The streets around Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar were an inevitable draw, lined as they were with second-hand bookshops and bookstalls – books in all languages, books on all subjects – but the Sahaflar Çarşısı was an Aladdin’s cave for a bibliophile. Illya was delighted and, even though the books were often dusty and dog-eared, he would have been happy to spend the entire day picking up and reading his way through them. His conscience, however, in the form of his partner, prevented such an extravagant use of the day.
“There isn’t time, Illya. We’ll come back another day,” said Napoleon.
“We won’t have another day,” Illya growled.
“Another time, then. There’s bound to be one.”
“But the books will be different.”
“They’ll be just as interesting, come on.” And Illya finally allowed himself to be dragged away still complaining. Napoleon continued to hold onto him until Illya snatched his hand away.
“Haven’t you noticed,” said Napoleon, “men hold each other’s hands here.”
“Well, you’re not holding mine. I’m not a child.”
“We’re friends – aren’t we?”
For a moment Napoleon wondered if Illya was going to answer that one positively. He turned his eyes to Napoleon’s, frowning, then he smiled. “But I’m still not going to have my hand held,” he said.