Slow Waltz

Pairing: PruAus (Prussia x Austria [Gilbert Beilshmidt x Roderich Edelstein])
Setting: Vienna, Austria
Genre: Romance/Mystery

Roderich Edelstein only cared for his music, until a washed-up Gilbert Beilshmidt decides to walk into his life. Well, 'walk' isn't exactly the correct term. It was more like got drunk, passed out on his couch, and decided to stay at Roderich's place for a while.

Author's Note: I'm quite proud of this one, actually. I'm not used to this sort of 'short' style, so I really enjoyed the challenge. I hope you all like it! I guess you should blame George De Valier for getting me hooked on this pairing. I hope he updates soon, but for now enjoy some PruAus!


1

It was beautiful. It really was. He wasn't talking about the music, or the brightly lit stage, or the overwhelming harmony of the symphony. No. None of those things could compare. His eyes were glued on him. Just him. Him and his gorgeously carved violin. Him and his dark brown hair and almost violet eyes. Him and his slight frown upon his face. Perfect.

"Enjoying yourself?" asked Elizabeta, noticing that Gilbert hadn't spoken in a while. The practically silver-haired young man had to tear his eyes away from the violinist.

"What?" he said, not having heard over his thoughts.

"What's with you today? I would have expected more complaining on your part."

"Geez," sighed Gilbert. "Can't I catch a break? You drag my ass to the symphony and now you're complainin' that I'm not talking."

The brunette gave off a small chuckle. "I guess I should be more grateful then."

"Whose idea was this anyway?" complained the young man.

"My ex-husband was in town and decided to treat me to a night out."

"Should he be here instead of me?" he grumbled.

"We'll meet him once this is done. He was sweet enough to offer to pay for dinner, too."

2

Gilbert blinked and then blinked again. He had no idea why he was here. Elizabeta was busy chatting away with her ex-husband. It was weird, really, to see the violinist there before him. It was stranger still how comfortable Elizabeta was around him, considering that they were no longer married. But who was he to talk? He was her ex-boyfriend, after all. Three course meal, two exes, one beautiful (but insane) heartbreaker. Excellent.

His name was Roderich, he had been told. The name suited him. It was aristocratic, poised, all that good stuff. Gilbert watched the Austrian's mannerisms, but realized he was staring. Normally he would have stopped, thinking that it was atrocious to be so captivated for so long, but who was he to deny his awesome self a little harmless wide-eyed speculation?

"So," said Roderich. "Eliza tells me you have a little brother."

Gilbert chuckled. "I don't think 'little' really describes him. The bastard's fucking huge for a German."

"Oh, don't be silly," giggled Elizabeta with a roll of the eyes. "Ludwig is a very handsome and gentleman-like young man. You could certainly learn something from him."

"You sound like my mother," he muttered.

"Just as well, too."

They ate and they drank, and had the occasional swear-full conversation. Roderich, however, remained silent through the majority of the evening. He didn't speak unless spoken to, and even when did open his mouth, it was usually no more than a five word sentence. But it was alright with Gilbert because every now and then, he though Roderich was looking at him, too.

3

Gilbert groaned. It had been a while since he had drunk that much. Elizabeta wasn't much of a party sort of person, but when it came to drinking alcohol, she was queen of all the beer bottles and cans. Unfortunately, Gilbert knew all too well that he was too proud to turn down the challenge of downing liquor. So when he was about to swear off drinking again, he chuckled softly. Like hell, he thought with a smirk.

He sat up slowly, the throbbing in his head suddenly turning to a piercing pain. The lights were practically screaming at him for his stupidity. The silverette looked around. This wasn't his living room. This wasn't his couch. This wasn't his dampened washcloth on his forehead which had promptly fallen upon his lap. This wasn't strange to him, however. He had awoken plenty of times in a stranger's care after a binge. Well, Francis and Antonio could hardly count as strangers, but still.

"Oh," said a monotone voice. "You're up. Good. You can see yourself out."

It was the violinist. Gilbert raised an eyebrow. Why the hell was Roderich here? And where was Elizabeta? How much did he actually drink? What time was it? God. His head hurt. "Hello, Roddy," Gilbert said through his teeth. "Mind getting me some coffee?"

"Of course I mind," huffed the Austrian. "It's bad enough that Elizabeta left first thing in the morning, but I'm running late because of you."

"I'll take that as a 'no'," sighed Gilbert as he lay back down.

"Don't get too comfortable."

"But I was planning on it, sweetheart."

Roderich let out a heated sigh before turning his back on Gilbert. "I must really head off. Make sure to lock the door on your way out."

4

"You're late, Edelstein," snapped the conductor.

"I apologize. I had the misfortune of meeting my ex-wife's ex-boyfriend."

"How the hell did that happen?"

"It's a long story," said Roderich quickly. He placed his violin case down upon the counter before him and pulled out the instrument.

Though he quickly lost himself to the music that produced itself from the strings he so expertly played, there was a nagging though in his mind. Long after Gilbert had passed out from last night's drinks; Elizabeta was still far from finished. In fact, she had planned it all.

"He's got nothing left, Roderich," she had said sadly. "He lost his job, his brother moved out about a month ago, and I'm worried. I really am."

"And why is it my problem?" frowned the Austrian, taking a sip of wine. It was of good quality, but the direction that this conversation was going was making it taste bitter upon his lips.

"You said yourself it was lonely in your house," she shrugged.

"I was considering getting a cat, not a foul-mouthed drunkard."

"He's not that bad. Not usually."

"It's out of the question," hugged Roderich. "How did we even get on this absurd topic?"

"Please," said Elizabeta. It sounded extremely sincere, though. "You're not even home the majority of the time. He just needs a place to stay until he can get his life back on track."

"And how long do you expect that to be? I'm not exactly fond of freeloaders."

Elizabeta sighed. "If you refuse, I'll have no choice but to call in that favour you owe me."

Roderich raised an eyebrow and then frowned, suddenly remembering. "Is that your wish?"

"You owe me, Roderich. Just let the idiot sleep on your couch for a while. It's all I'm asking. I'll get him out of their in no time, I just need time to prepare some stuff." Roderich glanced back over at the now snoring silver-haired young man. The way the dim restaurant light reflected of his hair was actually quite… calming. He wasn't so bad when he had his mouth shut.

Roderich let out a sigh. He had no idea why he said yes.

5

Gilbert had not been asleep that night. He had known for far too long what Elizabeta was planning. She was just sick of him staying at her place. He couldn't blame her, though. It was pathetic, running back to his ex-girlfriend for help. In fact, it was impossible to call her his ex-anything. They had simply been childhood friends. Or childhood rivals, whichever you would prefer.

It was around noon when Gilbert finally decided to roll of the couch and do something with his remaining hours alone in the house until Roderich was expected to be back. "Get your ass out of my house and get a job," Elizabeta had snapped oh-so many times the last month. He would have done just that, but there was no such luck. Really. The economy was bad. Nobody was hiring. On top of that, the rent had gone up, too. Who could blame Gilbert for being this… helpless?

Gilbert rubbed his eyes. He was better than this, and he knew it. It was just tough. Yes. That's what he tried to convince himself into believing. Even the awesome Gilbert Beilshmidt could be down on his luck. And maybe, just maybe, this Austrian violinist would be able to turn it all around.

6

Dinner was, for a lack of better words, awkward. It was just the two of them, silence, and their chewing. Gilbert felt the urge to say something snarky about the meal, but thought otherwise. It was different with the Austrian here. Had Elizabeta been there with them, more than a conversation would ensue. Perhaps an argument, a mild fist fight, and then a drinking game. No. Roderich was clearly not the kind of person to enjoy such ruckus.

Now that Gilbert thought about it, it was sort of like this with his younger brother, too. Ludwig used to be so adorable, talking about his day whenever he got back from school. Somewhere along the line, that changed. He became more and more stoic, and unreadable. Then one day, he just left. Gilbert frowned down at his plate. He always knew his brother had a life, but…

"Is something the matter?" asked Roderich, having noticed Gilbert's change in expression. Perfect. No more silence.

"You've got interesting taste in food," he commented.

"Is it not to your liking?" questioned the Austrian. He didn't seem too eager to please his new guest.

"Nah. Just needs a little spice. And beer."

"Beer," repeated Roderich. He rolled his eyes. "Of course you'd want beer."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Not a thing," said Roderich as he stood up. "I shall retire for the evening."

7

"Three months," said Elizabeta, holding up three of her elegantly long fingers. "That's all I need, Roderich. Let him stay for three months and by the end of it, he'll be out of your hair."

"Can't you let him take care of himself? Why are you trying so hard to help him?"

"I'll have you remember, dear, that I'm not always thinking about myself."

"Oh, I remember, darling," he said through clenched teeth. "You tried adopting those Italian kids and then that one kid from Singapore…"

"They needed a mother."

"Yes, yes. That was always your argument."

"Enough," frowned Elizabeta. "I'm doing this because I owe him a favour."

"Like I owed you one?"

"Exactly."

"Very well. Three months and not a day more. If not, I will have the pleasure of kicking him out."