Disclaimer: I do not own Axis Powers Hetalia or any of its components. I'm just a fan that's borrowing a few pieces.
Note: Any historical inaccuracies- and I know they're in here- are done out of creative license.
Pairing: (meant as pre-slash, but can be seen as friendship if so wished)
"Unforgettable in every way
And forever more, that's how you'll stay
That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too."
-Nat King Cole, Unforgettable
There was one thing China had told them, over and over again, "We are family. This must never be forgotten. Sometimes our people will get along, and other times they will not. However, there is a bond between us that cannot be broken. You are never alone and you are always loved."
This was back when the Asian countries were all younger. China had collected them, reveling in the fact that he was no longer alone. He had been old, though, even when they had first met him, but he had never seemed anything less than delighted to have little ones running around. China was supposed to be "big brother" but his experience also made him seem like a father or even grandfather at times. A unique relationship perhaps, but it worked for all included.
Korea loved China, adored him utterly. His brothers and sisters held varying degrees of respect for the elder, but Korea felt he loved China best. His older brother was not easy to please though. Korea couldn't help it if he had so much energy that he felt like he would burst if he didn't let it out. So what if he couldn't explain why he would run screaming through the halls for hours? He had just felt like it. And he was always so loud. Couldn't help that either. He loved talking and wanted everyone to hear him. It always bothered him to be left out of a conversation and he didn't want to do that to anyone else. He loved doing what he wanted and saying what he liked. However, he could not help but noticed that these manners only seemed to make China sad. This distressed Korea greatly. He couldn't change himself, but his behavior made his loved one troubled. Wasn't there anything he could do to make China happy?
Korea hated Japan, envied his brother so strongly he couldn't stand it. What was so special about him anyway? Japan was everything Korea wasn't: quiet, obedient, and still. He was more preoccupied with his thoughts than other people. Usually, to Korea, this type of person was the most boring. Yet China loved Japan. He doted on him and shared his language, his writing, and his culture. Japan didn't seem to care! He seemed as unaffected by China's love as he was by Korea's dislike. The first was convenient and the second was inconvenient, that's all the notice he seemed to give it.
Yet some part of Korea could not hate Japan entirely. This was his brother and his brother could do amazing things sometimes. Like create small human-like figures that moved on their own or gadgets that think for you. Japan's hands were always busy fiddling with different materials and because there was no end to his creations, he freely gave them to his brothers and sisters who loved them. China was particularly pleased with these, and it was his smiling face that gave Korea the idea.
He had never liked puzzles. Having to sit still for hours and hardly doing anything was not to his taste. Yet, as he began to piece together gears and levels and knobs and gadgets, he found that it was rather fun. This went there and that could go here- Ooh! Is that what happens when you do this? Awesome! He loved finding what worked and if something didn't, he just became more determined to find the answer.
Then, before he knew it, he was done.
It was with great pride that Korea carried his gift to China. He finally found him out in the garden, studying Japan's new invention. Ha! Stupid Japan. He would surely flush with shame when he saw the AWESOME invention Korea made up. So excited he could barely stand it, he ran over, yelling, "China! China! Look it! Look what I've made!"
The eldest flinched at his volume while Japan only blinked calmly at his approach. China frowned, that familiar crease appearing on his brow. "Im Yong Soo," he sighed, using Korea's codename. "You know we can't use our real names in a public place like this."
Too exuberant to care, little Korea ignored the rebuke. Instead, he proudly held up his gift. "Look! Look!" he chirped.
China accepted it gingerly, holding it cautiously. "Um," he looked it over and then glanced down shyly at Korea. "What is it?"
"A duck," Japan supplied, only to be glared at by Korea. This was KOREA'S moment, thank you very much.
The youngest nation smiled at his eldest brother, "It's a Robo-Duck."
"Robo-Duck?" China repeated.
"Yep!" Korea nodded, then, deciding China was moving too slowly, he reached up to show him how it worked. "See? This is the head and the feet and the tail..."
"I see," China murmured, squinting at it. "And what are these things on its head?"
"Horns," said Korea simply.
China pursed his lips, but couldn't bring himself to say anything.
Finally, Japan asked, "What does it do?"
"Well," Korea explained shyly, "I've only taught it one trick so far." He motioned for China to set it on the ground and the older nation did so gently. Korea dug around in one of his pockets and pulled out a pebble. He knelt before the Robo-Duck and held out two closed fists. "OK, Duck!" Korea challenged. "Which hand has the rock?"
For a moment there was only silence. Then the Robo-Duck fell over, landing apathetically on its right side. Korea cheered and opened his right hand- there was the pebble, resting in the small palm. "Good job, Ducky!" the little nation whooped, clapping. When glancing over to judge how impressed the others were, he caught sight of the object tucked under Japan's arm. "What's that?"
Lost in thought as always; Japan suddenly remembered his new invention and brought it forth. "The Bright Bird Bot XXIII," he explained. He turned the small bird-like robot over carefully in his hands. "Can fly around the world in less than five hours; figure out trigonometric math, clean windows to a streak-free shine- and all that on setting one." He gestured to a knob that had numbers written all along its circumference. The numbers went up to eleven. "Plus," Japan added, tucking the invention back under his arms, "it runs on natto."
"Amazing!" China exclaimed, clapping with enthusiasm. "Well-done Japan! I'm so proud of my little brother!"
Japan's eyes were already focused on ideas only he could see.
Korea, meanwhile, was utterly defeated and deflated. He felt his cheeks flush with shame and his small hands clenched into fists. For once, he no longer wanted to draw attention to himself.
"I'm proud of both of my brothers," China smiled. He stooped down and picked up Robo-Duck, handing it back to Korea, who accepted it limply. "Thank you so much for showing me, but now I have an appointment I must keep. Would you like to come Japan?" China was forever trying to get the island nation to act as his proper role as one of the elder Asian siblings.
"No, thank you," Japan gave his usual answer. "There are modifications that must be made."
The two started making their way back to the main house.
"Aww," China clucked, disappointed. "But England is coming with his adorable kids. You should try meeting other people…"
Their voices faded away and Korea was left alone. He stood there for a moment, staring down at his toes. Then he turned on his heel and headed the other way.
He was both mad and sad at the same time and wasn't liking either one. Coming to a stop, he glared down at Robo-Duck. With a sudden burst of anger, he shouted, "Korea didn't make you!" and promptly threw the failed project into a nearby bush.
"Ow!" the bush cried.
Korea's mouth dropped and his eyes widened to the size of saucers. The bush just talked! "Who said that?" he challenged, eying the bush warily.
"Um… nobody," the bush answered.
"HA!" Korea pointed a forefinger victoriously. "You did talk!"
Up from the bush sprang a young boy, hardly older than himself, that looked like no one Korea had ever seen before. His hair was gold and fell in waves except for an odd curl that sprung up atop his head. His eyes were a deep blue, like the sky at dusk. His clothes were very odd looking and sprigs of leaves were caught in his hair. The stranger put a finger to his lips and went, "Ssh!" Then, before Korea could say anything else, the boy grabbed him and pulled him into the thrush.
It was while he kneeled close to the ground that Korea realized that when he had been talking with the boy that the stranger had not been talking any type of Korean or even Chinese. Instead, he spoke the same tongue as Korea used when talking to China or Japan, that special sort of language. He turned to look at the blond in amazement. "You're a country, aren't you?" he breathed.
Blue eyes glanced at him with some surprise before the boy smiled at him. "Actually," he explained shyly, "I'm only a colony. I'm Canada," and he put forth his hand.
Korea gave it a curious look before remembering his manners. He gave a quick bow which looked more like a bob of the head. "I am Korea!" he chirped excitedly.
"Sssh, sssh, ssh!" Canada hushed him quickly. He peered through the foliage before giving Korea a sharp look.
The Asian tucked in his chin contritely. "Who are we hiding from?" he whispered.
"Oh," Korea murmured softly. He had done the same thing several times. Like when had broken Taiwan's brush, crushed Vietnam's hat, or got ink all over Thailand's books. He said so to Canada.
The blonde blinked at him in amazement. "Do you really have that many siblings?" he asked at last, his voice hushed not only with caution but with awe as well.
"Of course!" Korea answered, a little stunned. He couldn't imagine a life without rubbing elbows, fighting for food, and competing for attention. Sure sounded great though. "Don't you?"
Canada shook his head. "No," he frowned, "there's just America and me." He felt a twist in his stomach at the thought. More than one America? It scared him just to think of it! He loved his brother, but suddenly he was relieved that they were twins and not triplets. There was a sharp impulse to go running to England and make sure it stayed that way.
Both children sat in silence for a few moments, faces scrunched up in an effort to try and comprehend these strange new realities they had been confronted with. Then they glanced at each other and laughed at their own expressions. The bush shook and quivered around them as though it too was amused by their silliness. Their volume suddenly registered to Canada. "Ssh! Ssh!" he hushed, motioning to his companion to calm down.
"Sssh, sssh, ssh," Korea echoed with a smile, holding a finger to his lips like he saw Canada do. Yet he acquiesced to quiet down.
Canada smiled back at him and picked up what had previously struck him- Robo-Duck. Korea looked at it sadly, now feeling a bit guilty at having mistreated it. It was mostly unscathed, except for one horn that was now bent back. "Is this yours?" the blonde asked.
Korea tucked in his chin apologetically. "Yes," he admitted. "I'm sorry it hit you."
"Well, you didn't know I was here," Canada pardoned. He turned the invention over in his hands. "Why did you throw it away though? It's so well-made!"
A tiny spark of pride flickered in Korea, but it was immediately crushed by the memory of what Japan had made. Full of negative feelings, he spat, "It's worthless." He explained the frustrating circumstances with Japan and his dismay at ever being able to please China. It was nice to talk to someone who didn't just brush him off and Canada turned out to be a surprisingly good listener. Korea ended with a loud, "I hate him!"
Canada just smiled and said, "No, you don't."
"Yes, I do!" Korea insisted. "He's horrible!"
"He's your brother," Canada countered. "You can't hate him forever." Just as Korea was about to insist that he certainly could, the blonde continued, "Some days you do. Sometimes you hate him so much that you both exist at the same time. He is not a person to you, he is just a nuisance. Always getting under your skin!" The he smiled. "But there are other times. Then he is your brother and no one knows you better. That bond can't be broken." His companion was quiet.
Then Korea asked, his voice particularly hushed, "But what if… What if they like your brother more than you?" He brought his knees close to his chest and rested a cheek upon his knees.
Blue eyes widened and then looked at Korea with a look full of understanding, but the country could not bear to look, mistaking it for pity. Thus he was startled when Canada took him gently by the shoulders. Brown eyes looked questioningly into blue. Canada thought for a moment before speaking softly, "Koreans do not believe they are Japanese. Your language is not Japanese. Your lands are not the same. You are not your brother and he is not you." Memories came back to the blonde, reminding him of the many times he had compared himself to his twin. His twin, who was always so vibrant and enthused, basking in attention like a bud. Even Papa France, who more easily showed affection than Mama England and who said to prefer Canada's meekness to his brother's never ending energy, would always eagerly sweep America into his arms with a bright smile. He would tease the little colony in French, making Canada wish he could be valued for more than just obedience. It was times like those that he resented his brother, but resented himself more. Still, he easily managed a sincere smile as he said, "So what makes you think you should be loved the same way as your brother?"
For Canada knew, without a doubt, that he was loved.
It was in the awkward way England showed that he was proud of him and traveled so far just to be with him. It was in the way France tucked him in at night, snug and warm, and then coming back during the night to make sure all was well. It was in the way America climbed trees to retrieve a toy or shared secrets in the night when the adults couldn't hear. They were small things, daily occurrences, but they meant so much to Canada.
Seeing that the other was still a bit confused, he continued, "Korea is Korea and no one else. Do only the things Korea can do. Be the best you can be." Part of him wondered if perhaps it was a bit arrogant to talk this way, but he really wanted to help.
Korea's brow furrowed. "Best…" he wondered aloud. "So…" he looked to the blonde with bemused eyes, "Korea is the best?"
"As long as you are true to yourself," Canada amended. He was starting to grow unsure as well, but these were phrases he had often heard. "After all," he chuckled, "if you're not you, who are you?"
Korea's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. "Who is Korea?" he shrieked, clutching at his head. Screaming helped because it lessened the ache that had developed between his eyes. It felt like his thoughts were going around in circles. Who was he if not Korea? But he was Korea. So… so what? To be the best, he had to be himself and he was Korea. So Korea was best? Yes, yes, yes… Yes? With a grown, he laid his forehead on the ground. "Korea is the best," he muttered half-heartedly into the dirt. Canada patted him kindly on the back.
"Matthew!" a new voice came calling, sounding a little frantic. Korea could tell from the way he spoke that it was another like them. "Matthew, where are you?"
"Well, that took shorter than usual," he heard Canada whisper. Korea raised his head from the ground to see who the newcomer was.
It was Canada's brother; there was no question about it. The gold hair, the blue eyes- they looked greatly alike, but- Korea thought vehemently- not the same. In contrast to the calm one sitting beside him, this twin was in tears, peering anxiously behind every tree and thrush.
"Matthew!" the newcomer called again. "Matthew!"
"That's my cue," Canada sighed, standing up. Korea wanted to call after him, but for some reason, stayed quiet and hidden in the foliage. His friend strode out to confront his brother. "Silly Alfred, are you crying again?"
America turned around and his eyes lit up. "Matthew!" he exclaimed as his brother came and took him by the hands. "Where were you? You scared me!"
"You're supposed to come looking for me, Alfred," Canada spoke soothingly, patting the other's head. "That's the point of the game."
"Yeah, but you disappeared for such a long time," America shouted in his defense.
Korea watched the two interact with peaked interest. His brothers had never treated him like that. His sisters, sweet as they could be, never did either. It was strange, yet nice, to hear Canada speak so and he felt a growing envy toward America.
"Shall we go back to England now?" Canada asked. His twin nodded vigorously. Before they left though, Canada turned back around and his blue eyes were sparkling in a way that made Korea's heart jump. His new friend then waved farewell and the country waved back, childishly unaware that his hand could not be seen.
"What are you doing?" America asked, peering over in the bush.
Canada answered simply, "Just waving to the dragon."
"Dragon!" America shrieked. He clutched tighter to his brother's hands.
"Hm," Canada just smiled peacefully as he led his brother away.
It was as they disappeared from the garden that it occurred to Korea that Canada was the tiniest bit scary.
After a moment, he crawled out from the bush, dragging Robo-Duck with him. Once out, he sat pensively on the ground, staring at his invention with his eyes full of thoughts. The best Korea…
"There you are," he heard China say behind him. Korea didn't have time to even turn his head before two nimble hands lifted him up and tucked him into his beloved elder brother's arms. Pleased with the affection, he leaned back contentedly against China's chest. The older nation clucked as he looked the child over. "What have you gotten into? You're so dirty? Mischievous little imp!" He was chiding in words, but teasing in tone. It was as Korea was being carried home that a little of what Canada had said sunk in.
China loved Korea for Korea. And Korea was still only a little kid while Japan was nearly full-grown. Japan couldn't be carried home or tucked in at night. Sure, Korea annoyed his family sometimes, but it was like China kept saying: We are family. This must never be forgotten. Sometimes our people will get along and other times they will not. However, there is a bond between us that cannot be broken. You are never alone and you are always loved. Yeah, Korea could go along with that.
And no matter what, Korea would always love China the best.
… Although he might love him a little less if he kept up this talk about a bath…
For the power of human ingenuity, which managed to finish typing up this drabble-
Take THAT malfunctioning computers!