He Wants To Retire Even More Than Before And No, He Doesn't Know Where He's Going
"They got tied up by turtles? No fucking way!"
Antonio tried not to wince as Lovino shouted right in his ear. "You're the one who keeps saying it!" he reminded the plumber cheerily, trying to stay upright.
It was difficult as Lovino was throwing him off balance and he could not use his arms to counteract it. The man had climbed right up Antonio, rambling on about evil turtles kidnapping people. Antonio did not understand what he was talking about and the turtles milled about Antonio as they usually did. Lovino had not seemed scared of them earlier, so Antonio could not understand what had changed his mind now. He leaned against the wall of the pipe in lieu of falling over.
"We get out of here! We're completely surrounded! There're too many of them!"
Lovino's panic was adorable. What could turtles do? "What about your brother?" Antonio asked. "And Gilbert?"
"Fuck them! I don't want to be tied up by turtles."
Antonio laughed. "They can't tie you up silly, they have no fingers!"
Lovino growled (that was right in his ear too). Antonio could not get over the fact of just how cute Lovino was despite his attempts toward the contrary. If he could manage to keep his balance he would not mind Lovino continuing to clamber all over him.
"...why aren't they doing anything to you?"
The fact that Lovino sounded as if he was asking a legitimate question finally made Antonio believe he was being serious about his suspicions over the turtles. Not that Antonio thought it based on anything, but if Lovino had a sudden fear of turtles it was more of a sad thing than something to make light of. "They really like me," he finally said, trying to catch a glimpse of Lovino's face.
"Yes, I had noticed."
"Like turtles like anything, goddammit."
"Lovino! Don't be so cruel~ Of course they have feelings!" Antonio cooed down at them. He flinched as Lovino hit him in the side of the head with his elbow.
"Don't just stand there!" Lovino muttered. "Get moving!"
"Moving where?" Antonio asked, confused.
"I don't care!" Lovino hollered right at the moment Antonio heard a creaking noise.
"What's that?" he asked, trying to look around. The turtles were scattering and he had an idea they should probably take a leaf out of their book and do the same.
"Ah, hell!" Lovino swore again. "It's not Friday! Why are the Cleaners on?"
Climbing off of him, Lovino dusted himself off and then pointed behind him. Antonio was treated with the rather strange sight of an entire wall coming forward. Lovino did not even bother to run as the wall caught up with them. Slowly, it began to push the both of them forward.
Antonio tried to think of the point, but Lovino just looked annoyed. "What do they do?"
"Clean out the pipes, duh," Lovino said, folding his arms across his chest. "Which means we better get going before we hit the pits, because that's a one-way trip down to death." With that he began to walk away from the wall. Antonio stared at it coming still ever closer before he trotted after him. Lovino took a left, then a right, passed a few other pipes and took another left.
"Where are we going?"
"Hell if I know!" Lovino spat. "Somewhere! Just as long as those turtles aren't around. I'm not getting paid enough for this! Stupid brother..."
"But the turtles are right over there," Antonio nodded toward another pipeline. Lovino dove out of sight, while Antonio watched the turtles go. "That's funny, there walking in single file. How cu–"
The rest of his statement was cut off by Lovino grabbing him by the collar and yanking him so the turtles were out of sight. Unable to balance himself as he still could not use his arms, Antonio fell on top of him.
"Idiot, get off!"
"It would be easier to do so if I could use my hands," Antonio reminded him, shifting only a little bit so Lovino could understand his problem. If he stayed on top of the other, he might actually do it! Plus, he was turning bright red, which was adorable. "You know, you look just like a–"
"Don't," Lovino warned, glaring at him.
"Don't what?" Antonio asked.
"Whatever it was you were going to say!" Lovino exclaimed, pulling out the handcuffs' key. "It sounded like it was going to be annoying and a rather overused line that you think is supposed to be endearing or some shit and makes me want to kill you. Let's not start that."
"Fair enough," Antonio responded, not understanding what Lovino was saying at all. Lovino unlocked his hands and Antonio stretched his arms out for relief.
"Get off of me!" Lovino shouted at him.
"Sorry~" Which was when the both of them heard a thwomp! which made Lovino grow pale. "What was that?"
"Whomp?" Antonio questioned, wondering what such a silly sounding word had to do with anything.
"No. Thwomp!" Lovino retorted, getting back to his feet. "Whomps are completely different!" Antonio waited for enlightenment to come, but it never did. Lovino moved over to look down the other pipeline again and Antonio got up to follow him. "Don't!"
"Now what?" Antonio asked, getting bewildered.
"Stay there," Lovino responded. "I can't afford to bring you back to life if you die, it's out of my budget."
"What's it like?" Antonio asked, right before Lovino stuffed something into his mouth. Antonio blinked, sucking on it. Lemon. It was tasty. "What's the problem?" he managed around the hard candy. "I thought you could use a star to deal with all of the problems down here!"
"Are you joking?" Lovino hissed back at him. "No one can afford stars any more! No one except for Alfred Jones. Fuck Alfred Jones."
"I met him! He was very nice–"
And once more Lovino jammed another lemon candy into his mouth. This time, Antonio nearly choked on it.
"Why are you whispering?" Feliciano asked, halting his third run through Lo Specchio D'Argento. Gilbert was rubbing his wrists. "You got your hands untied!"
"Duh," Gilbert responded. "Vhich you vould have noticed if you veren't so busy being so... noisy. I'll get you next, turn around."
"No thanks," Feliciano shrugged. Gilbert's left eye twitched, which sort of reminded him of Lovino.
"Because Lovino's going to save me, that's how these things work."
"No," Gilbert retorted. "Dat doesn't make sense. Vhy don't ve get out of here and save him de trouble, huh?"
Feliciano shook his head. "That's not how it works! If I get out, then he gets kidnapped, or I just get captured again. In the end, someone has to save someone. It would be boring otherwise."
The German narrowed his eyes. "Are you kidding me?"
"Nope," Feliciano shook his head. "And it's even worse when the clients try to save themselves, or one of us!" Before he could explain why, Gilbert muttered something in German and walked off. Feliciano nearly called after him in warning, but figured that meant the turtles would notice Gilbert sooner.
Feliciano winced and shut his eyes.
Two minutes later he was smiling apologetically at the furious man tied up beside him. "I tried to warn y–"
"Shut. Up." Gilbert growled.
Normally, following the turtles would have been easy. Pipe turtles tended to walk in one direction for a while until they bumped into something. Then they figured out another way to get where they were going. Which meant that Lovino could see if they were going to bump into something before then move somewhere else.
Unfortunately, his pay check lagging around behind him was in an entirely different world. He did not seem to understand the whole 'this is dangerous' thing. On the other hand, when Lovino moved out of the way and Antonio did not, the turtles simply swarmed about the man like they did like him. Just as he had said.
Not that Lovino would admit that. But if they were swarming about Antonio it meant Lovino could not follow them to where they had taken his brother (and the other idiot that had been taken with him).
"Stop it!" he whispered angrily at him. Antonio looked confused. Which seemed to be normal for him. Confused or happy. It made Lovino want to strangle something. Like his brother. Which he had already wanted to do when Feliciano got himself kidnapped. Again. And make him worry about the idea. Again.
Antonio's answer was cut off by another thwomp! which sounded too close for comfort. Not that Lovino had been comfortable hearing it before. Or hearing it at all, as a matter of fact. "What do Thwomps do?" Antonio asked.
"They kill you instantly," Lovino responded.
"Is that so...?"
"Hopefully," Lovino grumbled. After all, if anyone was alive after being crushed by rock he did not envy them the slow death that was likely to come soon after. Antonio went back to talking happily to the turtles. These were not the same type of turtles that had been swarming in his apartment. No, if Lovino had known these turtles had been waiting nearby he would not have agreed to take the job. They were a bit bigger. One tried to throw something at him, so he stepped on it.
Or tried too.
"Don't be so hard on him, Lovi~ He doesn't know any better!" Antonio exclaimed, holding him back. Lovino's foot was so close to the turtle, if only he could lean forward.
"You're not making my job any easier," Lovino glared over his shoulder at him.
Both of them froze, Antonio clinging a bit tighter to his shoulders. "...and what was that?"
"Dunno," Lovino swallowed. Which was when he noticed the turtles beginning to mill away. "Shit. We need to get moving."
"Oh my god," Lovino grabbed Antonio by the collar, "if you ask me one more question, I will have to kill you myself." Antonio actually looked surprised, then he was smiling once more. Which still did not change Lovino's feelings on the matter. "What?"
"What do you mean what?"
"I'm asking the questions here!"
"But I don't understand what you're asking!" Antonio protested, though not with much worry. Lovino screamed through his closed mouth as he let go of him. Which was right when Antonio picked him up.
"All right, that's it!" Lovino shouted. He was only distracted from that by the turtle that was standing near them, rope trailing behind it.
"I sort of do want to watch them tie a knot," Antonio said thoughtfully, keeping Lovino above turtle-level. The man had actually done something useful. Lovino could not believe it.
Then he promptly proceeded to screw it up.
"You really do look like a tomato."
With that, Lovino hit Antonio really hard. With his head. Hard enough Lovino almost regretted doing it, because it hurt. Then again, it hopefully hurt Antonio more. Then again, again, he probably should not have done that while Antonio was holding him while above a turtle that wanted to tie him up.
It did not take long before his ankles and wrists were bound. It was uncomfortable.
"Oh... that's how!"
"Bastard," Lovino spat, face pressed against the ground.
"I guess I deserved that~" Antonio went on to say, as Lovino felt the other above him. "Hold on a second, I'm getting the ropes now... stop that..." It took him a moment to realize that Antonio was not saying that to him, but to the turtles. They still had not tied the Spaniard up, but he wondered just how long they could keep up the 'I-untie-one-rope-while-you-tie-the-other-one' game with his limbs. Eventually, it stopped.
... and Lovino's limbs were still tied. "Antonio?" he ventured as he felt the turtles begin to pull him along.
"Did they tie you up?"
Lovino shut his eyes really tight, trying to abate a headache. "Can you get a hold on me?"
"It's a yes or no question!" He felt Antonio shift around behind him. Then he felt Antonio grabbing a part of his anatomy which was not the type of hold he was asking for. "Hands off my ass!"
His headache was not going away. Lovino blamed it on the amount of blood that was currently rushing to his head. Though he felt like he had burnt out a bit, because it was mostly from embarrassment and less from anger. Eventually, Antonio grabbed his belt, which was not where he would have liked his hands either, but considering the situation Lovino was just going to have to deal with what he had. Doubling over the best he could, Lovino tried to reach what was in his pocket with his teeth.
"You're flexible," Antonio commented, though how he could even see what Lovino was doing was beyond him.
"Shut up, you don't even know the half of it."
"Then you should show me later~"
"Do you like getting sexual harassment suits?" Lovino snapped, teeth missing what he was trying to grab with the question.
"On... what do you mean?"
Oh my fucking god, he doesn't even know he's doing it. That's just how stupid he is. He grabbed the feather with his teeth and blew all of the air in his lungs on it.
They hit the ceiling before Lovino could try to make them move forward instead. The sound of Antonio's surprise was refreshing, as it meant he was somewhat normal. Trying to ignore that thought, Lovino did his best just to get them away from the turtles. To where? Just away. He would figure out the rest later. Maybe if he could get Antonio out of the pipes and then work on this himself...
He had wasted a feather because of this man. It was going on his bill.
When the feather (and Lovino's lungs) had finally run out, they had settled on a ledge above the pipeline they had been on, heading off in another direction. While he gasped for breath, he felt Antonio's hands messing with his own, followed shortly after by the ropes falling off. Sitting up, he freed his feet as fast as possible.
"I didn't know plumbers could fly," Antonio finally said, sounding winded as well. Lovino smirked, staring at Antonio's back.
"Yeah, comes with the territory." Stretching out his fingers, he began to work on the knot at Antonio's wrists. As soon as he had finished that, Antonio sat up as well.
"Can we do it again?" he asked enthusiastically, ignoring his ankles.
"No," Lovino said immediately, right before his tone turned extraordinarily pleasant, "but if you stay really quiet... I won't gag you."
Antonio opened his mouth to say something.
Fortunately, for the both them, Antonio realized he was not joking.
"How often does your brother get kidnapped?" Antonio asked, about an hour after Lovino's proposition. It was not like Antonio thought Lovino had forgot about it, but after hearing so much quiet swearing on the other man's part and having passed through the same pipe twice, Antonio needed some other distraction as Lovino obviously had not found anything to help him know where he was going.
"Once a month," Lovino responded. "Like clockwork. Doesn't make it less annoying."
The way Lovino said it, it seemed like it got more annoying. Which was nice, because it meant he was not getting used to his own brother being in danger. Though he could not imagine how they could have done so well at their jobs when constantly having to save themselves. Speaking of which...
"How often do you get–" Lovino stopped in mid stride and Antonio bumped into him. "What is it?" he asked, looking around. Ahead of them in this pipeline there was a bunch of rubble, but other then that Antonio did not see anything else.
"She's here," Lovino spoke quietly, eyes wide.
"Who's she?" Antonio whispered into Lovino's ear.
Lovino swallowed. "The only person in the world that can kill a Thwomp."
"How does she–"
"By looking at it," Lovino cut him off. It had to be an exaggeration, but by the look on Lovino's face he believed it wholeheartedly.
"So a Thwomp is a bunch of rock?" Antonio finally got clarified, looking at it's remains. It was actually a bit sad to think all of that was alive once. Sad, but also creepy to think that there was a being made entirely out of rock. Funny, the stuff he never heard about the pipes because he was not a plumber.
"I should have known she had something to do with this. Though... turtles? Really?" Lovino exhaled heavily, picking up a small rock and tossing it up in the air, catching it when it came back down. "What I wouldn't give for a fire flower."
"If I had known this was going to happen, I would have asked Francis to bring some from the store," Antonio agreed. Lovino's eyebrow twitched.
"Your... other roommate... is that perv?"
"It sounds like we're talking about the same Francis!" Antonio responded cheerfully. Lovino pulled a face. "Yeah, I get that a lot about him~ He's a terrible guy!"
"Why do you say that with a smile?" Lovino asked.
"Because it's true," Antonio shrugged. "So's Gilbert. Our families don't call us the Bad Friends Trio for nothing."
Lovino stared at him for a few moments with an odd expression on his face. Antonio noticed some movement behind him and refocused his vision on the girl in the white and black dress which had somehow come up really close behind him.
"Is this 'she' someone we should worry about?"
"What?" Lovino blinked. "Well, yeah."
And before Antonio could tell Lovino it was time to worry a potato sack was placed over his head. And Lovino's. Lovino head butted his shoulder, thought thankfully not as hard as he had hit him earlier. Effectively their arms were pinned to their sides and pressed up against each other. It was a little worrisome, to say the least.
"Today is turning out to be interesting," Antonio told Lovino.
"I hate you," Lovino said. "So much."
Antonio did not think he meant it, but as he was actually concerned about the situation, and because they were being dragged along the ground, it sort of hurt to respond. They did not spend too much time like this though, because it was not long before whoever she was had stopped because of her cell phone. It went on speaker and her hands never seemed to leave the rope she had tied around their ankles.
"Natalia... ve need talk. Vhy vas your phone off?"
"I was out of service reception."
"...Never mind. You're going overboard cleaning out pipes, stop taking people from zeir own houses."
"I thought I was doing as you wanted," this Natalia responded, sounding rather put out.
"Ah, just come home. Ve go over zis later."
Thud, they hit the ground. Antonio heard her run off. Lovino shifted and jabbed his shoulder into Antonio's neck.
"I wasn't aware potato sacks could trap someone so thoroughly." Antonio gave an apology of his own when he tried to pull his feet back against the resistance of Lovino's own body. "I've learnt an awful lot today." Like he had always thought a plumber's job was a bit more dignified than this. Then again, what was he expecting? The job titles was plumber.
"I'm so happy for you," Lovino grumbled.
"I'm really sorry about this."
With that, Lovino stopped trying to move. "Whatever. It's not like you let the turtles in your house."
"Ludwig! I think I found two more!" came words from further down the pipe. Lovino groaned and buried his face into Antonio's shoulder.
"I want to die."
"But people have come to rescue us!" Antonio protested. "Why would you want to die now?"
"I'm being saved by Honda and stupid again. On my last day. There's nothing left to live for."
"What about a date?" Antonio could have winced at that. He sounded like Francis. Or Gilbert. Though Francis would have done it more smoothly and Gilbert would have done it more sleazy. Lovino pulled back from him and from the limited light in the sack he could tell the man was glaring at him.
"To get to know each other better! Why else do people go on dates?"
From outside of their sack-y little world, someone came up to them and was cutting at their binds. "Please have patience, I am cutting you loose!" It did not seem as if Lovino was going to give him an answer. Which was fair enough, Antonio decided this was probably a terrible time. This could not have been one of Lovino's better days and they were currently being cut out of a sack and rope. Yes, Antonio had had better timing in his life. Finally, they were released and both of them squirmed out of the sack.
"You're buying," Lovino muttered to him, "so consider it added to your tab."
"I like Ludwig's brother, he's funny," Feliciano told him as Lovino continued to tend to his cuts. "Like Ludwig! Except not. Y'know?"
"I don't want to," Lovino snorted.
"Kiku said he would let me see his Yoshi when it hatched. Isn't that exciting!"
"Don't you have your own headache to bother?" Lovino sighed, closing himself up in his own room, for however long that would keep his brother out. He really hated when he became worried about Feliciano and he ended up perfectly fine. No large cuts, or broken bones, or anything that would have been worth all that worry. And Ludwig and Kiku with all of the credit for the stupid venture. At least he was getting paid.
Six o'clock tomorrow, huh?
The money was already taken care of, but Lovino figured the rest of the expense he was certain he had incurred required a few dinners. Antonio was not getting off easy. He would milk as many dates out of the idiot as he could to make up for everything.
And a few more easy jobs ought to even things out. Yeah. We'll retire next month.
Exhausted, Lovino went to sleep.
Meanwhile, someone else's day was not quite as interesting...
"Hello Francis~ Working hard?"
"Angelique!" Francis responded warmly, quite ready to take a break, right when he saw the man who was standing with her. "A–Arthur," he finished, no longer quite as cheerful as he had once been. Staring between both of them, he tried to think fast. "I can explain."
"Can you?" Arthur asked, raising an eyebrow, before glancing over at Angelique. Francis nodded quickly.
"You see... we had never agreed on our relationships being closed..." he began, knowing the reactions were likely to be bad, but it was true enough and the people they would really be mad at were themselves. It was either that or something that meant he was going to get slapped and punched, so it was really his safest bet.
Angelique giggled though, which admittedly was not the sort of reaction he had thought she would have. Nor Arthur, for that fact, who was now leaning against the counter with his arms, staring up at him with amusement. It was almost as if they had pulled something on him, not the other way around! Angelique was sitting on the counter and neither of them looked... upset.
"I can explain too," Arthur continued, kissing him. Angelique laughed again, this time quietly, stroking his hair.
Francis knew he had just struck gold.
Thanks DF, for the pushing wall idea. I forgot how much I hated those levels in Mario.
Lo Specchio L'Argento, by Rhapsody of Fire. Listen to it, DF and I both think that that Fabio Lione is the true voice of Italy. In Italian.
I had no idea what I was doing with this, but I think it reflects the world of Mario well enough and the randomness that Hetalia normally is anyway. I hope this part has given you laughs as well, DeLurk. And happy belated birthday!