Klaus wasn't sure when his mind switched off. He knew it wasn't when he followed the doctor back inside and silently watched as the team worked on Dorian. His mud and water soaked clothing were cut off and placed into a plastic bag along with his jewelry. Someone then wordlessly handed the package to Klaus, who had refused to leave he room. When it became obvious that he planned to do nothing more than stay out of the way and watch, the staff left him alone.

Good thing you're unconscious, Klaus had thought as preparations were made to pump Dorian's stomach. Not a very romantic procedure to endure. He knew this first hand, having once been poisoned on a mission and rushed to a hospital. It was not an experience he cared to repeat.

It was about this time that the police arrived. Klaus led them to his car and popped the trunk, glaring down at the terrified Frederik within. Before letting him out, he told his cousin in no uncertain terms to tell the police exactly what he had done or he would fulfill his earlier promise and kill him.

It was several hours before Klaus was able to return to the hospital. He had answered a battery of questions, given a statement, and shown the police exactly where he had discovered his cousin trying to drown Dorian. Someone found a suicide note that Frederik had apparently forced Dorian to write. Something ludicrous about not being able to go on without Klaus. Since it was obvious that Klaus was very much alive and well, the note only served to strengthen the case against Frederik.

Three years ago, Klaus would have stayed at the Schloss to see what the police were doing. Not now. All he wanted was to return to the hospital, even if it meant waiting for several more hours until he learned anything.

Klaus arrived to learn that Dorian had been placed in a Critical Care Unit. His condition had been stabilized, but he was in a coma and on a respirator. Apparently one of the medications he had been given had an adverse affect on the respiratory system when taken with alcohol, meaning, in simple terms, he could stop breathing.

None of the staff questioned his presence, nor did they tell him to go when visiting hours ended, although Klaus was certain they were all just as aware of the irony as he was. How many times had he himself been in this very unit, Dorian at his side around the clock?

What a welcome home, Klaus thought as he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. Within a few minutes, he was asleep.

Klaus was beginning to wonder if he would spend the rest of his life in hospitals as he returned to Dorian's room. Four days and the Earl was still unconscious. He was no longer on a respirator, and had been moved out of Critical Care, but no one knew when, or even if, he would ever wake up. Klaus had grudgingly answered all the relevant questions. Did the Earl have any next of kin? Yes. Where were they? England. Should they be notified by the hospital? No. He would take care of that.

Next of kin. Dorian's family cared as much about him as his own family did where he was concerned, Klaus thought in disgust. All they wanted to know was if the Earl was dead yet so they could decide who would be the next Earl of Gloria. Klaus told them exactly what he thought of them and slammed the phone down. He then contacted Bonham with the news, explaining what little he knew of Dorian's condition. He gave him his cell phone number and promised to keep him appraised of the situation.

"Thank you, General," Bonham said quietly. It was obvious from his tone that he was fighting tears.

Klaus hung up the phone and stood thoughtfully a moment. That was the family Dorian cared about. The family that deserved to know what was going on, not the ones who shared his DNA.

Klaus jumped when he realized he had dozed off again. He had been doing that a lot lately. He had pulled the chair up to the bedside and laid his head in his arms. He was not about to climb into bed with Dorian, although he had no doubt that's what the Earl would do if the situations were reversed. Then again, now that he thought about it, that's what the Earl had done when the situations were reversed. How many times had he woken up to find him curled up beside him?

Klaus sat up, wondering what had woken him. The answer came immediately when the doctor spoke from the doorway. "Forgive me, General. I didn't mean to wake you."

Klaus turned to look at him but did not reply. The questions had all been asked days ago. If anyone had anything new to tell him, they would. He waited as the doctor checked Dorian over, but still could not help asking, "Is there nothing more that can be done?"

The doctor looked up. "Have you been talking to him?"

Klaus blinked. "What?"

"Talking to him. Coma patients respond to familiar voices."

"Will it help?"

The doctor shrugged. "It can't hurt."

Klaus watched the man leave and sat staring at the closed door. He'd heard of this before, heard the dozens of stories of miraculous recoveries. Miraculous recoveries. He turned and looked at the unconscious Dorian. I think we've used up our quota of miracles.

He sat for several minutes, wondering what in the hell he was supposed to say. Dorian was the one who was always prattling on about nothing while he quietly went mad listening to him.

"The doctor tells me I'm supposed to talk to you," Klaus said as he got to his feet. "What does he expect me to say?" He paused a moment. "What do you expect me to say? No, never mind, I know the answer to that one."

He drew a deep breath and started talking, telling the Earl everything that had happened since the incident. Frederik's arrest, the scandal in the family, everyone's shock at learning he himself was still alive and was apparently cured. To his surprise, Klaus found he could talk for hours if he thought of it as a debriefing.

"Everyone thinks I'm looking after you because of duty," Klaus admitted guiltily. "Because you stayed with me when none of them would. What am I supposed to tell them?" He paused. Did he move? Oh, shit! Now would be the time he hears me. Then another thought struck him. What if he dies?

Klaus felt his heart miss a beat. He hadn't allowed himself to think about this since the first day. Hadn't allowed himself to consider the fact that Dorian might actually die.

"Don't you dare leave me!"

Klaus jumped when he realized he was the one who had spoken. The words leaping from his mouth. Don't leave me. He sat down again, and laid his head on the bed. "Dorian, I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I'm so very sorry." I should've come home sooner. This never would've happened if I'd come home sooner. He closed his eyes, hoping that sleep would come again.


"Hmm?" Klaus half opened his eyes. Why what? Who's in the room now?

"Why are you sorry?"

What? Klaus frowned. Then his eyes snapped open and he sat up, turning to see Dorian looking at him through half open eyes. "Mein Gott!" He jumped to his feet and before he knew what he was doing, he was kissing Dorian very passionately on the mouth.

"Down boy," Dorian said weakly, a small smile on his face. "I think I'm supposed to be recuperating." This did not stop him from giving Klaus a hug the instant he sat down on the bed.

Klaus found himself not wanting to let go. Then he realized that Dorian was in no hurry to let go either.

"I'm going to assume you rescued me," Dorian said quietly.

"Yes. I'm sorry I didn't get there sooner."

"I'm glad you didn't get there later."

Klaus blinked. This had never occurred to him. He had been feeling so guilty about not getting home sooner that he had overlooked what would have happened if he had arrived even ten minutes later. He pulled Dorian away so he could look into his eyes. "I was afraid I was going to lose you again."

Dorian frowned. "Again?"

Klaus drew a deep breath and admitted, "When you stopped following me, all those years ago."

"You thought I'd lost interest. I know." Dorian caught his breath, a hand going to his mouth. "I hurt you, didn't I? Oh, God, why were we such idiots?"

"My pride got in the way, I think." Klaus put a hand on Dorian's face.

"Oh, Klaus," Dorian said, leaning against the hand to his cheek. "I always said I'd break that proud German nose of yours."

"And you did, several times."

Dorian gave a small laugh, leaning back on the pillows and closing his eyes. "I still love you, y'know."

"Yes." Klaus leaned down and gently kissed Dorian's cheek.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to ask…"

"Too bad," Klaus replied calmly. "Because I've realized that…I love you, too."

What followed was a hug so tight that Klaus was sure Dorian would hurt himself. Then Dorian pulled him down and kissed him so passionately that he found himself wondering if it were appropriate to speculate whether or not there was a lock on the door.

Disclaimer: Eroica Yori Ai O Komete © Yasuko Aoike and Princess Comics; no profit is being made from this fan production and no disrespect is intended to the original creators.