Romano woke in the morning in a darker mood than days previous. Half-brewed schemes and plans bubbled to the surface before he quickly dismissed them. He couldn't use the help of anyone else but himself, and that was difficult as it was. Overly complicated schemes were usually his forte but. . . something seemed off. Something seemed like he was missing the bigger picture.

Rousing himself, he stabilized himself on the nightstand before (somehow) blundering to the bathroom. The heat from the sun that must have been streaming through the bathroom window hit him on the left side of his face as he went.

In that moment, simple and quiet as it was, a revelation came to him. Here he thought he was going to have to trick Spain into relieving his sexual frustration, to finagle him into figuring things out for Romano that he had almost ignored the most obvious answer of all.

The revelation shook him to the core. He doubled over, supporting himself on the toilet as it roiled over him, and when it finally settled and took root in his head, his started laughing.

He laughed so hard he started crying and when he finally recovered, he found himself on the tile floor, tilting his head towards the ceiling so that he could breathe.

"Sometimes I wonder how thick headed I am," he murmured, feeling a big stupid for not realizing it earlier.

(He wouldn't mention it to Spain later, when he asked him what drew him to his conclusion, everything but that.)

The brewing sensation? His lead up to revelation. Sometimes it was as simple as takin' a piss in the morning.

EHWS

Romano took his time dressing. He actually called up one of the maids to help him pick out clothing to make sure everything matched together nicely. Something in his otherwise angry demeanor must have soften her because she spoke to him in soft words and he could sense the smile in her voice when he asked her if he looked alright.

She handed him his cane, just in case, and steered him in the general direction of Spain.

Romano wasn't surprised when he found himself out in the garden. He could hear the snip, snap of Spain's clippers as he walked about and pruned things for the garden to slip into fall. It was still warm, but when Romano spent time in the garden as of late, it was as if all the smells of the flowers were becoming muted and took on that sickly sweet smell of flower death.

He took careful steps towards Spain, feeling his way across the obstructed path of the somewhat overgrown garden.

"Romano! Hey!"

Suddenly he froze, his heart pattering far too hard in his chest. Suddenly it seemed like not such a bright idea, and the vision he had in his head wilted and died when he was suddenly confronted with Spain's voice and smell wafting ever closer to him.

"Nice of you to join us in the world of the living," Spain said, grasping Romano around the arm and wisking him down the path to the bench.

Romano thought he was going to choke on his own stomach, which had leapt into this throat. It was now or never. Why did he always cower in the face of challenge?

As they sat, the concrete bench still warm under his bottom, Romano let his cane fall between them, putting a physical barrier between the two of them. At the very least, it helped calm Romano's hectic breathing.

"How are you on this fine morning, Romano?"

The words coming out of his mouth seemed oddly formal, but his tone was anything but - it was there in the softness and the certain way he rounded his "o"s.

"Spain?"

"Si, Roma?"

He was silent, attempting to find a way to express himself in Italian or Spanish or perhaps both.

Instead, he leaned on his left hand, hoping that his mouth would lead the way.

Just before he grazed his lips against the underside of Spain's jaw, Spain grasped his chin between his finger and thumb and steered him upwards instead to his lips.

He tasted like the smell of lavender, he tasted like grass and sun.

It was different than Romano was expecting. He expected Spain to taste like spices and heat, like he did when he seduced him in the bathtub, and instead he tasted just like. . . life. Like a man instead of a country with power thrumming through every inch of his fingertips.

When Spain gripped Romano's bicep, Romano slipped closer, cupped the back of Spain's neck and pulled him closer, refusing to feel embarrassed when he heard the murmurs of maids and butler somewhere behind him.

"Romano -" Spain murmured, almost trying to pull him away, but Romano was having none of it.

"Don't give me any of that 'Romano' bullshit," he answered back in a breath, and when Spain smiled Romano kissed him harder.

EHWS

Somewhere in between breakfast and lunch, Spain led Romano to a gazebo (when had he put a gazebo in? It was all Spain's fault really, taking control of the estate while Romano was. . . incapacitated) and sat him down on one of the side benches.

The air was cooler here, and tasted a bit damp and Romano realized perhaps it wasn't a gazebo on his estate, but somewhere neutral near a lake or river.

After all, they had been walking for a bit.

"Romano, Romano," Spain sighed, and Romano heard the boards creek before Spain kneeled in front of him, "You have no idea what you're getting into."

"Don't tell me what I know. I know exactly what I'm getting into," he snapped back, already irritated by the slight heat and the walk and Spain's unwillingness to touch him much more beyond his arm.

Spain took Romano's arm and pushed his sleeve up, letting his fingers linger on his forearm, before tracing his veins down to his wrist, over his Mt. Venus at the base of his thumb, all the way up to his fingertips. He repeated this a handful of times, before Romano opened his mouth to question him.

"Shh, Romano," Spain said, "Let be what will."

Puzzled, Romano let Spain do as he wanted, pushing his sleeves up and unbuttoning his shirt as he let his fingertips walk across Romano's skin.

By the time he was done, Romano was tingling from head to toe, shivers making him feel cooler than he actually was. He felt a little drowsy as it was.

"Better?" Spain asked, leaning up and wrapping his hands around Romano's wrists.

"Hmm. . ." and when Romano could finally form thoughts he said, "What was that about?"

He could feel the charged smile in the air as Spain sat next to him.

"It was about patience. Calm. Touch. You need to learn touch, Romano. You need to learn the charge it holds," he murmured.

Romano fished for Spain's hand until Spain gave it to him, and breathed in through his nose, out through his mouth.

Then, to the best of his ability, attempt to mimic Spain's touches.

He could feel the uncertainty and jerkiness in his caress, despite his best ability to remain calm.

"Breathe, Romano, breathe," Spain coached, and his mere presence was enough to calm him more, steady the shaking in his fingertips until he had repeated the same thing over Spain's forearms that Spain had repeated over his.

When he let Spain's arms go, he felt the heat stretching over the front of his pants, and grinned. Perhaps there was a plus side to being gentle as Spain has instructed.

"Spain?"

"Hmm?" he murmured, lazily, and Romano almost hated to disrupt his half-slumber to tell him he had succeeded - seducing the impossible Spain into relenting to a deeper urge.

Instead he kissed his jaw, his chin, his lips.

And this time, Spain let him.

EHWS

Hehe. . . I offer my apologizes for the 6 month absence and not very rewarding chapter?