I feel extremely awkward posting this, considering I wrote the first half of this without USUK in mind at all. I was just incredibly bored and depressed so I decided to write. Sadly, there was no USUK in my New Year's Eve, but I did manage to have a pretty good time with my family last five minutes of 2010. Personally, I don't like talking about myself, and therefore hated it. But Joey said it was okay, so I decided to post anyway.

I hope you all had a lovely New Year's, in any case, and I wish you the best in 2011.

New Year's Traditions

At 10:34 PM on New Year's Eve, I ask myself:

"What do you want to do to ring in the New Year?"

In the next room over, I hear my dad snoring on the couch, television playing loudly in the background. My mom wished me a happy New Year's at nine o'clock, then went straight to bed. My eldest brother has already moved out with his girlfriend, no doubt they will celebrate their New Year's as a couple. My older sister, as well, went out with her boyfriend. My other older brother has gone out to work, and my younger brother can be heard talking to a friend on his cell phone in the bedroom opposite mine.

Outside, I've heard fireworks going off for the past half an hour, and the whooping of my neighbors as they set up camp outside to watch them.

All of this makes me feel immeasurably lonely.

I regret not accepting the invitation to a New Year's party I was invited to by Francis, who was very disappointed that I declined- but let it go because I just wasn't interested at the time, and he knows how stubborn I am.

I had thought that New Year's is something you should celebrate with your family or your lover, and we have celebrated New Year's as a family- ever since I was born. Every year, without fail, we would gather our pots and pans and wooden spoons from the kitchen and watch the ball fall on our tiny television in the family room. We'd count down together when there was ten seconds left, and after that ball hit the ground- we would all shout "Happy New Year's!" and rush out the sliding glass door and onto the deck in the chilly night air, hitting our pots and pans like madmen.

Our parents and our grandmom would both go around and kiss and hug us all at least once, before we all retreated back into the house.

This year, it's lonely.

My eldest brother and older sister are in relationships and not celebrating at home anymore, my older brother is working, grandmom is recuperating from a knee operation, my parents are both asleep, and my other younger brother expresses no interest whatsoever in the event.

To top it all off, we no longer have a deck- it's a closed room now.

I guess it's my fault, then, for realizing too late that times change, they have been changing for quite some time, and now I'm depressed right before a new year.

I haven't even come up with a New Year's Resolution.

A part of me wants to be romantic about it, but the other, stronger, part is telling me to be traditional and just go with something simple like 'stop biting your nails' or 'be nicer to Francis.'

...Or maybe simply 'tell him,' but that's the romantic side calling out again.

In the end, though, it doesn't really matter- no one's going to be asking about it this time- so why even bother making one up?

It's all crushingly depressing.

An hour and 10 minutes until the new year, and I feel like I'm going to cry.

I've pissed away less than an hour talking to Alfred in an IM conversation, but ten minutes ago he abruptly told me he had to go and signed off shortly thereafter. Now with no one to talk to on the computer and growing bored of Solitaire, I slowly stand up and make my way to my bedroom door, slipping on my slippers and robe before quietly opening the door and walking down the hall.

My dad is watching Abbott and Castello, snoring noisily and turning over in his sleep as I open the cupboard, trying hard not to make a sound. From the top shelf I pull a packet of powder for hot chocolate- with marshmallows, of course. I saunter to another cupboard above the oven and pull down a mug, then I take the milk out of the refrigerator and fill said mug before putting it in the microwave for a minute and thirty seconds.

I can't help but notice how quiet the house is.

How lonely.

I lean against the counter and close my eyes, listening to the quiet hum of the microwave beside me as I think once more:

"What do you want to do to ring in the New Year?"

Well, I expect I'll be spending it by myself this year, won't I?

I closed my eyes.

So depressing.

The dinging of the doorbell pulled me back to the real world, and I blinked, pushing myself off the counter. Perhaps my older brother was back in time?

I tightened the bow on my robe and strode purposefully out of the kitchen and toward the front door, passing my father who grumbled, "wh't time is it?" on my way past.

"It's ten to midnight," I answered monotonously, not even looking at the clock.

Actually, why do I even have to answer the door? He has a key, doesn't he? Why doesn't he have his bloody key? What's he need to ring the bell for?

I scowled, he probably lost it again, didn't he? Jeez, this jock*(1), really, so careless... Guess I can pull out the ol' numpty*(2) insult again though...

I flung open the door, mouth open and ready to dole out a tongue-lashing but that is not my brother.

"A-Alfred?" I couldn't help the stutter, really, I mean, what the bloody hell is he doing here? I probably looked like a deer caught in the headlights and oh my God he's seen me in my bathrobe now but what does it matter, really, we're both guys aren't we? It is bloody embarrassing though now my face is heating up oh gosh what's he gonna think of the unicorn print I mean he's called my illusions stupid before but now I just look downright childish!

"Haha, hey Arty!" he said cheerfully, giving a little wave and flashing that too-bright smile. "Mind letting me in, it's kind of really cold out here, I may be a hero but I'm not frost resistant."

I blinked, and carefully examined his face.

His hair was wind-blown, his cheeks were flushed, and now that I was paying closer attention his chest was heaving and wait.

...Alfred can't drive... and my house is at least a thirty minute walk away from...

"BLIMEY YOU RAN HERE? ARE YOU A DIVVY*(3)?" I yelled in his face, and he did look honestly startled... well I didn't mean to yell so loudly but what the hell, man, he must be gormless*(4)! He could have caught pneumonia!

A loud beeping noise resonated through the kitchen... the hot chocolate... right!

"Ah, Arty, are you making hot choco-laeeehhHHT?" he had to break off at the end in surprise, as I had grabbed his freezing gloved hand and dragged him inside, slamming the door behind him.

"You're a plonker*(5)! An absolute pillock*(6)!" I quipped, going into hyper maternal drive.

I knelt down and started pulling off his boots, untying the both of them and then yanking them off pretty ungracefully. By now, my dad was up and watching the strange turn of events while scratching the back of his head. He greeted Alfred with a simple 'hello' before he went off to the other room to fetch my mum, I suspect, useless geezer couldn't even help! In the meantime, I tossed the boots aside and faced him again.

"Hot chocolate... you like it, right?" I asked, looking straight into his eyes.

"Yeah, of course I do!" he responded happily, although he looked a bit disgruntled at my actions, at the moment I could care less- he's still cold!

I ran back to the kitchen and used scissors to cut open the packet after retrieving the steaming mug of milk from the microwave. I poured the powder and tiny marshmallows into the mug before stirring with one of the longer spoons- first clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

Wordlessly, I walked into the living room, careful not to spill, and forced it into his hands, then I jogged to my room to fetch one of my warmer blankets, returning and draping it around his shoulders.

I sighed, and observed my work, hands on hips.

"There," I said, cracking a small smile. "Warm?"

He blinked for a few seconds, then broke out into a heart-melting smile that made my stomach fill with butterflies and my mind go all fuzzy. I vaguely registered him putting the mug down on the table (not even on a coaster, that ill-mannered American cabbage*(7)!) before I felt myself being pulled into a warm bear hug.

I flushed crimson as he nuzzled my shoulder, a chuckle against my neck sent shivers down my spine before I heard him mumble. "You're just like a mother hen... always looking after me. Thank you."

...And I would've refuted the statement, had he not sounded so sincere at that moment.

He let go of me, and I was a little saddened by the absence of his arms around my waist, but I let it go with a few curses shouted at my frivolous, hopelessly romantic brain as he plopped down in one of the armchairs and took the remote, turning on the News channel so we could watch the ball drop in Times Square. He picked up his mug again and started sipping as my mum, looking grouchy, strode in with my father.

11:57.

My father went back to the couch and sat down as my mum went to the bathroom, knocking on Peter's door on the way past.

"Get your arse out here, Peter, you can say Happy New Year's to Raivis later!"

I chuckled softly into a hand as Peter stomped out of his room, cell phone still in hand as he joined my father on the couch, mumbling to Raivis all the way over and refusing to hang up.

11:58.

There is a flush, and a brief rushing of water then the squeaking of a towel rack before my mom exits the bathroom, looking knackered*(8).

"Happy New Year's," she grumbled, sauntering past me and toward her own bedroom again, "I'm going back to sleep."

Alfred laughs as my father stands up and pulls her down onto the couch with him.

11:59.

I hear the door opening and turn to see who it is before I feel two hands latch themselves to my hips and pull me down onto, no doubt, Alfred's lap.

Again, cursing myself internally, I bloom a bright red.

"Alfred, you ARSEHOLE*(9)," I squawk in protest, punching him weakly in the chest as he laughs heartily (ANNOYINGLY) at my struggling. Damn Yank.

"Yeah, get some, Al!" whooped my brother as he took off his shoes and hung up his coat.

I felt my eye twitch in irritation. You're helpful, brother, really. I appreciate it.

"Ah, just in time, ya jock," said my mom, ignoring my desperate plight for freedom, as well. The witch. I see who that uncouth 'jock' takes after in this family.

My dad yawned.

"Thirty seconds," Peter chimed in, probably talking more to Raivis than to us.

We all grew silent as we watched the timer on the television start to count down, and I finally settled in Alfred's lap, his chin was resting comfortably on top of my head and his arms were draped around my waist.

It was admittedly comfortable.

I'd never say that out loud, though.

I glanced over at my mum and dad, and saw that his arm was slung around her shoulders as he casually leaned against the back of the couch, she didn't seem to mind, although, she did look a bit dead on her feet. Er, butt, as she was sitting down.

Ten seconds.

"Hey Arty," Alfred whispered into my ear suddenly, making goosebumps erupt all over my skin and my heart race uncomfortably.

"What?" I responded, a little too breathlessly for my liking.

Five seconds.

I felt the smile in his voice as he asked:

"What do you want to do to ring in the New Year?"

The numbers on screen looked hazy, the cheers were faraway, my family started counting down from three, hardly heard over the blood pounding in my ears.

Start of a new year... right?

I heard the romantic side of me yelling at the top of its lungs and strangling the other (stodgy) part of me and silencing its protests.

I think I've found my resolution.

"Three!"

Show him.

What the Hell, right? Nothing to lose.

He wants it anyway.

I swiveled around in my seat, turning my entire body so that I was halfway-facing Alfred, who had a soft smile on his face.

"Two!"

I took his head in my hands, looking deep into those sky blue eyes, searching for any kind of rejection.

When I found none, I closed my eyes and leaned in.

"One!"

I was kissing Alfred, a short, sweet, pressing of the lips.

It truly felt as if the world around us had melted into nothing, and that it was just the two of us- kissing- alone in the vastness of the universe. Right now, it is the only thing that matters. Us.

"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

He pulls back and once again flashes me that mind-boggling smile.

In the end, I couldn't resist the pleased grin spreading across my own face.

Because in my heart I knew- this new tradition was going to last a lifetime.

(I hoped in the years to come, that Scottish prick wouldn't noogie me every New Year, but alas, that's one awful tradition from birth that will follow me to the grave.)

Outside I hear the explosions of fireworks, the whooping of my neighbors- but as I look into those beautiful, laughing, blue eyes...

I realize that these sounds no longer make me feel lonely.

"Happy New Year's, Alfred."


Author's Notes:

Painstakingly sappy.

LOL YOU SEE HOW MANY BRITISH WORDS I USED?

I think I went a bit overboard.

1- Jock- Scottish man

2- Numpty- Scottish idiot (rofl I like how they have a specific term for SCOTTISH idiots)

3- Divvy- Idiot, dimwit

4- Gormless- Slightly lacking in common sense

5- Plonker- Idiot

6- Pillock- Idiot

7- Cabbage- A slow person

8- Knackered- Tired

9- Arsehole- Asshole (I only used this cuz I wanted to get to 10, AND I DIDN'T ACHIEVE THAT GOAL)

So yeah, this is for Joey. For New Year's. Teehee.

...And as I said earlier the first half was something I actually wrote at 10:34... Again, I was feeling depressed because all the things I wrote about were actually my family's situation at the time, except I don't have a little brother. Zach did come back at 11:58, but he's not Scottish. So yeah Wales was the one who went out with his girlfriend, Northern Ireland (who I picture as a girl... I blame Tegaki) also went out with her boyfriend, Peter was staying home talking to Raivis (Latvia) and of course Scotland arrived in the nick of time.

As far as I'm aware... none of them have official human names so I just decided to call Scotland 'jock' and 'numpty' considering they refer to Scottish people specifically.

I honestly don't know who the mum and dad would be, considering this was a human AU (and actually all events aside from Alfred showing up at my doorstep WERE things that happened in my family on New Year's) but I suppose you can just model the mum after Elizabeth Swan from Pirates of the Caribbean and the dad as like an uncouth version of Gilderoy Lockhart, or some other vague blonde British guy that I can't think of right now.

...Long AN is long. See ya, folks~