Title: Educating America
Characters/Pairings: America, Romano. Some background pairings in passing.
Ratings/Warnings: PG13 for language, I guess. Rapid tense change. Awkwardness!
Summary: America wants to get to know Romano better. Romano just wants to fix the idiot's tastebuds.
Notes: Again, I'm not sure how this works yet, so if I screw anything up, just let me know
After they were a safe distance from the scene, Romano broke the silence. "You had better not breathe a word to Feliciano about any of this, bastard."
"Aw, what? No way! I wanted to brag about how cool you were!"
"I mean it, bastard, not a word! Feliciano doesn't need to know what happened, ok?"
"But you were awesome! Why wouldn't you want him to know about it?"
"You wouldn't understand, moron- you don't have a brother."
"Wha? Yes I do!"
"No, really! You know, Canada? Looks just like me, but sissy? He carries a bear around all the time. He's my little brother."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"My little brother, Canada."
"Oh yeah, bastard? If you have a little brother, how come I've never seen him at the conferences? You'd think America's brother would be a big deal."
"You have! He attends every world meeting. He sits right next to me! You probably just didn't notice him because he's kind of invisible."
"Yep! Well, not all the time, but at world meetings and stuff he usually is, yeah."
"...So, you're telling me you have an invisible brother."
America had obviously spent way too much time with the brow-bastard and his creepy imaginary friends. "...Okay, fine. Your 'invisible brother', Cameron-"
"Whatever. Is he strong?"
"Well, he doesn't like to fight, and he's kind of a crybaby, but Mattie can kick ass when he needs to. So yeah, I guess he's pretty strong. Not as strong as me, though."
"Who the hell is Mattie?"
If there was a wall nearby, Romano would be banging his head against it about now. "Argh, whatever. Look- you and your invisible brother might be strong, but Feliciano isn't. He's stupid and weak and he scares easily, and he does everything he's told. I don't want him anywhere near anything to do with those evil bastards."
"Well, okay. I won't tell him if you don't want me to, but he'll find out eventually anyway, won't he? I mean, this is his house too."
"He might," Romano admitted reluctantly, "But I'd like to put it off as long as possible."
"It's not like he doesn't know about the mafia anyway, though. Doesn't he have to deal with them too?"
"...A-actually," Romano confessed after a few moments, so quietly that America could barely hear him, even through their helmets' radio system, "he hasn't so much. Until recently, I've managed to keep things mostly in South Italy. W-we had a deal;" he hunched into the jacket, voice dropping to just above a whisper. "i-if I did everything they told me, t-they'd leave Feliciano pretty much alone." he paused, twisting his fingers to clench the cuffs of the bomber tightly, arms still wrapped around the blond. America said nothing, waiting for the half-nation to continue.
"And, well, it worked, for the most part. But, now that I've started fighting back, they're trying to spread into North Italy now, too. I don't think I can stop it, but," he looked off to the side, watching the asphalt passing swiftly beneath their tires, "I don't want him to have anything to do with them before he absolutely has to."
"So," America asked after a few seconds, curious, "Why did you start fighting back?"
"Uh. Well," Romano felt his face grow hot, and was very glad the helmet hid it, "a while back, that stupid bastard Spain got really sick, and when I tried to help, they got in the way."
"Kicked their asses, huh?"
"I-it was their own fault, dammit." America laughed, and Romano continued, "Ever since then, we've been fighting. I don't regret it, but it pisses me off that they're trying to drag Feliciano into it."
"You're a really good brother, aren't you, Romano." America said. His voice over the speaker was warm, and Romano could tell he was smiling. He could feel his face growing hot again.
"I, I'm not doing it for him, bastard. It's just that I don't want to deal with that idiot whining and crying all the time, alright? I'm just trying to save myself the headache. B-besides, if he's scared, he'll ask the stupid potato-bastard for help, and I don't want that jackass hanging around, either." he defended.
"Haha, alright~." America laughed. "Still, I think your brother's lucky to have you."
"Cheh!" Romano scoffed."Just turn left up here, idiot. We're almost there."
True enough, 10 minutes and a few more turns later, they finally arrived at the restaurant. Not wanting anyone to see him in America's clothing, the half-nation insisted they park a couple of blocks away.
"Finally!" America rejoiced as he cut the engine and dropped the kickstand. "I'm starving. I haven't eaten in forever!"
"You had a chocolate biscotti barely half an hour ago, idiot." Romano countered, dismounting.
"That doesn't count! That's barely even a snack."
"Knowing you, you had a big enough lun- ow!" he hissed, cradling his hand. America looked over, concerned.
"You okay? What's wrong?"
"Nothing, bastard." Romano hadn't noticed it before he'd tried to take off his helmet, but his hand hurt like hell. Blinking back tears, he realized his knuckles were swollen and bruised. He flexed his fingers, wincing as twinges of pain shot through his hand. America's hand closed around his wrist, and he started. He hadn't even noticed the other nation come up. Reflexively he tried to pull it back, but America effortlessly held him in place. "W-what the hell, bastard? Don't touch me!"
"Let me look at it." America insisted, examining the injury. "Hm, this isn't too bad, really. It's just bruised, could have been a lot worse. Looks like it hurts, though." He said, after prodding gingerly at the knuckles to make sure nothing was broken. "You probably didn't notice it before 'cause of the adrenaline rush. Usually you don't feel it 'till you crash."
"W-what would you know about it, bastard?" he bit out, trying ineffectually to get his hand back. His vision wasn't blurry from tears, dammit, he was just going faint from hunger. That probably explained why he couldn't wriggle out of the other's grasp, too.
America shot him a disbelieving look, eyebrows raised. "Are you kidding? This happens to me all the time. It's alright though," he continued, leaning over to rummage through the motorcycle's storage compartment, still holding fast to Romano's wrist, "I have some salve and stuff we can put on it."
Romano scrubbed at his eyes with the sleeve of the jacket he still wore, while America was busy looking for the salve. "I don't need any damn salve, jerk." he grumbled, sulking. "I can handle something like this just fine."
The taller nation straightened, a container of ointment and some bandages in his hand. "I know you can," he said, gently applying cooling salve to tender flesh with sure fingers, "but why put up with it when you don't have to?" he capped the salve, smiling warmly at his 'patient' before moving on to the bandages.
"Cheh." Romano looked away to hide his rising blush as America wrapped the injury with surprising expertise. He had to admit, whatever was in that salve worked pretty well. His hand felt a lot better, only a lingering soreness reminding him that it was even hurt at all.
"There, all done!" America announced, releasing the half-nation's wrist and putting everything back. Romano examined his newly-bandaged hand, reluctantly impressed with the result.
"Where did you learn to do that, bastard?"
America chuckled. "Well, Mattie got tired of patching me up all the time, so he made me learn to do it myself." he admitted.
"My brother, remember? Canada?"
Oh right, the 'invisible' guy. "Well, whatever. Looks like you didn't screw it up too bad, so...thanks, I guess."
"No problem!" America beamed. "The salve will help with the pain and swelling, but we should get some ice on that as soon as possible. It'll heal a lot faster that way."
"I can get some from the kitchens once we're inside." Romano said, unzipping America's bomber and throwing it over the seat. He looked down at himself with dismay. Crap, he was all rumpled now! Argh. If he showed up like this, Feliciano, that idiot, would never let him hear the end of it, dammit. Cursing internally, he tried to smooth out the wrinkles, with moderate success. 'Wrinkle-resistant', his ass. He'd have to see if the coat check had a garment steamer in the back.
"Romano~," America whined, "Can we go now? Please? I'm starving~."
"Yeah, sure." he gave his clothes a final brush, and lead the way."C'mon, let's go."
"Yay!" the tall blond bounded excitedly after him, like an oversized puppy. "How are you going to explain your hand to North Italy?" he asked curiously.
"Uh," Romano hadn't really thought about that, actually, but it wasn't difficult to think of a story."I'll just tell him it got caught in a door."
"Oh, okay. Which door?"
"...Does it matter? Just a door."
"Well, we should get our stories straight in case they ask me, too."
"Why would they ask you, bastard?"
"I don't know, but you never know, right? So we should decide on a door, just in case."
Romano sighed. "Nino's, then. Happy?"
"But what if he asks Nino or Amata?"
"...Y'know, I could always tell him you did it. Stepped on it with your big fat feet, dammit."
"Aw, that's not nice! And I'm not fat." America pouted. "How about the door at your place? They left before we did, right? So it could have happened then."
"Yeah, sure, that's fine."
"I hope we don't have to wait long to eat, I'm really really hungry." he groaned.
"You're always hungry, idiot. Don't you ever think about anything else besides food?"
"Of course! I think about all kinds of stuff! Like heroes, and guns, and aliens, and whales and stuff! Fighting terrorists, too."
"Big surprise." Romano muttered dryly, rolling his eyes.
Not hearing this, America went on. "Lately though, I've mostly been thinking about you, Romano."
Dammit, dammit, dammit. The Italian dropped his face into his palm, exhaling slowly. "I hate you so much." he ground out.
"Aw, don't say that, Romano!" the other laughed.
"S-shut up, jerk!" he opened the door leading into the restaurant. "Try and behave yourself like a civilized person while we're here, ok?" He ordered, refusing to look at the American.
"Pfft, what are you talking about? I'm always awesome!"
"Just get inside, idiot."
The coat check did, in fact, have a steamer. After a quick trip inside Romano was looking and feeling a lot less mussed (America, of course, couldn't tell the difference), so they proceeded to the foyer.
The hostess waiting there was strikingly beautiful, with long dark hair tied up to frame large, luminous eyes, smooth olive skin, and a graceful, willowy figure. She greeted them professionally and courteously, despite the blush which dusted her cheeks from the moment she saw them. Both males watched, brows raised appreciatively, as she turned to lead them to their table. As they moved to follow her, America tilted his head thoughtfully.
"Wow, Romano- she's almost as gorgeous as you." he said unthinkingly.
"Chigi!" Romano stopped dead, throwing his arm out to halt America in his tracks. Turning, he twisted his uninjured hand to grasp the taller blond's tie, yanking him down so they're nose-to-nose. "If you say anything like that in front of my brother or the potato-swine, jackass, I will rip out your tongue and feed it to you." he snarled. The effect was ruined somewhat by the fact that his face was glowing tomato-red. America blinked at him for a second, before breaking into a smile.
"Alrighty!" he agreed amiably, with a quick nod. "I gotcha."
"Good." Romano nodded, and released him, straightening the tie where he'd been pulling on it and smoothing down the moron's lapels. "Then let's go."
AN: This chapter brought to you by 'L'italiano' by Toto Cutugno, and'In Italia' by Fabri Fibra Ft. Gianna Nannini, both of which which I listened to on loop while writing it. It's a good thing I didn't find it last chapter, or this fic might have taken a sharp turn into angsty mafitalia territory. Maybe another fic instead, hmm.
Again, this is partly based on RL. Up 'til recently, the mafia's operated mostly in S. Italy. Since S. Italy's been cracking down and fighting back, they're trying to spread into North Italy. S. Italy's not too happy about that, of course, and is working to prevent it as much as possible.