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1. The first time, Napoleon is dead to the world and Illya is exhausted. Gaby had returned to her room after stitching closed Napoleon's wounds, and left Illya to watch over their reckless American colleague. Illya was sitting backwards in a chair, resting his chin on the backrest and watching Solo sleep.

The American looks nothing like his usual, sleek, charming self. Three nights chained in a cell by the Portuguese had left him skinnier than usual, and bruised and scraped all over. Gaby and Illya had washed the blood off him, and removed all the torn, filthy clothing that they could. Solo had remained unconscious throughout, but Gaby had checked his vitals and reassured Illya that he would be okay. Now that Napoleon is clean, and still, Illya notices the dark beard growing in, hairs startlingly dark against Napoleon's creamy pale skin. Illya had never seen his colleague anything but clean-shaven. His hair too, is curly without product, tumbling loosely over his forehead and twisting behind his ears.

Solo muttered something in his sleep. "Cowboy?" Illya said, low and quiet. He got to his feet, leaning over the sleeping figure. Napoleon's lips parted, "Peril..?"

"I am here." Illya said, moving his face closer. "You are safe." He added, as an afterthought.

Napoleon's eyes drifted open.

"Illya.." Napoleon's body arched upwards a little. Illya frowned a little. Napoleon rarely said his name, only in moments of extreme exhilaration or danger or fear. Or when half-unconscious, apparently.

Illya reached down and gently brushed Napoleon's hair off his forehead. To comfort, the ex-KGB told himself, to reassure Napoleon. Illya doesn't realise how close their faces are until he feels a ghost of breath from the American over his mouth.

And then Napoleon breathes again, heavier, and Illya realises he is asleep. The Russian straightened up, his cheeks growing warm. He frowned to himself, a strange aching feeling settling in his chest.


2. The second time, Napoleon is not drunk, he tells himself later, only bored. Boredom that is alleviated when Illya slams him into a wall, the light fixture above his head flickering with the impact.

Maybe he shouldn't have made that remark about communism and women. If Gaby were here, she'd tut and make herself a drink and swing her socked feet onto Illya's lap. But, alas, Gaby is not here, and Illya's giant hand is spanning Napoleon's chest, holding him against the wall as he growled, "You do not talk about my country. You do not talk about our women."

Napoleon bared his teeth. "What would you do?" He spat back, if only because he dislikes being given orders.

"I will break your pretty face." Illya ground out, in Russian this time.

Napoleon smiled like a cat, curling and seductive. "You think I'm pretty?" He replied, in Russian.

Illya was leaning forward, almost imperceptibly. Napoleon was very aware of the tips of Illya's fingers resting at the base of his neck. "I think you're-" Illya began, but what he thought, Napoleon would never know, as the phone started to ring. This seemed to wake Illya up from Napoleon's trance, and he turned away from the American.

Napoleon let himself slide down the wall to the floor. "Who is it?" He managed.

"Is Gaby." The Russian said, without looking at him. Napoleon let out a long breath as Illya continued to talk to Gaby over the telephone.

3. Illya wasn't entirely sure how he managed to fall out of the speedboat they were using to chase their mark across some Mexican bay. All he knew was that he was wearing heavy equipment, and that he wasn't the most experience swimmer. Russia was known, after all, for being practically landlocked due to its size.

He saw a splash above him, through the strange grey-green-blue of the water. He saw Solo, face ghostly, eyes slitted against the salt, hair floating like oil in the water, and his hand, reaching out to grab the front of Illya's vest.

"Peril," Napoleon mutters to himself as he breaks the surface of the sea, tilting Illya's chin back to better his breathing, "We really need to stop doing this."

And then Napoleon realises Illya isn't breathing, and he drags him to the edge of the bay as best he can.

Illya blearily opens his eyes to feel someone else's mouth covering his, and someone's hands pressing his chest, and Illya blindly pushes the person away to roll over and throw up seawater. He flopped back, and realised that Napoleon was staring down at him with wide, relieved eyes. "Heavens, Peril, I thought I'd lost you." Napoleon pressed a bare forearm against his own forehead, pushing dark hair out of the way.

"You were... kissing. Me." Illya said slowly, in disbelief.

Napoleon had a mirrored expression of confusion. "Kissing? Goodness, Peril, haven't they taught you mouth-to-mouth?"

Illya isn't sure what that is, but in regards to Solo, it sounds appealing.

"Illya!" Both men looked up to see Gaby running towards them, an impressive feat considering her heels.

Gaby berates Illya for not holding on, and her and Napoleon argue over the merits of chest compressions versus 'the kiss of life'. Illya buttoned up his shirt, a docile expression on his face.

"Cowboy?" Illya says, later, as he stumbles with one arm around Napoleon back to Gaby's car.

"Yes, Peril?"

"Thank you." Illya says, almost tentatively.


4. The fourth time, they are cramped underneath floorboards, between piles of insulation and messes of piping and wires. The only way out was up through the floor, a floor currently being used by their marks for a cocktail party.

"This is your fault." Illya said flatly. "Your mindless capitalist ignorance. Why didn't you check when the party started?" Napoleon didn't reply, just ducks his head when dust from a stamped foot trickles down around his ears.

They are sitting in each other's laps, as it were, both with their legs either side of the other's body. Illya was very aware of how close, ahem, certain parts of their bodies were. Solo must be, as well, but the immature comments he was no doubt thinking did not make their way from his mind to his mouth to the scant air between them.

Bright laughter rang out from above them. Gaby. Solo tilts his head, and Illya can see the fine chiseling of his face in the strips of golden light coming down from the room. He can see the movement of his eyelashes as he blinks. Napoleon meets his eyes through the dusty dimness.

"You're lucky I'm not claustrophobic, Peril."

"I think that we are both lucky that neither of us are."

"I feel that this is the first time in a long while that I've stopped moving." Napoleon muttered, and Illya looked at him in surprise.
"It.. has been a long week." Illya agreed slowly.

The American tipped back his head, peering through the slats at the people moving above. The silence between them is filled with music and drink clinking and German chatter.

"Are you... looking up skirts?" Illya narrowed his eyes.

Napoleon gasped, mock-scandalised, while not looking at Illya. "You wound me. But maybe."
Illya nudged him in the side.

"You are disgusting. How would you feel in their place?" Illya felt sorry for the women of America.

"It depends who's looking." Napoleon dropped his gaze to meet Illya's. They looked at each other for a breathless second, then Napoleon winked and the moment was broken. Illya muttered something rude in Russian.

"What was that, Peril?"

"You are crass."

"I'm charming." Napoleon smiled.

"You're the epitome of American decadence."

Napoleon rolled his eyes. Illya couldn't see, but he knew it happened.

"Just because I make you blush."

Illya spluttered. "You, you do not-"

"Hush Peril, I think someone's making a speech."

5. The fifth, and last time, Napoleon awakes screaming from a dream filled with electricity. He pants and stares at his hands for a while, before noticing that Illya standing by his bed like a large Russian desk lamp.

"Did I interrupt your brooding with my noise?" Napoleon asked sarcastically, too exhausted for any kind of wily niceties.

"No, Cowboy."

"Then why are you here?" Napoleon ran a hand through his sweaty hair.

"I heard you. You were calling for me, I thought you were hurt." Illya looked worried, and confused, but mainly worried, and Napoleon wondered if his facial muscles were hurting from all the use they had been getting lately.

"I was dreaming, Peril. I'm fine."

"You don't look fine." Illya was closer now, coming to sit on his bed, his lower back resting on Napoleon's outer thigh.

"That's kind of you." the American muttered.

"You know what I am meaning."

Napoleon stares at the bedsheets tangled around his legs.

"What were your nightmares of?" Illya asks quietly, turning his head to half look at the other.

"Electric chairs." Napoleon says amid a long exhalation of breath. He slumps forward, resting his forehead on the point Illya's shoulder.

"Will you sleep, again, Cowboy?"

"If you stay."

If Illya is surprised, he doesn't show it. He just stands briefly as Napoleon settles himself into a horizontal position. Illya looks down at him, at his furrowed brow, his half closed eyes, the chest visible above the sheets and his shirt. Illya knows Napoleon is watching him look.


"Sleep, Cowboy."


When Napoleon wakes, an arm is wrapped around his stomach, and a warm body is resting against his. Steady breathing fills his ear.

"Peril?" Napoleon asks into the air in front of him.

"Napoleon..?" Illya's voice is thick with sleep.

"You stayed."

"You asked me to."

Napoleon rolled over, found himself nose-to-nose with his colleague, and drew back so that they were no longer spooning.

"You're in my bed, Peril."

"I.. am aware of this." Illya is blushing, Napoleon is sure of it.

"It has been..," Illya says, "How do you say? A long time coming?"

Napoleon snorted. "You in my bed? Are you cooperating with my filthy American innuendo, Illya?"

"Hush, Cowboy."

And if Napoleon made an embarrassingly high-pitched and delighted noise when Illya surged forward and kissed him, he would never admit it.