Don't worry, Matthew. I'll always be here to take care of you.
That was the thought, the promise that had been stuck in your head for the next months that followed. That promise had been made when you first led him home from the woods. He was still a tiny, fragile, sweet little baby back then, and he had fallen asleep in your arms. You had thought that he would've been under your care forever, but you were terribly wrong.
Throughout the days, weeks, and months after Matthew left, you had found yourself swarmed by depression. You hardly, if ever, left your room, and your house had an unusual feeling of loneliness that you had not experienced since before Matthew began living with you. You missed his presence in your life. You missed Mr. Kumajiro. You missed everything about Matthew, except his ambition at becoming independent. Your boss had given you an amount of paperwork that was much larger than usual, but you absolutely refused to do anything. You were constantly locked away in your house, thinking about the past.
I would never leave you, Mom. I promise that even when I'll be grown up, I'll still live with you. That promise had been made by no other person than Matthew himself. He had promised that he would've stayed with you forever, even when he was grown up. He promised. It was a promise that he had never lived up to, and he had broken it. Just thinking about that promise made you grow even sadder and angrier than you were before.
You were angry. Angry at Matthew for breaking his promise and leaving you. Angry at the world for allowing him to leave. Angry at England for convincing you to tell Matthew that he was a country and then allowing him to have all these thoughts at becoming independent. Angry at yourself for having found him in the woods all those years ago and putting all these wonderful memories in your head only to have them shattered after he had left you.
With all this depression, sadness, and anger taking over you and your life, you were very reluctant to leave your house when you found out that there was a world meeting you had to attend in two days. You didn't want to go anywhere at the moment. You didn't want to leave your depressing atmosphere and let others know of your miserable life just by looking at the exhausted expression on your face. But you knew that you had to go. You were already missing enough meetings throughout your life, and you didn't want to let Matthew's independence stop you.
Matthew. Of course, you figured that you probably would've seen him at the meeting. You didn't even want to look at him anymore. You knew very well that as soon as you would've made eye contact with him, all your emotions would've been released, right in front of everyone. That was the last thing you wanted to happen. You just had to try your best to hide your emotions as much as possible and you would've been fine.
When you arrived in the building where the meeting was held and opened the door to the meeting room, you looked around to find that nobody was there. Perfect. Maybe there would've been time for you to release your emotions there in private before someone else actually entered the room.
After examining the room a little while more, you felt your eyes slightly widen in surprise when you realized that there was someone else in the room, sitting in one of the chairs. You shifted your gaze so that it was able to settle on England, who had his chin in his hand as he absently tapped his pen against the table, a miserable expression on his face. You mentally grinned when you realized that he hadn't noticed your entry into the room. By this point, you seriously felt like yelling at him for all the trouble he caused you. And now seemed like the perfect time and place to do it.
Quietly, you approached England before you were standing directly behind him. He still didn't seem to notice your presence, and you finally clenched your hands into fists and took a deep breath.
"This is all your fault!" you yelled loudly, causing England to jump in surprise before turning around to look up at you with slightly wide eyes. You looked down to meet his gaze, and before he had the chance to reply, you continued, angrily pointing a finger at him. "You were the one who caused all of this! You were the one to convince me to tell Matthew that he represented a country, and look at what happened to us now! He felt that it was his responsibility to become a country and become independent, and he...he left me! He left me without feeling any sadness at all, and he never even told me that he loved me! And do you have any idea of how heartbroken I was? I lay in my bed for days, constantly thinking about the past, constantly wishing that things would've been different, and asking myself over and over why the hell I had to listen to you and not come up with some other excuse as to why he aged so differently. I could've easily told him that it was a genetic mutation or some kind of birth defect, and I know for a fact that he would've believed it and not have all these crazy ideas of leaving me just to become a damn country! If I had the chance to go through all of this again, I never would've listened to you! I would've just come up with my own excuse for his slow age, and he never would've had to leave me! He never would've had to break my heart and leave me in pieces! He would've still been living with me, bringing me happiness every day, and making me thankful that I never listened to you and caused things to go wrong! But of course I just had to do what you told me and make things worse for myself!"
You finished, and when you were done you stood there, your hands clenched into fists and dropped down to your sides, taking deep breaths as you continued to stare at England with what seemed like all the hatred in the world.
A few seconds passed in silence before the shock in his face switched back to misery and he turned around and resumed tapping his pen against the table. "Oh...sorry," he muttered, his voice so quiet that you were barely able to hear him.
"What?" you asked. "After all the misery you had put into my life, all you can say is 'sorry'? After all the trouble you caused me, all the sadness, all the depression, the only thing that you could've ever hoped to say is 'sorry'? I was honestly expecting something much more apologetic than—"
"Listen, _____, I don't want to talk right now," England said quietly, interrupting you from your rant as he rested his head in his arms.
"Huh?" you asked as you stood upright and all the anger left your body. You stared at him in confusion before you finally found the strength to speak again. "Wh...What's wrong?"
"Why does it matter to you, anyway?" England asked bitterly. "After all, you said that you hate me for all the trouble I put into your life."
"Oh...I'm sorry," you said quietly. It was only a second later when you realized that that was a stupid thing to say, but you didn't feel like taking it back. You approached the chair next to England and sat down before you rested your arm on the table. "If you tell me what's bothering you, I might be able to make things better." You realized that that was a stupid thing to say as well, but by this point, you really didn't care about what England had done to your life.
He sighed before he finally lifted his head from his arms and stared down at the table, the misery on his face only getting greater. "A-America...he...." He broke off as soon as he felt his voice crack, and he put his face in his hands.
"America?" you asked, confusion filling your eyes. "What about America?"
"He...he left me...." That was the only thing England managed to say before he broke down into tears, his body shaking as he cried into his hands.
You, however, didn't feel like comforting him. "Well, now at least you know how I feel," you said bitterly. "Now you know what it's like to have someone you loved and cared for leave you."
A few minutes passed as you sat there with your arms crossed as you stared angrily down at the table. Finally, England was able to compose himself and he took a deep breath after he removed his hands from his face and sat upright, wiping any stray tears away from his eyes. "Y-You're right," he said quietly after a few seconds of silence. "I...I'm really sorry, _____. If I had known that this was going to happen I never would've told you to tell Matthew that he represented a country." A few moments passed in silence before he shifted his gaze so that he was looking at you. "Can you forgive me?"
You lifted your gaze to look up at him, and your eyes locked with his. You were still a bit upset for listening to England and for all the misery that he had put you in, but now you realized that he was going through exactly the same thing as you, so there was no point in staying angry. Still, if you hadn't listened to him, Matthew would've been living with you right now.
But just before you were about to reply, you heard the door open and close and footsteps quietly make their way towards the table. "Oh, good morning England, _____," a voice said quietly.
England removed his gaze from you and looked up at the person standing in front of the table. "Oh...good morning, Canada."
Canada? At that, you turned around so that you were able to look up at the person. You could've sworn that you almost had a heart attack when you saw Matthew, wearing a formal tan suit as he stood there holding Mr. Kumajiro in his arms. You felt your throat slowly tighten when you realized that now he no longer even called you his mother. And apparently, he had fulfilled his dream of becoming a country and now represented Canada.
You quickly stood up from your seat, your expression darkening as you harshly made your way towards the door. "I'm going to go get some water," you said loudly, a hint of anger in your tone.
As you passed Matthew, you were aware of the slightly guilty and longing expression he was giving you. "_____," he began. "I—"
"No!" you yelled, not even bothering to look back at him as you opened the door, stepped out into the hallway, and fiercely slammed it shut, causing the walls to shake. You broke off into a run, not even bothering to look at where you were heading, until you finally stopped in front of the door to a bathroom. You opened it and quickly made your way inside. It was dark and the room was pretty small, but you didn't care. You closed the door and locked it before you pressed your back against the wall farthest from it before you buried your face in your hands and began to cry.
Months had passed since Matthew became independent from you. For the first few meetings you went to, you found it hard to look at Matthew and not feel like you were going to break down into tears. But pretty soon, you learned how to handle your emotions better. Now, you no longer felt the sadness, misery, and depression that you had for the first few months after he left you. Now, the only emotion that you ever felt towards him was bitter coldness. You still hated him for leaving you, and you wanted him out of your life as much as possible.
Still, a part of you wished that Matthew still lived with you, and was still there to greet you every morning, and was still there to tell you he loved you. But whenever you had those kinds of thoughts, you quickly pushed them away. You wanted to prove to everyone, especially to yourself, that you no longer needed Matthew in your life to keep you happy.
Matthew, on the other hand, had his feelings begin to change. He no longer felt that ambition to get away from you as he once had. He realized that living on his own and representing a country was not as great as he thought, and he began to miss you. He missed your presence, he missed how you always used to care for him when he was sick, he missed how you were always there to protect him and feed him and dress him and provide him everything he could've ever wanted to make him happy. Whenever he looked at you, he found it hard to believe that you were the same person that cared for him when he was younger. He missed how you were always sweet and loving to him, and he hated how you were always cold and bitter to him now.
But whenever Matthew tried to explain this to you, you always turned him down by either yelling at him or running away from him. Pretty soon, you were ignoring him.
But it wasn't just you that didn't pay attention to him. Almost everyone who he ever attended a meeting with hardly seemed to notice him. It was as if he was invisible. Even Kumajiro wasn't able to remember who he was, and he never did. Matthew wished more than anything in the world that things would've been different. He wished that he didn't listen to himself and never became independent, because now, you were treating him like he was a stranger and not the baby that you used to care for all those years ago.
The truth was that the both of you wanted each other in your lives again. But there never came a time when either of you were able to explain it, and you were gone from each other's lives forever.