Chapter 3 –July 4th Past Part 1
In London, Big Ben chimed as the hands showed one o'clock. Over at England's house, Arthur slept soundly, not noticing the time.
At least, until someone made him notice.
"Igirisu-san. Please wake up."
"Hmm… What?" England opened his eyes when he heard the voice and sat up.
His visitor turned on the bedroom light.
"Gah!" England shut his eyes at the sudden light and then slowly reopened them. He blinked at his visitor as he realized who was in his room. "Japan? What are you doing in my room?"
"Gomennesai, Igirisu-san." Kiku responded with a small bow, with his expressionless face giving nothing away. "However, I do believe that Rome-san was supposed to warn you of my coming."
Arthur blinked once more as he remembered his strange "dream" from earlier. "You mean that wasn't a bloody dream?"
"No. It wasn't."
"… So Mother really is plotting something. Why are you helping with this plot that's supposed to make me 'see the truth?'" England couldn't help but wonder how Britannia had convinced the stoic nation to go along with this whole scheme.
"It is inconsequential. Do not worry about it." A light blush dusted Japan's cheeks, leading Arthur to guess that he was bribed with something concerning his hobby of making yaoi.
God, you hate me, don't you? Arthur couldn't help but think, wondering why he had to go through with all of this, especially in the wee hours of the day he hated the most. "Very well. Let's get on with this. Tell me whatever the hell you came to tell me so I can go back to sleep."
The Japanese man blinked. "Igirisu-san, I have not come to tell you anything."
England furrowed his brow. "Then why the bloody hell are you here to do?"
"I am going to show you something."
"Show me something! But I am not dressed to go see anything." Arthur suddenly became very aware of the fact that he was in his pajamas while Japan stood before him dressed in his normal, informal kimono that he wore as casual dress.
"Do not worry. No one will see us." Japan quickly reassured him. "Or so I was told. In any case, all you have to do is take my hand and we will be on our way." He stiffly held his hand out towards England.
England himself looked suspiciously at the hand, but he began to extend his own hand towards Japan. "And what exactly will I be seeing?"
"I guess you could say…" Kiku gave a small smile. "I am the nation of the past. I will show you some history that happened on this day that will begin to show you the truth behind Alfred-san's reasons for this holiday."
"What?" Arthur nearly jerked his hand back. He certainly didn't want to see the past! But his hand was already close enough to Kiku's that the Japanese man simply grasped it. In the blink of an eye, they were gone.
England looked around. It seemed as if it was very early in the morning, with the sun just beginning to rise on the horizon. He was no longer in his bedroom. Instead he was standing on the lawn of a very familiar house. He scowled at it. "Why are we here? When are we?"
"Just watch, Igirisu-san." Japan said. "As for when we are, shouldn't you remember since you are right there?"
"What?" Arthur looked up to see himself coming out of America's front door.
The past-Arthur was dressed up in his gear to go sailing and was looking decidedly guilty. This Arthur quickly headed to a carriage that was waiting for him on the edge of the road, when something caused him to stop.
Both past-Arthur and present-Arthur turned to look towards the sound of the voice ringing in the early morning. On the porch of the house stood America, no, Alfred.
Present-Arthur could only gasp. The child on the porch was exactly as he remembered Alfred when he was younger. Alfred appeared to be about eight years old and he had obviously gotten dressed hastily as he had realized that the past-Arthur had been sneaking away.
Alfred's sky blue eyes shimmered with unshed tears, and his lower lip trembled, but he was trying to hide all this as he crossed his arms. "Why didn't you tell me you were leaving?" He demanded.
Past-England sighed and walked back over to Alfred. "I did leave a note for you to find. I thought it would be easier this way."
"Easier for who?" Alfred looked away from England. He kept trying to appear tough, but his bravado was quickly breaking.
England sighed again and knelt before Alfred. "Look, Alfred, I-!"
Alfred didn't want to hear more excuses. "Why do you have to go? Can't you just stay here with me?"
Past-Arthur gave a small smile. "Alfred, I would love to stay with you, but there is trouble over in Europe. I have to deal with this, so you can be safe. Once things are safe, I can stay here."
Alfred shook his head. He finally gave in and let the tears roll down his face. "I don't care! Please stay!" He leaped forward and wrapped his arms around England in a tight hug. "Don't go, Arthur! Don't go!"
Present-England felt guilt starting to grow down in his gut even though this wasn't happening to the current him. He could remember how often he had experienced this very scene unfolding before his eyes. Alfred had never wanted him to leave.
At least, he hadn't wanted him to leave until he had grown up.
England heard a small clicking noise that sounded suspiciously like a camera, but when he looked over at Japan, he saw the Asian holding nothing. He decided to disregard it as he turned back towards his past self, not noticing Kiku bringing his camera back out.
Present-Arthur knew what was coming next.
Past-England slowly and gently unwrapped Alfred's arms. He looked Alfred straight in the eye and wiped the tears from his face with tender fingers. "Someday, there will come a time when I will be able to spend all the time in the world with you. But until then, I have to leave, alright?"
Alfred looked at him, the tears starting to subside. "Do you promise?"
England smiled. "I promise, Alfred. So be a good boy and behave while I'm away." With this, England turned and boarded the carriage that would take him to the harbor and the ship that would take him away from America.
As the dust began to settle, present-Arthur made a move to follow it, but something grabbed his elbow and made him stay. "What? Aren't we going to follow me?" He turned to look at Japan.
Kiku's dark eyes were trained on something else. "I did not bring you back to see your past, Igirisu-san."
"What do you-?" England started to ask.
The single word cracked through the silence like a whip. England glanced over from where the accusation had come from and was surprised to see Alfred.
Alfred had stopped crying and was looking in the direction the past-Arthur had gone. "You are such a liar, Arthur."
Present-Arthur felt his jaw drop. Where is this statement coming from? Why did he think I'm a liar? Arthur's question was soon answered.
"You always promise you'll stay." Alfred continued his soliloquy. "But you never do. I thought we would always be together. That's why I…" His voice trailed off, and a sad expression came on his face. England felt like a knife was being twisted in his heart at that expression.
Alfred sighed. "I could make you stay, but you would hate me if I did that, huh." His eyes still glimmered with sadness, but there was a spark of understanding in them. "So go have your freedom, Arthur. I guess I'll just have to wait for that day to come." Alfred sighed again, and turned back towards his house and went in to start making his breakfast.
Meanwhile, England was shocked. I… I never thought that Alfred had ever thought that way. Did leaving him alone really hurt him that much? Then England remembered what the Alfred before him was planning on doing. He just said he would wait! Then why did he bloody declare independence on me?
"I never realized it before."
"What?" Japan's voice had snapped Arthur from his inner musings.
Kiku looked over at England. "Alfred-san was very strong even as a child, correct?"
Arthur nodded, not getting what Japan was saying.
"Alfred-san let you go." Kiku emphasized. "If he wanted to make you stay, he could have forced you to stay."
England blinked. He realized that Alfred himself had just said something along those same lines. But if he wanted me to stay as much as it always seemed, then why didn't he make me stay?
"However, he let you keep your freedom, Igirisu-san. He knew you would be sad if he forced you to do something you didn't want." Japan continued, purposely ignoring Arthur's lack of response. "He truly cares about you."
Then why didn't he just wait? Arthur continued to mull over these revelations. "Are we only going to be seeing Alfr-I mean, America's side of things?" He cursed at himself for nearly calling the git by his human name out loud.
"Hai. And there is still more to see." Kiku gave a small smile and grabbed Arthur's hand.
The pair disappeared from the windswept lawn of Colonial America.
Author's Note: The past was really long so I split it in two. Next time the most famous July 4th will be shown so stay tuned.