Author's note: A short oneshot I wrote for berseker on livejournal. She asked for something about America's birthday, perhaps the first one that England actually went to without being all tsun (and it was perfect).

More than a Birthday

By Everything is Magic

It's just a birthday.

America had tried to assure England of this many, many times. There was no reason for him to be so upset about it, no reason for him not to join the celebrations. It was just a birthday, and the birthday happened to be America's.

But England knew that no matter how many times America had said this in attempt to coax England out of his sour mood, get him to not spend the week before sulking and having trouble sleeping and feeling ill, get him to come to his party without being a 'total sourpuss,' that it wasn't true.

It was so much more than a birthday to America, and England knew he would have been a right fool to believe that it was just that.

America's Independence Day was a celebration for him and his people, all bloody hundreds of millions of them. It was a celebration for him as a person, a boy who grew into a man and took on his mentor, one of the strongest nations in the world… and won. It commemorated everything it meant to be American and to be America, and everything that ever was and would be for the still young, but powerful nation.

It was a day to revel in everything America, and… in that manner, England realized, it was no wonder that the other nation got so disappointed regarding England's behavior. A day to celebrate him, wholly, and his boyfriend didn't even want to participate. Hated it, even.

It's not as if England's reasons weren't legit though! It might have become something larger over the years, but the day at its core was still created to commemorate his revolution and his declaration of independence. Against England. It was no wonder that it hurt him so deeply to see America throwing massive parties and inviting every nation this side of Sealand over to join him in his revelry. He had every right to be upset.

But he tried. He tried to get over it because he loved America, and he wanted him to be happy because his happiness was tantamount to England's, and the idea of an unhappy America broke his heart. He tried to suck up his misery around the occasion, because America was his now of his own accord and had been for decades and decades. He dared, in the deepest part of his heart, to hope that what he and America had together was timeless.

And so after so many years together, he finally started to come. He came to America's birthdays, and he was blustery and… all right, sometimes a bit of an arse (maybe he shouldn't have given him that punching gift…), but he still came. He loved the way America's eyes lit up when he saw him there, as if still not believing that England had actually come and he was there celebrating (sort of) with him. It always caused a lump in his throat to form and a deep blush to form on his face.

Over time, it got better. It's not as if America sat around talking about kicking English arse at his parties (thankfully). Instead it was just fireworks and red white and blue and America's boundless energy, so happy and… free.

Eventually he started to feel a little less ill the week before the fourth of July. He slept better, and his stomach didn't churn and do flip flops that caused him to wince whenever he glanced at the calendar.

Because he knew that on that day, after the festivities, America would kiss him and whisper in his ear and say something really, really hopelessly cheesy like "you're the best present ever" and take him up to his bedroom for the evening, all other guests forgotten.

And England would be… happy.

It took time, a good fifteen or so years after he first started going to America's parties, before England was able to attend without his barriers up, having felt at least all right the week before. It had been a process; things getting gradually better over time, but he… finally felt ready. Ready to go and attend a day celebrating his partner like a proper gentleman should.

He greeted America with a soft smile, slipping a small, crisply wrapped box into his hand as he did so. America planted a brief kiss on his lips and beamed, placing the gift on top of the already enormous pile and remarking that "it better be an awesome one." England rolled his eyes at this, but didn't mutter anything more than a "git." It was an 'awesome' one, as well as a bloody expensive one.

It was a perfect day. The sun shone, but it wasn't overly hot. The food was delicious, and the company was… the best that England could ask for. He smiled and he laughed and he pressed surprise kisses to America's face from time to time. America remained by his side most of the day, leaving to attend to and talk to his guests every once in a while, but overall devoting most of his attention to England.

And when the fireworks began, England gave America a timid smile and slipped his hand into his and squeezed. "Happy Independence Day, love."

America's resulting grin outshone every firework in the sky.