A/N: I needed to take a break from writing some of my heavier stuff, so I turned to the fluff and hearts and rainbows that is Holy Roman Empire/Chibitalia. I simply adore these two and their awkward affection for one another.

Enjoy and review if you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! - This is actually the first piece of (mostly) fluff I've ever written...

Lately he found that if he was too far away from his sweet little Italia he had problems concentrating on even the simplest task. Usually he could just peek around a corner or through a half open door and that would be enough to ease his heartache, but today... Today, surprise prompted his vocal reaction when he walked through the gate of his back yard to see her crouched at the side of one of the little ponds. He felt his cheeks heat up as he watched her for a moment before deciding to move.

Today he'd change his strategy.

Today he felt brave enough to try and talk to her about something other than joining with him.

With a determined face, he called to her as he crossed the yard, his little legs carrying him excitedly; his heart fluttering pleasantly in his chest.

"Oi! Italia!"

The little servant girl jumped in shock, shrieking oh-so-cutely. Of course he knew that he probably terrified her by shouting at her, and as she lost her balance and tumbled into the water of the shallow pond, he gasped, pushing himself into a full out run. As he neared her, he could see little arms and hands flailing around the surface of the water, sending droplets high into the air.

His heart skipped a beat as she cried out, panic strangling her little voice.

Oh God, what have I done?

"Italia!" cried the little blond boy reaching the water's edge, jutting his hand out to her. "Italia! Take my hand!"

The poor thing was hysterical, amid that hysteria he managed to grab her tiny hand. The firmness of his grip and the eye contact he managed despite his burning cheeks seemed to calm her, and he pulled her from the shallow pool directly into his arms. She sputtered dramatically making him realize that his intense yet relieved embrace wasn't helping her little form recover.

Releasing her abruptly, he scooted away to give her some breathing room. She sat on the edge of the pond, her pretty green dress soaked through, auburn bangs stuck to her blanched forehead. Drops of water clung to her round cheeks, catching the light as they inflated and deflated with each breath.

His heart rattled around nervously in his chest and, not knowing what to do, he observed her quietly as she calmed down; colour returning to her face. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small white kerchief, dabbing at the water on her cheeks. Concentrating on his task, he didn't look at her, but he could feel her looking at him, and that served only to further along the colour blooming on his own face. Once he finished, he tucked the piece of cloth back into his pocket and sat beside her, looking out across the pool she'd just been flailing about in.

It was strange for the little one to stay quiet or still when he was around, but now that he had her attention, he could not think of a single thing to say.

Peeking at her from the corner of his eye, he saw she'd drawn her knees to her chest and even under the warmth of the afternoon he could see her shivering.

Of course! She needs dry clothing! Idiot.

He cursed himself for not escorting her to Elizaveta as soon as he'd pulled her from the water. At this rate his little Italia would catch cold. Unfastening the cloak from around his own neck, the little blond threw it over her soaked frame.

He felt awful that his excitement had put her in danger; even if the pool was shallow. If something had happened to her, he wouldn't have been able to live with himself!

I was terribly excited to see you, and I scared you. I was thoughtless...

He sighed lightly, deciding that he could beat himself up after he'd seen to Italy's needs.

"I'm sorry, Italia." Started the blond boy quietly, taking the sweet little hand of his love, helping Italy to her feet. "I've spoiled your pretty dress. I didn't mean to..."

"Shinsei Roma rescued me!" she replied brightly, her voice still a bit weak from inhaling water. "Thank you, Shinsei Roma."

Before he knew what was happening, she had her dampened arms around his neck in a hug.

"Italia..." he said almost breathlessly, his poor heart pittering unevenly in his ear.

Blushing madly, he once again found himself at a loss, unable to return the gesture of gratitude. Instead, once she pulled away from him, he pulled his cloak tighter around her, keeping it closed with his hand as he slipped the other protectively around her diminutive shoulders.

"You'll catch cold if we don't get you changed. I'll take you to find Elizaveta so you can get a new dress..."

Just then, he heard Hungary's familar voice call for Italy, and end in a gasp when she saw the soaked girl being lead straight to her.

"Ita-chan!" Rushing to the children, she checked Italy over quickly. "What happened?"

The blue eyed boy opened his mouth to speak, but Italy piped up first, her sing-song voice finally recovered. "I fell into the pond and Shinsei Roma rescued me~!"

Hungary smiled warmly at the little boy who took his arm away from the form he held rather quickly. "That was very brave of you."

Italy nodded in complete agreement, taking his hand.

He looked away from the two and down at the grass under his boots to hide the embarrassment of being put on the spot; his limb tingling where it connected to Italy.

He'd always save his Italia.

"Ok, Ita-chan! Let's get you dry." said Hungary, taking Italy's other hand, ushering her into the house.

Staring at the door long after it had closed behind them, his breathing and body temperature finally returned to normal, though his hand felt rather sensitive. Turning back towards the scene of the recent drama, he saw Italia's wooden bucket sitting abandoned. As he approached it, he saw something floating in the water near the edge.

Fishing the forgotten item out of the water, he turned it upright to get a good look at it. It was a little boat that was rather intricately carved from a block of wood. The little white sail sagged heavily, dripping water into his palm. Admiring the handiwork, he tipped it upside down discovering some script on the underside.

Always be who you are.

Love Grandpa Rome

The boy smiled and tucked the toy boat into his pocket.

After filling the bucket just over halfway with water, he headed for Italy's bedroom.

This way she can play and not get hurt. He thought fondly. I love you, Italia. More than anyone in the world.

Once outside her closed door, he sat the bucket down beside it and placed the boat gingerly upon the water's surface, watching it twirl lazily for a moment before voices from the room pulled him back into awareness.

Scampering around the corner, he peeked around it to watch a surprised Italy come out of her room, followed by a smiling Hungary, to discover the boat and bucket.

She plucked the boat out of the water and hugged it, obviously happy to have the possession back in her hand. "Shinsei Roma..." he heard her say quietly, and a lump rose in his throat.

Maybe he could make up for the afternoon's mistake, but maybe it would just be better for her if he kept his distance and admired her from afar.

Realizing he'd stuck around too long when Hungary's gaze caught him peeking, she only smiled knowingly at him and his blushed cheeks.

Taking refuge back behind the wall, he leaned against it and sighed contentedly, his heart feeling whole; a silly grin plastered on his face.

His Italia was happy, and of course so was he.