Chibi!Romano x Reader
"¡Por favor, amiga!"
You made the mistake of locking eyes with your Spanish friend, and your resolve crumbled. Dramatic as always, he was kneeling before you, hands clasped and tears in the corners of his eyes.
"I can't leave him alone or he'll wreck the house! I need you to watch him! Just for a couple of days!"
You broke eye contact, closing your eyes in exasperation, but the image of his desperation was imprinted on the insides of your eyelids. You sighed, and he jumped up, knowing that he'd broken you.
"Fine, Tonio," you consented, and he embraced you enthusiastically.
"¡Muchas gracias, mi amiga!" he cried. The way he was acting, you'd think you'd just agreed to marry him.
Antonio had a younger brother, who was maybe seven years old. Lovino had lived in Italy for the first five years of his life, and had only moved here a couple of years ago. (Tonio had spent most of his life in Spain. You didn't bother asking how they could possibly be brothers when they hadn't even met until fairly recently, because you honestly weren't too interested in Antonio's convoluted family affairs.) Most kids his age were able to take care of themselves with minimal supervision, but not this one. Lovino was extremely clumsy, to the point where he frequently endangered himself. He had some sort of disease, apparently. You couldn't remember its name, but it made him jittery. He had to be watched constantly so that he didn't knock anything over.
You knew all of this because Antonio briefed you that afternoon through a series of twelve texts, as the maximum character limit was too low. After your phone had stopped having a seizure, you had read through the information provided and groaned. As the list of all of his brother's faults went on and on, you started to become increasingly nervous. You'd babysat plenty of kids before, but Antonio didn't even try to pretend that Lovino was anything but a problem child.
He was a ridiculously picky eater who only wanted to eat gourmet food. (Tonio went shopping for ingredients and left you an Italian cook book, because Lovino absolutely refused anything fried, frozen, or ordered out.) He was racist, though Antonio insisted that it was because he was openly afraid of anyone unfamiliar and that he wouldn't hurt a fly. He had apparently picked up a highly colorful vocabulary from Antonio's friend Gilbert, though that didn't bother you too much. And, finally, he was extremely sexist. Against men. This, Tonio informed you, was why he came to you instead of Gilbert or Francis; Lovino hated them both, but he might take to you, a woman.
You were a bit fuzzy on the reasons behind your stay in your friend's home. He was apparently visiting distant family or old friends in Spain and would be out for several days. You weren't really looking forward to it, but you'd already promised. Plus, he was paying you a shit load of money for this.
It occurred to you as you stood on the stoop, with your bags in your hands, that you hadn't actually seen the inside of Antonio's house in over two years, since his brother had come to live with him. You always met him out or at your place. You'd also never met his brother, who was usually left behind with a sitter.
Antonio threw the door open wide, though his grin was wider.
"Bienvenidos, mi amiga!" He threw his arms around you, and you hugged him back a bit awkwardly, encumbered as you were with four days' worth of clothes. He took some of your things, carrying them as if they weighed nothing, and led you into the sitting room.
"Lovino!" he called, his voice echoing through the house. "¡Ven aquí!"
"No! Piss off, bastardo!"
Tonio grinned sheepishly at you in apology, then raised his voice a bit more.
"Come here and meet my friend, Lovino! Or I'll tell her not to feed you dinner!"
You didn't think that anything would come of it, and were about to tell Antonio as much, but he shook his head at you, pointing at the doorway which lead to the hall. A small, dark auburn head was poking out, brown eyes silently evaluating you. Finally, after nearly a minute, he stepped fully into the room.
Your first impression was of how adorable he was. He was small, his eyes were huge, and there was a gravity-defying curl sticking out from the side of his head, just like Antonio had described. (You had been expressly forbidden to touch the curl, and though you had already promised that you wouldn't, you were struck by the sudden urge to give it a little tug.)
You smiled in what you hoped was an inviting way.
"Hi, Lovino," you said gently, adjusting your bag's strap to give your hands something to do, since you knew that neither Antonio nor his brother was accustomed to shaking hands. "It's nice to meet you."
He sort of glared up at you, apparently summing you up. Finally, he turned to his brother and said something in rapid Spanish. Antonio replied with a forced smile, and then Lovino cut him off. You caught the word 'bastardo' again. Antonio said something else, a bit more agitatedly, and finally Lovino turned back to you.
"Why are you here?" he asked you dully in accented English. It was Antonio who answered.
"I already told you, hermano," he said. "She's here to watch you."
The question seemed a bit odd to you. He was asking not why he had to be watched, but why you were there. It sounded like he expected you to tell him that you were only there because you were being paid. Like he didn't expect you to care about him. You discovered that you were at a loss for words. What could you say that would satisfy him?
Antonio gave a forced laugh. "She's here because I asked her to be here, hermano," he said. "She wouldn't be here if she didn't want to be."
You were thinking false, but you nodded in agreement anyway.
Lovino's eyes traveled between the two of you, eventually locking with your own. He didn't seem to believe his brother.
"Are you sleeping with him?" he asked. Your startled choking became a slightly hysterical laugh and you doubled over while Antonio glared at his brother, scolding him in Spanish once more. Lovino's tone and body language suggested that it was an assumption that anyone would make. When you stopped and thought about it, though, it was a bit sad that the seven year-old was convinced that you would only be willing to spend time with him if you were screwing his brother.
Eventually Antonio ran out of steam, and Lovino slipped out. "He's just going to sulk," Tonio assured you. "He'll be back out in an hour or so." He gave you a brief refresher tour of the house, showed you where everything was in the kitchen, and gave you a final rundown of the household schedule.
"Make sure mi hermano is in bed by nine," he said, walking out the door. "He'll bitch and moan, but don't let him win. I already told Gil and Francis not to come over, but if they do, you're better off not letting them in. Lovi always throws a fit and locks himself in his room when they come over, and they love to tease him. Best to try and avoid the situation rather than diffuse it."
Your head was spinning. Antonio wasn't done, but you sort of gave up as he rattled off more instructions. Finally, you cut him off.
"I got it, Tonio," you insisted loudly. "I'll text you if I forget anything, okay?" He embraced you, kissed both of your cheeks, and hurried to catch his flight. The door slammed behind him with a weak thud, and you were alone in his house with his troublesome kid brother.
Nothing to do but get settled in. Antonio's house only had two bedrooms, so you were sleeping in his bed. He'd picked up most of his personal things, though there were still some books and shirts scattered on the floor. You dropped your bags onto the clean sheets and returned to the sitting room.
Lovino was waiting for you. His arms were crossed, his legs spread shoulder-width apart, assuming the universal body language for I am in charge, bitch.
"Ho fame," he said imperiously. You crossed your arms as well, staring him down. Antonio had warned you not to let him push you around.
"English," you ordered simply. He seemed a bit surprised by your firm tone. He wavered, then relaxed into a more submissive stance.
"I'm hungry," he repeated. You glanced at your watch. It was only three o'clock on the afternoon of day one.
You suppressed a sigh, heading for the kitchen.
It was going to be a long week.
You collapsed into Antonio's bed as comfortably as if it had been your own, utterly drained. Lovino was a massive pain. He didn't want to do anything but eat, yet he became irritable when you tried to do anything. He had locked himself in his room for fifteen minutes when you shushed him while on the phone with your friend, explaining why you couldn't hang out the next day.
You'd sent Lovino to bed only a few minutes ago, though you were fairly certain that he was going to stay up just to be disobedient. You wanted to rip your hair out, but you reminded yourself that he was, after all, just a kid.
You were tired, but not sleepy. You had been friends with Antonio long enough to feel comfortable going through his nightstand, so you did so. The drawer contained an old Bible, a flashlight, some spare batteries, and a thick, well-thumbed book written in Spanish. You removed it, glancing at the cover. Recién Nacido a Adulto: Cómo Criar a un Niño.
You grinned to yourself. It was a childcare book. You wondered if it would be any help, then considered Lovino and decided that it was probably worthless. Even so, you gripped it by the spine and held it out before you so that a gap appeared between two pages about a third of the way in. You flipped it open to the page that Antonio apparently spent the most time reading, examining what looked like instructions for punishment. Had Antonio ever properly punished Lovino? Probably not. Antonio didn't seem like the type to issue spankings.
You weren't even aware of the time passing until your eyes started to feel dry and painful. You caught yourself in a yawn and finally put the book down, then checked the time on Tonio's digital alarm clock. Eleven wasn't that late, but you needed to be ready to wake up early and feed Lovino, lest he try to cook by himself and knock something over.
You switched off the light and burrowed under the covers, fading out quickly but not quite falling asleep. You were too out of it to move without putting in a massive effort, but you were still completely aware. Your back was facing the doorway, but you clearly heard the creak of the door, the gentle pat pat of tiny footsteps trying to be silent. A moment later, you felt a small hand tugging on your arm, which flopped lazily over the side of the bed.
"What?" you groaned. Lovino's voice trembled when he spoke.
"Dov'è mio fratello?" You were too tired to try and figure out his stupid gibberish-speak, and when you didn't respond, he tried again in English.
"Where's Tonio?" he asked. "I need him!"
You forced yourself into a sitting position, knuckling your eyes blearily.
"He's not here," you reminded him. "He's been gone all afternoon and won't be back for a few days, remember?"
He didn't say anything, but he sniffed quietly and you realized that he was actually crying. Oh, God.
"It's alright," you shushed him hurriedly, hoping to hell that he didn't start bawling. "What's the matter?"
He mumbled something that sounded like 'had a bad dream,' and your mind raced to find an alternate solution to the obvious one. You could just send him back to his room, but no matter how frustrating he was, that was just downright cruel. With a resigned sigh, you opened your arms wide, allowing Lovino to crawl into the bed and cuddle up to your chest. You sat with him for several minutes, stroking his hair and humming softly while he calmed down. When it looked like his tears were dry, you released him and slid back down under the sheets. He curled up with you, clinging to your sleep shirt as though letting go would be certain death.
You wrapped your arms around his slight frame once more, cuddling him like a plushie. Antonio had mentioned that his brother was occasionally really sweet, but you hadn't believed him until now. This moment here made all the day's pain totally worth it.
Lovino sighed contentedly, relaxing into your arms. "Buonanotte."