Matthew never found anything wrong. Even though it had always been a taunt string at the back of the blonde's mind, he had never firmly admitted it to himself. Nothing was wrong, his mind sings to him, luring him out of the suspicious thoughts. So he continues doing it as normally as breathing. It doesn't take up all of his time, but it is a fond habit he found himself slipping into, so the moments he is lonely, bored, or simply in a dreamy state he pulls out that small stack of cards. It's sad when you learn to play a multi-player game on your own.
"Go fish," he says quietly, for no reason, to the empty chair in front of him. He grabs a card from the pile and places it, top-side up, beside the other cards of the other nonexistent player's hand. Matthew leans back in his chair, surveying his own cards with mild indifference. He usually wins, so there is no point in pondering over the outcome. "Any fives?" And when Matthew leans forward again, and sees it to be true, that the other player does have fives, he plucks the card off the table and puts it with its partner. These two fives he places on the table, on his side. With this, he's ahead, with four pairs while the other player is left with three. Matthew tries to come up with something that the other player might ask that wouldn't ruin his chances at winning when something interrupts his thoughts.
Matthew spins around in his chair, to face a rather curious Prussian, while something heavy settles in his heart. The blonde characterizes it as guilt, but he can't be quite sure why it was there. He hasn't done anything to be regretful against. "I…" He doesn't know what he had intended to say. He feels the strong need to apologize, or plead for Gilbert's secrecy, but he purses his lips and tries again. "Yeah, I am." He turns around, hiding his face that was prone to reveal his inner musings. Clutching the cards a bit tighter for mental support, he chews on his bottom lip. He knows he's been caught in the act.
Gilbert gives a nod that Matthew doesn't see, and crosses his arms while he leans against the doorframe. He licks his lips, trying to prevent them from being too harsh before he asks, "Why?" In his heart, he dimly feels and knows that he's reaching into a sensitive subject. Calmly, he continues to stare at the back of Matthew's head.
A jerky shrug pulls Matthew's shoulders. "I don't have anything better to do." In his head, the other player asks him for threes and he quietly tells it, "Go fish." He picks up a card and hands it to it.
"Huh?" Gilbert asks, leaning forward. "Didn't quite catch the last part."
Grudgingly, after swallowing thickly, Matthew informs him, "I… didn't say anything." From then on, in order to distract himself from the questions hanging in the air and Gilbert, he keeps the game's conversation within his mind. He plucks a seven from the other player's hand.
"Oh," Gilbert utters, looking up at the ceiling for a moment, searching for the way to politely phrase the next question within the white material. He looks back to the blonde. "Why don't you play with that white bear of yours?" A grudge that Gilbert had against the bear was still intact; he would refuse to call it by its name.
Matthew's back stiffens, and he hands the other player his nine. "He doesn't have thumbs," he admits faintly. He had tried to make Kumajiro understand the process of games, and while it did serve as something to distract him, it was never fruitful. The excuse he gives to Gilbert seems to sit well on the Prussian's shoulders.
"Oh, right," says Gilbert. "Forgot." Silence envelops them again. For a lack of things to do, he casts his gaze at the window. He watches birds with the same color feathers as his precious Gilbird flutter across the spring sky in small groups. The breeze gets tangled up in the tall trees' lanky branches, as the sun overlooks it all. Gilbert's musings pause for a moment and he looks back to Matthew. "Why don't you invite Cuba over? You're chummy with him, right?"
There was a short pause, in which Matthew takes a card from the pile and gives it to himself. After clearing his throat, he mumbles, still refusing to raise his voice higher than need be, "He nearly killed me last time he came over. Kept forgetting I wasn't Alfred. I… don't think that would change."
Slowly, but ever so surely, Gilbert notices – through his friend's cracking voice – they are beginning to reach the deepest part of this whole situation. Idly, he realizes it was easier than it thought initially. He relishes in the fact that he hadn't even gotten emotional. "Hm. Well, then why play at all if you don't have anyone to play with?"
Matthew knows Gilbert's intentions are best at heart, but the comment stings a bit and he straightens up again as he takes a card from the other player. Also, he is aware that Gilbert doesn't know the full extent of how long these little games have been going on. He has no intention of informing his friend of any of this either. "I have myself," he answers carefully.
"But that's no fun."
"Have you ever tried it?"
Gilbert honestly never had. He presses his lips together against a sharp remark, reminding himself constantly that such a sensitive subject doesn't deserve his brute frankness. It is hard to remain so neutral with his comments, but he tries his best to be obstinate, if only for the fragile figure sitting at the table. "…No," he replies after a moment, "but I can't imagine it being awesome as well."
Managing a half-shrug, Matthew says in a near whisper, "You get used to it." Instantly, he looks up from his cards and chances a rather indiscreet glance at the man behind him, searching for any expression of recognition. Luckily for him, he sees none, and he calms, turning back to the cards and the other player. He gives the other member a two, savoring the fact that Gilbert didn't catch upon his slip of tongue. It will only dig him into a deeper hole if the silverette realizes that he's been doing it for a while. He bites distractedly on his tongue for a moment, punishing it, as he takes a card from the pile when the other member doesn't have a six.
As Gilbert remains impassive and uncomprehending on the outside, he lets his mind mull over the new information. It doesn't surprise him. He peels himself away from the doorway, and walks casually to the empty seat before the Canadian. As he sits down, he pulls the cards into his hands and asks, "Any fives?"
Matthew stares at his friend for a few solid seconds, his eyes portraying slight weariness, but full admiration and full submission. With a flicker of his lips that express an unknowing smile, he shakes his head. "Go fish."