Romano wanted their first kiss to be special. Spain did too, but perhaps he just didn’t get the depth of the whole matter. Because it wasn’t really their first kiss. It was just their first kiss as a couple.
And something about that terrified Romano beyond belief.
He studied the elegant lines of his love’s profile with a faint frown on his face. Spain had yet to realize that, even though Romano had picked out the movie, he was the only one paying attention to it. Titanic was one of Romano’s favorite movies, too, but all he wanted to do was stare at Spain. He’d seen the film hundreds of times and it never changed, the characters were doomed to repeat the same actions over and over again without learning from their mistakes. But he and Spain were different. He and Spain were real and now and they had control over their own actions.
And that’s why Romano couldn’t quite convince himself that snuggling into Spain’s shoulder was merely a reflex, why Spain’s light touch on his arm wasn’t simply an absentminded gesture. Maybe the Spaniard wasn’t paying much attention to the movie after all. Maybe he was just better at hiding it.
Down, down, down, Romano’s gaze trickled like a waterfall until it found the object of its desire: Spain’s lips, pulled into that easy smile he graced the world with. He longed to move closer, to capture them in a kiss but something stopped him. Part of it was his long-silenced insecurities, yes, the ones that feared the look of shock and disgust the other’s eyes might hold. The ones that whispered of rejection and lies and soft velvet fairy tales that Romano should have known were too good to be true.
It ran deeper than that, though. Things that couldn’t be banished by the devotion in Spain’s eyes held him back. Things that maybe weren’t all that bad but needed to be overcome. By both of them, it seemed, because he suspected that they were the only things that kept Spain from kissing him as well.
See, their first kiss had to be special because it would symbolize moving beyond where they were before. They no longer had the Arcadian dream of a boss-and-henchman relationship. That had been gone for awhile, ever since Austria had stolen him away all those years ago. Their platonic friendship had been shattered as well by half-heard night time confessions, when drops of wine that loosened reluctant lips proved to be balm to two frustrated souls. Those stages were over now, and they were both grateful yet afraid, a simple question lingering in their hearts. What happens next?
Because their first kiss couldn’t merely been a simple peck on the lips. Romano had already graced Spain with that privilege as one final good bye before Spain had lost him in that silly dream-time war. But back then it was everything and he hadn’t seen the harm in allowing his soon-to-be-ex boss have one last taste of the simple paradise they’d created for themselves.
They both remembered that kiss as a simple thing, a bittersweet thing, a bubble they could hold in the palms of their hands, but only for the briefest of moments. Bittersweet and innocent and full of the love only they shared. Not romantic love, but perfect in its own way.
Their next kiss was simply sorrow, a vague attempt at recapturing something lost long ago. Spain had been allowed to see Romano after years apart and realized that the little boy he’d loved wasn’t all that little anymore. To him, it hadn’t seemed possible for his charge to grow that much in the span of mere decades, but there he was, standing tall and proud with revolution in his eyes and on his tongue.
And maybe Romano realized, too, in that hello-goodbye kiss that the centuries-old nation who had acted like a silly teenager had matured a bit in his absence, as he no longer gave love so easily and his smiles were more guarded.
That kiss was the end of the long summer of Romano’s childhood.
Romano snuggled closer to Spain, who carefully wrapped an arm around him, treasuring each other’s presence and the knowledge that they’d be together for a long time, now that wars no longer rocked the earth and the former great powers had been sent home with their tails between their legs.
He touched the other’s face, bringing the Iberian’s attention away from the film, green eyes focused solely on hazel ones. “Spain . . .” The name was full of questioning. Had he come to the same conclusion Romano had? Did he understand that maybe it was better now then never? There would be other times, but some how Romano needed it now. He had always been impatient and he had waited too long for this.
And Spain knew. He might have been slow but he’d been thinking about the same things, wondering on their past lives and he caught on at long last. There was nothing to be afraid of now.
He cupped Romano’s face in his hands and caught the other’s lips in a gentle and passionate kiss that the other quickly returned. Spain entwined his fingers in Romano’s hair and Romano hugged him tightly around the waist. They both wondered how they had survived this long without it. How had they been simply friends when this was so close and so easily attained? Merely dreaming of lips touching could not compare to feeling so whole and utterly loved.
At last they broke away with smiles adorning both their faces like crowns made of carnations and Romano was glad they had waited because no moment could ever be as perfect as this.
Spain breathed a contented sigh as they leaned into each other, the plight on the TV screen completely forgotten, for Jack and Rose were only characters trapped in a single eternity, unable to move forward or backward. But Spain and Romano were moving forward into a bright future they had built together, brick by brick, almost without realizing it.
To release the past was to embrace the present.