The priest passed in front of the choir box quickly and genuflected before the altar. He crossed himself and kissed the crucifix that hung around his neck, his movements reverent and practiced. Clothed in black, he made a somber figure when showcased against the brilliant stained glass windows.
He cast his eye over the pews, searching for something, anything that might be out of place. Content that all was as it should be in his kingdom, he headed down the aisle towards the confessional. With any luck, he'd be able to squeeze in a couple of confessions before evening prayer.
He settled himself in the booth and waited. A few moments passed, then he heard softly approaching footsteps and the sound of someone settling himself on the other side of the grate.
He slid back the door, indicating that he was listening.
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned... with you... multiple times...last night."
Napoleon couldn't repress a grin at Illya's comment and the thought. "Are you complaining, my son?"
"No, I think rather bragging a little.... Has our courier made the drop off?"
"Nothing yet, but he's scheduled to make the drop at this evening's services. He's supposed to leave it in the ambry."
"The what?" It wasn't often that Illya got stumped and Napoleon felt a little thrill.
"The ambry; it's where the sacred oils are stored."
"How am I supposed to get into there?" Illya asked, leaning closer to the grill.
"You can't, but I can. I'll pass it to you during communion at tonight's service."
"Napoleon, you're not a real priest. You can't say mass... I don't think. Can you?"
"Of course not, but we have an arrangement with the priest, so I'll help give communion. It's nice to know all those years of being an altar boy are going to be put to good use finally."
"Your mother will be so proud, Napoleon." A pause. "However, there's a basic flaw in your plan..."
"I'm not Catholic... I'm an atheist. I don't take communion." Illya whispered this, glancing toward the curtained doorway.
"You're sitting in a confessional talking to a pseudo-priest, that's probably as good as it's going to get. I'll pass it to you then."
"How...?" Illya raked his hair off his forehead in a frustrated move Napoleon was very familiar with.
"Trust me, okay?" Napoleon made up a soothing hand gesture. "Another five hours and this will all be a bad dream."
"It's already been a bad dream. One minute I'm wallowing in the glories of carnal sin and the next minute I'm in a dressing gown... and a very unflattering one at that."
"Vestment robe, Illya, and we can't say that Waverly doesn't have a sense of humor."
"Whatever, I just know you're wearing trousers and I'm not..."
"Well, if nothing else, at least we know who wears the pants in the family."
"You are getting way too much enjoyment out of this."
"I'll make it up to you. When you leave here, go to the altar, kneel, and stay there for about ten minutes."
"You're repenting for your sins..."
"It's going to take me a helluva lot longer than ten minutes to repent for last night, much less everything else I've done..."
"Fine, I'm going, your worship."
"I prefer 'benevolent despot.'"
"I'll bet you do."
Napoleon slid the door back and listened as Illya left the confessional, breathing out a sigh of relief. Just a few hours more and this would all be behind him and Illya would be behind him... he caught himself before he could head down that path. It wouldn't do to have a parish priest walking around with a hard on.
Napoleon felt a trickle of sweat escape and make its way down his spine. The alb was heavy and he was roasting. He now wished he was wearing the cassock that Illya was dressed in for Mass. That was one of the advantages to the novice garb, the vestments were lighter. At least he took comfort in knowing he looked mighty fine in the robe.
He worked hard to keep his focus on the priest's words, struggling to translate the Latin. The last time he'd been to church, he didn't speak Latin... He smiled. That time seemed a world and a life away from him now. He'd enjoyed the comfort religion had brought him as a child, even entertained the thought of going into the priesthood until he discovered the 'no sex' codicil. Even at thirteen, he knew that wasn't for him.
The microfilm capsule was safely in his possession and he counted the seconds until he could pass it off to his partner. He watched Illya as a matter of course, just as he knew his partner was watching him without appearing to.
He listened to the sermon, watching the head priest start to perform the Blessed Sacrament. He was inwardly glad that Waverly had paved the way for their presence with the bishop. He knew the drill well enough, but not enough to fake his way through the actual mass. Nor did he really want to. While he tended to keep his religion on the back burner, he also didn't like to take any more chances with it than were absolutely necessary.
The priest caught his eye, nodding solemnly, and they moved to the front of the altar in preparation to deliver the Eucharist. Napoleon accepted a chalice and stood beside him. He'd helped with communion back home, so this was old hat. The first couple deliveries were a bit awkward, but it was like falling off a bicycle. He watched as Illya moved steadily forward. In the black robes, the Russian looked positive edible and Napoleon hadn't missed the looks aimed in his partner's direction, from the congregation, a couple of his fellow priests; even one of the altar boys seemed very...interested.
It had taken everything Napoleon had not to call the Russian to his chambers this afternoon and demand a thorough ravaging. He both hated and loved when he got like this, so anxious, so desperate for his partner's touch.
As Illya came to stand before him, Napoleon palmed the tiny capsule. Using the wafer as a cover, he slipped both into his partner's mouth, resisting the temptation to stroke Illya's cheek as he did it. Even God would see the irony in this situation, so close and yet so far.
Illya nodded briefly once and swallowed the capsule. Now even if they were stopped and searched, the microfilm was safe. Napoleon felt a weight slide off his shoulders and squarely onto Illya's. He should have felt relief, but instead felt guilty.
Boy, was that Catholic, he thought ruefully. Illya would soon be facing a few hours of discomfort — doctors never called it pain — in Medical as powerful pharmaceuticals forced the capsule through his system faster than usual. Their mission would be a success in the end. He resisted the urge to chuckle at his pun as he finished offering Communion and went to stand behind the altar as the priest completed the service.
"So how are you feeling?" Napoleon walked quietly into the room, just in case his partner had nodded off. He set the tray down on the nightstand and pulled up a chair.
"How do you think I'm feeling?" Illya was stretched out, face down, on Napoleon's bed. Napoleon knew the worst of the cramping was behind Illya now and he was just dealing with the dull ache that spending four hours trying to shit your internal organs out left in its wake.
Now Napoleon was intent on forcing as much fluid as he could down Illya's throat, since it was very unlikly the man would be up to allowing anything else forced down it any time soon. Napoleon had been in Illya's place more than once and was all too familiar with the after-effects of this particular style of retrieval. The things they did to their bodies in the name of UNCLE.
"Um, clean as a whistle inside and out?" Napoleon wrung out a cloth and laid it across the back of Illya's neck. The man's skin was hot to the touch and Napoleon leaned forward to blow across the scarred back, watching goose bumps rise up.
"Funny, Napoleon, next time you carry the capsule and let Medical have their way with you."
"It wasn't my fault I had previous knowledge and experience this time out. Besides, senior agent by two years, rank does have its privileges. And it could have been worse."
"Not from where I'm lying. I always seem to forget about this part." Illya sighed as Napoleon continued to rub his back, the touch not too light or too hard. "How could this have been worse?"
"At least you weren't part of the retrieval squad... think of the poor orderly having to sift through all that—."
"That's disgusting," Illya cut him off.
"I'm just saying that it can always be worse." Napoleon purposefully avoided Illya's buttocks, knowing that Illya wasn't in the mood to be fondled, no matter how lovingly. "Take my situation, for example."
Illya rolled carefully over and made a face. "What is your situation?"
"Well, it was an exciting mission and I'm both stressed and frustrated, yet my current method of letting off steam seems to be, well, out of steam, to drive home a point."
"There will be no driving home of anything tonight, my friend." Illya winced again, but he took Napoleon's hand and brought it to his mouth, kissing the palm reverently. "Whatever trip you are intending to take tonight, my friend, I'm afraid you are going to have to take by yourself or find your entertainment elsewhere."
Napoleon made a jerking motion with his head and Illya shifted over. "After you've been with the best, it's hard to settle. As difficult as it is, I'll wait." He stretched out on the bed beside Illya and smiled as Illya came to rest beside him. He slid an arm under his neck and pulled him close.
"I will make it up to you." Illya draped an arm across Napoleon's chest and winced as cramps clutched his insides. "Дерьмо."
"Literally," Napoleon said, removing his arm. "You know the way."
"Intimately, by now." Illya got off the bed and headed for the bathroom. Napoleon watched him and sighed. It was going to be a long night for both of them. He didn't mean to nod off, but as the minutes ticked by, he could feel the day, the adrenaline washing away from him. He closed his eyes for just a minute.
And opened them to the most delightful sensation in the world — of Illya's mouth on him, lips, tongue, and teeth drawing out a climax that left him feeling turned inside out and weak.
"What was that for?" he managed eventually.
"A thank you for not pestering me last night with innuendos and bad jokes." Illya's breath was soft on his skin. "That was good?"
"Good? I saw God." Napoleon reached out and now caressed the cheek, rough with whiskers. "I just never expected him to be a blue-eyed blond Russian."
"Me? A god? Not likely, although... a bit of a devil? Now there's a title I can live with."
And as Illya began to kiss his way down his body, Napoleon decided he could quite happily live with it as well.