A/N: Here we have another deanonning from the kink meme. The prompt was: "So anon wants to see some AU that involves Spain as a clueless detective, but who can be somewhat competent, and Romano as a phantom or gentleman thief, you know, the kind that leaves a letter before comitting any crime. Strategies, chases, Foe Yay with lots of UST and all that good stuff!
Also, anon doesn't care if it's Spain/Romano or Romano/Spain"
I swapped the roles because I thought it would be more fitting that way. Since the other anon who is working on a fill for this prompt was drawing inspiration from DNAngel already, I decided to draw mine from some other thief and detective manga I've read over the years. Granted, the ones I have in mind were campy and silly, but personally I think that was part of their charm. I hope you enjoy the first installment.
Romano wiped his forehead on his shoulder and shifted uncomfortably in his tight quarters. It was dark and still, and all he could hear was the sound of his own pounding heart and increasingly labored breathing. That flamboyant overdressed, overconfident thieving bastard had better show up soon or Romano was going to suffocate.
Romano loosened his tie in hopes of making it easier to breathe, though he knew that the problem was that he had already used up most of the air in the enclosed space. There was nothing for it, though, but to wait it out. Romano glanced down at the glowing face of his watch and gave a satisfied grimace. Any minute now it would be time for him to spring into action. This time for sure, he would catch that slippery fucker, and when he did, he would make the other man wish he'd never been born.
The thief's antics had caused him way too much pain and suffering over the six months or so that he'd been on his case for Romano, a detective, to want to do anything less than punch him in the nose and lock him up for life. Naturally, he'd been trying to do just that from the get-go, but that asshole had somehow managed to slip through his fingers every time.
Detective Romano Vargas, pissed off and squished though he was, was confident tonight, however. Tonight would be the night that he finally put the mysterious thief, El Apasionado Caballero (The Passionate Gentleman), behind bars. Romano had lain what he thought was a clever trap for the cat burglar (though some were less confident in it. But what did that guy know? He was just a stupid potato bastard).
The sapphire, tonight's targeted item, had been sewn to the pillow upon which it was displayed, and the pillow was secured to the top of the square display pedestal. When El Apasionado Caballero picked up the jewel, he would also pick up the pillow, which would pull off the top of the pedestal. The sides of the pedestal would fall to the ground, releasing Romano, who was hiding inside.
Romano would grab the thief, snap a pair of handcuffs to the El Apasionado Caballero's wrists, and that would be that. After his glorious capture, Romano would have full gloating rights, and become known as the hero who had put an end to the moron thief with the stupid, perverted name.
Romano's heart skipped a beat when the near-silence was broken by the haunting twang of a flamenco guitar. Well this was new. The music sent a little shiver down his spine, and, to Romano's irritation, it wasn't an unpleasant shiver. He bit back a curse when the shiver continued all the way down to his cock. As much as Romano wanted to believe otherwise, he knew there was no one besides El Apasionado Caballero who could be responsible for the music. He couldn't let himself be distracted; his moment of glory was nigh.
Romano flexed his cramped legs beneath him as best he could. As soon as El Apasionado Caballero picked up the sapphire, Romano would be all over him. Arresting him, of course; it wasn't as if there was any other possible reason that he might possibly want to be all over him.
Other people might find that silky, wavy brown hair, perfectly straight and white smile, and slim and muscular physique attractive, but Romano was more level-headed than to even notice such superficial things. In fact, he was hardly even aware of what El Apasionado Caballero looked like; that's how little interest Romano had in the other man's appearance.
He'd seen the man many times during his capers, but Romano thought him so plain looking (aside from his ridiculously flashy clothing, of course) that the thief's appearance had made no impression on him. Another swell of sultry Spanish music washed over him and before Romano could stop himself, he was picturing strong, confident gloved fingers dancing up and down the neck of the guitar, caressing the strings like they were his lovers. Suddenly his little hideout felt even smaller and warmer before. Even Romano's pants felt a little tighter. Perhaps he needed to go a bit lighter on the pasta. He swallowed hard and tried to focus.
The flamenco music halted at last, and Romano could almost picture the thief pouting over the fact that his playing had failed to attract any attention. Romano had instructed the other officers to surround the room containing the sapphire, staying out of sight and waiting for his signal to enter if he needed backup. He strained his ears, listening for El Apasionado Caballero's approach. There it was, the quiet padding of graceful footsteps on the museum's marble floor.
His heart beat went into overdrive when he heard El Apasionado Caballero lift the glass case that protected the sapphire. The young detective tensed his muscles, watching intently for the top panel to be lifted.
Then something tragic happened; Romano's stomach chose that very inopportune moment to growl hungrily. He hugged his middle, trying desperately to hush it and praying that the thief hadn't heard. Romano had been so busy preparing his trap this evening, so excited about his impending victory, that he hadn't bothered to have dinner. This could be his undoing.
To Romano's horror, he heard a soft chuckle. El Apasionado Caballero had obviously picked up the sound of his stomach rumbling.
"Now unless my ears deceive me, it sounds like there's a hungry little tomato hiding somewhere nearby," El Apasionado Caballero purred. "I wonder where he might be…"
Romano blushed, gritting his teeth angrily. Damn, stupid thief, always patronizing him, talking to him like he was a kid. He may only be twenty-two, but that was certainly old enough to be treated like an adult. But he couldn't say anything in his own defense just now. El Apasionado Caballero was obviously trying to make him so angry that he gave his position away. Well it wasn't going to work.
"It came from very close by." El Apasionado Caballero's tone was similar to one that one might use when playing hide-and-seek with a young child who thought that sitting on a couch with a blanket over their head was a clever way to hide. "And the only thing close to me is this display…"
Suddenly, El Apasionado Caballero lifted the sapphire, causing the pedestal walls to fall open as planned. Romano sprang at him, grabbing the thief around the waist. The two of them went crashing to the floor, Romano pinning his captive beneath his slightly smaller and skinnier frame.
Romano went red as his hips pressed against El Apasionado Caballero's thigh when they hit the tile and he scrambled to support his weight on his knees. El Apasionado Caballero made no effort to get away; he simply grinned up at Romano in that superior way of his that made the detective want to grab him by his neck and shake him. Every time Romano so much as pictured that stupid smile in his head, it made his stomach feel weird, like he was going to puke or something. That was how much he hated that smile.
"Happy to see me, my cute little tomato?" El Apasionado Caballero breathed against Romano's cheek, brushing what was most certainly not the beginning of an erection with his leg.
"Th-that was my gun, dumb ass!" Romano sputtered. "Don't get so fucking cocky!"
The thief's stunningly green eyes glittered playfully up at him from underneath his half black, half white masquerade ball-style mask. "I'm happy to see you, too. I've been thinking about you a lot lately."
Romano could feel his cheeks burning (with anger, not embarrassment, although the pervert really hadn't had any business touching him like that) and he quickly bowed his head to hide it, lest El Apasionado Caballero get the wrong idea.
"Like I give a shit about what goes on in that creepy, screwed up head of yours." He began to feel around in the pocket of the navy jacket that made up part of his uniform, searching frantically for his handcuffs.
"It was the flamenco that got my sweet little detective all excited, wasn't it?" El Apasionado Caballero said. "I just thought that up today. I thought I could make it part of my modus operandi, like I would play it to announce my arrival. It was super cool, wasn't it?"
"A constipated cat in heat would have sounded better than that crap you were playing," Romano lied. Where the hell had his handcuffs gone? He'd searched all four of his pockets… His stomach growled again loudly and Romano had to fight the urge to smack his head against the floor.
"Oh right, you're hungry, huh?" El Apasionado Caballero reached into the pocket of his closely fitted, high collared black suit and pulled out a Ziploc bag with something long and hard in it. "Would you like some churros? I made them fresh this morning."
"Like I'd accept anything from you!" Romano spat. "You probably poisoned them!"
"I brought them to munch on in case I had some time to kill, but I'd gladly share with you, Romano," the thief offered. He reached into the bag and broke off a bite-sized piece for himself which he popped into his mouth. A little shock of heat shot through Romano's body when El Apasionado Caballero's tongue poked out and swiped across his lips, clearing away the cinnamon and sugar. He swallowed hard, his mouth suddenly dry. Then he shook his head; El Apasionado Caballero was trying to mess with him and he'd rather kiss the potato bastard than allow him to succeed.
"Dammit, where the fuck are my handcuffs?" Romano snarled.
"Oh, I threw them," El Apasionado Caballero said around a mouthful of churros.
"Well, I'd be in trouble if you put them on me, right? I saw an opening when you jumped at me so I grabbed them and threw them as hard as I could."
Romano stared at him, flabbergasted. El Apasionado Caballero put the bag of churros away and brushed his hands together, getting rid of the excess cinnamon and sugar. Then he sat up, forcing Romano to sit up with him. The detective suddenly found his cheek pressed against El Apasionado Caballero's perfectly fitted, high-collared black suit jacket with the ornate silver embroidery across the chest and blushed again.
"Well, I've got my jewel and I've had some fun with my cute little tomato… I wish I could stay longer, but I think it's time for me to make my exit."
Romano came to his senses and shoved El Apasionado Caballero back down to the floor. "Like I'd let you go! What kind of sucky detective do you think I am?"
"The kind that's so enamored with me that he can't bear the thought of me behind bars?" El Apasionado Caballero offered with a hopeful smile.
"L-like hell! Hey, you moron officers out there! Get your sorry asses in here and back me up!"
At Romano's word, thirty or so officers abandoned their hiding places and swarmed into the room.
"Ahh, this is no good," El Apasionado Caballero sighed. "I wanted to show my super-cool escape only to Romano…"
The officers surged forward, all of them making a grab for El Apasionado Caballero.
"Not all at once or you'll-!" Officer Germany, Romano's other sworn enemy, sighed in frustration as El Apasionado Caballero danced gracefully out of their way, causing several of the officers to collide painfully.
Germany raced around the tangle of officers who had fallen over each other and made a grab for El Apasionado Caballero. The thief ducked his grasping hands, almost losing his black wide-rimmed, feathered hat at the sudden movement. While Germany was still trying to regain his balance after the lunge, El Apasionado Caballero tripped him, sending the blond officer sprawling over his knee-high black, silver buckled boot.
Romano, who had taken advantage of the distraction provided by the other officers to locate and retrieve his handcuffs, sprinted back into the fray. He wove his way through the mess of people, his eyes locked on El Apasionado Caballero. The thief's attention was currently occupied by Officer Finland, who was attempting to back him into a corner.
Romano darted over, his handcuffs poised to snap onto El Apasionado Caballero's wrists. He threw himself at the other man, and for one glorious second, he thought he might actually have him. But El Apasionado Caballero was too quick for him; he shot a rope with a grappling hook, apparently from his sleeve, which hooked onto the ledge of a window near the ceiling. Before Romano could get a secure hold on him, he was already rocketing through the air on the rope towards safety as fluidly as if he was flying. The only thing Romano had managed to get his hands on was the theif's cloak fastener, a shiny ruby-red tomato-shaped brooch with fine silver chains dangling from either side. El Apasionado Caballero clutched at his loose cloak, looked down at the chaos below and flashed Romano a winning smile, apparently completely disinterested in the snarl of other officers.
"Better luck next time, my little tomato." He breathed the words like a confession of love, yet somehow they reached Romano's ears even over the din of the officers who were still trying to get at the thief. Romano's face flushed (because of rage; it had nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with the soft and affectionate tone the other man had directed at him).
El Apasionado Caballero dropped a smoke pellet at his own feet, and by the time the haze had cleared, he was gone.
"FUCK!" Romano screamed, throwing his handcuffs at the floor as hard as he could.