The next morning, you made sure to get up extra early so that you wouldn't have been late for the meeting. The last thing you wanted was to show up late because you overslept. You made sure to go to bed extra early the previous night as well as Matthew, so the both of you would've gotten enough sleep to prevent yourselves from being tired in the middle of the meeting.
It was five in the morning when the loud ringing of your alarm clock filled the room, and you sighed in exasperation before you lazily lifted a hand to shut it off. If you were to put it on snooze, you would've fallen back asleep again, and you had to be out of bed as soon as possible.
You covered your mouth with your hand and let out a yawn before you sat up in bed and rubbed sleep from your eyes. You were able to feel the bed sheets move as Matthew stirred beside you.
"Ma…ma?" Matthew asked quietly as he rolled over onto his side so that he was facing you.
You removed your hands from your eyes and blinked a few times before you looked down at him. He was struggling to sit up in bed, but was too exhausted and fell back down every time. You smiled before you grasped him and lifted him up into a sitting position.
"Good morning, Mattie," you murmured softly as Matthew yawned and rubbed sleep from his eyes the same way you did. He slowly opened his eyes before he let his gaze drift up to meet yours.
"Good morning, Mama," Matthew said before he buried his face in your shirt. "Why are we awake so early?"
"Because we have a meeting in London that we have to get to," you replied as you stroked his soft hair. "It's important for us to wake up early so we won't be late."
"I don't want to get up," Matthew murmured, his voice in half a whine. "I'm tired…."
"So would you rather stay at home, then?" you asked him as you wrapped your other arm around him while continuing to stroke his hair.
"No, no, no!" Matthew said quickly as he pulled away from you and shook his head. He looked up at you with confident eyes. "I want to go with you, Mama. I don't want to be here alone."
You smiled before you leaned forward and kissed his forehead. "Well, I guess we better get ready, then."
You took a shower and got dressed pretty quickly. While you were still preparing, Matthew found some more time to sleep. Making breakfast for him was more important than making breakfast for yourself, so you managed to prepare pancakes with maple syrup, just the way he liked it. You finally had to wake him up for the final time so he would've been able to eat. While he did so, you prepared any papers you had to bring with you to the meeting and stuffed them in a folder, which you then placed in your bag. Since you needed something to eat, you prepared yourself a sandwich and a bagel before you put those in your bag as well.
When Matthew finished eating, you dressed him in the white shirt with the red maple leaf, a pair of warm, gray pants, and boots. Since the weather was supposed to be cold in London, you also made him wear a jacket and a scarf, just so he wouldn't have been cold.
"Are you excited to go to the meeting, Mattie?" you asked as you wrapped the scarf comfortably around him.
Matthew nodded. "Yes, Mama."
Before the both of you left, you made sure to pack some more food for him to eat in case he ever got hungry during the meeting, since it was likely that the both of you were going to be away for the whole day, and you packed some hard candy for the airplane ride. You also double checked to make sure you had everything you needed for the meeting before the both of you left the house.
For the majority of the airplane ride to London, Matthew was silent. The only time he ever did complain was when he looked out the window and was instantly afraid of how high they were. That was when he entered into a fit of tears and began crying into your shirt. You had to assure him that everything was alright, and that he eventually would've gotten used to the height. The other time he complained was during take-off and landing, when his ears were clogged. You were able to solve that problem easily by giving him some of the candy you had packed.
Despite the fact that you tried to wake up earlier than usual for meetings, you and Matthew were still one of the last people to arrive, but you were not late. There were still about 30 minutes before the meeting was supposed to begin.
"Mama, my feet are tired…" Matthew said. You looked down at him and found him sitting on the ground, staring up at you in exhaustion.
You smiled before you set your bag down against the wall and sat down on the rough carpet next to him. Since you already had to carry a bag with you, Matthew had to walk the distance that it took to get from the airport to the building. Actually, you were surprised that he made it this far without complaining.
"Okay, we can rest for a few minutes," you said before you leaned forward so that you were able to grasp Matthew in your hands and lift him up onto your lap.
He yawned before he leaned his head against your chest, putting his hands on top of your arms that were wrapped comfortably around him. "Mama, I'm tired…"
You smiled before you began stroking his soft hair. "I know, sweetie. Don't worry, tomorrow you can sleep all you want and not have to worry about a thing."
There was another moment of silence as Matthew positioned himself in your lap so that he was comfortable. "Mama, I'm hungry."
"Okay," you said before you lifted him off your lap and grasped your bag, dragging it towards you. "I packed you enough food to last the whole day."
You took out the sandwich that you made for him, and he sat on your lap as he ate. Your stomach wasn't full either, but you could've managed it hopefully until the meeting was over. You sighed before you looked around briefly. You didn't hear the footsteps or the voices of anyone, so you figured that you and Matthew were the only ones in this hall. You took a brief look at your watch. There were still about 20 minutes until the meeting started. That gave Matthew enough time to eat, and you enough time to arrive in the meeting room and prepare your notes.
As Matthew was eating, you were aware of someone walking down the hall. Instantly, you lifted your gaze from Matthew and looked up. There, walking down the hall towards you, was the person you wanted to see the least. France.
You groaned before you tightened your grip around Matthew and turned him around so that his face was pressed against your shirt.
"Mama, what's wrong?" Matthew asked as you stood up.
You smiled before you ruffled his hair. "Nothing, Mattie. Keep eating your sandwich," you told him sweetly despite the irritation that built up inside you.
"Ohonhonhon~ Look who decided to show up to the meeting today!" France said as he paused only a few feet away from you, smirking as he twirled a strand of blonde hair.
You glowered at him, turning a little bit to the side so that Matthew was slightly further away from him. "What do you want?" you asked irritably.
The smirk on France's face only widened as his gaze focused on Matthew. "I noticed that you brought someone along with you to the meeting." He stepped a little closer to you, causing you to draw back.
"Ma…ma?" Matthew asked softly as he lifted his head from your shirt. By now, he had finished the sandwich he had eaten earlier, and was listening in on the conversation with you and France. Matthew turned his head around to meet the Frenchman's gaze, and once he did, he let out a whimper before he clung onto your shirt and buried his face in it.
"Well, isn't he just adorable?" France smirked before he reached out a hand and began stroking Matthew's hair, causing him to let out another whimper and causing you to growl.
Using all the strength you could've mustered, you fiercely slapped France's hand, causing him to instantly draw it away and massage it. "Why the aggravation, _____?" he asked, the smirk still obvious on his face.
You let out an exasperated sigh. "I never, ever gave you permission to lay a filthy hand on him. Now if you'll excuse me," you said as you bent down and grasped your bag with one hand before you slung it over your shoulder, "I must be going."
You adjusted your bag with one hand so that it was placed comfortably over your shoulder, Matthew in your other arm, as you shoved past France and began to walk down the hall towards the meeting room. It wasn't long before you felt his hand firmly grasp your shoulder.
"What's the rush, _____?" France asked you, a laugh evident in his voice. "There is still a good amount of time before the meeting starts."
You hissed before you shoved his hand away. Normally, you would've punched him in the nose, but because you had Matthew occupying both arms, you were unable to have any kind of good defense to use against France.
"Why don't you just leave me the hell alone?" you asked France loudly before you continued walking down the hall at a much faster pace.
It proved useless, since France had easily managed to catch up to you and wrap an arm around your shoulders, causing you to once again hiss in frustration. "Won't you at least tell me what his name is?" he asked you as he pulled you close enough so that your back was pressed against his chest.
You winced at the contact. You were so close to France…you could practically feel his breath on your shoulder. It was disturbing. Very.
You growled before you ducked your head and quietly muttered, "Matthew."
"What was that?" France asked before he lowered his head so that he was level with you. "I didn't quite catch what you said."
You growled again, louder this time. "It's Matthew, okay?" you said before you tried pulling away, but found that France's grip around your shoulders was too strong to make any kind of attempt at freeing yourself.
"Matthieu, eh?" France asked before he chuckled. "That's a lovely name. You know, you are very good with names, _____."
That was a lie, since you were horrible with names. "Yeah, yeah. Sure. Now can you just let go and leave me alone?"
"Whatever for?" France asked again before he used his other hand to begin gently stroking your hair, sending shudders down your spine at his gentle touch. "It's not like I'm going to rape you in any way~"
Yeah, keep telling that to yourself. You lowered your voice so that it was cool, firm, and steady, your gaze darkening considerably as you stared ahead. "I said. Leave. Me. Alone."
France laughed again, causing another growl to escape you. "Oh, is my presence starting to bother you? You know, _____, you're always very self-conscious when you get too close to—"
France never got to finish his sentence before you fiercely kicked his leg with your own, causing a single squeak of pain to come from him before he released his tight grip on your shoulders.
You turned around to face him, watching as he bent down and grasped his leg with both hands, tears forming on the edges of his eyes. "You are stronger than I thought, _____," France muttered before he rolled over onto his side and started massaging his leg.
You smirked before you turned around and proceeded walking down the hall. "Maybe this will teach you to leave me alone," you said over your shoulder, not even bothering to look back.
As soon as both you and Matthew were out of earshot from France, Matthew lifted his head from your shirt and looked at you with rather terrified eyes. "Mama, who was that?" he asked, his voice trembling.
You smiled before you reassuringly began to stroke his hair. "Oh, just a nuisance. You don't have to worry about him. If he comes near you again, I'll make sure to hurt him in a way that he'll never forget."
Matthew sniffed before he buried his face back in your shirt. "Okay, Mama."
This occurrence made you realize that he was very shy. Once this thought hit your mind, it became a surprise to you that you had managed to take him home from the woods at all. If he was this afraid of people, surely he wouldn't have allowed you to take him home. You were a stranger to him, after all. Just like France. And somehow, Matthew seemed less afraid of you than he was of that Frog.
Finally, you arrived at the door to the meeting room. When everything was silent in the hallway, you were able to hear the quiet conversations that went on between other countries inside the room.
"Now Matthew," you said to him as you grasped the handle of the door, "we're going to be meeting some different people. I promise that they won't hurt you, and try to be a good boy, alright?"
When the only reply you received was a nod into your shirt, you pushed open the door, revealing a rather large room with a large table with seats that were occupied by many of the countries.
You shut the door behind you, wincing when it closed with a bang. Upon hearing the noise, several pairs of eyes turned to you, making you instantly draw back.
"Ah, there you are, _____," England said after a few moments of silence. He stood up from his seat and approached you, pausing a few feet away from you.
A few seconds of silence passed as he eyed you up and down, making your skin start to prickle with irritation. Finally, England's gaze settled on the little boy gently cradled in your arms.
"Oh, and who would this be?" England asked as he pointed a finger at Matthew.
You cleared your throat before you shifted Matthew's position in your arms so that he was looking straight up at England. Upon making eye contact, he let out another whimper before he drew back.
"This is Matthew," you said, your tone much friendlier than it had been with France. "I'm sorry if he seems to be a little quiet. I've just noticed that he can be a little shy around others."
"No, it's perfectly fine," England said as he continued to stare down at Matthew, who was shifting in place in your arms and gazing up at him nervously. "You know," England murmured, "he's rather cute. Where did you find him?"
You cleared your throat before you replied. "While I was walking in the woods one night. He literally came out of a bush and stared at me, and after I saw how pitiful and sick he looked, I had to take him home and take care of him. Right, Mattie?"
"Yes, Mama," Matthew replied quietly, clinging onto your shirt and looking down at the ground.
A few more seconds of silence passed as a conclusion was formulating in England's head, and he finally said, "So what you said to me the other day about the sick baby you found in the woods in the middle of the night was…true?"
You looked up to meet his gaze, and you narrowed your eyes at him before you nodded.
England chuckled before he rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. "My bad. Your story just seemed very unreal, I had no idea that it possibly could've been true."
You didn't pay much attention to England's apology, but rather to the fact that Matthew still kept tugging at your shirt and looking up at you in anticipation. You looked down at him and smiled. "Yes, Mattie?"
"Mama," Matthew said softly, "he has big eyebrows…"
You chuckled before you ruffled his hair. "I know, sweetie."
England had heard, and when you looked up at him, you found him glaring at you. "_____, you better be ready to teach that boy some manners." You never had the chance to reply, and as soon as his back was turned and he walked back to his seat, you stuck your tongue out at him.
Matthew sniffed. "Mama, do I really have bad manners?"
You sighed before you looked down at him and kissed his nose. "Of course not, Mattie. England is just an idiot, that's all."
Once everybody was more or less seated, France sitting a few chairs away from you still holding a slight look of pain on his face, the meeting started. But not before you introduced Matthew to everyone. At the sight of him, he instantly became the center of attention, with literally everyone wanting to take a look at him up close and tell you how cute he was. He had never been around so many people at once before, so for most of the time, he was clinging onto your shirt and burying his face in it.
Most of the meeting went on as usual. Matthew, who was still very tired from getting up early, fell asleep in you arms. You had to remind everyone to talk in hushed voices as to not disturb him, and for the first time in a long time, there were no arguments and no outbreaks of fighting, something that you were thankful for.
When the meeting was finally over and the both of you arrived home, you tucked Matthew into bed almost immediately, and he went out like a light. After he fell asleep, you undressed and put on your pajamas, preparing a little late night snack for yourself. After your hunger was gone, you snuggled under the covers with Matthew wrapped warmly in your arms before you fell asleep.
You woke up rather late the next morning, and as soon as you opened your eyes and sat up in bed, you almost had a heart attack when you saw a big, white, fluffy thing sitting on your bed, casually washing its fur.
Upon closer inspection, you realized that it was a bear. Matthew's bear.