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[personal profile] berseker
Title: The Flying Heart of Love 10/?
Rating: ... Pgish, sort of. Maybe not.
Characters: Luciano, Martín, Manuel and Miguel. 
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.



Recap: So, in the last chapter Maria and Alfred had a sort of almost fight, kind of, and then made up right away because Antonio was too weird. Or in spite of it. Luciano is feeling ill and Martín's article didn't help, Manuel is still plotting and Miguel just found out his life is ruined. And everyone else is doing their own thing, whatever that is.


Thanks to Zu for reading it over for me ♥








*~*~*

Episode 13

*~*~*


Luciano's big game was today.

Manuel had been personally invited, but he wasn't planning to watch it.

One of the reasons was that someone had to work around here to make sure the restaurant would put Miguel to shame, and second because he had never cared for the national teams. He had this obsession with Chilean teams since he was a kid, since his adoptive father had told him he had come from that country, and Chile tended to go... not so well in international matches.

But that was because everyone else cheated. Manuel believed it with all his heart.

Anyway, so he wasn’t going to watch it. And, to be completely honest, he didn't think Luciano should, either, the guy looked like he was about to drop dead, and that had been the last time he had seen him. He was bound to be even worse by now. But this wasn't his problem, and he was willing to focus on his work and ignore the match entirely when Miguel stormed in.

It was very dramatic. He even kicked the luggage cart that was standing in his way.

Too bad there was no one else to see it.

“May I help you,” Manuel asked, cold enough to make clear that he wouldn't even if he could. He was done trying to help Miguel.

“Yes. You could drop dead right now, you scumbag!”

Manuel had no intention of doing that either. Still, when the idiot slammed his stupid hands on the desk, he couldn't help thinking – he had seen this so many times, Miguel acting out and being a fucking idiot and it was so hard to make him see and even when he did he never admitted it, even if Manuel was completely right, and they always found a way to make it okay again, usually by pretending nothing had happened and then-

Wait a minute, Miguel was mad at him?

“Why? Did you realize the mistake you made and are trying to blame me?”

“You- you have some nerve - and you said you wanted to be my friend!”

“I never said anything like-”

“You came all humble and pathetic begging me to help you, and then I listened politely and this is how you repay me? By ruining my business?”

“That's not what happened! I wasn't humble! I'm never humble! I was offering you a job, you freak, and you were anything but polite and what the hell are you going on about?”

After all, he hadn't ruined him yet. Miguel tried to grab his clothes, probably to strangle him right there, but Manuel was ready for this, and hit his head with the ruler he used to organize his guest book.

“Now go away,” he said, when Miguel startled, “I have sharp pencils and I'm not afraid to use them!”

“I believe you. I'm sure you're frustrated at the fact that I'm looking at your face right now so you can't stab me in the back!”

“That's stupid,” Manuel said, after working it out, still holding the ruler ready to attack, “Now tell me what the hell you want with me and fuck off.”

“What I want is an apology, you asshole, and I want you to stop ruining my life!”

“... ok, that's great. Now fuck off.”

“This,” he said, slamming something on the desk, “This is what I'm talking about.”

It was his cellphone. Still wary, Manuel picked it up.

Then he watched the video. Luciano, clearly indisposed as he was, still managed to look better than him. Figures. Wasn't the camera supposed to add weight? Why did he look so freaking thin? And what was up with his hair?

Ahem, anyway.

“... is that it? That's why you're freaking out? A video from a week ago?”

“Did you see how many views this has? This thing spent the last week ruining my life, thanks to you! I’m not sure you know, but some of us don't have our daddies showering us with money no matter how we suck, you know.”

“Oh please.” He let the phone drop on the desk again. “Just make sure your food is not toxic, and then I won't say it is. Now go away, I'm working.”

The line about his father had stung. But he wasn't about to show it.

“Oh no you don't,” Miguel said, “First you'll fix this. I want you to- to make another one saying you were on crack and you never meant that, and that my food is perfect!”

“And I want to win the lottery, but that won't happen either. Good thing I don't need it. Have a nice day, Miguel.”

He turned to call the security, but then Miguel said:

“You'll do it, or I'll tell everyone how you really aced that Anthropology exam.”

Manuel stopped.

“Remember?” Now Miguel's voice was sly, “That you told everyone you had studied all night when you actually just opened the book right there and copied every word because the teacher was too drunk to notice it and there was an earthquake?”

“I wanted to study. You distracted me.”

“And the time when I spent the whole night trying to learn differential equations and you slept through it and then I got an A and you got an A+? Thus proving you were always a sneaky son of a bitch?”

“It's not my fault I'm smarter-”

“And that time when we had the chess championship and you were plastered and you only won because you wouldn't stop talking about how much you loved me and your opponent gave up halfway because it was too awkward-”

“That never happened-”

“And when you accidentally stole the professor's wallet because it looked like yours and they called the police and you had to jump of the window so you wouldn't go to jail and then you put it back when he wasn't looking-”

“That's enough!”

“I'll ruin your reputation forever if you don't do this for me.”

“Listen, you idiot, now it's too late, alright? He's sick, and he didn't deny it, so he's the one who has to say it wasn't your stupid food. If I do, people will just think I'm covering up for you because you're a blackmailer.”

“I doubt that,” Miguel said, coldly, “But you have a point. So convince him. Right now. I need people coming tonight.”

Manuel pressed the bridge of his nose, tightly.

“You know I can't guarantee that, right? You don't even know it's really about this video. It might be because you're crap.”

“Make him do it! Remember that time when it rained and you were so drunk that you decided to dance naked on the street?”

Manuel paled.

“You wouldn't dare.”

“And that time when we started running and you got mad because I was faster and you cursed me and then the next day I stumbled on a banana peel and we had to go to the hospital?”

“That was entirely your fault,” Manuel said, but not as bitterly. That had been a good day. “And I even comforted you afterwards.”

“You gave me one measly kiss and even that was after I begged! You’re really fucked up and you know it, Manuel, and if you don’t help me everyone will know too.”

Manuel knew when he was defeated. Sort of. He had to take a guess, because he wasn't used to it. But this seemed to be one of those extremely rare occasions.

It took him less than ten minutes to get ready to leave, and to get a cab to take them to the stadium. Where they would go and ask if Luciano was really suffering from food poisoning.

Fuck his life.

He and Miguel didn't talk on their way there. They didn't even look at each other.


*


It took all his charm, but Martín's boss finally agreed to let him watch the game. The fact that his article had tripled the traffic on their website didn’t hurt, either.

Ok, so he had almost started a diplomatic incident with Brazil, so what? It wasn’t his fault if his readers were all insane.

He made a special point of looking really cool, with his jeans and leather jacket and the sunglasses. Not that it mattered much, but it would make himself more aware of how great he was and how he was perfectly fine on his own even if Luciano considered him just another random name in the probably very unhealthily long list of people he had fucked.

So, with his winning smile and his press ID, he started his way to the locker room.


*


By an amazing coincidence, Luciano was alone when Martín showed up.

Well, no. If he wanted to be honest, he’d be forced to admit that he was dillydallying behind so he’d have some room to breathe.

He was blaming Martín for it, because it had never happened before. Except for – but not. This was totally different. Martín had somehow drained his energy with the power of his idiocy, so now he was having this weird heavy feeling as if his legs were made of lead and as if the crowd – that wasn’t even a proper crowd yet, just his teammates – were taking too much oxygen and he had to fight to get his share.

So now he was sitting on the bench wearing nothing but his briefs, trying to muster up the strength to get dressed and thinking about how this had never ever ever happened to him before and also how the hell he was supposed to play for ninety minutes and how he shouldn’t have gone to the doctor that day because all those needles had probably ruined him forever and he was paying for it now. He should have burned that stupid newspaper with Martín’s stupid barbs and he had to get up, and get dressed, right now, and-

“So, do you always go around naked or it’s just when I’m around?”

Luciano raised his head and blinked, fully believing he was a hallucination. He had to be. But then Martín found a towel somewhere and threw it at him, and a vision wouldn't do that. Luciano sighed. He considered throwing it back at him, but he didn’t have the energy for that.

“What are you doing here? How did you get in?”

“I came to interview you, of course. That’s my job. So, anything you want to tell me?”

He was smiling, green eyes alight with arrogant mischief, just waiting to see his reaction. The idiot.

“Yes, there is, actually. Where’s my watch?”

For a brief second, Martin looked confused. And then he rolled his eyes.

“… oh for fuck’s sake, forget the damn-”

“It’s not even mine, you idiot, and I need to give it back, and don’t tell me to forget it when you wouldn't be able to afford one like that even if you worked for the rest of your life. Just give it back, it’s not yours.”

Martín pressed his lips tightly, the smile completely gone. This was clearly not how he had expected this to go.

Well, good.

“You’ll have it back tomorrow, alright? Now, about my interview.”

Luciano put the towel around his shoulders, because he had the feeling that he was covered in cold sweat and it was bothering him. He tried to take a deep breath. It kinda hurt his chest, a little, almost imperceptibly, and he tried to ignore it.

And ignore Martín, too.

“I have nothing to say. Go away.”

Martín didn’t want to be ignored. He sat by his side, straight-backed and all superior over Luciano’s hunched shape and decided to go for the throat.

“So, did you read my article?”

“Someone showed it to me, yes. Who let you in? You’re not supposed to be-”

“And what did you think?”

Luciano looked at him. Really looked, this time. Martín’s eyes were so strange, hard and eager at the same time, and there was this almost cruel glint and Luciano was dying here and he really really wasn’t in the mood for this.

“Nothing.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Martín, I’ve been playing since I was fifteen. It’s not the first time I get criticism. Or that someone I fuck goes crazy. Can you please go away? I know it doesn’t look like, but I’m actually working right now.”

“That's not what this is about.”

It felt like that had come from nowhere – like Martín himself hadn't planned to say it, and for a second Luciano wondered if he was actually hurting, but then his eyes flashed green and angry and the moment was gone.

“Of course it is. I'm surprised it didn't get you fired, because it was the less professional thing I've ever seen in my life. But at least you have that, right? You're so bad at this that people are bound to remember you.”

“It's not what this is about and you'd know if you weren't so egotistical, and so full of yourself that you can't even see- look at you!” and, to Luciano's surprise, he actually shoved him, “You're almost passing out! Couldn't you spend one night in to rest for your job? Who were you fucking this time? Someone else you just meet? I guess you like to vary, right?”

He wanted to punch him. Punch him and grab his hair and slam his face on the floor, and it was obviously showing because Martin started smirking, and Luciano would give anything, would pay to erase if from his face.

“So that's your problem, isn't it? You wish it could be you? I can fix that,” he said, and kissed him.

Well, mostly kissed him. It was awkward as fuck because he had no strength left and had to hold his shoulder for balance – he hoped Martín would think it was to keep him still – and Martín pulled away as soon as their lips connected, his face going white and his eyes widening and then Luciano smirked too because this was the dumbest thing he had ever done but at least it had worked.

“But that's all you're getting,” he said, to cement his victory, “You're not good enough for a second time and I do like to vary, so go away, because I have a game to play.”

He sank back in his place, his body almost folding over itself, and he tried to make it look like he wanted to tie his shoes or something and not like the air was getting harder to breathe by the second, but at least his little revenge worked. Martín got up and left, without saying anything.




*~*~*

Episode 14

*~*~*



Well, of course, Martín thought, he knew he probably wasn't the first to point out Luciano's lack of charm and character and personality and skill and everything else, so it made sense that he'd be used to it by now, but even so –

His mind was reeling, and he could sense a headache coming and he couldn't even start to sort out exactly how much he hated that son of a bitch and in how many ways he wished Luciano would die. No one dismissed him like that, no one, and Luciano had done it twice – three times, if you counted the first meeting when he kicked everyone out of his room – and that was basically 100% of the times they had seen each other at all.

Martín couldn't cope with that.

So he was fuming, and thinking of all the different ways he could arrange to get him murdered, when he saw Manuel and Miguel trying to get to the players.

They didn't have his own subtlety, so of course security didn't let them in. Martín went there, anxious for anything that would get his mind out of it.

Since they wanted to find Luciano, it didn't really work. Life was out to get him today.

“Just watch the game and talk to him after it's over,” he said, “I'll have to interview someone anyway, and it won't be him because I've had enough of that jerk for a lifetime, but I'll tell security you're with me. If,” he said, glaring at Manuel, “You behave.”

“I didn't even want to be here,” Manuel told him, sulkily, “I'm being blackmailed. And you're only reaping what you sow. If you have any sense of ethics or honesty or-”

“Says the guy who tried to ruin my reputation.” Miguel mumbled.

“Whatever, just find me afterwards. Not that I know why you'd want to talk to him anyway.”

“So he can take back what he said,” Miguel explained, because he was bad at rhetorical questions, “Of course, I don't blame him, I know Manu made him say it.”

Manu? Who said you could call me that, you-”

“I didn't. I'm sure I didn't. I say Manuel. Didn't I? Martín?”

“Hm? Oh, yes. Sure. Yes.”

They looked at him.

Martín glared, to show he wasn't upset at all and this was just how his mood was all the time and he didn't have any reason to be down because he didn't care anyway so there.

“I see,” Manuel said, with a depressed sigh that showed how tired he was of dealing with people, “You wrote all that stuff to make him mad, and now that he is you're moping because you didn't see it coming?”

“I didn't-”

“It's exactly like your review about my hotel. But I thought you had learned by now. I'll go to my seat, to think about how dumb you both are.”

“No, wait,” Martín said, shoving Miguel aside to grab Manuel's arm, “So he was mad? How do you know?”

“I saw him reading it, and he almost tore the paper, that was mine, by the way. Like this arm. It's also mine. Let go, I need it.”

He tried to pull it from Martín's grasp, but Martín held tighter, his other arm enveloping his shoulder in a friendly hug.

“Tell me,” he said, ignoring Manuel's shriek and Miguel's indignant sputter, “What did he say? He just told me he's used to it.”

“Well, of course he did, he was sick over the poisoned food and them you go and publish all that and what did you expect? Let me go, people are staring!”

“Yeah, let him go,” Miguel said, but Martín ignored them both. So Luciano had reacted to his article.

The shitty little liar.

“I don't see why this matters,” Manuel said, crossly, “There's still – oh my God. I made a terrible mistake!”

“Quick,” Miguel shouted, “Someone record this before the universe collapses, he never said these words in his life and we don't know what could happen!”

“Shut up, Miguel. So it wasn't the food, it was you!” he looked up at Martín, “Of course! He did get your cooties!”

“... what are you talking about?”

But he never had the chance to find out, because them the game started, and they all had to run to their places. Miguel grabbed Manuel's arm and then they both were lost in the crowd.

Martín went to his own seat, trying to decide if this changed anything, but it didn't, it couldn't, because he could still feel the soft pressure of Luciano's lips on his, and he should have punched him instead of just standing there like a stupid deer caught in the headlights. Just thinking about it made him want to do violent things to the seat and the wall and everyone sitting nearby. So no, Luciano was not forgiven and Martín still wanted to watch him getting run over by a bus.

The game started.

He watched as the players entered the field, without any enthusiasm. He was sure if would suck.

That was good, because it did.

It sucked.

It was also one of the fastest games Martín had ever seen.

It started like every other game, with everyone pretending to know the anthem and the compliments between the players, smiles and half-hugs and hair-messing and butt-grabbing, and then the ball started rolling. Martín leaned over in his chair to watch, and take mental notes of Luciano's flaws to highlight later in his next article.

And he... well, didn't. Because Luciano looked completely lost.

First, he wasn't running. Or even moving much. He usually was this little butterfly on the field, never in the same place for long, but this time he looked so lazy, like he didn't care or wasn't in the mood to play, and when he ball happened to find him he'd ignore it or make a pass to someone else.

It was pathetic.

And extremely inspiring. After a while, Martín lost count of how many witty lines he’d come up with to describe how bad this was.

And getting worse by the second. Luciano’s fans were silent and embarrassed and the other team was having a blast, their own supporters reacting accordingly, and then when Luciano finally decided to do something instead of just standing there like a post they booed and he stopped again to look at them, as if he couldn't make sense of it or remember what he was doing there in the first place.

It made Martín a little uncomfortable. Yes, the performance was the worst he had ever seen, but Luciano still deserved some respect, right? And watching his humiliation wasn’t being as fun as Martín had thought it would be. Not if he was going to look like that, like a kicked puppy in the middle of the field. And then someone stole the ball and he was so slow to react that Martín cringed, almost hoping the coach would get him out of there before this could get even more depressing.

But he didn't, and when Luciano tried again, it almost looked like he had finally gotten his shit together. And then someone from the other team came too close and Martín saw it coming a mile away, but Luciano didn't, the idiot, even if he should have because as the star of the team, he was automatically one of the favorite targets for fouls.

The guy elbowed him, or maybe it was a brush of the shoulder, the details would have to wait for the replay. Luciano usually turned those moments into penalties, because he was also good at pretending to be hurt when he wasn't.

Not this time.

This time he went down without a word, without a single twitch, and didn't get up again.








Tbc...

Will Martín remember his witty lines for the next article? Will Manu and Miguel ever get to Luciano? Did Manu really got drunk during the chess championship? Could he be that irresponsible? How did he even graduate? Does his father know about this? Oh, and what's up with Luciano? All this and more in the next chapter of TFHOL!

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