England didn't know how he'd managed to get out of the damned bed this morning. That agonizing creature in his head pounded mercilessly at his skull, seeking nothing but escape by any means. It had started so long ago, he couldn't remember when. But something about it was different today, perhaps stronger. Quietly he drank his third cup of coffee, exercising his face until it could reach a convincing smile. Then he checked it quickly in the antique mirror, on the door across from where he sat. It was perfect, as usual.

The coffee wasn't doing any good. Standing slowly, he adjusted his tie and pulled on his suit coat. If he didn't hurry, he'd be late for the meeting- again. God, he needed a break. Why couldn't anyone see the bags under his eyes? Promptly they began to swim with tears, and promptly he blinked them away. His only pride was his strong face.

Don't rely on the others, you stupid git. Don't you see they're just as buggered up as you? he hissed to himself, shaking his blonde head. He reached for a doughnut, biting into its cherry-filled sweetness. The sugar helped, a bit. Smiling his smile, he licked the insides out as deep as he could before biting again, finishing it off that way. An act that used to be disgusting in the others' eyes.

Breakfast was over. Now for the hard part.

Snatching his keys and briefcase from the table and his hat from the top of the coat rack, Arthur strode quickly out his front door and slid into his car. Music didn't help on mornings like this. The bass just made his head pound harder. But still, he didn't turn off his radio. The silence would be shattering if he did. For a minute, all he could do was lay his forehead against the car horn, feeling the ear-murdering sound resonate through his lean body, vibrating deep into his bones. So much pain. Why was it even there? It didn't make sense.

Something tapped softly on the window. Finally he lifted his face from the horn, wondering briefly how long he'd been sitting like that and whether there was a ring around his forehead from the pressure. America grinned down at him happily.

"'Sup, dude? Mind if I ride shotgun?" he asked, not bothering to wait for a response and jumping in anyway- not only that, but through the half-opened sunroof. Finally, something that made his smile genuine.

"Good morning, git." England smirked, wrapping his slender arms around the much stronger mans' torso. Alfred laughed and pulled England into the passengers' seat, kissing his forehead and cuddling close.

"Saved me some Starbucks, right?" he asked, reaching for the coffee mug Arthur hadn't realized he'd brought with him. America took a large swig. "Rad! It's totally just right, man! Nice and chocolaty!"

England felt fragile in his hands. He liked that feeling, knowing that he was safe there. But pride became a hindrance rather than its usual strength. He pulled away, drawing his thick eyebrows together. Emerald eyes met sky-blue.

"If this is some scheme for me to let you drive my car, forget it now." he snarled, before America grasped his tie and pulled him in, the angle missing his lips and having him kissing the bridge of Alfreds' glasses. The softest blush appeared on his cheeks- a blush that surely had appeared on Englands', also.

"Wasn't it working?"

"Go on, get. Get out." he hissed fiercely, pointing at the door. America, he just set him down and shifted to the drivers' seat, shoving it hard into reverse. They went from 0 to 100 MPH, just from one end of the driveway to another.

"Are you crazy?" Arthur screamed, curling up in the seat and covering his head. Desperately he tried to grasp a solid object, terrified, when the car turned sharply and he realized he had no seatbelt. "Slow down! Slow down!"

"Hahahahaha~!" Alfred laughed loudly, rolling down all the windows and sticking his head out the closest one. Shriek after shriek escaped the helpless passengers' lips, now clinging to America with one hand, leaning against him with his body for support, and groping for the seatbelt with the other.

"Goddammit, you wanker! Don't you understand you're going to kill us?"

England was too paralyzed to remember that dying had been on his mind for months now.

The driver took his one driving hand off the wheel to pat his arm. All of Englands' hair stood straight on end, eyes bugging out of their sockets.

"This has got sweet handling, dude! This'd be great for Pedestrian Polo!"

America laughed at the look of horror on the Englishmans' face, finally beginning to slow. Arthur panted in relief.

"That was awesome, dude!"

"This... is why... I drive!" he whispered, seething, hair mussed up and tufting every which way. His hands were frozen in place. Which was unfortunate for his damned pride, considering the hand that touched America was tightly gripping the male's vital regions. Pursing his lips, he waited irritatedly for the heat that resonated from his flushed face to reach his iced appendages.

To no avail. Once they'd melted, they played the part of making the driver melt. America rested his large hand over England's slender fingers, massaging them, pressing them to the hardness in his jeans.

"Rad shade of vermilion ya got there." he chuckled, leaning back pleasurably.

Embarrassingly enough, Arthur couldn't truly say he hated this. Unconsciously his hand picked up the proper movements, letting the American put both hands on the wheel once again. the Englishman curled up on himself, pressing his knees to his chest as best he could through the seatbelt.

Funny. The git usually helps my headaches. Something is wrong today...

"Ahh, America..." he began awkwardly, looking up at the man and biting his lip. But he was too busy with the feel of his hand to drive properly, let alone listen. England quickly became irritated, yanking his arm away. "Dammit! Listen to me, you git!"

"Listening." America replied, ignoring the anger as he usually did. Arthur managed another weak smile, that lasted about half a second.

"I'm... I'm scared, dammit."

More frightening still than his former speed, was when he slammed hard on the brakes in the middle of the road. The Englishman yelped, head snapping back against the cushion.

"Why." America growled fiercely. England didn't bother to mask his startlement. This was not at all the reaction he'd expected from the care-free man.

America continued, when his lips became glued shut with shock. "The others haven't been giving ya shit, have they? That's so totally uncool! I'll kick their asses if they bother you, I-"

"It's not that, you idiot!" Arthur cried, hands fisting. "I'm just... scared. I don't know why."

Both of which were lies.

"Let's just keep driving. We're blocking traffic. Go!"

He pursed his lips, but slowly eased his foot from the brake. England began to breathe again.

"It's hella obvious somethin's up, dude. You weren't like this when we met." America murmured to the road. "Things've been different since you started hangin' with Germany and France. Has France, like, come onto you, dude? Is that it?"

"Some. But it doesn't bother me. I love you, stupid. Or have you already forgotten that?"

"Couldn't, dude."

"Thought not. Even you're not that pathetic."

"I love you, too, by the way."

England smiled to himself. It became easier to do that, each moment they spent alone. He savored the words in silence for a bit, ignoring how nonchalantly he'd uttered them.

"We're already late." Iggy then frowned, looking at his watch.

"We're already here, man."

He blinked in surprise, sitting bolt upright. Indeed they were, car rolling neatly to an area in the far corner of the parking lot. Waiting until his car was safely off and the keys in his hand, he quickly unclasped his seatbelt, jumped out of the car... and choked to death when America once again grasped his tie.

"Wait."

He blinked again, watching his fist tighten and loosen its grasp with no perceivable pattern as he slid out the passengers' seat and stood before him.

"Ya have problems, man. And not in a get-away-from-me sort of way. You're scared, I'm worried. Totally funky emotions we have there." Then America smiled his softest smile, making England shift shyly beneath it. "Ya look cold, dude." he said gently, taking off his jacket and draping it over his much more slender shoulders. England tried to make his tongue refuse it, tried to make his body toss it away. Instead he clasped it more tightly around himself and kissed Alfred's coffee-flavored lips.

"Thanks. Git." he whispered tenderly, sliding one hand out from underneath the coat to clutch America's shirt when he caressed his shoulders. He needed this. God, he needed this. He was so tired of feeling like the shit he was. He needed someone to touch him, to convince him that everything would be okay. Even if it wasn't possible for it to be.

"America! England!"

Despite his attempts to suppress it, the furious, booming voice of Germany made England flinch. America, being about twice his size and having a huge hero complex, tightened his arms protectively around him.

"Please..." England managed through his clenched teeth, trying to break free. He didn't know what he was asking for, really.

"What ze hell are you two doing?" the German roared, striding quickly across the lot. "We did not hold up ze meeting for you two to make love to each ozzer!"

"We were not-" England started, before Germany grasped his collar and yanked him from his one solace.

"Then explain why ze hell you're wearing his jacket!" he interrupted, giving him a rough shake.

"Hey, will you give the guy a chance-" America started, reaching towards them. England was so tired. His shoulders slumped, and his head, shoving his hands crudely into his pockets.

"Sorry." he mumbled weakly.

"Zat's vhat I thought! Vere you too caught up to think about our plans for redesigning ze table?" he huffed, letting him go and stalking away- obviously expecting them to follow.

As Iggy trailed meekly behind Germany towards the front of the building- where France waited- he felt America's eyes on his back. He knew he was shaking his head at him. There was something wrong with him. What had happened? He used to be a fighter... he'd have stayed by the car and deliberately pissed them off. Now...

Inconsiderate assumptions make everything below my brain crumble

Future plans sung from lead, a controversial fantasy

Shaking his head slowly, he gritted his teeth and straightened his back. If he acted weak, he'd be back to being ignored and screamed at by his fellow nations. Maybe this was bad, somehow, though he couldn't pinpoint the problem yet. But it was better than being cast out, right? Like his America. He didn't want to be that person who ranted and raved, with no one to hear him.

Distracted with his thoughts, he wasn't watching his footing. His heart was wrenched by panic once again- still frayed by the hectic ride- as he tripped over a stone and began to fall... and slammed into France's chest. A low chuckle resonated around him.

"Well, well, what do we have here? Having a little rapports sexuels with the American again?"

"Again?" England shook his head. "Get the hell off me, you greasy buffoon!"

"Honhonhonhonhon, did you think we've forgotten how many other times you two were late in arriving?" he purred in his syrupy French accent, leaning in for a kiss. Disgusted, Arthur shoved himself away- and fell hard on his posterior in the process.

"Hey, c'mon guys! Stop being major douchebags and leave him alone!" America jumped in, waving his arms around emphatically. Francis chuckled, and Germany gave the three of them a hard look.

"France." he said in a flat voice, turning away. "England."

France turned and strutted towards Ludwig, his long legs allowing him to reach his side quickly. He laughed again.

"Ah,what Oiseaux d'amour passionné! I am almost jealous of that American fellow. Surely he doesn't deserve such a beautiful man? Honhonhonhonhon, but England stays so passionné, no?" Arthur heard him say to the tall, strong man, voice hushed.

"Shut up, Francis." Germany muttered.

"Do you not think it's a shame that the American has made the bête sauvage so tame?"

"I don't care eizzer vay. It concerns neizzer of us, and is of no interest. Focus on more important things." he retorted, then boomed over his shoulder, "ENGLAND! HURRY UP!"

"C'mon, dude." Alfred sighed, helping him to his feet. England didn't miss the wounded look in his eyes. It made his heart ache, his emotions overtaking him just long enough to collapse in his arms.

"I'm sorry, git." he whispered, tears brimming in his eyes once again. This situation was so trivial. Why did he feel this way so often now? America's gaze became soft, kissing his forehead lightly.

"Hey, no worries, man. It's cool. Better hurry up." he murmured soothingly. America was so much stronger than he was. He needed that knowledge, that touch... just for a minute.

Finally he gave a slow nod, drying his tears against his- America's- coat sleeve. Feeling so small in Alfreds arms, Alfreds jacket, England once again marveled in how weak and powerless he could make him feel. God, did he love that. He was so bloody tired of having to choose for himself. Those stresses made his head spin.

When he was ready, he smiled his fake smile up at America and strode towards the entrance of the building.

Opening my ears, I hear their talk. That guy is really a monochrome puppet

His master controls his heart, a variable symphony

Ah, put a price tag on me

Ah, make me repeat a year of life, rounding to the nearest half

With no further interruption Englands long legs carried him down the hallways and staircases that seemed much too long. Each day walking seemed harder than the one before. Iggy looked down at his flat stomach curiously. Am I getting fat?

If I am, will America still love me?

Will he still care about me?

Or will he desert me...

A sick sort of feeling began to grow in his stomach, like a large hand twisted and contorted it from within his body. But of course America wouldn't do that, right? He cares about me because of who I am...

But will he love what shit you're becoming... a voice whispered in the back of his mind, testing his steely face to the limit. He had to stop thinking about these things, lest he be pushed too far and snap.

Tightly he pursed his lips, focusing diligently on his footsteps. No, he couldn't allow that. He couldn't let on that he suffered over nothing.

Even before he reached the conference room, he could hear the others' mindless arguing. From the sounds of it, Japan wanted a round table whereas Romano wanted a rectangular one, Japan thought that each seat should have each country's' flag ingrained on the table where they sat and Feliciano thought that each placemat should be white. Right as he walked in, Germany shouted for silence.

Swallowing the lump in his throat from his haywire thoughts, Arthur primly and silently sat down next to America's brother, Canada.

"H-hey..." the little Canadian whispered, squeezing Kilimanjaro tightly and glancing at where Russia stood behind him. It was no secret that Ivan had beaten up poor Matthew in a fit of passion, and though Matthew had found the strength to leave him after that he still had scars and an unhealthy fear for the man- especially when talking to other males. He figured it was probably another male who'd started it- or rather, the jealousy that another male could cause.

Before he could return the greeting, Germany spoke in a loud and authoritative voice.

"Vell, now zhat England has finally decided to arrive, ze meeting has officially started. Now, if you'll all have a seat..." At that moment he paused, waiting until Russia and the others standing had found chairs. America came through the door during this, and managed to mix into the group without calling on unwanted attention. "Now zhen, North Italy vhas kind enough to bake a cake for zis meeting-"

"Pehh~" Italy stood, blushing and grinning up at Germany. "It was no problem, Doitsu~! I enjoy baking for you, a-ha~!"

In return, Germany narrowed his eyes- a sure sign that he was trying to mask a tiny flicker of emotion. "Sit down, Italy. I'm speaking."

Feliciano, with a disappointed look on his innocent face, slumped back down on his chair. A low 'honhonhon' resonated from where France sat, as Italy was smacked upside the head by a sulking Romano.

"Will you stop being such idiotic bastard and gain an ounce of intelligence!" he growled, but beneath the potently perverted and sexual look of Francis lost his voice and sank beneath the table.

The cake was distributed by Germany, who showed pure indifference to who was getting which piece- until it came to Feliciano, with which he ended up giving a large piece that was topped with mountains of sweet, sticky frosting. "Pehh~" Italy said in reply, voice adoring. They're such a cute couple, England thought dazedly, watching Germany snort disdainfully from beneath an embarrassed blush. Poor Feliciano, though. Ludwig will never admit to any emotion, not even to one as sweet as him...

As his slice reached him Iggy picked up the small, plastic fork, preparing to stab into the cake... then paused, looking up at Alfred. The twisting feeling began in his stomach once again, stealing the stiffness of his lips and the dryness of his eyes for one or two moments. He... he would have to cut back on the sweets. America, after all, was one thing he didn't want to- couldn't- lose. In all honesty, the only thing.

Sighing, he pushed his plate towards Canada- who, it seemed by the ravenous way he ate, had been looked over once again when the morning meal had come around- and leaned back in his chair, examining the fork. The prongs were sturdy and sharp, for a cheap plastic utensil. If he used it right, it would cut right through his flesh. He might even be able to make it kill him, if he tried hard enough. With a thrust through the temple or behind the ear... with enough force, even through the heart.

Sticking his head out the window, ignoring the annoyed growling of his hungry and maltreated stomach, he closed his eyes. The wind felt kind on his face, sore from all the fake smiles, and cool as it swept through his thick blonde hair. Its whistling was much more pleasant than the constant bickering, and it didn't strain his strength and durability.

With a heavy sigh, he allowed himself to daze- imagining the feel of a giant fork skewering the lean fragility of his weak human body. It was a funny sort of thought, really. After all, to some other being, all he seemed to be was a worthless slice of cake; unhealthy, meaningless, and having only one pathetic purpose- to be stabbed and devoured by something more useful.

Something- someone- like America.

This is useless, I want it to stop, I put my face out of the window

This is boring, I'm tired of it, but I don't have the courage to die

This is useless, I want it to stop, I'm injecting my wrist

This is boring, I'm tired of it, I eat the cake and take a deep breath

America watched England refuse the cake with mild curiosity, taking a bite of his own. The poor dude certainly wasn't acting like himself, was he? This here was coffee-cake- a favorite that both of them shared in common. But he hadn't so much as tried it. Alfred began to eat more quickly, as he usually did when he contemplated something that stressed him out. This time England seemed much more vulnerable. Was his lover sick?

A chuckle rose to his throat, grinning as he thought back to the last time England had been sick. God, he hadn't had a clue what to do! And he'd tried to help by putting a cheeseburger on his head... well, hopefully he wouldn't have to panic like that again.

There were a lot of things that America was fond of about the Englishman. His upright demeanor and the toughness you had to struggle to break; the blush that painted his high cheekbones when he was angry or humiliated; the softness of his skin and his tender pink lips. Just thinking about the herbal grey tea he would taste when he claimed those lips made him hard. The man wasn't so stuffy in bed, he admired that also. And he didn't mind being beneath him. Before, that was because he'd known how above the American he truly was. But America didn't know why it was recently.

Leaning against his leather gloved hand, he sighed and watched Iggy's long, slender fingers play with the prongs of his fork. What was he thinking about? At moments like these, Alfred desperately wished he could see into his mind... not just to understand him, but to heal him. All he wanted was for him to be himself again, and to see another genuine smile.


I've noticed that both of my Hetalia writings have involved America being the sole solace to the main character. I think I'm too biased... hmm. Well, enjoy, and as commonplace as it is to add this please review. I'm am amatuer and need feedback.