A/N: I'm so sorry guys. I don't know what's wrong with me. This update took waaaaay too long, and I don't have a reason as to why. Really, I'm sorry, but if you're still reading this, thank you! I wanna give a HUGE shout out to MrGuiltyrose for kicking me into gear. I AM alive! Well, I really hope you all like this long-awaited chapter.

Chapter 20: Doubts

I could have gone home that night, but by the time I was cleared to go, it was 3:05 AM, so the hospital, since it wasn't very busy, said I could stay in my room until later in the morning. Mr. N was really against leaving me, especially because he had already broken school rules due to my injury, but he finally agreed to take the other five back to the school in a taxi. The hospital staff assured him that they'd call me a taxi in the morning and that I would be perfectly safe.

I slept for a couple of hours in the hospital, and then at 6:12 I told my nurse that I was ready to go. I got a taxi and made my way back to the school without issue. Because it was a Sunday morning, the hallways were empty when I came back in. I went to Mr. N's classroom, since he had told me he'd be there, and that he wanted me to check in with him once I returned.

"Umm… I'm back, Mr. N," I said quietly from the doorway.

He looked up from some papers that were spread across his desk. "Oh good! You had no problems, right? Well, I don't want to keep you here, since I know you need your rest." I nodded and started to leave, but he called after me, "Oh! And you have permission to take the next couple days off from classes." I nodded again.

"Okay. Thank you, for everything." Then I left, Mr. N watching me go with a surprised expression on his face.

I got to my room and opened the door. Greece and his seven cats were all curled up on his bed. I tiptoed over to my own bed and sat down. I surprisingly wasn't tired. Probably the adrenaline from breaking my nose… or from when Hong Kong asked me out… I was really excited. I could finally be with Hong Kong without feeling like I was sneaking behind Norge's back. Already antsy from sitting down, I got up and grabbed some fresh clothes and went to the bathroom to take a shower.

I stared in the mirror. I couldn't believe that it was only yesterday morning that Hong Kong and I were outside, stalking China and Russia. But that thought made me uneasy. Hong Kong just got over China. How can I know that he really meant it when he said he liked me? What if he's using me as some sort of fall-out-rebound guy? The realization that I might just be a stepping stone for Hong Kong made my heart sink.

"No, he wouldn't do that," I tried to reassure myself. But can he really get over China that fast? I swallowed thickly and pushed the thought out of my mind while I stripped out of the clothes that Norge had brought for me when I was at the hospital. I stood in front of the mirror and stared at my pale skin. Why would Hong Kong like me? I'm nothing special... I looked at my frail arms. They're skinny and a bit lanky, not good for lifting a lot of weight. My shoulders aren't a whole lot better, not broad or strong like Sweden's or Denny's, and my chest has no muscular build. I tilted my head at looked down to my somewhat flat feet. My toes are oddly pudgy compared to the rest of my body. My legs are hairless (the same goes for my armpits, chest, and back) but they have a bit of muscle to them from all of the walking around I do. My knees are a tiny bit knobby and pointy. I continued my self-search, and noticed that, for a guy, I have pretty wide hips. Then my eyes fixed on my "junk". I blushed as I looked at myself. I'd never felt comfortable with the fact that I am, admittedly, pretty small. What would Hong Kong think? I suddenly froze when I realized the implications of that concern. I spared one last glance at my small(-ish) penis before I turned my eyes to the shower.

After I had gotten all cleaned up I went down to the cafeteria to eat breakfast. I hadn't felt up to eating in the hospital, so I was really hungry by the time I got there. The room was pretty full but I didn't see anyone that I wanted to sit with. So, after getting myself a stack of waffles topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, I found an empty table to eat at. I was actually thankful that I got to be alone; it gave me time to think things through. So yesterday Hong Kong "loved" China. Then I convinced him to give up on his false hopes of ever dating him. Then I fell and he caught me. Then, I think, he almost kissed before Norge came and started that fight. Then in the hospital Hong Kong told me that he liked me and he asked me on a date.

I knew that's how everything had happened, but it didn't make sense. Within one day Hong Kong was able to get over a few years' worth of feelings and then get new ones for somebody else? I have to be a rebound guy! I really like Hong Kong, and I don't want to see him depressed over the whole thing with China (since it is kinda my fault that he's all upset), but I don't want him toying with my feelings like this. I sighed as I finished my food and then stood up. I knew what had to be done, regardless of how painful it was going to be.

It took me an hour to go from the cafeteria to outside Hong Kong's dorm room. I knew I really had to talk to him, but I put it off by wandering around the school, going to the bathroom, and re-tying my shoes three times. Once I finally stood at the wooden door, I still had no words to say. Maybe he's not here right now. Maybe he's still at breakfast! I thought as I stared at the door. I slowly brought my hand up and lightly tapped the one barrier that protected me from what I was about to do.

Nothing happened, so I knocked louder. My heart beat hard against my chest when I heard the sound of feet walking across the floor. "Please don't be Hong Kong," I begged under my breath. The door pulled open and I internally felt my heart fall to the floor when Hong Kong's smiling face came from behind it.

"Hey Ice! How ya feeling today?" He grinned at me, which only made me feel that much worse.

"I'm feeling fine," I said quietly. "I-I have to talk to you…" I trailed off for a moment. "I have to talk to you about our date," I finished.

"Yeah, sure! Why don't you come in a sit down or something? I was already trying to decide what we could do, since we can't actually leave the school and I-"

I cut Hong Kong off. "I don't want to go out with you."

Hong Kong's face dropped. He closed the door as he stepped out into the hallway. He put his hands on my upper arms and tried to look my straight in the eye, but I kept my face tilted towards the ground. "But why?! I thought… I thought you liked me too!"

"I do like you, but I don't want you using me," I said. I pursed my lips and shut my eyes. Why is he touching me like this? Why is he making this so hard for me? I shrugged my shoulders, but Hong Kong held them tight.

"What do you mean? Y-you think I'm using you?! Why would-"

I interrupted again. "Come on Hong Kong! I know that you're upset about losing China! Obviously you're just asking me out to use me as a rebound guy! But I really like you, so I don't want you messing around with me when you don't mean it. I get it. You don't have to return these feelings of mine, but you also don't have to make a mockery of them." I felt my face flush, but I didn't care. I still had my eyes shut, refusing to see Hong Kong's expression.

"Oh. I'm sorry Iceland." Hong Kong's voice was low and sad. I finally peeked open an eye to look at him. It was Hong Kong's turn to look at the ground. His hair fell in front of his face, but I could hear the sadness in his words. He let go of my arms and let his hands just dangle at his sides. "I see what you mean. But you don't understand. I'm not upset about China. I'm relieved. I know yesterday was the day I gave up on him, but thanks to you I see how dumb I was for even trying. I should feel upset about this, but I don't. I feel like I finally let go of a heavy burden. For the longest time I've only pictured myself with China. But you made me realize that there are tons of other options out there! I can be happy without being with China. I bet this just seems dumb to you, but it's the truth. If you don't want to go on a date with me, I understand. But, can we still be friends?" He turned up to me with desperate eyes.

"O-o-of course we can be friends!" I was very flustered at this. Is he telling the truth? Is he actually glad that he's no longer in love with China? "I just don't understand. How can you give up on China so quickly and feel nothing?"

Hong Kong thought for a moment and smiled a bit. "I'm too young to know what love is. Maybe I didn't ever love China. I just never wanted him to leave me. But he's my best friend, and now I see that that alone is enough. I shouldn't have to worry about him leaving me, because he is my friend. Thanks to you, I realized that he can be in a happy relationship with someone else without completely forgetting about me. I just want him to be happy. That's what friends do; they support each other and try to make sure that they're alright. So I don't really feel like I'm giving up on him, I'm just accepting my role as his friend. I guess this is what growing up feels like."

I looked into Hong Kong's eyes, which sparkled with some sort of new resolve. "So, basically, you realized that you didn't love him and all of those years you were just his friend without knowing what that truly meant?"

"Basically!" Hong Kong said with a small smile. Then he did something unexpected; he got down on one knee in front of me and grabbed my right hand with both of his own. He cleared his throat and asked, "Iceland, would you please make me the happiest man in the world by going on a date with me?"

This uncharacteristic display threw me off, but I blinked a few times and nodded anyways. "Okay. I feel a lot better about this." I rubbed the back of my head with my free hand. "I really felt bad this morning. I honestly thought you were using me, which really hurt for some reason." I shrugged. Gah, all of this emotional junk is wearing me out!

"It hurt because you really like me, right?" Hong Kong smirked.

"Hmph!" I pulled my hand out of his and turned away.

As I walked down the hallway, Hong Kong called, "I'll come by your room at, like, 7:00 tonight, okay?" I nodded and waved over my shoulder. I didn't want to turn around, because I didn't want him to see how much I was blushing. My first date! But… what should I wear?

A/N: Well thanks for reading this... I'll try to post sooner from now on! Again, thanks a ton to walroose, Lycoris1305, Wisely-san, xGreySkiesx, Mastication-Defenestration, and everyone else. I love you guys! THANK YOU ALL!

Oh yeah, and I need to really thank MoonstoneWolf for all of the reviews! (And since I can't PM you... I'll just say it here!) I've started that Prussia X Italy that you asked for, though it's kinda dark and probably not what you were expecting, but I hope to get that up soon and I hope you like it. I've never read that pairing before, so I'm not experienced, but I'm trying my hardest! Thanks~

Review, da?