The Desperate Act

by Waif

Blue skies welcomed an October Saturday morning in Manhattan. Trees hung on to their final fading leaves to wave at the Sun. Beneath the Fall trees Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin hurried through the streets on their joint shopping expedition. Illya had promised Napoleon he would buy a decent tuxedo and in return Napoleon had promised Illya he would buy a casual outfit that would look appropriate in Greenwich Village. By noon they had not bought one single item between them.

"Lunch!" Commanded Napoleon, who insisted on choosing the restaurant. He usually did. This time Illya approved of his choice, a simple French restaurant with plain walls, pretty table cloths and a well planned 'Plat du jour'. After making their way through the first two courses discussing nothing in particular Napoleon suddenly asked, "Have you ever been in love?"

"I don't think I would know if I had," replied Illya. "I have ever really understood the concept of love."

"I knew it!" said Napoleon, as if it settled a question in his own mind. "No one who had been in love could possibly be as cynical as you."

The task that had seemed so hopeless before lunch became far more fruitful, especially after draining two bottles of wine. Both men were able to find garments to please themselves and their partner. Napoleon drove them back to Illya's apartment where the agents decided to celebrate their success with a coffee.

Illya went to the kitchen whilst Napoleon collapsed on the sofa. The Russian was especially pleased to be spending time with his partner as Napoleon had spent most of the week in Mexico. Officially Illya was classed as being medically unfit and had been assigned 'light duties', although the knife wound to his leg had almost healed now, though he was still walking with a slight limp.

As Solo spread out on the sofa he regarded the sweater he had purchased with an air of triumph. "You know I don't think I look too shabby in this." Illya glanced from the kitchen, the sweater was a rich red that complimented his partner's colouring perfectly. Of course it was cashmere. Illya smiled to himself, Napoleon was not quite ready to join the ranks of the proletariat.

"You won't look so formal when you venture out into Greenwich Village with me. I shall no longer have to pretend that I don't know you."

"Hey," shouted Napoleon about to protest when the phone rang.

"Excuse me," apologised Illya picking up the receiver. He seldom got calls at his apartment as he did not know too many people in New York.

"This is Red Sun." The caller paused waiting for a reply.

Kuryakin was stunned, Red Sun was the code name of a Russian friend working with the Russian UN legation. They had worked in the KGB together, Stanislav had always been a trusted colleague, perhaps in fact the only real friend he had at that time. They had resumed their friendship now they were both working in New York, but when Stanislav used his code name he knew it meant trouble.

"Illya speaking," he hesitantly replied.

"Listen to me, there is not much time. Lipkin thinks that Solo knows the location of Dr. Egert. They are on the way to his apartment. If you can you must either get him out of there quickly or prevent him going there. You know Lipkin, he will not hesitate to kill." The call finished abruptly, Illya hung on for several seconds trying to comprehend the implications of the call.

"Anything wrong?" asked Solo, Illya tried very hard to school his features.

"It seems my dry cleaning is ready." He returned to the kitchen his mind rapidly sifting through the facts as he plunged boiling water over coffee grounds. He knew Stanislav would not have contacted him lightly. He knew he could not tell Napoleon the truth. At the start of their partnership he had sworn not to have any contact with the KGB, to suddenly come out with this news would not look good. There would be too many questions to answer, he had too many secrets.

Kuryakin knew there was a rumour running round that Dr. Egert had developed a brand new explosive. It was so powerful that a mere teaspoon full could destroy a large building. Lipkin was one of the more violent KGB officers. He was not an intelligent man but he had friends in high places, consequently he wielded more power than he knew what to do with. He was the sort of man that would take Solo and then when he didn't get the answers he wanted would kill him without a second thought. He had to stop Solo leaving. His mind scurried through various possibilities. He poured out two mugs of coffee and returned to the lounge.

As he sipped his drink he asked, "How about going out to dinner, then a movie? You could try out your new sweater." He knew Napoleon was eager to try the new addition to his wardrobe.

"Sorry, I told you, I have a date with Alison. She wouldn't forgive me if I stood her up."

Illya inwardly cursed. His partner had spent some time and effort ingratiating himself the new receptionist, Alison. Illya could never understand why Napoleon viewed sex as a competitive indoor sport but it was something he had learned to live with. He tried to rapidly think of other options, feign an illness? No Napoleon would just drop him off in medical and he would have problems trying to get out again. Ask for help in some household repair that he claimed would only take minutes then drag it out? Knowing Napoleon he would just call a plumber. No, there had to be something ..

Napoleon glanced at his watch, "I'd better get going. Can't keep a girl waiting."

He was about to leave. There had to be something. "Another coffee?" he desperately wondered if he had any interesting drugs lurking in the kitchen.

"No thanks, I really need to leave now if I'm going to have time to get changed before my date. This sweater would really not be appropriate."

Illya looked out of the window. It was getting dark. He was getting desperate. Panic was setting in. Then it just slipped out, "I wish you wouldn't go," his voice rang with despair. That did stop Napoleon in his tracks.

"Illya, what's wrong?"

"I don't want you to go out with Alison, I want you to stay here with me."

"Are you jealous?" Napoleon asked, his voice gentle.

Then suddenly it seemed the easiest thing in the world to say. "Yes," the word left Illya's lips before he could stop himself.

Solo looked to the ceiling for inspiration. "I didn't know you cared."

"I do, I wish... I wish...I wish I was the one you would be with tonight."

Suddenly Napoleon had him encircled in his arms. His brown eyes soft and glowing, his fingers stroking Illya's face. His lips descended for a tentative kiss and Illya somehow found their touch irresistible. Napoleon drew away slightly watching the reaction of his partner. Illya smiled, blushing.

Napoleon broke the silence, "This changes everything. I think I should stay here," then he captured Illya once more in a kiss, but this time it told of passion as he possessed the blond's lips driving his tongue forward in an exploration.

Somewhere at the back of his mind Illya tried to rationalise what was happening. As he allowed Napoleon to explore his mouth and felt the hard body press against him he could feel himself respond to the physical stimulation. Napoleon's hands seemed to be exploring everywhere and he began to tremble in anticipation. He pulled away slightly. Surely Napoleon would never walk away from sex, even if it was only his male partner on offer? "Can we take this to bed?"

Napoleon's answer seemed no more than a growl and he followed him to the bedroom. With amazing dexterity the American stripped the young agent naked in seconds and he was pushing him down on the bed. Illya began to unfasten the shirt buttons to reveal Napoleon's chest, then when his fingers dropped down to the waist band of his trousers a hand stopped him. "Not yet."

Napoleon discarded his shirt then started his loving journey through Illya's body His ears, his neck, his chest, Illya flinched as a dextrous tongue danced across his nipples. By the time Napoleon reached his navel Illya was seriously beginning to wonder if he could handle having sex with Napoleon. He was feeling wildly aroused but at the same time he wanted things to stop, to regain control. There was no alternative, if he called a halt this now his partner would leave. He sobbed out loud as the gentle ministrations reached his groin. If Napoleon noticed it did not disturb him, his tongue and his fingers continued apace. Illya was trying desperately not to come, he needed this to last all night, but it was no use, his body could not hold out against the onslaught and Napoleon's strong hand finished his hopeless struggle.

Recovering his senses the Russian knew he had to interest his partner. He teased the removal of Napoleon's trousers, then took his time with his own exploration of Napoleon's body. He could see Napoleon watch every move, register every caress. Finally he took the American's erection in his mouth. Taking his time he tried to make this last but eventually his jaw began to ache. He pushed the large cock to the back of his throat and suddenly Napoleon came, his seed flooding into Illya's mouth. He swallowed fast then lay down against Solo, his body half pinning him down so he couldn't make any sudden attempts at escape.

After a brief interval Napoleon became talkative. "I never realised.....If only I'd known...." Illya was only half listening, giving the occasional grunt in response. He thoughts were preoccupied with Stanislav's warning.

Suddenly Napoleon's face was over his own "Are you listening to me?"

"I want you, I want you inside me. Please, I need this."

"Do you have any lubricant? I wouldn't want to hurt you."

Illya disappeared in the bathroom and emerged with some vaseline and a towel. Napoleon once again explored his body but this time Illya felt better able to cope, he had been fucked before, it would not be so bad. Even so he could feel himself tremble at the thought of being possessed. Was it the act of being penetrated or the thought of the man who was going to carry out that act?

Drawing Illya to his knees Napoleon started to ready his partner. Illya spread the towel beneath himself. It was a practical measure, the bed had to be usable tonight. After Napoleon's preparations, penetration was smooth and slick, Illya felt an incredible arousal spread through his groin. Napoleon was touching him in a most intimate way as well as thrusting deep and hard, pushing that sensitive place inside. The American pulled almost all the way out then pushed in slowly over and over again. He began to speed up and Illya found himself being pounded into the bed.

Again and again Napoleon came close, but each time he stopped before once more thrusting into his blond partner. Illya was glad, he did not want this to be over too soon. Although he was hot sweating and the dull ache in his ass was becoming painful he clung on to the reality that Napoleon must be kept in his apartment at all costs. Finally the American brought them both to climax. For the first time ever Illya felt totally out of control, his body only responding to Napoleon's touch, obeying the man that possessed him before screaming his climax into the towel.

It took some minutes for Illya to regain control. Looking at the clock, it was almost one a.m. He turned back to his lover. "Please, stay with me tonight?"

"Of course. I couldn't leave now if I tried," Napoleon looked snug and comfortable. His face glowed with a contentment Illya could not remember seeing before. The American was soon cocooned in sleep, but Illya lay there worrying. How long would Lipkin wait for Napoleon? He remembered one of the rumours placed Dr. Egert in Mexico. Napoleon had spent three days in Mexico City earlier this week. The case concerned the theft of Aztec treasures but perhaps Lipkin had added two and two together to get five. Finally sleep claimed him and he drifted off into his dreams.

Morning was heralded by a phone ringing. Illya leapt up to answer it.

"Red Sun. They assumed Solo is away on a mission as he did not return home. Other lines of enquiry are being followed."

Illya put the phone down, relieved his friend was no longer in danger. It was just like Lipkin to abandon the kidnap attempt so soon, any have decent officer would have seen it through to the end. Illya hadn't been aware of Napoleon entering the room, but now he felt his arms moving around him, felt his naked body against his, felt the erection against his ass. He froze.

"Coming back to bed, lover?"

Just then Illya's stomach gave the most enormous rumble. His body was complaining about the missed dinner last night. He felt Solo's laugh against his chest. "I think I need to feed you first before we do anything else," then turning Illya towards him he confided, "I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed last night, how much it means to me, how much you mean to me."

They dressed quickly and headed down to Napoleon's car. Illya sat quietly in the passenger seat, he felt unable to look at his partner. What had he done? How could he have allowed Napoleon to touch him like that? His embarrassment surrounded him like a cloak. He thought back to last night, two hot sweaty bodies locked in lust. He inwardly shuddered, ashamed of the way he had diverted his partner.

In the small coffee house Illya ate a large breakfast, he was hungry. Kuryakin tried to clear his mind from the events of the previous night and concentrate on keeping his partner safe. He knew he must accompany Napoleon to his apartment just to make sure there was no one waiting to pounce on the American.

"What do you want to do next?" enquired Napoleon.

"Can we go back to your place?" asked Illya. Unfortunately Napoleon's ideas of going to his apartment were far from that of his partner. Illya still caught between his own embarrassment and protecting his partner did not understand Napoleon's desire.

Arriving at Solo's apartment Illya was ready to face any KGB officer that may still lurk there. His eyes darted around looking for any signs of an intruder. Napoleon watched him sadly, approaching his friend he put his arms around him. Illya broke free.

"You are starting to look like a cornered animal Illya. Do I take it you wish to be alone?"

"Yes," cried Illya in relief, but even as the word left his mouth he could see Napoleon's anger. He dodged towards the door, Solo lunged for him and caught him by his upper arm.

"What the hell was that about last night? First you can't wait to get me in your bed, now you can't wait to get away from me. I'm warning you Illya, don't screw around with me like this. It could get very nasty."

"I'm sorry I..."

Anger flashed in Napoleon's eyes. "Don't act like some deflowered virgin, which patently you are not."

The jibe stung Illya. Ashamed of his behaviour last night and even more ashamed of the fact that it was far from his first sexual encounter with another man, Illya backed away. He had seldom seen Napoleon so angry with him, he suddenly afraid of the American.

Napoleon's eyes blazed, "I'll let you run. For now. But this isn't finished Illya." The words stuck in his mind as the Russian fled from the apartment. Surely Solo of all people would just treat it as a casual encounter? He never imagined that Napoleon would take this so seriously. He thought himself just one more in a long line of conquests. And suddenly the full implication of his actions hit Illya like a punch in the stomach. Had he destroyed their partnership?

He made his way home deep in thought. How could he ever repair the damage he had inflicted on their partnership last night? Preoccupied as he was Illya did not check his security measure quite so carefully as he normally would, relieved to enter the sanctity of his own home. As soon as he closed the door the muzzle of a gun was jabbed into his neck. Without hesitation he grabbed for the gun, throwing the owner off balance. As a pistol handle crashed into his skull Illya belatedly realised the gun man had not come alone. He sank into a pit of pain and darkness.

When Illya came to he was strapped into a chair in an expensively furnished room. With a shock Illya recognised it as belonging to the Russian Embassy in New York. As he straightened up he saw Lipkin enter the room. He walked straight over to the UNCLE agent and tugged at his hair, forcing his head back. Illya gasped in pain.

"So we understand each other Illya Kuryakin. I can cause you much pain, you must keep me happy."

Illya saw the drapes had been closed and the lights turned on indicating it was night outside. He must have been unconscious for sometime. He suspected he had been drugged, he felt nausea seeping through his body.

"Unfortunately I have other matters to attend to tonight, but I'm sure we can make you comfortable here till morning." Lipkin swept out of the room leaving one guard by the door. Illya tested his bonds but he saw no possible way out. These men were professionals. A man entered the room with a syringe full of a colourless liquid that was injected into his upper arm. He knew nothing more till he awakened strapped on to a bed.

The pain in his head felt less intrusive. He could see light sneaking round the edges of the blind. At what point would UNCLE miss him? Then he groaned. Would Napoleon just think he was running? Would anyone ever think he might need to be rescued?

As Napoleon sat patiently in his office on Monday morning waiting for Illya to arrive he was feeling decidedly annoyed. When even Waverly enquired about his partner's whereabouts he knew it was definitely time to sort things out with the Russian. He drove too Illya's apartment far too quickly, almost crashing into a cab. He knew he had to reign in his temper.

Napoleon, speechless with rage, stormed up the stairs to Illya's apartment, muttering under his breath. "That blasted Russian, that communist shit. I've had had just about enough of his games. First Saturday night's passion followed by the arctic cold of Sunday morning. Last night he didn't answer one of my four phone calls. This morning he fails to show up at work and won't even answer his communicator."

When Napoleon arrived at Kuryakin's apartment the door was just slightly ajar. All Napoleon's senses were now tingling. He pushed the door open just a touch more and looked into the room. All seemed normal apart from the absence of his Russian partner. He tried calling out "Illya," but there was no reply. He cautiously pushed the door open further, retreating slightly. Still nothing. He crossed the threshold, gun in hand. Everything looked as it had on Sunday morning, apart from the pool of congealed blood on the linoleum. "Oh Illya," Napoleon almost sobbed, his stomach knotted in fear for his partner.

Illya was trying to think positively. So far he had only lost his sweater and shoes, he still had his jeans and t-shirt. When tied spread eagled to a bed it was always comforting to have some modesty left. Also his head did not hurt too much. His face felt like a fair amount of blood was encrusted down the left side. Napoleon entered his thoughts. Would he ever see him again? If he did would Napoleon ever forgive him? Having nothing better to do he thought back to Saturday night, prompted by the discomfort he still felt from Napoleon's penetration. Illya decided it was the most asinine thing he had ever done, he felt so ashamed. How could he have taken Solo to his bed like that?

Lipkin marched in. "So Kuryakin, we are going to Dublin, it is the latest location of Dr. Egert. You are going to help me find him."

"But I'm not a KGB agent any more. I work for UNCLE. Find him yourself."

The fist landed close to his solar plexus. His whole body seemed to numb for a moment before the pain throbbed through his muscles. "Now just let's consider who can dictate to whom, Kuryakin. You are going to help me and in return I won't kill you."

Two guards entered the room. "Release him," commanded Lipkin. As the bonds were released Illya leapt up, making a desperate attempt to get to the door. A strong hand grabbed his shoulder. He was forcibly turned to face his captors.

"So Mr. Kuryakin, you have not learnt your lesson yet." A menacing grimace played on his lips. "Come, comrades, we shall teach this dissident the error of his ways." Illya knew the next moments were going to be painful.

Back in his office Napoleon was trying to put a plan together to find Kuryakin. He had drafted in three agents and was trying to stop panic from clouding his judgement. He got a call from Communications, someone wanted to talk to him urgently, the call was put through to his phone.

"Napoleon Solo?" a voice asked.


"In five minutes two cars will leave the Russian Consulate in Manhattan heading for the airport. Your friend is in the second car. If you do not get him out of there I fear for his life."

Napoleon guessed from the accent that his caller was Russian and that gave some credibility to the information. "Who is this?"

"A friend," the reply came before the line went dead.

Solo was stunned for a moment, then set one of his team on the task of checking for information at the airport for Russian aircraft. It was true, there was a small Russian aircraft currently sitting on the airfield with clearance to depart for Ireland.

A helicopter was the only way to get to the airport quickly. Two cars with UNCLE agents were already dispatched as Solo and Slate boarded the helicopter. Arriving at the airport they explained to the two policemen on the gate about detaining the cars when they arrived.

As the two Russian cars approached the entrance to the airfield Napoleon moved quickly. Two policemen argued with the drivers giving Solo time to scan the faces in the first car, then the second. He almost didn't see the slim blond agent slumped between the two burly men. He opened the door. "Out," he motioned with his gun, the man nearest the door emerged. At this moment the UNCLE cars arrived, out piled the Agents ready to assist.

Solo made a grab for Illya. He was obviously unconscious. Dried blood covered his pale face. As he pulled him out of the car he felt a pulse and he could see his chest rise. He couldn't wait. He commandeered one of the UNCLE cars and grabbed an agent to drive them back to the helicopter. He sat in the back holding Illya, painfully aware of how much this man meant to him. It took a great deal of self control to restrain his touch on the inert body that was so dear to him. When he felt a tear threatening to splash down his cheek he had to take a deep breath and try to take his mind somewhere away from the distress he was feeling.

As the helicopter reached the roof of the UNCLE headquarters a medical team was already waiting. Illya was rushed down to medical whilst Solo stood numbly watching the procession. He wanted to follow but he knew there would be work to do. When the Russian Ambassador learned of what had happened at the airport there would be questions. Diplomatic Immunity had been breached and an explanation would be necessary. Then there was Waverly to placate, he hadn't told him of his intentions, there had been no time.

Illya started to drift back to consciousness. He was perturbed to find his clothes missing but when he made the discovery that he was not in any way tied to the bed he became calmer. The smell was familiar and with a groan he knew he was in Medical. He thought of trying to sit up but couldn't quite remember how, so he lay quietly waiting for something to happen.

Napoleon came into the room clutching a cup of something. He glanced down seeing Illya's blue eyes and smiled. "Glad to be back?"

Illya knew he had a voice but at this moment it didn't seem to respond. He was glad to see Napoleon, glad to know they were both safe. He closed his eyes as he drifted back to sleep.

Napoleon sat down and sipped his coffee. There were many questions in his mind that he wanted to ask Illya, but he knew they could wait. He just had to be thankful now his partner was here. The future was just something he would have to work out with Illya when he was ready. He was painfully aware that his last words to his partner were said in anger. He would not push for anything now.

Kuryakin spent most of the day sleeping. When he was awake he was dazed, Napoleon tried unsuccessfully trying to talk to him but he wasn't making much sense. Doctor Finkleman popped his head round the door. "I need to talk to you Mr. Solo." He lead him to his office. Dr. Finkleman's diagnosis was that Kuryakin was suffering from a combination of concussion and the effects of the drugs he had been given. "There is something else that I find worrying Mr. Solo, there is extensive bruising to his body and there are signs that he may have been raped."

Suddenly Solo felt a cold hand grip the back of his neck. "You're sure?"

"No, it must have happened not long after he was abducted. The timing is too long for conclusive evidence but there are signs his anus was penetrated either by a penis or a blunt object. Someone has been quite violent with him."

Solo stood. "Thank you for being frank. I will follow this through in Kuryakin's debrief."

The next morning Solo wandered into medical hearing raised voices. Kuryakin was shouting at the nurse to get his clothes. Napoleon stormed in, pinning his partner with a stinging glance. "The nurse will not get your clothes. You are to remain in bed. Do I make myself clear Agent Kuryakin?"

Illya slumped back against the pillows. This morning he had remembered all that had taken place. It seemed a bad idea to upset his partner any further. "Yes Mr. Solo. I will remain here."

"Good, because I'll be back within the hour to get a full statement from you about the circumstances of your abduction." He slammed the door behind him.

Kuryakin knew he was going to have to talk to Napoleon sometime. How much of the truth would he have to reveal? He knew it would be so much easier if Saturday night had never happened. The shame and embarrassment of his actions still haunted him.

By the time Napoleon came down to take the statement his mood had softened some what. He sat in the chair by the bed and asked, "Do you feel up to this? I can come back later."

Illya took that to mean he probably looked pretty rough. "No, that's fine Napoleon, I can remember the details. Better to talk now whilst it is still fresh in my mind."

Of course he gave an edited version of events. He started at the point when he returned to his apartment. He was in two minds about naming names, he could have claimed not to know any of the people involved but in the end he decided it was probably in his own interests to name Lipkin.

There was one question on the Russian's mind. "How did you find me?"

Napoleon smiled. "It seems you have friends in the Russian Embassy. We got an anonymous phone call telling us where to find you. Of course in the official version, which has now gone to everyone from the Russian Ambassador to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you were carrying a homing device."

As the debrief came to a conclusion Solo suddenly quietened, looking strained. "Illya, there is no easy way for me to ask this. Dr. Finkleman says there is evidence of rape. Did Lipkin or his men take you or...or," his face flushed, his voice dropped, "Was that me? Was I too rough with you?"

Illya looked hard at the ceiling for inspiration. Finally he said, "I think we should take it that I don't remember anything." As he realised this situation could have serious implications for Napoleon he asked, "Is there any evidence?"

Napoleon knew what he meant, a sample of semen. "Not as far as I can gather. Just signs of penetration." Solo rose from his seat. "I'll write in my report that you have no recollection of such an incident."

Left alone Illya thought through events of the last few days and concluded that it probably was Napoleon that was responsible for the signs of rape. With the bruises from the beating he took he probably did appear to have been sexually assaulted. Although he knew Napoleon had not been violent the American was strong and his penetration had been prolonged, almost agonising at the end. The signs would be only too visible.

Waverly appeared in Illya's room that afternoon. "I am sorry to inform you Mr Kuryakin, that until I get some assurances from the Russian Authorities concerning your well being I would ask you not to leave this building. We shall just have to hope they expedite matters."

Illya was relieved, safe for the moment. He would be under constant surveillance, it would only be possible to have the briefest of private conversations. His head still throbbed and he was still coming to terms with thoughts which refused to lie still. His mind was in a constant turmoil. The events of the weekend replayed through the Russian's mind. Napoleon had excited him in bed far more than he would ever have guessed. But also on Sunday morning, when they went for breakfast, Napoleon's whole attitude to him had changed. Warm brown eyes held his, a smile played on his lips. He had vastly underestimated the effect sex had made on their relationship. Would it be enough to destroy their partnership? Illya wondered why he had not just hit Napoleon over the head instead. Life would be far simpler.

Napoleon visited him briefly in his room. "I'm afraid I need to return to Mexico, only for a few days. I hope we can talk when we get back."

Relief flooded through Illya's mind. Safe for the moment. The same questions circled round in his mind. What did Napoleon want? And more importantly what did he himself want? The initial shame and embarrassment of their sexual encounter was beginning to fade. There was in its place a want and a need. How could he want another person like this? He had always tried to remain at arm's length from other people. But now that damned American had some how wormed his way into his heart. Illya knew the last thing he needed now was to be in love with his partner but he could find no other explanation of his feelings.

The next morning Illya was released from Medical. Waverly had offered his services to the labs and Illya spent an interesting day determining the function of the latest object secured from Thrush. Finally at eight he went for his evening meal to the Commissary. As he settled down to what was described as casserole he was joined by a familiar face.

"Hi Illya, how are you doing?" April, with a sad looking sandwich on her plate, slid into the chair opposite him.

"I'm feeling a lot better thank you."

They chatted briefly. He inquired about Mark, who was in London on assignment. "We've both been abandoned by our partners—poor us! I saw Napoleon yesterday. He was looking sad."

"Really?" queried Illya.

She looked round conspiratorially. "It seems, just between you and me, that he's in love with a woman he's met."

It took Illya a great deal of self control not to reveal the sudden and utter shock he felt hearing that Napoleon had found love. April was not ready to leave the subject alone.

"Do you know who this woman is?" she queried. "He wouldn't tell me."

"No, I know nothing about this."

"I think I caught him off guard. He became very evasive when I asked him for details. She grabbed Illya's wrist and looked at his watch. "Got to go, meeting a friend in thirty minutes. Bye"

Illya sat totally devastated and upset. Wasn't it just like that damned American to fuck him, then walk out and fall in love with the next woman he saw? He felt cheated and betrayed.

Two days later he was monitoring incoming communications when he felt two hands planted firmly on his shoulders. "Hi, glad to see you up and about."

Illya turned round to see the smiling face of his partner. His heart skipped a beat. "Napoleon, you're back!" He had to stop himself leaping up. Then a call came in and he had to pay attention to the voice at the other end of the world, when he turned round again Napoleon had gone.

Two hours later both partners were summoned to Waverly's office. "I have not been over successful in my negotiations with the Russians. Whilst they have conceded to problems regarding Mr. Kuryakin's abduction I have not received the assurances I had sought. Therefore I have secured accommodations for you both at a safe house in Vermont. Mr. Solo, can I ask you to collect some belongings from Mr. Kruryakin's apartment and of course anything you may need for a trip? I think at this point you should both be out of New York to ensure you are not within the immediate reach of our Russian friends should my hand be forced.

Illya went to retrieve his meagre wardrobe in the agent's quarters he was temporarily sleeping in. This was the last thing he wanted, to be alone with Napoleon. He felt nervous but more but able to cope with the issues in his own mind. He found himself thinking that at least Napoleon wouldn't have time to fuck his woman and then he felt the guilt of keeping his partner away from the person he loved.

On the ride to Vermont, Napoleon told of his efforts in Mexico. Illya listened quietly, asking the odd question to clarify facts. It helped to calm the Russian, thinking of anything other than the current situation between them.

He had an escape plan he had formulated last year just in case he needed to flee from America. As a Russian citizen living in the US in the midst of a cold war he would have been stupid not to have some kind back up plan. His consisted of a safety deposit box, the key safely concealed in a men's washroom in a New York department store, two false passports and a lot of money, far more than he could ever reasonably explain. He knew this would give him the chance to run as far as he needed. Whilst he would gladly lay down his life for the Command he was not going to willingly walk into Lipkin's revenge.

The drive was a long one and they were both exhausted when they reached the safe house. It was a two storey house, the ground floor seemed meandering with a smaller upper storey. Solo checked outside whilst Illya carefully went through the house, gun in hand. Downstairs was pretty much open plan with a staircase leading up to two large bedrooms and a bathroom. The beds had been made up. There was food in the fridge and pantry. When he descended back to the ground floor Napoleon was placing wood by the fire.

Solo heated some soup and they ate quickly almost in silence. Solo went first to the bedrooms deciding that the back bedroom would be the safest for Illya, there seemed to be no easy way to climb up to the window and being at the back of the house he would be out of sight.

Napoleon called it a night. "We're both tired. You go ahead and use the bathroom, I'll just make some checks and set the alarms."

Illya did not unpack as he did not intend to stay long. He knew he must leave tonight, it was time to disappear. He had enjoyed working for UNCLE but he knew he was no longer safe. He sat reading for a while trying not to think about the life and love he was leaving behind. He was trying to decide which held more safety, South America or Australia. At three he gathered his belongings, wrote a brief note so Napoleon would not worry, then opened his door. The first thing he heard was Solo's voice.

"Just where do you think you're going?"

He froze as Napoleon's stepped from the shadows, the dark masking his expression. "Just how the hell do you think I am supposed to protect you if you run out on me?"

"Let's be practical Napoleon, neither of us really wants to be here."

"Come on," Napoleon manhandled him down to the kitchen. "Tea?"

Illya nodded as his favourite drink was made to sound more like a threat. He watched silently as Solo went through the simple mechanics of tea making. As he put the cups on the kitchen table the American's expression was unreadable.

"Why don't you want to be here?" he demanded.

"Because I think it is only a matter of time till Lipkin gets his hands on me. At that point I am as good as dead."

"You're no coward. I know that more than any one. Why would you run?"

"Because I doubt Waverly will be able to protect me. Once I am handed over to Lipkin I know my punishment will be harsh. I know this man from before. I see no reason why I should die just to satisfy some petty slight."

Solo nodded silently. The quietly he asked, "Tell me Illya, why don't I want to be here?"

"Because you have a girl friend. Surely you would rather be with her than holed up here in the middle of nowhere with me?"

Napoleon took a deep breath. "Where did you hear about my girlfriend?"

Illya shifted uneasily in his seat. He hated repeating gossip but in this case he felt he had no choice. "April told me. It seems you had a talk with her before your last trip to Mexico."

Napoleon took a swig of his tea, revealing nothing.

Illya looked up. Their eyes met. He knew what he wanted, what he had always wanted. Napoleon meant more to him that any other person. There was no one he liked more, no one he enjoyed being with more, no one he cared for more. He had never loved any one before but it was just all too late.

"You owe me Illya and now is the time to pay. You stay here till morning. You give me your word."

"But I don't......."

Napoleon cut in, his voice more insistent. "You owe me."

Illya knew he could not defy Napoleon, not now. "Very well. I will not leave until I have your express permission to do so."

"Good enough. Now let's get some sleep."

There was no sleep for Illya. His mind kept going through his time with Lipkin. He could envisage Waverly being given no choice but to hand him over. If he was lucky the end would be quick, a bullet through the back of the head. No pain, no torture, just an end.

In the morning Napoleon did not look much better than he did. They must have both spent a sleepless night. Solo looked odd with his stubbled chin, his hair in disarray, his dark eyes troubled. Illya decided to make tea. He absently put bread in the toaster and assembled breakfast. Napoleon sat quietly, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. As he sipped tea and nibbled toast Napoleon seemed to revive. "I have decided that I am going to help you. When we are cleared to return to the office I will deposit you at some hotel in upstate New York. I'll go back and see how things are. If there is any danger to you I will contact you, give you time to run."

"I can't let you do that Napoleon. Bad enough that I should lose my job, but for you, no I couldn't..."

"Shut up. I have made my mind up. I wouldn't want to work for an organisation that sent my best friend to his death."

"I understand Napoleon but even so.... I..."

"There is nothing more to be said. I give you my word that nothing will happen to you. In return I want your word that you will sit it out with me here. Do you agree?"

Illya knew there was no point in arguing. Napoleon had made his mind up and he tended to be immovable.

"I wish I understood why you are willing to risk so much for me."

Solo turned. "That night I spoke to April. She understood my mood but I never mentioned I had met a woman. There is no woman."

Kuryakin thought for a moment. "Then that means .. that means .." He knew what it meant. Napoleon loved him. He fought very hard to conceal his joy at finding that his feelings for Napoleon were returned. But at all costs his partner must never know. If Napoleon knew of his love he would never let him run. There was no way the American would understand the danger but Illya had witnessed Lipkin's sadism in the past.

Solo studied his face. He spoke quietly. "Now you know, so you understand I would never let any harm come to you. I know you don't feel the same way about me, but don't worry. I expect nothing. I am sure my infatuation with you will run it's course soon enough." He shrugged his shoulders. "I do want to be here with you, I do want to protect you. You have nothing to worry about as far as I am concerned."

Illya looked up at the face he adored. "Thank you." He continued to sip his tea, deep in thought.

The day seemed endless. They found a chess set and that carried them through most of the morning. Kuryakin was careful to let his companion win a couple of games. He wanted to keep his interested. In the afternoon Napoleon suggested they go far a walk.

The winter had not yet touched the Vermont landscape and the woods were bordered by bushes heavy with berries. They followed a path that took them beside a river, really no more than a creek. Being outside in the sunshine surrounded by the glories of nature lifted both their spirits. Here, away from the pressures of work, Illya began to relax and to enjoy Napoleon's company. He could see how easily they could become lovers.

As Illya walked along a narrow path at the top of a high steep bank part of the path suddenly gave way beneath his feet. Suddenly strong arms grabbed him, preventing him from tumbling along with the falling earth. Just for a moment he found himself enclosed in the arms of Napoleon and he felt the strength of his body. The embrace felt so good he didn't want the hug to end.

"That was close. You nearly ended up down there!" They both looked down towards the river ten feet below.

"Thank you. You saved me from wet feet!" He pushed his way lightly out of Napoleon's arms, regretting he had to lose the contact.

They returned in good spirits. Napoleon made pasta with a tomato sauce for dinner. A simple meal but both men found comfort in companionship. Illya built a fire and they sat in front enjoying the warmth, watching the news on television, discussing some of the day's events especially a couple of foreign news items. Outside the world was silent. So very different from Manhattan.

Finally Napoleon yawned, stretched and said he was heading for bed. Illya sat tight, not really sure what would be expected of him. It came as a great relief that Napoleon just headed up to his room.

Illya sat for a good thirty minutes lost in thought before finally departing for bed. There was still part of him that wanted to run. He knew he must wait. He had made his promises and he must stick to them. He was enjoying spending time alone with Napoleon and knew he should make the most of it. The future was very uncertain and these could well be his final hours with his lover.

At breakfast the next morning Waverly called. He summoned them back to New York. "Events have unfolded that mean you may both resume your normal duties." That was as far as he would explain. Solo looked grimly at Illya. "We carry out our plan. That was not enough information to convince me that it is safe for you to return."

They drove for several hours until just outside Albany Napoleon spotted a motel alongside the road. On the main route in to town it was just a small 'L' shaped building, two stories with twenty-five rooms at most. Across the road was a small strip mall which included a coffee shop as well as a small supermarket. It was the sort of anonymous place where a stranger would not attract attention.

Solo booked the room, having a less distinct accent. He paid cash and used the name 'Johnson'. He made sure the room was on the ground floor, so much easier for escape than the first floor. The two agents inspected the room. It was dreary but fairly clean. The bathroom looked ancient, the bath tub had rust stains but the window above it could serve as an emergency exit. The floor bore the marks of years of service.

Sitting down on one of the twin beds Napoleon said, "We need a code."

Illya thought for a moment. "If you tell me it is 'all clear' I will understand that to mean I am safe. If you mention I should 'return to New York' I will understand that to mean I should make good my escape."

Napoleon considered the options. They always ensured that codes could not be easily interpreted by others just in case they were made to contact one another under duress. "Sure, that works. But I come and get you if it is safe. I'll meet you here, just give me a couple of hours to drive. I don't want you risking the vagaries of public transport, OK?"

"Napoleon, you are such a snob!"

"Just call it good sense."

Napoleon rose ready to make his journey back to New York. Illya felt a lump in his throat. This could be the last time he would ever see his partner. He found himself loathe to say good bye. He offered his hand reluctantly. "Have a safe journey my friend."

Solo took his hand. "Keep safe my friend. I trust that I'll see you this evening." Just for a moment his voice faltered. He hugged the young Russian to him before turning and opening the door. He closed it behind him, not looking back.

Illya sat down on one of the beds for sometime. He keenly felt the loss of companionship. He sighed as he considered that for the next few hours he had nothing to do but wait. He decided not to leave the room until he was contacted by Napoleon. That way there could be no misunderstandings. Finally at four the call came. "We have the all clear. I've made my own checks, all is well. With luck I'll be there before seven. Wait for me."

Illya smiled as he clearly heard the plea in Napoleon's voice. "I'll be here," was all he could think of saying. He strolled over to the coffee house. Now that contact had been made Illya was not anxious to wait in the room.

Over in the coffee shop Kuryakin made up for his missed lunch by ordering a chicken salad with his coffee. He sat at one of the booths near the window where he could keep a discrete eye on the motel. He span out the time by following his light meal with apple pie.

The place started to fill and finally, after an evil glance from the waitress, he decided he had outstayed his welcome. He looked at the check then deposited the full amount plus a reasonable tip on the table. Stepping outside he walked slowly to the end of the small row of stores, keeping an eye on the hotel. He stood for a while just thinking.

He watched absently as a vehicle entered the Motel car park, then he realised it was Napoleon's car. He watched as his partner got out and went to their room. He hesitated for a few moments, making sure there was no one following, then crossed the road. As he entered the room Napoleon fell on him, hugging him close.

"Thank God. I thought you'd gone." Illya found himself enclosed in a tight embrace. He looked up at Napoleon to find his lips captured in a kiss, he was unsure what to do. Then Napoleon suddenly backed off. "I'm sorry, its just that for a moment I thought I might never see you again."

Illya acknowledged the apology. "I really don't mind Napoleon. I understand."

They made their way to the car. "I thought we'd go to my place tonight." Napoleon suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Safer." He added.

As the car made it's way back to New York the outside the world was black, red lights in front of them and white lights shining at them from approaching cars. Illya watched as the light bounced off Napoleon's face. Such a beautiful face. In his mind he struggled, now that things were getting back to normal he wanted so much to tell Napoleon of his love but he just couldn't do it. He tried again. "Napoleon."

"Yes?" Napoleon's gaze turned towards him.

"I .." The right words just would not come.

Napoleon just smiled. "For some one who is so smart sometimes you have a way of not being able to express yourself at all."

Illya knew he was right. He could explain complex scientific concepts in terms that even Napoleon could understand, yet expressing his own feelings was unknown territory. He felt as if there was a box in his mind that contained his emotions that some how he was unable to open. Years ago he had been accused of being an emotional cripple but he hadn't even stopped to consider what it meant till now.

The roads were quiet and the journey seemed to take no time. Before long Illya found himself in the garage below Napoleon's apartment block. They climbed out of the car, collected their things and went to the elevator.

Illya felt very unsure of himself. He knew without any doubt that he wanted Napoleon, but that in itself was dangerous. He knew it would be far safer to deny any feelings, to keep his distance. Homosexual love was in itself a very dangerous commodity.

They entered the apartment. Napoleon threw his bag on the sofa. "I've told Waverly we won't be in work tomorrow. We both have personal affairs to catch up with." Napoleon looked embarrassed. "Well, perhaps not that personal. You know what I mean. You haven't had much time to yourself lately, have you?"

Illya nodded quietly. He felt tired and confused. He just couldn't find the words to say so he blurted out, "I want to go to bed with you."

Quietly Napoleon said. "I don't think that would be a very good idea."

"Why not?" Illya asked in a sudden panic. He thought Napoleon would leap at his offer and was trying to understand the rejection.

Napoleon saw Illya's pained look. "If you cast your mind back, the last time we had sex I was so rough with you the doctor thought you'd been raped."

"That might not have been you." Illya replied feebly.

"Please spare me the pain of making excuses for me. I know what I did." Anger flashed in his eyes.

"I want..... I want to stay with you. Please?"

Napoleon's expression softened. "Look at you, you're tired." He put his arms around his friend and kissed the top of his head. "I think I'm too tired to make up the spare bed now. Why don't we share my bed tonight and work things out in the morning?" Illya readily agreed. The thought of keeping Napoleon close was very appealing.

When Illya woke he found himself disappointingly alone. He had half hoped that Napoleon would have leapt on him by now. He sat up in bed wondering where his partner was. He slid to the floor and went out into the hall. He could hear the rattle of cutlery in the kitchen and headed in that direction. Napoleon was pottering around the kitchen setting the table for breakfast.

"Hi, sleepy head. Thought I'd get a start on breakfast as you didn't look like you were going to wake any time soon."

Illya yawned. "It's not my fault, your bed is so comfortable." As he looked at Napoleon he was pleased to see him grinning.

"Sit down, I'm just about ready to serve."

Scrambled eggs and toast where pushed in front of Illya, Napoleon settled himself at the opposite side of the table. "When we've eaten I think we should take a trip to your place and pick up some of your things. In the meantime if you sort out your laundry, I can get yours washed with mine." Napoleon was in a practical mood.

Half an hour later, dressed and shaved then agents were on their way. Illya found himself sitting in the car in silence. Napoleon was not in a talkative mood. Finally they arrived at the small block in Brooklyn Heights. Illya led the way up three flights of stairs and turned the key in the lock to open the door. This was the first time he had been back since that dreadful afternoon he had been abducted. He couldn't help notice how clean and tidy the place looked. He wondered if Napoleon had done that.

"I'll make some coffee while you sort out the things you'll need for the next few days." Suddenly he walked up to Illya and asked anxiously, "You are going to stay with me?" He wrapped his fist round Illya's upper arm as emphasising the point.

"Of course." The physical contact made Illya back away. He pointed to a door. "I'll be in the bedroom."

The first place he went to was his closet. There wasn't much there, a couple of winter coats he didn't need, an old suit, two pairs of pants which he grabbed and three shirts. He laid them out on the bed. As he dropped the clothes on the comforter he stopped, thinking about the last time he had slept here. He had been with Napoleon. His mind crowded with images of that night, of hot and sweating bodies of the pleasure and passion. Suddenly a hand touch his shoulder. Illya span round to find himself face to face with Napoleon. He blushed deeply.

"Coffee's ready when you are."

"Thank you. I will just be a few minutes." Illya swallowed hard trying to steer his mind back to collecting his things.

When Illya returned to the lounge he could see Napoleon was not happy. He took the mug of black coffee that was sitting on the low table and sat down on the sofa, opposite to Napoleon's chair.

As Napoleon sipped his coffee he asked, "Have you much more to do? We should think about getting back. Oh—I've more or less emptied the contents of your fridge into the garbage. It wasn't a pleasant sight."

"Thank you. I really don't know where I would be without you at this moment in time." Illya was suddenly struck by his need for Napoleon.

Napoleon was in a serious mood. "Perhaps then you could explain a few things to me, such as why you took me to your bed that night?"

Illya knew there would always be a problem about that night, he felt he had to give an explanation. The only story he could think of that would be convincing was the truth or close to it. "In the twelve months that we have been partners I have not always told you the truth." He looked at Napoleon to see the smile on his lips fade. He continued, "I took you to bed because I thought there was someone trying to kidnap you. I had to stop you leaving my apartment."

Napoleon thought for a moment. "So to stop me leaving your apartment you calmly offered yourself to me? I always thought you had a ruthless streak, but I never knew just how deeply that ran. You're a cold bastard aren't you?"

Illya couldn't even look at Napoleon. "I'm sorry. I never meant for you to want me. Usually you enjoy the thrill of the chase. I never thought you would want me again once you had..." As Illya stole a look at Napoleon's face he read the pain there.

"So I am just supposed to walk away. Thanks for the sex, thanks for taking the trouble to keep me safe! And I'm the one that feels guilty because I was so rough with you the doctor thought you'd been raped. "

" I had a lot of bruising from Lipkin's men, that was the main reason for Dr. Finkleman to think I had been raped. You were not so rough, but you took a long time." Illya found himself blushing. "And it is some time since a man took me." He gulped his coffee down.

There was a heavy silence. Napoleon seemed deep in thought and Illya too embarrassed to say anything. This was the defining moment. Would Napoleon decide he no longer had any confidence in his partner and ditch him? The thought made the young agent momentarily nauseous.

Finally Napoleon spoke. "Do I take it that you do not want a physical relationship with me?"

Illya looked startled. "I never said that, I was just explaining what started it. I would like..... I would like to be in your bed."

Napoleon looked slightly relieved "We're going back to my place, get your things."

Illya picked his bag and they returned to the car. He took comfort in the fact that Napoleon chose to take him. He could have so easily left alone.

The journey was once more silent. Illya was so afraid that Napoleon hated him now. When they stepped in the apartment Napoleon looked determined. "I must punish you for lying to me. I can't have a partner who doesn't tell me the truth and what is worse tries to deceive me."

"Of course." Illya tried to remain calm but inside he was in turmoil. He wondered just how badly Napoleon would abuse him but he knew he would deserve every pain, every bruise.

"First we shower. Get undressed." His voice was flat, there was no emotion.

Illya took off his clothes. The scar on his thigh was still scabbed and the dark spots from the stitches still visible. The bruises on his body were still large with ugly blue and yellow colours that marred his skin. He could see Napoleon looking at him and he suddenly became painfully aware that he was not a pleasant sight. He stepped into the shower turning on the hot water with a hand that trembled.

Napoleon was behind him in moments, taking the soap in his hand he began to rub soapy lather over his back, then turned him to wash his front. Then his hands dropped, taking in his cock. Illya revelled in the sensual feeling of the firm soapy hand stroking him. He closed his eyes, throwing back his head, the warm water splashing on his face. Then Napoleon's lips closed on his, Napoleon's tongue slipping into his mouth and all the time the glorious rhythmic stroking, he was so close to coming his body tensed. Suddenly he was released.

"Bed." Napoleon ordered. Illya slipped out of the shower, quickly dried himself then dived between the sheets. He was so hard it was almost painful and he felt vulnerable in his nakedness. He knew he needed this, to allow Napoleon to vent his anger so they could move forward.

Napoleon followed him several moments later. He was hard, he held lightly on to his erection as he walked. He pulled the sheets off Illya and lay next to him, running his hands down his chest, circling his nipples. In a quiet almost menacing voice he said, "You don't have to let me do this, you can go if you want."

Illya was so aroused, yearning for sex with Napoleon. "Take what you want Napoleon. I won't stop you, I won't fight you." Illya knew that even physical abuse would be better than no physical contact at all. All the time his cock bobbed with every touch, he desperately needed release. In his mind he was pleading for Napoleon to make him come.

"Tell me, how many men have taken you?" Napoleon continued with his stroking.

Illya thought quickly then blurted out, "Two, no three. Please." He pushed up his hips and groaned. His need was getting impossible. He tried to touch his cock but Napoleon batted his hands away.

"No, you will come when I let you. Soon, I promise." Napoleon's stroking continued, his hand sliding lower and lower. Illya bit his lip, Napoleon's hand was so close, so very, very close to his cock. A groan escaped from his lips.

"Tell me, do you like to be taken?" Napoleon grasped his balls, for Illya the feeling was exquisite.

"Yes!" came his desperate reply.

Napoleon leaned over to the dresser and took a tube of lubricant. He hoisted Illya's legs over his shoulders, placing a pillow under the small of his back. He started to prepare him, slowly forcing him open, slowly pushing the cold gel further and further inside him. Finally he spread a layer on his own cock, Illya watching, afraid. Penetration has swift and hard, Illya cried out, Napoleon's thrusts slow at first then quickening, hands held his hips firmly in place. Illya knew this was what he wanted, possession by his lover, he watched as Napoleon's face displayed his arousal, feeling his cock deep inside.

Finally Napoleon took Illya's cock in his hands bringing them both to a final climax. Illya was lost to the incredible orgasm that overtook him. The pleasure and joy that filled his body left him drifting in a cloud of sensual delight that he had never felt before.

Finally Napoleon pulled out of him, cradling his body in his arms, they clung together. Illya realised his partner hadn't even tried to hurt him. "Are you going to beat me up later?"

"I've decided you aren't so bad after all." He stroked his hand down Illya's cheek. "I'd rather love you than hate you. Promise me you'll never lie or try to deceive me again."

Illya looked him in the eye, "I promise you I'll never lie to you again." But in his own mind he added the words, "this week". The thought of being punished by Napoleon again seemed some how so enticing and erotic.

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