“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Or I’m about to sin.” Napoleon’s gaze dropped to Illya’s crotch. “Hopefully.”
Illya gripped his Bible as he would a stake. If only stabbing the awful creature in the chest would stop it from spouting its profanities. “Stay away from me, incubus.”
“But it’s my job not to stay away from people. Especially people that desperately need orgasms. And you definitely qualify.”
“My vow of chastity is inviolable.”
“Is it?” Napoleon tsked. “Who am I going to feed on, then? Gaby?”
“You. Will. Not. Touch. Her.”
“Oh. Oh. Harboring distinctly unpriestly feelings for our pretty little witch, are we? I have to say, I do understand. She’s charming in the extreme.”
“I merely do not think she deserves to be defiled by a monster like you!”
“Thank you for the compliment, but my cock isn’t so huge as to be monstrous. Intimidating, yes. Monstrous? No.”
The Church encouraged patience. The Church encouraged compassion. And yet, Illya could find neither within himself when it came to Napoleon Solo, who evidently chose that earthly name because it combined conquering and masturbating. Two decidedly sacrilegious pursuits.
“Have I at last succeeded in scandalizing you into silence? A pity. I’d rather silence you with something far more… substantial.”
“I’d rather silence you with death.”
“Are priests supposed to be so violent? I’m told you’ve been the Vatican’s pet soldier ever since you defected from the KGB and became a man of the cloth, but this is practically savage. Has the Church not ameliorated your berserker tendencies?”
“The Church has allowed me to wash the stains from my conscience.”
Illya permitted himself a feral smile. “The blood of sinners, yes.”
“Hm. Being an inveterate sinner, myself, I shouldn’t be as attracted to that as I am. I wouldn’t mind a bit of knife-play. A bit of bleeding, so long as you licked me clean, after.”
“I am no vampire.”
“True. Vampires are a lot easier to seduce.”
“So go hunting and catch yourself a vampire. And tell me, later, so I can slay it.”
Napoleon’s dark eyes glowed, like embers, reddish and devilish and strange. “But I don’t want a vampire. I want you. The scent of your purity has been driving me to distraction, did you know? With each passing day, my hunger grows. No petite launderette or impish bellboy will suffice, and I’ve debauched most of the hotel’s staff, by this point.”
“I noticed,” Illya muttered, snapping his satchel open and placing the Bible within it, even as he extracted his favorite gun from its hidden compartment and began to oil it. Maintaining weapons was crucial. Whether they were wooden stakes, silver bullets, or vintage .45 Colts.
Napoleon drifted closer, as if hypnotized by the repetitive, precise movements of Illya’s hands. “But it isn’t enough. Still, I starve. Still, the white shimmer of your soul calls to me, like that of a pearl hidden in the murkiness of this world, begging to be tarnished. Or perhaps you’d have me begging, instead? There is such force to you, such fury… Were you to fuck me with an ounce of the conviction you keep for killing your targets, I’d die of sheer ecstasy.”
“There’s an idea. You dying.”
“But I’m no use dead, am I?”
“You’re no use, period. Dead or alive.”
“I meant, I’m no use to our mission. A mission you swore to complete, under God.”
Illya paused. He reassembled the pistol he’d disassembled, wiped the oil from it using a greasy rag, and reinserted the pistol into the secret pocket sewn into his satchel. “What are you saying?”
“You’re responsible for this bizarre starvation that has been visited upon me, starvation of a type I have never experienced. It’s only fair that you also be responsible for alleviating it. All I ask of you is a kiss. A kiss, priest! Even Jesus kissed his apostles, didn’t he?”
“Not in the manner you wish to kiss me.”
Napoleon pouted. His lower lip was damnably plump. And it had a sheen to it, satiny and inviting—
Illya blinked. It was the incubus’s magic, no doubt, acting indiscriminately on everyone it encountered, but Illya’s moral determination generally kept it at bay.
“If you don’t kiss me, I’ll kiss Gaby. And I’m sure she won’t be happy with just kissing.”
Illya’s momentary distraction morphed into anger. And from there, as it invariably did, to rage. Between one second and the next, he had Napoleon slammed against the wall, causing the giant Ming vase in the nearby alcove to rattle loudly. “If you so much as breathe in her direction…”
“You’ll eviscerate me?” Napoleon said, eagerly. “Please do. Take me apart. Make me cry. Make me scream—”
Illya slammed him again. And again. But Napoleon’s sharp, toothy grin didn’t falter; there was no fear in him, no submission, no terror to satisfy the ravening beast within Illya that fed on the lives of evildoers, like he was a supernatural entity, himself. Sometimes, he wondered if he were not a species of werewolf, given that his knives were his fangs, and his faith was his moon.
Sharing that with Napoleon—comprehending, at a fundamental level, what it was to be perpetually hungry—only fueled Illya’s resentment. His holy gift should not seem so similar to Napoleon’s unholy curse. It was just plain wrong.
“If you must throw me about,” Napoleon suggested, cajolingly, “throw me atop that ridiculously immense bed and roger me senseless. Or let me roger you senseless. I’m not picky.”
“I will. If you kiss me. I’ll be so, so quiet. I promise. I swear I’ll leave Gaby alo—”
Illya kissed him. He wasn’t even aware he was doing it, until he was, and he was so shocked by his body’s apparent ability to move without his permission that he froze, his nose mashed inelegantly against Napoleon’s, his every muscle strung taut with horrified tension.
Until Napoleon began kissing him back. Unraveling him, gentling what Illya had initiated as an attack into a gradual seduction, hot and honeyed and slow and shivery, and soon, Illya was trembling. Like a frightened child.
“Hush,” Napoleon said, when Illya flinched at the careful brush of his tongue, and Napoleon’s fingers, when they rose to feather delicately across Illya’s jaw, were inescapably tender. Reverent, as no ungodly vermin had any right to be.
“Illya,” Napoleon murmured, “please,” and Illya’s lips parted of their own volition. The sigh that escaped Napoleon then was just as shaky as Illya himself was, and the kiss deepened precisely like the treacherous waters of a welcoming, shallow inlet suddenly falling into the ocean’s depths, taking unwary swimmers with it.
Illya had never before been unwary, but he was swept away, nonetheless, on a rising crest of heat and velvet, by a slick, subtle undertow, by the moist clinging of mouth to mouth. There was a thundering in his ears, as of sea-waves, and his hips were rolling against Napoleon’s, an unstoppable tide.
Napoleon’s spare hand found him, down there. Encircled him. Stroked him.
A current arced up Illya’s spine and sizzled in his nerves, burning and electric, scorching the air from his lungs till they ached from the lack of it. He’d been poisoned. That was the only explanation for it. It must be the incubus’s venom, paralyzing him, drugging his limbs, reducing him to a gasping, writhing mess. He dampened the trousers beneath his cassock with spurts of pre-ejaculate, like an untutored adolescent, like a virgin utterly uninitiated to pleasure. Napoleon groaned in approval, and Illya clawed at Napoleon’s shoulders, as if for more.
Napoleon gave him more. So much more. He kissed and kissed and kissed Illya, making greedy sounds, and his grasp tightened around the source of Illya’s shame, around the mindless throbbing of it, until it swelled even further, until it twitched and hardened and hurt.
Napoleon’s kisses turned into wandering bites, stinging and bright along Illya’s neck, bursts of near-pain that made Illya’s thighs quiver and his legs spread, and he hated himself, oh, how he hated—
“Go on,” Napoleon urged, hoarsely, wetly, against Illya’s throat. “Come for me, there’s a sweet lad, come…”
Illya did. Stupidly. Blindly. His body arched like that of a dumb animal’s and surrendered, and how he remained silent through the wracking pulses was beyond him. Perhaps it was because he was choking on his humiliation. Perhaps it was because his voice had failed him, just as his discipline had. His vision grayed, like he’d been struck in the head, and he went abruptly faint, weak, hazy, his knees crumpling as Napoleon shouted, a harsh, triumphant, shuddering cry.
Napoleon’s arms caught him before he collapsed. Lifted him, sheltered him, while Illya struggled to regain proper consciousness despite what felt like a concussion. His sight was blurry. He was sweating like a pig in his habit, and a feverish daze prevented him from protesting when Napoleon laid him on the bed and crawled over him, pinning him, as though unwilling to separate.
“It’s all right,” Napoleon was whispering, but his whisper was uncharacteristically uneven, jagged, its customary smoothness wrecked like silk dragged over broken glass. “You’re all right. Fuck, you’re… Illya. Illya, are you all right? Speak to me. Cuss me out in Russian, if you have to.”
Illya had every intention of cussing Napoleon out, in the many languages he knew, but when his pupils finally focused, the first thing he saw was Napoleon’s face.
And it was—
It had an expression unlike anything Illya had ever seen on it.
Napoleon looked stunned. Overwhelmed. His eyes were wide with awe, and there was a vulnerable glimmer in them, a tinge that wasn’t a carnivorous red but a humble, oddly human blue. Like Napoleon had been the one stripped of his power. Like Illya had robbed him of his control.
“Wh’t?” Illya rasped. It was unnerving, to see Napoleon so discomposed.
Napoleon only kissed him again. Softly. Almost hesitantly. His palm was broad and warm where it cupped Illya’s cheek, and it was infuriating, for Illya to be treated like he was fragile, like he was precious.
“Your purity has nothing to do with your chastity, does it?” Napoleon said, wonderingly. “I thought it did, but… There is an innocence within you, a sparking filament of need, a need to be good, to be useful, to be…” Napoleon drew in an unsteady breath. “Ah, my beautiful boy. You are but thirty years old to my three-hundred. I could teach you how to be good. How to be useful. I could give you what you crave, in ways that the Church can’t.”
“G’way fr’m’e,” Illya said, insulted that Napoleon would attempt to equate his filthy temptations with the sanctity and the purpose of the Church, and terrified by the prospect of enjoying those temptations, just as he’d enjoyed Napoleon’s violation of him, today.
For it had been a violation. Hadn’t it? Illya would have succumbed to no ordinary man. Napoleon was an incubus whose basic nature was that of a predator’s. Wasn’t it inevitable that he would devour his prey?
“You ought to rest,” Napoleon said, and Illya refused to be comforted by his weight, or grounded by his embrace. “I won’t feast on you till you are fully recovered, even if that means waiting for days without sampling others. You have my word.”
“Y’ w’n’t feast ’n me at all,” Illya growled, and Napoleon hummed, in what may have been a subvocal laugh, were he his usual, confident self. As it was, the hum was more pensive than amused. Napoleon curled protectively around Illya, and there was a possessiveness to the gesture that was mystifying.
“Well, you’ve ruined me for anyone else,” Napoleon said, with a deceptive lightness. There was a troubled frown wrinkling his brow. “I’m not entirely certain how you managed it, but manage it, you did. Congratulations. It must please you, as a representative of the Church, to have effectively collared an incubus that has roamed free for centuries. If you are indeed my mate, as I suspect you are, then God has a greater talent for irony than I have ever credited Him with.”
There were several terms in that monologue that should have alarmed Illya, but tired and drained as he was, all he fixated on was the picture of Napoleon in a leather collar, bound and tamed, and the unaccustomed, if slightly confused leap of victory his own heart gave at the image.
“I guess having multiple lifetimes to thoroughly corrupt you will be sufficient recompense,” Napoleon continued. “It could be worse. I could be wedded for all eternity to a Nazi demon, like the very literal demons whose apocalyptic plans we are resolved to foil, tomorrow.”
“Shu’up,” Illya mumbled, because he had to sleep, damn it, and when Napoleon unexpectedly complied with his request, Illya nestled into a pillow—that only incidentally happened to be Napoleon’s firm, waistcoated torso—and switched off.