berseker: (Default)
[personal profile] berseker
Title: the journey between here and there
Characters/Pairings: Brazil/Argentina AU.
Rating: PG-13.
Warnings: Old People AU.

Everything starts when Luciano sings a bunch of songs and Martín kisses him under a brilliantly starry night, and both of them think they’d like to do this again. It ends fifty five years later when Martín falls in the middle of the street and Luciano kneels by his side with a plea in his lips, even if he knows, he knows he won't get up.

This is what happens in-between:

Martín is on vacations, and a friend invites a friend who invites another friend who invites him to spend the long weekend on the countryside. They buy all the beer they can get and drive for three hours to a beautiful estate where they can smell the grass and the air and curse at the million insects and wonder what the fuck those things are anyway. Martín, born and raised in downtown Buenos Aires, urban kid through and through, freaks out when a cricket lands on his knee, and then spends the rest of the evening hoping they’ll forget and shut up about it.

He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll be hearing about this for the next million years.

When they’re not bullying him, they all mention Luciano, and he asks once or twice who he is, but someone always changes the subject before he can find out, so he’s a little surprise when the aforementioned turns out to be this random – if attractive – dude who seems more worried about dinner than actually getting to know Martín. Until he realizes Martín is Argentinean, and then the first thing the creep asks is who’s the better player, Pelé or Maradona, and Martín knows everyone is listening and he wants to live, so he mentally asks for forgiveness, and answers that he’s better than both of them.

They all laugh, and say something that it’s probably not a compliment about his precious homeland, so he gets a beer and goes to eat outside.

Later that night, they light a fire and sit around it and Luciano gets his guitar. Martín recognizes popular songs from the radio, and some stuff that must be popular in Brazil because everyone else sings along, and then they all sing the chorus of Don't Cry For Me Argentina in his honor, and he smiles dryly and calmly sips his mate, because he knows they'll never stop if he reacts.

And between all that, Luciano plays stuff that no one knows, sometimes he doesn't even finish them, sometimes he does and laughs as if he wants to make clear that he finds them stupid. But his eyes soften when he sings all that, whatever it is, his voice is sweet and quiet and Martín has no idea what he's saying, but there's something almost painful when he goes o som daquele triste berrante e um boiadeiro a gritar, êia, and then Martin frowns and asks if he's going crazy or if the song is really about cows. They all laugh and Luciano grins and immediately changes the song.

Martín bites his lip. He sees the flash of hurt in his eyes, and thinks it's unfair because everyone is laughing so why would he get mad at him? It’s because he's an outsider, that's why, and he spends the rest of the night arguing inside his head.

The next night, however, he sits next to him and asks for the cow song, maybe to redeem himself. Luciano punches his arm, but he obliges him, dark eyes glittering like some sort of black gemstone, and Martín smiles because he didn't know he was so easy.

The next song is called você vai gostar and when Luciano raises his head from the cords – he plays all hunched over the guitar – and sings fiz uma casinha branca lá no pé da serra pra nós dois morar Martín smiles again, and Luciano finds his eyes and smiles back and it's all so beautiful that he can't breathe right.

This goes on for five days. He kisses Luciano on the third, when everyone else – now more than twenty people – are too busy trying to make barbecue, and Luciano is standing in the porch all by himself, looking up at the stars above, and when Martín gets closer he says he can see the Milky Way. Martín holds his hand, Luciano smiles, and that smile wins him the best kiss of his life.

He finds out the whole place belongs to him the next year, when Luciano invites him to come back. And the guy must be filthy rich, because when Martín says he can't travel this year Luciano cheerfully offers him the ticket for free, and Martín hesitates for three days before accepting because why the hell not. He's not exactly happy when he arrives, but they kiss at the airport and he drops his bags on the floor to hold him because he hadn't realized how much he missed his fingers getting tangled inside that curly hair and the way Luciano holds his waist and gets his hands inside his shirt. Later that day, they fight and make up and then fight again, and Luciano asks him if he's being a dick because of the ticket thing, because Luciano is loaded and he's not.

It's the first time he throws it in his face. Martín sulks for the whole night.

Luciano doesn't apologize – he never does- but he gets him breakfast in bed and there's so much stuff that he can't stay mad. Luciano talks about his family, while Martín munches on a donut, and it's so crazy that he doesn't know if he buys it or if Luciano is messing with him, because of course he's familiar with the concept of having traditional families and he knows something about his own, like, his grandparents from his mother's side are Italians, Spaniards from his father's side, but that's pretty much it. Luciano can trace his bloodline back to the Empire, and they own not only that farm but basically that whole town.

When Martín understands, he throws the donut at him and goes back to sulking.

Luciano lies down by his side, his arm going over Martín's waist, and bites his ear and tells him to stop being jealous.

When he moves to Luciano’s apartment, after two years of this on-again-off-again hot tragicomic mess of a love life, there's a huge family fight that for some miracle doesn't make him change his mind, but kinda ruins their first week together, because his mood is rotten and Martín has no mercy and in the end he tells him to go back to his family if he wants to, because he didn't move all the way to São Paulo for this and he misses Buenos Aires too and maybe this is all a huge mistake.

Luciano leaves while he's still talking, and then Martín’s legs can't stand his weight anymore, and he sits on the couch with his face in his hands.

That's how Luciano finds him, when comes back and sits by his side. They end up sleeping in the couch together because they don't want to let go for the three minutes it would take to reach the bedroom.

Martín finds a job on a small firm and tries to pretend this is exactly what he wanted, and Luciano starts working for a multinational that only hired him because of his family name. Or at least that’s what Martín says when they fight. Life gets crazier every month and they’re both coming home later and later and before the year ends Martín snaps. They have this huge fight that goes on until three in the morning and it ends when Martín snidely asks if Luciano won't walk out on him again and he says it's his apartment, so he's not leaving.

It’s the second time in their lives he throws it in his face.

Martín pretends it doesn’t hurt.

He buys the first ticket he can find back to Argentina. Luciano drives him to the airport and it makes everything weird, because he's technically leaving him, so what the hell is this idiot doing here? But Luciano refuses to get the hint and when Martín is getting in line to board, he finally kisses him without any warning, pulls away before Martín can decide if he wants to kiss him back, and then says come back to me, alright?

Martín curses him all the way to Buenos Aires. After a week of embarrassing questions about what he's been eating and having mom trying to bribe him to stay via pasta overdoses, he goes back to Brazil.

Luciano meets him at the airport, his eyes bright with relief, and he says welcome home.

Martín says he knows he is.

Luciano is very laidback about clothes, so Martín is surprised the day he gets home jittery and worried, and tells him they're going to get him a proper suit. They have this something to do, he says, and Martín needs to dress properly and wearing formal shirts and jeans is unacceptable.

Martín is thinking about how he'd just steal something from his father's closet when he needed to look sharp and it always worked just fine. But this is a family event, a nephews' birthday or something, his family is huge and Martín gets a little lost, the important part is that Luciano will see his parents again for the first time after almost three years, and Martin's head is spinning and the first thing he asks is, I'm dressing like this for a baby's birthday?

Luciano laughs at him. He decides he'll get him dressed himself, and it's a good thing they started early, because Luciano says it's extremely important that he lies down for his and that the traditional way to put a suit is to be kissed all over first and this takes time.

When they finally make it to the party, Luciano is in panic and Martín squeezes his hand before they get in. The place was obviously expensive and the dishes are obviously not meant for a kid's party, and now that he's thinking about it, he doesn't see any kids. Luciano explains they're in a special area, with toys and pools and stuff and could Martín get him something to drink before he passes out please? So he does, and when he comes back Luciano is talking to a woman with a long braid falling down her back, and she has her arm on his shoulder, and he turns to Martín and says she's his mother and Martín makes small conversation. And pretends he doesn't notice Luciano's eyes are brimming with tears.

Later, he thinks it was kind of a big thing, being invited for this. But then it's too late to say anything because Luciano is asleep on his chest, so he presses a soft kiss to his hair and leaves it at that.

The next time Martín decides he can't live another day without seeing Buenos Aires, they call it a vacation and go together. Luciano makes a list of all the things he wants to see and Martín tells him it's a dumb list because that stuff is all over the place, and if they follow it they'll go to the capital and then to the Chilean border and then to the Atlantic coast and then back up again before going all the way down to Bariloche, and that's so dumb that it's making his head hurt. Luciano tells him they have time and he wants to see what's so great about that country anyway, but if he thinks it will be disappointing then they can go see Buenos Aires and come back to Brazil.

Martín writes a better list and almost makes him swallow it.

When it's time to come back, needless to say, he doesn't want to. He's silent and moody and Luciano is quiet and when they arrive he says he thinks Martín should get another job.

It’s so random that Martín thinks this will be about money again, and he’s about to tell him where he can shove his opinions, and how much he doesn't need this now, when Luciano points out that he's clearly not happy and remember all the things he wanted to be, maybe this is the time to do it, and Martín says he'll think about it. And then - because he can't help it - he says it will have to wait, because if he takes some time off to pursue dreams, Luciano would be stuck with the bills, and he doesn't want to set himself up for punishment later.

The fight they have is the worst so far, and it ends with Martín sleeping in the couch because he refuses to enter the room.

Later they decide they just won't talk after coming back from Argentina, because Martín's emotions are all over the place and it tends to go awful. Martín thinks this is highly unfair, because they fight all the time for every sort of reason, but he goes with it because it makes things easier.

Martín never gets used to waking up early, and if he had his way he’d never have to work before eleven. Luciano, who likes to get up one hour earlier to run, gets used to waking him up.

He kisses his cheek until Martín shoves him away and sits on the bed, confused and only half-awake. Then he takes his shower and when he comes back Martín is still in the same position, staring vacantly at the wall. It’s still ten minutes before he can find his will to live, and he’s very silent when he goes to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.

Luciano used to try to chat, but by now he learned it’s a bad move, so he just kisses him lightly on the lips – because what’s life without taking risks? – and leaves the conversation for when they come back from work.

And then he’s tired and sleepy and Martín forces him to have dinner after nine, and by eleven Luciano insists they should talk in bed and then falls asleep on him.

Martín puts his arm around him and sometimes he turns on the TV, sometimes he turns off the light and listens to the sound of his breath.

The next fight happens, ironically enough, when Martín finds another job, because that's when he asks if Luciano ever thought about raising a child. Before he can go on to say he knows it will be a pain to work it out because laws and all that, Luciano laughs and says of course not.

Martín stares at him. It's probably because his mom started to talk about her grandchildren pretty much the moment he was born, but he always knew he would be a father one day. It was just one of those obvious unquestionable things about how the world was going to be, not really an option, and his fixed stare makes Luciano's smile freeze.

And yes, he had never mentioned it before, and yes, they should have negotiated this before it turned serious, and yes all that makes perfect sense but still. The conversation turns into something ugly and then Luciano smiles it off, says they'll talk about it sometime later, and Martín knows they won't, because Luciano will lead him on forever if Martín lets him.

So he doesn't.

But when he insists, Luciano laughs, says he can't believe they're fighting over hypothetical children, and then goes to the bedroom.

They don’t talk about it. With words, anyway.

So, in a way, they talk about it every time.

The breaking point is a few months after that, when Martín comes late and Luciano is watching tv in the room, and he asks where he was and Martín doesn't answer, and then he smiles and asks if he was looking for someone willing to be a father – or a mother, of course.

A few hours later it’s not even about children anymore, it’s about money and bills and compromises and every little aggravation they ever had. Luciano says he's too tired to keep fighting, that this definitely didn't turn out like he thought it would, everyday is an uphill battle and he’s done carrying all this weight.

Martín says he didn’t know Luciano saw him like this.

Luciano asks how he could possibly not know.

After that, there’s nothing else to say.

Martín refuses to leave. It’s his apartment too; he pays half the rent and half the bills, so he’s staying. He sits on the couch and doesn’t say anything as he packs and doesn’t get up when Luciano leaves, and then he thinks about how this happened in their first week and that was what, ten years ago? How could he have thought this would work, if it was bad right from the start?

But they’re not the same anymore, nothing is, he’s ages away from the kid frozen in the couch waiting for his boyfriend to come back, so he gets up and goes to that bar that Luciano hates.

He comes back before midnight, and then he can’t fall asleep.

Some of his friends tell him he should kick Martín out, because the place is still in his name. Luciano says he's just about to do it, any moment now. But he knows Martín is paying the bills, because someone would have complained if he weren't, so it's not like he'll be sued or anything and, more important, it's not like he has to do it.

So he keeps forgetting about it, or remembering when he's not in the mood to take action, and then forgetting again, and life goes on.

Eventually he writes to his father from work. The reply reaches his inbox in less than ten minutes. They have lunch together and, to his surprise, the conversation is light, they talk about work and their lives and everything flows easily. When he goes back to his office, he wants to call Martín.

He can’t, of course.

He’ll have to get used to this.

In the next three years, they talk to each other once or twice.

Maybe not even that.

Then Martín calls in the middle of the night. He says they just told him that mom is at the hospital and wants to say goodbye. He says he’s not worried, this happens every other week, it’s just that his father usually has this good-natured resigned voice when she gets him roped in her schemes, and this time he was so quiet, and Martín is not sure what to make of that and Luciano knows how his family is so it’s probably nothing but still he doesn’t-

When Luciano opens the door – surprised to see Martín never changed the lock – he finds him sitting on the bed with a half-made bag by his side. He finishes it for him, then calls a cab and they fly to Buenos Aires for the millionth time.

Antonio looks surprised when he sees him, because, well, three years. But they drive to the hospital and not to their house, and Luciano can feel Martín’s pain without even looking at him. He can’t decide what to do, but when they’re back the house is full and they end up in separate rooms and he knows they must have asked Martín first and he wanted this arrangement, so he tells them he won’t stay, he already booked a hotel, thank you, and no one questions him because three years, and because they have more important things in mind.

He considers leaving, but that would make it insanely awkward so he doesn’t and, to his surprise, he gets his turn to visit the matriarch. She glares at him, because she’ll never forgive him for taking her baby to another country, and then asks what kind of nonsense is this, wants to know if he found another boy and if he thinks anyone could compare to her son and it’s so surreal that Luciano smiles. He says Martín told him to leave, and she says he can’t go around doing what Martín says.

When he holds her hand, she tells him to stop being stupid. He promises her that he will, but she knows he doesn’t mean it.

Luciano is almost resigned, when a friend of a friend asks him if they could meet in his father’s estate for the weekend, all of them. Some have kids now, some got married and some got divorced and life changed for everyone, and they should do this so they can pretend they’re young again.

Luciano says yes.

They invite Martín too, of course.

And Luciano remembers him with dark bags under his eyes and remembers him with his hair mussed from sleep, remembers his smile and the taste of his mouth and the warmth of his skin and the way he breathes when he’s asleep and how he sulks when something doesn’t go his way, the cruel words and the witty sense of humor and the way he’d still flush all over whenever Luciano tried to hold his hand in public, how wonderful, how bright and beautiful and precious he is and he’ll cry if he stands here.

He goes to the pool and plays football and teaches the kids how to climb trees and then he tells them Martín comes from Argentina, and a little boy goes to him and asks him who’s the best player ever, Pelé or Maradona, and Martín groans and says oh God, Brazilians, why, and the boy giggles and they tease him for the rest of the afternoon.

They light up a fire later. Someone gets him a guitar and then Martín asks him if he still remembers the cow song.

It’s the first thing he says to him. Luciano can’t tell if it's sarcasm or not, because Martín’s smile is always a little ironic, but yes, of course he does, so he plays it and then it all comes back, this, and Asa Branca and Assum Preto, and then country songs and MPB and the eclectic mix that used to make them laugh, but now they sing with him and Martín listens, because his Portuguese is finally good enough to get what the songs are saying. When he gets to o lugar é uma beleza, pode ter certeza, você vai gostar, he looks at him and he doesn’t quite choke but only because it would be too embarrassing.

So when he’s done, there’s a pause and no one knows what to say and he hears the girls sighing and there’s this air of nostalgia and he needs to do something about it, so he starts a few notes and Martín groans out loud before the others even realize what he’s going to do.

Then they all laugh and sing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina and when he says the truth is I’ve never left you, Martín looks away.

Why do you like these songs so much, Martín asks hours later, when everyone else is sleeping, or trying to find quiet places to talk. Luciano says he doesn’t know. They’re simple and a bit silly, and the melody is beautiful, and they’re all about little things you can’t buy.

They’re quiet for a long time, a silence that begs to be filled, and then Martín thanks him for the hasty trip to Buenos Aires. Luciano says it’s ok.

Five minutes and he says he’ll go to bed. Then Martín says oh God, I’ll take you back, alright, stop begging me and kisses him so hard that it hurts. Luciano grabs his shirt and his hair and everything he can touch and he’ll never let him go, never, that kiss goes on forever because they can’t stay away and they talk in the pauses when their lips are not touching and it’s broken and confused and full of accusations and half-apologies and when they finally stop, Martín whispers come home with me. And Luciano does.

Martín is amazed at how well he remembers him. All the little things that slipped from his mind come back after five seconds, the smell and the warmth and Luciano’s mouth so close that his breath brushes over Martín’s lips, and he so, so grateful, so happy, so overwhelmingly happy.

Luciano must be going through something too, because when Martín gets up to get food, he follows him to the kitchen and embraces his waist and rests his head on Martín’s back.

Later, Martín asks why he never tried to kick him out of the apartment, and Luciano looks lost and uncomfortable and he doesn’t have a good explanation, really, just that somewhere deep down he knew it would break things beyond repair. And anyway Martín was right, the place belonged to him too. Then he asks why Martín stayed, why he didn’t go back to Argentina, and Martín says it’s because he lives here, and that’s all there is to it.

Luciano holds his hand, and kisses the backs of his fingers.

They have a brief fight when Martín asks him what he did when they were apart, and Luciano refuses to tell him, so he asks if he was seeing someone and then how many people and then how many people per month, and Luciano gets mad at him and Martín says it doesn’t matter.

But he’ll spend the rest of his life telling everyone that when they had their time out, Luciano lost count of how many people he slept with, and Luciano will always get angry when he says it.

They don’t know who comes up with the idea, but a few weeks after that, they buy the rings.

Then Luciano takes him to a fancy dinner, and he’s a bit surprised when he sees Martín is wearing that suit. But he still looks good in it, which is even more amazing, and then Luciano puts the ring in his finger and Martín does the same and they laugh, because it’s hard to think of something to say.

For now, they toast with red wine and then go back home to celebrate it properly.

True to form, they have another brief fight about all this, because Luciano doesn’t like rings, he likes bracelets and stuff around his neck, but not rings, so he wants to use it in a chain with his crucible and Martín thinks it’s because he wants to show he’s still available, and they start the usual shouting match. He says Luciano doesn’t want to marry him, never did, wants to go after the two billion girls he had when they were apart because he enjoyed that life, Martín knows it, more than he ever enjoyed being with him and that’s when he realizes Luciano is not even fighting back. He’s standing there staring at him, and then Martín rubs his face with his hands and Luciano tentatively pulls him into a hug, and Martín hides his face in the curve of his neck and doesn’t even try to pretend he doesn’t care.

If it’s that important to you, I’ll wear it, Luciano says, but you’re going crazy, I was miserable all the time and I missed you more than you can possibly imagine, it’s just that I can’t type right if I’m wearing rings. But I’ll get used to it.

Martín says it doesn’t matter. Luciano doesn’t let him go, so they stand like that for a long time and then Martín starts to laugh. We’re so messed up, he says, and kisses him before Luciano can think he went completely insane.

He buys him a thin silver chain to wear with the ring, and Luciano is so touched that it gets almost uncomfortable. And then Martín sulks for a few days because he can’t think of anything creative to do on his side, and is forced to wear his on his finger like a normal person. Luciano tells him he’s just too boring, and then kisses the tip of his nose.

A few days after that, Luciano asks if Martín still wants to have children.

It's too dark to see his face, and Martín was almost asleep, but his heart beats faster, and, after a moment, he finds Luciano's hand and holds it tight.

The day they celebrate their fifty-fifth anniversary, Martín is grumpy because no one wants to give him alcohol and Luciano is happy because the house is full of family and friends and their sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters. He shows them his ring, hanging from a little chain, and then tells them a stupid story about how Martín was terrified of a bug when they first met, and everyone is drawn to him like he’s a warm fire in the center of the room. Martín stops to watch – he’s a blur now because his eyes are terrible, but he sees the red jacket and the white hair and he knows his eyes will be alight and he knows his smile by heart. They see him standing there, love in every line of his face, and they tease and laugh until he gives Luciano a quick peck on the lips.

Later, someone finds a guitar. Now Luciano doesn’t need to apologize for singing the cow song, or any of the other songs he likes, so he sings Asa Branca and Romaria and – of course - Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. Then it’s Você Vai Gostar, and now Martín knows the lyrics to that thing, so he sings with him vou com meu terno riscado, uma flor do lado e meu chapéu na mão, and everyone applauds.

When they get the cake – they got a cake, with chocolate and whipped cream and dulce de leche and all the bad stuff he wasn’t supposed to get - he brightens up and Luciano shakes his head and tells him he’s a kid, and then everyone says they need to make a speech.

Luciano says he won’t, because Martín will get too full of himself and he’s the one who has to put up with him in the morning. Martín raises the cake as if it were the glass of wine they didn’t give him, and says I love you.

To his surprise, Luciano’s eyes fill with tears.

That night, when they’re alone, he says he wished he had said something too. Martín asks him what it would be, and Luciano thinks for a while and then says, thank you for the best fifty-five years of my life.

Martín kisses him. That night, he stays awake long after Luciano starts to snore, looking at the ring in his finger. After a while, he says thank you too.

He falls asleep in his arms because. After all these years, Luciano still sleeps close to him, one arm over his waist and, in the next morning, he still wakes him up with a kiss.


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