Disclaimer: I don't own Axis Powers Hetalia or any of its characters.

" Give me thy hand,
And let me see thee in thy woman's weeds."

~ Orsino, Act 5, Scene 1 (Twelfth Night)

Chapter 8 - Enter Mr Jones

By no means was Mr Jones a man who didn't know his place in the world.

He walked as a man of importance. And he should. After all, he was one of the few people not overwhelmed and handicapped by the Depression. How he did it, no one was quite sure how.

And he was most unlikely any other gentleman living during these times. He was loud when he should be quiet. He was smiling when he should be solemn. When he should have walked, he chose to run. He was always restless, always moving, never spending even a sliver of his time to plan or think ahead. He chose to act quick and fast, whether it was the correct or wrong. He did them because of what he believed to be right, not what others said. Mr Jones was an engima, a powerful force to be reckoned with.

He certainly had a handful of enemies and those who despised his methods and his way of thinking. They all whispered and grumbled under their breaths, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike Mr Jones down. But even during the Depression, Mr Jones remained strong and standing despite their efforts to destroy hin.

But one thing one would need to know about Mr Jones was that he actively and purposely strived to beat this Depression and "rescue" (in his very own words) his country and fellowmen.

Despite most people not sharing his optimism (many either downright laughing at his face or groaning at the eccentric idiocy of the man), Mr Jones was confident he would succeed. Even if his plans seemed a bit outrageous and perhaps a little scatter-brained at times.

" Sir, it's just not possible to communicate with an extraterrestrial lifeform."

" For the last time, Mr Jones, there is no such thing as a tree that grows rolls of bills on its branches."

" As if we will provide the funds to build a robot that will fly around the world! What do you take us for, fools?"

Nevertheless, Mr Jones was undeterred and he was determined to prove those so-called scientists and businessmen wrong.

Still, after wasting weeks of trying to convince them that his brilliant idea of building of a machine that would bring people to travel to distant planets of the galaxy, even Mr Jones was feeling a bit drained and his usual buoyant optimism wasn't as high as it normally was.

He found himself wandering aimlessly the streets on this particular evening, endlessly frustrated and irritated with his company. It was as if they didn't even cared about the rest of the people in the world suffering from poverty and starvation. A real hero (like him, of course) would do the right thing and help those people. But they were more worried about themselves and they even had the nerve to reject his ideas! At least Mr Jones was actively trying to think of a solution.

With a great sigh, he pinched the bridge of his nose, careful not to upset his glasses. No sooner did he looked up that his feet somehow ended up in front Le Château, much to his surprise and pleasant delight. He always did have a soft spot for this place and most visits were very enjoyable and would find some ways to lift his spirits after a gruelling day.

And then there was this mysterious Lady in Red that had been circulating around in the whispers of people and having reached his ears and curiosity ...

Smiling a bit wider and brushing aside all previous weariness, Mr Jones strolled into Le Château with an air of confidence that no one would have suspected that he could ever be discouraged.

Inhaling the familiar scent that he had missed, he gazed around the bustling diner area. On stage, he spotted Bella easily charming the audience with her dancing act, kicking out her long legs to the jazzy beat, her long golden tresses flowing behind her and her lovely green eyes deviously winking, causing an eruption of cheers and whistles. He absently wondered to himself whether the Lady in Red would be performing tonight.

" Matthew? What are you doing here?" someone jovially shouted. Irritated that someone got his name wrong, Mr Jones turned to see his long-time adversary Adelio approaching him with a carefree grin. " I thought Feliks dragged you off for the ... "

Adelio's facial expression immediately changed when he saw the half-amused smirk on Mr Jones's face. The previously amiable smile was wiped off and replaced by a more distasteful one. " Oh, it's you. What are you doing here, Mr Jones?" he spat out the last part.

" Can't a person enjoy his favorite restaurant?" Mr Jones huffed crossly, not noticing the dark shadow that flew across the Cuban's face. " It's not like I'm bothering anyone or pushing my beliefs onto them so they could live a better life just like me."

" Forgive me if I didn't think your ego would have handled it, Mr Jones," Adelio gritted out, fists clenched at the sides.

" Apology accepted!" All at once, Mr Jones's bright smile could have illuminated the darkest room. " I knew you would see things my way."

" What did you say, you bastard?"

" Adelio. Adelio." The man called Lars somehow appeared from nowhere, casually looping an arm around Adelio's shoulders, sighing like a disappointed parent. " Stop standing around and flirting with Matthew. It's getting too obvious."

Spluttering, Adelio turned a deep red, something Mr Jones had never seen before. " I am NOT flirting with Matthew. And this ISN'T Matthew," he snapped, jabbing a finger at Mr Jones.

That's when Lars actually looked at him, visibly taken back. He stared, leaning closer to look at Mr Jones, who frowned in disapproval. How could anyone miss his face? I suppose it had to do with Monsieur Bonnefoy hiring the not-so-bright employees, he wryly thought.

" You are not Matthew," Lars finally said, slowly dragging out his words.

It was bad already that the Cuban got his name wrong. Now, this guy (what was his name again?) got it wrong too. It was as if the whole world had gone out of balance. " I know I'm not Matthew," Mr Jones indignantly said. " I should know my own name, should I?"

Lars laughed, an irritating sound. " Of course, sir. Everyone should know their own name."

Adelio snorted in agreement. Feeling as if this man was stealthily insulting him, Mr Jones scowled. " My seat, if you would?" he coldly asked.

" This way," Lars immediately chirped, directing him to the tables.

But no sooner then they passed by Adelio (who deliberately shouldered Mr Jones before he returned to his post at the entrance), they spotted a group of men harassing a waiter, whose only reflection of his emotions was a faint tint of pink on his cheeks. Who happened to be wearing an elegant maid outfit that exemplified his stoical grace.

" I have to get back to work," he (who Mr Jones had now recognized as the ever quiet and emotionless Chinese boy Shen) calmly said.

" Aww, come on baby. Don't be like that," one of the men smirked.

" We won't bite. Promise," another silkily said, wrapping an uninviting arm around Shen's bare shoulders.

At this, Lars rolled his eyes, muttering something about how thankful he was for not being dragged into this mess and approached the table to tell the men off, leaving Mr Jones unattended and without a seat.

Grumbling to himself, Mr Jones hovered between remain standing there looking like a fool or following after Lars. As he peered over the heads of other customers, watching Lars smugly point out to the men that the 'waitress' they were flirting with was actually a guy, his gaze caught a glimpse of another maid passing by. One that looked very familiar ...

" Toris?" Mr Jones gasped in stunned realization.

With a start, the boy flushed. " M-Mr Jones," he stammered, ducking his head in embarrassment.

" What on earth happened to you? And why is every waiter wearing that?"

Turning redder, Toris looked everywhere except at Mr Jones. He nervously twined his hands behind his back. " It was - it was required for all waiters and waitresses to wear this for tonight," he finally mumbled.

Mr Jones barked out a laugh. " Your friend Feliks on a rampage again?"

" Unfortunately, yes. And Monsieur Bonnefoy did sort of encouraged him," Toris sighed, trying to unsuccessfully smooth the frills of his dress. " I best get back to work. I'll see you around, sir." With a smile, Toris slipped away into the kitchen, leaving Mr Jones still without a seat.

Feeling exasperated, he simply found myself an empty spot and sat there. " I'm filing a compliant," he muttered.

" Ahh, Mr Jones! How good to see you again," a voice exclaimed.

Monsieur Bonnefoy appeared seemingly from nowhere, just as extravagant and magnificent as he had ever seen the Frenchman, dressed in blue, red and white. " How are you on this lovely evening?" he beamed happily, his very smile almost blinding Mr Jones. Of course, the real reason why the Frenchman was so happy was because he had another guest in Le Château. Which meant getting more money.

" You really need to get new help around here. Your lackeys mistaken me for someone else," Mr Jones scowled. " For this mysterious Matthew person. Not that he could look as handsome and awesome as me."

Monsieur Bonnefoy's amused smile only irked him more. Like he knew something that Mr Jones didn't. And Mr Jones simply hated that feeling of waiting for someone else to tell him the answer when he should have clearly known all the answers. " I cannot blame them," Monsieur Bonnefoy shrugged. " After all, we have recently gained a new employer who - resembles you exactly on a physical level. Quite remarkable if you ask me."

The idea that someone else shared his good looks interested him. " I would like to meet this person," he declared, grinning with the excitement of a child about to be rewarded with candy.

In his eagerness to meet this mysterious look-a-like of his, Mr Jones failed to see the mischievous twinkle in Monsieur Bonnefoy's eyes. " This way, monsieur." He directed Mr Jones towards the back of the hallway, who immediately left his seat.

" Isn't this where your employees get dress and stuff?" he asked, passing by a cluster of glittering dresses hung on a clothes hanger.

" Yes. Our fashion designer has to prime every one of our employees before they perform. Here we are," Monsieur Bonnefoy promptly said.

They stood in front of a door with a sign scribbled in a hasty writing. Keep out. Anyone that comes in will be totally dead.

Mr Jones was amused. Monsieur Bonnefoy wasn't. He irritably knocked on the door. " Feliks? Are you done yet?" he barked.

There was a shuffling of footsteps, a yelp from inside and an irritable grumble. " We would be finished much faster if you stop bothering us," a voice snapped, sounding breathless and very miffed. " Now leave us alone!"

" We have customers waiting to be served," Monsieur Bonnefoy retorted with another series of knocks. " What's taking you so long?"

Feliks chose not to reply. From inside, he mumbled something under his breath. " Now hold still," he spoke to the one in the room. " I'm just seconds away from completing my masterpiece. And ... there! Perfect!"

" We can come in now?" Monsieur Bonnefoy crossly asked. Mr Jones snickered, highly amused by the whole commotion.

" Yes. Yes. No!" Feliks abruptly said, changing his mind halfway through. " Why don't we come to you?"

The blond poked his head out, grinning like a tomcat. With a sly wink (whether at Mr Jones or Monsieur Bonnefoy, Mr Jones did not want to find out), he opened the door fully and pushed out his said masterpiece.

Mr Jones's eyes widened at the sight of this (boy? girl? person?) being dragged out the door by Feliks, blushing furiously and trembling like a little leaf. " I - I can't go out like this!" the ( - girl, Mr Jones finally decided on) was saying and to his surprise, it was a shyly embarrassed stutter barely above a whisper.

It was as if he was looking into a mirror and seeing a feminine version of himself blinking back. As Monsieur Bonnefoy had mentioned earlier, the likeness of their features were stunning. If the two of them were to stand side by side in the same clothing, it would be almost impossible to tell them apart. Their hair twined and rippled in the same manner. Their noses were shaped the same, poised and curved enough to support the glasses that sat neatly at the bridge of their noses. Even the shape of their faces were the same, angled smoothly at their chins, a teasing dimple alight at the corner of their mouths.

The only remarkable difference between them (other than the obvious gender difference) was that her eyes were a glowing amethyst, a rarity upon rarities. Absently to himself, Mr Jones wondered if those eyes would glitter in the sun like a jewel or glow in the dark like a cat's.

" Don't be silly," Feliks cheerfully replied, now pulling the girl out from the protection of the room and out into the hallway and closer to the dining hall, where many customers were caught staring dumbfounded (and some rather eagerly) at the adorable maid and whose cheeks were as red as tomato. He elbowed her, jerking his head knowingly towards said leering customers. " See? They totally love you already."

" B-b-b-b-but -"

" Tu es belle!" Monsieur Bonnefoy squealed, immediately latching onto the maid, who if possible turned an even darker crimson. " I knew you would exceed my expectations," he jovially gushed out, holding out his arms and carefully inspecting the little apron nipping at her knees, the lacy white headband folding on top of glimmering golden curls, the exposed ebony satin stockings over smooth pale flesh and a revealing neckline that sparked more than enough interest and delight.

The maid squirmed under his grip. " I can't breath ..."

He didn't even realize she had spoken. "Every inch of perfection, I'd say," he proudly declared.

Thanks to Mr Jones' sharp eyes, he spied a French hand reaching and stroking the maid's back, much to her embarrassment. " Ahh, Monsieur Bonnefoy!" she squeaked in alarm.

Monsieur Bonnefoy either ignored her or didn't hear what she had said. " So cute," he was murmuring, barely loud enough for Mr Jones who stood away in the distance.

Mr Jones had to admit that the blushing scarlet on the girl's cheeks and her stammering protests were delightfully pleasing to the eyes. Still, he knew Monsieur Bonnefoy well enough to know that if given the chance, those lurking hands would eventually reach much lower and further down her back. And he wasn't sure how much more of the girl's chastity could handle being tainted by the deprivation of Monsieur Bonnefoy.

After all, it was a hero's job to save a lady in distress.

Not a moment too soon (before Monsieur Bonnefoy could molest the poor girl any longer), Mr Jones bumped "accidentally" into him, smiling hugely as he had always done.

" Bonnefoy, I'm disappointed you haven't introduced us already," he promptly declared, leaning sideways to carefully break up the closeness between Monsieur Bonnefoy and the girl.

" My deepest apologies." Monsieur Bonnefoy winked deviously at him. " This is our latest recruit. Joined us last week."

Mr Jones inconspicuously examined the girl from head to toe. Now that they stood side by side, it would get alarmingly difficult to tell who was who, despite the two of them wearing two very differing clothes. Which probably explained why the rest of Le Château's employees kept mistaking him for someone else (a grave insult nevertheless in his mind).

Her beauty was neither exotic or stunning like the other female (and certain male) residents of Le Château. Instead, she was pretty because she specifically lacked those traits. There was something about the way her violet-blue eyes sparkled under the dim lighting, the way she fidgeted nervously under his gaze and the way she protectively wrapped her arms around herself as if to ward off the stares from customers that certainly unwittingly brought his attention towards her.

" Hello, miss." He took her hand and kissed it, as any gentleman would. When she gasped in surprise, stammering incohesively, he put on his most charming smile and to his delight, the girl wilted and didn't make another sound. " I suppose you have a real name?" he teased, his voice low and beguiling.

" My name is Matthew Williams," 'she' muttered, avoiding his gaze.

Wait. Matthew?

His jaw dropped. This was a boy? Now it was his turn to flush with embarrassment. He immediately let go of Matthew's hand and Matthew audibly breathed in relief. No wonder 'she' was so embarrassed when he took 'her' hand.

Then it hit him. Monsieur Bonnefoy was setting him up the whole time. When he looked up, he could see the Frenchman and Feliks fighting to keep a mirthful smirk from appearing on their faces. He could now hear the light chuckles from the other customers and his cheeks reddened, both from the mortification of being played with and himself for mistaking this boy for a girl.

Admittedly, a feminine boy. But a boy nonetheless. No wonder that man Lars was teasing Adelio for having a crush on him!

" Well ... ahem, sorry about the confusion," he finally muttered, hating himself for the embarrassment in his voice and hating Monsieur Bonnefoy for taking advantage of his chivalry to protect the fair not-so-lady.

" It's all right," Matthew smiled with a bit of amusement and sympathy on his part. " It happened often to me. And I get mistaken for you a lot too," he added.

" It's not that hard to miss our handsome faces," Mr Jones grinned. To his amusement and delight, Matthew blushed.

" Shame you didn't work for me," Monsieur Bonnefoy sighed longingly to himself. " Otherwise, I could have had a performance of twins. And how many customers I would have if I did." He twittered happily to himself. Matthew and Mr Jones looked at him in confusion, not understanding what he meant.

Without missing a beat, Monsieur Bonnefoy flashed a smile. " Now then Matthew, why don't you show Mr Jones his seat?"

Feliks loudly snorted. His smile not wavering, Mr Jones followed Matthew back to the dining hall.


Matthew zig-zagged her way through the clutter of chairs and tables, many already seated by customers, some who kept an attentive eye on her. A few even called suggestively to her. She promptly ignored them, dropping her head, so her hair would cover her face.

" You shouldn't duck your head down at them," Mr Jones suddenly said.

She blinked at him. " Sir?"

" They're just jealous. You shouldn't be offended by standing next to me." He smiled toothily at her and all she could do was return one.

" Ahh, Matthew. Just the one I was looking for," a voice called out. They both turned and saw a beaming Mr Kirkland raising a hand in greeting from his table. Only to see Mr Jones and his pleasant tone changed instantaneously, hand dropping like a stone in water. " Mr Jones," he tersely scowled.

In return, Mr Jones's smile was a mixture of a frown and a sneer. " Good evening, Kirkland. Up to your usual tricks, I see?"

The British man spluttered indignantly. " What tricks? What are you accusing me of now, Jones?"

" Nothing. Nothing at all." The smirk on Mr Jones's face was enough to warrant suspicion. With an arrogant sort of swagger, he promptly sat down at Mr Kirkland's table, grin widening at the sight of Mr Kirkland turning purple and Matthew helplessly staring.

" What are you doing here? This is my table," Mr Kirkland snapped.

Mr Jones shrugged. " What? It's not like you're expecting someone."

Judging from his mutters and his ace turning more darker with bottled up anger, Mr Jones was right. Finally, Mr Kirkland calmed himself down and when he looked at Matthew (thus decidedly ignoring Mr Jones), he appeared serene. " Tea, please. One bag of sugar and a cup of cream, if you would please," he airily said, pleasantly smiling at her, though it seemed a bit strained.

" My God, you still drink that stuff?" Mr Jones snorted an ungentlemanly sound. " I'll get coffee by the way," he added aside to Matthew. " Now that's a real drink. Unlike your cup of muddy water."

" It's not muddy water, you git! At least it has much more alleviating effects than your coffee."

" Of course it does. And I suppose it could cure every disease out in the world," he snorted disbelievingly, making Mr Kirkland glower. Matthew took this time to quietly slip away, since neither man noticed her at the moment.

Well, she tried to slip away quietly because at that moment, Mr Jones abruptly turned to Matthew. " You there, what's your name again?" he asked her blithely, completely forgetting the conversation they had only minutes ago.

" Matthew Williams," she reminded him, with a slightly cooler tone.

" Ahh, yes, yes. I remember now." He casually waved his hand, as if brushing aside her annoyance.

The fact that Mr Jones was showing interest in Matthew made Mr Kirkland even more irritable. " Must you insist on bothering the poor lad?" he growled. " He has enough on his plate without having you hovering over him like a bat."

" Who are you calling a bat?" Mr Jones grumbled, straightening his glasses. " Besides, Matthew and I are friends." With those words said, he stood up and wrapped an arm around Matthew. Both to Mr Kirkland and Matthew's surprise.

" I've known Matthew longer than you," Mr Kirkland seethed, fists clenched in his lap.

" So?" Mr Jones smirked lazily. He gripped Matthew's chin, tilting her dangerously close to his face. Whether he noticed the increasing red on her cheeks, he didn't say. " For all I know, she could be my long-lost twin sister. I mean twin brother," Mr Jones quickly amended, shooting Matthew an apologetic wink that sent her into another rush of crimson.

Mr Kirkland spluttered, turning red himself by their interactions. " As if!"

Even as he said that, Matthew herself couldn't help but wonder.

" Matthew is far too nice and innocent to be related to the likes of you," Mr Kirkland was saying indignantly. " Now, let go of him and sit back down. Your embarrassing behavior is mortifying."

Sticking out his tongue playfully, Mr Jones did as he was told. Politely excusing herself, Matthew hurried away as their argument had now taken a completely different direction and they were currently bickering heatedly about the stock markets. Yong Soo who was also getting drinks for his customers and looking cheerfully perky in his maid outfit, nudged her with the enthusiasm of an earnest child.

" If we're lucky, Mr Kirkland will accidentally drink a bit of wine and then he'll start stripping to his undergarments in front of everyone," he giggled, anxiously spying the table over his shoulder. " And Mr Jones gets this deer-in-headlights look (which originated from Korea, by the way) when Mr Kirkland does it. Like he doesn't know what to do for once in his life."

Matthew raised an eyebrow. Mr Jones not knowing what to do? Wouldn't that be amusing, she mused.

After at long last meeting the mysterious Mr Jones that everyone knew, she supposed that she could understand why some people like Adelio and Mr Kirkland had a conflicting opinion about him. There was smarmy arrogance in the way Mr Jones presented himself, in the way he talked, in the way he walked. He knew himself to be the center of attention and he relished in it. He was quick to praise himself and quick to point out the flaws of others, particularly Mr Kirkland.

Yet, Matthew had to admit that Mr Jones was unexplainably charismatic and fascinating to be around. He was handsome, charming and most of all, rich. At least, rich enough to live comfortably in the Depression. His clothing and his well-founded knowledge was proof of that.

And after Mr Jones said it first, they looked so alike it was as if there were twins. What were the chances of her meeting another person who shared the same face as hers? One to a million, that was what. But Matthew couldn't help but be pestered with a particular idea. Could it possibly be -

No, she argued, shaking her head as if to clear it. Her brother, who was so kind and always smiling, who tucked her into bed and read her favourite stories to her, who held her hand warmly as they walked home after school, was nothing like this Mr Jones. This pompously egotistic man couldn't be possibly even related to her. And like that, she brushed the very notion that Mr Jones could be her brother.

Even in the crowded, clamorous dining area, she could still hear Mr Jones' voice from where he sat, one arm casually over the back of the chair. " I can't believe you actually believe in that silly folk tale," he was laughing. " Just how old are you again?"

" I'm not old!" Mr Kirkland angrily retorted, almost upsetting his plate.

" Just look at those eyebrows. If those don't belong to an old man's, I'll swallow my glasses."

" Here, why don't I help you with that, you bastard!"

" They fight like a married couple," Matthew joked to Yong Soo, as she added cream to Mr Kirkland's tea.

He grinned. " If you think they are bad, then you should see the rows that Monsieur and Mr Kirkland have. Like a pair of cats and dogs."

Holding back a chuckle, she headed back to Mr Kirkland and Mr Jones' table. " Your tea and coffee, sir," Matthew announced as she set the beverages down. However, they didn't appear to notice her, too enrapt in their bickerings, so she simply left the drinks where they could avoid the worst of the quarrel.

No sooner than she turned around to serve another table, her eye caught a glimpse of dark brown hair and emotionless green eyes staring back at her.

Heracles stood near the kitchens, having thankfully escaped from Feliks' rampages and was wearing a simple white shirt and dress pants. He watched her from the shadows, barely even blinking.

They hadn't spoken since their last encounter on the first floor. Heracles had made no indication that he wished to speak to her since then and neither did she. But here, as they continued to stare at each other in the hallway, there was a strong silent need for them to talk and try to settle this silent argument between them.

At long last, Heracles made a motion with his hand to beckon her to him. Nodding once, Matthew slipped away from the diner area and approached him. Without a word, he pressed a finger to his lips. Then, he took her wrist and led her away from the diner area. Heart beating faster, Matthew simply followed him like a docile lamb.

Arriving at one of the now empty and quiet acting rooms, he gently ushered her in and closed the door behind him. " Didn't want anyone to hear," he murmured.

Nodding silently again, it was all Matthew to do at the moment. An uncomfortable silence stretched between them and she fiddled nervously with her lacy apron, trying to find the right words. He looked just as uncomfortable and he appeared to be looking down at his shoes. Should she greet him first? Casually ask him how he avoided Feliks? Or should she just get right to the point?

In the end, Heracles beat her to it.

" Have you changed your mind?" he finally asked, still mumbling to the floor. " About us? About ... me?"

After that night, she had thought about it long and hard for many days. And at long last, she came to this conclusion.

" No," she simply answered, smiling a weary smile.

Heracles understood. He didn't seem upset or angry. Only curious. " Because I've seen what those kinds of people did," Matthew continued. She involuntarily shivered, rubbing her arms as if there was a sudden chill. " And I don't think I could ever forgive them for it."

A memory of a shadowed man whispering in a low guttural voice to her obedient mother as they laid tangled in bed made the skin at the back of her neck rise. Her throat went dry as she remembered being associated with prostitutes and tramps, watching them do business at the local taverns while she worked. If there was something she hated about her mother, it was the fact she shamelessly sold her body off to ravenous men, trying to earn a few extra bucks.

Sometimes those men would hungrily and greedily watch Matthew as she passed by, like she was theirs. Like they owned her. And there were many nights where she hid underneath her bed, praying that they weren't going to come for her or that her mother wouldn't sell her to them.

There was a long pause and Heracles didn't say a word. He watched her intently, his green eyes searching deeply. Matthew cleared her throat, unhinging her tongue from the roof of her mouth.

" But," she continued steadily, as if nothing had happened. " I know you're a good person, no matter what you do. Same with the others. You're not like the people I had seen and I have no right to judge you. You're different. You all welcomed me here and I couldn't ask for a more friendly place." A grateful smile appeared on Matthew's face. " I'm sorry that I didn't realize it earlier." For the first time in their conversation, she looked straight at him in the eye. " So we're all right?" she hopefully asked.

Then, a smile dawned over his face and for the hundredth time, Matthew understood why Heracles was the most popular male inhabitant of Le Château. " We're all right," he murmured.

They said nothing for some time, simply staring at each other, smiling like a pair of fools. It was then that Matthew realized just how close they were standing together. So close that she could see her own small reflection glittering in his irises.

Just like the time she had seen Adelio without his shirt and all his muscles and chest was revealed for her to see and stare unblinkingly and blushingly like a child caught red-handed trying to steal. Her heart had been fluttering recklessly out of control and sweat glistening on her palms, just like what was happening to her now. Why her body was reacting in this way, Matthew didn't know or understand.

" Heracles ..." she began.

" There you are, Matthew," a voice called out.

And just like that, the spell was broken and Heracles swiftly withdrew and though she outwardly sighed in relief, her mind was sighing disappointingly at the possibility of what could have happened.

Roderich entered the room, oblivious that they were in the midst of something. " Matthew, where have you been all this time?" he sternly asked. " Monsieur has been asking for you and you have guests to serve. What are you both doing here in the first place?" His eyes suspiciously flicked back and forth from Heracles and Matthew.

It was Heracles who answered first.

" Nothing," he quietly admitted. " Nothing at all."


Author's Notes:

Tu es beau (French) - You are beautiful

For the fun of it, I chose to write this chapter in Mr Jones's perspective in the beginning. It made it more fun when he kept thinking Matthew was a 'girl'. Not that he was entirely wrong ...

The quote said by Orsino, the lead male from the play Twelfth Night, is speaking to the female lead Viola, who he now knows is a girl and not a boy. And he is telling Viola that he would like to see her in woman's clothing. Which is reversed in this case, where Mr Jones is seeing Matthew in female clothes rather than in male clothes. Not that he minds ...

Edited: I decided to change a few things after a few reviewers pointed out some things to me. For those reviewers, thank you so much for helping me! It was mainly about Matthew not even thinking that Mr Jones could be her brother. Like what I had added above, Matthew simply holds her brother on a pedestral, that he is perfect and the best brother in the world and she is only basing this from what she remembers of him. Compared Mr Jones to the other potential brothers (Monsieur Bonnefoy, Lars and Mr Kirkland), who had all treated her kindly. Matthew would be more swayed that they have more traits suited for her brother. And the fact that Mr Jones has many unfavourable flaws simply makes her see that Mr Jones doesn't fit into her supposed ideal brother.