Passing the Time

by Di T

This story was inspired by Irene Heron's slashy episode reviews on her wonderful MFU site, Partner Mine. She has placed the reviews in order of filming rather than the order they were aired. "The Shark Affair" was #5 and pivotal in establishing the growing relationship between Napoleon and Illya.

Napoleon twisted around, trying to see the extent of the damage to his back in the inadequate mirror. He grimaced. As lashings went, it was not too bad but it hurt like hell, despite the ministrations of the ship's doctor and Captain Shark's assurances.

Light footsteps approached the cabin door. Napoleon felt vulnerable without his gun. Instead he reached for his ruined shirt—he might as well hang onto what dignity he had left. The door opened.

"Napoleon, are you all right?" Illya—released from the brig where he'd been confined after a valiant but vain effort to stop the lashing.

Napoleon let out the breath he had been holding. Trust his impulsive Russian partner to try even against the most unpromising odds. At least Napoleon had managed to negotiate his release.

He dropped the bloodstained shirt onto the floor and sat on the lower bunk. "I've felt better. How about you?"

Illya did not reply. His face no longer had the greenish tinge it had on the raft, but he was still pale, not quite right yet. He came over and sat beside Napoleon, his face twisted with concern. "Let me see."

Flexing his back to ease the sharp sting, Napoleon turned and let the Russian inspect the marks of the captain's whip. He could still feel blood trickling from at least one of them. Illya's hands felt cool and competent as they skimmed over the wounds.

"Wait a minute." Illya went over to the small washbasin, returning with a clean towel that he gently applied to Napoleon's back. "Did someone put something on these?"

"Yeah." Napoleon ran a hand through his hair. "It's supposed to take the sting out very soon—so they said."

"Nice of them to show such concern." Illya's tone was heavy with sarcasm. "There—leave off your shirt and let the air get to the cuts."

"I have every intention of doing so—until I have to put that on." Napoleon nodded in the direction of a pair of tuxedos hanging from a hook on the wall opposite. "Apparently we are expected at the captain's formal reception this evening."

"He's throwing a party for us?" Illya did not look overjoyed. "Such lengths to make us feel welcome!" He rubbed the back of his head where he had been struck during his abortive attempt to stop the lashing, and rolled his eyes.

"I understand Mrs. Barnman is to be the guest of honour," Napoleon explained.

Illya groaned. "I don't think my head can take it. That woman is a public menace!"

"She likes you—she feeds you soup."

"I like soup. That doesn't excuse knocking me out with the nearest door." Illya winced and touched his temple, where the shadow of a bruise was still evident. "Three times," he added, disbelief in his voice.

Napoleon smiled at the memory. The well-meaning Elsa Barnman was partly responsible for their being aboard this ship. She was the latest in a motley collection of press-ganged passengers aboard Captain Shark's modern-day ark. Her husband disappeared some weeks earlier. Now Shark planned to throw a party to reunite them. Napoleon wondered how delighted Mr. Barnman would be. He winked at Illya. "Just steer clear of doors and you'll be all right."

"I plan to." Illya sighed again, even more tragically. "I hope there is food. I'm hungry." As if to underline his point there came a growl from the direction of Illya's stomach. He rubbed it, and looked at his watch. "What time do we have to be there?"

"Ah—nineteen hundred hours, I believe."

"More than two hours! I'm really hungry now." The expression on Illya's pale face was so woebegone that Napoleon almost laughed.

"You've found your sea-legs then."

Unexpectedly, ex-Naval Lieutenant Kuryakin, I.N. had been miserably seasick on the raft while they waited to be picked up, and he did not suffer in silence. Mr. Waverly's ears must have burned as the Russian vented his spleen about him and his plan to get them aboard the ship without arousing suspicion. The more seasick he became, the less he rated their chances of fooling anybody with their disguises.

"Boris Dryadnov—ship's cook aboard the SS Fontella!" Illya had declared, bitterly, his accent thick and his face sour as his stomach. "We went down eight hundred miles off the west coast of Hawaii." He grimaced. "To me it's as flimsy as this raft."

Napoleon had to agree their boss could be cavalier, but not for the first time, he found himself amused at Illya's Slavic pessimism, black as the clothes he habitually wore. There was something endearingly passionate about Illya when he allowed his emotions to get the better of him.

The pessimism seemed to be returning. Illya scowled at Napoleon. "Yes, I have my sea-legs, as you so quaintly put it." He touched his head where the sailor had hit him and winced again. "And now I have a headache too. But mostly I'm hungry." Standing up, he started pacing restlessly around the little cabin, inspecting behind the chest, under the bunks, peering through the porthole.

"It's all clear. I checked." Napoleon had no desire to be caught out again. Illya had been right to be sceptical of their disguises. They had already given themselves away in an embarrassingly short time in the Captain's office. "We have enough explaining to do to Mr. Waverly."

"Hmmph." Illya's expression implied that he had not yet forgiven Mr. Waverly for the raft. "So what is our next move? We stay here until the Captain's little soire, then we use it as cover to sabotage the ship?"

"Yeah—something like that. I'm working on it." Napoleon shifted uncomfortably, the pain in his back annoying him. "I hope this stuff on my back takes effect soon."

Illya's face softened as Napoleon wrapped his arms across his torso. "Why don't you try to get some sleep?"

But Napoleon was not sleepy—quite the opposite—his mind was racing. He had a daring plan to blow the ship, but Illya was right—he needed cover to raid the store for components to make a bomb. The Captain's party was the perfect time, when all the passengers and most of the crew would be occupied.

Despite the discomfort of his back, his body felt restless. "No, I'm not tired." He sighed. "This is frustrating."

"They have a ship's library. That's why Elsa Barnman's husband was recruited. I'll go and find you something to read." Illya started towards the door.

Napoleon stopped him. "Ah—no books, I'm afraid. It's all on microfilm."

Illya sighed. "How tiresome. Well, do you want to play something—Botticelli?"

"Didn't you have enough of that on the raft? Besides, I'll just beat you again."

"You had me at an unfair disadvantage. I was unwell." Illya cheered up and his eyes glittered. "Perhaps it is time for me to return the compliment."

Napoleon did not find the idea attractive—the thought of the Russian gleefully besting him was unappealing. Actually, he felt rather horny. It must be association. Discomfort turned his mind towards pretty nurses in tight-fitting uniforms...

"This is a time when I'd like a nice girl to keep my mind occupied." He grinned wryly.

Illya's blond eyebrows shot up and he looked amused. "Your mind?"

Napoleon shrugged, then winced. "Well—ah—that too."

Illya snorted. "Sex, sex. The cure for everything." He sat down on the bunk beside Napoleon.

Napoleon didn't argue. The way he felt right now, he could do with a bit of curing. Illya looked like he needed curing too.

Illya humphed again. "Really, Napoleon—you're like a teenager. If you're not doing it, you're thinking about it." But then he smiled, his blue eyes becoming dreamy as if he were recalling something from the distant past. "You remind me of..." He trailed off. Napoleon raised his eyebrows in question, but Illya suddenly seemed lost in memories.

Napoleon's curiosity was piqued. The Russian was such an enigma—if half the things he hinted at were true, he had done much in his former life in the Soviet Union, England and France, but Napoleon knew so little of it. And Napoleon badly needed distraction. He clicked his fingers in front of his partner's unfocused eyes. "So—who do I remind you of? Someone from your secret past?"

Illya came out of his reverie. He shook his head. "I have no secret past, Napoleon."


Napoleon had been frustrated at the paucity of information available to him about Illya. When Illya first arrived at U.N.C.L.E., Napoleon had been agreeably surprised the young Russian turned out to be more than just a token nod to international cooperation. Indeed it soon became clear he was a real asset to the organisation.

Napoleon found when they worked together that they sparked each other off. There were times when Illya was a joy to work with, as they bounced ideas back and forth, often coming to the same conclusion at the same time. Napoleon had never clicked with anyone the way he had with Illya. They were like two sides of the same coin.

Their collaboration at the start of this mission was a case in point:

Illya had arrived in Napoleon's office to vent after interrogating his suspect for five hours. "Nothing!" he complained, in disgust, and helped himself to Napoleon's lunch. "I'll try again tomorrow."

"Listen, you think you're at a dead end," Napoleon countered, and went on to tell him about the elusive 'pirate' who kidnapped old ladies, thatchers, children and glaziers.

Suddenly, Illya's eyes lit up. He saw a connection that Napoleon had missed—the people who had gone missing had families who also mysteriously disappeared. The pieces of the jigsaw began to make some sense. Together they examined them, moved them around, and a picture began to emerge.

"Illya—I think we're both still working on the same case."

The Russian grinned, delightedly. "But instead of being at our own dead ends, we are now at the same dead end together!"

And that nicely summed up their relationship. Unlike anyone else he had worked with at U.N.C.L.E., as well as a valued colleague, Illya was turning out to be a friend. A good friend.

That friend sighed and rubbed his stomach again as it rumbled once more.

Poor Illya—he looked like he could use a plate of Elsa Barnman's soup right now. The state of his inner man was often reflected in Illya's mood—he was rarely more content than when he was eating or when he had just finished a good meal. Although Illya often forgot to eat when he was absorbed in something, he hated to be hungry. Hunger frequently rendered him sarcastic and irritable.

"It's lucky for you Elsa Barnman is aboard." Napoleon winked. He wanted Illya cheerful again. "She'll see you're well fed."

"Just remind me not to stand near any doors when she is around," the Russian replied, sourly.

"At least she'll revive you with chicken soup." His own problem would not be so easily assuaged.

Napoleon was familiar with this association of mood and appetite. He felt in danger of becoming irritable himself and wanted diversion. But his hunger wasn't for food. His mind was turning towards another base instinct, one that he found endlessly diverting. He turned the conversation back that way. They both needed something to cheer them up. "Now—how does my wanting a pretty girl remind you of your secret past?"

"I told you. There is no secret past." Illya stood and peered moodily through the porthole. Then he turned and went over to the tuxedos, fingering them. "How do they know our sizes?"

Napoleon was not going to be put off. Illya had been on the point of sharing something intriguing and Napoleon was curious. Really, Illya gave so little away, although he'd drop little hints: 'When I was in the Russian Navy...' Dammit, he'd been sick as a dog the minute they set foot on that rubber raft! Was he really in the Navy? Napoleon found it hard to believe.

Illya was a good liar—one of the best. His face could be the picture of innocence as he made up one outrageous story after another. He'd once told Napoleon some ridiculous nonsense about setting fire to an igloo and actually had him believing it for a while.

But when Illya had reminisced a moment ago, implying Napoleon reminded him of someone, for some reason that sounded genuine and the memory appeared pleasurable. Napoleon craved pleasure right now. If he couldn't have sex, he could at least be entertained. He prodded. "You said I reminded you of someone. How do you mean—I remind you? Who do I remind you of?"

Illya gave a snort. "You may be unique, Napoleon, but your insatiable appetite for sex is not."

"I'm a healthy man who has better things to do with his time than spend it in solitary contemplation."

"And you have a single-track mind." Illya sat heavily on the bunk, leaning back as if he intended to take a nap, but his blue eyes were wide and watchful.

"I simply mentioned that a pretty girl would be most welcome right now." Napoleon stared at his partner. Surely Illya thought about sex sometimes. His life couldn't be entirely centred around work, food and his collection of jazz records, could it? He had caused quite a stir among the girls around Headquarters when he'd first arrived, and he'd seemed quite keen on that blonde photographer. Had they actually dated? Napoleon couldn't be sure.

Was Illya experienced in sexual matters at all?

Napoleon stood and paced the cabin as Illya had done. He felt confined and uncomfortable. He himself hadn't dated in quite a while, thanks to a heavy workload recently. Now even the mention of sex aroused him. Damn, damn. He surreptitiously shifted as his favourite organ reminded him of its presence.

The movement wasn't lost on his observant friend. "Don't you ever think about anything else?"

Napoleon looked out at the sea, the white horses almost level with the porthole; they had not been allocated luxurious quarters. Perhaps that little brunette, Maud, would be his next conquest. He preferred blondes generally—there were so many he'd lost count. Once, in Switzerland, he even had a dangerous liaison with a Thrush femme fatale. God—that had been something—the combination of cool beauty, hot sex and underlying menace. He felt himself harden as he remembered the gorgeous, evil Angelique. She would take his mind off his sore back—the things she had done to him...

He shifted again—maybe fantasising about girls wasn't such a good idea. He was going to end up embarrassed. He returned to the bunk and sat carefully so as not to jar his back, crossing his legs so his partial erection wouldn't be too obvious.

Illya's face had returned to the rapt, faraway expression of earlier.

"Okay, wise guy. Since you unfortunately have the wrong attributes for what I really want, entertain me. What are you thinking about?" Napoleon poked his chest.

Illya jumped. "What? Oh—I was indulging in a little solitary contemplation."

He had asked for that one. "Dare I ask what you were contemplating?" Napoleon waggled his eyebrows at Illya. In his present restless mood, he didn't want his partner to shut him out. His back still stung and he wrapped his arms around himself again to ease it, inwardly cursing Captain Shark and his crazy ark.

Illya looked sympathetic for a moment, then quirked his lips. "If you must know I was thinking about schi—it is a delicious Russian soup." He kissed his thumb and forefinger, European fashion, and grinned.

"I know what schi is. Mainly cabbage as I recall. If you're going to fantasise about food, you should at least pick something palatable—steak barnaise perhaps."

"Napoleon, if you had ever eaten schi when you were truly hungry, you would not say that. When I was in the Navy—" Illya's stomach growled again. He grimaced and rubbed it regretfully.

Napoleon smiled. "Ah—possibly. That is one dish I am happy to allow you Soviets to keep for yourselves—especially within the confines of a ship's cabin. You know, thinking about food is just going to make you feel hungrier. You need something to take your mind off your stomach, not torture it."

"Maybe you need to take your mind off sex."

"On the contrary, Thinking about sex takes my mind off my back." Napoleon grinned wryly again. "However, it does have inconvenient effects."

Illya's expression changed to mischievous, his eyes dancing. "Poor Napoleon—when we get off this ship, you can arrange for a nice nurse to take care of your back and...other matters." The blue eyes glanced downwards.

Napoleon really was becoming irritable; the pain in his back and now the tightness of his trousers frustrated him. He frowned at Illya who was grinning at the bulge of his erection. "It's not funny, Illya. Sex can be therapeutic and right now, that's just the kind of therapy I need. You should try it sometime." His mind strayed again to Angelique. "Preferably, I'd like a sexy little blonde with a beautiful body."

Illya did not seem to notice Napoleon's irritation, but leaned back against the wall and touched his hair, his blue eyes wide and innocent. "Boys can have fun together too, you know." His voice was low and playful. He patted Napoleon's thigh. "Never mind. It will be worth the wait." He blinked and fixed Napoleon with a guileless stare. "That new nurse in Medical. Yvette, isn't it? "

Napoleon's mouth had dropped open at Illya's first remark. He shut it hurriedly. "Ah—Yvonne actually. What did you say?"

"I said it will be worth the wait for Yvonne." Illya's face was serious but his eyes twinkled.

"Illya..." Napoleon growled, warningly.

"Oh, that. I said boys can have fun together too. As I was saying, when I was in the Navy—"

"Is that what you were smiling at earlier—I remind you of something...someone you had, er, fun with?" Napoleon wasn't sure whether to be excited or horrified. Illya was implying he had experienced homosexual sex. Wasn't he?

"Yes. A fellow I shared a bunk with."

"Shared a bunk?" Napoleon could hardly have been more surprised if Illya had alluded to an ability to levitate. He stared at the Russian. "Just what sort of things did you get up to in the Russian Navy—apart from gorging yourself on cabbage soup and setting fire to igloos?"

Illya settled himself more comfortably on the bunk, crossing his legs and leaning back against the wall. He seemed unabashed—in fact, Napoleon had the distinct impression his partner was amused at his reaction. "What do you want to know?"

"Well, for a start, I thought know...boys doing things together was..."

"Frowned upon, Napoleon?" Illya supplied, raising his eyebrows. "My country disapproves. It is an offence, but it still happens. Can you imagine so many young men together on a ship, with no girls in prospect for weeks, sometimes months at a time?"

Napoleon tried to imagine himself in such a situation. Even in his army days, there had been girls to be chased. If there were no girls around, well—most of them went without. He shrugged, but instantly regretted the action as his back reminded him of the whip marks. "I thought sailors had a girl in every port."

Illya smiled, dismissively. "Not all of us did." His stomach rumbled again as he leaned his head back and shut his eyes. "I think I shall sleep for a while. I want to try to forget how hungry I am."

Napoleon shook him by the shoulder. "Illya—you can't just throw out a remark like that and leave me hanging!" His partner could be so infuriating. So unexpected too. "You have to tell me about it. Did you have 'fun,' as you call it, with your bunk-mate? What happened?"

Illya opened his eyes once more. "You really want to know? Perhaps it would be distasteful for you."

Napoleon hadn't given a moment's thought to whether it would be distasteful. Having sex with another man as an option had simply never occurred to him. Sex was something you did with girls, period. Except of course if you were... A thought came to him.

"Are know..." He cleared his throat.

"I think the word you are looking for is homosexual." Illya threw out the word challengingly, lifting his chin as if daring Napoleon to make anything of it. "What if I am?"

Napoleon frowned and considered. He wasn't sure. Would it make a difference? Maybe Illya was really homosexual and hid it by dating the occasional girl.

He thought about their growing friendship. How much he liked Illya—was attracted to him. The attraction seemed mutual: they sought each other out to discuss things, even when they weren't working on the same case; they frequently ate together in the commissary, joking, playing their own brand of one-upmanship, chatting easily about work-related matters. It was true—he was attracted to Illya. Not sexually—of course not—but as a friend.

But suppose Illya was attracted to him sexually? Much to his surprise the idea was not repellent—not repellent at all; in fact he felt another tug in his groin. Taken aback momentarily, he stared at his friend, wondering exactly what caused that reaction. After a moment he said, "I wouldn't mind. Come to think of it—I haven't seen you look at girls much. So—errm—are you?"

Illya gave a little laugh and shook his head. "No, I'm not homosexual. I like girls well enough—although perhaps not as much as you do."

Napoleon smirked. His reputation as chief Lothario was intact. Then he wiped the grin off his face. Why was he so titillated by the thought of Illya's sexual escapades aboard the naval ship? Was it just because of his aroused state? Maybe he should leave it alone. No, it had gone too far now—he needed to know whom Illya referred to and why. If nothing else, it would pass the time, he told himself.

And he would maybe find another piece of the jigsaw that was his friend's past life. All these hints were intriguing, but—he remembered his earlier suspicions—maybe this was just another of Illya's fabrications. He stole a look at his partner's expression. Inscrutable.

"So educate me. Tell me what the Russian Navy taught you."

"What do you want to know?"

Infuriating Russian! "Tell me about you referred to."

"Oh that. All right. But I warn you, it's a long story." Illya's face was unreadable.

"That's fine." Napoleon arranged himself as comfortably as his back would allow on the bunk, curled on his side, leaning on his left elbow, and looked at Illya expectantly. "We need something to pass the time." His heart beat faster with excited anticipation and he didn't want to wonder why.

Illya closed his eyes. "It only happened once—my career at sea was less than illustrious." He paused, frowning as if the memory was uncomfortable.

Napoleon remembered the previous mission. "But I thought...I thought when you were recalled...the grain crops..."

Illya smiled his half-smile. "They discovered my talents lay in directions other than seamanship."

Since he offered no further explanation, Napoleon tried to be patient. At last Illya went on:

"We had been at sea for over a week and it was stormy. The Barents Sea can be just as rough as the Atlantic. The hatches were battened down and we were sitting it out. The junior officers' bunks were all close together—there was not even enough room for one each. We generally shared them according to the watches."

Napoleon tried to picture his partner as a very young naval officer, and smiled at the image it conjured up. "Ah—that must have been cosy."

"It was. Too cosy. It was very hot and stuffy and most of us were naked because of the heat. I shared a top bunk with a Siberian, Juri. You have to imagine the atmosphere. Some of us were a little seasick because of the storm and were lying down, but others were playing cards, singing, telling stories—"

Napoleon interrupted. "You hate the sea, you get seasick, yet you were in the Navy? That seems an unwise career choice."

Illya shrugged. "I had little choice in fact—but as you know, I was eventually allowed to terminate my seagoing career."

"A sensible move." Napoleon couldn't help thinking how glad he was that his Russian partner found the sea not to his taste. "So—you were lying on your bunk. Was—um—Juri lying down too?"

"Yes, he was." Illya frowned. "There was not a lot of room in the bunk, but we managed."

"And—you were lying next to Juri?"

"Yes. It was unusual—we were generally on different watches. But with the storm—most of us were below."

Unconsciously, Napoleon began to imagine himself into Juri's skin, lying next to Illya. "Uh—how were you lying?"

Illya looked surprised. He frowned. "On my side, I think—well, as I was saying—"

But Napoleon interrupted again. "Which way were you facing? The wall, or into the middle of the cabin? Were you end to end with Juri? How?"

"No—smelly feet, you know." Illya made a face. "Do you want to hear this story or not?"

"I just like to get the picture right in my head, that's all." Napoleon flexed his back—it still hurt. "So you were head to head, facing—towards Juri?"

Illya rolled his eyes. "I was facing the wall, trying to sleep. Juri was beside me. I can't remember where he was facing—sorry. I had my eyes closed."

Napoleon's mental picture adjusted itself to take in this information: He was spooned behind Illya, not touching, but close enough to feel the heat of his skin, smell his sweat. A narrow ship's bunk; close—almost impossible not to touch. Illya's breathing would have been soft and even, as Napoleon had heard it often when his partner was pretending to be asleep. "Go on," he ordered.

Illya sighed. "I could not sleep because on the bunk below three of the men were talking about a rather—um—loose woman one of them had met last time he was ashore. He was boasting about what she had done to him and the others were fantasising those things being done to them. You know the kind of thing." Illya winked at Napoleon, the mischievous grin back on his face.

The cap fitted. Only the other week Napoleon had described a particularly memorable date in rather graphic detail to a seemingly bored Illya. Perhaps Illya had enjoyed it more than he let on. Napoleon's imagination began to fill in the narrative of the story going on below. It amused and excited him to insert Angelique into the role of whore:

Did she put her tongue in?

Yeah—kinda swished it round an' round like she was lickin' out an ice cream. [laughter]

Like she wanted to suck yer teeth out?

Nearly swallowed my tonsils. And at the same time she's undoin' my pants... [more laughter]

An' you're undoin' her bra?

Bet she ain't wearin' one. [laughter]

An' she's kinda rubbin' herself against me, you know, like with her tits?

"Hmm—a good storyteller?" His were Thrush goons.

Illya nodded again. "Yes. I could not help listening. I soon realised I was getting rather—too involved."

Napoleon's story was becoming steamy too. Juri shifted his head on the thin, hard pillow, the better to hear what they were saying. Beside him, Illya's breath caught; no other sound, but he knew the blond was awake. He couldn't quite keep still, what with the motion of the ship, and as he shifted to make himself more comfortable, their skin touched—his knee to the back of Illya's. It was like an electric shock and maybe it was; their skin was moist enough, hot and damp with sweat. He found himself waiting for the ship to roll again so that their bodies would collide.

Illya had fallen silent. When Napoleon looked up at him, he saw that the Russian's expression was dreamy again. Illya was obviously enjoying reliving the incident. "Was it—you know—affecting you? The story, I mean," Napoleon asked, although judging by Illya's face the answer was plain.

Illya came out of his reverie. "Yes—I felt somewhat—aroused. It was difficult not to be."

Napoleon's own penis swelled some more in sympathy. "Uh—what about, um...Juri?"

"I know Juri was affected too. He did not say anything at first but after a few minutes he shouted at the boys to be quiet.

Napoleon grinned to himself.

...and underneath—guess.

No bra?

You got it—just big swingin' tits hangin' right over me. She had these really hard nipples—like she...

Like she was all ready f' yer?

Yeah—an' she's got my pants open. I've got a real big one in there-

[laughter] Call that a big one? Get a loada that!

He didn't want to listen to any more—it was irritating and at the same time it was making him ache to touch himself—or someone else. Someone soft and warm... Illya was too near, his skin too hot and damp, the blond hair curling sweetly at the back of his neck...

Shut the fuck up, you guys! Some of us are trying to fucking SLEEP!

"They just shouted back something unrepeatable and continued. The story started very...ribald, but soon became quite intimate." Illya cleared his throat. "It was giving me an...extremely clear mental picture of what was happening."

She had my pants open but she didn't touch it. It was killin' me, you know? Her hands were all over me...

'Cept where you want them t'be.

Yeah—it's like she's teasin' me. She's kissin' me all over, her tits are...

Big soft tits like -

Like fuckin' pillows!

Yeah—like fuckin BIG pillows. An' I can smell her...them flowers...


Nah—violets! That's it. She smells like violets.

The blond Ukrainian—the skin at the back of his neck looked so soft. Juri wanted to touch him right there. He inhaled. He could smell the faint, warm scent of him...

Napoleon was aware of Illya's scent—faint but distinct. "So they continued?"

Illya nodded, his blue eyes unfocused. "I pretended to be asleep, but Juri kept—you know—fidgeting."

It was impossible to lie still. He could smell the scent of the man beside him, distinctive even among the combined sweat of forty men in this suffocating heat. His erection ached to be touched but he was afraid to let it brush against Illya, lest he give himself away—lest he let him know...

Napoleon cleared his throat. "Fidgeting, huh? I'm not surprised if the story was as hot as you say." Perhaps it was just because he had been horny to start with, but Napoleon was becoming very hard himself. He wondered if the memory was arousing his partner. His gaze rested for a moment on Illya's neat-fitting trousers and he saw the bulge of an erection outlined there. Illya noticed him looking and gave a slight smile and a shrug.

"Do you want me to tell you what they were saying?"

Napoleon preferred his own version. "Ah—no. I think I have some idea. So there you both were, getting off on eavesdropping and trying not to show it. It sounds like a recipe for a wet dream." He grinned, but then wondered, "Ah—apart from the fidgeting, how did you know Juri was getting off too?"

"Juri kept brushing against me and I could feel that he was breathing heavily and unevenly. He was wide awake, as I was."

Napoleon was beginning to breathe a little heavily himself. He swallowed. "You were turned away from him. Could he see you were—uh—aroused?" He looked pointedly at Illya's obvious hard-on.

Illya nodded. "By this time I was very excited and having difficulty keeping up the pretence of sleep; but I was young then, and embarrassed at the effect the conversation below was having on me. I did not dare to move. I am fairly certain Juri was aware of my state."

Juri knew Illya was awake. The steady breathing had become ragged, catching as the narrative below became quieter, more intense. He lifted his head just a little to see over the naked young man lying beside him. Illya's eyes were closed; he was so silent yet his erection strained upwards. Juri's own turgid penis twitched and unwittingly touched the silky skin of Illya's buttocks.

Napoleon's erection was pressing eagerly against his pants. He shifted a little to allow it some slack.

Illya wriggled, the constricting trousers evidently causing him some discomfort as well. "The fellow who was telling the story was getting somewhat breathless and judging by the movement and sounds going on beneath us, he and his friends were—you know..."

Napoleon cleared his throat again. "Ah—yes, I can imagine." He closed his eyes.

He had to touch him. He needed human contact. Damn this ship. No women—what was a fellow to do? Nothing about Illya smacked of femininity; he was bony, hard-muscled and stringy, but his skin was soft. Soft and warm and damp and inviting. And that pretty blond hair at the nape of his neck—so vulnerable. He imagined himself stroking that nape, feeling the heat and dampness of his sweat, that soft hair...

Napoleon swallowed and his own cock became, if possible, harder.

After a pause, Illya went on, his voice low. "It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to maintain the act. Below us, the voices were becoming softer and more intense as the story neared its completion, but now I was straining to hear."

She's lickin' all round the inside of my thighs—I'm sayin'...'please, please,' but she won't touch me...jus' her hot breath...

Napoleon nodded but said nothing. He kept his eyes shut, the image in his mind's eye causing his throat to constrict.

The ship gave a violent roll. He tried to stop himself but his hard cock landed against the velvet skin of Illya's buttocks. He caught his breath—an electric shock as they touched—then he was rolling away. Surely Illya felt it...

Illya's voice was thick. His partner was enjoying this as much as he was. "I was also aware of Juri beside me. He was hard—I could feel his erection brush against me. His breath was coming faster and my own pulse was thumping in my ears. I feel sure if either of us had been alone, we would have been—touching ourselves."

Napoleon felt an overwhelming urge to touch himself too. Instead he forced himself to lie still. His heart was thudding in his chest.

The young man groaned. Juri peered over his shoulder to see his hard cock rising out of its base of light-coloured curls, a drop of pre-come appearing from the pink slit at the tip. His own cock—achingly hard—oozed in sympathy. He imagined himself touching that tip, smoothing the juices around it, holding it in his hand. Hesitantly he brushed against the soft skin of Illya's thigh and was rewarded by a gentle sigh.

Inadvertently, Napoleon groaned and squirmed to try and ease the ache in his balls.

"Are you all right, Napoleon?" Illya's voice was suddenly anxious. "Shall I stop?"

Did Illya think he found the story repellent? Surely Illya was aware what it was doing to him. "No, no, don't stop. I'm fine." He fought to make his voice light. "Just—ah—getting comfortable. Go on. You're lying there with a boner—surely by now Juri knew you were not asleep."

Illya's voice became a soft purr. "Oh yes, he knew because the next thing, I felt his hand against me—just a touch along my hip and abdomen, but it was enough. I welcomed the touch—I needed someone to touch me, and after listening to all the noises that accompanied the story below, the need was overwhelming so...I..." He suddenly trailed off.

It was time. He could no longer prevent himself. He reached over and grasped the hard cock beside him—hot, thick and velvety like his own, and he almost groaned aloud. His own cock twitched, begging to be touched and he knew it would be all right—that Illya wanted this as much as he did, needed it. Illya sighed, pushing himself into the other man's hand.

Abruptly Napoleon rolled over, pressing his erection into the mattress, as Juri wrapped himself around Illya. "What...what did you do?"

Illya's voice dropped to a whisper. "I...took his hand and placed know..."

Napoleon gasped as the picture in his mind and the narrative melded. "Uh...where...tell me Illya, please."

Illya's voice was hardly audible. "I placed it around my penis."

Napoleon ground himself into the mattress, but the friction was not enough. "Go on," he rasped into the pillow.

There was a pause. Illya cleared his throat. "Then Juri moved...against me. I felt his penis press between my legs, hard and hot and...instinct made me grip him with my thighs to afford him some friction. We..."

"Illya—stop..." Napoleon rolled over onto his side again and opened his eyes. His voice came out odd, hoarse. His erection was painful, his balls tight. He loosened his pants. When he caught sight of Illya's face, he could see it was flushed. Illya's tight beige trousers told their own story. Napoleon swallowed at the sight of his partner so obviously turned on by his own memory. "Could you—could you...ah..?"

Illya blinked and caught on. "You want me to show you how we... My description is not sufficiently precise?"

Napoleon nodded. He started to free his painful erection. "I...There are some...ambiguities in your...recounting the...uh...position."

"Yes, perhaps it would assist with the explanation. If you are sure." Illya nodded solemnly. "Sometimes a demonstration is necessary for clarification."

"I agree." Napoleon nodded in the direction of Illya's tented trousers. "I think for a more accurate re-enactment, it would be better if you removed those..."

"Yes, the demonstration would be more precise without them." Illya quickly and efficiently divested himself of his shirt and trousers. He did not appear to be wearing underpants and Napoleon remembered when they were given the dry clothes how they had laughed at the discrepancy in size between the trousers and underpants provided for the Russian. The trousers were very snug, but the underpants had been huge. Illya had opted to go without.

Now Napoleon scrambled out of his own borrowed pants and untangled his hard, damp cock from the shorts. He sneaked a look at Illya as he turned round and was relieved to note that although Illya was by no means lacking in size, his own equipment was somewhat larger.

Napoleon's urgency had faded just a little and he composed himself, breathing hard. "Come and lie beside me as if I were Juri." In his mind, he was Juri. He lay on his side and gestured to the space in front of him. "Here, like you were with...Juri."

Juri swallowed as Illya slithered between him and the wall of the cabin. The pale skin of the Ukrainian's torso was flushed and he could feel the heat radiating from the other man's body. He looked over Illya's shoulder at his face—blissful, eyes closed, blond lashes fanned out on his pink, warm cheeks.

After some manoeuvring, Illya lay with his back to Napoleon, but his face turned so that his head was in profile, fine blond hair spilling onto the pillow. "I was like this." He closed his eyes.

Napoleon's balls ached for contact. His cock strained upwards and outwards towards Illya's firm buttocks. He heaved himself down the bunk a little. His voice came out rough. "And Juri was like this?"

He pressed himself against Illya's back and his hand moved over the bony hips, brushing the hard belly. Illya gasped, "Yes—like that." Then he wrapped Napoleon's hand around his cock. "And like this..." He moved the hand up and down so that Napoleon was masturbating him.

Napoleon was amazed at the feel of his fingers around another man's cock. It felt so good, so...familiar. Muscle memory had kicked in—the movement of his hand automatic as if he were doing it to himself. Napoleon could almost feel it in his own cock.

Illya made no sound, but his breathing was rapid, his grip on Napoleon's right hand like iron.

Instinctively, Napoleon pushed his own turgid cock between the Russian's muscular thighs. They were slick with sweat, and a shock ran through him as he found himself gripped. "Is this what he did?" he managed to croak. The feeling of his cock rubbing between those sturdy legs, nudging his partner's balls was like nothing he had experienced before.

"Yes—yes. Like that." Illya wriggled to give him more leverage. "Oh."

His sudden gasp spurred Napoleon to thrust more. "I think...I think I'm getting the idea now," he rasped.

Napoleon's hand moved faster up and down Illya's cock as Illya urged him with his own hand. Napoleon knew he was too turned on to last any time and as he felt his climax approaching he did nothing to stop it. He snapped his hips harder and harder, increasing the friction. "Uh—Illya—feels so good—aah."

Suddenly Illya stopped his hand and Napoleon felt him go rigid. "Napoleon—oh—stop! There is more!"

Napoleon was almost at the point of no return. It took an enormous effort, but he stopped, gritting his teeth, and pulled back, his cock twitching with need. Illya moaned and sat up, squeezing himself.

"Sorry—I was close. It happened that way with Juri too." He let out a trembling breath. "Below us the storytelling had ceased but we could still hear the sounds of the boys in the lower bunk—doing it to themselves. Suddenly Juri whispered to me, 'Illyusha—a moment. I want to watch you.' I did not want to stop but he made me. He held my hands and pulled me round to face him. I did not know what he wanted so I sat up."

Juri had to watch his face. He pulled Illya roughly around—the blond hair was mussed, damp, sticking to his forehead. His cheeks were red and his eyes looked black, shining. His face and torso shone with sweat.

"And Juri sat up too." Napoleon heaved himself up carefully—although his back was not paining him now. All feeling was centred around his cock, rigid and shiny, straining upwards.

Illya wriggled round to face Napoleon, his legs apart. "Like this—spread your legs a little." And he pulled Napoleon towards him then sat almost in his lap and wrapped his strong legs around Napoleon's hips. Both gave a small, involuntary gasp simultaneously as their rigid cocks touched.

Napoleon could see the rapid pulse beating in Illya's abdomen and feel him trembling. His own heart was thumping double time, but he did not have the reputation of a first class lover for nothing. He knew how to control himself and slowed his breathing. But the fantasy in his head would not be banished.

Juri marvelled at the way their cocks aligned—as if they were made for each other. He wanted to hold both in his hand...

He reached out and took hold of the two matching erections, clasping them together. "Is this what he did?"

Illya gasped and nodded. Napoleon could see he was near the edge. Clear fluid was leaking from both their cocks and Napoleon rubbed his thumb across the two tips, smearing it together.

"Oh—Napoleon..." Illya suddenly clutched at his hand, trying to move it, thrusting into it.

Napoleon stopped him. "Don't come yet—wait for me."

Illya grimaced then took a deep, shuddering breath. "Yes—that is what Juri said. Napoleon...I...I am sure you can imagine the rest. Please..."

If anyone had told Napoleon Solo a few days ago that he would be sitting on a ship's bunk with his partner's cock in his hand, jacking them both off, he would have been appalled, disbelieving. But here he was, acting out a scene from Illya's past and enjoying every moment of it. Clasping the two cocks together—Illya's stretched foreskin touching his own naked tip; the heat and pulse in the two organs joining as one in his hand; Illya's long fingers around his; Illya's breath coming in sharp pants with every movement; Illya's other hand touching their balls, between their legs.

Looking up at Illya's face, Napoleon saw both ecstasy and pain there. It was plain his partner had almost reached the limit of his staying power. He was going to come soon. The thought pushed Napoleon very close and he groaned and stroked them both strongly, squeezing and pulling. Illya urged his hand faster and leaned back against the wall, his head thrown back, mouth slightly open, eyes closed. Napoleon could not take his eyes off him. He had never watched a man come before.


The hard muscles of Illya's abdomen spasmed and Napoleon felt as well as saw the cock in his hand jerk as warm semen covered their hands and bellies. Watching his partner's orgasm pushed Napoleon over the edge—at once he too was coming in wild spurts.

When his orgasm subsided and Napoleon refocused his eyes, he saw his partner grinning at him. His face was flushed, his hair wild and his blue eyes sparkled with mischief once more.

Napoleon found himself grinning back. He looked down at his semen-covered belly, his sticky hands. How come most of it had landed on him? "We're a mess."

Illya made a face.

And they both started to laugh at the absurdity of it. Illya extricated himself from the tangle of their legs and scrambled off the bunk, retrieved the towel he had used on Napoleon's back and handed it to him. Napoleon used it to wipe his hands and body and handed the towel back to Illya. He realised the bemused look on his face must be verging on the imbecilic and tried to rearrange it into something more becoming. He shook his head to check that he wasn't dreaming.

"It would seem," he mused, "that being at our own dead ends together can—ah—have its advantages."

Illya took the towel and cleaned himself. "I told you boys could have fun together too." He dabbed at the wetness on the blanket, and, with another grin at Napoleon, wiped a blob of semen off the wall beside the bunk.

"Ah—and its disadvantages." Napoleon sniggered. Illya had a wicked sense of humour. He tried to remember if he'd ever laughed straight after sex with any of the girls. He flexed his back. It hardly hurt at all.

Illya looked at his watch and showed it to Napoleon. "And it passed the time—look, we'll have to get ready for the Captain's reception very soon."

As he stood at the basin, washing himself before dressing for the evening's gathering and his daring rescue, Napoleon had a sudden thought. His partner had a habit of making up stories to suit the situation. Illya had known the effect his tale would have, given Napoleon's state of mind when they started, and he had certainly got off on it himself. Was all that stuff about Juri simply fabrication?

Did Napoleon just take part in Illya's sexual fantasy?

He opened his mouth to say something, but then shut it again. Maybe another time. Meanwhile, their 'fun' had the desired effect—it was obvious they both felt better. Ready for anything once again.

Napoleon began to whistle as he admired himself in the mirror. He looked good but not any different. Nothing about his face revealed what he had just experienced. Behind him, he could see his partner straightening the bunk. He was still naked, despite the fact he had washed first. He didn't look any different either except...except for a familiarity. The sort of comfortable familiarity Napoleon always imagined would exist between himself and a brother. Napoleon smiled benevolently at the reflection.

Illya looked up and noticed him smiling into the glass. "What?"

Napoleon turned around. "You better get some clothes on or do you intend to attend the party like that?"

Illya patted the pillow into position and straightened up, his face inscrutable again. "I thought you wanted a diversion..."

Captain Shark and his soirée awaited.

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