The Date: Dietre & Aleksi Who: Dietre and Aleksi. What: A date. Where: The Capital, then Dietre's house at the carnival. When: VERY Backdated! Warnings/Rating: Low, because they're good boys, lol.
Dietre was nervous. Very, very nervous. But this was a different sort of nervousness than what he experienced while getting ready to spend time with the other men he had once crushed on. There was no confusion over what this really was. It was a date. An actual date, and Aleksi had said yes knowing that. The werewolf also showed more interest in him than any of the others had, which Dietre appreciated even if he couldn’t see why Aleksi thought he was anything special. There was no reason to think anything would go wrong, but that never stopped Dietre. He agonized over every little thing, desperate for the date to be ‘perfect’. An impossible goal, of course, but he was still going to obsess.
Reservations were made well in advance. A note left for Adrian to keep an eye on Sieglinde. His wardrobe carefully gone through, each piece chosen only after long, arduous contemplation. His hair was parted and neatly styled, brushed away from his face in a way that emphasized his high cheekbones and sharp jaw. He would have liked to buy clothes for the occasion, but he opted to be more responsible with his small paychecks from the carnival, so he settled for what he already owned. Monochromatic as usual, he wore all deep grays and blacks, a turtleneck sweater and a light peacoat, suitable for early spring weather.
He had considered bringing flowers, but chose not to in the end out of worry that Aleksi would feel emasculated by the gesture. Instead, he carried only a long case containing his keyboard as he walked up to the little house. He thought playing Aleksi something after their date would be a nice way to end the evening. Very romantic.
Biting his lip, he took a deep breath and knocked, his insides a swarm of butterflies. He had a smile ready for when the door opened, soft and shy. Here goes nothing.
For his part, Aleksi didn’t think he had ever actually been on a date. In his opinion, taking his best friend to prom, so she didn’t have to go alone because her boyfriend had dumped her the week before didn’t really count. He rather suspected that she’d hexed Josh for that, though he’d never asked outright.
So although he didn’t have anything to compare it to, Aleksi was most definitely looking forward to his date with Dietre. He was quietly thrilled about all of the implications of it, especially given that the wolf had already imprinted deeply on the younger man, and his more feral side appreciated the hint of a claim this evening represented. In his excitement, he had started getting ready much earlier than was actually necessary, which was how he found himself pacing the - rather short - length of the trailer in an attempt to pass the time until Dietre’s arrival, seeing as he couldn’t sit still or concentrate when he tried to read, which was a first for him.
His borrowed clothes still felt a little strange, but Aleksi was attempting to ignore that. He was growing increasingly restless as the days passed, and he was thinking about starting to look for a job sooner rather than later so that he could start paying back the enormous debt he owed, no matter if it wasn’t actually in a monetary fashion.
The knock on the door brought Aleksi abruptly back to reality, and he froze for half a moment before moving to open it. Beaming immediately at the sight of him standing there, Aleksi greeted softly, “Hello Dietre.”
The door seemed to open in slow motion, and as it did Dietre felt his heart rate spike with panic. This was really happening, he was really going to take someone on a date. The shot of adrenaline fizzled out as quickly as it happened. Aleksi’s beaming smile smothered those first sparks of anxiety like a blanket, leaving Dietre blushing and fidgeting on the doorstep. “H-hello, Aleksi…”
It was quite a thing to see the werewolf all spruced up. Aleksi looked good in cheap sweats, but in date night attire he was more than dashing. Dietre wondered if he should compliment him, it was the perfect time to do so, but he knew he’d only make a mess of things, fumble over his words and embarrass himself.
“Um…” A little flustered, Dietre lifted the case he held to bring it to the other man’s attention. “I brought my keyboard. If you’re interested… I thought we could come back here after dinner and I’d play you something.” He hoped he wasn’t presuming too much that they’d spend more time together into the night. He didn’t want to seem forward.
“I would like that very much,” Aleksi confirmed immediately, still smiling widely. He’d never been musically inclined, but he did find the entire concept fascinating. Especially considering that it felt like some sort of further insight into Dietre.
The case was set aside by the door as he entered. Already he realized he was doing things out of order. “Oh, I’m sorry-- I meant to ask how you were.” His blush deepened as he awkwardly stammered, “...H-how are you?”
Aleksi could hear the slightly faster than normal beating of Dietre’s heart, which was more of an indication of his anxiety to the werewolf than even the stuttering of his words. Rather than draw any attention to it, just in case that made it worse, Aleksi focused on the question. “I am well, thank you. How are you?” he asked in return, refraining from reaching out and touching Dietre in any way no many how much his instincts were screaming at him to do just that.
“I’m good, quite good…” For once, Dietre didn’t need to think about how to answer. And, for once, it wasn’t a lie. As nervous as he was, he was also feeling happy and hopeful, two emotions he was rather unfamiliar with.
Snagging his lower lip in another brief bite, he became bashful, his gaze averting. “Um… I want to thank you for saying yes.” There was no way to properly describe his gratitude, and it wasn’t just Aleksi agreeing to go on a date he wanted to thank him for, it was for actually wanting his company. He could count the people who wanted to spend time with him on one hand. “I hope you’ll have a good time.”
“Well.” A deep breath and a smile. “I have an uber waiting for us, so if you’re ready, perhaps we should head out..?”
The thanks confused him slightly. “Thank you for asking me,” was all Aleksi could think to say in response. He was drawn in by Dietre’s everything - quite literally, he found as he stepped forward just slightly, ducking his head in gently to nuzzle his nose against Dietre’s temple for just a moment. “Let’s go,” he agreed, reaching down to tangle their fingers together as they stepped outside.
Having never actually taken an Uber before, Aleksi wasn’t quite sure what to expect - he understood the concept, but the reality of it was even stranger than he might have imagined. But he had Dietre next to him the entire way, which gave him the confidence to be able to deal with whatever weirdness he might encounter this evening, even if they were all products of his own mind.
The gentle press of Aleksi’s nose to his temple, followed by the heat of his hand closing around his own, brought yet another flush of color to his face. He let out a soft, short breath, something akin to an embarrassed laugh and a twitterpated sigh merged together. “Alright, then…” He glowed the whole walk through the carnival, though he grew a bit uncertain upon reaching the uber.
Dietre could not drive, and as Aleksi had nothing to his name other than what he was given, the boy was forced to find other means to get to their destination. It was either uber, or a taxi. He settled on uber under the assumption that it would be a cleaner vehicle than a taxi, and therefore a more pleasant experience. He wasn’t sure what the uber driver would think of them, and found himself hesitant to talk about the date once in the car (as if holding hands wasn’t a give away of their relationship.) Dietre tended to clam up around strangers regardless, so the ride to the restaurant was a quiet one, punctuated by the occasional nervous smile sent Aleksi’s way.
It wasn’t until they arrived at the restaurant and were tucked into a private booth that he began to relax and open up, bit by bit. The restaurant smelled of quality italian cuisine, the lighting low and intimate, the leather seating off the booth high backed, closing them off from those around them.
Dietre peered thoughtfully down at his menu as their waitress left after setting down a basket of sliced, warm, crispy crusted bread and a little bowl of olive oil and roasted garlic to dip it in. “Hn…” He glanced over at Aleksi. “I confess to not being all that familiar with italian food. Is there anything you really like?”
Aleksi couldn’t quite help the way he got increasingly tense the further into the city they got, his grip on Dietre’s fingers tightening. The touch helped to anchor him, kept him from getting overwhelmed - there were so many other things trying to invade his senses, mostly sounds, but some scents too, even though the filtration system of the car, and so many bright lights that he had to avert his gaze before the overwhelming consistency of them gave him a headache.
He felt a bit more in control of himself by the time they sat down, the relative privacy of the booth helping him to focus on Dietre, even with reluctantly letting go of his hold on the younger man’s hand. Blinking at the question, Aleksi chuckled lightly as he answered, “I remember having a fondness for meatball subs?”
They were both nervous, it seemed, though Aleksi’s chuckle did wonders to keep Dietre functional. He smiled faintly, “Um… I’m not sure if they have those on the menu here.” He still found himself looking, just in case.
When it came time to order, Dietre kept it simple with a filet mignon along with ziti with marinara sauce on the side. Conversation was pleasant, but mundane, centered mostly on the food or their surroundings, with polite questions about one another’s lives, Dietre playing it safe by avoiding anything that got too close to what Aleksi had lost.
But good food, good chemistry, and freely flowing wine (Dietre had splurged for a bottle) chipped away and Dietre’s reserved nature as the meal wore on. His mind was allowed to wander and grow curious. Inching imperceptibly closer, Dietre gazed thoughtfully at Aleksi over the rim of his wine glass. “...Have you been on many dates, Aleksi?” He couldn’t help but ask, wondering how this one measured up. It felt like it was going well.
“You said you’ve never… liked anyone as much as you like me, but I’m not certain-- Um…” He hesitated, blushing. “I don’t know what that means...”
Alcohol had never been able to have an impact on him, for which Aleksi was a little glad, at the moment - even with being focused on Dietre, he couldn’t entirely relax, not in a strange place surrounded by people with the constant din of conversation and cooking and things rattling throughout the restaurant. But he’d enjoyed the taste of it, though admittedly not as much as the food. The waiter had seemed to be hiding a sneer when Aleksi had order spaghetti with meatballs, but there was something to be said for simplicity and familiarity.
“Technically, I think I have been on one date,” Aleksi answered with a small shrug of his shoulders. “I took my high school best friend to prom, so that she didn’t have to go alone. That was nothing like this though.”
He smiled at Dietre’s words, and his blush, feeling another wave of fondness crash over him. Aleksi wasn’t entirely sure he understood the question - if there was even a question underlying the statement, which he felt that there was.
“I can attempt to clarify,” Aleksi offered, reaching out to tangle their fingers together under the table. “I had never experienced that… spark, so to speak, until I encountered you,” he started, hoping his words made sense. “There has never been anyone else who captured my attention in such a way, no one else whom I want to know completely, or spend time with at every given moment.”
Was there anything more american than Prom? There were likely european equivalents, but Dietre didn’t know of any himself. He had never experienced high school. From what he had seen and heard, everything led up to Prom. “...That was very nice of you.” Quite a few questions floated around in his head, particularly if Aleksi had danced, but they were eclipsed by his disbelief over the werewolf’s claim of not having been on any real dates. Aleksi was handsome, intelligent, well-read. Who wouldn’t want to date him? How could have no one asked him out until now?
Dietre’s hand trembled within Aleksi’s warm grip. He truly didn’t deserve this sort of devotion, yet he didn’t know how to tell the man he was wrong. “O-oh.” Maybe one day Dietre would learn how to take a compliment without sounding like an idiot.
He sat there gnawing at his lower lip, taking a moment to process the werewolf’s claims. Unable to dwell on the possibility of being worthy of Aleksi’s attention, his mind went back to the man’s lack of previous dating experience. He blinked at a sudden thought, brows raised as he looked up at Aleksi. Only a tongue loosened by two glasses of wine could allow the question he asked next to pass his lips, “Then… have you not ever kissed anyone?”
Aleksi shook his head, and then, just so there could be no question, he added, “No, never.”
He wasn’t sure he could quite explain how unappealing any sort of romantic entanglement has seemed before encountering Dietre. It was almost as if his world had consisted entirely of shades of gray, and he hadn’t known what he’d been missing until Dietre’s splash of color had come into his life.
“Does that bother you?” he asked, curious.
Never. What a shock it was to find out he had more experience than someone like Aleksi! He wondered if being a werewolf was part of it, he could see it being an isolating condition. Perhaps the only people Aleksi could be close to were family. And now they were gone… Dietre felt a wave of sympathy, it was there in his eyes along with concern, and not a bit of judgement.
“Of course not,” he answered promptly, firm and reassuring. How could it bother him? It was almost a relief, actually, to know he wouldn’t be secretly compared to former lovers. Of course, on the other hand, Dietre was bound to worry about Aleksi being stolen away once he realized that there were much better quality of men around.
To prove he was not bothered, and emboldened by the knowledge that he actually had a leg up on the werewolf, Dietre paused, took a sweeping glance around the restaurant to make sure the coast was clear, and quickly leaned toward Aleksi to give him a playful peck on the lips. It was over in a blink of an eye, just a chaste meeting of the lips and Dietre was back to his prior position, blushing deeply but looking oh so very pleased with himself.
“...Should we order dessert, do you think?” he asked, as if nothing had happened.
Aleksi beamed as Dietre pulled back. He hadn’t been expecting such a response, but he certainly wasn’t about to complain about that particular outcome. Dietre’s blush was adorable, even if Aleksi couldn’t be sure what exactly had caused it, and for a few seconds he was too busy committing this moment to memory to process the question that had been asked.
“Certainly,” he agreed, still grinning widely. He rather thought the expression would stay with him for the rest of the evening, given how well things had gone thus far. Belatedly fully understanding the question, Aleksi asked, “What would you like?”
Dietre was beginning to feel rather proud of himself. He had never been the one to take the initiative before, too bound by fear to reach out for what he wanted. He couldn’t have guessed how well taking a chance for once could go. He’d been the one to ask Aleksi out, and now he had been the one to go in for their first kiss (it didn’t matter that it was hardly more than what he’d bestow on Sieglinde’s snout, it was the fact he went for it at all that counts.) Neither had ended in rejection, and Aleksi’s grin was to die for, the bare sight of it made Dietre’s heart flutter.
“Hm… Perhaps something we could share? I’m not used to eating so much, I doubt I could finish a dessert on my own.” Rather than look at his own menu, Dietre opened Aleksi’s between them on the table, sliding over so that they could read it together. It seemed he’d forgotten his earlier inhibitions about being seen out on a date with a man.
“Isn’t gelato a sort of ice cream?” he asked, their shoulders touching as he peered down at the dessert menu. “I’ll let you decide. Whatever you think would be the perfect ending to dinner.”
“Sure,” Aleksi agreed easily, still smiling. “I’ve never had very much of a sweet tooth, so that sounds perfect.” He was very aware of the warmth of Dietre’s skin next to his own, and without even thinking about it, he reached out to tangle their fingers together again, under the table this time.
Although he’d relaxed as the evening had gone on, Aleksi was still more than a little on edge from the sheer amount of people and things going on around him that he was aware of. He wouldn’t be surprised at all if Dietre could somehow feel the tension in his limbs, given how close they were sitting, and he hoped the younger man didn’t inadvertently take offense to Aleksi’s inability to calm down completely.
Spending an extra moment or two just watching Dietre, Aleksi nodded as he looked down to where the younger man had the menu open in front of them. “That is my understanding,” he commented. “Vanilla?”
“Vanilla it is,” Dietre agreed with a soft smile. No comments or jokes were made at Aleksi’s expense for having simple, plain tastes. Dietre was not an adventurous eater himself, so he was perfectly content with vanilla. Their order came, one bowl, two spoons, and the pair made short work of the dessert.
A generous tip was left for their waitress, and after a slightly less anxious (on Dietre’s part) ride back to Repose, they finally arrived at the carnival. The tension Aleksi radiated did not go by unnoticed, though Dietre could not tell if it was something real or only his imagination. Still, he tried to maintain a positive attitude. Aside from the uneasy vibe he picked up from the werewolf everything seemed to be going smoothly.
It was a relief to have the keyboard waiting for him when they got to the little house. Dietre could take refuge from his uncertainties in music, he didn’t have to worry over what to talk about, what to say, what to do… He picked up the keyboard case once they got inside, and though he was eager to get it set up, he held himself back.
“...Would you like me to play for you now?” Aleksi was given a shy, but hopeful look. “Or would you prefer to talk? Whatever you like, that’s what I want to do.”
Aleksi relaxed in increments the further away from the city they got, and by the time they walked back inside, any lingering nerves he might have had had dissipated. His anxiety had nothing to do with Dietre, it had been based on his own discomfort with their surroundings, so once they were back on familiar territory, he felt much better. It didn’t occur to him to wonder if Dietre had noticed his tension, even with the vast majority of his concentration on the younger man all evening.
Smiling softly at the question and the expression that accompanied it, Aleksi answered honestly, “I would love to hear you play.”
Any sort of musical inclination had always been beyond him, so he would have been interested in any case, but that it was Dietre making the offer meant that Aleksi was even more fascinated. “Do you need any help? Should I move anything so you have enough space?”
Dietre almost sighed in relief when Aleksi confirmed that he did, indeed, want to hear him play. He flashed a smile that was actually big enough to show his teeth for a scant second or two before carrying the case to the couch. “No, no… There is room enough.” The keyboard was long, slim and flat, and was easy to place atop the fold out stand Dietre kept tucked under the couch.
All set up, Dietre lightly patted the cushion beside him. “Will you sit with me?” he asked softly. He had gotten used to Aleksi being close and wanted to keep him near, loving the way he could feel the warmth of him even when they weren’t touching.
He might be a little tipsy, but it was not enough to affect his playing. He could play blindfolded if need be. “...I think this is a good piece for a date. Please tell me what you think…” With that, he began to play. Liebestraum, by Liszt. Love dream. It was a piece he’d played for others, one of the most romantic pieces he knew, but this time it felt different when he played. It felt right. His fingers danced lightly over the keys, his heart fluttering with the music. He would have tried to steal a peek from the corner of his eye at Aleksi’s reaction, but he wanted to put his all into the little performance. It was important.
Watching with what might be an unhealthy amount of interest, Aleksi happily nodded when Dietre asked for his company. Sitting down close enough to be in Dietre’s personal space while hopefully not impeding his ability to play, Aleksi found that he couldn’t take his eyes off the younger man, enchanted with him all over again.
That was even more true once Dietre started to play, and Aleksi barely wanted to breathe for fear of interrupting. He got goosebumps on his forearms, and a shiver went down his spine as he let the music wash over him, staring unabashedly as Dietre played.
“That was lovely,” Aleksi murmured with a smile once the song was finished. “As are you,” he added, leaning in slightly. Feeling a sudden burst of something like bravery, Aleksi brought one hand up to gently cup Dietre’s jaw, leaning in to press his lips to the younger man’s softly.
“...Do you really think so?” Dietre whispered. He didn’t mean about the music. He so wanted to believe Aleksi when he said such things, and even though he didn’t, he had learned not to be so quick to argue. So he accepted the compliment, his expression soft with gratitude, and when the man touched his face and their lips met, he returned the kiss with equal gentleness.
Kissing was still a new and foreign thing for him, Dietre’s heart raced despite the innocent sweetness of it. But he was proud that he could return the kiss rather than freeze up the way he used to, and he even reached up to place his hands on Aleksi’s broad shoulders. He also didn’t pull away when it was over, the distance between them remained but a hair’s breadth.
“Does that mean you’d rate this highly for a first date…?” His tone was almost teasing, yet a part of him was serious behind the dry humor. “Would you go on another?”
“Yes,” Aleksi confirmed with a small nod of his head. “You are lovely,” he repeated, just so there was no question what he meant.
Without the distractions of the restaurant and all the extra sensory input that had come with being in such a public place, Aleksi could concentrate fully on Dietre’s mouth meeting his own. Aside from the thrill of the younger man’s lips against his own, he could feel the warmth of his hands against his shoulders, the brush of his chest against Aleksi’s own as he breathed, and if his own heartbeat wasn’t flooding his ears, he probably would have heard Dietre’s as well.
He remained just as close when the kiss ended, taking a very great comfort in the simple closeness of their bodies next to one another. As for the success of their date - “Most definitely.” Aleksi smiled almost bashfully, and then asked, “Though perhaps next time, we could stay closer to town? The city was… uncomfortable. Too many sounds and smells and sights. It was rather overwhelming.” Realizing that Dietre might take offense in some way to that, he quickly added, “It did not detract from my enjoyment of our evening. I just… wanted you to be aware.”
It was not offense that Dietre felt at Aleksi’s suggestion, but guilt. His eyes widened slightly, his hands reflexively squeezing the werewolf’s shoulders for a brief second. “I’m sorry Aleksi. I... I should have realized.” He himself was not comfortable with people and crowds, and with the similarities he and Aleksi shared how could he not have thought better of bringing him to the city?
“...Next time we can go wherever you want,” he promised. A troubled look came over his features, anxious, uncertain. The mistakes of the past were quick to rise up and haunt him, and Aleksi’s subtle complaint set them loose to wreak havoc.
Biting his lip, Dietre’s gaze was downcast. “Um… May I ask a favor?” His voice was hesitant, timid at first, but as he spoke it became strained, desperate. “If I ever do, o-or say, anything you don’t like… W-will you promise to tell me? Right away? So I can stop, or change?” This was not a healthy mentality for a relationship, but his past failures had left him more than a little paranoid. He’d do anything to keep Aleksi around and interested, he was just so terribly lonely.
Shaking his head slightly, Aleksi attempted to reassure Dietre. “It’s fine,” he murmured, resting his forehead gently against Dietre’s, reveling in the simple comfort of that closeness.
The question caught him off-guard, and it took Aleksi a moment to realize what was being asked of him. It seemed a very strange request, but he was far more concerned with how upset Dietre seemed to be as he asked it. He moved to wrap his arms around the younger man, despite how awkward it was in their current position. “Okay,” he agreed, though he wasn’t sure he truly understood. That was a problem for later - for now, he just wanted to bring a smile back to Dietre’s face.
A tremor went through Dietre, slight, but Aleksi was bound to feel it when his arms closed around the young man. It was amazing how his emotions seemed to always be influx, one moment he could be fine, the next it felt he were standing on the edge of the world about to fall. And then, with Aleksi’s agreement, he was pulled back to safety again.
“Thank you…” Dietre twisted so he could return the werewolf’s embrace, shifting so he could rest his chin on his shoulder. “I just-- I want you to like me for as long as you’ll have me…” Such a fatalistic state of mind, so sure that all good things must come to an end and yet so terrified of the inevitable. Dietre shut his eyes so he could savor being held. It calmed him. He felt better knowing that Aleksi would give him a chance to fix things when he messed up. It was reassuring.
Eventually he lifted his head, pulling away just enough to give Aleksi an apologetic smile. He hadn’t meant to to sour things by getting emotional, and so he tried to get back on track with their date. “...Would you like me to play you anything else? I’ll gladly take requests.”
Holding Dietre close for as long as the younger man wanted, Aleksi tried to think of a way to express that he couldn’t imagine what Dietre could possibly do that might scare Aleksi off the way he seemed to be so afraid of. Nothing came to him in the moment, but he tucked the concept away for later, so he could find a way to reassure him further.
Aleksi smiled softly in return, combing his fingers through Dietre’s hair briefly. “Anything,” he answered honestly. There was something fascinating in watching Dietre at the keyboard, the way his fingers moved seamlessly over the keys, as if he was just pouring the notes out from his soul directly. “Whatever you would like. I enjoy watching you play.”
Dietre was starved for affection, he experienced it so rarely throughout his life. Just Aleksi running his fingers through his hair was enough to make him feel on cloud nine. A thoughtful hum sounded in his throat for a moment as he considered what to play next. His usual fair was dark and depressing, not exactly suitable for a date. “Hm… Oh. How about this…?”
His fingers were at the keys again, delicately coaxing Joplin’s Bethena from the air. It was a romantic piece, but bittersweet. A love story, bright, but also tragic. Beautiful and nostalgic. It made him think of his mother. Of course, it would sound better played on an actual piano, like the one Dietre played in the burlesque tent not so far away.
When he finished he sighed softly and leaned into Aleksi the way he had in the car ride back. He didn’t want the night to end, didn’t want to have to leave. But he knew he had to, eventually. He thought it might be easier, maybe, if he could get a little clarification. “Aleksi…” he began slowly, carefully. “Since we are planning another date… would you say, in your opinion, that we’re… together?”
Dietre would never have been brave enough to ask if he hadn’t known this was Aleksi’s first date. He was operating under the assumption that the werewolf was as clueless as himself. “I’m not sure how many dates you have to go on before that sort of thing is decided…”
Watching Dietre play the piano - or the keyboard, as it was, technically, he supposed - felt like something that Aleksi could do for hours on end. Even with the hint of sadness he could hear in the music didn’t deter him. On the contrary, he wanted to press in a little closer when Dietre was done, as if he could ward off any lingering negative feelings with just his physical presence.
He peered a little more closely at Dietre’s face as he heard his name, uncertain of what might have caused it to be said in such a cautious tone. The question wasn’t worrisome though, and Aleksi smiled softly as he reached out, gently tangling his fingers with Dietre’s. “Yes,” he answered, simple and honest. Just because he’d never had a relationship before didn’t mean he didn’t want one with Dietre.
“Perhaps it is unconventional, but I don’t think we need more than the one to… what is the term? ‘Make it official’?” Aleksi said, a gentle sort of tease overlying complete seriousness.
Fingers met, came together, warm and comforting. Everytime Dietre’s fears bubbled up Aleksi somehow soothed them back down. They didn’t disappear entirely, of course, Dietre’s anxiety was too deeply entrenched for that, but he helped. He breathed a little easier, and the beating of his heart slowed to a more reasonable speed.
“Yes,” Dietre agreed, coyly biting back a smile. “Official.” He felt there should be fanfare, a clap of thunder, the singing of birds… something to announce their decision. But, as those moments he made friends in the past, it was a bit anticlimactic. There was no way for anyone on the outside to detect a difference between now and before they became official. Not that it mattered as long as Dietre knew.
“What shall our next date be? It's your decision this time.” Dietre would happily go along with anything Aleksi suggested, satisfied just by being able to spend time with him. They could even do nothing at all but sit together like they were right then, holding hands, and Dietre would think it a wonderful time.
Aleksi smiled back softly, squeezing Dietre’s fingers gently where they were entwined with his own. “I will be certain to find something wonderful for us,” he answered, because there was no way he’d be able to figure out what to do for a second date when they hadn’t even finished the first.
“Is it… would it be too forward for me to ask you to spend the night?” he asked quietly, remembering the unexpected comfort of sleeping next to and wrapped around Dietre.
Too forward? Dietre’s brows rose. “Of course not,” he answered. His mind did not go to any sordid places. Like Aleksi, he only thought of how nice it had been to share a bed the way they had the night of the masquerade. It was that feeling of warmth and security he desired, of feeling wanted and cared for. How could he say no? “I’d love to.”
His smile became sheepish. “Actually… I thought there might be a chance you’d ask, so I left a note for Adrian to feed Sieglinde if I didn’t come back.” He lifted his shoulders in an embarrassed shrug, then gave Aleki’s hand a gentle squeeze.
Dietre’s easy agreement was a wash of relief, and Aleksi relaxed even more under his hands. “Thank you,” he whispered into the air between them, though he wasn’t sure he could have explained all the things he was grateful for. Essentially it boiled down to just having Dietre in his life, how consistently thankful he was that he’d found him. Dietre was the calm in the center of the storm that was his mind, and Aleksi wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’d like to see her again soon,” Aleksi admitted at the mention of Sieglinde, a small smile of his own forming. “How is she?”
“You’re very welcome, sir.” Dietre answered with a hint of teasing, playful by being overly polite. As serious as he tended to be, he did rather enjoy lighter moments, and after having gotten emotional earlier, he’d prefer to keep things airy so that their date could end on a good note.
Luckily, there was no lighter topic than Sieglinde. He could not help but be cheerful when talking about his pup. “I’m sure she’d like to see you too. I’ll bring her to work next time so she can visit.” That was a benefit of having a home right where your job was, he could bring Sieglinde whenever he wanted, and with Aleksi here there would always be someone to watch her. “She’s as spirited and loveable as ever.”
A sudden yawn made Dietre cover his mouth and apologize. “Oh, pardon me…” Preparing and worrying over their date had resulted in a stressful first half of the day and now, after wine, it was getting to him.
“She is welcome to visit any time,” Aleksi replied with a smile. “I enjoy her company almost as much as yours,” he teased gently.
Dietre’s yawn didn’t bother him at all - it wasn’t as though he found it offensive, or that he was boring the younger man. “Of course,” Aleksi murmured. “We can go to bed, if you’d like,” he offered. Even if he himself wasn’t quite as tired as Dietre appeared to be, he would be perfectly happy to just lay with him until he did drift off.
“Almost as much?” Dietre returned, still smiling. “‘Almost’ may be too close for comfort.” He didn’t mean that, of course, though it wouldn’t exactly surprise him. Even though she was a dog, he felt Sieglinde did have a better personality.
“Then, if you don’t mind… Let’s go to bed.” With that, he bent to take off his shoes, and then he removed his sweater (he wore an undershirt, of course, he was not a barbarian). The sweater was folded and placed on a stool before Dietre leaned in to kiss Aleksi’s cheek.
Expecting to be followed, Dietre climbed up into the loft. Not as drunk as he had been last time, he was more aware of things, like the nervous flutter of butterflies in his stomach. And his own happiness. The record of how much he smiled in a day had been more than broken.
“I would not have offered if I minded,” Aleksi pointed out, still smiling. Dietre’s kiss, even as chaste as it was, brought a faint blush to Aleksi’s cheeks. He stood, following Dietre’s example of removing his shoes and his shirt, and then also changed into a pair of his own sweatpants so that there was no chance of damage to the trousers he needed to wash and return to Noah with another round of thanks.
Waiting until Dietre had made his way up fully, Aleksi climbed up after him, leaving almost no space at all between them as they settled onto the bed. Aleksi wasted no time in reaching out to wrap one arm around Dietre’s waist, pressing himself in close. It was only after he’d done so that he realized that perhaps he should have requested permission, and belatedly asked, “Is this alright?”
If Dietre had known that Aleksi was partially disrobing before joining him he’d have been far more nervous. He blinked as the man appeared over the edge of the loft, and before he knew it he had an arm wrapped around him. Too flustered to react, he could only blush and hope his ribcage could contain the wild beating of his heart.
Aleksi’s body heat was quite a bit more noticeable without being buffered by the fabric of a shirt. Dietre’s face felt almost as warm, color burning in his pale skin. He had tensed in surprise at the sensation, but the way the werewolf asked permission after the fact eased his tension and he relaxed.
“Yes-- It’s absolutely alright,” he answered, voice sounding a little husky. He settled backwards so that he fit more perfectly into the curve of Aleksi’s body. He turned his head to look over his shoulder, his smile shy but happy as he bid the werewolf, “Goodnight…”