title: Fuoco Infernale
fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
word count: ~7000
characters: Spain, Romano
summary: AU: Lovino Vargas goes to a church camp, meets a new friend, and learns a little bit about himself.
Lovino considered himself the most pious of all the students in his congregation, and he had a mouthful of curses waiting for anyone who tried to dispute this. He knew he was everything a good Catholic boy should be, so he didn’t know why his father had seen fit to send him to a church summer camp with those less devout than himself. Maybe he was being punished for the bad grades in math class, or for flirting with his father’s secretary one too many times. Or maybe it was just to keep an eye on his hapless brother.
“I don’t know what the fuck you’re so excited about,” he muttered to Feliciano, who was bouncing up and down to get a better look at all the youths gathered in the camp’s main hall. “This is a fucking punishment.”
“Don’t think of it like that!” Feliciano said with a sunny smile that Lovino would dearly have liked to smack right off of his cherubic face. “Think of it as a way to meet new people!”
“I don’t need to meet new people.” Lovino crossed his arms over his chest. “I already got friends!”
“I know, but you need friends besides me and the priest!”
Before Lovino could sputter out a protest to that, Feliciano had grabbed him by the wrist and proceeded to drag him towards a big table in the center of the hall. On the table were rows and rows of nametags attached to woven necklaces that looked like they were going to itch something fierce. Feliciano pulled him to the far end of the table, where they spotted two nametags below a scrap of paper that read “Vargas.”
“Here we are!” Feliciano draped the second rope necklace around Lovino’s neck, while Lovino pondered what sort of embellishments he could make in the empty spaces of wood around his name.
“I think this’ll be fun,” Feliciano continued, analyzing his own nametag with probably more innocent thoughts on how to accent it. “As long as we don’t have to go out in the woods at night, I mean I’d feel okay if Ludwig or someone as big as him were with us, but—”
It was at the mention of Feliciano’s “best friend” (or “ass buddy,” as Lovino called him) that he gritted his teeth and tuned out the rest of his brother’s ramblings and instead let his gaze wander across the crowd of people. He recognized a few faces from his private school, and still more from church; but their church was enormous, and it was impossible to know everyone who attended. He doubted most of these kids even bothered to go every week!
His eyes lingered on some of the girls, but most of them were nothing spectacular (and a lot of those who were had already rejected him at least once). But his gaze did stumble upon a figure bending over a duffle bag, tight jeans accentuating a taut, round bottom. It wasn’t until the figure stood and turned that Lovino fully registered that he’d been staring at a young man’s ass.
As all the color drained from Lovino’s face, the lean, athletic teenager turned and met his gaze. If he noticed anything amiss, he gave no indication, but sent a cheery wave and smile at Lovino. At this, all the color and then some returned to Lovino’s face in a hot rush.
“Who’s that?” Feliciano interrupted his own babbling to inquire about the young man now smiling at his brother.
Lovino snatched him by the arm, declaring, “Some airhead with a fat ass!”
Feliciano craned his neck back as Lovino dragged him away. “Oh I don’t know, it looks like a nice ass to me!”
The counselors in charge of Cabin C had to practically drag the Vargas brothers out of their bunk beds at six o’clock the next morning. Feliciano only made several plaintive cries, but Lovino made sure to announce exactly what he thought of those counselors, just as soon as they were out of earshot. Nevertheless, they both managed to dress themselves in time for morning mass.
“This is a shitty place to worship our Lord and Savior,” Lovino declared, glaring with his arms crossed at the makeshift pulpit that had been placed in a clearing between the forest and the main cabin. They were seated on hard wooden benches, and the heat and humidity was already causing beads of sweat to gather just below Lovino’s hairline. Not that he expected total luxury during services, but he didn’t think a fan was too much to ask for.
“I don’t think so!” The cheery voice from behind nearly made Lovino jump off of the bench. He and Feliciano whipped their heads around to find the boy from yesterday standing in the aisle between the two sets of benches. His tousled hair was mostly dark, but shone copper where it was struck by the sun. His skin was olive, like the brothers’, but clearly more familiar with the sunlight. “I mean,” he continued, “some people say you can find the divine real easy in nature.”
He looked ahead at the pulpit while his hand made a cross over his chest; but at the last minute, right before he moved past them, he glanced back to shoot Lovino a wink.
Heat that had nothing to do with the weather flooded Lovino’s cheeks. His nostrils flared and he gritted his teeth as he watched the boy walk away.
“Wow, Lovino,” Feliciano whispered in his ear, “you made a friend already!”
After that primitive excuse for a morning mass, the campers were sent off for an equally primitive breakfast of eggs, toast, and cereal. They then reconvened on the second floor of the main cabin, where they were seated at tables stocked with art supplies. Lovino was getting the chance to embellish his nametag after all.
He and Feliciano shared a set of paints and brushes, but Lovino only needed one brush and some red paint, and he was done in less than a minute. Feliciano, however, seemed to be using the entire spectrum to craft some sort of idyllic woodland scene on the three inch long plaque.
“It’s a nametag, you dipshit,” Lovino said, “not the fucking Sistine Chapel!”
But Lovino wasn’t the only one watching his brother slave over turning the “L” in his name into a weeping willow. The girl on the other side of Feliciano, who up until that point had been deep in conversation with her friend, glanced over at Feliciano’s nametag and let out an enthralled, “Oooh! How pretty!”
“You think so?” Feliciano beamed at her, and her friend who was now leaning over the first girl to get a look. “Thank you! Ah, but it’s nothing special.”
“Oh Christ,” Lovino muttered.
“No no, it’s really nice!”
“Yeah, it’s so pretty!”
“Ahh, really!? You’re too kind!”
Within a matter of minutes their table had amassed a swarm of teenage girls, all clamoring to get a look at Feliciano’s miniature masterpiece. Lovino was ready to shove the nametag down his brother’s throat.
“Sheesh, this popular on the second day?”
Something in Lovino’s stomach seemed to clench and jump into his throat as for the second time that day he turned to find that guy standing behind him. “What are you, a friggin’ stalker?”
“I’m Antonio!” He tapped his nametag, which had been decorated with a soccer ball and what might have been some sort of Cubist rendering of a bull. Lovino made a mental note to forget the name and replace it with “Ditzy Fatass.”
“And you are…” Ditzy Fatass leaned forward to read Lovino’s nametag. “’Lovino-I-Fucked-Your-Mother.’”
“Is that Greek?”
Antonio apparently wasn’t receiving the waves of hatred that Lovino was working hard to radiate, because he sat himself beside Lovino on the bench. He’d been pushed further down the table by the horde of girls trying to squeeze in next to Feliciano. “That your brother?”
“Does this happen to him everywhere he goes?”
“No,” Lovino lied, tapping a paintbrush against the table with increasing speed.
“Oh, so this is a fluke!”
“Yeah, and these girls are shit out of luck anyway—” Lovino leaned over the table as close as he could get to Feliciano, which wasn’t very. “—since he’s a raging homo!”
Feliciano finally noticed his brother’s glare; he grinned and gave Lovino a merry wave before turning his attention back to the girls.
“He hides it well,” Antonio commented with a bemused smile.
“I mean it. He’s got a boyfriend and everything.”
“So what about you?”
Lovino slammed the paintbrush onto the table and sputtered, “I don’t have a boyfriend!”
“No, I meant—” Antonio gestured at the crowd of cooing girls. “How come they’re ignoring you?”
He crossed his arms over his chest, his shoulders hunched high. “That’s a good damned question!”
Antonio’s face became grave, and he lowered his voice, “Maybe it’s because you fucked their mothers.”
Lovino glared at him through narrowed eyes. He let his lips twitch a bit before he flung the paintbrush into the air. “Who the fuck invited you over here anyway?”
Feliciano wanted to sit with him at lunchtime; unfortunately, Feliciano’s new fanclub took up two entire tables, and Lovino wasn’t much in the mood to sit in the midst of all that anyway. He might’ve been more receptive to the idea if any of those girls would maybe look in his direction every once in awhile.
Lovino set his tray down at an abandoned table with a dramatic sigh. He was mentally preparing a speech to give to his brother on the merits of restraint and not being a manwhore when another tray dropped down beside his own.
He looked up and scowled. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Eating!” Antonio replied as he sat down, glancing at Lovino’s plate. “You only got a salad?”
“Yeah, well.” Lovino snorted, poking his plastic fork at the romaine lettuce that he’d sprinkled with what they’d claimed was caesar dressing. “All the other options were shit, and the salads were just a little less shit.” He wrinkled his nose at the hot dog sitting on Antonio’s plate, looking even more offensive with the pile of vegetables next to it. “That’s disgusting. Why would you put that crap in your mouth?”
Antonio shrugged, his lips curling briefly as he picked up the hot dog. “Well, I wasn’t expecting any great food here. Wouldn’t mind something spicy, though. Some real sausage, maybe…” He took a deep breath and released it into a low, slow moan, rumbling deep in his throat. “Yeah, like churizo, with some hot cheese!”
His accent was very pronounced, his H’s forced out from the back of his throat, and what should’ve been Z sounds were softened to S’s. Thinking about this had the unfortunate effect of making Lovino focus on his mouth, even as it enveloped the hot dog. He watched the muscles on Antonio’s jaw flex and stretch, caught just a hint of tongue flecking out before his lips wrapped around the bun.
Lovino didn’t realize his mouth was hanging open until he tried to swallow and couldn’t quite manage it. He grabbed his cup of water and started chugging it, and all the while his gaze remained transfixed upon Antonio’s jaw, with its thin line of stubble that he must’ve missed while shaving, as his mouth worked its way around the—
A spray of water spewed from Lovino’s mouth, drenching his salad and startling the two boys who had approached their table. While he was occupied hacking and grabbing for napkins, Antonio waved at the newcomers, greeting them around a mouthful of hot dog.
“We still on for this afternoon?” one of them asked.
Having finally swallowed his food (he’d finished nearly half the hot dog in a single bite), Antonio replied, “Yeah! Let’s do it before dinner.” He turned to Lovino, eyes wide with excitement. “You’re coming too, right?”
“Huh?” Lovino croaked, his throat still sore from the coughing. “The hell are you talking about?”
“They’re giving us some free time before dinner,” Antonio explained as he began digging into the vegetables, his voice becoming less discernible with each one he shoved into his mouth. “So we’re gonna hold a football match.”
“Soccer,” the other boy corrected quickly, grinning at him. “You’re in America now, Antonio!”
Lovino curled his lips just a little. He’d only lived in Rome until he was five, but he’d still retained enough European culture to think that only cretins called it “soccer.” “Yeah, I’ll join,” he replied as he attempted to destroy a crouton with his plastic fork. “Can’t promise I’ll go easy on you guys!”
The first boy, a kid who Lovino recognized from Sunday school, put his hands on the table and leaned forward, speaking with a whisper that was a little too loud to be as conspiratorial as it was intended. “Hey, that’s your brother over there, right? D’you think he’ll wanna play?”
They all turned their heads towards where Feliciano had just said something to make about twenty girls burst into a fit of laughter.
“Brilliant idea, man,” the other boy said, his expression indicative of thoughts entirely inappropriate for church camp.
Lovino continued to stab the crouton into nonexistence. “Sure, he’ll play. If you like your defense to fall on his ass a lot.”
“Awesome, let’s go.” And they hurried off to squeeze their way through the crowd of girls.
Lovino slammed his fist, still clutching the fork, onto the table. “He’s a fucking sodomite!” He might’ve had more to say on the subject, if not for the counselor glaring at him from across the room.
Feliciano was picked for a team immediately, and it was with proportional swiftness that he collapsed onto the grass in a fetal position, clutching at his knee with a piteous cry. A collective gasp sounded from the girls gathered behind the twigs and rocks that were being used to mark the field.
Lovino grabbed his brother’s elbow and yanked him to his feet; within seconds, five girls had shoved him aside as they all scrambled to support a whimpering Feliciano.
“Don’t be so rough with him!” one of them scolded. Meanwhile the other players had gathered to offer support and gentle slaps on the back.
“You played good, Vargas!”
“Don’t strain yourself!”
“He tripped on the fucking air!”
No one seemed to hear Lovino’s remark as they all watched Feliciano being led off the makeshift pitch; not even Antonio, who was standing right next to him and leaning close to ask, “Think he’ll be okay?”
“He’ll be fine once he stops bawling.” Lovino glanced aside to find Antonio’s face full of concern and only inches away from his own. “And get the hell out of my face, Jesus!”
Antonio backed away, more because the game was about to recommence than for concerns about personal space. “Sorry we couldn’t get on the same team,” he said, as he lifted up his shirt to wipe sweat from his mouth. “It’s too bad my team couldn’t pick last!”
Lovino got a clear view of his stomach, which was just as dark olive as the rest of him, and much more defined than Lovino expected. Though what he had expected and why he had expected anything he wasn’t sure, and that train of thought came to a halt as soon as he registered what Antonio had said.
“I’ll show you ‘last pick,’ asshole!”
Unfortunately, he wouldn’t get much chance to do much showing; they’d put him on offense, but it was their team’s defense that was being kept busy. Lovino was forced to admit, as he watched Antonio dart across the field, that the guy was pretty good. He was quick and agile, and his kicks were powerful, if a little too much so at times. And he showed no hesitation, to the point where it should’ve been detrimental; but the defense seemed to buckle before him. Lovino didn’t understand why until he finally, through the dumb bad luck of one of his opponents, found himself in possession of the ball.
The hour they’d allotted for the game was drawing to a close. Lovino’s team was going to lose no matter what, but none of them wanted to go down without having scored once. He wiped the sweat from his eyes as he nudged the ball forward, tensing his left leg and preparing for a sprint—
And how the hell had Antonio gotten in front of him so fast?
Antonio froze several yards away, only for a second, just long enough to send Lovino a smirk beneath narrowed eyes. Then he surged forward, his eyes gone wide and the smirk breaking into a teeth-baring grin, and Lovino realized why his teammates had scattered before him.
It was an unfortunate combination of Antonio being in an unstoppable furor and Lovino being in a still daze that sent Antonio barreling into him, knocking them both to the ground. Lovino, sprawled onto his back, found himself gaping up at a pair of piercing green eyes. Antonio had propped his torso up while leaving everything from the waist down pressing onto Lovino. He could feel the sweat-drenched clothes heavy against him. Somewhere, someone was whistling an end to the game amidst a cacophony of groans and cheers.
A smile flashed across Antonio’s flushed face. “I thought you were gonna move!”
Lovino’s dumbstruck expression twisted in outrage. “Get the hell off me!” He managed to shove the other boy off as he dragged himself upright. “And… I didn’t move ‘cause you’re fucking scary! It’s like… watching a damned bull charge at you.”
Antonio leapt to his feet, then in a swift motion snatched Lovino’s hands and pulled him up. “Well, sorry I scared ya! Can I make it up to you?”
Lovino yanked his hands out of Antonio’s grasp. “Yeah, you can leave me alone!” He stomped off towards the main cabin, but before he got too far he twisted himself around to continue, in a voice that he didn’t try hard to project, “You, uh, you played good.”
At the last word he stumbled over a rock, and from there he whirled back around and kept his face pointedly forward.
Lovino managed to avoid Antonio for almost twenty-four hours after that, and as a consequence spent most of the next day alone. Which was fine! It was damn fine. He had peace and privacy, or as much of either as one could get at a summer camp. Half the campers were following his little brother around, so he didn’t have to deal with any of Feliciano’s whining. It was just Lovino, alone with his thoughts: except Antonio had developed this annoying habit of sticking his face into Lovino’s thoughts and destroying any possibility of mental peace or privacy. The third time this happened (during breakfast that morning), Lovino crossed himself vehemently, shoving that dumb, sunny grin out of his mind with the force of his piety.
He crossed himself a lot that day.
Holiness could only get him so far, though, and even with all the crossing and praying Antonio was still able to find him just before dinner. They were in the main cabin, making what the counselors called friendship bracelets and what Lovino would’ve called a big gaudy tangle of string and beads. In retrospect, sitting at a table in the corner by himself might’ve made him too noticeable, even for someone as clueless as Antonio.
“I haven’t seen you all day!” Antonio declared as he dropped down beside Lovino, setting his own tangle of string and beads onto the table.
“No shit,” Lovino replied, “I’ve been avoiding you.”
“So who are you making your bracelet for?” Because they were supposed to trade bracelets with someone when they were done, to “foster friendship” or some shit, but Lovino doubted they would be checking too hard on that.
“The Virgin Mary,” he answered, glaring resolutely at the knot he was trying to undo.
“I don’t know who mine’s going to yet,” Antonio said, and Lovino gave him a skeptical scowl. He’d seen Antonio earlier in this cabin, at a table with lots of other campers, laughing and chatting and looking entirely accepted; Lovino found it hard to believe that he couldn’t find someone to take his dumb bracelet.
“Hey, Lovino.” Antonio looked up from the red bead he was slipping onto a black string. It wasn’t a shy voice, just a confused one. Worried, even? “Did I make you mad yesterday?”
Lovino’s shoulders stiffened. The truth was wriggling around in the back of his throat, but he swallowed it like it was a bitter fruit and said instead, “Yeah, you keep following me around and it’s annoying!”
Antonio frowned at his bracelet. “I just don’t like seeing you by yourself. Seems weird that a fun guy like you is alone all the time.”
Lovino looked up from his beads, staring straight ahead with wide eyes. “You… you think I’m fun?” He saw Antonio nod vigorously out of the corner of his eye.
“And I don’t want you being mad at me, so we should be friends!”
Antonio was giving him a cheerful, open smile; Lovino felt thoroughly disarmed in the face of such honesty, and it was all he could do to stop any nonsense from tumbling out of his opened mouth. Then Antonio just set his wrist in front of Lovino’s face.
He glared at that wrist for a moment, cheeks burning, before he picked up his own bracelet. “This is gay,” he declared, tying it around Antonio’s wrist.
“Now gimme your wrist!” Antonio didn’t wait, though, he simply grabbed Lovino’s hand and pulled it towards him so he could tie the black, red, and gold bracelet around his wrist.
Lovino stared at it and muttered under his breath, “Thanks.” But then he took a closer look at the string. “What the hell, you put like four knots in this! Now I’ll never get it off!”
Antonio gave him a thumbs-up. “That means we’ll be friends forever!”
“You dumbass.” He’d meant it to sound harsh, but he was laughing as he said it.
After dinner they went to a service around a giant bonfire – not really a mass, it was only Tuesday, but some sort of prayer circle led by the priest who had somehow been persuaded to join a bunch of teenagers from his congregation at this camp.
Lovino and Antonio talked while they waited for the service to start, seated around the fire on logs that were even more uncomfortable than regular church pews. They compared immigration stories: Antonio had only arrived three years ago and still had problems in his literature classes; Lovino’s family had been in the states for twelve years but still yelled at each other in their native language. They talked sports: it was rare for Lovino to find someone who appreciated real football. Then they talked about their friends: or rather, Antonio did. Turned out they had another thing in common, namely the obnoxious blond kid at Lovino’s school who was well known for hitting on anything that moved.
“Yeah, Francis managed to convince his parents that a summer job would be better than camp. So now he’s helping rich ladies shop for clothes. And Gilbert, well—his dad’s Lutheran, so he definitely wasn’t coming.”
Lovino shuddered, making a noise of disgust. “I can’t believe you’re friends with that pigfucker’s brother. That’s even worse than being friends with fucking Bonnefoy.”
“You mean Ludwig? He’s a nice guy! Kinda…” He searched his bangs for the right word. “Repressed, though.”
“Yeah, not enough to stop him from committing all kinds of debauchery with my dumbass brother.” He leaned in close so that Antonio could hear his angry whisper. “You know, one time, I walked in on them cuddling. In my fucking room!”
Antonio pursed his lips and furrowed his brows, eyes darting upwards in thought. “Why were they in your room?”
“Well.” Lovino shifted his shoulders. “It was Feliciano’s room too, ‘cause he doesn’t like sleeping alone. But after that I said, ‘No more!’, and I got my own damn room. So I don’t have to deal with his depravity!”
He was about to ask Antonio what the hell he was laughing about, but then the priest finally arrived, and a hush fell around the campfire. Lovino kept his eyes fixed on the priest, but didn’t really hear what he had to say; he was conscious the entire time of some invisible force attempting to pull his gaze to the side, to the young man sitting next to him, the young man whose skin burned golden in the light of the fire, who still had a faint quirk at the corner of his mou-- shit, shit, look away!
Lovino’s eyes darted back to the priest, and he set his face upon his hand, as if to guard against any other such accidents. He felt a profound urge to toss someone into the fire – either Antonio or himself or everyone else in the camp. When the time for prayer came, he clasped his hands together and brought them against his lips. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
He risked a glance out of the corner of his eyes; Antonio had his fingertips pressed together, his eyes closed with a serene smile. Lovino looked away, casting his gaze into the fire. He wasn’t sitting that close to it, but he could feel the flames on his face, all around him, eating away inside him.
God was all knowing, and for the first time in his life the thought terrified Lovino, and made him wonder if He could ever be convinced to turn a blind eye every now and then.
Antonio had him cornered. His grip was strong, his will even stronger, and there was nothing Lovino could do to escape it. All he could do was wriggle against the bed while Antonio ran his hands down Lovino’s bare chest (where the hell had his shirt gone, anyway?). Antonio wrapped his arms around him, pressed himself atop him, smothered him with his lips. Lovino lifted his hips to meet Antonio’s hot firmness, closer, he wanted it closer, and then—
—and then he sat straight up in his bunk bed with a gasp and banged his head against the mattress above him.
He managed to muffle his yelp somewhat at the sight of his brother’s head hanging down from the top bunk. “What the fuck are you doing?!” he hissed.
“You hit my bed! Did you have a nightmare?”
Lovino drew his knees up to his chin. “Yeah.”
Feliciano’s upside-down head tilted thoughtfully. “Wanna talk about it?”
“No, dammit, go back to sleep!” He flopped onto his side, curling into a fetal position and tugging the blanket up to his face. He listened to Feliciano shifting for a few minutes before saying in as loud a whisper as he dared, “Hey, Feliciano... what do you do when your brain knows you’re not supposed to do something, but every other part of you is telling you to go for it?”
There was a pensive humming above him. “Like... when you know you shouldn’t eat that last cannoli because you already had a lot and maybe someone else should get it, but it’s just sitting there looking so delicious?”
“That’s a stupid example. But yeah.”
“Well I dunno, I probably would eat the last cannoli, but you always get to it first.”
“Oh fuck off!”
The rest of the week passed without incident – sort of. The more he got to know Antonio, the worse his nightmares became. Every smile turned into wandering lips; every laugh became a licking tongue; and every idle touch was a searing grip that woke him, startled and aching, in a room with ten other boys and feeling utterly alone.
Saturday was the last full day of camp, which meant the last full day of dealing with Antonio, and if Lovino survived the next twenty-four hours he could rest easy. Once camp was over, he probably wouldn’t ever see Antonio again. It was a good thing, but the thought still made Lovino’s chest clench in a really painful way, and maybe that was why he agreed with minimal griping to be Antonio’s partner for the day.
They only had one activity for the last day: an all-day hike into the wooded hills, with just a map, a compass, and a partner to help them. The assignment, according to the counselors, was to go out into the wilderness and “commune with the divine” – whatever that meant – and write about their findings when they came back.
So at ten o’clock that morning, they set out into forest together, with a knapsack full of bug spray, water bottles, and other supplies that Lovino made Antonio carry.
“All right,” he said, tugging at his shirt – the sun was already beating down on them and making Lovino wish he’d worn shorts instead of jeans. “Let’s get this shit over with.”
Antonio shouldered the knapsack and held the map in front of him, turning it over a few times. Then he shrugged and stuck the map into his pocket; he quickened his stride so that he came up beside Lovino, snatching him by the wrist. “Yeah, let’s go!”
He began to drag Lovino up a steep incline, shoving branches out of the way as they went, while Lovino sputtered in protest.
“It’s not the fucking gold rush, you psycho!”
Antonio slowed down at least, but he didn’t stop, and he didn’t let go of Lovino’s wrist, either. “But I thought you were in a hurry!”
Lovino blinked, then turned his head away. “Well, yeah, but…”
Smiling, Antonio stepped closer to him and – oh, finally, he let go of his wrist… and instead put his hand on Lovino’s back. “But it’s better to take your time with things, right? So we’ll relax and take it slow!”
He patted Lovino’s back and continued on, at an easier pace. Lovino wriggled his shoulders in a vain attempt to erase the phantom touch of Antonio’s hand.
They walked up that hill and into an area of denser woods, and after an hour they stopped catching glimpses of other campers between the trees. Lovino swatted Antonio on the shoulder. “Hey, where the hell are we? Gimme that map.”
When the map was held out to him, he snatched it away and squinted at it. But it turned out to be a “map” in only the most general of ways – it was more like a picture of the campsite next to a picture of some tree speckled hills with a river zigzagging its way down the paper. As near as Lovino could figure, they were somewhere west of the campsite and east of the river with still no sign of divine wisdom. The thick network of branches overhead blocked out the worst of the sunlight, but did little to clear the heat that hung wet in the air. Lovino’s head was swimming in the humidity and the lack of sleep from those damn nightmares and now Antonio had his hand on his arm again and this time Lovino shoved him away with an exasperated growl.
“I’m done with this shit!” he declared, whirling around to march back the way they’d come, or at least in that general direction, since he couldn’t quite remember which way was which at this point.
Antonio, of course, hurried after him. “But we haven’t had any kinda divine revelations yet!”
“So what? I don’t need to find shit out here! I don’t need any divine revelations! I’m full up to my fucking eyeballs with holiness!”
He charged off towards the valley that they had been following, which had a small, rocky creek bubbling through it. He thought he could make his way down the hill easily enough, but a quick glance showed him it was too steep. He was considering tumbling down there anyway, except that there were lots of rocks and roots and it would’ve been a painful trip; but at that point the ground made the decision for him when it fell out from under his feet.
He barely had time to yelp before a pair of arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him back to solid ground. Antonio’s fingers clenched in Lovino’s shirt, holding him firmly to his chest. Lovino felt his own pulse pounding all throughout his body, but he also felt Antonio’s heart drumming against his back. For a moment Lovino stood still, sucking in deep breaths, his heart never slowing as he was engulfed in Antonio’s presence. But then Antonio’s head moved just slightly, so that Lovino could feel his breath against his neck, could practically feel his lips just centimeters away from his skin; only then did he wrench himself out of Antonio’s arms.
“Jesus, what the hell are you—” Lovino ran his fingers through his hair and squeezed his eyes shut; Antonio’s breath still tingled on his skin. “Shit, Antonio, I’m fucking sick of this! I’m sick of this, I’m sick of you, I just want…”
Antonio grabbed him by the arms, his face as earnest and terrifying as it had been days ago when he’d stopped Lovino in his tracks. “What? What do you want?”
“I want—” But the words didn’t come, and Lovino wasn’t sure they ever could; so he let out an agonized groan, seized Antonio by the front of his shirt, and backed him up against a nearby tree, and before he could think about it enough to be properly mortified he pressed their lips together. It was a messy kiss, Lovino’s mouth opening too wide and full of scraping teeth, because this was devouring him and he wanted to devour Antonio as retribution.
Antonio put his hands on Lovino’s shoulder and pushed him out of the kiss, leaving him first with frustration and then a sinking feeling of dread. But Antonio’s wide eyes quickly went heavy-lidded as a devious smile spread across his face.
“This is why I like you,” he murmured, wrapping an arm around Lovino’s waist to press it against his own. Their hips touched and Lovino sucked in a sharp breath at the firmness hot against his own erection. Antonio brought his other hand up to hold the back of Lovino’s head. “Because you’re so passionate!”
Lovino glared at him through narrowed eyes, his hands on Antonio’s chest, fingernails digging into his shirt. “I knew it,” he hissed, “I knew you were trying to seduce me, you sneaky son of a—” And then he was silenced by Antonio’s lips.
Antonio clenched his fist into Lovino’s hair, tugging his head back and making him let out a gasp. He took the opportunity to press his tongue into Lovino’s opened mouth. Lovino moved his hands down around Antonio’s waist, until he reached that firm, perfect rear, to do what he’d wanted to do since he’d first glimpsed the bastard: he squeezed both cheeks, hard, and moaned against Antonio’s mouth. A primal instinct gripped him, and he thrust his hips against Antonio as he alternately rubbed and squeezed his ass.
Antonio threw his head back with a low, shuddering groan. He had his hand underneath Lovino’s shirt, and now he scraped his nails down his back and he dived for Lovino’s neck, nibbling and sucking at the sensitive skin just below his jaw.
“Fuck,” Lovino gasped, throwing all his weight against Antonio; he was sure his legs would give out soon. “I - fuck!”
Antonio put a hand on Lovino’s shoulder and pivoted around the tree, so that Lovino now had his back against the trunk. Keeping his shoulder pinned to the tree, Antonio reached down to undo Lovino’s pants, letting them drop to the ground. He slipped his hand underneath Lovino’s boxers and grabbed ahold of his cock, eliciting a strangled cry from the back of his throat.
“I want to do something for you!” Antonio said in a singsong voice as he ran his nose through the beads of sweat up Lovino’s neck. “Would you like that?”
Lovino, panting, gave a jerky nod and whispered, “Yes, yes.”
Antonio slid down, pressing kisses to Lovino’s neck as he went. Finally he knelt in front of him, slipped his hands beneath Lovino’s shirt, pushing it up and kissing the soft belly underneath. He moved his lips down until he could go no further, and then he pulled Lovino’s boxers down to his ankles.
“Oh, shit,” Lovino gasped, before Antonio had even touched him – he was fully erect already, and now he was remembering how Antonio had eaten that hot dog and none of it seemed real until Antonio ran his tongue all over his dick, and Lovino’s entire body convulsed. He sucked gently on the very tip before enveloping the whole thing with his mouth, hot and wet and firm against his skin, and Lovino threw his head back and let out the loudest moan of his life. One hand flew up to grasp at a branch above his head, while the other became entangled in Antonio’s hair, tugging and stroking as Lovino thrust himself in and out of Antonio’s mouth.
Lovino had never felt anything like this – his hand had certainly never taken him this far. But Antonio was eager and attentive, his hands just as busy as his mouth, squeezing Lovino’s ass or stroking his balls or simply digging into his hip. Only a few minutes in and Lovino’s legs were shaking so badly that the branch was the only thing keeping him on his feet.
“—tonio,” he said somewhere through his panting, “Antonio, I can’t, I can’t—”
Antonio looked up at him, still with a mouthful of cock, and let out an inquisitive hum that reverberated through Lovino’s body and nearly made him collapse right there.
He tightened his grip on Antonio’s hair. “I can’t stand, asshole!”
Antonio drew his lips slowly down Lovino’s length until it was out of his mouth. “Sit down, then,” he said, swollen lips smiling – and he grabbed Lovino’s ankles and tugged, bringing him to the ground.
“OW! That fucking hurt!” He seized the back of Antonio’s head and pulled it towards him for a kiss, sucking Antonio’s lower lip and putting as much teeth into it as possible.
During that kiss Antonio managed to wriggle out of his pants, and he only broke away so he could pull his shirt off. “I think—” He nipped at Lovino’s neck, speaking as if he was pondering his next meal. “I think I want to ride your dick.”
Lovino tugged his own shirt off and kicked off his jeans, with some difficulty over his sneakers. Meanwhile Antonio was rummaging around in the knapsack, which he’d dropped a few feet away. He pulled out a bottle of hand lotion, examined it for a second, and then nodded, pouring some out onto his hand.
“This is your first time, right?” Lovino stared at the lotion dubiously. “Here, I’ll do it!”
Lovino watched him apply the lotion to himself – actually, he watched the way his face scrunched up more than what his hand was doing. “So you know all about this shit, huh?”
Antonio shrugged, pouring out more lotion. “Francis taught me a lot.”
Lovino’s face flared up. “Wow, thanks, are you trying to kill my boner?”
“Nope.” Antonio grinned, kissed him, then reached down and squeezed his dick. Lovino gasped as Antonio rubbed lotion all over his cock in a few firm strokes. He settled himself into Lovino’s lap, brought one hand to his neck and kissed him again, slowly, as he guided his dick inside.
Lovino threw his head back, banging it against the tree, at the tightness wrapping around his dick. He braced a hand on the ground and used the other to hold Antonio’s waist as he lifted his hips to meet his slow downwards thrusts; only Lovino didn’t manage to match his rhythm – his entire body would jerk and his hips would pump wildly in an effort to go deeper, harder, closer to Antonio.
The other boy laughed at his eagerness. His voice was raspy. “You’re excited, huh?” He put his hands on Lovino’s shoulders and moved his hips in slow, agonizing circles. Lovino moved both his hands back to Antonio’s ass, squeezing it and pulling it to his lap again and again. One hand flattened against that firm cheek, and – God, but Lovino had wanted to do this for so long – gave it a hard slap.
Antonio suddenly arched his back, letting out a low groan. Lovino slapped him again, and Antonio bounced on his lap with increased vigor.
It was too much for Lovino. He looked at Antonio’s sweat drenched body moving up and down, felt his taut skin beneath his fingers – one more thrust and the world exploded behind his eyes.
They were the last campers to return that evening. Their legs were wobbly, they explained, from a particularly arduous hike after they’d gotten lost.
That night, around the campfire, they were all given scraps of paper on which to write about what they had found in the forest. Lovino and Antonio wrote down one word each.
Antonio nudged him in the side and showed him what he’d written: “happiness.”
Lovino snorted, this was a stupid assignment, everyone was probably bullshitting theirs anyway – but he did let Antonio see his own paper, where he’d written “truth” in small, careful letters.
The next morning, everyone was preparing to get on the bus back to town. Antonio and Lovino already had their bags packed and resting at their feet, at the edge of the woods just out of sight of the camp. Antonio leaned against a tree with his arms draped around Lovino’s waist, giving him lazy kisses while Lovino clung to the front of his shirt.
Finally Lovino pulled away, poking Antonio in the chest. “You’re pretty damn cheerful today.”
Antonio raised his eyebrows, his lids still heavy with a languid smile. “Yeah, aren’t you?”
Lovino scowled and looked off to the side, but he did let Antonio pull him close. “Camp’s over. We go to different schools, probably won’t see each other much at all…”
“Sure we will!” Lovino risked a glance out of the corner of his eye, enough to see Antonio shrug and grin. “I got a car this year, so you just have to tell me where you live and we’ll see each other all the time!”
Lovino rested his head on Antonio’s shoulder, so Antonio couldn’t see him smiling. But he could hear it in his voice: “Sure, whatever.”