Smoke Screen

by Meris

"I don't—don't—quite see what you mean," Napoleon's eyes were brighter than their usual wont and he was tripping over his words a little, but then he could blame it on the better part of a fifth of good whiskey. He lay on the floor with his head in Illya's lap, waiting with a smile for the room to slow its revolving before making his way—their way—to the bedroom. It had been a brief but terrifying affair, and the sheer relief of being alive was still effervescing its way through their systems. They'd been celebrating since they'd finished their reports to Waverly at noon and he'd given them the rest of that day and the next to recover.

Now the velvet darkness of the late summer night had overflowed Napoleon's patio and merged with the darkness of the unlit room to create a shadowed place that protected their lovemaking and horseplay. Wrestling on the floor for possession of the bottle, breaking holds to swig the fine liquor in a way that would shock the connoisseurs, laughing, coming together again in heated groping and thrusting that hid the more desperate joy of survival where others had died. Losing themselves in each other's solid, muscular bodies, over and over again, enjoying the brief exhaustion, languorous recovery and incendiary re-ignition of the fire fed by knowing they were alive and together.

Napoleon sat up and leaned his head against the glass of the patio door, enjoying its coolness against his sweaty forehead. Illya's hand laid itself on the glass next to him. "That feels good." The Russian accent was much stronger, with a slight slur from his share of the fifth. "You should know what I mean. Everything is temporary. Nothing is forever."

Napoleon rolled his head against the glass to look at his friend, sitting propped up against the wall, head back and eyes closed. "Not everything is temporary. There are—there are things which—last forever." He licked his lips, savoring the mellow burn of the whiskey on his tongue, the taste of Illya underlying it, and recognized the stirring of a desire he'd thought long discarded, which went with sex and whiskey and languor. Thank God the secretary desk was next to them.

He found them in the second drawer he checked and let himself sit back down, then slide back to the floor, head back in Illya's lap, because the room was still swinging lightly around him. He fumbled with the top of the packet, pulled out a cigarette and flicked the lighter, once, twice, narrowing his eyes against the tiny glare. It caught, and he drew deep, that first mouthful lying on his tongue like nectar, its richness smooth as butter, and he drew it in, deep in, holding it for ten, twenty seconds before letting the smoke stream slowly from his nostrils, nicotine mingling with the alcohol and voluptuous satiety to form a deep buzz of content.

He drew even deeper the second time, already losing the first high of the tobacco hit, hearing the tiny crispy sound of its burning, seeing the tip glow furnace red, the only spot of color in the darkness, then dull to ashy orange. His eyes closed in sheer animal enjoyment at the second mouthful. He realized that he was waiting for Illya to utter the usual sarcasm about ruining his health and laboriously started preparing a retort about not needing it for very long.

Illya leaned over and plucked the cigarette away. Napoleon opened his eyes and mouth to protest and realized that Illya had stuck the cigarette in the side of his own mouth and had taken a huge drag, turning almost half an inch to ash. Napoleon's mouth stayed open in astonishment. Illya didn't smoke, except as cover. Railed against it, in fact, when Napoleon gave in to the urge. Didn't smoke at all—except when he was playing a role.

Did that mean he was playing a role now? Or had something else happened here? If that could change, what else could change?

Napoleon felt confusion nibbling at the edges of his hazy contentedness and pulled his mouth shut, trying to think. His eyes involuntarily followed Illya's movements as Illya took the cigarette between finger and thumb, tipped his head back, opened his mouth in an O and exhaled a perfect smoke ring, then a second and a third, and sent a slanting, wicked look at Napoleon's face. Napoleon watched the convulsive movement of Illya's throat as the muscles shaped the smoke and his cock leapt and hardened on the instant, tongue unconsciously licking his lips at the thought of that throat and tongue working around him with the same control necessary to form those perfect smoke rings, arousal striking like lightning, pushing aside the small seed of unease.

"Everything is temporary." Illya stuck the cigarette back into his mouth. "We take advantage of it while we can." He heaved Napoleon's head up off his lap, pushing him into a sitting position, and staggered to his own feet before pulling Napoleon to his. "Let us take advantage of it now." He made as if to drop the cigarette on the polished floor. At Napoleon's involuntary grunt of protest, he looked around, took two steps to the coffee table, laid the cigarette down in the carved quartz bowl in the center, and turned back to Napoleon, smiling, weaving just a little and missing a step. He caught hold of Napoleon to steady himself, running his hands over Napoleon's back and farther down, letting his fingers explore further under the heavy balls and ramrod straight cock before pushing him toward the bedroom.

Napoleon let himself be pushed, let the room sway gently around him as he made his way through the dark, let Illya's exploring hands reawaken the fiery joy of being alive, tasting smoke and whiskey and his own musky scent on Illya's lips. He let himself be caught out of himself again as they took advantage of it, burying the shiver of uneasiness deep under their fierce lovemaking.

In the dark living room, the cigarette's last smoky breath hung in the now still air before red faded to gray and went out.

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