I'm so sorry this took so long. I've just been running into a bit of writer's block for this, and I'm losing the will to continue...I know what I want to do with it but all my writing seems to take so long to get anything done. So the updates may come a bit slower than usual. For this I am very sorry.
Anyway, here is the next chapter. Thank you for reading, my lovelies :)
For an eternal moment all was silent. Feliciano stared with wide eyes as Spain and Germany faced off, caught in a silent battle of willpower. At any moment one of them could take a step, just a single step. And it would all be over.
It was Spain who took that step.
Immediately Germany lowered himself, getting into a more defensive stance. His hand found Feliciano's shoulder, the smaller man squeaking as the fingers dug into his skin. Spain was approaching now at a steady pace, only ten feet away, eight, six…
"Don't," Germany warned, eyes dark. "Don't take another step."
"Stop me," Spain challenged.
"Feliciano," Germany whispered. "Go."
The Italian man gasped, head darting from side to side as he searched for an escape. Spain's gaze locked onto him and he shrunk away. "He's not going anywhere."
"Please, no," Feliciano said quietly. He bit his lip, crossing his arms protectively. "You can't do anything to me…" he tried, his attempt at sounding confident floundering. He looked to Germany for confirmation. The taller man nodded.
"I can do whatever I want," Spain said, voice dangerous. "And what I want is Lovino."
"But I'm not!" Feliciano protested.
"I can tell the difference!" Spain bit, expression morphing into a cold glare. "You're nothing like him."
"Then why…?" Feliciano was so confused. He clutched onto Germany's hand, still planted on his shoulder.
"You're connected. You can find him," Spain said darkly. In reality he was making it all up. He had no idea if Feliciano could do anything. But he needed to try.
"Not anymore," Germany snapped. "As of yesterday they are two separate countries."
"Things don't happen that fast!" Spain countered. "Give him to me!"
It was like something snapped. Spain lunged forward, elbowing Germany in the gut and reaching for the young Italian man. A second later he was gone, a huge fist slamming into his chest and knocking him over. He fell to the floor, his shoulder cracking painfully on the linoleum. How did no one see them? Feliciano wondered. Why wasn't anyone coming?
"Fuck!" Spain hissed, cradling his shoulder as he stood up. "I need him!"
Germany didn't say anything, pushing Feliciano back enough to get him out of the way but not enough to make him lose his balance. His muscles were coiled, all ready for whatever Spain was going to do next. He looked as though he was about to fight in a battle. In a war.
Which, Feliciano realized with a jolt, this was.
Spain took a deep breath, closing his eyes for barely a moment before he jumped again. This time he managed to duck under Germany's swing, making it past his arm and toward Feliciano. It happened in a split second and the younger man had only enough time to register the motion and hold up his arms in defense. A hand grabbed him around the wrist and held tightly, and he squeezed his eyes closed.
"Run!" he heard the deep voice right next to his ear. His eyes shot open to see Germany's face, only inches from his own. He nodded frantically and the hand released him. Without stopping to look back he dashed toward the next hallway, the one that would lead to the incoming flight customs area. There was a yell and a thud behind him, but he couldn't make himself look. Because it might have been Germany.
And that was something he couldn't bear.
"Hey, watch where you're going, smartass," Lovino grumbled as he was almost run over by a passing motorbike. In the past few years the little mock motorcycles had taken over the city, along with those tiny little cars that only came in neon colors. It wasn't like the intercity streets had ever been safe for walking—that was Feliciano's city. But this was ridiculous.
In one hand the young man held a grocery bag, filled with whatever he was going to eat that day. Just some simple things, like spaghetti he hadn't had the chance to eat in too long and some fresh tomatoes. A little basil and the spices he had at home and he'd have a good meal. He sighed, glaring at the impossible traffic. The cars came to a red light and he strode across in the small crowd, not wanting to be that poor sap who got run over by the stray taxi.
"If we go here…um…no…Max, you take the map."
Lovino glanced up at a small group of people, easily distinguished from the native population by their pastel t-shirts and bleached jeans. One had sunglasses perched on her head, blonde hair pulled back into a messy ponytail. One was wearing cargo shorts and bright white socks. They were all surrounding the tallest one, probably the father, who was holding a city map that Lovino had seen in every single shop window for the past three years.
These were the tourists.
It wasn't like they were particularly annoying or obtrusive. Except when they were ahead of you in a line, using the Italian they learned from a guidebook to ask for things at a deli or Tabaccheria. They weren't nearly as bad as the Germans…but it wasn't really tourist weather. At least not for those on holiday from their desk jobs or making cars or fighting Russians or whatever Germans did. So here were the Americans, the ones who probably learned that this was the right time of year to come to Rome. When the crowds were low. Right. You want low crowds? Come in February.
Then, to Lovino's utter dismay, one of the people pointed to him. He quickly glanced around, as discreetly as possible, for anyone else they could attack if he could just walk a little faster. Nope. He was pretty much alone, and he guessed he looked rather unintimidating. He needed to work on his glare. All the running and crying had made him a little rusty.
There was a bit of whispering and then the girl with the blonde ponytail came jogging over to Lovino. Oh God.
"Signor?" she asked, and Lovino's American theory was validated. "Could you help us?"
Good attempt at the Italian, miss. Lovino sighed. "What?" he demanded, hoping if he sounded good and annoyed they'd leave him alone.
The relief on the girl's face was evident. Lovino had no clue why. It wasn't like there was an English deficit around here. Hell, pretty much everyone spoke at least enough to tell a tourist where they were going.
"Um, do you know how to get back to Trastévere?" she asked. At least the location was a bit unexpected this time. Most people were looking for ways to get to the Colosseum or the Pantheon. It got a bit tiring. Lovino could only pity the people who worked in those tourist information boxes.
"That bridge," Lovino said simply, pointing over, across the street. "It goes into Trastévere."
"Oh," the girl said, looking a bit sheepish. "Thanks."
"No problem," Lovino said, if not a bit sarcastically. "It's honestly not that hard to use a map." The girl nodded and smiled before she went back to her family, pointing over to the bridge.
What, no reaction? No "Hey, that's not nice" or insult?
Oh, right. The accent. She thought it was an accent, maybe broken English. Of course. Lovino may have had a few more things to get used to than he thought.
He sighed sharply, rolling his eyes as he started back. He was still so tired, even after getting a good night's sleep in his own bed. Maybe the fatigue went deeper than he'd suspected. Momentarily he wondered what Spain and the rest of the world was doing.
It was as he was turning around a corner and onto a smaller street that he saw the newspaper stand.
The headline was what caught his eye. Lovino stopped, double-taking before backpedalling and just staring at the newspaper. It sat there in the rack, proudly proclaiming in the Italian he'd missed so much: "Country Split in Two: Civil War on Our Horizon?"
It was like a bad dream. Only more like waking up from it only to find that you hadn't been dreaming at all. A moment later the shopkeeper stepped forward, the word "prego" hot on his lips.
"What is this?" Lovino demanded, although he already knew. He had to hear it from someone else. Someone who wasn't in on the country scheme. Someone on the street. This man.
"You want it?" the man asked. Lovino glared.
"Paese diviso in due…" he started angrily. The man raised his eyebrows.
"It won't happen. Just rumors from the government. There's no reason," the man said. "We're not even a part of this war."
"If it does?"
"Then it does. We are no better with the North than without, are we?"
Lovino didn't answer, eyes flicking across the first few lines of the article. Then he shoved his hand into his pocket, retrieving a few coins. He snatched up a newspaper, planting the coins into the man's waiting hand.
"Grazie," the man said, smiling. Lovino grunted in acknowledgement before starting back down the street. The paper crumpled a bit where he dug his fingers into it, but his mind was elsewhere.
Mostly on Feliciano. How much of an idiot he'd been, then his mind quickly justifying his actions. A debate going on within one mind, one side telling him to go back and the other saying he was right, he didn't need to be a part of this. He didn't need Spain.
Spain. Shit, Spain. Lovino swallowed, clutching the newspaper even tighter, if that was possible. He needed to stop doing this to himself. These were dangerous thoughts. But Jesus. Lovino wondered where the other man was, what he was doing. Whether he was freaking out some more. It wouldn't be beyond him.
Lovino turned a corner, starting up the street that would take him to his apartment. He was just getting back into the swing of everyday life, and it wasn't at all disappointing. At least…not really. It was, you know, nice. To not do much.
Man, he wasn't going to fool anyone. He missed Spain and he missed running around in whoever's car and not just going to the store to shop for food. Like the masses. Like the boring, stupid masses who Lovino couldn't honestly care less about.
Spain better find him goddamn fast. Or some shit was gonna go down.
Feliciano sat in the airport proper, knees clutched to his chest. His breath had just started to calm down, and as people walked by him he felt the pang of worry slam into him. Germany hadn't followed. Germany hadn't come for a few minutes now. Germany was still there, and he might be in danger.
This was just too much. Too much entirely. This was too much for Feliciano's brain to handle and too much for his chest to take. He needed to do something, anything. Fast.
But what could he do? What was he good for? He sighed, staring unseeingly at a spot on the floor. A man walked over it, his polished shoes in Feliciano's vision for only a second before they passed and it was empty again. Then a woman came by, walking in the opposite direction, her skirt flowing just a little behind her.
Feliciano stood, eyes rising to meet the hallway from where he'd come. He was just outside the customs section, having decided to bypass it using national authority. He could come and go as he pleased now. And he needed to go to Germany. He wanted to…but what help would he be? What would he do except give Germany something else to worry about? He needed to man up, to start making a difference in the world. He was, after all, a country in his own right now. A whole country.
He started toward the hallway again, heart fluttering. Germany was just beyond it, and maybe he was hurt. Or maybe…Feliciano didn't even want to think that. But he was stronger than Spain. And more powerful. And better. Just better.
The best. Perfect.
And perfection never lost.
So...Feliciano's going through a bit of an existential crisis. I promise he'll be of more use later.
Review? And if you can point out any typos you'll get Canada.