Not essentially a romance, but it is about love and intimacy (on an entirely unromantic and non-sexual level). But if you dig it for a fluffy slash, go wild.
The doctors said he was a lost cause, that he had hit his limit. The nurses could only look on with a limited instant of sympathetic despair, before rushing off to tend to someone who at least had enough life in them to scream.
All that power— gone. Dashed into the ember-littered wind. Everything that stood as strong, unyielding and forever nothing but a waste, something weak and rasping.
Such a misrepresentation of the wonders of what had existed before, had begun to flourish. Feliciano had seen it the very day he met him, a sign of absoluteness, of undeniability. A solidity that was comforting and reassuring to him. He had been an icon of construction, having extraordinary command over an acute understanding of infinite, interconnecting details; for logistics, strategy, functionality.
And underneath this determined shell, Feliciano had come to adore, what an endearing inner person existing with the most intense, muddled feelings. Was still capable of great sorrow against his stoicism, was capable of great compassion. Had been so isolated and blind to the simplest of joys he was infused with fascination, and practically smitten time and time again.
But this being that Feliciano had come to love was dying. Was almost dead.
The once powerful man lay like a fallen, forgotten king in a dirty hospital bed. Two wires, one of water and one of blood to top up on both he had lost, trailed up on a drip, which loomed like a morose pike beside the bed. The frame of the bed was battered from the previous users agonised thrashing, the mattress worn from being caught on embedded shrapnel. The sheets were offwhite but scrubbed the best they could, trying to hide the last stains of blood as clean sheets became a luxury.
His skin was pale, but rottenly so. His chest barely shifted, his lungs wheezing with breaths that barely whispered to Feliciano's skin if he leaned in. Jaw was slightly slack, entire body complacent and yielding to the damage it had suffered.
He must have gone comatose, the doctor had said quite dismissively. He hadn't responded for almost 2 weeks.
It was like a death sentence.
Feliciano was this fallen king's only company as he must have been slipping away. At least, Feliciano tried to comfort them, they were not in an on-field hospital. The screams from other wards were quite faint, almost distant if you paid no attention. The windows weren't bullet-shattered and their certainly wasn't any shelling making the equipment tremble. At least, he can pass, in peace….
Feliciano's chest hitched up in the beginning of a sniffle, throat constricting. The absence of the battle just seemed to leech the energy from the air, as if this really was the place Ludwig was going to die.
He had drawn his chair up close to the bed, waiting with him and caring for him until…until…
He traced weary fingers through flaxen strands – greasy from the gel that had been used to style it back and from the rare sight of fresh, soapy water – fingertips grazing the gauze and bandaging on his forehead. Ludwig had not been here long, and not all his battlefield wounds had healed. He still had cuts (albeit clean now) littered his once perfect face, still had scrapes and burns on his jaw and at the base of his neck. His arms lay lifeless at his sides, binding the sheet to his body. Whatever else that marred his body was hidden behind that awful cloth.
Feliciano wished he could have at least, if they were going to be far from battle, to at least be at home. Maybe the smell of his home cooked wurst and potatoes would rouse a flustered disregard for his injuries and simply insist he return to battle, fit as a fiddle. It was a fantasy, Feliciano knew, weaved out of his exhausted, bordering on paranoid imagination. Occasionally it had tricked him into seeing Ludwig's eyelids twitch, but after a whole half an hour of painstaking scrutiny, Feliciano knew he had to rest.
And by rest, fall asleep in a sitting position at Ludwig's bedside until he fell forward and lurched again awake again.
There were more tears on Feliciano's face as he gazed at his friend, lying so helplessly and so unlike him. Not responding to his tears hurt him so much; to not have piercing eyes flood with dread and concern, for his straight posture not to open in askance. Because the knowledge that no one would be there to allow him to indulge in the full-throttle weeping that he so craved to unleash, that no one cared if he was crying, was enough to silence his tears.
It had been so long, and Feliciano longed for anything to centre Ludwig's existence again. To be yelled at one last time seemed like a luxury he could not even comprehend to deserve.
He ought to go check on Romano, to make sure he's ok. Feliciano himself had healed of all his battle wounds (not that he had grave ones, due to his activity, or lack thereof), but Romano might need him. He couldn't sit here to die with his friend, even though he wanted to.
He scraped the chair forward as far as it would go, looking over the eased face. No lines, no frowns or scowls. Ludwig…looked at peace. Feliciano cast a tearful gaze, making small sounds of crying, cradling Ludwig's head gently against the pillow. He gazed at him for a while, thumbs tracing comforting circular motions into his temples. Feliciano raised himself up a bit so he was sitted over his friend.
Still his breath was shallow to the point of barely being there. Feliciano swallowed quietly, stroking a scraped cheekbone with utmostcare. A teardrop hit Ludwig's nose and trailed down his face into his ear, and Feliciano quickly flinched away to control himself before moving back. To just soak in his features. The blond hair messy and relaxed, like Feliciano had so rarely spied it. Face no long tight, but the creased eased away and the usually rockhard features slack and soft. His distinctive jawline, the otherwise stern brow.
Goodbye, my friend.
Feliciano leant over, the farewell in his head and the goodbye on his face, going to place a final, single, chaste kiss to the German's unmoving lips.
The sweet, soft sound of lips touching in a kiss.
When Feliciano's had touched, he had felt dry, cracked lips pinch up and rise to meet his.
It had been a very mutual gesture.
I'm still alive.
Feliciano stared at the death-like face and suddenly it was transformed into one of bare-consciousness, of life masked by the bodies exhaustion. Ludwig was alive, and well, and aware enough to tell him not to leave, that he was not dead!
Feliciano would have processed this much, but he was busy leaping to his feet, crying his eyes out in joy, yelling for a nurse to come quick. Then after screaming for help and hearing hurried footsteps, Feliciano collapsed back to Ludwig's level and snatched up his hand, grasping it in both of his and crying into it.
He knew Ludwig would feel the tears, but maybe he just didn't have the strength to wipe them away. But that didn't matter. Feliciano could care for him till then. Ludwig was alive, he was going to be fine.
We're going to be fine.
This was done in approximately 40 minutes straight off the top of my head on the single prompt of a sideways kiss. It was meant to be an exploration of a kiss not being a thing you did for romance, for sensation and for loveydovey touchyfeely stuff. I was looking at a kiss as a GESTURE. While I ship GerIta (who can't, it's so canon its historically accurate) and I've always been a platonic shipper at heart. Kisses and hugs are no stranger to Italy and Germany, but nonetheless are still intense, intimate gestures. This kiss wasn't about it feeling good, or expressing their feelings of undying, sudden love for each other. It was a simple message conveying love, reassurance and intimacy on a level unknown to romance. A relatively minute gesture that carries alot of baggage. Germany had to express to Italy that he was alive and well, on the inside, without having many muscles to his movement. It was a mutual, particupating gesture that conveyed exactly what it needed to.
I really liked the idea of the little kiss sound. It was sweet, simple, and sort of heartwrenching.
Hope you enjoyed! If you did, please review!