Turtles and (Drunken) Poetry
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia and I'm not making money off of this because no one would pay for it. :)
Warnings: Somewhat graphic descriptions of illness that might bother the squeamish.
Pairing(s): Spain/Romano mainly, sprinkled with Germany/Veneziano and random references to other pairings.
Notes: De-anoning from the kink meme - the request was Can I please have something about throwing up? Doesn't have to be necessarily gory, but something. Like... somebody's upchucking because of a cold, a nightmare.
This actually has surprisingly little to do with turtles and poetry, drunken or otherwise.
Romano woke with a dull, thumping headache, a sunbeam burning through his eyelids, the corner of a book jabbing into his thigh, and a full bladder.
And, when he managed to crack an eye open, he discovered he was on the floor.
He turned his head from side to side, wincing as his neck protested the movement. Damn it. I feel like shit. He was curled up on the rug in front of his closet, underneath a blanket, far enough from his bed that he hadn't just fallen off during the night. In fact, now that he thought about it, he hadn't gone to bed last night. He remembered storming around for a bit, cussing under his breath while he waited for his brother to get home from his "date" with the potato bastard (not because he was worried, or anything), and pretending to be asleep when Veneziano did get back so he wouldn't know he'd stayed up. What he didn't remember was why he had decided sleeping on the floor was a good idea, but it was sort of a moot point by now.
As Romano sat up, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, the pressure in his bladder increasing to unbearable proportions, he spotted his cell phone lying on top of a dog-eared cookbook. The little light on the front was blinking red, alerting him that he had a new text message.
Or, he noticed when he picked it up, eight new text messages. They were all from the same unfamiliar number. Desperately hoping that there wasn't some kind of top-secret criminal business at hand, Romano opened the oldest text.
To: Cute Romano!
…although, if this was the Mafia's new way of getting in touch with him, he was going down there and punching every single one of them in the throat, consequences be damned.
From: Your Secret Admirer!
you are so cute
like the root
of a tomato
but not a potato
since you don't like those
your cute little toes
should be in my garden
while the tomatoes harden
The message cut off there. Romano went to the next one with a feeling of dread.
when you pick up a trowel
and get dirt on your hands
your cute little hands
i want to hug you every time
i hear the clock chime
my heart sings
when the phone rin
And the next…
and you're calling me
i want to say 'whee'
your cute little pout
never fills me with doubt
cause you're sweet deep down
like a clown
or like a sugar bowl
you make m
It went on, and on, and on. Out of sheer morbid curiosity, he kept reading, if only to see how much worse it could get. He knew perfectly well who the sender was long before he reached the end of the poorly composed 'poem' in the seventh message, where the writer went on to say:
i loe you!
by the way, you left your rosary at my house the other night.
from your secret admirer!
Romano gave serious consideration towards introducing a hammer to his cell phone. There was still one unopened text in his inbox, though, and for the sake of thoroughness he selected it.
that was supposed to say 'love'. i'm not an idiot.
:D :D :D :D!
Good fucking Lord. Romano hit 'reply', typed Spain, you slack-jawed imbecile, what the fuck was that? , and sent it before getting up to finally relieve his cramping bladder.
Spain must have been near his phone, because he received a response not a minute later.
How did you know it was me?
I got a new phone! :D
Gee, that's a hard one, Romano thought irritably, rubbing his aching eyes. Because you're the only moron I know who would rhyme 'hands' with 'hands'. Were you fucking high or something? And what happened to your old phone? He pressed 'send' and turned on the faucet. His reflection in the bathroom mirror looked about as wonderful as he felt – bloodshot eyes with dark bruises under them, hair an errant mess, pale, and scowling. He'd gotten a crappy excuse for a night's sleep and it showed. Yawning, he cupped his hands under the spout and splashed some cold water on his face.
His cell vibrated. I went out with France and Prussia last night. Translation: he was completely shitfaced. I dropped my phone in my tomato soup and it died. :'(
"How the fuck does anyone drop a phone into a bowl of soup?" Romano asked the sink. It gurgled a bit in reply and he shut off the water, drying his hands and face on a towel. Well, at least as dying went, it wasn't the worst way to go. Drowning in potato soup was an entirely different story. Dumbass.
Spain sent him a line of hearts, a smiley face, and an 'I love you' with six exclamation points tacked onto the end. Romano didn't know whether to be touched or exasperated. He settled for a little of both, tucked his phone into his pocket (just in case Spain decided to say something else completely idiotic that Romano would have to yell at him for, of course), and proceeded out into the hall.
He made it as far as the stairs before stopping dead. Veneziano's chirpy voice had been audible from his bedroom, but now he could hear another, lower voice. This one had an unmistakable German accent.
Oh, fuck me.
God damnit. He couldn't get even one day of peace away from his brother's fuck-buddy, could he?
Romano stomped down the stairs, making no attempt to muffle his footfalls. He wanted them to hear him coming – that way, if they were doing something inappropriate, unsanitary, deviant, or otherwise revolting, they could stop before he got there.
Apparently, it wasn't enough of a warning, because when Romano crossed the threshold to the kitchen, he got an eyeful of Veneziano and Germany. Right in front of the stove, where a pot of water was bubbling. And they were necking.
"What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Doing?" he forced out through gritted teeth.
With almost deliberate slowness, Veneziano untangled himself from the blond asshole, beaming at his brother like he hadn't just been two minutes and one less pair of pants away from getting bent over the counter. "Romano, you're awake!"
"No shit," Romano growled. Germany looked vaguely annoyed and turned back to stir the pot before it boiled over. "Couldn't you find someplace else to be disgusting? This is the kitchen. People eat in here!" He yanked out a chair at the table and sat down, crossing his arms over his chest. Obviously, they needed strict adult supervision, since they were acting like a pair of horny teenagers out on their first date.
Veneziano's sunny smile faded a bit. He peered closer and said, "Ve, Romano, you don't look very well. Maybe you should go back upstairs and lay down. I'll bring you some lunch when it's done."
Oh, so now they were trying to get rid of him? Hell fucking no. The moment I step out of this room, you're going to start slobbering all over each others' faces again. "I'm fine. And I don't want any, you two have probably contaminated it by now."
"We didn't spit in it or anything," Veneziano said, looking confused.
"That's not what I meant, idiot!"
Before Veneziano could inquire further, Germany cleared his throat and said, "The water's ready," and he went bouncing back over to the stove to put the pasta in. Romano folded his arms on the table and put his head down. Despite what he'd told his brother, he didn't feel very fine – probably because he'd spent the night with only a thin rug between him and the cold, hard floor, but it didn't matter. A good nap and he'd be back to normal.
He must have actually dozed off, because suddenly the kitchen smelled like spaghetti and meatballs. Romano picked up his head and his stomach rolled at the sight that greeted him. Veneziano was putting the finishing touches on the sauce and Germany was standing much closer than was strictly necessary, a hand on the small of his back (I swear to God if he touches my brother's ass I will gut him), murmuring something too quiet for Romano to hear. Veneziano giggled, though, grinning brightly before leaning up to peck him on the cheek. Germany actually smiled back and slipped out of the room.
Then Veneziano turned to Romano. "Lunch is almost ready. Doesn't it smell wonderful?"
"No," Romano muttered, because it honestly didn't right now, "you probably made it wrong. And you two are being so sappy. You're making me sick."
Veneziano, as usual, didn't look the slightest bit fazed. Instead, he offered up another brilliant smile and said, "I can't help it, Romano. I love him!"
Somewhere, the sun was peacefully shining down on a cozy, peaceful house, and inside that house someone peacefully made lunch, probably humming a peaceful little song, peaceful life completely free of the turmoil that was currently plaguing Italy. And the peaceful bastard had Romano's rosary.
That is just fucking it. I'm going to Spain's.
Romano got up and left the room. He walked past Germany without screaming or socking him in the face, swiped his keys from the counter, shoved his shoes onto his feet. He'd slept in his clothes, so he had his wallet, phone, and passport in his pocket. Shaking his head in sheer disgust – Veneziano had officially lost his mind – he pulled on his coat and opened the door.
"Wait, Romano, where are you going?"
"Ve – don't you want any –"
Romano slammed the front door as hard as he could.
Romano made it to the airport in record time, breaking a few speed records along the way and narrowly evading a police officer by making an illegal U-turn on the highway, blazing down the on-ramp, and running two red lights in quick succession. Spain had said once that half of the traffic laws in Italy had probably been enacted because of him, but Romano tended to disagree – first of all, he wasn't a bad driver, just a proactive one. Second, since Spain had been clinging to the upholstery and gibbering mindlessly for most of the drive, he doubted it was a well thought out judgment. And, third, when it came to real jailable offences, Veneziano was the one who stole cars, even if he always returned them before the owners found out. He drove like a lunatic, too. He got off scot-free, Romano had had his license revoked six times. The unfairness of it all was nauseating.
Regretting the day he'd taught his idiot brother how to hotwire a car, Romano sulked into the terminal and sat down as far away from everyone else as he could get. He'd managed to snag the single remaining seat on a last-minute flight to Madrid, if only because the 11:30 coming in from Glasgow was horribly behind. "Blame Iceland," the woman at the desk had said with an apologetic shrug as she'd handed him his boarding pass.
Oh, yeah, Romano thought, that's a fucking brilliant idea. And then Norway will make it rain snapping turtles or something and we'll all be totally screwed. General consensus was that pissing off Norway should be avoided at any cost, and the easiest way to get on his hit list was to upset his little brother. That didn't take much, these days – the kid was a complete disaster – so Romano just stayed away from them both, and the other three as well for good measure. Those five were almost too close, and they were fiercely protective of one another. Romano, naturally, assumed they were all sleeping together, but no matter what was really going on with that group up there, he still didn't want to bring their collective wrath down on himself. It was easiest to pretend he'd never even heard the words 'humongous volcanic ash cloud cutting off transportation all over Europe'.
Despite the delay, he didn't have to wait long before they began boarding. At least something today was going all right. He squeezed into his seat and tried to make himself as comfortable as humanly possible, which, unfortunately, wasn't much. Romano had always loathed flying – airplanes, he believed, were God's way of punishing him for his sins by cramming him into a tiny, inescapable area with the most unsavory people on Earth. Screaming child? Check. Particularly rotund businessman glued to his cell phone in the seat next to him? Check. Large cluster of annoying tourists/teenagers/Germans? Check, check, and check. Worse still was the claustrophobia that came with knowing that he couldn't get out once they'd left the ground. Frankly, he preferred cars, but he was too tired to drive for eighteen hours.
His phone buzzed. Romano flipped it open.
Hiii Romano! :) Want to come over for dinner tonight?
I miss you! You're so cute!
"Excuse me, sir, please buckle your seatbelt, we'll be taking off in a few minutes," an attendant said loudly. She sounded like she wanted to add a few filthy words to her request. Romano did what he was told without looking up, mentally composing a rant and then trimming it down to 160 characters.
Fine. I'll be there soon.
Stop using so many exclamation points, idiot. I feel like I'm talking to a ten-year-old girl.
And I am not cute, you bastard.
Spain's reply came right before he shut his phone off.
All right! :) I'm going to mop the floors before I start dinner, so come in through the back, okay?
I love you!
Romano typed a response that consisted of 'okay' and 'I know, you tell me twelve fucking times a day', sent it, and powered down his cell before it interfered with the airplane's computers and they crashed and all died a horrible fiery death. He wasn't afraid of planes or anything ridiculous like that, he just didn't trust any mode of transportation that required someone on the outside to help lift off and land. It was all Spain's damn fault that he had to do this, anyway – if he just lived closer, there wouldn't be a problem. Not that there was a problem. He was in no way scared of something as stupid as a bloody airplane.
Once they'd finally gotten off the ground, Romano uncurled himself, stopped praying, and shoved the flat airline-issue pillow between his head and the window so he could mope in relative comfort. He was stuffed into a death trap for the next two hours, while Veneziano and his boytoy were probably happily screwing away on the dining room table. He made a mental note to disinfect it when he got back. The kitchen, too. Hell, he might as well just do the entire house – God knew what else they might have desecrated.
What did Veneziano see in that potato-sucking bastard, anyway? It was like he'd already forgotten everything Germany had done to them during World War Two. Of course, whenever he brought that up, Veneziano just frowned and insisted it was a long time ago and things had changed, and Romano should really try to stop dwelling on all that, because Germany was so smart and interesting and wonderful! Romano made a face at the thought. He had a long memory, and seventy years wasn't really so much compared to some of his other grudges. That Holy Roman Empire brat had kicked his shins once when they were kids and he still intended to punch him in the head if he ever turned up again.
It was different with Germany, however, because every day Romano had to sit there and play nice and pretend it didn't bother him that the creep was fucking his baby brother. Plus, if Germany hung around for long enough, that meant Prussia would show up sooner or later. Like having one of them in his house wasn't bad enough! Romano had eventually needed to devise a few little ways of getting revenge. They'd stayed over last Saturday night for one of Veneziano's 'sleepovers', and he had dragged them all out of bed at the crack of dawn for the first Mass of the day, knowing full well that Veneziano had kept them up until almost four. It'd almost backfired on him. Prussia was such an obnoxious egomaniac that Romano usually forgot that he had been Catholic, and he – who never shut his big mouth when he was awake and talked incessantly in his sleep – had been so quiet during the sermon it was a tad scary. The devout silence was welcome, coming from him, and Romano was confronted with the sudden realization that holy shit he was actually kind of sort of starting to think about respecting one of the morons the tiniest bit! The albino bastard got points taken off for saying the prayers in German, though.
Germany, on the other hand, had looked terribly uncomfortable and out-of-place through the whole thing. Romano thusly considered his plan a success. Still, he kept coming by, charming Veneziano and flashing him those little smiles and touching him and probably giving him all kinds of awful sexual diseases and why couldn't he just leave them the fuck alone?
The businessman cleared his throat loudly and threw him a significant look. Romano glared back, but he stopped growling and strangling his pillow. "What the hell are you staring at?"
The man shook his head before turning back to his magazine. Relaxing as much as he could, Romano leaned against the abused pillow again and stared out at the expanse of brilliant blue. Veneziano would have made some drippy comment about it being the same color as Germany's eyes, he was sure. His stomach roiled. Damn it, they're not even here and they're making me ill!
Ten minutes later, Romano was forced to admit that his brother and Germany's relationship wasn't the cause of his continued sickness. He had no idea why he was so nauseous, as he didn't get motion sick – the only time he'd thrown up on an airplane was the flight to London after that disastrous world meeting a few years ago when half of the nations got food poisoning, and in his defense, he'd been triggered by Switzerland, who had vomited first. In Romano's lap. The blond had been lucky Romano was busy heaving his guts, or he would have shot him with his own gun.
Feeling rather miserable, Romano braced his knees against the seat in front, burrowed into his jacket, and rubbed his sore eyes. This was definitely Spain's fault. He hadn't felt sick at all before reading his shitty poetry. He'd have to chew him out for that when he came in through the back door so he wouldn't mess up Spain's nice clean floors. They'd probably still be covered in suds when he arrived. Spain had always been terrible at housework. If he didn't have Romano around to remind him, he would do idiotic things like wash his colored clothes with straight bleach or forget to dust for six weeks and then wonder why he kept sneezing.
Romano kneaded his forehead – he had such a headache – and tried to recall the last time he'd felt this crappy for no reason. He wasn't sick that often as long there hadn't been some sort of outbreak in his country, but he had picked up the flu when he was a child, in the middle of summer, when absolutely no one else was ill. Even Spain hadn't been able to explain that one. Closing his eyes, Romano dug into his memories until he could remember exactly what happened.
Spain had wandered into the kitchen one warm evening, whistling a jaunty little tune, only to find his charge just sitting in the middle of the floor.
"Romano?" he'd said, crouching down in front of him. "What are you doing?"
"Go away," Romano had mumbled around his thumb. He was hot and queasy and sore and Spain's presence wasn't helping. It wasn't like Spain would do anything about it, either. Austria had never paid any attention to him when he was sick, and he certainly didn't expect this idiot to.
"Take your thumb out of your mouth, okay? I can't understand you."
"I said go away!"
Spain frowned – such a weird expression, on his face – and touched Romano's cheek. "I think you have a fever."
"Come on." Ignoring his protests, Spain scooped him into his arms and stood. "You're going to bed."
"Hey!" Romano screeched. He hammered ineffectually against Spain's shoulders with his tiny fists. "Put me down, you big jerk! I'm not a freaking sack of potatoes! Don't manhandle me!"
Then he broke off into a fit of rough, painful coughs that caused his entire body to shake violently. Spain made soft hushing noises and rubbed his back until he stopped. "Poor thing, why didn't you tell me you didn't feel well?"
"What do you care? Let go!"
Spain carried him upstairs anyway. "You ought to get some sleep," he mused, drowning out the complaints and profanity originating from somewhere around his left shoulder. "I think I have something for your fever. I'll have to look, though, I'm not sure if it's suitable for someone your size. Do you have to use the toilet first? I don't want you to have another accident…"
Turning bright red, Romano slugged him in the arm. Spain reacted as if he'd been struck with a feather – that is to say, he didn't even notice as he tucked him into bed, smoothed his hair, and kissed him on the forehead (to which Romano hit him again). "I'm not a baby! I don't wet myself anymore, you bastard!"
"If you say so… fine, then, I'm keeping the turtles in your bathroom. Try to rest, all right? I'll be back in a few minutes."
"You're keeping fucking what in my bathroom?" Romano shrieked, but Spain had already gone out to look for medicine. "You'd better be joking, damn it!" He immediately kicked off the covers and went storming over to the bathroom, yanking open the door.
Spain hadn't been joking – at least, not entirely, because there was only one turtle in the room. It was swimming around the tub like it owned the place. Romano frowned down at it. "Don't think you're staying permanently!" he declared. "As soon as I feel better, you're going in the toilet!"
The turtle blinked its beady little eyes at him.
"And don't try to look cute, either!"
"I'm not trying," the turtle informed him stiffly.
Romano jabbed at finger at it. "That's it! You're gonna have to find a new place to live!" He yanked the plug out of the drain and watched the water swirl away triumphantly. "Go swim in Spain's bathtub or something."
"Well, I would, but there's an octopus in there."
Of course. Only Spain would think it was a good idea to keep an octopus in the house, the moron. "I don't care! This is my bathroom and I'm not sharing with a turtle!"
"Very well," the turtle huffed. Romano tilted his head to the side – was it his imagination, or was that thing getting bigger? "But I'm reporting you to management. This is a grievous lack of hospitality." Yes, the turtle was definitely expanding. It had started out no larger than Romano's hand and was now nearly the size of the bathtub.
When the turtle's shell got so massive it actually broke the tub, Romano stumbled back and held up his hands. "H-hey, wait! Stop that! Spain'll get mad!"
"I'm afraid I can't," said the turtle. It was almost Romano's height and showed no signs of slowing down. And something weird was happening – the entire house seemed to be becoming part of the turtle, like the laws of reality had gone a bit screwy. Romano glanced down and noticed he was actually perched on the giant animal instead of the tiled floor. "Take your shoes off, if you please – since the ground's disappeared, you're standing on top of me, and I don't want marks on my shell."
"You – you – fine, but don't you dare leave turtle poop anywhere! I just swept downstairs!" He kicked off his shoes and sat down to sulk. "So if the floor's gone, what are you standing on, then?"
"Well," replied the turtle, "another turtle, of course."
The turtle proceeded to get bigger and bigger and bigger until it was impossibly huge. When there was no longer anything but stars overhead, Romano crawled to the edge of the shell and peered over – Spain's house was gone, Spain was gone, the Earth was gone, and it was just turtles on top of turtles all the way down.
"We are now arriving in Madrid-Barajas International Airport. The local time is 17:22. Please secure all belongings, fold up your trays, return your seats to the upright position, and prepare for landing…"
Romano opened his eyes slowly, disoriented and barely awake. That was weird… I'm pretty sure it didn't happen like that. He straightened up enough that he wouldn't get another glare from the attendant and promptly regretted it as his head spun. Rather than helping, falling asleep had actually made him feel worse – he was shivering despite the heat in the cabin, his back sticky with sweat, and was much closer to vomiting than he'd been two hours ago. Goddamn Spain and his drunken poetry and his fucking turtles.
The plane landed without incident, though Romano got a few strange looks from people who couldn't mind their own business. What did it matter to them if he'd huddled in his seat with a white-knuckled grip on the armrests and muttered "Padre nostro che sei nei cieli, sia santificato il tuo nome…" until they came to a full stop? Everyone was so nosy these days. They were all just lucky he hadn't puked everywhere from the jolt when the wheels hit the runway.
"Have a nice day!" A pretty flight attendant chirped at Romano on his way out. He tried to smile at her, but judging by her expression he hadn't succeeded. Oh well, it didn't really matter – what did was finding the restroom before everybody exiting the plane discovered what he'd had for dinner last night. Since he hadn't brought anything with him, he bypassed the baggage claim and shoved his way through a bunch of people chattering in rapid English to get to the bathroom, which was blissfully quiet. Whether it was actually empty or not, he didn't bother to check, just leaned over the closest sink and started gagging.
Nothing happened. Romano retched as hard as he could a few times, until he was shaking with the effort of trying to force up the mess churning around in his stomach. There wasn't anything more horrible than feeling nauseous enough to vomit but being unable to. One last desperate heave and he gave up, coughing and clutching the sink to support himself. He looked even worse than he had this morning, since now instead of just being rather pale, he was chalk-white and covered in a sheen of sweat. At this rate, he would walk into Spain's house and the man would take one glance at him and whisk him straight to bed. That didn't sound so bad, actually. He wanted nothing more than to curl up under a pile of blankets and sleep someplace where he wouldn't have to listen to his brother and Germany banging in the next room.
The door banged open and in wandered a few men, laughing uproariously. Romano hastily wet a paper towel, swiped it over his face, tossed it in the trash, and scampered out of there before the echo aggravated his already-unbearable headache. He didn't know if he wanted to throw up or just start crying instead.
Romano managed to score both a cab out to Spain's house and a driver who didn't get pissed off the first four times he made him pull over so he could dry heave on the side of the road. If the airplane had jostled his unsteady stomach, the movement of the car was rearranging his entire digestive system – he was now experiencing the worst sort of nausea, the kind that twisted up from his stomach to his chest and throat and yanked mercilessly at the back of his tongue. He still couldn't actually throw up. Breaking down and sobbing was beginning to look like an excellent prospect.
"You still alive back there?" the driver called gruffly.
"Yes," Romano muttered. The man didn't sound like he really cared. Maybe he was just making sure his passenger hadn't died along the way, as there was probably loads of paperwork involved if that happened.
Romano's stomach lurched when the car hit a pothole, but he didn't move, knowing it wouldn't come to anything. He hadn't been so queasy since that food-poisoning incident. At least then he'd been able to guilt Switzerland into giving him enough Dramamine to sleep for the rest of the trip – as had everyone else, in fact. The two of them had set off an impressive chain reaction affecting four random passengers, Greece, Iceland, Estonia, Poland, and, oddly enough, Sweden, who hadn't eaten the tainted meat (unlike most of the other nations) and didn't seem like the sort of guy who would be squeamish. The crew certainly earned their paychecks on that flight. Switzerland had provided the Dramamine just so everyone else would stop throwing up before they made him sick again, which led to inquiries about why he was carrying three boxes of the stuff and jokes concerning his occupation as a 'street pharmacist'. Given the amount of medication changing hands, Romano was amazed they'd all gotten off the plane without being immediately arrested on drug trafficking charges.
Hey, what time are you going to get here? Spain suddenly texted.
Fifteen minutes or so. Make sure you dry the floor so I don't slip and break my neck. Romano sent the message, closed his phone, and curled into a little ball of misery to wait out the rest of the ride.
It was close to dinnertime when Romano finally made his way around to the back of Spain's house, though the last thing he wanted right now was to eat. The mere idea of food was enough to make him retch uselessly into the bushes for half a minute before stumbling up the steps and opening the door.
"Romano, is that you?"
"No," Romano mumbled, "it's your fairy fucking godmother." He fought a glorious battle with the stuck zipper of his coat, swearing and pulling so hard that his fingers slipped and he somehow whacked himself in the face, then admitted defeat and just yanked it over his head. His hair hadn't been combed today anyway. Feeling too wretched to care about what a sorry sight he must be, he wandered toward the kitchen and pushed the door open.
As soon as he entered the room, he noticed three things:
One, there were wet streaks all over the kitchen floor. Obviously, Spain hadn't understood that mopping was pointless if he was going to walk all over in his street shoes while it was still drying.
Two, Spain was wearing an apron. A frilly, lacy, pink apron. This apron should not have looked that good on him.
Three, the mixed scent of tomatoes, pasta, basil, and garlic – typically so pleasant – was overpowering. When Romano inhaled, the smell almost physically assaulted him.
That was what did it. He gagged, involuntarily this time, and slapped a hand over his watering mouth. Spain turned around at the sound. "Are you okay?" he asked, usual brilliant smile dimming down to something a bit less blinding. Romano didn't hear him. His brain was screaming at him to fucking move, the sink (half-filled with dishes, still better than the floor) was ten steps away, but his legs wouldn't listen. He couldn't move a muscle except to swallow repeatedly in a vain attempt to force his stomach back to where it should be.
Shit, shit, shit… Figures, now that he was going to throw up, he really didn't want to. Relief from the incessant nausea might have been worth the pain of expelling his last meal in the most violent, revolting way possible; however, he had not intended to do it in front of Spain.
Romano's lungs began complaining next, since he hadn't taken a breath since he'd walked into the room. Opening his mouth would be a very bad idea. He had no choice but to inhale through his nose again.
That was what really did it.
He doubled over, retching, as the contents of his stomach evacuated his body without so much as a 'goodbye'. Something hot and sour – he didn't want to think about what, exactly, it was – burnt its way up his esophagus and out of his mouth, splattering against the terracotta.
"Shit, Romano!" Spain yelped. Romano was too busy heaving yesterday's dinner (right, it had been the leftover pizza Veneziano made, and he was afraid to open his eyes in case he recognized anything) onto the floor to care about whatever the other man's problem was. His throat felt like it was about to crack open from the repeated retching, he couldn't breathe, and he was becoming disturbingly lightheaded, even as the vomiting tapered off into wet, hacking coughs.
He didn't know if he had actually blacked out for an instant or just couldn't keep up with events, but one moment he was hunched over, choking on saliva and stomach acid; the next, Spain had an arm around his waist and was settling him into a chair. "It's all right," he was saying, "just relax, okay? It's all right. Breathe, baby, it's okay." The words sounded distant and fuzzy. Romano blinked over and over, trying to clear the blur from his eyes, and swallowed convulsively. Something soft and cool and damp was swiped over his mouth and chin, cleaning the mess from his face.
Another few moments swirled away, and then Spain pulled another chair close and sat down, setting the trash can between them and stroking Romano's forehead. "You really know how to make an entrance. Feel better now?"
Romano promptly threw up again.
"Oh," Spain said, "I guess not, then."
This was officially worse than the food-poisoning episode. That had been unpleasant yet bearable, and it almost became funny when Finland started shouting at the insufferably obnoxious subsection of disgruntled passengers. There was something amusing about watching such a small, delicate-looking guy intimidate a bunch of beefy Mafioso-types into sitting down and shutting the hell up, because, yes, some people were sick, but it wasn't their problem and if they didn't stop bitching about it ruining the flight he'd force-feed them their own teeth. Everyone knew who was really the 'wife' in his relationship.
No, this just plain sucked. After fifteen minutes of either vomiting into the receptacle Spain had had the foresight to provide, or curling up in his seat and praying for death, Romano wanted to file a complaint. His sinuses were burning – at some point, his nose had become an alternate method of exit, which was really not acceptable in any way – his throat hurt, his head throbbed, and he was both shivering uncontrollably and soaked in sweat. He felt so awful that the only reason he hadn't started bawling yet was that he didn't need to degrade himself any more today.
On the upside, it seemed like he'd finally run out of anything to bring up. His stomach had settled, at least temporarily, enough so Spain could coax him into having a bit of water. "Drink slowly," he said, holding out the glass. Romano took it, fingers slipping on the condensation, then hesitated.
"I don't know…"
Spain wiped his forehead with the wet cloth again. "You don't have to drink it. But you might be a little dehydrated, and I think it'd be better if you actually have something in your stomach to throw up instead of just dry-heaving."
He had a point, repulsive as it was. Romano was pretty sure his stomach lining looked like it had been through a paper shredder by now. He took a few small sips of the water – it soothed his raw throat, though it didn't help the nausea since everything tasted like regurgitated pizza. When the liquid failed to make the expected return trip, he drank a bit more. Spain looked pleased. "You're not quite so pale – or green – anymore. Want to go upstairs and lay down for a while?"
Laying down sounded heavenly. Holding his head up and his eyes open had become a chore over the last hour. "I don't know," Romano mumbled again, setting the half-empty glass on the table, "I'm still nauseous."
"I'll get you a bucket just in case, okay?" Now that Romano wasn't in immediate danger of passing out in a pool of his own vomit, Spain was quickly regaining his cheer. "You'll feel better after you get some sleep – and if not, I'll find a way to cure you!"
"You couldn't cure a ham," Romano muttered, but he let Spain loop an arm around his back, pull him to his feet, and steer him out of the room, being sure to maneuver around the remains of Romano's dinner. "You should – you should clean that up," he got out around a yawn, "before it eats through the floor."
Spain laughed. "And I just mopped, too." He didn't sound like this as anything more than being slightly unfortunate, but Romano still felt guilty– and then got mad at himself for feeling that way. It wasn't like it was his fault. He hadn't come in with the intention of throwing up on the floor. Damn it, why do I even care?
While he was silently berating himself, Spain had half-walked, half-dragged him upstairs. Now he gently pushed him to sit on the bed and tugged at Romano's braces. "Let's get you out of these clothes. You're all sweaty."
Romano feebly batted his hands away. "No," he said, just to be contrary, "I want to sleep." Spain let go and he curled up on the mattress, burying his face into a pillow that was both blissfully fluffy and hadn't come out of a plastic wrapper thirty seconds before being used.
"All right." It was quiet for a minute as Spain bustled around, first finding a bucket and placing it next to the bed, then taking Romano's temperature (which was high, but not alarmingly so), and finally draping a quilt over him. "Get some sleep. Just aim for the bucket if you feel sick again." He paused for a moment. "Oh, and try not to wet the bed."
Romano's eyebrow twitched. Spain couldn't see it and thus had no warning that this was not a remotely safe topic of conversation. I just fucking knew he'd bring that up. "What the hell is that all about?"
"Well, you're a very deep sleeper when you're sick. And even when you're healthy, sometimes you –"
Romano balled up his fist and swung at where he estimated Spain's head was. He missed. He was also weak as a kitten and probably couldn't have bruised an apple in this state, but it was the thought that counted. Spain merely pushed his arm back down to the bed and said, "I'm only teasing, Romano. Try to sleep now, okay?"
"Quit talking so I can sleep," Romano grumbled. He heard Spain laugh again, felt him press his lips to the side of his head, then felt the mattress shift. Spain was getting up. He was leaving.
For a moment, blind panic superseded nausea and dizziness and pain. Romano did not want to be alone right now. He hated the way his voice quivered when he said, "Where are you going?", but if it made Spain stick around, he'd get over it.
"To shut off the stove," Spain replied, sounding slightly perplexed. "And clean up a bit. Why, you want me to stay?"
"No!" Romano snapped. He pressed his face further into the pillow. Stop being so needy, he scolded himself, you're not going to die without him. "No, just… damn it. I'm just cold. Go away."
"Do you want another blanket?"
I want you, some traitorous, pathetic little corner of Romano's brain wailed. "No. Leave me alone!"
Spain got another blanket anyway and tucked it around him, pet his hair like Romano was some kind of puppy, and quietly left the room. Romano listened to his footsteps thump down the stairs, growing quieter and quieter until they were inaudible, then punched the mattress as hard as he could. Shit.
Seven and a half minutes elapsed between Spain exiting and reentering the room. Romano knew this because he'd been watching the little blue clock on the nightstand ever since he'd left. The second hand was permanently trapped on the eight, but it twitched sixty times a minute and all he had to do was count the jerks to know how many seconds had gone by. This is what passes for entertainment in my life, he'd thought after four minutes. I am never getting sick again.
When Spain finally came clomping back upstairs, Romano rolled onto his side and turned his face into the pillow so he wouldn't think he'd had been waiting for him. The movement made his stomach flip over and creep up into his throat again. Oh, damn it, you've got to be kidding me! Just a moment ago he'd been feeling better. He stopped moving immediately and took slow, shallow breaths.
"Romano?" Spain whispered, slipping around to the side of the bed and leaning over to see the other nation's face. "Are you still awake?"
Romano swallowed. "Mhm," he mumbled, shivering as he broke into a cold sweat.
"You're turning green again."
"No shit," Romano choked out. Sometimes, Spain was completely useless – cute, but useless. He pressed his knuckles to his lips and managed to say, "If you don't want your quilt to have a new pattern you need to give me that bucket now –" before gagging.
Despite his adorable uselessness, Spain had extraordinary reflexes. In the space of about two seconds, he tossed the blankets off Romano, grabbed him by his braces, yanked him upright, and shoved the bucket under his mouth the same instant he retched. It was impressive. Romano didn't get the chance to appreciate this feat, as he was preoccupied with heaving a quarter of a glass of water and a thin, sour dribble of bile into the pail. "It's all right," Spain said, having taken up his earlier litany, "it's okay. Just get it all up, you'll feel better." Once this bout of sickness was over, he wiped Romano's face clean again and got him some more water (which went untouched) and tucked him back in.
For his part, Romano just wanted him to go away for a little while. He'd hit the point where there was nothing to do except either laugh at his misfortune or start crying, and he felt entitled to a bit of a hysterical breakdown, but his battered pride was insisting that he wait until Spain left. He curled into a little ball under the quilt and squeezed his burning eyes shut.
"Do you need anything else?"
"No." I need you to leave already! Romano had never liked crying in front of anyone. He was weak enough already.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes! Go away!" Romano replied, hoping Spain hadn't noticed the way his voice caught on the last syllable.
"Okay, okay, I'm going," Spain said placatingly. He brushed Romano's hair off his forehead, leaned down, and kissed him on the cheek. "Get some rest," he murmured, lips soft against his fevered skin. "I love you."
Romano burst into tears.
"What? What did I do?" Sounding frantic, Spain swung around to the other side of the bed and climbed in next to him. Romano buried his face in his sleeve, knowing perfectly well that his dignity had fled the continent but trying to choke back his sobs anyway. "Romano, what's wrong?"
"This is all your fault!" Romano wailed. Spain made a noise like a cat being strangled. "Your stupid poetry… and your damn turtles!"
Sniffling, Romano opened his mouth, preparing to tell him that he would have been fine if it wasn't for the gigantic world-eating turtle he'd left in the tub – then realized exactly how ridiculous that came off and changed his mind. That hadn't even happened, except at the point where Romano's memory slipped into a dream. In fact, now that he thought about it, he had just fallen asleep right after Spain put him to bed, despite insisting that he wasn't tired or sick. When he'd woken up later, horribly sick to his stomach (and wet, but he would deny that until his dying day), and vomited all over his bed, Spain had come rushing in to clean him up. Then he had stayed with him for the rest of the night, cuddling the miserable little boy in his lap until he dozed off again.
Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Spain had taken good care of him whenever he was sick, and right now, Romano wanted to be coddled, self-respect be damned. He let Spain pull him close, let him wind his arms around his waist and rub his back and whisper soothing nonsense into his hair, and let himself cling and press close until they were practically one person. And if he whispered I love you too, you bloody idiot, the words were muffled in the soft fabric of Spain's shirt and went unheard, just as he'd hoped they would be.
The other half of this fic will be posted soon. :)
In the meantime, reviews are loved.