Chapter 17

The two brothers left the office in a collectively somber mood. Each went separate ways in search of their lovers, to break the news and soak in all the time they had left. In just twenty-four hours, everything would be changing. The two of them would have to stay with the Allies'– probably in London. Ludwig would be left alone with Honda, and Antonio would probably go back to his house until the war ended.

And only god knew when that would be. Only god knew when he'd be able to see Antonio again, after today.

Queasy, Lovino made his way to his and Antonio's shared bedroom. Antonio wasn't there, but he heard familiar Spanish singing coming from the adjacent bathroom.

Numbly, he went and knocked on the door. "Antonio," he mustered, though his voice came out raspy as he called the other's name. Antonio continued his singing, so Lovino banged harder and put his entire voice into shouting the other's name. Damn, he can be such a pain sometimes…

"Ah, Lovi?" Antonio called from the other side of the door, "Is that you?"

"Of course it's me, moron!" Lovino shouted back angrily.

"Okaaayyy! I'll be out in a few minutes!" He went back to singing his song.

Lovino's throat dried along with the courage he had been trying to muster. He had wanted to ask the other if he could join him in the shower…Besides, who knew when they would be able to be…together again?

Intimate. Lovino thought with a determined swallow. He opened the door to the bathroom with a nervous cough, closed it behind him. Be a man, moron. This is what you want. Go after it.

You don't know when you'll be able to have it again.

"Ahhhh, Lovi, is that you?" Antonio called as he peeked out from behind the shower curtain, his hair full of suds. "What are you doing here?" He prodded as Lovino stood there, frozen.

"Shut up," Lovino ordered as he began working his clothes off.

Antonio gasped. "Is Lovi going to take a shower with Boss?"

Lovino told him to shut up once more as he shakily pulled his ankles out of the pants that now lay on the floor. Fiercely red, Lovino took his boxers off and climbed into the shower.

The Spaniard greeted him warmly, instantly began eyeballing the contours of Lovino's body.

Lovino barely noticed, though, because he was doing the same to Antonio.

"Lovino," Antonio sang as he took a step closer, "you're so cute…It will last forever…"

Lovino took a step back as Antonio stepped forward, attempted to control his shaky breath and beating heart.

Finally, Lovino's back touched the wall of the shower, giving him nowhere else to go. He looked to his side feebly, then turned his attention back to the sexiest thing he had ever seen as it continued to approach.

"Lovino!" Antonio shouted happily as he forced a hug with the younger, "You are so cute! I can't stand it!"

Lovino stood there, completely immobile, as Antonio's arms held him close. All of the skin-on-skin contact was igniting him everywhere, like a match to dynamite. He felt his face heat up hotter than the water of the shower, was unable to deny the twinges of excitement that ran down his spine and straight to that sensitive area below his waist. "I-idiot," he managed as he began wriggling in Antonio's grasp, "you still have soap in your hair…"

The other backed off and laughed. "Yeah, I guess I do. I forgot."

Wordlessly, Lovino reached up and buried his fingers in Antonio's hair. "Back up," he mumbled, and Antonio silently complied. The elder backed into the spray of the shower, then leaned over the tiniest bit so that Lovino would have better access to his hair. Gently, Lovino worked the soap out of Antonio's hair, massaged his scalp in what he hoped was a sensual way.

Antonio moaned lightly, craned his head upward a bit to meet Lovino's eyes. "That feels good, Lovi," he whispered.

They stepped closer together, like this was some sort of dance, and Lovino washed the rest of the soap out of Antonio's hair.

"Let me do you!" Antonio shouted excitedly as he squeezed a bunch of shampoo into the palm of his hand and smacked it on Lovino's head. He began running his fingers through Lovino's hair and sang a cheery Spanish song. "Ah, this really takes me back, Lovi!"

Lovino sighed heavily and let his head fall limp. He stared at the ground in dismay. "This isn't what I had in mind, idiot…" He mumbled, though he was sure Antonio hadn't heard him over the loud Spanish singing.

Antonio's expert-fingers slowly worked themselves through Lovino's hair, massaged the soap in and eventually washed it out. Lovino suppressed groans of pleasure as Antonio's fingers finally began to message his scalp in the way he wanted. Antonio messaged everywhere, deliberately, before he finally arrived at Lovino's second-most sensitive area. The elder pinched the curl in Lovino's hair between his thumb and forefinger, slowly ran them down the length of it.

"Ah!" Lovino panted, unable to control himself. He pushed himself against Antonio, unable to stand without support. Italian arms snaked around a Spanish neck and gripped tightly. Lovino found himself pressed tightly against the elder, but neither seemed to care. "Hmm, nhh…" He was unable to control the pants that escaped his lips, though he was doing a good job at keeping most of them in.

"Let your voice out," Antonio whispered sexily against Lovino's ear. The Spaniard licked and then nibbled at the ear, causing more moans of pleasure to erupt from the Italian. "I want to hear your love song."

If Lovino had heard Antonio say that anywhere else, he would've head-butted him and told him to stop being so cheesy. But there, at that moment, it was beautiful. It continued to turn Lovino on, excited him even more than he was. He couldn't explain the mechanics behind it.

"A-aah, A-aantonio…" Lovino attempted to call out the other's name. The waves of pleasure coursing through him were stronger than his senses, his ability to think rationally. He felt his hips grinding against Antonio's, eliciting a loud moan of pleasure from the Spaniard. One tight appendage rubbed against the other, and soon the two were grinding against one another in perfect synchronization.

Antonio abandoned Lovino's hair – much to the younger's dismay – and held his hands in alignment with Lovino's hips. "Put your legs around my hips," Antonio whispered. Lovino consented, and the Spaniard helped him up. They crashed against the far wall, Lovino's legs hitched onto Antonio's hips and Antonio's hands holding Lovino's hips tightly.

The two kissed superficially at first, then deeper as Antonio started grinding his penis against Lovino's. Lovino could no longer hold the cries of pleasure; every moan, grunt, and hiss he had within him came spilling out through his lips as Antonio quickened the pace. Antonio nibbled at the nape of his neck, adding to an already overwhelming sense of pleasure that racked his body.

He couldn't breathe. It was almost scary. Instead of freaking out, he focused on how good it was feeling and clung tightly to Antonio, whispering the Spaniard's name over and over. Shakily, Lovino tried licking and nibbling Antonio's ear, earning a groan of satisfaction from the other.

Everywhere, he was trembling. His heart was racing – he was sure if it beat any faster it would explode – and he was hot all over.

He knew what was coming.

"Ah, damnit, Antonio, I-I'm g-going to cum…" He inhaled sharply and threw his head back in ecstasy. A small fraction of his conscious couldn't believe he was cumming so quickly and easily, but it was deftly drowned out by the rest of the sensations running through his body. Whether he liked it or not, he was loudly vocalizing his pleasure: "Fuck! Y-yes, Antonio…damnit, bastard…ah! Mmgnh!" He clung to Antonio, thoughtlessly dug his nails into the other's back. In an effort to stop being so loud, Lovino buried his face in Antonio's neck and began nibbling.

Antonio groaned and returned Lovino's calls with his own, though he was a little quieter. The Spaniard's thrusts tripled in speed as he called Lovino's name, moaned it as though it were the only word in his vocabulary.

They came together, cried out the other's name in unison. The two slowly panted out the rest of their orgasms, gradually disentangled themselves from one another and sunk to the floor of the shower.

They stared one another down for a moment until Antonio gently took Lovino's cheek in his hand and kissed him. The kiss didn't last more than a couple of seconds, but it was sweet and sensual, which almost made it better than the other kisses. When Antonio backed off, he panted, "I love you, Lovino."

Lovino didn't hesitate. "I love you, too, Antonio."

Antonio smiled and straightened his back, which caused him to be in the direct line of fire for the shower. He screeched and scrambled out from underneath it. "Ah, Lovi, it's really coooooolllldddd!"

Lovino rolled his eyes, looked up to check the knobs of the shower. He tested the cold one, only to find it already off.

They had run the shower out of hot water.

The Southern Italian tsked in annoyance. "How the hell are we supposed to get clean now?"

"I bet it'll be okay if we hold each other really close –" Antonio began happily.

"Not going to happen, pervert!" Lovino shouted in partial annoyance as he got to his feet and turned off the shower. Antonio complained playfully as he followed Lovino out of the shower. "I guess we can take a sink-shower…" He mused.

"Sounds fun!" Antonio cheered as he moved to the sink and turned the water on. "Lovi, we can wash each –"

"No thanks!" Lovino cut him off as he grabbed his own washcloth. "I'm good."

"You're no fun, Lovi," Antonio sang as he lathered soap into his washcloth.

The two washed in awkward silence. At least, it was pretty awkward for Lovino. He was trying to wash everywhere and angle his private parts away from Antonio's gaze at the same time. Antonio wasn't even looking at him; the bastard was more focused on cleaning himself off and singing that same cheery tune. Though Lovino was aware of this, he didn't want to give the Spaniard reason for his eyes to slip. He knew that was the first thing they would do if given the opportunity.

And why make things easier for the elder? Things weren't as fun if a struggle wasn't involved.

A little while later, the two nations emerged from the bathroom in new pajamas, as provided by Germany. Naturally, they were more uncomfortable than not; they closely resembled military uniforms. But Lovino welcomed the change of clothes; his others, which he had borrowed from Feliciano, were a little too tight around his legs. Feliciano preferred to wear tight clothing, because it apparently 'accentuated' body features.

Lovino believed comfort should never be sacrificed for fashion. He never could get interested in that sort of thing…

He collapsed onto their shared bed, then, with a troubled sigh. Unconsciously, Lovino buried a hand in his hair, closed his eyes. How was he going to break the news of the Axis' fate to Antonio, after what they had just done…? Talk about mood killer.

Antonio collapsed onto the bed next to him, so that they were lying parallel, their heads touching.

Lovino's right hand – which wasn't tangled in his hair – found Antonio's left and held it. Antonio squeezed back gently with what seemed like a happy sigh, rubbed the skin near Lovino's thumb softly. The younger sighed once more in annoyance, rolled his head in the direction opposite the elder's gaze. He wouldn't be able to do this with their gazes locked together.

"A-antonio," Lovino forced as he covered his eyes with his left hand, "I…have to tell you something…"

"Hmm?" He felt the other turn his head.

Lovino took a deep sigh, paused for a moment. Though neither of these things helped in the least. "Feliciano and I…" he began, unsure, "…we're…declaring war against the Axis."

"What?" The other asked, incredulous. He sat upright and looked down on Lovino; the Italian was all too aware of those emeralds on his skin. He moved his hand slightly, so that his face was still covered but he was able to see Antonio's face. Lovino bit down on his lower lip, wishing this was just a bad dream.

"It…was Ludwig's idea…" Lovino mumbled, as though mentioning this would somehow make the action okay. "He…said that he wanted us to do it, because…we were suffering…" He paused for a moment, found it hard to swallow, forced himself to continue, "But…it was my decision to call the Allies in the end…Feliciano wanted me to decide…" Lovino squeezed his eyes shut and bit down harder on his lip. Fucking war.

Antonio took his wrist, gently moved it away. Lovino grudgingly allowed this to happen, blinked back stinging tears. "I still love you, Lovi," he whispered, causing the tears to fall freely. The Spaniard kissed them away, fixed Lovino's hair when he sat upright. "I'm proud of the both of you. You're just doing what you have to in order to prosper. I understand."

Hot tears ran down Lovino's face, unbridled. Nothing but guilt ran through him; guilt for turning his back on Ludwig and Honda, guilt for leaving Antonio behind, guilt for everything. He suddenly felt as though everything that had occurred was his fault, and that he and his brother would not be better off once they officially sided with the Allies.

The elder opened his arms, and the younger flew into them, unabashed. A moment of silence passed, in which Lovino attempted to control his tear ducts. It was in vain. "A-antonio…What are you going to do?" For once since this conversation began, Lovino was able to look into the Spaniard's eyes, though he was still tearing a bit.

"I'm…probably going to…stay sympathetic to the Axis," came the soft response.

Lovino snapped his eyes shut and threw his head down onto Antonio's chest as the tears began anew. It wasn't a declaration of war, but it may as well have been. It hurt just as much.

They held each other close, Antonio humming a comforting Spanish lullaby and rubbing Lovino's shoulder while silent, bitter tears streamed down Lovino's cheeks. Why was this happening?

"When are you leaving?" Antonio whispered into his hair.

"Feliciano and I are…meeting with the Allies tomorrow…" Lovino managed. "We…probably won't come back after we've gone…" There was a small silence before Lovino broke it with a hate-filled choice Italian curse. "I hate war, Spagna…" He crooked his head up to look at the elder's face. "What do I do? Who knows how long we'll be apart…"

"Ah, Lovi, you'll be cute forever!" Antonio said after a moment of staring into the younger's eyes. He forced a tight hug with the Southern Italian and continued, "I don't know what we'll do. We'll have to wait it out and just pray for each other until the war's over, I guess. I'm going to miss you!"

Lovino cursed once more, hugged the Spaniard as tightly as he could. "I'm…going to miss you, too," he whispered, his mouth buried in Antonio's shoulder. He turned his head inwards more, so that he was looking at Antonio's neck. "I…I love you, Antonio." Lovino took slow, deep breaths, tried to take all of the Spaniard's scent into his lungs so that he could remember it and carry it with him forever. He had to make this eternal.

"I love you, too, Lovino," Antonio whispered in his ear. Shivers went down Lovino's spine as a warm sensation spread throughout his body. He was sure this reaction wasn't quite appropriate for the context of their conversation, but there was no stopping it.

Lovino was aware of an odd sensation that started at his heart and worked its way outward, until it radiated through his limbs, and even his toes. It was as though some sort of dam had broken within him, and suddenly torrents of the emotion were gushing through him, completely overwhelming him with its strength. His whole body was buzzing with it; his heart fluttered, his cheeks were red…It almost felt as though his soul were singing with this emotion.

It was love, sheer and utter love. He had never felt something for someone else so strongly before, and he doubted he ever would again. He didn't just love Antonio; he was in love with the Spaniard.

And it was the most amazing thing he had ever experienced.

He had to act on it before it went away. He wanted to, needed to.

"A-antonio," Lovino said softly as he cupped Antonio's face in his hands and placed his forehead against the elder's, "I…want to show you how much I love you."

"Hmm?" Antonio whispered, tightening his arms as they wrapped around Lovino's back. "What do you mean, Lovi?"

Lovino swallowed. "I want to…make…love." It sounded so cheesy and awkward… But it felt right. Before Antonio could say something stupid and completely ruin the moment, Lovino kissed him with all his might.

Oh yes, he was definitely ready for this.