A/n is below today ;)
Warnings: As per the previous chapter, completely un-betaed except by myself. Also included is even more abuse of the French language, potentials for cavities from the fluffiness, wild mass guessing, and hey, everyone, guess who finally wrote a kiss scene? ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia in any way, shape, or form. Nor do I own the one line of lyric from "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day. Okay? Okay. So, there's no need to sue me now. Wonderful!
The weeks passed slowly. By mid-June Ludwig managed to get the meetings back into semi-working order through the threat of violence to the next person who got off topic. Alfred was still ill and only getting worse, which was to be expected. The efforts to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico were not working, and the damage to the economy of the Gulf was leaving him miserable. Matthew passed on Alfred's conditions to Francis, who relayed them to the rest of the nations. A few were lucky enough to speak to Alfred themselves to discuss matters of assistance, however those were few and far between. Alfred had gone a little lax on the regulations about whose help he was accepting, but most offers were still only put "under consideration."
Yes, Alfred's absence was beyond expected. What was not expected when Arthur missed a meeting.
It was ten weeks after the initial discovery of a oil leak. Arthur Kirkland - The same Arthur Kirkland who worked through rain and snow, war time and economic depression - missed a world meeting. This time Ludwig didn't even try to keep a stable work environment. It was time to cue the mass wild guessing, start putting together search parties, and begin another heated round of gossiping. Arthur-bloody-Kirkland does not just miss a meeting with no forewarning. Not one nation could name a time ever that Arthur had ever missed a meeting, period!
Kiku's initial reaction was to go send someone to check on him, and Ivan instantly offered to go. A little fearfully, Toris interjected that they should draw straws as to who went to check on him, mostly out of fear for England's safety if the larger nation were to go by. At this Ivan stared at Toris and sent the poor nation cowering behind Feliks. Instantly Feliks was up in arms against Ivan, snapping at him to "Dude, like, just totally be nice to Liet or I'll, like, initiate Poland's rule, got it?"
Immediately Lovino deemed the whole thing pointless and stupid, stating they should just go on with the meeting. He was promptly ignored by everyone else in the room, much to his annoyance. Vash just shook his head, deciding adamantly to not get involved. He was also ignored, to his relief.
Meanwhile, Antonio began taking bets on why Arthur missed the meeting. The theories ranged from slightly plausible to absolutely ridiculous. Roderich, Tino, Ludwig, and a reluctant Lovino bet he got caught up in work. Francis, Gilbert, Berwald, and Yao bet he had gone to reconcile with Alfred, as most of the nations knew of Alfred and Arthur's fight by now. Francis was far too right about it being a smaller world than most would think. Ivan and Kiku, a bit to Kiku's shock, both bet he had fallen ill just like Alfred. The two nations exchanged a glance, and Kiku shuddered away from Ivan's cheerful smile.
Feliciano bet they were sharing a plate of pasta, causing every nation to shake his or her head at the poor simpleton.
Elizaveta, however, went a completely different route. A rather, ah, artistic route. "I bet Arthur went to Alfred's house to reconcile with him. He has obviously had a guilty conscience over the whole fight. Haven't you guys seen him moping around? So Arthur showed up at his house, guilty and rain-soaked, to pled for forgiveness. Alfred accepted his apology, obviously, unable to stay mad. Alfred also apologized for being such a stubborn jerk, and Arthur happily accepted. So now that all is right, the only thing left to do is, well, lets just say..." she trailed off, smiling sagely at the men listening so intently. They all leaned in, and most of the conversation even died down. Even Vash and Lovino looked interested.
"...right now they are in the middle of the heated, rough throes of passion," she finished, nodding in agreement to her own statement. Most of the men shot her weird looks. Tino and Berwald's glances met before they quickly looked away, cheeks colored red at Elizaveta's implications. Francis offered her a high five only to get whacked over the head by her frying pan when she assumed he was making a move on her. Instantly Lovino changed his bet, and Vash returned to being neutral.
In the end, though, after hours of arguing and speculating, not one of the nations of the world was right...
Arthur sat on the windowsill in his temporary bedroom, watching the sun slowly falling below the horizon in the distance. London was truly beautiful at sunset, the sky turned a dusky shade of purple that reflected off the buildings and windows. At the moment he had a hard time looking directly at the sky, having to shut his eyes often when little dots began dancing in and out of his vision. He was still trying to get sobered up from last night. In the background the radio was turned up, blaring some punk rock song about a metaphorical boulevard made of dreams. Arthur lightly nodded his head in time to the music, singing along.
"Read between the lines - what's fucked up and everything's alright," Arthur sung, shutting his eyes and flipping off the air before pulling his hands closer to his chest. As the lead singer broke into the chorus, Arthur fingered the air like he would a guitar, strumming invisible chords and playing along to the harmony. Gods, did he miss his old six-string. He had bought it centuries ago, when he was still a lad himself. Maybe he could go pull it out of his attic and just sit down to play for an hour or two, try to forget about the world for a while.
Arthur coughed suddenly, leaning forward to rest his head on his knees as he tried to regain his breath. Forgetting about the world would be wonderful. At the moment, though, he doubted it was possible. Left and right he was being assaulted with enthusiastic young reporters and middle-aged lawyers. Day and night he was signing papers, making calls, and trying to keep the news off of his back. Needless to say Arthur was sick of it, literally and metaphorically. Recently he was beginning to think he was ill himself, feeling a stiff pain throughout his body whenever he moved too much or sick to his stomach when he even glanced at food. Was this how Alfred felt? Or was it worse?
Slowly Arthur pulled himself back up into a sitting position, resting his cheek against the glass of the window. The cool glass felt good on burning skin. When the hell did it get so hot? Arthur shrugged it off, tilting his head to peer up at the sky into the distance, then glanced down at his watch. Ten past eight post meridiem. Solemnly he pulled his attention from the sky. He couldn't stay here. Coughing once more he waltzed over to his closet and pulled out a long jacket and cap, adorning both pieces of clothing at once.
At that moment Arthur didn't particularly care where he went, as long as he wasn't inside. He was sick of being inside, piles of paper upon the desk in his study reminding him of the numerous lawsuits made against one of his best companies. People continuously badgering him to get this done and get that done. Letters were left scattered on his dining table as he passed through to grab his keys, most of which were from various citizens. Arthur didn't even bother to look closely at them, trying to wish them away.
The first burst of early July breeze hit him with the fresh smell of spring as he stepped outside. The trees lining the streets were in full bloom. There was a little light left in the distance, but at this point the street lamps were lit up. They glowed eerily against the purpling sky. Arthur pulled his cap down over his face and took off down the nearly empty streets, taking back roads to avoid being seen. He just wanted to be alone for a few hours. Was that too much to ask?
By time Arthur arrived at the Thames river darkness had settled over the city. Slowly Arthur moved off of the road he had been jogging along and found himself a little patch of grass to settle in by the bank. Dew soaked into his pants, but he could ignore it. Boats called out from the docks nearby, blowing their horns loudly to break the nearly silent night. Behind him a cat yowled loudly at the moon. Even this late at night his city was alive.
Somewhere far off, invisible even on the distant horizon, sparks of blue, red, and white exploded in the sky.
Arthur knew it was his imagination, but he could almost hear the jubilation. Somewhere across the great Atlantic Ocean people were cheering at the top of their lungs, singing praises to the best nation on earth. Or at least they would be in several hours, when their time caught up to his. Time zones aside, the point remained that Arthur found it almost admirable how, even in such hard times, Alfred's people could find patriotism in their hearts. People could still find reason to celebrate. So what if the Gulf was becoming a dead sea? At least they were free.
Today was Alfred's birthday, and Arthur was more miserable this year than he had ever been. Gently resting his chin on his knees, wrapping his arms around his legs, Arthur sighed as he tried to ignore the pain in his chest. It was much easier said than done, and before he knew it he was remembering things best left forgotten. So caught up in his own melancholy, Arthur never noticed someone approach until he was standing right behind him.
"You going to sit out here and brood, non? Like you do every year?"
Arthur groaned, covering his face with his hands. "Why today, of all days, did you have to bloody come and bug me?" Francis chuckled at Arthur's distress, causing the short male to quickly snap his head up to glare at him. "Stop laughing. Just hearing you makes my blood boil."
Francis crossed his arms, looking across the Thames thoughtfully as he shut up. "The fireworks are gorgeous in America. You wouldn't know, since you never stay long enough to see them," Francis commented, glancing at Arthur out of the corner of his eyes, "You always drop off your present and leave with some stupid excuse when it's so obvious it just pains you to be there. Can you truly not let go of the past, Angleterre?"
His words were having no effect. Seeing Arthur sitting there, stubborn and unrelenting, made Francis sigh in frustration. "He misses you," Francis finally uttered aloud. He had been hoping to loosen Arthur up before he got to the point of his appearance.
"No, he doesn't." Ah, argumentative as always. At least Arthur was acting the same. "If he did he'd call me or something. He's got things under control, he's fine. I have my own things to worry about, anyways. I have damn paperwork up to my ears, calls to make, people to fire -"
"Then why aren't you working? Why are you here, dwelling on your misery?"
"Am I not allowed to relax?" Arthur snapped, moving to stand up. He didn't like having to look that far up to meet Francis's eyes. "Why do you care, anyway, you damn frog?"
Francis shrugged mysteriously. "Why do you care to know my motives if you get what you want in the end? And before you ask, what you want is to go apologize to Amerique for being so damn stubborn." Francis held his hand up to stop Arthur from talking, his eyes twinkling as he added, "and then you want to yell at him for taking after you so much. I am right, oui?"
Arthur didn't reply. He didn't wish to give Francis the satisfaction of being right, but who good would it do him to even admit to himself that Francis was right? He did want to see Alfred, to reassure himself that he was alright. Maybe he did want to apologize, but how could he do so when they had an ocean separating them? Arthur looked down at the shimmering waters of the Thames, staring at the reflections of the sparkling lamp lights of the city.
"I have work. You don't expect me to just jump on a plane and go see him, do you?" Arthur scoffed softly, crossing his arms and turning his gaze back to the Frenchman. Surprisingly Francis just smiled, beginning to dig around in one of his pockets. That was not the reaction Arthur was expecting. He was even more taken back when Francis pulled an envelope from his pocket. Waving it mockingly in front of Arthur's face, Francis grinned.
"Know what this is, mon cher?" Francis sing-songed.
My gods, could he get any more annoying? Arthur asked himself. He scowled and snatched the envelope from Francis's hand, snapping, "I could read it myself if you'd hold your damn hand still!" Gently flipping it over in his hand, Arthur saw no distinguishable marks on it. Not even an ounce of writing. Curious, Arthur carefully pulled the envelope flap out of where it had been securely tucked, peering inside at the contents.
Francis laughed at Arthur's shocked face. "It leaves in twenty minutes. You can make it to the airport by then, eh, Angleterre? That money should be enough for a cab," Francis commented nonchalantly, inspecting his fingernails as if they were the most fascinating thing in the world.
Once more, Arthur was speechless. Looking up at Francis then back at the envelope containing his one-way ticket to Washington, D.C., Arthur found himself having a hard time understanding why in the world Francis would do this for him. They had never been friends. However Arthur was not going to complain about the sudden, unexplained act of kindness. Not in a time like this. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew he'd owe Francis for it later and hated that fact, but for now he could live with it.
"My work..." Arthur began slowly, trying to work out a way for him to escape to Washington without having to worry about the pile of papers that would stare him down upon his return. Not to mention the numerous politicians and lawyers who would surely kick down his door if he didn't answer.
Francis raised an eyebrow and pointed to himself, instantly causing Arthur to balk. No way in hell. Absolutely positively no damn way. Arthur shook his head in adamant refusal. "No, you are not handling my work."
Surprisingly, Francis didn't lash back. Instead he smiled wider. Arthur really wished he'd quit that - he was bordering on Ivan level creepy. "Well then," Francis said in a perfectly innocent tone that Arthur knew meant he was having less than innocent thoughts, "I suppose you'll just have to send someone to assist me, non?"
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "As in who?" Arthur asked, "Tell me, name one completely trustworthy person I can get assistance from on such short notice."
Francis whistled a little. "You know," he began slowly, "Darling little Mathieu is staying with Alfred. Perhaps-"
"What's it?" Francis asked, looking up curiously.
Arthur pointed his finger under Francis's nose. "You're only doing this for me because you want an excuse to be alone with Matthew. This is an excuse to get me gone and him here, you damn frog! Well, I won't have it. You are not molesting him in my house!"
Francis lightly smacked Arthur's cheek admonishment. Arthur smacked his hand away with a scowl. "Mon dieu, Arthur, this is not just an excuse to ship you away so I can have my way with Matthew. Besides, once again, does the motive matter if you get your way?"
Arthur seemed to think about this. He shifted from foot to foot, biting his lip and looking back at the Thames. Quickly he checked his watch, finding he didn't have much time to decide if he wished to catch the plane on time.
Slowly Arthur let out a sigh. "I want my house spotless -"
"It will be. I won't destroy anything," Francis reassured.
"-under a black light when I return, frog. Got it?" Arthur fixed Francis with a firm, knowing glare.
A Cheshire grin crept over Francis's face. Victory was a cute Canadian. "Oui oui, Angelterre. Now go. Your paramour is waiting."
Despite the swear words violently thrown at the Frenchman, Arthur made no word of true arguement as he bolted down the street, hailing the first cab he saw.
Through the thick walls of his room, Alfred could hear everything. Crickets were singing from the grass around the house. The loud crackling of fireworks echoed through the air, little flares of color illuminating the room every couple of moments from the grandiose French doors that led out to a balcony. Far below people cheered and sung songs of patriotic praise. Alfred shut his eyes, listening to his people. They were singing for him, celebrating his self-declared birthday. It brought a small smile to his face to hear their joy in such dire times.
Alfred groaned and buried his face in the pillow, feeling his stomach lurch painfully. These were dire times indeed. 35,000-60,000 barrels worth of oil was spilling into the Gulf every day with no end in sight. It would be at least a month before the relief wells would be in place to permanently stem the flow of oil. Until then Alfred would be bed ridden, sick, and over all miserable. Alfred hated being stuck in bed. It went against his hyperactive and heroic nature, because in his mind heroes never got sick.
Well, they never got sick unless they were suddenly exposed to their one true weakness, like Superman with kryptonite, but that was another point entirely.
Alfred snatched up a tissue out of the box Matthew had courteously left by his bed, blowing his nose violently before dropping it in the wastebasket that was also left by his caring brother. Three tissues more and a cough attack later and Alfred was back semi-comfortably curled up in a cocoon of blankets. Alfred hated that it would be at least another month before he got any relief. He hated that right now he had to depend on Matthew. Heroes didn't need to depend on other people, damn it!
Suddenly he heard a knock on the door down below. Eyes flitted over to the glowing numbers of the clock on his bedside table and Alfred groaned. It was nearly midnight, and he did not feel like dealing with foreign delegates. Who the hell would even come by at 11:49 at the fucking P.M.? Another knock came on the door, and Alfred buried his face in his pillow in annoyance. Down the hall he heard the guest bedroom open and shut, Matthew's feet quietly shuffling along the hall in an attempt to not wake his brother. Alfred hoped Matthew had enough sense to send whoever it was away.
Alfred snatched the box of tissues again, blowing his nose.
"Coming!" Alfred heard his brother call softly. A moment later the door was pulled open, conversation quietly going on below Alfred's floorboards. Despite his best attempts to eavesdrop, Alfred couldn't hear anything over his sneezes, but didn't particularly care. Please send them away, Alfred silently pleded to his brother, shoving a pillow over his head to try to block out the last of the dying bangs from fireworks. Sleep sounded wonderful right now.
The conversation dragged on far longer than Alfred would have expected. Surely he would have heard the door slam if their midnight visitor had left, right? Alfred was almost tempted to pull his head out from under his pillow and go see who it was. In fact he was just about to do this when the bed shook slightly from the door shutting. Alfred let out a sigh. Finally.
Slowly Alfred relaxed, ready to fall asleep. Outside he heard a car start up, an engine revving in the almost completely silent night. Alfred listened to Matthew's soft footsteps up the stairs, across the carpet, and then...they stopped. Alfred slowly lifted his head, blinking. Trying to listen for the opening and closing of Matthew's door, he was surprised when it didn't happen. In fact, he heard no movement what so all for a few long moments.
Slowly Alfred's door creaked open, just a little. Light filtered in from the hallway, making Alfred blink dots out of his eyes. He reached over and snatched his glasses off of the table-side, squinting at the door.What the - ?
"Are you awake?"
It was a very soft question from the last person he would expect to be standing in his doorway. Alfred wouldn't have believed that was really Arthur if it wasn't for that thick London accent. For a moment Alfred entertained the possibility he could be dreaming, sitting up slowly. He quickly laid back down as his body protested the movement.
Nope, not dreaming. If he were dreaming he wouldn't feel this sick.
Weakly, Alfred tilted his head to look at the man who was staring at his feet as if they held the secret to the universe. "H-hey, where's Matthew?" Alfred muttered, momentarily forgetting he was angry with Arthur.
"He, um, stepped out. It was important," Arthur said by way of reply, coughing. This was already far harder than it should have been. "May I come in?" Arthur mumbled, drawing in a breath and forcing himself to look up at his former colony. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. If he didn't seem sick before, then Alfred definitely looked sick now. Arthur felt his chest clench a little looking at Alfred's pale face. In the dim light he could make out dark circles under blood-shot eyes. To top it off, Alfred sneezed, quickly snatching the box of tissues off of his bedside table.
Alfred just nodded in response as he blew his nose, Arthur flinching at the disgusting noise. Arthur stepped into the dim room, shutting the door behind him. This effectively shut out all light, forcing Arthur's eyes to adjust slowly. "I hope I'm not intruding," Arthur said a little louder, so Alfred didn't have to strain to hear.
Alfred snorted as he leaned over the side of the bed and tossed his tissue away, holding the box to his chest. Oh yeah, Arthur had been a stubborn jackass so Alfred was ticked. That's right. "You are," he replied mockingly, "but go ahead. What is it?" Alfred was genuinely curious as to what would bring Arthur to his house at nearly midnight. Especially considering they hadn't spoken to each other face to face in over a month, preferring to send very uptight formal letters to each other through various messagers.
Arthur scowled in the darkness. He was trying to apologize here, and that tone was not helping his mood. However he also know that getting mad would not help either. Slowly he counted to ten, drew in a breath, released it, and began to take a step forward. "I realize I've been a bit of a-" Arthur's voice faltered.
"Git?" Alfred offered helpfully, attempting to accent the word as Arthur would. It came out sounding absolutely atrocious, making Arthur pray he would never do that ever again.
"For lack of a better word, yes, a git," Arthur continued slowly, feeling a little more confident with his words. "I downplayed the oil spill. I shouldn't have. I tried to force you to take Jansen's offer because I was..." A sudden cough racked his frame, causing him to falter a little. Arthur was cursing himself as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, covering his mouth. Why was this so difficult?
"You were?" Alfred prompted once the cough died down, wishing Arthur would get on with it. He was not seeing where this was going, despite how obvious it was. It was well known face amongst the other nations that the American was denser than lead.
Arthur tucked the handkerchief carefully back into his pocket, hoping he didn't get stopped by another coughing fit. He drew in a deep breath, taking another step towards the bed, then another. Might as well just get this out of the way, he decided. "I was worried about you. I was mad that you didn't take his help because you were putting yourself in more risk because of your idiotic heroism. It wasn't right for me to yell at you like that though, and for that I am sor-"
Several things happened at once in such a quick blur neither man knew what had happened until it was over. Alfred heard the sharp sound of shoe meeting was a sudden crash, a weight thrown onto the bed. Alfred's alarm clock was suddenly gone, bouncing off of the wall and onto the floor with a loud clang. Another clang followed as Arthur almost assuredly knocked over his wastebasket. Hands grabbed his thigh and hip to regain balance, and curses were spewed from lips that were in the middle of a very important apology just seconds ago.
"God damn bloody cords!" Arthur cursed, reaching down and untangling the alarm clock's cord from his foot. "Damn tables. Why don't you have a bloody light on in here?" Arthur fumed, tossing the cord away viciously once he had it unraveled. A small noise attracted his attention, and slowly Arthur looked up, gaping. He was not...
"Are you laughing?"
"No." Alfred's body shook a little, his hand coming up to cover his mouth. Arthur stared up at Alfred. It was so dim he could just barely see the outline of his features, but he could see them. One of his hands was on Alfred's hips, so he could even feel the tremors through his body.
"You damn well are!" Arthur yelled. That did it for Alfred. He pulled his hand away form his mouth, laughing heartily at Arthur's expense. Arthur would have none of it. Promptly sitting up and grasping a pillow, he slammed it over Alfred's face, thanking God that it was dark so Alfred couldn't see his blush.
"You be quiet, you git! Gods, I come here to apologize and this is the thanks I get!" Arthur yelled, throwing up his hands in frustration. The movement was cut off when Arthur coughed, bringing his mouth to the crook of his elbow. He didn't wish to get Alfred even more sick, even if was being a twat at the moment.
Gently Alfred removed the pillow from his face, still chuckling. "I'm sorry for ruining your moment," Alfred mocked, throwing the pillow back at Arthur, who promptly tossed it away. Slowly Alfred's chuckling died down, leaving the two men in an awkward silence. The fireworks had died down. The world had gone to bed. Even the crickets had quieted down. Nothing broke the silence until -
"Achoo!" Arthur's body lurched forward at the force of the sneeze. Something banged against his arm as he was recovering. Arthur took the box, thankful to find that they were tissues. Arthur muttered a quiet thank you as he blew his nose.
"You're welcome," Alfred replied back with a shrug. He watched the British gentleman blow his nose. "So, you're sick too?"
"What did you expect? One of my richest companies is on the verge of bankruptcy. This is hurting my economy, too," Arthur snapped in reply, sighing when he realized how angry he sounded. If he got mad at Alfred again that would completely ruin the whole point of this visit. He had to remind himself of this fact and suck up his wounded pride.
"Sorry, it's not your fault. I shouldn't be getting angry," Arthur added with another sigh. "They were the ones stupid enough to not have a proper back-up plan in place."
"Yeah, well, I was the one stubbornly pushing off-shore drilling," Alfred said, surprising Arthur with his willingness to admit error. Arthur smiled at Alfred's honesty, satisfied until Alfred added, "But yeah, you guys screwed up more."
Arthur punched Alfred's shoulder. "Don't push it, git. I'm trying to admit my faults over here. I don't need you rubbing them in my face," Arthur grumbled, tossing the tissue box back at Alfred. He felt very self-satisfied when he heard it connect with Alfred's face.
Alfred rubbed his nose, flinching. "Maybe if you'd stop throwing things at me, I'd stop mocking you," Alfred suggested.
"Would you quit whining? My gods, you're insufferable!" Arthur snapped, rubbing his face.
"So are you!" Alfred nearly yelled before groaning and pressing his palms to his eyelids. His lungs didn't like the extra exertion. For a long moment he waited for Arthur's next scathing comment, but for the millionth time that night was surprised when it never came.
"...Guess you took after me a little too much."
Alfred thought about this for a moment, and laughed. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Gods, they were all right," Arthur groaned, laughing as well. "We're stubborn idiots."
"You're more stubborn than me, old man."
Alfred yelped as Arthur whacked his arm again, harder this time. "You're more of an idiot, so I suppose it evens out."
"Hey! I ain't no idiot, y'hear?"
"Careful, your hick is showing," Arthur teased, snorting in amusement.
Alfred groaned. "That's a horrible joke," Alfred muttered, reaching up and shoving Arthur weakly. "Hey, I accept."
Arthur glanced down at Alfred, raising an eyebrow in question. He could see Alfred's blue eyes shining in the darkness and the details of his face a little better now that his eyes had adjusted. "Accept what?" Arthur asked, rubbing his eyes.
"Your apology. I accept it," Alfred explained with a small grin that made Arthur's face heat up. "So will you accept mine?"
"Consider it done, Alfred," Arthur replied softly, surprising himself by using Alfred's name for the first time in a long time. He pulled at the covers for a second, fidgeting. Arthur suddenly decided to do something that could potentially get him teased for the rest of his life. He hesitated for a long time, long enough for Alfred to sit up a little in expectation. Finally fed up, Arthur turned and, bracing one hand on Alfred's shoulder, kissed his forehead.
Well, wasn't Arthur full of surprises tonight? Alfred turned a few different shades of red before Arthur pulled away, turning his head to cough before returning to his seat on the edge of the bed. Both men were silent for a long time. Did Arthur Kirkland really just kiss Alfred F. Jone's forehead?
Why yes, he did, and Alfred, despite his embarrassment, could do nothing but whisper, "You missed."
"What are you mumbling back there?" Arthur grumbled under his breath, a palm over his own blushing face. He peered over his shoulder, a little irritated to see a wide grin on Alfred's face. Why was that git smiling?
"You. Missed." Alfred explained slowly, sitting up. The movement made him clench his teeth, his body sore from not moving much in so long. However it was all worth it to hear the quiet protests of the great Arthur Kirkland as Alfred pulled him by his necktie into a second kiss, this one planted firmly on his lips.
Later Arthur would look back and blush, remembering how Alfred's lips were far from perfect but that made the kiss all the more memorable. They were cracked from sickness, yet still smooth in places. Arthur could've sworn he felt a scar from where the skin had pulled apart and begun bleeding at one point. Arthur's gut clenched at the horrible taste, as if the oil from Alfred's gulf was on his lips. Above all, though they were warm. Rough and warm. Arthur would pretend it lasted a lifetime, even if it was only a few seconds.
It was only a few seconds because Arthur quickly pushed Alfred away. At that moment he was most certainly not focusing on how warm and rough Alfred's lips felt against his. No, at that moment, he was worried about a more pressing matter.
"My gods, man! Do you realize how unsanitary that is?" Arthur yelled, wiping his lips on his sleeve.
Alfred chuckled. "I'm not that sick. Besides, you're sick too, so there's no risk!"
"That doesn't make it any less disgust- ING!" Arthur sneezed out the last syllable, and in response was presented with a tissue to his face. He growled and snatched the whole box from Alfred, blowing his nose as the younger man flopped back down onto the bed. Alfred didn't argue, allowing Arthur to blow his nose in peace. At least, for a little while.
"You should sleep," Alfred told the European after his third tissue.
"Shouldn't I be saying that? You're the one with over one-hundred thousand gallons of oil being pumped into your gulf every day," Arthur commented.
"Ha! you admit it's my - hey, wait, when the hell did it go up to one-hundred thousand?"
"A day or two ago."
Alfred groaned, rubbing his face with one of his palms. "Great, just great. I'm getting sick of being stuck in bed. Heroes -"
Arthur rolled his eyes and lightly shoved Alfred's shoulder. "Right right, you're a hero, you're stronger than this, ect. Now move over so I can lay down, git. Matthew has my car until tomorrow."
Alfred laughed slightly and complied. The bed creaked a little as Arthur laid down, back facing Alfred. He pulled a pillow out from under Alfred's head to use, earning a quiet yelp of protest. After a moment or two of shuffling and a few muttered curses the silence settled in again, much more comfortable than the previous times. That didn't stop it from being broken, again. "Hey, Alfred," Arthur whispered after a moment.
"Yeah?" Alfred mumbled, straining to listen as Arthur grumbled something inaudible. "Sorry, what was that?"
Alfred smiled a little at Arthur's back, moving forward a little to throw an arm around Arthur's waist. "It's well-past midnight now. Y' missed it," Alfred began teasingly, listening to Arthur growl in annoyance for a moment before adding, "but thanks. It's the thought that counts." He chuckled a little as he felt Arthur fidget, something Alfred noticed he did when he was embarrassed.
"You're welcome," the British man added softly, smiling and shutting his eyes. He was ready for some well deserved rest.
Unfortunately, Alfred had one last thing to say. "Hey Arthur?"
"Can you pass the tissues?"
"Get them yourself," Arthur mumbled lazily, too tired to even toss the box over his shoulder at the annoying git.
Alfred seemed to think about this for a moment before leaning across the smaller man, grinning when he yelped in weak protest. Arthur was sure Alfred would kill him at this rate. His heart was pounding harshly in his ribcage as Alfred was pressed up against his back, his hand fumbling in the dark for a minute for the tissue box. The younger nation let out a triumphant "Ah ha!" when his hand closed around the box. Just as an excuse to stay pressed against Arthur a moment longer, Alfred took his time in removing his glasses before setting them down safely on the table and rolling back into place clutching his prize.
Arthur scooted closer to the edge of the bed, blushing. His hand was pressed to his chest and his breathing was a little erratic. Damn him. "There, happy now?" Arthur coughed, burying his face in a pillow. "Now go to bed, damn it."
Alfred chuckled, blowing his nose. "Love you too, Arthur." Alfred chuckled at the British man as he snatched another pillow to place over his head to effectively block out Alfred's voice and hide his own blush.
There was oil in the Gulf. National outcry was going on in America, The Gulf economy was injured, and Brittan was facing the loss of one of their biggest companies. The world was watching and waiting to see what would happen. Things were looking bad for the economies of the United States and United Kingdom. Laying in bed with Alfred's warmth at his back, though, Arthur wasn't concerned...
...and for one night, neither was Alfred.
A/n: Well, I'm sad to say this is the last installment in this fanfiction. I really didn't expect it to be even this long - I'm not known for being able to finish long works, so I'm proud I managed to write this much in a week and edit it in a semi-decent amount of time. :3 If you guys enjoyed it the story then please review, point out any mistakes or inaccuracies, or just say how much you enjoyed it. If I ever come back and rewrite this years from now, I will happily take everyone's opinions into consideration. :D Thanks again to everyone who has already reviewed! I love each and every review, fav, or alert I've gotten. It means a lot when people like my work, so thank you so much!
Until next time!