Aaaaand England's side of the thing! And the end of this, since unless I get something really gnawing on my brain in the 'verse I am unlikely to do anything else with it, sorry. orz I am just... crap at not doing open-ended endings? hau hau.

ETA: An awesome anon over at the kink meme is continuing it! Check out the fic here: hetalia-kink. livejournal. com/ 17942. html?thread=65217046#t65217046 (just remove the spaces /o/)


It's not because he's desperately lonely or anything. Really.

It's been a long time since Arthur Kirkland let himself be interested in someone. He tends to be drawn to great people, people who in the courses of their lives will leave their mark upon him and history. He wonders whether that is part of the nature of what he is, for he's not sure whether he'd let himself be changed at all, otherwise.

They all die, though, those men and women great and sometimes terrible and always, in their own ways, beautiful. They all die and he is left behind the better and worse for it.

Right now, however, there is a man at the bar of his usual pub, whose very presence tugs at him. He marvels at the coincidences that had to have come together for them to meet. That he happens to be on leave, that this stranger - and the man obviously is one, for everyone else is a regular - has chosen his pub of all the pubs on this very day to go to. His fairies urge him on, to go talk to the man. They only see the short-term happiness; they are unable to comprehend future heartbreak, as geared to living in the moment as they are. He gives in though - he will not have peace of mind from them until he does, and in any case, if the man is as great as his gut tells him...

"Personal troubles?" he asks as he settles next to the man. "You've been at it for awhile."

Well, all right, that probably wasn't as smooth as he'd have liked. It had been awhile.

At least the man hasn't dismissed him yet, though the silence is beginning to drag. Just as he's about to return to his own drink, the man replies, a little awkwardly. "No, I... have no more money."

And that is a problem he can fix.

A few hours later, when night has truly set in, Arthur could be buggered if he knew how they ended up at the top of the Big Ben. (All right, so he knows he jimmied the lock and then waved the other man after him. There are some perks to being the British Empire, and one of them's getting away with such things. But how had they even gotten to talking about Big Ben in the first place? Oh, it didn't really matter.) Alcohol has long stopped tasting like anything but water; he is drunk as a skunk and rather giddy with it, all told. He thinks he's been rambling on about his fairy friends too, if the other man's expression is anything to go by. Honestly, he's just glad he hasn't hit the stage of miserable drunk yet.

That's no fun for anyone.

Ah... what has he been going on about? Oh yes. Violet and Rose and all the other brownies. "They kept urging me to go up to you, y'see? Sweet girls, but no real sense about these things. They're quite decent around the house though, not like those blasted redcaps. I keep telling them, dye their hats with the blood of the Jerries all they like," there is an odd look from his companion at that, "jus' don't fuckin' drag it onto my carpets. Least they only come 'round in troubled times. Ah now, the unicorns, they're darlings."

His fellow drinker makes more strange faces. "...I think you have had enough."

"Enough! Hah, what bollocks. Enough. I've had enough of this war, s'what I've had enough of."

To his companion's credit, the man neither joins him in commiserating nor shies away from the topic. "I wanted- I wanted to see what war did to people."

Only Americans, he thinks, and the fondness in his mental voice is what makes him realise he's a bit more pissed than he'd thought. "What, didn't see enough at home?" But he supposes there's nothing quite like seeing what war does to a person's own land. He would know. The people across the pond have been fairly lucky in that respect.

He's quickly turning morose, and that as much as anything is what decides for him to bring the evening to a close. He will see the man again anyway; this is how these things always go.

...

He does see the man again, but in all the ways he'd dreamt up when he'd allowed himself to indulge in idle fantasies, this scenario hadn't even crossed his mind.

Anger is easier than hurt, and there is so much hurt. He is a Nation, but in many ways he is human too. There is grim satisfaction when he slits the man's throat, of a job well done and of retribution, and only duty keeps him from returning home right then to lick his wounds.

Still. "You," he hisses to the fairies later that evening. Their faces are beautiful until they smile, and all the childish cruelty shows.

"Wasn't that fun, Arthur! A little doll to play with, forever and ever."

"Why didn't you warn me?"

"Why would we do that?"

Oh, they are ugly, but they are also the only friends that will never leave him. They need each other too much, tied together in land and blood and belief as they are.

He does not expect to see that bastard Jerry again, and most certainly not in the very pub they met. In hindsight, he thinks he should have known better; it has been this way for every great man and woman that has crossed his path in the past (and oh, he hates to admit it, but Germany is great and terrible both).

Asking to see Britain, the nerve!

Still, he is a gentleman as well as a soldier, and he likes to think he never goes back on his word.

And, weeks later, he discovers Germany, war-torn as he is, is beautiful.

"If there's you, and me," Arthur muses one day, newly settled in each other and on the sea together, and bollocks to the government. "There must be more of us out there. Shall we go find them?" His empire is falling down around him, and he would rather not think about it.

"Do you mean to... search together?"

There are many times he forgets how young Ludwig is, but the man in his uncertainty is not one of them. "Yes. Yes, of course, you daft fool."

"...I will submit my resignation."

"What, you didn't go and tell your new government about yourself, did you? I only bother in times of war so they don't get into an absolute tizzy over me."

"No, it's just a regular job. I told you I was on vacation."

"I thought that was a," he flapped his hand vaguely, if meaningfully, "a German thing."

"No."

"You do that then. Now where shall we start off, Portugal? Spain? We can leave those bloody frogs for last..."