- BREAKING BOUNDERIES -
"You have to realize that our little Mathieu is upset too. Do you honestly think he wants this?" Francis said as he looked over at the Prussian. The red eyed man was slumped over, his head resting on the counter.
"Then why are you acting as if this only affects you?"
"…I made a big mistake…didn't I Francis…?"
A silence enveloped the two men. Francis leaned back in his barstool, rotating the glass of red wine between his thin fingers and watching the liquid glint in the dim bar light. Gilbert twisted his head, looking up at the Frenchmen with bleary eyes still bloodshot from the morning's events and the booze.
Francis sighed heavily, setting his glass down. "Yes. Yes you did." He said softly.
Gilbert cringed and quickly turned his face back, burying it into his folded arms.
"I had hoped that you would have been able to handle this little problem with a bit more maturity…But evidentially you aren't capable of such, not yet anyways." Francis shifted forward, propping his elbows up on the table and resting his chin in his hands. "What do you plan on doing when you go back home?"
"I'm not going to let you hide out at my house forever, Gilbert. I may be a friend, but being such I know what's good for you. Running away will only make the situation worse."
"…I could always just—"
"I'll make sure that nobody takes you in." Francis scowled slightly, picking up his glass and taking a small sip of wine. "You said so yourself that you remembered what I had said the other day. But you seem to have forgotten something after all."
"Was ist das…?"
"That ignoring petit Mathieu will only hurt him more." Again, Gilbert seemed to flinch. "And if you wish to rectify the situation, I suggest going home and apologizing." Gilbert sat up suddenly, wobbling unsteadily in his seat.
"Du kannst…You can't expect me to just go back there, Francis."
"…Am I sensing cowardice from the great and awesome Prussia…?"
Gilbert faltered suddenly, mouth falling open as the words quickly died on his lips. He sank back into a slumped position and let his head drop on the counter once again. "Even if I did go back and apologized…I don't know what I'd tell him…"
"Mathieu is an understandable young man." Francis murmured. "Even if all you said was 'I'm sorry', he'd forgive you."
"Canadian's tend to do that…" Gilbert mumbled, his voice slightly muffled by the voices of the bar around them.
"Prusse, you have to go back to him…"
"Why are you so nervous?"
"But you are," Francis nudged Gilbert lightly on the shoulder. "Why are you so afraid of going back there…?"
"…I…I hurt him…Francis…I…The look he had on his face when I pushed him away…" Gilbert seemed to curl into himself, burying his face in his hands. "And I just left him there…"
"He cried, too."
"What?!" Gilbert shot up in his seat, eyes wide.
"He was crying. I called him earlier to tell him you would be staying the night with me. I could hear it in his voice." Francis seemed to frown slightly as he stared at his drink. "I'm not sure how long he was crying…But he was highly upset." He paused. "And initially he thought you were angry at him."
"But why would—"
"I told him you weren't, Gilbert. Even I know it's near impossible for you to get angry at that boy." Francis brought his glass to his lips but halted the movement momentarily. He lowered the glass a few centimeters. "Now that I think about it…Why did you just push him away like that…?"
"Be-because…he…" Gilbert chewed on his cheek a few moments before turning his bloodshot gaze to the bar counter. "Because he's a kid, Francis. It's not normal…for a grown man to be with a kid…"
"Says society, that's who!"
"If I recall…a mere century or two ago, children were wed at the age of thirteen and had children by the time they were fifteen. Why should things be so different now?" Francis lowered his glass, folding his hands on the counter. Gilbert had fallen silent, biting on his lip and fidgeting uncomfortably. "I see nothing wrong with the relationship you two share."
"But…The problem is that it's not normal now. It's fucking illegal!" Gilbert turned his gaze back to Francis. "People get thrown into jail and labeled a sex predator for being with kids. Hell, I once heard a story about a grandma who was arrested for having nude pictures of her newborn grandchild!"
"And what does this have to do with you and Mathieu?"
"Everything! If I do anything with Matthew and get caught, I could get thrown in jail!"
"But I highly doubt that would happen…"
"And why's that?"
"Because you two hardly ever show your affection towards each other in public." Francis gave Gilbert a rather harsh stare. "You're too 'awesome' for love. Mathieu's too much of an introvert to even think of kissing you in a public facility." Gilbert seemed to freeze up. "What Russia says means absolutely nothing, Gilbert. Matthew, despite his looks, is still a good two or three centuries old. Maybe even older than that, but that's how long he's been Kanada."
"The fact still remains that he's much older than he looks. Give him a few years and he'll be looking a like normal again. I know you've never been one for patience, cher Prusse, but you have to get it through that thick skull of yours that until Angleterre finds a way to fix this problem, it's going to stay. You will have to deal with Mathieu being a child." Francis' expression slowly shifted to that of annoyance. "I will not allow you to simply ignore him because the rules of society have changed. I won't allow you to push him away simply because you're too much of a coward to even chance giving him a light peck on the cheek."
"I've known you to be an idiot, Prusse, but this simply is too much. You told me yourself that you were in love with cher Kanada. Why should you have to hide that affection because he's a child?"
"It's because he's a child that I can't—"
"Gilbert Weilschmidt, are you even listening to me!?" The glass in Francis' hands cracked. He hastily tore his gaze away from the Albino and snatched several napkins to soak up the steadily growing mess. A few seconds passed and eventually a bartender approached and offered to clean the mess. Francis murmured a light apology and then turned his rather icy blue eyes towards his old friend.
"You said so yourself that you made a big mistake." Gilbert flinched slightly, sinking back into his chair. "However much of an idiot you are, I have faith that you at least hold the common sense to figure out just what you have to do to fix this predicament. Right now, Mathieu is at home, alone, and upset. He has no idea why you ran out on him the way you did, and frankly, I can't quite understand it either." Gilbert leaned forward, resting his forehead on the counter. "If you truly love him, Prusse, then you'll go back home and apologize to him. If you truly love him, Prusse, it wouldn't matter what he looked like or how much society has changed these last few centuries." Francis crossed his arms, leaning back in his seat and turning his harsh gaze to the now clean counter. "If you truly loved him, Gilbert, you wouldn't be here right now."
And then there was silence.
The idle chatter from the other people in the beer hall filled their ears. There was laughing, and murmuring, drinks clinking together and a television off in the background playing a football game of some sort.
"…You can be a real bastard, you know that…?"
Francis smiled. "I only speak the truth, Prusse."
Gilbert shifted, lifting his head slightly to peer up at the Frenchmen. "That…that last one's a lie…"
"And how so…?"
"…I love him a lot more than you think…"
"And here I thought the word 'love' would never leave your lips. Perhaps everyone's assumption of you going soft really is true…"
"Shuddup you damn frog." Gilbert grumbled. He turned his gaze to the half empty stein glass in front of him. The amber liquid seemed to glow slightly in the dim lighting. "But personally, right now I'd rather just forget today even happened…"
"And tomorrow I'll go and apologize. Just give me some time to mope, alright?"
A rather pleasant smile spread across Francis' face. He turned his attention back to the counter as the bartender placed a new glass of red wine in front of him. "Have I made my point?" He asked rather quietly.
Gilbert shifted, sitting up a bit straighter ( although still slouched ) and grabbing the stein glass in front of him. "Crystal, Francis…"
The Frenchmen took a drink, relaxing into his seat as he set the glass down. "Then I expect things to return to normal tomorrow…"
"Mmm…" Gilbert took a rather generous swig of his beer, setting the glass down and licking his lips. "Francis…"
Gilbert tightened his grip on the stein, keeping his hazed over red gaze on the glass.
Gilbert awoke that Saturday morning to a face full of pink, and a quiet stirring somewhere in the large house that he couldn't quite identify. His head throbbed and the light salmon colour burned his eyes. Stiffly, he rose, his back responding by shooting spirals of pain up his spine that only made his headache hurt worse and his eyes threaten to explode in their sockets. He couldn't quite place what was so off about the current room he was in. All he knew was that Matthew's couch had suddenly faded from the deep red it used to be, and the house no longer smelled of maple and cinnamon, but of a cologne of some sort and roses.
…Matthew didn't wear cologne…
Come to think of it, neither did he.
And he didn't remember having any roses in the house…
Bloodshot eyes widened slightly and Gilbert hastily looked around. He ignored the stiff pain in his neck, only dignifying it with a small grunt before he shot up off of the couch. He wobbled uneasily, slowly gaining his surroundings and assessing that he was not at his home anymore.
He was at Francis' place…
Gilbert glanced down and relaxed when he found that he was still fully dressed.
There was a soft pitter patter across the floor and Gilbert looked up to see Francis entering the living room. The Frenchmen paused briefly before smiling ever so slightly.
"Good," He said. "You're awake."
Gilbert merely frowned. "Francis what—"
"We went out drinking last night. Rather…you went out drinking. I was the one who brought you back here." Francis sighed heavily, taking a seat in one of the chairs positioned catty-cornered to the couch Gilbert had been sleeping on just moments before. "Tell me,Prusse, do you remember anything from yesterday…?"
Gilbert seemed to lose his balance as he fell back onto the couch. He exhaled sharply, tilting his head back and letting his eyes slip closed. "Unfortunately…" He mumbled. Perhaps he hadn't drunk enough?
"You do realize that Matthew is still at home…?"
Gilbert said nothing; he merely cracked his eyes open a slit to stare at the ceiling that was much too high, and much too white for his eyes to handle.
"Alone and highly upset about what you did yesterday."
Gilbert let his eyes slip closed again, cringing when his head throbbed rather painfully. "I know…" He mumbled.
Francis leaned forward in his chair, propping his elbows on his knees and resting his stubbled chin in his hands. "You need to talk to him, Gilbert…" He said softly. "That's the only way you can fix this mess."
Gilbert was silent for a while, shifting his gaze to the table resting a few feet away. "What time's it?" He asked.
Francis glanced at a clock resting above the fireplace and replied, "About nine thirty."
Gilbert cursed bitterly under his breath and dropped his head into his hands. He rubbed at his eyes and ran a pale hand through his hair before he finally heaved a groan and stood up. "What the hell do I sa—"
"Just tell him you're sorry, Gilbert. And mean it." Francis smiled softly, motioning his friend to the front door. "I'm sure it's something the 'awesome' you is capable of doing."
Gilbert rolled his eyes. He paused briefly before turning to leave, "Francis," He said sternly, giving the Frenchman a very serious but tired look. "If you say anything about yesterday, I will hunt you down and eviscerate you."
Francis eyebrows shot up in mild amusement. "Such colourful language, Prusse." He said with a warm laugh. "Go on, mon Ami. You have a little lover waiting for you at home."
Gilbert grumbled under his breath, but made his way to the door none the less. Again, he paused before leaving, hand hovering over the elegant handle. "And Francis," He said. He didn't turn to look at the Frenchmen, keeping his ruby eyes on the door. "Thanks." He pulled the door open and stepped outside into the cold February morning air.
Matthew was curled up on the couch, an empty box of maple cookies tossed to the ground and another half empty one lying by his feet. There was a partially eaten cookie held loosely in his tiny fingers and crumbs dotted the couch everywhere. The TV remained on, spewing out dry humour that had been used and reused over and over. It was nothing but background noise to the occupants in the room though. Kumajirou looked up from his place on the couch ( the pillow for the small child ) and tilted his head to the side. "Who are you?" The beast murmured, but the man standing before him didn't answer.
Gilbert merely sat down, crossing his legs and resting his hands on his knees as he watched the little child sleep. He remained quiet, ruby eyes half lidded and still just as exhausted as he had been the night before. If he had the option, he would have gone right upstairs and collapsed on the bed, but he had a feeling that it wasn't the smartest thing to do. Not when he had more pressing matters on his hands. Matthew was unaware of them, however, and remained sleeping, tiny chest rising and falling and lips twitching ever so slightly while he dreamt.
He must have sat there for almost thirty minutes before blue-violet eyes finally slipped open. Breathing stilled momentarily, and then came out in a quiet sigh past tiny lips. Gilbert swallowed thickly, waiting for the small child to jolt up and yell at him for being an idiot and acting immature and stupid and unawesome and how he—
The tiny voice snapped the German from his reverie and he looked up from the floor to the blue-violet gaze staring at him curiously.
"Hey…" was all he could get out before suddenly he felt the shame from the day before crashing down on him and he was at a loss for words. He let his jaw fall closed and his gaze be averted elsewhere.
Matthew sat up slowly, brushing off the cookie crumbs from his shirt until he deemed it clean enough and looked back at the Prussian. The silence that enveloped them was quite awkward and uncomfortable, but the occupants in the room seemed fine with that. Matthew shifted forward slightly until he was on the floor. "A-are you ok…?" He asked slowly.
Gilbert glanced up at the child, letting out air he hadn't realized he had been holding in. He gave a short nod, murmuring a quiet, "Better than yesterday," Before falling silent again. Gilbert idly began to chew on the inside of his cheek.
"Gil, I wanted to—"
They both fell silent, letting out nervous laughs before Gilbert spoke again. "I…uhm…m'Sorry…About yesterday…" He looked down at the ground again.
Matthew decided that a sullen Gilbert was not one that he liked. He shifted forward, hesitantly reaching forward before he pushed Gilbert's messy bangs out of his face and lightly brushed it against his pale cheek. "I know." He said softly, a small smile playing at his lips. "I know you didn't mean it." He let his hand drop down to his lap, biting his lip lightly.
Gilbert seemed to relax considerably at Matthew's words. He heaved a sigh, letting his head drop down into his hands. "Ich bin ein idiot." He murmured. "Ein groß idiot."
Matthew laughed lightly, bringing his hands back up to Gilbert's hair, lightly running his fingers through the silver strands. "Yes, yes you are." He said. Gilbert lifted his head to look at the child, about to protest, but he fell silent. Matthew was smiling, he wasn't angry.
"Thanks for the comfort." Gilbert grumbled weakly, letting his head drop back into his hands. The chuckle that escaped his lips betrayed any signs of irritation or solemnity, however, and he suddenly found himself smiling along with Matthew. "Wir sind idioten…" He lifted his head once more, leaning back against the coffee table and staring at the ceiling. "God, I can't believe this…"
Matthew shifted forward again, giving Gilbert a cautious glance before he climbed into the Albino's lap. Gilbert made no move to run away as he had the day before; he merely wrapped his arms around the lithe boy and rested his cheek against his head. "Apology accepted." Matthew murmured softly, snuggling into the warm chest. Gilbert smiled, feeling the tense and awkward air finally giving way to something else.
Kumajirou decided that the fluffy scene unfolding before his beady black eyes was just a little too much, so he climbed off the couch and hobbled off up the stairs. Matthew and Gilbert watched with mild amusement before Matthew shifted in his Gilbert chair to sit face to face with the Albino.
"Are you ever going to tell me about what happened yesterday?" He asked.
Gilbert sighed heavily. "It's uh…" He paused. "It's not exactly—"
"Gil, I want to know." Matthew fiddled with the strings on Gilbert's sweater-jacket. "Please…?"
Gilbert was silent.
"Gil, you hardly ever get upset…And you've been acting weird all week."
Gilbert laughed dryly. "I wonder why, Mattie. Have you looked in the mirror recently?" He received a light punch to the chest. "Alright, alright!" He rubbed the spot as if it had hurt, and Matthew smiled smugly as if he believed him. "You really want to know?"
"I wouldn't be asking if I didn't, Gil." Matthew watched as the smile on Gilbert's lips slowly faded and was replaced by a light frown. "C'mon, Gil. Please? I'm worried about you…"
"You're always worried about me, Matt."
"Because you tend to do a lot of stupid things."
"Well it's true! But you're never depressed!"
Gilbert opened his mouth to protest, but closed it just as fast. Matthew kept his blue-violet gaze on him, still messing with the strings on Gilbert's jacket and waiting for a response. "All…All you need to know is that Russia said some things and I was being an idiot and let it get to me."
"What did he say?"
"…He said…some things about…us…"
"About how you're a kid now…And how I'm not…"
Matthew's hands stilled with the strings and he shifted slightly. The room fell silent, the television the only noise droning on in the background. "He said that…?" He murmured softly. Gilbert gave him a stiff nod. "And what about your nightmare…?"
Gilbert visibly cringed and sank back slightly. "Ask…Ask Francis about that one. I'm not repeating it." Ruby eyes were averted to the ground, away from Matthew once more. The little Canadian sighed.
"But you're feeling better…aren't you…?" He asked quietly.
"Like I said earlier…Better than yesterday."
"So…" Matthew started delicately, staring uncertainly at the man at first. He let his hands rest on the Prussian's chest as he continued. "Can I…uhm…Can I kiss you without you running away now?" His voice was barely a whisper as he spoke, and his cheeks flushed such a deep red that Gilbert silently wondered if Antonio's tomatoes could be any redder. He didn't miss the slight unease in the child's voice, or the way he would shift uncomfortably.
Gilbert was still for a few moments, mulling the question over in his head. Matthew took the silence as a 'no' however, and his face fell slightly, eyes already beginning to tear up.
It was then that Gilbert decided a sad Matthew was not one that he liked, so he gently lifted a hand to cup the small face and tilt it up. Without saying a word, he angled his head and brought it down, gently connecting their lips together. Matthew barely had a chance to utter out a small sound of surprise before he found himself wrapped up in a warm embrace and gripping at silver strands of hair.
The mess of maple cookies and crumbs and the television blaring in the background were quickly forgotten. The events from the past few days swept under the table and suddenly, Gilbert didn't very much care whether Matthew was a child or not. He didn't mind that the hands that used to be calloused from hockey and cutting lumber were now smaller and smoother against his skin. He didn't mind that Matthew's head barely reached his chest or that he had to bend over to reach eyelevel with the blonde. Just as long as he knew it was Matthew in his arms, he would be fine with that.
And as Matthew parted his lips, pressing himself closer to the white haired man, he decided that being little was something he could probably get used to. Just as long as Gilbert was there, and he didn't run away. As long as he knew that Gilbert could love him no matter what he looked like or how little he was.
It wasn't so bad, they decided, as long as they could stay together and be happy.
The mess of maple cookies had been cleaned up. Dishes and drinks that were left out from the hockey game two days ago finally put away or thrown out. The living room was tidied up, blankets folded and pillows fluffed and smoothed and resting on maroon cushions. The Williams-Weilschmidt household was calm for the first time in what felt like forever. Kumajirou continued snoozing on his usual perch on the end of the couch, Gilbird buried into the white fur atop his head. Other than the sounds of the grandfather clock ticking in the hallway, chiming softly to let the occupants know it was four o'clock, the house was completely silent.
That was, until the front door suddenly burst open and a rather frazzled looking Englishmen made his way to the livingroom.
"Matthew! Where are you I need to—What on earth are you doing sleeping at four in the afternoon?!"
"I'd much appreciate it if you wouldn't yell…" Gilbert growled from his place on the couch. He was lying down with Matthew curled up to his side. The little child was sound asleep, face buried into the prussian's chest.
Arthur frowned slightly, folding his arms across his chest. "That doesn't explain much, Gilbert."
Gilbert stared up at the Brit with bleary eyes. "Had a long day yesterday…What the hell do you want, caterpillars?"
Arthur continued to scowl, but complied. "Kraut," He looked at Gilbert rather harshly, giving the still sleeping Matthew a curious glance. "We need to talk."
"…Matthew has to stay a kid…" Gilbert said flatly.
Arthur nodded stiffly, fisting his hands above his knees as he stared at anything other than the red eyed man seated across from him. "I've searched through every book I have." He said. "But I can't find a reversal spell or anything. I don't even know how it happened, to be honest." He chanced a glance at Gilbert's impassive face and Matthew's still sleeping one. "The spell I was trying to use wasn't meant to turn anyone into a child."
They were speaking in hushed tones, Gilbert letting Matthew continue to rest in his lap, and Arthur seated in a chair positioned catty-cornered to the couch.
"What was it supposed to do, then?" Gilbert asked.
Arthur leaned over, burying his face in his hands. "It doesn't really matter. All you need to know is that Alfred was being a gitface like he usually does and I got sick of it. I figured a little spell wouldn't hurt anybody but…"
Gilbert shifted forward. "But…?"
Arthur frowned. "I…I may or may not have been smashed off my feet at the time…" He lifted his head, staring at the glass coffee table in front of him. "So I don't entirely know what I did. But I've searched through everything. You should stop by my house sometime. It looks like world war three came through with a good fifty billion battalions." He shifted again, letting his hands fall to his lap as he leaned back against the chair. "I truly am sorry about this." He murmured.
Gilbert rubbed at the side of his chin, frowning ever so slightly as he stared at the rather distraught looking Englishmen. "I…" He started, but he suddenly fell quiet. Arthur lifted his head to look at him. "I…don't think it'll be much of a problem…" Gilbert finally said.
Arthur's mouth seemed to unhinge and fall to the floor.
"…It…won't…?" Arthur stammered. Gilbert nodded slowly.
"I…uh…I talked to Francis…"
"Oh bloody hell…"
"Don't give me that 'bloody hell' shit, Arthur." Gilbert snapped. "He actually gives reasonable advice every once in a while, y'know."
Arthur fell silent, glancing towards the ground briefly before he leaned back in the chair. "So…you're not angry…?"
"Hell yes, I'm angry." Gilbert hissed. Arthur flinched. "I'm fucking pissed."
"But I can't exactly do anything to change the situation now, can I?" Gilbert shifted slightly, pulling a blanket off of the back of the couch and pulling it around Matthew. Arthur dimly thought how much of a paternal action it was, but quickly shook it from his head.
"Wait, what?" Arthur looked up from the rather cozy looking Canadian to Gilbert.
"I said I can't do anything to change the situation…right?"
"So I'll just have to suck it up and deal with it."
"Not a problem."
"…Are you on something…?"
"I took some advil this morning…" Gilbert frowned slightly. "Why?"
Arthur spluttered slightly. "B-because you're actually being reasonable for once." He shook his head. "Did someone finally beat you into submission or something? I thought you'd be ready to jump down my throat or, or…Well I don't know, I just figured you'd go on a rampage!"
Gilbert merely shrugged. "Why would I do that when I know you'll find a counter spell eventually?"
Arthur fell silent.
"You haven't even been searching a whole week." Gilbert pointed out as he leaned back into the couch cushions. Matthew remained snoozing, shifting only slightly to bury himself further beneath the blanket Gilbert had pulled over him. "You're gonna keep looking."
"And you will find that spell."
"But how can I—"
Gilbert narrowed his eyes. "Arthur," His voice was suddenly icy and low. Arthur involuntarily shuddered.
"R-right then. Keep looking. Find the spell. I-I can do that…"
Gilbert smiled. "That's a good little caterpillars. Now get out of my house so I can sleep."
Arthur was gone in less than three seconds.
A/N: So I'm not entirely happy with the end of this chapter... :/ But that's just me.
I was planning on having this done on Monday, but some things got in the way so it got delayed. TAT
But it'll definitely be done some time this week! I PROMISE!!!
Also, there's like...four bonus stories and an OMAKE+storyline to go with it. |D