A/N: A fic written for HERO-sandwich as a fill for the hetaliasunshine community on livejournal. enjoy :)
The internet really is a funny thing. Just think about it for a moment. In your hands lies all the information you could ever want, ever need. In the blink of an eye, you can read about the local news in Siberia; download a song in another language that you can't understand, but you really love the beat; send a video message to a far off relative who hasn't seen your face in nearly fifteen years. You can do all these things and more, and yet people hardly ever give much thought to how valuable the internet really is.
I will admit that I used to be one of those people. I used to act indifferent to the internet, like any other normal person. I watched music videos, chatted with friends, researched topics for school projects, etc. To me, the World Wide Web was just an ordinary, common tool that I had had at my disposal since I was born. Never once had I given thought to how…life altering? Yes, that's the term. To how life altering it would be.
With the internet, you can be completely anonymous. No one will know who you really are, where you are from, what you look like, what you do…unless you decide to indulge their interests by giving out that information. And yet, you could just be lying. After all, on most websites, you are nothing more than a screen name with opinions. And perhaps this is what makes the internet so great. The fact that you have anonymity means you can't be judged in the slightest. It means that whatever you say will never be heard in the ears of someone you know in reality. And sometimes, just sometimes, a complete stranger will read what you have to say, actually lend a virtual ear to your feelings and emotions. For some reason, having the sympathy of a stranger is more meaningful than having the sympathy of someone who already "knows" you. I still do not know why this is.
I feel I am getting off topic. After all, anyone reading this is surely using the internet and is fully aware of what goes on in it. Then let me start off by introducing myself: my name is Arthur Kirkland, and I am here to tell you how the virtual world of the internet changed my reality for the better…
"Honestly, Peter, why do you always have to touch my things?!" Arthur yelled into the air, the shout being directed towards his little brother early that morning. School was starting in just a half hour, and Arthur couldn't find the report he did for earth science due that day. It had obviously been another prank pulled by the little twit, and Arthur's patience was wearing thin. Besides, it wasn't as if Arthur could actually lose something in his bedroom. The entire area was spotless and completely organized. Well, everything apart from his closet, but he never stored his school items in there to begin with.
"Mother!" he yelled as he stormed out of his room and into the kitchen. However, when he came in he saw that the car keys were nowhere to be found, meaning that his parents had already headed off to work. It looked as if Arthur would be taking the bus again. He sighed to himself. It was only 7:30 am, and already the day had started off lousy.
At that moment, Peter made his appearance in the kitchen, holding his older brother's assignment in one hand and a lighter with the other. Arthur's eyes widened in shock. This is not good…
Peter had a devilish grin on his face as he held the lighter towards the paper. It was completely handwritten as the teacher wanted it, so there were no more copies except for the various rough drafts Arthur had stuffed into his knapsack.
"N-now Peter…" Arthur said as he took tentative steps toward his younger brother, arms outstretched to snatch the paper right out of the little monster's hands. "Let's not get hasty, shall we?"
Peter looked indignant, his thick eyebrows furrowed in stubbornness. "Only if you promise not to ignore me during school! I'm in high school now, just like you!" Honestly, it was frustrating the way Arthur always pretended he was never there when he waved to him in the hallways or during lunch. It was getting down right annoying.
At this point, however, Arthur would agree to anything. "Yes, yes! Alright! Just give me my bloody assignment!" he yelled. Peter still seemed wary to hand the report back. Arthur twitched in annoyance when his younger brother did nothing but bring the lighter closer to his paper. "I'll even come over to your table during lunch today!" Peter seemed happy with this statement. He smiled, almost mockingly, and handed back his brother's homework.
Arthur snatched the paper right out of Peter's hands when the boy held it out to him. Hastily stowing it away in his knapsack, he turned and glared at his younger brother. "If you ever do that again, I swear I'll tell your teacher who really let that frog into the classroom."
It was Peter's turn to be shocked. "W-wait, you really wouldn't do that, right?!"
"Oh yes, I would!" Arthur said with conviction. "I'll even say you were the one who left that thumbtack on her seat. I am the Junior Class President, after all. She'd believe me."
Peter sighed in defeat. "You're a jerk," he said, sticking his tongue out after his older brother for added effect.
"It doesn't matter whether I'm a jerk or not at the moment. Right now, we're going to be late," Arthur said while grabbing his brother's arm and leading him towards the door. They had at most 2 minutes to catch the bus, and Arthur wasn't planning on having his perfect on-time record broken today.
On the other side of town, however, Alfred F. Jones was still snoring away peacefully, glasses askew. His blond hair was messily scattered over his forehead and pillow, and his mouth was so wide open that Matthew was tempted to drop an M&M in there. But this was no time to fool around.
Matthew practically ran over to his twin brother's side and shook him with all the force he could muster. "Come on, Alfred! We're going to be late!" he shouted in an attempt to wake Alfred up.
Alfred groaned and tried to roll over, but was stopped by Matthew's hands. "Please, Alfred! You have to get up!"
Alfred mumbled something under his breath, but nonetheless got up. He lifted himself into a sitting position while scratching the back of his head. He gave a loud yawn as his eyes tried to adjust to the sunlight pouring in their room. He felt a tug on the side of his arm and turned his head to see Matthew attempting to pull him out of the room.
He laughed at this. Matthew never was the strong one between the two twins. He got up and ruffled his brother's hair. "Jeez, Matt, no need to be so hasty," he teased as he grabbed his backpack and slung it over his shoulder.
Matthew sighed. "Whatever, can we just go now?"
"Alright, alright…" Alfred said, holding his hands up in mock defeat.
Both boys walked into the kitchen, Alfred grabbing a Poptart on the way out the door. They lived in an apartment building, and their apartment in particular was near the ground floor, so there was no need to run down countless flights of stairs or wait for an elevator. Their building didn't have an elevator anyway. They both rushed out and caught the bus just in time.
"Oh, thank goodness!" Matthew exclaimed as he clambered up the bus' steps. Alfred followed after his brother and sat down in the seat next to him. Across from the twins were two other students who attended the school, Arthur and Peter Kirkland.
Arthur was wearing his usual frown. He hated taking the bus. It would mean socializing with the other students. It wasn't as if he didn't like his classmates, but there were some that had a tendency to…grate on his nerves.
"Hey, eyebrows!" Alfred shouted and waved at the two brothers in front of him.
Alfred was one of those classmates.
Arthur grumbled some incoherent curses under his breath. Just ignore him, Arthur, you can do it…he thought to himself. Honestly, life had never been more annoying ever since he had transferred over to this school, Hetalia High. That guy was like an overflowing cup of pure optimism. His smile was always there, and was so blinding that Arthur sometimes saw stars after staring at it for too long. He was a typical blond haired, blue eyed person, and popular too. Well, at least Alfred thought he was popular. It was true that everyone knew him. Now, whether or not they liked him was a different story.
All four boys had arrived to school right on time. Arthur and Matthew practically ran out once the bus' doors opened. Those two were extremely studious and wouldn't dare be caught in the hallway once the bell had rung.
Arthur, Alfred, and Matthew were all juniors, and even shared a few classes with each other. Of course, Arthur never realized he shared any classes with Matthew. The boy was always so quiet and, although he was smart, his class participation was severely lacking. Perhaps that was because the teacher never noticed Matthew either.
However, Arthur knew every class he shared with Alfred. The boy never shut up! He was always loud and boisterous during each subject. He would raise his hand to answer each time the teacher asked a question, and he was wrong practically all the time. At least he tries…Arthur thought to himself as he stared at the teenager across the other side of the room. Alfred was enthusiastically waving his hand in the air at the moment, only to let it drop once the teacher called on someone else. However, when it came to quietly taking notes, he would always sulk and groan in boredom. It was very bizarre to watch.
Arthur prided himself that he was able to find a balance in the classroom. Like Matthew, he was normally quiet and never dared interrupt a classmate (unless, of course, it was to yell the right answer at Alfred). He also managed to be talkative when it came to class discussions, and, of course, his answers were always correct and well thought out.
"Psst…Kiku…" Alfred whispered to the boy next to him. As quietly as he could, he passed a slip of paper over to the Japanese boy at his right while pretending to look at the blackboard. Kiku quietly slipped the paper away into his pocket. The boy gave a paper of his own in return, which Alfred snatched away not quite as silently as his friend. The papers had their email addresses written on them, to be used to chat or get homework assignments. Alfred smiled, noting that the teacher didn't notice the two passing notes at all.
About ten minutes later, the bell tolled for lunch. Alfred practically ran to the cafeteria. He desperately wanted to get his hands on one of those burgers they always served. They tasted horrible to everyone else, but hey, a burger was a burger.
After laying claim to his delicious lunch, Alfred took his usual seat by his brother Matthew and a few other fellow classmates which consisted of Francis (because Matthew liked hanging out with the guy for some reason), Gilbert, Antonio, and Lovino. Sometimes, Lovino's twin brother, Feliciano, would visit and drag Ludwig along with him. Alfred had fun when Feliciano came over because it was nice to know that there was another set of twins in the school. Every once in a while, or perhaps a better word is "rarely", Toris would come sit down next to Alfred. However, Toris usually had a hard time escaping his table from his (quite possessive) classmate, Ivan. Toris knew Ivan and Alfred weren't on the…best of terms, but that didn't stop the two of them from being great friends regardless.
Arthur, on the other hand, always sat next to Kiku. Sometimes Wang Yao would visit, usually followed by Im Yong Soo, which honestly got more annoying each time. It wasn't that Arthur didn't have a close circle of friends. He just didn't socialize as much as others his age would. He was acquainted with all the students, and even managed to hold pleasant conversations with quite a few. However, Arthur wasn't sure if he could refer to any of these people as "friends". The closest he had ever come to was Kiku, and yet they only spoke of how their day went, and never really took their friendship farther.
However, today Arthur was ready to take that first step into a stronger friendship. He had been dwelling on it for some time now, and he felt that today was the day when he would finally ask. That's right. He was going to request Kiku's email address!
"K-kiku…" Arthur stuttered out while looking in the other direction. Honestly, he wasn't used to situations such as these.
"Yes, Arthur-san?" the Japanese boy uttered politely. He looked over at the dirty blond with a questioning look on his face.
"Well…" Arthur began, "it's just that we've known each other for a while…and I was wondering if you w-would be so kind as to…as to…" Arthur seemed to swallowed his tongue at this point, seeing as how he couldn't get the rest of the words out. After a few short breaths, he finally managed to rush out, "give me your email address!"
Kiku had an unreadable expression on his face and Arthur was afraid he had done something wrong. Before he could try to explain himself, or pretend he was just kidding, Kiku took out a scrap of paper and began to scribble his email address with a pen.
Arthur smiled at this. Perhaps everyone was wrong about him. He could socialize like the rest of them!
"Arthur!!!!" an annoying voice rang out throughout the lunch room. Arthur groaned once he recognized the voice. It was Peter.
His little brother was running over, Raivis following close behind. Arthur desperately tried to bury his head in his arms, but it was too late. Peter had spotted him. Short of breath, but still full of energy, Peter exclaimed, "You said you were going to our table for lunch today, jerk!" He pointed an accusatory finger at his older brother.
Arthur glared angrily while lowering his head closer to the table, whispering, "Not now, you git!"
From across the room, Alfred saw the entire situation. Two small freshmen were harassing Kiku and whoever else was at the table. Well, he certainly couldn't let his friend be bothered like that! Alfred stood up and dashed over to where the commotion was taking place. As he got closer, he saw that Kiku had been sitting with Arthur, the guy who he sometimes saw on the bus with the largest eyebrows on earth.
Alfred honestly had no opinion of the guy, other than that he was stuffy and boring. He always corrected his answers during class, and never once had Alfred seen him smile. He didn't know how someone could survive being angry all the time. And yet, it was almost funny the way Arthur presented himself as such. It made Alfred want to laugh since Arthur's behavior seemed so foolish.
He finally reached the table and pushed Peter out of the way. "These two bothering you, Kiku?" he asked with a smile, trying his best to seem heroic. Kiku merely shook his head in response.
"Hey, you!" Peter yelled at Alfred, rubbing a sore spot on his arm from where Alfred had shoved him. "You can't just hit people!"
Alfred looked confused for a second, but immediately smiled and said, "All heroes have to hit the villains to win!" He flashed a thumbs-up as if to prove his point.
Arthur didn't know who to be angry at more, at the childish, immature buffoon that had interrupted whatever peace had existed during his lunch with Kiku, or at Peter. "Will you two kindly leave us?!" he yelled at them, steam practically coming out of his ears.
Alfred was confused again. What was with this guy? He was only here to save him! "Kiku, why don't you come and hang out with us?" he suggested, gesturing towards the other side of the cafeteria where his brother and other friends were sitting and chatting amicably. Kiku looked to his side, only to see Arthur trying not to fain hurt at what Alfred said.
"Perhaps another time, Alfred-san…" he answered, managing to avoid answering the question.
Alfred looked over to where Kiku's gaze had been for just a moment, and it suddenly dawned on him. "Arthur can come too!" he added to his previous statement.
It was Arthur's turn to respond now. "Absolutely not!" he shouted at the blue-eyed teen, arms crossed while sticking his nose into the air.
Alfred honestly found himself disliking this guy more and more. "Why not?!" he asked, throwing his hands into the air. Arthur took this as his opportunity to start ranting about how everyone in the school was an idiot. Peter, however, decided this was the best time to tackle Alfred from behind. After all, he didn't like being ignored.
Alfred had been shoved across the table, landing on his stomach right in front of Kiku. Peter kept pushing, which caused Alfred to topple over Kiku and land onto the cold, tile floor beneath them. In their tangle of limbs, a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. Arthur saw it and snatched it away quickly, hoping no one saw Kiku's email address. It wasn't like he wanted people knowing he had requested it just yet.
Peter ran away after that. He could get in trouble, especially since he had pushed down a junior. Alfred and Kiku shakily got up, Alfred laughing to himself while scratching the back of his head. "Didn't see that coming," he said while turning his head towards Kiku and Arthur.
Arthur glared in response. "Just leave us," he said with a tone of finality in his voice.
"Alright, alright," Alfred said, holding his hands up in mock defeat for the second time that day. "But just remember, you guys can hang out at my table whenever you want, ok?" He began to walk back towards his brother and the rest of the group at the table. Gilbert was smirking, which meant he had probably seen everything that had happened, even though the cafeteria was so noisy and crowded most of the time.
On the way back, Alfred couldn't help but feel something twang in his chest. Even if he had Kiku there, that Arthur boy just seemed so lonely…
Arthur couldn't wait to get home that day. It had been long and tedious, and he wanted nothing more than to try emailing a comrade for the first time. And not just for homework! He would make sure he got this socializing thing down.
Sitting before his laptop, he began to write his email.
I never got the chance to give you my email address today at school, but I figure you can just save the email address from which I am sending you this email.
…Is this too formal a voice? I've never really done this sort of thing before, you know.
Well, anyway, just email me back with how your day was or whatever else you're supposed to say in these things.
Oh, and by the way, those pictures of those plane models were simply fantastic. I'd really love to see them again.
Satisfied with what he had written, Arthur typed in the email address given on the scrap of paper. "HEROsandwich aol . com?" Arthur muttered to himself. Not the type of screen name I would expect from Kiku of all people…
Nevertheless, Arthur typed in the email address and sent it. He smiled to himself. That had almost been too easy.
Until, he realized a few hours later as he was preparing dinner, he had forgotten to end the email with "From Arthur" at the bottom. What if Kiku didn't realize it was him?! Arthur raced back to his bedroom and opened up his laptop. A resounding, "You've got mail!" filled the room and Arthur opened up the reply, heart beating furiously in his chest.
Um, dude, I think you've got the wrong email address…
That was unexpected.