The Hard Hearted German has Gone Soft

*Sequel to The Maple Tree and the War Machine* When Italy gets a weird phone call from his best friend, he decides to investigate. Cover by Carmie-chan!!!

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1. The Hard Hearted German has Gone Soft

In Europe, news, gossip, and pasta travels fast.  The first two were made for the ears, the last made for the stomach.

            But it was odd to hear Germany start the gossip.

            Germany’s my BFF – my best friend.  He always came to my combat rescue, and I to his emotional rescue.  Well, except for that one time on Saint Valentino’s Day, when he thought I was confessing my love to him.  What I really meant was brotherly love, same with Japan.  We three are unstoppable.

            My name’s Italy.  I’m usually the lovable guy with all the pasta and pizza in the world.  And the best pasta and pizza in the world.

            My country is beautiful.  Luscious fruit trees dart the whole landscape along with ruins of what my grandpa Rome had a very long time.  My older brother, Romano is in the southern half of my beautiful country.  He keeps tourists well into the beginning of their work period, and he isn’t exactly the type of guy that likes Germany.

            So, of course, the phone call that woke me up one September morning was weird, to say the least.

            “I didn’t miss out on training again, did I, Germany?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.  My brother beside me groaned and placed a pillow over his head.

            “Nein, you’re fine, Italy.  I thought I’d let you know that it’s cancelled, actually.  Something came up in mein schedule that was unexpected,” Germany answered on the other end.  He sounded like he was trying to keep very quiet.  “I would like to deal with that for today, if that’s okay with you.”

            “Hey, Germany, does Japan–?”

            “Don’t worry about it, Italy.  Japan knows.  I informed him last night.”

            “O-okay, Germany.  If you need any pasta or pizza or cheering up, you’ll let me know?”

            A sigh, and then, “Ja, Italy, I will.”  Germany sounded ... tired.  It definitely wasn’t like Germany to be tired.

            “G-Germany, you sure you’re going to be okay?  You don’t sound too good, best buddy.”

            “I’ll be fine, Italy.  Besides, it isn’t me you should be worrying about.”  A click sounded over the speaker, and the phone went dead.

            “The hell was that?” Romano yawned, opening his eyes slowly.  “It better not be that Germany bastard.”

            I hated it when my brother talked bad about my best friend.  “No training today for me, Romano.  Besides, is it okay to be worried about Germany?  He didn’t exactly sound like himself.”

            “Like himself?  What do you mean, Italy?  He didn’t yell at you to get your ass out of bed and get the hell to training?”

            “He didn’t.  He just cancelled training today, saying something came up that he wanted to deal with today.”

            “Hmm.”  Romano sat up, and rubbed his chin.  “Maybe he doesn’t want to see you anymore, Italy.  You know, you have been nothing but annoying.”

            I felt my face fall.  “But, Romano, he said it isn’t him to worry about.”

            “Ooh!”  Romano’s eyes lit up.  “Bet you, that potato-loving bastard managed to get himself a girlfriend, and he wants to spend at least one day with her rather than baby you.”

            “A girlfriend?!  That’s not really Germany’s style!”

            “I guess it just goes to show you even jerk bastards like him can get the girl.”  Romano laughed.  “Miracles really do happen.”

            I blinked at my brother’s response.  It wasn’t like him, sure, but it would let him finally experience what I was trying to teach him all along, and he’d be nicer to everyone because of it to keep her impressed.

            “Maybe some celebratory pasta is in order?  I mean, it’s not every day you hear that coming from one tough guy!” I exclaimed as I sprang out of bed.  “I’ll invite Japan, too!  Maybe even France!  Oooh!  Germany’s gotta make it with the lucky girl!”

            “Later!” Romano groaned as he laid back down and pulled the blankets up over his head.  “Imma sleepy yet!  Maybe you can take your noise to the potato bastard’s place.  He should be awake, doing whatever potato bastards do with their girlfriends.”

            I threw my uniform on, absolutely thrilled at the idea of seeing my best friend rendered helpless because of some girl’s charms.  “Imma make pasta first for the new couple!”

            “Whatever, fratello.  Just don’t get killed by Switzerland,” he grumbled.  It wasn’t too long before he started snoring.

            “’Kay!  See you later!” I chirped at him with a wink.  I left when he started muttering a string of curses.

            My brother is an asshole, sure, but he’s a crafty asshole with the numb vocal chords of a Spanish woman.  He likes to yell and curse a lot, along with talk badly about Germany and any other country that wasn’t like Japan, Britain, or Spain.

            But I choose to ignore it, because Germany’s my BFF.

            And BFFs make pasta for each other!

*           *           *

Several minutes later

“Germany!  How’s it going?” I sang as I pranced into his room.

            At that point, I realized my mistake.

            My best friend lay curled up on his side, sound asleep with a tiny girl in his arms, and it wasn’t just any girl ... it was Canada.

            She, too, was lying on her side, her back pressed against Germany’s chest.  Her glasses were askew and stained with what look like salt water.  She was also sound asleep.

            This isn’t like him at all, I thought, freezing in the door as soon as the floorboards creaked.  Germany was always a light sleeper, and he hated noises when he was trying to sleep in.  Why is Canada here?  They’d only been friends for eight months.  Why is she here, cuddled up in the arms of Germany?  I thought she was intimidated by him.

            Germany cracked one eyelid open and glared at me with his icy blue eye.  His gaze softened when he realized it was me.  “Oh, hey, Italy,” he murmured as he released one of his arms from holding onto the girl.  He rubbed both his eyes open.  “What brings you here?  I thought I told you that training was cancelled for today.”

            “I-I know,” I gulped.  After over a century of friendship, I was still intimidated by my best friend, even in such a vulnerable state as this.  Not that I was surprised at the amount of gentleness he was demonstrating at the moment.

            Germany nodded and pressed his free pointer finger to his lips.  “She’s still sound asleep, Italy.  I finally got her to open up about her issues with America.”

            Now, he had peaked my curiosity.  “Issues?  With America?”

            “Ja, issues.  She came in yesterday afternoon absolutely furious with him.  She was going on about how he was using her maple syrup for some new candy, und contemplating using her pet’s natural habitat to expand his gains.”  He looked down at her.  “She came here after seeing Japan, Russia, France, und Britain.  Neither of them were much help, apparently.”

            “Mama mia,” I stated, “that’s awful, Germany!”

            “Ja.”  He looked back at me.  “You haven’t answered my question, Italy.  What brings you here?”

            “I was worried about you to begin with!  Also, Romano was suggesting something about you finally getting a girlfriend, and I was curious!”  I looked down at my feet.  “I’m sorry, Germany!”

            My BFF smiled.  “It’s no trouble, Italy.”  The girl yawned and stirred.  He looked back at her.  “Someone’s waking up, ja?”

            “Mmm?” Another yawn erupted from Canada, and she rubbed her eyes.  “I guess, not that I wanted to, eh?”  She rolled over onto her stomach, and she straightened her glasses.  She looked over her shoulder.  “Italy?  What are you doing here?” Canada asked, a slow grin spreading across her face.

            “Ah, you know me!  I’m always worried for Germany!”  I laughed and rubbed the back of my neck.

            Canada’s grin got bigger and she flipped over onto her back.  “Even if you’re just here for him, it’s still great to see you, eh?” she answered.  “So, what’s up?  How are things with Romano?”

            “Ah, you know, neither here nor there.  He’s still a prick, to be honest,” I said.

            “That’s too bad.  And here I thought, since Spain’s an easy-going guy, Romano would mellow out by now.”  She sighed and looked at the roof.  “Such a waste of a chance for friendship.”

            “Ja,” Germany agreed.  He gave her a stern look.  “Now, you sure you’re going to be fine, as you put it, Canada?  If anything, that outburst last night said different.”

            “Yes, Germany, I’ll be fine.  Besides, Italy always brightens the atmosphere, so there’s no point in trying to be that unstable,” she retorted.  “There’s no point in wallowing about something as trivial as maple syrup.”

            “Ah, come on, Canada!  Maple syrup isn’t that trivial!  It’s your version of pasta, isn’t it?” I piped up.

            “Basically.”  She looked at Germany.  “Let’s just let this go for today.  I’ll deal with it when I see America again.  Besides, aren’t you supposed to be hosting the G8 this time?”

            Germany’s gaze eased and he thought for a minute.  “I think so.  It’s been a while since we were able to discuss any plan of location.”  He smirked and put his arm around her shoulders.  “If that’s the case, you’ll be staying with me a little longer.”

            “So, Canada’s the lucky girl?” I asked.  “Romano was saying something about you getting a girlfriend, Germany.”

            “Ja,” he answered as he let go of her.  “You should also give him credit for figuring it out before even you did.”

            “Japan and Russia already know, Italy,” Canada continued.  “I don’t plan on telling America, because, as far as he’s concerned, he’ll be making remarks about siding with the enemy.  I don’t know if Britain or France will be okay with it.”

            “They’ve all but forgotten what happened a hundred years ago,” I chirped.  “I’m sure they’d be okay with the news.  That reminds me:  I made some pasta earlier to celebrate.”

            “Pasta?”  She sat up.  “That would be nice, considering you introduced me to würst last night to try to cheer me up, Germany.”

            “It worked, ja?”

            “Yep, but we all know that changing it up would be okay every once in a while.  Besides, you’ve gotta try poutine!”  She smirked and she took off her glasses.  “Also, it’s from Italy, so accept it as a gift.”

            He sighed.  “Fine: I’ll accept it.”

            I grinned.  “Yay!  It’s been ready for a while now!”  I grabbed both their hands.

            And with the force of a speeding train, I dragged them both out of Germany’s room.

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