Notes: WHY DO I WRITE THESE THINGS??? *sigh* Anywho, just another play on that ol' inferiority complex. If I ever met Lovino in real life I would have to apologize over and over... but there's a happy ending so... yay?
So this is the most bipolar thing ever. From humor to romance to hurt/comfort... yeah. Review, plz?
Part One: The Epiphany
One morning, Antonio woke up, shot straight up in bed, grabbed his phone and-
"Francis! I'm in love with Lovino!"
"Francis? How dare you confuse the awesome me and him up! But you are Antonio, so I'll forgive you."
"Huh?" a confused look passed across Antonio's face, "But I was sure I dialed Francis's number."
"Well you must have gotten it wrong. Wait… hang on a sec this is Francis's phone! Dammit, how the hell did that happen? At least that explains all the hookers that've been calling me…"
Antonio suppressed a laugh, "So, why did I try to call Francis again?"
"I don't know. Something about one of the Vargas bro-"
"Gilbert, I'm in love with Lovino!"
"So what else is new?"
"Huh? Um… Well I haven't been up that long so nothing else is really new. Unless you count the thing about you having Francis's phone."
On the other side of the line Gilbert groaned, "Never mind. So, not that you've realized your deep-set feelings for the little brat, what are you going to do?"
"Tell him, of course."
"You're just going to walk up to his door and say I love you?"
Silence, "Tell me, how long have you been contemplating suicide?"
"But I'm not-"
"Yes you are, if you think seriously about this for a minute. Do you remember what happened the last time you hugged him? You had a black eye for a week."
Antonio pouted, "But I have to tell him! It's important!"
"Antonio, its 7 am. You're probably not even dressed yet, and the Italian boy won't even be awake!"
"Yeah… He's so cute when he sleeps…"
"Stop smiling, all of this cutesy stuff is making me sick."
"How did you know I was-"
"Because I have awesome powers! And I-"
"Huh? What was that?"
"Shut up, West!! I didn't mean to break your stupid toaster!"
"Break it?! It's in pieces!"
"It was self-defense!"
Antonio blinked. Self-defense against a toaster?
"Hey Antonio, I got to go. I'm currently climbing onto the roof and I need both hands. Good luck with your life!"
With a click the line went dead. Antonio shrugged and tossed his phone onto the pillow. It wasn't the first time Gilbert had climbed up to the roof, and it probably wouldn't be the last.
Rising from the bed he opened the blinds and stretched his arms up in the light of the new day. He loved Lovino. And today he would tell him.
It was going to be a good day.
Part Two: A Road Block
"Oh Lovi, I love you~ Oh Lovi, I love you~ You and your little tomato blush!"
Antonio smiled and hummed to himself, his little tune pleasing him to no end. Taking Gilbert's advice, he had tried to type out what he was going to say to Lovino and thought of it then when 'Lovino' spell-checked to 'loving' and 'Lovi' to 'love'. It was so cute! Just like Lovi~
His gaze drifted to the flowers resting in the passenger seat. White lilies with carnations, and one red rose embellishing the center. It was perfect, and nothing could be too perfect for this day.
Pulling into Lovino's driveway Antonio grabbed the bouquet out of the car and practically skipped up to the door. Before knocking he tried to straighten his shirt, a light blue button up Francis had given him for his birthday a few years ago, but then shrugged. He would never get the wrinkles out anyway.
Taking a deep breath he knocked.
And knocked again.
Maybe Lovino wasn't home?
His face fell, but only for a minute. Lovino was probably still asleep. The only thing for it was to knock louder!
So he did.
Still no answer.
Before knocking for the fourth time Antonio finally noticed the piece of paper attached to the door. Flipping it open, he quickly read over the writing that was clearly Lovino's.
To anybody idiotic enough to show up to my house-
I'm not home. Go away. If you feel that whatever you showed up here for is important, come back in a couple of days. If not, stay the hell away from my house.
Antonio frowned. Where could Lovino be? He really wanted to tell him how he felt… it couldn't wait a couple of days! And besides, surely it would be a good surprise, right? Taking out his cell phone he dialed Feliciano's number and pressed the cool metal to his ear.
"Feli? It's Antonio. Do you know where your brother is?"
"Ve, he's not at home?"
"No, but there's a note on his door saying he'll be back in a few days."
For a moment Feliciano was silent, "I think you should try reaching him again tomorrow. Or maybe the next day, okay?"
"Why? Where is he?"
"Um… I don't really know if I should tell you… Lovino would probably get mad at me."
"Please, Feli? Its really important I see him."
"Alright," Feliciano sighed, and grunted a bit as if he was sitting down, "Every year, a few days after our birthday, Lovino disappears for a while."
"Mm-hmm. I don't know why, but I'm pretty sure that he goes out drinking by himself. Because once I followed him because I was curious and watched him get really, really drunk and then come home in a cab. I checked the same place the next year but he wasn't there so he probably changes the location. I don't know why he does it. Its kind of weird, don't you think?"
Antonio leaned against Lovino's door, thinking about what he just heard. Why would Lovino do something like that? It just didn't make sense. Well, either way he had to find him. Before his heart melted or the flowers wilted. Whichever came first.
"Antonio? Antonio? Are you still there?"
"Huh? Oh, sorry. I was just thinking."
"Oh, okay. But I don't think you should try to find him. Just wait a bit and he'll come back."
"Um, sure. I'll just wait then."
"Good! I got to go now, it was nice to talk to you! Bye!"
The line went dead and Antonio stuffed his phone back into his pocket. Running back to his car he hopped in, turned the key and began to drive through the streets of Rome. Now all he had to do was find Lovino.
Part Three: The Searching, The Finding
By the time it was eight Antonio had checked all the bars within a ten-mile radius of Lovino's house. Not one had held the feisty Italian he hoped to find. So now he was checking within a twenty-mile radius. Leaning against his car as he pumped gas Antonio sighed. Only three more places, he told himself, If I can't find him by then I'll go back to his house and wait for him to come home.
The next place he tried was amazingly the right one. He walked in, looked around, almost left when-
"Dammit, I sssaid gimme another drink!"
His head whipped to the bar and there was Lovino, cheeks flushed and glaring at the bartender.
"I'm not driving, m'kay? I've got money, 'm paying you, and 'm gonna pay for a cab, so gimme another goddamn drink!"
The bartender rolled his eyes before complying and setting another glass in front of Lovino, clearing all the old ones away. Antonio walked forward, confident that Lovino was more concentrated on the wood of the bar then of his approaching figure.
Before sitting next to him, he pushed all the thoughts of how cute he looked out of his mind. Well, almost all of them.
"Lovino…" placing a hand on the Italian's shoulder he pulled it back as Lovino jumped.
"You…?! Wha the… hell are you doing here?!"
Antonio smiled, "I was looking for you, of course. Why else would I be at," he squinted at the napkin, "The Lost Oasis, Rome?"
Lovino snorted and stirred his drink, his voice thick with alcohol, "Well, now you've found me. You can leave."
"But I want to stay," he shifted down into his seat and gestured at the bartender for a water, "Can't I?"
"You can if you want. Wha the hell shhould I care?"
They sat in silence for a few moments until Antonio spoke up, "So why are you here?"
"Wha's it look like, idiot? I'm getting drunk and then going home."
"Yeah but why?"
"What does it matter?!" Banging his fist on the counter Lovino glowered at him, "I'm doin it, and that's it!"
"Lovi… please tell me? You must be here for a reason. Alone in a bar, drinking yourself to tears."
"Bastard. I'm not cryin' "
"But you look like you could be any second."
For a second or two Lovino stared at him before shaking his head and sipping at the brownish liquid in his glass, "Idiot. Fine, I'll tell you. Every year, I go out, get wasted and go back home. It's the one day I really let everything get to me."
"Everything. The fact that I'll always be second best. The idea that I'm just a reject. That no one would really care if I lived or died. Piece by piece I tear down every wall I've built to keep my own emotions out of sight from myself. To keep my own memories at bay. The time Rome took Feliciano away to do whatever the hell it was they did and left me. When Feliciano decided he liked a potato-molesting bastard more then me, his own brother. The time you went to Roderich in hopes of getting a better maid."
At this Antonio paled, "You… you knew about that?"
Lovino snorted again, grinning like someone who couldn't see the opening of the hole they'd fallen into, " 'Course I did. Feliciano blabbed about it they next time I saw him and Roderich didn't have any reason to keep it a secret," he shrugged, "Not that I ever expected anything more. 'M used to it, trust me."
Antonio looked at Lovino, really looked at him. His hair was limp, clothes wrinkled, eyes foggy and face a light pink from however much booze he had downed. It wasn't a pretty sight. But it was Lovino; the same Lovino he had raised, the same Lovino he had come to love, the same Lovino who once a year drowned in his sorrows and spent the rest of his days pushing them to the back of his mind, the same Lovino who, he just realized, never truly smiled.
And maybe… He could be his Lovino?
"An' I'll tell you somethin' else, bastard."
He looked up as Lovino threw back the rest of his drink, slamming the glass down on the bar.
"There's never been one day I've lived that I haven't regretted my own existence."
Lovino laughed, the sound resonating deep in his throat, "Happy? Now you know somethin' that no one else on this planet has ever known. And considering wha we are that's a pretty big accomplishment!"
Antonio didn't say a word as he gently took Lovino's arm and started leading him out of the bar, placing his own money out for the bartender. He didn't let go as they walked to the door, even as Lovino started rambling.
"You should have a plaque, er somethin'! How about a trophy? Something big and flashy. It'll say: 'Screw you ever'one else in this whole goddamn world! I know that Lovino Vargas has thought he's shit every day for the hundreds- no thousands of years he's been alive!' How 'bout that? Sound good?"
They kept walking to Antonio's car until Lovino stopped, his face twisted and dark. Antonio looked at him, worry crossing his features and never releasing his grip on Lovino's arm, "Lovino? Are you all right?"
"You bastard, let me go!"
Shaking his arm violently Lovino escaped from his grasp. Taking a few wobbly steps back he glared at the ground as if it was the source of all his problems in the world, a few drops of water sliding off his face to soak it.
"Just leave me alone! Everyone else does. Today of all days why can't you just leave me alone!"
"Lovino…" without even thinking about it he walked forward and encompassed Lovino in his arms. He held him close as the smaller man sobbed, the alcohol making his voice loose with the emotions no one ever saw. Fear, loneliness, sadness, self-loathing, pain. Especially pain. All of the things he hid for 364 days under a mask of anger. He ran his fingers through Lovino's hair, searching not to calm, but to comfort.
For who knows how long they stood there, trapped in the dark limbo between streetlights. Lovino seemed so small right now.
"Bastard… leave me alone… Why don't you… just leave me alone…?"
He knew his shirt was getting soaked. He knew that at any second Lovino could lash out and leave him with broken ribs or a black eye. But there was something else he knew, something that outweighed anything Lovino might say or do to him.
"Because I love you, Lovino."
And without another word he pressed Lovino's lips against his.
Part Four: The Next Day
Antonio hummed as he worked in the kitchen, the sun beating down through his windows. He really hoped he had closed all the curtains in his room. Lovino was probably going to have a horrible hangover when he woke up, whenever that may be. Sighing, he stirred the vegetables frying on the stove. Poor Lovino. The man had fallen asleep almost the second they reached his car, and had been out ever since.
With practiced ease he poured the beaten eggs into the pan with the vegetables. For a second they sizzled then calmed to a low crackle. While they cooked he cleared off the island, setting it with plates and napkins.
Going back to the stove Antonio prodded the eggs a bit so they wouldn't stick to the bottom of the cast-iron vessel. Turning, he smiled as his eyes landed on a pair of feet coming down the stairs, "Good morning, Lovi!"
"Gah, goddammit! Don't talk so loud idiot!"
Antonio just shrugged, blinking as Lovino came into full view, "Lovi, why are you dressed? You could have stayed in your pj's if you wanted. Or you could have borrowed some of my clothes instead of putting those back on."
Lovino shot him a look before walking through the kitchen, "I'm going home, smart ass. Thanks for giving me a place to sleep but I'm out of here."
"But-wait, what? Lovino, wait!"
"Shit! For god sake would you not talk?! What the hell are you trying to do, because whatever it is it's giving me a headache!"
"Lovino… don't you remember what you said to me? What I said to you?"
He scowled, the contours of his face all too familiar with the position, "What? I went out to drink; you interrupted me and brought me here. That's it."
"No," Antonio shook his head and walked to where Lovino was standing, gently placing his hands on his arms, "You told me everything; everything about everything. About you, about how you feel everyday that your not good enough for something or someone. You told me that for as long as you can remember you've hated yourself!"
Lovino paled, then looked down at his shoes, "Bastard, I didn't say that. Stop putting words into my mouth."
"Lovi, you did say it! And I know it was the truth. Dios, why haven't I ever seen it before now?"
"Because no one ever looks at me hard enough to realize it!" Lovino screamed, "Nations see me and think, 'There's Feliciano's brother. Oh, he's the older one? That's a shock. You'd think he'd be more like Feliciano. Why are there two Italies anyway? Wouldn't it be better if there was only one?' Hell, I've learned to live with over the years but that doesn't mean I like it! That doesn't mean I don't see something everyday that reminds me of it!" He stopped, looked away again, "Its not like I ever said that…"
In silence they both waited for the other to move, to say something and shatter the glass-like tension.
Antonio sighed, "How about this? You never said anything to me, and I will never forget anything you told me. I will always know. But you have to remember something for me in exchange."
Lovino glanced at him warily, "What's that, jackass?"
"You have to remember," slowly he turned Lovino's face towards his and brought their lips only centimeters apart, "that I told you I loved you last night."
On his last word he closed the distance, moving his mouth gently around Lovino's. Almost instantly and without any hesitation Lovino kissed back, a blazing act of motion counteracting Antonio's cool passion. As Lovino brought his arms up around his neck Antonio grabbed at his frame and pulled him closer. Only for a second they broke apart before entering the dance again. For once it was matter over mind; their movements controlling their thoughts and their bodies controlling their movements.
Once more they came apart, both breathing hard. Lovino glared at him but didn't remove his arms.
"What the hell was that?"
Instead of answering Antonio shook his head, "You need me, Lovino."
"Shut up. I'm fine on my own."
"No, you're not. No one is fine when they're alone."
"Who the hell said I was alone?!"
Lovino looked like he was about to retort then stopped, closed his mouth and pouted, "Shit."
"Lovi," Antonio softly kissed him again, "Let me be here for you. And by any luck let me be the one for you. Because I am here, and I love you."
"Y-yeah right. You probably just want to rule over me again. Old lust for conquest coming back… or something,"
He sounded more like he was trying to convince himself then the man in front of him. Antonio smiled, leaning forward to kiss his forehead, his cheeks, his lips, "I love you."
"I love you, Lovi."
"I love you."
"Fine!" Lovino looked at him, "You're an idiot so it doesn't matter. You'll forget about it in a few days, anyway."
"No, Lovino, I won't!" his grip on the Italian tightened, "There is so much I'll remember because there is so much about you that I love. I love it when we pick tomatoes together, I love it when you try to seem as if you hate something you like, I love it when you sleep and almost all of the tension leaves your face. I love you, and… yeah," Antonio looked into Lovino's face expectantly.
"…Bastard," Lovino fidgeted, his wrists rubbing against the back of Antonio's neck, "We can try this, but that doesn't mean anything. For you or me. Because… dammit, it's not like I've ever had someone to lo- to care- to ponder spending more time with them then normal."
A grin like a thousand suns opened up on Antonio's face, "Lovi!"
"Why the hell is your goddamn voice so loud?!"
"Ah, oops. Sorry, Lovino," he whispered, reaching up to run a hand through Lovino's hair before brushing their lips together once more, "Now that your staying, do you want to go back to bed? I can bring you breakfast. And an aspirin if you want."
"Idiot… I never said I was staying."
He rested a hand on Lovino's cheek, running his thumb in small circles over the skin, "But you will, right?"
Abruptly Lovino turned, pulling himself away from Antonio and walking back to the stairs. Before heading up he threw a look over his shoulder, "Better hurry, basta-…… Antonio."
Antonio chuckled as he watched Lovino retreating back, then headed back to the stove. The eggs had burned but he could make some new ones pretty fast. Of course, Lovino would berate him no matter how quickly he managed to get up there, but it was the thought that counted.
Dumping the old eggs into the trash can he looked out the window; the sky was a pristine blue and the new leaves of spring fluttered gently in a breeze. Cracking it open Antonio inhaled a breath of that marvelous fresh air.
It was going to be a good day.