From the moment Germany had woken up, he'd buried himself in paperwork. He'd let it slip lately to spend time with Veneziano, who'd been down lately from not getting to spend as much time with Germany as usual.
He'd already told Veneziano the day before that he would be working all day today, so he hadn't gotten any phone calls yet. He wouldn't be surprised if that changed at some point, though.
Indeed, halfway through filling out another form, the phone rang, echoing throughout the room. He sighed quietly and stood to answer it.
In truth he wasn't all that bothered by it. He was actually surprised that the Italian had managed to hold back for so long. It was already nearing dinnertime.
"Veneziano." He said into the receiver. The response was completely opposite of what he expected.
"Oi, bastard! You have to save him!"
"...Romano?" He raised an eyebrow. It was very unusual for the Southern Italian to call him, and when he did it was usually something about Veneziano.
Then the words caught up to him.
"Are you talking about your brother?"
"Yes, you dumb shit! France has him. That idiot didn't run away fast enough!"
Romano sounded out of breath and very anxious.
"Take a deep breath, calm down and explain it to me fully."
"As if I can calm down when that pervert has him!" Despite his words, Germany heard the Italian take a deep, shaky breath before he continued. "We went out to eat and ran into that wine bastard. I - Veneziano -was afraid, so we left, but France followed after us. I didn't realize it but Veneziano was too slow and got left behind. When I went back he was nowhere to be found. ...Except I found his shoe. That was about ten minutes ago."
Germany's brow furrowed as he listened. Despite how France acted towards Veneziano (and everyone else), he knew they got along pretty well for the most part. France had never taken his perversion this far on Veneziano, though. Germany immediately started thinking worse case scenario.
"Listen, Romano. Thank you for telling me. I've got to go now."
"Wait! Are you going to help?"
"I'll do whatever I can." He hung up.
Then he picked the receiver back up and dialed another number. However, no one answered - it just rang and rang.
That either meant that France wasn't home...or he was preoccupied.
Germany set out immediately (after quickly leaving a note for Prussia and checking on the dogs).
Germany cautiously opened the door after having picked the lock. He could hear no noises coming from within, and he quietly slipped inside.
As he carefully maneuvered through the house on light footsteps, he listened for any sound to indicate that Veneziano really was there. Some part of him hoped that Romano had been wrong - that the Italian had gotten away after all, and was even already at Germany's house waiting for him.
He paused for a moment to debate where he would be. Basement? Bedroom? Then he stopped to consider just who the captor was and headed to where he thought the bedroom was.
As he neared it, he heard a muffled voice and froze to listen for a moment. He couldn't tell if it was France or Veneziano.
He hovered beside the doorway, took a deep breath and opened his mouth to whisper.
"Veneziano. Veneziano, are you in there?"
There was silence for a moment and then,
"G-Germany, it's you!"
"Shh, is there anyone in there with you?"
"No! France-niisan said he was going after Romano-niichan!"
Germany was both relieved and disappointed. If France had been there, he could have dealt punishment immediately. On the other hand, he was incredibly relieved that Veneziano sounded fine.
Still, he carefully inched over to peer in the doorway to make sure it wasn't some trap.
He froze. His jaw dropped open. His breath caught in his throat. He could do nothing but stare.
It wasn't hard to see what France prided himself on. Anyone's eyes would immediately be drawn to the bed in the center of the room, because it was huge, looking like it could easily fit five or six people.
At the moment, Veneziano was handcuffed by his hands and feet to the head and footboards. He was completely naked
Germany had seen the other man naked many times before, it was hard to avoid when he had no scruples about stripping anywhere. Even still, the shirt he wore when sleeping failed to cover much of anything.
He had been forced to get used to it, and he had honed his control to new heights.
"Ve, Germany!" Veneziano called out happily, jerking on the cuffs. Germany's eyes were immediately caught by the action. He could see the Italian's muscles working underneath his skin, body stretched out in a pose he wouldn't normally choose for himself. He liked to try out a few different positions until he finally settled on the same old one every time.
There was something about the way that Veneziano seemed completely unable to move at will that struck something in him.
Then he saw Veneziano's tears and he had to bite his tongue and remind himself of the situation.
He immediately strode over, took out his lock-pick and worked on getting them unlocked.
"Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?"
Veneziano wiggled and looked up in order to watch him as he worked. Germany grit his teeth and focused on his task.
"I'm fine! I'm worried about nii-chan though..."
Germany paused, reached in his pocket and took out his cellphone. He dropped it in Veneziano's lap.
"Here, try calling him. If you can't get a hold of him, call Spain."
He got the cuffs off as just as Veneziano started explaining the situation to Spain. Romano hadn't answered. Germany inspected Veneziano's wrists and was glad to see no chafe marks.
He tried to erase the image of how good the cuffs had looked pressed into the Italian's skin.
"Spain-niichan went to look for them!" Veneziano spoke up, handing the phone back to Germany before standing up and stretching. Germany had to look away from the sight. Veneziano was still naked.
"Good. We'd better go. …After you put on your clothes."
The moment Germany had his front door closed, Veneziano surprised him by wrapping his arms around his waist and leaning into him, head coming to rest on his chest.
"Thank you, Germany." He said quietly, and warmth spread through his body. With less awkwardness than was usual, he wrapped his own arms around Veneziano's shoulders in return
"I'm glad you weren't hurt..."
They stood in silence for a few minutes until Germany was worried that Veneziano would fall asleep. The phone rang just then and he backed away to answer it. Still, Veneziano stayed close by his side and Germany could feel the line of warmth connecting them together.
"Let me talk to my brother, potato-bastard."
Without comment, Germany handed the phone over to Veneziano and listened in. It wasn't hard; Romano was a loud speaker.
"Are you okay? Are you out of that bastard's house?"
"Yeah, Germany saved me!"
"Hmph, I guess that bastard can do some things right."
"What about you? Did Spain come save you?"
"As if I needed that bastard's help! ...But he did find me. I'm over at his place for the moment. He went to talk to France." Even Germany could hear the smirk in Romano's voice.
"Vee, I'm glad!"
"Yeah yeah, whatever. I'm going now. Come over tomorrow."
The brothers hung up.
"Ve~ I'm going to make pasta." And before Germany could respond, Veneziano was leaning up with a small strained noise because of the height different and kissing him. On the lips.
Germany's face spontaneously combusted and he started to stutter out something like a question, but Veneziano was already skipping off to the kitchen.
Some time later...
"I-Veneziano, you didn't need to..." Germany stammered, face red and uncharacteristically fumbling with the object in his hands.
It was a square package wrapped in red wrapping with a white bow on top. The little card said "To Ludwig, from Feliciano ".
The two were sitting on Veneziano's couch side by side with the short man leaning into Germany.
"But I wanted to! You're always saving me…because I'm like this..." Veneziano looked a bit down, so Germany rushed to answer.
"No, no, I'm happy!"
"Ve, then open it!" Veneziano perked up, and Germany couldn't help the small smile that slipped out.
Germany carefully unwrapped the package despite Veneziano bouncing impatiently on the cushion beside him.
He uncovered a white box with an unfamiliar logo printed on it. He ripped off the tape holding it closed and set the lid aside.
Just like he had days ago when he'd walked into the room at France's house, he froze.
Lying almost innocently inside on some wrapping tissue was a set of fur-lined handcuffs. Almost on autopilot, he placed the lid back on and set the box on the coffee table.
"You don't like it?" Veneziano practically sagged into him as he questioned in a disappointed tone of voice.
"Why did you get me...those?" Germany questioned carefully.
"I thought...well, back at France-niisan's house I saw the way you looked at them. So I thought you might like them."
Germany had no idea what to think. First of all, Veneziano had noticed his reaction? That was extremely embarrassing. Did Veneziano really not understand how weird the gift was? The cuffs had not been a pleasant thing for the Italian. They had been used to restrain him so France could have his way with him. Yet here Veneziano was buying some for him. What did he think he would do with them?
"Veneziano... I appreciate the thought...but I really have no use for them."
"Eh? Well...I thought you could use them on me?" Veneziano questioned in a hopeful tone that left Germany gaping. The Italian waited patiently for him to close his mouth.
"Veneziano...don't you understand what you're saying? Handcuffs were used to restrain you! Aren't you afraid of them?" Germany tried not to sound demanding as he questioned the Italian.
He had honestly thought the other man would think him a pervert if he knew about this, so it was hard to wrap his mind around the current circumstances.
"I know that, but that was France-niisan. I trust Germany." Veneziano said it so simply, as if that was all there was to it. Germany was lost as to how to reply. It seemed that Veneziano picked up on his uncertainly. He laid a hand gently on Germany's leg and looked right into his eyes.
"I trust you more than anyone, Germany! I know you won't hurt me."
Germany's chest tightened and warmth spread through it. He had to clench his eyes shut against the strong wave of emotion at the amount of trust shining from Veneziano's eyes.
He jerked when he felt fingertips on his cheeks, but kept his eyes closed. The hands gently caressed his cheeks, nose, forehead, and then his lips. Germany could feel the heat in his face and hoped he wasn't blushing too much. He'd been doing enough of that lately.
"Germany..." he opened his eyes to see that while he'd been distracted, Veneziano had gotten into the box and taken the cuffs out. He had locked one half onto his left hand. Germany's eyes were inadvertently drawn to it.
"I want to do it. And I love you."
At those words, Germany looked up at the Italian and made a decision.
"I love you too, Veneziano." Then he leaned forward and kissed him.
"I'm glad you're okay, Romano!" Spain exclaimed, hands fluttering over said Italian.
"S-stop touching me!" Romano exclaimed, face red. "I'm fine, idiot!"
Normally Spain would continue to do whatever he wanted until Romano headbutted him. This time however, he stopped and just stood there, staring at an uncomfortable Romano.
"What are you staring at?"
"You!" Spain admitted easily, and one of his hands reached towards him. "I'd hate it if something were to happen to you…" Fingertips carefully brushed against Romano's cheeks, rightfully cautious of the man's temper.
For once, Romano didn't headbutt him immediately. He blushed and looked away.
"I said I'm fine, dammit. And...thanks..." The last part was said in so quiet of a voice that anyone else wouldn't have heard it, but because Spain was standing so close, he did. He grinned and pushed his luck, leaning over to hug Romano.
"B-bastard, I didn't say you could-oof!" He was quieted as Spain gently squeezed him.
Romano allowed it for about thirty seconds, just long enough to subtly return the embrace before he kicked Spain in a very painful place. But not as hard as he could have.
What were you thinking?" England demanded as he packed a bag with ice for the black eye France now sported.
"I was just going to take a picture. Pour l'anniversaire d'Espagne. I thought he'd like it." France sulked.
"You're supposed to be the country of love but you forgot about Germany and Spain?" England snorted.
"Maybe I should have taken your picture, Angleterre …"
France's timing left something to be desired. His scream could be heard by many countries as the bag of ice was unceremoniously used as a bludgeon.