Act IV – 'They're never quite so dangerous as you.'
Mr Waverly met them when they returned to London headquarters, having flown in that morning. He received them in the office he used when he was in England and paced comfortably around the table as he spoke.
'Well done gentlemen. Quite a successful affair, I should say. The museum is being cleaned out and its...legitimate treasures distributed among the appropriate institutions. We also have a little reprogramming session going on downstairs for the unfortunate experts whose help had been enlisted for the project. I am sure most of them will find institutions that are very happy to take them on, but they will have no knowledge of the processes that were carried out in that basement.
'Mr Solo. Mr Sowerly tells me you were of great assistance in deciphering that map that was used to locate the crystals.' He looked through his bushy eyebrows at Napoleon, puffing gently on his pipe.
Napoleon shifted in his chair,
'Well, Sir, I only remembered what I had seen. I wouldn't say I did any, ah, original work on it.'
'You're too modest, Mr Solo. I think your skills might be just what is needed on a little affair we're currently working out in Antarctica. How would you feel about going to help out?'
Napoleon felt an involuntary shudder run through him. He hated the cold and Illya, standing behind him, knew it only too well.
'I really think you're overplaying what I did, Sir. I don't think I'd be of any value.'
'No? I'm sure Mr Kuryakin here would agree that you did a fine job.' He looked to Illya for confirmation, his eyes twinkling. Illya couldn't resist it,
'Oh yes, Napoleon would be a great asset. But...perhaps he would work better on anything required for the project from an office in a more temperate zone?' he added, suspecting that Napoleon would have his guts for garters if he actually got sent to Antarctica. Apart from which, he wanted Napoleon with him, now. Or sooner, if possible.
'No, his presence will be needed on the spot. I'll call our contact out there and make the arrangements.' Mr Waverly flicked the switch on the desk communicator. Illya looked at him in alarm.
'Sir, you're not really sending Nap...Mr Solo all the way down there for a desk job?' he said, wondering how he got the nerve. Mr Waverly's hand hovered over the switch. He looked hard at Illya for a long moment, until Illya started to shift uncomfortably. Then the ghost of a smile appeared on his face and he flicked the switch off again. He looked up,
'Well, now you put it like that...No, perhaps not. I think there is a better use for him in New York. You are both booked on the seven-twenty flight back, so you had best go and get ready. I'll expect your field reports by the end of the day tomorrow.' He gestured them out of the room and they got up slightly uncertainly.
'I really thought he was going to send you straight off on another affair then,' said Illya as they walked towards the entrance.
'Mm, I can't be sure, but I think Mr Waverly was teasing us.'
'What did he mean "a better use"?'
'Why doesn't he want our reports until tomorrow evening? He usually wants them yesterday.'
As they neared reception, Mary ran up to them from behind.
'I just heard you're leaving,' she said, looking breathless and disappointed.
'Yes, we have to catch the evening flight back to New York, Mr Waverly's orders, so I'm afraid we must hurry,' replied Illya. Napoleon allowed a slightly smug look to creep onto his face. Trust Illya to throw cold water on the girl. She was obviously besotted with him and Illya just didn't register it at all. Napoleon thought about the last evening Illya and he had managed to spend together and his smile broadened. Yes, he was very happy, for once, to see a girl let down, seeing as it was by his partner. Illya was right though, and gallantry wouldn't save them any time. They turned and were about to walk away when she ran around in front of them.
'I'm sorry, this is very unprofessional of me, but I have enjoyed working with you, Illya,' she said, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. He disentangled her and pushed her reasonably gently away. From the look on his face, Napoleon thought she was lucky to still have all her teeth. Innocents doing that was one thing, but fellow agents? Only if they're called Napoleon, he thought with pride. Illya shook his head.
'You could have done that somewhere less public,' he muttered to her, irritated. She shrugged, obviously not regretting it. They left her damning her own luck in the corridor and walked back to the hotel.
Napoleon glanced discreetly at his watch as they neared the building, but it was already five o'clock and they would be pushing it for check-in as it was. They packed and got out in record quick time and were on the flight home before they had time to think.
They dropped their luggage to the ground as Napoleon's door slammed shut behind them, and Illya turned to grab him and kiss him as he had been dreaming of doing for the last four days, but Napoleon was gone, striding across the carpet towards the kitchen. There was an offer in the set of his back, however, a temptation that said, Try and stop me...
Illya darted across the room, tackling him from behind and sending him crashing to the floor. He rolled over, automatic self-defence kicking in before his conscious mind took over and he stopped fighting, allowing Illya to dive at his mouth, biting at his lips, sweeping his own tongue in to dance with Napoleon's, relieving him of his shirt and opening his fly before saying a word.
'You wear too many layers,' he said, plucking at the tight, white vest. Napoleon sneered.
'I think a vest, shirt and jacket would be considered inadequate for most open-air aviators,' he said, 'Anyway, I was just going to go and get something hot and tasty to warm us up, then you can remove my vest if it offends you.'
'Oh no you don't. I want to taste you, not your soup or coffee or whatever,' replied Illya, and returned to the assault on Napoleon's mouth. His hands were everywhere, rucking up the inconvenient vest around Napoleon's chest, struggling to undo his own shirt, stroking down the sides of Napoleon's neck and back up into his hair, feeling the solid skull, hot and hard...two adjectives he liked the sound of just now.
They skidded across the polished wooden floor, shoes kicking scuff-marks that Napoleon would curse later. Illya straddled him, using his weight to pin him down. His mouth slipped from Napoleon's and he let his forehead slide down Napoleon's cheek and nestle into the side of his neck. Napoleon coughed and put his hands on his shoulders, pushing him up a little.
'You're crushing me,' he whispered, feeling Illya's chest heaving on top of him. Illya pushed back and planted another brief kiss on his lips,
'Sorry, too much adrenaline for a moment.' Napoleon raised his eyebrows.
'Too much adrenaline for one of U.N.C.L.E.'s top agents?' Illya took advantage of the pause to sit back on Napoleon's legs, yanking his vest up over his head.
'Napoleon, when people are shooting at me, or the walls are caving in, or I have an airplane that's out of fuel to land, I at least have somewhere for my adrenaline to go. You don't know what you do to me. For four days I have been acting my shoes off, pretending I didn't give a damn. Well that kind of waiting can really wear you down.'
Napoleon looked slightly befuddled as his head popped out from the neck of his vest, leaving his hair sticking up in all directions.
'Uh huh? Well, you're still crushing me, and much as I adore you, if you don't shift, I'm going to lose the use of my legs, and as you are so fond of pointing out, there are some things it is slightly...embarrassing to have to explain to Mr Waverly.'
'Says a man who can throw off three attackers at once,' muttered Illya, moving his weight a little, resting on a hand planted in the middle of Napoleon's chest. He held Napoleon's gaze, daring him, watched his eyes narrow, his muscles tense slightly, then felt the spring and heave of muscle groups working together to throw him to one side, Napoleon following him over and purposefully coming down on top of him, flattening him against the warm wood.
'They're never quite so dangerous as you,' Napoleon breathed against his lips with some pride, accepting Illya's nudge upwards and pressing their lips together, hands fumbling to open the buttons on Illya's shirt, with which Illya himself had failed. It was more difficult with Illya's hands rubbing firm patterns across his back, tracing scars and the odd shapes of chipped or badly set broken ribs. He gave up and slipped his hands into Illya's trousers, brushing the points of his hip bones with rough fingertips. Illya squirmed and wriggled out from under him, blond hair sweeping across the floor, and looked back at a bemused Napoleon.
'I see what you mean about getting squashed,' he said hoarsely, 'I want to be on something soft, and I need to go faster.'
'Faster?' asked Napoleon as Illya pulled him easily to his feet and started to drag him across the room to the sofa.
'Faster. I don't,' he kissed him, 'know how long you've actually been waiting, but you are looking at years and years,' he kissed him again, 'of frustrated Illya, compounded,' he dragged at Napoleon's waistband, forcing him to stop and step out of his shoes and trouser legs, 'by four days of knowing I had you and couldn't do anything with you.'
'And have you,' Napoleon asked, taking the time to undo Illya's buttons and slip his shirt off, 'worked out exactly what to do with me this time?' he grinned playfully and Illya returned the smile, making little fireworks go off in Napoleon's chest.
'Oh yes. Why do you think I had that blanket over my lap for the whole flight back?' Napoleon gave a little nervous cough and slipped his arms around Illya's bare torso.
He knew every inch of it. Every bump, every dent, every scar. He had bandaged many of them himself at one time or another, pinched others together for an hour while they waited for a medic to come and stitch them up properly. The topography of Illya's back was so familiar from years of reciprocated massages and time spent in close quarters with the man, that it ought to have felt like touching his own skin. But it didn't. Suddenly, in that moment, it was as new and fresh as if he were being allowed to touch it for the first time. He spoke, interspersing his words between kisses; lips splayed against Illya's skin, nipping his chin, feeling the way his nose could nestle gently in Illya's eye-socket while his lips plucked at his cheek, making Illya sigh and go slightly limp in his arms.
'You're right, faster, need, to get rid of, that, adrenaline, of yours.' He pulled them down to the sofa, which was, admittedly, a lot more comfortable than the floor, and shuffled them around until he could strip Illya naked. He sat back to admire, his mouth hanging slightly open, and Illya got to his knees, his hair all mussed over to one side, one pupil slightly off-centre, giving him a deliciously abandoned look. He slammed Napoleon against the sofa back and climbed on top of him, his shoulders level with Napoleon's eyes so that all Napoleon could see was the imperfect line of his collar-bone, rising and falling with his unsteady breathing . Napoleon put his hands about his waist, pulled him closer, laid kisses on Illya's pale chest. He felt Illya's feet slide down one leg, finding the top of his sock, pushing it down into uncomfortable folds around his ankle. He hiked up his leg, scrabbling at the sock, wanting to get rid of anything that was distracting Illya. He dealt with the other sock himself, returning his hands to Illya's waist as Illya removed his own hand from Napoleon's shoulder and shot it down between them.
'Napoleon's lungs took an unexpectedly deep breath as Illya's fingers closed around him. He looked up and found himself staring into blue eyes. Illya sank down to him, pressing their foreheads together, his knees gripping Napoleon's thighs, one hand bracing himself on Napoleon's shoulder, the other working him with considerable care and restraint, given the obvious charged lust in his eyes. Napoleon blinked to give himself a chance at breaking eye contact and glanced down. His hands moved easily on Illya's skin. New and unexplored it may feel, but his hands could still find the pathways around Illya's body without any sort of reference to his brain. He stroked across the soft skin inside Illya's hip, fingers tangling into soft blond fuzz, then stroking up, finding a comfortable grip, learning a rhythm that made Illya jerk for a second in his lap, then roll his head to the side, trailing his lips down Napoleon's cheek, finding his mouth.
When he kissed his mouth this time it was easy to sink into the sensation, appreciate the taste and texture, while the rest of his body started to respond to Illya's rolling, sliding, gently squeezing hand. He increased the speed of his own hands, taking advantage of his relaxed position, lying back against the sofa with no need to support himself for once, to use both: one fondling – trapped between them in warm planes of soft flesh – one stroking, firm and regular.
Illya's supporting hand slipped off Napoleon's shoulder to the sofa, and he fell against him, his knees still holding his lower body in place. He swallowed and threaded his arm around Napoleon's neck, pulling away from him for a second to gasp at the air as Napoleon managed a half smile and brought the hand that was doing less of the work up to run it through Illya's hair. It came away slightly damp and he grinned more broadly at Illya's exertion, realised that he should probably do more work, and redoubled his efforts. Illya gave a muffled sort of 'Mmph' and his hand moved spasmodically around Napoleon who felt the change in tempo like a blast of heat firing out from his groin. Illya's eyes were closed now, he was so close. Napoleon could feel him tightening, straining, and he reduced his efforts a little; he himself wasn't there yet, not quite yet, and despite Illya's occasional advocation of the best socialist principles of equality, Napoleon wasn't convinced that he would actually be up to applying them once he came.
'Napoleon!' Illya gasped, feeling the reduction of pressure, 'Please!' Napoleon stroked his neck and swallowed,
'Uh huh. Jus' minute.' He thrust into Illya's hand, feeling the fingers tighten and increase their speed as a note of understanding struggled its way through Illya's sex-drugged brain. The pressure in Napoleon's groin started to build and his mouth fell open. Air: he needed more air. Illya's head was against his cheek, open mouthed, moist lips lying against his own, breathing second-hand air across them. Not that Napoleon minded receiving anything that came from Illya, but he needed oxygen. He turned his head, nestling his chin in Illya's shoulder, wrapping his free arm around his back, pulling them together, chest to chest. Illya struggled, pulled Napoleon away from the sofa back, let go of him, working his legs up, out of their kneeling position, digging them in around his back, locking his ankles behind Napoleon's back, rocking his hips against Napoleon's. Napoleon groaned at the loss of Illya's hand, then bit down not-so-gently on Illya's shoulder as he slid closer into his lap, both his arms pulling Napoleon against him. Napoleon opened his fist and took them both into its circle. He pumped at them, feeling Illya's arms spasm tightly around him, his sharp nose digging into his neck, as moisture splattered out over Napoleon's fisted hand. He kept moving, determined not to be left behind, and let his teeth sink a little deeper as he finally came, feeling Illya twitching against him, little trickles of sweat running down their sternums where their skin didn't quite meet.
It was cold now, the air in the apartment needing some heating to take the chill off, but Napoleon couldn't countenance the idea of getting up to do it. That would mean leaving Illya, who was regarding him through the narrowest of slits between his eyelids, fingers rubbing tiny circles on his chest, legs still at an awkward angle, wrapped around Napoleon's waist, even though he had slipped off to the side. Napoleon was sure it was a conscious decision, to leave them so uncomfortably placed, since it left him with a grandstand view of damp blond curls and soft, blushing flesh. Their breathing was starting to calm down now and goosebumps were emerging on his legs and arms as the sweating warmth of sex and satiation turned to evaporation and chill. He snuggled down next to Illya and lifted the leg that lay across his lap, sliding himself down so that he lay on Illya's chest. No good. He couldn't see Illya, and he wanted to see Illya. He rolled over, wincing as his tender flesh rubbed on the sofa. Illya's face crunched up in pain for a second as he accidentally rolled hard onto muscle.
'Sorry Illya,' he said.
'One day,' said Illya softly, his accent thicker than normal, as if doing something so primal made him regress slightly, 'I am going to teach you to say my name properly and you'll actually remember for more than five minutes.' Napoleon shuffled further up, leaning, but not too heavily, on his chest, feeling the warmth of still air build up between them.
'I do say it right. For me. Ill-ya,' he teased, planting a kiss on his chin. Illya laughed and put his warm arms around him. The apartment started to drift away and he sank down onto his chest, wondering vaguely at what point he had wound up being the one being looked after. Quite nice, for a change... he thought as his eyes closed.
For once, one of so few occasions he could count them on his fingers, Illya had got the girl. That is, to be more precise, the girl had decided that she had got him, slipping her arm through his as they walked slowly around the edge of the crowded dance-floor, before pulling him onto it, into the middle of the crowd.
They had been moving slowly among the other dancers for about quarter of an hour, when Illya felt a familiar hand on his shoulder and heard an unnecessarily seductive voice rumble into his ear,
'Wanna come home with me?'
He narrowed his eyes a little at the obviousness of it all, but his frown faded to an amused smile over the girl's shoulder and he prepared to make his apologies and leave with Napoleon.