Authors note?

This is my first fan fiction about Hetalia, and my first story to be submitted to . I'm hoping you will all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. This is a one-shot, I don't think I'll add more, after all, what else is there to tell? But if you guys want I COULD continue, who knows.

Gentle

It was dark outside, and the stars were shining brightly behind the clouds that gently drifted across them. He could hear them, the cheers that drifted across the wind. They had did it. They had won. The Allies had beaten the Axis Powers, much to Ludwig's dismay. He had acted very angry earlier that day, and why shouldn't he? He had lost possible one of the most important wars of a lifetime, of forever! Arthur felt only slightly sorry for the German, he had put so much into that war, a war that had failed. Feliciano, on the other hand, didn't seem to care that much, and was more interested in cheering up his German friend, who had sulked away to drink beer with his brother, feeling pathetic. Completely understandable. As soon as the Allies won, he could hear Alfred screaming,"WE WON! Drinks on me tonight guys!"

Chuckling absent-mindedly to himself, he shuddered as his hand moved to the liquor on the table. He had poured it a while ago, but it had sat there, forgotten, as Arthur thought about the triumph over Ludwig and the others... He sighed deeply, and holding up his drink, toasting, to Flying Mint Bunny, muttering,"Allies," before downing the alchohal, very easily, in one chug. He coughed a bit, and stood, his back cracking slightly. The clock was ticking loudly in the silent house, so that he could hear it from the living room. Arthur left his kitchen with a new drink, and peered at the old grandfather clock, and saw that the time was about 10:15 at night. He leaned against the wall, trying to keep himself from thinking, letting out a long, shuddering breath.

Anything but thinking, Arthur.

What could he do so he wouldn't have to think?

He groaned, sipping at the liquor again, not really wanting to get drunk, despite all the partying and celebrating that was going on. Arthur frowned down at the drink and muttered,"You're my only friend, though, aren't you, tasty alcohalic beverage? You're the only one I can depend on." He could only recall all the times his attempts at friendship had been shut down, cut off, neglected, leaving him in splendid isolation. With a shrug to himself, he downed the glass again. Oh, what a bitter-sweet moment this was. He grunted, as he couldn't block his thoughts anymore.

"Hey, England, everyone is going down to the bar. Where... Where are you going?"

"Home, you idiot. Where else?"

"But... Don't you want to join us?"

"I'd rather die than drink with you, Alfred."

"Calling me Alfred, now, huh? Instead of America?"

"Just... shut up, leave me alone."

"Please, Artie?"

"Don't call me Artie, dammit! I'm going HOME!"

"Fine!"

After that lovely conversation with his former colony, he had marched home, feeling more bad than good, his head and chest aching. They had WON the WAR and he still felt terrible, but not about winning. He wondered if anything would have been different if he had ignored World War II, what he'd be doing right now. As soon as he had got home to his somewhat large and peaceful abode, he locked himself in his house, and recieved several phone calls over the course of an hour or so.

"Mon cher, Angleterre! Where are you? We are all having a magnifique time and you are not here to enjoy it with us! Call me back, mon amour! You are so boring!"

"Arthur? It's... It's Canada, if you remember who I am? Well, I remember you, hahaa... You should join us, I could use someone civil to talk to... France is trying to make out with me, I need help! Alfred is just laughing at me! Help meeeeee!"

"Arthur, it's Ivan! We is having such good time, you should stop being such sour-puss and come down here!"

By then, Arthur had seriously considering ripping the phone's cord out of the wall. Didn't all these guys realize? He wanted to be by himself, he just wasn't sure why... He had groaned, and thought about pulling the phone's cord out of the socket. He wanted to, yes, but he knew he shouldn't. What if he got a call that was important? He laughed to himself. Someone call him. Funny.

He had begun to pour himself that first drink when the phone had rang once more, driving Arthur to the point of wanting to scream. Why did they finally want to talk to him now that the war was over? He knew they didn't really want his friendship, they just wanted to get him drunk and laugh and whatever foolish act he did. He sighed as he heard the person on the other line leave a message.

"Hey Eng-... A-Arthur. I, uh, I just... We miss you, man. Come on! We just beat those stupid Axis guys, right? We're heroes! You should be celebrating with us! I mean, everyone is here, even Mattie is here, and he hardly did anything... Arthur? I KNOW you're there, I remember when I was a colony you used to-"

Thats when he had heard Alfred inhale sharply and murmur off into silence, then hang up.

Arthur stalked over to the window, looking out at the sky, smirking a bit. The stars were now completely hidden behind the clouds, the moon was a small sliver in the sky. He pressed his forehead against the cool glass, breathing softly, watching the condesation build up in a small circle on it. He felt his chest tighten and he watched tired, young Britons dance down the street happily. Everything was going to be fine. Everyone was going to be fine. Everything was FINE.

So why was Arthur so upset?

Ever since the Revolutionary War, Arthur had despised wars, the thought of fighting, facing another opponent in violent battle. They always brought up those horrible memories, memories of him losing... Giving up, more like it... He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. He would NOT cry, not over... him... He gently pushed himself off the window, and turned to go upstairs. He gripped his chest, as if he could feel it breaking. "Damn wanker... Dammit."

Arthur slumped over, dragging himself up the steps, and stepped slowly into his room. He pulled off his day clothes, trading them for a pair of soft, silky pajamas. He smiled a bit and sat on his bed, exhaling loudly, enjoying the feel of the soft fabric against his weary skin. He then flopped down onto his back, sighing a bit. He knew perfectly well why he was so upset, and felt weak for it. His fear... Was of being alone, that was all. He was so scared over a ridiculous thing.

After his precious America had left him, he felt broken. Even Francis had supported his former colony, and those scars refused to heal. Yes, after Arthur has lost the most precious thing in the world to him, he found out he was very alone. He had never had very many friends, that much was true. Sure, he had Francis, but he wasn't really much a friend. He was a rival country, and the be honest, he could be a horrible jerk to people. For more than a century, poor England had no one, not a single soul to talk to, enjoying his... "splendid isolation". Every other country had admitted (other than Germany) that Arthur had been too hard on his colony, his child, his brother. The one he had loved so dear, who had loved him back. Arthur, in turn, had turned his back on all of them, and had remained in silence and solitude ever since.

But then, after WWII started, he found he was NEVER alone.

Francis was constantly bugging him about how they needed to hang out more, apologizing ocassionly, and every time Arthur declined the invitation, for no reason, in a polite manner. Ivan had always tried to coax friendly conversation out of his fellow country at meetings, and every time Arthur had replied with short, curt answers until Ivan dropped the subject altogether, sometimes regretting his unreasonable actions. He had never gotten used to China, and China had never talked to him, not earning a first name status. Matthew, or rather Canada, was alright, soft-spoken and very well behaved. Then there was him... Alfred, his little brother... now his equal...

How horrible Alfred had treated him, as soon as these meetings had started. He had tormented Arthur from the start, mocking his losses and his eyebrows, and in turn he caused Arthur to fire back horrible retorts, sometimes about the past. He had felt so ANGRY, and he couldn't believe he was trying to get along with any of them, when none of them had ever tried to befriend him before. But then, every evening when he went home, tired and feeling empty, he would feel those same hot, sticky tears flow out of his bright green eyes. Arthur felt more confused now than ever as he lay on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, feeling those same tears slowly cascade down his cheeks.

Then there was a knock on the door.

It was soft, so soft he could sarcely hear it over his sobs that had been growing louder as he has curled onto his side on his thick, cotton sheets. He stood shakily, brushing the tears away quickly, and coughed a bit, clearing his throat, before calling,"Hold on, I'll be down in a moment!"

He trotted downstairs and opened the door, about to greet whoever was at the door with a cold, uninvting glare, until he saw who it was.

"...What the bloody hell do you want?"

"Come on England, Arthur, whatever you want me to call you. Can't you at least talk to me? I can smell that liquor, you've been drinking. Why not just come down to the bar with us?"

Alfred wore a puzzled expression that, in Arthur's opinion, looked horribly adorable. His shaggy, blonde hair flopped around his very lightly tanned face. His glasses were low on his nose, but he didn't seem to notice. His blue eyes were bright and questioning. Alfred wore his usual bomber jacket, gloves, etc. Arthur was bit ashamed, thinking of Alfred like that. No! He hated him, he had to remember to hate him... He had to. That's when Alfred opened his mouth to speak again, this white teeth shining in the dark.

"Are you alright, Arthur?"

Are you alright...

ARE YOU ALRIGHT?

Arthur began to breathe heavily, he could feel the anger and torment build up inside him. How could Alfred ask him such a thing? He could feel the shame, washing over him. Alfred could tell something was wrong? Or was he just asking to be polite? Maybe Alfred just assumed he was feeling sick, thats why he didn't go? He hissed softly and felt his hands clench into tight fists, his eyes narrowing into angry little slits. He shook his head furiously.

"AM I ALRIGHT? You horrible, dirty wanker! You CANNOT just strut into my house and ASK me if I'm ALRIGHT! Are you DAFT? You cannot ASK me that!"

He pushed Alfred back and slammed the door, the house shaking slightly. His breathing was calming, but only slightly, because he could still see Alfred's silhouette outside the windows on the door. Arthur turned around and marched back into his kitchen, pouring himself more liquor than before, his hands shaking a bit slightly. He heard the knocking again, this time louder and more angry, and Arthur was surprised he was knocking at all. Finally the door opened, and Alfred whipped into the kitchen, watching Arthur down another glass.

"Arthur, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to upset you! Heroes don't upset people!"

Arthur threw the now-empty glass in Alfred's direction. "Heroes! Is that all you can think about, Al? BEING A HERO? You're no hero. There are no such thing as heroes!"

Alfred had dodged the glass by a few inches, gasping slightly. "Arthur, please calm down. Tell me whats wrong." Alfred stepped towards his former brother slowly, watching the fire in those large, fierce, dangerous, handsome green eyes slowly slip away. Arthur's voice cracked and he cried,"I don't WANT to tell you anything! There is nothing wrong! The only thing wrong is that YOU are in my house, you filthy idiot! I want you to leave!"

All through his barking and anger, he hadn't noticed the tears that were, once again, flowing down his cheeks. This is just what Alfred wanted, wasn't it? For the Mighty England to fall, to break down, to admit he wasn't a powerful as America. As he sank to his knees on the cold, hard tile in his large kitchen, he looked up into Alfred's scared, confused, gorgeous blue eyes and wished for a moment to just sink into them and sleep forever. He saw, in those same eyes, a young boy, with an expression that was very much the same as the one his grown up counterpart was wearing.

"England? Are you ok?"

"What? Oh- Oh yes, I'm quite alright, Al. Thank you."

"I just wanted to make sure, you've looked sad lately. Heroes don't let people be sad!"

"I know, you're doing a very good job, little hero. You DO make me so happy, every day."

"Good! When I'm bigger, I'll always be there to protect you!"

"Between me and you, little hero, I don't think I'll need protecting."

"You never know, England. I might be even stronger than YOU when I'm bigger!"

"Maybe so, kid, maybe so."

Arthur breathed in ragged sobs. He wanted to die. Just die. Just get it over with, die, maybe leave all his land to his younger brother Peter, let him be a REAL country. That would be so much easier than this, fallen in front of Alfred, just as he had done on that day he had lost everything. He recalled it better than any other memory.

"You used to be so big..."

He put his face into his hands and let out another shaky sob, feeling more than horrible. This was the end. He could see it now. Alfred, laughing down at him, telling him he was just a pathetic old man with nothing left to lose but his land. He would leave, chortling, calling out jeers behind him, leaving Arthur to sob on the floor, which would drive him to insanity. Suddenly he felt something... Arms? ... They were wrapping themselves around his waist. "Arthur...?" Arthur tried to block out the voice. The voice that was usually loud a boisterous and horrible, had gone very solemn and soft. "Arthur, look at me, please."

The older country turned and looked up at the younger, feeling that he had nothing else to lose. He saw, then, tears? Tears in Alfred's eyes? Why would Alfred be upset? This is exaclty what he wanted, Arthur knew it. He saw Alfred's face move closer to his, until his could feel the taller nation's breath upon his ear. Arthur felt like squirming away, like hitting Alfred, and running up to his room, anything to get out of his arms. He was so mixed with emotion he just sat, slightly calming down, trying to tame his breathing.

"Arthur, heroes don't let people be sad. Remember, Arthur?"

"... Yes... I do remember..."

'Why?' Arthur thought, 'why would Alfred dare bring that up? Couldn't he tell this was killing him?'

Alfred turned Arthur to face him, and there was a small, gentle smile on his face, looking more caring than jeering. "Then you should also remember, Artie, that I never let you be sad either! I'll do anything to make you feel happy again. You know, you are really one of my only friends, Artie... "

The older of the two stood up and turned away, shrugging out of his grip, rubbing his tears off his face. This was by far the most humilating thing that had ever happened to him. He groaned,"Alfred, please... Please don't make me think about... About..." He choked and couldn't really continue. Alfred stood too, stumbling slightly over his own feet in his unnecessary haste. Arthur expected him to look exasperated, angry, annoyed, anything BUT sympathetic... but the expression Alfred held WAS sympathetic. He heard Alfred's voice again, it seemed closer to him than last time, and he could actually feel the taller one's lips brush lightly against his hair. "Artie... If it helps, I can't really think about it either. It's hard to remember our past, back when we were so close. But why does the past have to ruin our future? Why can't we bury the hatchet, and become friends again?"

"BECAUSE!" Arthur turned and grabbed Alfred by the shoulders. "Look at me, hero. Those wounds will never heal. I'm broken, ruined, garbage. Nothing you do can save me."

He whipped back around and gripped his kitchen table, his knuckles whitening, and after he heard Alfred go silent, he almost felt happy. He had finally gotten America to just shut up. To stop gloating, stop laughing, stop talking about how great he and everything about him was. After a few minutes, Arthur was sure Alfred had left. With a grunt his turned around to make another drink, to forget the evening, when he immediately ran into something.

A lightly tanned, large, hand.

It was extended towards him, its fingers stretched out, and it belonged to Alfred. He had a very serious face, there was not even a hint of laughter in anything about him. He could only look at Arthur straight in the eye, and continue to hold out his hand.

Arthur looked down at it, and without thinking a second longer, gently rested his own hand in the other one, gripping it tigher than necessary, as if Alfred was the only thing that could keep him from floating into space.

And then he was floating.

Or at least, he felt like he was. Alfred had pulled him close, and wrapped his other arm around Arthur's waist. Then, they started rocking slowly around in circles, at eleven at night, in the dark, in dead silence, pulling off a slow waltz-type dance, not really bothering to make it fancy. Arthur cautiously let his own arm snake around the younger man's waist, and he rested his tired, pained head on Alfred's broad shoulder. He exhaled, closing his eyes, as Alfred led them in slow, small circles. Arthur began to realize how absurd this was, and pulled his head away, so that it was parallel with Alfred's, though a few inches shorter.

Alfred spoke first, his eyes wide and pleading. "Artie, I'm sorry about all the pain I caused you. Please, forgive me?"

Without a second's thought, Arthur whispered,"I couldn't stay mad at you, you're the... my hero, after all."

That's when Alfred put on the biggest, widest, brightest grin Arthur has ever seen, and it reminded him of a younger Alfred. Arthur smiled back weakly, and rested his head on Alfred's shoulder again, feeling more tired than before. He sighed and realized that they had stopped moving. He raised his head again to ask Alfred why, but before his lips could move, they were being moved for him.

Alfred? Was... was Alfred kissing him?

No. Nonsense! Alfred didn't... Didn't like... Did he?

Arthur felt confused, but welcomed Alfred's advance, and as the two nation's pulled away from each other, Alfred whispered,"I'll never hurt you again."

And somehow, deep down, Arthur believed him.