Klaus opened his eyes and turned off his alarm clock just as the first beep began. He rolled his shoulders as he got out of bed and felt a rather satisfying pop, then padded over to his Bonn flat’s small bathroom. Shower, shave, then he’d have a smoke. He didn’t need a cigarette as soon as he woke up.
He managed to get one foot inside the bathroom before turning on his heel and stalking back over to his bedside table to grab his pack and his lighter, then headed back to his original destination, lighting up on the way. He didn’t need a smoke, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t have one. His shower could wait a few minutes.
Leaning against the sink and running a hand through his hair, Klaus took a long drag and exhaled the pale smoke through his nose. Those idiot NATO doctors could go to hell; he would be killed in the field long before his bad habits caught up with him. It didn’t take him long to finish up, grinding the butt into the side of the porcelain supporting him before moving to turn on the shower, undressing as he gave the old plumbing a few moments to heat up.
A short time later found him pulling a suit out of his closet and swiftly dressing, tucking his Magnum into its familiar shoulder holster and tightening his tie. He made his way into the kitchen and got himself a travel mug of Nescafé before slipping into his boots and snagging his trench, gloves and scarf, then was out of the flat and on his way to headquarters.
The air was dry, with no further threat of snow for a time, but the accumulation of the past few weeks precipital offerings crunched under his feet as he walked. Klaus had decided not to take the Benz today, and lit another cigarette as he trudged through the slightly slippery sidewalks, ignoring the cold and trying not to snarl at other pedestrians. It wasn’t their fault, he told himself, that this day came every year.
The office was humming with conversation, but that ground to an abrupt halt as Klaus pushed the door open with slightly more force than was necessary. The sudden silence was nothing new, it followed the Major into his Alphabets’ midst every morning, but this morning in particular it seemed exceptionally tense. Of course his agents knew what day it was. Klaus ignored their cowering forms and the few wide eyes that dared glance his way, marching towards his own private office door. He paused with his hand on the door knob and turned back to the rest of the room, causing all the agents who were peering around their desks at him to shrink back into hiding. Klaus growled and opened his door, bracing himself for the inevitable.
Klaus blinked, frozen for a moment, then glared around the desk, as if expecting some kind of ambush. He took an almost hesitant step into the room, closing the door behind, then began to circle the desk, a wary look on his face. There didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary, and that in and of itself made him uneasy. He glanced at the plain calendar hanging on the wall and furrowed his brow. That must be right, but....
Klaus went back to his door and pulled it open. “Z!” he snapped, and every agent in the room jumped. The man in question stood quickly and smoothed at his clothing.
“Yes sir?” His voice was wavering ever so slightly and Klaus noticed that his hands were clenched, white-knuckled, at his sides.
“What is the date, Z?” Z looked confused, ducking his head and shifting his feet.
“February fourteenth, Major sir.” Klaus frowned and Z swallowed tightly, all the moisture having left his mouth.
“Thank you Z.” Klaus’ voice was distracted and his scowl shifted away from the agent, now focused on the empty space beside him. Z resisted the urge to sag with relief. Klaus was completely still for a few seconds, and his entire staff seemed to be holding their breath. Then the Major jerked back into awareness and, without even a parting barked order, disappeared back into his office. Now Z did wilt a bit, bracing himself against his desk with one hand as he felt a collective sigh pass through the room. He didn’t know exactly what had just happened, but he had just spoken to the Major on Valentine’s Day morning and lived to tell about it, so he counted himself lucky and left it at that.
As for Klaus, he was sitting behind his desk, staring at the nearly empty surface. It looked exactly the same as it had yesterday. There were no flowers, no gift box, and no crisp, perfumed card with flowing script:
To my dearest Major,
Happy Valentine’s Day
From Eroica, with love.
–or some such drivel. Klaus didn’t know quite what to make of this new development. In all the time he had known the foppish, idiotic thief, a period going on seven years now, the man had never missed this opportunity to shower his misguided, perverted affection on Klaus. Every February fourteenth Klaus would walk into his office to find on his desk, a large bouquet of red roses tied together with a length of wire rope, a gift of some kind, and a card written by that fucking pansy. The first year the gift had been a bottle of Mosel and two fine crystal glasses. Then had come a set of silk, surprisingly conservative pyjamas in a dark, gunmetal grey. Emerald cufflinks, a book of love poetry, and a silver wristwatch had followed. The most recent gift had been directions and time for dinner reservations at a small, romantic restaurant in Bonn.
Every year the items appeared on his desk first thing in the morning, or were delivered to his home if the fourteenth happened to fall on a Sunday. If he was away on assignment, the gifts would be waiting when he returned, the freshness of the roses assuring that they had been delivered the morning Klaus got back to headquarters, not while he was gone. He had stopped trying to set up surveillance long ago, since no matter how complex he made the system Eroica found a way past it, and had only tried to actively stop the thief once. He had waited, hidden in his office the night before Valentine’s, along with a few of his agents, but Eroica hadn’t shown. The team he had waiting at his flat had also had no luck. Klaus had been glad to finally foil the idiot in his irritating ritual, but when the call came in later that a delivery had been made at the Schloss for him, the Major concluded it wasn’t worth the effort and had simply decided to deal with the gifts as always.
This process of ‘dealing’ with the gifts involved a cardboard box, a fair share of infuriation, and postage stamps. Klaus would order his agents to get him a box; one suitable for mail delivery and large enough for whatever Eroica had given him. After the first few times the agents had several cardboard cartons folded and waiting for just this purpose. Klaus would then shred every blossom into the box, crumpling them into a grisly display much like a rose battle field. The other gift was shoved in on top of the mutilated flowers and the small note with the Valentine’s message was thrown in as well, a scathing comment scrawled across the back. This entire package was then taped up and mailed back to a certain castle in North Downs.
It was a vexatious, bothersome, embarrassing tradition between the Major and the Earl, but it was a tradition nonetheless, and Klaus was slightly unsettled that it had been dropped without warning.
The Major mentally shook himself at that foolish thought. This was a good thing. Perhaps Eroica had finally given up his disgusting pursuit. No, there was little chance of that.
So what was the thief playing at?
Klaus stood up and removed his coat, taking his carton of cigarettes and lighter out of the pocket before hanging it up, then settled back in his chair. He tapped a smoke out of the pack and lit up, mechanically inhaling and exhaling as he thought of what horrible affair the Earl would pull before the day was over. It must be something big, for Eroica to wait to spring it on him.
But the day ended without incident. Nothing out of the ordinary happened at the office, in fact, it proved to be a rather dull day with no immediate missions but mounds of paperwork to be done. Klaus had even made a call to the Schloss to check if anything had happened there. He returned to his flat that evening, finding everything exactly how he had left it that morning. The Major went to sleep that evening oddly bewildered at how the day had gone, but relieved nonetheless.
Klaus held out until the seventeenth, before his continuing feelings of uneasiness became too much. He was in his office, pouring over files, when he realized that he hadn’t absorbed anything he’d read in almost twenty minutes. His door was cracked open ever so slightly in order for him to keep half an ear on his agents work, so he didn’t even bother getting up before he yelled,
“A, B, Z!” He heard a scramble and a curse from the anteroom, then glared stonily as the aforementioned agents appeared before his desk.
“Yes Major sir,” they intoned briskly. Klaus steepled his fingers.
“A, you are to go to the Chief’s office and tell him that I am taking the holiday he has been pushing me for. Two days, beginning immediately. B, I want a plane ticket for a flight tonight, to London, hotel reservations, and a car. Z, you are to make sure everything is running smoothly with all agents before I leave today. I expect everything to stay running just as smoothly while I am gone as well.” That last bit was said with a dangerous glint in Mosel green eyes and all three agents visibly tensed.
“Yes sir,” they replied together once again, and after giving each a sharp scowl, Klaus glanced at his watch.
“Dismissed,” he snapped, and the door swung shut behind the trio before he looked back up. It was sixteen forty-five now, which gave his Alphabets fifteen minutes to do as he had asked. He would not be staying late today, as he usually did. He took the time to finish up organizing his own affairs, then there was a knock on his door. “Come,” he responded, only glancing up from the files he was locking up for a second to see A enter, followed closely by Z.
“The Chief is allowing it, sir. He said to enjoy yourself. He also said that since the day after tomorrow is Sunday it does not count as part of your two days, and therefore doesn’t expect you back until Tuesday. I’ve told B, so he can make your reservations accordingly.” Klaus snorted, but let the fat oaf’s meddling slide. Of course the Chief would want him gone for as long as possible, and Klaus didn’t truly feel like arguing it.
“And everything appears to be in order around the office, sir,” Z piped up.
“Good.” Klaus checked the time again, and found it almost seventeen hundred. He put the last of his paperwork away and grabbed his smokes and outerwear, brushing past A and Z as he exited into the main office. They followed. He observed B was still on the phone, speaking quietly and politely in English to whomever was on the other end and writing quickly on a small pad. As he hung up, B noticed the Major’s attention on him and straightened, pulling the paper he had been scribbling on off the tablet and holding it out to Klaus.
“Major sir, your plane leaves Cologne at eighteen forty-five; Lufthansa, flight 5938. You have reservations for a Holiday Inn in London. I’ve written down all pertinent information for you.” Klaus took the paper and looked it over, then folded it and tucked it in his jacket pocket.
“Alright.” He was addressing the entire room now, and they knew it, twenty-six faces turning to him in near unison. “I am taking a brief leave. I will be returning Tuesday, and I expect everything to be exactly as it is now, if not better, at that time. Z will know where to contact me if you have any problems, but I’m sure you will be able to handle two days on your own.” His tone made it very clear that unless another Cold War began or the NATO office was under siege by terrorists, it would be in all their best interests to leave the Major alone for his holiday. He shrugged his coat on, “Z, walk with me.”
He started stalking out of the office without a backwards glance, and Z clambered to catch up, matching Klaus’ brisk stride after a moment.
“Z,” Klaus began once they were out of direct earshot of the other Alphabets, “B will have the number of my hotel; get it from him if someone needs it. Hell, get it from him now anyway, he might lose it.” Z nodded. “If something comes up, an emergency, and I’m not at the hotel–” Klaus clenched his jaw, “I may be at Castle Gloria.” Z, wisely, did not respond to that, verbally or otherwise. A few moments later they were in the front lobby, and Klaus could see that the wind had picked up outside. It looked bitterly cold, but that didn’t matter. It was all a question of discipline, although he still tugged his leather gloves on and tightened his scarf. “Try to keep any idiocy to a minimum,” he added as an afterthought. Z saluted.
“Yes sir.” But Klaus was out into the street before Z even finished speaking, moving purposely towards his flat and already planning his packing.
He was behind the wheel of his Benz with a single duffle lying in the seat beside him before seventeen thirty, and sitting in the airport shortly thereafter. The chairs in the waiting area were rather uncomfortable, but his attention was focused fully on watching the airport around him, reading a novel he had brought, and chain smoking. If they wouldn’t let him light up on the plane, he’d just get his nicotine fix before he got on board.
He managed to read about a third of the book and smoke an entire pack of cigarettes before there was all call over the grating intercom that his flight had begun boarding. He stood and straightened his suit, brushing away some stray ashes, then slung his duffle onto his shoulder and made his way towards the terminal. B had booked him a business class seat, aisle he hoped. He strode purposely down the boarding platform, sparing a disdainful glance for the attendant who greeted him as he entered the plane. The woman’s plastered on smile faltered and he shouldered rudely past her without a word. Stowing his carry-on above him, Klaus settled into his seat, noting unhappily that it was next to the window. He crossed his legs and buckled his belt; it was no matter. He was Iron Klaus, and if anything untowardly happened he could just shove his way into the aisle. He just disliked the feeling of being trapped like this.
His mood did not improve when a rather small, mousy man settled into the seat beside him, large, watery eyes regarding him curiously. Klaus kept his attention firmly facing forward, ignoring his new neighbour.
“Hi,” the man began hesitantly, his tiny, wavering voice matching his appearance perfectly. He also sounded like a Yank. Klaus ground his teeth.
“Hallo,” he returned coolly. The man looked as though the seat was swallowing him up, and Klaus noted that his feet barely sat flat on the floor.
“Mike Jacobs.” A boney, pallid hand was extended timidly but Klaus merely glared at it until it was withdrawn.
“Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach.” The man made a small noise which might have been an affirmation or a whimper. Klaus was spared any further conversation as an attendant began announcements. The woman finished and the ‘Fasten Seatbelts’ sign blinked to life. Jacobs fidgeted beside him and wiped his nose with the cuff of his sleeve. Klaus wanted a smoke. Badly.
The plane began its takeoff and Klaus leaned back, closing his eyes and hoping that it would stop the other man from trying to start more dialogue. He was not in the mood for idle chatter, and might end up killing someone if subjected to it. Thankfully, Jacobs took the hint and said no more, but about fifteen minutes later began humming tunelessly. Klaus began counting in his mind, from one to ten and back again in every language he knew. After a while the refreshment cart began its rounds, and Klaus had a straight whiskey, leafing through the novel he had retrieved from his bag. Jacobs finished his own water and small snack, then turned to face Klaus more fully.
“So, um, have you been to London before, Mister, um, Eberbock?” Klaus set his drink down, perturbed.
“Major Eberbach. And yes, I have been to London.” Jacobs opened his mouth as if to say more, but one scowl from Klaus aborted that notion, and the rest of the flight continued in relative silence. Just as a baby began to wail from somewhere in the Economy seats, the pilot’s voice came crackling over the speakers, announcing their approach to Heathrow. Klaus had rarely been so relieved.
As soon as he had stepped foot inside the terminal Klaus was digging through his bag, swearing loudly as he realized the pack of cigarettes he had finished earlier had been his last. Before he left the airport he had purchased three more cartons, then went to pick up his rental car. From there it was directly to his hotel, and Klaus found his rooms suitable, B knowing better than to book any inessentials. A plain room, not too large, but comfortable. Klaus checked it over thoroughly, then prepared himself for bed, going through his exercises before showering and changing into his pyjamas. He only took a moment to wonder what the hell he was doing in London before allowing sleep to overcome him.
After he awoke the next morning, Klaus realized he had some time to waste. If he left for North Downs now, it was unlikely that Eroica would be out of bed when he got there. Cursing lazy, spoiled queers, the Major ordered himself some breakfast and prepared himself for the day, then decided to drive around the city for a while. He visited a few shops but found nothing of real interest, his concentration wandering disturbingly as the morning progressed, and far sooner than he had planned he was on the road to Castle Gloria. He would wake the Earl’s whole estate if he had to, but he couldn’t wait any longer.
He pulled into the castle’s drive, locking the car behind him and advancing almost menacingly on the building’s entrance. He pounded on the door four times, waited a few moments, then pounded again. It wasn’t long before a rather terrified looking servant pulled the portal open, cringing as he saw who it was.
“I wish to see Lord Gloria.” When the servant began to shake his head and stammer something that sounded suspiciously like a negative, the Major’s eyes turned to sharp flint. “Now!” he bellowed, and the man, if it could be called that, yelped and scurried away. Klaus followed without hesitation, but when he started up the grand stairway he heard an anguished wail from above him. Fuck, fuck, fuck! It was the stingy-bug.
Tripping over himself as he approached Klaus, James’ face was flushed, and he was shrieking horribly. Klaus waited until he was on the steps within reach, then clamped one hand on the man’s head and pushed down, causing him to sit, hard. There was a pained ‘oof!’, and Klaus was well past before James regained his breath, still keeping his ‘guide’ in sight. The man was leading him in the direction he recalled from years ago, when he had had to retrieve a coded message from a pair of undergarments Eroica had in his possession. Klaus expected as much; the Earl was, of course, still in bed.
Down a hallway, then the servant stopped before a door, all the while casting wary glances back at Klaus.
“Is Lord Gloria in there?” The Major asked, and was given a slight nod. He pushed the man out of his way and knocked sharply.
“Please not now,” came the muffled response from inside and Klaus pondered whether he should announce himself. For some reason, he decided against it, and simply tried the knob, a bit surprised to find it unlocked. Of course, in a house of thieves locks would be rather useless. He pushed the door open and stepped inside the dim room, closing it behind him without acknowledging the man still standing in the corridor. He immediately noticed a mass of golden curls over the back of a chair in the far corner of the bedroom. “Dammit, I said not–” Eroica turned his head away from where he was staring out one of his windows, then broke off when he saw who had invaded his privacy, “Major! This is certainly a surprise.” It was surprising for Klaus as well, once he got a good look at the other man. Hair that was normally ridiculously full and shining was now limp and tangled, once bright, clear eyes were puffy and bloodshot, and the Earl was dressed in a wrinkled silk robe that looked grubby and stained.
illustration by Nina
“Lord Gloria.” Klaus didn’t quite know what to say now; he felt like quite a heel barging in like he did. “I did not mean to intrude–” Eroica was staring at him with a startled expression, bare legs pulled up into his chair and arms wrapped around his knees,
“What can I do for you, Major?” he asked with forced brightness, wiping his face with one hand. It took Klaus a moment to realize that he didn’t really know the reason he was there, and the explanation ‘I came because you forgot about my Valentine’s Day present.’ sounded too stupid to even contemplate. He struggled for a moment, then settled for the least idiotic thing he could think of.
“I’ve taken a short leave from my duties.” There, it was the truth, but it didn’t make him sound like a lunatic or a moron. Lord Gloria was still looking quite puzzled,
“That’s very good Major. You do work yourself too hard.” A tense pause, “Forgive me darling, but that still doesn’t explain why you are here of all places. Not that I don’t enjoy every opportunity for us to spend time together, but I was not expecting to entertain today.” Klaus took a few more paces into the room, diligently avoiding even looking at the frilly bed, and crossed his arms. Verdammit, why was he there?
“I thought that perhaps something was wrong, Lord Gloria.” A pair of fair eyebrows raised, perplexed, but there was no spoken reply. Klaus waited, then sighed and mumbled something else not quite comprehensible, gaze shifting away from Eroica’s face.
“Pardon?” Klaus frowned and cleared his throat. He could walk out right now, but no, he still had that niggling feeling in the back of his head, that terrible concern, and he knew that wouldn’t go away until he understood a few things.
“I did not receive a Valentine’s gift from you this year,” he said, a bit louder this time, his posture ramrod straight and his eyes focused out the window. It was dreary outside, though not nearly as cold as in Bonn. There was no snow on the ground either, but he noticed a freezing drizzle was slowly starting.
“You came here–” The Earl’s statement was interrupted by a familiar bawling from out in the hallway, then the bedroom door burst open to admit a hysteric James.
“You leave Lord Gloria alone, you great brute!” James screeched, pointing an accusing finger at Klaus then rushing to the side of Eroica’s chair and latching on like a bull terrier, “Oh my lord, are you alright? Was he awful to you? What a horrible beast! It’s his fault you’re in this dreadful, dreadful state–”
“That’s enough James.” Klaus rarely heard that kind of bite in the foppish Earl’s tone, and it clearly shocked the stingy-bug as well. As James’ eyes went wide and his lip began to quiver, Eroica took a deep breath and began stroking his dark hair. “Jamesie,” he continued, his voice now much softer, “Hush, my dear. The Major is just paying me a visit, nothing’s wrong. Why don’t you go down to the kitchen and have some tea, calm your nerves? I’d like some time to speak with the Major alone now.”
“Now, Jamesie. There’s a good boy.” With a snivel and a final dirty look for Klaus, James reluctantly stood and started out of the room, closing the door quietly behind himself. The Earl squeezed his eyes shut and shifted in his chair, then opened them again and looked up at Klaus, “I’m very sorry about that, my darling. And, goodness, I haven’t even offered you a seat. What a ghastly host I am today. Please.” He motioned to another armchair sitting beside a large, slightly ajar armoire. Klaus said nothing, but pulled the chair a bit closer to the Earl and sat. He noticed that the smile he was given still looked strained, and diverted his gaze. “Now, where were we? Ah, yes, the gift. I thought you would be happy, Major. You never seemed to enjoy my Valentine’s presents before.” Was it Klaus’ imagination, or did that lilting voice just crack? He shifted his scrutiny back to the Earl and was quite disconcerted to see what he thought was the beginning of tears starting to form in those wide blue eyes. Real men don’t cry, said a harsh voice in his head, sounding suspiciously like his father, but for some reason he couldn’t seem to speak that sentiment aloud. He did manage a glower, and Eroica began knuckling the dampness away before it could fall.
“My enjoyment has never stopped you at your sport before, Eroica,” Klaus growled, and was surprised to hear a snort of weak laughter in return,
“No, I suppose not, my dear.” Eroica ducked his head, “You’ve caught me. My reasons are really a bit more selfish than that. Still, aren’t you pleased?” Klaus grunted an affirmative. He was pleased, wasn’t he?
“Ja, but I would like to know why.”
“Honestly?” Klaus narrowed his eyes threateningly, an expression lost on the other man, who was still staring at his own knees.
“Of course.” There was a very long, very uncomfortable pause.
“It’s just–It’s become too much, my darling.” Eroica took a shuddering breath, “The hurt. I thought I could chase you forever, if that’s what it took, but I guess I’m not as strong as I thought I was...” He trailed off.
“You mean you are actually abandoning your depraved pursuit?” This was too good to be true, but why did it feel like a hard kick to the stomach? Eroica’s head was still bowed, a mass of hair shadowing his face.
“I’ll always love you Klaus,” he whispered, and the Major’s hands clenched convulsively, “I know you don’t really believe it, but I do. I just can’t stand to have my heart trodden all over and spit on at every turn. You scream at me, you demean and insult me, you physically attack me, you cut me to the very core, leaving me broken and bleeding, and I come crawling back for more because I am hoping against hope that one day you’ll at least understand how much I care for you. But I’m not a masochist, Major, and I can’t play one for you anymore; it’s driving me mad. I’m sorry.”
“No.” The Earl raised his head, and he was crying now, twin lines of wetness trailing down his cheeks, “Not Eroica, damn you.” He pointed sharply to the floor beside the bed, where a black catsuit lay crumpled, “That’s Eroica. And not Lord Gloria.” He swung his arm to the armoire and the outrageous costumes inside. Then he pointed directly at Klaus, “Not idiot, not faggot, not queer, not fop, not limey, not thief, and not the thousand other things you call me. Dorian.” The arm fell back and hung flaccidly over the side of the chair. “I’m Dorian. I hope that you at least understand that after all these years.”
Silence, then Klaus cursed and stood abruptly. He opened his mouth as if to say something, probably shout, then shut it again and stormed out of the room, then out of the house, slamming the door of his car and screaming away. He drove, unthinking, until he was out of sight of the castle, then pulled over and parked.
Freedom. Eroica–Dorian–Eroica was going to leave him alone. No more embarrassing scenes, no more disgusting innuendos and proposals, no more unwanted touches. No more meddling in his missions, or flirtatious glances. No more fucking faggish outfits, following him everywhere. Klaus just made it out of the car as his stomach began to twist and churn, sure he was going to vomit. He felt sicker than he could ever remember, but nothing would come up, his muscles clenching and lurching impotently, and a burning taste up his throat and over his tongue. He leaned against the side of the rented Benz, trying to catch his breath and suppress the involuntary, unexplained reaction. After a moment he composed himself, uncaring that he was becoming drenched by a frigid rain that had begun to fall in earnest.
Everything he’d wanted for seven years, to be rid of that filthy queer, had just been handed to him on a platter. It was over, and Klaus had won. He felt his stomach roll again, but forced the feeling back down, then gripped the edge of the car to stop his hands from shaking. Dorian had looked so lost, so broken, and so very, very small... It was like his light had gone out.
Klaus couldn’t stop it; his stomach was wracked by more painful spasms, and it felt as through his esophagus was being shredded from the inside. The dry heaving brought tears to his eyes, but he blinked them away. When it finally stopped he had to resist the urge to curl up foetally, fighting with the agony of taking a breath. He was Iron Klaus, verdammit, he would not succumb to this weakness! He forced himself to straighten, then got back into the Mercedes. His vision was swimming and he knew that under the soaking of rain he was sweating. The key was still in the ignition, and Klaus turned it with trembling fingers, starting the car back up. He gave his eyesight a few minutes to clear, then pulled onto the road, continuing his drive back into London.
He was lying, still fully dressed and rather damp, on the too soft mattress of the hotel bed, staring at the blank ceiling and trying not to think. He hadn’t moved from that spot since he had gotten back to his room, and now evening was fading into night. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, or what he was feeling, but he didn’t like it.
All he could see were huge, wet, lapis eyes and that pitiful, disheveled form. Klaus had almost shot Dorian that day, almost pulled his Magnum and put a bullet in that trembling face. He’d almost killed him, and he’d almost kissed him. Klaus wasn’t sure which terrified him more.
When Dorian said that he couldn’t chase him anymore, that it hurt him too badly, Klaus knew he should have been elated. Instead, it felt as if the bottom had dropped out of the world. The man had spoke of the things Klaus had done to hurt him, then actually apologized, and had nearly been backhanded for it. Then he’d thrown back some of the names Klaus had called him over the years, and Klaus would have done something drastic had he not left then.
He didn’t know what this meant, didn’t understand. He was going mad.
All he did know was that the thought of Dorian not in his life made him physically ill. Made his own body rebel against him.
Klaus finally fell into a fitful sleep just as the eastern sky was lightening to a mauve shade. He didn’t wake again until o-nine thirty Sunday morning, and had no recollection of his dreams, although he knew he had had at least one. Still in his suit from the previous day, Klaus found his boxers and trousers were stuck to him with dried ejaculate. He regretted living through the night.
A few hours later he was back in the driveway of Castle Gloria, showered and in clean clothes, although he still hadn’t eaten since the previous morning. His teeth were clenched so tightly together that his head was pounding in time with his heartbeat. He knew, because the latter was absolutely thundering in his ears. He bit down harder and squared his shoulders.
This time he nearly kicked the front doors in, but stopped himself, just barely. He pounded with his fist again, and when the door creaked open it was a different effeminate waiting on the other side. Klaus just shoved past him without a word and started towards Dorian’s room, this time with no sign of Stingy anywhere. He took the stairs in twos and threes, practically sprinted down the hallway, then didn’t even bother to knock before he entered the Earl’s boudoir. Dorian nearly jumped out of his skin when the door burst open, gaping bewilderedly from the same chair; it didn’t look like he had moved since Klaus walked out.
“Shut up,” Klaus ordered, then strode over and scooped Dorian up in his arms. The Earl cried out and grasped at Klaus’ neck in fright, “Where is your bathroom?”
“Bathroom!” Klaus snarled, and Dorian motioned to a doorway on the other side of the room. Klaus was over to it in just a few long steps, “Open the door.” Dorian did as he was told and Klaus brought them both inside, setting his load down gently. “Clean your teeth. Now.” There was a moment’s hesitation, then Dorian moved over to the sink and opened up the mirror cabinet, getting out toothpaste and his brush. He was too confused to think, let alone argue with a determined Iron Klaus. He heard water running and turned, almost dropping the tube of paste at the sight of Klaus bending over the large whirlpool bathtub, turning on the taps but leaving the jets off. Hard eyes snapped up to meet his, “Brush.” And Dorian did.
When he had spit out the last of the minty froth, Dorian was at last composed enough to demand some explanations. He approached Klaus, who was now scanning the shelves of bottles lining the wall around the tub. One was chosen, the cap unscrewed, then some of the contents were poured into the rising water. The light scent of sandalwood filled the room and the bath oil was returned to its shelf. Klaus’ jacket was removed and hung on a hook on the door, which was then summarily locked. The tie and shoulder holster went next, then shoes and socks, and Dorian was frozen in place, his jaw slack and open.
“Close your mouth,” Klaus said when he noticed, “You look like a fish. And get that robe off, it’s filthy.” Dorian’s mouth clicked shut, but his arms didn’t seem to want to move. Klaus gave a deep growl and stalked over to him, yanking the pale blue silk open with little finesse, then peeled the fabric over his shoulders. That left Dorian standing in only a thin pair of knickers made of lavender satin. He couldn't recall ever being ashamed of his body, but at that moment he felt more exposed than he ever had before. Klaus began unbuttoning his own shirt and was halfway finished when Dorian found his voice,
“Klaus?” He sounded hoarse and uncertain, “What are you doing?” Klaus paused and met Dorian’s gaze steadily, hoping that the Earl could not see the terror he was feeling.
“You said you could not chase me anymore, so now I’m chasing you. I just happen to be much more forceful.” Dorian hiccoughed, and hugged his own torso loosely.
“And if I refuse?”
“Get in the bath, Dorian.” Not prepared for an argument that persuasive, Dorian stepped out of his pants and did just that, settling into the almost too hot water and turning off the taps. He watched as Klaus unbuttoned the rest of his shirt and pulled it off, followed by his undershirt. He noticed how his Major’s fingers hesitated as they dropped to the zipper of the dark suit trousers, but also noted the tent slowly forming under that same zipper. Dorian glanced up to see a smoldering expression on Klaus’ face, and trembled, though not out of fear.
Klaus shoved his doubts aside and undid his fly, pulling off his trousers in one smooth motion along with his boxers. He could see Dorian raking over his now nude body with a greedy gaze, and flushed, not daring to look away. He eased into the tub, and forced himself not to flinch when Dorian reached out and ran damp fingers over his cheekbone, faltering only slightly before he reciprocated with the same touch. Dorian made a small sound that was almost a moan but almost a whimper, and an expression which was almost pain flickered across his face.
illustration by Nina
“Klaus, my dearest,” he whispered, pressing into the contact. “Is this real?” He needed to know; he’d had too many dreams almost just like this, which had all ended leaving him feeling worse than before.
“‘m not sure.”
“Oh.” It would be good enough. He couldn't say no to this. “Alright then.”
“Ja.” Dorian leaned his body forward and allowed the hand on Klaus’ face to slide around and tangle in thick, raven-black tresses. He stopped, millimeters from his goal of that delicious looking mouth, and waited. Klaus’ hand, which had fallen away when Dorian had advanced, now trailed up the back of one milky thigh, then unexpectedly cupped the Earl’s buttocks, pulling him in between the Major’s spread legs. Their lips pressed together and Dorian gasped, then groaned around the tongue now demanding entrance to his mouth. It was messy, inexperienced, and almost brutal in its plundering, but when Dorian broke away he was panting and hard as a rock, grinding his hips into the matching erection he found slowly growing in Klaus’ lap.
“Never do anything in half measures, do you darling?” Klaus’ expression was fierce and he thrust upward roughly, his hands clenched around Dorian’s waist. Dorian purred and buried his face in a broad shoulder. It was almost too good.
“Nien. No point in it.”
“I agree completely.” Dorian began nibbling at the skin under his lips, trying to keep up with the severe pace Klaus was setting with his lower body. It wouldn’t do to be overwhelmed and have his mind completely shut down, as it was threatening to do. Whether it proved later to be a dream or not, he would still make this wonderful for Klaus. He licked and nuzzled the corded throat, fondling one dark nipple with his fingers, until he had the other man thrashing almost frantically under him, then he bent down and took the hard little nub into his mouth, worrying it gently with his teeth before suckling mercilessly. Klaus arched hard and came, biting his lip to stifle a sound he didn’t know he could make. Dorian felt the heat flood around his cock even in the bath water and his own climax hit him a second later, ripping a scream from his throat.
He collapsed onto a well-muscled chest and listened as Klaus’ heartbeat slowed back to a normal rhythm, not quite willing to believe what just happened. Klaus was still there, still solid. Dorian was not waking up stuck to his cold sheets with a dead, empty feeling permeating his whole body, but was rather basking in the most incredible afterglow he’d ever experienced. It was real, and he could not stop the broad, sappy grin which spread across his features with that thought.
After a few minutes of recovery, he attempted to pull away, only to find himself locked firmly in place by arms like bands of iron. He glanced up and saw that Klaus’ eyes were closed and his lips were parted, looking adorably unconscious. Dorian stretched up and shifted strands of hair out of his way, then brushed his lips against one of Klaus’ ears,
“Darling,” he murmured, “Let me get washed while you collect your brain cells.” Klaus mumbled something in German, loosening his grip, and Dorian pressed a light kiss to his lips. This was so incredible. Then he heard heavy footsteps in his bedroom, and a thumping started on the bathroom door. Klaus sprang to awareness instantly, muscles tensing as he scanned the room.
“Lord Gloria!” Even through the thick oak door, James’ voice was distinguishable, “Oh get the door open! That beast is murdering Lord Gloria!” Before Dorian could call out any warning, there was a click and the door swung open, revealing James, a kneeling Bonham, lock pick in hand, and an anxious crowd of his team filling the rest of the archway. Reactions to the pair in the bath were mixed; while Bonham blushed a deep red, all the blood draining from James’ face made him chalky white. The others were mostly in between those two extremes. Dorian wasn’t really paying attention to the visitors however, more unnerved by how still Klaus had become. The man was barely even breathing. Then there was a deep inhalation.
“Out!” Klaus roared, “Jesus-fucking-Christ! Verflucht nochmal! Get out now!” Dorian pulled his hands up and clamped them over his ears, but he could still hear a faint ringing when the door was hastily slammed shut and Klaus quieted. He glared at his German lover. Lover! Klaus is my lover!
“Ouch,” he said petulantly, sitting up, “There was no need to shout.”
“‘s lucky for them I didn’t have my gun,” Klaus spat angrily. He kept his eyes firmly on the tiled walls, but started as fingers that weren’t his own began twirling a lock of his hair.
“You’re allowed to look, darling. I certainly am.” Klaus shuddered, then turned his head and let himself to take in Dorian’s smooth, lean, slick body as he would have never dared to before. He felt a stirring, not in his crotch, but rather, in his chest and for a reason he could not grasp, it scared him. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it seemed like a serious reaction, one he wasn’t quite ready to admit to. He swallowed it down and took a deep breath.
Dorian had an odd smile on his face, which broadened as calloused hands skimmed up his sides. He would not giggle like a schoolgirl, no matter how giddy he felt; it was far too silly.
“Klaus,” he gasped as the thumbs of those hands grazed over his nipples, innocently teasing. It was thrilling; Klaus was a natural. “While I would love to play more, I really do need to wash. I hadn’t left that chair in a while.”
“Ja.” Klaus blinked as if coming out of a daze, then removed his hands and began to stand, until long fingers wrapping around his wrist gave him pause.
“And where do you think you’re going?”
“Leaving you to bathe.” Dorian made a decision, releasing his grip, and shrugged, trying to quell his mischievous expression,
“Fine. Would you go find Mr. James for me then darling? I’m sure he’d be happy to help me with my back.” Klaus’ face turned abruptly stormy and he sat back down.
“The next time that fucking flachwichser touches you I’m going to kill him with my bare hands.” Dorian lowered his lashes and smiled coquettishly, walking his fingers up Klaus’ arm and marveling in the fact that he could. The Major was still wonderful to tease, and he didn’t that would ever change.
“Are you volunteering your services then?”
“Give me the damn soap and turn around,” Klaus said gruffly and Dorian’s smile grew.
“Hold on just a twinkling, my love.” Dorian hopped out of the tub, uncaring of the puddles of water he was leaving on the coral tile, and grabbed a few combs from the vanity cupboard, twirling his hair up and fastening it off his neck and shoulders. He was back in the water in the blink of an eye, ridiculously unwilling to have Klaus out of reach for more than a few moments. “Ready.” He arranged himself with his back to Klaus’ front, sitting between thighs that made his mouth water. He couldn’t help squirming backwards a bit more, wriggling his arse into a very tempting position,
"Stop that!” Klaus hissed, and swatted his side. The Major wasn't certain he was prepared to consider the images Dorian's movements brought to life in his mind. “Where is the soap?”
“Behind you, darling, the turquoise bar.” Klaus reached around and picked it up, then began to work a lather in his hands, surprised at how thick and creamy the suds were and at the subtle scent; not anything floral, just clean. Then he paused, considering the pale expanse of skin before him with no little trepidation. He tried not to think about what he was doing, a strategy which seemed to be working so far, but he still faltered. “Klaus?” Dorian was peering back at him over a shoulder, a small line of worry between his brows, “Oh, love, you don’t have to. I’m sorry–”
“Shut up.” Klaus' expression turned determined, and he brought his hands down tentatively, rubbing small circles on either side of an elegant spine. Dorian let out a soft moan and leaned back into the touch.
“Oh Klaus.” The voice was low and sultry; Klaus felt it go directly to his groin. He, Iron Klaus, was a fucking faggot. “That’s so good...Mmm, I adore your hands, darling.” A faggot, and at that moment couldn’t have cared less, God help him. He swallowed thickly and inched his face forward, pressing a soft kiss to the side of Dorian’s throat as he began kneading his hands into the other man’s back. This wasn’t so very horrible, surprisingly. He continued to move his lips behind Dorian’s ear, reveling in the quiet sounds the other man was making, not stopping even when he realized that some of that throaty humming was coming from him.
Not horrible, no. Actually...very right, even if he was still terrified.
“Wait, God, wait.” That desperate plea made Klaus freeze; he had done something wrong. He silently cursed himself, clenching his jaw. He knew it had been too good to be true, too easy. Dorian turned, two blossoms of blush reddening his cheeks and his eyes flashing, but he didn’t look angry. “I’m not upset,” he assured in a slightly breathless voice when he saw the look on Klaus’ face, “And you are absolutely wonderful, but I seem to have, ah, overestimated my self-control, and if you don’t get out of this tub now I’m not sure what will happen.” Klaus caught on when something hard jabbed his leg.
“Oh.” Relief flooded him, along with a flash of amazement that he could cause such a reaction in a another person. He disentangled himself from Dorian and got up, stepping out of the water and glancing around for a towel, very conscious of his nudity.
“There darling,” Dorian said, directing him to a low cupboard. Klaus opened it and reached inside, removing two large white towels, and a smaller one as well for Dorian’s hair. He wrapped one quickly around his waist, then set the others beside the sink and began gathering up his discarded clothing, all the while glancing discreetly at the still bathing man. Without warning, amused blue eyes shifted up and met hastily averted green. “There’s a robe in my armoire for you, if you’d like.” Dorian’s voice was full of laughter, but it was kind, “You’ll know which one it is. But please darling, don’t feel you need to dress up on my account. I quite liked you how you were a moment ago.” Klaus hitched his towel higher up his hips,
“Pervert,” he grouched, but it lacked its usual heat. Dorian snickered.
“Of course, my love. Go on and try to preserve your dignity while I wash my hair. I’ll divest you of it as soon as I finish.” Klaus hugged his clothes tighter to his chest and retreated into the main bedroom, trying his best not to look like he was running. He left the bathroom door open a fraction, unsure if he could stop himself from bolting if cut off from Dorian completely. He folded his clothes and set them on a nearby chair, then decided to do as had been had suggested and moved almost unwillingly to the large wardrobe, pulling it open. As he had feared, it was teeming with frills, lace and spangles, clothing that would put a Swiss whore or a circus clown to shame. He built up his fortitude, then began to explore as he dried himself, but found nothing that he would even consider wearing. He was just about to give up when he noticed it, hanging on the door beside him, behind something tiny, black and sheer. Klaus pulled the garment down, the silk pooling over his hands. It must have been the robe Dorian had mentioned.
For one, it looked wider cut than the other outfits around it, like it had been made to fit someone just a bit larger than Dorian, and was longer than all the other silk robes in the closet. Klaus thought it would probably hang to his knees. But the final, crucial proof was its colour, the same dark, metallic grey Klaus remembered from a pair of pyjamas Dorian had tried to give him so long ago. He slipped the robe on, shivering at the cool glide of the fabric. He couldn’t remember ever wearing silk before, and was surprised at how quickly it warmed to his skin, and how soft and fluid it felt. He had half-expected it to be unpleasant, slimey.
He tied the belt then turned back to the rest of the room, tossing his damp towel over the side of a wicker hamper near the closet. He debated what to do then, and in an unexpected rush of nerve, (he thought he’d used all of that up with his earlier performance) sat on the edge of the wide, dark blue bedspread, sinking slightly into the mattress. It was firmer than he had expected, but not much. Klaus closed his eyes and cleared his mind, not daring to contemplate what he was about to do on this bed. Willingly. He clenched one hand with the other, stopping both from their constant motion, then bit his cheek until he tasted blood. He couldn’t do this.
“Klaus.” His eyes snapped open at the unexpected voice, converging quickly on the slender form leaning against the bathroom doorframe. Dorian’s refined features were alight with an almost childlike wonder, and Klaus felt all the doubts overboiling in his mind be put on a back burner and reduced to a low simmer, as he drank in long legs and graceful torso with a fervor that shocked him.
“Dorian,” he replied, his voice softer than he thought possible. He barely recognized it, “Mein Gott...” The vision that was Dorian glided toward him, all bare skin and almost-dry hair falling in ringlets. The sun began to break through the overcast sky, and a shaft of light came through the window and caught the Earl down one side, making his flesh luminesce for just a moment before disappearing again. Then Klaus felt hands cup his face and nothing else mattered.
“You are a fantasy come to life, my beautiful love.” Dorian began stroking lightly across sharp cheekbones and down the sides of a long, solid throat. He lingered over the pulse point, feeling the frantic, fearful pounding with concern. He bent down and placed a soothing kiss on Klaus’ temple, then moved away, noticing how a slack arm twitched just slightly, as if wanting to stop him. “Stay right there,” he said, rather unnecessarily, then went to retrieve a robe for himself from the closet, this one of soft amber silk. He smiled appreciably as he thought of how he and Klaus would look tangled together, dark and light, cool and warm, silver with gold. No, not silver, he corrected, steel, or iron.
He went back to the bed and sat next to Klaus, who had begun to look as if he were awaiting execution. Dammit, Dorian thought, he had been afraid this would happen if he left the Major alone for too long. The poor repressed man had worked himself into a terrible state of dread, and if not treated properly, slowly, there was a good chance he would flee. Dorian placed his hand over Klaus’ clenched fists and ignored the wince he received for his troubles, then rested his head lightly on the tense shoulder beside him. After a moment he began to hum quietly, the same tune Klaus had sung to him a lifetime before in the cold interior of the tank that now sat peacefully in his garden. He waited patiently, until he could feel the wire rope of Klaus’ muscles begin to uncoil ever so slightly and the short, painful sounding breaths begin to even out. He tilted his head and saw Klaus regarding him almost tranquilly, the hard German countenance more open than he had ever seen it before.
“I really do love you, you know,” Dorian said, and was overjoyed when stiff fingers eased opened and curled around his own.
“I do not know what that means, but I think I may be starting to believe you.”
“I’m glad.” Dorian kissed the bottom of Klaus’ jaw, the only acceptable way he could think of at that moment to express the actual feeling of his heart soaring. “Do you want to lie down?” Klaus tensed again, but nodded. Dorian stood and pulled him up as well, then turned down the feather duvet and soft cotton sheet. He crawled into the familiar cocoon then motioned for Klaus to join him, who was staring at the bed as one would the Gates of Hell. Dorian tugged the hand still in his possession and Klaus mechanically laid down, drawing the quilts up with him to cover them both. “Alright?” Dorian whispered, cuddling closer, “Just hold me for a while, please.” That seemed to pacify Klaus a bit further, and he wrapped his arms tightly around Dorian’s back,
“Ja, ‘s nice.” Dorian’s eyes were drooping shut of their own volition, days of insomnia catching up with him, and Klaus was in a similar condition. The blankets were warming up pleasantly around them, to say nothing of the company, and Dorian inhaled deeply through his nose, wallowing in the spicy musk he could smell hidden under sandalwood oil. His Iron Major, his Klaus. His.
Klaus hadn’t meant to fall asleep, and was rather disturbed that he had done so without knowing it. Then he didn’t have time to think anymore as warm lips moved across his collarbone and fingers moved slowly up and down the outside of his thigh. He gasped and shifted into the touches, then rolled onto his back at the urging of skilled hands. He didn’t notice as his robe was untied and pushed open, but he did feel a path of fire descending down his chest in the form of a hot, teasing mouth. It licked and suckled over his nipples, then down his stomach, the occasional nip of teeth making his hips thrust blindly, and Klaus clutched at the blankets around him desperately as a dexterous tongue pushed into his navel.
Dorian grinned to himself and drew his nails lightly down Klaus’ ribs as he fucked the shallow indentation of bellybutton with his mouth, very much aware of the other man’s rapidly growing arousal. He glanced up and saw the strain in Klaus’ neck and shoulders as they arched almost wantonly, and his own cock twitched sharply. There was only one thing that could possibly make this better.
“Klaus.” He pulled away from his fun for just a moment, “Please, look at me.” Wide, wild eyes snapped open, darkened to the colour of forest shadows, and Dorian caught them with his own. There was something absolutely alive in them, and Dorian wondered how he could have ever missed it, ever feared that his love wasn’t returned, whether the Major knew it or not. It was as clear and sparkling as new glass. The realization made his heart nearly stop, but he managed a low murmur. “Watch darling, I want to feel your eyes on me.” Klaus growled and didn’t look away. Dorian slid down a few more centimeters and blew a stream of warm air over the weeping mushroom head, then clamped his hands on bucking hips. He held on firmly, then licked the bead of moisture gathering at the tiny slit. A desperate groan came from above him as he kissed all along the thick vein running under the shaft, then he took pity and engulfed the entire length, deep-throating expertly. He’d not show all his tricks at once, saving some pleasant surprises for the future, while still making his love see stars now. He was unwilling to even entertain the thought that they might only have this one day together, all depending on Klaus. It would drive him mad to think of.
He met Klaus gaze again and swallowed, then began to bob his head slowly, undulating his tongue. Klaus was biting his lip, muffling the cries Dorian would have loved to hear, a habit it seemed, and one which Earl was determined to break his lover of later.
He sped up his movements and released his restraining hands, running them over heavy testicles before relaxing his throat and encouraging Klaus to thrust into his mouth. A few sharp movements later, and Dorian felt Klaus tense and still, moaning as a flood of heat and a bitter taste filled his mouth. He pulled his head up slightly, trying to get more of the flavor on his tongue as he swallowed, and took all the milky prize his was given, licking Klaus completely clean when he was through. He pulled off reluctantly, already addicted to the salty tang and unique taste that was only Klaus, but was startled when a hand latched into his hair and yanked him roughly into a bruising kiss. He hadn’t been planning on kissing Klaus after that, not sure if it would be too much to ask the man to taste his own seed, but if the tongue now ravaging over his pallet and teeth was any indication he needn’t have worried.
“Gott,” gasped Klaus when he finally broke away, “Dorian, you–” But Dorian was beyond words, grinding himself furiously into a firm thigh and pressing his nose into the soft black mane, whimpering. He needed this so badly he could barely breathe.
Klaus dropped his hand without another thought and wrapped it around the steely erection, jacking it as he occasionally did his own and pulling Dorian tighter to him. The Earl howled as the rough, inexperienced palm jerked over his cock, and climaxed, shuddering as he clung to Klaus. This was how he wanted die– no, how he wanted to live, and forever and a day wouldn’t be long enough for what he was feeling, wouldn’t be enough. Perfection. Love beyond measure.
He came back down from the waves of rapture to see Klaus lift come-covered fingers and regard them curiously. A low moan was pulled from Dorian’s chest as Klaus licked the sticky fluid tentatively, then continued with more enthusiasm. It was one of the most erotic things Dorian had ever seen. Before it was all gone, he leaned in and tasted himself on Klaus’ skin, taking a moment to fellate two of the digits in a slow parody of what he had done earlier. Klaus made a low noise and his glazed jade eyes fluttered shut, unable to deal with the over-stimulation, but unwilling to stop it. Dorian released the hand with an audible pop and pressed a light kiss to slack lips, snuggling into his side again. He wondered if Klaus felt it too, how perfect this was.
“Fantastic, darling, utterly wondrous.” Klaus grunted and began stroking Dorian’s mussed curls absently. There was a strangely warm feeling that came with such a simple gesture, and for once he didn’t find the unnecessary contact unpleasant. He had an actual need to be touching the other man, and it didn’t bother him nearly as much as he vaguely thought it ought to.
“What time is it?” he asked after a moment, and Dorian lifted his head to glance at his alarm clock.
“Going on three-thirty.” He settled back down and straightened the blankets around them, getting comfy, then jumped as the stomach under his hand rumbled loudly. “Hungry?” Klaus was blushing prettily when he nodded, and Dorian thought he might have fallen in love with the man all over again at that moment. He smiled softly and kissed Klaus’ cheek before rolling away and reaching for the intercom button, on the wall just over his bedside table. “Richard?” he spoke loudly enough to be heard through the box without getting up.
“Yes m’lord,” came a deep voice from the speaker.
“Send some dinner for the Major and I up to my room, would you? There’s a dear.”
“Of course, Lord Gloria. Any preferences?”
“I believe I’ll leave it in your more than capable hands.”
“Certainly m’lord, it’ll be about twenty minutes.” Dorian smiled,
“Thank you Richard; you’re a sweetheart.” He released the button and shifted back over, straddling Klaus’ waist and pinning his shoulders down with his hands before the other man knew what was happening. The Major glared up at him balefully. “So far,” Dorian began, wiggling playfully, “This has proved to be a much better day than yesterday. Or any other day.” His robe was nowhere to be seen, and Klaus was slowly becoming transfixed by the trim, ivory chest moving above him.
“Ja.” Dorian straightened, sitting comfortably on Klaus’ still restless abdomen. It growled at him again, and he grabbed one of Klaus’ hands and laced their fingers together.
“I don’t know what brought this on Klaus, but I have never been happier.” He rubbed the side of Klaus’ hand with his thumb, “I love you so much.” Klaus bought himself a few seconds of time by bending his legs and allowing Dorian to lean back against his thighs, trying to think of how to respond.
“I–” He broke off, frowning, then tried again, “After I left yesterday, I could not stop thinking about what you said, and the idea of my life without you in it was... particularly unpleasant. I do not know what that means.” He cleared his throat, very uncomfortable with speaking about this aloud, “But I know I could not bear to be without you. You are... necessary to me.” Noticing that Dorian’s eyes had gone wide and were glittering rather wetly, Klaus was reminded of the day before, “Don’t cry,” he ordered, sharper than he had intended, but Dorian merely laughed, dabbing his face.
“Of course not, Major sir.” He flashed Klaus a rather damp version of his thousand-watt smile, “Wouldn’t dream of it.” Bending down, he pulled Klaus into a tight hug, which was both gentle and desperate. “And you’ll never be rid of me now, Iron Klaus. I’m necessary.” Klaus scowled but returned the embrace, unwilling to notice the slightest tightening in his throat, which was nothing at all like the miserable seizures he had previously endured. There would be many things to discuss and work through later, but he allowed himself the rare luxury of hope, if only for that instant. It was so much easier when he just didn’t think.
He would deal with the problems as they arose, he decided as he felt Dorian relax against him, a warm and not wholly unpleasant weight. The alternative was unthinkable.
illustration by Nina