Title: My Brother's Boyfriend.
Author: SYNdicate 930.
Summary: AU. Being in love with your childhood best friend, who also just happens to be your brother's boyfriend, is just asking for trouble. Especially if he's a clueless bastard. Spamano.
Note: Slightly beta'd (I gave up at some point orz), so please forgive me for any mistakes and tell me what you think so far? Also, as of 21/04/13, Building Blocks will be updated soon (or at least within the next few days if not tonight) as well.~
For future reference (though, others will be added):
Ninth grade: Feliciano, Ludwig, Kiku
Tenth grade: Lovino, Alfred,
Eleventh grade: Antonio, Gilbert, Francis, Arthur
Twelfth grade: None so far.
Chapter 3 – Welcome Back
"How can you be so energetic so fucking late at night?" Seated against the headboard of his hotel bed, the rich, dark violet of the bed sheets separating his thigh and the heated bottom of his beloved lap top, Lovino crossed his arms as Antonio waved to him. Just a night before the awards ceremony would be held for all of the participating bands with the festival and week quickly coming to an end, Antonio thought it be a good idea to webcam with his best friend. They had been texting each other frequently and Antonio only found it fair that they finally see each other in person, even if it wasn't in person.
With a smile, Antonio got up from his computer chair to change out of his clothes for the day as he said, "Huh? Can't a guy be happy to see his best friend?"
"You're being too—" Lovino nearly choked on his spit at the sight of Antonio stripping out of his t-shirt, revealing his ever growing arm muscles and stomach slowly maturing into washboard abs. Sometimes Lovino would forget the age difference that separated them, though not a very large one, and that Antonio's body had already started the onslaught that was the height of puberty, and grew to become conditioned after all those sports and practices he attended after school—all of which Lovino would study through up in the bleachers as he awaited the tradition that was walking home with that overly happy ball of energy. "—happy, you b-bastard."
Red appeared on the cheeks of his face like paint to an unwilling canvas, and he brought his hands up to cover them instantaneously. What was this feeling all of a sudden? He'd seen Antonio shirtless countless times between their childhood and life as of now, why was he getting so flustered?
"You can never be too happy!" Replied Antonio, who was making his way around his room, throwing in his clothes into the hamper in the corner by his closet without a shirt on to cover his bare chest. Lovino watched the way his muscles moved under his lightly-tanned skin as he rolled his shoulders and head restlessly, stretching after a long day at school. "Man, I think I might've pulled something during soccer practice today. My shoulders and back are aching like crazy."
"Maybe they'll feel better if you put a f-freaking shirt on." Lovino stuttered as he watched Antonio, standing in the middle of his room, reaching down to slip out of his blue jeans. His face turned a fierce shade of scarlet, and he shouted, "I said put on a shirt, not get completely naked, you stupid bastard!"
"I will, I will, don't get your panties in a knot," Antonio joked with a smile. Lovino tried to look away as Antonio turned around, his back facing the webcam as he bent over to step out of his jeans and then straighten to fold them neatly. Lovino was growing hotter by the second just seeing him—what in the world was happening! Returning to his computer chair, Antonio was fixed with a sharp glare. "Hmm? What is it?"
"Aren't you going to change for bed?"
"But I sleep in my boxers, though?"
"No, I mean aren't you going to put on a shirt?" Lovino said, daring himself to look away from the Spanish boy's mirthful expression to fix his flushed gaze to that toned upper body and broad shoulders he remembered being much smaller and fragile looking ten years back.
"I don't normally sleep with a shirt on. Besides, I was going to ask if there are any bruises or cuts on my back. I took a tumble during soccer today, and I just wanted to make sure so I can get my mom to treat them," Antonio answered. "You know, in case they get infected because we always end up dirty after practice and games?"
"Oh, okay then?" It sounded fair enough, so Lovino said nothing as Antonio turned around in his chair, positioning himself so the back of his seat would not get in the way of his webcam's line of sight. Lovino bit his lip. Either Antonio's muscles were really defined, or he had one Hell of a webcam, for what he saw made something in the pit of his stomach flutter—butterflies dancing across here and there, sending a little shiver down his spine—as Antonio looked over his shoulder with a chuckle.
Smiling, Antonio said, "Nothing wrong? Whew! I was afraid I was really beat up today."
Beside Lovino, Ludwig slipped into their shared bed with a yawn much to his chagrin; he had to share a bed with Ludwig after the teachers realized there were too many boys this year than last, and not enough rooms to keep boys with boys and girls with girls, what with the festival's growing popularity in schools and neighboring cities all over making hotel bookings unbelievably difficult—though, being with Ludwig was better than sharing with that annoying American boy in his grade or British kid just a year older in the bed next to him arguing together. Lovino shifted further away from the German boy in response, wondering if the British boy with the thick eyebrows knew Antonio. Something about him seemed oddly familiar, though; Lovino couldn't place his finger on it.
"Oh? Is that Gilbert's little brother?" Said Antonio as Ludwig accidentally moved into the camera's view. The Spanish boy grinned and began to wave frantically, "Hey, hey, hey, Ludwig!"
"He can't hear you," said Lovino, "I have my ear buds in."
"Take 'em off, I wanna say hi!"
"Fuck, fine, hold on."
Antonio's voice was booming. It made the blonde's shoulders jump just as he was getting comfortable. "Luuuuudi!"
"Don't call me that," Replied the teen, who looked over to the digital clock on the nightstand between the two beds. 10:30 PM, and a goal of waking up at 5:30 AM. "Antonio, go to sleep."
"Huh? Why? It's so early!"
"Is that Antonio?" Called one of the other boys Lovino was forced to room with. If memory served him right, the American boy with the glasses and cowlick was Alfred. "Yooooo, Antonio!"
"Is that Alfred? Turn the laptop!" Said Antonio excitedly.
Lovino frowned. "Stop telling me what to do!"
"Please?" Antonio pleaded childishly, tilting his head downward and looking up from under his lashes. He looked foolish, and Lovino meant to point it out before Alfred belly-flopped out of his bed into the space between he and Ludwig. Both boys yelped in surprise, and Lovino fumbled with keeping his laptop from falling off his lap with a deep frown.
"Hey, man!" Greeted Alfred in a cheerful tone. Lovino swore he heard the British boy sigh, irritated. "How's soccer practice? Did I miss out on a lot?"
Antonio shook his head. "Not at all! We've just been rough-housing a lot."
Alfred repositioned himself against the wooden headboard beside Lovino, who leaned away uncomfortably—The boy was much too close! "That sounds just like the guys!" he chuckled and proceeded to joke around and make blatant innuendos at the teen's lack of clothing, "Did I interrupt something between you and Lovino over here?"
"Interrupt something?" Antonio tilted his head in that naïve, clueless way of his.
"You know, like—"
"Okay, time to go lie down in your own fucking bed!" Lovino cut the blonde off with his palm against the boy's face, pushing him away and off the bed. Alfred rolled over Ludwig, who groaned under the sudden weight in annoyance, and watched as he fell to the floor with a loud 'thud.'
"Bloody Hell, Alfred, get in bed and stop making so much noise, we'll get in trouble if you don't," Said the British boy.
"Fine, it's not like that's the first time I've heard you say that." Alfred climbed into bed beside him, and Lovino watched the British boy's face turn as red as a tomato.
Antonio snorted at the familiar voices before Lovino inserted the end of his ear buds cord into his laptop. "I see you're rooming with Arthur too, huh?" He chuckled, "Man, he's so much calmer now, I remember when he used to bully me."
"Don't you remember?"
Lovino's eyes widened in understanding, "Now I remember."
"Be quiet and go to sleep." Chimed in Ludwig, who was curled up on his side.
"Fine. I gotta go. There's this awards thing we have to go to early in the morning."
"Oh, okay," Antonio waved, "Goodnight and good luck tomorrow, Lovi!"
After an astonishing performance of perfected and practiced harmony of Lovino's beloved jazz band and being awarded with first place medals for their achievement as best in their grade level (they fell into the category of high school bands) over the past few days, Lovino spent the remaining day in the hotel by himself. With their performance on their second day and award ceremony just the day prior, he and the jazz band found themselves at a loss for words and what to do before leaving later at night.
Having held the jazz festival in a mountainous sort of town with an average temperature a below Lovino's liking year round, they were stationed in a tourist-attraction sort of area. There was always something going on; the boutiques and specialty shops and restaurants that went up and down the tilted road provided a glorious seen of the tall, white mountains and those who inhabited the area at its rocky feet. Not to mention the street performers brought an added boost of life to the already colorful yet quaint town. Some of the other boys in the band invited Lovino to go out for a walk through the town with him, which ultimately meant the search for a pretty girl was on for what appeared to be the thirteenth time so far.
"Hey, wanna come out with us? We're going to be around town—you know."
Unfortunately, Lovino did know. But he declined and was left alone in his room. After all the explosive crescendos that had been going on during the week, Lovino swore he was close to completely losing his hearing. "It's okay, I don't want to. I'm tired—Ludwig made us all wake up freakin' early morning." The yawn Lovino faked was enough to have the boys closing the door behind them as they trotted down the stairs at the end if the hall. He hoped they wouldn't get into too much trouble or bother any poor girls from other schools too much—they were rather notorious for being dangerously flirtatious and big heartbreakers, or at least that was how he remembered Gilbert describing them one day.
He wondered if staying back was a good idea several minutes after their rowdy departure, but gave a small shake to his head. Girls had never been a primary interest to him, nor had he ever possessed the urge to be with one in a way that was not considered platonic. It seemed that girls were always on a teenage boy's mind—all except his. It was a strange thought; for all his life there was never a single girl who could interest him the way girls continuously had for Antonio. The boy was as immature and perverse as the rest of them—but by all means was he the nicest (and, dare he say handsomest) boy Lovino had ever met.
With Antonio's face in his mind, numerous questions and undetermined feelings began to rise in the pit of his flat stomach. During the bus ride and few days, he had spent several occasions with Ludwig, catching up and talking through the mystery that surrounded the growing, ambiguous feelings Lovino possessed for the Spanish teen. It was like they were back in middle school—an odd duo and friendship, but buds nonetheless.
All Ludwig could say was he was… He was… Lovino could not stand the thought of it!
He gave a rough shake of his head, as if to dispense his head of the unwanted thoughts. Ludwig was a boy of logic and reason; room for error in the things he said and done was frighteningly minimal, with little to no mistakes in all that he ever dabbled in. But he couldn't possibly be right! Lovino refused to accept it. Whether it was his easily-bruised ego or gut, Lovino knew the truth, and that couldn't possibly have been it.
At first, the idea—the thought of having been in love with someone and not know—made sense, especially to someone like Lovino, who had yet to fully realize what it felt like to love and be in love. But, to not know for so long? That could not have been possible. No one knew him better than himself, and he did not like the way it made him appear the fool, blind to his own feelings. Lovino took pride in his understanding of everything and anything, so, if he was capable of understanding and learning high school-level physics during his early middle school years, then surely he would have been able to detect the blooming of any sort of romantic feelings. He was sure of it.
Lovino hopped onto his bed and pulled his laptop from its place on the wooden nightstand by his bed. Before leaving, he made sure to download the latest episode of that Italian drama he blamed for leaving him in such a confused state. He figured that, by the overwhelming similarities he found between her story and his own situation, he could use his findings from each episode to help himself.
Due to his scientific and math oriented background, Lovino was keen in observations, and his data and conclusions were never wrong. One episode was enough to make the boy question himself, so maybe another would help him sort through the ordeal completely. Putting in his ear buds, he looked past the screen of his laptop to look around the empty hotel room before clicking to full screen and play. He had meant to watch this on the bus ride at the start of the week—while he was sitting behind everyone while they slept on the long, early morning bus ride to hide the shame that coiled in his chest from watching something as girly as a that.
With the coast clear, Lovino pressed play with little worry and watched intently, bent on an answer to his question. If the series had brought him this far, it would provide him with an answer.
"What are you watching?" Lovino jumped, nearly dropping his laptop onto the floor beside the bed. The jolt made Ludwig jump as well.
"You fucking bastard!" Shouted Lovino, who whipped his head to look over his shoulder, ripping his ear buds out of the laptop. "You fucking scared me! I thought you left with everyone else to spend the last night out looking for chicks!"
"What? I've been in the bathroom taking a shower the whole time!" Ludwig shouted back, motioning towards the towel around his shoulders and damp hair. The sounds of Lovino's drama were free for all to hear now, and Ludwig couldn't help but avert his attention from the red-faced boy. "What're you watching? I didn't know you understood Italian."
"I am Italian, you bastard," Lovino said, his rapidly beating heart slowing. "And that's none of your business."
"Well, Gilbert and I are German, and he doesn't have the slightest clue as to how to speak in our language. I figured you were smart enough to understand a respectable amount, but I didn't know you were fluent enough to watch Italian TV without subtitles."
"Okay, so now you know. Good observation. Now leave me alone, this is important," He turned back to his laptop.
"Is this that drama you told me about?"
Lovino's shoulders stiffen. "I told you about that?"
"You told me everything. It was the last thing you mentioned to me before you fell asleep on the bus," Answered Ludwig, who made his way around the bed to sit on the edge of Alfred and Arthur's bed, drying his hair with his towel gently. "Must you resort to such an odd way of solving your problem?"
"Hey, it's not 'odd'! You're fucking odd." Exclaimed Lovino, irritated.
"Can't you just accept what I've told you and move on?"
"No, I can't, because you're a wrong potato eater!"
Ludwig sighed. "Suit yourself."
They sat in silence for several minutes as Lovino made to plug his white ear buds back into the side of his laptop. When Ludwig made no move to leave after his hair came to dry itself with some help of the small, white towel, Lovino couldn't help but break the uncomfortable silence that fluttered between the neighboring beds. "Well? Your hair's fine and you're all showered. Aren't you going to go out now?"
"I don't recall ever saying that I was planning to spend the last night of the festival out; I'd much rather stay in and relax. Waking up early to watch shows and play in clinics in the morning—I think I deserve a little rest before I come back to my brother." Ludwig answered as he reached over to grab the remote on the pillow beside him. He turned on the large TV, and began to channel surf slowly, inspecting each channel for ten seconds before stopping to watch the last bit of the News, and then switching to the Science channel.
"Tell me how that show of yours goes."
"I fucking will and prove you wrong."
One hour later, Lovino sat with his lips pursed as he brought the screen of his laptop down. Ludwig looked over to him curiously, "Something the matter?"
"The episode just ended."
"I see. How was it?"
"… You're fucking bastard."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means I hate you!" Fuming, Lovino got up and stomped his way to the bathroom petulantly.
"I still don't understand—"
"I'm going to take a shower."
The bathroom door slammed behind the teen loudly before Ludwig could respond. He sighed once more. "He sure has an odd way of admitting he's wrong."
The conversation the two had that night as they packed up and boarded the bus was a difficult one, for Lovino refused to come to terms with the feelings that lingered within that heart of his; a blazing fire surrounded by such ice, even its flame could not melt its strong barrier. The thought of having been in love so deeply and for so long was preposterous.
Lovino liked to think he understood himself as clearly and well as he did his books and school work, so the beginnings of the first spark of inferiority began to flicker within his ever superior heart.
Riding back home now on the large bus, Lovino stared out into the night with the occasional orange of a streetlight or car passing quietly. Beside him, Ludwig was sound asleep with blue earplugs to block out any sort of chatter, and, by the looks of it, Lovino guessed he was the only person awake other than the elderly bus driver and teachers who had been chaperones for the trip seated in the front, whispering and chatting in gentle-tones together about how great the trip had been this year and trouble the boys had gotten into. Lovino sighed. Good thing he hadn't gone out with them. There was also mention of his performance and solo in one of their pieces, which his ego accepted openly and proudly before their conversation ventured into other territories such as marking and odd staff gossip.
He was disinterested in listening any further. In the small, square televisions that hung over head played what appeared to be The Wizard of Oz, but he'd seen it so many times as a child, he couldn't find it in him to watch for the umpteenth time in his life. And, unfortunately for him, Lovino was unable to sleep. He blamed the uncomfortable bus seats and their inability to recline like those in airplanes, but he knew it was much more than the awkward, up-right seat he was stuck in for the next few hours. No matter how hard he tried to free himself of his thoughts, there was no escaping them or the image of Antonio in all of his sunny glory.
So, maybe there was a little more to his feelings than he would have liked to admit, but it didn't mean a thing. From what Antonio had taught him, crushes were little, insignificant little romantic feelings that lasted short periods of time—something closer to shallow infatuation—so he rested assure that whatever he was feeling would go away as quickly as all of Antonio's little crushes did as well.
But memory seemed to disprove his theory as did scientists have done to others in history, for, as long as he could remember, he'd always felt the same way about Antonio. Lovino could not imagine feeling or seeing Antonio in any other way; whatever floated around in his chest every time he saw him was all he was capable of. Lovino was being foolish; letting the boy take so much of his time like this.
Antonio, Antonio, Antonio. Somehow, for some reason, Lovino found himself able to fall asleep with the image of Antonio's face fresh in his mind. Maybe he had ought to tell Antonio. After all, there was no one he trusted—or remotely cared for—as much as that idiot.
When he awoke, they were parked in the school and the sun was starting to rise. The dark sky loomed over them in navies and oranges with hints of lovely peach. The sight, though exquisite, went to waste as all Lovino could hear was the hurried rustling and movement from the other students as they rushed out of the bus to their awaiting loved ones. Lovino nudged Ludwig roughly in the side.
"Hey, potato bastard, wake up, we're at school." Ludwig rubbed at his eyes and got out of his seat. Lovino followed and the two took their bags out of the overhead compartments.
Offering a small 'thank you' to the bus driver, Lovino stepped out of the narrow bus door and took a quick glance at the parking lot before walking over to the side of the bus and taking out his suitcase. Positioned towards his far left, he saw his grandfather's car, but it was empty. Furrowing his brows, he took another look around, the wheels of his dark suitcase rolling against the pavement noisily.
Lovino was taken by surprise by the strong arms that grabbed him from behind and swung him around as he dropped his bag onto the dusty ground and released the plastic handle of his suitcase. "Welcome back, Lovi!" Sang Antonio as Grandpa Rome stood just a few feet behind the duo with a grin.
"H-Hey, put me down!" Cried Lovino, blushing. "Hey, you bastard, this isn't fucking funny!"
"Come on, lighten up." Antonio put the boy down, but by no means made any move to release the Italian boy's slender waist as he rested his chin upon his best friend's shoulder lovingly. "Aren't you happy to see me?"
Yes. "Hell no!"
"How cruel!" Antonio feigned hurt, dramatically crying aloud as he pulled Lovino close. Damn the boy's affectionate disposition for leaving his face aflame!
Seeing enough, Grandpa Rome picked up Lovino's dropped bag and suitcase with a chuckle. Oh how boys will be boys! "C'mon no, you two, Feli should be done making us breakfast."
"Come on, come on! I'm starving and I'm sure you are too!" Antonio said to Lovino with a smile. With a yelp, Lovino felt himself being hoisted onto Antonio's shoulder. This frightened him greatly.
"What are you a caveman!?" Shouted Lovino. With quivering fists, he began to beat at the boy's back furiously, his cheeks all but darkening into a crimson that put rubies to shame. "I can get to the car on my own! There was something I needed to tell you, but I won't until you put me down!"
"Don't be such a poor sport, Lovi. You must be tired from such a long ride! I'm just helping out my best friend. Besides, I thought we were supposed to share everything with each other—we are friends, right?" Lovino could hear the pout in his voice.
After giving one last struggle, but to no avail, Lovino was able to admit defeat. "Fine, I'll tell you later. And if you drop me on my face, I'll drop you on yours."
"Of course, of course." Chuckled Antonio.
The conversation in the car was uncomfortable and painfully irritating. Being the nosy, old man he knew his grandfather to be, Lovino dodged and denied every inappropriate accusation shot and finger pointed his way. Unlike Grandpa Rome, who was known to be promiscuous back in the day but remained the same old pervert, Lovino was immune to the female charm and curves.
Lovino fancied things such as science and books and math, not the way women walked, talked, and looked. Lost in the mindless rambling of his grandfather as he recalled his glory days and spoke of his many escapades he had with women, the boy realized that, despite the lack of outward interest he possessed, there were things he did, in fact, prefer in other people. Despite himself, Lovino liked people who could balance his negativity with their unique positivity and bring him out of that icy shell of his; who could tell him apart from his brother; who could tell when he was angry or not; who would always be there; someone reliable—someone just like Antonio.
Pursing his lips, Lovino was seated in the front beside his grandfather. Using the reflection of the dusty rear view mirror between them, he saw the Spanish boy listening intently. He loved hearing Grandpa Rome's stupid stories and memories because, even to this day, the old geezer was still the young man he was all those years ago in heart. Not many old people nowadays were able to keep their youthful fire burning quite like Grandpa Rome.
He sighed to himself. Lovino had yet to find a proper way of speaking to Antonio about all that he had thought and came to realize over the past week or so. But there was a part of his conscious that feared the moment Lovino was done speaking, that he would leave. After all, they were both guys. While Lovino hadn't the slightest problems as, though never spoken of much, growing up, no one ever told him what was considered—or what those outside his household thought to be—'right' and 'wrong'.
Love was love, no matter who it was from or given to, or, at least that was how Lovino saw it. His grandmother was not his mother, but it never stopped him from loving her as though she was and would have if his mother hadn't died while he was still so young.
When he arrived at the house, his grandfather offered to take all his bags and bring them up to his room, leaving he and Antonio to enter the house together while Grandpa Rome took a brief moment to clean out the trunk of his car. "So, what was it you wanted to tell me?" Asked Antonio with a smile as they walked up the front steps slowly. The duo stopped at the front door for a moment as Lovino fished around his sweater pocket for his keys.
Lovino bit his lip. He couldn't understand why he was so nervous. It was not like he was confessing to him. "You better not laugh, okay?" Antonio nodded obediently. Taking a deep breath, he said as he pulled out his key, "It's really fucking stupid, really. You're probably going to laugh even though you said you wouldn't."
"Don't worry, I promise I won't." Said Antonio with a warm smile. There was an excited little gleam to his green eyes Lovino couldn't help but note. He was like his child-self, an eager one.
"Well, I think I might have feelings for y—"
Just as he brought the key to its respective whole in the door, the heavy wood swung open, and, with a smile, there stood Feliciano before launching himself forward with open arms. "Welcome back, I've missed you so much!" His eyes shut and he braced himself, but there was no impact or the feel of his brother squeezing the air out of his lungs, only the color draining from his face at the sight of Antonio's arms around Feliciano's waist as they kissed when Lovino opened his eyes. And so, the the first spark of inferiority began to flicker within his ever fragile heart.