De-anoning! Mature themes and really angsty. Anyway, in this fic I took the Liberty to present some things that are important to me in real life. Which is Domestic violence against men. Putting Italy in the 'female' role, many of the things in this mentioned in this first chapter are issues that face men who are victims of domestic violence. People not believing them, people believing that since a man is bigger he must have started it, etc. Though in the fic I didn't touch upon the ridicule men get when trying to come forward with charges of domestic violence against the women in their life.
'If you know what's good for you, you'll stay away from my brother!'
Romano always used to scream at him. Germany wish he would have listened. Those words hadn't been a threat, they'd been a warning.
Italy had been so sweet at first, oblivious, yes, but sweet and loving. But the more serious the relationship got, the worse he became. It started slowly, Italy telling him his wurst taste like shit while smiling like an idiot. Then it evolved into Italy berating him for not being able to even make a simple meal right. To throwing the plate off the table until Italy started beating him for it. Slowly it leaked out from the kitchen into every aspect of their relationship. It wasn't just slaps, kicks and punches either. It was belts, pans, throwing things at him, shoving him into things, even cutting him when he was extremely agitated.
At first it was just when Germany did something wrong, then when he did something he didn't like. Eventually it got to the point where Italy would be smoking and he would rub it out on his face or roughly kick him out of the bed in the middle of the night, whether if he was snoring or not.
Germany initially thought Italy was acting like this to turn him on, knowing the kind of pornography he was into. Then thought maybe Italy was afraid of him a little after the war and wanted to show he could defend himself. But before Germany knew it or could stop it, he was in an abusive relationship and all aspects of his life were controlled by Italy and what he wanted. There was no way for him to refuse, if he did, he'd be sure to get more of a beating than normal. So Germany followed his orders obediently.
If Italy wanted Germany to stop working, he had to stop. If Italy wanted something special for dinner, he got it (and so help him if he messed it up). If Italy wanted sex, he got that too, even if it wasn't with Germany and he would have to watch so he could learn how to not be 'such a pathetic lay'. But if Germany even glanced at any other person, even to make eye contact to talk to them; Italy wouldn't hesitate to verbally and physically remind him remind him who he was with, usually by way of salt of lemon juice. In Italy's eyes, there was nothing Germany did right.
He hated himself for it, how he continued to let it happen. But he couldn't tell anyone, if he told it'd just make things worse. Besides, no one would believe him anyway. The sweet little Italy beating up the big macho Germany? There was no way to defend himself either, if he did so, and somehow Italy got hurt, they would think he was the aggressor. And he deserved it anyway, after World War II, even if he was kept in the dark about so much, people died because of him. For all he knew this was Italy's way of showing his love for him, by redeeming him and keeping him in line through this kind of treatment. He had convinced himself of that. Italy beat him because he loved him, and he loved Italy, so he would stay no matter what happened.
It was a mantra that Germany told himself to get him through world meetings. Sometimes when America walked by he wanted nothing more than to beg him for help. He was so obsessed with being a hero, he wanted to beg him to rescue him from Italy's abuse. But then he'd see England and remembered why he was getting it in the first place.
He remained as stone-faced as ever at first. Not wanting to show any sort of weakness at a meeting. Besides, the meetings were a happy break for him from Italy's beatings. Gradually though, it became harder, even if Italy had good reason to beat him, it still hurt him. Loving and fearing the same person was one of the most horrible things he'd ever felt, and it would sometimes show on his face.
The bruises and cuts that would appear from time to time didn't help hide it either. It wasn't much at first. 'I fell.' 'Blackie jumped up on me and cut me.' But as the frequency and severity of these things increased, it became more and more difficult for Germany to cover up his injuries and his anguish. His weight decreased as well. Italy would allow nothing but his favourite pastas and pizzas, though he knew too much of that sort of food bother Germany's acid reflex. 'Eat it or starve then' was Italy's decree in the kitchen, though usually after a beating Germany would lose his appetite anyway.
Romano was obviously the first to notice these changes in Germany, he knew to look. He's noticed in the beginning, and tried to approach Germany about it. It never worked, his younger brother pre-empted him every-time, until Germany was trained to avoid Romano and go straight to Italy when he appeared. Though Italy rarely let him out of his sight.
Prussia was the second to notice, long after Romano did. His brother visited far less often, and never alone. When he tried to rough house and prank his brother, he reacted much differently. Instead of being annoyed, he would panic and beg his brother to let him go, almost on the verge of tears. He tried to shrug at off at first, he didn't know what happened to him after the war before the wall came down. Maybe some of the things he was doing reminded him of a bad experience he hadn't quite been able to bury yet and he just needed time to deal with it.
It wasn't until he began joking with Italy that Prussia was able to see the real problem. He'd had a crush on the sweet Italy and he'd joke about stealing him away from his brother, which usually merited furious head shaking and objections from his brother. 'You wouldn't know what you were getting yourself into, Bruder, trust me.' But when he made a comment directly to him...
"Hahahaha! Italy, you should dump this fuddy-duddy and get with me! I'm WAY more fun."
Prussia had barely finished his sentence when Germany had said that, and it concerned him greatly. Not because he said it, but the way he said it. His brother never seemed to emote with his voice unless it was anger, at least to other people. But he knew better, that wasn't a 'no' as in 'No, he's mine.' That was the same no Germany used when he was about to do something extremely dangerous in war, a tone he hadn't used since he was little. It was a 'No, you'll get hurt' kind of no.
Italy laughed and played it off as Germany being extremely jealous, patted him on the head, gave him a hug, and whispered what Prussia assumed were words of comfort in his ear; oblivious to the fact Italy was telling him how badly he'd hurt him for that out burst. But Germany just stood here and hugged him back, like he was supposed to, but Prussia could see there was something not right in Germany's eyes in that instant. Somewhere in them he looked distant and afraid.
Never in a million years did Prussia think Italy could be any sort of a threat or danger, and he wondered if he had just imagined that tone. Maybe it just sounded that was because he was frustrated. But too much weird stuff was happening with his brother lately for him to ignore it, and there was only one other person that close to them that was on the outside looking in.
He was going to speak to Romano.
Romano received a email from Prussia entitled 'Our Brothers' Relationship'. Knowing full well what it was, he opened it and read it.
'I started to notice that some-thing's doesn't seem right between our brothers, I don't know if you've noticed it too. I know you don't like my brother but I think we need to talk about it. Meet me at Austria's tomorrow at 10 am.'
The next day Romano arrived at Austria's house just as he was asked. Prussia was already there and Romano made himself at home before Austria even got a chance to welcome him.
"Now that you're both here, would you mind telling me what all this is about and why you had to hold this conversation in my home?" Austria inquired as he set out a tray for his guests as any good host would.
"There's something weird going on between Italy and Germany." Prussia's tone was serious for once.
Austria raised an eye brow. "I think 'weird' is pretty much the basic nature of their relationship..."
"No. I mean bad weird. My bruder isn't acting like himself and I wanna know what you know about it Romano."
"He's beating the crap out of him." Romano replied bluntly, sipping the wine he was offered.
"What!?" Austria interrupted before Prussia got a chance to speak. "That's ridiculous, I've known Germany for a very long time, and he would never-"
"I'm not talking about him, stupid!" Romano spat. "I'm talking about my idiot brother!"
Austria and Prussia stared at Romano, mouth agape, unable to believe what they had just heard.
"I can't believe Italy could do something like that, he's so sweet!" Prussia exclaimed in disbelief, but horrified none the less.
"I've known Italy since he was little, I can't believe he'd do anything like that. Especially to Germany! They seem so in love..."
"Well believe it! And the more he likes him the worse it'll be. It's like this every-time he gets serious with a guy. He'd never lay a hand on a girl, but..." Romano crossed his arms. "It's like he's got all this pent up anger about this boy he liked when he was little who went off to war and left him. He died and he never saw him again. So he takes it out on whatever dickhead he's dating."
Austria lowered his eyes thinking back on that time and how upset Italy was when he left, and when he found out he wouldn't return.
"Do you think he's beating him so he'll be too afraid to leave?" Austria pondered, certain he'd read something like that in a book somewhere.
"How the hell should I know!?! Do I look like Freud!?!"
"Now hold on one fucking minute!" Prussia slammed his hands down on the table, over his initial shock. "I don't give a shit why he's doing it, he's hurting my brother and I'm gonna wring his scrawny little neck!" He took his anger out on the table once again, flipping it over. "I should do the same to you! You KNEW! Why the fuck didn't you say anything if you knew this was gonna happen anyway!?"
"I thought the potato bastard was smarter than that!"
"Quiet!" Austria shouted. "You can fight about this later. Isn't it more important to get Germany out of this situation?"
The two of them stood there in silence, knowing Austria was right. Now wasn't the time to argue about how it happened. It was the time to end it.
"I don't know about this. Why are there two different meetings today?" Germany asked as he and his brother made their way down the hall to the main conference room.
Prussia shrugged. "The hell if I should know. Probably to save time or some shit. Different countries, different issues." He managed to force a mischievous smile despite the seriousness of the situation. "You can survive a few hours without the old ball and chain, can't you?"
The younger nation nodded quietly as they approached the door of their designated conference room. An uneasy feeling stirred inside Germany's stomach. All he could think about was how angry Italy would be at him and the interrogation he would get when he got home.
Germany opened the door and peered into the room cautiously and saw Romano speaking to America. For once he actually had a serious look on his face and he was nodding in agreement to whatever the older Italian was saying.
"Oi, come on, West! Scoot your glute so I can get in!"
He stepped into the conference room and looked around cautiously. There were only a few nations there other than America and Romano. As soon as he had stepped toward the center of the room, his brother entered behind him, and blocked the door. The atmosphere in the room changed almost immediately.
"Hello, Germany-san." Japan spoke first for once. "How are things with you and Italy?"
"Quite fine, thank you." Germany straitened his tie. "Now may we skip the pleasantries and get to the issue at hand? No one has explained the nature of this meeting to me."
"The nature of this meeting is about what's been going on between you and Italia, Anglemange."
Germany swallowed hard. "I don't have time for this." He stated before he turned and made for the door. However Hungary and his brother were blocking him and wouldn't move from in front of the door.
"Bruder," Prussia sighed. "We need to talk about this, it's serious."
"Germany," America interjected before Germany could interrupt. "We know what he's been doing to you."
"Honestly, you're all over-reacting. It's no big deal, everything's fine."
"It IS a big deal!" Hungary trying to sound gentle and stern. "If this was happening to someone else you wouldn't feel that way."
"You don't understand!" Almost immediately Germany jumped to a desperate defensive stance, almost sounding like he was about to cry. "He does it because he loves me! I deserve it!"
"Deserve it!?! What the bloody hell could you have done to deserve constant beatings like that!? Look at you! You have bruises on your face, you've come to meetings all cut up... There's bags under your eyes and it looks like you've lost 50 pounds."
Germany's expression turned grim and he looked downward. Words slipped out hoarsely from his throat. "You know what."
"Germany you couldn't control what your boss was doing! None of us could! We can't even control them now, it's not like the old days! When are you going to stop beating yourself up over this? We know you didn't know and we know you didn't want it."
"Allemange," France sighed. "You seem to be the only one who thinks you have something coming to you. If we thought you deserved it, would we be here trying to stop it?"
He stood there, silent, staring at the floor. They knew he had no answer to that question. After a few moments of awkward silence Germany finally spoke. 'It's not as bad as you think..."
"Germany," Austria sighed. "Germany, if you can lift your shirt and show us that you don't have any cuts or bruises on you, we'll drop this entire thing."
Germany averted his eyes, looking down in shame. He couldn't do that, and they knew he couldn't.
"...I still love Italy."
"We know Germany, but love isn't supposed to be like this. You need help and so does Italy."
After a few moments of looking around the room at all he concerned faces, he breathed in and exhaled a huge sigh, as if he was breathing out all his tension and fear. "Alright."
The tension in the air relaxed after he said it and his brother put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"Bruder, we're gonna send you to go stay at America's house for a while okay? You'll be safe there. I'll take care of all the paper work and other crap you usually do for both of us." Prussia rubbed his brother's shoulder comfortingly. "Now as soon as you and America leave, we're gonna go talk to Italy. I promise no one's gonna do anything bad to Italy. We're just going to talk to him, okay?"
A small smile made it's way onto Germany's face and he nodded.
"It'll be fun!" America chimed, his usual energy returning. "We'll stay at my house in Texas! There's this store there that's all German food! It'll be just like your place!"
Prussia watched his brother walk off with America, a bitter-sweet wave of relief washing over him.
"Gee, like, what's taking everyone else so long?" Poland puffed. He was sitting in the other room with Italy and a few other nations. Lithuania, Estonia, Greece, and Spain had decided to sit in the other room and be decoys to keep Italy from being suspicious while they were waiting for the others to get done in the other room.
"Ve~" Italy sighed. "I hope they hurry! I'm hungry and I could use a siesta~"
Poland just sighed at his friend and twirled his hair. Italy was always so sweet, it was hard for him to believe that he'd be capable of abusing anyone. Especially Germany. If he hadn't heard it straight from Romano, he probably never would have believed it.
Finally, after about fifteen more minutes of bored silence, the door to the conference room opened and the rest of the nations attending the intervention poured in.
"Ve! There you guys are!" Italy sat in his chair swinging his legs back and forth like a child. "I was about to take a siesta!"
"I'm sure you were." Prussia sneered.
"Hee! Well I do like my siestas~" Italy chimed. "Eh? Where's Germany? I thought he was with you?"
"I'm gonna play around and drag this shit out!" Romano spat. "I told them what you've been doing to him."
"What do you mean, fratello?"
"We know what you've been doing to Germany." England stated grimly.
"I oughta knock your head off right here, but I promised Germany I wouldn't beat the living daylights out of you."
Italy sat there in shock looking at all the grim expressions on his friends face. Some sad, some angry, most were disappointed. Even if Italy could have thought of something to say at that moment, he wouldn't have dared to. Instead he just hung his head like a child who got caught doing something he'd been told several times not to do.
It was that, essentially. His brother wasn't a stranger to finding out these things had happened in the past. But it was different this time. Before his lovers were quick to leave. Germany was the only one who stayed and put up with any of it.
"Italy." Poland managed to muster up enough courage to say something. "Why would you like... do that? It's so unlike you. I just like, don't get it."
"I just..." Italy sniffled, starting to cry. "I don't know! I got so scared he would leave me, and he kept getting angry with me! I didn't know what to do! I wanted to show him I could be tough on him when he did things I didn't like too! And-and I was afraid if I didn't ever do anything and that if he thought I was too weak he'd leave me and I'd never see him again."
With that Italy had begun to sob openly. Japan knew Germany had been rough on him in the past, but that was when they were only friends and soldiers in war, not lovers. Even then Germany hadn't done anything like what Italy had been doing to him.
"Look. Whatever, I don't care. It's going to be a LONG time before you see my brother again, if I ever let you see him again, at all. I fucking mean it. Not even in meetings." Prussia spat at him and made his way to the door. "You need to get some fucking help. And then maybe in few decades, I MIGHT consider letting you call him. But I wouldn't hope on that."
The whole room winced at the force in which Prussia slammed the door as he left.
Italy just sat there sobbing and shaking. Everyone in the room stared at him for a few moments and most started to make their own way out, not feeling they needed to be there anymore. Finally Austria decided to say something.
"Italy, I know Prussia was harsh, and it might be a bit hypocritical for me to say it, considering how I treated you in the past but... He's right. Romano said this happened before. You don't want it to happen again do you?"
"No." Italy sniffed, rubbing his eyes on his sleeve.
"It'll be okay, Italy." Hungary cooed comfortingly. "We can talk about it, I'm sure Austria might have some books on what you can do and where to go from here. Okay?"
"I want you to know we still love you Italy, we hate what would you did, but we still love you and we're going to try to make things better again. As well as they can be made better, at least."
Italy buried his face into Hungary's shoulder as she pulled him into a comforting hug. Murmuring small comforts of how everything would be okay.
"Ah, I think we can handle everything from here, France. You better make sure Prussia is okay and not destroying something in a fit of rage."
France nodded and made his way to the door. Before he left turned to look at Italy and shook his head, his tone of voice grim. "Italy, I hope you get this resolved and that things are alright between the two of you again someday; but... You really have absolutely no idea what you've done."
With that he left Italy sitting alone in the conference room with the few who decided to help him. He loved Italy too, but it wasn't his job to help him. It was his job to help keep Germany away from Italy when he eventually returned to his own country. In case he decided to go right back to him and they would both fall back into the habit of abusing and being abused.
He made his way down the hallway looking for Prussia, heart heavy. Even if he didn't know about what had been going on, he still felt guilty. Maybe if he had said something to both of them, about Germany's past, then this could have been avoided. But it was too late for that. That burden of knowledge was on him alone, and he said nothing. Now he had to live with it and wonder what might have happened had he not kept silent and waited for Germany to remember on his own.
For now he would do what he could to hope the situation, and hope that maybe one day, things would be back to how they were and how they should have always been.