EDIT-May 2010: There seem to be some problems with the line-dividers that were previously used to separate parts within a chapter – they appear to be absent. Please excuse any inconvenience in reading due to their absences; this problem is currently being fixed. Thank you, and enjoy reading. : )
Author's Notes: This story is actually based on a dream I had after re-watching Ghost Hunt. I dreamt that the Hetalia folks were running around doing random ghost-hunting things and thought it'd be fun to write it down, so here it is!
This is my first fan-fiction, and meant for fun, so please be gentle and don't take this too seriously, as in, I'm not too concerned and do not check for grammar errors and whatnot too carefully.
All magic, spells, rituals, and blah are entirely made up by me with close to no research because I'm kind of lazy (more like very much actually) and don't have time to look everything up unfortunately. Really sorry about that! But I promise I'll try my best to have everything making sense. =)
Matthew is from Vancouver because not all Canadians are from Ottawa…XD
I do not speak French, or Russian, or any other European languages that might make it into this story. I studied French a little, but stopped taking it as soon as I didn't have to (which I kind of regret now actually…), so I had to use translators. I'll try to use my very limited knowledge of French to make sure the sentences make sense, but if something's off, please let me know!
There will be some very minor changes to the way the characters interact with each other simply to keep it realistic (not that any of the supernatural things happen in real life…I think), such as: Francis won't be sexually harassing everyone because he'd end up in jail; Alfred will not despise Ivan because he's Russian; and etc.
I think that's all I have to say. Thank you very much for checking my story out, and enjoy! =D
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia; however I do own any random magical things and characters I make up for this story that you do not see in the actual series.
Italics: Dream sequence; thoughts; other Languages.
"…I hate you…
"…I hate you! You killed Mommy!
"I hate you!"
He ran, hair and tears flying in the wind. His small feet splattered into puddles; dirty water drenched his shoes.
"Matthew! Wait!" A desperate, despaired voice called after him.
But he ran, resentment coursing through his tiny, thin body, spreading in his veins as if an addictive poison.
A blasting chorus of truck horns shrieked.
Tires burned against the rough cement as the driver slammed down on the brakes.
But it was too late.
A ripping sound of flesh against metal.
He abruptly stopped in his steps.
Blood soaked through his socks where it hit them.
He turned around.
Red spread through rainwater.
He gasped, eyes flying open.
Pale ceiling met his blurred vision, but he could still see it.
Blood…so much blood…and the mangled body of his Papa…
A tear fell.
All was silent.
He jumped as loud knocks suddenly hammered against his door.
Well, it wasn't really hammered…
But it was as if thunder splitting through the silence.
More knocks followed, and he was just about to get up when a voice rang through the door, muffled but clear.
"…Matthew? I'm coming in."
The door creaked open a little, and he pushed himself up into a sitting position. He squinted his eyes; he could only make out vague shapes of messy blond hair, sharp green eyes, and prominent eyebrows furrowed in what he guessed to be concern.
"Matthew? Are you alright?" The voice held a thick accent, but was distinct and crisp in pronunciation, making it relatively easy to decipher.
"Y-Yeah…" He winced at how shaken he sounded and gave a weak laugh, "…Yeah, I'm fine…I think."
"…You had that dream again, didn't you…?" It was more of a confirmation than a question, so he didn't reply.
"Come to think of it," the accented voice continued in a musing tone, "We haven't seen each other since—…well…" The blurry figure shifted on his feet in what he assumed was a sheepish manner and cleared his throat stiffly; "I just came to see if you were awake; I'm making breakfast."
"E-Eh?" That immediately caught his attention; "Arthur! I'm the host! I should at least…you just got off the plane from London last night! You-You shouldn't trouble yourself—" He tried to get out of bed but couldn't pull his legs out from the tangled bed sheets.
"No; no, don't stress." Arthur chuckled; "No need for such unfamiliarity; we're cousins, after all."
"…Arthur…" Warmth and affection bloomed in his heart, "…Thank you." His blue eyes beamed at the man standing by the door, though it was a little unfocused.
Arthur looked a little red and embarrassed; "…Errm…right, so don't worry about it…I'll see you downstairs." With that, he left and closed the door behind him.
Matthew watched the spot where Arthur was just moments ago, and sighed. Fumbling around, he was finally able to pull his legs out from where they were tangled. Propping his glasses on, the world immediately became clear. Stretching his limbs, he walked barefoot on carpeted floor towards the bathroom.
Snapping on the light, a tired, but generally happy young man looked back at him with dark blue eyes. His hair was messy and sticking out more than not. He brushed through it, silky, soft waves forming under his fingers, though a strand stubbornly stuck out and formed a loop dangling close to his face. Nature called, and he answered. Washing his hands, he stifled a yawn.
I'll shower after I eat…
Scratching the back of his head, he decided not to change out of his sleeping shirt, and looked around for his pajamas pants. Kicking them on, he walked downstairs, and spotted Arthur already reading the morning newspaper with food set out on the table.
The Brit sipped on a cup of tea as Matthew quickly trotted towards him. At the corners of his eyes he saw the younger man skid to a stop in front of what was supposed to be a healthy breakfast.
Matthew slowly pulled a chair back and sat down on it. Staring at the odd, unrecognizable black blob, he carefully picked up a fork and poked at it.
It was spongy.
"…I-I kind of burnt the eggs…sorry…" Arthur's face was blocked by the newspaper, but Matthew could hear his cheeks flushing red.
"…Yeah…" He gave a small laugh good-naturedly, "…kind of, eh?"
The newspaper was flung down; Arthur's face held a storm as one of his bushy eyebrows jerked in annoyance.
…I guess food is another sensitive subject…
"Stop complaining and eat! You still have packing left to do, don't you? Our plane's this afternoon in case you've forgotten." The accent made his tone sound even scarier, if that was possible with the Londoner wearing a look of strict aggravation glowering at the one opposite of him.
Matthew shrank into his seat and looked down right away to avoid the displeased glare; "O-Of…Of course…" he managed to squeak out.
There was a moment of silence as neither of the two moved.
Looking at his intimidated cousin sinking into his chair, Arthur sighed. His tense muscles relaxed from rigid posture as he rubbed his eyes with a hand.
"…I'm sorry, Matthew. I'm always cranky in the morning, but I shouldn't have yelled."
"No I—it's alright, Arthur." Matthew picked up his fork once again and ate a little of the eggs. Trying not to make a face and wondering how Arthur could achieve sogginess from burning, he bit on his lips, and met the slightly older male's eyes.
"I should properly thank you sometimes for doing all of this for me." He gave the English man a bright smile.
Arthur smiled back, and Matthew knew he understood that he didn't just mean the (quite questionable-looking) breakfast.
…Arthur came all the way from England just so we can head to New York together, even though it'd be much easier for him to just join up once we're there. He ate more eggs and reached for the toast. I wonder what I can do to say proper thanks…
A family friend had asked Arthur's father for help: to watch over his nephew who's apparently headstrong and a little careless. And, owing that friend a favour, Arthur came in his father's place to North America.
The green-eyed one had gone back to reading the newspaper and sipping on his tea. Matthew stole glances, but did not speak out his worry regarding the subject. He was not very sure what to expect, so he was a bit nervous. However, at the same time, he was unquestionably excited.
A day later, Matthew sat in a taxi, watching buildings almost reaching the sky pass by through the window. The amount of people walking the streets was quite a feat to the Canadian, who never saw this many people regularly walking around anywhere.
Trees perhaps…but not people.
…not that trees walked in Vancouver…he nibbled on his lips, a little embarrassed at the self-conversation.
Turning his attention away, he addressed the primly-dressed man sitting beside him.
"Just out of curiosity, where exactly are we going, eh?"
"I'm not too sure. I was only given an address." Arthur murmured, eyes glued to the book he was reading.
"Ehh? You don't know Mr. Jones' nephew?" Matthew's eyes grew round as he exclaimed.
"Not personally." The older man threw a look of slight disapproval at the younger one for the suddenly loud tone, but didn't say anything else.
Mumbling an apology, the blue-eyed one went back to sightseeing.
The rest of the taxi-trip was in contemplative silence.
Stepping out onto the sidewalk and waiting as Arthur paid the taxi-driver, Matthew looked up at the tall, glassy building. Of all the places he thought would be their destination, this had not been it. Personally he expected a dark, spooky house.
After all, it was an organization meant for the supernatural.
A dark, spooky house was probably too obvious and cliché. He thought as he followed Arthur into the building.
Stepping out of the elevator onto the tenth floor, he watched with mild interest as the British man looked back and forth between their surroundings and a little slip of paper he held in his hand. He muttered something Matthew didn't quite catch, and went to the right.
Turning a corner, they met a door with an etched glass window. On it read "Jones Paranormal Investigation Agency" in fancy calligraphy.
Arthur lifted an eyebrow and scoffed, but did not make further comments.
"This seems to be the right place…" He murmured, and knocked on the door quickly.
No one answered.
"…Maybe we're supposed to just go in?" Matthew offered.
Shrugging, Arthur turned the door knob and gave a push.
The door swung open easily; the Londoner took one step into the office and instantly stopped.
Matthew, curious, poked his head in.
The two froze and, eyes wide and circular, stared at the rather impressive sight in front of them.
In the large office space, there was a reception area, and, deeper into the rectangular room, there were comfortable-looking sofas for what looked to be for inquiry purposes, and potted-plants. A hall on the right side of the room lead to what were probably more rooms used as private offices.
Nothing was strange about that, if it weren't for the huge number of half-transparent shapes and shadows wandering around.
Some wore what Matthew guessed were clothing of an ancient Asian origin; some faded in and out too swiftly for him to make out if they wore clothes at all.
Snapping out of the surprise of seeing so many spirits all at once in an enclosed space this size, Arthur held out a hand and nudged his cousin back a little.
"Matthew, get back." He ordered with a firm voice, eyes narrowing. A hazy aura began to shift around him as his hair started to wave as if blown by a breeze.
"Eh-Ehhh?" Matthew tilted his face, jolting a little; "Arthur! What are you planning to—"
"AAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" A loud scream cut through his sentence and both men jumped; "ALFRED! I TOLD YOU NOT TO OPEN THAT URN, ARU! WHY DON'T YOU EVER LISTEN TO ME?"
Arthur and Matthew, who still had a hand on top of where approximately his heart was located, swirled around, and saw a slender Asian man standing behind them with eyes large and mouth hanging open out of shock, holding bags of grocery with green onions sticking out of one of them.
Just as Arthur was about to ask who the newcomer was screaming at, a voice sounded from inside the room.
"…Uhh…ahahahaha…" The two blondes watched in amazement as another blond head appeared from under the reception desk, "…sorry Yao…hahaha…"
Fifteen minutes later, Yao, the Asian man who was confirmed as being Chinese by his name, managed to herd the spirits back into an intricately inked ceramic urn, scolding the blond head that was poking out from under the reception desk. The blond head turned out to be Jones, the nephew Arthur and Matthew were looking for.
After a brief introduction ("Well, hello! I'm Alfred, the founder of this agency in the name of justice!"), the three sat down on the sofas, with the grinning American opposite of the Canadian and the Brit.
"So, Mr. Kirkland, Mr. Williams, since my uncle recommended you I know you gotta be good, but what do you guys do exactly?" Alfred's topaz-blue eyes sparkled, whether intentionally or not no one could be sure. He was undoubtedly handsome, and had a boyish charm about him that seemed to exude out of him in waves and waves of sunshine and optimistic energy. His golden hair was slightly messy, no doubt from hiding under the desk, with an odd strand sticking upwards defiantly.
Noticing that Matthew was nervous and did not look like he fancied going first, Arthur cleared his throat and began in a respectable, even tone of voice:
"Well, I am profoundly trained in witchcraft and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the supernatural and the occult, not to mention I've already had years of experience working with my family all over Europe, investigating cases and—"
"-they have razors for those you know…" Alfred suddenly cut in.
Arthur blinked, taken back and unsure how to answer. "I…I beg your pardon?"
It took a few seconds for the British man to realize that the American was staring avidly at his eyebrows.
"Just…in case you didn't know about that…" Alfred gave a sloppy grin, happy about offering useful advice.
Arthur's face immediately took the most horrible shade of red as steam seemed to be bursting out of his ears as he bristled.
"How-How dare you?"
"So, you're a wizard?" Alfred cut in, looking genuinely unaware of how much the British man opposite of him fumed; "Do all wizards have thick eyebrows? …Wait…you're British, aren't you! Are you from Hogwarts?" It was fascinating how animated the young Jones' facial expressions had become.
"Can you fly on brooms?" He continued to press on, completely oblivious at the darkening colours on Arthur's face and how frightened for him Matthew had become, "…Can you teach me? I've always wanted to fly—"
"Enough!" Arthur's voice boomed out as he shot up from his seat, swinging an angry hand in wild gestures towards his interviewer; "Are you a professional or not? You've been asking nothing but stupid and ridiculous questions!"
In the background, Yao shook his head and muttered about westerners and their temper.
Alfred blinked, and had the nerve to frown in confusion.
Spluttering in incredulous anger, Arthur reached down and grabbed onto his cousin's arm. "Come on, Matthew, we're getting out of here!" He stomped towards the door with the Canadian yelping in slight pain behind him.
Turning around for one last glare at Alfred, who remained seated, Arthur threw the door open and scowled at the confused man. "This idiot's been nothing but rude and offensive to our profession. For all we know he could be a bloody scammer!" Shouting the last word, he swung his head around for a dramatic exit, but crashed face first into a hard chest of a tall form instead.
Seeing stars and rubbing his nose, he looked up, and froze.
A broad-shouldered man towering above him glanced down, head tilting to the side in a childlike manner as his violet eyes shimmered with wonder. A small, shy smile tugged his lips upward, but, for some reasons, Arthur found such an expression extremely unnerving.
"Scammer?" The tall man asked, his voice quite soft for his size as his smile grew a bit wider and curious. His thick, long scarf shifted a little around his shoulders.
"Oh, hello Ivan." Alfred gave a half wave at the tall man, who nodded a little in reply.
Arthur seemed unable to take his eyes off of Ivan, who continued looking friendly. Thinking it was a good time to intervene, Matthew nudged the one still clutching his arm.
"Arthur…Mr. Jones can't be a scammer, eh? His uncle is a very well-respected man, and you've seen all the spirits that were here before Yao put them back into the urn. Let's give him a chance, eh?"
At first Arthur did not reply, and merely pressed his lips together. But after a while of thought, he stiffly nodded.
"…Fine…he obviously doesn't know what he's doing though. He's still an idiot…"
"You think so too!" The tall man actually held up his large hands and clapped, his expression beaming of delight; "We have something in common, comrade! We will be good friends, da~?"
At the sugar-laced tone, Arthur did not know how to respond and simply stared.
"It's not really something in common, aru…Everyone knows Alfred is an idiot, aru…" Yao answered.
"Hey!" Alfred stood up from his place on the sofa, hands on his hips, "I can hear you, you know!"
Deciding the agency still had some hope in the future, since only one of its members so far was intellectually challenged, Arthur forced his eyes away from Ivan's smiling face, and slowly walked back towards the sofas.
Of all the things I was expecting I did not expect an interview, being recommended and all…Matthew pulled on his sleeves.
He was outside in the hallway, leaning against the wall while Arthur was inside finishing up with the rest of his interview.
"…Ooooh, this is making me nervous…" He mumbled to himself, brushing a hand through his hair, not noticing the elevator's ding or its doors humming open.
"I wonder if I'm underdressed…" He looked down at himself, pulling at his shirt and wondering if he should leave his hoodie on or not.
With his eyes fixated on all the faults in his outfit, he did not notice an approaching figure until it was right in front of him.
Footsteps halted, and Matthew was suddenly painfully aware of a pair of eyes looking at him.
"-Ehh?" He tilted his face up, and met clear, ocean-blue eyes.
A well-dressed man stood in front of him. He was taller than Matthew, but not large-boned or ceiling-scraping as Ivan. He had dazzling blond hair warm and bright like the sun, styled in nice waves curling around his face, reaching just above his shoulders. He had a clean, clear-cut face with an aristocratic nose and deep, alluring eyes. Light stubble adorned his chin; his lips were pulled back into a smile mildly flirtatious, but mostly inquisitive.
He looked as if he'd just walked out of a fashion magazine.
Matthew was very aware that he was staring and probably looked pretty dumb, but, as hard as he tried, he could not form coherent words.
They stood not too far apart, watching each other with attentive interest.
Something clicked inside the Canadian's head, and he suddenly found something to say.
"Erm…H-Hello…" He said lamely, a hand rising in a weak wave.
However, the fashionable one seemed extremely pleased, and eagerly replied, "Bonjour!"
Matthew blinked in surprise; the little he learnt of French kicking in before he could stop it.
His surprise was reciprocated as the clear, ocean-blue eyes widened and the taller man exclaimed: "Parlez-vous francais?" He didn't expect a French greeting back, and looked quite hopeful.
Matthew felt light-headed. With shivering stutters, he answered; "Ehh..Un peu…"
"Oh magnifique!" The taller man leaned forward, eyes dancing like candle-flames and grin almost wicked; "Je dois vous inviter à dîner un de ces jours! Je ne connais pas beaucoup de personnes qui le parlent!"
The train of French flew right over his head. …Je…vous…dinner-what? "…Eh-Ehhh?"
A moment of silence couldn't be any more awkward than what faced poor, troubled Matthew as his company waited patiently and expectantly for an answer, mistaking his "eh" for surprise.
After many tick-tocks of a nearby clock, the handsome stranger spoke again.
"Hmmm…Que faites-vous ici?"
Luckily Matthew managed to figure out that question was after a few moments, but he quickly became even more flustered since he had no clue as to how to answer. "U-Um…" He blinked, hoping the Frenchman could somehow read his mind, "Je…Je…ehhhh…avec…erm…avec mon cousin Arthur…regarder(?) m-monsieur Jones…?"
The Frenchman blinked, eyebrows rising. "…Regarder monsieur Jones?"
If there were a hole, Matthew would've gladly dived into it. Feeling his cheeks flaming into a dark blush, he felt as though he could've died from embarrassment. "…Ah-Ahhh I-I said something strange didn't I?" He avoided the clear, ocean-blue eyes, squirming on his feet.
"Oh." The Frenchman suddenly laughed; it was a pleasant, soothing sound. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't have assumed you knew what I was rambling on about. Though…you were so adorably flustered I should definitely speak to you in French more often!"
If there were even a crack in the wall or on the ground, Matthew would've gladly dived into it.
"Oh dear, where are my manners!" The charming stranger held out a hand gloved in soft leather; "I am Francis Bonnefoy. It is a pleasure to meet you!"
Matthew stared, eyes almost tearing from the dazzling radiance that seemed to accompany the Frenchman. But by God he could not look away…
"Hmm? …Oh!" Francis obviously mistook his staring for something else. "You must excuse this…ahhh…minor inconvenience." He gave a kind, apologetic smile to the shy young man in front of him as he waved his gloved hand; "I understand that some consider this as impolite, but I'm afraid there isn't much I can do about this in particular." He paused slightly; "I do not wish to offend your privacy."
This struck Matthew as odd, and he blinked out of his enamoured stupor.
"Huh?" Was all he managed to say before Yao poked his head out from behind the door to the agency and called out to him:
"Mr. Matthew Williams, can you come in please, aru?"
"Uhhmm, y-yes, of course—" He gave a respectful smile to Yao, who smiled back and disappeared behind the door once more, but not without a few curious glances at Francis with an unreadable expression. Unable to decipher what that meant, Matthew simply ignored it and turned back to the hand still extended towards him. He reached out and shook it; the leather was warm against his bare skin. "It's very nice to meet you too, Mr. Bonnefoy! I'm Matthew." He gave Francis' hand a light shake and tried to take it back, but, he found, the Frenchman had a firm hold.
"Matthieu…" Blue met blue, one captivating the other. "…A pleasure indeed…" The smooth voice lowered into a husky timber; Matthew swallowed.
"…M-Merci…" He squeaked out.
Francis seemed very much satisfied with the younger man's reactions, and, still holding the slender hand with his gloved one, he casually draped the other arm around the Canadian's shoulders. Pretending to not notice how Matthieu tensed and took in a small breath, cheeks still stained crimson, he led the way to the agency.
"Come; we must not have them wait."
Matthew could only nod as he allowed himself to be guided to the door, and prayed that his voice would work better during the interview.
Francis was close; his hands were warm. Sometimes he leaned in close enough for Matthew to feel his breaths tickling his ear.
He didn't know how to think, so he didn't.
(I don't need to translate "bonjour" right...)
Parlez-vous francais? – You speak French?
Un peu – A little
Oh magnifique! Je dois vous inviter à dîner un de ces jours! Je ne connais pas beaucoup de personnes qui le parlent! – Oh wonderful! I must treat you to dinner sometimes! I do not know many people who speak it! (Leave it to Francis to use this as an excuse to ask someone out to dinner XD)
Que faites-vous ici? – What are you doing here?
Je…Je…ehhhh…avec…erm…avec mon cousin Arthur…regarder(?) m-monsieur Jones…? – I…I…ehhhh…with…erm…with my cousin Arthur…look at(?) Mr. Jones…? (Matthew used the wrong word here, or at least I think it's the wrong word. It's supposed to be the wrong word anyhow XD)
…Regarder monsieur Jones? – …Look at Mr. Jones?
…M-Merci…– …Th-Thank you…
Ending Note: Well, this is it for now. Thanks for reading, and please drop me a line and let me know what you think! There will be more creepy adventures and developing relationships later when the cases come.
Edit: Big thanks to NinjaMatty and lolipop dictator for correcting my French! =)