The beautiful thing about being partnered with Illya was the fact that sometimes Napoleon genuinely forgot that other man was actually human which meant that when Illya acted human Napoleon was usually pleasantly surprised…like today for example.
Solo squinted at the figure huddled on the sofa of their safe house.
“Go away,” was the terse reply…or it would have been terse if Illya didn’t sound like he’d swallowed a frog and maybe all of the tadpoles in the lake that he gotten the frog from.
“I’m going to regret asking this but for the sake of my sanity…are you by chance ill?” Napoleon queried taking a cautious step closer. He kept himself out of striking distance because Illya’s temperament was legendary for a reason and it wasn’t a good reason either.
“If you do not leave, I will skin you alive,” Illya managed and Napoleon would’ve attempted to act suitably scared if Illya’s voice hadn’t cracked in the middle of his threat. As it was all he managed was something that sounded suspiciously like a coo.
That got him a response as Illya flipped up the blankets just enough to glower at him but the red, watery eyes and general possible death reflected on Illya’s face overrode Solo’s self-preservation and before he knew it he was pressing a hand against the Russian’s forehead.
Illya froze and Solo stepped back before the man managed to work himself into tantrum and regardless of what Illya called his habit of random destruction, Napoleon knew a tantrum when he saw one. He’d become uniquely acquainted with the matter when his mother realized that children loved him…a matter that had proved very lucrative for her and very detrimental for Solo’s mental health.
But along with the mental scars he’d also picked up quite a few tricks when it came to ill children.
The fact that he was going to use those on his adult partner didn’t really say much for Illya’s social tendencies but Solo worked with what he had.
Instead of pressing the case of Illya’s illness he took the empty seat, watching the man from the corner of his eye.
“I told you I was not ill,” Illya muttered sourly and Napoleon hummed, as if in agreement. Truthfully he was just trying to keep the smile off his face because an ill Illya was apparently and even grumpier Illya…a feat that Solo had been certain was impossible.
“Should’ve guessed, you don’t seem like the type to be taken down by anything other than several bullets,” Napoleon offered up and Illya grunted as he buried himself further beneath his blankets but not before Napoleon caught sight of the way that his fingers were brushing over his father’s watch.
It was a tick…a tell but not one that would be of much use to anyone who didn’t know Illya personally. From what Napoleon could tell the move was Illya’s attempt to comfort himself and every time he saw his partner employ the tactic he felt the urge to dig deeper into Illya’s life. What was it about his father that promoted comfort when Illya had probably heard nothing but insults about the man?
Illya had no possessions of his mother’s but the watch…something about it offered Illya some sense of peace.
Napoleon had stolen the thing twice now, once from the man who’d stolen it from Illya then again just before Illya had plunged himself into an oil vat and both times Illya reacted to its return with the same disbelief that children afforded spontaneous presents.
Shaking the thoughts away Napoleon focused on Illya once more now that man had closed his eyes.
“You know? I’m craving a good bowl of homemade soup. Something rich and warm,” he commented lightly and Illya opened an eye to regard him balefully.
“I do not cook,” he pointed out and Napoleon grimaced.
“Yes, I remember that quite well after you almost poisoned me the last time you tried,” he retorted, clearing his throat where he could still feel phantom fragments of the eggshells that Illya had somehow managed to get into the chicken he’d thoroughly ruined. The only reason why Napoleon had eaten it was because he’d owed Illya after the fiasco at the club that had led to his partner’s inability to sit down for several hours.
Who’d have thought Illya would’ve been such a mouthy submissive? Not Napoleon…not at all and if he had given Illya few extra swats from the paddle just to watch the way it reddened his skin well he’d been aiming for authenticity after all their target had been watching.
Pushing himself upwards Napoleon avoided Illya’s gaze as he made his way to the kitchen.
From his position he could just make out Illya shifting around on the sofa as he set out his utensils. He knew that Illya trusted him so he didn’t call the other man on his almost obsessive observation. If Illya wanted to watch him Solo didn’t have a problem with it, he’d be a hypocrite if he did protest given how much he watched Illya in turn.
“You are making me soup,” Illya croaked and Solo glanced at him.
“No, I’m making myself soup, you just might get some.”
“I am not stupid, Cowboy. You are making me soup because you think I am ill. I am not ill,” Illya groused and Napoleon didn’t even try to hide the fact that he was rolling his eyes as he put the pot on the stove.
“Then don’t eat the soup, I’m not going to force it down your throat,” he retorted and Illya scoffed.
“As if you could, I would kill you first,” he threatened and Napoleon turned so that he could stare at him because he wasn’t sure that Illya could make it off the damn sofa without becoming intimately acquainted with the floorboards.
“Uh huh,” Solo sighed, before tossing the rest of the ingredients into the pot.
“I do not like how your soup smells,” Illya offered up after several minutes of silence.
“That’s good seeing as I’m not offering you any,” Napoleon responded without missing a beat and that got him one of Illya’s not-pouts. The ones where he pouted but swore upon everything Russian that it was merely a trick of the light…Napoleon actually liked the not-pouts.
“I am not ill,” Illya huffed.
“You said that already, Peril,” Napoleon responded, “The lady doth protest too much and given that the last time you protested this much was when you bombed that building I’m starting to get a teensy bit suspicious.”
“He insulted our work,” Illya replied as he draped himself over the back of the sofa and Napoleon wasn’t sure if that was so he could watch him better or if the position was just more comfortable for Illya.
“Actually he insulted my work; he implied that you were a high-priced prostitute which you should take as a compliment. I’d never employ anyone but the prettiest prostitute I could find.”
That got Solo a glower that said that the only thing keeping Illya where he was was the threat of throwing up.
Illya was quiet for a long moment before he slumped like someone had cut his strings.
“Hmm?” Napoleon responded trying to not act victorious when Illya glared at him.
“I think I am ill,” Illya conceded and beneath the gruffness there was a layer of vulnerability that tugged at Napoleon’s heart.
“I know, Peril, which is why you’re going to drink my soup then sleep.”
“You do not have to do this,” Illya pointed out softly and Napoleon rinsed his hands before sliding around to Illya’s side of their tiny shack.
“I don’t have to do a lot of things when it comes to you but in case you haven’t noticed I’m not very good at leaving you alone,” Napoleon responded and he saw the moment that Illya realized what he was really saying.
Pressing a hand against the man’s head again Napoleon sighed because his fever actually seemed to be getting worse.
“Alright, under the blankets with you because if you fall off of there I doubt it’ll be a pleasant experience,” Solo coaxed and though Illya shot him a mutinous look he did comply.
“I would not have fallen as I am barely ill,” Illya groused as Napoleon pulled the blanket over him.
“Not ill at all, just letting me fuss,” Napoleon offered up, watching Illya’s fingers flicker over the face of his father’s watch only once.
“Yes,” Illya agreed, closing his eyes and Napoleon didn’t even try to stop the smile that stretched across his face at the show of trust.
It was a horrible thing to think but he couldn’t help but wish that Illya was ill more often…just so that he could have this.