Klaus lay unmoving for a minute or two before opening his eyes and lifting himself onto one elbow. His trousers were on the floor beside the bed; he rummaged in the pocket for a pack of cigarettes and lit one, settling back against the pillow moodily.

He didn't say anything. There really wasn't anything to say.

Dorian was staring at the ceiling. Not cuddling against him or saying idiotic mushy things.

Klaus could think of a few sarcastic remarks he could make about that. He didn't bother.

It was some time before Dorian bothered to speak.

"That wasn't your first time. With a man."

Klaus didn't demur. There was no point in denying it. After so many years of resistance, his defeat had been too heated, too frenzied, like the bursting open of floodgates, for him to feign the role of the fumbling virgin. His experiences had been too few and far between for him to have acquired any skill to speak of, but he knew how to go about it, at least.

But at length he gave the blond man an ironic glance and said, "You always thought you'd be the first, I suppose."

Dorian turned the exact color of a ripe strawberry. Klaus didn't recall ever having seen him blush before.

"So I got attached to the idea. You know I'm a romantic," Dorian said defensively.

A silence fell. Klaus smoked and brooded. Dorian continued his scrutiny of the ceiling before speaking again.

"What's it been? One night stands with total strangers?"


"Have you ever had a real lover?"

Klaus let a moment pass before answering. "No. I couldn't take the risk."

Dorian swallowed. "And now?" he asked carefully.

Klaus's jaw clamped. "I know something of what you want. And I cannot give it to you."

"What is it you think I want? I know that you can't be with me openly. I don't expect it. Don't tell me you don't want me. You do. Don't tell me you can't go to bed with me. You have."

"Don't tell me that I was... any good at it. I know better. At least do me the courtesy not to lie."

The thief snorted. "I haven't been chasing you about for the last seven years because I imagined you had the best fellating technique on the block, darling."

The Major's face burned. "Now you have experienced my ineptitude firsthand. Your curiosity should be satisfied."

Dorian raised himself on his elbow. His expression was frustrated. "Dammit, what will it take to get it through that iron skull of yours that I'm in love with you?"

Klaus did not sit up, but he turned his head to look at the other man. "What the fuck do you see in me, you idiot faggot?"

"Your charm," Dorian snapped.

They glared at each other until Klaus had to turn to the bedside table to stub out his cigarette. He lit another one, not because he wanted it but because he needed some kind of occupation.

When he glanced at Dorian again, the thief had got out of bed and was pulling on his foppish clothes with his back to the bed. Klaus was surprised at the pang he felt at the sight. He started to speak, but stopped himself.

This is best for both of us, he told himself.

As he buttoned his turquoise shirt, Dorian turned angrily to Klaus. "Do you like it this way? Gropings in the dark with total strangers? You'd rather have that than a man who loves you?" Klaus couldn't answer. "Then you're welcome to it." Dorian ran his fingers ineffectually through his tousled hair and moved toward the door.

His hand was an inch from the doorknob when Klaus's voice stopped him.


Dorian froze. And waited.

Until Klaus continued, in a voice so low he had to strain to hear it.

"You can't be the first." Klaus drew a breath.

Dorian waited.

"But... you could be the last."