"Hey Spe – ahem, baby."
Roderich turned around at the sound of his lover's voice. Gilbert was sprawled out casually across the couch with his arms stretched across its back. He'd traded his usual lopsided smirk for an expression of uncharacteristic innocence. "All right, what do you want?" Roderich asked. He knew Gilbert well enough by now to be able to read him, to be able to step gingerly around the games the other man liked to play.
Gilbert offered Roderich a sweet smile. "What makes you think I want something?" he said.
Roderich rolled his eyes. "Come on, what do you take me for, an idiot? You are sometimes, but I'm not. You were about to call me Specs, but you stopped. That can only mean you want something from me. Now what is it?"
"Or it could just mean that I'm only doing what you asked. You did ask me not to call you that," Gilbert wheedled.
Roderich met Gilbert's crimson eyes with his purple ones and stared straight into them relentlessly, hoping to make the other man squirm and give in. But he wasn't one to back down. "It's never stopped you before," the Austrian offered.
With a shrug, Gilbert replied, "Well maybe I just decided this was a good time to actually start listening to you. Besides, if I did want something, all it would be is to cuddle with you, Roddy." He patted the couch next to him. While Roderich was certain there was something Gilbert wasn't telling him, he obliged and sat, settling into the couch as the other man wrapped an arm around him. That arm pulled him closer in a rather rough, sudden motion until his body was pressed flush against Gilbert's. A pair of lips met his cheek and then the corner of his mouth.
Knowing Gilbert was about to kiss him fully on the lips, Roderich turned his head purposefully, watching shock fill those bright red eyes as Gilbert found his nose pressed into Roderich's cheek. "Nein, not until you tell me what is really going on," he asserted. Not that he didn't crave the taste and the sensation of the other man's lips against his own. He'd just become better at pretending he didn't than Gilbert had.
"Well, now that you mention it…" Gilbert began casually, "I totally think we should get a dog."
Roderich chuckled, satisfied. "Ah, I knew you wanted someth – wait, what? A dog? Why do you want a dog?"
"Well, you know, I miss having the shepherds around," Gilbert said. "And I need an awesome dog to complement the awesome me, ja?"
"Ludwig couldn't have given you one?" Roderich asked. Gilbert had moved in with him just three months ago. He used to live with his brother Ludwig, who had two German Shepherds, Sergeant and Maximus. Roderich just assumed one of them had been Gilbert's, but both dogs remained with Ludwig.
"Nein, he really likes those dogs. They're both kind of his anyway," Gilbert explained. "Besides, I can only guess he wants to let Feliciano have one. He loves animals."
Roderich hummed lightly. "So that Italian boyfriend of his is moving in with him, then?"
"Ja! So, Roddy, what do you think? Can we get a dog?" Gilbert said with a grin. "I think we should call him Gildog." He linked his hands together behind his head and leaned back against them, eyes flashing mischievously.
Roderich chuckled humorlessly. He wasn't being serious, was he? "Gildog? Idiot, that is not a proper name for a dog! And don't you think if I were to agree to get this dog, I should be allowed to name him?"
"Why do you get to make all the decisions, Priss? I think I should get to make some decisions, because, ya know…I'm awesome."
Roderich sighed at Gilbert's words. It was moments like these when the Austrian wondered just how he had ended up dating this man. "Yes, you make sure to inform me of that rather frequently."
Gilbert huffed and rolled his eyes right back. "All right, all right," he conceded. "You can name him if you really want. You can give it one of your composer names. I don't know, what composers are there? Bach? Beethoven? Chopin?"
"Rachmaninoff," Roderich commented sarcastically. In spite of his ambivalence about the whole situation, he found himself laughing for real now. Gilbert could amuse him like no other sometimes, and more often than not, he wasn't trying to be funny.
"Come on, you're not going to name a dog Rachmaninoff. That's stupid."
"You said I could name it."
"So that means yes?" Gilbert's eyes were wide and glimmering. The smirk on his face seemed to imply that he thought himself victorious. He should know better by now than to think Roderich would just give up that easily.
Pressing his lips into a thin line, Roderich answered, "I never said that! And I was only joking. I wouldn't name the dog Rachmaninoff, idiot. That is kind of a stupid name for a dog…" Gilbert nodded, mouthing the word gute noiselessly. "…but not nearly as stupid as Gildog! Gil, I don't know. A dog sheds. It has accidents in the house. It needs to be walked. It's a lot of responsibility." Gilbert wasn't exactly the most responsible person, or the most tidy. He had a habit of leaving clothes and dishes lying around, and neglecting to do his laundry until it had piled up to form a small mountain in the laundry room – at which point Roderich would finally get sick of it and end up doing it for him. That was probably because Ludwig was even more of a neat freak than Roderich was. He had seldom allowed his brother to do dishes or clean the house, as he trusted only himself to clean up thoroughly.
Gilbert shrugged nonchalantly, though he stared relentlessly into Roderich's eyes. "Don't worry. I'll do all that."
Roderich wasn't entirely convinced. "Y-you will?" He wasn't sure he'd have time to look after a dog between symphony rehearsals if Gilbert failed to take care of it. And they had just started to rehearse his big piano concerto, so he'd have to spend more time at rehearsals than normal.
"Ja, trust me."
Roderich was about to say no. He really was. But one more look into those crimson eyes, and Roderich found the words tumbling from his lips before they could even register in his mind: "Oh, all right…" That phrase had barely found its way from his mouth before Gilbert's lips against his silenced him. The spontaneous contact of the two pairs of lips made the Austrian's pulse jump. He pressed back into the kiss and opened his mouth to allow Gilbert's tongue to wander inside. Responding automatically without thought or logic, his arms wrapped around the other man's neck just as he felt a hand on his hip, holding him in place – but it wasn't as though he'd have the willpower to pull away. Though Roderich would never admit it, he secretly loved it when Gilbert kissed him impulsively, without the slightest warning, even if the two were in the most public place imaginable. He suspected Gilbert knew, though. Why else would he continue to do it?
Gilbert pulled away, looking thoroughly satisfied. "So we'll go tomorrow then," he stated, as if it wasn't even up for discussion. Roderich shrugged. Just go with it, he silently instructed himself.
Tomorrow came too soon. That evening, after their little chat, Roderich had made dinner for the pair and then settled at the piano bench to practice for the rest of the night. Gilbert had sat and listened to him for a while after he had finished scales and other technical exercises and moved on to the concerto. But after Roderich had been at it for half an hour, Gilbert retreated back to the couch, where he watched television for a while. Roderich had been practicing for nearly three hours when Gilbert had called from upstairs, "Hey, little master, stop that and come to bed." Roderich had halted, fingers still on the keys, and grumbled to himself, cheeks flushing at that little nickname. But even as he was irritated for having been interrupted, he had stood, pulled up the stairs by the magnetic, implied promise buried in the other man's words. He was reluctant to get out of bed the next morning. He told himself – repeated over and over in his head – that it was because the whole matter of adopting this dog had come along too suddenly, too abruptly for his taste. But in reality, it was because the sheets felt intoxicatingly warm in contrast to the cool autumn air outside, and because…Gilbert shifted in bed next to him, a pale arm falling across Roderich's body as if by accident. He glanced back to regard the other man and caught just the faintest glimpse of one half-opened crimson eye, which Gilbert snapped shut instantly, feigning sleep. Roderich said nothing, allowing Gilbert to believe he hadn't seen that.
They ate breakfast, dressed, and climbed into the car to drive to the animal shelter. The moment Roderich pushed open its glass door with the flattened palm of his hand, the thick and unmistakable scent invaded his nostrils, a scent that he could try and fail to describe but that could truly only be captured by one single word: dog. Roderich wrinkled his nose. In a few days, his whole house would smell like that. Of course, the shelter housed about forty dogs, not to mention cats and a random assortment of whatever other small animals they ended up taking in. But it would still end up disturbing the cleanliness of his home. Roderich wondered vaguely how Ludwig was able to put up with it. The lady behind the desk smiled at them much too brightly for a Saturday morning, and he almost wished he could dial down the intensity of her smile like the volume knob on the car stereo system. He approached the desk hesitantly, Gilbert trailing so closely behind he could almost feel the other man's breath on the back of his neck. "We're, ah…we're here to look at, um, dogs," Roderich said.
"Ja, that's right!" Gilbert said brightly as he wrapped an arm around Roderich's waist and pulled him in close just as he had the previous night. Then he placed a rather sloppy kiss on the Austrian's cheek. The lady behind the desk stood rooted to the spot, eyes locked on the pair. A blush overtook her face. Roderich shoved Gilbert away and muttered under his breath, "Not here, Gil!" He felt a hint of moisture cooling and evaporating on his cheek. Had Gilbert used his tongue? How incredibly crass.
"O-okay," the lady behind the desk said. "Dogs are this way." She pulled herself up from the chair in which she sat and waved them toward a door. When she pushed it open, a symphony of barks, yaps, whimpers, and the clack of nails against the concrete floor greeted them. They strolled down the aisle, and animals of every size rushed to the fronts of their enclosures, wagging their tails furiously and peering up at Roderich and Gilbert as if to implore, take me home! A few dogs shrunk away nervously at the back corners of their enclosure. One or two flopped lazily on the floor, too used to visitors to bother to move themselves from the spot at which they rested. "What size dog were you two looking for?" she asked.
"Small," Roderich said at the exact moment Gilbert said, "big." Clearly, they hadn't discussed this enough. They locked eyes, and Gilbert arched one pale eyebrow with a glance that seemed vaguely challenging.
"All right, well, let me just show you what we've got," she said. As they walked, the quick skitter of claws and a small, tentative bark stopped Roderich in his tracks. He turned to see a delicate little black and tan Dachshund bobbing along clumsily toward him and Gilbert. He bent and poked a few fingers through the chain-link door, which the dog sniffed a few times with a quivering, wet nose. Then, a short length of pink tongue protruded from its mouth and gently brushed Roderich's fingertips once before it withdrew back inside its mouth. "I see you met Addie," the woman said approvingly. "Six-year-old Dachshund. Already spayed, but a little shy with new people." Indeed, the dog had already retreated a bit, tucking its tail between its legs.
"How about her, Gil?" Roderich said. A small dog would be easy to handle, and being that she was a bit older, she'd probably be calm.
Gilbert made a face. "I don't want a sissy little dog. I want a big dog. Got any German Shepherds?"
Before Roderich had a chance to protest, the woman was already leading them off to the other end of the hallway. "As a matter of fact, we have one. Here. This is Kahn. A tough name for a tough dog. If you need a guard dog, this is your boy. But he'd need to be fixed."
Judging by the grin that spread across Gilbert's face, they'd have to at least consider this one. Gilbert stretched a hand out toward the bright-eyed dog, who was watching them warily with his tail held out stiffly behind him. Instantly, the dog curled its lips and emitted a low growl, but that didn't stop the advancement of the pale hand between the chain links. Kahn snarled and lunged, snapping at Gilbert's hand, which he recoiled in shock. He straightened and shrugged it off. "He's nothing like mein bruder's Shepherds," he mused, shaking his head.
"Ah, sorry," the woman said quickly. "He…we thought we'd broken him of that habit. He used to be a police dog, so perhaps he's a little aggressive yet. Perhaps a Golden Retriever?"
This dog seemed to be a good fit. She came right up to Gilbert and Roderich, wagging her tail pleasantly without barking. In fact, they liked her so much the woman took the dog named Stella out to the small yard in the back so they could walk her around. But as soon as Gilbert slipped his hand into the leash's loop, Stella took off, dragging Gilbert helplessly along behind her. He tugged desperately at her leash, but it seemed to do little to slow the dog. Soon, she started racing around in circles, winding the leash around his body. He staggered, tripped, and would have fallen on his face if Roderich hadn't sprung forward and grabbed his arm. "I like her, she's got spirit," Gilbert announced once he'd stepped gingerly over the leash. Stella glanced back, open-mouthed, wagging her tail relentlessly, with an expression that was almost innocent.
"I don't think so," Roderich shot back. "She's going to be too much of a pain to walk. I won't have that." He turned to address the woman now. "How old is she?"
"Almost a year now, sir."
"I rest my case," Roderich confirmed with a nod. "We're not getting her. What else have you got?" Yes, he was being picky, but if they were going to do this, they'd have to do it on his terms.
The woman asked them to stay outside while she brought them another dog she was sure they'd like. She led out a sleek Weimaraner that picked up its feet gracefully as it walked. It paused, nose pointed, as it tested the air before it jogged over to Gilbert and Roderich. "This one's new. He's three years old, already fixed and housebroken, and very well behaved if I must say so myself," she chirped. "Here, give him a try."
She handed the leash to Gilbert. The dog walked calmly at his side, wagging its tail slowly every now and then as if to remind them he was a good boy. He took direction well, following wherever he was led without pulling or jerking on the leash. After walking him around a bit, Gilbert leaned down toward the dog and ruffled its fur with an outstretched hand. "Hey boy, hey! That's a good boy!" he whispered to the dog, who perked its ears and tilted its head in return, indicating that it was listening. For a moment, man and dog regarded one another silently. Then, the Weimaraner gave Gilbert's hand a couple of licks. He chuckled and glanced up at Roderich. The Austrian watched with fascination. He'd never seen the other man act quite like this before. He'd shed his usual air of smug confidence bordering on cockiness as though it were as detachable from his true self as a fancy dinner jacket – something that was just for show.
"He seems to like the dog," the woman said, throwing Roderich an expectant glance. "Since you're his, ah, p-partner…" she said unsteadily, hesitated a moment, and then flushed again, her eyes flicking back and forth between Gilbert and Roderich, "…why don't you try walking him a bit?"
Roderich nodded stiffly. He had never had pets growing up. He let the leash dangle limply from his wrist and took a few slow steps forward, waiting to feel a tug on the other end of the leash, to see the nylon fabric stretched taut in front of him. Too many times, he'd observed dogs drag owners down streets, through parks, after birds, squirrels, and other dogs. But the Weimaraner did not pull at all. As the dog walked, it glanced back at Roderich with its sharp, clear blue eyes and snorted a little, probably having picked up on his uncertainty. He had to admit he didn't mind this dog – maybe even liked it a little. Sensing Gilbert's eyes upon him, probing, full of anticipation, Roderich reached out to give the dog a little pat on the head. Its fur felt so smooth and silky under his palms. It wagged its tail at the touch and licked Roderich's hand. He recoiled at the warm, moist contact and straightened, holding the leash out a bit awkwardly for the woman to take back.
"He likes you," she said. "He likes both of you. Would you like to take him?"
"Ja, of course!" Gilbert said. Then he turned toward Roderich, apparently having forgotten he had someone else's opinion to take into consideration. "Wouldn't we, Roderich?" he added, in a tone of voice that suggested Roderich didn't really have any say in the matter.
With a heavy sigh, Roderich said, "Ah, I don't know, Gil. He's a nice dog, but…I just don't know. I don't know about this whole dog thing. Maybe we should rethink…"
"Rethink? But you said it would be okay!" Gilbert cut in sharply. Roderich had no idea what was giving him pause. It was just a dog, right? But something about the situation made him a bit uneasy. A tiny whimper interrupted his thoughts, and he turned purple eyes toward the Weimaraner, but the dog was sitting silently next to the woman, tail thumping against the ground. "R-Roddy…" a quivering voice protested weakly. When he pulled his gaze from the dog to Gilbert, he found crimson eyes slick, a single tear running down each pale cheek.
"C-can you give us a moment?" Roderich said to the woman, but didn't even pause to hear her answer before he took Gilbert by the hand and led him off to the side. "Gilbert, do you want to tell me what's going on? Are you really so hung up on getting this dog?"
"Y-yes," Gilbert said. Roderich had never seen Gilbert so shaken before. In fact…he racked his brain and could not recall ever having seen the other man cry before. And all over a stupid dog? Maybe it was deeper than that.
"Gil, what is it?" he asked, his voice softer and full of concern. Even if he wasn't quite fond of the idea of getting a dog, he hated to see Gilbert upset. "Am I away too much for you? I promise I can find a way to spend more time together…"
"No, it's not that," Gilbert interrupted. His cheeks were now completely slick, the whites of his eyes rimmed in red veins, which heightened the crimson coloring of his irises. He let his face fall against Roderich's chest and spoke quietly, voice muffled through the fabric of Roderich's shirt: "If we don't have a dog together, what's keeping you here?"
Wrapping his arms instinctively around the other man, Roderich said, "What do you mean?" To say that it was a bit disconcerting to watch Gilbert's usual demeanor vanish in favor of this foreign insecurity was an understatement. He didn't quite know how to respond, except with the overwhelming desire to heal whatever pain hid behind those bright red eyes.
"If we don't have a dog, what would keep you from leaving me?" Gilbert choked out between sobs.
So now the truth came out. Gilbert was afraid Roderich would leave him? To Gilbert, the dog represented commitment, in the same way a child might. "Is that what this is really about, Gil?" he said while running his hands up and down the other man's back.
Raising his tear-streaked face, Gilbert peered into Roderich's purple eyes, hands curling helplessly into the fabric of the Austrian's shirt. "J-ja…" he said before trailing off, at a loss for words.
"I won't leave you. What makes you think I would?" Roderich said as questions flooded his mind. Had Gilbert been worried about this the whole time? And why? Had he done something wrong to make Gilbert feel this way?
"You were married to Elizaveta…" Gilbert flinched visibly as he spoke that name, as if the simple memory of watching the Hungarian girl with the long, flowing brown hair and sparkling green eyes cling to Roderich's arm was somehow physically painful. "…and don't you think I didn't see the way you were looking at her…" Gilbert jerked his head toward the shelter employee, who was currently leading the Weimaraner in circles across the yard.
"I wasn't…" Roderich began, but his eyes followed the tilt of Gilbert's head and came to rest on the woman. There was something vague but present in the woman's green eyes that resembled…Elizaveta's. A moment of realization washed over him. That was why Gilbert had made such a show of kissing him in front of her. "Oh, Gil, there's a reason I left her, and it's the same reason I'm with you now. It's because she wasn't right for me, but you…are." He took a moment to think over the words he'd just spoken. Yes, they irritated the absolute hell out of each other sometimes, called each other stupid names, argued over silly things – but in the end, had he ever cared about anyone as much as he cared about Gilbert? He was sure the answer was no.
"Really?" Gilbert said.
"Ja," Roderich answered firmly. He cupped Gilbert's chin in his hand, tilted it up until they looked each other in the eyes again, and wiped tears from the other man's cheek with the back of his thumb. "Elizaveta and I…we were young and stupid, that is all. That's all in the past. I want you now, no one else." He leaned in and kissed Gilbert softly, their lips sliding against each other a little, moistened by the tears that still dripped down Gilbert's face. The intimacy, the subtleness of that kiss was surprising to Roderich, sad yet sweet at the same time. Often, they tended to kiss rather roughly, their lips meeting with such eager force that the detached observer might guess they had just been reunited after having been separated for weeks. This one was so different. Roderich was almost a little shocked to realize he had never paused to think about how it felt to kiss Gilbert, to memorize the sensation of that pair of lips against his. But now, with eyes closed, bodies barely touching, and the world outside falling away as if by some sort of magic, all that was left was feeling. The firm press of Gilbert's lips against Roderich's. The gentle, flicking motions of his tongue. How cool the other man's skin felt as it brushed Roderich's fingertips. And the way the Austrian could feel Gilbert's heartbeat as it slowed gradually to normal in the receding tide of heightened emotions.
They broke the kiss reluctantly when the need for oxygen became inescapable. The two remained clinging to each other. Their foreheads rested together. Roderich snuck a glance at the shelter employee, who watched them with eyes that had glazed over like a Krispy Kreme donut. When his eyes flicked back to Gilbert, a smile once again crossed the other man's face. "Come on, Gil," Roderich said. "We've got a dog to adopt."
In the span of a single moment in time, Gilbert's entire demeanor shifted. Though his face and eyes were still red and damp, his customary smirk once again took over. He grabbed Roderich's hand and tugged him toward the woman, who still held the patiently seated Weimaraner. "Show's over," he said to her, raising both eyebrows amusedly. Indeed, she'd been watching the two of them as though they'd been actors in a movie who were caught in the middle of a tense love scene. But Gilbert had returned to his usual self effortlessly. Even in those rare moments when he allowed Roderich and no one else to see his insecure side, he bounced back as easily as a yo-yo returns to the hand that plays with it. That was why Roderich loved Gilbert. Loved? The thought flickered across his mind for the first time since he and Gilbert had started dating. Was that what it felt like? Yes, yes it was, he thought, as he felt the corners of his mouth pull upward as if they had a mind of their own. But he wouldn't say anything to Gilbert – not yet, not until he was completely sure of how he felt.
"We'll take him," Roderich said.
Fifteen minutes later, they sat in stiff leather chairs in the lobby together, heads bent over the necessary paperwork. The sounds of dogs barking in the distance from behind the closed door drowned out the soft scratch of Roderich's pen against the paper. "So what are you going to name him?" Gilbert asked.
Roderich lifted his eyes from the paperwork to regard the Weimaraner. Its ears perked and its tail thumped as glanced back at its new masters. He paused to think a moment. "Strauss," he said. "We'll call him Strauss."
Gilbert hummed a little, pleased. "I like Strauss. I like his marches," he commented. So Gilbert knew who Strauss was? Maybe he paid more attention during Roderich's rehearsals and performances than he let on.
Within an hour, they had completed the paperwork and urged Strauss into the car. He curled up in the backseat. His paws hung over the edge of the seat, pink tongue lolling. His bright blue eyes gazed inquisitively at the two men in the front seats.
When they arrived home, Roderich lifted the lid of the grand piano and sat down to practice once again while Gilbert sat with Strauss on the couch. But in a few moments, Strauss wandered into the room and sat next to Roderich, his soft pants adding a quiet backdrop to the notes that flowed from the Austrian's fingers. The dog tilted his head back and forth, listening to the music. As the notes crescendoed into a resounding fortissimo at the peak of the musical passage, Strauss howled along in time, as though he were an unwanted vocal soloist whom Roderich must accompany. Roderich stopped and stared at the dog, who just stared right back. "I'm not an accompanist," he told the animal in a cool tone of voice before his fake seriousness cracked. He chuckled softly and reached out to pat Strauss on the head.
Gilbert appeared and caught Strauss by the collar. "Looks like you have a friend, Roddy," he said. "Come on, boy. Let's let Specs practice." He tugged at the dog's collar and started to pull him away. Roderich rolled his eyes but decided not to scold Gilbert for the little nickname as he usually would.
Today, Roderich only managed to practice for an hour and a half before a deafening boom corrupted the peaceful notes of the Debussy solo he was working on. A flash of light illuminated the gray, clouded sky for an ephemeral moment before it vanished to allow darkness to once again consume the afternoon. Roderich jumped at the sudden noise. His fingers smashed into random keys as he flinched, which created a cacophony of dissonance. "Scheisse!" he whispered tremulously. His glasses were askew, resting at a jaunty angle on the bridge of his nose, and he pushed them back into place with his pointer finger. Strauss paced the house nervously. He circled through the room with the grand piano, nose in the air, as he gave a series of high-pitched whimpers. Another clap of thunder sounded, followed almost instantly by another flash of lightning. At that moment, the sky ripped open and poured its fury down onto the earth. Strauss barked and ran around with his tail tucked between his legs.
Roderich stood shakily, retreated into the living room, and sank down onto the couch next to Gilbert. There was no use in trying to practice any longer. He'd get too distracted. Though Roderich wasn't afraid of much, thunderstorms terrified him. When he was only about six or seven years old, his parents had left him alone in the house and departed to attend a friend's wedding. One of the worst thunderstorms in nearly a decade had struck that night. It had downed a telephone pole just half a mile from the house. Roderich heard it hit the ground with a shattering crack, but the storm's fury wasn't over yet. Next, it hit the big tree just outside the Edelstein household, splitting it in half and sending it straight through the roof. The frightened little boy had tried repeatedly to call his parents as rain poured into the house, but they didn't pick up, and soon, the phone lines went dead. He remembered that evening as clearly as though it were yesterday…thunder cracked through the air, louder than ever, and broke the endless stream of memories that played out in Roderich's mind. He grabbed Gilbert's arm and held onto it so tightly it was almost painful.
Wordlessly, Gilbert wrapped an arm around him, and Roderich rested his head on the other man's shoulder. It was only then he realized how much he was shaking, how erratically his heart was knocking against his chest in comparison to the steady thud of Gilbert's heartbeat. Normally, Gilbert would have teased Roderich about his little phobia, would have said something along the lines of "You're so cute when you're scared, Princess." But today he was silent. He returned Roderich's embrace as rain drenched the world outside, wind whipped at the trees, and thunder clapped every few moments. Strauss paced into the living room, whining in between heavy breaths. Gilbert patted the couch next to him, and Strauss took a flying leap onto it. But instead of settling down next to the two men, he plopped himself into Gilbert's lap. The dog's chest rose and fell rapidly in panic, body quivering, tail still tucked between his legs. "Look, Roddy, you and Strauss have something in common," Gilbert said. "You both hate thunderstorms."
Roderich chuckled lightly in spite of himself. "Ja, it looks that way." With another loud crack and an extra-long jolt of lightning, the television flickered and was extinguished. The lights in the house went out for a brief moment before they came back on. He turned to press his nose into Gilbert's neck when he felt a warm weight drop onto his knee. He lifted his eyes to see Strauss' head resting on his leg, even as the dog was curled up in Gilbert's lap. He patted the dog on the head and then scratched beneath his muzzle. As if to say "thank you" for being petted, Strauss brushed Roderich's hand with his tongue a few times. In spite of the storm that raged outside, he'd found a measure of peace in the dog that gazed up at his two new masters and in the man at his side, who held him tightly as though his embrace alone could chase away every painful memory in Roderich's mind. He found himself smiling as he thought, maybe…maybe he can.
So…wow, I wrote a K+ fic? I had the opportunity to curse and write smut but I didn't do it? What is wrong with me? Just kidding.
Oh, by the way…this marks my 5th fic! And all in less than 2 months!
As always, thanks for reading, and reviews are love :)