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A Cat Who Writes ([personal profile] acatwhowrites) wrote2010-12-28 02:22 am

[Fanfic] Bruising Brothers

Title: Bruising Brothers; one-shot
Fandom: Hetalia
Genre: drama, family
Rating: PG
Warning(s): French curse; human names
This is for the [ profile] usaxcanada Christmas event, written for [ profile] veelociraptor.

My prompt was "ice cream, baseball, and a hot summer day." I got the idea when thinking reasons for America to buy ice cream for others.

I've never had my hand broken. I've never had anything broken, actually, so I only guessed about Canada's injury. Yea, and at the end: America totally ate his ice cream already. As if he'd buy only one.

Bruising Brothers

Summertime: A homework-free break for swimming, staying up late, ignoring responsibility and playing baseball.

The American pastime, of course, was the most important thing about summer, and Alfred F. Jones participated enthusiastically.

“The pitcher winds up, pauses, and hurls the ball like a rocket to second base! Mattie Williams catches it! The runner is out! Woo hoo!” Alfred did a little victory dance at his own commentary. Sixty feet across the park, Matthew Williams held the ball in his mitt, frowning at his brother.

“Al!” he called. “If you want me to play, then play. This is the fifth time you’ve done this.”

“What’sa matter, Mattie? Don’t you want to play with me?”

You asked me to play in this heat!” Of course he was cross, being outside in 97º Fahrenheit heat throwing a baseball back and forth to his hyperactive brother was enough to give the boy heat stroke. He wanted nothing more than to go home and fall into the pool.

He at least wanted to go sit in the shade by his father, who was somewhat contently lounging on metal bleachers that were sheltered from the intense glare of the sun by a few maple trees, although with how often he paused his reading to fan himself with his book, Matthew was sure he would rather be indoors.

“It’s not even lunch, yet! Will you play with me until then? Please?” Alfred offered his best puppy eyes, baby blues going wet with his plea.

Matthew always prided himself in being totally immune to his brother’s whining, but the faster he complied the faster his brother would tire himself out and want to go home. “Fine.”

“Yay!” Matthew couldn’t stand against his brother’s puppy-dog eyes. They were too pitiful and would have made him feel guilty if he resisted. He pitched the ball back to his brother, who lost it in the glare of the sun momentarily but caught it easily in his glove.

Alfred took a step back, juggling the ball in his glove. He wondered how fast he could throw the ball. Coaches at practice stressed aim before speed, because a fast ball way off course meant that much longer to retrieve it, and that could cost the game.

“Head’s up, Mattie! This one’s for the game!”

The younger brother felt his stomach clench. He saw Alfred wind up for the pitch, bottom lip between his teeth and lower jaw set in concentration. “Alfred! Al, don’t throw too…”

Alfred didn’t hear. He unleashed the ball, sending it rocketing towards his younger brother. Matthew flinched and closed his eyes, holding his glove up where the ball’s trajectory seemed to be heading, and prayed to God it wouldn’t hurt too much.

Francis enjoyed being outside about as much as a cat liked to fly. He had promised to watch the kids, though, so he allowed himself to be dragged to a local park, where he camped out on a metal bench in the shade with a raunchy romance novel.

The boys ran around on the playground for some time then started throwing a softball back and forth on a nearby baseball diamond. They both played on their grade school’s softball team; Alfred was a pitcher while Matthew played first base.

Matthew took after Francis in that he enjoyed reading and calmer activities in contrast to Alfred and his boundless energy. The older boy’s shouts and laughter were simply background noise, but when a high-pitched scream assaulted Francis’ ears, he immediately knew it wasn’t Alfred.

Throwing his legs off the bench and sitting upright, the blood rushed from his head, making him dizzy. The book dropped from his hand, and he ran to where his precious son was on his knees, sobbing and clutching his hand to his stomach, hunching over it to protect it from any other harm. Alfred was kneeling next to him, concern scrunching his face into soft wrinkles between his eyes. “Hey, Mattie. Mattie, I’m sorry.”

“What did you do to him?”

Alfred flinched at his tone and sat back, looking as if he wanted cry, too. “It was an accident. I threw him the ball, and it went too fast…”

Francis ignored his babbled diffusion of blame, speaking lowly in French to calm Matthew down enough to coax his arm from its cocoon of Matthew’s body. The glove tugged painfully, pushing fresh tears down the boy’s already wet cheeks.

The hand was red and swollen and throbbed with pain at the slightest movement. “Merde…” Francis swore softly under his breath. He didn’t know if the hand was broken, sprained, or what. Luckily, there was a clinic about a block from the park. Someone had planned ahead for all the sports activities, making the clinic’s proximity ideal.

Getting to his feet, the man picked up his son, who clung to his neck and tried to hide from the pain by burying his face in Francis’ neck. “Go home, Alfred. I’m taking Mattieu to the clinic…”

“But I want to go, too!”

No. You have done enough for today. Just go home. Straight home.” He didn’t look back to see if the boy did as told or not. Matthew shifted slightly, peeking over Francis’ shoulder and saw Alfred’s genuinely hurt expression, like a puppy that had been kicked.

Alfred stared at Francis and Matthew until they were the size of Lego people outside the park. “Mmnyagh!” He threw his glove into the dirt and stomped on it, grinding it into the earth beneath his heel. It was a desecration of the holiness of baseball, but the boy was too angry to even care. He kicked the glove across the diamond and plopped down where he’d stood.

He bit his lip, breathing deep and fast to avoid the tears that he wanted to cry. He’d hurt Matthew, his baby brother. Sure, he was only a short amount of time older, but that still counted. Alfred was supposed to protect Matthew, not hurt him.

He’d made Matthew cry, before, but he’d never screamed with so much hurt. Seeing him crumple to the ground and pull into himself was terrifying. It had actually taken Alfred a few precious moments to even realise something was wrong. If Francis hadn’t been there, Alfred didn’t know what he would’ve done.

Sniffling, Alfred dragged a filthy hand beneath his nose. There was nothing to do but go home. He’d be in trouble when Arthur got home, but washing dishes and folding laundry for a month was bearable. As long as Matthew was around.

He stood after a while of sitting and moping. Grabbing his brother’s glove, and then his from near home plate, he walked through the dugout when he heard a familiar tune. It was coming from the street, and each second carried it closer.

Hastily rummaging in his shorts pockets, Alfred pulled out the loose change he picked up from parking lots and sofa cushions at home. “Yes! I have just enough.”

Francis talked to the clinic doctor about getting x-rays done of Matthew’s hand. A preliminary examination revealed that the hand was broken. It was promptly splinted and wrapped in gauze, and Matthew was given painkillers that made him feel drowsy, although it could’ve been from crying.

He waited in the examination room for Francis to come get him. An ice pack sat on his hand, and he played with it until he heard the handle push down. Blue eyes peeked in, saw Matthew, and then the door flew open.

Alfred bounded into the room, out of his depressed funk. “Hi, Mattie!” he whispered, not wanting Francis to hear him. “I got you something.” He offered a Powerpuff Girl ice cream bar to his brother. “Oh, wait…” He tore open the wrapper from the bottom and let Matthew pull the treat out by its stick.

“Thank you…” Matthew said.

Alfred sat on the plastic chair next to Matthew, leaning against his shoulder. “I really am sorry, you know.”

“…I know.”