Disclaimer: Title belongs to Lady Antebellum, from Dancing Away With My Heart. I don't own it.
The ground was hard beneath his feet. Snow was piled along the edges of the sidewalks and on trees, making them sparkle in the moonlight. Every breath he took was accompanied by a puff of fog. He buried his gloved hands deeper into his coat pockets.
Sometimes, walking alone on a chilly Winter night would clear his head of everything going on around him. His life wasn't exactly perfect, his roommates hated him at the moment and the increased amount of work from the college he attended was starting to stress him out.
Instead of listening to his roommates complain about him, classes, him, and their own lives(did he mention himself?), he decided to take a walk. Even though it was freezing and he had a multitude of more important things to be doing, this little walk around the small city he lived in always cleared his head.
Unfortunately, it also brought back memories, painful ones of when he'd been a young kid discovering love for the first time.
'Come on, Mathias!' he heard, chuckling as his boyfriend waited for him to finish getting ready. 'I've been waiting to see this movie forever! I don't want to miss it,' he whined.
Mathias raised his eyebrow at that. 'Really?' he said, straightening out from his crouched position while he tied his shoelace. 'You only knew this movie was coming out for like, what, a month? And I thought you hated scary movies?'
'I don't hate them, what do you think I am, some kind of wuss!' his boyfriend cried, shaking from probably more than the cold now. What horrible timing for a movie to be coming out, and one his goofball boyfriend wanted to see: when it was freezing cold outside.
He didn't know why Alfred insisted he wasn't scared of horror movies when every time after one he was left a shaking mess. He would jump at every little noise and be paranoid for the rest of the night(as well as probably the next day) that something was in the closet, or in the shadows, just waiting to eat his brains.
'Don't worry, Al,' Mathias said as he walked up to Alfred and put his arms around him, leaning in to say lowly, 'If you get scared I'll protect you.'
Alfred pouted. 'Like I need protection.' Despite his words he cuddled into Mathias's body, searching for warmth on the cold night. Mathias shook his head at his boyfriend's strangeness and placed his arm around the blond's shoulder as he started walking to the movie theater, Alfred's arm wrapping around his back in a comfortable embrace.
Mathias looked up at the movie theater as he walked past it. Had he really walked that far? The movie theater wasn't close to where he lived, on the other side of town really, he must have been very caught up in his thoughts.
He smiled sadly as more memories of the many dates he'd had with his boyfriend came to his mind. He had liked Alfred from the first day he'd met him in second grade. Alfred and his family had moved to his town after his father had died. He was very quiet and passive, both him and his brother were, but Alfred was always nice, no matter how much he was hurting.
Alfred and him had become fast friends, staying together at recess and eating lunch together, along with Matthew, Alfred's brother who was a year older than him.
As time went by Alfred had eventually gotten over his father's death and started acting normal again, or so Matthew had told him one day. Alfred had always been a happy kid, running around and laughing. After their father's passing Alfred had receded into himself. He still smiled but it wasn't the brightest he could.
The first time Alfred had truly smiled at him, not a hint of sadness in his expression, Mathias had had the sudden realization that he had a crush on Alfred; that he liked him in that way, and it scared him. Was it normal to like another boy? He always thought girls in his class looked nice, but he thought that about some of the boys too. He figured as long as it was Alfred, it was okay.
From that day on things in Mathias's mind were a little different. Every touch between them(a pat on the back, to get each others attention, a brush of the shoulders) made him blush, to varying degrees. It wasn't like him to act like that, and he wondered why being around Alfred suddenly felt like the best thing in the world(later on he would discover he was the romantic type; a surprising turn out when his childhood had been filled with mud and roughhousing).
Valentine's Day was his new favorite holiday, simply because he could confess all his feelings for Alfred anonymously, and still be his friend. The hardest part for him was determining if Alfred liked girls or boys. If he told Alfred his feelings and Alfred didn't like boys, would they cease being friends? As much as Mathias wanted to tell Alfred, he didn't want to risk losing his friendship.
Mathias swallowed hard as he nervously held his valentine card in his hand. It was handmade, like every year, and decorated with bright colors and little hearts. He'd taped many bite-sized pieces of chocolate on it, because he knew Alfred loved chocolate, and now all he had to do was give it to him.
Although his name wasn't on it, it would still obviously be from him if he handed it himself to Alfred. He needed to be clever about this; he couldn't let Alfred know about his feelings.
'Hey, Mathias!' Alfred's cheerful voice made him jump, so nervous was he about somehow giving his valentine to Alfred without his knowing. He hastily shoved the card into his jacket, then turned around from where he was standing in front of his middle school, anxious about going through the day. Being a seventh grader was hard.
'H-hey Alfred,' he stuttered, nervousness spiking now that the object of his affections was so close. 'H-how are you today?'
Alfred's bright smile dimmed as a worried look came over his features. 'Are you okay, Mat? Your face looks red.' Something that definitely did not help him was Alfred putting his hand on his forehead. 'Hmm, well you don't feel any different. Are you sick?' Wow, his face felt like it was on fire.
'No, I-I'm not sick. Just...nervous about today,' he laughed, probably a little too high to seem genuine.
Alfred blinked at him. 'Nervous? What's there to be nervous about? I love this holiday! All the free candy, it's like a second Halloween.'
Ah that's right. Alfred always got a lot valentines. He had a lot of other friends(though Mathias was his best) who all liked to give him cards. Sometimes people Alfred didn't even know handed him cards. He was always nice about it though, smiling and thanking them. Mathias didn't like those people.
'But...there's another reason I like today.' Mathias refocused on Alfred as he continued talking. 'Every year I get this really nice card. It always has lots of chocolates and says really nice things, like how fun I am, or how pretty my eyes are.' Mathias's eyes widened as he saw Alfred blush, ducking his head as if embarrassed. That was his card, it had to be!
'Do you know who it's from?' he asked, heart racing. Alfred shook his head. 'No, there's never a name on it.' Alfred sighed, rubbing at his cheeks, 'Ugh, I like Valentine's Day but the mushy, lovey-dovey stuff is so embarrassing.'
The bell rung, a warning to get to class before the final bell rang. Alfred smiled at Mathias. 'Come on buddy, we're going to be late!' Then he was off to class.
Mathias stood frozen as one word rang through his head. 'L-Love?'
Mathias chuckled as he thought about how nervous he'd been around Alfred. He should have just gone with the flow of life and known that everything would have turned out alright.
In eighth grade he realized that it might look suspicious if Alfred kept getting similar valentines every year. Not a lot of kids who had gone to their elementary and middle schools were going to the same high school. If he wanted to remain anonymous he had to change the style of his valentines.
As painful as it was seeing Alfred sad, he didn't make a card that year. Alfred had been happy when the day started, but as it went on he was obviously down about something. After the bell rang to end school, he'd even stopped in front of the school, as if the person giving him all those nice valentines would present themselves. When nobody came up to him after a minute or two, he and Mathias had walked home(they lived close to each other, only two houses separating theirs).
Mathias had almost blurted out he was the person making Alfred's cards, if only to wipe the saddened look off of Alfred's face, but he refrained. It would be worth it next year, their freshmen year of High School, to see Alfred's face when the valentines started again, better than before.
Mathias stopped in front of the bookstore he'd visited to pick up books on poetry(and romance). When February rolled around, he had made what he believed to be the perfect valentine. It was simple, a rectangular card that, when opened, revealed one heart shaped piece of chocolate and a poem. Being so young still, he'd started with something easy. He'd written about Alfred's eyes, how blue they were, a beautiful color he'd never seen before, and how they changed with his moods, flawlessly matching all his expressions.
Since they had lockers, he had the perfect opportunity to slip the note inside Alfred's without him seeing. He'd been there when Alfred had opened his locker and the card had fluttered to the ground. With a confused look on his face, Alfred had picked up the card and after reading the poem, blushed but smiled.
Mathias had asked him what he had there, in a teasing way since he already knew, but Alfred had avoided the question.
That card had sparked Mathias's need to continue telling Alfred his feelings, little by little. He began leaving more cards, little notes and poems confessing his desires. Seeing Alfred's reactions just spurred him on, until he took a chance beginning of junior year and asked if Alfred would meet with him.
Somehow, every year, they managed to get lockers right next to each other, or close by. This year their lockers were on the same end of the hall, just on opposite sides. This actually worked to Mathias's advantage in the moment. He was trying to calm his breathing, and not look like a lovestruck moron as he slyly gazed at Alfred's back.
He'd come to school earlier than normal to put his latest note in Alfred's locker. Only this time, the note asked to meet.
Mathias was very wary about this but was determined to tell Alfred how he felt. And he knew, somehow, that if Alfred didn't see him that way, or didn't like guys, they would still be friends. Alfred had nothing against homosexuals; last year he had defended a gay couple from the jocks' teasing, calling them bullies and immature. If it was anyone else the jocks probably would have ignored them, but Alfred was popular because of his kindness and openness, his ability to see the good in people and accept them. The main jock had simply glared and turned around, his buddies following behind.
'Mathias! Mathias!' he heard. He turned around again to see Alfred grinning, the light blush he got from reading the notes present on his face. 'My admirer asked to meet!' He looked so happy and embarrassed at the same time. It made Mathias's heart melt.
'Oh yeah?' he said, feigning innocence, 'Are you gonna show?'
Alfred looked down at the note in his hand, brushing his thumb over the signature: a small heart. 'I...don't know, to be honest. These notes have been happening for so long, I never thought about meeting the person behind them. I know who I want it to be but...'
Taking a huge risk, Mathias asked, 'What if it's a guy?'
Alfred's brows furrowed as his smile dropped. 'I've thought about that but...I don't think it'll be a problem.' Alfred's smile returned as he grabbed his books and put the note in his backpack. 'I guess I'll find out later today, huh? I think I will go. Are you doin' anything after school?' Mathias almost wanted to simultaneously laugh and cry at their situation.
'Uh, yeah, I've got...uh...some school work I need to catch up on, you know...gotta get those grades up!'
'Uh-huh, sure,' Alfred smiled, saying goodbye and walking towards his class.
Mathias walked by both the flower shop he'd gotten flowers for Alfred at and the diner where they had their first date. With a sad smile he remembered all the good times they had together, all the laughs and moments they shared. Confessing to Alfred had been the smartest decision of his life.
The note had asked to meet by one of the back entrances to school, the one the least amount of people used. He'd said to wait several minutes to make sure everyone else was gone so there would be no confusion.
He had waited by the door so when Alfred came out no one would be there. When that had happened, Mathias had taken a deep breath and walked up behind Alfred, flowers clutched in his shaking hand.
The door next to him opened and Alfred walked through, stopping a few feet from it when he spotted nobody there. Now or never, he told himself. Clutching the flowers he'd run to purchase for this occasion, he slowly walked up behind him.
'Alfred?' he called.
Alfred froze where he was. He recognized that voice, and when he slowly turned around, Mathias was standing behind him, flowers outstretched as an offering. Mathias, his best friend since forever, holding flowers out to him.
'M-Mathias, what are you doing...?'
Mathias's face was on fire again, no doubt super red. 'Alfred, I'm the one giving you all those notes.'
Alfred looked at him in shocked disbelief, then looked down at the flowers in his hands, a smile coming to his face. He gently took them and brought a hand up to rub the soft petals of the sunflowers.
'I remember you told me a long time ago that sunflowers were your favorite flower because of a childhood friend of yours. He liked them a lot and so you started liking them as well, right? I know they're not romantic or anything but I though getting those instead of roses or something would be better.' Mathias sighed and continued rambling,'Look Alfred, I know this must be weird for you, what with the flowers and the sudden confession, but I just had to tell you how I felt, and I couldn't wait for—'
'Mathias,' Alfred said, voice gentle. Mathias stopped talking instantly, looking almost embarrassed. Still smiling and rubbing the sunflower petals, Alfred asked, 'How long have you felt this way?'
'The first time I laid eyes on you I liked you, all the way back in second grade,' he responded, only giving a short answer to avoid rambling again.
Alfred looked thoughtful as he shouldered off his backpack, sunflowers clutched securely to his chest. 'Were you the one who made all those valentine cards as well? Now that I think about it, it's kind of obvious that there was a connection between getting the same type of valentine card and having the same best friend throughout school,' Alfred said, amused smile on his face.
Mathias laughed nervously, resisting the urge to rub the back of his head and neck in embarrassment. 'Yeeeahhh, I realized that in eighth grade, which is why I didn't give you a card that year. To, ya know, throw off any suspicion.'
Features hardening in determination, Mathias stepped closer to Alfred. 'I know this must be strange, but I want to be with you, as more than just friends. Will you go out with me?' His heart was beating so quickly he was surprised he didn't have a heart attack.
Mathias didn't know if he had heard right. 'Y-Yes?' Alfred was smiling widely now.
'Yes! I'll go out with you.'
Mathias didn't know what to do. He let out a small laugh, then more and more as he realized Alfred had agreed. A bright smile crossed his face as he closed the distance between them, wrapped his arms around Alfred's waist, lifted him off the ground and spun him.
'Thank you!' he cried.
Mathias walked through a park on his return trip home. The park was a fairly popular one, many couples having spent days relaxing there. One thing that had surprised him, when he noticed it, was that he and Alfred had never dated anyone before each other.
It wasn't because they were weird, or cast into the "nerd" shadow, or undesirable. Quite the opposite, in fact. Mathias had grown up nicely with a strong build and skills to match it. He became a member of their high school soccer team and excelled at it, quickly becoming the VIP. As a result, he had had many girls come up to him and ask if he was busy. He'd politely declined them all, of course; he only had eyes for Alfred.
Alfred too was frequently asked out, though he had also declined every invitation. For the longest time, Mathias didn't know why Alfred turned his suitors away(though he was happy every time it happened). Mathias knew why he did, his heart already belonged to Alfred, but Alfred never talked about that part of his life.
Mathias wondered if people saw the same aspects of Alfred as he did. Did they see a nerd whenever Alfred started talking about comics and science and space? Did they see Alfred at the library, engrossed in a good book and think, 'my God, he's beautiful.'?
When Mathias questioned him, on numerous occasions, Alfred would just say he wasn't interested in them. At first, Mathias thought Alfred was gay, since he'd turned down all the girls who'd asked him out. Then he thought maybe Alfred actually wasn't interested in women or men, as when a couple brave guys at school asked him out he declined them as well.
It was when they were in senior year he learned why Alfred had rejected all those people.
It was winter break, which meant little homework and two weeks off of school. Alfred, being the more school oriented one of their duo, had urged Mathias to get his homework done early, so he could relax the entire break and not stress himself out more. He'd even offered to help Mathias in any subjects he needed help with.
Alfred was incredibly smart when it came to history, science, and math. He absolutely loved space and was thinking about going into a science career, if he could. Mathias was more sport oriented and only took the necessary classes to pass while he focused on sports. He was hoping to get in on a scholarship, as his soccer coach kept urging him to apply.
The result of finishing his homework early was more time relaxing and more importantly, more time to spend with Alfred.
They were seated on the couch in Alfred's living room, his mom out shopping and his brother in another state entirely, having already graduated and moved on to college.
Alfred was laying in between his legs as they watched some space show Alfred was interested in. Mathias had taken to running his hands gently through Alfred's hair instead of paying attention to the program on TV. During a commercial break, Mathias asked a question that had been on his mind for quite awhile.
'Hey Al?' he started, continuing when Alfred gave a hum of acknowledgment, 'How come you've never dated anyone else but me? Don't get me wrong, I was super happy when you turned people away, but I always wondered.'
Alfred twisted around in his hold so he was facing Mathias from between his legs, elbows coming up on Mathias's stomach to rest his head on his hands. 'Weeeellll,' Alfred said, sly smile on his face, 'I thought it was obvious? Why don't you take a guess?'
Mathias racked his brain for any indicator as to why Alfred wouldn't want to date anyone before him. But, he couldn't think of a reason. 'I don't know, you're...uh, a prude?' Alfred had a mock look of disbelief on his face as he lightly smacked Mathias on the shoulder.
'What did you just say,' he laughed, 'I am so not a prude, do you need a demonstration as to why?' Was Mathias imagining the seductive undertone of the last part of that sentence?
'Alright alright, just answer the question, no more stalling.'
Alfred brought his hands up to rest against Mathias's cheeks. 'Mathias, the reason why I turned down everyone who asked me out is because I already liked someone.'
Mathias's brows furrowed, 'Okay, but you went out with me when I asked.' Alfred raised his eyebrows and nodded encouragingly, as if he was on the right track to something. 'Wait,' Mathias said, sitting up slightly in his realization, 'you...liked...me?'
'Mathias, baby, I know you like sports more than schoolwork, but you have to have some brains in that thick head of yours,' Alfred said.
'I...wh-hey! What's that suppose to mean?' Alfred laughed outright at Mathias's pout.
'Mathias, I didn't like you, I do like you; I have for a long time.'
'...Really? Since when?' Mathias had no idea about this; not only did Alfred never talk about anyone he liked(for good reason though, as he was starting to realize), he'd never shown any interest to be more than best friends with Mathias.
'Hmm, I'd say the crush started in middle school, sixth grade I think.'
As he walked closer to his apartment, he thought about the end of senior year(the senior dance), and the end of the following summer. He and Alfred hadn't told anyone at school they were dating each other, not even their other close friends. They didn't feel the need to broadcast their relationship to a bunch of kids who wouldn't understand. There were only subtle differences to how they acted before and after Mathias asked Alfred out.
They still stayed glued at the hip, as they'd been all their lives, only sometimes Mathias would put an arm around Alfred's shoulder, or let a touch linger longer than normal. Alfred would sometimes lean into Mathias if they were sitting side by side, or help Mathias keep his wild hairstyle somewhat neat, whereas before they would have been too embarrassed to do that to each other.
Based on that, they had decided to skip out on the senior dance. Their friends were very unsupportive of this decision, constantly urging them to change their minds, but they remained adamant.
Their high school wasn't against same sex couples going together, but that wasn't the problem. It was simply the reaction other students might have and their want of a nice, quiet night filled with no conflict.
Instead of attending the dance, they stayed at Mathias's house. He was an only child and his parent's happened to be away for a vacation, leaving his house conveniently empty.
The night of senior dance saw them setting up their own little celebration of graduating high school. Except, Alfred had something very important to tell him; something that made him incredibly happy for Alfred yet also filled him with a crushing sadness.
Music softly drifted through the house as the couple slow danced. They were hugging, Alfred resting his head against Mathias's shoulder. Senior year was coming to an end, and this peaceful night could possibly be the last dance they had together.
Alfred was a smart kid; he got As in all his classes(maybe a B or two freshmen year) and was heading for one of the best science and space colleges in the country. The only problem was that it was in another state, on the other side of the country.
Alfred had not told any of this to Mathias yet. He didn't want to leave Mathias but he didn't want to give up on his dreams either. Every time he thought about leaving and Mathias's reaction his heart felt like it was being stabbed repeatedly with a burning knife.
Slowly, he slid his hands, which had been resting on Mathias's shoulders, up to the back of his neck and laced his fingers there. He lifted his head to stare the man in the eyes, much like his own just shades darker and mixed with green, like a tropical ocean.
Mathias looked at Alfred and saw the sadness in his eyes. 'What's wrong?' he asked, still swaying slightly with the music.
'I...there's something I need to tell you,' Alfred whispered, unwilling to disturb the serene peace they had. He did however, stop their swaying.
'Go on,' Mathias urged, just as quietly. Alfred took a deep breath. 'I've been looking at colleges, and recently I was accepted into a really good one; best science and space program in the country. It looks really promising and I know I'll find my dream there, but...' This was way harder in person. He'd thought about what he wanted to say and how to break the news the Mathias but now that he was doing it it was so much harder.
He wasn't one for tears, even when his dad died he hadn't cried that much(though he had been listless and lethargic), but he could feel them, building in his eyes and threatening to spill over.
'...but, it's in another state, isn't it?' Mathias finished.
Alfred buried his face in Mathias's neck as he started crying, pushed over the edge by the sadness in Mathias's voice.
'I-I don't want t-t-to leave you, Mathias. I l-love you, but I-I...I c-can't—' 'Shh, shh, please don't cry, you know what happens when you do,' Mathias interrupted, voice quivering. Alfred looked up to see Mathias smiling with tears running down his own cheeks. 'You know crying makes me cry too.'
Mathias brought one hand up to rub Alfred's head in a soothing manner, tightening his other arm's grip around Alfred's waist in a comforting hug.
'Alfred, I love you, but I want you to be happy. If this college makes you happy in the long run then so be it. We don't know how long we'll last; if you give up a chance at your future for something that might fall apart, you'll regret it, no matter how much you want it right now.'
'But-but—!' Alfred was silenced by Mathias's lips on his own, the kiss short before Mathias pulled away to continue talking. 'No buts, Alfred. I'm happy for you; you deserve to go to this college and be successful, you've worked so hard to get there. Don't let me and our emotions get in your way.'
Alfred stared at Mathias, tears still leaking out of his eyes without his permission. 'Mathias...' he said softly, then leaned in to kiss him again, desperate to touch and feel Mathias.
The kiss was filled with desperation and sadness, even as their bodies started heating up, being pressed so close together. They separated only to go at it again, and again. Slowly, they made their way to Mathias's room, Alfred falling backwards on the bed and pulling Mathias on top of him.
That night they made love for the first time.
Mathias stopped in front of his door. The night of senior dance when he and Alfred had had sex for the first time had been the greatest and saddest night of his life. If anything, the course their night took had been as a way to comfort the both of them; Alfred for his decision to leave and Mathias for having to lose his love.
As he unlocked his door, blissfully silent as his roommates were asleep, he wondered where Alfred was now. Was he a scientist? Was he working with NASA? Was he single or did he have a boyfriend? Girlfriend?
The thought of someone else being with Alfred hurt, but he knew he shouldn't be jealous. Alfred had left four years ago, of course there was the possibility he might have moved on. Just because Mathias was having trouble keeping a new relationship didn't mean Alfred would be too.
Either way, he was still happy for Alfred. And even if he did manage to enter into a steady relationship, he knew that, deep down, he'd always love Alfred.
Just a little DenAme thing I thought up. I like this paring but don't see it around that much. I was going to keep this a one-shot but if anyone is interested in seeing Alfred's POV I'll happily write it. If you read one of my other fics I have the chapters written on paper, so now i just have to type them up. I'll also be posting a one-shot with PruAme, so look out for those.
Hope you enjoyed!