A/N - This is the first fanfic I've written in about four years! Though it's not the first story I've written for all that time, so hopefully I've managed to improve somewhat since I was 13 haha. It just goes to show how awesome Hetalia is that it's inspired me to write fanfiction again. Although I must admit that I started writing this at half midnight and finished at about 3am, though I have edited it since then (and totally redid the ending because by 3am I was like 'please God, just let me end it so that i can sleep!' so I didn't do very well the first time around haha). Still, if anyone notices any mistakes, please let me know!
Complaints and Compliments
"Why are you so goddamn attractive?"
Austria froze, the teacup halfway to his lips. He slowly lowered it back into the saucer and turned to look at Prussia, who was lounging at the other end of the couch. It didn't appear to have been a Freudian slip as the other nation was glaring at him expectantly, as if waiting for Austria to apologise for his good looks and promise that he'd try harder to be ugly and it would never happen again. Austria carefully placed his teacup and saucer onto the coffee table in front of him. He raised an eyebrow.
"You think I'm attractive?" he asked in bewilderment.
"No," Prussia snapped. He paused and thought for a moment, then seemed to realise that his past two utterances didn't really support each other. "Yes," he corrected, but in exactly the same tone of voice. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm attracted to you," he added. "I just sort of, you know," a shrug, "noticed." An accusing finger was suddenly thrust into Austria's face. "It's pissing me off!"
Austria stared at the finger inches away from his glasses for a moment before taking hold of his companion's hand and lowering it out of his line of vision. He then stared at the other nation's face instead. His brain was having difficulty formulating words that made sense. He wondered briefly if he had dozed off and this whole conversation was taking place in his subconscious but quickly dismissed the idea. Not even a dream could possibly be this surreal.
"Is there a reason why you're bringing this up now?" he asked weakly.
"Would there ever be a more appropriate time?" Prussia countered, and it was his turn to arch a pale eyebrow. He had a point, Austria conceded. No matter when Prussia has chosen to breach this particular subject, it would still have come completely out of the blue.
"OK," Austria said, trying to inject as much sanity as he possibly could into the two letters. "So what exactly is…I mean just – just what – what?" He gave up on coherency and spread his arms in a desperate gesture of helplessness. Prussia let out a long, exasperated sigh and shook his head pityingly at Austria's inability to immediately understand the problem.
"You're good-looking," he explained slowly and with an abnormal amount of patience for him, which is to say that he was actually being patient. "Handsome. Dashing. A pretty-boy. Are you with me so far?"
Austria tried to scowl at being treated like an idiot, he really did, but he ended up blushing instead. He lifted the teacup and took a sip of the soothing liquid so that he wouldn't have to meet Prussia's gaze, which seemed even more intense than usual.
"Erm. Thank you?" he responded.
"I'm not complimenting you, moron," Prussia snorted, as if the very suggestion was ludicrous. "I'm complaining about you."
Austria risked a glance at his face. All of Prussia' patience had already been used up and he looked very irritated that the darker haired nation wasn't getting it. Taking another sip from his teacup, Austria suddenly wished that there was alcohol in it. Preferably very strong alcohol. Lots of it. Maybe if he was very, very drunk then Prussia's words would start to sound logical.
"Look." Prussia shuffled down to Austria's end of the sofa, the other nation quickly setting his tea back down onto the coffee table in a frail attempt to move it out of Prussia's destructive range. It wouldn't be the first time that he'd had to send a bill for broken china to Germany, who hadn't been impressed with his brother at all, but even his anger hadn't taught Prussia to pay more attention to his surroundings. It turned out to be just as well that he'd put the cup down as Prussia then grabbed both of his hands and pulled them towards him. "Look at them!"
Obeying, but not entirely sure what he was supposed to be seeing, Austria inspected his hands. After a moment he gave up. "What's wrong with them?" he asked.
"Nothing!" Prussia replied triumphantly. It was only when Austria looked up at him with an expression that clearly showed that he was trying to find the words to express his earlier sentiments of 'what?' with more eloquence and failing that the blond nation continued.
"Your fingernails are all exactly the same length and there's no dirt under them. And your hands are really soft," he added, stroking, actually stroking Austria's palms as if it was a totally normal thing to be doing. "Normal peoples' hands are dirty and sweaty and rough and have so much crap under their fingernails that they get sick if they chew them down too much. You on the other hand look as though you have a manicure every day." He paused and looked accusingly at Austria. "You don't, do you?"
"No," Austria somehow managed to reply. "But I take care of my hands. I certainly don't bite my nails unlike some people." He took hold of one of Prussia's hands and examined it. "Suddenly your comment about becoming ill from chewing on these things doesn't sound quite as absurd," he commented in disgust. "Do you ever even wash your hands?"
"Yes," Prussia replied sulkily, like a child being scolded by a parent.
"With soap?" Austria pressed.
"Yes!" At Austria's still doubtful gaze, he pouted and pulled his hand back, folding his arms in defiance. "That's my point. It's not that I have bad hygiene – you have abnormal hands!" Austria opened his mouth to protest, but Prussia hadn't finished. "And it's not just your hands! It's your face as well. Glasses are supposed to make people look nerdy but you just look sophisticated in them. They're also meant to lower sex appeal but you look about ten times more doable when you're wearing them than when you're not!" Austria felt his face turn bright red at that comment, but Prussia was too caught up in his rant to fully realise what he had just said by the looks of it, never mind noticing the reaction.
"There's the hair as well," he continued, angrily gesturing to the relevant part of Austria's body, although it was more of a flail than a gesture, really. "There isn't a single hair out of place apart from that freaky little flick you have going on."
"Mariazell isn't freaky," Austria said stiffly, the colour starting to fade from his cheeks.
"It defies gravity," Prussia said slowly, as if explaining a simple concept to a very stupid child. He reached up and pulled the hair down flat against Austria's face, ignoring the protests, and then let it go. It sprang up and settled perfectly back into place, although this didn't stop Austria from fussing with it and glaring at Prussia.
"If you don't like it then why are you bringing it up in the middle of your 'complaint' about how aesthetically pleasing you find me?" Austria asked irritably.
"I'm not calling you 'aesthetically pleasing', I'm calling you immensely physically attractive," Prussia corrected. Austria opened his mouth, paused, and then slowly closed it again and shook his head pityingly. What would be the point?
"And I didn't say that I didn't like it," Prussia continued. "You somehow manage to pull it off. Although I don't think that you should ever let a cat near it. It looks like the sort of thing that cats would love to play with. Like a tassel."
"You ought to know, since you spend half your life fiddling with it," Austria grumbled. "You're like a woman with the way you mess with my hair!"
"Well it's pretty!" snapped Prussia defensively. "And soft. It feels nice."
"That doesn't mean you have to mess with Mariazell every time you come round," the brunette retorted, trying to ignore the fact that Prussia had just called his hair 'pretty'. He wasn't sure what that would do to his mental health if he let himself dwell on it for too long.
"I suppose you're still complaining about me and none of this is intended as a compliment," he said drily.
"Obviously," Prussia replied. "Like I'd ever have a reason to compliment you." There wouldn't be any point in arguing so Austria didn't even try. In fact, there was never really any point in arguing with Prussia because it was completely impossible for him to accept the possibility that he might be wrong about something. Sometimes Austria wondered why he bothered talking to him at all.
"So does this mean that you think I should try to be less good-looking?" he asked sarcastically. "Maybe break my nose and make sure it heals crooked or shave all my hair off?"
Prussia looked at him critically, seriously considering the question, Austria realised. Oh dear God. But at that intense gaze roaming over his features and then slipping down from his face to take in the rest of his body, Austria felt the heat return to his face and he looked away, feeling rather flustered. Eventually, Prussia came to a decision.
"No," he concluded firmly. Austria waited for him to expand on the point. He didn't.
"So you don't like the way I look but you don't want me to change my appearance?" the brunette asked, his eyes still averted from Prussia.
"I never said that I didn't like how you look," Prussia argued.
"You said it 'pissed you off'," Austria quoted. He said it in a way that made it perfectly clear that he would never be caught dead using such a phrase himself.
"It does piss me off," the other nation agreed, "but that doesn't mean that it's a bad thing."
Austria finally looked up at him again, cheeks still faintly flushed and a look of utter despair at not being able to understand plastered across his features. "But that doesn't make sense," he protested and it sounded almost like a plea.
Prussia shrugged, looking bored now, as if as far as he was concerned, his views had been explained fully and it was time to move on to other things. "It doesn't have to make sense," he explained. "It pisses me off to look at you because you're so abnormally attractive, but at the same time I like looking at you because you're so abnormally attractive. If that doesn't make total sense to you, then you really are an idiot." He leaned forward and dipped a finger into Austria's still half filled cup of tea. "Your tea's cold," he informed the other nation before standing up. "Do you have any beer in the house? You better do, I told you that it's important you always have some in stock in case I get bored enough to come round." He casually rested his right hand on his hip and looked at Austria expectantly.
"…in the fridge," the other nation managed, and he watched Prussia leave the room to go rummaging in his kitchen with an expression that looked as though he couldn't quite make up his mind what he should be feeling. In the end, he just gave up and shook his head slightly as if everything that had just happened was completely beyond him.
Austria reached for his cup of tea and then remembered that Prussia had declared it cold. He sat back and looked to his right at where Prussia had been sitting and would be sitting once again as soon as he'd located a beer. It took much longer than it should have done and Austria was about to go find out what had been destroyed this time when Prussia sauntered back into the room with a beer bottle in one hand and a fresh cup of tea in the other, which he handed carefully to Austria without a word. It was a strangely touching gesture. As Prussia started talking about another equally random subject, Austria sipped his tea (which contained exactly the right amount of milk and sugar) and listened idly to the other nation's rambling while vaguely wondering if he would ever be able to think along the same wavelength as Prussia. He then decided that it wouldn't be worth sacrificing his intellect for and to just take everything that had been said that afternoon during the most bizarre conversation of his life as a compliment, no matter what Prussia said it was.