Genre: Slash, also explicit Het
A gift for Svetlanacat, to say thank you for all the lovely photos and gorgeous manips she's given us over the years. This story is inspired by one of her photos. The opening pic is from Lisa' s Screencaps Library.
He is not coming.
I did not expect him to, not really. It is New Year's Eve after all, and he has his women to amuse him, dozens of them, beautiful and smart and willing. More than enough women to keep him occupied.
Still, I had hoped...
“Bartender, another vodka, if you please.”
New Year's Eve. I imagine him at El Morocco, or the Stork Club, dancing the night away with some nameless blonde -- Napoleon seems to prefer blondes these days -- wining and dining her inhibitions away on fois gras and vintage champagne. I imagine the cab ride back to her apartment, the soft murmurs of desire, stolen kisses in the dark. I imagine...
Stop. It does no good to think of such things.
The band is late. I wish the music would start. Anything to drown out these thoughts...
The lights will be turned down low, the music subtle, sultry. There will be champagne chilling in a silver ice bucket beside the Christmas tree. He slips the fur coat from her shoulders. It pools around their feet, forgotten. Their bodies press together, a tangle of arms and legs and lips, the soft hiss of his silk tie as it comes loose. The rasp of a zipper...
Chyort. Think of something else. "Dynamic friction is characterized by a coefficient of dynamic condition U. The coefficient of dynamic friction is defined as the ratio of applied tangential force F to the normal force between surfaces in contact with each other. The formula to calculate..."
They tumble blindly toward the bedroom, all gasps and moans and wet sounds, caught up in the urgency of the moment. Napoleon's hard body trembling with desire, the sheen of his bare skin bathed in moonlight. The sigh of the bed as it enfolds them...
"The amount of dynamic force required to...to slide..." Chert voz mil, where the hell is the band?
…his back arches as he moves inside her, hips rising and falling with each powerful thrust. Fingers clutch crisp sheets, lips taste willing flesh and I want it to be me under him, me naked and thrusting up to meet him me gasping and coming and crying out his name Napoleon ni astanavlivaysa, imejte men'a, moya lyubov! Ya hochu--Ya hochu--!*
Bozhe moi, I am undone.
“Bartender, again, please.”
There never was a chance for more than friendship with us. I know that now. Not even the ghost of a chance. I should have been content with what we had, left well enough alone, played the fool and kept a friend. Now I have lost even that small grace.
Sabotage is a specialty of mine, you see.
Too many missions, our survival hanging by the barest of threads. Too many grievous wounds inflicted, too many THRUSH plots, too many nights spent in vile hellholes, wondering if there would be a morning. Too much time wasted.
When does it become too late to live?
I only meant to ask him to dinner. At least, that is what I tell myself in the aftermath of this unmitigated disaster. “Charlie Mingus is playing at The Night Owl on New Year's Eve. Would you care to join me for a late supper?”
He was puzzled by the suggestion -- I could see it in his eyes. For the past three years, I have made a habit of declining his invitations. He shrugged his regret. “I wish I'd known, Illya. I've already made plans.”
Some inexplicable madness surged in me. “Break them.”
“I can't, tovarisch. It wouldn't be fair to Margie, to leave her without a date on New Year's --”
I kissed him.
I felt his full lips yield in surprise, felt the soft gasp of his breath. His pulse raced at his throat. He leaned in, and for a moment I thought --
“What the hell --?” He pulled away. I saw his eyes, wide with shock, saw his cheeks grow pale. I felt his panic.
I have ruined everything.
“Leave the bottle, bartender.”
It has been two days. Two days that we have not spoken, two days my communicator has remained silent. Perhaps he will never speak to me again.
The band is finally here, and I am not nearly drunk enough. It seems oblivion is more difficult than I imagined.
A gust of frigid air shivers up my spine. The door to the bar has opened, admitting a raucous party of revelers. They brush the snow from their coats, laughing and joking as they move toward the nearest table. I turn away, unwilling to witness their happiness.
A breath of warm air brushes my cheek.
He slides onto the adjacent barstool. “I thought we should talk.”
So this is how it will end. We will talk about the elephant in the room until it dies of boredom. I down a shot of vodka, unable to feel the familiar burn, unable to feel much of anything. “What happened to your date? Margie, wasn't it?”
He nods. “I told her I had an emergency, and set her up with Mark Slate for the evening. She didn't seem to mind.”
“That must have bruised your ego.”
The silence drags on between us. I wait, memorizing the color of his eyes, like warm honey, and the way that single, rebellious lock of hair curls down over his brow. The firm line of his jaw, the clean scent of his aftershave. I want to be able to remember everything when he is gone.
“You kissed me,” he acknowledges finally, his voice a soft murmur. “Why?”
What could I say? That I was tired? Not myself? Lies. I have never felt so myself as when my lips touched his.
“The truth, Illya, please. I need to hear it.”
We are there at last. I prepare myself for the killing blow. “I kissed you because I am in love with you, Napoleon. Because I couldn't bear not to kiss you.”
His eyes widen in surprise. “Jesus, Illya.” A pause. “Why didn't you tell me?”
“Oh, Napoleon, don't be naïve.”
He is silent for a long time, staring off into space, darting occasional glances my way from under those dark lashes. Preparing the words that will end our partnership. I use the lull in the conversation to pour another shot of vodka.
He sighs. “I won't lie, Illya. When you -- when it happened, I was shocked, to say the least. Unexpected doesn't even begin to cover it. I mean, you're my best friend, and suddenly you're kissing me. How do I begin to process that?”
I have no answer for him.
“I'm a man who likes women. A lot. I've liked them ever since I was old enough to know the difference.”
I nod. My heart turns to ice in my chest.
“That's why this is so --” He runs a hand through his hair, and there is that rebellious lock falling free again. I long to reach out and brush it back from his eyes.
“Illya, I --"
He hesitates. I want to tell him it is alright, I understand, even though it isn't, and I don't.
A long, drawn-out sigh. "God help me, Illya, I can't stop thinking about that kiss! I thought about it all night. Dreamed about it. How it felt. How I felt in your arms.” A deep, shaky breath. “It felt like home.”
I am struck dumb. Words fail me. The empty shot glass dangles precariously from my fingers.
Napoleon's hands are shaking. His voice, when he speaks again, is hoarse, husky with desire. “Illyusha. I would very much like to celebrate the New Year with you. Somewhere much more private, if it's all the same to you.”
A slow grin spreads across my face. I am suddenly, gloriously warm, vibrating with need, desperate to touch, and to be touched. “Where?”
I nod, and throw a pile of bills onto the counter, ample payment for the evening's indulgence.
As we exit the bar, Charlie Mingus has begun to play, his virtuoso bass plunking out a sultry, bluesy version of Auld Lang Syne. Napoleon hums the melody, his hand casually resting upon the small of my back. I lean back into the hand, knowing it will be alright now.
*(Napoleon don't stop! Take me, my love! I want -- I want --!)