The Business As Usual Affair
When Napoleon Solo decided to play the sphinx, he did it exceedingly well. Outside the taxicab he currently shared with his partner was a typically hot and muggy New York afternoon. Inside the cab, however, was a different story.
Illya Kuryakin swore the temperature around him at least equaled the winters he had spent in Siberia. He blew out a quick breath to prove his point.
"Well, at least no frost yet," he said acerbically.
Napoleon merely gave him an irritated look and turned back to the window he was studying in great detail. Illya sighed and gave up trying to provoke him into conversation. He was accustomed to solitude and could live in the coldest of climates. He also knew enough about his partner's moods to know when to leave bad enough alone. Illya watched the meter tick away their expense account and studied the identification photo of the driver.
"Perhaps Masood would like to play chess tonight," he muttered softly under his breath. Solo turned from his perch and looked bleakly at his Russian partner.
"Did you say something?" Napoleon asked flatly, and Illya's eyes narrowed at the tone of his voice.
"Me? No, no, I didn't say a word," he lied and went back to hoping they'd make all the lights. This was beginning to be the longest cab ride in history.
Kuryakin was certain he had frostbite by the time the cab pulled over in front of the brownstone he had begun to think of as home. Maybe not tonight, he thought darkly, and got his bags from the trunk.
Solo pulled his out as well and turned on his heel, leaving Illya to pay the fare. The American agent stalked up the stairs, every line of his body set in stone.
Illya dropped his head, shaking it for a moment resigned to what awaited him. He paid the cabbie and slowly paced up the flight. He was not in a hurry to join his partner-cum- lover anytime soon. Perhaps I could transfer back to Kiev, he entertained. He shook his blond head and squared his shoulders, trudging up to the double glass door. He had faced Thrush agents, poisons, beatings, and more assorted mayhem than he cared to admit, but he would gladly trade the coming confrontation with Napoleon for a little more torture.
Opening the building's outer door, he saw Solo at the far end of the hall keying the lock to his apartment and stepping over the threshold. He did not hold the door for Kuryakin. The gesture was not lost on the slender agent, and the stress was beginning to make his head pound with renewed vigor. He had been grazed by a bullet to the left temple on this latest mission, and had a spectacular accompanying bruise and black eye, but the pain he felt from that injury was nothing compared to the ache that had taken up residence in his heart. Napoleon and he were still new lovers, and they were making new discoveries about each other every day. Illya found himself longing for the end of the day when they could drop all pretenses and be together. It was even worse on assignments when they had to be circumspect and put the mission first and their needs second.
Illya sighed again, thinking that this homecoming was going to be a memorable one, although not quite in the manner he had imagined. Kuryakin realized he was still standing in the hallway alone and resignedly pushed his way into the living room. He saw Napoleon's case on the floor, and heard the shower running. Allowing one quick glance to the room they had recently shared, the agent walked across the hall to the spare bedroom and placed his suitcase on the bed. He might as well be realistic and get the disappointment off to a grand start. He pulled out a change of clothes and sat wearily on the end of the bed, waiting for Solo to finish his routine. He rubbed his face absently, wincing when he hit a sore spot, resolutely ignoring the pounding in his head.
The silence in the apartment echoed back to him, and he realized it was too quiet. Nerves jangling, he looked up sharply to see Napoleon standing in the doorway watching him. Illya was sure the sound of his heart pounding could be heard in the deafening silence.
After another moment Napoleon turned on his heel and muttered, "Shower's free," over his shoulder. Hearing the irritation in the terse comment, Illya got up wearily and trudged to the bathroom.
As Napoleon walked past the spare room, he spied Illya's battered case on the bed. Reminding himself that he was supposed to be angry with Kuryakin, nonetheless, Solo retrieved Illya's bag, grimly unpacked it for him and put the personal items away in their accustomed places. When Napoleon pulled out the bloody turtleneck Illya had been wearing when he was shot, he sat down on the bed wearily. He shivered as he remembered the gunshot that had almost killed Illya and with it their life together. He picked up the empty case and angrily threw it in the bottom of the closet. Collecting himself, Napoleon went to his bedroom and stalked to the dresser. Rummaging in the top drawer he found the bottle of aspirin he kept there. Returning to the extra bedroom he shook out two pills, placed them on the nightstand, and got a glass of water from the kitchen as well.
Napoleon went to the living room and settled down into his favorite chair, waiting for the confrontation to begin. He found it difficult to hold on to his anger, the concern and love he felt for Illya threatening to overwhelm it. He pushed down the tender emotion, absolutely refusing to give way to it until he had gotten his point across to the stubborn Russian in his shower.
Kuryakin had hidden in the bath for as long as possible, and only now emerged as the last of the hot water gave out, his courage spiraling away with the water down the drain. He pulled on the sweats he had unpacked and ran a shaky hand through the sodden mop on his head. Looking in the mirror, he grimaced at the Technicolor shading on the left side of his face. He knew the real reason Napoleon was seething at him and did not want to face it tonight. It was an all too familiar specter in their lives, and he preferred to ignore it rather than confront it. His partner, however, was cut from a different cloth, and the Italian blood in him predisposed Solo to intemperate discussions.
Gritting his teeth, Illya resolutely walked out the door and headed to his room. He noticed that his bag was gone, and spied the aspirin left there for him. The overt message was not lost on him, and he sank down on the bed, placing his aching head in his hands.
"You're lucky you still have a head to hold, Agent Kuryakin," Solo said angrily, and Illya jerked up at the coldness in that voice. Napoleon was, after all, his boss, and that tone meant that the Chief Enforcement Agent was addressing him in his official capacity.
"You don't have to tell me that, Napoleon. I was there, remember?" He regretted the words as soon as they had left his mouth and dropped his head back down.
"Yes, Illya, you seem to forget that I had a front row seat as well. And being that close I can assure you that if you ever do anything that stupid again, I'll shoot you myself," Solo snarled at the smaller man, his temper already frayed and close to giving way completely. "You put yourself in the line of fire needlessly, and I won't tolerate that from any agent under me, and especially from my partner," he lectured, his eyes black with emotion.
Kuryakin was beginning to anger, but he forced the emotion down. He had learned that strong emotional displays got him nowhere and had mastered using his infuriating calm to further his stand on more than one occasion. He now directed that calm at Solo, and got up to stand in front of him.
"Are you through?" he said evenly, hoping that Napoleon had just needed to blow off steam. "Or would you care to expound upon my operational deficits in greater detail?" He glared at Napoleon, unable to suppress his feelings when this close to the warmth of his lover's body.
"I'll discuss your deficits any time I think it's appropriate. Especially when they almost get you killed. The next time you feel the need to protect me, don't" he snapped, backing Illya up to the edge of the bed with his intensity. "I won't tolerate you putting yourself in danger because of our relationship, because you want to keep me safe. We're partners first and that has to be sacrosanct. How we feel about each other can't affect our working as a team. I'm a big boy, Illya, and I can look out for myself."
He stopped his tirade and took a deep breath. Looking into the dazzlingly blue eyes so close to him made him soften a bit. He reached out a hand and touched the wound on his friend's temple before continuing. "When you pushed me aside and took that bullet ..." he trailed off, unable to speak around the lump in his throat.
"When I pushed you it was out of instinct, Napoleon. I saw the shooter, you didn't. Simple as that. You forget, milok, that we've been partners a lot longer than we've been lovers. I didn't do anything that I wouldn't have done for any other agent on any other assignment."
Napoleon's silence gave Illya time to collect himself. Solo's emotional outburst was making him uncomfortable, and he knew caution was in order. But his own feelings were bubbling to the surface and that made his renowned coolness begin to crumble.
"Shall we talk of the real problem here, my friend? Our partnership is different now that we are lovers. Neither of us is ready to face the probability that one of us may not come back from a mission one day. I know, Napoleon; I have nightmares about that. But that fear can't change the way we work or it makes us ineffective, takes away from what we have, blunts what we are together. It was much easier before when all that mattered was staying alive. The difficult part now is knowing we have something to live for."
Somewhat embarrassed by his display, Illya lowered his voice and looked up at Napoleon through his lashes. His voice became quiet and he had to swallow before continuing, "I never had a best friend before you, Napoleon. I've certainly never loved anyone the way I love you. So you can be angry with me, you can write me up, or suspend me, but I won't change the way I work. I can't. Not for you or anyone." Illya sat down wearily on the bed, suddenly bone tired.
He felt Napoleon's eyes raking over him for a moment and heard him sigh. He joined Illya on the bed, sitting close, thighs just touching. Napoleon looked at his feet for a moment, and then pushed on grimly.
"I saw the bullet hit you, Illya. The look on your face and then your blood on my hands..." Solo stopped, and felt his friend's warm hand reach for his. Voice quavering, he spoke very softly to Illya. "I lost someone I loved once before. It nearly killed me. I know I wouldn't survive another loss like that again." Napoleon was shivering, and his hand was cold. Illya pressed his hand to his cheek, warming it with his own heat.
"I know, Napoleon. It would shake me, too, if it had been you. But when it doesn't affect us, that's when we need to get out of the game." He faced his lover and looked into the worried eyes. "I love you, Napoleon Antony Solo. However much time we are allowed, I want to live it all with you; hold nothing back out of fear or even love. We have to be true to each other and ourselves." He brushed Solo's lips with his fingertips and felt him fall quiet under his hand.
"And I love you, Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin, even if you are the most stubborn, intractable, opinionated ..." his diatribe was smothered by the press of his partner's lips upon his, and he stilled into the kiss, calming and being calmed by the closeness.
Solo pulled his partner down the hall to their bedroom, anxious to put the last few days behind them. Illya stopped just inside the door and jerked him up short against his chest. The passion that had fueled their argument was now spilling over into raw desire, and he growled at Solo as he nipped and sucked at his lower lip and cleft chin. He couldn't get enough of the smell and taste of him and conveyed that to his lover.
Napoleon moaned into Illya's mouth, all the fear and trauma of the mission melting away as quickly as his tenuous hold on his control. Normally the aggressor, Solo knew that tonight it was Illya's lead he must follow. After a dressing down, it was normal for Kuryakin to make up for some loss of face by being dominant in the bedroom. Solo stiffened as he felt Illya nuzzle against his nipple, and broke away from his grasp.
"Slow down, tovarishch. We've got all night," he soothed, and led the Russian to lie on the bed. He retrieved the aspirin and watched Kuryakin's beautiful throat ripple as he swallowed the water. He shivered, remembering just what those throat muscles were capable of doing to him and smiled. Illya pushed him over and crept up between Solo's legs, demanding access to his mouth again. He softly rubbed his stubbled face against Napoleon's neck and was pleased to hear him pant with desire.
"I thought you wanted to go slow, Polya," he grinned and thrust his tongue into Napoleon's willing mouth. Illya sat up and raked the shirt off his sweating body, and coerced Solo into doing the same. The rest of their clothes were tossed onto the floor in record time. He assaulted Solo's lips, alternately nipping and licking, hurting and soothing. He ground his hips against his lover's hardness, and heard Napoleon grunt beneath him.
"No, Illya. Not yet." Kuryakin stopped his aggressive posture and frowned, seeing the look on Napoleon's face. "Please, I want..." Solo stopped, searching for the right words to tell Illya how much he needed him tonight.
The Russian stilled his body and his face softened as he read his lover's intent. He leaned his entire weight on Solo's body, enveloping him with his arms and burrowed onto his chest, hearing Solo's quiet murmur of thanks. Illya's breath was warm and humid against his skin, and he cherished the feel of the soft and pliant body covering his. This was what he luxuriated in, the quiet moments that were theirs alone, where the world of reality had no purchase.
Solo basked in the warmth that was Illya and slowly caressed the expanse of pale skin at his fingertips. The blond head relaxed into the touch, the fire from his earlier need still banked, but content to burn into glowing embers for the time being. Napoleon needed this and truth be told, so did he. Rare downtime turned into stolen moments like these were as fine wine; singular and meant to be cherished.
Quiet moments later, Solo tangled his fingers in Illya's hair, pulling his head up to meet his lips. They shared a slow and tender kiss, caressing with mutual affection. Kuryakin continued to nibble Napoleon's mouth and began to work lower, licking and lapping his way across collarbone and nipples. Solo watched the fair head gliding across his darker skin, and closed his eyes. With an easy sigh, he dropped his head down on the pillow and allowed Illya free rein.
Sensing the change, Illya traced lazy circles onto the dusky skin of his lover's areolas, feeling the tightening of the skin to hard peaks beneath his tongue. Breathy groans were coming from Napoleon, and he was encouraged to delve lower. Grinning against his taut stomach, he dipped his wet tongue into his lover's navel. He heard a quick gasp from Napoleon, and placed his hands flat against his hipbones to hold him in place for the next assault. His mouth blazed a hot wet trail down the arrow of dark hair that he knew so well. He felt Solo's erection hard and heavy against his throat, and breathed in the heady smell of his sex. Illya teased him and merely rubbed his lips against the swollen organ, feeling it leap and jerk with each touch. He gazed up at Napoleon and saw him flushed and panting, dark head unable to look away from the sight below him. Illya, his beloved Illya, loving him so completely; it nearly took his breath. He moaned out loud and said softly, "Illyusha."
That one word, one endearment meant everything to the Russian, and he closed his eyes at the rush of love coursing through him for his Napoleon. He growled hungrily and took the head of his lover's cock in his mouth. Solo thrust his hips up instinctively, and Illya took all of his shaft and worked the flat of his tongue against the flared underside. Illya could never get enough of this man's flavor and texture, and he began rocking up and down the entire length. He was awash in desire and didn't hear Napoleon's request that he be allowed to return the favor. He felt Napoleon sit up and then strong hands pulled him up the darker body. Napoleon positioned Illya until they were ready for a more equal exchange. Firm fingers captured his hips, and he felt the incredible sensation of Solo's mouth searching for and finding his own generous erection. Wet lips captured the tip and he cried out in pleasure, trying not to thrust too deeply into that wonderful heat. Solo chuckled and the resonance of that sound sent ripples down Illya's spine straight to his cock. He had stopped his ministrations on Napoleon, but renewed them with a vengeance when he felt Solo engulf his entire length in his mouth.
Illya was out of his mind with lust and knew he wouldn't last long against his lover's talented mouth. He deep-throated Solo, humming low in the back of his mouth, trying every trick he knew to bring him over the edge first. Solo grunted around him and worked harder on bringing Illya off. The smaller man groaned and brought out his last card. He insinuated his finger into the sweaty cleft of Solo's ass and plunged it deep into the velvet rim.
Napoleon froze, every muscle of his body tightened at once, and with a deep moan he thrust up into Illya's mouth and erupted into him. He pulsed strongly into Illya, who swallowed quickly, savoring the bitter and distinctively Solo taste. The combination of the heady taste and feel of semen gushing down his throat caused him to lose control completely, and he pumped in and out of Napoleon's mouth, mind screaming for release. Napoleon caressed his lover's testicles and gently tugged them while increasing the pressure and speed of his mouth's labors. Another pull, and another, and Illya whimpered in supplication. His hands clenched Solo's thighs and his world narrowed to the feel of the powerful orgasm tearing though him. Groaning, he felt himself jet out into the moist recess of Napoleon's throat, his lips and tongue working him even then. Illya thought he would never stop coming, until finally he slumped, panting, slowly drawing out of Solo's swollen mouth.
Exhausted, Illya rolled to the side, and barely had the strength to crawl up Napoleon's body to lie against him. Solo, also sated, drowsed in the aftermath of their desire. Heartbeats returned to normal, and heaving chests stilled, and the two agents were lost in each other. Pulling up the bedclothes, Napoleon covered their drenched bodies and wrapped his arms tighter around his mate. Illya was asleep already, and Napoleon smiled and kissed the blond head. A wistful look crossed his face and he bent his lips closer to Illya's ear.
"Whatever time we are given, Illyusha. As long as we are together," he promised, and closed his eyes.
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