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It’s not about magic

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Napoleon was stunned the moment he arrived at the scene.

Illya had summoned him with the red sparks in the sky, signaling for his help; he flew over at once and found him near the woodland stream. Sunlight filtered through the maple trees, glittering the gently running water; a perfect picture of paradise, if not for his poor partner, who was leaning weakly against a tree, his shirt soaked crimson. Napoleon’s heart leapt to his throat.

“Illya! Are you alright?”

His partner greeted him with a faint smile. “Napoleon. It’s...nothing serious.” He winced and squeezed his eyes closed.

Napoleon kneeled beside him, noticing the healing blue light which sparkled feebly from Illya's left hand to a fresh stab wound near his abdomen. The wound wasn’t fatal, Napoleon decided, releasing a breath he didn’t know he was holding; but despite Illya’s hovering hand, the wound was still bleeding sluggishly.

“How is this not serious? Who did this?” Just as his panic subsided, anger took over as he jumped up to look for the attacker; the wind was suddenly strong, swirling the colorful fallen leaves around them.

There, not far from them, was a stag-like creature drinking by the stream, its left antler stained red; this must be the one then, Napoleon thought darkly.

“Let me take care of it, Illya.” Napoleon snarled, a mini hurricane already forming by his right hand.  

“Napoleon, no...” Hearing his partner’s voice, small might that be, Napoleon frowned and whirled around to face him.

“Why not? That savage beast attacked you, and it will probably harm the others too!”

“Because, Napoleon,” said Illya quietly, with his brows furrowed and eyes still shut, “it didn’t mean to. It charged blindly because it was in pain.”

But you’re in pain too , Napoleon wanted to say; instead he forced himself to take a deep breath and looked the animal over, and finally saw the deep cut in its shoulder.

“I wasn’t aware that the healer’s oath extends to animals.” Napoleon said drily.

“It doesn’t.” Illya opened his eyes to look at him defiantly.

Napoleon sighed; he had a bad feeling about this. “How, then, can I be of help, dear partner?”

Without a word, Illya struggled to get up. Napoleon rushed to his side to help him to his feet, wrapping an arm carefully around the small of his back to support him; the fact that Illya didn’t object at all said something about his condition.

“Easy does it. Now, please don't tell me that you want to waste your remaining energy to heal the beast.”

Illya’s turned slightly to look at him, his blue eyes widened.

“I am your partner, after all,” he managed a tight smile. “Come on Illya, be reasonable. Let me fly you back to UNCLE to have your injury treated; you are in no condition to walk, let alone drain your magical power further for this.”

Illya frowned and opened his mouth, ready to argue as he always were; but a moment later he relented and simply sighed, “Napoleon. Please.”

“But Illya...” A token protest, knowing too well that he had already lost the argument without actually arguing; he wasn’t in the mood of arguing anyway, wanting to take Illya away as soon as possible either way.

“I trust that you can take me back to UNCLE anyhow; I'm not worried.” As if his previous plea wasn't enough. Napoleon rolled his eyes dramatically.

“Stubborn Russian. Now go and heal it, so we can get going.” Napoleon tried to hide his fondness behind his exasperated tone and harsh words, but he didn't think it escaped his partner’s notice, for his lips curled up in response.

Illya got closer to the creature with his help (Napoleon basically hovered them there to be safe), made a complicated hand gesture with a flourish to stop his own bleeding, then held up his left hand, leaning on Napoleon for support all the while.

A flash of bright blue light zapped and hit the creature’s wound. The creature was obviously startled; Napoleon tensed up at once, instinctively pulling Illya closer to himself, ready to fight back or move them away any second. Fortunately after a brief moment it relaxed visibly, and Napoleon exhaled in relief.

Sensing that Illya was starting to slide down, Napoleon swooped his legs up carefully, carrying him in his arms and getting ready for the flight. Illya draped an arm around his neck and nestled closer for better support.

“All set?” Napoleon smiled down at him.

“Let’s go then. I wouldn’t want to miss dinner.” He replied softly with a hint of a smile.

“I must say I still don't understand why you insisted to heal this...creature.”

“It reminds me of you.” A pause, and Illya smirked.

“Aw. I’m touched, Illyusha.” He planted a playful kiss on Illya’s forehead, ignoring the emotions his words stirred up in him. Illya glared at him without much heat, and Napoleon grinned.

As they began to levitate, Illya's blond hair was ruffled by a gentle breeze; the wind was no longer harsh and cutting, Napoleon suddenly noticed. They needed to hurry back but Napoleon was feeling surprisingly calm; Illya’s confidence in him must have helped. Illya seemed to have the power to quiet the storms within him at times like this, and it had little to do with magic, Napoleon thought fondly, as he held his partner closer and hastened.