Originally posted: Here.
Length: 3,200 words.
Premise: Ideological differences are about to tear England and America apart, but who cares about that? They have sex, is my point.
Time period: 1774
Wrist slashiness: 5/10
Lolhistoryness: 8/10, but nothing that should leave you scratching your head and alt-tabbing for Wikipedia. Non-Americans might miss out on a line if they don't know that the Quartering Act of 1774 stated that the townships of Massachusetts were responsible for providing housing for British soldiers (although contrary to popular belief, that didn't mean British soldiers could stay in people's private homes without permission).
Would I like it?: It's more dysfunctional, wrenching, colonial era relationships.
America left an open book on the table and a bottle of rum still mostly full when he went to answer the door. He said, "I don't want to see you."
"How unfortunate for you," England replied. He brushed the young nation aside like he was swatting away a persistent fly and pushed into the apartment. He wore the marching uniform of the British regulars.
America stood aside and glared at him as he passed through the narrow common room. "Find somewhere else to stay."
"Believe me, I'd love to." England shifted his rucksack from his shoulder to the crook of his arm, and rubbed the sweat from his hairline with the back of his hand.
America shut the door and followed him into his own bedroom. "I don't have a spare room."
"Fine," England returned, and dropped his duffel by the side of the bed. He messed a hand through his hair and unfastened his collar.
America sighed and set his jaw. He glared out the far window. "So the Quartering Act applies to me directly, I see," he commented nastily.
England gave him the briefest sideways glance. "Oh, please." He finished his collar, and began unfastening the buttons down the front of his coat. "I came in with the regiment. They've filled every hotel and public house from Cambridge to the Harbor. It was this, or break into one of the off-season warehouses with the others."
America examined him through narrow eyes for a few seconds, then dropped his shoulders and gave up. "Are you hungry?"
"No, thank you."
"Something to drink, then?"
"Yes. What are you doing in Boston, anyway?"
America retreated back to the main room and grumbled over his shoulder, "Isn't that what I'm supposed to say?"
England's voice followed him. "I'm here to ensure His Majesty's peace, of course. But I'm disappointed to find you mixing with these…" a silence, pregnant with distaste. "Malcontents."
America drummed his fingers on the side of the liquor cabinet for a few seconds before he collected himself and took down another bottle of rum. He flicked a few strands of hair out of his face. "What have they got to be content about?" he inquired when he reentered the bedroom. England had tossed his jacket across the dresser. "You dismissed their elected government and replaced it with your own people. You've got the port blockaded. You won't even let the local courts try British officials, you send them off to Georgia or, God knows, even London--"
"Only because the local treasonous sentiment would made a fair trial impossible," he replied mildly.
"That's a lie," America snapped. He wiped his hair aside again. "And what's fair about a trial that happens an ocean away from where the crime was committed? The witnesses against them can't afford to follow them to court."
"I offered to pay their travel expenses. Are you going to give me that bottle? If you're dead set on arguing, I think I'll need it."
America didn't move. "It's not just about travel expenses. They would have to spend months away from home, maybe longer. Their families and businesses need them here. By sending them away--I mean, the officials--to trial in London, you're basically just saying that--"
"--They're free to rape and murder and use babies for boot jacks, I know." England sounded bored.
"And you know I would give them a fair trial! The soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre got a fair trial, didn't they?" he demanded.
At that, England gave an absent nod, but added, "Only five or six people died, didn't they? It seems a bit much to call it a massacre."
America stared at him for a few seconds. Then, "What?"
England pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Your soldiers shot and killed my civilians. They fired into the crowd! I think I can call it anything I want!"
"It was a very unfortunate incident, but it does not give you the right to take that tone with me," England said sharply. He dropped his arm and met America's glower with his own.
America snapped his mouth shut and seethed in silence. England crossed the room to him and took the bottle out of his hand. "Go read your book," he instructed him.
America clenched his teeth, his hands, his stomach, but that old and steel stare cut out his strength. His gaze dropped, and he turned on the spot and left.
America read his book. Hours passed. He stood once, to light a candle, and fix open the shutters on the windows as night fell. He drank, a little. However England passed the time--and he thought he must be reading a book of his own or asleep, he was so quiet--he gradually faded from America's thoughts, until he pulled out a chair and sat down beside him. The sound of the chair legs scraping across the floor made America jump.
He fought to hide his startlement and steady his breathing. England read over his shoulder. "John Locke," he remarked. When America didn't respond, he went on, "Is this where you've been getting these ideas?"
"Some of them," the younger nation replied, wary.
England studied him for a few seconds, then reached across the book and took his rum. "All right, out with it."
"I gave you your own bottle," he protested half-heartedly.
"Yes, but it's in the other room, isn't it." He took a swig and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. "You're never going to stop sulking unless you tell me what's on your mind, so let's hear it."
England waved the bottle vaguely. "Fine, then you won't stop…souring things between us. Whatever you want to call it."
"I'm not the only one making things sour," he muttered.
"I'm listening," England reminded him.
The truth was, with England before him, reasonable, not shouting or belittling him or running roughshod over his attempts to be more independent, he didn't know what he wanted to say. He pushed back in his chair to face him, but fixed his gaze on a spot in the distance six inches below and to the left of England's ear. The empire waited. He wet his lips and tried, "I feel like you don't…have any confidence in me."
England's eyebrows rose at that.
"You don't…you never…You promise you won't get mad?" he brought himself up abruptly.
England gestured with the bottle again. "Yes, I promise."
America nodded uncertainly. "You never…well, you never kept a standing army here before we kicked France out. But now that he's gone, there are ten thousand British soldiers in the colonies. Why?"
"For your continued protection, of course."
"Protection from who? The Indians?" His tone made it clear how necessary he felt that was.
"Given the unrest you've seen recently, I would say that billeting soldiers here was a prudent move, wouldn't you agree?" England retorted.
"But…but how can the people be loyal when you won't trust them?" he sat up and made himself hold England's eyes.
"How can I trust them if they're disloyal?" was his reasonable rebuttal.
"But…" America bit his lip in frustration. "All these measures, they just…they make it obvious that you don't think of my people as Englishmen. You keep trying to…" he hesitated over the next words, but pushed on, "--Bully and c-corral them, instead of listening to them." When there was no immediate flare of anger from England--only continued neutral attentiveness--America gathered his courage and continued, "They can tell, when you treat them like they're just…like they're less." I can tell. He felt a blush percolate into his cheeks and felt a flash of gratitude for the meager candlelight. "The…" Well, this was sure to provoke a reaction from the empire, but it was too late to stop now, "The fact that you won't let any of them vote for their representatives in Parliament is--"
Sure enough, England sighed, took another drink, then set the bottle on the table. "Hardly anyone votes even back home," he pointed out. "But those who don't vote--including your people--are virtually represented by the people who do vote."
"I hate virtual representation."
England blinked at the heat in his voice.
America forced his hands to unclench. His gaze fell on the book under his arm for strength. "It's a stupid idea," he muttered. "That one shopkeeper can effectively vote for all shopkeepers…why should that be? Aren't all men different, with different interests and unique faculties? To take--"
"I think you'll find that while individuals may differ, on the whole they will consistently arrive at the most mediocre possible conclusion," England replied dryly.
"But to take such a small sample," he pressed. "And none of my people vote. How can a bunch of people on another continent represent the interests of colonists they don't understand and have never--"
"So you feel like I'm not adequately championing your interests," he sighed.
"It's not just that." He blushed and tried to collect his thoughts. "Even if it weren't for all of these…coercive measures…"
He faltered, and England murmured, "Coercive…?"
"The…dismissing the Massachusetts elected government, and closing the port, and…and the taxes, and the trade restrictions, and everything else…" England's steady, veiled appraisal made his thoughts scatter like a handful of dropped marbles. He blew out a shaky breath and tried to scrape them back together. "Even if I didn't have anything to complain about, I still…wouldn't be happy, because…I wouldn't have had…any control over any of it," he stammered. "Over anything that happened to me, I-I mean."
A lengthy silence. His gaze dropped into his lap.
He started when England leaned forward and covered the hand he had resting on the book with his own. "America, you're being a child."
"I'm not," he returned hotly, and cringed at the petulance in his voice.
"You are." There was something almost soothing in that authoritative voice. His cool, strong fingers folded neatly between America's. "By your own admission, you would complain even if you had nothing to complain about."
"Because…because the authority of a government should come from the consent of the governed," he managed to say, as England stroked the back of his hand, very lightly. Something sticky and warm began to clot in the pit of his stomach. It was unpleasant, and made his voice tremble. He tried to will it away. "Y-you can't just--say that you know what's best for me--"
"Why shouldn't I?" he inquired. He shifted his hold on America's hand, and his fingertips glided across the young nation's palm. America clenched against something in the back of his neck that wanted to become a shiver. "I've taken good care of you, haven't I? I've protected you, kept you fed, helped you establish the basis for your economy. You've prospered."
"I could be prospering more." His blush spread to the back of the neck. He closed his eyes against his embarrassment; even by the light from a single candle, surely England could see.
"But at my expense." His caress crept onto the sensitive pallor of America's wrist. "Is that what you want?"
"N-no..." He tried to straighten again. "But--"
"Certain sacrifices must be made in order for empires to exist." England spoke simply, calmly, while his fingers wandered up America's arm and America struggled to breathe. A gentle spasm curled his hand against England's skin. "Your current unrest doesn't upset me. It's nothing I haven't seen before." He brushed America's arm off the table and flipped Locke's Tretistes shut with one finger. His meaning was not lost on America--but its significance was cut open by a warm shock when England took his hand again. "It can be corrected," that nation resumed. His voice was low, precise, and terribly persuasive. For a moment, America thought he was falling forward, but it was just England, drawing him nearer a few unresisting inches. He didn't know how close they were anymore; he still wouldn't open his eyes.
When England spoke again, he swore he could feel his breath on his cheek. "All I ask from you is that you acknowledge my right to rule, through whatever trials may come." He touched America below the chin with one crooked finger. The colony finally looked at him. He was right there, inches away. The hot, cloying muck in the pit of his stomach spread up the back of his throat. He thought he might be trembling. He knew he was breathing too fast. "Do you?" England caressed down the line of his throat.
America leaned into his touch. "D-do I what?"
England canted his head and let a ghost of a smile cross his lips. "You said authority was derived from the consent of the governed." His gripped America's wrist. "So...do you consent?"
He felt weak. "Yes," he whispered.
England's hand left his neck and buried in his hair, and then he was drawn into a kiss. His breath shuddered out of him and he clung to the front of England's shirt. England tasted like sour liquor and heat, and it was exactly what he wanted. He pushed America back into his chair, and America didn't struggle. He just slid below and against him like a bit of straw bending beneath a strong wind. It was uncomfortable, and that didn't matter. England bit him, and it hurt, but that didn't matter, either.
He was flushed everywhere, and shaking, when England broke away all at once and dragged him to his feet, saying, "Come on, then." America stumbled after him obediently. He barely registered it as relevant when the older nation plucked the little glass bottle of cooking oil off the stove top as they passed it on their way into the bedroom. Candles were lit here, too, two of them, almost burned down. It would only occur to America much later that the fact that England had left them lit when he came into the main room suggested that he had planned this.
The half hour that followed was a sparkle of clear moments immersed in a thick red sea.
"Undress," England instructed him, as he uncorked the flask of oil and pooled it in his hand.
Then, he was stretched out beneath his ruling state, and England worked his fingers into him. Even England, by this point, was mussed and ridiculous. His shirt hung open and his short hair fell into his face. But there was nothing out of control about that steady green gaze, which held him as pinned as any specimen in a tray at the Royal Society.
Then, he was so full it hurt, and a drizzle of precum stuck to his stomach. He cried, "Please," and felt an inexplicable wash of shame. England watched him for a moment, then shook his head slightly.
"Not before me," he reproved, and climbed over America.
Then, the moment that England pressed into him.
He felt a shudder pass through the older nation, and that, and the heat, and the exquisite pressure, and everything else, almost filled up every part of him that had ever felt empty.
England kept America's hands pinned over his head. Every time America tried to reach down to touch himself in desperation, England would hold him tight (he wasn't strong enough to jerk free of the older nation--but, oh, almost) and drive into him harder. Too hard--so it hurt--and his climax would ebb an inch away. He wanted to cry in frustration.
Then, a sudden stillness. England groaned loudly, and his head dropped forward. His grip around America's wrists left bruises.
He breathed raggedly into the silence. A drop of sweat slid down a section of his hair and fell on America's neck. He pulled out, but stayed half-propped over the younger nation. America looked up at him with begging eyes. He was as twisted up as the sheets they lay on.
England's hand hovered over his erection. He whispered, "Tell me you'll always be loyal."
Even through the fog, through his agonizing need to come, America felt the moment of vulnerability for what it was, and his heart swelled. He wet his lips and lied with all his heart, "I promise."
England touched him, and he came, hard. He didn't remember crying out, but he knew he must have, because when the white spots began to fade from his eyes, his throat felt raw.
He thought it must have been a very long time before the mattress shifted under him, and he felt England stand. He blinked a few times, trying to catalogue his thoughts, then struggled up onto one elbow. He peered at the older nation.
England faced away from him. He seemed to hesitate. Both candles had died. The empire was lit only by the softest white glow from the window.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
England turned just slightly towards him. America tried to tell what he was looking at, but it was something behind his eyes. "I don't…"
America waited a few seconds, then smiled. "You don't have anywhere else to sleep, remember? That's why you came here in the first place."
Reluctantly, England smiled in return. It looked painful.
"Come to bed. I promise, I won't bother you about anything," he teased. America felt oddly giddy.
England moved slowly around the bed and eased down beside him. America curled close, and felt the other nation's arms close tentatively around him. He looked up into England's face, and England was trying to stay expressionless and failing. He couldn't explain his sudden desire to comfort the empire, but a quiet laugh bubbled past his lips and he urged him, "Hey, it's okay."
England blew out a soft breath and gave a bit of a nod. He pulled America closer and tucked the colony's head under his chin.
America made sure to lay very still, breathing deeply. It was like curling up with a wary animal. England was tense everywhere, every muscle coiled tight; he was prepared to move away at the smallest provocation. So America made none. He listened to the distant thunder of England's heartbeat and thought about a feeling that was a little bit like happiness and sadness at the same time.
At least an hour passed before England started to relax. He must have decided that America was asleep, because he began, very gently, to stroke his hair. Drowsy and peaceful, America felt no need to indicate that he was wrong. And then England kissed the top of his head and breathed something into his hair. It was too quiet to hear, much too quiet for England to have meant for him to hear.
But it was all right, because he knew what he said anyway.
It was a year before he would answer.
He stood on a hill between Lexington and Concord, in front of seven hundred nervous militiamen. Like everything else in his life, his rifle had been a gift. His lieutenant came up beside him and cleared his throat.
"The British are in our sights, sir," he reported.
"I know." He raised his rifle to his shoulder and sighted down it. "You have your orders."
There was a long, quiet moment, full of nothing but crickets and the distant tromp of boots through high grass. Red coats filled the horizon.
"I love you, too, England," he whispered, and fired.