There are many different types of heroes.
There are the silent ones that give blood and organ to those who will never know- or even ask – their names. These heroes look for no acknowledgement for their deeds; in fact they often don't want the acknowledgement.
There are the everyday heroes whose jobs do not say them must be heroes, but instead make it so they cannot possibly be seen by the public as anything but heroes. Firefighters, paramedics, police officers, all these brave men and women simply do their job, save lives and risk their own, but they are heroes none the less.
There were the kind of heroes who demand attention, those who flaunt their power unnecessarily- but not unjustly- and whom everyone knew had the power to complete the goals they set themselves.
Then there were heroes like Alfred. He was the kind who was trying to impress everyone, be a friend and saviour to all he loved and more. He was loud, brash, and often people brushed him off as being stupid- even if they knew he could be everything he said he was.
It was when Alfred was looking out of his office window, down at the gardens and fountains that he thought of the newspaper articles pinned and framed on the walls. The clippings were from years long gone and dates just past, they were from small-town papers and world news papers, some were tragic- 9/11 being just a few, and there was the Halifax harbour incident- and there were happy clippings- "Firehouse dog saves baby from burning crib". –they were all important to Alfred nonetheless, because they were all paying tribute to the heroes of his land, and to the land to his north.
Alfred often hates the fact that his brother is ignored, in fact he often wants to hit himself for putting his 'image' before his brother when he feigns ignorance to his existence. There are even times when Alfred actually does forget his brother's very existence. But he cannot help it, he doesn't want Matthew to know, he doesn't want his Mattie to know the secret he's kept in his heart since the day they met; long before they were colonies, long before the fights between their fathers, and long before either were considered countries of their own, when they were young boys whom their children called spirits.
When they were still nations unknown to the world, when they were the new world, they were children being raised by native America. She was a kind woman, but often left the boys to grow on their own- watching form a safe distance.
Canada wasn't always a timid nation, in fact he used to be quite cold- secluding himself away with his natives- but he was always open to America, even if America was rambunctious and wild.
They were inseparable most of the time; they would walk along the creeks and plains, just admiring their lands. When they were young they didn't differentiate between themselves, they knew- intrinsically- that they would need to be two separate people eventually, but at the time they were happy to be the same.
Matthew was quiet, secluded and usually found sleeping with the animals of his lands. His children were open and warm with him, teaching him things and telling him tales, it took years for Alfred's children to do that with him- and as much as it made his jealous he somewhat understood why it was the case.
Alfred was always getting into trouble, with the natives, the animals, and even the land. He's get in squabbles with black bear cubs, he's get yelled at and chased by the native elders when he snooped too close to something sacred- and it want even his own people.
Now while the land and animals and natives couldn't hurt him, they weren't afraid of teaching him a physical lesson. Many times Alfred would come home- back to the big tree where he and Matthew often slept- with cuts and bruises- they'd often disappear within days- they were often red and raw, painful to touch and move and Alfred often came home crying or at least sniffling as he fought the tears. Matthew would smile at Alfred, give him a hug, and use the methods his children had taught him to make the wounds less painful. Then Matthew would take Alfred to see the ones he had annoyed.
It always amazed Alfred as to how easily Matthew spoke with the land, with his children and creature- even with Alfred's land and children- he'd smile at them, speak softly to them and eventually move Alfred forward to apologize. Alfred was always afraid- even if only secretly- to approach the native people, especially Matthews children, they were different tot his own, and often it was Alfred's curiosity that led him to approach somewhere he was not allowed.
Everyone would leave happy from these meetings, no one ever fought when Matthew was there, no one had the angry faces or cold expressions, and Alfred loved that it was Matthew that caused such soft smiles.
Even to this day Alfred can't help but be awed by his brother's strength. Canada takes beatings- from Cuba more than anyone- he takes emotional and verbal abuses from his own papa and their shared father. Canada fights with little acknowledgement, he's been in wars, fought for other countries' capitals, he's even liberated a few nations from capture- all without much acknowledgement other than a brief incredulous comment every few decades, and Canada doesn't say anything. Matthew doesn't say anything, he doesn't get angry, and he stays the peacekeeper.
Alfred can't help but he awed by his brother's internal strength, he can only wish it were his own.
You see, America wasn't trying to be just any hero; America was trying to be everyone's hero.
Alfred wasn't trying to be just any hero either; Alfred was trying to be like the best hero.
While America may be the stronger, well known and established nation everyone acknowledged, America was a brother first, America was Alfred fist and foremost.
So when America flaunted his amazing power, his drive to be the hero everyone looked up to, he was secretly trying t be like his hero, secretly he wanted only one person to recognize him.
America may not have a hero, but Alfred does.
Alfred's hero was, and always will be his brother Matthew.
So this was a little muse I had. I don't think I've portrayed it like I wanted, and I'm not even sure I'm happy with it, but here you go regardless.
Thank you. Merci. Arigatou.