Disclaimer: If Axis Powers Hetalia were mine, I wouldn't need to write fanfics. If any of these songs were mine, I wouldn't be writing fanfics.

Background music: --

Minimal fluff 09!


Gift of Roses

White – innocence

Spain would be gone for months at a time, always departing with a cheery smile and a wave of gleaming armor, ready to fight for house and home. Romano always found himself, little Romano, alone in a gigantic house, getting lost in awkward corners and long hallways. Spain's boss was always around to help him manage, but it was crystal clear the man regarded the baby nation as a nuisance. Romano preferred to stay to himself, as Spain was not around to deflect the irritated boss's looks away.

Romano always knew when Spain would come home. He would awaken with a sense of arrival and security, a sense of relief that he would once again be living with the older nation. On these days, he would never get up early, settling to laze around in his bed until he heard the doors flung open and a careless "I'm home!" At this point, Romano would slide out the bed and make his way to the front foyer, getting dressed along the way and leaving his bedclothes lying in the corridors.

"Romano!" Today, when Romano tottered to the front entrance, Spain was adjusting a large vase of beautiful white roses. Turning his attention from the flowers to the boy, the now flush with victory nation opened his arms for a hug that was never going to happen. Romano walked up to the table, much taller than he was, and stared up at the overflowing abundance of white petals.

"Who are those from?" he asked, in a somewhat irate manner.

"France. He gave them to me as a gift since we were successful in our travels. Prussia got some too. We saw a lot of stuff! There are a lot of things you wouldn't think exist and a lot of people living much differently here!" Spain grinned as he explained and Romano wondered why the older nation went to such lengths to oversimplify his journey. It didn't matter.

"Whatever, did you get me something?" Romano frowned up at him, hands on his hips as he tried to look as formidable as possible. It was the only thing that mattered, really.

Spain looked down at him for a moment, contemplating or admiring the childish cuteness, Romano wasn't sure, before smiling easy again. "Of course I did, encanto. I would never forget my sweet, darling Romano!" Romano grimaced at the feminine words and held out his hands expectantly.

Plucking a white blossom from the bunch, Spain handed the child the flower. "It's perfect for you, Romano. It matches your cute apron."

"It's from France," Romano argued, although he took the rose anyway. The stem was cut smooth so no little fingers were pricked by the thorns. "It's not really from you, dammit. Did you really get me something or did you lie?"

"Oh, Romano! I missed you so much!" Spain suddenly gushed, plucking the startled boy from the ground and holding him up. "Did you miss me? Was it lonely here?"

"You didn't bring me anything! How dare you! I hate you, dammit!" Hitting Spain across the head with the rose, Romano pouted. "Let me down, dammit. If you're going to come back empty-handed, you may as well not come back at all! Take that!" Carefully extracting himself from Spain's grip, Romano rushed off, holding the rose and skittering across the floor.

Spain smiled to himself as he watched his tiny charge rush off, oblivious of the little packet of sweets the older nation had slipped into the apron pocket.

Yellow – friendship

"Romano!" Romano, holding a heavy basket of laundry, looked up as he heard his name. Spain was waving at him through an open door. "Leave the washing out in the hall; I want you to come sit with me for a bit."

"What is it now?" Romano grumbled, dropping the basket on the floor and ignoring the clothes that fell out onto the floor. Slipping into the room, Romano stood at the doorway for a moment, accessing the situation. Spain was sitting at a table with a chair across from him; on the table was a bottle of wine and two wine glasses – one was half-full and the other was empty.

"Come on! Come sit with the Boss!" Spain grinned amiably. Gesturing to the seat across him, Spain's smile widened as Romano crossed the room and sat in the empty chair. "Good! I want you to have a drink with me!"

"Alcohol?" Romano clarified; it seemed the only drop of alcohol Spain allowed to pass his lips was the wine from church. The older nation had fussed about age and health and other picky subjects until Romano had enough and promised to abstain from drinking. Now, he watched warily as Spain poured him a hearty glass of wine. Was this some sort of test?

"Yes! I think you're old enough. I drank when I was your age, you know!" Setting the bottle back on table, Spain leaned forward to watch Romano. "It's a little sweet; I thought maybe you wouldn't want something too strong for your first time."

A coming of age ceremony? Romano stared at the glass, contemplating – he was only peaking at the beginning of his teenage years. But he reached for the glass nonetheless and brought it to his lips, letting a sip of liquid flood into his mouth.

He choked a bit as it went down, burning his throat. He was not allowed a portion this size at church and the taste was exotic. Romano coughed slightly before covering his mouth and flushing considerably – this was not very adult of him.

Spain laughed anyway. "That was a good first try, Romano. But they say shaky starts turn into something wonderful later on. Before you know it, you'll be drinking more than I do!" Spain flourished a yellow rose out of thin air. "Because now you're equal with me," the dark haired nation explained. "I'll be expecting you to sit with me like this more often."

Romano accepted the gift, twirling the flower in his fingers. "Who says I'll want to?" he scoffed. "Spending time with the Boss isn't my idea of a good time."

Spain stared at him obliviously. "But we're friends now, aren't we?"

Yellow with red tips – friendship falling into love

Spain lingered at the doorway. Romano was already growing so old. He had grown taller and had lost most of his little kid cheeks and pouts. Now his charge was shooting up in a typical growth spurt with long, lanky limbs and a cracking, changing voice. It was cute to watch.

One would think that a growing child would grow out of naps, but Romano proved against this hypothesis, dozing away in the patio. There was still a hint of innocence and inexperience in the sleeping face and Spain sighed to himself, with a proud smile like any other parent as he cocked his head and watched the boy.

"You were supposed to sweep the patio, Romano," Spain chuckled, although the boy couldn't hear him. "But it's okay. The Boss will do it." Although it was still a warm afternoon, he had lived with the young nation long enough to know Romano wouldn't wake until mid evening, when the sun had set and the breeze became cooler. Throwing a loose blanket on the slumbering child, Spain leaned down, hesitating slightly, before pressing a kiss on the unresponsive forehead. "Have sweet dreams, Romano. The Boss will be here when you wake up."

Spain left Romano sleeping in the beam of warm sunlight, a radiant yellow rose with a red fringed edge on his lap to compliment the already charming pubescent picture.

Black – loss

One of the more unforgettable moments Romano couldn't forget about his childhood with Spain had to be the time he came home and found the house decorated with black roses, scattered in odd cracks and flooding out of tiny vases in the sitting rooms. He was older and there was talk among his people of independence and freedom – he had just met with his brother, who expressed anxiety about separating from Austria but eager to start something fresh.

He had walked home in happy spirits, but seeing such a dark color clutter in such a cheerful house was unsettling.

"Boss?" Lingering around the study, Romano spotted Spain sitting alone at his desk, staring out the window forlornly as vases of black roses surrounded him, bringing out the black of his hair all the more. "Boss, are you okay?"

"I know," Spain said airily, continuing to look outside, "that when nations grow up, they'll leave. We all know that. I was hoping you'd stay with me a little longer, though, Romano. But I won't be upset." Turning, there was a tense smile on his face. Romano stared back, lurking in the shadows of the threshold.

"Come closer; let me see you." Hesitating, Romano walked carefully into the study, watching his steps as if he were crossing a minefield. When he finally reached Spain, the older nation smiled sadly up at him. "You're so much older now, Romano. You've grown up from the violent little boy you used to be. You're almost a nation now." Spain reached up and cupped Romano's face, the Italian staring emotionless back at him. "But you'll always be my sidekick to me. No matter what happens to you."

"What's with the black roses, Boss?" Romano asked, trying to shift away from the nostalgia he heard in the other's voice. "Someone didn't die, did they?"

"No one died," Spain said simply, letting his hands fall from the teen's face. "But there are other things that can die too." Taking a rose, he cut a length off the stem and slipped it into Romano's breast pocket, the flower a burst of black on white. There was such a heartbreaking expression on Spain's face that Romano frowned.

"Don't talk like that, Boss. I didn't like it here, but…" Taking a breath, Romano pressed on. "…I didn't necessarily hate it here either. When I become a stronger nation, stronger than you, I'll visit you and you can become my servant if you want to."

Spain chuckled. "I'll look forward to that day, if that's what it takes for you to build yourself up. Black is a pretty color for you, Romano. It brings out your eyes." Taking the rose from the front, Spain tucked it behind Romano's ear. "Now you look as sweet as you used to."

Lavender – love at first sight

Romano didn't see Spain for a while after he and his brother built their house. It was a hectic moving, trying to get situated and stabilizing his people. Though unification had been in everyone's mind, Romano didn't see how it was possible now, with his southern people clashing with Feliciano's northerners. But somehow, it all settled out so they could breathe easier – now, Feliciano could bake and hum to himself without worrying about a thing, boiling hot water and singing about pasta.

Romano decided to take a break from his new nation duties to pay a visit to old Spain.

Spain's boss answered the door, not the angry face of the past. Romano supposed any boss would be friendlier looking, now that he could sustain himself. He was promptly led to the same office he had confronted Spain with years earlier, the black roses absent. Standing at the doorway, feeling a rush of déjà vu, Romano knocked out of courtesy, before storming in.

"Boss! Hey, you bastard! Have you been depressed without me?" Romano smirked as he leaned against a bookshelf, crossing his arms and looking impatient with the whole situation. Spain turned, with an open mouth for a casual greeting when he spotted Romano and the words seemed to die in his mouth.

"If you keep your mouth open, flies will go in," Romano grinned, satisfied at the reaction he was getting. He had grown and Spain knew it. "You don't look any more attractive anyway."

"Romano?" Spain reached out and grabbed him, running his hands over him as if there was a possibility what he was seeing was false. His hand ran over the curl and Romano shivered, scowling and smacking the hand away. "Romano, it's really you! You're so much older! I haven't seen you in years!"

"It's enough, isn't it?" Romano stood proudly. "Now you can grovel at my feet."

"I don't think you're old enough to make me do that yet," Spain replied, although there was lopsided grin on his face. "You've changed so much! But you're still cute. I was afraid that becoming a nation of your own would turn you ugly like England."

Instead of becoming angry at the headbutt that resulted, Spain only laughed.

Although Romano had originally planned it to be a conceited visit full of his worship, he found it quite enjoyable, especially when Spain showed him a homegrown garden of tomatoes. He had another drink with the nation, who was still as carefree as he always had been, although Romano noticed he stared much more than he did before. Over the wineglass, Romano saw the way Spain watched him, with the typical care and something else he didn't notice in the green eyes.

It got quite dark and Spain offered to walk him home. On the way, they passed a florist, beaming as she bustled around her wares. Spain stopped and conversed with the girl as Romano watched from the curb. The older nation returned with a rose, which the streetlights revealed to be of the light purple kind.

"For you," Spain said. "Because you're older and you didn't forget to visit me." There seemed to be something else on the tip of his tongue, but the default grin had come back and Romano let the thought leave his mind as he brought the rose to his nose and smelled an almost dewy scent as they continued back home in the darkness.

Blue – mystery

"Blue is a neat color for a flower," Spain remarked, wandering around France's greenhouse. France had invited his old friend over for the afternoon and Romano came along as guard dog against the perverted nation's advances, which Spain seemed victim to whenever he was around. In a bout of good timing, Romano dragged Spain off as France reached over to take the oblivious nation's shirt, wandering around the house until they stumbled upon the greenhouse.

"How so?" Romano asked, running his fingers over a blue rose bush. Most of the floral population in the greenhouse were roses of all different colors and blue was not left out, a corner of the area dedicated to the color.

"It's impossible to find in nature," Spain explained, watching Romano inspect the roses. "It poses all sorts of questions. Why would people try and make such unnatural flowers? What will they do next? It just looks different, don't you think?"

"Hmm." Taking a pair of gardening clippers, Romano cut a rose off the bush. Walking over to Spain, who had a look of curiosity on his face, Romano ran his hands around the taller nation's collar until he found a buttonhole, which he put the rose in. "A peculiar rose for a peculiar Boss." Smiling, Romano's hands remained on Spain's collar for a second longer before he turned away to inspect France's other roses.

"Do you like me, Romano?" It had meant to be a rhetorical question kept to himself, but Spain heard the words leave his lips in a low undertone, surprised at the bewilderment in his voice. He clamped his mouth shut just as the younger nation turned at the sound.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing! Nothing! Look, aren't these such cute carnations?" Spain quickly covered up his slip as he maneuvered the unsuspecting nation toward a different part of the greenhouse, away from the blue roses and away from the perpetual questions he shoved back deep in his mind for another day.

Pink – affection

"What sort of roses do you give to the girls?" Spain asked one day, sitting outside on the veranda with Romano. There was a waft of freshly baked churros, although they were all gone, the cinnamon sugar on the table as evidence they were there to begin with. Romano glanced over at him.

"What do you mean?"

"It's just…" Spain shrugged. "Whenever I come visit you, I always see you with a girl. Your people are known to be romantics, so you must give them roses when you see them. What sort of roses do you give?"

Romano snorted, a content smile crossing his face. "Red ones, of course," he said, cocking his head proudly. "What other ones do you think I would give?"

Spain shrugged again. "Red roses to a complete stranger seems rude, don't you think? To give them so frivolously and frequently destroys their meaning. If you don't really love them, you shouldn't tell them so."

"What makes you think I don't love the girls I see?" Romano shot back.

Spain smiled humorously. "Nations cannot truly love a human, Romano. You know this." He leaned back in the lawn chair. "So you give red roses? That seems quite…you."

Romano rolled his eyes. "Do tell, o' country of passion, what roses do you give?"

"Oh, I'm quite partial to pink roses." Spain shrugged. "Pink or yellow. I'm passionate, but passion can be given in due time. That way, when I give a red rose, I mean it. But it doesn't matter the color, right? Whenever you give a rose, it's a big deal." Whisking a pink rose out of his sleeve, Spain grinned as he handed it to Romano. "For you, senorita."

"Pink," Romano noted. He made no movement to reach for it but Spain kept it outstretched. "A rose is a rose," he said, more to himself, before finally extending his hand. Their fingers touched and Romano glanced at Spain. There was a hint of pink rose in his green eyes and Romano looked away as he took the flower with him.

Coral/Orange – desire

"Romano…" Romano could hear the alcohol in Spain's voice, even before he smelled it. He had had the feeling the absent nation had been out drinking with his old, stupid friends when he came to visit and found the house empty. Romano scowled as Spain stumbled drunkenly into the living room, collapsing on the couch next to him. The reek of cheap beer could be smelled even from a short distance away.

"Whatcha reading?" Spain slurred, sliding over into Romano's personal space so the smell of beer was even more obvious. Romano closed the magazine he had been flipping through and turned to scold the idiot about getting so smashed when Spain's hand crept up his arm and came to rest at the back of his neck, caressing the short locks of brown on the back of his head. Romano flushed as Spain leaned closer, hazy eyes and the beer on his breath.


"Boss," Romano replied, his voice wavering as Spain hovered closer. He could feel the warm breath on his lips and suddenly every part of him was on edge as the hand on his neck pulled him closer. But Spain didn't kiss him; no, he either had no intention to or missed, as his lips lingered near his ear, the irregular breaths tickling his curl and sending delicious sensations all the way to his toes.

Spain murmured something but as Romano perked up his ears, the intoxicated nation was already saying, "…I want to, but I won't. But I will. Someday…" Romano jumped as Spain pressed something against his chest and stared as the wobbly nation stood from the couch and teetered toward his room. Looking down, Romano found an orange, coral-colored rose in his hands. Picking it up, he was pricked by one of the many thorns on its stem, but he found it didn't quite mind the pain much.

Red – true love

He was kneeling, sitting on his feet next to his bed, so he could have been mistaken as praying before sleeping. But he wasn't praying and it wasn't night; it was the clear afternoon and Romano was sulking.

"Brother." Feliciano poked his head into the door but Romano didn't turn around. "Romano…Spain's here to see you."

"Tell that bastard I don't want to talk to him."

"But Romano…" Feliciano seemed to grope for an argument. "He says he wants to see you."

"I don't want to look at him, alright!" Pulling the covers over his head, as if if he hid his head, he could hide his entire body from the world, he rested his arms on the mattress and rested his head on his arms. "Tell him to go away, dammit."

"But…" When Romano didn't relent, Feliciano scampered away to deliver the message. Romano sighed angrily, his breath heating the air around his face.

He was about to duck out from under the cave when he heard footsteps that did not come from his scatter-brained little brother down the hallway. He heard, felt Spain stand at the entrance of his room but he ignored it anyway.

"Romano." There was a sigh and he heard footsteps toward the bed. "Romano, I didn't forget. I was just trying to find the best and it's taken me this long to find it. But I didn't forget." The footfalls came to a stop next to him and Romano felt a motion to uncover his head.

"Don't touch me," he ordered, his words muffled from his arms. There was a pause, before he heard something fall on the bed with a light sound.

"Buon compleanno," Spain whispered, and Romano flushed, knowing the stupid nation would never know how he reacted just because the Spanish-speaking idiot spoke Italian. There was another pause, before the footsteps walked away, out of the room, and down the hallway. Not until he heard the front door close and Feliciano sigh did Romano poke his head out from the covers.

There was a single red rose, flawless in every way, sitting next to him.

"Stupid," Romano muttered, taking the rose in his hand. "Stupid, stupid bastard." He twirled the rose as he stared at it, concentrating on its dark, velvet color. "I don't love you back, I don't love you back," he murmured, knowing he was breaking a commandment while saying so but not caring at all.

On his way to yell at (not apologize to) Spain, Romano found a wild rose bush, the red more vibrant and untamed than the one sitting in vase in his room. He grabbed a handful of blossoms, unflinching as the many thorns cut into his hand. He wasn't afraid of the pain, and furthermore, Spain would be extremely grateful for them, as he had to accept them for all his trouble.

And anyway, Spain would be there to kiss them better.



Note: I hope this fic regenerated the love you have for this pairing, as it did mine. I really like this concept and it took me a while to research all these rose meanings! Arg! But hopefully, it came together in a fluid piece. Just because neither country would really say it out loud; Spain being dense and all and Romano being tsundere and all. You know how it is. Review, please! Leave me a rose!