pain made him jerk in surprise, and he smiled as Napoleon's hands roamed down his back to cup his buttocks.
As he slowly succumbed to Napoleon's more than welcome seduction, his last coherent thought was that perhaps this Christmas wouldn't be so bad, after all.