So, I've been struggling with writing inspiration lately. That's why I've decided to start publishing collections of drabbles I write. When I need inspiration, I find it helpful to just write a drabble that's not necessarily for a particular purpose, or for any particular fic I'm working on. And obviously PruAus is my favorite pairing to write. Maybe getting back into the habit of writing some drabbles will help my inspiration for Up in the Air. And having my work published and receive feedback motivates me to keep going, so that's the purpose of starting this series of drabbles.
They will be unrelated unless I say otherwise, meaning they are all in separate 'verses. This one in particular is a high school AU.
After gym class, cheeks still faintly pink from the mile run, he gathered every last one of his nerves to ask one of the most important questions you can ask anyone during your entire high school career.
Gilbert Beilschmidt took a few quick steps to catch up with Amelia Jones, Alfred's spunky twin. "Hey, Amelia!" He tried to make himself sound as confident as he always did.
"Oh, hey, Gilbert!" Amelia greeted just as brightly, pushing some of her loose blonde waves out of her face. "So, what's up?"
"Ya gotta go, buddy!" Gilbert could hear his enthusiastic American friend's words in his mind as he hesitated. "It's only one of the most important things you'll do in high school. Take my sis, Amelia. She'll be cool." Reluctantly, the silver-haired German boy had agreed. Something about girls always made him inexplicably nervous. Suddenly, he could never find the words that had been in his head just a minute ago. Suddenly, he could never stop the heat from creeping into his cheeks.
Now was no different. But he summoned all the courage he possessed, took a deep breath, and asked her that ever-important, ever-fragile question.
"Will you go to the prom with me?"
For a moment, Amelia looked a little surprised. It was that look of disbelief a student would wear when a teacher called on them after they'd drifted off, ceasing to pay attention. "Oh…" she said slowly, looking as though she was trying to force a smile. "Darlin,' I'd love to, but I'm already going with Lovino."
Gilbert scrunched up his nose a little. He and that Italian boy never got along. While obviously gorgeous, Lovino seemed perpetually irritated at just about everyone – unless they happened to be a cute girl, like Amelia.
"I'm really, really sorry, Gilbert," Amelia said, giving the German boy a pat on the shoulder. "You're a sweet guy. I'm sure any girl would consider herself lucky to go with you."
Any girl. Maybe that was the problem. "It's fine," Gilbert mumbled just before he made his retreat, not much caring how defeated he might look. "See you around."
Late that night, after their parents had gone to sleep, Gilbert and Ludwig sat together on the older brother's bed as the younger dutifully helped him brainstorm who else to ask to prom.
"What about Belle? She seems like a lot of fun," Ludwig suggested.
Gilbert let out a discouraged sigh. "Yeah, maybe, but I bet she's got someone already."
The younger brother gave Gilbert one of his surprisingly stern looks, the kind that made adults mistake him for the elder of the two. "You never know until you try, Gilbert. Now, if not, how about…Natalya? She's beautiful, right?"
This time, the sound that escaped Gilbert was halfway between a snort and a laugh. "Yes, but I'm pretty sure she hates me. "
"Don't be stubborn, Gilbert," Ludwig warned. "Then what about…Erzi? That's her name, right? She's one of her best friends. I bet she'd go with you."
"No, I bet that priss Roderich's taking her." The corners of his mouth pulled down into a scowl, not at his feigned hatred for the Austrian boy with the striking violet eyes, but at the thought of Roderich and Erzebet together at the prom. He imagined them with their foreheads rested together and arms around each other as they danced to some slow, sappy song as other teenagers stood around awkwardly, awaiting the next upbeat pop tune. The thought just made him scowl more. The truth was, there were maybe a hundred senior girls at the school, but Gilbert would rather take Roderich than any single one of them. He wanted to hold Roderich close as they danced. He wanted to feel the warmth of the other's cheek as it pressed against his. And he wanted to maybe sneak a kiss under the dimmed lights just to watch the Austrian's cheeks flush and his lips curve into a small smile.
But he couldn't ask a boy to the prom. Most of all, he couldn't ask that boy. Roderich had never showed any indication of being anything but irritated with Gilbert and his constant teasing. So he'd decided he had to resign himself to his fate, take some girl instead, and try not to let it hurt too much when Roderich showed up with someone else on his arm.
"Gilbert, what part of 'you'll never know until you try' do you not understand?" Ludwig's voice jerked Gilbert out of his thoughts. "It can't hurt to ask. Good luck tomorrow."
Asking a girl you had no real interest in to go to the prom with you didn't seem to get any easier the second time around. It took Gilbert five minutes of internal pep talks to force him from his desk in homeroom and wander over to where Belle stood, casually leaning against her desk.
"Belle, hey, I just wanted to ask if…"
When she caught his eye, her absent smile turned into a grin. "Gilbert! I actually wanted to talk to you!"
For a moment, Gilbert allowed himself to hope. "Really?"
"Yeah. Antonio just asked me to the prom! Can you believe it? I said yes, of course."
"…Of course you did. Congratulations."
That was all Gilbert got out. Instead of returning to his desk, he slunk out of the classroom to lean idly up against a set of lockers and stare out into the hallway until the second bell rung, signaling he was now late for first period.
Erzebet was his last hope. He caught her just as she was heading for the lunch table the two of them shared with Roderich. By this point, he neither expected nor wanted her to say yes. He asked merely as his duty to his high-school legacy, this time without fear, because it almost didn't matter what her answer was.
"Oh, Gilbert, I'm sorry. I'm actually…" Even though the German boy had all but given up, he felt his heart sink a little. She was going with Roderich. He just knew it. He chewed his lip and braced himself for her answer, "…auditioning for a musical that weekend," she said at last. "I know it's my high school prom, but it's my dream show and I really want the lead. I'm sorry."
The fact that Erzebet wasn't taking the boy he'd secretly been falling for was of little reassurance to Gilbert. He'd skip out on the prom. What did it really matter that all his other friends and classmates were going? Maybe he could just spend a relaxing weekend playing soccer outside with Ludwig. Or maybe he could spend the weekend curled up on the couch eating more ice cream than he could comfortably stomach.
In math class two hours later, Francis laughed out loud when Gilbert asked if the two of them could go together. The French boy had clearly thought it nothing more than a joke. Gilbert had been at least halfway serious.
Thank God for the last bell of the day. At least at home, he had two parents, a little brother, and three dogs who wouldn't turn him down when he asked if they could do something together. He shuffled out of the classroom, head down, dragging his feet, his usual air of confidence gone as though it was a mere memory.
Then, out of the corner of his eye…
Gilbert's breath caught in his throat. He felt his heart start to pound in his chest. Roderich, the object of his unspoken affections, was just a few steps in front of him. Did he dare ask the other boy that most important of all questions? For a moment, he froze, tempted to just bolt out the door and retreat to the safety of his car.
But graduation was less than a month away now. If Roderich said no, it wouldn't be long before they'd never have to see each other again.
One deep breath. Two, three. A futile attempt to calm his frantic heartbeat. He felt shaky on his feet as he made his way over to Roderich, who was gathering a few textbooks from his locker. "Roderich…"
"Gilbert. Do you want something?" The Austrian boy arched an eyebrow, his tone vaguely questioning.
Gilbert felt his cheeks heat up. He stuffed his hands into his pockets in case they were trembling. "Do you maybe…I mean, if you're not already going to prom with someone, I…I mean, we could maybe…go together?" God, he sounded nervous. And idiotic. And Roderich was perfect. There was no way he'd ever say yes.
The brunet fell silent for a moment. Both brows furrowed slightly, creating delicate creases on Roderich's forehead. That's it, Gilbert told himself. He'll say no. In a panic, he found the words just tumbling out: "I bet you're already going with someone, or maybe you think the prom is stupid and lame and I mean it is so I'll just stop bothering you now and go…" Gilbert turned on his heel, ready to run to his car and pound his fists on the steering wheel and wonder how he could have been so stupid…
Roderich's voice was quiet but firm. The silver-haired boy froze in his tracks.
"I'll…go with you. What could it hurt, anyway?"
Gilbert caught himself grinning before he could even stop himself.
And, if Gilbert wasn't mistaken, Roderich's lips had curved upwards into a tiny, but rewarding, smile.
As always, thanks for reading, and reviews are love!