I don't own Hetalia, and no offence to any person/persons/countries/nations was intended with this.
The house was quiet, for once – silence was a rare thing in any place inhabited by Feliciano, and it was downright unheard of for it to last for more than four minutes or so. Nevertheless, Ludwig seemed to have worked some kind of magic that even England would have been jealous of, and the usually bubbly Italian hadn't said more than two words in the past half-hour.
The only sounds in the room were the tapping of Ludwig's laptop keys, the slow scratch of Feliciano's pen, and the occasional rasp of a mug across the table when one of them took a sip of hot chocolate.
They were sat in the kitchen, at either end of the long, scrubbed-wood table, both working on their separate tasks in companionable silence. Ludwig was re-reading the notes from last week's meeting, peering at them through the reading glasses balanced on the end of his nose and copying them into a word document and re-drafting them into a less nonsensical format that he could present to his Boss without feeling ashamed, and Feliciano was...
Well, Ludwig wasn't entirely sure what he was doing. He could see the Italian in his peripheral vision, scratching away in his small, leather-bound notebook, tongue poking out from between his teeth and eyebrows lowered in a concentrated expression.
It was a tradition, of sorts – Ludwig would work on official business in the evenings, and Feliciano would join him quietly with his journal and scribble away in it. Quite whathe was doing with it, whether it was government work, or a journal, or some kind of story or sketchbook, Ludwig didn't know and was too polite to ask. If Feliciano wanted him to know, he'd volunteer the information on his own.
The peace was broken by the trill of a telephone from down the hall, and they both jumped, eyes rising from their papers to look at each other in awkward surprise.
Feliciano was the first to speak. "I'll get it," he said softly, grinning, and laid his journal and pencil carefully down on the table, before bouncing up from his seat and out the room. The ringing stopped, to be replaced half a second later with an excited cry of, "Antonio! Come stai? Oh, you haven't called in such a long time, I thought maybe you'd forgotten us!" There was a pause. "Sì, but you know I'm always over at Germany's, so it's almost the same thing."
Germany felt the tips of his ears heat up, and looked back down at his laptop screen, trying to stop the embarrassed happiness those words called up in him.
"Doitsuuuuu~" called Italy a moment later, sounding giddy with excitement. "Spain and fratello have invited us over to dinner next Thursday. Can we go, can we, please?"
"Ja," said Ludwig, smiling at the smaller nation's happiness. "Tell him we'd be delighted."
"He said we'd be delighted! Yaaaaay!" Ludwig felt rather than saw Feliciano smile. "Oh, wait, is he...? Can I talk to him?" There was a pause, and then a cry of, "Romano!" followed by a string of rapid Italian that Ludwig tuned out.
Another ten minutes or so, the familiar, "Ciao!" drifted from the hall, and Feliciano bounced back in. It was evident that whatever quiet peace he'd found had been obliterated by the excitement of the phone call. "Ve, Ludwig? Are you hungry yet? The pizza dough should have finished proving, and I bought mozzarella and Parma ham and tomatoes and-" He broke off as Ludwig looked up, and a guilty look crossed his face. "Oh, you're still working, aren't you? I'm sorry, I'm just all excited now and I won't be able to settle, and I need to do-"
"Feliciano," said Ludwig, and the Italian's rambling spiel cut off. He sighed, shut his laptop lid, and pulled his glasses off, folding them and placing them on the table. "Dinner," he said with a smile, "would be wonderful."
Italy just smiled happily back at him and scampered off to the pantry to retrieve the pizza dough.
Five minutes later, they were both up to their elbows in flour. Feliciano had a light dusting of white in his hair too (although quite how it had gotten there was a mystery) and a perfectly circular pizza base. Ludwig had flour on the end of his nose and clinging to his eyelashes, and a lopsided, lumpy oval that was being repaired by the laughing Italian.
He only half paid attention to the instructions that were being babbled at him – they'd made pizza half a dozen times before, and had resigned himself to the fact that he just couldn't make a pizza base like Feliciano's. He watched instead, attempting to brush the flour off his nose as he did so and instead just smearing it across his cheek, prompting another round of giggles from Feliciano.
Ten minutes later there were two pizzas sat on the baking tray, various different toppings piled on them, but both with generous helpings of cheese. The two nations, and now the corner of the kitchen they'd been in, were dusted with flour, smeared with tomato sauce, and sprinkled liberally with cheese. Feliciano was still laughing as he slid the tray into the oven and shut the door before dusting off his hands and smiling up at Ludwig.
"They'll take about half an hour, I think," he said cheerfully, heading over to the sink and rinsing his hands and forearms. Then, to Ludwig's surprise, he dusted off his top and jeans and picked up a dishcloth. "We should probably clean up, sì?"
"Ja," agreed Ludwig, wondering if his compulsive need for neatness had finally rubbed off on the Italian, or whether kitchens were the exception to Feliciano's usually messy habits. After all, every time he'd seen the Italy brothers' kitchen, it had been spotlessly clean and organised within an inch of its life.
He washed his own hands thoughtfully, carefully, and had just replaced the ingredients in the fridge when a hand caught his wrist and pulled him around gently. "Hold still," Feliciano said softly, face uncharacteristically serious, another, unrecognisable emotion lurking just under the surface, reaching up to swipe his thumb across Ludwig's cheek, just under his eye. "You've got something on your face." His thumb came away red with tomato sauce, and he licked it clean absently – apparently not noticing the blush that stained Ludwig's cheek as he did so.
The next forty minutes passed in a blur of tidying, brushing, wiping and washing. Eventually the kitchen was returned to its original state, and filled with the smell of cooked pizza. Feliciano was hunting down the oven gloves, rattling drawers and cupboards and murmuring to himself in Italian.
"I'll clear the table, shall I?" asked Ludwig absently, gathering the mugs that had been sitting on it and taking them over to the sink.
"Per favour." The Italian's reply was equally absent, distracted as he was with finding something to cover his hands so he could remove the pizza before it burned.
Ludwig piled his papers up, stacked them on top of the laptop and moved the whole pile onto the sideboard, before balancing his glasses (now safely in their case) on top of it. Then he pulled two glasses out of a cupboard, two sets of cutlery from a draw that also happened to contain the oven gloves – which were pounced on gleefully by Feliciano – and carried them over to the table, setting the places before finally realising the leather-bound journal was still lying open on the table.
He picked it up, glanced down at it for a second, and nearly dropped it in shock.
The page the journal was open to, evidently the most recent one, was filled with a gorgeously observed, finely detailed sketch – crafted with such a beautifully meticulous care that it seemed to almost stand out from the thick, cream-coloured paper.
It was a drawing of him.
It was very clearly him, head angled forward, eyes lowered, forehead creased in a light frown but the corners of his mouth lifted gently upwards, peering intently through his glasses at a light, sketchy object that he suspected was the beginning of his laptop screen. He real him (after a moment of staring) blinked, took a breath and, against all his instincts that screamed at him to leave the thing alone and stop invading Feliciano's privacy, flipped back to the first pages.
They were covered in dense, dark scribbles. There were clearly pictures underneath them – Ludwig caught glimpses of armour, some kind of dark robe, and awkwardly-shaped hat, a hair curl that looked like Feliciano's, an eye here, the suggestion of a nose there – but, for whatever reason, the Italian had decided to destroy them. Not erase them, which suggested they held some kind of significance, just render them ruined.
After a few pages of ruined drawings, there was a gap. Two blank pages had been left, to separate the old drawings from new, and then the sketches began in earnest. Just shapes, most of them; a hand, an eye, the curve of an eyebrow, the outline of a head, a practise at shading hair... not as polished as the later ones, nothing complete, but still with that strange, fascinating energy about them.
And then, suddenly the proper sketches started. There he was, head tilted to one side and resting on his hand, glasses slightly lopsided, an air of preoccupation about his eyes and forehead. It was carefully, hesitantly drawn – he almost added 'lovingly' onto the list of adjectives, but stopped himself before he let himself feel that hope again.
He flicked through the pages of drawings, watching as they became more ambitious, smoother and more realistic, the shading moving to a slightly rougher, more textured style. They varied in size and detail level, ranging from tiny scribbles in the corner to exquisitely, painstakingly crafted portraits that took up a whole page to themselves – usually with little details around the edges, like the frame of a pair of glasses or the glint of light off an eye, the curve of a finger as it held a pen.
Almost all the nations were in there once – but for most of them, it was only once, in one of the larger, more detailed drawings. Spain cropped up a few times, usually next to the multiple sketches of a scowling Romano, a sharp contrast between the heavy shading on the Italian's brother and the light, airy lines on the cheerful Spaniard. Romano turned up next to Spain, and on his own, expression usually more relaxed when he was on his own. There was even one of him sleeping.
The dogs turned up, often – again, sleeping. Ludwig supposed that must be the only time they stayed still long enough to sketch, although there was one rushed scribble of one of them eating (the level of detail wasn't high enough for him to work out which). A few of Gilbert, running through a surprisingly wide variety of emotions; smiling, sleeping, looking intently at Gilbird as the little yellow chick perched on his palm, yelling at the television during what Ludwig assumed was a football match, several with his head thrown back with laughter, and one with him staring into the middle distance, an achingly lonely expression on his face. Ludwig wondered how Feliciano had managed to capture that one – his brother was not one for letting others see his less cheerful side.
But the majority were of him, Ludwig; the expressions running through every conceivable emotion, the view from every angle. Ludwig wondered how he'd never realised the Italian was sketching him before, but he was so distracted with his work a lot of the time he supposed he wouldn't have noticed. There were some of him sleeping, too – those, as with the other drawings of sleeping nations and creatures, had a softer look about them, as if Feliciano had been smiling when he'd drawn them. There were endless reproductions of detail, too, his eyes, hands, mouth, the shell of his ear, the tips of his fingers... all of them gently, (this time, he could find no other word for it) lovingly drawn.
He stared at them for a while, mesmerised, before a voice in front of him called, "Doitsu!" and he looked up. Feliciano stood in front of him, back to Ludwig, bending over the pizzas with a pizza cutter. "These are perfect, they're going to be delicious! Have you cleared the table?" He sounded so happy and carefree, and so unlike the serious kind of artist that would produce sketches such as the ones he held in his hands, that for a moment Ludwig had a wild feeling of unbalance as he tried to reconcile this new element of Feliciano with the enthusiastic, slightly hopeless Italian he knew and (unfortunately, unrequitedly, hopelessly) loved.
"Italy," he said, very quietly, voice level and entirely too calm, and he sensed rather than saw Feliciano still, suddenly alert and worried. They never used each other's country names outside of a meeting unless it was something serious.
"Italy," he said again, that horrible calm still in his voice, and reached out to grab Feliciano's wrist and pull him around gently. "What is this." It wasn't a question, not really, just a statement designed to draw the other nation's attention to the object in his hand.
Feliciano glanced down, saw the journal, and froze. His gaze dropped the floor, focusing awkwardly on the neat joins between the tiles, breath stilling. Cursing himself internally for not being more careful with his journal, he tried to force the words out from where they sat heavily in his chest, crushing his breathing, but they stuck in his throat and he just swallowed, blinking.
"...Feliciano..." said Ludwig softly, noting the other nation's distress and laying the journal gently on the table, closed. He stretched out his free hand, the one not still wrapped around the Italian's wrist, and used it to gently tilt his head up. "I'm not angry, I just..."
Feliciano pushed the hand away, catching Ludwig's larger fingers in his own. His eyes dropped back to the floor, fingers tightening almost convulsively around Ludwig's as he choked the words out from their lodging in his throat, barely able to force his voice to an audible level.
"So... so that I'll have something to remember you by. When... when you leave..."
He swallowed back the sob that threatened to follow the words out and instead stumbled forward, wrapping his arms around Ludwig's waist and burying his face in the German's reassuringly solid chest, trying to ignore the fact the other nation could now probably feel him trembling. "Grandpa Rome died, and then Holy Rome left, even though he promised he'd come back, he promised- an- and one day fratello will leave too, when the people stop recognising him, and... and you'll leave, one day. Everyone leaves." He shuddered, taking a deep breath. "I can't even remember their faces any more – Grandpa, or Holy Rome. I... I tried to draw them, when I first got the journal, and I couldn't do it. I couldn't remember what they looked like. I don't want to... don't want to lose you like that."
Ludwig was lost for words. Instead, he wrapped one arm around Feliciano in return and gently stroked the Italian's hair, resting his chin on the smaller nation's head. "Feli," he said quietly, voice absolutely certain, "I will never, ever leave you. Not if I can help it. Do you understand?"
Feliciano sniffed, snaking one hand up to wipe his eyes. "B-but-"
"Never," said Ludwig fiercely, hugging him tighter. "I promise."
Feliciano slipped out of the German's hold, and for a second Ludwig was worried the small nation was going to tell him to stop being stupid and making promises he couldn't keep, but instead the Italian just stared up at him, a curious expression on his face. "You're not... not mad because of the drawings?" Hesitantly, he closed the distance between them and rested a hand on Ludwig's cheek, head on one side, almost scrutinising him.
Ludwig shook his head, bending it downward instinctively, so he could see the smaller nation properly. After a moment's hesitation Feliciano closed his eyes, brought his other hand up to rest on the back of Ludwig's neck, went up on tiptoes, and brought their lips together.
For a second, Ludwig was too shocked to do much more than blink. When he finally regained his senses, he flinched, breaking the kiss, and Feliciano stared up at him with wide, confused eyes. "Did... did I do something wrong?"
Ludwig stared at him, and then smiled. "No, Feli. You're perfect." He wound his arms around the Italian's waist, supporting him slightly, and then brought their lips together again.
The kiss lasted thirty glorious, perfect, wonderful, blissful seconds, and then Feliciano pulled away, looking alarmed. "We forgot about the pizza!"
His worry was so earnest that Ludwig did the only thing he could – he laughed. After a second, Feliciano laughed too, although he didn't seem to entirely see what was so funny. Then he bounced up onto his toes again, kissed Ludwig on the nose and spun off to get the pizza.
Ludwig was, for once, entirely unsurprised to find Feliciano in his bed the next morning. He rolled over, smiling up at him. The small nation was balancing his sketchbook on his lap, twirling a pencil between his fingers and frowning down at Ludwig, tongue between his teeth as he concentrated. As soon as he realised the object of his focus was awake, a glowing smile lit his face, and he leant down for a kiss.
"Morgen," murmured Ludwig against the Italian's lips , a bright smile of his own on his face.
"You moved," whispered the Italian in reply, tracing his fingers across Ludwig's face. "My lovely sketch will be ruined..."
Ludwig snorted. "No morning greeting for me?" he asked, and, when he received no reply, added, "Fine, then, I'll roll over and go back to sleep, and you can finish your sketching."
"No, no!" A hand caught his wrist and pulled him back over so the Italian could reclaim his lips. "It's better this way, I can see your face now." Feliciano smiled again, turning a page over in his sketchbook with a low, rustling hiss of paper, and Ludwig caught a glimpse of rough, messy human outline – the curve of a back, the smooth outline head with the suggestion of hair, the bend in an arm. Him.
"That's me, isn't it?" said Ludwig curiously.
"Sì." The Italian looked absent, pencil already skating across the paper, his eyes darting from the journal to Ludwig and back again. "Now hold still – or, still-ish. Want to get this right…." He paused for a second, and reached out one hand to trace the curve of Ludwig's lips, before smoothing his hair. "You've no idea how long I've wanted to draw you like this."
Ludwig smiled at him. "Well, I'm not going anywhere."
A/N: Every time I try and do a fluffy one-shot, it gets angst in it. EVERY TIME. =.=;
You're welcome to fill whatever you want into the 'xXx' gap, but personally, I reckon they spent the rest of the evening eating pizza and laughing and kissing, and then Italy fell asleep on Germany's shoulder in the lounge and Germany carried him back to bed and they curled up together, and Germany whispered, 'Ich liebe dich,' into Italy's hair and then fell asleep. But I was too lazy to write that. But hey, if you want to fill it with sex, that's fine.
...Anyways. Have cutesy GerIta to brighten up your day. This is me practicing for NaNoWriMo, and trying (fairly unsuccessfully) to improve my ability with romance. And trying to get rid of all these damn plot bunnies making burrows in my head. D Apologies for the lame title/crappy ending. I got to the end and sort of went, 'ehhh... dunno how to end this...' And so it just sort of ended. But ahh well. Explanation of the 'ciao' thing - German has the word 'tschau', which means the same as 'ciao' and is pronounced exactly the same, so Ludwig would recognise the word (please feel free to correct me if I've got this wrong, I've only been learning German for two months. And please excuse the very probably awful Italian, it's not one of the languages I'm learning, so I had to use google translate). Inspired by the song 'Don't Forget' by Demi Lovato from the 'Queer as Hetalia, Volume II' fanmix.
Explanation of the 'ciao' thing - German has the word 'tschau', which means the same as 'ciao' and is pronounced exactly the same, so Ludwig would recognise the word (please feel free to correct me if I've got this wrong, I've only been learning German for two months. And please excuse the very probably awful Italian, it's not one of the languages I'm learning, so I had to use google translate).
Inspired by the song 'Don't Forget' by Demi Lovato from the 'Queer as Hetalia, Volume II' fanmix.