For as long as he could remember, the letters had been there. He wasn’t able to read them, of course, but he’d always known to hide them. Soulmates were something to be treasured, something to be proud of, but Napoleon always felt an irrational need to hide his marks, even as a child. Other children had showed them off; red letters curling snakelike around their forearms or spread like blood across their knees. Napoleon kept them hidden under thick t-shirts, and refused to go swimming. Even though the marks weren’t English, or any language his young compatriots would recognize, he knew not to show them off.
As Napoleon grew older, his marks became less of an exciting mystery and more of a nuisance. Hiding them under thick shirts and hoping they didn’t show through when he wore white was a thorn in his side. The red letters were a stark contrast to his skin, no matter how much he tanned. Relationships were out of the question, of course. He’d never tell them what the name was, but no one wants to be in a relationship that isn’t meant to be. Well, fine. He’d never been one for relationships longer than a few nights, anyway. His lovers traced absentminded fingers over the letters, wondering what they said, wondering if Napoleon was running.
Maybe he was.
Maybe he had been, ever since the day he’d realized what they said.
It was stupid, really. Even the Greeks had had theories about soulmates; that for every person, there was another half, and it made sense that sometimes, that other half would be of the same gender. But Napoleon didn’t swing that way. Sure, he took the occasional male lover for the sake of a mission, or ever after a few too many drinks, but he was under no pretense of falling in love with any of them. Falling in love with a woman was rare enough, but a man? Unheard of.
Especially now, of all times. There was a war going on, maybe not in guns and soldiers, but in subterfuge, in spies and secrets. An American, a CIA agent no less, with a Russian soulmate? It simply wasn’t done.
So Napoleon ignored the marks, covered them up, and did his best to forget about them.
And he would’ve done it, too, if not for that meddling Englishman.
He’d known, of course. He knew that day in Berlin, the moment he saw that half-human agent tearing the back off of his car. Something hot and bright sparked in his gut, and he found himself saying that somehow, it just didn’t seem right to shoot the agent.
And then came the introduction.
Napoleon cursed his luck that of all the people to be his soulmate, he’d get a tall Russian with anger issues who seemed to despise him. Just his luck. Probably penance for all his years of thieving and debauchery, he supposed. But that didn’t stop Napoleon from bemoaning his poor lot in life and continuing along his path of drinking, womanizing, and ignoring the marks, and Illya Kuryakin, as best he could.
Except he couldn’t.
Not when he had to be around that damn infernal Russian every day, watching his clumsy attempts to flirt with Gaby. It was pathetic, really. Surely Illya knew that Napoleon was his soulmate, so why did he bother with this ridiculous facade? Even if he and Gaby got together, surely she’d notice Napoleon’s name branded on Illya’s body.
Pathetic, he thought as he watched the Russian. The way he handled Gaby like a doll, as though he was afraid to break her. The way his brows would furrow as he stared at one of the seemingly endless games of chess he played against himself, the little uptick of the corner of his mouth that was barely a smile, the way that his eyes would soften when he looked at Gaby, the way Napoleon’s heart would ache for any of those familiar expressions to be directed at him-
No, he absolutely was not falling for Illya. That was unacceptable; no, that was unthinkable. In some sort of desperate defiance, Napoleon took more lovers, drank more, and generally tried to be as much of a thorn in Illya’s side as the Russian was in Napoleon’s. In his whiskey-clouded mind, if Illya wouldn’t love him, he might as well hate him.
Unfortunately for Napoleon, his plan to ignore his burgeoning attraction to Illya came crashing down in spectacular fashion on one particularly disastrous mission. Their mark, who Napoleon had been assigned to seduce, had been incredibly boorish, and seemed far more interested in Illya than in Napoleon. Gaby had only just managed to convince the Countess that she and Illya were in a relationship, and that the lovely dark-haired gentleman would love to dance with her, so that Napoleon could get her to bed.
“Odd tattoo you’ve got, there.” The Countess murmured, her fat fingers tracing over Napoleon’s side. Napoleon gave her a tight smile, prying her hand off of his side as delicately as possible.
“Yes, well, nothing for you to worry about, my dear.” He said smoothly, giving her a charming smile. She appeared to be mollified, but he noticed her gaze returning to the marks. He sighed, resigning himself to weaving her some elaborate sob story to satisfy her curiosity.
“I was in a relationship, some time ago, with a lovely girl who insisted we do something to demonstrate our love for each other. You’ve heard of soul marks?” He paused, waiting for her nod, then continued. “Well, unfortunately, ours did not match, but we were young and in love, and felt that we could circumvent fate, as it were. The tattoo has stayed, but she...did not.”
The Countess sighed softly, her eyes bright with tears. “Young love.” She tutted softly. “Foolish, but understandable. What-what was her name, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Gaby.” Napoleon replied immediately. “Her name was Gaby. Lovely girl, really, but it just wasn’t meant to be.” He shook his head sadly, his eyes mournful. “It was a shame, but it was for the best.”
The rest of the mission went much the same as the earlier half. Napoleon attempted to slip away from the Countess during the night, but during his escape, he accidentally tripped one of the security alarms. He could practically taste the scorn in Illya’s voice when the Russian said “Oh, well done, Cowboy. Hats off to you.” upon hearing the alarms.
“Shut up and get me out of here.” Napoleon snapped, too irritated to engage in their usual banter.
“Mm, touchy.” Illya smirked, his low voice pitched upwards in amusement. “Would you like help getting out?”
“That would be lovely, thank you.” Napoleon snarled, weaving across the lawn. If he could just make it to the woods, he’d be fine, but there was a stubborn stretch of sprawling green grass in front of him, barring his way to freedom. Napoleon heard the shouts of security behind him and swore viciously, ducking as bullets whizzed past his head.
“Ooh, language, Cowboy.” Illya tutted disapprovingly, shaking his head. Napoleon resisted the urge to turn off his com, instead settling on sending a barrage of insults the Russian’s way. Illya sighed, the sound coming over as a rush of static across the mikes. Napoleon winced, and in doing so, twitched just so that a bullet grazed his ribs. He gasped, pain blossoming across his side.
“Cowboy?” The amusement was gone now, replaced with worry. Napoleon stumbled towards the woods, the dark trees his salvation. His hand was pressed firmly against his side, blood wetting the side of his shirt. He was going to make it, he was sure of it…
A sprinkler head proved to be his downfall.
His foot caught in the metal, and Napoleon took a moment to feel sorry for himself as he fell onto the grass, awkwardly breaking his fall with one arm. Pain lanced up his wounded side, and he couldn’t help the hiss of pain that escaped him.
Napoleon looked up and saw Illya charging out of the forest towards him. Stupid Russian; didn’t he know he wasn’t supposed to run towards the people shooting at them?
Illya didn’t seem to notice Napoleon’s disdain, because he continued stubbornly towards the fallen agent. Ignoring the men shooting at them, Illya grabbed Napoleon, picking up the American and cradling him as though he were a doll. Napoleon made a disgruntled noise, complaining that if Illya insisted on carrying Napoleon bridal-style, he should at least buy him dinner first. Illya ignored Napoleon, sprinting into the woods and returning to his makeshift post. They stayed there, stock-still, hardly daring to breathe as the Countess’ men frantically searched the woods for whoever had tripped their alarms.
The moment the flashlights disappeared, Illya turned to Napoleon, ripping open the fabric of his shirt.
“At least buy me a drink first, Peril.” Napoleon joked weakly. Illya glared at him, his eyes cold and hard.
“If you did not insist on theatrics, this would never have happened.” Illya snapped, examining the wound. Napoleon rolled his eyes, trying to close his shirt as best he could. The marks were only a few inches up, if Illya saw them…
“Oh, please, Peril, it’s barely more than a scratch.” Napoleon insisted, attempting to brush the Russian off. Illya’s gaze hardened.
“You’re hardly one to be modest, Cowboy.” Illya said, stubbornly refusing to let it go. “Now, if you do not let me examine the wound, I will tie you up and do it that way.”
Napoleon decidedly did not let his imagination run wild with the idea of Illya tying him up, and relented. “Fine, Peril, if you insist.” He said, sighing dramatically. He leaned back, affecting an expression of utmost boredom as he allowed Illya to examine his wound. Napoleon held his breath, not daring to move a muscle more than absolutely necessary, afraid that even the slightest shift could expose the marks.
Luckily for Napoleon, Illya didn’t seem particularly interested in anything but the bullet wound. Curse that damn Russian and his damn professionalism, Napoleon thought. If Illya was only a little less rigid, less focused, more...human, then everything would be easier. Napoleon could find some clever, casual way to bring up soulmates in conversation, get the Russian to show him his, and when they matched, they’d live happily ever after, or something equally sappy and cliche. As it was, however, Napoleon was pulled from his reverie by Illya sharply prodding his wound.
“Watch it, Peril!” He snapped, slightly harsher than he intended. Illya glared at him coldly.
“Just making sure you are paying attention. Not drifting off.” Illya grumbled, returning to his examination of Napoleon’s wound.
“Well, hurry it up, will you? I’m beginning to think you enjoy having me stripped naked like this.”
The moment the words left his mouth, Napoleon regretted it. Illya’s face went stony, then blank, falling into the expressionless mask that Napoleon knew was hiding anger brewing just beneath the surface. A glance downwards at Illya’s hands confirmed his suspicions. The Russian was tapping a staccato beat against his thigh, and Napoleon winced, rubbing a hand over his brow. Dammit.
“Illya, I didn’t mean-”
“Be quiet.” Illya snapped, roughly pulling the material of Napoleon’s shirt closed. On impulse, Napoleon grabbed Illya’s wrist, and the Russian froze. For a moment, it seemed like he would hit Napoleon, but then the anger passed, and Illya merely twisted his hand free.
“Don’t touch me, Cowboy.” Illya spat, but Napoleon ignored him, grabbing his wrist again. Illya twisted violently, but Napoleon hung on stubbornly. He pulled sharply, catching Illya off-guard and causing him to awkwardly lurch forward. It wasn’t enough to make him fall, but it was enough to throw him off-balance long enough for Napoleon to strengthen his grip.
In the struggle, Illya’s watch had slid back on his arm, exposing his wrist. Napoleon caught sight of red letters etched onto pale skin, and his heart skipped a beat. He craned his neck, trying to read the upside-down letters. Much to his irritation, he couldn’t quite make them out, but they were definitely in English. Something twisted in Napoleon’s gut, and in his shock, his grip slackened. Illya twisted away, turning away from Napoleon, but not before Napoleon noticed the flush creeping up Peril’s cheeks. Interesting.
Napoleon barely noticed Illya’s frosty demeanor as they made their way out of the woods to where the getaway car was waiting. Illya got into the driver’s seat, and Napoleon bit back a complaint. True, he was injured, but Peril’s thinking tended to be clouded when he was angry, and it’d be a shame if they ended up getting killed because Illya was too pissed off to notice a red light.
Then there was the matter of Peril’s marks.
Napoleon couldn’t imagine how hard it must’ve been for Illya to have an English name branded on his wrist, especially given his family’s history. No wonder he was so dedicated to his work. His handlers likely demanded perfection, and there was no doubt in Napoleon’s mind that Illya’s marks were used as leverage to make him behave.
Then there was the marks themselves. Napoleon knew that Illya wasn’t exactly an uncommon name, but there was no mistaking the way he felt when he looked at Illya. He’d tried, of course, but apparently, fate had other things in mind for him.
“Something on your mind, Cowboy?”
Napoleon started. He hadn’t realized he’d been staring at Illya for the past few minutes. “Apologies, Peril. I was caught up in your stunning beauty.”
He wasn’t quite sure where that had come from, but judging from the flush that crept up Illya’s skin, it was more than worth it. Illya cleared his throat loudly, ducking his head slightly to hide the color on his skin. Napoleon smirked. Who knew Peril was so shy? It was adorable, really, the way the normally stoic, indifferent Russian flushed ever so prettily whenever a compliment caught him off guard. Napoleon resolved to compliment Illya more often, if only to fluster him a bit.
“So, what’s the verdict, Peril? Am I going to live?” Napoleon asked casually, draping an arm nonchalantly over the back of the driver’s seat. Illya twitched slightly, his gaze briefly flitting over to Napoleon. Unable to find anything to protest to, he frowned, glaring at the road ahead of them.
“You’ll be fine. You’d be better if you stopped with the theatrics.” Illya answered shortly. Napoleon waved a hand dismissively.
“Nonsense, Peril.” He scoffed. “That’s part of the fun. I wouldn’t be a spy if I didn’t put on a show.”
“You’re a terrible spy.” Illya grumbled. “That’s why you’re a terrible spy.”
Napoleon laughed easily, his hand sliding down the seat to rest on Illya’s shoulder. Illya tensed immediately, the muscles in his back bunched. Napoleon made a small noise of dissatisfaction, stroking his thumb lazily over Illya’s shoulders.
“Now, Peril,” Napoleon said, as though nothing was amiss, “What are your plans for this fine evening?”
“What?” Illya asked, voice thick with confusion.
“Your plans, Peril.” Napoleon repeated. “What will you do after we get to the safe house?”
Illya was silent for a long moment, clearly confused. “Play chess?” He answered hesitantly, glancing at Napoleon as though looking for approval. Napoleon sighed, shaking his head sadly.
“No, Peril, I don’t think that’ll work.” Napoleon said, tutting disapprovingly. “You’re a young, strapping man. You can’t spend your days hunched over a chessboard, playing with yourself. You need to...live a little!”
Illya raised an eyebrow. “And I suppose you have an idea about what I should do to live?”
“Well, since you asked, I suppose I could offer some suggestions.” Napoleon replied modestly. Illya snorted, but stayed quiet. Napoleon noticed, with a surge of pleasure, that Illya had relaxed, allowing Napoleon’s hand to rest of his shoulder. He couldn’t help smiling, turning away briefly to hide his smile.
“You know, Peril, in all our time together, I don’t think we’ve ever just sat down and talked, just the two of us.”
Illya stiffened, his frown returning. “Talked.” He repeated, tone heavy with suspicion.
“Yes, Illya, talked.” Napoleon said, his voice soothing. “We’ve been working with each other for a year now, and I barely know anything about you! Other than what was in your file, of course.”
“Is better that way.” Illya replied flatly.
Napoleon raised an eyebrow. “Now who’s being the dramatic one? What’s wrong with getting to know each other a bit more intimately, as you would say?”
Illya glared at him scornfully. “No, Cowboy. We don’t need to get to know each other, intimately or not. End of discussion.”
Napoleon laughed. “You think just because you’ve got that accent, I’ll do what you say?”
A moment of silence followed Napoleon’s words, making the American frown. He hadn’t said anything weird or offensive, had he? No, no, not unless Illya was sensitive about his accent. Somehow, Napoleon doubted the Russian was really sensitive about anything, unless it was his mother or father. Illya didn’t seem the sort to take Napoleon’s comments to heart.
“I don’t know, Cowboy.” Illya replied finally. “You certainly don’t seem to obey me on missions.”
Napoleon was thankful that the darkness of the car hid the blush that crept up his cheeks. He coughed slightly, clearing his throat. “I didn’t say obey, Peril. There’s a difference.”
Illya frowned. “Really? I was under the impression that they were-how do you say, cinnamons?”
Napoleon rolled his eyes. “Synonyms, Peril, synonyms. And-well, yes, they do technically mean the same thing, but they have very different...connotations, shall we say.”
“How so?” Illya asked, amusement evident in his voice. Napoleon sighed, rubbing a hand over his eyes. He really did not want to be having this conversation with Illya, not now.
“Well, doing what you say could be in many contexts. It could be anything from taking an order on a mission to agreeing on where you want to eat afterwards. Obeying…” Napoleon paused, taking a deep breath. “Obeying has a much more...sexual context.”
Illya nodded, frowning slightly. “And you don’t do either?”
Napoleon groaned. “Is this really the best time to lecture me on following mission etiquette, Peril?”
“Why not?” Illya replied, a ghost of a grin flitting over his features. “We are alone, we are talking, just like you wanted, yes?”
Napoleon took a moment to allow his imagination to run wild with what exactly he did want to do with Illya. Talking, yes, but he’d imagined their conversation taking a very different route. Ideally, the night would have ended up with them tangled in the sheets on Napoleon’s bed, becoming very intimately acquainted with each other.
“I suppose a lecture on etiquette is better than nothing at all.” Napoleon conceded. Illya’s grin clearly widened, despite his face being cast in shadow by his cap. He shook his head ruefully, steering the car up the driveway of the safehouse. Napoleon started slightly. He hadn’t realized they were already at the safehouse. A small part of him mourned the inevitable loss of his time alone with Illya, but he firmly pushed that part down, scolding himself. The only reason he should be upset is that now he’d likely have to spend the evening enduring Peril’s clumsy attempts to flirt with Gaby.
Napoleon trailed a few steps behind Illya as his fellow spy unloaded their gear from the getaway car with an almost ruthless efficiency, slinging both duffel bags effortlessly over his broad shoulders. Napoleon took a moment to admire Peril’s physique. He’d assumed that throwing a motorcycle was a once-in-a-million, superhuman feat fueled by adrenaline, but as it turned out, Peril was just that strong. Napoleon was reluctantly impressed by this, and had confided it to Gaby once in confidence. Gaby, being herself, had promptly told Illya that Napoleon was “very impressed by his strength.” Illya had gone red, offered Napoleon a very confused “thank you?” and been twitchy around him for a week.
Following that incident, Napoleon had resolved to never speak to Gaby again, which of course he had failed at after one day. It wasn’t that he didn’t have resolve; no, it had much more to do with the fact that Illya was appalling at keeping up a casual conversation, and sent Napoleon very nasty looks whenever he tried to interrupt Illya’s chess games. Napoleon had given up and gone to talk to Gaby instead, complaining loudly all the way that Illya was a terrible converser.
Napoleon was pulled out of his reverie by Gaby running to greet them, pulling both of them into a tight hug. It was awkwardly mismatched, with both of them dwarfing Gaby, but she didn’t seem to mind.
“Now, boys, what happened out there?” She asked, pulling away. Her hands went to her hips, her face falling into a stern look that was very reminiscent of a mother scolding her sons.
Napoleon shrugged. “Peril here distracted me, causing me to get shot.”
“That is a lie!” Illya snapped. “Solo tripped alarm, then got himself shot.”
Gaby rolled her eyes, letting out a long-suffering sigh. “Boys, if you could please spend one evening without fighting, that would be lovely.”
“Yes, Peril, stop fighting.” Napoleon said sternly. Illya glared daggers at him, which Napoleon returned with a jaunty wink. He contemplated blowing a kiss, but decided that perhaps having Illya plotting his demise while they were stuck in a safe house wasn’t the wisest decision.
“I need a drink.” Gaby announced, standing up. “And I intend to get several. You boys play nice, and maybe I’ll save some for you.” With that, she disappeared into the kitchen, seemingly content with leaving Napoleon alone with a potentially murderous Peril. Napoleon sighed. He couldn’t blame her, he supposed. After all, she wasn’t paid to put up with the nonsense that he and Illya got up to.
In her absence, the silence stretched out, becoming uncomfortable. Napoleon couldn’t stand uncomfortable silences. If people weren’t speaking, then he didn’t know what they were thinking. And Peril was hard enough to read as it was. He needed the Russian to speak, even if it was just insults hurled his way.
“Why couldn’t she read your tattoo?”
Napoleon started. He hadn’t expected Peril to start a conversation. Perhaps miracles were real, after all.
“I beg your pardon?” Napoleon asked, reclining into a more comfortable position on the couch. The corner of Illya’s mouth twitched disapprovingly as Napoleon folded his hands behind his head, his feet resting on the arm of the couch. Napoleon knew the position made him look like he owned the room, and knew that Illya hated it. It was why he so often insisted upon sitting this way whenever Illya was in the room.
“Your tattoo, Cowboy. The one the Countess said was odd. Why couldn’t she read it?”
“Well, you see, Peril, it’s not in English.” Napoleon replied easily. This was excellent. They were talking about soulmate marks and he hadn’t even had to bother getting the conversation around to it. Peril was ever so helpful sometimes.
“You got a tattoo in a language you can’t read?” Illya asked skeptically.
Napoleon rolled his eyes. “Well, I can read it, Peril, but apparently, the Countess’ Russian is a little lacking.”
“Gaby is German.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that.” Napoleon said, his words taking on a hint of steel.
“Then why is your tattoo in Russian?” Illya asked, his words equally hard.
“You must have misheard me, Peril.” Napoleon lied smoothly.
“No,” Illya said, shaking his head. “I did not mishear anything. You told the Countess that it was a fake soulmate mark, with Gaby’s name in another language. First, that is a lie. Obviously, it must be real soulmate mark, otherwise, there is no reason to lie about a tattoo. Second, it is not Gaby’s name on your side, because I know who Gaby’s soulmate is, and it is not you. That means you are lying about it being Gaby’s name, and also about the tattoo being in German. So,” Illya leaned forward, his eyes hard as he stared at Napoleon. “Why is your mark in Russian?”
Napoleon was slightly stunned, though he’d never admit it. He occasionally forgot that Illya was actually an incredibly good spy. Luckily, he recovered quickly.
“Well, obviously, my soulmate is Russian.” Napoleon said, trying to muster up some false bravado. Illya didn’t seem convinced.
“A CIA agent with a Russian soulmate? Нет. They would never allow it. So, you must have kept it hidden. But, Countess noticed. So, where is not visible while working, but visible during sex? You didn’t let me open your shirt to treat your wound, so I think it is on your chest.” Illya settled back in his seat, evidently very pleased with himself.
“Why, Peril, I do believe that’s the longest speech I’ve ever heard you make.”
Illya gave Napoleon a scornful look. “You are deflecting.”
“I am not!” Napoleon cried indignantly, putting a hand over his heart. “You wound me, Peril.”
“I will wound you if you don’t stop lying.”
Napoleon raised an eyebrow. “Why does it matter to you who my soulmate is, Peril?” Illya flushed, Napoleone’s not-so-subtle innuendo clearly hitting its mark.
“It doesn’t matter.” Illya said gruffly. “I just wondered why you were lying, that’s all.”
Napoleon smirked. It really was too easy to fluster Illya. “Well, since you’re so insistent, I suppose I could tell you who it is.” Napoleon said, keeping his voice as carefully nonchalant as possible. Illya sat forward slightly, immediately perking up. Napoleon repressed a sigh. It really was too easy sometimes.
“Actually, now that I think about it, why bother?” Napoleon asked, a self-satisfied smirk curling the edge of his mouth. “We’re not compatible.” Illya’s gaze darkened, and he sat back, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Why does it matter if we are...compatible?” Illya asked, his lip curling as though the words left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“Well, that’s the reason for your sudden interest in my soulmate mark, isn’t it?” Napoleon asked innocently. “I mean, I can understand why you’d want me to know that you know I’m lying. You never miss an opportunity to show off for me. But why do you need to know who my soulmate is? It’s rather personal information, Peril.”
Illya’s face settled into a blank mask, the insistent tapping of his finger the only indication that Napoleon’s words were having an effect on him.
A sensible man would’ve stopped. A sensible man would have recognized that pissing off a Russian giant with anger issues was not a good idea, and would, at this point, be half out of his mind with fear. A sensible man would know not to push this any farther.
Thankfully, Napoleon was not a sensible man.
“Illya, you know, if you wanted to find out if you had a chance with me, you could’ve just bought me dinner.”
Illya’s face darkened, a muscle in his jaw twitching. Napoleon’s grin widened. You’d think Peril would be better at hiding his emotions, being a spy and all, but really, you just had to know his tells and then viola, the agent became an open book.
“Honestly, Peril, how clueless do you think I am? I mean, granted, I always thought you’d go for Gaby over me, but I’m flattered. You’re certainly a good-looking man, and if you ever find yourself wanting company, I’d love to provide you some. But soulmates?” Napoleon chuckled, shaking his head. “I never pegged you for a romantic.”
Illya rolled his eyes. “You’re deflecting. Means you have something to hide.” He said evenly, crossing his arms over his chest.
Damn Peril and his perceptiveness.
Napoleon sighed. “Very well, Peril. You show me yours, I’ll show you mine.” He was fairly sure that here was where their little game would break down. Illya was notoriously private, and there was no way that he’d show Napoleon something as intimate as his marks.
Well, scratch that, then.
Napoleon unbuttoned his suit jacket, tossing it over the arm of the couch with careless abandon. Illya watched him with a kind of professional detachment that got under Napoleon’s skin, made him want to make Illya react, make him do something other than watch him like Napoleon was doing nothing more than reading a briefing for their next mission.
If there was one thing Napoleon was good at, it was putting on a show.
It was such a thrill, really. Seeing someone react, especially someone with such iron self-control as Illya. Watching his pupils dilate as Napoleon began unbuttoning his shirt, seeing him shift slightly, his gaze tracking down Napoleon’s chest as it was revealed, inch by inch, sent hot sparks tracing lazily down Napoleon’s spine to pool in his gut. He shrugged off his shirt, tossing it over towards the couch to join his jacket. Napoleon strolled forward, closing the distance between them. Illya seemed frozen in place, his eyes widening almost comically as Napoleon straddled him, settling comfortably on Illya’s lap.
“Show me yours.” Napoleon whispered huskily in Illya’s ear, reveling in the way Illya’s breath caught. He obeyed, pushing his watch down his forearm, turning his wrist so that the marks were exposed. Napoleon crossed over, peering down at the letters, his forehead furrowed in concentration. Illya fought to keep a smile off his face as he watched Napoleon’s expression turn from curious to confused to outraged.
“I can’t say I blame you.” Illya said, his voice choked with mirth. “Napoleon Solo is a much better spy name than Jerry Smith.”
Napoleon groaned, resting his head on Illya’s shoulder. Great. Here he was getting all worked up, and his damn birth name had to go and get in the way of things.
“I thought marks were supposed to be your real name.” Napoleon protested weakly. Illya laughed, shaking his head.
“It is your real name, no?”
Napoleon sighed. “Yes.” He said reluctantly. “Technically speaking, Jerry Smith is my real name. But that’s a terrible name, so I changed it the moment I turned eighteen and joined the army.”
“Mm.” Illya murmured, one of his hands coming up to trace the Cyrillic letters on Napoleon’s side. Napoleon shuddered, the sensation not doing anything to help the arousal burning in his gut.
“How long have you known?” Napoleon asked, curious in spite of himself.
Illya lifted one shoulder in a half-shrug. “Since Berlin. Knew there had to be a reason I didn’t shoot you. Took a little while to work out the names, but I did some digging.”
Napoleon sighed. “You just had to find out didn’t you? Couldn’t just be happy with the knowledge that your soulmate was a devastatingly handsome American spy?”
Illya snorted, rolling his eyes. “You overestimate yourself.” They fell silent for a moment, then Illy said quietly; “Napoleon is better.” The corner of his mouth twitched upwards in a smile. “It...suits you.”
“I’m glad you approve.” Napoleon said, shifting slightly so that he was seated more comfortably on Illya’s lap. Illya let out a slight hiss, glaring at Napoleon. Napoleon smiled innocently at him, repeating the motion.
“So, what now? You take me to bed, and we see how good I am at obeying you?” Napoleon asked with a sultry wink, bending down to kiss Illya’s jaw. Illya laughed, but tilted his head back to give Napoleon access to more of his throat.
“Thought I couldn’t do that without buying you dinner first.” Illya said, raising an eyebrow.
Napoleon shrugged. “Well, maybe I could make an exception, just this once.” He leaned up to kiss Illya, reveling in the sensation of finally, finally being able to kiss him. Illya made a small, pleased noise, his hands curling around Napoleon’s waist, pulling him closer.
“How gracious of you.”