Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia or any of the characters.
It was a boring, beige day. Alfred sat alone in his boring, beige living room. Alfred sat alone in his boring, beige chair. Everything had been boring and beige for the last 9 months. His phone rested on the small table beside him. Ever since that day...
~9 months ago~
"Alfred, are you sure this is the right way?" Arthur asked with a frown.
"Absolutely, heroes don't need maps, Artie!" Alfred exclaimed cheerfully, smiling at the older man.
Arthur was growing tired of being dragged down winding backstreets, he was certain they were going to be late now. Alfred could be so childish sometimes, but, despite not showing it, Arthur cared deeply for the man. However, there was only so much he could take. After a further 20 minutes of walking, Arthur sighed and took charge, marching ahead.
"If you won't ask for directions, I will" Arthur huffed as he continued on his path. Hearing voices down another alleyway, he pulled Alfred with him down the narrow, cobbled street. Approaching a group of seven young men, Arthur cleared his throat.
"Excuse me, gentlemen, does anyone happen to know where this is?" He asked, holding out a piece of paper with an address on it. Alfred watched closely and noticed how the men's eyes widened at the sight of the address, and more so at the sight of Arthur's face. Alfred's own eyes narrowed and he poked Arthur in the back sharply.
"Not now," Arthur hissed. He was growing more and more impatient. "Well, do you know or not?"
One of the men nodded and beckoned for Arthur to come closer. Reluctantly, Arthur obliged, he really needed the directions as he did not want to walk in late. Alfred payed close attention, something didn't seem right here. Something caught his eye, a glint of silver shot into the man's hand and he reacted just in time.
"Arthur!" He cried.
Arthur jumped back, missing the blade by mere millimetres as it sliced effortlesssly through his shirt. He gasped in surprise as another man closed in, gripping a similar knife. Alfred launched forward, hoping to subdue one of Arthur's attackers when another pulled a pistol from his jacket and raised it, aiming at his face. Two more men did the same, preventing Alfred from moving. Arthur, who had managed to wrestle a knife off of one of his assailants, shouted out to Alfred.
"Run, you idiot! I can handle this!" He looked warily at the four men in front of him, three with knives, the other swiftly producing a pistol, almost identical to the one pointed at Alfred, from his pocket. Two of the knife wielding men launched themselves at Arthur, slicing at his arms that moved to cover his stomach. He dropped his own knife when one caught his hand. Alfred shouted to Arthur but could do nothing until he removed the gun pointed at his head. The man holding the gun looked ready to shoot at any second if Alfred tried to step in.
"Arthur! I'll help just hold on!"
"No! You are not going to get shot because of me! I promised I'd keep you safe, I'm not about to break that promise!"
Arthur grunted as a knife found its way into his leg when he tried to defend himself. Ignoring the pain, he continued his attacks, kicking one of the men in the head and knocking him out cold. Blood ran down his arms as his wounds oozed red.
Alfred realised that, unless he tried to intervene, the man holding the gun wouldn't stop him. Strange. Why would they let him leave?
"Move, you moron!" Arthur screamed again, "why are you just standing there? Get help!"
Alfred didn't want to leave Arthur but he had no choice. He turned and ran from the alleyway, hoping to find someone, anyone, that could help. He sprinted as fast as he could, but, as he turned another corner onto a wider road, he heard a scream, then a thud, then silence. He stiffened, and quietly retraced his steps, heart in his mouth, hoping that the scream didn't belong to Arthur. He peered back into the alleyway and his stomach dropped. Arthur lay on the cobbles, blood trailing from a wound on his head. Alfred's heart nearly stopped, but he noticed the shallow rise and fall of the blond man's chest. He was frozen with shock, and, before he could move, the men had picked up his limp body and thrown it unceremoniously in the back of a dilapidated van.
Just like that, they were gone.
"You promised..." Alfred whispered softly, his hand ghosting over his phone. Where are you, Artie?
He had searched and searched for months, everyone had. They had spent many long days and nights wandering through desolate streets, bustling market places, deserted buildings, nothing. People were beginning to lose hope, but not Alfred. Matthew, Francis, even Ivan were some of the few still actively searching for the Brit.
9 months... no ransom notes... no clues... no one knew why he was targeted. No one knew who the kidnappers were. When Alfred described them there was no data regarding them on any database or network anywhere in the world, they just disappeared along with Arthur.
Alfred sighed, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes. He was beginning to feel that familiar sting again. A combination of fear, grief and lack of sleep. He felt himself drifting, leaning back in the soft, plush chair.
A soft chuckle emanating from the kitchen made Alfred stir. That voice... Where had he heard it before...
"Bloody hell, same as always," The voice said. "Burgers and the like."
Alfred sat bolt upright. Arthur... Alfred's heart was beating as fast as his mind was racing. No, it can't be... Can it?
Alfred finally found his voice and tentatively whispered "Arthur?"
Arthur padded into the living room, mug of tea in his hand. "Hello, Alfred." The man was pale, thinner than usual, but it was him. The same bushy eyebrows and sharp but somehow gentle voice. Alfred wanted to jump up and hug his former guardian, but he knew Arthur wouldn't allow it. He could barely form words, shock flooding his body like fire.
'What... how...?" Alfred managed "Where... where were you?"
Arthur shook his head. "Now is not the time for things like that," he muttered. Arthur sipped his tea and smiled slightly. Alfred hasn't seen that smile in so long, it reminded him of his childhood, how Arthur used to bring him gifts and read to him. "Alfred, I..."
Alfred hushed the older man and stared into those emerald eyes, the colour rich and bright. He hadn't seen those eyes in so long, it felt as if they were staring into his soul.
"Alfred," Arthur pressed, "I'm sorry I wasn't there these past 9 months. I ju-"
"But you're here now, right?" Alfred interjected, hope shining in his big, blue eyes.
Arthur looked into tea, the liquid swirling around the mug. "I am here now, yes. I just..." His words caught in his throat and he struggled to speak. "I just wanted you to know that I... have always cared for you and... I l-love you." He dropped his head and studied the wooden floorboards. Damn it, why was that so hard to say to him?
Alfred was taken aback by this statement, Arthur was never one for sentimental moments like this. It struck Alfred as odd but he was too relieved to see his brother to care. Tears began to prick at his eyes. Alfred cleared his throat and whispered back, " I-i love you, too."
Arthur smiled gently, and Alfred felt his heart flutter. God, he had missed that smile. He opened his mouth to speak again but felt that it was not the time. He wanted this moment to last forever. Both men remained motionless for what seemed like years.
Arthur moved slightly, placing his tea on the small, old-fashioned coffee table next to Alfred's chair. He looked at his younger brother, and Alfred saw something flash briefly in his green eyes, something foreign, something he had only seen once before. Arthur hand ghosted over Alfred's face, a single tear gliding down his smooth skin, but he thought better of it. Without a word, he turned to the kitchen door and, posture immaculate, as always, strode out of the room.
Alfred reached after the blond brit, but Arthur did not stop or turn back. "Artie...?"
Suddenly, a shrill ringing startled Alfred and he woke, blinking away his confusion. Swiftly, he picked up his phone and answered it, voice shaking. 'H-hello...?"
"Alfred," it was Matthew, his voice sounded hollow. If Alfred listened hard enough, he swore he could hear Francis in the background, but couldn't hear his words clearly.
"Alfred... w-we found him...," Matthew swallowed." We found him Alfred."
Alfred gasped softly, I'm gonna see Artie again...
"Alfred h-" Matthew was cut off by a sob. The phone crackled for a moment before Ivan picked up the call.
"Alfred..." Ivan voice shook, uncharacteristic for him... Alfred listened intently as the wailing in the background grew sharper.
His next words made Alfred drop his phone, the screen shattering on the wooden floorboards.
"I-i'm so sorry... Alfred, I'm sorry."
A mug of cold tea, half empty, sat on the small, old-fashioned coffee table, the liquid still.