Warnings: Slight necessary USLiet, past US/Russia BFF-ness, US/Japan friendship… etc.
PLEASE READ THIS NOTE. Okay, I know I usually don't demand, ask, or even really suggest that you read these silly things, but this time, I regret to say, it isn't in the least silly. If you read this, you will understand why I even bothered to post this awkward, angsty little thing.
This is devoted to a very close friend of mine, who, in this story, will be portrayed by Alfred, her all-time favorite character, hero, RP character… Pretty much, she's obsessed. She has Ameri-fever or something. And you KNOW who you are, no need to point fingers, no need to be uncivil. And especially NO NEED TO CLOSE THE BROWSER. I wrote this for you, damn it. You can at least take the time to read it.
Anyway, it's come to my attention that certain things need to be addressed and taken care of, and the only way that I know of that she'll listen to is a fanfic. Especially one about Hetalia.
I won't be sharing anything too personal. That would be abusing her trust and confidence in me. I won't reveal this girl's real name, either, or her full penname. I will, if anything, use one of the nicknames that I or my brother gave her.
Sean will be what I call Scotland, because I have NO IDEA what Scotland's supposed to be called.
…. I don't like being England. It's difficult….
People like him didn't just… break down like that. I never saw anything wrong… None of us did. It was… unimaginable.
He was once so confident, unyielding, bold. He was loud, cocky, immature, hyperactive, and most importantly, he was happy, or so it seemed.
Were we wrong not to have noticed?
We met in the fifth grade. Alfred was new to the school that year. My family had lived in the area ever since my parents left the UK, so naturally, I wasn't. This tall, blonde-haired, huge-eyed, baby-faced little ten-year-old immediately caught my attention, with his bouncy attitude, brightly colored clothes, and one retarded little cowlick that stuck out in defiance of gravity.
I sat in the corner of that fifth grade classroom, watching him for awhile. He sort of fumbled around awkwardly, touching certain things on walls only to have them fall, causing him to let out a little high-pitched squeak and hurriedly put it back where it was. It was an amusing sight. Somehow, in a small part of my mind, I found this strange new boy kind of adorable. In his own, weird way, of course. But I didn't feel like approaching him, either. It felt like too much effort.
My brother, Sean, beat me to it anyway. He took one look at Alfred's binder, pointed, said, "That looks stupid," and frowned, for no real reason.
Alfred stuck out his tongue and acted like it didn't bother him, but I knew better. As much as I hated getting involved in things like this, it was nevertheless always embarrassing to have to admit to being related to a bully. I wordlessly stomped on my brother's foot and glared at him, and as expected, it worked. Alfred gave me a slightly teary little smile in return, and I walked away.
That was when I learned that Alfred F. Jones was never any good at taking criticism.
Despite what happened during their first meeting, within a few weeks, Sean and Alfred had somehow managed to become friends. Of course, Sean was still a bit mean to him, but that was just his way at the time. He eventually grew out of it.
I, on the other hand, still didn't want to speak to Alfred. I was a quiet child to begin with. Sean was the only one I ever really held conversation with, seeing as we were brothers and had to do things together anyway, such as-oh, say, living.
He was loud, too, which was something that annoyed me to no end. Constantly yammering on about something I didn't really care about. Even his voice was annoying. And God forbid I ever actually wanted to read. So I consciously avoided him for a good half of a year.
Alfred could apparently sense how I felt, because one day, as the other children were leaving for music class, he approached me with the saddest, most heartwrenchingly moe little puppydog face ever seen by mortal eyes. "Arthur… Do you not like me or something?"
I blinked. "No… What gave you that idea?"
"Well…" He fidgeted, looking down at his feet. "You never talk to me."
"I'm… a quiet person."
"Oh…" Alfred smiled. "Okay. I kinda like quiet people. They're nice."
"I'm not," I shot back, with what I didn't realize was a glare.
Alfred jumped and stared at the floor. "… sorry," he mumbled.
"Sorry?" I raised an eyebrow. "For what?"
"If I'm annoying you, you can just tell me. I-"
I frowned. "You're not annoying." Pause. "Wait… That was a lie. Maybe you are-" He started walking away. "Wait!" I sighed. "It's… it's fine if you're annoying. Because… I kind of like annoying people."
It was the single most embarrassing thing I had ever said, but at least it made him happy. It was also the first conversation we had, and last for two years. I continued to avoid him after that, but I began to at least like him a bit more.
We were separated by classes in the two grades after that, so Sean and I barely saw him, except for at dances and in the hallways, until we all finally managed to get on the same team in eighth grade. In the meantime, Alfred had been changing in a lot of different ways. He'd gotten taller, and now he was not only taller than me by a few inches, but by at least a head. He'd finally gotten glasses (the blind as a bat git), which he had, for reasons still unknown to me, affectionately named 'Texas'. He had also made friends with most of his old classmates, such as Feliciano, Lovino, Mathias, Ludwig, Gilbert, Ivan, Matthew, and Antonio.
Another thing I noticed right away was how drastically he'd changed personality-wise since our last actual conversation. He wasn't the same noisy, childish brat he was in fifth grade. He was a lot noisier and a lot more childish. But a lot more confident, at least.
I had also changed, going from a shy, antisocial little kid to a sarcastic nonconformist. I became a punk and misanthrope. I had little faith in the world and nothing but mistrust for the people in it. Not only that, but I enjoyed thinking that way.
Alfred and Ivan had become best friends towards the end of seventh grade and had texted like teenage girls over the summer. I was sort of shocked, but then again, it wasn't any of my business, really. Besides, it wasn't as though they hadn't gotten along well in elementary school.
They were sitting on the front row next to each other. Ivan waved, calling Sean over to join them, which he did. I followed him, having thought of nowhere else to go.
I continued to avoid him, since I didn't exactly feel like having a loud new friend to deal with at this point. But we ended up having the same schedule, participating in the same clubs, and even sitting at the same lunch table, so it was next to impossible to accomplish said task.
Then one day I noticed Alfred reading a certain volume of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. I swatted him on the back of the head. "Oi."
"You can't like Hagaren," I said, jokingly. "I like Hagaren."
"…What?" He looked confused. Typical… Only true fans recognize that nickname.
"Do you know what that is?" I sighed. "You don't, do you?"
He shook his head. "No, I get it. Hagane no Renkenjutsushi, Alchemist of Steel, the original name. Shortened to just 'Hagaren'."
"Color me impressed," I remarked, my eyebrows raising.
"I just… didn't know you were a fan, either."
I nodded. "Since '05. And you?"
He shrugged. "I just found it this summer. The first volume was so epic I downloaded the whole anime, and I'm now on volume…. twelve, in the manga. I'm sorta obsessed."
"So you've watched the entire series, then?" I asked.
"Yeah. I hate the end, though."
"What honest fan didn't?"
He nodded. "True."
"The movie made up for it, though."
"What didn't the movie make up for?" asked Alfred. "Alphonse was back in his body-adorable. Roy had an eyepatch-hysterical. And there was just one scene with Rose in it. The only thing it lacked was…"
"A lot more Winry," we both said at the same time.
"…Mr. Jones. I believe this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
And strangely, it was. I stopped avoiding him. We began to hang out on a regular basis, whether at school, Ivan's house, the mall, or on field trips. Our conversations began to reach further than anime, until we knew almost every last detail about each other. We knew enough for good natured bickering, at the very least. He was always asking to borrow my Excalibur, wanting to know where my "Invisibles" where, or trying to shove me into that store in the mall named "Kirkland Home", yelling at me to "GO TO YOUR HOME!" I sometimes taunted him by saying "GOOD EVENING" in a stuffy, deep voice, but that was as far as I went when I insulted his name… That was all I could think of.
He called me a ghost (for being so pale), a tsundere, "The Uke of the Year", and the worst of all, short. I responded by calling him a dumb blonde, the "Jolly Green Giant", and every simile for "nerd" in the dictionary. Through these constant insults, we developed a very complex and close relationship.
Alfred, Ivan, Sean, and I, along with Matthew and Antonio, became a sort of an indivisible group. We sat together at lunch, in class, and during assemblies. In any given group project, no one went without a partner from the group. We had a system. For groups of two, it was always Alfred and Ivan, my brother and me, and Matthew and Antonio. For groups of three, it was usually Alfred, Ivan, and Sean, and Matthew, Antonio, and me. We had all the same classes, so it was relatively easy to keep this cycle. No one ever had to be alone. Ever.
Perhaps that was what made it even worse.
I was in drama club with Alfred and Ivan, which was where I witnessed their first real fight. I can't remember what it was about, but there was a lot of screaming, and it ended with Alfred storming over to me, looking like he was about to cry, ranting on about the "stupid Communist asshole".
They kept this up for a little over a week. Matthew and I were being used as messenger owls.
"Hey, Arthur. Tell Ivan I still want my Mortal Kombat games back."
"Matthew, inform Alfred that if he wants them back, he can ask for them himself."
"Tell him I better get my games back or I'm gonna smack a bitch."
"Tell Alfred that I would very much like to see him try."
"Well! You tell Ivan that-"
"ENOUGH!" I stood up and screamed. "If you two want to continue this ridiculous argument, that's fine. But leave Matt and me out of it! Honestly! We're not bloody Yahoo Instant Messenger!"
I probably shouldn't have left. But I did.
And I still can't forget the sight of him trying too hard to cover up the fact that he was crying the next period.
I asked Matthew what he knew about this whole thing, and he only shrugged. "They've… been doing this for awhile," he said quietly. "The fighting, I mean. They fought the last time the three of us did anything together. I just tried my best to stay out of it."
I eventually asked Alfred about it directly. His answer?
"Ivan turned into a dick," he replied, shrugging. "So I decided I'm just not gonna hang out with him anymore. No big deal."
They never did make up.
Alfred sort of spiraled for awhile after that. Losing a friend was never easy, and for some reason, I could tell that this ordeal was upsetting him a lot more for some other reason entirely. In the meantime, I tried to concentrate on distracting him with the use of two things: Full Metal Alchemist, and the school play. It was working so far.
"And so I practiced, and now I think I can draw Alphonse in his armor!"
I sighed. "You really are obsessed, aren't you?"
"No! But, I could really be Al, yknow? 'cause we have the same name and we look alike. But, then I kinda wanna be Ed, 'cause he's all epic…"
"You're nowhere near short enough."
"Yeah… But you are~!"
"I will break your glasses and scatter the fragments all across the four corners of the Milky Way galaxy."
He laughed. "Sorry…"
I was lucky that he had a short attention span.
Alfred began to say and do things that disturbed me. Apparently, he was planning to change his personality completely, so that he wouldn't "annoy anyone else and make them hate" him. I, along with all of our other friends, knew that this was not only stupid, but also useless. My words weren't getting through to him, and neither were Sean's, who, in a fit of rage, screamed at Alfred and made him cry. Needless to say, I beat him up.
Luckily, this stupid and unnecessary phase of self-hatred mostly dissipated by the start of the spring musical.
The school play was, in the words of a certain blonde, "the awesomest thing in all of awesomedome." It lasted three nights, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and were there from five to nine every night. At the end of the third night, during the program signings, I signed Alfred's with a hurried "GIT".
Alfred laughed. "So you're calling yourself a git now? Oh, okay. Then here you go." He scribbled 'Love ya Git. :b Alfred'
I rolled my eyes and went to look for Elizaveta.
The ninth grade started off better. We were both in the same homeroom class as Sean and Antonio. Then Science with Gilbert and Feliciano. Then I had History with Gilbert and Antonio, while he had Literature with Ludwig and Feliciano, and we swapped from there. Everything else was the same.
In math, we were "cruelly forced", as Alfred would put it, to sit on opposite corners of the class, but this would never stop us from passing notes. In science, Gilbert immediately claimed Alfred as a lab partner, which, I'm not ashamed to admit, made me extremely jealous. Why? I was stuck with Feliciano. He broke a fifty dollar piece of equipment on the second day of school. WHEN WE WEREN'T EVEN IN THE LAB.
In December, Alfred gave us some upsetting news. He would be moving about seven hours away, but he had no idea when. That made it worse, since we didn't know how long we all had to be together.
After many tears of Feliciano's, and Mathias's many threats to kidnap Alfred and keep him in his attic where no one could find him, Alfred finally moved three months later. On his last day, Alfred, Gilbert, Mathias, and I stood together in the school library, where we had met together at the end of every day. The same library where Alfred forced me to read Fruits Basket against my will. The same library where Gilbert ruined Alfred's innocent mind by introducing him to yaoi. The same library where Sean got falcon-pawnched for walking up behind Alfred and whispering "boo" at the wrong time (Alfred always had gotten far too absorbed in scary stories). The same library where I had listened to the whining of Alfred after his finding out that his report topic, Taoism, wasn't as fun as it sounded when read from our teacher's list. The library where Alfred team-killed Antonio on Halo. The library where we filmed our contest entry.
That library never was the same again.
Not many words were said, as we were trying hard not to cry. Even myself, who had long ago given up on that sort of thing.
Before long, Alfred had to leave our lives forever.
It was two weeks before I heard from him again. We were keeping in touch over email and fanfiction (Alfred and most of my other friends respect my hatred of social websites such as Facebook). He had just started private school for the first time, and apparently had an "epic" bedroom. I wasn't too pleased about the fact that these messages finalized his new absence from my life, but nevertheless, I was happy for him.
He had also mentioned (in a manner not unlike a giggly teenage girl) a boy in his new class named Toris. He was apparently very shy and bookish, but according to Alfred, the cutest thing in existence. Or something. I really didn't care much about that, but I read each message and responded with sincere congratulations. I was glad that after such a long time, Alfred had actually developed a crush on an actual, non-celebrity person, whose name was not Mail Jeevis, Teruki Nagata, or Soul Evans.
Over the summer, we roleplayed frequently. Mostly of horror… This was during my Higurashi obsession, and his Phineas and Ferb obsession, so most of them ended up a creepy, crackborn bastard child of the two.
The tenth grade started off better, but lonely. Less Alfred meant a lot less noise, but we made up for it, and eventually, the hole in our hearts that was left by Alfred slowly began to fill.
Everyone's but mine, that is.
Being cursed with the disease of paranoia from a very early age, when things went so terribly wrong, I now naturally find myself worrying over every little thing, especially when it comes to people I care about. This goes so far and is so life-hindering that I refuse to sleep, even now, when Sean complains of an ache.
I found myself asking "Will Alfred be happy?" "Will he do alright in a private school, or will it all be too much?" "He stands out quite a bit. Won't he be targeted by those cruel enough to hate for such a petty reason?" "He'll be strong enough to fend for himself without me or Sean… Isn't he?"
However, none of his messages ever seemed to display anything distressing. The people were apparently nice, the homework easier, and he and Toris had apparently started dating. He had also made two new friends, Kiku and Feliks, to talk to. My mind was at ease…for now.
After about a month, Alfred's relationship with Toris ended. I asked why, and Alfred messaged back a simple "I'm just not that into him anymore."
Oh, Alfred. So quick to change your mind on everything.
Well, que sera, sera… That apparently gave him more time for other things, so I can't say I was that upset to hear about it. And Alfred certainly didn't seem upset, sending random, anime-related messages as usual.
For awhile, our conversations were just that. Random. Fun. Nothing too personal or deep. The light, teasing banter that I was accustomed to with Alfred, laced with inside jokes and playful insults.
Then, every so often, Alfred would say something a little… off. Apparently, there had been some trouble at school. Some rumor about him and Kiku or something. But for some reason, I in my stupidity actually believed that he hadn't been affected by it. Sure, Alfred was Alfred. He could overlook anything with a lighthearted laugh, an off-color joke, or bragging. He was proud of every single thing that made him different, and embraced terms like 'weirdo' and 'freak' like they were complements. It was what I and everyone who knew him loved about him. It was what made Alfred Alfred.
Sadly, though, I noticed a change in that. I noticed things in his messages, things on his profiles, on his blog posts, that said differently. I noticed his personality begin to change. They were slight, of course, but they worried me. Certain pieces of my past made sure of that.
Sometime that December or so, I finally met Kiku over the very same website. He was very polite, very interesting, and was a perfect partner to my wit. We began chatting back and forth, about our lives, about our siblings, one clever response after another. I quickly began to like him.
The subject of our conversation moved to Alfred, and what Kiku had to say wasn't exactly encouraging. He told me about the people at school, and how they had been treating Alfred. He told me that Alfred had been putting on an obvious façade for others, but that Kiku had no problem seeing through it.
I had no idea what to do about it. I warned Kiku not to criticize Alfred at all unless absolutely necessary, because I knew exactly what would happen if he did. It would end up like eighth grade all over again. I also unofficially made Kiku my informant, regularly asking him about Alfred in case my dear four-eyed friend decided to keep anything important to himself, as he was known to do.
Awhile passed. Alfred didn't message for awhile. And when he did, I was almost wishing he hadn't.
He informed me that he was suicidal. Not like when overdramatic children decide to whine on and on about how they're going to kill themselves, but actually, truly, genuinely wanting to die. He had already had two attempts: The first failed, because a text from Kiku had stopped him in the act, effectively saving his life by reminding him that if before he died, he would have to think of something to tell his friends. The second almost succeeded, if it hadn't been for his sister running upstairs to give him a picture she drew for him at school that day. It was through an act of God that my friend was still alive.
I threw up.
It was too much. I couldn't even process in my mind what was happening. The only thing running through my mind was 'Not again not again not again…' I had to close out of the browser, move away from the computer, and wait at least an hour before responding. I couldn't think of anything to say to him. I wanted to yell at him, tell him what a stupid idea it was, how disappointed I was with him, and be angry at him, but I didn't. I could only force myself to type three letters. "Why?"
Alfred told me that he couldn't take it all anymore. He felt so hated, so unloved, so unwanted by everyone around him, that he was willing to do anything to escape the pain. He had tried everything else, and was using this as a last resort. He was too terrified of getting in trouble to tell his parents, but he was also cutting regularly, nearly once a week. He wanted to talk to Kiku, but constantly worried that if he acted too "depressed" around him, that Kiku might start to avoid him. I knew for a fact that that was completely ridiculous. Kiku seemed to me a genuinely nice person who truly cared about Alfred, but Alfred still refused to talk about these things face to face, instead simply dropping subtle hints like whining about his wrist hurting or casually making light remarks about death.
For once in my life, I had no idea how to help my friend. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to go to that school and ruin the lives of everyone who had done the same to Alfred. I wanted to sit with him at the lunch table during that period he dreaded so much. I wanted to save him from the loneliness that he had saved me from. I wanted to be his hero for once. But I couldn't. I was too far away. And that tortured me.
Needless to say, I lost sleep.
We conversed more frequently now. He knew to expect a firm lecture from me if I didn't hear from him for awhile. The topics were never as happy. Sure, Alfred tried to force the conversation in that direction, but I forced it right back. I asked him if he was getting help. He told me that his mother wouldn't let him, because she thought it was a phase and told him to get over it. Can you believe it? Alfred was at rock bottom. He couldn't just get over anything! That made it sound like it was his fault!
The way that Alfred talked about himself was possibly the worst. My best guess is that somewhere along the line, he began to believe the words others said about him. It hurt to even think that my beautiful, golden-haired, porcelain-skinned friend with those enormous, innocent, sky-blue eyes full of life, could ever think of himself as "ugly". My friend with a vocabulary broad enough to fill three dictionaries, fluency in 2 and a half languages, and near-photographic memory, could find himself "an idiot". That the same person who gives up his food at lunch to Feliciano when the Italian forgot his wallet at home, the person who literally drops everything and gets late to class to help a younger classmate carry her too-heavy books, the person who gets sick because he gave his jacket to his little sister who was shivering, the person who's willing to give away every piece of paper in his binder so that no one but him gets in trouble for not having any, the person who listens to everyone's problems, gives advice, and never has a single bad word to say about anyone. It made my ears burn to hear that same person ever, ever call himself "not worth anyone's time."
I asked him if he had been to church recently. He informed me that church scared him. It was apparently so stressful for Alfred to be anywhere where people could watch him, where there were people to talk about him, that he just stopped going.
At the end of the year, Alfred seemed to be doing better. He was so excited about the summer that he was completely distracted from the rest of his problems. That was my Alfred. My Alfred loves summer. He likes to swim. He likes the beach. He likes travelling. At least those bastards weren't going to change that.
Kiku also told him that Alfred had told him that he would be trying to work things out over the next few months. I was relieved.
One day in the summer, we were talking, and I felt the real Alfred come back. At least a bit.
"Hey Iggy! Guess what? I'm totes goin to St. Louis tomorrow, SON! Jealous, non?"
It gave me hope.
It was shortlived. He had a breakdown while in St. Louis. But fortunately, that lasted only a night and a day, itself.
He launched his own horror series. I was proud of him, even if it wasn't that scary yet. He made a new friend out of the girl at his dad's work, and together they wandered the building, making youtube videos, eating Chinese food, and having fun. Meanwhile, I felt at ease enough to work on my OWN summer job, filing paperwork.
According to Kiku, Alfred was taking baby steps toward wellness. He fell occasionally, but he always got back up, like the strong hero he always was. Kiku helped so much, as said by Alfred. But it always worried him that he may have been bothering Kiku. I told him it was silly.
To this day, my friend's struggle toward mental and emotional wellness is an uphill battle. But one day he will get through it. One day he'll realize that he's better than his tormentors. And one day, he will learn to love himself and life again. Why? Because. In the movies, heroes always win.
Okay, poorly written fic is poorly written. It's hard Hetalia-nizing 6 years of friendship into a oneshot, no less. But like I said, she WON'T LISTEN.
Everything that I said in this fanfic was true. It is all based on a true story, about my friend, her battle with depression, low self esteem, and suicide. I really hope my pitiful and frustrated attempt at writing didn't put you humans in a very FLAMABLE mood, but then again, it's not FOR you, no offense.
I wrote this to maybe show my friend (no names mentioned) what it felt like for the people who love her (AND YES, we DO love you) while she was going through this. She still deals with it to this day, and according to her, she's recently spent some time in the girl's bathroom… Which concerns me. She wouldn't tell me why, only that she's terrified of her classmates.
She has also recently been dealing with self-image and weight problems because of some rather un-thought-out words from her stepfather… Still waiting on "Kiku" to tell me if I should be concerned. Also, the girl who was portrayed as "Feliks" is now completely ignoring her. She apparently won't even say hi back to or smile at my friend, and my friend is afraid of losing anyone else. "Alfred" thinks that maybe it has to do with the fact that "Feliks" is all buddy-buddy with the bullies. Which pisses me off.
I left out a great deal of stuff because it was either TOO personal, or because it didn't apply since Alfred is a guy. I could have put in more about her unsupportive and verbally abusive parents, but I don't want her getting mad.
To "Alfred": We all love you. Your good qualities outweigh the bad, so don't worry. Nothing that you've told me these girls have said is true. You are beautiful, strong, funny, kind, and unique. If they don't feel like taking the time to get to know you, then it's their problem, not yours. Also, you are not fat. You are not stupid. You're clumsy, yes, but I happen to find that amusing. You are not weak. You are a hero, like you keep blurting. Believe it like Naruto, female.
PLEASE don't think any less of my friend. She is NOT some whiny emo. She has other problems in her life that she's facing, but they were too personal to go into, like I said, and I'm not willing to betray her trust like that, even if I'm not giving her name.
Keep her in your prayers, if you're even looking at this right now.