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Protecting Secrets

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Dorian stared in open-mouthed horror. Klaus ... cheated on him! And to add insult to injury – Klaus cheated on him with a fat man!

Well, to say that Klaus actually cheated on him might be a bit premature. Some would venture to say that the two of them would actually have to be in a committed relationship in order for Klaus to linguistically be able to cheat on him. Perhaps some would even be so rude as to point out that they needed to be in any sort of relationship first. As if Dorian having chased the man across four continents for five years didn't count?!

"Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach – your arse is mine! I know it; your Alphabets know it; my men know it; the frigging KGB knows it! How dare you share that perfect body with that-that-that ... blob of lard!"

He hissed the words to the roof top he laid on, but he really wanted to shout them at the man no doubt sleeping off his rendezvous in the opposite house. Yes, if Dorian must be brutally honest – he and Klaus had never made an agreement of fidelity between them – nor had they, in fact, consummated their joining. If the unedited truth must come out, Klaus's last words on the matter had been, "Why don't you just give up already you insufferable pest! Get it into your blond head that I'm not interested! Go chase someone else!"

A less determined man than Dorian might, at this point, have become somewhat discouraged, but Dorian had always felt that if nothing else, at least he would be Klaus's first choice should the Major ever decide that he liked his own gender just fine. Again, nothing had been promised or even hinted at, but that was such a natural assumption that Dorian had always just known it was something they were in wordless agreement on. To have lost Klaus to a woman Dorian could have tolerated. He knew how to make a tactful retreat, regroup and wait out his prey. But another man?!

"This is betrayal, Major von dem Eberbach! I shan't forgive it. And couldn't you have found someone a little more ... worthy of you?"

Sometimes Dorian reflected that he was probably a little obsessed with beauty. It pleased him, that was all. He adored surrounding himself with it, resting his eyes on things that made him feel happy. To him, beauty came in countless shapes: tall, short, blonde, brunette, lean or well-trained, to mention but a few. Klaus was the one person Dorian found on the same level as himself; below that followed a wide spectrum. He loved sweet little James pretty much the same as willowy, rakish Rudy or ever-faithful, warm, strong Bonham. The latter might have a kilo or two of extra weight, yes, but not more than suited him. In contrast, the man who Dorian had just seen leave Klaus's secret meeting point, was – and there was no other word to use to soften the blow - fat. Should Klaus have stumbled upon someone as stunningly handsome as himself or even someone just reasonably attractive – dear Z perhaps, Dorian had always had an eye for Z – Dorian might have been able to live it down. But not this.

"You'll get what's coming to you," he grumbled. "You just wait!" Personally, he had had enough of waiting. After having missed Klaus's exit twice already he had begun to consider bearding the lion in its den.


Eight months earlier, on his birthday, Dorian had, as he was wont to do on his natal day, taken a long time-out to carefully consider his life and his goals. For the last half-decade, the capture and taming of a German NATO Major had topped the list and Dorian couldn't help but feel that he must have tackled the matter in the wrong way, somehow. Klaus had relented a little bit over the years, yes. Minutely. He seemed to more or less accept Dorian's presence, only objecting when the Earl actually interfered with his assignments. Dorian counted this as a huge success, but he secretly feared that the compliance was due only to proximity and inevitability. Not even his stubborn German love could waste endless energy on a doomed battle. If the Earl of Red Gloria wanted to be somewhere or do something: he simply would. No, his beloved had a sharp, strategic mind and still seemed focused on and determined to win the war itself – the war of not succumbing to Dorian. Which was unacceptable.

If I want to win, I need to use a different tactic, Dorian decided. He had lain on his bed at North Downs, stretched out on the glossy red silk sheets wearing nothing but his skin. But I can't stop being me! Perhaps a few minor details could be changed to soothe Klaus's sense of sensibility, but even that made Dorian hesitate. Besides, what would my dear man like better? I can't very well join the German Army for him. Or NATO. Is there any other, suitably "masculine" pastime we could do together? To him, nothing could be more masculine than the sport of two men enjoying their bodies together, but careful trial and error had proven that Klaus did not seem to share this belief.

For a moment Dorian allowed himself to drift off to a rather nice fantasy of himself in the uniform of the British National Team, waiting as Klaus arrived home after one of those cup final thingies between Great Britain and Germany. Football, of course – and the proper, European "soccer" – not that strange running about with ball in hand that the Americans referred to as football. So ... Did Germany loose or win? he carefully considered – both scenarios had their appeal. He had just about decided to go for Klaus in the role of Victor Victorious come to claim his winner's spoil, when he realised that he didn't even knew for sure if Klaus was all that interested in football.

Dorian sat up in bed, frantically thinking things through. After the first couple of positive responses to the queries he asked himself, he found himself drawing blank after blank after horrid blank and soon collapsed onto his back. "My God," he said, feeling his stomach churn. "I don't even know the man!"

Klaus drank Nescafé, served NATO faithfully and loved Germany with a single-minded ferocity. He smoked – but to his utter mortification Dorian couldn't even remember which brand the man he so often referred to as "my one and only" preferred. He exercised compulsively, on rare occasion let a rather physical sense of humour show, had a wicked temper – such things Dorian knew, yes. Everyone knew those things. The things he didn't know, however, dwarfed his knowledge utterly.

What kind of books do you read? Surely they're not all about tanks? What do you like to eat? What was your mother's maiden name? What is your favourite colour? Is it really the grey of polished steel or am I doing you a huge disfavour assuming so? What is your highest dream, my love? What do you yearn for?

So many, he knew all too well, saw only the hard shell of Iron Klaus. Which perhaps was what Klaus wanted, but Dorian had always prided himself with looking behind all that, to the sensual creature hidden beneath. On realizing that he might have seen merely another shell or perhaps even a mirage, not the man himself, Dorian wept. Wept, and swore that he would do better.


The following day Dorian set out to get to know Klaus. To learn all he could about him; trying to figure out what made him tick. Of course, one doesn't stalk - eh, investigate a NATO agent without proper care. He only broke into Klaus's apartment on the first day of a mission he knew would take weeks, and took care not to leave a single trace – more care than he ever did on a crime scene. On going through everything he carefully looked over each square millimetre, going so far as to put back a strand of long, black hair in just the right position where it had been stuck to a drawer. Its presence might be just coincidence – or Klaus might have put it there to see if someone had messed with his things while he was gone.

Dorian smiled fondly at this. You are the only man I would ever suspect of such a thing, dear heart. Then his smile melted away. Would you really, though? Or is it just my idea of you as a paranoid military man that makes me think you might?

The books weren't all about tanks. There were books about guns too – pistols and revolvers and rifles and whatnot. Other books covered knives, bombs, war strategies and nestled amongst them were even a few accounts of war lords through history. Dorian traced a finger down the spine of a volume regarding Alexander the Great and wondered if it mentioned a certain life-long friend of Alexander's and, if so, what Klaus's reaction had been to this. There is that delightful little Alexander movie in my collection I could show him; perhaps that would get him in a good mood ... The fight scenes were amazingly realistic for a porn movie.

You would have made a fabulous conqueror, my own, in another time and age. Oh, drat, I'm doing it again, aren't I? Assuming you are just an army man. Bad form, Dorian, bad form.

As for colours there really wasn't all that much polished steel in the apartment, though the majority of colours were shades of brown, green (mostly dark), blue, grey and black. The occasional splashes of red and yellow seemed more of a forced issue. Dorian felt ever so slightly out of place, like a peacock in a winter garden. The artwork was simple and also in lines with what Iron Klaus might approve of – a warship, a tank, Schloss Eberbach. What Klaus might like too – or perhaps what he thought people would expect to see. That's another possibility. Are you hiding your true self behind people's expectations, my love? Oh, if I only could find one – just one! – proof of that! Just one, that's all I ask, to give me a little hope!

The kitchen contained very little. No doubt it had been cleaned out of fresh goods in preparation for the mission. There were things there Dorian hadn't anticipated, such as flour and sugar, but he noticed that they both had price tags dating six years back. Likely Klaus had bought them on principle, to have them at home if necessary. A few decilitres of each had been used, though for what purpose Dorian couldn't readily guess. He wanted to know.

I can't imagine you cooking much. Did you try to make pancakes perhaps? I bet you could do it, if you really wanted to, but I can't see you enjoying preparing food.

The glasses were sturdy; the china of good quality but with minimal decorations, just rims of green around the edges. He found no diaries or anything else that might help him on his quest to figure out if there was more to Klaus than he had seen so far. Of course not. While disappointing, he felt reasonably sure of that at least he knew that much about Klaus – the man wouldn't commit things to paper unnecessarily. Even if he had kept a diary or whatever as a youth, his line of work would have stopped him many years ago.

Dorian withdrew from the apartment, morosely wondering again if what he had found was the truth or merely the image Klaus wanted to project. On Klaus's return Dorian upped his stalki—eh, investigating by careful surveillance from the roofs opposite to the apartment, choosing a new spot each time. To look over the edges he used a nifty little gadget that should make it impossible even for Klaus's hawk eyes to detect his presence.


For a whole week he gave the project his full dedication. He saw nothing more interesting than one morning Klaus with his shirt sleeves rolled up and his hair pulled back in a pony tail. That had been the first and only time in Dorian's career that he had masturbated on a roof top in Bonn.

Then on the seventh day, a Saturday, Klaus left the apartment carrying a yellow bag and wearing a for him slightly unusual outfit – jeans, a bright blue jacket and a cap. If Dorian hadn't seen which door he had emerged from, he might even have missed that the tall man was Klaus in the first place. He recognized the gait, though – Klaus on his way somewhere important and God help whoever tried to stop him. Dorian followed along the rooftop for as long as he could – long enough to see Klaus turn to the right a few cross-streets down. Then there was nothing left for Dorian but to return to his sketchbook – he had taken to drawing Klaus to fight the boredom of the long hours when Klaus was out. Meanwhile he relied on Klaus's unrelenting steps to alert him when it was time to look again. Klaus could move like a hunting cat should he want to – but when not his steps echoed even in Bonn's open streets.

About three hours later, Dorian heard the familiar steps and pushed up his periscope, moving it around until he located his target. Then he frowned. It was Klaus, yes, but dressed in black slacks and a brown overcoat. Where had Klaus been and why had he changed clothes? Had he been involved in some sort of accident and been forced to buy new clothes somewhere along his route? But Klaus didn't look very tense at all – as a matter of fact the lovely man looked unusually relaxed. Dorian felt something deep inside him tingle. Something had happened and he wanted to know what it was. But he couldn't very well follow Klaus inside and ask – not if he wanted to get out walking on his own accord rather than being carried on a stretcher.


The next day nothing interesting happened. And the day after that nothing interesting happened again. Dorian knew he couldn't spend endless amounts of time where he was, no matter how tantalizing the brief flashes were which he saw of Klaus. So finally, after having seen Klaus off to work one last time, he rigged the cameras Bonham had helped him acquire and gave them each a kiss for good luck. They were those hyper-modern things, which would react to movement in their line of sight. Not perfect for surveillance, but as good as he could get. One of them he trained to Klaus's door, the second to the living room window.

He returned to collect the first tapes a month later. Each held up to 12 hours worth, but neither had filled up. So he took them home and watched them at leisure – sending James and the others on a trip to pick up some things in London so that he would have peace. He started with the window tape and enjoyed a rather frustrating four and a half hours of ten second clips of Klaus moving about in his room – or birds, flying outside ... The highlight had been Klaus washing his windows after a rainfall. Again with his hair up and oh so lovely looking. Then the door tape, which was even more frustrating since even though it was a full six hours' worth, it had very few clips of Klaus himself. Most of the alerts were due to passing pedestrians, which quickly grew annoying. Besides, the ones of Klaus mostly showed him going to work or out jogging. Due to his usual no-nonsense way of moving, the clips rarely lasted more than ten or twenty seconds. So, all in all not very interesting – until about three quarters through, when Klaus's outfit once more caught Dorian's interest. Going out – thin leather jacket and brown slacks. Coming home – dark blue jogging outfit! Dorian replayed the sequence to make sure he hadn't missed something. No – and the times on the tape showed a gap of only three hours and seventeen minutes between the two!

What are you up to, my love? Dorian thought, shaking his head in puzzlement.


A month later he again banished his men for the private viewing of The Klaus Tapes. The window tape was more of the same as last time; a little like poetry – Klaus moving to the left, Klaus moving to the right, Klaus looking out the window and so on. The door tape, though! About twenty minutes in, Klaus dropped his keys. He had been wearing a short jacket and the subsequent image of him bending over showed just a hint of skin and the view as seen by the camera from behind him was simply breathtaking! So Dorian had to freeze the image. For a while. What a lovely tape! Oh, and about two weeks later, Klaus went out in a green shirt and came home in a blue.

When the third set of tapes showed two more such incidents – of the clothes kind, sadly, not the "Klaus presenting himself" type – one not far into the tape and one towards the end, Dorian had enough to go on to work out the schedule. Four weeks, three weeks. Four weeks, three weeks. Always on Saturdays around two and always carrying a bag. So he had to wait another couple of weeks before he could take the next step in his mission. To be completely sure he double checked the tapes during the days to come. Several times. Especially the second door-tape.


Four weeks later found Dorian back on Bonn's rooftops – this time, however, three blocks down at the intersection he had last seen Klaus turn at. He had no way of knowing if Klaus took the same route every time, but at least he had gone in the same direction on the tapes, so Dorian hoped for the best.

Nor was he disappointed. This time Klaus wore fairly tight, black slacks and brown jacket. Dorian took a moment just to enjoy the sight. He let Klaus get ahead of him and then followed swiftly, keeping a low profile in hope of not being seen. Despite a scary moment when Klaus stopped and looked around, Dorian doggedly persisted for three blocks before Klaus stopped again and he dared not follow. Three weeks later, when he resumed the hunt, he was able to go a full four blocks before there was a gap between houses he dared not venture across without a grappling hook. It was the next month when Klaus reached his destination, a small house with white walls and a black roof, squeezed in between two larger ones. Klaus had gone inside and about an hour and a quarter later Dorian had for the first time seen The Fat Man.

Oh, the first time he didn't realise the significance of the man leaving the building a scant hour after Klaus's arrival. His attention had wandered and he had missed Klaus leaving. When there had been no sign of movement in the house during the rest of the day, Dorian had gone back to Klaus's apartment to pick up the video-tapes – one never knew, they might still provide him with interesting positi—eh, information. And when he had watched them that very same night in his hotel room, from the comfort of his bed, sure enough – just a little over three hours after leaving his house, Klaus had returned. In jeans and a pale blue jacket. A little digging turned up that the house belonged to Jari Salomaa, a Finnish acquaintance of Klaus's father. The man couldn't be Herr Salomaa, though, as he currently lived in South Africa.


Three weeks later, on seeing The Fat Man leave the house again, Dorian began to get suspicious. Especially since Klaus once more gave him the slip. A quick search revealed that the house had a back exit – obviously Klaus didn't want to be seen leaving so soon.

I wouldn't want to be seen after an affair with such a man either! Dorian grumbled to himself the next month, eight months after his birthday, as he contemplated slapping The Fat Man's face for a dawn duel. Though perhaps he was being unfair. He was, after all, terribly upset that Klaus would give himself to a man – any man – other than himself. Despite being very fat, not just a little roly-poly, the man did carry himself with a certain air, what little attention Dorian had paid but to glare daggers at his back.

His mind made up, he stretched, then scaled the side of the building with the same effortless ease as strolling down a flight of stairs – less, for it only took him a few seconds. Then he marched over to Herr Salomaa's house, determined to take Klaus to task for thinking that he, Dorian, wouldn't give him enough privacy. Privacy I can give you as much as you need, I swear it! Admittedly, I would like to fawn all over you every second of the day, but I can be discrete! That man isn't the only one willing to keep his silence for you!

He couldn't allow himself to even consider the absurd possibility that Klaus might be a ... a ... a chubby chaser. Not even for Love would Dorian give up his perfect body. A kilo or two, perhaps, he conceded. Five at the very most! Perhaps ten, but really, that was tops, there was absolutely no way he would go above that. Unless Klaus begged him. On his knees. Naked.

Only on looking around the hallway did he realize that he had jimmied the front door. Just as well though. Maybe you're still in bed and I can proceed to show you just how good things will be between us. That ... man left just an hour after he got here! He can't possibly have paid you the attention you deserve!

A horrible thought occurred to Dorian and he stopped, momentarily frozen – what if the man was blackmailing Klaus?! Forcing him to ... But he dismissed the thought as swiftly as it had occurred. One of the very things that had alerted him of something going on was how relaxed Klaus had seemed after his outings. When he blackmailed Klaus, no matter what little innocent thing or gesture he wanted, Klaus always went positively livid.

He stepped further into the apartment, finding it ... empty. Utterly empty. Klaus had given him the slip again. Dorian was by the front door, determined to march straight back to Klaus's apartment – though not by way of the roof tops this time - and demand the truth, when he stopped, puzzled by the way his senses tingled as if they wanted to alert him of something. When they did, he tended to try to listen, for they seldom misled him. So he stepped back, looking over the dingy apartment again. It was nondescript at best, with minimal furniture, lacking all personal touch. He returned to the bedroom. Same thing there. The bed was made with military precision – perhaps Klaus, perhaps not. Nothing out of the order, nothing—

He sniffed. Then he sniffed again. He went into the bathroom. And sniffed. Living room. Sniffed. Finally, very puzzled, the kitchen. Sniffed. Nothing. There was a hint of Klaus there, yes, faint and clean; masculine and with a strange, rough touch of something metallic. Dorian had come to know that scent well, from the times they had been close for whatever reason. He considered himself something of a connoisseur. He had even gone to a perfume shop in London, trying to get a designed eau de cologne to smell the same, but had failed. Afterwards he had always had a nagging suspicion that the shop had lacked the basic weapon oil to get just the right touch. That was neither here nor there, though: what the apartment lacked was, to put it bluntly, the smell of sex. Sweat, sperm and that almost indescribable musk that he could only put down to male hormones. Instead, there was nothing; just dusty air. Unless the sex had taken place in the shower the smell should have lingered. A quick check came up with a dry stall, so that was also out of the question.

Deep in thought Dorian let himself out. Klaus isn't cheating on me? But what on Earth is he doing? Was the entire episode merely some more of those secret spy games his dear Major so adored to play? But so often? And leaving Klaus in such a good mood? Granted, to outsmart Misha usually did leave Klaus comparatively mellow. Still not sure what was going on, Dorian nevertheless went back to North Downs feeling much better. He watched the tapes just in case, though. Twice.


Dorian missed the next opportunity, due to him being on a mission with Klaus at the time. Klaus seemed unusually quick-tempered, which was saying a lot. Dorian made a point of being on his very best behaviour – though not so good that Klaus would have reason to think that Dorian was getting bored with him – as if!

Dorian wasn't sure what the break in Klaus's three weeks-four weeks routine would mean; if Klaus would now wait four weeks as if the last visit to The Fat Man had happened or wait three weeks again or even go right away before returning to his normal pattern. He flew to Bonn three weeks later, thinking he could always return the following week. It seemed as he was still Lady Luck's favoured one, though, for a stakeout of the second apartment brought success. Acting on a whim he this time followed The Fat Man, hoping to gain some insight as to what this was all about. For such a large man, the stranger had a rather nice walk, Dorian came to realise, after having followed him for two blocks.

The stranger entered Café Mallmann, a coffee shop in central Bonn. Figuring that the stop wouldn't last long, Dorian waited, at first crouched on the roof, then on his belly, not wanting to risk drawing attention to himself. Much to his surprise, the visit lasted for almost 45 minutes – he had by then began to wonder if The Fat Man had also managed to escape him. But finally he emerged and they continued their stroll, this time in a southern direction. The walk ended at a smallish hotel.

Now what to do? Was The Fat Man staying there or just visiting? I'll ask them. Make up a story about a dropped wallet or something. He hadn't picked anyone's pockets in a while anyway; some exercise would do him good. Just as he had decided that he had waited long enough – after all, there were tapes over at Klaus's place calling for him – and had risen to make his descent from the roof top, the hotel door opened again. Dorian dropped as if shot, staring in wide-eyed confusion. Klaus marched on down the street and, as Dorian still stared, turned right in a direction that would take him back to his own place within the time which normally passed between leaving the apartment and to return.

Again, Dorian thought about just demanding to be let in on whatever was going on. At the same time, the secret tantalized him. Klaus wasn't having an affair with The Fat Man – Klaus was The Fat Man. Klaus went to one place to change into his disguise, then to the other to change back. The bag must contain his disguise and new clothes. In between he strolled through town and visited a coffee house. So – Café Mallmann. There Dorian would find the last piece of the puzzle.


Four weeks later Sister Eroica – now of the Order of the Sister of the Holy Virgin Mary, an order he so far had not favoured in Klaus's company – walked slowly towards the coffee shop. Very slowly, as Klaus had yet to make an appearance. Dorian hesitated about getting in before Klaus, as that would mean having to take a seat that might be less than optimal. It was with great relief he saw the currently rotund shape of his beloved approach, so he could speed up his own steps a little. He reached the door just behind Klaus and in time to have a red-haired gentleman hold it open for him. "Gott segne Sie," he mouthed to the man and let his eyes shimmer a little more than perhaps strictly speaking suitable for a Bride of Jesus.

He ended up second in line after Klaus, so close he could feel the warmth of the man's skin through his thin clothing. Glorious ... He masterfully refrained from leaning just a little bit closer. While still breathing in that addictive scent, so rich and clear in close proximity, he dimly heard Klaus address the waitress. Though while Dorian considered himself very good at German – especially so for an Englishman – there were some things he just hadn't gotten around to learning yet. Unfortunately, some of them seemed to have something to do with coffee, for he couldn't make out what Klaus had ordered. Besides, Klaus speaking German was something that never failed to make Dorian want to swoon. There was just something so incredibly sexy about those faintly purring, yet hard noises ... What that man will sound like in the throes of passion ... I have to get him to babble in German, I just must!

"Schwester? Möchten Sie etwas bestellen, Schwester?"

He quickly woke up from his reverie and ordered Café Borgia oder Wiener Kaffee, a favourite of his – coffee, chocolate, honey, cream, cinnamon, cocoa powder and a little bit of orange zest. The smiling young woman behind the counter quickly retrieved his change as Dorian glanced around to see Klaus descend to a basement level. Dorian followed, eager to see who Klaus was meeting.

The downstairs part of the coffee shop was very charming, in its own, slightly old-fashioned little way. A clever arrangements of mirrors along the walls made it seem twice the size, with cosy little alcoves of plush chairs and low tables. Klaus had sat down at the further end, turned towards the stairs, alone. Of course, Dorian thought fondly. So you can see anyone who descends and keep an eye on everyone already here. Not that there were that many. Only four tables were occupied. A young man with a truly lovely red hair sat at one table, gazing deeply into the eyes of a comely girl. A mother with her child – four or five months, maybe, not more. A lonely girl busy scribbling on a notepad. Finally, at the last table, three business men in animated discussion of something or other. Without pausing Dorian sat down at one of the tables closest to the stairs, partly obscured by the young couple. He thought a sincere thank you to his patron Goddess when he realized that he couldn't have chosen a better spot if he had tried. While he was mostly blocked from Klaus's view, he could clearly see the man in one of the mirrors.

Klaus looked good even with a little extra weight to his face. Cotton in his cheeks? Not if you're going to drink coffee, I wager. Plastic something? Dorian would be hard pressed to imagine Klaus ever putting on weight like that, though to have seen it for a moment made him feel privileged. Never mind the many other persons Klaus had passed on his way to the shop and would pass on his way to the hotel later. Dorian was the only one who knew.

And whoever you are meeting, I suppose, he thought morosely. But maybe not. Maybe you have him or her fooled too? He felt fairly sure that no one who knew Klaus would ever suspect The Fat Man's true identity. That he might be a relative to Major von dem Eberbach – yes; the eyes were indisputable and the facial features similar enough. The cap hid most of his hair, though it had hooked above his ears. And such pretty little ears you have, my own, Dorian thought happily. Just a hint pointy, like an elf's out of a fairytale. Which he would never, ever tell Klaus. He did, after all, have some sense of self preservation. I wonder if sucking on them will make you squirm and moan. I hope so.

They were served basically at the same time, Klaus first and then Dorian, by another waitress in the cafe's strict pale grey and white uniform.

To gaze at Klaus, if at a little distance, felt so good. Normally Klaus was too self-conscious to allow such a thing. Dorian need only glance at him for Klaus to start frowning. Not now, though. Perhaps with your disguise you don't care? Besides, Klaus seemed very occupied with his coffee. He had lifted the cup to his mouth, but didn't drink. Dorian frowned – it looked as if Klaus was actually sniffing? Checking for poisons? He had thought the coffee shop merely a meeting place. What if Café Mallmann was run by the KGB or the like? He eyed his own steaming mug with some concern, but he had already drunk from it – and it had tasted very, very, very good; fully up to par with some of the best coffee joints in London or Paris. Deciding not to worry about it – and why would the KGB poison an innocent nun, anyway? – he looked back at Klaus instead. Who was ... still sniffing? No, now he finally tipped the mug and drank.

Dorian leaned forward, stunned. As he drank Klaus had closed his eyes and in mid-swallow he looked positively beatific. When he lowered the mug to the table again, he opened his eyes slowly, making Dorian moan out loud. Luckily the faint sound was drowned by the people talking close by. The term "bed room eyes" simply shouldn't be forced in such circumstances.

Mon dieu. French felt suitable, somehow, sitting in a coffee shop in Bonn, watching Klaus for all intents and purposes wear an expression as if he was getting head. Good head, too, by the looks of it.

In absolute fascination Dorian looked as Klaus, totally intent on his coffee, again lifted the mug and sipped. This time he didn't close his eyes, but he enjoyed the drink, that was inescapably clear. I have never seen you smile like that before, Dorian realized. Forced smiles when the situation demanded it, varying degrees of smirks, once or twice even an unguarded glimpse of Klaus in a good mood, but never like that, no. The word "sweet" struck Dorian like a two by four and nestled into his subconscious as if fearing Klaus would otherwise read it in his mind and go homicidal.

Each time Klaus sipped, he did so with utter concentration. Dorian wondered briefly if he should have bothered with the nun outfit after all: had he come down right now Klaus probably wouldn't have reacted even if he had worn his cat suit. Oh, now I'm just being silly. That's still Iron Klaus over there, even if he is ... whatever he is doing. Which Klaus proved with a sharp look towards the stairs when a tall youth came down to join the men at their table.

Not who you are waiting for, then. But as time ticked on, Dorian had an odd notion. There really isn't anyone coming to meet you, is there?

Seeing Klaus drink – no: seeing Klaus pay homage to the cup of coffee as if it was the finest ambrosia, Dorian came to think that maybe that was the point of the entire charade. And once he got over his initial reaction of how incomprehensible such a thing was; it really wasn't. That was Klaus over there, after all. NATO's Iron Klaus, who would never let a weakness show and who counted anything enjoyable as weaknesses. Major "heat and cold are a matter of discipline" von dem Eberbach, who would never ask for - or need - anything.

You could never let down your guard like this. Not as yourself. Not when anyone could see you and comment on you. You need your image untarnished. My dear, I haven't made things easy for you, have I? I can't help it though, I'm so sorry. We'll work things through, though, I know we will.

As he sat there, watching Klaus enjoy himself, Dorian felt humbled. He knew he watched something intensely private; something just as intimate as if they had gone to bed together. Iron Klaus did have a weakness. Dorian wasn't sure if it was the brand of coffee itself or something special to do with the coffee shop, but it sure wasn't Nescafé Klaus's tastebuds worshipped and which brought a faint flush to his cheeks.

As he sat there, watching Klaus enjoy himself, Dorian swore that this was one secret he would take to his grave. This sign of weakness was prime blackmail material; oh yes. Perhaps for no other person in the world would an intense passion for coffee be a reason for secrecy, but it was for Klaus. So Dorian would never tell; would never even hint at the knowledge. Well, he might find out the brand and stock up at North Downs, but that would just be a happy coincidence. Your secret is safe with me.

And as he sat there, watching Klaus enjoy himself, Dorian fell in love, all over again.

THE END