Initiation to Innocence

by Jane Terry and Psmythe

The authors would like to dedicate this story to Marion McChesney for being an inspiration and helping to make this story possible.

"You're what?"

Illya Kuryakin glowered at Napoleon Solo, walking beside him down the main corridor of Geneva Headquarters. In a low tone, "I said: a virgin. And I'll thank you to keep your voice down."

Napoleon resumed his usual nonchalance as they approached the stairs to the heliport on the roof. "I thought they were obsolete."

"Not at all. We breed them in Russia." Illya jerked open the craft door, obviously peeved and obviously expecting Napoleon to drop the subject.

"If you breed them," Napoleon pointed out relentlessly, "they aren't virgins any more." He buckled himself in while his partner started the motor.

As the whup-whup-whup of the rotors increased in speed and volume till almost too loud to be heard over, Illya bared his teeth in a false grin. "The trait is recessive. It skips a generation."

And then they were in the air, tilting away over the quays of the city and the great silver sweep of the lake shore toward the airport.

Well. Imagine that.

It certainly explained a few things—if Illya was in fact telling the truth and not just feeding Napoleon misdirection. Why the Russian had affected the role of hairdresser to Countess Joanna Lydecker instead of something a bit more... assertive, for instance. After the escape from the Swiss boys' school last night and a warm, luscious apology for stealing her breakfast diamonds, she had twined her arms about Napoleon's neck and said pointedly, "Well. It's nice to be kissed by a man who doesn't have to be told twice about it." Illya, as usual, had given them one of his you-are-not-as-amusing-as-you-think scowls, then resolutely snubbed them the rest of the night.

This morning, when Napoleon had ribbed him about not pulling his weight when it came to the eternal chore of making love to the ladies they encountered, Illya had shrugged. "When a situation exceeds my expertise, I prefer to leave it to a professional."

"You don't have to be a professional to make love, Illya."

"One cannot excel at everything."

"Ah, but one must. Mr. Waverly expects it."

That seemed to get under the fair skin. With a slight look of shock, "What do you mean?"

Nonplussed, Napoleon said, "I mean only that he wanted us both to offer our, ah, charms to the Countess and Schnookyputz—that is, Miss van Donck. Variety is the spice of life, after all."

"Oh." Illya seemed to calm down. "That. I do manage quite well enough, Napoleon. The Countess was perfectly happy in her pursuit of me."

"So why didn't you let her catch you?" Napoleon grinned. "In fact, why haven't you let any nice lady catch you? Enough have certainly tried, God bless the revolution. The Sexual Revolution," he added as they strode down the corridor of Geneva Headquarters to the heliport exit.

"Is everything to you sexual?" Illya said with some heat, and a little color. "Some of us have a thought in our head that doesn't turn on sex. Some of us have no need for it. Some are not ashamed of being virgin—"

And that was when the balloon had gone up.

Beneath them, the lake gave way to low green farmland, dotted with cows. A virgin. Was he kidding? How could a man be a virgin, anyway? Did Illya mean he had never had intercourse with a woman? With women or with men? Not even with household appliances?

Napoleon couldn't comprehend it. By any standard, he had ceased being a virgin... ah... 19 years ago. Illya was over 30.

He glanced at his partner, busy at the helicopter controls, ears muffled by the radio headset. Was there really a boy's innocence at the heart of this cool professional, this hard-eyed scientist? It must be a gag. And yet...

Item: Gemma's telling the grapevine that Illya had been "a perfect gentleman, darn him," when they had masqueraded as husband and wife in that affair code-named "The King of Knaves."

Item: His virulent disapproval of Angelique LeChien whenever she showed up, even bearing gifts of information U.N.C.L.E. needed.

Item: His equal disapproval of that Mattachine Society member in the San Francisco office. Well, he had been a little persistent.

On the other hand, item: that pretty blonde who had been all over him last year during the escapade in the Andes—Marion. Marion Raven. She'd gotten under that ratty black turtleneck, hadn't she?

Hadn't she?

If it wasn't a gag... The memory of Napoleon's first time flooded back to him. Mrs. Caravella. Brass hair, long legs, big, big breasts with nipples like the centers of black-eyed daisies. So sweet, so generous, so infinitely kind to an ignorant boy. He smiled just thinking of her. He couldn't have had a better initiator into the wonder and glory of men-and-women sex.

And his best friend could be missing out. Intolerable! Well, whether he was or whether he wasn't, gotta get that boy laid. Good for him either way. He saw the grey jackstraws of the airport growing larger, and settled back for descent.

Napoleon couldn't get the conversation with Illya off of his mind. It was a situation that had to be remedied. It was unhealthy, socially anyway. And unnecessary. These were the sixties—there were a lot of nice women that would be happy to initiate his partner into the joys of sex.

He thought of Marion Raven again. Hadn't Illya liked her too? So why hadn't they...? Bad timing perhaps.

Perhaps the danger had put him off. Or her. And then afterward, she had been surrounded by all of those people. Maybe if she hadn't had her damned party going Illya would have stayed over and they could have gotten under the sheets.

But why didn't he try her again later? He knew her address. Too shy? Illya?

Well, if that was the problem, maybe that could be remedied. If fate needed a little helping hand... Napoleon was not above such manipulations.

It didn't take him more than ten minutes to determine that she had moved, and to find her new address, still in Manhattan. He decided to take a long lunch break and look her up.

It was typical of the Solo luck that it was within minutes of his staking out the front of the building that she arrived.

She disembarked from the yellow taxi; the cabby got out and began to unload an assortment of cameras, tripods and unidentifiable cases. Napoleon sidled over. "Need a hand?"

"Napoleon Solo!" she exclaimed in pleased surprise. "I thought you'd gotten yourself killed by now."

"Ah, no," he dipped his head modestly. "Not yet."

She came up to him and gave him a quick hug. "I'm glad." She looked around, reorienting herself to her surroundings. "Look, I've just returned from Itabuna. Brazil," she clarified. "I'm doing a documentary for Life Magazine."

"I'll have to pick up a copy," he smiled. "Marion, do you have an hour or so to talk? Lunch, maybe?"

She frowned at him. "You're going to try to get me to go on one of your hellacious affairs, aren't you!"

"Well, no." He felt his mouth twisting with the irony. It wasn't a Command affair he wanted to recruit her for. At least, not the kind she meant. "I'd just like to talk... Here, let me help you with your things."

She allowed him to assist her getting the equipment inside, since she couldn't have handled it on her own anyway. "I've sworn off that kind of thing," she muttered in the elevator. "If you and Illya want to risk your lives dealing with gangsters and madmen—"

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," he interrupted, trying to balance a tripod on top of an overnight case. "It's about Illya."

"Illya!" Her face magically transformed to an expression of soft concern. "Is Illya in some kind of danger?"

"No, no..." He caught the tripod and wedged it under his armpit. "It's something of a more personal nature."

"Oh." All movement ceased and she stared at him for a moment. "Well, come upstairs and we can talk."

He rode the elevator with her, somewhat quietly. There were other people getting on and off. And he needed to formulate just what exactly he wanted to tell her. My partner said he's a virgin, and I just wanted to see if you could corroborate that.

Or maybe: My partner's a virgin, and I'd like you to offer your services so he doesn't have to be one anymore.

Right, Solo. Really smooth.

For that matter, she could be a virgin herself. A lot of women were. Though he doubted it. Very few women saved themselves past their mid-twenties.

The apartment was larger and more modern looking than her previous residence. He looked around appreciatively. As before, the focus of her decor was her photographic work with the additional wall space allowing for larger framed prints. The soft peach walls were a good contrast for the black and white photos.

She dropped her cases on the couch. "So what do you think?" Her gesture took in the art and the apartment.

"Very nice," He handed her the tripod, and put the rest of the luggage on the floor. It suits you."

"Yes," she smiled. "I feel quite comfortable here."

"What happened to your guests?" he asked.

She looked startled and then remembered the never-ending party which had been in session the last time he had seen her. "Oh, I think it might be still going on at my old apartment."

He smiled at her. She was really quite pretty. He could see why Illya had been attracted to her from the beginning. "I just realized, you're probably tired from your trip. I can come back another day."

"No, no!" she said immediately. "I haven't seen you in so long. And I'm concerned about Illya." She looked around and took in the scattered suitcases. "Look, I'm quite filthy from traveling. Why don't you fix us some drinks while I shower and change? And then we can talk."

"Good plan," he agreed. "Just show me where the bar is."

When she came out, she was wearing black slacks with a white sweater and her hair was damply gold; she looked utterly delectable, and he had to give himself a mental slap to remind himself that this woman was reserved for his partner.

Nevertheless, he had to swallow hard before he could speak. "I didn't remember what you drink, so I mixed some martinis."

"A martini would be fabulous." She took the glass from him and lowered herself onto the couch with a sigh. She propped her bare feet up onto the coffee table. Her toenails were polished a pale pink.

He sat on the other side of the couch and tasted his own drink.

"I hope that awful woman is still in prison," she commented. There was a strong silence as if breath were being held and Napoleon realized she was waiting for reassurance. Well, it was understandable. Every time Gervaise Ravel came into Marion's life, someone she loved was killed. It was only natural that she would associate Napoleon's appearance with those other experiences.

"Trust me, she's serving six consecutive life terms. No judge would dare release her."

"I trusted you before and look where it got me," she glowered.

He shrugged and didn't say anything. He had come to realize that Marion loved to complain but could never resist getting involved.

"This is quite good." She took a sip. "Now tell me about Illya."

He wished she hadn't brought it up quite so soon. He hadn't formulated what he was going to say. As a matter of fact he had no idea of how he could bring up such a touchy subject. He wished she'd waited until they were both a little drunk. It would have been easier.

And yet... He looked into her eyes. God, she looked just like Illya, didn't she?

He was reminded of why he had come. Marion was a friend. Someone they had worked with and almost died with. Sex was only a part of the picture.

Sometimes the truth was the cheapest route.

"You have some idea of the kind of work that Illya and I do?" She nodded. "Sometimes we do things we're not exactly proud of. Sometimes our work calls for killing..." He cleared his throat. "And sometimes our work calls for seduction."

She laughed. "I can tell you're really dedicated. That would explain how you rose through the ranks!" She took a sip from the glass.

He had to smile at that. Well, she certainly had his number. "Let's just say that some of us adapt to certain aspects better than others."

She got the giggles and started to choke on the liquid. He considered thumping her on the back to stop the choking, but she recovered on her own. "I'm certain that's a real chore for you, Napoleon," she giggled softly. "What a lark!"

He pretended to be offended. "Well, if you're not going to take this seriously..."

"All right, all right! I'll be serious." She pulled on a sober face. "So what did you want to talk about?"

He liked watching her laugh. He realized that he really did like her an awful lot. He remembered why he had come. "As you astutely observed, relating to the opposite sex is not a problem for me. But it seems to be for Illya."

The traces of laughter had left her eyes. She held the glass in front of her and didn't say anything.

Suddenly he knew that she knew something about his partner that he himself didn't know. "Marion," he said quietly testing the waters. 'He told me he's a virgin."

"Yes, I know," she said quietly. "And I respect him for that. It must be very difficult to be so strictly religious when one leads such a cosmopolitan lifestyle."

Strictly religious? Illya? "Uh, did he tell you all about it?"

"Oh yes," she said. "He's Russian Orthodox, you know. They believe very strongly in the sanctity of the marriage bond. We talked about it at length before we realized we couldn't reconcile our different beliefs."

"Different beliefs?" He hadn't known Illya had any beliefs.

"Illya explained that he could never marry a woman who was not Russian Orthodox. And I had no wish to convert."


"He was unwilling to make love without the sanctity of marriage," she said sadly. "He's old fashioned that way."

"Uh..." He was stumped for words. He had visited Marion Raven expecting to get some evidence that his partner had thrown him a red herring.

Well, he'd thrown somebody a red herring. As Chief of Enforcement, Napoleon made it a point to at least skim the dossiers of all the agents under his command. And Napoleon remembered that under 'religion' Illya had checked 'none.'

"Neither of us was really ready for a commitment anyway," she continued, "though we are very fond of each other. We agreed to remain friends. Though you know that kind of friendship never seems to last." Her eyes met his. So blue and pretty. "It's difficult to sustain without the physical contact." Her voice dropped a register. "Don't you agree, Napoleon?"

He blinked. Was she actually flirting with him? Marion? "I can imagine it might take considerable inner fortitude to maintain that type of relationship."

She slid closer to him on the couch. "Well, I don't have any."

He felt an insane urge to back away toward the end of the couch. Conflicting with other urges, of course. "Marion..." he said weakly.

She toyed with his lapel. "You don't have a lot of inner fortitude, do you, Napoleon?"

Well, maybe not that kind. However, he did have his ethics. "Marion," he said, cautiously. He took her hand firmly in his own to prevent it from any unauthorized traveling. "When was the last time you... spent any time with Illya?"

Thought caused her pretty brow to furrow. "It was last April. We got together for lunch at Mikos. He was telling me an adorable story of how you gave this Portuguese translator quite the run-around delivering a tobacco humidor."

He recalled the incident with Mandy. That had been almost a year ago. Well, if Illya hadn't seen Marion in that long, he guessed he had relinquished all claim. Napoleon didn't release Marion's hand but he changed his grip. "No, I don't have the same inner fortitude as Illya." He rubbed his thumb inside her palm.

"I didn't think so," she said softly.

And he hadn't even been trying.

Needless to say, he didn't get back to the office that afternoon.

Of course he couldn't put it out of his mind indefinitely, and it crept into his thoughts again the next afternoon while they waited in Waverly's office for their Chief to join them. All right, so Illya was a virgin. So what of it? Napoleon had had his curiosity (among other things) satisfied, so why not leave it alone? For some obscure reason—though he would never buy the religious angle—Illya was choosing to remain virgo intactus. It wasn't Napoleon's business anyway.

Napoleon halted. No, it was his business. Illya wasn't just his friend—he was his partner, and thus his responsibility.

And incidentally, he reminded himself, he was Chief of Enforcement. One of his agents with an aversion to using his sexual equipment could be almost as much of a liability as an agent with an aversion to using his gun.

Not that he expected Illya or any other agent to use it as often as he did. That wasn't necessary or even practical. But in a pinch, Napoleon'd like to know that Illya was capable of picking up the slack.

Illya hadn't felt it necessary. And apparently, so far, in their two years of partnership it really hadn't been a problem. Illya had his own particular charm—that reticence appealed to as many women as Solo's urbane allure.

But not always. Some women would be happy to rip such an innocent apart. He frowned. Like Serena. The pretty Thrush operative who'd tried to barbeque Illya in the course of the August Affair. While she wasn't the woman Solo'd have chosen to take home to mother, he'd had no problem at all bedding her. So well, in fact, that she'd decided to turn against her own man to save his life.

Yes, an agent's sexuality was a definite asset—and if an agent was afraid to use it, that was a problem.

"I couldn't find you yesterday afternoon." Illya's comment interrupted his thoughts. "You must have left early."

"I went to visit an old friend," he answered evasively. And it was typical Solo luck that Waverly arrived at that moment, and he didn't have to give any more of an explanation than that.

Of course he would never let Illya know he'd asked Marion about his virginity—and it probably wasn't necessary that Illya even know he'd seen Marion yesterday.

But the subject of virginity came up again. Napoleon made sure of it. He just needed to wait for the appropriate time.

Appropriately, the subject of virtue came up during the course of that affair in France against Robespierre and his L.E.F. front. While Napoleon immersed himself in his role of fiancé to the lovely Albert Dubois, Illya had his own hands tied (literally as well as figuratively) by the situation with Voegler.

Better was the impromptu picnic they enjoyed after freeing Illya from the guillotine. It was a sunny warm day. There was his friend close by and safe for a change. And a beautiful woman to flirt with. Hell, they could both flirt with her.

Although Albert had made it clear she had some interest in Napoleon, it was a little more interest than he really wanted. He wasn't ready to get serious about a woman, though Albert might be the type he would be looking for in about 5 or 10 years. Maybe he could do a little redirecting of interest here. Albert should be the kind of woman Illya would be interested in. Not only was she beautiful, she also happened to be a brilliant scientist.

Napoleon took the pieces of bread they had sliced on the guillotine and handed them to Albert. "You know, you have something in common with Illya. He's a physicist also."

Startled, Illya met the woman's interested look. "I'm a bit behind in the literature," he said apologetically. "My work as an enforcement agent doesn't leave me a lot of time to keep up with the journals."

"What was your field of expertise?"

"Quantum mechanics."

"Mine also. I would be happy to lend you my journals."

"You are most kind."

"Although I fear the journals are in French."

"I can read some French," he said modestly.

"Illya studied at the Sorbonne," Napoleon volunteered. Illya shot him a dark look.

"I also studied at the Sorbonne. We must spend some time together so we can compare—"

"It's getting a little warm," Illya commented suddenly. He took off the lab coat and laid it on the platform.

"What's that on your back?" Albert exclaimed. "Un oeill-du-beof!"

"Why, yes," Illya answered while setting the sausage under the blade. "A bull's-eye. Herr Voegler thought he might do a little target practice this morning." He nodded at Napoleon who let the blade drop. "I turned the tables on him instead."

Napoleon traded a glance with Illya as he handed him the ball of cheese to slice. He hadn't known about that encounter. Two close calls within a day. Was Illya putting himself at risk too easily? Napoleon didn't particularly like that.

"How do you mean?" asked Albert, handing Illya a sandwich of the bread and cheese.

"I killed him with his own arrow." Illya took a huge bite of his sandwich.

Albert looked stricken. "Momentarily I had forgotten the sort of work you do. Though he was a wicked man, and I know he deserved his fate..."

"Yes. Like so many others I—and Napoleon—have had to deliver to their fates," Illya said with a certain amount of relish. "But that is the life of an U.N.C.L.E. agent, you know." He patted the upright of the guillotine.

"It's hardly as bloodthirsty as all that," demurred Napoleon. "And we are far from cold-blooded killers, Albert."

"Speak for yourself," said Illya.

"Oh, I quite understand, Napoleon, truly." Albert laid aside her lunch uneaten. "I think all this excitement has upset my digestion. I am not used to so much drama." She gave Illya one last look. "But that is the life of a physicist, you know."

Napoleon knew when he was checked. Illya just wasn't going to cooperate. But there was no reason why he couldn't direct the interest back toward himself. "In that case, why don't we start back for Paris, Albert? Perhaps you will feel better by dinner—"

"Only," insisted Illya, "Mr. Waverly will want us back in the States as soon as possible."

"I can tell that you're anxious to get going," Napoleon said, returning his partner's dark look from earlier back at him. He stood and locked down the chopper blade for safety's sake. "So why don't you take one of the L.E.F. vehicles and we'll take the car. I certainly wouldn't want you to lose your head... start."

"Also! Das sollte Sie gefangenhalten," said the train conductor, locking the barred gate of the cage in the baggage compartment.

Napoleon looked to Illya, who was examining the ceiling of their prison, for a translation. "He said, that ought to hold us," explained the Russian.

"Ja. Burglars. T'ieves! Inzurreczhionists!" The portly trainman shook a finger at them as he waddled for the exit to the next car.

"But Mein Herr, if you'd simply radio back to Vienna—" Napoleon wound up shouting as the door shut on the conductor and the clatter of the train's wheels, leaving the two of them alone. In the calaboose, as usual. And on New Year's Eve, of all nights. As his partner prowled the perimeter of their cage, he sank to the floor. "I hope you still have your communicator, Illya, because I don't."

"No. They took mine as well."

"Your weapon?"

"That, too."

"What about your—"

"No, Napoleon. No lockpick, no key from the conductor's pocket, no crowbar cleverly concealed up my coat sleeve. And no capsule full of virus, either." Dejectedly, he dropped to the floor beside Napoleon and stared out between the bars. "Thrush's mad scientists have outdone themselves this time: a virus to wipe out the reproductive capacity of the entire species."

Napoleon gave him a glance. "Well, I don't see why that would matter to you."

Illya returned the look. "And what do you mean by that obscure remark?"

"Ah, merely that you seem to be operating perfectly fine without the use of your reproductive capacity."

Illya stared at him a moment more, then turned away. "You're right. I am doing perfectly fine."


"Napoleon." The Russian cut him off, exasperated. "I knew it was a horrible mistake to tell you last month, the instant the words left my mouth. Where's a cyanide pill when you really need one?"

Napoleon cocked his head. "So why did you? Tell me, that is."

"Oh, you know. You're my partner. You're entitled to know some things." He shrugged. "If I hadn't, you'd probably just look it up in my file anyway. Or have you already?"

"I'm shocked that you would think me such a snoop." The American rattled a cage bar experimentally: solid. "Section Four wouldn't let me without clearance from Waverly."

"Ah. Then you don't know."

"No. I guess I don't. So why don't you tell me?"

"Why should I?"

Napoleon shrugged. "I'm CEA. I'm entitled to know some things. And I'll only keep pestering you till you do, you know."

Illya fell silent at that, so Napoleon turned his mind back to breaking out. The cage was only screwed to the floor. Unfortunately, he hadn't anything that could double as a screwdriver, or as a pry bar.

"It's not that important." Illya's low mutter reclaimed his attention. "If you swear to drop the subject forever, I'll tell you the rest of it."

At the moment, that was more promising than any escape attempt. "Scout's honor."

Illya sat a little straighter, looking out at the baggage car as if it were a courtroom, and he a very well-rehearsed chief witness. "It seems, Napoleon, that I was born with a certain condition that did not manifest itself until I entered puberty. My prepuce was too small."

"Excuse me?"

Thrown off-stride by the interruption, the blond man's neck turned pink. "The, um..." He formed a hollow fist, thumb and forefinger almost closed. "...oh...foreskin, that's the word, of my, uh, penis."

"You're kidding. Like Louis XVI?"

Illya looked relieved. "Yes, exactly. Or Tsar Peter III." Returning to his script, he continued: "My organ was perfectly normal, and quite capable of all functions, including arousal. But arousal was exceedingly painful." He gestured. "The foreskin was too tight—you understand."

Napoleon winced and closed his thighs slightly. "Yes. Completely."

"Therefore, I had to train myself, from the age of 13 onward, never to become aroused. Luckily, I attended only all-boys schools, and then the Navy, and there were no co-eds in the physics departments at Cambridge and Paris. Nor in Survival School, since Section Two didn't admit women then. So I was quite safe for a number of years."

"But Illya, there are operations," Napoleon protested.

"One of which I have undergone. Just last year, as a matter of fact. I had put it off long enough. A straight-forward circumcision."

Napoleon winced again. "I see. And it's been a while healing, I take it."

Now Illya looked uncomfortable. "Well... not exactly. Unfortunately, in its turn, my body has rather trained me. You see, I find it... difficult... to become more than mildly aroused. The body keeps expecting it to be painful, and... But I trust that will pass. Or if it shouldn't, I suppose it doesn't really matter." He slumped against the bars, staring outward gloomily.

It crossed Napoleon's mind to wonder why Illya hadn't had the operation sooner. But after all, when? During or right after World War II, as a youth, in Russia? Not likely. In his military service? The doctor probably would have had to get permission, and who needed that sort of thing on one's record? And any time after that would make Illya embarrassingly old. Surprising that he'd even talk about it to his partner.

Maybe he should lay off the subject? Nah—got to get the boy over the hump.

"Of course it matters," he insisted, getting to his feet. "You can't keep running from women like Candi. It isn't healthy. Or good spycraft."

"Who's Candi? Oh, that American model in the third car," Illya answered himself.

"You've put off this part of being a man long enough, Illya. You've got to break new ground, turn over a new leaf." Napoleon squinted into the lock: if he just had a little plastic explosive... "It's New Year's Eve. Make a resolution: 'Tonight I will get laid.' Trust me, you'll be glad you did."

Dryly, "I shall give it all my attention."

"While you're at it, how about attending to a little escape planning?" Napoleon felt the length of the steel bar in his hand. "Did you bring the pocket detonator?"


"The electric screwdriver?"

"No." A pause. "Did you?"

"Oh, Mr. Kurry-akin," the peasant girl—Clemency McGill, wasn't it?—gushed. "You just saved Europe!"

The praise cut through the dizziness of bloodloss that muffled Illya's brain, and he raised himself from his crouch over the radar console. Absently he pulled out his shaded glasses, too tired to focus any longer without them, and too dazed by the light in the lab. "Yes. Yes, I suppose I did."

She swirled around the console, bearing down on him, and his abdomen bloomed with the usual hot-cold of attraction instantly followed by a jerk of fear. Surprisingly, before Miss McGill could grab him and press her cushy gingham-clad bodice to his cheek, she skidded to a halt. She was not going to touch him after all. Illya felt his usual relief followed by chagrin.

"Why, I didn't realize..." The wide eyes, baby-innocent but oddly witch-wise, bored into his. "Well, no wonder you could bear up under Count Zark's nasty doin's," she said after a moment, kindly dropping her gaze. It was too knowing for Illya's comfort. "You're jes' like Sir Galahad in the storybooks—yore strength is as the strength o' ten, 'cause yore heart is pure."

"Really." Napoleon's baritone voice told Illya of his presence. And that he had found a subtle meaning in Miss McGill's Delphic utterance.

Annoyed, he swung toward Napoleon. "Don't you have something to do? Capture Zark, or contact Bucharest, perhaps?"

"Already taken care of, old son." The American ostentatiously pocketed his transceiver. "Help is in the air as I speak." There was an irritating look of concern in his face, and Illya turned away from it. His ears rang and his vision was dark at the edges. It would probably be a good idea to lie down before he went into shock, but he just couldn't give his partner the satisfaction.

"Won't y'all need someplace t' land that helio-copter?" the girl spoke up. "Shall I go clear off that porch over there? It looks right big."

It was a timely question to Illya's mind, giving him something to concentrate on. "We will indeed need a landing strip. But we don't know if Bucharest is sending a helicopter or a small plane, Miss McGill."

"Ah, actually it is a helicopter. And yes, Clemency, why don't you ready that terrace? The stonework seems strong enough. But it needs to be lit up somehow. Could you—"

"Why, I'd be purely happy to help out, Mr. Solo," she gurgled. "Or maybe, Sir Lancelot." She grinned and went to work, out of earshot.

In his depleted state, Illya could take no more of this nonsense. "What was that all about?" he demanded, more sharply than he ought. "And why did you drag that innocent all the way here from America?"

"Well, it seems Mr. Waverly's clairvoyant isn't the real McCoy after all, but—"

"Clairvoyant? I risked my life for a pseudoscience experiment?!"

"But," Napoleon went on, leaning closer over the radar console, "she does appear to have moments of her 'knowing way,' as she puts it. For instance, was she right about you, 'Sir Galahad'?"

Tired as he was, Illya felt a strong urge to plant a fist in Napoleon's face. How could he bring up that subject again, and with a good-looking girl not twenty meters away? Why did he have to keep gnawing at it in any case, like a dog with a bone? "I haven't the least idea what you're talking about," he said.

"You know," insisted Napoleon. His lips elaborately mouthed the word virgin.

"What is this obsession of yours with my private affairs?" He yanked off his glasses, cursed as they fumbled out of his fingers. "My assignment with you is, is... saving the world, not bedding every woman in it."

"Or any, apparently." The American remained maddeningly calm. "What happened at New Year's? I thought that Candi was a sure thing."

What little blood Illya had in him seemed to creep into his cheeks. He spun in the chair to stare at the laboratory counters.

He felt a light touch on his shoulder, assured but not presumptuous. When the time was right, Napoleon's touch was the most comfortable in the world. Women's were arousing, with that attendant danger, and most men's simply threatening. But his partner's was... just right.

"Stage fright?" Napoleon murmured. "We all get it sometimes."

After a moment Illya nodded. "Yes. I couldn't... Just couldn't, that's all."


"Didn't try, after Candi."

"Barbara, in Algiers?"

"Napoleon, she was engaged to be married." The lights seemed dimmer, and there was a dull pulsing drone in his ears. Nightfall and the helicopter, he hoped. "Not even you would have, unless you're a bigger scoundrel than I thought." He pulled himself away from Napoleon's steadying hand, started to get to his feet. The floor was annoyingly wobbly. "No, obviously the key to this... is first to obtain... an erection. I never have, you kno—"

The whole world tilted sideways and fell over, right into Napoleon's arms, and then went black.

The stolen jet ducked below the storm clouds, still doing 500 mph, as Illya strained to make the most of their last fumes of fuel. For the moment, their enemy bogie was not in sight. "A perfect time to bail," he yelled to Napoleon in the jump seat, as the engines finally quit and the plane began to slow.

Napoleon tugged back the canopy, and a fierce wind sucked at them for a moment before leveling off. "So where's the perfect place?" he shouted back, just before lightning erupted from the nearby clouds with a violent boom.

"There." Illya pointed at the small island revealed in the South Pacific 500 meters below, and blew their seats.

Up into the storm they flew, then down, and down, and down. Neither deployed his chute immediately, for the Papuan warlord, Kai Run Guk, whose Solomon Island fortress they had infiltrated and photographed to a fare-thee-well had just burst through the clouds. The roiling waves rushed up closer and closer at Illya as he scanned the sky and sea simultaneously for the position of the island he had selected, his partner, their abandoned jet, and Kai Run Guk's. Finally there was no help for it; he pulled his ripcord, knowing this could reveal him to the enemy.

Simultaneous with his chute opening with a reassuring whunk, their jet turned into an orange fireball. By dint of watching everything at once, Illya saw his partner's chute open close to their destination, then disappear almost immediately; the flaming jet crash into the ocean some miles away; the enemy swoop low to circle its supposed kill, then shoot off into the watery setting sun, wigwagging its wings in triumph; and the sea fly up as he hit it; while lightning flared again and the storm dropped its cargo of rain.

Struggling to keep his head above water at least some of the time, the agent kicked off his boots and tried to untangle himself from the parachute. But its lines had caught something on his jumpsuit, so he wadded it up tightly, then swam in the direction of the silhouetted island. At least the material might be useful later, if it didn't drown him now.

It was just his luck to land half a dozen kilometers away from the target—and just Napoleon's to land practically on top of it—so it took him nearly 45 minutes to make his way to the shore as the torrential downpour continued.

When he touched sand and staggered to his feet, the first thing to meet his eyes was his partner, relatively dapper in khaki briefs and t-shirt, leaning over to cut away the parachute and help him out of the surf. "How do you always manage to dress for the occasion?" he growled.

Napoleon snorted. "Just my innate sense of style. I landed so close to shore that I was dragged halfway across the beach. It tore my jumpsuit to shreds, and I lost everything but my knife. Even my pen is jammed full of sand."

"Mm, well, mine is low on power." Illya unzipped a pocket and peeked in to verify his transceiver was still there. "Fortunately, they are waterproof, if not sandproof. And it is my opinion that our friend up there thinks we are dead." He looked up, blinking as the rainwater streamed over his face. "So can we get out of the rain?" he asked plaintively.

Napoleon chuckled and led him to the inward edge of the beach, where the palms tossed less fitfully now as the storm abated. The American must have been busy; his parachute had been rigged as a fresh water catch basin, and a small palm-thatched lean-to shielded a small fire upon which something that smelled remarkably like bread was baking.

Illya raised an eyebrow. "What, no martinis in coconut shells?"

Napoleon smiled. "You've been watching too much television, old son."

Their pistols were in sad shape, but their knives were fine. Before the sun disappeared, they cut branches to dry by the fire for fuel, then sticks to prop Illya's parachute up under the trees as a tent. But it dripped sea water, and by the time they finished, the storm had quit. So they raked out the cooked breadfruit and ate it under the dark blue night sky. Napoleon made the scrambled call to Brisbane to report their approximate position and to learn, if he could, whether the drop of the reconnaissance photos had been successful. Meanwhile, Illya went to huddle over the fire. His jumpsuit was still sopping and the night breeze, though mild, chilled him.

"One moment, Mr. Solo," said the Australian operator. "New York's been askin' for ya." The next thing they heard was Mr. Waverly's gravelly voice. Illya met Napoleon's glance and mentally agreed with him. Didn't the Old Man ever sleep?

"Mr. Solo? I can barely make you out. I presume, since you're on Mr. Kuryakin's frequency, that he is there with you? Very good. I'm pleased to say, your drop to the Kikaku Maru came off well. It is bringing the evidence to port, then will return to fetch you from... er..."

"7º 10' S, 172º 40' E," Illya supplied. "We're the island shaped like a trapezium."

"And we'll leave a porch light lit on the north shore, since we believe Kai Run's given us up for dead," continued Napoleon.

"Good. Good. He'll be in international court before much longer, at any rate. Oh, and er, Mr. Solo, unless there's strong reason otherwise, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you two to muddle through on your island for the next four or five days. The Kikaku's home port is Okinawa, and I can't spare other transport at the moment."

Napoleon grimaced, but said only, "No, sir, we'll manage. Ah, our transceiver battery is low, so we ought to save it for an emergency, if that's all right."

"Quite so, Mr. Solo." A dry chuckle. "Have a pleasant vacation."

"Vacation, he calls it," Napoleon muttered as he broke the connection. "I've got a date tomorrow night. Carol will have my hide."

"Then you can have mine," Illya said, slapping at another insect, "if these bugs leave you any. I don't think I'm as hungry as they. But I am colder."

"That's because you're wet," his partner said in that annoyingly reasonable tone of his, as he went back to trying to clean his gun. "Take off your jumpsuit and dry off."

"If I had anything but my underclothes to wear against these bugs, I would," Illya retorted. "As it is, I don't."

Napoleon crooked an eyebrow. "Nothing else?"

"You may recall, we left in rather a hurry this morning."

"Ah." The American sat for a moment in thought, then stood and strolled off into the darkness of the trees. A short time later he returned with a length of nylon cut from the parachute. He handed it to Illya, then pulled off his own shirt. "Here. The bugs don't seem to be interested in me."

Illya quickly shucked the wet coverall and wrapped the cloth about his hips in a long bora-bora. The nylon was damp and clung to his skin and briefs, but it was better than going naked, and promised to dry faster than the jumpsuit. The t-shirt was better, being already dry and warm and smelling of his friend. "Thanks." Then he remembered what he'd cached in a side pocket the other day. Sorting through the zippers, he found an opened packet of dried beef. "I'd forgotten I had this. It's rather soaked—best eat it tonight before it spoils."

"Hm." Napoleon took it gingerly. "Salted jerky. My favorite."

"Tomorrow we can hunt for bird's eggs, or maybe lizards, if we're lucky."

"Let's hear it for haute cuisine."

Illya smiled. "Well, I'd make you a soufflé, but I forgot my pan. Come on, let's hang up the water you caught before it evaporates."

"But Illya, instant water is the best kind. All you do is—"

"—just add water," Illya finished. "Just for that, you take the dawn watch."

After a watchful night, in which neither Guk nor anyone else appeared, and a day of reconnoitering the island, mapping out tide pools and birds' nests for their mollusks, eggs, and, yes, lizards, the two agents felt secure enough to bring the tent out of the trees and to kindle a second fire on a high spot on the beach. It would be a pleasure for them tonight to sleep away from the bugs. Most of them, anyway.

Their water bag was holding up, just seeping a little. If it rains tomorrow, thought Napoleon, settling down beside a rock on the shore to take his watch while the moon climbed out of the sea, or the next day, we should be all right. They had an ample supply of not too monotonous food, reasonably fresh water, adequate shelter in a warm climate, fire, and each other for company. It was almost pleasant: life stripped down to the true necessities.

Or all but one of them, anyway.

Damn, he regretted missing that date tonight with Carol. He grimaced as he rolled onto his knees and readjusted his shorts. And at least three more days to go before there was the remotest chance of meeting a woman. This could well be the longest he'd gone without sex since college. And there were no convenient native maidens on this three-mile-wide island—he'd looked.

Well, just the one maiden, actually.

He shook his head at the thought of going without for thirty years. Even one year was hard to believe. Not even a little romp with Mrs. Hand and her five daughters?

Who, it was looking more and more likely, were about to take an excursion to Napoleon's own Thigh-land.

He glanced back at the tent, where a muffled slap told him Illya hadn't quite settled to sleep yet. But the opaque white nylon blocked each man's view of the other, and there was no one else around to shock.

Still, Napoleon moved to the other side of his rock before skinning down his shorts and pulling up his shirt. Freed, his cock bobbed up and hardened further in the cooler air. He wrapped his fingers about the shaft eagerly, giving its little head a rub with his thumb. For luck.

The fine, familiar feeling engulfed him. He crooked a smile at the moon, washing him with her clear light, then he shut his eyes, the better to drink in sensation. One-handed love, like a solitaire card game, couldn't be as challenging or rewarding as the two-handed variety, but it was better than not playing at all.

As his hands stroked harder and his breath came faster, he let his mind drift back to the first time he'd ever ejaculated. It had been a wet dream when he was twelve. He had awakened from a dream that he vaguely thought had something to do with his sister. He'd felt incredibly good, embarrassingly messy, and hadn't quite known what to make of it.

But soon enough he was eager to reproduce the wonderful sensations, and it hadn't been hard to coax erections and more orgasms out of his pubescent body. Night after night, actually. He smiled at the memory. There was an innocent intensity those first times—in some ways the experience rivaled his first time with a woman.

And then at camp that summer, one of the older boys had taught him and his bunkmates some refined techniques.

"Spunky" Wellington. I wonder if he'd have any pointers for me today.

Spunky had been a virtuoso, a master, a guru of masturbation. He could come like root beer spurting out of a well-shaken bottle. Together with only with a small can of oleo and two very tattered nudie magazines, he had managed, by summer's end, to initiate the entire camp into the first levels of the great mystery called Sex.

Napoleon's body began to rock and his throat gave a low groan. God bless you, Spunky, wherever you are--

Moonlight flashed on the weapon swinging toward him and he instinctively threw himself backward, still clutching his cock.

Illya gaped at him, naked, brandishing a tent pole. "I'm sorry," he stammered. "I thought—it looked like a snake had you—"

The American recovered his balance and his savoir faire. "Only metaphorically." Gingerly he coaxed his penis to lie down, but did not tuck it away. He raised an eyebrow. "Haven't, ah... haven't you ever seen a man jerk off before?"

Illya may have blushed; it was hard to tell in the moonlight. But he stood his ground, merely folding his hands atop his stick. "Of course; I did once serve on a submarine. But I'd never seen that particular position before—kneeling. Is it typically American?"

"No, no, I suppose lying, or sitting down, is more usual. But you know me: a sucker for the exotic."

"That is what I'm sometimes afraid of. Good night, Napoleon. My apologies for nearly castrating you." He made a little bow, then smiled. "Carry on."

Napoleon made a mock growl as the Russian spun on his heel and strode back to the tent. Then, a few minutes later, he hitched up his shorts and strolled down the shoreline until he was well out of view.

The next morning, Napoleon woke with a sweat headache. The air in the tent was dead still and hot. He got up from the pile of spare clothes they had made into bedding, shook each piece out, and threw back the door flap. Outside the air was still hotter, but at least fresher.

He picked his way over the gravelly ground to the water bag, still a quarter full, and drank a couple of handfuls. A glance to the west showed him high cumulo-nimbus clouds way off in the distance: a promise of rain for Day Three. Closer in he saw his partner, already staked out for the morning under a shady palm. Illya sat, knees up, in briefs only, on his scrap of parachute cloth. He looked preoccupied with something.

Barefoot, Napoleon proceeded gingerly till he came to the finer sand of the beach and settled down on the sunny end of the nylon sheet. There, he could see that Illya was busy with his knife and a palm-frond brush trying to clean sand out of Napoleon's communicator. "Any luck?" he asked.

"None. But I did remove the battery and placed it into mine," indicating the silver pen beside him. "So you could call in if you like."

"Later. I'm in no hurry." The sun was baking the ground and everything in between; he began to remove his own clothing, leaving only the briefs. He stretched out on the sauna-hot sand, his back protected by the nylon sheet. Arm across his eyes, he said, "We should dig a wide hole for the water trap, in case it rains today."

"Later," said Illya. "I'm in no hurry."

Napoleon smiled. "You certainly are adjusting nicely to our enforced vacation."

"When there's no further recourse, I lie back and think of U.N.C.L.E."

"Well, I'll have to try that." The warm rays of the sun seeped into his pores, soaked into his skin, relaxing all his muscles and diluting all concerns... This was good. They really had needed a break and this wasn't costing them any leave time. No fussing, no worrying about crosstown traffic, let alone crossfire bullets... just wonderful, warm, zombie-like dozing...

He awoke when a foot nudged him. "Hey," said his partner. "Time to turn over if you don't want to burn."

"Umm..." Napoleon murmured and rolled over. " m'back..." he asked sleepily.

"I beg your pardon."

He yawned mightily. "Sorry. Forgot where I was." He stretched and settled down.

Illya turned his attention back to the communicator, and his too-big tools. Oh for a microprobe and my closework glasses.

Then: "Illya... About last night..." Napoleon began with a slight hesitation.

Illya squinted at him, then bent back to his work. "I'll apologize again, if you insist, but let's not talk about it."

"Why not?"

"I'm on vacation. I don't want to talk shop."

"This isn't shop talk," Napoleon's voice had lowered, clueing Illya in that his friend was for once serious.

"What do you wish to talk about?" he asked patiently.

"You..." Illya could feel the shift in the blanket as Napoleon sat up. Illya met his friend's gaze. 'Your sex life specifically."

"I don't have a sex life," he muttered. He lowered his eyes again. Maybe if he ignored Napoleon he would go away.

No such luck. "You really don't, do you?" he said. "According to what you said before you passed out at Zark's castle."

Illya cringed. "What did I say?"

"You said you'd never had an erection." He paused to let that tidbit from the past sink in. "Is that true?"

Damn! He must truly be slipping if he'd said that. Now what? There was no convenient place to disappear on this tiny island. And he knew Napoleon wasn't going to let him hide behind obscurities, either.

He sighed. "Yes, it's true."

Napoleon whistled quietly. "You're what—32? That has to be some kind of a record."

"I haven't done a survey." The Russian put aside his tools and turned away in annoyance.

"Illya..." Napoleon put a hand on his shoulder, tugging him back. "I'm not making fun of you. I'm just startled."

Illya allowed himself to be pulled back to face his friend. He wasn't really mad at Napoleon. "I know you weren't. I'm just embarrassed by the situation."

"No wonder you didn't want to try with a woman."

"Quite." Now maybe Napoleon would just drop the whole thing.

"This would probably be a good time to deal with it," he suggested.

Deal with it? "There are no women on this island," he pointed out. "If there were, you would be preoccupied with them and not pestering me."

"I don't mean with a woman," Napoleon explained in patient tones. "I meant you could deal with it yourself."

"Myself?" he raised his eyes reluctantly.

"It's called masturbation."

"Oh." He didn't say anything for a moment. He knew what Napoleon suggested was perfectly reasonable. The idea had crossed his mind a time or two, but he had managed to evade it as he might evade a dreaded dental visit, instead hoping his body would readjust on its own.

This time he had no excuse. There were no dangers or responsibilities in sight; there was nothing that needed doing; he didn't even have a book to finish. He had nothing but time on his hands.

So perhaps he should put something else on his hands?

"You can use the tent," Napoleon suggested, anticipating the excuse of no privacy.

"Now?" he said weakly.

"My Aunt Amy always says you should never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."

"Why can't your Aunt Amy mind her own business!" he said with some heat. But he gathered up his equipment and rose to his feet.

"Here, take the sheet," Napoleon said.

Illya gave his partner a look. Oftentimes he appreciated his partner's maneuvering skills; but then there were times when it could be downright aggravating. He turned and trudged upshore as if finally attending to that visit to the dentist...

The breeze had picked up slightly since dawn, ruffling the gleaming white fabric and clearing out the stale air in the tent. The sunlit walls made for cheerful coziness within. Illya laid down things and his piece of parachute, and rearranged a bed and makeshift pillow for himself, then misgivingly handed himself over to self-gratification.

Napoleon was only trying to be helpful. Probably thinks that life without sex isn't worth living, he thought. Which in all probability was the case, considering his partner's proclivity for it.

But there were other things in life besides sex. He himself had managed perfectly well without it. As a youth he had taught himself to disregard the hormonal pressures and had been able to devote himself more fully to his schoolwork and surpass his classmates. As an adult, he excelled at his work, probably better than his sex-driven co-workers.

Well, that wasn't entirely fair. Despite his sexual avocation, Napoleon was as successful an agent as he. Becoming a sexual being wasn't likely to diminish his skills as an agent.

He sighed and settled himself on the makeshift bed. Where to start?

Time to face his nemesis, so to speak. He peeled off his briefs and set them aside. He propped himself up on the pillow of clothing and perused his exposed genitals.

He took his penis in hand and studied it. Normal looking, he supposed—he had studied pictures and caught glimpses of other men in communal showers.

It still seemed strange without the foreskin. Naked. He traced the pale scar.

"Now this won't hurt a bit," he promised himself, not believing it for a moment.

He didn't even know what to do. Touching it was supposed to make it feel good. But holding it like this didn't feel particularly arousing.

He turned his scientific mind to the dilemma. Masturbation was supposed to simulate the sex act, wasn't it? During the sex act, the vagina enclosed the penis.

He wrapped his fist around the limp organ. Now how that would ever go into a vagina ...? But it didn't hurt, he reminded himself. Actually, it was kind of comfortable.

He stared at the pink eye of his organ. "Aren't you supposed to do something now?" he asked.

The sun warmed the tent; the heat made him sleepy. He yawned. He'd been up for six hours, after all.

The sex act also involved some kind of movement, he recalled. Rhythmic movement. He pumped his hand a few times. A comfortable massage, and it didn't hurt, not any more than if he was doing it to his foot. And equally arousing.

Come on... he pleaded with himself. Wouldn't this feel good if you were doing this to a beautiful woman? His mind sought out a mental picture of a beautiful woman and conveniently dredged up the most recent he had encountered: Ginger LaVeer. Tall, blond, and bosomy.

His penis twitched, then he remembered his horrified fascination with the voluptuous woman, and its tumescence subsided. She had not seemed like a real person at all—rather like a caricature of a woman.

Ginger, Candi, Taffy. How did he keep winding up with these edible women?

Maybe he had been avoiding someone more real because then he would have to have a real sex life with her.

Marion had been real. Too real. They had gotten close, far too close, and he had lied to her to disentangle himself and avoid a relationship.

He had given her some cock and bull story about his religious convictions. Hah! Maybe religion was the solution. He could join a monastery and then everyone, including Napoleon, would leave him alone. He wouldn't even have to see a woman.

But darn it, he did like women. He had liked Marion a lot.

While he thought, his hand had slowed its movement. It felt all right, but wasn't all that rewarding. His penis might have gotten a bit firmer when he had thought of Marion, but maybe not. If it had, his well-conditioned response had damped the arousal before it could raise any hopes. After all, he had trained himself to deal with Marion. To be around her, even to put his arms around her without it setting off the dangerous arousal.

What he liked about women... well, they were nice to look at if you didn't get too close. Other than Napoleon's playmates from Thrush, like Angelique, Illya had found women to be nice people.

Like that girl from the Ozarks—Clemency. Once she realized that getting too close was uncomfortable for him, it had been quite pleasant spending time with her.

He thought about having sex with Clemency; he had actually considered it. She was one of the few who had seemed to recognize his inexperience. However, she had no wish to deflower Sir Galahad, preferring instead the more experienced Sir Lancelot.

His thoughts drifted on to dinner. Yesterday, Napoleon had proved quite knowledgeable at identifying edible vegetation. Surprising considering his city upbringing. Napoleon had said something about some merit badge and then reminded Illya he had been an Eagle Scout.

He yawned again. Boredom and the warmth of the tent made him sleepy. He relaxed his grip on his limp organ. He fell asleep.

"Knock-knock!" Napoleon's cheery voice cut into his nap.

Illya sat up and rubbed at his eyes. The lessening light in the tent told him that several hours had passed.

"Illya?" His partner's voice became a bit worried. "Are you there?"

"I'm here." His voice came out a little rough from sleep. He looked down and remembered his nakedness. And what he was supposed to have been doing. Which he hadn't done. Oh no. He cleared his throat. "Wait a minute, I'll be right out." He located and pulled on his clothes, hiding the evidence. Or lack of it.

He came out of the tent, inhaling the scent of clams, or something like them, steaming.

"Hungry?" Napoleon asked. "There's chowder without cream, roots without butter, and greens without dressing. And for dessert, little green papayas."

They had been using a fallen log as their table. He saw Napoleon had covered it with more of the parachute cloth. "You're quite the housewife," he commented.

"I got the idea from Better Homes and Islands," he said. He nodded Illya over to the side of the makeshift table.

Illya knelt on one side of the log, Napoleon across from him. They ate quietly; both men were quite hungry. "It's quite good," Illya said. "Now if you just served a good white wine, I could give this restaurant four stars."

Napoleon pretended to scowl at him. "Yeah, I'll have to start stomping the grapes tonight." He took a bite of the unripe fruit. "Just remember, tomorrow's your turn to cook dinner." He eyed him questioningly. "Unless you'll be busy doing something more important..."

The comment threw Illya off stride, and then he realized what 'more important' thing Napoleon was referring to. He still had to deal with that. Well, later. "No, I think I'll be able to fit it into my schedule." He tried to inject an airy tone to his voice.

They finished the meal, and then walked to the sea to clean up. Illya knelt and scrubbed his hands with sand. It was just sunset. The sun burned the cloud-covered sky a brilliant pink.

"You didn't do it, did you?" Napoleon's words demanded his attention. A bird called to its mate in the distance.

"No." He couldn't look at his friend. "I couldn't."

"Would you like some help?"

Napoleon didn't hear the words until they had left his mouth. It was as if some doppelganger had taken up residence in him for the moment.

Or maybe the spirit of Spunky Wellington.

Illya was staring at him in disbelief. Which made Napoleon even more determined to help his young friend. "I could show you..." He watched the blue eyes widen. "Sometimes... older guys show younger ones... Even in Russia, I bet."

Napoleon waited as Illya considered. After a long moment, the blond man confessed in a low voice, "I need all the help I can get."

With those pathetic words, a pang of pity hit Napoleon and he was reminded of all of those years Illya had not been able to achieve an experience that was a routine pleasure in Solo's life.

"Come on." He took Illya by the shoulder and steered him toward their shelter. "Didn't I teach you how to play poker, how to swim—"

"Hey," Illya objected. "I taught you to swim."

Napoleon grinned. "Come on," and steered him toward the tent.

Inside, the light was greatly muted, almost dark. Like another tent twenty years ago, on the other side of the world, at the other end of his life. The parachute sheet on the floor was still relatively unrumpled. "Well, let's get comfortable," Napoleon suggested brightly. He began to remove his shirt. He glanced toward Illya. "Take off your clothes." He didn't watch Illya as they both stripped to the skin.

"Okay. Myself, I like to use a pillow." He rolled up his clothing and stuffed most of it within the t-shirt. Illya watched and did the same.

Napoleon placed the pillow behind himself and patted it. "All the comforts of home." He settled back and indicated his partner should do the same. "All right, now—techniques. I guess the best way for you to learn would be to watch me... and... do what I do." So saith Spunky.

"All right," Illya answered. He was watching Napoleon, intently poised to do whatever he would do.

Napoleon took hold of his own cock with his left hand. It was currently flaccid, but that would be remedied soon. He glanced over and saw that Illya was doing the same.

He caressed over the head with his thumb, and within seconds his penis had lengthened enough to be poking out of his fist.

He glanced over and saw his partner was holding his own organ, which apparently hadn't yet enlarged. "Try stroking over the tip with your thumb," he suggested. "That always works for me."

"Hmm," Illya assented, and did that. With no apparent results.

Abruptly, Napoleon sat up. "Does it still hurt from the operation?" What if damage had been done and he really was physically incapable...

Illya shook his head. "No, it doesn't hurt. It never hurt much after the first few days."

"Oh. That's good." He turned back to his own waiting organ. He rubbed it some. "Doesn't it feel good? Doing this?"

"A bit... but not enough to overcome..." He stopped and Napoleon filled in the rest for him silently. Not enough to overcome the fear of pain. So it would probably have to be more gradual. And maybe less direct.

"Take your balls in your other hand," he directed, doing that to his own testicles. "Work them some." He proceeded to do that to himself. Illya was on his left, so he used his right hand, giving Illya an unobstructed view of the techniques he was using. "Palpate them and... umm, push them back."

Illya's head was turned toward him watching, and then he stared straight ahead. Napoleon glanced downward and saw that he was doing those things to his genitals. "Does it feel good?" he asked.

"Yesss..." Illya answered. But Napoleon saw that he still didn't have an erection.

"Now the best combination, I think, is when you do that and pump yourself at the same time." He proceeded to pump his cock, using a familiar pace. "Steadily." Illya began to obediently pump his detumescent organ, mimicking the rhythm that Napoleon established. "Don't forget to keep working your balls—" It had been a whole day for Napoleon and his body wasn't willing to wait any longer. His words were choked off by the premature orgasm which zinged through him.

He didn't fight it. He never resisted an orgasm, though this one had come before he was ready. He relaxed and let it flow, and let the contractions wring out the last spurts of ejaculate. He didn't let go of his genitals, but he ceased the movement.

He looked over and saw Illya was watching his face. Napoleon's face would have turned red, but it was already flushed from the orgasm. "Ah, I didn't expect to come that quickly. I don't suppose you did?" He lowered his gaze to Illya's hand-enclosed organ. There was no erection.

"Hardly," Illya said wryly. "Napoleon, this is useless—"

"No, wait..." Napoleon tried to gather himself together, catching his breath and sitting up. He looked around, trying to find something to wipe the semen off his stomach with and grabbed at a pair of briefs that had not been stuffed into the t-shirt. "It will just take you longer..."

"It's not going to happen," Illya said flatly. He had let go of his genitals and was sitting up. "Some things are just not meant to—"

"Wait a minute." Napoleon cut him off. He couldn't bear to hear that defeatist tone from his friend. "What kind of thing is that for an U.N.C.L.E. agent to say? With that kind of attitude, you'd still be in the Partridges' dungeon."

Despite his chagrin, Illya looked slightly amused. That was better.

Napoleon glanced at the briefs he had clenched in his hand and saw from the tag, 32 W, that they were Illya's. He surreptitiously set them aside and moved closer to his friend. "I guess sometimes you just need a partner's helping hand."

At this point he wasn't sure of what he would do next. He was just determined to erase the discouraged look in his friend's blue eyes.

"I think you might need to take it slower... and maybe a lighter touch..." His hand hovered over Illya's groin. "Do you mind if I touch you?"

Illya looked apprehensive, but said only, "No. Go ahead."

With the permission, everything changed. He was going to do this for his friend. He was determined to make it happen. He was going to use every technique he had ever used on himself. He glanced downward and saw his friend lying stiff with tension. Everything stiff, that is, but the part that needed to be.

No, if he just used techniques he wasn't going to penetrate that wall. There was more to sex than mechanics. And stimulation other than friction.

He lowered his voice seductively. "Relax, my friend. I'm going to make you feel quite wonderful."

Napoleon Solo was a very giving person, and he always enjoyed giving pleasure to the women who shared his bed. He'd never thought before of giving it to his partner, a male. But he found he had no qualms about doing so once the barrier was breached.

Napoleon, who was intrinsically romantic, always preferred starting with a kiss. Kisses themselves could be sexually stimulating. He bent to kiss his friend's lips. He felt the brush of a beard. Strange, yet kind of nice.

He tasted the lips, playing with them using his tongue. Sometimes the lips themselves were quite sensitive, and some women liked that more than a deep-mouthed kiss.

Illya's lips were full, a pleasant mouth to kiss. Napoleon felt a little moan. He smiled. Could this be having some effect? He drew back and saw his friend's eyes were very bright. "Like that?"

Illya swallowed. "It feels... very nice."

He put his hand on Illya's biceps and caressed it absently.

He moved back to Illya's face, but this time he avoided his friend's mouth. He laid kisses around his friend's face, his neck, his ear. Illya did have nice ears—small, and today, a pinkish tan. He licked delicately at the small ear, knowing that it could be an erogenous zone.

He worked down past the beard, to the neck. The skin was so nice and smooth. He liked kissing and sucking throats, so much so that he sometimes got carried away, leaving a mark, much to some women's annoyance.

Napoleon nuzzled and kissed at the fine skin, then licked a spot and started to suck. He knew he liked having this done to him, though it left a tell-tale mark.

"Ah..." So Illya liked this too. Well, he could just wear turtlenecks when they got back to New York. He liked to anyway. Napoleon moved his mouth to the fleshy spot just above Illya's collarbone, and proceeded to make a new mark. Illya seemed to be relaxed and was making little sounds in his throat.

As he sucked, Napoleon moved his hand casually down the taut abdomen, lightly caressing. His hand drifted, touching Illya's hip, then went back to the abdomen. He continued to lick and suck. His hand dipped lower, into the curls...

...and was met by a slightly tumid cock. Ah-ha! This was more of an effect than that direct manipulation earlier.

He touched the organ carefully. Stroked the tip lightly with his finger. And continued sucking. Leisurely he moved down, licking and kissing all the way. He tasted Illya's skin—salty from sweat. He kept his hand lightly on the slowly arousing cock, and when it became a little firmer, he enclosed it. This was definitely progress—not quite stiff enough to put into a woman, but definitely... progress. He pressed his grin against the hollow between the pectorals.

Illya was making those tiny sounds in his throat. Napoleon loved to hear them—sounds of unexpected pleasure.

He moved back upward and resumed his assault on the other man's face: soft kisses along his hairline, his cheek, and back to the mouth. This time the reception was more eager. At the first touch of lips, a whimper escaped the sensual mouth and Illya opened up to the kiss, hungrily engulfing his mouth.

Napoleon became so involved in the kiss that he almost forgot the penis he had in his hand, until the organ twitched and swelled to complete hardness.

Success! a real erection. Something Illya had said he had never been able to attain.

Of course this was just the beginning. It was a long road from erection to orgasm, and he knew it could be easy to lose along the way. If he wasn't careful.

Though the angle was different, the feel of a cock in his hand was similar to holding his own; automatically, his thumb caressed the tip.

Illya gasped and his eyes widened.

Napoleon had come not too long ago, and it really wasn't his routine to come that soon after, but being this close to his aroused friend was interestingly stimulating. He felt a strong urge to press himself against his friend's body.

He put his hand around Illya's back and drew him closer. Without bidding, Illya wrapped his arms around his neck.

Napoleon stroked along the long spine, to the small ass, leaving his hand resting on one rounded cheek.

He had the urge to touch Illya with all of his body. He pressed their torsos together, chest to chest, groin to groin. Bodies together, he breathed against the other's neck.

He was still holding Illya's penis. He pressed it against himself, rubbing it against his belly, his thigh, and his own cock, which had become erect again.

Illya had never been this close to another person, not really, and the feeling was startling. He felt Napoleon's breaths against his cheek, his body heat penetrating his torso.

The stimulation was unavoidable. Napoleon was touching him all over: hands on his back, his rear. A foot caressed the back of his calf.

The heat and the touching worked its magic.

Somehow, here in Napoleon's arms, in the midst of this frightening state of arousal, his body allowed It. The fact that this was Napoleon, his friend, allowed the relaxation that let him accept the closeness without that awful sickening fear that he had felt every other time he had been close to erection.

Somehow, here in Napoleon's arms, he felt the reassuring comfort of his friend's body wrapped around him. If this was going to lead to the remembered pain, Napoleon would be here to hold him through it.

He relaxed a shade, and felt his penis grow within his friend's hand. Remarkably, the pain didn't come. Just that incredible comfort. He opened his eyes and saw Napoleon's face close to his. Familiar and yet unfamiliar because he had never seen Napoleon flushed and aroused before.

"That's it, baby," Napoleon whispered in his ear. "You can do it."

With those incongruous words coming from his friend, Illya's body released the controls that had held him celibate for his entire life.

"Uhn..." it was all through him, "uhnn..." like a river coursing, "ummm..." building its force...

...frighteningly powerful...

"Yes, that's good," a reassuring voice murmured in his ear. "It's okay..."

He relaxed and let it rise higher and higher until it peaked, and then it all came in a rush, pumping, pumping, squeezing out...

It felt so intensely good. Not being able to help himself, he cried out. The strong arms held him tightly, holding him together so he wouldn't fragment completely.

The pumping and squeezing went on, gradually subsiding. He held still, not wanting to miss any of the sweet feeling.

Napoleon watched the spectrum of emotions cross his friend's face—from fear to startled pleasure. He held him gently, waiting for Illya to finish. He held the still ejaculating cock, observing with curiosity. It was a normal ejaculation, though he did note that it seemed to go on for an awfully long time.

His sigh echoed his friend's. Illya lay flat, breathing heavily, looking dazed. Napoleon pet his hair with his unspattered hand. He had never felt so involved in another's pleasure.

He found a stray bit of clothing and cleaned his hand and his friend's groin, alternating his cleaning with light caresses. He heard a rush of wind, and the first patterings of rain on the tent.

Illya looked drained, and nearly asleep. Napoleon covered him with the nylon sheet and left to set out the water trap and see to the fire.

As he worked, he felt in awe of what he had done. This had been Illya's first time ever and he had made it happen. It had not been what he'd expected. He had expected something like the fumbling sex play when he'd been a kid—nothing serious, just boisterous horseplay. Certainly with no caring involved.

But Illya was nothing like Billy or Pete or Gus, his bunkies that summer, and Napoleon wasn't Spunky. They were men, who had lived and worked and saved the world a time or two.

Not at all innocent of life, though innocent of this one experience. One which they shared now.

Napoleon took the first watch that night, letting his partner sleep. Illya lay like a baby, breathing evenly and deeply. No wonder—Napoleon himself usually slept well after good sex; he imagined it would be especially exhausting the first time.

The first time. Napoleon stared up at the tent-top and marveled at the concept. Illya had been so scared, so tentative. And so embarrassed by his naivete.

Yet that very naivete had excited Napoleon beyond his expectations.

The episode had been so... delicate. Physical sensations had not been enough to arouse Illya. The emotional had to enter into it.

It was fun doing it with a man. He was surprised. Being around a man could never create the immediate arousal that being around a woman created. Just the shape of women did it to him; a glimpse of a sweater-covered breast could practically cause him to salivate.

But it wasn't bad with a man when the man was a good friend.

He thought of Illya, wearing nothing but his t-shirt and briefs, walking around the island. The American had to admit he looked good. The blond hair was bleached, the fair skin had tanned. Napoleon imagined how the women at headquarters were going to swoon when they saw him. And this time, one of you lucky ladies is going to get your chance. Thanks to me, he thought smugly.

A slight doubt intruded. Unless he reverts to impotence when he's around women again. Unconsciously he frowned. But I'm certain he can get it up again. Everything functioned just fine on Illya's first time.

Illya's first climax. What... joy, to be part of bringing it about. That glorious wash of pleasure overcoming him, the mellow relaxation afterward.

Now what joy just to see his friend sleeping in the moonlight, to be near and guarding him, and letting only good dreams get by. Kuryakin had become a sexual being thanks to Napoleon's insistence and, as the midwife to that new being, Napoleon felt a proprietary interest in its development.

Tomorrow, or the next day, they would start back to civilization when the freighter arrived. Hopefully Illya would want to try out his new skill shortly thereafter. Napoleon had no doubt that several women in New York—or even Honolulu—would be eager to accommodate his novice partner if thrown into close proximity with him. And Napoleon would make certain that they were.

He continued to mull over the event, and slowly the night slipped toward dawn.

Illya took a deep breath and opened his eyes. In the early morning darkness, he could just make out the soft silhouette of his partner against the moonlit translucence of the tent. "How do you feel?" came his voice, gentle and deep.

Illya frowned, assessing with his scientific perspective exactly how he did feel. "Different. Good... I think."

"You think?"

"I've never felt like this."

"What do you feel like?"

"Tingly... and..." With some surprise, he touched the thickness between his legs. "And I seem to be aroused again..."

He could hear the grin in Napoleon's voice. "It's what we call your 'morning erection.'"

Illya flushed. "You get them each morning? Isn't that rather... time consuming?"

Napoleon grinned. "Don't worry, just because you get them doesn't mean you have to use them."

Illya looked thoughtful.

"It will usually go away when you pee. Or shower. Or, under the circumstances, a swim in the ocean should take care of it."

"Hmm." Carefully, as if it were a bald weasel that had somehow climbed into his lap, Illya stroked his swaying cock. The shivery feeling returned, especially when he touched its very tip. He let the thought of women drift across his mind, and the cock did not deflate. If anything, it stiffened slightly.

Napoleon seemed to become aware of what he was doing. "I ought to go check on the fire," he murmured, and exited the tent.

The sudden privacy shook him, throwing all responsibility into his own lap, so to speak. Anxiously, he repeated the manipulations Napoleon had taught him—"Palpate them," "Push them back," "Take your balls in your other hand,"—but they didn't help, and his little tower collapsed.

Disappointed, Illya tried not to be discouraged. Perhaps I'll be able to try again tomorrow morning. In any case, it was reassuring to know he was better at it today than he had been two days ago.

He rose from his sandy bedclothes, swiping the grains off his sticky bare skin. Emerging from the tent, he spotted Napoleon carrying a load of damp brush toward the signal fire. "Let's go for a swim," he called, walking down to the water. Napoleon nodded and stripped off his clothing, before wading with his friend into the surf.

The after-storm sky was clear and just barely golden with dawn. Illya dived into the glittering waves and came up gasping from the comparative cold. Napoleon picked his way into the water with the disdain of a cat, but finally dropped himself into the surf. Illya kept his smile to himself, and turned to scan the horizon. Soon they would leave the island. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?

Last night had been... incredible. No wonder Napoleon had kept after him these past several months to join the human race. He had indeed been missing out.

Then this morning, the magic might have been repeated. But one thing had been lacking.

Once more Illya looked out upon the water: empty ocean as far as the horizon and well beyond. They were so isolated—anything that happened here between them could be kept separate from their lives back in civilization.

Napoleon drew closer, a few flecks of water on his burgeoning beard but none on his hair where the forelock dangled. Illya opened his mouth, starting to speak and then hesitated. He started again. "I appreciate your helping me with... my problem."

The American smiled. "What are friends for?" he said easily.

"I'd not thought that was their conventional use," Illya replied. "I had thought they were more commonly useful for such functions as conversation, money-lending and rescue from enemy dungeons."

"Or even making breakfast." Napoleon tilted his head. "Your turn, you know."

"So it is. What's your pleasure, baked gooney-bird eggs and lizard bacon?" Illya asked as they sloshed back to shore.

"What, again? Actually, right now I'm more tired than hungry," Napoleon admitted with a yawn.

"It will take me a while to find food. Why don't you sleep now? I'll let you know when it's ready."

Scavenging, cleaning, and putting the meal near the fire to cook took a few hours. The sun was high and too hot to stay under, so Illya retired to the shelter. He raised the tent's sides to let the breezes blow in, and sat himself down beside his sleeping partner, watching the sea.

He couldn't get Solo's kindness, his gentle solicitude yesterday, out of his mind. He was not used to this sort of thing from his friend. It was alien to their partnership, and could have no place in the context of their regular lives together.

But there was, for him, such reassurance in Napoleon's simple touch. Even his presence made it more comfortable for him to... explore.

He put his hand to his genitals, encased in the thin cotton briefs. Gently, slowly, he felt them without looking, staring instead at the shimmering sand outside.

Sand brought the images of Barbara, of Sofie, to mind.

He didn't let his body back away, but didn't force it to respond, either. He simply kept fondling himself, and let his mind drift about those images: carrying Barbara's unresisting body across the sands; tended by Sofie's quick hands in the spicy-smelling goat's-hide tent.

Alice Baldwin, who gave very nice kisses.

Even Countess Lydecker, so sleek and untouchable, but how she groaned with pleasure under his hands when he brushed her hair.

What he'd had with them was not sex, but it wasn't that far from sex. Pleasure from touching, from feeling strong, from feeling cared for. Why, look at all the women he'd shared that much with. It almost rivaled Napoleon's list.

Then the face, and the body, he really wanted to touch loomed in his mind's eye. She was so much his sister-self that desire for her seemed almost incestuous. But she was whom he wanted.

His body agreed.

Carefully, now, this was the tricky part; remember the success and forget the fear. He sat next to the success; he could even touch it if he wanted.

He could make love like the success.

Rising to his knees, he rolled down his briefs carefully. How the flesh wobbled in the diffuse light: pink, gold, purple, cream. He rolled up his t-shirt, and simultaneously rubbed a nipple as he took his cock in hand. Oh, very good. He thought of her breasts, and the nipple got hard. He imagined taking her by the waist and pulling her closer, and his heart beat harder. He imagined kissing her wide lips, and his penis also liked the idea. And then he imagined...

Oh, seven black devils—he didn't know what to imagine.

At his frustrated sigh, Napoleon woke.

Napoleon woke all at once, without grogginess, as was his habit. Silhouetted against the glowing white nylon was his partner, fully exposed, bare butt to the breeze. But clutching a very respectable hard-on.

"Snake-hunting, are you?" he asked.

Beet-red, Illya quickly yanked his shirt down, covering as much of himself as possible. "I—um—food is almost ready," he stammered.

Napoleon raised himself up on one elbow on the makeshift bedding. He patted the place beside him. "Come here."

Illya sat there.

"Looked like you had a big one. Didn't get away, did he?"

"I—" Illya swallowed. "I... didn't quite know how to land him." Napoleon crooked an eyebrow. "What... how does the woman do it? Oh, I sound like an ignorant fool—"

"No," Napoleon said. "Not at all. Just innocent."

Nostalgia rose in him for his own long-vanished innocence, of golden summers and steam-heated bedrooms in winter, of smells and tastes and feelings utterly shocking in their newness, yet so primitive it was as if they predated humanity. "I can say without fear of contradiction, Illya, that what you're up to is bigger than the both of us." At his friend's confused look, "Let's just say, now that we've ascertained that your equipment works, we ought to make sure you know how to operate it properly. It can be potentially dangerous in inexperienced hands," he finished gravely.

Straight-faced, Illya answered, "I have been trained in bomb defusing."

"Kid stuff," Napoleon said dismissively. "This is much more explosive."

"I see. What do you recommend?"

"Simulation with fail-safes. It's not quite the same as learning in the field, but it should leave you adequately prepared."

"I defer to your expertise. Now?"

"No time like the present. Settle back." He directed Illya to lean back against his thighs. "Now close your eyes," he said softly. Obediently, Illya did so.

He brushed the tips of his fingers on the man's forearm, stroked the inner arm. "I want you to think about a woman that you would like to make love to."

"Marion," Illya said instantly. "Marion Raven."

His fingers halted their stroking. "Er, Marion," he hesitated, almost turning red.

"Yes. She's one woman I liked very much." Illya's expression grew distant, and his voice got low. "In truth, she's the reason I went ahead with the operation..."

"Wouldn't you have otherwise?"

Illya just shrugged in answer.

Napoleon thought about that. Sleeping with Marion hadn't violated any of his personal ethics—she had given up on Illya and Illya couldn't expect her to become a nun because he didn't want to have sex with her. But it hurt him that he might have set Illya up for future hurt. "Ah, if you'd like, I could tell you about a brothel I've been to. Some of the ladies there can be very extraordinary."

Illya shook his head. "I think I prefer someone ordinary. Even in imagination."

"All right, Marion, then," Napoleon conceded. So what the hell. "Marion is a very pretty girl. Think of what she looks like..." He continued stroking Illya's arm.

"She's very beautiful." He seemed calm and relaxed.

"Now imagine that Marion is touching you," Napoleon continued in a soothing voice. "Just like this. It's pleasant, isn't it?"

"Yes... yes, it is."

"Sure. Just touching your arm. Would you like her to touch you somewhere else? On your back, maybe?"

"I... suppose so."

He raised his arm and lightly caressed Illya's shoulders, then traced down his spine to the fifth rib. He made his touch as even and soothing as he could. No need to startle the boy.

"Can—can't I touch her?" Illya said plaintively.

Napoleon smiled. "Yes, you can touch her." The younger man turned slightly, and felt his way blind to Napoleon's arms, stroked them once, then went straight for his pectorals.

He stifled a gasp as the insistent hands fondled his flat breasts, raised his nipples to pinpoints of sensation. "Do you think Marion likes this?" Illya's voice was low and rich, and more than a little seductive in its own right.

Clearing his throat, "I, ah, think she likes it fine." His own hands traveled to Illya's chest and repaid the compliment.

They continued like that for several minutes, each man's breath coming harsher and faster. Illya's blond hair hung over his closed eyes, stuck to the sweat that trickled down his face. A face of innocence; a man of deeds.

"Now suppose..." Napoleon took a deep breath, "she leaned over and kissed you." And with that, he put his lips to the soft-looking mouth.

Which opened for him. So he took the kiss deep. Illya relaxed and let his friend explore his mouth. After a moment of this, Napoleon ended the kiss and nuzzled the bearded cheek with his own bristles. Illya's eyes opened. With a slight smile, he said, "I didn't realize Marion was such an aggressive kisser."

"Well, some women are," Napoleon answered. He touched his finger to that full lower lip and the outline of Illya's mouth. "You have a very nice mouth. Marion is really going to enjoy kissing you."

Illya didn't say anything, but he looked pleased.

"No, she won't be able to resist you," Napoleon added, a little breathlessly. Again he brought his lips to his friend's, started to tongue inward.

But Illya took hold of Napoleon's face with his hands and took control of the kiss. He pressed their mouths closer together and his tongue explored the cavern of Napoleon's mouth. Napoleon tasted the other man's saliva, felt his own teeth measured by the other tongue. He couldn't stop his own moan.

Illya sighed and released the kiss, pulled back with a satisfied smile.

Napoleon cleared his throat. "Ah, you seem to be getting the hang of this." Let's hope I can hold out. Looking into his friend's blue eyes, "You're supposed to have your eyes shut," he said.

"I forgot," Illya said and closed them again.

Napoleon nudged his friend to lie down, so that he was on his side on the parachute cloth.

He didn't know where he was going with this fantasy anyway. He could always just chuck the idea of pretending that a woman was doing this to Illya, and just make love to him, like he had last night. But he didn't want to be inconsistent.

He started tentatively again. "Well, that was a nice kiss. She really liked it." He put his left hand on Illya's shoulder then and stroked down his arm. He peeked down at his own flat chest, remembering Marion's sizable breasts. There was no way he'd be able to bury Illya's face in glorious breasts as she had buried Napoleon's between hers. He sighed. Illya would just have to discover the joys of tit on some other occasion.

In the meantime: "She'd really like to taste you..." as he lowered his head and tongued a flat pink nipple. Slightly hairy, salty from sweat and the ocean. He licked steadily and felt Illya's faint moan of "Marion," as the nub hardened under his tongue. He raised his head and saw that Illya's face was flushed now, his eyes tightly closed.

"Ma—Napoleon, please—" Illya gulped and panted, reaching out to him.

He glanced down at Illya's groin. He was glad to see that Illya was fully erect again, though surprised at the size of Illya's erection—much bigger than what he'd expected from the smaller man. But that had been Illya's problem all these years—his cock was too big.

And he was a big cocktease. Illya deserved much better from him. You got him here. Now what?

Suddenly he thought of something from his college days, when condoms hadn't been readily available. Sharon. They had had a brief affair in college, from which she had retired still a virgin, technically. She would use baby oil to grease her inner thighs, and he had happily copulated with her there. Not terribly different from genuine fucking, and for years afterward, the smell of Johnson's baby oil had made him hard.

Not that they had any baby oil on hand, or any other kind.

But they certainly were sweaty enough.

He eased himself into Illya's range and let himself be grasped around the waist. "What—what shall I do?" the blond man gasped.

"Keep thinking of Marion," he ordered. He bundled his cock closer to his belly and wondered at himself that he was willing to take the fantasy this far. He turned onto his back, taking his friend with him. Illya now lay atop him, apparently surprised, but not objecting.

It was so very strange being in this position. Napoleon had had intercourse with the woman on top, but then those women had been soft and rounded, and though he had been on the bottom, his masculinity had been clarified by the fact of his cock buried inside her.

But now this. Illya's body was unquestionably masculine. The uncushioned chest pressed against his own. He felt the hardness of the other's limbs along his own—an uneducated power.

Napoleon stroked the light hair with one hand, reached for the big cock that wasn't his own. "She likes you very much," he said. "She'd like you to get closer. As close as can be," he whispered.

Illya trembled, eyes flickering open. "What do you mean...?"

He reached up to ruffle the back of Illya's head gently. "Don't be scared."

"I'm—I'm not. What now?" Illya closed his eyes as Napoleon touched their lids lightly.

"She wants you inside of her." He fumbled to direct Illya's reflexively probing penis between his thighs. "She's going to help you put it in now." He enclosed the organ in his hand and felt that it was still erect, though possibly a shade less stiff than before. He ran his thumb across the tip. "You need to be hard for her. Nice and hard." Illya groaned and he felt the cock harden more. Oh yes, this was working out well.

He guided the rigid penis downward. The blunt end poked between his thighs. "Push in now," he said.

Illya looked puzzled, but obeyed the command. Then a look of wonder crossed his face as he slid between Napoleon's thighs.

Napoleon tried to focus on Illya, but could not entirely ignore the physical sensations this was causing his own body. The velvety head of the other's cock pressed under his balls, an unusually erotic feeling. On the other hand, when the incoming flesh dragged on the hairs of his thighs and crotch—He gulped. Well, hopefully he could hold out until Illya was satisfied.

Illya gasped. "Napoleon...?"

Napoleon forestalled him. "It feels good, doesn't it?"

"Yesss," he answered.

"That's good," he said. "Why don't you kiss her now?" He found he very much wanted to be kissed at that moment. Being penetrated, albeit in a different way, left him needing the same affection and reassurance that he imagined a woman might want... and that a timely kiss would satisfy.

Obediently, Illya lowered his head, and Napoleon lifted his, to let their lips meet. He allowed Illya to control the kiss. It was a gentle touching of mouths this time, little more than a moist tongue skimming between his lips. Such a soft touch on his lips was rarely found, and it was insidiously erotic. He swallowed hard.

"Illya," he caressed gently at his friend's neck and back, "she'd like you to begin thrusting now. Your hips, that is," he added, just in case Illya didn't understand.

Illya gave a thrust to his hips and then stopped. "Like that?"

"Uh, yes, like that. Except you keep doing it."

"Oh." He began thrusting, irregularly at first, but after a moment, he found his rhythm and the thrusts became regular and smoothly paced. The penis between his thighs stayed rock-hard.

Napoleon watched Kuryakin's face curiously. The grimace of concentration was not unlike one he'd once seen on Illya's face when he was being tortured. But he knew his friend was not in pain now.

No, Illya was totally focused and self-absorbed; his physical sensations had taken control and he was responding to a primal instinct to reach for completion. Nature had finally taken over. Napoleon had become so absorbed watching his friend's face that he was not paying attention to the effect this was having on his own body. The barrage against the underside of his balls combined with the indirect stimulation of his cock, squeezed between their abdomens. The alternately sweet/painful rub against his inner thighs—not the most erogenous of zones, but still sensitive—contributed. And the unusual sensation of Illya's cock prodding close to the one opening of his body didn't hurt. The climax, when it came, was out of the blue and nothing like he'd ever felt before.

The orgasm twisted through him like a tornado, sweeping up stray sensations and adding them to its force. He shuddered beneath the still-thrusting body, glad for the continuing stimulation that helped feed the force, giving it extra seconds of life.

"Uh ... uh ... uh..." Illya groaned against his ear and shudders racked the lean body. Napoleon felt the other man's semen spurt between his thighs. Undignified, uncomfortable, but evidence of a rousing success.

After a moment, Illya took in a deep breath. He spoke into Napoleon's collarbone. "Does it always feel this good?"

Napoleon stroked at the other man's sweaty shoulders. "Just about."

"No wonder you want to do it all the time." Illya pushed himself up, taking the weight off Napoleon, and flopped over onto his butt in the sand. He looked around, blinking. "Is there... anything I'm supposed to do afterward?"

"Roses," said Napoleon instantly. "One dozen. Two dozen if she didn't come with you. And not from some cheap back-street wholesaler. either." He pulled his friend down to lie beside him. "Really: stay with her till she sends you away. Hold her until she falls asleep. Thank her and tell her you love her, but only if you actually do."

Illya's smile showed in his eyes. "Thank you, Napoleon. I actually do."

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