Ever since Matthew grew up, your life changed in ways that you never expected. Apparently, Matthew decided that he was too old to sleep with you anymore, so you had to reserve a room especially for him. Thankfully, you already had a guest room, so you just gave him that. You became upset at his decision to quit sleeping with you, and you often found yourself lonely every night when you realized that baby Matthew wasn't there for you to wrap your arms around him anymore. Eventually, you got used to it. Even though Matthew was no longer sleeping with you, you were thankful for the fact that he was still living with you at all.
That wasn't the only change that took place. Since Matthew had grown, so did his stomach, and you had to spend more money on food for him to eat. Kumajiro, however, stayed exactly the same as he did when Matthew was still a baby. You were relieved that his appetite hadn't doubled the way Matthew's did.
It also seemed like meetings had been occurring a lot more frequently. It wasn't a week after Matthew had grown into a 10 year old that you had to go to yet another meeting.
Although you hated to admit it, you began to think that what France had said the previous meeting was right. First, you bring along a baby. Then, a talking polar bear. Now, that same baby coming in as a 10 year old just three weeks after he came to the last meeting looking like he was only a few years old. It seemed like people might be talking about you and your crazy life for a while.
If there was one thing that was good about Matthew growing up so quickly, it was that he caused you less stress in the morning of a meeting. Usually, you found yourself busy with brushing his teeth, getting him dressed, and making his breakfast. Now, he was able to do all of those things on his own, leaving you with plenty of time to get ready.
On the morning of the meeting while Matthew was in the kitchen preparing breakfast for himself and Mr. Kumajiro, you sat on your bed, looking over the papers that you were planning on bringing with you to the meeting. It was just page after page of boring notes. Life didn't seem fun at all.
Just then, an idea suddenly popped into your brain, and it made your heart rate increase. You knew that countries such as yourself had a slow growth rate in general, but had the ability to change their appearance by a few years just overnight. If others realized that the same thing happened to Matthew, they might suspect that it was likely that he represented a country.
We'll see what happens at the meeting, you thought as you lifted your bag up onto your lap and stuffed your folder inside.
You paused in front of the door to the meeting room, gripping your bag uneasily with both hands. You had not seen a single country on your way to the room, so you figured that you had arrived early, a thought that had made you nervous and surprised. Usually, you never arrived this early to a meeting. You didn't want Matthew to get bored just waiting for everyone else to arrive.
"Mom, is something wrong?" Matthew asked as he took a few steps forward so that he was directly next to you. He looked up at you, and once you saw him staring at you intently, your eyes widened as you turned your head to meet his gaze.
"O-Oh, I'm fine…" you said as you rubbed the back of your neck with your hand. "I-I guess we arrived a little bit early, that's all."
Matthew nodded slowly before he shifted his gaze down to look at Mr. Kumajiro, who was wrapped tightly in his arms. "Okay, that's fine."
You closed your eyes and took a deep breath before you grasped the door handle and slowly opened the door. Once you felt that it was opened a good amount, you took a few steps forward and slowly opened your eyes. You expected no one to be seated in any of the chairs, but instead, you saw something a whole lot worse.
There, sitting in one of the chairs was no other person than France, leaning back in his seat with his feet rested against the table, eyes closed in contentment, a smirk on his face as he twirled a strand of hair with his finger. You guessed that he was probably thinking about something, which immediately made you come to the conclusion that you didn't want to know what he was thinking about.
You felt your heart pulse in shock once you realized that you, Matthew, Kuma, and France were the only ones in the room. You knew that this fact was going to result in a bad effect. Honestly, the last person in the whole world who you wanted to deal with at the moment was France.
Thankful that France didn't see you, you sharply turned on your heel and made your way towards the door. "Let's go, Matthew," you muttered under your breath as you kept your head lowered.
Matthew watched as you headed towards the door and looked at you in confusion. "Mom, why are we—"
Too late. France had heard the voice of someone in the room, and he opened his eyes and turned his head so that he was looking at the door, his smirk widening when he saw you freeze in place. "Ah, well if it isn't the lovely _____!" he said a bit too cheerfully.
Shit, you thought as you slapped your arms to your sides and clenched your fists. You were able to hear the scraping of France's chair as he stood up and walked over to you, placing his arm around your shoulder and causing you to flinch.
"What caused you to come here so early?" he smirked as he felt you struggle in his grasp. "This is certainly something new for you, isn't it, _____?"
You growled. "What did I say about what was going to happen to you if you didn't leave me alone?"
France chuckled. "You always get tense so easily, _____. But don't worry; I'm not going to bother you for long. I only want to ask you a simple question."
"Please, try your hardest not to keep it sexual," you muttered as you crossed your arms and stared down at the ground.
"I only wanted to know if you had brought along Matthieu and that talking polar bear with you this time," France said, the smirk never leaving his face. "Because of course, it would be cruel to leave a child and a living polar bear alone in a house."
You sighed and closed your eyes in exhaustion and irritation before an awkward silence filled the room. You were able to hear someone coughing, and both you and France turned your heads to the side so that the both of you were looking straight at Matthew, who was staring at the ground as he shifted in place uncomfortably.
France's face brightened at the sight of the boy. "Oh, _____, I didn't know you were taking care of another child." He was about to approach Matthew, but you stopped him by fiercely grabbing his shoulder with your hand and digging your fingers into the fabric of his suit.
"Actually," you said, your voice low and icily calm, "that is Matthew. The baby I brought with me to the meeting previously."
France stared at you and raised an eyebrow in surprise before he shifted his gaze back to Matthew, who was staring at the wall with a prominent blush on his cheeks. A few more seconds of silence passed before France let out one of his perverted laughs.
"Oh, _____, I never knew that kids had the ability to grow up so quickly," he smirked as he removed himself from your tight grasp and approached Matthew, who was staring up at him fearfully as he started slowly backing away.
"Hold it right there," you said loudly as you ran up to Matthew and turned around to face France, shielding the boy from apparent danger. You glared at France as he stared at you intensely, his eyes gleaming with interest. You raised a finger and pointed it at him. "I never gave you instructions to go pedo on him, and you know it."
France smirked before he once again began twirling a strand of hair with his finger. "Oh, but _____, I never said to you that I was going to rape him."
"Don't try to act like I'm stupid," you growled. "I can see it in your eyes. I am not letting you get anywhere near Matthew."
"Um, Mom…" Matthew said quietly from his spot behind you. "What's a pedo…?"
You sighed in exasperation before you briefly turned your head around to look at him. "I'll tell you later, Mattie," you said calmly before you turned your irritated gaze back to France. "Now, listen to me. If you even think about getting anywhere near Matthew, I swear to God that I'll give you an injury so bad that you'll be bedridden for a decade."
France raised his hands in mock surrender as he began to back away. "Whatever you say, _____," he said with a wink before he left the room and closed the door behind him, leaving you and Matthew standing there silently.
The silence continued to stretch, with you staring angrily at the door, your hands clenched into fists at your sides, and Matthew standing a few feet behind you, looking at you worriedly. The quietness continued to last until Mr. Kumajiro lifted his head to look up at Matthew and asked, "Who are you?"
He sighed as he closed his eyes. "I'm Matthew," he said softly.
As the meeting progressed, you noticed that a lot of people were staring at Matthew, who was sitting in the seat next to you instead of on your lap. You would've been staring at him too, if you knew that the last time you had seen him three weeks ago, he was just a tiny baby, and now he was a full grown kid.
Once break was finally called, you took Matthew's hand and began to lead him out the door, but were stopped when you felt someone's hand firmly rest on your shoulder. You froze, thinking that it was France, and whipped your head around to face the person next to you. Instead of France, you found England staring at you with a serious and urgent look on his face. That was when you knew he wanted to speak to you.
Although you were relieved that the person who wanted your attention wasn't France, you were still a bit irritated. "What is it?" you asked England, a slight hint of annoyance detectable in your voice.
He removed his hand from your shoulder and narrowed his eyes. "I need to speak to you about something important. In private."
You bit your lip as you drifted your gaze down to Matthew, who was staring at you in confusion. You smiled. "Mattie, can you do me a favor and wait here while I go have a talk?"
Matthew nodded and took a seat in one of the empty chairs, leaving you and England to walk a good enough distance away from him until the two of you were out of earshot.
"What is it?" you asked quietly as you glared at England. You didn't like him wasting your time. In fact, you didn't like anyone wasting your time.
England briefly drifted his gaze over to Matthew before it once again met yours. "_____, are you aware of the fact that Matthew might represent a country?"
You were, but instead, you asked, "Why do you ask?"
England lowered his voice. "I've noticed his abnormal growth rate. A regular person doesn't look exactly the same for a whole year and then suddenly change in terms of growth in only three weeks."
You rubbed the back of your neck with your hand. "Actually, he'd grown overnight."
England raised an eyebrow. "Overnight?" When you nodded, he drifted his gaze down to the floor and pressed a finger to his chin in thought. "It would be likely that he represents a country. The problem is, we won't be able to figure out which one."
"Does he have to decide on his own?" you asked quietly.
England lifted his gaze so that it met yours. "If he chooses to represent one, then yes."
You tilted your head to one side. "How are we going to tell him?"
England sighed before he crossed his arms and drifted his gaze to the wall. "I'm afraid you'll have to tell him on your own."
You pointed a finger at yourself and your eyes widened in surprise. "Me?"
England looked back at you as a tiny smile came to his lips. "Well, of course. You are the one taking care of him, and he does refer to you as his mother, after all. It only makes sense that you tell him."
You shot a quick look at Matthew sitting in his seat, playing with Mr. Kumajiro, before you turned your gaze back to England. "But…what if he's too young?"
England rolled his eyes as he leaned against the wall. "_____, nobody is ever too young to become a country."
A few more moments of silence passed when you found that you had lost the ability to reply. Finally, you sighed. "Fine, England. I'll tell him."
He nodded in approval before he started making his way toward the door, you staring back at him with a frown. So much for saying goodbye.
You ran a hand through your hair and briefly looked down at the ground before you slowly approached Matthew with your hands clasped together behind your back.
"What was that about, Mom?" he asked softly, looking up at you when you paused in front of his chair.
You gave him a weak smile. "I'll tell you when we get home."