Lookit! I finally wrote the second chapter! :D
Disclaimer: I don't own the series. Sadface.
WARNING: Mention of character death(s).
When Gilbert woke up the next morning, his first thought was: why the hell did his head hurt so goddamn much? He was having trouble remembering where he was because all he knew was that he wasn't outside in the snow like he usually was. It was also strange because he wasn't cold like he usually was, which just strengthened the idea that he was inside some sort of building. He let out a soft groan when he rolled over and a spike of pain shot through his head.
"I see the burglar has awoken."
The moment he heard her voice, everything came rushing back to him: Walking through the blizzard. Entering the cabin and getting hit by the frying pan. Drinking the tea by the fire. Crying into Elizaveta's shoulder and then falling asleep…
He just grunted in response, rolling over further so that he wasn't putting presser on the bump on his head.
"Breakfast is ready, if you want some. Given how you looked last night and how quickly you passed out, I'll assume you haven't eaten well in a while."
Before Gilbert could even think up a suitable retort for her, his stomach growled longingly at the smell of the bacon she had fixed. She just chuckled slightly, and he heard her fixing him a plate as he slowly sat up, pushing the blankets off of him. He was about to get up when she appeared with the plate of food and a glass of milk.
"I think I can allow you to eat on the floor just this once, but I expect you to be able to sit at the table by dinner."
"Hmph, what makes you think I can't sit at the table now?" grumbled Gilbert, though he took the plate and began eating anyway.
"Oh, nothing really, just the fact that you walked fifteen miles in a blizzard and then went to sleep on the floor, making your joints incredibly stiff."
He wanted to refute that statement, but the fact that even just sitting up had been somewhat of an issue for him, he just grunted in reluctant agreement as he shoveled food into his mouth. It had actually been a while since he'd eaten properly. He should probably stop eating just so he didn't make himself sick; trouble was it tasted so good that he really didn't want to.
By the time he held his empty plate up, his stomach was beginning to feel queasy. Eating too fast mixed with the recent lack of food, was not settling well at all, so when Elizaveta asked if he wanted more, he frowned as he shook his head, arms wrapping gently around his stomach.
She didn't say anything as she took the plate and went back to the kitchen area, returning with a bucket that she wordlessly set down by him along with a glass of water before she went back to her table and began working on repairing his ratty coat that he'd been wearing.
His pride thanked her silence as he retched into the bucket, his stomach rebelling against its sudden full state. He felt bad that he was wasting perfectly good food by throwing it up, but he wasn't about to fight it, that would just make it worse. When he was fairly confident that he was done, he drank some of the water from the glass, relishing in the fact that it made his now raw throat feel better. It was the first time in a long time he was glad he had cold water to drink.
"Would you like to take a bath before trying to eat again?" asked Elizaveta from the table, having not moved or said a word while Gilbert had his episode.
"A bath would be good. I'm sure I smell awesome," said Gilbert offhandedly, a weak grin on his face as he met her green eyes with his red. She just rolled her eyes, a smile on her face regardless.
"I'll go start running hot water then."
He watched her set down his jacket and walk past him into the little room set off from the rest of the cabin. There wasn't an actual door, just a doorway. The cabin was obviously designed with only a single resident in mind, making privacy kind of hard to come by with two. However, at least it was set aside, which was better than being out in the open. He was still surprised she had some sort of indoor plumbing, then again, even the people back in his village who'd lived in thatched huts had had running water. It wasn't such a rare thing as one would think anymore.
Elizaveta didn't reappear for a couple minutes after the sound of water had started. For a few seconds, he had almost begun to think that she had decided to take a bath herself, but then she came back and stood in front of him.
"Do you need help getting up?"
Gilbert glared up at her, "Of course I can, you dumb broad."
"Fine," she replied, a knowing grin on her face as she walked away back to the bathroom to check on the water.
He made sure she was out of sight before he actually tried to move again. He first tried to get on his knees, which proved more difficult than he imagined. His knees didn't want to bend, and his back didn't particularly like the idea of him leaning over either. It took him almost the five minutes Elizaveta was gone just to get on his hands and knees. Again she just stood in front of him, this time not saying a word, just holding out her hands towards him.
Red eyes glared at them for a while before he sighed in annoyance and lifted his hands one at a time to grasp hers. He hated feeling weak; it just made him think of that night. However, he also knew he wasn't going to be able to make it to the bathroom without her help, and the more he thought about it, the more he really wanted that warm bath.
With great care she helped him kneel, and then slowly raised him to his feet. Wrapping one of his arms around her shoulders, she assisted him in walking to the bathroom.
It pained him to admit that even with his help, he was still exhausted by the time they got to the bathroom. Maybe because he'd been walking through the snow for so long, he'd thought that maybe he had gotten used to it and therefore had built up some sort of tolerance. Obviously he could be proven completely wrong by a single night of restful sleep by a fire. As he leaned against the wall, watching her test the water temperature, Gilbert came to a conclusion—a very embarrassing one.
"I'm going to need help getting my clothes off…" He didn't say it very loudly, almost seriously entertaining the thought of just taking a bath with his clothes on if she 'didn't hear him', but while that would be less painful, it wouldn't be quite as relaxing. He looked up when she hadn't replied, and found her staring at her with a mix of amusement and pity. "What?"
She gave a little shrug, a smile still on her face, "I'm just glad you actually asked for the help."
Gilbert rolled his eyes and grunted, "Such a woman response."
Elizaveta just laughed as she sat him down on the toilet so it would be easier for her to remove his shirt. At least he was able to stand up, regardless how shakily, and undo his pants, which fell down mostly by themselves, but he required some assistance in stepping out of them because they had chosen this time to get tangled around his feet. Both of them had the decency to blush as she tugged his boxers down slightly, looking away as she also helped him into the tub.
When he was settled into the wonderfully warm water, she began picking up his clothes to wash them while he bathed. She was almost out of the room when he muttered, "Thanks, Elizaveta."
Looking back at him, a smile in her eyes as well as on her face, she replied, "You're welcome, Gilbert."
She left, leaving him to carry on with relaxing into the water. Because he'd already had to ask for help twice, he would be damned if he was going to ask her for help in getting himself clean. He would give his body a few minutes of loosening up before attempting to actually clean himself. If he accomplished one thing that day, he hoped it was that.
By the time he had successfully cleaned himself of the several layers of grime that had managed to stick to him despite the long hours trudging through snow, Gilbert had managed to make enough of his stiff muscles relax so that he was able to get out of the tub by himself and put on the clothes that Elizaveta had left for him on the sink. He wasn't too fond of the frilly collar on the shirt, but the clean cloth felt good against his equally clean skin so he wasn't about to complain about the style. Really, he was more curious about why she had men's clothing just lying about, but after his stomach grumbled tentatively at him, he figured trying to eat something should come first.
Cautiously he walked out of the bathroom, his arms held out to help balance himself. When Elizaveta saw him coming out, she made to come over and help him, but he warned her off by making a disapproving noise. He was determined he was going to do this alone, and it was with a very smug face that he plopped heavily down into a chair at the table.
"Well, now that you're capable of motion again, I suppose you want to try and eat something?" Her body language was saying that she was a little miffed, but her tone was more amused at his antics than anything.
His stomach let out a more persistent grumble and smirked up at her, "Does that answer your question?"
Elizaveta merely laughed at him as she got him a bowl of the soup she had made while he was in the bathroom. When it got placed in front of him, it looked more like some sort of gruel than soup, but hey, he was still more likely to be able to keep it down than the bacon and eggs. He paced himself better this time, still eating faster than he normally would have, but with enough restraint that his stomach accepted the offering.
They remained silent as he ate, Elizaveta puttering around, checking on his clothes that were soaking in the sink, wiping down the counters even though they were clean for the most part, and she was getting ready to move his clothes to the drying rack by the fire when he finally spoke up.
"Where did you get the clean clothes for me?"
Her movements paused for a moment, and Gilbert immediately regretted asking. She seemed to kind of shake herself and continued on with her task at hand, saying softly, "Well, I've had some just lying around for a while now, mainly just because I haven't had the heart to get rid of them yet…"
He wanted to ask, but he couldn't bring himself to as he watched her hang his clothes up in front of the fire. Asking would mean he cared, and given his current state, Gilbert wasn't sure if he could afford to care. Then again, she had allowed herself to care about a stranger after he'd just walked into her house.
"…who was he?" inquired Gilbert cautiously, not sure if he should have his eyes on her, or on his food.
It was a little while before she responded, and he had almost began to think that she was just going to ignore him.
"He was my husband." Her voice was more vulnerable than she had ever allowed it to be, and even though she was still fixated on drying his clothes, her hands were shaking with the emotions that were coursing through her.
"What was his name?"
"Well, Roderich had some awesome clothes."
Smiling over at him she knew that he was actually annoyed by the shirt; she'd seen it the moment he'd staggered out of the bathroom, glaring down at it disdainfully. However, she appreciated the gesture.
"Heh, he did have a sense of style all his own," she commented as she shifted her green eyes back to the fire and the clothes before it, like it hurt too much to see another man wear her husband's clothes.
The silence stretched over them for a while, and Gilbert didn't really want to continue the conversation they were having because deep down he sensed that it would lead to him talking about his own personal pain—the pain that had driven him to walk for weeks in the dead of winter.
The albino man was about to try and switch topics when Elizaveta sighed and stood up straight, grinning over at him as she said, "The fire is getting low, so I'm going to go chop some more wood. I would let you do it as some form of payment, but I'm too afraid you'll hurt yourself." He wanted to retort, defend his pride as a man, but she cut him off as she was putting on her coat. "Now, now, don't worry. You can chop the wood in a couple days when your strength is back."
Gilbert just watched in barely hidden awe of her emotional strength as she walked out the cabin door, axe casually resting on her shoulder.
A/N: I'm sorry it only took me forever to get this out! I had a hard time figuring out where I wanted it to start. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a timeskip or start right where I left off. Obviously I went with the latter.
We now get a little more info about Elizaveta and why she's alone, and whoa they're more alike than they think! That wasn't like, on purpose or anything. Haha yes I do know where I'm going with this story, so hopefully I will update this about as often as I do my other chaptered fic. :)
Reviews will be much loved~ :D