The truth is that Illya doesn’t pick up on Napoleon’s unconventional preferences until they become mission relevant. Then it’s all ice water in his veins, heat on his cheeks, eyes cast to the splay of his boots on their hotel carpet because he does not want to be caught looking shocked.
It shouldn’t be shocking. So many small, confusing things about Napoleon are making sense now, converging and collecting to form a neat profile in Illya’s mind. Of course, he thinks again. Of course, of course.
He shoots another guard in between the eyes, checking his surroundings once again before holstering his handgun. “All clear,” he says, putting his back towards Napoleon.
“Good work,” Napoleon says – and he sniffs the air. Illya freezes, anticipating. “Do you smell that -”
“No,” Illya says, walking away from Napoleon, down the corridor, towards a room he briefly recalled had a somewhat passable lock. The heat has increased in intensity now, from smoldering embers to a fireplace’s warmth, and Illya has no illusions that it will stop there. He can feel something wet seeping its way down towards his thighs; he walks faster.
There’s something under his turtleneck. A slight bulge. Napoleon has never noticed it before.
Not breaking eye contact, Napoleon lets his hand rest on the dip of Illya’s clavicle. Illya doesn’t move, except to tip his chin up, very slightly. Carefully, Napoleon hooks his thumb over the collar of the turtleneck, and pulls it down to expose Illya’s throat.
There is an inch-wide, gunmetal collar sitting just under his Adam’s apple. There is a complicated mechanism to one side: the lock. There are abrasions along Illya’s neck, some old and some new. Napoleon wonders, in dull horror, when Illya had been fitted for this.
The projectionist stops on an image of Solo in Saint Mark’s Square in Venice. His arm is lifted to throw seed to the pigeons, and his left shirt sleeve is rolled up to expose a muscular forearm dusted with dark hair, where swirls of gold curl across his skin.
Illya’s right wrist itches beneath the wrappings and his father’s watch. He betrays no emotion as the projectionist moves to the next slide. Oleg’s eyes are boring into the side of his head, waiting for him to flinch from the task.
The Second Directorate of the KGB keeps the citizens’ records: sigil location, what it looks like. The KGB knows what they are asking Illya to do.
Solo is handsome, broad-shouldered, with beautiful hands, an artist’s hands. Those clever hands and long fingers will be stilled by Illya’s doing. He will leave Solo’s dark hair matted in blood.
This is one of the rare BDSM AUs that really, really work for me, thanks to the way the author manages to make it perfectly fit these two characters. I truly believe they’re soulmates here, their needs and personalities uniquely complementing each other.
She watched that summer as he came and went at odd hours. Sometimes he disappeared for days before stumbling back up the stairs, looking tired, hungry, and, occasionally, somewhat battered. Despite her initial twinge of worry, he didn’t play the “rock and roll” that so many of the young people seemed to worship. He played jazz, the music of her youth, of those smoky nights in Paris when she’d danced until she thought her legs would turn to blocks of wood. She sat in her window and listened by the hour on those rare evenings when he came home early. He didn’t seem to have many albums, and a few of those he did have were scratched, but the music still made her smile and hum along.