Thanks for the reviews everyone! Here's the final chapter and I hope you enjoy it.
True Love's Kiss
"Arthur! Arthur, Fellow, are you alright?" The nation's eyes fluttered open and he looked up to see the four princes staring down at him. He groaned and sat up, putting a hand to his head.
He was sitting on something smooth but relatively cushy. It took him a moment to realize that it was the dragon's corpse. He jolted quickly to his feet before stumbling. Quartz caught him and helped him remain standing.
"Good thing you fell on top of him, instead of the other way around, huh?" Garnet asked happily.
"Arthur, your strategy was fantastic! We have felled the beasts together through the power of teamwork," Topaz told him with a smile.
Arthur stared back at him blearily for a moment, before he finally felt truly aware of what was going on.
"Alfred!" he said suddenly, and he pulled away from Quartz and clambered off the dragon. The princes followed close behind and together they ran into the castle. "Dammit. This place is huge, where do we go?"
Arthur glanced around as he felt his panic rising. Alfred had collapsed and, for all he knew, was in need of immediate assistance. He had to find Alfred, and he had to find him now. Where was the composure that he prided himself on when he most needed it?
Arthur and the princes hurried around, looking into random rooms and otherwise getting nowhere. It was then that Turquoise shouted something out.
"Look, birds!" The entire group turned and stared. The hoard of creatures that they had seen escaping the forest was now returning. The all hurried together up the center stairs as though they knew exactly where they were going. It didn't take more than a second for Arthur and the princes to follow them.
Up the stairs and through a myriad of hallways they followed the animals, until they found themselves at the foot of a long and winding staircase. There was no doubt that what they were searching for was at the top of the stairs.
Arthur swallowed in apprehension before charging his way up the steps, dodging the little animals that ran about his feet as he did. When he at last reached the top the sight that met his eyes stopped his breath.
Alfred was laid out on a bench with his hands clasped over his chest. Four girls were huddled in front of him, crying together quietly, and as the animals filtered in they joined the girls in their reverence. The room was filled with life, and yet was utterly silent.
Arthur walked forward slowly, the sound of his feet seeming unnaturally loud as he did. The girls looked up as he passed, but he didn't notice them. He simply knelt before Alfred and reached a hand out to stroke his cheek.
His skin was still warm, which Arthur had to remind himself was only natural. Alfred was a nation, he couldn't die, but he was so utterly still that it was difficult to believe that he was still alive.
Even when he was a baby Alfred would always turn his head when Arthur touched his cheek. He'd still do it at meetings when Arthur tried to wake him up without making a seen. It was an endearing trait, a sleepy version of his usual desire for attention. Alfred did nothing now. Arthur's touch went by unnoticed. This was no natural sleep, and for a nation it may well have been worse than death.
"Violet?" Arthur heard Quartz's voice behind him, and then there was a small gasp.
"Oh Quartz," It was a happy reaction, but subdued. There was a sob, and he heard one of the girls get up and run to her prince. He heard the scene repeated three more times. It was all the same subdued happy reunion, and all the while Alfred lay still.
"Al, wake up. Please, Al. Wake up for me," Arthur urged quietly. He shook Alfred's shoulder, but there was no reaction.
"Dammit Alfred! Wake up!" He shouted, shaking him harder in frustration. "Why won't you wake up?"
"I don't think that's going to work, Arthur," Quartz said gently.
"Oh, shut up. If you're not going to help than shut up!" the old nation shouted back. "Dammit Al, what did he force on you?"
Arthur could feel tears coming to his eyes, and he tried desperately to think of something he could do to bring life back into the face that lay still before him.
"Spells! I need spells!" He glanced frantically around the room, before hurrying over to a small bookcase in the corner. He could feel the pitying eyes of the royals behind him, but he didn't care. Desperately he flipped through the pages of multiple books, but he could find nothing. It was all dark magic "Dammit what do I do?"
He staggered back over to Alfred and glared down at him as his lip began to quiver, "You idiot. This is all your fault! You stupid dammit… You… shit… God, I hate you!"
"You don't hate him," a quiet voice said behind him. He turned to see that the little blond girl who was leaning on Garnet was speaking to him. "He said that you're his true love. I know you don't hate him!"
"He said that?" Arthur asked quietly.
"Pretty much," another girl told him.
It was ridiculous, all this true love business. Yet it sounded like exactly the sort of fluff that Alfred would buy into. Hell, if the situation were reversed Alfred would probably have tried to kiss him awake.
Arthur froze in his thought process. His eyes darted quickly to the boy's face, and he felt his heart clench. Very slowly he bent forward and laid his lips against Alfred's.
Arthur leaned back and waited, terrified that nothing would happen. He could almost feel his heart breaking, and then Alfred's eyes fluttered open. He sat up slowly, his eyes scanning the room slowly before at last they landed on Arthur.
"Hey," he said simply, his face breaking into his usual goofy grin.
"Hey yourself, you great stupid idiot! I just saved your life; I'll have you know. You practically died. I'm sure it was all fine for you caught up in dream land, but I was worried something awful. I was terrified, you Idiot, and the first thing you say is 'hey'. I should never have kissed you. I should have just left you there, that's what."
"You… kissed me…" Alfred said slowly. His face was turning quite red as he spoke, and he looked utterly embarrassed.
"Yeah, so… it was the only way I could see to wake you up. I don't care how embarrassed you are, it was a matter of necessity. I know how you feel about the whole 'gay' thing, but it needed doing so I did it. If you ask me-"
Arthur was cut off abruptly when Alfred pulled him down into his lap and kissed him rather passionately. Alfred pulled back and nuzzled his forehead against Arthur's.
"I missed you," he said quietly. Arthur reached up and put a hand against his cheek before leaning forward and kissing him again.
"I missed you too."
"And… I… I kind of you know… love you… and stuff," Alfred said quietly, averting his eyes, "but I suppose that's kind of obvious now…"
"How do you figure?"
"You can't wake someone up with a regular kiss, it's got to be true love's kiss or it doesn't work. Duh."
Arthur hit him upside the head gently before leaning forward and kissing him again.
"Um, I don't think you're supposed to kiss like that until the happily ever after part," One of the girls said quietly. Neither nation noticed.
Alfred at last leaned back from Arthur and stared at him happily. The older nation's cheeks were tinged with pink, whether it was from their kissing or from the embarrassment that arose with his sudden awareness of their audience, Alfred didn't care. Arthur looked beautiful, and handsome, and cute all at once, and just looking at him made Alfred's heart pound. He was struck by a sudden desire to squeeze Arthur as hard as he could, and a moment later the Englishman was spluttering in his arms.
"Let go. Al, I can't breathe…" he gasped and Alfred released him.
"Sorry! I guess I just don't know my own strength," Alfred laughed nervously and then he froze. He sprung up from the bench before lifting it, Arthur in tow, up above his head. Smiling brilliantly he placed it back on the ground before picking Arthur up and hugging him a little more gently than before, "Your magic kisses made me strong again!"
"That wizard guy, he gave me this food and sucked out all my strength so I couldn't do anything! Not hardly. I was all weak. It was worse than a depression even! But now I'm all strong again, and it's cause of your magic kiss!" Alfred pulled Arthur close again and kissed him enthusiastically on the forehead. "I love you!"
Taken aback by the boy's easy, excitable, affection, Arthur found his face turning bright red, "you too…" he mumbled quietly.
"You two are so sweet together!" Rose squealed and she hurried up to Alfred and hugged him for good measure. The others joined in too, and Alfred found himself at the center of a Princess group hug. He could see Arthur watching him with careful concern, in much the same way that Princes were.
"Heh, you girls should probably go back to your princes over there. I mean they just rescued you and stuff. They probably don't want to see you hugging some other guy just now…"
"Oh, Alfie, you don't count!" Bluebell told him laughing. The girls gave him one last squeeze before hurrying back over to their respective princes, who were still eyeing Alfred warily. Arthur returned the favor, grabbing Alfred's hand possessively.
The mood in the room was improved slightly when Arthur decided that it would be best if everyone were introduced. The girls all curtsied to the Englishman, giggling as they did, and Alfred enthusiastically shook hands with all the princes
"I'm sorry about that," Arthur said in embarrassment, "he's never really known how to get on well with monarchs."
"Nonsense, he seems like a charming fellow," Quartz assured them, and Alfred grinned cheekily at his ally. "Now, we shall all return to my kingdom, and I shall hold a glorious ball to celebrate the rescue!"
"Oh, Quartz, that'll be so lovely!" Violet told him.
"My dearest Daisy will dance like a petal on the wind," Topaz said, getting down on one knee and looking sweetly up at Daisy.
"Yes, well, that all sounds very nice, but I'm afraid that Alfred and I need to find a way back to our own home as soon as possible."
"You can't skip the celebration," Garnet whined, and Rose who was clinging to his arm joined in.
"I'll just cry if Alfie doesn't come!"
"Yeah Artie, why don't we get to go?" Alfred asked, turning on his best pouty face.
"You don't want to go to a ball, Al. You hate that sort of dancing! Besides, you'll have to wear tights."
"I'm all ready wearing tights…" the younger nation replied, looking at his legs in embarrassment. Arthur let his eyes roam down the other nation's body, finally taking in what he'd been seeing.
"Yes you are…" he said quietly.
"Hey, Arthur, focus. Are we going to the wrap party or not?"
"What? No, Al, I'm sorry, but we need to get back, and I need to stay here where there are spell books and the like to work with."
"…Fine. I guess this is goodbye then," he said turning to the princesses, and suddenly he was hug tackled again.
Alfred sat on the castle steps dressed again in his regular clothes and absentmindedly scratching his bear friend on the head. He'd been watching Arthur run back and forth, searching through spell books and muttering to himself. Alfred was extremely bored.
"Why don't you just do whatever it was that you did to get us here? You didn't forget, did you?" he asked sleepily.
"Unless you've got a book about our lives, I don't very well understand what it is that you want me to do!" Arthur snapped. He sighed and went over and kissed Alfred on the head, "Sorry, I'm sure we're both just frustrated."
They sat together, leaning on one another and worrying together. Alfred put his arm around the older nation and buried his face in his hair.
"It's got to be a book, huh?"
"Well, something like it. Why? I don't suppose you have an idea."
" I dunno. I mean, I printed out a map to your house from the airport. I still have it in my pocket."
"I have lived in the same building for longer than you have been alive. Why the hell did you need mapquest?"
"I don't know. Shut up, roundabouts are stupid. I always get stuck in them, and the road goes the wrong way, and its hard to give directions to you taxi drivers, cuz some of them have really thick accents. I just thought it would be good to have. Anyway, do you think it'll work?" Alfred asked.
"It's worth a try. It'd be a bit of a deus ex machina though, wouldn't it?"
"Well, duh, Arthur. We're in a fairy tale!"
Not an hour later, the two men stood before a map that they had placed on the floor. They looked at one another and nodded, and together, holding hands, they stepped forward.
They awoke, sometime later, laying together in Arthur's front yard. Sitting up they looked at one another, and Alfred's face broke into a huge smile.
"You did it!" he shouted, holding Arthur close and kissing him. Arthur smiled into the kiss before deepening it and leaning in. Alfred sighed sweetly when they stopped, which caused Arthur to smile despite himself.
He stood up and held a hand out to the younger nation, "Come here you big lug, let's go inside."
Arthur opened the door and frowned when he caught sight of the mud that had been tracked across his floor by the United States just a few days ago. He turned his impressive glare on Alfred.
"I'm going to change, I expect you to be cleaning that up when I get back"
"Oh fine," Alfred groaned, and Arthur left him there to do work.
As Arthur changed into a fresh pair of comfortable modern clothing, he couldn't help but smile like a fool. He couldn't have imagined this happening just a few days ago. A magical adventure was one thing, he wasn't too surprised by that, but to have Alfred all to himself, to be able to kiss him, and hold him, that was something else entirely. He supposed he shouldn't be so dismissive of all those dream come true stories that Alfred loved. Perhaps it really was possible.
He hurried back downstairs, determined to help Alfred clean up, despite his better judgment. He did not, however, find the boy cleaning. He was sitting on the couch and watching TV.
"Al!" Arthur barked, "You said you'd clean up."
"It's cool, Artie. I got it covered, just go and look." Arthur eyed him warily, but went to check the entryway. He found a number of small squirrels scrubbing away at his tile floor. Arthur backed away slowly.
"What was that?"
"I don't entirely understand it, but it's a lot better than a roomba, huh? Besides this way we can spend more time together!"
Arthur melted slightly at this, and went and sat on the couch besides him.
"What did you have in mind?"
"Well, I'm starving so I figured we could get McDonalds."
"I thought you didn't want to eat any food that made you feel weaker," Arthur teased with a smirk.
"Shut up," Alfred said before continuing, " I also thought maybe we could rent some Disney movies and snuggle on the couch, and then maybe do… other stuff later."
Arthur very much liked the idea of 'other stuff later' so he nodded in agreement. "I wasn't really expecting you to have such a plan."
"Well, what did you think I was going to say?" Alfred asked, as he got up and put his coat on. He waited at the door, for Arthur to join him.
"Honestly?" The older nation said, "I thought you were going to say something sappy. I thought you'd tell me that you thought we should live happily ever after."
I hope everyone liked it.
This chapter is named after the "True Love's Kiss" Song from Enchanted, although, of course, magical kisses are Princess standard.
Also, Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Alfredians.