"Scars Will Fade"
It was late April 1865. A maid let Arthur Kirkland into the house that once belonged to him. "Mister Jones is in his bedroom upstairs."
He walked through the hallways of the large house. He remembered that Alfred had once said the house was too large and lonely for one person. He wondered silently if the young man still thought that, but that was a long time ago.
The upstairs hall that led to the bedroom was lined with portraits of the American presidents. The one of George Washington was particularly large, and they continued through Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, and all the way to Buchanan. There was an obviously empty place on one wall where a portrait would soon be hung. Arthur silently stood in front of the empty place on the wall. He nodded as if in respect for the man who would be in the painting that would hang there.
He reached the bedroom door and knocked softly.
"Come in." A voice from the other side let him enter, and he did.
"Alfred." Arthur's voice was soft, but he was surprised, finding that the young man, who was looking out of his window, was wearing only pants, leaving his bare chest completely visible. At another time he would have been appalled by the lack of appropriate dress, but then he saw the many, obviously recent, scars on the young man's muscular chest illuminated by the light from the window, the only light in the room.
Arthur felt a lump rise in his throat, seeing those scars. He was resentful of many things that had happened in their past, but he still cared for the boy. No part of him could deny it.
Alfred finally turned to the man, hands in his pants pockets. His expression was stoic. "Arthur." He nodded in recognition.
Finally, Arthur snapped out of his reverie. "How are you feeling?"
"Better. A little sore."
Arthur nodded without a word.
"My people are in pain." The younger man sat on his bed. He curled his right leg up to his chest, wrapping his arm around his knee. He had turned away from Arthur, again looking out of the window.
"Wars do that."
"Yeah. That and Lincoln." Alfred rested his head on his knee, blinking hard, trying not to cry. Arthur then noticed tear stains streaked down from the other man's bright blue eyes down his face. The tears came down, despite his tries. "Damn." He mumbled to himself, beginning to wipe his eyes.
Arthur suddenly sat down on the bed next to him, holding Alfred's wrist, and using his own thumb to wipe the tears from the young man's face.
"Sit down, why don't you?" Alfred said, his voice slightly sarcastic.
Arthur jumped up. He should be angry, but he was slightly happy just to see Alfred joking, albeit weakly. "Sorry." He leaned against the desk that was by the window. At this angle the scars were illuminated again. Arthur could not stop himself. He traced them with his eyes.
"No, I was kidding." Alfred shook his head.
"I am very sorry about the assassination anyway. That is very hard."
"It's odd. It hurts me because I knew him, and it hurts them," he motioned out the window to his people, "Because he was their leader, and it hurts me because it hurts them." He leaned back, his hands propping him up.
"I know." Alfred's new angle illuminated the marks on his chest even more.
"You keep staring at them." Alfred commented, causing Arthur's eyes to snap up, green meeting blue.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself." Arthur wanted to say something more, but nothing came to his mind, and he fell silent.
"It's fine. Here. Sit." He tapped the spot on the bed next to him and shifted slightly allowing Arthur more room.
As the Englishman sat down, Alfred grabbed his wrist. Arthur made a noise of surprise, eyebrows shooting up as Alfred placed the hand on his chest on one of the scars.
"This," He guided the hand down a scar that ran along his collar bone and eventually split on the right side of his chest, "Is from the two Bull Run battles."
He lifted the hand and placed it on a scar on the left side of his chest "This is from Shiloh."
"Alfred, I don't…" Arthur felt his pulse speed up, and he took a deep breath to calm himself. It was even worse that Alfred was staring directly into his eyes, almost without blinking.
"Antietam." Alfred cut him off, moving the hand a little lower and to the right on his chest. The scar was short, but very pronounced.
He continued guiding the hand down his right side, "Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville." The latter scar ended halfway down the man's stomach.
Alfred turned his back to Arthur. "Put your hand on my right shoulder." Arthur followed the direction, and ran two fingers down a scar that started at the shoulder and ran diagonally across Alfred's back. This one was just as obvious as Antietam's but several times longer.
"Oh my God, Alfred." Arthur felt his voice hitch.
Arthur slid his hand across Alfred's back to two intersecting scars on the left side of Alfred's back. He did not even want to mention the many other smaller scars that graced Alfred's back.
"Chickamauga and Chattanooga." He said, referencing the intersecting scars.
"The one farther down to the right is from Cold Harbor." Arthur let his hand drift down to the scar placed above Alfred's right hip. Tears were now freely flowing from Arthur's eyes. He could not say why. He had gone through his own civil war. He had his own scars, but seeing the scars on Alfred, the young man who had been such an innocent, young child, made him sob.
Alfred turned around again. Again, he lifted Arthur's hand and set it on the top of the left side of his ribcage. "Sherman's March to the Sea," he said as he slid the hand down the scar that started there, and ran in a diagonal line across Alfred's stomach, to the right side on his hip. Arthur's hand brushed the hem of Alfred's pants, as that scar continued under it.
Alfred let go of Arthur's hand. Now, it was Alfred's turn to wipe the tears from Arthur's face.
"And the other scars, they are from other battles in your civil war?" Arthur asked.
"Most. Some are from the War of 1812, and some of them are from my revolution."
"Those ones have gotten lighter though." Alfred quickly added.
"Scars will fade." Arthur was not sure if he was talking to Alfred or himself.
Arthur was suddenly very aware of how close they were. Alfred's hand had stopped wiping tears from Arthur's face, but it rested on his shoulder. Their eyes were met, faces a few inches apart. Neither could break it.
"I should go." Arthur stood up abruptly, nearly missing knocking heads with Alfred. He headed toward the door, but Alfred's soft voice stopped him.
Arthur turned around. "What?"
"For not acknowledging the Confederacy. Thank you."
"Oh, yes. Don't thank me for…"
"No. I know you needed the cotton. But, it would have just hurt so much if anyone acknowledged them or helped them, anyone, France and Spain, but especially you. And I know it would have been easy to do it. Everyone says that if I lost the South that I would need to be your colony again. I guess you would have liked that." Alfred looked up at the man standing in front of him.
"Sort of. I'd be afraid to lose you again. I'd be afraid of opening old wounds."
"Scars will fade." Alfred repeated Arthur's words.
"Alfred…" Arthur was interrupted as Alfred pulled him onto the bed, and pulled him into a kiss. Arthur straddled Alfred's hips and wrapped his arms around Alfred's neck. The kiss deepened. Alfred let his arms fall around to Arthur's waist as his tongue slipped into Arthur's mouth, exploring the hot cavern.
"Lean back." Breaking the kiss and gasping for breath, Arthur directed, and the American shifted back, so he was completely on the bed, and leaned down on it.
Arthur moved over him, kissing him softly on the lips again, before moving to kiss his ear and neck. He then shifted and kissed along the Bull Runs, Shiloh, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and all the way down Sherman's March to where it reached Alfred's pants.
"Alfred, may I…" He lost his voice in the request.
"Yes." And Arthur unbuttoned Alfred's pants and continued his kisses across the scars on America's hip.
Alfred gripped Arthur's upper arm, pulling him up to meet his lips once again. He pulled off Arthur's tie and began unbuttoning his shirt, gently caressing his skin as it was exposed, and never breaking the kiss.
The two were soon completely naked, and Alfred pulled Arthur on top of him.
After twenty or so minutes, Arthur collapsed next to Alfred, and the taller man pulled the Briton into his arms.
Neither said a word, but both thought, "Scars will fade, if you will help me."
A/N: So there it is. I'm sorry if you wanted smut, but I just couldn't bring myself to write it. I was actually thinking it would happen here, but it didn't. Anyway, this sort of just came to me very late at night, and I wrote it. Please leave a review and tell me what you think.