TITLE: The Past Is Never Just The Past
AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
GENRE: Slash (mild). Established Relationships
PAIRINGS: Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin; Jethro Gibbs/Donald 'Ducky' Mallard
SUMMARY: A companion piece to a little story I woke a short time ago (Brothers In Love, if you are interested) that explained a comment made by Jethro Gibbs about Ducky looking like Illya Kuryakin when he was younger. Despite being written later, this story is actually a prequel to Brothers In Love, and was written because I was asked by several people to write the discovery from Napoleon/Illya's point of view. The stories both ignore The Fifteen Years Later Affair.
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 2004
Napoleon Solo stared at the screen. He had checked. And double checked. And triple checked. And then just for luck, quadruple checked his data - just as his scientist lover had taught him to. But the results remained the same.
He sighed, pulled his glasses off, and squeezed the bridge of his nose. Damn, why had he even started this? The answer to that was simple: he had wanted to give Illya something special for his 60th birthday; something that Napoleon could take full responsibility for. Something that meant he did more than just spend money. He’d done that too, of course, vast amounts of it; but to his mind it hadn’t been enough. Now he wished that he had simply stopped at spending.
He glanced across the room to where his lover of over thirty years was sprawled on the sofa, heavy book on his lap, thick-rimmed glasses halfway down his nose, a glass of vodka in one hand, the other hand keeping his still overlong hair out of his eyes. The color was no longer the white, wheaten gold that it had been when Napoleon had first met the young Russian, but it was still as heavy and silky as ever. It still invited Napoleon to run his hands through it, bury his nose and mouth in it, and caress it.
For once in his life Napoleon Solo was uncertain what to do. For once in their almost four-decade partnership and friendship, he couldn’t be certain of Illya’s reaction. And that bothered him more than the news itself.
He had two options: tell Illya what he had discovered, or just delete and purge all the information and ignore it. But even as he thought this, Napoleon knew that he didn’t have an option. Not to tell his lover would be tantamount to lying to him, something they had never done. Their truthfulness with one another had been one of the few honesties in their hitherto dishonest lives.
Besides, Napoleon had always worried about the eight years age gap between them. He had spent more than the odd hour wondering what would happen to Illya, what he would do, when Napoleon died, because statistically the older man should die first. It wasn’t as though they didn’t have other friends, they did. However, they also had their own world, one that, more often than not, contracted to contain nothing and no one but the two old friends and lovers. Maybe this information could help Illya when the time came - Napoleon refused to acknowledge what he had always suspected would happen to Illya.
He glanced across at Illya again, wanting to preserve the mood for just a moment longer, before he shattered something his lover had believed to be true for nearly six decades. The telepathy that had saved their lives many times in the field still existed, because as Napoleon watched Illya, the blond head came up and still shatteringly beautiful blue eyes glanced his way over the top of the black-rimmed glasses. “Pasha?” The Russian accent had never been completely lost, and for that Napoleon was immensely pleased. There was little more erotic than hearing Illya say his lover’s name; no one said ‘Napoleon’ in the way Illya did.
Napoleon held out his hand. “Come here, Lusha sweetheart,” he said softly, using his most intimate and gentle version of his lover’s name. Illya obliging placed a bookmark in his journal, pulled of his glasses, and rose smoothly to his feet.
He reached Napoleon’s side and took the proffered hand, before bending to place a soft kiss on Napoleon’s brow. “Da?” he asked.
Napoleon snagged a second chair and tugged Illya down onto it. “There’s something you need to see,” he said decisively, slipping his arm around Illya’s shoulders.
It didn’t take Illya long to read the pertinent facts that told him that he was not, as he had always believed and been told, an only child. But in fact was a twin, whose brother was alive and well and living in America, having been brought up in England.
He looked up at Napoleon, whose amber flecked dark chocolate eyes were watching him carefully. The concern, love, grief and guilt were clear for Illya to see. He didn’t need to ask ‘are you certain?’ Of course his lover was certain. He wouldn’t have shown Illya the information if he hadn’t been.
Instead, he put his hand into Napoleon’s and said gently, “What made you go looking for my family tree, moya luybrov?”
Napoleon squeezed Illya’s hand and said, his tone heavy with bitterness, “I wanted to give you something special for your 60th birthday. Something that I had done rather than just paid for. Ironic isn’t it? I wanted to give you a gift, all I’ve done is to give you pain. Something I vowed never to do.”
“Oh, Napasha,” Illya said, sadly, learning closer to his lover and maneuvering until he found Napoleon’s lips which he kissed lightly and for a long time. “Do not blame yourself, dorogoy. I am touched by your generosity; it still never ceases to amaze me. And I am not hurt. What happened, happened and did so sixty years ago. Hurting, ranting, suffering, hating, will not change that - nothing can. The past is the past, Napoleon, and will always be so.”
Napoleon stared at Illya and finally managed a faint smile. “Who but you?” he asked, his rich voice filled with awe. “Who but you?” They kissed again. Another affectionate, caring kiss; the kind that only lovers of their longevity could share.
When they broke for air, Napoleon asked, “What are you going to do?”
Illya rose to his feet and pulled on Napoleon’s hand. “Right now I am going to take you to bed and we are going to make love. Later . . . ? Later we shall see.”
Computers, books, the past, the future, were all forgotten as the two lovers walked hand-in-hand to the bedroom where their only concern was the present, the here and now.
VIRGINIA, USA - FOUR MONTHS LATER
Donald ‘Ducky’ Mallard stared at the letter in his hand once more. Even before he opened
it, he had known from the heavy cream paper and the academic stylized handwriting in black ink that it was important. And something about the handwriting was dangerously familiar, and yet he knew that he had never seen it before.
He ran his hand through his hair and once again read the lines that proved the past is never just the past. A noise behind him, together with a warm hand coming to rest possessively on his shoulder, broke into his thoughts.
“You coming to bed, Duck?” The voice of his lover, Jethro Gibbs, sounded as warm and possessive as his hand felt.
Ducky turned around and looked up into the dark blue eyes that stared down at him. All of Jethro’s love was displayed there for Ducky to see and feel. He smiled, covered Jethro’s hand briefly with his own and dropped the folded letter back onto his desk.
There was no contest. The letter could wait; after all the information it contained had waited for nearly sixty years, it could wait a little longer. Jethro, on the other hand, couldn’t wait, nor could Ducky. The opportunities for Jethro and he to be together, especially for the entire night, were far fewer and more fleeting than either man would have liked. “Yes, Jethro,” he said, allowing his lover to help him to his feet and tug him into an embrace.
Ducky slid his arms around his taller lover’s neck and tightened his grip, pulling Jethro even closer. “Duck?” Jethro said after a moment of two’s fierce embrace. He used his greater height to move backwards a little and glance down. “You okay?”
“Of course, Jethro,” Ducky answered, this time reaching up and pulling Jethro’s head down in order to claim his mouth in a deep, life-and-love affirming kiss. He finally broke the kiss and glanced again into the dark blue eyes that were now awash with deep and intense passion as well as affection. “Come,” Ducky said, taking his lover’s hand and moving towards the bed.
Within minutes, the world had contracted to contain nothing and no one but the two old friends and lovers, just as it did every time they expressed their love for one another.
Finally, complete and content from their gentle lovemaking, they began to fall asleep in one another's arms. Jethro fell asleep first, and as Ducky drifted closer to that same state, he spared a thought or two for the letter on his desk. The letter from the man who lived in England - the man who was his brother.