The CandleIt is twelve minutes past three on a greyish autumn Italian night grey with long clouds and steel streetlights and Veneziano is making coffee. He moves like a trapped moth around the kitchen, opening drawers and touching the rows of shadow-gleaming glass jars, and fiddles with the turn of a knife handle. There is cold trapped between his toes, but he moves unaware upon the stone tiles in his loose t-shirt and thin pyjama trousers: mismatching, solid black on his torso and pale blue pinstripes tickling his calves. He turns on a tile's perpendicular edge, up on one toe, arms out and fingers tapping at the air, and sings soft and high-pitched in the back of his throat, funicule funiculà.More Like This
"It's Funiculì, Funiculà, idiot."
And that is Romano, bare-chested and frowning in the doorway but with a certain cautious smile in his eyes at finding his brother singing his songs, attempting his languages.
"Oh, that's right!" Veneziano slaps a silver teaspoon
I Don't Like YouRomano licks his lower lip nervously, attempting to surreptitiously wipe his palm on the side of his trousers as England looks sharply at him from over his sheaf of papers. Perhaps it had been a bad idea simply to grab England's arm now that they are alone after the meeting. Perhaps Romano ought to have asked him out to dinner first: wine, candles, maybe some romantic music. That would have set the atmosphere so much better, and provided a backdrop to what Romano is about to say and maybe, just maybe, it would have given him some time to calm his nerves. Probably it would have made it worse, though, he acknowledges.More Like This
But England has lowered the paper and is raising an eyebrow at him, lips twisting questioningly to one side. "Hm?"
Romano has no desire to know what those lips taste like. "U-um," he stutters, letting go of England's elbow and winding his fingers anxiously together, "I wanted to tell you something."
England blinks, tucking the papers under his arm. "All right then."
A Bet Too FarAs the New Year's Day celebrations wound down, a Spaniard and an Italian sat on the roof of the Spaniard's house, an empty bottle lay on the floor as they discussed their respective countries attributesMore Like This
"It's well documented Roma! Spain is the land of passion after all!"
"Yeah well, Italians can persuade anyone to love them"
Spain stared at Romano, he'd heard a lot of unexpected facts from him, but this one he felt needed backing up
"I somehow doubt that, mi amigo! You're cute, but I've never seen you be exactly friendly"
"S-shut up, bastard! I can be when I want to be"
"I have never seen this."
"So? I don't see you like that, pervert!"
"OK, OK then, prove it"
"How do you mean?"
"I'll name a country, and then, you have to make them love you"
Romano paused, and then frowned. How had they even got onto this subject? But he couldn't exactly back down now.
"F-fine, I can do it!"
Spain had a rather scary look in his eyes now
"Yeah, get on with it!"
A Bet Too Far-Chapter 1"Why do we have to have a World meeting right at the start of the year anyway?"More Like This
Romano glanced around the room, most of Europe and the America's were hung-over, the Asian's were comparatively better off, but that was only because most of them would be celebrating later in the year.
The meeting went as could be expected, America had some ridiculous idea which was promptly shot down, France attempted to chat up anyone who glanced his way, Greece fell asleep, so Turkey woke him up by kicking his chair out from under him, and most irritating was the way that his stupid little brother was all over Germany as he tried to establish some sort of order.
The way his brother was all lovey dovey over that potato bastard made him sick, but it wasn't like attempting to stop it could do anything, so he was resigned to it. If he made a fuss, Veneciano would insist that he and Germany simply needed to know each other better, invite the idiot over to dinner, guilt trip Romano into coming to said dinner,
A Bet Too Far-Chapter 2Romano felt a small smile spread across his face as he shifted in the uncomfortable aeroplane seat. This bet might not be as bad as he'd feared; he actually had a surprising amount in common with the Englishman. Only where to go from here? He frowned, from what he'd heard, or rather overheard, mainly from France, if he came on too strong, he could scare him off. Although admittedly, Romano would have been scared as well if France had ever tried half the things he'd tried on England, luckily Spain had had enough sense to 'dissuade' France from attempting it with him. On the other hand, he didn't want England to think he'd forgotten about it, or worse, to assume that it meant nothing and brush it off. Ugh dammit, this was stupid, he sounded like some lovesick teenager!More Like This
At the same time, on a different aeroplane, England cast a tired glance out of the window, as usual the conference had been a complete waste of time, he suspected nothing short of the apocalypse would make them get along.
A Bet Too Far-Chapter 3Over the next few weeks, Romano made it a habit to ring England and soon found himself looking forward to the phone conversations with the Brit. Not that he actually liked him or anything! But there was no reason why he couldn't at least try to enjoy himself a bit while he was doing this right? Which is why he was surprised when England mentioned something unexpectedMore Like This
"I have to come to Italy for some diplomatic reasons soon. Do you want to meet up again? I have to admit I enjoyed your conversation last time"
Romano gave a start. Seriously, this was too easy! "Umm, yeah sure, that's sounds good, yeah! "
He frowned afterwards though, how to do this without getting Veneciano suspicious? Oblivious as his brother usually was, he could be annoyingly astute when it suited him. Ugh well, dancing around the issue would only make his brother more suspicious, best to just be upfront and hope that his brother didn't pick up on it
"Feli, you know the meeting with England soon?"
A Bet Too Far-Chapter 4Romano stood there for a few minutes watching the Englishman in the rain before shaking himself. He-he must be a damn good actor right? To be thinking those sorts of thoughtsMore Like This
"Oi, you'll catch a cold if you keep standing there like that, idiot!"
England seemed to stop of it, frowning for a minute as if he'd forgotten where he was "Oh Romano "
"Are all the English complete idiots or are you just 'special'?" Romano frowned, glaring at the man
England paused, pushing his wet hair away from his face "...is it that surprising?"
"Well I don't know about you, but most people round here know that when it starts raining you go somewhere dry..." The Italian rolled his eyes "Why are you out here anyway?"
The Brit shrugged "It's too stuffy in there and...I missed the rain." He turned back to look at the sky "I'm pathetic, I moan about the rain, but the second I go somewhere warm, I miss it"
Romano raised an eyebrow "You miss the rain?"
It was weird and the Italian would not admit i
A Bet Too Far-Chapter 5Once again, the Bad Touch Trio found themselves slumped against the bar as Spain recounted what had happened in ItalyMore Like This
"And then he after he said that, he just pushed me out and closed the door in my face!"
The other two sighed "Are you a masochist Toni? I thought you went to call the bet off?"
"Mmm, I did, but "
"But what? Or did " France cut off his berating off the man as his phone interrupted
"Don't think I'm done with you, Bonjour?"
"Angleterre?" This got the attention of the other two nations. Prussia mouthed "Was? [What?]" France shrugged
"To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure, mon cher?"
There was a pause, then a sigh "I can't believe you're the one I'm ringing about this, but, well "
"Oh? I'm honoured to be receiving such attention Angleterre"
"Look, I need "
France rolled his eyes impatiently; England always took forever to get to the point
"I need your advice"
To say France was surprised at this would be like saying the Atlantic is a tad mois
A Bet Too Far-Chapter 6The phone rang. Romano frowned as he got up to answer it, wondering who it could be, hardly anyone rang him in the middle of the dayMore Like This
"Who else would it be, idiot?"
"Umm well, it could have been "
"Never mind, why are you calling me in the middle of the day, fratello? Are you alright?" Romano tried to ignore the slight fear that had begun to gnaw at him. Veneciano hardly ever rang at this time unless it was urgent. There was silence on the other end of the phone, no voice came but what sounded like fidgeting was heard. "Fratello?" Romano could hear the worry edging into his voice "Are you hurt?"
"Ah! N-no I am not hurt....it's just ...well you see...." Veneciano was still fidgeting
"What? Fratello, has someone upset you?"
"No, no!" Italy suddenly realised he had yelled down the phone and cringed a little "Well, you know how I have another meeting with England coming up?"
Romano sighed "I do now"
"Well...." Italy took a deep breath "It's really cold there! The