Author's Note: This was written for my friend Sakuratsukikage's birthday. It's quite fluffy. I hope you all enjoy it!
America had a rose garden.
It was on the side of his house, visible from the road behind a small fence, and it was beautiful. Blossoms of all colors and shapes and sizes, climbing roses and tea roses and bushes and rambling roses and miniature roses, and if you walked along the slender dirt pathway in the small garden, the scent of every single one of them was almost overwhelming in its allure. Sometimes America would sit in a chair amongst the bushes and relax; drink a mug of coffee, read a book, play a handheld game console.
What made it so calming, so soothing, was that when America sat in his garden, he was surrounded on all sides by England. Every single rose in his garden came from Great Britain, varieties created by their best gardeners, one or two even by England himself. And there was a reason for that.
England had planted every single one.
It never failed. Each year, England would come over during the late autumn, roll up his sleeves, put on his gardening gloves, and place a freshly nursed cutting into the ground in America's garden. He'd explain what the variety was called, and rattle off various other facts about the class and the hybridizer and who knew what. Then America would smile and thank him, and ask him why he did this every year. He knew the answer, but he just sort of liked hearing it again. England would flush pink, clear his throat, and mutter something about how he wanted a piece of England to always be with America, even if he himself could not be. Then America would smile, say one of several various statements that caused England to scowl, and pull the older nation into a kiss, which was gladly returned.
They had been doing this for almost thirty years. There were so many pieces of England in America's garden now. He smiled and put down his book, thumbing his finger over a petal of a deep crimson variety he remembered as being 'Beautiful Britain,' one of the first roses England had ever planted for him. And it was beautiful, much like the nation who had planted it, America's thoughts supplied. He pinked slightly and went back to his book, a century old archaeology journal he'd excitedly chanced upon a week before.
His garden of English roses always bloomed perfectly every year, and America did wonder why, in all those years, he'd never lost a bush. He watered them and treated them all right, but he wasn't some kind of expert on the things like England was. Two years previously, he'd joked with England one day, as they sat in the garden together, that the Brit must have used some of his crazy magic on them or some such. England had merely chuckled, a light crinkle forming at the corner of his eyes. America had frowned, poking England in the cheek as he did so, and England had cleared his throat and ceased his laughter. "Just take care of your roses as you have been, America. That's all you need to do." He tapped America's nose and went back to his cup of tea. America pouted at this, but relented. England was so weird.
Several feet away grew America's newest rose, which England had planted last autumn so it could bloom first this spring. England had babbled on about being the 'rose of the year,' and America thought that its bloom almost looked like soft pink velvet. He closed his book carefully, as not to damage the brittle pages, and leaned down to take in the scent from the fresh bloom from another bush, one 'Hot Chocolate' rose, which much to America's disappointment, smelled nothing like the delicious beverage, although it was still pleasantly fragrant. He bounced back into the house, closing the door behind him and heading into the kitchen.
America laid his book on the table and sat down, surveying a small pot that rested on the far shaded edge of the kitchen counter, a jar on top of it. In it was rooting a cutting from a rose called 'Moondance,' which the gardener he'd visited had recommended to him as 'perfect for what he was looking for.'
England and America's relationship had changed since the older nation had planted his annual rosebush the previous autumn. America absently toyed with the band on his left ring finger, pausing as the pad of his thumb hit the small unobtrusive diamond that was embedded in the middle of it. It was a habit he'd taken to recently, and he wondered if England did the same thing. Secretly, he hoped that he did.
It was their engagement that had borne the idea in America's mind. If he was going to bind himself to England for the rest of his life, which he was more than willing, no elated, to do, then maybe he should give England a little piece of himself as well, like the older nation did for him every year.
As such, that fall, America would plant a rose bush in England's already enormous garden. He'd chosen a white rose, since it would be only months after their summer wedding that he'd be planting it. White was a color of weddings and beginnings, the helpful gardener, a friend of one of the White House staff, had informed him as she'd shown him the variety, with its long stems and pure ivory blooms. And it was an American rose, which meant that it was a really awesome rose, of course.
He took a swig of a bottle of pop he'd left on the table and smiled lightly at the cutting in the pot. America had a backup if his cutting did not root, or he did something wrong and it died. The gardener had her own cuttings, and she'd be able to give one to him come autumn if his failed. But he wanted to do this himself, just like England did for him every year.
America's rose cutting did indeed take root, much to his delight. He'd managed to hide it every time England came over, even with all the time he'd spent at America's house preparing for their wedding, and for that he was thrilled as well, because it would and truly be a surprise.
The wedding had taken place four months before, July, in Nantucket, Massachusetts, at a church near the beach. The reception had been beachside and had been lit by hanging bulbs, so it could last long into the night. Their friends and allies had attended the Nantucket ceremony, although they'd also had another small ceremony with their bosses on the island, where minor treaties were signed, as well as official marriage licenses given for their non-nation aliases, now Alfred F. Kirkland-Jones and Arthur Jones-Kirkland.
It had been the most awesome day of America's life, he thought, with a huge and rather dopey grin (he still kind of got that grin whenever he recalled that he was in fact, married to England).
He fidgeted a bit, undoing his seatbelt, as the cab stopped in front of England's large home. The prized rose cutting sat beside him, and he picked it up and slid it under his arm. Paying the driver, he gestured for him to open the trunk. America easily snagged his luggage without disrupting the plant, and he waved the cabbie goodbye as he headed up the walkway to England's front door.
It only took one enthusiastic knock for the door to open, revealing England, dressed smartly, as he always was. America grinned and rested his luggage inside the door, wrapping England in a one-armed hug. "Hallo, America," England said, rubbing America's back in return.
"Afternoon, husband," America grinned around his words.
England flushed at this. "Idiot. No one actually addresses their partner as 'husband' or 'wife.'"
"Hubby?" America teased.
"I should hit you for that." England rolled his eyes. He snatched America's smaller suitcase and rolled it inside, gesturing the other nation to follow.
America bounced after him. "Just like to remind you, you know?"
"As if I could forget." England turned around, and America expected a glare, but instead, the older nation was smiling gently, his cheeks pleasantly pink.
America perked up even more at that, and once they'd placed his luggage in England's bedroom, he thought it time to bring up the pot underneath his arm.
"What's that flowerpot you've got there?"
Oh well. England got to it first.
America found himself faltering a bit, suddenly nervous. What if England thought it was dumb, or berated him for not having his own ideas? He bit his lip. "It's a rose cutting."
England's thick eyebrows rose at this. "Don't be daft. I know that."
He held the pot out and smiled sheepishly. "It's… for you?"
At this, England's cheeks heated. "O-oh, really? I mean that's not--- I have a lot of flowers already." America was still holding the pot toward him, so England took it in his hands.
"Every year, you come over with a new rose for me. I looked up the one you planted this fall for me on the internet, by the way. It looks pretty cool," he paused, "so this year, especially since we're y'know… married, I wanted to…" He stepped forward, placing his hands on England's shoulders and leaning down for a brief, chaste kiss. "I thought I should give you a piece of America in return."
England's eyes grew wide, and a smile began to cross his features, replacing the perpetual slight frown that had been there moments before. "What is it?"
"…It's called 'Moondance.'" He turned his face away. "It's um, white. I chose it because someone told me that in that crazy flower language, white roses meant…"
"Innocence, purity…" England placed the pot on a nearby counter. "New beginnings and weddings."
"Y-yeah." America scratched the back of his neck. "I kinda thought it fit."
The Brit shook his head, his smile curving upward even more. "I think it fits quite well." England placed a hand on America's shoulder, and the younger nation noticed the glint of his husband's ring on his finger when he did so.
England glanced down, his cheeks stained red. "It's… very thoughtful of you, America. I appreciate it."
At this, America reached under England's chin and tilted it up, leaning down for a kiss. England returned it eagerly, slipping his other arm around America's shoulder and both of them savoring the taste of one well loved but long missed.
When they pulled apart, England took up the pot again and led them outside. "Shall we plant it now?" America grinned and nodded, running over to grab a few of England's gardening tools. When he'd returned, England was already kneeling on the ground in the place he'd decided to plant the bush. His heart flip-flopped when he realized that England had decided to place it right outside his sitting room window, where he'd be able to see it at any time. "You know…" England began once America was kneeling next to him, "there is another meaning for white roses." He dug away at the soil gently, America assisting.
America frowned. "I know they're sometimes used at funerals, but I thought that was kind of a downer so…"
England scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous. I mean something older than that…"
"Ah, one of your old man things," America teased.
"I've been growing roses since long before you were even thought of, I'll have you know!"
"I know. That's why I said it was an old man thing," he retorted, smirking.
Huffing, England grabbed the pot and began to gently plant the cutting. "An old man you married."
America ruffled England's hair affectionately. "Wouldn't change it for the world."
England scowled, but within moments, it melted into a small smile. "You know I wouldn't either," he nearly whispered. "But I'm not telling you now."
"Awww, why not?" America pouted.
"Because you had to be a prat. Now I don't want to," England countered. America grumbled at this, but relented.
"Fine, whatever. I'll look it up or something later…"
England didn't respond to this, as he was concentrating on finishing up the planting of his new and precious rosebush. America just shrugged, assuming that England had actually forgotten what he was going to say (he could be pretty scatterbrained), and that's why he'd changed his mind about telling him.
"There we go," England said, dusting his dirt covered hands together as he stood up. "That should do her."
America took England's hand in his, rubbing his thumb over the other nation's ring finger as he did so. "I'm sure it will look awesome."
England squeezed his hand in return. "No doubt that under my care, it will grow into something beautiful."
"Under our care." America gently nudged his side. "I've had it until now!"
England shook his head, smiling lightly. "Very well. Under our care."
In early traditions, white roses were often utilized as a symbol of true love.
Beautiful Britain- A red rose that won rose of the year for 1983 in the UK.
The pink petaled rose is the Lucky! Rose, which was 2009's winner in the UK.
The Hot Chocolate rose was one of two winners in 2006. It's an almost russet colored flower. It's my favorite of the ones I used in the story.
The Moondance rose is a beautiful ivory colored rose. It was one of the recipients of rose of the year in the United States in 2007.
White roses have many meanings, including all of the ones mentioned in this fic.
Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004. I realize that there are other New England states where it is also legal, but I chose MA because I've always associated places like Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard with being prime wedding spots. The fact that they got married in America's ahoge is just a bonus.