~21~

There was no moon, and the last streetlight had been at least an hour ago. Klaus could only see as far as the headlamp of his motorcycle illuminated as he sped up the mountainside.

Not that there was anything to see. He knew the area. This high up the mountain, there was no vegetation, no trees, no buildings, only bare rock and the dirt road beneath him.

The only sights were the small circle of dirt and rocks directly in front of him, and the blackness all around.

The only sensations were the vibrations of the bike under him, the chilly wind on his face and wrists... and the warmth at his back, the strong arms wrapped around his narrow waist.

The only sounds were the wind racing past his ears and the roar of the motorcycle... until a voice came, close to Klaus's ear to be heard over the engine.

"Can we stop?"

Without a word, Klaus stopped the bike, planting one foot on the ground to brace it. A moment later, Dorian's arms unwound themselves from around Klaus's waist as he slid off the seat. Klaus's back was cool without the other man's warmth pressed to him.

When Klaus cut the engine, the utter silence filled his ears like cotton. Dorian's voice sounded quite loud in the stillness. "We're far enough over the border now, aren't we? We can take a rest?"

"Ja."

Klaus heard a few slight rustlings which he supposed must be Dorian stretching to ease his cramped muscles. He could not see to be certain; Dorian's face and hair were only a pale blur in the darkness. But Klaus knew what he would look like. Black leather tight on those long legs, snug on those broad shoulders and that slim waist. Black leather that was now swallowed up by the night. Klaus was clad in black leather as well, but of course not so indecently tight. How could Dorian move in those pants?

Mentally shaking himself, Klaus dismounted and walked back and forth a few times, relieving his own stiff limbs. Minutes passed in which they did not speak.

How can I tell you? Tell you what I knew when you went down?

Not knowing what else to do, Klaus pulled out a cigarette and lit it. The match made a globe of orange light for a moment, giving off just enough light for him to see Dorian's adoring gaze fastened on him before the flame went out, leaving only a thin wisp of purple smoke behind.

What is it that you see in me?

"How's your leg?" Klaus broke the silence abruptly.

He could hear the soft creak of the leather as Dorian shrugged. "I'll live." Judging from the position of the pale blur, Dorian was still facing him, still looking in his direction.

"Not if you keep on like this, you won't," Klaus snapped, taking a drag on his cigarette with relief. "That was an incredibly stupid risk to take."

How long has it been true? And I didn't even know it, till you fell…. Why this time? Why not any of the other times you risked your idiot neck for my missions? For me?

The blur moved; Klaus surmised that Dorian had just tossed that outrageous mane of hair. All that hair couldn't possibly be worth the trouble it must be. "I got your bloody microfilm, didn't I? Just like always?"

"But at what cost? It's just your leg, just a small wound, but it could have been much worse, you damned idiot!" He stopped abruptly, conscious of how loudly their voices rang out in the blackness. And that they were alone in that blackness, as surely as if no one else in the world existed.

Is this all we can ever say to each other, even now? Will this never change?

"It's lovely to know that you care, Major."

"Verdammt! The people who work for me are my responsibility. 'S my job to care!" Stop following me into hell and back. If you were harmed, it would kill me.

Dorian sighed, and Klaus thought he had turned away to face the cliff's edge. "Deny it all you want, Major," came the soft English voice. "I know that you care."

Klaus's throat closed on what reply he might have made. How can I tell you that I've changed my mind? That you were right all along? That I feel things I will never be able to say?

Before he was forced to find words, Dorian suddenly emerged from the darkness in a burst of blue light, reflecting on his leather, illuminating his unruly curls.

Dorian started, and Klaus had instinctively reached for his gun before he realized what the swiftly fading light was.

"Fireworks." Dorian's tone was one of delight. "The village at the foot of the mountain must be having a carnival."

Klaus dropped his cigarette and stepped on it. He took a couple of slow steps closer to the cliff's edge, close enough to see the flowers of light beneath their feet.

"My God," Dorian whispered. "How high up are we?"

"We must be around eight thousand feet up," Klaus replied automatically.

Dorian chuckled. "Trust you to actually know such a thing." His voice softened as a shower of green stars blossomed below them. "I've never seen fireworks from above before."

The green stars faded, and Klaus watched until Dorian's face was thrown into sharp relief again by another burst of colored light.

All this time I've been in the dark, and suddenly the truth emerges into the light. But what do I do with it?

Another blossom of yellow light appeared below them, and Dorian's beautiful face was lit up once again, rapt with innocent pleasure in the sight. His golden mane fluttered in the wind, radiant as sunshine in the endless night all around them.

Perhaps the way is not to say a word. Simply to act.

Before he had time to reconsider, Klaus stepped closer. Stood right behind Dorian. Gently encircled that slim waist with his arms, as if he had done it a thousand times.

Dorian started, and an explosion of blue light illuminated his surprised, beautiful face as he turned his head to give Klaus an inquiring look. "Major, what--"

So that he would not have to find words, Klaus covered that mouth with his own, silencing the other man's questions. And for a long moment, there really was nothing else in the world except the man in his arms.

When their lips parted, Dorian slowly turned his face back to the fireworks. In a peaceful embrace, they continued to watch the colored blossoms unfurling and dissolving below them. They would watch until the display was over. There was no need for haste.

They had all of the time in the world.

Much later, Dorian murmured drowsily, "Any regrets?"

"Yes," came the quiet answer.

Worried, Dorian lifted his head to look at his love's dim profile in the darkness.

Sensing the movement, and the reason behind it, Klaus explained softly, "I regret that I waited for so long."

After that there were no more words, only warmth and the enveloping darkness.

 

 

Snippets

Eroica