Ask Doctor Gloria

by Anne-Li

Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than lakrispipor. Corrections to my language (and other things) are welcome. Ask if you want me to archive it anywhere. You may link to this story if you want or to my main page. 5.317 words. Written in June 2007.

Betaed by Heather Sparrows (thank you!) and Kadorienne (thank you!).

If you want you can also read/download the story as a doc file (without graphics).

This fic is available translated to japanese by BasilLeaves! Thank you very much, BasilLeaves!

Alone in Bonn. It sounded like some personal ad. The thought made Dorian smile.

Tall weapons expert with interest in law enforcement, tanks and spy games. Likes to run, shoot, smoke and drink Nescafι. Seeks aristocratic art thief, for meaningful relationship and mind-boggling sex. Answer to – Alone in Bonn

Though for today Alone in Bonn was not the tall weapons expert, but rather the aristocratic art thief. He was in Bonn. Alone in Bonn. All alone!

This was a rare. He had to sneak away from James and the others, on the odd occasion he found himself in need of some peace and quiet. Since to do so always proved to be something of an undertaking, he very seldom bothered. Today, however, he had quite unexpectedly found himself all on his onesie. James had fallen ill. Food poisoning, likely by a crab eaten the previous day. Rudy, who had accompanied them on the impromptu trip, now waited on the small accountant hand and foot. Secretly Dorian suspected that James actually enjoyed the attention, which was why he wasn't already up and calculating. So Dorian had sneaked off. "Just catching a nip of air," he told Rudy and then made a dash for it before James could be informed.

He was free! With no set goal he drifted from shop to shop up Poststrasse, over the Mόnsterplatz and then on up towards Sternstrasse, picking up this and that and looking at whatever caught his fancy.

Oooh – what a lovely shirt! James would never let me buy it! James isn't here! It's mine! Oooh – what a lovely pair of gloves! James would never let me buy them! Heh heh heh! James isn't here! They're mine! Oooh – what a lovely little box! James would never let me buy it! Heh heh heh ...

However, sooner or later, all good things must come to an end ... Or a temporary pause, anyway, as Dorian simply couldn't carry any more bags and, besides, he had started to get just a tiny bit hungry. So he used his last marks to have a cab deliver his bags to the Rheinhotel Dreesen, where they stayed.

When he watched the car disappear around a corner was when he realised that – oops, he really had used his last marks for that ... As in, he didn't have a penny on him! And he was getting hungrier ... Now, Bonn wasn't an all that enormous city – he could walk to the hotel, really he could, only ... well, that would take close to two hours and when he got there James would surely be livid due to his little shopping spree. Not an appealing prospect to live through on an empty stomach ...

He started walking again, looking around for some solution. Suddenly, rather than interesting stores with things potentially belonging to Dorian, the city was filled with enchanting little restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. All sorts of lovely smells wafted over him. He hesitatantly continued, considering his options. Food was one thing that he would not steal – delicacies were made to be enjoyed at leisure. He was also much too conspicuous to run off without paying his bill. There was no outstanding warrant for him in Germany. If there ever was one the Rogues' Gallery would never let him live it down if it was for not paying at a restaurant.

Maybe I could pay Major von dem Eberbach a visit. I was going to wait a little, but why not? He's at work now, no doubt. I could offer to help him with some mission if he pays for lunch. Hmm ... No, no – if he takes me for a lunch date! The idea amused him greatly – though he was very much aware of that his darling major would far more likely use him for target practice.

Besides, the NATO building was a good 35 minute walk as well, not a much better prospect than the hotel.

A sign with the dot-topped, red S of the Sparkasse came into view. He smiled brightly and continued towards the bank. As he walked he fished up his wallet and quickly located the passport belonging to Dorian Roth-Ruhm. He reminded himself of the identity's account number and then pocketed the wallet again. Roth-Ruhm should be good for a few hundred marks – enough for a decent meal and then a ride back to the hotel – and maybe, just maybe, a quick visit to that jewelry store close by the bank? Maybe, he decided on glancing idly at the window display. Or maybe I'll go back tonight, if I can persuade Rudy that James will survive a few hours without his tender care. He normally didn't perform heists on small jewelry stores, but since he was on vacation he could make an exception. Steal just one, sweet little thing and leave his card, perhaps. It might even take a few days for the personnel to realise what had occurred. Besides, it always vexed his dear major so when he did whatever innocent little thing in Bonn.

He entered the bank. While it was good-sized he found it fairly uncrowded. Only two open cashiers and six customers in two unruly queues. He went over to the one on his right and resigned himself for the wait. Queuing in Germany could be such an unpleasant activity. In front of him stood a short, bald man who smelled slightly sour. Dorian kept his distance. Before that man he saw a harried-looking woman who kept glaring at a clock. In the other queue stood first a chubby man in a suit, followed by a young couple – man and woman. They discussed something – or, rather, he spoke animatedly while she smiled occasionally and nodded. They both carried large, brown bags. The last man in that line was in his early sixties, with an upright bearing and short, slate grey hair. He had given Dorian a curious look on entering and as they all waited kept glancing his way. Dorian didn't mind – he was used to people not being able to keep their eyes off him.

Besides, he is rather handsome, for an older gent. Now, though ... Oh, what is the hold-up? I think I will go to that first restaurant in this block. The young man I saw waiting at the tables was such a darling. I'll flirt and tip him good. I wonder if he'll flush prettily, like Klaus does sometimes, or play along? Might he even growl at me, a little? That would be so sweet.

Though even if the waiter proved as susceptible as most men to Dorian's charms, he would not follow through on his seduction routine. That was one thing he had never done, in the years he had pursued his stubborn sweetie – taken a German lover. Oh no. No matter how desperately he wanted to hear those words moaned - "Stoί mich fester, du verdammte Schwuchtel!" – it must be his own German who ground them out, someone else's just wouldn't do.

Mr. Chubby stepped away, pushing mark notes into his wallet as he went. Splendid ... This is going slower than a snail with a sprained tail. Dorian sighed. His stomach ached and small wonder, as he hadn't eaten a bit since breakfast.

That was when the female part of the couple turned around, brandishing a machine gun. "[This is a bank robbery!]" she declared in ringing tones. "[We don't want to hurt anyone! Sit down on the floor by the wall and keep your hands in sight!]"

'For it was Bonnie and Clyde, weapons in hand ...' Dorian sang mentally, trying to recall how the old ditty went. The bank robbery had turned out to be a total disaster. The couple was far from being professional. Dorian regretted that. Had they been he might have had some type of connection to them; known someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew them or something. As they seemed to be rank amateurs, there was nothing he could do.

The customers of the bank had been taken hostages. With the police outside, hostage negotiation and the whole nine yards. Dorian clung to his composure, though, sitting straight the way Nanny Mary had taught him, waiting for whatever would come to happen. Never let it be said that the Earl of Gloria fell apart in a troublesome situation.

He and the older German had ended up a bit apart from the rest, furthest away from the doors leading out. Now and then Dorian noticed how the man looked at him and the glances gradually became both more frequent and longer-lasting.

Kind of sweet, really, how taken he is by me, even in a dangerous situation such as this.

All the more dangerous since the would-be robbers were such amateurs, that he knew. Professionals would, by now, be long gone. Professionals wouldn't have shown their faces. Professionals would have been more ... professional.

The next time the older gent looked his way, Dorian graced him with a bright smile. Even if the man was too old for him and even if Dorian had decided on being a one-German-man exclusively – bordering on being a one-man-man, even, if only that one man would just get over his silly little hang-ups already and let himself be Dorian's - well ... a little harmless flirting never hurt anybody. Why, he probably made the man's day just by smiling at him and Dorian enjoyed making people happy. Besides, he wasn't in Bonn very often and would likely never meet him again.

"[Forgive me for staring]," the man said, almost in a whisper.

"[Of course. No harm done]," Dorian answered, hesitating only minutely to find the words. He, too, kept his voice down as not to attract undue attention.

"[You are not German?]"

Apparently he wasn't as fluent as he sometimes credited himself to be. "[No, I hail from Great Britain.]"

"Ah. You speak our language well."

"As do you."

"I hope you don't mind. I seldom get to train my English."

"Oh no, it doesn't bother me in the least." Besides, Dorian was used to Klaus addressing him in English, rather than in German. Fluently, but with just a hint of that lovely clippedness of the German language. This man had a slightly thicker accent. Though I bet that Klaus would sound more like that if I got him really hot and bothered. Mmmm... Oh yes ... "Schieb ihn mir rein, du Idiot!"

"You take the situation calmly."

"Well, no use getting hysterical. Panicking won't do any of us any good."

"True. I looked at you. I never saw a man so ... colourful, before."

Dorian glanced down at himself. Well, he had felt like colours this morning, that was true, so he supposed he did look a bit ... attention fetching. He wasn't sure how to reply, so he just smiled and shrugged.

"Ehm," the man went on to say. "There is ... I wonder if I can ask you – may ask you ... I mean no disrespect. Ehm ..."

The "Ehm"s charmed Dorian. Exactly the sounds Klaus made sometimes, when hesitant or thrown off his stride – both occasions rare in themselves, but always worth further consideration. So Dorian smiled again and tilted his head, waiting. All the while he made sure to keep the bank robbers in sight. They stood towards the front of the bank, arguing about something. Amateurs ... he thought. Though likely not so amateurish that they wouldn't take badly to their hostages chattering and potentially planning a breakout attempt. Which he did try to find an opening for, true, but so far no idea had come to him.

"Again – I mean no disrespect, but are you a ... a ..."

Suddenly, Dorian understood and he could have laughed out loud. He very rarely got the question, as most people just assumed, but ... "A homosexual? Yes, I am." He wondered if that would have been the other's first choice of word, but since he seemed polite enough, rather thought so.

The man's eyes flickered back and forth, but then he nodded. "That was my question. I mean, with the clothes and ... so on. I wasn't sure, since you didn't, ehm ..."

"Scream and faint at the sight of the machine guns?"

Stains of red appeared on the man's cheeks. "I have offended you. My apologies."

Dorian laughed softly. "No, no. Most people assume the worst. Don't give it a second thought."

Apparently the man still thought he had hurt Dorian's feelings – or perhaps he simply had wanted to have his suspicion confirmed, for they sat in silence for a long time. Dorian wasn't quite sure what Bonnie and Clyde of Germany waited for. He had tried to catch Clyde's eyes for a while, to see if he could use some of his charms, but the man always quickly looked away. He wasn't quite gone far enough to try to catch Bonnie's eyes.

"What takes you to Germany?" the man beside him suddenly asked, again keeping his voice down. Apparently he didn't want to alert the bank robbers of their exchange either.

Love, was the word on Dorian's lips, but he rather felt that to be a hint too private. Besides, "I've come to conquer one of your country's finest sons" felt a little out of context at the moment. "Business. I'm into art." Collecting and ... relocating ...

"Yes, naturally."

Dorian reined in a smile. He wondered if it was the German accent, again, that swayed him to overlook what could be construed as a faint insult to homosexuals everywhere. Something told him, though, that the man hadn't even been aware of how he had automatically classified art as something that homosexuals simply "did".

When he heard the young female criminal complain to her companion about hunger Dorian considered voting for food himself, for he really felt starved. In the end he decided against doing so, as not to agitate them further. They both seemed very nervous ... Understandably so, with half the Bonn police force outside the bank doors.

"Excuse me?" said the man beside him asked quietly while the couple was still discussing the matter. "May I ask you another question?"

Dorian turned back to him. "Of course. Neither of us have anything better to do, have we?" He smiled winsomely.

"No ... Ah ... Ehm ... Can one tell if someone is a ... a homosexual?" His sharp grey eyes wavered minutely, but then sought out Dorian's with determination.

"Not unless he dresses like a peacock, like myself," Dorian said and gestured elegantly at his outfit. "And sometimes not even then. Sometimes one can guess and suspect – and some cases are quite obvious, but not really, no."

The man looked disappointed. "I see. Thank you for answering."

"You're welcome."

"Have you always known you were a ... a homosexual?" Apparently the man had gotten the message that Dorian would happily answer his questions for this time - some quarter of an hour later while the male part of the robber team was on the phone with the police - he hadn't asked for permission first.

Dorian really didn't mind. As he had said, there was nothing else to do and the smalltalk made him momentarily forget his now even more insistent hunger pangs. "I didn't always know the word, but excepting that, yes."

"Was it difficult for you to tell your parents? Ehm – if you have told them, that is, of course."

Dorian blinked. "You know, I think I never actually told them."

Before he had time to complete what he had intended to say the man swiftly asked, "You kept it secret?"

"Father died before I was old enough to think about consciously telling anyone," he replied and reflected again that he very rarely ever had to actually say the words. "He was homosexual himself and I think he knew anyway. Mother ... She divorced him. For many years I seldom saw her and by the time she paid any attention to me again, well ... She could tell." And then he hadn't seen her again for a couple of more years.

They lapsed back into silence.

Dorian's stomach had begun to ease up on the pain. Perhaps it thought he had gone to America or China or Australia and that it now needed to adjust its cravings for the new time zone.

"I have a son. I have never before met a ... homosexual. Not one whom I could talk to. Ask questions. That is why I ask these questions."

"Oh," Dorian said. "You are wondering if your son might be a homosexual?" He still kept his voice down to an almost whisper, even though the wailing police cars outside now provided a slight sound screen for continued conversation. He had noticed the lady bank robber glaring their way once already and didn't want to do anything to agitate her further. Currently she had just gone to the toilet, though. Her male counterpart seemed slightly less alert.

The man, his face flushed red, nodded resolutely. "He doesn't seem interested. In women."

"I see. Well, he might just have a low sex drive. Some men do, I understand, the poor dears. Would it ... bother you a lot if he were?"

"He would still be my son. I would still—" He broke off. "I spent much time away during his forming years. Later on ... We never got close again. I think he wouldn't tell me now. I ... don't know how to bring it up. How to ask him."

Dorian nodded sagely. "You would still love him," he stated softly, since the other seemed bothered by the words. Oh, these stoic German men, with such difficulties in talking about matters of the heart. "But it would bother you? A little?"

"I'm getting old. I would like to have ... a grandchild."

"He is your only child?"

"Ja. His mother died when he was young."

"I'm sorry to hear that. My condolences."

The man nodded in turn. "I ... had a small breakdown afterwards. That was why I was away so much. He had her eyes – has her eyes, I mean. I couldn't bear seeing them. It was most unfair of me, I know this." He said the words straightforwardly, never hesitating after the first word. Still Dorian all but felt the tension in him and wanted to somehow reach out.

"That is understandable, I think," he said. At least he thought he could understand it. "I'm sure he would say the same, if he knew."

The man made a disagreeing grunt and shrugged.

"Look, Mr. ...?" Dorian continued.

The man's eyes narrowed as he studied him intently. Then he seemed to tense, preparing himself for something. "These circumstances are extraordinary. Normally, I wouldn't so soon, but ... call me Joseph. Heinz Joseph." Then he visibly hesitated before holding out his hand, concealed from the robber by their bodies.

Pleasantly surprised, Dorian took the hand and shook it. "Then you must call me Dorian, Joseph," he invited, happy to have made an acquaintance, rather than – for once – a conquest. He had fewer of the former than of the latter and everything about the German spelled out that he was trying his hardest to be upfront.

"Dorian," Joseph said and so sealed their acquaintance. They might not be friends, but they had both declared non-hostile intent.

"Joseph. I was going to say ... I've never considered children myself, but I know that some of my fellow homosexual brethren do have a strong father instinct. I'm not saying your son has one, whether he is homosexual or not, but you never know." As a fact he found it somewhat unlikely, but the last part was true, one never knew, and he didn't wish to dash any newfound hope Joseph might have. "Why, I have this friend, Peter, who has a daughter with a childhood friend of his. They are very happy. And, as I said, my father did marry my mother and begot me and my three sisters. I wouldn't recommend marriage against one's inclination, but ... I'm just saying that you shouldn't rule the possibility out entirely."

"But that would mean he would have to ... With a woman! Isn't that ... Could he really ... Ehm ..."

"There are ways around that too. Besides, there's always adoption. Eh ... Though it isn't impossible. I'm as homosexual as you can get, Joseph, and I have managed to ... well ..." He made a sweeping, all-incompassing gesture. "With a woman."


All eyes in the bank turned towards them and Dorian beamed back in response. "[We're just discussing the government]," he told them, looking as guileless as possible.

"[Don't!]" the male bank robber said. "[Be quiet over there! I want no talking!]"

"[Of course! Terribly sorry]," Dorian said, making sure to sound remorseful. He let his eyes meet the bank robber's with some heat and the man at once looked away. Another repressed German, I wonder?

Then the lady bank robber returned. The two hugged and started talking. Dorian waited for a good ten minutes before returning to the broken off conversation.

"I'm not saying it was earth-shattering, " he went on to explain, "but with a little patience and a healthy imagination, it was ... possible. An old friend of mine. We were both curious and helped each other out, that was all. Not something I would ever contemplate doing again, but ... " He shrugged eloquently.

His newfound companion watched him with huge eyes, as if he was a child being told a fairytale.

They continued to make small talk for some time, when they felt the bank robbers wouldn't catch them, never touching on anything important, but with Dorian answering any questions Joseph came up with.

"I will talk to him," Joseph finally declared. "The next time I see him I will do it."

"Get him alone," Dorian advised. "He might feel less threatened then, if it is just the two of you."

"Ja. Maybe I can bring up that I met you?"

"[Why, Son, some of my best friends are homosexuals!]" Dorian said, attempting to copy Joseph's accent. It was easy enough, since he had lots of practice with imitating Klaus.

Joseph chuckled. "Something like that. Bring it up gently, kind of thing. I'm not good at that. Neither is he. For him, I shall try. See if he says something. I ... You are here in art. You work for a ... store that sells art?" Apparently, his English let him down on the correct expression.

"Well ... I'm more into ... evaluating art, really." Not a lie. He did evaluate art. To see if the painting or statue or jewelry or whatever matched up to his own, exact standard of Eroica quality. How else would he decide on what to steal?

They paused as the female part of the team looked their way. Only when she was distracted again by the goings-on outside the bank did Joseph continue. "I own a few paintings. They were evaluated a while back, but I wasn't present and I never heard the ... evaluator's qualifications. Perhaps the company you work for would let me hire you to evaluate them?"

Oh dear, now what have I gotten myself involved in? He honestly hadn't expected Joseph, for all his acting friendly, to continue their acquaintanceship once they left the bank. He had thought it was just the unexpected fount of information that had encouraged the other man. Since this didn't seem to be the case, however, he was prepared to go an extra mile. Such an identity would be simple for Bonham's friend to set up. It would only be temporary, after all. Besides, he always had time for art. "Perhaps so! I'm sure it would be fun." He almost hoped that Joseph didn't have anything irresistible.

"You could meet my son too, then, perhaps talk to him?"

The man's hopeful tone made him smile. "Why Joseph!" he said coquettishly. "I do believe you are match making! I'll have you know that I am very happily ..." Obsessed. "... in love."

Joseph quickly shook his head, cheeks colouring. "No, no! I merely thought ... Ehm ... He seems so lonely ... Perhaps, if he could talk to someone ..." He gave a helpless shrug.

"Well, we'll see what happens," Dorian said smoothly. If the boy was cute, he could always set him up with Z or G or K. Or maybe even Jones. He did so want everyone to be happy.

"You are in love?"

"Oh yes! With a German man, actually. That is partly why I'm here, apart from my work."

"Love ... So ... I will insult you now, again, I fear, but there was a time I thought homosexuals didn't ... couldn't ..."

Oh, Dorian had heard that stupid superstition before. "That we can't love? That we're only after sex? Oh, that I can most firmly say is a lie, Joseph. We love just like anyone loves."

"Good! I ... worried about him. I ... want the boy to be ... happy."

Dorian nodded in understanding. "Everyone should be happy. It makes the world a better place."

"I loved his mother very much. To be apart from her ... hurts. It is not difficult for you that your ... ehm ... partner ... lives in Germany?"

Dorian's smile drooped. "We're not partners. I ... love him. Madly. Deeply. Truly. With all my heart. I want nothing else than to be his. For him to be mine. He is tall and handsome. Long, lovely hair and the greenest eyes I ever saw. And he is ... simply the best man I have ever met. The thing is ... I won't bore you with details, Joseph, but he is ... He says he doesn't love me. That he ... never will ..." How strange it felt, to be so honest, yet how comforting to tell a total stranger of his greatest sorrow.

"I am sad to hear that," Joseph said. He sounded sincere.

Dorian shrugged. "I try to make him see that I would be good for him, but ... Oh, he's such a stubborn man. I fear ... Sometimes I despair..." To his men he didn't want to let on the truth – and much less so to Klaus, of course.

Joseph looked back at him with a faint frown, perhaps considering possible solutions – such a problem-solving-oriented people, the Germans ...


Two shots, fired so close together that they sounded almost like one! Shattered glass! Screams! Dorian acted without thinking, leaping towards the relative security of some benches by the wall, dragging Joseph with him on pure instinct. More screams! A woman for sure, but someone with a lower pitch as well. Together Dorian and Joseph turned over the benches, getting a laughably pathetic shelter before them. More shattered glass! Dorian bobbed up his head, taking in the situation, hoping to spot some sort of opening. What he saw made him want to faint in relief. He didn't, of course.

"It will all be fine," he told Joseph. "The cavalry has arrived. Or rather the tank division." He stood and reached out a hand to help his companion rise.

Both would-be bank robbers were down, clutching bloodied hands. The woman screamed, while the man looked dazed. Before them, aiming at the two with a blank look in his eyes, stood Ares, God of War, powerful like the sea and terrible in his beauty. Also known as Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach – or, in Dorian's heart of hearts, simply as "my own".

My hero! he thought happily. Since he didn't want to distract the major while he was guarding the criminals, he didn't pull attention to himself, but merely waited. As it was, the police rushed inside and Klaus turned away from what had formerly been his prey. His sharp gaze travelled swiftly over the small room – to land on Dorian. Then his eyes widened and his mouth opened in something that Dorian knew on a less composed man would have been a hanging jaw.

But, darling – you came to rescue me, didn't you? You came for me! Why else would you involve yourself in a mere bank robbery? So, why do you look so surprised?

Then Klaus marched towards him, sharp eyes flickering back and forth between Dorian and ... Joseph?

Honestly, dear – you can't possibly think I'm having an affair with Joseph, sweet man that he is? I do like the idea of you being possessive, but for all you know, Joseph and I just met in this very bank! Well, actually we did! So, why are you—

"Get away from my father, you degenerated, perverted, idiot thief! How dare you approach him! What are you up to, you—"

Dorian backed off, suddenly frightened by the near manic intensity in Klaus's eyes. Your-your-your ... father?! Oh dear God! I ... I... Klaus grabbed him by the ruffles of his shirt and hauled him closer. Finally, on realising that the man seemed mad enough to seriously hurt him, Dorian found his voice, "I didn't know! I swear I didn't! Major, I—"

"[Klaus Heinz! What are you doing?! Stop that at once! Let go!]"

The major's hand dropped from Dorian's shirt as if the flimsy material suddenly burned. He stared over Dorian's shoulder and then, at Joseph's approach, stepped backwards. Dorian frantically looked between the two men. Seeing them side by side he couldn't mistake the resemblance, though he easily forgave himself for missing it earlier. They both had the same upright bearing, the same long body lines and similar jaws and noses. Joseph's hair was short and grey, but had obviously been the same colour as his son's, once upon a time. Although his eyes were grey rather than green – "He had her eyes – has her eyes, I mean." – they had the same shape as his son's – large, with smallish irises and a sharpness that couldn't be attributed to any specific feature, but had to be their personalities, seeping through.

"[Father? Was this man ... bothering you? I swear, I—]"

"[Klaus Heinz! Your behaviour shames me! Be quiet!]"

Klaus's teeth clacked together and he blinked, suddenly less the forceful leader of the Alphabet team and NATO agent feared by enemy forces across the globe, and more the chastened son who did not know exactly what he had done, but suspected that he would soon come to regret it.

Joseph turned back. "Dorian, I apologise for my son's rash manners."

Klaus made a choked noise and stared, wide-eyed, at them both.

"No need to apologise, Joseph," Dorian replied, smiling brilliantly and quite enjoying the situation. "Ah ... I do believe we didn't quite introduce ourselves. Lord Dorian Red Gloria, the Earl of Gloria."

"An Earl? How interesting. Joseph Heinz von dem Eberbach, at your service. Now, Dorian, I would have had to be deaf not to hear your stomach mewling like a kitten. I know a nice place to eat just down the street. Will you accompany me?"

"Why, yes! That would be—"

"[Father?! What exactly has the pervert been--]"

"[Quiet, Klaus Heinz! Don't embarrass me further! You will accompany us and you will be quiet and courteous the entire time!]"

"[... yes, Father.]"

Ignoring his obviously flabbergasted son, Joseph reached out - that he was still testing the ground obvious by his mid-reach hesitation - and clasped Dorian's shoulder briefly. "Excellent, Dorian. Come on. I feel we have more serious subjects to discuss now."

Dorian smiled happily. "I do believe that we have, Joseph. Lead the way!"

The End

Comments are welcome!
Castle Gloria
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