'Sup Britain? Dude I'm having an air show at the end of the month. Sort of an early birthday celebration and it'd be totally cool if you came! I'm taking the old 'Stang out for a spin before the big event. Canada's flying in to check out my practice runs and it'd be awesome if the old trio could get together again. Maybe have a few drinks and stuff, you know? Anyways, let me know what's up. ~America

England stared at the scribbled words. It still bothered him America never learned proper penmanship, or grammar for that matter. A grease smudge in the corner told him his former charge had been eating a hamburger when he wrote it. England smiled in spite of himself as he picked up the phone. He thought it a little odd America hadn't phoned him to tell him about the air show but pushed it out of his head as he began to dial.

"Hello? Mr.America's house."

"Li-Lithuania? What are you doing there?"

"Oh, hello Mr. England! I'm helping Mr. America get ready for the event. He's been so busy lately with the preparations."

"Ah, I see. Well is he home?"

On the other end, Lithuania paused, twirling his finger around the phone cord. "Um, h-he's resting right now…."

"Resting? What the hell do you mean 'resting?' The America I know can barely sit still for a second, especially when there's a big to-do and he's the center of it."

Lithuania was silently slapping the palm of his hand against his forehead. Stupid. Stupid. You could have come up with a better lie than that! "W-well, it's true, sir. I think all the running around caught up with him."

"Hm. I see. Well, tell him I phoned and that I'll be in for his bloody airshow."

"Of course, Mr. England."

Lithuania set the receiver down, exhaling in relief. He really hadn't lied,merely stretched the truth to fit the situation. America was up in his room, though "resting" was probably the wrong word for it. Besides, he had given strict orders to the Baltic nation that under no circumstances (excepting mealtimes) was he to be disturbed.

Lithuania sighed. England's words bothered him. America never sits still. It was true. But for the past week America didn't seem like his old energetic self. He'd been raving about his plans for this air show for months and then suddenly, a week before trial runs, Lithuania found out America hadn't even called England and Canada to tell them about it.

But they're your brothers.They have to come, Lithuania had said.

Yeah, you're right. I'll call 'em after dinner,was America's answer.

This went on for a few days – Lithuania telling America to phone and America finding some excuse not to. Finally, Lithuania thrust a pen and paper in front of America during lunch and forced him to write the letters. He went to mail them but halfway to the mailbox, America turned around and dashed back inside, shaking head to toe and saying "I can't do it" over and over. He made a motion to tear the letters in half, but Lithuania quickly snatched them from his trembling fingers.

Mr. America, what is wrong?

I…I need some rest.

Certainly. I'll bring you some coffee later, okay?

Yeah…yeah, that'd be great.

It's just stress,Lithuania told himself. He may be foolhardy when it comes to somethings, but I know he's worked hard on getting this together and he wants it to be perfect. It's stress. That's all it is.

America idly tossed a baseball up and down as he paced his room. He'd heard the phone ring and saw England's number on the caller ID. His hand even reached out to answer it, but something stopped him - the same thing that stopped him from mailing the letters. An icy cold dread settled in his stomach and he knew what would follow. The nameless feeling with all the weight of a cargo ship pressed in his head, on his shoulders, and he needed to lie down. England probably wasn't even calling about the air show. It was probably some other matter because he knew the letters hadn't gotten to his brothers. Besides, why would they want to come anyway? They'd just get bored or say he was showing off again. Why would anyone want to come see you?You're just a screwball, dashing headlong into things. Are you sure your plane will even fly? When was the last time you even took it any where?

America gritted his teeth. That voice – that sleek and twisting dark voice! – wound it's way through his head. Shut up!he screamed at it. Shutup. Shutupshutupshutupshutup!

But you know I'm right. They all hate you.

America bolted up and grabbed the baseball as a distraction. Just a few quick tosses and the sneering in his head would be gone. It had worked in the past, but the voice seemed to be getting stronger. And today was no exception.

America turned on the radio, cranking the volume up, willing the music to fill every square inch of him. America turned the dials, searching the airwaves for somethingto chase the voice away. He smiled when he found a Motown station. They were playing Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally.

America thought of his plane. His P-51 Mustang. His beloved Sally.

"So this is it, eh?"

"Yup. She's a beaut, isn't she?"

"Yeeeeaaaahhh," Canada drawled, staring wide-eyed at the nearly naked Marilyn Monroe-inspired pin-up painted on the side of America's plane.

"Canada!" England shielded the other nation's eyes with his hands. "That hardly seems appropriate."

"Dude, don't disrespect my Sally," America said.

"That wasn't – I didn't mean – Canada!" England sputtered as the younger nation pushed his hand away.

"Aw let 'im look," America said.

England huffed, dropping his hand. "Fine."

America had painted the plane a candy apple red – echoing the color scheme of the '64 and a half Ford model that sat parked in his driveway with the license plate that read "Sally 2". England remembered when America had first shown him the plane decades ago. Its coloring definitely seemed more Spartan back then – olive drab anti glare panel, big black code letters on the fuselage and tail, unpainted metal finish glinting against the sun, and, of course, the white star encircled with blue. It was the only thing he kept when he re-did the paint job. He had always been so flashy, but only when showing off his newest toys. England sighed. He had tried to dress America up, like a proper gentleman, but the young nation wouldn't have any of it. Hell, America still hated formal attire, preferring to receive guests in worn jeans or worse – pajama pants and flip flops. England shook his head. He still didn't understand how America could spend so much time and effort into his hobbies but never on himself.

"Ready to see this thing in action?"

America's voice shook England out of his reverie.

"We have seen it in action…years ago." The words were out before he could stop them. England silently cursed his cynical self. America's mouth twitched down in the slightest of frowns, but he quickly recovered.

"Not like this! Dude, it's gonna be sweet! I got some badass loops planned…a few barrel rolls…just you wait Britain…."

As the plane climbed higher, all the fear and anxiety seemed to shrink away along with the ground.

When he reached an acceptable altitude, America took the plane into a barrel roll before executing a vertical dive, pulling the nose up just in time. England and Canada watched from the ground as the plane whizzed by, the body seeming to be only a few feet from skidding across the runway.

Canada let out a puff of air, raking his hands through his hair.

"That was close," England mumbled.

America pulled the nose up and the plane climbed higher and higher, making an arc. America laughed. Up in the air, he felt completely carefree. Nothing could touch him and anything was possible. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt that way.

America laughed again as he rounded the arc, but as he did, a voice that wasn't his screamed in his head. Flashy Mister America. Fantastical, heroical, moronical Mister America. Hey,idiot! You know which way is up? Haha, didn't think sobetter check your instruments. You really are nothing but a big fuck up.

America shook his head, trying to clear out the voice.

"Shut up shut up shut up!" he yelled.

Open your eyes and look outside. Where's the horizon?

America's eyes flew open. He didn't know when he'd shut them or for how long. He frantically searched for the horizon before realizing he was looking at nothing but green trees and grass. He hurried to pull the plane out of its dive, managing to get the nose up; but the body hit the ground, bouncing once…twice… before finally skidding to a halt.

A/N Just to clarify, I did not write this to reflect the tragic events at the Reno air show on September 17th. I chose the P-51 Mustang because it still is such an iconic piece of American military history…and I mean, c'mon, we named a car after it too. This was intended to be a one-shot but has now morphed into a two-possibly-three-part story. I wrote this as a reflection of the current situation in America (more will become clearer in the second part, I hope). Being an American, I feel we desperately need a change in this country…yeah, it's easy to say and I'm not sure what that change is yet – maybe we need to wake up and realize we aren't top dog anymore and haven't been for some time. I don't know...I just feel like we're screwing ourselves over and something major is going to happen. Everything just feels so uncertain. So, yeah, that's my little ramble…I'll get off my soapbox now.

I don't know too much about flying and airplane terminology but tried to be as accurate as I could. If anyone sees any glaring mistakes, please let me know so I can correct them.

And I know in the comic, Lithuania lives with America during the Great Depression before being taken back by Russia, but I kinda liked the idea of Lithuania being America's maid (don't know why, it's a sorta neat pairing) and wanted to bring Liet back to live with America during the modern day, if only temporarily.

Thanks for reading and feel free to review!