disclaimer:characters are NOT MINE. c'mon, guyyyyys.
contents:dusty fluff, sage!japan, emo!iggy. US/UK, thoughts of Kiku/someone~. how funnn~
a/n:i guess i'm writing this only because i've been searching for a FIC like this, and i have yet to be pleased. D: i know of a doujinshi (name: Yakusoku no Mireniamu. thanks, PuRE'Curse!) similar to this, so i tried to mix up the dialogue, settings and everything else a good amount, but the general idea is same. so, um... enjoy my trying-to-be-casual style in this not-so-casual fic, i guess. and, sorry about my use of country-names only. i felt it fit the idea of the fic better.

Until You Smile


Even when England wasn't there, America saw him.

It was a habit he started back when he was still a colony, and had to spend long periods of time without his beloved father-mother-brother figure. After their good-byes had been said in the afternoon and America had spent his time wandering the woods with the cross England had left behind for him so many years ago, he laid in bed at night, shivering under the covers, terrified of the monsters under his bed, in the closet, out the window, in his mind. Whenever England was there, he would stroke his head softly, murmuring delicately chosen words that would make all the monsters and scary things go away instantly. And, when they were all gone, America would fall asleep in England's arms, perfectly at peace.

But those nights, the ones where England wasn't there to whisper words and touch him softly, America would try and keep his eyes and ears closed, trying to block everything out because, well, he couldn't help it—everything was just so scary without England there. So, in a desperate attempt one especially horrible, rainy night, America imagined a light-handed, sweet-worded, comfortable England sitting next to him, reciting the prayers and humming the songs like he always did when he didn't think America was watching him do his work.

And he didn't feel so bad anymore.

So, even now, almost two and a half centuries after his independence from England and a rigid fifty years before that of desperately pretending England was sitting next to him whenever he was scared, America couldn't help imagining his sweet, kind and cozy England always near him.

But, to tell the truth, it was getting a little annoying. What with, you know, the real England actually being very cold and annoyed by everything his used-to-be-little-brother does.

~*~*~

It was a matter of time until America confessed to him, really. He didn't want to bother sifting through all the feelings that were building up in his heart—since most of them were either really old or someone else's—but he couldn't deny the heavy pressing in his stomach and chest whenever he saw England. Casually, he had peeked through a book in one of the libraries in DC, and realized, with a Eureka-like start, that he was feeling love. More so than his family-related ones from his childhood, but real love, the kind that made girls in Japan's comics go, 'doki doki'. He didn't exactly know how reliable this 'Meg Cabot' person was, but since there were so many books of hers, he took them all home and read them in a week, taking extensive notes on love, how it felt, why it made you feel the way it made you feel, and how to deal with it. With all of his studying, he decided that the best idea was to confess, and so he began his biding.

Waiting for England to not get flustered when he put his arm around him. Waiting for England to not suddenly rip papers when touching him. Waiting for England to make eye contact.

But that wasn't happening fast enough. So America decided to complain.

"I don't get what's going on, man," he sighed, pouting with folded arms and kicked-up feet. Japan seemed decidedly alright with America's rudeness, maybe because of the fact that at least he wasn't naked. "I'm trying so hard to get him to at least calm down, but he's just... I dunno. Acting weird."

"Well," Japan started, setting a cup of tea down in front of him and black coffee in front of America, who took it ungraciously. "Perhaps he, too, has such feelings, America-kun."

He was pouting again, Texas far down on his nose. "He can't be, Japan. He's acting like the target, not the aimer," he sighed roughly, angry at someone for something. "He won't even look at me anymore." A thought appeared in his mind. "Am I ugly?"

Japan had to carefully set down his tea so that he wouldn't choke. "I-I feel... That your appearance has nothing to do with his apprehension, America-kun. Perhaps," he offered, focusing on his cup and not the other country's deep gaze. "he is worried about how a relationship between two countries may turn out. Not to mention the similarities of gender."

But America was still pouting. Japan wanted to push his glasses back up. "But Austria and Hungary were married. And Sweden and Finland seem pretty damn fine together."

Not knowing what to say, Japan shrugged. "America-kun, I do not know how to explain his behavior. By the way your two relationship's have progressed, though, I can assume that you have only one more event to go through until your happy ending."

"Happy ending, huh?" America mused, leaning his head so far back that it was hanging off the edge of the seat and he was staring at the wall behind him. "So I just need to confess to him."

Japan shifted, a little uncomfortable. "Or perhaps he will confess to you. It's all up to your abilities and options, America-kun." He didn't like helping people when he himself had messed up so many times before, even going so far as to attack his had-been lover. Despite that, though, it was his moral obligation to help America out, as a friend and out of guilt from past deeds. He didn't know why everyone went to him, though. Really. He wasn't a love master, not at all. Just because he liked releasing dating sims and lengthy series about love and such didn't mean he was sure on exactly how everything operated and how to achieve the one true, happy ending.

"So I should confess," America repeated, as if he needed confirmation. Not to mention his complete disregard for Japan's warning.

"Sure," Japan shrugged, resigned.

And with that, America got up, grabbed his jacket and headed out the door. He hadn't even touched his black coffee.

~*~*~

He found England in the hallway, walking as if he was busy, with a paper in his hand and a determination in his step, but with a empty face, as if he wasn't really seeing or thinking. Never really having been good at telling whether or not England was truly busy or just passing time, America decided to follow him silently for a good half-hour until he realized that England was merely wandering around aimlessly and felt like an idiot. He took a deep breath, shook his fists in determination, and stepped out from behind the pillar, calling out England's name blithely, as if he wasn't trailing him for a half-hour.

England was, naturally, flustered. "Wh-what is it, America?"

The taller country was beaming, trying not to make it looked as forced as it was. "I just wanted to talk to you, England. Seriously."

Taken aback at the request for alone time, England looked at the floor, avoiding America's light blue gaze. "Y-yeah? I'm listening."

America took another deep breath, his smile automatically disappearing as his nerves took over his stomach, exactly like those books he'd read. Now he'd have to recite that paragraph in the purple book, the one that seemed to fit him perfectly. Although, despite his practice, training, conversing with Japan and half-hour of preparation, America was surprised at how bare and shaky he felt. He just wanted it over, and the stress of actually opening his mouth to talk was overwhelming him. He just wanted to see England's smiling face—but, would he smile? Would he cry, instead? America didn't think over it, he just spoke, throwing his paragraph and previous planning to the wind, saying the only thing that was reverberating in his mind.

"I love you, England!"

He waited for a second, then a thirty, then a minute, then two, all the while thinking about how the only time he'd been more nervous was around the time of D-Day and the shuttles launching. But when the third minute came to pass and England had still not said a word, he had to open his eyes and look.

It was not a happy sight.

America could not remember more distraught England. His eyes were frozen wide, face pale, mouth slightly open in hopes of catching more air, shoulders tensed and eyebrows furrowed, all with either shock, disgust or terror. None of those emotions made sense to America, and he felt compelled to ask why on earth England wasn't jumping up and down at the prospect of having the world's biggest superpower's love.

Worried, America smiled in a stressed and awkward way, taking a small, staggering step forward. "Hey, England, did'jya hear me? I said, I—"

"I got it, I got it, shut up!" England yelled, starting away from him, his shoulders twitching. America stood his ground, wary. "I understood everything, so shut up!"

America watched and waited, his heart so deep and heavy in his chest that he was amazed that it hadn't fallen out yet. His country was already going through a recession—so many people were worrying about the future and the stress that it was bringing on—and along with that, new policies were going into effect everyday, and most of them weren't working, they were only bothering more and more people and when one part of him was pleased, another wasn't and his stomach really hurt along with his head and why wasn't England answering? America took another step, but England backed away three, stuttering and stumbling, his face still stuck in that horrendous look.

"It's impossible," England croaked after a long while, his voice sounding as if he didn't want to turn down the other nation, or maybe it was just because he had forgotten how to talk for a moment. Probably definitely the latter. "I'm really...happy about your feelings, but... But..." He shook his head, shutting his eyes tight, looking as if he was about to cry. "It's impossible."

America's entire torso felt like it had been blown away. Even the comforting England in his mind wasn't there for him, his sweet words weren't waiting and ready. The real England didn't open his eyes, but instead spun on his heel and ran down the hall, finally knowing where he was going and wanting to go there.

~*~*~

America hadn't confessed to make England cry like that. He had confessed to get the weight out and to make him happy, to get back his mental England, the one who so willingly spent nights with him in bed, calming him as he himself was calmed. He had confessed to see a face of happiness, not one of anguish. Not that he was expecting a England who loved him as America loved England—just, a England who would at least laugh off the confession with a bad joke or a weak threat to make him eat scones or something.

Never in America's worst dreams had he imagined such a negative reaction.

But he didn't want to give up. He still had his childhood England's lingering image in his mind, he could still remember the happy face he always made whenever he told him that he loved him. Even as he got older, more refined, and stopped using such blatant confessions of caring for England, he could still remember feeling England's love for him, just like a mother's for her child.

But...that was the problem. It had to be. England didn't want a relationship with his child. Right? But America was so big and strong now, and England... He wasn't a father-mother-brother figure in America's mind. At all. His imaginary England was there for pure comfort, the one that only your love could give you.

And so America decided to confess again. To get to the bottom of the problem. Even if he could be seen as a one-sided love, just for his father... He would be fine. As long as he could hear England's comforting words again, as long as he could be near him without feeling like he was suffocating.

~*~*~

America cornered England when he was trying to escape into his room. Having caught sight of him, America chased him down the hall, faster and stronger than what England had let himself deteriorate to. Before he could reach his door, America had him pinned against the wall, both of them breathing heavily, staring deeply in each other's eyes, dismayed green into determined blue.

"England," America ordered, his voice much louder than he had intended. He tried softening it, so that the horrid tremor that had ran through England's body wouldn't appear again. "I want you to explain to me what's so 'impossible'."

England was still paralyzed, watching on with hitched breathing and a clenched jaw.

"I love you," he started again, pressing on, feeling the yearning to know cracking into his voice. "And you love me." When England didn't burst out in protest to America's conception to his feelings, his relief was so overpowering that he wanted to cry. "Why won't this work?"

England finally averted his gaze, looking down, abashed.

America's heart wrenched again and he confirmed his new theory aloud, despite how revolting and hideous it sounded leaving his mouth. "I mean, I figured that... Your love for me is just like your love for a little brother," America sighed, hanging his head as he tried to hold in tears and voiced all the Plan-Bad themes he had in his mind. "And you couldn't ever love me like that, could you? No wonder, it's so disgusting, even I would—"

"Of course it's not like that, you git!" England suddenly shouted, pushing America away from him. Flustered and still aching, America fell back four steps and waited as England spoke more than America could remember in the past few weeks. "I'm not an idiot, I hope you're aware," he continued, looking down again, a bit of blush joining in on his pale, pale face. "That angel that lives in my mind is nothing like you, nor are you anything like him. And, I...I do love you. So much, which is why I'm happy about your feelings, but..."

America couldn't hold it in anymore—he lunged forward and grabbed England by his shoulders, yelling so that his tears wouldn't fall. "Then why can't we be together? Why can't I—"

England silenced him with a tortured, dirty, loathsome, absolutely non-gentleman-like sound, a shrieked, "But I already promised myself that I would never make a special relationship with you again!"

And America froze again.

"If you and I make another special relationship again," England was crying out, pleading with no one, sobbing incoherently, "who says the past won't happen again in the future! Who says you won't feel like that again—that you won't want to leave me again? That you'll still love me? The thought... Just the thought fills me with such fear and anxiety that it makes me want to fall to my knees and cry...!"

And he was only one more thought away from doing so, America realized as he felt England's shaking and coldness underneath his hands. He struggled to keep him up and a still-crying England held a cupped hand over his mouth, tears running over it relentlessly. "England... Why..." America bit his lip, but couldn't hold in his own shouted questions. "Why on earth are you even thinking like that? You're already assuming that things are going to end!"

"I can't help it...!" England choked out, his body heaving as he held in a sob. "I just naturally start to think like that...!"

"I won't do that, this time for sure," America tried desperately to reassure him, holding him up even tighter, wanting with all his heart to hug him and make him understand the ache and pains in his chest and heart. "I promise you, I won't hurt you, I'll always be by your side, alwa—"

"Shut up! That's exactly what you had said back then as well!"

And the memories flooded in. Feeling nothing but pain and shame, America let go of England, who had suddenly found his composure and was standing upright, albeit the tears still streaking his face. "That's why," England said so softly that America couldn't hear him after all the shouting, all the pain. "That's why I don't want to be special to you. That's why I won't let you be special to me. If... If I can just watch you from afar, I would be happy, so, please..." He looked up and his eyes were still wet with tears, the emerald begging for no resistance and help.

Betrayal is sickening, America thought. It could never be repaired, the scars and pain caused by such a sin. Even if England forgave him for pointing his gun at him, for rebelling, for telling him that he hated him, he would never be able to regain his trust.

Never again could England look at him and see him as an 'angel'.

Never again could England look at him and see him as a 'friend'.

Never would England look at him and see a 'lover'.

Never.

But...

But...!

America hunched over and his tears, held in so tightly and difficulty, began falling.

There was never a day that America had not loved his England. That was why he made up one, just so that, in his dark times, he could have someone there. So that England would always love him and be sweet and kind and caring to him. So that... How dare America do that.

Startled at the sight of a crying America, England jerked back and demanded, tears still in his eyes, "What are you doing crying, you git! I'm the only one who should cry!"

Before he could complain anymore, America had him in a tight embrace, feeling his warmth and his coolness and burying his face in England's shoulder, tears staining his blazer.

But America was tired. Everything was so tiresome. His head hurt, his stomach hurt, his heart hurt, is chest hurt, he wanted someone to help him, he wanted England's trust, he wanted England's love, he wanted his old England back, he wanted someone to stroke his hair with soft hands and promise him that everything scary and bad would go away, and he wanted to sleep. But nothing was going to come true, never ever, because his people demanded it, because the Quartering Act was too much, because he just wanted to be equal with England, he just... How dare he.

"I don't get it," he muttered into England's shoulder. "I love you, you love me, why can't we just be happy...?" He squeezed England tighter breathing in his scent, his oh, so familiar scent. "If you don't believe me, I promise... I'll say it over and over again, every day and night, until we both die, as many times as you want...! I love you."

And England, unable to do anything else, wrapped his own arms around America and cried with him.

~*~*~

Even then, in the future—or, now, since I guess all that had happened in the past—England still had a crippling insecurity with America's feelings. Whether they made a promise for even the next day, he would make a face that looked as if he was alright, but it was really his way of wondering if America would still love him, if he wouldn't just wake up and decide, 'oh, no, he's not worth my trouble today.' Every time he went to touch America, he would pause, as if he was waiting for a rejection or something similar, something that would let him know that, yeah, he was right all along, there was no way that such strong past feelings could not reappear. After all, burying emotions can be very, very difficult, but once you know what it felt like, you'll be able to feel it again and again, and it'll only get stronger. Who says America's feelings of boredom and hate wouldn't come back?

America did. Which was why he made sure, every morning, every afternoon, every night, and every time he could, he would grab England by the hand, pull him close, and whisper into his ear, "I love you", in the same sweet, kind and caring voice that England had used on him, so many years ago.