Buuuu last chapter ;-; We've finished two stories within, like, a month. So sad making! Hope you all enjoy our twist~!
Chapter Eight: Eternity
It had been a month since Lovino had left.
A month since Antonio had last felt warmth.
And a month since their little cottage had known a touching scene.
In the departure of that little ghost Antonio had cried for an hour or more into Francis then spent the following few days staying with him and Gilbert. It was hard for him to go back there, but in time he had to. All of his things were there. The flowers and the tomatoes needed watering. And frankly, he didn't want it to start to smell from the rotten food in the fridge. So he went back. Back to where it all began.
And you know, after a while he learned to cope. At first when he stepped inside he'd fallen to his knees and sobbed all over again. Then anytime he ate a tomato he would tear up. Or see anything red for that matter. He'd never see that cute blush again...
But Lovino was happy! Antonio was sure of it. There was nowhere but heaven such an adorable person could go. And if he could see Antonio so upset and not taking care of himself properly he would quite literally flip a shit. The image of the sort of beating and talking to he'd get made Antonio laugh and feel that much more lighthearted.
Everyone is allowed their period of mourning though. Never mind that Lovino had been dead for decades and his leaving a long time coming. Then again, when had Antonio ever really considered him anything but living? The man kissed and hung on him, took him out shopping, played around with him in groups of friends. He'd even sometimes find himself making food or drinks for him. Now how did that make any sense?
Antonio had just... Been so accepting of Lovino's presence. Since the very beginning. Looking back on it now, the rate at which they became comfortable with one another was anything but normal. Anyone else would call them lovesick teenagers at the short period of some months they spent together ending in such a romance. And this again made Antonio laugh. That's what they were really. Completely and utterly lovesick over each other. No matter where he was Antonio had always been able to locate him if he simply stood still and concentrated on finding that rope. It reminded him of a concept he'd learned about in one of his classes. Some sort of Asian thing. What had it been?
Ah, right. The red string of fate. It was Japanese. Even a romantic such as him had regarded it as a metaphorical, cliché sort of prospect in hearing about it. How wrong he had been.
While he was a Catholic Antonio had never been the type to believe in fate. People carved their own paths into the ground and followed them based on their choices. Yeah, the two of them were star-crossed lovers or whatever, meant to be. But he hadn't fallen in love with Lovino this time around because he had in his past life. He loved that man of his own free will. And would continue to until the end of his days.
He hung out with Francis and Gilbert and others. He attended school and kept up with his grades. Hell, he even started jogging in the mornings. Just as a way to wake him up so he wouldn't go back to sleep after dreaming about Lovino. And through it all he smiled like he always had. Or at least, like he always had on the outside.
There was a tinge of sadness in that smile. One people normally saw more often in the grin of an elderly man that had been through quite a lot in his lifetime. A sort of nostalgia for the past with an understanding that it couldn't be brought back.
Somehow in their time together Antonio had matured a little. Maybe it had been Lovino's last gift to him. The ability to continue like he had been unable to before.
"Mistress! Mistress! Mio Dio he's awake! Lovino!"
What was with all this yelling? Lovino groaned and pulled the pile of blankets over his head. Something pinched his arm. Slowly, he peeked an eye open to see an IV stuck into his arm. Shit. How long had he been asleep this time? He sat up and looked around, eyes first falling on the ecstatic family nurse. And then the door burst open and in came his mother.
"You're really awake!" Mia latched herself onto her son in a snuggling-high hug. "Oh my baby you're awake!"
"Woah- Mama!" Lovino fell back into the mattress, too weak to hold them both up. He laughed lightly and patted his mother's hair. "How long was I asleep?"
"Over half a year! It's been months! Oh I was so worried about my baby Lovi," the grown woman sobbed and sniffed much like her second child.
Lovino blinked and frowned. "Half a year? I've had a lot of dreams..."
"Brotheer!" And it was round two of the affection Italians. Feliciano came flying through the door to embrace his twin in an almost identical manner as their mother had, with the single change of coming at him from the opposite side so the bedridden one could be snuggled on either arm.
"F-Feli!" Lovino stared at his brother with wide eyes. "You were in my dreams too!"
"W-Well of course I was! It was so hard not to say anything." Hiccuping, the boy's tears spilled over looking at his twin. "I wasn't sure it would happen but now you're awake!"
"What would happen?"
Another sniff and Feliciano was nuzzling into the others twin. "You coming back to your body."
Lovino stared at the ditz. Surely he wasn't serious... "So-" A giant blush consumed Lovino's face. "Antonio is real?"
Into Lovino a given nod was the response and a, "he's been so sad... He misses you."
"But I don't even know him! That bastard that steals my consciousness is the one that did!" Ever since that first incident, fainting spells and days of unconsciousness became a common occurrence. But never before had the other him ever interacted with someone else...
"The you now doesn't know him, no, but the other one did. And the first one... Oh all the different brothers can be very confusing," an already tired whimper was released from Feliciano's body. But he sat up all the same, wiping at his face. "But you're really all the same person! The soul is the same, anyway."
"Oh so that's what that ass has been stealing?" Lovino growled and pushed Feliciano off the bed to get out, only to fall to the ground the second his feet hit the ground. "Fuck."
Round three, this time a double attack. Both Mia and Feliciano were on him, helping him up and worrying over him, two different voices asking if he was all right and telling him to take it easy.
"God, get off! I'm fine!" Lovino shoved them away and flopped back on the bed. "Obviously half a year in bed isn't easy to bounce back from!" A tug on his arm reminded him of the IV. He groaned and tugged that out. "Now can I take a bath? I feel nasty."
"Baby, if you can't stand up I'm not sure a bath on your own is-"
"I'll take a bath with him!" Feliciano exclaimed, effectively cutting off his mother.
"Dammit I'm just weak, not stupid!" But he could tell there was no arguing with Feliciano when he got that look in his eyes. Lovino sighed and shook his head in defeat. "I guess you can tell me how much I dreamed was real while I bathe."
"Grazie Fratello~" Feliciano hugged and nuzzled his counterpart affectionately.
With the help of one twin the other with faintly atrophied muscles was helped to the bathroom. Now Lovino refused to be undressed by someone else, and with some difficulty accomplished that all on his own to save what pride he had left on the matter, before he was brought into the tub full of warm water.
"Do you remember everything everything?" It was a stupid question from a stupid boy, but Feliciano asked it all the same as he smiled.
Sighing into the water, Lovino swished it around as he shrugged. "I guess so, yeah. It's like I was living it all with the other me, but he didn't realize I was there. Or even existed..."
"And I suppose you never heard what Mr. Kirkland said then so you wouldn't have it to remember." He sank a little in this mumble. It made sense now to Feliciano.
Kirkland? The guy who delivered the news about the original Antonio's death? "What does he have to do with anything?"
"He... He told me -no, wait, he told that me- that even though he and Antonio -er, then Antonio- didn't get along well, he saw how much he loved you... Past you... Whatever. Anyway! And because he was a magician he decided to do a thing where you could see each other again in another life! But, um, he also kinda warned me -vee, old me- that if you... I'm just going to say Toni, me, and you, okay? I'm getting really confused. So he said that you may not believe Toni was really dead and stay waiting for him as a ghost so the whole reborn thingy would get all wonky with the one soul and two bodies... One body one ghosty body. And 'cause it was all wonky all this weird stuff happened with different you's!" A pitiful whine ended that bit of his explanation. Feliciano almost felt his head spinning from it all. He understood it, he really did, but the getting it out clearly was very difficult!
Well that made sense. Ish. Lovino groaned and slid underneath the water. Why did he have to be so stubborn and fuck stuff up? Wait. He shot out of the water to stare at his twin. "How do you know all this?"
"I-I'm sorry!" Feliciano squeaked and shrunk beneath that look. "M-Mama told me that bedtime story she'd always said when we were kids was really our family history and after that my dreams got more detailed and, well, I got a lot from the old me."
"You never thought it'd be nice to clue me in on this shit?" Had he his strength, Lovino would have gotten up and barged right out of the room. Unfortunately all he could do was splash the idiot across from him.
"B-But it was only after you went into the coma and were with Toni! Maybe a little before, but Lovi wouldn't have believed me anyway!"
Lovino sighed and shook his head. "You couldn't have said anything to the ghost that he needed to move the fuck on so I could live?"
Feliciano frowned. "But what about Antonio?"
That brought another blush. Lovino looked to his hands and mumbled, "Well maybe I wanted to get to know him."
A shake of his head, "I didn't want to rush anything. All of the magic stuffs is weird as it is. Lovi had to do it by himself."
"Well he took to long! And... He hurt Antonio." Dammit he was so in love with that idiot and didn't even know him! And he only knew the other Lovino. "How can I approach him without disappointing him?"
Now it was Feliciano's turn to blink. "... Lovi can't just go and tell him?
"I'm not the Lovino he fell in love with!"
"... But Toni wasn't the Toni and the Lovi still did, right?" Somewhere in there Feliciano had made an intelligent deduction. Hidden behind the strange wording.
Groaning, Lovino pulled his knees up to his body and hugged them close. "But there's a difference. The ghost didn't remember he knew Antonio and fell in love with him all over again. Antonio is already in love with the soul stealer and if I show up, I'll just be a replacement."
All these excuses made Feliciano tear up a little. "So you're not even gonna try?"
He didn't want to admit it. He really didn't. But with Feliciano close to tears, it was the only and truthful explanation. "I'm afraid to."
"But if you explain Toni will understand I'm sure! He's super sad without Lovi. Without any Lovi."
"I guess..." He looked down at his legs and sighed. "But first I need to get my strength back. I don't want him taking care of me."
Here Feliciano hugged the weaker twin and nuzzled him. "He'd be happy with any kind of Lovi."
"If you say so..."
"Didn't you you like him?"
Was it possible to be any redder? "Of course!"
"Then he'll like you you!" Feliciano was incredibly sure of himself in the statement, smiling brightly.
"When I'm better I'll go," he sighed and scowled. "Promise."
It took weeks to build up his strength. Weeks to build up his courage. Weeks of secretly stalking Antonio in hopes of being seen. But it came down to him having to make the first move. Lovino Vargas stood on the doorstop to the little cottage that had plagued his every dream since childhood for the first time in his real body. He sighed and brought his hand up to the door, timidly knocking. It felt so heavy here…
Looking up from the show he'd been watching Antonio blinked. It was a Saturday morning. He didn't have class that day and none of his friends would be up and out at the hour. Maybe a package? He called out to the person to wait a minute then stood to open the door.
"Good morn-" The greeting fell off of his tongue and his eyes widened. It... Wasn't possible. "Lovino?"
"Not qu-" Lovino's voice stuck in his throat with a squeak and at the hopeful look in Antonio's eyes, all he could do was nod.
His mind shut down and floated out of his body. He felt lightheaded and grounded at the same time. Had he died and gone to heaven to be with Lovino again? But he surely would remember such a thing. No, the heavens must have decided Lovino's heaven was here and sent him back! There was a certain slowness to Antonio's response as the gears in his head started working again. The budding of tears, the turning of lips to smile truly for the first time in a month. The slowness experienced in this was compensated for in the swiftness of what followed. He pulled Lovino into him and felt his solid, warm body against his own to the point that he was hugging him so tightly he may have very well sent him back to the grave. But really all he could think about was how miraculous this was, nuzzling his hair with absolute adoration. "I missed you so much Lovi!"
"Y-yeah Feli said..." Lovino shyly hugged Antonio back. "But I'm not your Lovino..."
It took a bit for that to register. Antonio had continued to nuzzle his love until it clicked and he blinked. "Not my-? Qué? Lovi what are you talking about? Don't be mean now!"
"Well I'm the same, but not..." How to explain this when he was right in front of the man of his dreams and wanted to kiss him? "You fell in love with the ghost. I'm alive... And I can cook..."
There went the shoulders, collapsing a little as his eyes moved across Lovino's face as if to find the answer to his confusion there. Antonio stared at him blankly. "Lo siento, I don't understand..."
"I was reborn like you!" Lovino trailed off and scowled. "But that dumbass before me couldn't move on so you met him instead of me! He stole my soul so he could exist here and put me in a coma! He's been stealing my soul a lot over the years, but this is the first time he kept it and did stuff. You know him. Met him. B-but I experienced everything that he did..."
A pause and blink. Reborn like him? Wait, and he'd mentioned Feli... "You're Feli's twin that's supposed to be dead?"
"What? " Why the hell did he think he was dead? That fucking kid! Lovino growled and pushed Antonio into the house and slammed the door shut. "I'm not dead! Why the hell did Feli say that?"
What shock over the matter that had been left was beaten out of Antonio with that shove and angry yell. For a second he stared at Lovino in awe, then broke out into laughter. He understood quite well know. Once a cute Lovino, always a cute Lovino. This was still him in front of him.
"Ahaa," Antonio wiped a tear from his eye before he could continue, "he made it sound like you were."
"That idiot..." Olive gaze fell down to the floor as his fire died down. "Can we get to know each other as me me?"
Lovino's view of the floor was suddenly obstructed by a hand. When he looked up he met eyed with a smiling Spaniard. "Hola, my name is Antonio. What's yours?"
A hint of a smile graced Lovino's face as he took Antonio's hand. "I'm Lovino. I've been in a coma for half a year as a ghost ran around with my soul. Nice to meet you."
Unable to control himself, Antonio broke that new friends bubble just once. He reached out and cupped one adorable cheek. "Nice to meet you. I can't wait to get to know you, Lovino." 'And to fall in love with you all over again.'
"Antonio! Get your dumb ass down here! Dinner is ready!"
"Cooming!" Was the returned call, soon followed by its source. With still damp curls Antonio appeared to hug Lovino round the waist and kiss his cheek. "I'd rather smell than go without your cooking~ What'd you make?"
"Garlic bread and ravioli... And um.." The Italian blushed bright red and mumbled, "Desert is a surprise."
That brought about a grin. Antonio leaned in for a kiss to the lips. "Is it you? That's an awful lot of sweetness."
"Very funny!" Lovino pushed the idiot away and picked up their dishes. "Go to the table!"
"Sí Señor." An obedient coo before doing so. With the smile of a child waiting for his birthday cake to be revealed Antonio sat at his kitchen table.
Rolling his eyes, Lovino set their dinner down. He went back to get some wine and glanced into the fridge with a smile. It was going to be delicious. Setting the wine glasses down, Lovino sat across from Antonio with a shy smile. "Is it good?"
Perhaps the stupidly pleased look consisting of eyes closed in bliss and cheeks blushed in pleasure was enough of an answer, but Antonio didn't think so. No, he had to voice it. "There's a party in my mouth."
"Well that's good." Lovino took a bit of his own. Oh it was good. Thank god.
"Waait, did you want me to eat first to test for poison?"
"No! Damn bastard!" He flicked a noodle at Antonio and scowled. "I wanted to make sure it was good!"
At the attack Antonio gasped and returned the peeled off noodle. "Then why waste it?" He grinned.
"Because you're annoying!"
"And you have adorable cheeks. I like how cute they are when you chew, so don't waste food!"
"Shut up or you don't get dessert!"
"-!" The prepared retort was forcefully pulled back down Antonio's throat at such a threat, leaving him to pout and eat quietly.
The rest of dinner was spent in relative silence as the men ate the delectable dinner. As the last bite was taken and the last sip of wine finished, Lovino jumped to his feet and piled the dishes up. "Stay." He ordered before running off to the kitchen.
Upon returning he was bright red and shyly smiling with a cute little cake in his hands. As he set it down, Lovino mumbled, "Happy anniversary Antonio."
What few blinks he took gave Antonio time to process the situation. Then he smiled. Lovino found himself being gently pulled into a Spaniard's lap by his wrist where a kiss was waiting for him. "Happy anniversary, Lovino."
"It's chocolate with strawberries inside," he kissed Antonio again and cut a piece with a fork to hold up to his mouth. "Open wide."
A dog waiting for a treat expectantly, Antonio dropped his jaw and allowed himself to be spoon fed. And, like a dog, the moment his taste buds were electrified by that sweetness he immediately brightened with his invisible tail wagging like crazy. "It's a dance in my mouth now~"
Taking another fork in hand Antonio chopped off a portion of the delicious plate and offered it to Lovino. "Your turn."
"Are you-" Rolling his eyes, Lovino opened his mouth with a sigh. No point in arguing.
Happily Antonio fed the love of his that he still held captive in his lap. Then he nuzzled him with even more unending joy. "Te amo."
"Yeah, I know." Lovino smirked and kissed Antonio again, the taste of the cake mixing with his natural flavor. "Ti amo."
And you know, Antonio was quite confident in his opinion of which was the best flavor between the cake and Lovino. And which one he would never tire of.
"What are you smiling about?"
He laughed. Lovino caught him. What was left to do but kiss him lovingly and nuzzle noses? "Nothing."
"You're an idiot, why do I love you?" Lovino snickered and kissed him again.
"Because I love you more each time I see you," Antonio whispered into those lips.
"That's ridiculously sappy and disgusting," was whispered right back.
"Then why do you love me?"
"Because you're stupid," Lovino smirked and nipped his lip playfully. "It's hard not to love a stupid puppy."
"Ooye," quick as that he frowned and whined, "so all I've got is puppy love?"
Lovino took Antonio's face in his hands and locked lips, making it a deeper kiss than ones past. Tongues twined and olive eyes laugh. He pulled back and licked his lips thoughtfully. "Mm maybe a little more."
"A little?" This small cry of indignation and hurt pride. "I'll prove you wrong!" And he did so with a passionate kiss of his own.
Arms wrapped around Antonio's neck as the kiss continued. Lovino was never going to let go.
End of Chapter Eight
Happy happy joy joy! Frabjous day, neh? These two FINALLY got to be happy together, after all the turmoil and... Wackiness xD Don't ya love Feli?
I'd really like to thank Suicide for this idea. At first it was just a fluffy little plotbunny that... Well frankly turned into a monster in and of itself XD Don't you agree? Tell us, 'AU ghost!Lovini,' and we come up with all of this? Well... Not all~
Heh. For all those interested, Phantom Love does NOT include all of the major ANGST and fluff of their background. That will all be included in the prequel we will be working on that goes more in depth into the lives of the first Antonio and Lovino. Hope to see you there, and thank you for your support! All of the love showered upon us for this specific fic is astounding and heartwarming (/D