It was some time later when America saw Hong Kong again, and already America could see a change in him. His once darkened eyes were brighter, and, though not exactly jubilant, his lips seemed perpetually curved into a cute, tiny smile.

"Hey, Hong!" he yelled. "Oops! I mean, Hong Kong!"

"You can call me 'Hong' if you want," Hong Kong said.

"How've you been, bro?" America asked, high-fiving Hong Kong.

"Well, thanks. And you?"

"I've been awesome, as always!" America said, grinning. "You seem better than 'well,' little dude!"

"Do I?" There was that shy smile again. America couldn't help but coo, ruffling Hong Kong's hair. Between China's pretty hair and the slightest hint of an accent he'd clearly picked up from England - not to mention the boss advice he was going to get from his honorary big brother, America - Hong Kong was going to be a total natural with the ladies when he got a little bigger. "I suppose I am. How have England and China been at your meetings?"

"Soooo embarrassing!" America laughed. "They're always holding hands and stuff, or making googly eyes at each other instead of listening to my totally awesome plans for beating the Axis! It's really weird! But cool, you know!"

Hong Kong's smile widened, and America threw an arm around him as they headed back inside England's house.

"America?" he asked.

"Yeah, bro?"

"Thank you."

"For what?" America laughed.

"Well, England said that he and China never would've gotten back together if you hadn't stuck your big fat nose into other people's business. So, thank you."

America ruffled Hong Kong's hair again. "Any time, little dude!" he said, pumping his fist in the air. His smile disappeared almost instantly, though, and he looked back down at Hong Kong. "Wait a second. England called me fat? I hook him back up with the love of his life, and he calls me fat? Not cool! So not cool!"

Hong Kong laughed, his dark eyes sparkling, tiny flecks of green and gold shimmering just around his pupils.