There’s a Spanish saying that goes Amor no correspondido, tiempo perdido; or along the lies of ”all pains, the greatest pain, is to love, but love in vain”. If you want to be more direct, love unrequited is lost time. Time has slipped through Antonio’s grasp for many years. Days drag on and the hours are even longer, and It’s been hard being optimistic when you've lost any true meaning of staying happy. He tries though. He tries very hard.
For Lovino’s sake.
Ever since that morning, waking up and realizing oh, today is the day. The day when Lovino dressed himself that morning, the day where the tomatoes would not be picked by himself and his henchmen, the day that Lovino was no longer his henchman…the day Lovino left.
It’s a bittersweet memory, watching that lanky, crackly voiced boy all teary eyed and hugging him tightly before his departure. Feeling such hatred for himself, for not being enough, for not being able to give him enough, but happy to see how much Lovino has grown. From being a bratty, foul mouthed little boy who just wanted someone to call “family”, to a-still foul mouthed, motivated young man. It was a good thing, a good experience for him to leave. Antonio didn't realize just how hard it would be to watch him go.
As years passed, people and nations have gradually gone and went, but to a point have all left, leaving Antonio to tend to his garden and old home alone. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, he enjoys coming home to a peaceful home, but there’s still a tugging, aching feeling that pulls at his chest whenever he passes the second room to the left of his own, the door shut and locked tightly from opening, but Antonio doesn’t need to open it to know what lays on the otherside.
An empty room, to go along with the hole in his heart.
If only he had begged for him to stay, if he had worked harder to keep him here, or done something, perhaps this hole would not have been punctured. But it is, and Antonio knows it’s for the best. Because when you love someone you do what’s best for them, there are sacrifices to be made, trust that needs to be tested, and he would have a million holes in his heart just for Lovino. Love in vain has nothing compare to the love he has given to Lovino.
It’s been a long, long time since he’s seen him; heard him even, and it’s on a summer afternoon in Naples, that Antonio comes face to face with a door that separates himself from the one thing he wants to see most. He’s nervous, it’s hot, and he’s pretty sure the flowers in his hands are wilted and looking pretty sickly, but Antonio is happy. He has never felt such excitement and anticipation since Francis gave him a new pair of gardening tools about 10 years ago. They were pretty high quality tools.
Sucking in a breath, Antonio knocks on the door. He hears someone cuss loudly from the other end, also what sounds like pots clattering on the floor, and he’s genualy curious about what’s going on.
"Ah Fuck! Just come in!"
It’s a muffled, older sounding voice that Antonio can't recognise, assuming maybe it’s a housekeeper or personal server like Francis has inside his house. Antonio enters the house, closing the door behind him. A rush of garlic, oregano, basil, and a hint of mint hits him when he steps into the hallway, following the scent into the kitchen.
It’s an fairly large kitchen, the counters and center island cluttered with pots and various dishes of pasta and what looks like a roasted chicken. Someone is bending over the oven, a string of low curses trailing from the stranger’s lips. Antonio guesses this is the “personal server.”
Antonio sets his flowers on the island, rounding it to politely get the man’s attention, “Excuse me, but you wouldn't happen to know where Lovino is do you?”
He swears he see’s the man freeze, and Antonio is about to apologize for scaring him, but then the oven closes and the stranger stands up, turning around to see that it’s no stranger at all. The sight of him gives him whiplash, forcing him to use the counter to keep him up straight. He’s taller, leaner, and for heaven’s sake much more grown up.
Those familiar hazel eyes stare back at him, for a second with yearning, then with a hint of humor. "I might know who that is."
Oh and his voice is deeper, richer, and it sends a embarrassing flush to his cheeks because for holy shit it’s attractive. Lovino laughs- oh god his laugh is music to his ears- and after wiping his hands on a dish towel, he actually advances towards Antonio, and gives him a tight hug.
Antonio reflexes kick in and he’s embracing him back, holding him close and inhaling his scent of cologne and a hint of mint, amazed that this man- his Lovino was this handsome and beautiful person in his arms.
"Alright, alright." Lovino breaks from the hug but keeps a hand on Antonio’s shoulder, arching an eyebrow, "Well aren’t you going to say anything?"
Antonio is jostled at that, and blurts, “Hello!” "Hello." Lovino smiles, "Nice to see you again." "I-" Antonio shakes his head and the gears in his system turn, because he’s smiling, he’s feeling happy and excited, and shocked, and there might be tears prickling his eyes. "You! Your voice! Your entire self I can't believe it!"
"What’s wrong with my voice?" Lovino asks, a bit worried.
"No, no, no nothing wrong!" Antonio chuckles and he can't help himself but to clasp his hand on each side of Lovino’s face, eyes fanning over each line, each eyebrow and nose and lips, "It’s very beautiful."
Lovino’s eyes widen and his cheeks heat under his palm, “Not even 5 fucking minutes and you’re already saying dumb shit.”
"Say something else." Antonio asks childishly, "Say something cool!"
"Something cool." Lovino glances to the hand still on his face and back at Antonio, "Can you let go now?"
"Hmm." he tilts his head, still not getting enough of how smooth and low his voice is. It’s like a song. "Try saying something is Italian."
"If I say it will you back the fuck off?"
Lovino rolls his eyes but it lands right back on Antonio again, holding his green gaze saying, "Sono contento che sei tornato a casa." I'm glad you're back home.
It’s not the way he says it, nor the way his voice wraps around the meaning in a rough, deep tone, but just the words brings such a ellated rise out of Antonio, that he doesn’t even think twice before closing the distance between him and Lovino, and really bringing himself home.
Lovino smiles against his lips, bringing himself closer to the man who he has been waiting for all these years. The kiss is warm, sensual and slow, much like the person Antonio is, and he loves every ounce of it to the core. Antonio breaks away to press his forehead against his, tears falling from his cheeks with such joy and love it’s pooling out from him like an endless sea.
"My voice must be really sexy. You think it would work on the cute girls in town?" Lovino jokes, rubbing a thumb against Antonio’s cheek.
He laughs, “Oh shut up.”