tooru0: (Default)
2017-01-17 09:47 am

Beginning again, chapter 1/?

When Gold– the goofy young trainer who was so much like him but simultaneously not at all –told him about the legendary trainer of Mt. Silver, Green immediately knew who it was.

His heart starting pounding hard– he's out there, he's alive, there's a chance –and he laughed despite himself. Four fucking years– four entire, lonely, agonizing years– and Red had never been far at all.

Back to the present, Gold continued speaking.
"I'm gonna be the first one to beat him." He said, fire burning in his eyes.
If anyone else had said this to him, Green would have laughed. But this kid, the Champion of Kanto and Johto, the final nail in Team Rocket's dissolution– Green believed him.

That night, Green sat in his apartment at his desk, Eevee curled up next to his arm as he wrote. For years he had been thinking what he'd say to Red if he had the chance, so it didn't take much effort to compose his letter. He sealed it in an envelope, and sighed, giving Eevee a scratch behind her ear.


The next morning, he met Gold outside the Pokemon center. This clearly surprised the boy, but he seemed genuinely happy besides.
"Oh, Mister Green! What are you doing here?" He asked. Green pulled out his envelope in response, holding it out towards Gold.
"Can you make sure that gets to him?" He asked simply. Gold stared at him for a moment, big eyes blinking at him. He clearly had questions. Then he smiled, and nodded enthusiastically.
"Sure!" Gold said. Green thanked him, and then they said their goodbyes. He watched as Gold took off for Mt Silver on the back of his Dragonite.

Now all that was left to do was wait.


It had been five days by the time Gold finally rang him. Gold looked happy, as always.
"I lost!" He said, smiling earnestly. Green stared at him via the screen of his Pokegear.
"Why do you sound happy about it." He asked blankly.
"Huh? Well, why should I be sad? I'm gonna beat him next time!" Gold said enthusiastically through the device.
Green was skeptical– his belief was now nothing more than hope.
"...how is, uh...how is he?" He asked.
"Hm? You mean Mister Red?" Gold asked. "He's good! I mean, he's really good! He took my whole team out and he didn't even say a word. Is he always so quiet? Oh, he's really nice, though! He made me some coffee and let me stay the night! He seems kinda lonely. His Pokemon are super–"
"Strong? Monstrous? Yeah, don't even get me started on that Pikachu."


Gold won. Finally.
It had taken several tries, of course– Red, the Red wasn't to be taken down easily.
Green took a photo with Gold. How could he not?

He hoped, hoped, this would be what brought Red back from the mountain.


Green had been visiting home often as of late. Loitering a bit– hesitant.
"You're waiting for him, aren't you?" Daisy asked him one night, as they cleaned up dinner. Green sighed, a reaction Daisy had not been expecting.
"He can't be up there forever. I mean, what else is he waiting for? What else could there possibly be?" Green asked, desperate.
"...you?" She supplied.


Green was climbing Mt Silver. He was doing it.
His sister was good enough to make him something to eat– something he could share with Red. He also packed some supplies– first aid stuff, potions and some fresh blankets.

Green flew halfway up on his Pidgeot. He stopped halfway, taking time to get rid of the ice that clung to it's wings. Then he returned it, and climbed.

Green almost cried in joy at the sight of the summit. The climb up seemed never ending, as did the amount of Ursaring he kept running into. Luckily, he had his other Pokemon on him.
Green entered the cave, glancing around. No one was inside at the moment, but someone had been– a fire was dying, and there were small piles of berries and things assorted by the wall, plus a bag with quite a lot of medicine and a rolled up sleeping bag.

Fine. Green would wait.
He rekindled the fire, and called out Eevee for some company. She was happy to oblige him, crawling into his coat for warmth. He laid his wet gloves and scarf over a rock to dry, and settled against the wall, waiting.

He didn't know when he fell asleep. Regardless, it was dark– the cave was wholly lit by the fire.

He then realized he was not alone. In front of him, putting a pot of snow over the fire, was Red. He was almost unrecognizable– but Green supposed he was the same, himself. Pikachu seemed to notice he'd woke, and chu'd to his trainer, prompting Red to look at him.

Red gave him a small nod.
Green huffed.
"Four years and that's it– seriously?" He said, more bitterly than he intended. Red looked away.
"I– shit, fuck. I didn't mean...let's start over." Green sighed.
"I brought you some stuff." He said, standing. Eevee jumped out of his coat and went to greet Pikachu, both Pokemon very happy to see eachother. Green pulled out the supplies intended for Red, and the food Daisy made them.
"So, uh. Training, huh?" Green said, trying to cover up the awkward tension.
It didn't work, of course.
Red stirred his pot of snow– now water –and added a small cloth pouch to it.
"You make your own tea?" Green asked, intrigued. Red looked at him again, and nodded, quirking a brow, as if to say "duh". Green scoffed.
"Okay, nature man."

Conversation flowed more easily after that. It was one sided– which Green expected, considering the gap between them– but nice. Red listened to Green intently.

Green spent the night. Obviously, he wasn't going to climb down a mountain so late– that was a death wish. Instead, he borrowed one of the blankets he'd brought Red, and used his bag as a pillow.

Red made some kind of stew for breakfast. There was something resembling meat in it, and Green was afraid to ask exactly what it was.
"Hey?"
Red looking at him questioningly.
"Come home, Red." He said finally.
The answer was as expected. Red looked away, his eyes hidden under the brim of his cap.

Green left.


It was about a week later when, right after Green had gotten home one evening, someone knocked on his door.
He opened the door, expecting mail, and did a double take.
"...Red?"
tooru0: (Default)
2017-01-16 07:44 am

Unfinished Spamano story dump

The first in what is likely to be a series of posts.

Today we focus in particular on an AU that really changed a LOT, but I could never keep it going. Sorry if it's confusing, my writing process is messy and there are scenes missing, all of which I skipped writing at the time to plan them better in my head.

Grandma Romulus is a ghost. Him and Lovino live in a house tucked into the line of trees where the wood begins. They have many secrets, which they keep from Feliciano, Lovino's naive little brother.

Not all ghosts are vengeful. Romulus is true to himself, unchanged despite being dead. He doesn't really have a body, but he can manipulate things. His wish is that his grandson, Lovino, can be happy.

Lovino is not a bad person. He is stubborn and moody, and he has no reservations in letting you know so. He isn't popular, he never has been. His duty has always been to look after his family. In doing so, he has many burdens. His stubbornness is why he must do his tasks alone. His stubbornness is why he refuses to seek someone to share the workload with him, or to find any friends. He only thinks about what's best, and it's always very cold and critical. He sleeps with a pistol tucked into his pants and a knife under his pillow.

Antonio is a photographer. He moves to the wet, dreary and wooded town for a change of scenery, and for his work. He's fascinated by everything, how dry it gets in summer, the chill of fall and the heavy snow in winter.

But even more, he's fascinated by a certain Italian man. His stubbornness, his moods. He's intrigued in ways he never had been by others, and he wants to learn more about the man. Lovino is mysterious and tightly wound, and he's determined to get to know him.

Feliciano is worried about Lovino, living alone since their grandfather died. He knows nothing about the truth. He lives out of state, attending art school.

--

Lovino stood in the doorway, taking off anything that was slick with red or mud. He shivered, and took the old towel off the old chair that sat there, curling into it for warmth.

He was numb, not only from the cold. He'd have to do some scrubbing later. For the time being, he held his towel around his shoulders and covered the mess on his porch with a tarp, so anyone who may come by doesn't see the red mess.

"Lovino, go and take a hot bath. Get the dirt off of you, then you can eat and tell me how it went!"
His nonno appeared nearby, smiling in a paternal way. But his eyes held a sadness to them, regrets, as always.

Lovino obeyed, and went to soak himself in the hot water. He filled the tub with water hot enough to fog the bathroom, and used a bit of the cherry blossom bubble bath his fratellino sent him for his birthday. He lowered himself into the water carefully, feeling the tingly static of his numb toes and legs as they regained feeling.
"Ay!" He yelped, water searing into a nasty cut on his side. He hadn't noticed it, and he cursed, feeling like an idiot for not realizing it. But Lovino didn't feel like getting out of the tub, and so he continued to slowly lower into the bath, hissing in pain as the water stung his wound.

Once in, Lovino let himself relax.
Today had been, well...
Shit.
He came across a group of hostile redcaps earlier, right where Abel told him they'd be. The little gnomes were barely a foot tall, but those fuckers were incredibly dangerous, and their thirst for blood was terrifying. Lovino suspected one of them must have grabbed onto him and clawed him or even bit him, considering the many razor sharp teeth they possessed.

At least he was safe, here. He took down the nest and returned home, as was his duty. His ghostly Grandfather phased his head into the room.
"Dinner's ready! I hope you like stew~!" Romulus said cheerily.
Lovino said nothing. He was too tired to fight, and he just wanted to eat and sleep as soon as he could.
"I'll be out in a minute." He said, not sparing a glance as his grandfather nodded and phased back out, presumably to the kitchen.

Lovino came out a few minutes later, dressed in warm sweats and fuzzy socks. He took care of any cuts and scrapes he'd gotten, and silently ate.

He could feel sad ghostly eyes on him again, and he sighed, knowing what was coming next.
"You know you don't have to do this, Lovino. Leave it to Abel, or the men at–"
"Emma passed me on the way back. She says she hopes you're doing well." Lovino said, ignoring his Grandfather's words. He stood up with his empty dish and went to the sink, turning the tap on and grabbing the sponge used for washing. What point was there in replying when it was always the same? Lovino, you don't have to do this. I've always done this, Nonno.

Lovino washed the dishes silently.
"...I'll be in the living room if you need me, okay? I love you, Lovino." Romulus said warmly. Lovino paused.
"...I love you too, nonno." He said, not taking his eyes off the dishes. Romulus smiled and phased through the wall of the kitchen, as he was prone to doing rather than using doors. Lovino finished the dishes, putting them on the rack to dry. He went around to the living room, pausing at the foot of the stairs.
"Goodnight." He said, meeting his Grandfather's eyes.
He ascended the stairs as Romulus bid him goodnight in turn, and went directly to his room. Lovino fell asleep quickly, his hand loosely curled around the switch-blade he kept under his pillow.

--

Lovino climbed out of his truck, a 1988 Toyota pickup his Grandfather stubbornly stuck by until the end. He drove along the dirt road as long as he could, but now was forced to continue on foot, as the path into the forest was blocked by a fell tree. He checked to make sure he had everything– keys, switch-blade, pistol, salt, holy water and cross– and climbed over his obstacle.

Pistol in hand and ready for any possible threat, Lovino made his way into the forest with caution. He'd gotten reports of a


I kind of scrapped that entirely, and kept some key elements (the house, the desire for Lovino's happiness etc).

Romulus only wanted his Grandsons to be happy.

When he died without seeing his wish come true, he ends up unexpectedly haunting his former home.

Alt

Lovino Vargas lives on the outskirts of a small town, the kind of town ererrewhere everyone krnrows everyone and word spreads fast. While he deals with the death of his Grandfather, he meets a man wandering around by his house.

Lovino works at a bar in town. He's trying to decide what to do with his Grandfather's business, a small cafe in town.

Antonio is a photographer. He's mesmerized by the fall scenery and the old wooden rancher that peeks out of the forest on the edge of town. The town is charming, the people are interesting, and he's intrigued by Lovino.

Feliciano is a student a couple hours from his brother. He's very worried about his brother without his grandfather around.

Lovino's life seems to have taken a nosedive; first the car accident, then his grandfather dying, now his brother breathing down his back. He's got big decisions to make, and now he's even more alone than before. Plus there's some asshole who keeps loitering outside his house.

--

Lovino's morning routine went like this; he got up, made his coffee, and checked his voicemail. Then, he'd get up and run errands or something.

--

"Ciao, fratello! How has your leg been? Are you eating properly?? Are you going to your appointments??"
The voicemail his younger brother left plays on speaker while Lovino makes himself a cup of coffee. He's always fussing over Lovino, even though Feliciano is the younger one.

His voicemails are always the same "Are you taking care of yourself?". Feliciano was a mess after their Grandfather died, and Lovino didn't blame him. Lovino himself was just as shaken, but it really began to reverberate once he realized he was on his own.

He loved his Grandfather, really. He lived with him all his life, and took care of him when he got old. He harbored some resentment towards the old man, but he did love him.
Now...without him, in the old house they had lived in, Lovino was alone. He didn't have a purpose. He didn't have a means, either-- his car was wrecked, and he had a broken leg.

The shop his Grandfather owned, a

--

The large, wooden country home at the edge of town loomed out from it's spot where it was partially hidden by bright autumn leaves. Cold air filled the house, and it's sole inhabitant didn't seem to care. With three bedrooms and a lot of open space, the once warm house was lonely. Only one person lived there now, who was currently curled up in an old armchair with an equally old blanket, and a pad of paper, and pen in his lap.

Lovino clicked his pen

--

Even before Antonio saw him the first time, he was intrigued.

Ever since he moved to the small town, he had been fascinated with the large, empty-looking wooden country house on the edge of the neighborhood. He was charmed by how it stuck out from the forest, clearly built before residential developments began. It was littered with fallen leaves on the porch, the roof and in the gutters. The driveway and path was covered with them, and his imagination ran wild.

Who lived there? Anyone?
A ghost?
Maybe the house was haunted?

It was nearly a week before Antonio saw him the first time.

A young man opened the door, sweeping the wet blanket of dead leaves back in a layer. Antonio stared at him.
Olive skin and brown hair, paired with hazel eyes and a frown that seemed default. He had a flyaway on the side of his head and it was somehow incredibly endearing. He wore a red and white scarf that went well with his green parka. He locked eyes with Antonio, surprised by a stranger on his property and put off by the fact that said stranger was staring at him.
"Can I help you...?" He said, looking rather irritated. His Italian accent was obvious, and Antonio swore he was melting.
"Oh, I'm sorry! I was just admiring your house. I was wondering who lived here!" Antonio said, cheerfully candid.
"...right." The man said. He then chose to ignore Antonio, locking up the house and carefully walking down the slippery, leafy steps.
"Ah, wait! I'm Antonio! I moved to town recently! What's your name?" Antonio said, catching up to his quick stride. The man rolled his eyes, opening the door to his old, beat-up station wagon and getting inside.
"Get out of my driveway." He said, turning the ignition. Antonio backed up, frowning as the man drove off.

But he wasn't giving up here.

-

Behind the house, in the forest, was a rather steep hill leading to a lake. The lake was small, rather muddy. It had become overtaken by nature, and with the colorful autumn foliage surrounding it, Antonio couldn't resist.

With one knee planted on the even ground behind him, and one foot dug into the wet drop of the hill, Antonio steadied himself. He had his camera up to his eyes, stilling himself and concentrating. Others who saw him when he was working were rather surprised– as he worked, his expression stiffened in concentration, lips drawn in a little frown. He was clearly in love with his work.

Antonio was so engrossed, he didn't realize that the moody, Italian owner of the property he was on had come right up next to him, radiating an intense aura of irritation.
"Oi, ass–"
"Ay!" Antonio yelped, jumping.

And then he was falling. But he wasn't alone-- the young man had grabbed the back of his shirt in an attempt to steady him, but was pulled forward instead.

Both tumbled down the hill, any attempt to stop thwarted by the slippery slope of mud from the heavy rain the previous day. They ended up in the cold, dirty lake, covered in mud and soaked to their skin.
They clambered out onto the banks of the small lake, coughing water out and gasping, shivering.
"O-oops?" Antonio offered, smiling apologetically at the smaller man. He received a burning glare and a scowl with chattering teeth in return.

--

Once they managed to get back to the top of the hill, Antonio was invited inside the house. Well, invited isn't really...
"In. Take your shoes and coat off at the door. Wash up, dry off, get out." The man told him shortly. Antonio took off his shoes and coat and was immediately pulled inside.
"You can borrow some of my nonno's clothes, they should fit you." The man continued, leading him to a bathroom. "The towels are under the sink. Don't take long."
Before Antonio could speak or ask any questions, he was shut in the room alone. He sighed, and started to peel off his wet, muddy clothes.

-

Clean and dry, Antonio left the bathroom, seeking the owner of the home. He found him in what appeared to be a living room, curled sitting on an old chair and drinking from a mug.
"Your shoes and coat are drying in the washing room." He said, handing another mug out to Antonio. It was a cup of coffee, all ready to drink.
"Oh, thank you." Antonio said, smiling and taking the mug. He sat in the other chair off to the side of the man, and took a sip from the mug. The coffee was perfect, the taste of the coffee coming out, not very bitter or too sweet.
"This is really good!" Antonio gasped, eyes sparkling at the man. He watched as he rolled his eyes, a little smirk tugging at the corner of his lips.
"Oh yeah, you never told me your name!" Antonio said. There was a pause.
"...Lovino Vargas." The man-- Lovino --said.

-

Everyday, Antonio made an effort to say hello to Lovino. He'd seen him more since that day, outside.

"Good morning!" Antonio said, grinning as he came up the driveway. He stopped at the steps to the porch, looking up at his neighbor who was raking leaves and mud off of it. Hazel eyes shot him a moody glance.
"What do you want?" Lovino asked, signature scowl falling into place.
"I just came to say hello!" Antonio said.
"What are you doing?" He asked.
"What does it fucking look like." Lovino spat, rake grating against the wood of the porch.
"Okay. Then, I'll help you!" Antonio said cheerfully. Lovino stared at him, expression melting into one of surprise.
"I'm okay, I don't–"
"Do you have an extra rake? I can go get mine if we need it." Antonio said, clearly not listening to Lovino's refusal.


And the last iteration before completely scrapping the idea altogether.

"Ciao, fratello! How are you doing?? Have you been taking care of yourself? I miss nonno. I miss you, too! ...hm? Oh. I have to go but call me back, okay? I love you, bye!"

Delete.

"Ciao, fratello! Wait, wait– Luddy! Say hi to my brother!!"
"...H-hello, Lovino. I hope you are well–"

Delete.

"Ciao, fratello...how are you? Luddy is tutoring me...wish me luck! Call me back, okay? I love you. Really, call me back...promise?"

Lovino sighed, putting his phone down on the desk and putting his head in his hands. Feliciano called him everyday, and where he used to love to talk to his brother, he now dreaded it. He's the oldest, dammit, he can take care of himself.

Until recently, Lovino lived with his grandfather Romulus, in a large, wooden country house in the wooded part of his small town. Together they ran a cafe, a small cozy little place downtown. Lovino worked there with his brother and grandfather since it opened, when he was 15.

He continued to work there when he graduated highschool, not having any aspirations for himself and finding he really liked to cook, especially bake. Meanwhile, his brother--Feliciano--had gone to a university upstate when he graduated, several hours from their town.

Then, four months ago, his grandfather took a really bad fall while at work. While Lovino was working the counter, Romulus had been up on a ladder in the back, pulling a box down from the tall storing shelves. He lost his balance and fell, and as healthy and strong as the man was, he was old and still human.

Romulus ended up in awful shape, fracturing his tailbone and taking a

While in the hospital, he caught pneumonia. He died in August.

The funeral was large-- Romulus had many friends and was very well known by their community. It sort of passed by like a dream.

Except it wasn't. Now October, Lovino had never reopened the cafe. He wasn't sure if he would, even though he knew Romulus wanted him to keep it going. He spent most of his time sleeping, not going out much. His brother worried greatly for him.

It wasn't so much that Lovino missed his grandfather. He did, he loved the man, but...he felt like, now, he didn't really have a purpose. Dark thoughts came to him at night, challenging him.

The only person he spoke to about it was Emma, his childhood friend and co-worker. She was almost a sister to him, and she tried to support him. She sometimes brought him leftovers, and made sure to check on him every now and then. But now that they were adults, Emma only came to town in the summer. She left mid-September, having stayed just a bit longer for Lovino, but she did need to go home to her girlfriend eventually.

He was alone again.

--

Antonio travelled often. He took countless photos, photography being his long-time passion and hobby. He'd gone from the cities of Madrid to the shores of Wales, taking any opportunities to see something new he could find. Now, he found himself in a small American town, full to the brim of autumn scenery and charming locals. Immediately, he was charmed by a lonely, old wooden house at the end of his street, perched on the hill in front of a large multicolored forest.

--

Antonio, as he did everyday, strode up to the house at the end of the block. He hated the cold, but somehow, it had become much more bearable. Even welcome, in a way.

Seeing Lovino in the yard delighted him, and he quickened his pace a bit. Lovino noticed him and scowled, refocusing on the leaves he was raking.
"If you're here to take more photos or whatever, go ahead. I don't give a shit as long as you don't fuck with anything." He said shortly. Antonio just smiled.
"Thank you! But I came to see you!" He replied cheerily. Lovino blushed.
"What-why." He sputtered, looking at Antonio, scandalized. It was adorable.
"Because!" He said, chipper.
"What kind of reasoning is that..? Anyway, if you're here, you might as well make yourself useful. There's another rake in the shed." Lovino huffed.
"Sure!" Antonio accepted cheerfully, heading for the shed. Lovino raised an eyebrow, watching him.

Antonio returned with the other rake, and started gathering up the leaves into the pile Lovino had started.
"You're actually going to rake leaves for a stranger." Lovino deadpanned, looking at Antonio like he was an idiot. Antonio looked surprised, brow raised.
"I don't think we're strangers? I know your name, and you know my–"
"No, I mean! I don't know anything about you! You could be some kind of serial killer, or a pervert or psycho or something!" Lovino snapped, cutting him off.

Antonio stared at him for a moment.

And then burst out laughing. Lovino's face reddened.
"The fuck are you laughing at, you jerk?!" He shouted, horribly embarrassed. Antonio had tears in his eyes at this point.
"I-I just...you're so cute, Lovi!" Antonio said honestly, smiling like a goofball. Lovino's blush further intensified, and he thought he was going to die, his heart was thumping horribly. Why was this bastard so kind? Why did he smile at Lovino like that?
"S-shut up, fucker!" He said defensively.
"It's true!"

--

Upon learning Antonio had never seen an episode of RuPaul's drag race, Lovino insisted he come in. They were watching it.

Antonio was hooked easily, and the two spent the night on Lovino's couch, marathoning the show until they couldn't stay awake any longer. Antonio learned a bit about Lovino during their watching-party– Lovino was an amazing cook. He made them dinner and shared some experimental treats he had made with Antonio, and Antonio wasn't sure if the sweet melted in his mouth or it made his mouth melt. He also learned that Lovino was absolutely gay and very much preferred to not play twenty questions during the commercials, Antonio. Lastly, Lovino lived alone in the large house. The circumstances of which, were there any, Antonio didn't ask.

Antonio woke up to the smell of coffee, his cheeks cold outside of the afghan that Lovino had no doubt put on him. Lovino could be heard from the kitchen, speaking in Italian over the phone. Antonio wasn't sure, but he thought Lovino sounded rather tired. He wondered if it was a result of staying up so late.
"...I'm fine, really. Don't be an idiot and fail your exams because of me. I'm going to see you in a few weeks anyway, stupid fratellino."
There was a pause. Lovino sighed.
"I don't know yet. But it's my damn business, not yours. So go find that German bastard of yours and study, because if you fail you're going to be eating an English Christmas supper!"
Lovino's voice had regained it's spark, a demanding tone that almost had an almost loving lilt to it, at that moment.
"Oh, we both know I'm not fucking around, Feliciano...Si. I love you too. Ciao."

Antonio didn't know Italian, but he was fluent in Spanish. So when Lovino said "te amo" he kind of instinctively honed in on it as he tried to understand what he was saying.

He wasn't sure how he felt.

--

Lovino

--

Antonio scratched the back of his head, as he did when he was unsure of himself.
"Well, it's not that I don't think I'm no good at it or I don't like it, it's just...I've always had this feeling that what's meant for me is out there somewhere. I just haven't found it yet, I think..." He said, face contorted in thought.

Lovino stared at him for a moment.
"I don't really get it, but...good luck, I guess?" He said, feeling a bit awkward. Antonio's bright, warm smile instantly blew that away though, and Lovino's face heated up as he averted his gaze.

--

Today when Antonio visited Lovino's house, the man wasn't home. Antonio couldn't help but wonder what he was doing.

Lovino was a bit of a mystery to him. He was both transparent and somehow out of reach, distant.

Antonio set up his camera, focusing the shot on the line of trees in the distance. The setting sun shining against autumn leaves was a lovely thing to capture in his camera.

Truthfully, Antonio didn't really stop by to take photos anymore. He did still appreciate the rustic beauty of the old house, but any photos he did take were specific shots. Still, the reason he came by was Lovino. He wanted to get to know the man, learn about the world he had in his lonely house. He had a strange affection for the man, almost protective.

--

That day, Lovino went to the café for the first time in months.

It was a bit dusty, and very lonely. Almost automatically, he started cleaning.

He wasn't sure why he had come, or why he was cleaning in the first place. Maybe to ready it to sell, or to prepare for reopening. He didn't think about it too much, knowing he's only be adding to his stress.

Still, by the end of the day, the shop was clear of dust and most expired ingredients. The tables and counters were clean, the floor had been mopped. The only place Lovino hadn't gone was the storeroom.

He felt weak. Like he couldn't face it, not now. It was where his Grandfather had fallen, and essentially the place where his clock had started ticking. He felt like it was oddly detached.

Lovino looked at the clock on the wall. Despite all this time, the batteries hadn't run out yet. It was past five, and already dark out.

Lovino locked up and headed home.

--

When he pulled into the driveway and his headlights revealed someone sitting on his steps, he thought he was having a stroke. But then he realized it was just Antonio, and proceeded to smack his head against the steering wheel. He got out of his car and walked straight past Antonio, pulling out his keys as he casually fiddled with his doorknob. Antonio hopped up and came over to him, and Lovino swore if he were a dog he'd be wagging his tail.
"Lovi! I came by earlier, but–"
"Shut up and get in the house." Lovino said, lacking his usual bite. But Antonio did as he was told, following Lovino into the warm house.

It was quiet as Lovino made them some coffee. He shoved the first mug at Antonio, chastising him for sitting in the cold like that.
"Where did you go?" Antonio questioned, curiosity burning in his eyes. Lovino rarely went out, unless it was for groceries.
"

--

Antonio barely saw Lovino in the past few weeks. He felt oddly lonely, without the sharp tongue of his friend.

--

Antonio pulled Lovino into his chest, wrapping his arms gently around him. Sleep was sneaking up on them, their minds and bodies weary from the events of the day.
"Lovi." Antonio whispered. "I found what I was looking for."
Lovino smiled uncharacteristically, whether from exhaustion or everything altogether uncertain.
"You're damn right you have." He whispered back, snuggling into Antonio further. Antonio felt like he'd never stop smiling, and both males drifted off in the comfort of each-others presence.


So...yeah.