Festa di San Giuseppe
By Tawariell Saerwen
Romano stretched out fresh pastry dough over the final calzone loaf he was preparing for dinner. His fingertips forcefully pressed down onto the edge of the calzone, sealing the delicious pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, Parmesan cheese and seasoned tomato sauce into their bready cocoon. He then reached over and vigorously stirred his pastry brush into a tiny bowl containing raw egg yolk and he attentively egg-washed the six individual calzones.
"There! Bravo!" Romano contently murmured to himself and he kissed the fingertips to his right hand and gestured it in an A-OK sign. The nation placed the egg-wash and pastry brush down and grabbed a knife to quickly cut some slits onto each calzone. Finally, he lifted the baking tray with one hand and walked to the oven. He opened the oven door, slipped the tray inside and closed it shut.
Romano slipped off his black apron and set it aside on the counter. He walked out of the kitchen and headed toward the room that was used as a religious shrine. As he entered inside, he smiled to his beloved Spain who was lighting up the numerous candles to the alter. Their shrine consisted of bouquets of flowers in crystal vases and various kinds of statues of different Roman Catholic Saints, including a large Crucifix hung on the wall. Today was March 19th; this particular date is a special Roman Catholic holiday - a Feast Day for Saint Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus Christ. At the center of the shrine stood a large, tall, beautifully crafted statue of St. Joseph holding the infant Jesus in his arms.
Today was also Father's Day in Italy and Spain.
Romano stepped up to the shrine and he raised his right hand and did the Sign of the Cross. He then smiled to his partner and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Dinner will be ready soon," he said, and he reached over and picked up a couple of rose scented incense sticks. He held the tips over the flame of a candle and then quickly waved the incense sticks to extinguish the fire on them. A thick mist began to burn from them and the room was being filled with the sweet smell of roses. Romano placed the incense in standing position in front of St. Joseph's statue and he devotedly grinned to the idol.
Spain observed his beloved in silence. He was enthralled by Romano's devotion to their faith; he was very conservative and deeply religious just like his people from the Southern half of Italy. Spain himself was not religious anymore; they have not gone to Mass together in years, but he still enjoyed celebrating the Feast Days and other holidays with him. Spain wrapped his left arm over Romano's shoulder and he leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.
"What did you make for dinner?" he asked.
"I made calzones," Romano replied and he gave Spain another kiss onto his face.
"Really?! Sweet! I love your calzones! I can't wait to eat!" Spain excitedly cried.
"I knew you'd react this way," Romano amusingly stated and he let out a chuckle. Both nations lovingly embraced one another and they both looked to the extravagant religious shrine. "I wonder how Veneziano's shrine looks right now...I'll ask him to text me a photo of it later. I hope the Potato Bas- erm, I mean, Germany is having an anxiety attack over it, being a Lutheran and all," Romano said, being cautious not to say any curse words inside the room.
"I'm sure Ludwig is being quite tolerate about it. He knows how special your brother's faith is for him and the importance of today's holiday," Spain said and he looked to his partner and smiled. "This day is important for us, too. St. Joseph's Day is a sentimental day for me personally, after all these years…"
"You're referring to when I used to celebrate the Feast Day in your honor when I was your underling, aren't you?" asked Romano and he turned his gaze to stare into his beloved's emerald colored eyes.
Spain nodded and his smile increased. "Si, Lovi. I still cherish those sweet memories in my heart, especially the memory of the very first time you thought of me during St. Joseph's Day."
16th Century Renaissance Spain
"All right, Roma! Are you ready to be picked up?" asked Belgium after she lit the final candlestick. Both she and Chibi Romano were standing in front of the religious shrine of the Royal Palace; they had just redecorated it in preparation for tomorrow's Feast Day to Saint Joseph.
"Si! Pick me up! Pick me up!" Romano squealed and he hopped in place. Belgium's lips formed a cat's mouth as she amusingly smiled to the eager little boy. She knelt down to his level and she opened her arms to him. Immediately, Romano dashed into her arms and rested his face onto her bosom. She wrapped her arms around the petite body and she lifted him off the floor.
"Here we go! Now you can give St. Joseph a kiss!" she said and she held the child up to the large statue. Romano outstretched his chubby little arms to the statue and he wrapped them around St. Joseph's neck. Then, he gave kisses upon the faces of St. Joseph and the baby Jesus. Once he was satisfied with giving his devotion, he relinquished his hold on the statue.
"I can't wait for tomorrow! It's going to be so much fun!" said Romano.
"It sure will! Tomorrow is a very special day!" concurred Belgium and she gave a kiss onto Romano's chubby cheek. The little nation blushed profusely and he nuzzled his face against her chest. While she held Romano in her arms, Belgium looked to the statue of St. Joseph and recalled what she wanted to discuss with the child. She began to stroke Romano's dark hair; minding the delicate curl that stuck outward and she spoke to him.
"Do you know who St. Joseph is, sweetheart?" she asked.
"Si. He's a holy Saint," Romano murmured.
"That's right! Do know anything else about St. Joseph?"
"Uh, well…" said Romano and he tilted his head and looked up to pretty, blonde woman, "He's the stepfather to Jesus! And…and he's the Patron Saint to Sicily!" the little boy proudly exclaimed and he happily smiled. He formed his tiny hands into fists and held up his arms up in victory.
Belgium giggled and she nodded her head. "Right again! St. Joseph protects your people on the island! And he is indeed the stepfather of Jesus! Do you know what else St. Joseph is a Patron for?"
The little boy brought his arms back to his sides and he shook his head.
"Well, He's the Patron Saint of fathers. And you know what? St. Joseph's Day is also Father's Day for your people, Spain's people and my own people, too. Did you know that?"
"Si, I knew that."
Belgium's smile increased for the child; she was so proud of Romano's sharp intelligence. Her smile made the little boy's chubby cheeks flush again and he bashfully looked away from her kind stare.
"Roma, wouldn't it be a wonderful idea if we planned something together to honor Spain tomorrow for St. Joseph's Day?" she softly inquired.
Suddenly, Romano huffed and he expressed a scowl on his face. He looked up to Belgium and began giving her a bad attitude. "PFFT! Why would I want to do that?! He's not my father!" he angrily insisted.
Belgium looked upon the child with sadness expressed on her face and she shook her head. "Oh, honey! I know that he's not your father. But in a way, he's become a father figure for you. Don't you agree?"
"No! He's nothing of the sort! He's just a bast- erm, I mean, he's just my Boss!" Romano cried, minding his language in front of her.
Belgium sighed and she tenderly propped up Romano in her arms. She slowly began to walk away from the religious shrine and proceeded to go down the hallway. "Are you sure about that? Because to me, it seems like Spain cares about you very much. He allows you to sleep with him in his bed every night. He prepares your meals when he doesn't have to do that at all; he has servants such as myself to do that for you…"
"Hmph," Romano stubbornly scoffed in a muffled voice, his lips pressing against Belgium's shoulder.
"Remember when you became deathly ill?* Spain never left your bedside. He was always with you during your illness and he'd pray his rosary on your behalf. Remember when you developed those tremors that made you clumsy after your illness? Didn't he help you overcome that obstacle by encouraging you to dance the Tarantella?"
"Yeah, so what?!" Romano asked, becoming agitated by Belgium's constant reminders.
Belgium smiled to the little boy and she asked her question to him. "Do you know why he's always been so good to you?" Romano's body language became tense and he hesitantly looked away from the young woman's stare. He already knew what was going to be said and he was in great denial of it all. He clenched his eyes shut, in case they decided to betray him and begin producing fresh tears.
"Because he loves you, Romano," she softly uttered.
Romano's chubby face turned crimson and his tiny shoulders began to tremble. He fought with himself not to become emotional, but he was unable to do so. He opened his lovely brown eyes and he looked back to Belgium; his eyes had begun welling with tears and his little nose sniffled. "H-He does not!" he weakly insisted and his tears started to run down his face.
Belgium became perplexed by this sudden change of mood and she looked to the young nation with great concern. "Whatever is the matter, sweetheart? Why are you crying?" she softly inquired.
"I-I'm nobody special! I-It's Veneziano that Spain loves! I-I'm only second best to him and to everybody else here! T-There's nothing good about me! That's why Austria got rid of me! Now Spain's stuck with me! I-I'm nothing but a burden to him!" Romano's crying turned into uncontrollable sobbing after he questioned Belgium one last time.
"W-Why would anyone w-want to love me?!"
Belgium's felt heartbroken for Romano after listening to his sorrowful opinion about himself. She tenderly wiped away the little nation's tears with her hand and she comforted the sobbing child with soft kisses to his flushed, fat cheeks. "Please don't cry, sweetheart! Please don't think of yourself as a burden! No child is a burden! You're a very special little boy – "
"I-I am not!"
"Yes, you are, Roma, and you are very much loved, too! Your brother loves you! I love you! Spain loves you – "
"H-He does not!"
Belgium sweetly smiled to Romano and she stopped walking. She gestured her arm outward, pointing to a large oil painting hanging on the wall. "If you really meant nothing to Spain, then why did he ask you to pose with him for his new portrait?" she asked.
The little nation looked up to the framed artwork and saw himself painted onto the canvas, wearing a beautifully stitched baby-blue dyed gown and matching hat that he wore especially for the painting. He was sitting on Spain's lap, whom was also dressed in fancy Renaissance attire. His lips were painted forming a smile and a look of sincerity, whereas Romano's plump face possessed a smug expression.
Romano's sobbing subsided and his sniffling decreased. He looked back to Belgium and his bottom lip trembled with emotion. Belgium leaned in and gave him another kiss onto his moist face. She reached into her apron pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. As she began wiping Romano's face dry, she spoke to him in a warm, soft tone. "I want you to think back on how Spain has treated you. Maybe then you will finally realize how important you are to each other and how much of a father figure he really is to you. Think hard, Roma."
Romano closed his eyes and he began to retrace his memories about Spain. He recalled their very first meeting when he had arrived to Madrid; he remembered Spain's welcoming spirit and his kindness toward him. He reminisced on the times when he could not sleep at night and how Spain would stay up with him to chat, or to even have a story read out loud to him. When he was frightened, Spain comforted him. When he was bratty and malicious, Spain patiently forgave him. Even when he deserved to being scolded for misbehaviour, Spain's tone would be stern, yet hinted with compassion. Most of all, he remembered all the countless times he was ever hugged and kissed by him and how he would break from his busy schedule with Court to spend time with him.
The little nation opened his eyes and he looked to Belgium in astonishment. "H-He does love me!" he exclaimed and his bloodshot eyes brightened up with joy.
Belgium's lips formed a cat's mouth again and she smiled to Romano. "I told you so!" she said, relieved that he could now accept the truth. "Do you still want to do something special for him for St. Joseph's Day?" she asked.
Romano nodded his head in excitement and he became giddy in Belgium's arms. "SI! I DO! I REALLY DO!" he happily shouted.
"Hehe! Wonderful!" Belgium cried and she tightly hugged the little boy in her arms. Romano nuzzled his face against her bosom again and he smiled up to her. "Lets go back to the kitchen and fix ourselves some lunch. Then, we can discuss our plans for tomorrow. Are you hungry? Oh, what am I saying? Of course you're hungry!" she playfully teased.
Romano let out a giggle and he nodded to her. Belgium then proceeded to walk to the direction where the staff's quarters were located. As she was doing this, the little boy squirmed in her arms and he looked over her shoulder to the portrait hanging on the wall. He smiled to Spain's image as he planned in his head on what to give him tomorrow.
* Here is a more detailed description of what Chibi Romano actually suffered from in accordance to canon and with actual medical research. I'm majoring in Medicine, so this is something important for me to share about. I figured that it's a good contribution to the Hetalian community, especially for Romano fans. Medical!Canon!Hetalia!
Chibi Romano suffered from Chorea, or specifically Sydenham's chorea. It is also known as St. Vitus Dance, named after the Saint who also was afflicted by this disorder. This is a symptom that develops after a patient has suffered from acute rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is caused by a Streptoccocus pyogenes infection, or in layman's terms, strep throat. Strep infections are treatable with antibiotics; patients who deny antibiotics end up developing rheumatic fever or worse – Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease. If a patient has a high temperature, they're at risk of developing rheumatic fever. If a patient has the chills and can't warm up, they're at risk of developing flesh-eating disease.
During the Renaissance, there was no medicine to cure diseases. Germs had not been discovered and cleanliness in Europe was poor. If somebody were ill, it was usually believed to be the cause of demon possession or simply God's Will. So, in this case, how could Chibi Romano have survived after suffering from acute rheumatic fever? The answer would be his immune system and natural selection. His immune system would have to been very strong and resistant toward the bacterial infection and going into overdrive to beat the disease. Because of this, his central nervous system would end up becoming chemically over stimulated and his limbs would begin to involuntarily jerk and twitch, thus developing symptoms of Sydenham's chorea, the cause of his clumsiness.
The good news is that Sydenham's chorea eventually clears up on its own and is treatable and curable through physical therapy. So with accordance to canon, dancing the Tarantella cured Chibi Romano's chorea symptoms.
The bad news is that, unfortunately, Chibi Romano would have developed permanent damage to his body such as carditis (inflammation of the heart) and Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints) after surviving from acute rheumatic fever.
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The More You Know…
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The Next Day
"Mmmph! Lovi! I-I'll get up soon...to make your breakfast…mmmph! G-Get off of me…" Spain sleepily protested as he felt the weight of the little nation plopping onto his chest. Suddenly, he was awakened by the sound of a kazoo obnoxiously humming a joyful tune. The nation quickly sat up in bed and he cracked open his eyes. He was then bombarded with handfuls of colorful confetti being thrown upward and raining down upon himself and Chibi Romano.
"SURPRISE! BUONA FESTA DI SAN GIUSEPPE! – ¡FELIEZ DÍA DE SAN JOSÉ! (HAPPY (FEAST OF) SAINT JOSEPH'S DAY!) YAAAAAY!" Romano happily bellowed in Italian and Spanish as he scooped up an accumulation of confetti stuffed within his maid uniform and threw it upward.
"Eh?!" Spain gasped in disbelief and his lips formed a grin. "Wow! ¡Gracias, Lovinito! What a cheerful way to wake me up! But what does Saint Joseph's Day have to do with me?" he confusingly asked. Then, Belgium stepped inside Spain's bedroom holding up a breakfast tray possessing a large plate of piping hot Belgium waffles smothered with strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream. The tray also held a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice.
"Gelukkige Vaderdag! – ¡Feliz Diá del Padre! (Happy Father's Day!)" Belgium happily said and Romono vigorously blew through his kazoo. She then settled the breakfast tray onto a table near the king sized bed.
Spain gawked to Belgium and Romano in sheer confusion. He still could not believe what was happening right now. "W-What is all of this? I-I don't understand! Why are you celebrating me?" he inquired.
"Don't you get it?!" Romano stubbornly barked and he folded his little arms, "Saint Joseph is the Patron Saint of fathers! That includes you!" he boastfully said and he suddenly pointed his little index finger to Spain.
"I-It does? B-But how so?" Spain asked, still being completely dense on the subject matter.
Romano's demeanor softened and he looked to his Boss with affection. "You see, Saint Joseph was a stepfather to Jesus! Jesus wasn't his actual Son, but Saint Joseph still loved Him and he raised Him as his own! You're doing the very same thing for me! You're like a stepfather to me, Boss! It took me a while to realize that, but now that I'm aware of it, I wish to honor you today and so does Bella!"
Spain was completely flabbergasted by what Romano had said to him. He had no idea how to respond to this surprising situation. Before he could even ask another question, the little nation began panicking and he jumped off the bed. "Chigi! I'll be right back!" he cried and his little plump legs carried him across the bedroom and through the doorway. When he eventually returned, Romano gasped for breath and he struggled to get himself back on the bed due to his hands grasping onto Spain's present.
Spain chuckled and he leaned forward and picked up the child off the floor and placed him onto his lap again. Then, the little underling presented his gift to his boss. "F-For you," he gasped and he plopped backward against Spain's thighs, catching his breath.
Spain held up the canvas and he suddenly awed in shock. Romano had painted an oil portrait of his own, depicting Boss Spain carrying him on his back in their tomato vineyard. His painting abilities were questionable; it looked obvious that a young child had painted it. Romano did not possess the same talented brilliance as his younger brother, and he knew that, but he was still proud of what he had accomplished.
Suddenly, Spain's emerald colored eyes watered up with fresh tears and he settled the portrait to his side. He was becoming very emotional and he cupped his blushing face into his hands. He started to weep profusely, unashamed to show his sensitive side. Romano immediately sat himself up and he gawked to his boss in despair. "You hate it!" he cried and became downcast.
"Oh, no! No, Tomate! I-I don't!" Spain insisted as he brought his hands away from his face. He suddenly picked up his underling and he lovingly embraced him in his arms. His weeping continued and he struggled to speak as he looked into Romano's concerned eyes. "T-These are tears of gratitude! I-I'm so touched by y-your painting! It's v-very b-beautiful, L-Lovino!"
"Really?" Romano asked, his chubby cheeks turning beet red.
"S-Si, Lovi…" Spain choked and he became even more emotional. Romano became very distressed watching Spain's emotional state. Belgium, too, was taken aback by the nation's sudden behaviour, but she was also deeply touched by it, too. She had the feeling that Spain would have an emotional reaction, but nothing prepared her to witness this. Then, Spain began to speak again and his choking increased as he struggled to share his confession to his underling.
"I-I'm really trying my best…my very best to raise you correctly…I-I've never done this before. I-I know that I h-haven't been perfect…b-but it has always been my goal…to make you happy here in my home…and in my country…I-I love you so much, Lovino…"
Suddenly, Romano wrapped his arms around Spain's neck. He hugged him as tightly as he could while his eyes watered up with tears. "I-I love you, too…Papí…" he softly uttered and he kissed Spain's cheek. Instantaneously, Spain's crying increased and he bombarded Romano's fat face with kisses. Then, because he sick of watching his boss carrying on like a baby, Romano slapped his little palms together and he started to gesture his arms while he performed Spain's happiness charm.
Spain suddenly burst out laughing and he embraced Romano in his arms. The little nation started to laugh with him, feeling proud that the happiness charm had worked for him. Then, Belgium stepped up to Spain's side of the bed, holding the breakfast tray. Spain and Romano parted, making space for the tray to be settled onto the nation's lap. Once Belgium had done this, she smiled in her usual cat mouth style and she leaned in and kissed Spain's cheek. "Enjoy your breakfast!" she warmly said.
"SI! ENJOY YOUR BREAKFAST! YAAAAAY!" Romano unexpectedly bellowed and he threw confetti up in the air. When the confetti rain down upon Spain's breakfast, the little nation blushed profusely, feeling embarrassed for what he had done. "Oops..." he mumbled.
Both Spain and Belgium started to laugh at the confetti-speckled breakfast and they lovingly doted to Romano. "Don't worry! It's still good to eat!" Belgium kindly insisted and she kissed the little boy's face. Romano's face turned scarlet and he shyly looked away from Belgium. Then, Spain cut up a slice of one of his waffles with his utensils and he held the fork outward, sharing the slice for his little underling to eat. Romano's shyness quickly disappeared and he hungrily nommed on the succulent morsel.
Spain happily looked to Romano and Belgium and he gave his sincere thanks to them. "¡Oh, Gracias! ¡Muchas Gracias!" he wholeheartedly exclaimed.
"You didn't call me Papí much after you got older," Spain said as he held Romano in his arms.
"No, I didn't. I suppose then that I realized as I was growing up that you meant much more to me than I could ever imagine," Romano responded and he looked to his partner. He suddenly bit his bottom lip as he silently debated to himself to ask him a question. Spain noticed this behaviour and he decided to question him.
"Did you want to ask me something?"
"Oh! Erm, well…yes, I do…" Romano answered, blushing somewhat. After a moment of silence, the nation finally asked his question to his beloved. "Toni…does it ever bother you that we're together?"
Spain was taken aback by such a peculiar question and he smiled at him. "We've been a couple since the 17th Century and you're now asking me this?!" he teased.
"Just answer the fuc- erm, just answer the question," Romano scoffed, minding his language. They were still standing in front of the religious shrine.
Spain's amusing expression subsided and he slowly nodded his head. "I won't lie to you, Lovi…at this point, I can't – they're watching us," he teased, pointing to the Catholic idols, "But yes…yes, it did bother me at the beginning of our relationship. It felt strange being with you at an intimate level, and that was long before we began making love. I thought that maybe it was wrong and sinful for us to be together because I had raised you as my underling. But we're not related by blood. And at that time, you had become an adult. You were the one who began flirting with me. You wanted to be with me."
Romano's face blushed and he nodded in agreement. "I knew that there was something different about me after I began going through puberty. Once that started, you wouldn't allow me to sleep in your bed anymore. I was banished from your bedroom. I should have been glad that you did that for me. I should have felt proud because I was growing up. Instead, I was so resentful to you for doing that to me. You knew that I had trouble sleeping by myself.
"I realized later on that you were just respecting me by giving me my own privacy. But that was the most difficult period of my life. Then, when you sailed away to the New World and didn't come back for years, that just killed me inside. I thought that I was never going to see you again. It was then that I knew that my love for you had developed."
Spain kissed Romano's forehead and he smiled to his beloved. "I'm glad that it did develop. I'm glad that I was able to return to you after visiting the New World. Most of all, I'm glad that you came to me and trusted me when you expressed your feelings for me. I give thanks every day that we're together. I have no regrets."
"Neither do I, mi amor. I admit that when I shared my feelings for you, I was terrified that you would despise me and report me to the Spanish Inquisition to have me disposed. But when you didn't…and you accepted me…and loved me in return…it made so relieved and happy…I can't imagine how my life would be like without having you in it," Romano softly uttered and his embrace around Spain tightened.
"We'll always be together, Tomate! Always and forever!" Spain happily exclaimed and he gently tilted Romano's head back. Both nations smiled to one another and they pressed their lips together, expressing a deep, amorous kiss. Then, suddenly, an alarm rang throughout the house, but caused little concern at first for the love-struck couple.
"Mmm…*kiss*…what's that?" Romano asked while kissing Spain.
"…*kiss*…It's nothing, baby…*kiss*…it's only the fire alarm…" Spain causally answered and he resumed kissing his partner.
"…*kiss*….I see," Romano uttered. Then, his eyes suddenly popped open and he roughly pushed away from Spain's embrace. "THE FIRE ALARM?!" he screamed and a sense of dread shot throughout his body. "HOLY SHIT! MY CALZONES! GOD DAMNIT!" he angrily shrieked. Then, his original olive complexion turned a ghostly pallor when he realized that he had cursed inside the religious shrine. He immediately went down on his knees in front of the Catholic idols, pleading for forgiveness.
"OH MY GOD! I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY, LORD! I-I'LL GO TO CONFESSION THIS WEEKEND! PLEASE FORGIVE ME! – "
"NO TIME FOR THAT, LOVI! C'MON!" Spain shouted and he grabbed Romano's hand and forcefully led him out of the room and over to the kitchen. When they pushed open the kitchen door, a thick, black cloud of smoke greeted them, causing them to profusely cough and gag. Spain dashed inside and grabbed an oven mitt. He slipped it on, opened the oven door and pulled out the tray of burning calzones set aflame. He rushed over and dumped the tray into the kitchen sink and turned on the faucet to extinguish the fire burning on the food. Finally, he turned the oven off and left its door ajar, allowing the smoke to escape from the furnace.
Romano opened the wide kitchen window so that the smoke could escape through it. Momentarily, the fire alarm would stop buzzing and the house was silent for a second, only to now be filled with the whimpering sobs coming from Romano. The nation gasped and dramatically stared down to his charred, soggy, inedible calzones as he turned off the water faucet. His lovely brown eyes watered up with tears and his began to emotionally choke. Spain noticed his beloved's distress and he tried out his happiness charm on him, extending his arms outward and uttering the magical phrase.
Romano's whimpering stopped momentarily when he turned his gaze to his partner. A small smile curled on his face and he seemed content, until he looked back to their disastrous dinner. Then, Romano started to overreact again, hyperventilating and whimpering with emotion. Spain was about to perform his happiness charm again, but it was too late: Romano let out a pathetic wail and he began sobbing, cupping his face with his hands.
"M-MY CALZONES! THEY'RE RUINED! A-ALL THAT HARD W-WORK FOR NOOTTHHIINNGG!" Romano screamed and his sobbing increased.
"Oh, Lovi! Don't cry! Don't cry, sweetheart!" Spain lovingly doted and he embraced his partner in his arms.
"N-NOW W-WHAT ARE WE GOING TO EAT?! YOU M-MUST BE STARVING!"
"Shhhh! No, honey! I'm fine! I'm not hungry! Really!" Spain gently insisted and he kissed Romano's moist face. The nation's sobs briefly subsided as he was being kissed and Romano stared intently at Spain to see if whether or not he was telling the truth. Spain grinned to him, giving him the assumption that he really was not that hungry. But then, his stomach let out a dramatic gurgle of protest, confirming to Romano that his beloved was indeed ready to eat.
"Y-YOU FUCKING LIED TO ME! Y-YOU'RE STARVING TO D-DEATH!" Romano exaggerated and his sobbing commenced. Spain let out an amused laugh and he nuzzled his cheek against Romano's own. He kissed the side of his face and his earlobe, and then began whispering his happiness charm to him.
Romano's sobbing stopped, turning into light, gentle whimpering. He looked into his beloved's eyes and he finally calmed his emotions. Spain gave his partner a kiss onto his pouting, trembling lips and he smiled at him. "No more tears, Lovi. It's not the end of the world. I know what would solve this situation – by ordering take out!" he happily said.
"T-Take out?" Romano choked.
"¡Si! I have the menus by the phone!" said Spain and he broke his embrace with Romano and walked over to the kitchen telephone bolted onto the wall. Adjacent to the telephone was a small wooden shelf that held different types of restaurant to-go menus. "What are you in the mood for, baby?" Spain asked as he scooped up the menus and shuffled through them. "I have a menu for Mexican food…I have one for Chinese food…here's one for Italian food – "
Suddenly, Spain bit his bottom lip and cringed when he realized what he had said and Romano's hyperventilating started up again. Spain nervously smiled to his partner and he opened the trash bin in front of him. "PFFT! H-How did this g-get here?!" he stammered and he tossed the Italian to-go menu into the bin. He decided to go with the Chinese menu and he plopped the other menus back on the shelf. "Let's have Chinese! Yummers!" he exclaimed and he picked up the telephone receiver and dialed the number.
"Uh, yeah! Jade Palace? Do you still deliver? You do?! Awesome! Okay, I'd like to get some pot stickers – how many do you get for one order? Only six? Okay, give me ten orders of pot stickers – yeah, I know I'll be getting sixty pot stickers! We're kind of hungry over here! Okay, so I want that and uh…some sweet and sour pork, orange chicken, four boxes of fried rice, Mongolian lamb extra spicy, two large wonton soups with extra jumbo shrimp, beef and broccoli – "
"Antonio! I can't possibly eat all that food!" Romano cried while he began to toss his now chilled calzones into the trash.
Spain briefly covered the speaking end of the telephone with his hand and he grinned his beloved. "Yes, you can!" he teased and he returned to ordering more food. Romano let out a chuckle and he shook his head; he knew that Spain was telling the truth.
"Ermahgerd! This food is so delicious!" Spain gasped and he sloppily ate his portion of Mongolian lamb with fried rice. He then picked up an egg roll and dunk it vigorously into Romano's marinara dipping sauce that was intended to be used for his ill-fated calzones. The nation chomped on the tomato glazed egg roll and he orgasmically moaned from the satisfying taste of Chinese-Italian fusion in his mouth. "Oh, Tomate! Your sauce tastes amazing with these egg rolls!" he excitedly praised.
Romano smirked at him and he rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm glad to see that my sauce isn't going to waste," he said and he continued stuffing his face with pot stickers, orange chicken and beef and broccoli. The two nations were sitting on the floor of one of their various rooms, using a coffee table to eat upon. They had their fireplace lit as well as a few lamps to give the spacious room some light. Above the fireplace hung the Renaissance oil painting of themselves when their relationship was boss and underling. Adjacent to the fireplace hung the painting that Romano had created for Spain on St. Joseph's Day.
Romano looked up to the Renaissance oil painting and he tapped the ends of his chopsticks against his Chinese takeout box. He frowned to the image of his youthful self and scoffed. "God, was I fat," he jeered.
"Si, and you were so adorable!" Spain concurred and he lovingly sighed. "You were so cute all those weeks posing for the artist in that baby-blue silk dress and hat!"
"Oh, please! That dress was ridiculous and the artist was an asshole. He kept yelling at me every time I moved in the slightest while I sat on your lap. I hated him."
"Yeah, he did lose his temper a lot with you. He chose the wrong hours to be working on our portrait; I specifically told him that you took your naps in the afternoon and you were getting cranky. But he insisted! You have to admit though that he did a wonderful job. He had great paint, too! It hasn't faded at all!"
"I suppose," Romano murmured and he resumed eating his meal. Meanwhile, Spain's eyes transfixed on the image of his former underling and his heart fluttered. He became nostalgic thinking back on those carefree years taking care of Romano. He looked to his beloved and he suddenly grabbed a container filled to the brim with pot stickers. He used his chopsticks to transfer one pot sticker at a time onto Romano's plate.
"Here you go! Dumplings for my dumpling," he tenderly said.
"What are you doing?! I already have enough food!" Romano flatly stated.
"I'm going to get you nice and plump again! It'll be so sweet!" Spain doted.
"It'll be so unhealthy! Plus, I'd have to get a whole new wardrobe! It's not worth it!" Romano said and he quickly transferred the pot stickers back into the takeout box.
Spain simply shrugged his shoulders and he smiled to him. His emerald colored eyes then looked over to the painting that Romano had done for him for St. Joseph's Day over five hundred years ago and his smiled increased into a radiant grin. "I adore that painting the most," he murmured.
"Which one?" asked Romano as he picked up the last few pot stickers and plopped them into the takeout box.
"You know which one! Your little masterpiece! I still cherish it after all these years!"
Romano abruptly stopped fussing over the pot stickers and he looked back to his oil painting. "Si, it's pretty impressive, I guess. I worked very hard on it," he said and he smirked to his work of art.
"It's one of a kind! I still get goose bumps when I look at it. There's so much love coming forth from it," Spain commented and he turned his gaze to his beloved. Romano looked back to Spain and their eyes met; he then settled his container of food onto the coffee table and he scooted closer to his partner. Romano gently laid his hand upon Spain's own hand and he devotedly smiled to him.
"That's because I thought of you while I was painting it," he said. Romano paused for a moment while he mentally thought of how he was going to word out his next statement for Spain. When he felt comfortable to say something to him, he smiled to his beloved and his lips parted.
"You know, back then Bella really opened my eyes when it came to how much you cared about me. I was oblivious to it all; I thought that you just tolerated me and looked after me because I was just newly acquired territory to your greatly vast empire. But then, she made me think about all the times that you looked after me, like when I was sick or when I needed attention and I came to the realization that I meant so much more to you than I previously thought."
"She was right! You became very special to me, once we started getting along. I may have had different opinions about you in the beginning, but that all changed after St. Joseph's Day," Spain warmly stated. Romano looked down to the Persian rug that they were sitting on as he vigorously swallowed his welling up tears. While he did this, he spoke out loud.
"I…I want to thank you…"
"Thank me? For what?" Spain asked in confusion.
Romano looked up to him again and he gently squeezed his partner's hand. "For being so good to me…and for giving me the chance to blossom...you always gave me encouragement...you always believed in me when it came to anything I wanted to do. You showed a great interest for me...and it was genuine, too. You really cared about me, unlike everybody else who ever had to deal with me. I suppose it was my fault…I was such a fucking brat – "
"You were a young boy and a young nation, Lovino. You had gone through so much strife, from losing your grandfather and being sent to live in Austria's house, only to be sent away by Austria to live with me and being separated from Veneziano – "
"I-I don't know how you tolerated my misbehaviour. You had the patience of a Saint. Hell, you still have the patience of a Saint!" Romano suddenly expressed a soft giggle and a single tear escaped from his eye and ran down his cheek.
"That's what love is, honey. Whether it's love for a parent, or for a friend, for a spouse or for a child…for anybody, really. You have to take the bad with the good. Yes, there were times that you could be difficult, but it only helped me to become a better boss...or step-father...when it came to looking after you," Spain stated and he reached over and wiped away Romano's tear with a paper napkin. Afterwards, Romano finished his point for his beloved; his heart thumped hard inside his chest as he gave his sincere thanks to him.
"What I'm about to say to you is way overdue…I don't know why I've never said this to you before…but thank you so much for giving me a wonderful childhood. Thank you for being so kind to me, even at times when I didn't deserve your kindness. You were the first man and first nation whom I truly trusted…I always thought of you as my friend…and my personal hero…I really looked up to you...
"I-I'm rambling on, aren't I? Eh-heh…I-I don't what I'm trying to say now…except…thank you, Antonio…for everything you've ever done for me. More importantly...thank you for helping me become the man I am today."
Spain could not say a word. He was stunned by Romano's honesty and his stomach felt as if it were filled with fluttering butterflies. He was deeply moved by what his beloved had said to him and his emerald colored eyes moistened with tears. Romano's own tears were welling from his eyes and he bashfully looked away. Spain feared that he would burst into tears in front of him and he looked for something to distract him from his bubbling emotions. He looked to Romano's plate and he quickly picked up a Chinese takeout box filled with chow mein.
"H-Here…have some chow mein, Lovi…e-eat up…and enjoy…" he choked as he scooped up a huge portion of fried noodles with his chopsticks and messily plopped it onto Romano's plate. Romano ignored what was being served to him as he looked back up and stared intently to his beloved. Spain's abruptly stopped serving him and he settled the takeout box on the coffee table. Unable to control his feelings anymore, Spain broke down and wept and Romano suddenly wrapped his arms around him, embracing him tightly. Spain freely wept against Romano's chest; Romano could feel his partner's warm tears seeping through his shirt and he lovingly stroked Spain's wavy tresses. He listened to the nation's muffled voice against his chest while he comforted him.
"I-I really tried my best in raising you…you had been through so much as a young child...too much…and all I cared about was your happiness and well-being!"
"You did an exceptional job under the circumstances…even now, you continue to make me happy…all the days of my life."
"I-It was a joy...and a privilege...having you as my u-underling! I-I cherish those memories we shared t-together so m-much!"
"So do I, mi amor...so do I...shhh...please don't cry...fusososo~...fusososo~...fusososo~..." Romano tenderly whispered. Spain pulled himself back so he could look at Romano's face. Romano gently cupped Spain's blushing face with his hands and he leaned in closely to brush his lips upon his beloved's very own. Before they would be pressed together, both men whispered their affection for one another.
"T-Ti quiero mucho…"
"Anche io ti amo..."
They then pressed their lips together and they amorously kissed one another, savoring the aftertaste of their rich, delicious Chinese dinner. Their lips soon parted and both men smiled to one another. Romano brushed his fingertips upon Spain's wet face and he gently started wiping away the tracks of his tears. Spain was still emotional from his partner's kind words and his eyes began watering up. Seeing this, Romano embraced him again in his arms and Spain nuzzled his face against his neck. He quietly wept while his beloved warmly doted over him, running his palm against his back.
As he held Spain in his arms, Romano looked up to the two oil paintings hanging on the wall. He sniffled and stared in admiration of their little shrine of their complex relationship: Boss and Underling, Stepfather and Stepson, and a deep, unbreakable friendship that would someday evolve into something greater. Romano was thankful to God for having been looked after by this sweet, compassionate man.
He was thankful to God that this very same man whom he now called his partner, his lover and his strength was still looking after him, after all these centuries, all the days of his life, always and forever.