Your grasp had always been strong. Even in sleep, when England slid his hand into yours, you would hold on to him as though your life depended on it. He could snuggle into your sleeping form and you would hug him with all your strength. When the dreams of the past, the all consuming loneliness, overtook him, England only needed to find you. Awake or otherwise, you would comfort him to the best of your ability.
Your silhouette could instantly calm him, as your breathing was always strong and deep. (h/c) spilled over your face, and those brilliant (e/c) eyes were closed but active even in sleep.
But your grasp wasn’t strong now. It was weak and lifeless as you slowly slipped through his fingers. He had known you would die before him, but he had never accepted it. England had always assumed you’d let him try some spell to give you immortality so the two of you could stay together. Or at least that you would have the full life experience of the average adult.
Because he had the provisions, you were receiving top medical care, but it still wasn’t enough. Each day you grew weaker, this disease eating you from the inside out.
And still you smiled. You were still happy as ever, glad to just spend your remaining hours with the man you loved. He stared down at your sleeping form, now twisted lightly in ever encroaching pain. You were still quite strong in spirit, and he didn’t want you to leave his side.
His grip on your hand tightened and you woke. First you groaned in pain, then controlled yourself and dragged a hazy smile to your face to ease England’s suffering on your behalf. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” you asked softly, trying to ignore everything that was happening and spend every remaining second with him.
“You know what’s wrong. Even if you won’t admit it.” he said, rather bitterly. England was really ashamed of himself. He couldn’t even pull it together for you, put on a happy face. He felt selfish and horrible.
But you didn’t feel for yourself. There was no element of self pity. “It’s my own fault. I’ve had more than ten times the joy of a normal person, and the universe finally decided I’d had enough. I’ve been more joyful than anyone else, and it’s all due to meeting you.” you joked, however thinking every word was true. England huffed, looking down at you as you laid in the bed. “Get in here, it’s not catching. At least for you.” you said, patting the bed beside you.
He got in next to you, pulling you into a loose embrace. “Would you...” England started, but stopped mid sentence.
“Would I what?” you asked, loving his caring embrace that had always been delicate. It was like he thought you would break, and it had always been that way.
He sighed deeply, and you could feel it both in his chest and in the breath that tickled behind your ear. “Would you stop pretending this is nothing?” he asked, a lump in his throat at the thought of you leaving him.
You picked up his hand, it being comically large in comparison to your dainty fingers, and held it around yourself, relishing the warm embrace you knew you’d never get to feel again. “Because to you, it ought to be nothing. People die all the time, and you have to expect that.”
“You’re not just people. I love you. More than anything.” he said stubbornly.
England was almost hurt that you thought of yourself as just one of the others. You were special. “And I love you,” you told him, still playing casually with his hand, “but I need you to be strong.”
Strong. That wasn’t what he was. England had suffered so much; he was practically fragile at this point. You were the strong one, and you were leaving him just like everyone had. But...
“I’m sorry,” you whispered, “I really am.” Going on you said, “Even I thought I’d have a little more time with you. I never wanted to leave, but it’s inevitable. I’m sorry; I’m leaving you alone just like everyone else.”
England’s arms tightened around you, “No.” He hugged you rather closely to him now, and buried his face in your hair. “You’re not leaving like all the others. You want to stay, you don’t have a choice. They just left me.”
“I-I love you, Arthur.” you used his human name and tried to focus on keeping your eyes open which seemed almost as difficult as breathing at this point. “I love you more than anything else in the entire world and I need you to know that. You do know that, right, Arthur?”
He nodded, then realized you couldn’t see, “Of course, love. I can’t imagine why, but I know you do. I love you too, more than you can imagine.”
A small smile graced your features as you began to exit this material world, but it faltered as you felt a small tear drip on your head. Your last words came out in a whisper with your final breath, “Don’t cry, love.”