Napoleon woke, but stayed still, concentrating upon keeping his breathing easy and regular.
He recognized the questioning chirp as coming from one of their three cats. Illya would know which one it was by just the cadence or pitch of the sound, but they all sounded the same to Napoleon.
He opened an eye and saw Fremir studying him, head cocked to one side.
"Mrph?" The cat looked back and was joined by her two littermates, Brunir, and Roux. Or at least Napoleon though Fremir was the girl. It was hard to keep track of them.
"Shh, don't wake Illya." Napoleon glanced over at the blanket-covered lump in the bed that represented the love of his life. "Let's go get you something to eat."
Quietly, he slid out of bed and pulled on his trusty old blue robe and his slippers. Illya was constantly after him to get rid of that thing, but Napoleon figured as long as Illya wore his old raggedy and stained sweatpants, he was holding on to his robe. He nodded firmly as he tied the belt loosely and headed downstairs.
Napoleon kept one hand on the railing, if only to keep from getting bowled over by three cats. Each one seemed bent on getting to the bottom ahead of the other and Napoleon lifted a leg as Brunir barreled past it.
He paused in the living room long enough to start up a fire and get the flames busy warming the downstairs. Why Illya refused to turn the heat on at night was beyond him. Since the fall nights were getting cold, Napoleon made the decision to call the service man and give the system a thorough check.
In the kitchen, he started the coffeemaker and went to the refrigerator to see if there was any leftover cat food from the night before. It was unlikely, but you could never tell. Sometimes Illya would put something down before he crashed for the night. Other nights, he would stash a small treat for Napoleon to discover in the morning.
As Napoleon reached for the handle, he caught sight of his reflection in the polished steel. He reached out and touched a finger to the cold smooth surface and then brought the finger back to his face, warm and rough with morning whiskers.
When did I get this old? He thought as he stared. He used to think anyone over forty was ready for the glue factory and here he was nearly sixty. Harder still was the realization that he'd spent over half those years with Illya.
Well, almost half of them. Too many long years had gone by until, by fate or karma or whatever you want to call it, he'd seen a small blurb in the newspaper. If he hadn't, he'd still be alone...
The sinking of claws into his thigh shook him from his thoughts and he pushed Roux down. "Knock it off, cat; I am not your scratching post."
The three cats serenaded him from their position at his feet and wound around his ankles. Stumbling, Napoleon made it to the cabinet where the cat food was stored and he quickly opened three cans. Without any flair, he filled three plates with equal portions and put them down.
Instantly the cats were jockeying for positions, even though all three plates were identical in portion size and content. There were growls and hisses, but eventually they settled and ate.
"To the victor goes the spoils," Napoleon said as he poured some coffee into a mug. He sat to watch them and reflect back upon his comment. He'd known a few Victors in his time and none of the ones he knew deserved anything, spoiled or otherwise. It was a Victor who'd driven Illya from him. Even though the man was dead, Napoleon spared no kind thoughts for him. All he had was anger and hatred for the man.
Napoleon glanced out the patio window towards the bus stop.
"Where is he?" he asked the empty room. The truth of the matter, he was as nervous as an expectant father. He was going to pop the question tonight. He'd spent the afternoon making a special meal, chilling the champagne, trying to find just the right words to ask Illya to commit to him for the rest of their lives and pledging his life and love to Illya.
Napoleon looked down at the band, polished and gleaming. He was going to put that ring on Illya's finger and the rest of the world could go hang itself. Sighing, he tucked it back into the pocket of his robe. He planned to meet Illya at the door wearing just a smile, but until then, he had the comfort of his favorite robe and fond memories.
That morning he'd nearly done it. They had just finished making love and Napoleon looked into Illya's flushed and contented face and the words had nearly poured from his lips. Then Illya had kissed him and they began all over again.
"It's funny," Napoleon murmured as Illya began to nuzzle his neck.
"You. When you first shipped in, everyone thought you were so cold and stand offish. I knew better."
"You did, did you?" Illya's tongue found the lobe of Napoleon's ear. "Do tell?' Illya's breath ticked and Napoleon chuckled.
"I knew you weren't the Ice Prince as so many people referred to you. You were Soviet and as a Soviet, you kept things close to your chest, never trusting until you were certain that the trust was worthy and mutual. Never extending your hand in friendship until you were certain it would be returned. Never—"
"You talk too much, Napoleon." Illya's mouth covered his and words became unnecessary.
Illya was very late for work that morning. Napoleon, still recovering from a minor flesh wound, had the week off. He didn't mind being able to roll over and get some more sleep, especially when Illya's scent surrounded him.
"Where the hell is he?" Napoleon returned to the window to stare out into the night.
There was a knock on the door and Napoleon frowned. He was expecting only his partner tonight, no one else. Who could it possibly be?
Across town, two men lay, side-by-side, after too many years of being apart. Their lovemaking had been clumsy and less-than-perfect, but in the end, they'd both satisfied the other and that's what mattered.
"I can't believe you are finally here. My beloved Victor." Victor Gervais stoked Victor Marton's face gently, wiping away the sweat, wishing he could wipe away the years as well. For too long, they had been separated.
"I, too, am so glad, nay relieved, to be with you again. I feared it would be too late." He coughed and winced. His illness had ravaged his body without respite. Just breathing was a chore now, but breathe he would until he saw his act of revenge through.
"At least the parole board finally saw things my way. Coupled with your failing health, how could they deny you?" Victor leaned in to kiss Marton softly, so, so softly. "How could I deny you?"
"How much longer?" For years, he'd schemed, planned, waited for the day when he could deliver the killing blow to both Solo and his nasty little worm of a partner. Kuryakin was a thorn in his side for too long, but not much more. He'd driven in the final nail that sent Marton to prison. He'd made sure that there was no early release. Kuryakin was determined to keep him locked away, but in the end, Gervais's money and connections proved stronger than Kuryakin's will. Now Victor Marton was a free man.
Gervais reached for a small transceiver. "What is your report?"
"Kuryakin's bus is approaching."
"You will only have seven minutes from the time he alights until he arrives at Solo's door."
"We understand. Our agent is in place."
"She was instructed in the use of the liquid?" Aside, Gervais muttered to Marton, "We had an accident at the lab and the scientist was quite literally screwed to death. There will be no way Solo will be able to resist her."
"Yes, sir. She is to apply the spray just before she knocks on Solo's door to ensure the greatest impact."
"And you both know your orders. All your orders?"
"We do and we will comply."
Napoleon opened the door only after he was certain his visitor wasn't an enemy. In fact, his visitor was far from it. The woman wore a trench coat, tightly belted, a contrast from Napoleon's blue robe.
"May I help you?"
"Medical sent me by to make sure everything was okay. You missed your appointment this afternoon."
Napoleon's brow furrowed. "Did I?"
"May I come in?"
"Oh, certainly, my manners." Napoleon stepped aside and she walked past him. He suddenly felt lightheaded and his groin tightened. Almost instantly he had an erection and that was even more worrying to him than his sudden dizziness. Napoleon Solo hadn't looked at a woman in that sense for years. Oh, he still dated and he'd bed an enemy if necessary, but never out of lust. It was always out of necessity. The only person he wanted in his arms was Illya.
"Are you all right?" The woman was in front of him, her hands cool upon his forehead. "You seem to be flushed." She pushed him back against the entryway wall.
Just then Napoleon's penis peeked out from between blue terrycloth flaps and he tried to cover himself, but the woman reached for his erection, her movements certain and sure.
"No," Napoleon muttered, trying to push her hand away, but the closer she got the more excited he became. Napoleon was about to burst out of his skin with his need to copulate.
"Oh, I think, yes." She opened the trench coat to reveal her glistening and very naked body. She let the garment drop and lifted Napoleon's hands to her breasts.
He couldn't help it. It had been so long since he'd been with a woman and he loved having sex with a woman, almost as much as he did Illya... Illya, Napoleon's mind grappled with his lover's image. He tried to push her away, but it was as if his free will, along with his motor functions, had abandoned him
She began to run his tongue up and down Napoleon's shaft, pausing to kiss the swollen flesh every few seconds. She licked the tip, kissing it, sucking it into her mouth.
Napoleon's head thumped back against the wall and his hands splayed against the paneling, trying to hold on, trying to think straight. Something was very wrong. He couldn't stop his reactions, couldn't control his....
"Stop." His voice came out as a cracked plea. "Don't do this."
"Mmm, but I have to. Orders are orders." She drew him into her mouth and Napoleon's eyes widened.
That's when he saw Illya, mouth agape, the pain of betrayal twisting his features into a mask of horror. Illya made a sound, something akin to a wounded animal and then he turned and fled.
"Illya, help me..." he tried, but the words wouldn't come. They were the only things that didn't coming. He ejaculated and crumpled to his knees the moment she released him.
She wiped her mouth off on the hem of his robe and stood. "Mr. Marton and Mr. Gervais send their kindest regards. Oh, and they said to burn in hell."
She turned, slipped back into her trench coat and walked out. She could hear the UNCLE agent sobbing, deep, gut wrenching sobs, as she headed for the elevator. She almost felt a small twinge of remorse—almost.
Once the doors slid shut, she pulled a small transmitter from her pocket. "It's done. They're done. Kuryakin has left the building." She laughed at her own joke.
She tucked the transmitter away, strutted out of the building, and dropped in mid step as a single shot sliced through her skull.
A block away, a transmitter was brought up. "The target has been eliminated and I'm returning to THRUSH Central. Out."
Victor Gervais laughed, a high-pitched, nasty-sound thing, and rolled over in bed. "Did you hear that, my love? They now will taste the bitter pill of being alone and separated from their... Victor? Oh, Victor..." Gervais moaned.
Victor Marton was beyond answering. He'd shuffled free of his mortal coil before he'd had the opportunity to learn if his plan had worked. He'd never know of the devastation that would follow his act of revenge. Perhaps that was the greatest irony of all.
With a jolt, Napoleon came back to the present. His coffee was cold and the kitchen was empty except for him and three empty plates. He looked down at the robe, his favorite blue robe, and his stomach clenched. After all these years, it had been the last thing Illya had seen him in, the last time... their last time. No wonder Illya hated it so. And what a testament to love it was that he permitted Napoleon to keep it.
With a cry Napoleon ripped the robe off and threw it aside. No, better than that, he snatched it up and carried it into the living room. Wrapping the robe around the end of a poker, he thrust it into the fire and watched as the fabric blackened and smoked. Only when it was a bitter memory, did he retreat back from the heat.
Napoleon returned to the kitchen, dumped out his cold coffee, replacing it with scalding liquid. Then he poured a second cup and carefully carried both up to the bedroom.
Setting them down on the nightstand, he slipped back into bed and cuddled up with Illya.
"Uh, you're cold." Illya's protest was sleep-slurred.
"You can warm me up," Napoleon said, kissing the nape of Illya's neck and burrowing his nose into Illya's impossibly long hair.
Illya rolled over in bed and smiled sleepily. Then he frowned and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Three decades we're been together, Illya. Shouldn't I be less in love you with by now?"
"I don't know, what do you think?"
Napoleon reached out to cup Illya's face and he smiled. He felt as if his heart would explode from sheer happiness. "No."
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