Twelfth Night in Berlin - A Rammstein Fanfiction
Pairing: Olli/Schneider-ish. Till also crossdresses.
An urban comedy of errors, showing the pitfalls of overly analytical behaviour. Also Till is a crossdresser.
And yes, there is a Shakespeare refence. It might help you figure out what happens in it. :3
May or may not be influenced by 'Pussy' and 'Mein Herz Brennt'.
Warnings: Olli/Schneider in ways that you might expect and then some, a Till who crossdresses and moonlights as a drag queen, bears no resemblance to real life, tastelessness, blasphemy, wild Berlin nightlife, Midori cocktails, absurdism, and particularly cramped U-Bahns. Nobody dies.
"Zug nach Alexanderplatz… Einsteigen, bitte!" there is a pause lasting for about six seconds, then the train doors begin to slide shut, the people on the platform stepping back respectfully. "Zurückbleiben, bitte!" the female voice over the announcement says, and the train begins to move, quickly gaining speed.
Amongst the people on the train sits a young bassist named Oliver Riedel, almost baby-faced if not for the rich stubble on his face; looking up from his book at the chirp of the announcement, he soon sighs lightly and slouches over again, turning the page of his book. Few more minutes left until Alexanderplatz, and he might as well make the best of it.
It is half past eight on a Friday morning and the weather is unbearably cold above ground. Within the U-Bahns however the situation is somewhat different; it's not so often that the bassist even gets a seat, because this is when many commuters are riding the train to go to work and it tends to be uncomfortably cramped. Not that him standing up alleviates the situation, considering that he's six feet seven and so far has found that he towers over ninety-eight percent of commuters during this time.
People are beginning to rise from their seats, and Olli follows suit, taking care to murmur a shy 'Entshuldigung!' or two as he hastily picks up his bass and holds it close to his body, trying to minimize the space that he's taking up. (The double bass is almost a person in its own right, from all that bulk.) In doing this he notices someone at the far end of the carriage – the fact that the person too is relatively tall is what brings them to Olli's attention. The bassist peers in and deduces that it's a man, relatively well-postured and muscled, and yet at the same time quite delicate-looking.
"Nächste halt Alexanderplatz!"
He does the briefest of mental checks – keys, bass, wallet. The man moves closer to the further set of doors; he has a messenger bag, and is dressed in dark tight-fitting jeans contrasted with a looser white shirt, which rides up his back when he briefly leans forward to grasp at a support handle – and Olli notices, much to his surprise, that the man has two drumsticks stuck beneath his belt and near his waist. A drummer. A musician. Just like him. The man's skin looks so smooth and well-tanned that Olli finds himself being rather turned on by it - he wonders how old he is, the man honestly doesn't look that much older than his current age of twenty-three. Besides, he's been living in Berlin for all of a month and a half and doesn't know that many fellow musicians - he could always do with knowing more, and it's a bonus if they're attractive as well. I should learn to speak up more, he thinks to himself, shaking his head as the U-Bahn halts and he makes his way off the train. He's very much aware that his overactive imagination is wrecking havoc on him - adjusting his trousers helps with that slightly - and wants nothing more than to forget about it all, so he begins to walk away.
From behind comes a voice, a low, sensual alto heightened with urgency. Olli turns around - it's the man, holding out the book that he mindlessly dropped whilst standing on the platform. "Herr, you've forgotten your book."
Olli feels self-conscious, staring down a few inches to the attractive drummer, both about his blush and what's going on downstairs. "Oh, what an idiot," he says, then blushes even deeper as he holds out both hands to accept the book. "I mean - I mean me. Tut mir leid. I can't think properly this morning, it's too cold."
"Kein Problem," the drummer smiles, showing straight white teeth as the train speeds away from the platform. "I appreciate a good book myself. I wouldn't like to see anyone losing theirs."
Olli nods shyly, and stashes the book in his bag, noting to himself the warmth of the other's fingers lingering on it. (Plus cursing himself for almost losing it, that's a newly-bought copy of 'Die Verwandlung'.) "Danke."
The screen over the platform shows that the next train is about to come in, and to-be passengers begin to crowd the area, so naturally they find themselves edging away somewhat from it all. The bassist on one hand is uncomfortable, wondering why the other man hasn't left already; but doesn't that also mean, in a sense, that there's more that he wants to say? And sure enough, his deduction proves absolutely correct when the drummer speaks up again. "I see that you play the bass," he says, nodding towards the instrument. "or is it a cello? Another string instrument?"
"Bass is absolutely right. I've been playing it for a few years now."
"How old are you now?"
"Twenty-two. Going on twenty-four next April."
"Ah, jeune encore," the drummer laughs, then explains upon seeing Olli's puzzled look. "still young, I mean, rather. I'm twenty-seven. I'm called Schneider, by the way - I'm pleased to meet you."
That puts the slightest of dampener on things. Olli immediately turns somewhat respectful, and when Chris holds out his hand he grasps it very lightly and nods in a kind of formulaic manner that he's so used to. "Oliver Riedel. Angenehm."
"A polite one, aren't you? Though that does make me feel old," Chris laughs playfully. "I tell you what - we're still not that far apart in age, are we? I wouldn't dream of using anything but 'du' with you. Do call me Chris - that's my name, Chris Schneider - and I'll call you... does 'Olli' suit you?"
"Ja. My friends all call me that."
Olli is usually quietly confident; he's not outgoing by any means, but he knows when to speak up and when not to do so, he knows how he appears to others, and when he needs to he can exude a great deal of mingled masculine charm and a boyish mischievousness. None of that is coming out now - in front of this drummer he feels different, more awkward and feeling woefully inadequate in the looks department. Five years younger than this man and yet he feels so much older, and he's aware that he's blushing, terribly self-conscious of his height and inability to carry on a conversation.
Chris speaks up first when they reach the first set of steps. "So your band practices near here?"
Both are silent, again. Chris stands sideways as they go up and Olli is able to observe unnoticed; soft lips, perfectly smooth skin, long dark eyelashes, a thoughtful expression and the sweetest smile he's ever seen on a man. Why, he barely looks anywhere near his twenty-seven years of age. No wonder Olli got confused. "Where are you going to and what do you do?"
"I'm also in a band," the older man says, and pulls out his drumsticks, giving one an expert twirl around his fingers. "the drummer, as you'd no doubt have deduced by now. I wanted to go to university to study music, but that didn't work out - I was probably born too early. I'd have had more of a chance if it hadn't been for the GDR. But I've made it into this band at least... Proper punk rock, really wears on the fingers sometimes because you have to play hard - very, very hard - and sometimes without rhyme or reason! But it's all worthwhile. Und du? What kind of music do you play?"
"Folk, mostly, with a mix of punk rock. Though I'm a fan of rock and metal myself," they go through the barrier, and stand by the foot of the stairs leading above ground where natural light is filtering in. "thanks again for the book, by the way."
"It's nothing at all," Chris looks at Olli, studying him closely. "hmm. You're... better in the flesh... I mean... in this light. No. The station doesn't do you much justice," when the bassist looks puzzled, he explains a little more clearly. "the flourescent lighting. It's always too bright in Alexanderplatz, nicht wahr? They have it on at all times. Honestly not flattering towards anybody, and it hurts my eyes something awful..."
Olli is thankfully saved from having to answer this in his flustered state, when a young man carrying a guitar case in the distance suddenly waves and comes over to Chris. "Guten Morgen!" he greets; he looks oddly mischievous, has gold studs in his ear, and has a strange hairstyle that looks like a bleached mohawk of sorts. He also has a strange twang to his German accent, one that might hint that he has lived in an English-speaking country or that he might be a relentless Anglophile. Again, he's shorter than Olli and even Chris, probably an inch or two short of six feet high, and the bassist suddenly feels terribly out of place amidst it all. "fancy seeing you right about now! Today's clearly going to be a good day."
"You seem to be earlier up today, Risch. Wasn't partying as hard as usual, I see," says Chris, and then they laugh. Oh, that makes sense, Olli thinks, watching this, and finds it all very natural and acceptable. Sexuality is sexuality, whether geared towards members of the same sex or not. After all, he's best friends with - along with regarding in a mentor-like way - someone like that, eight years older than him and a somewhat conflicted human being.
"I can't believe how cold it's gotten," 'Risch' is saying. "I can't stand it. It's so dry too, my guitar hates the cold…"
"You aren't going to stick it directly into a warm room, right? Not right from this cold?"
"Of course not. Where I'm going, it's not warm in the slightest, I tell you. Heating costs through the roof."
Chris nods sympathetically before remembering Olli. "Oh! Tut mir leid. Where are my manners? Olli, Richard. A guitarist in this band that we sometimes play with, and a good friend of mine," the man says, nodding to the bassist. "Richard, Olli. I met him today at the U-Bahn."
"Freut mich," Richard says, offers a firm but brief handshake that Olli takes him up on, then turns away. "all right. I'm out of here now. I'll see you later, sister!"
Gay talk, Olli immediately thinks to himself. Referring to he as a she.
"I'll be right behind you," the drummer calls; Richard hurtles up the steps of the station nimbly, only to nearly crash into a dignified woman wearing a pearl-green suit, making Chris grimace in bemusement and roll his eyes. "what a clown! Risch can be silly like that sometimes."
"He does seem to be of quite a character," though he certainly is an enviable one, if you've known him for so long. "... Thanks again."
"I tell you, enough with the thanks already!"
They both laugh, and walk up the stairs themselves, Olli with his bass and Chris with his drumsticks tucked into his belt. The air is colder above ground, as expected, and he shivers underneath his coat and scarf; how Chris manages to stay beaming and content with only the clothes he's wearing, he has no idea. "I guess…"
"Hmm?" Chris looks back up at him. He can see the curve of the other's mouth from here. "what are you trying to say?"
"Goodbye, I suppose. I can't hold you up for any longer."
"That works. I hope to see you again."
"It'd be likelier than you think," Olli says, and corrects himself just in case he came across as creepy. "I… I just take this line the same time every morning, and four o'clock sharp in the afternoon."
"Similar to me. Our band has similar band practice hours – or it officially would, if the leader wasn't busy being drunk and strange all the time, though! But he's a good man. Josch, he's called. Fantastic guy. Wonderful singer, too."
To lavish that many compliments on another man can only indicate utmost respect or affection. Olli can't help but hope slightly towards the latter, just to confirm to himself that Chris might indeed swing that way. "That's good to hear. Anyway, I better get going… Nice meeting you, Chris."
"Ja," Chris smiles, his blue eyes catching the sunlight like pieces of stained glass. "wiedersehen."
He then turns and walks away. Olli pauses for a long time there, standing, watching with his eyes squinted lightly until Chris is out of sight; it is not until five minutes later that he checks his watch and hastily turns around, knowing that he's going to be majorly late for band practice if he doesn't start moving now.
Just like every other day, his session with the rest of The Inchtabokatables go over smoothly, starting with a warm-up (usually involving radiators being banged on and cursed at before they heat up proper), a jam session or two, lunch and smoke, then discussions about whatever direction they want to head towards. His bandmates look and speak in their usual ways, play their instruments in the usual ways, and 'hate on guitars' in their usual ways. But Olli isn't really all there at present - no, something's different now. The images of the drummer he met in the U-Bahn keep flashing into his mind, and they're not like simple recollections. They're up close, rather, like when one's being intimate with another. They're somewhat distorted and dreamy images as well, never clear enough for him to focus on but nevertheless terribly persistent. Those visions haunt him during the afternoon and when he's heading back home in the U-Bahn.
Once in his apartment, he sits down and polishes his bass for over an hour - not necessarily for the sake of getting it clean, but because instruments need a pampering now and then - before fixing himself a simple dinner of bratwurst and mashed potatoes. Then he briefly leaves his apartment and goes for a little walk around the block before returning, bolting the door, and showers and brushes his teeth. During all of this, and, even as he is beginning to drift off into sleep, he is thinking of Chris and his beautiful smile.
He might have been able to forget during the weekend, perhaps. It's an eventful weekend. Saturday, he goes and works out in the nearby gym and volunteers at the pet shelter, getting friendly with a soft black cat that thankfully is going to be adopted soon. It'll be a shame to not see that cat again, but it's far better than the alternative. Better to be loved and cared for in a nice home. On Sunday he practices for two hours and then goes shopping, taking note of the shorter opening hours and enjoying the relative silence in the store as he does his rounds. The weekend doesn't quite end there either; on Monday he's off practice, so he goes to visit his parents and help with the chores. (It has its perks. He gets along smoothly with them, and they feed him well.) But none of this really changes what has already taken place. Even as he chats to his father about punk rock, Chris is vivid in his mind, and every time he sees someone of roughly six feet tall with a messenger bag over their shoulders, he can't help but quicken his pace a little to see whether it is who he's looking for. It never is.
The final straw occurs during the coming Friday. Since Tuesday he has held out hope that he might be able to see Chris, but somehow the other has been conspicuously absent from the line for several days. This probably means that Chris was only taking the line to Alexanderplatz that one time, and that his usual commute doesn't involve this train - but days pass by with no sight of him, and he's not even seen during Friday when Olli knows that he definitely has band practice at that time.
As he ascends the steps of Alexanderplatz - more from feelings than thoughts - Till comes into mind. Call Till, his inner voice tells him, as though answering a question that he's been asking. You can't keep struggling with this. Till will know what to do.
Olli unlocks the door to the studio and barges in a little more boisterously than usual. The place is empty, just as he expected; shivering, he walks over to the other side of the room and turns on the radiator, letting his spot warm up slowly before taking out his bass and letting it 'defrost'. He then takes a deep breath, exhaling, and then reaching for the phone set up in the corner.
When he calls, Till answers right on the first ring. Of course Till would, being a wonderful opportunist alongside a struggling poet and several other different occupations. Till would never miss any offers of a job, or the possibility of getting published.
"Hallo, hier ist Till Lindemann," Till says at the other hand, voice low and relaxed.
"Hallo, Tillda," Olli says.
"Dar-ling," comes the immediate squeal, and the bassist has to hold back his own grin as a girlish giggle emits from the other end. "oh. I do love it when you call me that. No one ever calls me Tillda by daylight. It gets so boring."
"Yes," admittedly, Olli never knows quite what to say to Till-or-Tillda at the best of times. He hasn't even been fully comfortable with the idea of thinking of 'Tillda' as a 'she' for long; nowadays it's easier and comes to him as naturally as the bass, but the persona of 'Tillda' is the utter polar opposite of the physical person of 'Till' and it's somewhat bizarre to say the least. "listen, Tillda - I'm in a bit of a sticky situation right now and I really want to get a second opinion on this. I won't trouble you for long. Are you free any time this week?"
"Ooh. What kind of sticky, if you don't mind me asking?"
Olli laughs out loud. "Oh, trust you to think like that!" Tillda is laughing too, which is good. "I can confirm that it's not that kind of sticky. Not yet, at least. Like I said, I could do with some help when it comes to figuring that out."
"This evening from five onwards his free, darling. Five to midnight is absolutely fine. Drop in at any point, child. Surprise me. Talk to your dear Tillda about it. I'll be all dressed up and waiting."
"Fantastich. You're the best, honestly. Bis bald."
Olli hangs up the phone and looks up at the clock of the studio. Nine twenty-six. Already feeling much better, he picks up the bow and grasps the bass, and soon loses himself in the music. Strange boys and loving crossdressers aside, this is the life.
"Oh, delicious," Tillda exclaims later that day, when Olli shows up on the doorstep with the bass slung over his back and a boxed chocolate cake in one hand that he presents with fanfare. "you and the cake both, Oliver, sweetheart. Bribery for what you're about to tell me, mhm?"
"Bribery is right. Of the finest kind. Nine-twenty Deutschmarks from the nearest Konditorei."
"Cheeky thing. You do spoil me. Come in, why don't you."
Tillda takes him by the hand and leads him into the apartment. It's clean and smells of apple-and-cinnamon-pie; neither the persona of Till nor Tillda can stand filthiness, and he's utterly meticulous with everything. Taking his shoes off, Olli neatly arranges them by the door and enters the apartment proper, heading straight to the kitchen and setting the cake down on the table. For someone of that height, bulk and age, Tillda-or-Till honestly does have quite the sweet tooth.
Not that she doesn't look fabulous for it. Till has done many jobs in the past, often very physical ones, that have lent him a body tight with muscle; he used to swim at a professional level as well, so he's also rather bulky. With a little makeup and a dress, that figure can be transformed into Tillda - a large, oddly mannish and yet clearly a charming lady-figure. Today she's wearing fishnets and a strapless black dress, and even though any other day it might have looked ridiculous, Olli think it flatters her figure. The phone's begun to ring from the other room - a brief eye-roll and a 'tut mir leid, Olli, I won't be long' later, Tillda goes, picks up the handset and starts engaging in a rapid-fire conversation with the person at the other end. (The bassist, unsure what else to do, follows and leans against the doorway.)
"No, Herr Kellner, I told you, I'm not going anywhere for the time being," Tillda is saying, her voice lazy and perfectly relaxed. The man hollers something down at her, and while he's not swearing or being threatening per se, his voice is clearly loud enough to be heard across the room. "I worship you, Herr Kellner. But good evening and good night, Herr Kellner."
"Is it something I did, Tillda? What did I do? Let me fix it - look, can we at least meet up and talk about this way?"
Olli swallows uneasily. Tillda remains unruffled. "Nothing doing, here. Admittedly it never really started, but it's sure as hell finished now. Complete. Broken. Kaputt."
"You can't treat me this way," the man is still slurring out from the other end. "I know where you live, I dropped you off at your house last night! I'll drive over there and find you. You promised me a drink and a night out. You promised, Tillda."
"That wasn't even my house, Herr, I just had you drop me off somewhere I recognized. I walked back. Took me twenty minutes, or an hour. I'm not that trusting towards strangers."
"What the fuck? What's your name. Your real name. I swear to God."
"Jean-Baptiste," Tillda says airily into the phone, and when the man on the other end starts saying something else, waves him off with a simple "and I'd like to remind you, Herr, that when a lady is following you out of a bar - she'd appreciate it if you held the door open for her!" and then puts the handset down.
"Oh, just the usual," she waves a neatly-manicured hand in his direction and gestures for him to follow her towards the couch. "someone I had a drink or two with and talked with for a while last night - I can't exactly pass people by when they admire me à la distance, verstehen? I did think about inviting him over - gave him my number and everything, which I see now was a mistake, I should look up what his number registers as and block it - but he just didn't fit the gentlemanly bill quite enough. I won't say my standards are extremely high, but they are standards, and I keep to them."
Olli looks at Tillda. Times like this, he wonders what she goes through half the time; he has never really asked whether the persona of Tillda really arose from a confused gender identity, or out of necessity so that he could justify seeing men. Either way, he wishes that his friend had it much easier; Till as the physical man is kind, if somewhat distant and gruff, and Tillda as the persona is also a sensible and kind one despite the flirtatiousness. The two ought to be able to reconcile without being judged. "I don't like it when things like this happen to you, Tillda. I want you to be safe."
"I think I've gotten the safe part down. Honestly, Olli, do you think any sane person is going to be able to come up and attack me, just like that?" this is true; his friend is only abour four inches shorter than him, and considering that Olli is a comfortable six feet seven, this is still a sizable height. Olli is also lanky and thin, quite unlike the other.
"I guess not. But what about the not sane ones. The ones that might be drunk."
"I tell you, mon cher. You can make yourself love and understand anybody if you needed to. And everyone has their own sets of reasons for doing what they do," Tillda smiles - it's not a completely happy smile, but not a resigned one either. She's far more brave than Olli would ever be able to anticipate. "which brings the whole thing back to you, sweet. What's been bothering you recently? Tell me all about the problem, we've got the whole evening. I'll even cook you a meal if you need it."
Olli's eyes skip around the apartment. Two notebooks and a mug half-filled with cold coffee on the coffee table, already stained around the rim with lipstick. Tillda's dress is long and made of a soft satin that rustles when she moves. He looks back at her, imagines her changing into or out of her soft clothes, and has to hold back a blush. "It's, um, not so much a problem," a pause, then a moment's worth of thought. "well. All right. It is, I suppose. Or he is."
"Oh, genau," Tillda exclaims - then giggles. Olli can't help but blink. Tillda giggling is always a surreal sight. "go on."
The bassist is initially reluctant, but he eventually caves and tells Tillda everything over the next half hour. The encounter with Chris was only a few minutes long, but even though it's been over a week Olli finds himself being able to remember a truly surprising amount of detail about it all. Is that what they mean by captivating? "I know it sounds silly," he says, taking a sip of the weissbier that Tillda fetched him five minutes ago, and taking a long breath. "I feel like I won't see him ever again. I feel like a darn idiot, telling him all about how I always take that line to Alexanderplatz and then back - when it was probably a one-time thing and nothing more. Besides, I always thought I liked women, not men... not that liking men as a man is wrong or anything," he explains hastily. "but if I was going to expect that my view on my own sexuality was going to be questioned at some point - I didn't expect it to be quite this way!"
Tillda fixes him with a beady eye. "Oliver," she says, and she's suddenly reverted to Till's low, sensual baritone - which in that context means that she really is serious about what she's about to say. Tillda isn't one to drop character that easily. "you talk as if your tastes in women and sex were extremely conventional in the first place."
The bassist immediately blushes about seven shades of red and has to hurriedly sip at his beer to calm himself down. But it is most definitely a true statement - his current preferences regarding relationships and sex involve visiting an underground S&M club, which also doubles as a gay bar. (Till/Tillda has joined him there, in either persona, three times.) He's admittedly never paid too much attention to the gay scene within yet, being too interested in the sadomasochism play where women spank him or tie him up to things and then bid farewell to him with a wave afterwards. It's most certainly not conventional, though still by no means wrong or all that worrying.
"Let's make a few things clear," Tillda says, and neatly adjusts her sitting position. "what's your favourite thing about women?"
"Personality," Olli says almost immediately. "and a fairly... dominating one. Not in the cruel way. Playful and sweet one moment, domineering the next. Being good to talk to also definitely helps... some of the girls in that club I've had such interesting conversations with, you have no idea..."
"I think I probably have. And now you think you like this man?" Olli makes a thoughtful expression, and stares down into his beer. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"... I... I don't know. It is normal, right?"
"Of course, darling. I know you'll adjust to it, you were accepting of the concept before. But there are things to remember," Tillda 'hmm's and looks up, her elegantly-lined eyes searching the ceiling. "sexuality isn't really a fixed thing. Someone isn't necessarily all gay or all straight for the entirety of their life. Plenty of people like that, of course - I'd be an example-" she winks. "-but sometimes otherwise-straight people experience an attraction to someone of the same gender, or vice versa. Only a couple of times, or literally only once in their life. Some aren't interested in the sex part of the relationship and just want the romance, no matter what the gender. Some don't feel any attraction to others, ever. And that's also all right. You can't help who you feel attracted to, or not attracted to."
Olli tilts his head questioningly, unsure where Tillda's going with this. "What I'm trying to advise you is that you probably shouldn't immediately re-evaluate your entire sexuality based on just that guy you met once," she continues on, nodding. "but at the same time, if you feel attracted to him, you should acknowledge that. I'd personally advise that you wait until you see him again. Talk with him. Build up something. Then you can go from there. If it turns out he's straight or he's got a partner or something then you'd probably be the asshole to press ahead with what you want, but if not - then gently break it to him, ja? You have the right to tell people your feelings."
"I know," the younger man looks miserably down at the empty bottle of beer. "it's just hard. What you say is all sensible... but it all hinges on if I ever see Chris again. Which also isn't a guarantee."
"Cheer up, darling," Tillda says affectionately, then stands up. "I'll roll you a joint or six. It'll relax you some."
"Really?" Olli still doesn't really feel like his troubles have been cleared up, but he does perk up at the mention of weed.
"Et pourquoi pas? I'll see what's in my stash right now. You think I can choke all of that down myself, they're an social aid."
And what a social aid they are. Tillda changes out of her black dress and fishnets and goes for a simple dressing gown (also black) whilst they are splayed on the ground and smoking their joints, by all means changing her physical appearence to that of Till Lindemann once more; but she hasn't wiped off the make-up and she's still using the feminine tone of voice. Olli decides that sticking with 'Tillda' is probably still the safest bet. "I always get the most awful cravings when I smoke," he slurs out, then throws her a guilty look. "the cake I brought you. You fancy a slice of that, Tillda?"
"'Course, love," she too says, a dazed-and-dreamy smile on her face - before she giggles and claps her palms. "I just realized something of the utmost importance, Olli. High-fiving yourself," she pauses dramatically, "is the same as clapping. Imagine that. Whoa."
The cake is cut, and Olli gives the larger and neater slice to Tillda, because - well, it's her cake. She lazily leans against the couch, dressing-gown now loose and revealing the muscled, firmly-toned body beneath it. The contrast is oddly comical but at the same time alluring. Olli has never really felt any other attraction for Till/Tillda other than respect, friendly affection and the occasional bemusement, but this is the first time he really has seen the other through a slightly-different perspective. He decides that his mentor figure is quite a looker halfway through his slice of chocolate cake, and that both warms his heart and makes slightly-discomforting butterflies flutter within his stomach.
"I think it's time I got going now, Tillda. Thank you ever so much for the advice. You're an amazing friend."
"De rien, mein Freund, de rien," comes the sweet reply. Tillda sits up and runs her fingers through her dark hair. Olli blushes a little as the unthought-of connotations of 'Freund' rises to mind. "I'm always glad to help a friend of mine. Come visit and talk to me any time," the phone rings again, presumably from the man from a while ago, and she sighs and rolls her eyes. "ugh, quel beast. That can go ignored. I'll bid you good-night then, Olli. Think about what I said, ja?"
It is the twelfth day since he first met Chris when Olli finally strikes lucky again.
Another few days pass by, and Olli honestly has been thinking seriously about all of this - he finds himself checking out other men and making a note of the kind of things that he feels while he's doing so. So far, not actually bad or even that awkward. Even though he hasn't gotten his hopes up for seeing the drummer that morning, just the act of sitting there in the U-Bahn and reading his book makes him think. Even though Tillda's told him to hold the full judgment for the time being, it seems quite convincing enough that he has a streak of homosexuality within him; why not embrace it and then think about how to address Chris, if he ever meets him again? And if not Chris - perhaps he will be drawn to another male, one day-
The bassist's head snaps up, and he comes face to face with a grinning Chris, who's holding onto the overhead handle just above him and looking just as gorgeous as before. "It's Olli, isn't it?"
"Chris..." he's so ecstatic he can barely breathe. He tries to act casual about it all. "Chris, isn't it?"
"That'd be me! You look different."
"Really?" Olli's given himself a freshly-stubbled look and has been paying considerably more attention to what he's been wearing, but he's not about to admit that.
"You look good! Girlfriend's idea?"
"I don't have a girlfriend. What made you think that?"
Chris shrugs, still beaming. "Sensible guy, plays the double bass. Refined. You look young and fairly settled-in, as such."
The train stops, and an elderly lady gets on, heading towards Olli's direction - being the ever-polite young man, he immediately stands up, offers his seat to her and then takes a couple of steps away to grasp at the nearest overhead handle - which just so happens to be in front of where Chris is facing. As he turns to look at the drummer, he sees that the man's checking out his behind; but before he can get too excited about it, Chris looks up. "What make of jeans are those?"
"Verdamnt! And here I thought you were checking me out."
"Oh no, I wasn't," says Chris. "I'm sure it's a lovely backside, but I'm not very into men's backsides."
"Ah, I get it," the bassist then grins, turning back as not to add a too-persistant air. "you'd rather like something else on men."
"I'm gay," Chris says, and shuffles his feet. "I thought you knew."
That confirms it for Olli, and he inwardly sighs, utterly relieved. "Genug. I did, actually. I'm cool with it."
The drummer visibly relaxes and returns the smile, then the train begins shuddering to a halt. "Good of you! Listen, I've got to get off soon - but here," he thrusts a business card into the bassist's hands. "seeing as we're comfortable enough with that, you want to go and have a drink there later on today? Seven thirty. Waiting at the entrance. I'll wait for you for fifteen minutes - it's all up to you-"
"Yeah," Olli hollers back, but the crowd is already sweeping Chris away. Anxiously, he watches the drummer get off relatively unscathed on the platform and gives him a wave that he's not sure that he can see before looking at the business card, his heart racing with joy. Chris probably means it more just for the drinking part than anything else, but to Olli it might as well be a date, and where else would it be but-
"... Well, I'd be damned."
- The very S&M club that he frequents. Life is fantastically bizarre sometimes. He sits there and wonders how on earth Chris knows this place, and most importantly, whether he's ever been seen whilst in a compromising position by the drummer. Then his face turns a truly remarkable shade of red and he has to get off a stop early.
"I really like this place," Chris is saying later that evening, when they're both sat by the bar; he genuinely has been waiting for Olli, dressed in a dark tight-fitting shirt and jeans, held up by a belt with a shiny buckle. "a haven for gays everywhere, and even if you're not gay, lots of wonderful women about who'd be interested to talk to you or whip you with a cane. I personally enjoy the talking a little more. A Midori and lemonade for me, please, bartender."
"I know this place too," the drummer turns and gives him a questioning look, eyebrows raised, but now that they've come this far Olli thinks it's worth going all the way. "and I'd like the same, bartender. I quite enjoy the atmosphere here. Anonymous but not. Wonderful company too, from both genders."
He's never really had a Midori with anything before, but when it arrives in front of him he finds it quite sweet and pleasing. He can sense that it won't stay pleasing for too long if he has more than just that glass, though - he's not a huge fan of sweets. Just the occasional cake or soft drink now and then suffices for him. Chris seems to love it, though, from the way he eagerly downs half of his drink before looking at Olli. "What do you mean by that?"
"No, really, it's fine," Olli waits deliberately for a bit in the thumping music that's fairly loud, and then blurts it out. "I'm gay."
"Oh!" Chris says - and much to his bewildernent, laughs in a relieved tone of voice. "Gott sei Dank, I thought you were hitting on me."
Olli looks confused. "... I was."
"... Am I missing something? I'm gay. You're gay. But you're... hitting on me?"
Something isn't right there; Olli suddenly feels like the music's dropped in volume and everyone is staring at them, even though really it's actually changed into a fast dance track and it's the lights that's playing havoc with his mind. A man tied to a St. Andrew's cross in the corner cries out loud and no one takes much notice. "... I thought... we might be able to go out sometime!"
"But, um, why?"
"I like you."
"Oh! Tut mir leid, I'm being terribly slow. You're bisexual?"
"No! I'm gay. I decided."
"... But don't... gay men like other men? So why do you like me?"
The man on the cross is being left off, a dazed grin on his face. "You're... you're beautiful. I find you attractive."
"You normally like men but you like me? Wow. That's sweet of you, Olli, and I'm very flattered that I've somehow-" and then Chris suddenly realises what's going on, and starts laughing hysterically. "oh, mein Gott! Scheiße!"
"Was ist los?"
"You do know that I'm not a man?"
Olli begins to feel rather as if someone is hitting him repeatedly over the head with a pillow, lost in the lights and music of the bar. "Uh. Man. Boy. Whatever you'd like to call yourself."
"I call myself a woman. Because I'm female," Chris says, and then suddenly looks a little perturbed. "I don't need to go and prove this to you, do I?"
"There is, uh, no need," Olli hastily says, raising both hands; but he still isn't fully convinced. "but… then why do you call yourself Chris?"
"Chris can mean more than just a contraction for Christopher, love. It's short for Christina."
Olli stares into the bottom of his drink. The Midori swirls like syrup, thick and sweet, within the clear soda. "So are you saying that… I'm not gay?"
"Gott im Himmel! I can't say, Olli. I'm not saying anything about you. I'm just trying to make you understand that I'm a fucking woman. Female. Two X chromosomes."
Despite the images of fucking women that flashes into his mind at Chris's statement, the bassist still manages to come to the correct truth. "So I am not gay."
"I wouldn't know. You reason it for me."
Olli shakes his head, and speaks his thoughts out loud into his Midori and lemonade. "All right. Let me get this straight. If you aren't a man and I took a fancy to you, then that means I took a fancy to a woman."
Chris smiles brightly, looking considerably relieved. "That's right."
"So I'm not gay, because I fancied a woman all along?"
"Looks like it!"
There is a long pause in the conversation where neither speak to the other; Chris is busying herself with occasionally looking curiously at the patrons of the bar, but overall watching Olli's clearly-confused expressions patiently, waiting for progress. The bassist closes his eyes for a brief moment - inhales, exhales again - then looks at Chris with a renewed light in his eyes. "So I can still fancy you and not be confounded as hell about it?"
"That most certainly works out," Chris beams.
"Great! That eases my mind. Hell, women are wonderful! Well. I thought that I thought so all along... I think I did... Gott, it must be the Midori talking. But you get what I mean, Chris?"
She clinks her half-full glass against his nearly-empty one. He nods and drinks from his while she drinks from hers. "I'm perfectly with you on that one. Women are great."
"Ja. All right. Let's start again. So now that all that's been sorted out - will you go on a date with me, Chris?"
"Gott im Himmel, mein Kind, what part of this are you not quite understanding? It's perfectly all right to fancy me, and I do like you - but I'm a woman and I told you that I was gay. For instance, I quite like the look of that beautiful young thing over there," she points, and Olli looks - a young, sleek girl in a catsuit, possibly no older than twenty, slinks by with a rhinestone-tipped riding crop in her hands. "perhaps by tonight I'd have gone home with her. That's why I invited you to a gay bar - I'm a lesbian, love. Therefore, it follows that I vastly prefer women."
With a rush of sexual thoughts about himself, possibly tied to a St. Andrew's cross with Chris and a bunch of lesbians taking turns to whip him in mind, Olli blushes deeply and sips delicately at his cocktail. "Well, we could make it work. I don't mind that at all."
"Sweetheart," Chris sighs, and rolls her eyes. "sweetheart, I mind!"