This story is completely AU. It uses personalities, but nothing more. I'm simply borrowing characters, not plot. (If you can really qualify Hetalia as plot)

*, %, $, anything of the like are my breaks. I've been having trouble with them showing up on fanfiction…

I was six years old when I had my first taste of vodka. My mother poured it into a plastic cup for me. If I recall, the cup was orange. Yes, yes it was. That was why for the longest time I thought that vodka had an orange tint. It never occurred to my young mind that it was clear in the bottle. I don't remember much about the incident, if you can even call it that, but I do recall one thing. The alcohol didn't light a fire inside me and scorch me. I was told that it would if I tried it. That's what the adults had told me. I expected it to hurt going down, make my throat raw, but it didn't. No, that vodka sparked a little and warmed me in a way nothing else had. But then again, that little flame started the addiction. That little flame seemed friendly. It didn't get aggressive at first, but that little flame burned me from the inside out.

That was kind of how our relationship went. I expected to be burnt, so I stayed far away, but what really happened was much more harmful. I swallowed you whole and you made me feel better than I ever had before. Just to be burned from the inside out all over again. You were a worse addiction than my vodka.

I was working when I met you. I was playing bass guitar in my band at the bar on the corner of Westwood and Vine. A band… it sounds a lot cooler than it was. Really, we just played a few gigs to play pills. Mostly at bars like this one. I think the place is actually called Roadie's, but everybody called it The Cave since that's what it looked like. It was so dark in that small, damp room. Lights flashed everywhere, but they were never constant, kinda making a strobe effect. Bodies pressed to one another in that bar like nowhere else I'd ever seen. Nobody seemed to need to find themselves a room, you could find people grinding and literally fucking on the dance floor. Not that anybody stopped them. In fact, I'm sure it turned a few more people on.

I had looked up as I was playing the last few notes of our final song. That's when I saw you. I know how cheesy it sounds that I just singled you out across an entire room, but I did. It was actually because your blonde hair had caught in a light as you stood from a kneeling position on the floor. The guy in front of you was zipping up his jeans and I knew immediately why you were here. Still, I knew better than to judge. Sometimes we underworlders do what we have to. People up there don't understand. They tell us that we're filthy and we should get out of our lives of sin, of addition. Get help; get a job; get this; get that. I'd heard them all before, but at that moment all I wanted of those 'gets' was to get laid by the gorgeous blonde at the bar.

You looked up at me, turned your head to the side and spit. The white of semen showed in the flashing lights. It always did at this place. If the forensics came in, I don't think there would be a clean spot on the floors, the walls, anything. In fact, I'm pretty sure you could find it in the glass you'd picked up and taken a swig out of. All the while you drank, you still looked at me. I had to look away from the burning blue eyes. I couldn't stand the raw emotion in them. Even though I'd just seen you stand up from sucking some guy off, you still looked like you didn't belong in a place like this. You weren't like me. I was addicted to vodka and cigarettes. I played in a sleazy band that picked up prostitutes every weekend for a bender. I wore knock off clothes from Goodwill because nobody wanted to help an underworlder. They just told us to get, get, get. When really, all they mean is get the fuck out.

It wasn't until we'd cleaned up from our set and my buddies had found some girls to grind with that I saw you again. You were talking to some stuck up prick of a man that hung out at the corner of the bar every Tuesday and Friday. I knew because I'd been there for a week straight once when I couldn't find a place to live. I assumed he was a pimp, but as I said, we don't judge, most of us are just here to pay bills. This guy, though, seemed to be living in the lap of luxury and 'helping' those of us still down here on the lower rungs. But only the good looking ones. Guys, girls, he didn't seem to care. If he thought he could get 'clients' through you, he'd take you. And he had definitely gotten his manicure claws into you.

I walked over, leaning in to talk to some of my fellow ex-pats in Russian. "Who the hell is this guy?"

"Hee," Demetri chuckled. "You don't want to mess with him, Ivan. He apparently had somebody shanked a couple days ago for simply letting a hand slip onto one of his chicka's asses. Imagine what he'd do if he knew you wanted to bone his prize possession. That kid there that you keep eyein'."

I stepped back with a feigned look of confusion. "What are you talking about, Dem? Why would I be eyein' a guy like that?"

With a smirk, Demetri ignored my questions and simply said. "That is who they call Freedom on the streets. He could have it if he wanted it. For some reason this rich preppy keeps coming back to Arthur here. Some people say maybe he's addicted to something a little stronger than your cigarettes and vodka."

%

I didn't talk to you that night. In fact, I didn't talk to you for weeks. I tried to distract myself with prostitutes on the street, sleeping with anybody. I was kind of like that Arthur guy that owned you. I didn't care, male or female. I was just trying to satisfy that craving. Whether it was for sex, for power, or maybe even for you.

But then one weekend, I didn't go out with my buddies to pick up the whores. I was in charge of the booze. So, when I walked in with cartons of vodka, beer, whiskey, the last thing I was expecting to see was you lying on the couch under Vlad. I don't know where it came from, but suddenly I was pissed. I didn't want to see him fondling you like some toy with a moaning mechanism. I dropped the booze, some of the glass bottles shattering on the floor, some staying intact. I didn't care, though, I was already on top of Vlad, who I'd pulled to the floor, punching the ever living daylights out of him. It was you who pulled my off.

"Jesus Christ," Vlad yelled at me in Russian. "You bastard, what the hell was that all about?" Vlad was older than the rest of us and wasn't subject to the same impulses, lucky for my face. He didn't immediately respond physically, instead, he asked questions like any normal, civil adult.

It didn't seem right at the moment, though. I just heaved my breath and screamed back even louder. "I'm in love with him." Not until too late did I realize I had yelled in English. Everyone in the room froze, including you.

You stepped back and words actually left your lips. "You know me…?" And that's when I'd had enough. I pushed you out of my way and ran through the broken glass back out the door. I thought I'd run far, maybe manage to get back to Russia, but instead, I just made it across the city before I stopped and questioned myself. What the hell was I doing? I didn't have my money, my car, my keys, anything. I'd left them all there in the bags with the booze. I laughed out loud when I realized that all I could think about was the fact that the vodka was going to be a bitch to clean out of my wallet. I swallowed hard before walking slowly back toward the apartments.

I still couldn't make myself face everyone. Instead, I sat down on the curb next to my parked car and just hung my head. It was already nearing dawn and I figured I could get in pretty soon while everyone was still passed out. Then again, they could be sober. After all, I spilled most of the booze.

I must have dozed there because I opened my eyes to the hazy morning light to a tap on my shoulder. You were there, squatting down and holding out my things to me. "I figured you'd need this to get away from everybody for a while, right?" was all you said. You didn't ask me anything about that night, about my admission. You were simply there. A teenager in Hollister jeans, squatting down to a low life like me to give me a helping hand.

I reached out, our hands brushing one another as I took my things. I stood slowly off the curb. You didn't move from your position. I swallowed dryly before licking my chapped lips. "Do you wanna go around the corner for a cup of coffee?"

So, what do you think? I should be working on my Beauty and the Beast, but I just finished a Jodi Picoult book where the father was in jail and he was talking about the fact that we judge people before we know the reasons. A father kidnapping his daughter away from an alcoholic mother, a father stealing in order to feed his kid, a kid that killed their parent because they had no other route out of the abuse and I thought to myself 'What would drive me to that situation?' And I decided to write a story about someone dealing with it. From the rich perspective and the poor perspective. Kinda Prince and Pauper sorta thing. So, here's my first chapter of it. If I get a few reviews, I'll write more.