I was skiing this past Saturday and as I was going up in the gondola, it experiences machinery trouble and stopped. Not for long, but long enough to have this ficlet pop into my head. ^^ Enjoy!

I hearby declare February Fluff Month. In celebration of Valentine's Day, I command you all to write, write fluff! Write fluff 'til you collapse from over-sugaration!!!

Ever notice the similarities between Canada and the guy who created Hetalia? No one really remembers his name, either. All I know is it's not me.


Gondola Rides

"Germanyyyy~ My legs hurt! Are we nearly there?" Italy hung on to the taller man's arm, and dragged his feet. The line inched slowly along. Germany rolled his eyes. "We're nearly there," he said, trying not to snap at Italy.

The brunette fiddled with his ski goggles and pulled his hat down over his ears. He blew puffs of smoky breath out in front of him, giggling.

Germany adjusted his skis on his shoulder, and nudged Italy to get him to move as the line trundled along. The bubbly Italian bounced –how he could do this, all bundled up in winter jacket, scarves, and ski pants, Germany didn't understand- besides him, gripping his skis in one hand and his poles in the other. Germany glanced over at the gondolas, gliding up and down, sliding into the port and slowing down for the skiers to put their skis in the racks on the sides of the little cabins, and hop in, before they sailed up, hauled along at a swift clip to the summit, high above. The chain of gondolas stretched all the way up, until they disappeared in the fog that was rolling in.

Germany couldn't repress a smile. Skiing was fun, even for him, and even when he had a chattery, what-do-you-mean-tree-in-the-way Italian to keep an eye on.

Italy had been so excited to go skiing in the Alps away from those in his own country, that Germany couldn't turn him down. He was glad he had agreed to the outing; he had been so busy lately, that he had forgotten how much he enjoyed flying down a mountain, feeling the rush of adrenaline that accompanied the hairpin turns and launching off jumps.

Italy was, he was pleased to note, a pretty good skier. He had told Germany that he likd skiing at home, but the Italian was so clumsy in general that the German had had his doubts. However, the brunette seemed imbued with a sort of inborn talent for flying off course, maintaining his balance, and skidding around people.

Now, they had gotten in line for the gondola, to go up to the summit of the skiing mountain. It was part of the Bernese range, which was in Switzerland, but Germany had decided that Vash had far more important things on his mind that a few Axis powers skiing in his mountains.

Germany was also sure that there was an innuendo somewhere in that previous thought, but he wasn't going to dwell on that. Nothing to ruin the so far pleasant day.

Finally, the twitchy Italian and the contemplative German rounded the corner of the last loop of the line. The gondolas trundled along, and the mufflered man attending the line waved at them to go ahead and get in. the gondolas were four person carriages, and Germany was not looking forward to sharing with the squabbling French couple behind them, but luckily as they were loading their skis in the rack on the outside of the little carriage, the man dropped his pole, tripped his wife (accidentally or otherwise, Germany was not sure) and they began shouting in rapid French at each other. The gondola man hurried to break up the spat that was growing louder and louder, and the gondola began approaching the end of the loading line, so Germany and Italy merely hopped on.

The gondola picked up speed, and began to quickly ascend.

Italy leaned his ski poles against the side of the cabin, and pressed his nose to the plastic window. "Oh, look, Germany! We're going really high!" Germany rolled his eyes at the rather obvious statement, but he smiled at the Italian's eagerness.

Italy was sitting on the little bench across from Germany. In the little cabin, their knees almost touched. He leaned forward and grinned brightly. "I love skiing," he declared. "Especially with you, Germany! We have so much fun!" he whistled cheerily, not noticed the blush that spread across the blonde's face. Germany adjusted his woolen hat self consciously over his ears. His hair wasn't slicked back –what was the point, if he was going to be wearing a ski hat- and his bangs, flattened by the hat, kept getting in his eyes. "I-I like skiing with you, too, Italy," he mumbled, embarrassed, but pleased.

"Really? Yay!" Italy sang, happily, waving his arms excitedly. "We should go skiing much more often!"

The gondola rose, quiet excepting the occasional 'ooo' and 'Germany! Germaaaany! Look!' from Italy.

But, only a few minutes after they had started, the gondola came to an abrupt, swinging halt.

Italy turned away from the window and frowned. "What's going on? Why're we stopping?"

Germany groaned. This sometimes happened with these things; the machinery broke down, or someone slipped, or missed their carriage. He wondered if the French couple had something to do with it. He peered out the back window, trying to see what was going on far below, at the loading station, but the mist had rolled in and the gondola was swathed in fog. He turned back to Italy. "This could take some time, or none at all," he said, calmly.

Italy sighed.

Silence.

"Germaaaany…"

"Yes?"

"…I'm bored."

Germany rolled his eyes. "Let's hope it's not the machinery, and we'll start going again soon."

A few minutes later…

"I think it's the machinery, Germany."

"Yes, it probably is."

"Are we gonna be stuck here forever?"

"Not forever…though I was once stuck in a gondola for half an hour. The diesel engine broke down."

Italy stood up and sat down on Germany's side of the bench, practically on the blonde's lap. He smiled and wrapped his arms around Germany's waist, burrowing his face into the other's chest.

Germany, blushing madly, put his arms awkwardly around Italy, who grinned into the blonde's ski jacket. "You're warm, Germany," Italy said, his voice muffled but entirely comfortable with the situation. He pulled back slightly and unzipped Germany's windbreaker, and then his woolen jacket then pressed his cheek against the vest Germany liked to wear skiing. "You must never get cold skiing," he said, happily. He twisted around, ski boots clunking against the floor of the cabin, and pulled the sides of the windbreaker around himself.

Germany wondered if he should put a stop to the proceedings, and tell Italy to get off his lap, but the gondola didn't seem to be going anyway anytime soon, and it did feel rather nice to have Italy curled up close to him.

Really close.

But, then again, it wasn't like this hadn't happened before…Italy would invariably find a way to slip into Germany's room and sleep in his bed almost every night, and the blonde had given up trying to push him out.

So this wasn't much different, Germany told himself, pulling his arms out of the windbreaker and wrapping them around Italy's waist, the windbreaker hanging off his shoulders. Italy giggled.

Germany looked down at the brunette in his arms. He was amazed at how…comfortable he felt. Like Italy was meant to just be there; wrapped safely in his arms. The slim frame seemed to fit perfectly against his more bulky one; like two pieces of a puzzle.

A puzzle, he decided, that's what all this was. A giant puzzle and he had no idea where the next piece went, or even what the picture would look like when it was done, or if it would ever be done. All of this; the war, the strange things jumbled around in his head, himself, and, of course- Italy. It was all a puzzle.

Italy looked up at Germany. "What're you thinking about, Germany?"

Germany gazed down at the Italian in his arms.

"…just; the war," he said, not quite a lie.

Italy pressed against him, closer. "It'll all be okay," he said, comfortably, "You'll be okay. And you'll make sure I'm okay, right?" he looked up, fairly confident in his statement.

Germany looked back helplessly at him, then smiled. "Yeah, I'll make sure you're okay." He kissed the top of Italy's forehead, gently, right under the bottom of his hat.

"The war…will turn out fine." The puzzle picture will be one of victory. And Italy will be safe.

With a roar and shaking, the gondola began to move; hauling itself up the mountain. Italy smiled brightly. "Ooo! We're moving!" he looked at Germany, brimming with happiness, and gave the blonde a light kiss on the cheek. "I love you, Germany!"

"…Ich liebe dich, Feliciano…" Germany murmured under his breath.

Maybe Italy had heard the whisper over the roar of the starting gondola engine from below, and maybe he hadn't.

It didn't really matter, the German told himself, after all; it's ridiculous to even think that way. Italy's just that type of person; carelessly affectionate. It doesn't mean anything.

Italy, sitting on Germany's lap, gazed out of the window ahead of him. Someday, he told himself, reassuringly, someday I'll tell him. For real.

The puzzle has to be put together. And the picture is still a mystery.


Yay for incredibly cheesy endings! Ah well; I had fun writing this drabble. ^^

I'm not going to give you the translation for the German phrase Ludwig says there in the end. If you're a GermanyxItaly fan and you don't know what that phrase is, SHAME ON YOU.


OMAKE THEATRE!

somewhere in the Austrian Alps, in a different gondola stopped for entirely unrelated reasons:

"Dammit! When's this frigging thing gonna move?" Prussia whacked the side of the cabin, hard.

"Don't hit the window, Gilbert." Austria said, unperturbed.

Prussia glared at him. "I hate it when these things stop. It's completely unawesome. And I'll never get on the slopes at this rate."

Austria looked sharply at him. "Maybe it's better if you didn't," he said, coldly. "Last run you nearly flattened that poor older woman, and you're flying off jumps in a most reckless fashion."

The albino cackled, and pulled his ski goggles over his red eyes. "Chicks that old shouldn't be on the slopes, Rod! And what's fun 'bout skiing if ya don't use the terrain parks? And the glades?"

"That was NOT a glade, Gilbert. That was backwoods!"

"There was a trail!"

"And a sign explicitly saying not to go back there!"

"You're no fun."

Silence.

..."WHEN'S THIS GODDAMNED GONDOLA GONNA MOVE, FRITZ CURSE IT!?"

Austria rubbed his aching temples and sighed. Why he ever went skiing with Prussia was beyond him.