It was now eerily silent in the house. Like everyone was holding their breath, England had disappeared back downstairs and Francis and Alfred still hadn't shown up. Matthew was sitting outside in the backyard, leaning against the old willow tree with Kumajiro sleeping in his lap. The boys head was tilted back, his eyes shut as he dozed lightly, a small butterfly resting on his knee before taking off at Kumajiros snort. Gilbert was sitting in the kitchen, nursing a bottle of whiskey between his hands. Okay, fuck anyone who dares to tell him its too fucking early to be drinking. It's only like... 2 in the afternoon. Besides, Gilbert is a full blooded Prussian, it's gonna take a little more than Englands piss water whiskey to get him drunk.

At least that's what he was telling himself.

Prussia grumbled under his breath and took another deep swig of whiskey, feeling the comforting burn washing down his throat as he did so. If Gilbert were to be completely honest with himself, he'd admit that he felt like a bastard. But just a bit... well okay, maybe a lot like a bastard. A lecherous old bastard and if Gilbert was actually calling himself old there was a problem. If he were in the habit of admitting things, Gilbert would admit that he hated America because the guy was way too close to Canada. If he were in the habit of admitting things, Gilbert would also tell you that he had found little Matthew something of a perfect anomaly since the first time he'd met him. Soft skin, soft hair, a kind, brilliant smile that lit up the whole damn room, a gentle word and hand for everyone and everything. Yet at the same time he was all hard, toned chest with a dangerous smirk that fired Gil up like nothing else. So the fact that his (not-so) secret crush was turned into a kid along with that same brother whom Gilbert despised due to their closeness, it made him feel like some paedophilic old bastard.

But that's only if he were in the habit of admitting things.

Gilbert swore violently but slammed the bottle down on the table when he heard muffled arguing coming from the front of the house, jumping up, Gil ran for the door and whipped it open. A dishevelled Francis was glaring pure, cold, bloody murder at the Prussian as he held up a squirming American teenager by the back of his shirt. They were both dripping wet and more than a little dirty from running, the teens face was red as he attempted to fight the bigger nation with futile efforts. He whined and twisted in Frances grasp with nothing to show for it.

"Je d├ęteste enfants." Francis sniffed, tossing the boy into the house.

Gilbert snickered but knew better than to argue with his friend now. "I'll watch 'im."

Francis scowled and shook his head. "See that you do. I cannot stand 'im after so long." With that (and with as much dignity as his poor ego could muster) the Frenchman turned on his heel and stomped away.

Alfred was turning an interesting shade of purple when he finally opened his mouth to scream profanities at Gilbert. The Prussian just snorted and hauled the boy upstairs, tossing him in one of the rooms and locking the door. Okay, yeah, he also didn't like America because the kid didn't know when to shut the fuck up. But that was minor in the bigger reason. Prussia snickered at the boys useless attempts to kick the door down, leaning against the door himself and sliding down it to sit at the bottom. Technically he was 'watching' Alfred.

"Do you have to be so mean to him?" A soft voice that echoed faintly of disappointment asked.

Gilbert looked up at the small Canadian in front of him, frowning. "What does it matter? He hit you remember?"

"If I treated everyone who hit me to a stay in a locked room then I would have no one left to talk to." Matthew responded, his tone wasn't sharp but the words were cutting. "And just to remind you, the only reason why I'm not in there with him is because I refused to get back at the people who hit me."

Gilbert opened his mouth a shut it, unsure of what to say. Matthews whole persona was cold and his eyes were like ice with a faint amount of pity and a liberal amount of disappointment. He noticed, idly, that America had stopped kicking at the door and what sounded of crying was heard faintly through the door.

"If you wouldn't mind," Matthew continued "could you open the door for me? I think my brother needs someone."

Prussia scowled, finding his voice. "Hell no, birdie. He's just going to beat you up again."

Matthew pinned his eyes on the Prussian. "A lot of people would say the same for you, Prussia. I doubt you are in any position to deny me my choice of company."

And that was that, Gilbert decided as he stood and moved away from the door. Matthew unlocked it and stepped inside, closing the door behind him and shutting Gilbert out. As Gilbert locked the door again, he was suddenly hit with the feeling that he wasn't locking them in, but that Matthew was making sure to lock him out. It threw the Prussian for a loop but he slid back down to sit on the floor, back to the wall this time. His head thunked solidly against the wall and his forearms rested against his knees as he listened to the soft whisper of fabric and small murmurs of comfort and he couldn't help but wish that it was Matthew saying those things to Gilbert, not to Alfred.

"Pining away, mon ami?" Francis asked as he entered the hallway with a flourish, his clothes changed and his hair neat.

"I ain't pining for nothin'." Gilbert grunted. "I'm just makin' sure that the brat doesn't leave."

France didn't look the least bit convinced. "So it 'as nothing to do with the fact that Mattieu entered the room with Alfred, oui?"

"Why the fuck would I care?" Gilbert grumbled, looking away from his long time friend. "He's just an invisible little kid."

"An invisible little kid that saved your life." France pointed out. "As I recall, it was Mattieu that stood up for you and Germany at the end of The War and protected you from being murdered."

It was true, admittedly (although Gilbert was not in the habit of admitting things). At the end of That war, World War Two, Gilberts country was going to be destroyed, finished. And if Prussia was to die, than Gilbert was to die. It was a cruel thing, but they hadn't had a situation like this in years so they never bothered to change the rule. As punishment, Prussia was to be divided into pieces and handed off to different countries. Prussia was to be demolished. Gilbert was to follow. So as they stood on that battlefield so long ago, the Allies staring down the former Axis, Gilbert just gripped Ludwigs hand and told him to stay strong, they wouldn't get him to break. Not from this. Even as America spewed hurtful truths that cut them all deeper than they cared to admit, as Englands cruel and pointed barbs pierced their armour to make them bleed, as Frances cold indifference as he cradled his arm to his chest stung in ways he had never felt in his hundreds of years of wars. Russias glee had struck terror into his heart and Chinas disappointed, scornful scowl had him wincing.

It was Matthew that saved them. At the end of all things, it was that blonde Canadian that had them sucking in a sharp breath and clutching at their iron crosses on the battlefield that saved them -Gilbert- from certain death. As Alfred had advanced with a gun in his hand and a hateful look on his face, Matthew had ran from the back of the crowd of nations to stand between his enemy and his twin brother. Protecting his enemy. Ludwig had let out this little choking sound -too quiet for anyone but Gilbert to hear- and clutched at his brothers hand tighter, making his knuckles turn white. Matthew defiantly glared at his brother even as the older male yelled for Gilberts death, and all he did was cut him down with a few sentences.

"If we killed every single nation that had ever done something this horrible, none of us would be alive. I'm not saying they shouldn't be punished. I'm saying that we shouldn't be so quick to turn a blind eye to our own faults before harming someone who has already given up."

It had shocked all of them to the core, but Canada never tore his gaze away from America. It was simple, but it was pure and it glistened with hope for the future. To a future that was good, even amongst the terror. For the old, battle-worn Europeans this was like a breath of fresh air, a breath of cold, icy, Canadian air. Alfred just looked away, scowling as he dropped his gun. It was then that their saviour turned to look at them, he just gave a small smile and offered a hand.

"Bosses can be such a bitch, eh?"

Japan started to cry, as did the Italies. Ludwigs voice caught in his throat and he nodded, looking away. Gilbert himself... he just stared at his golden haired saviour, unable to think beyond the fact that this kid had just done what no one else would have and he didn't do it for anyone.

He did it because it was right.

It was about then that Gilbert fell in love with him.

"I don't know what you mean." Was all Prussia ground out, looking away from Francis.

The Frenchman gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "I'll stay with them, mon ami. You look like you need a stiff drink."

Prussia nodded and staggered away, now where did he leave that goddamn whiskey?

So there you are, one more chapter and a little backstory to Gilberts infatuation with Matthew. Or at least, my version.

For those of you who have stuck through this far, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. It means a lot to me, especially when I know that I've been so difficult as an updater.

Happy Canada Day!