This one's for George Devalier, for getting me back into and putting up with my endless questions while churning out some of the most gorgeous fics on the web. You are truly the king of multitasking.
I do not own Hetalia or The Twilight Zone.
"Why does everyone over here wear sweatpants?"
Canada rolled his eyes, not even really listening. "Because they're cheaper and more comfortable than jeans."
America shrugged, spreading his jean-clad legs wider on the curb. "That's why you never grow; you're too sensible. Splurge for once, bro!"
"Pardon me if I don't listen to you, but your economy doesn't exactly inspire awe."
He punched America lightly on the shoulder, and was punched twice as hard in return. "Hey, that hurt!"
America just laughed. "You wimp."
They struggled more, laughing until America had him by the hood of his sweatshirt. He raised two fingers in a mockery of a gun. "Bang! You're dead!"
Canada glared and pushed his fingers away. "I am not! You're the one who's tanking!"
America grinned. "But I've got the American dream keeping me afloat. Who's ever heard of the 'Canadian dream'?"
But Canada had turned away, for once the one ignoring. The breeze picked up, sending leaves skittering down Maple Street. He leaned up, snagging one out of the air, turning it over in his hand. It was crinkly and brown and had caterpillar eggs attached to the bottom; shriveled brown unhatched lumps. America watched him curiously.
Still grinning, he sat up, lunging for a leaf. It crunched, and, when he opened his palm, was taken by the wind in pieces. His upper lip twitched in frustration.
"Recessions'll do that."
"How'd you know?"
"I listen to older nations."
"Still not as bad as 1929."
They shuddered at the memories of hunger and fear, silently choking on invisible dust.
They flopped down across the sidewalk, legs extended into the street. "Whatcha doing?"
"Waiting for a bus. You?"
"Visiting my favorite little brother?"
"Flattery will get you nowhere, and we're twins."
"But I'm bigger and stronger..."
"…and less stable."
They paused, America staring thoughtfully at the clear Canadian sky, the air so unusually clean. "It'll hit you too, ya know."
"I doubt it; I've stayed pretty far under the radar. No risky glory-seeking for me"
"I know, I know, you've stayed safe; no 9/11 for you. I'm sure the monsters are due on Maple Street pretty soon."
"Is that a threat?"
"Nope! 'Cuz when it hits, I'll be the hero!"
"Again" rings unspoken between them, louder and more significant than any of the words that actually crossed his lips. "I'll be the hero again."
"You're broke, and I have no enemies; I doubt either will happen."
America stood up, ruffling his hair. "Whatever floats your boat, bro!"
He adjusted his bomber jacket, a relic from WWII and the golden generation. "Just know that, if anything happens…" Canada joined, having heard this far too many time before. "…the hero is always there."
America chuckled once and turned around. "I hope you catch your bus."
He strode off into the distance, into the wind, maple leaves blowing past his feet.
Canada propped himself up on one elbow, watching him go. With sad eyes, he raised two fingers to the receding back, broad and strong and breaking ever so slowly under Atlas's burden.
"Bang. You're dead."
Author's notes: This fic takes place in 2009, right after Canada's mild recession. They still aren't in a recession today. The title and a lot of the symbolism were taken from The Twilight Zone's The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. Canada hasn't been hit to hard by either terrorists or economic woes; it's a pretty steady country. I suppose that's why there's no Canadian dream. I wrote this in 15 minutes after a Spanish test after reading robinrocks' "Be Brave." She is truly the queen of psychobabble.