Due to the fact that it was America who legally adopted you, you were forced to take the name of _____ Jones, and so was Sophie. The day before America was to go back to his country, you and Sophie said your goodbyes. You already had a feeling that you would've seen her at one of the world meetings in the future, so saying goodbye to her wasn't as hard as it was the night that you ran away from the orphanage over two years ago.
One morning, you walked into England's office to see if you would've been able to find some tape. However, instead of finding tape, you found England asleep at his desk, his forehead resting on one arm while the other was drooped at his side. You couldn't have helped but cover your mouth and let out a tiny giggle. You remembered that England had to do a large amount of work for his boss the previous day, but you never thought he would've fallen asleep right in the middle of doing it.
You removed your hand from your mouth and quietly approached England, pausing in front of him. You were able to see his chest rise and fall gently with each light breath he took, and you couldn't have helped but notice how he looked much more peaceful and a lot less grumpy when he was asleep than when he was awake.
You smiled as you stood there and watched England sleep. You knew that he was probably exhausted, but you had to wake him up so he could've eaten breakfast.
Quietly, you extended your hand and poked him in the side. In return, he only let out a low moan and squirmed in his seat, still not waking up. You frowned when you realized that your attempt was unsuccessful. Even if you did wake him up, he probably would've been exhausted right through the morning, and you wanted him to be wide awake right now.
You poked him in the side again, a little more forcefully this time.
"Nnn…" England moaned before he shifted in his seat, still asleep.
You sighed as you continued to look at his sleeping figure. You stood there for a good few seconds, trying to come up with a plan to get England to instantly awaken. Finally, a mischievous idea crossed your mind, and you let out a tiny smile. I wonder if he's ticklish…
Before you could've changed your mind, you stood directly behind England and grabbed both of his sides, giggling to yourself as you squeezed them.
"A-Ahh!" England yelped as he almost jumped out of his seat from the prickly sensation in his sides. You were still hiding behind England's chair as he rubbed his sides and blinked. A few moments of silence passed before he let out a tiny yawn. He's still not fully awake! you thought to yourself, and you extended your arms enough so that they were able prod England's sides once again.
"S-Stop that!" England yelled as he started to laugh through all of your tickling. You let out another giggle as he tried swatting your hands away, even though they continued to poke his sides. You watched from your place behind his chair in amusement as he failed to push your hands away, and squirmed in his seat whenever you poked him.
"_-_____!" England choked through laughter as you began to poke his sides more fiercely. ""S-Stop tickling me!"
Finally, you decided to obey, and slowly removed your hands from England's aching sides. A few moments of silence passed, and you were able to hear England's deep, heavy breaths from your place behind his chair. Slowly, you held onto the chair for support and hauled yourself up before you slowly walked forward so that you were in front of England. He had one hand gripping the rim of his desk while the other was placed on his chest as he tried to regain his breath. When he noticed you looking down at him, he lifted his gaze so that it met yours.
"Good morning, Arthur," you said cheerfully. "Are you awake now?"
"Yes," England gasped. "_____, don't ever tickle me like that again."
You stayed silent for a few moments until a mischievous grin spread across your lips. "Oh, so what would've happened if I did…this?" you extended an arm and poked his belly.
"Don't do that," England said numbly as he raised a hand in defense and scooted back in his seat away from you.
You studied him carefully, and noticed that his eyes were bleak with exhaustion and his hair was a mess. You smirked when you decided that he still wasn't as awake as you wanted him to be. "Don't do what~?" you asked playfully before you quickly poked his belly again.
England sighed in exasperation. "I said, don't tickle m—ahhh!" he cried when you once again began to fiercely poke his belly and his sides, giggling mercilessly.
"_-____, I'm serious!" England gasped through laughter as you continued to tickle him and he attempted to push your hands away but failed. He let out another cry after he attempted to scoot even further away from you, causing the chair to topple over.
You also let out a gasp as you grabbed England's sides and closed your eyes just before the chair hit the ground with a loud bang. All was silent for the next few seconds, and when you opened your eyes, you felt your face instantly heat up when you realized that you were clinging onto England's sides as if you would've fallen to your death if you let go. You quickly lifted yourself off of England and stood up, looking down at him. His back was pressed against the floor, his legs were thrown over the seat of the chair, and his eyes were closed. He let out a moan as he slowly propped himself up on his elbows and rubbed the back of his head.
"Are…you okay?" you asked quietly as you bent down so that your gaze locked with England's.
"I…I guess so," England muttered before he removed his hand from his head. His sides were hurting from all of that tickling, and his breath was coming out quick and shallow. "Just…please don't tickle me anymore, okay?"
"Okay," you nodded. You couldn't have helped but let out another giggle as you said, "England, I never knew you were so ticklish…"
England only let out a grunt in reply as he hauled himself up. You grasped his arm and helped him get back onto his feet, and when he did, he let out another yawn.
"You shouldn't stay up so late doing work," you said to England as the both of you walked out of the room and down the hallway. "You're not going to get the right amount of sleep you need and you'll be very tired."
The both of you paused in front of the door to the bathroom. "Well, it's my job as a country to do the work that is assigned by my boss," England said to you, "even if it means staying up until the morning."
"Well, you should really lay off the work for a while and just relax," you said. "If you want, I can make your breakfast for you."
"Honestly, _____, you sound like you're my mother," England said to you before he stepped into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. You were able to detect a hint of a smile in his voice when he said that, and you stood in front of the closed door with a bit of confusion in your gaze. You didn't sound much like a mother in your opinion—after all, everybody shows concern for each other, not just the mothers!
"So do you want me to make you breakfast or not?" you called to England through the bathroom door.
"Yes, that would be nice," came the reply. You ran away from the door, down the hallway, and into the kitchen before you were able to have any other thoughts that would've made you more confused than you already were.
You woke up extremely late on the morning of your 15th birthday. You knew this day was coming and were dreading it, which was why you decided to try and sleep through as much of it as possible. Your attempt failed since by the time you woke up and felt like you were unable to go back to sleep, it was almost 10 am. You were aiming for somewhere around noon, so it disappointed you.
It was a groggy walk to the bathroom and a grumpy walk to the kitchen. You should've been happy that you were 15 and finally maturing, but it was the exact opposite for you. What if you have gotten older than England in terms of looks and he would've forced you to start your own life? That very same thought made you shake with fright. How on earth would you have been able to manage buying your own home, furniture, clothes, food, and everything else without England's assistance?
You already knew the answer to that. You wouldn't have been able to manage. Just thinking about it was too much for you. You didn't want England to throw you out on the streets and force you to live on your own again. With each birthday that came, you felt like you were already one year closer to that day occurring. That day when England decided that you were too old to live with him and would've kicked you out of his house.
In truth, you wanted to stay with England forever. You doubted that you would've been ready to handle the dangers and difficulties of the outside world by yourself.
When you entered the kitchen, you found England reading a book at the kitchen table. When he noticed your entry, he looked up at you and smiled. "Good morning, _____," he said to you as you walked over to the counter and started making whatever breakfast you had in your mind at that moment.
"Uh…good morning," you muttered. You had lost your appetite through all of your thinking, but you knew that England would've started to worry if you didn't have breakfast, so you forced yourself to eat something.
All was silent as you sat at the kitchen table and quietly ate your breakfast. Your gaze was fixed directly on your food, so you weren't able to notice England looking up from his book and noticing your depressed gaze.
"Happy birthday, _____," England said to you with the attempt to start a conversation. "You got up a little later than usual today…."
"I wouldn't call my birthday 'happy,'" you muttered to yourself as you kept on eating your food. You sighed before you looked up at England, misery filling your eyes. When he noticed the expression on your face, his eyes filled with concern, which only made your throat tighten. I know he cares about me like a real guardian should…but would he really kick me out of the house when I turn older…?
"Hey, Arthur?" you asked, your voice pathetically high pitched.
You swallowed the lump in your throat before you continued in a normal voice, trying hard not to let it crack. "Um…what would you have done to me when I've grown up? Like…years from now when I'll look older than you?"
England's gaze filled with confusion, and you were able to detect a small hint of alarm in his eyes. "Why do you ask?"
You clenched your fists and dropped your gaze back down to your food. "It's because…I'm afraid that…when I get older, you'll think that I've matured enough and that I'm able to live life on my own, and you'll kick me out of the house…" A long moment of silence passed before you pressed your clenched fists against the rim of the table. "But I don't think I'll ever be ready to live on my own! I've suffered enough living in the orphanage, and I just…want somebody to always look out for me and protect me. I want my life to be easy for once, instead of it always being difficult. I don't want you to force me to live on my own, Arthur. I just don't…."
Another long moment of silence passed, and you slowly lifted your gaze so that it met England's. The confusion that filled his eyes just moments ago was replaced by sadness and a little relief.
"Oh, _____, I'm sorry," England murmured as he dropped his gaze down to his hands. "I would never, ever let you live on your own if you didn't want to. I want you to understand that I would never force you to do anything, and no matter how old you get, I promise that I'll always be there for you."
"But what if I get so old that I start to get all wrinkly?" you asked as you buried your face in your hands. "It will be an embarrassment to all the other countries if they knew that I was once younger than you and then I would've looked way older! I would've never showed myself to the other countries again!"
You felt England's chair scrape against the floor as he stood up and walked over to you. You felt his hands wrap themselves around your wrists and pull your hands away from your face. When you looked up at him, you saw that he gazed back at you in reassurance.
"_____, you've only lived with me for a little over two years, and you're already starting to have these negative thoughts," England said to you. "There will still be a long way to go before you'll start looking older than me. For now, you should enjoy these times while you can, not fuss over about something that hasn't happened yet. I promise that you won't ever have to worry about me throwing you out of the house just because of the way you look compared to me. You don't have to worry about anything, _____."
You sighed as you looked down at your hands. "Okay," you said quietly. You stood up from your seat, not feeling hungry at all anymore, and walked away from the table.
"Besides, the only way that I'll be able to age like you is by…magic or something, but that would've been impossible," you said to England as you walked out of the kitchen.