Word Count 895
Prompt: bkkbjy posted this lovely photo a few weeks ago and it bunnied me.
My thanks to bkkbjy for allowing me to use this and for Sparky for the beta.
“It all comes down to chemistry.” Illya was stretched out on his bed, studying the notes he’d stolen from Bertol’s lab. The remnants of their meal sat on a nearby table.
“What? Everything?” Napoleon held up a piece of bread. “This is a chemical reaction?
“Inasmuch as the yeast reacted to the sugar and made the bread rise. The gluten in the bread held it all together, then they reacted to heat by turning brown.” Illya finished his glass of wine. “Even this acceptable cabernet was due to chemical reactions. Everything is a chemical reaction to something else.” He poured another glass of wine and offered Napoleon the bottle.
“What about chance? Or luck?”
“There’s no such thing in science. Perhaps in actions leading up to it, but not in the chemistry itself. ”
Napoleon had made a big to do about going out and finding a willing female companion for the evening, leaving Illya behind with the notes. Yet Napoleon only got as far as the bar.
There he found a dark corner and nursed a brandy for the good part of the evening. Something that Illya had said earlier in the evening kept playing through his mind.
Napoleon turned this over and over again in his mind as he sat in the bar. “All chemistry.”
He watched a lovely redhead make her way across the room. She paused, gave him the once over and smiled at him. She must have liked what she saw.
Ordinarily, Napoleon would have swept forward and guided her to a table, but Napoleon wasn’t feeling particularly ordinary as of late. In fact, he was sort of scaring himself.
Although he was still going through the motions, he hadn’t dated much in the last couple of months. When he did, everything seemed a little off, the women were too loud or they laughed too much or they were too clingy. He found himself anticipating his dates less and less without really understanding why. The thought of just being near a woman used to fill him with a surge of electric energy and now he felt drained.
Perhaps it was time to ask Illya his opinion. More and more he’d found himself creating reasons to hang around Illya.
“Maybe my chemistry has changed.” He regarded his near empty glass. It was tempting to get another drink, but he really needed to get some sleep instead.
Napoleon quietly unlocked the door to the hotel room and slipped inside without turning on the light. It was late and he was sure his partner was asleep by now. He’d been in so many hotel rooms that memorizing the path from the bathroom to the bed and back was one of the first things he did.
He walked quietly to the bathroom and went through his usual nightly routine, pausing as he caught his reflection in the mirror. He looked much as he always had, so why did he feel that so much about him had changed.
When he was younger, he’d dabbled in relationships with other like-minded men. The sex was fine, but there was something missing. He’d been able to find that in the arms of women, at least until recently. Now he was getting the same sense of nothingness. Nothingness used to be tolerable, but now he was struggling with it. He wanted more. And he was getting the feeling that the ‘more’ in this case was Illya.
Napoleon couldn’t understand it, but there was something about his partner than drew him like a moth to the flame.
”Hopefully without the smoky ending,” he murmured as he shook his head and turned off the light.
Blinded by the lack of light, he groped his way to his bed and climbed in, only to come to an abrupt stop at the sensation of a warm body.
“Napoleon?” Illya’s voice was thick with sleep. “Is there something wrong?”
“Um, I was going to ask you the same thing. Why are you in my bed?”
“I’m not. I’m in my bed. You wanted the one by the window, remember?”
“Ah, no.” He started to climb out, but Illya’s hand caught his.
“You are free to stay if you’d like. I don’t mind.”
“You… you don’t?” After a moment, Napoleon made his decision and flipped the bedclothes up over him.
“No.” Illya sounded more awake now.
“Illya, we were talking about chemistry earlier.”
“Does chemistry explain how something that isn’t usual, suddenly can change and become something else?
“Of course. The first rule of chemistry, Napoleon, opposites attract.”
“You mean like oil and water?”
“I was think more of positive and negative ions. There are bonds that can be formed, some are temporarily suspended into a solution, like oil and vinegar, but others can form lasting bonds, creating a new element.”
“Huh, think about that.” Napoleon edged a bit closer to Illya’s warmth.
“Some attractions are so strong that neither can resist the other. They might fight for a short while, but in the end, it’s always the same. They are drawn to each other without conscious effort.”
“Imagine that.” Napoleon settled in beside Illya, content and at peace, and in the dark, he failed to notice Illya’s small, very satisfied smile.
“I have.” Illya whispered and snuggled just a bit closer, two men, useless to resist the chemical attraction between them, slept.