~7~

Klaus von Eberbach sat up abruptly in bed. He was in his family castle, not his spartan flat near his NATO office. There had been a sound, he was certain of it, where there should have been none. And someone who was able to gain unauthorized access to the castle was dangerous, one way or another.

Somehow, without reflecting, Klaus was certain that it was not a servant risen for some trivial midnight errand. The sound was a threat of some kind, he believed devoutly. He rose as silently as he could, fetched his Magnum, and moved out of his bedroom, down the corridor in the direction the sound had come from.

There was a tall black-clad figure standing in front of the painting, The Man In Purple. "I suppose you've come to steal him," Klaus said abruptly, in English.

The figure started and turned. Klaus was not surprised to see disconcertingly beautiful face in front of him. The thief regained his composure instantly, smiling knowingly.

"Of course not, darling," his well-bred, clipped tones pitched low. Boldly, as if expecting no rebuff, he stepped closer. "I've come here to steal you."

Eroica's arms encircled Klaus and settled about him. Klaus found that his gun had disappeared, it didn't matter where, and that his own hands had begun of their own accord to explore Eroica's warm, slender body. He pulled Eroica's form close, eager to feel their bodies together. Their lips met as a matter of course, and without Klaus quite knowing how, their garments were being shed, so that Eroica's skin was against his....

Klaus von Eberbach sat up abruptly in bed. He was alone in his flat near his office, and there had been no sound. Only that dream had awakened him.

Rolling out of bed to the floor, he commenced doing pushups. On his knuckles. He counted out loud. When he got to sixty-five, the dream's effects on his body began to wane at last. When he got to one hundred, they were... not gone, but under control, at least. He rolled onto his back and followed it up with a hundred sit-ups. Standing, he stalked into the bathroom and followed that with a freezing shower.

If these dreams didn't stop, he was going to lose his mind.

***

Dorian carried the rolled carpet over his shoulder carefully, as if the cargo swathed within were made of the most delicate glass, though its weight was far greater than glass would have been. Under cover of night, he crept to his carefully prepared hideout.

Carefully prepared indeed. Soft music played, a warm breeze caressed his skin as it came through the open window, candles cast a gentle glow over the satin sheets and carefully arranged cushions. Oh, yes, everything was perfect.

Dorian laid the carpet down with great care and unrolled it reverently. Within it was the greatest treasure he knew of, a bundle of wire ropes with searing green eyes and a proud German nose. Asleep now due to Dorian's soporifics, but Dorian had the power to awaken him. He leaned over the motionless form, poised to kiss the stern, perfectly shaped mouth.

*"Nein!"* came the deafening shout before his lips made contact. The green eyes were open now, alive with righteous fury. Dorian jumped back.

"Hey, this is my dream! You're mucking it up!" he protested.

Klaus leapt to his feet and ran outside, and someone had left a tank in the driveway during the moment Dorian had spent within. Klaus was inside the tank and had it moving in an instant. Dorian followed swiftly in a gorgeous scarlet Maserati. Klaus stuck his head up out of the tank long enough to shout at him, "Only a frivolous narcissist would drive a flashy car like that!"

Dorian had thought that tanks moved slowly and ponderously, but this one was whizzing down the Autobahn at a speed his lovely sportscar could not equal. As he pressed the pedal to the floor, the love of his life and his mass of iron receded farther into the distance.

Dorian sat up abruptly in bed. He was in his bedroom in his castle, safe on satin cushions and lace-edged sheets and the scent of roses. Alone. He put his head into his hands for a moment, then rose and headed for the bathroom, pushing tousled golden curls out of his face. He drew himself a hot bath, adding a liberal dose of jasmine-scented bath salts, and settled in for a nice, long, consoling soak.

If these dreams didn't stop, he was going to lose his mind.

 

 

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