DISCLAIMER - From Eroica With Love and its characters is the copyright of Yasuko Aoike and Princess Comics and no infringement is intended. The story, such as it is, is copyright Karen Colohan July 2001.

Klaus von dem Eberbach tugged at his collar in irritation and silently cursed the unprecedented heat. Who would have predicted a heatwave with temperatures approaching the 90s in London of all places. And, to make matters worse, he was stuck in the middle of Regents Park on what it was fast becoming obvious was a wild goose chase with no one but Eroica for company.

He glanced across at his companion and glowered oppressively at the sight of him. Damn Eroica! Why did he always have to be so bloody obvious - flaunting himself and his perverted ways with every gesture he made?

The blond thief was currently sitting on a park bench, apparently oblivious to the looks of displeasure he was receiving from Klaus, and devoting his entire attention to eating the ice cream he'd just bought. But who else, except Eroica, could turn such a simple act into a blatant, full on seduction, right under the noses of dozens of passers-by?

It was so typical of Eroica to do something that he must know would enrage Klaus, when there was absolutely no way that Klaus could stop him - at least, not without drawing unwanted attention to both of them. So, there was nothing Klaus could do - except watch...

In fact, Eroica had offered to buy one of the sweet, melting cones for Klaus too, but the major had merely snapped ungraciously at the suggestion. He was busy concentrating on his putative mission and had no time for such frivolous things. Eroica had shrugged and, not unreasonably, pointed out that they were supposed to be blending with the crowd of sun-worshippers and being generally unobtrusive. What could be more unexceptional than buying an ice cream from the conveniently parked van? After all, it was a hot sunny day and they were in a park.

And, it was true, Eroica looked far more at home amidst the crowd of sunbathers than Klaus did. The thief was reclining on his chosen bench, face tipped up towards the warmth of the late afternoon sun. His blond curls cascaded over the back of the seat, seeming to glow with more intense golden highlights in the bright sunlight.

Then there was the matter of his clothes... Though, privately, Klaus wondered why he had bothered with them at all - there seemed to be so little of them and, if anything, they merely emphasised the lines of his body, rather than covering it. Indeed, Eroica was resplendent in a positively skimpy, cropped white top and the briefest, tightest pair of pale denim shorts that Klaus could recall seeing anyone wear in a public place. Long, tanned legs were stretched out, crossed neatly at the ankles, and a pair of canvas deck shoes worn on bare feet completed the ensemble.

It was... indecent, Klaus decided after a studiedly casual perusal that took in the entire package, top to toe. Only a pervert would willingly walk around looking like that, showing himself off to whoever cared to look...

If Eroica noticed the source of this particular close scrutiny, he was tactful enough not to mention it.

Klaus, on the other hand, looked totally uncomfortable and out of place in the sun-drenched park. He was keeping himself out of the heat as much as possible by leaning against the trunk of a large tree. The bark was cool and faintly damp and the canopy of leafy branches filtered some of the fury from the sun's rays before they reached him.

He was wearing one of the lightest suits he possessed - a pale grey linen blend that currently felt more appropriate for Alaska than this sweltering heat. He had, after much deliberation, dispensed with his usual undershirt when dressing, but perversely felt half naked without it. He was no longer wearing the suit jacket, having eventually been persuaded to remove it, as well as loosening his tie.

He had been somewhat paranoid about doing either until Eroica had protested, clearly exasperated by his unwillingness to listen to reason, that Klaus wouldn't be much use to his mission if he collapsed with heat stroke. He couldn't really argue with the logic of that and, a while later, he had conceded another point to the thief by also rolling up the sleeves of his pristine white shirt.

With nothing else to do but wait, probably fruitlessly, Klaus' eyes were once again drawn back to Eroica and his ice cream. One crisp cone piled high with a peaked swirl of sticky, melting vanilla ice cream, topped off with a crumbling stick of flaked chocolate. It all sounded innocuous enough - hell, they gave them to children without a second thought - until you put it into the hands of someone like Eroica. And then... oh, then it became not ice cream, but sex, pure and simple.

Only, there was nothing either pure or simple about Eroica - or Klaus' involuntary reactions to him.

The thief was still reclining gracefully, draped over his bench. His eyes were closed and a blissful expression informed the finely drawn features. He was licking delicately at the rapidly liquefying mass of ice cream, clearly savouring every mouthful. When the entire confection suddenly threatened to collapse in the heat, Eroica swirled his tongue all the way around it, smoothing the sides and firming the ice cream up once more into a definite peak.

Those actions alone would have been bad enough, but then Eroica turned his attention to the hitherto ignored piece of chocolate. Somehow it had managed to remain in place and stuck out from the side of the cone at a jaunty angle. First Eroica licked it, cleaning off a few stray smears of ice cream. Then he slipped it into his mouth, slowly closed his lips around it and began to suck.

Watching, transfixed, Klaus felt himself break out in a sweat - and knew that it had nothing to do with the heat; at least, not the heat beating down on him from the sun. The faintest of wordless gasps escaped him before he could close his mouth on the sound or turn it into a far more diplomatic cough.

Golden lashes flicked upwards instantly. A second later an intent blue gaze fixed on Klaus in mute challenge. A small smile curved Eroica's lips as he let the long sliver of chocolate slip teasingly out of his mouth. And all the while blue eyes remained locked with green - perhaps surprisingly, neither backing down. Just before the piece of chocolate was quite free of his mouth, Eroica bared neat, white teeth and bit down on the tip of it - hard.

The flaky chocolate shattered. Shards of it scattered over the now dangerously melted ice cream. Eroica swallowed the piece in his mouth with obvious relish and carefully licked a few stray crumbs from his lips.

He tilted his head, watching Klaus out the corner of his eyes. The major seemed frozen in place - his own eyes wide and dark. Perhaps the dilation of his pupils was simply due to the dimness in the shadows under the tree, perhaps not... Eroica missed none of his reactions, though.

A cold trickle of liquid over his fingers made Eroica glance down at the melting remains of his ice cream and then back at Klaus. After a moment's consideration he held out the cone to the major.

"It's not too late to share," he offered diffidently. "It's very nice, and you look awfully hot and bothered over there..."

The words seemed to stir Klaus out of his frozen daze. His hands clenched into fists and he made a few strangled, inarticulate sounds as Eroica watched him with growing concern. Perhaps the heat really had been too much for him after all. Eventually, the sounds resolved into words and the thief managed to decipher a few familiar, choice phrases, including, but not limited to, "Idiot", "Pervert" and "Keep the hell away from me".

Then Klaus snatched up his discarded jacket and stomped off into the crowd without a backward glance.

Eroica sighed, watching the unyielding stiffness of the major's retreating back. Klaus really did need to learn how to relax a little, he decided, as he turned his attention to finishing his ice cream. After all, who else could get so upset and angry simply from watching another man eat an ice cream, thought Eroica with injured innocence.

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