Title: So Cries America
Author: Takada Saiko
Notes: I don't own this series, for one, and if anyone tried to sue me they'd get precious little, being a poor English student and all. They might get a lot of books, but they'd have to fight me for those. Anyway, this is a politically leaning story. If it offends you... well, you've been warned. And ah well, artists, of all sorts, are meant to push lines of all kinds. If I get them OOC (personal political views excluded) please let me know! I'm brand new to the fandom.
He hadn't expected to find him crying. There were fireworks going on outside, celebrating his birthday, and he was never the one to cry on his own birthday. He reveled in it, often poking fun at his former big brother, a cheerful smile on his face and the simple thrill of being alive and free one more year bolstering his already high spirits even higher. He wasn't supposed to be alone in his home, rocked back into a corner with the curtains drawn and tears streaming down his face.
"What the bloody hell hasn't gotten into you?"
America looked up, streaks left behind by the salty water that had been pouring down his face for heaven knew how long. "England? What are you doing here?"
"I came to wish you a bloody happy birthday, you git," the elder nation growled, looming over him. It was a pleasant feeling, being able to stand over him after all of those years. He hadn't realized how much he missed it. "You do realize those fireworks are for you, don't you?"
The taller nation nodded solemnly, plucking his glasses from his nose and trying to wipe the smudges from them. "Yeah," he managed as he sniffed. "They're pretty."
"Yes, but how could you tell? The shutters are closed." He stepped over to the window and threw open the curtains and blinds, and then opened the window itself, allowing the sounds to drift into Alfred's home. The room was lit with reds, blues, and bright whites as the fireworks exploded in the night sky. "The lady out there has quite a lovely singing voice. You really should go listen."
"I should," America agreed after a moment, not returning with his usual quips. "After all, they're doing it for me." He stood slowly, on shaky legs, and managed a step and a half before pitching forward.
England let out a startled gasp and grabbed at him, easing his fall and taking a hard seat with him. "What is all of this?" he demanded sharply.
America shook harder as a fresh batch of sobs broke free as the woman outside sang out, "O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" England supported his shoulders carefully and they sat for a long moment until the music ended and applause could be heard. The finale wound down and the fireworks eventually stopped, leaving the former brothers with only the soft sniffling of the younger nation to fill the uncomfortable silence.
"What do you do…?" America croaked at last, looking up to England with blurry blue eyes and an uncharacteristically frightened expression playing across his face.
"What do you do for what, Alfred?" he asked patiently.
"What do you do… when your boss won't listen to his people?"
And then it made sense. He'd tried to ignore the articles in the Times that had been coming out about unrest across the ocean. A president that had offered so much and delivered so little and the people were angry. England shook his head sadly and sighed. He was cradling the younger nation now, as the other didn't seem to have the strength to hold himself upright. It hurt him, somehow, to see the proud and strong America in the state. "You have faith in what you believe in," he said slowly, tasting each word. "I don't always agree with you, and you often annoy me to no end, but… You have your beliefs very well etched out in your history. Cling to them. They've gotten you this far."
"But every boss I've had… he's listened. This one… I don't know. I wonder at times if he hates me. He goes around and apologizes to everyone, you hear him don't you?" He waited for England to nod his agreement. A dark look passed through his eyes. "He gave Ivan credit for ending the Cold War… Ivan! I just… What did I do wrong? I've tried so hard…. It's all I can do. I'm supposed to be the hero, but he hates me." He began to shake again and laid his head tiredly on England's shoulder. "I'm okay with fighting, you know? You've always known that, but not when we're not planning to win. It's like he's shackled me. It hurts."
"I know," England answered, patting America's back in an awkward manner. He really was no good at comforting him. "I'm sorry. It'll look brighter in the morning. You'll see. Your people still love you, right?"
"You think so?"
The smaller nation nodded, forcing a small smile of encouragement. "I do. Why else would they have gathered tonight to sing your songs and celebrate your birthday?"
America nodded, thinking about the statement. Finally a small smile tugged at the corners of his lips. "They love me. I'm still their hero."
England chucked at this, ruffling the other's blond hair a bit. "Yes, I do believe you are."
A/N: So, there it is. Any questions about anything, feel free to either leave it in a review or a PM, and I promise I'll get back to you ASAP. I'm a senior level English major who is about to rip her hair out about this time of the semester, so if it's delayed, that's the only reason. Please R&R