Lessons in Braille

Shay Sheridan

For the "Darkness" challenge

"Oh, not again."

Illya. So he wasn't alone.

"This has become boring." His partner groaned from somewhere to Napoleon's left. "Don't you agree?"

Napoleon said nothing, merely continued feeling his way around the cell. Dampness met his hand. Cold. Mildew, if his nose told him correctly. He sighed. Boring, all right, coming awake to find themselves in typical THRUSH accommodations. Boring and totally predictable. Except, he qualified, for the near-absolute darkness. "That's novel," he murmured.

"What is? Napoleon?" He'd covered two walls of the cell and Illya's voice was closer, and now contained a note of irritability. "I can't see you, so would you mind making noise?"

"Would you like me to sing?" His foot came in contact with something soft that moved quickly away with a grunt of pain. "Oh, there you are."

"Yes, thank you, and I would prefer you not sing as you step on my hand like the clumsy ox you are."

Napoleon grinned, secure in the knowledge Illya couldn't see him do so. "You seem in fine spirits, considering our situation. No lasting ill-effects from the drugs?"

"None, thank you. I am my usual self."

"So I see. Well," he amended, "Not see literally, of course."

Illya growled in frustration. "I do wish there were more light in here."

"Yes. Would make it easier to find the commode, for one thing."

Illya snorted. "Ever practical."

"Mock me now; you'll see how right I am later." Napoleon continued to feel his way around the walls, which were frustratingly featureless. "Don't suppose you've found a light switch?"

"Ha ha."

"Or a door?"

"Yes, actually." There was a soft scuffing sound as Illya rose from the floor. "I banged into it with my forehead."


"Mm, yes, ouch. Unfortunately it's locked. Perhaps with the exploding button from your suit jacket—"

"—which they confiscated--"

"—Ah. Which they've confiscated," Illya said, right beside him. "Well, that's a pity."

"A pity indeed." Illya was close enough for Napoleon to feel his body heat. Reluctantly he continued on his tactile surveillance until his leg collided with something. "Oh, looky looky. I've found a cot."

"Terrific," said Illya caustically. "Let's throw it against the door. Perhaps it will explode."

"Illya, Illya," Napoleon said as he sat down. His head throbbed a bit, but other than that he was in an oddly cheerful mood. "Know what your trouble is?"

"Do enlighten me."

"Your trouble," Napoleon continued, "Is that you don't recognize opportunity when it hits you in the knee." He bounced gently on the cot. The springs were shot, but it wasn't bad, for a cot in a THRUSH prison cell. "Have a seat. I don't think we're going anywhere for a while."

"What opportunity?"

"Have a seat on it."

"What, the cot?"


Illya approached again and Napoleon felt the dip as his partner seated himself. "And what, pray tell, is the opportunity a cot provides?"

"You must be joking."

"Perhaps you haven't noticed, Napoleon," Illya said peevishly, "But there are currently no damsels in distress present with whom you can have your way while we wait for the next move from our captors."

"Well, that, my friend, is where your lack of imagination holds you back. "

"My lack—"

"You can't see what's right in front of you."

"Must I point out, Napoleon," Illya groused, "That presently neither of us can see what's in front of us?"

"Let's find out, shall we?"

And with that Napoleon's fingers closed with remarkable accuracy on his partner's face, pulling them together, his lips seeking and finding a mouth half-parted in surprise. The kiss was brief, but when it concluded, Napoleon's thumb lingered for a moment on Illya's full lower lip. He smiled to hear Illya's soft panting. "Now do you see?"

Illya squirmed away from him, but tellingly did not stand up. "This is a joke, isn't it? Surely you can't mean to--"

"Why not?"

"Why—! Napoleon! We're both men!"

Napoleon roared with laughter.

The mattress dipped again as Illya bolted up and away from the cot, and Napoleon heard the scuffle of Illya's shoes as he withdrew into darkness, accompanied by equally dark mutterings in Russian. The litany concluded with a painful-sounding thump. "Ow!"

"Yowch," Napoleon said, standing himself. "I bet that hurt."

"I hidt my dose," Illya said in a muffled voice.

"Here," Napoleon offered, moving towards the sound. "Let me kiss it and make it better."

"Napoleon, don't start that again!" Copious sniffing ensued.

Napoleon's hand came in contact with his partner's back. "Sorry," he said. "I mean, sorry you hurt your 'dose'—" He held back a snicker "—but I really think you should come back to the bed." His hand slid around Illya's shoulders, and he pulled him into a loose embrace, leaning forward to, in fact, kiss Illya's nose. "Come on. What do you say?"

"I--! Someone could see us!"

"How, exactly can they see us in darkness?" He smiled at the realization Illya had abandoned his earlier outrage in lieu of fears of discovery.

"Infrared, that's how!"

"So what?"


"From whom? Waverly? Nah. He knows I have. . . flexible tastes."

"Hah! 'Flexible.' You're revoltingly oversexed."

And yet Illya did not move from his arms. Promising. "If that's an insult, try again."

"What about my reputation, then?"

"Yours? Illya, Illya, Illya. Everyone already thinks you swing that way."

"They what?!" Now Illya did pull away, but he had nowhere to go, up against the wall as he was. "People think I am gomoseksualist?"

"Watch out, comrade, you're losing prepositions," Napoleon offered helpfully.

"You're lying!"

"Well, partner, if you insist on turning down all those lovely women who fling themselves at you, what else are people going to think?"

"I – I – I don't know what to say to that," Illya sputtered.

"Then say yes. I promise you'll enjoy it."

Illya let out a disgusted sigh. "And this banter actually works on women?"

"Well," Napoleon said, letting his hand roam down Illya's body. "Usually I couple the banter with a little tactile persuasion." His hand reached Illya's belt and continued to stroke downward. He was gratified to hear his partner suck in a raspy breath, and the flesh under Napoleon's hand firmed up a bit. "That's more like it," he whispered.

"Napoleon, I—"

"Let me, Illya. Will you let me?"

"Let you. . .what?"

Napoleon's fingers tightened on the fly of Illya's pants, unerringly finding the zipper. "How about this, for a start," he said softly, unzipping, reaching inside, finding warm and very willing-to-be-fondled flesh.

"Well," Illya breathed, "If you insist. As long as it's dark, I suppose it won't matter."

"Of course it won't. As long as it's dark." Napoleon smiled into the friendly darkness, slid silently to his knees, and wrapped his eager mouth around Illya's cock. Above him, he heard a surprised and noisy breath and a loud thump! followed by a pained "Ow!"

"Mm--sorry, sorry," Napoleon said, not sorry in the least. "Did you hit your head?" He didn't wait for an answer, but returned happily to the task at hand, sucking and licking while Illya moaned and writhed above him. All too quickly he sensed the frenzy had reached a peak, confirmed by Illya's alarmed, and rather strangled voice.

"Napoleon! I think I'm about to--"

--which was of course, when the lights snapped on, and--

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