august, 1940, somewhere outside London
It is the sirens that wake him.
Somehow, Poland must be better at hearing them from afar than he is, with the way he bolts up in bed, ragged breaths filling the silence.
(the sirens come to him in his dreams, maybe, but England does not ask.)
“We have to go.”
Funny, no? England might be dead by now, blown to bits, if he did not have Poland beside him.
Oh, how much he owes this man. Seven Messerschmitts and his life.
“I’m well aware,” England replies through the wailing from outside, hiding his sudden bout of gratitude behind grumpy-sleepy-tired-something, tugging on his clothes-
(of course, they sleep without, what’s a whole evening together for if not for hasty mapping of unfamiliar territory, hands everywhere and holding, on the settee, mouths crushed together to keep in words they cannot say-)
and they scarper off into the night.
It’s warm, heavy with the scent of wet grass and berries and smoke, light blue-grey all around them and it’s August and they’re holding hands now, off to the shelter in shirtsleeves and slacks and untied boots, half laughing and half concerned-
What’s there to fear? Either they miss or they don’t.
“Get a move on,” England urges because Poland has the funny habit of stopping to look at the lights, an attitude England can't quite place (somewhere between bravery and romanticism, that he wants to see the beauty of it all - but then again, when ruin is all you have, you must appreciate it, right?).
The underground bunker is narrow and dim and it’s only them, only them, alone-together in the dark.
Poland’s breath is against his ear, whispering softly, “They’re bombing Warsaw tonight.”
England can't quite place his tone - it's somewhere between grief and accusation.
“I’m sorry, Poland, you do know-”
Poland won’t have any of it and presses thin fingers to his mouth, followed by a brush of his lips to England's cheek.
England lights a cigarette, and so they sit in silence until dawn comes with rays of gold for Poland’s hair where he sleeps, unguarded.