Doctor Sandercole opened the notebook in his hand, informing Klaus that he passed all the tests with flying colors and that he was scheduled for the procedure the following morning. "After the procedure, you'll be in intensive care for a day to minimize the chance of infection."
Klaus nodded. They had gone over everything a dozen times already. Afterwards, he was to remain in the city for follow-ups test with the team carrying out the procedure. From start to finish, he would be in London for nearly two months, and would have to return at various times after that.
The doctor turned to leave, stopping as he got to the door. "Shall I put Lord Gloria on your visitors list?"
This question took Klaus completely by surprise. "What?"
"Your visitors list. Unless someone is on the list, they won't be allowed in the Intensive Care unit," Sandercole informed. "Shall I put Lord Gloria on it?"
"I…" Klaus frowned. "I don't know."
Sandercole took this to mean he did not know if the Earl would return and nodded. When he turned to the list, he frowned. It was blank. He had to remind himself that his patient had come all the way from Germany to have the procedure done. He put Dorian's name on the list as he left the room.
Dorian had been afraid to return to the hospital. Afraid he would be turned away. Afraid that the news of Klaus's surgery would be bad. In fact, just afraid in general. He had done the internet search and was amazed to see the website that Agent G had set up. Dorian went on to contact both G and A, who were equally surprised to hear from the Earl after nearly twenty years.
After this, Dorian argued with himself for two days before finally getting up the courage to contact Doctor Sandercole and inquire about Klaus. After he hung up the phone, he went straight to the hospital in London.
Klaus was sitting alone on the patio. The day was not as bright as when Dorian was released from the hospital. Nor was it as warm. In fact, it appeared as though a storm was brewing, not that Klaus seemed to care. He was sitting back in his wheelchair, his head back, his eyes closed. He had an unlit cigarette in one hand, and looked like he was basking in the sunshine rather than waiting for the rain to come.
Klaus heard the approaching footsteps. They were heading in his direction, and at first, he thought it might be a member of the staff come to bring him inside. Then he realized the person—the man that was heading towards him was wearing solid heels. Wrong shoes for the staff. And the cologne…
"You used to be quieter, Eroica."
Dorian stopped. "How did you know it was me?"
"You haven't changed your cologne."
You remembered! Now I am impressed. "Are you supposed to be out here in this damp?" Dorian asked mildly as he pulled up a chair.
Klaus gave a wry smile. "I'm listening to the trees," he replied quietly.
This response took Dorian by surprise. Iron Klaus listening to trees!
"There's a storm coming," Klaus went on to say without lifting his head.
Dorian turned to look at the gathering clouds. "Yes, there is." He took a seat and silently watched the German a moment.
"I didn't think you'd be back," Klaus observed.
"No." Klaus sat up, turning unseeing eyes in Dorian's directions. "You worship beauty and perfection."
"And…you're no longer perfect, is that what you're saying?"
"The procedure was a failure."
Dorian caught his breath, a hand going to his mouth. "Oh, no…"
"I have to stay for the follow up tests," Klaus went on coldly. "But it's all a waste of time."
"Oh, Klaus, I'm so sorry..."
"Don't!" Klaus snapped. "Don't…" He turned away, putting his head in his hands. "Dammit! I wasn't gonna let this—" He broke off, sighing heavily. I wasn't going to get my hopes up! I wasn't going to be disappointed. I wasn't. But I am.
"This is all my fault," Dorian said suddenly.
"What?" Klaus sat up again, turning slightly in his direction. "How the hell do you figure that?"
"If you hadn't come to see me…"
"Oh, shit, Dorian," Klaus growled. "Everything isn't always about you."
"Isn't it? You turn up after nearly twenty years because you knew I'd focus on the wrong thing. That I'd had a glimpse into your world of darkness and that it scared the hell out of me."
"It scared the hell out of me at first, too,"
Dorian's mouth dropped open and he was momentarily at a loss for words. "I never thought I'd hear Iron Klaus admit to being afraid."
Klaus gave a small grunt, finally lighting the cigarette in his hand. "There's a difference between not being afraid, and not showing that you're afraid."
Dorian gave a small laugh. "Still just as stoic as ever." He got a disapproving scowl in response. There was a rumble of thunder and he turned in the direction of the storm. "We should get inside."
"I'm fine here."
Dorian got to his feet. "Self pity doesn't suit you, Klaus."
"Klaus, please, don't lock yourself in the dark again."
Klaus chose not to respond, turning himself so his back was to Dorian. Then he heard the Earl catch his breath. "Now what?"
"There's a rainbow," Dorian gasped, pulling off his dark glasses to see it properly. He looked up at the break in the dark storm clouds and the single shaft of sunlight streaming in. "It's beautiful," he breathed. He looked down, feeling a pang of guilt when he saw Klaus close his eyes. You idiot. He can't see it. He'll never see it. Unless…
Dorian drew a deep breath and looked up again. He proceeded to describe to the seemingly disinterested Klaus the rainbow, the color of the sky, the shape of the break in the clouds where the sun was still streaming through. Unless Klaus screamed at him to stop, he was determined to go on, which he did until the first drops of rain began to fall. Then he silently took Klaus inside to the solarium.
The pair sat in silence as the rain pelted against the glass until the announcement came over the public address system that visiting hours were ending.
"Klaus, when they release you from the hospital, you're welcome to stay at Castle Gloria," Dorian said suddenly.
"Of course with—" Dorian broke off. "It's not like that. I haven't made a single indecent proposal since you set foot in my room."
"So I noticed."
Dorian blinked. "You did?"
"It's just…the thought of you being alone…
Klaus gave a snort. "I'll think about it."
This was a less then promising reply and Dorian sighed heavily as he got to his feet. "I'll come back and visit, if that's alright."
"So long as you continue to restrain yourself."
This was more promising. "Goodbye Klaus."
"Goodbye, Dorian." Klaus turned his unseeing eyes toward the window. "Thank you for the rainbow."
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.