Lovino was the first to take him away once they had finally come down the stairs for dinner. He glared at Ludwig but miraculously ignored him aside from that, commandeering his younger brother's attention. Antonio waved at Ludwig from the long, elegantly set table, and seemed fairly oblivious to the various maids and young ladies of the family eyeing him almost hungrily. Ludwig went to him, one of the few familiar faces in the room, and sat when invited. "Ludwig, I'm so glad you came!" he said with a cheerful hand clasped over Ludwig's shoulder.
"It is nice to see you here." He said, looking around the table. Not everyone was there yet, just a few. But a blond head stood out among the sea of brunets. Ludwig thought he looked familiar.
"Wouldn't have missed it for the world," he chirped, his eyes trained fondly on the pair of Italian brothers still standing and play-arguing ('play' being a debatable term). Or maybe just one of them. "We have to be deemed worthy by the omnipotent Grandfather, though, huh? Feliciano's told you about him, yes?"
Ludwig was still watching the blond man, trying to place him. "Yes, he's told me a few things. Have you met him yet?" He was a little worried, but not too much. After all, his grandfather lived in a whole different continent, he couldn't stop them from dating.
"A little," Antonio replied, leaning back comfortably in the sturdy chair, "Haven't talked to him much though. Lovino told me that he's likely to try and test me- well, you and I. Overprotective, he said. And dangerous." He gave a rich, warm chuckle. "But I don't think we have anything to worry about. I wouldn't give Lovi up for anything, so I won't be afraid. Love and devotion is what matters most, I think."
While Antonio was talking, the blond saw Ludwig watching and smiled. The German quickly looked away, but it was too late, as the man was already headed towards them. Luckily, he spoke to Antonio first. "Bonjour! I've been looking for you. I must say, Lovino has quite a catch." Then his blue eyes fell on Ludwig. He held out his hand. "Bonjour. I am Francis Bonnefoy. So you must be Feli's lover boy? Aren't you the cutest."
Ludwig was slightly stunned by the extremely flamboyant man, especially when he pulled him in for a hug. "Oh. Hello. Um... glad to meet you."
It was a complete and utter shock when he felt a hand drift over his ass- especially when Feliciano was a good twenty feet away. "Oh no, it is my pleasure," the blond purred, stepping away with an innocent smile on his face.
Ludwig stood stunned, but Antonio quickly picked up the conversation, hitting Francis on the shoulder playfully. "You are my kind of man, you know. Lovino's told so many horror stories; I didn't know you'd be so interesting!"
"I agree! Next time I am in America, I will have to come visit."
"Excuse me," Ludwig said, making a hasty retreat before Francis' grabby hands found him again, and sidled back over to Feliciano.
Lovino regarded him coldly, but his brother was the exact opposite, his smile warm and full of adoration when Ludwig came to stand behind him. He reached out, and Ludwig took his hand on reflex. "Could you be any more of a sappy moron?" the elder Vargas mumbled, rolling his eyes. Feliciano only laughed.
Just then, the main door opened, and everyone seemed to almost hold their breath as a man walked in. He was tall, and had leathery skin from so much time spent out in the sun. His hair was dark, but greying around the edges, and there were creases around his eyes when he smiled. Ludwig could only guess that this was the grandfather, but he had expected him to look much older.
His voice resonated through the wide room, and despite all of the people in his vicinity, it seemed he had eyes for his grandsons only. He swept them into his arms, much to Lovino's embarrassment and Feliciano's pleasure. They offered him kisses in return and eventually, with much insistence on Lovino's part, he finally let them go.
"Well, I'm glad you all could make it! But I think it is late enough, so if you all could take a seat, the food will be brought out shortly." He gestured to the long table, and took the seat at the head. There were small name plates at every seat, and he saw that Feliciano's mother was sitting beside her father, then her two sons were beside her. Ludwig and Antonio went down the table, trying to find their own spots, desparing as they got farther and farther away from the two brothers. They eventually found their seats, more than ten spots in between Lovino and Feliciano. They were beside each other, but Ludwig's stomach fell when he saw who was on the other side of him.
"Oh, Ludwig! How nice! I thought I would be beside some dirty old man, but you will be wonderful!" Francis patted the seat beside him, swirling his glass of red wine.
Ludwig grimaced but took his seat, and Antonio greeted Francis cheerfully, though his gaze kept flickering mournfully at the head of the table. There was a toast, and food, and wine, copious amounts of wine, and everyone was friendly and talkative and very, very kind. Ludwig had never been more out of his element in his life.
At the head of the table, Lovino glanced down the line to where Antonio was. So that grandpa wouldn't hear, he whispered in Feliciano, ear. "I can't believe he moved them down there! I mean not that I give a fuck. But still! Down there with Aunt Michelle and that dope Francis."
Feliciano visibly stiffened at that. "Is... does he look uncomfortable?" he asked, his brow furrowed. "What's Francis doing? He's not bothering Ludwig, is he?"
Lovino leaned back, rolling his eyes as he saw where the Frenchman's hand were. "You know that pervert. His hand is on potato bastard's back, but way too low down to be friendly. Ohmygod!" He exclaimed, before covering his mouth. Antonio had caught him looking, and had pulled down his pants to reveal a bright red thong. That idiot! Anyone could have seen that!
"What?" Feliciano whispered urgently, one hand gripping Lovino's sleeve.
"Nothing, Antonio being an ass is all. Um, besides Francis molesting him, Ludwig looks fine. Well, not fine, but in my opinion he always looks a little constipated, so nothing's changed." Lovino pointedly looked away so that Antonio would stop taunting him.
Feliciano bit his lip fretfully. "Ludwig isn't comfortable," he mumbled, half to himself, his face tilted in that direction.
"Look around, no one is comfortable. This is a formal dinner, they're supposed to be where you sit in hard seats, wear itching clothes, eat food that tastes bad, and talk to people you don't like. The only one enjoying himself is grandpa." Lovino laughed when Francis finally went for it, grabbing Ludwig's ass. He jumped a bit, but otherwise played it cool.
"I guess..." Feliciano muttered, and he ate, but didn't look particularly happy about it.
Throughout the meal, Lovino kept Feliciano updated about everything Francis was doing. At one point, it looked like he was giving him hair tips, because he was running his fingers through Ludwig's stiff locks, gesturing wildly and putting hands on his shoulders. Eventually, the older of the two brothers looked at him. "Wait... you're not jealous of Francis, are you?"
It took Feliciano a good long moment to respond to that.
"I... I think I am," he said, almost surprised at himself. "Ludwig isn't a people-person, Lovi. He gets uncomfortable easily. I don't want him to not enjoy himself while he's here, and Francis comes on kind of strong. Why is he sitting so far away?"
Lovino laughed a bit at that. "He's sitting so far away because Grandpa organized the name plates. You know how overprotective he is of us, especially you." It wasn't the first time they had been in relationships, but it was the first time that those relationships were serious enough to bring to a family reunion.
Feliciano blinked. "Well... well, I know, but Ludwig is a safe person..." A pout curled on his lips. "Grandpa should have asked me first."
The elder brother took a sip of his wine. "But he always thinks he knows best. Just because he was a big guy in the army. Just let it go, dinner's almost over anyway."
The younger Vargas wasn't happy about it, but he did as he was told, eating away at the meal sullenly. And as soon as they were dismissed, he made to stand and find Ludwig, but a large, firm hand clamped over his shoulder before he had the chance. "G-Grandpa?"
"I've hardly even spoken to you yet today!" the deep voice boomed. "How about you and your brother come to the sitting room with me? I'll put the fire on, and we can have some wine, and talk!" Roma looked around, and spotted the two men who had come with them, and his eyes glinted dangerously. Even though Feliciano couldn't see it, he sensed it. "And maybe your friends would like to come as well."
Instantly brightening at the invitation extended toward Ludwig, he nodded and gripped his grandfather's fingers, oblivious to the weary look Lovino shot at Roma. The elder Vargas brother sighed. "I'll go get them," he said, and retreated down the table.
A few minutes later, the fire was crackling, and Feliciano had a glass of wine in his hand. Ludwig was just sitting beside him, back completely straight, not even touching the back of it. There was a tense feel in the room, the only person that was comfortable was Roma.
Lovino snapped first. "For fuck's sake, Grandpa, stop trying to orchestrate our love lives with your little dramatic flares." And in a tongue that only Feliciano and Roma could understand, "Besides, they're both too thick to be scared of you."
Roma gave him a bemused frown and Feliciano piped up, similarly in Italian, "Ludwig's not thick! He's really, really smart!"
"Yeah, well, right now he just looks constipated," Lovino shot back.
Roma just smiled at them, taking a sip from his wine. "I'm sure I have no idea what you two are talking about. Is it horrible that I want to be a part of my grandsons' lives?"
Antonio could understand the occasional word of what they were saying, but for the most part he was as clueless as Ludwig. The blond glanced at Feliciano, surprised to find that even he was a little tense.
The temperamental Italian just huffed and fell back against the plush sofa, draping one leg over the other and folding his arms across his chest. "Well, go on then," he said in English for the benefit of the other two. "Interrogate them and get it over with."
"Oh my poor Lovi, you don't really think I would do something like that, do you? I just wished to talk with you all!" Of course, he had to have a plan for this. He couldn't really see what these men were like when everyone was in the room. No, he would need to get them alone, one by one. And first would be that brunet, he looked at Lovino's butt almost as much as Francis did!
And he seemed perfectly content to have the feisty young man leaning so casually against him. Feliciano, on the other hand, looked about two seconds away from crawling into his rather muscular lover's lap, though the look on Ludwig's face seemed to suggest he wouldn't allow anything of the sort. Roma smirked. He'd known a face like that once. Breaking an expression like that had been hell. He wondered briefly how Feliciano had managed.
"Then by all means," Lovino growled, and Roma didn't even pretend not to notice the subtle fingers of the dark-skinned Spaniard drifting over Lovino's.
He smiled sweetly at them all, while plotting how to get the other three out of the room. He really should have slipped something into their wine. "The vineyard is doing extraordinarily well, you know. In fact, what we are drinking is from here, six years old. Do you two know much about wine?" he asked, looking at the intruders.
Antonio sipped at his glass. "I don't know much about it, but I have been told that I have a very good taste for these things. Like for this one, I think there is a hint of... cherry? Yes, definitely cherry."
Roma's smile grew a little bit fonder. "Yes! Amazing, most people can't taste that." He turned to the German. "And? How about you?"
"Ah, well I normally drink beer." Ludwig wasn't sure, but he thought he saw disapointment in the old man's eyes.
"To each his own, I suppose," Roma said dryly.
"Ludwig's very sensible about his intake," Feliciano piped up, and if decorum in the presence of his elders hadn't been drilled into him for such a young age, he would have curled up on the sofa and likely snuggled up to Ludwig like a stuffed animal. As it was, he simply shifted until their legs were pressed together, side by side.
The old man nodded, but then got an idea. "Well, Ludwig, since you don't know much about wine, perhaps Feliciano could take you to the distilleries? They are a sight to see, and he could tell you a bit about it." He smiled, his white teeth glinting in the fire light. "I'm sure he will be impressed."
Feliciano frowned, and Lovino followed his train of thought. Something was going on. Something utterly scheme-y. He was getting off way too easily. But never one to ignore the door when opportunity came knocking, Feliciano stood. "Let's go, Ludwig," he said quickly before Roma could change his mind. Ebony stood too, her tail twitching at the urgency in his voice.
They quickly left the room, Ludwig following behind him in the corridor. He was really glad to be out of there, it had been even too tense for him. Normally he did very well with stress, but he had never before met someone like Roma, who always seemed to be planning strategies behind his smile.
"Ebony probably needs a walk," Feliciano said quickly, winding his way down passages and hallways expediently and without any assistance, almost as though he could see. He was obviously very familiar with the place. "Let's take her outside. Just don't tell Grandpa we went to the vineyards."
Ludwig thought of the vineyard he had seen out the window, and looked forward to seeing it. He had always lived in a city, so he had never seen anything like it, besides in movies and pictures. They went out back, and the smell was something unique, a mixture of soil, grapes, and basic vegetation that he wasn't used to. "This is... nice."
A fond smile drifted over Feliciano's face. He found the rail that led them down the short marble stairs and onto the brick path below, late evening sun warming his face. "You think so, too?" he breathed. "I was always so comfortable here. It smells so nice and it feels so, so warm. Like a blanket."
He made a sound of agreement, then looked around. It was nearly dark, and there was no one around. He grabbed Feliciano's free hand in his. An owl hooted off in the distance. "It's so quiet here. No traffic, no planes overhead. It must be relaxing for you."
The Italian laughed. "I fell asleep here once... ah, but I think I told you that story." He pulled Ludwig on and let Ebony's harness go. She trotted dutifully on, just ahead. "And I would always open the windows because it felt so good. Mama would be mad, something about the air conditioning, but I never understood. Why couldn't we just turn off the air then, and open the windows?" He smiled.
Ludwig didn't say much, preferring to let Feliciano do the talking. He was glad he had come along, even though he felt incredibly out of place here among the wealthy Italians. It was important that he met Feliciano's family, if he planned on staying with him as long as possible.
Feliciano's free hand lifted, sifting through the leaves of the neat little rows of vines, plucking a grape or two when his fingers brushed against the plump fruit. He popped one in his mouth and held out the rest of the handful to Ludwig.
The German took one, thinking they would be like the grapes he got at the store, but was surprised when he bit into it. The skin was very thick, and it was sour. "Why is the skin so thick? Is this really what makes good wine?"
The young man just laughed, eating another. "Grandpa makes the best wine, Ludwig. I promise." Then he stopped, and Ludwig stopped too, and Feliciano pulled him down for a kiss, his tongue finding a drop of bitter juice in the corner of Ludwig's mouth. Ludwig kissed back, walking until they were under the cover of the vines. Yes, Feliciano seemed to be made for this place. It was obvious in his movements, how he seemed to walk around as easily as if he could see, how he still knew the lay of the halls even after not living here for so many years. It was a beautiful sight.
Feliciano smiled against his mouth, his fingers curled in Ludwig's hair. His breath was hot when they parted, like the warm Italian air. "Thank you for coming with me," he murmured, his glasses skewed from the kiss. "I would have been lonely without you here."
Ludwig hummed against his lips, then pushed Feliciano's glasses up on his head so he could see his eyes. "It was nice, meeting your family. Your mother is a very pleasant person. I didn't want to ask this at dinner, but where is your father?" It had seemed strange that he wasn't there.
The pleasant flush on Feliciano's face began to dull. Feliciano's eyes did not waver from his cheek. "Ah... Papa is gone," he said quietly, grinding a bare foot in the soil.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Did he die?" It was strange that the brunet had never told him of it before. He wasn't someone to hide things of his past, painful or otherwise.
Feliciano had a strange look about his face. "No." His fingers stilled in Ludwig's hair. "He's just... not here."
Ludwig decided to leave that there, as it didn't really matter. He looked up at the sky, and saw dark clouds coming their way. "Well, I think it's going to rain soon, so we should be getting inside." He called Ebony, who had wandered a few feet away, and Feliciano patted her head but didn't grab onto the harness.
"Oh, but you should feel it, Ludwig," Feliciano said, excitement in his voice. "Let's stay. The rain feels so nice. Please?"
"Rain doesn't feel nice, it just feels wet." But the look on Feliciano's face was just so happy. Ludwig sighed. "Alright, we'll stay out. But not for long. I have a feeling your grandpa would literally try to kill me if you got sick." The man was much too overprotective of his grandsons.
"No," Feliciano said, and his tone was very suddenly and oddly firm. Thunder rumbled in the distance. "No, Grandpa can't do that to you. I won't let him touch you, Ludwig. Or say scary things. You're not like the others, so he's not allowed. Okay?"
He chuckled a little at that. "You really know how to wound a man's pride, don't you? I can take care of myself, Feliciano. I've been doing it for longer than you've been alive, actually."
Feliciano kissed his chin and wrapped his arms tightly around Ludwig's neck. "You're so strong, Ludwig, in so many ways. But Grandpa's a monster. I love him, I do, but he can be scary, and I... Whatever he says, I love you, okay? What he says doesn't matter. Don't listen to his threats or bribes or... just don't leave, okay?"
"I wouldn't leave, don't worry. It would be easier if he accepted me, but it would take a lot more than him to get me to stop seeing you." Ludwig pulled him in for a kiss, just when the rain started, a large drop falling right on top of his head.
A muffled noise bubbled out of Feliciano's throat, and he deepened the kiss, sucking gently on Ludwig's lower lip. "Mmmludwig," he sighed, trying a new angle, his hands sliding down the German's back. "Ludwig, can we...? Here?"
But he pulled away quickly. "Here? Outside? In the rain? That's... there are so many things wrong with that! Completely filthy for one; we would be covered in mud, and we're outside, anyone could see!" He paused, rubbing the back of Feliciano's neck. "We could go back to the room..."
Feliciano nodded, his eager mouth trailing down to kiss and nibble at Ludwig's throat. He melted under the gentle pressure of the hand at his neck. "Please," he breathed, "please. And let's open the windows."
They quickly went back into the house, both to get out of the rain, and because they were eager to get inside. Turning one of the corners, they ran into Lovino. "Oh, there you guys are. Grandpa kicked me out of the room so he could interrogate Antonio," he said, a pout evident in his voice. Of course, Grandpa had said that Lovino should go check on the other guests, but he had gotten the message loud and clear.
Ludwig glanced at Feliciano, who was obviously torn between latching onto his brother and commencing with their bedroom-bound activities. Lovino glared at them both. "Were you two outside?"
"We were in the vineyard," Feliciano said cheerfully, his hand tightening around Ludwig's. "You should take Antonio out to taste the grapes when Grandpa's done."
"Not sure how much will be left of the bastard when Grandpa's done with him. Stupid idiot, I told him not to come along, but as soon as I mentioned this reunion, he was all over it. Now he gets to pay the price, right?" Lovino crossed his arms, eyes narrowed. "You two weren't... up to anything, were you?"
Before Ludwig could say anything, Feliciano cheerfully replied, "We were, but Ludwig said we couldn't do it outside while it was raining."
Lovino's frown deepened. "Whatever. But you should watch out, potato bastard. I bet you'll be Grandpa's next target." He sulked away down the hallway in the general direction of his room.
Feliciano's grin was sly. "He's just upset because Grandpa let you off the hook and got to Antonio first. But I think they'll be okay. I can't imagine anyone not liking Antonio."
Ludwig nodded, but wasn't really thinking about it. He wanted to try and plan what he could say to make Roma accept him. He had to make it seem like he kept Feliciano virtuous, and like they wouldn't do things that could tarnish him. He was confident that he could do it.
It was a little hard to imagine, though, once Feliciano pulled him into their room, and only waited long enough for Ebony to trot in before he shut the door and leaned against it, pulling Ludwig flush against him.
After only kissing for a minute, Ludwig pulled away. "Maybe... we shouldn't tonight. We still have a few days here, and I really do want to leave a good impression..." It would be much easier to give the impression that he didn't defile Feliciano at all if they actually hadn't had sex just the night before.
The smaller of the two had the audacity to whine. He began to fiddle with the buttons on Ludwig's shirt. "But... but Ludwig, Grandpa wouldn't have given us just one room if he didn't think... And I'm kind of hard..."
Ludwig hated when Feliciano said that, it always made him hard as well. "Maybe... alright, but we won't go all the way then. After all, we already had that shower today." If it was only hand jobs or something like that, he would be fine for tomorrow.
Grinning, Feliciano situated a thigh right between Ludwig's own, and they both shuddered. "Bed or wall?" Feliciano asked, his voice pitched ever so slightly lower than normal, and after that, Ludwig couldn't really keep his mind on decorum at all.
The French doors leading onto the balcony had remained open all through the night, and a light, warm breeze brushed past the curtains with the morning sun. Feliciano shifted in Ludwig's arms, sheets tangled between their entwined limbs, restricting any movements that might pull them apart.
Ludwig opened his blue eyes later than normal because of the jet leg. In fact, he looked at the clock, and it was already a quarter after nine. Why had no one woken them up if it was so late? Or, and he thought this was a reasonable explanation, for this family, waking up this late was not late at all. He had known Feliciano to sleep in till ten or later if he didn't need to be somewhere.
His stirring didn't seem to bother Feliciano, who merely cuddled closer, his breath ghosting over Ludwig's chest. Ludwig's breath hitched when nimble, sleepy fingers dragged through the hair below his navel. Little puffs of breath over his skin made him realize that Feliciano was laughing- laughing! The boy was utterly insatiable.
"If you don't stop, I'll take all the covers off the bed, so you'll be cold and be forced to get up and get dressed," Ludwig warned, because really, it was too early for his morning wood to turn into anything sexual. What was important right then was that they get downstairs for breakfast, so that no one would worry about them.
Feliciano bit his lip and simply brushed through the coarse hair, never lingering too low for too long. "It could be quick," he murmured, one leg slowly sliding up Ludwig's. He pressed a kiss to the German's shoulder. "Really, really quick. I could suck you or ride you or just move against you and make it really, really fast."
Ludwig found that he was on the verge of giving in, but pulled away, taking the blanket with him. "I warned you. Now get up, and get in the bathroom if you want a shower first."
Feliciano made a noise of disappointment and sat up, rubbing his eyes. "Ludwiiiig, you're so mean!" He found his way out from the tangle of sheets and stretched languidly, all naked, olive-toned skin and lean muscles, humming as he made his way to the bathroom. "I think you should come, too," he said invitingly. "I really did mean it about... well, anything."
"I will have a shower with you, but I stand by what I said last night. I want to make a good impression tonight." He went in and turned the shower on, making sure the temperature was alright.
Feliciano wasn't making it easy, barely keeping his hands to himself, his naked body flushed with the heat of the water, wet, and unfortunately (dammit, he peeked) aroused. Feliciano washed his hair and scrubbed at his body, soapy water trickling down the dark of his skin. "Why do you want to make an impression now?" he asked, rinsing out his auburn hair. "Grandpa's already made his first judgment. You'd be better off just being honest with him. He might even appreciate it more."
"Yes, but because of last night, he will probably want to talk to me alone tonight. I just want to be ready for that." He was mentally prepared now to do what he needed to. After all, this was for Feliciano.
The younger sighed. "I don't see why we can't make love, though. I like it. You like it. Grandpa already knows we do it. It just seems like a waste."
"He doesn't actually know it. And even if he did, he doesn't need to know how often. What if he thinks I'm just using you for sex? I'm sure he still thinks that you and your brother are innocent." Which was what Ludwig would try and convince him that they were.
"Oh, Ludwig," Feliciano sighed. "Okay. We don't have to. Can I touch myself and pretend it's you instead?"
Ludwig held his breath for a few seconds, then let it out. "That... would be alright." And he could watch, that wouldn't be bad. That... yes that would be just fine.
About an hour later, they made their way down to breakfast. As they passed Lovino's room, Antonio opened the door, yawning. "Morning you two. Have you seen Lovi? I hate waking up alone, but he always says that waiting for someone to wake up is what sissies do."
"He's probably down at breakfast. Or he could be in the kitchens," Feliciano said brightly. "He likes to pester and flirt with the cooks... Ah, but he's probably only doing the pestering now," he amended.
The three of them went downstairs, to all see the sight of Lovino winking at the new girl cook, fiddling with the scarf around his neck. Antonio didn't even bat an eye, just walked up to him and wrapped his arms possessively around his waist from behind, resting his chin on the Italian's shoulder.
Lovino jumped in surprise and said something quick and sharp, to which Antonio replied in a voice too low for Ludwig and Feliciano to hear from the distance between them. Family members moved about at different speeds- some were slow and groggy, some lively, and nearly all cradled steaming mugs of coffee in their hands.
There was a large assortment of things to have for breakfast, most of it fairly sweet. Ludwig took a couple pieces of toast, and an orange, then tried to find somewhere to eat it. When Feliciano joined him, he had a plate of French toast, and strawberries.
"Come sit by me," Feliciano pleaded. When Ludwig began to protest, the Italian cut him off. "I don't care about Grandpa's arrangements. I want to sit with you."
He sighed, and looked around at all the people. Most weren't even sitting at the table, they were eating at the counter, or on the couch, he had also seen some go outside. Well, if he wouldn't be taking anyone's seat. Ludwig followed him and sat beside him, leaving room for Lovino and Antonio who were making their way over.
Feliciano was positively tickled to be seated in between his brother and his lover, and his good mood carried over. Lovino's complaints were cut down to half as frequent as usual, and on occasion, he seemed almost pleasant. For Lovino, that is.
Half way through breakfast, Lovino loosened his scarf, and Ludwig almost choked on his food as he saw the large dark hickey on his neck. Should he say anything? No, obviously the Italian must have known about it, or he wouldn't have worn the scarf. Right?
"It shouldn't be this hot so early in the morning," Lovino groused, and Feliciano grinned.
"You're just used to a different climate now."
"What the fuck ever," his brother said flippantly. "It's ridiculous. They must have turned the AC off last night or something."
Antonio grinned at him, seeming proud of the hickey. Did he not realize that Roma would see it as well? And, speak of the devil, the old man walked in right then and started walking over to them. Ludwig prepared himself for whatever he would say.
But before he could get a word in edgewise, Roma passed him, nearly leering at the spot on Lovino's neck where Antonio was stroking idly with his thumb. But, surprising everyone, he didn't say anything about it, and just kept walking to his own seat.
It seemed that the four of them let out simultaneous sighs of relief. If Roma didn't like Antonio, then Ludwig had no chance.
The day passed so achingly slowly as Ludwig waited on tenterhooks for Roma to approach him. Feliciano eventually gave up on trying to keep his attention and simply kept quietly at his side, stroking Ebony every so often and chatting with his family as they approached him. He finally let himself be pulled away by Lovino as the sun was setting after dinner, as the family milled around the gardens at the back of the estate overlooking an utterly beautiful horizon of sea, land, and sky. The air was thick with the scent of soil and wine, nearly everyone fitted with a glass in their hands.
Ludwig had quickly grown tired of the rich wines, but there wasn't a beer to be found in the whole place, so he had to settle with a scotch and water. This would be his last of the night, he decided, already feeling the fuzzy effects of the alcohol. He wasn't yet drunk, could still walk straight, and could think clearly. He was just a bit more relaxed, not standing quite as straight, and not feeling at all awkward standing by himself in one corner of the garden. He could see Feliciano from where he was, the boy smiling easily and talking with some relative or another.
A large, solid presence sauntered up beside him in front of a rosebush and lightly swirled the glass in front of him. "It's nice to see that you only have eyes for my boy," Roma said with that ever-present grin curled on his face.
Ludwig took a breath. This was it. He had to prove himself, because Roma was testing him now. So, flattery. "Yes. He is... the loveliest thing here. It is... your good genes that made him so beautiful. Not saying you are beautiful! You are, er... handsome." Inwardly, he wanted to bash his head against something. This was off to a terrible start.
Roma glanced at him and smirked. "He's a beautiful boy. My daughter saw to that. But he's had plenty of lovers who took him at face-value. You're losing points, my dear."
Oh. Shit. "I assure you, there are many other things I like about him! He talks a lot. Uh, that's a good thing I mean. He... well he..." How could Ludwig possibly describe why he liked Feliciano so much? Was he supposed to list everything? Because a lot of the things he liked about Feliciano, he couldn't really say. He liked that they clashed so much, he liked the way he was so indecent, he liked the way the brunet loved Ebony. But those things sounded ridiculous even to Ludwig.
But Roma's sigh said quite a lot about how the entire interrogation (was it that? that's how it felt) was going, and it was not at all in Ludwig's favor.
"I... like the way he... smells," Ludwig tried, because that sounded reasonable, didn't it? After all, a lot of human interaction was done subconsciously, and that included aroma.
Roma burst into laughter at that, and somehow it didn't make Ludwig feel any better. "Tell me," the elder said once he had sobered his mirth, "how did you and my youngest grandson get on?"
"Get... on? You mean how did we get together?" Good, a straightforward answer. "I raised Ebony, his seeing eye dog."
"Yes, yes, I know that," he said and waved a hand as if to brush away Ludwig's answer. "Feliciano has told me about you since the beginning. I mean, how did you and he become romantically involved?"
Alright, this should be easy. After all, he had been very courteous, taken him out to dinner and everything according to Feliciano's instruction. "We went out to dinner. I called him the next day, and we planned another date. So we went on a few dates like that." Oh no, the look Roma was giving him wasn't good.
"Forgive me," Roma said, his eyes rolling away from Ludwig and off into the vineyard like a dismissal. "I don't mean to make you nervous. I'm just wondering what exactly you do to keep my grandson's interest. He is a spontaneous, artistic child, and you are just so..." He sipped his wine. "Regiment."
That was one thing Ludwig couldn't answer, because he really didn't know either. "Would you like it more if I were like Francis? Or Antonio? Or like anyone else here besides me?" His voice was starting to get a bit of an edge to it. Yes, he questioned his own relationship all the time, but that didn't mean other people could do it.
"I would have had you dissuaded long ago if you were like Francis," Roma said flippantly, "and I believe there is no one quite like Antonio."
"No, because Antonio would be the perfect son-in-law. The fact is, I am not him, I am not any of you, and if you wish to know why Feliciano is still with me, then you should ask him, not me." He drank some of his scotch, between a sip and a gulp. Ludwig noticed that he was gripping the glass very tight, and tried to loosen it so he wouldn't break the glass.
Roma's deep brown eyes had drifted back to him, and a spark of interest flickered behind them. "No," he agreed, "you're not like us. Does that bother you? Do you wish you could better understand Feliciano?"
Ludwig glanced at him, trying to guess what Roma wanted him to say. "No. No one could really understand Feliciano, I think." That is what made everyone like him, the fact that he was never quite what anybody expected.
The corner of Roma's mouth lifted. "Have you given up trying, then?" he inquired.
"In a way. I don't want to know everything about Feliciano so quickly, because then there is nothing left to learn." This conversation wasn't going anywhere. He wasn't sure what Roma wanted him to say. He should have asked Antonio about this. Hopefully he could get out of this with his dignity intact.
The older man sighed then, and if it wasn't ludicrous enough already, he almost seemed to be pouting. "You really are no fun. It's extraordinary."
At that, Ludwig realized something. This was just a man. Why did it matter what he thought of Ludwig? Never before had he cared what people thought of him, besides Feliciano, so why should he be jumping around to try and please this man? He turned to face him fully, luckily they were on a hill and he was standing slightly above Roma, so it seemed like he had a height advantage. "No, I am not a very fun person. I don't make friends, I don't think I need friends. Until I met your grandson, I thought I didn't need anyone. But I love him, and you won't stop me from loving him." His blue eyes narrowed dangerously. "The only thing that matters is what he thinks. And I believe I'm through with seeking your approval now."
As soon as he was finished, Ludwig turned on his heel and marched straight over to Feliciano, placing a hand on his shoulder so he would know he was there. Craning his neck, he murmured into the Italian's ear. "When we get back, I will move in with you. I'll pay my part of the rent, and do all the cleaning. Will that work for you?"
The ladies surrounding them tittered excitedly and Feliciano's jaw dropped. "Y-yes, of course," he said after catching himself, "but Ludwig-"
"No buts." He took Feliciano's hand in his and pulling him for a hug. "I love you, and want to live with you." It had taken someone questioning his feelings about Feliciano to make him realize that things like having his own space or simple male pride didn't matter, and he didn't want to waste anymore time.
"O-okay!" Feliciano said, and Ebony snorted on the ground beside them, her face upturned and eyes alight at whatever had excited her master and trainer. Feliciano's hand gripped Ludwig's shirt. "Um, Ludwig, how much have you had to drink?"
He frowned, taking Feliciano's face in his hands. "I'm not drunk. I want this. It doesn't matter to me if your grandfather doesn't approve. He doesn't have to like me. All that matters is that you like me."
Feliciano's cheeks were hot under his palms and Feliciano drew a deep, shaken breath. "Okay," he said. "Oh Ludwig. Ludwig, I love you. I don't think I could ever not like you."
They kissed, Ludwig not caring that they were in the middle of the garden... That is, until Francis started clapping. Blue eyes wide, he looked around, just now realizing that almost every pair of eyes in the surrounding area was on them. Had they really made that much of a scene?
As he looked around, he saw Roma, who was smiling. It wasn't his calculating smile. Something about it was very genuine. He was happy that Ludwig had practically yelled at him, and kissed his grandson in front of the whole family? "Uh... maybe we should go inside..."
"Please," Feliciano half-whispered with his face pressed against Ludwig's neck.
They made their hasty retreat through the garden and back into the house, where Ludwig suddenly realized why Feliciano had felt so strongly about open windows as a child. It was just so cold in the big house with the artificial, cool air circulating through. The moment they made it up to their room, it was instantly more comfortable with the balcony doors open, letting in the thick evening air.
Ludwig looked over at him, and smiled. It was like lifting a weight off his shoulders, now that he didn't have to deal with Roma again, and he had decided to move in with Feliciano. It was such a nice feeling. He grabbed the Italian and wrapped his arms around his waist. "I will want my own bathroom, though. You always take so long in the morning."
"I wouldn't if you would come in with me," he replied cheekily, removing the dark spectacles from his face and setting them on a nearby dresser. "But you hardly ever let me do things to you in the morning. Of course you can have your own, but you've always been invited to share mine. Haven't you noticed I never close the door?"
He frowned then. "Yes, maybe we should talk about that..." But definitely not right now, not when Feliciano was in his arms, they were alone, and he was still feeling the effects of the alcohol in his blood. Ludwig bent his head for a kiss, closing his eyes.
They bumped noses and Feliciano didn't seem capable of containing his laughter, chuckling until his mouth finally found Ludwig's. He made a sound of surprised delight when familiar hands reached down and lifted him to his toes by the ass.
Someone laughed outside, and Ludwig remembered that the glass doors to the patio were still open, and normally Feliciano was fairly... vocal. "I'm gonna close the doors," he said, so that Feliciano would know, and went to shut them. He got the first one closed easily enough, but before he moved on to the second, Feliciano had come stand before him.
He had barely made sure the first was locked in place when an entitled hand molded itself around his cock in one mysteriously swift move, knocking the breath out of his lungs. Feliciano gave it a squeeze and let it go to grin and unbutton his tailor-fit trousers and letting them fall to the floor.
Ludwig ignored the door, went forward and started sucking on Feliciano's neck. Not enough to leave a mark (he wasn't as bold as Antonio), but enough for Feliciano to give a small moan, vibrating through his throat. The blond quickly started working on Feliciano's shirt buttons, wishing he had just worn a normal shirt that he could lift over his head.
Feliciano took that opportunity to find Ludwig's ear and murmured terrible, wonderful things while his hands made quick work of Ludwig's trousers and underwear. Before they were even halfway down Ludwig's thighs, nimble fingers had slipped beneath the cotton briefs and rolled the sensitive sac below Ludwig's aching cock.
A low moan, almost a growl, came out of Ludwig's throat. It hadn't taken Feliciano long to find out that he liked his balls played with, and he always used that to his advantage. To get him back, Ludwig grabbed him by the shoulders, spinning them around and pressing Feliciano against the nearest hard surface - the glass door. Ludwig slid down to his knees, his nose bumping with the hard cock now at eye level.
Feliciano gasped and his hips arched forward, eager and honest, and his fingers moved through Ludwig's hair. When Ludwig took the short, thick cock in his hand, Feliciano whimpered.
The first time he had tried to give oral had been a disaster. He had gagged, choked, and had accidentally bitten Feliciano a little. But since then he had gotten steadily better, and now he was able to take the Italian all the way to the base. Not one to spend time licking, Ludwig quickly wrapped his lips around the head, sucking it.
A groan was muffled against Feliciano's wrist and he closed his eyes, slowly rolling his hips forward. "L-Ludwig, more, I want you..."
He glanced around as much of the room as he could see, and spotted one of their bags within arms reach. Only taking his mouth off for a second, Ludwig grabbed it, then brought it back and once again wrapped his lips around Feliciano's member. It was lucky that he was good at multitasking, as he dug through the bag for some lube.
Feliciano responded immediately, shifting so that his thighs were spread farther apart. "T-this would be easier if you were standing," he breathed.
Ludwig reluctantly agreed, so he stood up, leaning against him. "Turn around," he said, although they both knew that it wasn't an order, not really, because Feliciano could easily say no. However, the Italian complied, pressing his hands flat against the chilled glass, his butt wiggling slightly. Heavy breathing frosted the glass.
He sighed when Ludwig pushed a slick finger inside, eager and ready for the second in record time. "Please, Ludwig," he nearly crooned, fingers digging for purchase on the wooden slates of the doors.
There was a warm mouth at his neck, then behind his ear as more fingers were worked into him. Soon they were being pulled out, and there were a few seconds wasted when Ludwig was sliding a condom on, but then he was being pushed into and nothing else mattered.
And Feliciano tightened around him just to hear Ludwig make that noise he didn't even think Ludwig knew he made, and he pressed his forehead against the warm glass, his breath hitching every time Ludwig slid further up inside him.
Ludwig put a hand on the glass beside Feliciano's head, the other one going on his hip. As the brunet adjusted, he moved faster, keeping a steady pace. He had never been as vocal as Feliciano, who was muttering, mostly to himself, but every once in a while there would be a plea for faster or harder or again. Ludwig was sure he heard some Italian in there, as well as a few swears that he had never heard him say outside of sex.
And of course, Ludwig's name. Over and over, reverently, sweetly, breathlessly. Love and affection and need. Feliciano turned until his temple was pressed against Ludwig's wrist and he pressed a kiss to his thumb as Ludwig fucked him thoroughly.
As Feliciano's mumblings grew in volume, and Ludwig got closer, he moved his hand from his hip to his cock, holding it right above the dark brown hair, just stroking the base for now. He moaned as Feliciano's entrance tightened around him, and almost lost it right then. But he managed to keep himself from coming, if just for a few more seconds.
"So close, Ludwig, I'm, please, please," Feliciano rambled, pushing back and throbbing against Ludwig's palm, "please!"
At that, he tightened his grip, stroking along the whole shaft, and brushing his thumb just under Feliciano's head. Almost immediately, he tensed, moaning and crying Ludwig's name, Ludwig following him into climax a second later.
If Ludwig hadn't caught him about the waist, Feliciano would have fallen. He panted raggedly against the window, shuddering as Ludwig pulled out. Somehow, in the time it took for his memory to grow hazy, Feliciano found himself tucked under the covers and pulled against Ludwig's chest, the only light in the room from the stars and the last, deep purple echoes of sunlight.
Feliciano woke slowly, and realized that Ludwig was no longer beside him. He could feel the warmth of sunlight, so it must have been morning. And... he could hear, squeaking? "Ludwig? What are you doing?"
"Cleaning the window," Ludwig said seriously, concentrating on his task.
Rubbing his eyes, Feliciano fell back, curling around the empty space beside him. "Stop cleaning," he pleaded. "Come back to bed."
Ludwig didn't, convinced there was still evidence of their activities on the window. But when Feliciano gave a long wine, he sighed, putting down the paper towel and Windex, and went back to the bed.
The Italian wrinkled his nose. "You smell funny," he said when one of Ludwig's hands came up to brush the hair from his face. He grinned when Ludwig pinched his nose and somehow convinced him to settle in for another hour of sleep.
People slowly started heading out for home that day, but they were staying for three more days. Ludwig had been a bit worried to go down for breakfast, which was by that time more like lunch, but Roma didn't seem to hold what happened the night before against him. In fact, he seemed happy about it, and actually smiled at the two of them when they came in for breakfast.
If possible, Feliciano's whole family seemed to breathe easier once their patriarch was in such a fine mood, and their earlier mild joviality turned to excitement in a heartbeat. Feliciano and Lovino adopted more celebratory persona's, and Antonio... well, Antonio was just always that happy.
Which left Ludwig trying to dodge people's warm hugs, or pats on the back, or in some cases (mostly Francis) kisses. He would have been worried, but he could tell that everyone was receiving this treatment, not just him. It didn't make him like it any better though. What was with these Italians... and Spaniards... and Frenchmen, and all of this physical contact? It just wasn't natural. So, by the fourth day of their stay, Ludwig didn't want to venture far away from his room.
Feliciano left him with kisses and promises to return early and disappeared that evening after dinner. To Ludwig's surprise, he truly did, returning not even two hours after leaving his side.
"Lovi and Antonio left for a trip to the coast. They didn't even say anything to me about it!" Feliciano complained, going to curl up against Ludwig.
"That's strange, Antonio hadn't mentioned it before. But I don't actually remember seeing them since Lovino ran from the table." He bookmarked his page, putting his book down so he could look at Feliciano. It was obvious he had had a few glasses of wine by the flush in his cheeks, but no where near the amount he had drunk that night so long ago.
Just enough to make him overtly cuddly, though. But that was nothing new. Feliciano curled against him, pressing kisses against his shoulder. "You don't have to stop reading," he murmured. "I'll be quiet."
"And we both know that won't happen." Not like he could truly concentrate on reading with Feliciano cuddling up to him, obviously wanting attention. Ludwig slid his arm around his shoulders, pulling him closer. "Tomorrow is our last day here, so make sure you get everything done that you want to do."
Feliciano sighed, tossing his glasses in the direction of the foot of the bed when they became a hassle, smushed against Ludwig's shoulder. "I think so," he said. "I didn't really plan on much else other than introducing you to Mama and Grandpa. And they like you, so it's even better than I had hoped."
Ludwig trailed a finger along Feliciano's fine jaw. "Well, I hope you have something planned for our last night here, at least." He gave a small smile, leaning in for a kiss.
Their plane was set to leave late in the evening, so they had most of the day for Feliciano to say goodbye to everyone, including his brother, who had finally come back from their mini vacation, as Lovino and Antonio planned to stay another day.
Once they had packed and were prepared to leave, Lovino found them in their room, shooting Ludwig a briefly annoyed glance for even existing before Feliciano found him in the doorway with a smile. "When will you next be on my side of the city?" he asked, reaching for Lovino's hands.
"Probably next Tuesday, I have a-"
"Lovi, what's this?"
When Ludwig glanced over, Lovino's face was burned a deep, dark scarlet. He ripped his hand out of Feliciano's grip, hiding it behind his back. "Don't know what you're talking about! You sure you're feeling alright? Must be drunk or something. Whatever, see you in a few days." Lovino quickly turned around to leave, but his hand was once again grabbed by his brother.
"Lovi, why are you wearing a ring? You don't wear rings. And it's on your left ring finger even! Lovi, that finger is for..." His voice trailed off and without his glasses on, his widening eyes were pointedly obvious. "L-Lovi, are you...?"
"Ha, as if! Just leave it alone, alright? So what, I thought I would try to wear a ring! I-I guess I put it on the wrong finger or something!" He took the ring off and subtly slipped it into his pocket.
Ludwig was busy packing, trying to not listen in on what was going on, when Antonio came in the room as well, hugging Lovino from behind. "There's my Lovi! Grandpa wanted to talk about the wedd-" But he stopped as he slipped his hands in Lovino's pockets, like he always did, and pulled out the ring. "Lovi! How could you? You are supposed to wear this forever and always!"
Feliciano cried out and tackled his brother in a hug, his arms wrapping around both Lovino and Antonio. He laughed and congratulated them fervently, planting kisses all over his brother's face. "You should have told me!" he pouted, firmly attached to Lovino's front. "But you told Grandpa first?"
The older brother was glaring at Antonio. "No I didn't, this idiot had to go and show him the ring beforehand! Can you believe that? And we weren't gonna tell anyone else till we got back home," he grumbled, frowning as he slipped the ring back on.
"That's so... old-fashioned, Antonio." Feliciano grinned. "But I bet Grandpa liked it. Aaah, you should have told me right after! Well... not right after." His grin turned a bit catty, and if possible, Lovino's face grew even redder.
Antonio laughed at that. "Yeah, we wouldn't have been able to tell you for a while." He smirked until Lovino punched him in the shoulder.
"I can still change my mind you know, damn bastard." He crossed his arms and turned back to him brother. "Well, now you know. Just don't get too hyped up about it, it's not a big deal. Not like we're gonna have a baby or some shit." He rolled his eyes.
There was a gasp from behind him. "Oh Lovi, that's a wonderful idea! We should adopt a kid!"
Lovino spluttered indignations and Feliciano agreed wholeheartedly. "Lovi would make a wonderful papa, don't you think, Antonio?" he said with a wide and happy smile.
"Yes! He would be wonderful! Oh Lovi, once we are married, we just have to look into adoption." He grabbed Lovino in a hug, spinning him around a bit, the Italian struggling in his arms.
When Feliciano bid them a final farewell, he kissed both Lovino and Antonio on the cheeks. "Have a safe flight home," he urged, "and come visit me the moment you're back. There's so much to plan! Don't let Grandpa do it all, okay? I want to help."
Lovino was pouting, but Antonio assured him that there would still be plenty to plan when they got home. Ludwig picked up both their suitcases, and walked with Feliciano out to the waiting car. "I am glad for them. I hope it all works out."
"As long as Antonio is good to Lovi, and no one has to rearrange his face," Feliciano responded with optimism, letting Ebony jump into the car before he slid in.
They buckled in and the car pulled away. "You really think that your Grandpa would attack him if he was bad to Lovino?" That seemed a little harsh.
"Oh, Ludwig," Feliciano laughed. "Grandpa would destroy him. But don't tell him that- he shouldn't want to stay with Lovi just to avoid being ended."
Ludwig's eyes were a bit wider than normal, and he grew silent for the rest of the drive to the airport. Once on the plane, he tried to accept the fact that they were once again in first class, but it was just weird for Feliciano's Grandfather to be spending so much on a flight for them.
He was nearly on the verge of becoming nervous about the entire situation as the plane took off, over-thinking the matter at an alarming speed, but after a short time, an auburn head fell against his shoulder, sound asleep. Ludwig sighed, sharing a look with the dog at their feet.
Whatever was waiting for him, it was probably worth it.
Well, that marks the end of this little story. But there is a side story, called More Than Attraction, about Lovino and Antonio. Here's the link, just take out the spaces. ht tp:/w ww .fanfiction. net/s/7876242/1/More_Than_Attraction