Red Roses2: Disclaimer: I don't own Axis Powers Hetalia. That belongs to Hidekaz Himayura.
Pairing: Japan x America.
Summary: America takes Japan out to a Japanese restaurant, but Japan realizes what day it is when they walk in and find it empty. But does America?
Social Faux Pas
Japan debated whether or not he should just ignore his cell phone as "Oh Say Can You See" started playing. He sighed when he chose to answer. Sometimes it sucked to remind himself that America's only friend, aside from himself, was an alien from outer space.
"Japan! I want to take you out for dinner! Can you make it?"
"It's been a while since we've hung out, and I kind of miss you!"
Japan smiled in spite of himself. America's vigor and child-like excitement over such little things was refreshing once in a while.
"We saw each other on October 31 - "
"That was a month ago, Japan! C'mon! We can watch Ouran High School Host Club afterwards!"
"Eh? I didn't know you liked that anime."
"Yeah, I do! I even watch it in Japanese sometimes! Though I think my actors did a pretty good job with the characters, too!"
Japan's smile widened.
"I'll be the judge of that. We'll watch it in English, then."
"Really? You sure?"
Japan raised an eyebrow at that. Since when did America second-guess a decision to watch something in "American"?
"Yes, I'm sure."
"All right, then! See you here at around . . . seven?"
"That sounds good. See you then."
Japan clamped his phone shut and rolled over in his futon. He wondered what restaurant America had in mind - and wondered if it was in poor taste to hope that it wasn't McDonald's again. Japan was developing a taste for fast food, but seriously, how did America eat it every day?
"A date that shall live in infamy." - President Roosevelt
America hugged him as soon as he spotted him. Japan blushed a violent shade of red, which prompted America asking him if he felt all right.
"I - I'm fine, America-kun. I hope I didn't keep you waiting."
"Nah, it's cool! C'mon!"
America drug him towards his car - red with white stripes for the most part, but the hood was blue with silver stars, and yet Japan recognized it as a Honda - led him to the passenger seat and actually held the door open for him.
"Don't mention it!"
Japan couldn't help but smile once more at America's boisterous nature. America got in from the other side and got the car started. Japan watched as America had an almost rare moment of concentration as he backed out of the driveway. He looked away once he realized he was staring.
"If I may ask, where is it we're eating?"
America flashed a grin at him as he switched from reverse to drive.
"A Japanese restaurant!"
". . . Ah . . . ."
This wasn't the first time America had taken him to an American Japanese restaurant. Every time Japan fought the urge to correct every single mistake in decor, terminology, even the food, but also every time he delicately broke it to America that something was inauthentic. America would look disappointed, double check that what Japan said was true, then apologize with such an adorable pout on his face.
Japan just hoped America didn't order the deep-fried "sushi" again. He didn't think he could hold back his horror at the idea the second time around.
When they reached the restaurant, the first thing Japan noticed was that the parking lot was peculiarly empty. Then he noticed that "Ninja" was part of the restaurant name. He sighed.
"Something wrong?" America asked as he turned the car off.
"It's nothing. Shall we go in?"
Again, America surprised Japan by opening the car door for him.
"Arigato. . . You don't have to do that, though."
America blushed as he rubbed the back of his neck.
"Well, it's just that . . . some of England's manners lessons did rub off on me, I guess."
Japan tilted his head to the side, a smile tugging at his lips again.
"What kind of manners?"
"Ah, nothing, nothing!" America insisted, walking ahead towards the restaurant.
Japan shook his head, still smiling. America was cute when he tried being a gentleman.
He followed the taller nation into the restaurant, and once again the first thing he noticed was how empty it was. Aside from the employees, America and Japan were the only people there. Japan happened to spot a calendar on the wall as he looked around while America told the (Chinese) worker they needed a table for two.
Japan's eyes widened as he realized what day it was.
December 7th. It was December 7th. It wasn't any old Friday, it was December 7th.
"Kiku?" America said.
Japan jumped, almost forgetting that that was the name they used for him when they were around non-nations. He quickly looked back at America, his heart thumping hard against his ribcage. Did America not know what day this was, either?
"N-no. I'm sorry for spacing out."
"Don't worry about it. Our table's this way."
Japan followed America to the table, not knowing what else to do.
America had to know what today was. It was the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor back in 1941. The attack that led to America joining the Allies, which in turn led to the atomic bombs being launched on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But if he did know what day it was, why would he bring him to a Japanese restaurant? Even if it was the American version of Japanese food, the concept was still there. How - how would Japan even broach the subject? Was this America blundering things up again? Or was it more than that? Was this a way to make him feel guilty? But if anyone should feel guilty, it should be America for dropping the bombs - no, Japan promised himself that he'd forgive America for that. They were both very stubborn, and neither were going to give up, and America had always been rather paranoid so that was why he had the bombs to begin with, and he didn't even know the extent of their power when he dropped them. What if America really had forgotten, what would happen if Japan reminded him? There was no way it'd be the regular oh-I-didn't-know-I'm-sorry-please-forgive-my-mistake routine. What if America became angry?
Calm down, Japan. Calm down. America was starting to notice the freaking out.
"D-do you know what you want?" Japan asked, not sure he'd be able to eat with his stomach twisting into knots. How could this have happened?
"Uh, yeah, I think I'll try the gyoza dumplings with the california roll sushi. . . . Are you okay, Kiku?"
Japan lowered his head and lifted the menu closer to his face.
"I suppose I'll have the shrimp tempura," he quickly said, hoping America would leave it at that.
It was quiet for some time by the time Japan peered over his menu. America gave him a worried look. He didn't have time to interrogate Japan again, though, since the (again, Chinese) waiter came up to take their orders.
Japan could hear his pulse in his ears. He had to say something, there was no way he'd be able to live with himself if he let America continue with this if he really had no idea it was Pearl Harbor Day. But how could he forget? All those people Japan had killed that day. . . . All those Americans America had held so dear, like children, he had killed that day. He couldn't have forgotten. But what would be the point of doing this if he did remember? America never struck him as the sadistic type, but maybe it was just to torture him? For fun? Maybe Russia's personality was rubbing off on him. He really hoped not. . . .
"Am - Alfred?"
Japan faltered at that adorable curious look. No, he had to go through with this. He was a Japanese man, he would not cower just because he was afraid of America's rejection of him.
He hesitated at his own admission that there was a chance that America would ignore him for a while because of this.
"D-do you know what today is?"
America raised an eyebrow.
"No, the - the date, Alfred. The date."
Japan nodded, then waited for America to have some kind of reaction.
Nothing happened. America just stared at him, as though wondering what the big deal was.
Japan took a deep breath.
"You do remember what happened today, in 1941?"
America opened his mouth to respond, but the waiter returned with their food. They both exchanged thank-yous, and the waiter disappeared.
"Kiku . . . ." Japan braced himself; here it comes. "Are you still mad at me?"
"Nani?" Japan let slip.
America chuckled a little.
"You know I don't speak Japanese."
"I-I'm sorry. Nani means what."
Japan now had the funny feeling that the employees were listening in on their conversation.
America broke his chopsticks in half and attempted to pick up his gyoza. He succeeded after the third try, but he didn't bring it up to his mouth.
"I asked if you were still mad at . . . ." America glanced over Japan's shoulder, then quickly looked back at Japan's face. "America for bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
His change in wording confirmed that the employees certainly were eavesdropping.
"I mean, it would be understandable if you did," America continued. "So many of your people died that day, and the radiation and destruction. . . . I - I just thought that we moved past that. . . ."
Japan just stared at America as his brain went numb. He had no idea what to say to that. America looked so . . . heartbroken. Japan snapped out of it when he heard America sniff, and he realized tears were gathering in the other man's eyes.
"I'm sorry that happened, Kiku! And I'm sorry for how the Japanese who lived here were treated during the war! I'm sorry, I'm sorry for everything!"
Japan reached out to hold America's arm, but he barely touched his jacket. Still, he held onto that bit of fabric the best he could.
"I apologize, Alfred, for the attack on Pearl Harbor. I - I apologize for everything, too!"
Japan's eyes burned as tears welled up, but he wouldn't cry. One of them had to hold it together.
America lifted his head, just so he and Japan were eye-to-eye.
"I'm sorry," the blond said.
Somehow, Japan managed to smile.
"I'm sorry, too. But we've both moved on, right?"
"As long as we never hurt each other like that again, we'll be okay," Japan said.
"Yeah," America said, now with a smile to match Japan's own.
Japan let go of America's sleeve and broke apart his own chopsticks. America popped the gyoza into his mouth and chewed, occasionally moaning from the taste. Japan ate silently, but he was touched at what America had tried to do.
"You still want to watch the anime after this?" Japan asked, just to make sure.
Like a child, America bounced right back.
And that was what Japan liked about him.
Red Roses2: When I was a kid, I insisted that my family and I go to my favorite restaurant, which happened to be Japanese. When we got there, it was empty aside from the employees. I didn't know it was Pearl Harbor Day until my parents told me after we were seated and I asked why it was so empty. My only thought on the matter was "I'm hungry, and I love Japanese food. I'm eating." I was probably . . . eight or nine. Just thought you might want to know where this idea came from.