…. Yeah, I really need to get better at updates, don't I? Well, anyways, I'm going to try and get as many updates up as possible this week since I'm leaving for Ireland and England on Thursday. So~
Alright, so I know a lot of you have been asking to see Katerina and Marc, and I swear they're coming up… soon… I think… But! First, I had to get this out because I haven't really done much with any of the Nordic kids, especially with the DenNor kids, so…. Yep. Here's one of 'em, at least! Anyways, sorry again for the long wait… again… and please let me know what you guys think, okay? Thank you again to everyone who has read/reviewed this story!
Francisco Michelangelo Vargas-Beilschmidt: Milan
Magnus Friederich Vargas-Beilschmidt: Berlin
Louisa Vittorai Vargas-Beilschmidt: Munich
Niccolo Rafaelo Vargas-Beilschmidt: Florence
Andras "Fritz" Hedervary-Beilschmidt: Budapest
Alyson Eleanor Kirkland-Jones: New York City
Aedan Shakespeare Kirkland-Jones: London
….He's trying to kill someone.
Christian took a deep, steadying breath and risked another glance around the corner of the hall, his bright blue eyes widening in silent alarm as he studied the small, auburn-haired boy that had somehow attached himself to the ceiling, his tiny hands curled around a large balloon that had been filled with some unknown substance. The boy didn't seem to have noticed Christian, yet, his narrowed hazel eyes focused with a frightening intensity on the door at the other end of the hall.
Seriously, Christian's mind whispered frantically. He's going to kill someone… Can you even kill someone with a balloon? He'll probably find some way to do it. But… Why here? You don't just do stuff like this in the United Nations building! It's just not done!
Still, Copenhagen figured that he shouldn't really be surprised. At the tender age of eleven, Niccolo Vargas-Beilschmidt had already gained a reputation as the world's worst prankster, and practically every city lived in fear of becoming the next target of the Italian's pranks. Christian himself had never suffered more than a few missing shirts and the occasional attack of a water gun, but he had helped Davin wash pink paint out of his hair enough times to know what the Italian was capable of.
Niccolo's eyes flickered back towards the Dane's hiding place, causing Christian to duck behind the wall with a low yelp. Copenhagen pressed his back firmly against the wall, the blood pounding in his ears. Lort (Shit), had the Italian seen him? He was going to get paint in his hair, he just knew it, and he really, really hoped that Niccolo didn't throw pink paint at him because pink really wasn't his color and Freya would never let him live it down if-.
A small, sad sigh reached the Dane's ears, stopping his thoughts abruptly in their path. Christian frowned slightly and risked another glance around the corner of the hall, his frown deepening when he caught sight of the weary frown that had furrowed the Italian's brow and the dull, faint loneliness that had settled into Niccolo's wide hazel eyes. Florence bit his lip and shifted slightly in his corner of the ceiling, his lips trembling infinitesimally as he focused once again on the balloon in his hands.
He's lonely, Christian realized suddenly. Did the Italian even have any friends? He had thought that maybe Alyson was on good terms with the youngest Italian, but even she hardly ever spent time with him unless he was with his older brothers.
He doesn't have any friends, a small corner of Christian's mind whispered solemnly. Maybe that's why he's always pranking people…
Maybe… maybe if he would stop if he had a friend.
Copenhagen bit his lip and slowly inched away from his hiding space, his muscles tensing as he drew closer to the Italian. Niccolo didn't look away from the door this time, although Christian couldn't help but notice the way that the younger boy's muscles seemed to tense as well when the Danish capital came too close.
"Is- Is that stuff poinsonous?" Christian blurted out before he could stop himself.
Niccolo blinked and turned his head to stare down at him, his hazel eyes widening in confusion and surprise.
"What stuff?" he demanded.
"In your balloon," Christian explained hesitantly, his cheeks burning under the Italian's intense gaze. "The… liquidy stuff. Is it poisonous?"
Niccolo snorted and shook his head, his lips twitching up into an amused smirk.
"Do you really think that anyone in their right mind would trust me with poison?" he asked dryly.
"Do you really think that anyone here is in their right mind?" Christian countered, earning himself another laugh from the Italian.
"Probably not," Niccolo admitted. He paused for a moment and considered the ground in front of Christian, his expression thoughtful.
Christian scrambled away automatically as the Italian clambered gracefully back onto the floor, his balloon cradled gingerly beneath his arm. Niccolo flashed him a toothy grin moments after his feet had landed firmly on the ground, his fingers curling nervously around the balloon in his grasp.
"It's just water," he assured the Danish capital before Christian could say anything. "I was going to drop it on Davin when he got out of the bathroom, but…" Florence shrugged and smiled wistfully down at the balloon, apparently oblivious to Copenhagen's dimly-horrified look.
"Why don't you like Davin?" Christian demanded, struggling to keep the protective anger out of his voice. "He's my cousin, you know, and he's not bad-."
"He scares Louisa," Niccolo interrupted flatly.
Christian blinked slowly and cocked his head to the side, his brow furrowed in confusion.
"He doesn't do it on purpose, of course," Florence continued. "But he still scares her, even if she doesn't like to show it. He's just… he's really intimidating, you know? Anyways, I figured that she would stop being afraid of him if he walked into the meeting completely soaked, or if he sat on a whoopee cushion once or twice, or-."
"Or if he had pink hair?" Christian added wryly.
Niccolo smiled, only half-repentant. "Hey, it's not all bad. At least this way he gets Isabella's attention."
"I don't think that that is the kind of attention that he wants from Isabella," Christian objected. He froze as soon as the words left his mouth, his face paling in alarm. Lort, Davin hadn't wanted him to say anything about that, it was supposed to be their secret-.
"It's still attention, though," Niccolo pointed out. "And I thought that people like it when the person that they like smiles at them."
"It's not the same when they're laughing at you," Christian snapped.
"It's still a smile."
Christian felt his lips twitch upwards despite himself and shook his head, his smile widening slightly at the Italian's answering grin.
The two boys flinched when the door opened behind them and whirled around in time to catch Davin's alarmed gaze. The Swedish capital frowned slightly as he took in the two boys in front of him, his hard violet eyes softening slightly when he caught sight of his cousin.
"Wha's goin' on?" he asked quietly.
"Niccolo was showing me how to make the perfect water balloon," Christian said quickly before the Italian could open his mouth. "He was just about to take me outside so that I could try it out."
The Italian nodded frantically in agreement, his hands trembling faintly around the balloon as he met Davin's questioning gaze. After a moment, Stockholm huffed in amusement and gently pushed past the two boys, the sides of his mouth twisted into the tiniest of smiles. Niccolo waited until the Swede had disappeared around the corner before he turned back to Christian, his lips parted in silent awe.
"Why didn't you tell him that I was going to soak him?" he asked quietly. "He's your cousin."
Christian shrugged and smiled slightly, silently marveling at how easy it was to smile around the Italian.
"Well, friends don't throw each other under the bus, ret? (right?)" he muttered.
Niccolo stared at him for a long moment, his smile widening until Christian could see rows of white teeth gleaming in the dull light of the building.
"Are we… We're friends?" he whispered hesitantly.
"Ja (Yeah)," Christian murmured. "… But only if you actually let me throw that balloon at you."
Niccolo laughed then, his quiet voice rising in a loud shout of amusement that made Christian want to laugh along with him.
The Italian was still laughing five seconds later when the water balloon smashed into his face.
"Aw, c'mon, Chris!" Fritz howled, his voice obviously slurred as he lifted yet another tankard of beer off of the counter.
Christian rolled his eyes and glanced over his shoulder at Aedan for support, only to find the Londoner slumped across the countertop, a small horde of empty shot glass and a half-empty tankard of beer surrounding him.
"'e had another fight with Jeanne today," Fritz crowed, his red-brown eyes glaze with drunken amusement. "Hah! Those two…. Ők nem is megy egy nap anélkül, azzal érvelve (They can't even go a day without arguing)."
"Fritz, I can't understand you when you speak Hungarian," Christian explained with forced patience. "Especially when you're drunk."
Fritz snorted and waved his hand in a vaguely-dismissing gesture, his expression twisting as he threw back another mouthful of beer.
"You," he gasped breathlessly. "You… you need to k-k-kiss Nic- Nikki- Nicoli-"
"Niccolo," Christian supplied wearily.
"Igen! (Yeah!)" Fritz yelled so loudly that several other people in the bar turned to look at them and Aedan stirred sluggishly on his section of countertop.
"Wha's happ'nin'?" London slurred.
"Nothing, Aedan, go back to sleep," Christian sighed. "And stay away from that beer."
"M'not…Bloody Englishmen know how ta… how ta… hold their… lockers…" Aedan mumbled something else inarticulate and shifted around in his seat, somehow able to completely change his position without lifting his forehead from the damp wooden counter.
Christian rolled his eyes, his muscles tensing when Fritz threw a hand over his shoulder.
"Seriously!" the Hungarian continued. "'m tired of seein' you two skipping around each other an'- an' stuff. It's- Ez annyira bosszantó! (It's so annoying!)"
"Fritz!" Christian snarled. "And how are we any more annoying than you and Fritz and Daniil? I swear if I catch you two having eye-sex one more time, I'll-."
"S'not the same!" Fritz howled. "An' it's not- S'not eye… stuff an'… an' how 'bout this! If ya… If Denmark wins Eurovizzy- Euro… that singing thing… you kiss Niccolo an'- an' yeah! It'll be cool!"
"And what if I say no to this really stupid idea?" Christian demanded.
Fritz stared at him for a long moment, his lips curling into an evil smirk that made Christian wonder how drunk the Hungarian capital actually was.
"If you say no," he purred. "I'll do a repeat of the Prague incident."
"Åh Gud (Oh God)," Christian groaned, his face paling immediately in horror. He still couldn't look the Czech Republic in the face, and he didn't even want to know if they were allowed to cross the border yet. "Fritz, please, this is my favorite bar- It's in my dad's capital, for God's sake!"
"I'll do it," Fritz whispered silkily. "I swear I'll do it, Chris."
"Jesus Kristus (Jesus Christ)," Copenhagen hissed. "Fine, fine! But only if Denmark wins, got it? And… And only if you even remember tonight!"
Budapest's smile widened and he nodded, his eyes oddly clear.
Christian cringed and pushed away from the bar, silently praying for the first time in his life that his father's country wouldn't win Eurovision.
I can't risk this… I can't screw things up with Nic…
I don't want to lose him…
"Rend mit liv (Fuck my life)," Christian breathed, his wide eyes locked in silent horror and shock on the television screen.
Beside him, Niccolo cheered and playfully bumped against Christian's shoulder, his smile fading slightly when he caught sight of Topi's disappointed face. The youngest Italian bit his lip and started to slip away, only to flinch back towards Christian when Fritz let out a loud cheer of his own and started ranting to a frustrated Daniil about Hungary's inevitable future win.
"…Someone really needs to stop giving him alcohol," Florence mused. He glanced up at Christian and flashed him another smirk, his tanned cheeks flushed beneath his tousled auburn hair.
Christian swallowed heavily and tried to force himself to turn away, his eyes flickering warily towards the place where Fritz had been only moments before. Lort, where did Fritz go?
"Chris?" Niccolo called, his brow furrowed with a hint of concern. "Ehi (Hey), I'm going to go and check on Topi, va bene? (Okay?)"
Christian nodded mechanically, his lips quirking upwards into a small smile at the thought of Niccolo's strange friendship with the youngest of the Nordic cities. Despite the Finnish capital's nearly-infamous shyness, Topi had been one of the first cities to attempt to befriend Niccolo after Christian, and the two younger cities had quickly become close, much to Sweden and Davin's chagrin.
"Yeah," he murmured. "Make sure he's doing okay… Nic?"
Niccolo turned around, his eyebrows half-raised in a silent question. A half-smile still hovered over the Italian's flushed lips as he waited for Christian to say something. Copenhagen took a deep, steadying breath and forced himself to focus on the Italian's eyes, stubbornly ignoring the flash of heat that went through him at the sight of Niccolo's slightly-parted lips.
"I- Mmph!" he yelped, his eyes widening in silent alarm as he was shoved unceremoniously into Niccolo.
The Italian stumbled back as well, nearly going cross-eyed in his attempts to stare at the place where their lips had collided roughly. Before Christian could even think to move away, Niccolo seemed to steel himself and leaned into the abrupt kiss, his hands moving to tentatively clasp Christian's shoulders. Copenhagen shuddered, his eyes slipping closed before he could consciously think about it. His arms moved automatically to wrap around Niccolo's waist and pull him close, his body trembling in response to the startled, pleased gasp that Florence made in response.
Christian pulled away a second later, his chest heaving in panic and exhilaration. Dammit, dammit, he shouldn't have done that, he really shouldn't have done that, he wasn't ready, and he didn't want to lose Niccolo, not like this-.
Niccolo was staring up at him now, his hazel eyes bright with awe and the barest hint of fear, his flushed cheeks nearly scarlet.
"You… you didn't mind?" he whispered hesitantly, his expression oddly vulnerable for a brief moment.
Christian swallowed thickly and slowly shook his head, even as his brain screamed at him to stop, to just stop everything right now because he wasn't ready for this and he didn't know what was going to happen next.
Niccolo smiled suddenly and surged forward to wrap his arms around Christian in a tight hug, his face buried securely in the Dane's shirt.
"Grazie (Thank you)," he gasped. "I was so afraid and… Grazie."
Christian bit his lip and pulled the Italian closer, his wide blue eyes meeting Freya's over the bobbing heads of the other cities.
His sister frowned at him, her violet eyes dark with concern beneath her spiky golden hair. She shook her head after a brief moment and flashed him a small, rare smile of encouragement.
"Finally," she mouthed.
Christian nodded and gave her a tight smile in return, not quite able to push away the fear that had settled in his gut even as he pulled Niccolo closer, reveling in his warmth.
Please… don't let me mess this up…
How many times can we win and lose?
How many times can we break the rules between us?