Author-chan's notes: Er...I blame someone for this. Someone has to blame for this, and it's not (totally) me. After being away from the fanfiction community (well, at least as a writer; I'm still a diligent reader) for almost 3 years, I'm back and I'm writing in a new fandom. Though I still love RK, Hetalia plot bunnies are attacking me, along with Alfred's insistent voice saying "Do it for your country! Be proud to be an American! XD" Anyway, I'm not a hundred percent sure if I want to continue this into more than a one-shot or not. It could go either way.

Disclaimer: If I owned the US or the UK I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be a broke college student. Oh, and I don't own Hetalia either.

Mental Scars

Arlington, Virgina, the United States of America; 2009

In England's experience, more than half of his...memorable...experiences with America started during a meal. Today was an example of this.

"Here," America smiled as he handed a paper bag over to England, "Big Mac, a large fry, and a coke."

The elder nation scowled as he snatched the bag from America's hands. He might like McDonald's, but there was no way in hell that England would say it out the very least, not in front of America. The boy's head was already inflated with his stupidly huge ego, no need to add to it!

"I fly across the pond to come see you, and all you bother to do for dinner is order your nasty grease?" England groused, "Haven't I taught you how to be a better host, you stupid git?"

"Dunno," America shrugged, biting into his own sandwich, "You always try to poison me whenever I come to visit you."

"What was that?!" England shrieked, as he grabbed a paper cup filled with soda from the table and hurled it at America. The dark liquid ended up splashed liberally on America's face and shirt.

"Damn it, England, can't you take a joke?" America grumbled, as he plucked at his (formerly) white shirt, "I'm all sticky, and not in a good way."


"You know you like it," America winked, as he stripped out of the wet material.

England felt his face begin to flush, "At least go to the bedroom to get a new shirt, idiot! All your windows are open. What if someone sees you?"

America laughed, as he rubbed his chest sensually, "Don't worry, England, you have me all to yourself tonight."

England sputtered, but was unable to look away from America's moving fingers. Inevitably, the European's gaze trailed farther down, only stopping when he spotted the long white scar slashed across America's lower abdomen. Usually the younger Nation kept the old injury hidden with the waistline of his trousers, but today America was wearing over-sized sweatpants that left the scar in plain view without a shirt.

England pointedly looked away from the scar. In the many years that the two had been together, certain things were off limits. Religion was a big one (America was especially touchy on that subject), as were jabs at certain old bosses. After all, General Washington had practically been America's other father (England was forever jealous of the man, but would never admit it) and dear beautiful Bess had been England's wife (as a child, America would ask about his mother, and England would finger the golden ring he still wore on a chain around his neck, smiling sadly). The last taboo subject was the scars that littered both their bodies, especially that wide scar on America's abdomen. It wasn't England's business, after all, even if he had been there to see (some of) it happen.

Suddenly, America's hand snaked out to grab England's wrist, before placing the older Nation's hand on the exposed scar. England tried to pull away, but America's hold was firm.

"I-I shouldn't have stared. It's none of my business," England whispered, his green eyes cast down. America had always been sensitive about that old wound, and never, in all the years they had known each other, had England been allowed to touch it. Now, the raised edges of the scar tissue seemed to burn on England's palm. He could still remember when America had gotten the wound. It was so clear in his memory now...

"This is none of your concern!" America screams hoarsely at the Briton as his left hand tries to hold his insides from spilling out of the gaping hole in his gut. The right hand holds a bloody glass shard, the implement used to make the gory mess. There are cracked and broken mirrors everywhere, glittering in the candlelight. America is trembling all over, his eyes wild. The part of England that will always love America feels true unadulterated terror. The rest of him--

"It's alright," America's voice murmured, startling England back to the present. The blue-eyed Nation pressed England's hand more firmly to the old wound before letting go of England's wrist. Surprisingly, the green-eyed man didn't remove his hand right away.

"We never talk about the scars," England reminded the younger Nation, even as he stroked the ragged flesh.

"Maybe we should," America shrugged, "Especially the bad ones."

England snorted, finally pulling away from the younger man, "The worst scars are always the mental ones, America. I don't think either one of us wants to drag those up to the surface anytime soon."

"Well, we should!" America protested, his blue eyes bright and defiant, "Isn't that what makes a good relationship? Talking about the serious stuff? I'll even go first!"

England smiled softly, pride for his former colony sparking in him, "So now you've finally decided to grow up."

"England!~" America whined like a child, his face scrunching up, "I've been grown up!"

The older Nation rolled his eyes, "Never mind."

As the pair headed upstairs, still bantering back and forth, the previous conversation had already turned into a faded memory for the Englishman. Not so for America. England had no idea that the other had been completely serious about finally breaking their taboo about the scars.

And America never does anything by halves.

England was not a light sleeper, per say, but he was always able to sense when something was wrong. And as England drowsily rubbed his eyes at two A.M. in the morning, he knew something The first clue that tipped him off was that he was alone in the bed. America had settled down with England when the Brit decided to go to bed, but the younger man was absent now. The second hint that something was off was the smell of burning tobacco. America didn't smoke as much as he used to, and when he did, nowadays, it was only when he was feeling stressed.

"Wot's the (yawn) matter, America?" England murmured sleepily, rolling over to face the other man.

It wasn't until he fully turned around and stared for a bit that England realized the other man in the room was not America.

England immediately bolted upright in the bed when he recognized the intruder. This was not good. Not at all. Never in a hundred thousand years did England expect to see him again. And yet there the bastard was, sitting on America's windowsill in the middle of the night, staring at England with that damn Cheshire Cat grin on his face.

"Evenin', pa," that drawling voice purred at the European Nation, "How ya'll doin'?"

"W-What the bloody hell?" England choked out, scrambling out of bed and away from the other man, "I thought you were dead!"

A soft laugh rang in England's ears, the sound easily carried in the still Virgina evening.

"Funny thin' that. Ya shoulda paid mo' attenshun to Al back there, pa," the purring voice scolded as its owner pushed off from his perch to stalk towards England, snuffing out the butt of his cigarette as he did so, "And to me, too. Otherwise ya'd know. 'Course, ya were bein' mighty stubborn, as always."

"Don't be daft," England hissed, circling around the room to keep his distance. His fingers itched for a weapon, and while he knew that America kept a Colt somewhere in the bedroom, England was willing to bet every last pound he had that the gun was not in its locked display case, but rather within easy reach of the unwanted "guest". Seeing England's furious expression, the other man laughed again, raising slate gray eyes to lock onto green.

"Now tha' ain't nice," England's visitor pouted, "Yer actin' like Ah'm the enemy."

The Englishman snorted at the wounded tone, "The last time I saw you, you bloody wanker, you were trying to kill America."

There was a flash of white teeth in the dark as the other grinned mockingly.

"And ya woulda let me, back then."

England scowled, but did not reply. The unwanted visitor sighed, letting his posture fall slack.

"Relax, pa," the younger man assured as he flopped down on the vacated bed, completely ignoring the other's bristling form, "Ah'm a patriot now, ya know. Love mah country, all o' it, and that be the truth, so help me God."

"So, you're a good and honest Yankee now, is that it?" England sneered, unconvinced.

"Don' call me that, pa," the other man scowled, irritation dancing across his face before smoothing out, "And befo' ya'll decide ya want to burn a hole in mah head wid that glare o' yours, listen fo' a moment. I jus' wanted ta talk and see if ya'll remembered me. Ya know, seein' that we got somethin' goin' between us now."

"Not you, tosser," England snapped, his hands clenching into fists, "America and I have an alliance."

"'Special relationship'," the other smirked, his gray eyes sparkling with mischief, "That's what ya'll be callin' it now, Ah hear. Sounds kinky." Unconsciously, his tongue darted over his lips sensually, and a dark, hungry look colored his gray eyes. England found himself gulping at the sight, his own eyes growing wide, before carefully controlled fury settled over his shoulders.

"Regardless," England growled out, his posture stiff, "You have nothing to do with what is going on now. You're a relic of the past."

"Beg pardon, pa, but ain't that what we are anyway?" the other shrugged as he began rooting through America's dresser, most likely for another cigarette or the Colt, "Livin', breathin' history, that's us!"

"God...fuck this," the green-eyed man groaned, running a hand through his hair, his patience running thin as his ire rose. In reality, worry was the most prevalent emotion, but he would be damned if he let that on. "Just leave me the hell alone, and crawl back to whatever dark corner America keeps you in."

England silently prayed that the other would follow his commands and leave. Or better yet, that this whole exchange was a dream to begin with. He had fully expected the other man to be dead, and seeing him now, alive, made dread bloom in the Englishman's stomach. From what England remembered, the other man had been bloody nuts, almost as bad as Russia. However, the Brit did concede a point that the unwanted visitor had been behaving himself, so far. Despite the good behavior, England was still worried out of his mind. If that gray-eyed bastard was here, what was going on with America?

"And for your information, what goes between America and I," England snapped, making sure his tone was as sharp as possible, "is none of your business, you git."

Suddenly, England was jerked out of his thoughts as he felt the front of his pajamas get yanked on, and before he knew it, he was pinned to the bed with furious gray eyes hovering over him. The European Nation felt himself tense up, as a hint of that remembered madness sparked in the other's cloudy eyes.

"Ya'll don' get it do ya, pa?" the younger male snarled, leaning forward so that their noses touched, "Ya don' even remember what that bastard Yank told ya'll back then! God in his Heaven! Don' ya even remember who Ah am?!"

England opened his mouth for a retort, only to be be silenced with a violent kiss. At first, he struggled. He was with America now, and despite their not so perfect past together, England genuinely loved his idiotic former colony. But as soft lips twitched and a gentle tongue slipped into his mouth, England could not help but automatically relax. It was the same. From the way the tongue petted the inside of his cheek, and ran over teeth, to how those lips would move insistently over his own. It was exactly the same. Even the taste of the kiss (sweet sugar overpowering the taste of hamburger meat and bitter coffee) was exactly the same.

The kiss was exactly the same as America's.

The similarity was disturbing, but England realized he should not have been surprised. After all, despite the other's accusations, England remembered. He remembered everything.

Which was precisely why England was worried.

So when the kiss broke, and England looked up into gray eyes (so different from sky blue, and yet, almost-exactly the same) he knew that face looking back at him would be America's. Same tanned skin, sculpted cheekbones, glasses, and blond hair that he was familiar with. There were differences, the most glaring of which being those eyes and that sense of neatness around the other which America normally lacked. The blond hair, normally a tad wild, was ruthlessly tamed to the point where even Nantucket lay down smoothly. England scowled, and resisted the urge to ruffle the other's hair and mess up the locks.

England hated it. He hated it back then in the 1860s, even though he and America were barely on speaking terms in those days. It was painful seeing someone else stare out at him using America's face and speak to him using America's voice. And yet, that "someone else" was simply part of America, another side of his mind. The first time he saw America's psyche shattered made England feel as if he had failed his former colony. He could have (should have) done something, anything, to help prepare the younger Nation for civil war. He could have at least given enough advice to stop complete multiple personalities from developing!

God, England remembered how he had felt back then when he had first found out...

'If you hadn't left me, this wouldn't have happened!' a younger version of England yells at a younger America. England ignores the fact that there are tears rolling down his face as America looks up at him with this utterly broken expression with eyes that flicker.

Blue as the summer sky at noon. Gray like storm clouds. Midnight blue so dark it's almost black.

'I could have protected you from this! You haven't even been a Nation for a century!' England is screaming, screaming, screaming, because if he screams he can conquer the fear/love/worry/care that he should not feel for his traitorous former colony.

Dark blue eyes glare up at England, unfiltered by glass and frames. Texas is not part of the Union anymore.

'Like you care,' America (yet not America) hisses, his face and hands streaked in blood, his own blood, 'The reb might be trying to court you, but I know better. England doesn't care about the North or South...England hates both.'

The older man is not sure if he wants to deny it or admit it, but it matters little. The words get caught in his throat.

In the present, the gray-eyed not-America kissed England again, and this time the European bit the other's bottom lip furiously. The gray-eyed man simply smiled, almost pleased with England's wrath.

"There," the unwanted guest grinned, his voice back to that purring sweetness, "Do ya remember now, pa? We used to do that all the time, back in the War."

"Only in your deranged fantasies," England snapped, his green eyes blazing, "Southern dandy."

The other's face brightened even further, "Ya do remember! Thought ya didn' since ya'll tried to stay outta Alfred's business back then. Either that, or watch him crumble up to pieces so ya'll could pick them all up."

Guilt flares up brightly in the green-eyed Nation's chest before it is stamped down with rage.

"One doesn't easily forget when part of their family decides to take a merry stroll through the loony-bin!" England hissed, "I thought America took care of both you and your pyromaniac 'brother' back in 1865."

The other looked down at the European with all the haughtiness of the Southern gentleman that he was, "Still can't believe Ah'm alive, can ya? Yeah, well, the damn Yankee had a theory 'bout that, ya know? Never expected the idiot to be right."

"Right about what?"

"Pa, do ya'll know why the yank fought so hard for dear old Alfred?" the other questioned, his face uncharacteristically solemn, "It's 'cause he's a self-sacrificing psycho nitwit. Ah was so sure the two of us would disappear if the yank won. Turns out, the idiot had a bit of a theory...If America lives, so do the parts that make him."

England scowled, "Meaning you and him."

That Cheshire cat grin flashed again, "It ain' comfortable all the time, but it's better than it was then. Yer around mo' often, for one thing."

"Why are you here?" England demanded, tired of the games, "Why now? Why show up now?"

Suddenly, the other's hand snaked out to grab England's wrist, before placing the older Nation's hand over the spot where that wide white scar stood in stark relief on America's abdomen. England tried to pull away, but the other's hold was firm. England's hand was guided underneath clothing so that his palm was in direct contact with the raised flesh.

"We never talk 'bout the scars," the younger murmured in echo of England's words earlier, "But maybe we should. Especially the bad ones."

The word shocked England. Again the scarred tissue, which he was never allowed to touch before, seemed to burned his palm. In another life, England could have protected America from this. Civil war was always one of the most terrible things a Nation could experience, and America's was notoriously bad. Guilt ate at the European's insides.

"The worst scars are always the mental ones, America," England whispers back, parroting back his own words, "I don't think either one of us wants to drag those up to the surface anytime soon."

And we should not, you should have not...

"We should," a part of America says quietly, dark blue/gray eyes solemn as England runs his hand over the old scar, "Isn' that what makes a good relationship? Talkin' about the serious stuff? Ah'll...we'll...fuck, America will even go first."

England nodded, and bright blue eyes (blue as the summer sky at noon) smiled at him.

End Notes (a.k.a. Questions you never knew you wanted answered and can probably skip):

Arlington, VA: I've lived in the DC-Metro area for most of my life and I can tell you this: Washington, DC is a horrible place to live. The traffic is awful, it's crowded, tourists are everywhere, and the price of housing is ridiculous. (Not to mention DC residents don't have proper representation in Congress.) There are also more museums and government buildings than you can shake a stick at. (Can't make a turn without getting smacked in the face with history and/or government.)This is why most politicians and government employees opt to live in nearby areas (such as Arlington) rather than live in the capital itself. I figure that Alfred would follow suit and have his DC home actually be in Arlington rather than in the heart of the capital. Then again, in my head, Alfred has plenty of properties across the states (along with a permanent room in the White House) and live wherever the hell he wants in his own freaking country/body. The DC suburbs are actually very nice, IMHO, but I'm kinda biased.

General Washington: George Washington was not only one of the Founding Fathers, but also the first President of the United States (in addition he is the only president to get 100 percent of the electoral vote), so it's only natural that America would think of Washington as a father figure (despite the fact that Washington was much younger than Alfred). George Washington is practically canonized by America as a secular saint. (The Capital Building has a ceiling mural of Washington ascending into heaven.) While the highest title Washington ever achieved was that of Mr. President, I would suspect that Alfred remembers him best as "General".

Dear beautiful Bess: This is referring to Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled England from 1558 to 1603. The Elizabethan era is commonly thought of as being a golden age for England. Besides advancements in art/literature, it was during her reign that British exploration really kicked off and the first British settlements in the New World were during her reign (though there were no successful settlements until Jamestown which was in 1607, during the reign of James I). Virginia, the first British American colony, was named after her. Thus, in a sense, England refers to her as America's mother. In addition, Queen Elizabeth famously did not marry, stating that her only husband was her country (way to go, Arthur!). I always did figure England to be a bit of a jealous husband...

Accents: Uh...pretty sure I wrote down the accents well enough that people could follow along who Arthur's "visitor" is, or at least get a pretty good idea, even before I said it directly. BTW, this is one of the thickest accents I ever had to write, so there are probably some inconsistencies, but oh well. I hope it's readable. For the most part, I am pleased. I still get this feeling that Arthur wants to Britannia Beam me for not writing in British English. Whatever, I'm American (*waves flag*), so I write using American English. I use "z" when I spell "realized," drop the "u" for "color," and all that. I did try to use British spelling and slang when applicable for Arthur's dialogue for authenticity. (But I still write all my prose using American English.) I'm not an expert, so if I messed anything up, feel free to correct me. I love Alfred because then I can write normal dialogue. He's my favorite. *Gets Britannia Smacked/CSA Sucker Punched*

"Ya'll" use: Sometimes the "other America" uses "ya'll" to refer to England, even though that's the plural form of the pronoun. When he does use the plural, it's because he's acknowledging the fact that England is a Nation and is in fact made up of many people, as well as being an individual. (He also uses it because "ya'll" is classic Southern speech patterns, and I like the look of it.)

Alfred's Colt: I'm rather a dunce when it comes to firearms, so I did a bit of research. The gun mentioned here is a Colt .45, or more precisely, a U.S. Calvary Single Action Army. This type of revolver was widely used in during the Wild West. (It was a standard military issue too.) It's also a collectors item (or at least the ones that were issued during a certain time period). I figured that Alfred enjoys remembering his glory days as a cowboy, and would keep the memento close and well cared for. Of course, Alfred, being Alfred, probably has tons of weapons stashed away in his houses, including a few weapons of mass destruction (come on, he's America!), but the Colt is the only one he keeps in his bedroom. IMO, cowboy!Alfred is just as hot as pirate!Arthur.

Special Relationship: In case anyone didn't know, this phrase was first used in 1945 by Winston Churchill to describe the relationship between the US and the UK. Hehe, over sixty years of strike marital bliss /strike friendship. Way to go, you two.

Arthur's use of "Yankee": As far as I can gather, "yank" or "yankee" tends to refer to Americans as a whole in Great Britain (other countries do as well). Feel free to correct me if I'm horribly wrong. Of course, here in America, it's a bit different, which is why the other guy in the story was a bit offended. (I dare you to go up to someone from the deep South and call them a yankee. Don't be surprised if five guys jump you.)

Courting England: During the Civil War, the Confederacy wanted to get recognized by Great Britain (and France) and get their support for breaking away from the Union. Several Confederate warships were built and provided by Britain. However, England (or any other European nation) never acknowledged the Confederacy as a sovereign state.

Why the American Civil War?: First off, the American Civil War was the bloodiest of all American Wars. Not to mention it was pretty much a huge mind-fuck for Alfred (MPD ftw!). In addition, England and America weren't on the best of terms during that time period, causing England to see some of the Civil War, but not all of it. There's a lot that America has to share with England about that time. I suppose the two could have started talking about the Revolution, but face it, there's a billion Revolutionary War fics out there. Wanted to do something a little more original. (Though there's lots of Civil War fics out there too. Beh.)