WARNING for the frank discussion of childhood sexual abuse. If you think this might trigger you, please do not read the story.
Pairings are Spain/Romano & Germany/Italy.
Intimacy - Part I
For all that he loved Romano, there was one thing Spain would never understand about him. Even during sex, Romano never looked at Spain's penis.
It didn't matter what position they had sex, nor how many times they'd done so. The first time, Romano had requested that Spain take him from behind, so he hadn't noticed anything too strange (except the fact that when his lover returned from the bathroom afterward, his eyes seemed just a little bit redder, but he hadn't thought to question it at the time). But even now, Romano stubbornly insisted on staring at the wall or at the ceiling or at Spain's concerned face, but never once had he given the other's penis even a glance.
And he refused to touch it. To even ask Romano to fellate him seemed to Spain to be completely out of the question, and so, in spite of the fact that he had a suspicion that that typically foul mouth would be very talented at other things, he had never even brought the subject up.
For all of this, Romano was very demanding when it came to sex. Not only about the specificity of the positions he would and would not participate in, but also the sheer frequency of it. Even more curious was the fact that he seemed to want a lot of sex when he was upset. As much as Spain could appreciate a good round of angry sex, this just wasn't the same thing. It involved little preparation, in spite of the roughness of the act, and he often got the feeling, from the tenseness of the muscles inside him, that Romano was in fact in pain a good deal of the time they had sex. But again, he wasn't sure if he knew how to ask.
Sometimes, Romano wanted to be left completely alone after sex. Immediately following Spain's orgasm, Romano would pull his body off of him and go to the bathroom to "clean himself up," not even looking Spain in the eye as he walked away, and stay there for anything between a few minutes to a half-hour. When he did come back, he often resisted Spain's touches and attempts at comfort, preferring to curl up on the opposite side of the bed.
Other times, it was as if his lover could not get enough attention after sex. Romano would cling tightly to Spain—though he couldn't have called it cuddling, exactly. It was almost a frightened grip, far too tense and strong to be considered a cuddle or perhaps even to be called affectionate. It was as if Romano needed to be taken care of, needed to be protected from something, but didn't know how it could ever be done.
Sometimes after sex, or even during the act, Spain could swear he heard Romano praying.
Maybe it shouldn't have bothered Spain as much as it did. Everyone had their little quirks when it came to sex, naturally he knew that. Spain had his own set of likes and dislikes. But he had never come across someone before Romano who absolutely refused to look at him like this, and for reasons beyond Spain's comprehension, it desperately hurt him.
One day, he finally resolved to ask Romano about it. For his own sake, Spain needed to know what the basis of the problem was.
He waited for one of the not-quite-cuddling times to ask it. He figured that those were the times Romano was least likely to run away or to respond with verbal abuse. Perhaps it wasn't the most scrupulous thing to take advantage of such a vulnerable moment, but Spain honestly no longer knew what else he could do if he ever hoped to get an answer out of his lover.
Spain took a deep breath and forced himself to begin the conversation. His voice wasn't quite steady as he inquired, "Roma?"
"Hm?" Romano lifted his head from Spain's chest to look at him quizzically, as if he couldn't quite read the tone in which he was being questioned.
"Why…" another deep breath, "why is it that you never look at me?"
Romano only looked more confused, eyeing Spain sarcastically. "I'm looking at you right now, idiot."
"I mean," Spain interjected, "when we have sex. Why won't you ever look at, ah, look at my body?" It was clear Romano still wasn't understanding just what Spain was getting at. He sighed, realizing he was simply going to have to be explicit about it. "My penis. Why won't you ever look at my penis, Romano?"
Romano's expression then was reminiscent of a deer-in-headlights, and he seemed unconsciously to grip Spain's body even more tightly than before, his fingernails digging into the skin of his back. Finally, words did come, in a voice that was tight and forced. "And why… why should I have to look at it." The intonation was closer to that of a statement than a question.
Spain gave a facial shrug. "It's what lovers do, I guess." He hadn't really thought it through. "It seems unusual to me, I've never had a lover who refused to look at me like you do."
"Well excuse me for not being as fucking experienced as you!" Oh dear, Romano had taken that comment as an excuse to get defensive. Spain wondered if this conversation would be going anywhere now. "Not everyone consents to have sex with every person who throws themselves at him!"
Ouch. That hurt. Was the accusation really true? Spain certainly didn't think of himself that way—he simply liked to show his love for his friends in a more physical way than perhaps many people did. In any case, he saw nothing wrong with the fact that he had had sex with a variety of people. But then Spain noticed Romano's choice of words. Not everyone consents. "Romano, you do want to have sex with me, right?"
At that, Romano choked up. His voice was tighter and more tense than it had ever been, almost as if, were it possible to drop a voice to the ground, it would shatter. "Of course I want to have sex with you. I want to have sex with you. It's not… it's not fair, it's not fucking fair!" He buried his face in Spain's chest, and Spain could feel a wetness beginning to puddle below the spot where Romano's eyes must be, could feel the body that was gripping him more tightly than was comfortable begin to shudder.
"Oh, Romano…" Spain began to rub the other's back gently, his fingertips massaging small circles at Romano's shoulders and stroking the back of his neck. "It's all right, it will all be all right. I'll take care of you…"
"A little fucking late for that, don't you think?" It was almost a bark of outrage, even through the tears. "As if you could help me now!" He gave a dark, choked, cynical chuckle. "As if you could've helped me then." In an even smaller voice, "I couldn't even save Veneziano…"
Spain began to rub Romano's back in long strokes now, from his neck down his spine. He was used to this kind of treatment by now, and especially at this moment, he knew it had nothing to do with him. Could that quirk of Romano's personality possibly have something to do with this? "What happened to you, Roma? You can tell me. What on earth happened to you?" He wasn't so sure he wanted to know the answer anymore.
"He—someone—touched me. Touched us. Made us touch him. That's all."
At those words, Spain was shocked. "How… how can you even say that? 'That's all.' As if it isn't a big deal to be abused!"
"But it isn't, really. I got hard. I must have liked it! So it wasn't even abuse, not if I wanted it. Even if I was just a kid, my body knew what I wanted." He was only numbly repeating what he'd been told as a child and had since come to believe, but he would never tell Spain that.
Just a kid? Spain didn't even know how to handle that information. The problems with sex were all falling into place now. "That's not true," Spain rebuked, though there was a heavy sadness tinting his voice. "That doesn't mean you wanted it."
But Romano was already off on a tangent. "Sometimes I wonder…" he swallowed, as if this was the hardest thing for him yet to admit, "sometimes I wonder if that's the reason I prefer men. If I wouldn't be this way, except for that. If I could still go to heaven, except for that bullshit…!"
On this point, Spain stood firm. "You are not going to hell for loving." How ridiculous that thought was!
Romano, on the other hand, didn't seem to find it ridiculous at all, and snapped. "How the hell should you know?"
"Because it doesn't make sense." In spite of both of them being nominally Catholic, they seemed to have some differences of opinion on certain matters, and this was one of them. God, according to Spain, was a benevolent being, was pure good, and valued love above all else. Dios, he would often try to explain to Romano, es un tío majo. How could such a god punish anyone for loving?
"You don't make sense!" It wasn't the best retort Romano had ever come up with, but it was true enough, wasn't it? The Church itself said that he would go to hell for this; no matter how badly he wanted to, he couldn't bring himself to believe otherwise.
"Romano…" It seemed to Spain as if there was simply no getting through to his lover at the moment. He felt helpless to do anything but continue to rub his back and repeat his name gently, like a kind of mantra. "Romano, Romano, Romano…" Spain wasn't quite sure which of them he was trying to console.
He never seemed to be open to discussing his past after that. Every time Spain would enquire, Romano would simply walk out of the room without responding or even calling him an idiot. Spain decided he would just have to put it aside for now and try to quell his curiosity with regard to that part of Romano's past. It was just that, after all—past. And yet, it continued to affect the both of them in the present. Romano had been right about one thing: that wasn't fucking fair.
One thing that Spain couldn't get out of his head, however, was that Romano had mentioned his brother as well. He couldn't help but wonder if Germany had the same kinds of problems with his lover's northern counterpart as he was having with his Romano. After a week or so of consideration, he decided that, if it had the potential to help him help Romano, he would have to go and ask.
This does not reflect my personal headcanon, but rather is a response to the prompt "What if the Italies' personalities were the result of childhood sexual abuse?" This is significantly darker than what I usually write—I don't think a prompt like that ought to he handled with anything less than brutal honesty. Certainly, most of what I write is psychology-heavy, but I've never done anything quite like this before. If it's hard to read, rest assured that it was even harder to write.
The quote Dios es un tío majo, "God is a nice guy," comes directly from the mouth one of my professors in Spain when trying to explain the modern Spaniard's relationship with God, which is how I decided to portray Spain's here.