When Romano had walked out on Spain, without even saying a single word to his pregnant lover, Canada had wanted to murder the heartless Italian. It was only Spain's screams for Romano to come back that had saved him, ironically, as Canada had instinctively rushed to comfort the crying Nation.
He found Spain collapsed on the floor a few feet away from the bed, sheets still tangled around his legs as he sobbed into his hands. Canada didn't know whether it was fear or nausea that had caused his fall, or even just the sheets, but he didn't ask. He simply, quietly, knelt next to Spain and carefully gathered him into his arms.
Spain didn't react other than to clutch tightly at Canada's shirt and the younger Nation slowly pushed himself to his feet and stood there next to the bed, Spain crying in his arms, for a long moment. "Shhhh," he absently soothed as he stared hard at the door. Faintly, he could hear China shouting, the slamming of a car door... The loud roar of a high performance engine broke his almost trance and he gazed down at the Nation in his arms. "Antonio?"
Spain had calmed down, somewhat, in the minutes Canada had been glaring at the open bedroom door. He was still crying, though silently as he buried his face in Canada's neck, arms now wrapped tightly around him. He sniffed, ignoring Canada completely as he lay limply in the blond's hold.
Canada sighed and turned to carefully set Spain down on the bed, gently unwrapping Spain's arms from around him. Spain immediately reached for the nearest pillow, clutching it tightly to his chest. Canada suspected it was Romano's pillow and once again felt a surge of anger.
How could he have just left like that? Canada had never believed the occasional rumor of Romano being heartless, but the way he had just walked out on Spain... Canada was beginning to see some truth to the rumor.
Canada might have stood there, fuming next to the bed, all day if a quiet, desperate, voice hadn't interrupted his murderous thoughts. "Matteo..."
"Hmmm?" A quick glance towards the bed had Canada lunging for the trash can and shoving it at Spain. He just barely made it in time.
China stood gaping down the driveway long after Romano's car had disappeared around a bend in the road. "Did he just...?" he mumbled quietly to himself, gripping the open front door as he watched the dust settle back on the unpaved driveway. "I never expected this."
Sighing, he turned and re-entered the house, closing and locking the door behind him before heading for the stairs. He had heard Spain screaming when Romano had stormed passed, but he had trusted Canada to look after him while he had tried to stop Romano from leaving. Sadly, he had failed.
He walked slowly up the flight of stairs, considering his options and what would be the best course of action. With Romano gone, someone had to stay to look after Spain, for the time being at least. The pregnant nation was currently too ill to be trusted with his own welfare, and too ignorant regardless. "Looks like I'll be staying here for the time being, at least until I can teach him what to expect."
Speaking of which, perhaps he should arrange a class to teach everyone about reproduction. Spain's ignorance on the subject, despite his age, showed that he couldn't assume the others had been informed. 'Come to think of it,' he thought as he reached the floor that held Spain's bedroom, 'I believe the last pregnancy occurred during Ancient Rome's reign. Everyone else just appeared as usual.' How odd. He didn't know how he hadn't noticed.
He knocked gently on Spain's door, leaning in the opened doorway and frowning in concern at the sight that met him. "Is he all right?"
Canada looked up from his place on the bed, continuing to soothingly rub Spain's back as the pregnant Nation gagged over a small metal trashcan. He shook his head.
China had figured as much and sighed as he moved further into the room, coming to a stop next to the bed. "Antonio, how severe is the nausea right now?" Best to stick to clinical questions at the moment, despite the glare Canada was currently sending him. He smiled reassuringly, hoping Canada trusted him enough not to interrupt. "One a scale of one to ten."
Antonio choked a few moments more before leaning tiredly against Canada next to him, setting the small trash can on the bedside table. He sent a tired glance up at the older Nation. "Compared to earlier?" he asked, voice raspy. He didn't wait for confirmation. "Four."
China hummed at the answer, taking a seat next to the two younger Nations and reached out to take Spain's pulse, more for something to do than any real need. Still, it was a little fast and he found himself mildly concerned. He sighed, continuing to hold loosely onto Spain's wrist. "I brought over some Ginger tea that should help a bit. I don't suppose you feel up to eating anything?" He didn't expect him to, but he doubted he had eaten anything at all today if the nausea had been as bad as he said it was. And Spain wasn't usually one to exaggerate his pain.
China wasn't surprised when Spain shook his head, the pregnant Nation was still looking a little green. Still... "You really should eat something," China continued quietly. "Even if it's just a small snack."
Spain stared at him a moment from where he still leaned against Canada, not seeming to care or even noticed that China still held his wrist. Finally, he sighed. "A tomato?" Not a surprising request; China wondered why he hadn't thought to offer it.
China finally released Spain and stood. "I think you should eat something more substantial than a tomato before you go to sleep tonight, but if that's all you think you can stomach right now, that's fine," he said as he moved away from the bed. "I will go get you a tomato and a hot cup of ginger tea." Hopefully, the tea would help settle his stomach enough he could eat an actual meal.
Despite how quietly he had spoken, Spain's voice startled both China and Canada, though more because of his request than anything else. China frowned. "Are you sure you can eat three?" He had thought Spain had said he was too queasy to eat and had just requested the tomato to make China happy.
Spain fiddled with the sheet in his lap, gaze flicking between Canada next to him and China at the door. "You and Matteo didn't get your tomatoes yet."
Spain hadn't offered China one in the first place, but neither of the other two mentioned this. Canada frowned at China and mouthed "Just get them," as soon as Spain's attention turned elsewhere.
China had to agree. He wasn't as fond of the fruit as Spain was, but the last thing he wanted was to upset Spain any further. "Very well, I will bring us all some tea and tomatoes."
Spain's small smile was a relief to see.
Romano didn't know where he was. When Spain had so excitedly turned his entire world on its head, all he could think of was that baby on the plane, screaming and crying while its mother tried futilely to calm it down. He couldn't handle that, wasn't ready for that. He had spent the entire flight contemplating strangling that child and its incompetent mother just so he could have a moment's peace. Granted, he would never actually harm a child, but the thought had still been there.
So when his ill - pregnant; oh god, pregnant! - lover had informed him that soon they would be in that very same situation, it was all he could do to keep silent, to not tell Spain that he didn't want it. Spain would have been devastated if he had told him to get rid of it. Spain would have hated him.
Romano just needed some time to think.
So he had left. He had left and gotten into his car and just drove for hours, days maybe. And now he didn't know where he was. Didn't know how long he had been gone. He didn't have his phone; it was sitting at home on the bedside table, where he had put it when he had tried convincing Spain to rest. Before his world had changed.
That felt like a lifetime ago now.
Romano sighed and looked around for a sign that would hopefully tell him where he was. He needed to find a hotel, get some rest, take a shower. He probably stank to high heaven, as America would say. "What the fuck?" Romano gaped at the signs he was passing, now noticing he was nearing a large city. "Munich? How the fuck did I get to Germany?" And how did he avoid getting shot at by Switzerland? He'd have to check his beloved vehicle for bullet wounds.
Well, at least no one would think to look for him here.
Germany's day had been going as usual. He woke up at 5:30 and went on his early morning run with his three dogs before heading home to get started on breakfast. He'd fill the dogs' bowls with kibble and then try to decide between potato omelets and pancakes. Then once breakfast was done cooking, he'd go drag his older brother out of bed.
After breakfast, and after Prussia left to who knows where, Germany would spend the rest of the morning checking over the previous day's paperwork. If he was lucky, he finished before lunchtime.
But as Germany gaped, looking from his busted front door to his unexpected guest sitting on the couch, he knew that he wouldn't be lucky today. "Romano? Why are you here?" Because, as Romano had so loudly proclaimed on numerous occasions, the temperamental Italian would much rather swim with a school of piranha after running through a paper factory before he would willingly visit Germany. Especially without his brother.
Predictably, Romano scowled up at him. "That's none of your damn business, Bastard," he screeched, turning away and crossing his arms. "Leave me alone."
Germany was sorely tempted to do just that, but he had a ruined door on his hands and the beginnings of a headache. This tended to make him a little tetchy himself, so instead of turning around and ignoring Romano like he probably should have, he pushed the issue. "You can't just barge in here and destroy private property. At the very least, you need to tell me why you are here."
Romano turned back around to glare death at the frustrated and confused German. "Go. To. Hell," he growled lowly, before once again turning away to level his gaze at the wall in front of him.
Germany sighed, rubbing his forehead, and decided he didn't feel like risking an even worse headache. Telling himself that if he just grabbed a quick snack and went back upstairs to his paperwork, Romano would be gone by the time he finished, he left to do just that.
When he came downstairs hours later and found Romano still camped out on his couch, looking very comfortable stretched out with his feet propped up on the armrest, Germany just continued to ignore him and entered the kitchen to make them both an early dinner.
Spain hated to admit it, but once he had allowed himself to think about it, he wasn't all that surprised Romano had left. The Italian's reflexive response to most surprises was to retreat, and if he couldn't do that, to fight against whatever had shocked him. Spain was just surprised he had left so quietly.
'I wonder if he'll come back this time,' Spain thought as he quietly nibbled at his breakfast of dry toast and sliced tomatoes. A warm cup of ginger tea, surprisingly tasty, sat half empty next to his plate.
Spain sighed, glancing around the silent kitchen, and wondered where his guests had wandered off to. He felt guilty for not being a better host and looking after their needs, but China had been adamant that he take it easy for at least the next few days. Canada had even thrown a small fit when Spain had tried to make them all breakfast earlier.
In the end, it was probably for the best that Canada had stopped him and taken over. The smell of cooking eggs had brought the nausea back with a vengeance and had driven him out of the kitchen. Breakfast had long been over by the time his stomach had settled enough to eat anything.
Now that he thought of it, actually, he had the vague memory of China kneeling next to the couch earlier when he had been huddled in abject misery, saying something about running to town for some medicine. That was probably where he was, but where was Canada?
A soft brush of fur against his leg distracted him at he smiled down at the small polar bear that was munching on another tomato. "I don't suppose you know where Matteo wandered off to?"
Kumajirou paused his nibbling and glanced up at him, cocking his head. "Who?"
An annoyed sigh behind him had Spain smiling in amusement. "Canada. I'm Canada!" Canada growled at his bear, stomping quietly into the room and setting an armful of... stuff on the kitchen table. "Why can't you ever remember me, Kumaboku?"
Spain ignored Canada's own mistake in favor of staring at the small collection of combs and brushes and... spray on leave in conditioner? Spain frowned in confusion. "What's all this for, Matteo?"
Canada seemed to immediately forget his annoyance and smiled almost sinisterly, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. "Guess!"
"I AM NOT A POODLE!"
China froze in the front doorway, staring apprehensively towards the kitchen. The crashes and loud thumps that he could hear would have normally had him dropping his bags in a rush to break up a fight; but Spain, though screaming at the top of his lungs, sounded on the verge of laughter. And China knew that Spain desperately needed cheering up.
Still, too much excitement was not good for someone in Spain's condition and so China quickly pulled the door shut behind him and walked quickly towards the currently chaotic kitchen. "What's going on here?"
Spain and Canada looked up at him from their places on the floor, Spain pressed into the corner with Canada crouched over him with a small spray bottle and comb in his hands. They shared a look, Canada blushing bright red when he noticed their position and Spain giggling like a child.
China would have gladly sold his soul for a camera at that moment. His mouth twitched, threatening a grin, but he forced himself to remain stern and kept a disappointed frown on his face. "Well?"
Canada gaped like a fish, clearly unable to get a word out as he stared wide eyed at the older Nation, oddly feeling like a naughty child facing down an angry parent. Spain, on the other hand, recovered rather quickly, though he didn't move and was still faintly giggling. "Matteo was brushing my hair~! Look!" His grin widened and he ran his hand easily through the curly strands. "No more knots!"
China blinked, mildly confused. "If that was all, then what was that about a poodle? And why are you on the floor?"
Canada finally found his voice. "T-that would be my fault. I was telling him about all the strange hair colors I've seen recently," he said quietly, and China had to almost strain to hear him. "And then he mentioned seeing dogs on tv with dyed hair."
Spain interrupted, fiddling with the comb he had just now managed to steal from Canada. "Then he said he thought I'd look cute with green streaks in my hair. Or red ones." He poked at Canada's arm with the comb, and Canada finally seemed to remember he had Spain trapped on the floor in the corner.
China sighed and finally sat his grocery bags down on the table next to Spain's abandoned breakfast dishes, ignoring the sound of Canada scrambling across the floor. "And then?" he asked, because he knew that that couldn't be the whole story.
"Then Matteo said he was going to look for some food coloring."
China groaned inaudibly as he listened to cloth rustling behind him, presumably Canada helping Spain to his feet, and picked up the dishes to move them to the sink. He was too old for this... "Antonio, Mathew," he began, turning away from the sink to level his best parental glare at the two younger Nations. They froze and shrunk away from him as he continued speaking, "I am only going to say this once, so be sure to remember it. Can you do that?"
They shared a look, fidgeting in place, Spain clutching onto Canada's sleeve as they both nodded.
China felt mildly guilty when he saw Spain's eyes fill with tears, he really had needed cheering up, but this needed to be said. Sooner rather than later. "Now, Antonio," China said soothingly, trying to make up for his earlier short tone. "Please do not forget your condition. As much as I enjoy seeing you having a good time, you can not go rolling around on the floor."
Spain sniffed, leaning against Canada and staring miserably at the floor.
China sighed, crossing his arms as he turned his gaze to Canada, only slightly surprised at the glare the younger Nation was giving him. "And Mathew, I know you were only trying to cheer him up, and I appreciate that, but you have to remember not to be so physical. Too much excitement can be harmful."
Canada looked away, but not before China saw how horrified he looked at the thought that he could have hurt Spain and the baby. The sight only reinforced China's decision to organize a meeting to discuss this issue. The younger Nations all needed to be educated, obviously.
"Can we go now?"
Spain's almost silent voice drew the attention of both other Nations, and China felt a stronger pang of guilt when he saw how upset Spain was getting. "Yes, you may go," China replied after a long silence.
Spain sniffled and rubbed at his eyes as they turned to leave the room, Spain still clutching at Canada's sleeve. China watched them go, and despite the fact that it had needed to be said, knew that he deserved the hard glare Canada sent him over his shoulder.
Germany groaned, hiding his face in his hands as he walked into the living room and saw Romano sound asleep on his couch. He had hoped, prayed, that the Italian would have left last night after he had gone to bed. But no, someone obviously had it out for him and had decided to force him to interact with one of his least favorite people. "Why is he still here?"
"Never thought I'd hear you whine, West."
Prussia's amused voice shocked Germany into swinging towards the kitchen doorway, where the white haired ex-Nation was standing, looking more amused than that time he had tricked France into spying on Hungary. "You're... awake?" Before dawn? Germany briefly wondered if he had been sucked into that television show America loved so much. Was it Twilight Zone? Yes, that sounded right.
Prussia snorted and turned away, gesturing for Germany to follow him into the kitchen. "Set my alarm." He chuckled, dropping down into a chair and leaning on the table. "When I got home last night and saw him there, I just knew I couldn't miss the show this morning."
Germany sighed, sitting in the chair directly across from his brother. He didn't say anything, just turned to stare in confusion towards the doorway, where he could still see Romano's blanket covered form. Had Prussia given him that?
When Germany didn't respond, Prussia hummed in thought. "So why is the little bastard here, anyways? Toni finally see sense and kick him out?" Though why Romano would come here, of all places was beyond him. He should probably give Spain a call. To tease him, not to make certain he was all right, of course.
Germany finally noticed his brother was speaking to him and turned his gaze away from Romano. "He wouldn't tell me. Apparently, it's none of my business."
Prussia frowned. "Maybe you should call his brother; let him deal with him." As amusing as Romano's little fits could be, they were also frustrating and tiring to deal with. He honestly didn't know how Spain, who had always been a bit sensitive in Prussia's opinion, could handle him.
His little brother shook his head, looking back at the Italian sleeping on the couch. "He got into a little trouble with his boss, due to the botched presentation at the last meeting. I don't want to upset him further."
Botched presentation? Prussia pouted; he really needed to find a way to get Germany to let him go to meetings again. He was missing all the good stuff! "What happened?"
"Romano walked out before the meeting was even half over," Germany answered, finally pushing himself to his feet to begin gathering ingredients for breakfast. "He was the one who was supposed to give their presentation, and was scheduled to speak just before the meeting let out." He decided on pancakes this morning; best to forget the potatoes today. "Feliciano barely knew what the report was about when he was handed Romano's papers." And it was a really good thing that Romano had left that report; Veneziano would have been completely lost without it. Although Romano's handwriting was rather confusing, so it really wasn't all that helpful. 'At least he could decipher the basics of what it said.'
"He just left?" Prussia was shocked. Even he knew how seriously Romano took his duties. To just up and leave... "Do you know why?"
A couch cushion hit Germany square in the back of the head before he could answer, and a loud Italian accented screech filled the kitchen, "It's none of your damned business, Bastards!"
Germany groaned, and contemplated going back to bed.
Canada sighed as he leaned against a tree, watching as Spain filled a small watering can with a garden hose. He was glad to see a smile on Spain's face again, the normally cheerful Nation just looked wrong without his constant grin. But the older Nation had been frowning - or worse, looking completely blank - more often than not these last few days. Nothing Canada did seemed to cheer him up for more than an hour or two.
And China certainly wasn't helping.
Canada supposed he could understand where China was coming from. He was concerned for Spain's health, and the health of his unborn child, and Spain didn't seem to understand yet that there were some things he could no longer do. Like wrestling on the floor while trying to steal a bottle of colored conditioner. Canada still couldn't believe they had done that.
"Are you sure Yao said I could only water these ones here?"
Canada blinked and returned his full attention to his friend, frowning. "I'm afraid so, Antonio," Canada answered, looking over the small garden of cherry tomatoes next to the house. China had restricted Spain from tending to his larger tomato field, not wanting Spain to get sick away from the house. Canada, personally, thought China was being a bit overcautious. As long as Spain wasn't by himself, Canada didn't think it mattered where he went. Or what he did. "Though I'm sure once your nausea is under control, he'll let you take care of the others again," he continued, smiling reassuringly at the depressed Spaniard.
Spain bit his lip in worry, glancing over to where he could see the beginnings of the field. He held his tiny watering can against his chest, not seeming to notice the water sloshing out of the can with every movement, soaking his shirt. Canada thought he looked adorable standing there, and snuck his phone out of his pocket for a quick picture. Spain didn't notice. However, as soon as he was done taking pictures, Canada noticed Spain looking at him with the saddest looking puppy eyes he had ever seen. He almost whimpered. "Yes, Toni?"
Spain pouted. "Could you please water my field for me?" He hugged his watering can tighter, and Canada absently wondered if any of that water would make it to the plants. "If they don't get water everyday, they get sad." And if Spain didn't talk to them every day, they got even sadder, but Canada looked like someone who talked to plants so Spain didn't feel the need to mention this.
Canada didn't think it was actually possible for a plant to feel sad just because it hadn't gotten any water. Thirsty, maybe. Hungry, possibly. But sad? Well, Spain's tomatoes had always been special. Maybe they did feel things. "Sure, Antonio!" Canada was glad to have something to do, and though he didn't know much about gardening, watering plants didn't sound too difficult. And Spain's bright smile when he agreed was more than worth it.
China had been watching from just a few feet away, standing in the patio doorway with a tray of tea and bowls of rice that he sat on the patio table. He was relieved to see that Spain, though obviously upset with not being allowed to take care of his field, was accepting this restriction. Still, he felt a bit guilty, something that was becoming a common occurrence these days. "It's only for a few days, Antonio," he commented as he arranged the bowls and cups on the table, setting the tray aside. "Just until you can go most of the day without feeling sick or dizzy." Hopefully, it would only be a few days, once China found the right combination of herbs to help with the morning (afternoon, night, all the damn time) sickness.
Spain beamed and sat down his watering can, and both China and Canada felt the urge to get him into dry clothing. But it was a warm day, with little wind, and not even China could see anything wrong with letting him stay in his wet shirt for now. The moment he entered the house, however...
Spain just now seemed to notice the food on the table, and climbed over the low wall of the patio to give China a soggy hug. "You made lunch! Thank you!"
China blinked in surprise at finding himself with an armful of wet Spaniard. He laughed after a brief moment, returning his hug and resisting the urge to scold Spain for climbing the wall. It was barely waist high, and Canada had been right behind him. "You're welcome, Antonio. It's just plain white rice again, I'm afraid." It had been all Spain could eat today without almost immediately getting sick. Even the tomatoes had made him nauseous this morning.
Spain's smile faltered and he pouted, though he didn't move away from China. He glanced over at the bland looking food, then turned his gaze to Canada, who was taking a seat at the table. "For you and Matteo, too? You guys aren't pregnant." He thought a moment, finally stepping away from the now damp Asian, studying China and Canada closely. "You aren't, are you?" It would explain how China knew so much, and had been with Canada when he decided to visit. He beamed, bouncing a bit in his excitement. "Our babies could grow up together!"
A loud clatter had Spain, and a gaping and pale China, looking over to see that Canada had fallen out of his chair.
Two days. Two god damned days of listening to Romano's whining, and bitching, and having to duck randomly thrown objects. Even Prussia didn't find the situation funny anymore and on the morning of the third miserable day, Germany and Prussia could be found hiding in Prussia's soundproofed basement, going over their options. "I still think you should call little Feli," Prussia mumbled, watching the door with trepidation. "The Brat can never resist Feli's concerned little fidgets for very long." Plus, it would bring some much needed amusement back to this increasingly unawesome situation.
Germany, sitting cross legged on Prussia's bed and laying slumped against the wall, scowled at his brother. "His boss is making him redo that report. When I spoke to him last night, he said he almost half finished." He sighed. "I refuse to get him in even more trouble, because you know he'll drop everything to come make certain Romano is all right." He noticed Prussia's shocked expression, but ignored it. "What about Spain? Why haven't you called him yet?" Really, why hadn't he? Spain would know better than anyone why Romano had left.
Prussia, still shocked over hearing Germany had spoken to Veneziano and still hadn't mentioned his brother's presence, took a good few minutes to respond to his brother's question. When he finally did manage to answer, he leveled one of his best 'disappointed brother' glares at Germany, despite it not exactly being that kind of situation. They were the glares Germany responded most to and, sure enough, Germany stopped scowling and looked away. "I haven't called Toni because I want to know exactly what happened before I go and upset him even further." Because whenever Spain and Romano had a fight, any question, no matter how gently Prussia or France asked, could cause Spain to start crying. Or get that heartbreaking abused puppy look on his face, which was even worse than tears.
Germany had to admit his brother had a point. Even he didn't like seeing Spain unhappy. It always felt like the world was ending. Still, not calling Spain meant that he had to call Veneziano, and therefore, possibly, get the little Italian into even more trouble with his boss. Maybe Veneziano could tell him Germany was helping...? He sighed and pulled out his cell phone, valiantly ignoring Prussia's shout of victory as he hit speed dial.
Veneziano was not having a good day, and as he stared down at the scribble covered document on the annual budget for foreign imports (or something), he seriously considered setting fire to his office and jumping out the window. It was only a three story fall. He'd survive.
His cell phone rang just as he was digging a lighter out of his candle drawer, thereby saving all his antique furniture. And the evil document, of course. Maybe. Veneziano snatched his phone off his desk and stared at it a moment as he tried to remember how to answer the brand new device (he had lost his previous one in a Noodle Incident, as Japan called it, the week before). Finally, he slid his finger across the touch screen and held the phone to his ear. "Luddy! Are you coming to save me?"
Veneziano could hear the hesitation, before Germany sighed. "Yes, Feliciano, I'm saving you. I need you to come over to my house in Munich. It's..." Why did Germany sound so reluctant? "... rather important."
Veneziano grinned, sliding the unfinished report into the still empty candle drawer (where his boss would never think to look) and bouncing over to the door. "I'll be right there~!" Though, something just occurred to him, and he froze, briefly pulling his phone away to frown at it. "Ve, is something wrong, Ludwig?"
Another sigh, with just a hint of groan. "Your brother has been camped out on my couch for three days now," Germany whined, and Veneziano took a moment to just boggle at that simple fact before he realized exactly what Germany had told him.
He almost slammed the door into his face as he opened it, he was so shocked. "He's what?" Why in the world would Romano willingly be at Germany's? Veneziano shivered, and considered turning around and crawling under his desk with every white flag he owned.
Because, obviously, the world was ending.