A/N: It has been a while since I've posted anything on this site, huh? To be honest, the poor reception of my last fic was a bit discouraging; I don't mind getting concrit at all, but when people outright bash a fic of mine because of a stylistic choice, that hurts a little.

At any rate, I've put that behind me for the time being. This fic is the one I wrote for National Novel Writing Month; I won by passing 50,000 words in 28 days. I really hope that you all enjoy it!

Disclaimer: Seriously, I don't own Hetalia.


Scarred Heart in Hand – Part I Chapter I

"I still can't believe we made it to graduation."

Francis chuckled at Antonio's incredulous tone, taking a sip from his glass and eyeing his friends impishly.

"Neither can I," he agreed, "and I never thought that Gilbert would actually be graduating with us, if we made it to the day."

Antonio laughed airily, patting Gilbert on the shoulder when the albino shot Francis a glare. The trio was sitting in the corner of Francis' bedroom, squashed on two beanbag seats that were probably older than they were; a table lamp nearby was the only source of light. This had been their unofficial hangout for ages; ever since the play dates of their early days of elementary school, they counted on the fact that Francis' parents were rarely ever home and spent most of their time at his house as a result.

"He's only teasing you, Gil, no need to get violent."

Gilbert scowled, if only jokingly, "I'm only mad because I gotta drink this pissy excuse for alcohol. I'm Prussian, dammit, I need a beer!"

Francis shrugged, reaching over to his desk and pulling a bottle out from within. It was half full and warm to the touch, but Gilbert's expression split into something gleeful, almost manic.

"You left this here last time. You were too… distracted, to finish it."

"Thankyouthankyouthankyou!" The albino chanted, snatching the bottle away and sighing in ecstasy at the first gulp of brew.

Antonio, still smiling, leaned back into his seat with a heavy sigh, emerald eyes falling shut as his thumb traced the rim of his wine glass absently.

"I just… can't believe it's over."

Francis suspected he heard a tinge of regret in the other's voice, and for some reason his throat suddenly dried. Gilbert answered instead, narrowing his eyebrows,

"Nothing's 'over'. You heard all those old guys making speeches earlier; this is only the beginning."

"It's not that…" Antonio trailed off, not even offering a giggle in response to Gilbert's exaggerated voice.

The room was suddenly filled with a tense silence, broken when Gilbert turned and ruffled the other's curly brown hair.

"You're too worried about this shit for nothing. We've been together for fifteen years, and something as stupid as graduation isn't going to change us."

Antonio finally cracked a smile, but for some reason the tense feeling did not leave Francis. He surveyed his two friends, sitting opposite him and sharing their favorite oversized bean bag chair; Gilbert's tie was sticking out of his pocket, his shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest and his gown pooled around his body. His hair was, as always, a mess, and there was the ever-present wild look in his eyes, hardly subdued even as he took another gulp of beer. By contrast Antonio was much more relaxed, leaning back in his seat, his own tie hanging undone around his neck and his black gown hanging around his shoulders, still not fallen away from his body.

Francis looked away, eyes falling shut as he took another sip of his wine, the full-bodied Bourdeaux leaving his mouth feeling thick.

"Francis…?" He heard Antonio murmur, and he opened his eyes again to meet the other's brimming with concern. Gilbert scoffed, leaning over and rapping him gently on the forehead.

"You've got Toni worried, you sissy. I'm telling you, nothing is gonna change. You're still gonna be a priss and a freak, and Antonio's always gonna be naïve and easy to take advantage of," he paused, turning to the brunet beside him. "You should really work on that, by the way. Unless it's me."

Francis finally chuckled, "And you will always be…?"

"Awesome," he shrugged, but his usual smirk was plastered to his face. Setting his empty beer bottle aside, he asked offhandedly, "Hiding anymore beer from me?"

"Regretfully not."

"Then I guess I've got no choice; pass me some of that prissy fruit juice you call alcohol."

Antonio handed Gilbert his glass, the other finishing it off in a sip. Francis refilled the glass, noting,

"You don't have to share it, you know. If there are any things my parents have a lot of, it's wine and wine glasses."

"And money."

Francis and Antonio snorted in unison.

"Whaaaat? Not like it isn't true."

Francis nodded, "Your bluntness becomes you."

"Damn straight it does. Irresistible, huh Toni?" he laughed, raising his eyebrows at the other. Antonio smiled and ran his fingers in the other's messy hair.

"Oh, most definitely."

They all fell silent once again, but this time it was light and relaxing. Francis could, for a moment, imaging falling asleep in the dim lighting and with the slight buzz of alcohol giving everything a warm, hazy feel.

He shook it off, though, and gave his friend a look.

"You know, it is funny to hear that from you."

Antonio raised an eyebrow, "From Gilbert? The one with an ego the size of Russia?"

"Hey, don't compare me to that evil country! They're the ones who killed Prussia!"

"Prussia didn't exist then, Gilbert. It hasn't existed since World War I," Francis replied calmly, having heard this argument too many times.

"Well, East Germany was its last hope and Russia squashed it like an itty bitty cockroach. Probably jealous because their history is not as gloriously awesome as ours."

"Gilbert," The blond sighed, rolling his eyes. "You're German."

"East German!"

"On your mother's side, Gilbert, and East Germany is not Prussia."

Gilbert huffed, crossing his arms over his chest after stealing another large gulp of Antonio's wine.

"Yeah, well, Russians are creepy anyways! Like that kid Ivan, he's abso-fuckin-lutely creepy! And his sister Nat, she's in class with Ludwig and she's fucking insane!"

"His other sister is nice, though…" Antonio mused, and Gilbert turned to him with wild eyes.

"She's probably not Russian!"

Francis hit Gilbert over the head with the closest thing he could find, his graduation cap. While it didn't hurt, it did have the desired effect of subduing the other, making him plop back down beside Antonio, crossing his arms over his chest like an angry child.

"So, what were you gonna say before about it being weird that Gilbert talked about how sexy he was?"

"Oh, yes," Francis sat up straighter, "I was just thinking about a time when mentioning anything about sex to Gilbert sent him running to the hills."

Gilbert pouted as Antonio nodded, "Oh yeah! That was pretty funny, actually, you'd always turn really red and start yelling and promising you'd get new friends."

"That's not true! I didn't like it when you got all lovey-dovey with other people; it's gross."

"But if it's with you…?" Francis teased.

"Perfectly understandable."

The trio dissolved into laughter, light chuckles that filled the big empty room with life it never had when Francis was alone.

"I remember," Francis started when the laughter had faded back to mellowness, "when we were in the third grade and I started dating Chelles. And you were so offended by us; you could not stand the sight of me even if she was not around. You made all the boys tease us and you never allowed me to play with you."

Gilbert, his ears pink at the very tips, huffed as if embarrassed by the memory.

"You only 'dated' her because she liked to show you her panties. I was saving you from a slut!"

Francis only seemed mildly offended, "But Antonio didn't mind us. Perhaps you were just jealous?"

"I was not jealous! I did you a favor, anyways. She was bad news for you. She kept stealing your funny looking hats."

"She stole my berets as a way of flirting, Gilbert. Surely someone as knowledgeable as you in that realm would have picked up on that by now."

Gilbert frowned, expression verging on a scowl, earning him another soft, tender pat on the head from Antonio. That made his mood brighten significantly as he retorted,

"She was bad news for you, Franny. She made you act all girly when you should have been messing with the guys. Everyone thought you were gay."

"Newsflash, Gilbert, I am gay," Francis snickered. "And you're only jealous because I got to see a cute girl's panties every single day for two weeks. Or maybe you were jealous of her…?"

"Pfft, as if. Your dick now is nothing to brag about, so I shudder to think how small it must've been back then."

It was Francis' turn to frown, "You never complained about my size mid-coitus. And we cannot all be as well endowed as you burly Germans…"

"Don't worry Francis, I'm sure Gilbert's only saying that because he doesn't want you to finish the story. After all, next is the part where you-"

"-We all know what happens next!" Gilbert shouted, slapping his hand over the Spaniard's mouth rather violently. Behind the pale palm, Antonio cried out in pain.

Francis smirked deviously, "Oh, do you mean when I kissed Chelles just to spite Gilbert? And then when I ran over and kissed him, so that he would have girl cooties as well?"

"That was my first kiss, dammit! And it was totally wasted on you!"

It was Antonio who frowned, now. "Come on, Gil, it's not like he meant harm. And he is your best friend."

Gilbert grumbled, looking back at Francis, only to find that he'd stood up. He followed him with his eyes as the other went into his closet.

"Franny…? Come on, man, you know I didn't mean it."

Francis didn't reply, but a moment later he emerged from his closet with an old, crumpled cardboard box in hand. He dropped it down between their seats, and opened the dusty cover.

"Man, what is this crap?" Gilbert spluttered between his coughs. Francis reached his hand in, and pulled out the very same beret he had worn everyday in the second grade, after a summer vacation spent in France.

"Our memories," he answered simply, pulling his beanbag chair closer to the box and the others, taking another sip of his wine and sighing. "Everything that I managed to save over the past fifteen years."

"Wow," Antonio murmured appreciatively, pulling out a paddleball toy Gilbert had won at a carnival in seventh grade. The string had snapped, and so the albino had tossed it; he had no idea Francis rescued it.

"Oh, mine!" Gilbert said quickly, snatching the game and paddling effortlessly, a laugh escaping his lips as he beamed.

Francis and Antonio laughed as well, and Francis smiled warmly.

"You know, Gilbert, I really enjoyed our kiss."

The ball suddenly stopped bouncing.

"Of course you did, Francis, who wouldn't enjoy kissing the awesome me?" He chuckled, but it sounded painfully forced.

"Well, it's not like Chelles was very good competition; her lips tasted like tuna. And, I must say, I find it amusing that after all these years, you are still shy about your devious deeds with your own best friends."

"M'not shy," Gilbert insisted, despite the pink color dusting over the tips of his ears. "I just…"

When Gilbert trailed off, Antonio tilted his head and gave the other a strange look, before leaning in and pecking him on the lips chastely, quickly.

"You know, you don't have to worry about our friendship being ruined or anything. We're the same as we've always been."

There was another silence, and this time Francis broke it solemnly, "Does either of you feel like… this is the beginning of the end?"

"Nah," Gilbert replied nonchalantly, flicking his wrist. "Remember that Disney crap they kept spewing at us before? 'This is only the beginning,' 'Live out your dreams,' 'Love lasts forever'? I feel like I'm repeating myself, Franny, but nothing is over. Hell, you'd think the last 18 years didn't matter and that our lives are only just starting from the way they preached at us before."

"That's not what I meant, exactly. But, as clichéd as the speeches were, the speakers were right; everything is destined for change. And we three have avoided it for far too long, now… I wonder if it is possible for us to still remain us while everything else is tossed into turmoil…"

"Francis…" Antonio whispered, getting up and sitting on his knees in front of the box before him, his black gown fluttering and pooling around him as he dug his hands in.

A moment later, he came out with a piece of crumpled, folded paper in hand. Leaning forward, he pressed it into Francis' lap sitting back down with his signature, tender smile.

It was, when unfolded, a faded valentine. Scribbles of pink and red crayon all over the once neat white page, hearts and flowers and a sloppily scrawled message on top of them:

Deer Francis,

Yu is my bestest frend! I luv yu!

-Antonio

Despite the sudden shock of loneliness and the foreboding sense of loss that had stricken him, Francis could not help but smile as he read the paper, chuckling softly.

"You never could remember how to write your 'r's."

Antonio shrugged, still smiling, and plopped backwards, his ass landing on the floor.

"How did you know I still had this?"

"I didn't. But I figured you must have kept something around, since you have a whole box of stuff."

"Yeah, yeah, Franny's a packrat and Toni is a sap. Why can't we just get drunk off our asses and then fool around some? I didn't come here to spend time with two old ladies; if I wanted that, I would've stayed home."

"You might have no problems with 'fooling around some,' Gilbert, but there are others of us who are taken," Francis started, raising his eyebrows. "Besides, why fool around when we would be reminiscing over all your most embarrassing moments?"

Gilbert sniggered, getting up from the beanbag chair as well and ruffled Francis' hair none too gently, causing the long blond strands to tickle his cheeks.

"I don't have any embarrassing moments. I'm too awesome for that."

"Oh? Because I can think of a few…"

"Just can it, Toni," Gilbert muttered, grabbing the half empty bottle of wine and taking a swig directly out of it (Francis shuddered). "I'll let you old ladies get back to thinking about the good old days when we picked our noses and stuck the boogers on Roderich's coat, but I need to get buzzed first."

They shared another laugh, the memory of Roderich's horrified and disgusted face when he found his beloved coat so dirtied still fresh in their minds.

"Mmm," Antonio hummed, finishing his glass of wine and lying down on the floor, spreading his gowned body across the carpet like an angel garbed in black. "Roderich…"

"He was your first boyfriend, was he not? Your first relationship?"

Even Francis was surprised by his own daring, wondering for the first time how much the alcohol had actually affected him. But his surprise was nothing compared to Gilbert's, who's mouth hung open for a moment before he took another swig and remembered to close it.

"He was," Antonio consented, his eyes remaining closed and the barest hint of a smile on his face. It was a strange thing to see him so calm, given the conversation; Francis and Gilbert had tried for years to get Antonio to speak of his relationship with the Austrian boy, but nothing, not even alcohol, had ever kept him from clamming up at the mention of the other's name.

They, Francis and Gilbert, remained silent for a long moment, waiting to see if Antonio was going to say anything else. Sure enough, his emerald eyes opened ever so slightly, his dark bangs hanging over them as if to block them from view.

"I'm not sure," he started in a soft whisper, "but I think I loved him."

Francis hummed in acknowledgment, not wanting to distract the other from his story with a questioning statement; Antonio was rarely ever so serious, so still, and when he was it meant he was delving deep into himself to find the words he needed to say what he wanted. From the corner of his eye, Francis could see that Gilbert looked frustrated, jaw locked and grip tight around the neck of the wine bottle.

"He was nice to me, you know? Not that you guys weren't, but… well, you weren't exactly that supportive either. Like when my voice cracked and you teased me or when I got really tall and you called me Mr. Fantastic…"

Of course, Francis realized, Antonio had been the first of them to hit puberty, at the tender young age of 13, and from some mix of amusement and jealousy he and Gilbert had not been very kind about it. In his defense, he hadn't known it was upsetting him.

"But Roderich didn't do any of that stuff," he continued. "He was just… nice. Well, I guess sometimes he called me an idiot and smacked me on the head and stuff, but other than that he was nice. He's a pretty good kisser, too."

He trailed off, a smile tugging at his lips. It faded away quickly, though, and Antonio added, "Of course, Gilbert wasn't happy with us. You stopped talking to me and you sorta resented me, too. It made me feel bad, and I figured you were more important that someone I really didn't know, so…"

Francis furrowed his eyebrows, recalling a few instances when Gilbert had shown obvious disgust in Antonio's taste, but it was nothing worse than what he had gone through from the other when he was dating Chelles. As if reading his mind, Antonio added.

"And since Francis was spending all of his time flirting with Arthur, I guess Gilbert was just lonely, so it's fine, really. Besides, Roderich is happy now with Elizaveta, and I'm got my cute little Lovi!"

"How can it be fine," Gilbert started slowly, his voice tense and clipped, "if you let me get in the way of you being happy with someone, even if I hated his guts? I thought you broke up because it wasn't working out for you!"

Antonio sat back up, his gown finally slipping away from his body, and gave the albino a soft look; Francis could not help but feel like an outsider.

"You were more important to me. Besides, it makes sense that if we both wanted the same boyfriend, neither of us should have him."

Oh, now Antonio was being devious; Francis grinned, and Gilbert blew up, as expected.

"I didn't want him! I would never have wanted such a prissy bastard! You were wrong!"

"Gilbert, there is no point in denying it," Francis cut in, and the other huffed. After a moment of pouting and grumbling, however Gilbert sighed dramatically.

"Why're we so fucked up? Why can't we just beat the crap out of each other and share food like normal guys?"

"Because we've had sex, mon cher. With each other, multiple times, both as threesomes and as couples."

"I don't think so," Antonio countered quickly. "I don't think us having sex affected our relationship all that much. We were meant to be this way, regardless. And it doesn't really matter, since I wouldn't change you guys for the world."

Despite themselves, and the melancholy moods instilled in them by the bitter alcohol, Francis and Gilbert could not help but smile back at Antonio. The latter leaned over, punched Antonio lightly in the arm, as he laughed, "You girl."

Francis shook his head lightly, then reached into the box once more and pulled out a framed photo.

"Look at this," he called, and then he strode over to plop directly between his friends, warmth from their shoulders permeating their layers of clothing and heating him up in the late June evening; Francis didn't mind.

In his hands he was holding onto their class photo from the fifth grade, the pre-pubescent faces of twenty of their friends and longtime classmates smiling back at them.

"Oh wow, we were small," Gilbert hummed, poking the photo under where the three of them stood, dead center. "Franny still had all his baby fat!" He laughed derisively, but reached up and tugged at the blond's thin cheeks jovially, until Francis dropped the photo and slapped his hands away. Antonio scooped it up from the other's lap as Francis rubbed his reddened cheeks gently.

"This feels like forever ago… aw, look, Heracles is sleeping!"

"Pffft, when isn't he? I'll bet Sadiq's got a Sharpie in his pocket, or else he wouldn't've been standing so close to him. Where's Gupta?"

"He did not move in until freshman year of high school, remember? Before that these two were always at each other's throats, and when Gupta came in he saved us all from another four years of listening to them go at it."

"Oh yeah," Antonio agreed, before prodding the picture again, at the person beside Francis. "This was the year Arthur moved to our school, right?"

Francis nodded, humming as he stroked a finger absently down the cheek of the small English boy. "He used to be so cute-"

"Except for the eyebrows-"

"-I wonder what happened…"

Antonio giggled, "Don't let him hear you say that."

"Don't let me hear him say what, exactly?"

A new voice chimed in, as the door to Francis' bedroom swung open. Arthur strode in, still immaculately dressed in his graduation robe, black shoes freshly shined, catching the dim light. His black slacks were pressed, his shirt collar stiff where it stuck out of the gown, and he was still wearing his cap, the tassel brushing across his cheek whenever he moved.

Francis stood suddenly, shaking off the sensation of dizziness (had he really drunken so much?) and flicked his wrist as if waving the matter away. Arthur gave him a sharp look.

"Nothing bad, mon cher, just commenting on how lovely your speech was this morning. We all know how reluctant to accept compliments, which is why Antonio made that comment."

Arthur rolled his eyes, poking the French boy none too gently in the chest. Francis took a step back, only barely managing to keep his footing due to his less-than-sober state.

"I heard him-" here he pointed snappishly at Gilbert, "-mention my eyebrows. I'm not stupid, Francis, and don't try to sweet talk me into acting as such."

Francis chuckled, and Gilbert rolled his eyes.

"We were talking about how totally un-cute and un-sexy you are. And I was about to add, it just goes to show how crappy Francis' taste it that he makes out with you regularly."

Arthur spluttered, turning red in the face and coughing into his fist. "As if. I don't want frog germs on my lips. I'd rather kiss Alfred-"

"-And you have, haven't you?" Gilbert grinned demonically. Arthur paused, as if contemplating whether or not this was worth his anger, and he apparently decided against it. Instead he turned to Antonio, taking a second graduation cap that he had under his arm, barely visible against the large sleeves of the same colored gown.

"This is yours," he stated, tossing it to the other like a Frisbee; it landed in Antonio's lap and he grinned. "I found it as we were cleaning up after the ceremony."

Antonio picked it up, looking on the inside label to find his name written in Sharpie in his messy scrawl, just as he had expected. It had been his Abuela's idea to write this name inside his cap so that he could find it after he tossed it, but in the mob of excited graduates his cap was the only of the trio's that had not returned.

"Thanks, Arthur," he smiled, almost surprised by the other's kindness; after a few soccer matches in their freshman year, of which they were opposing team captains, the two hadn't been on very good terms. Arthur returned the smile, nodding and then turning to leave the room once again.

"Well then, I'll be on my wa-"

"-Arthur," Francis interrupted, "are you coming here straight from school?"

"Yes, I am."

"And you have been there since the commencement ceremony?" Francis' tone verged on incredulous; outside, the Sun could faintly be seen as little more than a sliver of red hidden by pink and orange clouds.

Arthur raised an eyebrow, "Of course."

Gilbert caught on, "But that ended like eight hours ago!"

"I stayed late to help clean up," Arthur shrugged. "Last duty as Student Council President."

"But Arthur, you are not the President anymore. Kiku Honda and Toris Laurinaitis are the ones responsible for that, now."

"…I know," he murmured, "I just figured… it was the last thing I could do. I guess I just don't want to let go yet…"

Suddenly he looked up, and when Arthur saw three sets of eyes all giving him strange looks, in that all of them were far more sympathetic than he'd ever seen them, of course, he turned away and scowled.

"Never mind…" Then, "I'm going home now. Night, all. Try not to get drunk off your arses; Elizaveta is expecting you all tomorrow afternoon."

"Stay," Francis commanded suddenly, gently, grabbing a hold of the other's arm. "We were just looking at our old class photo, and maybe you'd like to reminisce with us?"

Arthur paused again, eyes flickering between the door and Francis. He sighed, and shook his head ruefully. "I'd best be going. I expect my brothers will be waiting for me."

Gilbert snorted, running his thumb absently over the neck of the wine bottle, only a few dredges left in it.

"Your brothers?" he repeated. "They're the ones more likely to be drunk off their asses. They probably think that the armchair is you, or some shit like that."

He sniggered, before realizing belatedly he'd made an argument for Arthur to stay with them. The other three seemed to have come to the same realization, as they all gave him looks of confusion.

"Anyways," Arthur said, "Even though you are probably right about them, I do think I should be going. Best to leave you three to do… whatever it is you do."

Francis frowned, and squeezing the arm he was holding onto, he wrapped his free arm around the other's waist. Then, leaning in, he pressed their lips together in a deep, coaxing kiss, eliciting an unguarded, soft moan from the tired boy. However, once he heard himself make the sound, Arthur pulled away and tugged his arm back from Francis.

"I-I'm going now. D-Don't try to stop me!" he stuttered, and the door was slammed shut behind him as he rushed out. Francis sighed, plopping back in his comfy chair, disappointment obvious on his face. Gilbert laughed.

"Hey, on the bright side, he didn't get mad at you for it this time. This is a step forward in your relationship!" Antonio offered, moving to wrap an arm around the blond's shoulder comfortingly.

Gilbert snorted obnoxiously, "Says the guy who's dating a boy that knees him in the nuts after every kiss. You're a real relationship expert, Toni."

"Lovi's just shy," Antonio frowned. "He doesn't do it as much anymore…"

Francis chuckled, and offered Gilbert a roll of his eyes, "You can talk when you are finally in a relationship of your own. If that ever happens…"

Antonio and Francis shared a smirk, and Gilbert pouted, before diving for the abandoned class photo.

"Let's see here... out of the 15 people that've been in our grade, I've made out with… one, two, three… seven. And that's not counting the underclassmen, either. Or the people I've made out with that've already graduated."

He flaunted the photo in the faces of the other two, looking particularly triumphant.

"Seven? Wow, Gilbert, I'm impressed. Mind if I ask who?"

Still smirking, Gilbert called out as he pointed, "Heracles, Sadiq, Vash, you two idiots, Elizaveta, and…"

There was an "oh shit" expression on his face, and Gilbert's ears turned pink at the tips once again.

"And who, Gilbert?" Francis' smirk was absolutely massive, like the Cheshire Cat's on crack. "Roderich?"

Gilbert scowled, dropping the photo and shouting, "Yes, Roderich! Okay? I liked Roderich! I liked him a lot, for a long time! And I was jealous of him and Tonio, and then I was jealous of him and Liz even though I technically liked Liz too and it was confusing and are. You. Happy. Now!"

The albino huffed, crossing his arms tightly over his chest in a show of rarely displayed embarrassment. Antonio suddenly unwound his arm from around Francis, and embraced Gilbert tightly, pulling the other against his chest and kissing him delicately. Gilbert did not even flinch, holding onto the other and turning the chaste kiss into something deeper, and much more passionate.

They broke apart a moment later, both dizzy and Antonio with slightly bruised lips. Francis chuckled, applauding softly, and Gilbert bowed.

"You're fucking awesome at that, Toni. Not as awesome as me, of course, but still pretty damn awesome."

Francis leaned back in his chair as Antonio smiled demurely.

"You've come far, Gilbert. Why, it feels like just yesterday…"

He trailed off, smiling, his eyes falling shut. Francis could sense the suspense coming off of the others, and had to hold in a chuckle when Gilbert demanded, "When? Come on, Franny, don't leave us hangin!"

"Do you boys remember the day, back in the seventh grade, when you two were wrestling on the lunch line…" Francis noticed Antonio's blush, and Gilbert's confusion, before continuing,

"And Antonio's little friend got a bit… excited?"

By now Antonio's cheeks were burning crimson, and Gilbert suddenly looked like he had a bad rash. Neither of them made a noise of protest, so Francis kept going.

"Antonio ran off to the boy's room in shame, and Gilbert, you were so embarrassed and distraught you could hardly do a thing but say 'He had a boner, Francis, a freakin' boner!'"

Here Francis chuckled, and even Antonio gave a small smile.

"But then I went after him, and we, well…"

The blond and brunet shared a look, and Gilbert furrowed his eyebrows.

"I never heard this. What did you guys do?"

It was Antonio who answered with a sly smile, "Well, let's just say, Francis was my first."

Gilbert paused for a moment, mind almost visibly reeling, to take in his information, before he started to undo the buttons of his white shirt.

"Show me."

Suddenly the trio felt something in the room change; maybe those words had finally activated the buzz of the alcohol, or maybe it was just something they'd been thinking all along, waiting for the one of them daring enough to say it.

Regardless, Antonio and Francis did not argue, did not even flinch, and if they thought about the boys they were chasing they did not mention them. Instead they rose, undid their ties and removed their shirts, neither speaking a word.

Stepping across the room to face Gilbert, Francis ran his long fingertips over the planes of the albino's chest slowly. His muscles were tight, well toned from years of intense athleticism (it was one of the only things Gilbert was very good at, and one of the few reasons he made it to graduate with his class), and Francis took his time taking them in.

Gilbert's mouth opened, his eyebrows furrowed, obviously ready to complain, but he suddenly shut it again, brushing his rough fingers into the French boy's hair, pushing the ribbon holding it up into a ponytail away. The red strip fell to the floor, and Francis' hair tumbled around his face. He smiled softly.

"You like my hair, mon cher?"

Gilbert shrugged absently, fingers twisting in the blond curls. "Nah. But, it makes you look like a girl, which is a big turn on," he murmured, a slur faintly audible marring his gruff voice. He made a soft noise of surprise when a new set of hands found the sensitive spot in the small of his back, before turning and seeing Antonio's smile, which flittered between devious and naïve.

Gilbert smiled back, his smile that was really more of a smirk, and oh, now he was kissing Antonio again. Francis pulled his hands away a moment, admiring the sight of his two closest friends locked in a passionate embrace. It sent a sensation of heat shooting through his veins, especially when Gilbert's forceful tongue bullied its way into Antonio's mouth, coaxing a moan from the brunet.

Licking his lips and brushing absently at his warm cheek with a cool finger, Francis stepped in again, pressing his chest flush against Gilbert's back, reaching around the other's thin, wiry chest, and rolling one of his dusty pink nipples between his thumb and forefinger. He chuckled softly against the albino's neck when Gilbert pulled away from Antonio's mouth long enough to gasp.

Antonio was still smiling against Gilbert's lips, sucking softly on the probing tongue and holding onto the other more tightly when he felt him go weak in the knees. He opened his emerald eyes enough to see bright cerulean ones and hazy crimson ones staring back, and, never one to disappoint, gave a deep moan from the back of his throat.

Gilbert broke the kiss. He was panting noticeably, but it was still soft. Gilbert never broke a kiss unless he was starved for oxygen, until his lungs were bursting, drowning in lust.

"Gilbert?" Antonio murmured questioningly, the tan of his hand a stark juxtaposition against the pallor of the other's neck. "Are you okay?"

"M'fine," he muttered, his crimson gaze falling to the floor, hands still touching the others. "I just… it's too fucking hot today to fuck, that's all."

That was true enough; there was a thickness in the room that not even the late evening breeze couldn't kill, but,

"That's never stopped you before, Gilbert," Francis frowned, pulling away from the other and tilting his head up by the chin so that their eyes would meet. "We know you; you don't need to hide from us…"

Gilbert only offered a sheepish shrug, "M'not hiding anything. I'm just not in to mood to have a raunchy threesome tonight. Maybe some other day."

Francis and Antonio shared a look, the latter biting his lip.

"Gil… there won't be any other days…" he whispered, and there was choking silence.

"There will be!" Gilbert insisted, throwing his hands up dramatically, as if hoping it would distract from the glimmer in his eyes. It hadn't, but neither of his friends wanted to mention it. He sighed finally, harshly, and lowered his hands so quickly they smacked his thighs with a loud, resonating sound.

"Let's just go to sleep…" he suggested, finally.

"It's only nine o'clock, though."

"Then we can watch a movie! Anything is better than sitting here, pretending we're not all distracting ourselves from the idea that we've only got one more week together by thinking about all the awesome shit we've done together!"

Antonio choked out a sob. Francis bit at his lip. Gilbert looked at the both of them with an expression that used anger to mask hurt.

"We've… always been together."

"And we always will be," Gilbert snapped, pulling Antonio roughly into his warm, bare chest, brushing his fingers in the other's hair roughly. Antonio sighed, nuzzling the other's chest with his nose and inhaling deeply.

"So," Francis murmured, placing an open palm on each of their backs, "how about that movie, then?"

To Be Continued


A/N: I'd love to hear any comments you guys have, and thank you so much for reading!

crimson-obsidian-rose