Basics: Ludwig is an A-grade student in both the newspaper and football club. Feliciano is a slightly impulsive pupil with a passion for art and the words he scrawls on his hands. Neither showed an interest in the other - until one day, they did. Gauken AU.
The bell signalling the end of the school day had never sounded so welcoming to Ludwig's ears before. It was a shrill sound, which usually left the blonde's ears ringing for at least a minute and a half, but today Ludwig was glad to hear the horrible sound. Swiftly, he swept his pencil and math set into his bag, before standing up and returning the rubber he'd borrowed to its original owner. Pulling the strap of his backpack up his shoulder, Ludwig rushed out of the classroom, before the student council president, Arthur Kirkland, could continue rambling on to him about budget cuts and 'have you finished the monthly newspaper yet, because the deadlines on Friday?'
Pushing the council president out of his mind, Ludwig reminded himself that it was Tuesday, and that today he had football practise instead of the newspaper club. Both of the clubs required hard work, but Ludwig found that he rather enjoyed the challenge of trying to balance both clubs and his academic needs. For a moment, he quickly worried himself over the deadline for the paper - He and his friend Kiku were the only club members - but he soon reassured himself that they only needed to finish two more articles.
"Ludwig-san," Kiku spoke when he caught up with the blonde after class. The Japanese student was short, only reaching Ludwig's shoulders, with black hair cut so that it hung just above his ears. Ludwig nodded as way of greeting, slowing down his brisk walk so that he could talk to his friend before football practise. Kiku shot him a look of appreciation, falling into step with the German.
"Concerning the newspaper articles - would you like me to write-up an article about the upcoming Autumn fair?" Kiku wondered, as he quickly placed his camera bag into his backpack. Ludwig knew that photography was a much-loved hobby of Kiku's and that on the days when Ludwig had football practise, Kiku had the photography club.
"Ja. I mean yes," Ludwig replied. "Will you be able to finish it by Thursday morning?"
Kiku nodded, and for a while, the two students walked quietly towards the locker room, weeding through the masses of students that were walking in the separate direction to leave the school. It wasn't until they'd reached the locker rooms, did Ludwig question;
"Don't you have Photography club today?"
Once again, Kiku nodded, offering the blonde a rare smile as he explained that the photography club would be taking pictures of the football club for the day, and that they'd been told to meet up outside the locker rooms. As he explained this, Kiku gestured over to the other members of the photography club who were talking about the latest camera's and the techniques they'd used since their last meeting a week ago. Ludwig was sure that he could hear someone talking about their latest experiment with adjusting the exposure on the camera.
The concept of photography sounded foreign to Ludwig, and after giving Kiku a small wave, he excused himself and entered the locker rooms to change into his sports kit. There was only one other player in the room when he got there - his teammate, and older brother, Gilbert. Gilbert Beilschmidt was the self-proclaimed 'most awesome person on the earth', but to Ludwig, he just called him 'East'. Sometimes, Ludwig wondered why he didn't just call his brother by his name, but he supposed it had all started when his brother had come home after his first day of school and had pointed at him, claiming that his new name was 'West'.
Somehow the names had stuck, and now, Ludwig knew better than to protest against the nickname.
Opening his locker and placing in his back pack, Ludwig took off his school blazer and tie, folding them as he placed them on top of his bag. Taking off his shirt, he tossed on his football shirt, now sporting the number '7' as his member number. It was around this time that his brother acknowledged his presence, slapping a hand on Ludwig's shoulder.
Ludwig turned his head to look at his brother, who grinned back at him. Somehow, Gilbert always seemed in high spirits - the albino's eyes shone with mischief. Turning to acknowledge his brother properly, the younger German pushed his brother away from him, rolling his eyes when his brother looked at him with mocked horror. Ludwig wondered if Gilbert had pretended to act hurt, telling himself that his brother was just terrible at mustering negative facial expressions.
"Hi East," Ludwig finally replied, turning back to his locker. Taking out his shorts, he barely noticed when his brother sat down on one of the benches, untying the shoelaces on his football boots. The two struck up a quick conversation, though it compromised only of small talk, as they continued to get ready for practise.
Other students on the football team entered the locker room after a few minutes. Some of the younger students were self-conscious and got changed in the bathrooms, while others had been in call backs. Ludwig waved hello to his team mates as they entered the room, initiating in small talk about the tactics they had covered with their coach last week. Making a list in his head, he checked off his team mates as they entered the room.
Alfred Jones - Or Alfred F. Jones, as the American protested - a tall spectacled blonde, with a rather obnoxious personality, had busied himself with texting on his phone. With his cheek bone tinted purple, Ludwig was left to believe that the American had thrown himself into yet another fight over his determination to stand up for his friends.
Mathias Kohler, also tall and blonde but with hair spiked up with gel, was in an animated discussion with Gilbert. The two friends shared a mutual interest in music, particularly the electric guitar. Despite the year difference in their ages, both boy's got along well, bouncing comments from each other as they rambled on in their conversations.
Lovino Vargas leaned against his locker, his arms folded. His shoulders were tense, and his brows furrowed as he looked at his fellow team mates. With a tendency to swear excessively and a bitter personality, Lovino didn't tend to indulge in talking to other's. The only person who really talked to the irritable Italian was Antonio, another player on the football team.
Thinking of Antonio, Ludwig wondered where exactly he was - he'd expected the Spanish student to have been in the changing rooms with his brother, and their fellow friend Francis because of their close friendship, but neither Antonio nor Francis had walked through the grey doors yet. Ludwig supposed that the doors weren't exactly grey, they had once been painted white, but now the paint was peeling away, with the original colour tarnished from all the graffiti that delinquents had used. Apparently the budget cuts that Arthur Kirkland had mentioned had been to re-paint the locker room and sports hall.
The thought of Arthur Kirkland caring about what the gym and locker room looked like seemed even more foreign to Ludwig than photography did, and like he had before, he pushed the thought of the council president from his thoughts.
After a while, their football coach and gym teacher, Sadiq Annan, entered the locker room. There had been a rumour a few weeks before, that the Turkish man had worn a mask during his teenage years because of low self-esteem after a car accident, but all the football club knew for certain that the whispers around the school were false - the sport teacher was egotistical to the point where he visibly clashed with their history teacher, Heracles Karpusi.
"Alright kids," Mr Annan's voice carried through the locker room, causing a few students to jump at the unexpected sound. Ludwig noticed that Antonio and Francis had followed the Turkish teacher into the room, and both boys tossed their bags into their own lockers. The team all turned to focus their attention on Mr Annan, even Alfred, who slipped his phone away into his shorts pocket.
"I'm sure that you've seen the students outside the locker room with their cameras and the likes," the gym teacher looked at Alfred, who opened his mouth to speak, "and if you haven't, then you probably shouldn't rely on your phones so much."
Alfred closed his mouth.
"Anyway," Mr Annan continued, "they're from the photography club - obviously - and they're going to be taking photographs of you all during today's practise. If you don't like it, then suck it up and get over it. Today's practise is going to be pretty laid back, you'll warm up, then we'll play a few games using the tactics I taught you last week. Then we'll warm down. As I said, today's pretty laid back."
Quiet discussion broke out among the eleven players - they hadn't had an easy practise since last July. Two of their players - Yao and Ivan - had graduated in the summer, and without any new recruits to the club, the team had a lot of pressure on them to perform well in training. Ludwig supposed it added to the challenge of balancing out clubs and academics. Gilbert had asked him many times how he could balance both clubs, but he couldn't find the words to explain.
Keeping quiet as he followed after Mr Annan, Ludwig fell into step next to Kiku when the two met up again outside the locker room. Out of the corner of his eye, Ludwig noticed his brother elbow Antonio in the stomach. The Spaniard laughed after Gilbert said something, before the two broke out into a sprint for the field. The last in their trio, Francis Bonnefoy, rolled his eyes at their actions, but otherwise joined into their sprint, calling out that he would win their silly race.
Sometimes, Ludwig wished that he could have friendships with people the way his brother did, but he'd accepted that he just wasn't the extrovert type like his brother. He realised however, that he was happy with Kiku as his friend, even if the two were both introverts and rather inexperienced when it came to making friends.
When they reached the field, Kiku once again made his way back to his own club, wishing Ludwig luck in their game. Ludwig smiled as way of response, nodding in appreciation, before pacing himself into a jog to catch up to his football coach. The Turkish man was now reprimanding Alfred on how the proper term for football, was in fact, football and not soccer. Alfred responded by telling him that the real term was soccer and that Europeans just spoke incorrectly. Ludwig watched in amused satisfaction, stopping his jog to stand next to Berwald Oxenstierna, the goal keeper for their team. Berwald was Swedish and didn't talk much, which Ludwig didn't mind, because when the Swede did talk, the German had to concentrate to make sense of the heavily accented words.
"Alright guys," Annan called, holding a blue clipboard in his hands, and wearing a stopwatch around his neck. "I want you to do two laps around the field, alright? Step on it."
Unsurprisingly, Gilbert and Antonio sprinted off first, yelling at Annan to start the stopwatch and see if they could beat their record time of four minutes and sixteen seconds. Mathias and Alfred followed after the two enthusiastic students, making sure to pace themselves. Francis settled into a jog, as did Lovino and Berwald - and eventually Ludwig himself. The other three students must have outrun him at some point, because Ludwig could see the two Asian students - Kaoru and Im Yong Soo - sprinting forwards to catch up with Alfred. Lars, a prideful pupil from the Netherlands, over took Francis' run, smirking at the French student as he did.
Ludwig liked to run. When he did, he could clear his head of unimportant things, and focus more on the important - like the essay that he had to finish when he got home, or the tactics that he could use when they played after their warm up. In his head, Ludwig ordered all of his thoughts, placing them into lists.
When the team had finished their two laps - and some stretches, even if Gilbert claimed they were un-awesome - all eleven students crowded around Annan in a semi-circle.
"Gilbert, Antonio, you're both the team captains, so come out here and pick your teams." Annan announced. Gilbert and Antonio both made their way to stand next to their coach, and after a flick of the coin, the first decision to choose a team member fell to Gilbert. The Albino smirked at Antonio,
Antonio smirked back as he replied, "Lovino."
Both Lovino and Francis rolled their eyes, but otherwise stayed quiet as they made their way over to their team captains. Ludwig noticed that his brother was looking at him.
"Berwald." Antonio chose, nodding happily as the Swede made his way over to stand slightly behind him and Lovino. Ludwig made his way over to his brother, exchanging a quick hello with Francis.
Eventually the teams were chosen, Gilbert picking Alfred, Im Yong Soo, and Lars, while Antonio picked Mathias and Kaoru. The problem of having only eleven players on the football team however, made it so that the teams were 5:6.
"We could get my idiot fratello to play, I suppose." Lovino muttered when the topic was brought up. He crossed his arms around his chest when Annan and the rest of the team looked over at him. Antonio was the first to respond.
"You think that Feliciano will actually play?" He asked, adopting a rather confused expression on his face. Lovino shrugged as way of response, before nodding slightly.
"If I ask him, I'm sure he wouldn't mind not doing his own photography for a fucking day."
Antonio nodded, and both of the boys turned to look at Annan, who shrugged as he replied 'sure'. Lovino quietly pushed away from the team, claiming that he'd be right back, before walking over to where the photography club were setting up their cameras. Ludwig didn't take much notice of the photography club, and it seemed that his brother didn't either, because within seconds, Gilbert had the team in a huddle, telling them about the plays they were going to use.
According to Gilbert, Alfred would be in the goal, having the fastest reflexes in the six-man team. Ludwig and Lars would be defenders, whilst Im Yong Soo and Francis would be midfielders. Gilbert would be the striker, and he decided that part way through the game, he would get someone to swap with him so that he could practise his midfielding. He winked at Im Yong Soo as he spoke, so Ludwig knew who would be swapping part way through the game.
After they'd finished their 'Team Talk' as Gilbert dubbed it, the six boys turned to look over to Lovino who was walking back to Annan, with his younger brother in pursuit. Ludwig hadn't ever met the boy who trailed after the moody Italian, but he was suddenly intrigued.
The younger Vargas brother was brunette like Lovino, but with a lighter shade of hair colour. Ludwig raised an eyebrow at the him, trying to come up with a list as to why Alfred had just deemed the boy to be a nutcase. He wore a green hoodie over a white t-shirt, and red jeans, but Ludwig wasn't sure that this made the Italian strange. It just seemed as if the boy had a lot of national pride.
"Ciao everyone!" The Italian called cheerfully as he made his way up to the group, "I'm Feliciano, ve~"
Ludwig felt slightly surprised at the enthusiasm in Feliciano's voice, but he didn't comment. Feliciano didn't have any time to say anything else however, before his brother and Antonio had whipped him away to their group of five, speaking quietly and telling him how they were planning on playing football. It took little time after that for the game to start. Lovino glared across at Gilbert, claiming in a hiss that his team would 'fucking win' and that 'he didn't stand a fucking chance'.
Somehow, Ludwig had the idea that Lovino wasn't just being competitive, but rather overly confident and predicting the games outcome.
The score was 1:1.
Ludwig breathed heavily from where he stood near the side lines of the pitch. His heart pounded against his chest, as he watched Im Yong Soo take a shot at the goal, only for Berwald to stop it, yet again. How long, Ludwig wondered, did they have left of the game? Surely the game would soon be coming to an end - all he would have to do was keep his head focused on defending his goal, and tackle the ball off of the other players before they could get to the goal.
Feliciano was a good player at football, Ludwig mused as he watched Berwald throw the ball out to the brunette. It seemed strange that such a good player didn't join the school's team. The brunette dribbled the ball inbetween his feet, sparing Antonio a quick nod. The Spaniard sprinted down the field, Gilbert keeping up with him in pace, as Feliciano ran in his direction.
With a sharp kick, Feliciano passed the ball to Antonio. Antonio kept his speed up, turning his head quickly to acknowledge Lovino. Then, he stopped in his run abruptly, stopping the ball with the ball of his foot. Ludwig wondered briefly why the spaniard would suddenly stop - Gilbert was advancing on Antonio and was nearer now, - but then Antonio performed one of the neatest back heels that Ludwig had ever seen. The ball glided over to Lovino as if made of air.
"Fuck!" Gilbert cursed when he realised that his friend had fooled him into giving Lovino one less midfielder to deal with. Antonio smiled devilshly at the Albino, before picking up a run after Lovino to back him up if needed.
Lars and Francis sprung into action then; Both boys raced up to the older Vargas brother, one from in front of the Italian, and the other from behind. The idea that the two were trying to box Lovino in sprung to Ludwig's mind, until he saw Lovino's smirk. Bringing his left leg up, Lovino quickly tossed the ball over to his brother, who had outrun the midfielders, and was now on the far right of the field. He collected the ball with ease, keeping his balance as he sprinted away from Im Yong Soo, who raced after him.
Ludwig's mind snapped from whatever daze he had been in while watching the game. Immediately, his composure was of someone determined to win, and his eyes narrowed slightly as he thought of ways to outwit Feliciano. Feliciano was gaining speed as he continued to run - Ludwig quickly calculated how quick he'd have to act to regain possession of the ball.
"Win this for us Feli!" Ludwig heard Antonio call. The German ignored any shouts from the other team, his head making decisions and thinking of endless possibilites as he raced towards Feliciano. His heart pounded against his chest, but this time Ludwig was sure it was only beating so heavily because of his excitement for the game. His pulse beated behind his ears.
Before, Feliciano's expression had been full of determination; However, now he smiled teasingly up at Ludwig, causing the German to hesitate for a second. It seemed that all Feliciano needed was a second though, as he quickly side-stepped around Ludwig, picking up his sprint towards the goal.
Ludwig growled in frustration, as he turned to see Feliciano take a shot at the goal. Alfred tried to catch the ball, resulting in grazed knees as the American dived, but instead of stopping the ball in its journey towards the white net, the ball sailed through the air.
"Yeah, that's how it's done bastards!" Lovino cried in glee as the football caught in the net.
"That was an interesting technique you used." Ludwig heard his brother acknowledge, as the team made their way up to the locker room. Ludwig could honestly say that he was impressed with the tactic that the other team had used. It was something that Ludwig hadn't been expecting.
Ludwig was angry at himself for hesitating though - annoyed that Feliciano could cause him to hesitate from just a smile. It was starting to wind him up, Ludwig realised, as he followed several steps behind his team mates. 'What was with that smile anyway?' Ludwig mused, 'Why did it make me hesitate in the first place?'
Ludwig would have understood his hesitation more if he were interested in other guys - but there had been no fluttering in his stomach, no romantic feelings at all. Ludwig had never even spoken to Feliciano before. And even if Ludwig were gay, the hesitation wouldn't be from a sudden feeling. After all, to the German, love at first sight was just a cliche. The more Ludwig thought to himself about it, the more agitated he became.
"Mein Gott." Ludwig sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Ludwig wondered just what it was that made the Italian seem so mysterious to a point where he couldn't stop trying to figure him out. As if he were trying to piece together a puzzle, Ludwig's mind churned as he grit his teeth together. Whatever the reason for his hesitation had been, Ludwig wanted to pull the pieces of the puzzle together.
"You hear that west?" Gilbert's voice brough Ludwig out of his thoughts, as his arm rested over Ludwig's shoulder. Ludwig turned to look at his brother again, shaking his head 'no' as he shrugged off his brother's arm. Ludwig had never enjoyed having his personal space threatened, and he almost glared angrily at his brother, because he knew that Gilbert knew of this aversion.
Gilbert laughed, smiling happily as he fell into step with his younger brother. Ludwig briefly wondered how Gilbert could stay so happy after losing their game.
"Did I hear what?" Ludwig asked. He made sure that his voice was calm as he spoke, not wanting his unease to show.
"That tactic they used was from the 70's. Brazil were playing against... I think that Antonio said that they were playing Uraguay. Anyway, that tactic broke one of the world's tightest defences in world cup history! How awesome is that?" Gilbert smirked, "Antonio told me that he and Lovino had been working on the tactic for a while - they needed a third person to complete the attacking team, and that's how Lovino's brother got involved!"
Ludwig nodded, though he was still stressed. If the tactic had been used over forty years ago, then Ludwig supposed by default, they should have all known the counter-tactic, if such thing existed.
For the rest of the walk back to the locker room Ludwig kept up civil conversation with his brother about how they could win the next game. Somehow, Feliciano Vargas' name didn't come up in the conversation, which both pleased and dissapointed Ludwig.
Once the team were clean from dirt and sweat, Annan told them that they'd done well, before dismissing the team with a quick flick of the wrist. Ludwig adjusted the straps on his bag around his shoulder, before exiting the locker room. Unlike other days, he didn't even wait for his brother, or a team member to strike up conversation, instead slipping out of the room before he was noticed. For a moment, Ludwig rested his head against the wall, letting out a sigh.
"Uhm, hello?" The soft Italian voice seemed to echo through the empty corridor, and Ludwig looked up to look at Feliciano, who was rushing towards him with a grin. Like his older brother, Feliciano had a single curl that stood out against the rest of his hair. His jeans were slightly muddy at the bottom, and even though he really wanted to, Ludwig did not point the fact out.
"Hello," Ludwig replied. The German's voice was quiet, but Feliciano's eyes lightened up despite Ludwig's murmur. Ludwig took a moment to take in the Italian's appearance now that they were nearer to eachother. Feliciano's eyes were brown, though in the sunlight, they seemed golden. His hands were covered with inked on words that Ludwig seriously hoped weren't tattoo's. Ludwig couldn't make out most of the words that were on Feliciano's hands, but he did make out the words, 'Newspaper club' and 'seven magpies'.
"I'm Feliciano!" The brunette exclaimed, smiling as he shifted from foot to foot.
"I know," Ludwig replied, realising that his own voice sounded awkward compared to Feliciano's. "I'm Ludwig."
"You're the one in charge of the newspaper club, right?" Feliciano asked, his eyes looking up innocently at the German. Reluctantly, Ludwig nodded. Many people looked down on the newspaper club for the simple fact that they believed that the members were 'nerds' or 'boffins'. Feliciano added a quick, "that's great, because I've been meaning to talk to the person in charge for a while!"
Ludwig raised a single eyebrow at Feliciano. Where exactly was the Italian going with the conversation?
"Why?" Ludwig asked. Feliciano didn't seem like the type to start sporting insults and mean words about the club itself, but he was related to Lovino Vargas, so Ludwig wasn't quite so sure. Feliciano's eyes shone,
"I want to join the newspaper club!"
To be continued...
So I've basically been toying with this idea for a while now, and decided that I was going to go for it. Gauken Hetalia has a special place in my heart, mainly because I love throwing a bunch of characters into high school, trying to make it so that they aren't surrounded by cliches. I've learned from reading many fanfictions, that when most people write the GerIta pairing, it's usually from Feliciano's point of view, so that's the reasoning behind writing from Ludwig's perspective.
Also, concerning the words that are written on Feliciano's hands, if you think you understand what they stand for, then I'll be very happy. Don't hesitate to follow, favourite or review!