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Surrender

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Romano wanted some fucking alcohol.

Romano, you should be planning, or crying, or caring,

but goddamnit he wanted some alcohol.

Screw his conscious, he sighed, leaning his sore back, his sore soul, against the stone wall in this basement. Romano knew he really should be listening for the tell-tale boots of the Germans and Fascists upstairs, but...

How could he afford to care?

His brother had ran off to Ge- Potato Bastard and had torn the country apart. The letters Veneziano had sent begged him to stop his fighting, to join him, but Romano hadn’t sent any reply. They were trying to stop Romano. No, not they, Romano thought, Potato bastard,the master controlling his idiotic puppet of a brother.

So much death, executions, raids, for what? A little bit of land in Africa and France? Maybe it was more. Romano and Veneziano had always felt shadowed by Rome, but at least Romano hadn’t gone off the deep end about it. Veneziano had always had a free soul, but so gullible, so naive, craving for a love he missed, and he had to go and find it in a fucking Potato bastard of all people and-

Oh. They were tears on his face. Maybe he was mad.

Or maybe he was absolutely pissed.

He couldn’t let Veneziano do this.

So maybe he couldn’t afford not to care.

There was a reason the first town liberated had been Naples, the heart of Southern Italy.

And there was a reason he was here, so far north. He was here to end this.

He quietly reached over in the dark, his hand touching the cool metal of his gun before he found his bag. He quietly reached in and pulled out the letter, full of codes and paper, he had to bring back to the south. He had read it before. A call to converge on Bologna. They needed all the help they could get here, to finally force the Facists and Germans out.

He came here, late at night, and snuck into the basement, quietly ushered in by a sweet girl. He knew he had to stop at this safe house, but he wasn’t expecting so many patrols. Each quiet echo of a foot step kept him on edge.

So, here he was, hiding from Germans in some sympathetic person’s basement wishing for alcohol, and trying to be quiet, and trying to stop crying angry tears, and-

Someone’s slammed the door.

Someone’s whose accent sounds wrong.

And just like that, Romano has grabbed his gear and run to the back of the basement, quickly pulled up the false plank, and slid into the small, dank hole hidden underneath.

He should hear a quiet conversation, maybe the rustling of papers, because this should be just a random check in.

Someone had seen him. Someone had tipped them off.

And now Romano hears a loud rustle upstairs, and thump, a girls cry and the loud shouting of German as she is dragged out onto the street, her shoes dragging along the floor.

The basement door flies open, the slam echoing across the stones, crying like cry’s of the dead, warning his body to stay still. His breath stops, his eyes widen. He hears thumping of boots, and it is dark, so dark, but he knows they are there, and it also feels like-

Thump. They start rummaging.

Thump. Tipped over barrels.

Thump. A desk torn open.

He hears a thick German accent, saying something German.

Then a reply, but this time, an Italian accent speaking in Italian.

Shit.

His brother’s voice echos across the basement.

“He’s in the corner over there. I know he is.”

He says it again in German, so now Romano knows the bastard was fucking with him.

Romano hears boots coming towards him. They were Italy, after all, it was their job to know what was going on with the other.

Romano does multiple things in the span of seconds.

Romano takes the note still in his hand and swallows it, having it almost catch in his throat.

Romano quickly reaches in his pocket.

Romano quietly puts what was in his pocket in his mouth, not biting on it yet.

The panels are ripped up from above him, and he sees three Germans, and his bastard of a brother.

Romano takes his gun and shoots. The German above his falls to the side. He quickly tries to reload but-

“Fuck!” He shouts, looking at the bullet in his arm, his blood spreading, and the gun dropped at his feet. The other two Germans rush forward, and grab him, and fuck, right on his fucking bullet hole, and his bastard of a brother opens his mouth and-

“I’m sorry, frattello. But we can still win, I know we can. Luddy says so.”

“Shut up, you bastard! You traitor! Fucking Luddy? That bastard is not your friend!” Romano is kicking wildly and glaring at his brother, his stupid brother’s eyes that still have hope-

“Roma, please! Just help me!” Veneziano eyes are now filled with- is that fucking pity?

”No, you bastard! You are being a fool!” Romano shouts, his voice echoing back to him, bouncing of the walls, and apparently his brothers ears.

”Romano, I really wished you could have just corporated, but I don’t need you willingness for you to help me.” Veneziano’s eyes don’t fill with pity, no, now they are cold, cold like the Po-. Cold like Germany’s.

“You think I’ll fucking help you?” Romano has stopped moving, and the Germans are starting to drag him away, but he can’t reveal what will happen in Bologna, he can’t let it all go to waste, which means he can’t let the Germans have him. “Hell no.” Romano glares at Veneziano with all that he has, and bites down on the cyanide pill in his mouth.

Italians are very good at surrendering, after all.

But when they surrender, they choose who they surrender to.