-Dedicated to Ici-Piyo21-
Nothing indicated that the day would be any different than any other day. Arthur Kirkland found himself round up in the everyday routine- waking up, drink his morning tea, read the newspaper the newspaper lad carelessly threw into a puddle time after time, no matter how many times the Englishman called to complain... Yes, quite a normal day. Dull as ever, yet soothing in his ability to predicate. Even a call from a certain Frenchman, full of double-edged blandishment or an American jabbering Arthur's ear off wouldn't be too surprising. Even so, he always had his phone off in those early hours, less he be disturbed from the usual drill he took pleasure in. Really, he was growing old (not that he'd ever admit to it aloud, even to himself).
Sipping leisurely at his Earl Grey, Arthur sighed par usual at the headlines. The tsunamis in Japan, various uprisings in the Middle East... everything reported nowadays were disasters. Poor Kiku, the Brit pondered. He was a decent chap, trying his best to keep on everyone's good side and advance as much as he could. He really didn't deserve any natural tragedies at the moment. Would he appear in the world meeting that day? Probably. Make an appearance, gain sympathy and receive international aid were the ticket for any troubled nation, that much was known.
Instead of being able to ponder about it any longer, a loud honking pierced the relative silence of his kitchen. Arthur grumbled, mumbling something about noise pollution as he folded the paper and set his cup in the sink. Henry, his driver, honked again impatiently, waiting listlessly in the black limousine that had pulled up in front of the nation's London manner. Gathering his briefcase, the Englishman closed the door after him, smirking as he was reminded of quite a different Henry who had just as much patience as the one sitting in front of him. Oh, those had been the days.
A little more than an hour passed before the vehicle stopped in front of a large building, waiting in line between other fancy cars. Arthur found it quite interesting looking at each automobile and being able to recognize the nation who was seated in it by the name of the company who made it. A distinguished Volkswagen was parked a couple of yards in front of him, and- oh, yes. There was a Mitsubishi. Japan would be there after all.
Arthur hummed cheerfully as he stepped out of the car, bidding Henry farewell and walking towards the entrance. Familiar faces began gathering in small groups around him, casting polite greetings his way and calculated diplomatic smiles. The Englishman nodded courtly at every gesture, making his way into the building and past the cafeteria. He was followed by a sleepy Greece and a cheerful Spain into the elevator and was forced to endure an endless droll from the latter, smiling slightly at the thought that not so long ago he could have silenced the annoying voice with a simple glance. It was, what? A couple hundred years ago?
Breathing out silently in relief as the party had reached the appointed floor, the Englishman hurried out of the elevator, muttering a hurried 'see you later' to the baffled Spaniard and the half-asleep Greek. He passed some more nations nodding briskly at them in greeting and entered the meeting hall. Seated himself next to the long table, he sat down next to the spot with his name 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' on a place card. Peering at the cards on each side of him, it seemed that Liechtenstein and France were to be his neighbors. Arthur internally groaned- the day was looking great already.
Point proved when a certain Frenchman took his seat beside him, lifting a manicured brow in wonder at who had arranged the sitting places. He owed them a thank you- perhaps the meeting wouldn't be such a bore after all.
"Thank God…" Arthur muttered, rubbing his temples in attempt to sooth the insistent throbbing. Francis's work, but of course, combined with the usual havoc that fallowed every meeting. He stood up quickly once Germany declared the conference finished, gathering his papers and fitting them inside his briefcase. By the time he was done, the last of the nations had streamed out of the room, leaving the Englishman promptly alone in the large space. Par usual.
Blinking back a tear- no, of course he wasn't jealous!- Arthur gazed at the backs of the other countries talking and laughing together. Some were even holding hands. How long had it been since he felt the skin of a fellow being against his? …There wasn't any point dwelling on it.
The Brit sighed, shifting the briefcase under his arm and walking towards exit.
Said man turned around, eyes narrowing sharply and brows furring. Who else was in the room? There wasn't supposed to be anyone- ah. There he was. Sitting on the wooden table was Alfred, the so-called United States of America. Piercing blue eyes gazed intently on the Englishman's face, lacking the usual laughter and general cheerfulness.
Warning number one.
The Brit stepped closer, tilting his head slowly. "Alfred? What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to go home?"
Alfred pursed his lips. "What, don't want me here? You wouldn't be the first, y'know."
The other man visibly flinched, eyes widening in shock. From all of the answers…this was one he didn't even think of. This was not the Alfred he knew. What was wrong with him? "Of course not," he snapped, recovering his composure as fast as he could, "don't say things like that. Didn't I teach you not to lie? Now, tell me what is wrong."
"I'm not lying, Arthur- and if I was, I would have had the best role model to learn it from," the American gave the other a pointed look before continuing dully. "You know I'm speaking the truth. Why else would everyone laugh at what I say behind my back? Rooms empty soon after I come in. No one likes spending time with me… including you."
Silence. A couple of moments passed before Arthur approached the younger hesitantly, putting the briefcase on the floor and placing a slender hand on Alfred's shoulder. "Who put this nonsense into your head?" he asked slowly, carefully. Tenderly. "As much as some might resent it, you are… one of the most powerful countries in the world," the Englishman admitted, cheeks coloring slightly. "Of course someone would try to make you loose your self esteem. Which is quite a feat, if you don't mine my saying," he joked, a real smile curving his lips at the image of an ego-deflated Alfred. Impossible.
The smile was erased completely but a few seconds later when his hand was shrugged off, baby-blue orbs glaring at him. "Yes, I do mind!" Alfred shouted at the stunned Englishman, eyes blazing, "I'm always happy, always grinning, always joking, right? Have you ever taken a moment to think that maybe it's fake? Maybe that smile isn't real? Perhaps I'm not a grinning idiot without a care in the world?"
He cut off the other's answer. "No, you didn't. It's very easy to simply assume I'm just naturally happy, isn't it? You can insult me, laugh at me, and I'll just laugh with you? Well, it's time to face reality, old man- I'm just as vulnerable to sadness as you are. And instead of comforting me, you simply joke about my troubles. Is that so impossible to imagine?" Tears were starting to ebb from the enraged eyes, voice wavering while trying to choke back a sob.
Rendered practically mute during the outburst, Arthur gaped dumbly at the raging American, barely registering the words and the meaning behind them. America, showing the typical syndromes of a depressed teenager? What was going on?
Only once the other fell back into his chair, shaking and biting his lip, the Brit dared to approach him once more, wrapping his arms around Alfred's quivering form, comforting him. "Hush. It's going to be alright, don't worry. This is just a phase-"
His speech was silenced when he was roughly pushed away, falling to the floor with a small cry of surprise. Towering over him was a tear-stained Alfred, hands balled into fists and suspended beside each thigh. "Don't you get it?" he whispered harshly, sniffing loudly, "this isn't 'just a phase'. I'm fucking serious. I can't take this anymore- the constant lying, the battle for power and keeping it… it's hard being the hero all the time, Arthur," he finished meekly, a single tear escaping and coursing down his cheek.
"That's why… that's why I decided to finish this. After all this time of pretending for my sake and everyone else… I just don't know. Maybe…" he sighed, chewing on his lip and gazing down at the Englishman. A second later, he was on his knees, arms gripping the other's as he pressed his lips against Arthur's forehead for a brief moment before pulling back just as quickly. "I just wanted to say goodbye, y'know?"
Alfred stood up and headed towards the door, pausing and smiling sadly over his shoulder. "Thanks Arthur, I guess. For everything."
The Englishman stared numbly at the younger's disappearing form before jumping up and running after him, wrapping his arms around Alfred's torso and burying his face in the other's back. "Don't you dare leave me again, idiot," he mumbled, tightening his hold.
Alfred froze. He turned around slowly, staring at the now red-faced and teary Englishman. "W-what?" he asked, stuttering as he felt his own face redden.
The other bit his lip and stared down at his feet, terribly self-conscious. But, seeing as the American was intent on getting an answer, he raised his gaze to meet Alfred's for a brief moment before grabbing his tie and pulling him lower, locking their lips together.
Shocked, Alfred's eyes widened for a few seconds before fluttering them shut and wrapping his arms around the smaller man's waist, quickly finding himself kissing back. Moments later, Arthur pulled back, gazing intently at the other.
"I said, 'don't you dare leave me again, idiot'," he repeated simply, licking his lips. "I love you, and I won't allow you to do anything stupid to yourself, savvy?"
Alfred blinked, a wide grin spreading across his face. "Savvy," he repeated, saluting the other playfully.
Hanna Chan's Blah-Blah Corner;
Gabby, don't kill yourself!