Genre: Man from UNCLE preslash
Word count: 1174
Prompt: You have been the last dream of my soul.. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Bonnie, I hope you enjoy this little bit of fun. Thanks for a great quote! And also thanks for my beta, sparky955!
Napoleon Solo watched from the plane window as the island dipped beyond the horizon and nodded to himself. That island was nothing but bad news from the ground up. Now the casino would be razed and its employees rounded up and interviewed by UNCLE to make sure there were no lasting effects from Barnaby Partridge’s mind control.
Napoleon shifted his attention to his partner. Illya had been avoiding him as much possible these last two days. When avoidance wasn’t possible, Illya became overly glib, something Napoleon didn’t think Illya was capable of. He’d always been busy or in the middle of something when Napoleon tried to catch him for a meal or just to talk.
The UNCLE plane was spacious and there were just the two of them and their pilot, but now there was no place to go, nowhere for his reticent partner to hide. It was time to take the Russian by his horns.
Napoleon undid his seatbelt and went back to the galley. It only took him a couple of tries to find the alcohol. He managed a couple martinis, although he had to settle for domestic gin and onions.
Carefully, he carried two back into the passenger section and set one down in front of Illya. Shaken from his thoughts, he sat back, hand going automatically for his weapon. Even when he saw it was Napoleon, it seemed to take him a moment to realize there was nothing to worry about.
“Even now?” Napoleon could see the war brewing in Illya’s eyes and knew he was fighting an internal battle.
“Yeah, even now.” The admission was weary. Illya drained the glass and pushed it aside. Napoleon nudged his closer, but Illya shook his head. “Alcohol doesn’t help.”
“Illya… I have to know. Why did you attack me?”
“Partridge’s combination of drugs and machines were very effective. He convinced me that you were trying to kill me. My only option, my only escape would be to kill you, and then kill myself.”
“Illya.., I’m your partner. Why would I try to kill you?”
“Because, God help me, he made me believe that I told you something that I swore I never would. I fully intended to take it to the grave, it’s just that the grave sort of shifted in importance.”
Napoleon sipped his martini and sighed. “Illya,” he said after a long moment. “What could you have possibly told me that would make me want to kill you?”
“I love you.”
Napoleon, thankfully, did not have anything in his mouth at that moment or he most certainly would have showered his partner with it. He coughed instead while struggling to regain his poise.
“I rest my case.” Illya returned to staring out into the night. Napoleon had the feeling that he needed to tread very lightly at the moment.
“Illya, even if you did, why would I kill you?”
“Outrage, disgust, some medieval desire to cleanse the earth of my kind--”
“Gays, homosexuals, queers, whatever label you want to slap on it.”
Napoleon finished his martini. “I want you to listen to me and for one minute just set aside that chip on your shoulder. Some of the bravest, wisest and strongest men I’ve known have been gay. I am hurt that you would think me so shallow that I would kill you for that simple admission. I love you, too. You are one of the most important people in my life. Never do I start a day thinking, “Oh, no, another day of dealing with that man.” Napoleon placed a hand on Illya’s arm. “Am I that shallow?”
“No, of course not, but you don’t understand… you couldn’t...” Illya trailed off, his finger following the path a drop of condensation left on the window.
“You have been the last dream of my soul.”
Illya’s head swerved. “That’s Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, I think.”
“Yes.” Napoleon sighed and played with his empty glass. He really could use another one, but if he got up now, he knew it was over. He would never be able to rekindle the nerve. “Illya, let me ask you. Did you ever wonder why Mr. Waverly partnered us?”
“Not really. I knew your record and your lack of ability to connect with a partner. I always assumed it was because we were both loners and evenly matched.”
“More than you ever realized.” He took a deep breath. “Did you ever get a chance to meet my first partner?”
“Trinity, you mean?” Illya shook his head. “No, I arrived too late. From what I understand, he was something else.”
“He sure was. He quoted that line once to me, but I didn’t get it. Not until it was far too late. Never had I met someone who had more influence in my life. He took me from being a green junior agent and molded me into Section Two material. He taught me when to be strong and when to be compassionate. More than that, he taught me to know when to lie and when to be truthful.”
Illya smiled and nodded. “It’s a good skill to have.”
“You would think. For a long time, I lied to myself until it was really too late to do anything about it. Then when I did… well, let’s just say that deathbed confessions are not as satisfying as you would be led to believe by the movies.”
“Been there and done that as well. I hadn’t realized…” There was a strange look on Illya’s face, as if the final puzzle piece was sliding into place.
“Yeah…” Suddenly, the plane became too small, too intimate for Napoleon. “I need another drink.”
Illya moved before he could. “I’ll get it this time.”
This time the martinis were vodka and had olives. For some strange reason, that made Napoleon smiled. “To your health.”
“Nostrovia,” Illya said, tossing his back. “And for what it’s worth, I think Mr. Waverly knew exactly what he was doing when he paired us.”
“I know he did.” Napoleon fished out his olive and popped it into his mouth. “These are good.”
“That’s why I hide them.” Illya put the bottle down on the tray. “Our pilot has a weakness for Greek.”
“So do I.”
“So I’m the last dream of your soul, huh?”
“For quite some time.”
Illya shook his head slowly, mostly in wonder. “I didn’t know and I didn’t even dared to hope. Not the great Napoleon Solo.”
He nodded. “Yup, now you know why I date so much. Women feel safe with me. They know I won’t put them into a bad situation.”
“And me?” The smile was sly.
“Oh, I can think of many situations I want to put you in, bad or otherwise.”
“Many?” Now the smile was wry and completely unguarded.
“Many…” Then he was being kissed, something that felt so natural and so right that he couldn’t stop smiling. And he had the feeling that he wasn’t going to stop smiling for quite some time.