Character(s) or Pairing(s): Fem!Spain and Fem!Romano
Summary: It was hard to teach a young child proper manners and etiquette when you couldn’t even manage to follow them yourself half the time.
Notes: Written for karuka_ikashi for sparo_xchange.
The moment Spain had learned she was going to have one of the Italy sisters coming to live with her, her mind had been filled with glorious visions of all the things she and her new henchman (she'd toyed with the idea of several different titles, but that one sounded the most right in her mind) could do together. France always teased her about not being the most ladylike, but she was excited to be the one who got to teach somebody else about manners and such for once. She was excited to have a younger girl who looked up to her around (because no doubt she could look up to her, Spain happened to think she was very much a good person to look up to!), excited to have this responsibility entrusted to her.
The excitement had faded rather quickly after Romana came to live with her, and had only managed to decrease each time Romana flat out disobeyed an order or called her a foul name. She couldn’t even begin to imagine how the two of them would ever manage to get along.
She could only hope that things would get better with time.
Fortunately for both of them, they would.
Spain walked through her house one evening, calling out for Romana. She peeked around every corner, checked under tables and behind chairs, but she was nowhere to be found. She wasn't in her own room, in Spain's room, or outside in the tomato field, and she definitely wasn't in the kitchen. Dinner was growing colder by the minute, but Spain knew if she ate without Romana she'd be dealing with a temper tantrum all evening and after a long day she didn't have the energy for that.
"Romana!" she called again. "It's dinner time, please come out from wherever you are?" It wasn't like Romana to hide out when food was being offered to her, so Spain was starting to grow a little worried. "Romana?"
"Roman-- there you are! Why didn't you come when I called?" Spain turned around to find Romana slowly limping toward her, covered in mud and twigs. Her hair was in disarray, her dress was ripped, and streaks of what Spain thought were tears cut through the dirt spotting Romana's cheeks. "What did you do now?" she asked with a sigh.
"I didn't do anything!" Romana shouted. "It was those dumb boys down the road!" She sniffled and Spain would have felt bad for jumping to conclusions if she didn’t know Romana often tried to place all the blame on other people, if she didn’t outright lie in the first place.
"What did they do?"
"What does it look like, stupid?" Spain frowned and leaned down to pick a twig out of Romana's hair, waiting for Romana to continue. "I was trying to get berries and they pushed me in the mud." Smooshed berries covered Romana’s hands and Spain realised that at some point she’d set down a half-filled basket of the strawberries that grew wild around Spain’s estate. Spain wondered what the boys had even been doing hanging around there.
“Well let’s go get you cleaned up and then have dinner, okay?” Romana didn’t take Spain’s hand when she offered it to her, but she did follow when Spain headed off to the bathroom so that was good enough. “Boss’ll go pick berries with you tomorrow and if those boys show up again she’ll deal with them.”
“I already did, stupid.”
Spain looked down at Romana, who was sloshing mud all over the floors. “Did you now?”
“Yeah.” She didn’t elaborate. Spain didn’t ask her to.
“Are their parents going to be coming over here to complain?”
More muddy footprints trailed behind them, moving from wooden floors to tiled ones. “I don’t know, I can’t tell the future.”
“Mm. Well Boss will deal with that if it happens. Since you already handled the boys, it’s the least I can do.”
Romana nodded in reply before shoving at Spain’s legs. “Get out and go fetch me new clothes.”
Spain laughed and shook her head in amusement, deciding to just cater to Romana’s demands for the time being. There was always time to work on her manners later.
Spain’s boss was holding a royal ball to celebrate the birthday of one of the princesses, and for once Spain decided Romana should be in attendance as well. Normally she left her at home, but other children would be at the party and Spain wanted Romana to have more friends to play with. She’d also been on her best behaviour the past few weeks (only one vase had been broken in three weeks, it had to be a record!) and Spain just didn’t have the heart to leave her all alone with just the maids for company.
“Do you need help getting into your dress, Roma?”
“No!” Romana shouted back from behind her bedroom door. “I know how to get dressed, I’m not a baby!”
“I know that,” Spain said. “Even I need help with my dresses sometimes, nothing wrong with that.” It was mostly the headdresses Spain needed help getting on, and Romana wasn’t wearing one of those, but she liked to check and make sure Romana didn’t need help anyway.
Romana exited the room after a few moments, decked in a flowing green long-sleeved gown. Her hair hadn’t been done yet, but she’d obviously brushed it at least, and Spain couldn’t help but smile at how grown up she looked. “You actually look like a little lady, Romana.”
“I’m always a lady, you jerk.”
“I have some serious doubts about that,” Spain teased.
“A classy lady.” Romana pouted up at Spain. “Unlike you.”
“You wound me.” Spain ran a hand over Romana’s curly and (uncharacteristically) smooth hair. “Let’s put this up.”
“I want a braid.” Romana slapped Spain’s hand away from her hair. “I don’t like it up like you do.”
“But it looks so much prettier when we do it up.”
“It looks just fine now.” Romana crossed her arms and gave Spain the dirtiest look Spain had ever seen on a childish face.
“Okay, okay.” Spain ushered Romana back into her room. Romana hadn’t even put up an argument about the dress this time and Spain had long ago learned she needed to pick her battles with Romana. “Just hold still this time, we don’t have all night.”
"Yes, Roma?" Spain looked up from the letter she was writing to find Romana standing in her doorway, cheeks covered in tomato juice. A few leaves that were clearly from the plants on Spain's land clung to her skirts, but she was thankfully not as messy as she used to be when she was younger.
"France called me a slob." She made her way over to Spain's desk and unceremoniously plopped herself down in the extra chair. She stretched out, spreading her legs out beneath her as she did so.
"You do look a bit messy right now. Were you out in the fields?" While Spain dreaded the mess Romana probably made coming in from outside, she also couldn't help but be a bit jealous that her cute little henchman had gone out without her while she'd been working.
"Where else would I get any food? Stupid cook hasn't made lunch yet."
"That's because it's not lunch time."
"Is too." Romana smoothed her dress out, further spreading the tomato juice over herself, and crossed her ankles. Perhaps she'd actually been paying attention to the etiquette lessons Spain had been giving her after all. "Are you going to go do something about France or not?"
"You shouldn't haggle our guests, you know it's rude." Spain could practically hear the scowl on Romana's face when she said that. "But if we happen to go visit him while he has that lady friend of his over later tonight, that's not really our fault, is it?"
She actually looked over after that, just in time to catch a small, mischievous grin spreading across Romana's face.
Spain looked around for her favourite stockings, only to realise the search was in vain as soon as Romana walked (uninvited, technically, though she wasn’t ever really unwelcome anymore).
“You could have asked, you know. I would have let you.” Spain grabbed a different pair and slipped them on.
“I know that,” Romana replied. “So what’s the point in asking if I know you’ll let me anyway?”
“Don’t see why you care.” Spain watched as Romana carefully opened up the jewellery box on her dresser and inspected a few pairs of earrings. “You don’t always ask before you take things either.”
“I suppose I don’t.” Spain came up behind Romana and wrapped her arms around her waist, pulling her into her chest and squeezing lightly.
“Hey!” Romana turned around to glare at Spain and Spain momentarily lost her grip when she realised they were right at eye level with one another. When had that happened? “Fine fine, I’ll ask next time if you ask before mauling me.”
“You and I seem to have a very different definition of mauling, dear.”
“That’s because there’s a few rivets loose in your skull.”
“Been hanging out with the sailors again, I see.”
“Only when you do.” Romana stepped away from Spain and went back to pillaging her jewellery box. “And you’re far more unladylike with them than I am, bastard.”
Spain just grinned and grabbed a pair of emerald earrings. “Fair enough. Wear these ones, they look great on you.”
Spain was just sitting down to a simple dinner alone when she heard a key in her door. She wasn’t too concerned about the sound-- few people had a key to her house and anyone she didn’t want coming in obviously wasn’t in possession of one. She was more curious than anything, since she wasn’t expecting any guests. She looked at the sandwich on her plate, just some crusty bread and leftover ham, and hoped whoever it was wasn’t expecting any food from her.
“Oi, Spain! You home?”
Her hopes were in vain.
“Romana!” She immediately jumped up and dashed out of the kitchen to greet the other woman. “I didn’t know you were coming over, how are you?”
“The hell do you mean you didn’t know I was coming over?” Romana gave Spain an exasperated look while she took off her coat. “I told you I was at the last world meeting. Did you forget to write it down?”
Spain looked up at the ceiling, trying to remember the exchange, and realised she had just simply forgotten to leave herself a reminder on the calendar. “I guess I did. Do you want to go out to eat? I don’t really have anything made for you.”
Romana paused for a moment before sighing and putting her coat back on. “You are seriously the worst host I’ve ever met.”
“Learned from the best.”
Spain was nearly out the door before Romana realised she’d been insulted and delivered a half-hearted slap to her shoulder.