To the casual observer, Klaus would have appeared perfectly calm as he stepped out of his Benz, squinting through the heavy snowfall at the relatively small, stately mansion in front of him. One better acquainted with his habits, however, would have shrunk back at the small smile on his face and the steely look in his eyes. While outwardly composed, he was, in fact, plotting a very messy and unpleasant end for a certain thieving associate of his. He slammed the car door with more force than was necessary, and began walking up to the house.
He had known Eroica was in the country, of course. His presence had been announced a week ago by G, who had come into the office excitedly waving the newspaper's society column, crowing that Lord Gloria had finally decided to spend some time on his German estate. Klaus had--foolishly, perhaps--hoped that the fop would do the sensible thing and leave him alone. He knew this was unlikely; not only was the idiot in love with him, he was also fascinated by a certain painting from the von dem Eberbach family collection, and would not likely be able to resist temptation. So he had been prepared for some invasion of his privacy and had redoubled his security measures at the Schloss, though he knew it would do him no good. What he had not expected was that the thief would completely bypass both him and The Man in Purple to steal a small statue that appeared, to Klaus's untrained eye, to be of little consequence.
While the statue was neither particularly valuable, nor of any real interest to Klaus, it was still part of his family heritage, and he felt that he must retrieve it on principle. Thus it was that he found himself knocking on the door of Lord Gloria's mansion on Christmas Eve night, chilly and thoroughly annoyed. 'It's bad enough,' he thought, 'that he stole from me at all--'s fucking insulting. But he did it on Christmas Eve! He's just damned lucky I'm not religious." Tired of waiting for Bonham to answer, he simply walked in, impatiently slamming the heavy wooden door behind him.
The house was oddly, utterly silent, apparently empty of Eroica's usual entourage of pretty young men. Not even the thief himself was in sight. If not for the unlocked door, Klaus might have thought the place had been abandoned. He stepped into the foyer, scanning the room and listening for any signs of life...and spotted a single red rose lying in front of a closed door directly across from him. He crossed the room to pick it up and opened the door into the drawing room, only to find more roses, trailing in a line across the room and into the library.
He narrowed his eyes. 'So, that's his game. Follow the roses to whatever disgusting, faggoty...thing he's got planned.' Klaus sighed. He didn't have much choice but to go along with it, he supposed, if he wanted to get the statue back. He tossed the first rose over his shoulder and walked on, following the trail to the library's french doors and outside to Eroica's extensive gardens, crushing the roses underfoot as he went. He kept his hand on his Magnum, in case the thief tried anything. Klaus knew from experience that Eroica hated guns; maybe the threat would be enough to keep all those gay germs at a distance!
The roses grew more plentiful as he advanced, until they nearly carpeted the ground. Klaus was growing irritated with this scheme of Eroica's, whatever it was. It was cold, it was late...dammit, he could be back at the Schloss cleaning his guns, instead of tromping through snow that came up nearly to his shins, playing some kind of silly, foppish game! He climbed a small hill, ready to turn back at the top--and then he froze at what he saw.
Atop the hill, bedecked with what seemed like hundreds of scarlet roses, sat his long-missed Leopard tank.
Klaus's jaw dropped. Hardly believing what he saw, he walked over to the tank and placed a gloved hand on the treads. He stood there for a moment, then, satisfied that it was indeed real, began moving around it, inspecting it for signs of foppish tampering.
Suddenly aware that he was being watched, Klaus froze and looked up, reaching instinctively for his gun. A familiar blond head had appeared from the hatch, and was gazing down at him with a rather peculiar smile. "Eroica," he said, tonelessly.
"Happy Christmas, Major," the thief replied. He held up the statue, grinning widely. "I do apologize for the theft, but I knew you'd never come on your own, and I couldn't wait to see the look on your face when you got your present." He pushed himself up and out of the hatch, and jumped gracefully down to the ground.
"The statue...was just the bait, then," Klaus said, disgusted with himself. "I should have known you had some kind of plan. Can't believe I walked right into this; an amateur could have seen it coming." He glared at the other man, inching away warily.
Eroica's eyes gleamed with amusement. "You insult me, Major," he protested. "I didn't have anything planned at all! You make it sound as though I were trying to seduce you at every turn!" Klaus rolled his eyes. "Really, Major," the thief continued, "I didn't have anything in mind when I brought you here. I only wanted to give you your Christmas gift...and to get mine from you."
The Major opened his mouth, about to protest that he had nothing to give him. Abruptly, Eroica closed the distance between them, placing his hands on Klaus's shoulders and kissing him full on the lips before he had a chance to object. Klaus's eyes widened as the thief's tongue slipped briefly into his mouth, barely caressing his own before withdrawing.
Eroica stepped back with a supremely satisfied smile. "Happy Christmas, Major," he whispered again. He turned and began the walk back to the house, barely managing to contain his glee.
Behind him, Klaus gathered himself. He nearly went after him, but decided that it wasn't worth the trouble. He turned back to his interrupted inspection of the tank.
Moments later, back in the library, a closet door slowly creaked open. Eroica looked over to see Bonham tentatively poking his head out into the room, a fearful expression on his face. "M'lord," he said hesitantly, "are you sure this was a good idea? I'm sure the Major's glad to have his favorite toy back, but..."
Eroica interrupted, grinning triumphantly. "Don't be silly, Bonham! The Major's been pining after that tank for ages, and all I asked in return was one little kiss. We both got what we wanted--and he's thrilled, I'm sure."
"But don't you think...I mean, the pink upholstery..."
Just as Bonham trailed off, Klaus's enraged shouting reached Eroica's ears where he sat in front of the fire. Bonham ducked back into the closet, slamming the door, and the thief lapsed into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Truly, this had been his most inspired scheme yet! He only hoped he'd live long enough to properly gloat...