Illya arched an eyebrow at the scientist across from him. "And you thought you'd find ... what exactly?"
The man blustered out a few sentences before falling silent. Illya cast another look around the remains of what had once been a working laboratory. At the moment, the charred remnants of tables and stools were all that was left. Under their feet, the shards of glass retorts crunched and each step raised small gusts of ash that then floated about them like the down off a dandelion.
"Everything is to be gathered up and transported back to headquarters so we can be sure that nothing is left for THRUSH to find." He directed the clean up crew and they nodded once before getting to work. Turning back to the crestfallen man who'd just seen six months work go up in smoke, he paused a moment then shook his head. "Dr. Kent, I'm afraid that you will need to report to Mr. Waverly. Right now. After you, please."
Motioning him out to the corridor of the building that UNCLE rented for laboratory space, he nodded once to the security team who took Dr. Kent away to their car. Stepping back into the ruined lab, he shook his head at the totality of the destruction. A chirp from his pocket brought his hand to his breast pocket and he unclipped the silver wand to answer it.
"No, no, you need to say more than that." Napoleon's voice chided him.
"But you know who I am so why must I announce myself?" He teased right back.
"How much longer will you be?"
"I've done as much as I can here. Why?"
"I thought I'd pick up some Chinese take-out since it's my turn to cook."
"Why is it that lately when it's your turn to provide dinner, we usually get something from a restaurant?"
"Because I'm too tired to cook?"
"And whose fault is that?"
"Yours, Illyusha." The softly spoken name caressed his ears and Illya was glad that he'd stepped out into the empty hall and walked down the stairs. "And if I'm very lucky, I'll be too tired tomorrow as well."
"Ah, then I will enjoy Chinese tonight. Lemon chicken for me."
"Half an hour?"
Illya checked his watch. "Yes. I'll be there. It's too bad the back yard is such a mess. The weather is perfect for a picnic."
"Picnics are highly over-rated. Full of bugs and dust that gets in everything."
He chuckled. "I can see that you've never been on a proper picnic."
"Really? One of these days, we must try out your version. Solo out."
Illya put away his communicator and stepped out to the street just in time to catch a cab. The traffic seemed nonexistent and in fifteen minutes he was getting out at the brownstone that had become home three months before. Shaking his head at the unbelievably fast trip, he let himself in and checked the message board in the front hall. They'd placed it there after Mark had returned the first time so the three of them could coordinate the public rooms of their home.
Mark was still in South America so Illya went on up to the second floor, hesitated then went on up to the third and the pull-down stairway to the roof. Poking his head out, he viewed the tar paper roof and the spot he'd picked out on their initial reconnaissance. The chimney provided a buffer to the north and the air conditioning unit a wall of metal to the south. The walls between the brownstones to the east and the west were four feet high and none of their neighbors seemed to ever go up onto their roofs.
Stepping down carefully, he went into the bedroom above his where they'd moved the unwanted furniture. The six-foot Oriental rug was still there, rolled up in a corner and he picked it up. Back onto the roof and he spread it out in the niche. Two more trips added pillows, a battery operated radio, the ice bucket from the kitchen filled with ice, two wine glasses and a bottle of Akidama Plum wine that would go with the Chinese.
Back in his bedroom, he barely had time to change to jeans and his favorite blue sweater before he heard Napoleon's key in the lock. Coming down the stairs, his eyes met his partner's gaze and he almost blushed at the heated look. Two more steps and Napoleon was pulling him into his arms and their third kiss of the day. Each one was different but this one was more anticipatory than the earlier ones. Because this one would lead to making love, something that Illya anticipated with more confidence as time went on and Napoleon didn't seem to tire of him.
The heat from the sack against his back reminded him of his picnic plans and he drew away slowly, leaving his hands on his partner's arms and looking up into the sultry gaze of his lover. "I have an idea."
"Is it a good idea? Does it have anything to do with whipped cream?"
"Not at the moment but I'm open to suggestions." Illya smiled at him. "In my off duty hours, I am working on being more spontaneous since you need me to be predictable on the job."
"Spontaneous? That sounds like fun." Brown eyes sparkled into his.
"I will take the food and you will change clothes so you are comfortable. Maybe the white shirt with the full sleeves?" Illya mentioned the shirt that Napoleon had bought in Switzerland.
"And then?" Napoleon followed him while he backed up into the living room.
"Then I will come to get you and we will eat dinner." Illya let go and took the bag from him.
"Change clothes and eat dinner, I'm not seeing anything new here." Napoleon complained.
Illya stuck out his lower lip, the way Napoleon often did when he wanted his own way. His partner groaned and covered his eyes with a histrionic sigh. "Not the pout! No fair using the pout."
"Then you'll change clothes?"
"I'm going, I'm going." He mock grumbled all the way up the stairs.
Illya grinned and hurried to the kitchen with the bag. Using a long, narrow stainless steel tray he'd found in one of the cupboards, he spooned out rice in the middle then bordered it on each side with his lemon chicken and Napoleon's Mongolian beef. Putting the silverware in his hip pocket and grabbing some napkins from the counter, he hurried up the stairs to meet Napoleon coming out of the bedroom that had quickly become theirs.
"We're eating in bed? Why did I have to get dressed?" His partner teased him but Illya just kept moving up the stairs, throwing in a little more hip sway than he normally did.
"You're absolutely right, Illya. I definitely see something on the menu that I'm really hungry for." Napoleon's hands found their place on his hips, their heat warming him even through the denim.
"Keep going, Pasha and I shall drop our dinner."
"Don't do that, Illyusha. I think we're both going to need our strength." The feeling of warm hands on the bare skin under his sweater made Illya shiver.
"The roof? We're eating on the roof?" He steadied Illya who couldn't use his hands on the narrow pipe that served as a railing for the steep steps.
Illya made it to the top and onto the tarred roof before turning and looking back at his partner, suddenly unsure that his surprise would be something that Napoleon would want. "We don't have to, Napasha. It was just an idea."
"And a very good one." Napoleon took the tray from his hands, his gaze busy on the small tableau that Illya had set up. "If this is your idea of a picnic, I take back every bad thing I ever said about them."
"Really? It is all right to eat outside? I thought that no one would see us and we could be private." Illya followed him to the carpet and removed the silverware before he sat down.
"It's perfect." Napoleon stole a quick kiss before setting down the tray and sitting down cross-legged with the chimney as a backrest. "Just like you are."
Illya blushed and joined him, busying himself with opening the wine. "I am not perfect, Pasha."
"You're perfect for me, Illyusha." Napoleon leaned over and pulled Illya into a deep kiss that shortened his breath and made his head spin. When he thought he would pass out from the pleasure, Napoleon pulled back just far enough to look at him. "I love you. There are moments when I want to say that right out loud in front of everybody."
"When we are ready to quit UNCLE, Napasha, I will take great delight in saying it in front of the entire secretarial pool." Illya grinned at him before handing him both glasses so he could pour their wine.
They were too high up to have to worry about the smells of the streets and traffic; the breeze drifting over them was cool and fresh. After being inside most of the day until he'd been called to the fire scene, it was a joy to take a deep breath and hold it in delight. He missed the outdoors more and more every year. The job took them to cities all over the world but after awhile; they all began to feel the same. And smell the same. There were days when he wanted to walk in a forest like the one where he'd lived until the gulag.
"A penny for your thoughts, love." Napoleon was sipping the sweet wine and watching him.
Illya shrugged and reached down for one of the slices of the chicken, dripping with lemon sauce. "Just wishing for the moon." He took his first bite and closed his eyes at the sweet-tart taste. "I'd forgotten how much I love this dish. I wonder how hard it would be to cook?"
Napoleon took custody of his hand and licked Illya's fingers clean, sending little lightning bolts from his damp fingers straight to his groin. "If I could ... give you ... the moon ... you know I would."
"I know you would, Pasha. It's silly but I was thinking about how much time we spend indoors. I miss the forests of my homeland. The freedom to walk and walk for hours and never see another human." Illya hadn't allowed himself to even wish for such a dream so he was surprised at the longing in his own voice.
"I never wanted solitude until the war. Then I would have given my left arm for an hour of peace and quiet all alone where the sound of guns couldn't be heard." Napoleon sighed, his brown eyes meeting Illya's. "We need some time away, don't we?"
"It would be nice but there is so much going on. And we have the five new agents to train." Illya leaned back against the brick chimney and looked up into the soft white clouds drifting above them. "Someplace where there's bird song instead of honking horns."
"Where the wind blows the sound of falling leaves instead of an argument from down the block." Napoleon's eyes were unfocused
"Where the ground is earth and leaves instead of hot, hard concrete."
"And where the only creatures who might see us having a picnic are the squirrels and birds." Napoleon sighed and turned his head to look at Illya. "I have an idea. Do you trust me?"
"With my life and heart, Napasha."
"I'm greedy. I want them both." His eyes went hot and sultry.
"You have them." Illya smiled and fed him some of the Mongolian beef.
"Good. It's only fair since you have my heart all ready." Napoleon was back to licking Illya's fingers and the ache in his groin was getting harder to ignore.
Napoleon smiled and upped the ante, sliding the long sleeved sweater up to his elbow and nibbling his wrist. Illya kept finding new erogenous zones to respond to. He'd never known that his left wrist was hard wired straight to his cock. But it was the needy look on his lover's face that brought his mouth over to slide over the slightly bristly cheek and down to the lips that he'd wanted for so long and never thought to taste.
They kissed deeply then broke apart at the same moment, remembering where they were. Illya fed him bits of beef while Napoleon hand fed him his chicken strips dripping in sauce. It was amazing how many dribbles he had to lick from Illya's chin, cheek and even his throat. Surprisingly, they finished dinner before their restraint gave out.
Gathering up the debris took only two trips with both of them carrying in. Illya was cleaning the remains of the rice into the garbage while Napoleon recorked the bottle of wine and put it in the fridge. Loading the tray into the dishwasher along with the dishes from their last two days of eating, he put in soap, closed the door and set the dial to start in an hour.
"I like the way you think, Illya." Napoleon slid his arms around his waist. "We need the hot water first."
"I think we do." Illya turned in those strong arms and smiled. "I feel ... sticky."
"Not as sticky as you're going to be." Napoleon grinned and began pulling him towards the stairs.
"Promises, promises." Illya teased back. "You never did say what your plan was for our vacation."
"It's a surprise." He grinned ruefully. "It's going to take some careful planning. Only beautiful Russians are allowed to be spontaneous in this house."
"Then you liked my picnic?" Illya removed his sweater with a little help from his lover.
"I loved your picnic. If fact, I can see a lot of them in our future. Although we may have to share them with Mark and April occasionally." Napoleon steered Illya into the bathroom, 'helping' him with the zipper on his jeans.
"How shocking, Napoleon. I don't think I could feed April Mongolian beef with my fingers."
"I'm the only one you can feed with your fingers, Illyusha. It's part of our agreement, the one we wrote in Switzerland." His voice was possessive and Illya felt that frisson of danger that he always acquainted with Napoleon.
"Yes, Pasha. And I think I am the only one that you can hand feed, also?"
"Damn right, love. It goes both ways." Napoleon growled and finished pushing off Illya's jeans while Illya was still unbuttoning all the buttons on his shirt. "I'll finish undressing if you'll run the water. Otherwise this bath will be over before it gets started."
Illya was half-hard already with an ache that only Napoleon could assuage. He nodded and twirled the knobs that mixed the water in the oversized bathtub that they loved. They'd bought several containers of the spruce bath oil that was a specialty of the Inn. They hadn't lasted long but now the Inn just sent a new bottle every four weeks and charged Napoleon's credit card. It was one of their extravagances along with the raspberry chocolates that Illya bought every few weeks at a small chocolate shop near the library.
"When did you get this bruise, Illya?" A finger traced a spot on his hip that Illya had to twist to see.
"No idea, Pasha. Maybe at the destroyed lab? I certainly didn't feel it until now." Illya slid into the rapidly filling tub with a sigh of bliss.
"Didn't Dr. Keyes recommend more vitamin C to help with bruising?" Napoleon slid in facing him, taking the bar of soap from the holder. "New soap?"
"It's eucalyptus. April brought it back for me from England. It's made in Salisbury." He smiled affectionately at his worry-wart of a lover. "And yes, I have increased my intake of vitamin C, Napoleon. I'm fine."
"I know you are, Illya but sometimes I worry."
"Yes, you do." Illya slipped his hands over the legs on either side of his, loving the way he could expose himself to his lover without the fear that he would be taken advantage of. He could trust Napoleon with all of him and that made him more free than at any point of his life. "But the virus is gone, my balance has returned and the only time I get a fever is when you make me so hot that I combust."
"Explosions are our team's specialty and we're very good at them." Napoleon pulled Illya closer so he sat on his thighs.
Curling his legs around Napoleon's narrow hips and waist, he kissed his lover tenderly. Their cocks continued to harden as they bobbed and dueled in the steamy water. Hands slippery with soap cleaned and caressed at the same time. Illya laughed breathlessly as knowing fingers slid down his cleft and tickled the nerve rich area. They were going very slowly in their lovemaking but Illya found that this particular stroke enticed rather than frightened him.
It helped that Napoleon liked it too. Illya had discovered that when he had his lover's cock in his mouth, he could finger the perineum and even, the hidden opening with a wet finger. Napoleon's thrusts always speeded up then and he nearly always came quickly. It was a heady feeling to know that he had the power to so affect his partner.
This time though, Napoleon didn't seem to be stopping with a gentle stroke. His left hand was rolling his balls with a gentle touch while his right index finger was dipping inside just to the first knuckle before pulling out again. Illya tried to relax and let it happen but he still feared this penetration and it was difficult.
"Relax, love. Never anything you don't want, remember?" Napoleon's lips traveled down his throat to the spot that always flared into instant heat with a little pressure.
"Make it right, Pasha. Take away the fear." Illya tilted his head so his lover could reach that little spot ... just . . . there. "Yes-s-s."
"Maybe if I told you each movement before I stroked? You seemed to like that back in Switzerland." Napoleon licked that spot again then blew a cool breath across it.
"Yes, make love to me with words as well as hands." Illya resolved to give up control completely.
"I can do that, my beautiful love. But I need more room to maneuver so we're just going to have to finish our bath and go to bed." Napoleon drew back just far enough to see his eyes. "After all, you'll remember that I keep getting too tired to cook for some reason."
Illya laughed at him while he slid back and put the soap in its holder. "We can just go to sleep, Pasha. I keep forgetting that since you are older, you need more sleep."
"Why you little ... get back here, you little menace." He mock growled as Illya stood and hopped out of the tub.
"I think you must come and get me, Pasha." Illya fled to the bedroom with a laughing lover behind him.
End part one