The prompt was: Priest!AlfredxBritannia Angel. Alfred has a wonderful soul and aura which is what draws Britannia angel in. After years of seeing so much darkness and hate, things that hurt angels deeply Arthur can't help but be drawn in by his light. Forbidden romance developing from this any rating is fine as long as it's USUK. Angst is more than okay but happy end please.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia. Himaruya Hidekaz does.
But The Greatest of Them All is Love
Britannia had always been attracted to greatness. Throughout the course of history, he found himself admiring some of God's beloved humans. It had always been amusing and entertaining to observe scientists in their awfully long effort to discover nature's and the universe's mystery. He was intrigued by fearless kings and queens and their knights. And writing was one of the most heavenly ability of man.
Humans have always been creative, always in search for ways to overcome their limits and imperfections.
They are genuinely looking for answers. Homo investigans.
They create and invent. Homo faber.
They are in constant interaction with other people. Homo socius.
They are dreamful artists. Homo pictor.
He had realised that all these were their striving for the godly realm. It was endearing, really.
But the thing is…
Humans are sinners.
His kings and queens and knights fought a war they called holy. To regain the Holy Land in God's name, they proclaimed to the people. Down with the heathens!
And more wars were to come, other holy wars and other that weren't quite holy.
And with every new knowledge they gained, his beloved scientists lost faith, didn't understand the correlation between discovery and consequence. And Britannia witnessed with a crumbling heart how warfare became even more effective in killing masses of people thanks to the oh so genius progressive inventions of weapons. Not only humans were hurt, Mother Nature was tortured by greedy exploitations.
Humans did not learn, how ironic. Britannia lost faith and love towards the human world.
And yet he couldn't help wandering in said world that had disappointed him over and over again. Perhaps he was subconsciously looking for someone who wouldn't make his heart hurt.
It was another day full of boredom where Britannia would simply tread on the streets with aimless determination, letting all six of his large wings flutter in the gentle afternoon breeze. He was thinking whether he should just hop on top of a driving car and simply watch the scenery pass by. Later he decided that he was in the mood for a lazy stroll around the city and he would be back sitting inside the Lord's realm by nightfall.
A digital clock over a shop sign showed that it was already late and Britannia decided to leave, but it was then that he saw him through an open window. A young priest in his usual black clerical shirt, the white clerical collar was carefully discarded on top of the messy table. He was hunched over a sort of mechanism that was foreign to the angel, tongue sticking out, showing his obviously high concentration. Although he was serious in his task, his clear blue eyes shone in a childish happiness. Britannia bent forward, he really was curious to know what that odd object was, so his head peeped through the open window.
That was when he made contact with eyes so blue and clear as the cloudless sky of summer.
The young priest's jaw dropped open and the instrument slipped from his fingers and wobbled away on the carpet. Britannia's brows furrowed, why did he act as if he'd seen a ghost? Then it finally sunk in.
"You, you can see me?" Britannia gasped and instantly folded his wings to cover his face, hoping that it wouldn't have been too late for the poor man to survive. But he knew that it was too late, a direct look at a Seraph's countenance meant certain death for ordinary humans.
"Are you an angel?"
Huh? He was still alive?
"Show me your face?"
Britannia slowly shifted one wing and peeked from behind glowing white feathers, the priest was staring at him with wide eyes full of wonder. "You can see me? And you can look at me without burning?" He asked with hesitation.
"You are glowing, so it's kinda hard to look at you straight in the face for a long time but whoa, are you for real?" The blond priest shifted and wiped his glasses, not quite believing the sight before him. He stood from his wooden chair and swayed his head to the left and then to the right as if he couldn't quite grasp where the angel's head was and where his feet began.
Britannia huffed. "I am for real, obviously."
The priest rose from his wooden seat and rushed over to the window, along the way losing his balance at least twice. Stumbling over, he gently grabbed Britannia's wrist and pulled the floating angel into the house, which was an unthinkable act. Before he could even protest about the young man's thoughtless action of simply touching an angel, Britannia noted with wonder that the priest didn't feel…human.
"Please, sit down," said the blonde clergyman with an enthusiastic smile. "It's not often that I get angelic guests!"
Britannia only looked at him without moving a leg. In response the priest suddenly looked nervous, thinking that he'd done something wrong.
"I'm sorry; you wouldn't want to sit on a chair, of course. How silly of me, heh," his eyes shifted from staring at one spot to another.
"It's okay," as to not unsettle the poor human any further, he finally sat down on the offered chair. He sort of felt sorry for the young lad. Finally, the priest cheered up again and stumbled across the messy room, pulling a plastic chair over to sit on the opposite side of where Britannia was sitting with hands gently folded on his lap.
"My name is Alfred Jones, nice to miss you…er…"
"Arthur," Britannia said. He wasn't lying, of course not. It was just that he simply loved that name.
Alfred stared at the calm angel in disbelief, possibly waiting for Britannia to grin and declare that he was joking a holy joke, but as nothing came, he could only throw his head back and laugh in a fit. Britannia's – Arthur's bushy eyebrows twitched.
"What is so bloody funny?"
Alfred looked back at the frowning angel and couldn't help laughing out louder. His shoulder shook and his youthful eyes watered, he looked as if he'd heard the funniest thing in his life. Finally, he was able to calm himself down and wiped away the tear drops around the corners of his eyes. "I'm…I'm sorry man. It's just, I've expected a more, you know, angelic name."
Britannia wasn't really that angelic either, it suspiciously sounded like a symbolic British figure. So Arthur decided to not jump into the discussion and simply shrugged (not without a huff).
His eyes caught the mysterious object Alfred was playing with and curiously he neared said thing and took it in his hands, rolling it between his palms. Alfred caught the angel's curiosity and beamed with pride. It was a cube with short prayers, hand-carved, written on each side.
"Try pressing the grey button and roll it!" The young priest said, excited.
Arthur sceptically glanced to Alfred's side but did it anyway. With a graceful motion of his hand he lightly threw the cube on the wooden desk and it rolled with a stupid sound and a flash of blinking lights in blue, red, yellow and green. Arthur stared at it. In the blink of an eye Alfred was by his side, grinning from ear to ear like an excited child, giggling in a goofy way.
"I made it for the kids at the orphanage! Before supper they'd simply roll it and say grace reading the prayer they get!"
"How could you say that? The kids love it!" Alfred's enthusiasm could not be shaken even by Arthur's negative comment.
The angel looked back at the innocent cube, a childishly formulated prayer written on the upper side – and it began with a chuckle and then a small laughter. It was such a stupid invention and yet so innocent and without ill will.
please make this dinner tasty.
And we also pray for the hungry people.
Alfred didn't work as a parish minister, he was rather in charge for clerical welfare and social work. Because of that he was always on the move, in the morning visiting the orphanage, praying and playing with the kids. He was like a father and brother all at once. Whenever he decided to read for the children, he always became a child as well. Biblical stories were read out in such a way that it was entertaining even for children. He would read theatrically and his mimics were more often funny rather than seriously intimidating.
The next stop was often the airport pastoral care. There Alfred encountered the oddest people and the most whimsical issues. People who had a fright of flying, couples who just came back from a honeymoon and were already threatened by a divorce due to bad sex, people with delayed planes looking for someone to talk to – these are Alfred's little lambs at the airport. And he had such a positive radiance, making everybody around him feel like everything will be all right. Perhaps it was his friendly ever shining eyes or his carefree smile, but most likely his whole being that caused people to leave the small counselling room with hopeful smiles and dried tears, and couples to look back at him with intertwined fingers.
He visited the hospice twice a week. Brenda was 97 years old, Alfred would always sit by her bedside, take her hands in his, talk to her with a surprisingly mature expression and a voice so gentle, it sounded different than his usually loud and cheerful voice. At the end of the visit, Alfred would always pray for her. Brenda died three days ago while Alfred was praying with her, she died in his arms with a peaceful smile.
Britannia knew all these things. For he hadn't left the young pastor for several weeks. He couldn't. For some reason he found himself being drawn by this human.
"You are very pure."
Alfred had laughed. "No human is pure, Arthur."
After a while Alfred began to get used to the angel's constant presence around him and he knew that he was glad for having such an otherworldly companion. It was awesome. He never felt too hot or too cold when Arthur was around, instead he was always wrapped in a soothing warmth, which could only be of heavenly nature.
However, he didn't understand why the angel was still being around him even after several weeks had passed. Though he wasn't going to complain as Arthur was simply a breathtaking being. The wings, there were six spread out on the back, never failed to make him stare in awe; Arthur's skin had a certain glow and he was curious how it would feel like. But they never had skin contact.
Britannia had a theory.
Alfred was most likely in possession of the ideal soul. That might also be the reason why he was able to see him. Whenever he was around, people were always peaceful, never uttered a single rude word, they quit hurting each other. He was also a human magnet. He was popular among the children and adults alike. Such a bright shining soul, Britannia was fascinated. That was why he still hadn't left Alfred's side. He loved talking to him or seeing him at work with other people.
Because Alfred did not disappoint him.
He loved how they often had deep conversations in the evening when Alfred finally had some free time at home. Then, Britannia was always sitting to Alfred's side, very close and yet not quite touching the other.
"Arthur. Is homosexuality a sin?"
"What do you think, Alfred?"
"I think the greatest of all is love."
Britannia loved how whenever Alfred was upset he was never hateful or in ugly rage, rather he was always wearing this lost and confused expression like a child looking for an answer for something new and strange. For example the time where he had met an atheist.
"I met someone who said that people should start seeing the God in their own self. God is only a projection and we're merely creating an image of our true capabilities. Is he saying that we're all Gods?"
"He's probably saying that humans' projection of an almighty and rightful God is a justification for their faults and malice," answered Britannia with a smile. But Alfred was still lost.
"But...to say that we all should discover the God in ourselves and put humans in the first place is..."
"A very spiritual and full of solidarity thing to say, don't you think?"
"If humans would acknowledge the God in every single one of you, hence every human is in the first place, wouldn't that mean that everybody would value their fellow men? No man's dignity would be trampled by someone who deems himself a better living being. No invasions led by a sense of superiority. No war, because no one would want to hurt Gods."
Alfred didn't know exactly when it had started. The stolen glances towards Arthur, the gorgeous angel that literally came into his life through the window. At first those were nothing more than occasional glances and then they began to linger.
Arthur was wise and he had a very gentle heart albeit his mood was grumpy most of the time, especially when he was watching television. He preferred watching the history channel, because he seemed to know many of world history's famous figures in person. He liked complaining about them. Every time Alfred was excited to listen to Arthur's stories, because really, how often do you get to know first hand renditions of historical occurrences? And yet, even though it was funny to watch Arthur complain about this king and that queen, the priest didn't fail to notice the hint of sadness in the angel's eyes. Disappointment.
And Alfred didn't want to disappoint Arthur. But how ironic. The single threat of his determination was Arthur himself. The angel kept occupying his mind and dreams. Images of him bustled about in the pastor's head. Arthur was a magnet for Alfred's eyes. Arthur was the cause of restless nights and Alfred would wake up in the morning with his pyjamas all wrinkled as a result of him rolling around in bed.
"You have dark circles under your eyes, love." Arthur looked down on him with concerned eyes from the spot where he was floating.
"Uh, nothing too serious."
But it wasn't true.
One day it finally happened. It was actually a very minor matter but it was enough to change everything. Their hands finally brushed when both had intended to grab the remote control.
Britannia felt a want that very moment. He wanted to feel the touch for a second time and this time it wasn't only about Alfred's pure soul. It was the young man's physical contact that he sought. So Britannia subtly reached for Alfred's hand again and their fingers locked together while they were watching history channel.
Alfred's heart was about to leap out and jump away from its rightful place. He was holding hands with an angel! With Arthur! He was filled with happiness that warmed his heart and yet he was also alarmed. The fact that he had this urge to remain in this touch forever proved that his feared theory was right. He was in love with the angel. And there was nothing he could do about it.
Love was such a beautiful feeling. It hurt him that this feeling could ever be wrong. It hurt him so much that his chest began to ache and he just couldn't bear the pain and collapsed against Britannia's shoulder with a strangled sob, startling the angel who hadn't expected for something like this to happen.
"Alfred!" Britannia cradled the shaking man securely in his arms, television programme forgotten. "What's the matter?"
The priest wasn't able to utter a word for a long time, so Britannia simply kept holding him close.
"I'm so sorry," Alfred's voice was cracked and the words were hard to understand between his uncontrollable sobs. "I'm so sorry..."
"Sorry? But why?" Britannia was confused, he frowned.
"I'm – I'm so sorry. I wanted to be...I don't want to disappoint you, I really don't. But I failed, Arthur."
"Alfred, you're such a sweet boy, how could you ever disappoint me?"
"By sinning," Alfred's hands clung against the white fabric of Britannia's toga as if begging for forgiveness. "I've fallen in love. With an angel."
Britannia's eyes widened in shock. It was the most beautiful and yet the saddest thing that he'd ever heard in his whole life. Alfred was so sweet, until now he would cry for others. Such a pure and selfless soul, so strong and yet delicate. Britannia wanted to protect this soul. No, he wanted to always be with Alfred.
It wasn't a sin to love. Alfred was not in the wrong.
Though it didn't change the fact that angels and humans can't be together. Not in this kind of relationship, not in any relationship. And this disillusioning fact hurt them both.
The next day the angel disappeared. Alfred was devastated.
"Where have you been, Britannia?" Oddly enough the voice had a French accent.
"Please, I need to meet the Court, Francis." The angel's emerald eyes were filled with a thick layer of tears.
Francis, the other Seraph couldn't believe what he had just heard. "The Court? But why?"
"I have a request..."
"Oh, Britannia...what have you done..."
A selfish request in front of the Court equals a grave crime and Britannia was about to commit such a grave crime. Hesitantly, he stepped forward to enter the sacred circle of the Court. Seraphim and Archangels were seated on thrones of clouds, every eye was rested on the one standing in the middle of the circle. If it was a human, he was sure to immediately burn at the sight of so much heavenly light. The head of the Court was seated on a golden throne and his eyes were covered by a golden blindfold. His flowing white robe, endowed with stars of the night sky reached the ground and ended right in front of Britannia's feet. He was also the first to raise his clear voice that resounded loud across the the whole circle.
"Britannia, what is your concern?"
He needed to gather all his courage to be able to speak up without wavering. "Your Excellency, it appears that I have fallen in love."
Soft murmurs began to fill the gathering but it was immediately silenced by a single hand gesture of the head of the Court.
"That is wonderful, Britannia."
Britannia gulped. "With a human."
He could practically feel the temperature drop in his surrounding. It was probably just his imagination but even the throne clouds appeared to have darkened. As for the other angels, their expressions showed their indignation. The great Britannia, the loyal servant of God had fallen for the temptation of lust.
But they were wrong. They didn't understand. It wasn't lust as they all had witnessed in Sodom and Gomorrah. It wasn't a physical need that made him blind and lose his mind in a heated frenzy. It was, and he had to smile at the thought of Alfred with his smile and tender eyes, simply love.
A new power and confidence rose in his chest at the thought of Alfred.
Britannia wasn't wearing his usual toga today, he was clad in a long, white robe with golden threads. The trail of his robe flowed like streaming water and ended in a seam of pearls. And when he was intimidated before, with his wings humbly folded behind his back, then he definitely wasn't the same any more. His head was gracefully raised and his eyes shone with intense determination. The six wings were proudly spread out and seemed to glow brighter than the rest of his colleagues. At that moment he was the great Britannia once again.
"I wish to speak with the Lord," and his voice didn't waver.
The circle fell silent. "What insolence!" That was the immediate reaction from one of the Seraphs; from the corner of his eyes, Arthur could see how the other angel had leant his body forward to glare at him accusingly.
"I have the right to speak directly to the Lord. My rank allows me to do so!" He exclaimed, his eyes were fixed on the one who was leading the Court.
His eyes widened as he watched how the leading angel moved his hand to remove the blindfold around his eyes. Upon looking into golden orbs, Britannia instantly fell to the ground, forced to stay there and filled with immense pain that was unbearable even for an angel. It was as if dozens of fiery blades were boring and stabbing through his flesh in repeated motions. He screamed in pain. Hot tears filled his eyes and ran down his reddened cheeks.
It wasn't fair.
"What is your argument for being so arrogant in your behaviour, Britannia?"
"It's not arrogance," Britannia whimpered, "I'm fighting for some compassion!"
"What is your argument for wanting to go against the rules?" The head of the Court's voice was booming now.
More pain stabbed through Britannia's body and he cried out in agony, yet he was far from giving up. Memories of Alfred kept him sane.
"There are...there are things that can be done and other things that shouldn't be done. Things that are our norm... and things against all the odds," Britannia paused. "But the greatest of all is love."
Sometimes there are things that stand above the rules.
The head of the Court was silent and he rested his back against the throne, he pondered for a moment. After a while he put his blindfold on again and nodded. The pain drained from Britannia's limbs and he breathed out with relief. Slowly, he pushed himself up again until he was standing on still unsteady feet. Green eyes looked up at the Court expectantly.
"I have met my judgement," said the Court's head. "Britannia, you are to live as a human as long as your beloved remains in the world."
Britannia gasped, not believing the words that coated his ears like honey.
"We refuse to take this human's life to make him your partner in this world as his pure soul and his good deeds are needed on earth. So you are to live as a mortal while he's still alive and help him at his service on other people. Comfort, give hope and feed other people with him as a human until it is time for you to come back in our midst as an angel of God."
Their reunion involved a crushing hug and lots of tears and laughter. Britannia, no, Arthur reached the earth as an ordinary man with pale skin that wasn't glowing, who had no majestic wings, only a pair of slightly too big pair of eyebrows remained a glorious feature on him. Alfred who had started eating fast food since the day Arthur disappeared, dropped the hamburger in his hands and ran towards his beloved with open arms.
"Opmh! Not too firm, Alfred!"
"But-but I don't wanna lose you for a second time!"
"It's okay, Alfred. I won't leave you..."
Being lovers wasn't easy for the both of them, former angel and priest. The first month was spent with awkward holding of hands and occasional hugs. Arthur tended to react all flustered and Alfred couldn't help but tease him from time to time.
The second month, they learnt to kiss. First on each other's forehead and then on a night of watching romantic comedies, their lips finally met. It was sloppy, it was unnecessarily wet, it was wonderful. From there on they were diligently practising on their kissing skills, often with their lips locked and eyes fixed on the Hollywood scenes to imitate the perfect kisses on the display.
The professional everyday life stayed the same as in the days where Arthur was still an angel. This time though, Alfred was receiving reinforcement from Arthur who was studying Theology to become a priest as well. Needless to say that he was the best among all the students. (Though later he got rejected as a pastor as his grumpy character didn't appear to be suitable for pastoral work, so he ended up as a professor at the university.)
Four months later they learnt how to make love.
It was the first time for Arthur to feel such passion that actually affected his body. Alfred moved above him and was at the same time inside of him. He grabbed onto his lover for dear life and left angry red marks on Alfred's back but neither cared. Arthur who was on the receiving end of the lovemaking felt pain along with pleasure. He realised that sex went after the same principle as the platonic practise of love. It was giving, enduring and receiving.
They were happy even when their hair had greyed. They were happy until the day of their death.
Britannia was a powerful angel.
He belonged to the mighty group of Seraphim, one of the closest angels to God. In his hand he was always carrying a light that shone brighter than any other star in the universe. It was a pure soul.
A/N: 1. The title is taken from the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
2. The random atheist's theory (lolwhut) is actually a part of a theory written by religion critic Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872). His theory was a great influence for a great number of people, including Karl Marx.
I'm sorry if this appears to be rushed but I was in the middle of my finals (GUYS I'M DONE WITH SCHOOL!). I still hope this is still to your liking ^^.