Some years later….

The seven fairy sisters watched, amused, as America burst into the kitchen, eyes wide and panicked. "Iggy! Iggy, are you okay? I woke up and smelled smoke!"

England turned around, coughing in the cloud of oven smoke. His cheeks pinked sheepishly and he looked down at the ground. "Well…. I, er, may have burnt the scones I was making for the meeting this morning…."

America chuckled and ruffled England's hair, who reddened slightly but didn't comment. "Tell ya what, Artie, why don't you just pick up some scones at a bakery or something on our way to the meeting? Less stress on you that way."

England sighed and leaned into his boyfriend's chest, nodding. "That's a good idea, love. What would I do without you?"

America grinned. "Burn the place down, that's what." He took the ruined scones out of the oven and scraped them into the trash.

England rolled his eyes, but the fairies could make out a small smile on his face, hard as he tried to hide it. "Well, I suppose so." He gathered their papers and briefcases together, donning his mackintosh and rubbers. "You ready to go?"

America looked sheepish and scratched at his head awkwardly. "Uh, actually, why don't you go ahead? I'll catch up."

England frowned. "Well, if you're not quite prepared, I can stay behind and wait with you—" he started.

The taller man shook his head frantically. "No, no, go! I know you like to be there early and stuff, especially since it's your turn to host again."

"Well, all right, then, if you insist…." England looked dubious, but allowed America to kiss him goodbye and bundle him out of the door. The seven sisters overheard him muttering, "I wonder what that was about?" before setting off down the path to the hotel.

They giggled to themselves. "Good luck, America," whispered the green fairy.

The fairies were beginning to feel a sense of déjà vu. The other nations mingled about, chatting idly with one another, and every single one was present and accounted for.

Every single one… except for America.

England scowled and glared down at the table, his good mood entirely gone. The nation next to him noticed and leaned down to whisper, "Annoyed because your amour isn't here yet, Angleterre?"

The green-eyed nation glared at France. "Shut up, Frog. And of course I am! I just saw him this morning, and he said he was going to catch up!"

Canada, who of course had gone unnoticed by the fairies yet again, looked oddly unconcerned, stifling a smile in Kumajiro's fur. "Hmmm," he said, making fae and nation alike jump in surprise. "I wonder where he could be?"

England was too busy wringing his fingers in worry to notice Canada's behaviour. "When that boy gets in here, I swear I'm going to give him hell for making me worry so much." He subsided into irritated grumblings, glancing at the door frequently.

France leered. "Well, if you are so desperate, perhaps you will let me entertain you while you wait for him, non?" The stubble-chinned man followed his bold-faced flirting up with an immediate breach of his target's personal space, breathing down his neck.

The incoming punch was timed perfectly with the sudden bang that echoed throughout the room, making it seem as though the fight had its own comic book-like sound effects. As England's fist connected with France's face, the conference room doors slammed open, and in ran America, holding something behind his back. The fairies shared a secret smile. "It's time!" squealed the twins, hopping up and down excitedly.

The Briton stormed up to his lover angrily, the other countries watching the proceedings with amusement. The fairies snickered at America's futile attempts to placate his angry boyfriend. "Hey, Iggy-Artie-Eyebrows, I'm, uh, sorry I'm so late…."

"Oh, you're sorry, are you?" England hissed, grabbing America's collar and glaring daggers straight into his eyes. "Well, you'd better have a bloody good reason for holding up everything and making me worry! You took forever!"

America gulped, looking rather nervous. "Uh, well, actually, it is pretty important. And I meant to get here sooner, honestly, but, well, Hero was making a lot of noise and meowing constantly, so I had to get him a burger before he'd shut up, and then Crumpet was acting all weird and hissing at Hero, so I tried to separate the two of them, but then Crumpet got angry and scratched me so I put him back down, and then I got held up at the shop when I was picking this up and then—"

America, no doubt noticing England's slowly rising temper and impatiently tapping foot, wisely decided to cut to the chase. "Anyway, I'm sorry I'm late. And, uh…" he swallowed, then took a deep breath. "I-I have something to give you. Right now."

The fairies could almost see England's anger melting away as though it was a tangible thing, replaced by a look of exasperated fondness. "All right, love, if you insist." He waited, a small smile quirking at the ends of his lips.

There was a murmuring through the assembled crowd of nations. Prussia, who had, once again, somehow gotten in, was taking bets as to the identity of America's gift. The winning vote, by far, was a McD*nald's Big Mac. The fairies, meanwhile, squealed to each other in delight. This was it!

Quickly, as though he was afraid he'd lose his nerve if he hesitated any longer, America got down onto one knee, bringing out a small black box from behind his back. The crowd of nations went completely still and silent — save for a few. Canada smiled proudly, hugging Kumajiro close. Hungary shrieked with delight and fainted, blood spurting out of her nose. Japan looked as taciturn as ever, but if one examined his features closely, they might be able to detect an expression suspiciously similar to Canada's.

But the one reaction that everyone in the room was truly concerned about was that of the stunned sandy blond in the centre of it all. England stood stock-still in front of the kneeling America, mouth agape. "A-America… you…."

America scratched the back of his head nervously. "England… I know it's not the most romantic place in the world to propose, but everything that got us together started here, seven years ago today, so I wanted to do it here and now."

He coughed and wobbled slightly, no doubt uncomfortable in that rather awkward position. "So, uh… man, I suck at this kinda thing. I guess I'll come straight out and say it, 'cause you already know what I'm going to ask." America opened the box, revealing a ring that shimmered subtly with the otherworldly glow of fae magic, and the eldest fairy felt a swell of happiness as she remembered when the nation had come to them, desperately asking for help in making the proposal 'extra-special and totally heroic.' Cerulean blue met emerald green, and the time-honoured question fell from the superpower's lips: "Arthur Kirkland, will you marry me?"

The fairies, and every nation in the room save the two in the centre, collectively held their breath. Softly, carefully, as though he was afraid that speaking too loudly might shatter the picture-perfect scene, England answered, "Of course I will, Alfred."

The room erupted into cheering as America grinned quite possibly the biggest grin to ever grace his face and stood up, slipping the ring onto England's finger. The fairy sisters joined in the celebrations with gusto, hugging each other and casting small magical firework-like explosions that rained sparkles down onto the blushing faces of the newly engaged couple. The red fairy smiled and flew down to the two, hovering near England's ear.

"Come now, England, don't hide your face!" she admonished as the nation in question attempted to bury his burning face in America's shoulder. "Is this the happiest day of your life or isn't it?"

"Well," the future Mr. Kirkland-Jones replied, smiling slightly despite himself, "I suppose I must admit that it is."

And as America picked up his kicking and vehemently protesting fiancé and ran off with him in the bridal hold, the eldest fairy smiled to herself as she watched them go. There had been no word of a lie in England's statement. In fact, she hadn't heard him lie in a long, long time.


So, erm… hi?

*frantically waves a white flag to stop the inevitable onslaught of tomatoes and gunshots*

I'm so sorry, everyone…. Apparently, when I say 'sometime soon', I actually mean 'over two months later'. *sigh* I won't even go into what-all I've been doing, just apologize again and move on to the rest of the author's note (which, by the way, is going to be rather long, as I have a few things I need to talk about). I hope that a surprise proposal can make up for the wait?

Wow, my first completed fic! It's a strange feeling; on the one hand, I'm glad that it's finally finished. On the other, I'll be sad to see it go. Thank you to everyone who added this story to your Story Alert or Favourites (or, for some reason I can't comprehend, added me to your Author Alert/Favourite Authors as well), and/or left a review! I'd especially like to thank those who took the time to leave long, detailed reviews that went into exactly what they liked or disliked about certain elements of the story. Seeing such long reviews gives me warm and fuzzy feelings before I even read them, and the constructive criticism really helps me to improve my writing! (I'm sorry that I haven't replied to the last couple of reviewers, by the way; I usually make a point of responding to all of my reviews, but I've been rather busy and now I unfortunately can't remember which ones I haven't responded to yet. ^_^; I'll get right back on the responding bandwagon with the next reviews that come in, I promise!)

I'd also like to thank the wonderful Love'sLike, who asked me if she could translate I Cannot Tell a Lie into Spanish, and has so far posted two chapters! I was flabbergasted when she asked (still can't believe that people enjoy my writing that much *fans self*), and she's even been so kind as to translate the reviews for me! The URL to the translation is here, with the usual spaces thanks to FFNet's hatred of links: http:/ www. /s/7805482/1/ No_puedo_decir_ni_una_mentira

I'm definitely planning to write more fanfiction, and plotbunnies for the Hetalia fandom in particular just seem to keep coming to me. I've put some of my possible future fics on my profile, but the next one I'll be working on is a fic of my recent RP with the amazing Mingamelon aka Sindragosa, my lovely internet waifu. I won't spoil the plot, but let's just say that it will most definitely be USUK~ *shot for mysteriousness*

I'm planning to finally get around to properly setting up my Livejournal and posting this story there and on my DeviantART as well (and the USUK LJ comm, also). Links to those are in my profile!

Well, I suppose that's it. *gives you all a giant group hug* I love you all, and I hope to see you again soon! Thank you once again to everyone for sticking by me and giving me so much overwhelming praise and love for my writing! Taka, out!

(PS: Taka is my new-ish nickname around the interwebs, mostly in Hetalia circles~ It stems from my other moniker, gnortaku, which I may or may not end up changing my FFNet name to. Just thought I'd clarify that!)