A certain area on the border of France and Spain was rather quiet this afternoon. The summer breeze was warm, and the only sounds that could be heard were those of nature herself- the birds singing cheerfully and the light shuffling of leaves as the wind blew gently against the trees. The peace could only last so long, however, when a man was on a mission. An awesome mission. A mission of…revenge.
Suddenly, the clearing went completely silent and instead, the air was filled with loud, obnoxious laughter as someone came thundering in, riding a giant vehicle. The ground crunched beneath its heavy wheels and the grass was torn away as a cement mixer barreled into the field and stopped right next to the deep, stone well in the center. Boots hit the ground and after a few adjustments, a shadow fell across the edge of the well as a man stared down into its depths.
"It's over for you, kesese! You've done all the damage you're going to do! Now your days of ruining lives are finished!"
It didn't matter that he was talking to an inanimate object. He was too awesome to care. As Prussia poured cement down into the abyss of the cursed well he had spent a week trapped in, he decided that he had never felt nobler. This was his service to society- no, the world! He'd rid the Earth of this abomination and never give it the chance to utter the words no one wanted to hear again!
He was leaning over the edge, feeling rather proud of himself, when suddenly, a voice shouted out behind him.
The albino jumped, wobbling precariously over the edge of the well he was leaning on. He let out a shriek as he tumbled towards the center, but hand reached out and grabbed him, reeling him back to safety.
"Now, now, mon ami," the other man laughed. "We don't need a repeat of the last incident."
"I-I wasn't going to fall in!" Prussia gasped, biting back an "again." "I'm too awesome to fall into the same trap twice, you know!"
"Well, I'll stand by just in case then," France smirked. "What in the world are you up to, Prusse?"
The Prussian straightened up and grinned, pride returning to his face and glinting in his eyes.
"I'm doing mankind a favor," he stated boldly. "This well's not telling another truth ever again! From now on, people's secrets will stay where they belong! Hidden!"
"That's all very well," France laughed, with no pun intended. "But it'd be a terrible shame if you were sacrificed in the process and forever encased in the monument of your doom."
"Tch. Don't worry! I won't give you a reason to come saving me again! I can take care of myself!"
If he had to be honest with himself, Prussia would have to admit that he was embarrassed that his friend had needed to come to his rescue at all in the first place. But there was still a part of him that was secretly grateful, and it was lucky that France understood him enough to know that this part existed. The Frenchman smiled, resting his hand on the other man's shoulder.
"I know you can," the blonde replied. "But it doesn't hurt to have some insurance."
He gave Prussia's shoulder a squeeze, and the other man clapped him hard on the arm in response with a glint in his eye that said "thanks."
"Just wait till everyone else sees this. They'll all be thanking me! Kesese. Serves the damn thing right."
He pulled away from France to get a better look at his progress once again, when all of a sudden, the ground started shaking. Prussia gasped, taking a step away from the well and suddenly, France yanked him back towards the side of the cement truck as the Well of Uncomfortable Truths suddenly erupted, sending wet cement flying into the air like some kind of concrete volcano. The Frenchman held him tightly against the truck, and Prussia found himself holding onto his friend in spite of himself. His eyes were tightly closed for a moment and then he peeked slightly, assessing the damage he had caused to the clearing. Damn, it was a mess. Puddles of wet cement lay everywhere, and a few of the loose stones from the well had crumbled, leaving the structure looking like it was in ruins. From deep within the stony walls, an angry voice bellowed up at them.
"All who turn a deaf ear to the truth will find themselves living a false life! Take heed and don't you dare attempt to silence me again…asshole."
And with that, the Well went quiet. France and Prussia stared at it silently, still stunned by the sudden occurrence. Who would have known the Well would fight back? It was only after a few moments that they realized they were still clinging to one another. Both men couldn't help but burst out laughing.
"Haha! You should have seen your face!" Prussia jeered, releasing France and holding his sides from how much it hurt.
"Oh, but I doubt it was as amusing as your own," the Frenchman retorted. "I was so sure you were about to wet yourself."
"Like hell I'd ever do anything as unawesome as that!" the Prussian yelled, but the grin was still wide across his face.
"Well, mon ami,your pants would suggest differently."
Crimson eyes widened and shot down to check himself immediately, but, finding his crotch quite dry, Prussia frowned in confusion and looked up at his friend again, only to see the other smirking teasingly as he reached around him and gave him a playful spank.
"Made you look," France laughed, thoroughly enjoying the look of shock on the albino's face.
France was grateful for the head start his friend gave him as he began to dash away, both men still laughing.
England was sitting on the couch in America's living room, sipping on a cup of tea that was nowhere near as fine as his own, but still appreciated. After all, the younger nation had made it for him himself.
"I still can't believe you did that!" America laughed, sitting next to him with a cup of coffee in his hand. "There are easier ways to get my attention you know! Ways that don't require stripping…Not that I'm complaining!"
The Briton almost spat out the tea in his mouth.
"I was not strippingfor you!"
"Oh, yeah, you were already stripped when you came out!"
England was losing his composure quickly, and he had to set the cup back on its saucer on the coffee table to keep from spilling its contents. He was still having trouble coming to terms with the fact that he had taken advice from France of all people, and it had been such a ridiculous, embarrassing plan that he had agreed to go through with. What was I thinking?The nation couldn't believe he had been so desperate as to pop out of a cake mostly naked and dance just to get the American's attention. If it hadn't been for that bloody well and his own lack of judgment…
"I was forced," he finally settled on.
America raised an eyebrow.
"Forced, huh? So who put you up to it?"
"France, of course. Who do you think?"
It was true. More or less. America just stared at the older nation for a while before he burst out laughing. The Briton's mouth was slightly agape for a moment before he closed it to glare at the other country indignantly.
"I know! It was a ridiculous mistake, and I haven't the slightest idea what possessed me to do it in the first place."
"Really? I thought it was kind of awesome!"
England stared at the other man, dumbfounded. He certainly hadn't been expecting to hear that.
"Yeah, I mean, I never expected anything like that from you! Didn't even think you had the guts!"
England frowned at him.
"Well, maybe if you'd get your head out of the clouds and start paying attention to what's around you, I wouldn't have to resort to such- such-, erm…"
The Briton turned his reddened face away, holding his tongue and trying to get that ridiculous image of that cake dancer costume out of his head. He was going to kill France. The man must have hypnotized him or something. Yes, that was a perfectly valid assumption. Perhaps America would buy that.
He turned back the American to finish his statement, only to find the other alarmingly close. England let out a bit of a gasp and leaned away from him, his cheeks flushed red.
"W-what are you doing?" he burst out.
"What am I doing?" America laughed. "I'm giving you attention!"
"I want personal space too!"
"You can't have everything!" the other man answered. "Especially when the things you want conflict with each other."
He wrapped his arms around the other man suddenly and nuzzled into England's shoulder, making the older man go stiff. This was so embarrassing and undignified, but it was…kind of nice too. Wait, was he really allowing this? He could almost hear that frog's teasing voice in his head taunting. Isn't this what you wanted, mon ami? You should be thanking me now…No way he would ever be grateful to France, though! Not after what he had "made" him do. England tried to push America off of him, but his efforts fell short. Instead, he just rested his hands on the younger country's shoulders and gripped them tightly. He felt America's hand come up to his face and stroke his cheek, fingers running through the sandy blonde hair. The Briton's face became significantly more flushed, and he had trouble bringing his eyes up to meet the blue ones before him.
"You didn't have to do that," America's voice said, suddenly a bit more serious. "I've liked you for a long time, England. I would have tried harder to get closer to you if I had thought you actually wanted me to. You always act like you hate me, but I know you don't."
England swallowed thickly, eyes still averted. It took him a while to respond, but when he finally did, the words came to him easier than he would have thought they would.
"I never hated you, America. You're annoying, yes, and thick-headed and obnoxious and too childish for your own good-" he ignored the frown on the other's face "- but I've always cared about what you thought of me, and I just wanted you to…look up to me again. Like you used to."
The younger nation laughed, pulling back at bit and grinning widely at the nation next to him.
"Is that what this is about? You wanted to be the hero? Well, that explains the cape! I loved the heroic briefs too!"
England shoved the other man off of him, fuming.
"I'm trying to be honest with you, you bloody git! You can at least try to respect that and take things seriously for once!"
"Haha, I'm sorry…Really- H-hey, wait! England! Where are you going?"
"Away from here. I never should have let you convince me to come in the first place," the other nation replied, already making his way towards the door. "I was a fool to think you'd take my feelings seriously!"
"Wait, no! England!"
The Briton turned a deaf ear to the other and reached for the handle, but all at once, he was stopped by strong arms wrapping around his chest. The older man gasped in surprise. He hadn't expected his former colony to move that fast. Escape was rather impossible now as the other held him tightly against him.
"Don't go, please."
"I don't see why I should stay. Give me one good reason."
It was then that he felt the American's lips press just behind his ear.
"I can give you more than one," the voice behind him said quietly and kissed him again. The Briton was blushing brightly as America stepped in front of him so he could see his face. "England, I meant what I said. I like you. I like you just the way you are, so you don't have to change for me. Really…"
There was honesty in his voice and affection in his eyes as he looked back at the older nation.
"So you're satisfied with this 'boring' self of mine? Am I interesting enough for you after all?" England asked with his usual sarcasm, though it was hard to keep frowning at a face like that.
"Yes, I'm very interested in you," America replied, leaning in so their noses almost touched. "Now will you sit down with me so we can finish our drinks?"
England sighed and finally consented ("Don't give me that kicked puppy face, you wanker!"). And despite his previous resolve to leave quickly, he stayed long past after the cups of tea and coffee were drained.
And finally, at Spain's house…
"The last box! You're finally all the way moved in, Roma!" Spain chirped happily, setting a large cardboard box full of Romano's belongings on the floor of his living room.
"Not yet, bastard," the Italian replied, picking up some of his possessions and putting them in their rightful place, slowly taking over half of his lover's house. "I still have to finish unpacking."
He was just putting some of his framed photos up on the mantelpiece when suddenly, Spain's arms wrapped around his waist and held him close. The Italian's breath hitched for a moment, but he soon relaxed, easing into the comforting embrace that he'd been deprived of all these weeks and hiding the blush on his cheeks.
"I'm so happy you're home," Spain sighed, burying his face in the crook of Romano's neck.
The Italian was quiet for a moment, slightly in awe of how badly he had missed the simplest of touches, the way Spain's hair tickled his jaw, the Spaniard's voice vibrating so close to his ear, the warmth of his body as it pressed against his…It was a wonder he had been able to get by so long without it. No wonder his month had been so miserable. What? No! He had been doing just fine…It was just- having this back really wasn't so bad. Maybe even wonderful.
"Yeah, I'm…I'm happy to be home too," Romano finally replied honestly, leaning back into the embrace.
Spain brought his head up a bit, kissing his lover on the cheek and resting his hands on the other's hips.
"Don't ever leave me again, Roma. Please," Spain murmured, keeping his grip tight, "I don't know what I'd do without you."
The Italian shuffled a little, embarrassed by the other's words and not really sure how to respond. He had no intention of separating himself from Spain, not after all they had been though, and especially now that he knew the truth about how the Spaniard felt. His usual self-doubt and insecurity had been overcome. He had no reason to question Spain's love for him like he had done on and off for centuries. But would it last? Would Romano be able to avoid falling back into that uncertainty again?
"I won't," he said. "I can't. I…I'm not going anywhere, okay? You don't have to get all sappy about it, idiot. Can't you see all my shit is here? Can't you see I'mhere? If I didn't want to stay, I wouldn't have come back. I'm stuck with you, bastard. And you're…you're stuck with me too, dammit."
He turned his head away and yelled in protest when Spain started snuggling him roughly, practically smothering the poor Italian.
"So cute! My Roma! I love youuuu!"
"CHIGIII! Let me go, you bastard! I still have to finish this, dammit!"
But despite the amount of verbal abuse he threw at his lover, Romano still didn't push him away. He whined and insulted and objected, but he made no move to force the Spaniard off of him. And so, Spain continued to snuggle and fuss over him until Romano finally turned around and allowed a kiss, and then, the two finished unpacking the Italian's boxes together.
Once they were done, Spain took Romano by the hand and led him out into the backyard and into the tomato fields.
"Come on, Roma! I need to show you something!"
"What is it, bastard?' the Italian murmured as he was jerked behind his excited lover, but even he couldn't hide the curiosity in his features.
The Spaniard didn't take him far. Once they were surrounded by tomatoes on all sides, he stopped and turned back to Romano, grinning widely.
"Look at our tomatoes! I took good care of them while you were gone. Aren't you happy, Roma?"
Romano looked around to see that the tomatoes were, indeed well-tended. Not that he had expected any less from Spain. The man loved the fruits as much as he did, and there was no way he'd let them wither, whether Romano was around to care or not.
"But…they almost died, you know," a voice said suddenly, snapping Romano out of his thoughts. The Italian gave Spain a confused look as he continued. "After you left, I was so useless…I forgot to come out here and water them. I didn't even come out to check on them once. But then I realized- these are ourtomatoes. They were the last part of you I had to hold on to. So I watered them…I checked on them everyday, twice a day, and kept the bugs and pests away. The whole time I was taking care of them, I was thinking of you."
Romano stared at him for a moment, oddly touched. He had never thought about what it would be like to come back here and see the fields that he and Spain had kept up for ages falling apart. It would have really hurt him, he realized. Even though the fields had seen hard times in the past, especially during war and famine, they had always survived somehow or been resurrected. These tomatoes held a lot of memories for him, and it was only just now that Romano realized how much seeing them healthy mattered to him. It meant that times were good.
The Italian smiled a little, reaching out to take one of the red fruits in his palm and giving it a squeeze, feeling the degree of firmness that indicated it was almost ripe, but not quite yet. He remembered his impatience as a child, always wanting to eat the tomatoes as soon as they turned the slightest bit red, but Spain would stop him, reminding him that patience was often rewarded and how now and then, some things needed time to grow sweeter.
He felt a tug on his hand, and Romano turned around, surprised to see his lover kneeling in the dirt.
"What are you doing down there, bastard? Get up before-"
The Italian stopped suddenly, his mouth falling agape as realization clicked. The Spaniard was only down on one knee, and the hand that wasn't holding onto Romano's hand was digging into his pocket. Romano couldn't force any more words out of his mouth as his lover spoke to him.
"Italia Romano," Spain started, presenting the small black box. He opened the top to reveal a golden ring, a twining pattern etched onto its surface with what looked suspiciously like a tiny tomato in the center. "Will you let me take care of you too…forever?"
The Italian's throat tightened. His jaw moved up and down once in the attempt to form words, but none came. Instead, Romano was left feeling kind of like a fish, completely mute and dumbfounded. He hadn't been expecting this at all, and having been caught off guard, it was difficult for him to figure out just how to react. Spain looked up at him with bright green eyes that were practically beaming in anticipation. The silence was heavy, and Romano still had his hand around the tomato next to him, though it was now no longer attached to the plant. He squeezed it tightly, unable to contain his emotions.
"Y-you…you bastard!" he finally burst out, and before he knew it, a smashed tomato was dripping all down Spain's face.
The Spaniard blinked, wondering if this was a rejection or just an overexcited reflex on Romano's part, but fortunately, he didn't have to wonder long. The next moment, the Italian was kneeling down with him, arms wrapped around his neck, already kissing the tomato juice away.
"Is…is that a yes?" Spain chuckled when the other finally gave him a moment to breathe.
"Shut up, idiot," Romano murmured embarrassedly, but his hand was already closed around the ring box. "Why do you always have to do such stupid, corny, romantic things?"
"I thought you liked them," the other replied slyly as he kissed him on the cheek and nuzzled into his neck. "But I wish they wouldn't always end in me covered in tomato juice."
"I thought you liked that too," Romano said, smirking a little as he wiped some of the juice off his lover's face.
"I prefer your kisses."
The Italian apologized by pressing his lips against Spain's, holding him tightly and expressing his passion in a way he failed to by words alone. There were so many things he wanted to say right then, but he just didn't know how to make them come out right, dammit. At the moment, his mouth spoke more truth through his kisses, and this was the way that Spain understood him the best too. Romano had accepted his proposal.
Later that night, Veneziano came over, babbling excitedly to his brother about how happy he was that Spain and he were back together again and going on and on about what a wonderful time he had been having with Germany lately until Romano just wanted to grab him by the front of the shirt and throw him out the door. He didn't though. Instead, he listened and feigned interest, paying more attention to Spain who was laughing in response to Veneziano's babbling but stroking Romano's shoulder and holding his hand in his lap the entire time. Neither of them mentioned their engagement, preferring to keep the secret to themselves for a while longer. Spain didn't let go of the Italian's hand until it was time for their guest to leave.
"Oh, did you hear?" Veneziano questioned as the three of them walked to the door. "Mr. Austria and Ms. Hungary are holding a concert next week! Everyone liked their performance so much before that they're doing it again! You're coming, right?"
"Of course we'll be there!" Spain said happily, hugging Romano close to him with one arm despite the Italian's groan. "Won't we, Roma?"
Romano frowned, but seeing his brother's glowing face and feeling Spain's arm around him, he decided to give in for once.
"Sure," Romano grunted, smiling a little in spite of himself. "See you there, Vene."
His little brother hugged him excitedly, and then, bidding Spain and Romano goodnight, went off on his way back home. Spain let go of Romano and shut the door behind their guest, turning back to his lover with a gleam in his eye.
"Just the two of us now," he purred in a sexy low voice that made Romano's skin tingle. "Why don't we go upstairs?" He took a step closer to his lover and wrapped his arms around him, holding him against himself and planting small kisses, starting on his lips and trailing down to his neck. "We can go to bed early," the Spaniard murmured next to his ear, "and I could show you-" A kiss on his jaw. "-just how much-" A stealthy grope. "-I missed you." Spain brought his hand up and ran it through Romano's hair, taking that odd curl between his two fingers and pulling it up slowly. The Italian blushed and bit his lip to hold in that embarrassing cry, but Spain shifting his body and pushing him back so that Romano was pressed up against the wall was quickly making him lose his focus. His lover bent close and pressed his forehead against his, smiling widely and staring at him with bright green eyes full of warmth. "All of you." With that he leaned back and gave the hair curl a jerk. Romano lost it instantly.
That night, as Romano lay by Spain's side, sharing his warmth, he felt happier and more secure than he had ever felt in a long time. This was where he belonged. The Italian knew he could survive on his own. He was part of an independent country, strong in his own way, in a way that only few could see at times. Spain could definitely see it. The way his lover treasured him, put him before anyone else, and went to such great lengths to keep him close to him was enough for Romano to be convinced that he really did matter to him; he was someone important who had an immeasurable value and owned the heart of a proud and passionate nation. He was loved. He was Spain's. And truth be told, there was no way he could doubt it now.
A/N: And so my year-long writing saga ends. I've been through a lot this year, including hopping back and forth across the globe to live in Japan, experiencing cultural traditions for the first time, falling in love with RPing, making friends in the fandom, avoiding earthquake damage, and moving futher down the country. Thank you so much to everyone who's stuck with me this far. Your patience and feedback are deeply appreciated, and the comments I've received are what motivated me to keep writing. OP, if you're still out there, thank you for this wonderful prompt. I hope I've given you what you wanted even though I took an absurdly long time to do so. Please forgive me for that…Better late than never, right? I hope you and everyone else are satisfied. Endings are so hard to write!
I have to apologize to France too for making him the bad guy of this story. You can take what you will from his and Prussia's scene. The important thing is that neither one of them is alone, and I like it that way. I'm also a fan of USUK, though I don't have a lot of experience writing it. I hope it came out decent. I wish I could have given the side pairings a bit more development, but I was happy with this and the AustriaxHungary. GerIta kind of snuck its way in there too.
I feel like I've learned a lot from writing this fic- from character dynamics to reader preferences. If I ever do a full edit, I'd like to fix Spain's song to be more grammatically correct and take the Japanese honorifics out as well as the "Iggy"s. I'm sorry if those bothered anyone. I'll try my best to avoid them in the future! Also, I kind of regret not using human names in here at all, especially between the lovers. But what's done is done! I'm proud of this fic, and though seeing it end is bittersweet, I'm really looking forward to writing something new. I'll take any suggestions you have into account. Thanks for reading!