-August 4, 1945, 7:43 PM-

"B-B-B-B-B-But, Sir! President Truman, we can't just… just atomically destroy Kiku like that! Isn't there any other way!?"

"Alfred Jones! Get your sorry ass outta here and let your superiors do their job! I've already given the OK to the Air force! As soon as they're ready, we're dropping that Atomic Bomb!"

"BUT, SIR, I--"

"NO BUTS, ALFRED! NOW GET OUT OF MY OFFICE!"

Alfred blinked at the door that was only a fraction of an inch from breaking his nose. "Shit!" He groaned as he kicked the door and limped angrily away.

"Yeah, Kiku's 'trying to take over the world and if Ivan's let into the war, then he'll use Kiku as a springboard to take over the world; we need to stop this war NOW!' Fuck you, Truman." The blonde shoved his hands into his pockets and stalked into his room. "You don't have to use such a powerful bomb on him, you damn bastards."

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-August 6, 1945, 8:37 AM-

The only reason Alfred was up at this ungodly hour was because of the incessant knocking on his bedroom door. He threw the door open.

"What!? He yelled tiredly at the excited looking assistant.

"Mr. Jones! We dropped the bomb precisely 18 minutes ago! The bombing went off without a hitch! A perfect success!"

Alfred felt like the floor had just dropped out from under him. They… bombed Kiku!? How could they!?

"How… bad is the damage?"

"Hiroshima has been totally decimated! It's quite a sight, Mr. Jones! You should check it out!"

Alfred's eyes narrowed. "I'm going to Japan, but not to see the destruction." He slammed the door. "Have a plane ready for me in five!" He shouted as he went to get changed.

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-August 6, 1945, 11: 52 AM-

As promised, Alfred was greeted by utter destruction when he arrived at Kiku's house; there were only heaps of rubble where homes and buildings once stood and there were dark shadows on the ground where people had been incinerated where they had been standing. There was an odd feeling in the air, a sort of ominous warning of troubles lying in wait for poor Kiku.

"Jones-san."

Alfred turned. "Kiku?"

The other nation was burnt and bloody, half his face was covered in dirty bandages.

"Kiku, I--"

"What did they drop?"

"Something called an 'Atomic Bomb.' Kiku… they're going to drop another one if you don't surrender unconditionally. We have to keep Ivan out of the war. He's trying to spread his empire across the globe and he's gonna use this was to do it!

"Jones-san--"

"Alfred."

"Alfred-san, I would love nothing more than to end this war. But my people want to keep the emperor in power and you won't let them!" Kiku stepped forward. "Please, Alfred-san. It's all they want."

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-August 7, 1945, 1:39 AM-

"Well, what did Hirohito's generals have to say?"

Truman rubbed his eyes then pinched the bridge of his nose. He sighed in frustration. "No dice. They've agreed to all of our other terms and conditions, but they still won't surrender unless they can keep their emperor."

"Why can't they?"

"What?"

"Why can't Kiku keep his emperor? That's all they want, right?"

"No!" The president slammed his hands on his desk. "If they don't surrender unconditionally, then they'll just try to spring back up into power!" Truman relaxed slightly. "No, we need an unconditional surrender."

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-August 8, 1945, 3:09 AM-

"Mr. Jones! Mr. Jones! Sir, please wake up! This is important!"

Alfred grunted and rolled over. The assistant shaking him looked worried. "What's wrong? Is the White House on fire?"

"N-No, Sir. Nothing like that."

"Well, what the fuck is it then!? I'm trying to sleep and you--"

"Ivan."

"What…?"

"Ivan… just declared war on Kiku. He… He's already preparing to invade, Sir."

"Son of a bitch!" Alfred sprang out of bed. "Where's Truman!?"

"In his office."

Alfred shoved his feet into his slippers and threw his robe over his silk pajamas. "Thanks." He murmured as he ran out the door.

"What are we doing about Ivan!?" Alfred yelled as he burst into Truman's office. The president looked exhausted.

Truman rested his forehead on his interlocked fingers. "We can't… really do anything." He sighed and turned to his advisors. "We'll send Kiku a warning - drop flyers or something - telling him that unless he surrenders unconditionally…" - the president seemed to have an inner debate - "Well, we'll drop another A-Bomb on him."

Now it was Alfred's turn to slam his hands on the desk. "No! No more! You weren't there, Truman! You didn't see the destruction! You didn't smell the scent of rotting, burning people everywhere! Truman, Kiku's skin was burned and charred and melting off him!" Alfred clenched his fists. "I know we need to end the war - believe me, I do - but we don't need to utterly destroy him because he wants to keep one Goddamn tradition!" He stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

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-August 9, 1945, 3:30 PM-

"So it dropped at 11:03, huh?" Alfred sighed, sitting next to Kiku. The Asian nation was lying in bed, his chest now bloody and raw, leaving the scent of burning flash in the air.

"Yes." Kiku rasped, coughing lightly from the effort. "I appreciate those flyers you guys dropped on us; it was nice to have a warning this time."

"Well, you're kinda lucky. My boss was actually planning on bombing Kokura, but there was too much smoke and haze so we had to move on to our secondary target: Nagasaki. Because of the topography of Nagasaki, even though the explosion was calculated at being bigger than that of the Hiroshima bomb, there was actually - proportionately - much less damage."

"Well, that is a bit of luck, isn't it?" The injured nation managed a weak smile.

"Not enough, though… Kiku, I'm so sorry."

Alfred knew it wasn't enough. "I'm sorry" had never been enough; not with Arthur… not with Matthew… not with Ludwig… and definitely not with Kiku.

"Do you need anything?" Truman wouldn't like it, but Truman didn't know how these things were done, how wars and disasters affected them. Not one of their bosses knew, though they sometimes liked to think they did.

"Tea, please…"

"Kiku, I don't think--"

"Please, Alfred-san… I will talk to you soon…"

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-August 12, 1945, 5:17 PM-

"Alfred, I've already told you: Kiku needs to give up his emperor!"

"No. And you're not dropping another bomb on him."

"That's insubordination!"

Alfred's glare intensified. "I think you forgot who you're talking to, Mr. President. You are an elected official. Elected by the people, elected by America."

"Alfred, I'm your boss and--"

"Truman, you drop that bomb and you will be out of here faster than you can say, 'Extra pickles, hold the onions!'" The blonde's eyes narrowed dangerously. "If they surrender now and their emperor is allowed to stay, the war is done!"

The president swallowed. "I'll--"

"You'll what? Think about it? You've had enough time to think. Look how much time that's taken! Drop that bomb or don't, Truman, but stop taking so much damn time! The time you waste thinking lets Ivan's influence grow bigger!" With that, the nation turned and left as calmly as he could. It was hard when all he wanted to do was tear down the building and burn the wreckage.

'That'll give 'em a small taste of what they did to Kiku…' He chuckled to himself as he walked to the kitchen for a burger.

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-August 14, 1945, 4:11 PM-

"Still in one piece, I see." Alfred's voice was much too relieved to be casual.

"For the most part." Kiku was still bandaged, but he was able to stand with some assistance, which Alfred was now providing.

"…I heard Hirohito's speech on the radio this afternoon."

"Yes, he decided it would be best if his people heard him announce that the war was over." Kiku side-glanced at Alfred. "It was the first time they'd ever heard his voice, you know."

"You told him what to say, didn't ya?"

"I might have…" Both nations laughed at this.

There was a few moments of silence as Alfred lead Kiku into the tea room and helped him settle at his kotatsu. As Kiku shakily began serving the tea, he asked a very serious question that took the blonde by surprise.

"Why are you doing this?"

"Doing what?"

"Why are you… being so kind to me? We've caused you so much grief and we didn't accept your terms of surrender until the bitter end. We're enemies, Alfred-san."

The American nation took a sip of his tea, pausing to word his answer correctly before speaking.

"Well, first of all, I'm the hero! Heroes are kind to everyone!" This earned a sad little smile from the Asian nation. "Secondly… Because you, Kiku, were never my enemy. Sure, Hirohito and Truman were enemies, but… How do I phrase this… we're countries, Kiku, and countries don't fight: out bosses do. They use us as tools to use to fight in their ridiculous battles." He flashed a grin. "Sorry if that doesn't make any sense… It's the only way I can think to explain it."

"No, no!" I understand what you're saying. And I must say that I am rather impressed, but not surprised, that you of all people would look at it that way. No offence, of course."

Alfred laughed. "None taken!" His face saddened slightly. "Does that mean… you don't see it that way? Are you mad at me?"

Kiku sighed. "Not mad, per se, but how would you like it if you had two Atomic Bombs dropped on you?"

Alfred winced. "…I guess you're right. I'll, uh, just show myself out, then…"

"Are you sure? Feliciano-tan and Ludwig-san are stopping by for a visit. Don't you want to stay and see them for a while?" Kiku smiled to show it was a joke.

"Yeah, I think I'm gonna go." Alfred smiled awkwardly and stood. "And I think I'm overdue for a visit with Arthur." His smile slid into a lazy grin.

"Wakata." Kiku tilted his head forward it still hurt to bow). "I'll come visit you soon… Once I'm feeling up to it, I mean."

"Of course, Kiku. I'll see you later. Take care!"

Translations:

Wakata - I understand.