"Arthur has invited us over for dinner." Feliciano flicked through the pages of his magazine. He shortly looked up and towards Gilbert who was standing in the doorway, his arms folded.
"Oh?" Feliciano looked back down and stopped at a picture of a naked lady. She was holding a bottle of perfume, telling the world that it felt fantastic to wear. Gilbert cleared his throat.
"I think it would be good if you got out a little," he said in a low voice. Feliciano shrugged and leaned back against the wall. He was sitting on the bed in Gilbert's bedroom. He had moved in for the time being, simply not able to care for himself after the news of Ludwig leaving town. Alfred had wanted for him to come and stay with him, but he didn't want to. Luckily, Arthur had told him that it was a bad idea. After all the Englishman knew more about feelings than his boyfriend. Feliciano snorted. Boyfriend? Oh, how lovely and romantic.
"Should we come?" Feliciano finally asked and closed the magazine. Gilbert was looking at his sleeves. He removed a fuzz ball that had gotten stuck to the fabric.
"Only if you want to," he answered, choosing his words with care, "but I am sure Arthur would be happy if you came by." Feliciano wanted to raise his brows and sigh, but he didn't. Instead he put on a little, happy smile and nodded.
"I will be there." Gilbert seemed to lighten up.
"Yes. ..Can you close the door behind?" Gilbert nodded.
"We'll be leaving at six then," he said excitedly before leaving the room, closing the door as he did so. Feliciano blew a lock of hair out of his eyes and dropped the magazine to the floor.
It was hard work always being calm and happy, especially when he felt neither calm nor happy at all. He kicked his socks off and wriggled his naked toes in the cool air. To be honest, he felt like an idiot. He had seen how Arthur behaved around Ludwig, and he wanted just that, but how could he even wish for it? He hadn't known the man his whole life, but it still felt like he had offered more of himself than Arthur ever had. But now it had all proved to be hopeless. He had been left alone. And he wasn't sure if he could accept the rush of feelings that the realisation of this gave him
Feliciano lied down on the bed and gave the ceiling a pondering glare. How to describe the feeling of being left alone? He turned around and hid his face in the pillow with a deep sigh. How to describe..
He was empty. He had never been full, not even when Ludwig was around, because he never actually had the man. But actually seeing his love slip away made him realise just how hollow his life was. What had he done with his last years besides planning how to casually bump into Ludwig? He had been playing a game of hide and seek, and he had been both contestants. Still he had lost.
Feliciano hugged the pillow tight as he turned around to face the wall. He glared at the green wallpaper as if he had never been more disgusted by anything. He had to close his eyes not to get a headache.
He wanted to go back in time to the second he first started to feel something for Ludwig. He wanted to go back and tell himself not to get in too deep, maybe not to get in at all. He should've accepted that the man was straight and just turned his back to him, not followed him like a loyal dog, wagging its tail at the slightest attention. Feliciano smiled bitterly, turned around and threw the pillow to the floor. "I hate you for ruining my life!" he spat and kicked the pillow so hard it hit the wall on the other side. It fell to the floor with a bump. Feliciano wiped his eyes off in his shirt. They were wet. He had started to cry like a baby, and he didn't like it. He got up, went over and forced the window open, stuck his head out and took in a deep breath.
He would never be able to cut Ludwig out of his life completely, and maybe that was what hurt him the most. Had he not fallen in love with the German, he would never have met Gilbert, and without Gilbert, what kind of life had he then lived? Feliciano looked down at the street below. The quiet alleyway didn't have many people going back and forth, but a single lesbian couple was holding hands, looking at each other while strolling across the street. As if they owned it. And Feliciano realised that maybe they did. The whole world belonged to those who had found someone else. You don't see a movie without a couple in it, or hear a CD that doesn't have a romantic number, or read a book in which everyone is single. It doesn't happen. And why?
"Because couples own the world," he mumbled and searched for a cigarette in his pockets. He wasn't really a smoker, he considered it a nasty habit, but now he had no reason to keep his lungs healthy. He found a lonely cigarette in between the condoms Gilbert had forgotten on the bedside table and stuck it in between his lips. He lit it, inhaled and sighed as if in bliss.
He wasn't sure he wanted to go and see Arthur and Alfred. The town's happiest couple! Sure, they deserved each other, but still he wasn't sure he really understood it. Would Alfred really be able to stay faithful? Would Arthur be able to accept being gay? Earlier he had scolded him for speaking about homosexual stuff in his apartment building, and now he suddenly wanted to hold hands in public! Feliciano snickered bitterly and blew out the grey smoke. He watched it disappear. He really was turning into a lovesick, jealous man, wasn't he?
Time was passing by. Feliciano sighed as he caught a glimpse of the clock on the wall. He had to get dressed if he wanted to go get dinner at Arthur's place. He snubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray and opened the door to go to the bathroom.
Feliciano was still at his first burger while Alfred was stuffing his throat with a third. Arthur kept asking him to slow down, but he just started to wipe ketchup all over the man's face. Then the argument started. Gilbert was watching it all rather joyfully, a wry smile on his lips. As Feliciano caught his gaze, he winked at him, and the Italian couldn't help but to smile a bit. He put down the burger and got up.
"I'll go use the bathroom," he informed. Arthur looked up, two of his fingers caught between Alfred's teeth. He nodded.
"Uh, you know where it is," he said, and Feliciano nodded and left the living room. He walked right past the toilet, though, and out into the kitchen. He grabbed a glass of water and gulped it down. Happiness. It made him feel like puking.
"Are you okay?" Gilbert asked, coming from behind. Feliciano turned around, not surprised at all as he saw the man standing in the doorway. He put the glass away and shook his head.
"No, I am not okay," he said, and Gilbert quickly went over and gave him a hug.
"Sorry, this was a bad idea, wasn't it?" he mumbled into Feliciano's hair, and the Italian nodded and hid his nose at his shoulder.
"It was," he sobbed. He couldn't hold it back. The tears swelled up and ran down his cheeks, and he pressed himself closer to the man, to his best friend, as if he wanted to be swallowed by his warmth and disappear into his tight hug. "They're so happy. And I am not. And I should be happy for them. But I am not," Feliciano whined, and Gilbert stroke his back and hushed.
"It's fine," he said, over and over again until Feliciano started to calm down. "It's fine."
From the living room weird noises were coming. Something broke and Arthur yelled about unicorns. Then feet leapt across the floor, and before Gilbert could let go of Feliciano again, Alfred was in the doorway. The guy looked. And blinked.
"Sorry, did I disturb something?" Gilbert pulled Feliciano closer and tried to hide his red face in his shirt.
"Yes, kind of."
"Alfred, behave!" Arthur showed up next to Alfred with an annoyed look in his eyes, but as he saw the two of them standing in the kitchen, his gaze flickered, and he took a hold of Alfred's sleeve. "We'll go.. look at some CDs," he said. Alfred raised his brows.
"You've got to come and see which!" Arthur exclaimed and practically dragged Alfred with him. A hushed argument started all over again. Feliciano wriggled free of Gilbert's arms and grabbed a tea towel.
"Sorry for ruining the evening," he mumbled and wetted the towel by the sink. Gilbert sat down at the kitchen table and just watched him.
"It's not like the evening was very interesting," he smiled. "It's all the same."
"I guess.." Feliciano dragged the wet towel down across his face and sighed. His eyes hurt as if someone had poured salt into them. He shook his head and dried them off again.
"You're really spending too much time thinking about my brother."
"As if I didn't know that." His voice was bitter. Gilbert looked down.
"No, I am sorry. Really, sorry." Feliciano put the towel down into the sink and turned around. He ran his fingers through his hair, then sighed deeply and looked down. Gilbert clucked his tongue and got up. "I'll get you a beer, how about that? At the local pub?"
"Do they have to come along?" Feliciano asked and gestured towards the living room. Gilbert chuckled and shook his head.
"No, I'll tell them we're leaving. Just wait here." Feliciano nodded and watched as Gilbert disappeared into the other room. Then he closed his eyes and ran his fingers down his moist cheeks.
He felt bad for treating Alfred and Arthur so unkindly, since they just tried to make him feel better. But he felt hopeless. Out of reach. He wanted to smile and jump around and let the world know that it was going to be okay, but he wasn't sure it was.
Arthur came out into the kitchen. He was holding his jacket. Feliciano took it with a little nod. "Thanks. Sorry for leaving so-"
"Don't worry about it," Arthur interrupted him and helped him put on the jacket. He zipped it and kissed his forehead all motherly. "Is everything okay at Gilbert's?"
"Yeah, he's looking after me."
"Yeah.." They looked at each other a bit awkwardly. Then Feliciano swung his arms around Arthur and gave him a short hug. "I promise I'll drop by when I feel better. Just now.." He sighed. Arthur ran his fingers through his hair and nodded.
"I understand. Or, I know you think I don't, but I do. It's alright." Feliciano hugged him again and kissed his cheek, then went out into the hall. Gilbert was waiting for him. He reached out and swung his scarf around Feliciano's neck.
"Thanks for dinner, see you soon," he waved at Arthur before grabbed Feliciano's hand and pulling him down the stairs. Feliciano just followed, looking at those fingers closed around his own. He wondered why he felt so safe just letting Gilbert take care of everything. From where do you get the courage to trust a human being so much? He wrapped both his arms around Gilbert's and pressed himself close to him as they got outside into the cool evening air. Gilbert looked at him.
"Are you feeling bad?" Feliciano shook his head.
"I just want to walk like this," he whispered. Gilbert hesitated, but then he merely turned around and started to guide the way down to the pub. Feliciano took in a deep breath and tasted rain. Like this it wasn't so bad. He opened his eyes and looked up at the other. Gilbert's face was very grave, and he was looking straight out into the air. At that point, Feliciano felt sorry for him, but at the same time there wasn't much he could do.
"I will be working at a small office. It's not much I will lean, but I will survive." Gilbert picked up the letter and read it through. As he lowered the paper, he smiled at Feliciano.
"That's good! You're very convincing on a phone." Feliciano nodded eagerly and stretched his arms above his head.
"That's what they said! It'll be good to start something new. Start all over." He picked up one of the magazines from the table. His new job would involve selling subscriptions to a magazine about health and food. It was very simple, but at the same time very exciting, and though he wasn't exactly proud of throwing away his education for something as simple as a company dealing with their customers over the phone, it was better than doing nothing. Gilbert got up and went over to select a bottle of wine from his shelf.
"We've got to celebrate this!" he said and held forward a bottle of red wine. Feliciano grinned and accepted a glass of the alcohol. He held it up into the air.
"For me!" he said, and Gilbert poured himself a glass of the wine and held it up as well.
"For you!" Their glasses met, and Gilbert downed his wine in one gulp. Feliciano put the glass back onto the table after a taste and sighed happily.
"Finally it seems like I am going somewhere," he whispered and looked at his fingers. Gilbert slipped his arm around his shoulders and kissed his cheek.
"I am so proud."
It had been four months. Four months since the chaos of feelings. Feliciano hadn't forgotten, how could he? Ludwig was still the first man he thought about when waking up, and the last eyes he saw in his mind before falling asleep. But that would soon change, he was sure. He wasn't feeling such depressing sadness clenching his heart to pieces anymore, and he could even hang around others without feeling the need to cry or scream. He picked up the glass and looked at the red wine. He had come far, he felt, and it felt pretty good.
Gilbert got up. Feliciano watched him as he disappeared into the kitchen to see if they had any good for a nice dinner. The Italian waited for a few seconds, staring at the door he had just disappeared through. He was still living at Gilbert's place, but now things were a bit different. They weren't spending time cheering each other up, rather they were having fun. And they most certainly weren't sleeping in separate beds. The last thing made Feliciano grin, and he got up and went out into the kitchen as well.
"This means you're quitting the old advertisement job, right?" Gilbert asked with his head stuck into the refrigerator. Feliciano leaned against the wall and nodded.
"Yes, no point in going back."
"Mhmm." Gilbert turned around, holding a pineapple. Feliciano snorted.
"I am not eating that." Gilbert snickered and put it back in.
"Well, then it seems like we'll have to order some food."
"Let me pay."
"You have nothing to pay with."
"I will soon!"
"Yeah, yeah." Gilbert closed the door and turned around to face Feliciano. Feliciano shoved himself free of the wall and walked over to him. He slipped his arms around his waist and stepped in close.
"Can it be just the two of us celebrating?" he asked in a whisper, and Gilbert swallowed and looked away.
"If that's what you really want."
"Mhmm.." Feliciano tip-toed. He hesitated.
"Gilbert?" No reaction. "Gil'." Still nothing. "…Gilly." Gilbert snorted and looked down into Feliciano's kind eyes. The man smiled. "Give me a kiss."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I am," Feliciano said and pulled him in closer. His smile fell, and he wrinkled his brows. "I think.. I think I knew for long, long before we had sex.. I just never.." He shook his head. "I've been so unfair to you, haven't I?" Gilbert placed his hands on Feliciano's cheeks and nodded.
"You have," he said, making the other pout. "But.. It's fine. Right now, it's all fine." Feliciano's lips turned upwards.
"Yeah." Gilbert leaned down and pressed his lips to Feliciano's. The Italian hummed into the kiss and returned it sweetly.
It had been Four months since the chaos, but only four weeks since Gilbert's gentle touch of affection as they fell into the same bed and made love. And even if it was Ludwig's face that haunted him in his sleep, he got to see Gilbert's smile every waking hour. As long as it made him feel this good, Feliciano was sure that he didn't mind missing sleep - not as long as he got to hold his dear boyfriend this close.
Ludwig kicked the door. "How typical!" He looked at the gray key in his hands, threw it to the floor and stomped on it. "Just so typical!"
The apartment complex wasn't all that big, and it was far from new, but it was cheap, and it had to be since he wasn't sure when he would be able to get a job again. He had moved far away from his old house, wanted to start all over, but the way things were going, he was sure it had to be a sign. He looked at the key that was now lying broken on the floor and snorted.
He was supposed to get into his apartment, but apparently the caretaker had decided to give him the wrong key. He sat down on the top stairs and shook his head. "Thanks for that."
"Do you need help?" Ludwig looked up. Above him, on the stairs leading up to the top floor, a lady was standing. She had short, wavy blonde hair and green, sparkling eyes. She looked like she was about to burst out in laughter. Ludwig quickly got up and dusted himself off.
"I don't think you can help," he said and picked up the broken key. She raised her brows and walked down to him.
"Oh, I think I can. Are you having trouble getting in?" Ludwig nodded and showed her the key.
"I've gotten the wrong one, apparently. I was supposed to move in today, but I-"
"No problem!" she interrupted him and took forward a bunch of keys. She picked one out and unlocked the front door to the apartment, then shoved it open and grinned at him. "Work done!" Ludwig blinked and took a step into the place, looking around. He turned around slowly and blinked at her.
"Uh, thanks?" he said, rather surprised. She straightened up and saluted.
"It's my brother who gave you the wrong key, probably. He's the caretaker, but he's rather, well," she shrugged and looked around as if she was afraid he would hear her. Then she gestured for Ludwig to come closer, and he leaned in as she whispered into his ear: "He cares more for football and weed, you know." The German stepped away and folded his arms.
"That's no good!" he said, and the girl chuckled and rolled her eyes.
"It most certainly isn't. But he's Dutch." The last thing was said as if it explained it all. She winked at him. "I am from Belgium," she pointed out, apparently finding it very important. Ludwig just nodded slowly.
"My name is Ann!" she continued, holding forward her hand. Ludwig shook it.
"I am Ludwig," he said. She nodded and peeled off the key from the bunch and handed it to him.
"Here you go, I have several to all the apartments.
"Thank you." Ludwig accepted they key and put it into the pocket of his pants. He turned his back to her and looked around the apartment again.
The place was small for one at his age. A bedroom, a living room connected to the kitchen, a bathroom and a smaller room he could use for storage and the like. He stepped into what would be his kitchen and looked out the dirty window. He could see straight into his neighbour's living room. Some small children were running around in there, chasing each other. He smiled a little and looked down.
"Do you need help moving in?" Ludwig turned around. Ann had moved to stand in the living room with him. She smiled friendly. "I can help," she informed. The German looked out of the window again and shrugged.
"Sure, if you have the time."
"You've got it!" And out the door she was. The German sighed and shook his head. Then he followed her to help out.
"That was so hard!" Ann slumped down on the sofa, head first, and sighed against the pillow. Ludwig smiled as he out down the last box in the living room.
"I even let you carry the light stuff."
"Light stuff!" she hushed and held out a shaking, thin arm. She pointed towards his bookcase filled with medals and badges of rank. "Easy for you to say. With all those, I am sure you have a proper training in carrying stuff. But me-!" She sat up, holding her hands to her chest, "I can hardly pick a bunch of flowers without loosing my breath!" Ludwig stared at her. She stared back. Then he started to snicker. She smashed her hands into her lap with an embarrassed look on her face. "Don't laugh!"
"Sorry," he said and straightened up. He swung his arms around a little, trying to get rid of the heavy feeling he had gotten in his muscles after having carried heavy boxes all day. "It's just nice."
"Nice?" she repeated and wrinkled her brows. Ludwig nodded and sat down on the box as he smiled at her.
"Yeah, I like girly girls. There's so few of them left." Ann blushed and ran her fingers through her hair, looking down.
"I don't know about that," she mumbled. After a few seconds in silence, she got up and strolled over to the shelf with the medals on it and looked at them. "Did you really get all these in the military?" Ludwig got up as well and went over to stand next to her.
"I most certainly did. It's years ago now, though."
"Hmm." She picked out one from a running competition and looked at it. Ludwig couldn't help but feel kind of proud. He puffed up his chest and looked at all the stuff he had saved from his time in the army.
"It was the best time of my life," he informed and nodded a bit. She looked at him. "I felt very useful. I used my body every day, I always helped out, I learned and I taught others. Discipline! Very important. We learned discipline! So many don't know about that today." As he looked at her, she had her brows raised and a teasing smile on her lips. She put the medal back and put her arms akimbo.
"Discipline, hmm?" she said, and he nodded.
"Does that make you a manly man?" she continued, and Ludwig blinked confused.
"If I am a girly girl, does all this make you a manly man?" she asked again and gestured towards his stuff. The German couldn't help but to laugh.
"I guess it does."
"I like that." She looked back at the medals. Ludwig raised his brows.
"Yes, manly men. Do manly men take girly girls out for dinner as a thank you for their help?"
"Not all manly men, but I do know one who does," Ludwig said excited. Ann smiled at him.
"Really? When will he be available?"
"I think tomorrow. Around seven."
"Does he pick up his girl?"
"Yes, outside the apartment at seven he picks her up."
"Hmm, tell him to do that," she said and poked his chest as she turned around. "I think I will head to bed now, working day tomorrow." Ludwig looked at the clock. It was almost eleven, they had been working pretty hard all evening. He followed Ann as she went to the door.
"I will tell him that," he said. Ann nodded and got out.
"Night - thanks for helping," he said and watched her disappear down the stairs. He sighed peacefully and slowly closed the door behind.
A change of scenery would do well, he was sure, and now he just felt he had to thank his lucky star for picking such a lousy apartment. "A manly man," he mumbled and shook his head, but the smile wouldn't vanish from his lips. He went into the living room and opened a box. "Well, better start cleaning up."
"He was so snobby!" Ann swung her purse around, and Ludwig ended up snatching it from her hand, afraid that she would smack it into him at some point. She had gotten more than a bottle of wine, and it had started to show. She was swaying when walking, but he really couldn't say anything. After all, so was he.
"I guess it's because I told him I am from Germany."
"Still! Such a.. snob!" She started to chuckle. Ludwig slipped his arm around her waist and tugged her in closer. She leaned up against him as they walked in between the complexes towards his apartment. "I really, really enjoyed this evening, Ludwig," she said, and he nodded, looking up at the dim stars.
"How come you moved to here, anyway?" she asked and snatched her purse back as she went through it for a piece of gum. "You seem so brilliant. Didn't you do well where you were at?" Ludwig bit his lower lip and kicked a stone.
"I did, but it got messed up."
"Messed up?" Ludwig didn't answer. Ann whistled. "Guess I shouldn't ask, hah? Awkward."
"It's fine, it's just such a long story," Ludwig sighed and stretched his arm up into the night. "I'd rather enjoy the night."
"Mhmm.." A naughty smile fell over Ann's lips, and she hugged his arm close and pressed her lips to his ear. "Then let's enjoy the night together, mhmm?" Ludwig felt his heartbeat speed up at that suggestion, but still he managed to free his arm and shook his head.
"I think I should get you home." Ann wrinkled her brows and pouted.
"I don't want neither of us to regret anything."
"I won't regret!" Ann stopped up. Ludwig took a few steps ahead, then turned around and looked at her. She shook her head complaining. "Don't you find me attractive? I thought we had such fun!" Ludwig almost felt sorry for her at that point, and he went back and put his arm around her shoulders as he guided her further down the road, really not minding her complains.
"I want to do what's right," he said, and she looked down at her stumbling feet and sighed.
"I guess you're too much of a manly man, hah?" she said, and he laughed.
"Let's just say that."
Ann put up the last book, took a step back and looked pretty proud. "Ludwig!" she called, and the German came out from the bathroom and looked at her work. He smiled.
"Nice." All the books had been put up according to title and author, and Ann pointed to herself as if to explain to him that she had done a really good job. He went over and kissed her forehead. "I am glad you help me out so much."
"But of course," she grinned and looked around. "After all it has been a month, and you're still not all set!" Ludwig looked at the boxes which were still taking up space in his small living room.
He had had time. Though he had been searching for work, and the frustration in not finding any had made him feel rather frustrated, he had had plenty of time to get settled down. But still he couldn't. It was as if he felt unfinished, and feeling unfinished he couldn't make his home whole. It sounded so silly he wouldn't tell anyone, especially not Ann, but he knew what had caused it. Arthur.
"Arthur?" Ludwig blinked as Ann mentioned the name. He looked over his shoulder and saw her standing with a photograph. She was reading the name on the back, turned it over and showed it to him. It was a picture from their time in high school. Ludwig was holding Arthur close, and Arthur was looking up at him with a funny smile as if he was planning to do something bad. Which he did. Right after the photo had been taken, he had punched him and fled from the scene, making Ludwig chase him through the cafeteria. He smiled at the memory and took the photo from her to get a closer look. "Who's Arthur?" she asked.
"He was my good buddy in high school," Ludwig explained.
"He looks like fun," she said and tip-toped to look at the photo as well. Ludwig nodded.
"Oh, much fun. We had such a great time."
"What happened?" Ludwig put the photo back in the box.
"We just lost contact."
"Well, don't put it there!" Ann picked up the photo again, and before Ludwig could manage to protest, she had put it on the shelf. It was leaning up against some of the books. "A friend should always be honoured. Now you can always look at it," she said and looked at Ludwig as if she considered her own idea brilliant. He nodded and showed her a forced smile.
"Is this really necessary?" Ludwig put the milk into the bag and looked at Ann. She rolled her eyes.
"Of course it is! Now, I'll go get the chicken, you stay right here. You can watch the toys!" she said and pushed a little plastic car across the shelf before disappearing downstairs to go look for the refrigerated counters. Ludwig leaned back against the wall and looked at the toys.
"What does she think I am, a child?"
Ann's parents were celebrating their anniversary, and of course one party wouldn't be enough. No, first they were to celebrate them at her place, then at theirs. And of course they lived in the dreadful town he had just fled from weeks earlier. He thought he had gotten so far away he could forget everything about his old life, and so far he had started up a new one pretty good. But things never go as planned.
The supermarket was rather loud. A lot of people was walking past him, and as Ann spend a long time finding her meat, Ludwig did start to play with the plastic car. One of the wheels broke off. He swore underneath his breath, picked up the car and started to mess with it to repair it as a shadow fell across him.
"Never thought I should see you again." Ludwig looked up and straight into his brother's eyes. He snorted and slowly narrowed his eyes.
"Gilbert. What are you doing here?"
"Shopping." Gilbert showed him his basket with groceries. "Gays has to eat as well." Ludwig snapped in air and looked away with red cheeks.
"Don't say that word."
"Does it scare you?" Gilbert asked and smirked. He looked at the car Ludwig was still holding. "Nice toy."
"It's not mine." Ludwig quickly put it back on the shelf. "What do you want?" he asked and looked back at Gilbert. "Why are you talking to me? Trying to embarrass me?" Gilbert shook his head and stepped in closer.
"I know you don't care much about Feliciano," he said, "but you should know that he's hurt."
"I am sure you're taking care of him," Ludwig smiled bitterly. Gilbert sighed.
"You bet I am."
"So if he's doing well at yours, then why-?"
"Because of Arthur." Ludwig felt his heart stop beating for a few seconds. He cleared his throat violently and looked away.
"What about him?"
"For Heaven's sake, Ludwig! Don't you even care?" Gilbert hissed. Ludwig said nothing. "He's been your best friend for so many years! Are you just going to forget about him now? Because he's into the dick?"
"It's disgusting!" Ludwig sneered and shoved Gilbert aside. "Don't stand so close to me!"
"You're disgusting!" Gilbert yelled and smacked Ludwig's leg harshly with his basket.
"What's going on here?" They both looked to the side. Ann was standing with a bag of chicken wings, looking at them scared. Ludwig took the bag and shook his head.
"Oh, I see," Gilbert said and straightened up. A heartbreaking smile fell on his lips. "You have gotten a little girl. Too busy making children to make friends, hah?"
"Shut up!" Ludwig sneered.
"Do I need to call security?" Ann whispered, but Gilbert heard her and hugged his basket close.
"No need for it," he said and turned around, "I am leaving." Ann watched as Gilbert marched away. Ludwig was suddenly very busy reading the description of the chicken wings from the back of it. She slapped his arm.
"What was that?"
"My brother," Ludwig mumbled. She blinked.
"Long story. Come, let's get going," he said and pulled her arm. She wriggled free and stepped back.
"No, tell me. What was that about?" Ludwig looked around. A few people were staring at them. It was as if he could read their eyes. Gay. Disgusting. He felt sick.
"I'll explain it to you elsewhere," he said. Ann looked suspicious, but she followed him down to the counter.
"That's… one big story," Ann mumbled, and Ludwig nodded.
"It is." They were sitting in the corner of a cafeteria, he with a cup of coffee, she with a cup of tea. She looked down into her liquid. She poured some sugar into the water.
"You've got to contact him."
"I won't." She looked up. Ludwig was staring out the window.
"It's just too much." She shook her head and let go of her cup. Instead she grabbed his hands and held them between her own.
"Ludwig. You have to call him or something," she said. He sighed and looked at her with helpless eyes.
"What good will that do? I.. I moved to far away to start over, and now it's all just coming back." He growled, felt it wasn't fair, but Ann was just smiling. As if he was a child in the need of comfort.
"You can't flee from things, Ludwig," she said.
"I am not going back to a gay man."
"You don't care about him being gay." Ludwig blinked. He looked at her and narrowed his eyes.
"Of course I do. That's the whole point of the story." She rolled her eyes.
"No, it is not. You don't care, you really don't. You're not that kind if man, Ludwig."
"How would you know?"
"Because I wouldn't fall in love with such a person." Ludwig closed his eyes and felt a warm spread inside of him.
"Mhmm," she nodded. "So you don't care about him being gay. You care about him not telling you earlier." Ludwig didn't say anything. He just slowly massaged her fingers in his hands. She giggled and withdrew her hands, then clasped them onto his cheeks, forcing him to open his eyes and look at her. She smiled and leaned in over the table. "Ludwig, write him."
"It's too embarrassing."
"Do you remember when we first met?" Ludwig smiled wryly.
"Of course. But what-"
"You told me you wanted to do the right thing." Ludwig opened his mouth to protest.
"Now, let me rephrase that-"
"And now the right thing would be to write him," she said, not caring about his protests. "Right?" Ludwig bit his lower lip. Then he slowly nodded.
"..right." She leaned in and kissed him shortly. Ludwig let go of her hands and ran his fingers through his hair. He felt weird. This whole conversation… And his heart throbbed differently, and he wasn't sure he could look straight. It was as if things got blurry. A faint voice asked him,
"Are you okay?" and he shook his head.
"Why didn't he tell me earlier?" he whispered and hid his face behind his hands. "I would've… I would've accepted him, I know I would, I just.. Why did he fear me so?" he whispered. Ann's slim arms wrapped around his body, and her nose dug into his hair.
"That's what you've got to ask him about, Ludwig. Okay?" He didn't nod, he just leaned into her as he started to sob. It was as if his body needed it, needed to be loosened up, and though he didn't know the answer to his questions, he felt confident he could now maybe finally ask them and be told just why.
Note: It will probably sound so cliche, but you know how people fear what they don't know? That's kind of what I imagine Ludwig to be like in this story. I mean, he was disgusted by gays, but he had probably known for long that Arthur was homosexual. I am sorry I can't get the whole story down (since that would make a hell of an epilogue), but he has kind of always had the feeling that Arthur was somewhat different. But just not known in what way, and since Arthur couldn't/wouldn't tell him, he built up a rage. Towards people that acted out on what he saw a bit of in Arthur (the homosexuality), and to Arthur himself in some ways. ...I hope it makes sense.
Now, why so much with Ludwig and so little with Feliciano? Because honestly, I could write a lot about how sad Feliciano felt, but it wouldn't do any difference. He's down, he really is, but I just wanted to make an epilogue to show you what happened after the actual story ended, and not every little scene. Which is why it all looks so messy - I mean, it's hard to explain stuff in a few words. But as you probably guessed, Gilbert has liked Feliciano for some time now. But it's rough when the guy you like is after your brother, hah? (We ALL know that situation, right? Right? ..no?) But yes. Happy ending to them.
Ann is Belgium, if you didn't guess it. And yes, the last scene is just before Arthur gets his letter.