Pairing/s/Characters: (in this chapter) USxUK (main), implied SpainxFrance, implied GreecexJapan, and Prussia (briefly).
Rating/Warnings: Eventual NC-17/R. This chapter, G. Possible fail at French, Spanish, Japanese, and Greek.
Summary: Alfred is forced to realise his deeper feelings for Arthur when he finds himself jealous over his lover spending time with Adelgonde Peeters (Belgium - named by me for the sake of the fic). His subsequent 'investigation' puts his entire relationship in danger, and it falls to him to search inside himself and discover what it really means to be in love. ( A/N: First multi-chapter Hetalia fic! And also my tenth Hetalia fic =D I also suck at summaries. orz )
~ The spaces between your fingers were created so that another's could fill them in. ~
****“Oh, come on, Alfie, it’s not that bad,” Gilbert said as Alfred got into the taxi beside him and put his head in his hands. In that moment, Alfred would have liked very much just to punch him, but it wouldn’t have done him any good and he didn’t have a spare set of clothes to change into if he got the Prussian’s blood on his shirt. He kept his silence as Gilbert chattered on the way back to the airport, back soon enough that some of the same staff were still working, and gave him sympathetic looks when they saw the dejected expression on his face.
“Back home, then?”
“Mm. Go back to Canada.”
“Happily. See you ‘round, Alfie.”
Alfred loitered in the airport for a few hours after Gilbert had gone, sitting by the large airport windows and watching the planes land. He wondered if he ought to go back to Arthur’s house. The man hadn’t spoken a word after that last heart-wrenching line, simply allowed Alfred to hold him in a stunned silence, and when he was released he had just turned around, and walked back into his house. His gait had been stiff, as if he was on autopilot, and Alfred had felt much the same as Gilbert had steered him out of the gate and down the driveway with surprising gentleness. It wasn’t Gilbert’s fault. Not really.
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, leaning back in the uncomfortable waiting-area chair and feeling his spine creak in protest. Now was not the time to be sitting around moping, even if it was the one thing he would really rather do right now. If Arthur didn’t believe it, then he would have to prove it. Standing, he headed purposefully across the airport, and purchased a ticket to France.
It was difficult for Francis to hide his surprise when he opened the door to see a rather worn-looking America stood with one hand still raised to knock again. He blinked, then silently stepped back and waved one hand to invite the young nation inside.
“Who’s that?” A voice called from further in the house.
“Alfred,” Francis shouted back, and a mutter of ‘mierda’ was heard before the sound of a chair scraping back and someone running up the stairs.
“Is that Spain?” Alfred asked as he was ushered through to the kitchen and out of the back door to the sunlit deck, where Francis had evidently been enjoying a late breakfast. After clearing up the dishes the Frenchman joined Alfred at the table with a bottle of wine and two glasses, idly buttoning his shirt up as he regarded the other man lazily.
“This is a strange surprise, mon petit l'Amérique,” the older nation said, his blue eyes locked to Alfred’s. “Is there something that you need?”
Alfred watched Francis pour two glasses of wine and push one towards him. A comment about it being a little early for drinking rose to his mind, but he dismissed it, drawing the glass to him and lifting it, taking a sip. He noticed Francis watching him closely, and slowly, he looked down into the glass, then back up.
“It’s very good,” he offered. This seemed to satisfy the man and he nodded, drinking from his own glass. “There is something you can help me with, though.”
“Um...” And here was the tricky part. Would it be possible to get help from Francis without blowing his cover? Though, was that cover really worth keeping anymore? He was already in enough trouble with Arthur... if what he was planning worked, then it wouldn’t matter if everybody else knew about them. “Oh, screw it. Francis, Arthur thinks I don’t love him and I need your help so I can win him back.”
For a long moment, Francis stared at him, then he turned around and shouted back into the house. “Oi, Antonio!”
“You owe me fifty Euros!”
“Joder!” Antonio appeared at the door, glaring at Alfred. The American took one look at the Spaniard’s wild hair and cracked his first smile in hours. Seeing this, and no doubt aware that he looked as if he’d spent most of the night on his back, Antonio grumbled under his breath and stepped out onto the deck, joining them at the table. “So you’ve managed to lose me money and mess things up? You’re on a roll today, America.”
Francis chuckled at the puzzled look on Alfred’s face and explained briefly that he and Antonio had been holding a small bet – Francis had believed that Alfred was already with Arthur, while Antonio had thought otherwise. Even with his low opinion of England he didn’t believe the man would see anything in America. With that explained, Francis hummed and sipped his wine again before he cleared his throat to speak.
“So, you wish to learn the art of romance, Alfred?” When the younger male gave a small, hesitant nod, Francis laughed and clapped his hands together. “Everybody knows that the three main components of successfully wooing the object of your affection are good food, good wine, and the perfect place to consume them!”
“Of course, there is more to it than just that,” Antonio muttered, and Alfred glanced to him with faint surprise. Shrugging, the Spaniard settled back in his chair and pursed his lips a little. “I don’t like you, America. I don’t much like England, either, but I do hate to see a love affair in distress.” He sighed and rolled his eyes, leaning forwards and resting his arms on the table. “These are important things, America. You must look good for him. That means changing out of that ridiculous jacket and putting on a suit. You must be able to make him laugh, and I don’t mean by acting like an idiot. Listen to what he has to say, and above all, make your intentions known. Flirt with him, though not in your usual, wrecking-ball way. You must be subtle. Do you understand me?”
“No!” Antonio landed a sudden smack across Alfred’s head. “You do not ‘think’. Do you understand or not?”
“Yes, yes! Subtle! I get it, already!”
“Bueno.” The man sat back, a slightly smug look on his face. Francis was staring at him, hiding a grin behind one hand, but when Alfred didn’t even react, his expression turned to one of concern.
“This is really bothering you, isn’t it, Alfred?”
“I...” Alfred’s voice cracked. “I love him so much, Francis.” He dropped his head into his hands. “I just wish I’d realised sooner... and if I lose him now, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
“I wish you’d make up your mind,” Antonio muttered. “One day you want to get away from him and the next you’re desperate to get him back.”
“Tais-toi, Antonio,” Francis said sharply, before he turned his attention back to Alfred, calming his tone. “Alfred, if you truly wish to win my brother’s heart you will not simply rely on the advice that we can give and go charging in there. You may stay here for a week, to save you making the trip back home only to return, and you may make your plans. Does that sound agreeable?”
Francis was being so... nice. He didn’t understand, and after where Prussia’s interference had got him he wasn’t sure that it was such a good idea, but staying in this country would keep him closer to Arthur should he suddenly come up with a plan... and it would have to be a damn fantastic one.
That evening, after Francis had let him borrow something to sleep in with a promise to take him out to buy some more clothes the next day (to which Alfred had cringed somewhat), Alfred sat on the edge of the bed in the room that Francis had offered to let him sleep in. It was far more lavish than what he was used to, though comfortable enough, and the Frenchman had given him a telephone with specific instructions to not call Arthur. Alfred didn’t think he’d be able to speak to the man at the moment anyway.
Pulling the telephone a little closer to him he lay on his stomach and thought for a moment before punching in a number, making a mental note to offer to pay Francis’ phone bill.
“Moshi-moshi? Honda de gozaimasu. Donata desu ka?”
“Eh... Kiku? It’s Alfred.” He toyed with a loose thread on the bed sheets as he spoke, noting the other man’s tone of surprise as he responded.
“Ah, Alfred-san. You are calling very late, is there a problem?” Once again, Alfred’s lack of awareness of time zones had failed him, and he glanced at the clock, mentally calculating what time it was in Japan and coming to the conclusion that it was some time very early in the morning.
“Oh... I’m sorry. I can call back later.”
“No, no, it is fine, Alfred-san... I am already awake after all.”
“Ah, alright.” The American had to smile at that. “Well, I need to ask you a question.”
“Then ask.” Kiku replied, and Alfred heard him yawn quietly. For a long moment he wasn’t sure quite how to phrase his question, and when he finally did speak it was slow and careful.
“I... need to convince somebody that I love them,” he said. “How would you do that?”
“Eh?” The smaller man’s voice was shocked and Alfred could practically feel the heat of his blushing through the telephone. “Why do you ask me this, Alfred-san?” When Alfred was silent, he heard a low sigh, and Kiku spoke again. “If you are trying to win somebody then you must respect them above all else, Alfred-san. You must make them feel as if they are the most special thing in the world to you, but do not act unless they make the first move. I think tha-”
Kiku cut off suddenly, and Alfred heard him utter a high squeak of surprise, and respond to somebody nearby. The younger nation listened hard, knowing that he recognised that voice speaking softly and hesitantly, as if he were unsure of the language.
“You got someone there with you, Kiku?” he asked, and Kiku cleared his throat before he replied in an almost bashful tone.
“Mm... Heracles is here.”
“Heracles? What’s he doing there?” Alfred immediately had his suspicions, and he listened to what sounded like a quiet scuffle on the other end of the line before the Greek was speaking to him, his voice low and sleepy.
“I’m trying to get him to come back to bed and you are keeping him away with odd questions,” he said, and Alfred couldn’t help but grin. Heracles didn’t sound all that annoyed, but then, he rarely did. Alfred had never really spoken to the man though he had noticed that he would spend the majority of the World Conference meetings fast asleep with a cat on his stomach. “I overheard what he said to you. Don’t listen to him, he’s far too timid.” The man laughed as Kiku spluttered and protested in the background. “You must be charming with this person that you wish to attract, and show genuine interest in them. How do you imagine that I managed to sweep Kiku off his feet?”
More spluttering. Alfred laughed, and Heracles chuckled appreciatively.
“If that is all you need, America, I will be taking Kiku back to bed. He needs some rest.”
“Mm, that’s all. Thanks.”
“Okhi provlima. Good night, America.”
He put the phone down with a quiet click and frowned, more mental notes going down on the list. The more he heard, the more it seemed so glaringly obvious and the more he realised how badly he had treated Arthur. He shut his eyes and sighed softly, taking his glasses off and putting them by the telephone. Rubbing his face roughly, he shook his head a little. Arthur must really have loved him, to put up with everything he did and how he treated the shorter nation. Alfred was going to make it right, though. He was determined to make it right.
This was originally going to be one chapter, but it's ended up being split into two because of the length 8D . Enjoy Alfred's awkwardness. Woo.
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