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What Does "Ich Liebe Dich" Mean?

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Italy listened to England hissing spitefully in his ear. Germany didn’t like him. Germany hated him Germany had a doll of him, not for the hugs but for laughing at, and for putting dresses on. Germany thought he was useless, stupid, only pretending to be his friend…
The British nation’s bushy eyebrows furrowed and his lips twisted into a devious smirk as the gullible Italian fled from him. His smile quickly turned sour as he watched Italy bound over to Germany, wailing and reporting back on what he had said. He turned to France, scowling, and France consoled him with a smile.

On the other side of the street, Germany was taken aback by his ally’s distress. He tried to keep up with what Italy was crying about this time, but for once took more sympathy.
“Lies.” He assured the distraught nation. He turned his face away from Italy, shutting his eyes and taking a breath “They’re not true. Actually…” he stopped and hesitated.

Italy watched his friend, waiting for him to finish. He wouldn’t look at him, he jaw was clenched and he couldn’t get out what he was trying to say. This only served to make the panic bubble up inside the smaller man.

Germany’s words finally came out “Ich liebe dich… Ja…”
It slowly dawned on Italy that Germany seemed shy. He had no idea what had been said, but he smiled anyway. Normally, when Germany spoke in his own language, he was shouting. Italy had eventually asked Prussia the meaning of “dummkopf” and was saddened, but not surprised. Yet this sounded different. Softer and warmer, so he threw himself forward, wrapping his arms tight around the German’s waist.
“I knew it wasn’t true, I’m too pretty!” he chirped.
Germany looked down at him, smiling slightly. He patted his back then pulled away.


 

It was a few days before Italy met Prussia again, cheerfully running over to him “Ve~! Ciao, Prussia!”
Prussia smiled at Italy “Hey, Italy, come to visit the awesome me instead of West for a change?”
“Si!” He nodded, beaming up at the silver haired German. He stood up on his toes to pet Gilbird, who was perched on his owner’s head.
“What does Ich liebe dich mean? Ludi said it, and at first I thought he was angry again, but he didn’t shout so I don’t know.”
A smirk stretched across Prussia’s face, as he took the bird from his hair and put it in Italy’s cupped hands. “Kesesese… Is that so? It means he’s stopped being so uptight and moody for once, he said he loves you.”
Italy’s honey coloured eyes widened, sparkling “Really?”
“Ja, and you’re both the last to realise, I should have made a bet with France when I had the chance.”
Gilbird squawked as he was launched into the air, Italy running out. “Thanks Prussia!” he called while running.
Prussia turned and made his way towards his brother’s office “Kesesesese…”


 

Spain padded bare foot into the kitchen, pulling his shirt on but not bothering with the buttons “Back to cooking so soon, Lovi? I was hoping you would stay in bed longer…”
Romano snorted, rolling out pizza dough “We’re not all as lazy as you, bastard. What good are you if you let me go hungry?”
Spain just laughed gently, hugging Romano from behind. He kissed his shoulder, burying his face in the crook of the Italian’s neck “Lovi… I would have cooked for you; I just hoped to work up more of an appetite first.”
“Pervert, you’ve been hanging around France too much and cooking too little!” he snapped, leaning back against the warmth of Spain’s chest.

Both men jumped, at the sudden sound of shouting and hammering at the door.
“Frattello! Fratello, open up! Romaaaaaaaa~”
Romano rolled his eyes, shoving Spain off him and stomping off to open the door “What’s that idiota so excited about now?”
He pulled the door open and his brother hurtled towards him.
“Romano! Fratello, Germany said he loved me! Even though he shouts a lot, it’s ok, because he loves me really!”
While Romano glared at his joyful brother, Spain joined them in the hallway.
“That’s great, Feli, it’s nice to see you so happy” he said.
Instead of congratulating his brother like Spain had done, he snarled at the older man “Shut up, you jerk. He’s always this happy, why is now special, huh? It’s not! That potato bastard doesn’t love you, idiot, he’s making it up. He’s always saying how useless you are, he doesn’t like you, he’s just after more land and money, like everyone else was!”
Spain frowned and stepped in “Lovino, don’t-” but he was cut off with a furious shriek.
“Stay out of this, no one asked for your opinion, you stupid bastard!”

Italy had stopped jumping up and down. His eyes welled up with tears as he flinched back from his ranting brother. When Romano turned on Spain, he ran from the house, the door slamming behind him, but going unnoticed by both men.

When Romano did notice his brother had gone, he began to shout again, but Spain stopped him with a rare bark. “No, Romano! You’re not blaming anyone but yourself!”
The Italian glared at him with mutiny, but stayed quiet.
Spain’s voice softened “Lovi… why did you say all that? What’s the harm if he’s happy with Germany?”
Scowling, he retorted with a more subdued anger “I don’t trust him. My stupid brother idolising him, he doesn’t think anything through. That jerk doesn’t really love him, it’s a trick!”
Shaking his head with a sigh, he pulled Romano into the living room, sitting on the sofa and holding the irritated man on his lap. “You don’t know any of that is true. Germany is always taking care of Vene; I always thought it was the only way their friendship made sense…”
“What would you know? He can’t be trusted! He’s just gonna go and break his heart like that stupid Holy Rome. Is that what you want, huh? He’ll just leave my brother waiting the rest of his life, and that’s your idea of happy, idiot?”

The Spaniard was quiet for a while, stroking Romano’s back and letting him calm down. After a few minutes, he spoke. “He waited so long for his first love to return, and he never came back, he just doesn’t exist anymore... but he was still waiting. Don’t you think it’s time for him to move on?”

 


 

Italy sat in the fields where drills were usually held. He clutched Italycat to his chest, resting his face in the warm fur.
“Germany loves me, right?” he asked the feline quietly.
He rested back against a tree trunk, thinking aloud “He shouts so much, and sometimes hits me or chases me… He even said he hated me once… and my ass face!”
The brunet lifted a hand to his face “I don’t have an ass face, do I?” he sighed sadly “If he said he hated me, and always gets angry, and Romano says he hates me, and Britain says he hates me… then he could be lying like they said!”
At the sound of Germany shouting his name, Italy sprang to his feet. Instead of running towards the sound of his supposed friend, he ran the other way, hoping not to get caught.

Germany stood at the other side of the field, watching the retreating figure. He frowned with confusion and turned back inside. “If only he could run like that in drills…”
He sat at his desk, thinking of what his brother had told him about Italy’s earlier visit to the house. It made no sense why he’d be running away from him, but from what Prussia had told him between his infuriating laughter, Italy had understood his feelings to be romantic rather than platonic.

“Ugh, just when I’m thinking you’re not so grumpy anymore, you go and scare the poor boy off. You’re such a charmless loser sometimes, West.” Prussia leant against the doorframe.
“What do you want now, Gilbert? And take that stupid bird out of your hair.” The blond groaned.
“Italy. He thinks you love him, and you go shouting at him like that, he’s going to end up thinking you changed your mind.”
Germany looked down at his paperwork “Don’t be ridiculous, Gil, why would I change my mind so fast?”
“Oh, West, you’re so clueless, kesesese-“
“Stop laughing!” he banged his fist on the surface of the desk.
“There’s no need to be so miserable just because you’re not awesome like me, West. You really think Italy would have thought things through that much? Why else does he run away, if it’s not from trouble? Honestly, Lutz, it all makes sense why you never had a girlfriend now. I worried I was taking away all the attention! Leave it to me!” he left the room, Gilbird fluttering out behind him.
Germany got to his feet, roaring from his desk “Gilbert, come back here!
He sank to his seat when he saw that shouting would do no good. With his face in his hands, he whined softly “Sheisse…”


 

Italy hugged his cat to his chest, curled up in his own bed for once.
“Germany must hate me… But he promised we’d be friends forever… And I try so hard not to be like me, but it just gets me into trouble…”
Tears dripped onto his pillow and he rolled onto him stomach, allowing the cat to lie beside him instead of squashed in his arms.
“I just want him to like me again!” he hid his face in the pillow.

After escaping from Germany’s office to fix things, Prussia dialled France’s number to formulate a plan.
“Yo, Franceypants, I need your help.”
France rolled his eyes on the other end “Bonjour, Gilbert… How can I be of assistance this time? Trying to get a little close to my dear Mathieu? Ahonhonhon…”
The German scoffed “Yeah right, as if the awesomeness that is me would need your help in that! 5 meters of awesome, Francey! I know how to impress.”
“Ah, but of course… now, if you would be so kind as to hurry up and stop wasting my time, Gilbert...” he sang impatiently.

Prussia checked that his brother was not hovering around to eavesdrop. When he was satisfied that the coast was clear, he spoke again quieter “Mein bruder told Italy that he loved him, but then the dummkopf started shouting and scared him off. If he finally gets laid maybe he’ll stop being so grumpy and unawesome all the time.”
“Aw, mon petit frère, finally finding love again… I’m sure he has not been the same boy since poor Holy Rome…” he sighed sadly.
“Ja, losing Holy Roman Empire wasn’t all that good for me either, and you are in no position to act like you cared for him. Just tell me how to fix bruder’s screw-up, that is all I ask.” Prussia snapped, clenching his jaw and glancing around to check his brother wasn’t around.

Francis stayed quiet for a moment, understanding that it was more hurt from the loss than anger at him which fuelled Gilbert’s outburst. Then he replied “Mon ami, I’m well versed in love and its various traditions… Our Italie, he’s such a sweet boy but… he is not the fastest to reach even a straightforward conclusion, oui? The gesture needs to be obvious, but enable you to make it on Germany’s behalf while making him believe it was him all along. But there is no harm in leaving a sexy little implication, non?”

 


 

Sniffling quietly, Italy got up from his bed.
“Ve… Pasta will make us feel better, right kitty?” he walked slowly down to the kitchen, the spring in his step worn away.
He looked through the cupboards, taking things out and choosing a recipe from what his hands found. He almost dropped a book when he heard a harsh, familiar shout, at which he began to cry again “What have I done to make Germany so angry?!”
He ran back and forth in his kitchen, confused about whether to hide or answer the door.

Satisfied with his best impression of Germany, Prussia dropped the large bouquet of red roses on the doorstep, checking the note one last time before retreating, unseen. Personally, he would have gone for something more direct and less cliché but France had assured him that this was a plan least likely to be foiled by him, or Germany. Declaring the brothers “coarse and vulgaire” had felt a little excessive, but if it got Germany to stop brooding and taking his moods out on everyone, it was worth it.

Eventually, Italy took timid, silent steps to his front door, opening it a crack and peering out “Germany? I’m sorry…”
He opened the door further when it seemed no one was there after all.
“Oh… Now he’s going to be even angrier!” he whined in despair. When his eyes fell to the flowers, he made a soft noise of confusion, dropping to his knees on the threshold. He turned them over to find the note attached, reading quietly to himself.
“Dear Feliciano,
I meant it. Ich liebe dich, mein leibling.
-Ludwig”
Italy smiled, although the new words went over his head. As he held the small card between his fingers, he felt something attached to the back. He looked down at the small square wrapper with confusion, pulling it off the card to look closer. He’d seen these lying around once in big brother France’s house… He blushed with sudden realisation and dropped it into his lap. Looking back to the note, he saw he had inadvertently uncovered another short not on the back of the card.
“Before you ask Prussia again, it means “my darling.””

Italy stood up, slipping both the card and condom into his pocket. He held the roses and carried them inside to put in water, skipping through the house.


 

It was coming up to 1am when Germany finally finished and filed all his paperwork. He almost resented his boss, but knew that if he’d only stuck to his schedule, and not gone to look for Italy after lunch, he would have finished sooner. The blond made his way through his night time routine, and then finally made it into his bed. He was on the brink of falling into a deep, much needed sleep when a thin shaft of light slit through the darkness of the room. It was gone the next second, and Germany’s heavy eyes were already shut. Despite this, he was jolted into an alert state when he felt the bed dip behind him, then a warm arm snake around his waist.
“Ludi, those flowers were so pretty, grazie…” he heard Italy’s soft voice behind him.
He relaxed again, sighing “What are you doing here, Italy?”
“Coming to see you.” His voice was too loud and too happy for this time of night.
“Italy…”
“Ve~… Britain and fratello… they both said you hated me, and you said you hated me, and you shout and get angry, make me do drills and hit me in the face with your gun… So I thought you didn’t mean it when you said you loved me.” His voice quietened with sadness. His cheer was back after a moment, as he barrelled on in his explanation. “But then you left the note with the roses, and I thought about how much you look after me, and you can’t hate me, you promised!”

Germany sat up, switching the lamp on. He looked down at the other man, noticing that he had already stripped down to his boxers. Trying not to get irritated, he pushed for more information “What roses and note?”
Italy leaned out of bed and picked up the trousers he’d left on the floor. He presented Germany with the contents of his pocket.
The blond stared down at the two things he’d been handed, blushing.
“I heard you shouting my name and thought you were angry again, when I opened the door, you were gone and I worried that you’d be even madder. Then I found these and thought you must love me after all!”

Germany stuttered, confused. He looked up at Italy, who sat shirtless with the cross pendant Germany had gave him hanging around his neck. Piercing blue eyes met golden brown and warmed.
“I don’t hate you, Feli… I know I am harsh on you… But that’s only because I worry… What if you get into trouble, and I can’t get there? I promise I’ll always try, but if you’re in danger and I can’t get there soon enough, at least you would have some training to defend yourself.” He took Italy into his arms holding him close. “I only get angry out of concern for you… Even I can panic in a stressful situation; I need you to be prepared.”

Italy rested against his chest, breathing him in deeply “Ve~…” he looked up at the blond “I’m so glad you don’t hate me, you get really scary when you’re mad… Hey, Ludi?”
“Yes?”
The smaller man climbed into his lap and looked up at him.
“Say it again for me, please? I know what all the words mean now.”
Germany stroked his waist, and rolled his eyes “Alright, but I wish you had asked me instead of Prussia if you didn’t know what I said. Ich liebe dich, Feliciano, mein leibling.”
“Ti amo, Ludi… but you know I’m a Catholic still, you’ll have to marry me first~”

Germany blushed more, which was becoming a strange tendency for him. He considered admitting that it had not been him who had left the note, but decided against it, in case it would put more doubt into Italy’s mind. “Err… Ja… I know. I was just putting the option out there… Gute nacht, Feli.”
He lay down, still holding Italy close, but apparently, the latter wasn’t satisfied.
“Kiss, kiss…”
“Oh… right.” Germany leaned in and placed a gentle kiss to his new lover’s lips.
Italy kissed him back before burying his face against his chest “Buonanotte, Ludi.”