Feliciano came to Munich to study. Now he never wants to leave. [Human AU]
The past or the future.
"German speech." Except in flashbacks/flashforwards, where it is reversed.
"Any other language than German!" Except in flashbacks/flashforwards, when it is reversed.
Contains slash and swearing, the latter mostly due to Arthur and his terrible mouth. Is also an AU in which our nation-tans are just normal people. Unbeta'd, but don't let that put you off.
Also note that I do not live in Germany, and I have not studied at any university, mostly because I'm not old enough. By the way, there are probably quite a few inconsistencies or mistakes- if you want to correct me, feel free, just don't be a douche or anything. Anyway, now you've all been sufficiently warned, enjoy!
And yes, I am British. That's why 'taps' and 'dressing-gowns' are used in this story, rather than 'faucets' and 'bathrobes'.
Munich's winter is harsh. Feliciano has visited England and France during the colder months, but both pale in comparison to Germany. It's like another ice age. Luckily, this house is pretty much draught-free, but Feliciano still burrows deeper into the heavy duvet, snuggling closer to his bedmate.
"You wouldn't be so cold if you wore pajamas." Ludwig's voice is muffled throught the bedding. Feliciano smiles. Even this early in the morning, Ludwig can still speak in mostly recognisable Italian. Not that he uses Feliciano's mother tongue much- one point of Feliciano being in Munich is to develop his linguistic skills.
"I know." Feliciano answers after a second, trying to let the unfamiliar syllables flow neatly off his tongue. "I'll remember tonight."
There's a few seconds of silence. Ludwig answers back in the same language.
"You always say that." Feliciano doesn't detect any annoyance in Ludwig's voice, just the lingering haze of sleep. If anything, Ludwig sounds... affectionate.
"I suppose so. But it's so much warmer here."
Ludwig doesn't answer for a second. He pulls back part of the duvet and climbs out of bed.
"I'm going to make coffee."
Then he leaves, and that's the cue for Feliciano to also get up, pull on his flannel dressing-gown and pad to his room- not that he uses it much except for as a studio- and grab something to wear. When he's finished, he waltzes into the kitchen, where Ludwig has a mug of milky, sweetened coffee ready for him. Feliciano sips at the hot liquid, trying not to burn his tongue, and joins in the conversation Ludwig is having with their housemate..
"Good afternoon!" Feliciano grins at his housemate, Kiku. They're in the kitchen where Kiku is preparing vegetables, probably for supper. It's Feliciano's turn tomorrow. "That looks like it'll be nice."
"Good afternoon to you as well, Vargas." Kiku nods at him respectfully. "And thank you very much."
"This is Germany, Kiku! You don't need to talk so formally." Feliciano sighs, melodramatically. Kiku smiles in that small, polite way, as he always does when Feliciano says that.
"Indeed, however, it is a personal choice of mine. Have you had a good day?"
Feliciano's grin gets bigger, somehow.
"Yes! It was amazing. Philosophy was really interesting and in art club I got to draw all kinds of stuff! Do you want to see?" He has the folder tucked under his arm, and Kiku has obviously noticed.
"Of course." Kiku nods and covers the diced vegetables before quickly rinsing his hands. Feliciano shows him the charcoal sketches of the pretty model. "Ah, these are excellent. You are extremely talented, Vargas."
"Do you think so? Our model was so beautiful today and I thought I wouldn't be able to draw her face right. Her shadows were really difficult, too." Feliciano rubs a slight smudge absent-mindedly.
"I believe you have done brilliantly, Vargas. Are you going to show Beilschmidt when he gets back? I believe he is bringing home some friends who would be most interested in your artwork." Kiku washes his hands again before dicing meat and placing the prepared vegetables in a large pan.
"I don't remember that..."
"I believe you were painting at the time. As I recall, Beilschmidt asked us on... Thursday, I think it was." Kiku nodded, as if agreeing with himself. "Yes, it was Thursday. I believe you said something along the lines of 'yeah, that's great', and it appeared to be settled."
Feliciano pauses, thinks for a moment. He frowns ever-so-slightly.
"I guess I wasn't listening, then."
"In any case, Vargas, if you would be so kind as to help me lay the table I would be most grateful. Beilschmidt is due to arrive back with our guests soon." Kiku begins weighing out rice. Feliciano wonders briefly if he is making that really nice Japanese hotpot they'd eaten last month. Probably.
"Sure!" Feliciano smiles again. And, as if on cue, they hear the clanking of Ludwig's key in the front door, accompanied by voices.
Feliciano is looking through a German newspaper. He's at home in Italy, trying to find a cheap place to rent while he studies. Several ads catch his eye- 'House for students to rent, space for four tenants, 265 Euros a month, telephone for more details', 'Room to let, 80 euros a week, full use of facilities, preferably non-smoker, apply by phone'.
He hits the 'call' button on the phone. He's sitting outside on the patio, cordless phone in hand. Nobody else is home.
"Hello? I am calling about the advertisment in the..." Feliciano checks the name of the paper and reads it out.
"I am very sorry, but that property has been taken already. It's been gone for about a week, now. Are you living in Munich? If you are, you've left it a little late."
"No, I'm Italian, actually. I'm going to be studying in Munich later this year, so..."
"Oh. Your German is very good." A pause. "Out of interest, why not simply stay in a hall of residence? It would be so much easier than searching through old newspapers and speaking in a foreign language. Most universities give special consideration to foreign students, don't they?"
Feliciano doesn't know quite what to say. It's difficult to describe what he's feeling.
"Personal reasons. It's very complicated."
"I see. Anyway, thank you for calling, I appreciate your interest. I hope your house searching goes well."
"Thank you. Goodbye."
The line goes dead, and Feliciano sighs. He crosses out that advert and tries the next one.
"Hello? My name is Feliciano. I am calling about the advert..."
It seems Ludwig has made friends with almost every not-German student at the university. It's surprising- at first glance, Ludwig seems too stern, too serious. Among the closest of Ludwig's new friends are Arthur, an Englishman, Francis, who is French, Yao, who seems to be Chinese, an American named Alfred and a Russian whose name Feliciano doesn't know.
Conversely, Kiku is rather withdrawn. He's probably the shyest person Feliciano has ever met- the only other person Feliciano has seen him speak to for more than three minutes at a time is Heracles, the Greek guy in his philosophy class.
Feliciano himself doesn't know quite how to make friends. It's just been him and his brother for so long, and his German isn't exactly fluent. Besides, drawing is much more fun than lad's nights out and wild parties. And Ludwig and Kiku are such nice people. Especially Ludwig.
About a month after the academic year begins, there's a massive thunderstorm raging outside. The rain is lashing at the winow and the wind seems to rattle the whole building. The flashes of lightning illuminate his room, and it's suddenly very cold. His room is so empty- his brother isn't here and suddenly he is struck with the homesickness he thought he would never have. It doesn't help that he's been scared of thunder since he was a child. It's immature, he knows, but the loudness and the unpredicatbility scare him and people die because of lighting. It's like Mother Earth wants to take revenge.
Hot tears start filling his eyes, and he's caught in the memories of warm, safe Italy. His family. His dead grandmother's special pasta recipes.
He can't stay in bed like this.
Feliciano gets up, wonders briefly in a sleepy haze on whether he'd be warmer if he wasn't naked, pulls on his dressing-gown and wanders into the hallway. Here, it's safe from the lightning and the rattling, but it's tiny and dark and empty and shit, he should just go back to his room and try to sleep. He pauses, halfway to the stairs. He turns back to the dark, barely visible doors. No. He just needs to be with somebody. Just to feel alive and like he's not the only person here. He sniffles, tries not to sob- he's crying but there's not a real reason, just missing what was so familiar and he wishes the hot saltiness would just stop.
Ludwig's room is closest and as far as Feliciano's tired mind can remember, it's Kiku with the early lectures tomorrow and Ludwig with the afternoon lessons. And Ludwig is always so nice and he's strong and safe... not that Kiku isn't, but Feliciano doesn't want to intrude or offend.
He pushes open the correct door slowly and he can see in the flashes of lightning where Ludwig's bed is. It looks just about big enough for him to wriggle into the spare space closest to the door. Ludwig is fast asleep, and Feliciano silently closes the door and quietly pads to the near side of the bed, where Ludwig's back is. His imagination tells him that Ludwig grunts slightly and has slightly opened eyes, but rationality tells him that if he'd just wipe his eyes and stop thinking about home, he'd be fine.
He quickly lifts the covers and slips in, not bothering to remove his dressing-gown. His heart thuds so loud, he's sure that he's woken somebody just with the sound of his heartbeat which is running a hundred times faster than usual. He carefully moves as close as he dares to Ludwig's body, slowly warming up. Paranoia screams that the slight shifting of Ludwig's body means that he's awake and pissed off and God knows what else, but he's tired and miserable and he doesn't care.
Eventually he falls asleep, random thoughts of pasta and radiators flying through his mind.
This is my first real romantic story. I'm trying to make it as interesting as possible but also of as good quality as is possible- if there's confusing or crazy stuff here, tell me and I'll sort it if it's not deliberate on my part.
I will attempt to update at least monthly, although since I am in college and writer's block happens to me a lot, this schedule will likely become rather sporadic. Hopefully the next chapters will be longer.
Anyway, if you've got any comments, good or bad, I'd be happy to hear them. Just click the 'Review' button! :)