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 August 2001.

ALL THE ANSWERS

by Karen Colohan

With the formalities required for his own report on the night's events now completed, Klaus von dem Eberbach found his thoughts wandering uncharacteristically. He ground out the remnants of yet another cigarette in the overflowing ashtray by his hand, but hesitated in the act of reaching for a replacement. He supposed he could go out and yell at his subordinates, just for form's sake, but he was well aware that they were already busy working on their own versions of how the mission had been concluded; it would serve no useful purpose.

Klaus leaned back in his chair and, with nothing left to distract it, his mind turned with unseemly haste to those particulars of the end of his part in the mission which had not found their way into his report - nor ever would do.

The adrenaline rush which inevitably accompanied the ending of a mission successfully accomplished... A pair of sparkling blue eyes - closer than they had any right to be... Darkness surrounding them both... A sense of danger that was still not entirely dispelled, despite their escape to safety... Fair features flushed and glowing with the pleasure of a tricky theft pulled off without a hitch...

Dorian, the focused and professional thief - so different from the fey, insouciant nuisance that was Eroica... But surely only Eroica would have been foolish enough to choose that moment to lean in close and...

With a faint shock of awareness, Klaus reined his thoughts in before they could travel any further down that particular path. Nevertheless, almost without volition his hand rose to his mouth, fingers carefully tracing the outline of his own lips. Did anything feel different about them? Klaus could swear he still felt the softness of Dorian's mouth branded on his, shocking in its unexpected sweetness.

He had wanted to be revolted by the blatantly inflicted caress - as he had been that one time in Iran - but something had been different about this. Perhaps it was the lack of an audience, perhaps something else entirely, but his nerves had refused to respond with the revulsion his conscious brain had demanded. Instead they had threatened to melt with the heated delight of the gentle, hesitant - almost shy - exploration.

Klaus had always thought that, if he ever made a serious move, Dorian would be more forward. When it came to it, though, he hadn't pushed, only coaxed - and Klaus had, quite unexpectedly, found himself wanting to be persuaded.

Of course, good sense had quickly reasserted itself and taken control of his actions. Finally Klaus had done what he should have the moment Dorian's lips approached his own: he had pushed the thief away. Strangely, the gesture had been less vehement than either of them might have expected, given the circumstances - as if it were done by rote, rather than out of genuine anger.

It was perplexing, and Klaus wasn't at all sure that he liked the feeling of confusion. Anger was easier - a familiar and comfortable emotion where Eroica was concerned. This apparent softening of his attitude was unwarranted. Eroica was as much of an idiot and a pervert as he always had been - his usefulness in the course of this mission notwithstanding. The kiss had been disgusting, and any reaction on Klaus' part was simply due to his being caught with his guard down for the briefest of moments as he relished the success of the mission. Nothing had changed; next time he saw the damned irritating queer he'd pound him bloody for having taken such liberties.

Under his fingertips Klaus felt his lips curve in a tight, harsh smile as he anticipated doing just that - and wondered at the faint tinge of disappointment that also accompanied the thought. The warmth had faded, the ghost-sense of the mobile mouth that had brought heat and an unlooked-for pleasure now quite absent.

Klaus drew his fingers away from his mouth and looked at them, frowning slightly. The suggestion of violence towards Eroica just didn't fit any more - not that he'd ever been entirely comfortable with his occasional violent reactions towards the man. Why had Dorian changed the rules of the game? He remained convinced - all declarations to the contrary aside - that it was just a game to the thief. But he wasn't supposed to go beyond gestures and innuendo and actually catch him... Then again, could Klaus actually say that he hadn't let himself be caught? He could have stopped it - turned his head or stepped away - only he hadn't. If he were honest, he had been - curious.

Dorian had been practically throwing himself at him for so long - it was expected now. But, when it came to it, he hadn't been forward or demanding, hadn't even been flamboyant or outlandishly perverted about it, just... gentle. As kisses went - not that Klaus could be considered an expert on the subject - it had been... nice.

Klaus blinked. He didn't even have the urge he had expected to go and wash his mouth out with soap or something equally as foolish as that. He just found himself wondering what might have happened if he hadn't given in to habit and shoved Eroica away from him. What if the tongue whose soft, moist tip had played briefly over his lips had delved further and slipped between them... What would Dorian have tasted like, if the kiss had gone on?

Again Klaus brushed his lips lightly with his fingertips, trying to recapture the sensation. It wasn't remotely the same. His fingers were too rough, the touch dry and unskilled. It was - disappointing.

With sudden resolve, Klaus pushed his chair back from the desk and got up. He stalked to the door and flung it open, marching through into the outer office and slamming it behind him with total disregard for the already tattered nerves of the agents working there. The entire Alphabet practically jumped to attention as he swept past, scrambling to appear busy and efficient and to avoid the Major's displeasure.

He didn't even acknowledge their presence, or the odd stares which followed his abrupt retreat. He didn't care, especially, if they thought his unexplained departure strange. The mission was over; his paperwork was complete and he had yet to be reassigned. For the moment, at least, his time was his own.

Klaus strode through the corridors and down to the car park. He jumped into his trusty Benz, gunning the engine impatiently. He knew where Dorian was staying and he wasted no time in making his way there, driving meticulously, just on the speed limit.

When he arrived at the rented townhouse Klaus threw the car into a parking space, climbed out and carefully locked it. He paused for just a moment, taking a deep breath before stomping determinedly up to the front door. He pounded on it loudly and vigorously, ignoring the lateness of the hour, until it was opened carefully by Bonham.

"Where is Lord Gloria?" Klaus demanded, before the other could even open his mouth to enquire what he wanted. "I must speak with him at once."

Not giving him a chance to answer, Klaus shouldered peremptorily past Bonham and into the hallway. Dorian was standing at the far end of the echoing space, watching him warily. He had changed out of the dark, form-fitting catsuit he had worn while engaged in his thievery and was now dressed in something typically frilly and foppish. Klaus forced himself to overlook it.

"Lord Gloria," he said formally, "I wish to speak with you privately."

Dorian blinked in faint surprise, then nodded. "Of course, Major, come through."

He turned and headed further back into the house, not waiting to see if Klaus was actually following. He led the way into a small, cosy sitting room. It was clearly where he had been relaxing - perhaps allowing the residual tension and excitement of the mission to slowly fade - before Klaus' abrupt appearance. The lighting was subdued and a fire crackled in the open grate. Dorian closed the door carefully behind them and then turned to look at Klaus expectantly. His eyes were wide and looked very blue.

"What can I do for you, Major? What was so important that it could bring you to my door this late at night?" Blond lashes dipped, brushing pale cheeks burnished gold by the firelight.

When a long moment passed and no answer was forthcoming, Dorian risked another glance in Klaus' direction. The man seemed tense - which was not entirely unusual - and preoccupied, which was. Reviewing the events of earlier in the evening, Dorian hazarded a guess at the reason for the major's unexpected visit.

"Are you very angry with me?" he asked tentatively.

"I should be," retorted Klaus gruffly. "You had no right to paw at me the way you did."

"I'd hardly call it pawing..." Dorian began to protest, then stopped with a sigh. "Well, I suppose you would see it that way, wouldn't you. Anyway, I know I shouldn't have done it, but..."

"Yes?" Klaus pressed, when Dorian halted again.

Dorian tilted his head, looking across at Klaus in surprise. "You really want to know why I did it?"

"I do," said Klaus stiffly. "I won't hit you for saying it," he added, remembering other occasions when the thief had spoken his feelings aloud.

A faint smile touched Dorian's lips. "How very gallant of you, Major. Very well, the reason why I kissed you... Firstly, I was pleased with how well everything had gone - you had your blueprints; we were safe. It couldn't have been better. Then, while we were waiting for Mr Z to pick us up, I was watching you. You were pleased and excited too - I could tell from the way you were pacing like a caged tiger - and then you just stopped and stood so very still in the moonlight. The sight of you quite took my breath away... You looked so beautiful. And that, together with the relief at everything going right - I just couldn't help myself. Then, when you didn't push me away at first, I thought... Well, it doesn't really matter what I thought, does it? I'm sorry."

Dorian stopped abruptly, realising he'd probably gone far past the limits of the major's patience for such 'foppish nonsense'. He turned away, walking towards the fireplace and pausing there, seemingly fascinated by the dance and play of the flames.

"I'm not angry," said Klaus into the sudden silence. "I have tried to be, but I'm not."

"Major?" Dorian swung back to face him, regarding Klaus carefully from under lowered lashes. "Why are you here?" He seemed tense, as if on the point of flight.

"I'm not sure," Klaus admitted honestly. "But I found that I could not stay away - though I wanted to. My thoughts would not let me... I have questions, and I need answers to them."

Dorian's eyes widened at the unprecedented admission, the dark pupils reflecting the glow of the dancing flames. "Then ask," he whispered, his voice shaking slightly.

Klaus nodded, then paused as if collecting his thoughts. He drew himself up to his full height, standing straight and tall, a look of determination on his face. "As you wish," he began slowly. "Lord Gloria... nein, Dorian, I would like... Ach, scheisse! Will you kiss me again?"

Dorian gasped and froze, staring at Klaus in shock and disbelief. The lack of grace in phrasing the question was typical enough of Klaus, but the request itself...

"No..." he muttered, more to himself than the major. "No, you can't mean it..."

"Dorian, I have meant few things so seriously in my life," Klaus assured him steadily. "The questions I have can only be answered if you will agree to kiss me again - and I must have those answers. I can understand your doubt of me, given our past history. All I can do is ask you to set aside those doubts. I mean this. Please..."

Klaus held himself very still, wanting to bolt, but determined not to. He would find out what he needed to know. Surely Dorian would not be adamant in his refusal - he must want this too. "Please," he repeated solemnly.

Moving slowly, Dorian approached him cautiously. They were almost of a height and he held Klaus' eyes steadily as he came near, watching for any sign of doubt. As Dorian stopped just in front of him, one slim hand stole out and lightly brushed Klaus' arm. He flinched, but did not retreat. It seemed to reassure Dorian and he glided closer, just barely pressing himself against the major's tense body.

"Last chance," he whispered, looking deep into wary green eyes.

"Nein..." Klaus insisted harshly. "Do it."

"Well, I've had more romantic offers," said Dorian with a breathy giggle, "but none more intriguing..."

"Do not tease me!" There was a warning in Klaus' low growl.

"Hush, be still," Dorian soothed him. "You don't want to rush this do you?"

"I would rather have it over as soon as possible," Klaus ground out.

"Are you quite sure you really want me to do this?" Dorian pulled back, studying the major's face searchingly. "I won't do it if you're just going to get mad and hit me afterwards."

Biting down on an angry retort, Klaus sighed. "I am sure - and I won't hit you, you have my word," he said finally.

Dorian's answering smile was dazzling. "Then I shall be sure to make this absolutely glorious for you, Major. On that you have my word." And with that he pressed back against Klaus, his hands sliding up to cup the man's face, holding it at just the right angle.

Klaus tried gamely to keep his eyes open so that he could follow Dorian's movements, but it was impossible. His lids lowered instinctively as soft fingers caressed his jaw, his cheeks and then moved up to slide into his hair, carding through the dark strands restlessly.

"Dorian..." he muttered doubtfully, as the expected kiss seemed no nearer being initiated.

"Hush..."

The gentle whisper blew a soft rush of warm air across his suddenly dry lips. Klaus' tongue stole out and swept across them, moistening them nervously.

"Beautiful..."

Another breath caressed his skin and then a far more substantial touch seemed to engulf his lips as Dorian's mouth closed over his with gentle authority.

Klaus tried to resist the reflexive bunching of his muscles that would inevitably lead to him pushing Dorian away again, but it was almost impossible for him to relax. It went so totally against the grain for him to willingly allow this trespass upon his body, but he really did need to know... Had his earlier reaction been an aberration or had he really found that first, brief kiss as pleasant, albeit confusing, as he thought he had?

Before he had the chance to come to any conclusion, Dorian was pulling away from him, leaning back, though his gentle grip on Klaus' face was not withdrawn. Klaus opened his eyes, looking at Dorian in confusion.

"Is that it?" he asked, perversely disappointed.

Dorian laughed softly, the sound light and musical. "Of course not, Klaus darling, but if you won't relax at least a little this will be no fun at all - for either of us."

"I am perfectly relaxed," Klaus growled obstinately.

"Nonsense," Dorian snorted, "you're strung so tight I'm afraid you'll snap in two if I dare to so much as hug you."

"Then don't," Klaus snapped. "The kiss will be quite sufficient."

"But, Klaus, if I can't touch you while I'm kissing you you'll be selling yourself short," Dorian protested. "You say you want to know what it's like to kiss me, but you'll never know if you won't let me do it properly."

Klaus sighed. "Very well, I will try harder to relax."

"No! I don't want you to try and do anything," said Dorian, exasperated. "Just let go, do nothing - leave it all to me. I can make you feel so good, if only you'll let me."

As he spoke his hands were gently moving over Klaus' hair, smoothing and caressing it. The touch was light, barely there and, almost without realising, Klaus began leaning into it. Pleased, Dorian smiled at him encouragingly and let his hands drift lower, to rub and knead the tense neck and shoulders.

The strokes were expert, and only incidentally erotic. Before he knew it, Klaus found himself beginning to unwind, relaxing into the gentle pressure.

"That's so much better," Dorian whispered, his face once more very close.

Close enough for Klaus to feel as if he were being pulled into the brilliant blue pools that were Dorian's eyes.

"Feels good," he murmured in almost unwilling response.

"Oh, I know, darling," Dorian purred and leaned in to capture the still-moving lips with his own.

He pressed close, rubbing his body subtly against Klaus' as his mouth urged the major's lips to part so that his tongue could slip between them and thrust inside.

Klaus wasn't sure which was more shocking - the feel of the lithe, muscular body plastered so wantonly along the front of his own, or the warm, wet sensation of Dorian's tongue invading his mouth and twining erotically around his own. He shivered under the twin assaults, one form of tension abruptly swapped for another - one that settled insistently in his groin and began to radiate heat out through the rest of his body.

He was still too shocked for any real response, but Klaus knew he had no wish to push Dorian away or, indeed, do anything which might make him stop what he was doing with both mouth and body. Klaus had his answers - his earlier reaction had been no freak occurrence; he desired what Dorian was so freely and gloriously offering him. And with that question answered, another was raised. What now?

**********

Scene to be written

**********

Lying at Klaus' side, watching him out of lazily slitted eyes, Dorian finally asked the question that had been nagging at him throughout their lovemaking.

"You'd never done anything like this before, had you? And I don't just mean with another man." There was no censure in the enquiry, only honest surprise.

Dark, silken lashes quickly dropped to veil green eyes as Klaus tried not to reveal just how self-conscious the question made him feel. He was already uncomfortably aware of his lack of skill when compared to Dorian, but to admit it out loud...

However, a quick glance at the other man made it clear he wasn't about to let the subject drop. "No," said Klaus shortly, feeling disinclined to either explain or attempt to excuse the reasons for his inadequacies as a lover.

"I didn't think so," said Dorian, with a slight smile that held no trace of mockery. "Well then, I'm honoured. Thank you, Klaus." He leaned across and placed a soft kiss on one lightly stubbled cheek. "It makes this doubly special to me, you know."

"Why?" Klaus frowned, pushing himself up on one elbow and staring at Dorian doubtfully.

"That you, of all people, trusted me to be your first." Dorian's smile widened, his delight at the thought quite evident. "I'm so glad you did."

"And now?" Klaus looked away from him, a bitter taste suddenly burning in the back of his throat as uncertainty began to grow. "You've finally had what you've always wanted from me... Will you laugh about the foolish German virgin with your next conquest?"

"Oh, Klaus, how could you think that!" Dorian looked horrified as he stared at the suddenly remote figure by his side. "It isn't true! Do you really believe I'm that cruel and shallow? I've told you that I love you - and I always meant it. Did you think that all I wanted was to claim the conquest? That having you in my bed once would be enough?"

"I thought it was merely the chase, the acquisition, that amused you."

Klaus surprised himself with the steadiness of his voice, considering the turmoil inside him. Had Dorian really meant it, all those times he'd said that he loved him? Klaus had always chosen not to believe it before, now he found himself wanting more than anything for it to be true.

"With the things I steal, that's often the case," Dorian admitted. "They're beautiful, I want them and so I take them. When I tire of them I sell them or give them back. But it's never been that way for me where you were concerned. I always knew that if I were ever lucky enough to win you I'd never want to part with you. And now I have you... At least, I hope I do."

"I wish it were that simple," replied Klaus with a tired sigh.

"I do love you," said Dorian softly.

"God help me, but I believe you." Klaus rolled over until he was facing Dorian once more. He reached out and touched the tousled blond curls gently, rubbing the soft strands between his fingers.

Dorian's smile returned full force. "I realise we'll have to be discreet - I do know how to be, you know, " he added at Klaus' sceptical expression. "But I'm sure we can manage to be together from time to time. Stolen kisses, brief moments in dark corners and the like - it can all be very exciting and romantic, if you do it right."

"Why do I get the feeling I'm going to regret this?" groaned Klaus, flopping back onto the bed and staring at the ceiling. Almost at once, laughing blue eyes in a fair face surrounded by a halo of golden hair appeared in his line of vision.

"I won't let you regret it, Klaus, love. I've waited much too long for this - and so have you," retorted Dorian with mock severity.

But, under the gentle humour, Dorian was serious - as serious as he got. Klaus realised that, over the years, he'd come to recognise those rare moments when Dorian dropped all artifice and was simply himself. Now was one of them.

"No, I don't suppose you will," he agreed, meeting the clear blue gaze candidly. "But I think it's you that is getting the poor end of the bargain."

"Oh, I don't think so." Dorian wriggled sensually until he was settled comfortably on top of Klaus, their bodies matched, groin to groin. "Mmm, no, definitely not," he decided after some adroit manoeuvring contrived to bring them both back to a state of arousal. "I believe I have everything I want... Now, tell me, do you have any more questions or can I finish what I seem to have started?" Dorian grinned down at Klaus cheekily.

Klaus sighed, surrendering to the inevitable as a wave of heat swept through him. "No, thank you, I have all the answers I need."

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