A/N: I apologize immensely for any OOC. This was my first USUK fic so I was a little new to writing the characters. And yes, France is disliked XD. The next one is MUCH better, I assure you.
England lay awake, the lavender rubbed on his pillow making him drowsy but not helping him sleep. He never liked leaving little America alone to read at night but the latter had insisted.
"I'm a big kid now, Arthur! I can read by myself!" England scoffed to himself. He's probably reading ghost stories, the little idiot, he thought with a smile. America, though terrified of ghosts, liked reading stories about them at night. England figured the little colony was trying to prove he was brave but every night he would come running into his guardian's bed. Sure enough...
"Arthur?" The small timid voice of America broke the silence at the door to England's room. England sat up, seeing the voice's owner shivering in the doorway. He smiled affectionately and tilted his head.
"Come on in, Alfred," he said patting the mattress, "Did you have a bad dream?" The little colony hurried to the bed and climbed in, snuggling close to England.
"Uh-uh. The shadows in my room looked like ghosts." England lay back, holding the child to his chest.
"Don't be afraid," he whispered, "The ghosts can't get you now." This was his true lavender, having his favorite colony close to him. He yawned.
"I'll...protect...you..." He drifted into blissful slumber, leaving America still frightened and awake. Just like always.
England was not one for public appearances after a nightmare, especially one so jarring as this. He had dreamed of the American Revolution that night and for one reason: it had rained. Given the high precipitation of his country England received this dream quite a bit. And each time it left him weak for at least two days following. This time was no different. He had just had the dream last night and this afternoon he was supposed to meet with France. In his current state he could barely leave his house without being reduced to tears at the refreshed memories of that night. His eyes still damp from an 'attack', he called France to cancel their plans.
"Hmm? What's wrong, Arthur?" France questioned, "This meeting is rather important." England sighed, tasting hot tears on his breath.
"I know. It's just...Francis, I think I may be coming down with something and I want to be clear-headed for something important like this."
"You do sound a little stuffed up. Well, get some rest. I will see what I can do on my own." They made their farewells and hung up. England felt bad about leaving France hanging like that but it was true he was not fit for conference this day. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The storm is coming back... England thought apprehensively.
Later that evening England was out in the pouring rain, half mad from emotional pain, rage, and sorrow. He howled into the wind,
"Just end it already! I've had enough! Just strike me down right now!" The only way he could tell he was still crying in the downpour was the unbearable heat in his cheeks and sinuses. He buried his face in his hands, overcome with the painful memories...of the cold, of the sting from his wounds, of the look of hatred in America's eyes as he aimed his musket at England...
"Arthur!" It could have been his imagination but England swore he heard America's voice over the wind. He didn't have the drive to turn around.
"Arthur!" There it was again. This time someone grabbed England's shoulders and forced him to turn around. It was indeed America, his blue eyes wild with concern.
"What are you doing out here?" he shouted, "Francis told me you were sick!" He stopped when he realized England was crying. Surprise mixed with the worry in his face.
"Arthur..." England bit his lip and tried to wrench America's hands off.
"Leave me alone, you bastard!" he wailed, "You don't give a damn so...so just..." He couldn't continue. His small body racked with sobs, he threw himself at America, attempting to hide his vulnerability but only succeeding in magnifying it. America held him for a few moments, confused but trying to comfort the smaller man. He then pulled back to say,
"Come. Let's go home." He removed his coat and draped it over England's shoulders. The latter did not complain and allowed himself to be steered away, into the dryness and the warmth of America's house. He stood trembling in the front hall while America went for some towels. He was confused, feeling as though he was floating in a dream. A towel was dropped on his head and a smiling America dried his hair for him. England tried to thank him but could not find his voice.
"There you go!" America said cheerfully, "If you come upstairs I can get you some dry clothes. They'll be too big for you, I'm sure, but you're not going anywhere tonight." Why are you being so kind? The two made their way upstairs, England silent and America chattering. He's trying to cheer me up...Why? America left England alone to change but then no more. The way he was doting on him was almost like...The colonial days, England thought. America was already changed, having done so while getting towels, and got into bed. He patted the mattress.
"Come on, Arthur," he said, "It's not like we've never done this before." England stood frozen, one arm held in front of his chest timidly. You were a child then. This is different. America removed his glasses and set them aside. Seeing him like this reminded England again of the Revolution and fresh tears slid down his flushed face.
"Arthur? Hey, don't cry!" Why...is he so worried? Could it be he does care? There was only one way to find out. England climbed up onto the bed, kneeling next to his former colony. He tried to find something to say but words still eluded him. America brought a hand up and gently wiped the tears from England's face. He's so close... It was true. Their noses were hardly two inches from touching. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as a shiver ran up his spine. There were no tears left on his face yet America's warm hand lingered, his soft blue eyes watching England closely.
"Why are you so sad?" he asked in a voice just above a whisper. England lowered his head, unable to continue meeting the other man's gaze. Finally, in a hoarse, frail-sounding voice, he was able to speak.
"Do you know how long it takes to recover from a broken heart?" America hesitated, realization slowly dawning on him. He placed his free hand on the other side of his face and pulled it up to look at him. England was surprised and bemused at the emotion in America's eyes. He had never seen this in him and it worried him.
"Arthur..." he breathed before allowing his lips to collide with England's. The latter inhaled sharply and his thick eyebrows shot up. America was putting everything he had into this kiss: love, apology, passion, anger...it was all there, being forced onto England. This was all he had ever wanted since the Revolution but he could not bring himself to respond. America broke the kiss and opened his eyes.
"I have loved you since I was a child," he said, "Even when I seceded I only wanted to be in your arms, the only place I ever felt truly safe. Please, Arthur, I will do anything if you'll just be happy. I am so sorry I hurt you. I was selfish, I know. I wanted to be independent so you could see me as an adult...one who could keep up..." He ran his long fingers down England's chest, his eyes moving lower at a faster pace. You mean that sexually...
"You would..." he began, causing the younger man to look up, "...do anything?"
"Yes. If I could see you smile again-" England cut him off.
"Kiss me again." America blinked in surprise.
"You heard me. Now for once, Alfred, do as you're told." America wasted no time in obliging, this time the favor returned to him as strongly as he gave it. England clutched at America's shirt. His lips parted, silently begging for more attention. America enthusiastically accepted the invitation, sliding his tongue into his senior's mouth. He moved his hands to England's bottom and pushed him onto his lap. England, now straddling America's hips, could feel how hard his junior was through their pants and quickly broke the kiss.
"What's wrong?" America panted, his eyes hazy with desire, "Why'd you stop?"
"It's too soon, too sudden," England replied stroking the other man's dirty-blond hair, "In my current state it would be unforgivable." Reality washed over America's face.
"Right. You're...vulnerable." The reality of the word burned in England's mind, nearly destroying his fantasy. He touched his forehead to America's, his deep green eyes half closed and slightly misted. They held this position for a few long moments, no sounds save for the incessant pattering of rain on the windows.
"Arthur, can you tell me why you were so upset before?" America asked.
"You already know, don't you?" England replied. A flash of lightning briefly lit the room, followed by a loud boom of thunder.
"This happens to me every time it rains," England explained, "I relive that night in dreams. I hate this...I can't even function until the sky clears." America fleetingly brushed his lips across England's. England released a shuddering sigh.
"Are you afraid?"
"Well don't be. I'm here for you now." The smaller man nuzzled the larger, earning another brief kiss.
"I don't want the others to know. At least...not now. it'll just be the two of us, no one else." America grinned.
"Anything you want, little tsundere." England blushed.
"I am not!" he squealed indignantly. America laughed and pushed him onto his back. England froze up, his sensitive, romantic side getting the better of him. America lowered his face to the older man's ear.
"Yes you are," he whispered seductively. England's breath stuck in his throat. The younger man smirked and planted several fluttery kisses along the tsundere's thin neck before rolling off of him. They lay silent for a long time, listening to the storm.
"You know, Arthur," America said, "You don't have to hide when it rains. You're welcome here anytime." England curled up on his side, snuggling close to him.
"Shut up, bleeding fool," he grumbled, "I'm still vulnerable here." America draped an arm around England's waist and kissed the top of his head.
"Don't worry. I'll protect you." England's blush intensified. America's warmth was intoxicating, more so than the low tone of his voice.
"Alfred..." he began hesitantly, "Is this okay? For me to be like...like this?"
"Are you comfortable with me?" America asked.
"...Yes." England closed his eyes.
"Then it's okay." Alfred...I think I...love you...
"Arthur Kirkland, where have you been?" England looked up from his spot under the towering oak. France stood in his sight with his hands on his hips.
"I beg your pardon?"
"You've been missing for three days! No one has seen or heard from you!" I wouldn't say no one..."What the bloody hell happened to you?" England turned his head forward again, a tiny smile played upon his lips.
"I was recovering," he replied, "Nasty cold. How did things go with your, erm, problem?" He was unusually cheerful today, which bothered France even more. France looked comically indignant, his face nearly as red as his pants.
"I really could have used your help, fairy boy! Now I have an even bigger problem with my economy!" England had stopped listening. He gazed out West, across the Atlantic, a pink blush creeping into his cheeks. He never had to worry about the weather again. For now he knew...I am loved...