"Are you talking to your imaginary friends again?" America asked, frowning at England. He'd refuse to admit it to his face, but he was worried that he might be going senile. He was rather old, after all, and America didn't want his boyfriend forgetting his awesomeness or anything.
"They are not imaginary!" England snapped, turning to glare at America. "I don't understand you! Your land has magic and creatures, as well! How can you be so blind?"
"Because it's not real." America rolled his eyes. England was talking crazy talk. There was no such thing as magic and magical creatures, especially not in his land. He would know, he was America.
"January nineteen oh nine."
America blinked. "Huh?"
"January nineteen oh nine. What was that you called it?" He took a deliberate pause. "The 'Week of Terror?'" America twitched and England smirked. "I seem to recall a letter you sent… asking for advice, were you not?"
America's frown deepened. "Never happened." Then, just to make sure his point had gotten across, he said, slowly and deliberately, "It doesn't exist."
England raised an eyebrow. "Dearest America, are you scared?" he asked smugly.
"No way!" America exclaimed, face growing red in anger.
"No?" England gave a sly smile. "Prove it."
America wrinkled his nose. "What? How?"
"Find him. The Jersey Devil. You know where he is. Find him." Behind him came tinkling laughter that only England could hear, but his smile grew none-the-less. His friends liked the idea; that was good.
America held back a shudder, repressed memories trying to break free. A thought flitted through his mind. A most curious thought… he stood straighter. There was no Jersey Devil, he knew that, was secure in that. There was no magic, no supernatural, especially in his land. But an excuse to go camping? With England? And proving that it doesn't exist? America grinned a toothy grin, it growing wide at England's sudden confusion. "Challenge accepted. We leave tomorrow."
"Here you go!" America called out as he tossed England a lighter. "I'll pitch the tent if you start the fire."
England caught the lighter one-handedly before stomping off to gather wood. Never before did he hate himself as much as now. Had he not opened his mouth, he would not be stuck in the middle of the bloody woods in damn New Jersey with a potentially dangerous monster on the loose. He would be able to see it, yes, but that didn't mean he actually wanted to meet him. Anyway, how was he supposed to know America would turn the tables and make it a camping trip?
"I still don't understand why I had to come," he grumped upon returning with some wood.
America looked up from the halfway pitched tent. "Heroes don't work alone when they know there's danger afoot." England almost expected him to add "duh" after his statement. But, based on how quickly America returned to his tent, England was left to wonder if that was truly the case or not.
After a moment or two of studying America, watching as he worked hard on that tent, his hidden strength just brimming beneath the surface… England cleared his throat and shook his head. America was just being an idiot, nothing more, and now it was time to start the fire. There was no point in being both stuck out in the woods and cold.
The fire started, England sat back on his heels, watching the fire burn. Burn. Flare. Flare up. Burn it down. Entrancing. Corner to corner. Magical. Not leaving a single trace. Mystical. Burn down. Hypnotic.
"England!" America shouted and tackled him from behind.
England blinked, coming out of what felt like a trance, and pushed America off him. "What was that for?"
"You were singing that evil devil song again!" America cried, causing England to frown. Had he really started singing? He'd had no idea.
"There was still no need to tackle me!" he huffed. "A simple, 'England, please stop that' would have sufficed."
America still looked positively terrified, however, nervously glancing over his shoulder. "You know what they say. 'Speak of the Devil and he shall appear.'"
This gave England pause. Here, America had been denying the mere idea of a devil being present in the woods and yet he was afraid that it would be summoned? Curious.
"I thought it didn't exist?" England asked simply. A twig crunched behind them and America twitched, but England had to give him credit for staying put.
"H-he doesn't," America shook his head, "but there's no reason to risk it."
England gave him a dry look. "Uh-huh."
Flushing, America turned away from England. "Be-besides. I'm hungry and you've finally got the fire started and the tent is up. I'll go get the hot dogs." America was off into the tent in a flash, missing England wrinkle his nose.
England sat next to the fire, listening to it crack and to the various sounds of the wildlife around him. A chiming sound called his attention to the area directly behind him, however. Slowly turning, England saw the bushes move, and a wing peeked out before disappearing again. Another tinkling sound came, directing his attention back to the fire and tent where he saw America about to come out.
England frowned. The Jersey Devil was behind him. Not being threatening, but definitely making noise and making its presence obvious. He could see it, but there was no telling if America could or not. One thing was certain, though, that regardless of his being able to see the creature or not, America would freak out at the bushes moving and making noise.
He sighed, steeling himself for what he was about to do next. "I'm going to do something a bit unorthodox," he told his fairy friend. "While I'm distracting America, get that thing out of here, got it?" The fairy twittered and nodded, flying away, leaving a golden trail of dust behind her.
"America!" England shouted, jumping to his feet.
America stopped in his tracks, looking appropriately shocked. "Y-yeah, England? You finally gone crazy?"
England let out a brief chuckle and walked over to America. "Perhaps," he said, his voice dropping an octave. He stood up on his toes a bit, leaning in close to America. "It's your fault," he continued. There was a clatter as the supplies in America's hands dropped to the ground. England smirked and then his hand was behind America's head, bringing him in closer and kissing him. America let out a brief squeal of surprise but then relaxed, moving his arms around England.
So distracted America was, that he missed the commotion going on in the bushes. He missed the ringing laughter and the whoosh of wings in flight. He missed the trail of gold dust leading away triumphantly. He missed as something took his hot dogs (as payment for her services, England found out later). England didn't miss any of it, but he had no desire to pull away once the job had been done. No, he was enjoying this far too much.
America was the one to end the kiss, though he leaned his forehead against England's, smiling that goofy smile of his. "That," he started, giving England a slight squeeze, "was pretty awesome."
"Of course it was," England snapped, flushing and turning away.
America laughed and let go, stepping away, albeit reluctantly. "…I feel like we were going to do something important," he said suddenly, looking confused.
England frowned. That's right. They were supposed to roast hot dogs, weren't they? He glanced at the ground where the hot dogs once rested. "Marshmallows?" he threw out, hoping America picked up on those and not the missing meat.
"S'mores!" America exclaimed, nodding furiously before disappearing into the tent.
England sat back down by the fire, unable to keep a smile from his face. His America. As excitable and oblivious as ever.
America came back from the tent, babbling a mile a minute as he handed half the supplies to England.
England wasn't listening, however, preferring to watch how the light from the fire made America appear to be glowing. "Don't ever change," England said.
America stopped mid-sentence. "Huh?"
"Nothing, nevermind," England snapped, grabbing a graham cracker. "How do you make these s'mores thing again?"
America smiled, using it as an excuse to sit close to England in order to show him.
And, really, if England was honest, he didn't mind. This camping thing might not be so bad. The devil was gone, there was a whole night ahead of them, and no one was around to interrupt. Yes… maybe the dare had been a good thing after all, especially if America kept smiling like that.