Who's on Top

by ChannelD

Illya Kuryakin lay on the bed, gasping. His legs ached from their prolonged position, wrapped high around Napoleon's back. He rubbed them, and Napoleon brushed his hands aside, massaged first one, then the other for him. Illya sighed and let Napoleon have his way. He ached pleasantly, deep inside. It was almost like having Napoleon still there, filling him to the breaking point. He sighed again, and Napoleon smiled.

"So it was that good?"

"Mmm." Illya touched the tip of his tongue to his upper lip. "Yes." He batted his eyelashes at Napoleon, and watched his smile broaden. "You're the best, baby, just like the song says."

"What song?" Napoleon looked at his watch. Illya saw the look and sat up.

"It was playing in the supermarket. Something about the spy who loved me keeping my secrets safe all night." He heard the words 'who loved me,' and was alarmed. Would Napoleon see it as a hint, as a reproach? Illya had meant neither, so he resorted to distraction, singing tunelessly "Baby baby, you're the best," relieved when Napoleon laughed.

"So you liked that."

"Oh yes." Illya watched Napoleon dress. He dressed with the same efficiency he applied to everything else and Illya, remembering, groaned aloud with pleasure and flopped back on the mattress. "Very much. You have no idea how good that feels." He paused, then said, "Do you."

Napoleon stopped in the middle of tying his shoes. "Ah, no."

"Too bad," Illya said. "Don't you ever wonder?"

"No." He said it quickly, and Illya laughed at him.

"I'm surprised at you, Napoleon Solo. A bold adventurer like yourself."

"Are you complaining?" Napoleon frowned at him. He was fully dressed now, and clearly ready to go back to work but Illya was still naked, sprawled out on the big hotel bed.

Both of their apartments were too far for a quick "lunch break" as Illya demurely referred to their occasional daytime assignations. So they rented a room in a nondescript hotel near headquarters whenever the inclination struck them, and met at Napoleon's apartment for their frequent nights and weekends together.

They had become lovers two weeks after the fieldwork ended for both of them. Napoleon had made the suggestion and Illya had accepted, and they had come together for the first time in Napoleon's luxurious penthouse apartment. Napoleon had never been with a man, but Illya had enough experience for both of them and Napoleon was a quick learner. Over the past three years they had honed their respective skills, and it was a rare weekend that they didn't meet at least once.

Napoleon went on dating, and Illya kept on seeing—"I don't date," he had said, turning up his nose at Napoleon's question. "I can't be bothered."

"You date me," Napoleon had teased, and Illya had flushed and not answered. He wasn't at all sure that their meetings, however frequent, however pleasurable, qualified as dates. They did eat out together on occasion, but they had always done that. Dating suggested the possibility of more, of a continuing relationship, of perhaps an escalation to... to what? Something? Nothing? Napoleon certainly didn't seem interested in more. He seemed perfectly satisfied to continue the way things were, seeing beautiful women, seeing Illya, sleeping with them all.

As for Illya, he wasn't satisfied at all, and it had nothing to do with their positions. He wasn't satisfied because... I had the song wrong, he thought, watching Napoleon stand by the door. I'm the spy who loves you. Even as Illya thought about that, Napoleon cleared his throat. "Coming?"

"No," Illya said, not moving from his spot. "I want to lie here and feel you inside me for a little while longer."

"Do you mind if I go ahead?"

"No. I'll see you later." But it hurt him, that Napoleon was so eager to leave and he turned away to hide it, putting an arm casually across his face, stretching as if concerned only with the feeling inside him.

It did feel good. Napoleon was big, and very skillful. "I have to be," he'd said, laughing, when Illya had complimented him. "Size is an advantage, no doubt about it, but it's not enough. Good sex requires finesse, technique, and tender loving care."

And everyone gets it, Illya had thought then, seeing the speech as a warning despite Napoleon's air of amusement. Tender loving care without the love. The most casual woman gets the same treatment I do, I, who love you. He had taken the warning to heart, and to this day, this very day right here in this hotel room, with Napoleon fully clothed and jingling his car keys in his pocket, he remembered. A hand brushed his shoulder, tangled in his hair and he turned, startled. "What?"

"Is everything all right?" Napoleon was frowning. "You look..."


"I don't know. Not all right."

"Everything is fine, Napoleon."

"Hmm." Napoleon didn't look convinced. "I'll see you—not tomorrow. I have all day conferences. Thursday? Here, around noon?"

Illya blinked at him. This was the first time Napoleon had settled their next meeting during the present one. Usually it happened as if by chance, a brief encounter in the hall leading to an invitation, a phone call necessitated by other work details finishing with an appointment. What did this mean now, if anything? Napoleon sat down on the edge of the bed.


"What... oh. Yes. Thursday, here, at noon."

"Are you sure you're not upset about anything?"

"What would I be upset about?"

"Well, being the one playing the receiver. Every time."

So Napoleon thought that was what was bothering him. It was better than Napoleon suspecting the truth, but Illya faltered at the direct lie. "Don't you think I would have said something if I minded?"

"You said something today."

"No I didn't. Not really. It was just a passing thought, and it's you missing out."

"Aren't you missing out too? I mean, if you really want to do that, to be the, ah, pitcher?"

"Pitcher?" He had to laugh. "Where is all this vernacular coming from? It's not like you to resort to euphemisms."

"Well, I don't quite know how else to put it."

"I love you fucking me. Put it like that. And when I feel the urge to switch places, I see someone else."

"You do? So you do want to... you do like being the..." Napoleon stumbled. "Being the one on top?" he finished awkwardly.

"What do you think, Napoleon? Being the driver—there's some more slang for you, by the way—is very enjoyable."

Napoleon colored. "I know it is. I just never thought... who do you see?"

Illya reeled off a list of names and watched Napoleon frown again. "You've driven them all? I mean, I suppose I thought... I don't know what I thought."

"Neither do I. How many women last month?"

"None of your business."

"Napoleon Solo. If you can ask, why can't I?"

"Because you'll answer me, and I won't answer you."

"Ah," Illya said. "Well, for the record, I fuck them all, and some of them fuck me. Are you satisfied?"

"Yes." Napoleon looked away. "No. I have to go."

"So you said."


"I might as well now." Illya rolled out of bed and got dressed while Napoleon waited. When he had finished brushing his hair he turned towards the door and was surprised to be embraced, fiercely, the way Napoleon usually did at the beginning, when the fire was climbing.

"We still on for Thursday?"


"I'm sorry I'm such an ass," Napoleon said harshly, and the words sounded torn from his reluctant throat. Illya shook his head.

"You're not." He was touched by the apology. He could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times Napoleon had offered one. "You're fine, Napoleon. You're fine, our sex life is fine, our friendship is fine." Fine fine fine, he thought, and pushed the thought away.

"All right." Napoleon didn't release him and Illya, perfectly content to be there, only waited. Napoleon squeezed him. "But I want you to know I'll think about it. It's not fair, I can see that now. I don't know why I didn't see it sooner. I..." he swallowed hard. "I'm not making any promises. The idea makes me break out in a cold sweat. But I'll think about it."

"I don't want you to do anything you don't want to do. I love what we have together. It's..." he hesitated, but Napoleon had left himself so open he felt he had to do the same. "It's the best thing in my life," he finished, and tucked his face into the crook of Napoleon's shoulder to hide whatever it might be showing.

Napoleon stood very still, then turned his head, kissed Illya's temple. "It's the best thing in my life too," he whispered. "That's why I don't want to ruin it by... well. By being myself."

"You don't. And yourself is just fine with me."

"I also don't like feeling there's something I'm..." he swallowed again. "Afraid to do."

"Are you really? Afraid?"

"Yes. I know fear when I feel it, and that's what this is."

"It doesn't hurt."

"Not the point. And I said I'd think about it, but I don't want to talk about it now."

"All right." Illya felt the embrace end before it did, and stepped back so Napoleon wouldn't have to disentangle himself.

"We could get together tomorrow night," Napoleon offered as they waited for the elevator. "Not necessarily to try anything new, but..."

"I can't tomorrow night. I have to work. But Thursday at noon will be fine, just like always."

"Just like always," Napoleon echoed, and his mouth twisted a little. Seeing it, Illya bit his lip.

"Isn't that good?"

"Yes." Napoleon smiled at him, and the odd expression was gone. He smiled back, relieved. "Want to share a cab?"

"All right." They rode downtown together without a word, and parted at headquarters in the same silence. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence, exactly, but Illya wished fervently that he had never made that offhand remark. He wished that he and Napoleon had met, coupled and parted without any conversation at all.

They met as scheduled at one o'clock. Napoleon was early, and watched Illya walk into the lobby with a surge of mingled pleasure and apprehension. He was angry with himself for being apprehensive—it went against the grain. But this particular act went against his grain anyway. He jiggled the little paper bag he carried while they rode up in the elevator, and saw Illya's sidelong glance. Irritated with himself, he stilled his hands. It was a relief when the elevator door opened and he could step out, preceding Illya down the hall.

Inside, Illya looked at the jar of lubricant Napoleon pulled out of the bag. It was far bigger than the discreet little tube he usually carried and, seeing the direction of Illya's gaze, Napoleon flushed. The jar hadn't looked so big in the drugstore, surrounded by the others. Now, sitting on the nightstand, it looked immense. What could Illya possibly be thinking? Napoleon stole a sideways look at him but Illya had bent his head and turned away and Napoleon couldn't see his face. Was Illya offended? Did he think... then a muffled snort came. It was followed by another and then Illya burst out laughing, laughing so hard he made Napoleon want to laugh too, even as he protested.

"It's not funny, Illya. It didn't look that big in the store..." that was as far as he got, and then he laughed too. He threw back his head and roared. They laughed together, sitting down on the bed, leaning against one another, finally collapsing in a friendly heap, helpless with laughter.

It died down finally, and Napoleon turned his head and found himself looking directly into Illya's eyes. Illya's eyes were so blue, and so clear, clear in a way that suggested fathomless depths. Napoleon was falling into them now, drowning in those depths. He leaned closer and kissed Illya, saw the flash of heat in those eyes before Illya closed them and kissed him back.

They kissed for a long time. Napoleon wasn't sure what to do next. Should he wait, let Illya take the lead now? At the thought he shivered, a mingling of excitement and, once again, fear. Just a little, though. Surely that was natural. After all, most men would never even consider... of course Illya did, with him as well as others. How could he let Illya go on doing something he himself feared? He wouldn't.

Illya pulled back, and the kiss ended. So he was going to take control after all. That was probably just as well. Napoleon set himself.

"Into the valley of death," Illya said and Napoleon blinked.


"You have that look. That, how can I send one of my men into danger I'm afraid to face myself, look. It's very noble, but hardly erotic."

"I'm sorry if I'm not up to my usual form," Napoleon snapped. He was hurt, and chagrined that his feelings were so easily read. But Illya didn't snap back. He looked almost hurt, too.

"I am not aroused by your fear," he said carefully. "Is that better? I wasn't making a criticism, just stating fact. You look positively grim. This is supposed to be fun."


"Yes, Napoleon. Sex is fun, remember? Sex between the two of us..." here Illya paused and just looked at him. Under that gaze Napoleon did find himself remembering. An unwilling smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Illya smiled back at him.

"Let's set this aside," he said softly. "What's the rush? You think about it, and when you're ready let me know."

"I'm ready now."

Illya's smile faded, and was gone. It made Napoleon feel badly suddenly, very badly. Reaching out, he laid his hand along Illya's face, stroking the pure, clean line of his jaw. "All right," he said gently. "We'll set it aside. You're right. Let's have fun." He kissed Illya again, and Illya kissed him with some reserve at first. The reserve was gone by the end of that first kiss, but Napoleon kissed him several more times, just to be sure it stayed gone.

They kept it light. There was no more conversation, just broken exclamations and incoherent whispers. They lay side by side—no one's on top after all, Napoleon thought before thought fled—and head to foot, still keeping it light, teasing and tickling and stroking and then the teasing ended. Napoleon, intoxicated by Illya's taste, and Illya's scent, and the feel of Illya's mouth on him managed to lose himself and all his fears in bliss.

Afterwards it was Illya who moved first, turning so he could rest his cheek on Napoleon's shoulder. Napoleon embraced him again, body still echoing from that bliss. His skin seemed to tingle with it, and he shivered. Illya put both arms around his waist as if to warm him and Napoleon smiled. Then he turned his head and saw the neglected jar of lubricant, still with its protective seal unbroken.

Failed. He had failed after all. Despite his best efforts, when it came to the crunch he had failed. He had telegraphed his fear to Illya to such an extent that Illya no longer wanted to... he sighed, a deep, chest hitching sigh and felt Illya's answering sigh.

"I wondered how long that would take you," Illya said and although he made no actual move to pull away Napoleon felt the intention all along his body. He held Illya closer.

"Please don't do that. Please don't turn away and leave me all alone with this." His voice shook and he ground his teeth, disgusted with himself. Certainly Illya would back away now, who wouldn't? But he didn't, of course, he only shook his head.

"I won't. I'm sorry you're so troubled. I wish I'd never said anything about it at all."

"Me too," Napoleon agreed fervently. "But you did."

"I didn't mean it the way you're taking it. It wasn't a complaint. Why would I complain?" He laughed shakily. "Look at me. I can't even move. It was wonderful. It's always wonderful. You're wonderful, we're wonderful together, whatever we're doing." He looked harder at Napoleon. "Whatever we're doing," he repeated.

"So, that should be wonderful too. If we—when we do it."

"Yes, Napoleon." Illya had a curious expression on his face now and Napoleon peered at him, trying to decipher it. "It would be wonderful."

"Hmm." It was true that everything he and Illya did together was well done. If he could just relax a little more, if they had more time. "Tomorrow night. Come over to my place tomorrow night and we'll spend the weekend together. I'll cook," he added coaxingly. "Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert... you name it. We'll laugh, and drink champagne, and at some point it will just happen."

"At some point?" Illya quirked an eyebrow at him. "It seems unlikely that you would leave it like that. You already have a point in mind. Don't try to tell me you trust it to happen spontaneously."

"What makes you think..." he realized he was sputtering a bit, and stopped. Illya laughed at him.


"Friday night," Napoleon admitted reluctantly. "After cocktails, and wine with dinner."

"And your rationale?"

Damn Illya. It was positively uncanny the way he got right underneath Napoleon's skin. Napoleon scowled. "So it won't be hanging over me all weekend long, and so I'll have time to..." Illya could say more with a twitch of his lip than anybody Napoleon knew. "Recover," he finished lamely and Illya shook his head at him.

"Tomorrow night it is," he agreed, and Napoleon kissed him. The kiss deepened, and soon Napoleon was rolling over on top, and Illya was opening his legs, arching up to him. It had developed without thought, so natural a pattern did it seem, but when Napoleon reached for the lubricant and his hand encountered the jar, with its great screw off lid, he laughed. Illya opened his eyes, and Napoleon held up the jar by way of explanation. Illya laughed too. He laughed, and then Napoleon laughed some more, and when Napoleon opened the jar, having to lean on his elbows and use both hands to do so they were still laughing. They finished it that way, in a storm of laughter and kisses and passion, and then they helped one another out of bed and into the shower, to get ready to go back to work.

Illya tapped lightly at Napoleon's door, that Friday night, and Napoleon opened it. He was wearing pajamas and an elegant dressing gown. Wordlessly, Illya held out the bottle of wine. In his other hand was a small overnight bag. Napoleon accepted the wine, and Illya put his bag down. They stood there regarding one another.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Illya asked.

"Do you?"

"Yes." He did. He had thought about it, had let himself think about it for the first time ever. He thought about what Napoleon was offering, and what it said about their relationship that he would offer. He thought about how it would be, sinking into Napoleon's body, taking what would never be given to another. Making Napoleon glad he had given it. Making Napoleon want it too. He shivered, and Napoleon shivered with him.

Without another word they went into the dining room. Dinner was already on the table, and Illya accepted the seat Napoleon indicated. He could see that Napoleon was nervous, so he made a remark about work and watched Napoleon relax a little as they talked. They ate dinner, and drank wine, and Napoleon relaxed some more. He was smiling at Illya now, and Illya smiled back. Then Napoleon lifted his wine glass.

"To us," he said, and Illya touched his to it. They drank. Then Napoleon set his glass down.

"I don't know how to do this," he said bluntly. "I don't know how to let someone else take the lead, I don't know how to give the lead up. I don't know what to do next. Do I just let you do it all? The way I do when you're the..." he stopped, and reddened. Illya, who could have finished the sentence, didn't.

"You can lead," he said. "I don't mind. You lead me all the way. Just let me know when you're ready."

"Okay." Napoleon looked relieved. "I just... that's one of the things that stopped me last time, the mechanics of who does what when. I never realized how accustomed I am to the way I do things. So you want me to go on the way I always do, and when it's time to change that I'll... I'll think of something."

"We still don't have to change anything."

"I thought you said you want to."

"I do." Illya looked Napoleon squarely in the face, and let that show. He thought again of Napoleon opening to him, of Napoleon's hot strong depths.

"So you do," Napoleon said, and his voice caught. He cleared his throat. "So you do," he repeated, and stood.

They went into the bedroom and Napoleon removed his pajamas while Illya unbuttoned his shirt, and stepped out of his jeans and briefs. Naked, they embraced. Napoleon kissed the top of Illya's head, and Illya smiled. He kissed Napoleon's collarbone and Napoleon's arms tightened. He wasn't aroused, but Illya was patient. He waited while Napoleon got them both onto the bed, and only when Napoleon began touching him, stroking and caressing him, did he reciprocate. He didn't want to do anything Napoleon wasn't ready for, although his own desire was flaming under Napoleon's knowing hands.

He increased the intensity of his caresses, using everything he knew Napoleon liked, everything he had learned about his partner over all the years past, everything his love had taught him since they had been together. He knew just what aroused Napoleon, what made him crazy with wanting, and he used it all.

Finally Napoleon rolled onto his back. "Ready," he gasped and indeed his cock was hard, bobbing and swaying as Illya touched it. He touched it again, stroked it, fondled it and when he ran his hands up the insides of Napoleon's thighs they parted for him. He reached for the jar on the bedside table, and no one was laughing now. Illya was shaking as he used it, hands shaking, arms shaking when he shifted to brace himself, body shaking as he pressed against the entrance. Napoleon's entrance. The thought was so arousing that he had to stop, forcing himself to take deep breaths, to slow himself down.

He pressed again but it was closed to him. Napoleon's muscles were tight, fear tight and Illya opened his eyes, wanting to reassure him. But Napoleon's eyes were squeezed shut too, and all there was to be read on his face was fear. Fear, and the effort it was taking for him to control it, to lie still and allow this.

Illya's penis wilted, shrank into itself and he pushed backwards, off Napoleon, off the bed, landing hard on the floor. Gasping, he scrambled away, needing to put as much distance between them as possible. Not until his back was against the wall did he get to his feet.

Napoleon's face was a study. Relief, bewilderment, regret... all faded as Illya watched, replaced by concern. "Illya? What's wrong? Why did you stop?"

"Because you wanted me to stop!" Illya burst out. "Don't deny it, I saw it. You didn't want me, not that way, not at all. You were afraid of it, and of me. You were afraid of me." It hurt him terribly, saying those words, knowing that they were true. He brought his fists to his face, scrubbed at it. "Don't deny it."

"I'm not. But you could still have gone ahead. I mean, I wouldn't have stopped you, and it would probably be over now."

"You call me a rapist?" Illya asked, wounded to his core. "Is that what you think of me, that I would just go ahead and take my pleasure even though you didn't want it, even though it would have hurt you, even though..." it was his voice that caught now, and he turned away.

He heard Napoleon get out of bed and approach him, and kept his eyes stubbornly fixed on the floor. But when Napoleon touched him, turned him, drew him in he allowed it, not resisting but not responding either, arms locked across his chest. Napoleon cradled him, almost as if it were Illya who had been afraid, Illya in need of comfort. Illya wanted to protest, to say that wasn't the way it was at all, but instead he just let Napoleon hold him, let Napoleon rock him a little, let Napoleon pat his back.

"I'm sorry," Napoleon said finally. "I'm sorry that I hurt you. I didn't mean to. I wanted—I mean, I thought I wanted—no. I did want you. I thought about it all last night, how it would be, how you look when I do it to you, the secret little smile you wear afterwards. I can't help it that when it came down to it I was afraid. I don't want to be afraid. I tried as hard as I could."

Illya nodded, not trusting his voice, not trusting his understanding of Napoleon, trusting nothing but the arms around him.

"Here," Napoleon went on. "Let me make it up to you." Before Illya could say anything Napoleon went down on his knees, embracing his waist. He took Illya in his mouth tenderly, as if trying to console the limp organ for its disappointment. Under his ministrations it grew, slowly at first then more quickly. Illya put his hands in Napoleon's hair, feeling its crisp softness against his palms, feeling Napoleon's arms hard around him, holding him still. The orgasm rushed on him without warning, or time to do anything but grip Napoleon's hair and cry out, crying out again and again, knees buckling at the end, falling, falling into Napoleon who caught him and held him, hard against his own hard chest. Illya could hear Napoleon's heart pounding there, just as his own was pounding. Two hearts, pounding in unison.

As soon as he could he returned the favor, drawing Napoleon, already engorged and ready, in. It was Napoleon's hands in his hair now, tangling and releasing, pulling a little then pressing against his skull, surrounding it, hips thrusting, voice calling Illya's name, calling and calling while Illya drank and swallowed until Napoleon was drained and empty, flat on his back on the floor. Illya sat next to him, and waited.

"Let's go to bed," Napoleon said finally. He reached out, touched Illya's arm tentatively. "What do you say? We go to bed and go to sleep and not worry about this any more tonight. Or this weekend. Or this lifetime, if you prefer."

"Don't you?"


"Do you think you have something to prove? And if so, to whom? Not me."

"No, I know—although now I think maybe I do. Maybe I need to prove something to you about trust. But for the rest of it, I suppose it is to myself."

Illya said nothing further. What could he say? Napoleon was bound to do this, no matter the cost to them both. They climbed back under the covers, and Napoleon reached for him, gathered him in. Illya submitted to the hand that pressed his head firmly down onto Napoleon's chest, welcoming the respite from talk. He lay there and listened to Napoleon's heart some more, slow now, and regular. He pressed his lips to the spot.

"I love you, Illya," Napoleon said and Illya looked at him. He was so surprised he couldn't speak, and that must have shown on his face because Napoleon laughed a little. "I was saving that for afterwards. It seemed it would be a good time to say it. And now that it hasn't quite worked out according to plan..."


"It still seems like a good time. I love you. I've never said it to anyone else in my life. But I want to say it to you."

"I love you too, Napoleon. I have always loved you." Napoleon kissed him at that, and they kissed for a long time, cozy in the dark, under the covers, on the excellent mattress. When the kiss ended Illya put his head back on Napoleon's chest. He had never thought that Napoleon loved him, not that way. He had never dreamed that Napoleon would say those words. And now he had, and Illya had returned them and they were... what? Together? Not together? He didn't know, but he knew he could continue to trust the arms still holding him close. He kissed Napoleon's flesh, so warm against his lips, and fell asleep.

Napoleon woke first and lay quietly, staring at the ceiling. He could feel Illya's breath, warm against his throat, and could feel too Illya's body, hard and lean, pressed against his. One of Napoleon's arms was around Illya's shoulders, and the other was draped across his waist, keeping him there.

Illya loved him. 'I love you too, Napoleon,' Illya had said. 'I have always loved you.' Illya loved him. And he loved Illya. These past days, thinking about their relationship, frankly calculating its expendability compared with the discomfort it was presently causing, had shown him that life without Illya was a free fall into darkness. Illya's love was what gave his life meaning. Without that, he would be alone. Without Illya there would be nothing to alleviate his work driven existence. Without Illya's love there would be nothing to keep him human. He needed Illya, and not just as his friend. He needed Illya as his lover. Because without Illya... then came a faint pressure on his throat, Illya's lips drowsily pressed against him, bringing him back to the present. Back to this moment, lying in bed together, wrapped up in one another, falling in love.

Falling in love. The words had been spoken and lay between them now, like promises, like vows. And when Illya lifted his head, when Illya's eyes met his, they were full of promise too, and so were his kisses.

They showered together, washing themselves and one another. Napoleon, watching soapsuds run down Illya's back, was caught by the sight and embraced him, holding him hard from behind. Illya leaned over the padded seat provided—but not for this, Napoleon thought dizzily, surely not for this. He watched Illya brace himself , fingers whitening as Napoleon, wet and slick with soap, eased himself inside, eased himself all the way inside. Illya pushed against him, and he pushed too. They pushed together, clinging to one another for support, sliding down anyway to lie on the tile floor, water pouring down on their faces and bodies, washing them clean.

They didn't talk about anything serious all day long. Napoleon cooked, as promised, and later he watched Illya read, legs curled under him, on the big sofa in the living room. They had lunch there, smiling at one another over cold sandwiches, potato salad and wine. Napoleon leaned forward after the toast and kissed Illya, enjoying the subtle taste of wine overlaying Illya's own sweeter, wilder taste. Illya kissed him back, and then they were pulling at one another's clothes, pulling one another down onto the sofa, each silencing his own cry of ecstasy in the other's mouth .

They ate dinner on the balcony. Napoleon produced home made pizza and they sat with paper plates and watched the lights of Manhattan. Illya sighed. "I love it here," he said, and Napoleon leaned forward.

"Stay, then," he urged, and Illya turned his head to look at him. "Stay," Napoleon repeated. "I love you. You love me. What more is there? Stay. Please."

"Until?" Illya asked, and Napoleon stroked a loose strand of hair off his face.

"Till death do us part," he said and Illya looked at him very hard. He didn't ask Napoleon if he were sure, or if he really meant it. He raised no issues, voiced no objections. He just stared into Napoleon's eyes as if he would look into his soul, and Napoleon stared back. "Forsaking all others," he added, just to be sure Illya knew that. For a very long time they continued to look at one another, into one another, and then Illya closed his eyes, ending the moment; tilted his head back, beginning another.

Illya fell asleep almost instantly afterwards, curled as naturally into Napoleon's embrace as if they had slept this way all their lives. Napoleon kissed his temple, felt the pulse beating there and kissed it again, before falling asleep himself.

Illya woke at the first light of dawn, and the first thing he thought of was the sound of Napoleon's voice, saying those words. 'I love you' Napoleon had said. Napoleon loved him. Illya sighed. After all this time, after all these years. Napoleon loved him, and... 'Stay' Napoleon had also said. 'Till death do us part.' And Illya had said yes, of course. Yes yes yes, he thought, and smiled. But he wished this silly thing about their positions hadn't arisen, although maybe this wouldn't have happened without it. He had a very strong feeling that Napoleon had considered jettisoning—not their friendship, he was sure, but their affair. Napoleon would have given long thought to every alternative before coming to Illya and offering what he himself clearly saw as surrender. Which it was, in a way, and how sweet that could be. Illya shivered, remembering. It was so sweet. But Napoleon didn't see it that way. Napoleon saw it as some sort of trial by fire, a self-imposed ordeal. And he wouldn't let it go. It wasn't in Napoleon's nature to let anything go, and certainly not something like this. Napoleon didn't like failing. Napoleon very much didn't like being afraid. Napoleon would bring this issue up again and again until he succeeded.

If only it would happen spontaneously. If only... Illya's attention went to Napoleon's organ, which was stirring. Napoleon loved sex in the morning, often reaching for Illya before either was fully awake. Now Illya wondered. Maybe he could arouse Napoleon so thoroughly before he woke up that when he did wake up he would naturally keep following Illya's lead and it would just... happen. His cock was hard at the thought, so he leaned over Napoleon and set about the task of bringing him almost to completion.

He used his mouth and his fingers, his hands, spread wide and flat, sliding across Napoleon's skin. He coaxed and promised, urged and rewarded. He used everything he knew, and Napoleon's deep breathing, his increasingly restless slumber, were more than reward enough.

What he didn't plan on was Napoleon's ability to emerge from sleep fully alert and aware. His first indication that Napoleon was awake was him rising up, twisting them around, turning so Illya was flat on his back and Napoleon was on top, whispering incoherent endearments into Illya's tangled hair while groping for the lubricant.

Oh well, no harm done, Illya thought, and laughed out loud. Napoleon paused in what he was doing and laughed back down at him. "What's so funny?"

"Um, that." He pointed at the jar and Napoleon grinned.

"I know. When we're eighty and still giggling every time we see the super economy size I hope we at least remember why. And thank you for the wake-up call, by the way."

"My pleasure," Illya said and took the jar from him, dipped into it. "Let me."

"By all means..." Napoleon's breath caught as Illya touched the tip of his penis with the tip of one finger. He lifted up a little, and Illya took a little more and, without thinking about anything except how silky and cool it was, touched himself. He spread it slowly, eyes on Napoleon, still poised above him. Then he touched Napoleon's entrance, gently, as if... as if preparing him. Napoleon groaned at that touch, and moved against it. Illya touched him some more, not so lightly, before reaching up, taking Napoleon's hips and guiding him down.

There was a frozen moment while Napoleon stopped and held very still, just the head of Illya's cock inside, and Illya held still too, both of them motionless. Then Napoleon groaned again and let himself sink down, down, so slowly that Illya was nearly screaming with it. When the descent was complete there was another long pause and then Napoleon rocked a little. Illya cried out. Napoleon rocked again, watching Illya's face. Then he leaned over, the motion making both of them cry out, and kissed him. He kissed Illya with such passion that Illya melted under it, his hips thrusting. Napoleon thrust back.

He rode Illya hard, grinding their bodies together, shouting aloud again and again. He pumped himself, brushing Illya's hands aside when Illya tried to do it for him. His body gripped Illya's cock then released him, gripped and released, pulled almost free, then came down again. I should have known you'd be good at this too, Illya thought. I should have known... he shuddered under that unsuspected skill and clutched at Napoleon, trying to pull him to him, closer to him. Napoleon resisted and Illya looked at him, at his head, thrown back, face twisted into a rictus of ecstasy and almost laughed. Napoleon is in charge after all, he thought, and the thought flooded him with love, so much love for Napoleon who seemed very vulnerable to him at that moment, very precious. He reached again for Napoleon, wanting to embrace him, wanting to protect him from his fierce need to control everything, even this, even him. His fingers brushed Napoleon's arms, and Napoleon looked down.

He paused, and looked again. Illya didn't know what he saw, but whatever it was his face softened. He pulled Illya up and wrapped both arms around him, holding him so hard that Illya gasped for breath, gasped his name, holding on too, holding on with all his strength. Napoleon kissed him, another fleeting pause and then he moved. He moved deliberately, carefully, first onto his side, then rolling over onto his back, bringing Illya with him, pulling Illya over. Putting Illya on top.

Illya stared down at him and Napoleon arched upwards, offering, insisting. Sharing. Illya had one more moment of clarity to appreciate the depth of that sharing before Napoleon squeezed him once more, all along the length of him, reaching under to cup his buttocks, squeezing there too. They thrashed against one another, hips bucking, writhing and panting and twisting, trying to be closer, and closer still, trying frantically to be close enough.

And then they were.

They were close enough, at last. After a lifetime, they were close enough—so close that they were one, one and the same. Neither moved now, at that piercingly sweet pinnacle. They clung together and breathed together, in and out, in and out. Finally their breathing slowed, and Illya felt himself slip away from Napoleon—felt, too, Napoleon's arms tighten, as if wanting to keep him there, keep them together. But then he eased Illya down, stroking his hair, kissing his forehead.

Relieved of fears he hadn't known he had, fears of rejection, of resentment, Illya relaxed. He wanted to ask Napoleon if he were all right, if it had hurt him, but Napoleon's smile silenced him. Of course it hadn't. He would have known. They had been one. Neither one could have hurt without the other knowing. Neither one would ever hurt again, without the other knowing. Because they were still one, one and the same, one and the same forever.

It was Napoleon who broke the silence. "You were right," he said. "I can still feel you inside of me. And it was me who was missing out."

"I love you," Illya said because that seemed all there was to say, now. They had both come out on top after all, and they would live together, one and together, forever.

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