Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than kladdkaka. Corrections to my language 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. 3.330 words. Written in February 2006. Minor change on 070412, to correct error.
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than Anton Berg Marcipan Brod. Corrections to my language or any other type of comments are welcome. What is described here is the only type of this activity I know, so I went with that. Also, I'm Swedish and not quite sure on all the words in English, do correct me ... 9.016 words. Written in September 2007.
Previously published in Connotations con-zine of 2006. Minor corrections were later made.
This is a birthday fic for Heather Sparrows.
Betaed by Heather Sparrows (I owe you, Heather!) and Kadorienne (big thank you, as always!). Remaining errors are all mine.
If you want you can also read/download the story as a doc file (without graphics).
The first time that Dorian shot him, it was by accident. Really!
The second time that Dorian shot him, it was also by accident. Really.
The problem with the third time that Dorian shot him was that it was also by accident ...
"If he had done it on purpose I wouldn't have minded so much, damn it!"
"Klaus! Do I have to wash your mouth for you?"
"No, Ma'am, I'm sorry ... It's just ... he's so da—very incompetent! I can't stand it! Three times! He's shot me three times – by accident!"
"Are you sure it was by accident, Klaus? Maybe the boy doesn't like you and does it on purpose?"
"Oh, he likes me all right, that perv—annoying Brit! If he had tried to do it on purpose I wouldn't have been afraid – he can't hit a barn from the inside of it! Besides, if he'd done it on purpose he would have used a tranquilizer gun."
"A tranquilizer? Whatever for?"
"To get me in b—Ah ... He just would. He can't stand blood, the fuc— stupid blond."
"So, your friend is a blond Englishman? I—"
"That wa— idiot isn't my friend!"
"Don't call him an idiot, that's not polite, Klaus. I was just thinking, though, his name wouldn't happen to be ... Damien, perhaps? No, wait, wait ... not Damien ... Darien?"
"Dorian. Lord Dorian Red Gloria, the Earl of Red Gloria. But Sister, how could you possibly know that dege—infuriating person?"
"He came here and spoke with me for a long while, about a week after you had been here the last time, Klaus. I thought he was a very sweet young man. Quite adorable, really."
"I hope you counted your valuables afterwards, Sister. He's nothing but a bloo—a thief. He's nothing but a thief."
"Oh Klaus, you know I don't have any valuables, silly boy. Though come to think of it, I couldn't find my fried potato recipe afterwards. I'm sure that was just a coincidence, though, and I know it by heart, it's so simple. Never mind that now. Now, Klaus, it's not that I don't like seeing you. You know I love you, dear boy. But if you have a problem with that nice young man shooting you all the time, I think you should do something about it. Now, I have an idea."
She explained this idea. Then Klaus said a very bad word and Sister Theresa was very disappointed in him.
He had to modify the plan ever so slightly, since the Earl would automatically assume it was some kind of trap. Since he couldn't take the chance of Dorian refusing he simply had to bait it well enough that the thief would still step knowingly through the cell doors.
If you want a chance to kiss me, meet me at Schloss Eberbach, the second building to the right of the road from the gate, 17.00, Tuesday the 4th. Come alone.
He eyed the note in distaste. Him! An Eberbach! Sinking to such a depth! He underlined "chance" a second time, just to be safe. A chance, that was all, certainly not a promise! A very unlikely chance, even! One in a hundred? Less even than that, perhaps. He underlined "chance" once more. Just to be on the safe side.
"Let me guess, my dear. You felt in the need of a moving target and I get a kiss if I survive a full magazine's worth of bullets? Or do you intend to award payment posthumously?"
Klaus snorted. He holstered his Magnum, more from habit than an actual need, and then hung his hearing protectors on the low wall to his left. "You're late. I thought you wouldn't show."
"As if I could resist such an offer while I still breathed?"
"I only wrote 'a chance', I didn't promise anything. Come, walk with me."
He preceded the Earl through the narrow opening between the wall and the first booth, but then waited so they walked side by side down the aisle, rather than go first and have the Earl ogle his buttocks. From his pocket he lifted a roll with black stickers. When they reached the targets, for the occasion moved up to 25 meters from the booths, he used the stickers to cover the holes. To save from having to change the target too quickly he had amused himself by hitting four nines, one at each corner and each at an even distance from the faint circles bordering the area. The fifth shot had gone perfect bull's eye. He felt rather pleased.
"You aim here," he said, pointing at six o'clock on the fifth circle.
"Ah. Silly me, I think I know where I've been going wrong. I try to aim at the thing I'm actually trying to hit."
"Normally, yes. Not today. Today you will aim there, with just a little white between the black and the gun. It'll let you see the sight clearer."
He turned and started on his way back.
"Ah, Major ... I distinctly remember you telling me – yelling at me, to be honest – that if I ever, ever touched a gun again you would cut off my fingers and ... I'm not quite sure what the last part meant, but I'm sure it wasn't very pleasant."
"It wasn't," Klaus confirmed, then went on to ask, with very little real hope, "Do you intend to stop pursuing me?"
"I think that I will, as the Americans say, use my the right to remain silent on that, considering that we're in a shooting court and you are armed. Accidents happens so easily, you know."
"They happen just as easily outside, I'm always armed and I haven't shot you yet, have I? Whereas you have shot me three times, Lord Red-Gloria – three times!"
Dorian put his hands up in the universal "Look, no weapons"-gesture. "I am very sorry about that, really I am, Major. I really didn't mean to."
"I know that!" Klaus hissed. "But you won't stop pursuing me, so you will get into the same situation again and you will shoot me again, unless I bloody well teach you differently!"
"Oh. I suppose that makes sense. But I have tried to learn to shoot, you know, I'm not totally stupid. I just ... can't do it." Dorian sounded apologetic but sincere.
"We'll see about that." Klaus opened the gun safe and retrieved a small pistol, which he placed on one of the booth tables. "This is an Unique DES 69, a 22." From a tool hanger on the wall he brought down a small device, similar to a hexagonal screw driver. Working swiftly, he loosened the small ledge on the right side of the gun and pushed it all the way down. "Take hold of it, but don't lift it from the bench." Like Klaus himself, Dorian had comparatively narrow hands, fitting his lean, slim body, so Klaus had to push the ledge up a bit before refastening it. "It's like ... safety wheels on a child's bike. It lets you hold the gun easier. It is used in some types of competitive shooting. There are more elaborate versions."
"Major ... it's a cute little gun, I suppose, as far as those things go, but ... About that kiss you mentioned? Were you at all serious about that or was that just to lure me here?"
Klaus hesitated for a moment, but knew fully well that he had to see his plan through. "You need incentive. A reason to make this work."
"Apart from not shooting you in the future? That really didn't do anything for me, you know, my love, I would really much rather not have done that."
"Don't call me that! You degenerated, perverte--"
"I'm all for incentive though! Tell me more about this incentive."
"Get me one of the small targets from the bench over there."
Dorian hastily obeyed. The target was only about a decimetre in diameter, with – like the large targets – 1 to 6 in white and 7 to 10 in black. Klaus took a felt pen that had lain on the next booth and hastily drew a sight and a bead. "That's how it's supposed to look when you shoot. Some white above, between the gun and the black, equal parts of light on both sides of the bead and a straight line over the sight and the bead." He had to struggle just a little bit to find the right words in English, but he followed up on each statement with an illustrating movements of the pen above the drawing. "Drop the bead below the sight and you won't hit squat. Lift it and you won't either. Even line. Got it?"
At some point during the quick explanation Dorian had taken the opportunity to step in close – supposedly to see better. Klaus took a deep breath, forcing himself to allow this behaviour. "The ten. Both circles here are ten, outer and inner. You hit the ten and I'll let you kiss me." He had to force himself to say the distasteful word without pausing first.
"That can be a lucky shot even, who knows. Hit all five bullets in the black and I'll let you kiss me again."
"Whatever comes first of the two. You shoot 5 bullets at a time. Maximum 50 points, if you hit the ten five times. Do that and I'll let you kiss me again. That's the last one. Understood?"
"Oh yes! Ah ... So ... three kisses at stake? What if I do all three things at the same time? I'll still get three kisses then, right?"
"You haven't been hitting me on purpose? You really are a lousy shot?"
"I'm afraid so. But one with a very powerful incentive right now!" Indeed, the Earl's eyes all but shimmered in delighted – or possibly unholy – anticipation.
"You might hit the ten and get all five in the black at the same time. You get two kisses then, yes. If you hit five tens without getting all five in the black or scoring a ten before then, I'll let you bugger me. 't won't happen." As soon as he had made the promise, something moved in his belly and the phrase "famous last words" came to his mind, but he ignored them both. He also ignored the honestly rather amusing little meep Dorian had made around the same time.
"Now watch me load." He quickly demonstrated how to release the magazine, fill it and push it back up in the pistol. "Only five bullets," he reminded cautiously, "so I always know how many you've got left." In fact, he planned on personally being in charge of the ammunition. "Watch my stance. A little angle to the bench, feet not quite as far apart as my shoulders, even weight on both legs, left hand hanging from my pocket. I breathe in when I lift and I lift well above the target. That tenses the muscles in my arm. Then I breathe out a little bit and at the same time let the pistol slide down to where I aim, where it hangs, because the muscles in my arm lock a little. Relax the other arm and shoulder as much as you can, just let them hang, try not to tense up. Don't squeeze the gun. Look with both eyes, don't shut one of them. Aim and press the trigger. Move only your finger, nothing else. There is a slight give to the trigger, only a few millimetres, before you reach the point where it will fire when it is pressed further. The pressure will change then, you will feel when you get there, it's quite obvious. Understood?"
Dorian nodded seriously. Klaus backed off from the bench and waved for Dorian to assume the position. Or try to.
"Wrong angle. Lift your arm as if you pointed out a building – turn so it feels natural. Not that much, just a little angle so you don't tense the muscles in your upper arm either way when you lift." He finally stepped forward and wrapped a hand loosely around the man's upper arm. "Feel your muscles tense when you move," he instructed and slowly made the Earl move it back and forth before bringing the limb back to the optimal position. "There you feel the least. That's where you lift. Now stand so that you lift exactly in the middle of the target."
This time the Earl got the idea. Klaus stepped back again, then moved up and kicked at the other man's shoes to get him to spread his legs just a little wider. "You're wearing high heels! How girly can you get? You're tall enough as you are, why do you wear high heels?"
"It's fashion, Major. They make me look good."
"You don't need them. If there's a next time, wear boots. These are not shoes for shooting. You need something steady to stand on."
"Was that a compliment, dear? I do—"
"Very well. But Major, all these angles and muscles – you don't stand like this when you shoot."
"It is a different kind of shooting. I teach you this now, the other later, if you're up to it. I think you're too soft to shoot on human-looking targets, is all. Once you have the basics down, it should be easier for you."
"Oh. I suppose that makes sense. So, shall I shoot now?"
"In a moment. Here, cover your ears with these."
While the Earl busied himself with combing back his mane to make space around his ears to accommodate the protections, Klaus made his own preparations. His fine hair didn't give him any problems when he pushed it back, but protecting his ears was the least of his concerns.
"Should I be wearing one of those too?" the Earl asked. "It's not very aesthetic. What is it?"
Klaus didn't bother to push back the ear pieces to hear better, since he could hear well enough even with them on. They were state of the art, designed to let speech through but filter out most of the bangs. "No. You don't shoot yourself, do you? So you don't need it. It's a Kevlar vest."
"It suits you. If I do get to bugger you, will you wear that for me? And nothing else?"
Klaus sighed deeply. He had just known that he would hear about that – repeatedly. "You're an idiot," he replied, since that seemed to be as good an answer as any.
"I'll take that as a 'yes'."
"I liked it better when you remembered this is a shooting court and accidents do happen!" Klaus snapped. "Lift the gun again."
He studied his "pupil" with a critical eye. Then one of the Earl of Red Gloria's fondest wishes came true, as the major of his dreams knelt as his feet. Sadly, perhaps – at least for the Earl of Red Gloria – the major wasn't interested in the areas that he had concentrated on in the Earl's fantasies. "Push back your knees."
A strong hand grabbed his left ankle, while another pushed back on the same leg's knee. "Push back your knee. Yes, now relax your leg. No, don't push it forward again. Push back. And relax. There. Now the other leg. It locks your legs so you don't have to tense your muscles. Good." Klaus lifted himself up from his kneeling position. "Lift."
"Major, shouldn't I use both hands? They're always telling me how strong you are to use only one hand. So, shouldn't I use both? At least to start with?"
"It's not that special," Klaus dismissed absentmindedly as he corrected the other's stance a little further. "You're strong, when you're not nancying about. Lift again. Don't forget the knees. This gun doesn't have a kick like mine and the support will keep it in place for you, more or less. Lift again. Hmph. Here. Load. Then stand ready. Hold the gun leaning against the table. Don't touch the trigger! Only put your finger on the trigger when you see the target past the gun. I will say when you can fire and then you can lift and shoot."
"How am I supposed to shoot 50 points and get to bugger you if you only give me one bullet?"
"I'll give you four more. Later. Load." He hovered close to make sure it was done correctly. Then he stepped back. "Fire."
The Earl's arm went up. Like a Pavlov's dog, trained to expect pain, Klaus felt his stomach contract and snorted at his own idiocy. He noted that the Earl at least followed his instructions of lifting above the target and then letting his arm settle into aiming height. There was no shot. The Earl just stood there. Still no shot. The Earl's hand started to weave ever so slightly. No shot. The weaves got more pronounced and Klaus could all but feel the muscles in the arm he studied go taut. "Go down," he ordered, but either Dorian didn't hear him or thought he knew better. So as not to startle the novice with the weapon, Klaus let his hand brush Dorian's arm down to the elbow, where he gave a slight, downward push. He wouldn't have done it with anyone who didn't trust him, but he figured that the Earl did trust him, so--
Klaus closed his eyes briefly. Then, since the other's weapon was no longer loaded, he grabbed Dorian's shoulders and shook him hard. "You have to do as I say!" he growled.
"But I hadn't fired yet!"
"You were tensing up and would have missed anyway! You only have a little time to shoot in, then you get lactic acid in your muscles and it's no use. You only have time while the air in your lungs is fresh. And no, you can't take another breath. If you haven't shot by then just remove your finger from the trigger and take down your hand. You have all the time you need and can lift as many times as you like. At least to start with. You don't use these muscles much, so you get tired quickly. You'll get stronger later. Release the magazine – press harder - and put it down. Shake your arm a little. Here, another bullet. Load." Again he made sure that everything was done correctly before stepping back. "Fire."
Up went Dorian's arm, then down a little bit. Only seconds later ... Bang!
Dorian turned towards him and Klaus grabbed for the gun, pushing it to aim towards the target again. "Never turn it any other way! Not even when you know it isn't loaded!" he yelled.
"You said it wouldn't kick! I almost dropped it!"
"And you forced the shot! You have to pull back in an even motion, not tear it off!"
"You said I only had a little time to do it in!"
"Yes, but you have a couple of seconds. And of course it has a kick. t's just a tiny one though, nothing to complain about. Here, another bullet. Load."
"Shouldn't we see if it hit first? The first one missed, I know that, but I might have hit the ten with this one ..."
"You didn't. And no. Five shots, then we go up. Load. Let me see how you hold the gun. No, stay in position!" He stepped closer so he could see better. "Don't hold it hard. Just wrap your fingers firmly around the base, don't squeeze it. Here, feel." He did the only thing he could think of and put his own hand over Dorian's to demonstrate. "Don't press with your thumb at all," he said, just remembering that little detail, and pushed with his own thumb to Dorian's for emphasis. "Understood?"
"Yeah!" the Earl all but yelped, sounding strangely short of breath.
"Good. Are you seeing double?"
Dorian gave him an uncertain glance. "No, I only have eyes for one tall, raven-haired German God."
"Flattery won't get you anywhere but out of here in a hurry, Lord Gloria. Are you seeing two targets?"
"Ah ... There are five of them up there, actually. I ... am not quite sure what you are getting at?"
"Some people have trouble focusing on the target, that's all. The eye which isn't the dominant eye can produce a second image when aiming. Never mind – you are looking with both eyes, ja?"
"Yes, Major. Just like you told me."
"Good. Since it isn't a problem, forget about it. Load." He stepped back. "Mind your knees. Relax your other shoulder. Fire."
The third shot went fairly well, all things considered. Dorian did complain that the loading was hell on his nails, but Klaus paid that as much attention as it deserved – nothing at all. Then the fourth.
"You took your arm down too quickly."
"But I had already fired."
"Yes. But wait before you take down your hand. Let the gun remain. Aim again, if it is easier for you to remember. You start taking down so fast you'll do it faster and faster and you'll get into a bad habit of doing it too fast. What was that?"
"I didn't say anything."
"Yes you did. Premature what?"
"Never mind, Major. Just Dorian being queer. Go on."
Klaus glared at him. "Pay attention! As I was saying, you might start doing it before the shot is properly fired. So, wait for it. Now, load again. Just one more shot and then we go up and see. Don't forget to relax your shoulder."
When Dorian was done, they both hung their hearing protectors on the top of the booth wall. Before they walked to the target Klaus, just having remembered that he ordinarily didn't carry any, retrieved a roll of white patches as well.
"I hit it!"
"Of course you did," Klaus affirmed, actually feeling a bit smug. "Well ... with three shots anyway. Six, two and zero. None in the black, though, and no ten."
"So I still have a chance at buggering you."
"Quit talking about it or I'll stop the lesson here and now."
He quickly taped over the holes and they trudged back. This time he gave the Earl five bullets and listened with hidden amusement to the swearing when to put five bullets into the magazine proved a little more hard on the manicure than one had. He could have given advice on that too, but really saw no reason to. "Take all the time you need to shoot. Fire."
Bang! Pause. New lift. Bang! Pause. New lift. Bang! Bang! Pause. New lift. Bang!
"Only one shot at a time, Lord Gloria."
"But I wasn't tired and I aimed again just like you said and it felt good!"
"Humour me. Only one shot at a time. When you get better we can do another type of shooting in which you fire more shots before putting down the gun. And don't lean against the booth edge – you're not a baby, you know how to stand on your two feet!"
The target looked like someone had sprayed the bullets on it, but while the spread was literally from one edge to the other, all five bullets had left their marks.
"A good nine. Your third shot, I think. The one in the zero up there is the fourth, you were getting too tired by then, even if it felt good. 18 points." He gave him a pat on the shoulder. "Good boy, keep improving like that."
The Earl brightened considerably. "I almost hit the ten, didn't I?" He reached forth and ran a finger up Klaus's chest. "Oh, this Kevlar is harder than I thought. But the vest itself is kind of soft."
"Stop that or I'll break your fingers!"
It took another three rounds before they came up to the targets to find an indisputable ten. The other shots had steadily crept closer too – an eight and three sixes in this particular case. 36. Klaus's heart sank at the sight, at the same time as he did feel just a tiny bit proud.
"No buggering on the schedule, it seems," he said, not without some relief.
He taped over the shots before reflecting that the Earl hadn't commented. He looked over, to find the other watching him with an odd mix of anticipation – understandable – and worry – less so. "What now?"
"So ... Does this end here or do I ... we ... you know?"
Klaus took a deep breath. "I keep my promises. I didn't promise to kiss you, though, but you may kiss me – not now!" He hastily added the latter when the Earl began to move towards him. "When we get back up there."
"Well, come on then!" For once it was Dorian who hurried ahead.
Get a grip, von dem Eberbach! Klaus admonished himself. It'll be quick and soon over with. Close your eyes and think of never getting shot by him again.
Only, when they got up to the benches, Dorian no longer seemed in such a rush. He looked at Klaus with his eyes so big and blue, but cautious and hesitant, as if still expecting treachery.
"Well? Get it over with, then!" Klaus pulled himself up and looked over Dorian's shoulder, feeling how all his muscles tensed up. Intimacy never came easily to him, not even with the four women he had bedded.
"It's just ... I've waited for this so long. I've always wanted to kiss you so very, very badly ... I never really thought you'd actually let me, though."
"Within five seconds or the deal is off."
Like a force of nature, the Earl came to him. Hands landed firmly on Klaus's hips and he was about to protest that touching hadn't been part of the deal at all, when the Earl's face approached his own and he had to close his eyes before the kiss started. He had planned on standing still and let his lips be used, but he hadn't expected the strange sensation of a both hard and soft mouth; insistent and tender. He had never been kissed by a man before, not with the intent to rouse and love him. There had been that stupid Ruskie who had tried to "comrade" him, and who had received his teeth in a bag for the effort. Perhaps his father had kissed him when he was a babe, in fatherly pride and devotion. The Earl of Red Gloria had certainly tried before and Klaus suddenly wondered why he hadn't knocked Eroica's teeth out as well? Had it been because he had known that a kiss would have been so sweet?
Only the sensation of a strong tongue pushing past his lips shook him to his senses and he opened his eyes and pushed roughly at the other man, making him stumble back several paces. "Enough! One kiss, that's all I promised, not to let you ravish me!"
"Oh, but my dear, I was just getting started!" The Earl of Red Gloria's cheeks were flushed and his eyes glittered. He wore that particular predatory expression that Klaus had come to recognise at some point during their acquaintance when the Earl would come after him with a particularly indecent proposal.
"Back to the bench! Put on your hearing protectors! Load your gun!" He gave the orders using his best major-voice, designed to be obeyed immediately, yet the Earl didn't even twitch.
"You talk to me in a normal tone of voice; you touch me, pat my shoulder, caress my arm; 'wrap your fingers firmly around the base'; you let me kiss you ..." He shook his head. "You tease me, Major. It's not polite to tease the animals."
"You're not an animal and besides, I'm teaching you to use a gun properly! I can't help it if you read more into my actions that I intend, but it's your own fault for having such perverted thoughts! We can stop this now, if you want!"
As soon as the serious expression had entered the Earl's eyes, it vanished, replaced with firm resolve. "In your dreams, Iron Klaus. I've been promised more kisses and I intend to have every single one of them. Hand me the bullets!"
He watched the Earl load before he even noticed the casual use of his first name and by then it felt too late to start protesting. Besides, they had known each other for so long that it didn't matter much anyway. Only when the Earl threw him an annoyed glance did he give the command to fire.
Dorian missed three shots entirely on the next round, in which Klaus found some measure of satisfaction. Apparently he wasn't the only one rattled by the kiss. The next went only marginally better and he could all but sense the other's mounting frustration. Luckily, the third round showed all five bullets – not in the black, but two anyway and three in the white – two sixes and one four. On the other hand, the Earl had begun to weaver more with his arm and Klaus had to constantly remind him to relax or lock his muscles one way or the other. "We'll take a pause now," Klaus decided. After all, for an inexperienced shot like Dorian eight rounds did take their toll. "I need a smoke."
They went over to the small table off the court and sat down. Klaus produced a cigarette and started puffing away. "May I have one?" Dorian asked, so Klaus obliged him. "I wouldn't have thought it safe to smoke in here."
Klaus shrugged. "It's very well ventilated up here, a servant cleans each time the court has been used and we don't fill our own ammunition. Don't do it on a strange court, though. Damn, some coffee would have been good."
"We could go over to the castle, if you want? I'm not all that keen on that Nescafé of yours, but I wouldn't mind something to drink. The air is a bit dry in here."
"Nein. Father's here. I'm avoiding him. I didn't know he'd be at the Schloss today."
"Ah. I suppose I won't be introduced to your sire, then?"
Klaus snorted. "Hardly likely. He'll think I'm trying to sell all our paintings to you. Or the castle."
"He doesn't trust you?"
"Not with those things. And he heard of you being here that first time we met. If he knew there had been an English nobleman here he'd assume it was you trying to get the paintings again."
"I haven't given up on Tyrian yet, you know, my dear. And I—"
"—always get what you want. Hrmph. You and your silly policy. Haven't gotten me, have you?"
"Not yet, my dear, not yet. I haven't given up on that either. I'm merely patient and indulging. So, your father shares your annoyance with all things non-German?"
"Mostly he doesn't like the English, that's all."
"Oh. So if I had been a good German boy he wouldn't have minded? I could pretend to be German, if you want."
"You couldn't be German if your life depended on it."
"Oh? I've been practicing, you know." He continued in perfectly flawless German, "Hast du was dagegen, wenn ich dich so wild liebe, dass dir dein Name erst wieder einfällt, wenn ich ihn dir ins Ohr schreie? * Well, how does that sound to you?"
To his own horror, Klaus could feel his cheeks heat up. "You're an idiot," he said, since he couldn't very well answer such a question.
"So you keep saying," Dorian said, nodding. Then he added, lowering his voice just a little, "And as I keep telling you, I take that as an affirmative. Say, you don't know what G is doing today?"
Klaus shot to his feet. "What?! I can't believe you! You, you, you ... degenerate pervert! How dare you?!" He had his fist up and would have lashed out if not for the stunned look the Earl gave him.
"Klaus? What are you--? I just-- Bonham's with me and I think he went to visit G, that's all. I was just wondering if he might find him. Klaus? Sit down again, please? I'm sorry if I upset you somehow?"
Klaus sank down again. He couldn't very well say that he had felt unreasonably annoyed at the thought of Dorian asking him for another man's whereabouts, as if he was some jealous boyfriend. "I ... don't like them being together," he finally said, hoping that the Earl would drop the subject of his earlier reaction.
"No, I know. It feels a bit incestuous, doesn't it?"
"How do you mean? They're not related."
"No, but Bonham is mine and G is yours, so ... You know. Incestuous. A little. I don't know. But it does feel a bit odd. Though they do look a little sweet together, don't you think?"
Dorian just made a sound that could have meant just about anything. "This is kind of nice, actually. You not yelling at me, that is."
"I don't yell at you when you do something worthwhile."
"I'll have to remember that. Well, we're both finished, so ... shall we go at it again?"
A few moments later, Dorian loaded. Somewhere along the line he had discovered the trick of using the bullet about to be inserted to push down the other bullets, so to do so went fairly swiftly. Klaus gave the command and then waited while Dorian went through the motions. Up, down a little, bang!, down all the way. Rest. Up, down a little, bang!, down all the way. Rest. Up, down a little ... hesitation, hesitation, hesitation ... finally down all the way, without first firing. Klaus gave a nod since the Earl couldn't see him. Rest a little. Up, down a little ... then a powerful twinge of the hand and the arm went down again – and then the Earl turned towards him! Klaus leaped out of the gun's way and ended up wrestling with the other man. "What are you doing now, you hen-brained, addle-minded nuisance!? I've told you – never, ever aim the gun away from the target!"
"But there's something wrong with it! It won't fire."
"Then put it down! Careful! Let me have a look at it! From now on, if something like this happens, put the gun down and either step back or raise your other hand and I'll check it. See, the shell was caught. It is just to remove it. Careful, it's hot. There. It's ready to fire again. Might have been a bit oily or something. You can continue."
This time, when Dorian lifted, the gun fired obediently. As did it the next time. And the next. Together they went down to the target.
"Oh no! Look at that! So close!"
Klaus looked and made a face. One ten, one nine, two eights and ... the fifth hole sat at 3 o'clock, neatly into the white, just bordering the black. It's a six. Its got to be, right? He thinks it is, that's for sure. "Wait here," he ordered. He heard Dorian say his name in a questioning tone, but ignored it. Rather than going back to the benches he entered the little side area to the left of the isle from the targets and took a box off one of the shelves.
"Where did you go? What's in there?"
"When Father has guests over and takes them shooting he has one of the servants stand in there, then go out to check the results. Faster that way. There's one further down as well."
"Oh. What's that thing?"
He honestly didn't know what it was called in English. "It's a measurer," he decided, since that was, for all practical purposes, what it was. "It interprets if the holes are in or out." Since he himself never shot for points, he only very seldom had use for it, but he knew how to. Pushing it into the questionable bullet hole he scanned the result. "It is in," was the final verdict.
"It's in. A seven. See the line there? Means that the bullets are tangent to the seven's outer edge. So, it's in. Good round."
"I shot a seven? They're ... all in the black?"
He would have believed me if I had just gone on letting him assume it was a six. Damn it! "Ja." He still had to use a white mark to cover the "seven", then started on his way back to the booths.
"Hallelujah," Dorian whispered, just loud enough for Klaus to hear.
"Don't be blasphemous!"
"It might as well be religion to me, my dear. I didn't think I would do that today, not after the last couple of rounds."
"But it still counts, right?"
He had reached the shooting leader's pulpit and turned to face his doom. Eroica stalked towards him – not Dorian now, this was all Eroica. The man's somewhat stiff gait reminded Klaus of a mare-herding stallion. He felt his stomach tighten up and his shoulders go back and he had to make a conscious effort not to move away or make sure his Magnum was in place.
Dorian reached out and put his hands on Klaus's hips. A final step brought them so close together that only a thin wisp of air separated their bodies. Klaus felt himself caught in the blue eyes and he couldn't close his own. Then, just as Dorian leaned closer, a rattle broke through Klaus's paralysis.
"You left the door locked?" he asked, as he frantically reviewed the situation.
"I thought you wanted it locked."
Klaus shoved the Brit to the side, grabbed the 22 and hurried down the isle. Dorian followed him, still speaking. "That's why I was late. I didn't have my equipment on me, so I had to use my belt to get in. Rather impolite of you, by the way."
When they reached the tiny opening in the wall that led to the servant's "room", Klaus pushed Dorian in and followed. To call the space a "room" was generous, it was just a tiny opening, made for a single person. With the two of them, it was a rather snug fit, but with any luck they wouldn't be seen from the outside.
"Hush!" he cautioned, as he heard the door to the shooting hall open.
The light was just strong enough to let him see Dorian's questioning eyes, so he shook his head. Explanations would have to come later. The Earl nodded once and managed to move back a little farther. Klaus turned his head sideways to hear better.
Slow steps, with a hint of a limp, approached. Still far away, though, up by the benches. A loud snort, unmistakably his father's. Dorian's hand on his hip. A low grumble. A metallic rattle. A tiny weight on his chest. A downwards pulling motion. Metal clanging against stone. The safe. The pull had reached his belly. A sharp click of an opened lock – not being unlocked, merely opened. Pause. A very familiar snick and clack of a magazine being pushed in place and a weapon readied. His Kevlar vest fell open.
Normally he would have grabbed the Earl's hands and perhaps kneed him in the groin. As it was he stood stoically and merely lifted his hands to cover his ears. A button in his shirt was opened and a cold hand tentatively pushed in over his stomach muscles, when ...
... the first shot rang out and the hand was quickly jerked back in favour of the Earl following Klaus's example.
Should have thought to bring the hearing protectors. Sloppy.
On a mission he thought nothing of gun shots, they were merely something that happened and which sometimes made his ears ring. On a court he knew better than to be careless with his hearing. Dorian slapped his shoulder, apparently in retaliation for not having warned him, so Klaus bonked him over the head – though all in all rather gently. Then he quickly returned his hands to his ears.
He saw Dorian start moving his mouth, so he lowered his fingers a little bit. "--hiding from your father? It is him, isn't it?"
"Yes. He has a friend over. With a daughter. Wants to introduce her." He calculated that the next shot would come soon, so he moved up his fingers again, noting that Dorian did the same.
"You're not interested, I take it?"
"I'd rather marry a piranha."
"If your father wouldn't mind a son-in-law, I could make sure--"
"He would very much so mind!"
"Hush! He's shot five."
Soon they heard approaching steps. A brief pause and then the steps retreated again. Pause. Snick and clack. Pause. He brought up his hands. Dorian followed suit.
"How long will he shoot?"
"Probably just a few rounds. He has guests."
"If he finds us, I'll go out. He might not see you. Stay here."
"Will do. But don't leave me here. I have a kiss to collect."
"I keep my promises."
"All the same, I think I'll just ... take my kiss right now."
And Klaus had nothing to say to that, so he said nothing.
The steps he heard weren't the Earl's, but suddenly the other man was up so close to him that Klaus couldn't breathe for tasting the sweet, rich scent – not quite roses, but close – that spelled Eroica's presence. However, it was mixed with another smell; the heady aroma of gun powder that had over the years accumulated in the cramped area. Hands settled on his hips again and then the Earl's lips were on his, moist and sweet yet with an underlying strength and persistence. Klaus forgot to close his eyes, so his entire world was made out of blue eyes and a golden gloria of hair. A small part of him wanted to pull back, terrified to be caught by his father making out with another man in the shooting court, but what he hoped was military resolve not to make any noise or movement that might betray him kept him still. He didn't even flinch when one hand moved and a thumb pushed into his shirt to caress rhythmically over his abdomen.
Time must have sped up, for then he heard the next snick and clack and slowly lifted his hands – they felt strangely heavy and clumsy - to push at Dorian's during the way to alert him of the soon to follow need to cover their ears. He should have pulled away, but the warmth spreading throughout his body was too insistent. At the first bang!, he felt Dorian's tongue ask for entrance. He opened his mouth, just a little bit - just enough to allow the shallow penetration.
The following bang!s melted into each other and he lost count. There were no words to be said, so to move his hands seemed meaningless. Or perhaps not, for after an indeterminate time the Earl started caressing his back firmly, working his way downwards over the sturdy Kevlar. The movements weren't rushed, but determined. At the same time as the touch made contact with his behind, something firm pressed against what he was horrified to realise was his erection.
He knew he should push away the other. Violently so. Bash his head in. Make him hurt. Make him understand that his advances were neither wanted nor appreciated. Even with the danger of being found by his father, he should do it. Besides, he had training for taking out men without a sound. Just a pinch in the right place, paralysing nerves. Or cutting off air supply without letting even a whimper be heard. Only ... how could he, when it all felt so incredibly, breathtakingly, overwhelmingly good?
The hands on his buttocks warmed him with equal force as the touch against his cock. When they were abruptly removed he groaned his discontent into Dorian's mouth. After a long while the hands returned, bolder now, not having stopped at his shoulders or lower back first. He pushed at Dorian's erection, knowing that he had already damned himself with his actions, so now he might as well reap the reward of his surrender. The black pupils of those blue eyes widened irresistibly.
Something nudged at his right foot, so he moved it slightly, not knowing why the accommodation was sought. Then he huffed in surprise when Dorian sneaked both arms under his vest, pushing it up and to the side to enfold him in a strong, heated embrace. He even thought that was all Dorian planned on doing, before a slender, long-fingered hand dipped into the back of his trousers and underclothes. He stiffened up, all but hyperventilating at the knowledge that the man had his hands on his bare arse. His arm fell to his sides. Then, finally, he managed to pull away his mouth from the sweet lure of Dorian's tongue and lips. For a long, long while they stared at one another.
Dorian flinched – Klaus didn't. He leaned forward, just the tiniest bit. Dorian met him and the broken-off kiss continued – or perhaps it was a new kiss.
Klaus brought his hands up to his ears again. Dorian didn't. The hand inside Klaus's trousers began a gentle rubbing motion, while the other skirted over his back, found its way out of the Kevlar and finally buried itself in his hair. Their lower bodies resumed their slow-paced thrusts.
He noticed Dorian flinching now and then, perhaps when a shot was fired. He himself was far too occupied with the sensations that all but drowned him. He was fully hard now. One of Dorian's long, clever fingers pushed further down, reaching the lower opening to his body. The touch – both expected and a surprise – made him shudder all over. Dorian's teeth nibbled at his lower lip, then the man abandoned his mouth, licking along his cheek as he reached up further – the new angle of the rub between their groins almost enough to make Klaus shudder again – to bite his ear lobe and whisper, "You do want this, don't you? Tell me you do, Klaus, oh please, tell me you do!" with sharp need in his voice.
He couldn't bring himself to say it. It was too much; too soon; too intimate; too unlike himself. So instead he leaned his face against Dorian's shoulder and whispered, "You're an idiot."
The finger wriggled inside of him and Klaus had to bite down not to moan out loud. It felt so good! And then it felt even better, as Dorian increased the pressure, going deeper and touching something that set off a little firework in Klaus's loins. So good! So good ... He could do nothing but to grab onto Dorian's shoulders and hump against the other man's firmness. Dorian's mouth found his ear again and nibbled along it, altering with sweet licks that for whatever reason made Klaus's blood boil.
Something pulled at his hair – Dorian's hand, he realised. He let his head be moved, pulled up just enough so that Dorian could find his mouth. Their teeth met with a little jar and then their tongues worked against one another, almost in rhythm to the finger that ... that ... --that fucks me ... He ... Oh yes! It feels so good! Their pace increased and he could only vaguely hope that his father didn't walk past just then, for surely there must be noises – much too loud noises.
And then Dorian bent back, shuddering, pushing up against him. His finger moved frantically. Klaus bent over him, rasping his teeth against the long, white line of the other's throat and finally he too came, biting his teeth together so hard as not to scream that he feared that they would break.
Everything went black. For a moment Klaus actually thought he had lost consciousness by the force of his release, but he quickly scolded himself for the silly thought. Besides, the darkness wasn't total. From behind him came shades of merely very dark grey and he could see the reflection in Dorian's eyes and even a little in his hair. As if from a distance he heard a bang – not a shot, merely a door being closed. He allowed himself a long, shuddering breath. "'s gone."
"My father. Gone. 's left. Finished. We're … alone." To form coherent sentences felt next to impossible.
Lips met his again, feather light - almost not even discernable, and then they vanished just as quickly. He tried to pull away and they struggled for a moment until Dorian had removed his hand from Klaus's pants. Finally freed, Klaus backed out of the hideaway, blinking to adjust his eyes to the faint light. He walked stiffly and tried to ignore the sticky mess in his trousers. I had ... sex ... with Eroica. He's not an idiot – I am. A double damned idiot. Stupid, damned, weak idiot. Up by the benches he turned on the lamp by the table, rather than the full light. His father must have seen the latter being on, that was why he had come to investigate. The single lamp lit up the area just around the booths well enough, but shouldn't be visible from the outside.
It didn't surprise him in the least to find Dorian right behind him, having sneaked after him the entire way without making any sound. The Earl had bruised lips, red lines on his throat, a worried look in his eyes and a wet spot on his groin. Klaus hastily looked away. He retrieved two new rags from the work bench. Normally they were used to remove excessive oil from the bullets, if they got a bad shipment, and for cleaning the guns. He threw one Dorian's way, then turned around and reached for his pants. Only then did he realise that his belt had been opened. When did he do that? When he slapped my shoulder? Distracted me, the little shit. He swiftly unbuttoned them and cleaned himself off.
"So ..." Dorian finally said, when they were both done and had stood in silence for a long while. "Class dismissed?"
"Ja," Klaus managed, then remembered his responsibility. "The gun must be cleaned." "Too," he almost added and found himself blushing and glad that the Earl couldn't see his face.
"Oh. Right. How do I do that?"
"Put it on the bench. I ... I'll show you this time." He went over there without looking at Dorian and when the gun was placed by his hand he started the process mechanically. "Since it caught a shell it might be a little dirty. It's not strictly necessary to do this every time, but it's just as well and you need to learn. If you wish to continue shooting?" He had to keep a firm grip of the gun and the screwdriver, as his hands felt unsteady. His stomach contracted. What would the Earl's answer be? Perhaps this had been enough for the flighty thief? The sex might not have been … all the way, but now the other knew that Klaus wasn't as unresponsive as he had tried for so long to maintain. Klaus had enjoyed what they had done – had enjoyed it immensely, something he was sure Dorian also knew fully well. Would the thief even be interested still, when the rest of the chase was merely a formality?
"Oh yes! I could never dream that shooting could be so much fun!" came the Earl's immediate response, seeping in like a layer of balm around Klaus's heart. "Besides, I still have a chance at another kiss, don't I?"
"I keep my promises. Though you appear to have upped the ante with the last prize you claimed."
"I suppose I did get a little more than a kiss," the Earl admitted, sounding pleased and happy.
"Five tens will be much more difficult for you." He hesitated, then plunged on. "Perhaps it, too, would deserve something more than a kiss?"
He felt a light weight on his lower back, a weight that gradually settled into the touch of a hand.
"I'm all for incentive," Dorian purred and the light touch moved into a caress.
"Very well. To keep you interested perhaps ... what you spoke of before? For all three of them?" After all, the Earl's finger had felt good.
"What do —oh. You would let me …" It seemed as if the Earl didn't want to say the word either, perhaps in fear of being wrong. Then a warm body leaned against Klaus. The hands moved first to his hips, then around him, both sneaking in under the vest and up to his chest. As if for emphasis, Dorian thrust up gently. "... bugger you?"
Klaus shuddered as a shiver of pleasure ran through him. "Idiot."
Dorian laughed; a delighted, melodic sound. "I love you. You do know that, don't you?"
He consider repeating the slur, but the Earl had sounded serious, so he just nodded. A weight rested between his shoulders as the Earl leaned his head there. He found himself wanting to cement their quiet understanding somehow. "Though I suppose that after that you won't accept any lesser rewards to continue shooting?"
It took the Earl almost a full minute to translate the statement - or perhaps just to believe it. "You'd let me do that ... every time I shoot a fifty?"
"Ja, if I like it." He shrugged. "Besides, I must make sure that you continue to train somehow, mustn't I?"
And thus it happened, my dear friend, that the Earl of Red Gloria became the finest marksman in all of Europe. He had incentive.
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