Disclaimer: Hetalia's not mine.
Canada found England in the same spot he had left him—in his study, poring over ancient books. Now he was seated at his desk, several open books scattered before him. He looked ready to pitch forward and use those books as a pillow.
"Good morning, England." Canada stifled a yawn. "Are you still up?"
"Yes," England said, eyelids droopy.
"He's been busy," France added from his spot in the corner.
"I can see that."
England's lips quirked. "You don't seem surprised to see him here."
Canada shook his head. "We figured out he was here already."
France gave a pleased grin. "Did you boys sleep well?"
"Yes. And that's all we did. Though we dismantled your cameras, anyway."
"How did you fi—uh, I don't know what you're talking about."
"Please leave," England muttered. "You haven't been especially helpful."
"I will not leave! Not if they're in any danger." France folded his arms in defiance. "I know plenty about magic."
"Sure you do. How's Russia?"
Canada shook his head. They could bicker like an old married couple later. "Have you found anything useful?"
England's lips curved. "I have, actually. Go get your brother, I don't want to repeat myself."
"Okay." It occurred to Canada as he left the study that England hadn't once addressed him by name. He can barely tell which one I am when he's not sleep-deprived... It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't immediately recognize America every time, even when he was dead drunk.
Said nation was still asleep, having shifted over to sprawl across the middle of the bed since Canada had vacated. Canada smiled down at the sleeping form, though his smile soon grew bittersweet as he was again reminded that their lives may very well be in danger for unknown reasons. He'd be damned if anything was going to happen to his twin, and of course he knew America felt the same.
"Are you watching me again?" America murmured without opening his eyes.
"That's weird, you know."
Canada gave a soft snort. "Like you never do that."
"It's cute when I do it." He finally cracked open blue eyes that looked big and childlike without his glasses. "Hey..." As if reading Canada's mind, he reached out and snagged his brother's glasses off.
"What was that for?"
"They're mine. Don't steal Texas."
"Oh!" Canada laughed. He must have grabbed the wrong ones. That happened occasionally.
"I forgive you." America's bare eyes twinkled. "Though I could use a kiss."
"First thing after you wake up?" Canada backed away. "Let's take a rain check on that. Oh! England said he may have found something."
"Really?" With a grin, America stepped closer, gripping Canada's shoulder, and rubbed their noses together. "There," he murmured. "A kiss with no morning breath."
Canada grinned back. "Let's go find out what his idea is before we celebrate." He waited for America to at least put some pants on, then—once they had the correct eyeware in place—took his hand and they returned to the study.
"I don't think that's what it means," England was grumbling to France. "Ah, there you boys are. About time."
"I was only gone for a moment," Canada protested, but England waved him into silence.
"So, this spell I found..." The older nation rested his chin on his hands. "It does indeed seem like the appropriate one for this situation. It has the power to render one of our kind mortal."
Canada's jaw dropped. "That doesn't-"
"You want us to turn Sam and Pierre into people kids?" America demanded. "But they'll die! Eventually."
"Better than you dying now, hm?" England said. "After a few years, they probably wouldn't even remember that they started out as something else."
"That still sounds horrible! And..." America exchanged a look with his brother. "What if we're wrong? About them?"
"That's the best part!" England looked up from his book with a smile. "It only works if there's more than one! You can't just go around de-nationing any nations, there has to already be someone else to take their place. If they really are your replacements, it will work, because you're still here. If they aren't, nothing will happen, and you can rest easy and look into who they really are."
Canada cleared his throat. "And what if it works, we strip them of their nationhood, and then another pair turns up?"
England turned back to his desk, smile falling. "Then I suppose," he said softly, "we'll know that it wasn't meant to be, and we'll have to let you go..."
The northern nation winced, taking America's hand again. "I guess you're right." Then Sam and Pierre would be doomed to a short lifespan for nothing.
"Well." America sounded uncharacteristically subdued, voice almost matching his twin's. "Let's have the spell, and we'll go find out."
England toyed with the frayed edge of an old page. "About that..."
"We don't know where it is," France finished for him. The North American brothers could only stare in response. What?
"A spell like that can't just be left around," England said. "It was hidden long ago."
"Any ideas where?" America said, giving Canada's hand a squeeze.
"Not especially. Its location is marked on a map so archaic even I can't figure it out." The Briton held it out toward America, then changed his mind and handed it to Canada.
Canada peered down at the scrap of—it couldn't possibly be paper. The barely discernible lines and landmarks and what may have been some sort of language, none of them meant anything to him.
"What the hell are we supposed to do with this?" America demanded, snatching the map away and turning it this way and that.
"There must be another solution," Canada said. He couldn't bear the thought of trudging off on some wild goose chase, then the two of them disappearing just as they discovered the spell because they had run out of time... Or risking their necks on some stupid quest only to find out it didn't work, or wasn't necessary, or...
"I won't stop looking for one," England said. "But so far..."
"So far," France concluded, "this looks like it."
America damn near paced a groove into the carpet while Canada switched back and forth between poring over the map, and shoving their things back into bags. "Could he have possibly found something less complicated?" he said for the hundredth time.
"Mmh," was Canada's reply as he stared at the 'map'. Could it even be called that? Maps had helpfully labeled (in English!) landmasses on them. With streets, and other useful tidbits. Symbols and squiggles did not a map make. How did England even recognize it as a map? Because it was as old as he was, probably.
Tired of pacing, and feeling a little dizzy anyway, America finally came to a stop. His heart ached as he watched his lover struggling to decipher what could very well be the method of saving their lives. Canada's wavy locks curtained his face; America couldn't stop himself from reaching over to hook some of them behind Canada's ear. They just tumbled right back, though. "Hey." He tugged on his twin's long random curl.
"We're gonna be okay." America forced a grin. "I'll save us for sure."
"I know." Canada returned the grin, and it looked just as strained. As soon as that smile fell, America leaned forward to kiss him, losing himself in the sweet taste of minty mouthwash and the even sweeter taste that was all Canada. They clung to each other, kissing gently and deeply, savoring the moment for they had no idea how many more chances they would get.
Canada finally broke the kiss, panting slightly as he lay his head on his brother's shoulder. America held him close in a protective embrace.
"What do we do?" Canada murmured. "I can't figure that thing out. It looks older than dirt."
"Worse," America said. "It looks older than England. Who's older than England?"
It was a rhetorical question, though it made America pause. They didn't say anything for a moment, until it hit them both at the same time. They drew apart, staring into each others' widened blue eyes.
"I'll go get us a couple tickets to China," Canada said.