They were freaks of nature.

Ancient Greece realized this first as she watched her city, her lovely, lovely Athens, fall to the plague. It became clearer as Socrates committed suicide, and Sparta took over her once intellectual, gorgeous city and things began to crumble apart. She was quietly grateful when the old ways began to fade away and she could leave the burden of being against the laws of the world to her son.

Germania figured it out second while studying Rome – his roots as a small town owned by the Etruscans, his start as a republic that shifted to a monarchy, his battles. Rome fell, and as he watched Rome sicken and waste away, Germania mused that it was unnatural for someone human in form to be so connected to the land.

China thought about it for years as he silently stood witness to the falls of Greece, of Rome, and even most of the Germanic tribes. They were unusual, he concluded. It was strange for them to feel the pains of the population as a whole, and yet, when struck with a blade, obtain no injury. It made no physical sense; it went against the rules of nature. They were freaks, abominations, devils.

And China came to a decision on what should be done about it.

When other countries came and eventually found their way to China, China warned them to keep their nature a secret. They would be persecuted, he explained; driven out with pitchforks and stabbed with knives. And even though it couldn't hurt their bodies, their minds and hearts could bleed. Insane immortals who couldn't be hurt was something, China felt, they should all avoid.

France figured that his people would shun him if they knew what he was before England did. Spain, for all his thickness, knew it instinctively that his nature had to be kept secret. Russia realized that his being was something he and his sisters had to bear alone because the truth of what they were was too dangerous to tell anyone.

They didn't know why their lives were so tightly wound with that of their lands and their people. They didn't know if maybe if someone hurt them, it hurt their lands and their natives. They didn't know why they didn't age, couldn't die, had never seen their own blood.

Times change, though, and as governments rose to power, they agreed over time to reveal what they were to one person and one person alone. Whoever was in charge of their lands should know – for what reason, they couldn't say, but it was important.

Some people, like Sweden's king and China's emperor, took it well. Others, like Spain's ruler, didn't really care, though the presence of the Nation unnerved them. Others, like Russia's czar – one could never truly tell what Russia's czars thought on the matter of Russia as a human, though there was a cold hostility in some of their eyes.

Wars were fought, blood was shed. Alliances were formed and were broken. The Nations hadn't realized that an alliance, to them, was synonymous with a human's marriage. Their kings were often the ones to drag them down the aisle to stand before the priest who was paid handsomely to wed two men, two women, or any number of people of mixed genders.

Lithuania, after the Commonwealth with Poland and after their marriage had been broken, commented on what the priests must have thought about the whole business. Same-sex marriages weren't common back then, he pointed out, and those that were were not endorsed by the king.

Switzerland, after breaking up a alliance with France, said the whole business was stupid – why did they need to make it – alliances and feuds - seem mundane, human? They weren't human. Why should their wars and alliances be characterized in terms of mortals?

Norway suggested people didn't know what to make of them, so putting them in terms humans could understand made it easier. Denmark told him that that was shit reasoning – really, they looked like humans, ate food, argued, talked, read, wrote, fell in love and fell in hate – besides the fact that they were immortal, how more human could they get?

Sweden wryly suggested that they could be more human by not spurting out blood every time a village burned down, even if they were miles away from it, by not flinching when their soldiers were struck down, even if they weren't on the same battlefield as them, by not knowing what their people wanted out of their government.

Greece once asked them what they thought would happen to them, the Nations, if all their people died. He offered no answers, but stared apathetically at them with sleepy turquoise eyes, waiting. No one answered, but Egypt silently concluded that if their people died, they did too. He didn't voice it, but later whispered it to Turkey who told everyone else and they all agreed.

They never showed the years passing, but the centuries were slipping by. They were in the Age of Exploration now, as England and Spain would proclaim, a time when they knew that all the secrets of the world – maybe even the truth of why they existed as Nations – was just around the corner.

Canada, America, Mexico and all the others – it took England, Spain and France years to convince them that their status as a Nation was something to hide and never tell, except to their rulers. Though they were small children with innocent eyes would looked like they would buy any lie, they were remarkably hard to sell on keeping their secrets.

But keep it they did – it was necessary, after all, and for the better.

And life continued on. Territories were lost and gained, books were written, songs were sung, alliances formed. Romano remarked to his brother how it sucked to be pulled into an alliance with a Nation you hated – hated as a person, not the country – and it sucked when you could never really be with the person you loved, because a marriage between them would mean an alliance and the other would only see you as using them for gain.

Italy smiled and patted his brother on the arm and told him some day he'd be able to be with the person he loved most. Romano turned crimson as his brother skipped away singing to join in on a meeting.

The modern era, with it's fancy computers and cell phones, was, in some ways, worse than the ages before. They were always in touch with each other. They could put anything on the Internet. They could easily tell the whole world what they were.

But they didn't want to. And it was hard to avoid people with their cameras and camcorders so they didn't catch them doing something unusual and let their secret out.

England said cameras and camcorders were the worst inventions ever. America laughed and then said, seriously, that the cameras and camcorders weren't necessarily bad – it was just if they slipped up there'd be one there to catch it and preserve the proof of their unnaturalness.

They had to be more human than ever. They took human names, watched popular movies and listened to popular songs. America and Canada registered themselves in false colleges so no one could ask what they did for a living. France found a job as a model, the Italy twins worked as professional cooks. England was advisor to the Queen. China oversaw his companies, working as a go-between for foreigners and natives.

They survived. They had hundreds of years of experience, after all. Their existence was strange, against every law of the world, and they knew it. They had to keep themselves hidden by being mortals, by never drawing real attention to themselves.

That was all they knew they had to do.

Author's Note


...Have honestly no idea. Um. I was bored? Yeah, sure. Okay, I was bored.

It's too early for me to think of anything really deep to say about this, so enjoy. I'm going back to bed.