Summary: His eyes were brighter than any cold star, suffused as they were with love.
Soundtrack: "Sailboats" by Brooke Fraser, "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan and "Nocturn" by Kate Bush
Warnings: Non-descriptive drug use, mentions of sex, kissing, male/male
Info: I'm sorry this took a while, but it really didn't want to be typed. This was, by the way, 32 A5 written pages. I wish I was kidding. Penultimate chapter, next one coming soon! ...Hopefully.
The house had stood for as long as he could remember. He was not present at its building, but it was old even before he had bought it all those years ago. The methods of travel have changed over the years, but the path itself remains the same. Back then it was a trip long planned and carefully executed; now it's a long weekend and a two hour flight, an hour by train and half an hour upon a bumpy track in a car rented from the same company for years. At first they were star struck but now the sight of him tired with backpack hanging off his shoulder has become normal, and as the attendant tells him when snow holds him back for a few hours, in its own way it has now become family legend. What is not normal is for him to have a companion. But that is what makes this trip so different. The whole point of the house was to have somewhere quiet, somewhere away from the rest of the world, away from his work, to be by himself and spend his days in quiet solitude. But now, for the first time, someone else will see it. Someone else will eat at its table, lie on its bed, sit on its porch and look up at the stars. His house is only made for one, but neither protests the living arrangements, and he is sure that his companion, like him, is hoping that the lack of space (and neighbours) will provide the keys to a greater flood of feeling so converse to the normal muted show of affection that haunts their day to day lives. Touches that lasted just a second longer than usual, hands held under the table, "I love you"s at the end of phone calls and notes placed in folders were their norm. It was only behind locked doors, in one or the other's houses or a borrowed hotel room that their feelings came to light, and is he is hoping that the self-imposed solitude would lead to more of these moments. There is no danger of interruption after all.
His quiet reflections made on the familiar bumpy track are interrupted by a noise from his taciturn companion, and he turns to answer the unsaid question and ask one of his own. "This is it," he says, stopping the engine and getting out. "You like it?"
His companion makes no noise, and merely stands by his side. He gets more and more uncomfortable until the other finally says in an awed voice "How did you find it?"
"W-well, I was looking for a place and I was here on official business anyway and I heard a house had recently been put on the market. I-I went to look at it and-"
"It's amazing," his companion says, turning to him. He feels a blush spread up from his neck to his hair and after stuttering out his gratitude he takes a few moments to breathe again. His companion's stare was always so intense! He really is surprised that he has lasted this long, especially when the amber eyes seem determined to bore into his very soul. Taking a few more deep breaths he links their hands, and slowly, the personifications of Canada and the Netherlands enter the big isolated house.
Netherlands is stressed. He knows this because the man is never still, some part of him always moving, finger tapping on the floor. He can already feel the familiar calm settle over him and he wonders how he can relax his boyfriend as well, how he can wipe away the stress of their lives. The first thought that goes through his head is far too graphic and he is glad for the fridge door which hides his face from view until it has cooled down. He knows Netherlands is distant because of the way he acts. Normally if the two are alone the other is all over him, kissing or touching or pulling him to bed. (Or the couch. Or a table). But now when they sit down together, the Dutchman does not pull him into his lap like normal, but leaves him where he sits. Canada secretly contemplates sitting straight down on his lap, but the resulting image makes him blush even brighter than before, and with no fridge door to hide behind he merely looks way and hopes Netherlands does not question it. Luckily, the blonde is too distracted to notice and merely tightens the arm around his shoulders a little tighter when he feels him move away.
Netherlands is worried. He knows this because their first evening together he lights his pipe. He isn't that surprised, for all his properness left over from his upbringing he isn't that fussy when it comes to acts like these, but he thought they would last longer than one night. As night falls deeper the other man presses his head into his neck and pressing open mouthed kisses he murmurs his apology. "Sorry…I've been neglecting you."
"It's okay," he replies. "I just want you to relax."
That night, they lie in bed, kissing and holding each other. To his surprise it is Netherlands who falls asleep first and he is the one left watching over the other's well built form and turning to stare up at the blank ceiling.
Within a few days, they are comfortably settled into their routine, which in the day consists of doing something, just not very much of it, and in the evening includes cuddling, talking or just staring into the distance. Canada tries his hardest to relax the other blond, and if he has embarrassing thoughts he tries his hardest not to blush. This generally fails, Netherlands picks up on it and the whole venture descends into him being teased. But, despite his potential for "getting some" as America puts it, the other never makes a move, and it is only the fourth day of their (rare) ten day holiday that he notices a change in the other.
This change comes in the form of his lover literally being unable to keep his hands off the poor man. When he wakes and starts to roll off the bed Netherlands clamps a hand around his waist and refuses to allow him to leave until their stomachs force them out of bed. The whole time he makes the menu Netherlands has his arms clamped around his waist and his chin resting on his shoulder. When they finally get around to eating the other forces him onto his lap and seems entirely more occupied with kissing him than actually eating which, when pointed out by Canada, prompts Netherlands to say "You taste better than any food," which in him prompts, for the first time this holiday, a blush to spread across his cheeks which is not caused by his own mind. This of course causes a whole new round of teasing. And in the evening they lean against the sofa and talk in low voices with silence coating the house in a thick film and Canada, of course, being pulled flush against Netherlands with no means of escape.
To his surprise, the other man eventually stands up and leaves the room, with a kiss to the cheek and a "be back soon." Canada hears him walk down the hall, up the stairs and into their shared bedroom (the house is built for one and there is no guest room, for he never has guests) and root around in his bag for a bit. The footsteps return and, unsurprisingly, in their owner's hands is, amongst other things, his normal pipe and a bag of…something. Canada gives it a pointed look until Netherlands finally says "It's a relaxant". Canada doubts this means it's legal, but he doesn't really mind. There is a reason for this, and one that he would never admit to anyone, least of all to the man itself. The reason is the fact that Netherlands is well, hot when he smokes (I mean, the man is hardly bad looking anyway, but there's just something about him smoking that appeals to Canada) and while he sometimes disapproves of the thing being smoked, he could hardly say he disapproves of the act itself. And so, he gives in without too much of a fuss, merely holding his hand out for the other to sit down again. The other sets the things he is holding down on the sofa and kneels opposite him, and gently begins to kiss him, slowly interlocking lips with just the slightest hint of tongue teasing his mouth as Canada feels himself be pushed backwards until they lie horizontal on the floor, Netherlands balanced above him. Well, this is hardly objectionable to Canada, and he laces his hands around the taller man's waist to pull him deeper into the kiss. He close his eyes and looses himself in the feel of the kiss and the gentle weight of the other man on his body, until Netherlands breaks away and smirking down at him, begins to sit up again. Canada, frowning, tightens his hands to halt this but the other, always the stronger, manages to sit up and, smirking still, lights his pipe. Canada knows the other man is telling the truth about it being a relaxant, and a powerful one, as one breath of the smoke dripping out of the other's pipe and he can already feel it acting upon him.
He feels himself melt into the floor, and Netherlands slides down so he sits with his back against the sofa, exhaling. He leans down to press a sloppy kiss against the side of his mouth. Canada unconsciously turns his head, begging for more, and Netherlands kisses him lightly before sitting up to take another drag and lolling his head back onto the seat of the sofa, saying "I've missed this," as he breathes out again. Canada knows that he should be annoyed that of all the things to miss, he misses this the most, but he really can't find the energy, so instead he lets it slide and watches the smoke rise of out of Netherlands' pipe. It undulates, colouring the dusty room a smokey grey and spreading through the room, permeating the room with its smell, and if he looks hard enough he can see shapes in the swirls, twisting faster each time Netherlands breathes out, steady and slow, relaxed, his constant partner in heart and mind. He reaches a hand up to play with the smoke, watching it twist and swirl around his fingers. A hand catches it and pulls it down, the body above following the movement until lips are pressed together. Canada, unprepared, gasps in surprise, allowing Netherlands to push his tongue in and wipe all coherent thought from his mind. He curls one hand around the other's neck and threads the other into his hair, revelling in the silky feel of their mouths sliding together, the way that the air of the room clings to his skin and how, when Netherlands finally disengages the two, he is panting slightly, flushed, his eyes bright despite the contents of his pipe.
"Relaxant my butt," he murmurs, and Netherlands rolls back so that he is sitting against the sofa again, the previously abandoned pipe coming up to his lips again. Canada finds himself distracted, watching the way the other's lips move, the soft movement as he exhales, the way a tongue invariably comes out to wet them. Netherlands' eyes slide to his face and follow the path of his gaze, smirking and saying "Something you like?" He is unable to respond and merely nods, holding his hand out to pull the other down onto him. Netherlands shakes his head and when Canada tries to sit up to take what he wants, he pushes him down again.
"Wait," he whispers, and chills run down Canada's spine, the single drawn out word holding promises of future pleasures that he knows only this man can give to him, extremes only he could bring him to. He watches with bated breath as Netherlands takes a deep drag, filling his lungs with the fumes, and then slowly leans over him. His mouth opens as Netherlands bright amber eyes gaze into him, and he realises what he is doing. He synchs his breathing with the other blonde's and as Netherlands exhales he inhales, breathing in the smoke. Cigarette kiss, he remembers suddenly, that was his name for it. He keeps his eyes carefully trained on the other as he exhales, unconsciously wetting his lips and catching himself halfway through the action. He hasn't seen the man this focused in weeks. The other continues to stare at him, and he moves uncomfortably, catching his hoodie and baring his shoulder to the world.
"Please," he whispers, and that snaps the other man. The pipe is abandoned and the other attacks him, lips moving to face, to cheek, to lips the same, to neck, to shoulder, to any bared skin. Canada turns his head to the side, moaning despite himself, and catching his breath when hands that had been running down his sides dive under his hoodie and start to remove it. An errant twist of the head makes him catch sight of the smoke and he gasps "Wait!" against the other's ministrations. Netherlands looks up, confusion in his eyes. "What about-" he gasps, and unable to form words he merely points out the still smoking pipe. Netherlands looks at it for a few seconds, contradicting emotions clear in his eyes, before he murmurs "Dry it out and it'll be fine." He stands up slowly, picking up the pipe and running it under some water to still the smoke. Canada meanwhile allows himself some light touches, sitting up on his elbows and turning his head to await the other's return.
Netherlands returns and sits over him, pulling his hoodie slowly up and over his head. The t-shirt underneath it is quickly removed, and lips are pressed roughly down his chest, tongue swiping in his belly button before he pulls his head up again to join their lips. Canada's hands hurriedly run down the line of buttons of his coat, pulling it off and flinging it to the side, the shirt underneath meeting a similar fate. As the other pushes his body down, and pulls his own over him, kissing him deeply, an errant thought runs through his mind, they aren't going to make the bedroom.
As they lie, gasping in the afterglow, welts pressed into Canada' back from where the floor pressed into him, Netherlands leans over to kiss him on the forehead and mutters "I have missed that." Canada laughs, quietly, watching the last sunlight die. The room is still hazy but its effects have passed, leaving the two hyper aware and able to bask in their own joy. There are things to be done, things which have passed to the back of his mind as he looks at his lover's well built form. "Does your back hurt?" Netherlands asked suddenly, breaking his reverie.
"Yes," he answers truthfully, "but a good hurt." Laughter flows from the other man's mouth, low and quiet and Canada remember why he fell for him all those years ago. The laugh is…it never makes him feel inferior, like he is being laughed at, like France's sometimes does. Nor is it brash like his brother's, so loud all his senses are assaulted at once. Nor is it polite and empty, like England's, laughter for politeness' sake. It is rich and true and quiet and relaxes him even at his most tense. Amber eyes train on him, and he blushes, and looks away. Even after all the things they have done together he still finds the stare to be almost too intense. He has never seen the Dutchman look at someone else with such intensity. A hand reaches out to his cheek, and pulls their eyes back together. His eyes glance away, shy, but Netherland's quiet murmur of "Look at me" has them sliding up against his will. "Why do you always look away?" he asks softly, as if he is an animal he is trying not to spook. Canada wonders briefly how to answer, but goes for honesty. "Your stare is always so intense," he mutters bluntly. "It's like…you're trying to see into my soul. It's scary. When no-one notices you, it's strange to have someone look at you with such passion. "
The words spill out before he can stop them, and he flushes red at the accidental admission. The amber eyes soften and fill with laughter, and the other hides his laughs in his shoulder. "It isn't funny!" he says, smacking the other on the shoulder. "I know," he says. Then he looks at him more seriously. "I look at you like that because I want to make sure you're always here with me. I don't want you to slip away. I can tell it makes you uncomfortable but I…I feel like if I look away you could just slip from my grasp."
Canada looks into Netherlands eyes. They are still sparkling with mirth, but in their depths he can see love as well. An overwhelming rush of affection bubbles out from his chest and before he can stop it he is saying "I love you so much. Don't ever go."
"I love you too," the other says with a small smile, "and I will never leave you."
The night before they leave, the air is warm and the doors to the garden are flung open, and they eat dinner outside, and they sit, candles lit, breathing in the summer air. Canada's eyes look up again and his breath is taken away as he takes in all the stars. Netherlands follows his gaze, and he sees a smile spread across his face from the corner of his eyes. He exhales, slowly, lost in the expanse of stars.
The night is always so dark here, and the stars so bright. The sky is so wide, and he uncurls his legs and unconsciously stands up, walking away from the house. Netherlands walks up to him and catches his hand. "Matthew?"
"You would need a lifetime to look at all these stars," he says, without thinking.
"We have a lifetime," the other says. "Many lifetimes."
He makes no reply, staring up at the stars. Suddenly he starts with remembrance. "I know somewhere," he says. He grabs Netherland's hand, many lifetimes echoing in his ears. He begins to walk, pulling the other with him. It is very dark, be he does not need a light, memory and an instinctual direction leads him, up paths naturally worn by feet, although not human, down shard slopes, and into a clearing then up, up past the trees, until finally they reach the top. They collapse onto the dewy grass, hands tightening together. He opens his half closed lids, and stares up at the sky; he can hear Netherland's muted gasp beside him, and barely restrains one of his own. The sky is spread out before him, stars spreading infinitely across an infinite sky. They shine, crystalline, tiny dots on a sea of black. Tiny dots, that like an image, the longer you look at them, the more shapes stand out. And he can see their nuances, their hues, and he almost imagines he can see sprays of star matter, coating the night in colour.
His eyes dance across the painting before him, taking in their beauty, their shapes, the simple magic of the night.
"How did you find it?" the man beside him whispers.
"Got lost," he mutters, "I came here and noticed how much I could see. That night I came back…and again…I haven't been doing it recently."
"I had forgotten… how wide the sky is."
"You don't see it in the city…I miss the stars when I'm at home. One night I stayed up all night looking for them, but I didn't see anything."
"I wish we could stay here forever," Netherlands says, "and never go home."
"I don't want to go home," Canada says. "Back to work, back to stress. Back to getting no sleep." He sighs.
"Back to hiding," Netherlands says softly.
He nods, "You and me…it's not fair! All the other countries but…we can't…"
"You can blame your parents for that," the Dutchman replies cheekily.
"Hey!" Canada says. He sees a smile twitch on Netherlands' face out of the corner of his eye, and he sits up on his elbows to glare at the other man. The stars are reflected on his eyes though, and he falls back again to raise his own to the mirror's reflection.
Inky black dappled with a cold blue light, like sunlight through the frosted window, emanating around tiny pinpricks of light that dot the sky, stretching onwards and outwards until your head is rolling right back and even then they go on, beyond all imagination. Dabbed amongst them, breaking the frost with fire, soft red, making patterns on the blue canvas inviting you to pick out shapes and forms, to match the connect-the-dot constellations. As his eyes roam the night, lost in beauty again, he finds the shapes shifting in front of his eyes, until he is picking out new patterns with every heartbeat, a smile spreading unchecked across his face, Netherlands' hands in his tightens and he turns for a second to share the smile with him, until he's lost again. Unbidden his hand reaches out to touch them, a snatch of song running through his head…
The stars are caught in our hair; the stars are on our fingers; a veil of diamond dust, just reach up and touch it
… but they are too far. And now he thinks too cold. Their beauty is too distant for the likes of him to reach, captured in their hearts and eyes but never in their hands, too far from their lands. He wonders if there are others like him, on different planets. He wonders if they look at the stars like he does.
Something catches in his throat at that and suddenly he is waving, a small contact to his possible counterpart, a million years away. He closes his eyes and sighs softly, and somehow Netherlands hears it and is leaning over him, saying softly "Time to go back." Canada hums and throws an arm around the other's neck, looking at him. "Love you," he whispers.
He makes no reply and buries his face in his neck and he can hear something like "Always so cute." Then the other lifts his head before he can comment and looking at him says, "I love you too, you sap."
Canada laughs and Netherlands kisses him quickly on the side of the mouth. Still smiling he pouts his lips and Netherlands takes the invitation, kissing him deeply. Canada doesn't really want to leave but it is late and he is tired, and the grass is pressing into his back, and so when they stop for breath he pushes himself onto his elbows and smiles softly, still looking the other in the eye. "Let's go," he whispers. The other sits back and he pushes himself up, looking up at the stars once more. Their beauty still captivates him, but they are still cold and distant to him, so different from the warmth he can feel from the man right beside him. Netherlands gets up and offers him a hand. He takes it and allows himself to be pulled up. He smiles softly; hand still in Netherlands' and moves to walk back, but stumbles at the first step. Netherlands is there to catch him immediately. "A little too soon," he teases and Canada replies, "Yeah, maybe."
"Come here," the other says. "I'll give you a piggyback."
Canada is a bit surprised, but complies, and when they are settled (he feels so safe in the other's arms) Netherlands says "Now my lord, tell me where to go." The other laughs and begins to direct him. (He feels so warm). He curls his arms around Netherlands' chest and kisses his cheek. A small laugh rumbles out of Netherlands' chest, and he smiles into his neck (His laugh that sounds like home). He says "Almost home," and lo and behold they are walking into his yard. Netherlands carries him across the yard and dumps him on the deck before turning to face him, interlacing their fingers. "You didn't have to do that," he mutters.
"Yes I did," the other says, returning the kiss on the cheek (His kiss was always so sweet). He feels a blush rise across his cheeks and he starts to look away, but catches himself and looks back at his lover. A soft smile graces the other's lips, and his amber eyes are like honey. Usually they are unreadable, and he used to be scared of them, but tonight their emotions are crystal clear. Their normal sharpness is muted by tiredness and they gaze back at him soft under a hard brow. They are filled with warmth and love and affection, and brighter than any distant star, cold and unreachable. They are like him, close and warm and entirely holdable, in his heart and eyes and arms. They are beautiful.
He rests his forehead against the other's and wraps his arms around him, still smiling. The other looks back at him then turning around picks him up again. Canada, drifting off already, finds himself being carried through the house, to his bedroom. Once he is lying on the bed Netherlands makes to get him changed, but he grabs the other's hand and pulls him down, until they are lying side by side. Canada wriggles into his arms and throws an arm around his waist, burying his head in the other's neck. "I love you," he mutters, as sleep takes him. Unbeknownst to him, the Dutchman's eyes are still watching over him (His eyes were always there, eternal guardian, never going to leave).
I'm kinda happy with some parts of this, others less so. I wanted more description of the smoking & the stars but it's pretty hard…tips anyone? Also, I think I found the descriptions harder because unlike the rest of this series which generally focuses on a small time frame, this describes three separate points (well, technically four) during a ten day period, which means I have to focus less on the smaller parts…Okay I get it, you don't care about that.
I'm sorry for anyone who was hoping it would descend into sex, but you almost had it XD One day I will write NethCan smut, I promise. Oh yeah, the next chapters of 'Enchanted' will be coming as soon as the next chapter of 'Eyes' is done. This is because the next chapter is almost definitely the last.
I think that's everything, so as always, questions, comments, critiques or suggestions, leave a review on your way out!