The next day after their pub date, Arthur and Matthew met at the library, during normal hours for a change. They made a good attempt at studying, sitting next to each other at a table this time. But the books lay forgotten as spent more time talking about the previous evening. It didn't tale long for them to decide that they needed to go on another date as soon as possible. They both agreed. Perhaps that evening if they could make that work.
Arthur smiled at the Canadian as they packed up their belongings for class, “Right then, tonight, love? You can pick the place this time and we can drive, I will drive my car.” He said. Matthew nodded and shouldered his already packed bag. Then he leaned in for a small kiss on the cheek.
“You betcha, eh. See you after class.” He replied, waving back as he left.
The Briton paused to watch his boyfriend walk away for a moment before returning to packing his bag. He hadn't the foggiest idea what he had done to deserve a boyfriend like Matthew but he never wanted this luck to run out.
Class seemed to run painfully slow that afternoon for Arthur. Maybe it was because he was waiting to see Matthew. Perhaps because Matthew wasn't in one of his classes that day. He couldn't be sure which scenario it was but he knew he had never been so happy to hear the dismissal bell before. He threw his effects hastily into his bag, leaving behind various pens and one note book, before rushing out.
Not watching where he was going, it only took a few turns down the hallway for Arthur to run into someone going equally as fast and in the opposite direction. Arthur was only knocked slightly off balance, however the other was knocked to the ground with a small hiss of pain.
“Sorry, quite sorry, I didn't mean--” Arthur began apologetically, stopping when he noticed the person was Matthew. And that he was sitting on the ground, holding his side and taking short breaths, as if he was trying to relieve pain. Arthur blinked. Surely I didn't hit him that hard, did I? He wondered, bending down to place a hand on his shoulder. “Matthew?” He asked, looking at him with concern.
The teen in return looked up, giving Arthur a smile, waving his hand. “I'm sorry! I didn't mean to bump into you! I guess we were both in a rush, eh?” He laughed, a light blush on his cheeks. Arthur nodded although he was still frowning.
“Yes, I suppose we were but are you--”
“Mind helping me off the floor?” Matthew said abruptly, taking Arthur's hand. The Briton of course obliged, standing up and hauling Matthew to his feet but he was still very weary. He was intuitive too and knew Matthew wanted the issue dropped but Arthur couldn't see why at all.
Without a word, the two set off down the hall again and having achieved their objective of running into each, they took things at an easier pace then before. But Arthur kept looking over to Matthew, expecting to see some form of injury. Perhaps gym class, as they did not share that one, went awry and Matthew was hit in the ribs. That sort of injury would surely produce that sort of reaction at being knocked down.
Arthur took a deep breath, “Mattie? How--” He began, looking over to him.
To his surprise, Matthew was giving him an odd look. Almost pleading him not to finish the “How are you feeling?” question Arthur had been about to ask. Arthur faltered.
“Uh how...how was class today?” He settled on, wondering if that might be a safe approach. And to his relief, it seemed like it was.
“Oh Arthur, English was the worst, eh. I told you I'd never get it.” Matthew lamented to him, shaking his head ashamedly.
Although Arthur had been hoping on a recount of a gym mishap, he smiled and shook his head. “Really now? What were you working on?” He asked.
“Shakespeare. I can't read it and it annoys me. I'm just going to fail the test at the end of the semester and move on with my life, eh.” He said, waving his hand, as if he was pushing the Bard himself from in front of him. Arthur laughed and placed his arm around Matthew's shoulder.
“Methinks the young lad doth protest too much.” Arthur chided lightly before nodding. “Come on, there is still some time before we go to dinner. I'll go over it with you and show you some tips.” He offered. Arthur half expected Matthew to say no, to offer another alternative but the Canadian nodded once.
“Sounds good, eh. Library then?” He asked, moving off in that direction. Arthur followed, the incident of Matthew's fall now forgotten.
“Of course, love.”
The next few weeks, their routine was much the same. Continuing at late hours in the library, greeting each other with small, sometimes grumpy kisses and then working their way to their respective classes. History class they still shared and it was about the only time Arthur and Matthew could keep their hands off of each other. Both rapt with attention, taking notes and then comparing after class. Arthur was in heaven with the routine, he had to stop and wonder how in the world Matthew and Alfred had grown up in the same house. It was no surprise they weren't related by blood.
The crisp chill of October was brutally knocked aside to make way for the cold of November. And with the cold temperature, came Matthew's reluctance to go outside of the dorms. Arthur noticed he starting requesting that instead of venturing out to date, they stay in and form their own date night. A movie or board game (Arthur was starting to get him in to table top). Something that kept them inside out of the cold. It was odd behavior to be sure, as Arthur remember distinctly Matthew expressing a fondness for the cold. On numerous occasions. But the Englishman didn't question his boyfriend, going along with the indoor, sometimes monotonous dates.
It wasn't until two weeks into November when Matthew appeared one evening, very bundled up at Arthur's door. The British teen was to say the least and beckoned him to come on in. They were suppose to go on a date that night but Arthur had no inclination that they would be going outside at any point. It had become the norm to not.
When questioned about the attire, Matthew took Arthur's hand into his mitten one, holding it tight and smiling.
“I though since tonight is kinda of special, we could go back to that pub you like.” He said softly, blushing as he said it. Though even that was a little hard to tell, given that his face was nearly completely covered with a scarf.
Arthur was refreshed at the prospect of going out again but he paled a little. Special? He wracked his brain for several moments. It wasn't either of their birthday's. Nor a holiday he was aware of. Full moon perhaps but that hardly counted as special anymore. He hated to disappoint the boy, but he frowned.
“Please forgive me, love. Why is this particular night special?” He asked, holding on to his hand just as tightly. Matthew's beautiful smile never faltered.
“You can relax, Arthur. I didn't expect you to know. It's just kinda big for me and I wanted to celebrate.” Matthew replied before giving him a small kiss on the lips. “We've been dating for two months now.” He whispered when he pulled back.
Arthur at once pulled him into a quick hug, smiling as wide as he could. Had it really been two whole months? He had hardly noticed the passage of time. Perhaps those romantic movies when the character relates everything was a blur held some ring of truth after all.
Letting Matthew go, Arthur hastily rushed around his room. Turning his computer off, locating his wallet—as he fully intended to pay every cent of this meal—and grabbing his car keys and winter apparel. Moments later, he had his arm wrapped around Matthew's waist and was leading him out of the door.
“Happy anniversary, Mattie.” He said, with a kiss on the cheek.
The evening out ended at Matthew's door several hours later. It had truly been so wonderful that Arthur wondered if anything could beat it. The food had been perfect, the atmosphere top notch and the company more then satisfactory.
Even the kiss they were sharing at the moment Arthur though extra sweet and passionate. As Matthew had been all night long. An overly sweet boy to start with, some how, Matthew had grown ten fold in that department for the evening. Not that Arthur minded at all, taking the opportunity to become a bit greedy. He slipped his ungloved hand hand underneath the Canadian's jacket as they kissed. It was an odd feeling as he thought for sure he felt bandages on his stomach but he didn't much care. Without a thought, he just moved his hand to find the flesh.
To his shock, the shy Canadian did not protest and even went a step further, his fingers sliding past Arthur's waist band. A little thought formed in Arthur's mind, becoming stronger with each caress. It was a long shot, he knew it, and he could hardly blame the boy for not having the same thought in his head. Matthew was far too polite for that sort of activity. At two months in, Arthur knew the evening would end in just this kiss and nothing more.
When Matthew pulled away and moved his hand, Arthur smiled kindly, “Goodnight, Mattie.” He said, before turning to leave. Matthew reached out and grabbed his hand, biting his lip, while opening the door with his other free hand.
“Do you...I mean, can you...uh, c-come in, please? To...to bed with me...” He said very slowly, his face was the bright red Arthur knew all to well at this point.
The door was open just a crack at that point, and instead of giving hims a verbal answer, Arthur pushed another kiss against his lips. The move made both of them tumble into the room and Arthur kicked the door closed with his foot. He was surprised but more then ready.
Even though Matthew had suggested it, Arthur took the lead from there. He gently pushed him over and onto the bed, kissing him all the while. Truthfully this wasn't exactly the first time the Briton had ever done this, he had the feeling it was Matthew's first time. And he wanted it to be extremely special for him.
When they were comfortable, Arthur slipped off both of their jackets, teased Matthew's scarf from his neck—earning a beautiful smile—and then went to take off his shirt. His finger's slipped again under the fabric and he started to pull on it but Matthew grabbed his hand.
“Leave it on...please...” He said softly, blushing intensely. Arthur took it as a sign of nervousness and though he thought he could convince Matthew to take it off, he withdrew his hands and cupped Matthew's face.
“If you want, Mattie. Let me know at any time if you are uncomfortable. We will stop.” He replied very quietly, leaning to kiss him on the lips. He was surprised when he felt wet tears on Matthew's cheek. Arthur sat up immediately and was worried. Before he could ask what was the matter, Matthew smiled.
“Arthur, I love you.” He whispered, placing a hand on Arthur's chest. If Arthur was caught off guard, he only showed it for a brief moment before smiling wide.
“I love you as well, Matthew.” He replied without any hesitation at all. The look on Matthew's face at that proclamation made the entire evening more then worth it. Arthur wanted to cherish that smile forever.
“Thank you,” Mattie replied very softly, silencing anything else from Arthur with a deep kiss.
For the rest of the night, Arthur was in heaven. It seemed as of Matthew was too. It had to have been his first time, Arthur was sure of it. At certain points, he would stop and grit his teeth in pain. That was entirely normal, Arthur cooed him through it without a second thought. He never asked to stop, not once. They spent thew whole night tangled together in the bed. It was so blissful, Arthur at one point wasn't sure where he ended and Matthew began.
It wasn't until three or four in morning that Matthew settled himself still in Arthur's arms. The Brit kissed his forehead tenderly and stroked his hair gently.
“Get some rest, my love.” He whispered, holding him close to his sweaty chest. Which Matthew kissed.
“You too, love,” He paused and snuggled in deeper into his arms with a large smile. “Thank you.” He repeated before drifting off to sleep.
Late the next morning, Arthur was pleasantly surprised to wake up and find that Matthew was still in his arms. It seemed as if they hadn't moved a muscle all night, and that was more then alright with Arthur. It also appeared as if Matthew was a very heavy sleeper. He snored lightly and mumbled incoherently about nothing. Arthur couldn't help but find it endearing and though he did not wish to disturb his resting lover, he kissed his forehead softly and shook his shoulders.
“Good morning, Mattie.” He said brightly, not all like his usual grumpy self. Waking up beside a beautiful soul could have that effect on a person.
Matthew stirred a little, rubbing his face subconsciously on Arthur's chest. He made a small noise, somewhere between a moan and a grunt, then lifted his groggy face to Arthur's. Somehow, he still managed a perfect smile.
“Good morning to you too, Arthur.” He replied, now rubbing his eyes. “Did you sleep well?”
“I did, it was very restful. How about yourself, love?” Arthur asked, brushing back some of his hair from those purple eyes of his. Matthew responded with a nod and a kiss, which Arthur happily returned, then held his face. “So today is Sunday. No classes, day of rest and all. I say we just lounge in the dorm, just you and I. Let's not even think on little bit about the school work we have, ok? What do you say?” Arthur asked.
At first, he was assured of the idea by the smile on Matthew's face but then when it wavered, Arthur's wavered too.
“Wait, what time is it, Arthur?” He asked, now sitting up from him. Arthur didn't like the sensation of cool air rushing over where his warm boyfriend had been moments before but sighed, checking the time.
“It's nearly noon.” He replied and became puzzled when Mattie sprang from the bed, small tears in his eyes.
“Oh no! I'm late!” He groaned, rushing around getting clothes on and gathering some belongings off his desk.
“Late for what, Mattie? Calm down, take a breath, talk to me.” Arthur spoke softly, getting up himself. He went over as Matthew stopped, taking deep breaths as told to by the Brit.
“Sorry, eh. I'm late for something I have to do with Alfred. He's going to be so mad, I'll text him now.” He replied, seizing his phone before Arthur had the chance to process what was going on. So he took a breath of his own.
“Can't you blow him off? Tell him you'll reschedule, that you are sick today. I'm sure he wouldn't mind at all then.” Arthur responded. Color drained so fast from Matthew's face at that, Arthur held out his arms, worried that he might collapse at any moment. Instead, Matthew laughed nervously. Which was also concerning.
“Oh no, I can't do that! I-I I've actually blown it off a lot recently. So I can't miss today. Wish I could, I really do.” He frowned. There was a sincerity in his voice that Arthur couldn't help but to believe and he smiled pulling him into a hug.
“Then I insist we met for dinner later. We can go to the cafeteria, then we come back here and lay together until Sunday curfew.” He whispered as Matthew gave into the hug.
“You're not mad?”
“Of course not, Mattie. You do what you need to do.” He replied quickly. Disappointed, yes. He had in his head to shower Matthew all day long with absolute affection. Spoil him rotten. But mad, no. If anything else, he was concerned over the way Matthew was acting. This fast pace was not comforting.
The Canadian pulled out of the hug and leaned in to give him a kiss, “Ok, eh. Sounds like a plan. Dinner and relaxing. It's perfect.”
Arthur returned the kiss, then helped Matthew gather the rest of his belongings. Very quickly, he got dressed himself and then both of them left, Arthur heading back to his own dorm.
“I love you, Arthur, see you later!” Matthew called back, giving him a huge smile and wave.
“Alright, I love you too, Mattie.” Arthur replied, blowing him a playful kiss, watching Matthew laugh and slip away.
Upon returning to his dorm, Arthur wasn't all that surprised to be greeted with a lung full of cigarette smoke and the vision of a half naked Francis. It was routine and normally Arthur would be annoyed but not today. He gave Francis a smug look.
“Good afternoon, Frog. I trust that you slept well in my absence?” He asked, going over to place his things on the bed. It was sarcastic pleasantry but pleasantry all the same, because of his good mood. Francis chuckled and took another draw off his cigarette.
“Oui, mon ami. I did, especially as I was able to 'ave some lovely company in my bed. 'ow did you sleep?” He smiled back, baiting Arthur. The Brit knew that was what he was doing, but he wouldn't be deterred, ignoring the question.
“That's nice, Francis. Do me a favor and burn those sheets before they can get mixed up in my laundry.” Arthur acknowledge that much. He saw Francis start for a moment, like he wanted to press for more but didn't. That made Arthur puff up even more, having gloriously shut the Frenchman up for a moment. Simply by deflecting a question he had asked! Arthur smiled and then pouted at the cigarette. “And put that out! It's far too early for that.” He said in a huff, tossing his wallet on the desk now. He had half a mind to crawl back into bed for a nap.
“Are you sure would not like one. Mon ami?” Francis asked, raising an eyebrow at him. It was a challenge, Arthur heard that loud and clear. A step up to the plate, who had the better sex last night challenge.
And Arthur really couldn't resist the opportunity to hit a grand slam, right into Francis' smug face.
He saddled over to him, plucking one casually from the open carton on the windowsill. Using Francis' own to puff it into existence, Arthur smiled widely.
“Why yes, Frog. I will have one, thank you. A good way to end a vigorous first romp, yes?” He remarked offhandedly. The look on Francis' astonished face was enough to put his own ego through the roof.
Life was perfect for a moment.
Over the next few weeks, Arthur really didn't think life could get better. Now, not only did he and Matthew have the library and class together, they had frequent dates and Saturday nights. Those were perhaps Arthur's favorite. Of course not just because he received sex from his boyfriend. No, there was something magical about those evenings. Arthur wasn't quite sure what it was, but he felt something far different then he had with any other guy. Admittedly, that was only Gilbert Beilschmidt and Francis, but still, there was a force here that they didn't have.
Maybe he was just imagining it.
But then again, he was positive, it was there. It was like a thought he couldn't quite grasp. Or a dream with only a few details but still very pleasant.
Perhaps it helped that Alfred seemed to become far more open to the idea of Arthur dating Matthew. He encouraged them, seeing how happy they both were. Arthur and Mattie, as evident by the deep blush, were mortified one night when Alfred purposefully leaned out of his room and let out a very loud catcall whistle at the two of them. Of course, Arthur let him have it later for the impropriety of the moment but he did so with a smile and lite jest. It was nice to see Alfred had come around and was supporting them both. Arthur could tell a difference in Matthew's general mood as well, which made it even more gratifying.
The only thing that hadn't changed was Francis' attitude. The Frenchman still openly denied the boys existence. Going so far as to leave the room whenever Matthew entered it, or ignoring him altogether when he couldn't leave. It frustrated Arthur to no end and it hurt Matthew, though he never said a word. When the Brit pressed Alfred to do something about his boyfriend's abhorrent disrespect, he just brushed it off awkwardly. He told Arthur that Francis had his reasons.
The only reason Arthur could think of was that Francis hated Matthew. Which seemed so out of character for the Frenchman, he dismissed the idea nearly as soon as he thought it.
But, it was the only explanation he kept coming back to.
Who could ever hate Matthew, sweet as he was?
It was nearing the end of November, Arthur knew that well enough as Alfred kept going on and on about some American holiday geared towards overeating and giving thanks or something along those lines. Mostly it was a marker for Arthur. When Alfred started prattling on, he knew exams weren't that far behind. Finals. Sink or swim time in school. Arthur always stressed more than he should about them, but he couldn't help it.
That's why, late one evening, he found himself deep in study in the library with Matthew. They had been there well over three hours now, early morning was approaching but Arthur's concentration would not be broken.
Until he heard Matthew's video game go off again. It had been ages since he heard it and Arthur, though highly annoyed, smiled.
“Taking a little break, lad? That's fine, can you just turn it down a little?” He asked, not taking his eyes off his book. But after a few more minutes, it was still loud and Arthur put his pen down roughly. “Really, Matthew! It's not like you to be on Alfred's level of rudeness!” He exclaimed, looking up.
Arthur gasped and launched himself over his tower of books, towards his lover.
Matthew was in some sort of distress. He was slumped over, clutching his chest and breathing heavily. What Arthur had always assumed was a hand held video game system, was actually a monitor of some kind and it was pinging wildly. Lightening up and buzzing obnoxiously. Arthur gripped Matthew's shoulders, shaking him a little.
“Mattie?! Mattie, what's wrong?! Talk to me!” He exclaimed. This had never happened before and Arthur was worried.
Matthew took a grasping breath, digging in his pockets. “C-call Alfred….please...” He wheezed, dumping his phone into Arthur's hand. The Brit wanted to protest.
“Matt, please. Try to take a deep breath and tell me what's wrong! Maybe I can help!” He cried, holding on to Matthew's phone tight. The Canadian wouldn't relent, closing his eyes.
“Ar-Arthur...I need Al...please, hurry...”
Feeling absolutely helpless and clueless made Arthur feel very scared and a little uneasy. Hell, a lot uneasy. Was Matthew going to be alright?
He sighed and carefully pulled his boyfriend fully into his arms, “Just try and relax, Mattie. I'm calling him right now.” He said comfortingly, dialing the number and placing it to his ear.
It took almost the full cycle of rings but Alfred finally answered.
“Bro? It's kinda really late--” There was some shuffled static, “Dude, it's actually really early. You ok?” He asked, very groggily. Arthur was panicked but remained calm, as Matthew was struggling to stay conscious at this point and he didn't want Matthew to know he was freaking out.
“Alfred, it's Arthur. You need to come quickly--”
“Where are you? I'll be right there. Tell Matthew to take easy breaths and keep him as calm as you can.” He replied hastily, all of the sleepiness gone in an instant. Something was starting to add up and Arthur didn't like being left out of this particular loop.
“He's nearly unconscious--” And expletive was said on the other end of the phone and Arthur bit his lip, “We are in the library, Classics section by the Shakespeare, near the windows on the east side.”
“Ok. Hang tight.” A click and he was gone.
Only to appear moments later, wearing nothing more then his super hero bed pants. No shoes even! Arthur perked up when he saw him round the corner, calling him over. Matthew was all the way unconscious not and Arthur was beside himself.
“Alfred! I'm not sure what happened! We were sitting here, studying like normal and then...he just started having an attack of some kind!” He explained, watching Alfred bend over his brother, picking up and fiddling with the box that had started alarming. It suddenly silenced and the room became eerily silent.
“It's ok, Arthur. Mattie's ok, I'm just gonna take him back to to his dorm now. You should go get some sleep too.” He said, hoisting the Canadian into his arms. Without so much as another word, he turned on his heel to leave. Arthur jumped up, frantic now, letting his worry burst forth.
“Alfred! Please tell me what is going! Is Matthew sick? Please!” He hollered after him.
The American didn't so much as turn around to acknowledge him, leaving Arthur standing there, still clutching Matthew's phone with worries cloud his mind.
The next time Arthur saw Matthew, it wasn't until a few days later. Of course Arthur bombarded him with questions, the most important being was is ok. The boy was paler then he had ever been before, and he seemed sickly. Arthur had never noticed it but he was very skinny, a dangerous type of skinny. It made him even more worried but Matthew was no help in alleviating those worries at all. The only answers he received from his boyfriend were along the lines of, yes he was ok, no it was nothing Arthur needed to be worried about, yes he was still going to spend holiday break at school with him.
Arthur was not satisfied in the least but if Matthew said he was alright, then Arthur had no choice but to take his word for it.
But over the next week or so, December being in it's second week, Matthew begun to miss study trips to the library. He he started canceling dates, both in the dorm and outside of it. He was ignoring text messages about it too, changing the subject whenever Arthur asked. Arthur was very worried at this point but what was even worse, Matthew started to miss classes. At such a critical time of the year, Arthur knew something was up with his boyfriend.
Arthur him even more, when on the rare chance he saw, again Matthew was frustratingly vague. Near the end of the exam period, Arthur grew very accustomed to the phrase, “I love you, but...”. In fact, Arthur noticed Matthew started saying “I love you” far more often.
Exams finally and thankfully ended but Arthur was feeling more betrayed then he was relieved. Matthew's dorm had grown silent and empty. Without so much as a word of goodbye, it seemed that Matthew had just disappeared overnight. Gone in the blink of an eye. Alfred was absolutely no help in determining his whereabouts. He completely reverted, much to Arthur's irritation, to telling him he should have left well enough alone and never gone out with his brother.
That was until he must have taken some pity on Arthur. Or he must have been tired of him asking questions and being worried. Either way, one day he finally told him that Matthew was fine. He'd be back for New Years, he had a last minute, surprise thing he had to take care of. The information helped to settle Arthur for a little while, he was more relaxed and easier to be around. Though in the back of his mind, he wondered why Matthew hadn't just told him that himself. Their text conversations were kept very light.
One morning near Christmas, Arthur was woken up by a knock on the door. He groaned and rolled over, waiting for Francis to answer it until he realized the Frenchman had spent the night in Alfred's dorm. He cursed and pushed himself out of bed, only to be greeted by a very somber, odd looking, Alfred at his door. Where those tear stains on his face?
“Alfred? Who died? What's the matter?” He muttered, wiping the sleep from his own eyes. Alfred didn't laugh but he kind of tensed up, like Arthur had said something wrong. Once Arthur put his hand down, he thrust his cell phone into Arthur's hands, rather roughly.
“Here, I got this from my mom this morning. Francis is already packing,” He said, moving into Arthur's dorm for a moment to grab a few of the Frenchman's things. “If you wanna go, be ready to go in a half and hour. I'd pack enough stuff for a week—two tops.” He said quietly before walking back out.
Arthur was confused for half a second before he realized he still had Alfred's phone. He looked down and saw an email on the screen.
Please come home right away. The doctors have let us take Matthew home, for good. There's nothing more that can be done for him. I've made him as comfortable as I can but they told us not to expect him to see Christmas. This is what we've been dreading, I'm so sorry.
Also, please bring Arthur with you. Matthew is insistent he come. I promised him you would.
Love you honey,
The phone fell out of Arthur's grasp as he stumbled over himself to get to his suitcase.