Soooo... This time we were supposed to write a character whose actions and/or words contradicted his/her thoughts. My mind immediately made the connection: words contradictory to one's thoughts - TSUNDERE! So of course I had to write this.

Ah, also, we had to base the story off the quote: "I miss our 5:30 a.m. talks on the treadmill. They were always the best part of my day." And of course Arthur would never come out and say it.


"So, Artie, why'dja wanna go for coffee with me today? You always drink tea." Alfred grinned, cornflower blue gaze searching his companion's face curiously.

Arthur flushed, looking away with his brow furrowed. "Idiot. Don't read too much into it; I just wanted to discuss the upcoming meeting."

"Oh, you mean the one that I'm hosting tomorrow? No problem. I've got everything covered." Arthur was about to announce his skepticism when Alfred added, "Mattie helped me set up and everything!"

"Oh." The shorter blonde settled back into his seat. "Well, if Matthew helped, then it can't be that bad." He picked up his mug of coffee and took a small sip. He'd found that, when consumed in small quantities, the bitter liquid could be tolerable—why Alfred's people needed such huge cups was beyond him.

"Yep!" Alfred beamed proudly. "Well, there was one point where Kuma ate the tablecloth, but we got it out of his mouth eventually—'we' meaning Mattie, of course." Catching sight of Arthur's expression and interpreting it correctly (for once), he hastened to reassure him that they had indeed re-washed said napkins, ensuring that there was no bear saliva remaining.

"You're such an idiot," Arthur huffed, crossing his arms. They were seated beside a window, and he scowled when he saw multiple people do double-takes at the size of his eyebrows.

"What? You keep calling me that, Iggy," Alfred whined, only proving Arthur's point. "You're so mean to me…"

Arthur snorted, about to retort with some scathing remark when he realized that the American's cup was empty.

Alfred noticed the same thing a few seconds later. "Huh. I'm done." He peered forlornly at the bottom of the paper cup, debating. "I'm gonna get some more."

Arthur pushed him back down as he rose, gripping his shoulder firmly. "I'll get it," he said, in a tone that did not allow for argument. Alfred, being the clueless idiot he was, didn't get the message.

"Are you sure, Iggy? You don't have to; I know how much you hate coffee, and the front room smells like it—"

The Brit rounded on him, green eyes blazing with some unholy fire. "I'm treating you to coffee. Do you really want to complain, boy?" His accent had thickened noticeably. Alfred raised an eyebrow in a gesture that was rather eloquent for the normally oblivious American, and Arthur blushed. "N-not that I—"

"Iggy," Alfred sighed, grabbing hold of the hand still resting on his shoulder. "What's wrong?" Without waiting for an answer, he pulled Arthur down into the booth beside him, so close that their elbows bumped whenever one of them shifted. "C'mon, Iggy," he cajoled, his voice low and soothing. "You can tell me."

Arthur straightened, furious at his antics. "You needn't patronize me, boy," he snapped in a tone Alfred hadn't heard since he'd struck out for independence.

"Aw, c'mon, Iggy." Alfred, completely ignoring the tension in the air, leaned over and engulfed the shorter blonde in a bear hug. The sputters that jerked out of the Brit's mouth were drowned out by the soft song Alfred was humming. "Don't be such a party-pooper."

"Wh-what?" Arthur surfaced, face thunderous. "Alfred F. Jones, if you do not unhand me at once—"

"Something's bothering you," Alfred said seriously, drawing back with an unusually serious expression. "How can I call myself a hero if I let my friends suffer?"

Arthur deflated, leaning back against the seat. "Do you have friends?" he muttered, but it was a half-hearted jab at the most. The warmth of Alfred's arms still around him lulled him into a state of relaxation; around them, the bustle of the busy coffee shop faded into background noise.

"Of course I have friends!" Alfred protested, returning to his default idiot mode. "You're my friend, aren't you, Iggy?" He turned pleading sky-blue eyes onto the shorter blonde, an expression so familiar that Arthur's breath caught as he remembered a much younger Alfred begging him not to go.

Caught off guard, he stammered a truthful reply. "I—I'm your friend, yes."

Alfred's eyes lit up with glee, and he fairly danced with excitement. "Well, if you're my friend, you should tell me what's wrong, right? 'Cause friends help each other!"

Arthur grumbled, scowling. "You have butchered my language beyond belief. Please, the word is 'because'."

Sensing a weakness, the American shook his head laughingly. "Not 'til you tell me what's wrong," he sang out boldly. "You dunno how bad my grammar can get, 'cause you ain't seen nothin' yet."

Arthur huffed, wincing at the brutally truncated words. Feeling Alfred's hand tighten around his wrist (when had the idiot taken hold of him again?), he realized that he would be trapped in a booth in a coffee shop with this idiot of a friend forever unless he admitted what he'd come here to admit in the first place. Alfred's personality was just that stubborn.

"I…"

"Yes?" Alfred leaned forward, intense blue gaze focused on Arthur's face.

"Don't crowd me!" Arthur growled.

"Oh, sorry." Alfred scooted back a few inches.

The Brit gathered up his courage and let the words burst from his mouth, afraid he would lose confidence if he so much as paused to breathe. "You weren't there!" he exclaimed, face turning a brilliant crimson hue when half the occupants of the coffee shop stared at him.

Alfred cocked his head to the side. "I wasn't where? I didn't say I was meeting you anywhere… Oh, no, is your memory finally going, old man?"

"Impudent brat!" Arthur swung lightly at the side of the other man's head. "I… I just—you stopped going to the gym in the mornings."

"Huh? Oh, that! Yeah, I asked Ludwig to make me up a better training schedule, since I'm still gaining weight."

"That's muscle, you moron," Arthur sighed. "You weren't there to talk my ear off. Even if it's nonsense—" He shut his mouth abruptly, unwilling to reveal that he found the sound of Alfred's voice comforting.

Alfred seemed to understand anyway. In the loudest and most embarrassing way possible. "Oh, you missed me!" He grinned. "It's okay, Iggy. I'll come and exercise with you if you want, to keep you company while you build up your muscles."

Arthur stood indignantly, resenting the (sadly, true) implication that he was weaker than Alfred. "Git," he grated out. "I'm going home to make some tea."

"Oh." Used to the older man leaving without warning, Alfred nodded and waved. "Have fun drinking your leaf-water, then, Iggy." He dodged an incensed swat to the head. "Get goin', old man."

Arthur spluttered wordlessly for a moment before stalking off. Alfred, watching him head for the door, was distracted when he lifted his cup to his mouth, only to remember it was empty. Affronted, he challenged it silently to a staring contest, which he promptly lost. With a regretful sigh, he made to stand up.

A fresh, steaming cup of coffee was plunked down in front of him, nearly spilling over the edge and onto the table. He sat back down, staring up into blazing green eyes.

"I did say I was going to buy you another one," Arthur said stiffly, shoving his hands into his pockets. He turned his head, studying the wallpaper. After a minute of steeling his nerves, he glanced reluctantly at Alfred out of the corner of his eye. "…I'll see you at 5:30 tomorrow?"

Realizing what the Brit was asking, Alfred nodded eagerly. "Okay!" he agreed cheerfully. "I'll bring you some strength food, too—"

"I don't want a hamburger," Arthur interrupted him, glaring. "I don't know what kind of metabolism you have, but I'm sure your arteries are clogged with grease."

Alfred ignored him, continuing to talk away at a superhuman speed. "I'll bring you something good," he finished, giving Arthur a satisfied thumbs up. "A hero can't let his friends starve themselves to death, after all."

Arthur rolled his eyes and again headed for the front door. As he passed by Alfred, he dropped a hand softly on the American's soft blond hair, letting it stay there for just a second.

"You're a good boy," he whispered, so softly that Alfred almost thought he'd imagined the words.

He wove his way through the caffeine-deprived masses that stuffed the shop and stepped out into the sunlight, squinting. Behind him, Alfred recovered enough to take a sip of the steaming coffee.

He smiled down at the dark liquid. It was sweet.

End.


Ah, also, this is my first time writing a bunch of the Hetalia gang! You guys will let me know if I write them too out of character, right? So make sure you let me know how I'm doing!