Pairing/s/Characters: (in this chapter) USxUK (main), France, Wales (OC), mention of Belgium.
Rating/Warnings: Eventual NC-17/R. This chapter, G. Possible fail Welsh (yes, Welsh).
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. ~
Alfred was surprised at just how quickly he adapted to living in France. The trip out to buy some clothes as Francis had suggested was something hardly worth dreading, and though he preferred the comfort of his usual bomber jacket, the clothes that he was persuaded to buy were quite acceptable. What bothered Alfred the most was the strange feeling of being completely helpless that had been with him since he had left Arthur’s home. He knew how out of character it was for him to be asking for help from anyone, usually one to simply charge in and try to fix things on his own, but somehow he knew that this was one thing that could only be pushed further into ruin by doing something like that.
Over the course of a few days he managed to regain a little of his usual self in heated arguments with Antonio that would normally degrade into the Spaniard switching to his native language and gesturing wildly while Alfred just looked at him blankly. Sometimes, Francis would stand on the sidelines and translate, but mostly he would just leave them to it. However, they would never physically attack each other. For Alfred it was his respect for Francis that stopped this though he could only guess what kept the hot-blooded Spaniard from lashing out.
Alfred was forming a plan, a few notes scruffily written on a piece of paper that he kept folded in one pocket. It was difficult when he had never had to think about this kind of thing before... Arthur had always just loved him without question. Realising this had been an uncomfortable revelation for Alfred, but Francis was refusing to allow him to mire himself in anything resembling depression.
It was something that Francis said one afternoon that prompted Alfred to make his second telephone call. ‘I was never the one closest to him’ the Frenchman had said, and Alfred had thought had for a long moment before his literal mind came upon an idea. In the early evening he headed up to his room and picked up the telephone, a scrap of paper with a number scribbled on it clasped in one hand. He dialled, and held the telephone to his ear, oddly nervous for a reason that he couldn’t quite place. The line clicked, there was a moment of static, and then a heavily accented voice that rang a vague bell in Alfred’s mind spoke.
“Wales, is that you?” Alfred frowned at the long pause that followed that question, tapping his fingers absently over one knee. Certainly, Francis had never been that close to Arthur – they had always had their fights – but Wales was the one of Arthur’s three brothers who he had always remained on relatively good terms with.
“Um, ie... Beth ydy’ch enw chi?” The foreign language immediately threw him, and he cleared his throat.
“... What?” he said, trying to remain as polite as he possibly could.
“Ah, mae'n ddrwg 'da fi, who is this please?” Relief at knowing that the man could speak English flooded through the young nation and he quickly gave his name, hearing the surprise and pleasure in the other’s voice as he responded. “Aah! Amerig! It has been a long time since I heard your voice. Noswaith dda.”
“Yeah, hey... Look, I need your help with something.”
“Mm? How can I help you?”
“I need you to tell me about Arthur- about England,” Alfred told him, crossing the fingers of his free hand tightly in his lap. He had often heard Arthur talk about Wales – or Rhys as he called him – with some measure of fondness as the only one of his three elder brothers that he got along with anymore. Scotland had always been something of a bully and Ireland had held a grudge since the early nineteenth century.
“Ah, ie, Lloegr and I have been on good terms for some time now. What can I tell you?”
“I... uh... I need you to tell me about him. You know, what turns his cogs and that sort of thing.”
“Turns his...?” Confusion coloured the Welshman’s tone. “Dywedwch hynny unwaith eto, os gwelwch yn dda, um, please repeat that.”
“You know, what makes him tick. What he likes. I’ve realised recently that I’m quite hopeless with this kind of thing. And, uh, Wales?”
“Please try to stick to English. I don’t know your... ah... language.” Alfred mentally kicked himself at the hesitation. Francis had told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to learn to be a bit more sensitive and that meant with everybody, not just with Arthur. The American was finding that it was a hard thing to learn.
“Ah... yes, sorry. My brawd- that is, my brother, he has been through many changes, but he enjoys familiar things. He is a romantic, and he is very easy to hurt.” Wales was talking as if he knew exactly why Alfred was asking him such unusual questions, and Alfred sighed softly, pushing his hand through his hair. Wales spoke again, his voice a little quieter now. “Ie... Lloegr is very proud of his history, and he likes to share it with people when they will listen. It is important to him – he wants to feel like he matters and can be very... ah... angerddol. Very... passionate.”
“Why didn’t I notice these things before...” Alfred muttered to himself.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Oh, nothing. Thanks.”
“Ah, da boch chi. Goodbye, America!”
He didn’t remember Wales being so cheerful the last time he had spoken to him. In a way, the man reminded him of Matthew – people often forgot that he existed. Alfred sighed and fell backwards, bouncing a little on the soft mattress. Resting his head on one hand he gazed at the ceiling, a small frown on his face. There was one more person... Though, he didn’t know if he dared to call her, and it took several minutes of back and forth arguing with himself before he sat up and called Adelgonde.
She knew what had happened, and Alfred’s stomach dropped as she told him how Arthur had called her sounding completely heartbroken. It was all he could do to muster the courage to ask her what she thought he should do, and she had one single piece of advice for him.
‘Whatever you do, it has to come from your heart.’
It was sound advice, and for some time after Alfred lay thinking about everything he knew about Arthur, which at first seemed ashamedly little, but the more he wrote down the more he remembered and he found himself wondering if he listened to Arthur more than he realised, and perhaps he wasn’t so terrible after all. That thought gave him confidence to continue and after two hours he had come up with a sizeable list of things that he knew about Arthur.
Scanning the list, he tapped his bottom lip in thought, and after a long moment the metaphorical lightbulb switched on, and he dived for the telephone, making several calls to people that he knew could help him to arrange something at short notice. In the middle of this excitement Francis stopped by the door, a small smile on his face as he watched the American scribble down details, speaking eagerly into the receiver about some kind of reservations for something. The Frenchman shook his head, and moved away from the door, the movement attracting Alfred’s attention and he waved the man into the room. Shrugging, Francis joined him, perching on the bed and leaning curiously over his shoulder to see what he was writing.
When Alfred finally put down the phone and didn’t appear to be planning to make another call, Francis cleared his throat and held out one hand. Alfred hesitated, then passed him the paper, and Francis scanned it silently for several minutes before he let out a long, slow breath and handed it back.
“I think you might just have it there, Alfred,” he said. “Do you think that you can do it?”
“I think so,” Alfred replied cheerfully. “I managed to get some reservations and tickets sorted out... do you think he’ll like it?”
Making a thoughtful sound, Francis looked up at Alfred’s eager young face and couldn’t help but smile.
“Oui,” he responded. “I think he will.”
That night, Alfred borrowed a small bag from Francis and packed up the clothes that he’d bought during his stay. He booked a room in a hotel over in London for the next couple of days, to give him time to make his final arrangements, making sure he was far enough from Arthur that he wouldn’t accidentally run into him. Francis watched him with a faintly fond expression as he packed, now and then making comments on the American’s lack of ability to fold clothes.
“Say, Francis,” Alfred said as he zipped the bag closed.
“Do you know of any good flower shops in London? I want to buy some roses...”
Helô - Hello
Ie - Yes
Beth ydy’ch enw chi - Who are you/What is your name
Mae'n ddrwg 'da fi - I'm sorry
Amerig - America
Noswaith dda - Good evening
Lloegr - England
Dywedwch hynny unwaith eto, os gwelwch yn dda - Please say that again
Da boch chi - Goodbye
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