"No way."

"But Lovi…"

"NO! There is no way I'm spending the night there."

"But the car doesn't seem like it'll start up any time soon and it doesn't look like anyone's home. See, there's a 'for sale' sign."

"Take a closer look, dumbass. That sign is from 1988. This house wasn't sold for a reason and I don't want to find out what it is."

"Fine. Then you stay outside in the cold and rain and I'll go inside."

"What?! And leave me out by myself?! Like hell you will!"

Crossing his arms Lovino sulked into the house after Antonio. This whole day had been a disaster. First, their picnic had been ruined by a sudden storm, and then the car broke down ten miles from anywhere with a decent hotel but conveniently ten feet away from a house straight out of a low-budget horror film! And Antonio was whistling. Why the hell was he so happy!

"Hello?" Antonio called in a singsong voice, "Is there anyone here? No? Then we're staying the night!"

"Who are you talking to, exactly?" Lovino looked around. The place was really rundown. Paint was flaking off the ceiling onto rotted floorboards and ghosts of where pictures once hung decorated the walls. Scowling he waved a cobweb out of his face.

Ruffling his hair, Antonio smiled, "Who knows? Maybe there are some friendly ghosts here who will give us good dreams of sun and warmth and tomatoes."

"Don't touch me! And yeah, either that or the ghosts of dead convicts waiting to rip out our throats the minute we fall asleep!"

"Lovino, why are you always so pessimistic?"

He shrugged, "Whatever. Let's just find some rooms, go to sleep, and be out of here first thing in the morning."

Luckily they were able to find two rooms that weren't too unstable, each with a twin bed. After saying good night to Antonio, Lovino untied his shoes and fell back onto the mattress, coughing as millions of particles of dust rose into the air and into his lungs. There was no way he would be able to sleep tonight. No way… no way…

He must've fallen asleep at some point because the next thing he knew someone swearing in his ear was trying to wake him up.

"Hello! Hey, dumbass wake up! Come on!"

"What the…" he groped around, trying to push the source away, "Shut up Antonio. Its too early."

"You can't get rid of me that easily, Lovino. And I'm not the Spanish bastard either!"

Yawning Lovino finally gave in. Rubbing his eyes for a second he looked up into the face of-

Of himself.

Letting out a yell Lovino toppled out of the bed and onto the floor, groaning as his head made contact with one of his shoes. What the hell was that?! Well, it was probably just a dream anyways. He must've been-

"Seeing things? I don't think so."

Slowly Lovino turned and looked back at the bed, a cold sweat breaking out on his brow. The person sitting on the sheets was unmistakably him, but not how he looked now. Instead it was him from the colony days; a small child in maid's clothing and heavy boots for working in the garden. Were his hands really so small back then?

"Yep. Everything about us was small," The other him stared at his fingers, "Hands too small to carry anything, legs too short to clean something without breaking it. We were trapped in Antonio's world back then. Trapped in that big, big house. Why did it have to be so big, dammit?!"

Lovino got back to his feet, "Well, it's not so big now."

The tiny Romano smirked, "Yeah. And you know why? Because we grew up! We learned about the world, we came to his level. But we can't make the next move."

"Next move?"

"You like Antonio, Lovino."

Shock crossed Lovino's face before he stared to protest, "W-what?! No I don't!"

"Of course you do! I did too and you know it. Ever since the first time we saw that good-for-nothing bastard we've wanted to be his, even if we didn't know how to express it. And since you've grow up you must have dropped at least a million hints about it. You do it because you feel safe in the fact that he'll. Never. Notice."

Raising his hand up Lovino tried to push thoughts of Antonio out of his mind. It was all too much, too much, "Shut up! I'm telling you I don't!"

"You shut up!" Romano stood on the bed, coming up to Lovino's eyelevel, "Feliciano has tried telling you, hell even the perverted wine freak has tried! But you wouldn't listen, now would we? And now the question is," Romano moved his hand up as if he was throwing something. A few seconds later a brilliantly red tomato fell into his palm, "are you ready to listen to yourself?"

~*~*~*~*~*~

Across the hall, Antonio was having a conversation of his own.

"I told you no. Now leave me alone, please. I stopped listening to you a long time ago."

"Please? Honestly, Antonio," the conquistador scowled, crossing his arms over the metal plate covering his chest, "Is this what we've become? The 'please and thank you' man?"

"Being nice to others has its own rewards, after all."

"Stop preaching! It makes us look pure. Do you really think you can change me?"

Antonio's eyes hardened, "Once upon a time, I did."

The two reflections stared at each other for a while until Spain smirked, "Nice move, Antonio. Very well played."

Shrugging, Antonio turned and looked out the window. The rain had stopped and a crescent moon illuminated the water on the window, "Is everything a battle to you?"

"No," Spain sat on the bed next to Antonio, slipping an arm around his shoulder, "Sometimes it war. Sometimes it's the weight of gold falling through my fingers and into our pockets. And sometimes," he grinned, making Antonio shiver, "its mad passion, uncontrollable even by me."

"What?"

"Don't play dumb with me," the once great conquistador began walking his fingers over Antonio's chest, "I know what you want; I know what we want. I know that what we want is sleeping in the other room, and he's never going to come if we don't force him."

"No!" Antonio stood, shaking his former self off, "I won't do that to Lovino, I won't! If he doesn't care about me I shouldn't make him."

"Why not? You've done it before."

With a wave of his hand Spain grabbed the battle-axe, his battle-axe, bringing it into the dim light. Antonio paled at the sight of red juices slipping down its shimmering edges, "I-is… is that?"

"What, this? No you idiot," Slowly Spain licked the edge, never taking his eyes off of Antonio, "Its tomato guts. Although I remember a time, a glorious time, when this was real blood, and the desire to fight and conquer still ran through your pathetic veins!" Spain lunged forward, driving the axe into the wall next to his head, "We could've had the world Antonio, the whole world right at our fingertips! You and me, we could've fought off anyone together. That's not possible anymore but we can still take what we want. We can still conquer little Italia Romano," Antonio jumped as his other identity began to run his hands across his chest and up his neck, "Just like we conquered Xilonen," he whispered.

Antonio clapped his hands over his ears, trying to block out the memories that threatened to break him apart, "Do you remember, Antonio?! Our little Aztec princess?! She thought we were a god! Every part of her radiated the gold we had been searching for! So we conquered her. Do you remember how Xilonen screamed? How loud she screamed beneath us as her golden bracelets cried out on the temple floor and we claimed her lands as ours?! Because I remember, Antonio! And I say we take Lovino the same way!"

~*~*~*~*~*~

Lovino's steps echoed off the empty walls as he walked down the stairs. Last night was, well… intense. For all of two hours he had argued with himself over his life: particularly over Antonio.

"We're older now; you know more then you did when you were me. But have we really gotten any farther? Are you ready to stay here, unmoving, forever?"

"In this house?"

"No, you idiot! I mean emotionally. Because as far as I can see, you haven't taken a step forward in decades."

"Hey."

Antonio was already waiting for him, leaning easily against the door frame. The door itself was open, showing off the countryside they had missed while driving last night. Everything was covered in tiny droplets of dew, making each blade of grass and every leaf shimmer in the early morning sun. It was just about as perfect as you could have it, with Antonio's smile making his heart flutter against his ribcage.

"Hey yourself, bastard. Sleep okay?"

"Huh?" he seemed shocked and Lovino scowled. But that was what he had told himself, right? To be more open and kinder, to reach out more to Antonio?

"I said, 'Sleep okay?' Is that such a big deal?"

"No, I guess its not. I'm not used to you asking, that's all. I slept… fine. How about you Lovi?"

Shrugging he stepped forward. There was something Antonio wasn't saying but he decided not to push it, "Fine too. Now are we ready to go or are you just going to stand there?" Lovino bit his lip as he walked past Antonio, wondering if he noticed how he had annunciated the 'we', as in the fact that they were together. But no, nothing happened. As usual.

Sliding into the car Lovino crossed his arms as Antonio sat down in front of the wheel and carefully inserted the key into the ignition, "Do you think it'll work?"

"It had better! If it doesn't I'm going to kill this car."

Antonio chuckled, "But then we wouldn't have anyway to get home. Now cross your fingers!" With a dramatic flourish Antonio turned the key. After starting a few times the engine roared to life, eliciting a laugh from Antonio and the thinnest of smiles from the Italian to his right.

"Well what do you know you bastard," Lovino said, "You actually got it to wor-!" Antonio kissed him. Oh god, Antonio was kissing him. His back was pinned up against the seat and every single sense seemed to be shut down or fried out except for touch, because it felt so good to have Antonio's lips finally pressed close to his own. So close that there wasn't any space at all and all he could do was kiss back; kiss back because he wanted to. He wanted to so much.

For a second Antonio broke away, "Lovi, I'm sorry I just-"

"Shut up," reaching forward he pulled them back together, "don't say a word, and do that one more time."

Again they kissed, Lovino taking a definite lead this time. He ran his fingers through Antonio's hair, as the Spaniard trailed his hands to the small of his back. It was… fantastic, it was… wonderful. It was beyond anything he knew how to describe with words alone.

Both breathing heavily they finally stopped, remaining together for only the briefest moment. Without a sound Lovino strapped down his seat belt and Antonio took the wheel in his hands. For the next ten minutes they continued in silence, no speech or music to penetrate the comforting feeling surrounding the front seat.

"So… how did you know?" Slipping off his shoes Lovino lifted his feet onto the seat and leaned back, "Have you actually been noticing all of those hints I dropped over the years?"

"Huh? You were dropping hints?" Antonio laughed as Lovino glared at him, "I'm sorry I never noticed, Lovi. Really."

"Alright. You're oblivious as hell, anyways so I can forgive you. But if it wasn't me, then what?"

A far-off look came to Antonio's eyes; it was a little bit sad but… satisfied in a way, "An old friend. He once told me that if I wanted something, I should be more forceful about it. The fact that you love me back was just kinda lucky on my part… You do love me, right Lovino?"

Lovino smiled, more to himself then anyone else, "I guess I love you, you goddamn bastard."

And that was that.


For those of you who didn't guess, Xilonen is my OC name for the Aztec Empire. :) And... She'll probably never make an appearance again XD