Title: Second Best isn't so Bad
Summary: Romano was the black sheep, the outcast, the loner, the evil twin who was cynical about love. He only gets worse when the guy he fell in love with marries his gentle twin brother…but things look up when he is comforted by an unexpected an unexpected blonde German who's had his eye on him for a while.
A/N: Yeah I'm going there so what of it? I just so happen to like characters who are unloved and it's about time Romano gets the girl…or guy. This fic is dedicated to those who love Germano.
Lovino Vargas might be cynical about life and more recently about love, but even he normally enjoyed a good wedding. Today's affair had been an exception. The invitation had requested the presence of "close friend and family." Lovino wondered if he was the only one in the group to notice the irony.
The bride's family, Lovino included, were heavily estranged because it seemed that the family enjoyed Feliciano more they enjoyed Lovino…and they never failed to remind him of that…which was why the wedding looked beautiful…so beautiful it nearly made Lovino puke.
And what made matters worse was that the house he once shared with his brother was the site of the wedding, the landmark house in Italy…a rather good-looking mansion with everything that a large family needed and was now owned by the groom, Antonio…and his bride Feliciano Vargas.
Come to think of it, the irony of the situation might be the only thing Lovino had enjoyed about this day. He had held a romantic torch for the Spaniard but now…now he was forced to watch the man he loved marry his ditz of a brother who had been too nice to turn down Antonio's public proposal.
Yes…Feliciano was too nice for his own good. Feliciano loved everyone and would shed tears for an unfortunate stranger in a heartbeat. Feliciano was everyone's pride and joy, Lovino was second best, Feliciano was a talented painter, Lovino only knew how to work a camera, Feliciano was an amazing cook, Lovino could only make a few gourmet foods and they always fucking burned…
Feliciano was everything and Lovino…was nothing.
And in their only little ways the Vargas family constantly reminded him of his inferiority. Mrs. Vargas would smile and cuddle the bubbly Italian, Mr. Vargas (a strict Catholic) didn't preach at Feliciano for marrying a male Spaniard, and Grandpa took him to every art museum while his oldest grandson remained at home.
Everyone loved Feliciano…
And when Antonio proposed to him in front of everyone at dinner, Feliciano hesitated…but then he happily accepted.
The applause that night was deafening.
Everyone clapped for the couple except for Lovino who had quickly grabbed a bottle of wine and left the room knowing full well that his twin didn't love Antonio. He didn't love him…he accepted out of pity and to be nice.
Lovino both pitied and hated Antonio for wasting his money on a wedding that wasn't really based on love. It was a fucking pity wedding…and who knew how long they would stay together.
Life as Lovino knew it…was rotten
And so with a broken heart and a bruised ego Lovino dragged himself to the wedding and allowed himself the pleasure to slump into a seat in an isolated area and drink another glass of wine. He hated this wedding...no fuck that he hated ALL weddings.
That and Ludwig Beilschmidt, the muscular blonde German sipping beer across the lush green grass of the backyard.
Where was a gun when he needed it?
Ludwig Beilschmidt, the unfortunate victim who was forced to become best friends forever with Feliciano. He was also the brother of Gilbert Beilschmidt, an albino red-eyed asshole who was best friends with Antonio and called himself "Awesome" constantly.
Ludwig was also a sexy bastard who both frustrated Lovino and brought out the true ugly in him.
And the last thing he needed was for the taller man to make small talk with him. He didn't hate the potato eater…he just really, REALLY disliked being around the perfect blonde who was a goody two shoes all the way. Ludwig graduated from high school with loads of scholarships, then completed his studies and graduated from college with flying colors before becoming the new chief of police, oh and he also lived with his brother in a nice house with three dogs.
Ludwig never had a ticket, he never got fired from a job, he never got into a brawl,...he never even had a fucking cavity!
He was...he was perfect...and likeable...just like Feliciano.
One of the things Lovino also couldn't stand about the blonde was the fact that he took everything so damn seriously and believed that rules made one's life organized. If someone even breathed the wrong way they would face the German's screaming fury and a night in the slamme
And Feliciano…an Italian who was clumsy and cried a lot managed to single-handedly make the German soften towards him. Lovino on the other hand was not so lucky and was often ignored by the blonde…or stared at…a little too intensely.
Biting back a curse, Lovino turned away and his gaze fell on Feliciano, his perfect twin whose luck seemed to have done a one eighty since he'd dropped out of college and inherited Grandpa Roma's five-star Italian restaurant. Lovino had worked his ass off to own the place and now it was given to his idiot brother who would probably hire the wrong people.
But...Lovino couldn't deny Feliciano's skill for planning lavish events.
Feliciano had chosen the perfect day for a wedding. Though early October, the temperature had hiked into the low seventies, enabling him to have the wedding outdoors. Feliciano stood with his arm around his "husband", Antonio, talking to an excited Hungarian who had helped plan the wedding. Even Elizabeta, the sharpest woman Lovino had ever known was caught up in Feli's spell.
Sighing, he glanced at his watch and decided his time here was over. The bride and groom were married, cake served, bouquet thrown. He finished what remained of his wine, placed the glass on a passing waitress's tray, and headed toward the house to get his things and leave.
"Leaving so soon?" a familiar voice asked.
Oh hell no.
"The festivities are over potato breath." He turned around to face the man who'd hijacked his thoughts just moments before.
Ludwig, his hair was slicked back as usual, soft blonde hair that would have looked even better if it was down for once, stood close to him with a glass mug full of beer. His warm, inviting scent enveloped the rude Italian in heat. Despite how drunk he looked...Ludwig still looked just as stylish as ever.
Lovino was a man who valued his personal space. Ludwig was a man who pushed past boundaries when he had enough beer in his system. Yet for some reason Lovino couldn't fathom, he lacked his usual desire to find safer ground and yell at the German.
"The band is still playing," Ludwig pointed out.
"Tch! No one will realize I'm gone."
Or care. His leaving would probably ease any tension his presence created. Everyone knew that he had a crush on Antonio…even Feliciano knew.
"I would." Ludwig gazed at the Italian with perceptive blue eyes. Intelligent blue-colored eyes that seemed to see beyond the indifferent, grumpy facade Lovino presented to the world. One he thought he'd perfected at six-years old, when his parents stopped loving the twins equally and began to dote on Feliciano more.
"Why do you care?" he asked, a snarl decorating his sullen features. It would be smart if he walked away now with his dignity intact but for some reason he felt like venting. "You've been dick-sucking my brother ever since he started hanging out with your stiff ass so why the hell would you fucking care?"
Instead of returning the insults or even responding to them, Ludwig shrugged, a sexy lift of one shoulder that drew Lovino's attention to the muscles that were rippling underneath his clothes.
"Because you seem as out of place here as I am." Ludwig paused. "Except you're not a stranger to this family."
Out of place. That one comment summed up his entire existence lately. How had that damn German figured him out when no one else ever could?
"…I need to leave," Lovino mumbled, immediately uncomfortable.
What you need is to relax," Ludwig countered, and stopped him with one hand on the Italian's shoulder. "Allow me to dance with you." He playfully tugged on the horrified Lovino's tie.
How many drinks did this stuck-up bastard have?
Resisting the urge to punch the son of a bitch and cause a scene Lovino glanced over to where the rest of the family gathered next to the dance floor, hoping that someone would see this and stop this madness. "Let me go Kraut breath! I'm fucking tired and I don't want for us to be the talk of this damn family!"
"If you don't want anyone to see us so badly then just keep quiet and follow my lead." Placing the mug of beer down, Ludwig grabbed his hand and led him a little roughly to the far side of the house beneath an old weeping willow tree.
Lovino could still hear the slow music, but he could no longer see the dance floor, and whoever was out there couldn't see them. Ludwig tightened his hold on Lovino's hand, and he realized he'd better take control or he'd be letting the drunk blonde fall into Mrs. Vargas's rose bushes.
He allowed Ludwig to wrap an arm around his waist and without further ado the two swayed to the sultry sound of the music coming from the band.
A slight breeze blew through the long dripping branches of the tree. Lovino shivered and reluctantly eased his body closer to the German's, obviously in need of warmth.
Ludwig inched his large hand up his back. "Cold?" he asked in a gruff voice as the Italian's heat and scent wrapped around him in a way that his tipsy mind couldn't understand…but damn it all he'd been waiting for this…waiting for the day that Lovino would finally stop yelling at him long enough to actually talk normally to him and allow himself to be touched.
"No…I'm not cold anymore."
Lovino slowly looked into those blue to discover an awareness that matched his own and before he knew what was happening, Ludwig glanced down and caught sight of his lips. As they moved together to the music, warning bells rang in the Italian's head, but nothing could have stopped him from preventing Ludwig's mouth to settle on his own.
The first touch was electric, a heady combination of beer, wine, and longing.
And at the moment…Lovino knew why the German always lingered around whenever Feliciano brought him over, why he always stared at him instead of conversing with the bubbly Italian…
…it all made fucking perfect sense.
The potato bastard had the hots for him!
And goddamn him his lips were soft and giving, and he wasn't sure how long their mouths lingered in a chaste kiss they both knew was anything but.
Lovino's entire body came alive, reminding him of what he'd been missing in the two years since the Spaniard he loved fell for his perfect twin brother. That this German could awaken him both surprised, infuriated, and unnerved him.
It made him…want to feel more.
Hesitantly, he trailed his hand up to the soft skin of Ludwig's neck and ran his fingers through the soft blonde hair, pulling him down to deepen the kiss. With a relieved sigh, Ludwig opened for him, letting Lovino taste him for the first time. Warmth, heat, and desire flooded through the two of them.
It was almost perfect-
Lovino jerked back at the unwanted interruption, face red with fury and embarrassment as he glared at Feliciano who was all dressed in white and carrying a bouquet of flowers.
"What the hell are you doing!" Lovino asked, the angry and annoyed words escaping before he could think it through.
"Looking for Luddy. What are you doing?" Feliciano pouted and perched his hands on his hips, demanding an answer.
Wasn't it obvious? And why the hell was Feliciano glaring and pouting? He couldn't possibly have feelings for the potato bastard?
But he was married to Antonio now.
"You found me," Ludwig said, sounding calmer than Lovino did. Like that kiss hadn't affected him at all. A look at the German told him that maybe he was a better actor when he was drunk and didn't get flustered so easily.
Ludwig appeared completely at ease, while he was snapping at Feliciano because the hunger Ludwig inspired continued to gnaw at him like some kind of fucking disease.
"I want you to dance with me Luddy! I danced with everyone else except you…," Feliciano muttered in a sulking tone, his bottom lip trembling a bit.
Obviously Feliciano didn't like what he'd seen between Lovino and Ludwig. Unlike Lovino, who'd liked it a lot.
Too much in fact.
"Why don't you go dance with your Grandfather? I'll keep Lovino company and dance with him," Ludwig said patiently to Feliciano. Lovino had to stop himself from staring at the German in shock and admiration. Ludwig actually denied Feliciano something he wanted? He denied him when he was the main one bending to the sweet Italian's will?
Fucking amazing. Maybe he wasn't as much of a macho potato pushover as everyone thought he was.
Feliciano now folded his arms across his chest, pouting harder than ever. "How about not? I don't feel like dancing with nonno I want to dance with you!"
Ludwig raised an eyebrow. "Nein Feliciano. Maybe next time ja?"
Realizing that the German wasn't budging, Feliciano frowned and stomped away, whining all the way back to the party.
"…I hate to say it potato breath but well done," Lovino said, admiring how Ludwig dealt with the coddled Italian without making him cry.
"Ja, I did a better job then you." Ludwig shot him an amused glance. "But I can't take any credit. You know how to deal with him better than me. I hate it when he cries…but you…your like steel…you refuse to bend…and I like that about you."
Lovino snorted but the seeing the small smile on Ludwig's face made him soften a little. "Don't remind me about his tears. Saint Feliciano always has this way of making people feel bad for him and baby him. To be honest all that coddling and babying made my brother not fully grow up…it's kind of sad."
Ludwig raised his eyebrow. "There's always tension between you and Feliciano. I understand that it's not my business but…why is that?"
Lovino definitely didn't want to talk about his brother or his past but the gentle look on the German's harsh face made him relent a little.
"We were born with the same looks but we had different personalities. He was light I was dark. He was sweet I was sour. He always received our mother's love and father's approval while I got little attention," he said quietly, golden brown eyes staring off into the distance.
A nod from Ludwig told him to keep going.
"…Feliciano had everything handed to him because he was too weak to earn it while I had to fucking work hard to get the things I have today. It was pathetic and I thought Antonio would be bright enough to see that Feli wasn't really happy about their engagement and that he only accepted his proposal because he didn't want to hurt his feelings. If that damn Spanish bastard is too dimwitted to see that this wedding doesn't mean anything to Feliciano…then there's no reason for me to-
"Your bitter," Ludwig cut him off, his voice sharp, eyes piercing as he grabbed the Italian. He had enough of this and this time Lovino was going to listen to him.
"You're bitter because Feliciano is favored over you, but you allowed your bitterness and jealousy to cloud your judgment and your sight. You couldn't even see what was in front of you all this time! I shouldn't have to get myself drunk to drop hints about my feelings for you!...It's embarrassing…but now here we are…looking like idiots."
Lovino could have screamed at him, he could have grabbed the rest of his beer and pour it on his head for telling him the awful truth…but he didn't. He couldn't do it because while the truth hurt it made him feel a hell of a lot better...
…better…and slightly more attracted to the German…not a lot…but slightly.
Pulling away from his hard grip Lovino ran a hand though his chocolate brown locks and took the older man's hand in his own. His trademark frown slipped itself back on but his eyes lost their glare and they looked rather…pleased.
He would give Ludwig a chance and see where this newfound relationship would bring them both. It didn't mean he was getting soft…or anything.
"Well what are you waiting for potato bastard? Are you going to take me out or not? If you're really that serious about me then the least you can do is drive me to the nearest Italian restaurant so we can get to know each other better."
Gone was the hateful sneer, gone was the anger and self-doubt, and gone was the constant belief that he was second best.
And when that damn macho potato smiled and pulled him in his arms for another kiss, Lovino allowed himself the pleasure to forget all about this shit wedding and the fact that Feliciano had the love of everyone in the family.
Maybe…being second-best wasn't so bad after all.
Not that he would admit that to himself.
or maybe just this once...he could.