This story is dedicated to Aulophobic Clarinetist and Highly Functional Insomniac, my fangirl buddies and all-around great friends.
Gilbert was bored. And that pissed him off. He was motherfucking Prussia, for Christ's sake! People should be lining up to entertain him. Instead, he was wandering the streets alone. Just because he was completely smashed didn't mean he was stumbling around—no, that was his swagger.
He tripped over a curb, but caught himself before he face planted. Yeah, that's right. Prussia was practically a ninja.
He continued down the street, waiting for someone to jump out and beg for his company. You know, he wouldn't even be forced to do this if his best friends weren't such man-whores. They had been boozing at their favorite bar and having a great time when France had found a pair of twins that actually fell for his seductive wink and murmured French pick-up lines. Apparently girls around here liked their men to act like pussies. Prussia scoffed to himself, making the family walking past him on the street hurry quickly to the other side of the road. How was it that France, cowardly, frilly, annoying France, managed to get laid every night while Prussia, motherfucking Prussia, was left sitting alone.
Antonio has been with him for another few minutes, obligingly laughing uproariously at everything Prussia had said—because Prussia was hilarious, not just because Toni had been smashed too—until his stupid little phone rang. After a minute of stupid lines like, "Oh, Feli, you're so cute," and "Lovi is what? Really? Of course I'll be right there!"Spain had bailed. Prussia would have been content to stay at the bar, drinking the night away, but for some reason the bartender had thrown him out. He hadn't broken that many glasses.
Gilbert heard the sounds of shouting from a bar across the street, and immediately crossed over to check it out. It was well past midnight, but the busy streets of New York were always active, so he had to dodge a few cars in his journey. Luckily, he was Prussia, and therefore too awesome to get hit by a car. It was mid-June, so the night was warm, a pleasant temperature compared to the sweltering afternoon. The loud sounds were coming from a normal looking sports bar on the corner. It had the dingy, homey look of a place frequented only by regulars, rather than the sort of pulsing, anonymous bars that Gilbert and his friends were drawn to. Still, since Gilbert could never miss out on a fight, he entered through the front door of the establishment.
"The awesome me has arrived," he said, but no one paid him any attention. The attention of everyone in the room was glued to the wide-screen televisions hanging over the bar.
The screens were all showing the same hockey game. Pushing closer, he saw that it was a match between Canada and the United States. It was the final period, the scores were tied, and only a minute remained on the clock. There was a tension present that made Gilbert grin. He had never really gotten into sports since he couldn't imagine how they could possibly compare to the real thrill of a battle, but the people here seemed to believe there were lives on the line.
He pushed closer to the bar, intent on ordering a beer, but the bartender was just as enthralled in the game as the rest of them, so Gilbert folded his arms and waited.
"Go, go, go!" encouraged a man next to him, shouting at the screen. His blond hair was mussed and his face was flushed, watching the screen with his emotions displayed openly on his face. A red and white jersey proclaimed his loyalty to the Canadian team just as loudly as his shouted encouragements. "Go, you fucking hoser! Hey!"
The Canadian fans in the crowd hissed as the figure shooting across the ice was slammed into mercilessly, leaving him skidding into a wall. The man with the red, white, and blues jersey snatched the puck and took it down the rink. The red-and-whites tried to stop them, but the States' team managed to get the puck past the goalie with a second to spare. The buzzer sounded and the man next to Gilbert crowed in despair. "That's bullshit!" he shouted. "Dawson is such a stupid motherfucker to let an Americanget in his way! Those guys can't even tie their own shoes without the coach talking them through it!"
"Watch your mouth," said a bald, tattooed man in the opposing team's jersey, turning on the man next to Gilbert. Unlike the Canadian, this man had friends around him, and they looked pissed off at the jeers, despite having just won their game. That was when Gilbert realized that there were less than five men in Canadian jerseys at the bar, while the rest of the crowd was decidedly American.
Though outnumbered, the man didn't back down. "Yeah, you heard me! Your team is just a bunch of Coca-Cola-drinking, American hosers!"
"Hey guys, calm down," the bartender said. The other people around the men had backed away slowly, leaving Gilbert as the only uninvolved bystander.
"Not until this Canadian pussy takes back what he said," the bald man growled.
"Yeah right! And I'm surprised your boys can even play without cracking the ice because they eat so many stupid cheeseburgers!" The man's insults were lacking in content, but he made up for it in sheer attitude.
"What are you going to do about it, eh?"
The other man's response was to throw a punch at the Canadian's jaw. The Canadian barely faltered, lunging straight at the four men in front of him. He grabbed one man and shoved him behind him, making him run straight into Gilbert, who was still watching. Gilbert took that as a sign to join the fight and happily punched the surprised man in the nose. He had to restrain himself a bit so he didn't kill the mortal, but it felt good to feel that crunch beneath his fist again.
"And stay out!"
Gilbert and his new partner in crime were thrown out of the bar onto the street. They were both sporting mild bruises, but looked in much better shape than the men left inside the bar. Gilbert was laughing uproariously, still feeling the adrenaline pumping through his system.
"Maybe we will!" the Canadian shot back at the closing door. "Stupid Americans. Why I had to be in New York for the biggest game of the year…"
Gilbert clapped the other man on the shoulder. "That was fucking awesome! Do people always start bar fights over sports matches?"
"That wasn't just any sports match," the man shot back. His face was still flushed despite the cold night air and his blonde hair was even messier than it had been before. He was drunk, but slurred his words only marginally. "That was a hockey game between America and Canada."
"Right… So, that means bar fights?"
"Yeah, they tend to happen."
"Awesome," Gilbert said, nodding as he reevaluated his judgment of sports. He wasn't allowed to just kick the crap out of anyone, but if he had booze and a hockey game as an excuse….
The man looked at him thoughtfully. Finally, he said, "Prussia?"
Gilbert raised his eyebrows, startled. "You know about nations? You know about me?" Not that anyone shouldn't know about the awesome Prussia, but outsiders rarely understood his continued presence as a nation.
The man stuck out his hand. "I'm Matthew Williams. Also known as Canada."
Now Gilbert was even more surprised. He must have been drunker than he thought if he hadn't been able to notice the presence of another nation. Then again, he wasn't usually invited to the world meetings, and wasn't wasting his time memorizing names and countries now that he was left out of the loop for major decisions anyways. Gilbert shook the offered hand. "Call me Gilbert. Or King of Awesome. Either one works."
Canada nodded and grinned. "Thanks for the help back there."
"I love kicking some ass! Francis and Antonio—um, France and Spain—bailed on me earlier, so I was looking for some fun. Glad I found you, Mattie!"
Mattie looked momentarily taken aback, then suddenly narrowed his eyes. "Mattie?"
"Well, Matthew just isn't as awesome."
"My brother calls me Mattie," he said with distaste.
"Well now, so does the awesome Prussia! You're welcome."
Mattie rolled his eyes. "Maybe we should go somewhere other than the middle of the street, eh? Game's over anyways."
"Doesn't mean the night has to be! Come on, Mattie, let's hit up the town!"
"We have a meeting in the morning. Maybe that's not such a good idea…"
Matthew sipped on his maple-flavored coffee, thankful that his status as nation made him less susceptible to hangovers than mortals. Still, the sound of Arthur and Alfred arguing loudly on either side of him wasn't exactly pleasant. They were completely ignoring the fact that Matthew was in the chair between them as they carried out their shouting match about some stupid topic or other.
The nations were gathering in the conference room of one of New York's finest hotels. Kuma-what's-his-face was sitting by Matthew's feet while he drank his coffee and organized his notes. Luckily, he was rarely called on during meetings, so his lack of attention today would go unnoticed. Still, he wanted to pay as much attention as possible. Matthew wanted to be a good representative of Canada, even if no one else noticed what he was doing.
Germany called the meeting to order at promptly nine a.m., and the day of useless arguing commenced. The one surprise that occurred was Gilbert strolling through the door at a quarter past ten, a pair of sunglasses over his eyes. Gilbert made them look like a fashion statement, but Matthew knew the real reason. Gilbert had been even more hammered than Matthew last night, though he had managed to make it back to the safety of his own hotel room without help from Matthew. Unlike when Matthew went drinking with Alfred, France, or Arthur, he hadn't ended up babysitting his companion. Instead, he and Gilbert had had an enjoyable, if a little crazy, night on the town without either needing to take care of the other. It had been rather… fun.
Still, Matthew wouldn't be surprised if Gilbert had completely forgotten about him, what with his obviously raging hangover and Matthew's own general invisibility. In a brief moment of self-pity, Matthew silently bid farewell to the friend he had almost made.
Gilbert took a seat at the back of the room, flipping Germany off when he berated him for his tardiness. His face scanned the table. Matthew could have sworn he lingered over when Matthew was sitting, but he couldn't tell because of the sunglasses.
He tried to focus on the debates about global warming, but found his eyes flicking occasionally back to where Gilbert sat. He was surprised when the meeting was paused for the lunch break. Time apparently when by faster when you weren't actually listening to the meeting. America dragged England out of the door the moment the break was called, shouting something about cheeseburgers over the sound of England's flustered protests.
Matthew pushed back his chair and knelt down to pick up Kumajiro from where he was sleeping on the floor. "Who are you?" the bear asked.
"Canada," Matthew replied patiently, gathering up the fat, little polar bear.
Matthew jumped, banging his head sharply on the conference table. "Maple," he swore before emerging from under the table. He stood up, Kumajiro in his arms, to find Gilbert standing by his chair, snickering. "H-hi," Matthew said.
"Nice job," Gilbert teased. "Did I scare poor widdle Cana—Oh my God, that is too cute!" Gilbert had caught sight of Kumajiro and his mocking smirk melted in a real smile. "Polar bear!"
"Yeah, this is Kuma…something." Matthew watched with bewilderment as Gilbert rubbed the top of the bear's head affectionately.
Kuma growled softly, but didn't bite the other nation.
"Mein Gott, that's awesome! Hey, West!" he shouted across the room to Germany, who was being led away by Italy, "Can I get a bear?"
Germany blinked at Gilbert, eyes not even flicking over Matthew. "Nein. Come on, Italy." The small, pasta-loving nation quickly pulled the tall blonde from the room.
Gilbert pouted. "I don't need his permission anyways." He turned back to Matthew, who was still feeling a bit bewildered. Gilbert hadn't even faltered in identifying Matthew. Even Alfred, Francis, and Arthur, the men with whom he had grown up, forgot his name. "Anyways, Toni, Francis and I are headed to lunch. You coming?"
Matthew hesitated, tongue completely tied. Gilbert remembered him and wanted to hang out with him again?
"We'll go somewhere awesome," Gilbert cajoled, as though he needed to convince Matthew to agree.
"O-okay," Matthew said, grinning.
Gilbert and Mattie met his two best friends at a little Mediterranean grill they frequented when they visited New York. Gilbert had spent the walk talking to Mattie—well, it had really been talking at Mattie, but unlike his two 'friends', Mattie actually listened to Gilbert's non-stop jabber instead of rolling his eyes after the first five minutes. Honestly, Toni and Francis should feel honored they got to listen to him talk. They probably just couldn't handle the awesomeness that was Prussia. Still, Gilbert liked the fact that Mattie seemed to enjoy his company. Mattie, on the other hand, was nearly silent for the entire walk. It was a sharp contrast to the snarky, loud man Gilbert had gotten to know the night before, and he wasn't sure how to understand it. In the end, he decided to keep right on talking until Mattie interrupted.
Antonio and Francis had already taken their normal booth by the time Gilbert and Mattie arrived. They always sat in a four-person booth, but today was the first time in a while that the Bad Touch Trio was actually being joined by a fourth person. Toni tried dragging his annoying tomato would-be boy-toy, Lovino, sometimes, but it rarely went well. South Italy was decidedly uninterested, no matter how much Toni pushed the matter.
Gilbert stopped beside the table and decided to introduce Canada to his friends. If the awesome Gilbert hadn't noticed the nearly-as-awesome Mattie until now, then he was guessing the other two hadn't met him yet either. "Hey guys! Mattie's joining us today. Mattie, this is Francis and Antonio. Guys, this is Mattie. He's Canada."
"We've met," Mattie muttered, cheeks flushed.
"Ah, mon petite Mathieu, sit down next to your papa," Francis gushed, pulling the nation into the booth beside him.
"Papa?" Gilbert repeated incredulously, sliding into the seat next to Toni.
"Oui, Canada was one of my colonies," Francis said, raising a trimmed eyebrow at Gilbert.
"I don't remember you talking about him," Gilbert said skeptically.
Mattie looked embarrassed, but Gilbert couldn't tell if it was from Gilbert's words or from the fact that France had practically pulled Mattie into his lap.
Antonio looked at Mattie with a comical look of concentration on his face, and then snapped his fingers. "You're the one England stole! America's brother!"
Mattie frowned slightly, clutching his plump polar bear.
"Mattie's not America's brother," Gilbert protested.
"They look identical," Antonio pointed out. It was a sad day when Antonio had to slow things down for Gilbert.
Gilbert looked at Mattie closely. Sure, there was the blond hair and light eyes, and a similar build, but they were obviously completely different. Where America was brash and annoying, Mattie was more subtle and hilarious. His eyes had a violent tint that was way more awesome than America's baby blues. Plus, Mattie was a cool dude even when drunk off his rocker, while America became obnoxious even after too much soda. "Nope, don't see it," Gilbert concluded.
Francis and Toni laughed, but Mattie gave Gilbert a look of embarrassed joy. "Really?" he asked softly. His voice barely carried over the rest of the noise in the restaurant, but Gilbert was paying attention. Plus, he was an awesome lip-reader.
"Of course. You're way more awesome."
The smile that lit up Mattie's face proved Gilbert right. America could never smile as adorable as that. Gilbert hadn't thought of Mattie as 'adorable' last night when he had been starting bar fights and playing drinking games with Gilbert, but this new shy side of Mattie was surprisingly intriguing… and cute.
"So, how exactly did you two meet?" Francis asked after they ordered their food. "I would not have imagined the two of you as friends."
"Well, it started with this bar fight last night—"
"You started a bar fight after I left?" Antonio asked, half-scolding, half-jealous.
"No, dude, Mattie did!" Gilbert related the story of finding Mattie in the bar, kicking some ass, and then hitting the town. By the end, Francis was looking utterly flabbergasted.
Antonio looked at Mattie, who was sitting next to him and silently eating his falafel, with new interest. "You outdrank Gilbert?"
"That was your take-away?" Gilbert deadpanned. "Did you not listen about the table dancing? And the bar fight? Besides, that was only because I had already drunk so much with you two."
"I think there's been a mix-up," Francis said cautiously. "Mattie would never do any of that. I don't think he's been in a fight since World War II. Right, Mattie?"
Mattie blushed. "Actually, it's all true."
Francis raised an eyebrow. "What got into you?" he asked incredulously.
Mattie flinched. "Beer and hockey?"
"Hey, what's wrong with having some fun?" Gilbert challenged, feeling irritated. Francis's reaction was making Mattie look even more uncomfortable, and Gilbert had wanted Mattie to have an awesome time with his friends.
"It's just not very much like the Mathieu I know," Francis explained.
Gilbert was about to respond when Mattie interrupted him, muttering, "It's not like you really know me anyways."
"What's that supposed to mean, chere?" Francis's voice was soothing, but there was a sudden coolness in it in response to Mattie's irritation.
"You don't even remember my name usually. Why do you think you know what I'm like in my free time?" Mattie shook his head and pushed away his plate. He tossed a ten dollar bill on the table and stood up. "I'm sorry, but I think I'm going to head back to the hotel. I'll see you all later. Have a nice day." He actually sounded sincere, which made Gilbert think he was either a fantastic liar, or way too nice for his own good. He left the restaurant without another word.
Francis scowled and took a swig of his drink. "He must get the attitude from England."
Antonio laughed. "Sometimes our colonies just end up the way they end up without our help," he pointed out.
"How is our dear Romano?" France asked, still sounding generally irritated.
"Actually, apparently he's started dating—"
"Seriously, guys?" Gilbert burst, irritated that the subject had been changed so quickly. "Francis, you were acting like kind of a dick."
"I was just being honest. Mathieu is not usually so, as you would say, 'awesome,' as your story made him sound," France replied. "He's sweet, to be sure, but not exactly memorable." He sighed. "I don't know where I went wrong. You must be a bad influence on him."
Gilbert gave him an incredulous stare, and then stood up. "Screw this." He left the restaurant. Unlike Canada, he didn't leave money to cover his meal.
Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you think!