Author's Note: This is the last chapter. Anything that hasn't been explained by now will have to be addressed elsewhere (like, say, a sequel, though I haven't made up my mind on that yet).
Edit: Sequel confirmed, and I've already started to publish! If you're interested, the title is 'Columbia'.
Oh, and there's a mention of two people being 'safe in France's lands'. They are John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. They were America's ambassadors to France at that time.
I do not own Hetalia.
Norway and Canada took America and England back to the hotel room. Only once the nations were comfortably seated on the edge of the beds, did Norway resume the conversation that had started outside the alley.
The conversation started off well enough. America started from the beginning; explaining to the other two nations about the phone call he'd gotten from the director of the FBI, and the investigation that led to him calling England in for help.
America and England took turns recounting what had happened to them; the appearance of the younger America in the alley, the attempt to send him back, and how all three got sent back instead. England was captured by his younger self at Camden, and America rescued him, but they had lost the spellbook. America's attempt to recover the spellbook had resulted in his capture, and for the rest of the time until reaching West Point, England's attempts to rescue America had met with failure. America's attempts at escape also failed. Meanwhile, history changed around them, starting with tiny, insignificant changes, and ultimately resulting in the younger America's death at West Point, seconds before Norway and Canada rescued them.
"But I don't know what we did to change history the way we did," England said.
"How will knowing that help?" America said. He was shaking again. "My younger self died! I'm going to be erased from existence!"
Canada frowned. "But, wouldn't the ripple effect have done that instantly?" he asked. "I mean, this is well over two hundred years later; shouldn't our 'new reality' be reflecting two hundred thirty years' worth of changes already?"
"Well, if it did, that would have created a massive time paradox," Norway said. "America is at least partially responsible for the events that led to his younger self's death. But, if he died, how could he have gone back in time and created the events that killed him?"
"What does that mean?" America asked. "Am I not going to be erased?"
"I think… I think – I can't be certain – that, in order to avert a paradox, an alternate reality was created," Norway replied. "In this world, you won the Revolution. When you traveled back to the past, a second reality was created – that is the one we just pulled you out of – where you died."
"But, there's still one thing," England said.
Norway looked curiously at England.
"What created the anomaly we investigated, which led to this whole thing?" England asked. "All we ever found out was that it was a botched attempt at time travel magic. Someone else tried to travel back to the Revolution before us."
Norway shook his head sadly. "I'm afraid I have no idea," he said.
Suddenly, the conversation was interrupted by a knock at the door. England got up to answer it.
It was Romania, and in his hand he held England's spellbook.
"Where did you get that?" England asked incredulously. "I lost it when we traveled back in time…"
Romania stepped into the room and took a seat, handing the book back to England.
"You did find it," Norway said.
"Where was it?" England asked.
Romania looked around the room, giving Canada a strange look before he began his explanation.
"It was in America's old colonial Virginia home," he said. "When I found it there, it was early July 1783 at the time. Here's what happened…"
General Clinton and the British army continued to occupy West Point. With the fort's strategic position, the British effectively had control of the Hudson River, and therefore could prevent communication and movement between the northern and southern colonies.
Washington's defeat and capture appeared to have dealt a decisive blow to Patriot morale, as what little resistance left to the British movements in New York and New Jersey was easily swept aside. Meanwhile, in the south, Cornwallis was well on his way to securing control of the Carolinas.
The American rebellion had been crushed. All that was left to do was stamp out the last embers of resistance, and capture and hang the traitors who incited the rebellion in the first place. Washington, having already been captured after the failed attempt to retake West Point, was hanged first.
England did not go to the execution, nor did he join his men on the hunt to capture the rest of America's would-be 'Founding Fathers'.
He had a funeral to attend.
It was going to be a small one, given that most of the people who knew the deceased would not be able to attend, for one reason or another. Some had been arrested, and were awaiting execution; others, like Washington, had already been executed. A few were still in hiding, and at least two were safe in France's lands, although they would probably never be able to leave.
There were only two other people England could think of, and they weren't likely to make it either. France had been forced to return home with his fleet after he had learned of the American defeat, and Canada was probably still in Quebec.
It was going to be a very small funeral indeed.
England quietly slipped away from his post, finding a secluded, nondescript site not far from West Point, where he would bury America. He spent hours digging the grave himself, then, with some difficulty, lowered a makeshift coffin which contained America's body into the grave. Then, he shoveled all the dirt back into place. By the time he finished, England was covered almost head to toe in dirt – not that he cared.
He made a cross out of two small pieces of wood to serve as the marker for the grave. For a while, he entertained the idea of carving something into the wood – even if it was just the name America had used for himself when around his people. After thinking about it, he decided to put the name "Alfred F. Jones" on the marker, but nothing else. That was all that was needed.
England spent the last few hours of daylight mourning right there at America's grave. However, as it got dark, he reluctantly picked himself up, and returned to West Point.
A week later, England found himself sitting in his headquarters, resting his head in his hands, staring blankly at the desk in front of him. Every day, he'd been sneaking out and going to visit the grave; however, with the war about to be declared officially over, England's presence would soon be required elsewhere. There were meetings he would have to attend, and documents he would have to sign.
For the most part, it was going to be dull, bureaucratic work. But, there was one document in particular that he dreaded having to sign. However, it wasn't the fact that he had to sign it, but rather that it would also require someone else's signature as well.
With America's death, the thirteen colonies that America had represented were left without a personification. Another nation would have to stand for them now. And, while he was the British Empire, England couldn't represent both his own country and his colonies. Another colony would have to do it; Canada was the only choice.
And Canada didn't even know yet that his brother was dead.
England left his desk, holding the letter that he had written to Canada. He went outside, gave the letter to a courier, and left instructions to deliver the letter to a "Matthew Williams", who lived in Quebec. Not long after the courier had gone, England went back inside to pack his belongings. He would need to leave West Point very soon.
As he was sorting through everything, England found his satchel. He opened it, checking to make sure there was nothing in it he didn't need.
"What – oh, I had forgotten it was in here…"
England pulled out a leather-bound spellbook, placing it on the desk. He remembered finding this book way back at the Battle of Camden, and it apparently had belonged to an older version of himself. However, his older self was gone; he had disappeared right in front of England, along with what looked like another America.
So, unless his other self came back for it, the book belonged to England now. He opened it up, and skimmed through the spells contained within.
"My older self had an America with him," he muttered to himself. "But how…?"
He stopped flipping pages in the spellbook and looked down at the spell he'd stopped on.
"Time travel," he said. "Maybe…"
He shook his head and put the book back in the satchel. If his future self had traveled back in time to try to prevent America's death, then he had obviously failed.
But then where did the other America come from?
England sighed in frustration and went back to finishing packing. Nothing made sense. Perhaps there would be time to figure it out later, but not here, and not right now.
Weeks later, England found himself in Philadelphia. The meeting he'd been dreading had finally come. Canada was due to arrive at any moment, and England would have to explain to him what had happened, and officially 'give' him America's people and land.
England sat at a large desk in the assembly room inside the Philadelphia State House, poring over the spellbook. Next to the spellbook was the document that England and Canada would have to sign.
The door handle turned, and England slammed the book shut, and hurriedly covered it with a handful of blank papers. Barely a second later, the door opened, and Canada entered the room.
"Come in, Canada," England said, gesturing for his colony to have a seat on the opposite side of the desk.
Canada sat down, and England could tell by the somber expression on Canada's face that the young colony probably already suspected something was wrong.
"You wanted to see me, sir?" Canada asked. He looked around nervously. "Just me? Where's America?"
England felt a painfully powerful pang of guilt, and he looked away for a second. Not telling Washington had been one thing, but he couldn't lie to Canada. Sooner or later, Canada would have found out on his own. Better to tell him now.
"You know your brother lost his war," England began. "But… he held too strongly to the ideals of his cause. Now, that cause is gone…"
"What do you mean?" Canada asked. "Are you saying that he…"
Canada couldn't even finish the sentence.
England fought back tears as he tried to figure out how to word his reply. It seemed that Canada had already figured it out, so he decided there was no point in mincing words.
"He's dead," England said.
The words struck Canada like a physical blow. He lowered his gaze, blinking back tears.
"How? When?" Canada asked hesitantly.
"He was killed in the failed attempt to reclaim West Point," England replied. "I'm sorry."
Both nations were silent for a minute. England was forcing himself to keep a calm façade, but Canada was having difficulty staying outwardly calm. A few tears streamed unbidden down his face, and he quickly tried to hide them.
Picking up the document, England slid it across the table, towards Canada. Canada took a cursory glance at the document, then gave England a questioning look.
"His lands and people need a personification," England said. He picked up his quill and inkwell and handed them to Canada. "You will stand for them in America's stead."
Canada dipped the quill in the ink while skimming over the piece of paper England had given him. It was a legal document, officially giving Canada – Matthew Williams – personification status of the thirteen colonies of British America, along with the regions he already personified in the "Canada" region of the North American continent. At the bottom was a space for Canada's signature, as well as a space for the signature of the British Empire, who was granting this status to his colony.
With a trembling hand, Canada signed the document. He handed the quill back to England, who then added his signature.
"Is that all?" Canada asked.
"…Yes." England stood up. "However, these colonies did just suffer a devastating defeat. They – and you – will recover, but it's going to be painful for a while…"
He gestured for Canada to follow him, and headed for the door. Canada stood up and followed him.
For the next few days, Canada and England stayed in Philadelphia. Just as England had warned, Canada slowly started to feel the effects of recent events in America's colonies in his own body. He could hear the voices of America's people, felt the pain of having the land torn apart by war, felt the sickness associated with economic depression.
As a personification, Canada had felt these things plenty of times before. It wasn't like he couldn't handle it. But now, it just simply felt wrong.
It felt… foreign.
These weren't his people, or his lands. They were supposed to be America's.
But America was dead. He wasn't there, he didn't see how it happened, but Canada strongly suspected he knew how America had died. Only a nation can kill another nation.
England not only had America's blood on his hands, but then he'd had the audacity to force Canada to inherit his brother's colonies. Canada was being forced to deal with the consequences of his brother's failed Revolution, and there was nothing he could do about it. Losing his brother was painful enough; but being forced to stand in for him as well, like some kind of spare – a convenient replacement – made it worse.
At night, Canada would lock himself in the bedroom of America's house in Philadelphia, and cry himself to sleep. He did this every night for four nights.
He wanted his brother back.
However, every morning when he got up, Canada reminded himself that bringing America back was impossible. He doubted that even England's vast library of magic spells had anything for resurrection. Shaking his head, Canada resigned himself to reality, and went about the day's tasks.
Today, that included a brief meeting with England. Canada walked over to the house England was staying in, and knocked on the door. Seconds later, England opened the door, and invited his colony inside. Canada followed England into the parlor, and, before the meeting started, noticed something odd; a tablecloth, thrown over what appeared to be a book, on the shelf.
Canada knew better than to mention it, however, and went straight into the meeting. The meeting went smoothly, and before long, it was over. England dismissed himself, and went into the kitchen.
While England was otherwise occupied, Canada's curiosity got the better of him, and he decided to investigate the tablecloth and book. He lifted just enough of the cloth to see part of the book. It was large and leather-bound, and when Canada lifted the cloth some more, he saw some strange symbols on the cover. This was one of England's spellbooks. Out of curiosity, Canada thumbed through the pages, looking at some of the spells.
After a minute of doing that, Canada put the book and tablecloth back, and walked idly around the room, looking at the other things on the shelf. He picked up a Bible which was also lying on the shelf, and began thumbing through it out of boredom.
England spent several minutes in the kitchen preparing tea. When it was finally ready, he poured two cups; one for himself, and the other for Canada. He returned to the parlor, and found Canada standing next to the table, with his coat tucked under his arm.
"I'm sorry, but I can't stay," Canada said. "There are more errands I have to do today…"
England set the tea down, looking slightly disappointed, but he didn't argue.
"All right," England said.
With that, Canada left the house.
He did not return to America's Philadelphia home. Instead, he went to the stables, and purchased the fastest horse there. He mounted the horse, and left Philadelphia at a gallop, not stopping until he was several miles outside the city.
As he rested on the side of the road, Canada retrieved his coat from the saddlebag. He unfolded the bundled up coat, and took out a leather-bound book with strange symbols on the cover.
England was going to be in for a nasty surprise when he went to look at his spellbook, and found it had mysteriously turned into a Bible. The British nation was smart enough to quickly figure out the truth, however, but Canada didn't care.
He was going to get his brother back.