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Clothing and skin stained with dirt, pruning shears in hand and a conical hat on his head, he is an unsightly blemish in her perfectly-kept house.
Elisaveta sits primly in the chair by the window, a book written in German held open on her lap as she ignores the words on the page. This posture is uncomfortable, but he is just beyond the glass, beads of sweat rolling down his face as he trims the bushes near the fence. He could glance up at any moment and see her, and if she's not acting every bit her part as lady of the house then her carefully-crafted persona will be broken in his eyes and he'll have access to the very weaknesses she's worked so hard to hide away. Weaknesses that even Austria, her husband, ally and long-term superior, no longer knows exist.
It is quiet, save for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall and the chittering of birds outside. The interior of Austria's house is large and rich. The floor is made of mahogany, polished to a pristine shine, and the paintings on the walls are original works only. The windows are crystal clear and allow the entrance of plenty of sunlight, as well as a perfect view of the garden where he is currently hard at work.
Except, he isn't hard at work there anymore. Elisaveta narrows her eyes, mouth pressed into the stern expression she learned from Austria, and sets the book on the sidetable as she stands and goes to the window. To the left is more of the garden and a vew of the fountain; to the right, the front of the mansion, and the Romanian bastard is nowhere in sight. She'll have to see that he hears about this later, shirking his duties while she's sitting right there watching his every move--
The bonging of the clock lets her know that it's teatime. A smirk replaces the unsightly line on her face, and she turns on her heel to leave the room.
- - - - - -
Austria is already sitting at the table, small delicacies from everywhere in the empire spread across the white tablecloth. There are cakes from Czechoslovakia and silverware from Poland, a tea set imported all the way from China. Elisaveta has only met China once and she didn't like him, though she can't deny his tea is absolutely wonderful.
There is a distinct lack of that wonderful tea in the room, she notices with glee.
Austria stands as she curtsies, taking her hand in his and pressing a kiss to the back. “My dear,” he says.
"My lord,” she replies, and even though it's hard, it no longer kills her inside like it did when they were first wed. Austria-Hungary may be a duel monarchy, but Roderich has always been slightly more in charge. Sometimes she thinks it's because she's female and wonders why she ever stopped hunting in the woods, riding horses bareback and getting into fights with Gilbert.