Dejectedly, Matthew sighed. How was he supposed to amount to Spain. You were standing off to the side with him, chattering away. Despite your relationship with Canada, he feared you would find someone better. There was no way he could compare to the Spaniard's utter happiness and cheer when he himself was so quiet and soft spoken. The Canadian sighed to himself as he recalled the meeting. You had been sitting next to him, like you always had, chatting, except when Antonio walked in you smiled brighter than any smile you had given Matthew that day. Why couldn't it be him that you were running to? And why does he wish so bad that it was? Oh, right… He was hopelessly in love with you.
"Who are you?"
He looked down to see a polar bear in his arms – Kumatata, right? Canada sighed. Of course he was forgotten again. His own bear couldn't remember him. How could he expect you to remember him? Horror stuck his heart like a chord. What if you were only nice to him because you couldn't remember? But that made no sense. You remembered previous conversations you shared with him. You asked about his country's well being with facts that you knew because of your own news casting or from your government. Could it be that you knew him but didn't care greatly for him? Did you pity him? Pity was one of the worst things any nation could do to him – especially you.
"I'm Canada… Your owner…" he whispered.
Canada jumped with a start. He spun around and found himself face to face with France. The words were on his tongue to cry that he was not America – not his brother, not the superpower that France was looking for but the Frenchman frowned. He put a hand on Matthew's head and pat him gently. Canada sighed in relief. At least this time he was getting off without a lecture from his 'father' for not standing up for himself. This was one of the few times that France recognized Canada as himself and not America. He could at least say it was something good for him.
"Oh, my mistake…" Francis said.
The Frenchman was just about to walk away but then he caught the dour expression on the Canadian's face. His little former providence looked so morose he had to do something, especially since he was a terrible father figure when the boy was growing up. He wrapped his arm around the Canadian's shoulder in a way that was very much like that off a father. He would do what England never could: be a good parent to his child.
"What's wrong?" Francis asked.
Francis gave a knowing look. He had partially raised this nation. He knew when the younger man was lying. Matthew smiled at his fatherly nation weakly. He felt just a little uncomfortable under his gaze, like Francis knew that he was upset about something. He was normally pretty good at hiding his emotions because no one ever really noticed him in the first place. His normally glistening blond hair was matted and dull from nights without sleep, and his once warm, comforting eyes looked tired and weak. If Francis wasn't mistaken, he looked thinner than when he was conditioning for that barbaric sport Hockey.
"A-Ah well… it's _____________..."
"Ah, l'amore. Say no more! It is a good zing you came to Big Brother!"
"Oh yeah! That guy… Um, what's his face, told me to give this to you!"
Alfred thrust a small box into your hands. You stared at the small thing, curious and confused. Matthew always gave you presents himself. He never had Alfred do it for him. It was odd that you were in the library together. He knew that you would find ways for the two of them to butt heads but he was going to fight your actions. In understanding, you were the superior of intellect though he could surprise you at times. Alfred was by no means deficient, but you were clever in a way that Alfred could never manage. You were reserved, fastidious, and your manners – though well bred – were not inviting. In that respect, you had the advantage.
"It's Matthew!" you cried.
A librarian hissed at the two of you to be quiet. You bowed your head. You had to deal with him everywhere you went now that you were dating his brother. Alfred didn't even have the shame to be embarrassed. You did. You ducked down another aisle, trying to dodge away from the loud American. Maybe if you were studying the history of art, he would grow bored and leave. Art was never something he was interested in. He liked adventures. He liked monsters and demons. He liked battles of the countries and the such. You just liked reading.
"You gonna let Mattie teach you to two step tonight?" Alfred asked.
Alfred made a pelvic hip thrust in your direction. The lewd gesture meant nothing coming from him, now if it were Francis, things would be different. The man was very perverted. He was grinning but you were not amused. You turned your attention from the books you were browsing through. You gave him a cold look, with your eyebrows raised and a firm set frown on your face. He still didn't seem to understand that you didn't find it as funny as he did. Granted, he had a different mindset from you so he found different things amusing.
"Dinner, drinking, dancing?" Alfred hinted, "Sound fun?"
"If eliminate the drinking, then yes."
You stepped away from Alfred, giving him a small smile. He knew your distaste to drinking. The whole thing could be a right mess. Your solution to the problem? Don't drink. You didn't see the point since you weren't quite of age as of yet. No need doing something you know is wrong before you are allowed to do it. You considered hitting him with the small box but there really wasn't much to it so you decided against it. Plus, it came from Matthew. You rather liked gifts from him. You rather liked Matthew himself.
"Francis warned me about your dancing," you said, "He asked me to remind you of the twenties? When everyone was doing the Charleston and you blew chunks all over a flapper?"
"Ah the roaring twenties!" Alfred sighed.
You wondered if many nations got that nostalgic, then you wondered if you would do the same once you lived longer too as a nation. Then you shook your head. Time would tell those sorts of things. Arthur would often go on about what a great time he had as a pirate or as a punk and how he had the world's largest empire. Canada often shyly told you about his time throughout history and you did love listening to him. He was always so modest about his accomplishments.
"Nope," America sighed, "Dude that whole decade is one opulent blur! I have no idea what you're talking about."
Both of you ducked your head. The woman behind the front desk was giving you a hawk-like glare. She was probably going to try to kick you out soon. If not you, Alfred would be tossed out. The last thing you wanted was to be banned from the library too. He had already gotten you kicked out of the roller rink because of his loud and obnoxious ways. Now you needed to go to the next town over. He almost got you kicked out of one of Matt's hockey games. You would have strangled him.
"Dude, is that a porno?"
You hit him.
You were fuming. Alfred had gotten the two of you kicked out. You weren't banned. The head librarian knew it was only because Alfred was there. She just banned you from coming in so long as Alfred was there with you. It wasn't happening again. You were never telling him where you were going ever again. This always happened. He was just lucky you didn't have Matthew's hockey stick with you this time. You didn't even get to open the gift. You found Matthew waiting patiently for you on the front porch of your house.
"Mattie!" you cried.
You ran to his side, hugging him tightly. After the day you had, you needed to have some sort of reward for your suffering. A hug from Matthew was just that – a very good reward. You felt him stiffen beneath your arms. He was always embarrassed about Public Displays of Affection but you weren't as blatantly affectionate as say the girls who went to the bars and flaunted everything they had to pick up guys. Even Francis cringed away from them.
"Oh Matt, your brother has been driving me nuts! He got me kicked out of the library!"
"O-Oh… I'm sorry," Matthew said.
"I got your present," you explained, "I didn't get to open it though."
You pulled out the small box. You showed it to him. It looked like a ring box. Matthew frowned. He hadn't sent you a present. You paled when you opened it. A condom sat inside. A hot blush crossed your cheeks and you could feel your face heating up from sheer embarrassment. Matthew looked at you confused. Then he looked inside as well. You really weren't sure what to say. Matthew was just as red in the face as you were.
"E-Er… Matt… You… shouldn't have?"
"It wasn't me!" Matthew squeaked.
"But if it wasn't you… And Alfred didn't open it?" you mused.
"Francis," you said together.