Germany loves Italy. Italy loves Germany as well.
But this "love" isn't the same.
It has always been like this. No matter how hard Germany tries, the smaller Italian could never understand him. Everyone else assumes that they're dating-even Prussia, who's known Italy before Germany, thinks they're a pair-but Germany couldn't think that way. He's tried, he really did. But the more time he spent with Italy, the more he feels as though Italy was never fully "here". And it hurts. It hurts to hear Italy say "I love you, too!" with a subtext of "as a friend", but every time Italy says "I love you!", Germany would reply with a subtext of "but not the way you love me". Germany is afraid that he'll fall too deep; but distance never helped to quell feelings. He knows, from how his brother distanced himself from Austria even though Prussia clearly loved him. And it hurt Germany to see the fake smile that his brother would plaster onto his face and the false demeanour he would show whenever the Austrian was around. It hurts. And when Hungary came into Austria's life, Germany knew his brother's heart was broken and could never be fixed again.
The shock of having Romano blow a fuse at Italy scarred everyone, since Romano was never truly angry at his younger brother. 'I can't believe how fucking dense you are, Feliciano! Loving that bastard won't bring him back to life!' He'd shouted, stunning the whole meeting into silence. Italy, on the other hand, looked completely terrified. Heaving, Romano left the room with a threat. 'Feliciano Vargas, until you realise what the fuck you've been doing wrong, forget about coming home. If you really are my brother, you'll fix everything.' Germany knew that South Italy was short-tempered and callous with his words, but this was the first time the anger and vulgarities didn't make sense. Not that either of the Italians made any sense. Dazedly, Germany could see Spain rushing out the door, Hungary and Belgium hot on his heels. Beside him, England sighed; a hand over his eyes. France seemed to get a clue on what was going on. It seemed as though the older European nations understood.
What was happening?
Germany didn't like this. Not one bit. He was about to leave the room when America shook his head from his seat. 'About time Romano blew up, don'cha think, England?' Sitting up stiffer then Germany had ever thought possible, the Brit replied curtly, 'it is none of your business, America. Don't be inconsiderate.' Followed by, 'Italy, let's go for a walk. You too, frog.' France stood up slowly, walking alongside England. 'Don't worry, this'll be over quickly.' A smile Germany knew too well curled up on Prussia's lips.
'Italy sure did love the Holy Roman Empire, didn't he?' Germany couldn't breathe any more, and he bolted out the room.
Turning through the maze that was the venue of the meeting; flashing images of Italy loving another came and went. "Holy Roman Empire" was someone whom Prussia treasured. One of my "brothers", Germany thought bitterly. It didn't matter. Germany had never seen this Empire before, and he was forbidden to talk or search about him. Austria, Prussia, Hungary, Spain, France, Romano, Belgium- they all told him to never bring that name up. How was this Empire related to Italy? Surely, Italy must've mentioned him before. But Germany had an automatic reflex to tune out whenever Italy started talking, all he ever talks about are pasta and girls. Was this Empire Italy's first love? Where was this Empire? Thoughts kept churning in his mind as he exited the building. This wasn't a country familiar to him. He wasn't sure how he was supposed to navigate through this country. He should've asked for directions when he passed Denmark's seat, his mind nagged. He walked across the spacious garden that was situated behind the building, feeling the slightly cold air sift through the space around him. He walked past a beautiful rose garden that grew around a garden arch of morning glories and spotted a few Marguerite daisies and Forget-Me-Nots, and heard a loud shriek.
Realising it as the voice of Romano, Germany's pace increased to figure out where the sound came from. He backtracked, walking into the rose garden and under the archway, to find a little plaza with a red-bricked floor and four benches nestled in each side of the area, red clovers blossoming around them. It feels too Spring for today, Germany thought. The plaza was shaded by huge trees, allowing a little light to filter through the leaves, casting spots on the ground. 'You don't understand!' Romano shouted, startling Germany to hide behind a tree. How had he not noticed where Romano was with all this shouting? Maybe the trees absorbed some of the sounds? 'Italy's a dumbass! His eyes are clouded over with fucking fantasies he can't see straight!' Spain was downright furious. Germany had never seen him like this. No one has. 'Lovino! Don't talk about your brother like- ' Being held back by Hungary, Romano hissed, 'oh, no, don't you Lovino me, prick. Let me finish talking. Look at that sick brother I have. Look at him. He's got everything I wish I had. He's got Grandfather's love, he's got the better genes. He's got a more loving and complete family! He didn't have to live through the shit I dealt with when we were younger. No, not the questions of "why didn't Rome take you, Romano?", or "do you know why your Grandfather left?". He didn't go through them. Who took the blame for everything? Me, that's fucking who.' Hungary let out a strangled sound, arms tightening around Romano's. 'It was always, "oh, Romano, why aren't you as good as your brother?",' Romano continued, voice shrill when he acted, 'who gave me this inferiority complex?' His voice quietened down, head bowed.
'Tell me. Spain, answer me. Tell me, how do you think I felt?'
A bitter laugh escaped the older Italian, 'someone has to be the bad guy, doesn't he?' Germany's breathing faltered. Staggering backwards, Spain fell into one of the benches, 'Spain!' Belgium shouted, stabalising him. 'Romano, I think that's enough,' Belgium pleaded, eyes worried. Romano's whole frame collapsed, jerking Hungary, 'sit down, foolish boy.' The brunette nation steered him into another bench opposite Spain. 'Italy's seen some shit, too. He saw Grandfather die. He had other nations jerking him around for inheritance and bullied into submission because his army was pathetic. He was invaded by some jerk Austria and forced to be maid while I was served on a silver platter to Spain. He worked hard while I free-loaded.' They seemed to have calmed down, Germany was about to make an entrance; thinking, Italy's never told me about his past.
'He fell in love with an unstable country and got his heart broken by the same country who couldn't keep a fucking promise for shit.' Germany's brain fell quiet. 'Holy Roman Empire died and Italy didn't even know. The promise that bastard made was a lie, but Italy didn't care, he kept living, kept fantasising, kept positive and cowardly and couldn't fight. Everyone loved him without even knowing he was an empty shell. How do you think I felt?' Hungary had started to cry next to Romano. 'Then Germany came along, looking exactly like Holy Rome, and acting exactly like him, and I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand the fact that my stupid brother would fall in love again and have his heart broken again. But no, he didn't fall in love with that potato. All you disgusting idiots thought they were an item and shipped them like some fucking crazy Tumblr fangirls.' Romano continued raving.
'Italy didn't fall in love with Germany. He never fell out of love with Holy Rome.' Realisation struck everyone in the area. 'Instead, Germany fell in love with Italy and got fucking friendzoned.' Romano ended, lips quivering and eyes glossy. 'I don't care what he does, but that fucker isn't my brother until he properly solves his issues. Loving a dead person never brought them back.'
Breathing heavily and head spinning with all the new information presented to him, Germany ran out of the little red square, under the archway and out the rose garden, not caring about how much noise he made or where he was running toward. His mouth tasted strongly of iron.
He was certain he's really lost his way when stumbles into another garden-or was it another part of the huge garden?-with a pavilion and a lake with several Narcissus flowers looking into the water. Italy was always in love with Germany's older brother. This older brother was called Holy Roman Empire, and he looked and acted like Germany. Or, Germany looked and acted like him. Fuck, Romano knew that Italy never accepted him and kept quiet about it, hoping Italy would forget about Holy Rome and grow up. Germany sat down on the stone seats of the pavilion, head in his hands. 'How do you think I felt?' Germany feels as though he understands why Romano was so hard on everyone. Thinking he's escaped the worst, he relaxes, slouching over and steadying his breathing. Today is my unlucky day, he groans silently, I should never have brought up the topic of Holy Roman Empire today. For some fairly odd reason, his mouth blurted out "who was the Holy Roman Empire?" at the meeting, and caused Romano to burst. 'Hey, dude,' a voice interrupted his calm. 'Mind if I join?' Germany didn't bother looking up. America was strangely polite today, he nodded. 'Hey, I know it's sorta rough for ya', but I think this is for the best, y'know?' Germany lifted his head, tired eyes meeting a pair of sympathetic ones. 'What do you mean?' He asked, voice hoarse, the boy hummed, thoughtful. 'Remember when Romano suddenly upped and left for my house?' Germany nodded, uncertain where this conversation was headed. 'I caught him crying in my back garden one night, mumbling something about how useless Italy was. He slapped me when I asked if he was good. Stupid question, ain't it?' America huffed, 'anyways, he told me about the stuff with the Holy Rome and a few other things I swore upon Canada's maple syrup to never reveal.' Germany's eyebrow rose, 'hey! I love his maple syrup as much as I treasure and love my lil' bro, even f I do forget him most of the time. . .' America murmurs, regretful. 'He said, and I quote, "one day, I'm going to lash out at my brother for never moving forward; even when he's never really shown it. And when that time comes, I'm pretty sure I'll disown him." I was fucking terrified when he said he was gonna disown Italy. I couldn't disown Canada, no matter how angry I am at him.' Germany sighed, straightening his back, 'but the only thing keeping you from death is Canada. You were always the one England preferred, and Canada felt a little jealous of you when you were younger. At least, that's what Prussia told me.' America laughed, tension thick around him, 'I know, I know. And I feel horrible about it, still do. Which is probably why I argue with England so much. I just- you know the feeling that you could of done something in the past; but never did it 'cause you were scared? Yeah, I was scared that England would abandon me and favour Canada more. I was a selfish idiot.' That isn't the only reason as to why you fight with England all the time. He's calm and thoughtful while you're rash and quick to take action. You guys don't match at all. Germany thinks to himself, but they compliment each other well.
Huffing, America stands up, sliding his phone back into his pocket. ''Right, I'll see you around, England just texted saying the matter with the Italys are somewhat stable now. We better head back to continue the meeting. We were supposed to come up with something for the next World Cultural Festival, remember?' Germany stands up, taking one last look at the beautiful and serene garden before walking back into the warzone.
Miraculously, they ended up back at the door of the meeting hall two minutes before it was supposed to restart. Well, there was never really a pause, not until Romano forced a break. America dug into his pockets, producing an unopened plaster. 'Here,' he says, holding the object toward Germany. 'What. . .?' The American smiled, opening the doors, 'you might need to Band Aid your heart later. Good luck.' Germany stared at the plaster, before placing it in his pocket and walking into the meeting hall.
The tension in the hall was thick, with the two Italian brothers sitting separately, one next to Spain and the other in between England ad France. It was an odd sight, since they always sat together. Looks like I'll have to start the meeting, again. Germany sighed, walking to his seat. 'Due to some unforeseen situations, we may need to hurry up and end the meeting in an hour- since that is the time we are left with. Does anyone have any sort of sane, safe and usable idea for next year's World Cultural Festival?' And hence, the meeting has continued.
It took about forty-five minutes for all the ideas to be presented by participating nations and another ten minutes for everyone to write down the task of finishing a report on their ideas about the Festival in detail and prepare for the next meeting's materials. 'Remember to email everyone the documents you've prepared and we'll discuss it further in the next meeting, which is two weeks from now. Same time, same place. But no distractions, please. Especially you, Italy. The meeting will be dismissed after America and England solve their problems through screaming matches. Please refrain from throwing chairs or paperwork at each other, thank you.' Germany said, out of habit. By now, Italy would be next to Germany; talking about pasta and procrastinating on completing the documents, all which Germany would reply with a standard answer of "don't be late to the next meeting and send the documents at least three days before." But today wasn't normal. Germany leaned back against his seat, allowing the drone of conversation fill his ears. America and England weren't arguing, they were just staring at Germany with amused looks of "what? Us, arguing? Yeah, right" on their faces, though worry was evident on their faces as well.
A buzzing in his pocket told Germany he'd received a text, tiredly, he reached for his phone and opened up the messaging application. Romano and England had texted him, it would seem.
I know you heard my rant. And I can't believe I'm admitting this; sorry. Feli's going to be a bitch to handle. I warned you. You might want to prepare your heart. I've talked to him about it.
Dear God, the crippling fear of confronting Italy made his insides twist. Romano helping Germany made it worse.
Italy may solve the issue at hand with you later.
Short and to the point. Sometimes, Germany admired England's style of informing others; but today, he found it ominous and disturbing. A notification popped up and he clicked it, bringing him to see Italy's name. Italy had texted him. Registered first in his head. He hesitantly looked down.
I'm sorry, Germany, but can we meet after the meeting?? I think I need to tell you something. Per favore, Germania?
He quickly texted a reply, the garden behind the building. I'll wait for you. He stood up, placing the papers and his laptop into his bag, and walked out. 'Meeting dismissed!'
It wasn't until he saw the guilt in Italy's eyes that he felt like he should leave. 'Hey, Germany. . .' Italy started, eyes trained on the floor, 'did I ever tell you about Holy Rome? He looks and acts like you, ve, I thought you were him the first time I saw you.' Germany feels his throat constrict and his grip on his bag tightened. 'I loved him, Germany. I did, and he never came back even when he promised and I was so scared- ' Italy was crying, hands hiding his face, 'I was so scared that if I fell in love with someone else then they'll die too. So I never bothered looking for someone else. I'm sorry.' Germany was waiting. Waiting for the rejection, or partial acceptance. From all the warnings he's got, he shouldn't be afraid of what Italy was going to say. Italy wiped the tears off his face, -I was the one who used to that, wasn't it?-and looked at Germany.
'I'm sorry it took so long to say this, really.' Italy smiled, brilliant, bright and blinding. 'Germany, I love you!'
And this time, the subtext read "as a lover".
Germany loves Italy. And Italy loves Germany too.
Germany received another text from America and Romano.
The Band Aid I gave you was to make sure you fix both yours and Italy's heart.
Germany blinked before another message from America was received. It read, I apologise for my brother's idiocy. Throw the plaster away if you want. - Canada. Germany smiled, I won't be throwing it away. I think I'll use it.
He's your responsibility now. Which is why I said he's gonna be a bitch to deal with. Good luck. There's a "no return" sign on him. If you hurt him like the other fucker did, I'm going to make sure you never see him again. You hear.
Romano, I don't plan on returning him. I won't hurt him either. Rest assured. I swear on my flag.