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Three Mistakes

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Whoever thought the life of a spy was a glamorous one had never sat by a hospital bedside in Des Moines at 1:00am in the morning drinking cold coffee while picking at the tape securing the bandages around his wrists. At least the nurse who'd been on duty when Illya was admitted was beautiful. He glanced down at where she'd written her telephone number on the paper cup before leaving.

It didn't seem that long ago he'd have made sure Illya was all right and then dialed it, instead of sitting there despite the doctors' assurances that Illya would be left with nothing but a really bad headache and another scar to add to his growing collection.

No, not that long ago at all since he'd made his first mistake.


He'd been injured then too, a healing hand injury keeping him deskbound at headquarters and apartment bound otherwise. Boredom had always been his greatest nemesis so he'd set himself a challenge, to scratch a long held itch.


"So, you're not interested in a game of chess..." Swirling the brandy in his snifter, Napoleon leaned back further in to the sofa, instinctively displaying his body to its best advantage. "Want to fool around?"

"So that's what all this—” Illya's expansive gesture encompassed the low lamp light, the glowing fireplace and the remains of their dinner for two "--has been about." Illya put his glass down on the table and turned all the way to face Napoleon. "Fool around? What are we, teenagers? I'm not your prom date Napoleon, far from it."

The hand that twisted in to the front of his shirt, pulling him rapidly forward in to Illya's body, moved too fast for him to even register it, the brandy flying everywhere.


Sex with Illya had been a revelation. The instinctual give and take he'd expected, the tacit negotiations while they'd explored each other's bodies that'd had him going to his hands and knees, trusting in his partner as always and he'd not been disappointed. Even Illya's intensity as he'd taken Napoleon apart with his mouth and oiled fingers, leaving him pushing back against him wanting more, hadn't surprised him as Illya was intense about anything he considered worth doing, including Napoleon.

What had surprised him was Illya's tenderness. He'd made Napoleon slow down, Illya's strong hands caressing his hips, insisting he take the time to adjust and then setting a maddeningly slow pace, adjusting his angle to unerringly hit his prostate every single time. Only when his arms had started trembling had Illya sped up, rocking him forward and reaching around to wring Napoleon's orgasm from him.

... He'd never succeeded in getting the brandy stains completely out of the sofa.


His second mistake had been wasting all the time he had on his "it's not you, it's me" speech before even implementing his seduction plan. His seduction plan that had failed because every time it had worked before his target had been different. His seduction plan that had failed because of Illya, who wasn't ever anyone's target even when he had a bullseye printed on his shirt. Looking back on it even he couldn't believe his chutzpah in assuming that Illya would need 'The Talk.'

The next morning Illya had showered, helped himself to coffee and left for an early morning meeting at the U.N.C.L.E. labs.

Not only had Illya not mentioned it again but when Napoleon had suggested another round when both at a loose end in Venice, Illya had laughed at him. Actually laughed and said with their mutual curiosity satisfied some things didn't need repeating.


He looked again at the telephone number written on his cup, willing himself to call it, willing himself to call any of the women or men who'd be only too willing to spend the night with him but it would just be wasted effort.

He hadn't bedded anyone else since Illya, the longest he'd gone in years without sex with a willing partner. Even his masturbatory fantasies had him revisiting that night in his apartment over and over again.

And this was where he'd made his third mistake, by refusing to face the facts. The secret of being a successful spy was in the ability to lie to everyone else but never to yourself.

He was in love with Illya. He'd been shot, drugged, stabbed, whipped, tortured and survived all of it but this time he didn't know if he could. He thought for a moment about leaving U.N.C.L.E. or at least asking Waverly for a new partner but how could he entrust Illya's life to anyone else? No, there was no escape.

He glanced over to where Illya was still unconscious, skin paler than the pillow he was sleeping on. He'd have to learn to live with it but at least he had the chance to say it, just this once.

He leaned over Illya and whispered it. "I love you, Illya. I guess I always have."

Illya's head came up slightly off the pillow, brushing Napoleon's lips with his own before his head dropped back down heavily like a stone. "... Been waiting for you to catch up." Illya's eyes started fluttering closed again. "Next time tell me when we can do something about it."

Napoleon sat back down, tossing the empty coffee cup in the trash.

He could do that.