There was something to his routine. Getting up, walking around the ruins listening to the wonderful music he still had with him, and dancing under the night sky after finding things to eat with the dog he had as well as himself, and saying hello to the remaining populace he saw among his territory, and then going to bed on top of his shelter, staring up into the stars and wondering what was to come of his existence.
He no longer remembered his name, though sometimes he felt pangs of it looking upon copper coins on the ground, and out into the ocean, looking at the rusted statue, but he didn't actually know anymore.
It was a good, stable life, if not the best life there was, until the day a giant white ship landed on his territory, and he took his dog on a walk to go see what it was.
There was a certain beauty in the Earth from space, England thought, looking upon the planet he had been born on, and was born of.
Where he had left him behind to try and save their planet- their land, while Arthur had gone on to save their nation- their people.
So often it was that he found himself able to forget his love, only to be reminded of him at the worst instance.
They landed that evening, time wise, and Arthur decided to go out into the planet, to reconnect with the earth he had left 4 centuries before.
He looked up into the night sky, before he heard a bark, and looked over, shocked and concerned, only to see a very dirty man, with a dog on a leash, both of whom looked shell-shocked to see Arthur there.
"Um…hello." Arthur said, nervous, and the man's mouth opened and closed dumbly.
"Hi!" He said, suddenly, excited. "Are you from space?"
"Ah, yes." Arthur said, now more confused than anything. "How can you understand me…?"
The dirty looking vagabond scoffed. "I'm not stupid." He explained in a phrase. "I'm just wondering- why'd ya come back? Isn't the earth supposed to be like, uninhabitable?"
So the story had probably traveled down generations, in an oral tradition, Arthur guessed quietly. "Well, you're correct, but we suspect that the earth may be viable once again."
"Oh." The man said, smiling brighter. "Well, I can tell you it most certainly is! There's not many of us, but that's mostly due to lack of food!" He coughed lightly, before he smiled a bit. "And sickness, that'll do it too."
Arthur was tentative to touch him. "Alright…" He said, seeming done with this conversation. "Do you have a name, sir…?"
"Ah! Uh, no…" He said, looking embarrassed. "I had one, I forgot it!" He laughed, remaining lighthearted, and there was something in his easy-going charm that made Arthur feel more at ease around him.
The man nodded. "What's yours, though?" He asked politely, for a man that seemed to be so…uncultured.
"Arthur." He introduced, calm. "Now, I'm afraid I need to go." He said, and turned around, going back to the ship.
The man looked surprised. "Oh! Okay! I live around here! Come visit, sometime!" He suggested brightly, and Arthur was tempted enough to go visit him several times after that.
Every time Arthur came to visit him, the man without a name slowly remembered things about himself that he had forgotten. It was weird, but also, great.
He wanted to show Arthur everything this earth had to offer him- from its wonderful night sky that they sat under every time they met, to the wildflowers that bloomed in the early morning light, to the burning sky of sunset.
Most of all, he wanted to show him that he longed for him.
One night, the man sat beside Arthur, a vagabond of the forgotten Earth and an aristocrat of the cosmos, when suddenly, the dirty human smiled brightly up at him. "Dance! We should dance!"
"Oh? Do you know how?" Arthur asked, raising an eyebrow, charmed by this simple man.
"Yeah! I don't remember when I learned, but I do!" He smiled, brightly, and the smile really bothered Arthur- he swore he knew this man from somewhere…but where?
The man rushed over to his beat up speakers, starting to play a song, one that sounded a little familiar within the first moments, and then took his hand, pulling him close, and started to do a simple foxtrot, Arthur finding it very surprising that this man knew how to ballroom dance in this era of earth.
"Stars shining bright above you, night breezes seem to whisper, 'I love you'." Arthur looked into the man's kind blue eyes, and was reminded of open skies on beautiful days, which he never saw, nor did he know if this man knew of them either, but he knew that this man was undoubtedly enamored with him.
"Birds singing in the sycamore tree, dream a little dream of me." The man twirled Arthur slowly, holding him close and the two danced in the starlight, but Arthur knew that they couldn't be.
However, something about how this blonde danced with him led him to linger. The two danced to many other classic hits, including Sway by Dean Martin, La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstrong, and Fever by Peggy Lee.
However, as daylight approached, Arthur sighed, hanging onto the man's hand, and almost whispering a name that he hadn't known like this in centuries.
But then he withdrew his hand, and the moment was lost, and the human before him looked almost hurt. "I have to go." He said, instead, and the man nodded, looking to the edges of the night sky, where the burning started.
"Will I see you again?" The native human asked, and Arthur opened his mouth to tell him, no, but found that he simply could not.
"Perhaps." England said tentatively. "It'll be hard, today is the day that our whole ship is unloading. In all reality, it'll be hard for you to find me other again."
"B-But, you could find me again, right?" the man said, grasping at the thin hope Arthur had given him.
In the background, Arthur could hear Doris Day singing, "You won't admit you love me, and so, how am I ever, to know, you only answer: perhaps, perhaps, perhaps."
Arthur looked to him sadly. "Perhaps."
The man looked crushed, but nodded. "You're right…" He said, sighing. "Well, it's been nice knowing you, I suppose." He grinned, trying to cover his obvious sadness and disappointment. "I look forward to being a member of this "society"…" He trailed off.
Arthur nodded, and then stood. "Goodbye, sir…"
"Oh, yeah…" He said, smiling at Arthur. "I finally think I remember my name, but I think it's not really exact. Call me Al. Goodbye, Arthur."
"Goodbye then, Al…" Arthur said, walking back to his ship, hoping to never meet the human again, for fear that he would fall in love.
Al cried that night, and many nights to follow.
He listened to Bill Wither's familiar voice, trying to grieve over his chance for love with the other man, this man he felt so attached to, but only had failed.
After a week passed without sign of Arthur, Al got up, and decided to deal with it. "Que Sera, Sera." He told himself, sighing gently as he dressed himself for the day, gently grabbing his dogs leash and letting the wolfhound mix come over to him excitedly, and he walked out into the daylight, looking upon the magnificence of the pure white ship before him with curiosity and vague feelings of remembrance which he pushed away, uncomfortable with them.
There were many humans building settlements on the earth, and he slowly went up to them, curious and excited.
However, people drew away from him, seeming to be frightened of him.
Al felt his heart sink, hearing them ask things like "Is he feral?" and "Can he speak English?" and he resisted the urge to fight them, knowing that would only confirm their fears of him.
"That's a bit rude." He said, smiling lightly, before they jumped and their murmurs of suspicion turned into ones that were cruel, and he felt under incredibly scrutinized. They whispered about how dirty and unkempt he was, and Al was suddenly embarrassed beyond belief, wondering if Arthur had shared these sentiments.
He probably did…which is why he had left.
Disheartened, the man turned around, taking his dog with him, who seemed eager to get out of there as well.
That day, he left his home, and came back to find it burned, with settlers having moved over it.
He had his dog, and that was about all he had.
That was the day he decided to bathe himself, and he washed off years of tears and grit, covering himself in rage- against Arthur, and against the settlers.
He didn't want to share anything with them, especially not his land, for many reasons, some that were unknown even to him.
One day, Arthur finally saw him.
He had gone to see Al several days before, only to find that his citizens had moved in accordingly, and assumed that the man had integrated, as he had desired to. Arthur wished him the best of luck, though he would likely never see him again.
He had long thought that he would never see this man again either.
He raced up to the familiar blonde head and saw the messy clothes and knowing that this was him from the little hair that stood up on his head.
"Alfred!" He said, excitedly, making the man jolt and turn around, and Arthur suddenly hugged him close.
"Arthur…" The man's face scrunched up, looking annoyed. "What are you doing?"
The green-eyed man's eyebrows shot up, looking shocked and a bit worried, something in his heart like dread rising to the surface. Alfred removed his hands.
"Ugh…do I really look so different…?" He muttered. "Its just Al, not this Alfred you're talking about…"
Arthur's mouth gaped as he put two and two together. "Oh my god. Y-you…you were that man…"
"I am that man." Alfred growled a bit, dusting himself off. "And you said you'd never come to see me again, and I expect you immigrants to keep that word, at least." He whistled, and his dog, a pretty mix now that it was bathed, came to his side, and Alfred started to walk away.
"A-Alfred! I didn't know!" He said, trying to get his forgiveness.
"Well, that's a shit answer. I'll only care about you when I know your name? That's…. that's disgusting, actually. I'm going." The younger man, who clearly only knew him from the brief time they had spent with Arthur back on earth, started to walk away, and Arthur knew he was right, but he continued to follow him.
He couldn't lose him again.
It took many weeks of battling Alfred's higher walls, and his cynicism had definitely come back to him, until Alfred was willing to listen to him.
It was slow work, and delicate work. If he said something wrong, he would be put back 3 steps for every step he took forward.
However, something seemed to click when Arthur finally called him his true name.
"America." He said, softly. "You're America."
"Oh…" Alfred looked shocked, his eyes growing a little foggy, before he blinked, and looked to Arthur quietly. "You…you came back?" He said, confused, head tilting like a dog, a trait that he had used to despise, but reminded him that he was here, he hadn't died. "England?"
And that's when Arthur tackled him. "Fuck off." He muttered, hugging him tight. "I thought I had lost you."
America laughed. "You know I'm hard to kill…Quite personally, I'd say."
England smacked the boy upside the head for that, still crying but now considering hurting him for that utterly uncalled comment, however, he just settled on a single word.