I do not own Hetalia.
Warnings: A tiny bit of blood, some angst, and a bit of romance. Lots of fluff!
Thank you LilDeadKitty for your review of the last chapter.
Well, folks, I hope you all enjoy the final chapter.
The clock read the hour nearing midnight. It had been a long day for the German dealing with both a mountain of endless paperwork and a particular Italian nation. Sometimes he wondered why he put up with someone so clingy and useless, but everytime he thought of dismissing the auburn-haired male, something within stopped him before he had the chance. Everyday he would simmer while that ever-smiling nation pranced about, his mouth spurting out various knowledge concerning pasta, cooking, and a love for kittens.
Germany entered his room, checking behind him to make sure a wailing Italian was not in tow, flailing his arms about. He closed his door securely. There was no point in locking the door because Italy would somehow figure out a way to enter. It was as though he had superpowers that enabled him to walk through doors like a ghost. The very thought caused the German to shudder.
He quickly changed into his nightclothes, his hair still damp from the shower, and hanging freely over his face instead of its normal slicked back look. Ludwig's eyes darted over to the door, knowing that any second Italy would burst through and beg to take refuge in his room. Ludwig turned his gaze to the ceiling and told himself that tonight, no matter what Feliciano said or did, he was not going to give in. Italy needed to man up and stop relying on him for protection.
Before retiring, Ludwig made an effort to check the house once more just incase anything was left on (a behavior that had dramatically increased since he inherited two careless roommates).
So far all the lights were off and there was only one room left to check. Occasionally he entered the kitchen to find Italy cooking midnight pasta with a mess covering the stove and counters, however the fact that Feliciano had gone to bed three hours ago gave him some hope that it would not be one of those nights.
As Ludwig neared the kitchen he heard a noise as soft as a kitten's mew. He gritted his teeth and mentally gave an empty threat of what he would do if Italy allowed that cat admittance to his house again. When Ludwig reached the kitchen he stopped suddenly at the pitiful sight before him.
Italy sat at the kitchen table with his face in his hands, silently sobbing. Sure he was used to seeing Feliciano burst into tears each time his feelings were hurt, or if he suffered even the most minor of injuries, but regardless of what caused the weeping it always broke the German's heart to see Italy in such a pained state.
On the table in front of the bawling Italian sat a plate of spaghetti that looked as though only two or three bites had been taken from. The larger man could tell something was really wrong with Feliciano if pasta could not cheer him up.
Germany stood there in silence for a few moments more, contemplating whether or not he should speak to his friend. He thought over all the times he had felt down and how Italy knew just what to say or do to lift his spirits. It was times like that he found himself envious of Feliciano's kind heart.
Italy sniffled as he brought his hands from his face, wiping away dripping mucus. Germany jumped then moved forward, startling the Italian.
"Italy, are you okay?" Ludwig asked, immediately regretting such a stupid question.
Feliciano gave Ludwig a half smile that took most of his remaining energy to form.
"Si," Feliciano replied in a false cheerful voice that the shaky voice broke through. "I—I couldn't sleep and made some pasta," he said looking down at the plate. Without making any eye contact he added, "I'll clean the mess up right away, I promise."
For the first time since his arrival in the kitchen Germany glanced around the room to find it in worse shape than when Italy usually cooked. Marinara sauce was sloshed all over the stove and flour from the noodles stuck to the countertops. Various spices had fallen on the counters and floor. Dishes were piled up in the sink and containers holding the ingredients for the meal were left out. None of that was out of the ordinary, but because of the excess mess it appeared as though Italy had difficulty moving while performing each of those tasks.
Italy stood, his legs wobbling as he did so. His wrists shook as he pushed the chair back under the table. He reached for the cloth sitting on the counter and began wiping the various crumbs to the floor. His trembling hand accidentally bumped the ceramic canister of flour causing it to topple over upon contact. As if in slow motion the container fell to the ground, shattering.
Both nations silently stared at the mess for what seemed like an hour before Feliciano fell to his knees. He wiped at the spilt flour trying his best to keep his tears at bay. Before Germany could rush to his aid a large, jagged sliver deeply sliced Italy's pinky and fourth finger. The pain set in and no longer could Italy hold it inside. He wailed while tears trickled down his cheeks, the blood from the gashes falling in a similar pattern.
With a sigh Germany grabbed the first aid kit he kept in the top drawer by the refrigerator. The item had come in use ever since Italy moved in. The blond helped the other to his feet then ordered him to take a seat in the nearest chair. Ludwig placed a firm hand on Feliciano's shoulder after preparing the swab. Italy hissed and writhed as the rubbing alcohol was applied to the cuts, Germany's hold the only thing keeping him in the chair. The torture soon ended and was followed by the application of adhesive bandages. Throughout the process Italy chanted apologies in between the cries.
"Now sit here and don't move while I clean up this mess," Ludwig ordered, his tone harsher than he intended. However he was too exhausted to realize how short he had been with the smaller male.
With those words he grabbed the broom from the closet and immediately went to work on the recent spill. Italy listened to the clanking of plaster as it collided within the dustpan. He sunk further into himself, feeling even more worthless than before.
All these years Ludwig had been incredibly patient with him. He had every right to just toss such an insignificant nothing like him away and yet he chose to stand beside him. The guilt and hurt increased within Feliciano's heart. A wave of heat invaded his body and he felt his lips trembling and his eyes stinging with fresh liquid. He only wanted to be helpful, but once again he found himself making things worse for his friend. He knew it was only a matter of time before Ludwig finally snapped and kicked him out of his life.
"I'm sorry," Feliciano muttered again, his voice shaking.
Ludwig glanced over at the shivering nation. The usual blithe country that he had come to develop strong affection for was staring down at the floor, occasionally sniffing and saying that he was sorry for something that was obviously an accident. Figuring that his kitchen was clean enough for the moment he made his way over to the Italian.
"What's wrong?" Germany asked then handed Italy a napkin. Italy dabbed at the falling tears and shrugged. "Something's wrong," Germany replied. "You won't stop shaking and you keep apologizing."
Italy sniffed and fresh tears replaced where the old ones once lived. "I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment, Germany. I don't mean to be, really." It was a miracle that he got his words out before another flood of tears began.
Germany sighed. In all honesty it was foolish thinking anything would go smoothly if Feliciano was involved. However in his heart he would prefer a mess of things over Italy's absense any day. "There's no use crying over this," Ludwig said. "It's late—"
Italy shook his head. "No, I mean I'm always a disappointment," he said before breaking into sobs. "Why do you put up with me? I know you hate me." The instant those words were spoken Italy began crying hysterically and pulled his legs up under his chin. Germany began to get scared at the increased volume of Italy's wailing. Feliciano heaved deeply and started to choke.
"Italy, Italy calm down," Germany said, kneeling down in front of the other.
Feliciano tried to speak, but his words were muffled by the sobs.
In a last ditch effort Ludwig sat down in the adjacent chair and pulled Italy onto his lap, wrapping his arms around the smaller man. Feliciano gave into his immediate need for comfort and returned Ludwig's hug. Feliciano wept on the blond's shoulder while the latter rubbed the former's back. Feliciano tightened his hold on Ludwig.
"Calm down, Feliciano," Germany said hoping that by speaking Italy's human name it would relax him. It proved to work as Feliciano managed to get get control of his breathing. Ludwig continued to run his hand up and down Feliciano's frail back while speaking soothing words. "Shh, it's alright."
He patiently waited for Italy to cry out what needed to be released. After a few minutes his sobs turned into sniffles. Italy lifted his head from Germany's shoulder and wiped away the tears. Every few seconds a new one was shed, but in all the process was slowing. Feliciano looked up at the concerned face belonging to Ludwig.
"Now will you tell me what's wrong?" Ludwig asked.
"Do you hate me?" Feliciano asked with a sniff.
Germany's eyes widened and he found himself at a loss for words. Though he had never spoken it aloud, he cared deeply for the Italian. "Where did you get an idea like that?" Germany asked.
Italy replied with another shrug.
"Feliciano," Ludwig said in a warning tone.
Italy's hand went up to his face to catch a falling tear. "I—I had a dream that you were mad at me 'cause I'm such a disappointment and told me you hated me and wanted me to leave and never wanted to see me again." Italy wrapped his arms around himself. "I tried to tell you I was sorry and you kept yelling and saying that you hated me and the worst thing you ever did was be my friend. And if I didn't leave you would really hurt me and you never wanted to see my crybaby face again."
Ludwig felt his heart dropping. He placed a hand on either side of Feliciano's tearstained face. Italy winced at the amount of pressure applied, cluing Germany to loosen up.
He gently shook Feliciano and said, "Listen good, Italy." He softened his tone before continuing, "I could never hate you. Ever." His massive thumbs wiped away falling tears from Feliciano's face. "You mean so much to me. If I were to lose you..." Germany stopped for the thoughts that entered his head were too frightening. Instead he opted on hugging the small Italian. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me."
"Really?" Feliciano asked. "Even though I'm a disappointment." He thought over all the mistakes he made that morning in training. It led to a lot of yelling from Germany, which he did only because he cared for Italy and did not want to see him hurt because of his own foolishness, but Italy had assumed the opposite.
Germany sighed. "I've come to expect it," he said with a shrug. He hugged Italy's head against his chest which caused Italy to close his eyes and listen to the other's heartbeat. "And I've come to accept it as part of you."
"Ve?" Italy asked, staring up at the blue-eyed man. "So you're not mad at me?"
Germany shook his head. Italy curled his fingers around the sleeve of Germany's tank top. He nuzzled his head against the stronger man's neck and purred softly. Germany rested his chin atop Italy's head while his arms embraced the latter tighter.
"Can I sleep in your bed tonight?" Italy asked. He snuggled closer and resisted the urge to kiss Ludwig's neck for he did not want to freak out his best friend. In a drowsy tone he added, "If you hold me close I won't have any more nightmares."
Ludwig found himself unable to answer verbally. He had promised himself that he would not fall for any of Feliciano's tricks and here he was confessing that he was the cause of his most recent scare. He had not the heart to deny the request. Besides he had come to realize that as long as Italy was in his bed, he was less likely to suffer unpleasant dreams himself.
Germany stood, his arms protectively around the other nation. Italy was already half-asleep, but that did little to break the hold he had about Germany's body. The blond carried the other up the stairs bridal style, bringing the both of them into his bedroom.
He gently set Feliciano down on the downturned sheets and covered him before slipping into bed beside him. Before Ludwig could get properly settled, Italy was already snuggled up next to him, an arm over him. His smile had returned. Without thinking Ludwig leaned over and kissed the smaller man atop the head.
"Ti amo, Ludwig," Feliciano said in an almost inaudible voice. It left the other wondering if Italy was merely speaking out of exhaustion. The words sounded sincere, but Feliciano often talked in his sleep. It was difficult to determine based on the simple fact that it was Italy. However, for some unknown reason that he would openly deny to all, Ludwig found himself hoping that his heart meant each word.
Ludwig draped an arm over Feliciano. Before closing his eyes he said, "Sleep tight, Italy."
The End. I know Ludi is a bit OOC.
Thank you for reading. Have a lovely day, one and all!