disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to the darkness in my head. please leave me alone. please.
notes: I listen to too much Rise Against.

title: straight to video
summary: All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? — Alfred, Matthew.






Dying had never been this easy.

Alfred's lips cracked and bled, dry as the barren Midwest—Jesus Christ, drowning had to be better than this. And water, what he wouldn't give for water—but this was civil war, this was comeuppance and this was hard.

He'd been born essentially divided, and essentially divided he remained.

But God, it hurt.

The fever took him as the economy tumbled in free-fall, heat burning up from a political race that tore the men and women of the nation apart—three hundred thousand people all screaming, their voices echoing inside him like we are the ninety-nine percent we are anonymous we are legion we will not be contained occupy occupy occupy!

The gap between rich and poor grew wider, and Alfred grew sicker.

But the days went on.

Coughing in a meeting with the UN veto countries, he pressed a cloth to his mouth and hid the bloom of crimson even as the denial and the booming laughter dispelled the thought that anything was wrong.

The others wouldn't look him in the eye. Arthur stared straight ahead with his eyebrows furrowed down (not that they needed it) and Francis made bad jokes, and Yao eyed him a little hungrily, and Ivan—it was always Ivan, wasn't it—stared with a manic little smile that did not scare Alfred at all.

He went home, lay down on his bed without turning the light off, and fell asleep with his boots on.

The nightmares were slow things, drowning in blackness and a rain of prescription pills and dirty needles, and Alfred—oh God, Alfred—

He sat up, shaking, blond hair stuck to his neck with cold sweat. He pressed his hands to his face, gaze blurry in the artificial light. The sky outside the window was orange-black, the same colour as a burnt-down cigarette at 2AM when the pounding of the music hissed and slowed down to nothing, waiting for a taxi to take a person across the city to the airport to get away for just a little while.

Jesus, he needed a holiday.

The phone sat by the bed table, innocuous and silent.

Matt would be asleep, tucked up in Ottawa with his bear—what the fuck was that thing anyway—waiting for morning like the rest of the world. He would be irritable if Alfred woke him now, steel-eyed and grouchy for the rest of the day.

It didn't stop Alfred for a minute.

Because maybe there would be pancakes and a little reassurance that dying was only temporary, anyway. Because he could still remember that conversation—what are you talking about? America's not going to be destroyed!—Never? Rome was destroyed. Greece was destroyed. Prussia was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours?

Alfred dialled.

Three rings, and then the click as the other end picked up.


"Matt?" his voice cracked.

He could almost hear the other man rolling his eyes. "Yes, Alfred?"

"I think I'm dying."

There was a very long silence.

"I'll meet you at the airport," Matt sighed.

"Thanks," Alfred murmured.

But Matt had already hung up.

Alfred closed the phone, and went to pack.