Hetalia does not belong to me. No pairings in this fic, it's primarily family/friendship. Any critiques are welcomed, feel free to rip into it. Happens in the same universe as "Struggle of the Fatherland", but definitely takes place in 2010 a good few decades after the events in SotF. However, it's not a sequel. This fic is more of a practise for me to write America and England better for SotF, but I'll give it the same amount of care and attention as I do to my other fics. Inspired by "Rabbit Season" by Fretful and "A Curious Incident" by Mouldy-Cheesecake. Enjoy.

Chapter 1: Don't go into the basement!

Alfred banged on the door, ignoring the glares the other residents of this quiet neighbourhood were giving him. "Hey Iggy! Open up, it's me Alfred!" He called out. No reply. Alfred spent another 5 seconds banging on the door. "That's weird...Iggy's usually around at this time of the day..." America tried the doorknob. It works! Alfred flung open the door, nearly tearing the ancient door off its hinges. "Hey Iggy, I'm here!" No response. America walked in, looking around for the former empire. "Iiiiigggggyy!" He yelled out. Only the silence of the big house greeted him as he explored first the living room, and then the kitchen. "Huh...he's not here...?" thought Alfred. "It's 3 o clock! Iggy should be here at least making his yucky tea!" But there was no "Get out of my house, you sodding git!" to greet him. In fact, the entire kitchen was empty. Alfred checked the cupboards, and sure enough, all the different types of teas were still stacked in the shelves, arranged in alphabetical order. Alfred shuddered. "What does Iggy see in that stuff! Coffee is so much better!" A search at the oven showed that Arthur had not used it that day to bake his customary burnt scones. There wasn't even a single crumb anywhere. While Arthur WAS a neat freak, he was nowhere as dedicated as Ludwig when it came to cleanliness. If he made a mess while baking, he'd go outside, enjoy his afternoon tea, before coming back to wash up. The lack of even a smear of jam really confused America. As he turned around, he spotted a door. Not any door. But the GREEN door.

"That's the door to the basement!" Alfred gleefully dashed towards the door. "This is my chance to finally go down there! Who knows, maybe he's there as well, that's why he didn't hear me!" America threw the door open unceremoniously and ran down the staircase. He was feeling pretty excited. He was actually IN the forbidden basement! The one place Iggy never allowed him to. He remembered how England would often tell him to stay out of the place. The last time they had discussed the basement was when Alfred had tried to sneak downstairs ala-ninja a few months back, when Arthur had caught him red handed. Alfred had to admit, England had been pretty scary back then. His eyes were livid, and if the snarl on his face was any indication, England had been very VERY pissed. "If there's one bloody rule that can stay in your bloody head, it's to stay the hell out of my basement! There're things down there that could bloody hurt you, you git!" Alfred had just laughed him off, before making his escape from a very angry England. "I'm America, Iggy! I don't get hurt! I'm the hero!"

Finally, he reached the bottom of the staircase. Jumping off the second final step, he found himself in a very dark place, surrounded with shelves and shelves of books and bottles. "Wow, this place is HUGE! Why didn't Iggy ever tell my about this place? We could've played hide-and-seek down here!" exclaimed America. Walking around, he peered at some of the books and the bottles, but they were all in different languages that Alfred couldn't understand. He saw some German inscriptions, Chinese characters, even French lettering! "OK...since when did Iggy keep anything that was from Francis! This is getting suspicious..." mused Alfred. The books looked pretty old themselves. Alfred had took one out, and immediately got attacked by dust bunnies. Coughing, he opened the cover of the book, and found a date. "1698! Woah!" He could make out some words that *looked* English, but the spellings were all messed up. "This must've been written ages ago! Maybe before I was born!" Alfred put the thick leather-bound book back in its place and continued searching around.

The bottles were really interesting. They were all in a myriad of colours, and the liquids looked thick, like some sort of gloop. "Oh my gosh, what if they're England's failed cooking experiments!" Alfred shuddered. He grabbed one and peered at it. The dark blue liquid inside sloshed, while the written note on the bottle was in German. There was a picture of something there, but it had apparently faded over time. America looked at the bottle sceptically. "I wonder..." He reached for the cork and started pulling, but it seemed stuck. However, he continued to tug and tug.

Suddenly, he heard the sound of a page turning echoing from his left. He immediately hid behind one of the cupboards and peeped out. Sure enough, there was England, his back to America, flipping through one of those thick books. The flickering light from the candle just barely illuminated Arthur.

"Hmm...what's Iggy doing?" Alfred couldn't wait any longer. He placed the bottle of liquid back on the top and burst out of his hiding spot. "Hey IGGY!" England turned, the shock on his face quickly replaced with fury and a snarl etched across his face. "Alfred! You sodding git, I thought I told you-"

However, Arthur never got to finish his rant. As Alfred ran out from the cupboard, he accidentally bumped into it. And it so happened that as a result, the very same bottle that he had just placed on the top shelf toppled over the edge and started falling.

"Alfred, watch out!"

The clatter of the candle holder, a pair of hands, and the sound of breaking glass echoed throughout the now dark basement. America fell to the ground. "Hey! That's not very nice Iggy!" Alfred whined. In response, a hand reached out lightning-fast and grabbed America by the collar of his shirt, before yanking him forward roughly. Alfred could just make out England's bright green eyes, and he shrunk under their vicious glare. "America..." Alfred winced. England only ever called him that when he was really, really REALLY angry. Alfred braced himself for the explosion.

Suddenly, Arthur shoved Alfred backwards. "Woah!" Alfred just managed to get his balance before falling. "What's your problem Iggy!" he exclaimed crossly. "I mean, yeah, OK, I went into your basement, but there's nothing dangerous here, I'm not hurt, so there's no need to be so mad or anything!" However, the sharp response Alfred expected did not come. Instead, England replied in a very calm and subdued voice. "America, I'd like you to leave my house. Now." Alfred looked at him confused. "Huh? Wha? Are you ok Ig-"

"Get. Out. Now."

"Come on Arthur, it's just a basement."


Alfred nearly felt his neck snap as a heavy leather bound book was chucked at his head. Rubbing his neck, he groaned and backed off slowly. He raised his other hand in surrender. "Ok, ok Arthur, I get it! Gee, you don't have to shout..." Alfred turned and stalked out, trying to ignore the burning sensation in his eyes.

As Alfred's footsteps slowly faded away, Arthur quickly relit the candle, his hands trembling. As the wobbling flame of the candle came into being, he grabbed the broken piece of the bottle which still had the label stuck to it. His eyes widened in horror and shock as he read the instructions on the bottle. "Bloody hell..." Immediately, he staggered to his feet, the potion dripping off him, working its magic into his veins...he needed to get out of here immediately, call Scotland or Ireland before it's too late. He scrambled for the staircase and ran up the stairs, praying hard that Alfred had really left. As he burst through the door, he barely made it out of the kitchen when the first spasm of pain shot through his body. England stumbled and fell down, cursing. "Damn...that...wanker..." England growled as he struggled to stand. He got to his feet and used the table as support as he reached for the telephone, just out of his reach. A split second later, a second wave of pain swallowed him, and he nearly bit through his tongue as he tried not to scream. He lost his balance and fell through the door adjacent to him, right into the bathroom. Somehow, he managed to slam the heavy wooden door shut. He took deep breaths and racked his head, trying to think of a counter spell to use against the magic. But he deep down, he knew that it was too late. Magic grew stronger with time, and that potion was one of the first few he had ever made as a child.

Slowly, he felt his canines growing. The first step of the many changes to come. He winced in pain as the teeth slowly inched forward bit by bit, before eventually stopping. However, before he could check out the damage, he felt stabs of pain in his hands. Arthur was forced to bite back a scream as fire coursed through his fingers. A sick cracking sound could be heard in the four walls of the bathroom. Arthur clenched his hands, trying to dull the pain, but it just intensified, and eventually Arthur opened his mouth with a silent scream as his nails cracked and shattered, making way for sharp new claws. Arthur stared at the claws, moving his fingers gingerly. "Shit shit shit shit shit!"

His hands snapped to his ears, now pounding as the blood rushed towards them. He closed his eyes tight as he literally felt them yank upwards by some force. For a brief moment, he couldn't hear a single thing, and there was something pressing on them till his head swam, but suddenly, the bubble of pressure popped, and everything suddenly became so much clearer. Clearer than before. Slowly, he opened his eye. His hands gripped the sink, and he felt his new claws sink into the sink. He pulled himself up and stared at his image in the mirror. His heart sank to his toes. "God no..." he moaned, but sure enough, sticking through his unruly blonde hair, were a pair of cat ears, the same colour as his hair.

Arthur nearly collapsed once again as lightning course through his spine. He grabbed the nearby towel and stuffed his mouth with it, screaming as loud as he could. The sound of his bones popping was amplified by his new ears, and he winced at each snap. He felt the build-up, all at the base of the spine. He closed his eyes in pain, and let the tears fall. "Please...please no!" He begged inwardly. His pleas for clemency were ignored. He yelled as something burst from the base, and tore through his trousers. Arthur turned his head, afraid of what he would see, just in time to see the muscle intertwining with the bones and the nerves. He watched, afraid but unable to turn away as the growth accelerated. Suddenly, the link was made, and he shut his eyes and screamed as the nerves sent signals to his brain about the pain. He trashed his new limb around even as the muscles continued to spread through the bone. Skin stretched over the tissue, and finally a tingling, before the pain slowly ebbed away. Tears falling from his eyes, he opened them a crack. The last stages of the transformation were going on as the fur finished growing on his new tail. He spat out the towel, mangled by his new fangs. He stumbled out of the bathroom and to his bedroom. He had a full length mirror there. He needed to know the damage, in order to fix what had just happened. He sprinted up the staircase and slammed the door shut, locking it. Thank God he had already drawn the curtains earlier in the day. Trembling, he turned towards the mirror, dreading what he would see. When he finally saw his reflection, he groaned.

"I am going to kill that fucking Yank."