This is the last chapter, enjoy!
The water is warm as piss and tastes about the same. Lovino flails his limbs around frantically and spits out water, very, very painfully aware that he's a soft unprotected body amidst what is going to be a spectacular collision.
Amidst fear and fury, he is only vaguely aware of the splashing waves, wood thudding against wood, Feliciano's yelling, another man's deeper-pitched bellows and then finally a pair of gentle hands wrapping around his wrists and hauling him out of the water.
"No harm done," Feliciano says with a cheerful smile and plucks a strand of algae out of Lovino's hair. "We didn't do any damage to Sandro's boat. His passengers were very angry but he told them the collision is part of the show! Now they've got an exciting story to tell at home and your dive is the best part of it! That nice Danish lady promised to send me the pictures she made, isn't that wonderful?"
Lovino is long since convinced that his brother has been dropped on the head when he was a baby. This is just another point for his list, but that does nothing to decrease his incredulity. "The bastard tried to kill me!"
Feliciano doesn't even blink. "His gondola is bigger. Bigger gondolas have priority."
"That's… that's… that a fucking stupid rule!"
"Ve," Feliciano says, looking comically surprised as if such a thing had never occurred to him. Which it probably hasn't, knowing him and his stupidity.
Feliciano ignores the insult in favor of eyeing him expectantly. "Aren't you going to take back the oar?"
"Fuck you." Lovino shoots him a disgusted glare as he peels off his algae-covered shirt. Not that it's going to do much good; he's soaked from head to toe. "I've had it with your fucking driving lesson!"
His brother tilts his head to the side and utters a bewildered coo. "So you're going to give up?"
Lovino's jaw drops in helpless outrage. "I… I'm not…" He exhales noisily, balls up his shirt and throws it at Feliciano's face. "Fuck you!"
"Littering the canals isn't nice," Feliciano chirps as he hands back the oar.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll light another candle in the church."
Feliciano opens his mouth as if he's next going to berate him for making fun of the church, he's such a fucking Boy Scout today, but then he closes it again with a snap and retreats to the comfortable bench.
Lovino wipes off his glibbery hands on his equally glibbery pants and grasps the oar in a death grip. He scowls at the stupid fork thing, silently daring it to cause him anymore trouble. Feliciano loves his brother more than his boat. He would forgive him for setting it on fire… eventually.
When the frequency of his mishaps reduces it might be a sign he's finally gotten the hang of gondola steering, but Lovino prefers to believe that the boat has been cowed into submission.
Half an hour later, Lovino feels as if he'd been doing a week of push-ups under Germany's command.
"I'm thirsty!" Feliciano chirps. "Let's take a break at the café over there!"
Lovino gives Feliciano a questioning look, his brother responds with nothing but a blithe smile. Feliciano had brought a picnic basket full of foodstuffs and drinks. Lovino is so grateful he could cry.
He surrenders the rame graciously to Feliciano for the docking maneuver and then grumbles some more about his clothes being utterly ruined while his brother navigates them into the narrow space between two huge gondolas.
They get a bottle of soda each and retreat to the gondola, legs swinging over the edge of the boat as they dangle their bare feet in the water. The water's disgusting and dirty, but after that involuntary bath Lovino figures he can't get any dirtier.
"Ve…" Feliciano sounds far too casual for it not to set off every single warning bell in Lovino's head. "What are we going to do tomorrow?"
"I don't care what you do," Lovino grumbles, ducking his head to hide his red cheeks, "but I'm taking your boat!"
There is a moment of stunned silence, then a whoop and a pair of arms squeezing him as if he were a teddy bear. "This is going to be the best vacation ever! And tomorrow I'll teach you to sing my gondolier songs, too!"
Lovino Vargas would never wear the costume, nor would he sing any dumbass songs. Not this year, anyway.
But whoever says that he isn't the best gondolier Venice has ever seen gets a kick in the shins.