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Excuses, Excuses

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"Major, it really is frightfully cold out here," Dorian said, shuffling unsubtly closer.

Klaus grunted with an unconcerned shrug as he smoked his cigarette in the mouth of the cave where they'd taken shelter, heedless of the snow falling outside. "Should've worn long underwear," he said.

Dorian shuddered at that highly unglamorous idea. Although the prospect of peeling his beloved Major out of a set of thermals did have a certain appeal...

"I doubt even the thickest long johns will keep this kind of chill out," he said, inching closer still. "What we need is good old-fashioned body heat. We should join our sleeping bags together so we don't freeze in the night."

"I'd rather freeze," said Klaus, raising the cigarette in his fingers to study it.

Dorian frowned sulkily. "It's a perfectly good survival technique. Surely even your training must have covered that?"

"It's unhygienic," he said, dropping his cigarette butt and grinding it into the snow. He retreated to the furthest corner of the cave to get into his sleeping bag and zipped it up tight around his neck. "Don't even think of trying to get in here with me," he warned darkly.

"You're being most unreasonable," Dorian said, huddling down in his own sleeping bag - a distinctly patched and threadbare-looking example, thanks to James's thrifty nature. "If I freeze to death, I shall come back to haunt you."

"Don't be melodramatic," Klaus said. "If you're that cold, get up and go for a run."

"Hmph." Dorian hugged his sleeping bag tighter about his body and pouted.

The Major really could suck all the fun out of working up a sweat to stay warm.



"You can shout at that poor desk clerk all you like," Dorian said. "It won't magically make any more rooms available. We're lucky to have even got this one with the conference on." And with the two of them covered in pond-muck from a rather ill-fated attempt to recover the information the KGB were planning to pass to their agent there. He was sure it was only Klaus's glare that had convinced the upscale hotel to make an exception to their dress code.

"Well, they should kick some of those worthless diplomats out," Klaus said, face thunderous as he strode through the lobby. The desk clerk peeked nervously over the top of the counter he was hiding under. "They're only here to stuff their faces full of free food and guzzle champagne anyway."

"I doubt that NATO will be happy if you offend any of the foreign dignitaries," Dorian said, hurrying to keep up with him. He would have preferred to take the lift rather than marching up three flights of stairs, personally, but he wasn't sure Klaus would let him in to the room if he got there first.

Klaus turned the scowl on him. "I should kick you out," he said. "But no doubt you'd only get up to greater mischief left to your own devices. You can sleep out on the balcony."

"If you make me, I shall sleep in the nude," Dorian said. "And don't forget the room's registered in your name only, Major."

"You are a complete moral degenerate," Klaus said as he unlocked the door to their room, though at least he was tired enough that he didn't bother to bellow it.

"You know, it's not healthy to stay buttoned up all the time like you do," Dorian told him. "You need to get some sun on your skin, Major. Let the air circulate."

"I don't want a breeze in any of the bits you're preoccupied with!" he said. "I will be keeping all of my clothes on all night long, and so will you."

"But Major, we're both covered in mud," Dorian pointed out sensibly. "Anyway, look, it's a nice big bed," he said, spreading his hands. "We can sleep at either edge without any danger of touching each other."

They could; that didn't mean that they would. He had some definite plans in mind for any night spent sharing a bed with the Major.

Plans that were rather scuppered when he returned from cleaning up as best as he could in the en suite to find that Klaus had piled the middle of the bed with a high barrier built from suitcases, seat cushions, and the pillows from both sides.

"You've rebuilt the Berlin wall in miniature," he said, drooping. It would be a little bit difficult to 'accidentally' drape himself over the Major with that arrangement between them.

"I almost empathise with the commies, trying to ward off invasion from the decadent west," Klaus said, lying down. Dorian couldn't even see him over the barrier. "Stay on your side, or I'll shoot you."

He flopped down on his own half of the bed with a defeated sigh.

Sometimes life could be tremendously unfair.



"What kind of a thief are you that you can't even get us out of a pair of handcuffs?" Klaus demanded heatedly.

"These aren't handcuffs, they're manacles," Dorian said, giving a pointed tug on the heavy chain that bound the two of them together. "None of my lockpicks will work on these, and I refuse to let you shoot the chain with that monstrous Magnum of yours!" He was less than convinced that Klaus would be careful about not taking his hand with it.

Klaus growled, marching off through the safe house at a pace that would have yanked Dorian off his feet if he hadn't hastened to follow.

"Look, you said yourself your agents can't get here with the blowtorch until tomorrow morning," he said. "We'll just have to make the best of it until then."

It wasn't as if Klaus could do anything about it: the chain that linked them together wasn't long enough to put more than a few feet of distance between them. And Dorian was only too happy to be even closer than that.

Even if being tugged about by the wrist did get decidedly wearisome. He stumbled up the stairs after Klaus, almost getting smacked in the face by the bedroom door as it was thrown open with quite unnecessary force.

It was small room. There was only a single bed.

"Well, it will be a tight squeeze, but I suppose we'll manage somehow," Dorian said with a broad smile.

Klaus glowered at him. "I'm not sleeping in here with you!"

Dorian held up his chained wrist, pulling the Major's arm with it. "It's not as if we have any choice in the matter, Major," he said.

"Yes, we do." Klaus grabbed one of the thin pillows from the bed and thwapped him in the chest with it; Dorian clutched hold of it by reflex as Klaus shoved him back out into the hallway, before closing the door between them as far as it would shut with the chain in the way. "You can sleep out there," he said.

"I'll catch pneumonia out here!" Dorian said.

"Good," Klaus said. "You'll waste away and then you'll be able to get out of the cuffs."

Really, the man was absolutely impossible.



"So the KGB weren't lying," Dorian said, once the NATO doctor had left the two of them alone. "We really were exposed to the same aphrodisiac drugs they used on General Weber." Causing said General to publicly embarrass himself with his secretary, to the delight of his political enemies and several international newspapers.

Really, it did seem distinctly unfair that the same dosage hadn't managed to cause the Major to embarrass himself, whether publicly or otherwise, despite Dorian's extreme willingness to aid and abet him. Was the man truly a robot?

"I can be forgiven for failing to notice any change in your usual behaviour," Klaus said. He was still pacing back and forth, as he'd been doing for hours - an improvement, Dorian supposed, on all the frantic push-ups, sit-ups and running on the spot he'd been doing when they were in the KGB cell.

He sniffed. "I like to think I usually have a little more self-control than that, Major." After all, if he voiced or acted on every lecherous impulse he experienced while in the Major's company, Klaus would probably have spontaneously combusted from sheer outrage years ago.

Klaus curled his lip around his cigarette - his third since they'd been in here, despite the prominent NO SMOKING notices. "You do?" he said sceptically. "I've never seen you use it."

Dorian couldn't help but notice that he was trying even harder than usual to stay out of touching distance, despite the fact the doctors assured them the drugs had worn off by now. "Well, you can hardly blame me for reacting to the drug," he said. "It was designed to create a wave of uncontrollable lust in anyone exposed to it."

Klaus scoffed. "Only uncontrollable to those with no willpower," he said. "I managed to repress it."

"Yes. You truly are a marvel in your self-restraint." Dorian rested his chin on his hands, and smiled. "But I must confess, one thing does make me curious," he said.

Klaus halted in his pacing, and turned on his heel to stare at him warily. "What?" he said.

Dorian stood up. "Well, it's just that you kept denying that you felt anything out of the ordinary while we were in the cell," he pointed out. "I would have thought," he said, casually drifting forward, "that having to repress a sudden overwhelming sexual attraction towards me would have struck you as something out of the ordinary." He framed the Major's face with his cupped hands, smiling. "Unless, of course, you were already used to it...?"

Klaus froze in his grip, caught.