Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm making no money from this!
A/N: Written for a prompt on the 'Hetalia Kink Meme' (on Livejournal) at the beginning of the year. Trying to archive all my fics! Contains very vague romance.
Guy Fawkes was not celebrated in the UK in a positive fashion. A man embodying the utmost treason, Guy Fawkes Night is held to mock the failure of the Gunpowder plot and to commemorate the saving of England…
But still, it's hard not to remember – and even harder to forget – that after 400 years… he had once been in love with a rebel.
The 5th of November
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
"How about this one?" UK held up a vampire cape in the low basement lighting.
"No, too 90s! Come on UK, dig further! I know I've got some good stuff down here… somewhere anyway…"
It was late October when, sitting in the dusty storage with his former colony and rummaging around in the rubbish (finding fake spiders AND real ones), Britain wondered if he shouldn't have taken up America's invitation to help prepare for Halloween this year.
The green-eyed man held up a set of false teeth and stared at them.
It was times like these when he felt old.
After the unsuccessful search turned up only too-small outfits from America's younger days – and a smart fairy costume he fondly remembered dressing young Canada in – it became obvious America had nothing down here that would do for the upcoming night of candy and mayhem.
"It's all junk!" America exclaimed just like UK thought he would, dropping the bunch of items back into the large cardboard box with a sigh.
UK rolled his eyes as he watched the other man. "There's nothing wrong with re-wearing an old costume, America." He managed to look indignant and proud at the same time. "My wizard robes still fit."
America stared at him flatly for a moment as if he had expected a similar comment as well.
"…I know you're good at being a stick in the mud, but I want something BIG. And new." USA grinned widely behind his glasses, hands already sweeping out to punctuate the flashy need.
"Go and BUY something then. Lord knows you're good at that." UK replied, one eyebrow ticking in reproach.
Half an hour later Britain was cursing himself for his poor judgement as he struggled to walk through a crowded and cluttered costume shop with the other nation.
"I need the real scary stuff." USA laughed eagerly as he dove straight into the shopping. UK watched as America grabbed outfit after outfit from the shelves. He was probably planning to try on virtually everything.
The tousled-haired man frowned and sighed as he tried to look through the store, beating aside a rack of brightly sequined costumes. 'Bloody hell can he not just pick one so we can go! God this place is cramped.'
In his irritated tromp to a hopefully more air-filled section of the store, UK pushed some prop swords out of his path… and then paused suddenly.
The green-eyed man turned his head to peer at a display of masks lining the previously hidden wall. Something had caught his eye.
The nation made his way over to the rows of intricate faces and stared at the one that had made him stop. The strangely familiar countenance that stared back at him was silent and untelling but still always smiling under his painted moustache.
Drawn, like a moth to the flame, Britain stepped forward to study the deceptively simple mask. It hung there, innocuous of its own existence, and UK's expression slowly slackened into one of quiet revere as he reached out and picked it up.
This was a face he remembered.
This was a face he could not forget.
~400 hundred years ago~
It had been raining.
It rained all too often here altogether, most of the time.
The dirt was drenched into mud that made dragging the arrested traitor anywhere a difficult annoyance to deal with.
The guards managed with good work though, and when the man was finally pulled out from the shadows and into the fire light in front of him – the very picture of treason –
England could only watch with contempt creasing between thick eyebrows.
They had done it.
The culprit of the Gunpowder plot had been captured and would be held soundly by the authorities.
England was saved.
It was preserved.
It would never be the same again.
The Gunpowder plot. The plan to blow up the British parliament and King. 36 barrels of explosives in the cellar. When he had first heard the details he had felt outraged, unable to believe somebody could entertain such an idea and almost get away with it. 'Tch... an elaborate and foolhardy plan.' England surmised.
Still… The man was something of an exhibition. All those who lived within his house could not help but stop and take notice of what had unfolded under their noses. They asked for his name so they could have something to call him by, as they disparaged his image. The prisoner would only reply in kind.
"John Johnson is what I am called."
Fake, and an insult, of course.
The good beating that followed resulted in the battered traitor grudgingly scribbling out his true identity – a signature upon a scrap of paper.
Name echoing in the back of his mind, England watched the doomed man as he sat before the Privy Council. When one of his bosses, the Scottish lord looked down upon the captured criminal and asked the question, "What did you intend to do with all that gun powder?"
Crass and defiant, England cringed at Guy Fawkes' answer…
Surely such a traitor could never love his country, and his country in turn, could do no less.
He watched him. As much as he hated it, it was impossible to ignore. Decades had gone by without something like this happening. And for the first time in a long time, the tousled-haired man felt… enthralled.
England leaned a shoulder against the rough stone wall, watching Guy Fawkes.
A man once dressed suitably in a feathered hat and proper jacket now sat hunched in simple breeches. The distinctive face was stripped of whatever radical glory he had at a time entertained. Not a handsome sight at all… so why was it unfathomable why he kept coming to see him?
The figure in the decrepit chamber seemed to notice his stare. "So is it you again?" Fawkes spoke up without turning around.
England's breath caught but he did not utter a reply.
This time the traitor did turn around. His long moustache moved as he continued, mad eyes hidden by the dark of the room. "Do you really care so much for my condition?"
England pushed away from the doorway and came closer to the cell, its bars separating them. "I care not for your condition – only for the triumph of justice this represents." The bushy eyebrowed man frowned slightly as if to remind his prisoner what his feelings were.
"I should only hope for the triumph of justice soon, my dear England. Open your eyes and do not be fooled by your King and his court!" Fawkes declared sitting up straight on his bench.
England bristled at the comment.
"I will not have one man of treachery instruct me!" Britain retorted and straightened his back, trying to calm his beating heart. His breath came in angry puffs as he beheld the anarchist.
Guy Fawkes watched him back in return.
The silence in the jail stretched thin until the traitor followed his true nature and destroyed it.
"We are alike, aren't we?" Fawkes said, and for a moment England was thrown, caught between ire and perplexity.
"I did not try to kill my King." England replied, eyes hard, before he turned on his heel, intending to exit the dungeon. "I have nothing in common with the likes of you."
"Oh?" Fawkes laughed and it was a deep sound. "But you do. You were once a rebel like myself." A smile appeared underneath that prominent nose and moustache. "Do you not remember?"
England prickled, whirling back around to glare at the traitor. Anger swelled behind his gaze and he became unable to form the words to quiet the man.
Fawkes watched his enraged captor for a long moment before he continued. "It seems you do remember."
"God save the King." England thundered… and then composed himself, voice unreadable. "And to hell with you, Guy Fawkes."
When the order came for new interrogation techniques, it was carried out to the letter. Sometimes people could do nothing but obey their bosses.
Britain watched as they tortured information out of the man, and still – still he stayed obstinate, stayed true. It made England cross and at the same time bewildered. Why? Why would he not divulge his accomplices? What was he thinking that he would not bend?
"What business do you have keeping the truth from us? Reveal your lies!" England shouted at the uncouth man across the green courtyard after another fruitless session.
Fawkes stopped stumbling, forcing his guards to wait and hold the weakened person up. "What business of mine? My dear England… your lies break my heart far worse than you could break this body."
Green eyes closed briefly in frustration. "…I am not your 'dear England', Mr. Fawkes." The shorter man stated in a clipped tone.
"Would I fight for you if you were not, I wonder?" Came the reply, and confusingly bright eyes met with his shocked own. The stare was not to be for long however, when the traitor was roughly pulled away by the guards to return to his cell.
England stood staring at the spot where he had just been. There had been no madness in those eyes.
For the next tumultuous four days Fawkes continued to say nothing, nor divulge the names of his co-conspirators. No matter how unforgiving the beating, how imploringly they asked of him, the man would not give in.
England watched Guy in the early hours of the morning, the sun casting a different light on the person he tried to know.
"How did you end up this way? You were a soldier, you fought for Britain. You were…" The nation broke off and shook his head.
"Why don't you speak." England spoke quietly; look once more unreadable as he took in the other before him.
Fawkes smiled at that and for some reason did talk. "Would you like me to speak?"
England paused, gazing over at the man, and realized that he did wish for that. "Yes. Very much so." He answered.
A chuckle escaped from under that moustache and speak he did, skillfully avoiding any true answer to his questions.
"To think it would be my capture that would let me have your attention."
England started, surprised and unprepared for the blush that warmed his cheeks at those words. A harsh frown clashed thick eyebrows and he looked away in an attempt to reign in the foolish reaction.
Even though he had given the other man his attention, it was Guy Fawkes himself that held the entirety of Britain's interest.
As it happened, the captive man's long-suffering… admirable… silence was finally thwarted – not by the authorities themselves – but by his very accomplices as they appeared in arms giving themselves away.
England felt something inside of him twist.
It was cold and in the last days of January when Guy Fawkes was issued his death sentence by Westminster.
The night the news reached him, England waited until the last of the guards were off shift and ventured out into the night, his destination the holding cell that housed the man.
The dark cloak swished around his feet as he hurried, hood pulled up over his head to obscure his identity.
The final punishment ran through his mind as he entered the jail. Hanged, drawn, and quartered. Something like horror settled in England's stomach as he thought about it. It was… A gruesome fate.
"So you heard then."
To England's surprise, Guy Fawkes was quite awake when he approached his cell. The bars between them seemed more prominent now, somehow. No tears shed were to be seen on that skin, nor did he sit praying in the darkness for his eternal soul.
Seeing him like that, England felt more outrage boil inside him than he had ever felt before since the first time he saw that face, months ago.
"Yes," England said in a prideful whisper. "I heard."
Fawkes simply nodded.
His words yielding no outward reaction, England's hands clenched into fists with emotion. For all the man's impressive actions, where was his defiance now!?
"Do you cry in happiness or sorrow, my dear England?" Guy lifted his head and simply looked at the other.
England blinked, and noticed for the first time the hot tears rolling down his cheeks as he stared at the beaten traitor. He didn't understand why they fell, did not know how to stop them. Tears. For this man… what a thought.
Painfully, Guy Fawkes stood up and came close to the bars of his cell, stopping in front of the nation.
England turned his face away. "They call you a devil you know."
His heart ached inside his chest for reasons that muddled his emotions into frightful things. He was quick to blame witchcraft. "Perhaps you are one."
Fawkes coughed wetly, a parody of his once aggravating chuckle. "Perhaps." He agreed.
"But you see… I was prepared to die forgotten in the inferno. Yet here I stand in purgatory, the company of an angel my fortunate respite."
The green-eyed man was silent as the moonlight spilled silver through the window.
"I will not forget your actions." England said quietly and whether it was a confession or condemnation, even he did not know. England reached out and placed a hand on the man's cheek. "I will remember this face."
Either way, it was a promise.
~November 5th, 17th century~
It was a perfectly clear night, this time around.
His King alive and well, his people in good spirits. No danger of anarchy lay trapped in their dungeons. And yet, a great bonfire engulfed the night sky in his London, his centre, his crux.
A slight smile appeared on England's face. The torch that had once been stolen away from the man named Guy Fawkes, decades or so before, was now lit brightly in his hand. The green-eyed man thrust the torch into the blaze and let the leaping fire warm his face.
Britain heard the children sing and laugh about his greatest anti-hero, and he made no move to stop them. It made him remember the deep chuckle that had caused him indignation and even to blush, at times.
He sighed. They had not known Guy Fawkes like he had.
England moved a hand closer to the flames, almost daring to touch. Every year, he burned the night away, and remembered the failure of one man to change a nation, and the failure of a nation to admit he had changed.
England smiled, looking down. He stayed awake until the morning and the last embers of the fires had gone.
"Hey! UK where are you?"
UK started from his memories when he heard America call to him from somewhere inside the store. He gazed down at the mask held gently in his hands, as if it were that same face from so long ago, fingers feather light tracing the cheek.
"What's that you got there?" USA came up beside him and UK simply raised an eyebrow.
"Where are all those costumes you were so intent on choosing between?" The shorter man asked in reply. "Didn't you pick at least one?"
America shrugged noncommittally, "Nah I didn't find anything." The blue-eyed man shifted and blinked at his strangely complacent companion. "What's up? You going to buy that?"
He gestured to the mask.
UK looked back at the object that had caused him to feel so many things he hadn't in so long. Still… He carefully slipped it back onto its pin on the shelf.
"No." He studied the face with a wry expression. "Bit too much of a rebellious character, that one."
America chuckled and turned the older nation in a friendly manner so that they could start heading out. "You should see the new Joker masks I made. Actually, have you even seen my new blockbuster yet?"
A grab on the arm and UK felt himself being pulled.
"What? Wait! America–!"
"Come on UK!"
"All right, all right!"
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
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