A/N: I read a doujinshi somewhere that had Chibitalia and Holy Rome at a ball. Honestly I don't even remember the entire doujinshi, I just remember the vague idea of them together during a party, and I thought it was the cutest thing ever. Soooo, I decided to commit it to fanfiction. I like Austria and Hungary together very much, so there is a little bit of that in here as well.
Wiping her brow with a handkerchief, Elizaveta finally managed to escape the kitchen after sorting out a mix-up with the wine. Usually the head maid or the young master would take care of that type of thing since he was very particular about what he served at these functions, but the head maid had taken ill this eve, and with how much the young master had on his mind as of late, she made a decision on his behalf in order to avert the near crisis. Once the rest of the servants had calmed down, she took her leave to quietly observe the gala so that she may be available if anything else were to go awry.
Stepping quietly down the lightly carpeted stairs, she opened an unused servant door concealed on the other side by heavy crimson curtains. Roderich preferred that the house servants who were not walking through the crowd to provide refreshments were not seen or heard by the guests. She was one such servant this evening, even if she was technically the head maid.
Closing the door silently behind her, she turned to see the backside of a little figure bent over peeking through the velvet curtains. Only one little maid wore that tell-tale green dress and crisp white apron that used to be Elizaveta's. Approaching without a sound, she slid her hand around the front of the chubby little face, clamping over the mouth, hoisting the now very tense little body into her arms. The little thing squirmed, trying to get away.
"Ita-chan... shhh... It's Elizaveta." she whispered, putting little Italy down once the squirming ceased upon recognition.
"Elizaveta!" squeaked the tiny Italian, little auburn head bowing in trepidation. "I'mma sorry!"
"Shhh! It's ok. You're not in trouble." smiled the taller maid disarmingly. "But what are you doing out here? If the young master catches you, you will be in trouble."
"I wanted t-to see..." the little voice died halfway through the sentence.
Italy was usually much more forthcoming, and this piqued the maid-in-charge's interest. "You wanted to see what?"
Italy blushed an adorable shade of pink, and glanced towards the curtains.
Raising an eyebrow at the clammed up little maid, she knelt at the base of the curtain to peek between the heavy red fabric herself. She could see quite a bit of the dance floor to the right and most of the sitting area. Shifting her gaze, she remembered that Italy had never seemed interested in Roderich's parties before...
Scanning the area a second time, her eyes quickly caught what Italy must have been looking at.
On the far side of the ballroom stood a handsome little blond lad clad in a formal tailed navy jacket littered with what had to be dozens of golden buttons. Around his neck hung a complicated but elegant lacy white jabot. His little legs were covered in brown pants with tall dark brown boots. Instead of his usual tall hat, he wore one to match his coat; a little less stiff with a fluffy feather tucked into the side but still quite showy set on top of his sunshine kissed hair.
If she didn't know better, she could have sworn that outfit came out of the young master's closet; it was very stylish, but also very Roderichesque. With a silent sigh and a small smile she pulled her head away from the opening, sealing the gap shut.
This was a pretty good vantage point. She'd have to remember it next time she wanted to be nosy.
Regarding the little one before her, she placed a finger under the tanned chin to bring the rounded face up from its ashamed search of the marble floor.
"He looks handsome tonight, no?"
Large dampened eyes met hers, the blush on little cheeks deepening, as Elizaveta's question was met with a simple whisper.
Elizaveta's heart ached for her young friend's impossible wish. If only Roderich wouldn't be so damned stubborn about his servants and had given the little Italian the opportunity to attend the ball, she wouldn't have had to catch the little one in the act of peeking, wishing and dreaming about the handsome blue eyed boy.
Offhandedly she wondered if he even knew how the two children felt about each other. Considering her own unrecognized and unspoken feelings, she guessed probably not... He was usually too busy, or too stubborn, to notice much of anything, least of all love.
Being bold enough to make up her mind for the second time that night, she motioned for her little ward to hide behind some empty wine crates at the end of the hall just past the servant door. Assuring the already frightened child that she would be back shortly and to not make a peep, she quickly worked out the easiest and most secretive route to get to the Italian's little blond suitor.
In her haste to enact her scheme to retrieve the little man, her attention lapsed and she almost collided with Roderich in the hallway outside the ballroom. Putting on the brakes a mere breath away from her master's face, she was witness to a rare sight; a dust of colour on his pale cheeks.
It was only then she realized that even though their faces might have had distance between them, their bodies did not.
Her most feminine features hidden by her apron front pressed against the flat planes of her master's decorated chest...
...and his hands were resting on her hips, keeping her from completely collapsing into him.
Backing away awkwardly after an breathless beat, she apologized, bowing deeply. "Please forgive me, young master."
Hearing him clear his throat, she knew better than to raise her head until he spoke her name. Not only had she almost bowled over the master of the house, but she could feel an intense shade of embarrassment on her face that rivaled his.
Desperately attempting to swallow down the slight bodily response to the nearness of him she had just experienced, she slowly straightened up.
"Young master." Elizaveta didn't meet his expectant gaze, choosing instead to look respectfully at his elegant and perfectly tailored purple velvet justacorps. She could have been looking at worse things or a less attractive person... After all, she had always appreciated his fine form and his refined good looks.
"You shouldn't run in the halls... You may hurt yourse- err, someone." he coughed slightly, clearing his throat again.
His correction prompted her to look at his face. He rarely ever misspoke, but this particular near-slip of his tongue made her feel slightly giddy. She would have gladly listened to the sound of his voice and watched his lips move, parting in speech all day if ever she had the chance.
Adjusting his glasses, he recovered and continued. "Do be careful. I can not have you injuring any of the honoured guests."
"Of course. It won't happen again." she promised solemnly.
"I imagine that whatever you were dashing off to take care of is of great importance. Don't let me keep you." He said evenly, perhaps a bit too coolly for her liking.
Nodding a quiet thanks, she made for her destination without looking back; footsteps in time with her quickened heartbeat.
The nobles sure did like their little parties.
This particular party though, he had been informed, had been thrown for his own benefit. Nobles from all around Europe, Asia, and the Orient gathered this night to witness the Holy Roman Empire. Some had come even from farther away in the hopes they might curry some favour for their lands and their people.
And what did Austria get out of it? Potential new alliances, and maybe a wife for his young blond charge. Roderich had been after him to consider girls from all over as potential mates, but he had dodged the topic over and over again.
No one would ever capture his heart like she had; his little Italia. If it wasn't her, it was no good.
He blew an annoyed breath through his teeth.
In the end, and in spite of his evasions, it somehow turned out like this.
Men and women dressed in high fashion strode around the room in pairs, hand in hand, moving to the upbeat, ostentatious sounding music the medium sized ensemble created. Nobility from all walks of life attended the party; but the most notable category of guests were the daughters of the aforementioned dignitaries.
His jabot felt like it was cutting off the circulation to his head, and he dug his fingertip under it in vain, attempting to relieve some of the pressure on his neck.
Glancing around the room, he caught the eyes of a trio of young girls. They all immediately blushed and looked away, flapping their little fans in front of their pale noses.
He would have smiled if he hadn't been so busy trying to keep the look of contempt off his face. Once he looked away, he heard a collective giggle and all at once the immaculately preened little dolls approached him. Once those few had clustered in front of him, more had noticed their advances and soon almost all of them had come to surround him, each one fighting for a piece of his attention. He heard so many voices and accents that he didn't know where to look or who to address as he was quickly overwhelmed by the gaggle of young women.
A diminutive redhead snatched his hand up, causing an uncomfortable flush to burst onto his face.
He would have rather been anyone but himself at this very moment if it spared him from the embarrassment of having to dance with one of these girls.
A very polite but authoritative voice above him addressed the pint-sized gold-diggers. "I'm sorry, ladies, but the young master's attention is required urgently elsewhere at this very moment."
Turning his head quickly towards the voice, he came face to face with a smiling Elizaveta.
He smiled; mock regret; to the girl that still clutched his hand, shaking it off. He bowed slightly, more than happy to escape the scene.
Curious, he did as the pretty Hungarian maid asked, and they moved around the room, always behind the cover of a curtain or shadow until they reached an unused servant's door. She smiled knowingly, but had no words for him. She looked like she was up to something, but she had never done him any wrong in the past; in fact, just the opposite. On more than one occasion, she had noticed him staring at the little Mediterranean maid, or caught him packing away his own food to give to her but didn't give him any trouble for it.
What's more, he suspected that Elizaveta might have known of his love for the auburn haired girl and had, on occasion, provided an understanding smile when he despaired at his unrequited feelings.
The clicking of her heels brought his attention back to the current situation as the maid approached a stack of old wine crates near the wall and reached behind them.
He was thoroughly confused... that is until the little maid that had been on his mind all night came into view, then everything disappeared except the uneven thump of his heart in his ear.
Rooted to the spot, he was staring until the Hungarian maid whispered in his ear again.
"Go on. Have a dance."
Crimson faced, he turned to Elizaveta, panic jolting through him. "D-d-dance?"
She nodded at him, placing a steadying hand on his little shoulder, then she was gone; disappearing into the hall behind a drawn curtain.
It was only him and her now.
The little thing looked like she would bolt at any second.
He was scared she might do just that if he didn't act, so he took a couple steps towards her, his arms outreached, palms open to her. Not confident enough in himself to make eye contact, his eyes were stubbornly stuck on her trembling little hands.
Step after hesitant step, he closed the distance between them.
He thought his heart was going to burst through his chest when he took Italia's hand gingerly in his own clammy one, stealing a peek at her face. She looked at him quietly, but she didn't bolt; seeming genuinely curious. He figured this was a good sign and moved her other hand to his shoulder, placing her palm against it. Slipping his hand awkwardly around her waist, following the tie of her starched apron, he began to lead her in a cautious dance, waiting for her to run away from him screaming.
His face felt as though it might spontaneously combust. Cheeks hot, head light, little body tense... he diverted his gaze again, staring at her cute chin. He could see a blush on her cheeks as well, and he swallowed tightly. Their dance wasn't fluid like the music that floated around them, and he was haunted by the pounding in his ears, but the nearness of her made the world melt away.
Her hand so warm in his and on his shoulder drove him to squeeze her a little tighter so that he may protect her and always keep her safe. Of course there was no threat here in his home, but if the occasion ever arose that he needed to give his life for her, he would. There was no doubt of that even if he did wish he was older and stronger than he was now. He wanted nothing more than to take care of her forever.
When he first came downstairs to the ball after dressing to the nines up in his room with Austria's assistance, he had loathed the atmosphere. Pairs of eyes bore holes through him, phony smiles greeted him; everyone in attendance possessing a selfish hidden agenda. He had to be careful not to say too much or be caught unguarded around his guests; Austria had warned him to be observant and careful.
Everything about the entire evening had been a display of polite pageantry, everyone else just as guarded as he.
The little girl he held in his arms was the only thing in his world, with each step between them becoming more natural. Even though his various sorts of advances may not have been the easiest for her to handle, she always answered and reacted to him honestly.
He was sure that the only other person who understood his feelings was Elizaveta.
Very pleased with her little matchmaking stunt, the pretty blonde posted herself near the end of the hall to keep watch. Leaning against the wall, but still out of sight of the crowd, she sighed, perhaps a little wistfully. She could easily help out with someone else's love life, but when it came to her own, she was little more than useless. Her memory wandered backto earlier on when she had literally bumped into the object of her affections. He'd felt so warm against her; the grip of his hand on her hip so exciting...
Shaking her head slightly, she tried to dismiss the vivid memory.
Just then, without warning, Roderich rounded the corner, a hand covering his mouth to stifle a yawn.
"Y-young m-master!" Stuttered Elizaveta, her mind preparing an explanation when the obvious question about what she was doing came from her boss.
Taking a step backwards, he obviously looked surprised to see her. "Elizaveta!" Recovering quickly, he adjusted his glasses again. "I thought I said this servant entrance was not to be used this evening."
"Oh. Yes! Well... I found a maid out here earlier and sent her back to work." She informed him, smiling angelically. It wasn't a straight up lie, but it was believable. He took the bait at any rate;her proof was the obvious displeasure on his face. "And the young master? Is there something I can do for you?"
Displeasure aside, he seemed like he was trying to escape the party; that yawn hadn't been lost upon her.
"No. I'm fine." he commented, edging closer to her with confident steps.
She had to think fast. If she let him past her, he was bound to see the little couple she was scouting the corridor in order to hide; and then there would be trouble for them all.
"Where are you headed, if I may ask, young master."
She almost winced when she spied the agitation growing on his features. No one questioned young master Austria.
At this point she figure it didn't matter. She'd deal with the consequences of her actions this night.
He turned to address her face to face but remained silent. She may have found him handsome, but he was still intimidating.
She stopped breathing for that moment expecting a thorough dressing down, but he responded to her query, his voice cool.
"I wish to check on the kitchen."
Forcing a natural as possible smile, she spoke, feeling much less confident than she sounded. "Oh, w-well I just came from the kitchen, young master."
"Have you...?" he asked, raising an eyebrow suspiciously.
"I-indeed. Everything is as it should be."
She needed to maintain eye contact with him if she wanted to keep this farce up, but she could feel her eye start to twitch, and a bead of sweat form at her temple.
This isn't good.
She fisted the apron strings behind her nervously trying to keep her expression from twisting in panic, maintaining the lie as best she could.
"I think I'll go check anyway..." he started to turn from her, taking a step towards the shrouded refuge.
Now she was completely out of options.
Reaching out a hand to grasp his wrist, she pulled their bodies together, sealing their lips in a distracting kiss.
The little maid in his arms had a look of serenity on her face, her little eyes closed as they danced. He held her close to him, pressing his cheek against her ear, the relaxing scent of fresh linen weighed in those auburn strands of hers. The rogue curl that jutted out from the side of her head tickled the tip of his nose.
This is what Heaven must be like...
He no longer heard the strings nor the woodwinds that brought the musical composition to life around them; he only heard the sound of them moving together, her little breaths and the slight click of his soles on the marble floor, creating their own private score.
Even the pounding in his chest eased just a little, now a steady and constant reminder of every passing second that he was granted with his little love in this way. He knew he'd remember this for the rest of his life and he hoped that she would too.
He didn't think he'd ever be happier than he was right now.
"...I think I'll go check anyway..."
The boy's ears perked up at the sound of Roderich's voice and footsteps behind the velvet barrier.
Oh no! No no no! Not yet!
Clutching her hand tighter in his own, he regrettably yanked her out of their reverie and pulled her quickly along behind him.
If Austria caught them there'd be hell to pay.
Tripping over her own two feet, his little lady came crashing into him just as they scrambled behind the wine boxes where she'd been only too short a time ago.
Knowing they were destined for the cold hard floor, he wasn't surprised as a squeal let loose from her lips. Clamping a hand over her mouth, he hoped for the best as they tumbled behind the wine boxes and out of view.
The padding around his hat absorbed some of the jarring shock as his head met unyielding floor.
"Ow ow ow..." he muttered, eyes squeezed shut.
Scented hair tickled his face, prompting him to open his eyes to see his little Italia staring wide-eyed at him, somehow his hand still clamped over her mouth.
He'd broken her fall alright...
They didn't dare move for fear of getting caught, but if he had to lay under her for very much longer he thought he might die of happiness... or the feverishness that was taking over his body.
Attempting to try and focus on something other than her, he turned his attention to the sounds filling his ears.
The song must have ended while they were making their escape behind the wine crates and the only thing he could hear was the sound of the chatter in the ballroom... He strained to hear Austria but couldn't anymore.
Perhaps his paranoia had ruined his moment with Italy...
Even so, he couldn't have risked them being discovered! He knew Roderich would have probably taken pleasure in punishing his little love and he couldn't have that.
"Shinsei Roma? Ita-chan?"
It was Elizaveta's whispered voice he heard next.
"Uh... o-over here..." said the boy, his voice no more than a weak whisper. He took his hand off Italy's mouth to let her do the talking, but she said nothing. All she could do was look at him and that scarlet flush on his cheeks.
Trying again, he managed the Hungarian's name.
He heard the clicking of heels, rustling of skirts and then a restrained giggle.
The giggle seemed to bring Italy out of her daydream and a cute pink blush bloomed over her cheeks as the two children finally diverted their gazes.
"Let me help you, Ita-chan!" suggested Elizaveta helpfully, stifling another giggle while wrapping her arms around the little one's waist to pick her up off of her young suitor. After the little maid was taken care of, she offered a hand to the blond.
Accepting the assistance shyly, the young man was brought to his feet. Picking up and dusting off his hat, he fixed it atop his blond mop. The pressure on the back on his head began to push its way to his forehead, causing his nose to crinkle in discomfort.
"We have to go, Ita-chan."
"Already?" came the simultaneous reply.
Elizaveta giggled once again at the sheer cuteness of the two. The sweet little blond was looking down at his clasped hands.
She had no desire to interrupt them but after having to take such bold measures to keep Austria from stumbling upon the innocent scene, she was sure Roderich was beginning to suspect there was something going on, so it was only prudent to make a quick exit.
"Come along, Ita-chan." she softly bade the little maid while walking towards the door.
His eyes stung stubbornly when he heard Elizaveta's words. Their time together had been over so quickly. Of course he was thankful for the situation, but it just wasn't fair!
Focused on the floor, he didn't look up when he heard the tiny footsteps moving quickly towards him, but when a shy kiss was pressed on his cheek his head shot up, shocked to see Italia's smiling face so close.
Instantly, the sadness saturated knowledge that his alone time with her was over faded for the moment that he returned the smile, his dark blond brows arching compassionately.
Hands clasped behind her back, she giggled happily before trotting ahead of the taller maid and through the servant door and up the stairs.
The pretty blonde looked back at his spoken word before disappearing.
"Uh..." Fidgeting, he bowed lightly to her. He didn't think she'd ever know how grateful he truly was. "Grazie."
With an affectionate gaze, she nodded and quickly slipped past the heavy wooden door.
Once again he felt a familiar little smile curl on his lips. Even if it masked the uneasiness in his heart just for a short time it was worth it.
In a perfect world his beloved Mediterranean maid would not be a maid at all, but his equal, standing by his side as the Roman Empire to witness the ages as they passed by.
He'd show her everything; give her everything; shower her with love and affection...
With a heavy sigh, he dusted himself off and started back towards the buzzing party.
It was tragic that the world was not a perfect place because in addition to all the happiness he wished for her, he had a most selfish wish; in his perfect world he would also never have to leave her.