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you're both young and you're stupid (but boy, he adores you)

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And it's like, how long has he known Tony? Since fucking time immemorial, since goddamn forever. Antonio and Dito, always together like two fucking peas in a pod.

It takes a while for Dito to learn, to figure out that Tony'll do shit for him, like start and finish fights. Someone so much as looks at Dito wrong and Antonio goes right up in his face with fists flying and Dito always has to get between them, yank Tony away by the lapels of his vest and press his open palms to the hard plane of Tony's stomach. He has to herd him away like an excited dog going after sheep, blissfully unaware of what the fuck happens to dogs that bite.

Dito never really thinks about it, but he knows that Tony's dangerous. It's just ... It's never really occurred to him in a negative way.

The weirdest thing is, Antonio has a brother. He has his younger brother to protect and keep, brother's fucking keeper, right? But he doesn't. He keeps Dito instead. Antonio could call all the shots if he wanted, bare-chested raw-knuckled boxer, but he'd rather keep Dito happy. He comes to Dito every day, plans things like hand ball and meets at the park. He comes into Dito's house like a brother would, and they're never apart. Giuseppe isn't Antonio's brother. Dito is. 


Antonio and Dito are on a roof, Nerf gone driving in his mom's car and the heat having chased the girls to the pool where Laurie is busy selling snacks. The two of them stand on the roof and watch the rippling humidity rise off the black road and the gray cracked sidewalk. They watch people go by and sometimes Antonio hacks a loogie down, purposely just missing some poor bastard, and then he and Dito duck low, snickering and cackling and wheezing. Music rises up from the market below and occasionally it changes when a car comes by and blares Journey or some Spanish mariachi or some heavy hip-hop. The streets are loud and bustling and hot, but up on the roof Antonio's breath is harsh through his bandaged, recently broken nose, and there's still shadows round his right eye where a shiner once bloomed, dark and swole.

Dito has no scars and no scratches – naw, not when Antonio's there to take 'em for him – but his shoulders are hiding a sunburn beneath two raggedy shirts. It doesn't matter how hot it is anymore; Dito's learned he burns like a thin pancake on a hot griddle, so he layers up. He's sweating out the undershirt and cursing and moaning this heat. Antonio moves, stands in the sun. He's removed the sun from Dito's world, a gesture that just screams how Antonio'll do anything for Dito, anything at all. 

"It's fucking hot," Dito says, and the words resound against Antonio's pecs. Antonio makes a noise and mocks Dito's father. 

"It's summer," he quotes, imitating his accent, and grins shit-stealing bright. "Whaddaya expect?"

"You're a fucking smartass, you know? I'm fucking sweating like a pig and you go and talk like my dad. Thanks, asshole."

Antonio's grin fades, face still warm and eyes still gleaming. He's a fucking angel with a halo of sun behind his back. He's an angel with a faded shiner and a broken nose. His short, nearly buzzed hair is limp and damp. He's not wearing a shirt but he's always tanned beautifully.  He tans golden and perfect and never burns. It bugs Dito more than he can admit.

Antonio bends to him and the way their lips come together is sticky and hot like the weather, and Dito swipes his fingers up the back of Tony's neck and through the sweat which is warm and cold all at once. The salt is a tang on his tongue and he can feel where Tony's facial hair is already daring to return, pressed against Dito's upper lip and a bit when their chins and cheeks brush. They don't kiss too perfect. Both of them are used to kissing girls, so they both kiss like one half of an equation is missing. But it fills that gap and defines that lost element. They just make out and sometimes they cop a feel, like Dito running his hands all over Antonio's muscles and the spikes of his hair. Tony'll keep his hands pretty squarely on what pass for Dito's hips, but sometimes he forgets and he slips some fingers into the space between Dito's too-big sweatpants, his briefs, and the sweaty line of skin at his sides. He'll put his hands on Dito's face only sometimes, and that's usually when he's really worked up. It's kind of a possessive thing, a stay-still thing, and then sometimes he just puts his hands on Dito's shoulders and kisses him on the forehead or on top of his head and that's it. But they never touch each other's junk, not on purpose. They're both guys, and if they wanted sex from each other they'd ask for it, be blunt and horrible with it. But nothing happens. They make out, sometimes quick and sharp, sometimes slow and wet. Usually Dito walks away with a hard on, but it leaves pretty fast. 

He has no clue what Tony leaves with.