Pairing: GerIta (Germany/Italy)
“Germany! Germany, you’re home! Doitsu!”
The little Italian squeals in the doorway, voice gaining pitch with each eager syllable. In fact, the German stood on the other side of the doorframe is pretty sure that his younger friend is reaching the limits of where only dogs can hear his accented cries. But that in no way mars the fact that he, the German, is home and now he can get back to looking after the clumsy little Italian like only he can.
Before Germany can even walk through the door of his home, he has a chestful of sobbing Italian clinging to him as though nothing else matters. Quite used to Italy’s simultaneous outbursts of emotion by now, the taller man simply strokes his back, savouring the feeling of his best friend in his arms; the feeling of home.
“Why are you crying, Italia?” A deep baritone questions, allowing concern to drip into his voice as he feels Italy trembling against him, his heart hammering against his ribs as though trying to escape in order to be able to offer the younger nation comfort all of it’s own. “Nobody attacked whilst I was gone, right?”
Sure, he’d only been gone for a few days on business but knowing his little Italian anything was possible. It’s not his fault that he’s such an easy, desirable target and nor is it his fault that Germany feels some inexplicable need to protect him no matter the cost. Italy told him once that that’s just what best friends do, even if Italy himself isn’t the best at protecting Germany. But that’s okay, because Germany doesn’t want to be protected; he wants to be protecting.
Germany tries to pry Italy off of him in order to be able to look into those deep, amber-bronze eyes but Italy just clings tighter, hair the only thing visible as he buries his face deeper into the sturdy, broad chest that he has come to associate with safety.
“N-no, nobody attacked.” Italy whimpers, sounding so unlike himself that Germany would flinch if it wasn’t his job to be the strong, sensible one. “I’m okay.”
Italy tries to smile up at Germany, yet he can’t for two simple reasons; he isn’t truly happy and he is still hiding inside the fabric of Germany’s jacket. Well, this certainly isn’t the homecoming that the German was hoping for.
“If you’re okay, then why are you crying?”
Italy blinks up at the blonde man, faltering as he realises that he’s been caught out. Germany almost wishes he’d just let it go at the look of total helplessness in his best friend’s eyes; almost, but not quite. Because he knows that a silent Italy is never a good thing, and that an Italy silencing his own thoughts is even worse.
“W-Well, yesterday was the twenty-first.” Germany just nods, completely puzzled by Italy’s explanation but refusing to show it. He gestures for Italy to go on and once more the younger, auburn-haired man-boy looks to be on the brink of tears. “And the world didn’t end!”
Germany could almost laugh; Italy crying because the world hadn’t ended. Out of all of the things that the Italian has done, this has to be the most confusing thing yet, to Germany at least.
“So what, did you want the world to end?” Germany chuckles, instantly regretting it when it makes Italy scrunch up against his chest again. Guilt bubbles in his lungs, congealing in his throat in a way akin to how blood feels when it’s starting to dry on your skin and he coughs past it, trying to think of a way to solve a problem he can’t even begin to pretend to understand. “I can’t help you, Italia, if you don’t tell me what you need help with.”
“What makes you think I need your help? I’m not a baby.”
And with that Italy saunters into the living room, letting Germany into the house for the first time since his arrival. If this had been earlier on during their friendship, Germany might have questioned what on Earth Italy was doing in his house in the first place but by now he understands; Italy was lonely or scared or a multitude of many other different things and needed a place where he could feel safe. And seeing as Germany wasn’t around, his house was the closest thing he could get.
That’s why Germany knows that Italy needs his help. That, and the fact that the little Italian had been sobbing into his chest hard enough to make the both of them shake.
He strides after Italy, finding him curled up on the couch like a mouse seeking shelter from a cat and sits down next to him, sighing with a weight that he hadn’t even realised had been resting on his chest. He’s tired and confused; he wants nothing more than to deal with the problem and sleep off his jetlag.
“Come on Italy, tell me what’s wrong, ja?” He gently coaxes, slowly shuffling to be closer to Italy as the younger starts to uncurl himself and regard Germany with wary eyes. “What’s got you all worked up like this?”
“I told you, and you laughed at me, Doitsu!” He grumbles, turning his head defiantly away like a tantrumming toddler determined to be right. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“I’m sorry, okay? It’s just that you’re crying-“
“-because the world didn’t end.” When Italy doesn’t respond he takes this as some sort of sign and loops an arm around the Italian’s shoulders, briefly wondering how someone who eats so much pasta can still be so slim. “It just doesn’t really make much sense, that’s all.” Italy takes a moment to look mildly hurt that his best friend doesn’t understand him before burying his head into Germany’s shoulder with the force of a bullet; a soft, cuddly bullet. “Perhaps if you could elaborate?”
He feels Italy nod against him, feels his breath tingle against his frosty skin and it makes him shiver with a feeling he can’t quite place. But it’s a feeling he’s learnt to get used to with Italy around, especially when waking up to find Italy in his bed, so he just brushes it off and focuses on whatever it is that his younger friend has to say.
“I-I made a pro-promise, to myself, si?” Italy looks up to make sure that Germany’s still with him, that he hasn’t managed to already confuse him like he has a tendency of doing. Germany gives him one swift, prim nod in response. “And you can’t break promises; no matter how much you want to because it isn’t very nice to break promises just like it isn’t very nice to laugh at people, Doitsu. So that’s why I was crying, not that I was because I’m not a baby so I don’t cry and I’ve got to keep my promise even though I don’t want to and Romano called me stupid when I told him and I don’t know what to do!” He stops to take his first breathe since starting his little spiel and gazes at Germany, tears welling up all over again. “Get it?”
“No. Not really.” Germany answers, feeling very much as lost and confused as he did before the explanation, if not more so. He quickly sifts through the words, trying desperately to spot anything that could have set Italy off like this. “Are you crying because Romano called you stupid?”
Italy looks about ready to scream, something that surprises Germany because he really thought that he had the answer; Romano calling his brother names wasn’t unheard of and, whilst Italy would try to hug it out of Romano, it did upset the younger Italy more than anyone other than German knew.
“No!” Italy yells, tugging at his hair and looking extremely distressed at not being able to convey his thoughts. “I made a promise! You weren’t even listening at all, were you? That’s okay. Do you want me to explain again?”
Germany mutters an obscenity or two under his breath and shakes his head as though shaking all of the confusion out of it. He turns away briefly before returning with, what is meant to be, a calm smile on his face. The kind of smile that someone would give to an injured child. To most the smile might look patronizing, to some even a little intimidating, but to Italy it makes him feel safe and secure; like nothing else matters because Germany, his Doitsu, is smiling at him, which must mean he’s doing something right, right?
“Urm, no, that’s quite alright, Italy. And I was listening, of course I was.” This earns him a massive beam from the Italian, now practically sat in his lap, which in turn adds more substance to his own smile. “So, this is all because of a promise, ja?” Italy nods, head snapping up and down so vigorously that Germany is half scared that it will fly clean off. “Can you tell me what the promise is?”
“I promised myself that if the world didn’t end, then I’d say something to someone.” The younger pauses to go over his words, checking them over as though afraid of something he may have said. When he’s happy with them he nods and offers Germany a watered-down version of his earlier beam. “Apart from now I don’t really want to say it because it’ll ruin everything and everyone will hate me and I don’t know what to do because I want to say it but I can’t but a promise is a pro-“
“Calm down, Italia!”
The addressed goes rigid, as though sitting to attention, before flopping back against Germany, panting and mumbling something about himself being an ‘idiota’. Germany just pats his back and runs a hand through Italy’s hair, secretly savouring how soft it is against his fingers.
“First off, if it’s really worrying you that much, it would be okay to break a promise just this once, especially seeing as it was only a promise to yourself. And secondly, nothing you say could ever make everyone hate you; what about me? I’m your best friend. I’ll never hate you.” Germany lets the words sink in, knowing that they’ve worked the second a true and honest smile blossoms on the Italian’s lips like a rose in the desert. “Do you want to tell me what the promise was? It might make your decision easier.”
Italy shakes his head vehemently, burning a shade of bright red that Germany can’t help but find more than slightly adorable, not that he’d ever tell Italy that. The older raises an eyebrow, giving Italy the I-know-you-need-to-tell-me-so-just-do-it look.
“I, I promised myself that I was going to tell someone, a very special someone, that I love them.” He gazes off in the distance of a crack in the wall on the other side of the room, looking as though lost to a dream. “Very much.” He blinks and then looks down into his lap as though the creases in his trousers are the most interesting thing in the world. “Maybe even too much.”
For reasons that Germany can’t and doesn’t want to explain, his heart drops like a lead weight through water; Italy, his Italy is in love with someone.
“Who is she?” He asks, trying to sound like any best friend would upon hearing the news of an apparent crush.
“He. It’s a he I’m in love with.”
Silence expands between them like blood in water and, all of a sudden, Italy’s earlier words make painful sense to Germany.
‘Everyone will hate me’.
“Oh.” He sighs. Italy immediately tries to scramble away but Germany pulls him back, refusing to let his best friend think that he’s in the wrong simply for falling in love. “There’s nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with being gay, Italia. And if anyone says that there is then I’ll personally make sure that they regret it.”
“You, you’re not… mad?” Italy squeaks out, nothing compared to the bounding, jolly Italian that Germany is used to seeing. “Really?”
Germany wants to flinch at the question; just the thought of Italy thinking something like that of him making him feel physically sick. Because, in all honesty, Germany had hoped that Italy knew him better than that by now. He had hoped the being ‘best friends’ would mean that Italy would never doubt him so awfully.
He bundles up the Italian into a bear hug, for once happy to openly show some affection. Besides, it’s not like anyone’s around to notice.
“Of course I’m not mad, Italia.” He whispers, wishing that he could say something more but not knowing quite what. “You haven’t done anything wrong.” His breath catches in his throat when Italy starts nuzzling into him, the feeling not unpleasant but strange all the same. “So, want to tell me who he is?”
Italy’s mind is in a state of conflict; half of him pleading to let the secret out before it destroys him, the other half telling him that the actual act of letting out will be the destroyer. He just doesn’t know what to do and, for the first time in a long time (if not forever), Germany can’t save him.
Germany. He looks up into those big, blue eyes and sees nothing but compassion, if a little concern swirling in them too.
He can trust him; he knows it. They are best friends, after all.
And, well, a promise is a promise.
“I promised myself that if the world didn’t end, then I’d tell you that I love, well, you.” Italy blushes and looks away, finding both encouragement and fear in the fact that Germany doesn’t respond. “So, um, ti amo. A lot.”
Germany is paralyzed to the spot, his head pounding twice as hard as his heart and his heart three times as fast as that. Something, somewhere clicks into place and all of a sudden he can’t stop smiling; like a light has been switched on and Germany can see clearly for the first time, can see Italy, his Italy clearly.
And, Gott, is he beautiful.
“I love you too.” Germany stutters, fumbling with the words as he holds Italy close, taking it as his turn to do the gentle nuzzling. “Ich liebe dich, Italia.”
“I’m really glad the world didn’t end.”