Sometimes I just let myself write so I can clear my head and focus on other stories. This is what happens.
Pairing: Arthur/Matthew (ahaha, kinda. you'll see), mentioned Alfred/Matthew
Warnings: weirdness, butchering of history, OOCness, drama/angst
Disclaimer: I don't deserve to own Hetalia
The first time Matthew drops by unannounced, it's snowing. Flurries, barely specks in the inky night sky, tumble down to dust the streets. Its cold, the type of cold that sinks into your bones and just stays there and when Arthur opens the door and finally notices his former colony, hunched over and clutching his polar bear with an embarrassed smile, his golden hair frosted with snowflakes and cheeks chapped and red, without a proper winter coat, he nearly explodes.
"You'll catch your death out there!" He scolded, tugging in the younger nation, ignoring the whispered apology. "Twit."
He forced the blond to sit down next to the fireplace before bustling about, fetching a woolen blanket and setting water to boil. The sandy-haired man brushed off the excess snowflakes, tsking and tutting at the wet and stringy hair and damp sweatshirt.
"Honestly, Matthew. What were you thinking, my boy?" Arthur muttered, absently tweaking the other's errant curl and turning away, having heard the screech of the kettle.
The younger blond doesn't answer, choosing instead to reach down and rub his polar bear companion's head, scratching lovingly behind its ears to elicit a pleased grumble. Arthur sighed, briskly making tea and, as an afterthought, grabbing a package of biscuits.
"Here." He stated brusquely, pushing the teacup into Matthew's hands. Without letting the other speak, he hands a biscuit over as well, green eyes silently ordering the boy to eat and not argue.
He settled back into the armchair opposite of Matthew, noting the way his former colony dipped the biscuit in his tea before nibbling at it—a habit leftover from his childhood. "The conference isn't for three days." The former empire pointed out.
"My Boss said I could leave early." Matthew shrugged, voice soft and violet eyes lowered.
"Matthew." Arthur sighed. "If you expect me to believe that rubbish, then you're a bigger fool than your thick-headed brother."
Matthew tensed briefly before shoving the rest of the biscuit in his mouth. And Arthur has his answer.
"Did you and Alfred fight?" He asked, not unkindly.
"Not really." Matthew admitted, staring down at his socked feet. "We exchanged some words…" He trailed off, sipping his tea. "He's just become unbearable."
"I see…" Arthur shifted. "Well, brothers will be brothers and such."
Matthew doesn't say anything else so neither does Arthur. The rest of his impromptu visit is spent silently with Matthew drifting throughout the house, ghostlike, and Arthur forgets about the nation until he's at the airport and Matthew asks if he needs help with his luggage.
Arthur does need help, but it feels wrong to accept help from Matthew when the other's existence is something he is incapable of remembering.
So he says no.
The third time Matthew shows up early before a conference, Arthur ushers him to the parlor without a word, grateful that, at least this time, the boy is dressed properly for the elements.
"I feel as though you need me more now in your independence than back when you were a dominion." He chuckled, pressing the teacup into Matthew's hands and then taking a drink of his own tea.
Matthew laughs with him, the action not quite reaching his eyes. "I suppose." He agreed, teacup clenched in hand.
Arthur takes control of the conversation, then, and Matthew nods his head politely and makes a few comments and Arthur would feel uncomfortable but its been a while since he's had anybody over for tea that wasn't a politician and Matthew has always had a soothing presence, like snow falling on mountains at dusk.
When Arthur retires for bed, knowing that Matthew knows his way around his home, he sleeps fitfully and, when he wakes up red-eyed and grouchier than normal, he attributes it to the night terrors he's had for centuries but can't remember no matter how he strains his memory.
But Matthew is not down there nor is he in his room and Arthur can only slump against the doorframe, taking in the tidy, un-slept-in bed.
He doesn't know where his former colony has disappeared to, but it doesn't even feel like Matthew is in his kingdom and the former empire swears profusely.
He shouldn't be worried because it's Matthew—the same Matthew who struggled through the treacherous mud, the same Matthew who crawled out victorious in Ortona, and the same Matthew whose mind was nearly dragged apart by two opposing elements since the beginning and who managed to pull away from the edge before both voices ruined him. Matthew is far stronger than he gives him credit for, remaining sweeter and more docile than anyone who grew up next to the powder keg that is Alfred and anyone who has known conflict for so many centuries could be.
But Arthur has always blamed himself for Matthew's pains (and happily blaming Francis as well) so he can't help but blame himself this one time as he remembers how Matthew looked, violet eyes so sad and lost and face twisted into worry.
He succumbs to his worry and picks up the phone, counting the rings until a rich voice answers, somewhat sleepily, "'Allo?"
"Francis." He greeted curtly. "Is Matthew with you?"
The other end of the line is silent and Arthur knows the other nation well enough to visualize the blond leaning against the balcony, phone pressed to his ear as he watched his capital come to life.
"Why would he be here?" Francis asked flatly.
"He left London sometime last night. I assumed he—"
"You assumed incorrectly." The nation of France cut him off sharply. "And I know you are no fool, Arthur." His voice sounds angry and hurt. "I do not appreciate you calling to mock me. A verbal battle I would gladly welcome, but this…this is crossing the line."
Arthur refrains from snorting because Francis has usually crossed the line with him and because with them some line is always crossed and destroyed and forgotten completely.
"Don't get your knickers into a twist." Arthur snapped. "It was just a question—"
"You know he and I have not been so close now." Francis's voice is higher and shriller and Arthur winced. "You should be happy."
And with that the blond hangs up and Arthur mentally crossed France off the list. He wonders if maybe Matthew has run back to his own continent and he calls Alfred, with great reluctance to be sure.
"…Hello?" The other blond sounds groggy and dazed and Arthur rolled his eyes (never mind the time difference).
"Have you spoken to Matthew?"
"…what?" Alfred mumbled. "Who? Mattie…?"
"Yes, git." Arthur tries counting backwards from twenty.
"Shouldn't he be in Toronto or Vancouver or wherever the hell his capital is?"
"So you don't know where he could be?"
"He usually doesn't tell me stuff. 'Least not lately." Arthur could hear the sound of a mattress squeaking. "Oh wait…I'm not supposed to be talking to you right now."
"What? Is this some kind of diplomatic crock? You can't just have a 'special relationship' and then treat me like a leper, wanker." Arthur wondered if he missed a memo.
"Not a political thing, dude. Just between Alfred and Arthur." Alfred responded brightly. "Homewrecker." And with that he hangs up.
"Bloody hell." Arthur muttered, staring at the receiver before slamming it down. "Did I miss something?"
Not knowing whom else to call, Arthur drags himself to Parliament and finishes his work half-heartedly. He debates calling Matthew's boss and maybe his own, but in the end he does neither because he figures if Matthew wanted to be found, he would have answered his cell phone one of the thirty times he called.
On the first day of the conference, Matthew is not there and Arthur is wringing his hands in worry.
On the second day, he sees Matthew with Alfred and he hides behind the corner, just watching the scene unfold.
"You're such dick, bro." Alfred said softly and Arthur strained his ears to hear. "Why can't you just talk to me? It hurts to see you flee the fucking continent just to get away from me." The older nation looks frustrated and furious but when he addresses his neighbor his voice is pleading.
"Talk to you?" Matthew sounds disdainful and his pretty eyes have frosted over. "You don't take me seriously. You patronize me. You laughed in my face when I told you I have a navy."
"I can't help it if the thought of you with a navy is cute." Alfred defended. "Maybe a couple of decades ago, yeah. But now?" He poked Matthew's bicep. "Whatever. I'm sorry."
"You've been saying that for years." Matthew snapped, slapping at the other's hand. "And you never mean it. It's always the same thing. You—"
"Aw, c'mon. Don't be like that, Mattie." Alfred stepped forward, wrapping his arms around the other and effectively pinning the northern nation to the wall. "You know you're special to me. I love you the most." He whined, resting his forehead on the other's shoulder so Arthur couldn't see his face. "Why won't you believe that?"
Matthew's face is unreadable, but the younger nation seems to deflate as he pats the back of Alfred's head.
Arthur doesn't question the way his stomach seems to plummet at the intimacy of the scene, he attributes it to something he's been very good at bottling away for centuries.
But he does acknowledge that perhaps he has missed something crucial.
"Since when have you and Alfred…" Arthur trailed off meaningfully, green eyes locked on Matthew.
The other nation seems surprised, looking up from where he bent over, sneaking some of his smoked trout to his polar bear. "What do you mean?" He asked cautiously, unable to hold back a tiny grin at the way his bear licks his fingers clean.
Its quite charming, that little smile, and its enough to convince Arthur to take the empty seat across from his former charge.
"You and Alfred are…together?"
"We've always been together." Matthew quirked an eyebrow. "Save for a few instances throughout history, but its not as though he dwells on those moments."
"That's not what I meant—"
"Its not what you think." The other stated plainly, face honest. Honesty was what Matthew did best. "Its different with us. It's not the same set of rules as you follow." He shrugged, unintentionally tossing his curling hair over his shoulder. "Its only ever us. You wouldn't understand."
"Try me." Because he rarely lets a challenge slide past.
"You wouldn't understand." Matthew repeated, standing up. "You weren't even on the same island with Uncle Cillian and look at what you did to him."
When he left the restaurant, Arthur didn't follow.
"You're going about it the wrong way." Is all the Netherlands says as he takes the empty seat next to Arthur at the conference table.
"Beg pardon?" The Englishman asked, knitting his heavy eyebrows together and giving the continental nation a long look.
The tall man just leans back, puffing from his pipe, eyes thoughtful. "He came to me, that night."
"Matthew." The Dutch nation says, tone softening as he says the name, a fond light sparking in his bored eyes.
Arthur understands the sentiment.
"Well, that's good." He nods. "And what do you mean I'm going about it the wrong way?"
"He doesn't need what you're offering." The other nation said simply. "He has France for that."
"I don't follow."
The other man sighs tiredly. "My, you're quite dense."
Arthur, high-strung and worried about a nation who has never really needed his worry, is ready to throw diplomacy to hell when the other nation continues.
"You'll get it eventually. He hasn't given up on you yet."
"Can I have a hint." Arthur asks dryly. "Since you seem to know all about Matthew?"
Netherlands frowns, a flicker of annoyance crossing his face. "He doesn't tell me half as much as he'd confide in you."
"Well, could you tell me why Alfred would call me a 'homewrecker'?" He snapped.
The other nation chuckled loudly. "In a way, I suppose you are."
Well, that was one of the most useless conversations he ever had. And he debated the value of tweed for three hours while drunk.
"Be nice to Matviy!" Ukraine scolded, leaning over him, eyes devoid of tears and shirt buttons pulled taut over her generous chest. "He's sad and you should do something."
Her English is surprisingly good and the acrid scent that trails after her like a shadow does not take away from her beauty.
"Matthew won't speak with me, madam." Arthur said politely. "I tried—"
"Not hard enough." She interrupted, blue eyes hard and, for a moment, she is terrifying. But then she begins to tear up and nearly falls over herself apologizing and Arthur thinks that maybe he was seeing things.
The mint-colored winged rabbit in his lap agreed with him.
"Your friends are ganging up on me." He grumbled after Matthew opened the door.
"Yes, they do that sometimes." Matthew said with a smile. "Can I help you Arthur?"
"You can start by letting me in." He snapped, voice lacking any real heat, as he pushed past the other nation.
"Now isn't really the best time…" Matthew began, reaching out and grabbing Arthur.
It is then that the former empire realizes Matthew is clad in only a pair of boxers and his ears begin to heat up when Alfred prances out of the room naked, calling for Matthew.
When the American sees him, he freezes, blue eyes confused then furious. "Really Matt? Really?" He snapped. "Its bad enough that you brought him into our business, but now of all times?"
"I didn't call him over." Matthew demurred, violet eyes on Arthur. "By the way, Al, could you put on some pants?"
"Pants are for the weak." Alfred announced, turning on his heel and shutting the door to the room behind his tanned ass.
"You have the worst timing." Matthew said, snickering.
"I try." Arthur said, before grimacing. "That image will forever be seared into my mind."
"Pity." Matthew grinned before all humor vanished from his demeanor. "Arthur…"
The former empire doesn't even hesitate, grabbing the younger nation by the shoulders. "I don't know what I'm doing." He admitted. "I don't know what you want me to do."
"What do you want to do?" Matthew asks, unperturbed.
Arthur doesn't have an answer.
"You really don't get it." Netherlands said, his expression awed. "And you owned most of the world at one point?"
Arthur is pretty sure telling the nation what he wants to say might just spark a war, so he settles for glaring.
"And he lived with you too."
Yes, true, but Matthew's always been more independent than Arthur would like. The only reason the boy didn't start screaming for freedom like Alfred was because he didn't want to. It wasn't out of some love for Arthur (though maybe it was out of some anger towards Francis). Not to mention Matthew was naturally well behaved when content and passive-aggressive at his worst. Never violent, though after the great wars and decades of hockey, maybe Matthew just had pent up rage and better self-control.
And Matthew has always been someone he's never understood, try as he might. He did exactly what was expected.
He was the exact opposite of Alfred. In fact, he worked hard to differentiate himself from his brother.
"Damn it all." Arthur swore.
"Oh, so you've gotten it. About damn time."
"Do you feel like some sort of martyr?" Arthur shouted across the lobby, garnering strange looks from the other nations milling about.
Matthew gives him an incredulous look from where he is standing with Alfred.
Arthur doesn't give him time to protest, marching over and grabbing the nation by the ear.
"Ow, Arthur!" Matthew yelped but Arthur paid him no mind as he proceeded to drag the younger nation out of the lobby, nations watching with varying degrees of pity and interest.
"Hey, dude, what the fuck?" Alfred shouted, storming up behind the pair.
"And you, git." Arthur whirled around and releasing Matthew. "I should've beaten you more as a child."
Alfred looks insulted and a little thrown for a loop.
"Taking advantage of your brother." Arthur is now wagging his finger. "You are the furthest thing from a hero."
"I'm not taking advantage of him!" Alfred said loudly, blue eyes furious. "And I'm pretty sure I told you a long time ago not to meddle in my hemisphere."
"And I'm pretty sure you know the consequences of meddling with my Commonwealth."
"I think I'm sick of both of you." A soft voice cut in, cold like Winter's breath.
Both powers look at Matthew who looks furious.
"I don't need either of you swooping in to save me." He pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales.
No one says anything and eventually Matthew disappears.
"Okay, maybe you don't really get it." Netherlands said conversationally, tipping more whiskey into his shot glass. "But at least you're closer than before."
"Why do you even care?" Arthur demanded, feeling like he should be drunker.
"Because its Matthew." The ashen haired man shrugged.
"You love him." Arthur accused, green eyes slightly unfocused as he threw back the alcohol.
"Yeah, of course I do." The man admitted. "He's a good guy."
"He's great." Arthur corrected, just snatching the whisky bottle. "These boys make me want to drink…" He noted. "And he saved your sorry ass."
"That he did."
"He doesn't love you though." Arthur said firmly.
"No." Netherlands said easily, without bitterness. "But he still ran to me when you were an ass."
Okay, there was the bitterness. And it hurt.
"But he always comes back." Arthur defended weakly. "To me. Not you, not Alfred, not that stupid frog."
"Yeah and I can't understand why." The man said quietly, eyes thoughtful.
"Neither can I…" Arthur murmured.
"You're not Alfred!" Arthur announced, falling through the doorway and wrapping his arms around a sleepy Matthew.
"No, no I'm Matthew." He said cautiously, shifting the drunken mess that was his former guardian in his arms. The Englishman reeked of booze.
"I know who you are, prat." Arthur muttered, trying to shut the room door with his foot and finally succeeding much to his pleasure.
"Lets get you to bed, Arthur." Matthew sighed, hoisting up the island nation and bringing him into the bedroom and letting him tumble to the bed before setting him on his side. "Please don't die. I'd hate to have to call your Boss again."
"You don't love him, do you?" Arthur asked, struggling to sit up. "Not like how he wants."
"No." Matthew said quietly. "And he knows this."
"But he still—"
"Its not what you think." Matthew sighed.
"You don't have to agree."
"Alcohol always loosened your tongue." The blond rolled his eyes. "I think I almost miss the sober, emotionally distant you."
"I miss you like this." Arthur slurred, reaching blindly for his hand. "When you told me to fuck off and screamed in French for hours. I miss you sneaking into my bed and I miss you never telling me things and expecting me to just know."
"Oh Arthur. I still do that. You just don't notice."
"Its my fault, then?"
"Mostly, I suppose."
"I love you." Arthur finally found Matthew's hand. "I never say so but it's all I think about and sometimes I think so much about you that I don't notice you're right in front of me."
"You're drunk, Arthur." Matthew said quietly, starting to move away.
"I love you so much I didn't even realize." Arthur pleaded.
"If you can say the same thing to me sober, I'll believe you." The blond whispered, violet eyes glinting in the dark.
Cillian is my name for Ireland.
Yeah, so once I came across something saying that Americans chose Canada as their favorite nation. This is me ruining that touching fact because some writer I was reading, noted that the same could not be said for Canadians. I am awful, I know. -hangs head- And I am a firm believer that UK and Canada have a loving relationship (how can they not asdkfjsldfj?). But, yes, this.
Like it? Hate it? Confused by it? (...you're not alone...)