I am so sorry it's been 2 months! I promise I won't leave this story for that long ever again!
If anyone is wondering about Matthew's song, it's "If I Had a Million Dollars" by the Bare Naked Ladies.
And um...this is going to be rated M now...
It had been a week since the kiss and Matthew was still smiling about it. Though he was a little sad that there hadn't been another after either of the dinners they'd had together that week. And he could see the hesitation in the Austrian's eyes and the indecisive longing in the slight shift in his expression. What was Roderich so afraid of?
He sighed and thought back on the kiss with a smile. Maybe he could just kiss Roderich next time instead? Why was Roderich so nervous? What if he was misreading into things? His train of thought was cut off when his phone rang.
"Hey bro, it's me!" a loud voice announced.
"Oh, hi Alfred. What's up?"
"Me and Arthur and a bunch of other people are going to the bar tonight, it's one of our monthiversaries, not that I keep track or whatever. But anyway, I thought I'd invite you even thought you never come. I don't know why you never come, it's awesome."
"Arthur and I."
"It's...oh, nevermind. I never come because I always end up having to deal with you in your inebriated state. You're hard enough to handle, but Arthur too? I know how he gets."
"Haha yeah, but this time I'm not really drinking. I promised Artie I'd be the responsible one for once. It's a hero's duty!"
"Well that's...nice of you." Matthew paused in thought. He really didn't have anything better to do that night. "Yeah, I think I'll be there. It should be fun, eh?"
"Yeah! And you can invite Mozart too! I'll make sure y'all don't get too drunk."
"Mozart, Al? Really?"
"Haha yeah, he's totally like Mozart!"
"...ok then. Well I'm sure he'd appreciate the comparison. He can't come tonight, his boss gave him a bunch of paperwork."
"Oh that sucks, dude. Well, you can get as drunk as you want, then! Well, actually, not really drunk, I promised I'd be responsible for everyone."
"Not like I'd ever get as drunk as you anyway," Matthew retorted. "Dare I ask why you're being the responsible one for once?"
"It's part of my gift for Arthur. Besides, the rest of the present will be better if I'm sober!"
"Haha yeah, tonight should be fun. Unless Artie gets too drunk, then he gets all sad and doesn't let me-"
"I'm hanging up now, Alfred."
Matthew sighed to himself as he took another shot from the large tray on the table. Coming here was a total waste of time. Most of Alfred and Arthur's guests were either dancing drunkenly or attempting to socialize in little groups. He'd been stepped on three times, forgotten four, and his brother was too busy making out with Arthur to give him the time of day. He took another shot.
It seemed the whole point of this gathering was to get as drunk as possible. And most of the guests were succeeding. So much for Alfred's plans. He took another shot and wandered over to the bar, narrowly avoiding a gleefully tipsy Feliciano followed by a mostly-sober Ludwig, to try to order a drink more suited to his tastes. If he could get the bartender's attention, that is.
When Roderich finally looked up from the last of his papers, he was surprised at how late it was. Though it was much later than he usually stayed awake, he wasn't as tired as he thought he should be. Maybe he could play through a few etudes before bed. Halfway across the room to his piano, he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. The small screen glowed Matthew Williams up at him.
"Hey! Roddy!" A loud voice replied, sounding almost relived.
"Wha-who is this? Alfred?"
"Yeah. Hey. Umm..."
"What's going on? Why do you have Matthew's phone?" He was starting to get concerned, and it was hard to hear Alfred over whatever noise was happening in the background.
"I had this party tonight, I totally invited you but Mattie said you were busy. Matthew, he's...well...he's actually completely plastered, dude. I know it's late, but are you busy? Most everyone's about to go home, but I gotta...I don't know, console Arthur, or something. He's had way too much. Well, everyone did, really. I'm the soberest one here, I'm kind of in charge, but I don't think I can take care of both of them."
"...I'll be there in five minutes," Roderich found himself saying.
"Thanks, dude! You're a lifesaver!"
Four and a half minutes later, Roderich walked up to the American's table in the bar.
"Oh dude! Thank God you're here!"
"Where's Matthew? Is he ok?"
"Oh yeah, he's fine. Wasted, but fine."
"Oi! 'Merica! More shots!" Arthur yelled from across the bar.
"I think you've had enough, babe."
"You dunno me! I can hold my lock-lick...liquor...my liquor better than...better than him!" he pointed sloppily at Ivan, who hadn't been invited but showed up anyway, and was looking at Arthur hopefully as if a drinking competition would arise.
"Yeah, I don't think so. I'll be back in a moment, darlin', try not to do anything stupid. Stupider." He motioned for Roderich to follow him. "He was convinced he was a pirate about twenty minutes ago. Entertaining, and really hot, actually, but he got super angry with Antonio and then started crying about religion."
Roderich only nodded and kept following Alfred to the back corner of the bar where Matthew was sitting, facing the wall, staring darkly at the table.
"Is he always like this when he's drunk?"
"I uh...I don't know, he doesn't ever really drink much."
The Canadian picked up his glass and looked intently into it as if it held the answers to all the world's mysteries. Then he suddenly began giggling uncontrollably.
"Hey! Mattie! Look who's here!"
"Matthew?" he said tentatively and Matthew turned his unfocused gaze upon him.
"Rod'rich?" he slurred. "Hey~! I missed you~! Th-this song. This song is awesome!"
"Matthew, there's no music playing." But the Canadian had started happily humming along with whatever music he was hearing in his head.
"Let's go, we're leaving." Roderich tried.
"Aw, shit, dude, don't ask him that!"
Matthew suddenly looked as if he were about to cry.
"Mattie, it's ok, he-"
"I'm Can...Cana...Canadia! I'm Canadia~! I thought you'd remember me!"
"Matthew, I...of course I remember you?"
"No one remembers me." He mumbled quietly, looking back down into the corner.
"I assure you I do. I promise."
"Well played dude."
"Er...thanks?" Matthew started humming again. "Come on."
"If I had a million dollars!" Matthew sang.
"Oh. Ok then. Come along, Matthew."
"Thanks, dude!" Alfred called after them.
"If I had a million dollars, if I had a million dollars! Hmmhmmhmmm furniture for your house, maybe a nice Chesterfield or an Ottoman." Matthew sang as he followed Roderich out of the bar. It appeared he was singing two parts to himself, slightly turning back and forth to portray both people, arms flailing sloppily as he gestured along.
"If I had a million dollars, I'd build a tree fort in our yard. Hmmmhmmhmmmm million dollars, you could help it wouldn't be that hard,"after finishing what was presumably the chorus, it seemed as if he was having an intense conversation with himself, mumbling and slurring through a dialogue. He started laughing so hard when he said something about bacon that he started stumbling, so Roderich put an arm around Matthew's shoulders to keep him steady.
"Oooooh! Hugs!" Matthew threw his arms around Roderich, leaning heavily against him. "I never get hugs. People...people think I don' like 'em! But I~ do! Hugs are...are like...hugs!"
Roderich stared a moment, trying to comprehend the intoxicated Canadian's train of thought. He seemed to be waiting for an answer, so Roderich decided to play along. "...yes, Matthew. Hugs are hugs," he said, slightly amused.
Matthew drunk was a lot tamer than Gilbert drunk, and while they both got louder, Matthew was merely at a normal volume. He was also considerably less destructive, but more clumsy. And he definitely didn't mind how affectionate Matthew was being, even though he was concerned things might be moving too quickly. He could always blame it on the alcohol if Matthew got upset with their PDA.
"If I had a million dollars, if I had a million dollars. Well I'd buy you a green dress, but not a real green dress, that's cruel." Matthew sang, then paused, an adorably confused look crossing his features. "And. And you're a guy! You won't wear a green dress. 'less you're Poland. Hey! Maybe he wants a...a green dress."
"...maybe. Though I think he likes pink better." Yes. He was most definitely amused.
"Pink! Hahaha right! He... he totally likes pink!" Matthew exclaimed before picking the song back up. "hmmhmmhmmhmmmm a Picasso or a Garfunkel. If I had a million-a...a million...oh! I get it! Garfunkel! Ha!" What he got, Roderich didn't know, but Matthew kept singing before he could question it. "And if I had a million dollars, I'd buy your love,"
Matthew turned to Roderich seriously, "but you can't...can't buy love, Rod'rich. I would...if I could, you know? For yours I-I would save up...all of my money!" he threw an arm out for emphasis, almost hitting the frame of Roderich's front door.
Was Matthew directing that at him or the world in general? Roderich shook his head slightly. Best not get his hopes up. "...I see. Well, here we are. I suppose you can sleep on my couch." He led Matthew into his living room where the Canadian flopped on the couch happily.
"Yes. I'll be right back. Don't move." He got a few things from a cupboard across the room and turned back around to see Matthew attempting to sit perfectly still, tilting a bit to the left.
"I didn't move!"
"Alright. Here's a blanket and a pillow, would you care for any water or anything?"
"Will you play for me?" He gestured in the general direction of Roderich's piano.
"Please~!" Roderich couldn't resist Matthew's pleading eyes.
"I suppose I could play something."
He walked over to the piano and softly played through a few measures of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata since Matthew seemed to like it so much the first time, ending with a gentle upward cascading arpeggio.
"That was sooooo pretty!" Matthew gushed when Roderich withdrew his hands.
"Thank you. We should get some sleep now, you'll need it no doubt."
"Really, really pretty... Like you. You're pretty."
"I like you, Roderich."
"I like you too." He cleared his throat awkwardly.
"No, I mean I-" he yawned, "I really like you."
"...I really like you too, Matthew," he wondered where exactly this was going. Matthew nuzzled his face into the edge of the pillow, blindly grasping for the blanket, but gave up after a moment and tucked his hands under the pillow, closing his eyes.
"In fact, I...I think...maybe...I..." but whatever Matthew was going to say about what he thought, Roderich wouldn't know, as the Canadian fell asleep.
Roderich pulled the blanket up over him and after a moment of hesitation, he dropped a light kiss to Matthew's forehead.
Despite having been up much later than normal, Roderich found himself awake earlier than he would like. With a soft 'mmmph' he rolled over in his bed. The sky was grey through the crack in his curtains; it was on days like this he'd like to stay in the warmth of his blankets and pillows until at least nine-thirty, then venture out of his bedroom to play along with whatever mood the impending weather had set.
He slid on his glasses and blinked at the clock on his nightstand. 8:17. He'd be damned if he was getting out of his bed before nine. He sat in silence, staring at the clock as the minutes ticked by, a few arias playing in his mind. When it reached nine, he sighed and stretched lightly as he crawled out of the bed, carefully pulling the blankets back up and fluffing the pillows.
He looked into his living room to see Matthew, sound asleep. All of the memories of Gilbert's hangovers flooded back to him. He hoped Matthew was more pleasant about it. He went back into his room to brush his teeth and take a shower before the storm hit.
Roderich was just finishing up his morning routine when he heard a quiet groan of 'maple leaf' come from the direction of his kitchen. With a final poke to his hair, he walked into see Matthew standing there in the dark, peering into a cupboard.
He made a startled noise and turned around quickly. "Ow," he raised a hand to rub at his temple. "Um...'morning."
"Good morning. Almost afternoon."
"Maple. I'm sorry," Matthew mumbled back, voice groggy.
"It's quite alright. What are you looking for?"
"I...I was going to make you pancakes. But I can't find the milk."
"...Well that's because it would be in the refrigerator."
"Oh. Right," he turned around again, wincing at the sudden movement and squinted into the fridge before shutting it from the bright light. "Umm..."
"Here. What you need is some water." Roderich filled a tall glass and handed it to him.
"Thanks," he gulped down about half of it.
"I'll make some breakfast. You can use my shower, it'll make you feel better. Alfred said you don't really get drunk."
"Yeah, I d-...Alfred said?"
"I'll explain later when your head doesn't hurt."
"Oh. I want to make you breakfast though. I'm really really sorry, I-"
"You can make pancakes next time, alright?" Roderich suggested. He hoped there'd be a next time, hopefully with neither of them intoxicated. It was a bit of a presumptuous statement, but it seemed to calm Matthew down.
"Ok," the Canadian managed a small smile.
"Towels are under the sink, as well as some new toothbrushes and anything else you'll need, and I'll put some clothes by the door that you can borrow."
"Thanks," he blushed and Roderich led him to his bathroom.
He put a folded pair of pants and a plain shirt on the chair by the door as he heard the water turn on. Walking back to the kitchen, Roderich debated what breakfast would be best to make and if Matthew would like it, and whether or not to go outside to pick some flowers to put on the table before it started raining. Were flowers appropriately romantic, or would it be like he was assuming too much? Or were they too old fashioned?
Romance wasn't his forte. In fact, it wasn't even his mezzoforte. Was that even the proper terminology? He didn't know. Idioms were also not his forte.
He decided to make chocolate croissants; pastries were always a safe choice.
A short while later, Matthew emerged from the shower a few moments after the storm started, and Roderich couldn't tell if the pink in his cheeks was flushed from the hot water or from embarrassment.
"Better?" the Austrian motioned for Matthew to sit at the table next to a small vase of flowers.
"Yes. Thank you." Matthew's cheeks got redder. "Um...what happened last night?"
"You don't remember?" This could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, Roderich decided, depending on what opinion Matthew got out of it all.
A flash of panic crossed his features "I-I remember going to the bar...And being alone, getting stepped on, drinking...Maple, I drank too much. And...and then Alfred was talking to me...about...something. Oh! And then you came..."
"Remind me?" He asked sheepishly. "I vaguely remember..."
Roderich cleared his throat. "Well, you were quite enthralled with your glass and you got very emotional when you thought I forgot who you were."
"Oh maple. I'm sorry."
"It's alright." Roderich paused. "Then you started singing."
"Oh god. Shit." Roderich blinked at the sudden profanity. "What'd I sing?"
"Ah...something about a million dollars?"
"And then we...um..."
"We what? What happened? What did I do?" Matthew panicked.
"We hugged." Roderich felt himself turning pink. Verdammt.
"Yes, I apologize, I shouldn't have let it happen while you weren't in your right state of mind."
"Roderich. It's ok. U-unless you don't want to hug me? I'm sorry I was so awful last night. I-I can leave if you want."
"No, no, I do want to hug you, I just didn't know if you'd be ok with it, especially since you were so intoxicated, and I-"
"Roderich," Matthew interrupted again, "We've kissed...once...but we did. We've reached that point. Hugs are fine. They're..." Matthew shook his head, "they're better than fine. You can hold my hand or hug me o-or anything. Whenever you want to."
"I...I'd like that."
"Um...preferably more often than not."
"That can be arranged."
"Good." Matthew smiled. "Anything else I did?"
"Well you wanted me to play."
"Oh yeah I did, didn't I? Did I say anything?"
"Ah...well...you said I was pretty." Roderich felt his face flush again.
"Oh. Well. Um." Matthew's blush deepened. "I meant did I say anything stupid?"
"Well...not stupid I suppose...just..." he sighed.
Matthew's eyes widened and his nervous smile vanished. "What did I say? Roderich, what did I say?"
"You...you said you'd buy my love if it were possible, not just in the song, and that you liked me, really liked me, and you were saying something else but you fell asleep." He blurted out before he could stop himself.
"Oh maple." Matthew's voice was nearing a whisper as he looked incredibly frightened. "Maple leaf. Maple, maple, maple, shit! I'm s-sorry, I am so sorry, I...maple..." he trailed off at an almost inaudible volume.
"That's alright. I understand. Of course you didn't mean it."
"Right. Yeah... I mean no. No. I-I do. I just...maple." He put his face in both of his hands next to his empty plate.
"Yeah I...Well, I just..."
"...why?" he said in a disbelieving tone.
"Well you...I...maple. I can explain? O-or I should just leave? You sound disappointed," he ended in a mumble.
"You're not leaving in this weather." Roderich swept one hand towards the window now showing lightning and a heavy rainfall.
"Let's go to the couch, it's more comfortable. You can explain if you wish, and I can as well. I'm not disappointed. Far from it, in fact, I just don't completely understand."
Roderich waited for Matthew to sit first, and when the Austrian took the cushion next to him instead of the third, the Canadian looked somewhat relieved. They sat for a moment in silence, Matthew looking more and more nervous, the feelings mirrored in Roderich's head.
"Would you like me to go first?" the Austrian suggested, wanting Matthew to calm down.
"N-no. I...I'll talk myself out of it if you do."
Roderich nodded and waited as patiently as he could, watching Matthew clearly struggle to find the words he wanted. After a moment's hesitation, he took Matthew's hand in his and the Canadian started talking.
"Remember when I said that...you're your music, a-and it makes sense?" He gave a single nod. "Well...I think maybe you think you're hiding your emotions, and it makes you feel safe, but to me...I can just see it, you know? Hear them and feel them." He looked to Roderich as if for confirmation.
"I'm afraid I don't quite follow."
Matthew sighed and bit his lip. "You can play the same piece and have it sound completely different. Not everyone can notice the difference, but it's there. Your emotions come out when you play."
"I...I suppose they do. But I didn't think anyone noticed. Especially because for such a long time no one could ever see them, and everyone else just blatantly expresses themselves. I...I don't know if I could do that."
Matthew nodded. "Maybe that's why a lot of people think you're standoffish."
"A lot of? Not you?" Roderich asked curiously.
"No." Matthew replied, face portraying pure honesty. "I know there had to be a reason for it. For your walls and your complicated feelings and why you try to hide them so cleverly."
"And you think you can see past my walls then?"
"Sometimes. Not at first, but once I heard your music I thought I could figure it out. It's easier when you're not trying so hard to keep everyone and everything out. Like I noticed when you were shocked that I actually knew about classical music. When you hated the art before you said anything. How you wanted the chocolate ice cream," he blushed before continuing quietly, "when you were nervous about kissing me."
"N-now I'm too nervous to be entirely sure, eh?" He gave a weak laugh. Roderich's thumb started to slowly trace over the back of Matthew's hand subconsciously. "Al thinks my perceptiveness is creepy. But he's pretty easy to read."
"No it's...it's brilliant. A bit unnerving perhaps, but brilliant. I'm not used to people...understanding."
"And I know I don't know everything, but that's ok. I want to know, only if you want to tell me, but I know you must have reasons for keeping your emotions so safe. And I...I fell in love with you. I fell in love with you so fast because even if it was unintentional, you let me in."
Roderich took a moment to absorb it all. Matthew was in love with him. He hadn't thought it to be possible, hadn't dreamed that something so wonderful could happen so fast. But did he, could he, feel the same way in return? Was it even possible to love again?
"You have such spirit, Matthew," he said finally. "It's beautiful to see when you show yourself. I don't really see how you love me. But I suppose there are a lot of things that I don't understand. I...I'm sorry but I can't say it back yet, though it makes me very happy, and I'd like to explain, if that's alright?"
"I'm not sure if I'm capable of love," Roderich began quietly.
"Why?" The question wasn't accusing or disappointed. It was merely curious and interested and proof Matthew was the perfect listener.
Roderich sighed, mentally preparing himself to tell his sides of stories no one had heard before and put his arm around Matthew's shoulders. The Canadian leaned against him comfortably and Roderich was pleased.
"I haven't exactly had a good relationship. Elizaveta and Gilbert were the only ones to ever..." he paused a moment. "Well. I'll start at the beginning. I sort of had a relationship with Gilbert. It was more of a fling, I suppose, and it was brief. He was...experienced and I...well, I wasn't. And it was fun while it lasted, but it got too intense too fast. I loved him but I thought more of it than he did. It just...didn't work out between us and it ended rather badly.
And with Elizaveta, it was more of a relationship of convenience. Purely political, our bosses' idea. We tried romance, well, she tried harder I suppose. But I've never been interested in women and she knew that. She had something going on with Gilbert at that point anyway. Maybe I gave up too quickly but I knew I wouldn't be happy with her. We were better as friends. She tried though. She initiated everything and we would pretend, but neither of us were happy with it. And then she got frustrated. Well, we both were frustrated, and we started arguing. We were both more relieved than sad when Austria-Hungary split. We haven't talked much since.
And so I became afraid to love because I didn't think I'd be able to find the happiness we were supposed to have had with anyone. I didn't think anyone could have that with me. I hid myself further in my music and closed myself off from everyone. But recently I'd been trying to...I don't know...rekindle any acquaintances or friendships I may have had, or start ones with someone...and you were the only one to be, well, anything. And it's become so much more than just acquaintances and friends and I'm so glad it was you," he ended, surprised at the emotions showing in his voice. "And I'm still afraid. Of rejection or you leaving or just..." he swallowed an unfamiliar lump in his throat.
"Roderich," Matthew mumbled quietly, "I love you. And I can wait."
"May I kiss you?" he asked, equally as quietly.
"Roderich, you don't have to ask to kiss me," Matthew murmured, turning his head to press his lips to the corner of Roderich's mouth.
Roderich let one hand come to rest on Matthew's cheek, the other sliding down onto his back, and turned to give him a proper kiss. Happy he wasn't met with resistance, he deepened the kiss and was surprised when Matthew eagerly responded.
He leaned back for a brief moment to see Matthew's face, pleasantly flushed and happy, before capturing his lips once more. Matthew's arms flung around him as his tongue traced the Canadian's lower lip.
Matthew had made pancakes the next morning.
He and Roderich had been inseparable for the rest of the day. Just thinking back on it as he sat alone in his little office brought a blush to his cheeks. There had been soft, lazy kisses that made his heart ache with love. There had been wonderful, passionate kisses that made his blood race. And when Roderich finally had the strength to pull away a second time, both of them slightly panting and staring into each other's unfocused eyes, Roderich held out his hand and Matthew shyly took it, following him into his bedroom.
They hadn't gone much further, just a delicious rubbing of hips that turned into desperate grinding. And Matthew blushed not in embarrassment, but because he craved more. He craved so much more.
He wondered if Roderich was aware of how absolutely exquisite he was. Aware of how he managed to have a touch that was so gentle and yet so possessive. Aware of his powerful gaze that made Matthew practically melt, or aware of the soft moans that escaped him during their moments of intimacy that sounded more beautiful than any piece of music Matthew had heard.
After being lost in his thoughts for a brief while longer, he glanced up at his clock and saw that it was approaching five. He and Roderich were meeting for an early dinner and then going back to the Austrian's house so Matthew could hear a new piece Roderich was working on.
Matthew had picked a restaurant a mere two blocks from the Austrian's office. He got there first, knowing Roderich should be finishing up soon. He requested a quieter booth near the back and the waitress was just bringing two glasses of water when his phone rang.
"Hello, Matthew, sorry I'm a bit late, but I'm leaving my office right now," Roderich spoke quickly.
"No rush, I only just got here."
"Alright," he could hear the slight smile in Roderich's voice. "See you in two minutes."
Matthew smiled as he took a sip of his water and leaned back in the booth. Maybe tonight he and Roderich could progress things a little further. His thoughts were cut short by a loud horn outside.
An immediately following screeching of tires caused Matthew's heart to stop as he knew, he knew something had happened to Roderich. As if in a daze, he leapt up from the table and ran outside, not noticing his glass falling over, not noticing the people he pushed out of the way, not noticing the policeman trying to hold the small crowd back.
He froze at the sight. Next to a car that's front end was stuck in a lamp post was Roderich, sprawled out on the pavement, unconscious.
"Roderich!" he tried to call but his voice caught in his throat. He pushed the remaining people out of his way and fell to his knees by Roderich's side. He choked back a sob as his shaking fingers gently brushed the hair out of Roderich's face.
"Sir, we're going to need you to-"
"No," he interrupted, managing a tone with conviction.
He didn't hear the sirens of the ambulance rushing up. He didn't hear the voices of the crowd or the medics. He didn't feel the hands on his shoulders trying to pull him away. He didn't see the blood making an increasingly large stain on the black pavement. All he felt were Roderich's, his Roderich's fingers growing slowly colder in his grasp.