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Exercise in Patience

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“It’s so annoying.” Albany scowles behind the door. It isn’t the first time he catches Oswald talking like that to random people as soon as he was out of sight. The first time he thinks nothing of it. The second time he registers it, and fills it for later consideration. By the third time it is obvious who is the subject.

Still, he could deal with the brat. He’s a professional.

Oswald shuts up the second he sees Albany’s face in the door.
It doesn’t bother him.

It takes him three days to address the subject. Three days of agonizing over every gesture and every word, wondering what did he do to fuck up the friendship with the Prince. When he enters the training grounds at the end of the day, he is still surprised to see Oswald is there at all. Trying to keep his mind on the safe grounds, he picks up his gear, ignoring the sweaty mess of a man behind him. It takes Oswald less than half a minute to explode.

“Ok, enough is enough.” When Albany turns around, eyebrows raised. Oswald seems rather distracted, but unwilling to stop now that he started to speak. Albany thinks that perhaps it’s for the better - do it quickly, like pulling a bandaid off. “I am so tired, all the time,” Oswald continues. “You are so annoying!” By now Albany is grateful he usually trains long after the last marauders leave the grounds. Before he can say anything, Oswald takes another breath, and spits out the words almost like an accusation, if it wasn’t for the distinct fondness in his voice. “I hate that you’re so fit, because it makes me exercise more, just to ogle you!” For a moment both of them freeze, too surprised to do anything.

Then Albany snorts and thinks I can deal with that.