Title: Party of Five
Pairing and Characters: Romano/Fem!Romano/Spain/Fem!Spain, OC!Spamano child, Fem!France (Francine), Fem!Portugal (Mariana) make appearances, mentions of other peeps
Rating: T/PG-13 because of the fuck word. But mostly nothing other than that.
Notes: Sequel to Tunnel Vision (takes place a little over a year after that one), same universe as Six in One.
After a long morning of taking care of sick (but still adorable) children and then a long afternoon of baking all alone since nobody else was home, Antonia entered Caffé Quadrato carrying a large square sponge cake and a tub of cinnamon ice cream. The cake was decorated in a light, red frosting with "¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Alejandro!" carefully written in white, something Antonia was quite proud of if she did say so herself. She hadn't been sure what to bake, since any time she asked she got more answers than there were people in the house, but it was her favourite, and everyone else seemed to like it too, so when she'd finally gotten some time to actually bake a cake she hadn't hesitated in using her grandmother's old recipe. Plus red was Alejandro's favourite colour, Antonia knew so even if Lovina liked to insist it was actually green and Romano liked to point out that their amazing little baby responded with an enthusiastic, "Sí!" to almost every question they asked him.
"Antonia, what the hell are you doing with a cake?" Romano was near the cash register, cleaning their espresso machine while Alejandro sat on the counter next to him, gleefully grabbing at everything he could and laughing when Romano tried to take the newly cleaned mugs away from him. A chorus of, "Mamá Mamá Mamá," served as a far more polite greeting.
"Well obviously it's for the party! Silly Roma."
"But why do you have a cake?"
It was at that moment Lovina noticed the box next to the cash register. The box that contained a second cake, decorated in fluffy white meringue that put Antonia's frosting job to shame. Romano's handwriting did not, however, but the "Buon Compleanno" written in blue was too cute for her to say anything about it.
Well. "Roma! I thought I was making the cake, why did you make one too?" Antonia pouted and placed her cake next to Romano's and then promptly snatched up the little mug thief before Romano just gave up and stopped cleaning. The customers really didn't like it when baby slobber was all over their mugs, or so she'd heard.
Romano gave Antonia a look she was very much used to, the one that told her they'd probably already had this conversation and she'd just forgotten. That or Romano was trying to have a staring contest with that stubborn coffee stain on the counter. Definitely one of those two. "No, why did you make one too? I told you I was just going to make one when you kept complaining about how you didn't have any time."
Alejandro's sneaky fingers were getting dangerously close to the two cakes, but luckily Antonia caught them in time before any disastrous events could go down. "I'm pretty sure you just kept telling the rest of us to shut up about cake because Alejandro doesn't even know what a birthday is yet."
"...That's not what I said at all, you are hearing things." It was totally what he'd said. "Whatever. You invited half the damn town, they can eat your cake too."
"But which one will he blow a candle out on?"
"Mine." Romano threw his hands up in defeat when he realised the rag he'd been cleaning with was now being smacked against the counter. "Because you weren't supposed to make one."
"But that's not fa-"
"Why are there two cakes on the counter?"
Lovina's scowl disappeared for a short moment as she leaned over to kiss Alejandro on the cheek (quickly withdrawing when his slobbery hands tried to steal a few locks of her hair), but it was soon back in full force as she placed yet another cake next to the previous ones. "You morons never listen to me. When did you even make these?"
"Today, after work."
"This morning before you came in. You're the one who doesn't listen, I told all of you I was making the cake."
"See? He agrees with me. You both suck."
Lovina chucked the now discarded cleaning rag at Romano. "Alejandro, is your babbo a moron?"
Romano threw the rag back at Lovina and Antonia caught it before they could start a full out war with the thing. Again. "Shh, both of you. It's Alejandro's birthday, no fighting on birthdays!"
"We're not fighting. Seriously, I told you I was making the cake, Lovina, stop making that face at me."
"And I told you I was making the cake."
"Well I told you no."
"Who the fu- you can't tell me no!"
Whether they were really fighting or not (they were), Alejandro just gurgled and happily mimicked back a "No!" as well, so he didn't appear to be too upset despite the fact that there was not supposed to be fighting on birthdays.
"Roma you're making the same face at her," Antonia cut in, laughing. "We can just have three cakes, it's okay."
"Um." The three adults looked over at the source of the voice, having missed the chime of the door opening, to find Antonio standing there with yes, yet another cake. "Four cakes, actually."
"No. What. Antonio, you went and bought eggs for me, you knew I was making a cake." Careful of the cakes (even the ones he didn't make, because he was fucking polite), Romano jumped over the counter once he was finished with his work for the day. "Why did you make one?"
"Lovina and Antonia asked me to pick up eggs too, and all three of you said you were making cakes, so I thought I'd make one too! I didn't want to be the only one not making one."
Romano rolled his eyes and took Antonio's cake, placing it in the neat little row that had started forming on the coffee counter. "Whatever. Look kid, you get four cakes."
"Yes, you do." Alejandro giggled when Romano poked his tummy. "And you're blowing out a candle on my cake because it's the best one."
And they came back to that issue. "Mean, Roma! Mine is good too, why can't he blow his candle out on mine?"
"He could blow one out on all of them?" Antonio suggested.
Lovina quickly shot that suggestion down. "That's stupid, he's not going to keep blowing out candles all night long."
"It doesn't take that long to blow out a candle, silly Lovi."
"He won't sit still in anyone's lap for two seconds, he's not going to sit nice while we parade a bunch of cakes with fire in front of him." Lovina paused. "Actually, no fire. No candles. He'll hurt himself."
They weren't fighting, they weren't fighting. "No no, he has to! He won't hurt himself, we'll be very careful." Antonia definitely wasn't fighting, shh.
"This wouldn't be happening if you would have just- Francine. What are you doing." Romano's eyebrow twitched, but whatever it was Francine had previously been doing undisturbed continued.
Francine was there? Francine was there! Antonia had no idea when that had happened, but she definitely was. "Hey Francine!" Wait. "What did you do to our cakes?"
Lovina looked very, very angry and Antonia decided to cover Alejandro's eyes just in case she decided to murder Francine right then and there or something, because all of their beautiful, homemade cakes that had taken so long to get just right were now each missing a corner.
"Mamá." A loud, very Romano-like whine accompanied with little baby hands shoving at her own did not stop Antonia's murder-shielding ways, oh no it did not. "No no no."
"Lovina no, not my face. Ow!" Lovina's "murdering" was more shoving at Francine's face than anything else, so Antonia decided it was probably safe. Alejandro was used to certain parents of his shoving at other people's faces angrily. "This is no way to thank me for solving your problems!"
"Solving what problems? You're the problem!"
Antonio pulled Lovina's hand back before she could further smear Francine's lipstick all over the place. "No, look, she's right!"
Somehow while the four of them were "not"-fighting, Francine had managed to cut a quarter of each of their cakes off and place them onto a fifth plate, making a mess of the various frostings and all their carefully written birthday wishes in the process.
"You can't even tell what they all said anymore, it's a mess." Lovina didn't look quite as enthusiastic about this solution as Antonio did. Not at all.
Romano, on the other hand, just shrugged and tossed the now reclaimed cleaning rag ("When did you get that back?") at Francine's face. "The kid can't read anyway, I don't think he cares. You look ridiculous, clean your face up or you're uninvited to the party."
Francine set the rag on the counter, disgusted that such a thing had touched her beautiful face, and pulled a compact mirror out of her purse to survey the damage. "So you admit I was actually invited in the first place?" She frowned at the lipstick smeared all over her cheeks and chin. "Lovina, you are such a monster sometimes."
"Your mom is a monster sometimes."
"Such good timing you have, mon cher. Make sure your parents behave themselves, Aunty Francine is going to go clean up in the bathroom."
An hour later, all dirty cleaning rags/weapons had been put away and Francine looked presentable once more. Alejandro would most likely never remember who all had been there for his first birthday- other than his parents, obviously- but all their families and many of their friends had managed to make it out for the event. Antonia made sure to take a picture of everyone and everything she could- her mamá leaning against the wall chatting with Felicia, Antonio's dad and step-mom talking with a most-likely inebriated Gilbert, Lovina's mom trying to get away from the hug Romano's mom was hell-bent on giving her in greeting. She'd been so caught up in doing so she nearly missed singing Happy Birthday. She didn't, though, and soon enough the frankencake was being placed in front of a very squirmy baby while a crowd of people sang Happy Birthday to him in various languages ("Mari, why are you singing in Portuguese? Nobody here can understand you!" "...Yeah, that's still not funny, Antonia.")
"Okay, blow out the candle," Antonio instructed, demonstrating by blowing onto Alejandro's curly brown hair. "You can do it."
"I don't think he's going to."
"You're the one who made such a fuss about him blowing one out on your cake, asshole."
"Well I figured somebody was just going to blow it out for him, not that we were going to sit here staring at him for a million years. Antonia, just blow it out."
"Aw, no, let's see if he'll do it!" A large splat met everyone's ears when, instead of blowing out the candle, Alejandro smacked his hand into the cake, knocking the candle over and putting the flame out in the process. "Well. That works. Good job, bebé!"
Alejandro clapped, sending chunks of frosting flying as he did so, and before anyone could stop him, he was reaching out and latching onto Romano's (new, bought just for this occasion) dress shirt, smearing the mix of red, yellow, green, and white frostings all over the pink fabric.
Everyone went quiet for about two seconds before Antonio burst into laughter and everybody else soon followed suit. Romano looked down at the mess on his dry-clean only shirt, then over at Alejandro, then back to his shirt. "Antonio this isn't funny, shut up. Do you know how much it's going to cost to get this out?"
Antonia didn't, so she assumed Antonio didn't either.
"Seriously, knock it off right now." Antonio didn't obey. "Oi, Alejandro, c'mere and give your papá a hug. Grab some more cake." Alejandro looked up from squishing his fingers in the cake at the mention of his name, squealing in delight when Romano picked him up and passed him, in all his cake-covered glory, to Antonio.
"Romano you're so mea- hola Alejandro, that is Papá's face. Oh hey, marzipan, did you make that Lovina?"
"Obviously. You two better have your own rides home, you're not getting into my car covered in cake." Lovina backed away from Antonio, Romano, and Alejandro, eyeing the cake-mess distastefully. "Antonia turn the flash off on your camera, it's too brigh- Mother fucker!" Lovina suddenly screeched when a glob of red cake landed on her head. "Romano! That's not funny!"
"Now you can't go in the car eithe-" Romano's sentence was finished with a bang as he crash landed onto the floor after Lovina leapt at him, yet more cake in her hand. "Ow, hey, the floor is hard, get off me!"
Antonia thought about intervening but then Lovina was laughing and Romano was rolling them over and she thought it was probably okay, so long as they kept things G-rated for now. Nobody else seemed to mind, least of all Nonno (Antonia never did find out what his real name was...), who was happily passing around slices of their four cakes to everyone in attendance. Pretty ladies first, of course.
"I'm guessing this a common occurrence?" Antonia's sister asked, stepping carefully around the globs of cake that were now all over the floor. "I should have gotten the kid carpet cleaner, probably more useful than more toys."
"Alejandro doesn't know how to use carpet cleaner, Mari." Antonia snapped a picture of the eye roll Mariana gave her, along with a few more of Lovina and Romano wrestling one another and Alejandro patting at a horrified Francine's face. All of these were definitely going in the photo album. "Though I'm sure he'd use it if he did! He's very helpful."
"He's only a year old, I doubt that."
"He is!" Mariana clearly didn't believe her, but Antonia was unfazed. Unfazed and being grabbed from behind by cake-covered people, actually. "Romano, uncute! Lovina you know this is your dress, right?"
She clearly didn't. "Ack, what? Romano let go of her, that's my dress!"
"We already got cake on it, it's a lost cause." Romano wiped a hand over the backside of Antonia/Lovina's dress, a large streak of frosting being left behind.
"You're cleaning that," Lovina said, bumping her shoulder against Romano's.
"I really don't think I am. I'll clean up the boxes those presents are in after Alejandro decided to play with them instead, you clean up the cake."
More shoulder bumping. "He'll play with the toys too, shut up."
"Aw, we totally forgot about presents! Everyone! Present time!"
Antonio brought Alejandro over to the table all the presents were sitting on, making a vague attempt at helping everyone at least get their hands clean so they wouldn't get dried cake and frosting all over the presents as they opened them.
They made a mess anyway, of course. "Ew." Alejandro scrunched up his face and pulled a clump of paper out of his mouth, handing it over to Romano, who took it despite the disgusted look on his face.
"He's lucky it's his birthday," he told Lovina, who just snorted with laughter.
"As if you'd do anything else if it wasn't."
"…Just shut up and help open these stupid presents, this is going to take forever."
It didn't take quite that long. Half an hour later, all the presents were opened and stacked up nicely in the store room, since Alejandro had indeed taken a liking to their boxes instead.