Hope you enjoy!
America didn't sleep that night. He went out and got cheeseburgers instead. The McDonalds was quiet at 2 am and it was odd to hear the accented voice of the cashier ask for his order. Even the red and yellow of the sign looked dulled, as if the crossing to England had pulled some of its vibrancy from it. Somehow Alfred managed to find himself on the banks of the Thames looking up at Big Ben and thinking of his childhood and cheeseburgers.
When he was really little, before the taste of cheeseburgers became synonymous with Arthur, America didn't speak English. He spoke a patois of the tribal dialects. In every other sentence his words jumped from Algonquian to Cherokee to Iroquois. It had been enough for him to get by on the rare chance he had to interact with one of the tribes. Until Arthur came.
At first Arthur had just said one word per encounter. Flower. Rabbit. Dirt. Alfred soaked up the words he offered. Arthur would let America sit on his lap. The boy loved the way the words rolled around his mouth, slide in between his teeth and fell off his tongue. As time passed on England began teaching him more words each time.
Jam. Cheese. Strawberries. Bread.
Ball. Story. Flute.
Hat. Water. Ship. Wind.
Fur. Land. Brother.
Learning words with Arthur was blueberry sweet. He loved it. Alfred bit into another burger. Blueberries were his favorite flavor back then. He hadn't discovered the taste of cheeseburgers yet.
That was part of the reason why he allows his Americans to come up with so many words all the time. When hello split into hi, hey, howdy, sup, and yo the taste of blueberries actually blocked out the taste of asparagus for a few days and reminded him of better days. It was wonderful.
Alfred sat on the top of the half wall and looked down into the sluggish river. He unwrapped his first cheeseburger. Biting into it, he mulled over how things had gotten so bad. The Revolutionary War and War of 1812 had broken England and America's relations, but the two countries had got over their differences in the early 20th century. However, Arthur and Alfred had not. Personifications don't always follow the direction of their countries. In this case Alfred wished they did.
The pavement shone in the lamp light. A woman's heels clicked behind him. Alfred slurped on his Coke and drummed his heels against the wall. He had a strange mixture of pear and yogurt lingering in his mouth. He was almost relieved to taste them… it was a break from the never ending cooked asparagus. He tried to poke the sweet pear tranquility with his tongue, but it was hiding behind his teeth.
The clicking stopped. Alfred felt a presence next to him. He looked up expecting to see long hair and pouty lips instead he saw a flat chest and thick eyebrows. Quickly, Alfred looked down before the other could catch his eyes. Shiny black shoes with a small heel. Huh, not women's shoes… just womanly clicking.
"Alfred," the voice said. The sound of that voice made his teeth clench in cheddar embarrassment. He couldn't believe he had asked for Arthur to stay with him. So stupid.
The shoes… they were nice shoes. It looked like the owner had just had them shined. Alfred would never wear shoes like that just thinking about him wearing the shiny black shoes made mac n cheese burst in his mouth.
"Alfred, Al," the voice wouldn't stop calling his name. The laces of those shoes were tied tightly too. Nice wide loops that-
A hand came down on his shoulder and another on his chin. His chin was tugged up. He kept his eyes looking down.
"You're so stubborn. Fine. Don't look at me." A coin was on the ground next to the left shoe.
"I don't understand why you wanted me to stay with you before," the voice said.
Because our countries are brothers again and we still aren't and I hate that.
Alfred shrugged at the voice. The two were still for a moment. Alfred wondered which side of the coin meant it was lucky. He struggled with the British monetary system. Why couldn't everywhere have dollars and pennies? That'd be so much better.
"Alright, fine, forget I came here."
The clicking started again and Alfred looked up to see a dark peacoat and the back of a blonde head.
Shyly Alfred raised his eyes. Arthur had sought him out. He'd come to find Alfred. Alfred jumped up, he could get over his yogurt misery and cheddar embarrassment. If Arthur was gonna try then Alfred could try too!
"I don't like cooked asparagus!" He exclaimed at that dark back.
His not-any-more brother turned around, "what?" he said.
"I don't like cooked asparagus. I miss the taste of cheeseburgers and coca cola. And…"
"You were just eating cheeseburgers," Arthur interrupted, "How could you possibly miss something you always eat?"
He felt his cheeks heat up. He didn't want to say this out loud. Those green eyes just stared at him hard and flat. Fine. Fine.
"Not that… Cheeseburgers remind me of you 'n when you liked me… 'n I miss that," he mumbled. Ugh, he was turning into such a girl. The taste of coffee wrapped around Alfred. He'd told him. He'd done it. Now everything'd be ok.
"Sorry? I didn't catch that," Arthur said.
Alfred's eyes widened. What? He had to say it again? Someone must really hate America. But he was a hero so he could do it.
He cleared his throat roughly. "Not cheeseburgers cheeseburgers, but the taste of cheeseburgers when you were still my brother and you liked me even when I was stupid and illiterate and a baby. Cooked asparagus is loneliness and I haven't been able to get the taste out of my mouth in decades… and why can our countries be brothers again and we can't?" Alfred blurted.
"Excuse me?" Arthur croaked.
"You heard me… Don't make me say it again. It's embarrassing."
A hesitant touch brought Alfred's eyes up to his not-anymore-brother's. His face wasn't scowling like usual. His eyes had softened too.
"Cheeseburgers remind you of me when you were little?" Arthur asked.
He nodded yes.
"Oh Alfred," the words were sighed.
A hand wrapped around the back of his head and suddenly he found himself being crushed to Arthur's chest. Arthur's other hand was in his hair petting.
"Alfred, Alfred, Alfred," Arthur murmured, "what am I ever going to do with you?"
Alfred blinked. The younger nation turned his head into his maybe-brother's chest and wrapped his arms around his waist.
"Wanna keep me?" He mumbled.
A rumbling laugh and chuckled, "of course, you git," answered his question. The back of Alfred's salivary glands began watering. Cheeseburgers. Alfred turned his head and looked back to his rumpled paper bag. He was tasting cheeseburgers again! Alfred laughed and hugged Arthur's waist tighter. Strawberry ice cream joy dripped down his throat and it was a million times better than what he tasted earlier.
Yay a happy ending for Alfred! Now that I've been playing in this world for a few days I'm kind of enjoying it. So maybe there'll be an epilogue or sequel or something in the future.
Anywhoo a request, you read this and it took a few minutes. And you really enjoyed it, right? Well I wrote it and it took an hour. So why not spend the extra minute and let me know if you enjoyed it? Alfred says that'd be the heroic thing to do!