So, I started talking to badboyLampwick on Deviant art about the possibility of writing a Lampwick/Pinocchio fic and with a little inspiration from a recent viewing of Pinocchio and the song "Ti Amo" by Umberto Tozzi, this resulted. I'm actually rather proud of it.

Rated 'T' for a few sexual references and slash (of the Lampwick/Pinocchio variety).

Ti Amo

Deciding to move into Pinocchio's home and to live with his best friend was beneficial to both parties, and not just Lampwick's. Yes, he had been one to only look out for himself, but this time, he was looking out for his buddy. Ever since the death of his father, the wood carver Geppetto, Pinocchio had been kind of blue. What was better than to have your pal live with you to help you ease through the mourning and lose? Friends were supposed to help each other, right? Lampwick had partly moved into the workshop to ward off his friend's loneliness.

The benefits that came on his side was that, yes, he got to see a lot more of Pinocchio, but his living conditions at his dock-side apartment had been atrocious Yes, he wasn't a tidy person in the slightest, so some of the blame went to him, but the home was above a tavern and next to a brothel didn't exactly help. He had only lived there because rent was dirt-cheap (no surprise there) and that he only had to walk not a quarter of a mile and he was at work. Besides, when he had a lot of tension that had built up after a long day at the ship-yard, there was a bar right under where he lived where he could use his spare cash to enjoy himself with a few beers and a couple of cigars. But let's face it, he had lived in hell-hole conditions for all of his life. There came a point in one's life when they had to say that enough was enough of the prostitutes teasing you and avoiding a bar-brawl before you even got up the stairs to home. And he was very often tight for money as well, so leaving that place saved him the cost of rent, at least.

The downfalls? Well it was a hike to work now, to get down to the docks, and he had to get up even earlier than he before the crack-of-dawn usual time. But that he was saving poor ol' Pinoke from insufferable solitude, savin' a buck or two, and getting away from an apartment in whore-ridden, blood-stained pub compensated his lose. Definitely.

Lampwick had been there for well over five months and by now, they had almost settled into a routine. Lampwick, disgruntled, would be the first to rise in the morning, before the sun even rose. But he was often cheered up by a basket of rolls from the baker down the road, with a charming little note from Pinocchio that, even at such an ungodly hour, he couldn't help but smile at. Pinocchio well knew that Lampwick didn't like getting up so early, so he took every chance to brighten up his morning, even when he wasn't up yet. He also knew that Lampwick had to hurry to work, so bread seemed like the perfect quick and on the move breakfast.

They both filled their days with work- Lampwick with the tough, manual labor of working on a dock and Pinocchio the work of crafting toys and music boxes, the work of his father passed down to him. Both were tired after a long day of hard work and when they got home, after dinner that usually was cooked by Pinocchio, they would sit down and unwind. Pinoke would usually be reading a book or whittling something in his father's favorite chair while Lampwick sat at the open window and would smoke a cigar. (Pinocchio did mind that Lampwick smoked, but he allowed him to do it in the house if Lampwick promised to either do it outside or at an open window, where the smoke could escape.) They would chat and before long it was time for bed and they would start the cycle all over again for another day.

The best day of all was Sunday- when Lampwick had his day off and Pinocchio closed the workshop for the day. Of course, Pinocchio usually went to Mass on Sunday morning as his father had done. Lampwick, however, wasn't so religious and was unsure if he even believed there was something else out there. Pinocchio had tried to coax him to join him for church the first Sunday after Lampwick moved in, but Lampwick often turned him down. When Pinocchio asked why, Lampwick just said he wasn't the church-type. Pinocchio thankfully didn't ask any more questions and went on his merry way to Mass, while Lampy stayed home.

Upon returning from church, together they would make dinner. On weekdays, Lampwick was too-bone tired to even really help with the meal and usually if he tried to prepare a meal by himself it was more mess than meal, but on Sunday he really did make a valiant effort to help Pinocchio in the kitchen with something (usually the preparations more than the actual cooking.) Pinoke was his best buddy after all and his roommate technically, so he knew he needed to try to help his friend in any way he could.

Sometimes, when Pinocchio felt particularly energetic (he was a ball of energy pretty much all the time, however), he would think outside the box and with the time he had before Lampwick came home, would prepare a surprise for him.

It was the middle of winter now, cold and wet and unpleasant. It was times like this when you filled your dreams with delightful memories of springs and summer passed. The time that he and Pinoke had gone to a circus when they were children and Lampwick threw peanut shells at the animals, trying to provoke them for a laugh. The time they went swimming at the beach and he pushed one of their school-mates off the ledge of the dock, even if he insisted on not getting wet. The look on his face! Lampwick could still see it now, nearly fifteen years later. Then there was the time when Lampwick's mother and Mister Geppetto were invited as guests. The ceremony had been a real bore almost as bad as going to real Mass. But he certainly didn't mind after, when he managed to steal all those sweets that were served for dessert with Pinocchio and proceeded to eat them under a table in secret, before getting ratted on by his obnoxious brothers. It was those kind of thoughts that made working in the winter somewhat tolerable.

When he came home from a long day at the docks, with his own surprise to Pinocchio planned with a bottle of wine- and not a cheap kind- that he so happened to "find" , just lyin' there, imagine the surprise he got when he stepped inside and saw a checkered blanket set out on the floor, with two plate setting laid out, a basket of bread between the two plates.

Lampwick looked at it and then called to Pinoke, who was probably in the kitchen, preparing dinner. From where he stood, he could smell the smell of something simmering in a pot, wafting towards him with all the comforts of home.

"Pinoke!" Lampwick exclaimed. "What's all this for?"

Pinocchio emerged from his spot in the kitchen, smiling as he threw up his arms and said, "Surprise, Lampy! It's an indoor-picnic!"'

"I can see that. An' ahat's the occasion?"

Lampwick knew well, and he should have realized it earlier, but Pinocchio didn't really need an occasion to celebrate in a really strange way. Life was a celebration in itself.

"Nothing, but I thought it'd be fun!" Pinocchio told him. "Since you don't like the cold and all- we can pretend its summer!"

Lampwick grinned a lopsided-smile, bearing his buckteeth. That was one of the qualities that he loved about his buddy- he was always this forever child-like innocence about him. He had hardly changed a bit from when they had met that fateful night on the coach to Pleasure Island. Sometimes he thought it was amazing that such a child-like man could even exist.

"That sounds a real swell idea," Lampwick said, already hanging up his coat on its hook by the door. He yawned and stretched, asking, "So what's all for supper? Smells real good."

"Pasta," Pinocchio answered brightly. "And bread and lemonade- cuz I know it's your favorite. It's almost ready."

"Good. I'm starvin'," Lampwick said as he went over to the kitchen. No matter what he wanted to believe, standing the kitchen and inhaling cooking food's heavenly fumes didn't satisfy you enough, it only made hunger worse.

He plopped himself down at the wooden table, cracking his knuckles.

"How was work today?" Pinocchio asked. Somehow, he had to know that Lampwick's answer was usually going to be pretty much the same day-after-day but he was too nice not to ask this question, even if the answer was pretty well known.

"Tirin'. But-" Lampwick smiled as he held up the bottle of wine. "Lookie what I got here! Fancy stuff, too! Found it. . ." So, he really didn't want to openly admit to Pinocchio right now that he even took part of the black market trades- Pinocchio was a lot more morale than he was, so he came up with a white lie, something he was proud to say he had skills with. "Push cart guy was sellin' it down at the docks. Since I got paid today, thought it'd be nice fer us to have a little somethin' somethin'. Enough about my day though. Yers?"

"Oh-" Pinocchio wasn't much of a talker, a listener really, so his stories about the toy-shop and its costumers weren't nearly as elaborate as Lampwick's ever were. "Good. I finished that clock I was working on. It turned out really nice. You gotta see it."

"Everythin' you make is swell," Lampwick said, the words coming out before he could stop himself. It sounded way too sentimental for him, but it was the truth.

"Gee, thanks, Lampy!" Pinocchio gushed, his cheeks splotched with pink as if it had been painted on. He was still smiling his goofy-pleased smile when he went over to the boiling pot of water and gleefully proclaimed, "Pasta's ready!"

So they had dinner of pasta and the bread, sitting on the blanket as it was the spontaneous indoor-picnic day. They laughed and talked (well, mostly Lampwick talked) and well after they had finished their supper and topped off the lovely tiramisu (Which, as it turned out was home-made. When between finishing the clock did Pinocchio find the time to squeeze in to make a tiramisu?!) They found themselves sitting at the blanket, sipping the wine and growing more and more free with each little refill of their cups.

Now, Pinocchio had never been used as to alcohol as Lampwick had been. He hardly ever drank and when he did, it was usually a glass and that was it. But, like the night on Pleasure Island, it was Lampwick who kept on coaxing his best friend to drink more, enjoy it more. He could see what looked like a bit of conflicting guilt glimmering in Pinoke's eyes as he sipped, but it was Saturday night, their pleasure night. Why should he be conflicted about havin' a bit more a wine than he was used to?

As Lampwick told Pinocchio the wild tall tale that he had spun about the time he had gone and saved one a them 'lovely ladies' who lived next to the tavern from some drunken man that decided to make that poor woman his punching bag. Getting into a fight with a man? Truth. Over saving a prostitute? Not so much a truth, but not an utter lie.

Sometimes Lampwick felt compelled to have to spin one of these wild tales every now and again for Pinocchio. He had told his best friend a lot of things that weren't all truths back when they were young, so he felt the need that every so often he had to keep up his image with a heroic tale that somewhat happened and somewhat didn't.

Pinocchio should have caught onto this fact years ago. They had known each other for the past sixteen years and somewhere in that period of time he should have caught on that not all of the parts of his friend's stories were real. But no, he still drank them up just as naively as he did when he was a child.

Maybe he did know but what just too much of a good friend to point out that Lampwick was a liar. Lampwick himself wasn't sure, but it sure was plausible.

But if there was something Lampwick was certain about between his and Pinocchio's friendship, it was that he had his friend's complete and utter trust. It didn't matter if what that beetle. . .er, grasshopper, or whatever the hell he was, had said about Lampwick on Pleasure Island. Lampwick was Pinoke's best friend and over sixteen years, nothing had changed that.

Well . . .okay, something had changed and it wasn't something that Lampwick typically liked to admit. Every now and again, he'd starting thinking about Pinocchio. . .differently. Not like the friendship-kind of way that he always felt. Not just that, but in like. . .It was hard to describe.

Lampwick usually wasn't one to be clear and accurate on what he was exactly feeling. One to suppress his feeling for the sake of keeping his tough guy image alive, it had become difficult to exactly sort through the complex emotions that came with adulthood. He wished it was like childhood-and all feelings got towards people was if you liked them or like liked a person. There wasn't love, not by adult definition. There was just young love, the blossom of infatuations. Lampwick had experienced that with a few girls, until he swore them off because they talked too much and it was hard for him to be himself around them.

That was in his pre-pubescent time and when he hit puberty, he knew he definitely liked women- there was definitely a difference between them and girls. Trickling into his now young adult-hood, he had been with a couple of women and yeah, he definitely enjoyed himself during those particular rendezvous, but did he love them? Attracted, definitely. Love? He was unsure.

Were these feelings for Pinocchio normal, friend feelings? Sixteen years, almost two decades of friendship was a long, long time. Surly, they loved each other- brotherly as they had grown up together. And they were attached to each other. But what explained the way he thought Pinocchio was kinda cute. . .

Oh! Figlio di una cagna! Was wine actually making him philosophical? Wasn't it the other way, to be stupider?

Lampwick remained silent in thought and, knowing this was a strange thing to have his friend silent for a change, Pinocchio asked, "What's the matter, Lampy?"

Despite knowing that he was well intoxicated, Lampwick took another sip at his wine. "Thinkin,' that's all. "

"About what?" Even after sixteen years, Pinocchio was still ever-curious.

Did Lampwick really want to confess this to his friend? That he had, perhaps . . .deeper feelings for him? Feelings and attractions just deeper than friendship.

"You," Lampwick admitted.

"Me?" Pinocchio echoed.

"Yeah, an', just, ya know, you an' me." Lampwick looked down at his cup so he didn't have to face looking directly at his best friend's face. He knew that his face must have been as scarlet red as the wine that was intoxicating him, and quite frankly, embarrassed was a color on him that he really didn't want Pinocchio to see. "What ya mean to me."

"Oh," Pinocchio was surprised. "As a friend?"

"Yeah, but. . ." Lampwick stopped for a moment and swirled the wine. It was something that might help. He held the cup to his lips and swallowed the rest of its contents in a colossal gulp. He wiped his red-stained lips with the back of his sleeve, not caring about the stain it surely had left.

Hoping that he had gained a little more confidence he said, "Somethin' more as well."

"Something more?" Pinocchio parroted, ever the innocent. He crocked his to the idea and confessed, "I'm not sure I really understand you, Lampy."

"T-the truth is, Pinoke- I like ya. A lot. I mean a lot, Slats," Lampwick said, remembering his old nickname for his friend, from the day they played pool back on Pleasure Island. "An' it's not jus' in friend way. Like, in a way yer supposed ta feel with women."

"Love?" Pinocchio took the word that Lampwick never dared to say right out of his mouth. Amore was not something Lampwick never said, to anyone, besides his dear ol' momma. The taboo word never slipped out, not even after the sex that he had had with women before, even if they mutter it to him sleepily after all was said and done. Quite frankly, he didn't think it was worth it to say it to anyone else. Love wasn't manly and with Lampwick, if he wasn't a manly, tough guy to everyone than who was he?

He was unsure the increased amount of alcohol in his system, but all the confessions were coming out tonight, things that he had kept bottled up inside of him for so long. He didn't know if it was solely the wine that made his face feel ruddy, red, and hot, but he couldn't let Pinocchio see his face.

And then Pinocchio did something that Lampwick was definitely not expecting: he leaned over and gave Lampwick a small, ginger kiss on his blushing, hot check.

The place where Pinocchio had kissed burned and tingled slightly with the memory of where his friend's lips had been.

This time, he had managed to look at Pinocchio, right in the eyes, but instead of feeling embarrassed with his mouth hung wide-open, he felt compelled to lean over and kiss Pinocchio fully on the lips- probably aided by the confidence given to him by alcohol.

But the thing was- Pinocchio definitely kissed back and with such intensity and passion that it felt like he had been longing for a chance to do this for a long time. He must have never kissed anyone before, because it was a little awkward at first, but Pinoke tended to pick up on things fairly quickly. He certainly got the concept of making out fast.

They broke apart for air, finding Lampwick somewhat panting along with his racing heart pounding in his chest, leaving him hot and bothered.

Pinocchio was just as flustered and out of breath. Lampwick expected him to be the first to stay something, but what he wasn't expecting was for Pinocchio to suddenly announce, "I'm going to bed." It was almost as if he was a bit ashamed of what he had done.

"I-I well, I have a long day tomorrow with the shop and stuff. So I'd better -" He added on but never really finished, standing up. "It's getting late, too."

He picked the dirty dishes off the picnic blanket and walked over to the kitchen, where he put them in the sink, but didn't bother to wash them.

Lampwick groaned and facepalmed. Why had he even dared to let his guard down and said all of those mushy-gushy stuff, anyway? He'd never admitted anything like that before to a woman- so why the hell was he doing it with his best friend? Now, granted, he knew he was fairly drunk- but even when he had been drunk and horny before with women he never even let something like that slip out even on accident.

He looked back as Pinocchio, who had returned to the workshop and smiled faintly.

The worse thing about just having admitted that he had feelings for his best friend is that he had to live with him. It wasn't like just up and leaving Pinoke and go back to the Red Crab Inn's sleazy apartments was such a good choice. What kind of friend would he be if he did that? Not a good one and with Pinocchio being pretty much Lampwick's one and only friend with such a long history together, it was a horrible thing to back out of it now.

"I'm going to sleep," Pinocchio proclaimed.

"Okay," Lampwick said. "G'night, Pinoke."

"Goodnight, Lampy."

And with that, Pinocchio went upstairs to his bedroom, leaving Lampwick sitting alone.

He looked to one of the numerous coo-coo clocks on the wall that had been carved by Pinoke's father and saw that it was only about nine o`clock.

Although Lampwick was much more of a night-owl, he felt obliged to go to bed since he didn't really have anything else to do but sit alone at the window and smoke. After he was sure Pinocchio was up the stair-case and he had blown out all the candles they had left in the room, he went up to the guest room where he stayed.

The guest room used to be Pinocchio's bedroom, but ever since Geppetto passed away, Pinocchio felt much more comfort being in his father's bed than his old one. So, when Lampwick moved in, the old bedroom went to him. It was nice- a lot better than what Red Crab's bare naked rooms had to offer, that was certain.

Lampwick stripped himself down to his nightwear and fell into bed. Normally, he would have drifted off to sleep shortly after his head hit the pillow, but he found himself staying awake through much of the night, tossing and turning. Insomnia ravaged hours and hours, making him stare at first the wall above him and then out the window, to the sleepy old Tuscan town and the stars pinning back the black night sky.

He had to make this right. He didn't want things to be like this forever with Pinocchio- so there had to be some way to get it back to the old days- when they were just friends.

So, Lampwick got out of bed and, lightening the candle on his bedside table, he walked down the hallway and meandered to Pinocchio's bedroom.

For some reason, Pinocchio always kept his bedroom door relatively opened. It reminds Lampwick of when he was much younger and a little afraid of the dark. He had to keep the door open so he knew there was nothing. Of course, soon as he learned to be such a wuss, keeping the door open at night wasn't such a priority.

Lampwick peaked his head around the door and peered inside. "Pinoke!" He whispered-yelled through the darkness, not exactly being considerate about if his friend was awake or sleeping or in the middle of a really swell dream- he just had to get his friend's attention.

Surprisingly enough, Pinocchio was awake in bed. He sat up in bed and looked at the glowing face that was wedged between the bedroom door and it's frame.

"Lampwick," Pinocchio called back, sitting up. "What are you doing up?"

"Can't sleep."

"Me neither."

Lampwick gently pushed the door open and walked inside over to Pinocchio's bed.

"I-I'm sorry about earlier," Pinocchio apologized.

"Why are you sorry? Should be me apologizin''," Lampwick told him. He didn't like to admit that he had made a mistake ever, but if it was for his best friend, he was willing to do that. "I kinda pushed that onto ya and I was bein' real stupid. It wasn't right for me to say anythin' about that. I was drunk. So- sorry, pal. "

Pinocchio sat thoughtfully for a minute and asked, "Does that mean we're still friends?"

Lampwick felt his body sigh in relief with him as he gave a crooked smile. "Sure thing." Now that this matter had been settled, he turned to leave but was stopped from even so setting a foot over the threshold between the bedroom and the hallway by Pinocchio making a request.

"Can you sleep with me tonight, Lampy?" Pinocchio asked, sheepishly. "I was thinking about my father again and I got really lonely and I don't want'cha to leave me."

"Whatever you want," Lampwick was surprised that he even said those words and willingly agreed to share a bed with Pinocchio after what had happened earlier that night. Still, he found himself walking back over to his friend's bed, setting the candle on the bedside table, murmuring a "Scoot", waiting for Pinocchio to press himself closer to the wall to make room for the man, and crawling in between the covers.

Lampwick licked his forefinger and reached over to snuff out the candle, but Pinocchio stopped him from doing so.

"Can we keep the candle on, at least for a while?" Pinocchio pleaded quietly.

Lampwick didn't give a verbal reply but he put his arm back down. He felt Pinocchio move away from the wall that he had been pressed again and move closer to Lampwick.

Just as when Lampwick was about to shut his eyes, Pinocchio asked, meekly, "Did you mean what you said tonight? That you really like me?"

"I kissed ya, didn' I?" Lampwick replied to his friend, eyes still closed.

"Can we be more than friends? I mean- we both like each other and all," Pinocchio reasoned.

Lampwick thought for a moment. Even though he had feelings deeper than friendship for Pinoke, he knew a deeper relationship would be new and difficult territory for the two- as having this kind of relationship was very much a taboo. They would have to conceal their little secret well but somehow he knew it could eventually work out. They liked each other and knew each other better than anyone else- that was a good foundation.

Just maybe it could work.

"Maybe," Lampwick murmured. "I'll sleep on it."

Pinocchio bit his lip slightly, but still he snuggled up next to Lampwick's body and gently kissed the top of the older man's freckled shoulder. His eyes fluttered shut as he curled closer to his best friend.

Knowing Pinoke had fallen asleep by the, Lampwick reached over and snuffed out the candle, deciding it was well past his time to go to sleep as well, and think about what this whole thing meant to him.

But it was in the dark of the night that Lampwick looked over to a sleeping Pinocchio- his cheek rested upon Lampwick's brawny shoulder, an arm placed protectively over his bicep. It was hard to resist him-especially when he was sleep.

A small smile spread over Lampwick's face as he glanced over at the younger man. And he thought about what had happened before.

Pinocchio had confessed his love to Lampwick and yet he hadn't had the courage to do the same. When someone you care for a lot told you that they loved you, you should say something back. Love may not be manly but it was emotion that Lampwick could feel, despite what he wanted other to believe.

The matter that he had never "I love you" to anyone was a sad thing. He didn't think that anyone he had met was deserving of the phrase. That was, until now with Pinocchio.

And so he let himself say it into the silent night as Pinocchio slept soundly like a baby.

"I love ya," Lampwick whispered, reaching over and putting a hand on top of Pinocchio's that covered his bicep.

Pinocchio wasn't awake to hear Lampwick say it to him, but at least Lampwick said it and it was off his chest. It wasn't going to weigh him down anymore.

Now the next step was saying it in the daylight, when the one he loved was fully-awake and able to hear it loud and clear.

Although, it wouldn't be Lampwick's imagination to say that a small, happy little grin spread on Pinocchio's face in his slumber after it was said.