Rating: PG-13 for Arthur's mouth.
Warnings: Drunk(and somewhat pathetic)!Arthur, Serious!Alfred. Lots of cussing and a heavy accent.
Summary: Alfred finds Arthur drunk in a pub and takes him home, and Arthur forces him to think about things that he would rather forget.
He’d recognised the top of that blonde head as soon as he’d walked into the bar, but he hadn’t expected Arthur to be drunk enough to immediately begin insulting him. Alfred had been sure they’d moved past all that, but there he was, sprawled out over the bar just barely holding on to a glass of whiskey, muttering under his breath about Kosciuszko and LaFayette and how much of an idiot America was. He hadn’t even noticed Alfred until the taller nation had tapped him on the shoulder, glowering rather ineffectively under his eyebrows as Alfred uttered seven far-too familiar words to the concerned bartender.
“He’s always like this when he’s drunk,” he said, taking the glass away from Arthur and downing the contents before the older man could protest.
“It ain’t a problem, sir, ‘e’s been good as gold,” the bartender told him, keeping a wary eye on the drunken Englishman. “’Side from mu’erin’ all t’ime. Reckon ye can take ‘im ‘ome?”
“Aye, I reckon so...” Alfred muttered, slipping easily into a similar accent and putting his arm around Arthur, drawing him up from the chair despite his grumbling. “Arthur, I thought you said you were going to stop drinking...”
Arthur mumbled something that sounded a little like ‘fuck yeh, yer soddin’ git’, but he allowed Alfred to steer him from the bar and out onto the street. The American sighed and took off his jacket, draping it around Arthur’s shoulders and holding him up as he walked him up the street. The shorter nation was keeping his footing remarkably well for someone so obviously intoxicated, but he was still muttering darkly under his breath (something about the Volunteer Army this time), and Alfred was just lucky that Arthur was a creature of habit, and never strayed far from his home when he went out drinking.
“You promised me, Arthur. You promised...” He trailed off as Arthur snorted and poked him in the ribs.
“Promished, did I?” he slurred. “Promishes don’ mean nuthin’ ter you, Alfrid... nuffin. You... ‘member, a long time ‘go you promished tha’ you’d never leave me... an’ you did, so why... why d’you ‘spect me to keep promishes to you, Alfrid, you tell me that...”
That hurt, and it hurt every time he heard it, but that was because somewhere in his heart he knew that Arthur was right. He had promised, and he’d broken that promise, and he shouldn’t expect Arthur to just forget about it... but then, this had been why he’d wanted Arthur to stop drinking, because Arthur wouldn’t remember this tomorrow, but Alfred would, and he’d tell him, because Arthur always knew when something was bothering his young lover, and then Arthur would regret it, like he always did. The American chewed his lip, steering Arthur around a corner. He could see the man’s house. His initial plan for the night had been to spend some time with Arthur, but with the older nation in this state, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to.
“Come on, Arthur,” he muttered, hauling him up the driveway and to the front door. “Where’s your key?”
Arthur cursed at him, but fumbled around in his pockets for several minutes before he pulled out a key, batting away all of Alfred’s attempts to take it from him and eventually managing to open the door, pulling away from Alfred and stumbling inside, dropping the younger man’s jacket on the floor. Alfred stepped inside, and immediately hissed in a breath at how damn cold it was. Quickly putting his jacket on he followed Arthur into the house, kicking the door shut behind him and watching as the man took off his coat and dropped it on the floor, weaving his way to the kitchen and hitting the light switch several times before he managed to turn it on. Bemused, Alfred listened to the clattering inside for a moment before he went after him, leaning against the doorframe.
“Arthur, why is it so cold?” he asked. Arthur glared at him, accusingly almost.
“Fuckin’ heatin’ packed in las’ night,” he said, holding tightly to the kitchen counter, not seeming to notice the cold that was sending goosebumps up and down Alfred’s arms even through his thick bomber jacket. “Got some bleedin’ cowboy comin’ ter fix it termorrer... tol’ me ter deal wi’t ‘til then.” He scowled, and appeared to decide that the kitchen didn’t have what he was looking for, pushing past Alfred and wobbling down the hallway to the front room.
Alfred found him curled up in a corner of the sofa, in the dark, and the American pulled off his glasses to rub one hand over his face. It was... pathetic... and Alfred knew he couldn’t just leave Arthur like that. A quick sojourn through the house found a thick blanket and some firelighters, and outside he was pleased to find that the old wood-storage shed still had a good supply of dry logs. He turned off the gas, and made his way back to the front room.
Arthur didn’t even react when Alfred pulled the gas fire from the wall to reveal the open grate behind it. The American threw in an armful of wood, burning his fingers several times before he managed to light it (with a slight explosion as the remaining gas leaked out of the pipes), and he poked at it for a few minutes before he was satisfied. Glancing back at Arthur, he frowned a little and then sighed, getting to his feet and sitting down beside the man.
“... You broke my fire,” Arthur muttered after some minutes had passed and the warmth from the crackling logs was washing over the two of them. The American kept quiet. Normally he would have laughed, and made some crack about a slow response time on Arthur’s part, but the Englishman’s words were still rattling around in his mind. He reached to his side and picked up the blanket that he’d brought in, unfolding it and silently holding one arm out. Arthur looked at him, then lowered his eyes and shifted closer, leaning against the younger nation’s side as he threw the blanket over both of them.
“I won’t ever be able to apologise enough, will I?” Alfred wasn’t looking at Arthur but he felt the man’s eyes on him, briefly, before he lowered them again. The younger man shifted, resting his head on top of Arthur’s soft blonde hair, and he sighed. “You’re never really going to forgive me.”
Arthur twitched, and made an odd sound, and it took several more of these hiccup-like motions for Alfred to realise that the older man was crying. He froze, momentarily at a loss, but it only took a slight tightening of his grip around the smaller body beside him for the dam to break, and suddenly Arthur was sobbing unrestrainedly in heavy, gasping sobs that shook him as he turned towards Alfred and clung to him.
“Arthur, don’t cry...” Alfred mumbled uncomfortably. He didn’t see Arthur cry often, and he hated it every time. “Please? I... I didn’t mean to bring that up... Arthur, stop crying...”
But he didn’t. Arthur continued to cry, speaking incoherently between each gasping breath about how he had given Alfred so much, more than he had ever given any other colony (even Australia, who he was still somewhat fond of). Alfred remained silent as Arthur threw accusations at him, blaming him for everything, and slowly reducing to simple insults as the tears abated.
“Sodding git,” the Englishman choked out, punctuating his words with a fist against Alfred’s chest. “Bastard, this is all your fault.” Another hit, and Alfred caught hold of his wrist. Arthur struggled, and Alfred did the only thing that he knew would stop him, at least temporarily. He kissed him, and as predicted, Arthur fell still, remaining so when the younger nation pulled back.
“I’m sorry,” Alfred told him.
“Stop it.” Arthur’s eyes filled with tears again, and they spilled out onto his cheeks, but without the near-overwhelming sobs from before.
“I’m sorry, Arthur...” Alfred said again, and Arthur looked away. For a long time, Alfred had blamed Arthur for the Revolution, reasoning that if it hadn’t been for the taxes, the demands, the bigger taxes, that he wouldn’t have even thought of breaking away from him. Over the years, he had come to realise that Arthur had only done those things because he was trying to protect his young colony, to keep a hold on him so that he wouldn’t try to face the world on his own. He had learned to be grateful for the years of shelter that Arthur had given him, but still... he wouldn’t go back to it.
“Arthur... I want you to promise me that you won’t drink anymore.”
He asked this every time, and every time Arthur would promise, and he would never keep it. His blue eyes levelled on Arthur and the man almost squirmed under his gaze, before he slowly lifted his eyes and met the younger nation’s.
“I promise,” he mumbled, dropping his head to Alfred’s shoulder. “I want a promise from you, though...”
“I promise I won’t leave you again,” Alfred told him, brushing a kiss over his temple. Arthur made that odd hiccupping sound again, and Alfred hugged him tightly, hoping against hope that this time the Englishman would be able to keep his word.
*shamelessplug* Are you interested in the Prussia/Canada pairing? If so, please take a moment to check out (and hopefully join!) prusxcan , a Prussia/Canada community started by myself and amael_elen. Thanks! *endshamelessplug*