"Darum Liebe Ich Dich" by ErPo

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Here's the first chapter! Gilbert will make his grand entrance shortly!
You sighed in frustration as you stared up at the large sheet on the wall, the one that displayed everybody’s math testing scores for everybody else to see. This was embarrassing for you, because your mark was low. It was pitifully low, especially in comparison to all of the high marks you made in every other course. “Maaaan…” you sighed, “That bad…?”

You couldn’t help but notice, out of the corner of your eye, a certain tall, blonde, well-built and blue-eyed guy a few feet away. He was Ludwig Beillschmidt, and he was also staring up at the testing scores. The difference here, was that he had done exceptionally well where you had done exceptionally badly. He was very studious, and hard-working, so it was hardly any wonder that he had gotten such a high mark. He was in almost all of your classes, come to think of it. And you’d said a word or two to him on occasion. For such a muscular, handsome (yes, it was common knowledge that his looks and physique made the vast majority of girls go weak in the knees), intelligent guy, he was rather shy and a bit awkward (particularly with the opposite sex). He’d never dated before, and he could seem scary at times, or cold (partially due to his shyness), so it sort of prevented any girl from getting the courage up to ask him on a date. But you were really getting sidetracked, weren’t you? You stepped over closer to him and sighed. “You’re on top again?” he was always in the top ten, “It’s like I’m always beneath you!”

You glanced up at him and caught his face reddening for some reason. Had you said something weird? Huh… But he nodded his head slightly. “I-I just study… really…” he spoke, and you couldn’t help remark at how deep and masculine his voice was.

You smiled weakly up at him (being significantly shorter than the man, who was just tall in general, looking up was always required). “I should probably do more of that… I have terrible study habits… and it doesn’t help that I don’t understand the subject like… ever… when it comes to math.”

He seemed to be contemplating something, because he was rather more silent than usual. “I-I… I could…” he trailed off, and his face reddened again.

You furrowed your brow. “Hm…? You could…?” but then the idea struck you like it must have struck him, and you grinned wide, “Tutor me! That’s a great idea! Dunno if that’s what you were thinking, but I need your help!”

He nodded his head slightly. “Th-that’s what I was th-thinking…” he mumbled. You were overjoyed at the thought of not flunking math for once, and so you gave an excited cry and flung your arms around a suddenly very flustered German. “Thank yoooou!” you exclaimed.

He was rather stiff, and he seemed severely uncomfortable. “A-ah, y-you’re w-welcome. I-it’s really no problem… j-just…” he worked hard to regain his composure and speak in his usual stern tone, “You have to st-study hard, and don’t waste my time!”

You could see why he came off as scary sometimes, but you just grinned. “Definitely! With you tutoring me, maybe I’ll finally get a chance to top you!”

His eyes widened, and his entire face went crimson. Of course, you had been referring to the list, but the unintentional innuendo had definitely not escaped him as it clearly had escaped you. “J-ja, m-maybe…” he choked out.

You released the very flustered German and shot a quick, defiant glare at the list before turning a smiling face back at Ludwig. “So, when do we start~?”

He was examining your grade now, a frown apparent on his already normally quite serious face. “I’d say as soon as possible, judging by that grade…”

It was your turn to blush now, embarrassed. “L-like I said, math isn’t my subject!”

He tore his gaze away from the paper to glance down at you, raising his eyebrows. “You also admitted that you weren’t applying yourself. I plan on fixing that. I’ve agreed to tutor you, and I expect you to follow my rules.”

You had to swallow a lump in your throat at that. He had suddenly went from being nervous and flustered to stern and serious. Had you just signed yourself up for mathematics boot camp hell…? “R-rules…?”

He nodded curtly. “Ja. First off, you will have a session with me every day after school. The session will continue until you have completed any assigned homework and have developed a better understanding of the subject. You will have weekends off…” you were about to give an exclamation of happiness at that, but then he continued, “Unless there’s a test or quiz coming up the following school week. Then we will have a weekend session or two. These will all be held at my house, as I find it’s a quiet environment that is most appropriate for study, with few to no distractions. I may occasionally assign my own homework for you, but only a question or two to test your understanding of the current formula or whatever we’re working on at the time. I will seek out your weak points, your difficulties, your Achilles’ heel (so to speak), and I will snuff them out.”

Okay, so you basically had chills from the sheer scary, seriousness of that whole speech. He sounded suddenly, less like a shy boy and more like a drill sergeant. “Y-yes sir!” and you followed it up with a mock salute.

“Excellent. We start tonight. Directly after school. It’s Monday, and with enough hard work and dedication I can have you ready for Friday’s test.”

You frowned. “Right after school…? But I always go home and have a nap and then get some food and then go out with my friends an---”

Ludwig suddenly got a hell of a lot more intimidating. “That’s your schedule…? That would explain that grade. Things are going to be different now.”

“I-I would like to get a good math grade… b-but how different are we talking…?”

“No nap. It’ll just mess up your sleeping schedule for later that night. And you won’t have your nap time anyways since you’re coming with me after school.”

“B-but… I usually stay up till the a.m anyways!”

Ludwig looked appalled. “Math is first period! No wonder you always look like you’re going to pass out! You can’t stay up that late and get that little sleep on a school night! Sleep is an essential part of a properly functioning brain. You‘ll find your focus improves with the added rest, as well.”

Wait, he noticed you in math class? You were always very subtle about your exhaustion in the mornings. It obviously hadn’t escaped him, but then, wouldn’t that mean he was paying extra attention to you for whatever reason? “Awww… but… I usually surf the internet and stuff!”

“You should be in bed by eleven, at the very least. And going out with your friends every night on school nights…? That’s certainly not going to help. How can you study, exactly, if you’re out all the time? Until you find a more suitable routine and improve your study habits, that’ll be another one of the conditions to my help. No going out with friends on school nights.”

Your jaw dropped and you began to sputter indignantly. “B-but I can’t just… I-I wanna go out with my fri----”

“No buts. If you want my help, you’ll follow my guidelines.”

You glared up at him, pouting as you folded your arms across your chest. “Fine. But now I know it’s true.” you grumbled.

He raised a brow at you. “What’s true…?”

“That Ludwig Beillschmidt doesn’t know how to have fun!”

He rolled his eyes at that. “I can have ‘fun’ if I so desire. I’d rather focus on graduating with high honours and doing productive things with my time.”

You pouted at that. “Believe it or not, building friendships and relationships--” he seemed to blush slightly at the latter, “Is all a part of leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So it seems to me that we both have problems. I have socialize too much, you don’t do it enough. You work and study too much, and I don’t do it enough…”

He really couldn’t disagree with you on those points. He had, after all, read in one of his many books that social interaction was a large part of human life. Relationships and friendships were indeed necessary for proper development. “I-I suppose you have a point…” he mumbled.

You smiled at that. “Here’s an idea: when you’re not busy tutoring me, on the weekends, how about I make an attempt to broaden your social horizons? You’re friends with… ah… Feliciano, right? And that quiet boy, Kiku… hmmm…” you couldn’t name anybody else right off the top of your head, “But even then, you don’t hang out with them all that often outside of school.”

Ludwig muttered something about being busy with work, of course, and you rolled your eyes. “You do want balance in your life, right? To get that, you need to not be working 24/7.”

“Fine. I’ll let you attempt to… “socialize” me…” he mumbled. “But only on weekends and, in accordance with my rules, not if we have any weekend studying to do.”

“Not even after we finish studying…?” well, it was a start, at least.

You wondered what Ludwig might be like if he was forcibly dragged out of his shell of solitude. It was an interesting thought. That was when the bell rang, and Ludwig looked rather ready to leave. You both had level one English next. English was a breeze course for you, even the higher level. You were so naturally talented in the area that your lack of work ethic was irrelevant, and even doodling on your notebook all class you still absorbed all the information with ease and were able to regurgitate things like literary periods and famous romantic poets when test time came. “Ah, next class! We have---”

“English together, ja, I know…” he mumbled.

Huh, you’d always been under the impression that he didn’t know you were in his most of his classes. He never really seemed to notice you, though occasionally you could swear you caught him glancing your way. “Well, off we go then!” you smiled up at him and started to lead the way.

He followed along after a moment’s hesitation.

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