Actions

Work Header

Untouchable

Work Text:

Napoleon lounges back in his chair and takes a sip of his drink. The safe house they’re currently laying low in didn’t have much, but it had a 40-year-old bottle of scotch, so Napoleon certainly isn’t complaining.

It’s dark in the house, but he can clearly see Illya sitting silently in the chair across from him, back straight, the vision of perfect posture. They’ve been like this for about half an hour now. They should have well and truly lost their tail, but they're waiting for the signal before they can leave.

“So Peril,” Napoleon drawls, swirling his scotch around in his glass, “tell me about yourself.”

Illya gives him an unimpressed look and stays quiet.

Napoleon sighs, letting his eyes slide shut for a moment. “We’re going to be here for a while yet, why don’t we at least liven things up a bit.”

Illya rolls his eyes, and he tends to do that a lot around Napoleon. He may have picked it up from Gaby.

“And what do you want to know, Cowboy?”

It’s quiet for a moment as Napoleon thinks, and then he cocks his head to the side and says inquiringly, “How did you get that scar?”

Illya glares at him. Napoleon tries a different track.

“Alright, then what was your last girlfriend like?”

Illya’s glare intensifies and it’s obvious he’s even less likely to answer this question.

“Come on, Peril. We’ve been working together six months now and I still know nothing about you.”

“You have read my file.”

Napoleon waves a hand dismissively. “That was the boring stuff. I want to know the interesting stuff… So, what was she like? Blonde? Angry? Russian?”

Illya’s brow furrows. “Why would you think that?”

“Because we’re all secretly vain, Peril. We all want to date versions of ourselves.”

“I think that is just you.”

Napoleon inspects his glass carefully. “That could be true.”

It goes quiet again, and Napoleon can hear the rumble of the cars on the main road a couple of streets away and the wind blowing a gale outside the window.

“My last girlfriend was volatile, conniving. Lovely girl. The last time I saw her she threw her drink over my suit.” He remembers it fondly.

“I thought you did not do girlfriends,” Illya says.

“I don’t, but I did. We’re all naïve in our earlier years, my friend.”

Illya snorts, and seems to relax a little.

“Not blonde. Dark hair,” he says after a moment, “her parents were from Italy.”

“Well Peril, she sounds like a steal.”

“It was a long time ago.”

Napoleon wonders how long ago. Wonders why they ended the relationship; who ended it. Wonders if he ever gets lonely for company. When was the last time he slept with anyone? He wants to ask.

The phone in the safe house starts ringing shrilly.

Illya stands and picks up what little they had with them. Napoleon answers the phone and tries not to feel disappointed.

 

****************

 

They’re back in Italy for a mission. It feels strange, to be back so soon in the place it all began, but he thinks this time won’t be so full on. The mission is a fairly easy extraction mission, one that involves contact with the mark. Napoleon has already been volunteered for the task.

He saunters into the lavish hotel ballroom and picks up a glass of champagne on his way to the bar. He spots Gaby and Illya immediately. They’re mainly there for back up tonight. Gaby looks stunning and dangerous all at once. She’s dancing with a tall, good-looking man who spins her around with practiced ease.

Illya is standing alongside the wall on the other side of the room. He looks tense, like an uncomfortable man trying not to appear overly uncomfortable. Luckily he goes unnoticed by the tipsy people twirling enthusiastically around the dance floor.

Napoleon positions himself against the bar and scans the room casually until he spots the mark. He’s seated at one of the tables, centre of his companions’ attention as he roars with laughter. Why is it that the criminals are always so charismatic? He supposes this is a question of personal concern.

He’s not terribly bad looking. He’s older than Napoleon but around his height with a broad frame. His hair is dark blonde, but beginning to grey at the sides.

This shouldn’t be too difficult. Napoleon is always confident in his abilities. Especially these abilities.

He keeps his gaze casual but continues to sweep over the table, resting every now and again on the mark. The fourth or fifth time he does this the man sees him looking and holds his gaze for a moment.

It’s only a few more minutes before the mark is excusing himself from his companions and striding over to the bar. He leans against the bar next to Napoleon and orders himself a drink. Napoleon keeps his posture outward, but he can feel the mark assessing him from where he stands.

Napoleon slides his gaze to the side and the mark smirks at him predatorily and reaches out a hand for him to shake.

“Ciao, sfarzoso.”

“Ciao,” Napoleon smiles and shakes his hand. The mark grips his hand tight. “Piacere.”

“Ah, an American,” the mark says in heavily accented Italian, “here for business? Or maybe for pleasure?”

“I’m aiming for both,” Napoleon smirks; tilting his head in a way he knows accentuates his jawline. He spends a lot of time looking in mirrors.

The mark's eyes rest somewhere around his throat. “I see, and are you having much pleasure tonight?” He gestures around at the room, and Napoleon glances at the dance floor where Gaby is now with Illya. That couldn’t have been voluntary on Illya’s part.

He looks back at the mark, whose eyes are now focused on his lips. He has him in the bag already, no point dancing around it any longer. “I don’t know, I suppose that’s something you could answer for me.”

The man finally lifts his eyes and his look is heated. He peers over his shoulder at the table he’d just vacated and swallows his drink in one gulp. He gives Napoleon a nod and steps away from the bar towards the exit. Napoleon finishes the rest of his drink before he trails him at a safe distance.

He watches Illya and Gaby as he leaves. Gaby seems to be speaking to Illya in low, urgent tones. Illya’s face doesn’t waver from its murderous expression and Gaby’s hands are closed firmly over his curled fists.

Napoleon frowns as he follows the mark out of the room.

 

****************

 

They’re in France, this time, the three of them. The mission they carried out today was successful, and they came back to the hotel fatigued but alert, still running on adrenaline.

They’d spent the time after their last few missions together, getting dinner or just sitting around watching television. This time was no different.

They’d come back to Napoleon’s apartment, ordered room service and chatted idly.

Gaby had fallen asleep with her head resting back against the couch, and Illya sat next to her, looking at her fondly.

He wondered about those two. He’d thought there had been something there, thought they would have gotten together when their first mission had come to a close. But as far as he knew, neither of them had really made a move.

To him, Illya is untouchable. He is something to be admired, studied, from afar. He wonders how it would feel, to be in Gaby’s place. To have Illya look at him as gently as he looked at her. To be able to kiss him and probably have him kiss back.

His chest feels tight, and he stands to pick up the plates from the coffee table so that he can have a minute to collect himself.

Illya immediately jumps up to help him and follows him into the kitchen, placing the plates on the bench and turning on the tap to fill the sink. He begins to roll up his sleeves and Napoleon starts when he sees the blood on Illya’s forearm.

“You didn’t say you were injured.”

Illya looks at him uncomprehendingly.

He goes to touch the wound but stops and thinks better of it at the last second, his hand hovering mid-way between them. Illya looks down at his arm and shakes his head. “Just a scratch.”

Now Napoleon does touch him, gently curling his hand around his elbow and steering him towards the bathroom.

Illya comes along willingly enough, and sits on the toilet seat when Napoleon directs him to with a firm hand on his shoulder. He still grumbles though. He reminds Napoleon of a grumpy kitten. The thought shouldn’t be as endearing as it is.

“It is just a scratch,” he says again, and honest to god he is pouting. Pouting. Napoleon wants to laugh but he doesn’t think Illya would take it very well.

“Yes,” he says, searching through his bathroom bag, “and scratches can very easily turn into infections if you don’t treat them properly. Which you obviously don’t. No wonder you have so many scars, Peril.”

Illya’s head snaps up to stare at him suspiciously. “How do you know I have scars?”

Oh. He probably shouldn’t have let that slip. He may watch Illya a little too closely in the training rooms sometimes. But Illya in action is a sight to behold. Illya in action with his shirt off is something he can’t be blamed for not resisting.

He’s usually a lot smoother than this, he doesn’t let anything slip out he doesn’t intend to.

“I’m observant,” is all he says.

He wets a cloth and holds onto Illya’s wrist while he starts to clean the cut gently. It’s not very deep, and the blood is mostly dry, but he meant what he said about infections.

Illya sits perfectly still, letting Napoleon do what he wants. It’s not often Illya will submit to Napoleon’s direction. It makes him feel powerful.

Once the cut is clean he throws the cloth in the sink and reaches for the gauze.

He hadn’t noticed so much before, because he was focused on not hurting Illya, but he certainly notices how close they are now. His knees are pressed up against Illya’s, and Illya’s wrist is warm in his grasp. He’s so close he can hear Illya’s steady breathing.

He finishes wrapping the gauze and secures it. He lingers for a while as he pretends to check the bandaging, and then he drops his wrist. Reluctantly.

“There you go, Peril. All cleaned up.”

Illya looks up at him and…he doesn’t look angry or irritated for once. He looks…well…Napoleon doesn’t actually know. He hasn’t seen this look on him before.

“Thank you, Solo.”

Napoleon raises his eyebrows in mock disbelief. “I think that’s the first time you’ve thanked me for anything.”

“Don’t push it, Cowboy,” Illya says seriously, but his blue eyes are warm, and clear.

Their knees are still pushed together, and Napoleon feels his whole body charging from that one point of contact.

They stay like that for a few seconds, though it could be minutes. Napoleon looking down and Illya looking up. It feels like something. Like a moment of sorts. He wonders if Illya would punch him if he raised his hand to touch the hair at the back of his neck.

The sound of approaching footsteps sounds outside the bathroom and Napoleon steps back quickly as Gaby appears in the doorway. He feels as if they’ve been caught out, when they hadn’t been doing anything at all.

Gaby notes the bloody cloth in the sink and the roll of gauze behind them and looks between them with concern. “What happened?”

“Illya was hiding a mortal wound from us.”

“It was a scratch,” Illya mutters. Napoleon bites down on a smile.

Gaby looks assured. “Alright then,” she says, “I’m going to head back to my room, I’m exhausted.” She looks at Illya expectantly, “Are you staying Illya?”

Illya looks down at the bandaging on his arm and brushes his fingers over it. He shakes his head.

Napoleon moves aside to let him leave, and he pauses in the doorway. He looks as if he’s going to say thank you again, but stops himself.

He nods at Napoleon. “See you tomorrow, Cowboy.”

“That you will, Peril.”

Napoleon listens to the sound of the door to his room closing shut behind them.

He drops down heavily on top of the seat Illya just left. It’s still warm.

He’s in way too deep.

 

****************

 

Illya sits across from him with his fingers steepled beneath his chin, intense concentration written across his features. Napoleon hasn’t even seen him this focused on a mission. Well, he has, but it isn’t as obvious as now, when he’s staring at him.

Illya picks up his queen and moves it forward four spaces to knock out one of his pawns.

“Check mate,” he says smugly.

“No, no, no. That was five moves. How do you keep doing that?” Napoleon has an overwhelmingly strong, childish urge to tip over the chessboard. Luckily he has enough self-control to hang onto what is left of his dignity.

“It would have been four had you not stolen my bishop.”

Napoleon frowns. He thought he had been so sly with that.

“Alright, enough chess,” Napoleon begs. “Let’s have another drink.”

“No.” Illya shakes his head.

“But you’ve only had two. Aren’t Russians supposed to be big drinkers?”

“Only when it is right occasion.”

“And this isn’t enough of an occasion? Illya, I could quite probably drink you under the table.”

“I know what you are doing,” Illya growls. “You are childish.”

Napoleon smiles at him innocently. “Am I?” He pours another two drinks and lifts his own. Illya sits in his chair looking annoyed, and then jerks a hand out to grab his drink.

Napoleon hides his victorious smirk behind his glass.

It’s only another hour of so before they’re well and truly on their way to being plastered. Napoleon has never seen Illya like this before. He’s open, relaxed. He doesn’t even flinch when Napoleon’s fingers close over his when he takes his glass.

He’s telling stories about his missions in the KGB. Nothing too personal, just little titbits of information like how Illya was stuck in a snow storm on one mission and had to hunker down with a small Ukrainian family in their tiny thatched house, or how an extraction mission turned into a living nightmare when the package had a tiny tracker in it that no one had been able to detect.

He listens intently to every word that Illya says, notes it down and files it away, hoping he’ll be able to recall all of it when he’s sober. He stopped drinking a while ago now. He’s too enamoured with this different side of Illya. One he doesn’t know if he’ll get to see again.

Illya goes quiet for a moment, and his eyes look glazed.

“Peril?” Napoleon speaks gently.

“KGB does not give freedom. Always in control.”

“Good thing you’re not KGB anymore, isn’t it?” Napoleon says lightly.

“You are fool if you think that. I am always KGB.” Illya’s fingers twitch once against his thighs, and start to curl into fists.

Something settles down heavy in Napoleon’s stomach and he prepares for damage control.

“You’re an invaluable asset to U.N.C.L.E, they’re not going to give you back to KGB anytime soon.”

“I am greatest asset to KGB. I am theirs before anyone else.”

Napoleon slides over very slowly until he is crouching down next to Illya’s chair. He wants to touch, but he’s afraid to. Always afraid to touch. He settles for placing a hand on each armrest and even this feels dangerous.

“Illya.” It comes out softer than he had intended.

Illya is trembling, and his knuckles are white. Napoleon might understand now why Illya doesn’t drink a lot.

“Illya,” he pleads. He waits until Illya’s eyes slowly rise to his. He sees the cold, hard fury in them. But he sees something else he hadn’t expected; fear.

“The day we burnt the disk. The day we both disobeyed our orders. Why did you do that? Why did you agree to it?”

The corners of Illya’s mouth are turned down in displeasure. After a few seconds, he answers.

“It was not right, what they wanted. They tell me to treat you as partner, then to kill you and take prize for themselves. Not right.” He shakes his head firmly.

“And have you thought that maybe that’s why U.N.C.L.E took you on? A KGB agent is valuable enough, but a KGB agent who doesn’t blindly follow the orders of the KGB is another.”

“What are you trying to say?” Illya murmurs.

“I’m saying that maybe it’s time to stop being the good soldier the KGB expect you to be, and be the man that U.N.C.L.E contracted.”

The corner of Illya’s mouth tips up in the hint of a smile. “So you say I should become a thief.”

“Well,” Napoleon rocks back on his heels and grabs Illya’s drink, downing the rest of it, “that is one route. I can personally attest to its success.”

Illya huffs out a laugh. His hands have uncurled and they rest, no longer trembling, on top of his thighs.

Napoleon lets out a long breath and feels a bit of weight lift from his shoulders.

 

****************

 

They’re on a plane to London for another mission. Napoleon checked out for a nap about 20 minutes ago, as soon as the plane was in the air. However the intermittent turbulence they’ve been experiencing has so far made it impossible. Still, he tries.

He’s just starting to drift off when Gaby speaks from beside him.

“It’s a long flight, Illya. You should get some sleep too. We won’t have much time when we arrive.”

He hears Illya huff. “As you say, it is a long flight. Plenty of time.”

Gaby sighs. The sound of pages turning indicates Illya is looking through the file again.

“Illya,” Gaby says, and the sound stops, “You look tired. Are you not sleeping well?”

There’s no response.

“Something is wrong.” It’s not a question. Napoleon listens, on high alert. Something is wrong with Illya? Why hadn’t he noticed?

“Nothing is wrong.”

“Illya.”

Napoleon has the feeling Gaby is giving him her notorious stare.

“America is very different than Russia.”

“It’s been almost a year,” Gaby says, “That’s not it.”

For a minute Napoleon thinks Illya won’t reply, but then he says slowly, “I am finding America…difficult.”

Gaby breathes in deep then lets it out. “I know. Have you thought about, maybe speaking to someone about this? Someone you should be talking to about it?”

“No.”

“Then how will you ever know?”

“It is not something I need to know.”

“Illya—”

“No.”

Napoleon hasn’t heard Illya be this short with Gaby before. If he’s even-tempered with anyone, it’s with Gaby.

Gaby sighs again and the pages resume their turning. Napoleon listens for a few more minutes but it’s clear the conversation is over.

He falls asleep feeling confused.

 

****************

 

The mission in London goes to shit.

He’s in the middle of a factory that was supposedly filled with all sorts of illegal firearms when he realises he isn’t alone. Well, technically he wasn’t alone to begin with, because Illya’s doing the same as him a floor above, but he can sense other people moving around the floor.

People. Plural.

“We’ve got company,” he murmurs lowly, just loud enough for Gaby, who is positioned in a nearby cabin, and Illya, to hear through the earpiece he's wearing. “Multiple. We need to get out, now.”

He steps quietly around various cloth-covered machinery, and heads back towards the opposite exit as stealthily as he can. He gets within ten metres of the way out when he sees multiple figures in the dark. He ducks down out of sight and waits silently. They’re spreading out, a few staying by the exit while the others move forward. They have them surrounded.

He’s stuck. He can’t tell how many there are, but he can tell there are too many to take on alone. He hasn’t heard anything from Illya. Hopefully he’s gotten out of the factory, but he could use a little help himself.

He didn’t really get to investigate the accuracy of the information they had been given, but by the sight of the number of men with guns infiltrating through the factory, he’d wager it was correct.

He bides his time, thinking how he can possibly get out of this one. A couple of men are getting closer to him; their guns are poised at the ready.

He’s going to have to make a break for it.

He waits, waits until the man closest to him is almost on top of him, and then he springs up, shooting the guy in the chest.

Then he runs for his life.

He ducks down low as he sprints, shooting at anything and everything.

He’s five metres away from the door and he’s so close when a searing pain tears through his shoulder. He’s never been shot before, believe it or not. In however many missions he has done, he’s been cut, beaten, burnt but never shot. He never fully appreciated that until now.

The pain is unbearable. He keeps going but he’s slower now, and he’s taken down to the ground in seconds. His head hits the ground with a painful thud and he cries out in pain as his shoulder is twisted. He hears a lot of yelling before everything goes black.

 

****************

 

When he comes to he’s in a chair facing a door in an empty room with a light directly over his head. For a single, disorientated second he thinks it’s a year earlier and he’s back in the electric chair with that nutjob watching avidly for any grimace of pain he makes.

Then he starts to wake up fully and the pain in his shoulder comes back with force. He sucks in breaths between his gritted teeth and actively tries to stay conscious. His hands are tied behind his back and it only serves to put his shoulder in more pain. He tries to move so his shoulder isn’t stretched but moving hurts. A lot.

He has no idea where he is, or how long he’s been here. It could be hours, or days. His head kills.

Did Illya get out of the factory? God, he hopes he did. He wonders if they’ll presume him dead. He probably would. He’s surprised he isn’t.

Is his tracker still on? If it isn’t, he doesn’t have much of a hope of surviving.

He hears the door in front of him open and close, and he raises his head to peer blearily at the figure that enters.

It’s a man, with a short stocky build, and a thin moustache. You can never trust the ones with moustaches. Napoleon doesn’t recognise him, but he wasn’t expecting to.

The man stops in front of him and starts putting on some tough looking gloves. Napoleon wants to sigh at his misfortune, but even the slow, even breathing he’s concentrating on hurts.

The man clasps his hands together and asks, “What were you seeking to find in my factory?”

“A bit of shelter,” Napoleon slurs. It hurts to speak. “It’s a cold night.”

The punch that lands on the side of his cheek knocks the breath out of him. He can taste blood in his mouth.

“Whom do you work for?”

He doesn’t answer. He tries to catch his breath back.

Another punch.

“What is your name?”

He rolls his head back. Another punch comes, this one to the stomach.

It’s getting harder to get his breath back now. He feels dizzy. He must have lost a lot of blood.

A hand grips his chin harshly and jerks his head up.

“Who do you work for?”

This isn’t the best way to go, really. He hadn’t spent a lot of time imagining his death, which is interesting because it’s not unlikely, in this job.

But this isn’t the best. Bleeding out from the bullet wound in his shoulder while a man interrogates and beats him.

He didn’t even get to say goodbye to anyone. Not that there are many people he would want to say goodbye to. Mainly Gaby.

Mainly Illya.

He would have liked to touch him, once, before he died. To reach out and touch him without being afraid of it. Maybe Illya would have let him do it if he knew what was going to happen.

Another punch to the stomach brings Napoleon back to earth and he coughs. It’s a wet cough. It doesn’t sound good at all.

“I will not ask again. Who do you work for?”

He drags his eyes up slowly to look at the man. He uses what’s left of his energy to spit the blood out of his mouth.

The man’s expression goes from angry to deadly in seconds. He lifts his arm to deliver another blow and Napoleon braces himself as best he can.

There’s a bit of a scuffle and then the man drops to the floor like a ragdoll. Above him stands a 6’5” mountain of solid muscle. Napoleon’s never been so glad to see Illya in his entire life. He’s also never seen him break someone’s neck before. He wishes he were attentive enough to have observed it clearly.

Illya is cutting through the rope that ties his hands together. He comes back around and kneels down in front of Napoleon. He may be a little out of it, but he can plainly see the panic in Illya’s eyes.

“Cowboy, we need to move. Can you walk?”

“I don’t think so.” His tongue feels thick.

Illya swears profusely in Russian. He stands up and drags Napoleon up with him, pulling his good arm around his shoulders. He all but carries Napoleon out of the room. It feels like they walk forever. He thinks he drifts in and out of consciousness.

Then Illya is pushing him down onto the back seat of a car and climbing in after him. A door shuts. The car starts moving.

He can hear voices in the front seat, but Illya is hovering over him. He looks frightened.

Napoleon doesn’t want him to look like that anymore.

“ ‘M fine,” he slurs, “knew you’d come eventually.”

“Shh Cowboy,” Illya shushes him. “No speaking.”

He’s distantly aware of Illya putting pressure on his shoulder. Illya replies to something said from the front seat.

He still looks scared. Come to think of it, Napoleon’s not terribly sure he’s going to survive.

He thinks back to what he thought about in the room. About what he wanted before he died.

He reaches out with his good arm in the general vicinity of Illya’s chest and fists his hand in his shirt.

Illya looks down at his hand confusedly.

“What is it Cowboy,” he says urgently, “What do you want?”

With a surge of energy he didn’t know he had, he pulls Illya down on top of him, and brings his lips down upon his in a crushing kiss.

To his surprise, and relief, Illya doesn’t try to pull away.

It isn’t like the kisses he’s used to, his head usually full of tricks he’s built up to woo whomever it is he’s kissing.

This isn’t that type of kiss. He wants Illya to know. He wants him to know it was him he was thinking of when he thought he was about to die. Wants him to know that it’s him he thinks about in the middle of a mission, or when he’s watching TV, or when he’s cooking breakfast in the mornings. He needs him to know.

He loosens his fist in Illya’s shirt and Illya pulls back slightly, but he’s still close.

His eyes are filled with wonder. And this is it. This is how he would imagine dying. With the one he loves.

 

****************

 

He doesn’t die.

It comes close. Closer than he’d like. But he wakes up in hospital with a tube down his throat and a hand in his and he coughs like crazy until the nurses hurry in and remove it.

One of the nurses offers him water and he takes a sip gratefully. His throat burns.

He looks to the seat next to him, and it’s Illya who sits there in his customary brown jacket. He’s not holding his hand anymore. He looks exhausted; there are prominent dark circles under his eyes.

He still looks worried, and Napoleon isn’t used to seeing all this vulnerability on him. When he thinks about it though, the vulnerability was there all along.

The nurses give him a run down of his injuries, bullet wound, couple of cracked ribs, a concussion, near-fatal blood loss.

He’s lucky to be alive, they tell him. He already knew that.

They tell him they’ll be in to check on him and then they’re alone.

He turns his head slowly to look at Illya again.

“Hey Peril.” His voice is scratchy.

“Good to see you finally awake, Cowboy.” His tone is jovial, but his eyes are serious. He’s always had very readable eyes, Illya.

“Thanks for coming to my rescue, again. You could have been a little quicker about it though.”

Illya’s concerned expression turns into a glare, and there it is. There’s the Illya he knows.

“You could have not got yourself caught.”

“I know, I know. They had me surrounded. At least you got out.”

“Yes, thanks to you.”

“Well, I guess we’re even then.” He tries to smile and it stings. He can feel a split lip.

“I do not think we are keeping count anymore.”

“All’s fair in love and war, and all of that.”

Illya regards him carefully.

He searches Illya’s face for any signs of what he’s thinking and finds none. Now is probably the time to bite the bullet. Figuratively. He’d rather not literally. His shoulder twinges.

“About what happened in the car.”

“You remember. I was not sure that you did.” Illya looks a little relieved. He supposes that would be a difficult thing for Illya to pretend to forget for his sake.

“I remember.” He pauses to think about what to say and comes up blank. He sits up a little and looks Illya directly in the face. “I have…. strong feelings for you. Not the colleague type. Or the friend type.”

Illya looks a little shocked. “You are saying?”

Napoleon sighs. Of course Illya would make this as difficult for him as possible.

“I’m saying I might be in love with you.”

The silence that comes down after that statement is the heaviest Napoleon has ever heard.

Illya starts to shake his head. “You are stupid, cowboy.”

“Sorry?”

“You are stupid for almost getting yourself killed. You are stupid for kissing me when you are bleeding out and almost dead. And that makes me stupid, because I can not stop being interested in you.”

“What are you saying, Peril?”

Instead of answering, Illya just leans forward slowly and brings up the palm of his hand to caress the side of Napoleon’s face. He kisses him, soft and gentle. And it’s everything their first kiss wasn’t, but it isn’t any less perfect.

When Illya leans back into his chair, it takes a few seconds for Napoleon to take everything in, and then he grins, wide and pleased.

“Well, you never were a man of many words.”

Illya glares.

Napoleon laughs and reaches out to touch him, completely and utterly unafraid.