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.

Sometime during the night, Romano's temperature spiked up to levels that might have been dangerous, were he actually human. Since he wasn't actually human, he merely woke up screaming, half-delirious, under the impression that the white-hot pain snaking down his spine was the result of some mad axe murderer burying a hatchet into the back of his neck after stabbing Spain to death. His vision was hazy and peppered with shifting dark spots, but he could still see the outline of someone leaning over him. Romano shrieked in sheer panic – ohgodIdon'twanttodieIdon'twanttodieIdon'twanttodie! – and, weakened though he was from illness, he managed to put enough force behind his swing to catch his unsuspecting assailant in the face.

"Ow!" The 'murderer' rocked back, rubbing his mouth. Romano took this opportunity to try to punch him again, but he couldn't reach far enough without sitting up, and his neck and back hurt so badly that that was not an option. "It's okay, Romano, I'm not going to hurt you!"

Romano automatically filed that statement into the 'Bullshit' column. It was just the sort of thing an axe murderer would say to lure him into a false sense of security. Well, that could work the other way around, too. He pretended to relax, dropping his arm and half-closing his eyes… and then, when The Axe Murderer got up onto his knees and conveniently left himself open to the most vile attack known to man and nation-kind alike, Romano pulled back a leg and kicked him in the groin.

With a distinctly unmanly screech, his attacker collapsed sideways, right off the bed, and Romano reached over to the other side and groped around wildly. There was no Spain lying where he was supposed to be lying, mouth wide open and snoring his head off. Worse, Romano felt damp and sticky – what if Spain really had been brutally murdered and Romano was covered in his blood? And there was something else missing, too, something important, something he couldn't quite put his finger on…

There was a groan from the floor. "Romano… that was really uncute…"

"I don't care!" Romano rasped, his sore throat burning with the effort. "What did you do with Spain?"

"What?" Whimpering slightly in pain, The Axe Murderer hauled himself back onto the mattress, but stayed far enough away that he wasn't in kicking range. "Romano, it's me! It's okay. You just had a nightmare."

Romano squinted into the darkness. "Shut up! I swear, if you killed Spain and… and dismembered his body and put the pieces in the freezer, I'll kill you!"

The Axe Murderer actually laughed, but it was a soft, gentle laugh rather than the crazy hyena cackle he'd expected. "No, I didn't chop myself up and put myself in the freezer. I'm going to turn on the light, okay?" Without waiting for a response, he reached for the lamp on Spain's nightstand.

Romano slammed his eyes closed just in time to avoid being brutally blinded by the sudden onslaught of brightness. The light that still filtered through his eyelids did nothing for his headache, though, and when his headache worsened, his stomach began sending messages of impending mutiny again. "Turn it off," he moaned. "It hurts."

"I know. Open your eyes for just a moment, though. It's only me." A warm, callused hand touched his forehead, and, despite himself, Romano leaned into the touch. Now that he was coming down off the adrenaline high, he found that he was terribly cold and ached all over. "Oh, Romano, you poor baby – you're burning, no wonder you're confused. Open your eyes, all right?"

Romano opened his eyes.

The man leaning over him was inherently familiar – brown hair, bright green eyes, tanned, barely-visible scar next to his left eyebrow from where he'd been hit with a cracked beer bottle during a drunken bar fight with Prussia and France six weeks ago. Romano's fevered brain instantly posited a scenario wherein The Axe Murderer killed Spain and then wore his skin like some kind of sick Halloween costume, but by now, he'd woken up a bit more and was coherent enough to come to the conclusion that this, while not impossible, was extremely unlikely. Besides, no axe-wielding psychopath could properly replicate Spain's silly grin. "Smile," Romano ordered.

"Huh?" The Axe Murderer/Possibly Spain blinked, then promptly broke into one of Spain's trademark smiles. The effect was only slightly dampened by the smear of blood sweeping from one corner of his mouth across his cheek. "You're so cute, Romano," he cooed, "even though you're all sweaty and gross. You should really change out of those clothes."

Okay, definitely Spain. Romano allowed himself to relax, though only slightly – the dim light from the lamp threw shadows into every corner of the room, shadows that seemed to twitch the moment he took his eyes off of them. In the back of his mind, he realized that he was most likely delusional from the fever, but the rest of his brain couldn't catch up quite yet. Spain was dabbing his forehead with a wet cloth again, yammering cheerfully on about the time he'd had Legionnaires' Disease and kept hallucinating that he was a pickle trapped in a jar. Romano ignored him. He was nauseated and dizzy and his head felt like it was about to float right off his shoulders, which, given how badly it hurt, might have been welcomed at this point. "Oh, shut up," he finally muttered when Spain reached the part of his tale where a nurse strongly resembling Belarus came in to give him a sponge bath. "You babble more than my brother sometimes."

Along came the very sudden realization of what else was missing from the room.

Romano snagged Spain by the collar, midsentence, and tugged him down to eye level. "Where's Veneziano?" he demanded.

Spain blinked. Up close, his eyes were the color of basil leaves – not that Romano really wanted to be thinking about basil after what had transpired earlier, but the thought meandered across his mind anyway. "What? He's probably still at your house."

"I want to see him."

"Romano, it's two-forty in the morning. You should go back to sleep, and he can come over later, okay?"

Romano shook his head frantically, tightening his grip on Spain's collar so the other man couldn't move. "I want to see him," he insisted. If Veneziano wasn't in arm's reach, he could be off getting into trouble somewhere and Romano was too sick to bail him out right now. "I have to. What if something happens to him?"

"Romano, Romano… shh." Spain stroked his hair, his forehead, his cheek. "It's just the fever talking. He's fine, I'm sure. If you're here, I bet he's with Germany."

Unbeknownst to Spain, that was the absolute least reassuring thing he could have come up with. Romano froze for a moment, his imagination churning out all sorts of possibilities, each more horrifying than the last – and then he let go of Spain's shirt and struggled into a sitting position, ignoring the pain. "What are you doing?" Spain asked, putting a hand on his chest in order to keep him from moving any further. "You really shouldn't be up, Romano. I can take you to the bathroom if you need to go, but other than that you have to stay in bed."

Coughing violently, Romano waited until the room stopped tilting before swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "Not letting that bastard near him," he mumbled, blinking away the black blobs that were crowding out his vision once more. "He is not getting to my brother again…"

Spain grabbed him around the waist right as he made to stand up, which was a good thing, because his knees promptly buckled and he would have been kissing the floor if Spain hadn't yanked him back onto the bed. "Lay down," he said firmly, pressing Romano's shoulders against the mattress. "It's all right, I promise. You need to stay in bed."

"Let me go!" Romano struggled briefly, but his energy reserves had been depleted by his attacking of 'The Axe Murderer', and within a minute he'd exhausted himself. "Spain, please, I have to see him, I have to make sure he's okay, I can't leave him alone with Germany…"

"Romano, relax. Germany isn't going to hurt him."

Romano shook his head again, wondering why Spain wasn't understanding. "He has hurt him, and Veneziano's too much of an idiot to learn from his mistakes, he'll just stay with him until that bastard does something else, and I have to be there, I don't want him to leave me – let me go, I have to see him!"

"Okay, okay, stop." Spain didn't release him, but he did lay down in order to restrain him more comfortably, and Romano was still too cold to resist the invitation of a warm body to curl up with. "You're not thinking straight right now, baby. Nothing's going to happen to Veneziano. Germany gets all mushy around him, so I don't think he'll do anything to him, either."

"He has," Romano whispered, because he'd never really forgotten his little brother's dead-eyed look after Germany had had the entire Acqui Division executed. He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his face into Spain's neck.

Spain ran his fingers through Romano's sweat-dampened hair, carefully avoiding that one errant curl. "We've all done things we're not proud of," he said quietly, "but you've got to let it go, Romano. Hating him isn't going to change the way your brother feels. Besides, when you're not running around keeping Veneziano out of trouble, Germany is, and he wouldn't do that if he didn't care about him, right?"

Not wanting to consider the possibility that Germany was any less harmful than his imaginary Axe Murderer, Romano pretended not to have heard. Even if Spain was, for once, making sense. Maybe that was a product of the fever, too – it certainly didn't happen often. "Let go," he said.

Spain didn't. Romano hadn't expected him to. "I really think you should just go back to sleep, and you can call Veneziano in the morning if you want." He shifted back a little and felt Romano's forehead again. "Your temperature's still high… but I think you're over the worst of this. You'll probably feel better soon." He started to stroke Romano's hair again, which might have put him right to sleep if he hadn't stopped abruptly. "Hey, wait a minute… why do you think he's going to leave you?"

"I didn't say that."

"Yes you did, just a second ago. Romano, you're worrying about silly things again."

Romano punched him in the shoulder. He hadn't really planned to hit him, but he was already upset and frustrated and having Spain dismiss his concerns so easily put him over the edge. He hit him a second time for good measure (and because Spain didn't look particularly shocked or injured), then rolled over so he wasn't facing him anymore. "Shut up! Just… shut up."

"Romano…" Spain draped an arm over his waist and nuzzled the back of his neck. "What I meant was, you don't have to worry about it because it's not going to happen. You're important to Veneziano – you get him out of trouble by screaming at the right people, you yell at France when he touches him in inappropriate places, you keep him from blowing himself up with fireworks like he almost did on New Year's Eve that one time.. and, when you're not there, Germany does that stuff for you, so he's actually helping you!"

Of all Spain's talents, Romano found the one where he made him feel worse just by opening his mouth to be the most aggravating. "Great," he muttered, "so that bastard can do everything I used to along with screwing him on the kitchen counters. That's just fucking wonderful."

"And," Spain poked him in the back of the head, "you're his big brother. You, not Germany. He loves you. Isn't that enough?"

It wasn't the same, hearing it from someone who wasn't Veneziano, but Romano was well past the point where he could do anything more strenuous than lift a spoon, and he was so tired he couldn't keep his eyes focused. "I still want to see him," he whispered.

Spain kissed the top of his head. "I'm sure if you call him tomorrow morning and tell him you're sick, he'll come," he said. "I think your fever's gone down, a bit. Go back to sleep."

Sleep looked like a very inviting prospect. Romano didn't have the strength to fight it anymore – he curled an arm under his head and dozed off, wrapped in Spain's arms, and when morning rolled around their whole conversation was shrouded in a feverish haze and he could hardly remember it at all.

Romano woke, sweat-soaked, shivering from the chill brought on by fever, every single muscle he possessed aching. His mouth tasted like something small and furry had crawled inside and then croaked. And, as if that weren't enough, he was immediately plagued by the now-familiar sensation of imminent gastric rebellion. At least he'd slept in a bed this time.

When he fell and nearly brained himself on the nightstand in his mad scramble to untangle himself from Spain and climb off the mattress, he decided that yesterday morning hadn't really been so bad after all.

Stomach lurching, Romano stumbled into the bathroom, fumbled for the light, decided visibility wasn't all that important, and proceeded to choke up a mouthful of something he could not identify whatsoever into the sink. That, thankfully, seemed to be all his body wanted for now, and the queasiness faded to a manageable level.

"Fuck," he muttered feelingly. Then he plucked his toothbrush from the holder on the counter, applied a generous glob of Spain's toothpaste, and vigorously attacked the disgusting film coating his teeth.

Between reloading his brush with as much paste as he could use without getting fluoride poisoning and trying not to gag every time he accidentally poked too far back on his tongue, Romano wondered what kind of bizarre fever dream he'd been having last night. He dimly recalled thinking he'd been attacked by a murderer… who turned out to be Spain… and he remembered being worried about his brother for some reason… and there'd been something about France… molesting fireworks? Shaking his head – the stuff his subconscious churned out when he was sick was unbelievable – he spit toothpaste foam into the basin one last time and rinsed out his finally clean mouth. He had forgotten how nice it was to not taste vomit all the time.

Raindrops were splattering against the bedroom windows when he wandered in, making his way towards the bed and shedding articles of clothing as he did so. Once he was down to just his underwear, he cocooned himself in blankets, turned his pillow over so he wouldn't be sleeping on the damp side, and resumed his former position as Spain's cuddle toy. The short excursion to the bathroom had worn him out. Romano yawned sleepily and nudged Spain until the man shifted over – he'd sweat through his clothes and the sheets where he had lain felt gross. The tiny part of his mind that he reluctantly allowed to acknowledge the validity of everything that pissed him off was grateful he hadn't actually wet the bed, since his pain-in-the-ass boyfriend would never have stopped bringing it up at inappropriate times if he had. Probably dehydrated, he thought, swiping his tongue over dry, cracked lips, should do something about that… later.

Spain snuffled, mumbled aimlessly in Spanish, and curled an arm around the overheated body next to his own. Romano caught his name and what sounded like a marriage proposal among the gibberish, but was too exhausted to react beyond yawning, "Shut up, idiot."

He drifted for a while. The rain stopped and started and stopped ad infinitum like a leaky faucet. Around the time the clock downstairs chimed eight, Romano felt Spain touch his forehead, then roll off the bed. Since he wasn't as pathetically fragile as he'd been last night, he turned onto his stomach and stole Spain's pillow instead of panicking when the other nation didn't return.

At some point, he actually fell asleep, and when he woke again it was to the muffled sound of his phone ringing rather than overwhelming nausea. "Damn it," he groaned, realizing that his pants were too far away to be reached without getting up. "Who's calling me this early?"

Upon dragging himself out of bed and digging his phone out of his pocket, he discovered that it was actually eleven in the morning. He decided it was still too early for polite conversation and flipped the phone open without looking at the display. "What?"

"Good morning!"

Romano padded into the bathroom, shaking off the odd sense of relief that swamped him the moment he heard his brother's voice. "Hi. What do you want?"

"You sound terrible," Veneziano said, instead of answering the question like a normal person. His voice was so riddled with concern that Romano let it go. "Are you okay?"

There was an empty glass on the counter. Romano grabbed it, turned on the faucet, filled it up, and took a sip – oh, God, I don't think water's ever tasted this good before. "I'm fine."

"Spain said you were sick."

Crap. He hadn't planned to tell Veneziano how ill he'd been. There was no reason to make him fret, especially now that he was feeling marginally better. "When the hell were you talking to Spain?"

"A few hours ago. He called and said you'd gotten really sick last night and you were upset because I wasn't there. Ve, Romano, do you want me to come over?"

Romano downed the rest of the water, ignoring his complaining stomach. The suspicion that the 'fever dream' hadn't been a dream at all crept into his mind. Shit, what did I say to Spain that worried him so much he called Veneziano? I don't need him to come here – well, I'd rather he be here than with the potato-fucker, but I don't need him. I'm not five, I can handle being sick on my own. I'm not so weak that I need my little brother around all the time. I don't – oh, fuck

It wasn't until he'd stopped dry-retching that he realized it was probably bad manners to throw up while on the phone with someone.

"That was gross, Romano," Veneziano said mildly. He didn't seem particularly affected by listening to his brother vomiting. Romano was a bit impressed – had their roles been reversed, he would be revisiting his last meal, since seeing or hearing someone get sick had that effect on him (which reminded him of that one god-awful flight, and he made a mental note to throw something pointy at Switzerland next time he saw him, gun or no gun).

"Sorry," he said, refilling the glass and forcing himself to drink much more slowly this time. "And no, you don't have to come over. I'm not that sick anymore."

"You just threw up."

"I drank too fast. Really, I'm okay, just tired and sore. I feel like I've been beaten up by Turkey."

Veneziano 'hmm'ed. "Ve… like Greece when he and Turkey argue during conferences and disappear and then Greece comes back dirty and covered in bruises?"

All right, bad example. Slightly amazed that his brother could be dense enough to think those two were ever just fighting, he said, "No, not… forget it. I must have the flu or something, I'm throwing up things that aren't even mine."

Romano had already suspected he was on speakerphone, due to the clanking of spoon against bowl in the background that suggested his brother was cooking again, but the loud, cackling laughter that sounded a moment later confirmed it. "Here's a lesson for ya: spit, don't swallow!" he heard Prussia yell.

Before he could do more than pick up his toothbrush and contemplate its potential as a weapon, Veneziano chirped, "Oh, Prussia, you're back! Here, stir this!" – there was a confused squeaking noise from Prussia that Romano would have laughed at were he present – a door closed – and then came Veneziano's voice, much closer now, "Sorry, what was that?"

"Never mind," Romano grumbled. He jammed his brush back into the holder with great force and went to lay down again. "What's he doing there?"

"He showed up this morning. He's not staying, though, he's going somewhere with France and Denmark. Germany and I were going to go on a picnic, but the weather's bad."

Romano made a face. Sure, 'go on a picnic'… more like fuck behind a tree.


"Nothing!" Damn it, he had to start making sure he didn't think out loud.

"Ve, that part was going to come later," Veneziano said, sounding almost smug. Romano spluttered incoherently. And everyone calls him innocent? "We're staying in and watching movies instead. You can come if you're feeling better!"

Romano had the strangest feeling that he'd just been invited into his own home, but he disregarded it and snapped, "Hell no. I'm not coming back until he's gone."

"Who, Prussia?"

"No, that blond prick!"

"But, Romano… I thought we could all spend some time together and have fun... I think if you got to know him, you'd like Germany, he's so nice!"

"Damn it, I don't want to get to know him!"

"Why not?"

The words slipped out before he could really think about what he was saying. "Because I fucking hate him! I've always hated him! I don't know why you have to date the bastard! I wish he'd just fuck off and leave us the hell alone!"

Veneziano was silent. Romano already regretted opening his mouth. He could easily picture the other nation's lost expression, that childlike brain of his trying to work out what Germany had done to his big brother to make him hate so deeply and whether or not that meant Romano hated him for his choice in partners, because Veneziano was sweet but not particularly bright, and guilt tightened around his abused stomach. "…I didn't mean that quite the way it sounded."

"Why?" Veneziano said in a small, hurt voice.

Fuck! What was one supposed to do when they had to convince their over-sensitive little brother that they didn't hate his boyfriend when they really, really did? For a moment, Romano wished he could ask someone – except the only set of brothers he was familiar with was America and Canada, and he knew for certain that they didn't care who the other dated. In fact, sometimes they dated the same people at the same time. Sometimes they traded. There was also the grapevine rumor that Norway and Iceland were actually related and didn't just refer to each other as brothers because they'd been close for so long, but Romano was unsure whether or not it was true and the nations involved weren't talking. Plus, if it was, it put a disturbing new spin on that whole Nordic clusterfuck. He suppressed a shudder at the implications. Why is everyone I know so damn weird?

"Look, I just – I don't –" He paused, massaged his forehead, and tried to gather his thoughts into something resembling coherency. I don't think he's good enough for you. I'm afraid he'll hurt you again and you won't bounce back this time. If you leave me alone I don't know what I'd do without you. "Why did it have to be him?" he finally got out, voice barely above a pained whisper.

There was a pause on the other end. "I don't know," Veneziano said, just as quietly. "I can't help who I fall in love with."

damn it all. He would come up with the one response Romano didn't have a ready-made retort for.

What was worse was that he had a point. Romano hadn't just woken up one morning and decided he was going to fall for Spain, it had been building since he was an awkward, gangly-limbed teenager and started dreaming of green eyes and long, callused fingers and burning heat. Of all the people he'd ever thought of romantically, he'd never totally believed he could love a man who was a basket case at the best of times until it happened.

And, the little part of his mind that he liked to ignore whispered, why wouldn't Veneziano like Germany? He's smart, he's strong, he's nicer to him than you are…

Shut up!

Well, it's true. How much of an awful person are you, that you don't want your brother to be happy?

But I – good Lord, I'm arguing with myself. I think that's the first sign of insanity.

He dragged himself back to reality with some effort, hearing Veneziano continue speaking. "– don't understand, he's been nothing but wonderful to me, but if you don't – ve, Romano, if you're really that against it, I don't want you to be miserable…" He trailed off, then said, so softly Romano almost didn't hear, "Do you want us to break up?"

"No!" Romano yelped, surprising even himself.

"But –"

"I didn't say I wanted you to break up, idiot! I said I hate him, there's a difference!"

Veneziano was quiet again. If Romano had to put a name to this new pause, it would be 'absolutely confounded'. Truth be told, he wasn't quite sure why he'd said what he did – maybe because, despite his utter loathing of the German bastard, something about imagining them broken up was just wrong. He'd been Veneziano's huge blond shadow for decades now. Romano might have wanted Germany to take a long walk off a short pier, but making Veneziano dump him was going a little too far. He pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut against the headache that was attempting to reach new, painful heights.

"Now I really don't understand. Maybe you should get some more sleep, Romano."

"I don't need – God, would you just shut up for a second and let me think?" His skull felt like it was full of needles. Groaning faintly, Romano curled up on his side, switching his phone to the other ear, and for the first time in his life he considered just being brutally honest. What's the worst that could happen? Aside from sounding completely needy and pathetic and selfish… fuck! He pummeled his pillow a few times. Why does this shit always happen to me?

"Are you still there?" Veneziano piped timidly.

"I just don't want you to get hurt, okay?" Romano yelled. "You're my little brother, and I'm supposed to protect you, but you're always with that asshole and you don't even care about the shit he's done to you – and – and I end up fucking worrying all the time because you don't have enough sense to – what the hell am I supposed to do if something happens to you? I don't want to be alone!"

Romano's chest was heaving by the time he'd finished his short but impassioned rant. He took in a few much-needed gulps of air and swiped a hand across his eyes, cringing when it came away wet.

"Ohhhhhh," his brother said, drawing out the word for longer than was strictly necessary, "I get it."

I'm glad one of us does.

"I still love you, Romano!"

Romano's train of thought hit a moose on the rails. "What?" He was pretty sure he hadn't said anything about feeling unloved.

"And I'm not going to go anywhere. You're my brother and I love you and we're going to be best friends forever, ve!"

"Is your brain leaking? What the hell are you babbling about? Because I was talking about your idiot boytoy."

"Oh, Romano… this isn't about Germany at all, really. You're scared I'm going to leave you."

Romano blinked, shook his head, opened his mouth – and then realized that he couldn't say anything in reply. Veneziano might act like an idiot, but he was dangerously perceptive when he put his mind to it, and somehow he'd waded through the mess of invectives and complaints Romano had spat and fished out what he was actually trying to say. "I…"

"It's okay. I understand – I don't want you to leave me either…" Veneziano hesitated, "although I don't think I've ever thought about it before."

That's because you didn't spend half of your life being abandoned by people who were supposed to care about you, Romano thought bitterly.

"I love you both, Romano, a lot. But I can't read minds, and you never tell me when you're scared or upset or lonely. I try, but if I guess wrong and you don't want me around, then you get mad. And you usually don't want me around, so I… I guess I don't try that much anymore."

Romano started to shake his head again before remembering that his brother couldn't see it. "That's not – it's not like that! You don't get it – you're always with Germany, always, whenever I do need you, and I – he deserves you a lot more than I do!"

For the third or fourth time, there was a pregnant pause as Veneziano puzzled over this new information and Romano tried to figure out exactly where the hell it had come from. I don't really feel like that, right? Of course not, that creepy asshole should just get away from him so I don't have to compete – shit, I do. Well, that's fucking wonderful.

"Romano," Veneziano said, eventually, "I don't know why you feel like you don't deserve to be loved… but I really want to give you a hug."

Oh, great, and now I'm bawling again. I'm not answering the next time he calls.

"Wait, hold on." The voice in the background was too muffled to make out most of the words, but Romano distinctly heard 'un-awesome'. Twice. "Um… there's a fire extinguisher in the pantry."

"What the hell is he doing to my kitchen?" Romano snapped. Last time Prussia had been left in there unsupervised, he'd broken a window with a spatula.

"I don't know. And don't change the subject, ve. I love Germany, but I don't love him more than I love you, and I'd let go of him before I'd ever leave you alone."

Damn it!

"Romano, are you crying?"

"No!" Romano hiccupped, scrubbing his eyes with a corner of the coverlet. "No, I…" As usual, all the things he wanted to say got stuck in his throat, and what came out was, "I just wish you'd stop being so sappy. I'm already sick, don't make it any worse."

"Sorry!" He didn't sound particularly sorry. "But you needed to hear it."

"I… yeah, I guess."

"Ve, about Germany –"

"I still hate him," Romano interrupted. He was overwhelmingly tired at this point, and he knew Veneziano would probably never fully understand why he didn't like the man. Better to just wrap this up as best he could before he fell asleep on the phone and ran his bill up. "And I don't trust him with you. But I do trust him to know that if he ever does anything to hurt you, he'll be getting a visit from some of my, ahem, friends." Nobody took Romano seriously, but being threatened with the Mafia usually did the trick. "Look, I don't care what you do with him – well, I do, but I'm not going to stop you. Just… quit doing it in the kitchen, for God's sake."

"But I like the kitchen~"

"Too bad! Have some common decency!"

Veneziano began giggling, and Romano's lips twitched involuntarily. "Okay, okay. Ve, I'm going to fly over to Spain's a little later."

"I said you don't need to come here, you and that bastard had a date or something –"

"Well, I want to. You're still sick and I can throw Germany out, he won't mind. We'll watch movies when you're better – don't tell him I said so, but he always picks out really boring ones. And I have to give you a hug, remember?"

Picturing his delicate little brother physically throwing Germany out of the house was one of the best mental images Romano had had in a long time. "I –"

"Uh-uh! No arguing!"

Romano flung his free arm out in a classic I-give-up pose and swore as he nearly broke his fingers on the nightstand. "Fine! Whatever! Do what you want."

"All right!" Judging by his tone, Veneziano was all smiles again. "I'll get a flight out after lunch, okay? I should probably make sure Prussia didn't burn down the kitchen… oh, and tell Spain I want his paella recipe~ see you later!"

"Yeah, yeah," Romano said. "Bye." Sighing, he closed his phone and set it on the nightstand. They hadn't really solved anything, but he felt better, and he was relieved that Veneziano would be on his way soon enough – the knowledge that he'd ditch his boyfriend to take care of his sick brother was sort of nice. Romano felt rather special.

There was a soft creaking noise on the other side of the room. He cracked open an eye he didn't remember closing to see Spain standing in the open doorway, looking deliriously happy. Romano stared at him for a moment, wondering if he'd been dipping into the Netherlands' "Special Box" again. "What are you – how long have you been there?"

"Oh, Romano!" And suddenly Romano had two armfuls of Spaniard, who was peppering kisses all over his face and babbling about how proud he was while simultaneously snuggling him until he could barely draw breath. 'Flabbergasted' did not even begin to describe Romano's feelings at the moment.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" He weakly pushed Spain away, but not before the man tried something that could only be considered the X-rated version of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. "And stop that, you're going to get sick too."

"I'm so proud of you," Spain cooed. He got in one last kiss and stopped squeezing Romano's ribcage, allowing him to breathe properly again.

"For what, idiot?" If he says one word about me not wetting my bed… I swear I'm going to put a toothbrush through his eye.

Spain beamed. "You actually talked to Veneziano!" He propped himself up on his elbows and rested his forehead against Romano's. "I'm really glad, Roma," he said softly, "You bottle everything up too much. It's unhealthy."

"Did you just call me Roma?" Romano muttered, feeling his cheeks burn.

The goofy grin widened. "Yup – ow!" Spain's face contorted into a ridiculous-looking pout as he rubbed the sore patch of skin on his hip. "Don't pinch me!"

"Don't call me Roma." Remembering that he was wearing only a pair of boxers, Romano squirmed out from under Spain and drew the quilts up around himself– not out of modesty (after all, Spain had seen much more than that), but because he was getting cold again. "And did you have to call him? I wasn't that bad off."

"You were so sick you told me someone killed me and put me in the freezer," Spain said. Romano snorted. "And you were frantic when you found out he wasn't here and thought something was going to happen to him. I thought he should know in case you were still feverish and he needed to get here quick."

"Well, I'm fine," Romano mumbled, embarrassed. Great, like his little emotional breakdown last night hadn't been bad enough. Fuck it, next time I get sick, I'm staying home. "And we… worked it out. Kind of. He's going to fly over later."

"Good!" Smiling, the other nation stretched his arms over his head and gave a huge yawn, then rubbed at his eyes. Romano felt a another pang of guilt, wondering how much sleep Spain had sacrificed to take care of him. "Do you want something to eat?"

Romano cringed. "God, no."

"Okay." Spain ran his fingers through Romano's hair, unbothered by the sweaty texture. "You ought to drink some water, though, you're probably dehydrated."

"I had a glass earlier," Romano said, choosing not to mention the one he'd quickly rejected. His second attempt had actually stayed down, which was a massive relief – throwing up got old after a while. The muscles in his stomach, unaccustomed to being brutalized in such a manner, were beginning to throb. Guess it could have been worse… like that cholera epidemic. He shivered at the memory and Spain, taking it as a chill, shifted closer and let himself be used as a personal heater. Having cholera had been hell. Compared to that, a little flu was nothing.

"Good," Spain said again. He was nuzzling Romano's hair now, which Romano thought was a bit disgusting, as he hadn't showered since the day before yesterday. "Your fever's almost gone, too… you're feeling better now, right?"

"I guess so." The nausea was more annoying than anything now. Suddenly recalling the reason he'd gone to Spain's in the first place, he muttered, "As long as you never write me any more shitty poetry while you're drunk, I'll be fine."

"Does that mean I can write you poetry when I'm not drunk?"

"Absolutely not. And speaking of… where's my rosary?"

"Hm?" Spain's eyes opened halfway. "Um… well, it was in the kitchen, but I moved it when I started mopping so I wouldn't get it wet… into the dining room? Wait, no, I thought I brought it up here…" He craned his neck and looked around the room. "Maybe not. Um…"

"In other words, you have no idea."


"Dumbass," Romano grumbled, swatting him upside the head. "You'd damn well better find it. I didn't come all the way over here for you to lose it again."

"But Romanoooo… I thought you came over because you loved me!" Spain was pouting again, but his eyes were bright with mirth. He slipped his hand under the blankets and lay a warm hand flat against Romano's stomach, fingers splayed and just barely brushing the waistband of his boxers. Romano's breath caught in his throat even though he knew he was far too tired and queasy to get aroused. "And you wanted to eat my delicious cooking!"

"Well, I didn't do much eating, did I?" Romano yanked the pillow out from under Spain and plopped it over his laughing face. "Now let me sleep!"

"You're so cute when you're annoyed…"

"Damn it! Shut up and suffocate, already!"

"Aw, I love you too!"

Romano kicked Spain off the bed and was rewarded with a peal of laughter. He rolled onto his stomach, piled the pillows over his head to shut out that idiot's incessant giggling, and tried to pretend he wasn't smiling.

The end. :)

I know, this part went in a pretty much unrelated direction... further evidence that I should not write anything while I'm sick. Oh well! Reviews will make me a happy panda.