The ringing of the digital phone woke Treize entirely too early. With a surly growl worthy of a hung over wolverine he fumbled for the instrument of his awareness and drew it even with his ear.
"Talk to me and make it good."
There was a long pause before a soft British accented voice drifted through the line. "Treize?"
Treize sat up, scattering his covers. He had expected Englishman a few days ago, but his partner in crime had not showed. "Dorian? Where are you?"
The soft sound of dismay colored the sweet tenor of his long time friend, "I'm... at LAX. Treize... I. Can I stay with you for a bit? I needed to get away for a bit... get my head together..."
"I'll be there in twenty minutes. I'll meet you in the concourse near Gate C 11 ok?"
"Yes... Treize? Thank you."
The Russian born thief looked at the phone in his hand and pulled on a pair of faded jeans. "Dorian... What the hell happened this time?"
20 MINUTES LATER: OUTSIDE LAX
Dorian yawned and slipped the sunglasses from his nose. He heard Treize hiss softly at the black eye the Englishman displayed. He leaned back in the seat and rubbed his temple.
"Want to talk about it?"
"Not really. It wasn't anything new... I'm just so bloody tired. I can't handle everything right now. James will be throwing a fit over the cost of the ticket, and the fact that everyone was told to take a few months off..."
"Dorian, you look like hell warmed over. James can deal with it. Now what happened?" Treize's voice was a comforting low growl, one that Dorian remembered from the darker days of his youth.
He groaned and murmured, "You remember that information I was going to give the Major?"
The tale came out in bits and pieces as the two thieves made their way to Treize's current hideout. Treize refrained from making rude comments about 'The Iron Major'. Love was love after all. But that didn't mean he wouldn't feed Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach to Noin and the girls if Dorian wasn't feeling better soon.
The tall blond was soon tucked into the spare room as the familiar rumble of Noin's Cobra announced her arrival. With a sigh Treize hurried to the door before the courier knocked so hard the hinges rattled. The look on her face sent chills down his spine.
"Where is my little closet perv?"
"Dorian is asleep Noin. You know how bad jetlag hits him."
"Fuck jetlag. I heard some rumors that for NATO's sake had Best not be true."
"What did you hear Noin?" Treize was trying to decide how to control his cousin until Dorian could charm her out of her ire. It was starting to look like a hopeless cause.
"I heard that NATO's Intel dropped the ball and Dorian almost got killed! I heard that the Iron Major blew a huge fit and ripped Dorian to shreds verbally after he had saved the German maniac's ass. I also heard that Dorian went to ground and no one, not even his own crew can find him."
The young woman paused in her rant to give Treize the evil eye. "I know that when he's that upset he goes to one of two people. You or Lupin. He won't go to the kid because it would upset him. Lupin is leading Zenigata across Switzerland right now, ergo Dorian is here."
"He'll be fine Noin. He just wanted some down time without his people hovering over him. You know how James fusses."
"Yeah, yeah. So Pinky what's the plan?"
"The usual. Wait until Dorian is ready, then go drive Zechs crazy and find the next piece of the Armor."
"I love you cousin, but you have serious issues, ya know that right?"
"Noin you really need to get laid..."
Dorian woke with a start as a feminine voice suddenly shrilled out the battle cry of, "Die Treize!" With a muffled snicker he rolled over in bed and drifted off once more. Noin wouldn't hurt Treize too badly...
BONN OFFICE OF MAJOR KLAUS von dem EBERBACH:
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T FIND HIM!"
Bonham gave 'Uncle NATO' a level look. "His lordship wished to take some time off. When he is ready he will return. He has done this before."
With that the electronics expert strode for the door. If the Major didn't like it, too bad. Lord Gloria had tolerated a lot from the high strung German. He needed time away from all the chaos to settle his mind and heart. If Dorian wanted Klaus to know where he was, he would have phoned the man.
At lunch he said as much to Agents A and Z.
"His lordship goes off to be by himself once and a while. It doesn't happen often mind you. He just needs to 'get Zen'. He's probably out with Thirteen, or Lupin."
The looks of stunned realization of the Agents' faces made the statement worthwhile.
"Lord Gloria knows Thirteen, and Lupin?" Z muttered.
"Mm, met Lupin in France six years ago, but he and Thirteen go way back. They waltzed through Spain when he was eighteen and grabbed every pretty bauble they could find that wasn't nailed down. Sometimes I think they should have been born brothers..." He carefully left out mention of Gambit. Particularly since the kid was 'Doing The Hero Thing' these days.
Agent A simply shook his head murmuring something about warm clothes and Alaska. The Major had wanted them to search out Eroica, but if the thief was with either Lupin, or Thirteen they were utterly doomed.
The touches were tender, transmitting the emotion behind them. Strong hands smoothed over trembling muscles... His eyes met that beautiful blue gaze and something hard within his heart melted. His emerald gaze at half mast, he surrendered to the man that had chased him for so many years... The one constant in his life for so very long...
Wildly tousled blond curls teased his chest as they moved towards his lap. He caught his breath on a choked moan. He wanted this. For once in his life he could admit it to himself. He wanted this flamboyant thief who haunted his waking hours. He tangled his hand in those long curls and murmured, "Ich leibe..."
** BEEP BEEEP BEEEEEP **
"Was?!? Sheiss." Klaus exploded from the bed gasping, eyes wild. The evidence of his heated dream standing proudly before his hips. He ran a shaky hand over his face. Dammit would the dreams ever end?
LA ROADRUNNER CENTRAL:
Dorian woke on the third day of his self-imposed exile to the sound of Treize chuckling in a demented manner. The young Earl of Gloria shoved the tousled mass of hair behind his ears and made his way to the room his friend kept the computers in.
"What unholy evil are you planning now?"
"I'm gonna take over the world. Wanna help?"
Dorian gazed at his friend as though he had just grown a set of horns to match his devilish smile.
"Come on... It's better than sex..." The ginger haired renegade coaxed.
"You are so weird. Now what are you up to really?"
"Searching for the next part of a set of enchanted armor."
Dorian bit his lip. What would Kl... No he was not going to worry about what Uncle NATO would think. Damn it all he was a thief. He was one of the four greatest thieves alive! If the Major couldn't accept him for who he was then to hell with him!
"I'm in. What are we looking for exactly?"
"Okay the clues are..."
Zechs sat up in his chair and shivered.
"Something wrong love?" Meiran's voice caressed his ears.
"Just had a bad feeling, Mei-chan. Hand me those files would you? I want to get ahead of Thirteen if I can."
Meiran shook her head and handed over what little information they had on the Armor of Misrule. Heero's Uncle Ryu had given them several folders of notes, but they were hard to compile. Mostly due to the haphazard style of storing the older man indulged in. One would think that he didn't want the armor found...
She had no idea how right she was.
TEMPLE OF THE SUN:
~Well old friend?~
Ryu Habisha sighed and sipped at his wine. The griffin he had befriended in his youth chuckled at the look of consternation on his weather face.
"You and I both know how dangerous the next leg of the journey will be. I don't want them getting hurt. They are all so damn young..."
The mystic beast sat near the roaring fire and murmured, ~My friend you know that fate and destiny are jealous mistresses. The thief is the chosen one. He is worthy to wear the armor. Have no fear my friend, there is more to that man than even he knows...~
"I hate it when you go all mysterious and wise."
~Terribly sorry, old man...~
"Yeah right you moth eaten feather duster."
LA OFFICE OF ZECHS MARQUISE:
"This is rich..."
Meiran looked up at the snide tone in Zechs' voice, "Who licked the red off your lollipop, Zechs?"
He gave her a steady look and snickered, "The Iron Major is coming to LA."
"He's searching for an independent contractor who has gone to ground here in LA."
"This contractor have a name love?"
IN ROUTE TO ZECHS' OFFICE
Klaus von dem Eberbach scowled out the window of the car. His thoughts were plagued by one simple fact.
Dorian Red Gloria, AKA Eroica, had vanished off the face of the Earth. The only lead he had now was the name of the only thief said to be his equal in daring.
Thirteen. Damn it all, unlike Eroica, the thief had never been identified. And if the reports were correct, he had no problem using guns.
'How the hell am I supposed to hire the Limey Fop if I can't find him?
LA ROAD RUNNER CENTRAL
Said Limey Fop was currently curled up on a comfortable couch going over various leads on the next piece of armor. Those who thought they knew him would never have recognized him. He was wearing a pair of ratty jeans and an old sweatshirt. His long mane of hair was bundled into a loose braid. Eroica was not in the building, just Dorian.
He looked up with a smile as Noin vaulted the back of the couch with one hand. She landed next to him and gave him her best; 'you love me right?' smile.
"Wanna go clubbing?"
"I don't think..."
"Great! Go get changed. Club 21 opens in two hours. Wear that outfit Po bought you. Une will braid your hair. This is gonna be a blast!"
She danced out of the room, leaving a slightly dazed Briton in her wake.
"How does she do that?" he mused as he made his way to his rooms.
Noin waited until she heard the shower start. "It's a go."
Sally mimicked the sound of a beer can opening and cheered in a singsong voice, "Dor-chan's partying with us!"
"Une we have any ideas on how to get one up on Herr Ball?"
"What did Zechs do now?"
"You're making my head hurt.
"Whoops, my bad."
Dorian emerged from the shower and stood glaring into his closet.
"Wear the outfit Po bought you... I should think I can dress myself." He mock pouted. Still the classy 'Roaring 20's' style pinstriped suite did look smashing on him. Perhaps a night out would do him some good.
"Dor~ian! Hurry up!"
"What's the bloody rush Noin?"
"Club 21 opens in two hours and I want to get a good table!"
"Oh alright! Get Une to braid my hair and we can go."
It was Dorian's guilty pleasure, having someone brush his hair. The sheer weight and length made his scalp wonderfully sensitive. So much so that when he went to a salon to have it trimmed he often fell asleep in the stylist's chair.
He purred with pleasure as the bristles smoothed through his hair. Slender fingers parted his locks and wove them into an intricate braid of 'dragon knots'. The mass was tied off with a band before a soft hand patted his shoulder.
"Let's go! There is fun to be had!"
"Major Eberbach, the best way to get information out here is the Club scene. We can go to Club 21 and ask around. Anyone who is anyone in the Intel Network will be there."
An hour later Klaus entered the dim atmosphere of Club 21 with a scowl. Both Inspector Marquise and Miss Chang had assured him this was the place to seek information.
"The rules are very simple Major Eberbach. We play nice and ask our questions. Someone is bound to have heard about Eroica's whereabouts. Then we can find him."
The music... it appeared to be a Kareoke night... was fairly loud.
Barometer's getting low
According to all sources
The street's the place to go ~
They secured a table as Zechs carefully explained the current mission that was going on. It was the first time in a long time that Klaus was not with his Alphabets. Their waitress was dressed in a flapper dress and pearls. She took their order and danced off.
~'Cos tonight for the first time
At just about half past ten
For the first time in history
It's gonna start raining men ~
He vaguely noted there were three women on stage with a man. The lighting at that moment was poor so it was hard to make out their faces. Apparently Zechs didn't have that problem as he groaned.
"Dammit why did they have to be here?"
"Who?" He was curious.
"The Roadrunner, Une, and Po. But I'm not sure who is up there with them"
The music was cranked up as they began the chorus.
~It's raining men
Hallelujah it's raining men, Amen
It's raining men
Hallelujah it's raining men, Amen ~
Green eyes widened... That was Eroica up there! What was that damn pervert doing?
~It's raining men
Hallelujah it's raining men,
Amen I'm gonna go out
I'm gonna let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet ~
Apparently the can-can. Laughter lit blue eyes as the slender thief clowned around on stage.
~It's raining men
Hallelujah it's raining men
Tall blond dark and mean
Rough and tough and strong and lean ~
The indigo tressed beauty took over the lead at that point. She sauntered forward and belted out the lyrics in the best 'Aretha Franklin' style.
~God bless Mother Nature
She's a single woman too
She took on a heaven
And she did what she had to do
She taught every angel
To rearrange the sky
So that each and every woman
Could find her perfect guy ~
At that point the blond woman took off her cap and sent it flying into the crowd. There was a roar of approval as she let her voice ring out.
~It's raining men
Go get yourself wet girl
I know you want to ~
The brunette sashayed to the front and put her heart into the words. Her eyes flashed with pleasure.
~I feel stormy weather moving in
About to begin
Hear the thunder
Don't you lose your head
Rip off the roof and stay in bed~
At that point all three women gently pushed Eroica to the front as his tenor took over. A smile played about his lips and the crowd cheered.
~It's raining men Hallelujah
It's raining men, Amen
It's raining men Hallelujah
It's raining men, Amen ~
The four joined arms at this point and began the can-can again. The patrons of the club joined them in the last lines of the song.
~It's raining men Hallelujah
It's raining men, Amen
It's raining men Hallelujah
It's raining men, Amen ~
Klaus turned his shocked eyes to Miss Chang. She was laughing so hard tears streaked her face. "Oh it figures that he would be with them. No one else can raise as much hell as that trio!"
Dorian helped the girls from the stage, laughing softly. He hadn't felt this good since he stole Klaus' belt, while the man had been wearing it. His eyes swept the club and locked with a pair of hard green eyes. The light faded from his expression. Instead he turned to the girls.
"I want to go home now." That melodic tenor was soft and strained.
Concerned, Une looked up for the source of Dorian's discomfort. She spotted the Major sitting with Zechs and Meiran. With a softly growled curse she muttered, "Time to bail. I'll settle up our bill."
Po placed a hand on Une's arm, "Wha..."
Noin's snarled interrupted. "Okay, we'll meet you at the car Une. I'll leave a tip for our server."
"Done. See you in five."
Klaus felt himself pinned by a glare hot enough to incinerate concrete. Then Dorian was ushered out by the other two women. Zechs whistled under his breath while Meiran blinked in shock.
"Major, would you like to explain why the Roadrunner just gave you her version of the Glare O' Doom?"
"I WANT HIM DEAD. D-E-A-D- dead! We're talking TV movie of the week, CNN all day coverage kind of dead! To quote that comic you have stashed in your sock drawer: I want to split him open like a bag of wet groceries and dance on his sticky bones!"
"Noin calm down."
"NO! Fuck Treize, Zechs is one thing, he doesn't try to use us and if we happen to help him out he looks away while you exit stage right. That report I got from Alex does NOT make me happy! And just when Dorian was starting to relax that... That MAN showed up!"
"Noin, Dorian loves him."
"That's the only reason I haven't slapped a diaper and a pink bonnet on him and marched him through downtown during rush hour!"
"How about we compromise? You plan it I pull it off. That way you can spoil Dorian before we really get started on this hunt."
"Deal. Gimme a few days to plan a good one."
"Very well, now here is what I have for clues to the next bit of armor..."
Dorian tugged the high boots over his calves as Noin prowled the room. She was determined to go out again and who was he to tell her no? Maybe this would shake him out the black mood that had claimed him in the wake of that last evening out. While he pulled the boots on Noin settled behind him wielding a silver-backed brush.
The British thief all but purred as the bristles stroked through the riot of silken gold that made up his hair. In short order Noin had tamed the curly locks into a thick braid woven with a dark green ribbon. The ribbon matched the flowing green silk tunic he wore over black crushed velvet leggings.
He was grateful for Noin's care. She was one of the few women he was comfortable with like this.
"Come on 'Roica, let's go party."
"Just where are we going?"
"Coffee House, you'll love it!"
"What about Treize?"
"He'll catch up later. Now do you wanna go in the Roadster, the Cobra, on the Harley, or in the truck?"
"Hmm the Roadster. It's better to arrive in style my dear."
HOTEL BEVERLY REGENCY:
Treize crept down the hallway, a warped smile played about his lips. He had to hand it to Duo and Heero... They had forced him to hone his skills and progress in sheer evil. He patted the small pouch at his waist. Within lay the means for his satisfaction.
The code lock opened easily under his talented fingers. He slipped inside silent as a wraith. Thankfully his target was still at the office, no doubt going over paperwork and snarling at anyone foolish enough to draw his attention.
"Evil is as evil does..."
The pouch was opened to reveal a few tablets in a lovely cyan blue. The shower head was unscrewed and the payload deposited within. It was a experimental tablet that dissolved within five minutes under the onslaught of hot water. And it stained.
"One screaming blue German... Coming up."
He and Noin had spent hours arguing over who would 'enlighten, Iron Klaus. They finally settled on Treize using Noin's plan to deal with the moody German. Treize's hesitancy to turn Noin loose stemmed from her current violent urges.
As Treize switched the Major's sedate underwear with a pile of racy thongs, a malevolent gleam lit his eyes. As he finished his mission, Treize left a note:
I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT ENJOY THESE IS YOU EVER GET AROUND TO REMOVING THAT STICK FROM YOUR ASS.
13 AND THE ROADRUNNER
"I ought to be ashamed of myself... naaaa...."
THE JAVA JOINT:
"Well what do you think Dorian?"
The tall blond smiled as he took in the atmosphere of the coffee house. A faint gleam of mischief lit his eyes for the first time in weeks. "I love it."
"Excellent, come on, Une and Sally are over there."
Dorian soon found himself surrounded by a wall of laughing feminine beauty. When Treize arrived he heard Noin regaling Dorian with the tales of their last escapade of driving Zechs 'bonkers,. The small group settled in for an evening of laughter and dancing.
KLAUS' HOTEL ROOM:
Had it been possible, Klaus' hair would have been standing on end in sheer rage. Agents Z and A heard the older man's roar from within their suite as he discovered Thirteen's note.
"Do you think we should beat the rush for Alaska?"
Z just shook his head. Life was about to get even stranger than before.
Duo watched with wide eyes as the NATO officer stalked into his brother's penthouse. The older man had cyan streaks in his black hair, and while Duo though it looked good... He had the feeling the Major had not planned or wanted the new look. His thoughts were confirmed when the man exploded in a barrage of German ending with, "Where are Thirteen and the Roadrunner!"
"Major, take a breath." Meiran's voice was serene as she handed him a cup of green tea.
"Well now we know why they raided that chemical shop." Heero murmured.
"Yeah the blue streaks are kind of obvious Heero. So the question would be, how did you piss off our resident problem children?"
Meiran shook her head, "We saw them at Club 21 with Eroica. As soon as they spotted us they left. But he looked..." She broke off for a moment and finally murmured, "Wounded."
Duo grinned, "That would do it. Ever notice just how evilly over-protective those two are?"
Zechs winced, remembering how ruthlessly Thirteen had killed Draco in South America for threatening Noin and the others.
"I'm in hell." Klaus growled.
Duo chuckled, "Nope, but Major? It might help if you apologized to Eroica. They may back off then."
"Why should I?"
Meiran voice dropped to arctic levels, "Because the last time someone threatened anyone of that bandit's friends, he fed him to piranhas."
"You are joking."
"No," Zechs said quietly. "Thirteen is a pain in the ass. He's an incredible thief. He drives me insane, but he has NEVER endangered an innocent. He has targeted people who harmed even his adversaries, including Duo, Heero, Relena, and Meiran. I have no doubt he will stand by Eroica. And so will that Estrogen Brigade that occasionally helps him."
Klaus stared into his cup for a moment then nodded, "I shall be at the hotel."
As the older man left he heard Duo ask, "Do you think he'll compromise?"
Heero yawned, "If he isn't willing to meet Eroica half way, he'll be getting more visits from them.
"Okay, the next piece is found beyond the mists in a place lost to many. Thrice three, and again thrice three shall give the sum of four... This shit gives me a headache!"
"Eh, this crap isn't getting me anywhere. Does it make sense to you?"
"Well what is a place 'Lost to Many'? And is it to, or too as in as well?"
"Uh... there went my brain."
"Okay a place that loses people or is lost."
"Atlantis?" Noon offered from her perch on the couch.
"Bermuda Triangle?" Une muttered.
"Avalon has mists..." Po added.
"Okay break time! Let's go get drunk and have wild money sex with our... shit. I'm sorry Dorian. I shouldn't have said that."
Dorian gave him a wan smile, "It's okay my friend. You were alone for a long time. I'm glad you found your young dragon."
Treize gave his friend a hug and left to speak with Wufei. He was worried about Dorian. Usually it only took a few days with the girls and Dorian was ready to return to his role as Eroica. But his friend was not bouncing back as he had before.
Chang Wufei watched his lover pace in his home office.Treize was worried about Dorian, and the older man's soft muttering made the youth smile.
~What do you think of the Iron Major?~
~If he gets around to pulling that stick out of his ass, he would make a wonderful mate to someone.~
~I... I think he's worried about him. All he may need is a push in the right direction.~
~Thank you, now I'm going to try and calm my lover down.~
~Don't have TOO much fun Wufei. It wouldn't do for you to walk funny tomorrow during the tour.~
~I'll get you for that later Mei. Good Night.~
~Good Night Wufei.~
Wufei watched the older man make another circuit of the room and pounced. Treize went down in a heap and turned his smiling eyes to his young lover.
"Yes my Dragon?"
Wufei licked his lips and grinned, "Hey Sailor, wanna have some fun?"
Treize laughed uproariously and scooped his beloved into his arms. "Any preferences love?"
"Just make sure I don't walk funny tomorrow."
Dorian laid down on the couch, his head in Noin's lap. The pretty dark haired courier didn't unnerve him, she was more of a sister to him that those creatures that shared his blood. And right now he needed that sisterly TLC so very badly...
"I'm so tired Noin."
"Tired of the chase, of never getting anywhere... So very tired of his anger and hate. I am such a fool."
"No sweetie, you're no fool. You're just in love with a jackass who has no idea what he'll lose if you walk away. Rest now. Une, Po, and I will take care of things."
"De nada sugarbear."
Dorian drifted off to sleep, looking like a debauched angel. Noin tucked a blanket around his shoulders and joined the girls in the kitchen.
"Ladies, it's time for the shovel talk."
"Who's turn is it?"
"Actually it's Fujiko's turn but she's off with Lupin so we'll match for it."
Po shook her head. "I'll abstain from this one. Beside's I have a few ideas for that punk Salim."
Une looked up, "Cheese-grater?"
"I was thinking something a bit more... vicious."
The brunette all but purred. "You planned the last one Noin. Dibs."
"Oh alright. You can give him the talk."
"What talk would that be?" Treize drawled from the doorway. He was well pleased with his mischief for the night.
"The shovel talk. That's where I tell him that if he hurts Dorian again I'll beat him to death with a shovel and bury his cute little Kraut ass so deep Kami-sama couldn't find it!"
"You are all sick evil women and I love you... Just not that way."
"You mean you're not a switch hitter. Damn another dream dashed in the dust."
"Une you are Satan in a mini-skirt, and you scare me... Badly."
"Good it's my goal in life. Now I'm off like a herd of turtles!"
"Careful though. I already left Noin's gift for him."
"One screaming blue German coming up."
"We are bad and should be spanked."
"You're right. I think I'll go find my dragon again."
The Iron Major sat in the darkness of his room and thought. He thought on the dreams he's been having, and the look in Dorian's eyes after that last mission. The man had chased him for years... Why?
When a woman walked into his room a few moments later, he was more than a little surprised. He recognized her as one of the women that Dorian had been with at the club. She did not look happy.
"Who are you?"
"They call me Une. We need to talk."
"About what?" If it had to do with his mission, well she would just have to kill him first.
"What are your intentions towards Dorian?"
Klaus nearly choked. "W-What?"
"You are looking for Dorian right? What are your intentions?" Une's eyebrow went up as the man floundered for an answer. The one he gave her did not make the bounty hunter happy.
"He is needed for a mission."
"Well fuck you too honey," came the sweetly viperous reply. Before Klaus could say anything else, she continued. "Why should we let you near Dorian? You've hurt him, NATO nearly got him killed, You don't give a damn..."
"I... Care." He looked at his hands, trying to determine why he had admitted that to this rude woman.
Une hid her smile, it was time to go in for the kill.
"Very well. Then I think you should hear this: If you ever hurt Dorian again, I will Find you. Then I will beat you to death with a shovel and bury your cute little Kraut ass so deep Kami-sama won't be able to find all the bits."
She stepped back and smiled, "But if you really do care, and you treat him right, I and the others will charge the gates of hell if you need us to."
"Why do you care?"
"Because Dorian, for all his games, is a good man. He has more heart than most people realize. Maybe one day, if you truly care enough, he will tell you."
"I need to speak with him."
"I'll see about arranging it. But Major?"
"I meant what I said. Hurt him and there is no place you can hide from us. And Dorian has a lot of friends."
"I understand." Klaus held his temper. She meant every word she had said, he had no doubt on that score. Now the question was, if he had hurt Dorian that badly, would the man even agree to see him?
Une smiled as she passed A and Z in the hall. She gave them a smile that scared the hell out of them as she exited the floor. She managed to get through to that stubborn soldier, now to see if Dorian felt up to facing him.
"Dorian, wake up babe. I need to talk to you."
"Yeah sweetie, it's Une. Come on, focus those baby-blues for a sec."
Dorian sat up, noticing that it was dark out. Une sat on the couch near his legs and smiled at him.
"What is it Une? It's not even dawn yet."
"I had a talk with the Major, Dorian. He wants to speak with you."
Dorian cringed inwardly. The man no doubt wanted to warn him off whatever mission he had going here. Well fine, let him. He would see the Major, then return to lick his wounds in peace.
"Let's go then."
The car ride over was tense. Dorian spoke little, trying to steel himself for the coming confrontation. He wasn't sure why Une felt this was a good idea, but he would go along with it for now.
'I just hope I survive it.'
They pulled up to the hotel and Dorian paused. "What am I doing Une?"
She smiled and rubbed his shoulder, "Taking control of the situation sweetie. Don't worry, he won't hurt you."
Dorian gave her a tremulous smile and got out of the car, "If I'm not back soon, come and get me?"
"You got it Dorian."
Dorian slipped quickly through the lobby and up to the room that Une told him of. His stomach was clenched in knots as he knocked softly on the door. He swallowed as he was bid to enter.
"Hello Major. I understand you've been looking for me."
"Yes... I-" He broke off as Dorian strode through the room. He paused to look out the view of the eastern part of the city. The glow of the lights reflected off his face.
Dorian stood facing the window, arms wrapped about himself. He looked cold, or maybe just trying to comfort himself in the face of what was to come. Klaus approached his nemesis slowly. He was utterly unprepared for the bitter words Dorian spoke.
"Go ahead Major. I screwed up yet another mission; whatever it is this time. Bloody pathetic isn't it? I dash half way 'round the world to stay out of your way and I still make a hash of things. So go ahead, yell at me... hit me... Whatever. Just do it and... And let me go please..."
The usually flamboyant Earl of Gloria's voice was dull and immeasurably sad. Klaus felt something tug at his heart. "Lord Gloria..."
"Dorian! My name is Dorian, could you just this once call me... Never mind. Just say whatever it is you wish to and leave me be."
Klaus drew near the shuddering figure of Eroica and wrapped his arms around the slender thief. Dorian erupted, struggling almost wildly against the dark major.
"Don't! You can't mean it so let go! D-don't... don't..." His voice trailed off as the tears finally came. They burned down his face like bitter rain. And at last all he could do was sob brokenly in the arms of the man he loved above all else.
His hands fisted in the soft cotton of Klaus, shirt as the shudders wracked his body. In the depths of his mind Dorian railed at himself. To show such weakness before Klaus... Well it wasn't as if the man held him in any high regard. Even so the Earl began to choke down the sobs, holding his breath in an effort to regain control.
During all this Klaus stood, holding the thief with gentleness that no one would believe him capable of. He and Dorian had fought and chased one another for years. Dorian had faced death and chaos at his side and never once given in.
But Klaus had done what no one; not the KGB or even those vicious boys from Eton had accomplished. He had broken Dorian Red Gloria's heart.
His voice took on a crooning quality as he swayed slowly, rocking the distraught Earl in his hard arms. Following his unexplored instincts, he rubbed a broad palmed hand over Dorian's heaving shoulders.
"Shhh I'm not angry with you. I am sorry liebling. It was never your fault mien abendstern. (1) Forgive me please..."
Through his misery Dorian realized that Klaus wasn't berating him. Those strong hands had battered him on more than one occasion now held him like the finest of china. The slow stroke of that hand was totally devoid of the aggression and rage he associated with the Major's touch. More than a little dazed; he let his cheek rest on a broad shoulder, still struggling for control.
"Let it go Dorian. You have carried this burden long enough. I have you safe."
Those words acted as a trigger and years of pain, yearning, and fear poured forth. The torrent of words and tears ripped free of the slender man. The gasping sobs sounded pained as Dorian shuddered and hiccoughed. Klaus held him through it all, until the thief collapsed against the Major's chest.
"It hurts..." That softly broken voice shattered the last vestiges of Iron Klaus. He lifted the Englishman with the reverence most men gave priceless treasures. His movements were slow and sure as he made his way to the couch in the corner of the room.
Klaus, hand tangled in the rumpled silk of Dorian's hair. He moved his hand to cup the back of his skull. Long callused fingers spread wide to massage Eroica's scalp until he relaxed and gave into the exhaustion that had haunted him for so long. Klaus felt Dorian fade into dreams and smiled ruefully. The scoundrel had spent years chasing him. And now that he was well and truly caught... Dorian fell asleep.
With a soft expression Klaus toed off his shoes and gathered the blond lord into his lap. The smaller man made a soft sound of contentment that soothed something in Klaus, soul. He pressed a kiss to the thief's brow before preparing to follow him into sleep.
Then the door opened. He glanced up as Une entered the room. Her gaze was tender as she looked down at them. The bounty hunter swept a light blanket off the bed and handed it to Klaus.
"I'll pick him up in the morning. He knows what number to call."
The words stuck in his throat, but he forced them out, "Thank you."
"Just... Just be kind to him Major. There is so much you don't know about Dorian. Things that he needs to feel safe with you before he can speak of."
Klaus nodded as she let herself out of the room. He heard the locks click and wondered where she got a key, but dismissed it. It wasn't important at that moment. What was important was the man resting in his arms.
On her way down the corridor, Une passed a certain agent. With a smile, she murmured, "Thanks Alex. You might want to make sure no one disturbs them."
The NATO agent smiled, "Of course Une."