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Prologue: To Love a Human

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It was utterly absurd for a nation to get involved with a human. There were many obvious reasons why it wouldn't work out in the end, the main thing being the time factor. The human lifespan was a blink of an eye to a nation. One hundred years (on a healthy human) didn't measure up to nearly enough time to spend with a loved one. It would be too painful for a nation to care for a human.

Sure, occasionally a close bond would ignite and a nation would cherish the time they had with the individual, but it was fleeting, England knew. He remembered countless nights of anguish the moment he had heard his Virgin Queen had passed, not to mention watching others like France and Prussia grieve over their own people, some held dearly to their hearts even to this day. Relationships with rulers, however, were unavoidable. In the event of willingly going out of their way to love a human, the odds with nations were slim.

England knew this, and yet…

He knew the fear and worry that consumed a nation when loving a human, for they could get injured or sick or die at any time. He knew the risks and the turmoil and that nightmarish ending that was bound to happen, and yet.

And yet and yet and yet.

Despite all of this, he could not help but be compelled to enter a coffee shop nestled in between the hustle and bustle of New York, ordering the same beverage he never touched, and staring over the top of his newspaper discreetly at a figure across the room. If he thought back to it, England couldn't even recall how he'd first ventured into this shop. It had something to do with the routine monthly conferences held in the United States, he was sure.

Yes, the United States.

It was a peculiar country. It thrived and it was independent, yet no one seemed to find the physical embodiment of the country. Even as England recalled colonizing nearly two hundred years ago, the confusion and befuddlement was always there. A country as powerful as America, thriving as long as it did, why, there had to be a country in biological form somewhere.

But no one knew where.

Because of this, the United States was the agreed upon spot for monthly business meetings. There was no host and no biases; nothing. The United States of America was the only blank country in a world of smears and stains.

But that was beside the point.

The point was that England had found this little coffee shop nearly six months ago. By accident, mind you. Except it wasn't the drinks or atmosphere or even the location that kept pulling the Briton back to this shop every morning the assemblies were held.

No, it was something of an entirely different and upsetting nature.

England frowned to himself, tapping his foot anxiously against the tiled floor below his table as he pretended to be enthralled with a news article. It wasn't the newspaper he was interested in, though. The Englishman waited a few moments before chancing another glance over the hem of his paper, green eyes watching in wonder at a blonde boy across the way.

A blonde human boy.

This was the particularly upsetting thing that had started to eat away at the Briton when he was alone. He knew not the boy's name, nor his hobbies or preferences or family life. He knew not a lick about this boy who looked as if he was fresh and budding with the youthfulness of a young adult as he enthusiastically drank his coffee and typed something in on his phone.

England pursed his lips as he watched the blonde set his cup down against the small table by the window where he sat every morning, enamored by the way his cheeks dented in with dimples when he gave a small smile as to whatever he had received on his cell phone.

A child ran past England's table noisily, making the Briton jump and bury his face in his paper. England let out an irritated breath after a long moment, wondering how big of a fool he looked, before he unhunkered his head from his shoulders and looked over his paper once more.

The blonde teenager hadn't even so much as noticed England's presence, still drawn in to his text conversation and sipping his coffee.

Yes, this was indeed a pickle of a situation.

The first time England had noticed the American was the first moment he had taken a seat in the shop. He didn't know what it was that drew his eye to the carefree individual, but England didn't manage to take his eyes off him after that. The second day of the conference, England had decided that he would visit the small, obscure shop hidden between the skyscrapers, that urge to possibly catch another glance of this person again itching at the back of his mind as he had slept in his hotel room. He was rewarded with a surprise as the boy waltzed in at the exact time he had previously, ordering the same drink, and doing what he did the day before: taking a seat by the window and texting on his phone.

So it had become a ritual. Day after day when the conference came around, England would go to the small coffee shop before the meeting and wait for this unknown American, silently observing him from a distance as he repeated the same routine. The boy was in his own little world, never bothering to look up at anyone else as he drank his coffee and texted.

England became mesmerized and found himself wondering on his free time what he could possibly be talking about to make faces like that. Faces that made him smile the brightest smile England had ever seen. Faces that crinkled his nose and made dimples appear. That furrowed his brow slightly, or made him blink in surprise before sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth in concentration.

Without even knowing it, England's head started to swim with this unnamed face, his palms sweating and his gut churning uncomfortably. Why did he feel so inadequate around this random, meaningless human? He was just like everyone else in the population. What's more, he was American! Not even an excuse of citizenship bound England to this boy, but he still managed to make him feel the strangest, most irritating sensations.

Countless times he had cursed himself in the mirror, pacing his room with determination to rid his mind of this brat, convincing himself to just go up and say hello. Once he could greet him and see that there was nothing special about this boy, there would be no need to pursue this unhealthy intrigue any further.

But every time his confidence was zapped away under the presence of the blonde.

And it was finally on the day when he had accidentally tripped over the leg of his table that England knew this wasn't a normal feeling. He met blue eyes on with full eye contact as he caught himself, staring in a blank stupor at the boy who had finally looked up at him after all these months.

With his throat clogged and his mind blank when the teenager just smiled at him with a laugh that resonated down to his very core, England understood just what exactly was going on.

The one taboo a nation should never do, and England was smack dab in the middle of it.

He was tangling himself in a very dangerous web, that he was.

History notes:

Virgin Queen: A nickname that was referred to for Queen Elizabeth I. If you don't know about her history and what she did for England, I doubt you would understand the significance of her being brought up for a moment in this story. Other than that, there's nothing else that really needs to be referenced.