A/N: I don't really have anything to say, but I would feel odd if I put nothing at all.
Edit: Fixing things and makin' 'em acceptable.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia.
"I love you." Lovino confesses, a note of resignation in his voice as he shifts to face his companion, who is seated beside him on the park bench.
The silence that ensues is the longest he has ever experienced. Lovino doesn't expect reciprocation, his and Antonio's relationship is (was?) painfully platonic, and he's always known that, but it's become too much for him. He can no longer bear to be in such close proximity to the man he loves because of the crushing knowledge that the sentiment is not returned. No longer will Lovino play the wingman, never again will he have to stand by as Antonio flirts with pretty women, unaware of his friend's suffering.
This profession will free him.
The Spaniard's smile weakens slowly, eventually dying out as a shocked expression replaces it, and Lovino feels so horribly ashamed for dimming that brilliant grin. He seems more taken aback than anything else, unable to comprehend what Lovino had said. Lovino's lips purse at the lack of response, his heart clenching tightly; he had anticipated this response, yes, but living it out is far more agonizing than he had imagined.
Why had he even decided to do this anyway? He just demolished his friendship with the man who lights up (lit up?) his life.
'Because-' Lovino reminds himself sharply, his stomach turning over violently as Antonio adopts a small frown, '-pretending hurt too much.'
Antonio clears his throat slightly, green eyes refusing to meet Lovino's as he speaks, "You-" The usually jubilant man's eyes flit towards Lovino's face for a moment, quickly refocusing on the grass before them. He is at a loss for words, unable to speak to his friend, and is obviously uncomfortable with looking at the Italian.
Lovino realizes then that there is no chance of a continued acquaintance between them.
Over the past month he had very carefully considered this meeting, meticulously going over possible reactions, and while this is not the worst, it also is not the best: Antonio had neither been enraged by Lovino's words nor overjoyed. Instead, the Spaniard's actions indicate that he will avoid him.
This is devastating, but Lovino is prepared.
"You don't love me." It is not a question: the Italian is certain that his love is unrequited. Antonio doesn't answer, unwilling to respond. A shuddering breath sneaks past his lips, golden eyes hardening resolutely as he declares, "I'm moving."
Antonio doesn't say anything, only nodding as Lovino stands, apparently unbothered by the statement. Lovino studies his face for a moment, his confusion apparent when the Spaniard seems to break out of his trance, eyes furrowing tightly as he shakes his head. Green eyes meet his own, desperation flooding the eyes that Lovino has spent hours thinking of.
"Don't go." The older of the two pleads, rising from his seated position, and for a moment Lovino believes that this will be Antonio's confession, that there's such a thing as a happily ever after for him, "We can still be friends-"
That spark of hope is smothered.
Lovino cuts him off harshly, suddenly mad at Antonio (for leading him on for all this time, even now, when he should know better), "We can't, Antonio." A stricken look crosses the Spanish man's face, but he continues, hurt and bitterness coating his heated words, "We can't because I'm tired of pining after you, we can't because you can barely look at me, and we can't-" A sob spills from his lips, and Lovino wipes away his rapidly forming tears roughly, "-because you don't love me."
This time Antonio doesn't attempt to stop him.
New York is a miserable place-or perhaps it's Lovino that makes the city seem so dull.
He's been here for months now: five months. Lovino is rooming with his infuriatingly happy younger brother who had welcomed him warmly, and honestly hasn't done much with himself. He found himself a job as a chef at an Italian restaurant (Luigi's-the name is sickeningly clichéd), but he has no social life to speak of, and his perspective is still gloomy.
Lovino trudges around his and Feliciano's flat when he's off work, killing time with classic movies and long siestas. His sibling's friends come to visit often; he doesn't particularly mind the polite Japanese man, but the German potato pisses him off. That bastard is involved with Feliciano, and although Lovino is relieved that his brother has someone to care for him, he can't help but resent Ludwig for stealing Feli, the only thing that makes this place bearable, from him.
But he doesn't want to go back to Chicago, oh no: Chicago is where Antonio lives, which means that Lovino can never, ever return.
So he continues to mope around, the fact that he looks forward to work only furthering his depression.
Alfred barges into his life on the first day of the New Year, as if he symbolizes a new beginning. Of course, their relationship does not begin as one would expect.
The Italian spent the previous night getting drunk on red wine, alternating between cursing Antonio for being such a jackass and crying unabashedly. Feliciano was attending a party at his macho boyfriend's house, leaving the older of the two completely alone in their shared living space.
And regardless of what Lovino told his brother, he did not want to be alone-but he had always been the kind of person who bottled up all of his problems, and the memory of the last time he opened up prevented him from sharing his feelings.
So, instead of going to that stupid New Year's bash or asking his brother to stay, Lovino gets trashed.
He regrets it in the morning. The blinds are open, pouring sunlight onto his face, and the construction site in his head is definitely doing nothing to help, but the empty bottle beside him and the stain on his t-shirt are what lets Lovino know how far he has truly fallen.
'This pity party has gone on for long enough.' He decides, grimacing at the stickiness on his chest.
Lovino staggers towards the bathroom, stripping himself of his clothes from the night before as he walks, and steps into the shower. The knob is turned to the far left, pleasantly warm water cleansing the wine from the Italian's body and stealing the last of his drowsiness away. The soap manages to make him feel less pathetic, and Lovino ends his shower with more energy than when he started it. He dresses himself less lethargically than he usually does, exiting his room and heading into the kitchen without dragging his feet at all.
He's lighter, as if the New Year has empowered him, and the vibrant yellow note his brother left on the fridge door gives him an idea about how he should channel this energy.
What's your New Year's Resolution, Lovi?
The note is signed "Feli", with a cute little smiley face beside it, and Lovino distantly questions the point of attaching his name (seriously, who the fuck else would leave me a note?), but his main concern is the question.
What's your New Year's Resolution, Lovi?
He honestly doesn't know. Lovino hasn't ever made a New Year's Resolution, and he doesn't think that there's anything worth making such a binding promise about.
What's your New Year's Resolution, Lovi?
"Getting over Antonio." He answers the post-it, taking his hand off the refrigerator door's handle and moving to the closet by the door. Feeling decidedly less pathetic, he shrugs on his coat and fastens the buttons quickly.
Lovino has no destination in mind, but he ignores the detail as he grabs his keys and steps into the hallway.
Only to have his clothing permeated by a searing hot liquid.
"Fuck!" Lovino swears, leaping away from the person whose path he unknowingly stepped into and regretting his decision to leave the apartment. He looks down at his once tan coat, scowling as he takes in the damage, "My coat is fucking ruined!"
"You don't have to yell about it; I'll buy you a new coat, dude."
Lovino forces his eyes away from his clothing, realizing belatedly that this is his next door neighbor, the happy-go-lucky American that Feliciano visits often. He examines the man briefly, gaze sweeping over his expression (a mixture of amusement and sheepishness, the asshole) and overall appearance before settling on the dark coat he wears.
"I wish I had coffee to spill on you." He replies finally, glaring furiously at the man before him.
The blue-eyed man blinks slowly at that, glancing down at the cup in his hand, "I have more left." He gestures towards the cup, and Lovino realizes that the bespectacled man is actually serious in his offer.
"Are you fucking serious?" He asks incredulously, forgetting some of his anger, "You're just going to let me?"
What a fucking idiot!
Said idiot shrugs, "Why not? I messed up your coat, it's only fair-and I need a new one anyway."
He does need a replacement, Lovino agrees: the garment he is wearing is noticeably worn, the fabric is rather dirty, and Lovino doubts that the ugly coat has ever been nice. But he no longer feels the need to return the favor, dissuaded by the man's reaction to his statement and somewhat miffed by the fact that the blond will not be much bothered if he does decide to toss the drink on him.
So instead he makes a proposal, "Let's go to the store, bastard." The American stares at him, perplexed, "Well, you need a new coat, and since you spilled your fucking coffee on me, so do I." Lovino finishes his explanation simply, "You said you would pay, so why not go now?"
"OK, sure." His neighbor complies, and the brunet turns, locking his door and heading down the corridor, "Don't you have anywhere to be, though?"
"No." Lovino answers him honestly. A thought occurs to him, "Do you?"
The blond shakes his head, "Nah; I was just gonna' sit around and work on some stuff." He laughs suddenly, inciting a curious glance as they tread down the stairs, "My name's Alfred F. Jones, by the way."
"Lovino Vargas." Lovino replies, pushing open the building's door and stepping into the brisk January air. He quirks an eyebrow, "What does the "F" stand for?"
Alfred grins at him, tossing the half-empty cup in the trashcan as they pass it, "Nice to meet you, Lovino." The American begins to walk towards a black Passat that must be his, answering his question easily, "It doesn't stand for anything: my parents just wanted me to have a middle initial."
The car is unlocked by its owner, and Lovino slides into the passenger seat. He takes a moment to dry up some of the coffee with a hanful of napkins that Alfred hands him, placing the soaked tissues in a cupholder. Lovino buckles up and sits back as Alfred switches the vehicle into drive, "That's fucking stupid;why don't you get it changed?"
The blond replies readily, his tone light, "You sure do curse a lot." He cracks a grin, and Lovino finds himself relieved that he hasn't offended the man (for some reason), "At least it's not Frederick or Fitzwilliam-besides, my name sounds weird without it."
"I can do whatever the fuck I want, bastard." Lovino retorts, staring out the window for a moment before facing Alfred again, "And you're right: your name would sound weird without it."
That's the closest thing to an apology he's willing to give: the Italian may be rude at times, but he's not insensitive, and he doesn't want to drive off the man who is going to help him fulfill his New Year's Resolution. In order to get over Antonio, Lovino needs to get out more and make friends that will distract him: Alfred doesn't seem like an imbecile, and he can clearly handle the brunet's difficult personality, so Lovino's going to make an attempt to befriend the blond.
"Um…" Alfred's voice breaks him out of his reverie, "We forgot something…"
"What?" Lovino asks, frowning slightly.
The American's cheeks pinken, "Stores aren't open on New Year's."
"Oh." Embarrassment sweeps over him, lasting only seconds before it is replaced by indignation, "But I still need a coat, damn it!"
Alfred chuckles, turning the steering wheel and pulling them into a U-turn as he drives them home, "I'll buy you a coat tomorrow."
Lovino slumps down in his seat.
The following New Year's Lovino doesn't have a resolution, but he has accomplished his last one: Antonio is no longer a matter of importance to him, no longer a source of pain.
Lovino has moved on to better things.
"The countdown's starting soon!" Alfred pops into the kitchen to inform him, placing an arm around his waist affectionately and leading Lovino into the living room, "C'mon!"
The contact is welcomed by the Italian, who leans against his lover as they join the rest of the apartment's inhabitants in front of his and Feliciano's television. The fest is held at the Italians' place this year because Ludwig, the potato, refused to allow another mess to be made in his home.
A lot has changed in the last year, Lovino thinks to himself as the countdown from ten begins: he slowly began to venture outside more, a new chef, Belle, came to his restaurant and became his closest friend, and he and Alfred began to date.
Alfred easily wormed his way under Lovino's skin, their close friendship quickly giving way to romance, and the brunet is happier than he has ever been. Knowing that his feelings are returned is a joyful thing: being loved by another is fantastically exhilarating.
Not that Alfred has actually said those three words he is so desperate to hear.
Lovino knows that the American cares for him: he's sure that their relationship is not unrequited, but he still wants to hear it. They've been dating for almost a year and his insecurities have all been centered around the question of Alfred's love.
Blue eyes are staring very intently at him now, and Lovino returns the gesture bemusedly.
Alfred presses his lips against Lovino's, murmuring earnestly, "I love you."
"Happy New Year's!"
The Italian kisses him, pulling back and smiling against his cheek as he whispers, "I love you too, Alfred."
He's found his happily ever after, it seems.
A/N: That was very fun to write; Romerica is just a nice pairing.
Yes, I do know that I'm rather later for New Year's.
Until next time!