Finding Truth

by Thia

The room is dark. Klaus stops just inside the door, frowning into the dimness: the light from the hall behind him doesn't penetrate any farther than he's standing, and only makes it harder to see. He can feel some sort of thick carpeting under his feet. There is no sound from the room.

"Lord Gloria?"

As if in answer, a sound at last: a soft clink. It takes Klaus a shamefully long second to recognize the sound of glass touching glass. Bonham was right after all, it seems: Eroica was not only in this room, he was drinking. At least Klaus can't think of any other reason for that clink except a drink being poured, although that pervert could probably suggest a few.

But Eroica doesn't speak, and Klaus doesn't hear the sound of liquid being poured. He steps further into the room, a few quick strides in the direction of the sound. "Lord Gloria?"

A soft sigh, directionless, followed by the liquid sound Klaus expected, and a voice at last. "Major Eberbach." Dorian's voice sounds clipped and careful, with a slight over-pronunciation that makes Klaus wonder how long Dorian's been drinking, and whether he's drunk.

"Are you free to speak?" Klaus peers into the gloom. He still can't pick out where exactly Dorian is sitting, despite the sounds, and it disturbs him more than he'd like to admit. Usually it's nearly impossible to miss Dorian.

Dorian laughs. "I can speak all you like, Major. But you may not like the subject."

"I am not here to discuss perverted subjects," Klaus warns him. He thinks he's located Dorian, just a few feet off to his left, but he still can't see him properly. "I am here to — to offer you a job."

The words nearly choke him. He argued with his Chief over this, as he wishes he'd done the first time, but to no avail. As the Chief pointed out, Eroica knew their target, had already showed signs of heading that direction himself, and besides — but Klaus shoves aside even the thought of the besides, and his Chief's leer as he mentioned it. He realizes that Eroica hasn't said anything. "I shall take this to your stingy-bug if you prefer," he says stiffly.

Another laugh, and the clink of glass on glass. "James? James is terrified of you, Major. Don't tell me you haven't noticed."

Klaus thinks of James for a minute. Now that Dorian mentions it, he doesn't remember anything in particular that makes him think James is frightened of him. He's of the opinion that James doesn't have enough brains to be frightened of anything when he's after more of his beloved money. "He's a pest. He's always around underfoot."

"When I am around, yes," Dorian agrees. "He loves me."

He says it without a trace of self-consciousness or modesty, although since Klaus can't see his face, he can't be certain of that. To Klaus's knowledge, however, Eroica has never been either self-conscious or modest, so he doesn't see any reason the thief would start now. "About the job—"

"Have you ever been in love, Major?"

"It's none of your fucking business," Klaus says immediately, without even thinking twice.

"You never have, have you?" Dorian doesn't sound quite as crisp now, not quite a drawl but getting there. "I'll bet you've never even made love to anyone."

"Stop saying perverted things!" He should just turn around and stomp out of there, Chief or no Chief. Or stomp over to Dorian and hit him, silence that drawling voice. Or call in Bonham —

"Do you know what it's like, being in love?" Dorian sounds truly curious. "I hear so many things."

You said you loved me. But Klaus isn't idiot enough to bring that up, not with Dorian in this sort of mood. "Eroica—"

"I used to think it was like diving into some enormous pool, and being enveloped," Dorian says. "As if I'd have to surface every so often, but I could immerse myself in love."

"The D'Alessandro miniatures," Klaus says, a bit desperately. He's forcing himself to stay, now, furious at himself for not being furious at Dorian. "Eroica, they're—"

"But that never worked," Dorian says, continuing as if he didn't even hear Klaus. "Nothing lasted. I called Caesar Gabriel my obsession, did you know that? And then I forgot him. I don't even know where that statue has gotten to."

Statue? Caesar Gabriel had been a living boy, although a wimpy, irritating one. "They're in the safe of Lord Robin Jharves," Klaus says doggedly, his fists clenching by his sides.

"It's pleasant, being in love," Dorian continues inexorably. "I remember, for the first month after I realized I was in love with you, birds sang more sweetly, food tasted richer on my tongue, and I could hardly sleep."

"Foppish bullshit." Klaus hears his own voice as if through a tunnel: it's hoarse. "The miniatures—"

"Of course part of my insomnia was my aching jaw," Dorian admits, and Klaus can hear the amused smile in his voice. "And James counting money upstairs. But really, that glorious feeling was no more than infatuation."

Klaus tells himself he's going to leave. He'll just stay long enough to tell Eroica the parameters of the mission, even if he hasn't accepted it, even if he suspects Dorian hasn't heard a word Klaus said. "There's a microchip embedded —"

"It faded, after all. And I still want you. Your company, your heart, your body—"

Oh, godfuckingdammit. Not even his Chief could expect him to stay now. "DORIAN!"

There's a silence, long enough for Klaus to realize he didn't yell 'Eroica', or 'Idiot', although that's certainly what he was thinking and what he intended to say. He should have known better than to even come into this room. He's seen Dorian drunk, after all. He knows what paths that pervert's mind takes. He waits for Dorian to laugh, or to say something. At last Dorian say, "Could you love me, Klaus?"

Klaus wishes he could see in the darkness. A piece of furniture, that's all he asks, a nice antique table for him to throw through the window, and then Dorian after it. "Idiot," he growls. "Have you heard a single fucking word I've said?"

"D'Alessandro miniatures, Lord Robin Jharves, microchip embedded in the back of one of them because Robin's been a naughty boy," Dorian recites, back to the unnatural crispness of earlier. "I'll have Bonham speak to A." His voice slurs into wistfulness again. "Unless you'd rather..."

Klaus opens his mouth to shout 'idiot' again, then shuts it. Because he's never been in love, and yet he doesn't know what other name to put to his long tolerance of the thief, a slow-growing fascination that yet doesn't...quite...outweigh the old training of his thoughts. "I shall see you in two days, Lord Gloria," he says, taking refuge in formality rather than in anger.


Klaus doesn't run out of the room. It's too dark. But he walks as quickly as he dares. He's glad he couldn't see Dorian's eyes. The sound of his name lingers in the back of his mind all the way back to his hotel.