Fathom the Ocean, Dark and Deep


Summary: Every morning Arthur goes to the ocean –to torture himself, to cleanse himself, he doesn't know. Whatever his reason, it's become routine. One day his routine is interrupted by a dorky blond fisherman with a strange offer.

Disclaimers: I don't own Hetalia or the title of this story. Hetalia belongs to Hima and the title belongs to Fanny Crosby (full quote: can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the might waves and the grandeur sweep?). Also I know next to nothing about lobster fishing in Boston (or lobster fishing in general). I do know that there are working lobster boats that do tours, but that's about it =/ TG didn't do her homework.

Warning: Minor character death, very small mention of self-harm, depression, sex. Total derpiness and possible overuse of ocean metaphors.

Author's Notes: Fail!summary is fail. XD This is the spawn of a fic exchange PRND/Zo One and I decided to do randomly XD The prompt was ocean, which I really struggled with. This is a more serious fic, and I had a lot of trouble trying to balance the humor, the severity of Arthur's situation, and the sappy romance. Hopefully I did okay ^_^

The Kirklands were a family of the ocean. Ever since the infamous pirate Arthur Kirkland graced the seven seas in the seventeenth century, the rest of the Kirkland clan seemed to have salt in their blood. There was Jonathan Kirkland, sailor for the East India Company, and there was Percival Kirkland, naval commander in World War Two. His son was a naval historian, sharing his expertise between King's College, Birkbeck, and London Met, and his son's sons were all involved in seafaring as well –James had joined the Royal Navy as soon as he'd come of age, Llewellyn was still in secondary school but fished every weekend, Erin was studying marine biology in the United States, and Murtagh had dropped out of secondary to become a fisherman.

That left Arthur Kirkland, named for his distant sea-faring privateer relative.

As a child, Arthur had always been attracted to the water. He loved the sounds of the waves crashing into far-off rocks, the feeling of warm water rushing over his bare feet, and the way it would pull the sand out from under him as it rushed back again. Even just the smell of salt on the air was enough to make him happy and content after a long day; the thought of the sea's seemingly infinite depths and the life within gave Arthur a kind of inner joy that nothing else could (not even baking).

When Arthur had graduated secondary school, instead of going to college like his mother wanted, he took a gap year and went with Murtagh to learn the ways of the sea. Murtagh had complained about having him on board –Arthur would get in the way, Arthur wouldn't be able to handle almost a year straight of being on the water, Arthur would try to cook for his crew and inadvertently kill them all. The list of complaints against Arthur was long, but they turned out to be all bark and no bite, and when the time came for him to board the ship for the rest of the year, the crew threw him a welcome party.

It was Arthur's first time being on the open ocean like that, and it showed just a few days after the small blond arrived. It took ages for him to find his sea legs, and then every time he tried to help by hauling up a net or do any physical labor whatsoever, he ended up getting shoved aside so a more able-bodied fisherman could finish the job without losing the all-important cargo. It didn't take long for the crew to dislike Arthur, but despite his crew's mumblings and the dark looks shot their way, Murtagh enjoyed having his little brother with him.

The two had never gotten along as children; Murtagh, being several years older, always used Arthur as a metaphorical (and sometimes literal) punching bag, getting him in trouble for things he hadn't done, and beating him up for things he had. As they'd gotten older, though, their relationship grew into something more like friendship, and it only blossomed further on board Murtagh's ship; they told jokes, stayed up late talking, and often times generally made asses of themselves at the expense of the crew's sleep.

As the months drew on, though, even the crew grew to like having the younger Brit around, and nine months into Arthur's gap year he had somehow managed to gain a ship full of new friends, or as they insisted on being called, family members –brothers.

As if Arthur didn't have enough of those.

And then the day came when everything ended, and Arthur had had to go home. But it wasn't because he was done with his gap year –it was because he'd killed Murtagh.

Saying "I remember that like it was yesterday" would never ring more true; Arthur would spend every waking moment thinking about it, and every other moment dreaming it. It would play in an endless loop in his mind, until he snapped like an old, overused fishing rod.

It had been an accident. Or at least that's what everyone told him at the funeral. Arthur had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, it had been Murtagh's choice to try to protect him, etcetera etcetera. Arthur could barely stand it. He didn't want sympathy or pity –he just wanted to take it all back.

The rain had come on rather unexpectedly, and there was a rush to pack up for the day; rain wouldn't seem to be a problem on a ship surrounded by water, but it slicked the decks, impaired instincts, and narrowed vision, and in the fishing profession balance, reflex, and surveillance were paramount. Arthur had been trying to help; he'd been in the process of removing the pulleys from the machine that hauls up the catch, lest the wind blow them about and knot the wire when one of the fishermen slipped on the deck as the boat rocked, dropping all of the supplies he'd been handling. Arthur had immediately dropped what he was doing to bend down and help the man up, and was in the process of picking up some of the things he'd dropped when the hook he'd been fiddling with caught the motion of the boat and snagged his shirt.

This had been somewhat of a regular occurrence, so even though it was dangerous Arthur hadn't been worried. He'd waited patiently for Murtagh to come unhook him, all the while listening to the man scold him under his breath.

"I've told ye over and over not to wear such loose clothing when yer on the deck, ye fecking idiot. Yer damn lucky it didn't do worse damage than snag yer shirt."

Arthur had just rolled his eyes and stood patiently until he was freed, knowing Murtagh was right but not wanting to give the git the satisfaction.

Just as the hook came loose, the boat rocked and it slipped out of Murtagh's grasp, swinging wide overboard and coming back with the swaying of the ship. Arthur watched in shock as the hook caught his brother right in the chest. The cracking of bones and the wheeze that accompanied sounded in fractured echoes through his mind. He stood there and did nothing as his brother was flung overboard into the rough sea below.

Arthur could barely remember anything between the moment he caught his brother's terrified gaze and the funeral, but the crewmembers had told him he'd tried to dive in after, but had been restrained. Apparently he stayed on deck for hours, moving the search light back and forth across the frothing waters. Apparently –he didn't remember any of it. Maybe he just didn't want to.

Afterward nothing had been the same; the Kirkland family seemed to just fall apart in the wake of Murtagh's death, and Arthur was certain it was his fault. At first it was incredibly difficult living with the guilt, but months of failed therapy taught him how to feign normalcy, and his parents didn't even see it coming when his younger brother Llewellyn walked in after school to see a knife in Arthur's hand and blood dripping on the kitchen floor. After that he became the son that they never talked about, ashamed of his reaction and his inability to handle his emotions or cope. He was kept under lock and key, hardly ever left alone, completely mistrusted.

During his family-imposed exile from society, he had come to understand his emotions a little better. He'd realized that the guilt he'd been experiencing was as much a prison as his home was becoming, and there was no way he could hope to escape it if he stuck around. So, after three years of being treated like an unstable family embarrassment, he informed his parents that he was leaving for America, and despite the ensuing arguments, he found himself on a plane –alone –a few months later.

He had no idea where he was going or how long he was going to stay there, but he knew he needed whatever it was that America offered.

Arthur sighed and tipped his head back, reveling in the early morning breeze. Sunrise was the only time he felt comfortable coming to the beach –well. As comfortable as he could get. Murtagh's death was no longer a stone that weighed his spirit down; two years in America had done more for him than any therapist could have back in England. But that didn't mean he was 'cured.' There was no cure for death, after all; rather, he had spent the last twenty four months traveling the east coast trying to recall his love of the sea. It had been so much a part of him and he hadn't realized how much of himself had changed after…well.

But it was nice, being able to spend time on himself, with no pressure from his parents and no reminders of his guilt except the wide expanse of sea and his own thoughts.

And of course the man that always seemed to run along the beach at the same time every morning certainly helped matters. He always jogged by, shirtless and in shorts despite the chill in the air, at 5:47 in the morning. In the beginning he'd ignored Arthur, probably thinking him odd for wearing trousers and a sweater vest on the beach at sunrise, but as they became an unspoken fixture in each other's lives, he started including Arthur in his daily routine. He'd smile, wave, pop a cocky salute, but he never stopped and talked to him –probably didn't want to disrupt his workout. And the Brit was perfectly fine with that seeing as the man was so incredibly attractive in the watery morning light that Arthur would probably fall all over himself if he tried to speak. So he just settled for watching the mystery man run, thinking he'd probably never run into him in a capacity that they'd actually be able to meet properly.

One day, all of that changed. 5:47am passed with no sign of the man and Arthur scolded himself for actually being worried. The man was a stranger, so what if he'd seen him come by at the same time for the past few months he'd been staying in the city? He was probably just running behind. But 6am came and went, and so did 6:13, and Arthur was forced to give up denying that he was worrying about the man.

What if something happened to him and he'd never get to see that gorgeous face again?

He was so busy worrying and trying to look nonchalant about it that he didn't even hear the person come up behind him until he felt two hands fall heavily on his shoulders. He couldn't help it –he let out a rather unmanly squeak and jumped about a foot in the air, whirling around to face his attacker.

But there stood the man with a grin on his face despite the growing confusing twinkling in his eyes.

"Uh, hello," he said and Arthur stared. His voice definitely wasn't as sexy as he'd expected; in fact, it was rather high and energetic –very youthful. "So uh… Wow this is way more awkward than I thought it would be. Um… I don't know, I guess I see you here every day and I mean I don't even know why you're up so early. If it wasn't for my profession then I wouldn't even bother but you know I guess I see you and I never stopped to say hi and I started to feel bad but then I felt like maybe it was too late and –"

"Arthur," he said, hoping that would stop the word vomit spilling from the American's mouth.

"Huh?" The man asked, tilting his head to the side like a lost puppy. The motion was so endearing that Arthur almost lost the ability to English for a second.

"My name. It's Arthur. It's nice to meet you," he explained once he recovered, sticking his hand out to shake. The man, who hadn't introduced himself yet, didn't even glance at it; instead he pulled Arthur into a back-breaking hug, which was incredibly awkward since his hand kind of got caught between their bodies, giving him ample opportunity to feel up the American's rather chiseled abs. Arthur rather wanted to die of embarrassment –or perhaps it was arousal? –but instead he managed to push the American away without giving away his discomfort…he hoped.

"You shouldn't go around hugging strangers, stupid git."

"I can't help it! I've been wanting to do that for a while, you know." Evidently he took in the surprise and discomfort on Arthur's face and back-peddled a bit. "Um no wait that's awkward. You just looked so sad, sitting there every morning alone, staring at the ocean. Oh and my name's Alfred F Jones, by the way! Lobster fisherman extraordinaire!"

"Lobster…fisherman?" Arthur said weakly. His palms began to sweat and the anxiety began to swirl in his stomach.

"Yeah man! It's pretty awesome. I mean sometimes it sucks because I have to go to work super early, but sometimes I get to see the sunrise off the ship and it makes it all worth it," Alfred said, giving Arthur a thumbs up. "Which reminds me, you're not from around here, are you?"

Arthur stared at him, thrown by the sudden change in subject. Alfred's smile drooped a bit at the lack of response.

"I mean you it's not like it's obvious or anything but your accent is different and I was just wondering –"

"You're right, I'm from Britain," Arthur rushed, trying to head off the man's nervous rambling before he could get started again. "England to be exact."

Alfred's face seemed to light up at that, but then he glanced at his watch and sighed. "Hey that's pretty cool, Artie! I'd love to get to know you a little better but I have to go. Lobster boat by night, tour boat by day."

Arthur couldn't help but smile at Alfred's puppy-like exuberance. "Sounds taxing."

"It's really the only way I can afford to live in the city by myself haha! But I'll see you around, right Artie?"

"Don't call me Artie!"

From then on, Alfred stopped and talked to Arthur when he ran past in the morning, and their awkward introduction (and Arthur's awkward attraction) turned into an awkward friendship, and eventually Alfred asked Arthur if had had an official tour of Boston yet. When Arthur said no, he invited the Brit onto his lobster boat.

Arthur's reaction was instantaneous. Anxiety pooled in his stomach like lava, his knees grew weak and rubbery, and he felt as though the breath had been stolen from his body. Alfred noticed and automatically put am arm around Arthur's shoulders to steady him as he back-peddled, saying something about giving him a tour on land too, that there was no need to go anywhere near a boat. Arthur heard it all as though he were underwater (oh the irony), his mind fogged and focused on not passing out. All he could think about was his brother's terrified face and the feeling of guilt so intense it threatened to drown him.

By the time he came back to himself he realized he was sitting on the sand perpendicular to Alfred, his legs thrown over Alfred's lap and his head resting in the curve of his shoulder. The American was holding one of his hands up to his own heart and muttering something about feeling the heartbeat and breathing with him.

Arthur tried to say something but his voice was gone, so he curled his fingers slightly against the toned chest. Alfred's hand curled around his and their fingers intertwined.

"Arthur? You okay?" He asked quietly, tucking some of Arthur's wayward hair behind his ear. The Brit nodded and Alfred sighed in relief. "I'm so sorry Arthur. I have no idea what happened to you or why you come to the ocean every morning but oh God Artie don't scare me like that again."

"Sorry," he muttered, suddenly terribly embarrassed about the whole ordeal but not quite able to get up.

Alfred hummed and brought the hand that was supporting his shoulders up to run through the Brit's hair. "I don't know what you're going through Arthur, but if there's anything I can do to help you, just let me know."

Arthur didn't reply, didn't really even know what to say. So they just sat there in silence for a while longer, until Arthur felt like his knees wouldn't buckle if he tried to get up. Alfred helped him up and steadied him, stretching out his own sore legs out against the backdrop of the rolling waves. Arthur shuddered and wrapped his arms around himself, turning away from the sea in discomfort.

A large, warm hand fell on his shoulder and he glanced back to see Alfred smiling warmly at him.

"Look, I don't have work tomorrow. How about we go on that city tour, huh? No water involved."

Arthur found himself agreeing, and they exchanged numbers with the intention to meet up at Arthur's place at around one in the afternoon.

And that was how Arthur found himself out on the town with an extremely attractive man. They'd made use of their public transit passes and had already visited Harvard, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the JFK Library, Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium, had dinner at Boston Long Wharf, and were now browsing the shops at Quincy Market.

They came upon a little jewelry cart and Alfred, forever distracted by shiny things, stopped to pick up a few of the trinkets to inspect. Arthur felt his heart pound when he noticed one of them was a claddagh ring on a thin silver chain. Murtagh had always been interested in Ireland and Irish culture, and the claddagh had held so much meaning for him; he'd worn a ring similar to the one Alfred held in his hand and was almost never seen without it, but when his body was recovered from the sea, the ring had been missing. It had probably been torn right off his fingers by the angry waves and strong currents.

He wasn't sure what sort of expression he wore, but when he looked up and met Alfred's beautiful blues, the American looked determined and a little sad. Arthur's heart ached and he longed to reach out, to reassure Alfred that it was okay, he was okay, but the man was already turning away, fist closing tightly around the chain.

Arthur turned too, slightly embarrassed at his reaction. Alfred probably thought he was weird…well. Weirder than he already thought Arthur was, anyway, what with that panic attack from the previous day. Alfred had been nothing but sweet to him all day, taking his day off to show a grumpy Brit around Boston and paying for his meal at Long Wharf (which, mind, was not inexpensive), and Arthur had ruined it by not being able to forget about his dead brother for longer than an hour.

Arthur didn't want to think too much about the non-date, so he settled for watching the people pass them by until a warm, heavy hand dropped on his shoulder and a soothing voice whispered "close your eyes" into his ear. He shuddered and obeyed, amazed at how much he trusted this man.

Alfred let go of his shoulder and brought his hands around Arthur, letting the Brit feel the chain and the small weight in the middle –a necklace, then. Alfred put it on for him, lightly brushing his fingers over his collarbone and up the column of his throat. The clasp clicked and the fingers fell away, settling gently against his hips as Alfred stepped closer. Arthur's eyes closed and he struggled to keep his breath –he could feel Al's body heat, the strong hands rubbing soft circles on his hips, the warm breath against his neck. He shivered and dropped his hands to cover Alfred's, their fingers tangling briefly.

Curious, he looked down at his chest and wasn't surprised in the least to see the gorgeous claddagh hanging there, the cubic zirconia in the heart and crown glinting in the dying light. He brought a hand up to touch it, overwhelmed with appreciation. Alfred hadn't even known what this would mean to Arthur; he'd simply noticed that Arthur had been attracted to it and bought it to make him happy. The thought flooded him with a cocktail of feelings and he allowed himself to lean back into Alfred's warmth despite the families still strolling by in the increasing darkness.

"It's… Thank you, Al. Really."

"I couldn't resist. It's gorgeous just like you! And look, it even has your eyebrows!"

"…Alfred those are hands with fingers, not eyebrows."

"What, really? Oh man. I just put my foot in my mouth, didn't I? And on our first date, too." Arthur stared at him and Alfred flushed on realizing what he'd just said. "Oh! Um, I totally didn't mean… Ah, that is, we aren't…? Um. Oh fuck it."

Arthur chuckled and reached up to kiss the American's red cheek, shocking him into silence.

"It can be a date if you want it to be, love. Now come on, it's getting late and the shops are all closing."

Alfred grinned and chased after the retreating Brit, snatching his hand up and lacing their fingers together. After a while of walking, and a lot of inner debate, Arthur allowed himself to lean against Alfred's warm, welcoming body, smiling when he felt Alfred let go of his hand to wrap an arm around his waist instead. They'd walked in comfortable silence for maybe half an hour, directionless and in no hurry, when Alfred spoke up, voice calm in the cool night air.

"Say, Artie. I was wondering, well… What happened to you? Er, I guess I'm just curious about why you don't like water. I mean if you don't want to tell me you don't have to, like if it's personal and stuff… Um, wow just pretend I didn't say anything because this is kind of awkward –"

Arthur stopped and pulled Alfred around to face him, shutting the American up mid-nervous ramble. He brought a hand up to cup the American's cheek and smiled weakly before leaning in to kiss him. For a moment Alfred didn't respond, and Arthur was just about to pull back when he felt fingers slide through his hair and a warm hand at his lower back, pulling him closer. They kissed for a long moment, lips sliding against chapped, sea-roughened lips, until Arthur pulled away. He watched Alfred's face, looking for any sign of hesitancy or uncertainty, but found none.

Alfred was serious.

And he was the first person to ever ask, with genuine interest and concern, about his past without pressuring him.

Taking a deep breath, Arthur began. He told of his family's history with the ocean, of his own fledgling interest, of his decision to take the gap year. Alfred listened with rapt attention, eyes never once wandering except to find them a bench when Arthur found his legs a little too wobbly for comfort. Arthur spilled himself out, bared his dirty little secrets to someone who should have been a stranger, but who felt so familiar and comfortable to him. He told Alfred of his guilt, the failed therapy, the pleas for attention which only garnered him hatred and disgust –his decision to fly to America, which ultimately led him to Alfred.

Eventually he ran out of words and they sat on the bench in silence, with only the sounds of the feral ocean to keep them company. After a while –could have been hours or minutes for all Arthur knew –Alfred got up and offered his hand. The Brit felt something in shudder awake within him and when he looked into Alfred's blue, blue eyes, he could see it reflected there, too. He reached up and took the proffered hand, allowed Alfred to simultaneously help him off the bench and out of the prison of guilt he'd placed himself into for so long.

This time Alfred didn't ask him whether he wanted to go on his lobster boat; instead he took his hand, squeezed his fingers gently, and led him there with gentle kisses and patient glances. When they arrived there was no one else on board, and Alfred patiently helped Arthur take his first step onto a boat in five years. The American was incredibly gentle with him, leading him one step at a time belowdecks and whispering soothing words into his ear until they reached Alfred's quarters.

Once inside they began to strip slowly, drinking in each new inch of bared skin until only the shadows and the moonlight clothed them. For once Arthur didn't feel shy –he'd bared more of himself on that park bench than he did by taking off his clothing. Alfred reached for him, and Arthur moved into his body willingly, pressing against him. They stood there like that, arms wrapped around each other, fingers tangled in hair, foreheads pressed together, just listening to the noise of the sea and the gentle whisper of their breathing.

Alfred whispered his name, and when he looked up their lips met in a long, languid kiss. Alfred opened his mouth to him and Arthur groaned as a bolt of heat shot down like an arrow to pool low in his stomach. Alfred reciprocated, moaning lowly into his mouth as their tongues tangled together. They pressed their bodies flush together as they kissed, hands sliding up chests, dragging down backs, touching curves of jaws, their hips undulating slowly against each other.

Alfred broke away and licked his lips, hands settling low on Arthur's hips. "Bed?"

The Brit kissed him hard and hungrily in response, and allowed Alfred to walk him backwards to the bed. They kept kissing –Arthur couldn't stop, Alfred's mouth was as addicting as it was annoying –and when they hit the edge of the mattress it came as a surprise. They fell onto the bed in a mess of tangled limbs, and Alfred stared up from underneath him with a deer in the headlights look, probably wondering which way the situation was going to go. Arthur couldn't help it –he laughed. His head dropped to rest on Alfred's chest and he laughed for the first time in years.

Alfred smiled and reached a hand up to Arthur's face as the Brit calmed, thumb gliding across his cheekbone. "You're beautiful, you know that?"

Arthur flushed and grumbled under his breath but allowed Alfred to maneuver him so that he straddled the American's lap. When Arthur hesitated, Alfred sat up slowly and brought their lips together, rekindling some of the flames that had been doused with their earlier derpiness. Arthur moaned as the American grew adventurous, trailing his lips down the Brit's heated neck and mouthing at his chest.

While he was distracted he felt Alfred reach over to the bedside table and pull out some lube and a condom and suddenly he realized that this was for real. He was about to have sex with a man on their first date. The panic began to rise up in him, but one look into Alfred's eyes, so blue like the calm sea and utterly sincere, and he realized he wanted this. He needed it.

He'd spent so many years being treated like a disgrace by his family (and by himself, to be honest), and several years roaming American alone. He'd had his share of one night stands, but none of those had satisfied his need for love; yet here was Alfred, baring his body and soul for him. Arthur could see it in his eyes –he needed Arthur just as much as the Brit needed him.

Arthur sighed and snatched the lube from Alfred's hands, popping the cap open and pouring a generous amount over his fingers. The American gave him a nervous but trusting look and settled back against the bed, waiting for the cool touch of Arthur's fingers. The Brit felt a surge of emotion for the silly git spread out under him; he might have yearned to receive love, spent years looking for it in bars and clubs all along the east coast, but he also knew he needed to give it, as well.

Arthur looked down at the beautiful idiot under him, took in the American's visage –eyes screwed up, mouth set in a nervous line, face flushed with arousal –and reached back behind himself and began preparations. When the expected touch didn't come, he could see Alfred open his eyes in confusion and finally focus on the arm disappearing behind his lover's back.

"Arthur," he breathed, hand sliding up the Brit's thigh to rub soothing circles. "Are you sure?"

"Yes of course I'm sure you stupid git. It's a little bit too late to ask now," he snipped, drawing his fingers out and rolling the condom onto Alfred's cock, using the excess lube to slick him up further. The blond below him moaned at the touch and Arthur smirked, leaning in to leave lingering open-mouthed kisses along the column of the blonde's throat and down his toned chest as he lined himself up and sank down slowly.

He could tell it'd been a while; the slow burn of being filled ached just a little bit more than normal. Alfred was obviously using up all his willpower to give him time to adjust when all he wanted was to thrust into the tight warmth. He could see it in Alfred's arms, taught and trembling.

After a few moments he felt he could finally breathe easier, and he gave an experimental roll of his hips. Alfred's head fell to the pillow and he groaned, fingers tightening on his hips.

"Can…can I? Arthur?"

"Yes," he hissed, raising himself up only to let himself drop again, over and over. They rocked together, slowly at first, rhythm set to the gentle motion of the waves surrounding them. Through the watery moonlight he could see Alfred –the outline of his body, the shadows defining his chest and abdomen, the reflection of himself in his gorgeous blue eyes. This man was beautiful, and he was making Arthur beautiful, too.

Of course their sex wasn't perfect –it was their first time together, after all. Alfred's dick slipped out, they got off their rhythm –but it was what Arthur needed, that perfect imperfection. Patience, love, understanding –all of those things kept him afloat through the connection of their bodies. He felt himself begin to let go of some of the guilt of his brother's death; he would always carry it with him, and he definitely wouldn't be 'healed' from this coupling, but he thought he might be able to understand, now.

Through the haze of his thoughts felt Alfred wrap his fingers around his cock and he moaned, head thrown back and teeth gritted against the pleasure coursing through him. Alfred thumbed his slit and that was all it took –he came hard, his release surging through him like a wave crashing ashore.

They lay together in their afterglow, panting and sweating and exhausted, sated and happy. Alfred gently rolled them onto their sides and spooned up behind him, warm and heavy at his back. The American's arm settled against his side and his hand came up to rest on his chest, just above his heart.

"Your heart, it's so calm right now," he whispered against Arthur's neck.

The Brit didn't say anything for a long time, just thought about how even though Alfred took something from him like the undercurrent steals the sand from a beach, something had been deposited within him –something new and soft and bright. It was a cycle of give and receive, and it had been so long since he'd felt so...so…

"Happy. It's because I'm happy, love."

Author's Notes: Wow that was tooth-rotting sweet haha. You really have no idea how much I worried over this –especially the smut. I wanted it to be emotional, derpy, and sexy all at the same time and it was difficult to find a happy median between the three. So a giant thank you goes to theheroandhisbrit on tumblr for putting up with my incessant need for reassurance XD

Some random stuffs you should know:

1. Murtagh –Irish male name meaning 'skilled in the ways of the sea.' See what I did thar?

2. Ages –James/Scotland is the oldest of the Kirkland kids, followed by twins Murtagh/Ireland and Erin/North Ireland. Next is Arthur, who is 18 at the time of Murtagh's death and 23 at the time of his meeting with Alfred. And last we have Llewellyn/Wales, who is still in secondary school. Alfred is 19 at the time of his and Arthur's meeting.

3. All the places Alfred and Arthur went to on their date are real places in Boston –most of which I have been to.

Follow me at trumpet-geek. tumblr. com!

TG © April 2012