"Ugh…for the love of God, someone kill me already!" you groaned loudly, watching the contents of your stomach flush away from sight. Still hunched over the toilet, you snatched the box of tissues above you and spat in them, trying to wipe away as much of the foul taste as possible. Once you flushed those away you rose shakily to your feet, trying not to pass out right then and there. Slowly making your way to the sink you grabbed a paper cup and rinsed out your mouth, trying not to swallow.
"I feel so much like crap," you complained, staggering out the door and back to your bedroom. You were going to crawl back into bed and hide under your covers, but tripped over your emergency puke bucket and instead flopped down face first. With a moan you slowly pushed yourself up, but collapsed on your side, exhausted.
"Gosh dang it…stupid window. Why are you open?" you said to no one in particular when you looked through the glass and immediately your head started throbbing at the bright morning light filtering though. With a bit of a struggle you managed to stand to shut the curtains. "And it's such a beautiful day, too!" You closed them angrily and literally hopped back into bed, which was a mistake. "Ooh…" You clutched your stomach at the sudden pain that followed and with large breaths of effort managed to pull the covers over you, shutting your eyes tightly and trying to endure the extra pang of pain in your fevered head that came when you let it drop on your pillow like a deadweight. You made your face tilt to the side of the bed where the bucket was waiting underneath you in case you didn't make it to the bathroom next time.
"That's the second time I've thrown up, and it's not even noon,” you whispered, shivering under the blankets. You brought your palm up to your forehead and smacked yourself. "And, of course, I forgot to get a wet cloth for my fever. Uhn…I'm too tired to go and get it." You brought the covers to your chin, your stinging eyes beginning to droop. "A n—nap would d—do me g—good," you chattered, feeling sweat make your pajamas stick to your skin. "And th—then I'll go call a doc—doctor. How w—we—weird. I d—don't remember ever be—being this si—sick. That's probably re—really bad…"
You closed your eyes, but like when you're very tired or when you've been staring at something bright for a really long time, it ached and tears accidently seeped from your tear ducts. You curled into a ball but then stretched, again curled into a ball but then stretched, hoping to find a comfortable position. Failing to find one when facing the side you had to turn your body so your stomach was facing the ceiling. You found this more comfortable as the mattress wasn't putting any pressure on said sore area. You stared at the texture in the ceiling, blinking more emotionless tears away from your eyes.
I really need to sleep… you told yourself. So, even though it made you feel colder, you stretched out your limbs, relaxed your muscles, and slowly fell into an uneasy sleep.
"__________, are you there, love? Come now, __________, open up!" your good friend England called, pounding on the door. "I've been calling the house and your mobile all afternoon and you never answered, so I got worried and came to check on you." He stopped pounding and pressed his ear to the door, hoping to hear your light footsteps approach the front door. But, much to his growing anxiety and slight annoyance, you never did.
He stood at the stoop and checked his watch. It was three in the afternoon. He knew you well enough to know that there was no way you were still asleep, and especially not on a beautiful day like this. In fact, he thought you were going to call him to do something together, like you normally would. So, when it had reached one o'clock and his phone had never rang even once, he had asked the other countries if you were with them. But no, everyone said they hadn't seen or heard from you. That was the first sign that something was up. So, like the polite and worried (not to mention slightly infatuated) gentleman he was, he came to check on you. Your car was still parked in the drive too, so he knew that you were in the house somewhere.
He continued to knock and call out to you for a few more minutes, but when still no reply came he kicked the door and, muttering curse words though gritted teeth, walked around to your garage, where he typed in your number code and watched the door slowly creep open, tapping his foot with arms crossed in impatience. As soon as it was open enough he ducked in and tried opening your garage door. To his surprise, it wasn't locked. That worried him even more. What if someone had broken in and taken you, or was holding you hostage in your own home? Or even worse…
"Oh, bugger!" he exclaimed, slapping himself mentally. "Don't let your imagination get the better of you, England. Besides, this is __________ we're talking about here. She knows how to take care of herself. I'm sure she's just fine."
"I knew that!" Flying Mint Bunny tried to say, but England shooed it away with a wave of his hand.
"Sorry, friend, but I need to find her on my own. __________? Are you here? __________?" He walked through every room on the first floor, but couldn't find you anywhere. A trace of fear gnawed at his heart. "__________? Are you upstairs? If you are, please answer," he shouted from the bottom of the steps. Both very irritated and very worried of the quietness that never seemed to cease, he made his way swiftly up the steps.
He came to a freezing halt while escalating the steps when he spotted your door, securely shut. You always had your door open! What could this possibly mean? His heart leapt to his throat. What if something bad had happened to you? If something did…he'd never be able to forgive himself.
He bolted down the hall and desperately twisted the knob, throwing your door open loudly. "__________!" He switched on the lights.
You sat bolt right up at the sudden noise and light. You looked around. "Huh? What?" Then you noticed England, and all attentiveness faded. Your eyes narrowed. "Oh. It's just you, England," you said dully.
"Wh—what?" He blinked at you, bushy eyebrows furrowing. Then when he realized that you were perfectly fine, he did the only natural thing a relieved person would do: Yell. "Bloody hell, __________, you had me worried sick!" He paused and tipped his head when he noticed how disheveled you looked, dark circles under your eyes and your hair in a matted and greasy mess.
"Sorry," you mumbled in a tone that was not at all sincere. You groaned at the sudden wave of nausea that invaded you, put your pillow over your face and flopped back down onto the mattress. "I felt too crappy to pick up the phone," you finished through your pillow.
His tone softening, you heard him approach you slowly. "Well, that does explain how bloody awful you look, not to mention rude."
"Gee, thanks," you replied, pressing the pillow further against his face. Crap! your aching brain thought. Why didn't I answer the phone?! I could've told him I was fine so that he wouldn't see me like this! Gosh dang it, why does he have to be so freaking hot?!
Your bed creaked and you sank slightly when he sat next to you on the edge of the bed. He patted your knee comfortingly. "Quit suffocating yourself and let me feel your forehead," he instructed you. You suppressed an 'eep' at how gently he said it.
You shook your head. "No…I look hideous…and you'd better get out of here, too, before I breathe on you and get you sick."
"Now, now, love," he cooed, gently moving the object aside. "I doubt that'll happen. And you don't look hideous, either. I doubt you ever could."
His comment made you squeak. He leaned down and pressed his palm against your forehead, staring intently into your foggy eyes with his own glistening emerald ones. He was so close to you you were trembling with shyness. His brow furrowed and he straightened.
"You feel awfully warm," he said slowly. He stood. "Let me go get you a—what's wrong?"
Indeed, you had suddenly become a sickly shade of green and your eyes had went wide. Luckily, you managed to lean over the side and hurl into the bucket. You reached out and brought it closer to your mouth and England rubbed your back, whispering soothing words that offered little comfort in this situation.
"Three…times…" you gagged, spitting whatever was left out of your mouth and scrunching your nose at the horrible taste and smell.
"What do you mean?" the Brit asked, reaching behind your hunched back you to grab some tissues from the nightstand and trying not to look down at the mess you made. He handed you the tissues, which you gratefully took with your head still bent over the bucket.
"This is the third time I've puked today," you explained, running your tongue over the soft white tissue fabric.
"It is? Did you ever call a doctor?" Here his voice rose in pitch ever so slightly from puzzlement and concern. Just puking once was a bad sign, but three times? You must've been extremely ill.
You slowly shook your head. "I'm just so tired…and I have a huge headache. I just wanna curl into a ball and die."
England sighed. "You know I wish you wouldn't say things like that so lightly. I don't want you to die. Now, lie back down and I'll dispose of your…waste and get you a cool rag to put on your head."
You flinched. His voice was soft yet stern, in a gentle yet scolding fashion. You immediately hated yourself for aggravating him and talking without thinking. He was England for God's sake! You should've known better than to say a word like 'death' so loosely around him, or anywhere else for that matter. As he exited the room you mentally slapped yourself. Stupid! you thought angrily. I'd better apologize to him when he gets back.
You laid back down and heard the sound of bath water running as he washed out the bucket. You could hear him grumbling about how gross it was, too. The sound soothed you and relaxed you slightly, so that you weren't aching as much. Right when you were about to doze off, though, your handsome English friend returned with your now clean emergency bucket and a damp wash cloth.
"Here now, this should make you feel better." He carefully scrubbed away the sweat from your neck and face before placing the rag back on your forehead. You sighed in satisfaction, relishing his soothing touch and the comforting coolness of the cloth.
"Thank you," you mumbled. You paused before shyly continuing, "And I'm sorry about what I said earlier. I should be a little more sensitive of your feelings."
He snorted and frowned, arms crossed. "Hey, don't go talking like I'm some weak little bloke!"
You sat up slightly and poked him playfully. "Yeah, okay. I'm still sorry, though." You then coughed.
He shook his head. "No need for apologizes. Now, where is your medicine?"
"Behind the mirror in the bathroom." Your eyes rolled back in your head and you plopped back down, feeling dizzy. "Whoa. I sat up way too long." You adjusted the rag more firmly on your head.
"Hmm…" was all he said.
From there, England took it upon himself to look after you the rest of the day. He gave you medicine, allowed you to rest, even offered to schedule a doctor's appointment for you.
"Oh, no, you don't have to!" You had said when he asked. "It's just the flu, that's all. I'm even feeling a little better since you gave me those pills. Really, I'll be better in no time." You smiled warmly. You meant what you had said, too. You were still pale and tired, but your head had stopped hurting and all queasiness had faded away. You could think much clearer and your minor cough had surpassed. Although you couldn't leave the bedroom yet, you felt very refreshed, and that was the important thing.
"Still," he insisted, "you really should see a doctor to make sure it isn't anything serious."
You rolled your eyes. "Okay, Iggy, I'll call him later. But only because you asked." Once you finished that statement, your stomach growled, reminding you that you hadn't eaten anything all day. You clutched your abdomen painfully at the hunger cramp that followed.
"Maybe I should cook you some dinner?" England suggested.
Your eyes widened and you quickly shook your head. "No, no, that's okay!" When you saw his hurt expression, you continued rapidly, "I mean, I should eat light so that I don't get sick again is all. Maybe you could bring me some tea and crackers?" You laughed nervously.
He frowned slightly. "Well, I guess that makes sense. We can't have you puking anymore or else you'll get dehydrated." Arthur sighed. "Alright, I'll go make you some tea. But let me check your fever real quick."
You suppressed a squeak when he placed his palm on your forehead, then gently caressed your cheek with the back of his hand. He smiled, amused by your surprised facial expression. "Your fever appears to be gone, so that's good."
You tried to stammer out a response, but when your vocal cords failed you could only give him a tight nod, watching him go with a flushed face. You pulled the covers up to your chin and rolled on your side, eagerly waiting his return. You let out a content breath. He's so sweet, you thought dreamily. Not to mention good-looking. I wonder…what does he thinks of me?
When you thought this, you felt your face heat up. Hmm…I wonder how I can find out. It'd be better to be blunt about it, rather than putting us both in awkward situations. But I can't be too blunt either and straight out tell him I like him…a lot. That'd be awkward, too. We've been friends for so long and we're so close that he told me who he really is, even took me to a UN meeting, so that has to mean he likes me, even if it's only on a friendly level. Maybe instead of telling him flat-out how I feel, I should ask him what he thinks of me. I'll have to word it carefully, though, so that I don't confuse him. Yeah, I like that idea!
You were feeling quite proud of yourself about your decision, but when he came back in with a silver tray that had dinner for the two of you, your confidence faltered. You just couldn't get over how handsome he was! The way he carried himself with pride and (manly) elegance, his vivid green eyes that were like shining pools of liquid emerald, his perfectly messy blonde hair, even his bushy eyebrows were adorable. He was way out of your league, you knew, but…that didn't mean there wasn't a slim chance of you two becoming a couple, right? The thought of being his girlfriend made your hear flutter nervously. But it was a good kind of nervousness.
You sat up cross-legged and he placed the tray in your lap. "There you are, love," he said sweetly, taking a cup of tea for himself. You shifted and allowed him to sit beside you.
"Thanks, Artie," you said, gripping your cup with both hands and inhaling the warmth of the steam. At least he can make tea non-poisonous, you thought.
You couldn't help but smirk when he only grunted in response to your statement, taking a small sip of his drink. It wasn't that he minded when you called him Artie or Iggy, just as long as you didn't call him that in public or around the other countries (mainly America and France; he knew they would never let him hear the end of it). Still, it was taking him a bit to get use to allowing someone to call him by a nickname.
You both ate in silence after that, drinking tea and eating crackers and simply enjoying each other's company. At one point, you looked out your bedroom window that England had reopened earlier in the day ("It's much too stuffy in here. It's not healthy, either," he had said, "and I can't see your lovely face in the dark, now can I?" Needless to say, you blushed bright pink) and whined. "Great, I spent the whole flipping day cooped up in bed."
England turned to see for himself that the sun was indeed setting, red and orange and yellow streaks slicing through the blue of day, seeping slowly across like blood. "That's alright. At least you have a good reason to not be out and about," he said reassuringly.
To his puzzlement, you frowned and shook your head sadly. "Yeah, but I also kept you locked up in here."
"Really, __________, you need to stop with the apologizes. I willingly stayed to take care of you, remember? Besides, I don't know how I'd rather spend my day." On the last word he smiled, making butterflies stir in your stomach.
"Thanks." You smiled back and gave him a small hug. There was another pause, but then shyly you said, "En…England?"
"Hmm?" He looked up to see a serious and embarrassed expression on your face, your cheeks a tint of pink. He blinked. "__________, what's wrong?"
"I…um…well I…" You scratched the back of your head, trying to think. What the crap, __________? I thought this was going to be easy! "England…what do you think of me?" you asked finally.
There was only silence. You shut your eyes and bent your head, expecting the worse. He stared at you questioningly, baffled by the question. Eventually though, he chuckled and ruffled your already messy hair. "Well, obviously I like you," he said playfully. "If I didn't, would I have told you that I'm England two years ago?"
You opened your eyes slowly, remembering. He had told you when you were walking through a park at night. He was taking you home from a movie. But out of the blue, he had sat you down at a bench and told you while holding your hands. That was when you had fallen for him completely. You had always liked him from the start, but it had taken you until then to finally realize that you liked him more than just a friend.
"Not…not like that," you continued slowly. "I mean like…do you like me…how I like you? I…I…" You looked and felt like you were about to be sick again. "I like you a lot and I really really hope you feel the same way because I've felt like this for awhile."
You said it so quickly that it took him a few moments to register what you had so hastily said. Finally, once he understood, he beamed at you. "__________, didn't you just hear me? I said that I like you, too."
Your head shot up and you looked deep into his eyes. "You…you do?"
"I would never lie to you, my dear," he cooed. He drew you in for a hug. As he stroked your hair, he whispered in your ear, "I've wanted to be more than friends with you for awhile now. I'm so glad I know that you like me, too."
"Arthur…" you breathed. You buried your head in his chest, shivering with all the sudden feelings that were rapidly overwhelming you. "I…I—"
"Shh, hush, love, hush." He then began humming in your ear, and you had to bite your lip to abstain yourself from crying happy tears. You knew this song, too. It was one of your favorite love songs. You couldn't explain it, but at that moment you just felt so…peaceful. You sighed and sang the words softly.
"__________, how do you feel now?" England asked suddenly.
You looked up at him oddly. "I feel fine. Why are you asking?"
"Just making sure," he replied, before he tipped your chin up and kissed you.
Your eyes widened, but you hardly wasted any time in returning the favor. You stared deep into his eyes, joy filling you from head to toe and wiping away all pain and exhaustion.
After a while he finally parted and, pressing his forehead against yours said, "So how about now?"
You shook your head happily and wrapped your arms around his neck. He was holding you carefully by the waist. "I've never felt better. But you know that you're probably going to get sick now, right?"
He chuckled. "Promise that you'll take care of me if I do, though, right?"
You pecked him on the lips. "Of course. There's no other way I'd rather spend my day."