Disclaimer: The OCs are mine, though based off countries which are not. The world of Hetalia belongs to Hidekaz Himaruya. That is all.
Prologue – New Year's Resolutions: When Canada decided to host the New Year's party for the nations, he did it mostly in hopes of cementing himself in everyone's memory. He had to strike while he could – they'd mostly recognized him at Halloween, he'd have been an idiot to let this chance go. Looking out over the crowd, he smiled a little. Everyone seemed to be having fun, chatting and drinking and... Apparently Spain was trying to get Romano to dance with him, even though there wasn't actually any music at the moment.
Really, he probably didn't want to know. Usually things were like that with the nations, as he'd learned the hard way. Being mostly invisible could be very useful in terms of gathering information, but some of the things learned, well... He really regretted finding out some things. Among other things, he knew way, way too much about several of the other nations' sex lives, and that just wasn't his business. Unfortunately, he couldn't even use it for blackmail purposes unless people started noticing him more – and he figured out a reason to blackmail someone.
"Hey, Birdie!" a voice called out from behind him before a pale arm was draped over his shoulders. Canada turned his head, smiling at the man who'd just come up.
"Hello, Prussia," he said, his voice much quieter but no less enthusiastic.
"Not a bad party, though if you really want a night to remember you should have made it a little wilder."
"I'd rather not have to pay the extra for the damages from that," Canada told him, his voice very dry.
"Can't argue with that," Prussia admitted. "So, it's almost midnight, isn't it?" Canada nodded, and frowned at the odd sort of smile that formed on Prussia's face – sort of like when he was plotting some mischief to unleash on Germany or Austria, but not quite. There was something different about it, though he couldn't put his finger on what.
There was a lot about Prussia he couldn't put his finger on. For one thing, he still didn't know how it was Prussia had actually recognized him, back on that April Fool's Day when he'd given the ex-nation syrup, and he'd actually known him. It almost never happened that someone recognized Canada without first thinking he was America, and he barely knew Prussia. France had introduced them when he was small, and he'd fought against him in the world wars, but...
It had been a surprise. But not as surprising as the day when Prussia had shown up at his door, demanding more maple syrup. Thanks to the time difference, Prussia had shown up when Canada was still half-asleep, so without thinking he'd invited him in for a pancake breakfast. Now Prussia showed up nearly every day, and didn't really answer when Canada asked why.
Most of all, Canada wasn't sure how he himself felt about the other man. Or rather, he wasn't sure what to do about it. He knew he had a crush, but he wasn't sure if it was just a temporary thing or the start of something more. And he really didn't know if he should say something, especially when he wasn't sure if Prussia even saw him as a real friend, or just someone to mooch off of. Sometimes he seemed like he really cared, sometimes it seemed like he was flirting. It was just impossible to tell.
"Say, any idea what the UK crew's little brother is cooking up with Specs' wacky kid brother?" Prussia asked, and Canada followed his gaze, to where Sealand and Kugelmugel were talking in a corner. He'd invited everyone, even the micronations, to his party. After all, while they might be visible to everyone, they went unrecognized in other ways, most of them, and Canada sometimes felt a bit of a kinship with them.
"I really don't know, though whatever it is I hope it's not for tonight," he said honestly, because while he might feel a sort of bond with the young micronations, he also knew that Sealand, at least, was way too fond of mischief. But they just seemed to be talking, so hopefully it wasn't anything too messy.
"I'm telling you, Toby, it wasn't just a dream," Sealand insisted, stamping his foot. Kugelmugel raised his eyebrows in a way that was more than a little reminiscent of his older brother. All he needed was a pair of glasses to peer over the frames of, and he'd have Austria's Look down pat.
"If you have to use my human name, Peter, it's Tobias, not Toby," he said, shaking his head. "Nicknames are not art – or at least mine's not, it sounds ridiculous. And it sounds like a dream to me. There's this woman who comes and talks to you, and you think she's your ancestress, Britannia? How could that be real?"
"I don't know, but it is. It's magic! I know my family does magic, or at least England and Ireland and Wales do, I've seen them at it a few times," Sealand insisted, before giving up. He didn't mention that he'd seen England's fae, or Norway's trolls, since Kugelmugel was already giving him a skeptical look and he didn't want to see crazy. Not that his art-obsessed friend was really in any position to judge someone else's sanity, but...
"But dream or not, it's still a good idea," he continued earnestly. "Trying to make our older siblings happier? You yourself said that Austria needs some cheering up too, I think it's a good resolution for us."
"What's a good resolution for you two?" said another voice behind them. North Ireland had walked up to them, Hong Kong a half-step behind.
"I thought you two were doing the fireworks. I can't wait to see them, it's real art when you do it, Hong Kong," Kugelmugel said.
"We were, but now they're, like, finished," Hong Kong explained. "I'll have to go back out after the countdown to set them off – once everyone is outside to see, of course. But we wanted to come back in for the actual countdown with everyone."
"So anyway," North said, "what is your resolution?"
"We're going to make our older siblings' lives happier. Oh, and possibly try and win the hearts of our crushes along the way – and no, you can't know who they are!" Sealand informed his older brother.
"I can probably guess yours, but either way I want nothing to do with messing in your courtship rituals," North assured him. "But what's this about our various older siblings? How do you mean to do that?"
"Mostly with mischief and matchmaking, I think," Kugelmugel said, his voice rather dry. "It can be art when done right," he added defensively when both teenaged nations raised their eyebrows at him. But he wondered what was going through their minds when they exchanged a look, similar but unreadable expressions on their faces.
"Well, I certainly have like at least one sibling in need myself, even if you don't count that I share the same family as you, Sealand," Hong Kong said thoughtfully. "We don't really have much to do this year, do we, North? Shall we help Sealand and Kugelmugel in their plans?"
North smirked. "As long as we get to trap people in a lift at some point. I've always wanted to do that."
"Oh, that would be wicked!" Sealand said excitedly. "I'm just not sure who that would help..."
"Oh, we'll figure it out," Hong Kong said. Kugelmugel noted that, except for the devilish glint in his eyes, Hong Kong looked almost perfectly inscrutable. It really was quite impressive. And this coming year, it seemed, would be very interesting. And there was art in planning such things, he told himself, so it was perfectly all right for him to be looking forward to it.
"So, have you made any New Year's resolutions?" Ireland asked as she sat down next to Wales. He shrugged, not really wanting to get into this discussion.
"Have you?" he asked, slanting her a look. She shrugged, eyes on India, who was across the room chatting with Russia. He was one of the few who felt comfortable around Russia, though Ireland was actually another. Not that it was relevant, since he knew Ireland barely cared who India was talking to. She cared that he treated them exactly as he treated her, with careless affection. Considering that his sister had been in love with India for years, Wales couldn't really blame her for that.
"It's time that I got over him, don't you think?" she asked quietly, her voice distant. "With luck, by this time next year, I'll have managed it. Maybe you should think about a similar goal – how long have you been quietly in love with Austria now?"
He'd sort of known she would ask that, and really, he wondered how to answer. Did he count from the 1740s or the late 1940s? Not that it really mattered, in any case. All things considered, anyway. "Hmm, sorry, not interested," he said blandly, and it was true. He'd made a decision. He was done with lies and pretending, even if they were just lies of omission, and pretenses begun for the sake of discretion.
Ireland, meanwhile, raised an eyebrow. "All right then. So, going to tell me what your resolution is, then?"
Wales gave her a sidelong look, a hint of a mischievous smile on his face. "Sorry, no. You might get to see some of the effects, though, so stay tuned."
Ireland sighed dramatically. "Such mystery this year! Cornwall, Scotland, and England wouldn't tell me either. I'm almost afraid to ask North, Hong, or Sealand what theirs are, seeing as they're all incorrigible pranksters."
"You could ask Canada."
"He says he doesn't decide until the last minute, so no dice."
Wales shrugged. "Well, it was just an idea. Why do you care so much, anyway?"
"Oh, I don't," Ireland said cheerfully. "I'm just bored and it'd be something to talk about if anyone was in a sharing mood."
"Why does that answer not surprise me?
England was leaning against the wall, nursing a flute of champagne. He was determined this year to stay sober, which was why this was his only drink of the night – almost as determined as he was to not look at America and Portugal, even though he wasn't doing all that well on that count. He could appreciate the irony of the two people he was in love with loving each other, and he was happy for them, honestly he was. Seeing them happy was a good thing, but even as it warmed part of him, it still hurt. Especially since he knew that he couldn't even really console himself with being their friend – they were both his allies, but he was under no illusions about their personal opinions. Portugal hadn't trusted him since the end of the 19th century, and America had hated him since 1776.
"So, which of them are you jealous of, Sassenach?" Scotland's mocking voice cut into his thoughts, but England refused to dignify the comment with an answer. He wasn't jealous, anyway. His feelings were a lot more complicated than that – not that he intended to share any of that with Scotland, of all people. Instead, he let his eyes fall on their host. Canada, for some reason, seemed to have Prussia practically draping himself all over him. What on earth was going on there?
Undeterred by being ignored, Scotland continued, "Maybe your New Year's resolution ought to be to stop being such a dick – oh, wait, you'd probably have to die first." With that, Scotland snickered and walked off to sit with France, Brittany, and Cornwall. England tried to be unaffected at his words – his brother didn't know the irony of what he'd said – but it didn't work. So he pushed away from the wall, heading outside to lean against the fence marking the edge of Canada's property. Lighting a cigarette, he looked up at the stars, listening as the faint sounds of the countdown to 2012 began inside. It was a warm night, for December, and besides, so many nations gathered in one place (it wasn't even all of them, but quite a few) made the house warm, so many of Canada's windows were cracked open.
New Year's resolutions. He'd been chasing his past, chasing Albion, for what felt like all of his life, and he was so tired. And there was that conversation he'd had not long ago, about choices and truths, and a promise to give it a year to be proven right or wrong. He wanted to find himself again, to find Albion, even though he was so damned tired. He wanted to do it before...
Well. It was time to clear the air, that was all.
Inside, Canada chanted the countdown with everyone else, his voice rising to the point that it was actually above normal levels for once as he called out two and one. But he didn't get a chance to shout "Happy New Year!" with everyone, because someone grabbed his shoulder and spun him around. He had a moment to register Prussia's red eyes, an oddly intent look in them, before cool lips were on his and he was kissing back without even thinking.
Prussia let him go as suddenly as he'd pulled him in, and was gone himself a moment later, somehow across the room and harassing Germany and Austria in the time it took Canada to catch his breath. But, brief as the kiss had been, it had his head spinning, and it wasn't until he was outside, admiring the fireworks that Hong Kong had set up – with help from North, as his redheaded younger brother had pointed out with a grin – that his mind cleared, and he made his New Year's resolution, albeit a bit late.
No more questions about him and Prussia. He was going to get to the bottom of this, figure out just what it was between them, whatever the consequences. He couldn't take the uncertainty anymore.
A/N: So, this story will, hopefully, be twelve chapters, not counting the prologue and epilogue, which will of course be New Year's 2012. I think the last chapter will be set around Christmas. But basically, the idea is a chapter for each month of the year, as the various resolutions lead to hijinks and hopefully, people getting their acts together. It should be interesting, I hope. (Even I don't know how all of it will go; I've got some plans but characters tend to hijack my stories, so we'll see how it plays out together.) Also, Kugel's human name is Tobias Edelstein - I took Tobias from a list of Austrian baby names.