Based on a genuine old English superstition that faeries kidnapped little boys and left girls alone. As a result, some boys wore dress-like gowns to a certain age to fool the faeries.
What the faeries did with the little boys no one knows.
"No!" America wailed, dodging under England's advancing hands, and bolting on his little legs, diving under the bed. He stared out like a truculent mouse, glaring at England. "No!" he repeated, with slightly more dignity. "I won't!"
"Come on," England said, crouching down on the dusty floorboards. "You need to."
"It's a dress!" America whimpered. "A dress. And I'm a boy."
"That's why you have to wear it," England said, as if it as the simplest thing in the world. "The faeries kidnap little boys, but leave girls alone. So you have to dress up as one."
"No! England please. I thought the faeries were nice."
"Most of them are," England assured America, "but some will come and take you away."
The dreaded dress wasn't in England's hands, but America suspected that it lurked on the bed, like a malign pink influence. Even thinking of it made him shudder: it was pink and frilly and…
"I won't!" he howled, backing away from England; his older brother was reaching under the bed, his fingers scrabbling on the floor. "Make Canada wear it!"
"Canada is wearing one," England said darkly. "Didn't make a fuss. So he's getting your dessert." America gaped in shock, and stopped moving backwards. A small triumphant smirk twisted England's lips."For the next week," he added maliciously, and America recommenced his fumbling path backwards. "For the next month, if you don't come out from under there now."
"Never!" America cried, with all the spirit of his fledgling nation, making a mental note to put spiders in his twins bed at the first opportunity. Speaking of which, there were spiders under his expansive bed: one brushed his face, and he shuddered and closed his eyes, determined not to let England know that he shared Canada's…well not fear. Not fear, because America was never scared. More…dislike. Yes, that was it. He didn't like them. Too many legs. And too hairy. Like France, but without the presents he brought whenever England wasn't around.
It was because his eyes were closed that he didn't notice how close he was getting to the other side. It was only when he back straight into England's waiting arms that he realized he'd been tricked and started thrashing like a wildcat, screaming at the top of his lungs. Canada, who had been sitting demurely in an armchair, watched with tremulous eyes as England attempted to wrestle America into the dress, whilst avoiding America's strangely accurate kicks and bites. Somehow, England managed to get America's flailing feet into the skirt, but the boy lashed out savagely, and kicked England – well, Canada thought America was aiming for his leg, but he missed and hit a bit higher. England roared in pain and crumpled, letting go of America who bounded over the bed and promptly attacked his twin.
"Little suck-up," he spat, knocking Canada off the chair and pounding at his shoulders with fists like stone. Canada tried to fight back, but was somewhat hindered by the ankle-length gown he was wearing. "Kiss-ass," America jeered, grabbing a fistful of Canada's ringlets and tugging on them as hard as he could. "You look like a girl already."
Canada's next move didn't exactly reaffirm his masculinity: he raked his nails across America's face, leaving a bloody trail. The boy howled in pain, and rolled off Canada, who stood and fled behind England, straightening his mussed skirts.
"America," England growled in the tones that meant something Very Bad was going to happen. "Do not call your brother that filthy name. Apologize."
"Only if you don't make me wear the dress," America retorted, stepping out of the tangled pink ruin.
"I want you to apologize."
"I will. Just swear I don't have to wear the dress."
England sighed heavily, then snapped into a soldier's stance, one hand raised, one curled at his side. "I, England, swear that you, America, don't have to wear that dress ever, ever, again."
America beamed. "Then I'm sorry Canada."
"Good," England said gruffly. "Now give him a hug."
"Engggland," America wailed despairingly; Canada looked disheartened, and shuffled his feet.
"Hug him." The words fell like stones and under England's frosty glare America hunched his shoulders and mooched over to his brother, holding out his arms.
Canada smiled. It wasn't his usual smile: it was strangely triumphant, eerily identical to England's.
England was a blur, and before America knew it, his trousers and shirt were gone, and frothy pink lace enveloped him. He was too shocked even to protest as England tied a bow in his hair.
"Different dress," he explained, and Canada sniggered.
"One day," America declared, "I'm going to make you wear a dress."
"Yes," England said, in the horribly saccharinely sarcastic way he had. "Of course you will."
"I will!" America said hotly. "I'll have a –a- revolution and…um…throw off the chains of your tyranny forever!"
"You've been talking to France again, haven't you?"
"No," America denied, but he was a terrible liar and England was frighteningly perceptive. Grimly, he tied the sash, then fetched his coat.
"Take that off and I'll make you wear a corset," he warned. "I'll be back in a day or so – I just need to find France, disembowel him, and then make him watch as I burn his organs. No one traumatizes you but me."