Author: bodiechan PM
Sometimes when you're always forgotten, the only thing you really need is for one person to remember.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Family - Canada & America - Words: 2,548 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-16-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6658095
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I don't know how this fanfic happened. It wasn't planned at all. I just sat down at my computer and suddenly it came out of my fingers. My inspiration would have to be credited as the first minute and eight seconds of the song "You Will Never Belong" from the Lilo & Stitch movie soundtrack. Yes, the first minute and eight seconds. I counted.
I'm not sad.
Most people don't understand that. That sometimes I just want to sit, and think, and be quiet and listen to solemn music sometimes. It doesn't mean I'm sad. Just because I'm not always as loud and obviously happy as America doesn't mean I'm upset about anything at all.
He's my big brother, and I love him, even if he does boss everyone around all the time and they take it out on me. In a way, I envy his ability to always be so confident and carefree. He always gets the spotlight in our family. England always did like him best.
But that's okay. For the most part, I'm happy just being alone. I have Kuma…kira? to help me through the rough patches, and I have Cuba-san, and I like watching America. I think he's funny, most of the time.
But there are times too, when I want things I know I can't have. Like I want people to be looking, instead of at him, at me. And I want to be noticed, and I want to be strong, and I want people to be able to remember my name. Not everyone likes America, but everyone respects him. Nobody respects me.
I want him to know me. I want them all to know me. I am Canada. I am a country. I matter. And when I speak, I want the world to listen.
But when I enter a room, they don't even know I'm there.
France notices me. France is the only one who remembers. So he's not an ideal friend, and it's clear all he wants are my vital regions when he calls me up to talk. I'm not going to pretend we haven't had sex. I'm not going to pretend I haven't let him do things to me I'm not proud of and never want to do again. But he notices me. France knows my name. And he's all I have.
Him and Kumajiro.
Him and America.
I know America loves me, somewhere in his heart. I know that this is just how he shows affection, and when I get the short end of the stick that's just how things go in our house and not that he doesn't care. It's not that I'm worthless or anything like that. It's like America is some kind of god, and sitting in his shadow I just can never seem to compare.
So when I think about it, deep down, maybe I am a little sad sometimes. All the time. Today. This moment. Now. Maybe I don't really want to be alone. Maybe I want someone to hold me and love me and whisper in my ear that it'll all be okay. Not France, who will only sweet-talk me to get me in his bed. Not England, who will tell me he loves me but have America on the brain. Not America, who will never understand. When has anyone not remembered America? When has he ever sat outside and waited for someone to call his name? And when has that call never come?
Once upon a time, America was my big brother and England took care of us both, read us bedtime stories and made sure we always had enough to eat. He tucked us in at night, both at the same time. But I saw the way he looked at America. And I knew that this was how it would always be—me and America, him and me. My fabulous big brother the hero, and then there's me. The one no one can remember.
The cold air blows my hair into my face, but I don't brush it away. My glasses keep it out of my eyes, anyway. Bad eyesight is one thing America and I have in common, one of few…
It's a full moon. Very pretty. I've always found it strange how in America, because of all the cities and man-made lights, without meaning to they've made it so you can't ever see the stars.
Kumajiro stumbles by, pawing at the ground, searching for something I don't know the name of. He looks up at me, and our eyes meet, but then he continues on his way.
I stand up and begin to walk.
I walk for a long time. But my house is close to the American border, and it doesn't take long to get to my brother's country, to his door.
I stand there for a long time too, waiting before I knock, not at all sure how to begin. What to say. What to tell him.
Not at all sure who I even am.
"I love you," I whisper as I ring the bell. It sounds far too shrill, jarring against the stillness of the night. The breeze rustles my hair again, and I close my eyes. I don't know who I was talking to. Who do I love? What is my name?
America answers almost immediately, a huge smile bursting from his face and a hamburger in each hand. He laughs loudly, and it's funny, because he sounds exactly like his doorbell. Too loud. Too big. Too perfect. Not real enough.
"Hey! I didn't expect you here tonight!" I can tell immediately from his expression that he has no idea who I am. My own brother. Me, forgotten. "Uh, you wanna… come in or somethin', dude?"
"Matthew," I inform him numbly, before he even has the chance to ask. And that is when I realize I really don't want to come inside. He has hamburger grease all over his face, and his clothes are really sloppy. And he's loud and obnoxious and funny and stupid and he's powerful and horrible and has people love who him. But that's not why I don't want to go inside. It's because I know that if I do, he'll at least pretend to listen. He'll feel compelled, self-centered as he is. He is my brother, after all. He'll invite me in and offer me food and sit me down and talk to me. But I don't want to talk to him, because he doesn't know who I am. Not really. I can tell him a name, but that doesn't mean he'll remember. "Canada."
"Oh! Canada!" America's face lights up at the name, sparking something in the recesses of his mind. "You have a hockey team! And lots of maple syrup! Right! I remember!"
I nod and bury my hands into the pocket of my sweatshirt. It's all true, but none of it is me. "And you're America. The country everyone wants to be."
He gives me a surprised look then. His eyes are so innocent, childlike. Unarmed. I'd forgotten. "Of course everyone wants to be me, dude…" But his voice is gentle, not condescending. He sounds almost sad.
"And no one wants to be me," I add, in case he somehow didn't know.
He thinks it over, America does, staring at something I can't see with an expression so somber I've almost never seen him wear. He's remembering. I remember.
"I broke off from England," he finally says, very slowly, very serious. I don't know where he's going, but I listen to every word. "In 1776? I declared my independence from England. I became my own country. Before then, I was his colony, a part of him. I was his little brother." He looks at me now, with such a sad smile. "He didn't want me to go. He didn't want you to go, either."
This catches me off-guard. "But he always liked you more than me," I say, struggling to find the truth in his words.
Slowly, America shakes his head. "Because he's my boyfriend, Canada. He loves me differently than you, but not more. Back then, he always saw you as his favorite little brother."
But no, that's not true… he made such a fuss when America seceded, and when I seceded, nothing. A quiet goodbye, a signature on some papers. No Revolutionary War. No guns or tears. No love. "He never seemed to show it," I mumbled in response.
"I was the trouble child," America laughs, but his eyes are more serious than ever. "I was too loud and ate too much and didn't ever do what I was told. You were so good and quiet and sweet. Everyone loves you."
He's complimenting me, and I hear his words, but I can't accept them and suddenly I'm more furious than I can ever remember being. Without even knowing how or why, I'm at his side, wrenching the hamburger out of each hand and shoving them both violently to the floor.
America looks hurt. "Dude, what the hell was that for?"
I glare at him, eyes gleaming with pain and regret. "Everyone loves me, huh?" I hiss straight into those eyes, those blue eyes. "Everyone loves me?"
"Of course they do," America says, not a trace of dishonesty to be found. He sounds so sincere, I almost want to believe him. Certainly, he believes himself. He always does. I doubt myself ten times a day. "You're awesome, dude. How could you think they don't?"
Oh, he's just asking for it. I don't know where all this fury is coming from, but it's here and it's strong and I yank his T-shirt up to my chest and suddenly we're eye to eye and he's so close, so close to me. But he's England's. And I'm France's. And I couldn't kiss him even if I wanted to.
When it comes right down to it, he's everyone's.
And I'll never be anyone's one true love.
At least, not really.
I release him and turn away. "How could they love me if they can't even remember my name?"
America puts a quiet hand on my shoulder. The first quiet thing he's ever done. And he turns me around so that I'm facing him. And he kisses me, softly, on my cheek, just under my hair.
"I love you," he says, and suddenly I know who I was talking to.
"I love you too," I say, and then right then and there I have an overpowering impulse to feverishly yank at his clothes, stripping America to the nude and pulling him to the ground and kissing him, kissing him, kissing him like a couple would.
Kissing him like England kisses him.
Or like France kisses me.
He doesn't love me, at least not like that. And I don't love him like that either. That kiss on the forehead packed in twice as much feeling than any kiss on the lips ever would have for us. I only want it because I'm desperate and lonely and because I'm the only thing he'll never have.
I wonder if he wants it, too.
I see in his eyes that he does. But only to make me not feel so afraid.
"You're my little brother," America says, his little impish smile returning as he says the words. Overconfident. Overzealous. Over everything. While I'm buried underground. "Like I'm England's. It's my job to protect you and love you. So I do."
Unexpectedly my heart swells with a warmth I haven't felt in a long time. He remembers. He remembers being my brother. He remembers me. "I'm glad."
He gives my shoulder a squeeze before removing his hand. "Now you be careful out there in the big wide world, okay? 'Cause there are some scary dudes out there, and I want you to always be okay."
It seems a silly thing to promise. No one can always be okay. But I do it anyway. I can't bear to take away his smile. "I will, America."
"Awesome!" America grins, his blue eyes sparkling to replace the missing stars. "So do you wanna, like, come over for a sleepover or something? I have a new scary movie we could watch! And in the morning you could make me pancakes with syrup! And then we could go out for burgers and talk about stupid fun stuff! You game?"
It's tempting. A mindless twenty-four hours or so, listening to America talk his head off and only having to remind him my name every once in a while. But something compels me to shake my head. "Sorry, but some other time." The moment isn't right today. Tonight, I don't want to pretend.
"Aww." America makes a pouting face, but I know he understands. "Well, have a nice trip home then. Don't get lost."
This time the wind blows his hair instead of mine, brushing it across his face in long, blonde strands and hitting his glasses from both sides. Glasses. One thing we have in common. One of many.
Here's one person I love.
I wonder how many I could list, if I really took the time to try.
"Thanks," I say, and turn to leave with a little quiet wave. "For everything."
"You're welcome, dude! Any time!" America flings his arm through the air at breakneck speed, his laugh bounding through the night like a little kid running through a field. But it doesn't seem quite so out-of-place this time. It's a happy sound. I should laugh more.
I'm already halfway to the next street over before I hear the end of what he had to say. I'm disappointed I didn't get to reply, but maybe it's all for the best, anyway. If I were there, I might have done something I'd regret. I can think of many things.
I cross under the starless sky with the wind behind me, picking up the edges of my sweatshirt and the grass but not my hair. It leaves me alone, for now. For today, we've called a truce. We'll see if it still holds up when tomorrow comes.
I cross the border into my country. My home. Canada.
There are so many more trees here, big and tall and perfect. Perfect. It's cold and rural and not at all fancy or shiny or impressive. But it's home. And I love it.
It doesn't take long before I can see the stars.