Welcome readers :) eveilly here!
So this is the first fanfiction I've written in a while . . . and it's also the first Hetalia fanfiction I've done—so lots of firsts for this one! I've been obsessed with the whole USxUK pairing lately, so what better way to fuel my obsession than by writing about it myself? So read on (if you dare) and (hopefully) enjoy!
Setting: Alternative Universe, Napa Valley, California, present day
Summary: While on a business trip to Napa Valley, CA, liquor salesman Arthur Kirkland meets the handsome and charming Alfred F. Jones, heir to a multi-million dollar wine company. Actually, Alfred sort of saves Arthur's life when his apartment complex catches on fire, so now Arthur's indebted to the man. Surely, things couldn't get any worse . . . or is it that they actually couldn't get any better?
Pairing: USxUK, here referred to by their human names Alfred and Arthur; more parings may show up in later chapters
Rating: T for some language, but it may get bumped up to M later . . .
Disclaimer: Axis Powers Hetalia © Hidekaz Himaruya (not me!)
The Boys of Summer
Chapter One: The Gentleman and the Adventurer
Arthur Kirkland was not having a pleasant day.
In fact, his day had been quite exasperating so far, and it wasn't even over yet—not by a long shot. He was famished, fatigued, forlorn, and all he wanted was to go home . . . but that wasn't an option. He was thousands of miles from home, stranded in a strange and foreign land where he didn't know a living soul. And, to make matters worse, he would be stuck there for at least three months.
In other words, although Arthur was prone to frequent bouts of moodiness, he actually had an excuse for it today.
"So, where you from?"
Arthur snapped out of his reverie at the sound of the cab driver's voice.
Well that's just lovely, he thought, now I have to make small talk with this idiot too? Arthur preferred being left alone; the very thought of having to chat made his head throb. Plus, his ears were still adjusting to being back on the ground after the long flight, and silence tasted sweet to them. Still, if there was one thing Arthur prided himself on, it was the fact that he was a gentleman. So instead of ignoring the cab driver, he replied with, "I just arrived here from London."
"That far? What brings you here?"
Just because he had to reply to the man didn't mean his answers had to be lengthy. But it was true: he was only here for work. There was nothing else on earth that could have compelled him to travel here—to America of all places—except for his job. He certainly wouldn't have wanted to come for a vacation, even if he had had time to spare for one. But he was quite busy with his career; he worked for a liquor company, and they had sent him to Napa Valley, California to negotiate with a wine company in the area. Arthur was to meet with the businessmen of this company and report back to his own on whether he thought a partnership with them might be worthwhile. After that, he could return to London.
"So how long you here for?" the driver asked, jaw flapping open and shut as he chewed his bubblegum.
"With any luck, not too long," Arthur replied, and his words came out harsher than he had intended.
Oh well, at least it killed the conversation, he thought, as the cab driver had fallen into silence, finally realizing that Arthur wasn't exactly the sociable type. Not that Arthur had anything against the driver—it was just that he'd had a very, very long day. First the flight to San Francisco, and now the nearly two-hour drive up to Napa . . . and he hadn't really eaten anything since breakfast. Plane food was always atrocious, so he refused to touch the stuff, and it seemed to him as though the only restaurants he had passed since his arrival were fast food joints. Really, why did people feel the need to build McDonald's on every street corner in this country? America made no sense. People were so loud and obnoxious, they had no sense of propriety whatsoever, and they even drove on the wrong side of the road! The only thing Arthur could say he didn't hate so far was some of the scenery. He had heard that the Napa Valley countryside was supposed to be breathtaking and picturesque, all Garden-of-Eden-like. Peering out his window, Arthur had to admit that the sloping hills and soft emerald fields weren't all that intolerable. . . .
And at least it doesn't rain much here in the summertime, he added. It was mid-June, and the climate was supposed to be warm and dry. Arthur leaned his head against the window's glass as he thought of it, eyelids slowly drooping. . . .
"Hey, nap time's over! We're here!"
Arthur's eyes fluttered open at the man's words, and he quickly shook himself awake. In the window's glass, he spotted a red mark on his forehead where he had rested it against the pane. He noticed, too, that nightfall had crept up upon him while he was sleeping, for the sky was dark, and the stars were shining.
The cab driver quoted him a price, and Arthur handed over the money. It was a sizable sum, but the liquor company was paying his expenses, so he didn't care. Instead, he simply grabbed his scruffy suitcase, thanked the cab driver, and hopped out of the car. In front of him towered an apartment complex—the one where he was to be rooming. Arthur gazed up at it for a few moments more, breathing in the warm, fresh evening air. There wasn't any smog in it, not like the air back in London.
Not that I'm complaining about London, Arthur thought, making his way toward the building. London's far superior, of course, in every other way. . . .
When he reached the front doors, he slipped through into the building's lobby. It was quite plush and impressive, with marble floors and sofas with satin pillows. The apartment complex had only been built a few months before, but what with the onset of the American housing crisis, the owner had been unable to sell the apartments. So he had taken to trying to rent them out instead, although that wasn't working out too well either. He had lowered the cost of rent considerably, but there were still only a few people who had taken him up on the offer.
"Excuse me," Arthur began, addressing the woman behind the lobby's front desk, "but I'm a new tenant here, and I've only just arrived . . ."
"Your name please?" she asked.
The woman left to fetch something, and when she returned, she was holding a set of keys in her hand.
"Right then, I'll show you to your new place," she said, smiling, and Arthur followed her to the elevator.
Inside, she asked, "So, you're from England?"
Not this again, he thought, but only nodded in response.
"Well, aren't you going to say something?" she pressed.
"Sorry," he said, "it's just that I've had a very tiring day."
"Oh, don't worry about it. I only meant that I was hoping you'd speak. I want to hear your accent! We don't get many Brits around here, you know."
"Technically, you're the one with the accent," Arthur corrected, a little irritably. "After all, the language is called English, even though you Americans seem to think it belongs to you and that you can change whatever you please about it—"
At that moment, the elevator doors buzzed open, and Arthur caught himself.
Damn it all, I'm acting like a colossal git again, aren't I? He blamed America. Something about this country brought out the worst in him.
Clearing his throat, he began, "Yes, well, sorry about that. It looks as though this is my floor. I think I can find my way from here, if you'd be so kind as to hand me the key." He tried to smile, but it came out more as a grimace.
Stiffly, the woman nodded and dropped the key into his palm. Feeling like a complete asshole, Arthur left the elevator and started down the hall. Could this day get any worse? The answer was yes, although he didn't know it yet.
It didn't take long for him to find his room. It was 13-3.
"I'm on the thirteenth floor?" he whispered, frowning. Unlucky number thirteen. Although he never admitted it in public, Arthur was rather superstitious, and this wasn't a good sign. Still, there was nothing he could do about it except turn the key and enter.
Inside, Arthur briefly examined the flat. It was already furnished, and it seemed suitable enough, so he took to unpacking what few possessions he had brought with him. The rest of his things were scheduled to be flown in tomorrow. Taking out his toothbrush and a few other necessities, he swiftly prepared for bed, slipping on his pajamas last. He was eager to get some much-needed rest. Rummaging around in his suitcase, he pulled out the last item necessary for sleep: his unicorn plushie. Stardust was her name, and his mother had given it to him when he was very young. A cascade of nostalgia washed over him as he held the soft toy in his arms; his parents were both dead, and although his father had never really been a part of his life, he had been close to his mother. Ever since her death two years ago, things had never been quite right. Now he and his older brothers were always fighting. When she died, it seemed the last hope for family peace had died with her.
Glancing out the window beside his bed, Arthur could see the city's lights in the distance, but all he felt was a wave of aching loneliness. He wondered at those lights out there . . . were those people just settling in for the night, being welcomed home by their families and lovers? Or were some of them heading home to an empty house and an empty bed, just as he was . . .
You idiot, pull yourself together, he ordered, straightening up. This was no time to be sentimental. He had a big day ahead of him tomorrow—he was to meet with the representatives of the wine company, so he needed to get his rest. Reaching over, he clicked off the lamp and pulled the bed-sheets over him.
"At least there's one good thing that comes of sleeping alone," he whispered, hugging his unicorn close. "I don't have to explain this bloody stuffed animal to anyone."
Alfred F. Jones was bored. Really bored. Bored and hungry, actually. But that was nothing new; he typically experienced both of these feelings on a daily basis. "Hungry" was familiar to him because it seemed Alfred's stomach was never satisfied. He might be feeling completely full one second and then he would catch a whiff of a hot dog on the wind, and he just couldn't help himself. Besides, it wasn't as though he were fat; he worked out all the time, and his body was absolutely perfect, if he did say so himself.
The second feeling, "boredom," was also familiar because Alfred had been born with a remarkably low attention span. It wasn't as though he didn't have things to do, he just felt he had done them all before. He had lived in Napa Valley his whole life, and he had memorized every boulevard, restaurant, and shopping center. What he longed for more than anything was the chance to travel to other places—they didn't have to be far away, just new. He wanted excitement and adventure, like in the movies. He was only nineteen, after all, so he might as well live his life while he still could. But it wasn't exactly up to him.
The problem was that his family was obscenely rich. Now, this in and of itself wasn't the issue (Alfred felt no shame in admitting that he loved being rich), but it was the reason his parents were rich that was the problem. It was because they owned a business—a wine company, to be exact. It had been in Alfred's family for generations, and now his parents expected him to take up the mantle and become an employee of the company too. Someday, they hoped he would become the CEO. But Alfred didn't want the same things that they wanted for him. He loved his family's company, but he wasn't the business type—he didn't belong in that world. Of course, he wasn't exactly sure where he did belong, but that was the point of life, right? To figure it out along the way?
But for now, Alfred had opted to appease them. He had taken a low-level position at the company, and he was doing well enough, even though he wasn't enjoying the job. But tonight, it was still Sunday, so it counted as part of the weekend, and he was free to do as he wished. As usual, Alfred hadn't gone out with any plan in mind; he had simply left the house, hopped on his motorbike, and let the road lead him where it would. And, as it often did, it had led him to McDonald's. There, he had gulped down two gigantic burgers, plus fries and a Coke. Well, that took care of his hunger—for a little while, anyway. But there was still the issue of boredom. Sitting at his table, he glanced at the kid's play area, wishing he were still young enough to fit on the slide and dangle from the monkey bars. But he wasn't a kid anymore, so he rose from his table, dumped his trash in the bin, and walked out into the night.
It was humid and warm outside, and Alfred stood there beside his bike for a few minutes, just staring down the road. It seemed to stretch on forever, vast and unknowable. Shivers ran up his spine as he was seized with the sudden urge to rev up his bike and chase down that endless road—just riding and riding and never looking back. . . .
But then the wind died down, and Alfred realized how crazy it was to think of taking off like that. Nope, he would be stuck here for a long time, it seemed. It wouldn't be so bad if only something would happen around here. Nothing ever happened in Napa. . . .
Alfred jerked his head backward just in time to spot a flash of light in the distance.
"What the hell?" he exclaimed, squinting at the sky. It had almost sounded like thunder, but there wasn't a cloud above him.
"What happened?" someone yelled behind him. It was one of the McDonald's employees, come out to investigate the noise. Alfred began to shrug, but as he turned his head again, he noticed something new: there was smoke curling up in the distance. Something was on fire.
Alfred wasted no time in swinging himself onto his motorbike.
"Hey, what are you doing?" the McDonald's worker asked as his bike shook itself awake.
Turning, Alfred gave a thumbs-up and shot the woman his most winning smile.
"Answering the call of adventure," he replied, and then he was off, a cloud of dust kicking up in his wake.
To be continued...
So, what do you guys think? I mainly tried to set up the characters and setting in this chapter, but the action will be coming soon!
Now I'm going to get down on my hands and knees and beg, beg, BEG for reviews! Reviews are like candy bars to me: I'm addicted to them. Seriously, you guys could make my day just by taking a minute or two to type a comment! So please, help out a poor starving author and REVIEW! It will make the world a happier place.
Next Chapter: Alfred and Arthur meet each other for the first time, though it isn't under the best of circumstances. For instance, there's a burning building involved, and that's never good...unless you have a hero around to help you out, of course...
See you guys then!