The Clothes Make The Man
Author's disclaimer and notes: I don't own them, I just dream of doing so. Feedback is better than Coco Sunshine. 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. 2.032 words. Written in February 2011.
Betaed by Heather Sparrows and Kadorienne - thank you both of you!! Remaining errors are all mine.If you want you can also read/download the story as a doc file (without graphics). -->
This fic is available translated to japanese by BasilLeaves! Thank you very much, BasilLeaves!
To negotiate with terrorists could be extremely frustrating, as sometimes their singleminded dedication to their cause could lead to demands so out of synch with reality that no compromise could be reached.
One thing that could be said for negotiating with terrorists was, though, that they hardly ever demanded to see him naked.
"Nein! Absolutely not! Under no circumstances! I refuse!"
"Well, darling, then you will just have to break into - what did you call that strange-looking, dull structure, the Pendragon? - all by yourself. I see no beauty in it for me and unless I see beauty I have no reason to break in."
"I'm not stripping for you in the middle of the Pentagon!"
And the unmitigated dimwit had the gall to shrug his shoulders in that fruity-looking way of his, smile expectantly and raise his eyebrows! "As I said: No beauty - no Eroica."
"Lord Gloria ... " Klaus had learned that the fop liked hearing Klaus call him Lord. While this normally meant that Klaus would rather put sugar in his coffee than use the title, this was in the middle of an important negotiation in which the Earl all but literally had Klaus by the balls. Better not even think about him touching my balls, Klaus firmly instructed himself. He took a deep breath. "It's out of the question. Consider some alternative I am capable of agreeing to." It was worth a try, he figured. Once in a blue moon logic actually worked. He then remembered a previous conversation while skydiving off a burning plane a few months ago and wondered if the Earl's slightly off reaction to what Klaus had shouted then might prove useful. He met the soft, blue eyes full on and used a tone strict, yet sincere. "I will do a lot for NATO, Lord Gloria, but I will not whore myself."
And ... yes. He got the same reaction again, a faint flicker of eyes, a narrowing of full lips and a twitch of fingers. Interesting and he filed that away for further consideration.
"Ah ... Major. I don't ... Well ... I ..." The mass of yellow curls bobbed as the fop looked around and then back to Klaus before finally nodding. "Very well, then. How about ... I will help you break into - what did you call it, the Pet-a-groin? - if ... you will let me dress you for a day."
It's the Pentagon, you insufferable moron! But you know that! You're just yanking my chain and enjoying yourself! I should kick your ass! I would, but you'd probably enjoy that too! Stupid Brit! "Sky clad is not an option!"
The blue eyes widening dramatically. "Oh, drat. Very well, then. So, we have a deal?"
"Nein!" But even as he growled the reply Klaus knew he wasn't fooling anyone. He had already started the negotiation - no way would the fop let him off the hook now. "I don't like this!" he stated for the record. "And absolutely not during the mission! I will not have you make a fool out of me in front of my men! Forget about it!"
Dorian shrugged again, just as elegant as always. "I suppose I could wait," he said, as if this was a huge concession. "Though if you try to trick me the price goes up again and I'll see you naked if I have to tranquilise you first, my dear." The threat came blithely, but then both knew that Klaus kept his word, at least in these circumstances. "How about ... I'll visit Bonn the first weekend after the mission? We can spend Saturday together, it'll be so cosy."
"I don't want you infesting my apartment with your perfumes and giving me bad memories there!"
Dorian tsked, smiling faintly, and Klaus wondered if it was really such a great idea to antagonize a man who was going to use him as a dress up doll. "No women's clothing! And nothing ... indecent!"
At this, Dorian's smile widened. "In victory, my dear major, I will be gallant and merciful. Sky clad is not an option, no women's clothing and I will make sure that whatever I chose covers as much of your handsome body as your current outfit does. Not your apartment? Well, my own, then."
Klaus still hated the very idea, but going over Dorian's summary he supposed he could suffer the indignity. They really needed to get into the Pentagon without the Yanks knowing, and that necessitated one of the best thieves in the world on his side. "I'm not flying to London just to be humiliated in front of your men!"
"No, no, I thought my apartment in Bonn, on Argelanderstraße. Just you and me, dear, like a romantic getaway for two. Deal?"
Klaus hadn't even known the fop had an apartment in Bonn. He sighed. "Whatever. Deal."
The Pentagon mission went surprisingly smoothly, even if Eroica did try to pull one of his "I think I hear someone coming! Quick, let's embrace so they will be embarrassed and go away"-stunts. Klaus outsmarted him by sacrificing Agent B, whereupon the tones changed to: "No, never mind, it was nothing, I must have misheard."
Saturday morning after the heist Klaus jogged his way up Argelanderstraße. The 4th of April was warm enough to make running pleasant and the early spring green was a colour Klaus actually approved of.
I should have insisted on green only, he berated himself, shifting his sizeable back pack. He often ran with weights, to make the situation more realistic, but for once the pack contained an extra set of clothes (if the fop tried to get him into something completely unbearable), the book he was currently reading - Tacitus, Historien - and some paper material he could work on - if the fop thought Klaus would laze around all day and look decorative he was sadly mistaken. Or blue. Or black. Maybe white, but not all over. God, if he has something in all pink or purple ... The very thought made him shiver and almost stop, but he forced himself the last block to the house owned by "Herr Roth-Ruhm". Beyond a grey iron fence with a mixture of swords and roses, he saw an opulent garden so bright with colours a paint shop seemed to have exploded inside.
Fortifying himself with a deep breath, he jogged up to the rose framed door and rang the bell. From inside he heard crisp, crystalline tones. More or less uselessly, as the door was all but instantly opened, as if the fop had watched for his arrival. Perhaps he had. And it was the fop himself, instead of some servant or gang member, as Klaus had half expected, regardless of what the man had promised, especially considering that the time was approximately 07:45. He hoped that meant they would actually be alone. He really didn't want anyone to see him move about in something ... glittery or with ... ruffles.
The Earl smiled brightly at him, that all-encompassing smile that Klaus always tried hard not to let himself look too long at, lest he'd start thawing by its sheer warmth. "I need a shower," he announced. "Then I will change. You may not watch."
His curt tones only seemed to brighten the infuriating smile. "Of course. I have a room on the second floor where you can keep your things while you're here. Please, follow me."
Dorian led the way through the house, pointing out the kitchen and the living room on the way to the stairs, and then - rather unnecessarily, in Klaus' opinion - the fop's own bedroom on the second floor. The room for Klaus was right next to it. Klaus took a perfunctory look around before dumping his back pack on the bed. "Leave the ... clothes ... on the bed while I shower," he ordered.
"They'll be ready for you. And I'll be in the living room once you're dressed. Unless you would want me to--"
"No! Fine. Now scram."
Klaus's first action, once the fop had removed himself, was to thoroughly investigate the wall between the Earl's bedroom and his for ... irregularities. He was not about to get ogled. Then he continued with the rest of the room. When he found nothing he double checked and only the knowledge that he had been very thorough and should reasonably have found everything kept him from a third round. Then he retreated to the bathroom - which he, of course, also checked - and took a very long shower. Arriving early in hope of disturbing the Earl's morning sleep was all good and well, but then he fully intended to keep out of the pervert's sight at any chance he got.
Finally starting to feel silly he stepped out of the opulent shower and took three of the towels. They were ridiculously fluffy and large and in a hideous, pink hue which did not bode well, but at least the size was good for once, as he swathed himself in them until only minimal flesh exposure remained. He took another breath, against what fate had in store for him No sequins, surely he knows better! And if they're some see-through mesh, I'll just wear my own stuff! Then, finally, unable to delay any longer, he stepped out.
Only to find that the fop hadn't left any clothes for him at all.
What, he thinks I shower and primp for hours on end, like he does?
Very annoyed with this, as he had been mentally prepared to get the worst over with, Klaus quickly locked the door, just in case the fop's plan was to "accidentally" enter the room when Klaus was in a state of dishabillé. Of course the shameless thief would be able to jimmy his way in within seconds, but Klaus would at least hear him coming and deal with the intrusion promptly - and painfully. Then he put on his spare clothes, shrugged into his shoulder holster - the fop better not have any plans for clothes that would slow his draw, should Mischa have gotten wind of this set up and sicced some Ruskies on them, with cameras no doubt ... - and marched out to confront his jailor about his prison outfit.
He found the fop in the living room as promised, at least, where the dimwit reclined in the strong light from a window, reading the morning newspaper - Bonner Generalanzeiger rather than some British gossip rag, Klaus noted with faint approval, so at least he'd have something decent to read, apart from the book tucked under his arm.
"Well, where are they?" he growled. "I told you to have them ready for after my shower!"
That warm, almost tactile smile touched him once more. "And they were ready for you, darling."
"What - we're playing the Emperor's New Clothes now? Idiot - I told you I'm not going sky clad!"
"And - sadly - you are not, my major." The smile was extremely infuriating, it really was.
"Stop this! Where are the fucking clothes?"
Impossibly wide, too. "You're wearing them, my love."
"Wha--" He looked down. No, he still wore his reserve set of clothes - dark brown trousers; crisply starched white shirt and a proper green and yellow tie. He looked up again.
Cheshire cats couldn't smile that wide. "Darling - this is not to say that I wouldn't enjoy seeing you dressed up like, say, a French nobleman from the late seventeenth century at some point. Or in a little maid's outfit, just for a lark. But, my dear - those clothes you wear right now - those really are the ones I like you best in."
"Darling, see things from my point of view. I get to have you for myself all day and I get to ogle you as much as I want. So believe me when I say this: what clothes you wear is completely - and I mean this in all possible meanings of the word - optional!"
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