Rating: PG-13

Characters: America, Canada

Pairings: none

Warnings: Language, made up future diplomatic visit

Disclaimer: Do not own. Characters only bear resemblance to living counterparts or other people through extreme coincidence. Characters' views do not represent my own.

Notes: History is serious business, except when it's not. And before anyone asks, I didn't mean either boss to be anyone in particular. As much as I love writing historic-fic, I don't have any fondness for trying to characterize actual famous and/or historical figures in it. They slip in anyways.


Canada's boss seems pretty involved in conversation with his boss at the moment, so America decides he's free to go down the steps and onto the lawn. It's stifling hot. August usually is, these days. It wasn't always like this, he thinks, but maybe he's doing that thing again, that England always does and he swore he himself would never do. Valourizing the past. Stupid idea, really, so he can't be doing it because he never would let himself get as pathetic as all that.

America tugs at his collar to surreptitiously let in a bit of air; it doesn't really help. Canada disappeared almost fifteen minutes ago now, claiming dizziness from the heat, and his boss told him to go sit down somewhere cool with some water before he hurt himself, and don't go too far away, make sure you can see other people around you, all right?

America always thinks it's funny when a particularly hard-headed or unsentimental boss ends up not-so-secretly doting on his brother, and this one looks so stern and upright and immovable that he could almost be a statue, except when Canada's behaviour or expression is particularly pathetic.

He wonders where his brother is now, and sets off across the lawn to find him.

He's along the side, under the trees, staring up the white expanse of wall, and America has to grin at that; even he's overcome by the majesty of his own Capitol at times, so it's only logical that Canada would be as well. He jogs up to him, and claps a hand on his shoulder, expecting Canada to jump.

"Oh hello," Canada says absently, eyes still scanning the wall. "The White House looks good this year."

"Doesn't it always?" America can't help but say.

Canada lifts an eyebrow, but says nothing. "How many layers of paint does it take each year?"

"Oh, I don't know. Two each time, usually, but sometimes we have to do scraping and other times we need to repaint after six months, so... yeah, I don't know, I don't keep up on that stuff. Why?"

Canada shrugs. "Well, it looks good. That's all."

He's toying with something in his hand, and America can't quite see what it is. It's clicking, but that's all he can tell.

"Yeah. It does," he says. "Look, if you're feeling better we should probably go back to join our bosses."

"The white still covers it up quite nicely."

"... Huh?"

The corners of Canada's lips are beginning to quirk upwards. "Unless you know where to look, and hardly anyone does, these days." He points, not up but down, at the bare foundation just visible above the soil, and it takes him a long moment to realize what he's looking at, and Canada is a bastard. Nobody else seems to notice this but him, but Canada is a complete and utter little bastard.

"So how many layers of paint did it take to hide the other burn marks?" Canada says, and he's actually smiling now. No - no, that's definitely a downright smirk.

"None of your business," America tells him.

"I like to think my handiwork is my business," Canada says, and that goddamn little smirk is still there, hardly even trying to disguise itself as innocence. "How many layers of paint? White's not that great a cover coat, I've always found."

"Fuck you," America tells him. "This is completely uncalled for."

"Oh, I don't know. If I remember right, you started it."

The clicking thing in Canada's hand is driving him nuts. "What the hell is that?"

Canada lifts his hand, and opens it.

It's a lighter.

America stares for one long second before tackling his brother to the ground, and that's how their bosses find them in a few minutes as they come around the corner together, America's boss saying, "- glad that the relations between our two nations are as friendly as..."

His voice falters, because on the grass America's putting Canada in a one-armed half-nelson and trying to pry the lighter free with the other, and Canada's kicking and struggling and yelling, "I wasn't going to god damn burn it again, fucking hoser, get off me!"

"Oh, they're as good as ever," Canada's boss says, and it's almost a smile.