Characters/Pairings: Prussia, Romano; PruMano (background GerIta)
Summary: Romano has quit smoking. Prussia has quit smoking. They're both loners with anxious fingers and bored mouths.
Notes: Oh my God I exist. Also, I'm still very active on the kink meme. This was a prompt I filled because I wanted to write people making out for fun and then plot happened. Also since when do I ship PruMano?
Forty-two. That’s how many times Romano had curled his fingers up and cracked his knuckles between last night and now. Forty-two times his hands had twitched and throbbed for something to hold up to his lips, to breathe in and out, to send the beautiful calm throughout his entire body, through every vein and ligament.
Instead, Romano leaned uselessly against the railing, claiming he needed the cool air on his face. He missed the days when he had an easy excuse to leave an awkward room or terrible party to sit outside by himself and relax.
Crick crack. Forty-three.
“Ah, good, you’re suffering as well,” a dry voice said behind him with a cackle. Romano sighed as loud as he could and rolled his eyes to show his disapproval, although the owner of the voice barely paid any heed. Gilbert strolled up beside the Italian nation, also hanging onto the railing, also looking as annoyed as Romano felt, except for that infuriating grin he always wore.
“What do you mean ‘as well’? I’m doing damn fine here,” Romano said. Gilbert sniggered and glanced out over the open terrain behind the grandiose house they were in.
Gilbert reached into his pocket and pulled out a small silver box, one that Romano recognized instantly although he’d only seen it once or twice, and watched as Gilbert flicked open the top and lit it. The flame wavered in the air for a moment or two before Gilbert released the lighter and it vanished with a click, Gilbert re-pocketing the lighter.
“Y’know, Ludwig thinks I’m going to go from ‘long-time smoker’ to ‘raging pyro’,” Gilbert said. Romano pretended not to be interested. “It’d probably be easier if we worked together, you know.”
“I never said I’d quit with you, just that it was a good idea,” Romano said hastily, avoiding Gilbert’s crimson gaze. “Your little brother may be a burly, awkward mess but he’s not stupid.”
“Hey, now,” Gilbert said, arms crossed across his chest, raising his eyebrows. “I don’t walk around talking bad about your little brother, now do I?” Romano scoffed and cracked his neck, hunching his shoulders up as he went.
“This is probably the fourth time I’ve quit,” Romano admitted. “Veneziano has spent a lot of time crying and tearing his hair out over it, but it’s really hard to take him seriously when it’s been several hundred years of that reaction to everything,” he explained. He released a breath and watched it curl into the air, similar to a thin trail from a cigarette but painfully different. “ ‘Sides he didn’t quit for good until Ludwig came along, anyway. One good thing about him.” Gilbert said nothing, only quietly staring into the cold darkness, which was unusual, Romano noticed. The lanky man leaned forwards on his folded arms and gazed off.
“What’s wrong with you? Nicotine and tobacco certainly weren’t the fuel to your never-ending fire,” Romano asked. Although he was in Berlin against his will in a season that was known for its long and bitter nights in northern Europe, seeing Gilbert in this strange, quiet state was unnerving. Enough so Ludwig became concerned and tried to coerce Veneziano into coaxing the truth from Gilbert like he always could. This time, he couldn’t.
Gilbert gave a half-shrug. Then,
“This is the first time I’ve quit.” It was said very quietly, as if all the energy and bravado Gilbert exited the house with had flickered away with the last of his lighter. Inside the house, Ludwig was bustling around with Veneziano, and the dogs were running around happily yapping and running into things. Cinnamon wafted from the warm indoors, and Gilbert was outside without a coat. It was freezing out. The interior of the house was an idyllic Christmas card of a scene while the back porch looked like an after-school special.
“And you’ve made it two weeks, what an accomplishment,” Romano said sarcastically, although he swallowed in apprehension.
“I was kind of joking when I said I’d quit if you did,” Gilbert said. “Y’know, after that meeting when everyone was drunk. I thought you wouldn’t do it. I can’t back down from a challenge,” Gilbert added, that smirk re-appearing across his face. Romano leaned back, his hands still attached to the rail, his heart thudding in his throat. He only took the bet for an excuse to see Gilbert. The thought made him blush and disgusted him at the same time.
“Why me?” Romano asked, his fingers drumming against the railing. Gilbert chuckled.
“You’re the only other nation who gives less of a fuck than me,” Gilbert answered. “Everyone else tiptoes around all their problems and doesn’t acknowledge the fact that we have abilities beyond people. I thought, ‘this’ll last a day, and then I can have a reason to flirt with both brothers’ and I knew that’d piss you off,” Gilbert explained, rubbing his arms. Romano flushed darkly and frowned.
“You’re disgusting,” he responded, but the insult lacked the bite it usually had. Gilbert was being so stupidly honest that Romano was having a difficult time pretending to hate him like he normally did.
“Ludwig’s been trying to get me to quit for a long, long time, and having you suddenly get to me to do it made him really surprised,” Gilbert said. “And happy. I like making him happy, y’know? So I guess I’ve been thinkin’ a lot about other things that I could do that would cheer him up a bit. He’s down a lot, these days, what with the Euro and all.” Romano’s stomach dropped and he looked back down at his hands, thinking in the back of his mind about how sick he’d been recently and how part of that was, arguably, his fault. To keep him from getting lost in his guilty thoughts he racked his brain for something, anything to say—
“My mouth and hands are having a harder time than my brain,” Romano blurted out suddenly. The sun had all but fallen beneath the tree line, and blood reds, dark pinks and pale yellows streaked the sky. Gilbert furrowed his brow and stared at the elder Italian brother until he let out a dry laugh, which then tumbled into a cough. Romano pinched his lips together.
“I feel the same way,” Gilbert said, and he stood up straight, running a hand through his hair. He gravitated closer towards Romano and Romano tried to frown but he failed because Gilbert knew he was attracted to him, and this was all stupid anyway.
“The last time I quit, in the forties, I had Veneziano re-teach me to draw,” Romano said, attempting to cover his tracks. “To do something with my hands. And I ate a lot more, I guess.” A bizarre relaxation settled over him, and Romano wondered if his withdrawals were finally becoming less severe. Gilbert raised his eyebrows.
“So… we should find something to occupy our now listless appendages,” Gilbert suggested, and Romano raised his own eyebrows at Gilbert’s odd request.
“I-I guess,” he said slowly. Gilbert looked into the back kitchen window, where he saw Ludwig’s head bob in and out of view, and then glanced out over the backyard.
“We could make out,” he suggested casually, as if he’d just asked Romano to go fishing. At first Romano didn’t register the suggestion and replied with “Alriiiiiiiiiiieee wait,” he said, backing away from Gilbert and turning to him. “Did you just—” Gilbert shrugged.
“We’re both going through withdrawals, right?” he explained. “We need something to occupy our hands, our mouths and our brains and we’re the only two really heavy smokers that are around here so I bet we still kinda taste like smoke and nicotine or whatever, right? So it’s a win-win-win-win,” Gilbert said, and he shoved his hands in his pockets. “ ‘Sides I know you’re not getting any right now and I’m not getting any right now and they’re getting too much,” he said, and he nodded back towards the house. One of the dogs was at the back door, watching them carefully. “It’ll be super casual, like a fling or whatever, and we’ll both get something out of it.” Romano closed his mouth and flipped the words over and over in his head, because Gilbert did provide some convincing arguments. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t sure if he ever heard Gilbert explain something so convincingly. I guess maybe he did deserve that empire, Romano thought bitterly. He also glanced at the house, his arms sweating beneath his coat. He almost expected Gilbert to add “and I know you think I’m hot and am attracted to me for no good reason” since it was true and Romano was half-convinced Gilbert was just mind-reading now. But Gilbert cocked his head and smiled, and Romano stared at the sky as if waiting for someone to stop him.
“…where would we do this without them seeing?” Romano asked finally. His shoulders trembled, although he wasn’t sure it was altogether from the cold. Also, he definitely wasn’t over his withdrawals, and his fingers were beside themselves with the option of something else to do.
“Beneath the porch is a door into the basement. We can go into my room and they’d never see us,” Gilbert said, and before Romano could protest, he grabbed his hand and dragged him down the stairs, under the porch and through the basement door. Romano was thrust back into the warmth of the house and had to strip his jacket immediately, since he’d heated up considerably while outside with Gilbert.
They walked through the darkness into Gilbert’s hole of a room, filled to the brim with what Romano could only describe as stuff since it seemed to hold no purpose. Stacks of old magazines, heaps of records, and posters plastered to every inch of every wall. Romano’s cheeks colored considerably as he realized he was in Gilbert’s room and that he’d just been very easily convinced to casually hook up with Gilbert.
That’s it, I must be drunk, Romano decided, even though he’d had nothing to drink since the wine Veneziano forced into his hands at dinner. He was about to make a run for it dear God this is humiliating but before he could Gilbert had a firm grasp on his wrist, and tugged Romano down onto the messy, king-sized bed with black-and-white checkered sheets. Gilbert felt how stiff Romano was and made his grin even wider.
“What, having second thoughts? C’mon, it’ll be fun,” he insisted. “I bet I even still taste like ciga—” he didn’t get to finish his sentence as Romano very suddenly leaned in and silenced him with a kiss. Gilbert could practically feel the heat from Romano’s blushing cheeks, and when Romano pulled away just as quickly Gilbert chuckled.
“Let’s just… get this over with,” Romano muttered. Gilbert snaked a hand up his shoulder to the back of his neck and pulled him in once more. Romano obediently closed his eyes and at first felt incredibly awkward and uncomfortable, just sitting there with his feet on the floor and his hands awkwardly in his lap, allowing this infuriating Germanic nation to… kiss him.
For a moment, Romano focused on how chapped Gilbert’s lips were, and the weird way he was holding his neck, and how cool his skin was in comparison to Romano’s. It wasn’t fun or sexy in the least and Romano felt himself stiffen up again, thinking why did I think this was a good idea oh Jesus I’m so stupid why did I let myself get talked into this so easily— when suddenly, Gilbert pulled away, breathed in deeply and then turned his head, eyes at half-mast, giving Romano a deep, open-mouthed kiss.
That changed everything. Their tongues were interacting in a way that wasn’t entirely awful, and Gilbert’s skin suddenly warmed against Romano’s cheeks. Romano detected the faint traces of nicotine and tobacco inside Gilbert’s mouth, and the familiar taste sent a chill down his spine. Between the mixture of tastes and the feeling of Gilbert’s tongue against the inside of his bottom lip, Romano went from wanting to run away to not being able to get enough.
He let out a haggard breath and placed both his hands on Gilbert’s chest, pulling his legs up onto the bed. Gilbert was sitting cross-legged and pulled Romano towards him by placing his other hand on Romano’s lower back. Gilbert let out a snort between kisses as Romano suddenly dug his fingertips into the fabric of Gilbert’s t-shirt.
“You go from zero to sixty in no time,” he murmured as Romano pursued another kiss.
“Shut up,” Romano muttered back. The feeling of another body so close to his own, and someone holding him so (surprisingly) gently was making Romano nearly woozy with delight. Gilbert’s touches were so tender and his body was suddenly so warm, that Romano almost forgot whom he was with, especially as Gilbert pulled him down to lay with him on the bed.
They rolled closer together, their legs intertwined at the knees and Romano’s fingers clutching at Gilbert’s shoulders. He moved his hands up behind Gilbert’s head and interlocked them, since now that his mouth was engaged his hands were itching to be a part of it. It was as if the two senses were indefinitely linked.
The kissing continued in a hazy silence, with only the sounds fabric rustling and skin-on-skin piercing the air. Romano’s heart was hammering away in his throat and he was sure Gilbert could feel how fast it was beating, since Romano could feel Gilbert’s easily. They were so close together now that their foreheads were pressed together and Romano’s nose dug into Gilbert’s, but he didn’t care because suddenly everything seemed to loosen and for the first time in two weeks he didn’t feel the tight ache of withdrawal.
“Someone’s feeling it now,” Gilbert said after a time and Romano wanted to smack him. Romano opened his eyes and was surprised by the contrast of his arm against Gilbert’s pale cheek. Romano didn’t think of himself as particularly dark-skinned, but compared to Gilbert, it was as if he spent every day in the sun. He also noticed that, outside of the small smile on Gilbert’s lips, he looked positively peaceful while kissing, with his eyes closed and his face relaxed for once. Romano even noted that his eyebrows were that strange white-blonde and his eyelashes were so light, they were nearly invisible.
And Romano was suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to kiss them. Every white hair on his body. So he did. He leaned forward and moved away from Gilbert’s mouth, up to his left eyebrow, and placed a peck there. Gilbert grunted at suddenly losing Romano’s mouth but then shrugged it off as he decided to explore new territory—his throat.
Romano let out a shuddering breath and a soft ”Oh” as Gilbert gently mouthed at his throat, and Romano’s fingers unlinked and suddenly he was gripping the back of Gilbert’s shoulders and had dug his nose into his hair. His legs instantly turned to jelly and oh good Lord, he was enjoying this.
Gilbert hadn’t made a single quip in a long time, minus a few moans here and there, and seemed completely focused on roaming Romano’s neck. Romano curled his toes into the blankets and released his tensed shoulders, much to Gilbert’s enjoyment.
“Y’know, it’s okay to enjoy something that feels good,” Gilbert said softly from his neck as Gilbert squeezed his shoulder. “Even if you hate my guts.”
“…hate you,” came the mumbled response. Gilbert sniggered but something seemed to bite the back of his throat. As much as he was a brick wall, it still kind of hurt that someone he was treating with such tenderness could hate him.
“I didn’t expect it to be so good for me, either, so I can stop talking—”
“…I don’t hate you.” Gilbert stopped as Romano spoke. He pulled away, his hands still on Romano’s shoulders, and looked up to where Romano had propped himself up on the pillows. Romano was a deep red and his lips were swollen, his straight hair was a mess and he had an unreadable expression. He was just staring at Gilbert and Gilbert stared back, furrowing his brow in confused.
“I don’t hate you,” Romano said a third time. Gilbert’s eyes widened and instead of his embarrassment, Romano focused on how Gilbert’s eyes weren’t really red so much as they were a shade of red-brown-violet.
“Since when?” Gilbert asked, wiping the side of his mouth with his palm. (He was sure he was no better sight.) Romano avoided his bright eyes and stared at the headboard instead.
“I dunno… we’re kinda… similar and, uh…” he trailed off, unable to explain his attraction. At one point in time Romano had in some way made sense of it to himself, as if to prove its legitimacy, but everything was turned around in his brain. It didn’t help that he was simultaneously trying to suppress his growing arousal, which Gilbert had thankfully not yet noticed.
Honestly shocked at the confession, Gilbert was dumbfounded and only opened and closed his mouth in response. He was just hitting on Romano because he thought the latter hated his guts and it was fun to provoke him. Besides, he saw the way Romano glanced at Veneziano when he was with Ludwig, and knew he longed to have a love like that… he was only providing fuel for distraction.
Romano frowned at the headboard but Gilbert caught his sideways glance at him, and then Gilbert found himself running a hand through Romano’s messy locks.
The hand then trailed down the side of Romano’s face, slowly and surely, cupping his cheek and Romano closed his eyes and seemed to lean into Gilbert’s hand. Gilbert’s cheeks immediately became hot as everything seemed to collide together at once in his brain—Romano didn’t actually hate him.
And Gilbert… didn’t hate this.
“I could… really go for a cigarette right now,” Romano murmured, eyes still closed. Gilbert smiled and rubbing his thumb underneath Romano’s chin, right over the dark stubble that was growing in.
“Kiss me instead,” Gilbert said, and he inwardly cringed at how pathetic he sounded but he wanted it more than anything right then.
Romano allowed Gilbert to pull their faces together and fell into another long, deep kiss, Romano leaning over Gilbert, allowing the German to rub small circles into his cheeks with his thumbs. Romano smiled against Gilbert’s lips, something that was so foreign to them both that Gilbert nearly burst out laughing from how strange it felt.
Somewhere upstairs, Veneziano was calling Romano’s name.
“Romano, where have you gone? Where could he be, Ludwig?”
“I don’t know. Gilbert is gone, too. I hope they’re not off fighting someplace.”
“What if they went to get cigarettes? Oh, we should have been watching them!”
“Veneziano has such little faith in me,” Romano murmured against Gilbert’s lips, drawing a breath and sucking and biting Gilbert’s lower lip.
“I think he just fears my influence,” Gilbert responded as he raked his fingers through Romano’s hair. Romano pulled away for a brief moment and just looked down at Gilbert, whom he was now straddling on the bed.
“Maybe it’d be good for me,” Romano said softly. He pressed his forehead against Gilbert’s. “Maybe… we should actually do this together…”
“Let’s discuss it over dinner tomorrow night,” Gilbert offered, and Romano stared down at him with a face so red he thought he might pop. “You can cook.” For a moment, Gilbert thought that Romano was going to get off of him and take back everything he said. Romano looked so… almost repulsed by the idea, and Gilbert thought maybe he’d misread the entire situation—not that Gilbert was desperate, of course, he just wanted companionship—
“…alright,” Romano agreed, and his eyes lit up in a way Gilbert had never seen before. “It’s a date, then?”
“Yeah,” Gilbert responded, and smiled into the next kiss they shared. “We’ll show them that we can do it.” Romano said nothing in response, only wanting to completely let loose and get to know a Gilbert he never knew existed but had apparently been in love with.
Cigarettes were never this good, Romano thought, and cracked his knuckles before sliding his arms up Gilbert’s shirt. Forty-four.
Original prompt: Prussia and Romano quit smoking together.