The Next Time They Met

By Anne Higgins (

Major Klaus Heinz Von dem Eberbach parked his black Mercedes in the usual spot beneath his apartment building, turned off the engine, then sat staring at the door leading to the lifts. Ten meters away. It might as well have been ten kilometers.

Every muscle in his body ached, courtesy of getting caught in the shockwave of the bomb blast that had all but leveled the stronghold of a neo-Nazi group. He found the pain annoying, almost as much as the fact that the damned fools had blown themselves up before Klaus and his team could arrest them. Weeks of work wasted, time that would have been better spent on any of a half a dozen vital NATO operations.

Worse, he had requested assignment to this particular operation because he had been certain it was impossible for him encounter Eroica during the investigation. Not that such certainty had kept the damned thief away in the past. Somehow Fate had always seemed to conspire with Lord Dorian, Earl of Red Gloria and made their paths cross precisely when Klaus thought he was safe from the amorous attentions of the thieving British nobleman. That thought had made him wonder more than once during the operation if he'd taken on the neo-Nazi group because he hoped it would keep Dorian safely away or prompt him to make an appearance.

Dorian. Even in his thoughts the impossible Earl had become Dorian instead of Lord Gloria or Eroica, the impersonal distance of titles and codenames vanishing over time. During the last few months, he hadn't even managed a good string of curses when they met. Prior to that he'd tended to greet the thief with something long, bellowed at the top of his lungs and ending with 'pervert.' Ah, how he missed those days.

Worse, the last time they'd met, Klaus had actually allowed a kiss before he'd punched Dorian, and he had the horrible/marvelous/oh,-hell-he-didn't-know-what-to-call-it feeling that the next encounter would end in bed. Or with a murder. He figured he should decide which option he preferred before Dorian invaded his life yet again. At least that was what his conscious mind told him. Klaus was beginning to get very suspicious of what his subconscious was up to.

Not that any of this was of consequence now. Dorian had not shown up, the upper east side of Bonn would be scraping terrorist parts off their homes for weeks, and .... and he should be in hospital. Equal parts pride and hatred for the places had made him hide from his team how badly he had been injured. Nothing serious in the grand scheme of things -- he was not that proud or that stupid -- but he felt like he'd pulled every muscle in his body.

His second-in-command had seemed to suspect all was not as well as Klaus had insisted and had offered to drive him home, but he'd turned him down. He had, however, relented when Agent A suggested (no one ever dared to insist around Klaus) that the clean up and reports could be left to the rest of the team. With a few characteristic grumbles and some half-hearted threats about the consequences if things were not handled correctly, he had loaded himself into his car and made for home.

Unfortunately, the adrenaline rush had worn off during the drive and now neither a stay in hospital nor Agent A's presence seemed like such a bad idea. At the very least it would have provided someone to get him out of the car.

Sadly, Klaus came to the conclusion that his muscles were going to have to do the job. He braced himself, as only a man with the nickname 'Iron Klaus' could, then he got out of the car, walked to the lift, took it up to his floor and let himself into his apartment. To the casual observer, he didn't so much as flinch, but sweat glistened on his skin, and he moaned softly when his front door closed behind him.

Only a faint sound, but for him it was a flat out scream of agony. He considered passing out in his entryway, but one thought got him moving. Aspirin, aspirin, aspirin, aspirin. Lots of aspirin.

His bathroom cupboard yielded up the lovely drug and some vestige of common sense allowed him to resist the impulse to swallow the contents of the nearly full bottle. Instead he took four and found that at least his throat didn't hurt. Delighted to discover a body part that functioned well, he drained his entire glass of water. This victory gave him the strength to consider his next move.

He smelled ... like he'd been in an explosion. His nose and his aching muscles spoke eloquently of the need for his body to make contact with large quantities of soap and hot water. His gaze shifted to his claw-footed tub -- if he remembered not to move his head, that didn't hurt either -- but knew that he could never get out of it were he foolish enough to attempt a bath.

No, a shower would have to do. He considered the logistics of even doing that much, and went for the least painful option. He turned the water to as hot as he could stand it, then got into the shower stall, clothes and all. Blessing the large water heater that came with his reasonably luxurious apartment, he stood under the almost scalding spray for a good five minutes before he began to feel limber enough to strip off his sodden clothing. Gritting his teeth, he then set about washing off the scent of smoke, chemicals and dead terrorists.

The effort left him light headed, but reasonably clean. He waited until the water began to run cold, then turned off the tap. He dried himself as well as he could in the steamy bathroom, decided his shoulder-length hair could stay wet for all he cared, then went to his bedroom. He didn't bother with the lights -- he knew the layout of his apartment well, and despite the existence of a puddle of clothing decorating the bottom of his shower, the word clutter was not in his vocabulary.

He was, therefore, quite surprised when his big toe and shin collided with something very solid. The sharp, unexpected pain made him howl in outrage. A blistering explosion of curses followed as he groped for the nightstand lamp and found it a good six inches closer to the door than it should have been.

He flipped on the light and his curses died stillborn in his throat. He stared at the large, wooden framed monstrosity filling a good part of his once Spartan bedroom and wondered if someone had slipped hallucinogens into his aspirin bottle.

Slowly he reached out and touched the hideous thing. It didn't fade away. ('Of course not you fool,' his throbbing toe and shin growled at him.) Worse, the mattress gave at his touch. A waterbed. Someone had replaced his bed with a decadent monstrosity. Then he noticed how odd the light looked. Almost as if it ... were being ... reflected.

No. That was impossible. (Look up and get it over with.) No. There was nothing there. He absolutely refused to dignify this ridiculous notion with so much as a glance. (Coward. )

No one called Iron Klaus a coward and got away with it. Not even Iron Klaus himself.

Damning the consequences, he looked up, and discovered the ceiling over the bed was covered with a mirror. For a moment he felt very calm, then rage began to boil in his blood until finally he could not contain it a moment longer. "DORIAN!" he bellowed with enough force to make the wretched mirror rattle.

Lord Dorian, Earl of Red Gloria pulled into the drive of the villa he'd rented, then sighed. He'd hoped this trip to the south of France would cheer him up. No luck in that quarter. He should have known better given the cause of his current mental state -- he was Klaus-sick.

It had been over a month since he'd last seen his delectable Major. Not to mention his weakening Major. He could still feel Klaus' lips pressed to his. And his teeth still felt loose from the right cross that had followed. Dorian knew that the next time they met all his delightful dreams would come true -- or he'd be too dead to have any more dreams.

The second, and, loathe as he was to admit it, more likely of those two possibilities had been the reason he'd allowed his staff to convince him to make every effort to avoid the Major, instead of doing the usual hard work to make getting entangled in his newest operation seem like an accident. For such a suspicious bastard, his love could really be naive about quirks of Fate versus Fate getting a helping hand.

Dorian gave his a head a shake, his long curly blond hair swaying around his shoulders and brushing his back. Such a pity Klaus couldn't be trusted to unholster the correct 'gun.' Amused with his joke, he abandoned his Ferrari and wandered into his sumptuous temporary home.

"Evening, m'lord," Bonham greeted him. "I trust you had a pleasant dinner."

He cast a sad gaze on his assistant, cohort in crime and all around right-hand-man. "Not really. In fact I'm beginning to find warm, scented breezes very tedious. I think it may be time to return to England."

Bonham nodded. "I'll make the arrangements. Of course, Mr James won't be pleased."

Dorian winced at the wails of horror that would result from the little accountant being told that they would all be returning to England prematurely -thus forfeiting the rental fee for the rest of the contracted two-month stay. It would not be pleasant. James was so frightfully unreasonable about money matters. But even the thought of one of James' screaming, crying fits was not enough to change his mind. If he couldn't be with Klaus, he wanted to go home.

"James will get over it," he said with a shrug. "I think I'll retire for the evening. Perhaps study the schematics of that new alarm system."

Another nod answered him. And well it should. One of Bonham's duties was to arrange suitable bribes to keep Eroica well appraised of developments in the security industry.

Not that even the prospect of a night of thieving appealed to Dorian in his present mood. Nothing did when he had a serious case of Klaus-sick. Risk to life and limb or not, he was simply going to have to arrange a 'chance' encounter. Soon.

The strong scent of roses caught his attention when he was half way down the hallway leading to his bedroom suite. Had someone broken his vial of rose essence? He sighed, wouldn't that be a lovely end of a perfectly dreary day.

He opened his door, switched on the lights, then his jaw dropped. The rooms were filled with roses of every color and almost every variety he knew of. Who on Earth? ... He remembered the kiss, smiled and whispered, "Klaus."

Dawn peeked around the corners of his curtains when Klaus opened his eyes. By keeping those same eyes tightly closed against the obscenity above him, he had managed to drift off and get a decent night's sleep. A part of him was even willing to admit that the firm yet yielding properties of the water-filled mattress had been a blessing to his battered body.

Cautiously he sat up; his body felt stiff, but the pain had gone. A soak in the tub should take care of the stiffness, he decided and retreated to his bathroom.

When he returned to the bedroom, he felt ... normal. Well, he always had some tension in his muscles. Who wouldn't when his life forced him to constantly deal with fools, terrorists, enemy agents, criminals and one very irritating thief in particular?

His glare shot to the mirror. He could almost find it in himself to keep the bed, but the other had to go. It out and out mystified him why anyone would even want such a thing. He knew all too well what he looked like in the morning. Of course, he wasn't stupid. He did know what the mirror's appeal was. He simply didn't approve. Not surprising since the words 'sex' and 'approve' seldom fit into the same sentence as far as he was concerned.

Nor did he even want to think of what his father would say were he to discover that the reason his almost-30 year-old-son was a virgin was because women had absolutely no sexual appeal to him, and the alternative was utterly unthinkable. Or was it? Klaus sighed, and flopped down on the bed, then stared up at his reflection.

The reflection of ... He'd always managed to avoid applying the word to himself because he'd never acted on his desires. Was, in fact, out and out disgusted and appalled by them. Or he had been. Somehow Dorian had worn him down until in his heart-of-hearts he knew his virginity would no longer exist by the time he reached 30.

He looked into the green eyes staring down at him from above and said, "You are a homosexual." He waited for a clap of thunder, an ominous riff from an unseen pipe organ or even a collective gasp of horror, but even the face looking back at him seemed unimpressed. Stupid mirror.

Klaus considered throwing something at it, but knew a wise man would get out of range of falling shards before attempting such a thing and he was too comfortable to move.

A half hour later, he saw no reason to alter that conclusion when he heard the hinges of his front door creak. Like the homes of all key NATO personnel, a sophisticated alarm system guarded the portals of Klaus' apartment. However, alarms could be overcome, so he'd deliberately left the hinges unoiled. Someone with the skill to thwart the alarm had just broken in. He knew he really should get his gun, then shoot whoever it was, but it was either someone here to do him the favor of killing him -thus putting him out of this dreadful state of calm -or Dorian.

He hadn't decided which option he preferred when a voice from his doorway cooed, "Oh, now there's a lovely sight."

Lifting his head up enough to glare at Dorian, he muttered, "Fool."

"Mmm, a fool for you," the miserable thief agreed with him.

"Stop saying things like that," Klaus snapped, letting his head fall back onto the bed, all too conscious of the fact that he'd made no move to cover his nudity. He could not ... would not verbally invite Dorian to join him, but he refrained from thinking of icebergs and allowed his cock to begin to harden beneath his 'guest's' scrutiny.

Clever thing that he was, Dorian got the hint, or at least Klaus assumed that all that rustling of clothing was the sound of Dorian shedding several frilly layers of satin and silk.

Klaus closed his eyes, not wanting to see his responses to those sounds, then he moaned loudly when Dorian's naked weight suddenly covered his body. Lips captured his to silence him, then a tongue invaded his mouth.

Hands began to explore him, and he found his own tongue and hands doing some reconnaissance of the their own.

The bed undulated with each movement of their bodies, not that this bothered Dorian. He seemed to be quite the master of sex in a waterbed. Klaus found that highly annoying. "Must you be so good at this?" he demanded when his mouth was freed.

Dorian laughed. "Now, darling, don't be that way. We have much better things to do than fight."

"All right." Klaus could be reasonable on occasion. "We can fight later."

"Oh, I'm certain we'll do that. Frequently. Almost as often as we'll make love."

The thought of going from celibacy to that sort of mind-boggling sexual over-indulgence made Klaus' head spin and his cock throb. "Get on with it then."

Dorian's lips brushed his forehead. "I want you to fuck me."

Klaus scowled. "Don't be ridiculous. I do not know what I'm doing and I certainly cannot learn with this bed sloshing around. You will have to do me instead."

Dorian's eyes widened. "You want me to--"

Embarrassment warmed Klaus' face, but he didn't look away. "Yes."

The insufferable thief kissed him again, then reached behind his own body to pick something up. "I thought we might need this," he said, uncapping a tube of gel.

That was his Dorian. Always the proper equipment for the proper job.

"It's easier for the first time if you lie on your stomach or side."

Klaus gave him another glare for knowing too much, then shifted over onto his right side. Dorian immediately snuggled up behind him and began feasting on his neck, while elegant fingers toyed with Klaus' left nipple.

Klaus gasped and his lover made a satisfied sound. If this kept up, he feared he wouldn't have any secrets left at all. "Dorian, do it now," he hissed.

"Patience, darling. Good things take time."

Fine. He'd pass that time in his favorite pursuit -imagining ways to kill Dorian. Unfortunately, his treacherous body would not cooperate. Every touch, every lick made him squirm and moan. He was on the verge of begging for ... he didn't know what when a slick finger breached his anus.

His eyes opened wide at the intimate touch, but after a moment he managed to relax. Before he could become too accustomed to the sensation, a second finger joined the first. Then a third. His back arched, and he felt gripped by the conflicting urges to impale himself further and to escape the probing fingers. A moment later they were gone.

Dorian's cock pushed against his opening, then moved inside him. Annoying as his skill was, Klaus found reason to be grateful for it as his lover penetrated him with slow, careful patience. At each sign of discomfort from Klaus the journey inward halted, while lips and hands soothed him until he was ready to take more.

The press of Dorian's balls against his buttocks brought a satisfied smile to Klaus' face and he couldn't help taking a peek at their image in the mirror. The sight of Dorian buried to the hilt in his body made his stomach flutter and his heart pound. He looked so ... possessed. Worse, the look on his face indicated that at least his body was pleased with the notion. "Move," he commanded, his gaze riveted on the mirror.

Dorian kissed his neck, then obeyed, and Klaus watched as well as felt his lover's cock thrusting into him. It was not something he could endure for long and within a minute his climax ripped through his body, leaving him gasping at the intense pleasure.

A moment later Dorian froze, then Klaus felt a wetness flow into him. He was held tightly as his lover recovered, then lips nuzzled his ear. "You're mine now."

"So it would seem," Klaus muttered, then found himself being turned to face Dorian.

"No arguments? No protests?"

"None that I can think of at the moment." He locked gazes with Dorian, looking for ... something. And found enough of whatever it was to say, "I will return the favor once we can find a more stable surface."

"Sounds like fun."

Klaus glared at him. "Dorian, make no mistake on this point, I will not share."

That got him a smile, then a kiss. "Oh, darling, give me some credit. I adore playing the field, but I've always known that would stop were I ever to get you in my clutches." He kissed him again. "As long as I have you, I'll be good."

"Hmm," Klaus muttered, then let himself be cuddled close. "Should other thoughts cross your mind, please remember that I have a gun and I am not afraid to use it."

Dorian had the nerve to giggle. "Of course." He stretched, then flopped over onto his back. "Oh, my -- Klaus, there's a mirror over your bed."

"Mmm, yes, and I've decided to keep. ..." Wait a minute. "Why are you acting surprised?"

"Well, the waterbed was shock enough, but a mirror? I never would have --"

Klaus stared at him for a long minute. "You mean you did not send them?"

"Me? Darling, I value my life far too much for that!"

"Then who?" Klaus frowned. He'd been so certain Dorian had been behind the remodeling of his bedroom that he'd not even considered other possibilities. It was not a simple task to break into his apartment, especially with a large waterbed and ceiling mirror. The list of those with a key and provisional access was short. He would find out -- and punish, he had a reputation to uphold after all -- the who soon enough, but. ... "Why?"

"Someone thinks you should pay more attention to sensual pleasures. I think I approve. But then, you were coming around anyway. All those lovely roses could only come from someone with a romantic soul."

"Roses? What roses?"

Bonham popped the cork on a vintage bottle of champagne, poured a glass then held it up in a toast as he cradled the phone to his right ear. "To success."

"Isn't this premature?" Agent A asked from the other end of the line. "For all we know, they've killed each other."

He chuckled. "Such deaths would be loud and spectacular. Half the world would know by now."

"You have a point. Perhaps it has worked. But I still don't understand why I needed to risk life, limb and my security clearance to get that bed and mirror into place. The roses should have been enough to get them together."

"Your Major needed something to keep him off balance. Besides, m'lord Dorian is especially fond of making love on waterbeds."

"Now there's something I could have lived a lifetime without hearing," A muttered. "They'll figure out it was us, you know."

"Of course."

A groaned. "I'm a dead man. I should have known better. Eroica might thank you, but the Major will kill me no matter how it all turned out."

Bonham smiled. Plan A was finished, time to move on to Plan B. "Well, in that case, there's always room for a talented" -- and handsome, very handsome -- "man such as yourself on the Earl's staff."

To success, indeed.

the end