It was 8:00 on 7 January, 1785, and a chilly 8:00 at that. France put his hands inside his overcoat for a second to warm them, while America was too occupied eating breakfast to take much note of the temperature. Of course, the young nation's full mouth had no effect on his willingness to talk.
"This is gonna be so awesome!"
France vaguely wondered how many times the nation across the table had said that since he decided to finance the trip. It may have been a bit of an annoyance to have him yammering—especially at what seemed so early in the morning after France's antics the night before—but once America heard of the soon-to-be historic crossing, he wanted in. And could France turn down such an eager face? Certainly not after said eager face recently cut England down to size.
Nodding in response to America's outburst, France sipped at his coffee. Thanks to the cold and the hour, he'd been through several cups already, as had America. But they would need the energy. They still had work to do on the balloon, and the stress wouldn't stop once they took off. Once they were in the air, France—the only one of the pair who knew enough about the new art of ballooning—would be doing all of the work. But he could handle that. After a little more coffee.
After waving down a waitress to get a refill, America continued, "I'm gonna be on the world's first ever hot air balloon flight over the... whatever it is!"
"You mean the English Channel?" France wasn't ye tin the mood to laugh, but he did smile a bit. America was such a skilled geographer...
"Yeah, sure, that." America took another big bite of the food France had brought for the day. Unfortunately, there wasn't much left. America would have to stop soon, unless he dared to go get some food from around here. Given his previous experiences with English food, he wasn't that hopeful. He was full enough to do some work after this, anyway.
"We still have four hours before we leave," France said, "so don't get too excited just yet." He finished off his coffee and lazily swirled the remnants around the bottom of the cup. "We'll start preparing the balloon once you're ready."
America immediately chugged the rest of his drink and slammed the cup back onto the table—just barely soft enough to keep everything from breaking. "Let's go."
The pair headed down to the cliffs and set to work. America focused on attaching some four silk wings to the carriage—they weren't going to help the flight much, but they looked cool, and that was enough for him—while France set out checking and tinkering with the instruments that were a bit more necessary. They loaded the basket with some personal items, a bag of mail to be delivered, and all the equipment they needed. By the time they were ready for takeoff, the sun was thirty minutes away from its noontime position.
Taking a seat on the ground, France looked out at the growing crowd of Dover citizens. There were a few ladies his type among them, but no England as of yet. He probably wouldn't bother to come, given the two going on the flight. Ah, well. There would be time to pester him after the event.
"So, France," started America, who was spinning one of the ballast weights on his finger. "What'd you bring for lunch?"
"Lunch?" France repeated. "I didn't bring any lunch. We're not eating on this side."
From America's expression, one might think he was just told he would die within the hour. "What? I can't do this on an empty stomach!"
"We had plenty for breakfast." Obviously his and America's definitions of "plenty" differed. "Besides, we have less than half an hour before takeoff."
America put down the weight and stood. "Well, I'll just go grab something—"
"Not in this country! I'm not going to let you be poisoned right before we try to make history."
"Fine. You can make something for me." America smiled expectantly, but France was still dubious. "Please?"
"We don't have nearly enough time—"
"Hey guys!" America announced to the crowd so loudly France jumped. "We ran into some problems, and we won't be taking off until 1:00!"
France got to his feet, ready to correct the situation, but some of the crowd was already drifting away. He had little choice but to stand there dumbstruck until America slapped him on the back and started walking towards town.
After about an hour of rushed cooking for France and voracious eating for America, the two were back in the balloon. And this time, nothing could stop them from their historic trip.
Having a few minutes to spare yet, France turned to the crowd and began a strategic round of kiss-blowing. About halfway through, he saw a face that hadn't been there for their original takeoff.
"Oho! England decided to send us off after all!" France waved. "England!"
The nation in the crowd just glowered in response as he put a worn, old book back in his overcoat pocket. "I hope you both crash and die." Jolly old England.
America joined in the obnoxious waving, despite the majority of the glare aimed his way. "And I hope we don't! See you!"
With that oddly-well-timed remark, France's watch hit 1:00. The blonde gave out his last goodbyes to the crowd and then set the balloon to flight.