Fan Fic 100 prompt: 025 - Strangers
Pyramid Dare Set 2, Level 4 - Masquerade

Authors' Notes: This plot bunny was eating at my brain for some time. Bits of the poem "The Fair Stranger" are used throughout because it just screams Dorian. The whole poem is at the end.


The Fair Stranger

My amorous heart was in despair…

Despite his best efforts, Dorian could not raise his spirits. Night after night, he had gone from one bar after another, one nightclub after another, trying to forget. Trying to start over. Trying to go on with his life. Trying to be himself again.

It was a sham and he was sure that everyone knew it. He was just going through the motions. Pretending to be happy. Masquerading as the devil-my-care Earl of Gloria when it was obvious his heart was irreparably broken.

Even now, nearly a month later, he could not quite believe that it was over. That he had managed to win the affections of his precious Major only to lose him all over again. He had promised time and again to stop his frivolous flirtations. He had explained that they didn't mean anything, but Klaus's fragile ego needed reassurance until their relationship was on a sure footing. Dorian knew this, but flirting was second nature. He couldn't help it when he got stars in his eyes when a good-looking young man glanced his way. He tried, but had slipped up one time too many when the Major was around.

So…it was over, and the Earl found himself playing the part of tragically abandoned lover. It was a part that he was playing for all it was worth.

Dorian looked up when the conversation in the bar seemed to lower to a murmur. Then he saw why. A tall, fair-haired young man stood in the open doorway, looking around like a lost puppy. He looked so out of place that Dorian wondered if he had a note pinned to his jacket. Clearly, someone had played a prank on this naïve young man. The bar was close to the tube station, and it wasn't unusual for new arrivals to be sent to that bar just up the street.

The bartender waved at the new arrival. "Come in if you're going to," he called, trying and failing to keep a straight face. He waited for the youth to draw nearer. "You lost?"

Dorian's eyebrows went up when the youth replied in a very thick German accent.

With foreign force renew my chains…

The boy scarcely raised his eyes, his long, unruly blond hair falling into his face. "Nein, erm…no," he said and then attempted to order a drink in faltering English.

When some of the rougher men started to descend like sharks, Dorian decided it was time to intervene. He casually brushed the men aside as he moved to the boy's side, sliding gracefully onto the stool beside him.

"Timothy, darling, this lovely young man would like your best German beer," the Earl said, tossing his hair over his shoulder at the same time. He threw a piercing look at the others at the bar, a clear warning for them to back off, which they did. The Earl had staked his claim, and no one had the balls—or the looks—to compete.

Timothy grinned. "Coming up, m'lord."

A shy smile was accompanied by, "Danke," and Dorian felt his heart flutter.

"Your smiles have more of conquering charms, Than all your native country arms," he said softly, and found himself wondering what Klaus would say when he learned he'd been replaced by a "good German boy."

The Earl suddenly felt like his old self again, the mask that had been slipping for weeks now firmly in place. He flashed a brilliant smile and began a mostly one-sided conversation in German. He managed to coax out the youth's name—Jakob. Much of the other information he learned was from asking yes and no questions, which were answered with nods or head shakes.

Jakob was from a country village that Dorian had never heard of. He seemed to use a dialect that gave the Earl some trouble, but not too much. He had been studying English on tape, which meant he knew all of the typical touristy phrases but nothing practical. He had never been out of Germany, and had come to London in search of adventure. And to lose his virginity.

The Earl found this last piece of information amusing. He was sure the boy was blushing when he said it, but had hidden his face behind his curtain of blond hair. When at last Jakob did actually look at him, Dorian felt his heart melt.

But in your eyes, oh! there's the spell…

The boy's eyes were the most beautiful shade of midnight blue that the Earl had ever seen. "Till you descending on our plains," he whispered. "With foreign force renew my chains."

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing." Dorian gave the boy his most dazzling smile as he slid to his feet. "Nothing at all." He held out a hand, and had to fight not to laugh when Jakob just stared dumbly down at it. He took the youth by the arm and gave him a gentle tug. "Come with me."

oOoOoOo

Dorian offered to take Jakob to his hotel and was surprised when the youth offered his own room, which was nearer. They stopped along the way to buy a bottle of wine. Or more accurately, for Dorian to buy some wine, as Jakob admitted to knowing nothing about selecting a proper wine.

When they got to the boy's less than opulent hotel room, the Earl did what he could to relax the obviously nervous young man. He sat beside him at the end of the bed, stroking his hands, speaking gently, telling him not to be afraid. When he tried to kiss him, Jakob flinched away.

For the first time in his life, the Earl was suddenly keenly aware of his age. Of the fact that he was a seasoned lover. He told the frightened youth to just take his time. That he would not push him into anything he did not what to do. That he could stop at any time.

A quarter of an hour later, Jakob drew a deep breath, announced that he was ready, and then vanished into the bathroom to disrobe. He remained there for some time.

Christ, are all German's shy maidens their first time? Again, Dorian found himself thinking of Klaus. Of their first time together. All their times together. Of how he still loved the man, no matter what.

It was over. Dorian knew it. But he still could not bring himself to—

No one could ever measure up to his darling Major. He crossed to the bathroom and tapped at the door. "Jakob," he called, "I'm sorry, I can't…do this."

A pause. "Did I do something to offend?"

"No, no, dear boy. You did nothing wrong."

There was a longer pause. "I don't understand."

Dorian found himself glad of the door between them so he didn't have to look into those captivating blue eyes. "You deserve better than me," he said firmly. "Your first time should be with someone…special. I had someone special, and I lost them because I was selfish and shallow."

Silence.

"Do you understand what I'm trying to say?"

"Nein."

A bittersweet smile came to Dorian's face. Klaus wouldn't understand either. "I'm trying to say that…you deserve someone…" His voice caught. "Someone young. Not a broken down old queen chasing his lost youth." He could almost picture the baffled expression on the boy's face. "I'm sorry. Really."

"So am I."

Again, Dorian's heart melted. Then he heard the knob turn and he put a hand on it. "No, please. Just…let me go."

"Okay."

"Good luck, Jakob." My fair stranger…

oOoOoOo

Dorian didn't know how long he wandered the streets, passing nightclubs but not going in. Finally, he hailed a cab and returned to his hotel suite. He was surprised to find a bottle of wine chilling in an ice bucket. He did not even have to look at the card to know it was from Klaus. The fact that it was a Moselle wine was signature enough. Then he did look at the card and his mouth dropped open.

I was wrong. I'm sorry.
-- Klaus

"He's gone mad," Dorian said as he stared down at the note.

"No, I was an idiot."

Dorian spun around, seeing Klaus standing in the doorway of the bedroom.

"No, you weren't an idiot," the Earl said, as he crossed the room. "You've been right all along. I'm nothing but a selfish degenerate—" To his shock, Klaus snapped, "You are nothing of the kind!"

Dorian gave a small laugh of irony. "Oh?" He looked up, meeting the man's steady gaze. "Then let me tell you about tonight, so you won't regret ending things."

"I already know about tonight."

This was so unexpected that Dorian momentarily lost his train of thought. "What?"

"Tonight. The boy at the bar…"

"You followed us!"

Klaus's eyes flickered. "I was there."

"You—" Dorian's brain was threatening to stop functioning at any moment. "Where?"

"Doesn't matter. I saw you rescue the boy from those toughs."

Dorian felt his heart turn over. "Which means you also saw me pick him up and take him back to his hotel room."

Klaus nodded. "And then bolt like a scalded rabbit."

The realization that Klaus had witnessed what had happened actually embarrassed Dorian. "You'd think I was the virgin, not him." Then the penny dropped and he caught his breath, looking up. "Bastard! You confronted him after I bolted, didn't you?"

Klaus gave the Earl a steady look and saw anger flash in his eyes.

"Klaus, if you threatened that boy…"

The Earl's anger seemed to amuse Klaus and he held up a hand. "I do not threaten children."

The Earl was silent a long time as he thought this over. When Klaus saw a familiar look come to his eyes, he leaned forward and gently kissed him on the mouth. To his relief, it was returned. Then Dorian was hugging him. "Oh, God, Klaus, I've missed you."

"I've missed you, too."

Dorian leaned back to look the man in the eye. "Have you?"

"Yes. Very much. I was an idiot, and I'm sorry—for everything."

"Everything?" Dorian scowled. "You mean what you said?"

"What I said and…what I did. And if you hate me for it, I will understand." Klaus saw the bewildered look on the Earl's face deepen.

"Klaus, you're not making sense."

Klaus held out a hand. "Can we…sit?"

Dorian scowled over at the sofa but did not object. He sat beside Klaus and tried to read his expression. He finally gave up trying.

Klaus drew a deep breath. "First off, you are not a broken down old queen."

Dorian's mouth dropped open, his eyes growing wide. Klaus took advantage of his shock to plow ahead. He took the man by the hand, gently stroking it. "You said that…the first time should be with someone special," he said softly. "And…" He faltered, afraid to look into Dorian's eyes, afraid of the betrayal he felt certain would be there. Instead, he saw only amazement.

"And…?" Dorian prompted.

"Who could be more special than you?"

Dorian blinked. Then his eyes narrowed. "Are you just playing to my ego so I'll forgive you?"

"Will it work?" came the hopeful reply.

To Klaus's relief, this caused the Earl to laugh. He didn't realize how much he had missed that laugh.

"It was you all along, wasn't it?"

"Yes." A pause. "Do you hate me?"

"I don't know…"

Klaus nodded, lowering his eyes.

"Tell me something," Dorian said suddenly. "Why did you hide in the bathroom? Were you planning on coming out as yourself to confront me?" The guilty sideways glance he received was acknowledgement enough.

After a long silence, Klaus admitted, "I couldn't do it. I had all that wretched makeup off, the contacts out, that damned wig off… And then…I couldn't go through with it. I realized that I was the one being selfish." He paused, shaking his head. "Before I could figure out what to do, you came knocking on the door."

Dorian blinked and then shook his head. "Christ, we are a pair."

That they were. A right pair of fools. "So, do you forgive me for being an idiot?"

"I'll have to think about it."

Klaus heaved an exasperated sigh. "Fuck, Dorian, you know I'm not good at this…this…"

"Romantic crap?"

"Yes."

Dorian was unable to hide his amusement. "You're doing fine so far."

"That's only because I've had time to work out what I was gonna say."

"Oh!" Dorian slapped his arm. "Beast! And here you had me thinking you were speaking from the heart."

Klaus rolled his eyes. "I am. I just…can't pull it out of my ass the way you do."

Again, he was rewarded with the Earl's delighted laugh.

Klaus turned a meaningful glance over to the bedroom. "If it's any consolation, I have the disguise with me."

Dorian's eyes lit up. "Why the hell didn't you say so in the first place!" he said in mock disapproval before jumping to his feet and dragging the man into the bedroom.

Jakob would be having his first time with someone special after all.

oOo

"The Fair Stranger" by John Dryden

Happy and free, securely blest,
No beauty could disturb my rest;
My amorous heart was in despair,
To find a new victorious fair.

Till you descending on our plains,
With foreign force renew my chains:
Where now you rule without control
The mighty sovereign of my soul.

Your smiles have more of conquering charms
Than all your native country arms:
Their troops we can expel with ease,
Who vanquish only when we please.

But in your eyes, oh! there's the spell,
Who can see them, and not rebel?
Who make us captives by your stay,
Yet kill us if you go away.

oOo