Author's Note: Written way back in June and posted to my livejournal then. Finally getting around to posting it up here.


Acquired Taste


He could smell it, distinctly, in the air the moment he walked into the house. America prattled on, something about a new video game he'd beaten and how one level of it was really scary and oh next time, England you've gotta come over when I play it. But England's mind, and full attention, was focused solely on the tell-tale scent he picked out of the atmosphere.

At first, England wondered if it was just a lingering scent; something that had permeated itself into the walls over time. It's not like it was a foreign smell to the home, but the fact of the matter was it was an aroma that only punctuated the air this predominately after England had been over for awhile. Not when he'd just arrived.

"England, you okay?" America's voice brought him out of his thoughts; innocent blue eyes blinking at him in concern.

He offered a smile to the younger country and shook his head. "Oh, I'm fine. Just a bit tired, that's all."

America took him at his word, clapped a hand around his back and raised an eyebrow. "Not too tired, I hope? You did just get here after all. And while I'm sure you need your old man nap of the day…"

"I'm perfectly fine, America. No need to fuss." A beat. "And I'm not that old, sheesh."

The younger country laughed, prodding England in the cheek and smiling. "I've caught you dozing off mid-day more than once, England."

England rolled his eyes. "And it's not like I haven't found you snoring on the couch mid-afternoon."

He smiled sheepishly, "Ah. Well…"

"So," England said, trying to get the conversation going somewhere else. But his mind stalled out on realizing that the scent was stronger here in the living room than it was in the entry way. His sharp eyes immediately noticed the almost-empty mug seated on the end table and he casually strode over towards it.

"Are we going to watch a movie or did you have something else planned?" He said, trying to play it cool. He sat down on the couch end nearest to where the mug laid and as nonchalantly as possible he eyed its contents. The liquid inside was a light brown and there was a distinct trace of something not-coffee related in the bottom.

America didn't find anything strange about England's behavior (thank the heavens he's rubbish at reading the atmosphere, England thought to himself) and went over to pick up a handful of DVDs.

"I picked a couple out. You'll probably hate all of them," America remarked, bringing them with him as he sat down beside England on the couch.

England snorted. "Like that's anything new."

"Yeah, 'cause I got this thing from some TV station called the BBC? And it sounds really boring. But since you like boring, I figured I might luck out and you might like it."

Momentarily forgetting his quest to discover the truth behind the scent, England snatched the movie out of America's hands. "Oh hush up. You know what Billy Elliot is. You just premiered a bloody musical of it."

America grinned and tried to look innocent. "Oh, that thing? It seemed too awesome to come from the British Broadcasting Company."

As America leaned closer, England's mind snapped back to that scent and he knew now there'd be only one sure-fire way to confirm his suspicions.

"America…"

Blue eyes blinked down at him, his cheeky grin still in place. "Yeah?"

"Shut up."

And before America could even register what was happening, England had started kissing him fiercely. The Brit's hand gripped the back of his head, tangling in his hair, as his tongue plunged into America's mouth. As the momentary shock wore off, America returned the kiss with just as much vigor.

When they pulled apart to breathe, England's expression could only be described as downright triumphant. America smirked cockily.

"What? My kissing that awesome today or something?"

England chuckled. "You bloody wanker. You've been drinking tea, haven't you?"

America blanched, his grin slipping right off his face. "W-What?"

But the older country wasn't about to back down. Pressing America back against the couch, England smugly grinned. "I know that taste, America. I know it quite well. It's not even some cheap American excuse for tea. It's my Earl Grey blend that I keep here since I won't drink your God awful coffee."

"Then it's because you were drinking it earlier, right?" America countered lamely.

England shook his head. "Oh no. I knew the smell the moment I came in the house, you've got one of your gaudy mugs over there with tea leaves in the bottom and I can taste it on you. You drank my tea."

"Um…sorry?" He tried, sheepishly smiling and his cheeks pinking.

England leaned down and smirked against his lips. "You can drink it any time you want, you prat. Since apparently, you secretly love it."

He was just about to kiss him again, but America spoke first.

"Okay. Fine. I drank it because…" He faltered. Shyly glancing away, he mumbled. "I've grown to like the taste. Because…because you always taste like it when I kiss you."

Blushing furiously, England pulled away and critically looked at America's face. Oh bloody hell, he's telling the truth.

"You…"

America nodded mutely, obviously just as embarrassed by his admission.

"O-Oh."

The two fell into an awkward silence at that, before America weakly offered. "And um…I guess now would be the perfect time to mention it, but…"A grin started to tug at his lips. "Just now, you tasted a bit like coffee, England."

If possible, England turned a brighter red. "It was all I could get quickly on the way here. It's not like I…"

He was cut off as America pecked a kiss to his lips. "It's the same flavor I always drink, isn't it?"

England nodded his head ever so slightly. America just started to laugh. "Oh jeez, we're rubbing off on each other. That's never a good thing. Next thing I know, you'll be going around saying you're awesome."

"I would never act like such an idiot," England countered, a smile tugging at his lips. "Though if you start drinking tea more often, that would be for the best."

America scooted closer and licked at the corner of England's mouth. "Nah. That's just an acquired taste. I mean, I'm really suffering from coffee withdrawal right now…"

England replied, his lips brushing against America's as he did so. "How odd. I'm currently going through tea withdrawal."

They both smirked at that; the pile of DVDs falling to the floor long forgotten as their lips crashed together yet again.

THE END