Hoo boy. It's been a long time. *Kakashi-sensei voice* "I was helping an old woman cross the road."
I've probably lost all my followers. Is anyone even in the Hetalia fandom anymore? Is anyone even on this site anymore? Lol. So yeah. Long time. Well over a year. I'm a douchebag and I'm sorry. But I did say I would finish this and it's been haunting me and I never actually left the fandom and even if I did I would finish this. So yeah. I'm back. You may have to wait through a few more fillers before I can get to the actual story. It's been so long since I looked at this I basically forgot everything that happened. Haha. Anyway, it super weird to be back because so much has changed in my life but its also really nice to be updating this again, so yeah.
Huge shoutout to my guest reviewers, since I cant personally thank you for all the nice things you say.
"Mattie. Hey, Mattie!" His brother shrugged off his hand, burrowing deeper into the sheets. Alfred let out a huff and shook harder, bouncing on the bed and finally, when all he received for his trouble was grunts and mumbles, tore the sheet from the bed.
"Matt! Wake UP! It's our birthday!"
A blue eye glared up at him under a mess of golden hair. Matthew was hardly a morning person. Alfred let out a gulp as his brother glanced at the clock.
"5 AM? Really, Al?"
Alfred let out a weak chuckle. "Dude, it's our birthday! The earlier you get up, the more time you have as the birthday boy!" Matthew merely rolled his eyes and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Taking that as the end of the conversation, Alfred bounded down the stairs. His dad was up already, which Alfred expected. He usually was off to work by now, but today was the 4th of July parade, and he would be in it with the police department float. He turned to Alfred now and smiled.
"Hey kid. Heard you turned ten. Ready to get a job and support my through retirement?"
Alfred giggled. His Dad was such a weirdo some times. "Daaad! I have to go to college first!"
"Oh yeah? And when will that be?" His dad swooped down and grabbed him under the armpits, tossing him into the air. Alfred shrieked in glee, wrapping his arms and legs around his dad and snuggling his head into the crook of his father's neck. "Don't you go growing too fast, kiddo." His dad whispered, wrapping his arms around Alfred.
The sound of his parents' bedroom door opening had Alfred wriggling from his dad's arms. It wouldn't do to have Mom catch him snuggling. He was ten after all! Nonetheless, his father left a warm hand on his shoulder as his mom entered the room.
"Thought I heard a ruckus," She smiled at her husband and son. "Good morning, Alfie. And happy birthday. Is your brother up yet?"
Her answer came stumbling down the stairs still dressed in his pajamas. His parents coddled him and wished him a happy birthday while Alfred stood to the side, smug that he had gotten that out of the way before his little brother arrived. Seeing as he was the elder of the two, such affection would be embarrassing. Matthew, of course, was the youngest and could be allowed to be babied.
Matthew, for his part, tried to look unimpressed with the treatment, but was clearly enjoying it.
To the boys' great delight, breakfast was pancakes. Matthew coated his in maple syrup. It was usually too expensive and they would have the cheaper 'butter flavored' syrup. But since it was a special occasion, their mother had paid a little extra to put a big smile on her younger son's face. Alfred preferred the cheaper syrup himself, much to Matthew's genuine disgust, but opted for chocolate chips in his pancakes today.
After breakfast, Alfred and Matthew ran outside to play catch with their dad for a couple hours. When they came in covered in dirt and sweat, their mom ordered them to wash up before the parade and, after a cursory glance behind their ears (Alfred had to be sent back to wash again), they were deemed presentable. Bouncing with excitement, the boys dashed off to the park where they had seen booths and rides being set up the days previous. Already, the grounds were milling with people. Food stalls were selling funnel cakes, ice cream and hot dogs while people blew money on games. Some artists and vendors were selling wares as Uncle Sams and Lady Libertys wandered around and stopped for photos.
Alfred had heard of people not liking to be born on a holiday. They felt like it detracted from them. Alfred was the opposite. He loved being born on the 4Th of July. The smells and the sounds of the little fair, the parades and the fireworks; he felt like they were all for him and Mattie. Really, he knew it had nothing to do with them. It was the birthday of their country. But he felt in a way that it was for them, too.
Independence Day. That's what Mom called it. Most everyone he knew called it '4th of July'. But Mom called it Independence Day. The Americans were tired of being told what to do, she'd said once.
"They were being forced to do all sorts of things. And when they complained or expressed themselves they were shut down." She'd said. Her eyes had a very far off look in them. "It just became too much. It was hard for them to leave the country that raised them and fought for them, but they had to do what was best for their people. They had to be able to grow up." She smiled at the small boys who stared up at her with wide eyes and drew them closer. "So they fought for their right to be independent and they won. And I'm sure it hurt. It probably tore friends and families apart. But because of what they did, we can be here today. And you boys," she kissed their heads, "are the result. I am an immigrant. America offered me freedom and from that, you were born. This day celebrates you and all children like you whose families came here to give them a better future."
Alfred grinned as he remembered his mother's words. She was right, after all. This day was about them. Not only because it was their birthday, but because they were American. They were the descendants of dreamers and rebels and they had big shoes to fill. But they would fill them, no problem. He and Mattie could do anything as long as they were together.
"Hey Mattie, the parade is about to start! Wanna go find the best spot? Dad said he would throw as much candy as he could right to us!"
Matthew's response was a beaming smile.
Alfred watched in awe, hand clasped with his brother's while the brilliant explosions lit the sky. The cheers and exclamations around them just added to the excitement. Alfred let out a delighted gasp when an enormous red firework exploded through the night with a deafening bang.
"So much red."
Alfred blinked. What was tha-
Alfred's eyes swiveled to his brother's at the choked whisper and recoiled in horror.
Dead eyes stared back into his. Blood pouring from the gaping mouth matched the bright red still oozing from the holes in the corpse that used to be the most important person in his life.
"Wake up! MATT! Please!" He shook his brother, trying to ignore the warm red fluid that made a squelching noise as it seeped between his fingers. Eyes frantically tore around for someone, anyone, to help. Help his baby brother. Oh God He's so small. Help! But he's alone. Where are all the people? The night is empty and silent around him.
No. That's not how it happened.
It's their birthday. They're only ten years old! Kids can't die! Kids can't be bleeding on the cold ground. Where's Mom? Dad! Help!
"Matt! Please wake up! Mattie!"
No. That's not how it happened. We went home and got presents. I got comic books and Mattie got a new hockey stick. He was so excited. He didn't die. He didn't die. Why is he dying?
"Al-fred" The name slithered through blood stained blue lips. "Al. Why?" The lifeless, empty eyes bored through his soul.
"M-Mattie. No. Mattie."
"Mattie." His hands were sticky.
He came awake with a sharp gasp that sent him into a fit of coughing. His face was drenched, though whether it was from sweat or tears he couldn't tell.
"Alfred," A soft voice murmured above him, "lie back down." He finally noticed the hand clasped on his shoulder, no doubt left their after rousing him from his nightmare. Memory?
"Arth'r" His voice was hoarse and cracked when he tried to talk. His cousin hushed him, lifting a cool glass of water to his lips.
"Drink. You're severely dehydrated. You've had an incredibly high fever for a two days and it finally broke. You need to rest."
He didn't want to ask. He didn't want to but he couldn't remember. It hurt to think.
"Is- Is Mattie…?"
His cousin's face crumpled. It was answer enough.
"I'm so sorry."
"I-I'm going back to sleep."
"That's probably for the best." Arthur pulled the sheets up and placed a cool washcloth over his eyes. "I'll be nearby if you need me. Just sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."
As the door softly clicked behind his retreating cousin, the moisture from the cloth let rivulets dribble down his cheek.
They felt warm.
uhhhh... did I disappear for a year only to return with 1500 words of misleading you into thinking I could write a non-angsty chapter? Haha. Yes. Yes I did.
Happy 4th of July.