There are certain Laws of Nature here on Earth that remain immutable, inviolate, unbreakable. The sun always rises in the East and sets in the West. Gravity is a one-way proposition. And, above all, it's entirely probable that Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach will die a homophobic virgin.
These are the Laws of Nature that have governed my life, to the extent that a life such as mine can be governed.
You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Laws of Nature might be nothing more than suggestions, after all.
For an internationally-renowned thief, Eroica was certainly lax about security. Then again, Klaus mused, it wasn't as though many people knew that the infamous thief was really the Earl of Gloria.
Still. It was ridiculously easy for him to break in; all he had to do was climb the entirely frivolous, ridiculously romantic rose trellis. It was so like Dorian to indulge in such fripperies, even to the expense of security. Klaus managed the climb to the second-story balcony with little trouble other than a few scratches; picking the lock of the French doors was distressingly easy, as well. Really, he'd have to mention it to Dorian. Eroica's enemies might not know where to look for him, but surely an Earl should be more concerned with his personal safety.
It didn't occur to him until he was halfway across the floor that the Earl might have company; he breathed a sigh of relief as he drew close enough to see that there was only one slender, long-limbed form sprawled out under the satin coverlet, long blond curls tumbling across the pillow.
Apparently, Dorian didn't wear much to bed; one long, bare leg trailed from beneath the covers, which had slid down far enough to reveal the thief's pale, smooth bare chest and flat belly. Klaus paused for a moment, just looking, and somehow Dorian sensed his presence. Wide, sky-blue eyes snapped open, and for a long moment the two were frozen, staring at each other in the darkened room.
"Am I dreaming still?" Dorian asked at last. "I never expected you would willingly enter my bedchamber."
"I..." Klaus said, and wet his lips nervously as Dorian sat up, all languid grace as the satin coverlet puddled in his lap. He was wearing underwear, just barely enough rose-colored silk to cover him.
"Major? Is it a mission?"
"It... I..." Klaus stammered.
"Or dare I hope that you're planning to join me, here in bed?" Dorian asked, with a sly smile. Wordlessly, Klaus closed the distance between them in two decisive strides. Dorian flinched, half-expecting to be hit, and the sensation of hesitant fingers threading through his hair froze him in place. He had just enough time to look up, thunderstruck, before Klaus leaned in and pressed his lips to Dorian's in an awkward first kiss; Dorian pulled away and gaped at him.
"Are you sick? Drunk? Did somebody drug you?"
"I've fought this for 20 years," Klaus whispered, pulling off his jacket and tie and carelessly dropping them on the floor. "I can't fight it any more. Lord Gloria... Dorian..."
"Major!" Dorian gasped. "What's wrong with you?"
"I want you," Klaus said. "I know you want me."
Dorian slowly closed his mouth, then swallowed hard. His eyes were wide with shock.
"You do, don't you?" Klaus asked, starting to feel insecure at the thief's unexpected response. "I thought... I thought you would be... pleased. Why are you acting so strange?"
"O- of course I'm pleased," Dorian said, and his lips curved up in a wavery smile that greatly reassured Klaus. "It's... it's beyond my wildest hope, but after all these years... well, this seems so sudden! What... what changed?"
"My father died last week," Klaus said. "I don't have to live by his rules any more. I don't *want* to live by his rules any more. Dorian, we--I--can adopt an heir! Don't you see? I can finally be who I really *am*!"
"What about all those 'you'll rot in Hell' speeches you gave me?" Dorian asked. For a moment Klaus paused, confused by Dorian's apparent lack of enthusiasm, but he reasoned that the thief just needed a little time to adjust to the concept of his new freedom, and how it would change things between them.
"If we are sent to Hell for being gay, at least we'd still be together," Klaus said, all awkward gruffness despite the flowery sentiment as he perched on the edge of the bed uneasily. "Dorian... an eternity would not be a long enough time, to tell you all that I... to tell you how I feel."
"Don't speak," Dorian said softly, pressing his fingertips to Klaus's mouth to forestall his reply. "Don't say anything..."
"I love you," Klaus whispered, lips moving in a soft brush against those slender fingertips before Dorian withdrew them. "I've loved you for the longest time now, and it's killed me trying to keep it a secret."
"Major..." It was barely a whisper, and outside a shadow moved across the moon, dimming the light that spilled in through the French doors until all Klaus could see of Dorian's expression was the glimmer of his eyes.
"Klaus," he corrected gently.
"Klaus... who would have guessed that, under that stern exterior, you were such a complete--"
"I was going to say, 'romantic.' "
"I couldn't behave any other way," Klaus said, ducking his head although the shadows hid his expression well enough. "Not while my father was still alive. But now... Dorian, I want to make it up to you. All this time wasted... I don't want to waste a moment more."
"Dorian," Klaus interrupted. "Let me... Let me show you how I feel. Please... after all these years of dreaming about each other, we can finally make it a reality."
"Oh, Klaus," Dorian said, and he sounded almost... distraught, but then he added, "Give me a moment, Darling. I'll be right back." He hurried to the bathroom and locked the door behind him.
Klaus hurriedly shed his clothes, careless of where or how they landed for the first time he could recall. It didn't matter if they got wrinkled, or if everyone in the household knew, come morning, what he and Dorian had been doing. He really didn't care if the whole world knew, so long as he and Dorian were together.
Dorian came out of the bathroom, drew a deep breath, and padded across the darkened room. Klaus drew him down onto the bed, gently, and kissed him again, fervent and worshipful, one sweet kiss for every blow Dorian had suffered for his sake. Dorian pulled away from him and turned over, guiding Klaus with whispers and quiet gasps, and Klaus drove into him, like a lost soul coming home at last. It was beautiful, and luscious, and so perfectly, hedonistically right, and Klaus cried out in completion all too soon, and buried his face in Dorian's hair, and his wet eyes were hidden in the golden mass. He lay for a few moments, savoring the feel of Dorian, lean and solid beneath him, and then he reluctantly withdrew from his lover's body, shivering at the rich echo of pleasure as he pulled Dorian into his arms and held him close. Klaus had never felt so loved, or so complete, and he marvelled at how this simple act, this simple, necessary act, had changed everything so permanently, and so profoundly.
"I adore you," he whispered, but Dorian didn't respond other than to nuzzle him with a sleepy little murmur. Klaus lay awake for a while longer, listening to the sound of his lover's breathing, savoring Dorian's scent, the feel of Dorian's warm body against his. "I love you," he whispered once more, and then he slept at last, blissfully, knowing that this was the beginning of a beautiful life for the two of them.
When he woke in the morning, Dorian was gone.
The timing of all of this absolutely destroys me. Why would he come to me *tonight*, of all nights? There was nothing else I could do... not without risking the whole thing. If I fail, they must still see me as the eccentric queer who occasionally does things purely for the challenge. But... oh, I would give anything to turn the clock back even a few hours!
I have only ten minutes left of my window; it has taken nearly 20 years to get this far, but I had underestimated the cleverness of my prey and the sheer paranoic devotion of the Major. I underestimated a lot about the Major, as it happens.
I'm less graceful than I would have wanted to be, as I slip through the familiar corridors. 20 years of dogging the Major's steps, following his every move, and it's only now that the final piece has fallen into place. With this... it will all be over soon, one way or the other.
The carpet is a little plusher, the gleaming leather chair a little bigger, but the SACEUR's office doesn't actually look all that different from any of the other offices of high-ranking NATO officials. It's one of the best protected places in the building, though. Luckily, guards and alarm systems aren't much of a challenge for a man like me.
I hold my breath as I type in the computer password and wait for a reaction; either the whole thing will blow up in my face, or the information bought at such high personal expense will prove true.
With a sedate little beep, the computer boots up, and I dare to breathe again, and quickly begin typing. Seven minutes left.
Four... and I've found it! I copy the data onto CD, and forward it to my superior. The copying process finishes, and I pocket the CD... and that's when it dawns on me that it's over--really, truly, finally over. I could almost cry.
When Klaus arrived at the office that morning, the entire building was in an uproar. His usual routine was to stomp to his desk, glare menacingly at his men until they leaped into action (in an attempt to at least *look* busy), and light up while starting the day's work.
This time, however, he stepped off the elevator into chaos. His men were all talking at once; a group of strangers was evidently interviewing each of them, and the Alphabets looked completely panic-
stricken. There were two of the strangers waiting for him as the elevator doors slid open, and they flashed badges at him--CIA badges--as they escorted him to one of the small debriefing rooms.
They locked him in, and left him there for several hours. He was down to his last cigarette and his last shred of patience when the door opened, and a familiar figure stepped in.
"Dorian!" Klaus said, shocked, leaping to his feet and dropping the cigarette into the overfull ash tray. Belatedly, he realized that his use of the Earl's given name was improper, but really... Dorian was the last person on Earth he'd expected to see here!
"Major," Dorian replied coolly. "Please, sit down. You undoubtedly have questions, and you deserve some answers."
"What's going on?" Klaus said, sitting rigidly. "And what the fuck are you doing here?"
"The CIA has been investigating this branch for quite some time," Dorian began, and Klaus was so shocked by the buried anger in the blond's voice that the words didn't immediately sink in. Dorian sounded different... and what would he be angry about? He was the one who'd snuck away that morning... "Your Supreme Allied Commander Europe has been selling vital information to the KGB, and it was in our best interests to verify that such was the case and remove the threat he presented."
"Herr Erlich's been busted for treason," Dorian repeated bluntly, and Klaus's eyes widened as he realized that Dorian's rich British accent was... gone.
"What's wrong with your voice? Dorian?"
"Actually, it's John." Klaus stared at the curly-haired blond--the man he knew so well--as he continued. "I've been working on this case undercover for the CIA since Josef Erlich first promoted to General."
"John?" Klaus asked numbly. He knew how this man smelled, and tasted, and felt. But did he know anything about him at all?
"Dorian Red Gloria was my cover," John said. "As was Eroica, of course."
"But... you... TWENTY YEARS! All of it was a lie? ALL of it?"
"My mission was deep undercover. The whole persona of the gay art thief was part of the act." The blond seemed outwardly calm and unruffled, and it made it worse for Klaus somehow, to know that he was caught in a maelstrom of fury, humiliation, and disbelief, and the cause of all of it was unaffected.
"DAMN you! Last night? Was that part of your mission, too?"
"I couldn't risk blowing my cover!" John said, his face reddening. "Not when I was so close to finishing the goddamned case!"
"So you let me fuck you, like offering a pacifier to a baby?"
"Yes!" John snapped. "I wasn't expecting you to turn out to be gay!"
"You... you cold-hearted bastard!"
"I did what I had to do."
"You ruined my fucking life!"
"Apparently, I was the only *fucking* life you had," John replied sourly.
"You complete... irredeemable *bastard*," Klaus choked. "How can you--how could--how DARE you?"
"*I'M* not the one who suddenly decided to turn gay!"
"No, but you *begged* me to for years!"
"Because you were supposed to say *NO!* How was I supposed to know you were really a 'fucking faggot' under all that prudery?"
"You're one to talk!"
"I was playing a role for my job, which is important for International Security!" John yelled. "YOU were just playing!"
"Fucking bastard," Klaus snarled, leaping up to grab the blond by the shirt collar. "I'm going to bust your fucking teeth in!"
"Fine," John hissed, glaring at him balefully. "Anything, so long as you don't try screwing me again."
"You moaned enough!" Klaus released him and backed away, sick with anger.
"It HURT like a sonofabitch!"
"I guess that's what you get for wriggling your ass at me for TWENTY goddamned years!" Klaus said bitterly, hurt beyond what he would have thought possible; now he recalled that 'Dorian' had buried his face in his pillow, and muffled his moans... it was only now, in retrospect, that he realized they hadn't been moans of pleasure.
"So what do you get, then, Major," John asked in the sweet honeyed tones Klaus was so familiar with, "for using me as a fucking punching bag for twenty goddamned years?"
"My heart ripped out and stepped all over by a callous fucking CIA Agent! And you American fuckers wonder why continentals hate you."
"Your heart, if such a thing actually exists, was supposed to be safe," John said. "I chose you as a target because you were the last person in the world who could possibly turn out to be... queer!"
Klaus blanched. "Get out of my sight before I shoot you."
"Gladly," the blond answered, and rose to leave, and that was when Klaus noticed the wedding band he now wore.
"Go tell your.. your fucking *wife* that you finally know what it's like to be fucked." The words had welled up out of bitterness; Klaus hadn't meant to say them aloud. John flinched, and turned to glare at him furiously, and Klaus felt an almost fierce gladness in the heart of his misery, that he wasn't the only one suffering.
"You know, Major, I've known a few heartless bastards in my time, but you absolutely take the cake. You were as much a liar as I was!"
"You lied about who you were," Klaus spat. "You lied about your claims of... of love. You lied about your sexual orientation. You're suprised that I'd do the same?"
"I lied about who I was, for my job. I lied about my sexual orientation, for my job. I lied about my claims of loving you, for my job. What did you lie for?"
Klaus lifted his chin a little. "For my job."
"For your job," John echoed. "Then you should understand."
"No, I don't understand! I didn't create an entirely different person around that lie!"
"The hell you didn't!" John spat.
"Fine. The hell I didn't. But you know? I didn't fucking go out and pursue women, knowing it was a lie!"
"But you would, if NATO ordered it; if it were a matter of international security. Wouldn't you, Major?"
"And you'd try to pick a woman who would reject your advances. That way, you'd appear to be a raving heterosexual, and still not have to... do something that made your stomach turn."
"Then don't be offended that I picked up on your advances."
"Well, it's a little different, isn't it? The woman in this theoretical scenario wouldn't be likely to fuck you up the ass!"
"HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW YOU WEREN'T REAL?"
"HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW YOU WEREN'T?"
There was a long silence, as the two stared at each other and the things that remained unspoken loomed between them, and then Klaus spoke again.
"So how does being hurt by all of this make me heartless?"
"Did you, or did you not, just say that I deserved to be fucked for trying to do my job? And that I should pass the news on to my wife? Hardly the words of a loving and generous soul, Major. I was doing what I had to; this wasn't supposed to happen."
"You're right. It wasn't. And you deserved it because you *seduced* me!"
"You called my fucking bluff! I had to finish out playing the part! Believe me, Major, if I could've gotten out of it, I would have!"
"Well, I'm sorry for calling your bluff. And I'm sorry you're such a convincing actor."
"Not half as sorry as I am."
"What've you got to be bitter over?"
"Oh, let's see, shall we? I had an assignment that should have been over in five years, which was too fucking long to be away from my wife to start with. I spent twenty years giving all I had for my country, and while I did eventually nail the man I'd been sent to take down, I paid for it! The man I thought I could rely on turned out to be a closet pervert!"
John wasn't about to mention that his wife had already moved on, and married another man.
"I spent twenty years giving all I had for *my* country," Klaus said, feeling old and weary and broken. "I've been riddled with more holes than any man should have. My career suffered because there was a pervert who continuously, and loudly, fouled up my work. Twenty years, you and a few of my men, the only consistent thing in my life. I thought you were someone I could turn to when I hit bottom. And then I find out you're a fucking lie. So the sex doesn't matter--I thought it was a precurser to something more."
"The sex mattered to me," John replied sourly. "And how dare you blame me for your remaining un-promoted? You'd been a Major for how many years when you met me?"
"Three," Klaus said with a shrug. "That's a fucking perfectly reasonable time."
"Put the blame where it belongs, Darling," John said viciously. Klaus winced. "It's not my fault your asshole of a Chief held you back."
"Stop that, you cold fucker."
"Or what? You've already done your worst."
"You spent twenty years telling me to not be such a prude. You should've been telling yourself."
"What would you know about it? Not wanting to get... buggered... doesn't make me a prude!"
"The hell it doesn't, when you *oozed* queer for years!"
"What the fuck does that have to do with anything!"
"Never mind. Go home to your wife," Klaus said, and turned his back to the man he'd known as Dorian. "This hurts to think about..."
John paused for a long time, with his hand on the doorknob, and glanced back over his shoulder at the man who had been so central a part of his life for so long. He respected Klaus as an officer... but not as a human being.
"Goodbye, Major," he said, and walked out the door. Klaus didn't watch him go.~The End~