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Chapter Text

Chances are that he is in his garden again.

It’s Romano’s domain, his kingdom, his safe haven. He can stay there for hours—days even if he can take that much time off from work.

It’s not large and every year he switches flowers and herbs and bushes to what he feels in the mood for that time. This year it’s marigolds for Belgium’s smile, tulips for the Netherlands’ hair and lavender for Luxembourg’s eyes.

He is still thinking over what to plant for Spain, even if he knows it won’t change.

Red carnations bleed his garden red every single year.

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It’s one of those rare times the Netherlands takes the train.

It’s late and cold and wet and typical Dutch winter weather and all he wants is to be back at his home near the Veluwe, start a fire in the century-old fireplace and smoke.

He tries to look outside, but his own reflection stares back at him until they reach another city that dots streetlights like stars. He blinks and they pass into another bout of darkness.

He pulls his scarf a little tighter and leans against the window, closing his eyes.

Hopefully, this time, he wakes up before he misses his stop.

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It's a well-known secret that Prussia loves small things. Another well-known fact is that he loves birds. Small birds, therefore, might be his favourite thing most of all.

But lately he's been noticing another small thing so unbearably cute that he doesn't quite know what to do. Stupid, because since when does the great nation of Prussia not know what to do?

Liechtenstein enters the large, elaborate room they have their meeting in this time. Prussia watches her until she catches his eye. She pauses, then cocks her head. Like a little sparrow, he muses.

Switzerland places his revolver on the table and Prussia pretends to look at the ceiling instead.

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Stolen glances. Fleeting touches. Chaste kisses when Spain and the Ottoman Empire aren’t looking.

It’s never enough.

They gravitate toward each other, their heritages a burden they both carry like Atlas does the sky. They gravitate but never collide, too tired, too afraid.

It isn’t until Greece gains his independence and Romano struggles to accept his that they find the courage to indulge.

“Syracuse is still beautiful,” Greece says as they walk through the streets.

Romano pauses as their arms brush, then all at once pulls Greece in an alley and into a searing kiss.

“So are you,” he breathes.

Chapter Text

Everyone has their treasures. Austria has his prized piano of a brand Lili can’t bother to remember. Hungary has her dresses from over the years, either patched or remade. Switzerland has been in love with his old Schmidt-Rubin rifle for over a century now.

Lili’s treasure isn’t anything impressive. No one would look at it and call it something as grandiose as a treasure either, but it’s special to her.

And even if it reminds her of a time where she was just another state in the German Confederation, the little memento at least made her feel special. Still does.

The handkerchief sits on her bedside table, the eagle embroidered in the corner facing up.

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Always the Goddamn water. He could never escape it. His people could never escape it.

He helps with the rescues. He hauls people from houses and roofs and God knows whatever other high ground the lucky survivors managed to find. He calls them lucky, but they aren’t. Not really. They may not be dead, but their houses are fodder to the never relenting ocean. Their livelihood, family, friends, animals, possessions. All gone.

The Netherlands feels ill and he isn’t sure whether it’s from the cold, his broken land, or the corpses floating all around him as he steers his boat around what was once a village.

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His patience is running thin.

It is a rare occurrence. Matthew has loads of patience after all. A whole reserve, comparable to the size of his country’s maple syrup reserve, if you will.

But it has been run thin today because of the two idiots currently yelling in his kitchen over an argument that Matthew had tuned out of an hour ago.

He stands in the doorway, unamused and frankly done. So, he unfolds his arms and pushes into the room.

“Are you two quite done yet?” he asks and his voice is so sharp that Lovino and Gilbert immediately stop talking to look at him.

The argument momentarily forgotten they share a look because Matthew never uses such a voice.

“Uh,” Gilbert starts.

“Are you okay?” Lovino ventures.

Matthew narrows his eyes and then swiftly turns on his heels. He heads for the bedroom and he hears them scramble after him. Knowing that Gilbert vaults over the couch as Lovino squeezes past the potted plant, he isn't at all surprised when they reach him at the same time, both grabbing an arm to will him to a stop

“Matthew,” Lovino says, his voice soft and tantalizing. His thumb runs up the skin of his wrist. “What’s wrong?”

Gilbert’s arm winds itself around his waist and for a moment Matthew feels like relenting, but then he catches the foul looks his boyfriends send each other past his shoulders and he decided to hell with it.

He rips himself from them, much to their confusion, and enters the bedroom. He throws his flannel jacket on the chair.

“Mattie, this is freaking me out, man,” Gilbert says as he and Lovino watch him warily from the doorway.

“Good.” Matthew all but rips his t-shirt over his head and on the floor. He turns to the two men and does something he never does. He orders, “Undress and get on the bed.”

Lovino and Gilbert share a look and Matthew is a little too angry himself to figure out what it means. But then Lovino starts unbuttoning his dress shirt and Gilbert’s shirt joins his on the floor, his pants soon following, so he's glad to see the arguing stage is over.

Matthew watches, then stalks up to them when Gilbert’s fingers slip under the waistband of his boxers and grabs his wrist.

“Not yet,” he says lowly and kisses him, hard and forceful. He runs his tongue over Gilbert’s lip, but when he opens his mouth, he breaks the kiss and licks his own lips. He pushes him toward the bed and focuses on Lovino, who’s watching with narrowed eyes, shirt undone but still on.

Matthew pulls him a kiss then, nibbling at his neck as he pushes it off his shoulders. He tugs at the bottom of the shirt he wears underneath and pulls that off too, momentarily breaking contact, but immediately kissing him again as he helps Lovino undo his belt.

He keeps the kisses to what he likes and when Lovino runs his tongue over his lips, he breaks it, giving him a sharp pinch in his thigh. He then sends Lovino over to the bed as well, hand playing with the buckle of his own belt as he watches his boyfriends with thinly veiled lust.

“Tonight,” he says and he focuses a sharp blue gaze on the two people he loves the most in the world. “Tonight is going to be all mine.”

Chapter Text

They fit together like clockwork. And maybe not in the most conventional sense of the words because Veneziano is messy, bubbly and excitable where Germany is clean, down-to-earth and pragmatic.

But when Germany lifts his hips like that and muffles a groan like this, Veneziano can't help but make the analogy. 

He runs a hand across Germany’s thigh, digs his nails into his hips, breathes his name into his neck, and forgets about cuckoo clocks because Germany has his hands in his hair and is begging him to go faster, deeper, more.

And Veneziano obliges, rolls his hips, and loses himself in the hot, hazy bliss.

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Luck of the draw, they say, is something you can’t influence. Unless you’re a very good cheater at card games.

But Lovino is neither lucky nor a cheater. Not that he’d be very good at card games anyway, it being a rather difficult thing to play when blind. Not impossible, but definitely easier for others to cheat him instead.

No, Lovino is stuck with the cards dealt, stuck with a cane and a pair of sunglasses, stuck in a perpetual darkness that is starting to bore him just a little. And he can’t change that.

He can’t change that, but God, did he wish he could.

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Denmark likes to drink. A lot. A lot a lot. One time he drank so much together with Finland that Sweden had to haul both of them over his shoulders, one on each, and toss them haphazardly in a bed because Denmark had been sure his legs had run off into the night without him.

Therefore it’s surprising how much he loves the morning. Even if he’s hungover and in pain and in dire need of coffee, he still takes the time to open up the curtains, soak in the beautiful(ly painful) sun, and listen to the world starting up at six am.

He once chirped at breakfast how happy he is it’s morning and “don’t you all agree?”

Iceland thinks it’s freaky, Finland tells him to ask again in the afternoon when he’s less hungover, Sweden says something but Denmark’s mind is still a little too muddled to understand, and Norway just gives him this look that Denmark would love to mean yes, big brother, I totally get what you mean, you’re so cool, but really probably means, why do you always ask weird questions at seven am, what have I done to deserve that?

But even if his brothers don’t think mornings are all that great, Denmark is glad to be happy for them in extension.

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Honey, I ’m still free
Take a chance on me.

And Tino is almost tempted. Almost.

Because it isn’t every day you find a six-foot-seven giant of a man standing on a rickety table in a bar that really shouldn’t be playing ABBA at any point during the night, making eye-contact with you as he bellows the words with a barely understandable accent.

Tino doesn’t know why he lets Mikkel convince him to walk to the jukebox and pick a follow-up song, and he definitely doesn’t know why he jumps on the table out of his own volition, but he stops caring as he sings along more terrible lyrics, keeping his eyes on the man—Berwald, he learns later—and ignoring the whistles of the other patrons.

Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness
To the break of the day

Chapter Text

There is a lesson in everything. That’s what Austria says anyway.

Veneziano doesn’t often understand the lessons, even if Austria huffs and puffs about the importance of them.

Austria teaches differently from his Nonno. Austria takes a long time explaining the things he wants Veneziano to know, things Veneziano already knows but no one every believes him because he’s small so what does he know? It doesn’t matter that Venezia has existed since the fifth century and is technically older than Austria because Veneziano still only reaches his waist and thus is not allowed to know more.

But he takes forever, so Veneziano becomes bored and starts to look out of the window and that just results in another lecture and it’s almost an endless circle if it wasn’t for Hungary saving him.

Austria’s lessons are unnecessary and somewhat (very) useless, but Veneziano learns to pretend to listen, and maybe that’s the most important lesson he’s learnt.

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Prussia waits until the night has fallen before he peeks his head out into the hallway, checking whether the coast is clear. He toes his way to the stairway, climbs three flights and finds himself at the far end of the seventh floor.

The keycard Romano had pressed into his hand right after the meeting unlocks the door with a series of beeps and Prussia ducks inside the dark room without preamble.

Romano sighs as Prussia slips underneath the covers, settling against his back.

“Cold,” Romano murmurs as Prussia slips a hand underneath his shirt.

Prussia presses a kiss against his neck and replies, “Warm.”

Chapter Text

The flicker catches her attention, draws her in. A gentle warmth that does little to dispel the everlasting winter, but carries light—a promise.

Belarus watches the little flame dance, bright orange and distracting. Promises mean little in their lives, human intervention more often that not derailing every promise a nation has ever made to another. They mean little, but they mean a lot.

Candles, too, mean little, yet also a lot.

She watches it flicker, follows a drop of wax as it slides down the side, stains the brass, and licks her fingers, extinguishing the flame.

At least she could control that.

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It shouldn’t have surprised Gabrielle as much as it had, but it had.

She probably shouldn’t have peeked either, knowing full well how much she disliked people going through her own notebooks, yet when an old sketchbook dropped from its precarious perch in the hall closet from which she had been retrieving blankets, Gabrielle had been too curious not to.

Small sketches, rough and unsteady at first before smoothing out into cleaner lines, decorated page after page, with the latest entry a sketch of the view from their bedroom window. And Alice had kept them hidden from her.

She retraced her steps to the living room, still flipping between pages as if in a daze. Alice glanced up from her book and froze, eyes darting between the sketchbook and Gabrielle.

“These are gorgeous, Alice,” Gabrielle said softly, smiling gently at her girlfriend, and perched on the armrest of her chair. She handed it back to Alice unprompted, only reaching up to run a hand through Alice’s hair. “I apologize for looking.”

Alice ran her fingers across the cover, eyes conveying not hurt, but a thoughtfulness. “They’re scribbles, for when I’m bored.”

“Very nice scribbles.”

That earned Gabrielle a gentle-yet-not-so-gentle shove off the chair.

“I thought you were getting blankets,” Alice said, dropping the sketchbook on the table before returning to her novel.

Gabrielle smiled and pressed a kiss to Alice’s cheek.

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They had gotten to know each other through their little brothers—and according to their little brothers many, many years later it had been sexual tension at first sight. Lovino refused to admit he held anything but disdain for the elder Beilschmidt, while Gilbert had instantly jumped on the “let’s see how red we can make Lovino because he’s so cute, caring for his little brother like he does” bandwagon.

But they dealt with each other because their eight-year-old brothers were best friends and they, as the good caretakers that they were, often met up at various locations to indulge them.

One such an instance found them soaked to the bone, huddled on the doormat in the Beilschmidt residence as Gilbert had scuttled down to the bathroom to get towels.

Lovino ignored his own discomfort in favour of fussing over Feliciano, and then Ludwig because the poor kid was shivering violently. Gilbert returned just as Lovino helped Ludwig out of his shoes, Feliciano bouncing excitedly on his bare feet, chattering about everything. Snatching the towel from Gilbert’s hands, Lovino set to drying Ludwig’s hair. Gilbert snorted and beckoned for Feliciano.

“You suck,” Lovino grumbled as Gilbert threw a towel over his head, the boys having been ushered into the bathroom for a quick warm bath.

“Would hot chocolate make it better?” Gilbert offered, stepping behind Lovino to dry his hair.

Feliciano twisted in the tub, excitedly babbling that he would love hot chocolate and so would Ludwig, right, yes? And Ludwig nodded because Feliciano had a really good point. Lovino gave them both a look, seated on the trashcan as Gilbert towels his hair.

But his shoulders slumped, because hot chocolate really did sound nice, and he reached behind him, caught the collar of Gilbert’s shirt and pulled him closer. Waiting until the boys were distracted by their toys in the tub, he turned his head slightly, brushed his lips against the stubble of Gilbert’s jaw and whispered, “Only if I get a back rub tonight as well.”

Gilbert laughed and pressed a kiss to Lovino’s cheek. “Promise.”

Chapter Text

Matthew is panicking, which is silly because it isn’t that big of a deal. It isn’t, but oh, God, it’s such a big deal.

Except… except they’ve been living together ever since Matthew retrieved him from behind that God-awful wall and they had been a couple since the eighties when they had danced to There Is a Light that Never Goes Out and Gilbert had said, “thank you,” and Matthew had kissed him. And now, after forty-or-so years, Matthew wants to ask Gilbert to marry him.

Oh, a ring shouldn’t weigh as much as this little titanium band seems to weigh, but it’s heavy and Matthew seriously thinks it’s what’s keeping him from entering the living room.

He feels so utterly silly, and childish, so very young in comparison to Gilbert. Their relationship is so young also and it’s not as if nations really need to get married anyway, not unless something in their politics forces their lands to combine in some form. But Matthew, nor Canada, has any interest in combining with former Prussia, now honorary East Germany, mainly because you couldn’t combine with half a nation and he had no interest in marrying Germany as well (and he doubted Italy would appreciate it either). So really it was just a ceremony to claim Gilbert, the man, as his husband and nothing big at all.

Yet, standing in the cold, dark hallway isn’t going to achieve anything at all. Plus, Gilbert should be getting suspicious of Matthew’s absence because he had only said he’d go to the toilet.

Breathing deeply, Matthew manages the huge steps into the light of the living room. Gilbert is still sprawled on the carpet, controller in hand, tongue peeking out, eyes glued to the TV. Matthew sinks to the floor next to him and Gilbert glances at him, pauses, allows his character to die in favour of giving Matthew his attention. Gilbert knows something is going on; he always does.

Matthew fiddles nervously, twisting his fingers into the material of his sweater until Gilbert reaches over and takes them in his own.

“Mattie?” he asks, rubbing soothing circles in the skin by his thumb. “Remember our talk about blurting out what’s on our minds?”

Somehow, that dissipates some of his nervousness. Matthew snorts. “That was applicable to you, Gil, and it involved not doing that in front of the Prime Minister.”

“Eh.” Gilbert shrugs, grinning crookedly. “And you should do it more often, so come on. Spill.”

Matthew opens his mouth, shyly glancing at his hands still being held by Gilbert. His stomach is in knots and he wonders if there’s an easier way to do this. He pauses then, because there is an easier way to do this, when words are failing him yet again. He carefully extracts a hand from Gilbert, smiling quickly before reaching for his trouser pocket.

“Close your eyes,” he manages to whisper, and by now Gilbert must know what Matthew is up to because he has Gilbert’s left hand in his and Gilbert isn’t exactly stupid, but he still goes along with Matthew’s request, long white lashes fluttering against his cheeks.

He fumbles just a little with the ring, but pushing it onto Gilbert’s ring finger, squeezing his hand, Matthew feels just enough confidence to ask, “Will you marry me?”

Gilbert blinks open his eyes, glances down at the simple titanium band and just sits very still for a moment. Then he presses a hand against his mouth and chuckles, a little breathlessly. “Don't you normally ask first and then put the ring on?”

Matthew blushes, but, digging through whatever romance he has ever learnt from Francis, he feels confident enough to say, “I figured you wouldn't be able to resist,” then feels a little light-headed.

Laughing, Gilbert’s cups Matthew’s cheek and kisses him. “I guess I can't.”

Chapter Text

The colours of the setting sun bled into each other, leaving a gradient of soft colours until it hit the horizon. Red, deep and saturated, cut into soft pink and dipped behind the horizon.

Spain didn’t like it.

The sun was not supposed to set, not on him, not on his lands, not on his people. He fought and killed and bled and red and red and red—

The sun did not set.

Midday in New Spain. No red, not yet.

And when the Americas bleed too, he goes to the East Indies, and perhaps he stops shortly in India, in one of Portugal’s cities, just to piss off England, and then he’s back in Spain.

The sun never sets.

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Prussia is too light a sleeper to not notice the footsteps outside of his door. They pace up and down, pause, scuffle a little against the carpet, then starts pacing again. He knows whose they are, knows the familiar hesitation, knows to wait for the inevitable knock.

It never comes.

He sits up, staring at the door as the footsteps retreat. He holds his breath, hopes for them to pause again, for them to turn around.

They don’t.

The blankets fall to the floor as he stumbles from the bed and nearly rips the door from its hinges. It bangs against the wall loud enough to probably wake the entire hotel, but Prussia can’t particularly bring himself to care.

Romano is about three steps from the elevator and jumps, staring back at Prussia.

Prussia doesn’t actually know what to say, so he opens his arms because he recognizes that look on Romano’s face. It’s the look that says, I’m really fucked up because I’m not what I’m supposed to be and so I’m really upset because I can’t be who I need to be, and Prussia hates it with a passion.

Romano is warm and smells faintly of flowers as Prussia wraps her in a hug, tugging her inside the room and setting her on the bed.

“I love you,” Prussia says, squeezing her hand and pressing a kiss to her cheek, then lips. “No matter.”

Chapter Text

Why is it so difficult to escape? To break free of those chains and restrictions and rules and reminders and ‘what’s wrong with yous’?

Romano stares at her reflection, hates that she has to think his reflection. Not today. Honestly, not even yesterday, but she managed to make it through all right, but now she’s in her closet and the suits are giving her anxiety and she doesn’t want to be a disappointment and—

She doesn’t even realize she’s crying until Prussia enters the room, blinks at her and says hesitantly, “Lovi?”

It hurts and breaks and shatters and she slumps to the floor, Prussia looking more than just alarmed now as he drops down next to her. He asks if he can touch her and she leans into him because he’s warm and a comfort and she might just lose him with what she’s going to blurt out any moment now so she wants what little more she can get from him.

“Chiara,” she sobs. “Please, I—”

Prussia pauses minutely as he runs his fingers soothingly through her hair. “Chiara?”

She isn’t exactly sure what she expects, but she cries harder as he sighs softly and kisses her head, settling her a little more comfortably in his lap.

“All right, okay. Chiara.” He nods. “That’s cool. I’m Gilbert. Have you seen my girlfriend? She’s supposed to be here somewhere, but all I can find is this pretty nifty water fountain.”

Chiara snorts, then hiccoughs, burying her nose against his collarbone. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

“No,” Norway warned, holding up a foot in a silent threat. His book had slipped to the floor, blanket halfway there, and he used the armrest as leverage behind him for an eventual quick escape if needed.

Denmark blinked innocently, knee on the other armrest, a whole couch cushion filled with dangerous kicking obstacles between him and Norway. He eyed the battlefield warily, licking his lips as he shifted, trying to find the rug so his socked feet wouldn’t slip.

“What?” he asked, and carefully placed placed a hand next to Norway’s other foot. “I just want to cuddle?”

Norway narrowed his eyes, but lowered his socked weapon, giving Denmark the opportunity to pounce and crawl up and over him, settling partially on top, trapping Norway’s legs safely away from his privates. There was a pause where Norway watched him warily, but then he slowly unwound, shuffling a little as he made himself comfortable again.

“So, are you ticklish, Norway?” Denmark repeated thoughtfully.

Norway was quick to take defencive position, but Denmark was quicker, settling his full weight on him as he dug his fingers in his side, gaining breathless snorts and laughs as Norway clawed at him. Wiggling was not working in his favour at all, and Denmark had him quite pinned, so Norway focused on getting his leg free again, managing to raise it up and before slamming it down on Denmark’s back, throwing the other off enough to roll them both off the couch.

He landed heavily on top of Denmark, breathing heavily against his neck as Denmark laughed, running his fingers through Norway’s hair soothingly. Denmark pressed a kiss against his forehead, so Norway retaliated by biting his collarbone.

“Can we still cuddle though?” Denmark asked.

Norway sighed, pressing a small, barely noticeable kiss to where he had bitten before. “Yeah, sure.”

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Lovino really couldn’t care less about the dirt on his clothes, or the rocks and branches digging into his back, or the leaves he would have to comb from his hair later. None of that mattered when Antonio hovered over him, hand on the curve of his ass, mouthing red marks into his neck.

He moaned, arching his back as Antonio’s other hand reached in between them and touched him. Digging his nails in Antonio’s shoulders, he wanted to say something biting to Antonio’s breathless chuckle, but he quickly forgot about it again as Antonio rolled his hips.

Antonio shifted slightly to press his lips to Lovino’s, green eyes travelling to his hair. He had to release Lovino—which did not make him whine; he refused!—so he could balance on his forearm as he ran his fingers through thick auburn curls.

“So pretty,” Antonio sighed.

“Fucking—” Lovino’s foul retort was cut short by another well-aimed thrust, eyes rolling back as Antonio finally picked up the pace.

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They probably shouldn’t have used the fabrics Romano had meant to turn into colourful summer dresses for Belgium and Veneziano, but he was far beyond the point of caring now.

Beside, they served a purpose, a very fine and expensive way to fulfil that purpose, sure, but that suited Romano just perfectly if it meant he could finally shut Prussia up for longer than five minutes.

The deep red-patterned sash stood starkly against Prussia’s teeth and skin, made his eyes that much more intriguing as they followed Romano eagerly. His hands were tied to the headboard and he bucked his hips as Romano trailed kisses down his stomach and along his hipbone.

The muffled whine was absolutely worth indulging Prussia in whatever filthy fantasies he had, Romano reflected, biting the inside of Prussia’s thigh for a repeat experience.

Chapter Text

There was something about Lovino illuminated by the orange light of the setting sun that made Gilbert’s heart do things it was not supposed to do. It was even worse now with Lovino’s thick thighs pressed against his hips, hand splayed on his chest, muscle working to keep a steady rhythm.

In a way, Lovino looked like art, bronzed and glowing, stark features framed by dark curls, golden eyes fixed on Gilbert’s. Very moving and physical art, that hurled a lot of insults his way when he was being particularly cheeky and said cheesy stuff like that out loud.

Now, though, Lovino hunched forward, traced light fingers along Gilbert’s jaw, and murmured, “Gorgeous,” leaving Gilbert breathless as he kissed him.

Chapter Text

She feels just a little silly in her new dress, nervously brushing her hair behind her ear, only for it to bounce back into place.

It’s her first time going out in public after coming out to Gilbert, and she wonders if he would recognize her. Oh, she really hopes she hasn’t made a mistake in telling him.

Chiara worries at her lip, but stops immediately when she tastes the lipstick. On the one hand, it’s a perfect habit-breaker. On the other, she feels she might have overdone it, and she smooths out the creases in her dress in an attempt to ease her conscious.

A tap on the shoulder and she turns, blinking at a small bouquet of red roses presented to her with that big dopey grin of his.

“I heard you’re supposed to bring roses on your first date with a girl so—” He chuckles, if a little sheepish, and she smiles as he cups her cheek.

“Thank you.”

He kisses her, then makes a face as he pulls back. “This is gonna be a real struggle, Chiara. Public kissing is gonna be way easier, sure, but damn, lipstick tastes gross.”

She laughs, wrapping him in a quick hug, almost mushing the roses between their chests.

No, she realizes, she does not regret telling him.

Chapter Text

When America slammed into his back, drunk and on a mission, Lithuania should have gathered that his evening was about to take a turn, though in what direction was still up in the air. As up in the air as the piece of mistletoe dangling above his head in the doorway, and he glanced down to find Belarus looking at him, face carefully blank.

“Oh,” Lithuania said, turning his head to see America tumble over the back of the couch, right on Russia’s lap. If he was distracted, then the evening had a lot less chance of turning too awful, he supposed.

A soft hand held his chin, kept his face in place, and Lithuania stood stiffly until very soft lips kissed his cheek. He blinked, glanced at Belarus as she brushed her hair behind her ear.

Lithuania laughed, then leaned forward to press a quick kiss to her lips. He didn’t miss the small smile that graced them as she ducked back into the crowd.

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Early morning, cold winter air and no immediate obligations made Norway want to huddle further into the warm covers and drift off for a good hour more.

Denmark snored softly beside him, and that was still a little new, still very unknown, but his arms around Norway’s waist were just as warm and cozy as the covers and just as good to huddle into.

He twisted around, pressed his nose against Denmark’s cutely scrunched up one before kissing him, and he wriggled down so he could cuddle, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend with a happy little sigh.

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Spain was just chatting with Belgium before the start of the meeting when Romano walked up to him, tilted his head and pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth before continuing on his way to Greece.

Spain stared after him, thread of the conversation forgotten as Belgium giggled. He touched his lips, more a reminder that that had actually happened, then glanced back at her for confirmation.

She shrugged, clasping her hands behind her back. “Cute,” she sang, stressing the vowel to ridiculous proportions.

Hiding his face in his hands momentarily to will his blush away, Spain spied Romano grinning cheekily at him from the other side of the room, and he wondered if Germany would postpone the meeting on grounds of heart palpitations.

Chapter Text

America was so stupidly jittery before he had to present in a meeting. He kept bouncing on his feet, fiddling with his tie, undoing and redoing his buttons, twisting his cufflinks, absolutely unable to stand still.

It was pissing Romano off.

“If you lose those, I will kill you,” he said, taking America’s hands in his. “They were expensive.”

America licked his lips, eyebrows slanted down as he met Romano’s frown. “I’m sorry. I’m just…” He rolled his shoulders, foot tapping out a nonsense rhythm on the carpet.

“Nervous, I know.” Romano had the urge to skip the meeting altogether if it meant America would stop worrying, but that meant reproving looks from Germany and possibly another lecture from his own damn brother, so instead he kissed him.

It had the desired effect of stopping America’s movements, so Romano dropped his hands and straightened America’s tie and lapels.

“You’ll do fine, Al,” Romano said, splaying his hands on America’s chest, and pressed another quick kiss to his lips.

Chapter Text

She wanted nothing more than to be in control, at any and all times, needing that little bit of security in the face of relentless submission.

He was used to being in control, to have his life in his own hands and to make his own decisions, a feeling so ingrained that when he lost it, he no longer knew who he was.

Together they seek for a way to alleviate their needs, their wishes, their powerlessness. They gravitate toward each other, kindred spirits in the face of their current adversity.

When they kiss, it’s so neither has to feel they lost something, a mutual surrender.

Chapter Text

The one evening Tino comes home late, the one evening the company he worked for had a major data loss and he had to work overtime, is the one evening he really shouldn’t have come home late.

He finds Berwald seated at the kitchen table, head bowed, glasses lying next to the letter Berwald still seems to be reading.

Tino knows. He doesn’t have to read the letter to figure it out.

He lifts Berwald’s face gently, presses his lips to his cheeks, to where the tears still glisten in the light.

“We could always ask Luka. She did offer,” Tino says softly, and crumples the rejection letter to be burned in the fireplace later.

Berwald presses his forehead against Tino’s shoulder, and Tino reaches up to run his fingers through his hair.

“Later. Need to—” Berwald chokes, fingers curling around Tino’s waist, pulling him down on his lap and wrapping him into a firm hug. He needs the comfort, and Tino murmurs soothingly, deciding that this is the last time he’s going to let Berwald break down over this.

Chapter Text

 

Belgium keeps giggling, trailing her fingers over Hungary’s arm. She shifts, presses closer to Hungary in the already limited space available to them.

Hungary holds Belgium’s hips, can’t stop smiling herself as Belgium rubs her nose against hers.

They don’t really have to hide, but it’s all still so fresh to them, so very new, that they prefer to still be lost in their own little world, away from prying eyes and whispered gossip. So once the world meeting had been suspended for a break, they had sneaked off to a little deserted hallway, squeezed in an old, shallow niche, and just spent their time touching, getting to know each other further.

They kiss, and it’s soft and sweet and loving, wanting nothing more than to make each other happy.

Belgium sighs as Hungary trails more kisses down her neck, simple little pecks that border on ticklish, and wonders if she could get Romano to cover for her if she and Hungary conveniently wouldn’t return to the meeting.

Chapter Text

Denmark was huddled in bed in about five blankets, feeling utterly miserable and for once not trying to cheer himself out of it. There was nothing fun about being ill, about his brain either working too slow or too fast, or the shivers running down his spine, or the fever ravishing his body. Not even the prospect of not going in for work couldn’t cheer him up.

He really wished he had some soup, or the ability to open his eyes without feeling about twenty times worse.

The door clicked open and the mattress depressed where Norway sat down. He ran a hand through Denmark’s messy bangs as the other moaned in mild despair.

“You should’ve texted me,” Norway said softly. “Have you eaten anything?”

Denmark mumbled something that might be words, and Norway leaned over to press a kiss to his sweaty forehead.

Chapter Text

It’s been too long, Herakles reflects as he waits for the car to arrive. He’s been pacing up and down his house, his garden, and even took a long walk along the cliff side to stop himself from fidgeting too much.

Three years, with only letters and rough drafts of Lovino’s latest works. Three years of Herakles meaninglessly living his life like he used to, caught between farming and disappointing his family. Three years since that fateful week in Paris, where his life changed forever.

The low rumble of a car had Herakles drop one of his cats. Demeter skitters away, and Herakles briefly wonders if he should set up a prayer against a bad harvest, but then the gravel crunches behind him and he forgets about it immediately.

He turns slowly, misses the driver nodding his goodbye as he’s captivated by Lovino, and doesn’t know what to do. They stare at each other long enough for the car to drive away, and suddenly it’s them and only them and the world doesn’t matter—

Lovino drops his suitcase and walks swiftly up to Herakles, pulls down his face and kisses him breathless. He pulls away momentarily, enough for his golden eyes to search Herakles’, desperately, achingly, happily—and Herakles smiles, forgets about any nerves at all, and kisses him again, pouring all his own happiness and love into it.

Chapter Text

He’s drunk. Feliks is so very drunk, though he pretends not to be, and is failing miserably at that too.

He saunters down the street, all big gestures and excited babbling as he trips over nothing in particular. He stumbles, clasping his arms around Toris’ shoulders, and it takes the help of a streetlight for them to not fall.

Feliks laughs against Toris’ throat, hot breath ghosting over his Adam’s apple. He is no help whatsoever as Toris tries to manoeuvre him so they don't crash to the pavement, but his own laughter rings loudly in the night.

“Tor,” and Feliks rolls the r until he can't breathe. He sputters, snorts, slumps just a little more against Toris. “You're—” He draws back, must have tried to poke Toris’ nose, but missed and his red nail scrapes along his cheek instead. He tries again, slowly, following the shape of Toris’ lips with his thumbs, angles up to press his forefinger against Toris’ nose. “You're cute.”

Toris hums, arms wrapped around Feliks’ waist to keep him upright. He plays with the ribbon at the back of his shirt until Feliks begins to tilt again and he has to grab him firmly.

“And you're drunk,” he laughs, manages somehow to manoeuvre Feliks against his side, one arm wrapped around his waist, the other pushing away from the streetlight before quickly reaching out to grab Feliks’ hand as he stumbles.

“Very,” Feliks agrees, clasping tightly to Toris.

Belatedly, Toris realizes that the steps Feliks makes are from a waltz, and how Feliks even has the mental capacity to do those correctly even as they walk is beyond Toris, but he allows Feliks to drag him along.

Feliks attempts to twirl Toris, which works only because Toris trips, and through some strange miracle he ends in a dip, though the miracle’s name is Feliks, Blackpool dance competitor and winner.

Despite this, even Toris knows that Feliks has bowed too low and that tumbling to the pavement is a matter of gravity. Yet before that can happen, Toris decides to help it along and he reaches up to cup Feliks’ jaw. He kisses him, straining his neck a little.

The wind is knocked from Toris as Feliks lands heavily on top of him, and further more as he continues kissing him. And it's disgustingly sloppy and tastes of vodka, but Toris wouldn't trade it for the world, wrapping his arms around Feliks.

Chapter Text

 

Natalya absently stirs her caramel latte, eyes faraway as she waits for Toris. She had ordered for him too, and smoke curls lazily above the cup of espresso.

The door opens and a flurry of snow follows him inside. His cheeks are flushed as he drops in the chair opposite of her and he smiles, touching her hand shortly in thanks.

“One day, I'll be here before you, Natasha,” he says as he rubs his hands together. “Ah, it's freezing.”

Natalya hums, returns his smile shortly, perhaps a little stiffly because he pauses, leans closer.

She stomps her nerves and says, “Once you learn how to read a clock, maybe.”

He laughs, throws his head back when he does, eyes shining. He wags his finger as he smiles teasingly, and his knees bump against hers as he scoots his chair closer to the table. “ ‘Maybe,’ she says! How unfair! I brave traffic and a winter storm—my very life!—to meet up with you.”

Natalya snorts as he huffs dramatically, obviously having hung around Feliks too long.

Gathering her confidence, she reaches across the table and takes his hand, brushes her fingers against the cold skin. He eyes her, but opens up his long fingers for her to caress.

“And I appreciate your sacrifice greatly,” she says, runs her fingers lightly up to his wrist. “I…” The words stick in her throat and she lowers her eyes, feeling foolish.

Toris is quiet, but then he lifts her chin with his free hand, smiles kindly as their eyes meet. “You?” he prompts softly.

She licks her lips, braces her arm on the table so she has the leverage to bridge the small gap between them and press their lips together in a chaste, coffee-scented kiss.

“I love you,” she says as she falls back in her chair, embarrassed and hiding it in her coffee cup.

Toris stares at her, hand hovering over his mouth. Then, he smiles, begins to laugh, reaches forward to lower the cup away from her face, placing it firmly on the table and taking her hand in his.

“I see,” he says and touches her cheek with his free hand. “I love you too.”

Chapter Text

 

Lovino glowered at nothing in particular. He was cold, wet and in an all-around foul mood, and not even a coffee or his brother’s attempts at complaining could alleviate his piss-poor attitude.

He just wasn't made to be woken at ungodly hours to drive to the airport, having to deal with his brother’s disgusting displays of farewell as he froze his ass off in the German winter.

And now, he found himself stood outside, at six fucking am, in the fucking rain, in German fucking winter weather, all due to a fucking technical malfunction, whatever the fuck that was supposed to mean.

He wrapped his scarf a little tighter around his throat, a near attempt at strangling himself just to be done with it, and glared at the fire truck stood before him. Feliciano stood next to him, anxiously hopping from foot to foot, gnawing on his lip.

“How long are they going to have us freeze to death out here,” Lovino snarled loudly, eyeing a man dressed in a yellow jacket.

Feliciano tugged at his arm, a warning on his lips, but Lovino ignored him. He had half a mind to go back inside, life be damned, because he was starting to lose feeling in his fingers.

Lovino stood on the tips of his toes to try and glance over the crowd, but there was nothing to see but stupidly tall Germans. Just as he rocked back on his heels, he met a pair of green eyes, and he scowled more, glancing away. He rubbed his hands together, breathed into the cup of his hands to attempt to warm them.

He startled as someone touched his shoulder and he once more met those startlingly green eyes, set in a handsome face framed by messy curls. The man smiled; Lovino frowned.

“Gloves?” he asked in Italian, offering a pair of sleek black gloves.

Lovino stared at them, then back up at the man. The smile didn't falter.

“What?”

“You're cold. I heard.” The man’s eyes twinkled as he pushed his gloves into Lovino’s fumbling fingers. “I don't need them.”

Lovino opened his mouth, closed it again as someone shouted something German and Feliciano said they could go back inside. When Lovino looked back, the man had vanished, and he still had the gloves clutched tightly in his fingers.

“He was cute,” Feliciano said as they followed everyone back inside, grinning as Lovino fingered the gloves absently. “You should've asked his number.”

“He was weird,” Lovino huffed, then paused as he felt something firm when he tried to ball the gloves.

Confused, he reached inside one of them and retrieved a card. A business card, on name of Antonio Fernández Carriedo, ES/IT/DU/FR/EN translator, with a phone number printed in neat letters. On it, written in Italian, stood, call me, complete with a winkey face.

Lovino touched his cheek, covered the laugh that escaped his lips and stuffed the gloves in his pocket. He carefully put the card in his wallet, then snorted again.

“It's too fucking early for this,” he muttered.

Chapter Text

Throughout his life, Poland had made many promises he hadn't kept. It was difficult to when you were a country, when you had duties to your people and your leaders, when you didn't have a choice to listen when ordered.

Yet, he tried. He desperately tried to keep them, or make them lenient enough so he could, but he couldn't do more than try.

Lithuania knew this too, so he never asked for them. Instead, when Poland came to him, clothes in tatters and tears pouring down his face, Lithuania promised him.

Pressing his lips to Poland’s gently, he whispered his promises: to love him, to take care of him, to never hurt him purposefully, to make him feel safe and loved, no matter if the world turned against him time and time again. With every promise, another kiss until he lingered, and Poland’s arms wrapped around him.

Kissing him deeply, Poland conveyed his own promises, his trust, his love, his being. Lithuania understood, he always did.

And that was enough.

Chapter Text

Antonio doesn't quite know how it happened, and didn't realize it had happened until someone pointed it out to him, but somewhere along the line, he had begun dating Lovino.

It had been such a gradual shift, with the tiniest changes in behaviour and interactions, that Antonio had just gone along with, hadn't questioned ever. How Lovino began to touch him more, innocently at first, by steering him by the elbow whenever he was lost in thought, until he began to place his hand on Antonio’s back just whenever, a warm comfort that Antonio leaned into. How Lovino stayed over for dinner, or invited him over instead, which would eventually lead to either simply staying over, to having breakfast and lunch together, until Lovino seemed to very rarely ever be at his own apartment. How his kisses had strayed from his cheek to his lips, and really, that should've told Antonio enough, but somehow it had become so habitual that he completely forgot that that wasn't exactly something friends did.

He hadn't thought of it at all until one evening, when Gilbert and Francis were over, Lovino entered the house with his key, which Antonio had given him for emergencies. Gilbert and Francis had watched, confused, as Lovino had leaned over Antonio’s shoulder, asked something about meeting his family, and, as Antonio turned his head to answer him, kissed him full on the mouth, sauntering off to the kitchen after Antonio gave his answer.

“What was that?” Gilbert asked.

“Hm?” Antonio played a card. “What was what?”

Gilbert and Francis shared a look.

Francis ventured, “You never told us you and Lovino were in a relationship.”

Antonio blinked, stared at them, dropped his cards on the table and walked to the kitchen. He replayed every interaction he and Lovino had had the past months, realized with sudden clarity that, yes, they were.

“We’re dating?” he asked Lovino, who was reading the label on the milk carton in front of the fridge.

Lovino looked up, appeared as confused as Antonio, but apparently for different reasons. “Yes?”

“Oh,” Antonio said, scratching his head. “Since when?”

“What do you mean, ‘since when’?” Lovino replaced the milk and closed the fridge, frowning. “Since April, dipshit.”

It was November.

Antonio opened his mouth, decided this wasn't worth an argument, and laughed instead. He laughed until his stomach hurt and he bent double, clutching the counter as he snorted. Lovino looked as if he'd lost his mind, and maybe he had, because apparently they had been dating for half a year without Antonio’s knowledge and he didn't even care.

“I love you,” Antonio said breathlessly, still recovering.

Lovino raised an eyebrow, wrapping his arms around Antonio’s neck as Antonio placed his hands on Lovino’s hips.

“Love you too,” he said, bemused, as Antonio kissed him.

Chapter Text

 

Lovino loved waking up to Gilbert snoring into his shoulder, if only because it was so very rare for Lovino to be awake before his husband. It generally meant that Lovino had fucked him to heaven and back, which meant that getting up wasn't on anyone’s mind for the time being, which meant that the world could go to hell for all Lovino cared.

He wriggled until Gilbert mumbled and his arms slackened from around his waist, giving Lovino the space to turn around and press closer.

Tangling his legs between Gilbert’s, Lovino brushed his thumbs over his cheeks, follows the line of his cheekbones, tickled him behind his ears before brushing back his hair. Gilbert mumbled incoherently, nuzzling closer, and Lovino pressed soft kisses against his hairline, chuckling as Gilbert’s arms tightened around him.

“Good morning,” Lovino muttered, and received a pinch in his butt in reply. He squeaked, and Gilbert’s throaty laugh felt wonderful against his neck.

“Morning,” he answered and rolled onto his back, taking Lovino with him. He winced slightly, shifting a little while Lovino made himself comfortable against his side, fingers splayed on his chest. “I’m never leaving the bed again.”

Lovino grinned and pressed a kiss against his chest. “Don’t worry, caro. I’ll take care of you today.”