Illya woke slowly. His left arm was still cradled by a pillow and his right was anchored by Napoleon so he hadn't moved much in the night. Opening his eyes, he took in the roses that ran up trellises all around him. The rose room was indeed a bower of soft red and pink blossoms that rioted all over the wallpaper. The bedspread was a rose colored thermal blanket that was just right for the in-between weather this far north.
He'd been unsure about Napoleon's plan but right now, he was willing to concede that it was indeed the perfect place to rest and heal. The food was wonderful, the books plentiful and he coveted Napoleon's grandmother. After three days of non-stop pampering from all three of the residents, he felt better than he had in months.
But the crowning moment had come when Napoleon had haltingly told his Nana that they were in a committed relationship beyond work. She had nodded, smiled and hugged them both, welcoming Illya to the family. He could still feel her soft lips on his cheek and hear the words she'd whispered.
Take care of each other.
Turning his head, he drank in the sight of his lover's still face on his pillow. They kept the geometry room for Illya's things but they spent the nights in the bigger bed in the rose room. Just over his shoulder, he could see the single rose bud Napoleon had picked the day before. This one was lavender. Every evening, his lover chose a different color to gift him. It was the most romantic gesture he'd ever experienced.
"Penny for your thoughts, love?" Napoleon's sleep roughened voice startled him.
"No one has ever given me flowers before." Illya confessed and watched his lover's eyes go sultry.
"I told you that I'd give you the moon if I could. A rose fits your personality."
Illya turned slightly so he could look into Napoleon's eyes. "How is that?"
"Think of the thorns that protect the blossom just like the prickly persona that hides your beautiful soul." He rose up on one elbow so Illya wouldn't have to strain his neck muscles. "And I'm glad that so few people get past the thorns or I'd be jealous of all the bees that would come straight to your flower to drink your nectar."
Illya blushed. "Pasha, that sounds obscene."
Napoleon grinned and pushed the linen down so he could see their erections. "Why look at what I found growing. Sweet nectar. Bz-zz-zz."
Illya tried to hold back his laughter but when Napoleon swooped down and began to lick his cock, the chuckles changed to breathless groans. "Pasha, you are totally insane and I love you. Turn around so I can get to you, too."
His lover chuckled around his mouthful and eased his body around and over Illya, being careful not to jog his arm. "Bz-zz-zz." He hummed again.
"Buzz, yourself." Illya stroked the hardening cock with his good hand before swirling his tongue around the head. This was still one of his favorite ways to make love and probably always would be. There was just something so satisfying about the silky skin stretched so tightly over the rock hard cock.
He found himself torn, as always, between pleasuring Napoleon and concentrating on the sensations of his lover's tongue bathing his balls. But they had all the time in the world this morning so he could take his time and go slow. Napoleon seemed to agree because he was nibbling down one side of Illya's cock with soft nips that tingled all the way down to Illya's toes.
Illya hummed around his mouthful and felt Napoleon jerk. Backing off a bit, he rubbed the tender cock with his early morning stubble and felt the quiver his lover couldn't hide. Grinning, he did it again before turning his head just far enough to run his chin over the silky skin of Napoleon's inner thigh. Tasting his partner was always rewarding and this morning was no exception.
They played for long moments until Napoleon deep throated him and swallowed strongly. Illya thrust up once and then pulsed out his release into the waiting mouth. Suction pulled the last of his climax from him and he went limp for a moment while he tried to gather his strength to bring Napoleon off. But his play toy moved carefully off of him and slid into place by his side. He murmured a protest.
"Catch your breath, love. Let me digest my favorite morning snack." Napoleon took a deep breath of the sweaty skin in the curve of Illya's neck and shoulder. "You delight all my senses, Illyusha." A raspy tongue slid across the hollow at the base of his throat then moved up and nipped just under his chin.
Illya let the contented purr go and enjoyed the chuckles from his partner. They still debated whether or not the Russian had been a cat in another life. It was probably childish but also satisfying to have secret sillies just between the two of them. He felt his energy levels rise and while Napoleon was kissing him, he let his hand wander between their bodies. He almost got his tongue bitten when he squeezed gently.
Disengaging, he slid down Napoleon's body and settled between the strong legs to enjoy himself. Cat-licking around the flared helmet, he teased the small slit and felt Napoleon tense. Sucking hard for a moment, he slowly descended on the straining cock, relaxing his throat muscles so he could take it all in. He felt Napoleon's legs tremble and he used his fingers to gently scratch the tender skin of his inner thighs.
His lover was panting now and he moved up so he could use his tongue to flutter against the sensitive head before sucking hard again. Napoleon was close so he moved back down and practiced his humming. With a sigh, his lover released into his waiting mouth. Suckling at the softening cock, he drank down every drop of the addicting liquid.
"Come up here, Illyusha. I swear, you get better at that every day." The husky voice made him shiver and he let himself be drawn tenderly up and over his partner's body into his warm embrace. Napoleon cradled him while planting small kisses over his cheeks, eyes and temple.
Illya felt extraordinarily cherished whenever Napoleon kissed him like that. It felt as if every inch of skin was being blessed. "I love it when you do that, Pasha."
"It's what you deserve, love. To be adored for the hidden treasure you are."
He felt a laugh well up inside of him that couldn't be controlled. "A ... a treasure? Napoleon, that's so ... silly." And his chuckles overflowed into laughter.
Napoleon held him and fed his reaction with seemingly innocent lines.
"You're a pure and shining light to the universe."
"You taste sweeter than honeyed jasmine." He batted his eyelashes at Illya.
"The sound of your voice is like the cooing of turtle doves."
"Your skin is softer than rose petals touched by dew." Napoleon gazed soulfully over at him.
"You smell like fresh baked bread." He wrinkled his nose at his partner and rolled him gently onto his back. "Actually, it may sound silly but all of those things are really true. I find myself trying to think of ways to describe you but I don't have enough words. At least, not the right nouns like Nana can write."
Illya smiled affectionately up at him. "You do fine, Pasha. And even better, you show me how you feel everyday. 'Actions speak louder than words' is one of those proverbs that I find to be very true."
Napoleon kissed him gently but thoroughly, finally resting his forehead against Illya's. "We need to get up and have breakfast so we can take my second favorite walk."
"To the lake?"
"Nope. It's a surprise. A couple more days and we'll have our picnic. I promise." He rolled out of bed and offered Illya a hand up.
Illya just lay there for a moment, basking in the loving gaze and feasting his eyes on the handsome man before him. Napoleon's skin glowed in the early morning light. He looked younger somehow as if all the hard decisions and violent times had faded away to leave the pure essence of his lover behind.
"You are beautiful, Napasha. And I will love your surprise." He inched to the side of the bed and slid out into his partner's arms.
"We are two sides of the same coin, Illyusha. I don't see my beauty but that's because yours shines so brightly, I'm blinded to anyone else." Napoleon hugged him close before leading him into the bathroom between their two rooms.
They'd evolved a morning routine that worked equally well at home and here. One shaved while the other brushed his teeth then they switched places. But they showered together. It was still awkward for Illya to wash and Napoleon loved taking care of all the spots that he couldn't reach. They both enjoyed playing in the water.
The day was to be mild but sunny so Napoleon suggested short sleeved polo shirts with their jeans. Illya told him he wasn't going to wear his sling and had to pout before his lover gave in. But then he had to give in and take a sweater with him in case it got chilly. By the time they were ready to go down stairs, Illya's stomach was growling.
Hannah was setting out the omelets smothered in a white cream sauce when they reached the table. Illya took his first bite while she hovered over his shoulder. They had shared recipes the day before and this omelet was the result. He chewed carefully, swallowing before smiling at her.
"Just like my mother used to make, Hannah."
"Good. I've never used sour cream in an egg recipe before." She left with a smile for both of them and Napoleon gave him a thumbs-up.
The silence was a contented one and they finished eating at the same time. Napoleon cleared the table for Hannah, carrying their dirty dishes out to the kitchen while Illya wandered out the front door to wait for him. The June sun was bright but not too hot, just the way he liked it. Carefully moving his arm, he tied the arms of his white sweater around his waist so he wouldn't have to carry it on their walk.
Napoleon joined him and they set off. Leaving the manicured lawn behind along with the two lane black top, they crossed into the forest. Ancient pines whispered in the morning breeze and Illya could feel time drop away from his soul until he could ... almost make believe that they were walking in the forests of his youth. The pine sap smell was strong here and he took a deep breath before slowly letting it out. Their feet kicked up a winter's worth of dead needles and old pinecones. Somewhere overhead a squirrel chattered at the intruders in his wood.
Napoleon's voice was hushed. "Do you see why this is one of my favorite walks? I used to come here when I needed quiet. We're not far from the seacoast and I played pirates for hours when Billy Saunders could come over and play. He never liked the woods and always refused to play here so my games were solitary when I came here."
"Why didn't he like the woods?" Illya reached out and brushed his hand over his partner's.
"They were too old for him. They whispered of hundreds of years instead of his mere ten. I suppose they could be intimidating to a young boy but for some reason, they just felt like friends to me. Like Nana, they're ageless." He reached for Illya's hand and held it. "I used to bring my lunch here sometimes and sit imagining what the Indians might have been like who hunted here before the white men came."
"They were fierce warriors, the Algonquins. They had to be with the Iroquois raiding their villages. We're east of the Penobscot River aren't we?" Illya asked, gripping Napoleon's hand tightly just for the joy of being able to do so.
"Yes. That means the tribes here were the Etchemin and yes, they did indeed have trouble with the Iroquois." Napoleon looked at him affectionately. "Doing your homework, Illyusha?"
"You know how I enjoy my research, Pasha." Illya flirted with his eyes, the way April had shown him and was rewarded with a kiss that stole his breath. Napoleon let him go reluctantly and they continued on.
"I know just how thorough you are. The Etchemin were mainly fishermen and they braved the waters here for years before the white men came. And the sea here can be very treacherous. It's only been eleven years since it claimed a fishing trawler in the Grand Manan Channel less than thirty miles from here."
Illya thought about the courage of the fisher folk who'd braved the seas for centuries all over the world. Trying to imagine going out into the waves in just a birch bark canoe made him shudder. At Napoleon's questioning look, he tried to explain.
"I've had a fear of deep water since I was a small boy. Considering that the biggest pool of water near our village was a small lake barely a mile across, I never understood my fear but Papa could never get me to go any further than my chin. I'd grow rigid with terror if he took me in his arms and went out further to teach me to swim." Illya could still remember freezing when his father had taken his strong arms away.
"Illya, it's all right." Napoleon's voice broke through the old feelings and his strong arms replaced the missing hug from his father. "It's all right, I'm here and I'll never let you go."
"It's silly to be so fearful." Illya rested his head on a broad shoulder for a long moment then pulled away so they could continue to walk. "When I was in London during my University days, a group of us went to a party that involved a psychic. I was very much odd man out and I stood on the sidelines while my fellow students all had their fortunes told. I had no problem being skeptical as one by one they crossed her palm with silver and were told they'd be married soon or win the Irish Lottery or become the president of their company. Silly stuff mostly."
In the silence of the forest, he paused to listen to something just beyond his hearing. It was more of a pulse than a sound, starting from the soles of his feet and traveling throughout his body. Napoleon's hand tugged him towards the almost-sound and he followed eagerly. The trees began to thin out and the rocks grew bigger. At the tree line, he finally heard the relentless surge of waves against stone.
They arrived at the moment a huge wave broke over the scattered rock beach, splitting into foam and water that sprayed the area for twenty feet in all directions. Illya realized that he still heard it as a heartbeat, the pulse of the oldest creature on earth. Long before land formed, the oceans had ruled the world and they still fought to reclaim their lost realms now raised above them.
There was movement out on the small rock peninsula and Napoleon regretfully let go of his hand. "This was where we played pirates the summer I was ten. The jetty here was our ship and we often walked the plank just for the joy of getting wet, coming out and jumping in again. Simple pleasures but they're some of my best memories. It looks like kids are still fishing off the end of Pirate's Point."
Illya enjoyed the softened look on Napoleon's face while he continued talking about long days of fishing, swimming and playing. He wished that the memories of his tenth summer were more pleasant so he could share them. But the mind pictures were sufficiently harrowing that it was better they stay unspoken. Better to just bask in the fond looks of his partner and smile at his enthusiastic retelling of stories long remembered.
Two small towheaded boys clambered off the rocky dock with fishing poles in hand and a shared bucket sloshing between them. They had no shyness whatsoever and Illya admired their self-possession when Napoleon genially asked after their catch. He smiled and nodded when introduced to the grandsons of Rebecca's neighbors the Pattersons. They ran off to take their catch to their grandmother and Napoleon smiled happily at their retreating backs.
"Exactly like Billy and I that summer. Do you feel up to going out onto the Point?" He looked eagerly down into Illya's eyes.
"If we go slow, I have no wish to tumble down and break open the wound again." Illya started forward only to have Napoleon stop him.
"No way, Illyusha. I go first and you hang on to me if you need to. I have no desire to see you bleeding again." His tones were fierce and Illya nodded, watching where he placed his feet before following.
Within a few moments, they were surrounded on three sides by the foaming waves of a deep blue sea. There was a rock just right for sitting and Illya sat while Napoleon stood almost at the shoreline. The sun glinted off the white caps of the waves and the breeze brought that curious tang of salt and fish to Illya's nose. It was an invigorating scent and he breathed it in deeply.
"This is part of Nana's land, this and the beach around the shoreline that you haven't seen yet." Napoleon gestured to Illya's right. "All in all, she owns 220 acres of forest, shore and lake front. And at one time or another, I've walked over the entire lot."
"Your family is very lucky to have such a wonderful mix of land and water." Illya's eyes tracked a gull high above them.
"For all the attention that the rest of the family pays the place, you'd think it was a slum in the back of beyond." Napoleon's accents were tinged with bitterness and Illya dropped his eyes to study his companion. "I have two sisters, did I ever tell you that?"
"No, but it is in your record at UNCLE." Illya didn't apologize for his reading of the private file of his partner. Any agent worth his salt would have done the same.
"Well, they both married well and have the requisite 2 children each." Napoleon dropped onto another rock at Illya's feet. "They came once about three years ago to visit Nana. But the children were bored and they stayed four days before leaving. Nana visits them once a year once her book is done."
"Perhaps when the children grow a little older, they will come to appreciate the beauty here. Do you think Nana minds?"
Napoleon chuckled and shook his head. "She says it's a relief since I wore her out years ago."
Illya chuckled and dared a brief caress to the dark hair so close to his knee. "I can see how that would be. You can be very ... wearing."
A dark glance glinted up at him. "Shall I wear you out tonight, Illyusha? Nana will be out until quite late and we shall have the house to ourselves."
He pretended to think about it but gave in quickly when the 'pout' appeared. "Yes, I think you should pamper me until I ... can take no more."
"Yes!" Napoleon shot to his feet and leaned over to raise Illya to his feet. "If we walk back now, Hannah should have lunch ready for us. I have quite an appetite for some reason."
Illya laughed and followed him from the Point. "Walking in the fresh air will do that to you, Pasha. Perhaps I will wear you out, too."
"I'm counting on it, love." Napoleon helped him down from the rocks and kept his hand in his when they returned to the shadowy depths of the forest. "I'm definitely counting on you, Illya."
End part five
Note: The recipe that Hannah made for Illya follows:
The Multicultural Cookbook for Students; Oryx Press, 1993
Page 149 -- Omelet Smetanoi
Yield: serves 2
2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley or 1 TBLS dry flakes
4 TBLS butter or margarine
2 TBLS flour
¾ cup hot milk
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Equipment: Small size mixing bowl, fork or whisk, cup, 6 inch skillet
with cover, heat proof plate.
1. Put 4 eggs in small bowl and mix in parsley. Melt 1 TBLS butter or margarine in skillet over medium heat and add half the egg mixture. Swirl pan to coat, cover, and cook until set (about 3 minutes). Remove omelet to a warm plate. Add 1 TBLS butter or margarine and make a second omelet exactly like the first. When done, stack it on top of the first omelet. Pour any pan drippings over it and keep warm.
2. Separate 2 remaining eggs and put yolks in a cup (refrigerate whites to use at another time.
3. Melt remaining butter or margarine in skillet over medium-low heat. Add flour and mix until smooth. Add hot milk, stirring continually until blended. Mix in sour cream and egg yolks and blend well. Stirring continually until smooth and thick, season with salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, pour hot sauce over the eggs.
Serve with pumpernickel or black bread for sopping the sauce. In Russia omelets are eaten at anytime of day or night.