Finally, the best day of the year had arrived! Well, what Alfred considered to be the best day of the year, at least. But that was good enough! It was his birthday, after all, and whatever he said, went! Thus, he was throwing a party and had invited all of his friends like any other self-respecting American.

The doorbell rang every few minutes once it got close to the start of the party, and every time, the blond nation rushed to open it and greet those who had arrived.

Canada was first, naturally, since he lived the closest and was obligated to attend the entire party as America's brother. Then Germany at the exact time the party was scheduled to begin with North Italy in tow. Prussia also showed up, bringing an impressive amount of booze with him; America gave him an enthusiastic high five. Next was Spain with Southern Italy—the shorter of the two didn't look very pleased to be there. Francis arrived soon after and kissed both of America's cheeks in greeting before he wandered off, probably intending to flirt with Canada. Austria and Hungary weren't far behind, and then China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea arrived at all once, flustering America as he attempted to greet them all without offending them or making anyone uncomfortable. Russia and Ukraine were next, which was a bit of a tense moment, but Russia soon sought out China and was on his best behavior to please the Asian country, so America wasn't worried about him. Poland didn't bother to ring the doorbell and flounced his way into the house a with nervous-looking Lithuania trailing behind. Next were the Nordics as a group; Denmark brought just as much alcohol as Prussia had. Switzerland and Lichtenstein soon followed, and then Latvia and Estonia—the former Baltics gave their old master a wide birth even though America assure them that they didn't have to worry.

Before long, all of his friends had arrived and were having a good time. Except for one.

Playing his part as the host, America rushed about with his usual boundless energy, talking to everyone. The pile of gifts sat on a table in the corner near a cake decorated with his flag. There was a buffet table along the opposite wall that held two large bowls of punch and several slightly smaller bowls filled with chips and candy and other such snack-ish foods. Music played from the surround sound system in the living room, loud enough to hear but not to drown out conversation or force anyone to raise their voice. It was perfect. Mostly.

Not for the first time since the party began, Alfred felt his gaze being pulled to the front door and silently hoped that the doorbell would ring or a knock would sound. Even though the party had started two hours ago and it was unlikely that anyone was still on their way. But he still hoped.

"I am sure 'e will be 'ere, Alfreed," France tried to assure him, blue eyes sympathetic.

You always say that, but he never comes, Alfred thought, then forced a grin. "Yeah, I'm sure he'll come this time." Even though he never had before.

As the party continued, Alfred had a harder and harder time remaining cheerful. It was stupid of him to think that somehow this birthday would be different, that for some reason he would actually accept the invitation and show up. Alfred should have let himself hope for that miracle.

He looked towards the door again before snatching a can of beer from the cool and chugging it down.

It was his birthday, damn it. He was going to enjoy himself.

X

Bloody fucking wanker. Bastard. Arse. Git.

"You're a waste of fucking space, Arthur Kirkland," the blond, green-eyed nation also known as England and/or Great Britain told himself.

He was standing in the bathroom of his hotel room, glaring at his reflection. It was the same hotel room he'd rented for he didn't know how many years. Too many. So many that it was embarrassing and he would die if anyone ever found out. And yet, he couldn't bring himself to not book it year after year, fly across the ocean, try to get up his never, chicken out, spend the night in the hotel getting drunk, and fly home in the morning.

Every bloody year.

"Just go. You're invited. No one will mind. He wants you there. Go."

He didn't move—it was like his feet were cemented to the floor.

Frustrated, the Brit sat on the closeted toilet and put a hand over his eyes. Why was this so hard? It shouldn't be. It should be easy. It was easy every other day of the year. Just not today. Not on his birthday.

"I can't do it," he whispered to the empty room. "I just can't do it."

And he hated himself for that. When had he become so weak that he couldn't attend a simple birthday party?

Since he left me.

No, that wasn't quite right. Alfred hadn't left him, specifically. He'd just outgrown the rules of the British Empire, and England had been too caught up in his own power to see that he was hurting the colony that had used to look up to him.

"It was my fault. I forced him to do it. He tried to tell me and I just wouldn't listen." He sounded like such a selfish snob, even to himself. "I chased him away."

The same conversation he had with himself every year. Well, once enough time had passed after that bloody war that he could think straight. At first, he'd resented America and his independence—all but hated him. Then he'd missed the blond, though he tried to cover up how hollow he felt without the younger man's company. Now he wished desperately that this misery would just end. Go to the party. Be friendly. Admit that he was proud of Alfred and all that he'd accomplished. But he didn't, and his only excuses were that he was both too prideful and too cowardly.

A buzzing sound reached him, and England slowly meandered out to where he'd left his cell phone on the hotel bed. It continued to buzz and shake insistently, which meant someone was trying to call him. He sighed and picked it up.

"Hello?"

"'Ello, mon petite Angleterre. 'Ow are you zees evening?"

The French accent was unmistakable and he could hear the party taking place in the background of the call. "I'm…well enough, I suppose."

"And are you bizzee?"

"No, I'm not."

"Zen I assume you are seeting een zat dismal 'otel room, as usual."

"How did you—? Never mind. What do you want, Francis?"

"Per'aps you can tell me why you 'ave chosen not to attend poor Alfreed's birthday party?"

"I didn't—I'm not—he—" Taking a deep breath, England cleared his mind. "I meant to come. Really."

"So why eez eet zat you 'ave yet to arrive? Zey are going to cut zee cake soon, Angleterre. If you do not 'urry, you will miss everyzing, and break poor Amérique's 'eart again."

Arthur sighed. "France, I can't. You know how much I—" He stopped as Francis' words ran through his mind once more. "Hold on. What do you mean, I'll break his heart again?"

"I mean, mon naïf Angleterre, zat poor Alfreed has spent every birthday waiting for you to arrive, only to be deesappointed. Zee lad loves you, you know, and I am growing tired of assuring 'im zat you will come only to be wrong. 'E is getting drunk, Arthur, just to stay 'appy on 'is birthday."

"No, Alfred doesn't have to drink to be in a good mood," Arthur murmured. "You're not making any sense."

Francis sighed on the other end of the line.

"Shall I say eet more seemply for you? Amérique ees een love wiz you, Angleterre. amd I know zat you love 'im back. Stop zees nonsense and tell 'im zee truth."

The line disconnected before Arthur had a chance to respond, and he stared at his phone in disbelief. It wasn't possible. Alfred didn't love him. They were friends…sort of. Allies. That was all. They fought all the time—England was constantly scolding him for his bad manners and America consistently laughed him off. Why should Alfred love him?

As little as he believed what France had told him, he couldn't rid himself of the thought that Alfred might actually care for him to the extent of love. Him! The one who was accused of being cold and snobbish on a regular basis just because of his manners and how proper he tended to act. It really didn't seem possible that loud, energetic, rambunctious Alfred could actually love quiet, conservative him.

"Francis wouldn't lie, though he might be wrong."

That definitely wasn't likely. The Frenchman prided himself on his skills and knowledge of this particular subject. He was, after all, the Nation of Love.

"I'll just have to find out for myself," Arthur decided after several minutes of silent consideration. However, if Alfred really was getting drunk, then Arthur decided to ignore the alcohol he'd purchased. This escapade didn't need two drunken nations.

X

The gifts had been opened. Stomachs were full of hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato chips, salad, beverages and birthday cake. It had been dark for the past few hours, and only one thing remained to complete America's birthday party: fireworks.

With yet another beer can in hand, the blond was sprawled out on his back, staring up at the sky as the other nations sat or laid in the grass around him to watch the show he'd arranged for—luckily, he wasn't trying to set it off himself after the amount of alcohol he'd consumed.

An odd pop was heard, and a tiny speck of light raced into the sky before exploding into massive balls of red, white and blue. More fireworks were quick to follow, all of which were red, white, blue and gold. Different shapes and sizes, clusters of smaller explosions or a few large ones that boomed so loudly the nations could feel the vibrations of the sound waves. There were screamers and showers of silver stars that streaked across the sky only to fade back into the darkness after a few moments of unbelievable beauty.

Captivated by the sight, the nations watched with wide eyes as the fireworks continued for the better part of an hour; they occasionally caught glimpses of the fireworks of other partiers in the distance, which only added to the spectacle before them. When at last the finale played out, leaving their vision streaked with dark shapes after such bright colors, the nations began to slowly make their way back into the house to gather their things and return home for the night, calling their goodbyes to America—Francis, especially, was worried that it might not be a good idea to leave the young nation on his own, but eventually gave up trying to convince Alfred to let someone stay with him and left. The blond had yet to move from his place in the grass, gaze locked on the star-filled sky.

There was a pleasant sort of buzzing in his head as a cool breeze wafted over him—vaguely, he recognized that he'd had too much to drink and felt a moment of irritation to think of the hangover he was going to have tomorrow, but it only lasted for a moment before he lost his train of thought and went back to staring at the stars. The quiet booms and crackles of distant fireworks were the only sounds in the night, save for his own slow breathing. It really was very nice out, the perfect weather for the Fourth of July celebrations. Independence Day. He was two hundred and thirty-seven years old. Had it really been that long? It was still so easy to remember that day in 1776…

Fuzzy memories drifted in and out of the American's head. Trying to recruit enough troops to fight the Redcoats. Planning supply wagons. The agonizing wait for England's response, knowing it would be a war and not just one of their usual fights. That wait, knowing how betrayed England would feel and that the relationship they'd had when Alfred was a boy would never be part of his life again, had ripped his heart in two. He missed those days, missed knowing that if he had a nightmare or woke up during a storm, the green-eyed nation was just down the hall and would comfort him. He missed the afternoons spent playing in the fields or on the beach, Arthur reading bedtime stories to him by the fire until he fell asleep in the older nation's lap.

Of course, that had all been long before the revolution. Alfred had considered himself to be too old for any of that many, many years before his people had become so unhappy with being part of the British Empire that they voted for independence. As a rebellious youth, Alfred had gone along with it, even going so far as to enlist France's help when he knew it would only hurt England even more.

Right now, even during the last few hours of his 237th birthday, he wished he was a child again, held safe and close in England's arms as a lullaby was hummed to him.

A small smile gracing his lips, Alfred began to hum the one rhyme he could remember. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, had always been his favorite, and the tune sounded pleasant against the background noises of the night.

"Tom, he was a piper's son, he learnt to play when he was young. The only tune that he could play was, 'Over the hills and far away.' Over the hills and a long way off, the wind shall blow my top-knot off," a quiet voice drifted to him, and Alfred let his eyes close as he continued to hum. He could still remember England's voice singing to him.

"Now Tom with his pipe played such a noise, that he pleased both the girls and boys. And they did dance when he did play, 'Over the hills and far away.' Over the hills and a long way off, the wind shall blow my top-knot off."

The voice was closer now but still soft, as if England really was there, singing to him, and Alfred kept humming in the hopes that this feeling would continue.

"Now Tom did play with such a skill, that those nearby could not stand still. And over island they did dance, down through England, Spain and France. Over the hills and a long way off, the wind shall blow my top-knot off."

A deep-seated feeling of contentment stole over him as he finished the tune and the voice faded away; he sighed quietly and smiled to feel lips brush against his forehead. Arthur had used to sing that to him when he was just a boy as he carried the then-colony to bed and tucked him in before giving him his goodnight kiss. Alfred wished he could remember why that ritual had stopped. Perhaps he'd decided it was too babyish for him and asked that Arthur not do it anymore. If so, he'd been a fool. He should have held onto those things for as long as possible.

"Alfred."

He must be drunker than he thought—now he was hearing Arthur's voice as if the man was right next to him. "Hm…"

Gentle fingers touched his face. "Look at me, love," the voice crooned.

Blue eyes glowed softly in the starlight as the night sky reflected on Alfred's glasses, and he looked up to see none other than Arthur kneeling beside him, smiling sadly.

"Arthur?" He didn't understand. The Brit hadn't been at his party and everyone else had already gone—what was he doing there? Or was this just some drunken dream?

"Yes?" Still stroking the American's cheek, Arthur settled more comfortably in the grass, his free hand resting on Alfred's broad chest so he could feel the other man's heartbeat and the way his torso expanded and contracted as he breathed.

"Are…are you really here?"

"Of course I am, love. I couldn't very well miss your birthday, could I?"

That confused Alfred even farther. "You never come to my birthday."

The hurt in his tone made Arthur feel a pang of guilt. "I know, but I want to change that. I promise to come every year from now on, no matter what."

"Really? You promise?"

"I promise."

Alfred smiled, seeming innocent and child-like despite his age. "Thanks, Artie."

Oh, how Arthur had missed that nickname and all the affection attached to it. The blond lying before him was the only one who could get away with calling him such a ridiculous name, and he was glad to hear it again.

Lying back, Arthur pulled the younger nation over so that Alfred's head rested on his chest and slowly ran his fingers through the ash blond locks, careful not to disturb Nantucket. Like a child, Alfred curled into the side of the Englishman's body and wrapped his arms around the older nation's waist as if afraid that Arthur would disappear as suddenly as he'd appeared.

"I miss you, Artie."

"I miss you, too, Alfred."

The younger nation seemed to hesitate for a moment, fingers toying nervously with one of the buttons on Arthur's shirt. Finally, he got his nerve up.

"I love you."

A gentle smile brightened Arthur's features; France had been right, after all. "And I love you, with all my heart."

Shyly, Alfred sat up and kissed the older nation, lips gentle despite the taste and smell of beer. Not wanting to scare him off, Arthur returned the kiss with soft patience, molding the American's mouth to fit his own and stroking his cheek again. Several minutes of this quiet kissing went by, until Alfred made up his mind—he deliberately parted his lips without pulling away, inviting England to really kiss him.

Arthur forced himself to be gentle when he accepted the invitation even though a small part of him wanted to let go of all semblance of control and ravage the younger blond, just this one time. But this was his first time kissing Alfred, and he wanted it to be perfect, so he resisted.

First, he slid his tongue over Alfred's ample lower lip before gently drawing it into his mouth. He sucked lightly, tongue laving, and felt the American beginning to tremble. Releasing the lower lip, the Brit set his tongue to the task of tracing the shape of the top lip, the way it dipped perfectly in the cupid's bow. It was just a little less plump than the bottom lip, giving Alfred a pouty, ready-to-be-kissed looked that Arthur adored.

When he was finished with memorizing the lips, he slipped past them into the warm space beyond and found Alfred's tongue; the American groaned at the invasion, pressing even closer to the older nation. Coaxingly, Arthur brushed and rubbed against the appendage until it began to push back. He let out a soft moan of approval to encourage Alfred as he explored the younger man's mouth, committing every detail of that space to memory. Only when he was satisfied that he would never forget the shape and feel of the American's mouth did he draw Alfred's tongue past his own lips. Patiently, he guided the less experienced nation through the motions of this sort of kissing until Alfred gained a little confidence and began to kiss a bit harder.

Blue eyes twinkling, he caught Arthur's lower lip between his teeth and tugged playfully so that the Brit chuckled.

"Getting impatient, love?" he teased, brushing the American's bangs out of his eyes and ever so lightly grazing the side of his hand against Nantucket so that Alfred's eyelids fluttered closed for a moment. He also moaned quietly.

"Hn…"

Even though it was too dark to really see, England knew that Alfred was blushing. The younger nation liked to act confident and in control, but at that moment, he was as much Arthur's student as he'd been while learning to tie his shoes or read. They both preferred this type of lesson.

Arthur's fingers curled into the American's hair and he pulled gently so that Alfred's head tilted back and to the left, exposing a large portion of his neck. Softly, he began to place kisses on the tanned skin then licked when he felt the other man shiver.

"A-Arthur…"

"Yes, love?"

"I…um…"

The Englishman chuckled and kissed Alfred's throat again. "You're cute when you're nervous."

Blushing darkly, Alfred gave a barely audible whimper and fidgeted because the Brit was still holding onto his hair and he wasn't sure if he was allowed to pull free of his grasp. The last thing he wanted was to upset Arthur, but the butterfly-light kisses and teasing little licks being administered to his neck were driving him crazy.

"Artie," he whined eventually, and the pale man smirked against his neck.

"My, someone is getting very impatient," the Brit crooned into his student's ear. "Aren't you enjoying yourself, Alfred?"

The bespectacled man tried to nod but was stopped by the hand in his hair. "I-I am, Artie, it's just…"

"Just."

Too shy to finish what he'd been about to say, Alfred bit his lip; Arthur nuzzled his cheek comfortingly and released his hair in order to begin running his fingers through the soft strands.

"Tell me," he whispered as the younger nation hid his face in the crook of Arthur's neck. "Don't be nervous, love. It's just me."

"I know." The words were muffled but still understandable; the heat of Alfred's breath on his skin was almost enough to make him shiver. "I just…it's…weird."

"What is?"

Alfred propped himself on his elbow and straightened his glasses, a nervous habit. "This. I mean, why now? It's been two hundred and thirty-seven years, Arthur."

The older nation sighed and mimicked the way Alfred was holding himself up so that they were face-to-face. "Because even stubborn, cranky old men like me can be cowards."

A grown creased Alfred's forehead. "You're not old, or a coward.

But still stubborn and cranky. Arthur held back a smile. "Yes, I am. I've been on this earth for a long, long time. I've fought in wars, conquered the seas, and established colonies that lived long enough to grow into strong, respected nations. But in all my years, I've never met anyone else who makes me feel the way you do, and that frightened me. I'm sorry I wasted so many years that we could have spent together."

Smiling, Alfred tilted his head and kissed the older nation softly. "It's okay. S'not like I made it easy for you."

This time, Arthur allowed himself to laugh. "You made it bloody impossible, you cocky git."

America flashed his signature grin before kissing the Brit again, with a little more force. "Artie?"

"Yes, love?"

"How do I make you feel?"

Arthur rubbed his nose against the younger blond's, looking directly into his eyes. "You make this old heart of mine pound harder than a war drum," he whispered, and instantly knew Alfred was pleased to hear so.

The American smiled slyly. "Really?"

"Really."

"Hm," he hummed thoughtfully, fingers drumming on the Brit's stomach. Slowly, his hand began to fiddle with the buttons of Arthur's shirt. "Can I hear?" His smile disappeared when his hand was pushed away and Arthur sat up—he grabbed onto the green-eyed man's hand desperately. "Wait! You aren't leaving, are you?"

With a gentle smile, Arthur kissed the calloused hand gripping his own. "Of course not. I have more to teach you before I go." That made Alfred blush and mumble and he lowered his gaze shyly. Arthur squeezed his hand to get him to look back up. "What was that?"

"N-nothing…"

One thick eyebrow lifting, Arthur released the American's hand and cupped his face in both of his own so he could look him in the eyes. "You can tell me anything, Alfred. You know that."

The American hesitated but didn't look away. "I…like you like this," he whispered finally, face growing warm against Arthur's skin.

"Like what?" the older man encouraged, thumbs moving against Alfred's cheeks.

"In control. Showing me what to do. I get tired of somehow ending up being the one in charge all the time—it's nice to let someone else do it, and you're good at being in charge."

"Oh." Arthur leaned down and placed a kiss on his ex-colony's nose then whispered, "If you want, I can always be the one in control, though I would prefer to share that power with you, Alfred."

Alfred smiled a little. "Cool. You're gonna have to be the boss for a while, though, until I get good at this. Then we can take turns."

"Don't worry, love," the Brit cooed teasingly, "I'll teach you everything you need to know."

Then he released Alfred's face and sat up again, doing something the American couldn't see. After a few moments, though, the shirt he was wearing fell down to reveal pale shoulders and he gracefully withdrew his arms from the sleeves before tossing the garment a few feet away. Turning, he took hold of Alfred's hand again and pulled the younger man closer.

"Come here, love."

Obedient, Alfred sat up and moved as close to the Englishman as he could, and smiled when Britain guided his head down to press his ear against the pale chest so he could hear the steady heartbeat on the other side.

"It doesn't sound like it's pounding very hard," he pouted, earning a laugh; he could hear the sound build up in Arthur's chest.

"Maybe it will if you take your shirt off, too, love."

Alfred nodded and, with a little bit too much enthusiasm, yanked his shirt off over his head. Green eyes tracked his every move, examining the body.

Pity it's too dark out for me to see much, but I can use that to my advantage. Reaching out, Arthur started at the tops of his companion's shoulders and worked his way down his arms before moving back up only to work their way across the American's collarbone then over his chest, and down the hard abdomen. Each curve, dip and rise was thoroughly explored, the muscles and bones traced with fingertips as Arthur's hands slid over the sunkissed skin; he could feel Alfred trembling slightly and smiled.

There was so much strength in this still-young nation that Arthur almost didn't want to be the dominant partner. It was too easy to imagine these muscled arms holding him close to the broad chest as that strong stomach pressed against his own or maybe against his back. Alfred would be good at topping, if only he had more experience. That, he decided, was something they were definitely going to have to work on.

"I bet you're pretty big," he whispered, knowing it would embarrass the younger man. "Am I right?"

"I…uh…I don't…know…?"

Hands slid down his stomach and began to undo his belt.

"Why don't we find out?" Light pressure was applied to his shoulders once his belt and jeans were open. "Lie back, love. It'll be more comfortable."

Nervous again, Alfred bit his lip and did as he was told, blue eyes lowered. This seemed to be going a little fast all of a sudden, but he didn't stop Arthur from removing his pants. A hand slid up his thigh to where his boxers still sat low on his hips and he fought the urge to shiver. Without warning, a second hand pressed between his legs, cupping him, rubbing and squeezing gently, and he let out a strangled groan. His back arched slightly and he dug his hands into the grass, eyes wide behind his glasses.

"Ah…Artie…!"

Both of the hands disappeared after Alfred had been moaning and panting for several minutes, and then he felt his boxers being tugged lower to reveal his brand new erection. It was hard not to shield himself from view with his hands, but he knew Arthur wouldn't like that, so he settled for tightening his grip on the grass.

"Oh, yes." The Englishman was practically purring now as he examined every inch of the younger nation's anatomy, green eyes glowing. Just as he'd thought, Alfred was well-endowed and obviously excited. "I am definitely going to teach you how to use that."

A whine in the back of Alfred's throat drew Arthur's attention to the American's face and he smiled gently, moving to kiss the other man.

"Don't be nervous," he soothed between soft, sweet kisses. "I'm not going to hurt you."

"I-I know." Taking one hand from the grass, Alfred wrapped his arm around the older man's waist and pulled Arthur on top of himself, nuzzling into his neck. "It's just…this is my first time, and I don't want to disappoint you or anything…"

Now of the opinion that Alfred was the sweetest thing to ever live, Arthur hugged the ash blond and settled move comfortably against him. "You won't, love. As long as you love me, I'll never be disappointed. And if you're really worried that I won't want you anymore if you're not instinctively good at this, then you should know that the first time I had sex, I was so terrible at it that I wouldn't come out from under the bedcovers for a whole day because I was so embarrassed."

Surprised, Alfred grinned and began rubbing the older nation's back. "Really?"

"Yes, but you know what? My lover spent that entire day trying to convince me to come out. He was a lot more experienced than me, and I hated that because I felt like I wouldn't measure up to his previous partners. No matter how many times I told him to go away, he stayed and assured me that it didn't matter and that I would get better with practice." Arthur had never told this to anyone, but he didn't mind sharing the story with Alfred, especially if it helped the younger nation to feel more comfortable about all this.

"And did you?" Alfred asked playfully, making Arthur roll his eyes and smack the American's chest.

"Of course I did, you wanker." He kissed the spot he'd smacked. "So don't worry about being good at this, because I will love you just the same no matter how terrible or how brilliant the sex is. Okay?"

The younger man nodded. "Okay."

Arthur smiled and shifted again, straddling the nation below him and bracing his hands on either side of the bespectacled man's head. He grinned. "Now that you've successfully distracted the teacher, you ridiculous boy, I think it's about time we continued with the lesson." To make his point, he pressed his hips down on Alfred's so that his own still-clothed erection rubbed against the other man's; Alfred's hands went to the paler nation's hips and he gasped quietly as the small amount of friction.

"A-Arthur…hng…"

"Yes, love?" Arthur purred, leaning down to kiss and nip at the American's neck, eliciting tiny moans and even a few whimpers. His hips continued to grind patiently and his pants quickly became uncomfortably tight.

"Hah…n-not fair…"

"What isn't fair?" He couldn't help but coo the words because of course he knew exactly what Alfred meant, but it wouldn't be any fun if he didn't toy with him a bit.

Choosing not to respond, Alfred slid his hands around until they hit the buckle of Arthur's belt and he set to work opening it, which was a lot more difficult than he'd expected. Somehow, the combination of it being dark and not being his own belt made him fumble about, but he managed. After several minutes, he finally got it open then popped the button on Arthur's trousers.

"Go on," the older man encouraged, sucking on Alfred's ear lobe as he lifted his hips enough for his trousers and pants to be pulled down off his hips. Inquisitive fingers slipped inside the waistband and tugged until the fabric was bunched up at his ankles. Without breaking his contact with that ear, he kicked off the offending clothes then brought his pelvis down against Alfred's, grinding faster and with more pressure than before.

Back arching to increase the contact, Alfred set one hand on the Brit's lower back in an attempt to pull him closer. The other began rubbing Arthur's chest, passing over the older man's nipples so that they hardened. Their moans began to mix together as Arthur lost more and more of his self control.

Growing desperate, he crashed his lips onto Alfred's in their roughest kiss yet. From the way the American immediately opened up to him, he didn't mind. Arthur shoved his tongue into the other nation's mouth with little patience, drinking up every delicious sound that escaped the ash blond. His hips bucked aggressively, making Alfred gasp and let out a keening whine.

"A-Arthur," he panted, breaking out of the kiss when he started to get light-headed, "s-slow down!"

The Englishman was busy licking and biting the younger man's neck when he registered the words. Slowly, he gentled his bites to little nips and switched from licking to kissing as Alfred's chest heaved beneath him. He hadn't meant to, but he'd somehow gone from patiently teaching the American to roughly shoving him closer and closer to sex. That method would never work, not with how nervous and shy Alfred had been behaving so far.

With a sigh, Arthur closed his eyes and sat up, still trying to catch his breath. Even so, his hips shifted forward and back slightly to maintain the friction he so desperately needed. There was a red tint to his cheeks and he was starting to sweat—his pulse was racing and chaotic. He chuckled breathlessly, picking up Alfred's hand and holding it to his chest.

"Feel it now?" he asked, and the younger man nodded. "Every time you smile or laugh or even walk into the room, this happens."

Alfred smiled, moving his hand down and over to gently rub at the paler man's nipple. "You must really fuckin' love me, then."

As much as he disapproved of the vulgar word the younger nation had used, Arthur was too distracted by the hand on his chest to scold or punish him. He would just have to remember to say something about it later. There were more important matters to attend to at the moment.

"Do you know what to do with that?" he asked softly, looking into Alfred's blue eyes.

The younger nation shook his head. "I know you can, like, touch them and stuff."

"You're precious," Arthur commented, making the American pout; he chuckled and ran a hand through Alfred's hair, purposefully nudging Nantucket so that Alfred shivered. "Sit up."

Confused but compliant, Alfred sat up, leaning his weight on his free arm, and waited for further instruction.

Smiling, Arthur pressed their foreheads together. "Would you like to learn, love? I'd be glad to show you."

Alfred nodded and kissed the older man as he felt a hand cover his own, guiding him through the motions of rubbing in various patterns and with different parts of his hand. Then he felt a hand on his own chest.

"Do what I do." He didn't wait for a response before pinching the American's nipple, gently, rolling it between his fingers and rubbing with his palm. It took a moment, but then Alfred began to copy him, clumsily. Nevertheless, it felt good, and soon the American was teasing him as if he'd been doing it for years.

"Ah…Alfred….there's more," he whispered, moving his hand from over Alfred's and placing it on the back of the younger nation's head.

"Teach me," Alfred murmured, and Arthur nodded. He pulled the ash blond's head closer and brought it down so Alfred could kiss his chest.

"Suck on it."

"Like this?" Determined, he latched onto the pink nub and sucked gently, using his tongue to play with it the way his fingers did the other.

"Hn…yes…like that…"

Encouraged by the obvious approval in the older nation's tone, he bit and tugged lightly so that Arthur gasped; the hand on the back of his head tangled itself into his hair and he felt Arthur arching against him.

"Arthur," he said quietly, then licked the nipple he'd been tending to you.

"Y-yes?"

His cheeks turned pink and he stroked Arthur's chest. "I think I'm ready for you to make love to me."

Slightly out of breath, Arthur nodded and pulled the American's face up so he could kiss him. Without breaking away, Alfred lay back in the grass again, and Arthur shifted from his lap to between his legs.

"I don't have lube," the older man warned when the kiss finally ended. "And you'll be sore afterwards."

"I know. I don't care."

Nodding, Arthur quickly sucked on three of his finger until they were coated in his spit, then kissed Alfred's hip. "Spread your legs for me, love."

The American's face burned red but he did as he was told, digging his fingers into the grass once more. "Do it."

Arthur positioned his fingers at the younger nation's entrance. "Relax." Then he pushed the first finger in.

A small cry of pain escaped Alfred before he clamped his jaw shut, blue eyes filling with tears that he refused to let fall. He was not going to cry! Not now, not with Arthur murmuring soothingly to him and the pain in his rear slowly beginning to fade. Not when he was finally doing the one thing he'd wanted to do for so many years.

"A-all right…you c-can move," he whispered to keep his voice from shaking. It didn't hurt as much to have the second finger inserted, and an unexpected spike of pleasure shot to his stomach as the fingers inside of him scissored apart.

"Ohhhhh, Arthur," he moaned softly, hips lifting off the grass; he heard the Brit chuckle as the fingers began to pump and twist, and then it hardly hurt at all as new sensations reached him. Each little bit of movement set off a tiny spark of pleasure, and when Arthur added his third finger, the sparks turned to bolts until Alfred was panting and moaning helplessly, hips twisting in desperate attempts to feel more.

"Arthur…god…hng…f-fuck…"

Ignoring the language once again, Arthur twisted his fingers and pushed deeper, rubbing them against Alfred's insides. If he could just find it…

"Fuck! Arthur!"

There it was. With a smirk, Arthur moved his fingers faster, rubbing against that spot each and every time so that Alfred was little more than a quivering mess in the grass, the younger nation's hips bucking up into the air over and over again. For a moment, Arthur imagined what it would feel like to ride those hips, then reminded himself that that would come later.

"I could suck you off, too," he crooned, fingers spreading apart to make his young lover whine, "but I don't want you to cum just yet. Not until I'm buried in you to the hilt."

Alfred couldn't believe how casually the older nation said it—the comment had his cheeks burning all over again—but he was too desperate to give it much thought. "Please, Arthur," he begged, "I d-don't think I can take much more."

"As you wish." Gently, Arthur removed his fingers and wiped them on the grass before spitting into his other hand and wiping the moisture onto his own erection. He couldn't help but rub a little bit, having ignored how almost painfully hard he was for the last several minutes, and a soft groan slipped from between his slightly parted lips.

"Artie…"

"I know, love. I know." With gentle hands, he gripped the American's hips and lifted. "Wrap your legs around my waist." He waited until Alfred's ankles locked together behind his back then positioned himself at the younger man's entrance. "On three."

Alfred looked up at him, nervous and excited and desperate, still out of breath and sweating in the warm summer night air. His hair was a mess and his glasses had fallen off at some point so he couldn't see very well, but that didn't matter. "One."

Smiling, Arthur leaned forward and kissed the tanned stomach. "Two."

Their eyes met; they spoke at the same time. "Three."

Arthur tightened his grip and moved forward, gently, gently pushing himself into the younger nation. The sound Alfred made was enough to break his heart, but he didn't pull out or stop. He just waited, knowing that the pain his new lover was feeling would soon pass. "It's all right, Alfred. Shhh, it's all right."

He had bitten into his wrist so hard that he could taste blood, but he didn't notice any discomfort from it. Any sting from the bite was nonexistent compared to the burning in his rear, and this time there was nothing he could do to stop the tears from rolling from the corners of his eyes and into his hair. God, it hurt. Even though Arthur had stretched him and he'd wanted this so badly he was embarrassed by it, it hurt to be taken for the first time.

"A-Artie," he whimpered softly around his wrist, not daring to stop biting down for fear that he would break. "It h-hurts."

"I know, love, but the pain will go away soon, and then it will feel so good you can't even imagine. I promise."

Alfred nodded, squeezing his eyes shut. As promised, the burning began to fade after a few more minutes, and he was able to relax again. He took deep breaths to help calm himself further then looked up to see Arthur patiently waiting for a signal that he could continue.

"I…I love you…" he managed, and the older nation smiled.

"I love you, too. Are you comfortable enough to continue?"

"Y-yeah, I think so."

When Arthur pulled back, almost but not quite pulling out, Alfred groaned as the burning started again. But it wasn't as intense this time, and as the Brit carefully thrust all the way back in, it was blocked entirely as the same pleasure he'd gotten from Arthur's fingers returned. The only difference was that it was more, and before he knew it, Alfred was panting and moaning just like he'd been when Arthur was stretching him.

"You're so bloody tight," Arthur gasped, head falling back as his eyes closed. The tight heat around his length was almost unbearable, threatening to send him over the edge before he really had a chance to get going. His nails dug into Alfred's hips a little as the speed of his thrusts increased, and the sounds coming from the younger nation grew louder.

"F-faster!"

Obligingly, the Briton moved even faster, though he was careful not to go too deep and hurt his new lover, and he kept his actions gentle. There would be time for the rougher sides of sex after tonight. Tonight wasn't about sex. Tonight was about making love.

"Hng…ah…" He clutched at the grass, eyes practically rolling back in his head from the sheer amount of pleasure being given to him by the last man he would ever have suspected was in love with him. This was better than the kisses they'd shared, better than the hickeys he knew would show up on his neck in the morning. It was better than being fingered and definitely better than any of the dirty dreams he'd ever had about the British nation. "G-god…"

Arthur angled his hips and gave an experimental buck then tried again and again in his quest to find Alfred's prostate once more. Damn it, he was close already. The tightening coil in his stomach threatened to burst at any moment, but he refused to cum before Alfred did. He wanted them to hit their climaxes together, the way it should be, and when he bucked again and Alfred let out a particularly loud groan, he knew he could make it happen.

Determined, he drove into the nation below him again and again, striking that spot inside Alfred with each thrust until the blue-eyed man was nearly crying in pleasure. Not that Arthur had much more control at this point—he was barely managing to focus enough to aim his thrusts—and his vision had gone mostly white. The only guide he had was the sounds coming from the American, and judging by how loud and frequent they were, Alfred was just as close as Arthur was.

"A-Alfred," he ground out, fighting against the mind-numbing pleasure that threatened to engulf him.

"Arthur! Arthur, I'm gonna—!" Alfred called out desperately, legs tightening around the older nation's waist.

"M-me, too!" One of Arthur's hands abandoned his lover's hip and instead wrapped around the American's hardened length. He pumped and squeezed, forcing ever-louder sounds from the boy, but not until he rubbed his thumb over the tip while striking that spot inside Alfred did the ash blond break.

"Arthur!" The name was ripped from him as his back arched even farther away from the grass. He came, losing all sense of everything except the hand on his cock, the nails digging into his hip and Arthur inside of him.

The feeling of Alfred tensing with his release, tightening around him, was enough to drag Arthur over the edge and he reached his climax with a shout of his lover's name, releasing inside the American as they continued to move together, unable to hold back against the immense pleasure that blinded them both and left them numb to everything else.

Eventually, their movements slowed then stopped. Arthur carefully removed himself from Alfred's limp form and crawled up to lie beside the American, smiling when the man turned and snuggled close to him. They were both panting hard, skin flushed and tingling. Arthur couldn't resist—he cupped Alfred's face in both of his hands and kissed him softly, too tired for anything more.

"I love you," he whispered as he pulled away, looking into hazy blue eyes.

Alfred managed an exhausted smile, his arms snaking around the Briton's middle. "Love you, too, Artie."

And, lying together in the grass, the two nations were overtaken by sleep.

X

Sunlight shining straight into his eyes disturbed Alfred's slumber and the American woke up with a frown. His head hurt, though not as much as he'd been expecting, and he had an odd taste in his mouth that was nothing at all like the beer he'd drank last night.

I fell asleep outside…

It wasn't a bad thing, just a little odd. Usually, he managed to at least drag himself inside to the couch. He also wasn't as cold as he thought he should have been, considering the cool morning breeze he could feel on his stomach and hip.

Wait. That meant he was naked. Why was he naked? Naked and sleeping in his backyard. Good thing he didn't have any neighbors close enough to see him.

Warm air on his back drew his attention and Alfred half sat up to look; his eyes widened in disbelief.

No way. Curled up in the grass and also naked was Arthur, which meant that he hadn't just been dreaming about the older nation like he usually did whenever he drank too much. Last night had been real, and that meant…

Excitement taking hold of him, Alfred bent down and kissed the sleeping man. "Wake up, Artie."

One green eye cracked open to look up at him. "Mm…what is it, Alfred?"

"Say it again."

The other eye opened and Arthur gave him a confused look. "What?"

"Tell me you love me," Alfred insisted, sitting up all the way despite the discomfort in his backside—definitely not just a dream.

"Um…I love you?" The Brit was staring at him like he'd hit his head or something.

"No," the American pouted, "say it like you did last night."

Understanding lit up the emeralds and Arthur smiled before sitting up and leaning close to the other man. "I love you," he whispered into Alfred's ear, and a pleased shiver raced down the younger nation's spine.

"I love you, too," Alfred sighed happily, taking Arthur's hand and lacing their fingers.

Arthur smiled, amused. "How are you feeling this morning, love?"

"Sore. But I'm okay." He flashed his usual grin and looked around at their scattered clothes before spotting his glasses; he slipped them back on and blinked until his eyes adjusted and he could actually see. When he returned his attention to Arthur, the Brit was in the middle of stretching and Alfred couldn't help but smile at him.

Using his grip on the American's hand, Arthur stood and pulled the other blond to his feet. "Let's go inside and have something to eat," he suggested. "Then we can get dressed and clean up from your party before spending the day together."

"Okay!" Alfred gave him a thumbs up, making the older nation laugh; Arthur pulled him into a quick kiss.

"Maybe later, I'll teach you a few more things," the green-eyed nation whispered suggestively, and Alfred blushed.

"What kind of things?"

"That depends," Arthur replied, then smirked. "Are you a good student or a naughty one?"

Alfred's blush darkened. "Um…good…I guess?"

Chuckling at the shy tone the American had used, Arthur led his young lover towards the house—today was most certainly going to be interesting.