Romano/Egypt, written for the Mediterranean secret santa at lj.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia.
Thinking of You Thinking of Him
Egypt is just about to settle down into the couch after he leaves the water to boil. The remote control is already in his hand, his legs bent at the knees in anticipation...
And that is when the door knocks.
Egypt pauses, wondering if perhaps he is only imagining the noise, but even Anubis lifts his head from the corner of the room, his curiosity piqued even if he is too lazy to go investigate. The man shares a look with his dog, who whines as if to say 'you'll only know if you go look.'
Egypt rolls his eyes a little at the lazy old jackal, and puts the remote down before padding wordlessly over to the door. When he opens it, he is moderately surprised to find out who it is.
What could possibly have brought Southern Italy to his doorstep?
South Italy looks as surprised as he does, which is strange considering that he is the one who brought himself here. Soon that expression melts away into his default one of annoyance, and he looks away from Egypt, down at the floor.
"Can I come in?" he huffs, cheeks expanding in a pout as they so often did when he was embarrassed. Egypt recognizes the sentiment, and with a smile so faint South Italy could not possibly have discerned it, he opens the door to let him in.
Egypt licks his dry lip, gesturing to the couch. He feels uncomfortable, the situation being so awkward; while Egypt and Romano knew of each other, quite well even, it was not to the extent of Egypt with Greece or Turkey, people who could understand Egypt's quirky way of communicating. His mind starts to go every which way, wondering what could possibly have happened that South Italy would be here, and not with his brother or Spain.
But when Egypt looks back at the other, and finds that he's sitting with his arms crossed tightly over his chest, his gaze refusing to linger on anything and instead flitting about the room nervously, he comes to the conclusion that South Italy will tell him when he wants to.
He smiles, pointing past the hallway and into the kitchen as he asks, "Would you like to eat with me?"
South Italy hesitates, and looks from the man to the kitchen and back. Egypt is aware that both Italy brothers have picky palates, and so he's not too surprised when the answer is, "What are you making?"
"You'll like it," is all Egypt says as he leaves the room. A moment later he hears South Italy huff again, and then the other's heavy footsteps follow.
In the kitchen, Egypt pulls up a seat for the other, and then reaches for the dry pasta. As he sits, South Italy makes a noise of frustrated disappointment, which he ignores as he puts the elbow macaroni and bits of spaghetti into the water.
"What is this?" South Italy asks, unable to help from lifting the lid of another pot. He inspects the rice inside of it with the unreserved mannerisms of a true gourmet. "Lentils?"
Egypt nods, stirring the pasta a bit and leaving it to cook, pulling out a small saucepan. A can of tomato sauce comes out next, and this time South Italy doesn't bother disguising his scoff. Egypt only laughs breathlessly, soundlessly, as he opens the can and pours it into the pan, going for his spice rack.
Now South Italy's interest is piqued, and while Egypt manages to get him back on the stool, he can't help but feel the other watch him intently as he gets the sauce warmed, and chops and fries an onion. Egypt finishes cooking quickly, and grabs two plates from the rack, piling on the lentil rice, the pasta, pouring the sauce over the top and sprinkling the fried onions and a handful of chick peas on each.
"Kushari," is all he says as he places South Italy's plate on the table, and the other nation is quick to join him. They are sitting opposing one another, so that Egypt can watch for his reaction.
South Italy takes a bite, and Egypt can tell he's trying to pretend he doesn't like it as much as he does. Satisfied, he leans back in his own seat and starts to eat. Time passes in silence, with only the sound of their spoons clinking against their plates, and then South Italy puts his down.
"Thank you..." he murmurs, not looking up. Egypt shakes his head, humming as a way of telling the other, 'You're welcome.'
"I... guess you're probably wondering why I'm here."
Egypt shrugs, but inside he is curious, and so he puts his spoon down on his plate and waits for the other to start. Which South Italy does, only after heaving a heavy sigh.
"It's just… you're the only sane one around here, I swear. Feli's fucking crazy, always going around squealing 'Ve, Ve!' and clinging to macho potato bastards, Francis is trying to warm everyone else's beds, and Heracles and Sadiq are either about to fuck each other up or just fuck. I guess I'm just sick of all of them being around and being annoying all the fucking time. It's nice here."
But he understands South Italy's point, and so he nods, finishing his plate and taking it in with the other's, setting them in the sink to be dealt with later. He and South Italy return to the couch in the living room wordlessly, and Egypt flips to a football match.
They settle into the couch in silence, the match capturing their attention. It's a match between two Egyptian clubs, and so Egypt is not rooting for any one in particular over the other. This leaves him open to notice how frequently the other fidgets, shifting on the couch and biting his lip. Egypt wonders what it is that has South Italy so discomforted, acting as if he has ants in his pants, until the other finally bursts off the couch,
"Agh, come on, just shoot already dammit!"
The player does shoot, but he misses. South Italy scoffs and angrily plops back onto the couch, crossing his arms over his chest. Once again, Egypt realizes, he is blushing, and a small smile creeps on his face.
The match ends, and the two nations can hear the celebration happening in the streets outside. Egypt pads over to a small set of doors in the room and opens them, poking his head out and waving to a few of his neighbors, who are asking if he saw that goal, and wasn't it amazing?
"Let me guess," South Italy starts when Egypt steps back in from the balcony and shuts the doors again. "The team that won represents this city?"
Egypt nods with a soft laugh, sitting on the couch again and flipping channels. He's starting to wonder if he should go prepare the guest room, but he neither has an idea of what time South Italy would go to sleep, nor does he know if the other intends on staying the night.
"Wait, what's that?" South Italy snaps, cutting into his thoughts. Egypt stops flipping, and the other amends, "No, two channels before. I heard someone speaking Italian…"
It was a movie, a few years old. South Italy is interested, listening even to what Egypt imagined was heavily accented Italian. Soon realization dawns upon his features, and he turns to Egypt warily, "Is this a mafia movie?"
Egypt nods. South Italy scoffs, and the other nation wisely turns it off.
"Is there… something bothering you?" Egypt asks softly, leaning in closer to the other nation. South Italy tenses visibly, and when he scoffs again his voice is shaky.
"Of course not," he protests weakly. Egypt quirks an eyebrow, and South Italy scowls,
"I didn't know you were so nosy, dammit."
And then he surprises Egypt by closing up the small space between them, cupping the other's cheek, and pressing their lips together.
The instant their lips brush against each other's, Egypt pushes the other away none too gently and pulls back, and unguarded, "What?" escaping his mouth.
South Italy becomes predictably red, but apparently he realizes that he owes Egypt an explanation for randomly trying to kiss him. "We're nations. This happens a lot between us, doesn't it?"
Egypt shakes his head indignantly. Yes, it does happen, to other nations. Yet again South Italy is scowling, and he demands, "What, are you in a relationship?"
A shake of the head. "Then this shouldn't be a problem. We are, I mean, we don't belong to anyone. We're free to do whatever we want with whoever we want."
"Me?" Egypt murmurs softly, his voice full of question. South Italy hesitates, and when he looks away Egypt has all the answer he needs. Somehow, though, the anger cannot properly set in, fought off by the enticement of the other's offer, but Egypt pretends nonetheless.
"Who said I am?" South Italy asks, and his innocent tone is so convincing Egypt starts to wonder if it might actually be the truth. "What if this is something I've always wanted...?"
Egypt shakes his head again, wondering how it got to this. It had only been three hours, three hours since the other was knocking on his door, and now the Italian nation's soft hand was cupping his cheek in an act of tenderness so foreign, Egypt could not remember the last time someone had done it for him without it being deceptive.
He licks his dry lips once again, this time shyly allowing his tongue to "accidentally" flick against South Italy's long finger. He is slightly awed and delighted when color finds its way to the other's tan cheeks, and belatedly realizes that it must have been forever since he was with someone, to be so easily excited.
South Italy smiles, though, and steals the thoughts from Egypt's mind as easily he does the other's breath, kissing him in a way that Egypt has not been kissed since the days as an Ottoman underling. It's breathy and warm and, as it progresses, wet and hot. It's dizzying, it's a mind rush, and it's not long before Egypt figures out why Italians are the best lovers, if their kissing skills are anything to go by.
Despite himself, he moans. It's embarrassing and enthralling, and somehow he gets the sense that South Italy will not be one to kiss and tell like France, like England…
As if the sound triggers something in his partner, South Italy pulls away and then he looks away, but not until after Egypt can get a glimpse of how flushed and shocked the other looks.
"No, no, I'm sorry, I take it back…"
"This wasn't supposed to happen, dammit!"
The truth, as expected as it was, struck like a ton of bricks, and Egypt pulled back, his back hitting the arm of the couch behind him and leaving a foot of space between them.
"You settled," he said simply, morosely, and South Italy's cheeks turn impossibly redder.
"I didn't… I know it was wrong…"
"Loneliness makes it easy to forget."
It's the middle of July, and the power went out in Egypt's apartment. He takes it in good stride, grateful that it's early evening and there is still enough sunlight for him to prepare flashlights and candles, in case this runs on into the night. The thing he misses most, however, is his air conditioner, both for the cold air and the constant hum it emitted that made his house feel a lot more full.
So he's sitting on his living room floor with his shirt off, keffiyah buried deep in the back of his closet because it was never something his people could identify with, anyways, and now it only made him seem like an Arab. He's tired, leaning back against his couch, Anubis cuddled in close to him because his loneliness is obvious. So he's stroking the jackal, once a God for another generation, behind the ears in that way that makes all dogs, even this one, gleefully pleasured, and waiting for something; what, exactly, he's not sure.
There's a knock on the door. Anubis whines, nudging his nose against his master's leg to urge Egypt to go get it. Egypt wonders who it is, and as he pads to the door he belatedly wonders if he should have put a shirt on. After all, it might be the nice lady from downstairs, asking for matches…
It's South Italy. Apparently he is not expecting Egypt to be half naked, because he splutters and cuts himself off in the middle of his hello. Egypt has to be lying to admit he doesn't find that at least a little amusing, but he's numb to it at the time because his mind is busy with other things.
"B-Buongiorno," he mutters as he thrusts a handful of flowers out into Egypt's chest. It's a bouquet of lilies, specifically a mix of white and water ones, and as he thumbs one of the flower petals Egypt sighs.
"I came to apologize," South Italy huffs around a pout, not meeting the other's gaze. "I guess I thought I could… trust you, for company. But I took it too far. Sorry."
Egypt looks from the young man before him to the flowers and then back, waving his hand in the air.
"It's no matter."
"It is so! I never wanted to hurt you, and I didn't want to have that on my conscious anymore. I just wasn't thinking."
"You weren't the first."
"Don't lump me with those losers!"
Egypt quirks an eyebrow, and South Italy fidgets, "…I'm apologizing, right?"
There's a pause, and Anubis comes up to his owner, bumping his calf none too gently and giving him a meaningful look. Egypt wonders when it is his mother told the jackal to be his matchmaker.
Then he turns to South Italy and smiles.
"Would you like to come in?"
A/N: Water lilies are the National Flower of Egypt, and White Lilies are one of Italy's National Flowers. Kushari is a national dish in Egypt that consists of lentil rice, pasta, and tomato sauce, with optional chick peas and fried onions on top.
I think I have fallen for this pairing. Thank you all for reading!