Scotland was confused.
He was a man and a nation who was known for grabbing what he wanted with both hands and standing up for what he believed was right. He sincerely believed that during his existence he did his utter best to always remain true to himself, to put his people first and live with dignity. So as he rested on his bed in the house he shared with his brothers, he was thoroughly confused. He liked to think that he hated England. However there was a loud, incessant voice in his head telling him otherwise. Telling him that if he hated him so much, he wouldn't willingly come to stay at his house for more or less half the year.
He could remember that he never always used to hold such dislike for his youngest brother. He used to adore him. He remembered, over two-thousand years ago, when his mother Britannia came home one day with two tiny, angel eyed children in tow. He could remember how his mother's face glowed as bright as the halo of golden hair upon her head at the fact she now had a larger family...
"CALEDONIA! (1) HIBERNIA! (2) Come look!"
Scotland, then a dirty faced boy who looked about ten and Ireland, who looked about seven or eight swung their heads round at the sound of their mother's sweet, excited voice. They saw her coming up the dirt path exactly as she had looked in the morning. Her thick, plain smock or chemise-like dress was under a more decorative, embroidered tunic. It was sinched in at the waist with a leather belt and dainty leather shoes protected her feet. Her hair was in her customary complex frontal braid and rest of the wheat coloured mane flowed both behind and around her. She was grinning from ear to ear but she was not alone. She was carrying two lumps.
Scotland and Ireland couldn't see the lumps clearly from a distance and were looking at each other with confused expressions. They decided to greet her because, after all, the lumps couldn't have been anything bad since their mother was so happy.
When they got to her they stopped abruptly and their eyes widened in surprise- she had children. In her arms where two, identical little children of no more than three or four years of age. The children looked down curiously at the older boys, then up to their mother and then down again as if trying to gauge their reactions. Their mother sat down on a patch of grass and set both children down on her lap. One on each thigh.
"Màthair (3), who are they?" Scotland asked as he crouched down with Ireland to get a better look at the toddlers.
The two boys didn't seem to be human children. Human looking, most definitely. Completely human however? Most definitely not. They were like them. They were their land, their people- they were nations. Two, identical little nations. One with dark, thick, wavy hair and the other with finer, straighter hair that was blonde albeit much, much darker than their mother's own hair. Both had large eyebrows and clear emerald eyes that shined with innocence. The eyebrows and the eye colour were eerily familiar...
"Caledonia, Hibernia ...meet your brothers. Your youngest brothers Cambria (4) and Albion (5), if I die they will watch over the Southern and Western-most areas of my lands. I want you to love them, to love them very much and watch over them just like you have been doing with each other. Do you understand me?"
The two boys nodded dumbly, completely entranced by their new siblings.
"Mam (6)...Can I hold one? I want to hold them. Please?" Ireland looked at his mother with the same look she saw in Scotland's eyes not very long ago. The very same look Scotland had now. She knew her sons felt a bond, felt similar blood flowing through their veins and their hearts called for one another.
Carefully, the nymph-like woman handed the nation that, in the distant future, would be known as Wales over to her second oldest child. The child stiffened at first but was soon giggling and nuzzling Ireland's face whilst Ireland got over his initial awkwardness and cooed over him.
"Caledonia, don't you want to hold Albion for a while and then you can swap with Hibernia? Look he wants to be held by you already!"
Indeed, the tiny child was red in the face and trying to squirm his way to Scotland. The older boy visibly stiffened. He didn't really know much about kids. Sure he looked after Ireland but this child was completely different to him. What if the child didn't like him after he picked him up? What if he hurt him? Britannia looked at her son lovingly, speaking with conviction.
"Son, don't worry. Trust me. Go on, pick him up."
Tentatively, Scotland took the boy in his arm. He could feel tiny knees dig into his chest gently as he found himself face-to-face with the child. He wrapped an arm around the toddlers back, securing the child to him. They regarded each other silently. Staring at each other with what could only be described as a soulful analysis. If the eyes were a window to the soul, then this child's soul was complex, powerful but so undeniably brilliant and tender. Scotland wondered what the child saw in him. The older boy was broken out of his reverie when two, pudgy hands were lifted, only to be replaced on his own face. He allowed the baby to caress his cheeks, to feel the contours of his face and feel his fiery red hair. He himself was fascinated by the tiny creature. The child suddenly smiled and any wariness in his eyes was replaced by innocent affection, he then leaned over in Scotland's arms to kiss him on the nose, giggling sweetly. A loud chorus of 'AAAWWW!' erupted from his family, even little Wales joined in. Scotland's face reddened in slight embarrassment but he couldn't help but smile widely.
The family remained together and enjoyed each others' company until Rome's distinct bellowing was heard in the distance, calling Britannia for a meeting.
He would always look back on that day and wondered sometimes why fate had decided to pit the brothers against each other. No matter what happened however, Scotland sometimes saw that tiny child when he looked at England. He wanted so desperately to uphold his mother's wishes, to love the boy completely, but it was so hard to do so when he and his brother were trying to rip each other apart with their bare hands and teeth at the best of times.
But at other times, when all was said and done, Scotland was absolutely smitten with England and craved for the days that once were despite how much he hated the feelings. It made everything jut that little bit more complex and it was absolutely unnecessary. The loud voice in his head was only growing stronger and louder with time.
But which one of them would dare let go of their pride first?
Really wanted to write about the British Isles because they need more love and I am from England! Yup, I live in the capital and I have to say that, despite our problems, this little archipelago is where my heart is. Love my country so much :)
Hope you enjoyed this first chapter and reviews, comments and constructive criticisms are most welcome! Flamers are most definitely not welcome!
Caledonia- from my research, this is the oldest recorded official name of Scotland given by the Romans.
Hibernia- oldest official name of Ireland as far as I'm aware! Again given by the Romans.
Màthair- Scottish Gaelic for 'mother'
Cambria- As far as I know it is the oldest official name for Wales from the Romans.
Albion- Oldest name for England. First used to describe the British Isles as a whole but then was used to refer to England in particular.
Mam- Irish Gaelic for 'mum'