Author/Artist: chromatic_coma @ animusia
Character(s)/Pairing(s): (in this chapter) Prussia, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Germany, N. Italy, S.Italy ;; Austria/Hungary, Germany/Italy, Spain/Romano,
Genre: Friendship, Romance, Slice-of-Life, Angst
Warning(s): Kissing, Swearing, Homosexual Relationships, Original Character, YMMV Characterizations, Angst
Summary: A lot has happened in the past ten years, and for some it was impossible to keep promises that were once so central and vital. As their high school reunion captures them all by surprise, the Bad Touch Trio will have to re-learn the meaning of friendship and love.
x-posted @ hetalia and inthreesome
Part I Chapter I - Part I Chapter II - Part I Chapter III - Part I Chapter IV - Part I Chapter V - Part I Chapter VI - Part I Final - Part II Chapter I - Part II Chapter II - Part II Chapter III - Part II Chapter V - Part II Chapter VI - Part II Final
Scarred Heart in Hand, Part II Chapter IV
“I cannot believe it.”
A new voice, smooth as velvet, cut through the tension like a sharp knife. “I work as quickly as I can in order to make it here, only to come and find my two closest friends moments away from attacking one another?”
“Francis…?” Antonio murmured, his gaze trained on Gilbert as if he was too scared to look up.
Francis gave a deep-throated chuckle and squeezed both of their arms more tightly.
No one said a thing, until Gilbert laughed and turned to look his old friend in the eye,
“So, you decided to show up after all, Franny.”
“Ah, you will never know how much I missed hearing you call me that…”
Antonio turned around and shut Francis up by giving a hug tight enough to rival the one he’d given Gilbert at the beginning of the evening.
Francis was taken off guard, and when he recovered he chuckled and patted Antonio’s hair back, returning the hug with a smile.
“Yes, I am. It has been a long time, no?”
“Too long. Between you and Gilbert ignoring me, I was beginning to think about having a second wedding just to get your attention.”
Gilbert started to look guilty again, but Francis gave another laugh and pulled away, shaking his head.
“That is not necessary, Antonio. Though, I am sorry for being so being so busy as of late; opening one’s own pastry shop is such an appealing idea until you realize how much there is to be done.”
Antonio laughed as well, but he forced a frown onto his face, “I refuse to accept that excuse.”
They shared a laugh, and suddenly Gilbert felt very much like an outsider.
Francis took a step back and walked up to the rest of the group, apologizing for having ignored them and greeting everyone pleasantly.
“How far along are you, Elizaveta?” He asked, obviously as surprised as Gilbert was that she was expecting, but taking the news much better.
“Five months,” she smiled in response, patting her belly like the picture of a happy mother; Gilbert found that he could not help but smile as well.
“So you would know the gender, then…?”
“It’s a boy,” Roderich answered, a small hint of pride in his tone.
“How exciting that must be,” Francis commented, “Do you have any ideas for his name?”
Elizaveta shrugged, “We haven’t been able to decide, so we’re willing to take suggestions.”
Suddenly it seemed as if everyone was thinking; Gilbert cut in just as Feliciano was about to open his mouth.
“Frederick. You should name him Frederick.”
Elizaveta giggled, “Still obsessed with Prussia, I see.”
“No, well, yeah, I am Prussian after all, but that’s not why.”
“I like it.” Roderich said finally, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. Gilbert knew that gesture to mean he did not want to make eye contact, but still he tried to give him a look. “It is a strong name, but not absolutely brutish.”
“It’s fine with me,” Elizaveta agreed, a grin spreading on her face as she turned to speak to the bulge in her stomach, “What do you think, little Fritz?”
Feliciano giggled, “Has he kicked you yet? I’ve always wondered how that would feel…”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Elizaveta answered, shaking her head, “though the doctor said he should start moving around in there soon. He’s probably just shy and gentle, like his father.”
Roderich flushed, frowning in embarrassment. “Elizaveta, don’t say such things.”
“Why not,” she pouted teasingly, kissing his flushed cheek. “I haven’t said anything wrong; he is your son, and you are shy.”
When Roderich coughed and tried to shake off his blush, everyone laughed softly.
“Hey, you know what would be cute?”
“If Fritz and Bella grow up and fall in love!”
“No!” Lovino scowled, and his brother turned to him with a pout.
“B-But… that would be so cute!”
“Absolutely not,” he responded firmly. Antonio brushed his fingers in his husband’s hair.
“Why not, Lovi?”
“Yes, why not?” Elizaveta repeated in a sugary sweet voice that Gilbert recognized as her “if you don’t give me a good answer you’re going to lose your baby making abilities” voice. Judging by the look on his face, Lovino recognized it too.
“Oh, uh… I just… don’t want to think about Bella growing up, is all!”
It was a decent save, Gilbert had to admit. Elizaveta seemed to agree, as she nodded and the smile returned to her face. Lovino did a horrible hiding his sigh of relief.
“Speaking of Bella,” Francis cut in, “when do I get to see her?”
“Oh, Ludwig’s got her… wait, where did he go?”
“What?!” Lovino roared, looking around frantically. “Where the fuck did that bastard go with my baby?!”
He grabbed Feliciano by the collar of his shirt, glaring at his younger brother vehemently. Feliciano’s eyes widened instantly, and he pointed a shaky finger off in the direction of a more abandoned section of the gym, where it was easy to spot Ludwig sitting down with an infant in his arms.
“Bella fell asleep,” Feliciano explained with a stutter, “so Ludwig took her over there where it was quieter…”
Lovino dropped his brother; Gilbert was impressed that he had even managed to pick him up off the floor, what with the amount of pasta Feliciano consumed on a daily basis and how scrawny Lovino was. Still, he refused to comment, so enthralled by the on-going drama.
“Why didn’t he just give her back to us, then?” Lovino growled. Gilbert didn’t know him very well, but something told him the clip in the other’s tone was more to do with embarrassment at overreacting than with actual anger.
Feliciano shrugged, “I think he likes holding her. It makes him feel good that she likes him!”
Lovino bit his lip, obviously torn between going and stealing his baby back, and leaving Ludwig be. Gilbert would have probably make a comment about how much of a pansy his brother was being, but he found that the thought of Ludwig being so moved by the baby’s love was something he could, for some reason, not poke fun at.
Not to mention, Elizaveta would have killed him.
“That’s fine,” Francis said, making Lovino’s mind up for him, “I’m sure I’ll get to play with her later. In the mean time, Lovino, do you mind if I steal your husband for a bit.”
“Why?” Lovino responded suspiciously.
“Don’t worry,” Francis responded calmly, swinging an arm around Antonio’s shoulder, and his other around Gilbert’s. “I just think it is time for the three of us to catch up.”
Feliciano and Elizaveta smiled, Roderich having excused him a few moments earlier, and the younger Italian brother coaxed Lovino to agree. Not that it mattered much what Lovino had to say, because Gilbert and Francis were going to steal Antonio away anyways; it was probably that line of thinking that forced Lovino to give his reluctant approval so easily.
Once Lovino had agreed, Francis was quick to cart them off, taking each of them by the hand and pulling them back out into the hallway and through a set of stairwell doors.
“Where’re you taking us?” Antonio asked amusedly, and even thought Gilbert could not see him he knew that the brunet of their trio was wearing that same wide grin, as bright as ever.
“Here is fine,” Francis decided, letting them go and walking halfway up the stairs to sit on one of the steps. “I just wanted to be away from the noise and the crowd.”
Antonio followed him, sitting on a step two down from Francis’ and leaning his head against the wall.
“Yeah… it really has been too long. When was the last time we were all together, alone?”
“I believe it was the morning of your wedding,” Francis mused, “when we were trying to keep you from buttoning your shirt up incorrectly and pulling your messy hair out.”
Antonio chuckled softly, “I was so nervous, I barely remember that.”
Francis joined him for a laugh, before looking up at Gilbert, quirking an eyebrow.
“I am aware that these stairs are probably incredibly very dirty, but that has never stopped you from sitting on them before. So, why are you still standing all the way over there?”
Gilbert, overwhelmed as he was with the feeling of loss and the sudden sensation of being very far away from the other two, even though they were sitting there right before him, finally grinned.
“I was waiting for one of you to request the presence of my awesome self. You know I won’t sit with just anyone.”
Francis rolled his eyes, and Antonio laughed.
“Yes, of course, how silly of us to forget,” Francis started. “Oh, awesome Gilbert, would you do us the honor of gracing us with your presence?” He offered his hand, and Gilbert scoffed,
“Well, I suppose since you asked so humbly…”
Gilbert laughed, taking those few steps forward, jumping onto the staircase and sitting on the step in between those of Francis and Antonio.
There was a moment where all three were silent, and things suddenly felt so right for Gilbert, more right than they ever had. That feeling continued on, even as Antonio broke the silence,
“How have you guys been?”
“I’ve been well,” Francis answered. “I opened the shop for business only… wow, it has been almost a year, now. And we are always packed, always busy, but even though it is hard work I do not think there is anything else I would rather be doing.”
“Good,” Antonio murmured calmly, smiling and patting Francis’ leg. “And you, Gilbert?”
The albino shrugged, “I already showed you the stuff I’ve been working on. There’s not really much else happening.”
“Oh, I don’t think that is all,” Francis countered. “Are there no lovers we should know about?”
Gilbert shook his head, putting on a smirk. “Nah, man, I fly solo.”
Francis raised an eyebrow. “Oh? And what happened what Matthew, then? It could not have been more painfully obvious that there was mutual interest.”
“There was?” Gilbert quirked an eyebrow, trying to ignore the sudden rush of blood through his body, shrugging them off along with Francis’ comment. “I hadn’t noticed. When I went off to college we emailed for a bit, but stuff happened. He went off to a school up in Canada, somewhere, met a guy and they hit it off.”
He tried his best to sound nonchalant about it, even though the change in Matthew Williams’ Facebook status left him feeling defeated for reasons he did not then understand.
“Shame…” Francis hummed, leaning back against the step behind him. “Can I ask you a question?”
“You just did.”
“That stopped being funny in the seventh grade,” he commented dryly, but Gilbert knew he was trying not to laugh. “Are you the one who stopped emailing him first?”
Gilbert froze, but shook it off quickly, “Pft, as if I pay attention to such stupid girly details…”
That was all the answer Francis needed; Antonio just gave Gilbert an upset look, which it took the albino a moment to realize was different from a disappointed one. He decided that maybe it was time to change the subject.
“Yeah? What about your love life, Mr. FrouFrou French Romance?”
“Ah, well, I am afraid I have to report that it is pretty much as bad as yours.”
“Aw, Francis,” Antonio murmured, ignoring Gilbert’s insulted protest. “What happened?”
Francis shrugged, and Gilbert recognized the gesture. “Arthur and I, to put it quite simply, grew apart.”
“How? You two were pretty much attached at the lips.”
Francis laughed ruefully, “The time zone difference, the lack of physical contact, an overwhelming amount of time spent studying on his end and training and interning on mine. Life simply did not allow for things to last…”
“But you still love him,” Antonio chimed in. “Both of you still love them.”
Francis looked at Gilbert and tried to share a look with him, “Yes, but I do not think I want to get my hopes up that he might still love me. For all I know, he could have already found someone else… he might even have a child.”
Sometime during Francis’ story, Gilbert allowed his eyes to fall shut; he did not open them until the blond added, “Speaking of children, how has your life been, Antonio? Are things going well with Lovino?”
Antonio gave a small smile, almost as if he was trying to contain his happiness out of some terribly misguided guilt.
“Things are amazing. There aren’t as many problem kids in my class this year as there usually are, which is good, since Bella can be a bit of a handful sometimes.”
“But she’s worth it, right?”
“Definitely. I wouldn’t give her up for anything, she’s made us so happy…”
“I could not help but notice, even from the distance, she looks a lot like Lovino…” Francis trailed off, and Antonio nodded.
“Bella’s mother is Lovino’s cousin. Some stuff happened back home and Bella was left without any able guardians, and we were looking to adopt a child at the time, so we took her in. She was only maybe a month old when we got her. Her mother had asked that she be named Marina, so her legal name is Marina Isabella Vargas Carriedo, but Bella just stuck…”
Antonio, probably realizing that he was beginning to ramble, trailed off. Francis laughed softly, and even Gilbert smiled,
“She’s a lucky kid. Pretty cute, too.”
“You’d better not be making eyes at my daughter, Gilbert.”
“What? She’s like one, man, I’m not desperate!”
The trio laughed, when suddenly Francis thumped Gilbert on the back, none too lightly.
“When we go back inside, you are going to ask Matthew to dance with you,” he said. “That is not a request.”
“Because you still have feelings for him, and you are a bitter, lonely person in need of some amour.”
“I am not lon-, well, maybe I am lonely, but I’m not bitter!”
“I am not convinced.” Francis deadpanned; Antonio sniggered.
“Well, fine. I’ll ask him to dance, but we’re not going to make fools of ourselves alone, so you had better find yourself a dance partner, too. And you, Toni, get that stick out of your husband’s ass and join us.”
Francis stood up, grinning and offering his hands, “I accept. Let us go, then, before we waste the whole night away.”
to be continued
A/N: To those of you who are still reading this fic, thank you. You don't know how much it means to me, especially since, as I'm re-reading it, I'm realizing how silly and pointless a lot of part II is. I hope you are enjoying the story, especially since we're nearing the end <3