Lovino stared at the vibrating phone in his hands, his breath caught in his throat and a sick feeling rising in his stomach as he took in the name and number flitting feebly across the screen.

His mother was calling him. Nearly a whole week after he'd been beaten brutally, halfway to death by his father, kicked out of the house, and left to die on his own, he was being contacted by someone in his family. He wondered if he should even answer; maybe if she thought he was dead that would be the end of it: they'd go on pretending they'd never had another son and would be content with their lives. Lovino glanced over at Antonio across the room, he was sitting cross-legged on the floor, his face a mere foot from the screen of an old boxy television, his eyes moving quickly with the soccer players on the screen as he muttered incomprehensibly. The corner of Lovino's mouth twitched up in a smile. But this was something he had to handle himself.

He quietly walked into the adjoining bedroom, sitting gingerly on the mattress and hesitating for one more moment before answering his phone. He did not speak.

"…Lovino?" his mother's voice sounded distant and smaller than usual, even through the static of the battered cellphone.

Lovino suddenly felt a lump swell in his throat, a massive wave of emotion welling inside him that he had honestly not expected at all. It rendered him speechless as his clammy fingers gripped at the plastic case of his phone.

"Lovino…are you there? Lovi. P-please talk to me, are you okay?" Her voice was weak and broken.

Lovino swallowed thickly.

"I'm here," he choked, trying to keep his voice void of emotion.

"Antonio...he, I know you're safe there. Lovino…I'm so s-sorry. I never- I couldn't-" Lovino felt the lump in his throat swell ever-larger as he heard his mother cry—short choked sobs—a sound that he had only ever heard once or twice in his life.

He did not reply.

"I'm divorcing your father," she continued, once she had recomposed herself. "I…I wasn't raised to believe that….that….but it doesn't matter. You're my son, and I love you. Feliciano and I moved out, Lovi. We're living with my parents. If you…If you want to come back, to stay with us…"

Lovino covered his mouth, hot tears now rolling freely down his cheeks.

"I'm so sorry. I never wanted you to get hurt. I love you so much."

"I love you too mom!" Lovino finally managed, his voice cracking as more tears flowed from his eyes. "I love you….but I need to stay with Antonio for now. I'm going to school, so don't worry…and…and I know you didn't want to hurt me. But I need to be somewhere where I'm accepted."

Lovino finally stopped crying, his face sobering as he considered his own words. He did love his mother. And it was nice to know she still cared about him. But he was where he needed to be.

After talking to her for another ten or so minutes, assuring her he'd call frequently, that he had enough clothes, that he was going to school, and that he was being well-fed, he hung up, and stood up, breathing in deeply.

As trite as he knew it sounded in his own head, he felt somehow…lightened. After 17 years of shit; of hiding, lying, and hurting, he was finally in a position where he had no one to answer to, and where no one was trying to hurt him. He walked slowly back into the living room, hoping his face wasn't too swollen from crying. Antonio was still sitting on the floor, but the TV was off and he was facing the doorway from which Lovino emerged, a patient and understanding but cautious look on his face.

"I um..." Antonio started, wringing his hands. "I wasn't eavesdropping, I just…um, your mom….are you okay?"

A crooked, more mature smile crossed Lovino's cheekbones and he crossed the floor, standing over Antonio and lightly holding his face. He leaned down and kissed him softly on the lips, still smiling as he pulled back, gazing warmly into his best friend's inquisitive, bottle-green eyes.

"Everything…is okay."

ohmygosh u guise

I don't know what to say, tumblr ate my life

sorry it took so long, but it's finally done! Also I never made the video because I felt like not that many people were interested and I was busy at the time but if you guys still want it let me know! I love you all and seriously the reviews were what kept me going till the end! I'm so honored for the communities I've been featured in and all the love this fic has gotten. Seriously, you give me hope. (:

I will answer any and all questions and comments now!

love you ALL!