I actually wrote most of this a year ago while was bored, but I could never find exactly the right words or the inspiration to finish it. Then everything with the earthquake happened, and I got motivated for a 'Support Japan!" kind of thing, but I couldn't get free to do it until recently. Please forgive me if this seems too soon!

I do not own Hetalia, America, Japan, Ryu ga Gotoku: Of The End, or the awesome movie My Life in Ruins.

Operation Tomodachi


A hot flash – sudden crash –


No sound. Shadows burned on the pavement.


Pain – an iron brand. Buildings laid flat.


No air.


Kiku shot bolt upright, choking and gasping while the phone screamed at him. His thin frame shuddered as he pushed himself to his feet, reaching blindly for the sliding door. Somehow, he made it into the other room and stumbled over to the obnoxious thing. "M- moshi, moshi?" Really, who could be calling at this hour?

"Hi'ya, Kiku!" Did he even have to ask? "What's up?"

Kiku barely resisted the urge to curse. "Amerika-san," Uh-oh, the angry voice, "You do realize that there is an eleven hour time difference between your house and mine?"

"Oh, don't worry 'bout that, man, I'm totally fine." Kiku's eyebrow twitched rapidly. "So, anyways, about that game ya got me last time, what was it? Ryu ga …Goku, or somethin' like that, right? Totally bitchin', by the way, I need to get this dubbed, but I got to the part where Kiryu and Goda-"

Kiku sighed, settling himself in for a long listen, as often happened whenever the loud-mouthed blonde called, and ran a hand through his hair. Something snagged and gave way. He froze, slowly taking his hand away and bringing it up where he could see it. Tangled black hairs laced themselves between his pale fingers, and he felt his stomach drop. The walls spun.

"Kiku~!" the phone whined.

"Ah," His head snapped up, chest pounding, "nani ga?" Japan cleared his throat, trying to keep his voice level." I'm sorry. What did you say, Alfred-kun?"

"Dude, I was asking ya if ya had any, like cheat codes, or maybe, like a buff up for Majima's Gatling gun." The line was quiet for a while as Kiku tried to gather his thoughts, apparently long enough to make the American uncomfortable. "Dude, you okay?" he asked, a little more softly than before.

Kiku blinked, replying in a clipped tone, "I'm perfectly fine, Alfred-san. There's no need to concern yourself with me." Honestly, why could Alfred only read the atmosphere when it was inconvenient for him?

"…Okay." But, thankfully, that seemed to satisfy the blonde, because when Alfred spoke again he was as peppy as ever. "So! That's why I'm comin' over to your place! I also got thi-"

"Wait- what?"

"I'm comin' over-" Not now! "-in the plane right now-" He had the worst timing! "-be a few hours-" Of all the nations! "-and have the popcorn ready, 'cause there's this movie right here with your name on it!" Since when did he have his name on anything!

"Please, Alfred, don't trouble yourself!" Kiku pleaded, flailing his arms like an anxious Italy, "I'm sure that a nation in your position has plenty of work to attend to, what with the wars, meetings with your boss, and your debt spiraling –please fix that soon so it doesn't bother the rest of us- , especially if you've been playing the game I sent you as much as you've said –terribly sorry for disrupting your work- so you don't have to come!"

America laughed, obviously relishing his pain. "Well, too bad for you, I'm already on the plane! Be there in a few." And he hung up.

Kiku stared at the phone uncomprehendingly before putting it back in its cradle, clanking it against the sides as he did. His hand was trembling. Kiku glared at it, forcing it to settle down. It worked… at least until he looked away. He really was getting old. "I shall…. Make some tea," he sighed to himself, making his way to the kitchen.

An hour or two later, the sliding door slammed open and got knocked out of its slot. Someone cursed. "Alfred-san, what did you break this time?"

"It wasn't me, I swear!"

"The brunette tisked at his guest as he walked into the hall, watching Alfred try to put the door back in its frame without putting a clumsy thumb through the paper. At least he cleaned up his own messes these days, which was something. Somehow, America managed it and turned to face his host with a bright grin, faltering when he noticed the apron and the cloth tied around his head. "Dude, what's with the get-up?"

"I was cleaning."

"Really?" He huffed, looking around, "You're place is always spotless."

"And why do you think that is?"

Al smirked, "Cause you're CDO, man." Kiku blinked. Alfred chuckled, grabbing his hand and making Kiku drop his duster. He stumbled, reached back for it, and tripped forward as Al dragged the smaller man into the living room, chattering about the movie he'd brought.

"Really, Alfred-san, it's fine," Kiku tried interrupting him, "It's late, I'm rather tired, and I'm sure you are as well after your trip, and wouldn't you rather watch horror movies with Arthur-san?"

"Horror?" Al paused, turning to give Japan one of his 'confused puppy' stares. "The heck'd you get that idea?"

Kiku blinked. "What do you bring every time you want to watch a movie?"

"Pshh!" Alfred made one of his strange American gestures and tossed his host on the couch. Reaching into his jacket pocket, Alfred pulled out a DVD case, took out the disk, and flung the case in Japan's lap before going to fiddle with the player.

Kiku examined the title. "…My Life in Ruins."

"It's a movie!" he chirped.

"I can see that." Surely, behind the man and woman's smiling faces, a ghost, or alien, or homicidal maniac lurked in the shadows. …Or maybe that old man would turn around and eat them.

"No, really!"Alfred cried when he saw his friend's dubious expression. "This chick, she's like a tour guide, right?-" The TV blinged to life, while he went looking for the closet. "-And her job totally sucks, 'cause she's like a history-buff and stuff, and the tourists are total jerks!"

Kiku twisted in his seat to stare at him as Al ran back into the room, dark blue blanket flaring out behind him like a cape. "Alfred, have you seen Feliks recently?"

"And Feliciano, but that's not the point."Al, Feli, and Feliks. Never a good combination, those three. "The point is," Alfred tosses the blanket over Kiku's head and plopped down on the couch behind him. Before Kiku could untangle himself, Al settled the smaller nation between his legs and wrapped his arms around his waist. "-that the Hero himself brought an awesome chick-flick to watch with his best friend, so just relax, okay?" Japan craned his head back to frown at the blonde. America pouted. "Please~?" He whined.

Honestly, the young nation had never learned the values of personal space. But there wasn't much he could do about that, ne? "I hope you have the remote," Kiku mumbled, settling back against his chest. If it wasn't another one of those low-budget horror movies, Japan supposed he could handle it. Just for a while.

Al fist-pumped, releasing his captive just long enough to get the movie playing and make sure the blanket covered them properly. The movie… actually wasn't that bad. The characters were interesting, and it was a sweet story, though Pupi Kakas was a name only an American could have come up with. Kiku actually found himself relaxing. It was really late, perhaps three or four in the morning. The brunette found his eyes drooping, and shook himself awake once or twice before finally passing out.

Once he was sure that he was out of it, Al took off the weird handkerchief thing and ran a hand through Kiku's dark hair. When he pulled it away, several strands left with his fingers. Alfred shifted him around a bit, careful not to wake him, and pulled back the kimono. He found one of the pale white scars on his chest, passing a hand over it. The mark radiated heat. Al fixed the cloth, adjusting his former charge more comfortably in his arms.

Kiku was still stupidly stubborn about these things, insisting he was fine when he wasn't. Not like America could say anything about that, but still! ...Well, Alfred was going to help, whether he liked it or not! He should probably call the Prez about that meeting he ran out on, but Virginia could take care of that, right? And he'd need someone to fly Air Force One back to base… Ah, well. He'd deal with that later, seeing as he still had work to do here.

After all, a hero never left a friend in need.

Before the disaster, US-Japan relations have been strained by a dispute over US military bases on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, but America won admiration for launching Operation Tomodachi, the largest humanitarian mission the US has conducted in Japan since WWII, sending scores of US ships and aircraft as well as 20,000 troops to help the relief effort. When US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Japan to give her support, she even had the rare honor of having tea with Emperor Akihiko at the Imperial Palace, so that's quite something.