...I honestly think I might be in this fandom for the long haul. Which concerns me. O.o
This particular fic needs like a mile of ANs so bear with me – I apologise for the walls of text either side of the story itself.
First of all, this fic was described as being both FrUK (France as seme, England/UK as uke) and USUK (America as seme, England/UK as uke) in the summary – let me clarify so that you can't say I didn't give a fair warning about the content. The FrUK is non-con (nothing overly graphic, however); the USUK is fine and dandy and perfectly consensual. It's not too late – you can still back away. XD
Non-con FrUK? ORLY? YA RLY. Why? Because the first part of this fic deals with the 1066 conquest of Britain by Norman France. I don't like to start off with a history lesson (given that Hetalia kind of IS a history lesson in itself), but anyone not familiar with the history of Britain and France during this period may find this VERY compressed description of events© helpful: The British Isles was full of Celts and Picts after the Romans left and all was well until one day the Saxons from Saxony in Germany showed up and started shoving them out of the way and taking over. They became known as the Anglo-Saxons after merging with another group of Germanic invaders, the Angles, and this is actually where the name 'England' comes from ('Land of the Angles' becomes 'Angle-Land' becomes 'Engla-Land' becomes 'England'). So the Anglo-Saxons were all settled and happy and had a monarchy and had to put up with invasions from the pesky Vikings from Denmark and Norway but really all the Vikings wanted was to rob them blind – they kind of conquered parts of England but never really properly took over. The "last" Anglo-Saxon king was Edward the Confessor, who died childless in 1066. Three men then all decided that they would quite like to be king of England – Harold Godwinson (who was actually crowned), William, Duke of Normandy (later William the Conqueror and William I) and Harald Hardrada, the king of Norway who had some exceedingly thin claim to the throne. The best way to resolve the conflict? War, of course. Godwinson beat Hardrada but was defeated by William at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 – the most popular theory as to how he died is that he was shot in the eye with an arrow. William was crowned king of England and the resulting French influence caused, for one thing, Old English and Old French to merge into Middle English, from which the modern English spoken today evolved. Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales was one of the very first texts ever written in Middle English.
Gah. That's that. On the subject of languages... This fic is not just in English. Other languages you will find in here are French, Welsh, Cornish (I know, WTF, right?), Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic. The reason for this is that I know England allegedly has older brothers and people like to make OCs of Scotland and Wales and I did call him 'England' and not 'Britain/UK' in the fic because that seems to be how it's done around here... I don't want to get into a dispute/debate with anyone over whether or not he's just England or if he's the whole of Britain in canon (though, for the record, 'Igirisu' is translated as 'United Kingdom', not 'England', which is the hilarious 'Ingurando'), but in this fic, suspend whatever disbelief you may have and just smile and nod when I say he's the whole thing. Because to be honest, nobody gives a rat's ass about someone's Wales OC – so in Rhys-Alun-Dafydd-Llewelyn-Gwydion Kirkland's stead, you get amazing-multi-lingual!Arthur Kirkland (I know, I know, Rhys-Alun-Dafydd-Llewelyn-Gwydion Kirkland sounds awesome, though, right? Haha...).
Besides... "Britannia Wales: Curse of the Leek!"? Anyone remember that? XD
Translations of the parts in other languages are AT THE BOTTOM. Yes, so it may annoy you that you can't understand what France is saying in some parts and you have to scroll all the way down to find out – that is entirely the point. When France speaks French to England and England speaks Welsh to America, they can't understand each other, so I wanted the actual fic to kind of recreate that sense of frustration.
On that note, a huge thankyou to NaoNow, who translated France's (and England's) French for me! I completely fail at French and it was very kind of her to agree to do it because I completely bastardised her country... XD I didn't make it easy for her, either, so... Yeah. Credit to her for that. The Scottish/Irish Gaelic and Cornish was pilfered from online phrasebooks – I think they're accurate but I honestly couldn't say for sure (particularly with the Cornish. I mean, no-one speaks Cornish. Not even the Cornish). I did the Welsh myself with the help of some crusty Welsh-English dictionary I found in the University of Cincinnati's library (I am surprised they even had it) – "fluent" (or even "competent") is hardly the word I would apply to my Welsh, but I did learn it for like five years in high school, so... I think it's right. I mean, we're talking modern Welsh/French/whatever here, which is not what they would have been speaking in 1066, but there's doing research and there's going overboard...
Kind of like these ANs are. O.o
(Title comes from Sir Thomas Malory's sprawling Arthurian narrative, Le Morte d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur), which borrows from Welsh and French Arthurian sources and was written in Middle English.)
Le Morte d'Arthur
[October 14th, 1066]
It was not the first of his losses, nor the last of France's victories. The battle, however, was over, and England hadn't won. There might have been a dozen reasons for it – that France was better-prepared, that England was tired from fighting Denmark and Norway barely a week before, even simply the fact that England was still a teenager and lacked the skill and the strength to fight a grown man.
He hadn't won, but even so he thrashed and twisted in France's grasp as he was half-dragged, stumbling, up the length of the aisle of the cold grey chapel nestled like a jewel at the centre of the cruciform abbey; the clash of battle-worn armour and the liquid clink of chainmail bounced from wall to wall, back and forth, unable to rest in a place so peaceful.
"Je t'ai vaincu," France said coldly, tightening his grip, pulling harder. "Allons, Angleterre, ce comportement enfantin n'est pas convenable." Then, looking back at the boy (still resisting), spoke in his language so that he might understand him: "Our battle is done. Take your defeat with dignity and I shall be merciful."
England raised his eyes towards him, the green of them shaded with sullenness, with the bitterness of being beaten; his scowl deepened on hearing France switch to his language. One of them, anyhow – Englisc. The boy couldn't understand a word of French but he was able to switch between Englisc, Welsh, Cornish, and variants of Irish and Scottish Gaelic very easily and did so on a regular basis. He was too multi-lingual for his own good, really, letting them all bleed into one another. They were all ugly, harsh-sounding languages, too, hybrids of Germanic and Celtic and Nordic tongues.
England dug his heels in further and opposed France's "leadership" even more, trying to wrench himself out of the older man's grasp.
"Let go!" he cried, near-hysterical as he tried to twist out of France's grasp. (Englisc) "Gad lonydd i fi!" (Welsh)
"Stop behaving like a child!" France demanded in disgust, hauling him up the steps onto the altar, still speaking Englisc very deliberately. "And keep your horrible languages to yourself. One is plenty."
"Go hifreann leat!" England shrieked at him, switching to some form of Gaelic most likely out of sheer defiance. (Irish, perhaps?) He managed to wrench his arm back from France at long last, but was grabbed by the back of the neck the moment he got free. "Ke tha gerras!" (Cornish)
"Are those your defences?" France snapped, shaking him. "Cursing at me in languages I do not understand will change nothing. This victory is mine, and I shall not be as indulgent of you as the others were."
The others. England stopped twisting long enough to meet France's gaze again. He meant Norway and Denmark and Germany. All of them had spent time impressing themselves and their languages and their cultures upon England in the past few centuries or so, but it hadn't been the same kind of aggressive attack such as that just led by France. Hastings would be bloodstained for years to come, and England had nothing to show for it but defeat. He wasn't much more than a child, too-big armour weighing him down and cloak practically trailing on the ground and sword gripped awkwardly, incorrectly, in fingers not large enough to properly hold it. He was young, and he had never been defeated like this. He had never been conquered – not properly. Not wholly.
Holding the teenager by the hair, France reached towards the two heavy leather-bound books on the stone table before them; one was a Bible, hand-written in Latin, and the other was a record book, also hand-written, lined with columns of figures – this one in Englisc (what would later be known as Old Englisc, or Old English).
"Even here..." France pulled England towards the books and forced him to look at them. "Une seule langue ne te suffit-elle donc pas?" he went on icily, switching back to French, perhaps for mere irony. "Tu ne comprends même pas le Latin, n'est-ce pas, petite Angleterre? La langue de la Grande Rome?"
"Thalla dhan dh'ifreann!" England wailed in response, trying to pull away again. (Gaelic again. Slightly different inflection. Scottish?)
France turned back to glare at him, perhaps hoping to intimidate him into obedience; not expecting the teenager to suddenly swing his armoured elbow at his chest. France was wearing armour of his own and wasn't hurt by the blow, but the unexpected jarring of it took him by surprise, enough to let go of the handful of blonde hair he'd had his fingers twisted tightly into. England darted away the moment he was free, ducking under France's arm with the clear intent of fleeing. He would not always be like this, but for now, a frightened child, it seemed that his only plan of retaliation was to run and escape.
France caught him roughly by the back of his cloak and hauled him backwards. England whirled on him as he brought him level, lashing out at him in a near-animalistic defence, one of his metal gauntlets arching downwards and tearing across France's face. The blood came fast, bright and brilliant, spattering further still than France's cheek, hitting England on the throat and blotching on his skin like rose petals.
France finally lost his temper and threw England against the table, the edge of it hitting the teenager in the small of the back, the awkward clashing of unyielding armour making him almost lose his balance. France didn't know why the boy was still fighting; he'd already had holy hell beaten out of him.
"J'aurais dû me douter qu'un gamin comme toi ne saurait pas accepter la défaite dignement," France spat, long past indulging him by speaking in Englisc (the only one of England's languages he understood), the blood still seeping down his face. "Si tu n'es pas assez civilisé pour communiquer avec moi dans une langue que nous pouvons parler tous les deux, alors laisse-moi me faire comprendre autrement."
England looked up at him again, leaning his weight back against the table, his green eyes wide and wary as he watched France reach behind himself, over his shoulder to the half-full quiver of arrows still slung across it.
"Dw i dim yn deall," he said (still defiant, going back to Welsh). "An Fhràing..." (Scottish) He trailed off as he saw France slowly extract a single arrow, the glint of the sharp head cold in the grey light of the chapel.
"This is your last chance," France said icily, going back to Englisc, holding the point of the arrow at the hollow of England's throat briefly, before raising it slightly to make him lift his chin and tip his head back ever so slightly. "I see no reason why we cannot come to an agreement, given that I have defeated you. You will accept me as your conqueror, and you will speak only one language – mine."
England couldn't move his head, but he averted his eyes.
"Na," he said, deliberate in sticking to Welsh. "Níl." (That might have been Irish again) "Ny vynnav." (Cornish)
He looked briefly back at the gash on France's cheek and smiled – more to himself, but it was definitely there. The blood was still stark on his own pale skin, mottling as it ran and pooled in the dip of his collarbone.
"Très bien," France replied; and he grabbed England by the hair again, holding his head still as he raised the arrow and plunged it downwards, straight into the boy's right eye.
He didn't scream immediately; rather, first he went completely rigid in France's grip, his other eye wide open with shock, and then he gave a shallow gasp as France let go of the shaft of the arrow, leaving it submerged far past the tip in his eye socket. He turned half onto his side, metal scraping against stone, with a low groan as France stepped back, sagging against the table, barely able to hold himself up as his knees gave out and his hand clawed at his ruined eye and he shrieked in no language, the cry arching and high-pitched and wavering. France stood behind him, watching impassively, as he turned over completely, blood splattering all over the surface of the table and the open pages of both books, coughing out the last of the scream before drawing a shaky breath and wrapping his fingers around the spine of the arrow—
"Do not attempt to pull it out," France snapped, snatching his wrist and twisting it behind his back, pressing him down against the table and against those books. "Foolish boy..."
England thrashed underneath him, his head twisted awkwardly to one side to prevent the arrow from being forced any deeper into his eye; the left side of his face was far, far messier than France's, stained almost completely crimson and sluiced through with clear tracks of burst vitreous humour. He was gasping shallowly as though he couldn't breathe, but he did not scream a second time.
"Now then," France went on a low voice, his tone flat and emotionless, "shall we not try this again?"
"Go dtachta an diabhal tu!" England hissed at him (Irish). And then— "Fuck you and your language! I would rather you cut out my tongue than made it speak French!"
"So foul-mouthed," France muttered. "In all of your detestable languages, it seems. Really, though you might protest, I think French is your only hope. Let me teach you a little something of culture, England."
He leaned down over him, close and heavy, metal on metal and blonde on blonde and blood on blood.
"Lay down your arms and learn," he whispered, still holding his hand behind his back; he reached beneath the boy with his free hand, quickly and roughly loosening cords and clasps, metal plates sliding this way and that, chainmail scraping against skin.
"Na dean sin!" England screeched, struggling underneath him as much as France's weight and the arrow skewered into his eye would allow. "Sguir! Arhoswch!"
"Non, nous ne tolèrerons aucune de ces langues grossières," France breathed, pushing England's cloak out of the way, holding the teenager's bloody cheek against the record-book written in some nameless monk's best Englisc. "Nor this one, if you would be so kind. You may not want to learn, but I will teach anyhow."
"I want nothing from you!" England spat, his loose hand pressed against his wounded eye, arrow shaft sticking out between two of his fingers. "Mae'n gas gyda fi—"
He cut himself off abruptly as France's hand moved to the arrow and closed around it; taking a sharp inward breath, his entire body tensing in terror—
"Ffrainc..." Not quite pleading, but his voice was quiet and nervous; addressing France in Welsh hadn't helped, however.
France smiled at him icily and twisted the arrow sharply out of his eye at exactly the same moment that he thrust into him, replacing one agonising intrusion with another. The clink and clatter of the arrow bouncing away on the stone floor was drowned out by another wail that transcended each of the five languages England refused to relinquish and the one that he refused to learn. There was a lot more blood, all over the book and down his legs; France finally let go of the arm he had been twisting behind the boy's back the entire time, no longer needing to restrain him. England had completely buckled beneath him, crushed between his conqueror and the stone table of the plain altar. His forehead was on the blood-soaked pages of the book and the fingers of both hands gripped at the edges of the leather cover, holding onto the tome as though it was his only solace during this, the only thing he could cling to – this manuscript written in one of his own languages – as France completely invaded him in an effort to stamp every last scrap of Anglo-Saxony and Celtic right out of him.
France did not draw it out, perhaps not so much because he wanted to be done with it quickly, but rather (more likely) because he didn't really have the time to waste pounding some snotty teenager into a table for an hour; he fucked him beneath the watchful stone eyes of saints and saviours, the clash of metal slamming and scraping against metal loud and awful in the heights of the cross-shaped silence. Neither said anything for a long time, England biting hard at his bottom lip to keep from making a sound; the only thing to truly elicit a reaction from him past the initial exit and entrance that had made him scream was the sudden welling-over of the wound on France's cheek, foreign filth splashing onto the soaked pages so far drenched only in British blood.
"Arhoswch!" England gasped again in Welsh, clutching the book tighter, protecting it with his own body so that the next drop of French blood landed safely in his hair. "Leave my languages be! Am I alone not enough?"
"Ah, do not misunderstand," France replied, indulging him by returning to Englisc. "Your languages serve you well enough, and I admit that some of your stories, written as only you know how, are indeed somewhat entertaining. The Mabinogion – forgive my pronunciation – and Y Gododdin... those suit your tastes in a fine manner, do they not? My personal favourites would be your stories about King Arthur, however. I would never have thought you had it in you to create tales so... romantic."
England didn't reply, bowing his head lower against the book clutched grim-death beneath him.
"Arthur and the lovely Gwenhwyfar and the wise wizard Myrddin..." France was grinning over the boy's shoulder. "And what was that about Arthur's death? He only rests asleep in Avalon, and that when Britain falls and needs his help, he will rise again?" France leaned down closer still, blood dripping off his jaw and his hips still moving rhythmically, and brushed some of England's gold hair back behind his ear. "Where is Arthur? Will he not save you? Is Arthur coming?"
He had no idea whether France wanted him to say yes or no, so he kept quiet for longer still, rocking forwards with France's every thrust if only to make it easier on himself, the edge of the table stopping him and providing the resistance that his conqueror no doubt wanted. The pain was unbearable but he kept inhuman silence because he was not human – neither of them were. He would heal.
Even if he would not forgive.
He only spoke – half-sobbing – when he felt France reach underneath him, grabbing at the book.
"Mercy," he said, coughing it out quickly, barely listening to himself, as he clung tighter still to the ruined volume.
France laughed and drew back his hand.
"Merci?" he repeated, pronouncing it as an entirely different word, a high, delighted lilt to it as he grasped a handful of the boy's hair and gave one final thrust, spilling himself into him. "De rien vraiment, ma petite Angleterre."
Even though he had spoken French, the way England tensed...
"As-tu compris cela?" France hummed. He was all but done with him, pulling out and patting him roughly on the head. "Hm, Angleterre?" He leaned down close enough to whisper in his ear, perhaps so that the stone saints might not hear, even if they had so stoically borne witness to the passionless rape. "Angleterre. Albion. Avalon. Arthur."
France pushed back, removing his weight and his presence from England completely. The teenager slid to his knees before the table, the bloody book still pressed to the metal breastplate of his armour.
It was too late. He had understood. French had seeped in. It was on these pages and within him. The vocabulary was in his mind and the words were on his tongue.
"Où est Arthur?" France mocked again, this time in French.
"Ici," England said, not looking at him. "Je suis là." He dipped his head. "Mais je ne te laisserai pas m'appeler ainsi."
France smiled icily.
"Cela seulement, je te l'accorderai," he replied. "Après tout, je t'ai pris tout le reste." He wiped at his face and licked at the blood that came away on his fingers. "I took English from England."
[One, 21 guns, lay down your arms, give up the fight—]
[October 14th, 1944]
The sheets were sticky with half-dried blood when he awoke at past three in the morning. The wound in his side stung and, when he shifted, he felt that the bandages were damp against his ribcage; examining his palm after a quick press to the gauze was proof enough that he had finally bled through.
(Germany was getting desperate these days. This persistent string of attacks day after day was not quite on the scale of the original Blitz, but it was beginning to take its toll on him. Five years. Five years this had been going on now. He was exhausted. They all were.)
America was draped over him, heavy and shirtless and sound asleep. He had wounds of his own, the freshest one a gash just beneath his collar-bone, healed enough to warrant forgoing the dressing by now. It was ugly, though, proof that it had been deep and had probably hurt like hell. America didn't complain about things like that. He had flinched and fidgeted a bit whilst England and China had first tended to it, but otherwise had taken it in that big, bright heroic fashion of his. As always.
England lifted America's arm and pushed him off, gentle enough so as not to wake him, and got out of bed. The blood had come through his shirt, the stain beginning to turn copper at the edges; he'd been bleeding for a while. It actually wasn't even his shirt – it was America's. He'd have to get it out later. America probably wouldn't mind but that was beside the point. He'd gotten blood on his bedsheets and on his shirt – America would laugh it off and say it was okay but it wasn't, not really. Maybe he was in no danger of being tainted by it (because he already was, with his mutated Anglo-French-Anglo-American evolved Middle English tongue), but why should he have to deal with British bloodshed when he was hardly without injury himself?
America slept a while longer, one hand under the pillow and the other splayed on the sheets where England had left it. He looked much younger without his glasses. Like a teenager. Like he was too young to be in a war like this.
(Not that you were ever too young. Or too old, it seemed.)
He was, however, something of a paranoid sleeper; it took him barely a little while further to notice that England wasn't there anymore and he stirred, half-sitting up and looking around dazedly.
"There you are," he said at length, squinting at him. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing." Over at the desk, unbuttoning the shirt with one hand and going through the First Aid kit for a new bandage with the other, England paused briefly to look at him. "Go back to sleep, Alfred. I'll come back to bed in a minute."
America was already rifling short-sightedly for his glasses on the bedside table; his sitting up had pushed back the sheets and he could see the blood.
"You're bleeding?" He put his glasses on, pushing them up with his forefinger.
"It's just come through the bandage. You needn't concern yourself."
"Is it that one on your side again?" America began to kick off the sheets. "How many times is this now? Are you sure it's healing?"
"Of course it's healing." England unwound the blood-soaked bandage and wrapped it in the paper of the new one, sighing more to himself as he heard America shifting around behind him. "Alfred, honestly. I know how to dress a wound."
"Are you sure?" America padded over to him in just his uniform trousers, hitching up his glasses again as he tilted his head to look at the injury; England pointedly ignored him, pouring liquid iodine onto a cloth. "It sure doesn't look like it."
"It doesn't look like it's healing or it doesn't look like I know how to treat a wound?" England bit out, pressing the cloth to the injury and wiping away the crusted blood.
America averted his eyes as he did it.
"Both." He paused. "That must hurt."
"Like hell." England looked at him. "As did the twisted piece of railing that went into my ribcage in the first place."
America met his gaze and raised an eyebrow.
"Touché," he said.
"What was that?" England broke eye-contact with him again, tossing the cloth onto the desk and taking up the clean bandage.
"Hm?" America blinked. "Touché? It's... French, right?"
"So you know I don't like you speaking French." England made a point of not meeting his gaze, focusing more on putting on the new bandage; wrapping it three times around his ribs and twice over his shoulder before reaching for the pin.
"When do I ever speak French?" America asked in bewilderment.
"Café. Filet. Hell, you even pronounce 'herbs' the way he does. It's herbs with a h."
"Whatever." America threw his hands up in the air and sauntered away. "I think you've lost a lot of blood. You're hallucinating, old man. Matthew speaks French, not me."
He went back to the bed and flopped across it, sighing deeply; he was silent for a long moment, and England made no attempt converse with him as he buttoned the shirt back up and put the First Aid kit back in order.
"Besides," America said suddenly, still lying exactly as he had landed, "didn't you tell me years ago that the English we speak – the one you taught Matthew and I – actually has loads of French in it?"
England stiffened, not turning to him.
"...Because you asked," he said in a low voice. "Only because you asked... about the way I spell things—"
"But isn't it true?" America sat up on the bed. "Hey. Arthur. It's true, right?"
England said nothing at all to that, although he did finally turn towards America. He was not that teenaged boy in the too-big armour anymore, but suddenly he felt just as helpless, wounded from another war, on the downward spiral from the drug of imperialism, the final faded ragged remnants of an empire. He looked at America, who had loved him, outgrown him, and then loved him again – but that second love was still an outgrown one. The world was changing again, and even though the circumstances were completely different, when he was underneath America (whom he had raised), he was letting him strip him of his power the way France had done all those years ago.
It wasn't America's fault, though. That... had been almost six hundred years before he had even...
England took a deep breath. He had healed. He had not forgiven. The conquered had become the conqueror. He had crushed France countless times since then.
(Even so. The language. France had not touched Welsh or Cornish or Gaelic. He had not bled into them. But English—)
"Arthur?" America leaned forwards, his voice softening.
"You know," England said, "he liked those stories. The ones about King Arthur. So much that he stole them, actually." He smiled sourly. "Do think that's maybe a compliment?"
"Maybe." America smiled and stuck out his tongue. "I like them too." He patted the bed beside him. "Come here and tell me one, like how you did when I was little."
"Alright." England actually grinned at him. "Pa gur yv y porthau—?"
"Not in Welsh!" America wailed. "Or whichever of your weird fairy-languages that was..."
"But Alfred," England sighed, only half-serious, "it's the only way it won't be remotely tainted by French."
Near dawn, he felt that the bandages were wet once more; he lay with his hand pressed to the wound again, America spooning him from behind and breathing on the back of his neck and holding his other hand.
"Meddwl i yn marw wyf, Alfred," he said, quietly and in Welsh so that even if he was heard, he wouldn't be understood.
[Your faith walks on broken glass and the hangover doesn't pass;
Nothing's ever built to last.
You're in ruins.]
He wasn't listening to America.
America was always talking. He quite honestly never shut up. Even during something like this, when, really, for mercy's sake, he should be quiet and breathless and unable to talk, he just pressed his face against England's throat and strung stupid sentences together, like "Is this okay?" and "Am I hurting you?" and "Just ignore France, he was trying to piss you off on purpose".
England didn't answer him because he wasn't really listening. He had a dozen other things flitting through his head (so was he being hypocritical, irritated at America because he couldn't focus on one thing when he was exactly the same, albeit quieter about it?), things like how much he wanted sink his fist into France's face and his counter-reasoning that despite that, France wasn't the enemy, not this time around, and that Russia and China were looking a bit too friendly these days whenever the conversation turned to Communism and dimly that yes, America was hurting him, actually, with enthusiastic fingers pressed too tightly into bruises; but, really, most of all, he felt the hard friction of the chalkboard against his back and tightened the tangle of his legs around America's waist when the younger man bit down on his jawline and thought that was really extremely fucking stupid.
America had had more than one reason; he wanted to pay England back for the lovely non-Welsh story at half-past three in the morning, he wanted to calm him down since he looked ready to punch a hole in the wall following his latest by-the-book trivial spat with France, he just wanted him (probably). Actually, it was probably more that he just wanted to do someone against a chalkboard—
("You against the chalkboard, with your cute little drawings on it!")
Really, for all his jumping down America's throat at meetings, he let him get away with murder. Still let him.
Because it was idiotic. The door had no lock on it (that was how Italy had gotten in, right? And Canada? And half of Chinatown?). Sure, the other three had all gone their separate ways and probably wouldn't come back; but that wasn't even the fact of the matter. Even if they had barricaded themselves into the room with locks galore and blacked out the windows and each taken a vow of Total Silence before beginning, the principle of it was just... moronic. They each had a perfectly good bed for this kind of thing.
Not that it made much difference. America had gotten his way. As usual.
And, really, America wasn't forcing him. Perhaps vertically against a chalkboard was just as unorthodox as horizontally over a stone altar, but this was not like that; France at his cruellest and England at his weakest, not strong enough to even stop his language being changed. The words that America spoke now, his high-octane mutterings between gasps, his reassurances and questions that fell on deaf ears, were the result of England replying in French that day. He had given him a ruined language, perhaps because he himself still couldn't bear to let go of it. He could have let France have the damned Englisc and spoken thereafter only in Gaelic or Welsh – but he hadn't.
His sigh was more like a hiss; he rested his chin on America's shoulder and looked blankly at a plain patch of wall across the room, his hands grasping at America's bomber jacket. It was more a force of habit. He didn't need to hold on, completely supported between the chalkboard with their haphazard war plans scrawled all over it and America. America was kinder in his greater strength. He was holding him up.
(He needed it. At this stage, this badly injured, this bloody tired, he needed it. Blitzed, beaten, ruined beyond repair, America was the only reason he was still standing. Russia and China were concerned less about him individually than they were about victory itself and France, as usual, had been no help to him. With his head on America's shoulder, he remembered that day, when France had categorised him by every fitting name beginning with 'A'. A. America. Alfred—)
America's grip on him slipped; he caught him again quickly, all but recovering their original position, but he was rough about it, swiping his hand hard over the position of the persistent wound in England's side as he grasped at his jacket to halt him.
"Fuck, Alfred—!" He couldn't even pretend it hadn't hurt, the pain of it raw and sharp enough to make his reaction completely honest.
"Sorry, I'm sorry!" America hurriedly repositioned his hands. "I didn't mean to grab you there, I swear. I know you're fragile."
"Fragile my arse," England snapped, bringing his heel brusquely against the small of America's back. "Bollocks to fragile. Try 'Completely fucked over' and you might be close."
"Completely fucked over?" America repeated, blinking, his blue eyes wide. "I haven't even finished yet." Then he grinned, his expression darkening considerably. "But I am close."
England still had it in him to roll his eyes.
"Very clever," he murmured dryly. "Bravo indeed."
"Why thankyou," America replied, still grinning.
"That was sarcasm, idiot."
"Really?" America stuck out his tongue. "I had no idea."
England met his gaze irritably. His position against the chalkboard was a lot less comfortable than it had been before, the pressure on his neck burning; his side still hurt, and maybe he was just imagining it, but the bandages, tucked tightly beneath his shirt and his jacket, felt damp again.
"Shut up," he said coldly.
He meant it, and America knew it; the younger man's smile sweetened and he leaned in briefly, kissing England first on the cheek and then on the forehead.
"I didn't mean to hurt you," he said. "You know that."
"Bugger off," England muttered blackly.
"Make me," America replied cheerfully, and he kissed him on the mouth, silencing any further profanities.
In any other circumstance, England might have laughed – because the idea was laughable. Nobody could make America do anything, not even him. Those days were long gone, and things were very different between he and America now (understatement, right?). Maybe in 1776, he had resented America's strength, hated that he could support himself, despised that he no longer needed him; but now, when he needed him...
He was glad of his strength.
(And maybe it wasn't so weird that he let his former charge fuck him against chalkboards these days. Things changed. Just as France would never be able to rape him as he had once, England no longer had it in him to do the same to Spain as he had more than once, centuries ago. All these wars were ridiculous power-slides, anyway, with his strength eroding bit by bit beneath the fickle tide of empire-superpower-dom.)
"Don't let go again," England hissed, twisting the fur of America's collar in one hand, their mouths still very close.
"I won't." America was already rocking rhythmically up against him again. "Are you comfortable?"
"I'd prefer to be in a more suitable environment, but I'll live."
America laughed, but even as he took that as an invitation to pick up his pace (and, really, he was doing all of the work), he was gentle, careful about where he held England and how hard. England himself didn't know whether he should be touched or indignant by America treating him like he was made out of porcelain (which was ironic, given that the younger man had broken more than a few expensive teacups in his time); but, really, even if it was neither kindness nor pity, it was respect. He'd called him an old man or an antique more times than England personally cared to remember (to which he retorted that it was better than still being a brat at almost three hundred and fifty years of age), but ironically America did make love to him with the interest of an archaeologist or a historian, exploring the map of him with renewed childlike curiosity again and again.
[Your castles, your cathedrals, your seashores and your rivers and your winding country roads; your dark enchanted forests and your high open white cliffs and your bitter London sky. Your songs and your stories and your languages, all of them, Welsh, Gaelic, Cornish, English – even if I don't understand a word you're saying, I need you to give them to me. You had all of me once. I want to have all of you, now that I'm strong enough—]
He remembered the first time. 1917. He'd been wounded and tired then too, and had thought (quite honestly) that America was still mad about that ship incident in 1912. The ship was never mentioned, because instead they had had to talk about Germany and mustard gas and Russia sodding off whenever it damn well pleased him. He hadn't seen America for quite a while before then – he had either grown again or he had forgotten just how tall the boy was. Boy. Well. That had been exactly it, hadn't it? It had taken England until 1917 to finally – properly – accept that America wasn't a child anymore.
The first kiss – the beginning of the whole messy landslide. They'd been sitting side by side on the rough covers of the bed in silence, England plucking the round red petals from the heart of a poppy, letting them scatter on the dirt floor at his feet like blotches of blood. America had been silent, looking around the dugout with a half-frown on his face. It had been worse than he'd been expecting, that much had been clear. Despite everything, the space between them hadn't been uncomfortable – simply painful. Yes, it's this bad. You didn't know? America had eventually coughed out his name and England had turned to him and let him kiss him because he'd thought that it was America's way of saying he was sorry for something that wasn't even his fault. No, I didn't know. I came to help you, but I didn't know it was this bad. I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
It had been godawful, the dirt-dugout walls damp and cold and seeming to close in on them (like it was grave-soil). The banged-together bed had creaked with their every tiny movement and they had been in a severely awkward position because of the lack of space and they had both been in full uniform (like they were now). He had wondered if this – if he – had been America's first and had found himself hoping that it wasn't, if only because of how goddamn miserable it had been. He had clung to America regardless, though, breathing him in so he didn't have to smell mud and decay and poppies for five fucking minutes; America filling him so clumsily and yet so completely that he (thankfully) couldn't think about anything else other than the fact that while it wasn't great, it was a hell of a lot better than having shells fired across a field at him.
(America had lain quiet when it was over, holding his hand. He hadn't bothered to take his glasses off, resulting in them being slightly askew. England had lazily fixed them for him and America had kissed his fingertips.
"Thankyou." It was England who had said it, looking up at the earth ceiling of the tomb-sized room.
America had blinked up at him.
"You know what for."
"The most amazing, awesome, mind-blowing sex you've ever had?"
"No, but thanks for that too."
"You think I don't know you're being sarcastic?"
"You were being sarcastic too."
"True." America had smiled at him; but then it had faded. "You're unhappy."
"Of course I'm unhappy." England's jade eyes had flickered towards him. "But not with you. Just... with this. The whole thing."
"War." It hadn't been a question. "Well, you're an old man – you're like, what, four hundred million years old or something? I guess you've seen too many of them."
"Unfortunately, I think that may be the case. Though I daresay you're not exactly thrilled about this either, brat that you are."
"Of course not." America had paused. "What about me, then? You're not unhappy with me? Then what, Arthur?"
"Relieved." England had squeezed his hand. "You have no idea how bloody relieved I am that you're here, you idiot.")
America didn't last much longer, his face against England's throat when he climaxed, the press of his glasses cold and hard against the older man's jaw; he whispered something, something that began with an 'A', something that sounded like—
"What did you say?" England asked quietly, yielding against America's heaving for breath, patient with practice in waiting for his own release.
"Huh?" America lifted his head. "I... I said 'Arthur'... because that's... that's your name."
"Wh-what did you think... I said?"
"Nothing." England paused. "Albion." He paused again, scowling. "Nothing."
"Albion?" America recovered and straightened, pushing up his slipping glasses before reaching down to take care of England. "I don't even know what that is. Sorry, by the way."
"It's... it's nothing." England caught his breath and squirmed against the chalkboard beneath America's hand. "Damn it, Alfred, hurry it up, will you? I don't think this has done my spine any favours."
"Yes, Your Majesty," America said flatly. He shifted England slightly further up the board, holding him around his back to better support him. "It's not my fault you're so old. What's wrong with your spine now – arthritis?"
"Alfred, if you don't want my elbow jammed into your eye socket—"
"Well, well, this really is too adorable."
Not America's voice. English, but not an English-speaking accent. More like—
England looked up over America's shoulder, filled not with dread or horror but instead merely anger. France was leaning against the doorframe, clutching at his elbows and grinning.
"Excusez-moi," he went on in French.
"How long have you been there?" England demanded icily.
America's hand had frozen and his eyes had widened, but now he tried to turn his head and look over his shoulder at the voyeur; England grasped a handful of his corn-coloured hair and stopped him, forcing him to look straight ahead at the chalkboard.
"Don't look at him," he muttered. "Don't give him the satisfaction."
"How long?" Going back to English, France took his weight off the doorframe, rubbing thoughtfully at his chin as he supposedly pondered the question. "From about the time Amérique asked you if you were comfortable. You will have to excuse me, however. I only came back because I forgot my file. It is hardly my fault if the two of you cannot quell your feebly-disguised lust until you at least get out of the room, non?" He tapped his chin, clearly enjoying this. "There are several storage closets in this building – there is one at the end of this very hallway, in fact – but I suppose that you both agreed that it was too far to walk."
"You could have left!" America said loudly, still with his back to France because England wouldn't allow him to look at him. "You didn't have to just... stand there and watch us, you—"
"Ah, but I need my file," France said, and he stepped properly into the room.
America pulled against England's grasp on his hair to no avail; England held him still, glaring at France himself, following his path from his somewhat-compromising position of being pinned against the chalkboard, still aroused and with his legs wrapped around America's hips and America still inside him. France went rather unconcernedly to one of the metal filing cabinets and started to go through one of the drawers, whistling to himself.
"Bloody hell, will you get out?!" England exploded.
"I have as much right to be in here as you two," France replied nonchalantly, not looking up. "If you did not wish to be disturbed, you should have at least chosen a room that locks."
Both of France's statements were, unfortunately, painfully true; England actually found himself thinking that if he were given the choice between being finished off by America and tearing France a new one, he'd be inclined to choose the second option. That might actually satisfy him more right now...
France finally – supposedly – found the file he was looking for and shut the drawer again, tucking his prize neatly under his arm. He was slow about it, though, apparently determined to linger; America huffed and leaned forwards and pushed England back against the board with a deep open-mouthed kiss, seeming to think that it might make the situation awkward enough for France to get uncomfortable and leave.
Which was ridiculous.
France actually stopped and watched them, his head tilted to one side in interest. America flipped him off without missing a beat. France laughed.
"It's been eight hundred and seventy eight years to the day, Arthur," he said, waving his hand dismissively as he turned on his heel at last and started towards the door. "I suppose you don't care to remember it, however."
England pulled away from America, watching France go.
"Je t'avais dit que je ne te permettrais pas de m'appeler comme ça," he said in perfect French. "Je ne t'ai pas laissé m'appeler "Arthur" pendant ces huit cent soixante-dix-huit années, espèce de salaud. Ne me fais pas chier."
America was staring at him in utter bewilderment; Welsh he'd heard a thousand times, Irish and Scottish variants of Gaelic too, even Cornish now and then, but French...?
England wasn't paying attention to America, however; satisfied when France, just as taken aback, whirled to face him. After a long moment, apparently lost for words in both languages, France smirked again, but it was considerably thinner.
"Non." England shook his head. "Sûrement pas ça."
"Je vois. Touché." France's grin twisted. "Au revoir, alors, Angleterre. Amérique." He nodded curtly and was, at last, gone, pulling the door behind him.
"And that came from where?" America asked immediately.
"From a day eight hundred and seventy eight years ago." England sighed. "Alfred, please. This is hurting my back. I don't know if you've noticed but you've got me bent practically in half."
"Oh, of course. I'm sorry." America gave him that sweet little smile again and went back to his previous occupation.
Really, the whole situation was just kind of stale and awkward now – they'd been killing the mood themselves by talking about arthritis and jamming elbows into eye sockets, but France had been the final nail in the coffin. America was still inside him but they couldn't even look one another in the eye, America staring fixedly at England's smudged drawings of Germany, Italy and Japan; and England himself glaring at the door as if daring France to come back.
He didn't. England eventually put his forehead on America's shoulder, listening to him; it was his usual breathless chatter, his "Come ons" and his "I love yous" and his "Arthurs", spoken in that strange half-French, half-Englisc he had allowed France to make. America was safer than that. He did not create or destroy – merely borrowed and altered. He was powerful, but not a conqueror – he was a recreator.
(And change was okay, after all. Inevitable. Unstoppable.)
He came in America's hand with little more than a quiet sigh, sort of relieved that it was over. America tipped him back and put his mouth down next to his ear, smiling.
"Hey, is it your name?" he whispered. "Albion?"
"Yes." England breathed for a moment or two, then opened his green eyes and met America's gaze. "An old one."
"Hm." America kissed his cheek again. "It's cute."
"Put me down, please."
America finally complied, pulling back from him and letting him put his feet back on the floor at long last. There were a few audible clicks as England straightened his back out and he hissed.
"Alfred, I swear to God, if you've thrown my back out, I'll—"
"Oh, you've lived through worse." America laughed as he got his clothing back in order. "Do you ever not complain? It's raining, it's not raining—"
"Oh, do shut up," England muttered, righting his own uniform.
"We ruined all our notes," America observed, looking at the board. "And your drawings."
"I can do them again." England paused as he buckled his belt. "I must have chalk all over my back, then."
"Yup," he agreed cheerfully. "All over."
"Well, would it be too much trouble for you to get it off?"
"I suppose I could do that for you."
America didn't seem overtly bothered by that final admission, enthusiastically batting the chalk dust off the back of England's green uniform jacket.
"Gently, Alfred," England snapped, absently putting his hand to the still-stinging area at his side.
"Quit bitching at me, old man," America retorted, but he did soften his blows regardless.
His side was damp; England took his fingers back from the fabric and looked at them, his stomach sinking. They were streaked with red.
"What's wrong?" America asked, peering over his shoulder. He saw his hand. "Again?"
"Yes. Again. Are you done?" England pulled away from him, his tone dismissive. "I want to go home."
"Arthur." Still standing at the chalkboard, America watched him start towards the door. "Arthur."
"What?" England stopped, but didn't look back at him.
"You..." America clenched his fists. "You need to rest. You're a wreck. You can't keep... you can't..."
"I agree," England replied coldly, "but you know as well as I do that we can't afford for any of us to back out now. It doesn't matter what kind of state I'm in – that any of us are in. As long as we can keep fighting, we have to do just that."
"But..." America briefly closed his eyes. It was obvious and they both knew it.
What are you going to do then, Great Britain? You know Germany won't stop until he's completely crushed you.
"Alfred, this is not up for discussion, so I strongly suggest that you belt up. The only way I'll be resting while that sausage-sucking kraut bastard is still causing mayhem will be when you've nailed me into a coffin."
"That may be sooner rather than later," America blurted out, gesturing at the wound in England's side.
"So be it." England started moving towards the door again.
America moved very quickly; stepping up onto the table and crossing it in a few long strides, jumping down off it on the other side and grabbing England's wrist as he reached for the door-handle.
"What about him, then?" the younger man pressed insistently.
"What about who?" England asked irritably, glaring at him out of the corner of his eye.
"King Arthur. Isn't there...? I mean, one of the stories you told me when I was little, isn't there one that says when Britain falls and needs him, he'll wake up? Won't he come, Arthur?"
"Of course he won't."
America's grip tightened.
"Because I don't need him." England looked at him properly, and then smiled at him. "I haven't fallen."
America blinked, taken aback. Then he grinned.
"Okay," he said, letting go of his wrist. "As long as he's not just being a lazy jerk..."
"Can we go home now?"
England pushed open the door and led the way out into the corridor (half-expecting France to be lurking behind the wall). It was empty, however; with the heavy duet of their combat boots and the creak and twist of America's leather bomber jacket bouncing off the silent wooden walls as they walked in perfect time side by side.
(Trained soldiers, if nothing else.)
"Besides," England said suddenly, "wouldn't you be rather annoyed if some old fellow with a crown and a beard showed up to rescue me? Aren't you supposed to be a hero, Alfred?"
"Well, yeah, but if the guy says he's going to come save your ass, he should come save your ass, you know?"
"He never said anything about my arse."
"Good, because it's mine." America reached down to give him a quick swat; England caught his wrist before he could do so and twisted it. "Ow—Oww!"
"Keep your hands to yourself, then," England said curtly, letting him have his wrist back.
"Meanie, meanie," America whined, nursing his wrist.
"Serves you right. And stop acting like a child, for goodness' sake."
"Okay." America suddenly lunged at him, bodily grabbed him and lifted him up – higher, much higher than he had before, putting him on his shoulders. "How about I act like a hero and carry you so you don't have to walk when you're injured?"
"I'm not an invalid!" England said indignantly, grabbing at the fur on America's collar to keep his balance. "This is ridiculous. Put me down at once. Alfred—!"
"Ah, enjoy the view, shrimp," America laughed, holding him securely over his knees and starting to walk again.
"Alfred, if you drop me—"
"I won't drop you, I promise. Trust me, okay?"
England huffed audibly but didn't say anything else. America patted one of his knees reassuringly and hummed happily to himself. He really was incredibly strong; carrying England's weight on his shoulders didn't seem to bother him at all or slow him down in the least.
(And, really, it wasn't too bad. Kind of... fun, really. Well, pleasant, anyway. He did just like to complain, in all honesty. Remember when I carried you on my shoulders, America?)
England was examining the small dark wet patch on the side of his uniform jacket when they finally stepped out into the open air; he felt the first cold splashes on the crown of his head and looked up.
"It's raining," he said.
"Huh." America looked up too; scowling when his glasses got spattered. "Guess so. You want to come down?"
"It's alright. I won't be much dryer down there."
"Shall we go back inside?"
"No. I just want to go home."
"Okay." America kept walking.
The rain was heavy and dense and cold and they both got very wet very quickly. Neither of them minded too much. The streets were misty and empty and everything was quiet except for the sound of the rain on tarmac and concrete. In the hushed greyness of it all, England held up his open hands and watched the red rusty stain run off his fingers.
"It would be alright if he never came, you know," he said, looking up at the ragged tumbling clouds. "Arthur, I mean."
"Yes." England paused; and then, not because he wanted to, but almost before he could stop himself, he said: "Je suis fort quand je suis sur tes épaules."
"I have no idea what you just said."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I don't know why you seem to think I speak French."
America was quiet; disarmed. He continued walking in silence and that seemed like it was the end of the conversation. England didn't particularly mind. He didn't know why he'd even said it in French to begin with—
"I am strong when I am on your shoulders," America said suddenly, looking up at him. "That's what you said."
"That's what I said." England patted him on the shoulder, leather wet and slippery. "Da iawn."
"Well, I really don't speak any Welsh."
"I know." England didn't elaborate any further and America sighed and shook his head.
It was another while longer before England spoke again.
"Merci, Alfred," he said quietly.
"You're welcome, Arthur."
TRANSLATIONS (in order of appearance):
Je t'ai vaincu. Allons, Angleterre, ce comportement enfantin n'est pas convenable (French: "You lost to me. Come now, England, this childish behaviour is not becoming of you."); Gad lonydd i fi (Welsh: "Leave me alone!"); Go hifreann leat (Irish Gaelic: Literally "To hell with you" but carries the meaning of "Go to hell"); Ke tha gerras (Cornish: I am not quite sure if this is the equivalent of 'bugger off' or 'fuck off', but either way, it's a pretty offensive way to tell someone to go away); Une seule langue ne te suffit-elle donc pas? Tu ne comprends même pas le Latin, n'est-ce pas, petite Angleterre? La langue de la Grande Rome? (French: "Is one language not enough for you? You do not even understand Latin, do you, little England? Great Rome's language?"); Thalla dhan dh'ifreann (Scottish Gaelic equivalent of "Go to hell");J'aurais dû me douter qu'un gamin comme toi ne saurait pas accepter la défaite dignement. Si tu n'es pas assez civilisé pour communiquer avec moi dans une langue que nous pouvons parler tous les deux, alors laisse-moi me faire comprendre autrement (French: "I might have known a brat like you would not know how to take defeat in the proper manner. If you will not be civilised enough to even communicate with me in a language that we can both understand, then allow me to go about this in a different manner."); Dw i dim yn deall (Welsh: "I don't understand"); An Fhràing/Ffrainc (Scottish Gaelic/Welsh for 'France'); Na/níl/ny vynnav (Welsh, Irish Gaelic and Cornish for "no"); Très bien (French: "Very well"); Go dtachta an diabhal tu (Irish Gaelic: Literally "May the devil choke you", which sounds archaic and not all that offensive – it probably comes across as more insulting in the actual language); Na dean sin (Irish Gaelic: "Don't (do that)!"); Sguir/arhoswch (Scottish Gaelic/Welsh: "Stop!"); Non, nous ne tolèrerons aucune de ces langues grossières (French: "No, we shall have none of those filthy languages"); Mae'n gas gyda fi (Welsh: "I hate..."); De rien, vraiment, ma petite Angleterre/ As-tu compris cela?/Où est Arthur? (French: "Merci (thankyou)? You are very welcome, my little England/Did you understand that?/Where is Arthur?"); Ici. Je suis là. Mais je ne te laisserai pas m'appeler ainsi (French: "Here. I am here. But I will not let you call me that."); Cela seulement, je te l'accorderai. Après tout, je t'ai pris tout le reste (French: "That much I will allow you. After all, I have taken everything else."); Pa gur yv y porthau? (Welsh: "What man is the gatekeeper?". This is the opening line of one of the earliest recorded Welsh Arthurian poems, found in The Black Book of Carmarthen – the line is spoken by King Arthur himself); Meddwl i yn marw wyf, Alfred (Welsh: "I think I'm dying, Alfred". Aww, cheer up, emo kid. XD); Je t'avais dit que je ne te permettrais pas de m'appeler comme ça. Je ne t'ai pas laissé m'appeler "Arthur" pendant ces huit cent soixante-dix-huit années, espèce de salaud. Ne me fais pas chie (French: "I said I wouldn't let you call me that. I haven't let you call me 'Arthur' for those eight hundred and seventy eight years, you bastard. Don't fuck with me."); Et Albion? (French: "And/how about Albion?"); Non. Sûrement pas ça (French: "No. Certainly not that."); Je vois. Touché. Au revoir, alors, Angleterre. Amérique (French: I see. Touché. Goodbye, then, England. America."); Da iawn (Welsh: Literally "Very good", but can be used as "Well done").
'I am strong when I am on your shoulders' is a line from the oft-covered song You Raise Me Up. I like it. On that note, both sets of italicised lyrics in square brackets are from '21 Guns' by Green Day from the 21st Century Breakdown album. Green Day FTW!
As a side-note: Albion – Traditional, pre-Medieval name for Britain. Avalon – Legendary resting place of King Arthur. The Mabinogion and Y Gododdin – Folk and fairy stories written in both Old and Middle Welsh. Y Gododdin (pronounced 'E Godothin') contains references to King Arthur.
Thankyou for your patience! Hope the structure of this fic didn't piss you off too much! And look, you learned some lovely lesser-spoken-languages-of-the-British-Isles curse words! Yay!
Before someone calls me on it: Yes, I know that according to the Hetalia canon, England was actually a little kid and not a teenager during the 11th century and even France was like pre-teen or something, but there wouldn't have been much fun with that, so I aged them. Whatever. Seems to me like the Hetalia canon has a few holes in it anyway, such as America hanging around prior to 1941 instead of standing back declaring neutrality while selling (war) things to Great Britain on the sly until Japan was dumb enough to attack him. (And before someone calls me on this, I know that America is allegedly 19 physically. Allegedly. The hell is he only 19, if you ask me... However, I think most of them look older than they supposedly are. I have no idea when Hidekaz last saw a 23 year old but I bet they didn't look like England...)
The "persistent string" of attacks by Germany on England/England's injury is a reference to the third wave of the Blitz on Great Britain that took place between June-November, 1944. It was a much smaller attack than the original Blitz but new weapons called V-1 Bombs and V-2 Rockets were used, causing a lot of damage. That said, almost every major monument and building in the UK is still standing. I don't know what the hell Germany was aiming at.
Ah, and the French did indeed like the Arthurian legends a whole lot – so much that they pilfered them and added a bunch of stuff of their own. The changing of Myrddin's name to 'Merlin' and the creation/addition of Sir Lancelot du Lac are both French influences.
And OMG, we (the UK) were painfully dependent on the US (financially) by the latter stages of WWII. We owed them so much money when it was over that we only finished paying it back in like 2003 or something horrible like that. My dad actually sounded kind of proud when he told me that. I have no idea why. Haha.
OH, and any regular readers of mine who may think they are beginning to see a pattern developing... Yeah. Don't be a character in one of my stories. You are quite likely to lose an eye (I think I got corrupted by CLAMP...).
On flowers: Roses are a traditional symbol of England. Poppies have become symbolic of WWI (at least in Europe) because French Flanders, where much of the trench warfare went on, was full of poppy fields.
OMG, I honestly can't think of any other random crap to add. I think that might really be it. YAYZ.
Once more, a MASSIVE thankyou to NaoNow for her translation services! Couldn't have done it without you! =)
[Rain: Arch-nemesis of the glasses-wearer.]