Characters: In this chap: Spain, Romano, Belgium, France
Summery: Sometimes, you dont really how important something is until you loose it. And sometimes, its harder to get it back
Notes/Warning: LONG LONG chapter as the finale. I hope you like it anyway
Antonio hated hospitals. Everything about them set his nerves on edge. From the white walls and the smell of antiseptic...
He involuntarily shivered in his seat. Bella was sitting next to him, wringing her hands out of worry. Gently he put a hand on her shoulder, giving her a reassuring smile despite the worries that plagued his own mind.
"Do you think he'll be alright?" she said, voicing the question that had been tormenting both of them.
"I hope so... I don't know what Feliciano would do without him."
She gave him a look, "So... Did you say his name was Lovino?"
"Yeah," he shifted in his seat, "The one who disappeared that I was telling you about."
"Hmm..." Bella put her head in her hands, "So weird..."
Just then a man walked over to them, white coat swishing around his knees, "Are you the two who checked Mr. Vargas in?"
Antonio stood, as did Bella, "That’s right. How is he?"
"Are you family?"
Bella looked distraught, "We-"
"We're the only ones he has left," Antonio cut in. To come this far and not find out what happened would be torture.
The doctor seemed satisfied with their answer, "I'm afraid Mr. Vargas has had, in layman's terms, a heart attack."
Bella grabbed his hand, shaking, "A-a heart attack?!"
The doctor nodded, looking solemn, "He's stable at the moment, but we are still trying to determine the cause. You can probably visit in a couple of hours."
Sinking back into the chair, Bella let out a breath, "Thank you... Will he be okay?"
"As we have yet to determine the cause, we can not be sure of that at this moment. But we will keep you informed."
Antonio smiled shakily, "Thank you again. I'm sure he'll pull through," Yet the words that sounded from his lips were more for his own reassurance then the doctor's. As the man left he laid back in the chair and closed his eyes, trying to calm his racing mind.
A faint buzzing in his pocket made him open his eyes again. Slipping his hand into his coat he extracted the tomato red device, pressing it to his ear, "Hello?"
"Antonio!" Francis crooned into his ear, "How are your first moments of vacation?"
Antonio let out a deep sigh, "Not so good, Francis..."
"Pour quoi? I thought you were going to see your lady friend."
He rubbed the back of his head, "Well, I did. But then, you're never going to believe this, I found Lovino and-"
"Wait, you found Lovino? As in Lovino Vargas?"
"Yeah, crazy right? But the second I see him, he has some kind of a heart attack! And now Bella and I are in the hospital."
There was silence from the other end, "Antonio, you need to come home right now."
He blinked, "But what about Lovi?"
"If you don't want Lovino to die then come home."
A few hours later, Antonio was standing next to the entrence of the town graveyard, waiting for Francis. The only thing on his mind was Lovino... Was he all right? Could he be dead by now? And how did his being here solve anything? He... He wanted to be there for Lovino.
He looked up from his shoes as Francis walked up to him, looking distressed, "I'm glad you got here."
Antonio stepped forward, "Francis! What's going on? What does my being here have to do with Lovi?"
The Frenchman shook his head, "I'll explain on the way. Follow me," And with that he headed off into the graveyard. Antonio had no choice but to follow.
"Antonio," Francis said suddenly, "what are your feelings toward the elder Vargas brother?"
He couldn't help but blush, "M-my feelings? Well, he's a nice guy and all... And cute."
Francis stopped next to a river, "Because Lovino is hopelessly in love with you."
The red in his cheeks increased, "He-he is?"
"Yes, and if you do not have feelings for him in return then we might as well go back home."
Antonio looked down at his feet, "I... I'm not really sure. I think I feel... something for him. If I think about it I was really sad when he went away and I was always wondering what happened to him. I missed him. A lot."
Francis glanced at him, "That’s good enough for now... Now spin four times clockwise and clap twice."
"Because that's what needs to be done to get to her."
Together they spun and clapped, and if anyone passing by were to look, they would have seen two idiots vanish.
"Well... Well, well. What do we have here? Two men to grace my presence...?"
Antonio stared dumbfounded at the room. Dolls everywhere, and a giant pincushion at the back with a woman in white reclining on it. He turned to ask Francis where they were, only to find his friend in a deep bow.
"It is a pleasure to see you again, mademoiselle."
The woman smiled seductively, slipping off the cushion and gliding over to him, offering her hand, "Hello, Francis."
Antonio watched him take her hand, kissing her fingers, "If only I could kiss those blood red lips of yours."
"Ah... But that would be breaking the rules," she extended a long finger nail, sliding it up his neck until he was standing in front of her, "How is your little... Matthew?"
Francis closed his eyes, "He is much better. But that is not why I'm here," Eyes opening again, the blue orbs landed on him. Antonio jumped as the woman turned her head, looking him up and down as if she were reading into his soul.
"Yes... You are the man... The one Lovino Vargas' heart has chosen..."
He blinked, "How did you...? Who are you?"
"Francis," the woman turned her cold black eyes back on his friend, "Leave us."
Once again Francis bowed, "As you wish," And then he was gone. Leaving him alone.
"Now..." She floated across to him and he stiffened instinctually. She circled him, dark eyes boring into his skin, "I... Am the Voodoo Girl. What is it..." she ran a finger down his cheek, "you want of... me?"
Antonio swallowed, "What did you do to Lovino?"
The Voodoo Girl grinned, a look he was not at all comfortable with, "I did nothing.... That the man-boy did not ask for himself."
"But what did you do?"
Lazily she traced her nail over his chest, making his whole body shiver, "He was drowning in... life. He needed help. So in return..." she swiped the nail across where his heart was, and Antonio could feel the skin stinging below his shirt, "I made his share my... My fate. And I stuck twenty-seven needles into his heart."
His eyes widened, "But why? What would that do?"
"If Lovino Vargas should ever feel the... pull of love. If he should ever want to... give his heart to someone... Then just the same as I... His heart will be impaled... Those beautiful shinning pins digging into the warm muscle..." She tilted her head as if listening to the radio, "Yes, he thought he could run. But... fate has a fun way of messing up plans. Oh yes..." She took a hold of his chin, examining his face, "You took quite a toll on him... This time. Almost gone..."
"Yes...... Almost to never feel the struggle of life... Again."
"No!" he jerked his head away, "I won't let that happen!"
The Voodoo Girl began to circle him again, an odd iciness to her pitch black eyes, "Why? You have no feelings for him. You don't love him."
"I... I... Well-"
"What would you care... If the Vargas man-boy died?"
He whirled around to face her, "Because I do care! Because I don't want Lovi to die! Because..." his voice drifted off, and almost to himself he continued, "maybe I do love him..."
"So in that case," suddenly she was right in front of him, cold black orbs gazing into his eyes, "Why should I help you? Why should I help you love when I never can?!"
Antonio's eyes softened, and quietly he said, "I'm sorry. Please, just help him."
The Voodoo Girl pulled back, smoothly returning to her impartial observation of him, "There will be... A price... Of course."
"Of course," he echoed, nodding, "I'll do anything."
And slipping a sewing needle out of her dress she plunged it into his throat.
Lovino woke up in a land of white. Dammit, he hated hospitals. To sterile.
He tried to sit up, wincing and falling back on the bed. Bella was over next to him in an instant, taking his hand, "Hey... How are you feeling?"
Lovino glared at her, "Do I really need to answer that?"
She chuckled, "I guess not. Anyway, Antonio was here and-"
Eyes flashing he tried to sit up again before the pain in his chest forced him back down. Yes he was scared. The very person he was trying to get away from was here, had found him again. And shit, he didn't want to die! "Get him out of here!"
"Romano, calm down," Gently Bella settled him back on the bed, "He’s not here."
He blinked at her, "He's not? Where is that bastard?"
"I don't know really... he just kind of took off a couple of hours ago and hasn't come back."
Allowing himself a moment of relief he closed his eyes. Okay, so maybe if the tomato bastard wasn't in the hospital he could get away. Go farther this time; make sure he could never be found again. But even as he made his plans, he couldn’t stop the nagging curiosity at the back of his mind as to where the hell Antonio went.
Bella sat down on the bed next to him, taking his hand, "So what happened? Antonio told me your name was Lovino? Not Romano?"
Flushing slightly he looked away, "Nothing happened... It's complicated dammit."
Her laughed rang through the room, "Which is it?"
Lovino scowled, "Just... Something happened. So I had to leave. That's all."
She sighed, "As difficult as always, aren't you?"
They both glanced at the door as someone knocked. Bella gave his hand a squeeze before standing and walking out of the room, talking to whoever was outside. Probably a doctor or something, saying they couldn't find the cause of his heart attack. Like it was some goddamn mystery.
Groaning he ran a hand over his chest like he had done thousands of times before. That stupid, idiotic, asshole, bastard... Antonio. With his damn smile and his damn wavy hair and his... goddamn green eyes that looked at him as if he was more then just another brat. But Antonio didn't- Antonio couldn't love him back. He was a jerk when they met, it had been two years and he was still a jerk. But it had served him well in the past so why should he change for some dumbass that made him want to rip his own heart out? It wasn't... It wasn't logical.
A few minutes later Bella came back in, a worried look in her eyes as if she had a lot on her mind, "Romano..."
He raised an eyebrow at her, "What is it?"
"Antonio's here. He wants to see you."
"No way in hell! Keep him out of here!"
She winced at his screaming, "He told me you'd say something like that, but he wants me to tell you... It was something weird. I think it was that he went to see her, he paid the compensation, and now you're safe. And that you would know what he meant?"
Lovino gaped at her. Of course be knew what it meant, how could he not?! But how the hell did that bastard know... "Fine. Just send him in."
Bella nodded before going out again, Antonio coming in a few seconds later with a note pad under one arm and smiling like the idiot he was. Lovino eyed him warily, pushing back against the sheets Antonio ripped out a page and handed it to him.
He scowled at the note, "Bastard. How the hell did you know about the Voodoo Girl?"
Pulling up a chair, Antonio took the note back, scribbling something at the bottom.
Francis told me about you and her. He helped me see her.
"That wine bastard..." he growled, then looked back at Antonio, "Hey. Why aren't you saying anything?"
The Spaniard looked sad for a moment before starting a new note, this one taking a bit longer like he was being careful with his words. He crossed his arms over his chest, both waiting and protecting himself even though nothing had happened to him yet. Eventually Antonio ripped the page out, folding it in half and handing it to him. Quickly he unfolded it and started reading.
This is my price, Lovi. We spoke for a while, and she removed the pins from your heart in exchange for my voice. I'm just so happy that you won't die now.
Lovino gaped at the note, then at Antonio. The man was smiling gently, "Wh-what?! Bastard, why the hell would you do that for me?! And how is your voice enough compensation for my life?!"
Antonio started writing again, pen moving across the page in fast strokes of ink.
I think that never being able to say "I love you" in my own voice so your ears can hear it is a pretty high price. Don't you?
"L-l-love?!" He turned panicked eyes on Antonio, "Love?!"
Smiling brightly Antonio nodded, reaching out to take his hand. Lovino prepared for the worst, squeezing his eyes shut and waiting for the pain to shoot up his arm and for the world to go black for the last time.
But nothing happened. Hesitantly he opened his eyes again. Antonio was still holding his hand, smiling at him. And there was no pain.
His mouth fell open, "Holy shit... I-I'm free..."
Antonio leaned forward, gently brushing their lips together. As his face flooded with heat, his heart raced unimpaired in his chest and he tried to re-gather his scrambled thoughts, Antonio started to write, filling almost the whole page with his script before handing it over.
So what do you say? We can go back and see your brother again on the farm. We can harvest tomatoes together, and learn sign language together, and live together. We can have a home together, we can kiss and snuggle and hug and be in love because I know that if you didn't love me neither of us would be here right now. I know that this is the only way I can talk to you right now, and I know that I can never tell you I love you. But I do, and I want to be with you. I love you. I never want to be away from you again. So, Lovino Vargas, brother of Feliciano and so cute you make me want to scream. Will you stay with me? Please?
For a long time Lovino stared at the page. Antonio sat patiently at his side, smiling gently. He glanced over at him, then back at the paper, "Give me that pen, dammit!" He snatched it from his hand and scribbled something down quickly before crumpling it up and throwing it across the room, crossing his arms and pouting before looking away, "I’m not cute, jackass..."
Looking confused Antonio got to his feet, walking over to where the crumpled paper landed. Lovino's face filled with heat yet again as he pushed deeper into the hospital sheets. He closed his eyes. A few seconds later he felt Antonio's weight next to him and he cracked one of his eyes again, "What do you want, asshole?"
And then their lips met. And this time Lovino kissed back. Antonio cupped his face gently, as he ran his hand through chocolate brown hair. He was struck by the fact that even now, his lips tasted like tomatoes.
"I love you Antonio... Tomato bastard..."
Antonio mouthed the words back.
They kissed again and the paper fell out of Antonio's hand to the floor, the text open to the florescent lights. And underneath Antonio's smooth handwriting was one word scrawled out in Lovino's sloppy hand.