America sighed, content, the rare warm London breeze floated through the open window, trailing its fingers over his neck and face. Cracking open his ocean hues, a smile slipped onto his lips at the sunlight that peaked through the clouds, the sound of England singing reaching his ears as the man made them a pot of tea. He and England were taking a few weeks to just spend time together, trying to collect themselves given the rather hectic state their respective countries were in; especially America. Closing his eyes again, he got a strange jolt down his spine, the faintest echo of a voice digging into his mind. He quickly sat up, surveying the room, but found nothing out of place. What...was that? The Hero wasn't sure, and now greatly uneasy, he swiftly got out of his lover's bed and checked the upper floor's rooms in case someone--or something--was in fact in a place they most defiantly shouldn't be.
However, his search was fruitless. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was even a dust spot out of place. So...what was that he sensed? His nerves were clearly responding to something, but what--
A light, brighter than the sun outside the open bedroom window, collapsed around him, swallowing him without a sound. "America? Did you fall asleep, dear?" England asked as he walked up the stairs, holding a coffee tray that was filled with both tea cups and pastries England had bought instead of made, a few small glass jars of America's favorite jams nestled beside them. "Love?" He called once more before he rounded the corner into his room; he was stunned when he didn't see the man he had raised sprawled out on his sheets. "Ha ha! Very funny, America! Now come back, or I'll eat your biscuits with all of your strawberry jam!" He yelled loud enough so that the daft fool would be able to hear him no matter where he was.
Only he wasn't coming.
"Heh...okay! You got me! You can come out now!" He felt as his legs started to quake with each second that past without America's voice or laugh breaking this haunting quiet. "America, stop this. Please, you're scaring me." A moment passed, still nothing. "...America..?" The tense silence was broken by the sound of shattering china and glass, resounding footfall pounding into the wooden floor; doors were slammed violently against walls, weak pants and curses flowing up and down the house. "Where are you?! America?! America!" He rushed into the garden in his backyard, but his lover, the boy he has loved ever since they met, was gone. All the bones in his legs seemed to vanish as he crumbled onto the grass, trembling arms slowly wrapping around his sides and clinging so tight his knuckles grew white, he sobbed like a child left alone during a thunder storm, a lone name screaming from his lips, "ALFRED!"
He awoke with a jolt, clear skies overhead and a soft wind tickling his skin. His head throbbed slightly as he slowly sat up, taking in his surroundings; it was like he just woke up in one of the old fantasy novels England read to him as a child. While it was still most likely miles away, before him was a large city, huge stone walls surrounding it and right in the center of the city was a near monstrous castle. America slowly pushed himself onto his feet, brushing away the dust and dirt off his pants when he spotted a strangely shaped pocket watch; shaped like the symbol for the spade card suit, he heard the faint ticking of the gears working, which was odd since he didn't notice neither the sound nor object until he stood.
Thinking nothing of it, he put the watch onto the pocket of his bomber jacket, tapped the toes of his boots against the earth below his feet, and started walking.
The sun was just starting to dip into the horizon when America spotted men patrolling the front gate. "Hey!" He shouted, snaring their attention quickly, but not exactly in a good way. "Halt! Who are you, stranger?" One of them demanded as they drew their swords, leveling them with his neck. America raised his hands slowly, showing he wasn't a threat. "My name is Alfred Jones. I was hoping you could help me out." After a tense moment, the guards lowered their blades. "How may we help you, Sir Jones?" "I seem to have gotten a bit lost...where am I, exactly?"
The confused sour expression the men were pulling instantly told America that he should have worded that better. "...Unless you're blind, deaf, and daft everyone knows about the four Kingdoms; you are on the land of the Spade Kingdom." "And judging by the name, the King and Queen rule over the land?" "Not just the King and Queen, the Kingdom's Jack also has power." Like a deck of cards... He thought, though was wise enough not to speak it. "Do the royalty have personal items their denizens know of?" One of guards nodded. "The King does; it varies from Kingdom to Kingdom, however." "So what's this Kingdom's?" "A pocket watch."
America's face lifted at the words. "Like this one?" He asked as he pulled said item out, his eyes casted upon it. "I had been...resting...earlier and I found this when I woke up." He glanced up to a sight he wasn't expecting: the guards were bowing. "Forgive us for our earlier rudeness, Sir. Had we known..." America cocked a brow. "What are you talking about? What's going on?" "Our Queen will explain everything; come, we will escort you to the castle." They sheathed their swords and waited for America to follow before guiding him to where a couple of horses were stabled. After the guards mounted, one of them offered their hand and helped the very confuzzled America onto the horse behind him. "Hold tight, Sir, we must make haste." America nodded, thankful for the lessons he recieved when he was younger as he curled his arms around the guard's armor as best as he could before the horse broke into a full gallop, racing down the streets to get to the city's center piece.
As they blurred past, America saw the looks of shock and awe on the peoples face, eyes full of hope at the mere sight of him. But why? He could only hope that this Kingdom's Queen could tell him. Finally, his eyes could drink in the full size of the castle; though typical for a medieval style castle, the colors that were draped over the stone was the most beautiful shade of royal purple he's ever seen. He noted that some of the cloth pieces were bordered with royal blue as well. Must be the Kingdom's colors. He was helped down from the horse and was escorted inside, the guards that lined the halls and the servants that had been going about their duties bowed deeply as he passed, smiling to a few of them that looked nervous. Lead up several flights of stairs, he was guided into a large chamber where the walls were lined with towering bookshelves, several large reading chairs as well as small tables beside them decorated the room, a large fireplace harth cradled the softly crackling fire; shear across this room stood a figure before a giant stained glass window, peering out to the dropping sun. One of the guards motioned for America to stay put as he went to the slender figure's side.
As the guard leaned in to whisper something to the figure before his eyes, America had to admit to himself that that slender body seemed freakishly familiar to him, but...why? "...I understand. Please see yourselves out." "Yes, My Queen." He bowed to the person before he and the other guard left, shutting the thick oak doors behind them. After he just stood there like a moron, toying with his fingers, he took a step forward. "My Queen?" The tension in their shoulders seemed to drop and as they spun to face him, vibrate glee on their features, America quickly realized why the Queen's form looks so familiar to him. He also had to feel his heart break as he was forced to watch the glee on England's face melt into sorrow. "Ah...You were the one who found the pocket watch, correct?" He spoke, his voice holding a stinging disdain.
"Yes, Your Highness. Though, if you might forgive the rudeness, aren't you suppose to be a woman?" He was very much lost at this point. England opened his mouth to speak, but it seemed he found his answer without the need for a question. "Tell me, did a light surround you before you woke up here?" "It did. Wh--" England held up his hand, hushing America. "You're an Outsider, my dear. I will explain away any confusion before things go further. Please, sit." He motioned towards the chairs and America walked over without a word. He took in how this England dressed, which was just as sharply as always: he wore a royal purple trenchcoat, a royal blue waistcoat that was buttoned over a white dress shirt, brown pants that were tucked into dark brown boots, a rather large white bow-tie with the ends dangling down, and a small purple top hat with a blue ribbon that had a spade emblem in the middle that rested on the left side of his head.
"If I may have your name, Outsider?" "Alfred. Alfred Jones." England bit his lower lip slightly as America saw the faint shine of tears echo in his jade eyes for a moment. "Where are you from, originally?" "Well...it's a little complicated..." England gestured for him to go on. "Where I come from, there are two kinds of people: humans, and people like me, who are countries." A realization dawned on England's face. "And which country are you, dear?" "The United States of America." "America for short, yes?" Alfred nodded. "So Alfred is your human name." It wasn't a question. "Yes. We have to keep the fact that we countries live among our citizens hidden. So we give those we encounter our human names and after awhile just...vanish from their lives." England tilted his head. "How come?" "Do I look 238 years old to you? We don't age like humans do."
"Then perhaps we have a little more in common than I originally thought." Alfred cocked a brow. "In our lands, all royalty are given unique gifts and powers that have the 'benefit' of giving us immortality." "...Something tells me this is a different kind of immortality than what I know." England nodded. "We are, after all, still human. We just won't die of old age, for we never age." America hummed, unsure of what he should be asking. The silence was too familiar for the now ex-country and when he moved his hand before he spoke, he noticed that England flinched.
"Milady, if I may, what's so special about me having this?" He asked as he showed England the pocket watch that made the guards bow. "...As my guards may have told you, this is an item held only by the King. Before you arrived in my Kingdom, my husband, the former King...left..." "How?" America saw that the topic was something that England didn't want to discuss, but he needed to know. "He had become drunk in his search for more power and simply left, ignoring my pleads for him not to..." America slowly reached for England's trembling hand, seeing the pain in his eyes as they snapped to meet his. "And...he died, didn't he?" England couldn't speak, just weakly confirmed America's question. "And since I have the pocket watch, does that mean..?" "Yes. You, Alfred Jones, are the new King of Spades."
England opened his green eyes to find himself in his bed, the window shut and the sun already set. "Awake, I see." He shot up at the familiar voice, glaring at the man resting against his door frame. "What do you want Oliver?" The man said nothing at first, then, "Where's America?" England's eyes drifted away. "I...am not sure..." Oliver sat on the edge of the bed, reaching to stroke his image's hair softly. "He'll turn up, idiot always does." England flashed a weak grin to Oliver, wanting to desperately to believe his words, but also afraid of exactly how he was going to be coming back. "All we can do is wait."
America listened attentively to England's explanation. "So in short, I first must take up the crown and the next night we wed?" "That's right. Though...you will have to change your clothing." America was unsure of what he meant for a moment before he laughed warmly. "I guess my style of clothing would make things strange, huh?" England finally smiled, though it was so faint America almost missed it. "Guards," The door opened to reveal two new men to America, "please escort Alfred to my chambers." "Yes, Your Highness." They spoke with a bow, waiting for America. After the doors were shut again, the Queen quickly wiped away the tears that had managed to escape his eyes. "Damn it...if only you had listened to me, Allen..."
Inside of England's chamber, America found a large writing desk, more bookcases, chairs and tables, a huge dresser filled with clothes, and a king size four post bed draped in the Kingdom's colors. On top of the bed were several pieces of clothes clearly meant for America. They were nearly identical to England's: a royal blue trenchcoat, a royal purple waistcoat, and dark brown pants. There was a white dress shirt as well, but America decided that the one he was wearing would be good enough. Since he was alone in the room at the moment, he began to undress and change into his new clothes, his mind wondering with questions he still didn't have the answers to. The England of this universe is human...does that mean I'm human now? Or am I still a country? And those powers he mentioned, what on earth are they? He released a slow breath as he buttoned up the waistcoat, keeping his tie and black dress shoes on since it only seemed like the proper thing to do, given how England was dressed. Come to think of it...I don't even know his name...
Alfred always referred to the image of England as...well, England because that's the only name he knows him by. Sure, his England has a human name just like he does, but how can he be sure that they'd share it? "...What have you gotten yourself into now, Hero?" There was a soft knock on the door. "Come in." He glanced over to see that it was one of the new guards; checking up on him, he guessed. "The Queen knew how to dress our King well, it seems." America raised a brow. "Did the former King have a...similar style as I?" The guard nodded. "Of course, Milady had only just recently had become Queen at the time of the new King's arrival."
"What happened to the former Queen?" "An...assassin took her life, right before the original King could do anything..." So...there's been two Queens and now three Kings... "Do you know who sent the assassin?" The guard shook his head. "No, My Lord, but our Queen believed they may have come from the Clover Kingdom; tensions between our Kingdom and theirs has been very high as of late." America nodded his head. "I'm sure the Queen would like to speak with me." "This way, Sir." Alfred was escorted back to what he now believed to be the library where this Kingdom's England waited, nose half buried in a book. The Queen felt his heart stop for a moment as he gazed upon America. "...You look like a King now." America smiled. "I aim to please." England glanced that smile again. "What happens next?" He quickly closed the book and placed on the small table beside the chair he sat in as he stood. "Now you need to take up the crown." "There's a ceremony for this, correct?" England nodded. "It's a public event, so all of my denizens will be present for it; no pressure." America nodded. "Is there anything I have to do? Besides being present, of course." "You need to make a verbal vow to the people of the Kingdom that you will fulfill your duty as King." "How?" "How ever you like. There is no set vow or promise you must make in order to become King, but once your vows are spoken, you must lower your head; this will signal to me to finish the ceremony."
Alfred nodded. "How long will it take before your people are all present?" England smirked. "Now my dear Alfred, what do you suppose I was doing while you finished getting dressed?" The coy tone in his voice echoed the England he loved so dearly that he wanted to tease him, but refrained from doing so. "The guards will escort you to the grand hall; I'll be waiting." England spoke as he strode past America, the man saying nothing as the chance to do so slipped by. He stood, counting out the minutes in his head to calm his dancing nerves and the circus in his stomach. He was soon going to rein domain over a Kingdom, something he's never done before and now...isn't sure that he can. I mean...A Kingdom is governed much differently than a country...so how..?
He sort of wishes he asked England what it was like to rule over a Kingdom while he still had the chance.
"Are you ready, My Lord?" A guard asked and America turned, his resolve returning to him. "Yes." The trailed only half a step behind the guards, trying to get a better hold of the castle's layout. After passing several dozen rooms, he was greeting a huge set of oak doors; they easily towered over him, but weren't so large that he would not be able to open them. America sucked in a slow, deep breath, held it as he counted to ten in his head, and just as slowly released it. He placed a hand on the door and pushed it open. The people turned to the door as it creaked open, displaying a man in the royal colors with ocean blue eyes and golden honey hair. He strode down the aisle with confidence they've seen before, yet he radiated both comfort and warmth they haven't felt in a long time. America made his way towards England, a cross between a tiara and crown on his head and a small pedestal with a crown resting on top of it next to him. He stopped when he was only a foot away from the Queen and knelt.
"I, Alfred Jones, vow to fulfill my duty as the King of Spades, to protect the Spade Kingdom and her people, to uphold and keep the peace between the four Kingdoms, and to accept the advice and guidance of the Jack and Queen should I begin to stray from the vows I have sworn to keep." Alfred felt the awe of very soul in the room, the Queen's eyes wide and mouth slightly agape. He lowered his head then, and the Queen quickly retrieved the crown. "As the Queen of Spades, I hereby declare you, Alfred Jones, as the King of Spades. May Time hasten your steps." Alfred kept his confusion off his face and body as the people echoed the Queen's words, feeling as the crown was placed on his head just so, waiting until he saw England's hands start to fall to his sides before he slowly stood and turned to his citizens. They all stood and started calling, smiles on their faces as a few cheered. "Follow me out." England whispered before he was standing next to America; in a gesture that surprised the Queen, he offered him his arm, which he took after a moment and they exited the grand hall, letting England lead him back to his room.
"Did you mean those words, Jones?" England asked, his hands slipping away from America's arm. "Every last one." Silence filled the room. Alfred, after what seemed like hours, felt like he was being suffocated by this quiet before a clatter broke it. It was the crown the Queen wore, golden and bejeweled with the most dazzling sapphires and amethysts he's ever seen. "My Queen?" He took a hesitant step towards him, then he was spiriting for him, collecting him in his arms as he crumbled. "What's wrong?" He asked, frantic by the tears he saw bead in his emerald hues. "You can't really mean them...you can't..." America tore one of his black gloves off with his teeth, placing the back of his hand to the Queen's forehead. "No fever; are you alright?" He said nothing.
"...I...don't want to be rude, but...what's your name, Milady?" England scowled at him. "What's that suppose to mean?" "Well, we are getting married tomorrow; I do believe it would make things very uncomfortable for everyone if the groom didn't know the name of his bride." An all too familiar disapproving laugh came from the man he held. "I suppose you're right. It's...Arthur. Arthur Kirkland." America felt as his heart jumped into his throat. They do share the same name... Huffing softly, Alfred reached for Arthur's boots when he felt a weak slap to his face. "What do you think you're doing?" "Getting you to bed. It's late, you need your rest." "I am not--" America gently pressed a finger to his lips. "Sh. You may not feel tired, but you must be very emotionally drain after everything that has happened today; you need your rest, My Queen." Arthur didn't protest after that, appearing almost limp as America carefully undressed him, keeping on at least his underwear. "Do you have night shirts?" He nodded, pointing towards the top drawer; Alfred quickly fetched one and dressed Arthur in it.
"Are you not going to rest too?" Alfred shook his head. "Later in the eve, perhaps. But for now, sleep." Alfred softly told Arthur as he leaned down and pressed a tender kiss to his forehead, tucking him in and extinguishing the flames of the bedside candles. "You're a liar, Alfred..." The Queen spoke before his eyes shut and he passed out. "...Only for tonight, Your Highness." He cracked open the balcony doors, the full moon's light and warm night breeze trailing in, gently ruffling Arthur's sandy blond hair. He traveled to the bedroom door and softly knocked; one of the guards poked their head in. "My King?" "Can you keep an eye on him for a moment? I need to get a few things." "Of course." Alfred flashed a smile of thanks to the guard has he stepped into the room, ducking out of it and jogging towards the library.
It took him a little longer than he would have liked, but he gathered all of the major pieces of this Kingdom's culture and history, taking books that held information of the neighboring Kingdoms as well before returning to his now shared chambers. Once inside, he froze for a moment, silently making his way further inside, setting the books down on the large desk, and stealthy making his way behind the person that hovered over Arthur, hand slowly reaching for him. The man couldn't get his yelp of shock out as his mouth was quickly covered by a hand, his arm wretched behind his back at a painful angle. "What I said keep an eye on him, I didn't mean that you try to assault him in his sleep." A cold voice growled in the guards ear, nearly feeling the man's teeth scraping against his skin. "This is your only warning. If I catch you trying to touch Arthur again, I will have you executed for treason. Am I understood?" The hand on his mouth didn't move, so he could only nod his head. "You may return to your post." Alfred released the guard and the man rushed back out the door, clearly wanting to slam the door behind him, but he knew that if he did, he'd alert everyone else that something had happened, so he wisely voted against it.
America sighed, taking up the space the guard was in and slowly reached out, stroking the back of his fingers against Arthur's cheek. He said nothing, picked up his glove from the floor before slipping the other one off and putting both into hos coat pocket, placing all of the Queen's clothes into the hamper, boots next to the dresser. Alfred picked up the Queen's crown from the floor, putting it on the display in the room, his joining the place beside it moments later, walked towards the desk, stripped out of his trenchcoat and draped it over the back of the chair of the desk, finding a small stack of blank parchment and a pen, and opened up the first book.