The wall glowed with light as England let his paintbrush dance along the stonework.
Someone would probably arrive and wash it off before tomorrow morning, but he needed to let it out, if only just once.
He painted the ocean a rich sea green, filled with mighty vessels that outshone the ones they currently built. They had rich white sails and a deck so large you could walk around on it.
There was a man's face above the ships; tanned skin and dark green eyes, too dark to be his own; wearing a cruel sadistic smile under his dark hair.
The little boy scratched his chin for a moment considering his picture, before dashing out the brush again.
The Viking longboats joined his ships, their dragon heads glaring and terrifying. England was careful to paint every detail like he remembered it; the great fangs that had come down on him when he was younger. Rowed by many men with cruel brutal faces.
Horses with their hooves raised; like that day France had come with the people of Normandy across the channel. Arrows flew across his oceanic view piercing the hearts of many men. He just painted their faces black; he couldn't remember the details of every one that had been shot down.
Closing his eyes, he let the dreams and nightmares run over him.
He painted a man holding a sword with a cross over his back in a strange land, so very, very far from home. Where the sand like they had on the beaches seemed to go for miles.
A crown, blooded but still shining. A woman and a man stood over it. England painted their faces black as well.
He painted London on fire. At least he thought it was London. So many tall buildings, like a tower with a face and hands, along with a church like circular building. They all seemed to burn before him.
Rats. People dying in the streets in such a number that England could never paint them all. He added more sick people, there to carry the bodies away.
Then he left a large section to paint a vicious battle, where men fought with such hatred in their eyes that little England could never imagine it possible to hate someone so much. Above them he painted a woman with short blond hair and a white horse, somewhere near her he drew a man with a similar shade of blond hair and blue eyes. But the image was hazy and he wasn't sure he'd captured the man's look so well.
Then the roses. Wonderful shades of red and white, with sharp thorns dripping with blood and leaves that glistened invitingly.
People burning. Men wearing crosses sentenced to the stake. More shades of orange, red, and yellow encircled their faces, while a large man sat on a thrown and watched them.
He paused before painting the next part. His paintbrush raised above his head to reach a blank spot on the wall.
He painted what he assumed must be a flag or banner of some sort. Decorated in stars and stripes. The flag burned, but did not singe; it was as though it were alight as a weapon protecting its virtue. Beneath this flag was a child only a little younger than himself. England could only paint the silhouette, noticeable only by the sigh of a curl on the child's forehead.
He painted a man in the wall, hunched up and crying, face buried in his hands; blood rimmed his neck, dirtying his blond hair, turning it a nasty scarlet colour.
But the worse was yet to come.
He painted deep scars in the ground where men huddled with strange weapons over their shoulders. The scars were wet and dirty with rats as big as cats, gnawing on men's fingers as they slept.
Beside this he painted London again. This time there were many tall buildings, but they were crumpling and broken. Hug spheres dropped from the sky from metallic birds spluttering above his capitol.
He could feel pain as he painted, but he ignored it.
Right in the centre he drew a large map, printed in many shapes of countries he had never seen or heard of. Then he painted himself sitting on the top. At first he thought he looked proud, then sad, but eventually lonely.
England rubbed at his green eyes; he didn't like to see himself like that.
"Angleterre what are you doing?" He can hear the door open, even if he doesn't take his eyes of the painting.
He hears a small gasp, but then a hand extends itself towards him. England can just about see it in peripheral vision.
"What are you doing mon petit lapin?" France's voice asks kindly. England knows he is looking at the picture so refuses to acknowledge him.
When he does look up he sees that France isn't looking at the picture. Only at him.
"Silly thing Angleterre" he smiles affectionately, giving his arm an encouraging shake, "what have you been up to?"
"Painting" England replied softly, taking France's hand in his smaller one. France had only arrived a few years ago with the Normans, but he'd made England come and live in this stupid castle rather than out in the open with his faeries and magic.
But France had also been kind to him; treated him like a friend.
France cocked an eyebrow, giving the painting a quick glance, "what of?"
"None of your business!" England almost let go of his hand, but found he needed to hold onto the other too much. "They're just nightmares" he whispered, turning to lead France from the room, "someone will have washed it off by morning."
Before Arthur dragged him away Francis only just had time to contemplate the man above the strange ships, and the one on the horse behind the woman, later crying in a corner covered in blood. These two people seemed some how familiar.
He felt a pang in his heart when he saw the lonely English boy sitting on top of a map of what he must imagine the world to look like.
The English boy looked up questioningly, but not before closing the door behind them.
"You know I'll always be here to take care of you, even if it doesn't seem like it..."
"Where are you going with this?" England shrugged, looking like he didn't care, even though the boy's cheeks had turned a deep shade of pink.
Reaching down France placed a light kiss on the other's cheek.
"Come on, you stink, you're taking a bath now!" France scooped England under his arms before the smaller nation could protest. He laughed at England's pouting face.
He was laughing so hard by the time they got to the Bathroom that he almost missed England's muttered whisper. "I'll always take care of you too bastard."