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He stepped out of the airport's shelter onto the streets of Liverpool only to find himself greeted by an air of mugginess. He couldn't believe how grey everything was here, but then again, it would explain why most of the food here was so utterly bland. Racing to avoid the drab sight, he slipped into a nearby café. Catching his breath his eyes gazed outside at the grim sight, distanced from him by the slim glass door.

"I knew I should've called before making this visit." He muttered to himself as the smell of tea filled his nose giving him a small sense of belonging.

He knew he shouldn't have come here. His usually steady hands were shaking in a nervous jitter, as his princely aura faded. A battle with his silk tie followed. England has asked him to teach him Hindi so his diplomats could 'better assist' the citizens in his home country. However, as India slowly took a seat in the café he began to wonder if that was true. He kept telling himself he would at least come down and teach his former boss Hindi properly. However, the more he thought about the actual lessons his thoughts carelessly floated to scenes from monochromatic Bollywood films. Realizing the folly, he slowly brought his forehead to the edge of the table, letting himself sigh in utter embarrassment.

"I don't want to see him…" The words spilled from him, like one would reject a cup of tea.

The feelings that flowed with those words resonated in his bones. After all, the last time the two of them were together, it wound up leading to the younger nation crying while guzzling unprecedented amounts of alcohol. The chocolate of his eyes began to melt a liquid softness, as he remembered the words that were spoken during the emotional reunion.

"I'm sorry."

He remembered the fizzing that began deep within the bottom pit of his heart. The feelings invoked similar to the popping sensation of a carbonated drink. He turned his eyes to the window and felt a deep sense of responsibility begin to drain him of all sense.

"I'm sorry, bhaji…" the words dripped slowly from his pale lips.

A hand slowly slipped along his back, making his spine curl outward in an unprecedented response. His breath hitched at the seemingly natural, un-thought-of response. He quickly looked up to see a pair of aged eyes staring down at him with intense heat; almost comparable to the haphazardly red mess that lie atop the man's head. He swallowed as the green eyes began to become alight with an unexplainable flame.

"India?" Scotland mused, his voice dripping with shock.
"Yes, Scotland?" he replied, a deep sickness beginning to form in his stomach.
"Why ain't ya wit my brother, lad?"
"Well bhaji I was actually going to…" He paused for thought then whipped his phone out of his blazer pocket, "Call him. Yes."

He gave a small smile, trying to look confident in his answer the older of the United Kingdom countries began to scrunch his face up into a threatening guise. A thick wad of spit coiled in his throat. Scotland shrugged.

"A'igh then. Though, t' be honest, I would jus' tell you we'r he is."
"Where?" His response was a bit too rapid.
"In th' Straw'erry Fields." Scotland said as his lips turned into a cheeky grin.

He wasn't sure if he could trust the red head's words. However, he didn't want to stay in the company of the temperamental Scot for very long either. Though he was incredibly conflicted, he rather stay here in the light air of the coffee shop and not say a single word to his former ruler. He wanted to curl into the comforting depths of a bed sheet and never come out.  But he still needed to fulfill his duty. He needed to speak his words. Forcing himself from his seat, he stepped out of the coffeehouse into the staggered rainfall, and flagged the first taxi he could see. The scent of chai dissipated in the small coffeehouse, as the red head drowned the taste of nicotine from his mouth as watched the boy slip into the cab.

- - -

The taxi screeched to a stop outside of the fading red gate of the 'Strawberry Field' the rain was a steady trickle. As he leapt out from the taxi he could feel his hair get lovingly sprinkled with the water droplets from above. He peered between the floral bars and spotted the younger nation was staring blankly into the sky in nothing more then a dress shirt and a pair of dusty khakis. He observed as England held his hand out, trying to catch the water, the wonder of a child painting his drowsy jade eyes.

Was the man drunk?

"England bhaji!" He shouted, grasping onto the bars trying to catch the man's attention.

The Brit continued to drift aimlessly, pulling out a slim blue can from his pocket. Labelled the number one drink in the world, was the sparkling juice the desperado had shared with his conqueror so many years ago. It was a Sparkling Mango Rubicon. A simple juice, turned into a sparkling elixir of youth. A drink that could turn an elderly man into a sputtering buffoon with a sip of it's bubbling sugary bliss.  He watched carefully as England slowly pulled the tab, then take a delicate taste. A smile painted across the Brit's face. India felt his grip on the bars loosen, as he felt the air of the moment grow light. He no longer feared the duty he had. The words spoken in a night of pandemonium, and a chilling storm no longer filled his bones with dread.

Once more, he opened his mouth, the words as smooth as a serving of lassi, "England bhaji…"

The Brit looked down from the Heavens to the rusted gate where the suited man stood.

"Oh," the man took a deep breath and held the can between his fingertips, and swung it nonchalantly at his side, "Sorry India. How long have you been standing there?"

He chuckled at the state of his former ruler, standing in the middle of a garden with the same energy he had in his youth.

"Not very long…" he let a grin play on his face, "Do you have another?"
"Another what?" England asked puzzled.
"A Rubicon."

The gate creaked open, then slowly swung close, as the air of the past became washed away with the rain.
September to October 2012

So. I read this news story while on one of my breaks [link] and decided to write a little something about it. Also, Rubicon is amazing. : ) I also wrote this for Hetalia Day 2012, for my followers on tumblr... (Sadly, I was late on posting this.)

If you have any questions regarding the historical/current events referenced in this story, or the language used (Punjabi), feel more than free to ask about it. : )

"Aww! That was so cute! I would love to read some more!" [link]

"No! I want drama!" [link]

Axis Powers Hetalia (c) Hidekaz Himaruya
Preview Image doesn't belong to me! It's from a lovely user on Pixiv! D ':
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