Awhile Later...

Matthew sat in the shadows of the cave that Alfred had found, and watched the bunny that had become so normal to their broken pack pace back and forth next to the river. His ears were flattened anxiously. The wolf was curious about this; he never understood why the American always worried so...

Though their pack had been broken, with many dead or missing and those alive injured, as the wounds healed life settled to normal. Prussia and Hungary had been found, though the first with a near-fatal head injury- the entirety of his white hair was dyed and dripping red- and the second with a cracked rib and her arm broken in two places. Poor Austria had been found, also, but the bullet wound near his heart had been too much for his older body to take. He'd died a couple days after. Still Alfred had tended to them all until they were well or no longer tendable, treating them with herbs and stealing chickens from the humans for them to eat. Though this was unsettling to some at first, no one could deny that he pulled his weight and made an excellent addition to their pack. They didn't even need to waste meat on him- if you could consider him a waste, anyway.

Suddenly the rabbit paused, ears perking, nose and tail twitching. Matthew didn't bother sniffing the air for what caught his attention; It would be the same thing as it always was.

Finally, as Alfred whined softly in anticipation, England stepped out of the underbrush with the little tyke bouncing at his heels, a bird-creature slung over his shoulder- Iggy refused to kill or eat their easiest prey, rabbits, though he didn't give orders for the others to spare them. The young pup, which Hungary had lovingly named Sealand, had earlier been deemed old enough by the Alpha to begin hunting lessons. Though his leg was still stiff, making it difficult to walk, he refused to let anyone take his place- saying that not only did he want to oversee it himself, but he wouldn't let a wound hinder him in his duties.

As usual an eager and relieved bunny rushed over to his owner wolf, and Iggy in turn smiled, dropped the meat he carried, and hugged him gently. Matthew watched warmly. In a strange sort of way, they were so perfect for eachother... one of those strange combinations that sounds so horrid when you hear it, but ends up being so functional and good.

"Iggy, I missed you," he cooed, letting himself look a little weak and vulnerable. Something he'd only do for his mate.

Which, as usual, pleased the wolf in question. "I brought you something." he murmured, fishing into his pocket. Alfred blinked up at him excitedly.

"Like, one of those veggie burgers or something? That'd be awesome!"

A laugh. "No, not food. I can't take having the shit you eat near me."

"It tastes good!" he whined, socking him lightly in the chest. Arthur glared at him, until he shrank a little beneath the gaze. "Can I have a kiss?" he asked, trying to avert Iggy's attention from the minor outburst.

Of course, Arthur let it slide. "In a second." Finally finding what he was looking for, he pulled out what at first looked like a necklace. When Matthew looked closer, he could tell that it was quite similar... a red leather collar, with a dangling gold plate. Inscribed on the plate, not colored, was the British flag.

"Like it?" he asked, grinning. Alfred blushed madly.

"Does it come with a leash?" he asked, shifting uneasily. Arthur blinked and looked surprised.

"Ah, no. Do you want it to? Or is it that you don't appreciate my gift?" he asked, beginning to pocket it again. But the rabbit gritted his teeth, hesitated, then finally grasped his wrist before the ornament was hidden from sight.

"P-put it on me." he huffed, hunching his shoulders. The wolf smirked.

"Thought so." Gently he pressed his lips to the quivering bunny's, until he relaxed enough that his shoulders straightened and Iggy could slide the collar around his neck. Once this was done he shifted and murmured words against his ear- Matthew couldn't make out what- soothing the rabbit as he fastened the belt-like buckle at the back of his neck.

Alfred reacted to one of the things he said, and stared up at him as he pulled away. "For... forever?"

"Yes, Alfie. Forever." Arthur replied softly, lightly touching the plate that hung at the hollow of his throat. America looked flustered; then, finally, he grasped England by his upper arms and kissed him forcefully. The wolf's eyes widened, then narrowed. A small smile played on his lips.

"It comes with a price, of course..." he purred, gently pushing him away. Alfred's cheeks darkened further.

"Not now, right? You just came back..." he whispered, snugging his arms around Iggy's waist. "I wanna enjoy your company a little first."

"Sure. We can wait until after dinner." he acquiesced.

Innocently Matthew wondered about what price America had to pay. As far as he'd been able to figure, the Englishman extracted it through pain... but most of the time America seemed eager for it, so who was he to question?

"The awesome Prussia has caught you sneaking around!" a booming voice from behind him laughed, making the Canadian's eyes widen and the two lovers turn towards him. Prussia's hands came crashing down on his shoulders, causing the startled wolf to wince. He turned to meet Prussia's red eye- the other was hidden behind a swathe of bandages that were wrapped around his head, making his hair fluff up strangely.

"I-I wasn't sneaking, per se..."

"Yes you were. But you didn't invite me! You're such a loser, jeez!" Gilbert snickered.

"Matthew, Gilbert... come out here. Now." England hissed.

"Kseksekse! This could be interesting." Prussia bounded into the clearing, and a flat-eared Matthew dragged his feet behind him.

"I'm sorry..." he repeated to himself, cheeks burning.

"Prussia, I've told you so many times. My business is my own, so quit stalking me!"

"Haha, tell that to him, not me! The awesome Prussia was just taking the almost as awesome Gilbird for a fly and saw him lurking around like a serial killer!"

"Don't lie."

"Please, like I need to lie. Lying is for losers. Unless it gets results, anyway!"

"Hmmph." Frowning, the Englishman waved his hand in dismissal. Gilbert, unfazed by the entire situation, happily dashed off after Gilbird. "Bloody git." he growled as soon as he'd left. Minor things like that with him were common, though, so he shook it off quickly.

"Hey, Mattie, check it out!" America grinned, pointing to his new collar. "Pretty cool, huh?"

Canada smiled. "Yeah, it's very nice." he murmured.


Matthew looked away guiltily at the tone in England's voice. "Yes, sir?"

"I'd expect this behaviour from Gilbert. Not from you. What were you doing?"

"I, uh..." the poor wolf stammered nervously, not used to his harsh voice and unnerved by it.

"If you tell me the truth now, I won't be angry." he promised, trying to cool his tone.

"I... I was watching America."

America blinked. "What, why?" he asked curiously. From behind him, England's face held a perturbed expression.

"I wasn't trying to be creepy or anything!" he added quickly, panicking a little as he thought of how it might sound like he was infatuated with him. "No, not like that! I-it's just, how he waits for you all day, and... and it's cute..."

"Huh..." Arthur raised one eyebrow, and looked over at America- who shifted awkwardly and flattened his ears in embarrassment. "He does... does he?"

"Well yeah, there isn't much else to do." the rabbit huffed, looking at the sky. "It's not like I'm that dependant..."

Matthew thought about mentioning his nervous, agitated behaviour, but decided against it. He smiled to himself and bowed to Iggy politely.

"Am I dismissed?"
"Oh- yeah. Sure." he replied airily, not paying that much attention. Relieved, he padded over to where Hungary and Sealand were enjoying their meal.

"I can't wait any longer." Iggy hissed to America, and Matthew turned around again in time to see him grab the rabbit's wrist. Startled, he staggered along behind the pack leader as he led him to their designated portion of the cave.

Matthew knew that, if he sat at the entrance, he'd be able to hear strange noises and soft moans and whimpers. He didn't understand what it was, but it certainly sounded like Arthur was abusing Alfred... then again, Alfred always came out with a flushed and smiling face. It was obvious that, whatever happened in those shadows, it pleased the both of them... and Matthew wouldn't question what brought other people pleasure.

Sorry for throwing these last few, sloppy chapters at you so suddenly... my internet expires tomorrow, so I had no choice. :\ This may well be my last post in a couple years... but we'll see, I'm quite sneaky when I try XDD