Title: Untitled (Canada = Vinland)
Characters/Pairings: Canada, France, UK, USA, Nordics, a lot
Disclaimer: Hetalia and its characters belong to Himaruya Hidekaz, I'm just borrowing them.
Summary: Based on the idea that Matthew is Vinland, woken up from a very long nap. Kink meme de-anon.
Edit June 30/11: Edited to fix a mix-up between Nancy April/Shanawdithit and Mary March/Demasduit. Thanks to Eyelling for pointing it out!
There were a thousand little things - word choice, knowledge of things he shouldn't have been present for - which gave away that Matthew was older than he looked. On their own, each incident could be explained away, but there were five times the Western nations should have gotten together to figure out what exactly was up with him.
The first time was, fittingly, the first time Francis met Matthew. It was 1617, and Francis had come to New France to get a look at the colony for himself. He was walking in the woods near Port Royal, under trees the likes of which he hadn't seen in centuries, and he could hear someone following him. He'd met a few of the natives at the fort, and at first he thought this might be one of their children, the stride was short enough. But as the walk went on, something seemed off: there was more sound than one of the natives would have caused, more dashing between bushes and behind trees.
He sighed. Might as well see what this was about. He sat beneath a pine, leaned against the trunk, and closed his eyes. Feigning sleep, he waited.
There was silence for a few minutes. The pine needles were dry, at least, and he thanked God that it was the end of summer so the mosquitoes weren't eating him alive. Finally, there was a rustle, then another, and the child came closer. When Francis judged the child to be just a few feet away, he opened his eyes.
The boy froze, eyes wide like a deer he'd startled earlier. Francis stayed still, studying him. Short, perhaps four or five, with blonde hair and purple eyes. He wore a loincloth, and had faded red markings on his face. And there was something else...
They stayed there, looking at each other, until the child opened his mouth and let loose a string of syllables. It was choppy and foreign, and the part of him that remembered old Normandy could almost understand it. Maybe these natives had had closer contact with Europe than anyone thought, if their language was so closely related?
"Quoi?" A boy this young wouldn't be allowed to wander so far from the fort on his own.
The child frowned, and tried again, more slowly. The sentence ended on a more pronounced upward note, exaggerating the question.
Francis shook his head. "Je ne comprends pas, ma chaton."
The boy huffed and crossed his arms. This time his speech was full of irritation, and Francis had a sudden urge to ruffle his hair. Instead, he patted the ground next to his leg. The boy hesitated, then came over and plopped himself down.
Francis pointed to himself. "Francis."
He tilted his head, mouthing the word, then nodded and pointed to himself. "Matteus."
And Francis heard the something else in Matthieu's name - a young nation, right in his new colony. He smiled. This trip was going to be even more interesting than he had expected.
Quoi? = What?
Je ne comprends pas, ma chaton. = I don't understand, kitten.
The second time they should have realised was 1763. France had lost the Seven Years' War, and had begged Arthur to let him say good-bye to Matthieu. Arthur had placed extreme conditions, trying to dissuade him, but France had agreed to all of them: Francis sailed in the cargo hold of a troop ship, chained to the deck except when allowed above deck for air and to piss. He was fed last, whatever was left over, and sometimes whatever was spoiled. When they arrived at Quebec City, Francis still had his poise, and his clothes were remarkably presentable for having crossed the ocean in a wet, smelly hold. Arthur refused to be impressed. He escorted Francis into the city personally, with a guard detail following behind.
When Francis knocked on Matthew's door, there was a crash and the sound of running feet, and the door was flung open. "Francis!" A pause while he registered England's presence, and the guards flanking them. "Angleterre."
Arthur's mouth compressed at the difference in the greeting. "Can we come in?"
Matthew nodded, stepped away from the door. The other nations entered, the guards waited outside. He gestured them to seats, but Francis shook his head.
Matthew frowned. "Pourquoi est-il...?"
Francis dropped into French, and Arthur didn't protest. It was good-bye, so they could use that damned language if they wished - and Arthur had picked up enough over the last thousand years of fighting to follow them, not that he'd ever admit it.
"We lost. I'm sorry, kitten, but I won't be coming anymore. Arthur will be looking after you from now on."
"What do you mean- You can't." His face crumpled. "Not again, Francis, don't leave. Please don't leave..."
Arthur blinked - again? Oh, probably just a reference to the times that chunks of New France were handed over in treaties, or Francis' infrequent visits. And teenagers were prone to emotional outbursts, just something else for him to fix to fit Matthew into the rest of the British Empire.
"Matthieu, we don't have a choice. That's what it means to lose a war."
"You've lost before, and you didn't leave!"
Arthur snorted; Francis glanced at him, then concentrated on Matthew again. "Not this time." He stepped close, pulled the boy into a hug. "I'm so sorry."
Matthew latched on, began sobbing into his shoulder. "You can't..."
"Shh." Francis stroked his hair. "Maybe if you're good, Arthur will allow you to go to his house, and I can visit you there."
The gall of him- But if it would make Canada a better, more obedient colony, well, it wouldn't hurt. He nodded slightly.
Francis nodded, turned it into a nuzzle of Matthew's hair. He let the boy cry; when it sounded like he was slowing down, he gently began disentangling himself. "Matthieu, I need to go now. Just remember that Arthur knows more French than he lets on, so be careful about cursing him under your breath."
Shit, was he that obvious?
Matthew whimpered, and Francis didn't bother to look at Arthur, too concerned with his former ward. "Be good." He stepped back.
Matthew stared up at Francis, eyes red. "Please, Francis," he whispered, hiccupping.
Francis smiled sadly, kissed his cheeks, and turned to go.
Matthew trembled, watched him walk through the door, and then was running after him. "Francis!" He flung open the door, tripped on the lintel, fell to his knees. "FRANCIS!"
Arthur watched them part - Francis' shoulders stiff but proud as he walked back to the port, Matthew covered in mud and tears - and wondered if any of his own colonies would ever cry for him.
Angleterre. = England.
Pourquoi est-il [ici]...? = Why is he [here]...?
The third was not long after, 1768. Matthew had gone south to visit Alfred; the teens had rambled in the woods for most of the day, teasing each other back and forth about Alfred's sudden growth spurt. They'd cooked dinner over an open fire, and curled up in the same bedroll like they had when they were children. The blankets didn't fit as well as they used to, but the night was warm; and anyway, Alfred was used to his brother hogging all the covers.
Alfred spooned behind Matt, facing the coals of their fire. "Do you get your people's nightmares too?" he asked, voice quiet.
Matthew shifted, considering. "No. I dream their dreams sometimes, but not their nightmares. What do yours have?"
"Arthur. I want to stay with him, with you, but sometimes I don't think I can. Then the nightmares come, and I'm fighting him - sometimes I win, sometimes he does, but it hurts, Mattie." He hesitated, and Matthew pulled his arm around his waist, squeezed his fingers. "Then there are the ones that involve Francis and roses and- Never mind! You're lucky not to have nightmares."
"I didn't say I don't have them, I said that I don't have my people's."
"Annnnd?" Matt got to hear his, only fair that he got to hear Matt's.
He felt the change in his brother, and knew he was making a face. "And- And I'm alone. There are houses, but they're empty, the people are gone. They even took their animalsbut they left me behind." He shivered, and Al tightened his arms. "When I wake up I can't feel my people, I'm too scared, and I need to go walk the streets to convince myself it wasn't real. And it doesn't make sense, because the first thing I remember is walking south through a forest, certain that people who believe in me are ahead. They've never not been there."
They were silent for a time, listening to the coals pop and a bat flying around the campsite. What a weird thing for Matt to be worried about - everyone loved him, called him a sweetheart, the good brother. There was no wayanyone could leave their nation behind like that, let alone one as well-liked and integrated as Matt was. He even held down a real job, for crissakes!
"Promise me something?"
"Depends on what it is." He poked Matt's stomach.
"Hey!" He harrumphed, and Alfred tried not to laugh. "It's serious."
Matt kicked his shin."Promise me that you won't forget about me, whatever happens."
"Only if you promise to never leave me behind."
"You're the one who just shot up several inches and developed stubble."
"Hey now, I'm serious too. Promise?"
The silence was comfortable now, and they fell asleep believing in each other and the future.
The fourth was 1827. Arthur was visiting his colonies, and had stopped in at St. John's, Newfoundland. The Lieutenant-Governor had heard about his interest in "folklore," and brought him to the Beothuk Institute to visit Nancy April. The director served tea, then left Arthur alone with the last Beothuk.
"Have you heard the story of the sleeping child?" she asked. Her English was slow and heavily accented, but clear - none of the pidgin he was used to hearing from the natives of his colonies.
"No," he said, his hand subtly shooing a fairy away from the biscuits. "Please, do tell."
She took a sip of her tea. "People have been coming to this island for many hundreds of years. The first ones who were not Beothuk or Mi'kmaq or Innu settled for a short while on the eastern coast. They used most of their settlements as staging posts, shipping items further North and East. When they left, a family came down to the village to see what had been left behind - nails, perhaps fish hooks or jewellery. Instead, they found a small child, a toddler. Light-haired and coloured-eyed, he obviously belonged to the departed, and the family wondered that someone could be so careless with their children. So they took the child home with him, fed him, and put him to bed. He travelled with the band for a year, but no matter what he ate, or how much time passed, he never grew."
Arthur stiffened. Was she talking about a developing nation?
"The band had no extra good or bad luck that year, and he was a sweet, obedient child, so they wondered if this was in the nature of the departed. Another year passed, then another, and while he never grew, he began to sleep more and more. One spring morning, he did not wake at all. He was still breathing, and still warm, but nothing they could do would wake him. The family discussed what to do with him - was this also in the nature of the departed, or was he something not human, a spirit left behind when they left the island? But weeks passed, and it was a bad year, and the band decided that they could not continue to carry him with them. So the family selected a spot by a stream, sheltered from the wind and the rain, and built him a small house of wood, bark, and earth. They left him some warm clothes and some simple tools, and moved on with the seasons.
"The next summer, the family returned to the stream, and found the child still sleeping in the house. So they made some small repairs, and moved on again. The cycle continued for many years - make repairs, replace any tools or clothes that had been damaged, refresh his ochre, and move on. The family's children grew, had children, then grand-children, passing the story down through generations and to the neighbouring bands. Then one summer, they found that the child had begun to grow. They dressed him in new clothes, made their repairs, and moved on. When their children had children of their own, they came to the stream and found the house empty. They looked for tracks, but they were long gone. They searched the woods, but found only animals. There was no blood on the floor or the furs, no signs of a struggle, but the clothing was missing; and they decided that the strange child had gone looking for his own people. They wished him well, and continued to tell the tale, hoping that the well-wishes would help him in his quest."
Arthur held his teacup in his hands. No one knew what happened to nations whose time had passed, not exactly. Part of their strength depended on how many people identified with them; when they became a memory, they went to sleep, and when even that was gone they disappeared. One day there, one day vanished. And her people had taken care of the child, not knowing who he was, whathe was. Even though they weren't his people. Even though they owed him nothing.
"I-" He swallowed. "Thank you for the story."
She nodded, took another biscuit, and pretended not to see the tear that fell into his tea.
The fifth was the first time they saw Matthew play ice hockey. No one could agree who had started the game - boys in Windsor, Nova Scotia; Kingston, Ontario; or New York, New York, among other places - but Matthew took to it like Arthur to tea. He had skill, and could skate circles around most of the European nations (until they got more practice), but he seemed to take particular glee in the physical aspects of the game. If there was a fight during a game, he could be counted on to be in the middle of it.. if he wasn't the one who had started it.
It should have seemed out of character for the usually mild-mannered nation, but most just shrugged it off. Arthur remembered his own love of rugby and pirating, and considered it good practice for his young soldier. Francis called it a phase, and tried to forget some of the more violent tantrums he had seen from Matthew. Alfred just congratulated his brother on finally growing some balls. No one wondered where it had come from.
The sixth time someone noticed, but didn't share it with anyone except his brother. It was 1917 and World War I, and Prussia and Germany were facing up a hill while the Canadian troops came charging down it. They had aimed and fired the mortars, the shells, the rifles, but they just. kept. coming.
"Fuck," said Gilbert.
Then the Canadians were on them, shooting and fighting and stabbing, jumping into machine gun emplacements and down into trenches. When their rifles ran out of bullets, they switched to pistols; when the pistols were finished they had bayonets and knives and bare hands. Prussia was in his element, and Christ if he wasn't enjoying himself. That trench shit was for pussies - bomb them, gas them, pick off anyone who stuck their heads out too far, and wait for one side or the other to die. Too much waiting, dying slowly with mud in unfortunate places. Thisis what war was supposed to be, in close quarters with a man's own strength the only thing between himself and a messily violent death, and if there was mud it was because you were fighting in it, not standing in it.
But he was surprised to see the kid there. Gilbert had cut a man's throat and whipped back around, just in time to avoid a knife slice to his side. He almost froze when he recognised the nation holding the knife, long training and instincts the only things jerking him out of the way of a slash aimed at his face, blade held backwards along Canada's forearm. What'sis name - Mike? Mark? - had been at Arthur's place one day when Gilbert dropped in. The kid had been well-dressed but soft-spoken, letting Arthur take the lead in the conversations, though Gilbert had seen hints of a spine underneath all that weakness. He'd wondered what it would take for that spine to take hold, what Canada would be like when he threw off the frippery and obsequiousness; if Arthur hadn't been there he'd have tried to fuck the kid. Or annex him. Or something.
And now he saw the steel under the nice clean suit. The blond hair was coated with French mud, and his uniform spattered liberally with blood that most definitely didn't belong to him; the spatter continued onto his glasses, and Gilbert wasn't sure how he could see through them. His smile almost matched Gilbert's: it was joyous and hard, but where Gilbert was present for each and every moment of his fights, he was slightly off, like he wasn't quite there. Didn't hurt his fighting, though - Gilbert smashed his hand into Canada's wrist and the kid didn't fight the motion, allowing his fist to fly open and sacrificing his knife so he could tackle Gilbert into the mud. Gilbert rolled, throwing him over his shoulder, but not before he smeared a handful of mud across Gilbert's face. The landing didn't seem to faze him, and he was back on his feet by the time Gilbert grabbed a switchblade from his pouch and finished wiping the worst of the mud globs off. He cut toward the kid and the kid deflected the blade with his fucking forearm, his undamaged arm coming around to punch Gilbert in the gut.
That was when Gilbert remembered. He was too young to have experienced the Viking raids directly, but he'd heard stories from Francis and Roderich a couple times when the nations were stinking drunk. Said stories had involved raiders who didn't seem to feel pain, too far gone into adrenaline and battle rage to notice things like damaged limbs or broken ribs.
It was a German soldier, of course, who broke the moment, rushing at the kid with his bayonet. The kid side-stepped and allowed the soldier's body to collide with his, then reached up, took the soldier's head between his hands, and casually broke his neck.
Ludwig came up behind Gilbert and grabbed him by his collar, fending off the switchblade with his free hand while he shouted in his brother's ear. "We're retreating! Get your ass moving!"
"Ludwig~" He squirmed, but his brother tightened his grip.
"NOW." Ludwig dragged him bodily through the mud and the death and the dying; away from the beautiful berserker who followed him with his eyes as he dropped the dead soldier, as if the dead man were just another piece of trash.
Gilbert spent the rest of the war trying to transfer to every, any battlefield where the Canadians were rumoured to be leading an attack.
It was the seventh time that the world noticed.
Canada had fallen asleep at a UN meeting. It wasn't a big deal - he was usually invisible there, and it wasn't the first time it'd happened - until he started talking in his sleep. Arthur and Francis, when they heard him, didn't recognise the muttered, broken language, and wrote it off as something Matthew'd picked up in his multicultural culture. Norway, on his way back to his seat from a bathroom break, recognised it immediately. His head whipped around, and he stumbled on the stairs. The other Nordics heard the clatter, and followed his line of sight to the sleeping Canada. Most turned back to Alfred, who was presenting a position paper, but Sweden twisted in his seat to watch.
Norway scooted between chairs to crouch beside Canada, listening to slurred Old Norse coming from the sleeping mouth. God, it had been a long time since he'd heard anyone but himself speak that. He waited, catching snatches here and there about empty houses and red paint. Well, this had gone on long enough. He covered Canada's mouth with a hand, and poked his side.
Canada jerked awake, exclamation muffled by Norway's hand. Not allowing Canada to switch brain functions to English, Norway spoke in Old Norse, careful with his pronunciation - the language had shifted, after all.
And Canada, with the ease of someone raised bilingual - trilingual? - slid into the language. "I'm sorry, I don't know why I nodded off."
England's head swivelled around, expression a mixture of confusion and horror. Oh, right, the last time Arthur'd heard Norway speaking Norse, the Vikings had been raiding England. Well, it wasn't like Norway was talking to him.
"Dreaming about anything in particular?"
Canada stiffened, the polite mask settling more firmly in place. "I beg your pardon, but I don't see how that is any business of yours."
England choked, and Italy pounded him ever-so-helpfully on the back.
"Sorry, just trying to figure out how you learned the language. It's been a long time since I've had a chance to use Old Norse."
Canada blinked. "Aren't we speaking English? We're at a summit, after all."
Spain and France turned in their seats, mirror images of horror on their faces. Austria looked green. For his part, England pushed Italy away, and took a deep breath. "Matthew," he ground out. "Who taught you that language?"
God, this was more fun than it had any right to be; he still had fond memories of raiding the rest of Europe, and he hadn't seen England quite so perturbed in a long time. Norway not-quite-smiled while Canada tried to form a reply.
"But I'm not-" England's eyebrow twitched and Matthew started again, more careful about which language he was using. "No one did. I didn't even know that I knew it, until right now."
"Hello!" The US glared up at them from the stage. "I'm TRYING to save the world here."
It was France who answered for them. "Shut up, Alfred. This is important."
"Well, someone had to have taught you." England glared at France. "It was probably you, you perverted asshole. Did he use it when you made him fuck you, part of your sick, masochistic fantasies?"
"Moi? Why would I teach him such a vulgar language when I had the beauty of French to teach him? He was already speaking some rough unintelligible thing when I met him-" France's eyes widened. "When I met him. Mon Dieu."
Canada flinched as more nations turned their attention to the debacle around him, but he straightened his back - he was a nation in his own right, and he was damn well going to act like one. Even if that meant staying calm during some stupid argument between his former older brothers. He tried to ignore Prussia leering down at him from where he was sprawled on Germany's assistant's seat, and Germany pinching the bridge of his nose. Spain was being shaken by Romano, who had jumped over two rows of seats. Japan looked curious, Alfred was fuming; but the Nordics were leaning out of their seats - or at least, trying to pretend they weren't.
"What?" England grabbed France's collar. "What aboutwhen you met him?"
"He tried to speak to me, and I could almost understand it, but I couldn't quite, because I didn't expect such a horrible language to be coming out of such a cute little mouth, and it had been so long, and he was dressed up like one of his Natives, and-"
England gave France a shake. "You mean to tell me that he already spoke Norse before you colonised him?"
France's voice was barely a whisper. "Yes."
England froze, and they both looked at Norway. "What. Did. You. Do."
Norway tilted his head. "No idea."
It was Sweden who broke the silence. "Din't ya have col'nies back in the day? West o' Greenl'nd."
"Oh, Vinland." Norway rubbed his stray curl. "Good wine, but too expensive to continue with. Didn't stay long."
"And where, exactly, was Vinland?" England's voice was stretched tight.
Norway chanted a few passages of the sagas to himself, ignoring the flinches around him. "Hmm, about where Canada's Newfoundland is? A bit south, too."
Canada nodded. "Like L'Anse aux Meadows." The room turned to him, and he shrugged. "I've never been, but it's a world heritage site."
"If that's the case," France said slowly, "and Canada's really Vinland, why doesn't he remember? Why the native get-up? And shouldn't he be older than the US?"
"I'm older than you. I've always been older than you," the US muttered, amplified through the sound system.
Screw being the calm one here. "Alfred, get off it."
"And I was a country first-"
"The sleeping child." England's whisper cut through the siblings' bickering, carried through the room. He looked at France, choosing each word carefully. "A Native American told me a story about a blonde child that had been found near an empty Viking settlement. It didn't grow, and fell asleep for hundreds of years. One day it disappeared from its house, and they kept passing down the story in the hopes that it would eventually find its people."
"Matt?" The US stepped away from the microphone, started up the aisle. "Didn't you once tell me that your first memory was of you going south, towards your people?"
"Now that you mention it." Canada turned the idea over in his head. It certainly made sense - it explained how he knew a language he didn't remember learning, and why that Heritage Minute always made him cry. And why re-acquiring the Atlantic provinces had felt like coming home. "It explains a lot."
The room broke out in a chorus of nods and agreements. "Like hockey," England said.
"And lumberjacks," Cuba added.
"His sense of taste." France nodded.
Germany massaged his temples. "His military."
Prussia grinned, punched his brother on the arm. "Told ya so, West."
The US winked at Canada, his happy-go-lucky mask firmly in place. "And your complex about being alone."
"You promised never to-" Canada growled, and reached for his brother.
"See?" Murmurs came from all sides and Canada froze. "Just like Norway used to be."
Assholes. All of them, assholes.
Then Norway slipped his hand into Canada's, and tugged him down to the rest of the Nordic nations. "I'm sorry," he muttered.
"If I'd known you were there, I'd never have left you alone. I'd have found a new people for you."
"It's- I don't remember it, and it's not like you knew." He shrugged. "S'okay."
Norway nodded, stepped into the aisle behind Iceland. He took Iceland's hand, joined it with Canada's, and moved back. "Iceland, meet your little brother."
Canada swallowed as Iceland examined him. They'd met before, had said hello before the meeting, but this was.. different. "Hi."
A pause, then Iceland almost-smiled, and squeezed their hands together. "Welcome home."
The other Nordics exchanged looks behind the pair, while the room erupted in "awww" and "socute" and "why don't you look at me like that, Lovino?" "shut upbastard"; Prussia made loud gagging noises, and the US was uncharacteristically quiet.
Finland smiled. "They even look the same - pale with purple eyes." More murmurs of agreement.
Norway nodded. "Permanently messy hair."
Iceland snorted, and Canada raised an eyebrow.
Denmark tousled Canada's bangs and grinned when he made a face. "I think our littlest brother needs to be properly introduced to his family. All in favour?"
Norway nodded again, while Finland grabbed for Sweden's hand. "Of course."
"Soon 's poss'ble."
Germany's voice rose over the other - delegates? Audience members? Canada wasn't sure he could tell anymore. "You waited a thousand years for this, and you can damn well wait another few hours while we finish the meeting. Sit down."
"Not a chance." Denmark threw Canada over his shoulder, fireman style, and the brothers trooped up to the exit.
Canada wiggled - baptême de maudit de ostie this position was humiliating, couldn't they have just led him out or something? - and received a pat on his ass for his trouble. The door shut behind them, and underneath the embarrassment he admitted that he was more than a little happy about all this, about solving a few more mysteries about himself, and didn't protest when they manhandled him into the back seat of the car and Norway's lap.
baptême de maudit de ostie = literally "baptism of the damn of the host", a set of Quebecois sacres; less severe than "tabernac" in level of profanity.
Matthew leaned against the wall, and waited for Alfred to pick up the phone. Maybe he didn't recognise the number, and wouldn't pick up?
Ring.. ring.. click. "'Ello?"
Thank goodness. "Al?"
"Matt? What're you doing at some weird area code?"
"I'm using Sweden's phone." Alfred didn't reply, so he hurried on. "I would have called last night, but I haven't had a moment to myself. I just wanted to say that no matter what happens with Norway and the rest, you're still my brother. Just.. look at them like crazy half-brothers, like the Commonwealth or La Francophonie."
Alfred snorted, but Matt could hear something loosen in Al's voice. "Why would I worry about something like that, stupid? Suddenly discovering your terrorist roots doesn't erase the last four hundred years. Besides, if it was so important to you, why wait until morning?"
"It's, ah, actually afternoon here..."
A pause, and he could hear Al fitting the pieces into place. "You were up all night fucking them, weren't you."
"No. We watched movies too," he muttered. "And they recited relevant parts of the sagas for me."
Alfred laughed. "Oh Mattie, you know you can tell me. Details, man, details! Are they worth picking up in a bar? Or even better, while sober?"
Matthew curled the phone cord around his finger, let it go. "I suppose I could say that if you ever have the chance to be tag teamed by Finland and Sweden, you should take it."
"You lucky bastard."
"I- Can I ask a favour?"
"Will you come with me to L'Anse aux Meadows next week?"
He could hear the grin in Al's voice. "Only if we get to go swimming in the fjords."
"Matteus," Denmark shouted from the kitchen, "food's ready!"
"Whoops, gotta go. Norway's making me breakfast, and Iceland muttered something about smoked salmon. I'll give you a call when I get back?"
"Sure, whatever. Go enjoy your food."
"See you." Matthew hung up the phone and ambled toward the kitchen. The food smelled delicious, the house was bright and sunny, his new family waited for him in the solar. And for first time in a long time, he was truly, completely, happy.
He was home.
Historical Notes, aka: Where I Made Stuff Up
General: No one can seem to decide where exactly Vinland was, but the consensus seems to be that it stretched from Newfoundland down to Nova Scotia and coastal New Brunswick. Founded around 1000 CE, the colony was generally export oriented, shipping supplies (and wine, hence "Vinland") back east to Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. Several attempts were made for year-round settlement, but all failed. The expense, the conflicts with the indigenous peoples, and the danger of sailing that much open ocean made the colony unprofitable, so Vinland was abandoned.
L'Anse aux Meadows is a famous Viking site in Newfoundland (the only one actually excavated thus far), and was probably a staging post for sea voyages. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and is managed by Parks Canada. And yes, it's where the Beothuk found Matthew in the story.
And it's probably obvious, but "Matteus" = "Matthew" in Norse.
Second Part: While the city of Quebec surrendered to the British in 1759, and Montreal in 1760, the actual treaty that gave England control of New France wasn't signed until 1763.
Fourth: Nancy April/Demasduit was the last of the Beothuk, one of the indigenous peoples of Newfoundland. She was captured in 1823, learned English, and lived at the Beothuk Institute in St John's at the end of her life. She died in 1829 of tuberculosis. I borrowed some historical details (clothing, house construction, way of life), but her story (and her encounter with Arthur) is completely made up.
Fifth: Everywhere I looked I found a different history for hockey.
Sixth: Yes, vaguely based off of Vimy Ridge. For a bonus, the Canadian troops actually fought the Prussian Guards at Vimy. See also: berserkers, altered to give Matt a little more presence of mind (berserkers != Canadian troops, but the British colonies' troops were generally pretty badass).
Seventh: Heritage Minutes are a series of short vignettes (~60 seconds each) of Canadian history that were everywhere on Canadian TV for a few years, and which have just made another comeback. Matt talks about this one, but there are lots of others on the site. Go watch, and you too will understand the awesome of burnt toast. Among other things.
Ah, my very first meme fill. :'D If something seems off, please tell me! (And it has been.. several years since high school French, so feel free to correct that too.) Leaning new things is awesome.