Chapter 9. Stop and Stare.

Gilbert was in a good mood through the next week. After that news about the two spread through what seemed like the whole town, it seemed like all eyes were trained on them. Matthew was getting flustered a lot easier with all of the attention, which he obviously wasn't used to. Plus, his grades were actually moving up. He had heard Fritz talking to someone, Gilbert assumed Ludwig or his parents, about Gilbert's improving attitude. Yet he said nothing about supplying him with the beer and cigarettes and how he was still drinking and smoking on a daily basis. He usually tried to make sure he didn't smell like anything for Matthew, though he was pretty sure he still wouldn't be able to kiss him.

It was Saturday morning (the day of the Homecoming dance, as Matthew so happily pointed out every day that week) when Gilbert was woken up by someone. They kicked at his side and Gilbert hardly woke up, not too interested in the actual time. He muttered something even he couldn't understand, probably in German, as he rolled over to cover his face with his pillow.

He was left in peace until a familiar voice started giggling. "You wear glasses?"

"Cow?" Gilbert glanced up and found Elizaveta happily holding up his glasses, laughing even harder.

"I have to see you in these!" Elizaveta said happily.

"I'm guessing Fritz let you in?" Gilbert sighed and slowly sat up.

Elizaveta nodded and looked him up and down for a second before Gilbert realized he was shirtless. He rolled his eyes and quickly got up to retrieve a shirt from his closet.

"I'm guessing Matthew hasn't seen you shirtless yet?" Elizaveta asked and Gilbert couldn't help but laugh, putting on some random, black shirt.

"So, why the hell are you here?" Gilbert asked, yawning.

"It's Homecoming!" Elizaveta chimed and resumed intently staring at Gilbert's glasses. "Can I please see you in these?"

"Nein," Gilbert crossed his arms over his chest. "What does it being Homecoming have to do with you?"

"Well, my guess would be that you would go in some stupid fake tux shirt and jeans and not even fix that mess of hair you have," Elizaveta stated, bringing the glasses close to her face. "Jeez, you're blind! Anyway, I'm here to help you out!"

"I'm not blind, you just don't see the awesome way I do," Gilbert sighed and easily took his glasses from Elizaveta. "Why do you feel like you need to help me?"

"Oh, please, I can tell that you need a lot of help," Elizaveta rolled her eyes. "If you hadn't noticed, Mattie takes things like this seriously, so you're going in a tux. And, like I said, your hair needs some definite help. I'm sure it wasn't that gray before, but I can make it white again."

"Ja, I'm not gonna-"

"Oh, come on, it'll make you even more awesome," Elizaveta sighed and then grinned. "Besides, it's also for Mattie. I mean, I've definitely seen how much you care about him. Over Alfred's jealousy, that is."

"Fine," Gilbert groaned, giving up.

"Good," Elizaveta chirped. "Get on some shoes, we're going to the mall."

"You have a mall in this town?" Gilbert deadpanned.

"Of course not," Elizaveta shrugged. "I know how to drive, thank you."

"And Fritz is actually letting me leave this town now?" Gilbert raised an eyebrow.

"Of course!" Fritz chimed from downstairs and Gilbert let out a sigh, pulling on some random pair of shoes he found scattered on the floor.

"You don't have dress shoes, I'm guessing," Elizaveta muttered, apparently deep in thought. "I should really start keeping a list. And I have to remember to get that eyeliner for you."

"I'm drawing the line at makeup," Gilbert stated. "There is no fucking way you're getting makeup anywhere near this awesome face."

"Oh, relax," Elizaveta rolled his eyes. "It's just a little bit around your eyes to make them stand out more."

"There is no way in hell I'm wearing makeup," Gilbert shook his head.

"We'll see how you're feeling at the end of the day," Elizaveta hummed. "Luckily, I already have my dress and my hair won't take long, so I can spend most of my time on you."

"You're talking like I'm a lost cause," Gilbert said and Elizaveta swiftly turned on her heel to exit the room.

"That's because you are," she chimed and Gilbert let out a groan, following her down the stairs.

"Have fun," Frits chimed and Gilbert sent him a look that he was sure that was a mix between "please help me" and "you bastard."

Parked on the street in front of the house was a little car that Gilbert imagined fit Elizaveta perfectly. He didn't care enough to look at what type it was, but it was a bright red color and seemed kind of small.

"Now, hop in, because it's a pretty long drive to the closest city," she chimed, strolling to the other side.

"Should I even trust you behind the wheel of a car?" Gilbert asked.

"Could I even trust you?" Elizaveta raised an eyebrow as she slid into the driver's seat.

"You doubt my awesome ability to drive?" Gilbert feigned shock.

"Considering you learned to drive in New York, definitely," Elizaveta smiled as she closed the door and Gilbert finally opened the passenger side door. The car wreaked of air-freshener and he tried to ignore it as he sat down and buckled the seatbelt, knowing Elizaveta wouldn't start moving until he was "safe."

The second the car was started, she started happily humming along to the pop song playing on the radio and Gilbert simply slunk into his seat. He nearly fell asleep after they had left the small town and he was only fully awake again when he felt something metal hit his head.

"What the hell?" Gilbert snapped, putting his hands over his head and glared at the frying pan in Elizaveta's hand.

"You were asleep," Elizaveta shrugged. "Easiest way I could think of to wake you up."

"I'm already regretting coming with you," Gilbert sighed and noticed that they were in a parking lot so he decided to get out of the car and away from the frying pan while he could.

"So, since I'm sure you weren't paying any attention to me in that car ride," Elizaveta chimed, walking towards the large building that was no doubt surrounded on all sides by cars stashed in the parking lot, "we're going to the hair stylist first. I know he's working today and I'm sure he'll give us a nice discount, though I'm sure we won't need it since you're Fritz's nephew."

"People know Fritz here, too?" Gilbert asked as he followed her and dreaded walking into that building. He'd been shopping on rare occasions, whenever his mother deemed that he needed new clothes, and even then he tried to make it as quick as possible. Though, he was pretty sure Elizaveta wouldn't speed herself up just for him.

"What, do you think he sits in the living room all day when you're not around?" Elizaveta laughed. "He's got a job, you know."

"Which is what?" Gilbert asked.

"Hm…" Elizaveta hummed, opening the door and not bothering to keep it open for Gilbert, who simply kept it open with his foot. "I think I'll just leave that for you to find out."

"You are just so fucking useful, aren't you?" Gilbert deadpanned and looked at where they had entered at. Plenty of people were bustling around, mainly teenagers since it was a Saturday, and there were plenty of food stands nearby. Gilbert's stomach growled as he realized that he had yet to eat anything for breakfast.

"You'll be getting food after you do your hair," Elizaveta chimed, grabbing onto his wrist when Gilbert nearly stopped in front of a McDonalds stand.

"You're already torturing me enough," Gilbert whined, but went along with her anyway. "Now you're starving me?"

"You won't die by going another hour or so without food," Elizaveta stated. "And maybe, if I'm nice enough, we can go shopping for other things after we find you a good enough looking tux."

"Wunderbar," Gilbert stated as Elizaveta let him to an escalator going down and released him.

"I called ahead of time, but I wonder if Feliks will be busy…" Elizaveta thought out loud as they lowered to the floor below, surrounded by people absorbed in their own worlds. He got a few glances from people, something he'd gotten used to when he lived in a big town. But he still saw plenty of kids from school with shopping bags and phones taking up all of their hands.

Gilbert decided to stay quiet as he followed Elizaveta through the maze of people and stores until they came up to one that had "Salon" written in obnoxious pink cursive over a store filled with windows. Inside, there was a bunch of women sitting in chairs, either getting their hair done, or waiting to get their hair done.

They walked in and Gilbert nearly choked on the perfume as Elizaveta searched through the store and started waving at someone. At Gilbert's first glance, he would have assumed it was a girl. But, through a closer look, he was able to figure out that it was a boy with long blonde hair. Almost like Francis', but straighter. And he was wearing quite a lot of pink. He smiled at Elizaveta, but it dropped at the sight of Gilbert.

"Is this, like, really what you're giving me to deal with?" he asked as he got closer and Gilbert fought not to let out a laugh, knowing Elizaveta would definitely hit him with the frying pan if he did let it out.

"Why are you looking at me like I'm a lost cause?" Gilbert asked, deciding to hold back anything else he might have said.

"Because you, like, totally are, honey," the boy rolled his eyes and tugged at a lock of Gilbert's hair, making him kneel over slightly since the boy was shorter than him.

"Honey?" Gilbert asked.

"Why are you doing this to me, Eliza?" the boy groaned and released Gilbert.

"Because you're a miracle worker?" Elizaveta shrugged happily. "And I really need this for a friend."

"Lucky for you, I am a miracle worker," the boy looked him up and down. "Please tell me you're doing something to those eyes."

"Of course," Elizaveta nodded happily. "I want him to look his best for his boyfriend!"

"Boyfriend, huh?" the boy stared at him without blinking for a little while. "Fine, I'll do it. But a miracle for him would cost you, like, a fortune."

"One more thing!" Elizaveta said happily. "He's Old Man Fritz's nephew."

"Get in my chair, you brute," the boy nodded to one of the few empty chairs near the back of the parlor area.

"And let the torture actually begin," Gilbert sighed, deciding to head to the chair that looked like it could spin in a 360 before Elizaveta had to threaten him.

"You're amazing, Feliks!" Elizaveta hugged him as Gilbert slumped in the chair.

"Yeah, yeah," Feliks rolled his eyes and went to what looked like a bunch of drawers on wheels behind the chair. "Ugh, what have you done to your hair to make it this horrendous?"

"Nothing?" Gilbert shrugged.

"You're damn right it's nothing," Feliks sighed and pulled out a pair of scissors from nowhere. "Your hair looks like something my pony's tail looks like after he does his business."

"You're doing wonders for my self-esteem, you know," Gilbert smirked back at him.

"And I'm so sure you care," Feliks rolled his eyes and took another lock of hair, rubbing it slightly. Gilbert glanced over at where Elizaveta was and found her happily sitting in a chair, reading some girly magazine. "I'm definitely going to have to teach you how to really take care of you hair, because this is, like, outrageous."

"I am so sure it is," Gilbert chuckled to himself. He was very thankful now that he wasn't flamboyantly gay.

"Why the hell do you use foil?" Gilbert asked, getting very tired of staring at the wall while Feliks was taking out the locks of hair he was supposedly highlighting. He'd also cut a fair share of Gilbert's hair, all the while talking about a Toris that he was apparently obsessed with.

"Because of a bunch of complicated things you just don't care about," Feliks said through some random pop song he was humming at the time.

"How do you even put highlights in white hair?" Gilbert asked. He was sure that, by now, he was annoying Feliks with his constant questions about what he was doing, but it just gave him more of a chance to get a laugh when he started talking again.

"Your hair was not white, it was, like, gray," Feliks scoffed. "And you reek of smoke, which is totally nasty, I don't know how you have a boyfriend, yet I don't even have one yet."

"I have absolutely no idea," Gilbert laughed as Feliks smiled, stepping back.

"I. Am. Amazing," Feliks said happily. "Eliza!"

Elizaveta, who had yet to look up from her magazine, glanced at them and Feliks happily waved her over. When she was a few steps away, she had seen Gilbert's "new hair" and immediately ran over to them and started playing with Gilbert's hair.

"Oh, my God!" she gasped and Gilbert raised his eyebrows in confusion. "You are so amazing!"

"I know," Feliks smirked and happily went behind Gilbert and spun the chair around so that Gilbert was looking in the mirror. His hair was definitely completely different from the last time he'd seen himself in the mirror. Feliks was right, his hair was gray. But now…Gilbert didn't know how to describe it. It was brighter, more ragged but still neat, and far more awesome.

"What the hell…" Gilbert muttered. He remembered that, in plenty of pictures, his hair was definitely not gray, it was white. When did it change? He couldn't help but let out a small laugh, going up to feel it.

"Aw," Elizaveta teased, standing behind him.

"You're blocking my awesomeness in the mirror, cow," Gilbert smirked and Feliks whacked him in the head with his hair dryer. "Ow!"

"You're so self-centered," Feliks rolled his eyes.

"You're just jealous," Gilbert said happily, jumping out of the chair. Even when he turned around from the mirror, he couldn't stop thinking about what had happened. How did he not notice his hair turning gray? It was almost like he had grown old, but he hadn't noticed it.

"Fritz has done, like, so much for me," Feliks said as Gilbert saw Elizaveta try to hand him a credit card. "Definitely more than dealing with this brute."

"I know you care," Gilbert winked and Feliks stuck his tongue out at him.

"Alright, let's get you some food before you keel over," Elizaveta laughed, grabbing onto Gilbert's shoulders and leading him out of the salon. "Thanks again!"

"It was, like, no problem," Feliks shrugged.

"You look about 100 percent better," Elizaveta said happily, weaving through the crowd easily to get to the escalator once again.

"I hate it admit it, but, ja, I do," Gilbert sighed and then something unexpected happened. Elizaveta gave him a hug. "What are you doing, cow?"

"I just think it's adorable how far you've come!" she chirped, pulling back and showing off a large smile. "And it's all because of Mattie!"

"Okay," Gilbert blinked.

"It just sucks you're still smoking and drinking," she sighed slightly, her face going into that of deep thought. "I guess that'll get resolved eventually, though."

"Whatever you say," Gilbert shook his head and continued to where the food stores were. To be honest, there was a part of him that wanted to quit his bad habits, mainly for Matthew. Of course he knew smoking and drinking was bad for him, as well. But, he just couldn't quit. There was that addictive factor that had him trapped. His punishment: deteriorating health and never being able to actually kiss Matthew.

"So, which horrible fast food place do you want?" Elizaveta asked, holding up Fritz's card happily.

"Whichever one will get me to forget the pain of shopping for a suit," Gilbert smirked.

"Well, I don't think they can sell beer to minors," Elizaveta laughed, "I'd say we should go for McDonalds."

"I still don't see what this is accomplishing," Gilbert stated, finding it rather hard to keep his eyes open while Elizaveta was going around them with some weird pen thing. They were back in his room after Gilbert had been dragged into some stupid store to get a plain and boring black suit. He would have killed for that awesome red one. Gilbert was sitting on the chair for his desk while Elizaveta was standing over him.

"Trust me, it'll look great," Elizaveta hummed, focusing on him. "Now stop blinking!"

"You're about to jab my eye with a pen!" Gilbert argued.

"If I can do this on myself, I'm pretty sure I can do it to you," Elizaveta rolled her eyes. "Besides, I'm almost done, anyway."

"This suit sucks," Gilbert sighed, changing the subject to something even worse.

"Yes, but you look amazing," Elizaveta hummed and the pen was finally put away from his eyes. "You'll get used to it eventually. I've even seen Alfred in a suit and he didn't mind it that much after a while."

"I am nothing close to that idiot," Gilbert rolled his eyes. He didn't know why people compared them so much.

"Sure you aren't," Elizaveta smirked. "Alright, now you can go ahead and take a look at my masterpiece."

"Sure, that's the word for it," Gilbert sighed and quickly left the room to go into the bathroom just across the hall. He flicked on the light and blinked in surprise at the person who looked back at him through the reflection.

The white hair was one thing, but whatever Elizaveta had done with that pen had made his ruby eyes shine brighter than he thought they'd ever have. He could hardly even see the lines she had drawn around his eyes. And the suit, though it made him look a little stuffy, was actually pretty cool. Gilbert had to resist the urge to pose like James Bond.

"So?" Elizaveta leaned against the door frame of the small bathroom.

"Awesome," Gilbert smirked.

"Thought so," Elizaveta said in a sing-song voice. "You really do clean up great."

"Don't count on it happening often," Gilbert laughed and turned to face her. "Thanks."

"All in the name of ensuring Matthew doesn't get disappointed," Elizaveta hummed. "Anyway," she pulled out her phone to check the time, "I told Mattie you'd be ready by 7. At look at that, it's 7:05."

"Did he enlist you or did you just tell him you'd take charge?" Gilbert asked as he quickly passed her. They had bought dress shoes, that were really uncomfortable in Gilbert's opinion, and he just had to put those on and he would leave.

"I knew he would need help," Elizaveta stated. "And he didn't argue, or anything. He started laughing a lot."

"I figured he would," Gilbert smiled slightly to himself, slipping the shoes on. When Elizaveta wasn't looking, he was able to slip a flask into his pocket, knowing he would need one if he was going to a school dance.

"Well, let's get going, then!" Elizaveta swiftly grabbed onto his wrist and dragged him down the stairs.

"You look nice," Fritz said smugly from his chair.

"Shut up," Gilbert rolled his eyes.

"I don't think I've seen your hair like that since you were six," Fritz laughed.

"Ja, well, admire it while it lasts," Gilbert sighed, messing with his hair a little. The idea of going to see Matthew did make him a little nervous.

"Thanks again for letting me kidnap your nephew!" Elizaveta chimed as they left out the front door and went down the porch steps.

"So what about you getting ready for this thing?" Gilbert asked as they walked to the house where Matthew and Alfred lived.

"I have to show up fashionably late," Elizaveta laughed. "Otherwise, what's the point?"

"Of course," Gilbert laughed, shaking his head.

"Alright, I want to see your face when you see Mattie," Elizaveta said happily, stopping at the foot of the stairs to their porch.

"Have you seen him in a suit before?" Gilbert raised an eyebrow, but climbed the stairs anyway. He was way too awesome to back out now.

"Well, he's too cute to not have had a date last year," Elizaveta chimed and Gilbert glanced back at her.

"Should I be jealous?" he smirked, trying to hide the fact that he was, in fact, very jealous.

"Depends if you wanna know who it was," Elizaveta laughed.

"Nein, I don't," Gilbert quickly turned back around and rang the doorbell.

Immediately, there was a bang inside the house and stumbled footsteps along with some yelling he couldn't quite understand through the door. Said door was yanked open, revealing Alfred, who still had some intense bedhead, looking critically at him.

"Well, at least you look like you're taking this seriously," Alfred muttered.

"You do realize that I'm not here for you, right?" Gilbert smirked.

"If you aren't nice, I could just not allow Mattie to come out," Alfred glared at him.

"Like you could even do that," Gilbert laughed.

"Come on, Al," Matthew sighed behind him and Gilbert raised an eyebrow. It was too bad he couldn't see him yet, since Alfred was taking up all of the space.

"Mattie," Alfred whined, turning back to him.

"Please?" Matthew tried and Alfred groaned.

"Fine," Alfred leaned back. "But if I hear about any funny business, I'm kicking your ass."

"I'd like to see you try," Gilbert challenged and Matthew finally stepped through the door and Gilbert couldn't help but smile.

There was an obvious attempt to try to tame Matthew's hair, but it was still wavy and even the adorable little curl was still present. His purple-blue eyes nearly shone with happiness, though they hid nicely behind his glasses. He was in a same colored suit as Gilbert, but it was naturally smaller. And they apparently didn't have any dress shoes, so he had sneakers on.

"Wow," Matthew blinked at him.

"I can say the same to you, Birdie," Gilbert smiled.

"I think I'm gonna puke," Alfred groaned, closing the door, but Gilbert saw him looking at them through the nearby window.

"I-I don't have any dress shoes," Matthew muttered, glancing down at his feet.

"I think you look awesome, "Gilbert smirked.

"You, too," Matthew smiled.

"I feel like James Bond or something," Gilbert laughed and Matthew giggled.

"Alright, you two lovebirds, get going," Elizaveta chimed behind them.

"Ja, ja," Gilbert sighed and swiftly turned around, holding out a hooked arm to Matthew with a grin. "Shall we?"

"Of course," Matthew giggled.

Stop and Stare is by OneRepublic.

D'aw! They're so cute! I've been looking forward to this for a while. Next couple chapters were probably one of the first I came up with for this story, so I'm pretty excited for all of them. Next chapter, you get to see them at the dance! Ooooh! And I couldn't resist using Feliks. I needed a hairdresser and I had to think of a good Hetalia character. And since Francis is busy being in New York right now, I've got Feliks! Who is wonderful, by the way. I don't think I've ever written him before, or that much, but now that I have, I love it!

Also, since I am now low on time and am no longer one chapter ahead, I can no longer give you guys my chapter previews. I apologize, but school is horrid this year. Screw IB, even though it might let me go to college out of country…

Anywho, please review and look out for Chapter 10, Intoxicated.