Alfred hadn't wanted to go to China's stupid party in the first place. His house was big, and communist, and smelled funny, and had communist guests- Alfred wondered if he could catch communism like HIV.

Ugh! Commie-germs! Alfred thought, unable to pass up an eggroll and some dumplings from the trays the servers were carrying around with them. He devoured them almost greedily, loving them like a guilty pleasure, but he felt no shame in doing so. Damn those are goo- holy shit!

Alfred watched in awe as a beautiful young man entered the room at China's side, was left between two pillars as the elder Asian nation fled from Russia, and stayed there demurely. He was pale as milk fresh from the pail, eyes downcast modestly as his short black hair hung over his forehead like a veil and ticked the nape of his delicate neck teasingly. It lapped at the curve of his spine, fiddling with the collar of his elegant lavender robes, and Alfred could only call him beautiful.

Not handsome, not cute or sexy- beautiful.

Before Alfred knew what he was doing, he approached the young man slyly, hiding behind the pillar to watch him.

"Howdy," Alfred said, making the young man look up. His eyes were golden-brown, a swirl of complex colour, but dull with boredom.

"Konnichiwa," Said the dark-haired young man softly, "Are you having a good time?"

"Yeah, you?" Alfred read his silence as disagreement and nodded.

"'m Alfred Jones, America." He held out a hand, grinning, and waited for the young man to respond. The dark-haired Asian man bowed, quiet, and introduced himself as 'Honda Kiku, Japan'.

"Well, Kiku," Alfred drawled as he took the Japanese man's hand. "it's a right pleasure ta meet'cha." He nodded his head cordially, no Stetson to tip, and smiled. "Beggin' yer pardon, sir, for m'self."

"You do wrong yourself too much, Mr. Jones..." Kiku stuttered, blushing. "Saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch./ And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss." To prove his point, Kiku touched his hand to Alfred's with their palms brushing together, his face burning darker and darker.

"Shakespeare?" Alfred asked, his lazy grin widening. Kiku nodded silently, still shy, and Alfred tried to remember the next lines; England had made him memorize it when he was little. "Well, don't they both have... lips?" He asked nervously, hoping he hadn't blown his chance with the godlike man before him.

Kiku smiled: "Hai, Mr. Jones, lips that they must use in prayer."

"Well, why not let lips pray like hands pray?" Alfred smirked, lacing his fingers between Kiku's, their still-touching palms an open invitation for more intimacy. "Wouldn't want anyone to be losin' faith now..."

Kiku's eyes widened, a rich earthy brown, and his petal-pink lips parted in a gasp of surprise. Alfred used the young man's reaction to his advantage, pulling him close, and pulled the man into the shadow of the red pillars.

Kiku, awoken from his thoughts by the sudden movement, flushed.

"Saints don't move unless to grant prayers, least of all their lips." He said anxiously, realizing how deeply in trouble he was.

"Then don't move and I'll do some prayin', darlin'." Alfred drawled, his voice husky. He leaned in, just brushing the man's cheek with his empty hand, and kissed the chaste Asian man with the heat of the Arizona desert. It was exhilarating, kissing one of Yao's men in his own home –and at a party, no less-, which made Alfred keep it quick. "Amen." He whispered, "Sin purged."

"The-Then have my lips your sin?" Kiku gasped, pressed flush against him with his dark eyes fluttering. His pale face was red and Alfred leaned close, breathing lightly.

"My sin? Oh, beg pardon, darlin'." Alfred chuckled as his voice made Kiku quiver. "Lemme get that for ye."