Disclaimer: Hetalia does not belong to me in any way. I do not make any profit from this.
A/N: A drabble on USUK that I thought of on the train - yes, it was raining. Drop a review if you please! Rated for language.
He was the Empire, he was invincible.
But if so, why did his chest hurt so much?
"England, don't you ever feel cold when it's raining?"
The Brit looked up from his book, his brows furrowing a little as he regarded the little boy who was trying to climb up onto the arm of his chair.
"No, I'm used to it. Stop that and come over this way. I don't want you to hurt yourself." he gently nudged the child off the arm, guiding him onto his lap.
The child giggled as his hair was ruffled, a sweet, delightful sound that Arthur liked to indulge himself in.
"What are you reading?" Arthur was about to put the book away, but paused and smiled as the boy tried reaching for the tome.
"It's nothing important, America. Don't worry your little head about it."
The Briton pulled the child into a hug, patting his back lightly.
He smiled as the boy got comfortable in his arms. He planted a small kiss on his forehead.
"I've got you."
The boy was starting to fall asleep.
"Grow up soon, child."
He sipped his tea in silence.
The muted rain pattering on the windowsill was the only sound in the whole house.
"Say something, England."
The Briton remained Quiet, not meeting the American's eyes.
"Why did you do it?"
Arthur put the tea cup down, sighing softly.
"Orders are orders, America."
The colony was angry, the empire didn't have to look at him to know. The boy, no, man, was glaring at the side of his face, fists clenched and trembling, trying to keep himself from lashing out at his "older brother".
"My people are out there, starving to death, and you tell me there's another increase? They can't pay any more! Hell, they can't even pay your ridiculous taxes now!"
Arthur didn't reply, he merely sat there, prim and proper, with that tight upper lip of his, hands clenched on his crossed knees.
"I can't do anything about that, America. I've told you, orders are orders."
Alfred was close to crying, Arthur could tell. But he couldn't tell him the real reason, he couldn't.
What would the boy think?
He simply couldn't let the boy get any stronger.
"No you're not!"
Arthur reacted to Alfred's outburst in stunned silence. They remained like that for a while, staring into each other eyes - azure blue and emerald green.
Alfred was the one who broke the eye contact, turning away and heading or the door, only stopping to hiss three words that would have gone unheard had the room not been so silent.
"You will be."
Arthur closed his eyes as the door slammed shut.
"I want independence, England."
America stood hovering over the crouching figure, the roar of the rain as it poured down on them was muted, the drops dull against his skin numbed by the cold.
"I've won it."
England did not say anything as America took a step closer, his thoughts in chaos and his heart aching.
Inexplicable tears were being washed away by the rain as they trickled down his cheeks.
"You used to be so big."
The boy's voice hurt his ears. The pain in his chest was killing him - even the gashes he received in battle could not compare to the hurt that came at each dull beat of his heart.
It fucking hurt.
He was trembling. He couldn't understand it. He couldn't understand why it was so painful, why he was crying, why he felt so numb and desolate as he heard the muddy footsteps of his ex-colony get further and further away.
He was invincible - he was the Empire.
For the first time ever, the rain was freezing.
"Why do you always have that face when it's raining?"
Arthur didn't look away from the window he was looking out of, trying to feign nonchalance, wanting to lose himself in the sound of the rain and the gray scale it always brought.
"I don't know what you're talking about, America."
Alfred gave Arthur's back a look, before moving to where the Briton was standing.
"You know, and you're avoiding the topic."
Arthur turned at this, glaring at his former colony.
"What do you know, America?"
The taller nation didn't reply, lowering his gaze to the floor beside Arthur's feet.
"Don't say it, America."
Alfred was now looking at him, the same look he had during that day.
The day he lost everything.
"I'm not going to say I'm sorry for wanting independence."
"Good, because I don't want to talk about it-" he turned away from the younger nation, chuckling awkwardly.
"I'm sorry for hurting you."
Arthur paused, slight shock evident on his features.
The Briton laughed.
"You didn't hurt me! Someone like you could never hurt m-"
"Stop lying, England."
The room fell silent.
The pain in his chest was back, but it was a dull throb.
"You will never hurt me." Arthur was surprised he still managed to keep his voice steady as he spoke, his emerald eyes not meeting azure. He could hear Alfred sigh, but he didn't expect him to grab his arm.
He found his face against the younger nation's shoulder as he was embraced. He was speechless as the American pressed a kiss on his forehead, patting his back gently.
"I've got you."
Arthur couldn't stop the tears from running down his cheeks.