Iron Klaus and Lightning
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than mini Pizza. Corrections to my language or any other type of comments 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. 2.583 words. Written in August 2010.
Crossover with several, most with Eastern Promises.
Could be a sequel to my Passing The Torch, but only because they have a similar theme, no need to read that story first.
Betaed by Heather Sparrows, Kadorienne and Cassie Ingaben - thank you all of you, as always!! Remaining errors are all mine, also as always ...
115 ... 116 ... 117 ... 118 ...
With a gruff hrumph of dissatisfaction at the interruption, Klaus completed sit-up number 119 and then rolled to his feet.
I'll start over from 100, he decided and marched over to his desk, lifted the cell and clicked the receiver-button before the third ~Rrrrrr!~ had time to sound.
"von dem Eberbach," he answered curtly.
At hearing the apologetic voice on the other end he hrumphed again. As he sat down he grabbed a pen and a form with his free hand.
"Whatever," he cut off the annoying small talk, " just give me all distinguishing features as briefly and concisely as possible. No chit-chat and no excuses either!"
Once he had the details down, he hung up the phone and got back down on the gym mat. 100 sit-ups, a shower and a change of clothes later, Klaus embarked on his new mission.
No reason to stop and consider his own room, that was out of the question, of course. He had the fop that well trained, if nothing else. Once he had left his well-ordered sanctuary, though, anything was fair game.
Brandishing his form he had only stepped over the threshold before he saw the first suspect.
Brown hair? Check.
Scantily dressed? Check.
No, revise. Target had been reported wearing a kilt, while this suspect had on a ... white blanket? A towel? Whatever. Klaus wasn't too sure about kilts and some "Fraser pattern", but he was fairly sure the garment in question did not come in pristine white. Right. Suspect dismissed. On to the next.
He methodically worked his way through what Dorian insisted on calling "my long gallery".
"What are you doing, lover?"
Before turning, Klaus quickly folded the form so that he could hide it in a loose fist. "Trying to decide which painting is the most obscene one," he answered blithely.
He had - unless on very special occasions - more or less stopped being outraged by Dorian's outfits (it never helped anyway and only seemed to encourage him) but the yellow-striped blue trousers and half-red, half-blue vest with a green tie still made him wince.
"Oh? Well, do let me know which one you decide on, dear, and I'll re-enact it for you later." Said with the utter certainty of a man who knew exactly what hung on his walls.
Klaus only grunted. "You look like a Vatican guard who has gone AWOL to join the circus. Going anywhere special?"
"It's the eighth today. The Rogues' Gallery meeting. In London, remember? We need to leave in three hours. You did promise to go with me."
Klaus rolled his eyes. "It would have helped if you told me why we were going to London. Will that Eurasian child molester with the Irish kid be there? Do we really need to go this year as well?"
Dorian stepped up and embraced him, kissing him lightly along the jaw-line. "Artemis is legal now, as well you know. I do so want to go and you won't make me go alone, will you? What if Lupin will be there?" He then sighed sadly, giving Klaus his most tragic "woe is me"-look.
As Klaus knew perfectly well that Dorian actually greatly enjoyed his ongoing cat-fight/feud with Lupin, he didn't deign to answer.
"Besides," Dorian continued and his face transformed to bright delight, "this is the first year Kirill is hosting the annual meeting. I've only met him once before. A regular lovebird he is, always gushing about his partner, his Kolya, his Lightning. I want to meet them both, see them together. Ah, but don't tell Volovolonte, will you, next time we meet him?"
If they never met Volovolonte again, Klaus wouldn't mind in the least. He didn't like how the Italian still sniffed around Dorian as if he expected him to grow breasts any day now.
"Why not?" he said, though, unwilling to give in to any request without a convincing explanation.
Dorian claimed his mouth and it was only several minutes later that he got the answer - a slightly breathless answer at that. "There's a bit of tension there. The Vory, the Russian mob, isn't part of the Italian one. Volovolonte is losing ground and while he's too much of a gentleman to bring it up at a Rogue Gallery meeting, I doubt he'll even be there tonight." He kissed Klaus repeatedly and a strong hand cupped Klaus's left buttock, squeezing with intent.
"Russians?" Klaus grumbled. "We're going to visit Russians mobsters? A pair of gay Russian mobsters?"
"Oh, darling, I knew you'd go with me!" More kisses. "A Vatican guard who has gone AWOL to join the circus, you said?" He looked down at his outfit and frowned faintly. "But I must be more fabulous than Sophie! Maybe I should get changed? There's just time, I think."
Klaus didn't voice a word about how many changes should be manageable in three hours. He liked his nookie. Instead, an idea occurred to him. "Since you're here: I've decided that if you have any paintings of men in skirts, that would almost certainly be the most obscene." He paused for a measured three seconds. "Or kilts. That'd be even worse."
Dorian's grin turned decidedly lecherous. "Actually, I do happen to have recently acquired one. A darling portrait of an Ian Fraser, sunbathing in only his kilt, by an unknown master. It's down in my work room on the first floor, if you want to check it out. Lovely pecs."
Klaus grunted. "I guess I'd better have a look. It does sound very obscene."
They exchanged a few more kisses and a playful groin-rub, then went their separate ways - Dorian supposedly to spare the world the onslaught of the colourful clothes and Klaus with the eager steps of a man making good headway on his mission.
Klaus had found a decent spot from which to survey the hall full of thieves and assorted felons without being overly disturbed by their job talk. As long as he heard nothing incriminating he could pretend nothing was going on.
He hid in plain sight, on the balcony overlooking the ballroom, leaning his elbows on the balustrade and doing his best to look forbidding. By way of passing time he idly followed Dorian's progress as his kleptomaniac butterfly fluttered through the crowd, drawing attention wherever he went and lapping it up like a parched kitten. Klaus amused himself by identifying as many as he could of the gathered wrong-doers --Caffrey. Spencer. Amanda. Oh, God, that's Parker, if she comes up here I'll throw her out the window - no, wait, that'll just encourage her. -- memorizing the distinguishing features of those he couldn't name so that he could either ask Dorian about them later or use his own net of contacts to find out for himself.
"I thought he is Englishman, not Scot," was said softly to his right.
Klaus snorted. Apparently his best to look forbidding could use some training. Of course, the man had been sneaking looks at him on and off for a while, so had probably had time to work up his courage before approaching him. He glanced to the side to verify that it was, indeed, the man he had noticed earlier. Dark hair, slicked back from his face; clean-shaven, square chin; a manly handsome face with faint worry lines on his forehead. He was neatly dressed, in a pale blue shirt, black tie and black suit. Klaus hoped the guy wasn't planning on making a pass at him. Or, on the other hand, maybe he hoped that the guy would try, as he was feeling a bit cramped and wouldn't mind yelling a bit at someone. Besides, Dorian could get jealous when such things happened and fuck Klaus raw to prove his claim. Klaus decided not to scare the guy off too quickly.
"He's obscene," he answered curtly and shot a disapproving glare down at Dorian, who was still gallivanting around, showing off his knees to people with no respect at all.
"Oh." The man took a step closer, then came to rest in the classic bodyguard stance, holding his right wrist with his left hand, back straight. "Today sun is too hot for white chocolate cheesecake," he said casually, his accent a faint burr, some sounds half-swallowed.
Klaus snorted again. "That's got to be one of Lawrence's lines. Got it from L. Bloody sugar-addicted fatso. Lawrence's still up to his gadgets and gizmos? He's got to be in hog heaven these days, with the new technologies."
The man smiled faintly. "I never met him. My boss tells me the phrase. You find it?"
"What the fuck do you think he's dressed up as a Scot for? And don't ask what he's got underneath. You don't want to know." Klaus took out his cigarette pack and retrieved the chip from within the lid. He put it in the palm of his hand and held it out.
When the man reached for it, though, Klaus made a fist and pulled it back.
"What do they teach you boys back at Kreml these days?" he asked sharply. "If I've told everyone once I've told you a thousand times: never hide the microfilm on--"
"--painting of naked man," the man finished, his faintly boyish smile turning a bit sheepish. "I know. I think they try some sort of ... double-bluff."
"Hide the microfilm on a painting of a naked man, because everyone knows you never hide the microfilm on a painting of a naked man. Hrumph. Well, see what happens? He steals the painting, that's what happens. Hrumph. Your idea?"
"No, no!" A quick headshake. "Last time I hide secret information, I hide it in jacket of corpse and drop him in the Thames."
Klaus nodded approvingly. He held out the microchip again, this time allowing the man to take it. "You look familiar," he then said. "Name."
"Nicolai Luzhin. They call me Kolya. Maybe Lightning."
Ah. The vor boy toy of that Russian mobster leader. Klaus shook his head in general disbelief. "You still look familiar."
"You meet my uncle. Mikhail Miedvied."
Klaus smiled. "Yeah, you look a little like him before he ate too much. How's the old bear cub? What is he, 80 now?"
"Uncle Mischa is 73. He say if I see you, to tell you he thought you would like red, if you try."
Well, Klaus had grudgingly accepted that he liked Red, at least. Not that he was about to admit to any such thing.
"Well, next time you see him, tell him I've heard that it is pale blue on Wednesdays now and that I hope he finds the change invigorating."
Luzhin shook his head slowly, as if he didn't quite get the reference, and most likely he didn't. They both looked over the sea of criminals below them. For a few moments they stood in nearly companionable silence. Klaus lit a cigarette and the other man followed suit. As they smoked Klaus noted Dorian in animated conversation with that slick con-man, Neal Caffrey.
"We thank you for your help," said Luzhin after a while, a note of hesitance in his voice.
Klaus glanced at him. The Russian looked towards him as if he wanted to say something, but at the same time really didn't. He noted how two fingers on the man's right hand tapped gently on his trouser leg. The left hand, though, rested with ease over the pocket into which the microchip had been relocated. Not work, then. Klaus turned back to look over the throng, mildly alarmed at the way Neal and Dorian now were both smiling and writing in their appointment books. At the same time a well-known feeling of old nudged gently at him. He had felt that way sometimes, when looking out over his Alphabet, Z in particular, but many of the others as well. I'm getting old, he thought, though without resentment. Fuck it, I guess I'm some sort of uncle-in-war to him. Finally he gave in. "You holding up okay?"
A grateful, if brief smile answered his curt question. "I think so. I hope you would be willing to talk. Few see both sides of things." He stepped a bit closer to Klaus, who had resumed his original position, and also put his elbows on the balustrade. On the back of his right hand Klaus noted an intricate tattoo of a sun setting on water. Under it were the word North written in Cyrillic - North for Siberia. On the lower joints of his left hand's fingers were three symbols; a star, a cross and some triangles.
The tattoos made Klaus remember when Dorian had wanted the two of them to get tattoos - he had refused, of course. He had still been working and not about to put any distinguishing marks on his body - his size and hair were attention-fetching enough. Dorian had surprised him one night with a small, proud-looking boar on his chest - thank god of the temporary sort, only airbrushed on. That had, admittedly, given Klaus a nice thrill of possessiveness, but he just couldn't see himself getting a rose on his skin in return, not even for only a couple of days, and roses were the only thing he truly connected to Dorian. Well, that or a magpie.
"I have nothing better to do until they start in on all those bloody speeches," he said by way of invitation.
"I want to ask. You love him? Before you fuck him?"
A very personal question, but, oddly enough, not one Klaus minded answering. "As much as I could at that point. Less than I do now." Silence met his answer, so after a bit he returned the query. "Did you?"
In the corner of an eye Klaus saw a brief head-shake. "Tough," he commented. "What about now?"
"I am not sure."
"Sometimes we must make sacrifices in the name of duty."
"I know that. I also know ... No. I do not love him. Not like I should. He has need of me. He is king now. But he is not ruler. And without him, I can not rule at all. So I had to. He want me. I can do it to girl I do not want, so I can do it to him. I can not screw duty, but I can screw him."
Klaus nodded his understanding. He let his gaze sweep once more through the ballroom. A gaily bedecked "Scot" noticed his look and waved, smiling with obvious delight. The sight made something in Klaus's heart expand, just a little bit further.
"Undercover is like that, sometimes," he said solemnly. "Keep it up, kid. It'll work out in the end."
With a quick pat on the Russian's shoulder, he descended to the ballroom. He had his own criminal to keep track of.
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