"Do you think this is what it's supposed to feel like?" Gilbert asked, feeling his chest vibrate with the words, acutely, now that there was something pressed up against him.

Roderich snorted, burying his nose deeper into his scarf, scooting a bit closer to the larger man. "What what is supposed to feel like?"

Gilbert smirked to himself. Despite the fact that Austrian had complained loudly and stubbornly all morning at "doing indecent things in public" (and really, Gilbert thought, making out on the street corner because the snow was just so cool was totally not indecent, especially with and awesome boyfriend like him) he was now curled up tightly against Gilbert's side on a park bench by the lake. Hell yes, cold weather was awesome.

"I don't know…" he said. "Everything."

"Eloquent," Roderich snorted.

"Sorry I can't be as philosophical as you, Freud," Gilbert shot back. "I just meant… gah forget it."


A silence descended between them, comfortable and cool, like the snowy ground in front of them, like the frozen lake. Gilbert watched a few boys skating around it, hurling snowballs and shouting in pre-Christmas glee. Their words floated across the still air.

Take that, coward! –

- I've got you now! –

- Dodge, dodge! –

"No, it's not fine," Roderich said suddenly. "I actually would like to know what thoughts are circulating in that head of yours. Since it's so rare that you have any thoughts at all."

Gilbert laughed and kissed his hair, blowing a puff of warm air over Mariazelle and receiving a squawk and an elbow to the stomach as compensation.

"Being alive," he clarified. "Dunno – just thinking about it. I mean, we're nations, but if we aren't, really, anymore…"

"Stop thinking like that," Roderich admonished. "You're still here and that's all that matters."

"Aw, Roddy, you do care!"

"Shut up, you lump. And scoot closer, I'm freezing."

"You wanna go inside?" Gilbert asked. He didn't really want to leave, but –

"No. But I do want hot chocolate." Roderich pointed to a cart some ways down the lakeside. "Shoo, bring some back."

"I'm not a fucking dog," Gilbert muttered. He stood up anyway, faster than necessary, dumping Roderich ungracefully in a sprawl against the bench. He started running when he noticed the Austrian leaning down to roll a snowball. "Nyah, nyah, you can't throw that far, pansy!" he crowed.


He felt something wet and cold slide down his neck.

"Scheisse, specs!" he wailed, spinning around again and clutching at his soaked coat collar.

Roderich was grinning. "Can't throw how far now?"

"I'm going to get my revenge!" Gilbert warned.

"Get the chocolate, first."

Gilbert grumbled but did as he was told. Because he was an awesome boyfriend, not because Roderich could be as scary as Elizaveta when he wanted to be.

The chocolate cart stood almost on the frozen lakeshore, and the owner was probably American or something because he had to take Gilbert's order like four times before he understood it. As the albino waited for his drinks, he watched the boys skating, listening to their banter as they took a break from their battle.

Lets act out a battle from school –

- yeah! Like the Silesian Wars! -

- I'll be Prussia! –

-No, I want Prussia! –

Gilbert caught his breath, straining to hear the rest of their talk. Scheisse, these kids were awesome. And their school, too, if they taught such an awesome war. He grabbed the drinks and started walking back to the bench, but he kept an ear out to follow the conversations of the kids.

- No, I get to be Prussian! Cuz I am Prussian -

- Are not. Prussia is dead! –

- No it isn't! Vati says our family has been Prussian for centuries –

At those words, Gilbert stopped completely, mere feet from Roderich, straining to hear the rest of the sentence.

"Gil –"


We've always called ourselves Prussian, because its such an awesome country! –

"Hell yes!" Gilbert whooped, setting the cups on the bench and swooping Roderich into a fierce hug. "I do still exist!"

"P-put me down this instant, you lump!" Roderich fumed, kicking Gilbert between the legs. The albino winced and dropped him, but didn't stop smiling. "Now, what are you on about?"

"I dunno – I just – today I felt way more alive than usual – and its true, Roddy, I'm still here! Prussians are out in force!"

Roderich raised a perfect eyebrow, curling around his cup of chocolate. "Well, I'm certainly impressed for you."

And he sounded like he meant it, too.

"Merry Christmas, you big oaf," Roderich said with a smile. "Continue to exist into the New Year."

"I'll do that, Roddy." And because he was awesome, he kissed Roderich, hard. The kids on the lake set up a concerted groan of disgust. Gilbert couldn't have been happier.