I think before you throw tomatoes at me, let me apologize and blame school for the EXTREMELY late update. I did however promise some of my readers that I would be updating over the Christmas break, so Merry Christmas! (You may need a box of tissues though. I did...) So review and let me know what you guys think! With the conclusion of this chapter, we now head into Steve's transformation arc! Are you guys pumped? You should be. You've been nagging me since I've been writing this :'D
ON A SIDE NOTE: Listening to the Brothers dedicated playlist I made may help set the mood better. 8 tracks. C 0 M/ chocolafied/ i-knew-him-once
Fandom(s): Captain America and Hetalia: Axis Powers
Characters: Alfred F. Jones (Hetalia) and Steve Rogers (Captain America)
Summary: Steve Rogers has known his uncle Alfred Jones ever since he could remember. He was always there for him, even when no one else was.
"You get use to someone—start to like them, even—and they leave. In the end, everyone leaves." - Rachel Ward
"Things are growing tense in Europe," Arthur began in order to shift the conversation away from Steve. Alfred nodded wordlessly.
"Yeah, the Nazi's recently gained the majority, didn't they?" the American spoke up. His counterpart nodded his head efficiently, feeding himself a fork with salad stabbed through its metal prongs.
"Germany's been cooking up something for a while. I fear that it may lead to something rather unfortunate if the other European nations do not recognize the threat in time."
"You think Nazi Germany is that lethal?"
"Did you not hear about Kristallnacht?" Arthur's German accent was still dreadful to listen to, even after all of these years. It injected some humor into the situation, but not enough for Alfred to shake his contempt for having to meet up with Arthur again this week.
Alfred remained silent and looked down at the steak he had stopped cutting into smaller pieces. "We're having our own troubles here, Arthur," the American spoke up. "FDR's trying, but the people are tired of starving. And I don't blame them. They want their lives back. They want to grow and prosper without having to worry about where their next meals are coming from."
"It's a similar situation in England, Al. We're all trying to get by."
Alfred groaned and let his head slump against his palm. "I just want what's best for my boy."
England sighed and nodded his head empathetically.
"Speaking of which," Arthur began with a hinting tone. Alfred narrowed his eyes and looked at the older man quizzically. The next words England spoke made America want to murder him. "You'll have to tell him one day, America."
Alfred stiffened and looked up across the table at the older country, his eyes beginning to narrow into a menacing glare.
Back to this shit again.
He and his nephew were having issues with each other, understandably so that the young man's birthday was just around the corner. Steve seemed agitated by something; he wouldn't let Alfred get too close to him after New Year's, which was about seven months ago. But the last thing he needed was Arthur of all people telling him how to be a parent, a good one at that.
He bit his tongue and fed himself another bite of the steak he was eating. Arthur stared at him bluntly, as if the younger man's reaction was to be expected. It appeared that he still had much growing up to do after all. England looked down at his salad and fed himself another bite with his salad fork quietly.
"It'll only hurt him when he's in his thirties or forties," the Brit continued. "or on his deathbed and you're still as young as the day he met—"
He was cut off by the sound of utensils colliding against the ceramic plates, as well as some other people sitting a few feet away from the two men. Arthur looked up and was met with an ice cold look on his former adopted son's face that he rarely ever saw since the Revolutionary War. Alfred's lower lip slid over the teeth on his lower jaw and he blinked a few times. The exhaling from his lungs was that of an angry animal just dying to attack. Anymore and Alfred might just give into the temptation of breaking the man's jaw with his bare hands.
"We're done, Arthur." He growled out and quickly jumped up from his chair before storming out of the restaurant. He walked with a brisk pace of a man needing to get something done, a man in the military, a cop, or any other man in a profession where urgency was a regular thing. The door to the restaurant was nearly ripped off of its hinges as Alfred swiftly and violently made his exit. He was ten feet away from the bloody place when he heard someone running after him.
The American Representative came to an involuntary stop, making the same face he did before as he slowly looked over his shoulder and turned to look down at the shorter country.
"You can't play the hero forever," Arthur panted out as he clutched his knees and tried to catch his breath. "Trust me, I know. Steve's anxiety and illnesses…they're becoming too taxing on you!" Alfred marched away without uttering a word in reply. "He will find out one day, Alfred! You can't deny the inevitable!"
The Englishman pursed his lips and stared down at the ground. Maybe he should have waited until after Steve's sixteenth birthday to discuss this.
The house phone rang and Steve picked up the receiver with a jerky reaction. "H-Hello?"
"Steve, it's me," The other voice replied.
The blonde sighed in relief. "Bucky…"
"Yeah, so I got your last letter…how are things down there?" Bucky spoke up after a brief pause.
Steve grasped the bottom of the receiver with his other hand and pushed the device close to his ear. "Lonely," he replied weakly. "I miss you a lot. The kids down here…they've never been too kind to me." The bruises on his knuckles and arms as well as the black eye and split lip he sported were enough evidence to dispel anyone who would say otherwise.
"Still? Geez, Rogers. What the Hell is going on down there?" Bucky scoffed.
The other teen blinked back his tears with a small smile as he leaned against the wall. "I've been thinking of going back…" he mumbled in a shy voice.
Steve toyed with the phone's chord and pushed himself off of the wall before speaking up again, "Back to Brooklyn."
There was silence on the line.
"Is your uncle okay with this?" Bucky finally spoke up again.
Rogers shrugged. "I think he'd be better off without me. I do nothing but tie up most of his free time with doctor appointments, trouble at school, and my lousy grades…" A few guilt gems streamed down the teen's face as he took a sigh. "I think it would be for the best if I disappeared from his life," he spoke with a voice that cracked.
It was a few agonizing seconds before the other boy spoke up on the opposite end. "You know I'm with you 'till the end of the line, right?"
Steve laughed pitifully and covered his mouth with a hand, wiping the tears off of his face before replying, "Y-Yeah. I know you are, Bucky."
"Listen," Bucky let out a shaky breath from his end of the line. "Whatever choice you make, I'll support you on it. I know there isn't much I can do…"
Steve scoffed lightly and wore a weary smile. "You've done more for me than most people have."
"But if there's anything I can do, let me know. And I mean it, Rogers," the boy chided. The other nodded his head quietly as he mulled over some thoughts in his head while looking up at the picture of himself and his uncle atop the fireplace mantle; it was taken last year after Steve won an art competition. They both seemed so happy…
"I'm still here, James," The teen spoke up with a shaky breath after snapping back to reality.
"Look, I know you care for the man, a lot. But you've been mentioning this since last Christmas…I think it's high time you acted on it."
It was a risky move. Steve was aware of his uncle's connections to the Federal Government and to law enforcement, as well as to the military. There was no telling what Alfred would do to him.
"Alright," Rogers finally spoke up. "I'll do it."
He was hesitant for a moment before answering Bucky. "Yeah."
Steve rifled through every draw, dresser, box, bottle, and container in his room; he poured out the loose change and dollar bills into a big pile in the middle of his room. Thirty one cents quickly grew to seventy three, and then to a dollar twenty five, and then to almost ten dollars in change from just one small bank he had been depositing money into over the years of living in his uncle's house in Washington D.C. At the end of counting all the money he burrowed away, he had twenty two dollars and fifty cents.
He still knew Brooklyn like the back of his hand, had longed to see the dirty grime on the side of the brick walls and smell the smoke that flooded the air from the factory districts from eight in the morning to seven at night. But he kept a map, just in case. Things could've changed in the four or five years he had been absent from his hometown where he was born and bred.
Steven Rogers was never a Washington D.C. kid; always a Brooklyn one, by heart, blood, and mindset.
He picked up the small pocket knife Alfred had gotten him, letting his thumb run over the metal acorn symbol that was glued onto the smooth wooden surface. He took it with him everywhere he went, so he shoved it into his pants pocket and looked around on the nightstand by his bed for more items to pick up.
Beside the dim lamp whose light was slowly dying was a copy of The Sword in the Stone. Steve smiled nostalgically and picked it up, hands running over the rough canvas of the book's cover. He must have read it at least ten times since he had gotten it for his fifteenth birthday. He and Arthur were a lot alike in many ways; maybe one day he would be a hero like him. He found his sketch pad and threw it into his pack. He looked up, eyeing his surroundings one final time.
It dawned on him that this would be the last time he would ever be in this room. He smiled gently, flicked off the lights, and closed the door gently with a CLICK. As he trudged down the hallways and corridors of the house, he silently bid adieu to each room which he had become very familiar with. Especially Alfred's study when the man wasn't home. The door was left ajar this morning since Alfred was in a rush to leave the house this morning, finally realizing that he was running late.
Steve entered the room cautiously, seeing that the desk lamp was still running from this morning. The teen plopped down in Alfred's desk chair and rummaged through the drawers until he came upon the man's stationary. Sifting through some more drawers and clutter, Steve found on of his uncle's fountain pens. He screwed the cap off and eyed the blank paper for a moment. His hand seemed to move on its own.
He wrote with a steady hand upon one of his uncle's blank papers of his stationary set. "Alfred F. Jones" was printed in bold letters at the top of the paper, followed by his occupation. For what he was about to do, Steve was surprised at how clear his conscious was. Maybe the God above was lending him a helping hand, like he was raised to believe. The Almighty Lord and Savior helping him.
Steve scoffed lightly but continued writing his cursive. Where was he when his mother was on her death bed, pregnant with his little brother or sister? Where was he when his father had died? Where was he now during the Great Depression as people were now calling it?
Steve folded the paper and snugly pushed it into an envelope before tucking the flap into the envelope. He left the room the same manner as he had entered it, eyeing it one final time before gently closing the door behind him. The teen couldn't understand why his feet were heavy as he strolled down the stairs. It was like his body was moving on its own; his mind was already in Brooklyn, or it at least felt that way.
He placed the letter on the sofa table by the front door. The teenager picked up his worn shepherds cap and slowly raised his head to look back at the letter. He placed the cap on his head, slung the knapsack over his shoulder, and then left the house without a glance backwards.
Alfred rushed through the front door around eleven thirty, carrying his briefcase in one hand and a large present under his other arm. The country kicked the door open with a grin plastered on his face at the thought of Steve seeing the gift that he was getting for his sixteenth; his own .22 caliber cowboy rifle.
"HEY! BUDDY! WHERE YOU AT?" the man hollered through the dark house. "Sorry I'm late! I had to get you something!" He turned on the lamp on the sofa table and proceeded to remove his suit jacket and fling it on one of the leather chairs in the living room before proceeding into the den where the teen usually resided; either playing cards, drawing, or reading. He was nowhere to be found in the den.
"Steve?" he asked aloud again. The fire was going in the den and everything was they was he left it when he rushed out the door to work. "Hm," he thought aloud, undoing his tie and tossing it on top of his suit jacket. "Maybe he went to bed early?"
"Steve! Where are ya, kid?!" Alfred yelled louder this time as he approached the teen's bedroom. He knocked three times and wait a minute for the boy to answer the door. But he didn't.
So he knocked again. "Hey, Steve?" He rapped on the door louder this time. "You in there?" He opened the door and was greeted with a cold and looming blackness inside the boy's bedroom. Alfred flicked the switch and saw the room was barren. The man's eyes nearly bugged out of his skull. "Steve…"
"STEVE!" Alfred began frantically running around the house, searching room after room and running up and down the stairs, calling the teen's name. "STEVE! STEVE! THIS ISN'T FUNNY!"
He circled back to the front of the house, nearly tripping over his briefcase as he ran past the sofa table again. His heart stopped dead in its tracks as he slowly took a few paces backwards to spot whatever caught his eye when he passed it. He saw an envelope addressed to "Uncle Alfred".
America's heart sank down into his gut as he reached out for the letter with trembling hands. Every horrible memory and every mistake he ever made hit him all at once as he opened the envelope and unfolded the letter.
Forgive me for the abrupt nature of this letter, but what has been done had a long time coming, as well as what I am about to say:
Please don't come looking for me. Wherever I have gone, I go there because I belong there. I have never felt at home in Washington D.C. It just didn't feel right, especially after Mom died. I hope you can forgive me. I felt like I had no choice.
And please don't blame yourself. You've been…everything I could've ever asked for. You stitched be back together after all we've been through. You never left my side, even when I was at my worst most of the time. You stood by me and taught me what it meant to stand on your own and not bow down to oppression. You selflessly spent nights consoling me after I awoke from a bad dream, even when you had work early in the morning. You dragged me out of the house and played catch with me at two in the morning, where we could just talk about anything we wanted to. You were like the brother I never had growing up. And I never realized how well I had it until now, writing down the reasons why I love you…and the reasons why I should go.
I'm sorry for being a blight on your life. You never hung out with your friends anymore; you just took care of me. I was being so selfish, but you didn't seem to mind. I couldn't deal with ruining your life anymore; soiling it with my selfish wants and needs and relying on you to the point where you can't even function properly.
I can't take back what I've done to you, but I can prevent myself from ruining your future.
I hope one day you can learn to forgive me, and possibly thank me for what I've done.
All the best. I will always love you.
The letter fell from the country's hands and silently drifted to the ground. Alfred stared at the space where he held the letter between his fingers, his eyesight growing blurrier by the second. This wasn't happening, was it?
No, it couldn't be…It couldn't…
Alfred sank onto his knees and braced his hands on the floor. His glasses fell off of his face and clattered onto the floor.
He didn't just leave like that. He couldn't- why?
"DAMN IT!" America screamed and slammed his fist against the wooden floor. His fist created a dent in the floor and made the floorboards splinter up around the crater. He didn't care that his hand was bleeding; he couldn't even feel the blood trickle down his knuckles.
So this is what England felt when he surrendered during the American Revolution.
Steve hopped off of the train at ten in the morning, nearly falling onto the platform's concrete floor. He couldn't sleep a wink. The teen gripped the knapsack's strap that was over his shoulder, trying to bring himself to reality. He stumbled and swayed before crashing onto his knees.
He couldn't find a reason to get up until a hand came to rest on his shoulder. The teen turned his head to see a familiar pair of brown eyes smiling at him. "Bucky," he groaned and rested his head against James' arm.
"It's alright, Steve. You know I'm with you 'till the end of the line."
Steve smiled tiredly, feeling his eyes water up. "…Yeah."