A/N: I feel so terrible about my lack of updates recently, but things just keep interfering with me writing this. But it's here now, and I shall work hard to not wait so long to update next time!
Reviews are always immensely appreciated.
Japan flipped the small cream colored card over in his hand; the other was mindlessly resting on the handle of a small, well woven, wicker basket. Tama sat quietly beside him, for all though he was a cat, he shared Japan's distaste for constant attention upon himself.
The note was short and polite, the handwriting neat but informal, and a small red maple leaf adorned the corner. The basket's contents were mostly food, and more specifically, mostly maple. Candies, muffins, syrups, and bacon were all piled pleasingly together in their respective packaging.
Japan placed the card respectfully away into his sleeve to inspect its contents, knowing the gift had a social significance more substantial than the sugary goods.
I cannot eat all of this. He acknowledged plainly to himself. The country enjoyed food far more than most would assume when faced with his thin frame, but one thing he had never quite grown used to was the overwhelming mounds of carbohydrates that had migrated from the West. After all, he was a man, and men don't gorge themselves on pastry and candy.
Japan rung the bell and waited, basket in hand, for Germany to receive him. Italy would also be joining them, having always possessed a sixth sense for when a social situation he wanted in on was about to occur.
"Japan!" As the door was flung open there was no doubt as to the answerer's identity. With a flash of brown hair and a very distinctive curl, Japan was quickly absorbed into a tight embrace, his basket crushed between the two nations.
"Hello Italy" He said into the hair pressed against his face.
"Japan!" He repeated, and pushed the other away, while retaining his hold on Japan's arms. "It has been forever! Months, maybe years!"
"It has been approximately one week." A stern voice corrected from the hallway as Germany came into view. "Hello Japan, come in. Italy, move out of the way! You are being rude!"
Italy's face dropped into a pout, but he stepped aside none the less. Japan entered, thankful for Germany's intervention.
"Since I could not possibly eat all this, I figured you two might enjoy some. They are a gift from Canada."
"Oh! Let me see!" Italy snatched the basket away to rummage through it excitedly. Germany smiled his tight gruff smile and thanked him for his thoughtfulness, glared at Italy momentarily for his breach of proper conduct, and led them both to his living room.
Tony lay on the bed deciding whether he felt like paying attention. America was talking, and had been talking, for quite some time. America twisted appraisingly in front of his mirror.
"I mean, I'm like totally irresistible, right?" he stated more then asked, "No way anybody wouldn't be into this!" He confirmed to himself as he ran his hands over his stomach.
"You and your brother, I swear to God, savages, the both of you, that is not what you eat that with." England scolded.
Canada stared down at his plate, ashamed to be receiving such negative attention.
"ohhonhon, my little maple leaf, have no fear, England has no business scolding you. He's no gentleman, more of a ruffian than you ever were."
"Well, I'm more of a gentleman than you are, you scoundrel."
"Oh, look, the dessert is here." Canada pointed out weakly. The waiter deposited their desserts and fled, knowing well enough to be wary of the familial trio. Effectively distracted from his frustration, England returned to his previous topic.
"So, France, as you were saying… something about Greece?"
"Ah, oui. I just saw him."
"I had gathered as much."
"Well, apparently Japan is ignoring him." France informed them, seeming to savor his words.
"He's probably just busy, Japan has impeccable manners."
"Busy? We saw him but a few short days ago, non?"
"Well, yes. But honestly, why does this matter to me? You are such a gossip!"
"I am just saying that there is something there is all." France's voice was devilish and pleased with itself.
"Something where?" England waved his hands as if to signal the lack of anything in their physical and figurative space. "What in all Hell are we talking about?"
"Are you telling me you have not noticed it?" France let one patronizing eye brow shoot up. Canada swallowed, eyes flitting between his companions in panic.
"Noticed what?" England did not look like he cared, but asked anyway. France enjoyed his position of being in the know and gave himself ample time to bask in it. Canada let out an awkwardly prolonged 'um' noise and attempted to get a place holder in the conversation he wanted desperately to die an immediate and quiet death.
"I…" he began, failing to elicit the attention he needed.
"You really don't, do you?" France continued to taunt his bushy eyed brother.
"I am in trouble!" Canada practically yelled, straining his high whispery voice. Although he thought it would serve his twin right to get his comeuppance (for once), his inner moral compass had a very sharp tip, and when it spun, it spun hard, needling him painfully. He could very rarely defy it.
"Trouble? What sort of trouble?" England's ample brow furrowed. If there was one thing England was, it was paternalistic, whether that was for the best or not, the many nations who had fallen prey to his influence certainly contested.
"Very…" Canada felt his throat tighten in anxiety. "Big trouble."
"Well," France waved an encouraging hand. "What troubles our petit Northern snowflake?"
"Uhh…" Canada bit his lip and squeezed his napkin. Darn it, why does America always get me into so much trouble? "It is hard for to talk about."
"Oh, well. We don't need to discuss it." England offered.
"Of course we must!" France countered. "You are truly heartless, mon frère."
"I'm simply trying to not force your damnable curiosity on the child. He cannot defend himself from the likes of you!"
"Why would he want to defend himself from the likes of me?"
"Well, I really-" Canada tried.
"Oh dear Lord is that what this is? France, did you do something to Canada? Canada, what did France do?"
"Well, he di—"
"Di he touch you?" England shook him wildly, "Did France touch you? Tell me!"
"N-no!" Canada managed to squeak out between shakes.
"Oh." England straightened his tie, "Well then," And took his seat. "What is so hard to discuss?"
"Excuse me, since when is me touching anyone a big problem?"
"Well, you see," Canada began his lie anew, "My..uh..stuffed rabbit is a bit of a bad seed."
France began guffawing almost immediately. "Un lapin? I cannot believe my lovely ears!"
England stifled a laugh in favor of clearing his throat. "Your stuffed rabbit, you say? What's wrong with it?"
"He's, umm, He has odd interests."
"How long has your bunny had interests?" France asked incredulously.
"What do you mean? Canada asked, perplexed.
"Well, toys don't usually have interests."
"Y-Yes, they do. I've never had a stuffy without interests. Everybody has interests."
France continued to snicker, causing England to hit him on the arm.
"Canada," England attempted to sound gentle. " You do know it is odd for them to talk, don't you?"
"What? B-But, you have friends other people don't understand too!" Canada sat forward, now actually invested in the topic.
"My friends are not inanimate objects!" England insisted.
"Hey now," France cooed, flipping his hair, "Maybe you are both just crazy."
"God Canada, such a spazz." America laughed heartily, but too jovially to be cruelly. "Who sends a basket full of food?" He tossed a muffin up in one hand and caught it in the other. "S'g'd M'ffuhn" He mumbled through a large bite. He probably sent one to Japan too. He's so sensitive, he should learn to lighten up. Or maybe not, since I get treats out of it. I wonder if Japan will be able to eat all the stuff in his. I swear, that guy has a stomach the size of a grape or something. I should text him, he's probably totally freaking out about Canada's wierdness. He pulled out his phone and began to type, one handed, while shoveling more into his mouth as he contemplated how many of the countries in his life really just needed to relax.
Japan had spent the afternoon with his friends contemplating how much information is appropriate to share with those closest to you. His boss was always telling him to try to be more open and connect better to the countries that counted, but that did not mean that was a process that went smoothly for the reclusive Japan.
Looking at Italy's big loving eyes, he thoroughly doubted he would receive any sort of scolding or new distance from him. But Italy, of all nations, was certainly not a good marker for what was appropriate. He did not know what sort of reaction such a confession might elicit from Germany; not a cruel one, of that he was certain, but of all the possible responses, that one's absence was all he was certain of.
He placed a small sugar formed maple leaf on his tongue and did his best to listen to the conversation at hand. He let it dissolve in his mouth and failed to not think about how to explain that you are currently involved in a romance with the United States of America without sounding like an unwise, rash, fool of a country. After much deliberation, nodding when he felt he should nod, and trying to make a socially acceptable amount of eye contact with both of his companions, he decided that, at least for the time being, you simply did not. The tight hug from Italy and the firm pat on the shoulder from Germany he received on his way out the door was all at once a steadying comfort and a reminder of the closeness he risked with such a revelation. After all, it was not as if he made friends very easily, or very often. The ones he had, the real ones with whom the layers upon layers of courtesy he so cherished could be somewhat dropped away, were not to be trifled with, not to be carelessly endangered. The problem was that he was not sure whether disclosure or omission was the threat. He would have to think on it at home. Or at least, that's what he had decided as he departed. However, that is not what he did.
When Japan arrived, he found the country he had sought out soundly asleep on an ancient slab with a perfectly contented feline lightly snoring on his gently rising and falling stomach. Japan sat himself down gingerly next to him and just watched. Maybe I shall just go, waking him would be rude. But then again, he sleeps far more than he should. His considerations turned out to be needless as Greece opened one relaxed eye and smiled lazily.
"Hello Japan. It has been a while."
"Greece. It has certainly been a few weeks at least. How have things been?" He inquired, glad his friend had awoken of his own accord.
"Well, things have been a little less busy around here lately."
Japan could not help but wonder when Greece ever truly let his life become busy. He had never witnessed a hectic day for the man.
"I am glad it has not been too chaotic."
Greece simply nodded and closed his eyes in relaxation. Japan sat in silence as the moments passed and he found it more and more likely that his friend had simply fallen back to sleep, as he was known to do. After minutes came and went, and the relaxation Greece was so very good at passing along to others thoroughly set in, Japan suddenly, and without deliberation, took advantage of the situation he had found himself in.
"I am currently engaged in a relatively new but long building same sex country relationship with America, and it makes me very happy, and I thought I should tell someone." Japan breathed a sigh of relief and let his eyes shut and enjoyed having said such a personal thing to someone else (although they could not hear it), free of breach of conduct or consequences, more thankful for Greece's near narcolepsy than he surely had ever been. His peace was promptly shattered by Greece's voice, sounding far more tranquil than it had any right to as it caused Japan such shock.
"Well, I am surprised. It is good to be happy though, you should do what makes you happy more often. Plus, you are far too inexperienced with such matters anyway." The lounging brunette did not bother to open his eyes as he made his statement.
"I-I did not think you were…I shouldn't have…" Japan managed to tense and slouch simultaneously. "I feel so foolish right now Greece. Lately, I have become very bad at choosing when it is wise to speak." He bit his lip and tried to find solace staring at the cloth on his legs when a tan hand came into view and dropped firmly onto his own.
"Japan, you are too stressed. Try not to worry so much, be like a cat."
Japan looked up and was greeted by Greece's calm reassuring smile.
"I think you should talk when you think you shouldn't more often." Greece pat his hand affectionately as he spoke. "You must come here and be relaxed with me when you get so like this, and we will be cats together."
Japan couldn't help but smile at the heart warming invitation.
"Thank you very much. That is very kind, and I will try to do so." He nodded and tentatively placed his own hand over the one covering his other. "You are a good friend."
Greece's smile widened and grew less lazy. "Nekojiro and Nekokichi are the best of friends, remember?"
A/N2: Sorry if the lack of AmericaxJapan interaction in this chapter was disappointing, but the next chappy will be much more filled with it. Y'all have no idea how relieved I am to finally post a new chapter. When I've gone too long without doing so, it weighs on me.
As always, thanks for reading, and the few seconds it takes to leave a comment are greatly appreciated.