- Day 3 –
When Roderich awoke to the sound of his alarm, he was wrapped in the most pleasant warmth imaginable, and he did not want to get out of bed. He found himself still nestled in Gilbert's arms. He realized he didn't want the other boy to let go. But they all had to get dressed and eat breakfast in order to catch the bus on time that morning, so Roderich slipped reluctantly out of bed. One of Gilbert's eyelids cracked open, revealing a narrow slit of crimson through which he regarded the Austrian. "Morning," he said to Roderich as he sat up, blinked, and rubbed his eyes.
"So you're actually going to get up on time today, are you?" Roderich said.
"Sure," Gilbert said with a shrug. He stood and tentatively put weight on his injured ankle. His tensed face relaxed, and he smiled at Roderich. "I think I'll have no problem skiing today," he said.
"Good, glad to hear it."
Roderich turned and started to walk toward the restroom so that he could get dressed. Halfway there, Gilbert called to him, "Thank you for yesterday, Roderich." He paused and added in a lower voice, "For…for everything."
The Austrian couldn't help but smile at Gilbert, who was attractive even in rumpled pajamas, even with his silvery hair disheveled and sticking up in random places. God, why did he have to be so damn attractive? "You're welcome," he said.
Once they had arrived back at the mountain, Roderich stepped into the bindings of his skis and started to head toward the ski lift alone, just as he had yesterday. Gilbert caught up with him and tugged at his arm. "C'mon, Roddy, come ski with us!" he chirped, lips parted in an eager grin. When Roderich turned to gaze back into crimson eyes, the albino added quickly, "Don't be, you know…such a priss who thinks he's…so much better than the rest of us or something. Are we unworthy to ski with you or something?"
"Fine," the Austrian conceded, though he was secretly happy that Gilbert wanted to spend time with him. He couldn't explain why. He followed Gilbert, Francis, and Antonio toward the gondola that would take them straight to the black-diamond trails. He knew he was capable of skiing trails that difficult, but he always preferred to warm up with something easier first. Today, however, he boarded the gondola without saying anything to the other three boys. This will be good for you, he told himself. Maybe you should loosen up every once in a while and stop worrying like your life is just one big piano recital waiting to go wrong.
They immediately headed toward a trail with moguls – toward the same snowy domes that had made Gilbert fall on his ankle the previous day. Roderich followed wordlessly, knowing it was useless to protest at this point. Gilbert skied a little more conservatively today, turning around each dome with careful precision. Roderich realized in that moment that the silver-haired boy was actually a good skier who clearly knew what he was doing, who clearly had a firm handle on proper skiing technique. He simply chose to ignore that technique when he felt that it wasn't entertaining enough to ski carefully. Soon, the Austrian felt his reservations slip away. He no longer thought about his private piano lesson on Wednesday, which he never felt as though he was prepared for. He no longer thought about how well he had done on that music theory exam. At last, he let himself fully enjoy skiing, talking, and laughing with Gilbert, Francis, and Antonio, though Gilbert seemed a bit quieter than usual. Roderich did not even think about what had happened between him and Gilbert the previous day.
At lunch, Gilbert teased him a bit less than he normally did. Antonio and Francis, however, were just as talkative as ever. Francis went on about how girls who skied were different to date than girls who were snowboarders, and how both types of girls were different from the gymnasts and the dancers. Antonio mentioned an Italian boy by the name of Lovino whom he'd had a crush on for a while. Lovino didn't ski, and Antonio kept trying to convince the Italian to come along with him so he could teach him, but Lovino always said no. At one point, Gilbert rolled up the little paper his straw had come in and threw it at Roderich. The albino's aim was surprisingly good. The little ball of paper bounced right off the Austrian's glasses and landed in his food. Roderich sighed and rolled his eyes, but decided not to scold Gilbert, because something about him seemed…different today. He seemed hesitant. Unsure of himself.
They continued skiing into the afternoon. At around 3:00, Francis and Antonio waved the other two boys toward the terrain park, where there were all sorts of obstacles they could use to do tricks. "I…I don't know if I should," Gilbert said quietly. "I don't want to hurt my ankle even more if I land funny or something." He glanced at the other three, eyes pausing on each of them. "But you guys go on. I'll just go back to the lodge and…I don't know, sit for a while. My ankle's kinda starting to hurt anyway."
"No, Gilbert, you don't need to be alone!" Roderich said automatically. "I'll go with you."
"Roderich, you know you don't have to…"
"Yes, but I want to," the Austrian replied firmly. "Come on, let's go sit for a while."
Gilbert nodded, and the two of them skied to the bottom of the mountain while Antonio and Francis practiced insane tricks at the terrain park. Out of the corner of his eye, Roderich saw Antonio fly into the air off a box jump, land crookedly, and fall over backwards. Maybe it's a good thing we quit when we did, he thought. When they had reached the bottom, Gilbert said, "Hey, you want to get something to eat? Once we get on the bus, it'll be a few hours before we stop for dinner."
"Sure, why not?" Roderich said.
The silver-haired boy tilted his head toward a little food stand that sat a few yards away from the steps that led down to the ski lodge. "They got, like…sugar waffles or something like that over there."
Roderich chuckled dryly. "Waffles? My ex's current girlfriend loves waffles. She makes them all the time."
Gilbert arched a pale eyebrow. "Oh, so your ex, he's bisexual, is he?" he said with a smirk as he nudged Roderich in the side with his elbow.
"Apparently, she is bisexual," Roderich corrected as he followed Gilbert to the little stand.
"Oh…" Gilbert said as his face fell a little. "But you do…date men, don't you?"
"Of course! You should know that. But why do you a-"
"No reason!" Gilbert interrupted. "One of those waffle-things. Oh, with chocolate, please," he said to the woman behind the counter.
They ordered their sugar waffles and leaned against a nearby railing to eat them. For a moment, neither of the two spoke to each other. Gilbert snuck a few glances at Roderich, and the Austrian pretended not to notice. But then after a few minutes of silence, Gilbert cleared his throat a little. "Um, Roderich…" he started to say.
Gilbert stared at the ground. "Ah, never mind," he mumbled.
Roderich reached out with his free hand and touched Gilbert's arm lightly. "You can tell me anything, Gil. It's okay."
"But…I don't know what you'll think of me if I do," Gilbert said.
"I'm sure I won't think badly of you," Roderich said. "It's not like we exactly get along that well as it is!" He chuckled lightly, but Gilbert did not smile or laugh with him.
The silver-haired boy sighed, took one last bite of his waffle, and chewed it slowly and thoughtfully without looking at Roderich. "Well, you know, I kind of think…you're…kind of…awesome," he replied quietly, pausing after every few words. "But not as awesome as me, of course."
Flattered yet confused, Roderich said, "What are you…what do you mean, Gilbert?"
"Damn it, Roderich! Why do you have to fucking go and make this harder than it already is?" Gilbert said brusquely. "I, ah…" He hesitated and started playing with his ski poles, passing them back and forth from hand to hand.
Suddenly, Roderich knew just what Gilbert was trying to say. Gilbert had a crush on him. He didn't know why, or for how long, but he wasn't about to ask. "Oh…" Roderich said quietly, giving the other boy a little nod.
"And I thought that after yesterday, maybe…"
Roderich didn't allow Gilbert to finish his sentence. He leaned forward and kissed the German boy. The contact of their lips felt so different than it had the previous day. The way Gilbert pressed back into the kiss was soft and a little tentative. Roderich's tongue slipped past the other boy's pale lips and tasted cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate as it roamed and explored his mouth. The tips of their tongues barely touched. Gilbert put an arm around Roderich's neck and slid his fingers through the Austrian's hair, which poked out from the bottom of the winter hat he wore. When they pulled apart and lingered with their faces only an inch or two apart, Gilbert exhaled shakily. Roderich couldn't tell if the other boy felt nervous, or relieved, or both. "So, what does…" Gilbert said.
"How about we go out to dinner sometime once we get back to campus?" Roderich said without thinking.
"I'd like that," Gilbert replied, smiling for the first time since they'd reached the bottom of the mountain. The albino's eyes traveled to the crumpled, chocolate-smeared wrappers they held balled up in their hands. He laughed, and Roderich smiled in spite of himself. "Hey Specs, since we finished our waffles, are we just gonna keep standing here like idiots, or are we actually gonna go inside now?"
Roderich laughed, too, and rolled his eyes. There was the Gilbert he knew. The two made their way down the steps and into the ski lodge. They found a pair of chairs in front of the fireplace and settled into them to rest for an hour before the coach bus would come to take them back to campus. "Hey, Roddy, you got a little…" Gilbert said and tried to stop himself from giggling. Before Roderich could question him, Gilbert leaned forward and licked a lingering drop of chocolate off the corner of the Austrian's mouth, and then kissed him. When he pulled back, he wore a satisfied smirk. The rest of the hour passed in relative silence. At some point, Gilbert reached over and took Roderich's hand. Roderich flinched at the sudden contact, but he didn't pull away.
When the coach bus arrived, the two shuffled out of the hotel lobby, collected their skis from outside, made their way over, and handed their skis to the bus driver to be loaded into the storage space below the bus. They were one of the first people to climb onto the bus, as almost everyone else in the ski club had been skiing or snowboarding up until almost the very last possible moment. Roderich flopped down into a seat near the back of the bus and looked up at Gilbert, who stood in the aisle and glanced at the Austrian with questions hovering in his eyes. Roderich patted the seat next to him and Gilbert sat, shifting until he was comfortable.
Antonio and Francis arrived shortly thereafter. They sat across the aisle from Gilbert and Roderich, throwing the two strange glances as they got settled. "So…are you two together now?" Francis said, eyeing the pair eagerly.
"Maybe," Roderich said. Gilbert bit his lip, looking a little hurt, like a puppy that had just been scolded. "Hey, Gil, we should at least go on a few dates before we make it official, right?" he added.
Gilbert's face positively lit up. "Yeah! Why not?"
Antonio chuckled. "Sex before dating? Once again, Roderich, you have the tendency to do things backwards," he said.
"Antonio! Don't you dare!" Roderich snapped. "You're walking on a very thin line right now." He knew exactly what the Spaniard was talking about. He and Antonio had slept together before dating, as well. But he had been drunk and weak at the time, and it was a decision he'd come to regret. That was a topic he didn't want discussed around Gilbert – at least not until he and the German boy had been together for a while. For some reason, he thought Gilbert might feel hurt or jealous if he knew he and Antonio had actually dated for a while.
The Spaniard held up his hands defensively. "No worries, amigo," he said good-naturedly, before turning in his seat to talk to Francis.
Much to Roderich's relief, Gilbert didn't ask about what Antonio had said. That was a discussion for much later. Once all the ski club members had boarded the bus, and attendance had been taken, the engine roared to life, pulled out of the resort parking lot, and turned toward campus. In a few hours, after the bus had stopped at a McDonalds so that everyone could eat dinner, Gilbert put an arm around Roderich's waist, scooted in close, rested his head on the Austrian's shoulder, and fell asleep. For reasons he couldn't quite explain, Roderich felt strangely at peace. He hadn't had a real, lasting relationship in a while, and maybe it was time he broke that trend. It was strange and sweetly ironic that this relationship would be with Gilbert Beilschmidt, the boy he never thought he'd be able to tolerate, much less like as more than a friend. But over the last three days, he had seen a side of Gilbert he didn't know existed. He saw that the German boy could be quiet, a little insecure, and maybe even…sweet. And the fact that Gilbert had a crush on him still baffled him. How was it that Roderich hadn't known? Had the other boy simply been that good at hiding it? Or had Roderich been too stupid to notice?
Roderich couldn't answer those questions, but he felt that he didn't need to. That was in the past. He leaned back against Gilbert and let his eyelids slide shut as snow once again started to swirl through the darkening sky.
So…I love how this fic was supposed to be a cute little oneshot that turned into a monster of a threeshot. And I realized the chapter length was somewhat unbalanced, with about 75% of the length in Chapter 2. But oh well!
If you're also reading Remember the Music, you can expect an update relatively shortly! If not, you should be! *shameless self promotion*
Anyway, the end! As always, thanks for reading, and reviews are love :)