Story Thirty: Time After Time
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia or any of the characters portrayed.
A/N: I had about thirty ideas in addition to the ones I already posted as stories, so I picked five of them and wrote short drabbles. So this is a little different in that it's five stories in one. Going out with a bang or something.
1. 'Bout The Town
The streets were his sanctuary. A place where he ruled, and no one who valued their property (or sometimes even their wellbeing) dared challenge his authority.
His name was Arthur, but no one knew that. They only knew him as "England" and that name was enough to elicit the sort of terrified reactions he'd come to expect. Then there was the rest of his ragtag group consisting of France, Belgium, Prussia, and their recently acquired members Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. They'd been foolish enough to challenge England's gang and had failed miserably, the tags displayed on the back of their coats proof of that.
They were a gang of rollerbladers who left their mark in colorful graffiti around town. Sometimes fools like Russia would try to cover his art with their own marks, but they were always put in their place. Those streets were England's, and he didn't share.
So that morning, as England stood on top of the building that housed their headquarters, his eyes immediately zoning in on one of Belgium's tags covered in some horrible banner of stars and stripes. His proud smirk faded into a murderous glare as he removed his headphones and skated to the edge of the building where they'd set up a pipe wide enough to grind on down to the streets below.
He'd alert France and the others later. For now he wanted to investigate the latest arrogant upstart who thought he could take over England's territory. He replaced his headphones on his ears and jumped onto the pipe, easily grinding down to the streets and skating over to the wall that was previously covered in Belgium's work. Upon closer inspection, he saw a sloppily spray painted name underneath the ridiculous red, white and blue mess. America.
"Think you can stop me?" a voice called, and England whipped around to see another teenager in rollerblades perched on the awning of a nearby restaurant with his arms folded. He was wearing goggles and his shirt had the same ridiculous insignia that was marring the wall in front of England. The teen smirked and jumped from his perch, then he skated over to one of France's marks and quickly sprayed another array of stripes before he beckoned to England, whose nostrils were flaring in his fury.
"Tag, you're it!"
Then the chase was on.
2. The End
The sky is on fire, a reflection of the ground below it. The noise around him is deafening with the screaming of survivors and the whistling of bombs, but it's all irrelevant now. He's going to die, and nothing else matters anymore.
Beside him, out of his line of sight, is the boy he'd met only hours ago. Alfred, he said his name is. A person who shoved him up against the train window in the subway in an attempt to squeeze on during rush hour is the same person who kept him alive when the bombs first hit, but, despite a daring escape for several hours, in the end they weren't fast enough. Now he's dying and Alfred is dying, and Alfred's breathing is shallow and his fingers cling desperately to his own. Terrified of death, not wanting to be alone in the end.
"Hey….hey, what's your name anyway..?" Alfred chokes out, and Arthur doesn't want to talk. Everything hurts, except his legs, which he can't feel anymore. Maybe they're gone. He can't lift his head to check.
"Arthur," he responds, just loud enough for Alfred to hear.
"Arthur, ha…don't…fall asleep before me, all right?"
Arthur can hear the true meaning of his words loud and clear, and he uses what strength he can muster to squeeze the fingers in his grasp. He won't go until Alfred does. He stares up at the blazing sky, waiting for the pain to go away, waiting for Alfred's pain to end. Alfred's voice finally breaks the deafening noise around them.
"Say...do you think we would have been good together..?"
Arthur can't respond before the fingers that had a fierce grip on his go limp. He doesn't need to turn his head-he can't find the strength to do so anyway-to know that Alfred is gone. Gone beyond where he can be reached ever again.
"...yes, we would have been very good together," he calls quietly to ears that won't hear him. He releases the fingers once clutching his own and closes his eyes. The end will come soon for him, too.
3. Helter Skelter
Twenty one hundred hours.
He's waiting at the designated spot for Bonnefoy's man to show up. Bonnefoy, Carriedo's only ally and the only one who was willing to send out one of his men to watch the rookie.
Rookie. Alfred scoffs at the word. He's a better shot than any of them, but they think he's too soft. He should have been a police officer instead, they say. But instead he's working as Antonio Fernandez Carriedo's hitman. The underling of an underling. It's Vargas who is at the top. The younger one, though he's never actually met him. The point is he's supposed to do the underhanded assassination work without leaving a trail that might dirty someone's hands.
But he's a rookie, and someone needs to look out for him. So there he is waiting for the one Bonnefoy is sending. He checks his watch and then checks it again and lets out an impatient huff. Maybe they'd just been messing with him, and he's really not on an assignment at all, and he lets out a colorful word that would make his dear old granny faint as he prepares to go back.
He doesn't get very far before a gun is pressed against the back of his head and a menacing voice hisses, "embrace the très bien moi."
Alfred groans. God, that's such a stupid secret phrase, made even more ridiculous by how serious the man saying it sounds.
"Oh, come on. Do I really need to say it?" Alfred whines and tries to turn to look at the man behind him. The gun digs even further into his skull and Alfred stops.
"Embrace the très bien moi," he repeats emphatically.
"All right, all right…Paris is indeed splendid, happy?"
The gun is pulled away and the one holding it appears. Some scrawny blond with enormous eyebrows set in what is probably a permanent scowl. They're totally just messing with him.
"What kind of hitman are you? Giving me the opportunity to escape like that?" Alfred asks skeptically.
"You wouldn't have gotten away," he replies so confidently that Alfred has to smile. Maybe this won't be so bad, after all.
"Name's Alfred Jones, by the way!" he says brightly and the man raises one of his impressive eyebrows at him in disbelief.
"There's your first mistake, rookie. Don't give out your name."
"Well, we gotta call each other something, right? I think I'll call you Eyebrows."
He smirks as the man twitches in anger and then yelps as the man grasps his collar in both hands and pulls him down.
"Call me that again and I'll have to report that you were unfortunately knocked off," he hisses and then adjusts the tie on his neat suit, suddenly looking the perfect gentleman. "At any rate, my name is Arthur."
Alfred beams. "So Artie, what's our assignment?"
Arthur turns and glares at Alfred over the nickname, but he doesn't lash out this time. "An enemy of Mr. Vargas, that's all you need to know."
Alfred clicks his tongue as the blond turns to leave, but he follows dutifully anyway. It's going to be a long night.
4. The Road
If he kept walking, he wondered how far the road would take him.
His brother said he'd be back in a few hours when he got hungry and wanted a burger, but Alfred had merely scoffed and packed what few belongings he'd need and left with only a few hundred dollars to his name.
If he kept walking, maybe the road would take him to his purpose in life.
He was determined to make it work out, and work out it did. Food was easy enough to find, and sleeping under bridges, while disgusting, wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. Although he was oftentimes filthy, his charming smile and dashing good looks won him the sympathy of many people, who offered the use of their bathrooms where he could clean himself up enough that he could take odd jobs for the locals.
One time he was walking outside a McDonald's when he was stopped by a man in a smart suit who offered to buy him a meal. Thinking nothing of it, Alfred agreed. The man bought him a burger and it was only as he sat down to eat that he realized that his benefactor was a born again Christian who spoke of how he'd found his salvation through Christ and how Alfred could do the same. Alfred politely excused himself, claiming that he was merely a student on a search to find himself, and he'd do that on his own.
It was when he took up a job washing glasses at a pub that he met him. Arthur Kirkland. A man from England whose work visa was expiring soon. He wasn't really all that attractive, and his personality left much to be desired, especially when he was drunk, but Alfred found him interesting anyway. Talk lead to flirting, flirting lead to sloppy kisses, sloppy kisses lead to tangled, stained sheets. That is until the day Arthur stopped in for the last time, declaring that his visa was really going to expire, and he'd be returning to England the following day. Alfred was brokenhearted, and they parted on harsh terms.
His experiences continued to be rewarding with the people he met and the work he did. He had enough money to return home and pursue the school he'd abandoned, but something else was calling him now.
When he reached the east coast, he visited the country's capital, and New York City, where he visited Lady Liberty and wondered if she wouldn't mind if he left for a little while. The road had taken him to its end, but his journey didn't stop there. He'd hop a boat and sail across the ocean, where another road awaited.
If he kept walking, maybe the road would take him to Arthur.
5. You've Really Got a Hold On Me
Arthur first ran across him when he was eighteen and on holiday in the United States. He was some school age brat who called his eyebrows disgusting and made fun of his accent. In return Arthur called him the most insufferable person he'd ever had the displeasure of meeting. Worse yet, the brat insisted on harassing him the entire time he was in the boy's town.
He'd never been so happy to return to England than he was when he hopped a plane that took him away from his tormenter.
The next time they crossed paths was a couple years later on Arthur's own university campus. Apparently the prat was doing some studying abroad, much to Arthur's horror. Whenever they met, they exchanged obscenities and maybe some flying fists now and then.
Then came his trip to France to visit a colleague in his hometown. Although they ultimately disliked each other, they were able to get along when necessary. Francis was throwing a party for his closest friends and associates, and Arthur was among the guests, but he wasn't the only one. Francis was about to introduce him to that annoying American, when Arthur stopped him.
"His is a face I find even more infuriating than yours, and that is saying something."
"That is saying something," Francis confirmed with an impressed look on his face, and they left it at that.
No matter where Arthur went, no matter the time of year, they continued to cross paths. They continued to hate each other. For years it went on, a cycle of accidental meetings and brazen words, until Arthur found himself back in America, on a nondescript street in some state he didn't care about. As was almost expected by that point, Arthur ran into his American annoyance once again. Their eyes met, then they quickly looked away from each other.
That time, though, Arthur paused as they walked past each other, then he turned around and called to the retreating back of the American.
"Oi, what's your name anyway?"
The man paused and Arthur was certain he'd just keep walking. Instead he pulled the buds out of his ears and turned around.
"Alfred," he said flatly and shoved his hands in his pockets. He nodded at Arthur. "Yours?"
"Arthur," he replied. Nice to meet you, he added in his head as an afterthought, though he deemed it pointless to say it out loud. After all, it wasn't really nice to meet him, was it?
Alfred nodded and one corner of his mouth quirked up in an almost smile as he stuck the buds back in his ears, then he kept walking in the same direction he'd originally been heading. Arthur's own mouth twitched, but he fought it off, then he kept walking as well.
It had only taken ten years, but they finally knew each others' names.
A/N: If you've read all 30 of these stories, thanks for sticking it out! As far as continuations go, I'll probably write a couple, but please don't harass me about it. orz