melissa_42: drawn woman in a sweater (books)
[personal profile] melissa_42
Title: An infinite capacity for self-deception (4/?)
Fandom: Latin Hetalia
Characters: Martina (fem!Argentina), Luciana (fem!Brazil), The Green Eyed Monster, Sebastián (Uruguay), Daniel (Paraguay), Manuela (fem!Chile), and possibly more. Not everyone is in every chapter, but they'll all be in the story eventually.
Pairings: Martina/Luciana, Daniel/Luciana
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Human AU, some swearing, and sexual themes

Summary: Martina has a hard enough time finishing her schoolwork in a timely manner when she isn't distracted by pesky thoughts of the weekend.


In her defense, Martina tried really hard to focus on writing that essay on business ethics, she really did, but it still took her a little over five hours to finish. It wasn't that the topic was difficult, nor was it really that boring - in fact, she could envision exactly how it would apply to her future career in public relations. The problem was that after every other sentence she typed, she became...distracted.

First it was thoughts of what she should have for lunch. Or maybe it was brunch, since she had slept through breakfast? That one was easy to take care of. She settled back down at the kitchen table with a glass of milk and two slices of bread laden with a generous portion of dulce de leche, carefully rearranging her books to make room for the food. Sebastián would probably give her hell if he knew what she was eating, but he wasn't there to tell her to eat more vegetables, so it didn't matter.

That gave her about five minutes of one handed typing between bites, which added up to two and a half sentences. She wiped a stray drop of sauce from the corner of her mouth with the pad of her thumb and licked it clean. Okay, so now that that was taken care of, she could focus on more important issues. Like this paper. Right.

After writing another paragraph under the constant muttered litany of Idon'twanttodothis, Idon'twanttodothis, Idon'twanttodothis, it was time to read over her work. Unfortunately, she only got halfway through the first page before her mind decided that wondering what Luciana and Daniel would do on their date was infinitely more interesting. Daniel had said they were going out to dinner, but where? Maybe they would end up at a café like the one Luciana had just been at with her, or maybe he had saved up to take her to a posh, elegant restaurant where he would have to wear a suit and tie while Luciana would prance around in a slinky black cocktail dress.

Okay, so Martina had looked in Luciana's closet a few times, mostly to lament about her horrid fashion sense, and there definitely had not been a slinky black cocktail dress in there, unless it had been hiding. But she did have other dresses, brightly colored ones that fell low over her cleavage and gave teasing peeks of her upper thighs. Even if they didn't eat at a fancy restaurant, Luciana still might wear one of those dresses, and...

They probably would want to do something after dinner, or before even. Maybe they would go to a movie where it was dark enough that no one could see what they were really up to, a scary one that Daniel could use as an excuse to cling to Luciana. Or maybe they'd go out dancing - Luciana would probably enjoy that. They could get lost in the rhythms and themselves, holding each other so closely and moving so sensually that they might cause a scandal. It was a good thing Martina was not using a pencil to write her essay because it would have been snapped to pieces long ago.

Daniel and Luciana. She'd never really thought about them together, but she supposed it made sense on some level. Luciana obviously cared about Daniel because, well, because that's the kind of person she was, and Daniel had always been grateful to her for obvious reasons.

Sometimes it felt like ages ago, but it was only their second year of high school when Daniel fell in with a bad crowd, and Martina, Sebastián, and Luciana set aside their differences to get him out of the mess. It was...well, it wasn't a time in their lives that Martina looked back on with fondness. Every once in a while she still awoke in the middle of the night with her heart racing and her sweat dampening the sheets. Sometimes she awoke to Daniel's cries, but those nights were thankfully few and far between. She still had the scars on her hands from the fights, little streaks of mangled tissue that were worth the pain to have Daniel hug her again once it was all over, though they were probably nowhere near as bad as the deep stab wound Luciana had sustained in her upper thigh. Hours of waiting in the emergency room with nothing but a sleeping Sebastián resting against her side and some grimy entertainment magazines to keep her company had given Martina time to think - to think about life and death and pain, and what the world would be like if Daniel never smiled again. Or worse, Luciana.

She hated hospitals.

The end of the conflict came as a surprise to everyone, and in the aftermath, it was plain to see that their relationships had changed. Daniel was initially as nervous as a bird in a fox den around his cousins and Luciana, but his anxious twitching slowly dissipated to small smiles and admiration, which they returned with open affection. Whenever he fell into his little fits of despair, Luciana was always there with a hug and a smile, and it had never bothered Martina until now.

But it wasn't just Daniel who changed. It was the turning point for Martina and Luciana's relationship, too. Gone were the piercing looks and poorly hidden sneers of their younger days. At that point they still weren't anything like friends, but they did acknowledge each other when they passed in the halls of school, a marked improvement from the old days. It wasn't until the end of high school that they actually began talking, and their encounters were surprisingly civilized, if still a bit strained.

When Sebastián mentioned to Martina that Luciana would be staying in Argentina after graduation to attend university there, Martina cornered her the next time she saw her to confirm the news.

"It was easier for me to find a place in a university program here than if I'd gone back," Luciana had answered with a shrug, an odd flush creeping across her cheeks. "Good thing I don't mind it here too much."

Martina hadn't been able to suppress a proud grin at her words; her love for Buenos Aires was no secret, and this merely confirmed her assertion that every other place on earth paled in comparison. So Luciana had stayed in town and studied physical therapy while working part-time as a receptionist at a pediatric clinic, and Martina began renting an apartment with her cousins and studied at the local university.

Suddenly it seemed as if Luciana was everywhere, shopping at the same stores, coming over for coffee once a week, and then twice a week, until Martina had to remind herself that there had once been a time when Luciana hadn't been such an integral part in her life. Since then they'd become practically inseparable, despite their still frequent clashes. Somehow Luciana had wormed herself far enough beneath Martina's skin that she couldn't imagine her life without her, for better or for worse.

But apparently she had wormed herself beneath everyone's skin. Why hadn't Martina seen this coming?

Okay, this was not what she was supposed to be thinking about. Business ethics. Business ethics.

She was able to write an entire page this time before her thoughts betrayed her again. What if Luciana brought Daniel back to her apartment? It wasn't as though she thought Luciana was easy, but maybe...maybe she would want to fool around with Daniel? She must want sex to some degree, unless she just ogled men for purely aesthetic purposes. Maybe she would like Daniel kissing her long neck and licking into her mouth, her thick, dark lips opening beneath his. Maybe she would like Daniel dragging his calloused hands down her back to her thighs, so soft looking even though Martina knew they had to be incredibly muscular.

Oh God, why was she thinking about this? She was sick, that's what it must be, she was sick, and this was just her body's way of letting her know. She must have a fever.

Or not. The thermometer read 37°C, even after she'd double checked, but it could be old; maybe they needed a new one? She would tell Sebastián when he got home. Anyway, now was not the time to be worrying about being sick. It was also not the time to be thinking...thoughts. About certain people and what they could get up to alone in the dark. No. Now was the time to finish this stupid paper.

After several more interruptions and a short break to watch TV, she had just begun writing the conclusion when Daniel finally came home. He tramped through the door, threw his duffel bag on the living room floor where it would probably stay until Sebastián yelled at him, and collapsed in the chair across the table from Martina, looking like a zombie.

"Morning," he said, pressing his arms behind his back to crack his spine.

"You're a little late for that. It's afternoon already," Martina paused in her typing to reply. "You can't possibly have been at work all this time."

Her cousin tipped her drinking glass slightly to see if there was anything left in it and frowned when he discovered it was empty. "I crashed at a co-worker's place after my shift." He yawned wide enough that she could see his back molars.

"Long night?" she asked, rising to prepare a pot of coffee for him.

Daniel nodded wearily. "There were three apartment fires - three! And those were just from the calls that I took." He gave her a tired smile when she pulled out a bag of sugar from the pantry to refill the bowl on the table. "Plus there was a guy who called twice to tell us that the British were invading."

"Who do you send out for that kind of call, the Navy?" she asked, and when he chuckled at her, she flipped a lock of hair over her shoulder. "What? It's a legitimate question. He could have had insider information."

As she poured his coffee and handed it to him, he scrubbed at his eyes with the heels of his hands. "Remind me again why I do this?"

"Come on," Martina said. "You're a good dispatcher. You keep people calm. It's your thing."

"Why can't my thing be lazing around the house all day?"

"That's my thing," Martina answered with a grin. "I don't need any competition." She sat back down to finish the paper. Just a few more sentences...

"I can't wait for the weekend. You know, this is the first time I'll have a Friday evening off in at least a month."

Well, her professor probably wouldn't appreciate seeing These factors combine to aljñsk in her paper. She deleted the offending keysmash as she said, "Oh, that's good," not even bothering to glance up at Daniel until she couldn't help it. His eyes were unfocused on his coffee for a second before he looked up at her.

"Oh, by the way, did you happen to talk to Luci after we did laundry yesterday? Did she say anything about Friday?"

Martina was tempted to spit out a vehement no, but instead she took a deep breath and said with a wry smile, "Yes. She asked if I wanted to come with."

Daniel laughed, hunched over his mug. "Really? She's so - see, that's why she's just so, so great."

Martina wanted to smack the smile right off his face, but at the same time she didn't because Daniel was her cousin and she should be happy for him. But what if he made Luciana smile like that? Her real smile? God, what was she thinking, she was not supposed to care this much.

"Hey, are you okay?"

Damn him for being so perceptive and kind, it was making it really difficult for her to hate him right now. She shrugged and quickly typed up some bullshit for the last few sentences of the essay before saving the document and closing the lid of her laptop.

"Just this paper - it's giving me a headache, but I'm done now, so..."

Daniel nodded sympathetically, which was just perfect, wasn't it? Why couldn't she have had an asshole as a cousin, then she would at least be justified in her resentment. As it was, Daniel just looked like he wanted to shower her with hugs and aspirin.

"Is it for your class today? You're lucky Basti isn't here, he'd give you a lecture on procrastinating," he said, reaching across the table to pat her hand. "But it's okay, I'd probably wait till the last minute, too."

"I have to get ready," she announced, shaking off his hand and gathering her school supplies. She stopped in the living room and turned to ask, "Um, will I see you later?"

"Yeah, I'll be here for dinner."

"Oh, uh, good." Martina nodded and almost tripped over Daniel's bag on her way to her bedroom, where she hid until it was time to leave for her class. She pulled her cell phone from the pocket of the pants she had been wearing the day before and mentally slapped herself for forgetting to turn the ringer back on. Her phone greeted her with a blinking screen that indicated four new messages since she had last checked it. The first three were from Manuela's phone, though not exactly from Manuela.

    From: Manuela
    this is miguel. i took manu's phone cuz she took mine and now i can't find it did she tell you where she put it?

    From: Manuela
    nvm she had it in her bra. i don't know how i didn't notice before, she's usually really flat ;)

    From: Manuela
    No one would blame me if I locked him in a closet for a few days. NO ONE.

She quickly sent out a reply before moving onto the last one, which was from Luciana.

    From: Luciana
    we need to talk about whatevers bothering you. can i come over saturday at noon?

The beauty of texting was how easy it could be to ignore messages like this. Sadly, Martina knew she couldn't avoid talking to Luciana forever. Not that she wanted to avoid talking to Luciana. In fact, this could be a good opportunity to tell Luciana how she felt about the entire fiasco. The date would be a one time thing, and then Luciana would know not to cross this boundary in the future.

As she was typing a response, she briefly considered adding 'have fun tomorrow' at the end but ultimately decided against it; the sarcasm would probably be lost on Luciana. Less than a minute later, Luciana responded.

    From: Luciana
    o great! i'll see you then! :)

With that taken care of, she spent the next fifteen minutes deciding which scarf to wear with her mauve flats, finally settling on a floral silk kerchief. On her way out the door, as she checked her purse and pockets to make sure she wasn't missing anything, it hit her that the scarf around her neck had been a gift from Luciana. She remembered how surprised she had been that Luciana had managed to choose something that suited her tastes.

As if she wasn't going to have enough problems staying focused during the lecture. Rushing back into the apartment, she abandoned it on the coffee table and said goodbye to Daniel again, who was flipping through channels on the television while curled up on the couch in nothing but his boxers.

"See you later," he said, tearing his eyes away from the screen to smile at her.

"Yeah, see you," she replied to the floor as she hoisted her purse over her shoulder and scurried out the door. It was really unfair how innocent he could look even as he unwittingly conspired to destroy the last shreds of Martina's sanity.

tbc (I promise the next chapter will be much more interesting! orz)
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melissa_42: drawn woman in a sweater (Default)

January 2012

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