Title : Counting Kisses
Author : DnKS – giRLs
Rating : PG13
Character(s)/Pairing(s) : America and England
Disclaimers : The characters involved in this story do not belong to us, nor do they have any connection to real nation(s). No infringement intended.
Warning : The sap is, like always, something to be warned about
Initially, it was an accident.
He was still in the meeting room that time after he had just announced a thirty minutes coffee break some minutes prior. His colleagues, fellow nations, were already on their way to the exit door, chatting amiably between themselves. He, on the other hand, still needed to tidy up his documents and those various things he used for his presentation, seeing that he was the last speaker before the break commenced.
What happened next was purely coincidental and he was willing to take a holy vow in front of the cross about it. It just happened that he was too much occupied with gathering his scattered papers that he did not really notice someone approaching him. The brief touch on his right shoulder was his only indication of the other's coming.
And that touch startled him. Honestly startled him.
Perhaps it was his fault for being startled so easily. Honestly, after living for millennia, one would suspect him already past the point of getting startled by anything. Yet that touch startled him, and with a little jump he turned his head fast.
And felt his lips grazing something.
He blinked. The person in front of him also blinked his blue eyes, those very familiar blue eyes. He looked confused, and from that expression, he could somewhat gather just what was that thing that his lips had accidentally grazed on.
He felt like cursing.
"America," he said. Gulped. And then he asked, "Did I just kiss you?"
Of all the one hundred stupid things that he could say pertaining to such incident, that was probably sitting at number ninety three, with number one hundred being the most stupid of the list (which, strangely, was 'you have really soft lips', and somehow he was very tempted to say that).
"Huh?" America said. "Uh, well, somewhat."
"Ah," he said. Because, he thought, what else could one say when he had just kissed his ex-brother/now-somewhat-friend/ex-enemy/now-somewhat-ally?
"Um, yeah," America said. He sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "Listen, England, could we…"
"…forget about it? Sure," he quickly said.
America's lips twitched. It looked as if he was holding himself back from laughing. England had his eyes narrowed at that, silently promising that he would surely make America suffer if he dared to laugh.
"I actually want to ask if we could talk about that proposal my boss sent to your place a few days ago. You said that we could talk about it during the meeting break," America said. "Um… yeah, but if you're busy I think I could wait until tomorrow or something."
He blinked. The proposal. Yes, of course. He recalled that he had indeed told America that they could talk about it during the break. He wondered how come he had not remembered about it earlier. He also wondered why he seemed to blink a lot lately, as if there was something wrong with his eyes or he suddenly developed some inability to express himself with something more meaningful than opening and closing his eyelids.
"If… you don't mind," he said. "After the meeting sounds good."
"Fine then," America said, grinning. "I… uh, need to go. You want to get some coffee with me or something?"
England blinked (and berated himself within for it). Then he hastily said. "No. no, thank you."
"Suit yourself," America said. He shrugged his shoulders once before he turned on his heels. England thought that the other would promptly go out of the room but before America even took a single step, he turned his face slightly until England could see his wide grin.
"You know, England," he said. "You have really soft lips."
England could only gape as America laughed cheerily. He even had the gall to whistle as he walked out of the meeting room.
He knew he should have said that first.
The second time, it was also an accident.
Or at least England still preferred to call it as an accident. Whether he did this to protect his ego or because he honestly thought of it as simply an accident was debatable. But he did not really appreciate it when people asked him that straightforwardly. The not-appreciate factor only intensified if the one asking happened to be France with his most potent wink-wink-nudge-nudge smirk that seemed to say 'I know something you don't know ', complete with the heart at the end.
It wasn't like he hated France's smirk. Or, well, perhaps he did hate it. But it was only part of the reason why he would flip so hard if France asked him that question of, "Honestly, England, do you really think of it as an accident or are you only lying to yourself?"
Yes, even only thinking about it made his eyebrow twitch.
But it was an accident. Really. A most unfortunate incident that happened during France's Christmas party with the aide of some mistletoe. And it was France's fault, considering that he was the one who put that mistletoe on the doorway, he was the one who shoved England and America forward until they both were standing under the mistletoe, and he was the one who ordered them to kiss with such a loud voice that everyone gathered in that room craned their heads to see.
With those many pair of eyes watching them, England just could not walk away pretending that he did not notice that (sinful, wicked, evil) mistletoe hanging above their heads.
"So," America said to him with amusement in his eyes. "A kiss?"
"T-that's…" he tried to say but he knew there was nothing he could say. He shivered as he felt the gazes of their fellow nations at them. He was sure that some of them were practically enjoying his suffering. Thank God his brothers were not there.
"England," America said. He felt a thumb and forefinger tilted his chin up. He saw America looking down into his eyes. He gulped.
And America kissed him there and then, in front of so many people who cheered when their lips first met. England hated them all. He hated being watched like they were some kind of performers. But at that moment he was too preoccupied with America's lips moving against his.
Well, America could kiss, and that guy kissed so damn well.
England knew he oftentimes acted like a proud aristocrat who hated having people surpassing him in anything. That was how he could conquer the world back then during his golden days. And that was how he found himself returning America's kiss, not wanting the other to think that he was the best kisser out there. After all, America might be a good kisser, but England was a pro in that field.
Judging from the soft sound America made, it seemed he did a good job in the whole kissing issue.
Judging from the loud sound those people around them made, it seemed they had to end the kiss real soon.
And end the kiss they did. England noted with some proud affection how America's cheeks had a tinge of pink on them. He did not blame America for getting so flustered. He too felt some nice warmth on his cheek that usually indicated the flush he got there. That was one very good kiss, he thought personally.
But it was still an accident.
They went on with the Christmas party afterward, neither spoke anything about the kiss. And perhaps all could go well, after all, if France did not send him home with a little white box accompanied with a meaningful wink. He opened the box when he was inside his taxi and found a sprig of mistletoe inside, tied with red ribbon, with a note that said:
'To commemorate the night and the subsequent kiss.
PS: I want details if you manage to take America to bed, deal?'
England promptly threw the mistletoe, the box, and the note out of his taxi window.
The third time he found himself kissing America, England blamed the liquor.
He knew he probably shouldn't have said yes when America asked him out for some drink. But hell, his week had been terrible. And yes, he knew he could be pretty awful when drunk, but America was already aware of that fact. He could even say that America had experienced first hand just how awful drunk he could be after several pints of rum.
It was just usually when he was drunk he would either cry or curse with words that should never make it to public without heavy censoring or inadvertently maim someone. Yes, those things did seem like something he would do while drunk. Not that night. Instead of those things, he chose to kiss America's senseless.
Though England was not a bit sure if he should use a word like 'chose'. Saying he chose to kiss America would lead to a conclusion that he was aware of his several options and with a clear mind decided to kiss America out of all his choices. It was not like that. Not at all. It was the liquor that made him kiss America, not like he actually wanted to kiss him.
But he admitted that he kissed America in that somewhat crowded bar. He was drunk, but he was not that drunk until he could not remember what he did. Afterward, though, was a different story. England could not, for the life of him, remember just what happened after he kissed America thoroughly at the bar that night. It was like there was the kiss, then one huge gap of void, and the next thing he knew, he woke up in a bed that was not his own with a headache and the memory of America's wide-eyed expression a moment before he planted his lips upon his.
Like any sensible gentleman who found himself in such situation, England cursed.
America entered his room when he was in still in the middle of his long string of curses. Seeing America, who was bare-chested and grinning, England felt all blood drained from his face.
"Morning, England," America cheerfully said.
England blinked before he noticed his own state of undress. His shirt was suspiciously missing. And if there was still a hint of blood remaining on England's face, by that time it would probably be nonexistent.
"Oh…" he said. "Oh shit, I… oh… damn…"
"England?" America inquired. "You okay?"
"Okay…" England gulped. "Okay, so… I don't really… remember… what happened last night and by God I swear I'm sorry for anything I might have done, you know how terrible drunk I could be and… God, just… tell me… er… what… really happened last night?"
"Um…" America frowned. "You honestly don't remember? I mean… uh, I invited you for some drinks and you got pretty drunk. You kinda…"
England saw America making a vague gesture in the air with his hands as if he could not find the right word to convey what he wanted. Thinking of releasing the poor guy of his hard time, he waved his hand.
"I remember that I… kissed you last night, yes," he said, trying to sound as if it was not a big deal. "But I don't remember what happened after that."
"Oh. Oh, nothing much," America said. "You passed out cold on that bar after that, and… geez, England, that was the first time anyone could pass out cold on me while I'm kissing them. That's disrespectful, you know. Anyway, you didn't seem able to go home on your own so I took you to my house…"
England stared at America. "Did I do something else?"
America stared back, as if uncomprehending. "What thing?"
England was still having some aftereffect of the liquor in him, but he was sober enough to know that saying 'oh, I mean like, did we fuck last night?' was a big no-no. So he just tried different route, and said, "Where's my shirt?"
"Oh," America said. "Oh, um, you see, you were really drunk last night you kinda threw up all over your shirt and mine so… yeah, it's still in my laundry basket."
"Oh, good," England said in relief. "Real good."
"Well, yeah. Anyway, I'm making breakfast, so if you'd like to join me, meet me in the kitchen, okay?" America said.
He needed a moment to process what America had just said—too relieved he was that they apparently did nothing more than that single kiss the previous night—before he could mutter, "Oh… yes, thank you."
England watched America grinning at him one last time before he walked away, presumably to his kitchen. It was fortunate that nothing happened the previous night, England thought, really fortunate. The previous night had been nothing but curious drunken incident and it was the liquor, really, that was responsible for the kiss.
He would pretend he did not notice that according to America, he had passed out cold while America was kissing him.
The fourth time England kissed America, he could not say it was an accident, could not blame any mistletoe, and could not blame it to the liquor. No, the fourth time England kissed America, he did it while sober and he actually meant to kiss him.
But he still pleaded for what he called 'a brief unexplainable moment of folly'.
Basically, what prompted that kiss was the fact that he could not stand America's tears. Even after so many centuries had passed, after some betrayal on America's part (and, well, he somewhat admitted that he also took a major part in the whole 'betrayal' thing), after so many things that had happened between them, he still could not stand the sight of America crying.
So it was not so strange that upon seeing America's tears that day, the first thing he did was to gather the still-sobbing somewhat-young nation into his embrace. He let the other cry to his shoulder, his arms protectively wound around America's form.
America was shaking in his arms and, really, it would seem like a very curious scene should someone see them that time. Two grown up men embracing each other in the wooden steps of some beautiful white house. But England could not care less because all his attention had been devoted to the crying nation in his arms.
"Hush, America," England said, trying to calm him down. "You're not a little child anymore. Hush, now, stop crying."
America sniffled. "She's dead, England… dead…"
England frowned. "Who?"
"My cat!" America wailed and sobbed even harder. "My cute little pussycat!"
"Oh," England said briefly. He wondered if he should offer his condolence to a cat or if he should berate America for getting so worked up over the death of some cat. In the end, he did neither, merely sighed, and let America ruin his Paul Smith shirt.
"She's still so young," America continued. "So very young. She still had her future in front of her. She could… she could be anything when she grew up. Or she could even meet some nice tomcat and start her family and…"
"You know what," England interjected. He cupped America's cheeks with his two hands and tilted that teary face upward until their eyes met. He smiled. "Grieving for your pet is fine and all but I think you get too carried away there."
America pouted. "I love her!"
"Yes, America," he said before he dropped a kiss to America's forehead, the way he always did it in the past to calm him down when he was upset. "But you can't be like this forever. You are the United States of America, are you not? You cannot get down because of the death of one little cat."
America snorted slightly. There was a hint of the very beginning of a smirk on his lips. "I kinda remember you got upset when your mare died."
"That's neither here nor there," England said tightly. "Oh, come on, I refuse to have you go into recession just because of some cat."
That had America chuckling, and England was so relieved hearing the sound. "Yeah, it would be wicked, recession because of a cat. But… damn, I love her…"
"I know, and I know that she loved you too, but she wouldn't appreciate it if her master cried like a pathetic little boy like this, don't you think?" England said. He wiped America's tears using his thumb, noticing with fondness how America twitched when he rubbed his cheeks clean. And afterward, England leaned forward and kissed him.
If he was asked why he kissed America that time, England would say that he merely wanted to cheer him up. But even he could see that it was a weak argument. After all, what kind of gentleman would suddenly kiss his grieving friend under the pretense of 'cheering him up'?
Realizing his error, England drew back until his back bumped with the wall, uttering something that sounded like a horrified squeak.
"I'm sorry," he said. "God, America, I… I don't know why… I mean, I'm sorry I kissed you like that."
America blinked confusedly at him. He licked his lower lip before mumbled, somewhat sulkily, "It's fine…"
"No, it's not fine! I've… like, kissed you four times in the last two months…"
America chuckled, "You keep a tab how many times we've kissed?"
"Don't laugh you, this is serious matter," England snapped. "God, I'm such a vile person… how could I stain you… four times to boot. Oh, Heaven…"
America sighed. "England, listen. I'm not angry at you for kissing me, understand?"
He blinked. "But…"
"I could have punched you or rejected you or something if I did not want you to kiss me, and seeing that I did neither, you can say that the 'did not want' factor is low," America said with a shrug. He then stood up, offered his hand to England, and hauled the other to his feet. "But… yeah, thanks, man, for cheering me up. Now I think I can be pretty cool with Britannia's death… though I will miss her for sure. Damn, she's a fine pussycat."
From America's statement, England could gather several things. First, America was not angry at him for the kiss. Second, America implied that he did want the kiss. Third, America named his pussycat Britannia.
Since England was pretty much in denial (though he preferred to call it with a more sophisticated phrase of 'denunciation of interest toward certain things'), it was not so strange that he opted to calmly dismiss the first two items in his list and, with a splutter, screamed.
"You named your cat what?"
And America, damn him to hell, only laughed.
The fifth time England kissed America, he only did that because America kissed him first.
At least that was the only excuse he could make up on the occasion. It was only proper if he kissed America back when he already planted his lips upon his. Or perhaps he was merely making excuses. England did not know anymore. There was even no apparent reason for the kiss, unless one was to count America's 'I want to kiss you' as a justifiable reason.
They were in his house that time, with America visiting him. He was accompanying his boss in a diplomatic tour across the European continent, he explained, and he thought of visiting England before he got back to his own place.
England, forever a perfect host, opened his door for him. He never quite admitted it out loud, but having America in his house was something that he enjoyed. He might be acting like a hermit sometimes, he might prefer solitude more than his fellow nations, yet he enjoyed company. And America, despite his loud voice and tendency to break his things, was a fun companion to have in some bleak winter afternoon like that.
So they chatted and they bantered. They fought about dinner, with America voting for some fast food take outs and England insisted that he could make some casserole for them. In the end they settled for Indian take outs. They fought about what DVD to watch, with America voting for some ridiculous second-grade post apocalyptic movie with many explosions and he for some deeper historical movie. In the end they went for drama.
It was in the middle of the movie—some complicated love story that at least was deep instead of ridiculous—that America suddenly spoke up.
"It's really funny how complicated love seems to be in these movies," he said.
England stared at him. America was sitting right beside him on that couch, so very close to him that if he wanted to, he could easily rest his head on America's shoulder. The thought entered his mind so suddenly and, it seemed, without any reason whatsoever that he tried to banish it the moment such thought registered in his mind.
"Well," he said and coughed slightly, wishing to God that he was not blushing. For it would be really hard to explain to America why he suddenly felt so self conscious about the way his shoulder seemed so alluring for him to rest his head upon. "Don't ask me. You are the one making those movies."
"Hm…" America said. His eyes were riveted to the screen. "I mean, when you love someone, you just have to tell them that you love them, right?"
"If it's as easy as that, you wouldn't make a two-hour movie," England said.
"Guess you're right," America said, chuckling. Then, turning his face to stare at England, he said, "But it would be easier if people just go saying what they want to say. Like… um, saying… right now, I really want to kiss you."
England chuckled. "I think you would get a hearty slap if you suddenly say things like that."
America grinned. "You didn't slap me."
That made England look at America as if he had not seen him before. He knew his eyes surely went wide as he thought over what America might possibly imply by those words. "You mean you…"
"I want to kiss you," America repeated. Then he asked, "May I?"
England did not know whether he gave his permission or not that time. Judging from the fact that America without delay proceeded to kiss him, he would think that perhaps he did nod his head or something. Or perhaps America was just rude and simply did not wait for his permission before he kissed him. Permission or not, England did not deny that once America's lips met his, once America kissed him, he kissed him back.
He did not know exactly why he did that, but he kissed America back.
The kiss was long and intense enough to go past the borderline of a kiss between mere friends—if there was ever one called a kiss between mere friends. America still held his face tenderly after they ended their kiss, and England could see something in his smile, something that he could not name.
"See," America said. "It's not so hard to do after all, to say what you want to say."
He said nothing, not agreeing and not arguing America's statement. He felt America releasing his hold on his face and went back to sit beside him, watching the television screen. He stared at him for some seconds, before he, too, turned his attention back to the movie that was still playing.
Without words he rested his head on America's shoulder, and was more than glad when America said nothing to reject him.
The sixth time England kissed America, he definitely felt a weird fluttering in his stomach.
England was not a romantic, at least most of the time he was not. He tried to be a cynic though whether he succeeded in that or not was up to be questioned. He was not someone who put much thought on what people dubbed as love and romance. He was not like France and he knew that groping some nation's vital region was not the most effective way to cease conflict.
But he could understand what the weird fluttering in his stomach could possibly mean. The realization made him anxious, even more so when he thought that it was America who had somehow caused that feeling.
"Er…" he said, carefully avoiding America's eyes and trying so hard to make that stupid fluttering feeling disappear. Honestly, he did not care if there were butterflies, either metaphorical or not, in his stomach. He just needed them stop fluttering before he got more incoherent than he already was.
"Yeah…" America said, somewhat absent mindedly it seemed, but he sounded far more coherent than England, at least in England's opinion. And he thought it simply was not fair. America should not be coherent after a kiss like that.
Well, to be fair, 'a kiss like that' happened in a deserted hallway of America's capitol building. But that was one very good kiss. And England knew he was more than amazing in the whole kissing business.
"Well, that's… uh, kinda shocking," America said.
England resisted the urge to snap at him saying 'that's a bit of an understatement'. Instead, he only shrugged his shoulders while still trying to avoid looking at America.
"I mean, I wouldn't have imagined that you would kiss me when I… I would have been surprised if you as much as gave me a hug. But to have you kiss me?" America laughed softly. "That's just… like, beyond my imagination, man."
For the first time since their kiss just then, England dared a glance to America's face. He saw him grinning openly. He might even say that America looked happy. Seeing that grinning face, it was impossible not to smile.
"I didn't know… what made me do that, actually," he said, giving a resigned smile to America, and added. "Which sounds like a lame excuse, I know."
England was every bit honest when he said that. Truly, he did not know what he had been thinking that time. He remembered it started with them talking over the result of that day's meeting between his boss and America's boss. He had listened intently, giving his response when responses were due and a lot of biting remarks along the way.
It was when America casually told him that he had to go that England without thinking reached out and grabbed his neck. He kissed him, as if that was the most sensible thing to do. It was reflex. America said his farewell and he, half jokingly, asked England for one in return. He could have just sent him off with a pat on his shoulder, a good natured clasp on his hand, even a hug would still be appropriate for that kind of situation. But a kiss?
"I don't mind, though," America said. "A kiss is better than a hug, eh?"
"Well… uh," England muttered, not quite sure what response he should give to that. "Didn't you say you had to go?"
America slapped his hand to his forehead loudly. "Oh, shit! I totally forgot! Sorry, man, catch up with you again later."
Before America dashed off, he managed to plant a quick kiss to England's forehead. And England could only stand, as if dumbfounded, as those lips grazed his forehead, as America began running through the hallway, as he disappeared around the corner.
He touched his forehead, long after America had gone. He wondered why America kissed his forehead. He wondered what he meant by that. He wondered why it felt so nice.
He wondered why America did not kiss his lips instead.
The seventh time England kissed America, it led to something more than he had ever expected from him.
It began innocently enough with some invitation from America's part. America invited him for a lunch and he agreed. America brought him to some fast food restaurant and he mocked his food. America acted like a glutton with no table manner during lunch and he half-jokingly sighed in exasperation.
After their lunch, America invited him for a walk, and that was when things started to veer from their normal routine. Usually after their lunch, they would briskly walk back to their own business. That was what it was, after all, merely a lunch together. By having a walk after their lunch, it almost felt like they were in for something more than a simple lunch together. It almost felt like they were in a date.
England tried to banish such thought from his mind, telling him sternly that the prospect of America and him in a date was ridiculous. So what if they were walking side by side on that busy sideway? So what if their hands brushed against each other as they walked?
So what if America suddenly stopped and grabbed his hand?
England was a bit surprised, and consequently alarmed, when he felt America grabbing his hand. There was a serious look on America that made him somewhat wary.
"America?" he asked.
"I have something to tell you," America said. He opened his mouth, then closed it again. Shaking his head, he then tugged at England's hand, the one he was still holding. "Let's find some place with less people."
He followed America, walking to some alley between two buildings. His feeling of wary had by then escalated to anxiety. Whatever thing America wanted to tell him had to be something really important or at least confidential.
"What is it?" he asked once they were away from any overseeing eye.
And America did not answer him by words, no. Rather, he cupped England's cheek with his one hand, drew their faces closer, and his lips answered with action instead of words.
It was perhaps not the best kiss he ever received. There was still a taste of cheese and grilled meat, something that should probably make him disgusted. But at the same time it was so very America, the way he tasted, the way his tongue boldly moved, the way his hand grasped the back of England's head. Yes, the kiss was probably not the best kiss he ever got, not the sweetest and surely not the most romantic. But it still felt amazing.
After America ended the kiss, he stared into England's eyes. His gaze was calm, surprisingly calm.
"I love you, England," he whispered.
England blinked. It was a natural reaction, at least for him, it was. After having America kissing him, and then admitting his love to him so suddenly like that, it was a wonder that he could even do something as simple as blinking.
"I'm… well, I can understand if this comes as a surprise for you." America continued.
England gulped. "Surprise… right."
"England… listen, just… please," America said. "I'm serious when I say I love you and I want you to know that. You believe me, don't you?"
And when England saw that honest face, he found that he had no reason not to believe him. "Yes, I… believe you."
"Great," America grinned. "So… actually this is the time for you to give your response, you know…"
Oh, England knew. He knew it perfectly well. He should give his response, alright, he could understand that. What he could not understand was why his heart was beating wildly in his chest, why there seemed to be a feeling of anxiety in him, why his mind seemingly went blank. He knew he only had two choices, either he accepted America or rejected him. Either he loved America or he did not.
Did he love America?
He did not know. Or perhaps he did know but he was too afraid to admit it. Or perhaps he was not that afraid, but he did not know how to show his feeling. Or perhaps he was merely being stupid.
"Hey," America softly called him, ending his somewhat restless contemplation. "It's okay. I can understand if you can't give your answer now. Just… don't take too long thinking over it, okay, I think I can die in suspense if you kept me waiting."
He stared at America, watching him grin, seeing how open and hopeful he was, so innocent and true in his expression. He realized then that America did love him indeed, loved him so very much until he dared admitting it to him. It was really endearing in a way that he had never thought possible.
He could only offer America his smile, for he could not really trust his voice that time. America had just kissed him and afterward confessed his love to him. It was really absurd yet amazing. America loved him, England thought with mixed feelings. America loved him.
He shook his head, hating himself for behaving like a young boy just getting his first kiss. But when he saw America, still smiling before him, the thought struck him again and he found that he still could not speak anything.
America seemed unperturbed by his lack of response, though. After mentioning once again of how he was content to wait for his answer, he maneuvered them back to the building where they held their meeting that day, as if nothing had happened between them. They spoke nothing of the matter for the rest of the day. And, yes, England kept being silent, but there was something kept repeating in his mind, something that, as the day progressed, got a firmer hold in his heart and made him suspiciously excited when he thought about it.
America loved him.
England was not quite sure how his feet brought him to America's place that time.
He just knew that he could not forget America's words. He just knew that the image of America's smiling face as he spoke those words kept haunting him. He just knew that the memory of those blue eyes, that smile, those softly spoken words refused to leave his consciousness.
England was then forced to admit that he also nurtured the very same feeling toward America.
He had been thinking, mulling over the confession of love that America had given him. For, really, what was it else than a confession of love? America had told him those simple three words of 'I love you' and it was his turn to respond. America had admitted his feeling to him and it was his turn to do the same.
With that intention in his head, he stood at America's front porch that day. His finger did not quiver even a bit as he pressed America's door bell. He had made his choice. He knew after that point, there would be no turning back, but he was willing to take the road.
The door bell rang for several seconds before the door was opened. Behind that door, England could see America, dressed in his casual T-shirt and woolen trousers. There was a look of slight puzzlement on his face, no doubt trying to figure out why England came to his place without prior notice.
England only smiled.
"May I come in?" he asked.
America stared at him for perhaps another second before he opened his door wider, gesturing England to enter.
"Sorry for the abrupt visit," he said after he entered America's house. He watched America closing his door, preventing the cold February air from entering the house.
"Nah, it's alright," America said with a grin. He flopped to his couch, waving his hand to England as invitation to join him there, which England did after he had hung his coat on the mantelpiece.
"So," America said after England was seated beside him. "Any particular intention for the visit or are you just around in the neighborhood or something?"
He stared right into America's eyes, as if wanting, ascertaining, that America would have his entire undivided attention only to him as he admitted the truth to him.
"You remember what you told me yesterday after we had our lunch together?" he asked.
It was a simple question with a big implication. England could see how the light shifted in America's eyes, how his expression turned a tad more serious, how there seemed to be an aura of anticipation surrounding him.
"Yes," America said.
"You said that you're wiling to wait to hear my answer," he said slowly. "I think I can give you that now, my answer."
America gulped. "Oh."
Somehow, the sight made him smile. Despite all the confidence and cheerfulness that America always showed him, that time he could get a glimpse of insecurity, apprehension, and perhaps even fear. But really, he thought as he reached out his hand and touched America's cheek gently, America had no reason to feel insecure, or apprehensive, or even fear.
"I love you too," he said. "I love you, America."
And without wasting another breath, another second, another word, he closed the distance between their faces. They kissed, there and then. It was the eighth kiss that England ever had with America. And so far, for him, it was the sweetest of them all.
…And Some More
It was somewhat funny how a mere action of kissing, basically just lips moving against lips, could distract people so much, could evoke such a strong feeling, could make them forget who they were and what they were doing. It was funny, how even nations could not escape that weird power of a simple thing called kiss. And it was more than funny that England, the fucking United Kingdom, was apparently not immune to the effect of kisses.
The guest room of America's house was being witness of how that time he was taken under the dizzying rush of emotion. And as England was lying there, on America's couch, with America hovering above him in between their kisses, he found that it was really hard not to smile.
"England," America said, reverently, adoringly, before he ducked his head and nuzzled England's neck. "Oh, man, you… you could not just suddenly waltz to my house and tell me you loved me, dammit."
England's laughter sounded breathless to his own ears. "Says someone who told me the very same thing on some deserted alley yesterday."
He felt America's fingers loosening his tie, unbuttoning the first two buttons of his shirt, dipping lower…
He groaned and tried to get America free of his T-shirt.
"Stop using that damn frog's language," he hissed. "And stop wearing this much clothing."
"I can say the very same thing to you," America murmured. But he did take his T-shirt off. He did help England get rid of his own shirt. He did splay his hand on England's naked chest, caressing, touching, feeling, loving. It almost felt stupid how they both were frantic for touching more, feeling more, and kissing, yes, numerous times they did it. Almost desperately they did it.
England reached up, touching, grabbing the back of America's neck with his two hands. His fingers played with the short, surprisingly soft hair he could find on America's nape. He looked up into those blue eyes, noticing the twinkle of childish playfulness in them that still refused to disappear even after so many years had passed.
"You remember what you said back then about how it would be easier if people say whatever things they want to say?" he asked softly.
"Yeah," America answered. "What about it?"
He moved his hands so he had them cupping America's cheeks. "I want to make love to you."
America chuckled, which came out like wheeze, and one of his hand clutched at England's hand on his cheek. He turned it until he could plant a fleeting kiss on that palm. He laughed. He stared at England, shaking his head, grinning.
"Fuck," he said. "Damn, England, you…"
England did not really get to know what America intended to say about him for he opted not to continue his sentence for the favor of kissing him senseless. He could not say the decision disappointed him. He received the kisses with perhaps more ardor than what he felt toward hearing the rest of America's sentence.
He was aware of how raw his lips felt after those many fervent kisses that they shared, but it was not enough. It was never enough, no matter how many kisses they had shared. He still yearned for more.
"I bet you already lose counts on how many times we've kissed," America said.
"If you really bet your money, you would have lost it by now," England said with a smirk. He stole a kiss, then said. "That's the twenty seventh."
"Oh, God," America laughed. "You're really something, England! Who would be clear headed enough to keep count while having an intense making out session?"
"That's called excellence," England said. He put his most challenging smirk and said, haughtily, to America who was still hovering over his body. "So if you really want me to lose my clear head, surely, you have to do better than that."
America's attitude toward challenge was a source of dilemma for England throughout the centuries. On one side, it was really charming to see America meeting every challenge head on as he tried to overcome it. On the other side, it was also maddening to see him always rush into things, no matter how dangerous, because he never back down on the face of new challenge.
That night, though, when England saw the glint in America's eyes, he knew that he was more than glad with the fact that America was smart enough to see the hidden challenge behind his words, that he was competitive enough to take it, and that he seemed more than capable to win the challenge.
When morning came, England woke up with a disoriented feeling. There was something wrong with the way his bed felt. The angle of the sunshine hitting his face also felt wrong. And there seemed to be something, some warm and comfortable weight, draping over his hipbone.
With a small yawn he opened his eyes. What first met his sight was a cornflower blue sheet that he was sure not one of his own. The second thing he saw, after he ran his gaze downward his body, was the sight of one arm loosely embracing his waist. And then, after he turned his head a bit, he saw America, spooned behind him as he seemed to be watching him.
With that, everything came back to him with a rush.
It was funny how he first had thought that their first morning after would be awkward, with some tense conversation and—yes, he was willing to admit it—major denial on his part. Yet strangely, he felt none of the awkwardness at that moment, merely a deep feeling of contentment. And with a shock he found out that he actually did not mind having that kind of morning more often in the future.
America stared at him, all sunshiny smile and relaxed expression. He propped his head on one hand, watching him. The morning sun filtered through the window illuminated his hair, landed on his bare torso, accentuated his strong shoulder.
"Morning," America said. Then, after a brief moment of contemplation, he leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly upon England's.
"Good morning to you too," he greeted back
"So," America said, still smiling though there was a hint of naughtiness in that smile. "Do you still keep tab on how many times we've kissed?"
And England stared back at him, not glared because he could not really glare when he was still in bed with his (be still, his beating heart) lover with only a piece of sheet covering his nudity.
"Yes," he said.
"Hmm," America hummed. "So, how many times have we kissed so far?"
England smiled, before he, too, leaned forward and returned America's kiss. "It's too many to count."
And it was not that strange, afterward, for him to lie on that bed, hearing the sound of America singing as he showered. And it was also not so strange for England to spend his nights in America's bed after that time. Their flight to each other's place increased in frequency. Their private moments with each other increased in intimacy. Their bond with each other deepened until everyone who saw them could see that their relationship was indeed special.
And every time England visited America, he knew there would be someone waiting for him in the airport, a certain someone with cheerful smile and glittering blue eyes. He would always, always, smile when he saw that certain someone, America, waving enthusiastically at him. And he would always, always, run to him, only to have those two strong arms embracing him then and there without caring much if the people around them might stare at them weirdly.
Then America would ask, "How many times I've kissed you?"
With a laugh, and perhaps a good ruffling of America's hair, he would answer, "Too many to count."
"Well then," America, the smiling America, would then say. "Let's make that too many plus one."
There would be a chaste kiss placed on his lips, then, ever so briefly for they were still in public. And that time, England would admit to himself that he was not particularly honest to America as he counted in his heart.
Six hundred and forty seven times so far…
(A/N: we hope you enjoy that ^_^ any review would be really appreciated.)