That word ran through England's mind as, for the thousandth time, he lay in bed crying.
America, my love, my everything in this world.
I lost him. Like I lost everything else that mattered to me.
So many bad decisions, so many things I can't change.
Forgotten promises.
Never again.
Finally, the tears stopped. England lay in the darkness, staring unblinkingly at the silver moonlight shining through his window. 12:00 a.m., read the bright red glow of his digital clock. It was morning now. Not just any morning, though. It was the worst day of the year.

"Happy birthday, America-san!"
"Happy birthday!"
"Like, totally happy birthday!"
America was being showered with gifts and "Happy birthday"s. But one person was absent from the celebration. The person who was absent every year. America was used to this, of course, but it still tugged at his heart a little bit to think of the poor country at home alone. He cared about him, a lot, but that wasn't something he could ever tell anyone.
"Ve~ Happy birthday America! I made you pasta!"
"Thanks, Italy," America replied, trying to look happy.
Eventually, the party settled down and everyone began to go home. America took this chance to slip out the back door, without being noticed, and head to England's.

The sun blazed through the tiny window in England's bedroom. He groaned, hiding his face in his pillow. He didn't want to get up. Not today. He was haunted by dreams all week. Flashback after flashback; it felt like his heart was being ripped in half.
"I remember when you were great."
I've tried to show him my feelings. Does he know? Does he... care?
A knock on the door startled England out of his deep thoughts. He trudged into the kitchen just as America opened the door and peeked inside. The older nation's heart soared at the sight of the bright, blue eyes he knew and loved.
"Can I talk to you?" America asked quietly.
"Fine." England retorted angrily.
America sat down at the kitchen table. "What's wrong?"
"Why am I not good enough for you anymore?" England whispered. "I raised you. I cared for you. You were my whole life, and I was yours. But then…"
"Countries change, England. We grow up."
"I know that. But I never thought you would... outgrow me." England was fighting back tears now.
There was so much America wanted to- but couldn't- say. I love you, England, he thought to himself. And if I wanted you to love me, I couldn't be your little brother anymore.
Instead of letting out his emotions, America was silent. Why couldn't he just make himself tell England the truth?
"I- I just came to say that... I missed you," he said finally. He looked over and saw England's green eyes filling up with tears.
America pushed out his chair and got up slowly. England got up as well. They both walked towards the door, but when they reached it, they stood together in silence. They stared at each other, their noses almost touching.
England's eyes were full of longing. Before either country knew what was happening, their lips pressed together. When they pulled away, both of their faces were bright red. "Well, um, b-bye," America stuttered. England just nodded. He was afraid that if he opened his mouth, all of his thoughts and feelings would pour out.
America slipped out of the house, almost hyperventilating. Even though it was quick, that was the best feeling he ever experienced.
Inside, England leaned against the door, trying to slow his breathing down. What just happened? I just... kissed America. He smiled for the first time that day. I kissed America!
Maybe, just maybe, he could sleep in peace tonight.

England woke up in a slightly better mood than the day before. But his heart still yearned for America. He got out of bed slowly and walked to the kitchen, grabbed a pen and paper, and began to write. He wrote down all the thoughts that had been running through his head since... the war. A tear fell from his face and splashed on the parchment.

America walked to his front door, planning to walk over to England's. The first thing he noticed was the rolled up piece of paper lying on the floor. It must have been pushed under the door. He picked it up and unrolled it, immediately recognizing England's handwriting.

"Dear America,
I've been wanting to tell you this for ages, but whenever you're around I get too choked up. I love you. I have done some things that I regret, no doubt. I've said a few things I wish I could take back. But all of the pain was worth it, for I love you with all of my being.
This may sound cliché, but you will always hold a special place in my heart.
Please forgive me, America. I can't live without you.


America could not hold back from crying anymore. He sank to his knees and sobbed, right there in the middle of his kitchen. The letter he just read summed up his thoughts from the past few years in a nutshell. Dropping the paper on the floor, he got up and ran out the door. The tears in his eyes blurred his vision, but he knew the way to England's house by heart. When he reached the front door, he didn't even knock. The door burst open. There was England, sitting in a chair, leaning on the table. He lifted his head at the sound of America coming in. Even through all of his sadness and pain, he couldn't help but smile. He stood up quickly and ran to the doorway, hugging America tightly. They stayed in each other's arms for what seemed like forever. Slowly but surely, their lips met. When he finally pulled away, England's eyes began to water again.
"Why are you crying?" America asked in a soft voice, wiping a tear from the elder nation's cheek.
"I- I can't do this," England said.
"I can't. All these years, I thought I could never earn you back. But now... It's just too fast. I'm sorry." England stepped back into the house and shut the door slowly behind him.
Once it was shut, he broke down. He couldn't handle all the feelings that were building up inside of him.
America could hear his sobs from behind the door. He was beginning to cry again himself. Did he just... reject me?
England cried until he had no more tears to shed. It killed him inside to push the younger country away, but he... had to. If he wanted to be at all secure about America's love for him, he needed some time away. To see if his love would chase after him.
America couldn't make himself leave. Even as the hours dragged by, he stayed. Even when it began to rain, he stood on England's porch, letting himself become drenched in the cold drops from the harsh, grey sky.
Is this what it felt like? he thought, thinking back to the war that split him apart from his love. To be left alone... so close, yet so far, to the one that he couldn't live without. The sun sank below the horizon and the moon rose up, bathing the ground in silver light. Finally, America got up the nerve to knock on the door again.
"England!" He cried out over the pattering of rain on the roof.
England, who was sobbing on the floor of the kitchen, heard the desperation in America's voice. He stood up opened the door, seeing America on his knees before him.
"Please, don't leave me," the younger country whispered. "Every night, I can barely sleep because of my regrets. I know I- I broke your heart. But... once you are mine, I'll never let you go. Please, I beg of you, forgive me for my mistakes."
"Wh-why, America? Why now? After all this time, all the pain we've suffered through, why is now the time you tell me?"
"Because... I didn't realize what I had until I thought I might lose it."
England fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around America. They stayed together, in the rain, for what seemed like forever. Finally, England spoke.
"I'm sorry."
America shook his head. "Don't be sorry about anything. You gave up everything for me. I should be the one that's-"
England cut him off with a kiss. "That doesn't matter. I still love you."
"Did you just say what I think you said?" America said with a shaky smile.
England's cheeks turned red.
"Well...?" America prodded his cheek.
America grinned cockily. "I love you, too."
"Git," England muttered, trying to act angry. His frown lasted all of 5 seconds.
America... loves... me. America loves me!
Adorable, stupid America loved him. England hugged him tightly, tucking his head under the younger nation's chin. America wrapped his arms around the blonde, kissing his forehead.
England realized how incredibly soaking wet they both were. He stood up hastily and walked inside, then wrapped a blanket around himself and America. They collapsed onto the couch, cold and tired but happy. They cuddled up to each other, getting as close as humanly possible. America showered the shorter blonde with kisses, holding him protectively.
"I'll never let you go again," he whispered.
England looked into those hypnotizing blue eyes; the subject of his fantasies for ages.
"Good," he said with a wink and a gentle kiss.
After a few moments, America finally succumbed to fatigue. England looked down and found America asleep in his arms. It brought him back to before the war, when he thought life was perfect. It would take some time to heal; to be able to trust anyone again. But now, with America next to him, he couldn't care less what the future held. He was happy.