Nothing Major

by Anne-Li

Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than Eberbacher Huschde Gudsels. 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. Written in May 2008. 11.548 words.

Plot bunny/challenge from Kadorienne. Thanks!

It kind of feels as if I should warn for something, but I'm not sure for what. It wouldn't be for anything big, anyway. Well, maybe Dorian inspired much from A Thousand Kisses.

Betaed by Heather Sparrows, Kadorienne and Maf. Thank you very one of you!


What the fuck did I do wrong to get myself into this unbelievable mess? Klaus thought as he unbuttoned the lower part of his shirt.

Should he blame the Alphabet? Yes, his slow-witted gang of incompetent misfits had acted true to style, messing up what ought to have been a simple enough mission. However, he was - much to his chagrin - their superior. Whatever they did they could only do because he allowed them.

He wanted to blame Lawrence. That would have felt really good, all things considered. Oh yes! Normally to blame Lawrence would have been accomplished with frightening ease. The Chief would even have backed him up! For once in a blue moon he and Fatso actually agreed on something: that the British agent ought to be kept locked up in a loony bin. The man wasn't even fit to oversee a group of Girl Scouts! However, the snag in this particular case, which kept Klaus from blaming Lawrence, was that the man currently made life unsafe for civilians back home in England. Amazingly, not even his special brand of incompetence reached all the way to Latanirth.

The Chief? Well, truth be told, Klaus really couldn't blame Fatso. The mission itself was straightforward enough; he had plenty of information and all possible backing, not just from the Alphabet, but he even had local authorities cooperating. That was really all the Chief could be asked to do.

No, in the end he only had himself to blame. His mission; his screw up; his request for assistance; his ... failure.

For he couldn't blame the curly-haired blond who, eyes wide and intent like those of a man about to be granted his fondest wish, followed each movement of his hands as he pushed back his shirt, undid his belt and reached for his fly.

A simple enough mission, yes. Go to Latanirth and find out if the Crown Prince really nurtured neo-Nazi tendencies. Prince Erik was the current ruler's nephew and the apple of his mother's eye. The sister-pecked King Anders II of Latanirth dared not deal with the issue personally, but had granted Klaus carte blanche to do whatever necessary, if only the situation was dealt with silently and caused no hint of scandal.

He had started right away by putting A-H to good use running around gathering information, I-K trailing the Crown Prince, L and M guarding the King, and so on. They had been making progress, for NATO's sake! A lead here, a name there, a swastika spotted there - all added up, slowly painting an ugly image of corruption and treachery. Nothing that could be proven yet, though. Hard evidence would be necessary to convince the King to leave his sister's son in the cool hands of Lady Justice. Klaus's gut feeling didn't count. Inconvenient, that.

Crown Prince Erik lived in the capital, though not in the same palace as His Highness the King. His place of residence, as befitted a prince of the blood, was a veritable fortress. Had the King had more balls Klaus could have just stalked inside, demanding the right to search the place. As things were his hands were tied. The Chief had been very specific that their target must suspect nothing up until they could initiate a nationwide bust and that King Anders II must be kept happy. So, Klaus had to get in some other way - i.e. he had to break into the sodding place.

Which proved a far more difficult task than Klaus first had assumed. He did have, after all, some knowledge of how to gain entrance undetected - he had penetrated the Tehran palace, hadn't he? Only the Prince Mother, Princess Malin, seemed to be a right paranoid bint, insisting on some of the toughest defences Klaus had ever encountered.

Six days later, when neither he nor any of his agent had come up with a viable plan, Klaus had gotten desperate. Desperate enough to take a detour to Great Britain in order to enlist an expert.

"Help you? Darling! Of course! I'd be happy to! You know I would do anything for you!"

Dorian sat in the small corner assigned to him, watching in annoyance as Klaus ordered his Alphabet around, running the poor things ragged. Do that, do this: never a moment's peace.

And in this horrid heat!

Sweat beaded on Dorian's forehead and ran down his back and sides - it even moistened the cloth under his thighs for heaven's sake! He felt a little woozy-headed too, which he suspected was due to the inexpertly cooked dinner. Something had definitely been wrong with that chicken. Fowl just wasn't supposed to be that ... slick inside.

He had had a headache for most of the day. A truly wicked one, bordering on migraine. Part due to the sultry heat; part due to being awakened at an ungodly hour - seven o'clock! - and then being forced to spend eight hours in a cramped car during the worst of the beating sunshine. He hadn't even been allowed to go in the same car as Klaus! No, instead he had been pushed into a tiny Nissan together with G and B - G, who nattered constantly, and B, who was so ... well ... certainly nothing to rest his eyes on, like Klaus at least would have been. Not a good start to his day.

Not to mention that Klaus had flatly refused to let him bring along a single one of his gang members! James he could well understand - the small accountant and Klaus had had some bad dealings in the past. To be totally honest Dorian kind of preferred not to have James along, even if the man no doubt would have revelled in the current hardship. But he hadn't even been allowed to bring Bonham! And Klaus "liked" Bonham - in so far Klaus liked anyone not a German NATO agent.

For the last four days there had not been a single thing for him to do as they awaited an opportunity and - just to top things off - Klaus was being rude to him! He called him all sorts of names, almost as if trying to bait him! Maybe the heat was getting even to Iron Klaus for all the man's dratted "heat and cold is just a matter of discipline"-mantra?

What he said about me dropping a penny down my trousers to have sex with James was definitely uncalled for! That was just plain horrible of him! I should ... Why, I should leave, yes, I should!

He actually felt like leaving. Just take his things - the very few things that Klaus had grudgingly allowed him to bring - and go. Really, what was it that kept him there? Klaus "needing" him? Ha! One does not treat a needed and valuable ally the way Klaus treated him! He was neither a servant nor a bloody henchman!

It is way past time that Herr High And Mighty learned that! Dorian thought and massaged his aching temples. He ought to value me and all I can do for him! He should be courting me, not the other way around!

Yes, he was even getting kind of tired of pursuing the man when it seemed plain that he would never give in to Dorian's enticements. Maybe it was just the current hardship - why, he hadn't been able to either shower or even wash his hair in three days! - but Dorian felt as if things were coming to a head. It was time to make a difficult decision.

I really ought to teach him that he can't just order me around like he does the Alphabet!

The more he considered the possibility, the more alluring it appeared.

He really should be more respectful, at the very least! Ha! Offering me money as if I'm some ... some whore! As if I care for money for any other reason than to keep myself in style - and to keep James happy, of course! Ha!

And slowly, an idea occurred to him. At first it felt positively scandalous, but the more he thought about it, the better it sounded.

I shall put my foot down! He will have to make it really worth my while this time! Oh yes! Oh, for the look in his eyes when I tell him that I want ... hmm ... a kiss. Yes! A kiss! Just one nice, sweet, little kiss. I won't even demand tongue or anything.

Then he frowned. Oh, but he'll do his best to ruin it, of course, that ornery donkey of a man. He'll spit afterwards, no doubt, and disinfect his mouth as if he could get cooties or whatnot. Ha! He should count himself lucky that I don't demand a blowjob! He'll act like I've tried to rape him anyway. What does he know of rape? Ha!

A kiss it would be or Klaus could look to the moon for Dorian's help in breaking into the palace.

Kiss him? Fucking kiss him? Klaus just stared at the brass-balled bugger for a few seconds, narrowing his eyes for best effect. Zur Hölle damit, he seems serious. He shook his head, then growled, "I'll give you a kiss all right - with my knuckles."

The Earl pulled himself up straighter and folded his arms. They were alone in the big meeting room, door locked for the conversation.

"Not good enough. A kiss or I'm out of here. I've had it, Major, with this attitude of yours and this heat and this ... this bad excuse for a safe house! It's ridiculous! I should be at the Ascot this very minute! And you wouldn't even let me bring Bonham!"

"I explained to you--"

"You did not! You grunted something about there not being room on the boat - yet I counted no less than nine Alphabets on that little trip. One of them could have stayed!"

"They're all trained agents! I only need one thief and you certainly don't need some handmaid to take care of you!"

"Oh, you're impossible! I want a kiss or I will leave! See if I don't!"

"Ha! So that's how far your 'I love you forever, no matter what, I'd do anything for you's went! A bit of bad weather, a bed not soft enough for die Prinzessin auf der Erbse and you're off!"

"Oh Major! Now you're trying to blackmail me! I do love you! And I do love you no matter what! But 'no matter what' does not mean having to put up with this ... this nightmare of a mission! And you're being a right berk to me! You're treating me like a servant! I'm not! I'm a valuable ally! You should treat me as such!"

Tired of the fuss, Klaus rubbed his temples. Perhaps it is time? he asked himself. Might as well get it over with.

He wasn't even sure why he had held off from doing it for as long as he had. I should have done it the first time we met.

Well ... Maybe not the very first time they met, that would have been a little ... extreme.

In Rome, then, as soon as I got him alone in the forest. Threatening to blow his head off never helped anyway. I should have done it then, just after he told me that he--

"I'll do something else," he said, his mind finally made up. "If you give me your word that you will follow through on the break-in."

"Oh? So now my word is good enough for you, when you want something from me? I thought you told A I was an immoral--"

"Your word! I will trust it. And if you break it I won't tell Interpol - one morning you simply won't wake up. Understood?"

For once the threat seemed to actually penetrate the mop of hair that no doubt insulated the fop's brain. Good. Not that it kept him silent for more than a few seconds.

"Nice try, major, but I'm not giving you any blank promises. What's this 'something else' you mentioned? A handshake just won't do, you know. Not unless you intend to shake my--" The fop broke off whatever he had intended to say and instead cleared his throat loudly. "So, what do you propose?"

Having decided to go through with what he had so often considered doing was strangely liberating. He felt a hint nervous, yet certain that the right time had come.

"If you give me your word; if you promise; if you take an oath on whatever you hold holy that you will stay and do the break-in for us. Tonight if possible, otherwise as soon as we can pull it off. If you do that I will ... undress for you."

The Earl's mouth fell open. Only for a second, though. Then his lips moved soundlessly for a few more, before his eyes narrowed. "Undress? Specify exactly how you mean. Removing your shoes does not constitute undressing. Neither does removing socks, jacket, belt or gloves. To take off your shirt doesn't count either, not if you're wearing an undershirt. I want details and I don't intend to let you dupe me."

Klaus nearly rolled his eyes. "I will do it now, beforehand, so you can decide when enough's enough for you not to feel ... duped. Well? It's a one time offer. Do you want it or not?"

He could all but hear the cog wheels turn as the Earl searched for hidden traps. Then the man's frown smoothed out. "You're trying to scare me away, aren't you? It's about that scar of yours. I have seen it, you know, so you don't have to-- Um ... I mean, ah ... I didn't get a very good look, so do feel free to go ahead. Do undress. Don't let me stop you. Really don't let me stop you." His eyes started to gleam faintly - or perhaps that was just Klaus's imagination.

"Your word first. You will get us into Crown Prince Erik's quarters with enough time to search them and then out again."

"Fine, so I'll do it. I'll even ... I'll even keep teeth to tongue and not complain about D's smelling of camel any longer. See? I'll be good. What are you going to take off first?"

"I thought it would be easiest to just drop my trousers. Your word - now!"

"Your trou-- Oh ... Um. My-- Oh. Yes. Major von dem Eberbach, I - Lord Dorian Red Gloria, Earl of Gloria, also known as Eroica - hereby solemnly swear that I will give you any assistance I am capable of to get you and the men of your choosing into the palace and out again, tonight or at any time you desire, until your mission is either accomplished or abandoned. I am yours to command. Will you really start by taking off your trousers?"

"I'll just have to unbutton my shirt first," Klaus replied. Then he reached down to tug said shirt out of said trousers.

While contemplating who he could rightfully blame for the mess he found himself in, Klaus nevertheless made swift work of unbuttoning the lower half of his shirt, then undoing his belt and trouser button before unzipping his fly. With his narrow hips and flat stomach there was little to hold the cloth up, so it was easy work to push the fabric down, until it pooled around his knees.

"Um ..."

"What?" Klaus asked quickly, caught between his inbred modesty and the act of pushing down his white boxers in front of a man who had often enough expressed an interest in getting inside them. A few seconds of distraction seemed like a good idea.

"Never let it be said that I'm one to question your technique, dear, but ... if you had removed your shoes first it might be a bit simpler to actually remove your trousers now."

He snorted. "You will survive not having seen my hairy calves, Herr Dieb. Actually, once you've seen what I want to show you, I think you won't care overmuch." Then he reached for the boxers again.

"But your scar is on your--"

Left shoulder. Yes. A rather nasty work, from a bullet that had left a far larger hole going out than it had going in. He had been lucky to get out of that mess with his arm still fully functioning. The beauty aspect had never bothered him much, as long as the wound hadn't crippled him. However, by the Brit's own admission, he had seen it and hadn't seemed overly put off by it. Which actually surprised Klaus somewhat. Perhaps he even could have considered it a positive sign, but he knew the scar to be just a bucket in the ocean compared to ... the other thing.

"Take a good look, Herr Gloria," he offered curtly. Then he pushed down his boxers.

He saw the man's eyes rivet to the exposed area, then how he blinked and blinked again, gaze darting around. How his mouth once more fell open, before closing with a clack of teeth. Only to open yet again.

"B-but ..."

The blue eyes still shifted around. Alternatively he stared and looked elsewhere. The air on Klaus's naked skin felt cold, even though, considering the tropical heat, it really couldn't be.

"I'm not excited at the moment," he stated - though that ought to be rather glaringly obvious. "It doesn't get particularly bigger even when I am."

Blinking. Shifting eyes. A slight blush. Stuttering.

"Well? Are you going to stare at my crotch all day?"

"Um ... I ... That is ... B-but it's ... Your trousers, they ... I ... I mean ... T-they don't look ... um ... I ..."

"The bulge is mostly in the fabric. I suspect Herr Hinkel does it on purpose." Of course the butler knew. The condition had been suspected since shortly after his birth, though it was always hoped for that he would simply grow out of it during puberty. He hadn't. Not very much, anyway. "I trust you have seen enough?"

"I ... I mean I ... I-I have ... Yes. I ... Um ..."

"Still feel duped? I don't doubt it. Not about the clothes, though." He reached down again, this time to pull up his boxers, covering himself. As no protest followed, he continued with the trousers, arranging his shirt inside them, then buttoned up and fastened his belt. Only then did he look towards the Earl. The man still stared towards his now clothed groin. "Hello? Did I break you? Lord Gloria?"

"T-that was a--" Slowly the vivid, blue eyes rose, now even wider. "Y-you have a--"

"Micropenis? When erect I have achieved a length of just under 6 centimeters, so yes."

"But... I ... That is, I don't ... I didn't ..." The Earl's hands fluttered about, then one of them landed on his mouth.

"Know? Now you do. Surprise." And now let's see how far those 'I love you forever no matter what'-promises go. Not very far, Klaus would have bet. Which had been why he had tried his best to ensure that at least the current mission would not be jeopardised. "And you promised to do the heist anyway."

"Heist? Heist?! How can you think of stealing something w-when-- That's ..."

"I'm used to it. It's not as if it's a sudden development. Well, Lord Gloria? What's it going to be?" The man might feel duped, but if he tried to dupe Klaus in turn, blood would flow.

The horrible image had bit hold of Dorian's brain like a killer dog, refusing to let go. As he staggered back to his little shed of a room he couldn't suppress a shudder. That stubby-looking penis, resting on Klaus's large, fuzzy balls, almost ... almost toy-like in appearance. Duped? Why, yes, he felt duped. He wanted to leave that very minute, head straight back home and forget he ever saw ... that. But he would stay. He had given his word, hadn't he? And while his morals might be somewhat fluid when it came to things like the ownership of particular objects, well ... his word was his bond.

Then the image assaulted him again and he shuddered. I've never seen something so small on a grown man!

On a Greek statue was one thing. That was different. That was art. On a living, breathing human being it had just looked ... ridiculous!

And on Major von dem Eberbach! What a travesty! What a horrible waste!

He managed to walk straight past his door, ending up staring around the hallway in confusion before realising what he had done and turning back.

Thank God I found out before I actually got the man into bed,he thought while closing the door behind him. That would have been ... Oh, that would have been awful! He shuddered. Six centimeters when erect. That would be less than two and a half inch. That's not even a handful!

Long after that the Earl had left, Klaus stood in the middle of the room with his eyes closed. Finally he inhaled deeply and let the air out through his nostrils.

Well, it's not as if I expected him to react any better, he told himself sternly as he opened his eyes again.

Yet still ... A very small, vulnerable part of Klaus's heart had hoped for acceptance.

The break-in went perfectly according to plan. They found all the evidence they needed and the mission could go on to the next logical step. Some Alphabets later spoke amongst themselves, though, wondering what had kept the normally exorbitant Earl so sedate. None of them could recall him attempting to flirt with their superior even once! Perhaps he was feeling very ill?

Lord Dorian Red Gloria, Earl of Gloria, returned to Great Britain and the house of his ancestors. His men soon noticed a marked change in him: a return to his younger days, which was not necessarily for the better. In the latter years he had calmed considerably, becoming more clever and more discriminating in selecting both his targets and his beaux.

Oh, he had still held magnificent parties and his herd of admirers had certainly never thinned. However, ever since that fateful visit to a German Schloss he had come to invite someone back to his bedroom much less often. Now the traffic leading there increased again, as he laid down many a willing, handsome male.

And if Dorian ever again went to sleep to dream of sharp, green eyes, he repressed each such dream until he no longer remembered them.

Major von dem Eberbach, Iron Klaus, returned to West Germany and NATO Headquarters. His men noticed little change in him. He had always worked them hard and himself harder. Had he been a man wont to laughter and spreading happiness they might have noticed a more pronounced difference - but he wasn't and so they didn't. He chased his leads and he caught the enemy spies and he always accomplished his mission.

And if Klaus ever again went to sleep to dream of warm, blue eyes he certainly never told anyone.


Dorian walked among the flowerbeds surrounding North Downs, picking and choosing the prettiest of the blue and yellow flowers. Those colours were Bonham's favourites. Hearing of the Cockney's accident had scared him nearly out of his mind. Bonham had been with him forever and he just couldn't imagine life without his trusted SIC. Luckily, the injury Bonham had sustained from falling off the wall had proven to be far less dangerous than they all had first feared. He had a bad concussion and a leg broken in two places, but the concussion went away and the breaks had - surprisingly enough - been clean. The doctor expressed no doubt in that he would regain full mobility in the injured limb.

When he had gathered enough flowers for a good-sized bouquet he tied it with his red silk scarf. James would have been livid if he found out, but James was currently off Lord knew where to scout out some new supermarket that had promised unbelievable bargains during its first week in business. Ergo: Dorian did what Dorian wanted to do, and since he wanted to give Bonham a pretty flower bouquet, giving Bonham a pretty flower bouquet Dorian would.

With the flower bundle resting against his chest he wandered down the wild - but actually not so wild, in fact carefully planned - meadow that separated the castle from what had used to be the caretaker's cottage. Bonham did act as caretaker occasionally, but the man hired for the task lived down in the village and thus had no need for a house on the estate.

It was a beautiful day, yet Dorian felt ... despondent. He wasn't sure why, but since he did get that way occasionally he didn't worry overmuch. Perhaps it was time he planned some grand heist again: stole something spectacular - yes, that should get his blood pumping nicely.

To the right of the caretaker's cottage was a flat patio of white gravel. Bonham would often sit there during the summers, sunning himself. Dorian vividly remembered sitting there, when they were both young lads, drinking lemonade made by Bonham's dear mother, North Down's cook. He smiled a little. Ah, to be so young and carefree again ...

Just then he noticed that one of his sandal laces had become undone. So he sat down gingerly on a sun chair just by the house and, seeing that the lacing had become skewed as well, patiently unwound it to start anew. Of course he could have fastened it summarily, but that would have looked sloppy ... No, better get it right, lest someone would think that he was slipping in his search for perfection!

The sun was just the perfect temperature to warm cool, British flesh. Dorian regretted even more that Bonham had been injured. Otherwise they could have sat together again. An idea occurred to him: perhaps with his help Bonham could still make the lemonade? Then he could also help Bonham outside? Yes, that was definitely worth considering. Just sit and talk together. He did so love hearing Bonham talk, the man had such a lovely voice, Dorian even found his dialect charming and had often told him so.

As he sat there, intending to do nothing more than enjoy the warmth for a few more seconds, he heard voices drift out from the cottage's open window. He recognized them, of course - Bonham and John-Paul - and couldn't help but to hear what they said. Since he had no secrets from his gang - and they had none from him, as far as he knew - he never thought twice of listening in. If anything, he felt just a hint worried, as it was John-Paul who had caused Bonham's accident and he didn't want there to be any bad blood between his men.

"I can't tell you often enough how sorry I am, Bonham."

"Ah, think nothing of it, mate. A bloody bother, this broken leg, but that doctor said I'm mending. I will be good as new in three shakes of a cat's tail, just you wait."

"Still - I shouldn't have called out when I did."

"You couldn't have known I got distracted. Don't you worry none about that. It could have been a guard calling out, couldn't it have been? I would have felt right a fool then, wouldn't I have?"

"Still, it was just a training session. I shouldn't have done that."

"All the better it happened at training. Otherwise I'd be in the slammer now. Not a nice place to be, I be guessing. I'll be fine, John-Paul. A few weeks like this and Bob's your uncle. Besides, I get all food coming to me and don't have to do a lick of work. I'm in no pain."

"I'm just so glad they weren't unclean breaks, Bonham. And you must take care now! If you got hurt again, if you twist the breaks or something, why that would just be awful!"

"I'll be a good patient, don't you worry. I don't be wanting any complications either. I like it here and I don't want to be leaving."

Dorian frowned and sat up straighter, turning his head to hear better. What ever is he talking about?

Luckily, John-Paul seemed to think the very same thing, for he asked just that. "What ever are you talking about, Bonham? Why would you leave us? I did say I was sorry!"

"Oh, I didn't mean because of what you did. I told you not to mind that. It's like this, you know: three strikes and you're out, right? Well, I'm already having them two against me, like. Get a third one and I am guessing I would be asked to take myself elsewhere."

Dorian didn't understand what Bonham was hinting at. Luckily, neither did John-Paul. "I can make neither head nor tail of this, Bonham. Y-you are starting to scare me. What do you mean?"

"Well, look at me, John-Paul. I don't be all tall and willowy like the rest of you lads. A bit too much packing here and there and especially here. My face isn't much to write home to mum about either. I don't fit in. And then there's ... well ... you know."


"Oh, you ... know." Last word said with extra weight and possibly some accompanying gesture that eavesdropping Dorian could not see.

"Oh. That. Um ... Yeah. But we love you anyway, Bonham. All of us do and he does too. We don't care about ... that."

"Which is all good and well and that's why I've been around for so long. But just look at what happened to Uncle NATO."

"We don't know what happened to him. His Lordship hasn’t told us."

"True, but I be knowing something about that German icicle that you don't and I overheard his Lordship muttering to himself about having seen it too. This be between you and me, John-Paul, now, don't you go telling the others!"

Bonham ... knows?! And he never even told me?!

Oh, he needed to have a talk to Bonham about that. Perhaps Dorian had wasted years unnecessarily!

But I can't let him tell John-Paul! Klaus’d kill me if he thought I told anyone!

Dorian was up and drawing breath to scream at Bonham to keep quiet, when the man's next words stopped him.

"He be scarred. On one of his shoulders, that is. Old bullet wound, looking none to pretty. Seems his Lordship took a good look and then ran for greener pastures. You know his Lordship, bless him, he wants only beauty and perfection. He can't be blamed, that's just the way he was made. But think about how much he loved the big Kraut until he found out about that blemish of his?"

So, Bonham didn't know the ... truth. Not that Dorian would tell him. No, that much he owed Klaus - or perhaps that high he valued his life, because if Klaus heard whispers spreading about his ... condition he would surely come loaded for thief. As it was, Dorian still felt most disappointed in Bonham for believing Dorian to be so shallow! True, Klaus's scar hadn't been an overly pleasing sight, but Dorian would have put up with that. The real reason though - had Bonham known, he would have understood, Dorian felt sure of it.

Meanwhile, Bonham continued his explanation.

"Then one look and it was fare thee well and good riddance. See - it'd just be too much for his Lordship if I didn't just look like I do and ... well, the you-know-what thing. Me being a gimp too - no, that'd be too much for him. He'd send me packing, he would. No need to worry now, though. I'll be well. The doctor said as much."

Dorian felt like charging inside and start yelling. Of course he would never do such a thing! Bonham was his friend! Even if Bonham were to become crippled, Bonham would always have a place with him! Always! How dared Bonham think otherwise? How dared Bonham believe Dorian capable of something so ... shallow?!

"I suppose you're right," said John-Paul with a faint shiver to his voice. "When you put it that way I understand. He's all about beauty and perfection. And if you don't live up to his standards you're on your own. You're right. He was all over Major Eberbach. I thought he'd follow him through Hell if that cagey bastard asked him to. You could have thought they were soul mates or something - at least as far as his Lordship was concerned. Dumped him like bad news because of a scar, did he? It's not as if Uncle NATO could help getting shot at. Damn. That really makes you think, doesn't it? I gained two kilos last year, maybe I can join Rudy in running in the mornings, get them off again. Better not get any older either."

Again, Dorian felt like screaming at them.


He had to dig his nails into his palms as not to rush in there right away. But to do so wouldn't do. No, first he had to get his emotions under control, else he feared he would start bawling, not just yelling. No, cool and collected, then get Bonham alone to start with. He and Bonham had been friends for so long. Bonham knew him better than anybody! Dorian would have bet anything that Bonham knew exactly what made Dorian tick! Apparently not so, though.

"I'm nowhere near that shallow!" Dorian mumbled to the wind as he trudged back towards the castle.

The same night.

Dorian was, in a vague sort of way, aware of that it was all a dream, but it was such a lovely dream that he just let himself be swept away, enjoying what happened.

His bed at Castle Gloria, with the bright red silk sheets - for making love on only. For sleeping he had a white set in cashmere. The Eroica Rose red really set off the milky pale skin of his companion.

What a body!

Long, long lines - gorgeous legs; tightest little arse he had had the pleasure of seeing in a long while; strong back - left shoulderblade marked with a scar, but the light of love made even that look enticing, rather than off-putting. Straight, black hair which had fallen aside to reveal an elegant, pale neck and a small shell of an ear that just begged for Dorian to come nibble on it.

He sat behind the other man, admiring the rippling play of muscles as he shifted his arms to wrap them around the pillow he hid his face in. Then his arse and legs as he spread the latter, tilting the former slightly upwards. The muscular globes - begging, just like the ear, for a bit of caressing teeth - were far enough apart to give him a mouth-watering view of the cleft in between. And after another shift - legs opening further, arse rising as if yearning for his touch - he saw the little pink, wrinkly hole previously hidden.


And! Since this was his dream - he could do exactly what he wanted!

He leaned down and bit gently into the left arse cheek, eliciting a slightly surprised grunt from the other man. Then the right cheek looked so abandoned, so he had to bite that as well. This time the other must have been prepared, for no sound emerged. He found the sensitive spot just above the tail bone and laved it with his tongue before sucking over said bone, letting his teeth scrape the skin delicately. That earned him a muffled moan.

Micropenis! he suddenly remembered and stilled all action. No, no, no! This is my dream! Nothing so horrible would be in my dream!

Still, there was nothing for it but to scoot closer and pull gently at the nearest hip. When the arse obligingly rose, he slipped a hand beneath the man, fumbling around ...

... and quickly located something very long and fat, not to mention hot and a little slick.


He breathed out a sigh in relief. I knew my subconscious wouldn't let me down, he thought happily.

Still fondling the nice manhood he began inching higher, until his own, very erect and very, very happy cock encountered interesting parts in its search of a snug, hot cave to call home.

The scar did give him pause as his mouth in turn searched for that sweet little ear. The thing was so ... ugly. Far uglier than he had remembered. Dark red, with a twisting to the skin that made him want to shudder. Couldn't his dream self have, well ... smoothed it out a little? If it could make that really nice length that currently twitched willingly against his palm, then it certainly should be able to pretty up this part too, shouldn't it? But apparently that was not on the agenda for the day, so he just lifted his head as he went past it.

He was just about to take that little earlobe between his teeth. He was also just about to let the crown of his engorged manhood slip into that eager little hole down below. For the hole would be eager, that was a given. This was Dorian's dream and - ugly scars aside - he was about to have a good time in it. Yes, no doubt the hole was already stretched and oiled, ready to receive him. Though tight - oh so very tight ... Still, nothing would stop him from just sliding in to the hilt.

"I say, how about a little less dallying and a little more of the old how's your father?"

Dorian's entire body seized up and a ball of ice materialised in his stomach. That ... That ...

"A good shag between manly men is just the thing to get the old blood pumping, eh?"

No ... No! No!! It can't be! No, no, no! The world can't be that cruel!

"Ah ..." he managed to gasp. "Ah ..."

Then he flung himself backwards.

The most horrifying sight he had ever seen in his entire life - and that included the time when he accidentally saw his mother naked - turned around to face him.

"Dreadfully rude that, Dorian, old chap."

"Nnnght!" he pressed forth through a panicked-blocked throat. He bit his cheek, but felt no pain, confirming that it really was a dream, much good that it did him otherwise. Wake up, Dorian! Wake up! Wake the fuck up right fucking now! "Nrrrghghh-ha!"

The hair - which he had thought pushed aside - wasn't long at all, it had merely appeared that way - or had possibly now, since this was a dream, shortened to its regular length. The man before him reached down to grab hold of the almost obscenely long penis that jutted out straight at Dorian. He pumped it slowly. Before Dorian's eyes the dreadful object actually seemed to expand!

"Ng-ha-ha-aaah!" If he could just scream loud enough, surely he would wake himself up? But his vocal cords weren't cooperating. I have to wake up! I must! If I die in my sleep I'll die in real life too! And he surely would die if he had to stay there any longer!

"What's the matter, Dorian, old chum?" said the man. "What you said before was that it didn't matter who I was, as long as I was built like old Big Ben pointing at twelve o'clock."

Finally, Dorian screamed. The sound hit his eardrums - far more real than the sounds he himself had made earlier - actual sound, not just the remembrance of sound. It ripped him from the world of red sheets and horror - and into a dark room where the sheets were warm and soft and white against his cold, wet body.

As he scooted up to the bed's head his heart drummed like the head of a crazed woodpecker. He tugged the blankets along before darting out a hand to light the bedside table lamp. A hasty inspection of the room found him alone and he manfully withstood an urge to check all hidden areas for an intruder.

Slowly his furiously pumping blood slowed down. When it no longer felt as if he was on the verge of a heart attack, he abandoned the bed's relative safety and high tailed it towards the shower.

With the cold sweat and the last cobwebs of sleep cleaned away, Dorian still felt soiled. What a terrible, terrible dream!

This is all Bonham's fault! he thought morosely as he dried his body with a blanket-sized towel. His and John-Paul's! Doubting me like they did! How dare they?! And that dream! I'm not some ... size queen! It must just be ... proportional, yes, that's all. Not ... boy-sized. That's just ... wrong. That doesn't make me shallow!

Only ... there was a small part of him that saw the connection. An ugly scar or a small penis - was one or the other really a failing mark? Or both, for that matter?

Oh, this is stupid! I ... I don't know what to think ...

He had dried his hair as good as he was capable of in a hurry, without bringing out the hair drier and spending much too long a time getting it right. He loved the royal air his mane gave him, but on occasions such as this it could be a bit of a bother.

I'm not shallow! I'm not! Really! I ... Well, I don't want to be!

He sat down before the empty fireplace, looking at the ashes.

I would never do anything with Lawrence just because he happens to have a big-- If he even does! That was just in my nightmare! He probably has a tiny, tiny one - smaller even than Klaus's! Ha! Then the thought of Klaus made him curl up tighter. But I left Klaus because of ... that. Perhaps not left him as if they had been in a committed relationship and Dorian had broken it up, but still ... He had abandoned the man he had considered himself in love with due to a less than pleasing physical attribute.

A stress headache started to build in his temples. To think was much too difficult.

Zur Hölle damit! he thought, borrowing one of Klaus's frequent expressions. I need to talk to someone!

And, well, who that "someone" might be, was never in any doubt. It never had been.

He got up and dug out a loose pair of jeans from the very back of his wardrobe - about the only pair of loose fitting trousers he owned, as he normally preferred the skin tight versions. Then he pulled on a pair of running shoes and a pistachio green T-shirt. Tonight was not a night to feel confined. Finally he dried his hair one last time, brushing it through perfunctory with his fingers to get out the worst snarls. His stylist would have to look at it later, he suspected. Never mind. He then slipped out the open window, descending the castle as if going down steep stairs. The night was dark, but the moon provided some shady light, as did the lamp posts burning faintly down the road - they were always on, just in case the castle's inhabitants had to abandon ship in a hurry. Or, for a night such as this, to guide Dorian's feet over the dew-damp grass on the well-known path to the caretaker's cottage.

It had been years, he realised with some regret, since last time he had done this - since Before Klaus at the very least. There had simply been no need as A.K. he had been happy and focused on his goal. Frustrated, sometimes, yes, but not in so far that he hadn't been dead sure of what he wanted.

When he reached the little patio he stopped, looking up at the largest of the three windows on the second floor, the window that led to Bonham's bedroom. Bonham had the strange habit of waking up early and thus had chosen a room graced by the morning sun. That wouldn't happen for a few hours yet, though.

Dorian stepped up on one of the chairs and from it onto the table. From there his fingers found purchase in the minute hollows formed between the bricks. The running shoes made scaling slightly more awkward than his usual boots, but it was only a few steps up until he could take hold of the first of the iron bars circling the window. From a distance they might look like decorations, but Dorian knew they were not. They were made to easily take a man's weight, as he stood on his knees against the wall, peering inside.

The room was not so dark that Dorian couldn't see the single shape occupying the bed. He drew a quiet breath of relief. If Bonham had had ... company, Dorian wouldn't have known what to do. Besides, it had always felt so ... wrong, the few times Dorian had come only to find his old friend ... entertaining.

It wasn't exactly a secret, but neither was it something that the gang members ever really talked about. Newcomers usually didn't find out for quite some time and, when they did, they were often quite shocked. Of course, Bonham was most discrete. He never brought his ... partners up to the castle, for instance. Dorian had only met one of them face to face, and that had been pure accident - though thoroughly embarrassing, at least from Dorian's point of view. He had managed to outwit James and plundered the kitchen, finding enough bounty for a good-sized breakfast for two, which he had packed into a picnic basket and then set out towards the caretaker's cottage, intent on sharing his mighty spoil with his best friend. He hadn't had a thought of Bonham's little ... peculiarity, and had thus walked right into the kitchen - only to find ... her there!

Yes. Bonham ... collected flowers, rather than trees. Liked the jiggling bits. Preferred pussy. In other words - he was ... straight. Or mostly so, anyway. Sometimes he joked that just being around Dorian and his gang made him at least 5% gay. To Dorian's knowledge, though, Bonham had never as much as looked at a guy with a bit of heat in his eyes. Utterly weird, Dorian just couldn't understand it, but it was Bonham, after all, so he made allowance. Such as making sure that none of the ... more femininely inclined persons occupied Bonham's bed on a night when Dorian himself intended to share it.

Tonight, though, the coast seemed clear. He flipped up the locking mechanism - the window could be opened from both sides - and sneaked in. To close the window again was a second's work, then he toed off his running shoes. He stood absolutely still for a few moments, listening intently. Hearing nothing but Bonham's slow, steady breaths, with just a hint of a snore, he slipped up to the bed and then onto it.

"Huh? Ha? Oh, 's jus' 'ou," Bonham muttered. He shifted to the side, leaving Dorian room to lay down in while resting his head on Bonham's shoulder. An arm settled around his back and pulled him closer. "Whassup?"

Dorian didn't answer. He desperately wanted to discuss things with Bonham, but he just wasn't sure how to formulate the problem. Better just lay there and draw strength from the quiet presence. The presence that apparently didn't feel as secure with him as he did with it. Which was intolerable.

"I love you, Bonnie," he whispered in the dark, making an almost question of the words.

The arm around his back tightened. "Love you too, doll."

"Never leave me, Bonnie."

"Course not, doll."

"Not even if you become a ... a ... gimp."

A rumbling sound. "Heard that, did you? John-Paul found the flowers outside. I thought they might be from you, I did. Don't you worry none, doll. Old Bonham isn't budging, unless you be wanting him to."

"I can't believe you think I might want that, Bonnie!" His hand had landed on the chest of Bonham's pyjamas and he fisted the flannel to make his point. "I'm not that shallow at all!"

"Course you're not, Milord."

Dorian gasped. These times they spent together were sacred. Ever since they were both youngsters he had visited Bonham like this - and Bonham always, but always called him 'doll' when it was just the two of them. After Dorian had tried to break into Lord Price's house Bonham's father had found him and taken him with him to their home. This had been before the family moved to North Downs. Bonham had always claimed that Dorian looked like a life-sized doll. The name had stuck. The only time when Bonham wouldn't use it when they were alone was when Bonham lied to him. Which meant ...

"Am I really that shallow, Bonnie?"

"What do you think, doll?"

Not ready to answer that question, Dorian began to haltingly explain what had happened between him and Klaus during the Latanirth mission. Oh, he didn't mention the ... actual problem, just let Bonham draw his own conclusion, since he knew that Bonham was on the wrong track already anyway. Besides, wouldn't it be the same thing if he had abandoned Klaus due to the scar as if he had done it due to ... something else?

While listening to the explanation Bonham lay in mostly silence. Sometimes he would hum and sometimes his arm tightened a little, as if he wanted to reassure Dorian of his presence.

"Well?" Dorian finally asked. "Did I do wrong?"

"Right and wrong is a tricky business, doll. It's not always as simple as all that. You followed that machine maniac around for years, for all that he claimed not to want you around. For you to ask for a kiss I understand. I'm just not sure why Mr. Repressed was showing off his scar to you, I'm not. How did he seem like?"

"Klaus? Annoyed enough to start a minor war. But doesn't he always?"

"Nah, sometimes he just be flustered because you get too close to him. Like when I happened to brush up against his lanky carcass that time up in Schloss Adler. Like a virgin girl, he be, not knowing how to react to a boy who likes him and wants to cuddle."

Dorian laughed half-heartedly. "Now that you mention it, well ... yes, that is a rather apt image, I will admit."

"See? So, why do you think Uncle NATO showed you that scar of his, then, doll?"

"To scare me off from that kiss I wanted, of course." Which ... Klaus had succeeded in.

"Hmm. You really be thinking so?"

"Why, yes. Of course."

"Hmm. Because he usually does that, does he? Whips off his clothes to let you ogle his body? Yes, does that at a drop of a hat, does he? A real exhibitionist, he be."

"No, of course not! He's the very model of a prude! I've never even seen the man in shorts or a T-shirt!"

"How did he seem when he did it, then? Nervous, was he? Angry? Anything? Think about it, doll."

So Dorian thought about it. "Well ... He did hesitate just before he ... bared himself. But otherwise he just had his smooth mask on."

"Be hiding his feelings, then. Yes, he be real good at that. And he would do that too, in a situation like that, I would think. Did he say anything before?"

"Well, he kind of snorted and muttered 'Thought as much'."

"Hmm." Bonham rubbed Dorian's back for a few seconds. "Try this on for size, doll - what if old stoneface was ... testing the waters, kind of like?"

"How do you mean, Bonnie?"

"It takes a bit of imagining, but he be human, like, and he does have feelings too. Doesn't want to have them trodden on, not more than any of us do. What if he was kind of worried that the scar really would turn you off and wanted to check if it would before he dared to trust you?"

"I still don't understand what you're getting at, Bonnie. Why would the major be worried about a thing like that?"

Bonham grunted. "As I said, he's not more than human, he is. Who knows what goes on behind those icy green eyes of his? Perhaps what the big lug really wanted was for you to say 'oh, that little thing? Why, something as small as that won't change my mind. I be loving you forever anyway.' And then you would live happily ever after, like."

Dorian felt like saying "Nrrrghghh-ha!" all over again, only he was all too aware of that this was no dream. Still - "Nnnght!" expressed fairly well exactly how he felt. Shell-shocked. Stupefied. Fucked.


Unrest spread across Europe. It had started two days earlier. A NATO mole inside the Kremlin had managed a brief report. Something big had happened. Moscow was heading quickly into a full-scale lock down. Why? Agent Chair of the Furniture Team didn't know, then the contact broke. In the morning several known KGB agents were spotted in Europe. An intercepted message to a spy told nothing of the situation in itself, but ordered the man to be prepared for action.

Klaus and his team were on stand-by, ready to leave at a moment's notice to wherever a situation cropped up that might actually shed some light on what was coming down.

However, not even NATO's Iron Klaus stayed on high alert 24 hours a day while nothing actually happened. Like all men he had to sleep - even if the beds temporarily lining the walls of the Alphabet's room were nothing to write home about ... He used his set of emergency clothes and had called for Herr Hinkel to drive up with more from Eberbach come morning. Like all men he also had to eat - though that could at least be accomplished one-handedly while reading a report or writing down some order or even talking over the phone. However, twice a day he had to leave the office for a quick visit to the nearest men's room and now, at 21.30 the third day, his bodily odour finally annoyed him enough that he saw no choice but to take half an hour off to shower. At that point in time it was unlikely that anything big would start and he knew he'd sleep better for it.

NATO headquarters could boast with a small gym in the basement with various training equipment and - of course - a shower. Klaus generally avoided public showers - who wanted a bunch of weirdos ogling his body or staring at his less than average penis anyway? To get through military communal showers had been difficult enough and had earned him a reputation of being a prude. Oh well. He preferred that rather than that they started harassing him about his penile dimensions ...

The NATO gym shower wasn't too bad, though. Not since one of the Prime Number Team agents had almost walked in on him and he had made perfectly clear what he thought of such a perversion. In fact, since then the normally rather well-populated gym had a tendency of emptying out on the rare occasions he showered there. That was why he wasn't very surprised when, on leaving the shower area with his hair still damp, he found the room deserted.

The light level of the training room had dimmed, though, which was not normal. He shifted his arm to make sure his shoulder holster lay properly and that his still slightly moist arm wouldn't pull on his shirt and thus hinder a quick draw.

"No need for that, major."

The well-known voice, which he honestly hadn't thought he would ever hear again, impacted strangely with his stomach, making it clench.

"You nuisance, what've you done to the men who trained here? Propositioned them so they fled like any decent men would?"

As he spoke he turned to the source of the voice, to find Eroica sitting artfully on one of the exercise machines. He didn't draw his Magnum, since he knew the Earl to be harmless. A nuisance, for sure, but essentially harmless.

A wonder he didn't get into the shower with me. Oh, yes, right - he is no longer interested.

The notion did take some getting used to. Apparently some daft part of him still expected things that were no longer potentially available.

"Oh, major, don't be silly. Bonham told them that the room was needed for a top secret meeting. He does have a way with words, Bonham, and he did carry official papers too - or official-looking papers, I should say - so they all left in a hurry."

Since there really was no further need of him actively dodging Eroica's attentions, he supposed he could afford to be civil. After all, the man did know something about him that he rather wouldn't want spread in one of the man's inexplicable bouts of pique. Not that he thought that the Earl really would tell anyone. The man did have a strange sense of honour.

Eroica hadn't actually said all that much about Klaus's ... attribute ... when Klaus had displayed it - though his eyes had spoken volumes - of shock, revulsion and pity ... Which had stung, yes. Of course it had. At least he hadn't laughed or else he would have walked out of the room with a broken jaw - or been carried out on a stretcher more likely. Still.

"Huh. Why? If you're in Bonn to loot Macke-Haus can you at least do it without bothering me?"

Even if he was a pessimist Klaus did try to find positive things when life dealt him bad cards. One of the good things with Eroica finding out was that Klaus had thought he at least from then on wouldn't get his work interrupted by obsessed art thieves.

The Earl rose from the machine. He looked strangely muted - it took Klaus a few seconds to figure out that it wasn't due to the poor lighting, but because of his clothes. On the normally so peacock Earl the silver sweater of crushed velvet, matte black trousers, black silk scarf and black leather boots looked positively demure. The only splash of colour was a bright red heart hanging from a silver necklace. In his left hand he held some papers.

"I'm not here to steal anything," the man said. His eyes were intent on Klaus's own and wide in a way Klaus couldn't quite read. "I have already stolen something, you see, and--"

"What? Now you think I'll give you safe haven, just because you've worked for NATO in the past?"

Klaus did recognize that having a "tame" thief hadn't been half bad. There had been a few missions since Latanirth that might have run smoother with someone along who was skilled at such things. The Chief had already requested Eroica to be consulted once and Klaus had been unwilling to argue any better reason than usual for not wanting to do that. "Perhaps if we sent Major Naviers to ask him instead, sir?" Klaus could imagine himself suggesting. He had seen Major Naviers once, by pure accident, when they had been forced to undress the man in a hurry and get him into the shower after a suspect had sprayed him with acid. The man was ... freakishly large. Luckily, his hand hadn't been forced.

"No, no. Not at all. I ... Oh, this is awkward." The Earl made a face that was half smile and half ... something else. He looked tired. "I ... I came to beg your forgiveness."

Klaus blinked. His confusion must have shown, for the thief suddenly knelt.

It was not a graceful kneeling, like a swain might sink down on one knee to ask the hand of his lady in holy matrimony. No, Eroica made no effort to catch himself, just landed heavily on his kneecaps in a way that must have hurt. He kept his back straight, though, and his eyes never wavered.

"I did you a horrible disfavour, Klaus, and I am deeply sorry.”

The fop must want something. Wary of some ploy, Klaus shrugged. "You carried through with the mission. That was all I asked."

The man dropped his eyes, instead fixing them at Klaus's boots.

"I didn't think. I just reacted. Now I have ... had time to think things over. Please forgive me. I was a right berk. There's no other way to put it. I'm sorry, Klaus."

"I haven't given you permission to use my first name," he said, mostly as an experiment.

"I'm sorry, Major von dem Eberbach," was said at once, almost ... meekly? "Please, I'm at your feet now, begging you for a second chance."

"I don't remember giving you a first one."

Eroica reached up with his right hand and unclipped the shiny, red heart from the necklace. He placed it on the papers he had been holding and then used both hands to lay them down before Klaus's feet.

"My heart," said the fop. "Crush it if you will."

Klaus snorted. "That's not your heart. That's some shiny bauble you probably stole on a whim at the airport on your way here."

"Yes, but how else shall I prove my love to you? I really do love you, Klaus, no matter what. A second chance, that is all I ask for. I will do anything, Klaus, and I mean that, I really do this time. I'll steal only for you - never anything else, ever again, if that is your wish."


"I'll turn myself in, if you want? I-I'll cut off my hair for you. I'll go to the House of Lords in a green mohawk. I'll openly declare my interest in sheep. Anything." The suggestions in themselves were ridiculous, of course, yet they were said with a certain determination, as if ...

Well, fuck me sideways, the fop seems to mean it. Huh. Now what do I do?

He had considered the possibility, of course. Before. The possibility of Dorian ... finding out, yet still ... wanting, still ... loving. Up until that day in Latanirth, the daft notion had popped up in his dreams - both when he was asleep and on the rare occasion that he wool-gathered. He had even considered different possible responses he could make if such a thing ever came about. But since that day, when Dorian had ... looked and then turned white with shock, Klaus had ruthlessly squashed away any such useless speculation as soon as it popped up.

"Why the change of heart?" he said.

Well ... that wasn't easily answered.

"I remembered that I love you. And ... Bonham made me see sense. I'm really, truly sorry, Major von dem Eberbach. I really was a berk. A stupid, insensitive, idiotic berk."

"This isn't some fairytale, Herr Gloria. I'm not under some curse that Love's True Kiss can cure."

What was he supposed to say? "You know, it might not be a problem after all. I'm really mostly a top anyway. Just give me a chance and I'll have you purring like a happy little major as I ride you towards heaven. I do like a bit of finger play, though, so if you would like to top now and then I do believe I can accommodate you quite nicely. And I've been thinking about it and I think I can get both your cock and most of your balls into my mouth at the same time. That would be rather interesting to try, wouldn't it?"

"I don't care," he said instead, his voice firm. "I think we can work things out."

Klaus snorted again.

The fop really did sound as if he meant it. Zur Hölle damit!

"Major von dem Eberbach?"


Slowly, the bright blue eyes lifted from their lowered position. Without words they managed to plead with him even before the fop parted his lips.

"Please? Just one more chance. See, I'm on my knees here. We're alone, because I thought you would prefer it if I didn't make a scene. If you want I will do this out in the lobby. Or out on the street. On national television. Just say the word. Please? Y-you don't have to commit to anything. We can just let things return to how they were, if you like. I'll behave, though. I'll try my best never to ruin your missions again and just help you with whatever I can. Without any theatrics. You have my most solemn word. Please?"

Klaus looked around, making sure that they really had no audience. Then he glanced at the fragile-looking heart. What would the Earl do if he just stepped on it? Though symbolic, he had a feeling that if he did he would never see the fop again. All his admittedly paranoid instincts told him that the man really would respect his decision, whatever he decided.

"I expected you to go," he said.

The other blinked, then nodded slowly.

"When you saw ... it," he continued. "It's not exactly pretty."

"It looked fully functional, though. Major von dem Eberbach - I swear--"

"I'm a realist, you wanker. Of course I knew it would shock you. I knew there wasn't much of a chance you might react otherwise. I don't believe in fairytales. I expected you to go. I ... didn't think that you might come crawling back."

"But crawling I am. And if you just let me, I will worship you from now on."

"Ha! Get on your feet."

The Earl did so, albeit somewhat shakily.

"As I said, I didn't expect you to return. You did. You ask for a second chance. I can't give you that. I never give anyone a second chance."

Dorian's mouth opened, as if he was about to protest. Then he closed it, looking down again. "I'm sorry that you--" he began to say, his voice rough, though Klaus paid him no heed.

"I'll give you a first one, though. Don't prove me wrong."

Cornflower blue eyes lit up and the serious face transformed into a vision of radiant joy that almost made Klaus want to take a step back. He half expected the man to leap at him, but instead Dorian bent to retrieve the heart and the papers. Still smiling beatifically, he offered him both.

Klaus wasn't about to touch something so foppish.

"If I feel the need to crush your heart I know where to find it," he said. For a second he dropped his gaze to a place located roughly between Dorian's 5th and 6th ribs.

"I'll keep it for you, then," said Dorian. "You ... might want the papers, though."

He held them up so that Klaus could see them better. It took him a second or two to recognize the letterhead. Then he hastily grabbed them. "This looks to be--"

"I suspected that you might want me to prove myself, somehow. So I hoped you might be just a tiny, little bit impressed if I had brought proof already, kind of thing. Um ... It took a bit of doing, but I think the list is complete. That should be the names and addresses of all KGB moles currently working in Europe. As of this time the day before yesterday, anyway. But I created a bit of a ... diversion, so I don't think they know the list's gone yet. I stole Lenin. Then I got here as soon as I could."

Klaus stared at the list of names. The long list of names. This was the chance of a lifetime. They would have to work quickly!

He clutched the list in his fist, turned and started towards the exit. Before reaching the door, though, he stopped and looked back. Dorian stood exactly where he had left him, red heart glittering between his fingers as he held the piece of jewellry to his chest. His radiant smile had dimmed somewhat.

So, Klaus went back and kissed him. KGB could wait for five seconds. Or ten. Or possibly a minute or two.

The End

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