A sear of pain flared in his head as he was thrown against the wall behind him. A slow hiss escaped him to prevent the reflexive yelp he was desperately attempting to suppress. The agony seeping through his skull threatened to bring him to his knees on the dusty ground below as the world seemed to revolve on a stilted axis. It was dizzying, causing his already muddled mind to flounder futilely to regain a sense of balance. The only reason he had yet to collapse was the clenched fist roughly clutching the collar of his uniform, forcing him to remain upright. Still, he couldn’t see straight, and his throbbing head was only worsening from the blurred views before him. Green eyes slid closed, their owner yearning for his vision to clear.
“You better open your eyes right now.”
Ferocity resonated with the snarled command, promising harm if not followed. Drawing in a slow, shaky breath, Britain lethargically willed his eyes open. Blue eyes burned into his green ones, their normal brightness marred by hatred. Dark blond hair fell haphazardly over a face twisted with anger, violent intent clearly written across the dark expression.
Well, at least the world wasn’t spinning anymore.
“America,” Britain breathed shakily. “Let go.” The weakly issued command gained a deep growl in response and only served to inspire American to tighten his grip on Britain’s collar. The cloth constricted uncomfortably around Britain’s neck causing his breath to hitch painfully. The older country lifted one hand and locked it around America’s wrist, trying pathetically to pry it away from the bright red cloth of his uniform.
The action only seemed to provoke the younger man. With an angry grunt, America thrust his arm forward, pinning Britain firmly against the wall. The force of the unexpected action caused Britain’s head to collide with the wall once more, and a gasp fled Britain as spots mottled his tunneling vision. As the shapes marring his vision cleared, anger suddenly corrupted Britain’s previously receptive demeanor, pain making him lose control. His other hand joined the one already bound around America’s wrist forcefully, issuing a silent warning.
“America,” Britain cautioned once more, voice firm but still frail from his uneven breath. “Let go of me, or I’ll-”
“You’ll what?” America interrupted harshly, his fierce tone barely below a shout. “Kill me? Go ahead! You didn’t seem to have a problem doing the same to those colonists in Boston!”
It was impossible for Britain to stop a grimace from flickering across his face.
Wordlessly, Britain’s hold on America’s wrist lessened. No words came to the elder man, leaving him capable of only facing the distraught visage before him, the boy’s eyes quivering with scarcely veiled rage. Britain was treading on thin ice, and in all truth there was no way to keep it from shattering.
Sighing, the Englishman snapped his hands away from America’s wrist, allowing his own arms to swing limply back to his side. Looking the younger man in the eye, Britain took a deep breath. “The event you are referring to was an accident, America.” Britain’s tried to keep his tone calm, yet still shook with vague uncertainty. “The soldiers were ordered to hold their fire; however, actions taken by the colonists were viewed as potentially harmful to the troops.”
The hatred rooted on America’s face only intensified at Britain’s words. Sensing the younger blond’s growing incentive to violence, Britain threw up one hand as a plea to wait.
“Appropriate measures have been taken. The soldiers involved were put on trial, and one was put to death for his crime,” he tacked on defensively.
Suddenly, Britain was flung onto the filthy ground below him. America towered above his pathetic frame, the blond haired youth form’s terrifyingly imposing.
“Appropriate measures?” American spat. “You think a few trials will suddenly make it all better?”Five colonists died, Britain! Do you even understand what that means?” Blue orbs were livid with unsuppressed rage.
Carefully monitoring the volatile man’s actions, England slowly rose to his feet. Soon, green was nearly level with blue, the two blonds glaring intently at each other. “We have done what we can to-”
“Tell that to their families!” America shouted furiously, his arm flung toward the bustling street beyond the dank alleyway. “Tell that to the mothers who lost their sons! Do you know what your soldiers have taken? They robbed a seventeen year old boy of his future! What can you do to fix that, Britain? Can you bring him back to life?” America’s voice rasped harshly, raw from the sheer volume and intensity of his words. The young man’s breath shook laboriously, his entire body quaking with unrestrained emotions.
There was little Britain could do to remedy the situation.
“I can only do what I have already done, America. Nothing more. Nothing less,” Britain remarked emotionlessly.
With an unintelligible shriek, America fisted his hand around the cloth of Britain’s uniform once more and thrust him back against the wall, a fist raised dangerously in the air. Britain stared unflinchingly into his younger brother’s tormented eyes, daring him to strike.
America held still for a few moments, conflict ruled his expression as emotions and logic warred for the right to rule his actions. The young man’s hands shook so viciously that Britain felt the trembling through the thick collar of his uniform. Then, as quickly as he had first acted, America ripped his hand away with a strangled cry. America pivoted away from England, head down and eyes tensely shut. Quick, strained strides pulled America away from his former caretaker, leaving Britain to merely watch him go.
As America’s form retreated, Britain couldn’t help but notice the tears in the young man’s eyes.