by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

The time had come.

Illya had only experienced this particular variety of torture once before in his life, but he had known even then that it was inevitable that it should be inflicted on him again. He'd dreaded the day. As it inexorably approached, he'd made elaborate plans in a desperate attempt to avoid his fate. Futilely, as it turned out.

Napoleon was shopping for a new car and he'd insisted on dragging Illya along with him.

The worst part of it was, there was nothing wrong with his current car. There hadn't been anything wrong with the car before it, either. But apparently enough years had passed that Napoleon could convince himself that the car he did own was on the verge of breaking down into complete unreliability. So here they were, hiking through the lot of a car dealership.

On his first foray into this experience Illya had decided that he would rather be breaking into a THRUSH installation in the dark of night, in a swamp, than trekking across miles of asphalt, through rows of bright, shiny vehicles. The place was an oven, heat reflecting in every direction. And it was bright. The sun struck hundreds of windshields and sent brilliant, lancing beams of reflected light straight into Illya's eyes.

At least in that imaginary swamp, breaking into that imaginary THRUSH base, Napoleon would be backing him up. Not here. Here, Napoleon was striding along next to the salesman, nodding attentively and pretending to know what the specifications the man was reeling off meant, while Illya trailed in their wake.

"There's a Mercury Cougar Convertible I think you'll like," the salesman was saying.

Napoleon's eyes lit up at the work 'convertible.' "Where?"

This was the cue for the salesman to lead them off to the complete other side of the lot. Illya moaned in soft despair and jogged a couple of steps, despite the blistering heat, to catch up to his partner. "Napoleon," he said, not even trying to filter the edge of desperation out of his voice, "are you almost done here?"

"Now, Illya," Napoleon said, disgustingly cheerful, "you can't ask me to rush a big purchase like this."

Sadly, that was actually true. Despite the money Napoleon would get from the sale of his old car, he was still going to have to lay out a substantial amount of money to secure his new vehicle. Illya silently hoped that the aforementioned Cougar Convertible would be Napoleon's dream car. At least if he decided to buy it, they could go inside to start the paperwork.

When they finally arrived at the car, Illya had to confess it was an attractive machine. Nice lines, and it didn't have one of those ridiculous air scoops on the hood. The color was a metallic blue, brilliant in the sunlight. The salesman lowered the top enticingly; the vehicle looked even better opened up.

Napoleon approaching the car almost reverently and put out a hand to run it over the body work. He circled it slowly, crouching to check out the head- and taillights, running his fingers over the ridge--Illya didn't know the proper name--that ran from nose to rear wheels. When he'd made a complete circuit, the salesman opened the driver side door and motioned Napoleon in behind the wheel.

Illya simply chose to lean against the passenger side door and watch as Napoleon caressed the steering wheel. And the dash. And the gear shift. Every now and then he'd look up, apparently riveted by the salesman's patter. Illya frowned. The salesman, a young man, leaned down, resting his forearms on the top of the driver's door and said, "Go on. Lean back."

With a little fumbling, Napoleon found the lever beneath the seat and eased the back down until he was practically lying flat. "This is great," Napoleon grinned and stretched luxuriantly, "there's practically room for two people in here."

Illya ran his eye over Napoleon's body and the potentially restricting curve of the steering wheel. "They'd have to be two very friendly people," he said dryly.

"I can think of one or two who might fit the bill," Napoleon said, catching Illya's eye for a moment.

The mental image of the two of them sandwiched together in the driver's seat, reduced to little more than grinding by the limited space, dropped into Illya's mind as if Napoleon had reached out and placed it there. Illya could feel himself stir in response. He leaned forward a little, but the warm, hard metal of the car door did nothing to quell his arousal.

And Napoleon...Napoleon was smiling up at the car salesman again. Illya fixed the hapless man with a glare just long enough to see him pale beneath his tan and then turned a quietly smoldering gaze on his partner. "Napoleon," he said, lowering his voice as if for a private conversation, though the salesman was standing right there. "Are you going to buy the car?"

Napoleon met his gaze and Illya saw heat spark there, too. They always had read each other well. "Yeah," Napoleon said, roughly. He wasn't looking at the salesman anymore. Now he was looking at his partner. "But I need to get some documents from home."

Illya, who knew that Napoleon was carrying everything he needed on him, did not object.