The Arctic Nights Affair
|Title:||The Arctic Nights Affair|
|Fandom:||Man from U.N.C.L.E.|
|External Links:||online here|
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It was published in the zine We Have Each Other #2 #1 and is online.
Illya, who is recovering from injuries, and Napoleon, who comes along to get it over with, are assigned for 12 weeks to the UNCLE training complex in northern Canada (all field operatives have to do this once every three years). The class is entirely male, there are no female instructors present, and after 6 weeks, N is ready to chew iron and spit nails from sexual frustration. He asks Illya how he manages and One Thing Leads To Another. 
Reactions and Reviews
This is a first time story of a decidedly non-romantic type, at least in its premises: Napoleon and Illya are assigned to take in charge the training of a bunch of rookies in a secret U.N.C.L.E. base, located "five degrees above the arctic circle". In such an isolated environment, the nervous tension is growing fast; the more so for Napoleon that, unfortunately, there is not a single sample of the female genre in the group. To say the truth, our infamous womanizer and U.N.C.L.E. resident stud is getting more and more horny as the days and weeks are passing, with all the imaginable consequences his quickly worsening mood may have on the job.
You can easily guess the next move; what are partners made for? Not that Napoleon appeared to welcome the proposition with much enthusiasm, or that Illya had set it out in a very enticing way; his formulation seriously lacks poetry or delicacy:
"Why would you want to do something so...repugnant?"
Illya sighed. "Repugnant is hardly an adjective that applies to you. As to why? I imagine I offered for much the same reason that you cleaned the vomit and excrement off me when you found me chained in that THRUSH cell two months ago to ease discomfort. Six weeks is a long time to suffer, Napoleon."
Solo seemed to digest the comparison for a moment. "It's not quite the same thing," he said at last.Indeed! Don't fret; the subsequent developments are going to duly put things right between the two friends-would be lovers, through all the expectable hesitations, tentativeness, scruples, embarrassment and second thoughts, so that the outcome would be as satisfying as any romantic reader could wish. The psychological evolution is smoothly and cleverly presented and made believable by the author's skillful writing devices. 
This is one of my personal favorites. Even though you know how it will eventually end, it avoids following a formula and gives a fresh look at the Napoleon tries sex with Illya/Napoleon discovers it's okay/Illya loves Napoleon routine. 
I think it was the first of the type I read, so I wasn't too demanding; but, anyway it's well rendered. 
One of my faves, as well. Another thing "The Arctic Nights Affair" does a brilliant job at, without being trite or ridiculous, is of explaining just why sex and love have always been mutually exclusive to Illya, and shows subtly just how the line between both begins to melt once he and Napoleon become lovers. 
... it's a good example of a story where the sex scenes are undoubtly necessary because they support, precede or follow the feelings' progression. 
What a gorgeous story! I'm so glad Rosemary seems to be posting a lot of her stories to the net.