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Cross-posted from tumblr

Title: Art Appreciation
Author: kira
Genre: slice of life, romance
Characters: Germany, Italy
Pairing: Germany/Italy
Rating: PG
Word count: 1450
Warning: none
Summary: While on vacation in Italy, Italy expressed a desire to paint his friend…
Author’s Note: Thanks to my beta Kat for looking this over for me.


For Avandra, Merry Christmas…



They sat outdoors at a little Italian café, enjoying a cup of cappuccino. Germany was people watching while his fellow County drew random sketches of him on the backs of several napkins. The weather all week had been beautiful as they toured the area and this day was shaping up to be just as beautiful as the rest. They were close to their final destination, Italy’s private villa in the countryside, and Germany could not wait to get there. Last time he had visited, he had had a wonderful time doing nothing. Germany was surprised at how restful that was and he was eager to do it again. Lost in thought, it was several minutes before Germany even realized his little buddy was speaking. He blushed at the thought of how rude he had been, but Italy did not seem to mind. He just continued babbling on.

“Germany is so pretty and his muscles are so strong, and I wish he’s let me paint him sometime,” Italy sang softly to himself. “I’d love to paint him as Hercules.”

“I’m sorry, Italy, what did you say?” Germany leaned forward in an attempt to better hear him.

Italy blushed as Germany was staring intently at him. He looked away and back. “I was just thinking out loud how nice it would be to paint you. You’re pretty and strong and you would make a great Hercules in a classical type painting!” Italy smiled. Reaching for his cup of cappuccino, he picked it up and drank. “But a portrait of you would be nice too.”

Germany’s cheeks also heated up. “Uh, thanks.” He grimaced at his little buddy in what passed as a smile for him. “You really want to paint me?”

Italy nodded. “Yes! Haven’t you noticed that I’m always doodling you?”

“Well, yes…” Germany trailed off helplessly.

“And while those are a big help in painting a portrait of you, it’s not really the same as having you sit for me. And if you come sit for me, I promise I’ll train extra hard!”

Touched by his offer, Germany found himself agreeing. It was just a portrait and besides, he was willing to do whatever it took to get Italy to train harder. “Okay. So when do we start?”

“Tomorrow. By the time we get back to my house, the lighting won’t be any good.”

“Okay.” Germany picked up his cup and drank his cappuccino. He found he was looking forward to tomorrow as he never really sat formally for him. Most of the sketches Italy did of him were at meetings on ledger paper or in his sketchbook on a lazy afternoon at his home. Italy often sketched Prussia and Germany’s dogs too on those occasions. But a painting was something else entirely and Germany hoped he was up to the task. “So I just have to sit there?”

Italy nodded. “And you can take as many breaks as you like too!”

“Okay.”

“It’ll be fun! I did one of your brother that weekend Romano came to visit with Spain.”

“My brother was there?” Germany was surprised by the sharp pang of jealousy he felt at the thought of his brother spending time with his little buddy. He let his imagination run wild too, as images of Prussia flirting up a storm with Italy danced in his head.

“Yeah! They only spent the night. Romano made his famous pasta fra diavolo! Spain brought the wine and his guitar and he and Prussia sang songs all night while my brother grumbled about what a pair of idiots they are. I was so sad you were stuck at home because of that meeting you had the next day and you needed to prepare for it.” Italy beamed at him. “That’s what Prussia said anyway.”

As annoyed as he was, Germany could not help smiling back. It was not Italy’s fault his idiot brother liked to flirt with him. Germany sighed softly. It was his fault Prussia was there in the first place. If he had not sent him to Spain’s then poor Italy would not have had to deal with Prussia’s nonsense. Germany continued to mentally berate himself as it was much better than letting his imagination run wild where his brother and Italy were concerned. Germany also made a mental note to tell his brother to stop flirting with his little buddy.

“Ready to go?” Italy said as he gathered his paper napkin sketches and stuffed them in his pocket.

“Yeah.”

Germany pushed his chair back and stood up to go. Italy followed suit and together they walked the few blocks to the parking lot where they left their Vespa scooters. They got on and rode through the streets to the outskirts of town. From there, they drove through Italian countryside to Italy’s villa.

Arriving at the villa, they parked the scooters, got off, and went inside. Germany followed his little buddy to his studio. The floor to ceiling windows on three sides let in plenty of light. At this time of day, the sun cast a soft golden glow over everything. While Italy hung up his sketches on a large corkboard, Germany walked over to one of the windows and looked out.

Italy turned around, and spotting Germany standing by the widow, he sighed. He thought his friend looked angelic all bathed in the golden light. “Germany?”

He turned to face him. “Yeah?”

“Can I sketch you quickly? Please? You look so beautiful…” Italy sighed again.

Germany felt his cheeks heating up. He cleared his throat. “Thanks…?”

“So can I sketch you?”

Germany frowned. “I suppose so.”

“YAY!” Italy cried. “Mille grazie!!” He hurried over to get his sketchbook. “Just stand there, okay?” he called out over his shoulder.

Germany stood rooted to the spot. He could feel the beginnings of a headache, blooming behind his eyes, but his little buddy looked so happy that he was able to ignore it. He hoped he did not look too stupid, standing there, doing nothing.

Italy opened his sketchbook. Pencil in hand, he began a quick sketch of his friend. “Don’t move!” he turned and got up to go grab his colored pencils. They were a gift from Prussia for the overnighter and Italy was dying to try them out.

Just when Germany was beginning to feel tired, Italy beamed at him. He straightened his posture and stood there, ignoring the little muscle cramps, he was getting, as he fought to remain motionless.

“What do you think?” Italy held up his sketchbook.

Germany could not help smiling. “I think it looks like me,” he said, blushing when he realized how stupid he sounded.

“Come’re and really look at it.” Italy beckoned him closer.

Germany walked over to him. He gazed down at the sketch. “It’s really good, Italy. Can I have it? Please?”

“Sure!” Italy tore the page out his sketchbook. He handed it to his friend.

“Thanks.” Germany held it carefully in his hands. “Italy?”

“Yeah?” Italy said as he put his sketchbook and pencils away.

“Do you…?” Germany frowned. “Do you think you could do one of yourself…? If you want to that is…”

Italy nodded. “Sure, if Germany would like a self portrait of me, I’ll do it!” he smiled. “I’ll draw something to compliment yours, okay?”

“Thanks.” Germany watched as Italy grabbed a mirror and looking back and forth between it and his sketchbook, he quickly sketched himself. Several minutes went by before Italy grabbed the colored pencils. He took out one that matched his skin tones and began adding color to the sketch. Replacing that pencil for another, he worked on getting his coloring right, before moving onto to his hair. Italy added some color to his shirt, before handing the sketch to his friend.

Germany took the sketch and held it next to one of himself. His lips briefly contorted into a smile. Italy had drawn himself so that he was facing in the opposite direction, and when Germany held them together, they looked like they were looking at each other. “Thank you,” he said. “Mille grazie,” he repeated, doing a passable job on the Italian.

Italy beamed. “Prego! Germany said ‘thank you’ so nicely in Italian!” He hugged him. “You’re learning!”

Germany blushed. “Yeah…”

“Let’s put these away and celebrate with some gelato and I’ll teach you more words,” Italy said.

Germany set the sketches on the easel and followed Italy out of his studio. They sat in the kitchen, enjoying a bowl of gelato, while Italy gave his friend an impromptu Italian lesson. It set the tone for Germany’s final days in Italy before heading back home, where it became a most memorable vacation.

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