Chapter 7 –

"Alfred, why do you always have to do that?"


Alfred was distracted by a game going on between Zack and the kids. Apparently he was losing pretty badly but was doing so in such a ridiculous and amusing way that they kept at it anyway.

"You always have to make an entrance. You could've seriously hurt somebody you know that? I don't know why I ever want to do anything with you. You never think, you just do."

"So you didn't want me to come? Come on Mattie. I know you don't really mean it."

Canada tried to keep a serious lecture face but it wasn't any use because he was honestly happy to see his brother. They watched Jinx push Zack aside with a smirk as she started to play. She was actually doing pretty well but she only made it worst because she tripped about ten times and lost her temper. The kids giggled as she huffed over to where they were sitting and gave Canada a hug and an embarrassed smile before retreating to the safety of her laptop. Then Alfred remembered the gift and offered it to Canada who looked at it confused.

"What's this?"

"It's a present. You think I'd forget? I may not celebrate today anymore but since it's important to you then it's just like any other birthday party and that means you get a present."

Canada opened the little package. Inside was a necklace just like the one that he was wearing except the stone was red and the cord was intertwined with a blue ribbon. He looked surprised but then he smiled. He held both up to the light and in the stones you could see two little hawks flying back and forth to each other.

"I can't believe you still have this. You even have the ribbon that England gave you. I thought you would've gotten rid of this."

"Yeah, well. Turns out I'm a hoarder. You remember the day we made these?"

"You mean the day we spent up in a tree waiting for someone to find us because we couldn't get down? Then, when someone did find us, it was dad and he made us spend the whole week climbing every tree imaginable so we wouldn't get stuck again. You mean that day?"

"Yup. Good times."

"Except nowadays if you told your kid to climb a four story high tree and made them come back down without trying to catch them if they fell, I'm pretty sure you'd get arrested."

"Hey! Mattie, we should go climb trees! It'd be fun!"

"No. That's stupid. It's cold out and we could get hurt. Besides, when was the last time you climbed a tree anyway?"

"Right now."

Canada rolled his eyes and watched Alfred attempting to scale the nearest tree. Needless to say he wasn't going anywhere until the others saw what he was trying to do and showed him how. Then they made a game out of it seeing who could climb the highest till only Canada, Jinx, Zack, and a few elderly people were left on the ground. Alfred looked down at them.

"What are you waiting for?"

Jinx looked down at her sandals and gave the tree a doubtful look.

"I don't know about this."

"Have a little fun for once in a while shorty. Here, I'll help you."

Zack let Jinx climb on his back and he came swinging up to where Alfred was. Finally the last one left, Canada gave Alfred a challenging grin and went behind the tree. Alfred tried to get around to the other side to see where he went but he was gone. While he was trying to find him something landed on top of him with a thump.

"Just because you're a big shot out there doesn't mean you're gonna show me up in my own home."

Canada pulled them both to the ground and started running. Alfred chased after him caught up in the childish game. Alfred felt wild and free. He ran until his legs went numb and he was flying over the fallen branches and leaves. For once he wasn't thinking about what new game Japan was making or how to annoy England. For once, it was just Alfred and Matthew.

Just when he was about to give up Canada slowed down and came to a stop in front of a long wooden house. He gave Alfred a wink and went around the back. Alfred followed him and heard people laughing and chatting together. Inside there was another group of people but Alfred didn't see them. His eyes went straight to the person in the back of the room. It was a tall women with dark hair that had a warm brown tint. It framed a small heart shaped face and a smile that was all too familiar. She was surrounded by people who were drawn in by the warmth and happiness that filled the air around her.

Alfred felt his mind blank. Now he remembered what today was. He knew why he had felt so panicked and why he wanted to be with his brother so badly. In his heart a scar that never healed throbbed and tears pricked his eyes.

When the women saw the two of them she stopped what she was saying and came over. Canada hugged her and the joy and peace that filled his face made Alfred smile. She kissed Canada and whispered a few words that sent him off to bring back the others. Then she turned to Alfred and flashed him a smile that was identical to his own. Bright blue eyes stood out from her dark complexion and looked on him with love. She hugged him and two little words came out of her mouth but those words made all the world of difference to Alfred.

"Welcome home."

Bad ending is bad. Alfred loves his Mama Native North America. Thanks to those that read it to the end!