The original request for this fic was "south/north italy ( enjoying the company of another, for once as north italy is with germany most of the time, by a riverside in italy )". As I love writing brotherly relationships, this was a joy to write. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia

On the Banks

It was still relatively early in the morning, only 7 a.m., and most of their people had taken advantage of the day off to lounge in bed for a few extra hours, leaving shops and streets much emptier than they usually were.

Romano sat at the outdoor table of the little restaurant his brother had dragged him to, poking at his omelet in mild annoyance. Aside from the fact that he detested waking up early, there was the added fact that Feliciano not only seemed unfazed from waking up at such a godforsaken hour, he was also humming happily as he chewed his pasta (and who the hell ate pasta for breakfast, anyways?!).

"What's wrong Lovi? You aren't eating your yummy food, you're just poking that tomato… did something happen with Spain? Did he hurt you? Tell me!"

Romano sighed. Of all the brothers to get, he had to get the loudest and most obnoxious; why couldn't his brother be more like that guy, America's brother? The quiet one. And, why the hell did he choose this moment to be perceptive enough to notice that all of Lovino's efforts had been placed into pushing around the cherry tomato used to garnish his plate, when the Mediterranean half of their nation had not even noticed it himself?

"Nothing's wrong, fratello." He nearly spat the word. "Everything's just peachy."

His arms were crossed over his chest, his gaze focused on the tablecloth, but still Lovino could not help but look up; it was exactly as he'd expected: Feliciano's eyes were already watery.

"Tch, if you let everything people say get to you, you'll always be a weak baby, Feliciano! Man up!"

"B-but, L-Lovi… I just want to talk with you! I miss being with you…" The younger whimpered, and Romano sighed again; it hadn't been 2 full hours yet, and already his baby brother had him guilt tripped.

Still, Lovino was too stubborn to relent. "Oh? Well, it's not like it's my fault we haven't been spending time together! You're always hanging off of that stupid potato bastard, it's amazing your arms haven't snapped off already!"

When Feliciano tightened his hand into a fist, Lovino had to admit he was mildly surprised. "But I ask you to join us, Lovi! You're the one who always refuses!"

"Because I don't like that macho wurst-lover, Feliciano! And you should always choose to spend time with me over him!!! Brothers are more important than creepy, burly German bastards!"

Feliciano sighed, wiping away at the few tears that had leaked out and shaking his head.

"Look, let's just not talk about this, okay? No more talking about him for the rest of the day, okay. Today is just about us."

Knowing that the sigh and the heaviness in Lovino's tone were as close to an apology as his brother would come on the subject, Feliciano nodded, wiping the last tears off and hugging his brother tightly.


"Come on Lovi. We haven't hugged in so long, please please please let me hug you?"

Lovino would never admit this to anyone, and if ever asked he would deny it to his deathbed, but Feliciano's hugs were amazing: warm, firm, loving, everything Lovino had needed but was too stubborn and scared to ask for. So he left the boy to hug him, grateful that the streets were still mostly empty and giving the evil eye to the people who were smiling at the scene.

"Ve, ve, hurry fratello!"

Romano huffed, not quite out of breath but still wondering where Feliciano got all this energy from. People were not meant to run up hills while their stomachs were still full, after all. Barely able to mutter a curse, even under his breath, because of the hill's steepness, he was relieved to reach the top and finally fall onto the grass, closing his eyes and regaining his breath. In, out. In, out.

"Fratello! Wake up, look, look!" Romano scowled, unable to enjoy even the sunlight warming his face without Veneziano's shadow blocking it. Allowing his hazel eyes to slide open, he was first struck with Feliciano's deep brown ones above him.

"Too close, stupid!" He growled, placing a hand on his brother's chest to lightly push him away, and the younger Italy bounced back, rocking on his knees.

"Look at the river, fratello, it's beautiful!" The elder brother sat back up, eyes surveying the water with barely a glimmer of interest.

"It's water, Feliciano, it looks like water. You're supposed to be Venice, you should be used to this." He scoffed, falling back onto the ground. This time his gaze fixed on the sky, this morning almost cloudless. He could just get lost in all that blue….

Maybe he had. That would explain how his baby brother was able to lay down beside him so that their hips touched, how Feliciano was able to intertwine their fingers without the elder noticing. When Romano did notice, he found that he was too comfortable to move, too lazy to even comment, and instead let his brother's warm palm rest in his own lax grip.

A few moments passed in this silence, the only audible sounds the rushing river beneath the hill and the occasional bird calls, until Romano, feeling his leg go numb, shook it to regain some feeling.

Feliciano, sensing the movement, turned over and beamed. "Oh, fratello, I didn't know you were awake now! We can go do more fun stuff now, or sing, or talk, or maybe we can go make some pasta~"

As the younger brother continued to make a list of all the things the two could do, mentioning pasta at a rapidly increasing rate, Romano was reminded of why exactly he hadn't wanted his younger brother to know he was up. Sighing, he pressed a gentle hand over Feliciano's mouth, effectively shutting him up, and pulled it back when his brother's curious chocolate eyes told him he wasn't going to speak.

"Feliciano, how about we just go for a walk?"

The younger brother's expression was nothing short of a thousand watt beam of light, but somehow it didn't annoy Romano as much as it normally would have. In fact, the older brother allowed his hand to be taken without so much as even a frown of distain, despite the fact that Feliciano started to swing them as he skipped down hill again.

When the two got up to the riverbank, the younger Italy peered into the water, crouched down beside it and staring at the crystal flow intently.

"Fratello, there are fish in here!" He squealed, sticking a finger in the water to coax the small red creature to him, and Romano found that he couldn't find it in his to chide his brother. Getting down on his knees beside Feliciano, the elder watched the fish dance around in the river, before swimming up ahead and out of sight.

"Ve, let's follow it, Lovi!" But Romano didn't let his brother's hand go, and when the younger Italy looked at him with questioning eyes he simply sighed.

"Leave him be, stupid." But it was obvious to the both of them that Romano's insult was a term of endearment; Feliciano grinned and nodded, jumping up and pulling his brother up with him. The two walked (or skipped, in Feliciano's case), down the riverbank, moments passing away in meaningless conversation about pasta, tomatoes, art, trade, and even more of them passing in a comfortable silence.

It wasn't until his brother's stomach grumbled violently that Romano realized the sky was painted orange with an early sunset.

Feliciano chuckled sheepishly, before it melted away into a dizzying smile.

"Can we have pasta for dinner?" Romano wondered why his brother even bothered asking; it was a given, when you spent the day with Feliciano, pasta was always on your plate. Still, he realized that Feliciano was finally asking him for his input, and smiled.

"Sure, why not?"

"Yay! That's good, because I've got a surprise for you, Lovi!"

That made the elder brother freeze in his tracks. "For me?"

"Yup!" And Feliciano scurried off up to the trees at the top of the hill, and from behind one of them he produced-

"A picnic basket?"

"Uh-huh! I was thinking for a long, long time to think of something special I could do for you, but nothing I could think of seemed to make you happy, since you already get frustrated at everything, but then Big Brother Spain told me that when he took you on a picnic you actually smiled, and so I decided-"

"-he said WHAT?"

Feliciano blinked, and when he saw how red and violent his brother had become, he pouted.

"What did I say?! Don't be mad at me, Lovi!!" He waved his arms in the air helplessly, and Lovino sighed. Inhale, exhale.

"I'm not mad." At you. "Now, let's just eat, okay?"

Romano could not help but catch the frown that stuck on his brother's face, and a pool of guilt filled his stomach. He sat down beside Feliciano on the mat, as his brother hastily passed over a small container of pasta, covered in fresh, tangy tomato sauce (Feliciano's special homemade tomato sauce, he realized), and a white plastic fork.

The elder brother refused to meet his younger counterpart's eyes as he accepted the food with a murmured 'grazie'. From the first bite his mouth was hit was a burst of flavor, pasta made in the way that only Feliciano could; the best pasta Romano ever tasted, not that he'd ever told his brother so. Maybe he should…

Once again Romano could feel his pride cut the words off in his throat, and another peek revealed a boy who was taking another piece of penne into his mouth with such a subdued look it was a wonder the northern part of their shared nation was not experiencing severe rainstorms. The elder brunet sighed, before muttering, gaze still focused on where the checkered sheet met the fresh green grass.

"Grazie, Feliciano."


"I said, grazie, Feli."

"Y-You called me Feli. You never call me Feli!" In an instant that frown had turned back into its sloppy grin, and Feliciano was right beside his brother, arms wrapped around him neck lovingly.

"And you never put your pasta down, but I guess there's a first time for everything, huh?" He grumbled, but there was a smile on Romano's face that was completely unmistakable.

Germany was not exactly in the best of moods, but that might have been because it was a chilly night, and he was sent on a mission scouring the empty Italian riverbanks. He'd been at it for two hours now, and without hair or hide of either Italy, the German did not want to admit that he might have been just a bit worried.

With a sigh he passed his flashlight briefly over another small hill, and was about to call it quits when the light bounced back. Something reflective?

When he reached the top of the hill, the burly blond was met with the remains of the picnic spread (including the empty jar that had caused the reflection). What he was more interested in, however, the two brunet boys were laying in the grass, the younger curled up against his elder's side, and the elder with his arms tightly around his junior. The two looked completely identical in this scene, a glitch Germany first attributed to the darkness of night…

Until he realized, Romano was smiling.

Aw, that was sweet, wasn't it? Drop me a line with your feedback, please!