Disclaimer: Hetalia doesn't belong to me~ (shame.)
As the hostess led Arthur over to the table, he couldn't help but play the funeral march in his head because he abhorred working with all three of his bosses at the same time. One on one he could handle them without too much trouble (except Bonnefoy), and really, he didn't mind them that much (except Bonnefoy). Gilbert was actually the easiest one of the trio to deal with, and what was scary was that Ludwig agreed with him.
"Bonjour Arthur! What a coincidence that we ran into you here!" Francis turned to the hostess, and took her hand to kiss it gently. "Merci, mademoiselle Phan."
The woman just giggled and rolled her eyes as she walked off, which made Arthur feel the slightest bit better about being near the Frenchman. At least there were people besides him who could fend off the lecher's advances.
Still, he waited until she was back at her station before facing Bonnefoy and asking, "Why did you call me over here?"
"Is it not normal for friends to eat lunch together?" countered Francis, a playful grin on his face.
Just glaring at the Frenchman, Arthur replied bluntly, "We're not friends."
"Aww, we're not, Arturo?" inquired Antonio, his green eyes wide with a childish innocence.
The Englishman repressed his own eye-roll as he replied, "I was talking specifically to Bonnefoy; I am not his friend."
"Oh, okay!" And as randomly as he had entered the conversation, Antonio bowed out, choosing to regal Gilbert with more stories of his many pet turtles. All Arthur caught of the story was that Delmar and Pedro had attacked Lars' pet rabbit before the Frenchman spoke again.
"I would say friendship between us is a must if my son continues to court you."
"He is not courting me!" growled Arthur, hating the knowing look Francis was giving him.
"Oh come on, Kirkland! You're still trying to play that card?" Now Gilbert joined their conversation even though Antonio was still talking about his turtles like he had an audience that cared.
"What card? I just don't think he is!"
"Jaja, you're so silly Arturo! Of course he is! Everyone knows~!" Great, even the oblivious Spaniard would pause in his monologue about his turtles to comment.
"Oui! What everyone does not know is why you two have not gotten together yet!"
Thankfully, Arthur was prevented from having to give them a completely undignified response by the appearance of their waiter.
"Goodday, Gilbert, Francis, Antonio! Who's this lad ya got wit ya?" The man had brown hair, a little strand of which stuck up in the front quite unnaturally. His green eyes stood out again his moderately tanned skin, and his bright smile was almost blinding.
"Ah, Bruce! This is Arthur Kirkland. He is one of our employees, and he is also Alfred's new boyfriend!"
Kirkland opened his mouth to protest, but he couldn't. The waiter, Bruce, slapped him on the back, effectively slapping the wind out of him.
"Aw, congrats! Lil'Alfie has been on the market fer a while now! It's nice ta see him hookin' up wit someone!" Arthur wanted to explain himself, but all he could do is stare blankly up at their waiter, who took the stare completely different. "I'm sorry! I fergot ta intraduce myself. I'm Bruce Kelly!"
"H-Hello…" was all Arthur managed as he was just overwhelmed by the immensity of the misunderstanding.
"Now that we all know each other, what can I get ya?"
"Okay then! I'll be back wit yer drinks in a sec!" Then Bruce was gone again, and Arthur wished he just hadn't shown up at all.
"So why haven't you und Jones schliefen zusammen?" The Londoner wasn't one hundred percent sure what his immediate boss had said, but he could assume by the nudle and eyebrow wiggle he'd received what it meant.
Blushing darkly, Arthur stammered, "W-Why does it matter to you guys so much? For all you know, I don't even like the twit back!"
"Je suis son père," stated Francis bluntly.
"I'm your boss," reminded Gilbert with an arrogant smirk.
"I'm just curious!" exclaimed Antonio happily, but his smile quickly morphed into a frown as he wagged his finger at Arthur, "And Arturo, it isn't nice to lie to a tus amigos!"
"Who said anything about lying?" All three of them gave him a look—a look that said 'don't be stupid, everyone knows the truth'. Still trying to remain oblivious, seeing as it always seemed to work for Carriedo, Arthur persisted, "Just staring at me isn't going to explain anything!"
Before any of them could reply, Bruce came back with their drinks.
"Here you go, lads? Are we ready ta order?"
"Oui, but we have a question for you first."
There wasn't a thing about Francis' statement that Arthur didn't want to burn in hell.
"Don't you think it's obvious how much Arthur likes Alfred?"
Bruce chuckled as he answered, "Haha of course it is, Francis! I've only just met him, and I can see it!"
The Brit wanted nothing more than to sink into the chair he was in and disappear. How the bloody hell did everyone just seem to know? He was barely around this Bruce, and he figured it out after coming to the table all of two times! Arthur's brain halted the moment it came upon a lone and terrifying thought: D-Did that mean Alfred knew?
"Bloody hell…" murmured Arthur, who suddenly did not feeling like eating anymore, at least not with his present company (like he had to begin with). He felt like everyone was now watching him, and that only enhanced his growing urge to leave and go back to his room. The Englishman stood up quickly, and giving his bosses and Bruce a nervous smile, said, "I'm sorry, but I've just remembered something I've got to do. Please excuse me, and I am so dreadfully sorry about leaving so early."
The four of them just watched as the Londoner walked away, pausing in his exit only when the hostess called out to him. He just smiled at her, rather unconvincingly, and told her he wasn't feeling well. She too watched him leave before walking over to Francis and the others.
"What's up with him?" inquired the woman.
"Oh, I suppose he is just figuring some things out. He tends to be quite slow in matters of l'amour as I've come to find out," answered Francis, a small smile on his lips.
"Kesesesese, you're such a douchebag, Bonnefoy!" said Gilbert, a devious smirk on his own face.
"Fusososo~ but Arturo is so cute when flustered! I can see why Alfred likes him so!" added Antonio cheerfully.
"Oui, I approve of Alfred's choice other than the fact that Arthur is a dull Briton, but I suppose the boy has more of his mother in him than moi." Francis glared at Gilbert as he added, "And though I thought Mathieu was more in touch with his French heritage, he persists to betray his background by frolicking around with un Allemand."
Ignoring his friend, Gilbert just rolled his eyes as he sipped his beer. He then faced Linh Phan and Bruce Kelly who were still standing there.
"Frau Phan, you may return to your post; Bruce, just go ahead and get us our usual."
Linh smiled, glad that nothing was actually wrong, that it was just the usual of Francis being an overly protective father, and happily did as she was told. The Australian man grinned as he wrote down the trio's order from memory and walked back towards the kitchen, yelling something at a man named Javier.
"How did you know I wanted my usual?" growled Francis, his aggressive attitude not having dispersed.
"Yeah, Gilbo! W-What if I wanted a burrito instead of my churros?" Antonio was trying to make his angry/stern face that he'd always tried to use on Lovino. It failed on Gilbert now just as it had failed on the Italian boy in the past.
The German (Prussian!) man just sighed and looked at his two friends, "Francis, you will always order the same thing no matter how long you look over the menu. It's been like that since day one at this restaurant because despite your appetite for variety in romance, your palate is entirely predictable." Gilbert just turned to Antonio and added simply, "Antonio, you hate burritos."
Laughing happily, Antonio immediately gave up pretending to be angry (which was good because he looked more constipated than anything, and Lovino surely would've made fun of him had he been present), but Francis just hmphed and averted his eyes.
"Oh come on, Francis! How long are you really going to stay mad at me for dating your precious Mathieu?" When Francis just made another disgruntled noise, Gilbert just stared at him in disbelief of how obstinate his friend was, and added, "You do know that he was the one who asked me out, right?"
Francis' blue eyes made their way to meet Gilbert's red ones dead-on, and the German (Prussian!) knew for certain that his polar bear loving boyfriend had most definitely not informed his father of that fact, preferring to instead let his father's anger rage towards him, where years of friendship protected him, rather than the son, where filial piety would make Matt near shake with fear.
"Scheiße," muttered Gilbert, suddenly very afraid for poor Matthew's life.
-La Tortuga de Oro-
Arthur wasn't really paying attention to the outside world as he marched back into the hotel. He was much too focused on the internal war waging inside him. The mental battleground was as fierce as it was full of land mines and he had a feeling that there was still a rifle going off in his direction from A La Earth.
Therefore, he most definitely didn't notice Alfred until he had, quite literally, run into him.
"Oi! Watch where you're going you…twat…" The Englishman lost his angry tone just from staring up at the American (and God did he hate that he had to look up).
"Artie! Just who I was looking for! I just got on break until lunchtime really starts up, so I figured we could get some food together and just hang out." It pissed Arthur off that he couldn't help but stare at the dazzling smile that was being flashed at him. The logical part of him was telling him to blow Alfred off because he needed some time to sort his thoughts out.
Too bad for the logical half of his brain that the half mesmerized by Alfred's smile was in control of his mouth and answered, "S-Sure…"
"Cool! Is Chinese okay?" Arthur just nodded wordlessly. "Awesome! We'll get take-out and watch a movie! Let's go up to my apartment, okay? I have menus on my fridge!"
The Englishman was incredibly unimpressed with this fact; it just seemed so wholly American to him to have Chinese take-out menus on your fridge. This didn't mean he was able to speak again because while Alfred had burgled his way into Arthur's apartment several times, Arthur had never been outside of the American's door. (He didn't even know what floor it was on!)
"Artie, are you okay? You've normally said some sort of biting and snarky comment by now and are marching off."
"H-How do you mean, Jones?"
Alfred just continued to give him a scrutinizing stare, a contemplative frown on his face. "You have never willingly gone anywhere with me. Up until now, you have spent your days avoiding me, why agree to eat lunch with me at my apartment? Totally out of character for you."
Blushing a little at being caught acting out of the norm, Arthur mumbled, "W-Well, you're first impression of me was wrong: I'm not anything like James Bond—"
"That has yet to be confirmed."
"—So maybe my first impression is wrong, and you're not quite as annoying as I thought."
Yup, Arthur was completely unable to look Alfred in the eye after admitting that, but he had to look up when he heard the American…laughing?
"Oh Artie! You're adorable! Come on, let's go to my apartment so we can order. I'm starving!"
Before he could form some sort of reply, Arthur's stomach growled quite loudly due to neglect and Alfred smiled at him.
"Haha, sounds like you're starving too, Artie!"
The Londoner wanted to defend himself, but it was true. He was incredibly hungry, and like hell would he go back to A La Earth knowing his bosses three would be there. Therefore, he just blushed lightly and followed Alfred into the elevator, where the Brit couldn't help but remember how Alfred had teased him about his boxers.
"Jones, why the hell had you been snooping through my underwear drawer yesterday?"
"Huh? Oh, that? I was just curious as to whether you would have lots of kinky sex stuff in there like Gilbert said you would; plus James Bond had to have had loads of things he'd asked Q to make or something—Ow!"
Arthur couldn't help but feel justified in punching Alfred in the arm. If anything, it made him feel better because he could ignore the coy teasing part and just think about the idiotic and creeper-like bit.
Plus the pout he had put on the American's face was cute.
-La Tortuga de Oro-
Along with eating Chinese with him at his apartment, Alfred also managed to con Arthur into watching a Bond movie, which only backfired on Alfred because all Arthur did was make fun of it.
"Honestly, Jones, nothing about this movie is believable! Not even the romance!"
"What does it matter if it's believable? It's awesome!"
"It matters in the aspect that you, being what I'll assume is a typical American, assumed right away that I was a spy like Bond merely because I am British!"
"Psh, I always knew you weren't a spy."
"Yeah, I just used it as an excuse to riffle through your stuff." Alfred grinned as he leaned in to whisper into Arthur's ear, "You like unicorns and embroidery far too much to be manly, Artie, seriously."
Suddenly, Arthur was hyper-aware of the fact that Alfred's arm was wrapped around his shoulders, their faces were incredibly close, and Alfred was looking at him like he…like he…
"I-I'll have you know that unicorns are majestic creatures that shouldn't have to worry about 'being manly'." The Brit surprised himself by answering in the same whispered tone as Alfred. Yeah, that's right, he was flirting back finally. At least…he hoped that he was doing it right. He honestly had no real idea as to what 'flirting' consisted of…
"Is that so? Why don't you prove it to me?"
That reply threw Arthur off, making a confused expression appear on his face. "W-What? But how can I when all of my stuff is back in my—"
Arthur was interrupted by a pair of very American lips meeting his. Really, he didn't know what to do with that. It wasn't that he didn't want it because even for all his bitching to Ludwig, he had begun to realize that he might want something to happen between him and Alfred. It also wasn't because it was his first kiss with a guy or anything clichéd like that—he'd taken care of that during his 'phase' or so Bran called it.
Bran—there was the crux of his problems. He really did want to do this with Alfred, but it felt like bad timing. His siblings were going to be arriving in just a few days now, and if he were to be in a relationship with a man right after he'd somehow convinced Duncan and the twins that he wasn't homosexual (at least not literally, he doubted they would ever stop name-calling him such things), well, let's just say it would go even less smoothly than Arthur even dared to hope.
So it was Arthur who pulled away after indulging his want the slightest bit by kissing back. It hurt him to see the American so confused by the action, but he knew he had to do this.
"Sorry, Alfred. I…I can't do this right yet." Arthur got up nervously and feeling immensely awkward that Alfred wasn't saying anything. "A-Ah…thank you for lunch…um…I guess…I'll see you later…or not…uh…bye."
Silently, Alfred watched the Englishman take his awkward leave. With a smirk on his face, he just faced his TV and continued watching the movie before even entertaining the notion of going back to work.
If he didn't know better, he would think Arthur was playing hard to get…
"At least I got to kiss him this time," murmured Alfred, thinking bitterly about how his brother had sent Heracles to interrupt them. True, he supposed he deserved it because he most certainly had given Matt and Gilbert hell when they first got together, mostly at the request of his father, but then he'd seen how happy Matt was with Gilbert, and even though their relationship still kinda bothered him, he stopped messing with them on a large scale. (Much to the disappointment of Francis.)
Now he had to figure out how he would get alone with Arthur next because seeing how he left, he sure wasn't going to want to come back to Alfred's apartment. Plus, if Alfred guessed correctly as to why his little Artie left, it was because his siblings were coming to town soon-ish. Sue him; he was fuzzy on the details. He wasn't the one who'd bought the tickets, that'd been Enlai's job because according to Yao, his little brother apparently had some great connections with airlines, and rooming was Ludwig's problem. All Alfred had been entrusted with was getting Arthur and Peter to reunite.
Laughing softly to himself, Alfred grinned and murmured, "That just might work~."
Nothing can keep Alfred down; not even when his romantic interest seemingly rejects him. He would call it being in love; Gilbert would call it being a stalker. Alfred would retort: "At least I'm not a pedo."
Gilbert never won those arguments.
A/N: It's been a while, and I'm just going to save myself the trouble of making excuses. I was lazy. 'nuff said. Therefore, I made this chapter extra long-ish for you guys. You're welcome.
Something I'd like reviewers to let me know is their opinion of how Arthur is acting. I'm writing these chapters after periods of not even looking at the story at all, so I'm worried that Arthur isn't being very consistent. I mean, I try to make his emotions make sense, but sometimes I think he escapes. Oh well. I wanted to brood over this chapter some more to make sure Arthur's emotions were all in check, but then I was tired of working on this chapter and wanted it posted.
Obviously I went with the latter.
I hope I confused you all a bit more as to who precisely is behind all of this~ Tis my intention~
Oh, right, and they kissed, but whatever, that's not what you guys care about, right? Right. I actually wanted to have a few more almost kiss, but then cockblocked moments, but then I just felt this moment was right for SingertoPotatoes' idea, so I went with it. I wasn't even sure I was going to use the Chinese food bit, but then it worked its way back in.
Also, the title is stolen from that one in Faith Hill's song "This Kiss". I felt like it suited the chapter well. Plus I like that song.
Peter's going to be in the story big time soon, so prepare yourselves.
Arturo - Spanish/Italian for Arthur
vin (French) - wine
leche (Spanish) - milk
bier (German) - beer (duh)
schliefen zusammen (German) - slept together
Je suis son pere. (French) - I am his father.
a tus amigos (Spanish) - your friends
un Allemand (French) - a German
Frau (German) - Mrs./Ms. (also woman and wife, but used as Ms.)
Also, everyone keep in mind that after this Peter event is solved, this particular story will be over. HOWEVER, I will continue to wrtie fics in this AU because, well I like it a lot. There's so much I can do, and so many characters to explore in this AU. It'll be fun~!
So, for reviews: leave ideas for what kinds of things you want to see happen in the Tortuga AU and/or tell me who you think Javier is!