Klaus wondered how much longer it would be before Dorian left him.
He had always known that it was only the chase that kept Dorian interested, that if Klaus ever gave in Dorian would get bored before long. But one day, seeing the thief flirting with some pretty young man during a mission in Paris, Klaus realized that eventually Dorian would get bored with the chase itself, and move on. It was only a matter of time. Klaus realized that he had better take what he could, while he could.
That very night, he had waited till late, till he was certain the rest of Eroica's gang had gone to their own rooms, and knocked on Eroica's door. He wasn't sure what he was going to say, but as it turned out, he didn't have to say much of anything. All it took was not actively rejecting the thief to make him pounce. Within about five minutes of the first knock, most of their clothes were scattered on the hotel's tacky carpet and he was in bed with Dorian.
After perhaps a month of shared chaotic nights, Dorian had, with a nervousness Klaus had never seen in him before, asked him to do something different. Klaus had been surprised that Dorian cared enough that he was worried about offending him – he had never worried about that before. Now he had something to lose, Klaus supposed.
Klaus's refusal had been automatic and brusque. Having sex at all – letting someone else touch him, allowing himself to display emotion and be reduced to an animal who didn't care about his dignity, only about sensation – that had been difficult enough. This was what happened when you held onto your virginity for too long, perhaps.
Taking Dorian, kissing him, sinking in between his thighs – that had been more daunting than the thief could possibly understand. Anything more would be impossible. No, not impossible, just utterly terrifying. The kind of thing he wouldn't want to do with anyone he wasn't sure would still love him in ten years' time, or one year's time, for that matter. A category which included even the maddeningly persistent Dorian Red Gloria, now that he had what he wanted.
The way Dorian took his refusal, quickly concealing his disappointment, wistfulness fleeting across his beautiful face before he forced himself to look insouciant again, was another surprise. But it showed Klaus how he could hold onto his prize for longer, make the dream last a few more months before he had inevitably to wake up.
“Not yet,” he had amended quietly. His stomach and his throat were both tight with fear at the prospect. But the joy that had leapt into his lover's eyes confirmed his theory. For Dorian, the chase was not over. His victory was not yet complete.
For nearly a year, Klaus played the game, drawing it out with a type of calculation he had never suspected himself capable of. Every few weeks, he would, after many shows of reluctance and apprehension which were not at all feigned, relinquish a little more of his inexperience, allow Dorian a little more license with his body. Give Dorian one more small gift.
Finally there was only one thing left to give. Dorian never mentioned it, thoughtfully waiting for Klaus to be ready on his own. Klaus never mentioned it, knowing that when he surrendered it would be the beginning of the end.
Late one night, when Klaus was almost asleep, he heard Dorian sigh. The soft sound jolted him completely awake. Neither of them spoke, and soon Dorian's even breathing showed that he was asleep at last, but Klaus lay awake for a long time, analyzing the intonation of that one breath. It had not been a contented sigh. Klaus was certain that it was a sigh of boredom.
He had played the game to the best of his ability, and he was losing the man he loved anyway. Not that he had ever expected differently.
Like a confirmed bachelor who is not quite maddened enough by love to make an honest offer, Dorian would not wait forever for the final prize.
Klaus did want to know what it felt like. He was not ready yet, not really. The idea still made him cold inside, sometimes he even wondered if he would be able to go through with it, not suddenly throw Dorian off as well-honed defensive reflexes asserted themselves. But he knew his time was short. He would never be able to give this to any other man. If he didn't give it to Dorian while he had the chance, he would never experience it.
At the end of June, he asked Dorian what he wanted for his birthday. “That delightful gadget you were using in Lucerne, with all the dirt on all the important buildings,” Dorian teased. He knew not even true love would induce Klaus to give it to him. Not even if Klaus believed in true love.
Klaus ignored this. “Do you want jewelry? Not that I would know what to pick.” Nor was jewelry his real plan.
Dorian smiled, his eyes promising all sorts of wonderful illicit things. “I want you to go away with me. A romantic weekend, someplace far away where we can wallow in decadent luxury.”
“Very well.” Klaus's tone was resigned, but the idea was actually a pleasant one. The silly custom of indulging people because it is the anniversary of their births gave Klaus the excuse he needed to agree. He paused for a long moment before adding, “And while we're there....” He could feel his face warming, and saw Dorian catch his breath at the sight. “I can think of something to give you.” His voice could barely be heard. He looked away, embarrassed, but he could still see the comprehension dawning on his lover's face.
Dorian's expression was enough for every birthday Klaus had ever had.
And the hours that followed were well worth the promise. Well worth even what it was going to cost him.
And a month later on Dorian's birthday, they laid entangled well after midnight, pressed close together. Dorian was contented, sated for now. Perhaps for always.
Klaus held him and wondered how long he still had.