|In Keen and Quivering Ratio
Author: REDskies PM
Canada's decade of double-life-living as just another guy who plays hockey is disrupted. By himself, and time. No pairings.Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - America - Words: 1,752 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 9 - Published: 06-19-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6065675
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: In Keen and Quivering Ratio
Genre: Uh. idk. Angst? A-Walk-Down-Memory-Lane?
Characters/Pairings: Canada, America | No pairings
Summary: Canada's decade of double-life-living as just another guy who plays hockey is disrupted. By himself, and time.
Notes: De-anon from the kinkmeme (I'm starting to wonder if I'd write at all if not for that place), something with a Nation or Nations enjoying themselves outside of politics.
In Keen and Quivering Ratio
His defence was that it filled up those long, icy days which had a distinct lack of paperwork, phone calls, and hockey matches.
Hockey matches, or the distinct lack thereof, was how it started, after all.
Canada had joined one of the local hockey teams. A few friendly matches each year against other similarly small teams was all they did, but celebratory drinks, hanging out watching matches (and screaming manly screams of disgust when their team lost) solidified their friendship. It was the kind of thing Canada never had, growing up, and those years with the team gave him a little taste of it. A taste of the life that Nations were never meant to have.
To these guys, in their late teens to early twenties, a memorable moment would have been the day they fell off their mountain bike cycling, fracturing a few bones and being bedridden for two weeks.
"Hey Matt, what about you?"
"Ehh... Fight between my brother and er, father," Canada rubbed the spot on his forearm where the scar had tried to fade back into his skin, leaving a bumpy, jagged edge. "It got pretty violent." Understatement of the era.
The other nodded their understanding, calling for another round of drinks.
Matthew wished that the lowest point in his life was a terrible break-up, or a broken rib. Canada knew that for their kind, it would always be blood, generals in small rooms being told that they were cornered, and rows upon rows of white stone slates with "rest in peace" engraved upon them.
"They're getting curious, Alfred."
"Huh? Who's getting curious?" His eyes were still glued to the television screen.
"Them. You know. My team. My hockey team which you asked me to join."
"Ohh right, yeah, them." Leaning over for the popcorn, his hand flailed about rather aimlessly for a bit before realising that his brother was holding the bowl out of reach, eyes narrowed. Alfred straightened, half eyeing the bowl, half trying look Canada in the eye to show that he was paying attention. "What about them?"
Canada had to roll his eyes. "They're getting suspicious, Alfred. You know, about me. About how they're starting to get wrinkles and how I still look like a nineteen year-old fresh out of college. Or fresh into college, sometimes. About how they're all getting settled down and when I'll be doing it." Canada pulled the bowl further away, just as America tried a sneak-attack. "Alfred. You know what people get suspicious about."
Nodding, America sat up, pulling his legs up to sit cross-legged, facing Canada. "Yeah yeah, I know what people get suspicious about. But what do you want me to do about it? You know what the options are. Now can I have the popcorn back?"
Ignoring the last request, Canada frowned, leaning back against the armrest of the couch.
"Tell them, or leave."
"Yeah. Tell them, or leave. But everyone knows that telling them isn't-"
The sounds of the game played in the background, as the two Nations stared at each other.
Canada handed his brother the popcorn, as he himself turned back to the game.
America too, looked back towards the TV screen.
"I told you that it'd be good for you, Mattie," America mumbled, still staring at the screen. "I never said that it'd be easy in the end."
Canada continues to watch the players throw themselves onto someone from the opposing team. Somewhat detachedly, he thinks that it must have hurt.
"You guys need another player?" The group turned around to face the source of the voice, a boy of roughly eighteen or nineteen clad in shin-guards, jeans, and a hoodie. "Yeah," one of them started, sizing him up. "Why, you play?" The blond boy nodded, looking somewhat nervous. The beginnings of a smirk seemed to start up on the corners of his lips. "A while. Quite a long while," he said, smirking at the one who asked. "What position?" "Defence." The group shared a look, before walking back to the rink where they came from. "Lets see what you've got then. What's your name?" The boy grinned. "Matthew. Let's go then."
The group turned around to face the source of the voice, a boy of roughly eighteen or nineteen clad in shin-guards, jeans, and a hoodie.
"Yeah," one of them started, sizing him up. "Why, you play?"
The blond boy nodded, looking somewhat nervous."For how long?"
The beginnings of a smirk seemed to start up on the corners of his lips. "A while. Quite a long while," he said, smirking at the one who asked.
The group shared a look, before walking back to the rink where they came from.
"Lets see what you've got then. What's your name?"
The boy grinned. "Matthew. Let's go then."
Canada blinked at the man. "Ehh, sorry, spaced out for a bit there," he laughed.
"Oh. Well, yeah so... Keep in touch?"
He nodded, taking a step back towards the doors.
I'm Matthew Canfield, 28, and I'm being transferred out of town to Ottawa for work because my boss has decided I'm most suited for the job, because I'm a hard worker and have been waiting for a promotion in the firm.
He grinned, rubbing the back of his head as he waved his hockey stick at his team, gathered there for one last game. Another step back.
My parents are divorced, have moved to England and France, I have a brother in the USA whom I see every once in a while, I'm not in a relationship with anyone, but am always looking.
He could see the lines in their faces, non-existent ten years back. One of them had his wife and kid with him. Wife, Sarah, little girl, Amber, aged six, and she loves to draw. She wants to be a vet. A few steps closer to the door.
I rented my apartment here in Montreal, so now I've paid my last rent, and everything has been packed and most of it shipped to my new apartment, which the company is paying for. It's in the city. I've always wanted to live in the city.
Harrison, their forward, grinned at him, raising his beer up in toast. "Call us when you're settled down and stuff. We'll be paying you a visit there, don't you think you can hide from us!" The rest of them laughed in assent, joking about how they'd track him down if he dared to avoid them. Laughing with the rest of them, he nodded and took a few more paces closer to the door.
I've played with this team for close to ten years, I met them the year I was a college freshman. Today will be the last day I see them. For a while, that is. Because they're my friends, and I know they'll come find me, if I don't find them. They'll come down to Ottawa and-
He slung his duffel bag higher up on his right shoulder. One step away from the doors.
-and we'll have drinks and laugh about life and hockey and-
His hand reaches for the icy door handle as the other lifts up in one last wave.
-and women because there's nothing more to life than that for us, we're simple men of simple pleasures and that's how we'll always be.
"GOOD BYE! I'll miss you guys!"
He can hear them laughing about what a sap he is, and to just get out of here. He does.
Good bye, Matthew Canfield.
Canada doesn't turn back as he pushes the doors open and walks out.
No one said it would be easy.
In his defence, as he stands here, in yet another skating rink (although in Toronto, not Ottawa, and certainly not Montreal), the sporting equipment guy wouldn't buy his hockey skates from him, but only would trade him for another.
And so he picked figure skates.
As Canada ties up the partly-worn pair, the only thing he could get for his own old beat up pair of hockey ones, he figures that maybe a sport which only involves himself would be better this time.
For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ratio
To the ecstasy.
For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years,
Bitter contested farthings
And coffers heaped with tears.
- Fight between my brother and er, father is a reference to the war of 1812. I'm not very well-versed in American history, so I didn't elaborate much on it. It was basically fought between the US and the UK, with most of it taking part on Canadian (or close to Canadian) soil, Canada being on the side of the UK. Needless to say, it was a war, and "it got pretty violent" is quite an understatement.
- America's reason for advising Canada to join the local hockey team was due to Canada being overly stressed up about Nation-related work and matters. Even casual friendships and such between Nations mean something, with the governments and such at their backs. America basically just thought some interaction with his own people, doing something which he loved, would be good for him. It'd give him a break and stuff.
- Small headcanon stuff: Canada usually refers to America as Alfred, unless in front of their bosses, or when it's needed or whatever. They both are part of the American continent, so he finds calling his brother that... Kind of odd.
- I personally think that Canada especially, would feel the lure of assimilating himself into regular humans' lives. Being ignored by so many, he'd find comfort in people who can actually see him, right?
- The poem at the end of the fic, as well as the single line used for its title, is by Emily Dickinson. It has no official title, but is generally referred to by it's first line, For Each Ecstatic Instant. It talks of the balance between the good times and the bad, and is one of my personal favourites from Dickinson.
- Damn this turned out much sadder (and very different) from what I initially set out to write. I suppose that's just how it goes, eh. Hope you guys enjoyed it! Please tell me what you think (or if I screwed up the small history aspect).