America x England – Winter Wonderland
Arthur was in a considerably foul mood. He exhaled in annoyance, not really listening to the American's rant about how Harry Potter ended too abruptly, and couldn't J.K bring out another book? He was far too tired to retaliate with the fact that since Voldemort had been defeated there were no exciting events occurring anymore, and so, the next generation of Hogwarts students would be leading boring lives not at all worthy of a few hundred pages of telling. Instead his mind wandered back to the house they had embarked from a few minutes prior. The house with a boiled kettle ready to pour a steaming cup of tea which he could consume whilst huddled under layer upon layer of warm blankets, reading a good book by some enthralling author. His mind soon hesitantly wandered back to his current situation though as a cold wind rattled through him and snow left icy kisses on his flushed face. He shivered violently and adjusted his scarf further over his face.
"Whoa, Artie, are you okay?" asked Alfred, finally drawing the conversation away from how awesome Alan Rickman was, "You're shaking like a maraca!"
Arthur glared up at him, with scorn evident in his cynical green eyes, "And whose fault would that be for dragging me out here, hmm?" He clicked his tongue in distaste as he turned his head to face ahead again, intent on giving Alfred a taste of his own medicine and delivering a cold shoulder as harsh as the season. It obviously worked, as Alfred whimpered like a scolded puppy as he replied.
"But…but I have a good reason for bringing you out here." He looked down at his large hands and twiddled with his fingers. It was strange to see such mature hands fulfilling such childish actions. Not strange enough for Arthur to feel inclined to question the motives behind his childish behaviour however. In fact, Arthur had given up questioning Alfred about any of his behaviour, full stop. It was full of nonsense carried out by the younger generation; nonsense he would never understand.
"Please," began Arthur, his tone slightly smug, "enlighten me as to what this good reason is."
Alfred continued to fiddle with his fingers – flexing them and winding them around one another until they threatened to be knotted as his tongue presently was – and Arthur had to resist the temptation to slap his hands and reprimand him for fiddling and tell him to act more proper. However, he wasn't his mother now, was he? "I…This is romantic, right?" Alfred flashed Arthur his usual dazzling grin, probably expecting the older man to swoon at the sight; but that was never going to happen. Yes, Arthur could admit Alfred was handsome – sometimes unfairly so – but right at that moment he wasn't at all in the mood for the young lad's insufferable games.
"I say, lad, I have to admit that in my years I have been through a number of romantic experiences." he drawled, a bored expression on his face to match his bored tone, "Candlelit dinner, slow dancing on a veranda, a bouquet of roses on valentine's day," he listed the events on his fingers as he spoke, "even once when a past partner merely stated that they wanted to shove something up me, that could be seen as flattering and slightly romantic. But this?" he gestured to all their surroundings – the dark, clouded sky, the snowy ground, the overhanging trees in the canopy they passed under, "This is not what I consider to be romantic, Alfred!"
Alfred pouted, and he raised his hand as he was about to bite back, but he was cut off by Arthur's voice, no longer a drawl but an enraged snap, "And don't you dare start on how romantic the lights glimmering in the cosy houses and the snow falling gently to its death can be; I've heard enough of that bollocks, no matter whether it's true or not. Do you consider being bloody freezing and confused as you are led around by a moron who is equally as confused romantic? Because I certainly don't! Nor do any of the great romantic novels of the ages! Just you, Alfred F. Jones, you confused moron!"
Arthur spun round on his heel and stood there with his arms folded across his chest and a pout on his face in what could only be described as, dare Arthur admit it, a childish display. He didn't blame himself though. He had been spending far too much time with the idiot American, and his behavioural patterns had brushed off on him, whether Arthur liked it or not.
He stood there for a few moments more, doing his best to refrain from making any other sort of movement that could ruin his dedication to be right. He didn't believe that standing around in a huff like a child would make him right, but he had run out of options in his rage for any other way to prove a point, and he was not about to change his method of point proving at this point.
Suddenly, Arthur heard the crunch of snow under feet behind him; the crunching getting louder and louder with each footfall. The crunches proceeded until Arthur felt two strong arms come up behind him and wrap around his waist in what was one of Alfred's begging for forgiveness embraces. He felt breath on his pink ears, and although it smelt of those dreaded hamburgers it was warm nonetheless.
Arthur's blushed. What was with this fool acting so…so…foolish one moment and then whispering simple yet genuine apologies into his ear the next? And in that kind of tantalising low whisper that made Arthur crave to lean into the man and hear more. Perhaps some of those sweet nothings he had heard so much about? However, Arthur could not give into such weaknesses.
"If you're really sorry then you'll escort me home." he bit, almost regretting his words. Honestly he wouldn't mind standing there in that freezing weather if those comforting arms never left him. Not that he'd let Alfred know. If he knew of Arthur's weaknesses then that boy would be able to get away with murder.
The arms tightened round his waist at this request, and he could feel Alfred shaking his head briskly, "I can't do that, Arthur, because…" Arthur heard Alfred sigh hesitantly, not wanting to say what he had to, "…because I have a surprise waiting for you at the end of the canopy."
Arthur blinked his wide eyes in wonder. A surprise? From him? But why?
"I didn't want to tell you because then it wouldn't be much of a surprise anymore since you'd be expecting it."
Arthur bit his lip, disheartened that he had ruined the plans for Alfred's surprise. He stood there in silence a little longer, thinking, his mind ticking like the cogs of a fine clock.
"You know, Alfred," he finally uttered, "I haven't the foggiest what this surprise is, so I would still be surprised." He unravelled his hands from his folded arms and placed them atop Alfred's own, "I still very much want to see this surprise…p-please."
Arthur could practically feel the warmth radiating from the glow of Alfred's smile, and he basked in it gratefully, smiling a little himself. "Really, Arthur? Oh, dude, that's awesome! Because, y'know, I thought that you'd be all like 'I don't care about surprises', and that would've totally sucked, but…but you…Oh, man, this is great!"
"Yes, yes," chuckled Arthur, adjusting his trench coat, "I'm still in suspense about this surprise, so shall we press on?" he shivered as another cold wind passed, "And hurriedly. It's quite nippy out."
Alfred's smile grew even more so wider and he snapped his fingers as if a great epiphany had hit him, "Absolutely, dude. But first…" Arthur watched in awe as Alfred shrugged off his beloved bomber jacket and draped it over the Briton's shoulders, "There! Now you'll be nice and toasty, right?"
"B-but Alfred," Arthur stuttered, protesting against the jacket around him, "You can't do that! You must be freezing now, and I simply won't stand for-!" Arthur was silenced as a finger was pressed to his lips which were cracked from the cold, and a hush escaped the lips of his partner.
"Shush, Artie. I'm fine – I've got lots of warm muscles trapping heat and stuff." he moved his finger to flex his hand and cup it to Arthur's frozen cheek, "I'd feel much better being cold and knowing you're warm than being warm and knowing you're cold."
Arthur was sure that the flush in his cheeks was no longer merely due to the cold. He looked down, embarrassed, taken by the absolute chivalry that Alfred had just shown. Even as Alfred took Arthur's hand and led him on their merry way he did not look up as he contemplated that yes, Alfred did act the common fool, but when he had his rare gentleman moments they were definitely worth grinning and bearing through the fool for. In fact, screw that, the whole of Alfred was worth it! With this realisation, he squeezed Alfred's hand, earning a backwards glance from the man, and although he did not look up at those cerulean eyes he could still sense that they were gazing at him with the trait that resonated throughout every muscle and fibre and bone within Alfred's body:
The two of them continued through the canopy of trees, with their hands joined and their conversation idle, though nothing needed to be said anyway. And Arthur certainly did not occasionally use his free hand to bring a section of Alfred's jacket up to his face where he could nuzzle it and take comfort in the familiar scent of his partner when he wasn't looking!
After what seemed like a century of walking, Alfred finally stopped in his tracks and turned to face Arthur, "Okay, we're almost there. I'm going to cover your eyes, okay? No trying to peek!" Arthur sighed and nodded, not seeing what he'd gain from peeking other than a lack of astonishment when the surprise was revealed, leading to a distraught Alfred. However, he allowed the American to be reassured and cover his eyes.
Arthur tried his best not to blush, but when you could feel your lover's torso pressing into your back and their arms snaking their way around your shoulders and up to where their hands covered your eyes, it was kind of hard not to. Just like it was hard not to laugh when Alfred laughed, and it was hard not to smile when Alfred smiled, and hard not to cry when Alfred cried. It was like Alfred was controlling his emotions, and as much as he hated it, he also loved it. Never before had he felt so many emotions with just one person. It was rather nice, and though Alfred wasn't the most intelligent or most romantic or most whatever people were judging their partners on those days, it didn't matter, because Alfred brought him the most happiness.
"Okay, Arthur," Alfred whispered, joy evident in his voice, "I'm going to reveal the surprise on the count of three."
Arthur was poised like a gentleman – straight back and expressionless face, if not for a tiny smile poking out – but, deep down inside, he was bursting with excitement. He forgot the cold altogether in that moment of warm delight.
Arthur felt Alfred's hands uncover his eyes as he shouted "SURPRISE!" in that way that only a child in a man's body could. He felt the warmth of Alfred leave him altogether as he backed off, and yet even then Arthur wasn't cold, for there was such a warm sight to behold.
In an opening in the canopy, where you could see the stars twinkling in the night sky wink down at you, was light. Not just any lights however. Christmas lights – all of them dazzling and blinding and so entirely festive. But it wasn't the fact that there were lights that made Arthur's heart flutter like a new born butterfly in his chest. It was how the lights were composed. Alfred had managed to get a hold of lights that were in the shape of letters, and had arranged them to say a message that Arthur had received so many times in his life, but never this vividly. The dazzling, blinding, festive, familiar lights read out the message:
I love you.
Arthur just paused. So many thoughts went through his mind in that pause, such as how did Alfred get a hold of these lights, and had any other people seen this whilst passing, and what exactly inspired Alfred to be so bloody romantic? He turned from the message, despite his hesitation to do so in case it vanished the next moment he turned back, to look at Alfred, who was stooped down on one knee, offering up a massive bouquet of roses. The bouquet was probably bigger than his whole torso. Not that he cared for fancy flowers at that moment. He pushed the bouquet to the floor as he leapt upon his lover, exclaiming "Git" and pressing their cold, blue lips together.
The kiss wasn't lustful – an invitation to shed their garments as soon as possible and make love – nor was it like a meagre kiss of greeting or farewell, and it was much more than a thank you kiss. It was a kiss full of passion and warmth, understanding and realisation; but most of all to Arthur, it was a response to the message he had received:
I love you too.
Author's notes: Hey, guys! I know this is late, but merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all had a wonderful time like Alfred and Arthur did. C: Thanks for reading, I love you all!
America (Alfred) and England (Arthur) belong to Hidekaz Himaruya.