A/N: Sorry for the long hiatus! New fandom, RL things and plain old writers block. This isn't my best writing plus it's really short, but what the heck…I need to post something and someone demanded that I post this immediately.

Warnings: Possible Gertalia and RussiaxOC (or just companionship, depends on how you look at it). Also, FLUFF OVERFLOWING OUT OF YOUR SCREEN.

Catching Hearts

Italy Veneziano wandered around the empty fields, happy that training had ended for today (although the world had been at peace for so long, Germany's training seemed to be ridiculous) but a bit bored since there weren't any cute bella to flirt with.

He was just about to walk back to Germany's house to see if Germany was done with his paperwork, or maybe to see if Prussia was home yet (Italy knew how Germany worried about his brother, even though Prussia now had a couple micronations to tie him down) when he saw a bright white spot in the green hills. He walked towards it, wondering if it was a flower or something, when he recognized Artic. The older nation was lying in the grass, holding something in her hands.

"Ve~, Artic!" Italy called, running up to the cold girl. She turned to look at him, a slight smile on her face.

"Hello, Ita-chan," she said calmly.

"Ve~, what are you holding?" he asked, sitting down next to her. Artic's smile twisted wryly and she showed him her cupped hands, holding absolutely nothing.

"I'm holding someone's heart," she said softly. Italy cocked his head. Heart? Germany had told him that people's hearts were in their chests, and were red and kinda yucky if they weren't in someone's chest. He had also seen Russia's heart fall out a couple times in the world meetings.

"Veh? But Artic, that's not a heart. You're holding air," Italy said, opening his eyes seriously. Was the bella going crazy? He felt a little twinge of guilt. Maybe global warming was driving her over the edge.

Artic laughed softly, a reassuring sound that soothed his conscience.

"It may not look like it, Ita-chan," she said, "but this is a heart." She blew lightly into her hands, opening them out to let the "heart" go. "Do you want me to show you how you can hold one?"

Italy paused, unsure of what to say.

Artic took his hands anyway, holding his slightly larger hands in her small ones. She was sitting up now, to get a better grip.

"Close your eyes, and think of someone special to you," she began. "It can be anyone, a nation or a human, or even an animal. It doesn't matter." Italy closed his eyes tentatively, thinking immediately of Germany, who would surely be sitting at his desk, back ram-rod straight and a little crease between his eyebrows as he concentrated.

Gently, he felt his hands coming together, and Artic's slender hands shaping them into a cup shape.

His eyes flew open, and his mouth formed a little "o" shape when he found that in fact, there was just the tiniest weight in his hand. Looking down, he still couldn't see anything, but he couldn't deny the weight he felt.

"Now, don't drop it," Artic said, still smiling. "Can you feel it? That's your special someone's heart." Italy's mouth worked soundlessly, trying to wrap his mind around it. He was never a very logical person (as Germany reminded him often) but he had never encountered something like this before.

"This…this is Germany's heart?" he asked. Artic's smile widened.

"Yes," she said. "You see, Italy, it's always easy to catch hearts to hold them. Everyone wants to be held closely and warmly, so as long as you're gentle and you keep them close, you'll always be able to call hearts to you. And to let them go, all you have to do is blow gently and open your hands. They'll catch your breath and use it to travel back to that person." Italy looked back down at his hands, and did as she told him, feeling that butterfly weight fluttering out from between his fingers.

"V-ve…" he said, wonderingly. Artic simply smiled and cupped her own hands once again.

Somewhere in Berlin, a tall, severe-looking blond man dropped his pen in the middle of doing paperwork. Usually when he was filling out those tedious forms, Germany never let anything distract him.

Usually. But for some unfathomable reason, Germany needed to see Italy. Needed? He had to see the other nation.

Looking at the stack of white paper, it took a few seconds for him to rush off. After all, unlike his brother or just about any other nation, he couldn't delude himself into thinking that Italy could survive on his own. World War II had taught him that, and even though the world was at peace, who knew what kind of trouble Italy could be getting himself into. Cats, humans, even rocks…the possibilities were endless with the clueless Italian.

He had just spotted Italy (and a figure that he thought was Artic) when for some reason his chest felt flooded with warmth, the kind that felt like sitting by a fire during a snowstorm, or like eating melted chocolate.

"Italy?" he called, regaining his rhythm. He saw Italy's head turn instantly, a little cocked to the side, reminding him for a single, comical moment of his dogs when he called him.

"Ve~ Doitsu!" the little Italian called, getting up and running the rest of the way to the taller nation. "I thought Germany had a lot of paperwork!"

The relief that Italy was fine and with someone responsible, coupled with the mental comparison of Italy and his dogs and the comical look on Italy's surprised face were all part of the reason why Germany found himself laughing, balancing his hands on his knees. But part of the reason was because that irresistible warmth had made its way back into his chest.

"I had to make sure that you weren't in trouble," Germany answered when his laughter finally subsided. "After all, you were gone for more than an hour without calling me." Italy's look of surprise melted into joy, and he laughed, the bell-like sound ringing through the hills.

"Ve~! Alright then, I'll follow you back so that Germany can do his paperwork!" he said, turning to look at the embodiment of the North Pole. "Bye, Artic!" he said happily. She smiled serenely.

"See you later, Ita-chan." He nodded, grabbing Germany's arm and skipping to keep up with the smiling Aryan. Later, he would remember that he had forgotten to ask whose heart Artic had been holding, but by then he would simply dismiss it as Artic's own business.

Some time later, the white-haired girl let the precious heart go, blowing it tenderly back to its owner. She got up, still smiling softly.

And somewhere far in the distance, a pale-haired man sleeping in a deep snowdrift smiled and dreamt of a sun-lit field of beautiful, nodding sunflowers, and the warm ring of sweet laughter.

A/N: And I now introduce you (lately) to my new Hetalia OC, Artic. She might appear in later fanfics and I'll explain her more in-depth there. But here's some fluff and fun stuff. It's slightly embarrassing to admit but I do all that stuff that Artic does…she's not a self-insert though. :P And now I should stop before I get too far ahead of myself.