Were the World Mine
By: Natilie Sawada
I have been OBSESSED with Axis Powers Hetalia lately. I LOVE it so much! So I was reading some UsUk fics, this song popped into my head for no reason and I was like "it's PERFECT!" so I wrote this little thing. And I wrote it in British English just for kicks and because it's from Arthur's POV.
America/England: The two countries reflecting on the war that tore them apart, the world that keeps them apart, and the relationship that is slowly bringing them back together.
I hope you enjoy it!
"I know not by what power I'm made bold,
But still you flout my insufficiencies
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace
My ear should catch your voice;
My eye, your eye,
My tongue should catch your tongue's
My tongue, your tongue…
Were the world mine."
-Were the World Mine, from the 2008 movie "Were the World Mine"
"Hmm? What is it?"
It's nice just to sit here for once…nice to just listen to the waves crashing on the New England coast and the fresh sea breeze rustle the ancient pines. It's nice to just sit here and not have to worry about economies or policy or war or trade or anything.
It's nice to just sit here with him. Ghosts of memories dance before my eyes—two hundred year old spirits from this very beach. Armies marching, messages being smuggled in the dead of night, gunfire and smoke and death.
But now there is nothing but the quiet whisper of the waves and me and him.
He turns toward me.
"What's up, Arthur?"
I pause for a minute, staring out at the sea that separates our homes, before responding.
"Do you remember it very well?"
I don't need to clarify "it"—he knows.
He's not looking at me anymore.
"I mean, you were quite young…"
"Yeah, I remember."
I can't quite analyse his tone.
"What do you remember about it?"
He sighs and gets up off the rock he's sitting on, walking towards the crashing surf and then stops, sighing, and he runs his gloved hand through his hair. The late afternoon sun almost frames him, setting his form aglow.
"Ahh, I don't know. Why are you asking about things that happened a long time ago?"
I look down at my boots, resting in the sand.
"No reason, really."
He still doesn't turn back to me. He only stoops down to lift a stone from its place on the shore. There is a long silence, punctuated only by the waves and the wind and the soft splip, splip, splip, SPLOOSH as he pulls back his arm and the rock skips along the top of the water and then disappears beneath its surface.
I watch him watch it go. I watch the Atlantic breeze whip his hair and I watch his frame stretch under that leather jacket he has taken such a liking to as he breathes.
"Do you regret it?"
The question seems to take him by surprise as he finally turns back to me.
There, I said it. He is still half turned towards me, the sun framing his form, setting his straw-coloured hair alight with fire. He looks down and I see the corner of his lips pull up into a small smile as he turns back towards the sea. He sighs and stuffs his hands in the pockets of his jacket.
Waves and wind. That's all I can here before:
"Do you regret it?"
"…Letting me go."
Oh. I kick some sand and watch the water.
"…Do you ever think about me when you're off doing all those important things you do? When you're off talking to other countries or liberating them or trading with them or changing the world, do…do you ever spare a moment to think about me?"
I see his shoulders rise and fall slowly as he takes in a breath and then lets it out.
"Sometimes I do, yeah."
"…Is it wrong of me? To think I'm special to you, I mean?"
"No. You're what got me going, remember?"
Another sigh and a swing of the leg as he kicks some sand into the air. It swirls around him and glitters in the sun.
He pulls a hand out of his pocket and runs it through his hair.
"I've been a jerk to you, haven't I?"
Waves and wind.
"Yeah…a bit. But I don't blame you."
"How can you not blame me?"
He turns now, fully facing me for the first time since this conversation started.
"But you gave me a new place to grow up and live! You gave me money and citizens and praise and…you gave me everything and I got all high and mighty and decided it wasn't enough and despite everything you gave me I spit in your face and told you to get out of the house you'd given me."
"Yes. That is true."
A small sad smile creeps its way across my face.
"So why are you still my friend?"
There it is. The question. The one everyone, everyone has been asking themselves for the past two centuries.
Why are we friends with America?
But this, of all questions, is anything but a globally worded answer. This is between me and him.
"Because there is something about you that the world can't live without."
He only stares at me, dubiously.
I get up off the rock, dusting the sand from my trousers and walk to him.
"You're America! You are unlike any other nation this planet has ever seen. In no less than a century of your being, you became the power of the world. You became every impoverished family's dream, every country's trading partner, every tourist's destination. You are founded on dreams, Alfred. No other country can make that claim."
"You are the world's hope. You are what the world looks to in its hour of need. You lead the world. Never forget that. And you, with your dreams and your hopes…you are reshaping the world on day at a time, striving to make it a better place. You want every human on this earth to know the liberating power of being able to vote. You want every child to grow up with the possibility of leading their nation. You want every country to know the power of the people. I get that…I really, really do. And I will support you with everything I have, but I am just…I am just afraid of losing you to this world you want so badly."
I couldn't even look at him while I continued, my hands bunched into fists at my sides.
"I am just afraid that while you're off chasing that dream you'll forget about me over in my little corner of the world drinking tea while I read about what you do in the papers or see your speeches on the tele or—"
The outburst is so sudden that I jump. I look up at him. His head is hanging down, his bangs blocking anything I might have been able to see of his face.
"I lied! I do regret leaving! I think about it all the time—about how it would have been if we'd stayed together."
I have nothing to say.
"Because you're right…the entire world does look to me. At every problem, at every genocide, every oppression, ever injustice, I'm expected to fix everything. And when I fuck up, everyone blames everything on me. I know that I should be a little more careful but the thing is that sometimes I lay in bed and close my eyes and you know what I realize, Arthur? I realize that I'm terrified. Ridiculous, isn't it? America: scared. Do you want to know what I realize that makes me so scared, Arthur?"
My whisper is so quiet that I don't know whether or not he hears it.
"I realize that I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing."
I can't see any of his face—he is still hunched over, his hands forming tight fists at his sides. But I can see the tears dripping onto the warm sand. I reach out a hand to, I don't know…put it on his shoulder, on his head, but it is paused in the air between us when he continues.
"And I realize that no one really understands, Arthur. They all call me a jerk and an idiot and think I'm arrogant, but I only say all those things to make sure people don't look at me and see how terrified I am about my future. And sometimes I wonder…sometimes I think about what it would have been like if I'd stayed with you and always had someone to help me with this burden I bear. Then maybe I wouldn't feel so alone."
This time, my hand is not caught in the air. I reach to him, catch his chin between my thumb and fingers and tilt it up to me. His blue eyes look electric and sparkling with all the tears brimming and spilling over onto his cheeks.
"You are not alone, Alfred. You are never alone. This world is not made of one country. We are all here together. All the others may look to you, but that does not mean we do not see ourselves as equals to you. We will always be there to support you, and you us. Just look at me and Francis. The three of us may have not gotten along all the time—"
"Most of the time."
I smile and relent:
"Most of the time, but that doesn't mean that here and now we don't support each other. Everyday the world is getting a little bit closer together. Cultures and languages are blending. We're getting closer and closer to not being this country and that country, but one planet. You are never alone, Alfred."
I retract my hand and his chin stays up—the way it should be. He turns around to face the waves again and sniffs, wiping his face on the sleeve of his jacket.
"Don't tell Russia about this, okay?"
My smile grows.
"The thought never crossed my mind."
I watch him as the rise and fall of his shoulders beneath that jacket slows and wait until his stance is relaxed to walk up and put a hand gently on his shoulder. After a brief moment I feel the warm weight of his hand upon mine. We stay like that for a while, staring out at the Atlantic Ocean.
"Do you really mean it?"
His voice is softer than usual. It isn't quite back to the loud, confident tambour of his normal voice.
"The part about being equal."
"Well, personally, I think England is much better than—"
"If you finish that sentence with "America" I will punch you in the arm."
There's the old America.
"Seconded. That bitch is crazy."
"Whatever we wanted or regret…I'm glad things turned out the way they did."
"Yeah, me too."
I feel his hand squeeze mine the slightest bit.
Hope you enjoyed! Reviews would be, as Germany would say, VONDAHFUHL!