So here we are, the last chapter. Thank you all for your lovely comments and support! Before you ask, yes, I do have an epilogue planned for eventually. So be sure to look for that. :)
Characters for this part: America, England, Monaco, Lithuania, Poland.
"That was exhausting," Arthur complained as he climbed into the passenger's seat of Sophie's car, "Are all American businessmen like that?"
"Just the good ones," she started the car and pulled away from the building, "You did well in there."
"Thanks," he leaned his head against the window as they drove through the city, "Most of the credit is due to your and Francis's legwork."
"Think nothing of it; it was more of a side-project of mine anyway," she stopped at a red light and looked at Arthur, "Where are you staying?"
"Hm? Oh, Yao set me up in a hotel somewhere," he reached into his pocket to get the address his boss handed to him at the airport.
"Oh, um…" Arthur froze when he saw Sophie bit her lip and look away. The light turned green, so she made a left before continuing, "Francis told me to cancel that reservation. He said you already had someone to stay with, and that would be cheaper, so-"
"So you believed him?" Arthur hit his head against the window. When he got back to the UK, he was switching Francis's pastry with one of his homemade scones.
"Sorry, he usually doesn't lie to me like this," she sighed.
"It's not your fault. Just take me to the nearest hotel for now, I suppose. I'll call Yao in the morning and-"
"It's Christmas Eve, Mr. Kirkland. I doubt there is a vacant hotel room left in the state let alone the city."
Arthur hit his head against the window again. He was so switching Francis's pastry all of next year. "I don't mean to intrude, but is it alright if I stay with you?"
"I wouldn't mind, but I'm currently living with my boyfriend. I know he wouldn't mind having you around for a few days, but his brother lives with us too and, well…"
"Not the most agreeable bloke I take it?"
"That's putting it nicely," she stopped at another red light and turned to face him, "Mr. Kirkland, isn't there anyone else in the city that you know?"
Arthur blinked and looked down at the phone in his hand, "Well…there might be someone…"
Alfred was sitting in his apartment, staring at his computer. He just needed to press one button and he'd be able to see what he got on his chemistry final and prove to Braginski that his grade was higher, and therefore he was the better scientist. Yes, all he needed to do was press…that…button…
Suddenly Alfred's phone started ringing. He immediately picked it up and left the couch. "Hello?"
"Hello, Alfred. It's Arthur," Alfred rolled his eyes, of course it was Arthur, he only knew one British person, and smiled, "I was wondering if you could do me a favor."
"Sure," Alfred answered without hesitation as he entered the kitchen where his roommate, Toris, was currently making dinner. He stopped by the fridge and pulled out a coke before sitting on the countertop facing the stove, "What do you need?"
"Due to certain unfortunate circumstances and an annoying Frenchman, I am currently stuck in New York without a place to sleep."
"Dude," Alfred shouted suddenly, causing Toris to jump, "why didn't you tell me you were in the city? We were supposed to meet up!"
"I just got here this morning git! Can I stay with you or not?"
"Of course you can! Wait, I should ask my roommate first," Toris sighed and turned around, a pleasant smile on his lips and a knowing look in his eyes, "Toris, can Arthur stay with us for a bit?"
"This is the man you've been talking on the phone with right?" Alfred bit his lip and nodded, "Yes, he can stay here. I was going to go to Eduard's tonight anyway, since its Christmas Eve and all, or did you forget?
"Pft, I knew that," he put the phone back up to his ear, "Yeah, you can totally stay here."
"Yes, well, that's good. I should be there…soon. I think. Where do you live?"
Alfred chuckled and told him his address. Arthur said he was only 10 minutes away, and after exchanging some more awkward partings they hung up.
"You look happy," Toris noted as he put the food on three plates.
"Yeah, well," Alfred jumped off the counter and grabbed one of the plates, "Is Feliks coming over for dinner?"
"Yes," he allowed the change of topic, grabbing the two remaining plates and leading the way to the table, "He said he was stopping by here before we left."
"So he's going to your cousin's with you?" he set his plate on the table and grabbed the back of the chair, "Must be nice going home for Christmas."
Toris set the other two plates down and looked at his roommate. "If your parents are still going on their annual Christmas Cruise, you could always spend it with Matthew this year?"
Alfred shook his head, "Nah, he's going to Grandma's house and she never really liked me as much," he looked up and gave him one of his trademark grins, "S'cool, I mean Arthur's coming over tonight anyway, so it's not that bad."
"If you say so," Toris smiled as well. A sudden knock on the door sounded and Toris went to go let their guest in as Alfred settled down in his seat at the table.
His Christmas was looking awesome already.
Arthur decided to stare at the door for another minute. It was bordering on a total of five minutes since Sophie dropped him off at the apartment building, telling him to call her if he needed anything, and drove off, and about three minutes of him staring at the number 26 on Alfred's door.
It's not that Arthur was worried Alfred would instantly turn him away upon seeing him for the first time, no, that was the farthest thing from his mind. It was just a bit nerve wracking, seeing someone you lo- that you don't exactly hate for the first time after only communicating with them over the phone.
Especially if you love them, a voice that sounded suspiciously like Francis's said in the back of his mind. He promptly shut that voice up.
Well, he certainly wasn't getting anywhere staring at a door, and he did need a place to sleep, so Arthur lifted his hand to knock on the door. Before he had the chance to, someone yanked the door open.
Arthur found himself staring at a man only a few inches shorter than he was, with straight, light blonde hair and green eyes. He noticed the man's eyes grow wide as he looked him over.
"Er…hi?" the man immediately shut the door in his face.
Arthur was torn between being enraged by the man's rudeness and being heartbroken over his actions, assuming he was Alfred. Of course, why wouldn't he be? This was the exact address Alfred had given him, so it only made sense that that man was none other than Alfred Jones. Still, something in Arthur's mind wouldn't let him accept that fact. He always imagined Alfred being…taller? And didn't Alfred mention once that he wore glasses? Yes, that was definitely not Alfred, he hoped.
While he was contemplating what to do next, the door opened again, this time revealing a brown haired, green eyed man. Arthur raised an eyebrow and noticed the man from before hiding behind him.
"You must be Arthur right?" Arthur nodded and the man smiled, "I'm Toris Lorinaitis, Alfred's roommate. He just went out to get some milk, so he'll be back in a bit. Please come in," Toris stepped aside.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance," he grabbed his bag and stepped inside the apartment.
Toris immediately stepped forward and took his coat, "Please sit down," he nodded towards the couch as he hung up Arthur's coat in the nearby closet, "Would you like something to drink?"
"Tea, if you have it," Arthur removed his hat and gloves before they too were taken by Toris and placed in the closet before leading him to the sitting area. Arthur sat down on the couch as Toris went into the kitchen, the other man standing around awkwardly, not sure whether to follow him or bolt into a different room.
"Feliks," Toris called from the kitchen, "Come here please." The man sighed in relief and followed his friend into the kitchen.
Arthur was left alone as his eyes wandered around the apartment. It was on the small side, able to comfortably fit the two people who lived there. The sitting area he was in was connected to the kitchen, where he could see a small table set up for eating. Behind him were two doors that he guessed went to the two bedrooms. Curious, Arthur stood up and opened one a crack. The walls of the room were painted a sky blue and covered with various movie and comic book posters. The floor was littered with clothes, text books, and video games.
Alfred's room, he assumed.
A sudden crash and yell from the kitchen reminded Arthur that it was terribly rude to poke around someone else's home when he was a guest. He blushed and quickly made his way back to the couch just in time for Toris and Feliks to emerge from the kitchen.
"Sorry, but we're all out of tea," Toris said with a shake of his head, "Would you like me to get you something else?" He smiled at him while Feliks once again hid behind Toris.
"It's quite alright," Arthur looked over the pair, "I don't mean to be rude, but is he quite alright?"
"Sorry, Feliks is a little shy around people he doesn't know very well. It's nothing personal."
"Oh, well then," Arthur stood up and offered his hand to Feliks, "Arthur Kirkland. I'm a…friend of Alfred's."
Feliks raised his eyebrow and hesitantly shook his hand. "Feliks Lukasiewicz."
"And now we know each other," Feliks gave him a small smile before he was distracted by the door opening.
"Rest safely citizens!" a very familiar voice exclaimed, "Your hero has returned with the milk!"
And Arthur realized that why yes, he was in fact in love with Alfred Jones.
Perhaps he'll only feed Francis scones for a month.
"Rest safely citizens! Your hero has returned with the milk!" Alfred announced when he entered his apartment. He looked around and noticed that there was someone he'd never seen before sitting on his couch. Either someone had knocked on the wrong door and Toris was too polite to tell them that or this was Arthur.
Alfred was really hoping it was the latter.
"Alfred!" Feliks ran over and hugged him, "I'm like, totally glad you're back! Your friend is here, so you like won't be lonely and stuff, and we can go now, right Tor?"
"I suppose," Feliks ran over to grab his arm and drag him out the door, "Alfred behave yourself!" he managed to shout as they disappeared into the hallway.
And so Alfred found himself alone with his crush for the very first time.
"So, I'm going to go put this in the fridge," he held up the milk and walked over to the kitchen, "Just make yourself at home. Sorry for the mess."
"It's alright," Arthur called from his seat on the couch, and just his voice alone was starting to make his face warm, the clarity of it reminding Alfred that he was here, and he could touch him and even kiss him if he wanted to. "You have a nice place here."
"Oh, thanks," he put the milk in the fridge and stayed there, letting the coldness cool his face for a bit, "We do what we can. Do you want anything to drink while I'm here?"
"Tea, but Toris informed me you don't have any?"
"Haha, yeah," Alfred leaned in the doorway between the kitchen and the living area, "we both prefer coffee, so no real need for tea."
Arthur sighed and sank further into the couch, "Back in England you'd be hard pressed to find a house without tea. America's different I suppose. What else do you have?"
"Hm?" Alfred was so busy looking at Arthur actually form words with his mouth while he spoke and trying to memorize every detail of his face that he missed what he had said, "Oh, uh, if you really want tea that bad, we can go get some."
Arthur's face turned red and he suddenly became preoccupied with a loose thread on the couch. "You don't…have to go that far. I can manage without."
"No, it's cool. I mean, you're my guest, and you should be able to get what you want," he was already back by the door putting his coat on, "We can stop by Starbucks or something now and then get you some real tea tomorrow. Or the next day, since, you know, everything will be closed tomorrow," he paused and looked back at Arthur, "If you're, you know, staying that long."
"I'll be here all week, and I suppose this is cheaper than a hotel."
"Good. That's good," there was an awkward pause as Alfred opened the door, "So you coming?"
"Oh, right," Arthur stood up and grabbed his coast, following Alfred outside to the street.
They walked in silence for a few blocks when it suddenly started snowing. Arthur paused and stared up at the sky while Alfred continued walking for a few steps before he realized he was alone and stopped as well, looking at Arthur looking at the snow.
"It doesn't snow very often in England," he explained, holding out his gloved hand to catch some of the steadily increasing snowflakes, "Any snow that does stick is usually turned to slush the next day. I haven't really had what you would call a white Christmas before."
Alfred walked back over to where Arthur was and looked up at the sky as well, "Well, you'll probably get one this year."
"Hm," Alfred turned his gaze back to Arthur and was struck by how pleasant he looked just then, how right the moment felt.
Do it! A voice that sounded like Liz's shouted in his head. Tell him how you feel!
You've been mopey and distracted for days, you know. Matt's this time. Please, for all of our sakes…
If you end up banging him invite me for a threesome! Alfred decided he was better off ignoring his inner Gilbert.
"Uh, Arthur," Arthur looked him right in the eyes, and Alfred was struck by just how green his eyes were.
Alfred closed his eyes and inhaled deeply before exhaling and opening them again, "Um, you know how we talk on the phone and stuff and we became friends and all, and that's really cool 'cause I like you, I mean, I like being your friend and all. Well I like you too, but uh…yeah."
Arthur blinked, "Yes, I am well aware of our relationship up to this point."
"Alright, good, um…" shit, this wasn't going well at all. When Alfred F. Jones has something to say, he'd always just come out and say it. For some reason Arthur has the ability to turn him into a babbling, love struck, idiot, "Yeah, so, you're here now, and that's really cool and I like that, 'cause now I get to spend time with you and stuff…"
"Alfred, is there a point to all this?"
"Yeah, there's a point," focus, he needed to focus and just say it, "The point is, um…" shit, he couldn't do it. He didn't even know if Arthur swung that way anyway, just that he was single. And what does he really know about Arthur anyway? He could just be tricking himself into thinking it was love when it's really not. Yeah, that was probably it…
"Alfred," Alfred snapped out of his thoughts to find Arthur was getting a bit irritated, "just come on out and say it already."
Yes, there was that voice, the one that rambled on about nothing in particular with him just because and comforted him when he was sick. It was love, there was no question, and Arthur had the right to know.
"So, uh, somewhere in between all that, I kinda really fell in love with you," he averted his eyes and finished with an eloquent, "and stuff."
He looked back at Arthur who just stared back at him, face now resembling a tomato, so he continued, "I know there's the whole ocean cursey thing to deal with and you probably don't even like me that way anyway, but I figured since you're here and all you deserved to know and stuff so-" his blabbering was cut off by Arthur's lips on his.
All too soon, Arthur pulled back, "I kind of really love you too, git," he added for good measure.
"Oh," Alfred couldn't help the smile the spread across his face and saw something similar happening to Arthur's, "So that means we're dating now right?"
Arthur grabbed his hand and threaded their fingers together, "I suppose so."
"Awesome," Alfred's smile grew, if that was possible, and he leaned in to kiss Arthur again. When they parted, he asked, "So about that tea?"
"I was thinking, if you have hot chocolate back at your place, we could forgo the tea until later and have some of that instead."
"Yeah, I do. We could just watch TV or even the snow fall, if you want."
Arthur smiled, and it made Alfred's heart flutter in a way that he hope he never got used to.
"I'd like that very much."
Anon Review Corner:
Trivia: Thank you! I'm glad you think so highly of it. I hope I didn't disappoint. :D
DribbledCaramelLaces: It was either have Yao send him or have him hitchhike...across an ocean (is that even possible?). Yes, Sophie is Monaco. They can't possible just let the amour die! XD Thank you very much! I do enjoy being told I did things right, and thank you for your kind words!
Anon: Oh shucks Anon, it's no problem. You took the time to write me such wonderful reviews. :3 Thank you very much! I hope you continue to do so. :)