Alfred never cries, because America tells him that is not how a hero should act.

Alfred hates the word hero. Maybe he would not, not from what he knows a real hero to be, but because of what America tells him it is he does. He hates it with a passion. He wants to hurt himself when the other says it. The way it falls off his lips.

There were the times he did. He said hero once and then slammed his head in the car door. He heard England's alarmed voice and Canada's concerned tone. Not that it mattered much. Because America was fine. He would tell them so. And America would tell Alfred that a hero never cries. Not alone, but especially not in front of his friends.

But America had told him heroes did not have friends. Heroes did not have friends and therefore neither did America.

Alfred hates America. He hates him so much.

But then through something he will be reminded of World War Two. When through America's selfish independence from the rest of the world would not help until they were hit.

Alfred stared at the ruins of Pearl Harbor and cried.

"I will fix this," America promised him. "Japan will regret this. He'll regret this before I slaughter him."

Alfred wondered what was wrong with him that he would be comforted by this. "But... a hero gives second chances."

America paused, while tears still fell from Alfred's cheeks, and thought about it. Thought about something someone else said for once because Alfred never used the word hero against him. Alfred tried to never say the word hero at all. Alfred hated the word with a passion.

"And I'm a hero."


"But a hero to my people first."

"So he'll still pay."

It was that one time when they agreed that keeps Alfred in the future from killing America. When America smiles, assures everyone everything is fine. When America ignores the troubles he has created. Alfred would hold his neck, staring at the mirror and trying to imagine America looking back at him. America struggling.

But America never struggles against him. America gives him his free will, his free choices, freedom. And just as Alfred is about to let cut wrists flow into the bathtub he is reminded how much of it is his fault. His, not America's. And so he ends up wrapping up those wrists.

Because a hero does not call for help, after all.

And that thought just makes Alfred scream and throw his furniture against the wall, break the dishes, television, the windows. He leaves America to clean it up himself.

America does so cheerfully, as he always does. Alfred wants to cry.

America reminds him that heroes do not cry. And Alfred agrees. Someone once said there was no way to stay neutral on a moving train. But there is nothing else to do but agree against the brick wall in the center of the moving train. Whichever side he was on, there was nothing left to do but agree that there was the brick wall.

America tells Alfred that heroes never cry. America's heroes never cry, anyway.

Alfred has a new reason to cry. Not for himself any longer. He wants to cry for America. No one ever has and America needs someone to.

Alfred wants to cry so as to remind America that they are more than a nation, to remember Human.