Roaming

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Antonio had only realized what he had really done once stepping off the plane in Rome. "Mierda" he said under his breath as he made his way out into the terminal. This had suddenly gotten real. 

Ever the optimist, Antonio shook off the panic and walked off towards the arrivals gate. He quickly passed through the EU customs line and towards the exit of the airport. Upon hailing a taxi, Antonio asked for a ride to his father's old office building, which was far from the central university building. He didn't remember the address of his old home, but he remembered how to get there from the university building where his father worked, so he figured that was his best bet. 

It was a far drive, but he made it eventually, stepping out of the car at the main entrance with a grin on his face. Although he hadn't been there in many years, it still looked the exact same. He suddenly felt flooded with nostalgia, recalling all the late nights he spent here, sitting in his fathers dusty office with a toy car, waiting to go home. The image of leather bound books and the green bankers lamp on his father's desk made him feel home again.

If he recalled correctly, he remembered his old house being only a few blocks from the university. Beginning his walk, he couldn't help but smile. Not much had changed. He recalled living in Trastevere, a neighborhood known for quaint, narrow cobbled streets and classic Italian charm. Although an incredibly touristy location, Antonio's father had managed to rent a house on one of the quieter streets. 

He always enjoyed living in Trastevere. The people who lived there were often intellectuals, musicians, and artists who gathered at local bars and restaurants to buzz about and share their craft. He remembered his parents often having quite extravagant parties with legendary guests. Though he didn't realize it when he lived in Rome, his parents were basically running a French Salon out of their cramped home. 

Antonio continued to walk down the winding streets, passing the old streets where he and Lovino used to roam. He began to tear up as he passed one of the old markets he used to go to with Lovino. Everything about the old business reminded him of better times. Last time he went in there he had bought a Beverly, a soda he absolutely hated, just so he could get the bottle cap. He remembered sharing it with Lovino, the both of them cringing as they tried to enjoy it for the sake of their allowances being wasted on the purchase. 

Overwhelmed by the nostalgia, Antonio stopped to admire the Frutteria, where his parents used to stop to buy fresh fruit. He wanted to go inside but stopped himself, knowing he was on a fairly time sensitive mission. He still hadn't booked a hotel room, and he didn't want to wait until the last minute. He just wanted to see his old home first. 

A few minutes later he had arrived at his old home, the faded yellow facade reminding him of the nights of forced Italian-learning and cucina povera dishes. He stood, in a trance for a moment, years of memories flooding back to him. He must've been standing there for quite some time, because someone eventually tapped him on the back.

"Are you alright?" the man asked. Antonio snapped out of the trance and turned around to face a a familiar looking, amber-eyed man. The man took a step back at the sight of him, looking surprised. Antonio absolutely could not figure out why it seemed as though he had seen this man before. It looked as though the man felt the same way. 

"Have I- met you before?" Antonio suddenly asked, looking the man up and down in confusion. 

"I was about to ask you the same thing. You look so familiar" the man replied. 

"I used to live here. I came back to visit for a week" Antonio replied, pointing towards his old home. The man's eyes lit up in realization. 

"Antonio?" he questioned.

"Yes?" Antonio replied, still trying to figure out the man's identity. Immediately the man embraced him. Antonio, still confused, hugged him back, albeit hesitantly. 

"It's Feliciano. Vargas. Lovino's brother" the man said, rushing Antonio with another set of memories. He had completely forgotten that Lovino had a brother. They didn't hang out with him that often because he was a little bit younger than them and couldn't quite keep up.  

"Ay dios- I can't believe it! How are you?" Antonio replied, shocked at the encounter. 

"I'm great- how are you? I haven't seen you in what? Nearly 15 years?" Feliciano asked. 

"I'm great as well. I can't believe you even recognize me. You were like 4 or 5 the last time I saw you" Antonio responded with a grin.

"How could I forget? Lovino used to mention you so often when we were younger that I felt like you still lived here. The infamous bottlecap collection still takes up space in his old bedroom. On top of the fact that those old polaroids are still hanging in his room" Feliciano explained with a chuckle. Antonio smiled at the thought of Lovino still owning all the bottlecaps.

"Wow. It's amazing being here. Feels like home" Antonio exclaimed, eliciting a smile from Feliciano. 

"If you want to come over feel free. My parents would absolutely love to see you. The house is still running. Lovino, the hot shot he is, has his own apartment closer to work, but I still live here" Feliciano said. 

"Hot shot?" Antonio questioned, suddenly growing concerned at the implication. Was Lovino too cool for him now? What if he didn't even want to see him? Antonio was starting to overthink his decision to come to Rome. 

"He works for Armani, y'know, talent scouting and all. He has a fancy fashion job so he thinks he is cooler than he actually is. I'm sure he'd absolutely die if he knew you were here. You should totally surprise him- oh my god. Can you please?" Feliciano suggested, elciting a laugh from the Spaniard. 

"That might be funny" Antonio replied, pretending that isn't exactly what he was planning on doing in the first place. "How do you suggest surprising him?"

"He's working until 6. I'll give you the address and you can pop by. He works at an Armani downtown. He's working his ass off to eventually get into the atelier, but for now, he just works with people who come in for fittings. If you walk in he should be there" Feliciano explained.

"Sounds like a plan" Antonio replied, suddenly incredibly grateful that he had run into Feliciano.

"He's going to absolutely die. I can't wait. Give me your number and I'll text you the address" Feliciano commanded, handing his phone to Antonio. Antonio put his number in and handed it back to the excited Italian. Moments later, Antonio got a text. "It's a manageable walk, but I'd recommend the train. It's not far from here."

"Thanks. I'll report back with an update" Antonio replied.

"Please do. Knowing Lovino he'll pretend he never saw you. Also, let me know if you need a place to stay. The house is always open" Feliciano said. 

"Will do. Thank you again and nice seeing you!" Antonio responded. 

"You as well."

Antonio turned towards the direction of the train station, his heart beating quickly at the thought of reuniting with Lovino soon. He couldn't believe his luck. He was finally going to reunite with his best friend. 

-

An update!! Party!! I wrote this drunk so I apologize for the lack of sophistication and possible spelling/grammar errors.. I am currently on a Zoom pregame with my friends lmao. Anyway, thank you so much for reading! Hope you enjoyed <3







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