berseker: (ninja)
[personal profile] berseker
Title: The Flying Heart of Love 7/?
Rating: ... Pgish, sort of. Maybe not.
Characters: Luciano, Martín, Maria, Manuel and Miguel, the mysterious foreign siblings.
Pairings: Br/Arg, Pe/Chi, and many many others.
Warnings: This is an AU, so you'll have to ignore everything you know about family relations and things from what passes for canon at Latin Hetalia. I MEAN IT. BE WARNED.



Summary: So, Martín and Luciano were a little busy, Maria met a completely inconspicuous pair of siblings from North America, Manuel was depressed and Miguel wasn't doing anything too important.



Thanks to Zu for reading it over for me ♥










*~*~*

Episode 9

*~*~*



The next morning, Martín woke up feeling like he had been buried under an avalanche.

That was because Luciano was sleeping on him.

Of course, it could also be because of all the stuff they had done before. But it was probably because of this. Martín vaguely remembered turning to his left to sleep, because he always slept like that, and Luciano nuzzling his back to find a good position for himself, so at some point in the night he must have turned, because right now he was staring at the ceiling and Luciano had his head on his chest and his arm around his waist, and his legs intertwined with Martín's, and it was a little impressive how hot he was.

Literally. Martín wished he could turn on the air conditioner. He was trying to decide if he had the energy to get up and do it, or... maybe he could just turn to the side and see if there was a convenient remote control nearby...

Luciano stirred, and he got distracted again. He run his fingers through his hair, a little amused at how impossible it was, this nest of dark curls and lose strands. He tried to comb it with his fingers, slowly so he wouldn't pull it and so Luciano wouldn't wake up.

He smiled, feeling a bit silly. Everything was so quiet, so calm – and so insanely hot but he could handle that - and he wished he could stay like this. Find a way to preserve this moment, somehow. But he could feel real life coming back, with all its demands. Like the fact that he still had to check on Maria, to see if she hadn't destroyed his apartment. And work. He had to work today, he had deadlines to meet. Oh, and that thing about Luciano retiring. And-

He tried to block it out, but it was impossible. He was too used to all that, to life being too fast-paced for rest, and he couldn't help it, even if now he wanted to.

“... why did you stop?” Luciano asked, suddenly, and then Martín realized that he wasn't playing with his hair anymore. He smiled, a little weakly.

“Did I wake you up?”

“No, I think. Maybe.” Luciano smiled back. His looked playful, and maybe just a little amused. “Are you regretting this?”

“Uh? No, no. I was just thinking.”

“You shouldn't,” he said, and then turned, pressing his lips against Martín's chest. “Your heart is beating so fast. What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing. Just...”

Well. He had to work. Right?

“What you said last night.”

Luciano shifted, crossing his arms on Martín's chest, then resting his chin there. He smiled again.

“What did I say last night?” he stopped, and then frowned, “Did you steal my drink? Because I think I remember that, I-”

“Get over the drink, it wasn't that good anyway. And no, not that, about-”

“Of course it was good! And I know because my head is not hurting today, and it hurts when I drink too much. How much did I have anyway?”

“Well,” Martín said, dryly, “You clearly don't want to know what I was thinking about.”

“No, I do, I'm sorry,” he raised his upper body, making Martín groan because he still was using his chest for support, and then kissed his lips, “I want to know, sorry. Tell me.”

Martín humphed. Luciano kissed his lips again, then his brow and his cheek and then Martín smiled again, letting himself be appeased.

“Well, you said a lot of interesting things, you know,” he said, pulling lightly at one strand of dark hair, pushing it away from his forehead, “So you should be careful next time-”

“Next time I get drunk with a reporter? Ok, sorry, sorry, go on.”

“Right. So, what did you say about retiring?”

Luciano didn't react to that, and for a second it was like he was still waiting for Martín to make his question. But then his brain processed what he had heard, and he frowned:

“Retiring? Who?”

“... You. Yourself. You said that.”

“I did?”

“Yes! You said you'd have to stop playing, and I want to know why.”

“... did I really said that? But that's so- why would I stop? I have everything going for me right now. Did I explain why?”

Martín glared at him. But Luciano looked genuinely puzzled, so he sighed, “No, you said it was a secret.”

“Well. I... maybe I was joking. If I really said that. Maybe you heard wrong. Why would I say something like that?”

Oh God.

“You said there was a thing that would make you retire, and then you couldn't tell me because it was a secret, and now I think it's because your brain is so full of pineapples that-”

“That thing,” Luciano said, and then he sat – still using his chest for support, the idiot, and turned away.

Uh.

“So there is a thing, then.”

“Ah- no. There isn't. I just- but why would I say that? Just this morning, I- I mean, last morning- I was here thinking about how great everything was, you know. Well, you don't, it was before your invasion, but I was, and... I was thinking...”

“I'm sorry, I didn't catch that.”

“Oh-” he looked at him, a clearly forced smile on his lips, “Nevermind, I'm rambling.”

“I don't mind it. What is the thing?”

“Nothing. I'm just trying to imagine why I would say that, if I wasn't even thinking about it. I just...”

He stopped again. This time Martín watched him, trying to decide what would be the best approach. Get him drunk again, maybe.

“The restaurant we went last night, is it too far from here?”

“... maybe? How far is too far for you?”

“But we took a cab to come back.”

“Well, yes, you couldn't stand on your feet and I wasn't going to carry you all the way back here.”

Luciano nodded, but he wasn't listening anymore. He got up – and, despite himself, Martín got a little distracted by the view – and opened the wardrobe.

“Look,” he said, “I'm really, really sorry, I'm usually not like this, but- do you want to eat anything? You can order anything you like, and- stay there as long as you like, too, I'll just- I'll be back soon. I think.”

“Wait, you're leaving? Like this?”

Not that he cared. Martín didn't feel anything about this. He didn't. And there was obviously something going on here, so it would be stupid, self-centered of him to feel hurt about it.

“I'm not going to stay here if you're leaving,” he said, struggling to sound calm and levelheaded, “But I can...”

He stopped. He had been about to say 'give you a ride,' but that would be extremely stupid. Luciano could call someone and buy a car right now, if he wanted to. With a driver. And he couldn't, he had left his bike at the restaurant. To come here with him. So he didn't say anything.

Luciano didn't notice.

“No, no, I mean it. I just need to- you can order the breakfast, if you want to. I just-”

Martín watched as he got dressed. Maybe this was his fault. If he hadn't asked that, things would still be peaceful and calm and relaxed and-

Not that it mattered. And he wasn't going to stay in bed watching him get dressed, watching him leave. So he got up too, and tried to find his clothes in the middle of the mess.

“I'm really sorry,” Luciano said, “Do you hate me now? I just-”

“Don't worry,” Martín replied, without looking at him. “I'll get my revenge this afternoon.”

“Yeah.” Luciano sighed, unhappily, “I'm sure you will.”


*


Luciano didn't mean to hurt him, and he didn't mean to be cold or anything, of course, and to be completely honest he wasn't sure he had. So he wasn't going to think much about this, or about anything else but that incredibly weird thing that- maybe Martín had got it all wrong, and he had said something completely different, because he hadn't been thinking about it, and that had to count for something. Right?

It's just that... he had been tired, yesterday. But he had walked a lot, before reaching the restaurant. Surely that didn't mean anything. He had been tired, and since his mood hadn't been so great, he had felt like calling a taxi. So what? He did those things, sometimes.

But he had been tired.

He waited until Martín was ready, and then they took the elevator together. Martín refused to look at him, staring at the door and then going away in a brisk, hard pace, as soon as they opened, he didn't even turn to say goodbye. Hopefully. Because if he did, then Luciano missed it, because he didn't turn either, he went straight to the reception desk and asked the girl there to call him a cab. It was stupid, he knew it. He had a whole medical team at his disposition, he should go talk to them, but- still-

He didn't want them to know, not yet, not before him, not when it was probably nothing. He wasn't sure he even wanted to do this.

The receptionist gave him a tentative smile, and asked if he wanted her to call someone who could come sooner, and only them he noticed he was drumming his fingers on the desk.

“No, it's ok, I'm sorry,” he said, trying to smile back, “I just-”

He wanted to keep talking, small talk so he wouldn't have to think. He needed to talk to someone, right now, and it almost made him wish Martín hadn't left, maybe he could have asked him to stay – but no, then tomorrow this would be all over the news. And he had to handle things alone. And the girl was working. And he was fine. So there.

He'd ask the driver to get him to a hospital, and then they'll tell him there was nothing wrong with him and no one would have to know about this, not his team or his coach or anyone, and in a few hours he'd be laughing at himself for fretting like this, because he was perfectly fine.



*


Manuel woke up early, and left the hotel without telling anyone. He didn't have to tell them, because he was the manager, but he usually did it anyway so they wouldn't do anything too stupid when he was away.

But not today. Today he left as quietly as he could, checking to see if someone was following him, and taking a few random turns to evade them in case someone was. The first thing he did, that he should have done yesterday instead of following stupid dreams, was to go home to give the watch to his adoptive father.

He wasn't there, of course. Manuel left it in his library, and then proceeded with his plan. He went to the bookstore downtown, and started to buy.

Two hours later, he was going back to the hotel, trying to balance a precarious pile of twenty six books, when he saw Luciano standing in the middle of the sidewalk. There was a small crowd pointing at him and whispering and some people were taking pictures, but he didn't seem to notice it.

Manuel almost acted like he hadn't seen him. Almost. But Luciano looked completely lost, and maybe he needed help, even if he had betrayed him – twice, if you counted refusing to sue Martín – and even if Manuel didn't approve much of drunk hugging. At least not when he wasn't drunk too. But he was still his guest, and Manuel was very conscious of his duty, so he braced himself for the awkwardness and went to him.

“Are you lost?”

He was also very conscious of the need to go straight to the point.

Luciano turned to him, startled, and, for a fleeting moment, he looked almost guilty. But then he smiled.

“Hey. You're... you're here.”

“Yes. So are you.”

“Yes. Hm. Yeah.” He looked at the pile of books, “Do you need help with that?”

He wondered if he should use the books to hide his face. Now Luciano's small entourage was taking pictures of him too.

“No, I got it, thank you. I just- do you need... help with anything?”

And then, again, for one second it was like his normal expression had a crack, and Manuel could see something close to terror in his eyes.

“Well, since you're offering, then, if you're not busy- but you are busy, I can see that, so nevermind., I can-”

“It's fine,” Manuel said, getting into his helpful mode, “What do you need?”

“I just- well, I don't- I wanted to make some... exams, I mean, I wanted to see a doctor, but I don't know. I think I'm fine. So I'll just go back to the hotel.”

Manuel hadn't even noticed the hospital across the street. He looked at it, at the waiting room behind the glass doors, and then back at Luciano. He didn't look ill. Not even from the hangover. He looked perfectly fine.

On the other hand...

“You should go,” he said, “I knew this would happen, the first time I tried his food, I was sick for the whole day.”

He still remembered. Miguel had made him lie down and had told him it was because Manuel never ate anything, and Manuel told him to shut up, and Miguel had made him tea.

“Food?”

“From the restaurant! I told them they would get food poisoning. And now you're here. Come on, let's go inside before you drop dead.”

“Oh. But I didn't- I'm almost sure I didn't...”

But he followed him inside anyway. No one seemed to mind the five other people who did the same to keep gawking at him. Maybe he was used to that.

As soon as they crossed the doors, however, he stopped, grabbing Manuel's arm and threatening to destroy his tower of books.

“No, wait. I'm fine, really. And this is a bad idea, I can call my own doctor if I need it, I'll just take the place of someone else here, and-”

“Nonsense, they charge so much that they don't have a waiting list. And we're already here.”

“But I don't want to,” Luciano whined, and this time Manuel almost relented. But it occurred to him that he wasn't supposed to, that he should be the voice of reason here and maybe that was why Luciano had wanted him near.

Like Miguel used to, when he didn't want to study. He'd lie on his couch and sulk and complain and it would be Manuel's job to poke him with a fork to give him the motivation to get the fuck up and work. He always had to be the responsible one, always. If he tried the same trick, then Miguel would take him to the lake to feed the ducks instead of making him study.

“But then you'll waste the trip,” he pointed out, “Look, they're calling you.”

The receptionist was looking at them. Luciano went there, and Manuel stood where he was. It took less than five seconds, and Luciano came back.

“She told me to wait, someone will see me soon. I'm sorry for doing this to you, you don't have to wait here. Will you wait with me?”

He was practically begging. He was also holding his arm again.

“Hm. Yes, of course. I have... a lot of reading material.”

“Thank you, I really appreciate it. I-”

A small boy came, and tapped Luciano's knee. He wanted an autograph.

Manuel watched as Luciano turned on his bright, warm smile, and signed the notebook the boy was holding. They had a quick conversation about football, and then, when the kid was gone, Luciano turned back to him.

He looked better now, as if the brief interaction had calmed his anxiety. His smile felt real.

“Reading material, yes,” Luciano said, “So, what do you have there?”

Manuel hesitated. But this wasn't a secret. And it would be public soon enough.

“Cooking books,” he told him, picking one from the top of the pile, “With recipes from all around the world. I want to have the best restaurant in town.”

“This looks yummy,” Luciano said, pointing at the cover. “What is it?”

“This? Ceviche. We'll have it too, then you can try it. And it won't make you run to a doctor afterwards.”

Luciano laughed, nervously. The effect of the autograph was wearing off.

“That's good. I'll try it, then. We should leave. It's taking too long, and I'm sure you have to go and cook stuff, and I need to... do stuff too...”

“Here, read this one, it's interesting.”

He gave him the one with the desserts. It worked, sort of. Luciano turned the pages so fast that Manuel almost took the book back, but then he slowed down to see the pictures. Clearly, his mind was begging for distraction.

Manuel looked at the ceviche, and then opened the book. His would taste better than Miguel's. He would make sure of that.



tbc...


So, what's up with Luci? Will Martín get his revenge? Will Manu figure out how to prepare Ceviche? Who's Manu's adoptive father? Is this even relevant (spoiler: of course it is)? All this and more in the next chapter of TFHoL

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