|"This is worse than staying in the infirmary," Napoleon mourned,
shouldering the door open and standing aside to let Illya enter first.
"Speak for yourself." Illya limped into the room with the help of his crutches.
"I was." He pushed the door shut. "Lock it, will you?" he requested, holding up his bandaged hands in a helpless shrug. Illya sighed and moved haltingly back to the door.
"If you'd rather be back in the infirmary..."
"No," Napoleon said. "I'd rather face a Thrush firing squad than one more day of your battle with the nurses."
Illya flipped the lock and reset the alarms. "At least they don't coo over me all day."
"You just don't appreciate the good things in life, Illya." Napoleon shook his head. "And now, thanks to you, we're on our own."
"Don't blame me. You could have stayed."
"Right, and leave you at the mercy of Thrush. Not that it'll make much difference. The state we're in, they wouldn't even need guns to take us."
"Thrush thinks we're dead, remember? And with good reason." Illya headed slowly for the kitchen, his crutches thumping loudly. "You know perfectly well Mr. Waverly wouldn't have let us out of headquarters without a minder if he thought we were in any danger."
"Headquarters is short-handed at the moment." Napoleon watched Illya rummage in the refrigerator. "We're lucky Mr. Waverly can spare someone to check in occasionally to see if we've done something clumsy, like drown in the bath."
"I am never clumsy," Illya mumbled around a mouthful of bread and cheese. "I hope whoever Waverly sends brings groceries."
"If you wouldn't eat everything in my refrigerator the first day... I'd tell you to make yourself at home, but that would seem to be unnecessary."
"I did suggest we go to my apartment. Then we'd be eating my food."
"And I'd be sleeping on your couch."
"There's nothing wrong with my couch."
"The rack in Mrs. Partridge's playroom was more comfortable." He watched as food continued disappearing into Illya's mouth at what, he suddenly realized, was an alarming rate. "Do I get any of that?"
"Can you get it to the table?"
"Possibly." Napoleon waited until Illya had hopped past him before he set about gathering up the food, maneuvering cautiously around the thick bandages, through which his fingers poked like so many miniature sausages. It took several trips, but lunch made it to the table without any serious casualties.
Napoleon sat down wearily across from Illya, who dug back into the food with his usual gusto. After several minutes of being ignored in favor of yogurt, he prodded his partner in the ribs with one muffled hand. "Do I get any of that?" he repeated pointedly.
"Can't you feed yourself?"
"If I could, would I be asking?"
"No, I don't suppose you would. Open wide."
Napoleon glared malevolently at the offered spoonful and the
unrepentant smirk behind it for a moment, then opened his mouth to
accept it with as much good grace as he could muster. "I hate this," he
muttered around the mouthful.
"I hate this," Napoleon repeated the words for the umpteenth time, a plaintive mantra. He glared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, angry with the stupid bastard looking back, who hadn't the brains to check the surface temperature of a hot water pipe before grabbing it with both hands. Ah yes, a little voice reminded him, but Illya was trapped under that pipe, and what had looked like several tons of bricks.
"Napoleon, are you okay in there?" Illya's voice penetrated clearly. Napoleon's bandaged mitts couldn't turn the handle from the inside, so he'd been careful not to pull the door all the way shut. He glared at his hands, and at his trouser fly, and at the toilet, silently swearing at them and Illya impartially. He'd manage, if only he were left alone for a few minutes.
"I hate this." He raised his voice: "Fine."
"You've been in there for close to fifteen minutes. Are you sure you're all right?"
"I hate you," Napoleon amended under his breath, then louder: "I'm fine!"
"Need any help?" Illya's voice was all concern, but Napoleon knew better.
"Go away, Illya," Napoleon ground out between clenched teeth.
He was certain he heard a stifled laugh intermixed with the uneven
sounds of Illya's limping retreat.
Napoleon sprawled on the couch staring blankly at the television. The book he'd been trying to read lay forlornly in the corner of the room, pages askew, as it had fallen after bouncing off the wall earlier.
Illya paused in the kitchen doorway, stealing a moment to observe his partner. Napoleon was, quite frankly, a mess. His hair stuck up in odd directions, its usual gloss nowhere to be seen, and the dark stubble on his chin made him look the desperate sort. He was wearing sweat pants and a loose T-shirt; the same ones he'd been wearing for a good three or four days. Illya was willing to bet Napoleon had been sleeping in them too. Add to that his dull-eyed listlessness, and his condition was cause for some concern. More than the general air of neglect, however, the miasma of depression made Illya wince. He'd let this degenerate far enough.
"Get up, Napoleon." With the use of only one crutch, Illya made his way slowly to his partner's side and levered him to his feet with a strong hand on his elbow. "Come with me." Napoleon complied willingly, though he gave Illya an odd look. He balked, however, at the door to the bathroom. Illya proceeded in on his own and turned the tub faucets on. "Let's get you undressed and cleaned up."
Napoleon retreated from the reaching hands. "Stop babying me, Illya. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
"Really? You don't seem to be doing a very good job of it." Illya ignored his partner's dark scowl and returned to the task at hand. First, he yanked Napoleon fully into the bathroom, taking advantage of his momentary unbalance to firmly close the door. He locked it for good measure. Backed up against the tub, Napoleon shook his head stubbornly. Illya advanced on him without mercy. "Come now, Napoleon. You're starting to get a bit ripe." He sighed in exasperation. "If you had some pretty female companion, you'd be milking this for all it's worth. Why is it easier to accept some strange woman's help than mine?"
"It's not the same." Napoleon protested automatically, losing the battle with Illya's determination. The bathroom was beginning to steam up, and he'd already been relieved of his shirt.
"No, it isn't," Illya agreed. "I'm not a 'cute chick.'" He pushed Napoleon down on the commode and pulled off his socks. So far, his reflexes had been up to the task, but he wasn't sure how much longer he could balance on one foot if Napoleon continued to resist.
"Half right," Napoleon murmured. Illya pretended not to hear, reaching instead to pull closed the curtains and start the shower. He turned back and placed his hands on Napoleon's bare shoulders, clasping the warm flesh firmly.
"I'm your partner, you dolt. It's not only my job to look after you, it's my right." His eyes met Napoleon's steadily until he felt the muscles under his hands start to relax. "Now stop fussing and stand up." And that was it; Napoleon suddenly became so cooperative Illya wasn't sure whether to cheer or faint.
Illya pulled Napoleon's pants and briefs down in one sweep and left him to step out of them while he rummaged under the sink for some plastic bags to tie over Napoleon's hands. Bandages protected and his partner suitably naked, he gently pushed Solo toward the shower and set about stripping himself. Illya peeled off the elastic bandages around his badly bruised knee; the heat would be good for his knee and a little water wouldn't hurt the nearly-healed stitches. When he stepped into the tub, he found Napoleon standing directly under the hot spray, the curve of his lips showing clearly just how much he appreciated the shower. Napoleon's eyes were closed, and Illya simply watched him for a moment, finding the sight of his wet, naked partner remarkably pleasing. Illya shook his head and grabbed the soap.
When the soapy hands first touched his chest, Napoleon jumped and moved reflexively away. Illya's frown made him smile sheepishly and shift back into easy reach. Illya coaxed him further out from under the spray and started to lather him up. Hedonist that he was, Napoleon settled into Illya's ministration with remarkable ease. This was going better than Illya'd expeced.
Thus, Illya was startled when Napoleon suddenly shifted away from him again. Hadn't they gotten beyond that stage? A quick glance over Napoleon's body caused both eyebrows to crawl into his dripping hairline; apparently they'd gotten further beyond that stage than he'd thought. It didn't bother him in the least, although Napoleon's furious blush seemed to indicate it bothered him quite a bit. Once again, Illya closed the gap between them, but in deference to Solo's unease, shifted from soaping his body to shampooing his hair.
"Sorry," Napoleon offered after a moment, his voice muffled. His teeth were clenched so tightly the muscles in his jaw stood out in high relief.
"Why? It's perfectly natural." Illya continued to work the shampoo through Napoleon's short hair. The position was something of a strain on his arms, not to mention his knee.
Interesting; he'd never heard Napoleon squeak before.
"Yes, natural. How long has it been?" Illya asked calmly. Napoleon merely stared. Illya shoved him back under the water to rinse away the shampoo. "For heaven's sake, Napoleon, you're probably the most sexual creature I know, and you can't have had any recently."
He shrugged. Illya very much doubted Napoleon was actually shocked by his crudity. It merely made an acceptable diversion.
Despite his embarrassment, Napoleon still had a very insistent erection. Pulling his partner out of the water and picking up the soap, Illya started in again on his chest, willing him to relax a little. He let his hands slowly drift downward and, when he inevitably encountered Napoleon's hard cock, simply wrapped his fingers about it. Napoleon shied so violently he smacked into the wall, but Illya's grip remained steady and firm. He crowded Napoleon against the tiles and began a rhythmic stroking.
"Settle down, Napoleon. You can hardly do this for yourself." He tapped the back of a baggie-wrapped hand with his unoccupied fingers, then grasped the taller man's shoulder hard. "Relax. Just feel."
It was awkward, doing this for someone else. Illya had never jacked off another man before, but it really wasn't all that different from doing himself. Curious, to feel another man's cock, to adjust his natural rhythms to someone else's heartbeat. Napoleon was about the same length as he, but somewhat thicker. Illya experimented, trying things he liked himself and cataloging the reactions. Napoleon had apparently taken his advice, sinking into pleasure that was too strong to resist, his head thrown back, breath rasping in his throat. Illya's fist slid smoothly up and down the solid erection, teasing the sensitive head on every stroke.
He almost broke the rhythm when he felt his knee beginning to give way, but caught himself in time. Illya leaned his weight against Napoleon's solid form, using the broad body as a makeshift crutch. He was surprised when his partner's arm came about his waist to support him. Pressed close to the wet, hard-muscled chest, Illya could feel the tremors passing through Napoleon's body. He was close, very close.
It happened so fast. Too fast for Illya, who'd belatedly discovered a desire to savor the experience. Napoleon tightened his arm about him, dipping his head to rest his cheek on Illya's shoulder. Illya could feel his partner's harsh breath gusting against his ear. It hesitated, caught for a moment, then was released on a low cry. Napoleon thrust hard into the hand cradling him and came with a groan. Waves of burning liquid bathed Illya's hand, and were washed away, swirling down the drain. Napoleon sagged against him, panting dizzily.
It was all Illya could do to keep his balance. He braced Napoleon against the wall and reached around him to turn off the water. The bathroom was abruptly quiet but for the sound of their breathing. Suddenly not certain of what to say or do, Illya settled on mundanities -- he pushed back the shower curtain and pulled two towels from the rack, handing one to Napoleon without quite daring to look at him. He dried himself perfunctorily and stepped out of the tub, glancing back at his friend almost involuntarily.
Napoleon hadn't moved. He leaned against the tiled wall with the towel draped over his shoulder, his eyes heavy-lidded, his gaze resting somewhere in limbo. He looked drained and drowsy and just about asleep. Illya grinned and limped back to the tub. He took the towel and silently set about drying Napoleon, who stood quietly, completely responsive to every unspoken direction. Once the malleable form was reasonably dry, Illya coaxed him out of the bathroom and down the hall. It was a tricky balancing act with Napoleon all but asleep, but they made it to the bedroom without mishap. Illya pulled back the covers and gently guided the warm naked body into cool sheets. Napoleon sank back without a word, his eyes focusing blearily on Illya's face with all the sober concentration of a newborn. The lids slid closed as Illya pulled the blankets up to his chin and patted his chest softly.
He hesitated by Napoleon's bedside, wondering at the sudden impulse to kiss his partner's forehead. He resisted with difficulty, but was unable to stop himself from brushing back a lock of damp hair which had fallen over the broad brow. Napoleon looked remarkably young when asleep, almost innocent in his boyish appearance. Illya laughed to himself, amazed that he could even think of Napoleon and beds and innocence simultaneously.
He wondered if Napoleon always fell asleep like this after
sex. And if he'd ever find out. And then he wondered, with some
asperity, what he was doing hovering naked over his partner's bed and
where his much-vaunted common sense had gone.
Traversing the hall again, without either a crutch or Napoleon's dubious help, was an ordeal in itself. Finally he made it back to the bathroom and was able to suit up again. Barricading himself with bandages and clothing, Illya caught up the crutch and powered himself into the living room as quickly as he could manage. In the back of his mind, a panicked voice twittered nervously, wondering how long Napoleon would sleep, and what sort of mood he'd be in when he woke.
He had more than enough time to brood over the stupidity of his actions, and Napoleon's possible response to same, in the ensuing hours. It was not a comfortable morning.
No calmer in mind, Illya was in the kitchen making an afternoon snack when Napoleon emerged. A sudden deluge of abject cowardice seized him; if he'd been at all mobile, he'd probably have run, but as it was, all he could do was brace himself against the counter and hope Napoleon would at least kill him quickly.
Napoleon was back in sweatpants, clean ones this time, chest and feet bare. His hair had dried funny and stuck out in odd direc-tions, and he badly needed a shave. He looked one hundred per-cent better, and heartbreakingly handsome.
Illya quickly turned away and set about pouring a cup of coffee, willing his hands to stop shaking. He passed it to Napoleon, care-ful to avoid acciden-tally brushing even the bandages. The kitchen was quiet while Napoleon sipped his coffee, cup cradled carefully between his bandaged palms, and Illya self-consciously avoided his partner's eyes. Finally, however, disgusted with his cowardice and knowing the best way to deal with the situa-tion was in his usual straightforward manner, Illya slowly raised his eyes.
He wasn't particularly surprised to find Napo-leon's eyes on him. The look in them was unexpected, however. Napoleon looked ... peaceful. The brown eyes were clear and the deep fatigue had washed away from the handsome face. He met Illya's searching gaze with calm equanimity.
"Thank you." They both knew he wasn't talking about the coffee.
Illya let out the grin which tugged at his lips. "Anytime."
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