This was a request done for a friend of mine on livejournal. The original request asked for a Suez Canal Crisis fic starring Egypt and France. I hope you all enjoy. Thanks to my beta fushigimai for proofreading this.
Disclaimer: Hetalia belongs to Himaruya-sensei, and sadly not to me.
It's almost peaceful out here.
The sun was just beginning to rise over the water, and most of the citizens of Ismailia had prayed their early morning prayer and were heading back to their beds to catch a few more hours of sleep, or else getting an early start on their day and preparing themselves for work. The early hour meant that the beaches, which usually entertained people from all across the country, were still empty, which is why he knew that he could find some peace of mind here.
He, Gupta Muhammad Hassan, was seated upon a large rock on the shore of the Suez Canal, watching as the rising sun sent little ripples of light across the water's surface, illuminating the waves and producing such a beautiful scene. The wind blew gently at his hat, the cloth tickling his cheekbone gently, but the usually comforting sensation had no effect. The Egyptian almost wanted to laugh at the irony of the situation, knowing what was to come, but the heaviness in his heart made it impossible. So much had changed in so little time; only four years ago, the Kingdom of Egypt had become the Arab Republic of Egypt, his king exchanged for a president. He knew that he was meant to be concerned, that he was meant to care because it was his life and his people that were being affected, but all Egypt could see when he looked into Nasser's eyes was ambition and a lust for power.
Closing his eyes, the heaviness in Muhammad's heart only grew, to the point where a twinge of pain shot from it through his body. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow; the word repeated itself like a mantra in his head. Four years of agreements, with Britain, with the Soviet Union, with Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, were all going to culminate in tomorrow. A lurch passed through his stomach, as his mind half screamed that this was the wrong this to do, and half yelled that the Canal was theirs, and the Egyptian shook his head forcefully to clear it. Grabbing a small stone from the ground beside him, he hurled it into the water and watched it vanish under with an unceremonious plop.
Tomorrow, July 26, 1956 would be the day that the Suez Canal became his.
There was no turning back now; Nasser had made his speech to the world, declaring the Suez Canal as Egypt's and only Egypt's. He'd spoken deliberately, carefully pronouncing the name Ferdinand de Lesseps, the signal at which the troops seized back what was rightfully theirs. Gupta was not in Alexandria with his leader; he was with his men, looking over the canal once more and only thinking about what sort of mess this would cause. On the inside he couldn't have wanted this any more than he already did, but there was an alarm sounding in his mind that death was to come. Shaking off the feeling once more, because it was too late to stop the inevitable, he recited a prayer and went down to assist the troops.
Francis was no longer in disbelief; three months had passed since the Canal had closed, and now was not the time to wonder how it could've happened, but to take action. He looked to his sides. Arthur was fuming, and it was understandable why; the Suez Canal had been his, and he couldn't go back for it himself. After all, he depended on the Arab world for trade, they both did, and Egypt was blocking off trade and access to colonies; not to mention his boss was spreading Arab nationalism like wildfire.
But that was the problem; as much as the two Europeans hated to admit it, they needed the Arab World. Going into Egypt and taking back what was theirs by force would not have been hard, but it would have ruined them, and so they had to take a more indirect approach.
Francis turned to the other man seated at the small round table; Israel. There was no question about the animosity between his nation and Egypt's, he hadn't even been allowed access to the Canal at all since his birth as a true nation.
The plan, Francis mused, was a nice, simple one. Israeli forces invade Egypt at the Sinai, and when war breaks out France and England would step in, arguing that Egypt could not handle control of the Suez Canal, and that it should come back under Anglo-French management.
There was still one little problem, however.
"Are you sure that Alfred will not do something stupid to ruin us, mon cheri?"
Arthur looked up at him, green eyes ablaze in a way that Francis would have found arousing, had they not been hidden beneath massive furrowed brows.
"He will not."
The next time Francis saw Gupta was on the battlefield in Port Fouad, and for a moment he almost did not recognize the man. What was usually smooth tan skin was now littered with everything from small nicks to large gashes, beautiful purple bruises to red charred skin. He could barely stand upright, but he was holding onto the gun in his hands with all his strength, and it barely shook in his arms despite the fact that he looked like he was going to topple over. His burnt amber eyes were now less catlike in focus but rounder with weariness, and the color seemed darker and more passionate than ever.
The gun was jabbed into France's chest, and the two men stood so close they could feel each other's breathing, both heavy, but only one raspy. Neither man moved.
Francis' lips turned upward into a tiny smirk, the condescending look that the impassioned Egyptian youth had seen far too often, and Gupta got the sudden urge to go slap it off.
"Ah, may I ask why you went through all this, mon ami? And, after all we've done for you."
The Egyptian's normally empty face now wore the dirtiest look Francis had seen him give for decades. "The Suez Canal was built on Egyptian soil, and carved with Egyptian tears and blood."
Francis could see the tears in his eyes, the way his teeth were gritting against each other so that he wasn't spitting in the taller man's face, and he felt the gun push harder into his chest. It felt almost like he was looking at a very different man; Egypt on the battlefield was nothing like the one in the meeting room, and Francis found himself desiring this angry passion. Stroking a long finger over one of Gupta's cuts, the pallor of his skin in heavy contrast with the Egyptian's tan, he gently traced down the man's cheek and smirked.
"You are not going to win this."
Francis was not just confused, he was bewildered. This was something he could not have expected to happen, something that he might have foreseen, but hadn't Arthur told him there would be no problem?
There was a problem, and that problem was the entire world. The entire world disapproved of his actions; the Soviet Union was intent on siding with Egypt, America was outraged at what his allies were doing behind his back (and at the fact that this could escalade into a full-blown war with the U.S.S.R.), and even fellow members of NATO who'd had nothing to do with Egypt were clamoring for Britain and France to be removed from the group if they did not pull out their troops. This plan was supposed to go without hitch, and the Suez Canal was supposed to be theirs.
Francis found that he could not face anyone in the U.N. General Assembly room, but his pride forbade him from focusing his gaze on the ground. So his eyes kept dancing around, from one person to the next, trying not to linger because their glares burned.
And then Egypt walked into the meeting room, and the shouts quieted. No one had ever seen the nation look worse, and looking at him from person to person, not nation to nation, Francis felt a pang of guilt run through him. He looked like he had on the battle field, only many times worse.
There were more gashes lining his skin, and his short sleeved shirt betrayed that his right arm was almost completely lined with skin graphing and charred flesh. He walked with a massive limp, taking a step with one foot and outright dragging the other behind, but he refused assistance from the nations that had offered it, and held neither a crutch nor the stick he was fond of using. It seemed as though there should have been obvious relief written all over his face when he sat down, but his expression was as blank as ever. He looked up at the other nations, many of whom were still looking at him, and at once their stares faded.
The meeting began, and the surprises only continued when Canada took the post, anger clearly spelled out on his face. He had no time to be nervous when he had an agenda to accomplish, and so he took a deep breath and began.
"Britain, France, and Israel need to be removed from Egypt immediately. I'm proposing a peacekeeping force go into the disputed territory and keep it protected while the political agreements are being made up so that this doesn't continue, or escalate." He looked at his former fathers with such a betrayed, defiant expression, and France found the irony in the fact that his son's true strength, something he'd always wanted to see as a parent, was coming out against him.
The room was quiet after this proposition, until England stood, "That is a horrible idea! The Suez Canal was legally mine, and he knew it, and now you're making us out to be the bad guys when we're clearly not the ones at fault!"
France agreed with England, and the tension in the room rose. Matthew didn't falter for a second.
"What do you think, Alfred?"
All eyes turned to the "hero" nation, who was looking worse for the wear; Ivan took some satisfaction in that, apparently, as Francis could tell from his smile.
The other North American brother closed his eyes for a moment. An exceptionally long moment, before he opened them again and looked from his allies, his fathers, back to the broken man on the other side of the room, and sighed softly.
"We all need to think about this, Matt. Give us all a few more days." He answered finally, gesturing to the nations in the room.
After those few days had passed, the verdict was reached; a peacekeeping force comprised of troops from nations that belonged to neither NATO nor the Warsaw Pact, with the exception of the Canadian forces that led the mission, was formed. The British and French forces withdrew, and the peacekeeping force remained to protect the region from attack. But, for some odd reason, the Egyptian government was wary of Canada's men, and despite the fact that the president approved of allowing the force in, the others were not so welcoming.
"Um, Egypt. Why are your people so afraid of us? Don't they know we're here to help you?"
The young Canadian asked, sitting down beside the older nation on a wall which overlooked the nationalized Suez Canal. The Egyptian looked up, and found the Canadian flag he was wearing on his uniform. Lifting a tan finger slowly, Gupta traced the smaller rectangle in the upper left hand corner of the red flag; the Union Jack.
Matthew's eyes followed his hand, and then followed the arm up to meet Gupta's eyes. It looked as though his burns were healing quickly, and many of the gashes were fading.
"They…they think I'm British?" Gupta nodded wisely, and Matthew frowned.
Silence fell upon the duo for a second, before Egypt spoke again.
"This world is always changing." His voice sounded a million miles away, and Canada listened, waiting for more but nothing more came. Blue eyes turned to face the same waters brown eyes were so enraptured with, and his expression was also very serious.
"We have to keep moving, or we'll be left behind." The Egyptian added, surprising the Canadian by suddenly breaking the silence. Suddenly Canada had the feeling he understood what Egypt was trying to tell him.
"My…flag?" He asked, feeling stupid once he started to ask but following through on the question anyways. Egypt simply tilted his head a bit, giving him a look that Matthew could not interpret; the boy wondered how there were people out there that could interpret Gupta's looks, and then figured they must've known him for a long time. A very long time…
"Y-you… you're an old nation, aren't you? N-Not that I mean that offensively!" Gupta laughed a bit at the boy's nervousness.
"I suppose I am."
The sound of a light hearted laugh floated past them.
"Mon fil, Egypt is one of the oldest nations still among us; one of very few who can claim to being born from a true mother, and an ancient civilization at that!"
"France!" Canada immediately stood, his grip tightening over his gun as he glared at the newcomer. "What are you doing here?"
France laughed again, shaking his head. "Oh, Mathieu, do you really believe I am here to cause more problems? I know when I have lost, and I am simply here because I have a question for our fine friend behind you."
Matthew didn't seem to believe him, and his look only got more suspicious. "Fine, then ask away." He said, tone cold and nothing like the Matthew Francis knew. Oh, what had he done?
"Alone, please, mon petit. I promise not to hurt him." Francis assured, but Matthew still seemed unconvinced and apprehensive about leaving the injured Egypt alone with one of his aggressors.
"It's fine." Matthew blinked, turning down to see that the Egyptian was not looking at him, but that his deep brown eyes were searching France's face for some sign of deception.
"But…" But he was here to protect Egypt from France, not to leave him alone with the European.
"You heard him. And, please, do not worry. I promise to be gentil." His lecherous smirk was back, and that only made Matthew want to leave a whole lot less, but the look on Gupta's face said that he wanted to hear what France had to say, and so the boy left out of earshot, but to where he could still see the other two nations.
Francis took the seat beside Gupta, and his gaze turned out to the Suez Canal for a moment, before his blue eyes turned to meet intense brown ones.
"I must say, you surprised me on the battlefield, mon ami. Who knew you had so much passion in you? Though, I supposed it should have been expected; you are a son of Rome, after all." Egypt dutifully ignored these pleasantries, as France had expected him to, and so the blond continued.
"You will never cease to surprise me, l'Egypte. I never thought I would see the day when you would do something so brash, so destructive. Surely you knew of the harm it would cause you and your people?" The lurch returned to Gupta's stomach, because he'd sensed this was going to happen, and he didn't even try to stop it.
There was no official body count, but 1,650 was the approximated number. He'd lost 1,650 of his people, his flesh and blood, not to mention the cities that had been bombed to the ground… the thought of all that loss made his stomach lurch and his body throb at every injury. How do you justify this?
"The Suez Canal belongs to Egypt. We died building it, and we died taking it back. You would have done the same." His tone was flat, monotonous despite the feelings building up inside of him, and Francis turned his attention back to the waters that has caused the bloodshed; it was closed temporarily, and so it lacked the usual large waves the ships would create, looking a lot more peaceful than it normally did.
Francis knew he was right. Had he been in that situation, he would have done the same, of course, but he was France! And Egypt was… Egypt. And since when did a developing nation stand up to not just one, but two world powers, both of whom were parts of a massive alliance?
Francis simply chuckled, and wordlessly got up and walked away.
'Changing world indeed.'
All my information for this fic came from here: http:// en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Suez_crisis
In an attempt to stick with the prompt, I sort of weakened the role England played in this affair. Trust me, Britain was enraged. Read the Wikipedia page for the full story.
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