Disclaimer : This fanfiction is set in a generalized ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. It is based off of the characters and my interpretations of them. Character names obviously used.

Ownership : Nope... I shouldn't have to say this, but I don't own Hetalia! Thank its awesome creator.

Lesson 3 Summary : Sound advice would be to stay out of the way unless asked for. One never knows when they could cause the simplest problem for someone else. Speak when spoken to. Move when asked to. And most of all...

Lesson 3 : Never cause trouble for anyone

The winter break had come and gone in what had felt like just a manner of seconds. Before long, Matthew found that the days had slipped him by. Before, he had plentiful days ahead of him to look forward to; many days had still yet been between him and University. However, he only felt this way until he realised, much to his surprise, that the next day he was going to have to go back to classes.

During this time, he had somehow managed to scrounge up all of his books for his semester. Having decided on taking five courses than the usual four that he had the last year, he had quite the number of books to lug around. His bag was heavy and plump with books ready for his first day of class, and he couldn't be more delighted at the prospect of a good, solid distraction for the next few months ahead.

Getting the money wasn't so hard - he had the means to get it - but it was just difficult for him to order the books via phone, and personally pick them up from the on-campus bookstore when they arrived. As well as, he had difficulty with parting with so much money that had been rather difficult to make.

Matthew had also decided to forgo buying them from Sweden, unsure if his black-listing from borrowing them spread to purchasing them too.

He didn't want to cause the man any trouble, after all.

Even though there was a whole day left until classes, he was not looking forward to the day ahead of him. It was the day that he ritually took before every semester to seek out where all his classes were, and to map out the best routes to take to get to and from class. It helped him avoid collisions with people he'd rather not interact with.

And as far as he could already tell by looking at the map, he might need to purchase a bicycle in order to make it to his classes on time.

Well. If he could go to the bookstore to buy his books, then he could do this.

Without letting himself stall further, Matthew vacated his small room and the home that he was renting it from. The owners had no idea he left, and probably didn't care so much as long as he wasn't out causing trouble. The last thing they wanted was a tenant that caused trouble when they had been so gracious in letting his sorry self rent from them. So he jammed on his boots properly as he walked away from the household and unfurled a black umbrella to protect against the light rain.

He certainly took his time in getting to the University. There was, of course, no reason to rush it at all. It wasn't like he really was required to be there at any certain time to figure out his routes. So he stopped by a coffee shop, bought a hot-chocolate and meandered to Hetalia Metro rather lazily, just sipping the chocolaty brew absently as he went.

But he eventually arrived - as the University hadn't moved by a few miles since he had last been there - and he regrettably walked into campus.

So. Many. People. There were students and teachers alike already milling about here and there... in and out. It was crazy. Students that lived in-res were already back and probably doing the same as he was, searching out where their new classes were. They brushed past him without word or acknowledgement.

He could deal with that. He also completely understood.

As he went, minding himself, Matthew saw a group of students that were obviously new, by their awed faces and bright eyes exploring the whole of Hetalia Metro with a sort of dumbfounded amazement. Matthew nearly jerked his head away from politely watching them, when he saw the hulking form of Ludwig gesture to the group of new students for them to follow him.

He hadn't seen Matthew. Thank goodness.

He decided to duck his head down and pay close attention to his hot chocolate as he walked. No reason to gawk at the newcomers anyway.

However, he really couldn't help himself but look over the rim of the cup, and glance about with interest at what everyone else was doing. He didn't know why, and despite his displeasure at being in direct contact with anyone, watching people milling about was interesting.

Ludwig, the great representative of Germany, was leading the newbies about, giving brief instructional tours to any group of new students he could find. The number was far less than the first semester, but there still were a fair few.

Feliciano, the representative of Italy, was shoving pamphlets into people's hands, trying to get them to get interest in his cooking club. A club that smelled painfully delicious to walk past the previous year. Every. Single. Day.

He wished he could have taken one of the pamphlets for a chance to smell the aromatic bliss that wafted down those hallways.

Berwald and Tino - Sweden and Finland, respectively - were just chatting together quietly while walking to the Representative Hall.

And -


Matthew recoiled backwards as he bumped into something. He hadn't been paying attention during his voyeuristic activities, and he just barely caught himself before he fell backwards. However, his dear half-drunk cup of hot chocolate didn't lose its momentum, and splattered up and down the person he had bumped into.

… Oh dear.

"Augh!" was the articulate, instant complaint.

Matthew looked up, pulling back his umbrella to actually see the person - his eyes widened in horror.

Alfred F. Jones, the new representative of America, was standing before him; who, moments before had been wearing a clean-pressed white collared shirt and a nice tie under his jacket. The key words were 'had'; for now the rest of Matthew's beverage was decorating him like a poor graffiti job.

Matthew could do nothing but gape in dismay.

America didn't seem to have noticed who he had been bumped by right away, as he was preoccupied by the horrible stain on his shirt. He grumbled to himself as he shook out his arms, "Come on! This was a new shirt! Dad whined at me to get a new one yesterday! God damnit!"

But when Alfred looked up to see who it was, Matthew panicked; he dropped his umbrella, turned on his heels, and ran.

America called after him, but Matthew had run around the corner by that time and assumed it was now over. Heaving breaths, he berated himself for reacting so violently to something so simple. Sure, the new America didn't like him anymore, but that didn't mean he had to dash out of there like he had been caught doing something wrong.

He swallowed a few times, pressing his hand to his chest to regain breaths after such a quick mad-dash.

Well, at least it was over.

Not so. Alfred rounded the corner seconds later.

Matthew squeaked in surprise, forced some composure into himself, put on a shaky smile and gave a small wave. "U-... uh... Good morning..." He laughed awkwardly. "… Nice… um… day?"

Alfred was looking nothing more than extremely disapproving. "... It's raining," he supplied, flatly.

Matthew swallowed heavily, adjusting the bag at his side. Fretfully, he drummed his fingers on the strap and looked at the oh-so interesting ground. "S... sorry... I just panicked and... u-um... Yeah." Oh how eloquent he was.

"Save your apologies," America said evenly, looking down at him still with distaste. "What are you up to?"

Up to? What was he up to? Was he up to something? Shifting, Matthew replied, swishing a small puddle with the ball of his foot, "Just... finding classes for tomorrow..."

The disbelief was evident in Alfred's tone when he spoke, "Really now? Do you have any proof? 'cause to me, it looks like you are slinking around if you run off that fast. Come on." He gestured with his hand as if expecting something. "Gimme proof."

Proof? Proof? Matthew tore open his bag, scrambling to find his timesheet and the map, and pulled them out. He noted how crumpled and folded they were, and pressed them as flat as he could against the damp bag before holding them out to Alfred.

He wasn't sure if America actually had any authority to demand anything from him. Really, he probably had no authority at all to do anything of the sort, but Matthew didn't reject his demands; in fear of what he'd do if he didn't.

Nevertheless, this could be a good thing too, right? Right? He wasn't quite sure what the good part was yet, but he'd find out.

After all, there was a good side to everything.

Alfred grunted, held the papers back out to the quietly trembling student and withdrew his hand. "Fine, whatever. Just watch yourself. Next time I'm gunna make you pay for it."

Matthew nodded.

America, before turning, thrust something into Matthew's chest. His umbrella.

He was a bit surprised by its return, and looking to Alfred's back, he was even more surprised that he called out to the other. "W-wait!"

America stopped, and he turned to look at Matthew. Half forcibly disinterested and trying to look displeased, half genuinely curious over what Matthew wanted to say. "Yeah?" He asked casually. "What is it?"

Matthew stepped forward, wringing his hands to stop the quaking. The ground looked interesting again. Was that a penny?

"U-um... I just... I want..." He breathed in. "I... I'm really sorry a-about before... I mean... I... it was weeks ago, and... It was weeks ago since I s-saw you but..." He mustered a glance up at Alfred before looking at the absolutely fascinating pavement. "... I'm really sorry."

A long breath was taken in by America, and then let out sharply.

"Why are you fucking apologising?" He sounded more disgusted than any sympathetic emotion. "You're just gunna do shit like that again and again, so don't try to get any kind of sympathy vote from me. Just because I'm new here," Alfred said pointedly, "Doesn't mean I'm stupid."

Matthew shifted, glancing up at Alfred again to see those dazzlingly blue eyes, so cold and icy when directed at him. They made his spine tingle.

"Look. Let's break a deal here. You've caused a lot of shit in your first year, and frankly, m'fuckin' surprised that you're still allowed at this school. So for whatever reason you are here, I want you to make a deal, got it?" It wasn't really a request.

Matthew nodded, gripping his hands tightly.

"First of all, don't talk to me. 'Kay? Just leave me alone. If you leave me alone, I'll just ignore you, got it? That's probably what you want, anyway, right?"

That was… sort of true. Matthew didn't know it at that time, but it was actually slight disappointment he was feeling aside from the relief. Relief that Alfred was stating that he was going to just actively pretend he wasn't there. Knowing that, Matthew was just glad that he wasn't going to have to consciously walk in a thirty-mile radius around the student.

"Second," America continued, "I don't wanna hear you doing any sort of more shit to do with the reps, 'kay? Think of me as security, and you don't want to be marked as an international threat. I can, and will, make sure you do get kicked out if you cause any sort of fucking trouble. Any," he emphasised.

Matthew nodded rapidly.

"Got it?"

"G... got it. I... That's easy..."

"Good. Now go make yourself scarce, you're good at that, right?"

Matthew nodded and moved past America and did just that. He stepped quickly, gripping his bag to his chest, his umbrella dangling from its strap around his wrist, and he disappeared around the building, the representative of America watching him as he went.

Why did he have the feeling - despite Alfred saying that he was going to ignore him - that somehow he was going to be watched by a hound whenever he came near him? Maybe he should erect a thirty-mile - or at least metre - radius around Alfred.

. . .

The rest of the day was thankfully person-free and Matthew was free to explore the University to seek out the best routes for getting to his five classes. Luckily, they weren't all on the same days so it wouldn't be so terrible to try to get to them. But there were at least two days of every week where he was in for a forty-five minute, or more, walk between classes. That wasn't including the time to get to the first class either.

He was definitely going to need a bike.

So after hastily purchasing a cheap pre-packaged sandwich at the cafeteria with a crumpled five-dollar bill, Matthew started on his way home.

Chewing thoughtfully, he glanced over his scribbled-on paper and weighed the pros and cons of having a bike.

On one hand, he could get between classes faster, on the other, he had to load it on the bus twice a day, or just bike directly to school. Either option seemed undesirable in its own respects.

"- of course I have no idea where he is," came a British voice that interrupted his thoughts for a moment.

His subconscious must have recognised it, for Matthew stopped and turned to the source of it, chewing on the last remains of his sandwich as he looked at the two men that were standing there, peering at a University map.

"- Bloody hell. I have no idea where any of this is! How am I supposed to just know where Alfred is supposed to be? It's not like there's a convent little labelled dot with his name on it," grunted the very same Englishman that Matthew no longer wished to see.

It was odd, but Matthew was sure he had never run into a single person so much before. Maybe he had, and never noticed. Maybe Arthur's blatant britishness had something to do with it and really just made him all the more recognisable.

Whatever the case really was, Matthew ducked his head down and moved to walk past.

An encounter on school grounds was not going to be a good thing. At all.

A hand came down on his arm before he could get past them and he was tugged gently, politely. "Excuse moi," a French tone tittered, "I was wondering if you could 'elp us."

Matthew stiffened under the hand.

The grip released him at once. "Oh! I am sorry! I did not frighten you, did I?"

"Francis, don't just bloody grab people at random! You could be labelled – though you already are in my books - as a per-... Oh! Hello again!"

Damn. Damn. Damn. This was exactly something that he was trying to avoid. Not encourage. Why couldn't he have walked past a few feet to the left? Then he'd be on his way and have no chance of 'Alfred F. Jones' noticing his father talking to him.

Matthew turned, unable to think of what to do other than run; and knowing that wasn't much of an option, he just smiled sheepishly and gave a one-handed half-wave. "H... hello. N… nice to see you, eh?"

"My! I do keep running into you! What a pleasure it is to meet you again. I do have to apologise for my haste earlier. I was dreadfully late for an appointment."

The Frenchman snuffed air out of his nose. "I say 'e is always late, if 'e does not get completely lost."

Arthur - Matthew still remembered his name - looked disapproving and shoved Francis aside with a grunt, "Who cares what you think, toad."

"Do... um... y... you need help...?" Why oh why was he offering? Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut? Everything went so much better if he kept his mouth shut.

"Oh! Could you? It'd be splendid if you did. See, I was fancying visiting Alfred on his first day, you see, since it's not 'officially' the beginning of class. I also wanted to meet the other Representatives. I was getting keen on meeting them after he was blathering on about them all."

Matthew smiled the best he could as he said this. "I... I can s-show you to Representative Hall. It's just on the way -"

The Englishman shook his head, "No no. That building is a bit... obvious, shall we say? No, we're actually looking for some place that Alfred would eat. It's just about time for him to want to gorge himself, I'm sure, and I was trying to find which place he is most likely to try to pack it all in."

"L'Amerique eats like an 'orse."

"... I have no idea where he gets it from."

"There's a rather large place that sells burgers here, he brought me there the first d-" He squeaked suddenly when he realised what he had said.

"Oh? You've met Alfred already?"

Shit. Shit. Shit. He had to do damage control. He wasn't sure why, but he had no inclination for the man to figure out who he was.

"W... yeah... kind of. Sorry. Um... I mean, Um... He might really like this burger place. It's nearby."

There was a short pause where he was being looked by the two men, and he shifted uncomfortably. Thankfully, after only a few seconds of this, Arthur responded as if nothing had happened, "Can you show us? I can't gather heads or tails of this map."

Swallowing, and relieved that neither of them made any assumed connections (maybe Alfred had never mentioned the encounter to them), he nodded and gestured. "J-just this way."

"Thank you," Arthur said gratefully, "You know, it's hard to find, in this world, some people as courteous as you are."

He had doubts about that.

Matthew walked, the Frenchman and Englishman following. He tried to keep a distance, but it was obvious that they were indeed following him, so he kept to himself and didn't look up for too long to see if anyone was watching. He did, however, glance about himself to see if Alfred would suddenly appear.

It'd be all over if that happened, and he'd have to make a break for it; because he really didn't want to see the Englishman's or the Frenchman's reactions to what America had to tell them about him. No.

However, Arthur wasn't one for being in complete silence, and he jogged up so he was walking more astride with the quiet student. "Tell me, you're starting up term again, aren't you?"

"... Y... yeah. I am."

"Taking many classes?"

"Y-yeah. F... five."

"Five? My goodness you're in for a workload." He then asked, casually, "What classes are you taking?"

"T-three h-history classes... Um... Two languages..."

Francis fluttered up. "Oh? Language? Are you taking the beautiful language of French? Mn?"

Matthew, unfortunately, shook his head. "No... I'm not. U-um... German and... Mandarin..."

The Frenchman looked disapproving at that. "Ah. A pity, French is such a wonderful language. It is a shame you do not know it. Ah… It is a shame. So few people speak the language of love 'ere; I would 'ave loved to meet just one person that could speak it."

"Oh, bottle it up, quit your whining. It's disgusting."

Before Matthew could stop himself, he said easily, "Je le parle..." He quickly explained, "I... I just... d... don't speak in French that often. And... I don't require classes for it..."

Francis looked like he had been given a bouquet of flowers. His face was so utterly delighted that the Englishman nearly recoiled in shock at it. "Francis, don't you even begin to think-"

But Arthur couldn't stop him. Already too delighted with the concept of another person otherthan himself that could speak the most beautiful - and romantic - language on Earth, Francis had gone out and done what he did best – invade people's personal space. Namely, Matthew's.

He had enveloped Matthew in a hug of glee. "That is wonderful! You can speak a beautiful language! Come! Speak to me in it!" He then began to prattle off in French. "Tu le parles? Quel bonheur! Parlons-y! L'anglais est terrible, n'est-ce pas? C'est trop barbare."

Arthur looked horrified and he grabbed one of the man's arms. "Let him bloody go! You're practically strangers! You pretty much are, really! Let him go you great prune!"

Matthew was horrified. He was locked in a very close embrace with a completely unfamiliar person that was French, who was babbling French insistently at him, and wasn't letting go. The French didn't so much bother him; the whole 'not letting go' thing was, and it petrified him.

His head began to pound and his body went rigid at the contact; just as if he had been touched by something wet and slimy and he was waiting for it to drip off. Or perhaps like he had been told that there was a bee on him.

But the Frenchman was akin to a suction cup, and apparently, had been so deprived of French company that he really really couldn't contain himself.

"Francis! Stop that this instant!"

Francis pouted in return, still holding Matthew. "You are stupid l'Angleterre. I 'ave finally found someone that I can talk to! I am just 'appy!"

"Get your lecherous hands off of him you prat! Now! Get! Get off him!"

Matthew was quaking slightly under his grip, but his horror at being held made him stay stiff. The man must have had no concept of personal space; else he'd have noticed the boy's revulsion to being touched as soon as he made contact.

"Hey!" A voice broke out amongst all of the hullabaloo. "What's going on! Dude! Francis! You aren't hitting on one of the students, are you? What the hell, man! I told you they were off limits. Geeze!"

The voice was neither British nor French. Rather, it was very distinctly American.

Matthew couldn't think of a more horrifying situation. He tried to move his arms, but found them deftly pressed against his sides by the hug he was still caught in.

Arthur and Francis turned their attention to Alfred who was striding up to them with raised eyebrows. "Come on! That's gross."

"Oh! We were just looking fo-... What happened to your shirt?" Arthur said and he walked to his son. "Bloody hell! I just got you that, and you went and spilt something all over it!" He picked up the garment that was draped over Alfred's arm in disgust.

"Woah! Don't blame me, dude," he put up his hands in defence. "Look, I was just minding my own business when that druggy spilt hot chocolate over me. Not my fault."

Still hugged to the Frenchman, Matthew was pulled towards him in such a way that America couldn't really see who it was; but he was sure that was going to change soon enough if Francis dared to move. Matthew knew he was stuck, and he could only hope and wish that the Englishman wanted to separate off to spend time with his son.

... Somehow he doubted the planets would align so nicely.

It would have been nice, though.

"Oh good lord, you aren't burnt, are you?" Arthur was quick to say in response to Alfred's explanation, looking at America with examining eyes as if he was trying to look through his clothes to see if he had been burned.

"Nah," Alfred waved absently. "It was lukewarm at best. But seriously, he was not paying attention to where he was going. Then he just ran off. Ah well, I dealt with it. Oh! And that Germany-guy leant me his shirt! That was pretty epic."

He demonstrated how the sleeves were a bit too long, as they peeked out of the sleeves of the coat.

"Well, let's wash and press that and return it straight away tomorrow. And give him a thank you note."

A roll of eyes. "Yeah. Sure. Mom."

Before Arthur could object, Alfred decided the conversation was now boring and he strode up to Francis that hadn't let go of his vice-like possessive grip of the poor Canadian boy. "... Dude, can you let the guy go now, ya perv."

"Non! 'e is French! 'e can speak the beautiful language!"

Wanting a better view of the captured student, America walked around them. "... Is that so? Yeah well, I don't think the school will be happy if you did anything to one of... their... ... students..."

Yep. He recognised him alright. The moment lavender met brilliant blue, Matthew pretty much knew that his identity was no longer a secret. He looked pleadingly at Alfred for whatever reason, but the American wouldn't have it.

"Do you have any idea," Alfred started, straightening, his tone hardening, "Who this is?"

"... E... Um... Eric, isn't it?" Arthur supplied, somewhat stunned. "Is everything alright? You seem a bit upset. Really, Francis is a bit of a lecher, but he really is mostly harmless when it runs down to it."

A horrified pause.

"Oh god he isn't someone important is he?" Arthur suddenly exclaimed. "Francis! Let go of him! Let go of Eric!"

Something was indeed wrong, Matthew wasn't anyone 'important' per say, and America wasn't going to stand for any of it.

"Eric? Eric?" Alfred spat. "You're the Eric that Dad went on about a few weeks ago? The one that he 'graciously picked out of the snow' and bought tea? You're that Eric?"

Francis had by this point, let go; mostly out of confusion for the sudden animosity. Arthur was stunned, and he didn't understand his son's behaviour at all. Normally the lad was very kind and caring, and while he was a bit daft and overzealous he didn't hold such tones towards anyone he knew; unless he had a really good reason.

"Y... Well yes. He is."

Matthew nodded stupidly.

"That's not 'Eric', Dad," America pointed sharply. "That's Matthew Williams!"

"Matthew... Matthew... Why does that ring a bell?" Arthur looked at Matthew now, who sorely wished he had run away already, "Your name is Matthew? Why do I recognise that name?"

"That's because he's that druggie I told you about! The one the school told you about! You know the guy you told me explicitly to avoid?"

Matthew wanted to sidle out of the picture. That or, go back in time and tell his past-self that he should avoid Englishmen at all costs. It would have saved him from a whole lot of crap earlier. For some reason, he could stand another representative hating him, but the very idea of the Englishman or the Frenchman doing the same was a bit... Frustrating, at best.

"Wha... Surely not," came the protest from Alfred's father. "This is the very lad that told me earlier in the coffee shop that there was someone at this school who was the wrong sort of person! He very well warned me, and indirectly you, about him! I daresay, Alfred, but your head isn't screwed on quite right if you feel right in accusing this poor boy!"

Alfred scoffed, looking more and more disgusted. "Yeah. He's not Eric. This is definitely Matthew Williams, the past representative of Canada. The guy I told you about! Remember? The guy that somehow got me to buy lunch for him!"

Francis looked at Matthew oddly, then focused on Alfred and Arthur, not sure of what to think.

Slowly, Matthew startled to step backwards, but stopped whenever Francis glanced at him. Matthew fidgeted. How did this situation just go from bad to worse...?

America just continued, "And look! He somehow convinced you to buy food for him! Just ask him yourself!"

"I bought tea for him because I felt sorry for hi-" He turned sharply, noticing how Matthew had just slipped from Francis' side and was making an epic dash for it.

"See!" Alfred gestured.

"Oh good god. Was I scammed?"

"Euch! I touched 'im!"

"Dad! Geeze! I told you to be careful!"

"I had no bloody clue! Not-a-one! I don't believe it! He really didn't seem like the sort of person that'd -"

"Well, newsflash," Alfred waved his arms in front of himself in a wide motion, "He is."

Francis' nose was wrinkled in disgust. "Augh. I do not want to believe it. Now that I think of it... 'e did seem a bit... off."

Arthur was glancing to where the boy had disappeared to and he absently straightened his sleeves in embarrassment. "Well. Really. I thought that something was wrong. Just not... quite... That wrong, if you get my meaning." He breathed out. "Ah well. Nothing more we can do about it. Lessons learned."

"You got that right. Whatever. I gave him a good talking-to before. Probably why he ran off like that." He added then in a mumbled afterthought, "And he probably is hiding something… Anyway! I told him to basically stay away from me. He was pretty ready to listen when he saw that I was serious and that I wasn't going to get caught up in some pity-party of his."

Arthur just shook his head, not wanting to say anything more on the subject, and really having nothing more to contribute.

"Alright Alfred."

America looked annoyed still, but triumphant. He looked like he somehow had managed to vanquish something undesirable from harming his family before it was too late; and a good thing too. His father was a rather charitable man. It'd be almost too easy to get him to donate anything of value if someone really looked like they needed it.

Well, he decided, that the kid looked like he needed a fist in the face if he dared try to pull the wool over his father's eyes again.

He didn't think that'd be a problem though.

"Augh. Enough of this. Let's get burgers! I found this great place here! I'm totally going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here! So delicious. And they have these little packets of -"

And so they went.

. . .

Matthew paced around his bedroom, hands locked behind his back. He had effectively dashed off campus, jogged to the bus stop and gone straight home after that incident. Clearly, after two such incidents under his belt – in one day, even - he couldn't be sure that he wasn't going to be able to avoid a third one. What then? Germany? Sweden? Was he going to accidently fall off something and in front of a group of representatives? School authorities? Really.

His luck was terrible.

But he couldn't allow himself to think that. No. No it was a good thing. It was a good thing that it had happened.

It was already obvious that it was going to happen anyway, just like with Alfred. And while he never really was expecting to see the Englishman again, it was a good and relieving thing to know that he knew the truth.


Had he called himself Eric before? That really didn't seem like something he'd do... But maybe perhaps he did. Maybe he did call himself Eric for whatever reason, and forgot about it. He wouldn't put it past himself; he was really odd, after all.

He continued to pace about his room, one of his hands now around a thin curved object, deliberating whether or not to just toss it out.

Should he? Shouldn't he?

He rolled the pristine candy cane with the re-tied plaid ribbon between his fingers, looking down at it with distressed purple eyes.

Should he...?

His hand reached over the garbage can, holding the candy cane.

Really, he didn't like sweets too much, and he had only kept it because... well... it had been such a nice gift. But the Englishman probably regretted giving it to him already, so the sentiment was gone.

It wasn't really a gift anymore. More like a mistake.

Wouldn't he be greedy for keeping it?

He sighed, closing his eyes and he let it hit the bottom of the empty can with a clunk. In a few strides he went to his futon and sat down on it with a thump. He stared at the black metal bin for a good long several minutes.

Maybe he should send it back? No no. That'd be weird, right? He was weird enough. Besides, how was he supposed to do that? No way he could ask for their address, or even approach America to ask him to return it.

Besides, who returned candy canes?

He decided that it was for the best if he just forget about it entirely, and get on with his day. Yes. That's exactly what he was going to do. Just get on with it.

He lay down and rolled onto his side, facing the peeling-wallpapered wall defiantly.

The candy cane's presence in the garbage can felt warm on his back and he tossed and turned for several minutes before he finally sat up.

It was... just a candy cane... after all...

... Wouldn't it just be a waste...?

He tried to convince himself of this as he stood, strode back to the garbage can and fished the cane out of it.

With a sound of disappointment, he saw that the drop had effectively fractured it. A clean crack ran through it, severing it in half. But it wasn't smashed or anything.

He slid the plaid ribbon down to cover the blemish and held it out again, tilting his head. There. Not so bad.

He stepped back to his futon and put the candy cane rightfully back where it had been since he got it - on a tack on the wall. Right next to various paper clippings and mementos he had tacked or taped there.

He sighed before plopping backwards into a chair.

He couldn't wait till school started. He'd rather study for endless hours into the evening on history, linguistics and language before ever even wanting to attempt dealing with all that again.

Well. School started officially tomorrow.

He could wait till then.

Until then, he flopped backwards on his futon again, and stared at the candy cane on his wall.

Author's Notes : This is really where the story goes differently than what I had already written up way before. I had made some choices here and there, and it has worked out much better anyway.

Thanks to Ophelion for Beta'ing as normal, but she did something extra! She also was telling me a lot about University life, since... I don't go to University. I never have. So. Thanks to her. I wanted to keep it from feeling like a highschool, since I very much gathered that University and highschool are different. Quite different.

Also, thanks to ephemeralDELUSiON for translating the French for me. She SPEAKS FRENCH. So I doubt it's wrong! Thanks so much for translating this for me even though you suggested the translations to be for Feverish. Hahaha...

I don't think there'll be much more French, really. We shall see. All depends on what the characters do, eh?

Lesson four coming up already! Waoh!

Lesson 4 Preview : When life has got one down, when life doesn't seem it's going to turn around... It's just better to focus on the silver lining. The cup is half full... Everything has a good side...

Please please please Read and REVIEW : Not only for me, but for other author's too! If you enjoyed it, review it, please! It does all Fanfiction author's a great favour! And I love to read them all! I'll try to respond if I can.