Author/Artist: chromatic_coma @ animusia
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Hungary-centric, Austria, N.Italy;; mentions Spain, Romano, and France // Austria/Hungary
Warnings: potential fail!history, human names
Summary: for starlightfairy2 who requested Austria and Hungary's first dance.
By the time Hungary arrives at the Hofburg Palace, the sounds of the orchestra’s music are already drifting out of the wide, open windows of the ballroom. Her governess pushes the door to their carriage opened before the footman can get to it, and she urges the young nation to hurry into the ballroom because, “it is rude to keep a gentleman waiting, Miss Hungary, what sort of impression does that give?”
As she stumbles out of the carriage and runs along the path that lead up to the palace steps, Hungary is both indignant at her boss, who deemed a governess necessary to teach her the ways of a noble woman, and relieved that she had managed to win her case for a ballerina ball gown; she cannot imagine running up the palace steps in a floor length gown, or heeled shoes.
Smoothing down her gown and taking a deep breath, Hungary pushes the palace doors open and strides in, her head held high. By now it is too late for her to be formally introduced to the gathering, but she’s relieved about that, more than anything else. When she enters the ballroom, she’s unsurprised to find that the dancing has begun, and immediately she can spot her fellow nations among the crowd. Spain and France are close to one another, each with a noblewoman secured in his arms. Romano is leading Belgium in a waltz, and Austria can be seen off in the back of the room, discussing something with his boss. Prussia, Hungary notices, is not present.
“Hungary!” a voice calls her, and she jumps a little, before relaxing and smiling when she sees who it is.
“Call me Elizaveta, Feliciano,” she reminds the boy softly, her eyes gesturing at the human nobility around them who do not know of their identities. The younger Italian brother looks sheepish, but even that cannot hide the happiness on his face.
“Fratello and I are united again!” he bursts out, unable to keep his news in any longer. Hungary pats him on the head, giggling into her other gloved palm.
“I heard. I am so happy for you!”
Veneziano laughs, too, and then he bows and offers his hand to her.
“May I have this dance, Miss Elizaveta?” he asks like a proper gentleman, the way someone must have taught him too, but Hungary can hear the teasing tone in his voice. He’s mocking the formality of it, and Hungary can remember a time when they took a break in their housework to dance without the pomp and circumstance of this gathering, when she was in an apron and he had dust on his cheek and they were in Austria’s foyer.
Hungary giggles softly, taking his offered hand and placing it at her waist. They seamlessly slide into a waltz, off to the side because they would not mix well with the other dancers. They spin together, suppressing giggles and dips because neither wants to deal with the consequences right then. Hungary thinks it’s endearing to see him try so hard to follow the rules, to be proper, but somehow it’s also heartbreaking.
The song ends and they bow, moving on to their next partners, the rest of the night. Hungary accepts a few invitations from human noblemen whose names she cannot be bothered to remember, because they are obscenely tall and proud. The dances that she remembers are the ones she has with other nations; Spain’s strong arms at her waist, France’s long fingers brushing her neck, even Romano’s nervous brush against her hips.
And then he appears, resting a gentle hand on her shoulder when she is taking a break, nursing a drink.
“Elizaveta,” he starts, his voice leveled and toneless. “May I have this dance?”
Hungary takes a good look at Austria; his clothing is immaculate as ever, his hair neatly combed back but for that one wayward strand. What concerns her the most, though, is the worry she can see in his features, especially in the way his eyebrows are ever so slightly furrowed.
She laughs, “You would dance with a maid?”
“You’re not a maid anymore,” he murmurs lowly, obviously embarrassed. “And it has been sixty years; no one remembers.”
“I remember,” she says pointedly, “but since you care more about the perceptions others have of you, I can see why that doesn’t matter.”
She gives him another look, placing her glass down on the table. Now Austria is frazzled, and Hungary decides there is something much more beautiful about him when he is not so composed. Smiling, she places her hand in his open palm, wearing a teasing smile.
Austria leads her out to the dance floor. His hand settles nervously at her waist, not gripping her but just there. Still, at the feel of his warm hand against her gown, Hungary suddenly became self conscious. Despite their tense history, she had been harboring feelings for Austria for a long, long time. It was a wonder he had never realized it, really.
They dance silently, missing the teasing banter all of Hungary’s previous partners had engaged her in. Austria’s lips are pursed tightly, and Hungary slowly comes to the realization that he is hiding something.
“Are you alright?”
“Fine,” he replies shortly, looking down at their feet before a moment before he fixes his gaze past her ear. Hungary frowns.
“You don’t seem fine.”
“It is nothing,” he insists. Austria looks at her for a moment, down her pale neck and to the low neckline of her gown, which was high enough to cover her breasts but left her collar exposed. He snaps his eyes back up, cheeks bright red, and Hungary laughs even though she was flushed from his intense gaze.
“Y-You look quite,” he coughs. “Nice.”
Hungary smiles, and then to her surprise, so does Austria. Even more surprisingly, he hugs her waist with his open palm and leans in to murmur.
“A-Are you… aware of the occasion this ball is commemorating?”
Hungary is taken aback. She shakes her head, pulls away to look him in the eyes, and Austria sighs. His eyes fall shut, and he leans in once again to whisper,
“Elizaveta, Hungary, will you marry me?”
She stops moving. Austria lets her go, and she takes a few steps back, her eyes searching for any hint of a trick. But this is Austria, not France or Prussia, and so she should have no worries, can allow herself to say yes because this is not a joke.
“Yes,” she breaths. Austria’s face relaxes and he pulls her to his chest, saving his chuckle for when they’re so close there’s no chance anyone else will hear.
“Good,” he whispers, pulling her back into the waltz. “Because we have been engaged since this afternoon.”
Hungary knows that she is supposed to feel indignant, or betrayed, but at the present moment she is too hard pressed to feel anything but euphoria. So, she decides she’ll just feel all those things first thing tomorrow.
For now it’s time for them to finish their dance, the first of many.
A/N: starlightfairy2, I hope this is what you were looking for, and that you enjoyed it ♥