A/N: I don't own these beautiful boys. :) This was written for a prompt (at the bottom) and ended up going a bit out of control. I've got another story I'm working on that's giving me fits, so in the meantime have this. -El
Napoleon has a gun jammed under his chin and blood trickling into his hairline and an angry Spaniard screaming in broken English in his ear. Illya is a few meters away, gun trained squarely on Solo and his captor and looking more shaken than Napoleon has ever seen him.
"I shoot him! You understand?" the man yells, his breath warm on Napoleon's face. Normally Solo would catch Illya's eyes then drop his weight, but the man – Rinaldo Abano, grade-A bullshitter and professional warmongerer – is just shorter than Napoleon and much heavier so that Solo thinks if he fell, Abano would just swear and continue holding him up.
It's also entirely possible the head wound has made his thinking fuzzier than he realizes.
"Put your gun down!"
Abano's shouting is making the pounding in his head worse, so Solo grits his teeth and hisses in Russian at Illya: "Just shoot him through me!"
Illya looks surprised, which means he cocks his head to the side in a barely perceptible move and blinks a few times before answering. "No!"
Napoleon can't really make eye contact but he does the best he can, staring down over his nose at the tall Soviet. "I trust you," he says. His Russian is more thickly accented than usual, but he supposes he can be excused just this once.
"No talking!" Abano shouts, shoving the gun a bit harder and bruising Solo's jaw even further. Napoleon swallows thickly and does his best to reiterate his previous statement to Illya using only his eyes. Illya responds in kind, widening his eyes and shaking his head slightly. Abano yanks on the arm wrapped around Solo's neck and causes the other man to choke, straining for air.
"Illya!" he gasps, and he can hear a string of Russian cursing before his world explodes in a burst of heat and then searing pain as a gunshot echoes through the air.
The American drops like a stone. So does Abano, but Illya doesn't care about that, not when his partner is lying on the ground, eyes wide and glazed over in pain with a pool of blood spreading beneath him. Illya lowers his gun and runs to where the two men are in a heap. His first instinct is to check on Napoleon, but he forces himself to make sure that Abano is dead first, toeing him in the side before kneeling and pressing two fingers into his neck.
Satisfied that the Spaniard is dead, Illya moves quickly to Napoleon, apologizing profusely under his breath. Solo is clutching feebly at the wound, blood seeping up and trickling between his fingers as he squirms weakly, heels digging into the dirt.
"Let me see," Illya barks, concern making him brusquer than he intends. Instinct seems to have taken over, however, and Napoleon shakes his head once then continues to hold the wound. Illya claps a hand over Napoleon's bloody ones and forces his voice to come out gentler. "Cowboy," he says. "You must let me see."
Napoleon's rolling eyes finally meet his and the American's grasp lessens. "P-Peril?" he says.
Illya grunts in acknowledgement before yanking Napoleon's shirt open, sending a few buttons flying and fabric tearing.
"That was expensive," Solo gasps.
"Waverly will buy you a new one," Illya says, growling with frustration at the undershirt that doesn't want to rip but that is already saturated with blood. He pulls his pocket knife and cuts the shirt quickly, sucking a harsh breath in through clenched teeth when he sees the wound. "I must turn you," he says, making sure Napoleon is looking at him. "It will hurt." Solo nods and Illya rolls him onto his side, trying vainly to ignore the stifled scream of pain the other man makes.
He'd aimed for Napoleon's shoulder but had still had to be aware of what would kill Abano; it appears now he may have slightly miscalculated, as the bullet traveled at a downward angle and probably nicked the top of Solo's lung on its way out. The way the American is breathing now it hasn't collapsed yet, but it's only a matter of time.
"Back over now," Illya says after pressing a wad of Napoleon's undershirt to the wound. Solo nods shortly but doesn't scream this time when he is moved, just gritting his teeth and squeezing his eyes shut instead. His breathing is shallow and stunted, but he's still conscious. It's enough, for now. It has to be.
"W-Waverly?" Solo manages. The syllables all slide together and seem to stumble over Napoleon's tongue, getting stuck halfway out. Illya has to hide a wince at the unfamiliar difficulty.
"I already called him," Illya says. "While you were getting your head bashed. Help will be here soon."
Napoleon manages a weak sort of half smile and closes his eyes. "Hey Cowboy, stay here," Illya says. "You can sleep later." When Solo's eyes remain closed Illya reaches down and pinches his earlobe, grinning when his partner wakes with a frown. He looks so pale, and a fine sheen of sweat has broken out over his white face. His hands are trembling.
"Tell G-Gaby," Napoleon starts, but Illya shakes his head and reaches down with his free hand to hold one of Napoleon's.
"No," he says. "Stay here."
Solo has tears in his eyes, whether from pain or emotion Illya does not know, but he refuses to give the American what he wants. He has heard of too many men who stopped fighting once they'd said everything they needed to and he will not let that happen to Napoleon.
He looks at his father's watch and then down the hill where the road is visible.
"We must get to the road," he says. "I will carry you. You will stay awake."
"Bossy," Solo whispers.
"I get the job done," Illya says, sweeping Napoleon into his arms. He wants to lift his partner over his shoulder but is worried about aggravating his injuries further, so clutches him to his chest instead, tucks the wobbly head beneath his chin and arranges flailing limbs so that they are contained.
"Gaby would –" Solo has to pause for breath before continuing, "– would laugh."
"Mm," Illya says. "Probably." She wouldn't; if she saw them she would be white-faced with concern and already tearing up her dress to use as bandages. Illya does not press the point. He can see a black car coming towards them and walks as quickly as he can to the lone tree providing some kind of cover near the road. He deposits Napoleon as gently as he can, leans him against the rough bark and lifts Solo's hand to cover the wound.
"Hold this," he says. "You understand?"
Solo nods, his hair flopping into his eyes. Illya smooths it back from his forehead before nodding and getting to his feet, gun raised and aimed directly at the oncoming car. To his relief, someone emerges quickly from the car, hands outstretched. It is with some surprise that he realizes it is Waverly himself.
"Waverly?" he says.
"I was in the neighborhood," Waverly says. "Where is he?"
Illya has already holstered his weapon and moved towards the tree that is holding Napoleon up. His heart sinks when he sees his partner slumped to the side, seemingly unconscious, but his partner cracks his eyes open and peers at him with heavy eyelids as he draws near.
"Still here," he whispers. His lips are completely bloodless now and beginning to take on the slightest blue. His breath is raspy and tight.
"What have you gotten yourself into now," Waverly says, kneeling next to Solo. It isn't a question and Illya is glad he doesn't have to answer. At least, not for now. "Let's get him to the car. I have a contact at a military hospital not far from here."
"We must hurry," Illya says. Waverly meets his gaze over the bloody form between them and nods solemnly.
"I shall drive like a bat out of hell," Waverly says. Illya doesn't know what that means, but it sounds suitably fast so he nods and they lift Napoleon together. Solo finally cries out and falls unconscious, his head falling backwards so that it hangs obscenely as they half-walk, half-run to the car. Illya slides into the backseat first, wedges himself into the corner and folds his legs up, then tugs Solo in after him, resting the other man's head on his left arm and pressing on the gaping wound with his right.
Waverly drives faster than Illya would have expected, had Illya been paying attention; as it is, he strokes Napoleon's hair from his face and blots the sweat from his skin and hums Russian lullabies under his breath.
Napoleon comes to and can't think past the pain, raw and white, that immediately overtakes him. He gasps and flails a hand for some kind of purchase, barely registering it when a hand smaller than his grasps his arm and a voice that should be familiar calls out.
A few moments later the world comes back and he can see that Gaby is sitting by the bed, hair done up in a braid, circles under her eyes. He wants to say something and even opens his mouth to do so, but is surprised when nothing comes out but a croak that immediately sets him coughing.
"Shh," Gaby whispers, bringing a straw up to his lips. He drinks thirstily, then turns his head away. There are tubes running into his nose, and into his wrists, and out of his chest, and out of his –
"You've been out of it for a few days," Gaby says. "Three, in fact. Scared the hell out of me and Illya."
"Sorry," Solo rasps.
"Your lung collapsed," Gaby says. "It's why you've got the tube in your chest."
"I had wondered," Solo says. "Can't say it's too comfortable."
"More comfortable than suffocating, I'd guess," she says, "which you nearly did, by the way."
"Yeah," Napoleon says, remembers gasping for breath and finding none, "yeah, that was horrible."
"Quite," Gaby says. "You should rest. I'll make sure someone is here when you wake up."
"Don't wanna rest," Napoleon says, even as he can feel his eyelids drooping closed.
"You need it. Sleep, I will watch you."
As awareness fades, Napoleon realizes he doesn't know where Illya is.
"He's gutted you know."
It's the first thing Waverly says to him when he's awake enough to actually hold a conversation longer than thirty seconds.
"Is he okay?"
"I've just said he's gutted," Waverly says, rolling his eyes. "He's – he's alright. Just feeling rather guilty, I think."
Solo pushes himself a little higher up in the bed, winces, has to wait a full minute before the world stops spinning. "That's bullshit," he says finally. "Tell him to get his giant ass in here."
Waverly shakes his head and grins, a glint in his eyes. He reaches down and pats Napoleon's leg, one of the few places that doesn't have stitches or tubes, and nods. "I knew you two were good for each other," he says. "I'll see that he comes in."
Illya walks into the room and hovers near the door, glancing up at his partner for a second before looking down to the floor. After a second he forces himself to look again; he deserves this. He cannot look away from this.
Napoleon appears to be asleep, and he has more color in his cheeks, though it's still far from healthy. There's a bandage across his forehead that covers the stitches there, and Illya knows there is another beneath the hospital gown Solo is wearing. The American's hair is soft and curly after being washed by a nurse and without the pomade he usually uses to tame it. Illya knows there is a tube protruding from his chest, too, and is relieved that he cannot see it from where he is standing.
He did this.
"Peril," a raspy voice says. "Get in here."
Illya shuffles forward, hat in hand, feeling like he's about to be scolded. But he deserves this. He did this.
"Kuryakin, this isn't your fault. I told you to shoot. I said I trusted you, and I do. I'm fine, see?"
"You are not fine," Illya says. He doesn't look up.
"Illya," Solo says.
"You are not fine!" Illya repeats. "I had your blood on my skin, under my fingernails, did you know this? And then you are in surgery for many hours and I wait to know if you are alive! That is not fine, Cowboy!"
He is trembling with pent up emotions, with the memory of the blood he had to scrub from his hands, and his English is going to shit, but he does not care.
"What did you hum?"
Illya is startled. "What?"
"In the car. What were you humming?"
Illya shrugs. "Russian lullaby. My – my mother sang it to me when I was small boy."
"Mm," Solo says. "It was – it was good. Gave me something to hang onto."
"Thank you, for saving my life. I know, I know, you shot me, but if Abado had shot me I would be dead right now, and if you hadn't carried me down that hill and hauled me to the hospital, I would be dead right now. So really, it's all down to you, isn't it?"
"Perhaps," Illya says.
He still is not convinced, but he is beginning to think he might be, one day.
Later, when the wound isn't so raw, Napoleon will blame the whole situation entirely on exhaustion and Illya will scoff and say that Solo's hand-to-hand was what did it. Gaby will watch them and roll her eyes and tsk under her breath and pretend like she's tired to death of her partners' bickering (but inwardly she will be so happy that she thinks her heart might leap from her chest because her family is back together.)
Based off of this prompt: "In the middle of a really bad mission, Napoleon manages to get caught by the baddie of the month. He's holding him at gunpoint, threatening to shoot him if Illya comes any closer. They can't let him get away and Napoleon has absolutely no intention of becoming a hostage so he orders Illya to shoot said bad guy through him.
Illya is obviously appalled and openly refuses but Napoleon knows there's no other way. Besides, he would rather die by Illya's hands than at the hands of this asshole."