So I think I just killed myself – or my soul at any rate – trying to post this on deviantart, and I still failed, so I've come crawling back here instead.
This fic is based on a series of strips by the artist kuroneko3132 on deviantart, and I highly recommend you go and check them out before reading this, because besides allowing you to understand where this fanfic derived from, they will make you squee.
Here are links: http: / kuroneko3132 . deviantart . com/gallery/#/d31r5t9
http: / kuroneko3132 . deviantart . com/gallery/#/d321d1p
Take out the spaces because fanfiction sucks. And seriously, CHECK THEM OUT.
A couple of notes on the universe:
- All the characters are ordinary humans at Japanese high school, whatever that is. But in American years (because those are what everybody understands) Gilbert and Francis are seniors, Ludwig, Antonio and Romano are juniors, Elizabeta and Roderich are Sophomores and Feliciano is a freshman. Lol, I can't believe you call your years that.
- I'm using their human first names, and in keeping with the original fanart their surnames will be the Japanese pronunciation of their country names. Except that Alfred and Arthur will be Jones and Kirkland respectively, just to keep things complicated. So Germany is Doitsu Ludwig, Hungary is Hangari Elizabeta etc. And the surnames go before the given names because that's how the Japanese role.
- Their school seems to be very, very multicultural, but I'll stay ambiguous about whether the characters are actually all from different countries or not.
- And it would appear that everybody at this school is gay. Maybe it really is catching.
Doitsu Ludwig smoothed a sticking plaster carefully onto his face and stepped back, tilting his head to the side to examine his reflection in the school's bathroom mirror. The bruising on his temple was fading from purple to green, but the cut would probably need another couple of days before he could leave it uncovered. Ludwig sighed, raking his hair out of his eyes and wincing as the movement snagged the taped-up gash on his arm. His brother Gilbert had dropped him the hint that their parents wouldn't appreciate any more fights, but when he'd seen Tony Harding reach for that woman's purse in the convenience store, what was he supposed to do?
What he had done was to say, 'oy!' take a firm grip on Harding's arm and hold him in a wrestler's lock until the manager arrived to escort him off the premises. The next day a hail of stones from Harding's gang had knocked him off his bike as he cycled to school. Ludwig had picked himself calmly up off the pavement, grappled hand-to-hand with Harding and thrown him bodily over a fence before any of his friends could intervene. At that point they'd all decided that a fight before class was not the order of the day. However, the wrestle and the fall from the bike had left their mark.
Sighing again, Ludwig pushed open the bathroom door and stepped out into the seething after-school corridor. He stood with his back to the wall, out of the way of the buffeting streams of students, scanning their faces in search of his brother. He spotted Hangari Elizabeta speaking to the Italia brothers, Romano and Feliciano, Alfred Jones bouncing a basketball down the hall in blatant disregard of the rules, Gilbert's friend Francis leaning in a doorway, texting with one hand and mussing his carefully moussed hair with the other…verdammt, where was Gilbert? He didn't like being left with his thoughts for long periods if he could possibly avoid it.
'See you later, 'Liza.'
The younger Italia's high, piping voice carried over the clatter and babble of voices. Ludwig took a deep breath and stared at the opposite wall, trying to tune him out. 'No…no, Romano, you go on, I've…there's something I've got to…I need to wait behind for a bit, someone I've got to meet…'
'Okay, Feli, whatever you say,' his brother replied. He had a deeper, 'whatever' kind of a voice. 'Careful crossing the road and that.'
Ludwig turned his head to watch as Romano headed off down the corridor. It was less crowded now; just him, a few people hurrying back and forth without stopping to chat, and Francis, still lurking in the classroom doorway, absorbed in his phone. And, of course, Feliciano.
He didn't seem to be going anywhere or meeting anyone. Just standing about where his brother had left him, and twitching a lot. Ludwig never stared at people – it could lead to eye contact and awkward conversations – so instead he focussed blankly on the wall and used his peripherals. Still there, still twitching. Was he never going to have this corridor to himself? Ah, he was moving now, he was heading…wait, he was walking towards him. Ludwig jumped and turned, just late enough to look spaced-out and gormless, as Feliciano stopped in front of him, shifting his weight nervously from heels to toes.
'Um,' he said, 'ano…excuse me?'
Normally in Ludwig's world, thick-skinned people put up with his taciturn nature while easily frightened people took steps to avoid him. He wasn't sure what to do with people who looked as though they would break into pieces at a harsh word and yet had the nerve to speak to him at all. Much less people so guileless and open that he wouldn't necessarily want to be harsh to them…he pushed that thought away and answered as un-belligerently as he could.
'Um, I…I wanted to talk to you, Doitsu-senpai…' Feliciano was still rocking, still not making eye contact, and now he seemed to be struggling to get something out of his trouser pocket.
'It's – it's –' The boy ducked his head, a brilliant flush blooming in his olive-toned cheeks…Ludwig shook himself. Any more of this and there would be trouble.
'Come on,' he said brusquely. 'What is it?'
Feliciano scrunched his eyes shut and wrenched a box out of his pocket, holding it in front of him like a shield.
Pocky. Potato pocky.
'I…I like you, Doitsu-senpai!' he stammered. 'W-will you – will you be my boyfriend…?'
Ludwig jerked away from the proffered gift with a grunt of shock. Immediately the boy began to wail apologies; Ludwig barely registered. Coming out as gay to the entire school had seemed like as good a way as any of avoiding unwanted advances from the girls in his year. He should have realised it was only a matter of time before attention started coming from the other side. But Italia Feliciano…
'Huh? I – I'm sorry if…I, um, it's okay if…you don't have to, uh…'
Shit, Ludwig thought, pressing a hand to his mouth and trying to breathe regularly. Okay, think! What to do, what to do…
'I, um…' He sighed, leaning his forearm against the cool wall. There was a sniff behind him. He cleared his throat, trying to find a 'normal' register. 'Um, t-thanks for the, uh – potato pocky,' he said gruffly. 'I really love potato pocky…' And the kid had noticed? His face felt hot.
'And, uh – about that – I mean – you –'
'And um – actually…I like you too.' He gritted his teeth and repeated in a small voice, 'I really like you.'
'Re – really!' Ludwig squeezed his eyes shut. The voice behind him was astonished, still wobbly with tears, but full of delight. 'You…you like me too?'
Eyes still shut, he nodded once, then forced himself to turn around.
'Uwaaa!' Suddenly Feliciano was right in front of him, beaming, clutching both his hands. 'I'm so happy to hear that, Doitsu-senpai!'
'Um,' he floundered, 'w-wait a sex…um, a sec…'
'And – oh yeah!' The boy's eyes lit up as he recalled his original mission. 'So…w-will you –?'
'It's…this is kind of fast –' Great, now he was the one stuttering like a pre-pubescent fool…not that Feliciano was…with those brilliant eyes…
'Will you be my boyfriend, Doitsu-senpai?'
'O-of course,' he managed to say. 'I – I'd love to…'
'Really? Vee!' Feliciano grabbed his sleeve. He felt his face burn even hotter. 'T-thank you so much!'
'HE SAID YES!'
Ludwig jumped at the sudden shout. He had forgotten Francis. The other boy was leaning back into the classroom, hands cupped around his mouth, shouting at the top of his voice. 'EVERYBODY! FINALLY ITALIA DID IT!'
'Argh!' Ludwig groaned as Gilbert and Antonio came tumbling out of the classroom and went sprinting down the corridor, banging on every door they passed. Gilbert had his special occasion comedy megaphone out; Antonio was frantically stabbing speed dial on his phone.
'Hey, people, Doitsu said YES verdammt!'
'OMG, Romano, baby, dat potato bastard said yes!'
That idiot Gilbert! Judging by the excited rustlings and clatters issuing from the rooms, everybody who had an after school club or hadn't made it off the site yet was hearing and taking note.
'Hey people they are now a couple!'
'Fucking couple dammit!'
'Kiku, oh you're gonna love this…'
'Oy!' he protested. 'D-don't – wait – ooooh, shit.' He collapsed against the wall, facepalming hopelessly.
'Wow, Doitsu-senpai,' Feliciano said. 'I didn't know they'd all be so interested…'
'You don't know my brother.' Ludwig shook his head. 'This will be like a thing for him. A big thing. He'll have a field day. He's so damned immature…'
'Hahahaha, my bro got asked out by your evil boyfriend's baby brother! Hey, Ludi, where are you?'
Uh-oh. Thinking fast, Ludwig grabbed Feliciano by the hand. 'Listen, Italia…kun, I've got to split,' he said quickly. 'But, uh…' Oh, shit, what were you supposed to do with your new boyfriend once you'd said yes to him? 'I'll…I'll come find you tomorrow, okay?' But shouldn't I be asking him out for coffee or something?
Feliciano didn't look at all bothered by the abrupt goodbye. 'Sure, I'll see you!' he beamed, waving.
'Right, well…' Ludwig backed away. 'Bye then…'
'Ludwig? Gilbert, hurry, he's getting away!'
Protocol be damned. Ludwig shouldered his backpack, ducked round the corner and ran for his life.
Feliciano sprinted all the way home out of sheer high spirits.
'Oh, Romano,' he called, shedding his coat and backpack in the hallway of their house. 'RoMAno! I'm home!'
'Did you meet the person you were waiting for?' He could make out his brother's silhouette leaning in the hallway outside the kitchen.
'Yeah, I –' He began. Then he registered the note of menace in Romano's voice.
'I received a rather interesting phone call just now,' he hissed, swinging away from the wall and stepping forward. He held his mobile phone up in his left hand, the screen glowing in the dim hallway. 'What do you think I heard?'
'Um…' Feliciano hesitated. 'News?'
'What kind of news?' Romano hissed dangerously.
'"Oh-em-gee Romano baby dat potato bastard said yes,"' Romano deadpanned, snapping the phone shut. 'What does my boyfriend mean by that? Does he mean that you –'
BANG BANG BANG.
Both brothers yelled as a thunderous knocking sounded at the door. They stared at one another for a moment, and then Romano made a snarling noise, shouldered his way past Feliciano and pulled it open.
'Hey, 'Mano-kun!' It was Antonio, beaming, with Gilbert and Francis behind him. He stepped over the threshold, took Romano's face in both hands and kissed him soundly on the lips. 'You got my call, huh? Come on, guys!' The other two came crowding in after him. Antonio looked over Romano's shoulder and spotted Feliciano.
'Feli! Come here, my man!' Somewhat bemused, Feliciano allowed the older boy to shake him heartily by the hand. 'Congratulations, kid. Wow, Doitsu Ludwig, huh? That took some guts, right Gil?'
'Sure did.' Doitsu Gilbert was a year older than his brother, a wiry boy with white-blond hair and a glitter in his eye. Personally Feliciano found him much more frightening than Ludwig, who was all bark and less volatile. 'Yo, Romano-san. Guess you heard the news. Fran and I thought we'd swing by with Antonio to celebrate the closer union of our circles through an alliance between your brother and –'
Romano had wriggled free of Antonio and placed one hand on either wall, preventing Gilbert and Francis' advance down the hallway. 'Out. Out.'
He herded them backwards over the doorstep and out into the street, glowering all the while. Feliciano and Antonio glanced at one another. Antonio shrugged, and the two of them crept forward to watch.
Having successfully ejected the two boys, Romano put a hand on the door and spoke. 'Doitsu.'
'Yes?' Gilbert asked.
'Make sure your brother knows what's coming to him. Furansu, don't come barging into people's houses without permission. Particularly not my house. Now goodnight.'
He shut the door and turned back into the hallway. 'You, Feliciano, are in trouble. Big trouble. What on earth were you thinking?'
With Antonio's hand resting supportively on his shoulder, Feliciano summoned an answer.
'I really like him, 'Mano. You know I like him.'
Romano sighed. 'I didn't realise you were serious. What does he want with a kid like you?'
'He said he liked me too!'
'He's a nutter. Well, I might as well hear the worst. What did he say to him, Antonio?'
'Francis saw the whole thing. He was pretty straight with what he wanted. Said, "will you go out with me" and gave him a box of potato pocky.'
'Potato pocky?' Romano laughed once. 'Figures.'
'Romano, why do you hate him so much?' Feliciano asked.
'Because his head's full of sawdust and mashed potato, that's why,' Romano snorted. 'I bet he doesn't even know how to handle a relationship. Well? Are you going out any time soon then? What did he say?'
'Um…' Feliciano considered. 'He said he'd come and find me at school tomorrow.'
'I rest my case,' Romano said. He turned and stalked off up the stairs.
Antonio sighed. 'Don't worry, Feli. There's nothing wrong with Ludwig; Romano's just being a grump. I'll go cheer him up for you.' He waved once and bounded up the stairs in pursuit.
'Ve,' Feliciano sighed, heading into the kitchen. Now he came to think of it, maybe they should have made a date or something. But it had been Gilbert's fault. Quickly his happy mood came bubbling up again. These fights with Romano were unpleasant while they lasted, but they never bothered him for long. Romano's prickly nature didn't faze him any more than Ludwig's did.
A/N: Yes, I know, Doitsu saves old ladies from getting robbed. I was trying to find a way for him to get into a bigger fight than he needed to but not be a total thug. And I know, I know, fanart of fanart. But very good fanart. I reiterate, GO CHECK OUT THOSE STRIPS!
And all hail my first Hetalia fanfic!