A TAXING SITUATION
Illya feels that Napoleon has betrayed his trust.
An established relationship story.
Written: April 2007. Word count: 1,100.
Illya could not sleep.
Every time he closed his eyes he heard his grandmother saying to him, "Never go to sleep on a quarrel, Illyusha."
He sighed, rolled over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. It wasn't his fault; he wasn't the one who had lied; he wasn't the one who had broken a promise. He was not the one who should seek to put matters right.
To his annoyance, he heard this grandmother again. "It takes two to make a quarrel, Illyusha."
He sighed again and reluctantly let his mind return to earlier in the day. To the things he had said to Napoleon. To the things Napoleon had said - or rather had not said.
They had agreed, at least that is what Illya believed, that while it might be necessary, for the sake of their assignment, for Napoleon to take ladies to dinner, to flirt with them, to dance with them, to generally charm them, he would no longer sleep with them. Napoleon had said that he and Illya were exclusive. And Illya had trusted his partner.
Which made him the fool. After all how could he expect Napoleon to deviate from what was his natural behavior? In fact he had said as much to his partner, after he had witnessed him leaving a hotel room in the early hours of the morning; the hotel room in which a young, attractive, elegant woman had been staying.
He had accused Napoleon and Napoleon had not denied it. Thus they had spent most of the day working in silence, which had suited Illya very well.
He was in the right.
Napoleon was in the wrong.
He was not going to be the one to try to put things right.
He would go to sleep and - "Never go to sleep on a quarrel, Illyusha."
Cursing in his native tongue, he threw back the bedcovers and got up.
Ten minutes later he knocked on his partner's door.
"Illya?" Napoleon's surprise was evident.
"May I come in?"
Leaving his partner to lock the front door, Illya stalked into the sitting room. It was empty, and given the fact that Napoleon was still fully dressed, and had answered the door within seconds of Illya knocking, clearly he had not been in bed.
"There's no on here," Napoleon said mildly, appearing to read Illya's mind.
Illya glowered at him.
"But you're free to check the bedroom if you wish to." Napoleon turned away, apparently uncaring as to what Illya did, or did not do, and moved to his drinks' cabinet.
A moment or two later he returned to where Illya still stood, and held out a glass containing clear liquid.
Illya frowned, but took it. "Spasibo." He spoke the word automatically as he took the glass. He drank half of the high-proof vodka in one swallow.
"Well," Napoleon said, after several minutes of silence that became tenser by the second. "Is there something in particular you want, Illya? Or have you simply come up here to discuss my deviate behavior?" Napoleon's tone was casual, and his brown eyes gave nothing away.
Illya glared at his partner. "Why did you sleep with her?" he demanded. And then found himself adding, "You promised, Napoleon. You said that you -"
"Would wine and dine a lady when I had to for the sake of the assignment, but that would be all. Yes, I remember saying that."
"That makes is worse. I believed you, Napoleon. I trusted you. And you lied to me. You broke your promise to me." Illya hated the sound in his voice, the words he was saying, and how he was feeling. He had never trusted easily, it was not in his nature to do so, and now he knew why.
It had taken quite some time before he was prepared to trust Napoleon as a working partner, and when that had ventured into other areas, his natural inclination was to shy away from it. However, Napoleon had been prepared to wait, and had done so. Indeed, the offer of exclusivity had come from him; Illya had not asked for it.
Napoleon studied him carefully; still his face and gaze was impassive. Then he sighed and said, his tone suddenly weary, "Illya, I have never and would never lie to you. You are my partner, my lover and my friend. I would never betray your trust, nor would I break a promise. Too often our lives depend on it."
Illya stared at his partner. He could hardly believe what he was hearing; not only had Napoleon lied to him earlier, he was now compounding the lie. He opened his mouth to say something, anything.
However, before he could, Napoleon spoke again. "I didn't sleep with her, Lusha." His voice was soft, but firm.
Illya blinked. "I saw you coming out of her room."
"Yes, you did. She'd had too much to drink, and I didn't feel comfortable leaving her until I was certain she was going to be all right."
"Then why did you lead me to believe you had?"
Napoleon sighed. "I didn't, Illya. You jumped to that conclusion."
"But you did not deny it."
"No. I didn't." Napoleon said quietly.
Illya glanced away from the steady dark gaze. He suddenly felt foolish, and what was worse, he now felt that he was the one who had betrayed. He looked back up. "I am sorry, Napoleon," he said formally. "I -"
Napoleon shook his head. "No, Illya. I'm the one who should apologize. I let the situation become what it was; I didn't refute your assumption."
"I should never have made it."
Napoleon shrugged. "We could stand here all night arguing about what we should have said or not said, or thought or not thought. Why don't we just agree that we both got it wrong? Illya," he moved into Illya's personal space for the first time, and put a hand on each of Illya's shoulders. "This is new to both of us, my friend. We're both going to make mistakes from time to time, and get things wrong. Love isn't like your scientific experiments; there are no universal rules, every relationship will differ, or deviate if you prefer, from all others," he smiled.
Illya rolled his eyes, thought of several things he could say, decided that none of them mattered, and instead, pulled Napoleon's head down so the he could kiss him. And as his lover's mouth met his own, and he felt the tension flow from his body, he was relieved that he had heeded his grandmother's words.
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