The two had a very strong bond. They were inseperable.
Other people that saw them together in public wondered how they could even stand being around each other. Gnocchi was very serious, logic based, and had a very dry and even dark sense of humor, as well as a very low tolerance. Valentino on the other hand was a very perky and exciteable person, was very emotional, and carried himself in a way that made everyone know he wanted the fashion spotlight. That lifelong dream of his to be famous hadn't faultered in the slightest as he grew up.
They had went to the grocery store to do their first of the month bulk shopping, and saw America and his 2p with their own sons, Johnathan and Alexander.
Johnathan was very fiery and short tempered. His hair was the same blonde as America's aside from the cowlick, which was the same reddish brown as 2p!America's hair. He shared the same red eyes as 2p!America, and had slightly less tan skin. His voice was a bit deeper than America's but still sounded close to the same.
Alexander could easily have been mistaken for Canada's child if you went by personality alone. He was very sweet and friendly. Even his voice was sweet, it was soft and almost like a gentle whisper, which sounded like a teenage America in pitch. He had blue eyes, pale skin, and his hair color was the reverse of Johnathan's.
"Gnocchi! Valentino! Hey dudes!" America yelled.
Gnocchi and Valentino walked over.
"Hello everyone. I see you're doing some first of the month shopping as well?" Gnocchi said politely.
"Uh huh." Alexander said sweetly. "Dad decided to go with how you guys do it these past few months and it's actually helped us a lot."
Gnocchi looked at 2p!America, and got a shrug and a lopsided grin in response.
"Eh. It helps." 2p!America said casually.
Johnathan had been looking sideways at Gnocchi while he stood behind Alexander. He'd always decided to yell at Gnocchi when he'd been angry, even when they were very small. He never did more because even though Gnocchi didn't advertise it, Johnathan knew he could crush him into a bloody pulp in one hit even as kids. He didn't want Valentino on his case either. The cousins were nobody to fuck around with, especially if the other one was involved somehow. Johnathan considered his affectionate emotions weakness, and hated showing them, but deep down he had always regretted going off on Gnocchi. He'd always thought of Gnocchi and Valentino as friends and appreciated their tolerance of his temper, but never wanted to throw his pride away and say it.
"You going to say something or just stare daggers at me all day? Your look is so sharp I can literally feel it poking me." Gnocchi said to Johnathan.
Johnathan only huffed loudly, crossed his arms and looked away with an angry pout. America and his 2p both rolled their eyes at him and continued to talk with Gnocchi and Valentino for a while, with Alexander joining in occasionally. They all eventually said their goodbyes and continued their shopping.
"What was I going to look for next again? They cut off my train of thought.."
"Nutella, right?" Valentino asked.
"Oh. Right. Thank you, Valentino." Gnocchi replied with a small smile.
Valentino's heart fluttered when he got that smile. Gnocchi was worse than Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and Netherlands combined when it came to faking emotional expressions like smiles. He always had a half lidded and angry look to him by default. Even when he was at his most passionate or excited, he never smiled. Valentino felt honored that the one he loved most could genuinely smile at him.
He had very intense feelings for Gnocchi. The very definition of "taboo" if he was honest. He knew Gnocchi was open to almost everything when it came to romance as long as it was genuine, but he didn't know where Gnocchi stood on incest. Valentino knew he had a guilty pleasure of romance novels dealing with forbidden love, but most of them were pertaining to the whole WWII Nazi soldier and American woman scenario. He didn't know about the others though. They just seemed like Twilight levels of cheesiness between enemy creatures when he skimmed through them and read the summaries on the backs.
Valentino was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't notice they were done shopping until he felt the car come to a stop as their car pulled into the driveway. He blanked out again after that, his body and mind on autopilot as he helped Gnocchi bring the groceries in and put them away.
"Valentino. What's wrong?"
Valentino snapped back to reality again as he heard the slight concern in Gnocchi's voice.
"Sorry. I'm just super lost in thought." Valentino gave a smile.
Gnocchi raised an eyebrow curiously, but didn't say anyhting else about it.
After that, Valentino had been able to focus again and he helped Gnocchi make dinner. They had a certain mashed potato dish that Germany invented himself one night a long time ago for the two the night before, so they decided to make some lasagna tonight.
Any pasta dish was Valentino's specialty. Gnocchi could cook everything else. Like Germany, he was a master of his craft when it came to baking and sweets. It didn't help that Gnocchi had a much more intense sweet tooth than Valentino did, and sweets were Valentino's metaphorical lifelline.
They ate in silence aside from comments about how good everything tasted and compliments to each other on the certain things they put into the meal. The silence brought Valentino back to his thoughts. He was remembering a time long ago when they were still kids, and they were eating some double chocolate cake Germany had baked for them as an after school snack.
"So, did anything intersting happen at school today?" Germany asked them as he took a piece of his own slice of the cake and took a bite.
"Well," Gnocchi said, "this new boy came to our class from some city way up north. He was really nice, and he was really cute too."
Valentino and Germany both looked at him in surprise as he casually ate his cake as if he didn't say anything.
"Wait, you're talking about Hugh right?" Valentino asked.
"No way, I'm SO much cuter than him! His hair is all short and choppy looking, and his head looks wierd!"
Germany chuckled a bit and shook his head.
"You seem to really fancy this Hugh boy don't you Gnocchi?"
Gnocchi nodded again and smiled dreamily.
"Yeah, he likes to draw like I do, and we drew a picture together for our art assingment. It was a little contest thing actually and we won." Gnocchi grinned as he recalled the excited hug Hugh had given him when the teacher told them they had won.
Germany noticed Gnocchi's expression and grinned himself.
"You sound like you have a crush on him or something." Germany said with a slight chuckle.
Gnocchi chewed the piece of cake in his mouth for a moment and absentmindedly waved his fork around as he thought about it.
"Y'know, I just might, now that I think about it."
"No way Gnocchi!" Valentino yelled and pouted. "I won't let you go out with some weirdo like him!"
Germany couldn't hold back his laughter anymore as Valentino went on about what he didn't like about Hugh. Gnocchi just smiled and rolled his eyes.
"It's not like he's replacing you, Valentino." Gnocchi finally said after Valentino had calmed down.
Valentino seemed to instantly relax at those words.
"You thought Gnocchi was trying to replace you?" Germany looked at Valentino with a slight sad look.
Valentino looked down and nodded.
"Valentino, I've already sworn that I'm never leaving your side. Even if I find a boyfriend or girlfriend or whatver my preference is when I'm older, I'm still going to stay by your side. We even promised each other that we'd live together, remember?"
Valentino smiled brightly at Gnocchi and nodded again, this time a lot more happily.
Gnocchi smiled back and pat Valentino's head gently. The three went back to talking about various school related issues and grades and such.
That was ten years ago. They were twelve. They're both twenty two now. Gnocchi really had kept to his word and didn't seem like he would change his mind anytime soon. If he did at all that is. Valentino also had a small memory about how Hugh had come out as pan to Valentino in their freshman year in high school and told him he did it because he was scared to do it to Gnocchi, and that was the first time ever he had felt sympathy for the guy. He promised to tell Gnocchi for him, and the thankful look he was given somehow managed to quell those insecurities about Hugh. Valentino had indeed told Gnocchi, and the unintersted look he was given and the monotone "So?" surprised Valentino immensely. He didn't think Gnocchi wouldn't care. Gnocchi had held the crush for Hugh well into middle school too. He asked Gnocchi why he gave such a bland reaction, and the answer surprised him even further.
"I'm way over him. It was a puppy crush that somehow lasted a lot longer than it should have. The end of it was almost instant if I recall."
Valentino tried as hard as he could to fight back the urge to scream in joy and jump around. Back then as a kid, he was worried Gnocchi would go off and date some other guy before he could confess his true feelings. The fact that Gnocchi wasn't going anywhere with anyone else anytime soon put him at ease. After that, the memories were over and he slowly came back to the real world.
Gnocchi had long left the dinner table and cleaned up, and he was sitting on the main room sofa with his sketchbook drawing many different dinosaurs to practice various shading techniques. Valentino stood and went to take his own empty plate to the sink to wash it, only to look down to find Gnocchi had done it for him. He smiled and sighed quietly. He walked to the main room and sat down on the floor next to Gnocchi and watched his face as he drew. Music was Valentino's artistic talent, while anything involving drawing, painting, writing, etcetera were Gnocchi's talents. Valentino could draw well too, but it wasn't more than something to do to pass the time as it was a favored hobby and somewhat of a job for Gnocchi considering the may kinds of commisions he did online. Valentino scooted back a bit to see what was on the paper. Gnocchi had turned the page and was drawing his parents in a romantic pose, with various flowers scattered about in a very decorative way. Valentino noted how perfectly Gnocchi could capture feelings in his artwork, and how perfectly he could do facial expressions. He slowed his hand as he went to draw Italy's curl, trying to decide on whether or not he wanted to make it a heart like it was when he was happy and showing affection. He decided to do it, and mumbled disapprovingly when he thought he messed up. Valentino saw absolutely nothing wrong with the picture, and just assumed it was because he may have made the line too wiggly maybe. It wasn't noticeable to him, but apparently it stuck out like a sore thumb to Gnocchi.
"Hey uh...when your done with that picture, will you draw me something?" Valentino asked.
"Sure thing. What do you want me to draw?" Gnocchi replied. Valentino loved how happy and casual his voice sounded when he was in a drawing mood. He usually had a serious or blank tone to his voice otherwise.
Valentino shuffled a bit.
"I want you to draw...us."
"Uh huh." Valentino said, faking a confident look. "I want you to draw us in the best way you can think of! I know you'll do something amazing!"
Gnocchi smiled shyly and glanced away, clearly flattered by Valentino's words. It took a LOT to flatter Gnocchi, but when it came to his passion for art, it was much easier to get him to at least grin a bit than any other time. Valentino felt his face heat up at Gnocchi's shy expression. He was getting overwhelmed right now. Too much about Gnocchi was flooding his brain right now and it was getting to be concerning, at least a little bit.
He finally decided to stand up and go to his and Gnocchi's shared bedroom. He laid down on Gnocchi's side and pulled the blankets close. He tried to steady his breathing, but it was no use. He smelled Gnocchi on the blankets and he was getting fired up. He sighed in exasperation and quickly stood up to pace back and forth.
"Do I do it? Do I not do it? I'll never know if I don't, but I'll risk getting into BIG trouble if I do... I'll start off small. I'll get the conversation going to romantic preferences, and slowly make my way to incest. If he doesn't care, THEN I'll ask him how he feels about me..." Valentino said to himself, trying to prepare for this.
He finally gather up his courage and came back into the main room. Gnocchi had a sweet and loving smile on his face as he drew, and he had gotten all of his best colored pencils and fine tip pens and markers out as well. This picture must have been super important for him. Whatever courage Valentino had gathered threw itself away instantly as he watched his cousin's face.
"How's it going in here?" He said instead.
Gnocchi didn't even look up from his picture, but seemed to smile a bit wider.
"It's going good. This picture is super important to me."
"I can tell," Valentino said, "you've got all your best pens and colored pencils and stuff out to ink and color it."
Gnocchi nodded in response.
"After that one are you going to work on the one of us?"
"This IS the one of us." Gnocchi replied softly as he tried to focus.
A giant wave of bravery hit Valentino harder than it did before, and he had more courage than ever now. That loving look was given to a picture of them together, that HAS to be a good sign!
"Let me know when you're done okay? I'm gonna stay in our room so you can focus."
"Okay. I'll come straight to you when I'm done." Gnocchi answered.
Valentino went back into the bedroom. He closed the door and squealed excitedly the moment he did.
"OH MY GOD I THINK HE MIGHT FEEL THE SAME!" Valentino loudly whispered to himself. He giggled happily.
He went back over to the bed and got back on Gnocchi's side. He didn't even bother to try and restrain himself as he took in Gnocchi's scent. He sighed dreamily and cuddled up in the blankets. He didn't even realize that he had fallen asleep until he began to dream.
"Gnocchi, I...I love you! I'm IN LOVE WITH YOU!" Valentino yelled out.
The utter shock and disgust on Gnocchi's face hit him like a punch to the face with an iron glove.
"What the hell?! That's disgusting Valentino! I didn't think you were like that!" Gnocchi said angrily.
Valentino shook as he held back tears. He didn't think Gnocchi would treat him so badly for having these feelings.
"I don't want to hear it! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE AND NEVER COME BACK!" Gnocchi screamed and viciously pointed at the door.
Valentino sobbed uncontrollably as he ran out of the house.
Valentino shot up with a gasp. He panted and wiped his eyes of the tears that had formed and were falling. He looked over at the clock, and was surprised that he had only been asleep for forty five minutes. That nightmare felt like an eternity.
A gentle set of knocks were heard at the bedroom door.
"I'm done now, Valentino. Can I come in?"
"Of course. It's all good." Valentino said, trying to hide the shakiness in his voice.
Gnocchi opened the door, and slowly made his way over to the bed and sat down by Valentino. He shyly handed the picture over.
"I uh..hope you like it." Gnocchi said softly, his head turned to the side as he blushed.
Valentino looked at the picture and his eyes widened.
It was of them alone, they were both surrounded by a field of flowers and were standing in a pond, clad in white, and what looked to be lacey, long sleeved shirts and pants. The two held each other close, looking into each others eyes with loving smiles on their faces. Valentino noticed that Gnocchi made both of their curls into hearts like he did with his Italy and Germany picture.
"I...I love this. I wanna hang it up on my side of the room and keep it there forever."
Gnocchi looked at Valentino excitedly, though this time a smile was on his face. Valentino looked right back at Gnocchi with a smile of his own. He got up for a moment to place the picture on his desk, then sat back down and faced Gnocchi.
"Hey, I wanna tell you something."
"Yeah?" Gnocchi asked.
"Actually...Just close your eyes." Valentino blushed heavily.
Gnocchi did as he was told and closed his eyes. Valentino took a deep breath before he made his move. He pressed his lips to Gnocchi's gently. Gnocchi opened his eyes wide in shock, but refused to try and stop him. He slowly lifted his hands, just holding them in the air for a moment before deciding on letting them gently cup Valentino's face. Valentino made a soft noise, almost questioning it seemed considering the tone. He grinned and kissed Gnocchi harder, who gladly went along with it. He licked at Valentino's lips, and chuckled a bit when he was instanlty granted access. They didn't stop for a long while, kissing deeply and letting their hands wander. They finally broke the kiss, and looked into each others eyes, similar to how they did in Gnocchi's picture.
"So uh...You feel that way about me huh?" Gnocchi asked, already knowing the answer.
Valentino nodded, and couldn't help but giggle when Gnocchi comically wiggled his eyebrows.
"I always knew you did. I just wanted you to say it for yourself."
"Aaaw, that's not fair! Why did you make me go through all this stress, huh?" Valentino pouted.
"It's a growing experience." Gnocchi replied. "And I know you still want to kiss me. You aren't being slick by glancing between my eyes and my lips you know."
Valentino was on him again. They held each other close and showed their love long into the night.