Chapter Two - Grand Plans

Italy hid away from the rest of the world, locking himself in his house and seeking solace in the form of his brother Romano (the nation representing Southern Italy), a kitten called Tomato and of course, a large bowl of pasta. Tomato sat on the table, greedily lapped up some milk from a saucer, pausing only to mew in contentment. Romano was seated opposite his brother and was eating a ripe, juicy tomato (not the cat) and scowling as Italy rambled between mouthfuls of pasta.

"Ve-and then he said that I couldn't tie my shoelaces properly! But before he used to tie my shoelaces for me and now I don't know how and if I asked Japan to tie my shoelaces then he would think I was arranging a marriage with him like he did when I hugged him that time."

"Damn potato bastard...I swear I will shit him up the bastard!" Romano grumbled as he finished his tomato and picked up Tomato who had also finished his milk.

"And then he told me off for having a nap but I was tired because it was ages since breakfast and I needed a sleep because I didn't have enough energy because I hadn't had enough pasta. And I also had to retreat because I saw England and he had scones and that took loads of energy!" Italy finished his pasta and put the bowl aside, looking slightly helpless. "I don't know how to please my own best friend ve. He made a pinky promise that he would always help me but he just tends to shout at me these days..." Italy trailed off sadly. "Maybe if I make him pasta he will be my friend again?"

Romano was about to launch into a satisfying tirade of Germany hatred when to both their surprise the doorbell rang. They both looked at each other for a moment of hesitation before Italy jumped to his feet and ram to the door, hopeful that it was Germany come to make things right. When he opened the door though there was quite a surprise waiting for him. Standing awkwardly with a hint of shyness stood England, holding a small bunch of multicoloured tulips.

"Ve...England what are you doing here?" Italy asked, fingering his white flag just in case of operation quick emergency surrender.

"I'm terribly sorry to disturb you, I hope I am not interrupting anything?" England replied, blushing with his own sense of social awkwardness. His fingers absently played with the tulips in his hand and he stood with his posture even more unnatural straight than normal, as though afraid to let his guard down.

"We were just eating pasta! Would you like to come in?" Italy asked cautiously, his curiosity about the presence of the other overcoming his long standing fear of the island nation. He opened the door wide and watched as the other slowly stepped through, looking around with an awkward expression. Italy led England into the kitchen and pulled up another chair for the nation before resuming his seat opposite Romano. Romano and Tomato were both eyeing England with high levels of curiosity. One mewing and the other swearing under his breath...naturally Tomato needed to wash his mouth out with soap.

Taking a deep, nervous breath England spoke, "Italy, I saw what happened between you and Germany earlier. He was very harsh, it was quite uncalled for from him. I bought you some flowers to cheer you up." Gesturing to the tulips, he gave them both a warm smile as he held the flowers out to Italy. The Italian took them and sniffed them before grinning in return.

"Ve-thank you England!" He looked quite touched by the gesture and even Romano looked relatively pleased by the situation (aka. Romano was not scowling). Italy stood up and found a vase for the flowers, trimmed their stems and placed them in water, arranging them neatly before setting them on the windowsill so as to catch the warm, Italian sun.

"You're welcome! Bloody Kraut, if he is going to tell anyone off he should tell France or America off, they disturb the peace in those meetings more than anyone." England failed to mention the fact that he was also one of the key perpetrators of general peace disturbance. "Honestly, he has had a stick up his posterior for months. Bloody wanker, taking it out on you. You are a bit of a git at times and frankly the amount of pasta you eat and white flags you produce are beyond comprehension. But I certainly categorise you as mostly harmless." England thought for a moment before nodding importantly. Suddenly he deflated a tad, "Even if you did run away from my scones. I thought that they were particularly delicious - I even bought strawberry jam and clotted cream to go with them." He sighed softly, before looking between his two companions.

Italy could not help but feel a little guilty at his expression, the poor man had obviously tried hard to make his scones as delicious as possible - if only they looked more edible than a mouldy cow pat, then Italy might brave them...alas that they failed to meet such a low criteria. Scones aside, Italy felt strangely at ease with a nation whose stiff upper lip and empire building attitudes had often made him flee in terror. Then again Italy had once fled in terror because Tomato had licked him so he supposed that fleeing in terror from England was at least partially justified compared to a momentary fear of kitten lick. The no nonsense sass combined with the socially awkward shyness made England quite endearing and his defensive words for the Italian were quite sweet.

"Ve...I'm a-sorry I ran from your scones. I'll try not to next time." Italy beamed a radiant smile before it faded slightly as Italy timidly asked, "Do you think Germany hates me now?" He seemed to wilt slightly at the thought, his gaze lowering and his attitude turning unnaturally shy when compared to his usual exuberance.

"Potato Bastard had better not make my brother cry else I'll throw a grenade at him." Romano interjected, failing to remember his inability to tell the difference between throwing a grenade and its pin.

"Germany doesn't hate you, I'm quite sure of that. I dare say, the man is just being a wanker." England gave Italy a kindly, if timid smile, "Try not to worry about it, just give him a bit of time. He will come around I'm sure." The Englishman even went so far as to shyly pat the arm of the Italian, before quickly folding his arms.

"You should teach Potato Bastard a lesson." Romano piped up again, while his fingers busied themselves tickling the kitten on the chin, his expression unusually soft in the face of the adorable black and white Tomato.

"Ve-how do I do that?" Italy asked dejectedly, "I don't want him to hate me more than he already might possibly do."

"I have a spare moustache?" Romano produced a spare false moustache which he held out to his brother with great reverence, treating it with more care than any grenade as he made sure the moustache was kept well out of sight of any unsuspecting faces.

The two startled slightly as England clicked his fingers before reaching for the moustache. A wide smirk soon adorned his lips and a glint appeared in his eye that doubtless would have had both France and Spain running for miles in its day. He looked like he had just discovered the secret to life itself and had just found the highest bidder to sell said secret to. He took a deep breath, looking between the two Italian nations.

"How would you feel about giving Germany something to really stress over? An actual problem of Italian rebellion rather than the make believe issues in his mind. It won't harm anyone and it'll be jolly fun." Turning, he made direct eye contact with Italy who looked both curious and terrified, "What do you say to learning a bit of attitude?"

Romano grinned wickedly, already seeing the potential for the idea and he nodded his encouragement to Italy. The other thought for a long moment, his brow furrowed in concentration.

"Ve-count me in!" He exclaimed excitedly, "But what exactly did you have in mind?"

A/N: Thanks for reading, reviewing, following and favouriting.

I do not own Hetalia.