On Tanks And War
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than very cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Corrections to my language (and other things) are also most welcome! Ask if you want me to archive it anywhere. You may link to this story if you want or to my main page. 1.889 words. Written mostly in September 2008.
Betaed by Heather Sparrows and Kadorienne - thank you, both of you!
Normally Bonham slept the deep, undisturbed sleep of the just. Every once in a while, however, it happened that Eroica's trusted second in command would wake up in the wee morning hours, with his head clear as a bell and sinking back to sleep a lost cause. These spells only lasted for half an hour or an hour at the very most, though. What he usually did was to take advantage of the fact that a certain other member of the gang - one answering only to the lone name of James - also usually slept deeply and undisturbed - possibly not the tranquil sleep of the just, but more like that of a dragon resting contented on its hoard of gold - or on its hoard of found loose change, as the case might be.
So, Bonham trudged downstairs to the kitchen, already envisioning the sizeable sandwich he would assemble for himself - plenty of butter, thick slices of cheese, three or four cherry tomatoes, a small mountain of cucumber and what else yummy he might discover on raiding the temporarily unguarded fridge. They usually did have a large cheese supply - James did approve of cheese, especially the blue mouldy ones.
He had just sat down by the small kitchen table with his spoil stacked up before him, when he heard the ominous sound of approaching footsteps. Fearing the worst - i.e. an irate accountant about to nag incessantly at him about being wasteful with valuable food - Bonham felt his heart sink. He knew that it would be impossible for him to either escape or even hide the damning evidence.
Through the door came, however, not a miniature, apparently one-eyed ogre, but the tall master of the house. He saw Dorian give a start and it didn't escape Bonham that the Earl's first instinct on entering a room he had obviously expected to find empty was to look slightly down, to James-height. Then, on recognising him, Dorian smiled widely in a distinctly relieved fashion.
"Milord," Bonham greeted, keeping his voice down - no need to take any chances. "Feeling peckish?"
In his sweeping, silk dressing-gown, which fairly billowed around him, the Earl reminded Bonham of a dryad. The sheer, pale green fabric reached just below his thighs and below followed his long, long legs, gloriously naked except for slippers the exact shade of the robe.
As if he'd be caught dead in an outfit that doesn't match. He's such a classy gent! Bonham thought.
Dorian smiled wryly and nodded. "Yes, just a little. Oh, this looks just perfect. Make me one too, would you, there's a dear?"
Then he sat down opposite to him, obviously never doubting that Bonham indeed would oblige him. Bonham did one better and simply pushed the already made sandwich across the table before starting to assemble himself a new one.
"Thank you, Bonham."
"You sound a mite tired, Milord," he commented as he cut the fat, strongly smelling cheese.
"Why, I haven't had a blink of eye-shut all night," Dorian answered - after having finished chewing and swallowing daintily, of course.
"Ah," said Bonham, knowingly. "Iron Klaus living up to his name then, nudge, nudge?" He waggled his eyebrows.
Dorian bent his neck demurely, but didn't even attempt to hide the wide smile that spread across his full lips. "A gentleman never kisses and tells, Bonham."
"You might be an Earl and all, but as far as gentlemen go, you've kissed plenty of them and told us afterwards. Spill, Milord. Herr Tank came home around half past nine, didn't he? Ever since then, eh?" He waggled his eyebrows some more, not really believing that Dorian would give any type of graphic account, but nevertheless enjoying the tease.
Dorian laughed, then hastily lifted a hand to prevent a cucumber from straying. After having lowered the sandwich he sighed deeply. "I wish, Bonham. I wish! Oh, I'm not saying that he doesn't live up to that cute moniker of his most of the time. He is quite the athlete, my dear love. Those dawn-to-dusk runs of his build up plenty of stamina, if you know what I mean ..." They shared a grin, but then Dorian's melted away and he looked quite petulant. "Not tonight, though."
"Oh? He be having ... problems, then?" After all, Uncle NATO was now over 50. Bonham kept expecting the man to have to slow down soon. So far he had waited in vain.
Dorian laughed again and Bonham luxuriated in hearing the low, rumbling, lovely sound. He was blessed with such a employer, he truly was.
"Not the kind of problems you mean, Bonham. I can assure you, no such problems at all. Oh no. Oh, it was the silliest thing." Dorian leaned a little closer. "It's around ten, right? And I tell you, Bonham, I'm not in the habit of going to bed around ten, but he does have all that stamina and a man does need his beauty sleep and unless we go to bed early there won't be time for both of them, if you catch my drift." Another set of meaningful glances were exchanged.
"Then his mobile beeps. Well, snaps really, you know that sound, like--" Dorian snapped his fingers. "--it makes when he gets an SMS."
"Work?" Bonham guessed and made a brief grimace. By right Uncle NATO could have retired, but no, he was still going strong. Bonham suspected that no one at NATO had the balls to tell Iron Klaus he was getting too old for the field.
"Not even that. His father. At least he wasn't trying to get us to visit for Christmas this year. No, the old man ordered him on-line to check a new thread on tank-net.org."
"Oh?" Bonham wasn't on the Internet much. He checked his e-mail every other day or so, but that was about it.
"Yes, it's a message board. They discuss tanks there. Mostly model ones, but real ones too. Anyway, someone had posted something that had upset his father and he wanted Klaus to see it. And Klaus, well, you know Klaus and tanks ..."
Bonham snorted. Oh, he knew very well about Klaus and tanks. They still had the old Leopard in the rose garden and he had heard most suspicious sounds emanating from it when his employer and Uncle NATO "worked" on it on some long summer evenings.
Dorian put down his sandwich, half-eaten, and slumped back in the chair. "I did try to tell him it could wait, but no. Klaus fired up his laptop and that's all she wrote." He sighed deeply, then leaned forward to tap his fingertips hard against the table. "Four hours later ... " he said meaningfully and rolled his eyes. Then he lifted the sandwich again and bit down.
As he chewed he waved his right hand vaguely. Finally he swallowed. "Clackity clackity clackity clack, I swear that man types to an army march. I told him to wake me up when he was finished but he just muttered 'Jetzt nicht, Schatz.' and didn't even look my way. But how could I sleep to that noise? He did hum the Panzerlied at one point, which was rather nice. But then he called his father - actually, at one point I think he even had the Chief on the phone - the old coot is apparently also a member. They spoke so quickly and disjointedly that I'm not really sure what they said, but they commented on whatever was written, how they would reply, what strategy they would use, how the moderators handled what happened, possible allies, who would post what and in which order for best effect, and whatnot. I tell you, I didn't get a wink!"
Looking forlorn, he ate some more. Bonham did his best to look properly sympathetic.
"At one point, Bonham," Dorian continued and suddenly put down the sandwich and instead stood up, "I thought that enough really must be enough! So I did this--"
Whereupon he pushed back his shoulders and thrust out his pelvis, making the sheer material of his gown fall back to reveal ... everything.
Well, everything, as consisting of a lean, well-muscled body - toned a minimum of 10 hours at the castle gym a week - with strong chest muscles; nipples pink and pert from the chill of the kitchen; trim abdomen muscles; wide thighs; long, long legs and lovely, creamy skin with sparkles of hair so blond it must be considered white. And - full, but not tenting - a pair of army green briefs decorated with steel grey tanks, canons proudly erect.
Bonham felt his eyes all but bulge as he took in the ravishing display and possibly something else also felt inclined to bulge. Oh, he had seen the sight before (though not in that particular pair of briefs, no), Dorian had never been shy of showing himself off to his admirers. Equally true it wasn't a sight anyone got tired of in a hurry.
"-- and did that stubborn boar of a man lift me up like his blushing bride, did he throw me onto our bed and did he ravish me within an inch of my life until the break of dawn? No, no and no! How unfair is this, Bonham? I ask you: how unfair?"
Dorian poured himself a glass of water before sitting down again, shrugging his gown back into place.
"He be mad," was the only thing Bonham could think of to say.
Dorian shook his head. "No. Just singularly focused." He sighed again, then ate the last of the sandwich. "I dare say he hardly noticed me. I'll make him pay for that later." He smiled lecherously, leaving Bonham in no doubt of in which manner this debt would have to be paid.
He downed the water in one sweep, Adam's apple going up and down as he swallowed in quick succession. "Thank you, Bonham," he then said, "that was just what a body needed. But now I think I have about five minutes to get back up to our room, so I better be going."
"What happens in five minutes, Milord?"
Dorian leaned back in the chair again. This time his smile looked troublesomely similar to that of a feather-decorated feline's. "Well, you see. I figure that if this person who makes trouble for them on tank-net.org suddenly surrenders unconditionally, that will leave Klaus in a state of both frustration that he didn't get to execute the battle plan they had come up with and also in glee over his complete, utter victory. I do have a feeling that such a state will prove most fruitful for everyone involved if he was to vent this, let's say, horizontally. Or vertically, I'm really not fussy about positions."
Bonham raised an eyebrow. "And you think this will happen five minutes from now?"
Dorian glanced towards the clock as he rose once more. "Four now. Why yes - you see 02:45 is the time I paid LeopardTanksR4Pussies to surrender unconditionally at. I really must be going now. Ta, Bonham. Sweet dreams."
"Sweet dreams to you too, Milord."
When he was alone in the kitchen again, Bonham started to laugh. Say what you would of the Red-Gloria/von-dem-Eberbach household - it was seldom dull.
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