What surprised Klaus most about Oklahoma was how green it actually looked from the sky. As they descended over Oklahoma City, Klaus spotted signs of modern civilization, such as paved highways and buildings of glass and steel. This might not be so bad after all, he thought. Dorian leaned over and peered out the small window. Klaus got a noseful of rose-scented cologne. It made him smile. Dorian looked at him and returned the smile, then sat back in his seat.

"So much for the Old West, eh, Major?"

"This is just the city. I am sure there are plenty of ghost towns to explore."

Dorian cocked his head. "Exploring, Major? Are we going to spend some time on holiday as well?"

Klaus shrugged. "I am tired of drafty castles and European landscapes. What do you say to a showdown at the O.K. Corral?"

"You and me?" Dorian gasped.

"God, no, Dummkopf! You couldn't win a shootout with your own shadow."

Dorian-'s laughter was like bells. "You had me worried, Herr Cowboy."

The first thing Klaus noticed inside the airport was how poorly most people were dressed. "Mein Gott," he whispered to Dorian. "Now we know where tourists are bred." There were obese older men who should have learned some refinement by now, who were dressed in too-short t-shirts or collared pull-over shirts that exposed the lower portions of their flabby guts. These same men also wore shorts, very low-class, that showed off their shapeless legs. It was repulsive. The old women were just as bad off, apparently having stopped buying new clothes sometime in the early seventies. He supposed they were waiting for their double-knit polyester pant-suits to wear out. Hell, that shit would survive the Holocaust! And every man, almost without exception, wore a hat, regardless of age, race, or national origin. The young men wore billed caps with the bill in the back. The older men wore the bill in the front. A few wore cowboy hats. He even spotted a posse of Asian youths sporting cowboy hats. The young women didn't wear hats. It would be difficult to get one on over the fountain of hair that loomed up over most of their heads. It was entirely possible that the Midwest was singularly responsible for the hole in the ozone.

Downstairs, Klaus waited at the luggage carousel while Dorian went to the car rental counter. What a vision the Earl was with his spiralling curls and designer outfit. The girls at the counter were all clearly impressed with his good looks and refined British accent. Klaus gazed at him, proud to be with him.

"Yo, man, look. 'S Cleopatra!" said a voice from across the luggage carousel. Klaus looked over to see a small group of black youths staring at him.

"Queen o' da Nile," grinned the tallest one, a skinny youth with long dredlocks.

Klaus felt his hackles rise.

"I dunno, I think he's pretty damn sexy," remarked a short white girl who was standing off to one side.

"Shi-i-i-it," the boys groaned. "You so fuckin' weird, Lint."

Dorian returned and stood next to Klaus. "Our bags haven't come 'round yet?" he asked. "Gah, I hope they didn't get lost between flights. There don't seem to be any decent clothing stores for these poor people."

"Holy fuck!" exclaimed the white girl called 'Lint'. "Look it, look it!"

"Damn!" exclaimed a tall, very voluptuous black girl. "Where he come from an' how do I get there?"

"He's English," cooed Lint.

Dorian smiled over at them.

"He a faggot, too," remarked another youth, one of a pair of half-breed twins.

"So?" both girls snapped at once.

At last the baggage appeared. Klaus grabbed the two heaviest bags while Dorian was left to juggle the flight bag and his own accessory cases.

"My God," groaned Dorian as he fallowed Klaus out to get their car. "I forgot about the roughnecks."

"Rednecks," Klaus corrected.

"Right. Those black lads weren't too nasty, but I'm sure we'll run into the true rednecks soon enough."

"Gut. I will blast their heads off."

"Uh-huh. Yep, pardner," Dorian drawled in a terrible imitation of John Wayne.

The automatic doors which led to the car lot slid open and they walked out of the cool air-conditioned climate of the airport into hot, heavy, utterly still air.

"My God!" exclaimed Dorian. "It's stifling!"

"Where is our car?"

Dorian stopped next to an Audi. "Here it is." While Dorian fiddled with the keys and the trunk, Klaus had a look around. Flat. The world was relentlessly flat. Probably because of the heavy air. They put the luggage in the trunk, then hurriedly got into the car and started up the air-conditioner. Only hot air blew for some time.

"From freezing to broiling," Klaus griped.

"Isn't the wind supposed to come sweeping down the plains or something of the sort?" Dorian moaned.

At last the air began to cool and Dorian perked up. He switched on the radio. For some time, he only found one country and western station after another. Then Dorian picked up an old Led Zeppelin tune. "Oh, I like this group!" Dorian grinned. "That Robert Plant is so sexy!"

Klaus rolled his eye and backed the car out of the parking space "Where to?"

"Um, some little love-motel would suit us fine."

"Dorian... "

"Okay, okay. Just an inexpensive motel. We’ve got to be frugal." He chuckled. "I daresay, I sound like little James, don’t I?"

"Nein. That stingy-bug would have us sleeping in a cardboard box under the freeway."

They fell silent, listening to the music. Klaus made a face. "'Squeeze my lemon till the juice runs down my leg’? God, Dorian, the things you listen to!"

"Fine," the Earl replied, spinning the dial. At the far end of the radio band was a classic station. "Better?"

 Klaus cocked an eyebrow. "Do you think of me as someone who listens to classical?"

 Dorian tilted his head thoughtfully. "Actually, I have always fancied you listening to really bad German pop. The really angry, inane stuff."

"What? Why?"

"I don't know. What do you like?”

"I do not have much of an appreciation for music. I do not listen to the radio or go to operas."

"Not even as a kid?"

"Oh, that. I suppose like all my classmates, I listened to a lot of American rock, including your precious Led Zeppelin. I listened to the Doors, ELO, the Eagles, Kiss..."

"Wow. I never imagined... When you couldn’t think of any songs to sing, I figured you were just being shy."

"I did not think ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ would go over well."

Dorian gave a delighted gasp. "You're wicked, my love!”

"Ja," Klaus replied.


They drove to the downtown area of the city where all the tall buildings there were stood clumped together amidst old, obviously unused buildings. For a downtown area, there were surprisingly few people on the street.

"Crikey," breathed Dorian. "It is a ghost town."

The only hotels they found were quite expensive, so they decided to head elsewhere. Klaus found his way through the maze of one-way streets into a residential area of large historic estates.

Dorian eyed the houses contemplatively. Klaus knew what he was contemplating.

"We’d better stop someplace and get a map," said Klaus. "First so we can find a motel, second, so we can find the brat."

Eventually they came onto a main thoroughfare and found a convenience store. Klaus bought a map and Dorian bought a cherry Slushee.

"Are there any hotels close by?" Klaus asked the cashier.

The teen-age boy gave them a quick once-over. "What kind? We got lots."

Dorian piped up, "Nothing posh, just some little hole in the wall. Nothing tacky, though. No cockroaches or yellowed sheets, if you please."

"Oh," said the cashier as if just acquiring Sudden Knowledge. He gave them a hint of a sneer. "Just up the street is a place called The Polynesia Inn. It's pretty cheap. I think. Just go up to Fortieth and take a right. Can't miss it."

"Thanks, love," Dorian chirped, bestowing one of his winningest smiles on the teen and then led Klaus out to the car.

Klaus gave Dorian a dubious frown. "I do not think the inn he referred us to is going to suit me."

"Really, Love? Why ever not?" Dorian replied with a mischievious grin.

"I think you know why not. That man thinks we are lovers."

"So did I!" exclaimed Dorian.

Klaus cringed. "We are, but must we stay in a... gay inn?"

"A gay inn," Dorian echoed. "Sounds like a love-in. Let's have a gay-in!"

"Shut up, Dorian. Do not make jokes."

"Why? Is it suddenly so sacred now?"

Klaus stopped at a red light. "Yes, it is."

"Awwwww, Darling. That's so sweet!" He reached over to hug Klaus, but the Major would have none of that here in public. He put up an arm to deflect Dorian and ended up knocking the Slushee all over the Earl's lap,

"Aaiiieee!" Dorian yelped. "Cold!"

Klaus tried to help Dorian clean off his lap while driving. He drifted into the other lane and almost hit a motorcyclist. The man shouted something at him and blazed past.

"It's all right, Darling," Dorian said. "You just drive."

Klaus turned down Fortieth. The parking lot of the Polynesia Inn seemed fairly empty. It was hard to say if this was a gay motel or not.

"You go in," Dorian said. "My lap's all wet."

Klaus gave him a terrified look. "Alone?"

"It's all right, Klaus. We don't bite."

The Major was duly chastised. He went inside.

At the front desk sat a small man, reading a paperback. He looked up when Klaus approached. "Yes?"

"How much are your rooms?"

"Eighteen for a night."

Klaus glanced out the glass door beyond the reception area. The inn was built in a complete square, with the rooms all opening up onto the centre courtyard, very private, and cheap enough. But the pool in the centre of the courtyard was occupied by gay men. Could he bear to be surrounded? To be so open about it? To listen to them all night long?

Nobody knows us. We won't run into anyone we know, he figured. And this way I can observe the lifestyle.

"All right. We'll be staying the weekend."

After paying the deposit, Klaus took the keys to room 25 and went to fetch Dorian. The Earl's mist-green and pale-apricot outfit had a huge red stain on the pants now.

"Come on. I got us a room."

Dorian's face lit up. "You did? How brave of you!"

Klaus assumed a look of cool stoicism. "I have made a commitment to you. I will try to be the best—" The expression faltered, "--boyfriend I can."

Dorian got that sappy look on his face again. "Oh, Sweetie."

"Nein, none of that. Go on to the room and get cleaned up. I will bring the luggage."

"Right, then!" He grabbed a key and hustled inside.

Klaus followed a few moments later, staggering through the lobby with a suitcase in each hand, an accessory kit under each arm, and the flight bag slung over his shoulder. The clerk opened the door to the inner courtyard for him. Room 25 was on the lower level of the two-story building. The door was open and Dorian stood there being chatted up by another man. The Earl nodded once at Klaus and the man followed his gaze. The Major arrived at the room and brushed past wordlessly, dumping the bags on the bed.

"See ya," said the man and Dorian shut the door.

"'See ya'?" Klaus repeated.

Dorian waved a hand dismissingly. "Just an Americanism." He walked towards the bathroom. "Find me something nice to wear, then join me in the shower."

Klaus was left with his mouth hanging open. Was Dorian feeling full of himself or what? Feeling cocky, perhaps, because he was in his element? Well, Klaus would not play the servant. Let Dorian come out dripping wet and find his own clothes.

He heard the shower start. Dorian probably preferred very hot showers. Probably liked lots of steam too. Even when it was hot outside. Dorian was heat. By now, Dorian should be under the water, his hair dark and wet down his back, the water spraying off his skin. Klaus felt a peculiar stirring in his belly, like butterflies. Dorian was in there, wet and naked, waiting for Klaus to join him. Waiting for long, passionate kisses under the shower's spray. Water filling their open mouths, making their bodies slippery.

The fluttery feeling became an ache in his heart. His hands could practically feel Dorian's slick flesh beneath them. They itched to feel it. His mouth opened reflexively at the thought of kisses.

He tore off his clothes and opened the bathroom door. Steam clouds rolled out, misting his skin. The shower curtain was drawn. Klaus closed the door behind him silently. Slowly, he peered behind the plastic curtain.

Dorian was smiling right at him, his hair twisting down over one shoulder. "About time, Lover." Klaus kept the curtain covering himself as he took in the sight. Dorian's body was flawless. Nothing in history had ever been sculpted or painted to rival the perfection of that form.

The Earl reached out and touched Klaus' face with hands hot as fire. Slowly he drew the two of them together into a kiss. Distracted, Klaus let the curtain fall and held onto Dorian's sides. At once the Earl pulled back for a look at his Major. Klaus felt immediately unworthy.

"Beautiful," Dorian breathed, his eyes dancing over Klaus' form. "My God, more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed. Come in."

Klaus stepped in under the hot stream. Dorian immediately set to lavishing kisses all over Klaus' neck and torso. As Dorian sank to his knees, Klaus became very unsure. No. Do not doubt, he told himself. Let go. Trust.

Dorian flicked his tongue down Klaus' belly, then stopped to nuzzle the dark crop of hair above his groin. The Major thought, He completely accepts me. To him, there is nothing dirty or disgusting about me. Dorian trailed his tongue along the shaft of Klaus' still unmoved sex.

He is going to bite me! The fear was instinctive and he drew back from Dorian. The Earl did not look up. He seemed to be waiting.

He is waiting for my trust, Klaus reasoned. He reached down and stroked Dorian's cheek. Dorian turned his face slightly and sucked gently on one of Klaus' fingertips. Electricity shot up his arm. It made his heart thunder and for an instant he felt nothing but the world at his fingertip. Dorian suckled and rubbed his teeth gently across that inch-long space. Klaus was amazed at how much sensation was contained in just one fingertip. How much--

--Pleasure. He switched fingertips and Dorian contentedly continued to suckle. Again, Klaus' arm tingled with electricity. He shut his eyes and just felt.

Eventually Klaus ran out of fingers. Dorian then moved to the palm, running his tongue in circles over it. It felt so good. With his free hand, Klaus rubbed the back of Dorian's head appreciatively. The Earl travelled leisurely to his wrist. Klaus was tingling from fingertips to the base of his neck. He could feel the blood coursing through his arm, and the rest of his body was forgotten.

Dorian slid one hand up Klaus' arm, then down again. Then he used his fingernails to lightly graze the surface of his arm, all the while gently biting the heel of Klaus' hand as one would bite a ripe fruit. Sensation upon sensation built, crashing down over one another like waves until at last his nerves grew desensitized and the electricity dulled.



He clasped Dorian's face and ushered him to stand.

"How was that, Darling?" Dorian cooed.

"Höchst erstaunlich." He wanted Dorian to try it on his other hand, but that would be too selfish. Instead, he held Dorian against himself and kissed him in gratitude. It was all beyond his understanding, how simple sucking on one's hand could cause such unbelievable sensation. Klaus had only known either pain or comfort before. Never pleasure, other than the pleasure of a full stomach or a cool bed or a successful mission.

He brushed his hands over Dorian's back, over nearly-healed scratches. He couldn't help the shame he felt, remembering. But Dorian didn't seem to care. His erect penis pressed urgently against Klaus' thigh. Klaus didn't know what to do. Stroke him again? Try to take him in his mouth the way Dorian had tried to do for him? As much as Klaus loved Dorian, he was reluctant to try that just yet. Squeamishness. Something else to feel guilty about.

The Earl's head fell back and he moaned. His slim hips moved sinuously against Klaus, rubbing his hardness against the inside of Klaus' thigh.

Oh, God, thought Klaus, he's going to want to fuck me! But Dorian merely continued to rock against him, his head thrown back, his arms locked tightly around Klaus' waist.

Klaus bent forward and kissed the supple neck. Dorian gave a soft groan and tilted his head to one side. Klaus found himself deeply engrossed in the unbelievable smoothness of the Earl's neck. He kissed it, nipped at it, sipped water from it. Dorian trembled in his arms, still rubbing against him. The Earl's organ pressed against Klaus'. Again, he felt unworthy. Dorian was so much bigger than Klaus when aroused.

"Klaus," Dorian moaned. Klaus could feel the sound vibrating in the Earl's throat. "Klaus..."

It occurred to the Major that Dorian wanted a reply. Against Dorian's neck he said, "Ja?"

"I need you."

Klaus' heart thundered. Oh, God. The moment of truth. Could he do it? Could he let Dorian have him? His thoughts raced. He'd promised to do anything Dorian wanted. He loved Dorian. He'd taken Father Haffemann back when he was only a child. Surely it would not be so bad now that he was a man.

"All right, Dorian." He looked into his lover's face. "Anything."

The Earl's eyes were clouded over like a dying man's, unseeing yet seeing. It startled Klaus. Dorian smiled and turned away from Klaus, leaning back against him. "Touch me."

Relief flooded through him. Relief and shockingly, disappointment. He had accepted the mission and it had been called off. Would he lose his resolve later? He slid his arms around Dorian's waist. One hand drifted down to his erection, the other slid up to stroke the pale chest.

It was a miracle they didn't slip and fall, the way Dorian undulated and thrashed at his touch. Dorian reached up and behind himself and grasped handfuls of Klaus' heavy wet hair. It didn't hurt much, just indicated to Klaus the heightening of Dorian's excitement. The penis in his hand throbbed and moved of its own accord. It was a wonder to him. So much he didn't know about the bodies of his own gender.

Dorian strained against him; he seemed to strain even against his own body. Klaus remembered from before that orgasm would soon follow. He remembered to squeeze tighter and stroke faster. Dorian shuddered and let go of Klaus' hair. He clutched the shower curtains instead and cried, "Yes! God! Klaus! Yes!" in short, loud cries, then "Ye-e-e-esss!" He arched against Klaus, thrashing his head dangerously close to Klaus' face. Dorian gave another shudder and groan, then relaxed in Klaus' embrace.

"Pardon me," the Earl said, and sank slowly to sit on the edge of the tub. Klaus turned off the shower and sat beside him. They smiled shyly at each other, then Dorian took Klaus' hand.

"Well, I guess that only goes to show: one good hand-job deserves another, eh?"

Klaus hid his face in his hands, groaning.


The problem with suburbia was that the houses were always so close together. A little patch of lawn on either side of the house, and that was all a man could call his own. Dorian scoped the house out from the car. As it turned out, Heinrich Sandler and his son, Ulrich, did not live on a ranch. Their house and neighbourhood were lower-middle class and not well taken care of. There was no car in the driveway, but his neighbours all had family cars or older-model sedans. The lawns were dead and sun baked, the houses all had chipped paint and showed signs of settling. Even the bicycles and toys on the porches were dingy and falling apart.

For a summer's day, there were surprisingly few people outside. No kids at all. Then again, the weather was swelteringly hot.

"Well, Eroica?" Klaus sighed, blowing out a stream of smoke. "Had your curiosity satisfied?"

Poor Klaus was under the impression that Dorian merely wanted to see the house to tell Christine how her son was.

"Not yet. I haven't seen the boy. She'll want to know how he looks. What he's like."

"You are not to go near him, Herr Red Gloria. I will make sure you do not. "

All right, so Klaus hadn't been fooled at all. "Are you going to tie me up?"

Klaus took a drag, let it out. "If I must."

"Not if I tie you up first."

Klaus glared at him, but it didn't last long, as the stony German's face broke into a smile. "Damn. I cannot even pretend to be offended anymore."

"Good! Don't pretend anything with me. I hate it when a man fakes it."

The look on Klaus' face sent Dorian into a giggling fit.

"Dorian... You are going to make my life a living Hell, aren't you?"

"Is this Hell for you, Darling?"

Klaus closed his eyes and let his head fall back onto the head rest. "Nein. I have already been through Hell."

"So where are you now?"

"In Oklahoma. Close enough."


The sun finally began to disappear around nine that night. Dorian had let Klaus persuade him to return to the motel. They now dined at the Polynesia Inn's restaurant. Klaus had seemed amazed at the menu. The food was your average American fare, nothing particularly poofy. Except for the waiters. They were all extremely taken with the Brit and the German, oohing over their accents and aahing over their beauty. Dorian was used to it. Klaus seemed uncomfortable and became hostile.

"Don't bite my head off, honey," huffed one of the waiters.

"Bite mine," said another.

"Oh, Germans are all so hot-blooded," excused a third. "I think the attitude's sexy."

"I like his hair!"

"I like his eyes!"

"I like his boyfriend!"

"And he," said Dorian, "likes his privacy, boys." He remained charming and flirtatious. "Could we?"

"Oh!" whispered one. "Sorry." And smiling knowingly, he led the procession away.

Dorian filched a baby carrot from Klaus' plate. "I like your hair too," he teased.

Klaus sighed and reached for his third cigarette. "I am so relieved that you are not like that," he sneered.

"Like what, Precious?"

Klaus seized the cigarette between his teeth. "Mousy. You may be foppish as Hell, but at least you are beautiful. And charming."

Dorian felt his heart flutter. "Why thank you, Major."

"Gern geschehen."

Dorian squeezed Klaus' knee under the table. "Let's go to the room now. We've yet to share a bed together."

Green eyes like shots of absinthe fixed on him with a mixed expression of curiosity and... anger? "What are you expecting tonight?" Klaus asked, smoke drifting from his lips like incense from a censer. "A miracle?"

Dorian was quite taken aback. "The kisses are enough! Klaus, I told you already—"

"Shush!" the Major hissed as the other customers walked by.

Dorian remained silent as they passed, then before he could resume, Klaus interrupted.

"I'm sorry, Dorian. I did not mean to snap at you. I know what you have said, but—" he paused and stared at the smouldering ash at the end of his cigarette, "it is not right."

Dorian put his hand over Klaus' carefully. "It's right for us, Babe."

Klaus closed his eyes and scowled, turning his face down and away. They sat like that for a few long moments, till Klaus flicked the ash, dislodging Dorian's hand. He took a final drag and snuffed the cigarette, moving to stand.

"Let's go for a walk. I think there was a souvenir shop down the way."

At least Klaus hadn't insisted on going for a walk by himself. "You really want a souvenir, Darling?" Dorian asked playfully, hoping to improve Klaus' mood, "From this place?"

Klaus threw fifteen dollars on the table, enough to pay the tab plus a nice tip, and led Dorian out to the lobby. Dorian resisted the desire to take his arm and stroll close against his side. He didn't know why he felt he should resist; after all, it was obvious they were a couple. Even if they hadn't been, in a place like that it would have been assumed. No, he resisted for Klaus' sake. Because Klaus might decide at any moment this was all some terrible mistake and not want him anymore. Dorian was not going to do anything to embarrass his beloved.

Adjoined to the inn was another cluster of rooms. To one side lay a billiard room, to another was a discotheque. In front of them was the gift shop.

"See? Nothing bad," said Klaus, indicating the innocuous window display of coffee mugs and stationery. And when they first entered, those were the sorts of things they found. Pretty statues, posters, objects d'art, and so forth. The cards should have been a clue, though. They went from flowery to rather risque. Then they wandered into the other side of the little shop.

Dorian spotted the porno magazines and just stepped back to watch Klaus' reaction.  Klaus scanned the covers, then turned a bemused look to Dorian. The Earl grinned and shrugged. Klaus scanned the room. All along one wall hung leather apparatus of various uses. He wondered if Klaus knew what they were. Klaus peered into a glass display case. Dorian followed and peeked over his shoulder. Cock rings, dildoes, anal beads, studded paddles and many other joys of the bedroom lay in casual display on the glass shelves.

"Mein Gott. Das ist schrecklich!"

"Not for the faint of heart," Dorian agreed.

Klaus shook his head and went to look at a shelf of leather caps and whips. The Major took down a whip and gave it a few small trial cracks. "This is a real whip!" he whispered. "Not just a toy!"

Dorian took one of the tough-looking black leather caps and put it on Klaus. The image of the Major in the cap, holding a whip with expert ease sent a jolt of lust into his privates.

"Holy fuck! You look good!" he said, not too loud.

Klaus gave a genuine smile. "Really?" He adjusted the cap. "How do I look?"

"Tough! You're turning me on."

Klaus had attracted the attention of a very tall man who gave a whoop of either surprise or approval and ogled unabashedly. The Major quickly took off the cap and replaced it on the shelf.

"Now, don't be shy, honey," said the tall man. "That's a good look for you. You can wear leather. Lotsa boys can't. You got the body, honey."

Klaus seemed ready to let loose with his barbed tongue, but for once couldn't think of a reply. His usual homophobic retorts were useless now. At least his Klausy wasn't a hypocrite. Instead, to Dorian's astonishment, the Major merely replied, "No, but thank you."

The man shrugged his wide shoulders and turned back to the wall of magazines. Dorian didn't need to ask if Klaus was ready to go. He merely followed him out.

Klaus stomped down the sidewalk towards the motel proper. Dorian struggled to keep pace. "He was right. You would look smashing in leather."

"I have no desire to draw attention to myself. That is your area, my Lord."

"Darling, you are handsome. You can't help but draw attention to yourself. It can't be helped. You are beautiful."

"Nein. Not next to you."

They reached the courtyard. The pool was still occupied. It would be occupied all night, Dorian knew. "You are a kore," Dorian replied. "A golden Egyptian god."

Klaus shot him a look he could not comprehend. It was not pleased. They got inside their dark room. Klaus disappeared into the bathroom and locked the door. Dorian shrugged, long resigned to his Darling's Teutonic temperament, and began to undress. He was tired after their very full day. It was amazing they'd made it this long without collapsing.

He crawled into bed, naked. There was no need for pyjamas. It was warm and he wanted to feel Klaus against his skin, even if they didn't do anything.

Klaus emerged and lifted an eyebrow at the sight of the obviously topless and probably bottomless Earl. But just to clarify. Dorian said, "Yes, I'm nude, but it's only for comfort. I don't expect anything."

Klaus clenched his jaw and turned away. He donned a clean t-shirt and undies, and then put on his pyjamas. Dorian was disappointed, but it was so like the Major. It probably had more to do with Klaus' practicality than prudishness. There might be a fire or other emergency in the night. It would never do to run out in the altogether.

Klaus lay down flat on his back, his hands on his chest. Dorian curled up next to him, resting his head on Klaus' shoulder. The Major shifted and nudged Dorian with his arm. With a little rearranging. Dorian was lying in a loose half-embrace against Klaus' side, listening to the steady heartbeat of his lover.

"I love you, Klaus von Eberbach."

"Ja," yawned Klaus. "I know." He squeezed Dorian and kissed the top of his head. "Thank you."

Dorian felt himself beginning to drift. "Gern geschehen," he mumbled as sleep carried him gently away.

Klaus was exhausted but could not fall asleep immediately. Dorian was sweet and fragrant and soft in his arms. Naked and vulnerable and trusting. He gently stroked Dorian's hair with his free hand, then moved it lightly to the Earl's lips. Warm breath caressed his fingertips, recalling earlier sensations. He nudged Dorian's lips gently, so as not to wake him. Dorian sighed and parted his lips more, affording Klaus access to a gate of smooth teeth. A thrill of pleasure buzzed up his arm, then with a startling throb, landed in his lower back and spread into his groin. It was just one thundering pulse, but it had been enough to stop his heart for a beat.

He caught his breath as he tried to hold the feeling, but it faded, reverberating through his body like the echo of a single drumbeat.

Should he wake Dorian? The Earl slept so peacefully. No. Let the poor thing rest till morning. There would be time. There would be forever. Dorian had promised. Klaus lay awake for a long while afterwards.