Romano stared at the doorway of the empty house. He was in the middle of sweeping the entryway, for once actually doing one of his chores, in order to settle his mind. How long had Spain been gone this time? Three years? It had been too long.. The brunette clutched his broom tighter, feeling his eyes starting to well with tears. He really hated when the conquistador went off on his voyages and waged wars. Too many situations and images run through his mind, familiar ones, of blood and mangled bodies, cries and screaming. "Ngh.." He wiped at an eye. No, those things would not happen to Spain. His boss was dumb but he was also strong enough to take care of himself in battle. He had always come back home in relatively one piece. So why couldn't Romano stop crying?

He swept the stone floor, his arms the only parts of his body in motion. The rest of him felt like stone. He felt frozen. He stared down at the one clean spot of the room, the area he passed the broom over again and again as he silently tried to reassure himself that his boss was not dead or dying. It was always like this. Every day was either worry and tears, or anger. And lonliness. The house was so empty and cold without Spain. Antonio seemed to radiate his own sunshine, the whole place seemed to have a warm glow when the man was present. Not that Romano would ever admit that. He shook his head. "It's only because I've been alone.." he said. "Anyone would brighten up this damn place.."

Three years. Three fucking years. "T-that bastard.." Romano murmured. Years were supposed to be relatively short to nations, seeing as their life-spans passed into centuries in length. But alone in the big house, three years seemed more like thirteen years. The days passed so slowly, the house oddly cold and at times intimidating. There was no one to cook for him and to use as a human heater as he slept. There was no one to reassure him he was safe during the storms at in the middle of the night, or to tell him that the ominous shadows in the moonlight were just from the trees outside or the vases on pedistles Romano had a habit of breaking. However those fears should be subsiding at this point in time. After all, Romano was a growing boy, or rather, a young man at this point. In these past three years, little Romano had quite a growth spurt, to the point he had to use some of Spain's gold to go to a tailor and have new dresses made for him, ones that would fit his larger body.

However this growth had not changed Romano in many ways. He was still clumsy as ever, stubborn as ever, angry as ever, and cowardly as ever. He would still eat tomatoes a pile at a time, and take siestas in the middle of the afternoon. But with his boss gone, these small pleasures weren't as enjoyable as they usually were. Despite all pride and denial, there was one thing Romano could not help but know was true. He wanted Antonio to come home. So he gazed at the door, hoping it would swing open any second with a cheery Antonio holding up sacks of gold and baskets of delicious new foods. But all he saw instead was the heavy oak door.

Eventually his heart began to sink too low and he tore his eyes away from the entrance and dropped the broom on the floor. Perhaps a siesta would comfort his mind. He went into the bedroom he shared with his boss and took off his maid apron and dress, the outfit he had worn ever since he had become Antonio's subordinate. He tossed it haphazardly on the floor and crawled under the covers of the bed. Sleep would fix his mood, there was no doubt. So Romano wrapped himself in the blankets tightly, closed his eyes, and slowly drifted into unconsciousness.

"Romanito~ " Antonio drawled from the sofa. "Are you ready to go?". Romano huffed while putting on his shoes. "Almost, chigi! And don't call me Romanito, my name is Romano! Or Lovino! Pero no Romanito! I'm not little, you bastard!". The small italian didn't want to go to the party, but his Boss had ordered him to accompany him, so here he was in a colorful fiesta outfit that would surely match whatever Feliciano was wearing. That is, if Austria and Feliciano were going to be at the party. Romano had not been paying much attention when Antonio was happily babbling about the celebration.

Romano mused about this while walking over to the spaniard. That is, before he noticed Antonio was grinning stupidly at him like always, probably thinking to himself that his small follower was adorable in his outfit. Romano looked down at the feminine red and gold ruffled shirt adorned with a bow and red skirt a gold trim. A girly outfit, of course. Not that Romano really minded. He had been wearing girls clothes for years. The small italian snorted at his boss. "Are we going or what, chigi?". Antonio seemed surprised, that idiot. "Ah! Si, si, just one second!" he got up and picked up something from the small table near the door and brought it back to him. It was a small rose. He put it in Romano's hair and beamed. "Bonito~". Romano blushed and kicked him in the shin. "Jackass lets go.". The tan man laughed merrily. "Si, Romano, lets go." He opened the door and let the small figure hurry out of it and start down the road, and they were off to the party.

The party was a lot bigger than he expected it to be. There were people everywhere, all in bright colors and dancing to lively music. "Stay close to me, Romano." Antonio said as they walked through the crowd. Romano pouted. "I'm not stupid, I'm not gonna get lost." he gripped Antonio's hand just in case. He looked up to see a smiling Antonio. Stupid idiot, always smiling..

Antonio walked over to a set of two people, both were unfamiliar to Romano. He guessed they were drinking buddies of Antonio's from a tavern or something, seeing as Romano had seen all of Antonio's friends such as the albino and the Frenchman. One was the men Antonio was now conversing with was tall, perhaps an inch taller than Antonio. He looked very calm, unlike the short man next to him, who was dancing in place excitedly to the lively music and singing along, a bit offkey. Romano assumed that man was already drunk. After giving the pair a glance he grew bored and watched the crowd. He knew Antonio would be talking forever...

That was when Romano saw it. Across the room there was a table with food. Maybe there were tomatoes! He rushed through the crowd of dancers towards it and gazed up at it, standing on his weren't any tomatoes, but there were several delicious-looking cakes, just waiting for Romano to eat them! He reached, but was too small to grab at the treats. A woman nearby saw him and giggled, walking to the boy. "Chiquita, quieres un pedazo del pastel?". Romano reddened that she thought he was a girl. "Soy un chico!" He flusteredly exclaimed, much to the woman's surprise. "Ahh? Pero usted esta usanda ropa de una chica." she giggled. "Muy bonito" She handed him a slice of cake and patted his head, walking back towards a small group of people waiting for her.

Romano was flushed and irritated as he began to eat, but halfway through the piece of cake his embarrassment was forgotten. He happily devoured the sweet, sitting on the floor by the table and watching the couples dance to energetic latin beats. When he was done he pushed the plate under the table and stood, licking frosting from his lips. He once again weaved his way across the the sea of dancing adults to where Antonio was supposed to be still happily chirping to the tall man. But there was no one there. Romano froze. The idiot was supposed to be here. Why wasn't he here? He looked around in all directions, but saw no one but strangers. Panic shot through him. Where was he? The young italian ran into the crowd of dancers, looking up at the unfamiliar faces, hoping that one of them would be the goofy smile of his stupid boss. But none of them were.

"Antonio?" He shouted, running through the crowd and bumping into the legs of dancers. There was no reply. He continued to shout and run about, petrified without his guardian. But he didn't see the man anywhere in the room. Not on the dance floor, not by the food, not in the bathroom, not at the tables where guests conversed while they ate, not at the bar where people were drinking merrily and singing in slurred spanish.

Nowhere.

After what seemed like forever Romano sat down outside the doors of the ballroom and started to cry. He was never going to find him.

"Romano?"

Romano's head shot up, staring at the man in front of him. It was Spain. Romano looked, blinked, and then..

the boy started to cry.

"Y-You idiot! Why did you leave me? I was looking for you, dammit! Stupid adults almost stepped on me! And some dumb woman called me a girl! A-And i was sc- You idiot!"

The man blinked as though confused. "Pero Romano, you were the one who ran away from me !I looked down and you had vanished! I was looking all ov- Don't cry! Ayyy.." Antonio kneeled down and hugged him. The man pet his hair and whispered to him in comforting tones. "Lo siento, amigo. Esta bien, esta bien ahora, estoy aqui. I won't leave you again.."

Romano's eyes opened slowly.

"What a liar."

end of chapter one.

Author's Notes: Uwaaa! This is only the opening, so forgive how short it is! Antonio will make his appearance in the next chapter. Poor Lovino is lonely. Don't worry, you'll see your boss sooner than you think!

translations:

Pero no romanito = But not Romanito

Bonito = cute

Chiquita, quieres un pedazo del pastel? = Little girl, do you want a piece of cake?

Soy un chico = I'm a boy

Pero usted esta usanda ropa de una chica = But you're wearing girl's clothes.