Invisibility and Anonymity
A/N: Sorry to everyone who was expecting an update to Check Yes Or No! My laptop is permanently dead until I get a new battery... So, until then, here's, well, this. xD
Victor = Cuba.
Love is not only something you do, it's something you are - and you are my love.
Matthew Williams never thought he'd see the day where someone actually recognized him, much less wrote him what appeared to be a love note.
With a light blush he would have blamed on the heat if anyone asked, - which no one would - he folded the paper back the way he'd received it when he'd picked it up off his chair and tucked it into the pocket of his slacks as he sat. But, really, he thought, staring down at his lap, who would ever want to give me a love note? For the nations that were actually likable, unlike himself, there was quite literally a world of possibilities. For him, he had a hard time compiling a list of people who would even like him as a friend. Difficult though it was, eventually his pondering paid off.
There was always Victor; he was the only one who ever talked to Matthew at all. Then there was Francis; he had a reputation for flirting with anything that had a pulse. Alfred, who remembered him occasionally. Ivan at least knew which country he represented. Arthur cared enough to listen to him sometimes. Gilbert was the only one who actually visited...
So, at least he had a list now.
He heaved a self-depreciating sigh as he sunk into his chair. Oh, please. What were the odds that even one of those people even knew his name?
Your name is precious to me.
That was what the next note had said.
For a moment, Matthew had to recall whether he'd spoken his thoughts aloud at yesterday's meeting, coming to the conclusion that he most certainly hadn't... But, clearly, someone had picked up on the vibes. It actually made the Canadian a little giddy to think that somebody actually paid that much attention to him. Heck, he was excited that he was getting any attention at all, to tell the truth. Despite the fact he would've been ecstatic with whomever wrote the notes, a burning curiosity led him to make an attempt at narrowing down his options.
If he'd noticed so much about Matthew, he had to have been at the meeting, so he had to be part of the G8; that eliminated Gilbert and Victor. This admirer - if he can be called that (Matthew still felt that the whole thing was rather surreal) - was clearly romantic, and as far as Matthew knew, Alfred didn't have a romantic bone in his body. That left him with Ivan, Francis, and Arthur.
Oi, he thought, hugging Kumajirou to his chest. "I never thought about anyone liking me..." A soft giggle passed his lips. "Who do you think it could be, Kuma?"
Kumajirou simply turned his twitching nose in the air and replied, "Who are you?"
Wednesday came and introduced the third consecutive meeting of the week. And, just like the previous two days, the Canadian nation's chair held the admirer's note on its cushion, giving its recipient a jolt of giddy elation the moment he saw it. He unfolded the crisp white paper, acutely aware of his heart thumping in his chest.
What was written inside, however, only served to confuse him. It was an arrow, pointing left. Curiously, he looked to his left, though something in his mind told him it was useless, because there was nothing to his left but a slate-colored wall some feet away. And, of course, when he looked, the wall was all he saw, as slate-like as ever. When he looked back at the table was when his confusion left him in the form of a quiet gasp.
Roses. There was a bundle of red roses in front of him suddenly, yet everyone was staring ahead at Alfred's presentation, giving no indication of who could have put them there.
Disregarding how his hands shook, Matthew picked the plastic-wrapped bouquet up and examined it. As he lifted it, a small note fluttered down from between the stems. "A-another one, eh?" he inquired, to no one in particular. He slid it closer to himself and sat down, opening it and reading it aloud (in hopes that the author would look over. It was a stretch, but it was worth a shot.) " 'I'll love you until the last rose dies'..."
Matthew may not be very knowledgeable in the ways of romance, but he could easily pick out a classic. Another cursory glance at the bouquet confirmed his suspicion: One rose, placed with meticulous care near the center, was a fake.
Very aware of both the light tint to his cheeks and the smile on his lips, he set the flowers in his lap. The only thing on his mind throughout the rest of the meeting was the unanswered question: Who was his admirer?
I noticed your hands shaking yesterday and wanted so desperately to hold them - to make them stop the same way you make my heart stop.
Matthew was sure his face was downright crimson, but he mustered the courage to look up and do his daily scan for clues anyway.
To his immediate right, Ivan leaned over closer to him. "Ooh, who is that from, Matvey?"
The younger nation yipped, fumbling with his note. "H-huh? Oh, I-I don't know..."
"It is from a secret admirer then, da? Very interesting." Ivan cast a brief glance at Alfred standing at the head of the table. "Perhaps I should try that."
Matthew crossed another name off his mental list. So it was most likely to be either Francis or Arthur behind the notes, then.
There was excitement building in him; he felt so close to figuring out the mystery, and he had faith that he would, and then...and then? He suddenly felt meek again. He'd never been romantically involved with anyone before... What if he didn't know what to do? What if he screwed up his one chance at love?
Now he was nervous.
He spent the rest of that meeting trying to remember everything Francis had taught him about love.
That Friday's G8 meeting was to be the last one for an entire two months, Matthew realized with disdain. He had never figured out whether it was Arthur or Francis who had been writing the notes - or even if his assumption that it was one of the two of them was correct.
Today, the note appeared on his chair again, giving no indication that the gig was going to be extinguished. As usual, he picked it up, looked around the table, and sat down to read it.
I understand if you see me as The Beast - no matter what, I'll always see you as Beauty.
Matthew smiled, very nearly giggling aloud. Whoever this was, they were positively a romantic - which, as he knew, both the Brit and the Frenchman were without question. Truthfully, he'd entertained the idea of being with either one of them, and he liked the thought. Granted the aforementioned thought embarrassed him to no end, it made him feel wanted just to know there was someone out there. Even if the one writing him these notes turned out to be the only person in the world who cared, Matthew would have been more than appeased. Since he'd gotten the first one on Monday, he had grown more and more fond of being, well, recognized. Not only that, but actually loved. He looked forward to each day's meeting just to receive another note. Selfish as it seemed, he wasn't used to attention, however small it was, so he felt like the only one in the world...in a good way, for once. Just a simple note each day and he was - dare he say it? - in love with the prospect of love.
Sighing blissfully, he let the note flutter to the tabletop. "Hm?" He blinked.
The note...it had something scribbled on the back this time. Two words: Turn around.
For a split-second, Matthew could've sworn his heart stopped. Could the admirer be standing there? He wasted no time twisting around in his seat, violet eyes wide with curiosity.
No one was there.
Frowning a bit in confusion and slight dejection, he turned back around and just sat there a moment before realization struck him. Slower this time, he turned around in the chair, then scooted forward a bit. Sure enough, he saw it: Another note, taped to the headboard of his seat. How had he not noticed that before?
With his heart thumping anxiously once again, he tugged the paper off and scanned it.
Come back to the meeting room at four-twenty to find your last note.
Four-twenty, he thought, a wide smile etched onto his face. Twenty minutes after the meeting ended, and he would discover who had written the notes for sure! The meeting itself ended in five, and that gave him just enough time to fight the nervous giggles rising in his throat.
Twenty-five minutes, and I'll meet my secret admirer.
Those twenty-five minutes later, he was standing before the conference room door again, his hand hovering just above the knob and trembling softly. In a vain effort to try and calm himself, he took a deep breath and murmured, "Here goes nothing, eh?"
Hardly making a sound, he crept into the darkened room, fumbling for the light switch before managing to find it and flipping it on. Harsh fluorescent light flooded the area, forcing Matthew to blink repeatedly to wipe away the white spots that marred his vision. Once the spots and the resulting urge to clean his glasses cleared, he saw the final note; it wasn't on paper this time, but on the chalkboard, written in large, neat print.
Would you be mine?
Matthew's breath hitched in his throat for a moment before he felt the impetus to breathe again.
Beside the board, Arthur stood, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed and a vivid blush across the bridge of his nose. Though he smiled, he said nothing, so Matthew took it as his cue to speak. "Y-you, I, the..."
So, "speak" wasn't as accurate a word as "flounder", but eventually the Canadian managed somewhat of an eloquent sentence. "O-oui...I, yes, of course I will..."
To that, Arthur smiled wider, and for the first time, he spoke. "Please forgive my lack of creativity with this... I just..." He paused and cleared his throat, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was sort of nervous about asking you flat-out, you see."
Without his permission, a giggle escaped Matthew's lips. "N-non, I liked the way you did it." He tried to ignore the tears springing up at the corners of his eyes. "You m-made me feel like somebody cared..."
Arthur crossed the room and stood before the younger nation. "Somebody does care, love."
Choked up on his words, all Matthew could do was nod mutely.
"You always seemed so closed off," the Brit continued. "I was hoping I could change that."
After an infinitesimal pause, Arthur wound his arms around Matthew's waist, much to the latter's chagrin. "Seventeen-sixty-three," he murmured, burying his face in the younger male's hair. The mention of the year sent a jolt through Matthew's heart.
"Q-quoi?" he murmured, staring, wide-eyed, at Arthur's chest.
"I've been in love with you since seventeen-sixty-three. That's...that's why I took you from Francis."
There was another pause, this time serving as a window for the younger man's response. When it never came, the Brit loosened his grip. "I'm so sorry. I'm selfish, I know."
"Oui, you were," Matthew agreed, giggling. He looked up at Arthur, smiling faintly. "I'm glad you were." A tear suddenly cried rebellion, escaping the corner of his eye and rolling down his cheek.
The elder of the two chuckled breathlessly, bringing his hand up to wipe the tear away with the pad of his thumb. "Hey." The smile he wore curled up a little higher. "Can I ask you something?"
Matthew, curious towards the grin, nodded silently.
"Would you mind..." He paused, leaning his head down, "if I..." A little lower... "Kissed you?" By now, Arthur's lips were so close to the Canadian's that it seemed pointless to ask.
Matthew's eyes widened slightly, and with a slight movement that was almost indiscernible, he nodded. Despite the permission, Arthur didn't move; he only smiled at the younger man, his fingers brushing his cheek. Matthew was beginning to seriously consider leaning up and doing it himself when Arthur finally bent his head down and closed the last centimeter separating them.
If there was any doubt that Arthur was committed, the kiss proved everything - he meant every last word, all the way down to the "Will you marry me?" two years later.
And if there was any doubt Matthew was committed, you could answer to him, and he would tell you he meant every last word, all the way down to "I do."