Roderich eyes shifted over to Liechtenstein who took up her stance and got ready to shoot. Within seconds she pulled the trigger and instead of being blasted away she remained steady as if it was nothing. Roderich had expected her to fly away with the shear size of the weapon but obviously he was wrong.
His attention shifted back over to Vash who agreed to the safety lesson. Silently he listened to Vash explain everything, twice if needed. His frown deepened as he continued to listen to each detail that Vash decided was needed. What little confidence that Roderich had was slowly starting to vanish as shooting a gun started to become more complicated then playing an instrument. There were so many things that could go wrong and all of it ending in injury and, not as likely, death.
He was not ready for this at all. Taking in Vash’s stance and movement he did his best to memorize every little thing. It wasn’t enough time though because soon Vash was emptying out the gun and handing it over to him. Roderich took a deep breath as he shakily took the weapon from Vash. The weight was unusual to Roderich. He was use to lifting up, at best, a violin but this was heavier. It wasn’t so heavy that he couldn’t hold it up or hold it up for long periods of time. It was just unusual for him. Testing the heft of the weapon he carefully and slowly moved it between his hands, keeping it pointed away from the other two people in the area.
Glancing back at Vash once he was told to show him how to hold the gun. Roderich thought back to all the times he had seen someone hold a pistol. From Vash to the SS all the stances were different but similar. Slowly he squared his shoulders and lifted the weapon up, his other hand wrapping around the pistol grip, and finger out of the trigger well. For a few second he held the position before lowering the gun and looking at Vash again. “Good or bad?” He asked.
Vash glanced over to his sister as she brought the rifle up, aiming carefully and firing. The shot was loud, echoing throughout the property and into the alps, but it didn't phase either blonde in the least. The small country's stance was solid, the kick from the weapon not rocking her form at all, and she slowly lowered it to see if she had hit her target. It was a bit off center but a few more practice sessions with her brother should fix that.
He turned his attention towards Roderich and sighed quietly, studying the brunette for a moment. Getting him to participate willingly in this activity would be more difficult than he anticipated but he did receive a faint, somewhat approval. Firearm safety was probably a good place to start, Roderich could get careless and accidentally put a bullet in someone's leg. Vash removed the bullets from the chamber, putting them in his pocket, and carefully went over each step and precaution with his once-friend. If it looked like Roderich was a little confused, he went over it again until it seemed like it sunk in. Once their safety lesson was over, Vash showed him how to load the chamber and prepare the gun for firing. He then shot a few rounds at some nearby targets, not missing a single bullseye, and handed the unloaded weapon over to Roderich.
[+green "First things first, show me how you would hold it to fire,"] Vash told him quietly. This wasn't a safety issue necessarily but more of a "I'd like to see what you do so you don't do something stupid" issue.
Roderich knew Vash was cheap but not that cheap where he was waiting on replacing the splinters he called targets. Then again Roderich shouldn’t really judge. While he was willing to indulge on some things, food and musical instruments, he could be somewhat thrifty on other things for example underwear. A tiny hole was no issue and Roderich was willing to patch it in a heart beat. In fact he found it appalling when people were willing to throw away good clothing all because there was a slight hole! Though too be fair these targets had more than a tiny hole that could be easily patched. A whole new target would be better in Roderich’s opinion but it was Vash’s choice, not Roderich’s.
There were more pressing matters, however, like the huge ass gun that Vash just handed over to Liechtenstein. His eyes bugged out a little bit as he took in the size of the weapon. It was the size of her! How the hell did she manage to shoot that? From the way she was handling it would suggest that she had shot this particular gun quite a few times. How? Roderich wasn’t too sure and he wasn’t going to ask either.
Turning away from Liechtenstein and her over sized weapon he looked back to Vash who decided to give him the worse news possible. He wanted Roderich to shoot. A look of distaste crossed Roderich’s face for a few seconds after that comment before returning to its normally composed state. He should have ran when he had the chance. There was no chance in him getting out of this. “You have a lot of confidence in me. One successful shot would be asking a lot from me,” Roderich replied. Roderich truly did lack confidence in his ability to shoot and doubted that he would feel confident just by successfully shooting. Maybe baby steps were needed if he was going to shoot.
“Maybe we should start from the beginning; like firearm safety or something,” he suggested to Vash.
Slender hands ran over the case in front of him after he knelt down, slowly undoing the latches afterwards. His cases had no locks on them, at least not when he was at home, for a plethora of reasons. Even though the second world war had ended, there were still some countries out for blood. He liked to be prepared just in case someone were to attempt an invasion and undoing a locked case took away precious time he needed. Vash also trusted his sister as she was trained in firearm safety and knew how and when to handle his weapons. Liechtenstien only entered the storage room with her brother's permission as she respected him and his things.
Emerald eyes glanced up as Roderich mentioned the targets, Switzerland looking at them briefly before bringing his eyes back down to the dark case. It was true, he should spend an afternoon building a few more targets as many of them were mere splinters. They still had some use left in them, however, and he couldn't see the point in throwing away perfectly good targets. [+green "I like to think of some of them as an extra challenge,"] Vash stated as he opened the case, revealing a large rifle. He carefully picked it up with a couple bullets and stood, glancing up at Roderich as he loaded the chamber. [+green "Besides, Liechtenstein still uses some of the bigger ones in order to work on her aim. As she gets better, I'll replace them."]
He then handed the rifle to the small country, the weapon nearly as tall as she, and watched as she moved away from them to finish readying the rifle to fire with. It was at this point Vash looked back at his once-friend before squatting down to pick up his revolver.
[+green "I would like you to try at least one round,"] Switzerland told him, putting bullets in this one as well and closing the chamber. [+green "A couple successful shots may bring your confidence back up."]
Roderich shot Vash an unamused look when he mentioned that Liechtenstein was trained in emergency medicine. “That makes me feel extremely confident now,” he dryly replied to Vash. Roderich was sure that Liechtenstein was amazing at emergency medicine but it wasn’t something he ever wanted to find out. Ever. Vash, however, was right that Roderich was less likely to make the same mistake again. Ludwig had taken it upon himself to teach some firearm safety to Roderich until Roderich became too annoying to Ludwig and he gave up. The only thing Roderich had learned was keep his finger away from the trigger until he was ready to shoot which, funny enough, was as far as Ludwig had gotten to teaching Roderich.
A soft, almost indiscernible, sigh left Roderich’s lips as he brought his cup to his lips. This was a battle that he was going to lose against Vash. He couldn’t up and disappear before target practice and he wasn’t going to be allowed to just watch Vash and Liechtenstein. Resigned to his fate Roderich finished his tea and the remaining remnants of his food. When Liechtenstein started to clear away the table he got up to help. With two people clearing the table and cleaning the dishes everything was done rather quickly, much to Roderich’s dismay.
Roderich contemplates his chances of being able to disappear one last time as he made his way towards the door. He only made a short detour from his original destination to grab a light jacket and slip his shoes on. Once he had both on he stepped outside and was greeted with the sight of multiple targets. All of them had seen far better days if the splintering wood was anything to go by. “It may be time for you to invest in new targets. I don’t think there is much wood left to shoot at,” He said as he approached Vash. Roderich eyed one of the targets that barely had a center because of how many bullets had gone through it. It was impressive. Roderich had always known that Vash was a great shot but it was easy to forget just how great he was.
Turning away from the targets he turned his attention to Vash. “What are the chances of me escaping this lesson with out shooting?” Roderich asked, knowing he wasn’t going to like the answer but he could hope.
Offering to teach Roderich was certainly a strange move on Vash's part, but he thought it may be useful. The Austrian was going to be spending quite a bit of time with them, he may as well try to learn a skill or two. Vash didn't plan on his once-friend becoming super skilled in firearms by the time he returned to his own country but it wouldn't hurt to teach him a few basic skills. The world was progressing and weapons continued to evolve. At the very least, Roderich should at least learn how to correctly hold, load, and shoot some type of firearm.
[+green "I don't think I could ever forget,"] Vash commented quietly, finishing the last of his eggs before taking a drink of tea. It was the last time he imagined the brunette holding any type of gun as the experience didn't exactly go as planned. He was holding it wrong, something the Swiss had advised against, and accidentally pulled the trigger. Vash remembered the sudden bang and the sound of the bullet as it whizzed past his ear. If Roderich had been holding it just a few centemeters to his left, he would have hit the blonde in the head. [+green "I feel somewhat confident that you won't make the same mistake again and, if you do, Liechtenstein is trained in emergency medicine."]
Once all were finished, the smaller country jumped up and gathered the dishes to be washed while Vash stood up and went into a nearby room. A quick flick of the switch on the wall revealed it to be the Swiss' weapon hold, rifles and revolvers of all kinds lining the walls while others rested in heavy black cases against the far wall. He moved in, picking up a couple boxes of bullets from a nearby shelf and pocketed them then grabbed the appropriate cases. Once he had everything he needed, he took his treasures outside to the targets set up around the yard. They had seen their fair share of use, many having multiple holes in the bullseyes while others seemed to be mere splinters and scraps of wood. If nothing else, they spoke volumes of Vash's impeccable aim.
Roderich felt his lip twitched, attempting to form a smile, as Vash said he was willing to teach Roderich how to prepare the tea. In all honesty Roderich doubted that the tea was prepared any different way than normal tea. It was like when Elizabeta use to make Gulyásleves. The meal itself was super easy to make but whenever Roderich tried to make it it never tasted right. There was always something missing and Roderich had a feeling that this simple tea was one of those cases. Not to mention there were the memories associated with the tea as well. Some of the memories were good and some bad but all of them were memories that Roderich secretly cherished.
Instead of saying everything he was thinking and wanting to stay he simply looked up at Vash. “I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” he simple replied before his inquiry on the events of the day.
Roderich wasn’t surprised at all that Vash had plans to work on Roderick’s failing country. He had already decided that he was going to look through some papers sent with him to familiarize himself with them later today. While he was not fond of actual work he couldn’t neglect his people for much longer. What did surprise him was the invitation to join Liechtenstein and Vash for target. A fine eyebrow found it’s way creeping up in speculation as he took a bite off potatoes and looked at Vash like he had grown three heads.
“Do you think that is wise? If I recall, correctly, the last time we ever did target practice together I almost shot you.” Roderich was not the best when it came to fighting. That much was well known. He could handle himself for a few moments with a sword but bows and guns... he failed miserably at. His failings was the main reason why he relied on marriage to protect his country or absorb others into him. Though he wasn’t much of a good husband either but those were small details. Taking his tea cup in his hand he peered over the rest at both Liechtenstein and Vash. While he may be useless when it came to shooting he might as well join them outside. “I’ll come with but you may want to keep any weapon away from me or have a first aid kit readily available,” he finished before taking a sip of his tea.
The small country smiled happily at Roderich as he spoke and took the seat that she offered at the table, shifting her gaze towards Vash as he entered with the promised tea. This teapot and the act of having it served to her was incredibly familiar, though she hadn't seen the mentioned china for quite some time. She had first laid eyes on it when Vash had brought her to his home and comforted her; he hadn't much to offer but a mere cup of tea. It was this pot he used though the mugs were different. In fact it was a drink they had together for many years after that, especially in the beginning. It was cheap and easy to make but certainly welcome during those cold months. Sometimes it was all she saw Vash consume. She was well aware of the sacrifices he made for her and was grateful for them all, it was one of the many reasons she loved her big brother.
Vash leaned back in his seat after pouring the tea and filling his plate, looking up at Roderich. He had no idea that his once-friend was so fond of the tea he used to prepare for him....or was it the memories that were behind it? Either way, it wasn't an incredibly sought-after tea that he served to the brunette but it was inexpensive and could easily be bought in large quantities. In those days, it was a real find. He enjoyed it and most of the memories it brought with it, one of the reasons he still drank it to this day. [+green "Perhaps I can show you how I prepare it before you leave,"] Vash offered quietly, picking up his own mug and taking a small drink. [+green "But only if you want."]
The Swiss went quiet again as Roderich began to speak, commenting on Vash's cooking and inquiring of their plans that day. While the Austrian didn't have plans of his own to do, Vash could certainly think of a few things he could accomplish before the sun had set behind the Alps again. He ate most of his breakfast by this point, looking up at his guest after he had finished the last of the potatoes on his plate.
[+green "I planned on doing more work for your country's state this afternoon,"] Vash told him quietly, leaning back in his chair again. [+green "But before that, Liechtenstein and I will be having target practice in the back yard. You should join us."]
Liechtenstein’s happy tone, as always, was a balm to his ragged and hurting soul. With Liechtenstein it was easy for him to realize how unhappy he had been before coming here. She was just a bright beacon of joy that affected everyone. Roderich was grateful that she invited him to stay with her and Vash instead of leaving him alone to deal with Ivan. “I was able to smell it when I went to bathe. It smells delicious, though I feel like that may be a common theme with your brother’s cooking,” Roderich replied.
He didn’t have to wait long for Vash to appear with the teapot. It was just like old times. Roderich would get himself in trouble and Vash would help him out. Roderich had hoped that getting older and more powerful would mean that he would never be put in this position again. Obviously it didn’t mean a thing. Luckily, it wasn’t all bad though Vash wasn’t the only one to miss their tea time conversations. In fact that was one of the many things that Roderich missed when they parted ways. The biggest thing was the easy companionship that they had. Sure Vash could be hard to get along with but in those days Roderich had been happy to listen to Vash’s lectures as he bandaged up all the wounds. He had also been happy to receive some delicious tea afterwards. Roderich may, or may not, have gotten injured a bit more than needed to spend more time with Vash and have some tea. But all of that was in the past, even if it did not seem so.
Taking the cup of tea Roderich took a deep breath and savored the smell of the tea. It still smell like the tea they had when he was a small country trying to make it big. Nostalgia hit Roderich full force the moment he took a sip and it tasted just how he remembered, some things just never changed. “You know I searched for this tea for awhile after we parted. I found it after a couple years but no matter how many times I or Elizabeta made it it never tasted the same,” Roderich softly said to Vash. He took another sip of the tea before sitting it down on the table. While the tea was great he was more interested in eating something.
“I’m sure that your cooking will bring me back to my normal weight in no time,” he said as he truly eyed the spread before him. It was everything he liked when he wanted a nice and hardy breakfast. Roderich wasn’t sure if it was coincidence or if Vash remembered his preferences but he wasn’t going to complain. Putting a little bit of everything on his plate Roderich dug into breakfast. “Do you have any plans for today?” He asked Vash between bites. Roderich, obviously, had no plans.
Lichtenstein picked her head up as she heard soft footsteps enter the dining room, giving the Austrian a happy smile. He looked better than he did yesterday, probably due to the nourishment and rest he had received the day before. If he kept improving at this rate, he would be back to himself in no time. The small country knew it must be difficult to be a mere shadow of his former self.
[+purple "I slept very well, Mr. Austria,"] she answered him, keeping her bright smile as she folded her hands in front of her. She was glad he made it down for breakfast, he needed to eat more than any of them did. Luckily her big brother knew a thing or two about making energizing and hearty meals. They weren't made with the finest ingredients unlike the meals Roderich used to prepare, but they were delicious anyway. As long as she was sharing with Vash, she didn't care what they were made with.
[+purple "You're just in time for breakfast,"] she informed him. The small girl moved over to the table and pulled out Roderich's chair for him, then stepped aside. [+purple "I really think you'll like it. Big brother is getting the tea for us, then we can eat."]
Vash pulled a container of tea leaves down from the nearby cabinet, scooping some into a ball-shaped strainer and setting it into an empty teapot. This was a familiar action; Switzerland used to prepare his once-friend tea after tending to his injuries. Even though he grew frustrated with the dark-haired male with how often he needed to be rescued, he looked forward to their usual cup of tea. He would never admit it aloud, but he missed the conversations they would have and how they enjoyed the other's company.
Once the water began to boil, he poured the hot liquid into the teapot and carried it along with three mugs into the dining room. Emerald eyes landed on Roderich as he set the items down, fresh out of the shower, and began to pour them all a cup of hot tea.
[+green "You look like you slept well,"] Vash observed quietly, looking up at him again before sitting down in his usual chair. [+green "Hopefully that will continue. Now eat with us, it'll help you gain some of your weight back."]
After what felt like forever Roderich was able to find the bathroom. The search had sent a small tinge of sadness through him as he thought about his own home. Occasionally he still got lost in his own home but not nearly as often as he was getting lost in Vash's home. It made him miss the home that he hadn't actually lived in for several long and grueling years. Hopefully they could run Ivan out of his home sooner than later. While Roderich greatly appreciated Liechtenstein and Vash's hospitality Roderich was tired of staying in other people's homes.
These thoughts made up the majority of his time in the shower. The moment he was finished showering was the moment the scent of breakfast managed to waft into the bathroom. With a mind of its own his stomach growled loudly, demanding subsistence now. Drying off quickly he pulled on some trousers and a plain and crisp white button up shirt. For a few short moments Roderich contemplated putting his cravat and coat on to complete his usual look but decided against it. Instead he pulled a pair of thick wool socks on, gathered his dirty clothes, and dumped them in his room that he thankfully found the first shot. Roderich ran a quick comb through his hair before softly treading down to the kitchen.
His stomach let out another angry and demanding growl as he got to the foot of the stairs. [i 'Sh...you'll get food soon enough'] he mentally said, scolding his own hungry self. It hadn't even been that long since he last ate and he had gone longer without food so it made no sense to him to be so darn hungry.
Quietly he padded into the dinning room and noted that the table was set. “Good morning,” He softly said to Liechtenstein. “Did you sleep well?” Roderich added. Despite his odd dream Roderich had slept the best he had slept in a long while.
A soft sigh fell from the Swiss' chest after taking a look around his kitchen. There were many things he could make ranging in difficulty but his main focus was to keep his guest full until lunch time. He had an idea of the travesty that Roderich had been living in, forced to give up much of the food he enjoyed. He couldn't help but wonder just what exactly the Austrian had been surviving on. Vash was determined to get him back to the figure that he was before all this mess started.
It would begin with a delicious Swiss breakfast.
He took a few eggs from the fridge, wincing faintly as he moved his busted hand, and carefully but quickly set them on the counter beside the stove before he dropped them. Vash then grabbed some potatoes from the pantry and began cutting them up into smaller pieces, then set them in a pan with oil to fry. Once they had begun to cook and turn a very light shade of brown, he began to fry up the eggs so it would all finish cooking at the same time. He had heard movement upstairs from both parties, hoping by the time breakfast had finished cooking they would appear at the table. As he let the items cook a bit more, he placed a plate of bread, a dish of butter, and some jams on the table, then began to brew some tea for them to drink. It was all coming together nicely.
Movement from the corner of his eye caused him to turn his head, bright eyes landing on the smaller, chipper country. He gave her a small smile before turning back to the stove to be sure their breakfast wasn't burning.
[+green "Once you set the table, we can sit down and eat,"] Vash told her quietly. [+green "I haven't been able to get around to it."]
Liechtenstein nodded, silently following her brother's orders and setting the table beautiful but plain plates and silverware. She then watched as he set the plates of breakfast potatoes and eggs on the table, then disappeared to retrieve the tea. She hoped Roderich would come down to join them and that he would enjoy what her brother made them.
[i The room was warm and stuffy. People filled the marble halls talking in loud and jovial voices rang through the hall. The soft sound of a piano was barely there filling what little empty space there was. Roderich stood off to the side, champagne flute in hand, as he stared fully out into the crowd. From his position he could see Ludwig laughing happily with a group of soldiers. He brought the glass to his lips and as he was about to swallow he felt a presence at his side.]
[i “Hello Herr...” the being next to him began. ]
[i “Héderváry. Roderich Héderváry,” he dully responded as he offered his hand to shake. Say Elizabeta’s surname felt wrong but he couldn’t give his own. Before the rise of Nazism Roderich had never thought twice about his surname. He rarely even needed to say it but now with the Nazi’s in power he came to some realizations. The predominant one being his actual surname was too “Jewish”. Roderich had scoffed when Gilbert had informed him of that. It made no sense to him. Roderich was an embodiment of a Catholic country so what if his surname and some Jewish origins? His belief on that ended quickly when he saw what was happening to others and silent he took Elizabeta’s surname. ]
[i “A pleasure to meet you Herr Héderváry. I’m Hans Vogt. I was just curious to see who you were. I haven’t seen you at these parties before.’]
[i Roderich was inwardly rolling his eyes. He just wanted to suffer through this party alone so he could return to Ludwig’s home. “I just moved to Berlin from Vienna. My cousin, Oberstleutnant Beilschmidt, insisted that I come with him since his brother decided against showing up,” he said in hope that this guy would leave him alone. Instead his hopes and dreams were ignored, like normal.]
Thankfully Roderich woke up before the conversation could continue. The sun was peaking into the room and his neck was screaming in pain. A soft groan left his lips as he rolled over onto his back and tossed an arm over his eyes. Roderich didn’t know why he had that particular dream. Nothing spectacular had occurred that day. Hans talked for forever and Roderich just let out small hums of acknowledgements as he drowned the male out. Nothing interesting at all occurred but Roderich is happy that he hadn’t had a nightmare.
Sighing he forced himself to get out of the bed only to realize he had fallen asleep in his normal clothes. They were completely wrinkled beyond recognition which greatly displeased Roderich. Needing to change he decided on a shower and grabbed a change of clothes before blindly hunting down the bathroom.
The bright rays of morning sun woke Vash in the early morning, emerald eyes slowly opening to greet the day. He was a bit startled to see that he was in the living room on the couch and not in his bed before it dawned on him just where he had fallen asleep. A quick glance over the edge of the couch confirmed that he was sleeping doing the last thing he remembered, his book lying open on the floor next to him. A quiet groan fell from the slender frame as he slowly sat up, closing his eyes as his back cracked into place. Even though his couch was rather comfortable, it didn't have the support that his mattress did and caused his spine to complain.
Switzerland looked down at the blanket that was draped over him, running his hand over it before moving it from his frame in order to fold it and put it back in its place. His sister must've found him before she went to her room for the night and tucked her brother in for a good night's sleep. He smiled faintly at this. Liechtenstein was such a wonderful girl. Picking up his book and setting it on the coffee table, he made sure the rest of his temporary bed was in order before he stood up and made his way to his room.
He didn't stay there long, grabbing another set of clothes in order to get a shower. Normally he would awaken his sister at this point but he decided she could sleep in this morning. It wasn't as if there were many chores or work that needed done. Quietly he made his way back downstairs where he showered and changed into a clean set of clothes, Vash then making himself a cup of tea and heading outside with it to let his pets out to play.
They seemed happy to see him, just as they always did, bleating louder with excitement and anticipation the closer he got. Once he opened the gate, they burst through the open door and happily jumped around their field. He couldn't help but smile at this while he leaned against a fence post and watched them enjoy the morning air. These small creatures and his sister were what gave him purpose. He couldn't imagine his life without them and didn't care to. They were easily the best things in his existence.
Once he finished his cup, he gave them fresh feed and water before returning back into the house with a quiet sigh. He imagined he should feed the beings in his home as well, emerald eyes scanning over the kitchen to see what he could prepare.
He would be lying if he said his heart didn’t somewhat swell with joy following Liechtenstein’s words. While Vash had already told Roderich that he could play the piano whenever he wanted it felt better hearing it from the intended owner of the room. “Thank you. Sleep well,” he softly said, his joy reflecting in his voice.
Roderich froze when Liechtenstein hugged him. It felt like it had been centuries since someone had hugged him even though it had only been a couple years. Awkwardly he returned the hug before she let go. In silence he watched as Liechtenstein made her way out of the room. Roderich remained sitting there for a few more minutes staring at the keys; his fingers itched to rub across the smooth keys. Roderich wanted to hear actual music after these last few months of stress but he knew he couldn’t. If he started there would be no stop. While his mind and soul was okay with that idea his body was not. His body was demanding rest after so many restless nights. Roderich was no stranger to denying his body what it wanted but this time he gave into his needs.
Reluctantly he got up from the bench and moved away from the tempting siren that most knew as a simple instrument. His gaze lingered for a few more seconds before a yawn forced it’s way to freedom. It was bedtime. There was no use denying it. With one last glance at the piano he left the room and closed the door. He could here some movement throughout the house and figured it was Liechtenstein. Content with his guess he made his way upstairs.
There were a few hiccups in Roderich finding his room but eventually he stumbled upon him. A sigh of content left his lips as he walked into the room. Almost comically Roderich collapsed on the bed. The moment his body hit the soft bed his body began to feel more tired than it had before. Without even noticing he began to drift off to sleep, fully clothed. If he hadn’t been so sleepy he would have been mortified with his action but it didn’t matter now.
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