The fourth crying fit of the day occurred at twelve minutes past one, when Romano realised he couldn't bend over to untie his shoelaces.
As he had been halfway through a game of spin-the-Leandro-while-avoiding-Roma's-expensive-ornaments-like-the-plague, Spain asked Matteo to entertain his younger brother until Romano had been sorted out. As the wails trickled down the halls to their ears, Spain grew more agitated, Matteo rolled his eyes and Leandro pawed at his Papa's jeans, demanding a hug.
Patting his youngest son's fluffy head (avoiding his stray curl) and turning to leave, Spain skidded out of the tiled living room and hall to the glass porch, where Romano was sitting on the little wooden bench, fat tears spurting down his rounded cheeks as he rubbed his swollen belly.
As soon as Spain had pulled his boyfriend into his arms and peppered his face in loving kisses, Romano began to wail harder and clutched at him with an iron grip. "I-I c-c-can't!" He sobbed, burying his face into Spain's shoulder and wrapping his arms around his neck. "I c-can't f-fucking r-r-reach m-my f-feet!"
Rocking him gently as he always did when his little Roma was upset, Spain snuggled up to the Italian, almost grateful for the sudden clinginess Romano had displayed these past few days. "It's okay, cari, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with that." He smiled brightly, rivalling the sparkling Spanish sun that danced high above the glass ceiling, and pressed his lips softly to his lover's. "I can help you take them off!"
Wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, Romano managed a small hiccup before launching into yet another howl. "Buh… But I-I'm so f-fucking fat!" Pushing Spain to the other end of the bench, he attempted to curl around himself. Seven months ago, he would have accomplished this no problem. Instead, he ended up with his back to the door and his shoe-covered toes touching Spain's thigh as his lover was squashed against the other wall.
The elder man leant over to kiss his lover's denim covered knees. He stretched one hand up to brush away dark russet strands from Romano's scarlet face, and dabbed at his teary eyes. "Oh, Lovi," He sighed, resting his hands atop Romano's kneecaps and his chin atop them. "I don't care if you are a different size now; in fact, it makes me so happy to see your tummy so round!"
Scowling up through his messy fringe, Romano huffed, but the hue on his glistening cheeks no longer seemed to have anything to do with his despair. In fact, Spain would go so far as to say that he looked a lot happier already. "S-shut up, bastard. Why would you think t-that?"
Spain silenced him with a gentle kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Because you are carrying my baby," He murmured, his forehead against Romano's. Emerald met hazel, and they stared into each other's eyes. "and that is something so wonderful, something so beautiful, I can never think of you as anything less than an angel."
It was obvious the blush was from Spain's words after that. Squeaking to himself and forcing his curving lips to stay in a straight line, Romano allowed his hand to cradle his pregnant belly, shyly avoiding Spain's watchful gaze. "She's happy to see you."
Spain laughed, and tenderly laid his hand on top of Romano's own as his eyes drifted down to the curved fabric. His stomach twisted with happiness and a sudden rush of excitement flowed through his veins. "I'm happy to see my little girl too." Pushing Romano's knees down, and falling to his own on the cold floor beside him, Spain lifted up the stretched red t-shirt he was sure once belonged to him, and laid his cheek on the warm honeyed flesh. "My Emita."
Romano rolled his eyes and swatted at him. He coughed a little before offering a watery smile and a snort. "That's not her name, you idiot."
"What's her name?"
Spain pouted, wrapping his arms protectively around Romano's middle. "My baby Esme."
"Oh, for God's sake!" Romano shoved at his head, achieving nothing. Thus, he opted for smacking his ear. But it not too hard. "Say her real name!"
Spain paused for a second, before allowing the name to pour from his lips like an angel's song. "Esmeralda."
Romano relaxed, twirling his fingers in Spain's messy curls. He rubbed his skin carefully, as though afraid to break his precious treasure that lay inside, slumbering on. "I think she's asleep." He sniffled slightly, his voice still thick from his recent crying jag.
Just as the words tumbled from his mouth, a tiny nudge poked Romano's belly from the inside, right on Spain's cheek.
Spain's eyes widened almost comically, but his expression was anything but humorous. Instead, a devoted, dreamy look, much like one that a man would wear when meeting a saint, washed across his face in rippling waves. His green eyes sparkled and his mouth wobbled into a gigantic beam. "Lovi, cari!" He breathed, sounding close to tears. "She knows I'm here! My little tomato knows I'm actually here!"
Despite his boyfriend's idiocy, Romano couldn't help but let the corners of his mouth twitch into a smile. "Of course she does." The words were awkward and clumsy, but they were nothing but the whole-hearted truth. "You're her Papa, Antonio, and she loves you."
Spain's hand and jaw were trembling as he rubbed gentle circles into the bare skin. His fingertips trailed into perfect heart shapes, and in the middle of each one, he softly kissed the curve. "Mi niña…" Drawing back and seating himself on the other side of the small porch, surrounded by shoes littered everywhere, Spain suddenly curled himself into a ball and rolled across the sandy tiles in glee.
Romano curled his lip and shook his head, choosing to ignore his excitable boyfriend who acted more of a child than their youngest son did in favour of toeing off his annoying shoes. It didn't work.
"Lovi, she kicked me! She kicked me, Lovi, she kicked me!"
Becoming frustrated once more with the tight laces, stretching his fingertips over his bump as far as they could go, Romano disguised a sniffle with a disgruntled snort. "And why she couldn't do it harder, I don't know. Now, help me with his Goddamn shoe!"
Spain was still giggling to himself as he shuffled over to the bench, kicking various tiny trainers and larger shoes to the walls so he could make it. After fiddling a little, he pulled each of Romano's shoes off and tossed them behind him. He dug his thumbs into the balls of Romano's feet, and the Italian sighed.
"You know…" Romano laid a hand on his bump and cocked an eyebrow. "That's how we lose the boys' shoes all the time."
Spain shrugged and allowed one of his hands to cover Romano's own. "But, cari, she kicked me. She knows I'm there." He peeked up at the other, tangling their fingers together.
Romano's faint smile grew. "She does like it when you talk to her." He fidgeted for a little, trying to get comfortable against the cold glass behind him. "She wriggles, just like Alejo did. You know how your voice calmed Teo and Leo?" Spain nodded, enraptured. "Well, you don't calm her, exactly, but you comfort her. I think she recognises your voice and knows that you mean a lot to her."
Spain threw his arms around Romano's shoulders, burying his nose into the nape of his neck. He sniffed, and the wonderful scent of tomatoes and spices, of worry and low confidence, of Romano, wafted deliciously down his throat. He stood, offering out his hands. "Come on, Lovi. We don't want Alejo yelling about how embarrassed he is that we made a baby when he comes home with his little friends."
Reluctantly and shakily, Romano was hauled to his feet. "Fuck." He grumbled, feeling his back click. "Fucking pregnancy does nothing for me."
"And yet this is our fourth one!" Spain teased, twisting their hands together once more. They slowly made their way from the porch, Romano stopping to huff a few times before waddling along like a penguin. Spain resisted the urge to laugh.
Leaning heavily against his boyfriend's shoulder as they wandered down the airy hall towards the kitchen where some kind of sound was rustling (most likely Matteo stealing tomatoes), Romano pouted. "The other three weren't so fucking awful. At least I could manage five minutes without blubbing."
Spain chuckled, capturing Romano's puckered lips into a tender kiss. He wrapped his arms around Romano's waist, and when the Italian laid his head on Spain's chest, he swore he had died and gone to heaven. "I love you, Lovino." Spain murmured, his arms tightening around his little Italian. "I will never stop."
Romano turned his head upwards, and kissed Spain's chin. His eyes glazed over; the words had become easier to say over the years, but time did not lessen the thickness in his throat, nor the pounding of his heart or the fluttering in his belly. "I love you too, idiot." He wrinkled his nose and moved his head into a downward position. "But if you don't shave tomorrow, there will be consequences. What happens if I go into labour? You're not going to hold our baby girl for the first time with a hedgehog on your chin."
Rubbing the stubble, Spain cocked an eyebrow and shot Romano a dashing grin. "I think it looks good."
"I think you look like a fail version of America's Goddamn Coca-Cola Father Christmas gone mental with hair dye." Romano snapped back. "You are getting it shaved."
As the idiot pulled a childish face, Spain's hold on him became tighter, and Romano found himself more reluctant to pull away. "The boys like my facial hair." Spain chuckled, tickling Romano's temple with sugar sweet kisses.
Romano shoved at his chest, but not too hard. "Because you scratch them with it."
Spain winked and laid his hand on Romano's curved belly. "Emita likes my facial hair." He patted it, and when another nudge pressed against his palm, he squealed and dipped Romano in for a kiss. "See?"
"Esmeralda hasn't seen it. When she does, she'll try her hardest to crawl back up there." Slapping Spain's cheek, Romano pulled himself upwards and straightened his baggy t-shirt out. "And must you act like that every time? I can understand Alejandro; he was our first little bastard child. I can understand Esmeralda for the first few times; it's nice to know they are there." Folding his arms across his chest while Spain's arms settled back behind him back, he cocked his head. "But when you feel them moving every minute of every day, the same reaction is a little over-the-top."
Spain's laughter filled every corner of the wide room like rich, melted honey, and Romano resisted the urge to dive into it. "Why the emphasis on the 'bastard child'?" He asked, eyes twinkling. "Is there something you want to do before the due date next month?"
Romano merely spluttered, and stared at his toes. Or, rather, where he was sure his toes were under the vast sea of red.
Touching his mouth to Romano's forehead, Spain pressed butterfly kisses along his nose until the tip, and when he reached there, he bent his neck and kissed Romano's soft mouth. Immediately, he felt Romano melt into his lips and a hand creeping up to cradle his jaw. Nibbling on Romano's lower lip, Spain nuzzled Romano's nose and held him even closer.
"Ew. Do you have to?"
Breaking apart from each other, their gazes fell on a skinny boy in front of them, a football tucked neatly under his arm. His messy brown curls were caked with mud, just like his legs, and his bright green eyes flickered between his parents. His puppy dog pout was identical to his father's.
"Alejo!" Spain grinned goofily and ruffled his eldest son's hair. Alejandro merely huffed and pretended not to grin and began to complain in rapid-fire Italian to his mother about his ball. Or something. Spain didn't actually know.
As he did so, Alejandro somehow, despite the reluctant exterior and the closeness of the adults, managed to worm his way between his parents and was receiving a hug of both, though how both he (and his mother, as Romano seemed to be the king of worming his way into embraces) did it, Spain would never know.
Behind him, tiny arms were wrapped around his knees, and a high-pitched "Papa, Papa, Papa, spin me pwease~?" met his ears.
Hauling Leandro up into his arms and blowing a raspberry into his ear wasn't the best substitute for a spinning game, but it was as close as the youngest boy was going to get with a very pregnant man nearby.
Finally, left out and grumpy, a tiny cannonball slammed into them all and clung to Romano's waist, poking the baby bump with a single finger. "Mamma?" Matteo asked, his chubby face frowning. Sure enough, there were smears of juice and pale seeds trailing across his face. "Papa? When will baby be born?"
Romano absently stroked his hair. "She'll be born soon, don't worry, saglienne." His hazel eyes met Spain's green ones. "Papa will see to that."
"Hey!" Spain's bottom lip pushed out indignantly. "I am the least stressful nation to live with other than Greece! Try being in a relationship with Prussia! There's a reason why Fritz was premature."
At the sound of one of his best friend's name, Leandro gave a loud whoop before giggling and clinging to his Papa's neck. Romano, on the other hand, looked horrified. "Why would I be in a relationship with a Potato Bas- Idiot?" He demanded. The boys stared at him oddly. "He'll be smelly and crude and loud and whiny and he has no fashion sense whatsoever. And as for kids with that thing?" He gagged and stuck his nose in the air. "No thank you."
Winking, Spain leant over and kissed Romano's scarlet cheeks, much to Alejandro's distaste. "I guess you're stuck with me for the rest of your life, then." He joked.
"Oh, God in Heaven, save me from that one." Romano's face twisted into an expression of revulsion, but there was a sparkle in his eyes that suggested otherwise.
Leandro crawled his way up onto Spain's shoulders, where he clung to his Papa's ears like a monkey and began to warble at the top of his squeaky voice. "Mamma and Papa are staying togeva foreva~!" His miniature feat kicked out, their stripy socks waving in Spain's face.
He winked at Romano. "I'll look forward to it."
The Italian flushed a deep burgundy to match his top, before smirking. "I won't."
"Ew, Papa, don't kiss Mamma again!"
Slapping a hand over Alejandro's mouth, Spain caressed Romano's lips with his own before drawing back and smiling blithely. "What can I say, kiddo?" He tickled a squirming Leandro's feet before Matteo ran over and wrapped his arms around his Papa's waist.
Surprised at his most Romano-like son's forwardness, Spain cuddled him close. "What's wrong, Teo?" He asked, cocking his head to the side.
Matteo shuddered and pointed to Romano's belly, tears in his eyes, and suddenly, Spain had awful flashbacks of Matteo walking in when he and Prussia and France were watching horror films and of shrieks of creatures under the bed and of terrible, terrible sleepless nights on the sofa. "It moved, Papa!" He wailed, his tiny fists flailing. "It moved! There's something inside Mama and it's a big scary monster and it's eating him!"
Shoving his hands on his hips, Romano scowled up at Spain's suddenly ecstatic expression. "I blame you for everything!" He hissed, dragging a screaming Matteo into a tight hug.
Spain grinned despite himself.
Because, really, life had never been so perfect.
This takes place around eleven or so years after Ab Incunabulis. It was… rather sad to write Alejandro so grown up compared to the baby he is in my mind, but he has to grow up at some point (and so does the Fernández Vargas brood!) so I thought I might as well do it. And he loves football. Just thought I'd let you know that.
The children are not Nations, but rather Islands. They are under the control of their parents, but they are technically their own country. I'll explain it all in another story (perhaps the next, very late chapter of Ab In. that I still have yet to decide on?). And yes, as Spain and (Southern) Italy have a lot of islands, there will be a lot of kids. A LOT.
Fritz is Prussia and Hungary's kid. Because they would make kick-arse parents together. With Austria as Mutti-in-training. Yeah.
'Cari' is Spanish, and is short for cariño. In English, it is basically the equivalent of 'love' and 'sweetheart' and 'sweetie' and all those other cutesy nicknames ;)
'Mi niña' is also Spanish, and, from what I've seen and heard, means 'my little girl', which I thought was cute and cheesy and very… well… Spain.
'Saglienne' is Italian and means 'climber'. Italians are (from what I've read, don't take my word for it) big on the whole nicknames thing, and can give their children nicknames from 'cuddly one' to 'little goat'. The reason why Matteo is nicknamed 'saglienne' is because, in my mind, he can be a little monkey and likes to climb up on anything. But that's just an unimportant fact that has little to do with the fic.