You know…I don't even think I'm going to start to explain why I'm 500 months late. Except to say it had nothing to do with me being lazy. Sorry about it though.
Well: total number of chapters for this fic is now confirmed. It's gonna be 25. :) 18 down, 7 to go!
This chapter feels really choppy to me…because I wrote like a few lines per month cause that's all I had time for and my writing style may or may not have changed in that time. Just let me know or something…?
(And you may or may not have ANY IDEA what it's like to be writing one fic when you've got another completely different one swimming constantly around in your head…let me just say it's not easy. I need a cure. -_-)
April 2, 2012: 53 days to Anime North
"A-ha!" Arthur exclaimed, triumphantly pulling out Alfred's blue digital camera from under the cushion on the chair. He turned around. "Found it!" he said in Alfred's direction.
Once the pair had finally remembered why they had come up to their room (Change Alfred's boots, find con guidebook thing, get camera), they discovered they had to endure a rather trying search for the objects. The boots they'd found behind the ironing board in the closet, and the con guidebook had been seemingly cleverly hidden underneath the doujinshi on the bedside table. 10 minutes later, Arthur had removed the camera from its inexplicable location.
Alfred poked his head up from beneath the bed. "Where was it?" he asked.
"Under this pillow which was under your bomber jacket," he replied.
Alfred stood up and frowned. "The fuck was it doing there?" he wondered out loud, for the third time since they'd started searching (once for each object).
Arthur shrugged. "It's your stuff." Alfred had always had a very odd quirk of putting things in the last place they could possibly be looked for, then forgetting where he'd put them.
He handed Alfred the camera and checked his pockets to make sure he had everything he needed, including the stockpile of Pocky they had bought earlier. "Right then. Time check?" he asked.
Alfred grabbed the jacket off the chair and looked at his watch. "It's nearly 1 now. Jeez. We've still got like, more than 8 hours before we get back here for the night."
Arthur raised his eyebrows. "A convention runs for that long?"
"Well the dealer's room and the artist alley and stuff like that close at-" he checked the con book "-9 pm. Then there's all these later events happening that sound really epic so I wanna go check them out."
"I presume I have to come too, then."
"Yup." He smiled. "It's our first con, Artie. We gotta enjoy it as much as we can."
"That's what we've been doing for the past 24 hours, is it not?" he cocked his head and gave the other an all-knowing grin.
The grin was returned. "Of course."
"Shall we?" Arthur asked, extending his arm to the American.
Alfred took his hand and nodded. "Let's go USUK the hell out of those people. And then take lots and lots of pictures. Make a bunch more friends, see a crap ton more awesome cosplayers, and wave if we happen to meet up with more people from school."
Arthur rolled his eyes playfully. "Whatever you say."
"…Maybe I'll manage to get those freaking hot sounds you were making 20 minutes ago out of my head, too."
"Alfred!" Arthur blushed furiously and swatted at his arm, at which Alfred merely laughed. Arthur continued trying to hit him.
"Okay, okay. Couldn't resist." He lifted an arm to defend himself.
Arthur scowled and stomped out of the room, a still-giggling Alfred in tow. Arthur faced away from him. There was a hint of a smile under the scowl that he couldn't manage to hide.
"We did say we'd meet back up with Canada and Iceland or something, right?" Alfred asked when they were out of the building.
"You probably said something like that, yes." Arthur wiped the sweat from his forehead. One step outside the air-conditioned haven of the hotel and he was dripping.
"Can that wait? I wanna have a chance to go crazy with my camera now that we have it," Alfred said, holding up the device in question.
Arthur shrugged and smiled. "It's your choice, love."
Alfred turned to him. "Is that a British thing?"
"Is what a British thing?"
"Calling people 'love'. It's British, isn't it?"
"Oh, that." Arthur frowned. "I don't really know, actually. I guess so." He paused. "Why?"
"No reason…just that I…I like it." Alfred blushed.
Arthur smiled. "Oh really? I'd better use that to my advantage then…love."
Alfred elbowed him playfully. "And we suddenly discover that in secret, the self-proclaimed 'gentleman', England, is actually a shameless flirt."
"Bollocks! No one was supposed to know that." Arthur said, laughing.
"But no one really thinks it's a bad thing. Especially not America." Alfred stuck out his tongue. "Anyway. Let's go look for photoshoots or something." He started to walk, tugging Arthur's arm to make him follow.
"Alright, alright," Arthur said, still half-grinning.
They found a photoshoot in less than five minutes. Well, 'found' probably was not the right way to put it. 'Got trampled by' was closer to the truth.
"Bloody hell. Who are these people and how many of them are there?" Arthur said, narrowly avoiding being hit by a wheelchair.
Alfred steered himself and Arthur out of the way of about ten identical characters standing in the middle of the path, all with short blond hair and aviators. "I've heard about this series, but I haven't actually looked at it yet. Bunch of otaku buddies are totally obsessed, though. It's called Homestuck."
"Ah." Alfred's response hadn't really gotten rid of his confusion. "Would you possibly be able to tell me why nearly all of their faces are painted white?"
"Not really…other than the fact that they're trolls…but not that kind of troll…"
Arthur sighed. He wondered if Alfred forgot that he didn't know a bloody thing about 'otaku' life. Well, that was certainly helpful. "What kind of troll is that kind of troll?"
"Oh right. Forgot you didn't know." Alfred grinned sheepishly. Arthur rolled his eyes. "That kind of troll is basically a person that…um…how do I put it…is one of the assholes of the fandom world. They just diss everything. The personifications of negativity."
"I didn't even know words that long were in your vocabulary," Arthur muttered under his breath, then said louder, "I see."
"Hey, dude, I heard that, you know." Alfred smiled and nudged the other with his shoulder. "I can speak properly when I want to."
"Which is…never." Arthur returned the smile.
"Mmm…yeah. That sounds about right." He pulled Arthur onto the grass, where the Homestuck cosplayers were somehow managed to organize themselves into a sort of semicircle around a smaller group of them in the middle. Alfred sidled into the semicircle, Arthur in tow, before pulling out the camera and taking a couple quick photos of the group.
Amongst the mixed mumbling and shouting Arthur managed to make out someone's exclamation of "BUCKETS!" which made a whole bunch of people laugh hysterically. Arthur frowned in confusion.
Alfred shrugged. "I guess it makes just as much sense to other people when we Hetalia people shout 'PASTA!' or 'VODKA!' or 'oh-hon-hon-hon-hon'…"
Arthur giggled at Alfred's France imitation. "Quite true."
Alfred looked down with a smile and slung an arm around Arthur's shoulders. "Hmm. So. Where around this con have we not been to yet?" Alfred said.
"How should I know?" Arthur said, leaning into the other's side.
Alfred shrugged. "No idea. Anyways. Hold on." He pulled away for a moment to run after somebody wearing a ridiculous (and slightly scary) costume that looked like an 8-foot tall black bed sheet with a face. Arthur watched as Alfred ran in front to get its attention and said "No Face" then something inaudible. The No Face proceeded to stop moving and let Alfred take its picture. Alfred thanked it and turned back towards where Arthur was.
Sensing Arthur's question, Alfred spoke. "Have you seen the movie Spirited Away?"
Arthur shook his head.
Alfred frowned. "My Neighbour Totoro?"
He shook his head again.
"Have you heard of Studio Ghibli or Hayao Miyazaki?"
"Probably," he said, shrugging, "but I don't remember it."
Alfred sighed. "You, England, are in need of a proper education." He put his arm back around the other's shoulders and kept walking.
Arthur just rolled his eyes.
After doing several laps of the entire building, Alfred running off every two seconds to take a picture of a person or a group or a photoshoot of some kind, the two of them stopped in a less-busy area and sat on a patch of grass.
They stayed there in silence for a few minutes, observing the passer-bys. At one point a group of what appeared to be giant stuffed animals walked by. Alfred took their picture. "Pokémon," he explained. "The greatest thing that Japan has ever created."
"I'm not stupid, you know…" Arthur said, being hit by childhood memories of the red and blue lights flashing across the telly, accompanied by a song about being the very best like no one ever was. "I remember Pokémon, with Ash and Pikachu and all that."
Alfred smiled. "But you've never seen anyone as crazy about it as the otakus...trust me."
"I can imagine." Arthur yawned.
Alfred flopped down on his back, blocking the sun with his hand. "This heat is killing me," he groaned.
Arthur lay down beside him and let out an exhausted breath. "I did say earlier not to complain but…I know what you mean."
Alfred rolled his head lazily towards him. "Are you having fun at least?" he asked.
Arthur closed his eyes and smiled. "Yes," he said simply.
"Good." Alfred shifted back, the corners of his mouth twisting upwards.
Arthur felt himself starting to drift off. The sun, the constant walking, the general hyper feel of the convention, and the…er…previous events of the day were all taking their toll on him. He was about to fall asleep too when-
Arthur groaned. He opened his eyes to see Alfred putting away his camera. He sighed in relief. "You scared me," he said. "I thought you were another mob of those fangirls."
Alfred just laughed. "Well it's not beyond them," he said.
"Could we possibly get somewhere out of their camera range before we're molested in our sleep? Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the…er…attention, but…" Arthur trailed off.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Um…here." He stood and offered his hand to Arthur, who took it and dragged himself up tiredly. "I noticed this area behind the parking lot-" he gestured towards it "-where there's a bunch of trees and grass and it's pretty empty…"
"Definitely." Trees = shade = sleep, Arthur thought. He was tired enough to doze off while standing up.
They headed over to the area, picking what looked like a cherry blossom tree and lying under it. Alfred looked up through the leaves. The sunlight that slipped between them dappled his and Arthur's faces. He reached his hand up, attempting to grab at the rays.
"What is it?" Alfred asked, observing the patterns on his fingers.
"This feels like every single book and movie cliché that's ever been invented," he said. When Alfred stayed silent he continued. "Think about it. Here we are, lying on grass on a beautiful day, staring at the sunlight. And we're at a convention for Japanese animation under a cherry blossom tree. It's a bit like a bad romance novel."
Alfred giggled at that, murmuring something about Arthur having actually read bad romance novels. "I see what you mean. But romance novels with clichés are the best kind!
"Really, now," Arthur said sceptically. "If this was a romance story, would you read it? With all its ridiculously sappy, clichéd moments?"
"Of course," he said. "Clichés are clichés because when they happen, the feelings that they give people are the most amazing feelings in the world."
Alfred sighed. Arthur was not a romantic in the slightest, so he had to do double duty. "Well, I dunno about you, but I've never felt this good in my entire life," he said.
Arthur blushed. "True enough," he said quietly.
Alfred stayed silent, a triumphant smile on his face.
"Alfred?" Arthur said.
"You won't ever stop being a walking cheeseball, will you?"
"Is it a bad thing?" Alfred grinned sheepishly.
"Then why would I stop?" Alfred asked. He rolled over and kissed Arthur lightly on the lips. "I love you."
Arthur smiled at him, bumping their noses together. "Cliché." He closed his eyes.
Alfred smiled back and stroked Arthur's cheek with his thumb. "Go to sleep, Arthur," he said.
So he did.