All of the alphabets who were facing the cafés north entrance cringed. The Major, keeping an eye on the more frequented south entrance, turned his head swiftly, expecting to see a KGB agent. Then his emerald eyes narrowed and his lip curled.
The new arrival sauntered over to the alphabets table, smiling radiantly.
"What do you want, Eroica?" the Major growled.
"Then take it and get out."
Eroica gave a dewy-eyed look of shammed concern. "I can always tell when youre in a bad mood, darling," he cooed. "You breathe."
The alphabets had been listening in cowed silence. Now Z coughed quietly, dabbed the corner of his mouth with his napkin, rose and walked out. Dorians eyes flickered to him, but he otherwise took no notice.
"Get out of here, Eroica," Klaus repeated. "Get out of Madrid, in fact."
"I was hoping the Spanish sense of style had infected you, darling," Dorian remarked as if he had not heard. "Wearing something more dashing might loosen you up a bit. Have you ever seen Ninotchka?"
"Yes. I liked her better in the first half of the movie."
"I should have guessed." Now that a moment had passed, Dorian judged that it was safe to ask lightly, "So what did Z hurry out of here for? Rather rude, not even saying goodbye ."
"No doubt he caught sight of someone he knew and went to say hello." The Major knew Eroica would understand that Z had spotted someone who needed to be followed.
Eroica smiled angelically. "I could have told him not to bother. I stole the key to the code from Mischa last night."
Iron Klaus shot to his feet. "What?!?"
"I saved you all that bother, darling. I"
Everyone in the café, and a few people passing by on the street outside, fell silent and looked at him.
Dorian said brightly, "Now that you have everyones attention, darling, what did you have to tell us?"
Glancing around at the eyes turned on him, the Major forced himself down to an ominous simmer and sat. With a jerk of his head, he indicated Zs abandoned chair. Dorian took it. B, between them, hoped that another KGB agent would stroll by so that he could follow him.
Having regained a measure of self-control, Klaus spoke in a voice tight with fury. "Have you forgotten how dangerous that man is? Do you lack any sense of self-preservation whatsoever?"
"Darling, if I had a strong sense of self-preservation, I never would have fallen in love with you."
"Stop saying things like that, you you"
As Klaus sputtered, Dorian looked at him attentively. "Pervert? Idiot? Limey? Thief?" he supplied helpfully. "Nod if Im getting warm."
"Eroica." The Majors tone was warning. The alphabets turned pale. "This would not be a good time for you to be clever."
The Earl glanced around the table with his sunniest smile. "All right, boys and girls, our word for today is 'cantankerous'. Can anyone spell it?"
"I suggest you not try a stunt like that again," Klaus said in a deadly voice. Had he spoken that way to anyone else, he could have rested secure that they would adhere to the order for their next several incarnations. With Eroica it might last a day. He hoped. "As long as you have it," he continued, glaring coldly, "I suppose we will be expected to negotiate with your pet stingy-bug for it."
"Would you rather have had to induce Mischa to part with it?"
"Yes. What do you plan to demand for it, you bloody thief?"
Dorian shrugged elegantly. "Oh, Im sure well work something out." He turned the full power of his most flirtatious look on his beloved.
Mosel green eyes widened, then narrowed. "Whatever youre thinking, you curly-haired bugger"
Sky-blue eyes widened in polite surprise. "Really, Major, you have a much dirtier mind than I do. I didn't mean anything like that at all. Honestly, what do you think I am? Dont answer that," he added quickly, smiling.
"Idiot. Ill collect that damned code tonight. Where are you staying?"
"The Hotel Santo Domingo. Youll hate it; its lovely."
"Eight oclock. You had better be there."
"Wouldnt miss it for the world, darling."
At 7:55 precisely, the Major banged on the door of Eroicas hotel suite. Dorian opened it, and indicated the desk as Klaus entered. The code was there. Klaus walked to it and looked at it for a moment.
"You could have been killed," he stated.
"Dont do anything like that again."
"Youre so sexy when youre bossy. And of course, youre always bossy ."
Klaus looked from the priceless sheet of paper to Dorian, and then pulled Dorian close to kiss him.
A long minute later, when his mouth was freed, Dorian pulled back to undo Klaus tie and start unbuttoning his shirt. "You didnt honestly expect me to stay away from Madrid, did you, darling? Its been a whole month since we were together."
"Three and a half weeks," Klaus corrected automatically. "How in the hell do you unfasten this thing?"
"Allow me." Dorian quickly pulled off his tunic and returned to the Majors more straightforward fastenings while Klaus made a trail of kisses along his neck. "Now that youve got your code, cant you take a few days off?"
"You know better than that. But we have tonight." Klaus gripped Dorians arms and pulled him in the direction of the bed.
"Hm. Then I hope you slept in this morning," Dorian remarked as he reached for his lovers belt not the oxhide one he had stolen from Klaus once, he noticed. Klaus seldom wore it anymore, probably afraid Dorian would steal it again. "By the way, that remark about taking nothing and getting out I think youre developing a sense of humor."
Klaus ran his fingers meditatively through Dorians hair. "Was I convincing enough today?"
"Quite, darling. You should have seen your poor agents cringe when they saw me. Theyre all still quite convinced that you hate me."
Klaus paused in his caresses with a frown of resignation. "Dorian, how much longer are we going to have to carry on this damned charade?"
"Until youre in a line of work less likely to inspire badly dressed psychopaths to take your lover hostage, darling. Mischa is a dangerous man, remember?"
"One of these days, Dorian," Klaus sighed, "I swear it, you are going to admit the truth about us openly."