Inspired by uhoh-beek's 2pthur design on Tumblr. This is... really rather odd. I seem to be writing a lot of odd stuff recently. Ah well. I'll let you guys decide what to think.
The other nations were laughing at him. Again. They thought he couldn't hear them, didn't notice the snide gestures they made, the soft laughs whenever his back was turned. Of course he noticed. How could he not? "They hate you, of course. Why wouldn't they? After everything you've done to them, I'm surprised they haven't all just decided to get rid of you. It's not like you actually do anything that could be considered useful, is it? I mean, honestly, sweetie, you're a bit pathetic aren't you? He he. You used to rule the world, and now look at you! You used to be so big."
He'd burnt the cooking. Again. He didn't mind, of course, but America had invited himself over for dinner, and then he'd invited Canada over for some moral support against the other nation's enthusiasm, and he'd wanted to make something nice for them, he'd tried so hard. And it had all gone wrong. "Oh, really, you're useless, darling! You didn't even read the recipe properly, it said one egg, not two, and that was water you were supposed to add, not milk. Oh dear. Hmm. That really is rather revolting, isn't it? You're going to make them both throw up if you feed them that."
France had cornered him. Again. In a meeting, too, advancing on him whispering softly in his ear. It had taken a hand snaking around to encircle his waist before he'd recovered from the shock enough to yell at him and shove him away. France had just laughed and sashayed off to play with someone else. "Oh, well that was stupid. What did you do that for? He's the only one in here who's actually willing to touch you – and you want to be touched, don't you, you whiny, needy little slut, I've seen you at night – and you said no to him. Hah. You always push people away, it's no wonder they hate you, sweetheart."
He had missed the hint. Again. Not that it was a problem, he'd just ask again tomorrow and hope that the other nation noticed what he was trying to say this time. It wasn't like he could feel his heart fracturing for the hundredth time. "Oh, please, love, just give up. Why would he ever even look at you? You're… well, old, weak, pathetic, antisocial, useless, isolated, argumentative. I could go on, would you like me to, love? I mean, look at yourself. Really look. How can you not be disgusted with yourself, with what you've done, the people you've killed and hurt and pushed away. You brought this on yourself, you-"
Smooth skin and soft, yielding flesh were suddenly under his fingers. He was digging his nails into them, grasping so tightly that blue and purple bruises were already forming under the pads of his thumbs. Coughing, harsh and damp and filled with the blood dripping down the other's chin, he could feel the vibrations of the choking under his hands, feel the warm flecks of crimson on his skin, feel the shudders and jerks of the body under him as it fought to draw in breath-
"This- you- stop it stop it stop it-" England knew he wasn't making any sense, but he didn't care. Those eyes, so like his own, but so blue, too blue, not warm sky blue but an ice, ice cold, were staring up at him, calm despite the desperate twisting and clawing of their owner, mocking him, laughing at him, and the lips from which blood dripped were curved into an open-mouthed grin, exposing crimson teeth.
"Get out," he hissed at his double, at the one lying on the floor, and tightened his hands, ignoring the way the double's hands around his wrists tightened too at the action, "get out and stay away from me, go away, I don't want to listen, I won't listen to you, don't you dare hurt any of them or god help me I will- I will- stay away from him-"
The double couldn't talk back, no longer had enough air in his lungs to whisper those lying, insidious words in his ear. Soon, there would be no air in those lungs, none at all, and he would never have to hear that silky-smooth, happy voice again, never see that smile, never have to listen to the truth, never-
"England! Jesus fucking christ, what the hell- Someone, restrain him, quickly!" The voice echoed in his ears, blurred and irrelevant and a very long way away. England ignored it, hands tightening again, nails breaking the skin, squeezing and squeezing and squeezing and god it felt so good-
And then there were hands, hands on him, on his shoulders and arms, dragging him backwards, restraining him. "No!" he screeched, "No, no, you can't, he's not gone yet, I need to get rid of him!" Already, the double was sitting up, spitting out the blood that had filled his mouth onto the polished wooden floors, still grinning that crimson grin, his acid blue eyes locked with England's. Smiling. Always smiling. Always happy, always clever, always right, always everything he, England, wasn't. Always there
"England, England, shhhh," murmured America soothingly, wishing he had an extra set of hands so he could smooth England's hair away from his sweating forehead without letting the other nation go. To see him lose it like that, kneeling there and clawing at the air in between broken snarls and sobs, was a cross between terrifying and heartbreaking. "It's okay, it's okay. You're fine, we're all here."
He glanced behind himself, at the other nations watching England's frantic jerks with worry, and scowled at them, hoping his expression made it clear they should make themselves useful somehow – although quite what they could do to help, quite what anyone could do to help England right now, was beyond him.
"But- but- but-" England hiccupped, finally stopping struggling and instead drawing sobbing breaths in, "he-" The words seem to escape him, and for a moment he just stared at America, eyes wide and afraid and utterly mad. Frowning, America noticed the bruise forming over his left eye, the blood dripping from his nose, and the reddish scratches down one cheek.
He hadn't seen England' hands go anywhere near his face, just claw above the floorboards, but they must have, for him to have sustained injuries like that. Although he imagined the angle England would have had to move his arm at to get that bruise would have been incredibly awkward, and there was nowhere near enough blood around his nose to account for the stuff on the floor and his hands.
Before he could think any more, England started screaming again.
"Get away from me!" He tried to scramble backwards, writhing and twisting, only succeeding in pressing his back harder against America's solid, unmovable chest. "Away! Away, get away, just fuck off and leave me be!" The other nation's hands restraining his arms were like iron, he couldn't twist out of the hold, couldn't escape from the grinning figure now crawling towards him on hands and knees, heedless of England's kicking legs. "Let me- L-let me go!"
He sat on England's lap, straddling him so they were face to face, close enough for England to see the delicate mottling of colour in the bruises around his neck and the reddish flakes of dried blood cracking on the skin around his mouth as he moved. Close enough to see, as the other reached out and cupped England's face in his soft hands, spreading his fingers over England's cheeks and using his thumbs to gently rub the smooth skin under his jawbone, the blood still trapped between his teeth as his lips peeled back in a delighted, insane smile.
"That wasn't very nice, sweetie," he whispered, and England stilled instantly, transfixed by those blue eyes that never left his. "Not very nice at all." He shook his head sadly, the strands of silvery-pinkish hair hanging over his forehead bobbing up and down with the action, their faces close enough that England could feel their movement against his cheek. "Still, I forgive you," he murmured, stroking England's face with entirely too much understanding and compassion in a face that devoid of rationality. "You're only you, after all. I couldn't expect much better."
He leaned forward even closer, those eyes still boring into England's, until their noses nearly touched. "I'm only trying to help, love." And then he closed the gap between them and his open, bloodied mouth closed over England's.
And those hands continued their caress, harder and harder until there was a crack, and England screamed into the kiss and the other's roaming tongue as his jaw broke.
Later, America will watch as the paramedics carry a now-sedated Arthur away. He will worry. He will feel ill, after seeing the nation that was once his caretaker lose his mind so very thoroughly, and upset – and, for a reason he can't quite pin down, guilty. He will watch the ambulance pull away, blue lights off and sirens silent, and stand there long after it is gone, listening.
"It's your fault. Maybe if you'd listened to him more, maybe if you'd paid him more attention, maybe if you hadn't joined in with the others when they were laughing at him, maybe if you hadn't abandoned him, maybe if you weren't so fat and stupid and inexperienced and useless, maybe he wouldn't have gone mad. It's always your fault, isn't it? You know that, right, America, that it's always your fault. You screw up everything you touch, don't you, you just blunder in and act like the hero and ruin everything. You're not a hero. You're not a good guy. You're not even a villain, at least they have a purpose. No, you're just the idiot sidekick, only there to make people laugh, well-meaning perhaps, but always messing things up. It's your fault."
After a while, he will turn around, turn his back on the long-vanished ambulance, and come face to face with himself, red eyes half-lidded and dark hair messy and too many teeth in a too-wide grin, stance relaxed and a baseball bat thrown carelessly over his shoulders. He will see the confidence, the violent sensuality, the coiled strength.
And he will be afraid.
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