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Americana: 1920's

He recognises her when he sees her, despite the hair undone, falling in messy yet artistic curls, the switch from a uniform to a pretty summer dress. And the smile, oh that smile. Warm, happy and brilliant, so unlike the tense frown she wore when they last saw each other, the angry curl of her lips when she found out what Italy got in exchange for its help in the Great War. America sees that smile and suddenly his next goal becomes to see it again, see it directed at him and not at the children flocking around Romana.

His staring is finally noticed as she straightens up, the children scampering off and America watches the smile drop, turning into a small frown. She wears the fashions of the past decade he realises, a skirt that hits the floor and assumably a corset. Unless she’s naturally that curvy, America thinks, feeling a blotch of heat bloom on each cheek at the thought. He shakes it off, coughing lightly as he straightens his tie and stands up straight.

She’s so much shorter than he. He’d forgotten that, forgotten the small glimpses of those ridiculous heels. And the way her legs looked in the- no. He’s not going to think about her legs, not when she’s stopping in front of him, arms crossing and one eyebrow lifted.

“America.” Her accent is thick, blurring the way his name is said until it sounds like part of a song. Coughing again, he nods, shifting awkwardly.

“Yeah. Though maybe Alfred here, yanno? Less noticeable…”

Romana rolls her eyes, and America’s distracted by the purse of her lips, enough that he almost tunes her words out. “You are tall, biondo, and have the blu eyes, idiota. You already stick out. Like an achy finger.”

“Sore thumb. It’s, like a sore thumb.” Absentmindedly he corrects her, missing the way her cheeks flush with irritation at being corrected, or perhaps embarrassment that she was corrected. He’s forgotten how weak her English is, how she can’t grasp the usage just right.
Then again, it’s not like he could do any better in Italian. He’d probably be worse. An apologetic smile spreads across his mouth, teeth a brilliant white as he bows his head slightly. “Sorry.”

Romana sniffs, glancing away and he watches how her arms tighten across her chest. “It does not matter. Stupid language anyway. And you stick out like the thumb still.”

America laughs at that, at the huffy way she says it, the way her lips purse and she gives him a look of irritation. It’s cute, watching her get so worked up over messing up a few words, thinking that he cares. Idly he watches a strand of hair slide over her shoulder and he’s so tempted to just reach forward, and pull some hair over the other side so she’s symmetrical. Or pull it all up, somehow, to show off her slim neck.

How does she get all that hair into that bun he’s seen her wear he’ll never know.

“Alfred.” America blinks at the sound of his name, rolled just that way, and he finds his eyes focusing straight on the tip of her finger, pressed against the tip of his nose. Romana gives him a bored look, the slightest lift of an eyebrow and the sheepish smile returns.

“Sorry. What where you saying, I kind of missed it.”

She rolls her eyes, and his lips twitch just again. “Why. Are. You. Here.” The words are forced out carefully, Romana reigning in her accent just in case.

America grins at her, and he feels a flicker of pride that he manages to get her look to soften, the slightest hint of a curve of her lips. “Why wouldn’t I be? These are my people.”

And suddenly that small start of a smile is gone and Romana’s eyes are cold, narrowed. Blinking, he can feel his own grin falter, forehead wrinkling in a frown as she starts to turn away from him. He knows he’s hit a nerve, somewhere, somehow, but what it is…

“And they were mine first,” is all she says before Romana walks away, easily slipping through the crowd of Italian Americans.

Oh. That.

----

He’s an idiot. An utter fucking idiot. A stupid little boy who was allowed to grow up too quickly, allowed to become a nation when he was only a century or two old. He hadn’t learnt the lessons they were supposed to, Romana tells herself, trying to justify his actions, and in the end he was just a silly little boy trying to play with adults, let in by family connections.

She did have to admit it was infuriating that someone so much younger than her had gained his independence a century or so before she did. That he had more years as a unified and independent nation than she did, despite her millenniums of existence. And that he was always so damn cheerful, it was hard to get angry at a man that never stopped smiling, even when he was stealing all her people away with the promise of better lives, lives they couldn’t find in Italy.

Flicking her hair over her shoulder Romana stopped, exhaling slowly, forcing her anger to back down. A wedding was a happy occasion, not one for anger. And this family was an old one, one that had moved here just so the children could have better lives. She couldn’t begrudge them for that, deep down she did understand.

She was just frustrated she couldn’t give them what they deserved, and seeing him come here, into the mist of her people didn’t help.

Mafia fic

It started, as many things do, with an end.

And though it is here the story starts, many would argue that it started much earlier. With a birth, or a man’s rise to power. Or a wedding, or another birth. Or with a murder. There are many places the story could have started, because without these things, there would be no story. But it is here we enter this story, nowhere else.

September 21st is a cool day, an Autumn wind stirring fallen leaves, the temperature just low enough to justify a thicker than usual coat. A sea of black stands together, black coats, black suits, black dress and shoes. A few women in this crowd wear hats, including Chiara Bonneyfoy nee Vargas. It is a rather nice hat, not ostentatious, but just the right size to make a statement about its wearer's personality.
Born March 17th, Chiara Romana Lovina Vargas was the first born to Maria and Alexander Vargas. In turn, her mother Maria was the only child of Romulus Rossi a man we will come back to. An important man, yes, but one who will wait for his introduction. He has the time.
Like we were saying, Chiara was the firstborn to the next generation of Vargas, and despite her gender the birth was a happy occasion. Named for her paternal grandmother (and paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother) she was a beautiful baby, with hazel eyes and her grandmother's thick brown curls. She was a peaceful child most days, despite being spoiled by her family and while she had her displays of temper she was essentially a jewel in her family's crown.

When she was 2, Chiara became a big sister, to a little boy. The stories say he came out with a smile on his face, hence the choice of Feliciano rather than his paternal grandfather's name. Feliciano Vincenzo Vargas was a much more happier child than his sister and thanks to his gender was quickly brought into the spotlight much sooner than Chiara, an issue that caused friction between the siblings. Chiara would often be left at home while Feliciano was paraded around, the future heir the family. It didn't help that he soon showed great talent in the arts, and was overall much more charming than his more temperamental sister.

Still, the two siblings reportedly had a close relationship growing up, made closer only by the death of their parents at an early age. Taken in by the grandfather, they grew up surrounded by the family business, and Chiara showed herself to be fiercely protective of her younger brother, refusing to leave the boy's side without a serious struggle. The numerous teeth marks left on men’s arms, not to mention the scratches from her nails soon proved that it just wasn’t worth it, and soon people just left her alone, let her be Feliciano’s shadow. Lord knows her Grandfather put no protest to it.

Always together had its downsides though, rumours of an incestuous hounding the two, even after Chiara’s early marriage to one Francis Bonneyfoy and Feliciano’s constant flirting with the young women of Naples. Rumours of bed sharing, of Chiara spending nights at Feliciano’s high rise apartment instead of her home didn’t help, but with the power the family no one dared to actually speak up, say the rumours to their faces. The fact that Chiara and Francis’ marriage was an arranged one didn’t help either. But moving on.

Mayfield this is also kinda a gift for a friend I am yet to finish sob, wittly names 'And Baby Makes Three'

It was never supposed to happen. She was never even supposed to be capable of it; with them, nations just appeared out of the crowd, little children in a crowd, brought under the wings of older nations, or there people. Ancient Greece had found her first, a little rambunctious girl, inquisitive and getting into everything. Then Ancient Rome, both the two empires providing the basis of a culture of her people.
There had never been a mother for her. There had never been a father. Grandmother yes, grandfather yes, and a sister. But the connections were through culture, through people, not blood. The idea of pregnancy, of natural born children and not her people is foreign for Romana.

That’s why when she throws up it doesn’t connect. The memory of sleeping with Germany that Valentine Day has been shoved back, buried under everything to be forgotten. The connection between that one night and the feeling of nausea that curls in her stomach at the smell of coffee or fresh bread or a pot of sauce is never made. She’s still got the body of a human, Romana reasons, and humans are notorious for getting easily ill. She’s probably just picked up something from this godforsaken town.

It's when the waistband of her pants refuses to come together that she stops. Suddenly there's a lump in her throat, butterflies in her stomach and she feels as if she's going to vomit again. Even if she's never experienced this, Romana's no idiot. She knows how humans reproduce. The world is silent except for the sound of her blood rushing in her ears. She stumbles back, fingers clinging to her waistband and the bed catches her at her knees, bringing her to a clumsy sit.

Maybe she's just put on weight, even with all her nausea and always constant exercise and food watching.

Maybe the pants shrunk.

Maybe they're just broken.

Maybe this is all just a bad dream.

Suddenly Romana realizes she's crying, big fat tears falling down her cheeks, shoulders shaking and her bottom lip quivering. A sob escapes her and it’s if she collapses from the inside, Romana collapsing onto her side and clutching at the newly made sheets of her bed as she sobs.

She's fucked up. Massively.

It's Hungary that finds her, the older woman called in by Australia Romana assumes. She makes a note somewhere in the recesses of her mind to thank him later. But soon the thought disappears, and all that there is Hungary staring at her from the doorframe and the pillow she's clutching. Her eyes feel swollen and Romana assumes the careful make up she had applied this morning is ruined. Not that it really matters.

It's late afternoon now.

And the waistband of her pants still won't come together.

"Romana?" Hungary breaks the silence, her voice snapping Romana out of her staring contest with the opposite wall, Romana's gaze turning to watch Hungary cross the short space between the door and the bed.

The bed dips slightly as Hungary sits, one of her warm hands forcing one of Romana's to let go of the death grip she has on the pillow. Her fingers give her hand a squeeze and Romana realizes she wasn't all cried out like she thought, tears slowly resuming their paths down her already streaked cheeks.

"What's wrong?"

Hungary doesn't push after the initial question and Romana's thankful. It takes her awhile to find the words and then she has to form them and not in Italian and it's all so hard. And even when she does find it all and figure it out, her voice betrays her, cracking sharply. "I-"
Pause. Swallow. Try again.

"I'm. Pregnant." Two words and Romana hates how hoarse crying has made her throat. She hates how her eyes sting from crying; her throat feels dry and aches.

And most of all she hates the waistband of her pants.

It takes Hungary sometime to process that thought, the woman joining Romana in her silence. Romana chokes on a muffled sob and in the coughing fit she feels Hungary stir, the woman's fingers tightening around hers.

"How," she murmurs softly, finding and holding Romana's gaze with piercing green eyes that show obvious confusion, "Romana, how, we're nations, we don't, we're not capable of that, reproducing like that."

Romana nods, swallowing as her grip changes from the pillow to Hungary's hand. Her own words are just as rushed as Hungary's her emotions only making her accent thicker. "I, I don't know. I just... I keep throwing up, and now, now they don't fit!"

Hungary blinks as the pillow is pushed away, revealing the curve of Romana's stomach, the V formed by her split waistband. It's definitely larger, Romana's sure of it, and again she chokes back a sob. It's not fat, she's always been so careful in what she eats, exercising religiously, all to keep a figure near perfect.

Romana watches the line of Hungary's throat, the way it bobs just slightly as the woman slowly. Her free hand moves, pressing lightly on her stomach and Romana closes her eyes, a low whimper escaping her. She wonders if Hungary can feel any life in there, or if the other nation just thinks she's crazy.

She feels crazy, sitting there, staring at the curve of her stomach.

Maybe she is.

Hungary lets out a slow sigh and Romana looks up, face tense. She’s half waiting for a lecture, to be told she’s crazy. But it doesn’t come Hungary merely reaching forward, pulling her closer and holding her in a tight hug. Pressed against Hungary’s chest, Romana listens to the woman’s heart beat, and she feels a few more tears slip free as Hungary speaks. “We should... see a doctor... it might, it might really be nothing Romana, you know that. But... to be sure.”

There’s no outright denial. Hungary hasn’t shut down even the remote possibility that Romana may be pregnant.

The tears start again, even as Romana nods, burying her face against Hungary’s neck and starting to sob, Hungary’s fingers slowly sliding through her hair to try and comfort her.

She’s fucked up.

-----

A month later and there’s no denying it, even if the test hadn’t been positive. Romana’s stomach swells, the mood swings become even more often. The wardrobe she regained is useless now, meant for a smaller size and her feet swell, heels becoming impossible.
Still, it’s not all scowls. At times Romana catches herself stroking her stomach, quietly touching the skin that holds the life inside her. It’s an experience she may never repeat, and a small part of her is glad she can have this, just for once. She wonders what the baby will look like, will it look like her, or will it look like him.

Him.

Germany.

She finds herself thinking of the other nation involved in all of this more and more as each day passes. Just idle thoughts, changing from wondering about how he’d feel if he knew, to rage that he had done this to her, to even slight sadness. She hasn’t seen the real Germany, just his drone, and it’s not the same. That’s not Germany, no matter how much they look alike and after one violent outburst at the drone, she’s managed to avoid him.

Romana never thought she’d ever miss the other nation. She tries to blame it on hormones, on lingering effects from the event that caused all this but she misses him. She wants to throttle him, but at the same time she wants to see what he’d be like. How would he take being a father? Would he prove all her fears right and push her away? She knows it’s unfair, but sometimes she daydreams of a tiny little family with him, their child growing up, and... being happy.

Whenever these daydreams come she tries to ignore them, focus on another task and ignore the soft pain in her heart. The Germany of her own world was clearly interested in Venezia; it was likely to be the same with the males. And it was foolish to think he was coming back, foolish and stupid and idiotic and all those other synonyms.

She’ll do this by herself. It won’t be the first time she's done something by herself.

She should have known better. As soon as Romana makes the firm decision to ignore all thoughts about the father of her child, Mayfield plays with her again. A knock at the door of Hungary’s house, Romana answering it to help the other woman who was busy with dinner. And there he is. She knows it’s him, somehow. His eyes are different to that of the drone him.

They stare at each other in silence and Romana feels her hand tightening on the door knob. Germany’s still staring at her, or is he staring at her stomach. Even though her stomach’s only grown slightly, she’s self conscious of it, always feeling fat these days. Does he think she’s gotten fat? Is that why he’s staring?

How dare he, she thinks.

How dare he think she’s fat when this is all (or at least partially) his fault.

Finally Romana lets go of the door knob, Germany starting to speak, “...Romana. Is Bruder or Miss Hunga-?“

Romana has to say she quite likes the resulting sound of her slap, the way her red handprint blooms against Germany’s fairer skin. It’s like an art, she decides, staring up at the shock in his blue eyes.

Then she slams the door in his face.

“Who was that dear?” Hungary asks when she returns, dusting off her hands. Briefly Romana meets her eyes, before looking away, finding a piece of paper to feign interest in.

“Nobody.  Just an idiota.”

She wishes she could believe herself. Hungary’s eyes burn into the back of her head, and Romana pastes a faked smile on as she turns. “So. Anything I can do?”

Hungary’s smile is as faked as Romana’s as she shakes her head. “No, no, you just sit and rest.”

Romana sighs. She’s so tired of resting.  Of sitting. Of waiting. She’s never been a patient woman, willing to let things change without interference.

And now he’s back.

And she wishes she could just run away, hide and pretend nothing’s happening.

Instead she takes her seat, and she rests.

And waits.

-----

It’s not long till they run into each other again, Germany apparently having the courage to actually come to her house. Romana half wonders if the male her has less of a temper then she does, if his anger never reaches the point hers can. Then again, with this body she’s still stuck in, detached from her people and her strength, she doubts she’d have the strength to throw the coffee table at the taller nation.

They stare at each other again, Romana unable to help the slight annoyance that curls inside her at the height Germany possess, how he towers over her. She hates feeling small, and he makes her feel smaller than ever.  She contemplates slamming the door again, ignoring all further knocks but almost as if he’s reading her mind Germany presses a large hand against the door, and Romana narrows her eyes, knowing he’s stronger and will keep it open even if she leans her full weight against the wood.

“Romana,” he starts and she stares at his hand, studying the knuckles. She’s stubborn, she refuses to give in, let him in so easily. “Romana, look at me.”

With a blank expression she does as he asks, even as her hands press over her stomach, a barrier against the world. The movement draws his eyes down and there’s another few minutes of silence. “What?,”  she finally says. “What do you want?”

“I... heard. From Hungary.” He can’t look away, and she can’t move away. He’s choosing his words carefully and Romana stays silent. Her temper fades away and she slumps.

She’s tired.

“And. You decided you needed to see if it was true or just a lie? Why the fuck would I lie about this, bastardo.” The words are hissed, spat, and yet there is no true venom in her voice, just tired anger, from a woman who’s frustrated by the situation she’s found herself in. Frustrated and scared. “Do you think I’m desperate for attention, or delusion, think I’m so needy for someone that I’ll pretend to be pregnant? Or that maybe someone else did it, because you think I’m a whore? And now I’m blaming you? Huh, which is it, Germania?”
Eyes burning with the start of tears, Romana glares furiously at the taller man, before giving a hard shove to her front door, fleeing as quickly as she can when it doesn’t work. Germany stays in the doorframe, stunned into silence and Romana sniffs, rubbing her eyes to clear them as she stumbles upstairs, the bang of her bedroom door resonating through the house.


And now I guess I need to go work on this assignment and then yeah.... stuff.
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