A random piece, aye. I just needed to write it. ^^' Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy it!

Some translations...

Sassanach - A word normally used by Scotsmen to describe an Englishman (or anyone speaking an Anglian language).

Lloegr - The Welsh name for England.

Foghlaidh - Irish Gaelic byname that means "pirate" or "plunderer".

It wasn't the rain itself that surprised him, it was rather the amount of it; he hadn't seen such a storm in many years, and it was surprising to see it now... Slowly, he stumbled along the streets of London, not caring about that it was in the middle of the night and that he was completely drenched, as he had not taken his umbrella or even a coat.

It always rains here, he thought, surprising even himself. Why is that, anyway? Why does it always rain on me, no matter what...? I want some sunshine, I want the clouds to go away...

A cold wind snuck around the corner, making him shiver as he felt the chill through his clothes. His entire body was aching, just as it had all those years ago... Or was it really that long? Not to him, of course, considering how long he had been alive. But to humans, it was fairly long. He still felt the pain he was forced to endure during the Blitz, and even though it was only a dull ache now, it was still there. He remembered so much of it, just as if it was only yesterday. There were so many things for him to remember; what he wished was that they weren't all times when his heart had been broken. However, that was unfortunately the case...

I'm alone, he thought. Why am I alone? Why do I have to be so alone? I'm a bloody island, I don't have the Plague! T-they don't need to treat me like... like I'm something to avoid! I never... I never wanted this! Has it ever occurred to them that I might want friendship as well?

He stumbled slightly and sank down on the ground, leaning heavily against the wall to his right. It didn't have to be like this, after all. It hadn't been this way before that day that always haunted him once a year, always on the fourth of July. He had lost the sole thing that had made him feel a little less lonely, and after that, everything had slowly begun to slip away from his grasp. When his days as an Empire were over, he merely watched as everyone else began to move on, picked up the shards of their lives and started to put them back together. But they left such large spaces, spaces that would be filled by a new age. He had never done that. He liked his life the way it was, not the way they apparently though that it should be.

But now, so many years later, he found himself standing at that same spot, staring after them as they continued along the road. He hated being alone, even if he would never ask them to stop and wait for him to catch up. He was much too proud for that. But seeing them turn and walk away from him made him want to scream. And he did, several times, but no one ever heard him. He was all alone, running blindly in the dark. He had no idea about where he was going; all he knew was that he was far away from the others, and he wanted to find them. He kept stumbling and falling as he ran, and every time he got back up, he found that he had fallen further behind.

Others always judged him, spoke about how he hated change, and claimed that he couldn't accept that things were different. But they didn't know anything, did they? He could easily accept it, and he never hated change. However, he remembered so much, and he liked to think about what had been happening through the years. They wouldn't listen to him, of course; they expected him to defend himself, didn't they? Why would they want to hear his side of the story at all? He curled up by the wall and closed his eyes, hiding his face in his hands. Of course he knew that he must look incredibly pathetic, but that was how he felt.

He thought of America, how the brat had left him and later acted as if nothing had happened. After that, when he finally began to doubt himself and every single choice he made, it started to happen. He questioned the power he held, wondered why he had ever thought that he had a right to the world, a right to hold such a big part of the world in the palm of his hand. Did they hate him? Did they loathe him for what he had done to them? The conclusion he had reached was yes. They hated him, they didn't want to be near him. Who would want to be near a tyrant? And so, he kept his distance, acted harsh because that was what he thought they expected of him. Slowly but surely, his colonies drifted away from him and other nations left him be. He had been alone all his life, after all; why should a few more years hurt? He knew this, he was never stupid enough to think that anyone loved him or just liked him enough to want him around all the time. And after that thought entered his mind, he stayed away, trying hard not to get too close to anyone, acting how he thought that they wanted him to act. And soon, everyone left him, and he was now alone on the island.

Of course, his friends visited him, but they were still so far ahead of him... Every time Japan visited him, just as an example, he felt like he barely understood what the man was talking about; everything felt so strange. He had a tendency to hide his confusion, and when it all reached a certain peak, he would drown it in alcohol.

He was no alcoholic, despite what people might believe. Of course, his siblings were rumoured to drink a lot, and that was true. But although he would sometimes drink more than he could handle, he could control it. True, he did sometimes pour just a little alcohol into his tea, but only a little. It wasn't alcoholism; he did know people who drank so much more. It didn't matter what others said, after all...

"Mon ami, you need to cut back on the alcohol..."

"Shut up. I don't drink too much." (I really don't, but I understand your concern...)

"Honestly, Angleterre, you have alcohol in your tea!"

"I know that, you frog!" (Come on, do something already...)

"Do I need to take it away from you, sourcils? Why on earth would you drink so much alcohol?"

"Perhaps because I like it? It's none of your business!" (It's only because I can't handle the thoughts anymore... Take it away from me already; just stop me from drinking more!)

"Angleterre, if you do this instead of talking... You do know that you can speak to anyone here, non?"

"I don't need to talk to anyone! Will you just shut up already?" (I need to talk to someone, so why won't you just make me talk? I don't want to drown everything in alcohol, I have to talk to someone...! Please, don't look away from me!)

All he asked for was someone he could talk to, someone who would listen to him. Someone who would stay. He really didn't want to be alone anymore, although that was probably what he'd have to be. Not a single nation seemed to take any notice of him; no one would answer his silent plea for help. Even those who probably knew what he felt, who could understand what was wrong, didn't seem to bother with him. He really was alone...

He let out a weak sob and felt the hot tears roll over his cheeks, already stained after being touched by the rain. What was he supposed to do? Who did they want him to be? Someone like America? Like France? Or China, Japan? He couldn't know, he couldn't know if they didn't tell him. And they wouldn't tell him, after all, never. It was just how they were, and it was how he knew it all worked. A low whine left his lips, and he began to whisper to himself, begging for someone to help him. All of a sudden, the rain stopped. He blinked slowly and opened his eyes, removing his hands from his face. Only to find himself staring at three different pairs of shoes.

"Jes' 'ow stupid can ye be, Sassanach? Runnin' out in th' rain wi'out e'en a jacket? I ne'er thought ye'd be tha' stupid."

"Come on, on your feet, little guy. You can't sit here forever."

"Let's go back home now, Lloegr... You need something to eat, and to drink. Something warm. You must be freezing."

Strong hands grabbed his arms and pulled him to his feet, and a coat was wrapped around his shoulders. His brothers made sure to cover him with the umbrellas they had brought as they brought him back home. All the way back, they scolded him for running away like that, and for not even bringing an umbrella. They told him time and time again that he'd only have himself to blame if he caught a cold.

Arthur curled up a little bit where he sat in his old sofa, now dressed in his nightclothes and a bathrobe and with his favourite slippers on his feet. He could hear his brothers in different areas of the house; Merfyn was making tea in the kitchen, Seamus was taking care of the wet clothes by hanging them to dry in the wash room, and Angus had apparently gone up to Arthur's own room to fetch something. He didn't quite understand why they even bothered. He could take care of himself, and they had not wanted to help him before. So why would they come to him now? Why had they been there at all? He closed his eyes with a deep sigh, and suddenly heard someone come into the room. A moment later, a large tartan blanket was wrapped around him and a firm calloused hand patted his shoulder.

"Ye're going t' 'ave t' explain yerself when th' others come 'ere", Angus muttered as he moved over to the large armchair and sat down. "Bleedin' eejit..."

Seamus let out a silent sigh as he stepped into the room.

"Stop it, Angus", he said sharply. "He doesn't need to be scolded anymore."

Merfyn came into the room a mere moment later and placed a warm cup of tea in Arthur's hands before sitting down next to him.

"We're listening, Lloegr," he said softly. "Come now, just tell us what's wrong..."

Arthur quickly shook his head.

"I'm sick of having people make fun of me," he bit out. "I don't... I don't want to say anything, especially not to you!"

A hurt look passed over his brothers' faces, but it was gone in an instant. Angus slammed his open hand against the armrest of his chair and glared warningly at the younger man.

"Then let me tell ye somethin'," he growled, holding up one hand to stop the other two from interrupting him mid-sentence. "No, 'e needs t' 'ear this! We're all sick o' yer acting! Would ye give it up already? We all know tha' ye're ready t' break down, we saw tha' ye cried when we found ye! Stop lyin' t' yerself, an' t' us!" He got up again and stomped out from the room. "If ye don' think ye can trust yer own brothers, then this was all a waste o' time!"

Arthur stared after him, his eyes widening as Seamus and Merfyn slowly followed the oldest brother out from the room.

Can't let them go, he thought as he jumped up from the sofa and ran after them. Can't let them go, not now...! I need them, I need them here with me, I don't want to be alone!

They were already outside. He threw the door open and lunged at them, almost managing to tackle all three of them to the ground. Merfyn and Seamus gave surprised shouts, but Angus merely sighed and turned around, glaring at his youngest brother.

"Ah, so now we're suddenly wanted," he growled. "Once we try t' leave ye, ye run after us."

A strangled noise passed over the Englishman's lips, and he suddenly clung to the Scotsman with a loud whine. The other two stared for a moment before small smiles appeared on their faces.

"Come on, Angus, he really doesn't need any shit from us right now," said Seamus with a chuckle. "You could just treat him nicely."

Merfyn nodded in silent agreement. He knew all too well how Angus had only agreed to come because he and Seamus had begged him for quite a long time; but the man did care about his brother, despite what he said and how he acted. Angus rolled his eyes and sighed, suddenly reaching out his hand; Arthur flinched, as if the older man was about to hit him, but found that the hand was gently placed on his head, ruffling his hair.

"Ye're a bleedin' eejit," Angus said quietly. "Inside now. I ain't takin' care o' ye if'n ye fall ill, aye?"

As they sat there, a warm fire sparkling merrily on the hearth, they spoke for hours on end. Arthur slowly explained what was wrong, having to search for every single word and make sure that he didn't lie. His brothers listened to him, not interrupting as he tried to put the sentences together, and once he was done, they smiled at him and shook their heads.

"Everyone feels that at some point in their lives, Foghlaidh," said Seamus with a low chuckle. "Like no one cares, like people don't understand..."

"That's not it!" Arthur shuddered slightly. "I... I know that they've left me behind, Seamus... And I'm not... I'm not someone who matters anymore."

Merfyn lifted an eyebrow slightly. Of course he knew that feeling; he was Europe's own Canada, only his brothers remembered him... And possibly New Zealand.

"Lloegr, you do matter," he sighed. "Look, you know how people always look past Canada... And if you say "who", I'll hit you. He's America's brother. Large area north of him. Anyway. Point is, people look past him, they forget about him, but he still matters. And so do you. You're a smaller country, true, but you're the representative of the United Kingdom, you idiot. I very much doubt that anyone ever forgot about you, or thought that you didn't matter... They probably just thought that you didn't want to be around them."

"Th' sheep-shagger 'as a point," said Angus, grinning mischievously and dodging the pillow that was thrown at him. "Look, Sassanach, ye're goin' back into tha' "splendid isolation" shite now. Tha's not what ye want, we know tha'. But they don' 'ave t' understand ye, ye don' 'ave t' be at th' same path as them. Ye don' even 'ave t' be at a crossroads connected t' their path. Ye c'n work wit' 'em, an' communicate wit' 'em, but 's not necessary t' be like 'em."

Arthur groaned silently. Of course he understood that, but... Well, there was still one more issue to address.

"I don't think you get it," he sighed. "Look, I... I don't really know what to do. I've doubted myself for so long; I've barely dared to make any decisions... I'm just worried, I don't want to be hated like that..." He stopped for a moment and gazed at them. "D-do you understand what I mean?"

Angus leant back in the chair and looked back at him, suddenly looking very serious.

"Arthur," he said calmly. "Do ye remember 'ow ye felt when ye defeated us? When ye surpassed us and forced us t' become a part o' yer kingdom?" He smirked as Arthur began to shiver again. "'ow did it feel t' know tha' ye 'eld our lives in th' palm o' yer 'and? Pretty good, aye?"

The Englishman knew these words very well; too well, in fact. Of course it had felt good, exhilarating... That kind of rush that one would get hooked on immediately, knowing how much power one single being could have. And he had loved it, oh, he had adored it... And he had gotten a taste for it. But as he thought of this, that same feeling of doubt snuck into his mind, and he bit his lip before asking the question that weighed heavy on his heart.

"Do... Do you hate me...?"

He didn't look up. He didn't need to. Angus said a single word that made him wonder why he had asked at all, when he already knew the answer.


There it was. Finally out in the open...

"So what?"

He blinked and looked up, stared at his brothers, and they looked back and smirked. These were the faces he recognised from wartimes, the faces that always reminded him of that they were feral, too wild for anyone to hold them back. Too wild to be trusted completely.

"So what if'n we 'ated ye," asked Angus, lowering his voice. "Ye were a selfish one back then. Ye 'ad th' power t' do whate'er ye wanted. An' ye did it. Remember th' rush o' makin' someone fall on 'is knees an' beg ye fer mercy? Remember what it felt like t' know that ye 'ad th' power t' end 'is life whene'er ye wanted, if ye felt like it? Remember tha' intoxicatin' feeling?" A feral grin spread on the Scotsman's lips. "Think, brother. What was it like t' be a feared Empire? 'ow did it feel t' be th' one wit' power o'er life an' death? Do ye think tha' th' feeling would change if'n we dinnae 'ate ye? O' course not... We were objects o' th' past. Ye 'ad beaten us already, tha' rush was o'er an' done with. Ye needed t' show yer strength somewhere else..."

"It doesn't matter, Lloegr," Merfyn said quietly. "Whether we hate you or not, we're always your brothers. Don't think so much about what others will say, alright? You don't need to be like them, because they could only ever dream about being like you, about having such a glorious history to look back on... They won't know the rush you felt..."

"You're not one of them, Foghlaidh," Seamus added. "You're not just a nation. You're not just England, not just a representative of this kingdom. You're Arthur. You're a Kirkland. And a Kirkland doesn't doubt or regret his choices. We don't wish that we had done something differently."

Slowly, Arthur gazed at his brothers, one by one; they all looked back at him with knowing smiles. They did know what he felt, didn't they? And... They were his brothers, after all; they had always been there for him when he needed them most, even if they had not always been kind. He closed his eyes slowly, a small smile on his lips. They didn't have to love him. All he needed to know was that they were there for him as brothers whenever he needed them to be.

The meeting had gone by quite smoothly; despite the normal arguments and disputes, the general point had been made (luckily without America's help – Germany had grown tired of his hero-babble) and now it was finally over, and everyone could go do whatever they had planned to do. Arthur hummed silently to himself as he gathered his things, only to nearly drop them as a hand clamped down on his shoulder.

"Iggy!" Ah, of course. Lovely. "Come on, you've gotta come hang with me and Mattie now! Everyone will be there, we've got games and shit, it'll be so awesome! Come on, come on! You just gotta!"

Arthur groaned and rolled his eyes.

"I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time," he replied. "But sorry, I won't be there. I have plans."

Alfred pouted and shook the slighter man gently (minding his strength for once; it wasn't good to upset the one you wanted something from).

"Aww, come on," he whined. "Your plans always involve sitting at home, drinking tea! You gotta live a little, know what I'm saying?"

Arthur briefly pondered if it would help to try and smack some sense into the git, but decided against it. He didn't want to get into a fight right now; he'd need to save it all for later.

"The plans I have involve drinking, yes," he muttered. "But not tea. If you had said whiskey or rum, you would've been closer to the truth."

"Eh, so you're just planning to be drunk and all alone? Sheesh, Iggy, that's a serious problem, you know. Alcoholism, I mean. Kind of pathetic."

"I'm not a bloody alcoholic, you bastard! Ireland might be, but not me!"

"Tch, yeah, right. Drunk old man."

Arthur shoved at the American and growled silently. Of course the git would be stubborn... But it seemed that Alfred had a lucky star protecting him, because Seamus suddenly decided to interfere.

"Actually," the Irishman drawled with a smirk. "Actually, little Foghlaidh here is going drinking with me, Merfyn and Angus. So yes, he has plans to drink, with company I might add, and we're going to have a bit more fun than you guys. I mean, seriously, we'll probably get into a few fights, drink some more, flirt with random people, and get head from people in the restroom..."

Arthur blushed at the last comment and swatted at his brother's arm.

"That happened to you one time," he grumbled. "Stop bloody bragging about it."

"The point is," said Seamus loudly, cutting off his little brother, "that we are going to have fun without electronic entertainment, the good old-fashioned Kirkland way, with so much to drink that you, the great Fatass of North America, would puke your guts out just by looking at the bottles."

At this point, several nations were staring at them; surprised at that Arthur actually wasn't trying to stop his brother from babbling, and surprised at the fact that Seamus had just insulted America.

"You're already drunk, aren't you," Arthur sighed quietly.

"I'm tipsy," Seamus replied with a grin as he slung one arm around the younger nation's shoulders. "There's a big difference between drunk me and tipsy me. Drunk me wouldn't have insulted McFatass here, but rather punched him in the face. With a truck."

The Englishman couldn't help but chuckle and shake his head at the comment, letting the older man steer him towards the doors.

"Sorry about the alcoholic-thing, by the way," he said. "I just meant that you do drink a lot."

"Eh, it's fine." Seamus laughed. "Just say it loud: I am drunk off my bleeding arse, and I am proud!" He turned at the door and grinned happily at the other nations. "Have fun playing videogames! We're off to wreak havoc on the town!"

And with a cheery wave, they were gone, their voices and their laughter drifting back into the room, this time leaving everyone else behind.

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