I wrote this on 9/11 but didn't really like it and soon forgot about it...I recently stumbled upon it and after posting it on the forum I'm a part of, decided I might as well post it here. :/ even if it's really late....-shifty eyes-

There's a hint of yaoi at the end, but it's not that noticable...

Disclaimer: I don't own anything in this fanfiction except for the fanfiction itself. No sue.

It had been 8 years since that day, and still America's wounds were fresh.

All of the nations had noticed it after a while, how on one day, every single year, the normally obnoxious, loud, and generally stupidly happy 'Land of the Free' was quiet. The first time it happened, they had ignored it—everyone has off days—but after a few years, one had finally noticed the trend. The day America was silent…was….

Just a blank stare that seemed to see nothing but the images flashing from the past.

It wasn't as if America meant to shut them out, or push them away. He just couldn't trust anyone, not even himself, when that day came around. After the first couple of times, Lithuania had bravely approached America, but had only received a blank stare before he returned to staring out the window with a forlorn look.

Those eyes that he remembered so well…on that day…

No one else tried after a few similar incidents. And America didn't want them too. He didn't even fully understand it himself, how his throat seemed to close up, his mind haze with suspicion and old forgotten pain and memories, his heart feeling like it was being slowly—painfully compressing…suffocating him. How he couldn't even fake a smile or laugh. Would any other nation know the feeling? Had anyone else ever been injured so badly, 8 years later their heart was still burning, still hearing their people cry and beg—and how horrible it was to know you couldn't do anything? How you can't trust anyone—least they be the enemy. Could they explain to him why the sun didn't seem to warm his face or why comforting smiles made his stomach clench in fear and betrayal? Could anyone besides himself know how it felt to be lost, alone, wondering where the hell everyone went…?!

"Don't leave me!"

On these days, most countries avoided him. After all, who would want to be in the company of such a silly little nation who had a bad day? Everyone goes through things anyway, was America too young and dumb to realize people got hurt in the world? Is that why he was so surprised when his body was torn apart? What a foolish country, one would think. Not even knowing the dangers of being so obnoxious and oblivious. What a stupid boy.

It was almost as if he deserved it.

And despite that, despite America's stupidity and foolishness, England couldn't help but to watch the younger country carefully on that day. If America were to be so caught up in that pain—those memoires, like he had back then on that day, England didn't know what he would do…when it had happened, England had reacted first, overcome with anger at the bastard that would dare touch a hair on his former colony's head. He had also been immensely worried because he knew America had never dealt with that kind of pain before. Sadness also had appeared—he couldn't protect him from the world anymore like when the boy was just a little colony. So England had searched high and low for America until he found him trembling on the floor in the bedroom, blood dripping off him—staining the soft, white carpet crimson.

"W-Why…why couldn't I protect them…?"

"America…?" England had asked, slowly kneeling down next to the man—no, child. Only a child could look so pitiful. Only a child; so innocent and unaware. Not a man.

Had this boy ever grown up…?

The child had snapped his head up so fast England had thought he might snap his neck, his eyes were dilated and full of tears that were running down his grimy face, leaving trails through the blood and soot. How had he gotten so filthy…? When America finally recognized his former guardian, fresh tears ran freely down his cheeks and he backed away from England's hand, who frowned in confusion and withdrew it. As he was about to open his mouth to ask America once again what was wrong, he spoke, voice cracking with pain.

"H-He told me to hide…I-I…I-I didn't…I didn't want to…because….b-because…I had to keep s-searching…for someone…n-not everyone…is…d-dead…th-they…they can't …I had to find them…but…but he made me go a-away…and h-hide…but…we…I-I…don't …" by this time America was curled into a ball again, arms locked tightly over his knees, and his face buried in them. "W-Why, England…? W-who…w-who would do this…?" England's heart was slowly breaking, just as America's voice was becoming quieter. "Who…? It…it hurts…so…so much…and…and…I don't…know who to…trust…" were the last words America spoke, no matter how many times England called to him, or when he drug him to the bathroom to clean up. Not a word escaped him, a cry, or a sound. Nothing except for the seemingly endless river of salty tears. Would America ever stop crying? Would the tears ever end?

How long was forever?

America had eventually gotten better; as his boss talked of war, his sadness was replaced with resentment, his first words were full of spite and malice, his gaze accusing, and his finger singling people out. England watched it all with growing fury of his own, but nothing could match the rage of the once-child. The child that had been shaken so harshly from his innocence, his body ripped and torn and burned until he became a man. Scarring his conscience with throbbing pain.

And some scars…don't ever go away.

Even if the change was not all that noticeable to other nations, England could detect a certain depth in America's eyes that had not been there before. It was a darker shade of blue, shadowing his pain and anger. It even had the same effect on England when he had contact with them. His little boy, having a side he didn't know. A side that took control irregularly. A side he couldn't predict or control. A completely different America, just lurking underneath the familiar skin.

And he hated it.

In all reality, America got on his nerves with his never-dying smile and long-winded stupid speeches about nothing, but…but he would prefer a happy, sunny America any day than the cold and distant one that appeared seldom.

He wanted to crush it with all of his being. Destroy its very existence and core.

He knew it was contradictory—he didn't like America when he was happy or when he was depressed—but somehow he felt as if his heart crumble to pieces when he saw that other side of America, and England wasn't fond of tearing himself to shreds.

England also wasn't that fond of the way his heart would instantly feel light and free when he saw America flash a smile again—a real smile.

So he would watch. Just watch. Just in case America was ever crying out to him again. Reaching to him again. Just in case.

Because if even the hero is broken, how could anyone else expect to be better off?

Uhm, review please...?