Title: Avalon (part 5/5)
Pairing(s): US/UK (sort've) Canada, France, mentions of various
death, sort've, but with a happy ending.
A storm blew in that night, heavy with rain and thunder and hail. The winds roared across the gloomy British shores like a living being, a monster stalking the overgrown orchards and abandoned arboretums in search of its next meal.
Or at least, that's what Canada thought it sounded like when a particularly loud crackle of thunder startled him from his sleep. Being an adult, he was able to rationalize such ridiculous notions away as fleeting fancies left behind by his constant confrontations with Alfred's fear of ghosts. But it occurred to him that Avalon, young as he was, might not have such a defense readily available.
The northern nation climbed out of bed, gathered Kumajiro in his arms and dug a penlight out of his bedside table. He made his way down the hall to the room they had given the boy – not England's old room, that was a wound that still felt too raw, but a former guest room – with silent steps, using the light to guide his way.
When he cracked open the door, a smile wormed its way over his face. Really, it had been so silly of him to worry.
A hero would never let his little brother face the storm alone.
America and Avalon were curled together on the queen-sized bed, with the child snuggled happily in his brother's the protective embrace. Carefully, Canada swung the penlight around to check that Alfred had removed his glasses – he had – and was startled when his southern twin suddenly moved. "Ah…"
"Sorry," Canada apologized quickly, shutting the light off. "I didn't mean to wake you up."
"'Sokay," America yawned, stretching his shoulders and rolling over to grin at his brother. "You doing all right?"
"Yeah. Just wanted to check in," Canada shrugged, reaching for the doorknob. "But I see everything's okay. You guys sleep well…"
"You don't have to go away, Mattie," said America, sitting up and motioning his brother over. "You'll be lonely all by yourself. The bed's big enough for all of us. C'mon, stay here."
Canada smiled and stepped into the room, pushing the door closed behind him. "All right, then."
He made his way to the other side of the bed, setting Kumajiro down at the end. America slid back just enough to make room, and Canada crawled in with only a slight creak from the bedsprings. Avalon yawned in his sleep, making a cute noise like a new-born kitten, and rolled over to cuddle into Canada's shoulder.
Canada's smile widened as he slipped an arm around the child's waist. "Was he scared?"
"A bit," America said softly, sliding his arm over his brother's. The other was curled under him so he could hold Avalon's hand, stroking the little palm with his fingers. "But he's a tough kid. I think he just wanted the extra warmth."
Canada chuckled, taking off his glasses and setting them on top of the headboard. He settled down and mimicked his brother's pose, keeping one arm on Avalon's waist and using the other to hold his hand.
Every time the lightning flashed outside the widow, it illuminated Avalon's face. The light caught on his pale features, the white hair and eyebrows shining as bright as mid-day snow. Canada rubbed the palm that he held with his fingers, lost for a moment in his own thoughts.
"Yeah?" asked America sleepily. He'd been drifting off again.
"I forgot to tell you. Kiku called earlier, while you were out."
"Mm? And what's up with him?"
"…They think that Hong Kong's gone too."
America opened his eyes at that, his exhaustion chased away for a few minutes. "Gone? Like, gone?"
"Yeah. Tibet, too."
"Jesus," America swore, then bit his tongue and gave Avalon a quick glance to make sure he was still asleep. He was.
Canada sighed, squeezing the child's hand. "It's happening all over the world now. People are dying, countries are starting to dissolve. And Our Kind…I don't know how many of us are going to make it out of this." He looked up at his twin, his eyebrows knotting together in concern. "Everything's going to be different now, isn't' it?"
"Mattie," America lifted his arm from Avalon's waist and brushed his brother's hair out of his eyes. "It's going to be okay."
Canada frowned a bit deeper, uncertain. America nodded to the child who still slept soundly between them. "Look at him, Mattie."
Canada looked. It was a beautiful sight.
"He's just the first, you know?" America continued with unusual gentleness. "I bet there will be more like him along eventually. Lots more. And they're going to need someone to watch out for them all. Show them the ropes, right? Like England and France did for us."
The northern twin sighed, thinking of how old France had looked during his visit. He worried for his older brother. Was it really only a matter of time? "Yeah, but…"
He bit his lip. America grinned. "It's okay to be scared, you know. You've got a hero to protect you!"
That made Canada crack a smile. He pulled his arm from Avalon's waist and gave America's shoulder a good-natured slap. "The world as we know it is coming to an end and you keep saying things like that. Really, you never change."
America laughed, and Canada kept smiling. He slid his hand down the length of his brother's arm, entwining their fingers over Avalon's side. "...Thank you for that."
"It's what I do, Mattie." America said, and yawned again. He leaned over Avalon's head to rub his nose against his brother's affectionately, the way they had as children on the rare occasion they were away from their guardians' ever-watchful eyes. "Whatever happens next, we'll worry about it in the morning. Okay?"
Avalon yawned, snuggling deeper into the warm blankets and pillows. His fingers curled against their palms, searching for a non-existent purchase but content even when they could not find it. Canada smiled at him. "You know…he doesn't have a name yet. A human name."
"Of course he does." America said, he consonants slurring strangely. "He's Arthur."
Canada jerked a little at that, but America had already fallen asleep, holding both of their hands like lifelines. His face was peaceful and bore a smile that was content. It was not the face of a man clinging to his past, but of one ready to move on into the future, with one last dedication to the person he had loved.
Canada sighed, settling back against the pillows. "A little Arthur, huh?" he said softly, more to himself than anyone else. "Sounds good to me."
Before he could finally get settled, Kumajiro scrambled up from the foot of the bed. The bear looked bewildered to find his usual spot beside the warm-man-who-gave-food taken up by a child, but he adjusted well enough, slipping under Canada's elbow and shifting around until he was comfortable. Canada sighed and, knowing now that everyone in the house was safe and warm, allowed himself to drift to sleep.
Outside, the storm raged on. But inside, the new family slept on, aware of nothing but each other's warmth and the comfort to be found therein. The world around them shifted and changed, going through the paces of history one more time. Tomorrow, they would have to face that change, but for tonight, it could pass them by.
They were safe, and they had each other. And that was enough for now.
(If this fic had credits, they would totally be put to the Hank Green song "Looking for Alaska." It set the tone for this entire fic. Also, if anyone's curious, in my mind at least, Avalon's full human name is Arthur Williams-Jones, called "Artie" or "Ar-two" for short.
Hope that everyone enjoyed, thank you for reading!)