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Intimate Weakness

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The transmitter has only just ticked off after Illya rather embarrassingly caught Napoleon in the act, so to speak, with Victoria Vinciguerra. Gaby’s trying to hide her giggles by turning around and walking away from him; he’s glad that there won’t be any wrestling tonight, he’s too exhausted and she would beat him easily. His fatigue is catching up with him rapidly all of a sudden as the adrenaline is leaving his body. The chandelier overhead rattles again after another loud bump and Gaby’s giggles have faded as she’s crawling back into bed.

Illya leans against the doorframe and there’s a frown on his face. Gaby notices and it makes her frown too. Apparently, drowning really is bad for your health.

“Illya?” She asks but he can’t answer. All of a sudden his head is swimming and he’s slipping, starting down to the floor. Gaby is there before he realizes how quickly she can move and her hands are on his face, then his neck, then his chest and it’s too much. It’s too…


Gaby panics when he goes ashen and is on the floor, collapsing under his own weight. She doesn’t like how cold he is to touch, and it’s not because of his normal body temperature being chilly anyway. His face is clammy and there’s a little perspiration on his forehead anyway. She feels for a pulse and there is one, but it’s not strong like she expects it to be, it’s not beating quickly like it did last night when she was on top of him. She doesn’t like it at all, so she slaps him when he starts to black out.

“Illya you stay with me.” She hits him again and again until his eyes open. He looks exhausted and he’s damp, she realizes now for the first time. “What happened tonight? Tell me.”

She wants to keep him talking so he won’t black out again. Meanwhile, she’s up and looking for something warm to change him into when she thinks of the bathtub. How she’s going to get him actually into it, she can’t say, but she’ll figure that out later. She hears him struggle to form words, as she runs into the bathroom and slides along the tiles in her haste. She flips the taps and starts pouring hot water into the tub, barely remembering to hit the stopper, before she’s back out in the bathroom. She grabs his hand and hauls and--nothing. He’s dead weight.

“Illya please, get up.” She doesn’t like the way her voice is begging, but she’s worried now. For the first time since the mission started, she’s actually a little bit scared. Not of him, but for him. She’ll think about what that possibly means later, but for now he’s started to shiver. He groans when she tugs on his arm again and somehow, more like a feat of him crawling and her pulling, they get him into the bathroom. It isn’t until Gaby starts ripping at his clothes to get them off does he come alive a little.

“Stop, little one, stop.” He says and his voice is as tired as he looks but Gaby reluctantly does. “I’ll do it.” He says in German and Gaby simply nods and clambers up from the floor to fetch a towel. She hears a splash a few minutes later and some water spills to the floor. He hisses and Gaby turns without thinking. He’s still wearing his underwear, thank God because she doesn’t know what she’d do if he was completely naked, but he’s got the rest of his clothes off, except for his socks, and Gaby manages to force her eyes back to his face.

He’s got a little color back to him, but it’s red. He’s leaning forward and adjusting the taps. When he sees her eyes on him, he does something that looks a little like a blush, but he’s still too pale for her to tell. “Is hot.” He says by way of explanation.

“Oh.” Gaby says and turns away to give him some privacy. Unfortunately for her intentions, the mirror is right in front of her and she can still see him in the tub. God, he’s attractive and it’s not fair, she thinks. Then, for the first time since he collapsed in front of her, she remembers what she’s going to do tomorrow. She pushes those thoughts aside because she doesn’t want to hurt him, not after they’ve bonded over the past few days, not when she’s seen him vulnerable like this.

“Gaby…” he says and her name is only a whisper in the room that steam is now fogging up. She goes to him, bending on her knees to be level with the tub so she isn’t looking down at his near-nakedness.

“What is it, Illya?” She asks softly and takes the hand that was resting on the side of the clawfoot tub. For a fake Russian architect, he really does have a great choice in suites. He lets her hold his hand and gives her a small smile the same time his thumb runs along the back of her hand.

“Thank you.”

Gaby nods and gives his hand a squeeze and their eyes meet. She’s tempted to lean forward and kiss him, but he needs other things right now. He needs to thaw out from whatever caused his hypothermia and then he needs to get into some dry clothes and into bed. She tells him this and starts to get up from the tile floor. She uses her foot and the drip-rug on the floor to mop up the spilled water as the taps finally get turned off.

“I’ll get you some pajamas.” She says and then she’s gone before he can answer. She rifles through his suitcase and there’s a few questionable objects in there, spy and KGB related things she suspects and makes a mental note to go over once he’s passed out in the bed, and then she returns with the folded clothes on the counter. He is either too tired or not worried about her having gone through his things because he simply nods his thanks. “I’ll be back in a few minutes to help you get out if you need me.”

He nods and Gaby gives him one final look before she goes out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind her and she takes a deep breath. She is going to ask him what happened and he’s going to tell her, damn him, and if he doesn’t then Napoleon would. They owe her that.

Gaby sits on the edge of the bed and waits to hear him call for her or for there to be any sound at all come from the bathroom. There’s only the occasional sound of moving water but nothing that makes her think he’s drowning or anything so she remains calm. She doesn’t want to betray them, but as she rationalizes in her mind, she isn’t really. They are all on the same side, technically. She doesn’t let herself hope, but the idea lingers that by this time tomorrow, she might be on her way to America with her father. What a great result that would be, but it’s a long shot and she doesn’t have her hopes up quite that high.

She sighs and starts when the bathroom door opens. Illya is standing there freshly dressed into his pajamas. He still looks tired, but at least he’s returned to a normal color and she looks a little relieved.

“Thank you. Good night.” He says and starts to go towards his bed. Gaby can only stare as he climbs in and closes his eyes as if nothing just happened.

“You’re welcome.” She replies dryly and shakes her head as she numbly climbs into her own bed. She turns the light off and listens to his breathing. If she was honest, she would want to crawl into bed with him and listen to his heartbeat just to make sure it was still there, especially after earlier. She wonders what he’d do or what he’d say if she did that without asking. She’s tempted, but when she hears his faint snoring she decides not to bother him.

She lets out a long sigh and tries to find some sleepiness from somewhere. Tomorrow’s thoughts and possible outcomes keep her awake long into the night until somewhere around four she finally falls asleep and dreams of polar bears sitting on sunny American beaches.