Sleeping Beauty

At first, on Tuesday October 1st, Arthur panicked when he couldn't wake Alfred up.

Sure, the American was usually hard to wake up because of his habit of staying up late and sleeping until at least 10 o'clock when he could. But this had been different.

Despite what most nations thought, Alfred worked really hard. He was smart, responsible, and always put his all into helping the people of his country. The night before he wouldn't wake up Alfred had stumbled in almost at midnight, mumbling under his breath, after working until those late hours. Arthur hated when Alfred worked so hard and so late, but he knew Alfred didn't want to hear a rant about how his government was working him too hard. Instead, he had just tugged him into bed, wrapped his arms around him, and hadn't been surprised when the American had immediately fallen asleep.

But now he wasn't waking up. What's more, he wasn't reacting to anything Arthur did. Tickling? Not so much as a giggle. Shouting? No groans of wanting to sleep. Offering to cook? No mad dashes to the kitchen. Stroking Nantucket? Not even a single twitch.

Turning on the TV, the reason for Alfred's continued sleep became apparent.

Government shutdown.

To say Arthur swore at the news would be an understatement.

Needless to say, Arthur was still concerned at the motionless sleep of his lover. Alfred was never so still when he slept. However, a quick call to Matthew, who had heard the news himself, revealed that this always happened during shutdowns and that if things went like the other times, the most recent one being 17 years ago, Alfred would wake up when the government reopened.

After hearing Alfred rant about how Democrats and Republicans should get along but don't, Arthur didn't see that happening anytime soon.

So he watched over Alfred and watched the news. After all, it would be easy for another nation to take advantage of the man in this state. Whoever attempted it would receive the full force of what Alfred called "Pirate Iggy" though.

It was the only thing he could do.

Though he did find him taking sides in the issues that were causing the shutdown. He found himself agreeing with that Jon Stewart, who had seen this coming, that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were law, so they couldn't not budget money about it.

And the debt ceiling had to go higher so they could borrow money without worrying? Wasn't the point of a budget supposed to be so a person (or government) wouldn't have to borrow money? Borrowing money would just put them farther behind! Did they want more debt? Why did they keep spending money they didn't have?

Sometimes, Arthur really did not understand Americans.

And since his lover was basically in a coma due to his government's ineptness, he really did not understand these politicians that were supposed to be the best in the country, the ones chosen to lead.

He did notice they were still getting paid.

After a few days he was almost glad that Alfred was asleep though.

Because his citizens were pissed.

All of the anger that was currently pointed towards the government would have made Alfred moody for days and brought him pain, so at least he didn't have to deal with that.

Still, regardless of what the citizenry wanted, Congress members continued to fight like children on the playground. Seriously, most kids acted better than Congress!

Although some of the anger did seem misdirected. President Obama could only approve a budget if both houses could agree and he didn't write it, so this causing an impeachment made no sense. It wouldn't even guarantee that he would no longer be president since an impeachment, contrary to what most people thought, was just an investigation to see if a president should be removed from office.

Still, deals were proposed and shot down. The House fought the Senate and vice versa. They all acted like toddlers. The citizens protested. Veterans ignored signs and continued to go to memorials (which Arthur did applaud). Life continued in the shutdown.

And Alfred still wouldn't wake up.

Arthur grew more worried. Who knew what would happen if the government defaulted? How would it affect Alfred?

Each night Arthur still crawled into bed and held Alfred close, listened to him breath.

The only thing Arthur could do was be there for him.

So he ignored what was going on over at his place, despite whispers that his own royal family was overspending, and just spent time at his lover's side as the threat of default loomed closer.

Then, on the 16th, a ray of hope started to shine.

It wasn't a permanent solution, but it would work for now.

Arthur watched the news anxiously as the compromise passed through first the Senate, then the House. He finally breathed a sigh of relief as the budget went to the President to be signed into law.

Alfred had come close to disaster, but his government was reopening and he would be okay.

Now Arthur just had to wait a bit longer.

As the sun started to rise on October 17th, Alfred shifted in his sleep for the first time since the shutdown. He turned towards Arthur and snuggled close.

Then he opened his eyes. His eyes were as bright and blue as ever.

With a blinding grin, Alfred cheerfully said, "Good morning, Artie!"

Alfred seemed a bit surprised when Arthur tugged him closer for a kiss and didn't even yell at him for calling him Artie. He would understand later after both Arthur and the President explained what happened.

But for now, he had no clue that he had given Arthur the thing that the Brit had wanted for 16 days.

Alfred was awake and smiling.

AN: For some reason, I woke up at 6:45 this morning, saw that the shutdown was over, and suddenly had the inspiration for this. Luckily, I wrote it before I had to get ready to go to campus for class. Anyway, there are just I few things I found frustrating about the whole situation and I thought about how it would affect Alfred.