A/N: not saying who, but someone was getting uppity over Texans, saying that we're overly arrogant. Then, I recalled another rpg where Alfred begged Alexiel to do everything she could to protect him, even if it was from her own government. I decided it needed to be said again.

Duty

Alfred looked off as he watched the news. They were talking about how the tea party protestors were only right wing extremists who care only about getting the president out of the White House because their guy lost. He didn't care about any of it. All he cared about were the people that made up America, the people that made up him, that made up every single atom of his body. They were the only ones he cared about. That was all anyone in Congress should care about, and yet…

He slammed the remote down after turning off the television and got up for a walk. He needed the air and the air was at least free. The restrictions being placed on him by the "modern day monarchy" were stifling him. They stifled the people. Who cared if terrorists were tormented just a bit if it got information that protected him, that protected America, out of their typically unwilling mouths? Who even thought of them as criminals in the sense that Americans think of criminals complete with Miranda Rights and court rulings?

The things kept piling up. He needed air. Even though he was outside in the California air it was still stifling him. Everywhere he went all he saw was how people hated America, how foreigners hated America, how bad America was. He knew better! He was better! Celebrities giving their opinions and then their opinions touted around as though they spoke the Gospel Truth. A president treated as though he were a king, a celebrity, by the media. Congress and the president both nay-saying, down playing and outright insulting those Americans who finally stood up for themselves, stood up for him. Everything was a total mess and it should never have gotten that far!


"Hannah?"

"Yeah, hon?"

Alfred looked off as he gazed out the window of Hannah's Austin home. He just stared, feeling strange about the future. He wasn't normally so somber. Hannah stood up from the couch and walked over to Alfred, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Alfred?"

"Hannah," he said his voice somewhat strange, "I need you to do something for me."

"Yeah, what is it you need?" said the red haired woman standing next to him.

"Fight for me," he said softly.

"Sorry?"

"Don't lay down. Don't let others tell you to be silent. Don't let me be taken hostage and ransomed," he said, his voice becoming stronger. This was an old worry that resurfaced every dozen years inside him. It still worried him because he knew that one day that nightmare would become a reality. "There will come a day when things in the government will become so corrupt, so out of control, that you might think that the only way to deal with it is to leave the union, but I beg of you not to. For their sake, please don't."

Hannah Cook, Texas, gazed at Alfred for a long moment, those sky blue eyes that matched his staring at him. "I couldn't leave you if I wanted to, Alfred," she said softly, "You're America. Texas loves America as much as any of the other states."

Alfred smiled faintly and gazed up at her. "As much as you still love Francis?"

Hannah's cheeks turned as red as her hair as she slapped his shoulder. "That's not a fair question."

Alfred chuckled softly. "Yeah, you're probably right."

Hannah smiled gently at Alfred as he gazed off out the window again. She stroked his cheek gently and then leaned down to kiss his cheek gently. "Texas will stay with you until she can no longer stand with the others. Leaving is my last resort." Alfred smiled gently, grateful, the anxiety in his heart subsiding somewhat. Would California say the same? Would his precious Mia say the same as Hannah?

Hannah then leaned down and kissed Alfred gently, stroking his hair with her fingers to help comfort him. It worked well enough. She was, after all, a very warm and good state when she wasn't pissed at him.


Alfred sighed at the memory as he walked along the sidewalk. People were around him, doing whatever they enjoyed doing most outside as he tried to clear his head well enough to think. He wasn't sure if he should bother Mia or not, but a part of him nagged that he ought to. Mia was the one he loved the most out of them all. Aga Tukkuttok, Alaska, a rather intimidating, beautiful young Inuit woman who had a penchant for carrying more than one knife on her, loved him as much as Hannah and would fight tooth and claw to keep him from being abused. However, she enjoyed being with his twin Matt more than him. That was fine. She was welcome to love Matt more than him; after all he favored Mia more than he favored the others.

He stopped and turned back around back to the beach house, Mia's house, the night air still not helping him clear his head of all the troubles he was facing now. The worst of the worst was happening and now the nightmare he once hoped would never happen could happen.


Alfred watched as Ludwig, Germany, hugged his brother Prussia. Gilbert was tied to a chair, tears running over his cheeks though he tried to pass himself off as a tough guy. This was the end of the road and he knew it. He couldn't fight anymore. It was his brother's turn to move on ahead of him. Alfred had hated what Germany had done to the Jews, to the people, but watching him hug his brother, crying and looking like a small, lost boy, he couldn't help thinking, what if that was him in the chair? What if that Arthur Kirkland, England, in the chair? What if that was Matt hugging him good bye?

The war had ended and the Allies had captured Germany and Prussia and debated what to do with them. While they were in the cells, separated from one another, blind folded and tied to separate chairs, Russia had taken it upon himself to torment Germany a little while before leaving him to stew over it. Alfred wasn't sure what to think anymore as he gazed at the two brothers, Gilbert Weillschmidt trying hard to joke while Ludwig tried not to lose it worse.

"The least you could do is let him get laid," said Ludwig to Arthur after a while.

"I would, but I'm afraid none of the women in the building will have him," said Arthur, his smile small and carefully hiding the sadness in his own eyes. He too had been thinking the same things Alfred had. What if it was him?

Ludwig smiled faintly and walked away out the doors, released finally from the confines of the holding cell, but not Alfred. Alfred stayed back, next to Wong and Francis, and watched as Russia walked in with a medical kit and put Gilbert to sleep with a shot to his neck. He watched as Arthur walked in and helped Russia to carefully sever Gilbert's limbs with a saw and place them into a cooling box. He watched and watched and prayed Gilbert never woke up again. He was a torso after it all. He was a torso in Russia's control and Alfred had no doubt that Russia would make full usage of Gilbert as his own private punching bag for what Germany had done to his people.

The whole ordeal made Alfred sick to his stomach. Francis left before it was finished. Wong simply watched impassively his hands stuffed up his sleeves as he gazed at the three in the cell with calm, ageless eyes. Alfred, however, stayed. He had seen so much worse, so much more gut wrenching before that he simply could only become sick from the single worst thought that kept ringing loudly in his head: what if that was me? What if that was Matt? What if that was Arthur or Francis?


Mia came out from the back porch with her little stunted grizzly bear Bjorn in her arms. The little thing growled happily at Alfred and wriggled out of her arms to go right up to him and put his paws on his legs like a dog. Alfred smiled wearily and kneeled down, scratching Bjorn gently behind the ear. "Hey there, little fella."

"Alfred, is something the matter?" asked Mia, her long gold hair was pulled over her shoulder, her golden tanned skin practically glittering as much as the gold bangles on her slim wrists. Her gold eyes looked worriedly at him. "Have you been watching the news again?"

He made a soft grunting sound before stand up and walking over to a chair, sitting down in it. "Things are bad, Mia, very bad," he said softly. Mia walked over to Alfred and he pulled her down onto his lap. He snuggled into her neck gently and sighed against her warm skin. A few tears escaped from his eyes and wet her skin. Now she knew something was terribly wrong.

"Alfred, please say what's wrong," she said softly, hugging him gently to her.

"Promise me, Mia," he said after a moment of silence. Mia blinked at him in surprise at the intensity in his tone. "Promise me that no matter what you will do whatever you can to protect me," he said.

"Alfred… I… I don't understand," she said uncertainly. She placed her gentle hands on his cheeks and moved his face away from her shoulder. "Alfred, what's wrong?"

The intensity in his sky blue eyes was worse than what was in his voice. Tears fell over his cheeks as he gazed at her. "There will come a day," he said as evenly as he could, "There has come a day when I don't know if I can do anything myself against our president and the congress. There has come a day when the threats are both on the inside and the outside, Mia. I thought it was just a distant, far off fear of mine, but that fear is coming true Mia. I need you to promise me that no matter what you will stay by my side, that you will defend them as much as Hannah or Aga would. I need you…" Then, his voice trailed off, breaking up as more tears ran over his cheeks.

Mia held Alfred against her. Ever since the Vietnam War things had gone from good to bad to worse to the bottom of the pit. However, she always felt that maybe things would just get better over time; that perhaps these things came in phases. The hippies that shouted and spat at Alfred long ago were now in key positions inside the educational system and in congress and the presidential seat. They never loved America, not the way everyone else did. They thought America was somehow the enemy and that it was cool to hate America as much as they did. But, children usually grow up and learn one way or another how things work in the world; Mia was confident in this thought. Perhaps one day they would learn.

"Please," begged Alfred softly in a desperate whine, "Please, Mia, please say you'll do anything to defend me, to protect me from the dangerous ones that have been elected into office. I don't know if anyone else will or not."

Mia's eyes filled with tears as she gazed her personal "hero". The man who had saved her from the torment of Mexico, the country that had given her settlers and other such wonderful things. The man she had come to love since then known as Alfred. She leaned closer and kissed him gently, feeling him loosen up slightly and kiss her back. When she broke away she nuzzled against his forehead gently and kissed him there as she held his face in her warm hands. "I promise, Alfred. I promise." And she did, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. She swore inside that she would do anything to protect her beloved Alfred, because Alfred would do all he could to defend and protect her through thick and thin.

"I love you, Alfred," she said softly. "I love you so much I hurt inside when I see you this way."

"I'm sorry, Mia," said Alfred, trying to get control of himself. The fear and adrenaline inside him made him tremble against her. He smiled a little at her and tried his best not to look so damn pitiful to her. Mia sighed and kissed him again, lingering longer this time.

"I promise," she said.

He sighed and leaned against her. "Thank you," he said softly, smiling gently, "My loving California. My Mia."