- Crossfrown: canada was fucking TERRIFIED of america
- Crossfrown: america was outside canada's window with a boombox
- Crossfrown: but instead of sappy love songs it's playing death metal
- Crossfrown: and the lyrics are "YOU'RE MINE ONE WITH ME ONE WITH ME ONE WITH ME"
Alfred had loved him for a long time; and most of that love was unrequited and unreturned. Matthew had Gilbert and even though Alfred had no clue what the soft-spoken blond saw in that loud-mouth Prussian, he was his friend.
And friends respected other friends’ boyfriends.
(despite the pain the hurt the longing)
So he kept his distance and watched from that distance as they laughed and held hands and kissed.
He watched someone else take the memories that he long-since dreamed to make with Matthew.
He never wished Gilbert harm — he envied him, yes. Unfortunately, he was good at taking care of Matthew. He protected the younger boy from the seniors and made sure that he never felt alone.
There were times that Alfred felt like he was being replaced. He’d get angry, but then that anger would subside and turn to bitterness towards himself.
Gilbert didn’t stay out late at night to party.
Gilbert didn’t get angry easily, despite misconceptions.
Gilbert didn’t have commitment issues.
The only flaw in their relationship was that neither of their parents knew. Gilbert wouldn’t tell his because they wouldn’t care and Matthew wouldn’t tell his because they’d try to break them apart.
Matthew needed someone like Gilbert. He didn’t need Alfred in his life — he’d only corrupt the sweet and innocent angel that he was.
But Alfred was also selfish.
One day, he received news that Matthew had gotten into a car crash. Gilbert was out of town and coming back in two weeks; the Canadian had been on his way to find a welcome-home present. There was a drunk man driving a pick-up truck on Third. He ran a red light and slammed into the side of Matthew’s car.
Alfred didn’t waste time — he was at the hospital within ten minutes. Several nurses had to restrain him from bursting into Matthew’s hospital room.
He wondered if Gilbert knew, if he was heading home at that very moment to his boyfriend. And Alfred found himself wishing that he wasn’t.
He wanted to take care of Matthew. It would be like when they were little, playing doctor.
Two hours of waiting in agony passed; he wasn’t allowed to see Matthew until told otherwise. When the doctor finally came out, Alfred rushed to greet him.
“Mr. Williams is fine. He needed a few stitches on his head and may have a minor concussion, but he’s fine.”
Alfred wasn’t sure what “minor concussion” meant, but when he finally entered Matthew’s room(so bright and white, white, white everywhere), he got a faint idea.
Matthew was sitting up in the bed, covers pooled around his waist, looking pale but otherwise fine. His indigo eyes were dazed, clearly visible without his glasses. “Wh-Who are you?”
It was directed to Alfred, and when the question registered in his mind, he froze.
Matthew sounded so scared and so helpless.
“Bits of his memories might be fuzzy. I’ve notified his parents; they’ll help him along.” The doctor turned to face him, then. “And, ah… What are your relations to him, Mr. Jones?”
(“Wh-Who are you?”) Matthew didn’t remember who he was.
(come on Alfred, he’ll get his memory back soon anyway, and when that time comes you can just explain that you only wanted to help)
(you love him, don’t you?)
(be selfish just this once)
Alfred swallowed thickly, eyes meeting Matthew’s own indigo ones. “I’m…his boyfriend.”
Alfred F. Jones could never have guessed that his brother got so much attention. At first, he didn’t think much of it — he shrugged it off as Matthew finally getting some friends — until he saw Gilbert Beilschmidt and Lars van Rijn enter his northern neighbor’s room.
On consecutive days.
And in the mornings afterward, Matthew would have a funny gait and winced whenever he sat down…
The first thought that had popped into Alfred’s mind was: Oh, my god, he’s having sex while he’s high and hand-feeding that albino some pancakes?!
The second thought was: Fuck. Why won’t he hand-feed me any pancakes?
Priorities, a voice that sounded suspiciously like Arthur’s resounded in his mind. Priorities.
That was why Alfred, after seeing Gilbert and Lars and Ivan and Francis, finally decided he’d had enough. He gave an indignant sniff and stomped over to the door. He hesitated, though, upon hearing the rustling on the other side.
Then he told himself to man up, inhaled deeply, and yanked the door open.
Matthew was eating pancakes with Gilbert. They were fully clothed. There were no signs of a syrup fetish nor an orgy.
Alfred suddenly felt sheepish. “Oh…hey, Mattie…”
Setting his utensils down, Matthew raised an eyebrow. “What’s up, Al? You usually don’t come over unannounced.”
“W-Well, you see…” I thought you’ve been having orgies, so I thought I’d drop by to crash the party. Or maybe join.
“Uh…what?” Gilbert looked perplexed.
Whoops, had he said that out loud?
“That’s interesting, Al.” Matthew looked amused.
“I’ll just…leave now…” Alfred gave a weak wave before shuffling out of the room, clicking the door shut. Then he bolted down the hall to his own room, hoping his face wasn’t as red as it felt.
“Is he gone?” Matthew’s closet door opened and out tumbled eight other nations.
Matthew nodded once, smiling somewhat skittishly. “Mhm.” He licked a wet stripe up his syrup-stained finger.
“Good,” Ivan said.
“Teach him to eavesdrop on our fun time,” Gilbert mumbled crossly.
Arthur cleared his throat. “Right. Now, Matthew, come back over here so I may undress you again.”
Matthew loves Arthur and Arthur loves Matthew. Yes, in that order, Matthew thinks — because sometimes, it seems that he loves just a little bit more than Arthur does.
“I love you,” the younger of the couple would say.
“I love you too,” Arthur would reply, but Matthew gets the feeling that he means it less and less everytime.
There are times that he catches his lover’s gaze straying too long on his brother. There are also times when he stands in the doorway, unnoticed, as Arthur clutches one of Alfred’s old shirts to his chest.
It’s part of the reason that Matthew finds himself returning from Hallmark one day, stuffed teddy bear in hand. It’s a special kind of teddy bear, of course, and he hopes that it’ll help fix their relationship. He hopes that Arthur would love him and only him again.
(Because even if he won’t admit it out loud, he likes to be and wants to be selfish. Just this once.)
A soft smile never once leaves his face as he enters their apartment. He hears the water running; Arthur’s in the shower? All right, then. Matthew would wait. (After all, he’s waited longer for less.)
He toes off his shoes by the door and pads into the living room. He nearly drops his present when he sees his lover curled up on the couch.
“Arthur…?” he asks cautiously, because then who would be in the shower?
Said male shoots up into a sitting position, emerald eyes wide. His short, spiky hair is askew and he’s missing his shirt.
Right on cue, the shower stops and the sound of the curtain being pulled back cuts through the tense silence.
Alfred emerges from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.
(He knew it. He knew it.)
“Had fun?” Matthew croaks. His tone is sardonic and he doesn’t know whether to start crying or punching the nearest wall.
Arthur’s cheeks glow red as he hastens to stand. “I can explain—”
“I’m leaving.” Matthew throws the bear at him, the stuffed toy bouncing off of his lover’s chest harmlessly. “I can’t believe you’d…”
Arthur drops the bear, almost leaping over the couch after the other blond. “Matthew-“
Matthew yanks the door open. Tears are spilling down his cheeks because, damn it, that was a good ten dollars he’d spent on the bear and two hours wasted on trying to think of an idea for a gift—
“Will you let me speak?” And Arthur almost looks convincingly sorry, too.
It’s outside of the apartment complex when the Englishman finally catches up to him.
“I hate you,” Matthew whispers.
“Bloody hell, Matthew!” Arthur pulls him back with a harsh tug. “Listen to me before you jump to conclusions!”
Matthew barks out a humorless laugh. “Jump to conclusions? You were both shirtless, you look like a mess, and he just came out of the shower! You two had sex! What other conclusions am I supposed to jump to?”
“I love you!”
“Apparently not enough if you went and slept with my brother!”
“All right!” Arthur’s eyes are a dangerous jade and he lashes out with his words: “I slept with him! And you know what? He’s better than you.”
“Fuck you, Arthur,” Matthew spits. He pretends his heart isn’t shattering. He pretends that he doesn’t want to cave in and collapse on himself and let all the hurt and worry and angst come falling down.
Arthur shoves him forward. The next stumbling step the Canadian takes is onto the road and in front of a car.
There’s a god-awful crash.
Arthur stares down dumbly at his hands.
(And back at the apartment, the bear recites the words that it was programmed to say, albeit the irony: “I love you.”)
(“I love you.”)
(“I love you.”)
The sun catches his hair from just the right angle and suddenly he’s an angel on the sidewalk, chin raised to the sky, smile soft. A breeze floats by and causes tufts of golden hair to sway slightly. Behind rimmed glasses, indigo eyes are half-lidded in an expression of euphoria.
Arthur stands in the doorway of the conference building, watching the younger with something akin to fondness in his stare. The heat is absolutely infernal and Arthur would prefer to spend his break indoors with the AC, but Matthew’s outside. And wherever Matthew is, Arthur feels like he has to follow.
His finger twitches for a brief moment. He wants to reach out and take him into his arms and hold him and bury his face into his neck until all he can breathe is his sweetness — his innocence.
He’s told himself before that he’d talk to Matthew. He would look into his eyes and recite Shakespeare and do the silly and frivolous things that he’s only ever dared of doing for Matthew. “I love you,” he would tell him, and Matthew’s face would break into a smile and they’d live happily after like a cliche.
But life doesn’t work that way.
He watches as Alfred approaches Matthew with something clasped behind his back. The boisterous male gets down on a knee and Arthur doesn’t need even an eye to see how the smile on Matthew’s face.
What I wouldn’t give to make him smile like that…
Arthur realizes that if the days were an endless time loop, he would be Today and Matthew would be the coveted Tomorrow that he never reaches. He yearns and yearns and looks forward to the time that he will finally catch up to him; but he never does.
“Arthur?” And by some miracle, Matthew visits him two days later. Arthur doesn’t hesitate in inviting him inside for tea. Matthew politely refuses and it’s when they’re sitting down that he finally asks The Question.
For a few heartbeats, Arthur doesn’t reply.
“Arthur?” Matthew looks genuinely worried now, and that won’t do. He was to be married soon — he shouldn’t be frowning.
“My apologies.” Arthur forces a bittersweet smile. “Of course I’ll be your best man.”
Today may never reach Tomorrow, but at the very least, he can hang on to the shadows of Yesterday.