For Madelyn, a.k.a. Beethoven, a.k.a. Austria, a.k.a. Kaito x Len – Banana Split. I hope you enjoy this, and do me a favour by explaining the significance of your penname to me in your review. (You will review, right?) I've always wondered about it, but never got around to asking.
Fellow Fanfictioners, I give you:
Austria lifted his cup and paused for a moment, inhaling. From the first time he had ever tasted coffee, he had known that it was something special, something that wasn't just one of the brief fads of the New World that rage for a few years and are forgotten. It was addictive, but only mildly so – sophisticated and elegant, and at the same time, wholesome. It went equally well with an almond croissant first thing in the morning, or after dinner with chocolate or mints. Or on its own, at three o'clock in the morning, when all he wanted to do was read, or write, or play music until dawn broke across the sky. In all his long and seasoned life, he had yet to find a drink that could rival coffee. There was nothing like it.
And he knew there was really only one way to drink it. Hot, strong, sweet and as black as pitch.
He tilted the rim of the cup and took the smallest of sips, savouring the taste. The warm golden light of morning shafted through the large windows, flung open to allow the sounds and smells of the town to drift through. Now this, surely, was pure bliss. To sit, with nothing to think about but sunlight and coffee, in the serenity and solitude of a quiet room...
Austria jumped violently, his hand jarring and sending scalding coffee splashing over his fingers. He cursed fluently and set cup quickly down, mopping his coat with his napkin and turning to find the source of the noise, while wearily deducing from experience what it must be –
'And a good morning to you, Roderiiccchhh!' Gilbert sang out, drawing out Austria's name in a long, throaty consonant. 'Prepare for your day to get a lot awesomer, because I've decided to honour YOU – ' he pointed dramatically at Austria ' – with a visit from the one and only Gilbert Beilschmidt!'
Austria wondered how long he had been preparing that little speech for. He turned around and took up his coffee cup again, taking a long gulp to calm his jangling nerves.
'Well?' Gilbert said jauntily, 'No reply? I see that you are just too overpowered by my awesomeness. Look, I brought Gilbird and everything!' He gestured to the top of his head, where the little animal was roosting. Poor creature, Austria thought. It has to put up with him the whole time.
Deciding not to voice his thoughts – when it came to it, Gilbert could still punch uncomfortably hard – Austria turned in his seat and fixed Gilbert with the most witheringly inhospitable expression he could muster.
'Prussia,' he said icily, 'may I inquire as to why exactly you are in Vienna? And more exactly, in my house?'
'Like I said, Roddy, I just decided to drop by and grace you with my presence! Jeez, are you really so dim that I have to tell you everything twice?'
'And,' Austria carried on, ignoring the jibe, 'how did you get into my house, when you were unexpected and uninvited? I know that you are impatient, but a simple knock would – '
'You left the door unlocked, you hopeless scatterbrain. I just walked right in!'
Austria resisted the urge to slam his face into the palm of his hand. 'Ah. Well, you didn't smash through any windows this time... that's one blessing, at least.'
'You bet it is – but it pales in comparison to supreme and blessed fact that I'm here, and you get to be with me for the whole day!'
Austria closed his eyes. 'Gott im Himmel...'
Prussia suddenly looked a little more serious. 'C'mon, Roddy, don't be so boring. I know that you probably have a load of work to do, what with you still being an official nation and all, and that you'd probably prefer to spend all your time just sitting around on your own with your black coffee and your sheet music like some dead composer...'
Well. He had a point there.
'... but that just isn't going to happen. You need to get out more, and you're going to, even if I have to drag you bodily along the streets of Vienna. So. Are you going to come quietly, or must I use force?'
Austria sighed and closed his eyes. 'Fine. But let me finish my coffee.'
'Oh, I could totally do with some coffee right now!'
'There's a cafetière and some cups and sugar in the – '
'No, not your boring anorexia coffee, nice coffee. With loads of cream and cocoa powder and maybe one of your awesome almond croissants to go with it!'
Roderich shuddered genteelly. 'Please. Save it for Starbucks.' But he couldn't help but feel pleased at the compliment to his pastries. 'Besides, the coffee of Vienna isn't just a drink. It's an art form. If one slathers coffee with a hundred-and-one extra flavours – like you would, in given the chance – it would drown the true flavour. In proper coffee, the beans should always have the dominating taste. Anything else must be a backdrop, there only to compliment it. Ultimately, it shouldn't be almonds, sugar or the cream that leaves a lasting taste in your mouth – it should be the drink itself.'
Austria stopped, quite pleased with his little speech. Prussia remained silent, seeming to process the information that Roderich had just indoctrinated him with. Austria took the opportunity to finish off his own coffee, savouring the last mouthful for a few moments. He set his cup down again with a clink, feeling far more self-possessed.
It irritated him no end how Prussia somehow managed to do this to him – fluster him and get him worked up about the smallest things. Gilbert always left him feeling like a whirlwind of life and activity had just passed, leaving him reeling in its wake to reconstruct his assurance and his demeanour. And... though he hated to admit it... after Prussia was gone, the door had slammed and the house was silent again, he did feel rather... not sad. But empty. Empty, and very slightly lonely.
Austria pulled himself from his thoughts to see Gilbert grinning at him, a mischievous expression on his face.
'What?' he said, rather brusquely.
'Well, you seem pretty convinced about your coffee theories... I wouldn't mind testing them.'
Austria huffed in irritation. 'Ugh! You uncultured freeloader! I suppose seeing as you're a guest in my city – albeit uninvited – you should try some. But I'll have to get the cafetière, and it will probably be lukewarm and not at all – mph!'
He was cut short by Prussia – something not unusual. The strange part was the method. Prussia was kissing him full on the mouth.
Austria wondered whether his head had exploded. If it hadn't yet, it surely would within the next few moments. He was totally in shock. Prussia had just kissed him. Prussia was kissing him. He was kissing Prussia right now.
His mind froze, he couldn't remember anything that had happened to him up until that second. All he could think or feel or see or even smell was Gilbert, and it was ridiculous, because although he should be hating it, all he could think was... well...
How awesome it was.
Prussia's lips were pressed against his and one of his hands was in his hair. The other was pulling him forward by the collar in a way that should have felt unpleasant or threatening, but instead just seemed to send warm shivers down his spine and make him want to pull Prussia tightly against him and kiss him some more and then maybe start singing.
How long had things been building up to this? A few seconds? Or a few centuries? He had never really considered it before, but now it was happening... It seemed right. Somehow inevitable.
So he wrapped an arm around Prussia's waist and, with a fervour that was thoroughly unaristocratic, kissed him right back.
But within a few more seconds, logical thought had caught up with him, and he jerked away quickly.
What was this? Some new method of embarrassment? A practical joke? A new illegal substance that Prussia was testing out?
He looked up and met Prussia's eyes – deep crimson eyes, the colour of finest red wine – and tried to find the answer there.
He had never really appreciated how open Gilbert was with his emotions. Annoyance, glee, happiness, anger – he wore them on his sleeve without an ounce of reserve. And now, Austria noted with shock, he looked apprehensive. Prussia – nervous! But there it was, clear as daylight. Apprehensive, hopeful, and very, very young. And to his chagrin, Austria could feel his heart melting.
He got to his feet and Prussia straightened up with him, the sunlight catching his silvery hair and making it hard to look at. Austria tried to take a step backwards, to find that the chair was blocking his way. He stumbled, and Prussia caught him about the waist, all the time with that new expression on his face. Waiting.
Austria took a deep, steadying breath, and asked. 'Why?' A simple question. But one he needed to have answered.
Gilbert looked straight into his eyes as he replied. 'Because it seemed like the best time to do it.' He paused. 'I mean... we're at peace now, and – well...' he stopped, cleared his throat, and then continued. 'I don't know how much longer I'm going to be around. I'm not a country anymore, you know, and I'm not as strong as I was... I could be gone in a century, or in a decade. And I realised that if I could spend my time with anyone, I'd – well – I'd be honoured if it was you.'
Roderich wondered whether he was going to faint. At least he had someone holding him up. 'This is all... rather sudden.'
Prussia suddenly grinned. 'You really had no idea, did you? Everyone else did – it was Hungary who convinced me to tell you, actually,' he said quickly, looking down. 'She told me to trust her on this and just go for it.'
'Really?' But somehow, this didn't surprise him at all. 'Well... I suppose she was right, wasn't she?'
Prussia smiled, his features suddenly lighting up in a way that Roderich couldn't recall ever seeing before. 'Is that a yes, Roddy? You'll hang out with me in my old age and in return I'll bring new meaning to your stuffy, dead-composer, awesomeness-starved life?'
Austria rolled his eyes. 'You just ruined the moment, Gilbert. But – and I know that I'm probably signing my own death-warrant here – you're right. This is a yes. I'll stay with you, until... as long as you want me.'
And then he found himself in a bone-crushing hug that lifted his feet clear off the ground. 'Herzlichen Dank, Österreich. Mein Liebling!'
'I'll "liebling" you,' Austria huffed, trying not to smile like a fool and ignoring the sudden flurry of butterflies in his stomach. 'Now let go, you fool, you're – ack – squashing me!'
Prussia set him back on the ground and relaxed his grip just a little. 'Sorry, Roddy. So... now that's out of the way, what d'you want to do today?'
'What do you want to do?' Roderich countered. 'This is your time, after all. I'm sure that awesome imagination of yours can think of something good.'
'Hmmm. Well, why not give me a tour around your city? But not the historical tourist-trap parts – we both saw them being built, we don't need to go through all that again.'
'I suppose we could go and visit the new quarter,' Austria mused. 'I don't go there all that frequently myself...'
'Then it'll be an adventure for both of us!' Prussia declared. 'We'll go straight away, so we have as much time as possible. I have plenty of toytown money, so it's on me!'
'Just because you never got the chance to convert to the euro.'
'Whatever. How can you take it seriously when people in new films take out huge stacks of money for the ransom or whatever and it's all multicoloured with little stars on it?'
'The same way that I can take you seriously when you constantly have a rotund canary perched on your head. By knowing the power behind the stupid look.'
Prussia paused for a second. 'That's... actually quite a good argument. But anyway, get your coat, and let's go!'
A few minutes later, and Austria was locking the front door of his house (under Prussia's instruction) and stepping out into the noise and bustle of the Viennese street. All around him were the sights and smells and sounds of his city, and suddenly he had a strange feeling of returning to somewhere, after being absent for a long time. He was suddenly not an observer, standing within the protective bubble of his house and his demeanour – he was a part of it, connected and alive. He looked to the man at his side, and saw his old foe looking back at him, grinning.
'I told you you needed to get out more, Roddy,' he said, and then reached down and took Austria's hand in his own. 'You look a bit shellshocked.'
Austria felt his own lips curling into a smile – and suddenly he couldn't help it. Joy at the sunshine, and Prussia's hand in his, and this new inexplicable vitality bubbled up inside him, and he laughed. 'On the contrary, Gilbert. I couldn't feel any better.'
Prussia gave his widest smile yet and swung their linked hands. 'Shall we hit the road, then? Left or right?'
'Left,' Austria said on impulse, and they turned up the road together, hands still linked, navigating their way to who knew where. A slight breeze ruffled Austria's hair, blowing the scent of petrol and fresh flowers towards him, mingled with something familiar and unmistakeable: the fresh, exotic smell of brewing coffee.
Prussia paused in the street and inhaled, looking suddenly like a hunter tasting the wind. Then he turned toward Austria, and the latter couldn't help noticing that his smile had also become rather predatory.
'By the way, Roderich,' he said, still with that disconcerting smile on his face. 'You know you said I could test your theories on coffee? Well, they were quite correct.'
'Oh yes?' Austria tried not to let his disconcertion show on his face. 'What exactly do you mean by that? As far as I can recall, you kissed me before I got the chance to let you try them out.'
Prussia suddenly moved, spinning them across the street until they stood in the shadow of the houses. Then he leant towards Austria, and said quietly, close in his ear: 'What I mean is... that Viennese coffee really did leave a taste in your mouth. And a pretty damn good one.'
Austria gritted his teeth, leant against the wall for support and wondered whether there was steam coming out of his ears.
Me: Yay, it's finally finished! :D :D :D So, did you enjoy it? Or... not. OoC or Okay? Nauseating or cute? Coffee-centric or... well, coffee-centric? Wait, forget that last one. It has every right to be coffee-centric, the theme is coffee. If you don't approve, maybe you shouldn't have clicked that hyperlink two thousand-odd words back.
But in all seriousness, reviews would be appreciated, especially ones with proper constructive criticism. It goes to help my writing standard and motivates me to create MOAR, so really, in the end, you're doing yourselves a favour! *is shot before can embarrass self further*
Gott im Himmel: God in heaven (mild oath)
Herzlichen Dank, Österreich: Thanks so much, Austria
Mein Liebling : My darling
Ende: Well... I think I'll let you figure that one out on your own.
Is that it? I think that's it. Auf Wiedersehen for now – and again, don't forget to - *is shot again*
PS: Here's a handy hint if you want to discuss Yaoi in Public without anyone calling the police!
Make up appropriate codenames for your pairings (not lame ones) and use them to make it sound like you're having a cultured conversation.
For example: Proust – Prussia x Austria
"I have always felt that Proust has a certain dramatic charm to it..."
The Hapsburgs – Spain x Austria
"But of course, when it comes to the Hapsburgs, one has to ask oneself: Was it ever really going to last?"
And so on and so forth. I bid you farewell... for real, this time! I promise! *waves frantically*