A Thousand Kisses
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than a Vanilla Latte with extra cream. Corrections to my language are welcome as are comments! Ask if you want me to archive it anywhere. You may link to this story if you want or to my main page. 9.467 words. Written in December 2007.
Betaed by Heather Sparrows (I owe you as always!) and Kadorienne (Big thank you!). Remaining errors are all mine.
Image by Nina added 080115. Minor correction done 080130.
This fic is available translated to japanese by BasilLeaves! Thank you very much, BasilLeaves! >/p>
If you want you can also read/download the story as a doc file (without graphics).
It had begun so well what had happened? What had he done wrong?
One thing Klaus prided himself on was his ability to look level-headedly at every situation. His sharp mind and eyes removed all extraneous details to get to the bottom of each problem. He was aware that some people called him blunt because of this and perhaps rightly so. What most of them thought of him was yet another thing that had no bearing on the obstacles he faced. However, he did keep a healthy view of people's opinion of him. He never deluded himself into thinking that they might find him likeable or even lovable. When some people still insisted on liking or even loving him, he considered this suspicious. What were they after? What did they want? What was the catch?
The Earl of Red Gloria had been forced to spend five whole years insinuating himself far enough into Klaus's paranoid heart to allow Klaus to believe that the man just might love him for his own sake. That he wasn't after some knowledge Klaus possessed, some material object he owned or even some ability of his. Five years of flirting, following around and relentlessly pursuing, until Klaus one day, more or less out of the blue, realised that he had begun to trust the Brit with that most fragile part of himself his heart. To convince himself that a relationship between himself and the other wasn't pure madness had taken close to a sixth year.
Before leaving the office that Friday night, the last thing he did was to call North Downs. When he finally had Dorian on the line he said only "I'm ready. If you mean what you say, I'm at my apartment." He hadn't expected the Earl until the following day, but just as he was brushing his teeth before going to bed someone knocked frantically on his door and there Dorian stood, looking almost on the verge of panicking. They had stayed in the apartment the entire weekend.
Klaus had never felt such peace and acceptance as he found in Dorian's arms, when their sated bodies nestled together. Sex or not, just to be allowed to touch felt like a blessing from the God he hadn't believed in since childhood. They had sex though brilliant, explosive, mind-numbing sex that he had previously suspected were just the feverish delusions of horny writers of romance novels or porn magazines. Together they did basically everything two healthy males could indulge in, without resorting to too many props or perversions.
At first Dorian allowed Klaus to top exclusively. Then he slowly paved the way for a reversal by acquainting Klaus's rear with clever fingers during amazing blow jobs, followed by tantalizing tastes of what he referred to as "the Turkish treat" rimming. Finally, one hazy evening when they had just returned from a successful mission, both of them eager and in good moods, the Brit had with infinite care and the gentlest of lovemaking taken Klaus's last virginity.
Klaus still recalled that night in perfect detail every loving touch and awkward pause, the strangeness of being filled and worshipped from within, of being stroked and at the same time giving Dorian such obvious pleasure. The master art thief had treated him as if he was the most precious thing on Earth. Not something a man should remember with fondness, he would tell himself: he ought to have been embarrassed by his own skittishness yet the Earl had never given any hint that he had behaved in an unmanly fashion. There was no doubt in Klaus's heart whatsoever that Dorian had adored him that night that he had even loved him.
So ... What had gone wrong?
Give me a thousand kisses ...
I love you! Love you, love you, love you, love you! I want to live forever with you! Your very presence makes me forget everything else. Nothing else matters. Even that cruel "joke" he played on me so long ago is a blessing now, in a way without it I never would have been with you like this. I love you, Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach, and I will love you until the end of time.
Klaus even suspected that he knew the moment when things changed. Before then everything had certainly been fine. Better than fine - everything had been perfect. He had been happy. A reason to worry in itself, perhaps, but he had been singularly content with his life. Oh, there had still been annoyances he still hadn't been promoted, he still had to deal with the Alphabet on a daily basis, his father was still after him to marry and so on. But he had had Dorian to make up for things. His bright, golden, oh so generous lover, who would tease away all his worries and make him smile. Who seemed to enjoy his very presence as a gift from some higher power. Who would cover him in kisses, smother him with caresses and leave him breathless with loving.
They weren't together around the clock, of course that would have been both too much and too impractical. Any time Klaus was off for longer than a day, though, Dorian would show up regardless of whether Klaus had informed him of this fact or not. As before he often invited himself along on missions. The Alphabet found out about their relationship rather early on, when A, B and Z had happened to rush in on the two of them in a ... very compromising position. They had been staying at a safe house in DeLynn and the three agents had been eager to notify Klaus of a sighted suspect. Since then knocking on Klaus's door before going in was no longer just obligatory it was done very loudly and insistently until Klaus answered in no uncertain words that they could enter and "Yes! Yes! Oh yes!" was not an acceptable answer ... Klaus was only glad that the trio hadn't arrived five minutes earlier, when he had been face down on the bed with Dorian vigorously pounding into him. As it was Dorian had just finished and was sucking him off when the door was flung open ...
Ah yes, those had been the good days .. When Dorian wasn't with him in Bonn or at the Schloss, he called at least once a week. Often on returning home Klaus would find a post card from where Dorian's own little missions took him often a postcard of some painting or statue that shortly afterwards happened to go missing ... They had arguments over Dorian's occupation which often turned into arguments over Klaus's own occupation which often turned into rough, angry sex followed by sweet, loving make-up sex, during which Dorian spent hours worshipping every part of Klaus's body or long, luxurious marathon sessions of kisses ...
The kisses. Yes. They marked what Klaus privately thought of as the beginning of the end ...
Klaus had visited Dorian at North Downs. They had been together for a year and a half and while that wasn't any kind of official anniversary, Dorian had sounded a bit tired when they spoke over the phone. Klaus had, in a rather uncharacteristically hasty decision, said that he would come to visit. The joy in Dorian's voice and later in his eyes at seeing Klaus had been worth the trip and more besides. He had arrived at two o'clock sharp and they had gone for a walk in the forest surrounding the castle. Sex outdoors was still very novel and not something during which Klaus thought he would ever really relax. He did have to admit that it had its charms to feel the warm sun on his body as they lay together beneath the ancient oaks of Dorian's homestead.
They talked about going out for dinner. Nowhere fancy, just to a small restaurant in the nearby village, where people knew Dorian and wouldn't bat an eye at seeing him escorted by a man. Klaus, wearing only his trousers, lay with his upper body against a tree. The Earl himself at first nestled along Klaus's side, with his head on Klaus's chest. Then he moved to straddle Klaus's upper thighs, caressing his torso with strong hands. His eyes blue like the bluebells that grew in abundance around the castle met Klaus's filled with smouldering desire as Dorian began to recite his favourite poem.
"Give me a thousand kisses ..." he said, then broke contact between their eyes to kiss Klaus's right nipple. For a long while he anointed the tiny bud with his tongue, teasing it expertly. Then he pulled away. "Then a hundred ..." he said, apparently now more to Klaus's nipples than to Klaus himself, for he bent to the other side to pay the same homage there. Klaus felt his cock begin to stir.
As Dorian sat back he scooted a little closer and lifted his gaze. "Then give me another thousand kisses ..." This time, when he bent his neck, their mouths met. First just teasingly, lips to lips, then with more force tongues greeting and playing, testing one another. Dorian tasted like nothing Klaus could describe. No women he had kissed had tasted even remotely like sunlight and heaven and justice and truth or had by just bringing their lips together made Klaus forget the rest of the world ... It felt as if they kissed forever, mixing their very beings.
With a beatific smile Dorian withdrew, his eyes heavy-lidded. His clever fingers found Klaus's nipples and he shifted their bodies so their groins met. Klaus willingly cooperated, thrusting up slowly.
"... and yet another hundred," Dorian continued. He began to bend down again, apparently intending to indulge in on another such amazing kiss.
And that's when Klaus blew it. Even half a year later he still didn't know how he blew it, but that was when things changed. It had felt like such a harmless thing to say! He still saw no harm in it! For fuck's sake, it had felt like an almost romantic, mushy, stupid thing to say! He had said it because he had wanted to please his lover, to prove he was actually paying attention!
"You must have kissed me a thousand and a hundred times already," he said.
Dorian started to smile, but then the smile froze. His big, blue eyes widened, before blinking. Once. Twice. Trice. Then he pulled back, sharply. "No I haven't!" he said - urgently, as if such a thing actually mattered as if either of them could have kept count after so many months.
Klaus, surprised by the vehement tone of Dorian's voice, hadn't known how to reply, so he had shrugged. Again it wasn't as if it actually mattered!
However, apparently the stupid thing had mattered, if only to Dorian. He had risen from their green bed. "No I haven't!" he had repeated, sounding ... almost scared. "I haven't!" He shook his head, glorious locks like a whirl of gold in the sunlight. "I can't have!"
Then he turned around and ran for his castle.
Then a hundred.
No! No! No! Oh my, what have I done? What have I been doing? I forgot! The very thing my life here depends on and I forgot! Now I've got to stop! Right away! I must stop! But how can I? I love you so, my dearest German Rose, my one and only! Oh, cruel fate ... I can't bear leaving you! I love you ... I've got to stop ...
Klaus followed Dorian, of course, seriously worried over what had happened. He caught up with him before they reached the ancestral home of the Red-Glorias. By then Dorian had calmed down a bit. He hugged Klaus hard, though, almost clinging to him. With his face pressed against Klaus's neck he muttered something about being momentarily confused, something about a mission detail he had suddenly come to think of. Then he apologized for leaving Klaus "high and dry" as he put it. By way of further apology he showed Klaus an alternate use of the giant tub in Dorian's bathroom, one which involved oil-slick bodies and lots of bubbles. Klaus let himself be seduced into forgetting the problem. There had, however, been no further kisses.
That was the gist of the matter. No further kisses. Oh, it had taken Klaus a while to catch on. Dorian still visited often enough. He called. Postcards arrived. They still made passionate love often enough or had rough, sweaty sex. Dorian would suckle his nipples and his cock would use his clever, lovely tongue both here and there to arouse and pleasure him. He would give him that Turkish treat until Klaus would come from that maddening touch alone. But he would not kiss Klaus's mouth. Once in a great while, maybe, a long, tender kiss was bestowed but no more marathon sessions, no feather light kisses good morning, no indulging kisses good night, no stolen pecks when no Alphabet (or at least not too many of them) could see ...
Klaus missed those kisses, damn it! But quite apart from that, the marked change made him wonder. What he said had clearly upset Dorian. That "explanation" given was obviously so much horse piss. Klaus had commented on the number of kisses between the two of them had this frightened the free-spirited Dorian; made him feel bound somehow? Had it shaken him awake from their honeymoon dream? Had it made him see reason? Had they kissed so often that Dorian no longer saw a point in continuing? And of course did that mean that soon the rest of their lovemaking and intimacies would bore him too? Was the moment in Dorian's life that was Klaus, bit by bit, coming to an end?
Or maybe the story hadn't been horse piss after all? Sometimes people get confused. Perhaps Dorian had been ill that day and really had mixed things up in his mind. That didn't sound plausible, but Klaus did consider the possibility, hoping to find another explanation than that his touch bored the man he loved. Still that left the mystery of the missing kisses. Only in that case the amount of them might not be the problem, but rather the ... quality. Klaus hadn't been totally inexperienced when he finally allowed the Earl to bed him. He had been with some women. Not a herd of them, but the ones he had been with seemed pleased enough with how he treated them. They had mostly been one-night stands, picked up at bars for the sole purpose of sex. Love hadn't had a place in his life, until Love had almost literally barrelled into him, held him down and tied him up. The women, though - he had kissed most of them and there had been no voiced complaints. Of course, in such situations one doesn't comment much on the minor details there was no need, since no repeat performance was expected. He had assumed he had done well enough. Perhaps he had been mistaken.
He honestly didn't think it was an experience thing, though. Dorian knew what he had gotten into when they became lovers. He had known Klaus wasn't as sophisticated and experienced as he was himself. In fact he had seemed to delight in introducing Klaus to all possible sorts of pleasures. They had spent considerable time trying out different kisses and beyond a few minor suggestions, the kisses in themselves, as Klaus gave them, seemed to have met with enthusiastic approval. Had he found Klaus's technique less than satisfactory, Dorian would have gently pushed him in the correct direction.
After pondering the matter thoroughly, Klaus drew the conclusion the problem might be simply that Dorian found the taste of his mouth repellent. The rest of him was aesthetically pleasing enough, so Dorian still indulged in his body, but no longer in his mouth at least not tastewise, as he always seemed greatly pleased when Klaus used his mouth for other purposes than kissing. Possibly some British sense of the appropriate kept the nobleman from voicing his dissatisfaction out loud. Totally ridiculous, but the answer matched up to the facts of the situation. Klaus decided that while he found it incredibly stupid, he would field test his hypothesis. He greatly disliked changing for anyone but for Dorian he would be willing, if only in a minor detail.
So he tried. God help him, he tried. Never let it be said that Iron Klaus would surrender without a fight. Dorian meant a lot to him and he would not let the man slip away due to Klaus's lacks. Not if the problem could be remedied. Klaus quit smoking.
He knew Dorian to be courting justice somewhere across the Atlantic, not expected back for a fortnight. So he requested a long weekend off, Friday to Monday, and went cold turkey. It hadn't been easy. Had he had some friend he had trusted enough, he would have just chained himself in the bedroom, asked to have food delivered and the key returned come Monday night. As it was he forced himself not to slip into the tobacco store for more cigarettes on his unusually long morning runs. He stayed in Bonn, rather than to have the butler try to "assist" him. The first days were hellish, but he accomplished his mission as always. Come Monday afternoon, he felt more tired than he usually would have been after four days off, but the need for nicotine merely simmered deep in his mind, rather than clawed at his sanity every waking moment. Tuesday morning he went to work as usual.
Okay, so maybe he didn't have to make B cry by growling at him for walking too loudly. Perhaps he had been just a tiny bit restless. And maybe he had badgered the Chief just a little too forcefully about a new mission. But the day passed and he rewarded himself with a good meal that night. Again, fried potatoes did make at least some sort of substitute for cigarettes. After that things sailed along smoothly, even with four Alphabets - C, R, S and W - calling in sick. All with proper doctor's certificates. He might have been ever so slightly concerned, had he not recognised Dr. Wennham as a man they had worked with in the past. A slacker himself, the man had left the third day of the mission crying, complaining to all and sundry that Klaus demanded the impossible. Of course he did! That was the only way he would get the bare minimum done! Never mind. He would take the AWOL 'bets to task on their return. At the moment he had a more important fish to fry.
Something else he thought might sour his mouth was coffee. That, however, was a more temporary effect, so he wouldn't have to give it up totally which was for the better. He didn't think the Alphabet would survive him quitting both of his habits simultaneously. Besides, he wasn't sure if he actually was willing to give up coffee ... Cigarettes was one thing he had read the reports of how unhealthy they were and had considered quitting for a long while. Coffee was another matter entirely. Maybe switch to a different brand or whatever, but if Dorian really loved him he shouldn't force him to. As an experiment, however, instead of a cup as soon as he got out of bed that Saturday, he drank a good-sized glass of water and downed a caffeine tablet, courtesy of the NATO doctor. That didn't quite equal coffee, he knew that, but the combination should have a similar effect. He felt jittery and alert, but not in the good way coffee made him feel, but rather in a forced way he disliked. It was, however, for a good cause.
The day of Dorian's return from overseas had come. Finally the door bell rang. Klaus rose and started towards the door. A glance at the wall clock confirmed that Dorian had made good time from the airport a quarter to 12. Unless the flight was delayed he usually arrived between 12 and half past. Perhaps the plane landed early. If it was Dorian at all and not some salesman or some guy sent to read his electric meter. Klaus didn't hurry towards the door. He never did. Sometimes he would get there in time, at other
--times Dorian would beat him. The door opened. Even if Klaus had expected it, he still tensed, waiting to ascertain that whoever had just broken into his home really was a welcome intruder. He liked his and Dorian's little game, but knew all too well that he couldn't fully relax about security breaches. However, this particular intruder really was welcome. Feasting his eyes on Dorian's happy smile Klaus walked the last meters and promptly hoisted the man off the ground. He enjoyed the feel of his lover's solid body in his arms, pressing his nose against his shoulder, with the golden hair in his eyes ... Dorian chuckled, caressed his shoulders possessively and rubbed his smooth-shaven cheek eagerly against Klaus's, like a cat marking its owner's hand. He even dropped a playful kiss on Klaus's ear.
"Good morning, my dearest darling! Have the 'bets behaved while I was away?"
Klaus snorted, then let the man down to let him remove his outdoor clothes. "Some are slacking, as they always are," he said. Then he remembered something that Dorian possibly might want to know. "Mrs. A's ill. A mentioned"
Before he had time to continue, Dorian broke in, nodding, "Yes, isn't it amazing? G gave me a call."
Klaus frowned. Why would Dorian think that amazing? Had he misunderstood or was it possibly some English thing he didn't know about? "that it'd take a while before she'll get better."
"Another month or so, yes. I have this little necklace laying around, plaited white, red and yellow gold, with stones just the colour of her eyes. I'm sure she'll like it."
Klaus knew Dorian had befriended the woman at the NATO Christmas gathering and had mentioned her illness in case Dorian wanted to send her a "get well"-card or whatever. Perhaps they were better friends than he had thought, if Dorian sent her jewellery for being sick? In the end he shrugged it off as Dorian being opulently generous again he was that, at times, when James didn't keep him in line.
"Your pack, then?" he asked. Since Dorian had divested himself of his spring jacket he stepped closer and hugged him again. On breathing in he all but tasted the unique smell of warm male, expensive eau de cologne, lavender and Dorian. The other hugged him back in turn, pressing them tightly together.
"Oh, the boys are just fine."
Social niceties dealt with. There. This would normally be when Klaus offered coffee and Dorian would make himself a "cuppa". Tea which mysteriously had appeared, together with a white and green china set, in Klaus's cupboard one morning when he was sure Dorian had visited Japan. Since he didn't want to drink coffee before testing his hypothesis he knew this was his time to act. He shifted stance, wrapping his arms loosely over Dorian's, to hold him in place and get his hands into that thick mop of lovely, lovely curls. Klaus liked Dorian's hair. He wouldn't say so to anyone but Dorian: wouldn't even mention it to the man himself in as many words, but in rare moments of idle contemplation, Klaus had found himself comparing the locks to the shimmer of gold, almost alive in its vibrant glory. Soft like angel wings, when Dorian let it slip over Klaus's skin yet with wispy kind of solidity when Klaus used a handful to caress himself with while Dorian's mouth was otherwise occupied, usually with torturing Klaus's balls.
Dorian looked up at him. He was only slightly shorter than Klaus, negligible in every way, but he often hammed it up with fluttering eyelashes and seductive glances. As he lowered his lips Klaus felt a minute tension in the body he held, then the succulent mouth parted to invite him in. Yes! Not aware how of much he had expected an instant rejection, Klaus pressed further, initiating a long, sweet kiss. Dorian tasted like pure heaven if possible even better than Klaus remembered. Perhaps there was something to that whole cigarettes affecting taste thing. Their lips worked against one another - now Dorian giving, now Klaus; tongues sometimes barely touching, sometimes gliding sweetly against one another. Dorian's hands caressed in wide strokes over his back and Klaus felt intoxicated, lost almost drunk. The Brit's hand went farther down, taking a decidedly possessive hold of his buttocks, squeezing them firmly just the way Klaus liked, and then he used them to bring their groins together.
So many sensations ... Klaus was half-hard already, eager to follow Dorian's lead on their next move, though unwilling to surrender the mouth that tasted so good and gave his own such pleasure. Dorian appeared to be in no hurry either, clinging to the kiss as if it was the last of its kind, exploring Klaus's mouth as though a map later would be of vital importance. He hummed deep in his throat: a low, murmuring sound that Klaus's interpreted as pure contentedness. They stood so, in the hallway, kissing one another, until Klaus felt a hint dizzy from having breathed recycled air for too long. Perhaps it was partly the caffeine tablet too or the relief he felt, that his ploy apparently had worked. He started to push Dorian towards the bedroom. Now he wanted to feel skin against skin and get his mouth on Dorian's dick for a while. Then he wanted some more kisses.
"You tasted very good today, my own," Dorian told him, one hand still on Klaus's arse while the other was working on the buttons of his billowing, bright green blouse.
"I quit smoking," he explained, pleased with the evidence that Dorian really had felt a difference.
Dorian's entire face lit up in a smile. "You did?! Oh, darling! I'm so glad for you!" He hugged him enthusiastically, then took his hand and tugged him the rest of the way to the bed. Klaus eagerly followed. Since Dorian had been gone for a while they didn't bother with much in the way of foreplay both were already hard and raring to go. Time for slow touches later, when the edge had been taken off. So they engaged in a sixty-nine, with Klaus on his back and Dorian arched above him. To his pleasure Klaus found that the flesh now fed to him also tasted richer than before as did, at some point later, Dorian's cum.
Afterwards Dorian twisted around to lie with his head on Klaus's shoulder. Klaus caressed the silken skin over his belly, enjoying the feel of sex-warm muscles. Then he bent down to catch his lover's lips. That was when Dorian twisted away, as if afraid that Klaus's mouth would burn him ... He did try to make the move look natural, by bending to nuzzle at Klaus's nearest nipple, but he didn't quite succeed. Suddenly Klaus felt very, very cold ...
Dorian didn't kiss him again that night.
Then give me another thousand kisses.
I'm so sorry, my love, my own - I'm so, so sorry! You try so hard and I just can't! Oh, how will you ever forgive me? Can you ever? This is torture. Torture!
A month later, Klaus died.
He had gone undercover to spy on a meeting between a Helsinki mob boss and a Russian arms dealer. Rumour had it that the latter was actually in league with the KGB, who was trying to trade information about a supposedly top secret Finnish army base. The base, Klaus knew, didn't exist, but when NATO got the tip ironically enough from the mob boss himself, a distant cousin to Volovolonte as well as most faithful to the Finnish flag they had wanted to investigate the sudden interest.
Double the irony while it was the mob boss who had invited NATO's presence, the operation had been kept secret from his men, to avoid tale-telling. Klaus had been introduced as one of Volovolonte's men, cooling his heels in the land of the thousand lakes from having been a bit too eager in collecting protection money from the hookers of Rome. However, one of Don Makkonen's men had actually visited Rome while Klaus had barged his way to Volovolonte that time he pursued Dorian to retrieve the Lubjanka report. The man recognized Klaus and shot him.
The bullet hit Klaus in the side. He wrestled the would-be-assassin to the ground with a little help from Don Makkonen then collapsed even as the ambulance rolled to a stop. Enveloped in a fog of sounds and colours he was vaguely aware of how they loaded him onto a gurney as the hard, rolling Finnish words was spoken loudly around him. His entire world billowed, like a wave, ending in black lightning.
That was when he died.
In the 30 seconds before they had his heart pumping again, hesitatant at first but then with the same persistent doggedness as always, he saw a vision he would never forget.
He saw Dorian.
Not Dorian as when they first met, an unstoppable force of nature. Not Dorian from six days previous, strolling towards his car with one, last, jaunty wave goodbye. Not Dorian as he looked the moment orgasm hit him how his eyes widened and pupils dilated; how his mouth opened wider and wider as if in both shock and awe; how even his very hair seemed to sparkle with electricity ...
No, he saw Dorian in the House Gloria library, wearing his dark red velvet smoking gown. The man stood by the old polar bear rug on which they had made love more than once. His right hand reached for volume VI of an art encyclopaedia. Klaus recognized the pale blue, silver-ornamented spine. He had seen volumes often enough on the bedroom night table. In his left hand he carried a green crystal glass with some golden beverage perhaps the expensive brandy which he on occasion favoured. Klaus saw everything clearly, as if he stood just behind Dorian as if he could touch him by just reaching out. As if it was any of those many evenings they had spent there, together, before getting ready to retire to the bedroom. Yet what he saw was not a memory.
Klaus knew what had happened. He was aware that he had been shot. In a purely instinctive way he had no doubt of his own death. He even suspected his mind had somehow produced the image before him as a last ditch effort to send him off with something nice to keep him company. He had time to wonder if there might be some truth to those old wives' tales about the spirit leaving the body at the moment of death to visit a dear one before going wherever souls go in the end. Not that he expected a white-bearded Gootvater to bid him welcome to Heaven - or a cloven-hoofed Versucher to cautiously allow him entrance to the nether plains. There was strangeness in the world, though. For example he had, after their initial meeting, found out more about Caesar Gabriel and his friends, which couldn't be explained rationally.
"Dorian," he said, without even meaning to.
Dropping book and glass, the man in question whirled. He saw Klaus clearly saw him, no question about it and screamed. Then, while the abrupt yell still lingered, the Brit dove towards him, reaching out as if he was going to grab him. For a wild moment Klaus thought it would work that Dorian really would get hold of him and pull him into the reality of House Gloria. Alas, no. Dorian's fingers went straight through him as through so much air Klaus didn't even feel them. He heard Dorian's screamed "no," though, heard the one word so loudly that his skull still rang from the sound, when he woke to life again, in the back of the Finnish ambulance.
Then a second hundred.
No! No! No! I can't! I can't let you die! I refuse to! But how can I help you? I can't! Not like this! But I can't be with you otherwise! Why must I chose? This is too much to ask! I need you so much ... I fear that I must do it, though! I must be strong and when the day come when you really need me, I must be there for you! I can't bear to lose you forever! Sometimes one has to make a sacrifice ... Why must it be so hard, though? There's still a little time left for better and for worse, to enjoy you before this ends. I'll fly free again and so, in the fullness of time, will you. Perhaps in the end, you'll fly back to me. There's still a little time left, though oh such a short time left ...
He never asked if Dorian had seen him. If Dorian had, he rather thought that the man would have told him. While he himself might be a sceptic, Dorian was open to possibilities though by no means a conventional believer. Besides, Klaus wasn't sure how to phrase such a question "Were you haunted by my ghost while I was dead?" He didn't think so ... Regardless, Dorian didn't mention anything out of the ordinary.
He had to tell Dorian about getting shot it was a bit hard not to, seeing as the next time they met, in Antwerpen, he still wore bandages, even if the wound didn't hurt much any longer. Dying he didn't mention he hadn't stayed dead, in the end, so no use prattling on about what could have been. Dorian then mother-henned him, no matter how hard Klaus tried to discourage him though maybe he didn't try exceptionally hard when mother-henning in bed including making Klaus lie absolutely still while Dorian did all the work and how hard he worked ... Including and this was a very important include in Klaus's mind kissing him! Repeatedly! On the mouth!
That night in Antwerpen marked a drastic change for the better on the kissing front. Things still weren't as they had been in the initial phase of their relationship, when kisses had fallen like drops of rain, but Dorian no longer avoided mouth-to-mouth contact as if Klaus had oral herpes in its contagious stage. Instead each meeting would include a minimum of two kisses sometimes three or four, doled out with the greatest devotion. Klaus occasionally wondered about Dorian's strange behaviour, but he no longer doubted his love. Which was good for Klaus had long since decided that the day Dorian left him would be the day Klaus went to the chief and signed himself up for wet work. He would never kill himself or take unnecessary risks, but everyone in NATO - with high enough clearance - knew that those who worked in that field assassination never lived long.
Then give me yet another thousand kisses, and yet another hundred.
It's almost done. Almost over. Almost time. So help me, I can't wait any longer. I must tell you now. I must explain and hope - beg, hope, plead - that you'll be all right with that. Hope you'll understand. Hope you trust me enough. I love you so much ... You're a remarkable man, my own perhaps you'll understand better than I can dream of. I'm scared, though ... Terrified. It's a huge thing I've kept secret from you. I should have told you months ago years ago. You wouldn't have believed me, though, so how could I? Perhaps you still won't, but I've run out of time. I'm coming now. I'm coming to you, my dear Major von dem Eberbach. I'm coming to you - for the last time.
Their relationship was changing again. This time Klaus wasn't sure what the problem was. With just one fall off the wagon he hadn't smoked since quitting. What else could he do? Especially since Dorian wouldn't tell him about his worries. Not that Klaus had asked he didn't know how to broach the subject. Talking never solved much anyway. He worried, though, about the ferocity Dorian lately showed in their lovemaking. The Earl would pound into him as if fucking was about to go out of fashion and he wanted to get in as much as possible before it was considered gauche. At other times Klaus would wake up in the early morning hours to find the Earl awake, just sitting there, in the dark, studying him. Even when Dorian slept he did so while wrapping as much of himself around as much as Klaus as possible, holding on to him tightly, sometimes almost suffocating him.
Klaus began to suspect that something was very wrong. That Dorian might be dying. Some disease. Not the plague. They didn't use protection, something he was sure Dorian would insist on if he had a fatal illness that he could transmit veneraly. Besides, he had had himself tested after the recent shooting, as the Finns had given him a blood infusion. Something else, then, that made Dorian act the way he did. Still, he didn't ask. "You about to snuff it?" felt tasteless and sooner or later something would happen. If Dorian really was dying he, Klaus, could do nothing about it better just enjoy their time together and not make things more difficult for the golden-haired Brit.
Besides, maybe he was mistaken. Maybe some other reason existed for Dorian's off-again, on-again mood. So when the day came, as it eventually must, that Dorian broke into his apartment with a very serious expression and a hint of despair in his eyes, Klaus mentally steeled himself for the worst. When he tried to initiate an embrace and Dorian simply held up a hand and said "No," Klaus didn't betray his hurt with even a flinch. So, wet work it would be? If Dorian died life would be pointless, so he might as well do something useful to end it. If leaving instead was on the schedule Klaus would let him go he certainly would make no kind of scene, not even there, in the privacy of his own home. He had already decided that if Dorian broke up with him he would simply indicate that he himself had also had some news to share a change of NATO division. Nothing to do with Dorian's news whatsoever. He would then talk to the Chief in the morning. The man had assured Klaus years ago that he would be accepted in that line of work, no questions asked.
He didn't want to live again without sunshine.
"Klaus, I ... We ... I need to tell you something. Something important."
So he is leaving me. Otherwise he would have kissed me. Not betraying this thought, he nodded. "In the living room." He didn't bother to offer coffee or tea. He felt too tense to add caffeine to the mixture and if Dorian wanted tea then he bloody well knew where the stuff was kept.
So they sat on the high-backed, old-fashioned couch, turned towards one another, and waited. Klaus waited, that was, while Dorian fidgeted. He looked at the small pastel of Schloss Eberbach that Klaus's mother had painted, which hung on the wall over the television. He studied his knees. He glanced at Klaus. He corrected the lay of his bracelets. He wiped non-existent dust off his collar. He tapped his fingernails on his thighs. Klaus felt like shaking him, just to get him to be still.
"Oh, this is awkward," Dorian said with a weak chuckle.
Klaus didn't comment. Awkward it was, so better just get it over with. Inside he felt leaden and so very, very tired.
He looked up and met the blue gaze. Dorian's eyes seemed unusually bright. Not bright like they got when he was about to cry something Klaus had seen only twice but in a more vivid way. They were bluer than he remembered them ever being: an intense, all-encompassing blue with a hint of gold-shimmering green and pin-point pupils. This alarmed Klaus faintly, because he didn't see why that should be. Had Dorian taken something? Medications? Drugs?
"I ... have a confession to make."
Wanting it over and done with, Klaus nodded again. "Out with it." Confession? Leaving he could say nothing about, that was the other's call, but ... If he has been unfaithful I will kill him.
Dorian turned his face sideways. He looked pained. When he turned back again, his eyes gleamed, reminding Klaus of a cat's, shining in the dark.
"I never meant to wait this long before telling you. I kept saying to myself I should tell you, but ... it never seemed like the right moment and I just wanted a little more time to ... to be with you."
This puzzled Klaus. "Before what?" Was Dorian dying after all, not leaving him for some two-bit male strumpet? Why no kissing, then? He wanted to reach out, but in the end stayed still, rather than to risk exposing his heart.
"I'm getting there. I'm sorry, my dear, but, please, let me finish? I know what I need to say. It's just ... difficult."
He shrugged. Dorian bridged the distance between them with a hand, stroking almost reverently over Klaus's knuckles. Klaus had to make a conscious effort to neither flinch nor pull away. Dorian felt feverishly warm. "You sick?" he asked.
Dorian smiled bleakly. "No."
"You feel hot."
The smile wavered for a brief moment it was Dorian's usual, bright smile, the one that signalled that he was on the verge of saying something outrageous. Then the happy expression dimmed and he shook his head. "It's not because I'm ill. I ... Klaus ..." He looked down again, breaking contact between their eyes and pinching his own shut.
Klaus waited. His mind, though, raced, trying to find a reasonably explanation for the odd behaviour. Undercover KGB agent? Secretly straight with wife and children? Post-operation transsexual female? Alien?
The blue eyes flashed open and this time Klaus could have sworn they beamed light back into the room. They seemed to have gotten brighter even as Dorian had held them closed.
"Klaus ... Do you believe in ... the extraordinary?"
"I have seen things I can't explain scientifically," he replied. Like the second time he met Caesar Gabriel and his friends ... That had really been an eye-opener. Perhaps not a clear "yes", but as close as he was willing to go, at the moment. A slow headache was creeping up on him. He wished he had offered coffee/tea first. He felt as if he could have used a cup of something strong and intensely black.
Dorian reached out again. As he did Klaus noted that he must have used one of those bath bomb thingies again, which had left a faint golden shine to his skin. Klaus had exactly once made the mistake of allowing a bomb into the water when they both reclined in the roman bath at House Gloria. The blasted thing had smelled good enough, but he hadn't realised about the gold dust until afterwards. Laurence had even complimented him on his "radiance" for fuck's sake! He allowed the hand to touch him, thinking that Dorian wanted to caress his cheek. Which he did his touch almost burning. Then the fingertips travelled higher, resting for a moment over his frontal lobe, before withdrawing. Even as Dorian still moved the headache vanished.
"What did you do?" Klaus asked sharply.
"I just wanted to make you feel better, my dearest one. I ... I'm on the brink now, you see, so I can do such tiny things. Look at me, Klaus. See what your sharp spy eyes see. You see the change, don't you?" he asked pleadingly. "The preparations are almost finished now."
"So help me God, yes, I can see it!" he hissed. The shining eyes; the golden skin and the way Dorian's hair glowed; almost vibrated with electricity. "Preparations for what?"
"For my ... return. I'm almost ready to go ... home."
The quiet, reverent way he said the last word made Klaus want to shudder, as he remembered his earlier, joking theories. Home ... Go home ... "You're not human, are you?"
He wanted to feel stupid asking the question wanted Dorian to laugh or reach for the phone to transfer him to a mental asylum. He didn't feel stupid, though, and Dorian neither laughed nor moved. As if his words released something, Dorian's hair the hair Klaus so loved to feel caressing his skin shifted. The hue went a full shade darker, more golden, and the curls drew in on themselves, tightening up to form almost a helmet around his head. Dorian himself started and reach up to touch a strand. Then he chuckled nervously.
"I guess there's really no use denying it. Besides, this is what I came to talk to you about. Klaus I can't say I never thought this would happen. I did. In the beginning, that was even why ... why I started it. Why I always started it. With anyone. But you ... Believe whatever you wish, Klaus and I know you will anyway but whatever you believe, please believe this: I love you. I fell in love with you and I ... I forgot all right? I know I'm the hen-brained idiot, am I not? You call me that often enough ..."
"How can you forget you're a fucking alien?"
Dorian's eyebrows went up. He stared at Klaus for a moment. Then a wistful smile played on his lips. "I'm not a little green man from Mars, love. Nor will there be any tentacle sex. Klaus I'm not an alien."
"What are you, then?" He wouldn't make a second guess, not after having failed with his first.
The smile filled out with a dash of mirth, even if it remained wistful. "You're such a quiet man in bed, my dear. I'm not complaining, don't think that I am! It makes each sound I can coax from between your lips so much more precious. Has to do with your upbringing, I guess."
"What the fuck has that got to do with anything?" Klaus retorted testily.
"Do you remember back in May? With ... Big Blue?"
Klaus promptly blushed at the mention of the sex aid toy. "Of course I remember," he muttered, unwilling to think too long about that particular night. This was not the time to get aroused.
"That's the only time I ever got you to call out my name in bed, dear."
An instant repudiation was on Klaus's lips. He had called out "Dorian" several times. Not often, no, but there had been occasions. If Dorian even was the other's name? God knew what the big secret really was about. If not an alien, then what? An elfling? An incubus?
"Well, it's not my real name my name really is Dorian, but I was tempted to answer anyway, just that once."
Puzzled, Klaus thought back to that night. Then he blanched.
Dorian twirled a lock of his hair with a finger, pulling as if testing its strength. "I'm really only a minor deity," he said apologetically.
And let us kiss thousands more --
There. It is said. You know. My heart - and my fate - now lies in your gun-callused hands.
"A ... minor deity."
Dorian nodded seriously.
Klaus sighed. This is just my luck. "What's really going on?"
Dorian shrugged. His skin had begun to shift to a more golden hue. His eyes were almost entirely blue now, with just a faint rim of white and a speck of black in the middle. He was still Dorian, though the face, his smile, the way he sat ...
"I seduced a lover from my brother, Apollo. He cursed me. I was sent to the mortal plane. That was a long, long time ago. He would only let me return when I had kissed the same human the same, willing human a thousand and a hundred times in a row. I never managed, even if I wanted to ... not until now ... and now I don't want to leave you!" The last was said in a wail and Dorian buried his face in his hands.
Klaus watched the shivering shoulders, then took a deep breath and scooted close. 't's still Dorian. Just Dorian. I ... think? He caressed the long back and all but hissed when Dorian pressed close, curling into him and holding him hard. The warmth almost scalded him. He didn't let go, though, but continued to stroke the body in his arms. The ... god ... in his arms?
"How many kisses do we have left?" he asked.
The body slumped even heavier against him and there was a sound which he, after a moment's puzzling, translated to "one".
He sighed. You really believe in cutting things close, don't you? The solution, however, as he saw it, was very simple. "If you want to stay," he said, "then hit the street and smooch the first guy you see."
Dorian's head came up like a jack-in-the-box his eyes now completely, startlingly blue. "But then I could never kiss you again! Don't you think I would have done that as soon as I realised how many times we had already kissed if I could have?!"
"But you kissed"
"Never on the mouth!" was quickly, almost angrily repudiated before Klaus could even name one of the hanger-ons that he in his bleaker moments had wondered if Dorian kept on the side.
Dorian leaned closer again, resting his head against Klaus's shoulder.
"You stopped kissing me. Then you started again. That mean you want to ... go home now?" He wondered where "home" might be and if a mere human could get there, like a hero in a Greek myth. Isn't there something about a field? Through a volcano? Or a riddle? I won't try to convince him otherwise. Not now. No weeping scene. He has made up his mind. Besides, the way he looks now, there's no turning back. And I'm not sure I could remain his lover and never kiss him again.
Dorian shook his head. The motion when he pressed his cheek into Klaus's throat felt as a cigarette lighter flame not far from his skin. Then he sat up again and while there was no discernable pupil left in the blue orbs, Klaus knew them to be fixed on him. "I don't want to go, my dearest," said the minor deity with such utter conviction that Klaus could not doubt the words. "But then you died."
"You saw me."
"I do have a few powers left. I gain more the closer I get to the ... goal. I saw you die."
"You brought me back to life?"
"No! That's just it! I couldn't! I couldn't, Klaus! I was am as powerless as most humans! I couldn't protect you, whom I hold dearest. And ..." He closed his eyes for a moment, again as if in great pain. "... and I wouldn't have been there to to receive you. When you died. You would have ... moved on. Passed. You would have been lost to me forever do you understand?"
"Not ... really."
With a frustrated wail, Dorian struck out. His fist impacted with Klaus's living room table, which promptly broke, splinters flying in all directions. Klaus only barely managed to get his arms up to protect his face. He hissed when something scratched him, followed by a slow trickle of blood down his right arm. Then he hissed much louder, when something burned him. Lowering his arms, he saw Dorian withdraw his hand. The wound had closed.
"See?" the other said pleadingly. "I will be able to protect you, if you let me, to heal your wounds if you are hurt. I couldn't before. And when the day come that you do die I will be there, Klaus I'll be waiting to show you ... true miracles."
"You talk about leaving. I don't" want you to go! I want you here, with me! "understand why."
A frustrated shrug answered him. Then Dorian reached up, touching Klaus's throat with his fingertips. They felt as if they should burn through his skin. "I can't stay. This is not our sphere. If I was strong at the height of my strength I could visit. Now I'm weak and I won't be that strong again for years upon years ... I will be with you in spirit, though, each step on your march, and I will come to you in your dreams, that I promise. Luck will always be with you."
"Luck?" he asked, not getting the reference.
A shy smile. "Someone will write 'Though she is arguably the most powerful goddess in the entire history of Creation, there are no temples to her. She doesn't like the clicking of rosaries, but is attracted to the sound of dice'. Not that I'm the most powerful, not even remotely. And my eyes aren't green, that's just poetic licence. I do have a soft spot for last, desperate million-to-one chances though - and you will always be able to depend on those, my own. Anyway - that's me." He winked. "Just call me Lady Luck."
"I would have thought you a god of art or thieving or whatever."
A shrug. "We all have our hobbies. Klaus ..." He stood. "I ... I love you so much. More than I can find words for, while my mind is still somewhat limited by human restraints. I ... think that it is time now, though. I'm sorry I waited so long."
Klaus rose. This is too soon! his mind wailed, but he knew he had to stay strong. Dorian seemed upset enough for both of them. "One kiss?"
"Then you will be with me always, visit me in my dreams and wait for me when I die?"
"Do you know when that will be?"
"No, I'm sorry. But Luck"
"--will always be with me. So presumably I won't be killed by someone else having a lucky day. I really thought Luck was supposed to be female. Figures my luck is just a queer fop."
Dorian smiled through his golden tears. "A misunderstanding. I was wearing a stola ..."
Klaus snorted. Then he stepped forward and embraced the human-shaped god that was his lover. The touch burned him, but he held on so hard his grip might have broken the bones of a mere mortal. For a second he managed to rest his forehead against Dorian's. "I love you," he said, looking into the eternal blue. Then he leaned down, at the same time as Dorian reached up. Their lips met. They kissed.
Their joining lasted for aeons, until the scalding touch finally forced them apart. For another second or two Klaus looked at the beloved shape ... before it slowly dissolved into flakes of gold dust ...
There. It is done. I'm home again, my labour of love complete. My brother's curse turned out to be a blessing in the end, after all. I should have known. Thanks, Apollo. Without it I would have paid my modern day hero no attention. The way I am now it is endurable to wait the span of a human life. So live your life to the fullest, my dearest, dearest Iron Klaus. Live it long and live it well. Be happy. Luck will always be with you and I will always wait for you. Soon enough we will be together and then we shall never, ever be apart. Our love will be legend. We shall kiss again. Yes - let us kiss thousands more. So we will never know, how many we've had ...
|Comments are welcome!|
Image made by Nina. While not made for this story (it's actually not even Dorian), she was kind enough to send it to me and let me include it to this webpage. It is based on Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (thanks, Rose Red!). Personally, I think it is stunning!
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