Lord, What Fools
A Nordic Parody
Duke of Athens—Rome
The Duke's grandsons—Veneziano and Romano
In which Germany and Veneziano helpfully set the scene
Germany, to be sure, was well-known for his incredible likeness to his grandfather. It was a great amusement of their relatives to compare the two side by side during family gatherings. Last summer saw his grandfather's largest birthday feast yet, and all of their friends and family had been invited. There was much music, dancing and dining, and many opportunities to reconnect with the extended family. An inebriated uncle of his had made him stand next to his grandfather and jested that he could suddenly see how his nephew would look like in fifty years' time, wrinkles and all. Germany and Germania had both turned red, spluttered, and yelled (though in that respect they were different: one had simply yelled said uncle's name in vexation, and the other exclaimed he wasn't old.)
It embarrassed Germany whenever the subject was brought up, if only because it put him at the center of attention, and he was never a social butterfly to begin with. He admired his grandfather for the calm that he exuded, for the constant strength and dignity in his shoulders. His grandfather had always been his role model and his guide, and so while he did feel discomfited at his relatives' teasing, he also felt a bit of pride every time they told him he was just like him.
Indeed, in physical likeness it was unmistakable. He had inherited his grandfather's height and build, the shade of his hair and the color of his eyes. His jaw was strong and his nose cut in the same contour, the shape of his forehead was wide and masculine. In character, they were both made of steel as the strict breadth of their shoulders suggested. They both liked to work and to keep busy, and had a taste for the bland. And of course, they both had a weakness for Italian men.
Speaking of Italian men, one was currently attached to his arm, eyes bright and cheeks glowing faintly pink. "Germany, I can't wait for our wedding! Three days can't pass soon enough. It feels like an eternity!"
In response to the Italian's statement, Germany felt a fond smile lift his mouth. Veneziano had always been so excitable, especially when they were children. It filled Germany's being with warmth to think that all the time he'd spent agonizing over the shift in their relationship had led them to this. He patted a hand on Veneziano's where it rested on his bicep. "The day will arrive very soon, liebling. Just think of it. Three more days, and then we will be together in name and soul as well as heart."
Veneziano giggled and reached up his toes to brush his nose against his fiancé's. He smiled into the kiss. "Mmmm…It's a miracle my brother agreed to the engagement at all. You know how he is."
Germany felt his stomach drop slightly at the memory of Romano's murderous face when he'd announced his intention to marry Veneziano. Rome had been all for it of course, he'd known Germany since he was a child and was quite good friends with Germania. There were no obstacles to the union except for Veneziano's grumpy twin brother, who grudgingly caved in when he saw his twin's obvious happiness.
"If you ever hurt him, I will personally rip your testicles with my bare hands and feed them to you." Romano had hissed.
Veneziano squeezed his hand, and Germany brought himself to the present. He cleared his throat and gently guided the other forward. "Let's go then, I'm sure my grandfather is waiting."
"I never understood what we were supposed to be meeting about." Veneziano stumbled a little over his own feet. "Oh, sorry, Germany."
"It's all right." The blond gently righted him. "Anyhow, we're supposed to be talking family business."
"Oh. About what?"
"My cousin Norway. Grandfather is setting up a marriage for him, but he doesn't want it."
"What?" Veneziano blinked. "An arranged marriage? I thought Norway already had a sweetheart."
Sweetheart indeed. Germany sometimes couldn't remember a time when his baby cousin was ever without his Danish friend. It seemed only natural and right that they progressed further into a relationship that was more than friends. It reminded him of, well, him and Veneziano. He caught the sight of their interlocked hands when he looked down. "That he does."
"Then why is your grandfather making him marry someone else? It doesn't seem fair at all! Poor Norway!"
The German felt slightly conflicted. He too felt that it wasn't fair, but his grandfather was an old man who saw things in black and white, and could no longer distinguish the shades of gray in between. "That's why we're going to talk about this with him."
"I understand. But why am I going?"
Germany paused. "What do you mean?"
"These are family affairs," Veneziano gave a tight smile. "I know these are private things. We have them too. Grandpa Roma never includes me in these, though nowadays he lets Lovino sit in." He paused thoughtfully. "I'd like to help because I've known Norway for about as long as I known you, but…I can't speak like you or Romano can. And anyways, what say does an outsider like me have?"
Germany frowned and placed a hand on the other's downturned cheek. A frown seemed so out of place on a face that was meant for smiling. Germany didn't have a talent for words and eloquence either, but he did have this: he kissed Veneziano and swiped a gentle thumb down the line of his jaw.
Even so, I want you to be there, his eyes seemed to say when he pulled away. "You are family now, Veneziano. Don't forget that."
With those words, Germany tightened his grip on his betrothed and led them to the familiar sight of his grandfather's office doors.