A/N: Oh, so I wrote this quicker than I expected to. And a lot more than I expected to. :O I was like WTF when I saw that the word count was almost 9,000.

Anyways. YES, this is CubaXEngland. a crack pairing that I have developed interest thanks to Hazel-Beka and story called "Accented Spanish and Sugar". (It's rated M, so under 16-years-old people should stay away from there.)

Title: Sorrowful Happiness

Genre: Angst/Romance

Characters: England, Cuba, France, America

Pairings: CubaxEngland, FrUK friendship!

Warnings: Extremely angsty and sappy. Few fluffy moments if you squeeze your eyes. Also, beware of OOCness.

Because they knew they would never become official couple, they avoided each other during World Meetings.

Never would their eyes meet or their hands touch each other, never would they feel at ease when their distance was under five meters.

Closer proximity between them would drive them crazy and they knew it, from experience which had led to a frantic use of a certain closet that would never appeal the same to them anymore.

Their words were harsh and biting when they had to deal with each other, just for the sake of their facades, despite how much they hurt the other.

("How pitiful! You're just another one of America's royal dogs, aren't you, you bastard!")

("I'm not his 'royal dog' as you put it, you git! I actually happen to agree with him!")

("Yeah, right! You just never got over him, did you?")

("Shut your bloody trap!")

But those arguments were rare and forced and they gave no one the need to suspect them of having an affair with each other. Not even France could tell.

They acted and they were damn good actors in that play – they both knew they deserved an Oscar at the very least for such a delicate play.

They continued on with their normalities despite how much they longed for the other's touch and lips brushing against their own.

That longing was a bright flame, ablaze in their chests and hearts, and it hurt so much...

They tried to ease the pain with their own ways – England drowned his sorrows into drinking (alone, or with France or America as his company) and Cuba smoked his cigars excessively – but with little success. It only led to France and America asking awkward questions about why England was suddenly drinking so much after he had been without it for years.

England never answered to them; he only looked past them with an unreadable expression and muttered curses that were directed to the two nations closest to him. And always, always, England found himself crying when France and America were gone; tears soaked his cheeks and they fell to his shirt.

He never let anyone see those tears of weakness, he never allowed himself to talk about what was wrong with him to his friends and allies.

Because nothing was wrong. Everything was alright. He was happy, he truly was. In fact, he didn't remember when he had been more happier than now.

Yet, when he was drunk, those bloody tears fell and almost drowned him and he had never felt more miserable in his entire life. Nothing compared to this feeling. Not even WW2 when his London had been bombed; almost destroyed and he had been fighting alone – without France, without America.

Not even that feeling back then was anything in comparison to the feeling of abandonment. It was stupid, foolish and irrational, because Cuba hadn't abandoned him. Cuba was still there, somewhere, longing for England just as much as England longed for him.

It was another normal evening for them – England sitting on Cuba's lap, leaning against Cuba's muscular (and very warm) chest and Cuba's arms wrapped around England's waist while they watched some random TV shows until they found England's favorite channel.

England hardly paid any attention to television, even though a football game was on (Liverpool versus Manchester United, which would always be worth watching in England's opinion), and kept on fiddling with Cuba's fingers that were entwined with his own.

Was it childish to be so enhanced by the fact that this wasn't a dream, that this was really a reality? England had never dreamt of this, because he had never thought that his true happiness would appear as Cuba – the rough nation that despised America (whom England had raised) so much that it was barely contained.

England sighed in content to himself as he snuggled against the strong chest and placed his lips against the tanned skin that always seemed to be few degrees warmer than anything else in the environment. England smiled to himself in spite of himself.

"Hey, hey, wasn't it you who didn't want to fuck tonight?" raspy, yet oddly soft and endearing, voice questioned in something that sounded amusement.

England grimaced slightly at the coarse language, but decided to ignore it for once. What good would it do to waste time arguing about something as insignificant as that?

"That doesn't mean I don't want to be affectionate, you fool", he muttered quietly as a blush spread to his face. Luckily Cuba didn't seem to notice.

"You really should express yourself more clearly then", Cuba growled as he poked England's forehead with his nose before planting a kiss on it and pulling the Englishman even closer.

England sighed and rolled his eyes at Cuba. "Not my fault I'm misinterpreted", he grunted between the light kisses Cuba was giving to his lips. "You know me better than that."

"Mmhmm", the Cuban hummed as he took his lips away from England's pale skin. "You Europeans are hard to figure out." In Cuba's voice was certain softness that only England had heard so far and England was flattered by the sign of affection that he hadn't known Cuba could give.

England chuckled at the comment and raised his eyes to look at Cuba. "The others may be", he admitted with a lopsided grin – a happy one reserved only for Cuba. "I myself am pretty simple to figure out."

Cuba let out a dark chuckle as well. "Speaking with that tone again, Arthur", he said teasingly, "and that goddamn smirk of yours... You sure you don't want to fuck?"

England flushed and frowned at Cuba. "Since when have I used a certain tone of voice to inform you about my desire for a shag, you twat?" he questioned rather harshly.

Cuba ruffled the Brit's hair, unfazed by his harsh demeanor. "You always do", he teased lightly. "And you don't even know it? Damn, no wonder that French bastard has fucked you so many times."

England flushed again, but this time from anger. "France has not -" he started heatedly, but was interrupted by Cuba's dark lips on his own.

"Shut up, Arthur", Cuba purred as they parted once more. "France reveals things to anyone willing to listen."

England sighed indignantly and knew that Cuba was right. Damn that bloody Frenchman and his supposedly sealed lips... Inwardly, England cursed the frog straight to hell. Oh, wait, France would get his way even down there. Especially down there.

England groaned at the thought – not in pleasure, but in exasperation – and leaned his head against Cuba's chest. He appreciated these moments more than anything in the world – more than the Empire he had once been. But he wouldn't let Cuba know that. It would only inflate the Caribbean nation's already enormous ego even further.

The rest of the night was calm and peaceful – no sex, after all, had occurred –, which was good since a new meeting would be hold in England the next day. Instead they cuddled and embraced each other, neither of them particularly enthusiastic for a new day to come.

However, the next day did come and Cuba, unwillingly, left England's house early in the morning so no one would see. Where the Cuban was headed to, not even England knew.

What he knew, though, was that it'd be a long time when they could cuddle like that again. England hated that fact, but it had been his idea to pretend so he just had to suck it up and continue with his life and work as usual.

Despite his resolution, he couldn't help but feel sour as he entered the conference room where the meeting would be held. Cuba wasn't there yet, which wasn't surprising to England. The exotic nation always arrived only a tad bit before the meeting would start.

And England always arrived at least half an hour before the meeting would commence. It was a habit he now hated with a passion, since both nuisances (America & France) had also decided to appear early, which was quite shocking.

Scowling, England took his seat and tried to ignore the two of them and hoped that a miracle happened and he would be left alone.

Of course, the nation of black cats and Harry Potter had no such luck.

"Hey, England!" the obnoxiously loud American shouted jovially when his eyes landed on the gruff Brit who only wished for some peace.

England mentally slammed his head to the desk in front of him before raising his head to look at the younger nation that he had once loved so dearly. His emerald eyes narrowed in exasperation. "...Hello, America", he eventually greeted the young one back and returned his eyes to his desk. What a lovely shade of brown it was. Absolutely lovely. "I'm surprised to see you here this early."

A hole in his chest was starting to grow once again as the Frenchman strode towards them. "Actually", America grinned – a forced grin, Arthur noted in surprise – and sat down next to England, "there's something France and I would like to talk with you."

England immediately tensed, his gut tightening as he pondered if his secret had been revealed. Oh God, America would hate him SO much... "Oh?" he managed to grumble like he usually would. "Then get on with it, you bloody gits", he added and glared at the two nations.

His heart was trembling and quivering in fear of losing his loved one, but England didn't show it. Masking his feelings had become a habit of his – a bad one, but it sure as hell was a useful skill to have.

"Mon Angleterre", the Frenchman that stood in front of Arthur's desk started casually, though England noted the strange edginess of his voice. Was the Frenchman worried? Frowning, England glanced up to France and waited for him to continue with what he wanted to say.

"Amerique and I... have noticed that you've been acting quite peculiarly recently", France continued almost warily as if he was expecting England to shoot him with Switzerland's guns. Not a bad idea, England mused to himself anxiously. If only Switzerland would lend me one. Knowing the Swiss, however, that was improbable.

"Peculiarly?" England narrowed his eyes and scoffed. "That wine must finally be getting to your brains, you frog." The Brit, being the optimistic he was, was waiting for another insult to come as a reply, but when he only received a sincere look in return, he had to blink in confusion.

"Arthur, please", France said quietly, and for once, seriously, which very much appalled the Englishman. "Alfred and I are worried about you, mon ami."

England raised his thick eyebrows at this and in attempt to hide his growing anxiety, he smirked. "Seems like you two are overreacting a little bit, don't you think so?" Surely he couldn't have been acting that out of normality, right? There was no way France, or America, could know about him and Cuba, right?

"Artie", America piped in – and England winced slightly, the damn American was being too quiet to his liking – and put a hand on England's shoulder. "We've known, like, most of my life", he paused and started to think, which looked – in Arthur's opinion – quite painful thing for America to do. "And, man, I know there's something eating ya up inside."

"Would you cut it with your disgraceful slang, you twat?" England hissed in annoyance; reflexively reacting to that nasty American way of twisting his language. It was hideous, he swore. "It's 'eating you up inside', you fool."

England's heart twisted uncomfortably as he felt – and heard – the door to the room opening and closing, heavy footsteps echoing in the room. A heartbeat passed and England was barely breathing. That presence... England did not need to glance towards the footsteps to know who it was.

Cuba. Another painful twist in his heart brought more pleasure this time. (Was he a masochist for enjoying this pain so much? Maybe he was.) England also felt the wave of warmth radiating from the Spain-speaking nation and he almost smiled fondly at the familiarity.

"Arthur, mon cher?" Gah. The frog. England stiffened again, angry at himself for getting distracted. He could only hope he wasn't blushing. The French would never stop teasing him from it.

"You're awfully distracted, Artie", America grinned as he stood up to look around the room. "France thinks there's someone you like~!"

England almost choked on his tongue as his eyes widened in shock and he gave France a look that attempted to look confused, but looked probably more like fear. "Don't be ridiculous!" he eventually scoffed out, a scowl returning to his face. "France, I'm astonished by how you can still go on about something as ridiculous as that. You should know me well enough to know better, you damn wine freak." He shot a glare towards America. "And you, you should know better than to listen to that pervert, you git."

France didn't seem to mind England's insults – after few hundred years he had gotten used to them – and instead of taking the bite, he sighed and tapped England's head. "Arthur, mon petit Angleterre, you're not too good at lying", he chuckled and gave his rival a lopsided smirk. "Especially to moi."

England sighed once more and allowed himself to slump forward, leaning his forehead to his arms. "Could you just leave me alone this one time?" he growled threateningly.

"Artie..." America's voice was wondering and sad at the same time, which made England feel ever so slightly guilty. Damn that boy – he knew which buttons to press.

"I might tell you later", England grunted and raised his face from the desk to glare at the two annoyances. Bloody hell I will, England thought to himself and felt his blood pressure reaching a whole new level.

France and America both gave him incredulous looks, but much to England's astonishment, they left him be for the rest of the meeting, but England still felt their wary gazes on him, which was why he didn't dare to glance towards Cuba, since it would most definitely be noticed by those vultures.

England couldn't stop himself from feeling the warmth gathering inside him as Cuba approved of his suggestions, though. Cuba rarely agreed with anyone, especially with those whom were "America's dogs" as the dark-skinned nation bluntly put it.

The ache in his heart that he was constantly feeling due to certain circumstances had lifted, too, and Arthur was, for a moment, acting nearly happily, which was noticed by many nations who raised their eyebrows in surprise at each other. Soon enough England realized this and went back to his normal behavior and most of the other nations inwardly sighed in relief. (A happy England was commonly associated with pirate-y England, so...)

As the meeting reached its end, England was back to his sour mood as he tried to ignore the disappointment in his mind when the Cuban left the room without sparing another glance at him. (It had been his idea, England knew, but he still didn't like this.)

England was packing his things up without hurry, he had all the time he needed, when the duo decided to return. "England?" America's cheery voice was back as well. England sighed in exasperation as he glanced at them as he had packed his things. "What do you want?" he asked nonchalantly, not really caring if he sounded rude or not. What he wanted – no, needed – was a nice cup of tea mixed with rum and whiskey, although it'd end up badly like any other times. Flashes of images from those horrific nights came to his mind and England tightened his grip over his briefcase slightly.

"Mon cher", France piped in, a smile tugging his lips upward, which aggravated the Englishman for some reason. "Amerique and I would like you to come with us to drink. Apparently, you have been doing that a lot lately, Angleterre."

England rolled his eyes. Of course they noticed how his drinking had changed for worse. They always did. "Fine", he muttered reluctantly. "But you two are bloody paying for those bloody drinks." He didn't want to be alone. Not then. Later on, England would come to regret his decision very much.

He stared at the glass of rum before him incredulously before turning his eyes back to France. "This was just one of your bloody plans to seduce me, wasn't it?" he demanded to know. "America wouldn't leave like that." His voice was now accusing.

France sighed and rolled his eyes. "Why must you think so badly of me, mon petit lapin?" he purred slightly, a glass of wine in his hands. "Or could it be", the Frenchman smiled almost wickedly, "that you want me to seduce you, mon amour?"

England, who had unfortunately starting sipping his drink, immediately spat the liquid out of his mouth. "What the bloody hell, France?" he hissed, a furious blush of anger reddening his face. "I'd rather jump from the Alps!"

France laughed at his friend's expression, not even flinching at the insult. "What is this about then, mon amour?" he asked with a lopsided smile tugging the corner of his lips up. "You've been rather agitated lately."

England ignored France's question as he gulped down the rest of the drink, though most of it had gone to waste because of Francis. The effect of it wasn't nearly as strong as England had wished it to be.

"Agitated?" England arched his brows in return. "Aren't I always?" He was careful enough to not let his bitterness seep through his voice.

France shook his head and his golden curls swayed around slightly. "Non, I don't mean that kind of agitation", he stated slowly and worry flashed in his deep, blue eyes. England hated that look, had hated it ever since they had met each other. As if he was France's to worry about, feel concerned about.

He wasn't France's.

There was only one nation he belonged to, who his heart craved for. England fought down the pain creeping inside him. It was your own choice, your suggestion to pretend like this. Deal with it, bloody wanker.

"Then what the bloody hell do you mean?" England inquired as he received another glass of rum, this time mixed with whiskey, and swigged it down with one motion. At first, all he felt was nausea from drinking a whole glass down, but soon enough he started to feel better.

This was the feeling he had been after, this wonderful feeling... no, delusion of something else. That Cuba and America didn't hate each other with a passion, that England wouldn't be caught in the middle of it... that he wasn't in a relationship that could never see daylight.

Francis seemed to catch something from the Briton's eyes, since the Frenchman touched his shoulders soothingly. "Haven't we known each other forever, mon Angleterre?" France's eyes twinkled with familiarity and memories – of the bad times, of the good times – and England hated himself even more.

"I know what you're trying to say, frog", England muttered quietly before ordering a new glass of alcohol. He took one sip of it before he spoke again. "And there's nothing I have to tell you." There's nothing I can tell you, Francis.

France nodded quietly, taking a sip from his own drink. "I'm not forcing you, mon ami. Just know that both Amerique and I will be here for you, if you ever need us", he said lightly yet warily as if expecting England to yell at him for being so sentimental and sappy.

"..." England said nothing to France's comment, instead he empties his glass as a slight blush started to rise to his cheeks. Yet, he didn't feel dizzy yet. He was actually quite sober and able to comprehend, able to feel those flames licking his heart.

It was a never-ending circle – the flames burned and England continued to drink for the emptiness. It was never enough, but at least during those nights England could let his tears fall and cry out for something he would never grasp at.

(He kept breaking his heart over and over again when he continued inviting Cuba over to his house and accepting Cuba's invitations to the Caribbean.)

It was a hopeless dream and it was naive to think that the world would reach peace, that the wars would cease to exist.

England knew this and still he clung on to that dream – dream of Cuba and him being together so that everyone knew – and he kept crying and crying over it.

But he wasn't there yet, and he hoped he wouldn't reach it. This time he had company along with him, France of all the nations, and he wouldn't let his weakness to be known.

But, England thought to himself, he could ask something from the nation of love and fashion. It wouldn't possibly make things even worse, could it?

"Ah..." England sighed to himself as he turned to look at the French once more. The movement made him feel light-headed, so maybe he was a little drunk already. "Francis, can I ask you something?"

France was honestly taken aback with his question, but didn't let it show from his face. Instead, he tilted his head slightly and nodded curtly.

England sighed as his gaze went back to his drink, which was his... fourth? Fifth? He couldn't remember. "...Since you are the self-proclaimed nation of... well, you know", England murmured, embarrassed to be asking a question like that, but drunk enough to go through with it anyways.

France raised his eyebrows before smirking smugly. "Ah, I see", he drawled almost conceitedly. "So this is about l'amour, isn't it?"

"Don't say the l-word!" England hissed and hiccupped. "Just don't..." he whispered and shut his eyes as the world seemed to spin around him. But despite this, England couldn't stop the ache from returning.

"What is it, mon ami?" France's voice had no signs of mockery whatsoever and England almost heard the concern in there. England didn't dare to look up as he tried to put his question to words while ignoring the beats of his heart that were constantly reminding of him about what wasn't there.

"You're always remarking about how great it should be", England mumbled, his words slightly slurring, and his face softening into an expression France hasn't seen recently. Was it longing? "If it's supposed to be that great, then why the bloody hell does it hurt so much?"

France blinked at the broken tone that betrayed his supposedly calm posture, revealing a new side of England France would rather not see. (Because this wasn't his rival, his enemy or his friend. This wasn't Arthur.)

"Mon cher, please elaborate", Francis asked with his velvet voice as his fingers pulled Arthur's head up from his chin. France's blue eyes were burning intensively with curiosity and desire to help, which made England almost laugh, because if this had happened earlier, Francis wouldn't have cared and would have left him drown in the sea of darkness.

"Elaborate?" England scoffed and waved his hand in front of him dismissively, trying to make France's fingers disappear from his jaw. "Like hell", he grumbled as he finally shook the intrusive fingers and emptied another glass. "But seriously", he continued just as France was about to say something. "It's so hard to feel that kind of thing when you can't even be with him", England sighed, his speech becoming more and more incomprehensible with each syllable. "'Cause the bloody fucking world would hate me for loving him. Especially Alfred."

And that thought brought even greater pain once it had been said aloud. Oh God, America. The boy he had been so close with – the one he had almost considered as his son. "Oh God", he stuttered as the words had left his mouth. "Alfred will hate me for this."

"What do you mean, Arthur?" France asked, shocked to see his friend o the verge of tears, urgency sharpening Francis's voice. "How could Alfred hate anyone that makes you happy?"

A moment of silence followed this question. The silence was broken when Francis gasped. "Oh, Angleterre, it's Russia, isn't it?"

"Bloody hell, Francis!" England almost choked on what he had been trying to drink. The tears that had been spilling to his cheeks were glistening brightly on his cheeks and in his eyes, and France was near the point where he would kiss those disgraceful drops away from England's face.

"I suppose that's a non", Francis said airily, hoping that the tense atmosphere would somehow go away.

England smiled lightly at France's comment, but it faded way too quickly to France's liking. "I suppose Ivan and him are pretty much in the same category to Alfred", he murmured meekly, closing his eyes. "Yet I..." Yet I have fallen in love with Cuba.

His lips were moving excruciatingly slowly against his, teasing him and he gripped the broad shoulders above him, trying to pull the other even closer.

A low chuckle echoed in the silence when their lips were torn apart, much to England's displeasure. "A bit enthusiastic, aren't we, England?" he murmured darkly, his brown eyes gleaming with mischief and promises that England yearned to be fulfilled.

"S-shut up, you wanker", England muttered and tried to swallow back another gasp when he felt Cuba's lips moving on his shoulder. A shudder went through his body and England felt electrified.

"Oh God..." he whispered as Cuba's wet tongue trailed along his jawline, leaving England's skin tingling from where his tongue had traveled. "Cuba..."

"Hmm?" the Caribbean nation's eyes stared back at England's. "Ya wanna stop?" he asked incredulously and, if England heard right, almost fearfully that he had gone too far.

"Hell no!" England scoffed and smirked to the nation above him. "It's just that my lips demand your bloody attention, you git." England's hands cupped Cuba's cheeks and he gave one of his rare, heartfelt smiles. "So don't make me beg more than this, you idiot. It's humiliating."

Cuba's smirk grew only wider, which was quite a feat itself. England felt his fingers slowly melting against the warmth of his lover's skin as the tanned nation lowered his lips – England's hands still on his cheeks – and met with England's.

The kiss wasn't as slow as the first one and England found himself relishing in a strange mixture of sun – did sun taste like this? - and cigars that Cuba was famed for and exotic spices that England could only dream of using in his food.

When the kiss ended for the frustrating need for air, Cuba chuckled and frowned. "Damn it, I knew it. You do taste like tea."

England rolled his emerald green eyes at the Cuban. "And you taste like cigars", he shot back, smirking slightly.

"But you know you like it", Cuba teased once more before continuing with the kissing.

That night was one of the most satisfying nights in England's life so far.

"...If that's what ya want, okay."

Cuba's lips were forming rather tight line, which led to some wrinkles appear on the corners of Cuban's lips. Lips that England had sadly learnt to crave for.

"...Yes, that's what I want", the Brit replied quietly, keeping his distance to the Cuban in case the nation got violent. He eyed Cuba warily and when the Cuban took a step forward, England took instinctively a step back.

Cuba frowned at the reaction and stopped. "I'm not going to hit you or anything", he told him and sounded almost accusing and hurt that Arthur would believe so. "I just want to know if you're sure about this."

England lowered his gaze, efficiently breaking the eye contact. "I'm not", he admitted, "but I'm sure that this is something America would feel hurt about."

"I should have known", Cuba's growl was low and quite menacing. "It's always about how America feels, isn't it?" He strode closer to England, who had his back against a wall and was squirming in discomfort.

"Cuba, I..." England started, but was quickly silenced as Cuba's fist was slammed against the wall.

"It shouldn't be about him!" Cuba raised his volume and was glaring at the Briton heatedly. "It's starting to feel like I'm sharing you with that bastard!"

England's eyes flickered nervously between Cuba's scorching eyes and the hand that was still on the wall, merely inches away from England's neck. "Cuba, America's still the one I raised", he reminded the tanned nation quietly. "And because of that, he matters."

Cuba's fury didn't falter at his words. "That kid hurt you badly", he grunted. "And yet you still stand up for him. It's so frustrating, Arthur!" This time Cuba's hand did hit England, to his right cheek.

England winced slightly and rubbed his cheek as Cuba's fist retreated. It hurt. The punch itself wasn't very strong – or maybe England had gotten used to pain during the past centuries or so -but the knowledge of CUBA punching him was the agonizing part of it all.

"...Sorry, I didn't mean to..." Cuba whispered awkwardly, his head hanging in shame as he rubbed the violated cheek. The Brit flinched ever so slightly at the touch, but soon enough he was already leaning to the comforting touch.

"It's alright", England said quietly as he shut his eyes and his lips curved up into a small smile. "I'm sure we can establish this sooner or later."

Cuba snorted. "If we're waiting for that brat to grow up, it'll take a whole millennium before that happens."

England punched lightly Cuba's arm with fake indignation while Cuba just laughed merrily.

When England managed to flutter his eyes open, he immediately wished that he hadn't. The sunlight was too much for his sensitive eyes to be looking at the moment and he was blinded momentarily and his eyes stung.

Few seconds passed in the eerie quietness before the familiar headache that he had been expecting came with full force and he groaned quite loudly, his back arching and his hands grasping the sheets on his bed...

Wait a moment. How had he returned to his house?

A cold feeling twisted his stomach as his mind wandered back to what he could remember of the last night, which he knew had been quite bad emotionally to him. The years of hiding had had its impact on him and it had all been let out on last night.

He remembered that he had been drinking, obviously, with someone. Someone blonde. That helps a lot, the sarcastic part of his brains mocked. There are quite many blondes among nations.

No, there were only very few nations he would drink with. With America, sometimes... With Finland, the Nordic nation, they always ended up having a drinking contest until the other one was bawling about his horrid past and what he missed the most.

And then there was France. England winced. Of course it had been France, the one nation that he shouldn't show his weaknesses to.

He would have preferred his company to be the sweet little Finn – who could drink quite much – since they were both accustomed to each other's emotional bursts while drunk, so it wouldn't have been anything new.

Well... Frankly, England would have preferred his company to be anyone but Francis OR America. Even Ivan would have been preferable, because the Russian wouldn't have given a damn about his sorrows and would instead try to goad the Englishman to 'become one with Russia'.

The mere thought caused England's skin to get goosebumps and a shiver go up to his spine. The day he'd become one with Russia would be the day... Heck, it wouldn't happen even if Russia started to dominate the whole world.

The point was that England shouldn't have been drinking with France in the first place and he knew it. Not when he felt like shit. Not when his drinking was getting out of hands.

He had cried a lot, that much England knew for sure, and he had been wailing about it to France, who had looked at him nervously, obviously wondering if the Brit had finally lost his mind.

England winced at the hazy memory of Francis's soothing hands rubbing circles on his back, his velvety voice muttering something England hadn't caught then.

His head felt heavy and empty as he rose shakily from his bed after throwing the blanket off of him. Hungover was a bitch.

"First I'll cover that bloody window with curtains", England grumbled out loud to himself as he walked up his bedroom's window while shielding his eyes and narrowing them. He didn't dare to look outside as he pulled the curtains over the medium-sized window, since he couldn't stand the sunshine at the moment.

Wait. Sunshine? In London of all the places?

"Well, it certainly couldn't have been any other day", England grumbled to himself as his hands were soothingly rubbing his temples without much success in soothing the headache. "Bloody hell with the weather", he mumbled again and frowned.

If he didn't know better, he'd say that God hated him.

His stomach churned, indicating that he was either hungry or going to throw up soon. England chose the option two and immediately started to make his way to the bathroom that thankfully was on the same floor as his bedroom.

After the unpleasant meeting with the toilet, England went to a shower and turned the water on. Soon enough the water was massaging his naked body and tensed muscles. His headache was very slowly fading away as well, but his inner uproar was yet to cease.

As the water was drenching him, England wondered idly why it was getting even harder to reach the state of numbness and emptiness each time he drunk. Because he was after that state whenever Cuba wasn't there.

How pathetic was he?

A dry, shallow laughter escaped from England's lips as new tears stung his eyes. He had reached a whole new level of patheticness, but on the other hand, that was what love seemed to do to him every single time.

There had been so many he had thought he had loved truly – France, America, Seychelles, Spain, India and the list went on and on (that's what they get for being immortal – it gives too many chances to feel love and pain) – but never had he felt quite like this.

(And he knew he could never stop their relationship, but he also knew he wouldn't be able to continue like this either.)

It was hard to describe the feeling, since England wasn't used to it so much. His heart didn't flutter whenever he saw Cuba, but instead it grew heavy with many, complicated emotions and England found it hard to keep his usual demeanor up near the handsomely tanned nation.

And the touches that made his face go red in embarrassment and endearment and fondness. England's lips instinctively rose up to a small smile at the memories. No, he had never fallen this badly for someone. And it was the first time his feelings were returned.

England's smiled faded down as he rested his head against the hard wall while the water still continued to pour down on him. What should he do now?

Keeping it a secret any longer would kill him, and Cuba as well. But, telling it would hurt America, too. Maybe it's better to just hurt one person than two, he thought sullenly. He'll get over it, just like I got over him.

And Francis would support his decision, right?

England froze as the question made it to his mind. What if the Frenchman wouldn't support him on this one?

On the contrary to what England said about the pervert, France was probably the one that understood him the most of all nations. Well, that understanding came from fighting with him for at least five thousand times, but it was good to have someone like that in his life.

And, God, he loved Francis dearly as a friend; as an old enemy. He had been broken when France had been defeated in the WW2 and not seeing him in years until he, America and China went to Normandy with their soldiers. The amount of sheer relief had been unimaginable when he had seen Francis in his house, although weakened and tied up, but he had been still alive.

Well, England thought sourly as he stepped out of the shower, shivering slightly but feeling physically much better than before, I think I can take another few decades of fighting with that frog if it comes down to it.

Just to make this pain away. Just to make the bloody pain leave him alone. Just for his selfish happiness, he would risk his relationships with other nations that were dear – although annoying – to him.

When he had redressed himself with the same clothes he had worn over the last twenty-four hours, he exited the bathroom and was walking down the stairs when he heard France's voice.

"I've never seen him crying so profusely before", France's voice was quiet, but not quiet enough for England not to hear him. The Brit's face twisted into an unreadable expression as he listened to his friend's voice. Who is he talking to?

The answer came quickly and England almost bit his tongue off when he recognized the voice. "France", America's rather cheery voice uttered, "aren't you overreacting slightly? Artie's always crying when he's drunk." England could almost see the grin plastered on the younger nation's face and it irritated him. "He's always complaining about my 'rebellion' against him, right?"

England instinctively let out an arrogant snort at the American's rather cocky question. He didn't cry that often, despite what the bloody git claimed. It was just the damn alcohol! ...and recently there had been the complicating life and feelings that drove him to drink. So, he had all the rights to be sentimental when drunk.

"Non", England could hear France's irritation clearly despite being so far away from the two conversing. Apparently they were in the kitchen, which was directly underneath England's feet at the moment and for the heck of it, England decided to listen in on the conversation.

Bad habits die hard, they say, and in this case, they were right. (Formally England denied that he was anything like James Bond in the books and the movies. Secretly, he worked as a spy from time to time to numerous clients.)

"It wasn't about you, Amerique", France continued coolly and England was reminded of times when he and France had been slightly younger and by far more competitive. "Arthur seemed to be concerned about what you would think. And he repeated at least twenty times in an hour that you would never forgive him."

England hoped he could have seen America's expression at France's remark, but at the same time he was grateful that he didn't. In spite of their stormy history and the forgotten sweetness, Arthur had always known that, in some level, Alfred cared for him. Even though there were times England couldn't be so sure about it.

"Me?" America's voice was amazed and there was a strange edge to it that, in England's opinion, meant that the younger nation was now serious... well, as serious as America could be. "Why does he think like that?" A very small pause ensued. "Is he dating Russia or something?"

"What the fuck -" England sputtered quietly as his face started to remind a tomato. Why does everyone seem to think that I'd run to Russia so bloody easily? Headache worsened at the thought and England bit his tongue.

"Non", France chuckled jovially at the serious comment America had made. "I asked him that, too, and he almost choked on his alcohol."

England's brow furrowed in mild anger at the idle chitchat. Trust France to screw up a serious conversation and lead it astray. The French are all the same, he concluded in his head. Those gits never get anything done at this rate.

"Anyway", France's light tone was now gone and the tone replacing it was concern. "Angleterre said that he's in love with someone that you wouldn't accept."

England's heart stopped momentarily as he heard his situation being voiced out loud. As his fingers unconsciously went to his cheeks, England realized that he had started to cry again. Out of fear of what America would say next, perhaps?

"Artie's in love with someone?" America sounded honestly confused – wasn't he always? - and almost shocked to hear such a claim from the French. Then, the American burst into laughter. "Oh my God, and there I thought something was wrong!"

England grimaced at the loud, obnoxious laughter and rolled his eyes despite the drops of salty water that were persistently trying to dim his sight. Angrily, England wiped the darn tears away and was soon startled by his home phone ringing. The phone that was near the kitchen.

And the caller could have been Cuba. America shouldn't answer it.

With that on his mind, England leapt down the stairs with speed that made him feel dizzy while shouting 'I'LL GET IT, YOU BLOODY GITS' and when he had reached the phone, he momentarily paused as nauseousness started to make its way back to his stomach.

"Artie...?" England stiffened as he heard the American's voice not too far from his side and England cast an exasperated look to him and France.

"It's probably too much to ask for you two not to eavesdrop this", he stated icily before turning his attention back to the ringing machine in front of him. "So I don't."

Taking a deep intake of breath, England answered the phone. "Arthur Kirkland speaking", he muttered softly in case that the caller wasn't Cuba.

"Good morning, sir Kirkland", came a mocking voice from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

England didn't even notice how his lips curled up and his eyes started to sparkle slightly. "You idiot", he greeted his sweetheart back. "How many times have I told you to call my mobile phone instead of my home phone?"

The deep laughter on the end of the line soothed England's headache remarkably. "I tried already", Cuba revealed and sounded rather amused. "No one answered. Which, of course, led me to think that you have been drinking again, since you tend to lose your stuff a lot when you're drunk."

England blushed furiously. "I do not lose my things when I'm drunk!" he denied heatedly and sent a glare towards France when he heard the Frenchman laughing. "Besides", the Brit continued more calmly, "I am pretty sure I know where my mobile phone currently is."

"But you're not one hundred percent sure", Cuba stated smugly. "Anyway", the nation continued without letting England to interrupt. "I just called to make sure you haven't choked on your vomit yet."

"Hey!" England retorted angrily, his grip on the phone tightening noticeably. "That was uncalled for!" he raised his volume slightly and noticed the worried looks on America and France's faces as they continued to stare at him as if he was the most interesting thing in the world.

"Mm, you're so grumpy when you're hungover, England", Cuba's low voice drawled and it should have been illegal to sound so sexy on the phone. England suppressed a sigh.

"I will stop drinking if you stop smoking", he said nonchalantly, knowing that there was little chance of that happening any time soon.

"I will if you will finally get over yourself and tell about us to that brat of yours", came the reply, which made England's face contort into a frown. He shot a wary look towards America.

"As a matter of fact", he spoke quietly, which naturally piqued the two unwanted visitor's interest and the came closer, trying to hear what he'd say. "I was thinking about telling America as soon as this call ends."

The stunned silence on the other end of line told England that Cuba hadn't expected to hear those words coming from his lips. England smirked, feeling rather victorious for shutting the talk-active Caribbean nation up for once.

"Wow", the Cuban managed to say finally. Another pause followed. "What do you mean by 'as soon as this call ends'? Sounds like America's at your place?"

England's smile faded a little bit. "Yeah. I don't know when he came, but he and France were here when I woke up."

"France?" Cuba questioned sarcastically. "Last time I saw you two together, you were clawing each other's necks with your fingernails."

England chuckled and smiled at the memory of the last world meeting. "Just because Francis and I fight a lot doesn't mean we can't drink together." England turned to glance at the Frenchman who stared at him with rather baffled expression on his face, which made it hard for the Brit not to laugh.

"France was drinking with you?" Cuba's voice was nearing something that England identified as hysteria. "You two didn't..."

"Oh, bloody hell, who do you think I am?" England sighed exasperatedly. "Besides, France would never take advantage of me like that." A small, heavy pause passed before England snickered. "Scratch that – he would to it. But he didn't." We didn't do anything.

"Well, good then", Cuba audibly sighed in relief. "Wouldn't want you to be violated like that now that we're together."

England could almost hear the slightly malicious undertone and the true message behind his words. You're mine now. Not that England minded the possessiveness that much. "Yeah yeah", England sighed while rolling his eyes. "Anyway, did you have something to tell me?"

"Nothing big", the Cuban admitted sheepishly and the Briton pictured the nation grinning in front of him, a nice set of white teeth shining. England blushed at the memory that would still lose to the real life Cuba. "Just wanted to hear your cranky voice."

A vein appeared on England's forehead. "Cranky?" he repeated slowly and menacingly. "I'm not cranky!"

"Lying is a bad habit, mon Angleterre", France murmured softly, but not quietly enough. "Or is it just denial?" England sighed deeply as he balled his free hand into a fist. America was just laughing his ass off.

"Of course you're not", Cuba mused in amusement, which caused Arthur to narrow his eyes dangerously. Of course it was meaningless, since Cuba couldn't see him. "Want me to come over later?"

England felt his insides melting at the question. Of course he wanted Cuba to come over. Because after this day, the Cuban would most likely be the only one left. Tears trickled down to his cheeks as the thought entered his already aching mind.

"Artie?" America's voice sounded so concerned that England would have laughed if it was under different circumstances.

England looked at him briefly and smiled lightly, shaking his head to the unasked question. He would be alright even it'd take time.

"Don't you have a lot of work to do?" England asked softly as a small hiccup escaped from his throat and mentally cursed himself. Now Cuba would be worried, too.

"Hey, hey..." Cuba's voice was indeed filled with worry. "Are you crying, Arthur?" England noted idly how Cuba's voice sharpened slightly, which emphasized his accent even more.

"I'll be fine", England sighed. "I just have a feeling that my 'Splendid Isolation' will be repeated after this day." A grave look overcame his smile.

"You're worried about how the French and the kid will react?" Cuba's voice was amazingly soft and understanding. "Look, whatever the hell they'll do, I'm not going anywhere."

"Thank you", England said gratefully, but couldn't stop a grimace as he noted how his voice had broken at the last syllable.

He heard the sigh from the other end. "Look, I'll fly there in a few hours and run there if I have to. Just try to cope until I come, alright?"

England laughed with tears running down his cheeks. "Thank you", he repeated. "I love you."

"I love you too", Cuba replied softly. "Try to cope there, okay? I'll just arrange my way there somehow."

"Alright", England responded automatically, his free hand wiping the tears away from his face. "See you then."

Cuba uttered his goodbyes and hung up the phone, which left England to stare at nothing at all before slowly putting the phone back. And, then, he slowly turned to look at his visitors with his bloodshot and teary eyes.

"I'm sorry", he said softly and tried to smile weakly, failing in the process. "Being hungover and having a bloody headache isn't helping this at all."

"What is this all about, Artie?" America asked desperately as he approached his former big brother. "Has someone hurt you?"

England shook his head and kept his distance to the two nations that both wore worried, confused and saddened expressions. "This, what I'm about to tell you", he started emptily, only barely managing to croak out the words, "will make both of you hate me so much that you'll probably storm out of this house and never return."

"And he left just like that?" the tanned nation's voice was quiet, free from its normal happiness and joviality and roughness. England could only nod as he cried more and more tears that went all the way to his chin before Cuba kissed them away.

"...What about France, then?" Cuba asked carefully, knowing fully well how much the Frenchman meant to England and how much it'd hurt Arthur if even he turned his back on him.

"Francis said..." England mumbled, blinking furiously and attempting to stop the tears from flooding down, "...he said it doesn't matter, that he's happy if I'm happy. Sappy things like that."

Cuba smiled lightly as he caressed England's cheek gently. "That's good, isn't it? France's on your side, it's only a matter of time before that kid grows up and accepts truth like a man he pretends to be."

England sighed and rolled his eyes slightly. "That's going to take a few hundred years and you know that as well as I do", he grumbled accusingly, but his voice wavered and broke down at the end.

"Hey, that kid still likes you a lot", Cuba said soothingly to his partner between the kisses he placed on England's jawline. "You raised him and that's not something that can be wiped off so easily."

England nodded wearily. "I'm tired", he moaned quietly as he curled himself up in Cuba's lap, hugging his knees.

"Then sleep", Cuba suggested kindly enough, stroking England's messy hair. "I'll be here watching you sleep."

England nodded again dizzily. "I suppose that'd be okay", he murmured to himself. "My head hurts like hell." To emphasize his point, Arthur clutched his head with his hands. Cuba frowned and carefully pulled England's hands away from the blond's head.

"Just sleep, Arthur", he purred as he hugged the broken Englishman that was dear to him. "You'll feel better when you get some sleep, I promise."

"Just don't leave me", Arthur replied quietly, and the tone of the usually proud England prickled Cuba's heart, gripping Cuba tightly.

"I won't", Cuba promised sweetly and England's tight grip over his shirt loosened slightly as Arthur was taken over by sleep. Cuba cradled Arthur, humming few songs he knew Arthur loved by heart.

"...You idiot", England muttered, his eyes fluttering open to give Cuba a half-glare. "That's not the Beatles if you're trying to hum them. That's bloody Spice Girls' song."

Cuba smirked. "But you know you like them as well", he said teasingly while humming 'Wannabe'.

England scowled and muttered something about being surrounded by idiots who don't even know how to hum the "Yellow Submarine" correctly.

"- So we sailed on to the sun

till we found the sea of green

And we lived beneath the waves

In our yellow submarine -"

- "Yellow Submarine", the Beatles