By: Verin Mystal
Pairings: Russia/America (main), America/Canada (Plationic/Brotherly), Canada/Ukraine & others
Summary: America struggles to find solace after civilization crumbles in a post-apocalyptic world. My take on the classic "Aliens invade planet earth" set up. Rated M for language, violence & mature themes.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except for the original ideas in this D:
Note: Last Chapter & self-beta'd. I just wanted to thank all of my readers, whether you reviewed or not. Thank you for all of the comments/pms/favs/alerts. It always brightened my day seeing all of you enjoying this story. I hope you enjoy reading this last part :)
"I want him locked up with an armed guard at all times." Canada turned to his fellow soldiers that stood at the entrance to the massive cavern. "I also want him gagged."
Russia stood, grimacing when his arm was jostled, but masking his pain when his shoulder was steadied. Canada turned back to Russia and took America from his hold, picking him up bridal style and carrying him down the tunnel. Russia followed him in silence, the two walking with a hurried pace until they exited the tunnel. The other soldiers dragged the alien after them, taking him to a secured location near the harbor.
Canada carried America to the nearest building – which happened to be a tiny family home against the cliff-side, long abandoned from the alien occupation of the island. He kicked in the back door and lay his southern brother on the small dining table, so small that America's legs dangled off the edge at the knee – which Canada quickly fixed by shoving the table against the kitchen counter and lifting his legs upward to help force the blood back into his chest cavity.
While Canada did this, Russia stripped his bloodied camouflage shirt and protective vest away, disinfected the various cuts, scrapes, and lacerations he received from the fight, and set his shoulder so it could be tightly wrapped and kept stationary. With his right arm now immobile, save for his wrist and fingers, he helped Canada by cutting America's shirt off to give better clearance to the gaping wound on his neck – no longer bleeding – so it could be disinfected, closed and wrapped. This was not the normal way to do it, but with a nation's super-fast healing abilities, wounds had to be cleaned and closed up with record timing so scarring or anything disfiguring could be kept at a minimum. This was especially important for bones, as they could heal wrong if not reset immediately.
Canada pulled a bag from a pocket at his hip, ripped it open and withdrew plastic tubing, syringes, tape, gauze, disinfectant and other materials.
"Check his pulse." Canada asked Russia, who complied with a curt nod. "Monitor his vitals for me."
Russia took off his wind-up wrist watch with his teeth, placed it face up and picked up America's wrist with his thumb, index and middle fingers.
Canada took one strip of tubing and tied it off at his upper left arm with practiced ease. Flexing his hand for a second, he splashed alcohol on the crook of his arm, flicked at the vein and after preparing America's free arm, went to insert the needle into his own arm when Russia stopped him with a firm clench of his wrist.
"What?" Canada frowned. "Is he…?"
Russia nodded and released Canada. His eyes were clouded with disappointment.
"…Then we wait." Canada released a heavy sigh and tore off the tubing at his upper arm. "Can you watch after him until I finish checking on the alien?"
Russia nodded once. "Of course."
Canada hesitated for a moment before nodding silently to himself and leaving the home. Russia stepped closer and touched America's forehead, brushing the hair away from his bruised face and letting his fingers trail down his jaw. The younger nation was pale and very still. Blood covered his neck and chest, green alien blood splattered his face and hands, sticking to his skin like glue.
"Come back soon, Alfred."
America awoke in a white-walled room. His face naked without his glasses, he narrowed his eyes and squinted at his surroundings. Off to one side was a series of storage cabinets with books spilling out of its doors. The walls were plain, the window shuttered, and his bed offering the other color beside white and brown. His body ached and protested with exhaustion, feeling as if he were still recovering from the fight he endured with the alien nation. Judging by the frigid air temperature, the thick blankets piled over him, and the rattling window, it seemed he was still on the island. Something America was silently happy for, as he was never truly comfortable on a ship. He felt chained to the thing, unmovable and stuck…but give him an air plane and he felt weightless and free to go where he pleased.
I must've passed out…
He shifted under the heavy layer of blankets and reached up to touch his neck. Only faint raised lines remained where the alien clawed his throat out. Dropping his hand down to his chest, he proceeded to check his body. Only unmarked, healthy skin met his roaming fingers. Face numb from the frozen air filling the room, America burrowed under the blankets just before the door opened. Heavy booted footsteps sounded on the cold tile floor before the door clicked shut once more. The footsteps then continued, proceeding across the room to his bedside. The blankets shifted, and suddenly Russia's tall form emerged when the covers were tugged off his face.
"You are awake." Russia stated, voice tinged with surprise. "How are you feeling?"
"Fuckin' cold." America whined, tugging the blankets back over his face. "I feel like I got ran over by a train."
Russia hummed with mutual agreement. Reaching down, he nudged America's thigh and after the younger nation scooted away, took a seat on the side of America's bed.
"How long was I out?" America asked, tugging the blanket down just far enough to peer at Russia, eyes apprehensive. "Did I…you know…?"
"Three days." Russia stated. "You died on the operating table, but came back the next morning."
"What about Alex?" America stared at Russia. "Did he come back?"
Russia only shook his head, the corners of his mouth tugging downward. America groaned and rolled onto his belly, mashing his face into the pillow before hugging it fiercely. Russia pressed his hand to America's back and rubbed his palm in comforting circles.
"Stop blaming yourself."
America tightened his hold on the pillow for a second before pulling away. Frowning deeply, he leveled a dry, exasperated glare at Russia.
"You wouldn't have hesitated." America pouted. "If it was you, everything with the fight and the bombs and disabling the detonator…none of that would've happened."
America peered at him, eyes looking wide and bright without Texas sitting upon his nose. His face seemed younger without them, almost as if they gave him a kind of sophistication that his youthful, teenage body didn't have.
"No. I would not have hesitated." Russia confirmed, voice quiet and subdued. "I would have taken the shot, but-"
America sighed mournfully and turned back to the bed, mashing his face into the pillow once more.
"But-" Russia continued, voice growing stronger and more forceful. "That doesn't mean I would not have regretted hurting Alexei, Alfred."
Russia leaned down and trailed his hand up America's back to his neck, dragging his nails through his hair.
"Alfred." Russia's voice turned scolding. "Stop this. You are acting foolish."
"I killed my own state." America's voice was muffled and barely audible. "It's my fault."
"Do you doubt Alexei's strength so much?" Russia frowned at the younger nation. "Do you doubt he has the will the return to us?"
America's back grew tense, and he turned around with a glare. "What are you saying?" America flicked Russia's hand away from his hair. "That he's weak?"
"You are acting like he will never come back." Russia accused, violet eyes shining in the dim morning light.
"He's notweak!" America exclaimed, voice rising. "I just don't know if he'll come back, because it's my fault he's dead!"
"Did you pull the trigger?"
"…No. I didn't."
"Then you didn't kill him."
"Stop it." Russia pressed his right hand to America's mouth. "He will come back."
America glared at him for a moment before giving in with a sigh and relaxing back into the bed. His body was twisted slightly at his hips, his pelvis lying sideways facing Russia while his upper torso lay reclined against the mattress and pillows. Russia's hand remained at America's mouth for a moment before falling to the left to cup America's cheek.
"I know I'm very…over protective of them. My states…I mean." America peered at Russia, eyes squinting due to him not having his glasses on. "I really tried to not let it get to me…but I just can't."
"I know." Russia leaned down, bringing his face close to America's. "I have come to accept this long before the aliens arrived. It is just…one of your quirks." Russia turned confused for a moment. "That is the right word…yes?"
"Hah- yeah. I guess you could call it a quirk." America lifted his right hand and pressed it to Russia's cheek, smoothing his finger's across his cheekbone before sifting into the elder nation's thick, platinum blonde hair. "It's probably a very annoying quirk…or at least that's what Arthur and Mattie say all the time."
"Yes, it is annoying." Russia admitted with a smirk. America frowned at him, but before he could open his mouth to complain, Russia continued. "But it is something I have grown to accept as being you. Just as I have accepted your love of candy and burgers."
"And like how you think it's perfectly fine adding vodka to anything. Or how you enjoy going to those steam houses and then jump in a fucking freezing cold lake in the middle of winter."
"That sounds nice." Russia smiled wistfully. "And the 'steam house' you're referring to are called banya."
"You are so weird." America gaped at him. "How can that be nice?"
"When everything gets better, I will show you." Russia promised. "You will enjoy it."
"I'm going to hate it." America exclaimed with resolution. "I know I will."
"You don't know that." Russia leaned closer, his lips a hair's breadth apart from America's, his hot breath ghosting across America's face. "You might truly like it."
America lifted his hands and pressed them to Russia's chest, violet locking with azure for a split second before his hands slid around Russia's shoulder's. The two came together, lips molding against each other, but the kiss remained chaste. Parting with an audible intake of breath, America tightened his arms around Russia and clutched the older man in a bone crushing hug. Russia tried pulling away, but hesitated when America held firm. Fingers dug into his back through the thick coat he wore to protect himself from the frigid artic air.
"Don't go." America spoke into Russia's right ear, breath tickling his skin.
Russia turned his gaze to America, their eyes locking together. The two stared at each other for a long moment, America holding firm while Russia debated internally.
"I can't." Russia admitted after a long moment. "I have to relieve Canadafrom interrogation."
America pressed a kiss to Russia's earlobe. "Just a little longer?"
Russia tried pulling away. America clung to him.
"Ivan." America finally released him just enough so he could stare into Russia's violet eyes. "Please."
Russia gazed at him in slight surprise at the emphasis on his human name. His eyes searched America's clear blue orbs, trying to decipher America's reasoning for using please on himof all people. America was not one to beg and plead. He demanded what he wanted, and would fight tooth and nail until his wishes were granted. It was just something Russia came to expect with the young, rash, headstrong nation. A nation who forged his existence through defying his elders and carving out his place in the world.
…But this was not America.
It was Alfred. A man – a teenage man – who failed to perform to the best of his abilities when the time came, losing all control of the situation. His 'son'dead, the mission he helped coordinate jeopardized…but victory was still attained. Narrowly.
Russia frowned at his inner weakness as he gave into his human feelings. His heart clenched at the sound of America's pleading voice and with a self-depreciating sigh, gave into America's demands. Russia scooted America over and after a minute of jostling and rearranging of limbs and various body parts, placed America at his left side so his body was half draped over Russia.
"Better?" Russia asked, voice gruff with annoyance.
America snuggled against the older - taller, bigger- man with a content smile spreading across his face.
Russia allowed himself to relax and rubbed his left hand across America's back. Soft, goosefeather pillows touched the back of Russia's head, embracing him with comfort and warmth. A breathy, contented sigh escaped him before he could catch himself. America smirked, a small amused sound escaping his throat before he curled one arm around Russia's waist and nuzzled his face into Russia's chest.
"Matthew will probably be unhappy I am late-"
"Just be honest and blame me."
America closed his eyes, head slowly rising and falling with the movement of Russia's chest.
The Next Day
America crossed the main street that came up from the harbor – the only major street in the village – and entered the building being used as a field hospital until one of the ships could pick up the wounded. A medic was dropped off on the island – as Alaskawas currently incapacitated – and took care of the few wounded soldiers from their small, specialized unit. America walked down the hallway, passing room after room, doors cracked so as to allow privacy, but still allow the medic to hear them just in case they call out for help. Coming to the stairwell, America went up the steps to the second floor and crossed the hall, coming to a halt before a closed door.
Swallowing audibly, America grasped the handle and stepped inside. There – inside a white and blue room – was Alaska. He lay on the bed, his body impossibly still. A thick bandage was wrapped tightly around his head, allowing his hair to remain visible just at the nape of his neck. His skin was snowy pale, black eye lashes and eyebrows contrasting sharply. His lips were a pale pink and he looked surprisingly healthy for being deceased.
America pushed the thought from his mind, closed the door behind him and crossed the room, dragging a metal chair to the boy's bedside and sitting with a huff. It was only after spending an exhaustive morning interrogating the alien and spending the subsequent afternoon patrolling the island and guarding the entrance to the tunnel was he given some free time in the evening. Russia and Canada were nowhere to be seen, as they were both equally busy with their own commanders and fulfilling the orders that slowly came in.
Taking advantage of the spare time he had, America scooted close to his young state – his 'son' – and ran his eyes over the boy. His body appeared to be completely healed. The cuts and scrapes on his hands and face were gone. America wanted to peel the bandages off the boy's head, but he held himself back. I don't want to cause any more damage…just in case he is still healing. Placing a hand on Alaska's forehead, he checked his body temperature and after deeming it to be normal – slid his hand down to the boy's arm. Linking their fingers together, America lifted Alaska's hand and clasped it between his two larger palms, pressing the boy's knuckles to his lips, kissing them with warm affection before gently placing his hand back to the white bedding.
Damnit Alex…why did you have to disobey me?
America scooted his chair back, but instead of standing up, he leaned down and rested his head in his arms at Alaska's bedside. It was well known among the nations that if one of their states, provinces or territories was dead, remaining close to them would hasten their healing. America had assumed this would happen just being within walking distance of the boy, but it had been days since the incident. America knew the circumstances were different now than before, as everyone was still recovering from the flash and alien invasion… but still.
He looks healed. Why hasn't he come back yet?
America let his eyelids fall shut and he relaxed against the bedside.
I'll just stay here then. I'll stay with you and watch over you until I have to go again. That's what a normal parent would do…right?
Russia slowly made his way up the stairs with slow, aching steps. He'd spent the entire day interrogating the alien nation, with little luck. The thing…the creature refused to talk despite using the methodsthat had worked for him in the past. But deep down, Russia already knew this would happen. The alien nation seemed to know his time was short, and that his people were going to be wiped out, slowly but surely. He kept his silence, refusing to speak or even move from the fetal position he was curled up in, his body pressed to the farthest, darkest corner of its make-shift jail cell.
Shaking the dark thoughts from his mind, he came to Alaska's room and opened the door. America sat at Alaska's bedside, his upper torso and head supported by the boy's bed. The young state America was sleeping beside was just sitting up, pale-blue eyes wide with surprise but glazed with sleep.
Russia immediately pressed a finger to his lips, signaling the boy to remain silent as he quietly shut the door behind him and crossed the room. Alaska nodded and relaxed back into his bed.
"Feeling better?" Russia asked while picking up a blanket and placing it over America's back.
"Mmm- yes." Alaska nodded, eyes still focused on America. After a moment, he moved them up to Russia. "How long…?"
"Around four to five days."
"Oh." Alaska's gaze widened slightly. "That long?"
"I expected you to take longer to wake up, honestly." Russia sat at the foot of Alaska's bed. "It seems Alfred staying near you helped aid your recovery."
Alaska nodded. "I…will he be mad at me?"
"Most likely." Russia smirked. "But I think…his anger will be forgotten when he sees you awake and fully healed."
"Oh." Alaska grinned, happy with that response. He peered back at America for a long moment before turning back to Russia. "Can you tell me what happened after I was shot?"
Russia shifted his gaze to America, who was still fast asleep at Alaska's bedside. "What do you think happened?"
Alaska frowned, already know the answer. "Dad wasn't hurt was he?"
An image of America suddenly flashed through Russia's memory. A vision of the younger nation sprawled on the grating within the massive vault, neck ripped open, blood soaking his neck and chest. Cuts, lacerations and bruises covering his body. Forehead sliced open, more blood running down one side of his face, eyes flat from unconsciousness.
"He was…wounded. Badly." Russia finally admitted, his words guarded. "But as you can see-"
"Did he die?" Alaska stared at Russia, pale-blue eyes wide and serious. "Tell me the truth."
"Yes." Russia placed his hand on Alaska's right ankle, squeezing it softly through the sheets. "He did."
Alaska frowned, dipped his head and shifted his gaze to America. He lifted his hand and placed it on America's shoulder, shaking him gently.
"Dad- wake up."
America awoke with a gasp. His eyes flew open and he lunged back into his chair.
America laughed with relief, surged forward and wrapped his arms around the young state. He kissed his cheeks and nuzzled his nose into the boy's hair before pulling away. Alaska's cheeks burned with embarrassment at the show of affection.
"I'm sorry dad." Alaska gripped America's hands and clenched them tightly. "I disobeyed you and… I should've listened, but I didn't. I just wanted to fight them-"
"I know." America withdrew his hands from Alaska's. "And…I probably should've let you come. Knowing how stubborn you are…"
Alaska pouted, lips curling down into a cut frown. America grinned and pulled the boy into another hug.
"But everything worked out okay. So you got lucky this time."
Alaska wrapped his arms around America and hugged him fiercely. He buried his face into America's chest and squeezed his eyes shut. America rubbed a hand across Alaska's back and pressed his nose to the boy's crown of thick black hair. Russia watched the intimate moment with an awkward smile, but stood after a moment and headed for the door.
"Hey…Ivan." America turned to him. "Come on, get over here."
Russia turned back to him, unsure, but gave in when America motioned for him. He crossed the room and once he was at America's side, opened his arms and wrapped them around both America and Alaska. America released one arm from Alaska and in turn, wrapped it around Russia's waist.
Alaska grinned and snuggled in the two nation's dual embrace.
"Everything will be okay, now." America reassured. "We're going to win this war."
"Really?" Alaska looked up at both America and Russia. "Are you sure?"
"Yes." Russia agreed. "We have the alien nation captured. All of their larger bases are destroyed."
America nodded. Alaska grinned, and returned to cuddling. Cheeks growing pink from the combined warmth of the three of them. America turned his warm gaze to Russia, who stared back unflinchingly.
"It's only a matter of time, now."
Later That Night
America lay in bed, four doors down the hall from Alaska. He'd managed to clear out another room and find a bed still in decent condition. After eating dinner and spending another few hours in interrogating the alien nation, America made his way back to the two-story building and upstairs, pausing to check in on Alaska before he headed to bed.
To his surprise, Russia was visiting with the boy again. He sat on the edge of the bed, talking to the boy in soft Russian.
He never told me he understood Russian. America frowned for a moment before it melted away. It makes sense. I shouldn't be annoyed.
America watched them for a few minutes until Russia tucked him in, snuffed out the candle and exited the room. Russia turned around, his eyes widening in surprise at finding America standing in the hall before him.
"Hey." America smiled. "Visiting again so soon?"
"Yes." Russia closed the door, the handle clicking shut after him. "He is lonely…being in the room all day."
"…Yeah. But he's still healing, so no moving around until he okay again." America grasped Russia's hand and threaded their fingers together. "Come on."
"I can't." Russia tried pulling his hand away. "they will wonder where I am-"
"Then leave before dawn." America pulled him down the hall to the room he recently took.
"But…" Russia glanced back to the stairwell.
"Please. Just…for tonight." America reached the door, grips the handle and pulls Russia across the threshold. "It's been so long."
Russia gives in when America embraces him, and presses their lips together in a chaste kiss. Russia kicks the door shut and wraps his arms around America, squeezing him to his chest, the kiss growing deeper and more desperate. The two fall onto the tiny, twin size mattress. Limbs dangle off as they struggle out of their clothes while their lips meet again and again. Gasps, heated breaths, wet kissing and hands moving over bare skin. Russia pressed America to the mattress and fit snugly between his legs. America splayed his legs open and wrapped his arms around Russia's shoulders, lips pressed together in yet another kiss. Both dressed in nothing but boxers as they grinded against each other.
A knock sounded at the door.
America broke the kiss with a gasp.
"Wait-…what was that?"
Russia ignored him and continued to press kisses across his jaw and down his neck.
A gentle knock struck the door three times. Only this time it was more insistent.
"Wait- stop-" America gasped, pushing Russia away. "Someone's at the door."
Russia withdrew, eyes still glazed from the heated kissing, groping and grinding they were doing mere seconds ago. America went to sit up, silently thankful he wasn't completely hard yet, grasped the door knob, twisted and opened the door.
"What the hell do ya want-…Alex?"
The state in question stood in the hall, dressed in medical scrubs that were two sizes too big. Clutched to his chest was an old, stuffy bear. It was brown, the fake fur matted and stained.
"Dad I…" Alaska hesitated, his eyes dropping to America's naked chest. "Do…you want me to go back?"
"No- it's okay." America pushed the annoyance he previously felt at being interrupted, and focused his full attention on the boy. "What's wrong?"
"I…" Alaska's gaze turned glassy from unshed tears. "I had a nightmare. You…and Ivan…everyone was dead and I was all alone and…"
"Aww, shhh…" America opened the door wider and gathered the young boy into his arms. "It was just a nightmare. Everything's okay."
"I know…but…" Alaska squeezed his eyes shut and buried his face into America's bare chest. "It was so real! You and Ivan were dead and the alien was alive and… everything was gone." Alaska pulled away, revealing a pink, tearstained face. "Can I stay with you and Ivan?"
America hesitated. Alaska pushed, giving him big pleading eyes.
"Please?" Alaska pushed. "I don't want to be alone in that room again."
America melted, threw an I'm sorrygaze to Russia and wrapped his arms around Alaska's shoulders.
"Of course. Come on, let's get you to bed."
Alaska pulled away with a grateful smile and rushed to the bed, crawling into the sheets and cuddling with Russia. America shut the door, making sure to lock it this time, and slid into the sheets with the other two. Alaska fell asleep in seconds, face pressed to America's chest, body half sprawled over him as he used him as a pillow. Russia lay opposite of him, watching them for a moment before making himself comfortable. The three slept together on the bed, all giving each other warmth and comfort with their presence.
One Year Later
After the battle for the Diomede Islands, the aliens defenses withered and they fled further south to the equatorial regions. America, Canada and Mexico and other nations of North and Central America were both in the southern half of the continent, switching between fighting in the deep jungles of Brazil and the mountains of Peru. All of the neighboring nations pooled resources to continue fighting and eradicate the aliens from the continent. Russia returned to his home, and went south to aid southern Asia in fighting the aliens. The nations of Europe and the Middle East were now deep in the savannahs and jungles of Africa to help with the war effort. The aliens grew more desperate in their attacks, turning to guerrilla warfare and tactics. Stealing weapons and supplies from anywhere they could find and returning to the thick jungles where the tree cover helped keep them hidden. But with both the local and foreign powers fighting them, the aliens were slowly losing. Many started succumbing to the earthborn diseases humans normally were able to fight off, some even as simple as the common cold. It wasn't until three days after Christmas that the last of the aliens were killed on the South American continent. In the following week, the last of the aliens on earth were eradicated.
On New Year's Eve, the alien nation disappeared from its holding cell.
The news traveled over the wires like a wildfire consuming a dry meadow. Celebrations and joyous victory consumed every man, woman and child as nationalities were forgotten to share the praise and victory. Many shouted and yelled, hugged and cried out for joy. Other's broke into tears, remembering their friends and loved ones that were lost in the flash and the war. And others merely took it in stoic silence, the realization slower for them. The invasion and subsequent war afterword narrowly consumed an entire decade. An entire generation of children were conceived and raised in the hellish conditions, learning of the time before the flash, and how life changed after.
Celebrations followed directly after the news of the alien nations disappearance was announced, kegs of beer opened and joyous parties erupted all over the massive camp the combined military forces were gathered. America and Canada sat together on a large table with the other central and south American nations. All talking and laughing at the same time, drinking beer and eating military rations. Hours into the party, Canada finally excused America and himself and together they walked – Canada walked, America staggered and tripped – back to the tent they shared, where the northern twin promptly dumped America to his bed roll.
"Ow…fuck." America whined, rolling toward Canada's bed roll that was a mere arm's length away. "Why'd'ya have to drop me?"
"If you throw up, do it in this bucket." Canada dropped a bucket in the space between their rolls.
"Mm'not gonna throw up." America sighed kicked his boots off and snuggled into his pillow.
Canada only rolled his eyes and dropped to his own bed roll, kicking his boots off and tugging his shirt off before collapsing with a sigh. America lifted his hand and touched the wall of their tent, a stiff white canvas thick enough to keep the rain out, but open enough to allow a soothing breeze.
"Hey…Mattie." America called, voice subdued and quiet. "The aliens…they're gone. From our land. And this land. And…all land. From Earth."
"They're…really gone." America stared at the ceiling of the tent. "We defeated them. All of us."
"I…" America squeezed his eyes shut. "Thought this day would never come. Hearing the headlines of…the aliens defeat. The alien nation being…gone. Erased from existence."
"He fought so hard…even after the genocide of his people, he still fought…that alien nation. The nameless nation." Canada removed his glasses and put them in a safe spot near his pillow. "All the way to the bitter end."
"Hey." America reached across and grabbed Canada's arm, squeezing it gently. "We…did the right thing. Right? Killing them all. And their ships." America struggled to support coherent thought process and form it into words. "Everything…right?"
"They threatened our planet." Canada reasoned. "They were going to kill off our species…and everything else on Earth. We had every right to defend ourselves."
"Even when…they were on the run?" America asked again, voice small and delicate. "When they had no hope of winning?"
"…Yes." Canada reassured him. "We had no choice. If we let them survive, then the alien nation would have lived. And he wanted nothing but our death."
"But…" America curled his fingers around the palm of Canada's hand, linking their fingers together. The mutual touch gave them comfort. "Isn't that… what they did to us?"
Canada fell silent for a long moment before turning to stare at America.
"I mean…" America licked his dry, chapped lips. "The only reason they….did what they did. Was so they could…live. Survive." America closed his eyes. "They didn't have a home. A…planet."
"They could have found one. Like Tony's people did."
"But they couldn't." America sighed. "I…yeah. We did the right thing."
"Al…" Canada sat up, fingers still linked with America's. "Are you okay?"
America turned to look at him, sat up and vomited into the bucket.
Northern Mexico – Five Months Later
America sat in the far corner of the train car wearing old jeans, boots and a dark blue button up shirt. Canada sat next to him, the first two buttons of his white shirt undone, jeans rolled up to his knees, shoes and socks off, book opened and used as a fan to push the furnace-like air to his sweaty neck.
"I want to go home." Canada moaned and dropped the book, taking out a piece of cloth to tie his hair back. "I miss Katya."
"I miss Ivan." America pouted. "Wish I had skype. Or the internet. Or a phone. Or anythingbetter than the fucking telegraph to keep in touch over long distance."
"Don't get started. Please." Canada picked up the book again and returned to fanning air to his face and neck. "I hate it just as much as you do."
"I need a vacation." America sighed wearily. "I honestly can't wait for the meeting in London."
"It will be nice to get away." Canada's tone was short, clipped, annoyed.
America glanced at him, picking up on his twin's mood. "You know Katya's coming. Right?"
"…I- what?" Canada turned to him in surprise. "How do you know this?"
"Ivan…might have mentioned it to me in a recent telegraph." America smirked. "Bet you reallywanna come now, huh?"
Canada couldn't help the chuckle that escaped. Smirking, he slugged America in the shoulder.
Canada relaxed back into the seat and continued to fan himself. America looked out the window, watching the endless desert valleys and large mountains pass by.
I can't wait to see you again…but I wonder… if you'll like myidea?
Southern England – Late Fall
It was raining when Canada and America arrived at the Inn England designated for the nations to stay at. The two found their rooms, unpacked and were in the middle of eating breakfast when Russia and Ukraine arrived.
Canada jumped up upon seeing her, crossed the room and flung his arms around her in a fierce hug. Ukraine laughed at his eagerness, but returned the huge with fervor, her cheeks bright pink with glee. America and Russia merely shared a mutual smile, eyes locking together for a moment before America stood and hugged him fiercely. The two parted, and Russia took a seat beside America. Together the group ate breakfast, sharing stories of their long travels over boat, train and horse carriages. Once breakfast was finished, the group left for the meetings, all of which took place at a large meeting hall in a small village. The other nations of the G8 – and those that were invited – all slowly emerged into the room. Japan was able to make it this time, and everyone greeted him and asked him of his journey. America was the first to do so, as he hadn't seen his old friend since before the flash. England brought the group together and the presentations started. Discussions about rebuilding and recovery filled the debates, but everyone remained friendly and agreeable.
The day passed by quickly, lunch was called, and soon the discussions were ended for the day. America left with Russia, both disappearing to their room for the evening before reappearing for dinner. Canada and Ukraine were still nowhere to be found, but America didn't bother to ask for their whereabouts. It was then when America tugged Russia outside to the garden, both sitting off to the far side, wild grasses growing tall and surrounding them. Moonlight spilled over the village, illuminating the buildings, trees, bushes and roadways.
"I will never tire of viewing the night sky." Russia admitted, voice soft.
"Me either." America grinned and glanced at Russia. "It's one of the only things that don't change."
"Yes." Russia agreed. "I know that, despite all of the changes we go through…the stars and the moon will remain constant. They will always be there."
America lay back on the grass, tugging Russia with him. Together they lay under the stars, hands clutching each other, fingers laced together.
"I want to go back."
"Back..where?" Russia asked, still focused on the night sky.
"Back to the moon."
A paused. Russia sat up and focused a bewildered stare on America.
"You are…not serious." Russia blinked, confusion filling him. "Right?"
"Nope. I'm really serious." America also sat, up, eyes shining brightly. "I'm serious enough to ask you to come with me."
"Come with you?" Russia gaped, mouth parting in surprise. "But-…not possible. The recovery effort…the money, and technology required…"
"That's what they said last time. And look what we accomplished!"
"That was before the flash." Russia frowned. "We had the means back then. Now…"
"Now, our technology level is around the same time period as…oh 1910. Or so. We're just getting cars, phones and machinery back. We're still using steam engines, the telegraph and horses. But…if you think about it. Back then, we had to discoverthe new technology. Now, we already know about it. We just have to…bring it back."
"This…why are you bringing this up now?"
"Because I don't want our people to be afraid of the sky anymore." America insisted, eyes blazing. "I want people to look up there and feel what you and I feel. Excitement and wonder…and curiosity. Not fear."
Russia peered at him for a long moment before America spoke again.
"If you and I agree to do this, and we managed to convince our bosses, we'd be able to do it." America grinned. "Together we could build it, and take a group of our people to the moon. They would beam back the radio and video feed, and people would watch us go back to the moon."
"And then to Mars, I hope." Russia allowed a small, shy smile to tug at his lips. "And beyond the reaches of our solar system."
"Yeah." America clasped their hands together. "Everyone is invited. If they want to pool resources together…we could show the universe that…the human race won't be beaten down so easily. We defeated the planet hunters! Something no one else was able to do! Well-…with the help of Tony of course…but still! Think about it!" America grinned hugely. "For the first time in thousands of years…the planet hunters were defeated and-!"
A small, breathless giggle escaped Russia's throat before he could help it. America grinned back, chuckling softly.
"You have big dreams, Alfred." Russia pulled him close and wrapped his arms around the younger nation. "Sometimes they are too big…but that is just one of many reasons why I love you."
America blushed fiercely under the moonlight. Russia smiled at him, eyes softening with affection.
"At first, I wasn't so sure…but when you invited me to that planetarium...I knew."
"…Really?" America's voice was breathless. "You…just knew? Right then?"
America laughed, and threw his arms around Russia, hugging him tightly to his chest. Russia returned the hug and pressed his face to America's shoulder. The two remained pressed together until they fell to the soft earth, curling around and against each other. Their arms wrapped around each other's waists and shoulders haphazardly. America kept his head pressed to Russia's shoulder, and Russia kept his head aloft using the back of his left arm. Their legs tangled and wove together as they lay out under the stars, watching the moon rise and fall from the sky, pointing out the planetary bodies among the surrounding stars.
Laying there, watching the stars and hearing their names…America couldn't help but think of Tony.
The pain of his leaving was dull…but still there. Buried deep within America's chest. Buried with all of his other pains and sorrows he'd endured over his lifetime. Friends he'd made, whether it be his citizens, military personnel or presidents…all held a place within him, so their memory would never wither. Like a book of memories, all snug and condensed together. With Tony's leave, it only added another page to the tome. The only physical items he had left from Tony was his red backpack, the old plastic star chart, and the hand written letter. America let his gaze settle on the moon and studied its face. The dark splotches contrasting with the soft white. The names all ran through his mind, still memorized even after all the time spent focusing on the invasion.
Don't give up on restarting the space program, no matter what people say about the cost.
Tony's words still echoed through his mind. The words burned into his memory.
I will. America promised. It might take a while…but I'll definitely do it.
America lifted a hand up and let his fingers move across the image of the moon in the sky before dropping his hand to Russia's chest.
I'm coming back, Luna, and this time I won't be alone.