melissa_42: drawn woman in a sweater (tea)
[personal profile] melissa_42
Title: An infinite capacity for self-deception (2/?)
Fandom: Latin Hetalia
Characters: Martina/Luciana (fem!Argentina)/(fem!Brazil)
Rating: PG-ish
Warnings: Human AU and some swearing.

Summary: In which Martina and Luciana try to spend time together like normal friends.


Luciana was fidgeting with her bracelets and shuffling her feet in the hallway when Martina opened the front door of her apartment.

"You came," Martina said, standing in the doorway, her mouth a pink 'O' of surprise.

"Well, yeah. I said I would." Luciana put her hands on her hips. "Are you going to invite me in, or what?"

"I just thought you'd...never mind. I'm not ready, yet." She turned around, leaving Luciana abandoned in the hall. Without being prompted, Luciana followed her inside.

"You're a great hostess, really, you know that?" Luciana muttered, toeing her sandals off in the foyer before making herself comfortable on the couch. With a loud sigh, she stretched her arms high above her head and sprawled against one of the armrests. "Don't spend an hour in the bathroom like you usually do."

Ignoring her, Martina flicked on the bathroom light and slid open one of the drawers under the sink where her cache of make-up and body spray was hidden. She didn't spend hours in the bathroom, just enough time to make herself look nice, though she wouldn't expect Luciana to understand such a concept. The woman probably didn't even know what foundation and mascara were. Not that Luciana needed them...her lashes were thick and dark enough to make her eyes pop on their own, and it wasn't like she had to hide any little rogue freckles that dusted across the bridge of her nose.

As Martina was dragging liner across the bottom lid of her right eye, Luciana popped her head into the room, startling her.

"What's taking you so long?" Luciana huffed.

Martina clenched her watering eye tightly shut. Now the line under her right eye was thicker than under her left eye; she would have to start over. "Don't sneak up on me when I have something pointy near my eye," she griped. "You made me mess up. And I poked myself."

Leaning against the jam of the door, Luciana cocked her head. "Maybe you shouldn't have had something pointy near your eye in the first place," she said. "It looks fine. Can we go yet?"

"Of course not. I told you, you made me mess up," Martina replied, turning back to the mirror to fix the damage. "I know it's difficult for you, but just have some patience."

"But you take so long!" Luciana whined, but she remained where she stood and watched Martina complete her ritual with unnatural attentiveness. As Martina finished dabbing a bit of floral perfume on her pulse points as a last touch, she finally spoke again. "I don't get why you spend so much time on this stuff. You look just fine without it."

"'Just fine' isn't enough," Martina explained, clearing up the brushes and little containers as a light flush spread to the tips of her ears.

"'s not what I meant," Luciana grumbled, not bothering to move out of the way as Martina squeezed past her, brushing hips on the way. From this distance, Martina could practically feel the warmth that radiated off her body, or maybe that was just her own cheeks heating up. She held her breath on her way out of the room, suddenly struck by the thought of how strange it was to breathe next to another person, so close that they could hear each exhale. Apparently Luciana hadn't gotten the memo, and her warm breath gusted gently against Martina's tingling neck as she passed by.

Watching Martina pad down the hall to her bedroom, Luciana called, "You're not changing, too, are you?"

Martina ignored her, returning a few seconds later with Luciana's clean tank top.

"Oh, I was wondering when I was going to get that back," Luciana said, holding her hand out expectantly.

Martina threw the shirt at Luciana, managing to land it on the other woman's face.

"No need to thank me, really," she fumed, stomping her foot. "Come on, let's go."

"Sorry, I didn't...geez. Can't we have at least one day when we're not fighting," Luciana said as she stuffed the shirt into her bag.

That wasn't fair. They didn't fight all the time. Just, lately it seemed like they were both on edge more than usual, though Martina couldn't understand why, besides that Luciana was driving her crazy.

From another room, Sebastián called out, "Stop throwing your weight around, Tina."

"I'm just making a point!" Martina shouted.

"Well, make a point where you won't disturb the neighbors."

Luciana raised her head and called out down the hall, "Hey, Sebas, be good while we're gone, 'kay?"

Martina shouted, "Let's go!" drowning out whatever response Sebastián may have had. She rushed to grab her shoes, scarf, and purse from the bench in the foyer and escorted Luciana out the door and halfway down the stairs before slowing their pace to just slightly under light-speed.

"So now you're in a hurry?" Luciana asked. "What's the big deal?"

Martina nodded curtly and answered, "I just want to make sure we have enough time to take the bus there. There could be a traffic jam, or the bus drivers might be on strike and we'll have to walk or...something..." She trailed off, flushing as she tried to avoid looking directly at Luciana. Luciana shrugged, muttering a soft weirdo, and fell in step beside her once they were out on the street. The sun hovered just over the tops of the buildings, casting a warm, sultry glow over the city. Martina could smell the acrid scent of petrol from blacktop mingled with rich, spicy meat - someone must be grilling somewhere - and she could almost catch a whiff of salt from the ocean hanging in the air, though it might have just been her imagination, since her apartment lay pretty far inland. And on top of it all, she could smell Luciana, the pungency of sweat with a hint of vanilla from the perfume Martina had given her one Christmas.

"Hey," Luciana murmured out of the blue, "You still mad about earlier?"

It took Martina a few moments to decide which incident Luciana could possibly be talking about before giving up and simply shrugging.

"Oh," Luciana continued, "well, sorry. About...well, yeah. I don't want you to be angry with me."

"It doesn't matter," Martina said, watching out of the corner of her eye as Luciana took a deep breath and letting it out as a long sigh.

Luciana nodded and waited a few seconds before saying, "Now it's your turn."

"My turn for what?"

"To apologize," she answered, shaking her head as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Martina would have been totally within her rights to ignore her because what did she have to apologize for? But Luciana was smiling a little, so she could afford to humor her.

"Sure," she said, and then realized that that probably wouldn't cut it. "I mean, sorry."

Luciana rolled her eyes, but it must have been enough for her because she didn't push the issue.

In a window far above them, a pair of children were hanging out over the sill, giggling and waving their arms enthusiastically. When Luciana waved back, they burst into ecstatic shrieks and disappeared from sight.

"Cute, huh?" Luciana elbowed Martina lightly in the side, shooting her a warm grin.

Martina's lips twitched into a smile. "Yeah."

They strolled to the bus stop in comfortable silence, the antagonism from earlier brushed aside for the time being. Martina truly wished they could be like this more often, that Luciana wouldn't act so obtuse and that she wouldn't be forced to jump on her for every little thing. Sometimes she wondered how they had remained friends for as long as they had, what with their belligerence and pride. By all rights they should have lapsed into the relationship they had when they were younger, when they were indifferent of each other on their best days. Luciana and her dramatics could be difficult to deal with at times, and sometimes it seemed like their friendship was on the verge of falling apart. But then moments like this would happen, moments when it seemed like no one else in the world could ever feel as comfortable together as they did, and it made everything worth the hassle of the bad times. It made Martina wonder if the tension between them was all a fabrication of her own mind.

They arrived far too early for the movie, but Luciana only complained for a few minutes before propping her feet on the seat in front of her, hunching over to rest her cheek on her bare knees, and switching the topic to classes. When the lights went down, Martina tried to keep her eyes on the screen, she really did, but every time she chanced a glance to her side, Luciana caught her eye and smiled, a small quirk to the left corner of her lips.

Pay attention, Martina mouthed, to which Luciana whispered back hypocrite but turned back to the film, only to happen to look to the side the next time Martina found her own gaze wandering.

Rinse and repeat fifteen times, and then the final credits were rolling. Outside the theater, Martina rewrapped her scarf around her neck and looked up at the sky, a worn, velvety navy with only the most persistent stars penetrating the glow of the city.

"It was good, huh?" she commented, glancing down at Luciana. A clump of unruly curls stuck out at an odd angle above her ear, and Martina had to clench her fingers into a tight fist to stop herself from running them through Luciana's hair to fix it. Not that her friend would probably mind too much, but it would be awkward. She could feel her fingernails scoring crescents into her palm.

Luciana shrugged and said, "I guess - I mean, if you like that kind of artsy stuff." She paused to scratch her elbow. "It was pretty weird. I mean, what the hell was with all the spoons?"

Well, of course Luciana would completely miss the point of the film. "It was a metaphor," Martina replied, lifting her chin just slightly, "for -"

"- for how weird the film was," Luciana cut in. "Hey, let's grab something to eat while we're out." She linked arms with Martina and pressed her cheek against the bare skin of her upper arm before pulling away and dragging her down the street.

It took Martina a few seconds before she trusted herself to speak without sounding too breathless, during which time she let herself be dragged along without resistance. Finally she muttered, "You wouldn't know culture if it slapped you in the face." She could see Luciana's back rise and fall in a shrug.

"I am going to be the bigger person and ignore that statement. Seriously, you're lucky I'm in a good mood right now."

...Right. So, that probably wasn't the nicest thing to say to a friend, especially one with...issues like Luciana had. But it was okay because Luciana had already salvaged the situation, so there was no harm done, right?

"You're just in a good mood because the movie's finally over. I saw how much you were paying attention."

This time Luciana's shoulders went unnaturally still, but only for a second before they began shaking with laughter. Martina had to bit her lip to fight down a smile, a side affect of the sudden warmth that bloomed in her chest.

After wandering down a few side streets, Luciana finally stopped outside a hole-in-the-wall cafe.

"This okay?" she asked, glancing back at Martina, who gave a small nod. They seated themselves at a tiny table under a burgundy umbrella. When the waiter came out to help them, Luciana ordered a café con leche while Martina ordered mate and a dish of gelato drizzled with dulce de leche.

Once the waiter left them alone again, Martina appraised Luciana with a hard look before saying, "So...what was that about grabbing a bite to eat?"

"Hey!" Luciana barked before letting herself break into a wide grin. "Coffee is a legitimate food group."

Her smile was contagious, and - yes, this one was definitely genuine, making the narrow slits of her eyes glitter and Martina's breath catch in her throat. Sometimes she was sure, so absolutely sure, that Luciana must have the same feelings ricocheting in her chest, the same warmth and confusion, but for once in her life, she couldn't just open her mouth and tell the world what she was thinking because she was in the dark. She couldn't find the precise words for what she felt. It was so inhibiting, and Martina wanted to tear at her hair in frustration at herself. But she was better than that, so she tried to focus on the simple acts of breathing, soaking in the lingering warmth of the day as it wrapped itself around her, and staring into Luciana's coffee-brown eyes as they complained about classes again. When their order came, Luciana eyed Martina's dessert.

"You are so predictable," she said stirring a packet of sugar into her drink, the high-pitched metallic clink echoing over the table.

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you over how delicious this is," Martina said, moaning around a spoonful of ice cream.

Luciana laughed and leaned forward. "Hey, can I try some?" Without waiting for a reply, she dipped her stirring spoon into the side of Martina's dessert, leaving behind light brown streaks of coffee. Martina made a cursory protest, but it was mostly for show - so long as Luciana didn't try to steal any more of her food.

A bit of the ice cream dripped off the side of the spoon as Luciana brought it back to her mouth, but she managed to save it with a well placed hand. She smiled at the sweetness before laying the spoon on her saucer and cleaning the mess from her fingers.

Cleaning the mess from her fingers...

Martina knew she must be staring, but it was okay because Luciana's eyelids hung heavy over her eyes as she sucked the cream from her skin, the pink tip of her tongue darting out to lick the webbing between her index and middle fingers. For a second, Martina thought she could hear the clouds break and let loose a sudden downpour, but that was just silly because when she checked, the sky was still perfectly clear, and oh...that was just the blood rushing in her ears. She felt a bit queasy, a small, nagging feeling like she was going to throw up or pass out or something equally as mortifying. What had Daniel said you were supposed to do when you got dizzy? Ah, right, tuck your head between your knees. Would it be too weird if she did that right now?

That was a silly question, of course it would be. Besides, the fuzzy noise was already dissipating, leaving the sounds of the street to fill the void, rushing in and deafening her, and on top of it all, Luciana's voice.

"Is something the matter? You don't look so good."

Martina took a bite of gelato to buy herself some time before answering, "I'm fine. Just...thinking." She felt a flush steal across her face, but luckily Luciana didn't comment on it. When the other women shrugged and tried to steal another bite, Martina parried with her own spoon.

"Hey! Quit stealing - you should have gotten your own!"

Luciana made a brief attempt to hide her smile behind the mask of a scowl as she muttered, "So greedy..."

"Oh, don't give me that," Martina said, pushing Luciana's still slightly damp hand away with her own. Her fingers twitched a bit at the contact, but not enough to be noticeable. But that was normal, right? Because licking your fingers in public was a little disgusting - no, obscene - so her reaction was completely understandable. Luciana should have been raised better than that. Probably. Or she should have at least known by now what behavior was unacceptable in Argentina after spending nearly half of her life here. Martina should probably point that out, but she really didn't want to break this strange, easy spell over them.

Searching for something more to say, her eyes flicked back to the clump of hair still out of place on the side of Luciana's head.

"Your hair's a mess," she said with a small smile, leaning back in her chair.

Luciana's eyebrows rose in surprise, but she fluffed her curls and shook them out, getting rid of the offending clump at the expense of making the rest of her hair look like a lion's mane. "Better?" she asked.

"As much as it's going to be," Martina lied. "You've been walking around like that since we got out of the theater."

Luciana scowled and crossed her arms over her chest. "And you waited to tell me now? Thanks, Tinha, really, you're the best friend anyone could ever ask for."

"You're welcome," Martina replied after she had swallowed down the lump in her throat. So much for trying to be helpful. She lifted her mate to inhale the steam before taking a sip through the straw. Across the table, Luciana frowned and rested her cheek against one of her hands, staring off at the intricate molding around the door frame of one of the shops down the street, flicking her eyes back to Martina's fingers every so often. Martina bit her lip and wondered how she hadn't given herself an ulcer yet. Luciana couldn't possibly be good for her health.

Next Chapter

Date: 2011-09-23 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love everything about this. Even the song you were listening to when you posted it (I like that song, and somehow it WORKS, I don't even know).

And I love the tension here, and how they manage to work around it - or not - and how sometimes it feels like they're about to fight but they don't, and then someone says something when you don't expect it and they don't know what to do with it. And Luciana's issues. And Martina being Martina.

And the weird metaphorical spoons, I loved that, and I love the weird moment they have about Luci not getting it (that was low, no one gets French movies. You're not supposed to get it).

And then Luci being SEXY and licking her fingers. Poor Martina. I loved that part too.

So, basically, I'm deeply in love with everything.

Date: 2011-09-23 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That song. xD I was listening to it while posting and realized that it is basically the theme song of this fic. It's like my music knows me better than I do.

The tension and almost-fights....sometimes they wanted to go on and on, and I was like, Guys, you're being silly. We need to get on with the story. >:[

Hey, Martina probably read up on that French movie beforehand so she could look cool and knowledgeable about European cinema. Luci was not impressed. xD

The finger licking was actually an afterthought, but now I'm glad I added it.

Blah blah blah, SO. I'm really glad you like it so far! Your comments give me more confidence. <3

And I'm sorry if you had any trouble understanding some parts because I found a few sections while rereading it that were not English. orz

Date: 2011-09-24 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm listening to it now, and it's really perfect. The universe is shipping it too.

And... they get silly a lot. All I know is that the story feels so alive. And Martina so totally did. She's full of it.

And I'm really loving it. I can't wait for the next chapter <33

(lololol, no, I didn't have any trouble, I think. The only part that made me pause was the Is something the matter, because I think you mentioned it on tumblr, so I recognized it. )

Date: 2011-09-24 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is just so cool and cute and sweet!

I was relieved to see that Luci came back to Martina's house ^___^ I mean, after that fight they had, I thought Tina would end up seeing the movie all alone, and, man, that's sad!

I should know Luci is THE BEST FRIEND OF ALL TIMES cuz, geez, french movies x___x how come Tinita doesn't see she's like totally loved back?

And now I can't wait to see their first kiss <33

Date: 2011-09-26 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Martina's a bit...blind when it comes to her friends. They have some issues to deal with before they can kiss. ^^ I hope you stick with it!

Date: 2011-09-30 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sure! I'll buy a ton of popcorn and watch it till the end :D


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January 2012

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