This is simply an idea I had that wouldn't let go of my mind until I wrote it down. I'm toying with the idea of building on this to write it into an actual story, but I'm not sure how likely that idea is.I hope you enjoy it anyway.

He has failed more spectacularly than he had ever done in his life—which in his view was an impressive, albeit harrowing, list. Try as he might, he could come up with nothing he had ever done to warrant the title of success. The areas in which he was not beyond hope were the areas in which he begrudgingly accepted his mediocre level of 'skill'. Even with this lengthy list of inadequacies, he had finally accomplished the epitome of life-ruining phenomenons: he had fallen in love.

Being thick-headed and slow, it had taken Lovino a good long while to realize what he had done. He had been confident he had hated the other man. There was not a shadow of a doubt in his mind that his heart beat faster out of rage, that his face flushed at the dazzling, Spanish smile because it was the blinding marker of how immeasurably carefree and stupid he was; Lovino had been absolutely sure that the butterflies in his stomach when Antonio was around were there out of maximum discomfort—not because he was more unsure of himself than ever before. He had called his brother horrible names when Feliciano had dared accuse him of fancying that stupid Spanish bastard because the idea had seemed so farfetched.

Now that he had finally discovered the true meaning behind his reactions to Antonio, Lovino wanted to ask his brother how he had known so early on. He wanted to know what signs he had given and figure out why it had been so impossible to mask over. But if he were to ask, it would be tantamount to admitting how he felt. Lovino could not allow it. He knew what it was his symptoms indicated, but he desperately clung to the fleeting hope he was grossly mistaken.

There was no cure for this ailment. There was no chance of recovery—at least not one that was easy, quick, and painless. Stripped of all fruitless denials and empty cries of the contrary, the idea of being in love was petrifying. It was called 'falling' in love for a reason, and falling was exactly what this was like. Somewhere along the line, Lovino had stumbled over the incandescent green eyes, bouncing, deep-brown curls, and the smile that could move mountains. He had plunged himself into a void where nothing existed apart from the constant aching desire in his chest to be in his Spaniard's presence. The dependency was maddening. At the same time, it pained him to be with Antonio; close enough to breathe him in and suffocate on the scent of tomatoes and spices. Everything hurt and there was no fixing it.

The best Lovino could do was deny it. If he repeated that he hated Antonio enough times, he was sure he could make it true. If he focused on how stupid and absent-minded and clueless that bastard was, then Lovino would no longer want to be the center of his attentions. Because when it boiled down to it, Antonio was no different than anyone else. Antonio thought Feliciano was cute, and cooed over how darling he was relentlessly. Antonio thought Feliciano was better than Lovino, and how could he not? These were facts that Lovino believed indisputably. All he had to do was find out why Antonio seemed so interested in messing him around.

Why did Antonio pretend to be impressed by things Lovino did? Why did Antonio beam when he spotted him? Why did Antonio insist on inviting him places? What could Antonio gain from taking him to dinner?
The only answer Lovino could come up with for these questions was that he simply looked enough like Feliciano to be a visual substitute. It pissed him off that anyone would stoop so low, and he rejected the notion that Antonio's mindless flirting made him happy anyway.

He huffed, cursing himself for being such a weakhearted fool as to fall in love. It wasn't as though he needed anything more to feed the conviction that he was the worst kind of person, and yet here he was. Love sick, angry, and so completely incompetent that he had no idea what to do. Clearly pursuing the tiny inkling of acknowledging the all-consuming love in which he was drowning was an impossibility. Even on the off chance that Antonio did not prefer his brother, the chances of him having any interest in Lovino were infinitely close to zero. No one that completely quintessential would look twice at someone made entirely of crippling self-doubt. Antonio was flawless, and there was no universe in which Lovino deserved him.