In April of 1775 a history changing event occurred known as the Battles of Lexington and Concord. As a result, Boston became a very risky place to reside due to both sides of the newly formed war desiring the city. Some families fled from the city, realizing that transactions would make you liable to one side of the war, or rather, it was just dangerous in general.
One family in particular was sitting in the room of a wealthy Englishman's house in preparation for their departure from Boston. The room was warm, but not uncomfortably so, with the gently engulfing sight of many hardwood furnishings. There were several light pink seated chairs and couches with looming bookshelves not too far off. A clock sat protectively beside the map of the world that was hanging on the wall and together both watched over the chairs and the small mahogany table. A silver tea set resided braggingly with its adornments of biscuits and imported tea. The air, however, was extremely stiff.
The small ticking noise caused by the German clock had not made the room any more awkward, but it did not help make the situation anymore comfortable either. Since it was uncomfortable to begin with, the tiny clink of dishes with the repetitive clicking of the clock only allowed for an unwanted stasis. Four men were sitting in the room, although two of them were only just slightly men.
Those two were the ones that had not only caused the discomfort, but the only that were rotting in their self doing.
It had been taught as common courtesy -or rather, it had been inferred- that when you first acquaint yourself with another person that you not insult the other upon your first ten minutes of knowing one another. However, the rather innocently intended question of 'How did you manage to make yourself so small?' led to a dispute that was only destined to become sour.
The boys were near in age, their fathers who were sitting next to them were near one another in business, and everyone was near the point of simply standing up and leaving. One of the elders began speaking carefully planned (he had had many silent moments to think) words.
"So Mr. Jones, I hope you see how we would love to have your son learn under my careful eye. It would be most... beneficial in this current state, especially since you and Emily are departing so soon."
Mr. Jones sighed and leaned backwards in his seat before sneaking a sideways glance at his aforementioned son. He exhaled through his nose and swallowed. Each of the men was sitting in his own seat, but yet there was still division amongst the families; each son possessing partiality to their own father.
"We would appreciate it more than you can imagine... But don't you already have five strapping young men? I highly doubt that Alfred will be much use to you."
Alfred tensed up as the man opposite of him silently snickered. He tried to distract himself from the transaction, finding entertainment in watching the tassels of a nearby curtain sway in the small draft.
"The world always needs peat gatherers, Jones. We will find some purpose for him, I personally assure you that."
At that point, everyone but Alfred smiled; the younger boy sitting opposite of him quickly changed his face into a deep frown. Alfred's father laughed nervously, or rather in relief, and stood up. He grinned as he smoothed out his breeches.
"I appreciate it so very much, Kirkland," he said, patting his son on the head. Alfred winced before swallowing harshly. "The trip to Vermont will be so much easier knowing that Alfred is in good hands and out of harm's way."
The boy opposite Mr. Jones and his exasperated son smirked.
"Surely a working boy of his intellect will find nothing but that which is in his favor whilst residing here," the boy said calmly.
Alfred paled with wide eyes as he watched the older men leave the room in amiability. They were talking about politics and food, a strangely familiar combination as they shut the doors to the room on their two sons. The other boy's smirk dropped to a frown the moment their voices faded.
"You listen well, colonist, we here in the Kirkland household all seem to be of the same small stature you so blatantly pointed out in me. Do you know what that means?"
Alfred smiled nervously and rubbed the back of his head. "That I will be teaching you how to look physically capable, like me?"
The other boy's frown only deepened.
"No. It means that you will be given only the most entertaining and time-consuming of our chores, and no, do not think your empty head is welcome here for one moment."
Alfred stared at the sack of grain he dropped, tiny kernels and flakes attaching themselves to his baggy shirt. Even though it was only mid-April, sweat overcame his forehead. And contradictory to his perspiration, he was still able to see his breath steam out in front of him as he groaned inside the shed. It was only his second day staying at the Kirkland's manor and already he had found no reason to appreciate this.
The first night there he had to attend a horribly awkward dinner that involved him sending desperate, pleading glances to his father. After dinner, he had to be shown the house and was given a tour filled with what seemed to be insults. He had not been sure, because the boy giving him the tour was always smiling and laughing, so it must have been kind since he was not frowning.
Yesterday had not been any better. His parents visited extremely early in the morning from Boston to say goodbye to him. The rest of the day he suffered for it, the two hours of sleep he would have been able to take were robbed by his parents. So on April 22nd he set out onto the grounds of the home in rural Concord, with a written list of what he was to do. After having difficulty reading it, he managed to begin and eventually finish the tasks.
His only qualm was that whenever he looked back at the house, he could see that one boy nearby. He was always glaring.
Now he was just finishing the chores to simply get them over with. He had been assigned the dignifying job of feeding the seven or so horses the Kirkland's owned. It was a foggy morning, and not at all warm, resulting in a highly uncomfortable situation of humidity.
But at least that one boy was not watching him.
Alfred grinned, determined to remain positive.
"The war won't last long... Just push yourself through it, Alfred," he muttered to himself as he prepared to bring the food over for the horses.
Now Alfred had encountered the Kirkland boys before; after all their fathers worked quite closely in a form of merchandising. He had just simply never cared much for the prudish, European boys, each boasting a different background. Simply put, they made Alfred's head hurt as most things often did.
He continued measuring out the feed when a soft coughing sound caused him to whip his head over his shoulder.
"A-ah, I was just getting the horses fed," he uttered, somewhat embarrassed he had been caught talking to himself. One more reason for him to be mocked.
It was the one boy that seemed bent on insulting Alfred, the one with unkempt blonde hair and scary green eyes. Well, it was not exactly the eyes that were necessarily scary, but more or less the monstrosities that loomed over them. He was leaning against the entrance to the brick shed with a surprised look. He then squinted and stepped once towards Alfred.
"Why is your clothing so ridiculously huge?"
Alfred smiled uncomfortably and returned to moving the feed from the sack into the appropriate wooden buckets. "Well you see, my father told me that I would need those large clothes to grow into, since he says I am now pubescerent." He glanced up at the boy with a grin.
"You look like an idiot, you know that?"
Alfred bit the inside of his mouth and focused more on the buckets. "So what's your name?" he asked as he hauled up the overflowing containers. The other boy raised an eyebrow. "Sorry, I am not that good with names. My mind tends to flit between other things."
The boy shook his head and grinned slightly. It was not an entirely kind grin though, but it was not cruel either. It was amused more or less.
"I am Arthur. Fourth oldest and probably the smartest out of my idiot brothers..." he said with a scoff tacked on. "I just turned seventeen in May and am currently learning literature arts under my tutor."
Alfred feigned interest, containing anything but. After all, he had only asked for a name. With a grunt, he began walking with the buckets. Immediately feed spilled over in a small splatter onto the dirt ground. Alfred pretended not to notice and continued on. To his surprise, Arthur was following.
"Remind me what your father's profession is? I fear my family has so many business associates that it is difficult to maintain a clear memory of them all."
Alfred rolled his eyes at Arthur's way of speaking and bit back laughter. For someone so small he sure did talk as if he was big. "My father is a coppersmith in Boston. Your father redistributes his works into other cities for sale." Alfred glanced over his shoulder to give Arthur a smile. Instead he was given an odd sight.
Arthur, in his fancy cotton clothing and unstained ivory stockings was carefully planning his steps over a particularly muddy portion of the yard. Alfred promptly and robustly burst out into laughter. Arthur looked up quickly with an infuriated glare.
"Why in the name of God are you laughing so hard?" he quipped between clenched teeth as he continued his careful stepping.
"Because you look ridiculous walking over the mud like that," Alfred replied quickly, glad he was finally able to find some mockable fault in the obnoxious English boy.
"Well, stop your giggling and put your coat down for me to walk over." Alfred gawked and his eyebrows quickly furrowed.
"Why the hell would I do that?" he asked, not even caring that his voice had cracked. Arthur gave him an apathetic look that read 'Are you honestly that stupid?'.
"My coat is imported from Georgia and is probably more expensive than your entire ensemble," Arthur replied matter-of-factly.
"I may be doing your dirty work but I am not doing that," Alfred replied firmly. He then exhaled through his nose and resumed transporting the buckets. He somewhat regretted being so outright to someone he had only known for a few days, but Arthur really was an annoyance. He had not walked more than six feet when Arthur spoke again.
"Carry me, then."
Alfred tensed up and turned around with a look of disbelief. Arthur was frowning, his face turning slightly red.
"No," Alfred replied bluntly before turning around and resuming his walk to the stables. Arthur gawked but waited, watching the silhouette disappear into the fog.
He stood there in full confidence he would turn around. Unlike Alfred, Arthur actually had enough manners to remember bits and pieces of Alfred from when they had encountered one another before. Arthur clearly remembered Alfred boasting of how he admired the protagonists and heroes of myths and legends. So much in fact, Alfred had even claimed he would help out anyone in need. Arthur waited for him to come back and help.
"That idiot, I should have known he would forget his own self-promises," Arthur scoffed with a mix of a sarcastic grin and sour grimace.
The grin however converted into a frown as well as he realized that Alfred really was not coming back.
"Stupid idiot," he muttered under his breath before glancing down at the mud.
Arthur had been born and raised into a family of fair wealth, his father a distributor of merchandise and investor of businesses within the colonies. After three prematurely ended marriages within the British Isles, his father had wanted to make sure that he was not always separated from his family and decided to bring them with his business. That is, move to the colonies. Arthur had been ten when they came and inhabited the large home in Concord, and since then his only companions were the many books his father thankfully possessed.
He was taught his lessons and became quite exceptionally smart, and he darn well knew it. However, all the time spent inside made him rather inadequate when it came to dealing with others. He also knew that as a sad fact.
So as he bit his lip and accepted the fact that Alfred was in fact feeding the horses (and thus completing his morning tasks) Arthur carefully stepped over the mud, the bottom of his shining leather shoes making noises that were entirely uncomfortable to him. He winced but managed to quickly -and spotlessly- make it to the gravel he had been aiming for.
He smiled slightly in triumph as the crunching noise of the small rocks continued on. He brushed his hand over the bristly leaves of a nearby bush and smiled slightly more. The mist was between each of the looming bushes that made up the garden, but that did not affect Arthur in the least. He knew the garden well enough he could navigate it with his eyes closed.
Most of the flowers had not bloomed yet, so he was slightly disappointed by the presence of small buds.
"Blooming late, I see," he muttered under his breath. With a sigh, he continued on until he came across a stone bench behind some of the bushes.
He exhaled, sat down, and began thinking.
Alfred held the bucket up to the horse as it contentedly ate and made small snorting noises. He was still frowning.
"You're much better company than that English brat, you know that?"
The horse snickered.
"You're easier on the eyes too. Far less hair on your face." Alfred pursed his lips together in thought for a moment, contemplating if it was a good thing or not to talk to the horse, but he quickly shrugged it off. "Better talking to a horse than a crate, I s'pose..." he muttered. His coat slid off his shoulder and with a sniff he carelessly rectified it. It immediately slid back down.
"I promise ya," Alfred started as he removed the bucket from the horse's mouth and threw it to the side. He began stroking the creature's jawbones before he continued the conversation. "Massachusetts will become independent of all the Brits and when that happens-" Alfred was interrupted by the horse sneezing and leaving sticky traces all over his forearms.
"Thank you for that," he said, unsure if he should laugh or be disgusted.
He shook his head and wiped his arms on his oversized breeches with a grin. The buckets were soon after gathered and with a snorted laugh, Alfred walked out of the stables, back into the fog. His hand swept through his hair several times in an attempt to free any of the grains that had trapped themselves.
Since Alfred had finished his morning tasks, he was more or less just wandering now. However there was one particular place he wanted to see.
Lights coming from the home showed that the rest of the family was just now waking; Arthur's younger brother Peter was running through the house and opening windows, making childish sounds as he opened each one. Alfred snickered as he walked alongside the building. When he made it to the muddy section he had lost Arthur at, he was somewhat surprised that the stubborn boy was not still standing there waiting for him to do something. He grinned and continued on.
Although not much for gardening, Alfred had been wanting to explore the Kirkland's garden since he saw it yesterday morning. Having lived in Boston almost the entirety of his life, large gardens were something he did not see that often. He had seen the plantations of South Carolina, but those were not quite the same. The towering hedges and many different flowering bushes arranged so artistically were oddly fascinating. And since he probably did not have to worry about Arthur looming outside, it could be a much wanted moment to actually enjoy the household.
He felt somewhat proud of himself, appreciating the artistic value of the garden. His entire life people had said he could extremely moronic when it came to things of high quality, so to him this was near monumental. He laughed to himself at the thought.
"Damned fog..." he mumbled while trying to wave some of it away. The area he cleared was quickly filled back in. Undeterred, he began humming some lively pub song he heard his father sing and continued on between the hedges. He was completely unsure of where he was going.
"Oh... Hello there, Alfred." Alfred glanced to the side and saw Arthur in his most typical state; frowning.
"I thought you went inside." Arthur rolled his eyes.
"You honestly think I want to face my brothers in the morning when they are hungry and bitter?" Arthur asked in that tone that made the other boy feel less than intelligently adequate.
"I just thought you would prefer all those expensive things in your house to some bushes and gravel," Alfred said. Compared to the calm and hushed sounds (including Arthur's speech) Alfred was talking rather brashly.
"These are not just some bushes and gravel," Arthur replied firmly. Lamely looking away, Alfred failed to even realize he had actually somewhat insulted the smaller yet older boy.
"Bushes and gravel and benches?"
With a sigh Arthur pressed his fingertips against his forehead.
"Sit down, Alfred."
"Right here beside me on the bench."
"Ah, alright." Alfred adjusted his falling coat once more before sitting himself on the cold stone bench. Arthur sat up and glanced at him, detracting his sight to elsewhere soon afterwards.
"Tell me, do you know of my mother's current condition?" Arthur asked, no hints of sarcasm dotting his words.
"No... Should I?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact. She is currently bed ridden." A blank stare is all Arthur received. "That means she is horribly sick and forced to stay in bed. She specifically has a cancer."
"Oh... I had no idea," Alfred said with embarrassment.
"Of course you didn't," Arthur muttered quickly. "Anyway, this garden is what she used to occupy her free time with and just recently I took to tending to it."
"Don't you have maids and other servants that could work it?"
Arthur raised an eyebrow at the other boy making the Colonist once again feel inferior.
"We do, and it's wonderful you noticed that, but I prefer to care for it myself." With a sigh, Arthur leaned backwards into the hedge. "When we-"
"Why? Does the garden have memories in it?"
"I was just getting to that, you twit. Didn't your mother ever tell you interrupting is rude?" Arthur hissed with a glare. "As I was saying, when we lived in England, I was about eight or so at the time and I would help my mother in growing flowers. It was always something she would prefer to do over having someone else doing. My brothers gave me hell for taking it up, but I honestly enjoyed it. As we would weed or trim, Mother would tell me fairy stories. I tell you, I loved the damned things; soaked in every word I did."
"Ah, so it reminds you of when you were younger?"
"That and when I was little I would see certain creatures. The ones you only hear about in the stories your mother or grandmother tells you when you are a wee thing. No one else saw them, but I could. I would only find them playing in the hedges though; nowhere else," Arthur said contently as he stared into his lap with a small grin. "So now I come to this garden in hopes that this twice-damned colony has the same creatures. I've yet to find any though."
Arthur heard snickers, causing him to furrow his eyebrows in a deadly glare. It was not until they turned into full blown laughs did he look up from his lap and at the other boy.
"You are joking, right?" Alfred asked between laughs. His dark blonde hair was being messed up as he clutched at it with one hand, gripping his knee with the other. His wide eyes had been concealed as his entire face exhibited only laughter.
"Why would I be joking?" Arthur rhetorically asked, his voice rising in irritation. Alfred pacified his laughter some and looked at his companion with watering blue eyes.
"It's just... that is damn ridiculous, you know that?"
"You look damn ridiculous!"
"At least I am taller than six feet!"
Arthur breathed in through a clenched jaw before he just sighed and looked back at the plants across from them. Even in the fog, he could clearly see each little pod on the small trees and the buds on some crawling plant.
"Last time I ever tell you something personal..." he muttered. Alfred did not even notice as he was too busy looking at the same plants Arthur was.
Once again, the two were stuck in each other's horribly awkward companionship.
Alfred received an angry hum.
"Do you think I could help you in here? I mean, when I am not doing you and your brothers' chores, or learning from your father, I have some free time."
"Huh? Why would you want to help me with this?"
"Well. It's just so huge and you still are so damn scrawny, I just think you could use some help."
There was a moment of silence.
"Are you trying to be friends with me, Alfred?" Arthur asked confusedly. Both of them stiffened.
"Not really, I mean, I'd have to be completely crass not to see that you need help with this and then just leave you. A story's hero wouldn't do that."
"And yet you left me by the mud?"
"Shut it about the mud! Do you want me to assist you or not?"
"I would appreciate that quite a bit. I would prefer that than letting the servants help me..."
"Great! So starting tomorrow I can help you?"
"This doesn't mean I am obligated to be kind to you, does it?"
"Obligated? You really need to not speak with words that only a governor and his family would use."
Arthur rolled his eyes as Alfred just gave him a slightly mischievous grin.
"You know, it may benefit society to have you learn under my family."
"Is that your way of welcoming me in?"
"Hmm... I suppose it is. Welcome Alfred Jones, Baron of Idiocies."
"Thank you for welcoming me," he replied with a small smile. Arthur just glared unamusedly and stood up.
"Just go break your fast. If you have not learnt it yet, I prefer privacy quite often."
Alfred sprung up with that same lopsided smile still on his face.
"Thanks for givin' me permission," he replied with some soft laughter. Arthur stared flatly at him, sending a hint that he should just leave. Rather than catch the message of Arthur's glare, Alfred responded to a quaking stomach and simply began walking back to the house while laughing slightly.
As he walked off, singing some song about morning foods, Arthur straightened his coat and trotted down the path to an even farther off bench.
Before he sat down, he gritted his teeth in annoyance.
"That damn fool's smile is painted in my mind now."
He breathed in exasperation and quickly sat down, hoping this time no one would interrupt him.
AN: So here is the revised chapter 1! As you can see, the new storyline follows the boys in the colonies after the war already broke out, but is still in its rather early stages. Instead of Arthur going into apprenticeship it is now Alfred, but not for the same reasons Arthur was. Yes, I am keeping the Britannia brothers, but for historical reasons I am leaving Ireland unified and under Britain, thus only four siblings.
Just like the original, there will still be some PortUK later on, but probably not to the same degree as the original. Also, romantic advances shall take much much longer to come about for the USUK portion (which is the majority obviously), but there is still going to be romance.
I will try to incorporate all the previously used Hetalia characters, if not more, and actually pull a plot in somehow. Also, yay for being able to use American spellings XD
Now why am I rewriting it? I reread the old version and was entirely dissatisfied with it. My English classes taught me many new techniques and I found many MANY flaws. I can not emphasize enough how many times I cringe and shiver thinking about some of the things in the last version.
Also, I had encountered another colonial AU that seemed to bear striking resemblance to my own (not to mention it was written after mine). This is actually one of the storylines I had developed in the original writing, but did not use because I thought it would be too difficult. Since I now know what it feels like to write 140k words into a story, I know that this can be easily tackled.
Yes, I know I had only completed the original four months prior to this revision being made, but I really did not like the idea of this staying the way it was. In fact, I loathed the idea.
I will not get mad if you unwatch this, lol. The reason why I am just editing the original save on here is in case you do want to read the new version, but I completely understand if you don't desire to and thus unsubscribe to this.
You may be wondering why it is as different as it is, but believe me; many of the instances in the original are going to be employed in this, so yes you will find similarities. But this will have much more interaction with the boys than the first and will have many more little eccentricities that are canon, brought out in each. Also, if you retained anything from the original, this should be a chance to learn even more history. If for some reason you want to read the old version, just tell me and I will send it to you.
I am done babbling now lol
So I hope y'all enjoyed!
1.) I learned this during the production of this chapter, and did not know if it would interest anybody but here we go: Lagerstroemia, a.k.a. the Crepe Myrtle, is an Afroasiatic tree with papery bark and crinkled flowers. Now, if you are a Southerner like me, you probably already knew that seeing as how the darned plant is found everywhere here. I was going to incorporate this plant into Arthur's garden until I found out that they were not brought to the America's until late 18th century and even then it was in South Carolina. So... No Crepe Myrtles in Massachusetts and thus none in my story.