This is my first ever Hetalia story. This chapter is more of an introduction, sort of a prologue to the main plot. Anyways, I'm a bit of an interactive narrator, as you will probably see. I'd like to dedicate this story to the memory of one of my favourite authors: DevientGrey. May he rest in peace. Now, get to reading!
Oh yeah, and there's cursing. That's why it's rated T. Plus there'll be eventual slash (with a couple rather unconventional pairings, by the way), so the rating will eventually go up.
I don't own Hetalia, obviously.
Matthew Bonnefoy awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside the window. He turned his head to the side, checking his alarm clock. It was 8:30 a.m. on a bright Sunday morning. He smiled, stretched his arms above his head, and yawned. He climbed out of his plush, warm bed, grabbing a tank top and a pair of shorts. His bare feet padded quietly on the carpet down the hallway towards his bathroom. He washed his face, grabbed his glasses from the cupboard, and shaved his face quickly. A slightly accented voice called from across the house.
"Matthew, would you like tea or coffee with breakfast?"
He changed out of his pajamas, put them in a hamper, and put the hamper out in the hallway. He brushed his hair, cleaned up around the sink, and went downstairs. He was greeted by the smell of fresh baked croissants, pain au chocolat, and coffee. His father looked up from the kitchen sink.
"Ah, good morning, petit. Did you sleep well?"
"Of course, Papa."
After a customary bise1, the two sat down to breakfast.
"Pass the yogurt, please."
"Thanks. Oh, and don't bother with the dishes when we're done. The maid needs something to do, right? By the way, I put out the laundry hamper from the upstairs bathroom."
The Frenchman smiled. "What did I do to deserve such a good son?"
Matthew chuckled. "You tell me. You raised me properly, I guess."
"Yes, but you have only genetics to thank for your good looks and charm."
Matthew grinned. He had inherited his father's violet blue eyes and athletic build, but the rest of his traits came from his mother. He'd noticed that girls tended to blush a lot around him after puberty hit, but never thought much of it. Francis was quite flamboyant, so him having such a modest, quiet, well-mannered son came as a shock to many of his friends. It surprised Francis as well, considering Matthew's mother had been fiercely stubborn and outspoken throughout their rather short marriage. His son kept both of his parents' last names, and usually spent the summers with his mother.
Not this summer, however. Matthew was enrolled in a prestigious music program at a manor out in the Illinois countryside. An exclusively male camp (there was a separate one for women), it was for undergraduate university students, from entering freshmen to seniors. Most students paid full price for the program, but extremely talented musicians – like Matthew – were offered scholarships for it, even if their financial situations were quite stable – again, like Matthew.
Anyways, our handsome duo was finishing up breakfast. Matthew gathered up the dishes, placing them by the sink. Francis stood up from the table, stretching. "Well, let's get going. We have a tennis match or two to play, oui?"
Matthew smiled. "Sure thing, Papa. Hope you're ready to lose again!"
"Ah, we will see, we will see…"
Two hours and several matches later, the two returned to the house, drenched in sweat. Francis was grinning like a madman, whereas Matthew grumbled under his breath, "Unfair. Completely unfair, you dirty cheater. Just you wait until next weekend!"
"Oh, don't be like that, mon petit lapin. It was a fair game."
Matthew shrugged, trudging up the stairs. "Sure, Papa, sure. I'm going to go shower, then I need to start packing."
"Packing? Ah yes, your music camp starts this afternoon. I need to pack as well. They need my advice for a project in Japan." Francis sighed. "These time zone changes are going to kill me one day, I tell you!"
Minutes later, the two rifled through their respective dressers in their respective rooms, folding shirts, slacks, and ties in Francis' case, and jeans, sweaters, and t-shirts in Matthew's case. Francis finished first, and walked past his son's room, calling out, "Remember to bring nice clothes too! Making a good impression is very important."
"I know, Papa. I've packed some slacks and button-downs as well."
"Did you pack your polar bear?"
Matthew rolled his eyes. "Of course, Papa."
"Good." Francis leaned against the doorframe of his son's bedroom, a nostalgic smile on his face.
"Do you remember," he began, "When you were little and I had to voyage for business?"
Matthew rolled his eyes at his father's occasionally faulty English, thinking to himself, Over twenty years away from France, and he still talks strangely... But he nodded at his father, smiling.
"Yeah, I do. I'd pack a suitcase too, just in case you decided to take me with you. And sometimes you did!"
They both chuckled. Francis sighed, brushing his blond hair out of his eyes. "And now, here you are, all grown up, going off to improve your skills."
"Yeah. You're probably going to get really sentimental when I go off to university, eh?"
Francis shrugged. "Probably. I'll miss you, but you better visit your poor lonely father often, petit."
"I'm not so petit anymore, am I?"
"No, no, you're a fine young man. Speaking of which…"
"Oh no. Don't tell me-"
"Yes. If you meet any nice young men at this camp, they have to meet my standards."
"No whining. Come on now, give your papa a hug."
And so passed a typical Sunday morning in the Bonnefoy household.
Halfway across Chicago, however, another young man was having an entirely different morning experience…
Alfred F. Jones woke to the sound of sirens in the street below, rolled over to look at his alarm clock, and promptly fell onto the hard floor from his shabby nest on the couch.
"Fuuuck… it's so early…" The time was 10:37 a.m. He stood up, stretching his sore muscles. It was then that he noticed that the apartment was swelteringly hot.
"Damn. Would it kill him to turn on the A.C. once in a while? Cheap bastard."
The so-called cheap bastard was Alfred's father, Arthur Kirkland, who sat in the kitchen, enjoying – erm, forcing down – a breakfast of porridge and tea, deep purple bags under his eyes.
Alfred staggered towards the bathroom, shading his eyes from the light that filtered through the blinds. He threw his clothes out the bathroom door, in the general direction of the laundry basket.
"Oy, moron, at least aim when you throw your shit around!"
Obviously, he missed. Alfred rolled his eyes and stepped into the shower. The cold water soothed his pounding headache, and he sighed in relief. He thought to himself, Damn. I swear, I'll never drink again. Alfred groaned in discomfort as his head resumed throbbing.
"You'd better not be wankin' in there, Al, unless you plan on cleaning it up properly this time!"
Alfred rolled his eyes, again, before yelling back to his father, "Aw, quit being such a bitch about your headache, Dad! You don't hear me takin' it out on you!"
"No, I hear you wanking in the shower, insolent brat!"
"You wish! It's so gross in this fucking rathole that I lost my morning wood the second I stepped it this bathroom!"
"Then don't let your drunk friends puke there, or at least clean it up!"
Alfred heard his father sigh from the living room.
"And do make sure you eat something, son. You haven't been eating properly lately. I worry about you."
The young man sighed, shaking his head. Typical dad behavior. Pissed off one second, sickeningly paternal the next. He finished up his shower, shaved, and went to the kitchen. His dad had been cleaning, Alfred could tell. The piles of dirty dishes and food wrappers were gone, the living room was clean of beer bottles and pizza boxes and the windows were wide open. Arthur sat on the couch with a sewing kit, repairing holes in his son's shirt.
"Honestly, Al, you ought to be more careful. I'm worried that one of these days you'll get your head blown off by some drunken, gun-toting hooligan. How's your face?"
Albert shrugged, running a finger over a deep slash in his cheek. "I've had worse. This moron couldn't even handle a knife-"
"But he still managed to slice you up? Come off it, boy. Be less tough for once in your life. And let me disinfect that, I don't want you swelling up like a puffer fish."
Arthur dabbed at the cut with a cotton ball soaked in antiseptic. "Why did you get in a fight this time, Al?"
The young man sighed and shrugged his shoulders. Arthur scoffed, "Come on, there has to be a good reason. Spit it out already."
Alfred frowned and mumbled, "He called me a fucking faggot."
"So you tried to knife him."
"Well, he pushed me, called me that, then told me I deserved to get shot and die in a ditch. Then I tried to knife him."
"And you were both drunk?"
"Absolutely piss-drunk. Didn't even feel it when he got me in the face."
"And what'd you do to him?"
"I dropped my knife, you see, so I just beat the shit outta him and spat at him when he passed out."
"All this because he called you a faggot."
Alfred sighed. "It wasn't what he called me, dad. It was the way he said it. Like it made me a piece of dirt or something."
Arthur nodded sympathetically. "Well, I can't say I condone you beating someone half to death because they insulted you, but I will say this: don't let anyone degrade you because of who you love. Hell, back before you were born and I had to start acting somewhat responsible-"
At this, Alfred snickered, shaking his head. Arthur glared at him. "Oy, I'm talking. Anyways, as I was saying, I used to bring guys home too."
"Dad, TMI. No one wants to know about their parents' sex lives, 'kay?"
"Really, though. There was this one guy, a Frenchman, and he could-"
"DAD! Shut it! Look, I'm gonna start packing. Is the laundry clean?"
"Packing? What the hell for?"
"I've got music camp starting today, remember? I got the scholarship letter a couple months ago. We stay overnight on weekdays."
"Bloody hell, I'd forgotten. At least it'll keep you out of trouble. Go eat breakfast – erm, lunch – and I'll get the laundry done. Brush your teeth too. And where are your glasses?"
"Jeez, don't get your panties in a bunch. They're right over there."
"Good. Now go get ready! Find your nice shirt. No! Not those pants, dammit! I thought I already threw them out, anyways. And make sure you get all of your instrument packed up."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. 'M on it."
Arthur sighed. "You ought to take this more seriously, Al. If you succeed at this camp, you can really assure your career. And make sure you look nice when you get there."
"Why bother? They'll find out soon enough I'm a total slob. "
"Well, you never know. You might meet some nice young man who'll get you on the right track, convince you to be a productive member of society… ah, a man can dream."
"Yeah, and you'd better dream on. I betcha most of the guys there'll either be straight or so far in the closet, they're having adventures in Narnia."
Arthur smirked. "Probably. But I can still hope!"
"Yeah, yeah. Just take care of the bar while I'm gone."
"I managed just fine while you were at school. It's only since summer started that you've been helping out here. Even then, you aren't worth much more than free kitchen labor. Not that anyone comes here for the food."
Alfred rolled his eyes. "C'mon dad, be a little more grateful. And don't get too lonely while I'm gone, okay?"
"No worries. I'm more concerned about your rather… outspoken manner. Be respectful of everyone's opinions, all right? Most of them are much richer and more influential than you."
"I know, I know. I won't be a meathead!"
"That'll be the day..." Arthur shook his head. "C'mere, boy."
"What'd I do?"
"Nothing. I just want to give you a hug."
"What, you being affectionate? That's a first!"
"Oh, can it, tosser. And make sure you call me once you find out who your roommate is, just in case you're stuck with a psychopath."
"Well, I can guarantee he won't be worse than you!"
And so passed a typical Sunday morning in the Kirkland/Jones household.
Well, that's the first chapter! Let me know what you think.