note: Written ages ago on the kmeme. Feeling pretty awkward posting this.

The New Years Eve party was typical for what it was. The liquor was opened exceptionally early—England was hosting that year, after all—and by some miracle, no one was exceedingly drunk by ten P.M when the last of the guests arrived.

Germany had nearly choked on his champagne when he realized that the stranger accompanying Hungary was Italy. The dark kohl and eye shadow around his eyes—already so bright—made them stand out more so than usual and the leather of his dress hugged his body just so and—

Germany tried not to stare. It was rude and unseemly and he was speaking to Australia, anyway, but the other nation was staring at Italy, too, mouth hanging open ever so slightly. Germany felt a pang of something when he caught the other nation's expression, but that feeling soon passed as Italy noticed them.

"Hello Germany! Australia!" Italy called out, stumbling momentarily but recovering before he could fall. It was then that he noticed that Italy was wearing impossibly high heels and Germany had to take a huge gulp of champagne as he tried not to blush.

"My, you're looking fine tonight," Australia leered and Germany barely kept himself from telling him off for looking so… so… vulgar.

Instead, he cleared his throat. "You do look very… different this evening, Italy."

That was as far as he was willing to describe it.

"Oh, I promised Hungary that I'd let her dress me for tonight and, ahaha, she chose this!" He twirled around, though the dress was too tight to really have the desired effect, and he nearly stumbled again. Germany caught Italy's wrist before Australia could reach him, and with his other hand on his back, he steadied him.

"Thanks, Germany!" Italy said. "Anyway, I thought it was kind of silly, but I did promise."

He smiled, and Germany tried not to stare at his full, red lips.

"Of course," Germany nodded.

"Wouldn't want to disappoint the girl," Australia agreed, eyes busy tracing Italy's body.

"VENEZIANO," Romano called from across the room in an irritable tone (but then again, when wasn't he irritable?), and Italy flushed.

"I better go, Brother doesn't look happy…" Italy laughed softly. "I'll talk to you later, Germany, Australia!"

Both nations watched Italy retreat, staring at Italy's ass.

"Hungary's got good taste, eh, mate?" Australia grinned once Italy was out of hearing distance, clapping Germany on the back. "Wouldn't mind having a go at him myself."

What nerve, speaking about Italy so… casually. Germany's fingers tightened around the stem of his champagne glass as he maintained a neutral expression. "Right. Well, ah, I should get going. I'm afraid that America and England are readying themselves for another fight."

Australia practically cackled. "Hah, good luck breaking those two up!"

Germany did intervene between England and America, if only to keep up appearances. The rest of the night was spent accompanying Italy as Germany downed champagne and glared at anyone who let their eyes linger too long on the smaller nation.

His biggest challenge was at midnight. While the others were cheering and throwing their gaudy plastic top hats into their air, twirling noise makers and blowing into cheap paper horns, Netherlands had tried to kiss Italy. Germany had managed to pull Italy into a hug right before the other could grab him, shooting the Netherlands a dark look. As if he would let the lecherous nation touch Italy!

He kept the hug brief and platonic—though Italy did kiss him on the cheek—lest anyone else think his intentions were less than innocent. He was only looking out for his friend's well being; he wouldn't forgive himself if Italy's trusting nature was taken advantage of.

"Do you have any plans after the party, mon cher?" France asked several hours later, shooting Italy a wide smile. "I have a bottle of very fine champagne chilling in my room—not at all like the swill England served—and I think you would enjoy it."

It was just after three AM and after putting up with sore feet the entire night, Italy had taken off his shoes, holding them in his hand and wiggling his now freed toes. "Ahh, well, it sounds nice but—"

"I believe he's with me tonight," Germany said roughly as he wrapped an arm around Italy's waist, pressing the smaller nation close to himself. It must have been all that champagne clouding his brain, he thought, or else he wouldn't be holding Italy like this, or resting his hand on his hip, or speaking in such a commanding, gravely tone, all to make it clear to France that Italy was his.

"I see," France said, smirking, and Germany wasn't sure if he found the idea of the two of them together amusing or appealing. "Is this what you want, Italy?"

Italy blushed under the scrutiny and nodded. "Yes, it's what I want."

"Well, well, if that is true," the Frenchman said, "I think I will call it a night. Shall I accompany you two out?"

Germany and Italy exchanged a look before Germany nodded. "That's fine."

The three of them left the hotel's lavish meeting hall together—Italy still holding his shoes in one hand, barefoot except for his tights—and walked through the lobby to the elevators. France watched them carefully—maybe to catch them groping each other or to catch their bluff, Germany wasn't sure—while both Italy and Germany tried to remain casual under France's scrutiny.

Italy took his hand as they entered the elevator and laced their fingers together, blushing slightly when France sent them a far too pleased look. Finally, the elevator halted to a stop and opened its doors as it reached France's floor.

"Ah, have a good night, Germany, Italy," France grinned obscenely and oh lord, he winked. "Try not to be too loud, hmm?"

And with that, he left, leaving the two alone.

Neither spoke as the elevator rose again until, finally, it stopped at Germany's floor.

"Italy," he said, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you with France—"

And the Netherlands. And a number of other nations.

Italy stared, surprised, and then, laughed. "Oh, Germany, I don't mind," he let go of Germany's hand and instead, threw his arms around his neck, nearly hitting him over the head with one of his shoes. Italy smiled, pressing a gentle kiss against his mouth. "I liked seeing you like that."

"I-I see."

No, don't stutter. That was not bound to impress Italy! "To my room, then?"

"Yes, please," Italy said, giggling. He shifted, so he was pressed against Germany's side instead of his front. "Lead the way!"

Germany led them down the hall, into his room, and tried to keep his breathing steady as his thoughts tangled into a disorganized mess. This was really happening and he was nervous and there was no place for that now.

He tried to gather himself and focused on Italy leaning into him in the dim light of the bedroom, the warmth of bare skin underneath his hands, the feeling of Italy's mouth against his.

He remembered France's smirk and felt a little more determined.

The back of Germany's knees hit the edge of the bed, and they toppled over in a tangle of limbs. Italy laughed, again, and then Germany did, too, and then they were both laughing and kissing and touching.

"I really, really, really hoped this would happen, tonight," Italy admitted quietly, raking his fingers through Germany's hair and messing it up thoroughly. "I mean… you were following me around a lot and normally it's the other way around, plus you were giving everyone scary looks, so I thought, maybe… but sometimes it's hard to tell with Germany."

"Was I that obvious?" He let his hand rest low on Italy's back, fingering the fabric of his dress. "About following you, I mean."

"Well… you're not really good at being subtle, but!" Italy nipped at his neck apologetically, "I'm not, either."

eta: Reviews would be mighty appreciated. I normally don't comment about reviews, but so far, I've gotten about a dozen favorite story alerts and ONE review, which is depressing.