She sells flowers by the path skirting along the border of Trier. Forget-me-nots, tiny blue blossoms that can be found almost anywhere this time of year, but her wild forest eyes and welcoming smile implore him to purchase them, and she is just so pretty with her round pink cheeks and short frame that he cannot help himself.
His cousin, Gilbert, knows her as well as a little boy could know a little girl. She was taken in by a wealthy Turkish merchant not one year past. He settled after his travels in Hungary, which was where he plucked a dirty, boyish little wretch from the middle of a fight she had instigated, and settled in Trier. Gilbert knows her, but she does not speak their language. Her speech is foreign and her last name is a merciless creature his tongue dare not battle just yet, but her given name, Elizaveta, is a thing of beauty, like Chopin at dawn, or Mozart when evening falls.
Gilbert says that when they arrived, she was stick-thin, like a boy from the streets, and she acted like one. Roderich can see no evidence of that in her plump childish body or her clear, innocent eyes. She is nothing like a boy at all, or at least, not like any that he knew. She was far too charming.
He is still young, young enough to stumble over his own feet on occasion, young enough to squirm uncomfortably when older ladies pinch the peachy fat of his cheeks, and young enough to believe that the little foreign girl selling forget-me-nots on the side of a dirt path could be the prettiest thing he's ever seen.
He buys her flowers every day, and soon enough, when he begins to wander down the path at midday, from afar he can see her glancing about as though looking for something. He thinks that perhaps, perhaps she might be looking for him, and it takes all of his courage to not run and find an exasperated Vash to hide behind. Gilbert finds their interactions to be priceless in hilarity and wastes no time in teasing Roderich for them, but for the first time in his life, the aristocrat-in-the-making doesn't mind. He likes her smile, likes her flowers, and so he could not care less his obnoxious cousin's take on the matter.
She does not learn his name very quickly, and Gilbert is no help, so soon Roderich sneaks out without the albino to see her. Elizaveta catches sight of him and waves, the basket overflowing with blue blossoms hanging from her elbow. It happens almost every day, and it is always the same, Roderich stumbling over words that she cannot understand, and Elizaveta smiling and paying complete attention as though she could. He is only silenced when she reaches for him suddenly in the middle of a monologue about Bach. Her eyes are focused on his, though for a moment they travel lazily over his expression.
"Szép," she says with a firm certainty, her tiny fingers cradling his face. He knows it must be dark red, and he is too uncertain, awkward and young to do anything but be still and let her touch.
"Er," he says will all of the eloquence he can muster, his tongue tripping over itself. He places his own hand over his chest. "Roderich, actually."
She watches him for a moment, her green eyes wide and dancing before her small, rosebud lips bend and break and she bursts out into peals of laughter, throwing her chubby arms around his shoulders.
Elizaveta kisses both of his glowing cheeks and Roderich is at a loss. He sputters and stumbles, landing on his freshly pressed slacks in the grass, her squealing and landing sprawled on top of him. He finds himself in a tangle of Hungarian skirts and forget-me-nots and long brown hair, and she is no help in fixing the situation. She simply watches him as he blushes and tries to right their position, finally taking pity on him and simply rolling off to the side.
And even though he sits, his hair and clothing a mess, she stays on her back, gazing up at him with her big, honest eyes. He finally, finally gets the nerve to look back down and watches in silence as she reaches up, pulling a blue bloom from his dark hair. She smiles and nods, murmuring something to herself that sounds suspiciously like her earlier utterance, her own cheeks stained a healthy red from blood and bashfulness.
"Szép," she repeats, more firmly, and points at him.
He clears his throat and shakes his head. "Roderich Edelstein."
Her head cocks to the side, and he is struck again by her beauty. He is old enough to know what appeals to him, and this girl is like shiny new piano keys, and his mind and heart are racing to the beat of Rondo Alla Turca, and… and…
And it seems that the sun is so warm and the grass is so soft and the breeze is just right, because her eyes begin to droop and her hand slowly falls and she curls a little closer, her head nestled against the outside of his thigh. She murmurs something in her native tongue and before he knows it, the little girl is dozing like a cat. Roderich has been stuffed with so much etiquette and dignity since birth, he cannot find it within himself to lay down and sleep as well, nor can he just walk away from a defenseless (he'd like to think), helpless (Gilbert would laugh) maiden.
But there are flowers threaded all through her hair from the fall, and really, how could a gentleman allow a lady to present herself as anything less than perfectly pristine?
And her hair was as soft as it looked, but catching a gnarl with his fingers woke her up with a start, and he blushed and blushed and blushed when she caught him with his hand sifting through her mane. That was all right, though.
At least, that seemed to be what she insisted.
I just really wanted to write something on my birthday. Austria and Hungary were begging for it. It had to be done, yo. So. Happy birthday to me~!