Author's Note: Angst, romance, and fluff all rolled into one. England has issues. I had to get this oneshot out of my system. Hopefully I'll update You Can't Take the Sky From Me within the next few days.
Two Hundred Years Coming
By Everything is Magic
Sometimes England forgot how young America really was. He rolled his eyes at his exuberance and naiveté, his gung-ho attitude and his obsession with being a hero. It took some countries centuries to even become adolescents, but America had been a child one visit and a teenager the next.
In many ways he still was a child.
But there was a visceral strength to America. Out of the ether of the woods of New England he'd emerged, over a century later he'd broken free from his mentor completely, spurning his love for liberty. He wanted to be his own. He was his own. And England ached for his lost one, carried a torch for him for a hundred and fifty years. His longing to restore what they once had unfading, always raw beneath the surface. As America grew, and grew, and grew- fought wars against his own people and expanded to the other side of the Atlantic, England watched. His people became their own- a torch light guiding them into his home. The Lady came from France, a slight from England's oldest rival.
And England spread his empire across the world. But no one was America to him. Remote islands, African nations, exotic India. The British Empire was the largest in history. Why did he continue to expand it? America scoffed at him. Imperialism was archaic, cruel even. He didn't understand. Besides, was his precious 'manifest destiny' and all that came with it from the previous century really that different?
When he gave those colonies up, it was partly at America's behest. They fought in the second Great War together and formed a relationship unrivaled between two nations. It was deeply different than the relationship they'd held before. This time they were equals. They wouldn't have it any other way. But as their relationship evolved and grew, and blossomed into something new, a new kind of love, there remained one tenuous issue that kept them from coming fully together.
England still had one colony he hadn't completely let go of.
"If you want to be with me, you have to let go of me." The words brushed against England's ear, the breathy whisper ruffling his hair. America's arms were wrapped around his and his body was pressed against his back. England stiffened, the words coursing through him like a shockwave.
America nuzzled his face into England's hair and tightened his grip around his center. "You know what I mean, England."
The older country wriggled away from America's grasp and abruptly sat up. The loose white t-shirt he wore hung off his shoulders and he pushed it up. "I---have no idea. What in the blazes are you on about?" America shoved himself up and turned his back toward England, walking over to his dresser and slipping on a t-shirt over his bare chest. He momentarily considered pulling pants on over his boxer shorts but decided against it. It was morning and he'd be showering soon, so there was no real reason to change.
"Ugh, fuck." America ran his hand down his face and leaned against the dresser. "I hate explaining this kind of stuff. I thought you would you know… get it."
England pushed himself off the bed and stomped over to where America was standing. "Bloody hell, America! I don't enjoy guessing games."
America was toying with a piece of paper from on top of his dresser. It was an invitation, one he'd sent out for an event that was to be taking place in a fortnight. America glared at England, exasperated and shoved the piece of paper into his hands. "I didn't send you one. I wanted to give it to you in person this year."
England crumpled his fist around the paper, immediately understanding what it was. "Excuse me for not wanting to celebrate that day," he spat. "It's not precisely a blast for me to think about." He threw the invitation back onto the dresser.
"But England, it's my birthday," America simpered.
He swiftly turned away from America and sat back down on the bed, his arms crossed. "Brilliant. Have fun. Maybe someone will bring balloons this year."
"Yeah Canada usually doe--- "
England was looking down at his crossed arms when he felt the pressure of America sitting down on the bed next to him. Tentatively, he looked up at the younger country. His expression was serious, intent. His eyebrows were furrowed in thought. England could tell he was trying not to lose his temper, trying to formulate his words in the best way possible.
"Do you think that's what I'm celebrating on that day? Being at the end of the barrel of your musket? Do you really think I like thinking about that, England?" America's blue eyes were flitting away from England's face now, and he bit his lip.
"Y-you're being completely serious, aren't you?" America just nodded. England shook his head and turned away in a huff. "'Course you like to think about it. You won, right?"
America gaped in shock and he gritted his teeth. "You can't think that England, you can't!" He didn't reply. "Dammit England, this is exactly what I meant."
"Oh, let me get this right then. I can't be with you because I don't come to your birthday parties?" His voice dripped sarcasm. The older country had turned away from America completely, and was peeking at him out of his peripheral vision.
America grabbed his shoulders tightly and fiercely turned him around. "Over two hundred years!" He shouted, his blue eyes flashing, a mixture of anger and sadness reflected in their depths. "It's been over two hundred years, and you still let it…" He paused, and England could have sworn he heard a hitch in his voice. "You still let it stand between us." His grip on England's shoulders loosened and he looked down.
England's green eyes widened and he opened his mouth to retort, but America interrupted him by leaning forward and catching his lips in a kiss. It was surprisingly gentle, reassuring even. "I'm not going to claim to be… innocent and all," America spoke softly. "I know you think I'm annoying, and I'll probably never stop doing things I do that drive you crazy 'cuz that's just who I am."
"And yet you ask me to change…" England retorted, a sardonic smile on his face.
America blinked and took his hands away from England's shoulders. "Oh, do you want me to change?"
The older country knew that his question was a challenge. Of course, there were a million things America should probably have changed about himself. But what America knew that England wouldn't admit, is that he had become fond of his ridiculous behavior over time. If America changed, he wouldn't be England's America anymore. He'd be someone else. "…No," England muttered, soft as he could manage. His voice rose in timbre. "But don't take that like I think you're great or something. You're an obnoxious git. I'm just so used to it that…" He interrupted himself with a huff.
"That's what I thought!" America grinned triumphantly, but his expression turned rueful just a moment later. "I just hate it England. I hate that… ghost… that's always there. It doesn't matter how many years we've been doing this. We'll be together, but there's always times that it… pops up, unspoken. It never goes away completely."
"Perhaps it never will." England pulled his legs up onto the bed and gathered his knees up to his chest.
"I can't accept that," America replied, firm and sharp.
"You can't force me to accept your apology."
The younger country scratched the back of his head. "Who said I was apologizing?"
England sprung up from the bed and grabbed one of America's hands, squeezing it tight to the point of being painful. "What the fuck, America? All this for… You self-righteous prick!"
"What do I have to apologize for!?" America yelled, wrenching his hand from England's.
The older country's breath hitched and he fell silent. "You were… an ungrateful brat. After all I did for you…"
"How many times have I heard that?" America rolled his eyes. "Fuck England. Two hundred years! That's pathetic. I'm sorry for what it caused, but I've never been sorry for the choice I made!"
England turned around and stormed away from the bed, toward the door. "You don't understand. You've always been too thick to understand." He was about to exit the room when he felt America's strong hand pull him back. "Can't I just leave?"
The older country attempted to pull away from the younger one, but America's grip held fast. He pivoted England toward him with his free arm and grasped his other hand. "I do understand, okay? Does anyone know you better than me?" England shook his head feebly. "Yeah, that's right." America slipped his hands up to England's forearms. "I'm not going to ask you to say sorry. Why would I? We both suffered enough because of what happened then."
"You suffered?" He scoffed.
"You're not the only one who was hurt, England," he replied, eyes downcast. "I mean we barely saw each other for so long after that, and when we did it wasn't pretty."
England's lips quirked up in a small smile. "No, no it wasn't."
The younger country's hands shifted up to his shoulders. "But time… time has caused it to fade, right? I mean we're… partners now."
England's cheeks flushed red. "Y-yes, this is true. Partners quite often, actually."
America moved his arms once more, this time encircling him in an embrace. "Look, you know it's not about my birthday party. It's about… well… me and you." He rested his chin on top of England's head. "Just try… please?"
"Why does it matter so bloody much?" England slipped out from under America's chin and looked up at him.
And America looked back, his blue eyes pleading and his expression what England would chance to call downright piteous. "Because I love you, you idiot."
The older country turned his face away and then clenched his eyes shut; willing them to not betray the manner in which America's words had affected him. But he could feel them watering, he could feel the tears pushing at his eyelids, yearning to fall. He opened his eyes and quickly scrubbed the tears away, then looked back to America with a sniffle. If you want to be with me, you have to let go of me. "I suppose I can try, if you think it best."
"So you'll come?" America smiled eagerly. "And it will be better than a couple of years ago where you did show up but then ran off in a tantrum?"
"That was your fault," England argued.
"But you had the stupid punching gift planned already!" America shrugged. "And you started it, saying you feel sick all week or whatever. What a shitty thing to say on someone's birthday."
"…I got you a real gift too."
America rolled his eyes. "Come England, for real this time. Lots of countries are there, it's a big party. It's… a lot of fun." He rubbed the back of his head nervously. "But I always wonder if it would be better with you."
England blushed. "I'll be there." He wrapped his arm around America's neck and pulled him down, until their foreheads were touching. "Someone's got to keep you in line."
"Haha, well there's always beer there, so it's probably me who will have to keep you in li— "
America was silenced as England leaned up the rest of the way, their lips pressing together. America returned it fully, and while they were engaged, stretched his arm over to the dresser and snatched the forgotten invitation. He slipped it into England's pocket, just in case he needed a reminder.