Canada and Spain have good relations, dontcha know. And there's just something that seems as though it could make this pairing really sweet.
'Rhapsody' can also mean 'an ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm'.
'Niño' is Spanish for 'boy'. 'Mi tesoro' is 'my treasure'.
I apologise for any historical inaccuracies.
He remembered the first time he had laid eyes on Antonio, peering out through the brush at the intruder with bright, curious eyes. It seemed like stranger people were coming nowadays to his land, and this newcomer was bright with a beaming grin as he directed his countrymen. He seemed almost like the sun, full of fiery vigour and life.
He explored and settled here and there, never seeming to notice the little boy who followed him, clutching the white bear, who yawned and dangled from his grip. Then, more strange people came, and drove out the man with the warm, infectious grin.
When he was France's colony, he'd seen the man again—he had come by, smiling curiously with gentle eyes down at the small blond child clutching his bear. Vivid and charismatic, each of his movements seemed to be infused with an energy that quiet Matthew had been drawn in by—so he learned this man was Spain, or Antonio. He hadn't seen him for a while afterwards, for Arthur swept him away from Francis.
He grew older, gained responsibility, and attended meetings.
Matthew watched people—being so quiet and invisible, he had plenty of time to watch. He watched every country, but he watched Spain most of all. His eye had always been drawn by that liveliness, by his affectionate demeanour when it came to his former charges and any others around him. At first, the Canadian assumed he watched Antonio because he wanted what the man gave so freely to the disgruntled South Italy. Affection, love, attention—Francis had been fleeting with his affections and his stay with him had been short. Arthur had been…Arthur, aloof and serious.
Oh, yes, he'd thought that at first. When weeks changed into months into years, he realised it wasn't like that anymore. Whenever Antonio would throw his arms around one of the Italy brothers, or both, something in Canada prickled uncomfortably, prompting him to turn away and look elsewhere. He wanted that attention—any attention from the man. Their countries cooperated, but Matthew cooperated with many others and most of them didn't even remember who he was. He wasn't like Alfred, confident and brash, even obnoxious. Everyone noticed him.
Gradually, Matthew tried to get closer to Antonio, starting with moving so he could sit across from the man at the table. His gaze always seemed to be focused on someone else, however, someone infinitely more deserving. So Matthew—a little sadly—had swung his attention to Latin America, in what he could do there, and found himself abruptly jostled into being closer to Antonio. The man had recognised him one day during discussions, face lighting up with a surprised smile.
"You're that little Matthew, aren't you? Francis'?" he had asked cheerfully, receiving a furious nodding from the Canadian. "You've really gotten tall, niño!" So they cooperated and Matthew followed him and whomever else he had invited to lunch, often receiving annoyed looks until Antonio told them that it was Canada, not his overbearing older brother. It was nice to be around him, to receive attention, though Matthew admitted internally that he was greedy and found himself wanting more. More focused attention, just on himself.
He'd been delighted when the Spaniard had come up to him with a beaming smile, extended hand and exclaimed, "Canada! Let's make a Chamber of Commerce together!"
That had been a while ago. One day, though, at a world meeting, Matthew had overheard Antonio chattering excitedly to a grumpy Romano about how he was planting tomates and wouldn't he come and help?
"I'm busy," Romano had told him gruffly, and Matthew got the feeling he was slightly apologetic for it, despite his demeanour. "You'll have to find someone else."
He'd found Spain after the meeting, shuffling his feet shyly as the elder man smiled curiously at him. "I-I can help you with planting your to-tomatoes, if you want," he had offered, received a surprised, but pleased, grin.
"Thank you, Matthew!" he had exclaimed. "Come over, and we'll plant tomates together."
Matthew awoke to the feeling of movement, a gentle rise and fall. The next thing that occurred was the sound of feet crunching over ground, and an overall feeling of warmth. He sighed a little, not too concerned, turning his head and pressing his cheek against warm, somehow firm, fabric.
'Firm?' he thought sleepily.
"Oh, are you awake, niño?" said a cheery voice. Matthew's eyes slid open slightly and he peered blearily upwards, blinking. Antonio smiled back at him curiously, his eyebrows raised, and it occurred to the Canadian immediately that he was being carried easily in the man's arms. His face flushed slightly with embarrassment—and something else—and he wiggled around slightly.
Antonio just kept walking, however, not making any move to put him down. "You dozed off during our little break," he told him cheerily. "But the tomates are all planted—thank you for helping me with them!"
"I…it was no problem," Matthew stuttered slightly.
"I'll send you over some nice ones," Antonio promised him with a smile.
"Thanks, Antonio…" He wriggled a little bit, and the Spaniard shifted him in his arms, assuming that he was uncomfortable. "You know, uh…you could put me down…"
"But we're almost back to my house," Antonio said, smiling inquiringly at him before his face lit up with realisation. "Ah, don't worry, niño, you aren't heavy at all."
'That wasn't what I was worried about,' Matthew thought and bit back a small sigh, mustering up a smile. He supposed he could stand it for a little while; it weren't as though he didn't enjoy being held in the man's arms like this. Twisting his head, he saw Antonio's house and was thoroughly glad the man chose to live in the quiet countryside, by the tomato fields, even if just for the privacy.
"You can stay for supper tonight," Antonio said brightly. "You can sleep over too—your flight leaves in the morning, doesn't it? No use spending money on a hotel." He smiled at Matthew, who nodded in agreement. The Spanish man hopped up the front steps to his house, setting Matthew down lightly so that he could open his door. The blond dusted himself off lightly, gazing at Antonio's back as he stepped inside, waving for Matthew to follow.
Matthew stretched out his arms slightly as he followed Antonio through the foyer. The house was small but comfortable, homey more than anything, and he felt immediately relaxed.
"I'll make some supper for us," Antonio said to him with a broad smile, walking towards his kitchen. "You go and rest, niño, you still look tired." Matthew was tired, but he was also loath to let his host do all the work.
"I can help," he said, looking at him. Antonio shook his head with a smile, touching his shoulder with a gentle hand.
"Rest," he directed sternly, though his expression was kind.
Matthew wavered for a moment before he nodded a little and wandered into the living room. He sunk down in one of the chairs, listening to Antonio's soft humming as the man bustled about in the kitchen. He let his eyes shut slowly, head leaning back against the back of the chair.
He was content to just listen to Antonio active in the kitchen, beginning to smell something like tomatoes and assumed that they'd be having a kind of pasta dish for supper. A long time passed like that and he was slipping halfway into a doze when he realised that there weren't any noises coming from the kitchen anymore. He opened one of his eyes sleepily, then the other, looking towards the kitchen. Slowly, Matthew rose and shuffled toward it.
Peering inside, he blinked in surprise. Antonio had sunk down into a chair facing the oven and his eyes had slid shut. His breathing seemed deep, his chin resting on his chest, hair falling over his forehead. The Canadian stared at him before looking over at the oven. There was a timer on the oven, and he assumed that the food wouldn't burn as it would turn off before then. He wandered closer to the Spaniard's sleeping form, gazing at him quietly.
'Ah, that's right,' he thought, 'Antonio got up early to meet me at the airport…then we were working all day. And he carried me here.' He stepped closer to the dozing man, reaching out and brushing his fingers across his dark hair lightly. Antonio kept on breathing deeply. Matthew frowned thoughtfully, shifting closer.
He leant over him slightly, watching his closed eyelids intently. Then, he leant down, lightly grazing his mouth against his. As he pulled back, Matthew looked at his face closely, biting back a sigh as he saw Antonio was still asleep. 'This is probably why Francis can just grope him without him noticing—he's totally oblivious. Or, maybe just too trusting?' Matthew smiled slightly, quiet and fond, and turned to the oven to wait for the timer.
The least he could do was watch supper for him.
The bed in Antonio's guest room was heavenly to sleep in, and Matthew was loath to roll out of it early in the morning, slapping his watch to turn off the alarm. He blearily got up and dressed, gathering his few things together before yawning and stepping out of his room, rubbing his eyes. He'd set up a taxi to pick him up the previous night, so he hoped Antonio could get some rest.
He was surprised, however, to see a sleepy-looking Spain standing in the hallway, blinking at him drowsily. His hair was rumpled and he was shirtless, obviously just having rolled out of bed. "Niño," he yawned, "I thought I should see you off." He smiled.
Matthew lifted his hands, feeling guilty. "No, don't be silly, Antonio…I didn't want to wake you up…" He sighed slightly, looking at him apologetically. "I guess I was too loud?"
"No, no," chuckled Antonio, still looking drowsy. "I set my alarm." He stepped forward, towards Matthew, who struggled to keep his eyes on his face and not stare at his chest (and a very nice chest it was). He yawned again, covering his mouth with one of his palms and blinking slightly.
"Um." Matthew swallowed, gone a bit pink. "You didn't have to."
"I wanted to," Antonio said and took his backpack for him with one hand.
The elder nation lightly took his hand, and Matthew fell into step with him as they walked down the hall and the stairs. Watery, early-morning sunlight crept through the curtains in the living room, lighting everything up softly, and Matthew smiled a little to himself, unconsciously hoping this wouldn't be the last time he'd see such a thing.
"Do you have time for breakfast?" Antonio asked.
Matthew looked at his wrist. "My taxi is probably already here," he said uncertainly and, peeping out through one of the windows, he saw it parked outside. "Yeah. I'll get something before I get on the plane, so no worries." He smiled.
Antonio looked pensive as he walked with him to the front door, opening it up slowly. Pale sunlight beamed down on the two of them and Matthew quietly noted to himself how it seemed to make Antonio's eyes glow. "Make sure you have a good breakfast," he told him with a smile.
"I will…thanks for letting me stay here, Antonio."
"No, no." The Spaniard shook his head with a smile. "Thank you for coming and helping me, mi tesoro." He shifted suddenly, sliding his hand, palm and fingers rough from work, around to the back of Matthew's neck. The Canadian paused in surprise, being pulled in, his mouth met with a warm one. Unconsciously, his hands moved to grip the man's forearms, fingers curled around them slightly.
When he pulled away, Antonio smiled broadly at Matthew, who stared dazedly back at him with pink cheeks. "Next time, you'll have to stay longer, sí?" he said, brushing the pad of his thumb over the younger man's lips with an affectionate chuckle.
"S…sí," Matthew replied, somewhat dazedly. Antonio smiled at him, the expression fond, and gave his hand a gentle squeeze before pushing his shoulder, encouraging him outside and towards the taxi. "Um, Antonio—!" He turned around, fully prepared to ask how the man had found out.
Antonio just smiled wider and tapped his own lips with a gentle wink. Embarrassed, Matthew flushed and looked down at his feet—apparently the elder man wasn't as oblivious as he had believed.
Feeling warm from the inside out, Matthew climbed into the taxi. He peered through the window at Antonio, whose hand was lifted slightly, until he was out of sight.