This wasn't the way it was supposed to go. He was the hero, damnit! Things weren't supposed to be as bad as this!

No, they were supposed to be perfect. His new boss was the one who was supposed to fix everything. Make everything better.

Instead, he had burned the country. Infected it with fire ants. Spread his people even further apart.

Every move that Alfred made spread pain through the nation's body. Bruises and cuts that would ineviteably scar littered his person.

A new war had broken out.

After his new boss had come into play, his people were already split. They were supposed to be united. Seperated only by the borders of their states. Millions of people, billions of ideas, but one.

It was what made him so great.

Had made him so great.

Now, no Alfred wasn't sure he could outlast even a year of this. He'd survived the genocide of his first people by Arthur's explorers, survived his squirmish for independance, survived the first two world wars... hastilly attempted to start the third.

All of that, he had survived.

But he was old now. Hundreds of years of unrest. They scarred his body. And, his mind.

And now his people were warring against themselves. Again. And warring against him.

Against the country he had become. Alfred warred against him, too.

"What happened to the nation you once were, hm?" A mocking voice questioned, dangerously close to Alfred's ear. The ice on the words and breath told him what he needed to know, --but he was Alfred F. Jones, the United States of America, he didn't half-ass anything! -- but he whirled around panicked, anyway, to face an innocently smiling Russia. Ivan was always smiling. A cold, innocent, child's grin.

It always unnerved Alfred.

"You hate me so much, net? Then why do you try to become me?" The Russian asked, his english perfect, shot through with a sensual, lilting accent.

Alfred scowled, moving to shove the larger nation away from him. The move backfired, as Ivan caught hold of his wrists, drawing Alfred close to his frigid form. It was unbearably close. Passionate flames and Icy hatred didn't mix well. Alfred struggled against Ivan's grasp. "Lemme go! Yer a fuckin' communist bastard, and I ain't!" He growled, biting the hand that restrained him. Ivan only chuckled, whilst Alfred's teeth grew sore against the leather gloves that hid roughly calloused hands in their depths.

"Hard work pays of, da? That does not hurt. You will know why, if this ends."

"When it ends!" Alfred protested emphatically. Ivan only shook his head, 'tsk'ing at the American.

"If," Ivan insisted. His accent elongated the "i" into an "ee", taking a simple second word and causing it to span three. It was a sickening three seconds. The Russian's voice was disgustingly gleeful as he added, "If you even survive, that is."

"What the fuckin' hell do you mean!?" Alfred demanded, blue eyes blazing. "Of course I'll survive, I'm the hero, for chrissakes!"

Ivan's grin widened, and as he realeased Alfred's wrists, he solemnly stated, "Not anymore."