I have to say thank you everyone. Your kind reviews are really more than I deserve. College, work, and continued health problems keep me from updating as often as I want but I will finish this. If y'all can stick it out with me. I'll try to get more writing done here soon. I'm going to be leaving for travels abroad soon! Anyway, onto the chapter.
The voices of French mixed with American accents were a familiar and comforting sound to wake up to. America's eyes opened slowly and he sat up just as carefully. His head felt like it was stuffed with rags and he couldn't remember the last time he had eaten anything. A look around the room he was in made him think of the last time he'd been in an actual house, and then the week's events came rushing back to him. Philadelphia, he had managed to get to the capitol.
After a few stretches and cracking of limbs he got out of the bed, and noticed a clean blue uniform waiting for him on the nearby chair. America smiled and changed, feeling better already. There was still wrapping and gauze around his shoulder, and for some reason his wrists had been bandaged as well. Otherwise he felt fit as a fiddle and was ready to take on whatever the day had to throw at him. He left the room and found himself in a long hallway. He passed closed doors until he got to the front door and stepped out into the street.
What remained of the city was either charred or in disrepair. It made his heart clench and blood boil, but he had other things on his mind. A passing woman with a blood covered apron caught his attention.
"Excuse me, uh miss?" He had to run a few paces to catch up with the hurried and disheveled young woman. She looked at him with raised brows but kept on walking, apparently in a rush herself.
"What is it?"
America was momentarily distracted by how fresh the blood looked. "T-the injured? I'm looking for a young boy. About this tall, red hea-" As he was describing Andrew the woman turned and faced him, stopping so suddenly that he nearly ran into her.
"That way, and don't be bothering him he needs his rest." She pointed to the west and then was off and running once more.
The walk gave him time to take in everything around him. When he had carried Andrew here he had been so tired that he collapsed promptly after making sure France had a hold of the poor kid. Philadelphia wasn't looking its best, but at least it was back in his hands; under American control.
Thankfully the tents for the injured were mostly empty, and it was easy to spot Andrew. America quietly inched his way closer before kneeling by the cot to get a better look at him. He was thin, and the white sheets did little to help his complexion, but he was going to survive it looked like. Andrew didn't seem the sort of person who would give up so easily, especially since they had made it this far.
With a hesitant and somewhat shaky hand, America reached out and pushed a few strands of the curly red hair aside.
"You certainly seem to attract the dregs of society mon chéri."
America's hand jerked back and he spun around in record time to wrap his arms around France and give him a hug. "France! Qu'avez-vous fait dernièrement?" The French language rolled easily off of his tongue, and it was well worth it to see the look on France's face before he began to steer him out of the tent so as not to wake Andrew.
The surprise France felt turned into satisfaction as he took the American's arm and watched him closely. "Myself? I've been directing your men with the help of my Generals, and putting Angleterre in his proper place. Your disappearance caused quite the stir."
Emotions played across the American's face, and France leaned in a bit closer. "It's a lovely surprise to see you so soon." The insinuation was subtle, perhaps too subtle for America to pick up on but France was in no mood to coddle the colony. With Canada's appearance it was clear how desperate England was getting, and he needed America to be mad, and driven to finish this war as the victor.
For all their sakes.
America stopped and turned, nearly chest to chest with France and directed a glare right at the older nation. Had France gotten shorter? "Yeah, it wasn't a disappearance so much as a kidnapping. By Canada. Which by the way when did he get in on this? And when did you find out? Were you even going to tell me?" The questions flew out of his mouth and before he could voice any more of them France shook his head with a smile and began to walk, forcing America along with him.
"His arrival was as much of a surprise to me as it was to you, and I can assure you I'd have told you the moment I had known. I'm sure Angleterre meant for it to catch us off guard," he cast a sharp look aside at America, "and he succeeded."
"Yeah well it won't happen again. I ain't going near him and I got stuff to do." America glanced over to see a smile on France's face and shrugged one shoulder. "We got stuff to do that is. Right?"
"Oui, and there's not a moment to waste. I believe Prussia had tactics to discuss with you and a Monsieur Madison was wishing to speak with you."
America's eyes lit up, and France's fingers curled just a little more deeply into his arm to get his attention back. "Prussia first, then your politicians later. He's just down this road and waiting in the tent with the large Prussian flag flying above it."
He watched as America took off, apparently having recovered remarkably well from his time spent with England. It was refreshing to have him back, and in good spirits. They would need that for the battles to come.
Despite the notes and requests to meet, America hadn't ever quite gotten around to meeting with James Madison about the important matters he alluded to in his letters. Right after he had found Prussia the albino began drilling him on what had happened, what he had seen and heard at the camp before it had then been overrun-Apparently by Prussia and the regiment he had led.
It was then that he learned just how well they had been doing. Spain's naval forces along with the intervention of the Netherlands were giving England hell on the sea, and the Americans were holding their own in the water as well. John Paul Jones had taken a British ship, the Drake and Americans were beginning to have a renewed sense of hope.
The war was far from being won though, and Prussia made sure to drill that fact into America's head, but it hardly mattered. He was just excited to be back with his allies and planning their next move.
Over the next week America, Prussia, and France met with their Generals, and America was more than a little surprised to discover how much had been planned in advance in the few days he had been gone. Instead of letting it bother him he instead thought about how it meant they could move all the faster in securing the rest of the states' rights.
At the moment he was standing in a tent with Prussia, and General William Alexander among other military leaders. They were discussing their push to the South. While George Washington was taking back Southern territories and making his way north, they were to press the remaining British forces and give them no room to fight back before pushing them finally to the ocean and out of the states. For good.
"Virginia will be the most difficult of our battles, and once we have them there then North Carolina will follow." General Alexander was speaking, but America's thoughts were wandering. He absentmindedly rubbed at his bandaged wrists which had started to burn and itch more than they had before.
"America, you'll be leading your riflemen along this ridge," General Alexander's finger traced along a hill on the map, "while Mr. Beilschmid takes the brunt of the soldiers down the middle with ah Mr. Weissenfels." He stumbled over both the Germanic names, but continued on further defining what would be happening on the battlefield.
The man was a force to be reckoned with. America could barely follow the General when he got speaking too quickly, but Prussia didn't seem to have an issue and had a disturbing smile on his face that was growing into a sinister grin. At least they got along.
"Dismissed men, God be with you." That meant the war meeting was over and in a few hours they'd be making their next attack on British and Canadian forces. A hand on his shoulder stopped America from following Prussia and the others out. He turned around to face the General with a frown on his face, "Sir?"
General Alexander sat down in a nearby chair, looking exhausted and like a shadow of the man who had just been issuing orders. America's eyes widened and he moved closer to him. "Is everything alright?"
He was waved off as General Alexander shifted and tried to become more comfortable in the chair. The occasional pained look made America all the more nervous. "Yes yes, I'm just getting older and drinking more. Don't ever drink son."
America nodded dumbly.
"General Washington sent a letter. Things are progressing far quicker than any of us expected." He reached into a pocket on his jacket and pulled out a somewhat crumpled piece of parchment before handing it over to America for him to read. "He is overtaking the British forces in Georgia and with the help of your…Spanish friend they have dealt quite the blow to the damned redcoats." There was a noticeable pause before he called Spain a friend, but he barely heard the hesitation or distrust in the man's words.
General Alexander's voice was a distant sound as America poured over the letter written in George's handwriting. It was a relief to have word from him after the last had ended in a splash of ink with no explanation. He carefully folded the letter and handed it back to General Alexander.
"So what does this mean? That we're really going to do this?" America's eyes widened, memories crowding to the front of his thoughts. "What you're saying, it means we're close. Real close?" He couldn't help the eager note from creeping into his voice, and even though General Alexander looked exhausted he nodded with a smile.
"It sure looks that way doesn't it? Now go on. We have a battle to win."
America was smiling widely, and gave one nod before rushing out of the tent to meet with the men he was going to be spotting with for the coming battle.
It took under an hour to get to their point, and once everyone was in position it was just a matter of time. Prussia took the field in an impressive display of cunning and tactic-Courtesy of General Alexander, and the wide openings left in the British lines gave America and his men all the opportunity they needed to pick off the officers and what little cavalry was used.
Things were looking to be on the American's side until the Canadians showed up. It was painful having to watch the battle from a distance and feel like he had so little impact on it from where he was. The Canadians fought as though they had a true reason to win the war. A better reason than the Americans, and it left America numb. He continued picking out his targets, one by one. When the battle got a little too close they were forced to move and take up another position, but otherwise little of interest happened. Until he spotted a familiar powder blue uniform on the field, near a red one.
"Ain't that the French dandy?" The question confirmed America's fears and he felt his knuckles whiten as he gripped the rifle stock all the tighter.
France was on the battlefield alright, and he was face to face with Canada.
America's chest felt tight and breathing seemed all the more difficult. He'd have given almost anything to hear what they were talking about; since it was clear from the way they fought one another that there was more talking than fighting going on. All he could do though was keep his gaze fixed on the pair, and force himself to take deep, steady breaths.
As it got later and later, the fighting began to slow and eventually they had to retire to the camp. Sharpshooters were no good in the dark, and the battle usually took a turn for less scrupulous battle tactics in the evening. America hastened back and found France in his tent, taking off his bloody and torn uniform jacket as he took the ribbon out that held his hair back.
"France what-" Then he got a look of the nation's face in the mirror and bit off the rest of his question. America had been so angry earlier. Seeing one of his allies with Canada. Someone who he had trusted that only ended up betraying him. It only made sense that France would do the same for his beloved Canada. It was just something else to lose because of England. Okay, so he was probably blowing it out of proportion but something about the whole scene had made him grind his teeth and want nothing more than to storm down there and…A heavy sigh from France drew his attention back to the nation and he cleared his throat awkwardly.
"What can I do?"
That earned him a tired smile and it made him uncomfortable to see France so vulnerable. He felt clean and pristine compared to him as well, which reversed their usual roles. Another look at France and he made up his mind to not mention Canada, or the battle, or anything that might make him feel any worse than he looked already.
Instead he took a few steps forward and poked at his left arm. "You got some cuts, take a seat and I'll get 'em cleaned."
France's eyebrows rose up on his forehead. "Is that so ma petite colonie? I'm not certain my wounds are so deadly as to risk your care." America's insulted look only made him chuckle softly but he sat down and gestured America over as he rolled the sleeve up on his left arm to display the shallow cuts running the length of his forearm and interlacing across the top of his hand.
The distant sounds of battle gave them something to listen to as America cleaned the cuts and carefully covered the more serious ones with a bandage or two. After he finished covering the cuts that might reopen on top of France's hand he leaned back on his heels and smiled proudly.
France had a distant look in his eyes the entire time he had been cleaning and wrapping his wounds. After America's proclamation his head slowly tilted and he appraised his arm with a cool look. He waited a few agonizing moments in silence before quirking up one corner of his mouth, "Vous avez fait du bon travail."
The compliment made blood rush to America's face and he was thankful for the dim lighting in the tent. "No problem." Another silence formed between them and with France staring at him like that it made America fidget nervously.
It was becoming unbearable and he cracked under the pressure. "So I'll leave you to rest since it looks like we'll be fighting even more tomorrow." He began to leave and was nearly home free when France's soft voice made him stop.
"S'il vous plaît restez."
The soft spoken request was strange to hear from the confident and sometimes arrogant nation. America remembered when not so long ago he had said the very same thing to France himself. He hesitated and began to dig the toe of his boot into the dirt.
"France-I don't think that's a good idea." Something about the whole situation felt off to him. Maybe it was just seeing and knowing how badly Canada had an effect on an ally. An ally he had never seen in such a compromising position. It rattled him and made him question his resolve.
"Non, but it's a night to lick our wounds. And since you so generously offered to tend said wounds it would only be right if you stayed."
Uncertainty warred with the desire to leave and forget he had ever walked in the tent. Instead he turned to look at France with a stubborn set to his features. Upon seeing this France tilted his head, "One night away from your Generals and spent getting true rest will not hurt you any more than your restless nights have otherwise."
"Have you been stalking me France?" America asked, his voice cracking slightly on the nation's name.
France laughed loudly, and stood up. "I'm far too busy to follow your every move mon chéri. Your eyes and the dark marks beneath them speak more than you ever would about such matters, now come."
America still wasn't completely convinced but sighed and walked over to the pile of blankets and the mat on the floor that looked comfortable enough. "No cot?" France simply shrugged before sitting down and tugging the reluctant American down.
Before he had a chance to protest France helped him get his uniform jacket and boots off. He then laid down, dragging the many blankets up to cover the both of them.
Despite his exhaustion and the ache in his limbs, America couldn't seem to fall asleep. The night battle so near to them kept him from being able to drift off, and the last look he'd gotten of France's face kept playing over and over in his mind. It was difficult to remember that maybe the older nations still needed comfort. Or that maybe they were hurt more than they let on. When he was certain France was asleep he carefully turned over to look at his face, being sure not to disturb him as he did.
He looked peaceful enough, but he wondered how much it had hurt to see Canada today. Maybe it was something like how England had felt about him, and the revolution.
"C'est l'heure d'aller au lit ma petite colonie." France cracked open one eye and smirked at the startled American before gently tapping him on the nose. "Maybe I should sing you to sleep?" The mischievous edge to his voice made America turn over and curl up on his side, closing his eyes.
"G'night France. Sorry about Canada."
"Bonne nuit, Amérique."
It was nearly an hour later, and once America's breathing had deepened and he began to snore quietly that France murmured to the sleeping nation. "So am I."
HISTORICAL NOTES TIME.
Mr. Weissenfels, or Frederick, Baron de Weissenfels was a Prussian native that moved to the colonies after receiving military training under Frederick II while in Prussia. He served in various armies and militias, but when the Revolution took place he joined the side of the revolutionaries much to the chagrin of those around him. He was a very interesting person.
Once again John Paul Jones making a splash. The taking of the Duke was a huge deal in the revolutionary war and basically proved that the Royal Navy was capable of being defeated. It was the last of his extraordinary feats in the American navy.
The Netherlands, or what was known at the time as the Dutch Republic actually assisted the Americans cause mostly via naval powers and fighting the Royal Navy. Fun fact, the U.S. Constitution was based on the Constitution of the Republic of the United Provinces as well. So the Dutch Republic was a big inspiration for the colonists. Both have similar writings when it comes to the Declaration of Independence as well.
General William Alexander, also known as Lord Stirling was one of the most important Generals of the Revolution. I won't go into great detail but basically George Washington named him Commander of the Northern armies at one point while he fought in the South and considered him to be a trusted friend and companion.
I think that was all for historical notes. Thanks again for everything guys. I really appreciate it.