DA-DUM! *quack quack*
Hell, I'm gonna keep doing that 'til someone gets the reference. XD That shit's like… A major chunk of my childhood.
ANYWHORE! I am back for more! So get ready, my yaoi craving vultures! I gots more Cat's Cradle comin' your way! Hetalia doesn't belong to me! Review or Russia-san will beat me with his pipe! (Forgot to put that in my last chappie.)
"This place is a dump…" Lovino grumbled. Currently, he was standing on the porch of the Spanish bastard's crappy looking house, arms crossed and looking at how disheveled the place was. It was sort of like Antonio's hair the way it was all over the place, actually. He had nearly tripped on the way up the stairs to the porch because a board was coming loose then got a splinter stuck in his foot. He was still leaning on his other foot to avoid the pain shooting up his leg. He turned his head to look at the shingles of the roof that looked like they were in dire need of replacement and the tacky blinds on the windows. Seriously, those blinds were like a flashback into the 80s. He did, however, give him bonus points for using the Venetian variety. Then again, that was just his Italian pride seeping through.
Antonio looked at him, stopping in his search for his keys to do so. "It may be a dump, amigo. But it's home!"
Lovino's eye twitched at the cheeriness of his response. That was supposed to be an insult, damn it!
Antonio got down on his knees to look under the doormat that said in proud red lettering "¡Mi casa es su casa!" Even his stupid doormat sounded happy, for crying out loud! Was there anything this man possessed that wasn't perpetually happy?
"Found it!" The Spaniard announced, holding a dull bronze key between his fingers. The fact that it took nearly ten minutes of standing outside in the dark pissed Lovino off to no end. He was starting to shiver and he hated showing his weakness to the cold. Either he was used to warm weather or he just needed to put a shirt on.
He refused to admit the latter.
Antonio, meanwhile, opened the door proudly, his hand almost sweeping it out of the way. Inside the living room was a tatter brown leather couch, pinkish looking carpeting and… a fish tank?
"It's not much, but like I said, it's home."
Lovino rolled his eyes and shoved past him, his limping coming to a stop as the plush carpeting protected his foot with a cloud-like pillowy softness. He refused to show his relief as he looked around again. Same crappy couch, same crappy carpeting, not surprisingly a crappy television sitting across from the couch. That fish tank sitting in the corner though was starting to get on his nerves. It seemed harmless at first glance but he couldn't shake the feeling that if he looked at it the wrong way, he'd be attacked by piranhas within minutes.
"What the fuck do you have a fish tank for?"
Antonio was in the middle of locking the door and putting the key amongst the many in his pocket before he grinned and rushed over to Lovino's side. "That's no fish tank! Mis tortugas are in there!"
"Turtles?" His shoulders slumped at the realization that this bastard kept turtles of all things. He had had a bad experience with a turtle as a little kitten; the turtle latched onto his tail and didn't let go for hours. Then, as if nothing even happened, it climbed on his head and sat there like it was his best friend. Sat there! The nerve of some animals…
Great. Just fucking great. He thought, lip curling in anger.
Antonio went over to the tank of turtles and took one out. "This one's Juanita! She's the prettiest little tortuga in the world!"
The Italian sat Indian style on the floor with a huff, glaring at the splinter in his foot. "Who cares?" He started picking at it in an effort to remove it only to wince in pain every time.
Antonio ignored him and put "Juanita" on top of his head-much to Lovino's disgust-and took out another. "This one's Pablo! They're padres of my littlest turtles, Fernando, Roberto, Alejandro and Bertha."
Lovino stopped to raise an eyebrow at him. "Bertha?" The recurring theme to his names was that they were all Spanish, but Bertha broke through the mold.
Antonio shrugged, putting Pablo on his shoulder. "Sí… Gilbert named her. He needs to stop with la cerveza, no?"
"You mean the little potato bastard?"
"No. The older one."
"Yeah. The little one."
Gilbert's most recognizable traits couldn't contradict themselves even worse than they already did; he was the older brother, yet the shorter one as well. The misconception got Lovino irritated to the point where he said, "Shut up" and looked to the kitchen to his right.
From what he could see, the kitchen looked slightly better except that it was utterly cramped with a tomato red paint covering the doors of the cabinets. He just prayed to God that there was no floral wallpaper in the house. If there was, he was out of here.
Lovino snapped out of his daze of pure criticism to look at the tomato bastard again. "What?"
"Try it in English." No matter how much he tried to think of possible conversational Italian and how it compares to Spanish, he couldn't figure out what it meant. He was willing to bet that the answer was right in his face though.
"Are you hungry?"
And thus, how he could have one a million dollars that it was right in his face. His tail bristled, aggravated with his own stupidity. "I guess…"
The Spaniard looked up at the ceiling fan whirring above his head for a minute, then nodded and smiled a little more. "Un momento. I'll be right back." He rushed in front of Lovino towards the kitchen but stopped and retraced his steps. "Could you watch Pablo and Juanita while I'm gone?"
Lovino glared up at him, an unconscious pout appearing on his face. "What am I? A turtle's keeper?" Honestly, he just got here and he was being asked to baby sit? Why did he be subjected to this kind of abuse?
"I just don't want them getting hurt." Antonio took Juanita off his head and stared into her beady black eyes, stroking the top of her scaly head with an affectionately gentle touch. "Un accidente to the shell could be dangerous."
Good. Now I know how to get rid of them. Lovino kept his peevish thoughts to himself for the time being and shrugged. "This better be one hell of a meal."
Antonio beamed and put the turtles down in front of him, their brown shells and green appendages standing out against the hideously pink carpet. "Gracias." And he was off again, disappearing into the kitchen.
"Whatever…" He mumbled under his breath. At first, he refused to look at the treacherous beasts in front of him. But soon, his eyes snuck a peek at the two turtles, who just sat there and stared up at him expectantly. If he didn't know any better, he would have said they were actually plotting against him in their own silent turtle language.
"What are you bastards looking at?" He snapped. One turtle-he guessed Pablo, since he was bigger-stared for another minute before crawling towards him, perching himself on his splintered foot. Juanita followed suit, only she climbed higher and ended up on his shoulder. Lovino started to tremble under their cold, wet feet, stiffening and trying to control the frightened squeal coming up his throat.
"Get off of me!" The turtle's ignored him and crawled all over his body. "Stop it, damn it!"
In the kitchen, Antonio's ears perked up after hearing Lovino's yelling. "That gato really is loud, hm?" After a minute of hearing no other noises, he shrugged it off and continued to dig through his refrigerator. He knew that somewhere hidden in here there was a tupperware filled with rice from the other night. He figured the arroz cubano was still fresh enough to eat since it was only from two, maybe three nights ago. All he had to do was reheat it, put some fresh sauce and add and egg. It was all so simple!
He started to sway his hips to a song he started to hum, oblivious to the commotion in the living room. "Bien, tu amor mi hace bien… Tu amor me desarma…"
"Get the hell off me!" Lovino screeched. It was like his desperate cries for help were directed towards a dead man! The turtle's didn't budge; just climbed further up his body to the point where they were on his chest and head respectively. "I'll feed you to the buzzards!" In his haste to escape, he jumped up and ran in random circles. The result was the head rush he accomplished to give himself, falling back and hitting the turtle tank head first.
"FUCK!" He screamed, holding his head and protecting his ears from getting gashed. As if straight from his personal Hell, more turtles fell on top of him and started to crawl in their efforts to find a home devoid of glass. "I HATE MY LIFE!"
Antonio finally poked his head into the living room, eyes widening at the sight of one of his turtles spazzing out on the floor, feet flailing in the air wildly. "Bertha! What happened to you?!"
Lovino's head snapped in his direction, his mouth agape in disbelief. "Are you fucking kidding me?! You're worried about a fucking turtle while I'm sitting here in a pile of glass, getting attacked by turtles and have a splinter in my foot?!"
Antonio was already on his knees picking up Bertha the Turtle, restoring her to her upright position. "If anything you endangered them!"
"They started it!"
"Well you sure finished it, didn't you?"
The cat was a little taken back at the snippiness in Antonio's voice. Was this really the secret to getting rid of his ridiculous happiness? He would have never guessed. "I was in danger and you flat out ignored me!"
"Well then why didn't you call for me?"
"I did, you dick!"
Antonio rolled his eyes. It was very rare that he ever got this angry, but he was trying to hold it in. After all, Lovino was a guest here and he didn't know any better. Pets just need training, right? He kept this in mind as he started to retrieve his turtles, putting them all on different perches on his body from shoulders to the crook of his arm. "Now I need to clean this up before someone gets hurt…"
"Like me?" Lovino hissed, arms crossed. His ears were laid flat on his head and his tail puffed out angrily. If it weren't for that pout he had, Antonio would have felt threatened by the vicious body language.
"¿Ayudame, por favor?" He asked, choosing to ignore the snippy remark. "The vacuum is in the kitchen."
"Help yourself, bastard! I'm still hungry." But Lovino got up and headed to the kitchen anyway, so as to look like he was in search of food. Antonio didn't seem to pay any mind though, too worried about the welfare of his stupid turtles to care about how he responded. Narrowing his eyes back at him, the cat entered the kitchen, the cold tile sending a shiver up his spine as well as bringing back his limp. He would have asked for help in removing the damn splinter, but now he had second thoughts.
Looking around, his eyes stopped on a decorative bowl on the counter. Was that meant for him or for Antonio? He looked left, then right, then back at the flustered Spaniard in the living room who was currently putting his precious pets on the couch. The sneaking feeling of jealousy crept up for a few minutes there, but Lovino kept it at bay and took the bowl anyway. There was rice in it covered with tomato sauce, an egg frying slowly on the frying pan currently being ignored by Antonio.
"You and me both, buddy." He said to the pan, taking a bite of the rice with a spoon he found on the counter. It wasn't that bad, so he sat on the floor and continued to eat.
Antonio, on the other hand, thought it was that bad. "¡Dios mio! I need a whole new tank!" His hands were trembling the whole time, trying to prevent getting any more cuts on his palm. He failed with flying colors. A drop of red fell on the carpet, green eyes feeling all sorts of grief in that moment. "Lovi! Where are you?"
"Kitchen" came the muffled reply.
Lovino sauntered into the room, the bowl in his hands and a spoon sticking out of his mouth. "Eating." He said through it, pushing the turtles over with his free hand and sitting on the couch. "Why?"
"I told you to get the vacuum!"
Antonio felt the fragile line that was his temper starting to erase, doing his best to breathe in and out like his therapist from a few years ago told him to. "Okay, okay. I see how it is. I'll have to get it myself." He stood up and stared at Lovino for a while, still unable to believe that the cat was still protecting himself and his own honor rather than follow what he said. He was technically his new owner. So that means he has no choice but to listen, right?
"But when I get back," he stuck a finger in Lovino's face, his chewing coming to an abrupt halt when he did. "You better have apologized to mis tortugas or I'll bring you back to Ludwig's house!" Lovino's jaw hung slack, the spoon as well as a few bits of chewed rice falling out.
"You're kidding right?! No way I'll going to buddy up with these vicious mini Godzillas!"
"Do you want to join your brother with Ludwig?"
Lovino was at a crossroads. It was kill or be killed, eat or be eaten. In his case, though, it was Tomato Bastard or Potato Bastard. He really did want to make sure Feliciano was safe and not getting raped by any strange cats that roam around town or being force fed English food. But at the same time, he wanted no part in the Potato Bastard's life. Tomato Bastard was being kind enough; he was just obsessing over turtles and that got him angry.
His eye twitched, feeling his blood boil in his veins. But he kept silent and glared at the one turtle staring up at him with those beady eyes of his or hers. "Fine…" He mumbled after swallowing.
Antonio smiled and left to get the vacuum cleaner. That was easier than I thought! He started to whistle a happy tune as he strode into the kitchen and grabbed the red vacuum from the corner. If he didn't know any better, he'd say that Lovino actually hated Ludwig! "That's ridiculous… He's one of the coolest guys I know!" Sure, they were soccer rivals and he always knew how to handle his alcohol better, but he was a good guy with good intentions nonetheless.
He was even more pleased to see Lovino actually poke one of the turtles without a look of malice as he swept up the mess on the carpet. The Italian flinched a few times here and there, but he was learning. Slowly yet surely, he was learning.
"There!" Antonio announced proudly. By this time, the turtles were all over Lovino while he finished eating his rice with a sour expression. "All clean!"
"So what will you do with the turtles?"
Antonio shrugged. "I'll have to put them in the sink and see how that works."
Lovino barely nodded as he set the empty bowl down on his lap. "Why do you have turtles to begin with?"
The Spaniard's eyes widened at the very question. Asking him that was like asking the meaning of life! You just don't do it! It was all a matter of life and death now, yet Lovino had no idea what flood gates of affection he just opened. "I love tortugas! I've had them since I lived in España!" He picked up Pablo, who was tugging at nearly every strand of Lovino's hair but the curl and stroked his head with a gentle finger. "I even hatched them at the beach one day when there madre was killed by poachers!"
Lovino raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms on instinct. While his ears were perked with slight interest now, his tail as well as the hairs on the back of his still bristled with anger and jealousy at the man's obvious love for turtles. "Didn't your parents ever tell you that you can't name things you throw back?"
"Oh, not at all! They didn't say a word against it! In fact, they supported me and said I'd be a great padre someday!" He put Pablo back on Lovino's head. "I suppose they expected me to have a lot of niños, what with me being so passionate and all!"
To Lovino, it sounded like he was bragging about his sex life. "So, you've had a few girlfriends. Big whoop. It's not like they meant anything."
"What do you mean?"
Lovino tried to peel the reptiles off of him to no avail. "I can flirt too, you know? Italians are revered as the original Romantics!"
"So I hear. Then why don't you have kittens?"
"Because no girl ever accepts my advances… They're all bastards anyway. I just flirt because they're pretty and I'm expected to."
Well that was certainly interesting. Antonio nodded and sat down on the floor in front of Lovino. "So no matter what you do, you can't find love?"
Lovino wasn't exactly looking for love at the moment; more like an escape from this turtle infested sinkhole. But he looked up at the spackled ceiling and nodded. "Yep… Not like I care."
Antonio pursed his lips. How could he just shrug off something this serious?! This was almost as blasphemous as throwing all the tomatoes of La Tomatina into the ocean! His resolve set in stone, he put his hands on Lovino's exposed feet, closed his eyes and smiled, tilting his head automatically to the left for an extra cute factor. If he was to get the trust of Lovino and say he had the ability to help him out of this romantic rut, he had to do something to prove it!
"I'll help you!"
Lovino froze, staring down at Antonio with wide eyes. He was caught off guard when the man touched his feet, but that smile was a bit too much. His heart started to race with the awkward extremity of it all, looking frantically for answers. In the end, he pushed Antonio's face away until he was on his back, staring up confused at the cat before him.
Lovino was blushing bright red from the tip of his ears to his cheek bones, resembling a tomato in every sense of the word. At least, that's what Antonio saw. The cat scratched the back of his head and looked away. "I don't really need it… But if you insist."
Antonio grinned. "¡Muy bueno! We start tomorrow!"
"Tomorrow?! Are you insane?! I just got here!"
The Spaniard messed up his hair even further when he ran a hand through it. "You're right… Hm." He looked into the dark hallway in the distance, smiling wide. "Then let's get to bed now and get a good night's sleep!"
"And where exactly am I sleeping?"
"Eh…" Now Antonio was at a loss. Should he sleep with him or would that be strange? Probably the latter of the two. He was almost certain the cat wanted no part in sleeping on the floor or the couch now that both were overrun by turtles. "You sleep in my bed tonight. I'll stay with the turtles and sleep on the couch."
Lovino let out a sigh of relief. At least he didn't have to worry about running over turtles with his body in the middle of the night. Plus, at least he was sleeping in a bed instead of the ratty looking couch. For all he knew, there were bed bugs crawling around in it. "Fair enough."
"Great! Now go! We have a lot to do tomorrow!" Antonio pulled Lovino off the couch and shooed him down the hall. "My room is the last one on the right. If you need extra blankets, check under the bed. ¡Buenos noches!"
Something told Lovino that this was probably a bad idea. As he walked into the cramped room in question, he had no doubt in his mind that there had to be some sort of trouble brewing in his near future.
There ya go guys! The ending felt sort of rushed, but… *shrugs* Oh well. Comments and constructive criticism are much appreciated! I apologize for any grammatical or spelling errors! From my computer to yours, this is Wurstlover178, signing off! ¡HASTA LUEGO, MI GENTES!
Please support Autism Spectrum Disorder research. Thank you. (You don't have to suddenly spend your college savings on a research foundation for Autism, but it's National Autism Awareness Month. I just want to spread the word that this disorder exists and let you guys know that April is Autism Awareness Month. If you're curious, look it up on your own accord. I don't want to be banned from the site for this. Like I said, I'm just a messenger. I know several people with Autism and I'm sure many people elsewhere on FanFiction do too. For the whole month, I will put this exact blurb on all my updates. THANK YOU AND PLEASE DON'T REPORT ME!)