More America and England family fluff. Listen to Elizabeth Mitchell's rendition of "You are my sunshine" while reading this fic for best effect. And yes, I realised that "You are my sunshine" was written AFTER the Great Depression, but it is honestly speaking one of my favourite songs, it suits the tone of the story, and I plead artistic license. =P

Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia, and I don't own the song either.

You Are My Sunshine

Alfred lay on the bed unconscious. His breathing was shallow, and his skin a sickly pale colour that did not suit the energetic cheerful Nation. Where a bright smile should've been, was only a thin line that occasionally turned into a grimace of pain every now and then.

A piece of wet cloth dabbed at his forehead, trying to bring the fever down. But Arthur knew better; his sickness would only cease the moment his economy recovered. Really, he didn't know why he even bothered.

He squeezed the water out of the cloth into a nearby basin, before dipping the cloth once again into a separate basin filled with cold water. Once more he placed the cloth on America's forehead. Once more he felt his heart ache when Alfred moaned in pain.

Once more, he prayed that Alfred would wake up.

"You could you let things get so bad...?"

The last time he had seen Alfred, the boy had been as noisy as usual. Boasting about his growing economy to the weary England, he had seemed the very epitome of health. He was a contrast to his former caretaker, who was struggling to recover after the Great War. Arthur had come down with the flu as a result of the military expenses, and he did not appreciate how America kept trying to rub it in his face that he wasn't as rich as he used to be.

Nothing prepared him for the Great Depression.

It had happened out of the bloom. One moment, Alfred was chatting with Matthew about the miracles of the stock market. The next moment, he had suddenly collapsed on the porch, much to his brother's horror.

Suddenly, everything spiralled out on control. The effects of the Great Depression started to spread like a disease, rapidly consuming everything. And when it had finished ravaging America, it started to spread to the other countries as well. England woke up one day with not only a cold, but a splitting headache. At first, he could not figure out what had caused his additional malady. But everything made sense when Matthew called him.

By right, he should be at home, trying to solve all the problems mushrooming up as a result of the stock market crash. But here he was instead, having taken the first flight possible to be with Alfred.

Sitting by America's bed side, England reached forward to gently brush away some strands of hair that stuck to Alfred's sweaty forehead. He bit his lower lip in anguish when his fingers touched Alfred's skin. He was burning up so badly. No wonder the cool water wasn't doing anything.

Suddenly, Alfred stirred. Arthur held his breath, nearly sick with hope.

"Ar...Arthur...," he breathed.

Arthur grabbed Alfred's hand immediately and held it close.

"Alfred...I'm here lad...speak to me...," Arthur's voice trembled and his head pounded, but he chose to ignore the ache, concentrating his entire being on America.

When Alfred opened his eyes, Arthur had to choke back a sob. His bright blue eyes were now clouded with delirium. Alfred looked towards him, his gaze glassy and unfocused.

"I had a was so scary..."

Arthur felt his throat constrict. Alfred was speaking to him like how he used to as a child, especially after a bad dream. Childish innocence mixed with the fear of the unknown.

Alfred whimpered. "I dreamt that I was all alone...and you weren't there anymore...and I...I...I didn't know what to do..."

Arthur shook his head. "Stuff and nonsense..." he muttered comfortingly. He reached forward with his other hand and stroked Alfred's fringe lovingly, just like how he used to a long time ago, back when America was still his. "It's just a bad dream, that's all. I'll never leave you Alfred."

Arthur was finding it difficult to keep his voice steady. This was invoking so many memories, memories that he wanted to bury and forget.

Because it wasn't Arthur who left Alfred.

It was Alfred who left him.

Alfred let out a sob that nearly broke Arthur's heart. "But it was so real," he cried out. "It was raining, and I was in a field, and I saw you walking away from me. I called out your name, but you didn't come back, and when I tried to run towards you, I just couldn't keep up because you were just too fast..." His hand in England's clutched it tighter, as if he was afraid that Arthur would let go. "Don't go back to Europe Arthur! Please stay with me! I'll be a good boy and eat all my veggies, just please don't go..." his voice trailed off as he pleaded. Suddenly, his hand in England's slipped away as he lunged forward and clutched at the front of Arthur's shirt with both his hands. Arthur stared in shock as the tears started falling from Alfred's eyes.

"I don't ever wanna be alone!"

Instinctively, Arthur leaned forward and embraced Alfred. "Don't worry lad, I'm here now..." he murmured soothingly. Alfred returned the hug, burying his head into Arthur's shoulder as sobbed into his shirt. Arthur tried his best to remain dry-eyed as his former charge wept. This was such a horrible turn of events, and the cruel irony of the situation was not lost on him.

"Hush Alfred...don't cry...," he whispered. He stroked the back of Alfred's head gently as he started singing.

"You are my sunshine

My only sunshine

You make me happy

when skies are gray"

Alfred's sobs started to calm down, and eventually he started hiccupping instead. Encouraged, Arthur sang on.

"You'll never know dear

how much I love you

Please don't take

my sunshine away"

Arthur felt his eyes prickling, but he forced the tears back. He carried on, even though he felt like dying on the inside.

"The other night dear

when I lay sleeping

I dreamt I held you

in my arms"

His heart tightened painfully, but Alfred seemed to have calmed down significantly. His ragged breathing was the only sound coming from him now.

"When I awoke dear

I was mistaken

So I hung my head

and cried"

All at once, the flood gates of memories burst opened. The early days when Alfred called his name, not with mockery but with admiration, the picnics they'd have in the prairie, the lessons that Alfred worked so hard to get right on just to get Arthur to praise him...

...the arguments that started out over trivial matters, but slowly built up with neither party willing to back down, the protests, the revolution...and finally the final day when Alfred turned his back on him and walked away...

"You are my sunshine

my only sunshine

You make me happy

when skies are gray"

Alfred's grip on him had loosened, and he felt the younger Nation leaning heavily on him even as his harsh breathing slowly quietened.

"You'll never know dear

how much I love you

Please don't take

my sunshine away"

Carefully, Arthur laid Alfred back on the bed, the latter asleep. A calm expression was on his face as he dozed, and maybe it was Arthur's imagination, but the fever seemed to have gone down slightly.

"Please don't take

my sunshine away"

He tucked Alfred in, before caressing the side of his face lovingly. His voice finally cracked as he sang the final line.

"Please don't take

my sunshine away."

A single tear rolled down his cheek.

Later on when Matthew and Francis came back in to check on the two of them, they found Alfred asleep peacefully, and Arthur asleep with his head resting on his arms at the bed side. Quietly, Francis took a spare blanket and covered his long-time rival, while Matthew went to check on his brother's temperature. They left the two of them together, Francis keeping quiet about the tear tracks he had seen on England's face.

When Alfred woke up much later, all he found was an unsigned get-well card on his desk and a crumpled blanket on the floor nearby. He would spend the rest of his recovery wondering who gave him such a cheerful card, decorated with a bright yellow sun set against perfect blue skies as it chased the clouds away.

Gah, I'm supposed to be studying Business and the Law, but I set my I-Tunes to keep replaying this song, and eventually the fic just popped up on me. Sigh. Sorry if I made the characters too OOC, and hope you enjoyed this short fic.