Hello, all! A few months ago I wrote a continuation of this fic, and I'm finally getting around to posting it here. I hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia
Falafelosophy pt II
It was a sunny October afternoon, and the fall weather still had yet to set in. There was a breeze in the air that Herakles could barely feel, lying on his back in the sun and soaking it's warmth like a cat.
Beside him on the blanket was Kiku, who refused to lie down and was instead flushing beautifully at his boyfriend's being all sprawled out.
"Have some decency, please, Herakles," he murmured softly. "There are people around. One woman is staring."
"Let her stare," Herakles replied calmly, sitting up on his arms and pecking Kiku's lip gently. Kiku drew into himself, pulling away with a soft frown on his lips, because he didn't appreciate having his buttons pushed and public displays of affection were usually very good at doing that to him.
"I made us lunch," he said, and Herakles knew he was trying to politely distract him from what it was Herakles truly wanted to consume at that moment. Still, he was a little hungry and the idea of trying Kiku's cooking was appealing. He would just have to save drinking in the other's lithe form for dessert.
"Onigiri. A riceball. It's a popular Japanese food. I figured, since I have been eating food from your cultures, perhaps you would like to try something from mine…"
He sounded nervous, that much was obvious, but as he had no reason to be Herakles did not address it. He eagerly awaited the day when Kiku would relinquish those inhibitions around him, so that perhaps they might even hide under Hell Gate Bridge and have sex right there in Astoria Park.
As he bit into the onigiri, he realized a day like that was probably never going to come. But that was alright with him, because it meant that whatever Kiku was hiding under his clothes was guaranteed to be for his eyes alone.
"This is delicious," is what he said, and instantly he saw the tension melt away from Kiku's shoulders.
They ate in relative silence, knees brushing every so often and then finally resting against one another, the one spot of collected warmth that made goose bumps creep up on Herakles' arm by comparison.
As he brushed the last bit of rice off his fingers, Herakles turned to his boyfriend with a soft smile, brushing his nose against the tender skin hiding behind Kiku's hair.
"A-Ah… you have some rice on your chin…" Kiku murmured softly, a faint whisper in the space between them. Herakles was about to reach for it, but Kiku gently took hold of his hand, and brushed the stray rice away with his lips instead.
Herakles would always remember the interesting flavor that came with fishy-rice kisses.
Sidika didn't see a point in leaving the shop open so late at night in the winter; rarely ever did customers walk in past eight thirty, and even then it was only for a cup of coffee they could have easily obtained elsewhere (like Starbucks, they sold coffee, or something. She wasn't exactly sure what a frappuccino was). But still, Hassan insisted they stay open until at least ten, because the occasional nine twenty eight coffee drinker might choose their shop over every other one on the block.
She wasn't buying it. Worse, he let Herakles go out early because he had a "date" with his "boyfriend". Sidika was flabbergasted at how he, a lazy, slow-talking and generally annoying Greek bastard, could have gotten a boyfriend before she did.
"Can't we just lock up and go home?" She complained, not whining because she never whined, sitting on the lucky bastard's stool at the register.
Sidika huffed, turning around properly and giving her back to the door that was never going to open.
"If we go back upstairs I'll let you make out with me."
Hassan's gaze flittered from the stovetop he was cleaning to meet her devious hazel eyes, and he turned back to his sponge.
"You shouldn't capitalize on your body that way."
"Oh, because you haven't?"
The other didn't look up, and it was too far and too low lit to tell what his expression looked like. Admitting defeat Sidika turned back around, dropping her head onto the counter with a 'thud'.
And then the bell atop the door surprised her by giving off a soft 'ding', and a rush of cold air alerted her that it wasn't just her imagination. Looking up she made out the figure of a tall, well built man in the darkness; when he stepped into the light of the shop, she made out his face. Or, at least, what was visible of it from underneath his hood, which for some odd reason he wasn't pulling off as he came in.
"Can I help you?"
"I dunno," the man answered, stepping up to the counter. He pulled his hood down to reveal his face, with a sharp jaw and bold hazel eyes and a strong chin. "Can ya?"
He was smirking handsomely at her, and something in the back of Sidika's mind jerked up. He was familiar, with that seductive tone and wild glint in his eyes and that little bit of stubble on his chin…
"Do I know you?"
He laughed, leaning against the counter and looking her in the eyes.
"I know ya were shitfaced, but ya can't possibly expect me ta believe ya don't remember anything?"
Sidika continued to stare at him blankly, and he finally supplied with a frown, "We had sex."
"Yeah, oh," he agreed, half mockingly in a way she found somewhat endearing despite it being completely infuriating. "And," he continued, "I was wonderin' if maybe ya'd wanna do it again."
"I don't even remember your name," she retorted quickly, trying to suppress the little voice that wanted her to agree.
"Didn't stop ya the first time," he sing-songed. As Sidika was processing the statement (oh no, she would never have allowed herself to have sex with a man whose name she didn't know, no matter how drunk and hurt she was and he had to be lying, yes that had to be it…), Hassan stepped out of the kitchen, now spotless, and stared up at the newcomer with his hand on his hip.
"Can I help you?"
Sidika saw the man's shoulders roll and curve as he stood up straight and stared Hassan down, a gesture which was highly unnecessary considering Hassan was shorter than she was.
And then the man smirked, and the most unexpected sentence came out of his mouth.
"Oh hey, yer the cute guy I kissed."
"What?" Sidika almost roared, before remembering that roaring was for dinosaurs and apes and not sexy young women. Neither man graced her with an answer. Hassan's expression reminded her of someone who had just smelled something foul.
"If you do not want to buy anything, please leave," he insisted in a sharp, albeit soft, tone. The man laughed, taking two pieces of paper out of his pockets and handing on to each of them.
"I'll be waiting fer yer calls," he sang, tipping his head and turning to leave the store, though not before pressing a kiss to Sidika's cheek.
When the door shut behind him, Hassan held his hand out for the slip of paper. Sidika unfolded it and found a phone number, unsurprisingly, but beside the phone number in a messy scrawl was a name, 'Sadiq.'
"No thanks," she said, slipping the paper in her pocket and turning to leave the store. "I think I'll keep this."
When Herakles returned to their apartment and found out what he had missed the past few days, he was torn between relief that he did not have to bear witness to it, and sympathy for Hassan for having been there. As if Sidika alone was not bad enough, her new best friend slash boyfriend slash good fuck was twice as bad, if only because he lacked the feminine physique that was appealing to look at as well as the intellect to have a conversation of any sort with. Also, and this was just a hunch of Herakles' that Hassan forbid him from repeating in certain company, but Sadiq also seemed to lack an understanding of personal hygiene.
But, at the very least, it was a pleasant surprise to find that neither of them was home. Sidika had taken the weekend off from work; she was staying over with the oaf.
"So, wait," Herakles asked bemusedly, as he and Hassan lounged on opposite ends of the couch. The TV was tuned to a late night comedy show that neither of them found funny. "They tried to convince you to join in a ménage à trois with them?"
The laugh track on the show went off, and both men gave the TV a strange look.
"And you declined," Herakles stated in a tone that was trying not to be obviously inquisitive. Hassan pursed his lips and lifted his eyebrows, giving him a look that said 'What else?'
Herakles nodded, now content, and grabbed the remote. He flipped through the channels until he saw kittens, which cheered him up significantly.
"What did you do with Kiku?" Hassan asked softly, curling his legs up beneath him as he settled into the couch cushion. At the mention of the other's name a tiny smirk graced Herakles' face.
"We had sex," he answered innocently. In his mind he was replaying the encounter, the flush of Kiku's cheeks and ears, the curve of his spine and the jut of his hipbone against his pale skin, the smell of flowers that hung in his hair and the soft, shaky timbre of his voice when he cried out.
"I did not need to know that."
Herakles shrugged. Hassan, still looking cross, sighed and leaned over, resting his head on Herakles' bicep. For a moment the only sound in the room was the soundtrack of America's Funniest Home Videos, whereon a man was being nailed in the crotch with a child's baseball bat.
"Do you think that would work on Sadiq?"
Herakles looked down at the other in time to see him roll his eyes. "Don't try it. I am not up for cleaning your blood off the walls."
"You're no fun," Herakles whined. "You need to have sex."
And it was only because they'd known each other for so long that Hassan did not even flinch at the statement he'd been expecting for ten minutes, at least.
"Anyone you want."
Herakles opened his mouth to protest, but Hassan yawned and it threw him off. Wow, was it eleven-thirty-six already?
Hassan nodded, and made to get up from the couch. Herakles grabbed his arm before he could move, and smiled. "Stay?"
Hassan pulled his arm away, but turned to the other with an equally soft, tired smile.
"I was only going to get a blanket."
Operation Blind Date was all set up and ready to go, except for one very minor issue.
Herakles and Sidika had put their heads together, a rarity in and of itself, and had managed with little help from Sadiq and barely more than that from Kiku to create a plan that they hoped would get Hassan out of the shop, and hopefully lead to his being laid. To his housemates, it could not be more obvious that he was feeling lonely, as of late.
The only flaw in their rather decent plan was that they could not find a suitable candidate with whom to carry it out.
Until the day, one chilly winter's afternoon, when the bell above the door chimed and Alfred Jones walked in. Alfred was a familiar face, if only because he interned at the office of the councilman across the street. He was big on coffee, and, if you could get him to sit and relax for a while, he was pretty decent conversation.
But that day he didn't come into the store alone; following him and scoffing as the door almost slammed shut in his face was a man who looked so much like Alfred that Herakles wondered for a moment if perhaps there was real marijuana in the hookah.
"Watch the door, Alfred," the boy snapped, shivering as a gust of wind hit his back.
"Sorry, Mattie. Won't let it happen again."
"You say that everytime…" the boy huffed under his breath, barely audible unless one was listening. Herakles' interest was suddenly more piqued.
"Hey, Hera," Alfred greeted boisterously. "This is my cousin Matt. He's a Canuck who's come South for the winter."
The other boy, Matt, rolled his eyes and held out his hand. "Matthew Williams. I've come down for Christmas, since Aunt Mandy asked me too."
"Nah, don't lie, Mattie, you came cuz you wanted to see me."
Matt snorted. Turning to Herakles, he relayed softly, "Can we have two coffees, please?"
As Herakles turned to the machine to pour out the drinks, he mused on how the boy was warming up to him. And, when Matthew pulled a small vial of maple syrup from his pocket and poured from it into his hot coffee drink, Herakles was certain he was the one.
So, as Sidika was coming out of the back room with more paper coffee cups, Herakles stuck his foot out in her path. She stumbled, and when she turned to curse at him for it he wordlessly gestured for her to hush. Then he pointed at Matthew, who was now looking out the shop window dreamily as Alfred chattered away at him.
"No," she scowled, but her gaze lingered on Matthew.
"Oh, come on," Herakles huffed. "Don't be mad just because I found him. Just, watch."
So Sidika put the cups down on the counter, watching for a moment from across the room. She was quick to move, though, walking over to the two men and politely interrupting Alfred's blathering.
"So, how are we doin' over here?"
Matthew's head snapped back from the window, and Alfred pouted before turning his expression into something much more heroic.
"I was just telling Mattie here about the time I stopped a mugger on the 6 train!"
Matthew blinked, the thought obvious on his face, 'oh, so that's what he was talking about.'
"We've all heard this story before, Alfred," she commented. "Maybe Matthew could tell us a little about himself. I'd love to hear this cutie talk."
Herakles had to suppress a gag at the sound of her false alluring tone.
"O-Oh…" is what Matthew replied.
"Don't bother," Alfred elaborated. "Mattie's gayer than that guy who stocks the cosmetics shelf at the CVS two blocks up."
Then Alfred suddenly yelped, and Matthew threw him a smug look.
"Shut up, Alfred! I can handle myself…"
"Gay, huh?" Sidika chimed in. "Well, it just so happens I've got a friend who might be interested."
Sidika shrugged, leaning back in her seat. "Well, I've got a friend who's lonely and it's starting to get to him. And I was wonderin, if you're gonna be spending time in town, if maybe you'd wanna see him."
"You mean like… a blind date?" Matthew asked, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"Trust me," she continued, "you've got a lot on common, I can tell. Yer both quiet and thinking types. I think you'd get along pretty damn well."
A customer came up to the counter, and Herakles had to tune out the conversation, but a few minutes later Alfred and Matthew left the store, and Sidika came back for her cups, humming.
"Just remember, I found him first," he reminded her, and Sidika laughed.
"Hey, Hassan, what in the world do you think you're doing?"
It was a Saturday morning, six-thirty am, and Hassan paused in the middle of pulling his apron on at the sound of Sidika's voice. Sighing, he turned around in the faintly lit kitchen and explained.
"Not today, you're not," she sang, snatching the apron away.
"Oh. Well, then, what I am doing today?" He played along, knowing this routine all too well. Herakles and Sidika often tried to force him into a day off, and rarely did they ever succeed.
"You're going to go back upstairs, sleep for at least three more hours, then get up, shower, pick out nice clothes, and meet your date in the shop at one o clock sharp."
It was probably only thanks to Hassan's shock and curiosity that they had indeed managed to get him back into their apartment. As he lay up in his bed, he worried that the place would be burned down long before one-thirty, wondered why he was not being allowed to work up until then, and in the back of his mind he was thinking about who this date might be. Sidika had told him nothing, and when he asked Herakles all he got was a smile and a wave.
He kept busy trying to figure out who it could be, but every person who came to mind was instantly stricken down (Francis was in France visiting family, Arthur had a German boyfriend, Antonio and Lovino were together again, Elizaveta was engaged…)
The next thing he knew, he was waking up, the clock said eleven-thirty, and the fire alarm was ringing from downstairs. Oh, no, wait, that was only the phone ringing.
"Rise and shine, lover boy!"
Hassan yawned. "How is the shop?"
"Still standing," Sidika answered nonchalantly. "Now, get out of bed and start getting ready. Something tells me your date will be here early."
Before he could ask anything more, she hung up the phone.
Later, when Hassan showed up downstairs clean and ready for his "date", the shop was mostly empty. There was one man sitting in a chair by the window, nursing a coffee cup and staring at the melancholy street with a matching expression. When he felt Hassan's gaze on him, the man turned around, violet eyes brightening, and he waved. Hassan smiled and waved back, and the man smiled.
"What are you doing?"
Hassan turned around, and saw Sidika's head poking out of the kitchen. Herakles was drawing something on a napkin.
"He's not your date," she continued. "Stop flirting with him."
Hassan shared a look with the customer (who was later to become one of their regulars, a gentle giant named Ivan), before sitting on a stool near the counter and watching Herakles doodle kittens and Sadiq's gruesome death at their adorable paws.
And then the bell over the door chimed, and in walked a lone young man. His hair was longish, blond, and fell in loose curls beside his neck, framing his thin, pretty face. He was tall, but his body was not built outwards but with filled with lean muscle that barely but nicely filled his winter coat. His cheeks were as red as his scarf, his glasses were elegant and rested high on his long nose, and behind them were the biggest, brightest blue eyes Hassan had ever seen, in a color so unique it almost looked violet in the light.
"U-Um. Hi. My name's Matthew…"
At seven-fifty-nine pm, the bell above the shop door chimed, and with the strong burst of cold air came Hassan, his nose and ears red despite the scarf pulled up over his neck. He sighed, pulling his gloves off and shoving them in his coat pocket as he headed for the counter.
"How was it?" Herakles asked, eager to rub the good news in Sidika's face. Hassan didn't answer, and instead played with a napkin between his fingers.
"Well?" Sidika started, stepping out from the back, wiping her wet hands on her apron. "Tell us!"
But Hassan didn't say a word. He let his smile do the talking for him.
Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!