Lay all Your Love on Me
Napoleon Solo wearily walked in the front door of the house he shared with his partner and set his briefcase down on the floor. He eased the door shut and then stopped resolutely and shut his eyes, letting the serenity of their home wash over him. He could hear music softly playing in the kitchen as the aroma of something sweet and spicy escaped from beneath the swinging door, and he let the waves of peace settle about him like a welcoming hug.
The house was hardly a fashion statement—instead it was a collection of their lives together, designed to be comfortable and restful after the insanity of a day of saving the world. Napoleon's favorite wingback sat beside Illya's overstuffed armchair, the rich leather of the first the opposite of the worn fabric of the other. Why Illya loved it was a mystery to Napoleon, but that was okay. With so much of their lives, the mystery made their relationship that much more satisfying for him and Napoleon knew why he loved his partner's chair so much.
On an impulse, Napoleon crossed the small living room and sat down in Illya's chair. It was as soft as ever and dragged him into its comfortable depths.
Napoleon smiled, remembering that first night, that first time.
Napoleon looked up and down the dimly lit hall, wondering, not for the first time, why Illya didn't move. He firmly thought this tenement building should be declared a public health hazard. The hallways were narrow and littered with toys, brooms, mats, the occasional drunk, and other things Napoleon chose not to think about. The walls of the building fairly thrummed with life, TVs blared, and radios competed against each other, while voices competed against the radios. It was the din of humanity and Napoleon couldn't understand why Illya chose to stay here. He once said it reminded him of home, as if that alone was a suitable and definitive explanation.
He knocked on the door and waited for a response. He knew Illya was home. Illya was always home unless they were on assignment. The man lived like a monk and there were times Napoleon envied his partner his Spartan existence.
Napoleon worked hard to keep up his playboy image, at times dating as many as three women in a single week. Frequently there were pools about whom Napoleon would be dating next and where he'd take her. All the while, Napoleon kept a very important part of himself tucked away. While he dated like crazy, rarely did those dates end up with more than a goodnight kiss and cheery wave. Napoleon appeared to be sleeping his way through the female population of the city when, in fact, he usually went to bed alone. He kept his heart tucked away, safe and sound, and waiting for a sign that this person was the one.
Napoleon had expected love to hit him like a proverbial bat out of hell, never expecting it to creep up to him like a timid kitten and settle down beside him, patient and willing to wait to be acknowledged. Yet that was exactly what had happened. Slowly, and without meaning to, Napoleon Solo had fallen in love with his partner.
For his part, Illya either didn't realize it or didn't care. They went along, much as they always did, sharing their triumphs and defeats, protecting each other as much as possible and being there to pick up the pieces when they failed. In fact, that's why Napoleon was here.
Napoleon has just come from the review panel that had cleared Illya once again for fieldwork. The agent had been sidelined by an injury and being chained to a desk while Napoleon raced back and forth across the globe had made Illya a very grumpy partner. Napoleon had argued, threatened and pleaded and finally the panel saw it his way. Finally, Illya was being sprung from deskwork and Napoleon had elected himself to be the bearer of the news.
He knocked again and frowned. Illya had said he was going straight home and that the panel could go hang themselves. He had not shared Napoleon's good-natured assurance that all would be well.
As much as he disliked it, Napoleon reached into his pocket and found Illya's door key. They'd exchanged keys early in their partnership.
Knocking again, he opened the door slowly. "Illya?"
Only silence greeted him and he quickly stepped over and keyed the security alarm off. He looked around, even though there were few places to hide in the small studio apartment. Only the bathroom wasn't in view and he checked that, then at a loss, he plopped down into the only piece of usable furniture that wasn't Illya's bed. The chair looked ugly, but it made up for it by being insanely comfortable. Napoleon sank into it and suddenly knew why Illya kept it around. It was like a big upholstery hug.
Napoleon turned his head and he could smell Illya on the fabric. Why, this was almost as good as the real thing. He closed his eyes in puerile joy. Napoleon had already admitted to himself that as much as he wanted more from his partnership with Illya, it wasn't going to happen. The Russian just wasn't interested.
Napoleon wasn't sure how much time had passed, but suddenly he opened his eyes and was staring into the bemused face of his partner.
"Napoleon," Illya acknowledged.
"Ah, this isn't what it looks like."
"Good because I could swear it looks like a man asleep in a chair." Illya grinned now. "Did you just come over here to test my furniture's comfort level?"
"No, I came to tell you that you are cleared for field duty."
"About time." Illya straightened, hefted up a bag and walked to his small kitchen. The refrigerator was such that it only held a few days' worth of food at a time—the perfect size for an active agent.
"Where were you?" Napoleon asked before realizing Illya putting away groceries was pretty much of a no brainer answer.
"Uh, I wanted to make dinner and needed to buy groceries?" Illya made the statement a question, just to tease Napoleon further.
"What are you making?"
"Coq au Vin."
"You can cook?"
"Napoleon, I did spend four years in Paris. Of course, I can cook. Would you like to stay for dinner?"
Illya proved to Napoleon just what sort of a cook he was after that. Napoleon had probably had more elaborately prepared Coq au Vin, but the fact that it was Illya who made it added a new dimension to it.
Napoleon was once again sprawled in the hedonistic pleasure of Illya's chair, hunger and thirst well sated.
"Napoleon, you look like the cat that ate the canary."
"Well, close enough."
"If there is something I am missing, then that would mark me a poor host. What is it that would make your evening complete?"
What propelled Napoleon to take that opportunity to kiss Illya, he would never know. All he knew is once he started, he had no intention to stopping.
Napoleon opened his eyes and stared into Illya's loving gaze.
"This isn't what it looks like," Napoleon murmured and watched Illya smile in remembrance.
"Good. Because I could swear it looks like a man asleep in my chair."
Napoleon reached up and pulled Illya down onto him and for a long moment they embraced and kissed, reestablishing their bond, telling each other of their love in words never spoken.
"You had such a big smile on your face, I didn't want to wake you," Illya murmured the first opportunity Napoleon let him speak.
"I was remembering that night... the chair, the coq au vin..." Napoleon sighed happily.
"The sex... I thought I was going to die of old age before you gave me an indication of your mind." Illya got back to his feet. "The Beef Khartcho has forty minutes to cook..."
"What's for dessert?" Napoleon also got up and stretched. While the chair was still comfortable, it played hell with his back now.
"My favorite." He kissed Illya again.
"Not mine." In a step, they were to the couch and Illya was unbuttoning Napoleon's shirt with swift fingers.
"And what would that be?" Napoleon was bent to his own task of undoing Illya's fly.
"Surely, you jest? Why, a Napoleon, of course."