APH and its characters © Hidekaz Himaruya


Matthew jerks awake to the sound of his melodic ring tone. He glances to the digital clock and groans with displease when he sees that it's a minute after 3 a.m. He rolls over on his comfortable bed – almost squishing Kumajirou – and fumbles for his still-ringing cell phone. He checks the flashing screen and sighs at his brother's name. If Al wants to talk to him, there is no avoiding it, even if it is in the dead of the night. He readjusts himself on the bed and answers the phone.

"So…?" is what Alfred greeted him with.

"Alfred," Matthew says, squeezing his brows, "it's 3 in the morning."

"No," Alfred scoffs with a laugh, "it's just got past midnight."

"It's just past midnight where you are," Matthew corrects with a sigh. He wonders briefly why his brother is on the west coast but his brain can care less. "It's 3 here in Ottawa."

"Oh… then you should've called me three hours ago."

Matthew doesn't even want to point out that Alfred was the one who called, not the other way around. He has learned from past experiences that there is no point in arguing with his American brother. He scoots down and presses an ear on his pillow – so soft and comfortable, so sleep-inviting. Meanwhile, Kumajirou snoozes next to him and kicks him in the side.

"What is it?" he mumbles. "What do you need?"

"Listen up good, Matthew. I'm giving you the honor and the privilege to be the first person to wish me happy birthday this year."

"Who needs a beef cake?" Matthew frowns, wondering just what madness is going through his brother's head.

"Hap-py birth-day," Alfred growls. "Wish me a happy birthday!"

Matthew almost wants to throw his phone across the room. Almost. But he isn't that kind of person. Still, he makes a mental note to turn his phone off next time he heads for bed. He tucks the blanket under his arm and lies on his side.

"Happy birthday," he wishes with his best tone.


"And… I wish you many more."


"A-and… don't eat too much cake."


"And… um… don't burn yourself playing fireworks."

"And…!" Alfred urges, raising his voice.

"A-and… and remember to chew your hot dogs before swallowing!"


"A-and… and…? No more 'ands'!" Matthew shouts. Kumajirou jumps and gives him an empty stare.

"C'mon, Matthew, aren't you forgetting the most important thing?" Alfred says, and Matthew can sense him pouting on the other end of the line.

Matthew tries to think about the answer but all that crosses his mind is that he needs to go back to sleep so he can get up in three hours to hop on a plane to get to the States for Alfred's mandatory birthday celebration. He stifles a yawn and tosses over in bed, rubbing his cheek deep into his pillow.

"Say it," the American demands.

"It," the Canadian responds.

"Damn it, you know what I'm talking about!"

"I have no idea what you are talking about."

"You know what I want to hear."

"Okay, okay," Matthew sighs with frustration. "You are a hero! There, happy?"

Matthew scratches his ear as Alfred sighs under his breath. He glances at the clock and wants to end the charade already. He is losing precious sleep. There is a brief moment of silence between the brothers. Matthew listens to Alfred's soft breathing and finds it kind of soothing. He closes his eyes and lets the phone rest loosely over his ear. His fingers loosen and his body relaxes once again to prepare for sleep.

"Say you love me," Alfred finally says.

Matthew blinks. He almost thought he has misheard Alfred. Then again, that does sound like a thing his dorky brother would say. He chuckles quietly, not wanting to give off the wrong idea. Alfred can be kind of adorable when he is not being obnoxious and self-righteous. He grips the phone and rolls onto his back. He stares up at the ceiling with a smile on his face.

"Happy birthday, Al. I love you."

"Love you too, bro."

"Now can I go back to sleep?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'll see you tonight! Don't be late!"

Matthew thinks Alfred might have made a kissing noise before he hangs up. But that could just be the sound of his leg moving beneath his sheet. He tosses his phone back on the nightstand and snuggles into the bed with a content sigh. All the while, he smiles to himself as he can't wait to see his brother tonight. They'll be together in less than 5 hours.

Just as he is close to drifting back to sleep, his phone starts ringing again.

"Damn it, Al…"


Boyue's Note: Just some brotherly fluff for July 4th. 8Db


12:00 AM