I'm posting this quite late and I haven't really been sleeping/eating much lately so I apologise if I have made a lot of errors, my vision isn't fantastic right now :') Enjoy!
Lovino stood in front of the inexplicably imposing wooden door, willing himself to knock. He took a deep breath, but couldn't bring himself to do it. He tried counting down from ten, but by the time zero came he was still stood, motionless. All the confidence and bravado was knocked out of him, and he stood like a child waiting to be punished before the seemingly innocent front door.
"Come on Lovino, stop being a pussy and do it…" He mumbled to the door, raising his fist and preparing to knock. The sudden bang of it hitting the door made him jump, having not remembered making the command to knock. He did it again, and waited. Nothing. He knocked a few times in succession. Not a sound. He could have cried, no one was home. Hitting the path with his cane in frustration, he turned on his heel and marched away from the house.
With nothing left to do, he just walked around for a little while. He didn't really feel like going home, or to school, and had nothing else left to do. After some time of aimless wandering, he decided he'd visit his mother and grandfather's memorial, he felt he owed them an apology. With that in mind he went to the florist to get some flowers for them both.
The lady at the till in the florist was pretty and very friendly, and seemed impressed by his knowledge of the different meanings for flowers. After a short discussion on whether a lot of flowers seemed too flashy, Lovino decided on something simple and bright for them each. With reservations about whether he was ready for the trip, he walked hesitantly to the memorial, the two flowers wrapped together in a bag clutched under his non-cane wielding arm.
A metal railing had been built around the edge of the cliff in the time Lovino had been away, and attached to it were a mass of new cards and flowers for his mother and grandfather, even a couple of well-meaning comments for Feliciano. Lovino's name was not among the sickeningly sweet poems, or well-meaning but utterly emotionless wishes of goodwill. He knew it wouldn't be, what kind of son drives through his own mother's memorial? There was something out of place, however, which caused Lovino to kneel before the memorial. A tomato plant, placed near the very edge of the cliff. Lovino couldn't tell whether that was to give it access to the sun, or whether the previous owner intended for it to fall. What he did know was that it didn't belong there. "Colin? Why would he leave you here?" He asked himself, putting his cane down with his flowers and climbing awkwardly over some of the memorial gifts to get to it.
"Lovino?" A worried voice called to him as the Sicilian was half-way over the railing and close to reaching the plant.
"Si?" He asked, turning to face a concerned and slightly angry looking Francis.
"You're not thinking of jumping again, are you?" He moved closer, perhaps preparing to stop Lovino from whatever he thought he was doing.
Lovino's back burned at the comment, and he couldn't help but to spare a look down the face of the cliff. Jagged rock protruded from the vertical surface, able to shred a man's skin with little difficulty. "No. I try not to think like that anymore." He answered, "Besides, I know it won't work." He continued to stare down the length of the cliff. Hands clasped his upper arm tightly, making the Sicilian jump as the Frenchman was suddenly right there.
"I still cannot risk it, I hope you understand." Lovino stared at Francis, wanting to feel annoyed and the man, but he had a right to be nervous. Plus, the gesture was nice, something Lovino was not used to. It warmed him in a way which felt bizarre, to have someone care about whether he was alive or not.
Lovino gestured to the rather dry looking plant. "He left it there, I want to get it." Francis knew who he was, as Antonio had been the one to make Francis put it there. Nodding, the Frenchman leaned over and picked up the potted plant.
"I'll carry it over for you." He said softly, noticing the way Lovino couldn't bend one of his legs.
Once they had reached an area Francis had deemed a safe distance away from the cliff, he passed Colin to Lovino and released his arm. "Your leg," he asked, indicating the metal cane Lovino had retrieved and walked with, "Is it serious?" Lovino shook his head in response, shifting the pot in his arms.
"No, it's just going to take some time to heal. At worst I'll have a minor limp for the rest of my life, but even then it shouldn't be noticeable." He repeated mechanically, showing how many times he'd heard that phrase in the past few months.
"Young Mr Beilschmidt will be happy; you won't be in his classes anymore." Francis joked and Lovino smiled in agreement. An odd look came over Francis' face as he admired the young Italian.
"Stop staring, it's creepy." Said Lovino, avoiding eye-contact with the leering Frenchman.
"I don't think I've ever seen you smile." Francis said
"Shut up! It's not that big of a deal." Lovino replied, turning his face away to hide.
"You're cute when you smile." Lovino's head snapped back to glare at Francis, going very red very quickly.
"Don't say things like that to me, you creepy French bastard!" Francis laughed at the younger man's anger, dodging swatting hands to pet his soft hair patronisingly. Lovino shoved him off and they stood beside each other in silence for a while.
"I tried to come by your place earlier." Lovino started, looking conspicuously away from Francis. Francis made an 'oh' of response and Lovino nodded. "Yeah, I knocked but no one was home." Francis hummed in disagreement, someone was always home.
"You wanted to see Antonio?" Lovino nodded. "He doesn't answer the door." The brunette huffed and glared at a random point in the distance and Francis groaned. "I know you want to see him, but it wouldn't be fair to just let you in. He doesn't like people these days."
Lovino pursed his lips and then relaxed, turning to face Francis. "Then don't let me in." He suggested, "I'll come by later and you just need to bring him to the door. I just want to speak to him." Lovino raised his hands defensively. Francis looked torn for a few seconds, before finally conceding in an argument he knew he could never win.
"I have a few things to do in town, come by this evening. I have a date tonight at 8, come by before then so I know whether or not it's okay to leave him alone. I am trusting you to not fuck this up, Lovino." His warning was harsh and spoken with a cold edge to it. There was a definite threat there. Francis stepped away from Lovino, maintaining eye-contact for a few seconds longer than necessary before walking quickly away.
About half six found Lovino stood nervously outside the Frenchman's door again. However, this time it was with a sense of bitterness that he hammered against the wood with the cane. The unmistakable sounds of metal on wood brought a vague sense of movement from within the house. The evening air was colder than Lovino was used to, and it made him feel even more impatient.
Eventually Lovino heard the sounds of the door being unlocked from the other side, but it took the person a few moments to actually open it. Slowly it edged open to reveal a yellowish zombie-like figure with messy, tangled brown hair and dark, dull eyes. There was a space of time where the two just stood, staring at each other in confusion and horror. Suddenly Antonio seemed to realise who was standing before him as he immediately tried to slam the door closed. Lovino reacted quickly, throwing himself at the other side of the door. Unfortunately, weeks spent on a terrible hospital diet had left Lovino no less emaciated than what used to be Antonio on the other side of the door. In fact, his leg gave him a disadvantage as it was the leg he had leaning on the wood as the two pushed.
"Antonio, Antonio stop I just want to talk to you!" The Spaniard kept pushing like a man possessed, Lovino pushed back but was losing. "Antonio! Please, Toni…Toni you're hurting me!" The sudden halting of pressure on the other side of the door took the Italian by surprise and he ended up falling into the house. Lovino managed to regain his balance, and when he had he turned to look at the pitiful form still clutching to the door.
"You look like shit." That was an understatement. Antonio looked clean, but like he was wasting away. If depression could be personified, Lovino was pretty sure that he was looking at its human form. "Toni, when was the last time you went outside? Hell when was the last time you ate?" Antonio didn't respond, didn't move or even look at Lovino. He really was pitiful. The Italian pried the door from Antonio's cold fingers and shut it, standing in front of the older man.
"You're here." It was said so quietly that Lovino almost didn't hear it.
"Si, I am here."
Lovino nodded, wanting desperately to reach out and touch the older man to make sure he was really there, but he didn't want to scare him off. "I am fine. Absolutely fine." Antonio fell forward onto the Italian, clutching to him with a strength that didn't match his near weightlessness. "Come on idiot, let's go sit down." Despite how light Antonio was, Lovino's leg complained at the added weight, so he awkwardly made his way to Francis' stylishly furnished sitting room.
They made it to the sofa without incident and it was with relief that Lovino sat down. "You look pathetic Toni; surely Francis knows French portions are not nearly big enough for a normal sized person. I spent so long teaching you to cook too, what a waste." He joked, despite his deep concern for the man's welfare. Antonio looked like he was trying to smile, but he just looked too ill for something like that. "I'm going to get you a drink and a sandwich, both of which you will consume or else I will be pissed. When you're done we will talk." The Italian felt the need to leave the older man's presence for a while. He didn't know what he was expecting to find, but it wasn't that.
When Lovino left for the kitchen, Antonio wrapped his arms around himself, cold now the warmth that Lovino brought him had gone.
Lovino returned quickly with a glass of water and a sandwich with cheese and lettuce, cut into small portions to make it easier to eat. Antonio drank the water easily, but only ate about half of the sandwich. Deciding the other wouldn't eat any more, Lovino cleared his throat. Antonio looked up at him expectantly, but Lovino found he had nothing to say. Everything he had planned to ask the other man fled his mind, he couldn't think. Before he could panic too much, Antonio interrupted. "You look good, Lovi." That name. It used to frustrate him no end, but now… Lovino had spent months lying in a hospital bed wishing he could hear it again. It warmed him more than he would ever admit.
"Thank you." He replied, feeling like he shouldn't point out that compared to Antonio, anything would look good, even if he wanted to. "You look like you haven't seen daylight in months."
"That's because I haven't."
Lovino gave him a disapproving sideways glance, wanting him to go on. He didn't. The silence was awkward again, neither knew what to say.
"Why did you come here Lovino?" He hated that. He didn't want 'Lovino' in that cold, irritated voice. He wanted 'Lovi' back with deep, velvety Spanish tones that warmed his heart.
"I wanted to apologise…for your car." He said pathetically, and Antonio balked.
"What?" Antonio's voice was like ice, Lovino knew he'd said something very wrong.
"What do you mean 'what'?" He replied defensively. Antonio's face and neck flushed in outrage.
"You think I give a fuck about my car? Lovino you could have died! I nearly…I could have lost you. My car means nothing to me, you fucking idiot!" His accent was so strong it was almost tricky to make out what he was saying. "You nearly died!" Rage that had been suppressed since the accident turned to desperate misery; the Spaniard sobbed and grabbed Lovino by the sides of his face, resting his forehead on the younger man's. "I nearly…You nearly died…" He kept repeating, sobbing into Lovino's hair. The Italian awkwardly stroked the older man's sides and back, gently 'shushing' him.
"I am sorry, Antonio. I am so sorry." He repeated it again in Spanish, rubbing the back of Antonio's neck as he continued to sob into his hair; it was all he could think to say. He was overcome with a sense of guilt for having judged Antonio so harshly, he felt his own tears welling up. He bit his lip and wrapped both his arms around the Spaniard, noticing how thin his stomach was now. He held the crying man as tightly as he could from his awkward position.
"Look at me, I'm a mess." Antonio joked weakly, pulling back and wiping the tears from his face. Lovino laughed and nodded a little bit.
"Yeah, you are." He joked. "Seriously though Antonio, you do need to take better care of yourself. Even Mr Wang misses you!" They both let out a 'mature' snigger at that. "You even might get fired if you don't return soon."
Antonio's face fell and he hugged himself. "I'll probably get fired anyway, now that you're here."
A concerned look took over Lovino's face, "What do you mean?" Antonio tried very hard to avoid Lovino's gaze. "Antonio, what the fuck is going on?"
The Spaniard opened and closed his mouth a few times, he looked terrified. "I-I don't…please. It's nothing. I didn't mean it, so forget I said anything."
"Why are you getting fired, Toni? What has it got to do with me?" Antonio clenched his eyes shut, wishing he could rewind time.
"I was threatened. They told me, if I saw you, they would get me fired." Lovino frowned, suddenly understanding why he had been abandoned.
"You're being blackmailed? By who?" He demanded, grabbing the Spaniard's chin to force eye-contact as the man tried to turn his head away.
"Stop it Lovino! I don't want you to get involved." Antonio tried to wrestle his face free of Lovino's grasp, without success.
"I was involved when I spent months of my life in a hospital bed thinking that you hated me!" Antonio bit his lip, his face contorted in pain.
"Lovino please forgive me, but I can't-"
Lovino began to wonder who it could be. It would have to be someone who knew him and cared enough about Antonio to get involved. Francis was ruled out because he almost invited Lovino in, that only left his other friend.
"Was it Gilbert? I heard from Feliciano that he'd disappeared, but I didn't think even he would…" It was impossible not to notice the flinch that ran through Antonio's body.
"Not…no, please dear God not him. Not my brother…?"
Antonio opened his mouth a few times, but no sound came out. More importantly for Lovino, no denial came. "That bastard!" Lovino stood quickly, grabbing his cane menacingly, rage pumping through his body. His blood felt cold with it.
"Lovino, where are you going?" Antonio called out to a retreating Lovino.
"I'm going to find my brother, and beat the shit out of him."
Oresama returns! OTL
I have had the worst few months :( basically, I had a miscarriage recently, and with all the health crap I just kinda hit this huge low :/ writing was waaaaay out of the question
However I started feeling better, and I decided to work through this chapter, and it has kindof rekindled my love of writing! This makes me very happy ^-^ So I shall try to update soon!
Thank you so much to all those who have stuck with this story! You guys are amazing! Hope your Halloween/Bonfire nights kicked ass!
I love you all so much~
Reviewers get a virtual kiss on the cheek! (or brofist if you'd prefer)
Have you guys started asking about Christmas presents yet? ;) I've asked for some cosplay stuff~ if all goes to plan I'll be wandering around as Link for no good reason! :D
Hope you enjoyed the update!