You Owe Me One

by Spikesgirl58

People were always surprised at how very little it actually rained in this part of California. The rain would come off and on during the fall and the snow would arrive in late December, lasting until February. Then the real rain would come for the next couple of months, then from May to October, it was dry... very dry. People would start to fret and get concerned, the weather forecasters would predict, the inevitable pool would be started as to when the first fall rains would hit, and a thirsty landscape waited. People would stand prepared to race outside and dance in that first shower.

The sound of rain on the roof coaxed Illya from sleep. For several minutes, he just lay there, enjoying the splatter of rain against the bedroom window, content in being cocooned in bed, next to his partner, with absolutely nothing to do today except laze around.

Before Napoleon, each day was a mad dash in an attempt to play catch up with life. A day off was unheard of. The restaurant could be open or closed; it made very little difference to Illya's workload. It was always heavy and he was always one step behind where he felt he should be, felt he needed to be.

Now, he actually took a day off, at least one a week and purposefully spent it not working. It helped that Napoleon spent much of his time hanging around the house and had taken it upon himself to start wading through the piles of 'stuff' that Illya accumulated, but never found time to deal with. The kitchen had always been Illya's top priority, behind the restaurant. He seldom paid any of the other parts of the house any attention at all, but the kitchen he kept clean. The bathroom was tolerable; he changed towels when they stopped bending, did laundry when he was done to his last pair of serviceable socks.

Not anymore. Napoleon hired a service to come in and then had the good sense to take Illya away for the two days it took them to shovel out, wash and scrub the house back to its former glory. Now they came in on a weekly basis. The house was now clean. The sort of money that Napoleon had did make their lives much easier.

Illya smiled and opened his eyes to look over at his lover. Part of him still lived in fear of Napoleon leaving him. In spite of the ring on his finger, he continued to worry. In spite of the fact that Napoleon had never left him to begin with, Illya feared waking up to find Napoleon gone. He'd gotten into the habit of always staying in contact with Napoleon; even if was just resting a hand or some other body part against him in bed.

Illya smiled at the thought and rolled over ,spooning up to Napoleon, enjoying the coolness of his body.

"I wondered how much longer you were going to be." Napoleon's voice was still slightly sleep muddled. He pressed back into the warmth Illya provided and sighed. "Morning."

Illya smiled and rubbed his cheek against Napoleon's shoulder blade. "That, as well."

"It's raining..."


Napoleon rolled in bed and squirmed around until he got his arms around Illya. "Did I ever mention to you what an incredible aphrodisiac rain is?"

"No." Illya glanced down to where Napoleon's erection was tenting the sheet. "Do tell."

"I'd rather show." Napoleon rolled and twisted his fingers in Illya's hair and pulled his head back to kiss Illya's throat gently at first, then with a bit more aggression. Illya twisted, but Napoleon's hand tightened and he had the option of staying still or losing a chunk of his hair. Instead he hissed a protest and arched into the bite. "Too much?" Napoleon relented and licked the mark he left in the pale skin, knowing that the collar of Illya's chef's coat would hide it. But he didn't release his grip on Illya's hair. Rather he shifted down slightly and started work on a new mark.

Illya permitted this for a few more minutes, then he ran a hand up Napoleon's arm and wrapped it around Napoleon's wrist. His message was clear. Reluctantly, the hand clutching his hair opened and he shook his way free. There was only so much hair play that he would tolerate.

Napoleon slid over and straddled Illya, pinning Illya to the mattress, covering his torso with kisses until Illya was writhing beneath his mouth. Never letting his lips or tongue stop, Napoleon reached between them and grasped their penises, squeezing and releasing, rocking his wrist back and forth.

"Napoleon, stop, you're going to make me... not yet." Illya groaned as Napoleon's mouth abruptly replaced his hand and he was sucked deep into that deliciously wet warmth. Now he was the one who reached for hair, entangling his fingers into the dark brown strands and holding on for dear life. He had just enough time to suck in a breath of air before his climax shot through him, seemingly ripping him until he was turned inside out.

Chest heaving , he pushed back against the pillows, frantic to get his suddenly overly sensitive dick far away from Napoleon's mouth, but equally reluctant to leave that warm haven.

"Mmm, that was a pleasant wake me up." Napoleon finally released him and began to chart a path back up to Illya's mouth. His erection jabbed Illya in the stomach as he stretched out on him.

"I'm not going to be of much use to you if you don't get off."

"Trust me, Amante, my getting off is not a problem here." He kissed Illya deeply, their tongues battling against each other.

"What is exactly the problem then?"

"Getting you back up to speed."

"Not that much of a problem from where I am." Illya caught his head, thrust up and against Napoleon, his mouth twisted into a near evil smirk.

And he proved his point, by bringing Napoleon to the brink of climax again and again until his lover was begging for release.

"So, you were complaining about speed?" he murmured into Napoleon's ear as the man sprawled out on his stomach, sweaty and still trying to catch his breath. "I'm going to get a shower..."

"I'm going to call the paper and see if I'm on the obituary page. Christ, Illya, you should come with a warning label."

Illya grinned and dipped down to kiss the tattoo on Napoleon's lower back. "I do. You just haven't read the fine print yet."

Napoleon chuckled into his pillow and felt the bed shift as Illya stood and walked away. Outside the rain was pelting down and he felt very warm and very content to move very little. He pulled a pillow closer, breathing in Illya's scent deeply.

And yet as content as he was, he would kill for a cup of coffee. He could hear Illya singing something, probably ABBA knowing the group's influence over the staff of Taste, and decided that if he wanted coffee, it would really be up to him.

Ten minutes later, he had his coffee, as well as a cup for Illya, some of Jesus' bear claws and the morning paper on his nightstand. He walked over to the closet to hang up his robe. And that's when he saw it. He went back to his nightstand, grabbed a flashlight and returned. On the closet roof was a door.

"Well, I'll be hanged. I finally found you." Napoleon had looked at the small house and knew there had to be something above their heads, but a search of the bedroom, the hall, the other small combination study/bedroom revealed nothing. He'd never thought to look in the closet.

He grabbed a pair of sweat pants, a sweat shirt and rapidly dressed. Pulling on a pair of sneakers, he headed downstairs for a ladder.

It took a bit of effort to find enough room in the small closet to get the step ladder in place, but he did and pressed up against the door. With a protest it gave way and opened.

Napoleon climbed to the top step and shone his flashlight around. "I'll be damned," he muttered and hefted himself up and in.

Illya walked from the bathroom, pulling on his tee shirt, and immediately saw the coffee. Gratefully, he downed half of one cup and had taken a large bite out of a bear claw when a noise caught his attention.

"Napoleon?" Nothing. He tried again, louder. "Napoleon?!"

"Up here." His lover's voice was strangely muffled.

"Up where?"

"In the attic."

"I have an attic?" Illya murmured and made a face. That was news to him, but again, kitchen, bedroom, nothing else really mattered much to him. He finished the coffee and the bear claw before asking. "Where?"

"I'm in the closet."

"I thought we'd finally gotten you out of the closet," Illya said as he walked over and glanced up.

"Ha, ha." Napoleon's head appeared. "You have got to see this place."


"You just have to see it."

"Would you like your coffee?"

"God, yes."

Illya went back and grabbed the still full cup and another two bear claws and handed one of each up to his partner. The second bear claw, he held in his mouth as he climbed up and through the hole.

The light from a single dangling bulb was dim, but even that was enough to make Illya's mouth gape, but he managed to catch the bear claw before it hit the ground.. "What the hell?"

"How much did you know about the guy you bought the place from."

"Nothing, just that he'd had the restaurant on the market for a while and was desperate to sell. He insisted that we had to take the house with the deal and considering the offer we made, we weren't about to refuse. Hell, I didn't even know we had a second story until after we'd been living here a month."


"We took possession in November and had no heat or electricity in here, so we slept downstairs in front of the fireplace. I was more interested in getting the restaurant up to standards and only came back here to sleep. That usually meant about three steps inside the door."

"Yours was a wild and crazed existence."

"It was something... this is something."

The sound of the rain pounded steadily on the roof. "I'd always wondered why you couldn't hear the rain more." He downed the rest of his bear claw and tore off half of Napoleon's.

"You honestlydidn't know any of this existed?" Napoleon took the hint and rapidly finished his coffee before the Russian could remember it.

"Not a clue." Along one wall were trunks, dozens of them, neatly stacked. Against the opposite wall hung clothes from a rod that ran the entire length of the room. "The last time I saw this many clothes was in Macy's in the City." Illya shook his head as he appropriated the rest of the pastry. "Why would anyone leave something like this behind?"

"Didn't you say the place was completely furnished when you got it? Obviously, the owner saw all of this as expendable...garbage."

Illya walked over to the nearest garment bag and blew the dust from it. He unzipped it and shined the flashlight he'd appropriated from Napoleon on the contents. "This is silver fox, Napoleon. It probably cost more than we made our first year open." Illya sighed and ran a hand through his still damp hair. "I had a fortune up here and didn't even know it."

Napoleon came up behind him and slipped his arms around the slender waist. "Perhaps you weren't meant to. It would have made things too easy; it wouldn't have made you as hungry."

"Speaking of such, I'm starving. Let's get some breakfast."

"You've had two bear claws...

"Three, I had one downstairs while I was waiting for you."

"Jeez, Illya, you're a walking stomach."

"I burned off a lot of calories this morning. As I recall, you simply just lay there and groaned." He gestured to the room. "Besides, this has been here for a long time; it can wait a bit longer."

"We should call Matt and Rocky over."

Napoleon looked up from spooning a bit of cherry marmalade onto his toast. Illya had already polished off his half of the huevos rancheros and was now eyeing Napoleon's. He slid his plate out of range, stopping just short of curling a protective arm around it. "Why should we do that?"

"Rocky grew up here. He knows the history of just about every building in town, and Matt because he loves to play dress up." At Napoleon's raised eyebrow, Illya grinned and dropped his gaze to the table top. "It's a long and very uninteresting story."

"Do tell."

"Really long and really boring..."

"I have time..." Napoleon rested his chin on a propped up hand.

"I don't." Illya stood and walked over to the phone.

"And what if I had other plans... plans that involve you and me and the exploration of human endurance?"

"I thought we settled that earlier today."

"You might have, but I am up for a rematch..."

"Sadly, I am not... just yet." The Russian was the picture of boyish innocence, blue eyes opened wide and glistening.

"How the hell do you do that?"

"What?" Illya batted his eyes.

"You are a goddamned tease, Kuryakin. Go call Matt! The sooner we get him here, the sooner I hear this story of yours."

"Matthew is a compulsive liar."

"And I remember just how much you used to love to go undercover. I can't wait."

"Oh mio Dio! Questo è incredibile... questo è meraviglioso !" (Oh my God! This is incredible... this is wonderful!) Matt spun around in place as if he couldn't figure out where to head first. "And you had no idea this was here?"

"Matt, do you remember when we first moved in?"

"I remember sleeping and working, but that's about it."

"That was my point."

"But all this time, Chef?" Rocky used the flashlight to illuminate the trunks. "You never wondered about all that space above your head? It's sort of obvious."

"Lips, don't unpurse," Napoleon murmured, grinning.

"I've been busy... with things."

"Una cosa in particolare, come di ritardo, penso." (One thing in particular as of late, I think).

"Matthew!" Napoleon looked over at him. "A bit of decorum please!"

"All these trunks are locked though." Rocky tested one. "So much for that."

Illya walked over and knelt in front of the trunk. "Hold the light steady please." He withdrew a small kit and flipped it open. He pulled out a small tube of oil and squirted a bit onto a thin strip of metal. He inserted it into the lock and glanced over his shoulder at Napoleon. "Go." He inserted a second piece of metal and started to twist and turn it. A moment later, the lock sprang open and Illya sat back on his heels.

"Thirty seven seconds. You are rusty, my friend."

"Haven't had much call to pick locks as of late." Illya ignored the stares of his co-workers and hefted open the lid. He picked up the top bundle of letters, held the flashlight closer and squinted. "These are so old, I can't read the writing."

"Cara, it also helps to have your contacts in, si?" Matt held out a hand and Illya tossed the bundle to him.

"The Honorable Judge Smith to Miss Comely Collier? What sort of idiota names their daughter that?" Matt read, then glanced up as the attic was suddenly illuminated. Napoleon had been replacing the 40 watt bulbs with 100 watt ones. Only now did the attic reveal all its secrets. "You have... how do you say? Um... salotto?"

"Parlor..." Napoleon said as he carefully pulled a drop cloth off a small settee. "Why would someone go to all the trouble of hauling furniture up here when there's a perfectly serviceable living room downstairs?"

Rocky had been reading over Matt's shoulder. "Perpetuating a dream, maybe?"

"What do you mean, Cara?"

"These letters. No postmark—they were never sent." Rocky flipped through the top few and dropped the bundle back into the trunk.

"But there must be hundreds of them," Illya said, digging through the contents of the trunk.

"You don't know Jackson history, do you?" Rocky crossed his arms and tried to look serious. "Haven't you even read the damned plaques the Clampers put up?"

"The Who-pers?" Matt looked over at Illya who shrugged and shook his head.

"The Clampers? Ye gods!" He grabbed their hands and led them to the settee. "Okay, history of Jackson 101. We were founded in 1848 and for awhile went briefly by the name of Bottileas, but that's another story. We are a gold rush city, made up of three main mines back then, the Eureka, Kennedy, and Argonaut mines. Again, another story for another day. Back in 1854, in the newly formed Amador County, Jackson became the county seat after Judge Smith declared it so, even though Mokelumne Hill had received two hundred more votes. They tried to lynch Smith for it and he was pretty pissed. Found out that Clerk Collier had canvassed the area and collected all those extra votes. In an example of pure frontier justice, he hunted down, shot, and killed Collier on Main Street. There's a plaque commemorating the event."

"I think I tripped on that plaque once," Illya tipped his head back to address Napoleon. Matt and Napoleon were actually on the couch, Illya was more draped over the top of them, Matt holding his legs, Napoleon his torso.

Napoleon took an opportunity for a kiss. "Poor plaque, so misunderstood, so abused..."

Rocky clapped his hands together. "You guys haven't heard the best part." He reached down and grabbed Matt's hand. He dragged him over toward the long rack of clothes and grabbed a long fur coat. Giving it a shake, he held it open for Matt.

After a moment, Matt slipped into it and Rocky led him back to the settee. "It was after he'd murdered Collier that Judge Smith fell helplessly in love with the beautiful Comely, Clerk's only daughter. She, of course, wanted nothing to do with her father's murderer." Rocky dropped to one knee. "Marry me, Comely, and make me the happiest man alive."

Matt stared at him for a second, then understood and then shook his head, turning his back on his lover, "Barbaro, hai ucciso il mio papa!" (Barbarian, you killed my papa!).

"But I love you!"

"Should have thought of that before you killed Papa! No dice, Charlie!" Matt spun and lifted his foot to knock Rocky over.

He flopped backwards and began to sing,

"Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey
I'd heard about you before

He got to his hands and knees and began to crawl towards Matt.

"I wanted to know some more
And now I know what they mean, you're a love machine
Oh, you make me dizzy

Illya was chuckling now and Napoleon was pinching the corners of his eyes to keep tears at bay. Rocky grinned and got to his feet, dusting himself off. "Judge Smith tried for years to win the heart of the fair Comely, but her answer was always the same."

"Ottenere lontano da me! Non voglio giocare con te!" (Get away from me! I don't want to play with you!)

"Eventually, Comely married someone else, but it was rumored that Judge Smith never stopped loving her. In spite of his great wealth, he died alone and unmarried, unwilling to have anyone but his Comely."

"All right, that explains all the letters, I suppose." Napoleon absent mindedly began to run his fingers through Illya's hair. "I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be that desperately in love and have it unrequited."

"Not something you need to worry about." Illya twisted so that he could capture Napoleon's head and draw him into a long lingering kiss.

"Hey, unrequited lover over here," Rocky yelled and they broke apart.

"Sorry." Illya's grin argued against his apology and he surged back up for one last kiss before settling back down against Napoleon. "Go on with the story."

"So this house, or rather some version of it has been here since the days of Judge Smith."

"You're telling me Judge Smith built a Swiss chalet to tempt her?"

"No, Chef, this house has been redesigned more than a few more times. The last owner sort of built the A frame around the existing structure. He probably didn't even know all of this was up here. Otherwise he would have at least sold off the furs. He was desperate for money when you two came along. "

"I wondered about that," Napoleon admitted. "Still doesn't explain all of this..." He waved his hand.

"I was just explaining the letters, Mr. S." He glanced over his shoulder as Matt was trying on one floor length fur coat after another. "But if you want to stop him, be my guest. I'm going to keep my hands and feet firmly in the car until after the ride stops."

"Cara, this would look fabulous on you!" Matt held up a black floor length leather coat.

"I agree, go try it on," Napoleon whispered in Illya's ear. "And then think of me peeling it off you."

"You talk like that and I won't be able to move," Illya murmured back, mouth open, just the tip of his tongue peeking out.

"Chef, you think you can pop the rest of these open?" Rocky asked and Napoleon grinned.

"Your public awaits."

"It always does."

The next half hour was spent rummaging through the various trunks, while Matt and Illya explored the various garment bags.

"Matt, you look like a pimp," Napoleon said, flipping through some photographs.

"A what?"

"Un magnacci." Illya translated. "Why would one person have so many coats? You can only wear one at a time."

"You do not understand the workings of a woman's mind."

"You're telling me..."

"Hey, Mr. S, what are these?" Rocky held up a cylinder and Napoleon made a surprised noise.

"I haven't seen one of these in years!"

"But what is it?"

"The precursor to the vinyl record. And I'm vaguely insulted that you would think I would recognize it." Napoleon took it carefully from Rocky's hand and turned it over a time of two before handing it back. Then he stood and started to remove drop clothes. "There you are." He gestured to an old player. "I haven't seen one of these in years. My grandparents had one."

"How does it work? I don't see a cord?" Rocky examined it closely.

"You crank it, Rocky. Like this." Napoleon carefully slid the plastic recording cylinder out and on to the machine. He gave the crank several turns and adjusted the needle. Tinny music filled the space, blocking out the sound of the rain overhead.

I never envied the rich millionaires,
I never wanted to have what was theirs;
I never bother about their affairs, as the others do.
All that I want is a chance to be glad;
I've grown so tired of being so sad;
There's only one thing I wish that I had, that's you, just you.

I never envied those rich millionaires,
Who sit around in their silk-covered chairs;
Any old sofa with someone who cares it would more than do.
Just you and me and I'd want nothing more;
Maybe a baby to play on the floor;
I'd have a whole lot to be thankful for if I had you.

Still wearing the coat, Illya came to stand by Napoleon, turning his head to study the machine. Napoleon gave it another few cranks and held open his arms. With a smile, Illya moved easily into his embrace and they rocked back and forth, more just moving to the music as opposed to dancing. Napoleon's hands slid beneath the butter soft leather, caressing Illya's back through the thin tee shirt. He wrapped his arms up and pulled Illya close, his mouth seeking.

Then they were just standing, kissing, hands rough and gentle at the same time.

"I want you," Illya murmured.

"We have company." Napoleon nodded to the settee where Matt and Rocky were dancing to their own beat.

"Turn the lights off." Illya's voice was husky and Napoleon felt a thrill shoot through him. The thought of taking Illya with his former lover just yards away was intoxicating. Illya's hands were kneading his ass, pressing their groins together.

"I'd hurt you; I don't have anything..."

"Use the oil in the kit."

"You've apparently thought of everything."

"Except for why we're still clothed and not on the floor."

Napoleon walked to the light switch and flicked off the lights.

"What?" Rocky half mumbled and then groaned. Napoleon grinned in the dark and then felt familiar fingers sliding into his jog pants, pushing them down. He stepped out of them as they sank to the floor.

Something plastic was pressed into one of his hands and he realized it was the oil bottle. He squirted some into the palm of his hand and tentatively applied it to his straining erection. It was cool and a little tingly, but nothing more. He didn't need to see Illya's body to know he was eagerly awaiting him.

Not bothering to wipe his hands, he moved them up Illya's legs and pushed the knees wide. At some point, Illya had lost his own jogging pants and positioned himself. Napoleon squeezed more oil onto his fingers and slid two into the very eager body of his partner. He didn't like admitting that the sounds coming from the direction of the settee were turning him on, but Rocky's grunts and Matt's groans were like an aphrodisiac for him.

Usually he prepared Illya a bit more, but he couldn't wait a second longer. He slid his fingers out and replaced them with his dick, one long thrust that brought a cry from Illya. Napoleon wrapped a strong arm around Illya's middle to keep him from moving away, not stopping until the whole of him was buried in Illya's body.

Illya whimpered and Napoleon started to withdraw and then pressed in again, not pausing, not giving Illya a second to catch his breath. Napoleon knew he wasn't hurting Illya; the rock hard penis in his hand twitched and jerked with each thrust. The cries of the couple behind him grew faint and he heard only Illya's and his.

He felt Illya's climax surging through his hand, heard Illya pant out his name while impaling himself. Napoleon took three more hard thrusts to reach his climax and he held Illya rock still as he emptied himself into that blissful tightness.

Now his grip loosened, became more of an embrace, a loving caress as he eased them down to the floor, to stretch out on the leather, still buried in Illya, reluctant to leave that warmth any sooner than he had to. He could hear Matt and Rocky still fully involved and distracted himself by marking Illya, letting Illya mark him, and then letting the rain lull him into a contented and languid near sleep state.

A roll of thunder roused him, groggy and disoriented. Then a voice, "Crap, Mattie, you weren't joking when you said that stuff about good things in small packages."

"You have five seconds to amend the part about small packages," Illya grumbled and Napoleon realized he was still beneath Illya, using him as an improvised blanket, whereas Illya was exposed to the elements...

"Avert your eyes, Rocky. You will go blind at such a sight."

"If I could move, I'd beat you," Illya muttered

"I think, you've been beaten enough, Cara," Napoleon felt something soft and heavy draped over them. "We young ones, we have more stamina, we've brought something to rebuild your costituzione ..."

"Constitution, my ass," Illya muttered, rolling onto his back.

"And perhaps that as well, si?"

Napoleon opened his eyes and shook his head at the two men as Matt was uncorking the bottle of wine and Rocky held out glasses. "You two really are incorrigible."

"Says the man who had sex with our boss out here in front of God and everyone." Rocky offered him a glass of wine.

"You were heading down the same path long before we joined you." Napoleon used his jog pants to jam beneath his head as an improvised pillow as Matt settled down against Illya, resting his head against Illya's hip.

"I think, perhaps, we shall blame it on the rain and the...." Matt made a gesture with his hands at Rocky. Rocky caught them and lowered himself down against Matt.

"Unrequited love." He brushed Matt's lips with his fingertips and pursed his own lips.

"Unrequited love," Matt repeated, trying to capture the fingers. Rocky leaned down to kiss his partner. Illya draped an arm over his eyes and let his head drop with a 'thud.'

"Hey, dying man down here."

"Non da quello che sento ," (Not from what I'm feeling) Matt murmured and Illya twisted a bit.

"That's my hip bone, you idiot. Up," he ordered and Matt reluctantly sat forward. Illya reached for his pants, sliding into them beneath the cover of the blanket.

"Don't go to any trouble for me, Chef. I, for one, was enjoying the floor show." Rocky settled Matt in his arms and nuzzled his neck.

"I should fire both of you."

Illya's threat sounded as hollow as it was and Napoleon repressed a chuckle at Rocky's, "Slaves have to be sold."

"Speaking of such, what are you going to do with all of this?" Napoleon asked, tugging on his own sweat pants. "You have enough to outfit a small acting company."

"The letters and historical stuff should go to our local museum," Rocky said, sipping, then offering his glass to Matt. "I'm just trying to figure out how they got it in here to begin with. Certainly not through the hole we came up through."

"I was wondering the same thing." Another rumble of thunder rolled through and drowned him out. "Perhaps this is something we should pursue downstairs... where it is less dusty and a bit more civilized."

"You outdid yourself tonight, Cara." Matt patted his stomach happily. "The rabbit was perfect."

"That's what he deserves for tormenting my garden all summer." Illya handed a glass back to Napoleon. He was sitting on the floor, resting between Napoleon's legs while Matt happily occupied Rocky's lap on one of the overstuffed chairs.

"Chef... you didn't?" Rocky was aghast.

"He didn't," Matt answered, stroking Rocky's hair. "Calmati, mio dolce. We bought them yesterday."

"So tomorrow we'll talk to Jesus and see if his wife wants anything..." Illya started.

"And Roxanne and the sisters..." Matt interrupted.

"Of course." Napoleon chuckled, letting strands of Illya's hair fall through his fingers. "While you're doing that, I'm going to try to find another way in and out of that place. Our closet can stand only so much scrutiny."

Illya leaned back into the caress, his eyes half closed. "You look like Moutard," Matt said. "One big figa gatto."

"He's a poosy cat alright." Napoleon twisted his fingers into a fist and pulled back.

"And I have teeth and claws, my friend," Illya warned.

"I think that is our exit cue," Rocky hefted Matt off his lap and stood adjusting his jeans. "Plus if we don't let Chiquitita out soon, there will be hell to pay and a mess to clean up."

"Back out into the rainy night..." Matt sighed, hand to his forehead.

"It stopped raining about halfway through dinner," Rocky pointed out, handing him his jacket.

"Into the cold and wet night then. Not a fit night for man or beast." Matt zipped Rocky's coat closed,

"Good thing you're neither then." Illya didn't bother to move from his position.

"We'll give you a call."

"Not too early."

"On a day off? Perish the thought, Chef. Night, Mr. S." Rocky slid his arm around Matt's narrow waist and the two headed out into the night.

"Were we ever that young?" Napoleon resumed stroking Illya's hair. "Or that horny?"

"Not recently. Not since this afternoon." Illya tilted his head back. "Are you ready for bed?"

"I am." He grunted as Illya used his legs for leverage. "And fragile."

"There is nothing fragile about you, except possibly your ego." Illya carried the wine glasses into the kitchen and started the dishwasher. He turned, surprised that Napoleon hadn't followed him in. That was odd. He checked to make sure the cats' dry food bowl was filled, as well as the water dish, verified the back door was locked and turned off the lights.

The only illumination in the living room was that of the dying fire and again Illya was surprised. He hunched his shoulders and climbed up the stairs.

Walking into the bedroom, he stopped and smiled, a sleepy, come hither smile at the leather coat Napoleon was holding open for him. Illya had the impression he had a long and very hard night ahead of him...

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