Disclaimer: I do not own From Eroica With Love, nor its characters. No infringement is intended and no money is being made of this fic.
Rated M for violence and sexual content.
Jumping the Gun
Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach, a NATO intelligence officer, was exhausted. He had finished debriefing twenty minutes earlier and was making his way to Shloss Eberbach for two well-deserved weeks rest. It was highly unusual for Klaus to take any time off from NATO, but after the completion of this latest mission he definitely deserved it.
Three weeks ago the Chief called him into his office, and without his usual carefully cultivated disdain, outlined Klaus' objective. His Alphabet were to stay in Bonn for the duration as he met with a Russian defector who was privy to information about a supposed attack planned at the UN Peace Summit two weeks away. Leaders from all member-Nations would be present, as well as a few future hopefuls. The Russian had requested Klaus by name, having heard his reputation. His mission was to meet with the defector, hide him until the conference, stop the virus using the informants blood and retinal scan, after which Klaus was to give him new ID and see that he was settled somewhere in secret. Compared to some of his other missions this seemed relatively straight forward, since he already would have the means to stop the virus.
Klaus met Ivan Petrov, whom he recognized immediately as a high-ranking Russian official, at a small lodging house in Czechoslovakia. Klaus had arrived a day early in order to check out the location as well as any possible exit points in the area. Once Petrov arrived however the mission went straight to hell. They were both fortunate to leave the lodge alive, since five Russians had followed Petrov to Czechoslovakia. The firefight that followed left two Russians agents dead and Klaus was forced to flee the scene with Petrov. The intervening two weeks were similar to a game of hide and seek, only with explosions and heavy weapons fire. By the time the conference was over without incident they both looked like they'd been through a war. Klaus had a deep gash over his left eye. Since he was unable to get his wounds properly seen to, although the bloody wound had closed on its own, Klaus would always have a rather noticeable scar as a result. As well as a sprained ankle, varied cuts and bruises, he was physically exhausted as well. Klaus had not gotten more than two hours of sleep at a stretch for over nineteen days straight. To say Klaus was tired was like saying the Grand Canyon was deep, both were extreme understatements. It is forgivable therefore that Klaus was not paying enough attention to his surroundings as he should have been when he left the office in Bonn. His driver was waiting for him at the corner of the block away from the busy traffic in front of the NATO building.
"Darling!" An extravagantly dressed blond man exclaimed happily from only a few feet away. Klaus grimaced, thoroughly disheartened by the Earl's unexpected appearance. Klaus frankly did not have the energy required to deal with Eroica, especially in his current mood. "Look out!"
Klaus' head snapped up at the urgent tone of Eroica's voice. He had only a moment to notice Eroica's terror-filled blue eyes and that the Earl had closed the distance between them rapidly before he was knocked off his feet painfully. The Earl landed sideways across his chest, landing on both his body and the unforgiving cement of the sidewalk. It was at the same time that he heard the 'pop pop' of weapons fire. Klaus automatically reached for his Magnum and tried to stand to pursue the attackers but his upper body refused to work properly. Assuming his trouble moving was the result of the Earls weight still atop his left side Klaus attempted to move him. It was only when Klaus' palm became wet with blood as he tried to roll the Earl over that Klaus realized Eroica had been shot. Before he could ascertain the extent of the blonde's injuries, Klaus heard many running feet headed his way as the street was bombarded with NATO personnel, just as their assailants peeled off up the street.
From his prone position on the ground Klaus caught the last three numbers of their license plate as his agents ran toward him in the opposite direction followed frantically by James and Bonham, the former wailing while the latter was white as a sheet.
"Get medical personnel down here immediately, A. The Earl's been shot. Z, find them. Last three digits of License Plate were seven-four-three. Black model '77 Mercedes. Tinted windows, silver wide rims." Klaus snapped coldly while holding his hand tightly on Eroica's chest to help stem the flow of blood from the wound. The agents rushed to follow his orders.
"I'll get him moved off you sir." E was unfortunate enough to suggest.
"No one will move him until medical arrives." Klaus told him sharply. "I am keeping pressure on his wound. We don't know the extent of his injuries and he shouldn't be moved."
He ignored the whimpering his statement caused and forced himself to think carefully. For some reason his head was fuzzy and he needed to focus sharply to stay in control. He vaguely remembered seeing a silhouette of the driver through the tinted window as the car drove past.
"The driver is over six feet tall, short hair. Unknown color, nationality or build."
Soon the doctors arrived and moved the Earl onto a stretcher, making sure to keep up the steady pressure on his chest. Dorian was pale as a ghost and his porcelain skin was blood splattered. When Klaus moved to stand he nearly blacked out as he jostled his left side in the attempt.
"Lie still, Major. You've been hit too." The doctor ordered sternly as he was turned over onto a stretcher as well.
Due to the continued jostling of his shoulder Klaus blacked out from the pain, only to awaken sometime later in the sterile white environment of the NATO infirmary. There seemed to be a foggy film over his eyes and his limbs were unusually sluggish. Since there were no doctors hovering nearby Klaus assumed he was in stable condition, although it took considerable concentration for Klaus to move his fingers to press the call button laying on his blanket. Eventually he managed it and an unfamiliar nurse entered the room to check on him, closely followed by Agent Z. Ignoring Z, who was watching him with poorly masked concern, Klaus watched as the nurse checked his IV and bandages before attempting to question her.
"How is Dorian?" Klaus asked hoarsely, noticing Z's face pale further from the corner of his eye.
"You should rest, Major. We can discuss his condition once you have had time to heal yourself."
Klaus remained silent merely staring coldly at the nurse. Even sick and weak as a kitten, he was Iron Klaus. The nurse quickly quailed in fear seeing the menacing look in her patient's eyes. Although he looked relatively calm as he watched her, his eyes told a different tale. In contrast to the studied indifference of his face, Klaus' eyes were intense, seeming alight with fury. She quickly decided she did not want to be in the path of the Major's anger ever if it could be helped.
"The Earl is still in surgery. He was shot twice. Once in the chest and a second time in the shoulder. The injury that most concerns us is he chest wound. The bullet tore through his left lung and nicked a major artery while exiting. He hit his head on the cement as well and there is some swelling. We are not sure the effect, if any, on his brain functions until it goes down some. We are most concerned with his lung. At the moment machines are keeping the Earl breathing regularly while Doctor Lowe attempts to repair the damage. When I know more I will be sure to inform you. The same bullet that hit the Earl's shoulder hit your right arm. The bullet hit both bone and muscle and had to be removed from your upper arm. We have you on a morphine drip for the pain, and you will need physical therapy to regain easy of movement. Your muscles and tendons have been damaged and must be exercised carefully if you are to regain full use of your arm. Now I will let you speak to the agent but only for a few minutes after which time you will rest."
The nurse left after adjusting Klaus' pillows so that he was sitting up. For the first time since he awoke Klaus focused the full force of his stare on Z.
"Report!" Klaus barked impatiently. The Major was doing his level best to act unaffected, as if being shot right outside of NATO and then saved by an art thief who jumped in front of bullets for him was an everyday occurrence. In reality however, Klaus was still weak from surgery and pain-killers, and he wanted to check on Eroica's condition himself. He listened in silence as Z went over what they had found out -which wasn't much-before attempting to speak. "Get in touch with our contacts in the intelligence community. Find out if a contract has been taken out on me while A and G find the sedan. The utter gall needed to attack directly outside of Headquarters suggests arrogance at least if not competence. I would think my enemies know me better than to leave me alive after such an attack. Use whatever resources are needed but I want them found immediately."
Klaus was proud at how calm he had seemed to Z, obviously he had played his role well. Iron Klaus was firmly in command. What only he knew was that if his agents did not find the perpetrators then he would find them personally, injured or not. He meant to prove a point about the consequences of attacking his men, Eroica included. No one was allowed to kill that pervert except for him, and there would be hell to pay for those who tried.