I was listening to a song called "North by North" by Faded Paper Figures and had an idea for a painting for my art class - but then it turned into this, and I'm not sure why. All I know is that I was going for a surreal effect, and when I woke up to reread it, I thought I sounded like I was on crack. If I learned anything, it is that when writing something like this, you need another person to read and edit your work for you. Thank you muchly, Lali and Mercedes! Also, Lali, I am terribly jealous of you.
Disclaimer: Axis Powers Hetalia does not belong to me, nor does the poem "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost.
"Continents all made of clay, dreamers leaving every day to islands on the sea, lands I've never seen. Things will get calmer — follow me." - "North by North" by Faded Paper Figures.
He had left.
He left, and he would not come back.
There was a painted picture on England's desk. It was of England himself, holding a tiny, child-sized America in his arms.
The painting was simple, not elaborate, but apparently when the artist had painted their expressions, he had caught them in a moment where America, or England even, had said something funny, because America's eyes sparkled like stars, and England's smile was as wide as the sky.
England took a look at the photo, and silently tipped the frame over, so that he wouldn't have to see it anymore.
I had a strange dream last night. I was falling down a flight of stairs, but suddenly there weren't stairs anymore, and I was falling through the sky to land in your arms. It was snowing, and you gave me a scarf, but instead of wrapping it around my neck you wrapped it around my eyes so I couldn't see you leave.
There was a boat, too, but no sails. I tried to catch up to you, but I wasn't going anywhere, and I tried to use my scarf, but it got caught around my neck, and I choked.
England woke up to see snow peeking in from his bedside window. His hands flew immediately to his neck, looking for a scarf, but he only felt cold skin under his fingertips.
France was small. Pale. But then again, so was England. France was picking flowers, blue tunic fluttering in the cold wind, but he did not complain about the chill that hit his exposed legs. England did.
England complains that his nose is red and running. He complains that his hands are turning blue and are about to fall off. He complains that his feet are getting wet in the autumn dew. He complains just to hear himself talk. To hear France talk.
France laughed, and told England that winter was still around the corner and it should stay there, and pushed white flowers into his hands, behind his ears, and kissed him on the forehead.
He had left.
France was about to board the ship. He was not wearing a cerulean tunic, but many, many layers of clothing. A cloak, a white shirt, brown woolen pants. He was not cold, nor was he complaining.
England watched him go, and he could almost feel the earth under his feet crack, splitting him into two.
He left, and he was not coming back.
If France would not return, England would simply follow.
When he was more than halfway there, he was not sure if France wanted him back. If France had simply left to get away from Europe. From him.
The sky was painted the same colour of England's skin. Grey. He was cold, too.
But he couldn't bring himself to complain.
After all, his feet weren't wet and his fingers were not blue just yet.
And France was not there to give him orchids and kiss his forehead like he used to.
I had a dream again. You were holding onto my hand as we were falling through the sky, and suddenly you let go. I fell, and crumbled into pieces, as you watched and laugh. I still can't find myself. I think I was lost in the wind.
He woke up shivering, and sat in misery, not touching his blanket. He felt he deserved to freeze.
He had left.
England was wet. But not just his toes. His hands were wet. His nose was wet. His mud-splattered red uniform was soaked, sticking to his skin. Rain pelted down from the grey sky. And England wanted to complain. But he bottled it up inside, letting it sit there.
America was all grown up, so much unlike that picture. He stood tall and proud, and his eyes were lit up like the stars at night.
He stood tall, unlike England.
England was in the dirt, crying as America was gone. He had slipped from his fingers like sand from the deserts in the south.
As he cried, cold and wet, he thought viciously that at least he had Canada. France had nothing.
England knew from experience that the closer you got to the equator, the warmer you were. Perhaps that was why he was freezing.
France was cold too, but it did nothing to help.
They would not apologize to each other, for the things they said and did not say. France's eyes were puffy, and occasionally, he sniffled. England could barely suppress a sneer.
Canada's tiny hand was fisted in France's, who passed him to the blonde Englishman.
The child cried out for his older brother, father, the only friend he had. France gave a watery smile and turned away. He could only make it out of sight before collapsing into sobs. France could still hear Canada's screams for him – in French. French was not supposed to be spoken like that, in that pitiful tone and with heartbreaking words. French was a language of romance, of passion.
England soothed the child, who didn't want to listen to him. Canada cried for a long time.
France listened to it all.
I don't know why, but I was standing in a strange field of snow. I was wearing a scarf again, in that same shade of blue. All of a sudden, the snow melted, and flowers appeared. Bright oranges sprung out and the vines shot up and tangled around me and I couldn't breathe and I think I was choking again.
The next time England walked into his office, the picture frame was up again, and he looked at his face – so young, without worries or troubles – and at America's, who would never look like that again.
He left without tipping the frame down, to make himself a cup of tea.
It had started to rain again, too.
Was his nose red and raw? His feet were soaked, running through puddles without proper boots on. Pulling off his gloves, he looked to see if his fingers were blue. They were callused from wars, they were long and pale.
But they were not blue.
So why was he so cold?
France had started to hum softly to himself. It was an old lullaby Canada used to sing when he was scared or lonely. England flinched softly and clenched his fist around the handle of his tea cup, trying to suppress the urge to throw it at the Frenchman. To dump it on his stupid blonde head and watch him scream.
When France had looked over at England, out of the corner of his eyes, his lips twitched upwards.
And England knew he was doing it on purpose. The silence was nice before. Now, it wrapped its spindly fingers around England, smothering him. Killing him.
England stood over France, who had admitted defeat. Have I broken you yet? he wanted to ask.
Like you broke me, all those years ago? To leave me. Why?
France understood though. England, he forced out a chuckle. The only thing you have managed to break is my heart.
He had left.
A gloved hand clasped his. It did not feel affectionate, nor did it shoot warm feeling up his arms. It was just a hand that was holding onto his.
He felt as though they were falling. Were they? Rain was hitting on his face, he heard the plip plip plip it made as it hit the ground, yet the sun was shining. The sun was burning him.
And he was bitterly cold.
England was reading.
It was a book of poetry. By a man named Robert Frost. He had come from America, if England recalled correctly.
America had grown up. England was reading poetry by people in his country.
Some say the world will end in fire
Maybe that was the way to go. But it rained so much. England could not keep a candle lit for more than a minute. Cold winds snuffed it out. Fire was no match for English rain.
Some say in ice.
France would like that. For England to just disappear. He gripped the book harder. Trying to focus on words. They were only words. But England knew that words weren't just words. They came from someone's mouth. Words had feelings. Words could sting as much as a silver sword.
You used to be… so big…
It repeated over and over in his mind. At this rate he'd go insane, and America would never know it was his fault.
From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire.
America had left. Canada had left. France, too. France was much meaner. France had promised he'd returned. And he did, but not for England. Never for England.
But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate
Who would want to die more than twice? Who would want to die once? England would never have that choice, anyway. Nations couldn't die. Nations weren't allowed to die. I think I know enough of hate – there was too much hate. Too much of it, bottled up inside of him, hitting the sides as though someone was shaking the bottle without rhythm, without feeling. Without hearing England's cries for it to stop.
To say that for destruction ice is also great
Ice. Snow. Rain. It was all the same. Canada had snow, but he looked so warm all the time. Rain was common in England, and he froze. Over and over again. If he saw another umbrella, he'd throw up.
And would suffice.
The book fell to the floor.
I had a strange dream last night. I was falling down a flight of stairs, and then the stairs opened up to a great sky. There were stars that twinkled like America's eyes, and the clouds were as fluffy as Canada's hair. I wasn't falling anymore. I think I was floating. The sun was warm, and I wasn't cold anymore.
And then you came, and wrapped a scarf around my eyes, and I fell from the sky and landed in snow. I couldn't see. My scarf got tangled up in thorns of bright orange flowers, and I choked.
America, wait –
But he doesn't listen, and walks away.
Canada is turned in the other direction, and doesn't hear England's calls.
France smirks. France hears. France sees. France knows.
Bring them back! He wants to call out, to scream.
Nothing comes out of his throat.
France grins so wide almost all of his teeth show.
Canada and America are not mine.
England cries, and this time, he can hear his own shame ripping out of his mouth.
He had left.
The sky is blue. This is what keeps him sane. The sky is blue. The grass is green. My eyes are green, too. My hands are grey. The sky is grey too, right? No, the sky is blue. My fingers are blue. My nose is red. Red like fire. Fire burns. So does ice.
What colour is ice?
There is a painted picture on England's desk. The frame's wood is chipped and faded, and the glass is cracked, and by the look of it, hastily repaired with tape. The painting is of a little boy, all grown up now, his eyes twinkling like stars in the night. There is also a man in it, now long gone, his smile as wide as the sky. The desk is untouched and covered in dust, as though someone had not gone near it in a long time.
He had left. And he was never ever coming back.
For the historical notes I looked up prior to this (I apologize in advance if there is anything wrong. I tried very hard not to look at the Wikipedia web page, as it is unreliable):
1. Painted Pictures. The first photograph was invented in 1827 by Joseph Nicephore Niepce (not counting the pinhole camera, which was invented in about 1000 AD). I think England would have taken the time to make arrangements for one good painting of him and America.
2. About France leaving. France had sailed to America and made a settlement a few years before the British had set foot there – somewhere near Florida, I believe.
3. France handing Canada over to England. After the Seven Years War, shortly before the American Revolution, France had signed the Treaty of Paris, leaving almost all of its territory to England, who, for the most part, left Canada alone.