Content Advice: Human names used. Beware Lovino's potty mouth and my fail!seafaring knowledge.
Notes: I've never been to Venice, let alone steered a gondola. I hope I got it right, but if I didn't, tell me. Just in case, if you ever end up steering a gondola don't use this story as a how-to guide xD


Gondolas for Beginners

First of all, one thing has to be made perfectly clear: Lovino Vargas isn't scared of boats. Nor is he scared of water or fish, no matter what his fool of a brother thinks.

He is the personification of South Italy and Italians have been using ships longer than he exists. They are a fucking maritime country. Look it up in the encyclopedia if you don't believe him!

Actually, right now, Lovino Vargas finds himself wishing he had an encyclopedia, a large and heavy one. He would throw it at Feliciano's head, Feliciano would squeak, topple into the dirty water of Venice's channels if he was really lucky and it would be glorious.

"Ve~ but fratello's such a good swimmer! You have nothing to worry about!"

Feliciano looks ridiculous in the cheesiest Venetian gondolier costume he has ever seen, the likes of which he didn't even know exists outside of third-rate Hollywood movies. It would cheer him up, if he weren't holding up an identical costume in Lovino's size in one hand – and an oar in the other.

Lovino glares at him with the hateful force of a thousand suns, but of course Feliciano is immune to it. Idiot's too stupid to realize he's supposed to shrivel up and die, that's how stupid he is. "I'm not fucking scared!" he grinds out between clenched teeth and crosses his arms in front of his chest. He's not doing it. He's not.

"Please? Try it for me? Just once? If you don't like it, I'll never ever again ask you to do anything for me!"

Lovino narrows his eyes at the ridiculous promise. "You never last longer than five minutes."

"Awww Roooomaaaanooo!"

His spine stiffens in dread. Great, Feliciano's on to the whining stage, complete with teary huge puppy eyes and trembling bottom lip.

They are gaining an audience, too. There are tourists gathering around them, shooting pictures of his dumb brother and snickering at their argument. Lovino suddenly finds himself wishing he had taken the oar – it would be handy to beat them off with.

"You never do anything with me! I just want to spend some time with fratello…"

Lovino clenches his jaw. It's not going to work. It's not. Watch how it's not working, so save yourself the trouble of shedding crocodile tears, you manipulative little…

"But I won't wear the clown suit!"

Five minutes later, he finds himself on the death trap which sways and moves under his feet in ways boats aren't supposed to move.

Mind you, gondolas were created by a people whose collective intelligence amounts to Feliciano's. That explains everything. Lovino will never understand how he managed to bring forth great, sensible minds like the Medici or Machiavelli.

Yet deep, deep down Lovino knows he should humor Feliciano and truly, that is the only reason he hasn't taken the oar and bashed in his skull with it. Not quite yet, anyway.

The summer months are Feliciano's turn in the limelight.

In the 151 years since their unification, they have created many traditions, some of them well-loved, others well-hated. They disagree on the labeling of quite a few.

A constant point of contention is where and how they spend the time they don't spend in Rome. They have many houses all over Italy, at least one in each of the 20 regions, but sometimes Lovino thinks it would be easier if they restricted themselves to Rome. Not that he would ever want to do that, he would go on a rampage if he couldn't escape their nagging bosses.

As a rule of thumb, they spend the warmer half of the year predominantly in northern Italy. This gets a "not that bad" from Lovino, which translates to "the best thing since pasta!" in Feliciano's vocabulary. Even he can appreciate Feliciano's share of the Alps when he isn't freezing his balls off – obviously the best part of the Alps on virtue of being Feliciano's rather than some potato eater's or pervert's. Tuscany is fucking beautiful when it isn't crawling with tourists. This doesn't stop him from whining and complaining that his baby brother is too much of a wimp to take a little bit of southern heat.

Nevertheless, Lovino is a good sport about it.

For fair is fair and when the weather turns colder and wetter up north, Feliciano takes pity on him. That is when they move south. Lovino has a particular fondness for Naples, while Feliciano loves their rustic Basilicata cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Basilicata inspires him to landscape painting. Feliciano being inspired to landscape painting means that Lovino will be trudging along for hours up and down the damn Apennines, carrying a shitload of painting supplies, while Feliciano frolics about, searching for a piece of rock to immortalize. It will inevitably end up looking like every other rock he had rejected for not being sufficiently rock-like. Yes, Lovino holds a grudge against the Apennines and he's not apologizing. If he wants to hate his own fucking spine, he has every damn right to do so!

It is lively, crowded Naples Lovino enjoys and he would never admit it, but half the fun is sharing it with Feliciano. "Look, it's Castel Nuovo!" Feliciano chirps every time they pass by it. Every single time, as if he hasn't seen it a hundred thousand times already, as if he doesn't damn well live in Naples. He will coo over the stupid palace and over every single church and statue and park until Lovino is spitting curses at him in a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that his face is glowing with pride and embarrassment.

And… well… maybe all that mountaineering in the Apennines isn't all that horrible either, for at some point Feliciano will inevitably throw himself into his arms, kiss his cheeks and exclaim, "You are beautiful, Romano!"

Yes, Feliciano has made winter Lovino's favorite time of the year and for that, he deserves that Lovino makes him feel good about his half of the country, too.

Lovino Vargas simply draws the line at gondolas.

It's too bad Feliciano Vargas disagrees.

To be continued...