disclaimer: disclaimed. except for the provinces. my provinces. mine.
dedication: to eleni and emily, for dreaming this up with me, albeit at different times.
notes: AHAHAHAHAHAA ELECTION TIME BITCHES
notes2: yes, i am a university student. yes, i attend these kind of things and then write about them. yes, i'm very special (not really).
title: ontario sucks
summary: Or Reasons Why Matthew Hates His Family. — Because Alberta is a prissy little bitch, and half the time, everyone else just wants to strangle her. Pre-election.
"What do you mean, I can't?"
A pair of bright green eyes flashed, and Alberta stood up, arms already crossed over her chest. She glared down at the boy across the table, stubborn chin jutted out, absently brushing long black hair out of her face.
The dining room in Ottawa was very, very quiet. The provinces and territories sat around the table, determinedly ignoring each other's gaze. Matthew, at the head of the table, pressed his fingers to his temples.
Why did this have to happen every single time they had a family reunion?
"I dare you to repeat that, Quebec. I dare you," hissed Alberta, lips pulled back over her teeth in a snarl.
"You 'eard me, chéri," Quebec said, smirking darkly up at the fuming girl. "You know what I said."
"You have no right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my own land," she snarled at him. "You may be older than me, but you do not have the right to boss me around."
Quebec tilted his chair back on his back to legs and tucked his hands behind his hand. He smiled at the ceiling. "Ahhh, chéri, ne vous fâchez pas. En fait, faire. Vous êtes drôle quand vous êtes en colère."
Ontario snorted into his goulash.
Alberta turned, fists on the table, and snarled him into silence.
Matthew wondered if everyone's families were like this. "Québec, arrêt. Alberta, you too. Can we not have one supper where the two of you get along?"
"Alli, we'll talk about the oil-sands after supper. Jacques… you are far too much like Francis. Leave Alli alone."
"Alli, sit down."
Alberta sat with a huff, hair caught in her mouth, and glared mulishly around at them all. Her family—well, most the time, she didn't want to call them family and was often ashamed she was related to them, the bunch of Liberal morons—didn't often have the chance to get together like this; it was one of the drawbacks of living in a country so large.
BC was on her left, wild brown dreadlocks hair tied back with a bandana, pupils wide and dilated in his sun-bronze face. He was staring at the ceiling, blunt-nailed fingers tangled through her own manicured hands unconsciously, and had Alli been the type to blush, she would have. Yukon was further left of BC, dark shadows under darker eyes, gaunt and hungry-looking, fireweed tangled in his hair. The space next to him was empty, and Alberta couldn't help but wincing at the thought of Alaska—because it still was too raw, still hurt too much.
Then again, what didn't hurt? Alberta thought wryly. Everything hurts.
Prince Edward Island sat at the foot of the table; there'd been a fight over that spot, once, and Matthew had ruled that, as the only province to not ask for the spot, he would have it (as such, no one had ever forgiven either of them for it). Across the table, North of Sixty and Nunavut were whispering quietly to each other; twins in every sense, from temperament to looks.
Alberta smiled. She got along well with the territories, for the most part.
Nova Scotia brushed red-gold hair out of sky-blue eyes and grinned like a pixie, mouth stretched wide; she was tucked under Newfoundland's arm (Labrador looked annoyed; Labrador always looked annoyed). New Brunswick eyes glittered wickedly, loyal to the bone.
Saskatchewan jammed an elbow in Alberta's ribs, and brought her out of her slightly ridiculous musing about her family.
"Pay attention, stupid," she hissed, and nodded her sleek wheat-blonde head in their father's direction.
Matthew sighed and rubbed his temples.
"There's going to be another election."
A strange hush fell over the table, and all the provinces looked towards their father. It might have been Alberta's imagination, but she thought he looked drawn, tired. The lines around his mouth looked deeper, his forehead a little more wrinkled.
"Another one? But that's—" Saskatchewan murmured, looking unnerved.
"Four in seven years, yes," Matthew completed her sentence with a sigh, rubbing his temples for the third time that night, trying to force away the headache that was setting in. He really didn't want to deal with another election.
Jacques laughed aloud, and the whole table winced.
The last time Jacques had laughed like that, Parliament had nearly burned. Four decades, and not one of them had yet to forget the October Crisis. Alli still had nightmares about it, sometimes. Her father ripped in two and Jacques laughing and laughing, a megalomaniac watching as the whole world went up in flame.
"Mon Dieu, ce sera le chaos," he chuckled. He looked Alli straight in the face, and asked "Est cela que vous avez voulu, mon amour?"
She clenched her fists. "You know I never wanted this. Never."
None of the provinces could ever say they wanted this. Matthew would be in turmoil for weeks, as the politicians raged and railed against one another, and the people just didn't care.
It was the apathy that was going to kill them all, Alli thought, and shivered.
"May. Early May."
"Daddy, are you going to be okay?" Saskatchewan asked softly, worry creasing her forehead. She'd spoken the question that they all had been thinking.
Matthew smiled tiredly. "Of course."
Of course he would be okay. Of course.
Alberta slipped her fingers from BC's, and left the table.
/ / /
"Chéri, sont vous bien?"
Alberta stood outside of the parliament building, shivering. Ottawa was warmer than she was used to, this time of year, but the air was damp with humidity and it was cold.
"I'm fine. Go away, Jacques."
He came and stood next to her, leaning on the rail. The wind was off the Rideau Canal and up around them both, carrying the scent of factory production and water. Alberta ran her fingers through her hair.
She didn't look at him when she spoke. "We're so fucked up. This family—we're so fucked up."
Jacques glanced at her through a curtain of blonde hair. She was staring at the Canal, eyes hard, and he wondered what was going through her mind. Alberta had always been a bit of an enigma; she got along well enough with B.C. and—Jacques couldn't help wrinkling his nose at the thought of that Yankee—she certainly got along famously with Alfred. It had always been a point of contention.
So he nodded. "Yes."
Alberta was shaking her head, hand at the back of her head, a sick little smile twisting her lips. "I mean, look at us—you tried seceding because you're a pompous ass, and I—I pretty much hate the entire Eastern half of this place. God, I can't even stand Toronto, you have no idea. I just want to go home."
He didn't say that the family meeting still had six more days, because that wasn't what she needed to hear.
He didn't even really know what she needed to hear.
Maybe that it would be okay.
But Jacques wasn't good at comfort—he was good at rebellion and destruction, as good as she was, really, but little else. Neither was any good at comfort.
Alberta could only shake her head, lips pressed together, and she shivered. "It's the apathy, Jacques. No one cares. Democracy doesn't work if no one cares."
He didn't remind her of the vote mobs that seem to have been springing up at the universities across the country. He didn't remind her of the drums, echoing up through the cities, bouncing off the glass walls of the sky scrapers, didn't speak of the chanting. He didn't say anything about Stroumboulopoulos and the video about the apathy.
Because she knew all those things.
But it was still the apathy, sometimes, Jacques thought that Alli needed someone to ground her.
Someone who was not B.C.
He slipped his jacket off, and tossed it at her. She shrieked as it landed on her head, and Jacques laughed to himself as she fought with the cloying fabric.
"What was that for?" she hissed when she finally managed to get it off. She held the leather away from her body like it was something infected, and Jacques couldn't help but chuckle again.
Alberta was so predictable.
"You look cold."
She stared at him, green eyes slit and suspicious. Jacques spread his hands, grinning wide and innocent, and watched as she slid the coat over her shoulders.
"Stop grinning like that, it makes you look disgustingly happy," she told him, grumpy.
Jacques shook his head, and slipped his arm around her shoulders.
"I hate you," she grumbled, ducking her head down and into the side of his neck.
But it felt like family, and things were almost okay.
notes3: yes, i shamelessly ship Quebec/Alberta.
—chéri, ne vous fâchez pas. En fait, faire. Vous êtes drôle quand vous êtes en colère.
Darling, don't be angry. Actually, do. You're funny when you're angry.
—Mon Dieu, ce sera le chaos. Est cela que vous avez voulu, mon amour?
My god, it will be chaos. Is this what you wanted, love?
— Chéri, sont vous bien?
Darling, are you okay?