One of the nice things about being in the TARDIS is that one does not have to worry about the passage of time. It was several weeks before Klaus was strong enough to walk on his own, even with the assistance of a cane. To aid in the officer's convalescence, and to keep everyone from being bored in the interim, the Doctor moved the TARDIS to a "vacation" planet. Mel and Dorian took advantage of the extensive Resort facilities, the Doctor vanished into a library, while Jason utilized the spa to get Klaus's weakened muscles back into shape. After nearly two months, Jason finally announced that they could go on to Tel-Shye and his Jubilee celebration.

Mel, along with the Earl, had found appropriate festive clothing for the occasion. In fact, they had found appropriate clothing several times over. Klaus had refused anything more elaborate than a suit and tie, refusing even to don his uniform. He did, however, allow Dorian to pin a flower in his buttonhole as a dash of color. The Doctor, of course, was colorful enough on his own.

During the weeklong celebration, King Jason was unable to spend more than a few hours with his friends before being whisked away for one thing or another. He had assigned a member of the Palace staff to personally look after his guests, as well as someone to look after the still recovering Klaus.

The Doctor was amused when the celebration ended back where his adventure began. The Temple of Ascension. This time, however, Jason was not in disguise, climbing the steps in full regalia. He sat on the throne and nodded regally at the select individuals present. He made a small speech and then sat back as a group of small children came forward to perform a traditional dance in his honor.

The Doctor saw an odd look pass over the monarch's face and turned to follow his gaze. Behind the group of courtiers and dignitaries, were Dorian and Klaus. They had moved back into the trees to sit down in the grass. Then the Time Lord realized it wasn't an odd look at all. Jason had switched from King into Healer Mode. His mind flashed back to their playful question and answer session at the expense of the pompous actor and Jason's statement that he had never given up practicing medicine. Lucky for Klaus. It was obvious that the Healer was still worried about the officer, even in the face of all the nonsense swirling around him.

The group began clapping politely and the Doctor turned back as the children continued their performance.

Klaus leaned back against a tree, the hand with his cane in it resting on an upraised knee. He closed his eyes and sighed heavily. He still did not have the stamina he once did and had to admit to being tired. He also had to admit to feeling somewhat elated. Never in his wildest dreams did he image he would spend time on an alien planet, let alone two. Even after meeting the Doctor and Jason the first time, it never occurred to him that it might happen. He was always focused on the problems on Earth. Why would he care about someone else's planet?

Dorian had basked in all the attention and could not get enough of the planet's artworks. He had taken advantage of the staff member assigned to them and toured the entire Royal Palace. Klaus was glad he still wasn't strong enough to walk around too much. This prevented the Earl from even asking him to join him, even out of politeness. They both knew he would have been bored to tears, although Klaus did find the private tour of the armory Jason had arranged to be incredibly fascinating.

Klaus suddenly realized that Dorian hadn't snuggled up against him as he usually did when they sat together like this. Something else that made him marvel at himself. He had always pushed everyone away, objecting to the slightest touch, the slightest hint of intimacy, yet he no longer thought twice about wrapping his arm around Dorian whenever he leaned up against him. He found himself accepting a quick kiss without so much as a growl. Would run his fingers through the Earl's long blond curls without realizing. Put up with his romantic prattling and foppish nonsense just to listen to the sound of his voice. Klaus wondered if he was just trying to convince himself that it was real. That he wasn't dreaming or hallucinating. It all seemed too good to be true.

"Klaus, I'll stay with you until you get your strength back," Dorian said suddenly, breaking into the officer's reverie and returning him to reality with a jolt. "And then I'll go."

"Was? Ich habe dich nicht gebeten zu gehen." Klaus was so completely thrown by this sudden non-sequiter that he had to struggle to recover his English. "I didn't ask you to go," he repeated.

"You didn't ask me to stay, either."

Shit, what more does the idiot want from me?

"I told you once already, if you asked, I would agree that—" Dorian broke off and drew a deep breath, having to force himself to say, "I would agree that this never happened."

Klaus blinked. "That was for a kiss, not…" He waved a hand between the two of them, still unable to put his relationship with the Earl into words. He wondered if this was only because he still couldn't believe himself that it had happened.

"I know that. Moreover, I know you. Now that you've got years instead of months…"

"Do you think I'm as shallow as you!" As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Klaus regretted saying them. The Earl had already proven he had more depth than Klaus had ever given him credit.

Dorian could not have looked more hurt if Klaus had slapped him across the face. "I'm not going to bloody well let you martyr yourself."

Klaus's eyes narrowed. "Martyr myself? What the hell are you talking about?"

"If the only reason you haven't told me to go is because of your overgrown sense of duty, I'm definitely not staying. I'll only stay if you want me to, not because you feel duty bound because you started something that you regret."

"I see," came the terse reply. Now what did I do to make you think I regret this?

After a long pause, Klaus gave him a thoughtful look. "Is that all you have to say?"


The officer nodded and turned to look at the festivities going on several metres away. "You never asked me why," he said quietly. He did not turn back, but knew Dorian would be staring at him with those enormous blue eyes in the way that always used to send him into a panic.

"I was afraid of what the answer would be."

Klaus drew a deep breath but did not reply. You're not the only one.

"What did you think would happen? That I'd try to turn you into my sex slave or something equally ludicrous?"

"No. I thought you'd lose interest."

Dorian's mouth dropped open, and then he felt himself becoming angry. "Lose interest? I chased you for years!"

Klaus finally turned to look at him. "And then you stopped."

"Only because I got sick of waiting—" Dorian broke off, his own words seeming to confirm what had just been said. To his amazement, he saw a pained look flash across the officer's dark green eyes. "I didn't lose interest, Klaus," he said in an earnest tone. "I lost hope."

"Lost hope…?"

"Yes!" Dorian snapped angrily.

Klaus gave him a steady look. "We both know all about that now, don't we?" he said mildly.

Dorian lowered his eyes. "Yes." That we do. In spades.

Again, they fell silent, watching the ongoing festivities for several minutes.

"Klaus, do you love me?" Dorian asked suddenly.

"I don't know."

The reply came immediately. You didn't even think about it, did you? Dorian closed his eyes and turned away, feeling his heart turn over. He should've known better than to ask.

Klaus took him by the shoulders and turned him to face him, looking him in the eye. "I only know this. When I learned about the tumor, I couldn't imagine dying alone." He put a hand behind Dorian's neck and drew him close. "Now, I can't imagine living that way." So saying, he kissing him very tenderly on the mouth.

Disclaimer: Eroica Yori Ai O Komete © Yasuko Aoike and Princess Comics; Doctor Who © BBC: no profit is being made from this fan production. The story and Jason Krystovan © Margaret Price.