It started off as just making a point.
America expected England to see reason after he showed he was capable himself. England always managed to make a statement with brute force -- by not taking anything but results in return.
England thought America was bluffing -- being obnoxious little brat and eventually the colony would get over it. Arthur found it simply annoying. He didn't take it seriously.
Their voices rang harshly in the confines of the small colonial home. America's once meek and innocent voice was now convicted and sharp. "It's just not fair! I have people, I have lives being affected! I have a right to be heard. I have a voice!"
"Stop being overly dramatic." England shot back, his cultured tone unable to mask the condescending air to his response, "This is greater than you understand. I certainly can't come clear across the Atlantic to ask you a question whenever a decision is being made. It's worse enough I have the damn frog to deal with," He added irritably, "I don't have time for it."
"Make time." America bit, the same venom in his voice meeting his eyes "Because I'm not going to take this anymore. You want me to grow up? To stop acting like a child? Then fine. I'll make choices and I'll govern my own people. You just have to let me."
"What would you have me do? I'm busy enough keeping France from invading you. Would you rather the frog come and took you? "
America's eyes narrowed; his voice suddenly even as he countered, "At least he acknowledges me as more than just a trophy."
"I do not!" England exclaimed, suddenly defensive as he rose sharply to his feet. "You have no idea what I'm dealing with!" He took a firm step forward, his hand raising to level his index finger pointedly at America, "The damn bastard will have you over my dead body."
"What, so you can order me around some more?" America didn't falter, "Take more of my money and resources?"
"I need to recover for the bloody battle with France -- from saving your ungrateful arse." England's lip curled with disgust, "How can you be such a soiled brat?"
America took an intimidating step forward to match England's. "Did harming my people more than you already have help you recover? Did shooting innocent civilians help?"
England's expression grew suddenly dark, his voice leveling to a coldly even warning, "What happened in Boston was an accident."
"Was it? Was it really? Or were you just trying to teach a lesson? That little America shouldn't upset the 'Great British Empire'?" Alfred scoffed with disdain, raising his palms in mock defense.
England's tone dropped to a hiss, "How dare you insinuate-"
"I'm not going to take it anymore, England." America declared plainly, "I have a right to make my own decisions -- to be free." He took a steady step forward, closing the distance between him and the older nation as he glared decisively into his eyes. The blue of his gaze suddenly piercingly severe, "If you won't listen to me, then I'll just have to take care of myself. Without you."
Before even a breath could be heard, America turned sharply on his heel; walking from the room as thick strides carried him out of the home. The violent slam of the door behind him signaled his departure as he ventured out into the wilderness. The wooden door rattled on its hinges, fractured from the strength of the colony.
Then it escalated.
It went downhill, from America making a point and England being annoyed, to America upping the ante when England didn't believe him. Then it went further and further.
Just one more step and England will understand. Just one more level and England will concede.
Just a little longer and America will get over it. Just a little more force and he'll realize his error.
But then the people became riled. Patriots arose and a cause with more forces and power sparked than America ever intended. Suddenly he found himself deeply invested in a war he never intended on starting. Being pushed along in something he didn't want, but knew he needed.
And then he did the one thing England could never have imagined.
He went to France for help.
He sided with the frog! England had screamed, scattering the contents of his old oak table across the room.
He turned against England with his worst enemy. He chose England all those years ago, but he changed his mind?
England was right at first. That jab of fear when America had first uttered the words, 'big brother', all those years ago had been well founded. He couldn't trust anyone. He had been foolish, stupid, naļve to believe it would be any different.
America turned on him -- with the frog.
And then it all came down to that day in the rain.
America had changed. His eyes dimmer, his voice more horse. He wasn't the America England knew. "All I want," The colony paused, but only for a moment. For a breathe? For a hold on himself? "Is my freedom."
He was so different, his voice harsh, older. Altered.
And then it clicked. That's when the realization hit England.
It wasn't a bluff. It wasn't until England was standing in the rain, guns drawn, looking down the barrel of America's rifle, his own soldiers strewn dead around him, that he realized.
When had it changed? When had this escalated past making a point and become war?
America had changed, he was dissimilar. Distant, callous -- an enemy. It was suddenly grave, it was suddenly real and it hit England with enough force to knock breath from his lungs. A wash of emotions flooded over him and panic shot through him --a need to stop this, to reel it back into normality.
Had he been so blind? Had he denied the truth so long?
America wasn't bluffing. He had declared war.
England was losing him.
His long suppressed pirate strength suddenly flared and he lashed out. Leather boots against muddy earth, gun clenched tightly in his hands, heat of battle rushing to his face. "I won't allow it!"
He attacked, his musket clashing with his colony's and he twisted it sharply; turning and prying. Suddenly he flung America's musket from his grip and it was sent flying though the air. A disarment he'd had a lifetime of chances to practice on France. How could he be using it on America?
How could he be attacking Alfred?
His sights suddenly leveled on the colony's head, blue eyes straight between the sights. Not the green of Spain's, not the blue of France's. America. His America.
When had it come to this?
America was unarmed before he could understand what had just happened. His heart throbbed in his chest and a wave of alarm clenched around his lungs. But there was only a moments flash of horror over America's features before they hardened back into his soldier-like unfaltering gaze.
This was the moment, he was a soldier. Whether in victory or in defeat, he would stand strong.
America wanted to prove his worth, his strength. This was the moment -- the pinnacle of it all. Months of blood, pain and death, he stood face to face with England on the battlefield. He didn't falter; he owed it to his soldiers. All that had died for this cause wouldn't be for nothing. Their deaths wouldn't see him crumble under the aim of England.
Arthur could shoot him down, but he wouldn't fall.
The thundering in England's ears didn't let him notice the sharp order and the clatter of aiming rifles behind America. He didn't notice the line of muskets aimed precisely at him. He wouldn't have cared. His eyes too sharply focused down the barrel of his gun; the iron sights leveled squarely on the younger one's forehead.
Arthur's finger tight on the trigger out of instinct, trembling as it poised around the cold metal he had come to know too well. The hard wooden butt of the rifle pressed into the pocket of his shoulder, his stance set to fire. But his shaking hand was frozen in place just as the breath in his lungs.
The look in America's eyes wasn't one he had ever known. That wasn't his America. The man standing before him was stained with blood, mud streaked across his face and rain running in rivets along his paled skin. His stare cold, hard, serious. Determined.
That's when it hit him.
He had already lost.
Arthur never knew he was so close. He never thought it was possible. It wasn't until he had lost that he realized the severity of it. He lost the war. He lost America. And the bluff...
It wasn't a bluff.
Years of war, years of strife and conflict. It was a practiced action -- just pull the trigger. Squeeze the metal lever and end this. He betrayed you, turned on you. High treason. A simple action, just pull the trigger.
Sapphire gaze staring back at him; detached, firm, but his America's. His finger trembled on the metal of the trigger. The heat radiating through him from the thundering of his heart, masking the cold bite of metal. One simple movement.
Cold and harsh blue eyes didn't falter, staring down England as the country's resolve weakening inside of him. America's sunshine blond hair wet and laying slick to his face.
The signature curl dampened in the rain -- the same that had bounced with his movements when he was young. When he sprinted across the lush green fields to tackle England in utter bliss as the older nation finally came to visit. The cubby features of that small child now formed into the strong adult that stared him down.
Just pull the trigger.
Words echoed through his ears with the same intensity as the rain that pelted the battlefield.
The magnificent empire, the infamous pirate, the fierce nation; one who had battled nations stronger than him and won, who stood with undaunted courage in the face of danger.
He couldn't do it.
This colony a fraction of his strength…
He couldn't shoot him.
All the strength suddenly drained from England. His aim fell away. His rifle slipping uselessly from his grip and it dropped to the muddy dirt carelessly. The splash of the once vital weapon landing in the soil of blood stained and rain washed earth, went unheard in the crack of thunder that sounded overhead.
America didn't flinch at the strike of lightning as he did as a child. Unmoving, steady in his stance. It cut England even deeper. His legs gave out and his knees met the ground in a similar fashion as the gun. A vicious flood of emotion rising to his eyes and salty tears spilled over. The tears streaming down his face mingling with the rain until they were indistinguishable from each other. But the desperation was evident in his eyes, a crushed expression etched into his features.
He had lost.
When had it gotten this far?
His head fell in defeat, his hand reaching up to hide his face as tears flooded unrestrained from his eyes. He had no shame as the sobs racked his body. He had lost more than the line of soldiers still aimed on him could understand. The same blue eyes that had looked up at him in adoration, surveyed him in concern, pleaded with him in sadness, shined at him with bliss.
They were gone.
There was no light to Alfred's eye. No joy to his voice. It seemed drained of everything of his former self. Stripped and thrown away.
He was different. The blissfully innocent little colony was now a war torn country. What England had strived to shield him from had how changed him
War had changed him. Warped him.
For the better or the worst?
England dared a look from behind this tear stained hand; up to America standing above him. All he wanted in the world was a glimmer, a glint of those familiar blue eyes. Not these bitter ones; these scorned ones. Just a glimpse of that former brightness.
England raised his emerald gaze, meeting the man dressed in blue and trimmed with red. America stared down on him, seeming fixated on the older nation.
Arthur looked, his eyes piercing as they looked deep into Alfred's. Hopeful, desperate. Just a glimmer.
He found nothing.
And he knew in that moment. He had lost more than the war.
Breath eluded him, snatched from his lungs as any remaining strength, hope, fled him and a choked sob escaped his throat. His head falling down again as he sobbed uselessly in the rain.
America watched. Hidden in the veil of rain, shaded in the downpour, those stark blues locked on England. The hardness unfaltering, but in an unnoticeable change, they flickered slightly with regret. Just a moment of sympathy -- of weakness.
Quickly they were masked again.
But England didn't see; too absorbed in his own misery to notice the shielded change.
And so it continued to escalate.
England was cast away from the land of his colony. The one he treated like a brother, raised like a son, loved like he hadn't loved anyone. The land he had sailed to so long ago shrank in the distance; shrouded by the black overcast of the storm.
What he had meant to conquer -- to tame -- slipped through his grasp as all motives shriveled into insignificance. It wasn't the loss of land that made his stomach turn or even the shouts of victory that reverberated along the water. Not the loss of beautiful, spacious skies, amber waves of grain or purple mountains of majesty. The home of that radiant smile disappeared into the distance as the stirring waves carried him away.
He had lost him. And it shook England to his core.
So time passed. Pain festered. Anger brewed.
History would lay all mistakes out clearly, but it is the choices made in the heat of the moment that defined them. It wasn't whether England would look back on it in revulsion; it was the pure rage that burned in him at that very instant.
It was England versus France -- an age old battle. But something was far different.
America was there in the thick of it. Meddling with his affairs, hindering his war with French country. England shook with rage at the thought of America siding with the frog once, but now he was hurting England's war on him.
There was no going back.
And in that moment, England couldn't think of any reason to love America again.
His gaze stared off into the distance. The piercing silence of the night rang in his ears as darkness cloaked him, but he didn't move at all. He didn't draw his uniformed coat tighter around his form or shift in his place. He was almost in a trance as the dark thoughts swirled uninhibited in his mind. His eyes leveled on the monument to America's freedom; landing on the very heart of him. His capital.
A crisply dressed soldier stood at attention at his side; his question hanging unanswered in the warm August air.
The green of England's eyes glimmered in the dim moonlight with something dark.
Never shifting his gaze away from the capital, he tipped his head to the side. He commanded calmly; his voice cold with depravity, "Burn it."