タニちゃん 「love is our resistance」 (reconquista) wrote in shiftingdream,
タニちゃん 「love is our resistance」

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98 → Antonio TYL FST

Welp, so, clearly I just can't stop making stuff for this AU, even if it's been nearly a year since it happened.

Anyway, to c/p from my other FST post - this is kind of an AU of an AU of an AU. If that makes any sense. Or, for this challenge, a crossover between Hetalia and Harry Potter. :') Anyway, uh, another mix for a future-verse event that was held at sortinghat_rp, which is where this crossover AU springs from. Aka I'm retarded and spend a bit too much time in fantasy lands. Basically, Harry Potter AU Spain, with the added bonus of an event that sends him ten years into his own future - during the first wizarding war.

TL;DR - Antonio is a wizard, the war against Voldemort starts, he joins the wrong side to protect Lovino, Emmeline, and everyone else. But, of course, shit goes down, and then they run away before time turns back. Yes, I over think these things. And still totally attached to this AU like burning.

The fic in this one kind of jumps around a lot - I tried to get the bits here to fill in holes left in other fic/ficmixes I've done before, especially since this was the first one I've ever done that's exclusively from Antonio's point of view. I tried to start from right when he leaves to his own sort of absolution - which is about 6+ years of time, what. So ack, my apologies for the strange vignettes this has, but hopefully they flow together okay, even if you're not at all familiar with the RP or this particular plot.

Anyway, this was (yet again) accidentally made for singustosleep's July challenge - with the theme of crossover, and the art prompt of primary colors. I have no idea how the cover managed to get red, green, and blue on it but... uh, there you go. Again, my apologies for all the horrible fic inside. And yup, yet again I took some liberties with the timeline the event gave, but it's mostly on track with what had been planned and also played out.

ANYWAY, big giant thank you to confictionery, who, as she always does, helped me read over the fic and talked to me endlessly about it. I hope everyone can enjoy it anyway, even if this is ridiculous. PSST - interested in this AU? Check this tag for more I've written for it. :')


antonio tyl mix

the vanishing

You are sleeping next to me
I just let go your hand
I hope I can go through with this
I hope you understand

In retrospect, Antonio was shocked at how easy it had been for him to leave.

Lovino and he had been packing for weeks, preparing to leave the wet and messy island of England behind. It'd all been very easy to give reasoning for - they'd wanted to live somewhere further south for years, and Antonio suddenly deciding he didn't want to teach children how not to kill themselves at Hogwarts anymore was reason enough to finally leave the British Isles behind. Lovino hadn't even blinked when Antonio told him he'd given notice, only muttered something akin to "about time" and instantly suggested Italy as a good place to start their new life together.

Antonio had almost found himself caving into the farce he'd put up - it was lovely to think of he and Lovino, nestled up together in some little house off the Mediterranean - but a war was looming up behind them, and Antonio had sold his freedom to help combat it.

He'd decided to take up the "offer" put forth by the Ministry; after all, Antonio's family was suddenly causing waves back in Spain, and with Voldemort on everyone's minds, it was terrifying to think of his own family wrapped happily inside of it. Antonio's uncle had done nothing to stop his family being on the side of the Death Eaters, and even Antonio had to admit that the idea of someone going in and keeping an eye on them when no one else would was necessary. Antonio knew how little his family trusted any English wizard, and having Antonio himself smiling eagerly at them would probably make any of them spill their lifelong dreams. He'd be watching and keeping tabs on them, reporting to some contact somewhere in the depth of Europe of all the nasty things they were up to. He'd have to give up everything to do it - his job, his friends, his ties, his reputation - but he'd done it, all with a smile and a promise from an Auror that it wouldn't be long, only until they'd gotten Antonio's wicked family back into some manner of sense.

So, he found himself, nestled against a sleeping Lovino, trying to steady his mind while he listened to the roar of the train as they left Scotland behind. He'd said his own kind of goodbyes to his friends - a sleepy warm week with Emmeline, one last round of drinks with Gilbert, a promise of something more with Lovino (that at this rate would never be) - but now, faced with the fact he actually had to leave, he was scared. His hand tightened against Lovino's slack one, trying to fight back the small smile that broke out as Lovino unconsciously gripped back.

He wouldn't blame them if they didn't forgive him - he was leaving them behind to fight a bit of a war on his own, and he would have no one else to blame if anything went wrong. He just hoped they would understand why he did this, why he left them with little word and little to live by, once this whole messy war was over.

As the train hit a stop - not the one Lovino was going to take, not the one that they were supposed to be getting off on - Antonio placed on last kiss to Lovino's brow, disentangling their fingers and slipping away.

Antonio had never really thought of himself as the best of spies. But, spying he was - and on his own family, no less. When he'd suddenly arrived at one of his cousin's doorsteps, smiling and asking to join their little Death Eater brigade, he'd nearly bolted when they'd enveloped him in hugs and told him how proud they were that he was finally back to seeing things the way they ought to be. When he was a child, thinking of things in black and white terms of pureblood or no blood was easy - but maturity and experience had taught him otherwise, and he felt like a little child again, screaming about how he didn't want to play with the "nasty halfblooded children next door."

But he'd steeled himself the best he could've, swallowing his fear and his uncertainty, trying to make himself seem like a new recruit and smiling as his family told him of how many different ways there were to kill Muggles while they slept. It nearly made him sick, but he tried to smile his way through it, and tried to kept acting like the strange Valencian cousin they knew and could trust.

It was almost a welcome respite when an Auror reached him, telling him where to meet his contact to give information. The idea of meeting someone monthly almost calmed Antonio - even if it was only for a moment, he wouldn't have to smile and agree about murder and rather nasty things. He'd be betraying his family, sure - but it wasn't his family the Aurors were that interested in, but the people they took the orders from. He'd be stopping them in a roundabout way, and that was comfort enough.

But, stuffed away in some smoky little Muggle bar in France, he never would have expected to see his old school friend Francis waiting there for him. Their shared moment of shock - "Antoine, how on earth are you even doing such a thing?" - quickly had to dissolve into a hushed discussion of secrets and magic. For once, their bitter fight from years before seemed pointless, and the welcome comfort of a familiar face brought a little light to the darkness Antonio had dug himself into. They'd share wine and laugh, all while Antonio trickled away what little information he did know. Francis was fighting for his own family and friends, and the quiet acceptance he offered in their meetings, each in a new place, was enough to stay Antonio over the long, lonely months.

But the secret keeping and the dodging was wearing down on him, and it wasn't long before that ache grew powerful enough that Antonio wanted to act.

death and all his friends

All winter we got carried
Away over on the rooftops
let's get married
All summer we just hurried
so come over, just be patient, and don't worry
No I don't want to battle from beginning to end
I don't want a cycle of recycled revenge
I don't want to follow Death and all of his friends
And in the end
We lie awake, and we dream of making our escape

It was just over a year when his resolve finally began to crack - the war seemed over his head now, not just in whispered meetings and bouts of laughter with his cousins. No, suddenly, he had to be there, trying and failing not to be pulled along as they trailed after Death Eaters, watching in horror as his cousins and aunts and uncles got the Dark Mark emblazoned on their arms. It was getting harder and harder to give reasons as to why he wasn't there, why he was still half listening to his father and not his clearly more clever uncle. Antonio was growing more and more scared, and even the comfort of Francis at his side was doing nothing to calm his nerves.

When he felt his family's - no, not even just family anymore, but Death Eaters and vagrants alike - grip tighten, something within him finally broke. All he could think of was Lovino, Lovino and all those days they had spent, wrapped up in each other. Days when worries were far behind them and war wasn't at their door with wands and death and nerves.

Antonio could hardly remember when exactly he bought the ring - he'd slipped into some shop, walking out with a plain gold band nestled shyly in his pocket, half of an idea teasing his mind. It took him weeks, but on a night when no one was watching him, he slipped away.

It didn't take him too long to find Lovino, but the tears and the anger in his eyes scared Antonio more than the prospect of getting caught for being a deserter.

"Please, Lovino, just listen to me-"

Lovino had never been very good with spells - Feliciano had been a genius, leaving Lovino with nerves and magic that often backfired into his face - but Antonio had long since learned that projectiles were a speciality of his, and he had to dodge them while Lovino screamed.

"No! Fuck off, you traitor! You- You fucking left m- us!"

But, once Lovino had screamed himself hoarse and balled up his fists against Antonio instead, he'd cried into Antonio's robe and held him close. Antonio almost wept himself, so glad to be back in what he thought of as home, gathering Lovino close to him and kissing his brow as he slipped a ring onto his finger.

"Please, please come with me to Sweden - I know they're not there yet, and we can get married-"

Lovino had looked ready to throttle him once more, but he just disentangled himself and Apparated away, threatening to cause Antonio bodily harm if he left again. He came back, not ten minutes later, fumbling with an old, golden ring. It was decorated with flowers and vines, and when he slipped it onto Antonio's finger, Antonio really did cry then.

"That's my grandfather's, it's a fucking heirloom, so you'd better take goddamn good care of it-"

But Antonio had swallowed away the rest of his sentence with a kiss, and left Lovino with a promise. A promise to meet soon, somewhere in Sweden, where they'd leave all of this behind.

How strongly he wished that promise had been true.

the dark is rising

I dreamed of you on my farm
I dreamed of you in my arms
But dreams are always wrong
I never dreamed I'd hurt you
I never dreamed I'd lose you
In my dreams, I'm always strong
And now the creek is rising
And all my bridges burnt

That week before he was supposed to meet with Lovino was one of the happiest of Antonio's life.

It was easier to focus less on his fear when he had this promise of escape. The bitter laughter of his family and their friends were easier to ignore, he could focus more on what he had to do before he left all this nonsense behind. As soon as he was able to slip away, he'd let the Aurors know, then whisk away to Sweden, hiding away until this war could leave them all behind. After all, his parents were on the run too, hiding away from a family that didn't like their ideals anymore.

He found himself daydreaming of his supposed future - how they'd be married in a field in Sweden together, Emmeline smiling at them as they kissed to their vows and ran away to hide in the wilderness. How he'd live with Lovino somewhere warm after this war, away from all the cold they'd been trapped in - literately and figuratively. It was easy to daydream, thinking back to the times when they had little worries but how the tomatoes were going to grow, and when exactly their siestas should end.

But, that week of Antonio's daydreams was very easily shattered when he got caught trying to leave.

If it had been one of his cousins, it would've been easy to smile and worm his way out of it, but his cousins had been around less and less. No, this was a Death Eater, one that had taken a particular liking to following Antonio around, too.

The curling smile on his lips sent a shiver of fear down Antonio's spine.

Antonio wished later that his instinct had not been to turn and run, but rather smile as he would've with his cousins. When the stunning charm hit his back, he thought one last time of Lovino and the promise he was now breaking before his mind blacked out.

common reaction

Do you realize you're caught
In the middle of your alibi
You've been living in a dream
And you think we'll all likely fall
I assume you lie
Based on the fact that you were always lying
Oh you're covered in dust
Yeah, you're covered in dust
You don't feel right
Can you fall from a wound like that dear?

Antonio wasn't quite sure when he woke up. All he knew was when he woke up, there was a horrible pain on the back of his neck, and laughter all around him. He had no idea what happened to him, where he had been brought to, but as pain enveloped his whole body, he tried not to think of anything.

When he woke up, he recognized one of his cousins, shaking his head at him. "Antonio, Antonio, why did you try to leave? I thought you said you liked it here with us."

He smiled back, trying not to focus on the feeling of something burning on his neck, or the blood most likely soaking the back of his robe.

"Have you been lying this whole time to us, Antonio? Uncle will be really mad."

Antonio just laughed, trying not to think of his uncle and his father, how much his family used them just for their contacts and their authority. He tried not to think of how his own family was being used just for that. He felt like crying - everything had gone wrong, and the promises he'd made just weeks ago were lying in a shattered pile around him.

It was a week before they let him go, and he Apparated to Stockholm faster than anyone could protest. But, Lovino was gone, gone and nowhere to be found. Lovino hadn't waited for him - but how long had Antonio been gone himself? He had no idea how much time had passed, and no clue where Lovino could be. He wandered almost aimlessly, some mad sort of wish still caught in his heart.

It wasn't long before the Death Eaters found him again, collapsed on some hill in Sweden, laughing at the stupid Spanish wizard caught in a snowstorm. He'd shivered and swore, but the dullness of Imperio took him over quickly, and then he didn't quite remember much of anything anymore.

The coming months seemed to trickle by strangely to him - all a blur of colours and nonsense, a tugging on the back of his mind like he was missing something. The only grounding force left was a band of old gold, still wound tightly onto his finger.

the well and the lighthouse

I am serving time
All for a crime I did commit
You want the truth?
You know I'd do it all again
Left for dead, heaven is only in my head
Resurrected, living in a lighthouse
If you leave them ships are going wreck
Resurrected, living in a lighthouse
The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet

Antonio could remember laughing when the Death Eaters told him the Aurors thought he was dead. They'd decided to keep him hidden, putting a mask on his face and the Mark on his arm, his mind dulled by Imperio when they needed him to smile nicely at his cousins and bark orders in Spanish. The charm made him complacent and docile, and it wasn't long before Antonio couldn't tell when he was controlled and when he wasn't.

It became almost easy, watching curses fly out of his wand, being a strange sort of spectator in his own body. It was easy to distance himself from it, watching it as if it was a strange sort of illusion playing out in front of him. It was far easier to smile and agree than it was to fight against them and bicker - he'd be put under with a curse either way. That, and the hovering threat of them killing anyone he ever cared about was a fairly good motive to keep him in line regardless.

But, oh, did he laugh when they said the wizarding world thought him dead. Good, then Lovino didn't have to be angry. Emmeline didn't have to worry about him anymore. The Aurors weren't going to look for him, and he knew that he was trapped in this tug and pull until they grew tired of him or he outgrew his usefulness.

He could deal with his position of a glorified dog, smiling as evenly as he could, even as he tried to protect that ring on his finger. He'd stuck himself in this position with the foolish hope he could help, and he was going to have to live through it, whether he liked it or not.

you are a runner
and i am my father's son

I've got a number on me
I've got a number
Won't make it through the high noon sun
I am my father's son, yeah
And I am my father's son
His bed is made
I was a hero
Early in the morning
I ain't no hero
In the night

It'd been over a year since his disappearance that Antonio suddenly found himself "alive" again.

A sudden raid by Aurors had caught Antonio without his mask, and one such Auror recognized him. The gaping, shocked face as Antonio ran made him feel more scared than when he was first brought into this whole mess.

Suddenly, their noisy little asset was causing them quite a bit of trouble, and Antonio could hardly leave whatever safe house he was stuck in. He laughed bitterly when he saw his face, plastered on wanted posters, even in some dingy wizards' market in Southern England. Things became a lot less blurred to him all of a sudden - he slowly realized it was because it was a lot harder to have someone under Imperio and keep them in good control when six Aurors were firing at them - but suddenly everything was keeping him on the run. Suddenly, he was running through the streets, trying hard not to do anything but laugh as Aurors chased after him, intent on seeing his death.

He did laugh when he first saw sweet little Matthew Kirkland - or was it Williams now? names kept seeming to change - brandishing his wand at him in the middle of an impromptu battlefield.

"Fernández," was all he would ever say, his eyes cold and calculating, so unlike the kind and somewhat shy boy Antonio taught for a year.

"Williams!" Antonio would just smile back, cheerfully asking him some nonsense before their fight would begin.

It didn't take long for Antonio to figure out just who was chasing him, and who he had to avoid. Matthew was one of them - which was so strange to think of, especially when all of Antonio's memories focused on a boy in the back of his class and then his first year when Antonio stuck poor little Matthew's face into the toilet. Other Aurors turned out to be classmates and students as well, all looking at him as if he was one of the creatures he'd taught about in his class.

Antonio had a price on his head, and he knew that if it wasn't for the tentative hold he had over his family since his uncle's death, he'd be in a ditch with the rest of the useless playthings. It was a new game of cat and mouse, and he'd completely switched sides from where he had began.

the wondersmith and his sons

I am a soldier baby,
Who works just like a slave,
Sweating through the pain of digging his foxhole that he know is just a grave
You trust me don't you baby?
You'd hand your life to me
Let's walk along the wire and watch the muzzles flash like lightning
A smile safe-crackers understand, is rendering this steady hand obsolete,
you thought you caught my slight of hand, but you could never understand,
No not me

The war was scary. The wizarding war may not have had the guns and the bombs of the Muggles' long, drawn out conflicts - but each whizzing of magic by his ear, and each blast as the very earth shook beneath them was frightful enough.

Antonio's question on his uselessness was quickly put to rest - they needed him to order his family into their own graves. They were expendable, and with any family members that had dared to disagree on the run, there were plenty to be used.

Antonio would find himself smiling lazily, the distant hum of Imperio in the back of his mind again - or was it his own head messing with him, it was hard to tell these days - telling his cousins politely where to go attack some nasty halfbloods, even as he knew of the Aurors lying there in wait for them. It was easy even without the Death Eater's sway to charm them - he found it easy to just smile and nod, speaking cheerfully of what their family had been promised by the great Dark Lord himself. How great their contribution was to the cause, how great was each drop of blood they gave to rid the world of Mudbloods and Muggles alike.

It wasn't long before there wasn't quite as many people within his family to order around, and his smiles turned instead to his captors, each of them believing his claims of confidence, his loyalty. After all, it'd been so long since he'd tried to run, why would he run again?

But, in reality, it was Lovino's ring that was the only thing that kept him focused when he wasn't bewitched, spinning it listlessly around his finger as he tried to dream of something outside of what he was trapped in. Old broken promises still swam around in his mind, taunting him with dreams of something better than he had.

Those rare times he was without the tug and pull of his little group of Death Eaters, he'd wander back to Sweden, still searching for something he knew was long gone. And, more often than not, he'd find Williams, waiting for him there, wand outstretched and ready to kill. And he'd just smile, as lazy as the dull throbbing that was still on the back of his neck.

a comet appears

They shone a chlorine light on
A host of individual sins
Let's carve my aging face off,
Fetch us a knife,
Start with my eyes,
Down so the lines
Form a grimacing smile
Close your eyes to corral a virtue,
Is this fooling anyone else?
Never worked so long and hard
To cement a failure
Still to come,
The worst part and you know it
There is a numbness
In your heart and it's growing

It wasn't too long before the Death Eaters to started trusting Antonio again - or at least enough to lower the amount of time he spent bewitched and befuddled. It seemed better to have a willing captive than a distracted and listless one, and they were still leading Antonio around on a leash, after all.

He tried to keep himself as grounded as possible, letting each spell roll off him in a fight, holding tightly onto his wand as he called out curses he never knew before all this started. Even the ring still on his finger had stopped gathering questions - "Oh, you think this is for a marriage? In Spain, we wear it on the right hand." (Never did he mention that in Valencia it was more common to wear it on the left.) Each lie was getting easier and easier to uphold, and as long as Antonio wasn't shoved in front of the Dark Lord Voldemort himself, he had nothing to worry about.

But something started to gnaw on the back of his brain, especially when he heard of rumors of an "annoying little mudblood witch" who ran a pastry shop - and apparently, smuggled other people to safety amidst the tarts and sweetened coffees. It sounded too much like people he knew, reminded him too heavily of a smiling Emmeline leading him around the streets of Brussels. It reminded him too heavily of a lazy week spent with her, curled against each other before he'd walked away from her and Lovino and everyone else.

Antonio just tried to smile though, agreeing that perhaps they should do something about this girl, make sure that she at least got scared into not smuggling out people anymore. He reasoned he could worry about Emmeline later, when things were calmer and he could find her again.

It wasn't until someone came to him, a curling smile on his face, and told Antonio to kill Emmeline Jannsens that his fears really hit him in the face.

given the time

Given time I'd make amends,
For what I have become since I've been away,
Grown a map about my eyes,
You never let me down, read between the lines

It didn't take Antonio long to find Francis, but it took longer to convince him of his intentions. Francis had looked at him like he was a ghost at first, but he could still remember how to do rather beautiful curses, even while stunningly drunk on wine. Antonio hadn't even been able to get a word in before Francis had stunned him and ran, leaving him behind without any sort of care.

He was somewhat glad that he had found Francis at home first, even if he'd fled and it took Antonio a week to find him again. Being on his back in some dirty, grimy, Muggle bar had not been high on his list, and the plush carpet in Francis' Provençal hideaway had always been a favourite of his.

At least when he did find Francis, stuffed away in one of those said Muggle bars, he couldn't throw him to the ground with magic like he did before. Antonio had cornered him, watching the ways his eyes darted around the room, hoping, praying that something would at least get him out of this.

"Francis, please, I need your help."

Francis had seemed ready to snap - Muggles around him be damned - but he stopped in his tracks, looking at Antonio in a new light. And finally, he seemed willing to listen.

"I need you to contact Gilbert for me."

Antonio didn't even blame him when he laughed, but the serious look on Antonio's face at least made him realize he was not joking.

"…Give me a few days."

to the lighthouse

The day our house collapsed
I went down stream
I followed the swans
Like I follow my dreams
Oh! I was living on borrowed time in a
Borrowed house for a borrowed crime
In need of help I came to your door

It was with a lot of careful, long planning that Antonio had found himself outside of some cabin, nestled deep within a wood. Gilbert had knocked him out on the way there, only waking him up when they had finally reached it.

"I know it's not much, but it'll hold them. I've been setting it up for the both of them."

Antonio had just smiled, feeling a strange sense of relief wash over him as he looked up at the decaying little building in front of him. "Thank you, Gilbert. Thank you."

Gilbert had smiled back, all pride and brashness - he was still Gilbert, and part of Antonio was thanking the heavens he had such an idiotic, brave friend still.

He was amazed that Gilbert had agreed at all, but he'd been fond of Emmeline - and even Lovino to an extent - and when Antonio had begged him to protect them, he'd agreed almost immediately. (Of course, it took quite a while to coax Gilbert into not killing Antonio as soon as he saw him sitting on Francis' living room couch, but that hurdle had been crossed.)

Gilbert had his instructions - apparate into the Emmeline's burning store, saving her in the last moment, before running and getting Lovino and bringing them here. Antonio knew he was growing paranoid, but as soon as Emmeline's name had passed that Death Eater's lips, his fears had magnified. It didn't take a lot to realize that Emmeline was friends with the two Italian brothers, and it wouldn't take much to connect the dots back to others and even Antonio himself. Gilbert had promised Feliciano's safety with Ludwig being constantly nearby him, but Lovino was still unguarded, still wandering the streets of Italy even as the war grew closer and closer. He'd made Gilbert promise he wouldn't tell them who was really behind getting them into hiding, but it was more for their safety than his - he had a sinking feeling he'd have a very angry Italian chasing him across Europe instead of Aurors if they found out.

After inspecting the house (and helping Gilbert clean up some of the dust within it), Antonio turned to leave, stopping when he reached the door. Something tickled the back of his mind, and he raised his wand, muttering a half forgotten charm at the door frame. He then opened the door and told Gilbert to knock as he slammed it in his face.

He heard Gilbert curse, but he knocked. Antonio smiled as his own voice cheerfully floated back to him, saying that Gilbert was at the door.

"The hell was that for?" Gilbert said, looking more annoyed about the door in his face than anything.

Antonio just laughed, looking up at the beams of the ceiling above them. "So I'm here with them in one way."

from a balance beam

I looked in the mirror and someone new was there
Still I was as helpless as a chess piece
When I was lifted up by someone's hand
And delivered from the corner
My enemies had got me in
But in all of my salvation I still felt imprisoned inside
That holding cell that is myself
So I wait for the day when I'll hear the key
As it turns in the lock and the guard will say to me
"Oh, my patient prisoner, you have waited for this day and finally
You are free! You are free! You are freezing"

Antonio had been terrified when he had woken up to find himself in Hogwarts again - he'd left the place behind so long ago, but he was suddenly in his old classroom, half asleep on a desk, just like he'd always been when he was younger and still a teacher. The fear only intensified when he found himself in a castle swarming with Aurors and Death Eaters alike. He fled to Gilbert's classroom, glad for once to have his friend yell at him.

"The hell - what are you doing here?! Actually, why are any of these people here, this is really just weird," Gilbert had huffed, looking more like a petulant child than a professor.

"I don't know," Antonio had sighed, trying to push back the fears of getting found, of getting caught after all he had done to try to save the people he cared about - but something clicked in his head, and he could almost feel his heart stop dead. "Wait, who all is here?"

The nervous look on Gilbert's face almost gave the answer away before he said it. "Look, I know you're gonna be pissed, but whatever magic got you here got them here too, and- Look! Don't worry, I'm gonna get them! Just stay here, okay? I'll tell you when they're safe."

It'd been quite a while since Emmeline's shop had gone up in flames, but the burn of the fire seemed still hot in her eyes as Gilbert foolishly brought her to the same room Antonio had been hiding in. Antonio had been just as surprised to see her as she was to see him, but he wasn't surprised about the stunning charm that hit him full force and made him fly into Gilbert's desk. He wasn't surprised by the kick to his stomach as he woke up, or the very angry, very Italian cursing he heard above him.

What Antonio was surprised by was two sets of arms hugging him close, tears making his ragged robes wet.

"Why didn't you tell us?!" he heard Emmeline cry, beating against his back.

"You're a fucking dumbass, bastard!" And there was Lovino, growling and spitting acid as he suddenly started to kiss Antonio silly.

Even Matthew's reaction surprised him - the Auror had come to talk, willingly putting himself in a room with a man he'd been chasing for the better half of three years. He was willing to help put Antonio into hiding - and all he did was just sigh, holding out his arm to help Antonio up from the disarming spell he'd cast (really, everyone just wanted to knock Antonio out that day). "I've been waiting for a day when you and I could properly talk."

Antonio couldn't help but smile then, a small part of him realizing that he was going to be free - which, really, was the most surprising thing of all.

city with no children

I used to think I was not like them
But I'm beginning to have my doubts
My doubts about it
When you're hiding underground
The rain can't get you wet
Do you think your righteousness
Can pay the interest on your debt?
I have my doubts about it
I feel like I've been living in
A city with no children in it

The little cottage that Antonio had visited barely a year ago was suddenly a home - it was all warmth and gentle smells, full to the brim of all the things that were Emmeline and Lovino. He'd never thought that he'd be living inside, with them, nestled away against he mountains and the dark shade of the Black Forest.

It seemed silly, but suddenly, Antonio had new fears - what if someone found them here, what would happen if he could not protect them a second time. But really, he was scared of all the things he had done. They'd welcomed him back to their lives with open arms, but he was so tired, so disconnected. The humming of curses and spells still hung in the back of his mind, and his memory was patchy at best from the years he had spent away from them.

Part of the deal he had struck with Matthew was to spill secrets he'd learned about the Death Eaters - it was funny to be right back where he had started from. Only this time it was without Francis and wine, and instead in the middle of a forest, speaking in hushed tones to people he barely recognized and hardly trusted. Only Matthew could make Antonio laugh while he spilt out his soul all over again, trying to piece together all the broken bits he'd kept a hold of.

Antonio had spent so long trying to convince himself of how different he was from the Death Eaters, but spending years trapped amongst anything can make anyone realize just how similar they are. That scar was still on the back of his neck, and the Dark Mark still burned his skin, still calling him into a war he had left behind.

Their little hideaway was not a fix-all - nothing could wipe clean all the dirt Antonio had bathed in. But, it was better than the warzone raging outside them. They was no way the could hope to stop the war, and there was nothing they could do but sit and wait.

But their little hideaway became his own sort of penance - curled up against the both of them, even as the storm of the war howled and seemed all around them. Emmeline would sing and tell him of all the silly things Gilbert did, calling him back into reality when his mind would drift too far. Even Lovino - who was just as distant and petulant as ever - pulled him close again.

"You idiot," he'd said one night, Lovino's legs tangled up with Antonio's, his hands cupping his cheeks and pulling their foreheads together. "Why would we bring you here if we didn't want you?"

Antonio didn't have an answer for that, his mouth falling open as something in his heart warmed again. He was the one in tears that night, curled up against Lovino again in what felt like the first time in so many, many years.

Lovino just kissed his tears away, mumbling half hearted obscenities and holding Antonio closer than he had ever done before. Those gentle touches and kisses made something open up in Antonio that he'd kept shut for so long that he never thought it would open again. He'd been holding all of them at arm's length - too scared that if he let them take him in, he'd take them into the war he'd been a part of. That all those dark things would mar what little life he had left, but that dam was finally starting to break. All it took was Lovino gathering him up close and uttering the words Antonio had no idea he needed to hear.

It didn't take long for their tears to turn to laughter, and those nights, nestled together in their hiding place in the cabin, were the warmest days he'd had in a very long time.

There was no way to fix everything - there were far too many scars on all of their hearts and minds - but Antonio could try to mend and heal again, and the people he loved were going to be right there with him. And, after so many years of being away from them and after so much pain suffered to get back, that was all he had ever really needed.

flightless bird, american mouth

I was a quick wet boy
Diving too deep for coins
All of your street light eyes
Wide on my plastic toys
And when the cops closed the fair
I cut my long baby hair
Stole me a dog-eared map
And called for you everywhere

Years later, it seemed almost strange to be living without war.

They spent only a year in that little cabin, huddled up against each other, before Matthew came and hugged Antonio, spilling joy from his lips as he spread the news that Voldemort was finally dead. A child had destroyed him, and they were free. They were all free.

Antonio had hugged him then, clutching close the the man who had given them their safety, tears spilling out of both their eyes. Antonio would watch as the Dark Mark slowly faded from his arm, as the world burst into colour and relief around them, all because of one small child who somehow saved all of them from the darkest wizard ever known. Antonio couldn't even care over the specifics - he, Emmeline, and Lovino were free and that was all that could matter to him.

But to say the years after the wars were easy would be another lie. There were plenty of hurdles to face - like a destroyed reputation and a suddenly uncertain world - but, as Antonio took his first steps in his own home in over six years, none of that seemed to matter. He could feel that optimism warming up in him again, little hopes he'd be placing aside coming back to him in wonderful ways. Little hopes, like all those promises he'd made over the years finally coming to life. It'd take time, he knew, but suddenly, Antonio had all the time in the world.

"...You didn't lose that ring I gave you," Lovino stated one day, both of them curled up on a train heading to Barcelona.

Antonio smiled - new wrinkles creasing the edges of his eyes in a warm way, unlike the scars that littered his now healing body. Unlike the worry lines on his forehead, or the still raw and red burn on the back of his neck. "Of course not," was all he said in response, kissing their linked hands.

Lovino looked between them, squeezing Antonio's hand tight before he huffed, turning to look out the window. "You'd better not get off on the wrong stop this time."

In just a few months, when he and Lovino finally got to have that wedding - spread out over a field deep in Sweden just like he promised - Antonio laughed happily for the first time in years.

Tags: fandom: axis powers hetalia, fst, rp: sortinghat_rp, subject: spain
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