Pairing/s/Characters: (in this chapter) USxUK (main).
Rating/Warnings: Eventual NC-17/R. This chapter, G. Copious fluff. Insulin at the ready!
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. ~
The rain was coming down in sheets when Arthur got home. It had been a week since he had last seen Alfred and he’d been regretting what he’d said ever since. He didn’t know where Alfred was, though. He wasn’t at home (and nor was Prussia, as he had found out when he’d tried to call him to see where the American had buggered off to), and he would be lying if he said he wasn’t concerned. Alfred was well known for being impulsive... what if Arthur had driven him to do something really stupid?
He pulled into the driveway and sighed quietly as he looked out at the rain. Even in the few seconds it took to get to the door he was going to be soaked, and his umbrella had been a lost cause since a stray gust of wind had turned it inside-out and snapped three of the spindles earlier in the day.
“Sod it,” he muttered, pushing the door open. He got to the door as quickly as he could, then he stopped, and stared at the red rose attached to the handle. Tentatively, as if he thought it would disappear if he touched it, he tugged it free and cupped the flower in his hands, frowning slightly. As he entered the house the first thing he saw was a vase full of perfect red blooms on the table near the bottom of the stairs, and he felt himself blush as he walked over and trailed one fingertip over a soft petal.
Suddenly, a soft towel was wrapped around his shoulders and he flinched, knowing who it was before he turned around. Alfred smiled at him, a little nervously, and he looked away, tugging the towel a fraction closer around himself.
“What are you doing here, Alfred...” he said, only then realising that Alfred was wearing a very well made deep blue suit that set off his eyes, and a white shirt open at the collar. Alfred watched him stare, and gave a slightly mischievous lopsided grin.
“I’m taking you out on a date,” the younger man told him. Arthur just gawped, his mouth hanging slightly open until Alfred lightly touched his chin and closed it.
“You want to do what?”
“Take you out on a date,” Alfred repeated. He’d had a haircut, Arthur noticed, and Alfred fidgeted idly with the hem of his jacket. “You have time to get ready, the dinner reservations are at six thirty... okay?”
It was to the point, out of the blue and so typically Alfred that Arthur simply couldn’t refuse. The tension dropped from his body and he rubbed the towel over his hair and smiled, nodding slightly. Alfred let out a quiet sound of relief and watched the man walk up the stairs, and returned to the front room to wait. So far so good... Alfred’s call to Arthur’s boss to ask if he could be set back home early hadn’t gone to waste.
Alfred was pacing back and forth by the time he heard Arthur coming back. He had never known the man to take so long to get ready, and as he went to meet him it became quite clear why Arthur had been so slow. The fact that he had made an effort was easy to see, the smart dark grey suit that he wore not one that Alfred had seen before. It was strange to see him not wearing a tie, too, and he seemed to have made a very good attempt at calming his hair. As soon as he saw Alfred he hesitated, and blushed, and Alfred closed the distance between them and lightly kissed the shorter man’s cheek.
He called a taxi, and held an umbrella over Arthur’s head as he walked him to it, and even held the door open for him. Arthur still looked stunned, a little jumpy as Alfred reached over and placed one hand lightly over his as it rested between them. He glanced over to the American, who patted his fingers gently.
“You look good, Arthur,” he said, deciding to keep questions about how tired the man looked for later.
“Thank you...” Arthur murmured. “Where are we going?”
“Chez Bruce,” the American told him, watching Arthur’s eyes grow wide.
“But, Alfred, that place books months in advance! How did-”
“I have my ways,” Alfred replied mysteriously, winking and enjoying seeing Arthur blush again. “I... called in a few favours. I know you like French cuisine.”
“I do...” The Englishman was smiling as he looked out of the window and watched the raindrops sliding down the glass. Alfred kept his silence, idly running his fingers over the back of Arthur’s hand. It felt good to be able to touch him again, even if it was just this small amount of contact, and Arthur seemed to feel the same for he turned his hand over and clasped Alfred’s, his eyes still fixed on whatever was outside the taxi window. When they reached the restaurant Alfred was the gentleman once again, holding the taxi door open and paying the driver before he escorted Arthur into the restaurant.
“Alfred F. Jones, a table for two,” he said to the hostess as they walked in. A waitress took their coats, and the hostess briefly checked the book before she smiled and nodded, taking them to a table and asking what they wanted to drink before she moved away. Alfred sighed happily, shifting one hand tentatively across the table and brushing his fingers against Arthur’s. When the Englishman responded by moving his hand closer, Alfred clasped it, and Arthur looked up at him, smiling faintly.
“I like this,” he said softly. Alfred lifted his hand and pressed a kiss to his fingers.
“So do I.”
Alfred was careful to mind his manners as he ate, actually using his knife to cut his food rather than picking up the entire steak with his fork and eating it. He noticed Arthur looking up at him now and then and every time he did the younger man would smile a little and Arthur would blush, a matching smile on his lips as he turned his attention back to his meal. Each time Alfred softly cleared his throat Arthur would glance at him as if he expected the man to say something, or do something typical, though as time wore on and he did no such thing it was as if the Englishman relaxed, an expression of quiet pleasure on his face.
Smiles came more easily to Arthur as they left the restaurant, and he linked his arm through Alfred’s as the taller man hailed a taxi. Inside, Alfred fumbled around in a pocket and looked vaguely worried for a moment before he drew out two tickets.
“What are you up to now?” Arthur said suspiciously.
“You like classical music, don’t you?” Alfred asked him. The smaller nation cast a long, hard look at the open and honest face of his companion and then nodded, and Alfred cracked a smile. “We’re going to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.”
“... We are?”
Alfred wasn’t sure what that tone was. Disbelief, but more than that, and for a brief moment Arthur looked very much as if he was trying not to cry. He swallowed hard, and quickly composed himself, shutting his eyes for a moment, a slight smile quirking at the corner of his mouth.
“You certainly went to a lot of trouble...” he murmured.
“You’re worth it, Arthur,” was the confident reply. Arthur was blushing far too easily tonight.
Cadogan Hall was already quite busy when they arrived, and Alfred was pleased that he had had the foresight to buy the tickets for the late performance. Alfred slipped one arm around Arthur’s waist as they walked in, and to his surprise the man leaned against him, resting his head on the younger nation’s shoulder. A faint flush touched the American’s cheeks and he glanced down at the top of Arthur’s blonde head, leaning down slightly to brush a kiss against his temple.
Alfred had never been much of a fan of classical music, yet each time Arthur’s eyes strayed to him his gaze was fixed intently forwards, watching the orchestra playing. Feeling fingers slide over his he turned his hand over, and Arthur’s hand clasped his tightly, only pulling away to applaud enthusiastically at the end of each piece. At a pause as the musicians checked their instruments Alfred leaned close to Arthur and spoke softly into his ear.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” he asked. Arthur started and looked at him, blushing right up to his hairline though Alfred had no idea why that could be. Absently, Arthur rubbed his shoulder and smiled, and Alfred beamed in response.
“Very much so,” the Englishman told him. Alfred wondered why he had never taken Arthur out before. The man’s face was lightly flushed as he watched the musicians play, his eyes wide and lips slightly parted as if drinking in every note. At every crescendo he would tighten his grip on Alfred’s fingers, and sometimes he would shift forwards in his seat, only to drop back, and Alfred would see the man’s throat shift as he swallowed heavily.
Alfred decided that he loved seeing Arthur like this.
At the end of the performance, Alfred was treated to his first full smile from Arthur, and he chuckled softly, following the man through the milling crowds and out onto the street, bumping into his back as he stopped suddenly.
“Oof,” he said.
“Mm,” Arthur replied, frowning slightly. As if on impulse he turned to Alfred and slipped both arms inside his coat, embracing him and resting his head against the taller man’s shoulder. Surprised, Alfred was at first not sure what to do with his hands, then they slowly came to rest on Arthur’s shoulders, and he drew him close. They remained like that for a few long moments, before Arthur pulled away, clearing his throat awkwardly.
“What are we doing now?” he asked, and Alfred blinked at him.
“You don’t want to go home?”
“Not yet.” Arthur sounded almost shy, and Alfred glanced upwards for a moment before he beamed a brilliant smile and wrapped one arm around Arthur’s shoulders.
“Let’s go for a walk, then.”
A breeze picked up as they walked by the Thames, the light casting an orange glow over the water. Alfred had his hands pushed deep into his pockets, and Arthur shivered as the wind caught his hair and lifted it, his cheeks tinged faintly pink by the cold. Alfred glanced at him, and silently took off his coat, wrapping it around Arthur’s shoulders. The chill bit at his skin through his jacket and shirt but it was worth it to see that look on Arthur’s face. The Englishman curled his fingers into the coat and let out a soft sigh, casting his eyes up to meet Alfred’s.
“Why are you doing this?” he asked. Alfred winced, though he wouldn’t begrudge the man an answer... he did deserve one.
“Because... because I want to prove that I’m good enough for you.” Now it was Alfred’s turn to blush. “I didn’t just want to leave it with you not sure if you believed that I loved you... I want to prove that I do, that... that I don’t just take you for granted.” He paused, and drew Arthur to a stop, clasping both of his hands in his and chafing his thumbs lightly along the smaller man’s knuckles. “I do listen to you, Arthur... even if half the time it seems that I don’t... I just... I was so confused when Adelgonde was with you... I was so jealous... because she was spending time with you, doing things that you and I had never done, and making you so happy, and it wasn’t me...”
It was an awkward, fumbling explanation and Alfred inwardly cursed his lack of any real talent with words. Arthur was smiling, though, so he had to have done something right.
“You’re sweet, you know,” Arthur said then, drawing away from Alfred to lean on the nearby stone wall, gazing out over the water and taking in the view of the Houses of Parliament at the other side of the river. “You went to all this trouble... and it all could have been avoided so easily if you’d just spoken to me in the first place.”
“I’m... I’m glad I went to the trouble.” Alfred stepped up behind Arthur, his hands in the pockets of his trousers, and Arthur glanced back over his shoulder. “It made me think a lot, about how I treat you... and I realised, I don’t treat you very well at all, Arthur. In fact, I don’t know why you decided to stay with me after that first time...” How they had ended up a couple was a bit of a blur for both of them. It had involved a lot of alcohol, and waking up naked and tangled together in the same bed. Clearly Arthur was thinking of it as well since he blushed and looked away, though Alfred caught the faint smile that flickered over his lips.
“Well, that’s alright then, isn’t it...” the shorter nation murmured.
Arthur looked over his shoulder again, and Alfred turned him around, pressing him gently back against the low wall. His green eyes widened, flicking down briefly as Alfred placed the tips of two fingers gently under his chin.
“I love you, Arthur Kirkland,” he said, his voice flooded with sincerity. Arthur made a soft, helpless little sound, and Alfred closed the distance between them, the kiss that followed deeper and more passionate than any he could remember before.
“I know,” Arthur whispered as they drew apart. “I know, Alfred. I love you too.”
“The Love which us doth bind, but Fate so enviously debarrs,” Alfred said with a hint of amusement. The Englishman blinked, his eyes a little wide once again.
“Was that... Andrew Marvell?”
When Alfred nodded, he let out a low sound of delight and threw his arms around the younger man, kissing him again, not protesting when he was picked up and sat on the wall, with Alfred stood comfortably between his knees.
“I missed you,” Arthur said softly.
Alfred didn’t answer that, simply pulled the smaller man into his arms and held him tightly, burying his fingers into Arthur’s hair and feeling the warmth of each quiet breath on the curve of his throat.
It was just after midnight when the taxi pulled up outside Arthur’s house. Alfred paid, and then walked the Englishman to the front door, hanging back as he unlocked it. Arthur looked at him expectantly as he pushed the door open, but Alfred simply smiled, took the man’s hand and pressed a soft, chaste kiss to his lips.
“Good night, Arthur,” he said quietly. Arthur blinked, momentarily speechless, staring up into Alfred’s warm blue eyes.
“A-aren’t you coming in?” he asked.
“That would be a little improper,” Alfred replied. “It’s only our first date.”
Slowly, Arthur blushed, and it was a pleasure for Alfred to watch the colour rising in his cheeks. The man smiled shyly, and Alfred squeezed his fingers lightly before letting his hand go and watching him walk into the house. Inside, Arthur leaned against the door and shut his eyes, with that smile still on his face as he pressed one hand to his fluttering heartbeat.
It's almost the last chapter, folks! The last chapter will be NC-17/R rated, so if you've been reading this but haven't joined the community, you won't get to see how it ends! For everyone else... it'll be up tomorrow ^_~
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