Note: Continuation of Chapter 20

Chapter 21 – Nowhere Man

It was time once again for a World Meeting. For some reason that Arthur could not fathom, Alfred seemed unreasonably excited about it. Even Arthur found himself getting bored at these things until fighting inevitably broke out again and again; and Alfred generally had to be dragged out of his bed to get ready for the meeting.

The morning before today's meeting had been unusual though. The American had actually gotten up before Arthur was awake and had made breakfast for both of them. He had also had all of his things ready and was practically bouncing on his feet waiting for the Brit to get ready and out the door. Alfred also could not stop smiling, and it was a genuine smile. But for the life of him, Arthur couldn't figure out what was making his lover so excited and happy.

"Is everything okay?" He asked as he got into the driver's seat in his car. The meeting was at Francis's place, but the two of them were just going to drive from his house since they were so close together.

"What? Of course it is!" Alfred grinned as he slid into the shotgun seat. This caused Arthur to frown a bit more. Alfred always complained when he couldn't drive. Alfred seemed to notice the frown and gave him a puzzled look. "Why are you not driving? Jeez, Artie, you always say that I'm the one that makes us late, and here you are not driving."

"What ever do you mean? I'm driving right now!" Arthur was a bit flustered as he quickly started the car and got onto to road. He didn't notice Alfred's grin return and that the American's hand was nervously touching something in his pocket. But it didn't matter since he didn't notice and Alfred reached over and turned on the radio.

Pretty soon, the World Meeting was in full swing, but Arthur couldn't help but notice that things were strange here too. For the first time that he could remember, the meeting was running smoothly. No fights, no overwhelming gossip, no messing around. The nations just went up with their chosen topics, stated their case or information, held debates and discussions on the topics in a calm and logical manner, and then the process would renew with the next nation going up. Ludwig didn't even have to yell at anyone or get anyone back on track.

And the thing that weirded Arthur out the most was that no one was acting like anything unusual was happening. Everything was a bit too rational, and it made his hidden pirate just want to shake things up and cause a fight with Francis, because seeing as this was his place, it was surely his fault. Despite Arthur's constant complaints that he wished World Meetings would run smoothly like this, it was just too weird and he wanted it to stop. After all, this wasn't the way the world worked.

As the slide show at the front showed that the topic was Global Warming, Arthur felt himself relax a bit. Alfred always did the topic of Global Warming and he always came up with a bunch of baloney to talk about that would surely involve heroes somehow. It was just the thing to get the meeting back to its normal state of chaos.

So Arthur was a bit shocked when Matthew went up to talk about it instead.

"Alfred!" He hissed at the American seated beside him. It was harder to whisper at him than normal considering that everyone was actually paying attention to the presentations for once.

"What?" Blue eyes gazed into Arthur's own as Alfred looked up from his notes and few doodles about to meeting to answer his boyfriend.

"Why aren't you bloody doing Global Warming? You always do it." Arthur said in confusion.

Alfred gave a small smile. "Matthew had some good ideas. I have another topic today. Now pay attention, it's Mattie's turn." Alfred's smile grew bigger as he whispered back. Then he went back to paying attention to his twin's topic.

Arthur stared at Alfred for a moment and then turned back to watch the presentation. Matthew really did have some great ideas to help prevent global warming. But seriously, what the bloody hell is going on today? He asked himself.

The rest of the day continued to run smoothly. Everyone went to lunch on time with neither Feliciano nor Alfred trying to make them all go to lunch early. The afternoon part started right on time with no one coming back from lunch late. During the lunch break, Arthur had tried to get Alfred to see that there was something unusual going on, but Alfred had just given him a look that said that he had no clue what he was talking about.

There were only a few topics left for the day, and Arthur could feel the meeting winding down. The whole day had been so odd, but he didn't expect the next topic that popped up on the screen.

After all, the nations had never discussed marriage equality before although several of their countries were working on it.

And Arthur was so busy gaping at the new topic that he almost didn't notice Alfred getting up beside him.

"What?" Arthur stared as Alfred made his way up to the podium. Dimly, he thought that it did make a bit of sense for Alfred to have this topic, as it had been a big deal in the past year at his place. It was just that he never imagined that Alfred would bring it up at a World Meeting.

"Well," Alfred began, straightening some papers on the podium. "As you all may have heard, marriage equality has really been making strides at my place for the last five to ten years, but this year, it really made some progress with that stupid DOMA law being declared unconstitutional. It always was unconstitutional since one of the reasons why people originally came to my place in the first place was so that they could live and love any way they wanted.

"On a personal note, I have always supported marriage equality and equality in all of its forms. After all, can't really be considered the land of the free if I personally think that not everyone has equal rights." He flashed his "hero" grin. "Then again, sometimes our countries don't exactly follow what we ourselves believe and it takes some time for them to catch up to what we know is right." Here, Alfred gave a significant glance at Ivan who, without Arthur's notice, had pulled Yao into his lap. Ivan just raised an eyebrow in return.

"Anyway," Alfred continued, "on a somewhat related note, the other day I was listening to my iPod and the song Nowhere Man by the Beatles came on." Arthur stared at his boyfriend, having no clue what the Beatles had anything to do with this topic. "For those of you who've never heard that song before, let me tell you about it.

"In that song, there's a guy called Nowhere Man. He goes nowhere but he has all of these plans that could make a world of difference. He has all of these plans but he does nothing; he's just waiting for someone to come along and tells him to actually use his plans to help everyone.

"And I was thinking: isn't that what we do sometimes? I mean, we have to wait for our bosses or people to get with the program before we can really do anything that we think could help each other. I mean, back during World War II, I wanted to help end it as soon as it started, but it took Pearl Harbor to convince my boss that we weren't going to be able to stay out of it.

"So I've decided to do something about that. I'm going to be an example and hopefully my people will quickly follow. As a hero, it's the least I can do, so…" Alfred grinned again and left the podium, walking down the table back towards Arthur was sitting.

And all Arthur could do was stare. He can't be serious, can he? He is not doing this, right? Arthur thought as he felt a blush rise in his cheeks as Alfred came closer and closer. He felt somewhat hopeful while being mortified that this was happening in front of the entire world.

Both his hopes and fears were confirmed as Alfred dropped to one knee right in front of his seat. Alfred looked up at him and Arthur could only see hope and love in his eyes. Pulling a small ring box from his pocket, Alfred asked the one question that Arthur never thought he would ever hear in his existence as a country. "Arthur Kirkland, personification of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, will you marry me?" He opened the box to reveal a ring with a ruby, diamond, and sapphire inset on it, representing the three colors that they both share.

"Of course, I bloody will, you git!" There certainly were not tears in Arthur's eyes as he said this and slipped on the ring, noticing an inscription of United Always on the inside. He was certainly not crying at all as he embraced his crazy American and the world went crazy around the two.

Later he would learn that Alfred had asked the other countries to behave during the meeting so Arthur wouldn't be too annoyed when he popped the question. He would also learn that the nations had all agreed to the idea and it had even caused some nations to question their partners about when they were going to drop a knee.

But for now, Arthur let himself be caught up in happiness at the prospect of being tied to the one he loved and gratefulness that Alfred preferred to actually try his plans unlike Nowhere Man.

AN: Bit of a long set-up, but I think it's worth it. I wanted to do a story about either Alfred or Arthur proposing, as I set up last chapter. I also wondered what would it be like if a World Meeting ran smoothly. Since there's been a lot of talk about Marriage Equality this past year especially, I figured now was as good a time as any to do so. Anyway, next chapter will be the last and the wedding bells will ring.