Chapter 3



America blinks and it's morning again.

His body doesn't uncurl from its position on the bed, skin stretched tight amongst his bones and his sheets. His eyes close again and he lets out a breath at the slow ache coming back into his chest as the seconds pass.


One heartbeat one.


Two heartbeat two.


Alfred waits until the painful rhythm sets itself before lifting himself up slowly off the bed and setting his bare feet on the cold floor. He runs a hand through his hair, wincing as the action itself seemed to bring on more discomfort in his body.

"You wanted to be a country," he says to himself. The lack of enthusiasm in the statement makes him unsure whether to laugh or cry.

It was like this

One heartbeat one.


for everyone

Two heartbeat two.





He feels the rhythm stall when he opens the door to meet a pair of violet eyes.

His grip, unseen to the Canadian, has tightened on the doorknob. Matthew shifts from foot to foot before clearing his throat.

"Can I come in?"

America blinks, once, twice; the words have not quite reached his brain yet in order for him to decide a course of action. Canada frowns slightly, one foot stepping forward.


America twitches and Matthew doesn't miss the movement. "S-sure."

He moves the door aside, watching the black carriage in the front that was so harsh against the grey landscape. Matthew steps in through the threshold, steps echoing through the practically empty house. He gives a low whistle of impression, looking around at the spacious interior.

"Nice place, Alfred. Did Lincoln give you this or-"

"What are you doing here, Matthew?"

Canada's small smile falters at his brother's question. "I-I haven't seen you in a while, that's all."

"And why would you need to?" Canada takes in the almost withering stance his brother has. His eyes note America's hand as it slips into the other and pitches at the skin between his thumb and forefinger.

"Wha-why would I need to?" Matthew's voice is a mix of annoyance and growing anger. "Because you haven't shown up for a meeting in months, if you don't realize, you've kind of got a responsibility as a nation-"

"And what would you about that?" Alfred snarls. The action with his hand is growing in intensity, enough that Canada can almost feel the discomfort as his own.

"I know enough that you've practically disappeared." The words are quieter now, and he sees the tensing of America shoulders before the words come out, seethed between a gritting set of teeth.

"Get out."

Canada blinks, taking one step toward his brother and for a moment he feels like a touch that wasn't quite there of they know they know they know everyone knows what you've done before it is shut off.

"Alfred-" Canada begins, only to feel his brother push him back with one hand and swinging the door open with the other before he is outside once more.

"I said, get out of my house." America snarls and the door is slammed in Matthew's face.

Inside, America locks the door behind him, moving to the living room and falling into the nearest chair. The pillow he grabs is almost torn by his hold before he lets out a scream into it, the sound muffled despite the empty house.

He doesn't even have to look at his hand to know he's bleeding again.

"Mr. Kirkland?"

The nation doesn't even look up from his pile of papers, pen in hand as he scanned through the slight chaos of his workspace. "Yes, what is it?"

He did not have time for this now.

"There's someone here to see you." The young maid said hesitantly before Arthur sighs.

"Tell whoever it is that I'm sick, out of town, or dead."

The maid shuffles from foot to foot before speaking again, hands wringing. "He says that he won't leave unless he sees you."

The pen is threatening to break underneath his grip and he waves a hand to dismiss her. As the door closes behind the young girl, he pauses to rub the side of his temple with his fingertips, trying to quell the migraine coming through before going back to the assortment of papers.

"Are you waiting for a formal introduction?" he snaps, not looking up. The stranger only hums slightly, moving closer to the desk and next words spoken make his actions of writing stop.

"Well I wouldn't want to put that kind of burden onto you, Angleterre."

Of course.

Green eyes snap up to take in the form of the lean and lanky Frenchman, with one hand up putting a cigarette to his mouth before his other tosses an opened letter onto his desk.

"We have a problem."

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