He remembered wandering through the forest…but not his own strangely enough. Flora merged together as it does in dreams, a meshing of greens and browns in a mere suggestion of his surroundings.

France vaguely remembered he had just been rejected. It was one of the few times in his long life that he had been so completely dismissed and by none other than a mere slip of a nation. Insult upon injury, it had all been for his enemy, his talentless, graceless, shameless, brow heavy English neighbor of all nations and his selfish tears. The very thought of it was nauseating to him. The New World, a lovely child with sunshine blonde hair and eyes so blue they rivaled the skies themselves, had spurned him and his magnificent cooking all for that dour English nation. It was like choosing a storm cloud over a sunny day.

Memories and dream wove together effortlessly as they had the tendency to do in a soft tapestry of striking colors and half remembered sensations as past events spurred on, jumping ahead of themselves. France had set his cooking aside to mourn his loss in power as elegantly as he could. He had turned his back for only for a second to open a bottle of wine. To his surprise, France found his cuisine mostly all gone. The sticky remnants of the feast now clung to the tiny fingers and rounded face of a tiny cherubic being. The petite angel blinked violet eyes up at him, smiling softly with a shy expression. Strangely enough, this child looked like the New World.

No…that wasn't entirely correct. France's artist eyes studied the babe intently, noting that the little one's hair had a touch of strawberry color in it with a curl hanging over his forehead instead of a cowlick. His eyes were also a soothing shade of lingering twilight instead of bright broken dawn.

"What iz thiz?", France heard himself murmur, "Can it be…..?"

Twins. The New World was a pair of twins and not one being and apparently the other one was smarter than his English loving brother or at the very least had a better sense of taste and/or smell.

France scooped up the tiny nation with a pleased laugh, pressing his long elegant nose to soft wavy hair the shade of pale sunlight tinged with a rose's kiss.

"You are zo beautiful.", France said breathily, admiring skin as pale as alabaster and as soft as a misty morning's first light. The small one just stared back at him with wide curious eyes. He seemed equally enamored but lacked the vocabulary to voice this. Instead, he leaned up in the arms that held him so close, pressing a wet, sloppy kiss to France's forehead. France startled, taken aback by the child's loving gesture so freely given. He found himself smiling back, returning the kiss but far more neatly, a simple press of lips to a smooth forehead.

"I will make you New France, my beautiful one, and we shall be together forever.", France promised as snow began to fall, "But tell big brother, do you have a name, ma petite?". The tiny nation nodded solemnly for one so small and new. Snow seemed to cling to his being as if draw to it, like glittering gems that made him appear formed of diamonds and frost.

"Kanata."

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As dreams go, it was a good one until the child spoke. Scenes shimmered and shifted, twisting as they did until they grew hot and burned his mind. Ghosts of pain flitted in, coloring in fiery shades of blood and vibrant crimson uniforms.

England had come himself to claim Canada from France, the heartless bastard he was even as tiny hands had plucked at his singed blue uniform. Canada was still far too young to know what was going on, understand the politics involved. All Canada sought from his big brother was comfort of any kind, desperate for the older nation to hold him, save him…never let him go…

England strode toward them with a cruel smirk on his lip and cold victory in his acid green orbs. Canada watched his approach with wide eyes that grew white ringed with fear. Panic took hold of him as France handed him over…willingly and without explanation.

France turned away as quickly as he could, his head down and his eyes closed. His departure was punctuated by a shrill scream though. The sound was almost surreal in its pitch and it took a moment for France to realize that it was coming from Canada. The child had always been so quiet that he hadn't even recognized his own child's crying…

No….not his anymore….

"Francis! You promised!"

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Francis woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air. He blinked in the foreign darkness, before reoriented himself to his whereabouts in the hotel room.

It was just a dream, the same one that he had been having for centuries. Time had only put its polish on it. Francis fell back on the mattress, throwing the blankets over his head so that he could curl up into himself. He was momentarily grateful he had not had a lover for this evening. Francis preferred not to share his pain with others, especially the kind seeped with shame and guilt. Forever had turned out to be far shorter than he had ever expected. The ancient being snorted at himself in disgust. He had to be careful or else he would start acting like some old man like Arthur.

Remembering the existence of his oldest frenemy brought back the fading bits of dream turned nightmare. Francis sat up wearily to lean against the headboard. He lit a cigarette to calm his unease, not caring that the room was nonsmoking. He blamed the dream's existence on his current whereabouts for the harsh intrusion on his beauty sleep. Whenever he was in Canada, Francis remembered the best….and the worst of their brief time together.

Francis hugged himself, leaning over his knees. This burden was old and far to heavy for him at times. It was hell for him to be in this country but every nation had to take a turn hosting a World Meeting. He wondered if Arthur felt like this whenever Alfred hosted. Francis would have to see him tomorrow….see them all…

Picking up his cell, Francis called his oldest friend and most hated enemy. A few room down the hall, Arthur woke with a start, answering his phone blindly and out of old habit. Nations were quite used to getting random phone call at all hours due to politics and time zones.

"It iz all your fault.", said a very familiar voice full of tired resentment and heavy with emotion.

"When is it not.", Arthur replied quietly. He was answered with a dial tone.

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The smell of something delicious wafted through the edges of the void. Canada knew he was dreaming. He gave his subconscious free leeway to guide him anyway. He so rarely dreamed of food, wondering what is could possibly be this time. His dreams were always so vivid when it came to sensations. Meals and wine never tasted sweet than when they were being consumed in a dream.

The food he was eating was creamy and salty with a crunchy texture. The meat was fall off bone tender, flavored with strange spices and seasonings Canada could not even begin to name. It was nirvana on a smooth round surface he would later know as a plate and the food as foie gras in buerre blanc sauce with ceps and truffles.

He remembered it well. It had been his first real food ever. All food before that paled in comparison. He might has well have been eating dirt and bugs up to that point. Canada had consumed this edible miracle as quickly as he could shove it into his mouth. He had been so enamored with the food that he had failed to noticed the being sitting right beside it.

That someone had talked to him, had made him look up in surprise at his own carelessness. Canada stared up into the face of the most beautiful creature he had ever seen before. It was a man like no other, with hair the shade of molten honey seeping over his shoulders in satiny waves, his chin sparkling from a light covering of gold as well. He looked at Canada with ocean blue eyes, full of surprise and curious wonder. The strange words falling from his lips soft as petals were musical to his ears, melodic in their formation. They entranced him into stillness and Canada could only stare up in amazement as he was suddenly picked up by this gorgeous being.

To his even greater surprise, Canada found that he was being admired in return all the while the strange words caressed his ears, making the little nation feel strangely happy and safe. The man's clothing was so soft, made of materials that Canada couldn't even begin to guess what they were made of and were in shades he didn't think were possible to capture.

The man paused in his words, leaning his head forward. Canada felt like he was going to burst with excitement if he didn't do something soon. He marked the man as his own like he had seen others do by pressing his lips to the man's forehead. The other seemed surprised by it though. Canada worried he might had been too hasty for a moment until the man smiled gloriously at him, returning the gesture softly.

The snow started to fall all around them in slow gentle flakes, dusting the pair of them in white. What sounded like a question was asked them, the man obviously waiting for an answer from him. Canada felt he could trust this one with his name. He was his after all.

"Kanata."

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He was scared.

Big brother came home bleeding, his blue uniform stained with his own blood and singed with gunpowder. He offered no smiles, no kind reassurances to him. France just picked him up without a word, his sapphire eyes avoiding his own amethyst.

It was snowing that day as well as Canada was carried out into a ruined courtyard where another nation stood. He recognized the blonde vaguely, his crimson uniform just as bloody and ruined as Francis's own. Unlike big brother though, he was smiling. Canada took no comfort from the sharp expression. He clung tighter to Big Brother, burrowing his head into his chest.

"Give 'em here frog."

Inexplicably, Canada found himself being handed over. He froze in the terror filled shock of realization, his small body rag dolling as Francis let him go and turned quickly away. Canada stared at his back in horror as his 'brother' walked away from him, leaving him in the arms of this stranger.

"NOOOOOOOOO!"

Francis didn't even bother to look back at him. Canada didn't know what broke his heart more at that moment-his abandonment or the lack of caring that went with it.
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Matthew woke up slowly, hugging Kumajirou to him a little tighter. The polar bear snuggled in closer, tucking its small fuzzy head under his chin in response. Soft snoring right beside him alerted the Canadian that his twin had snuck into his room again sometime during the late hours. Matthew rolled his eyes at America who had probably stayed up half the night watching horror movies or playing video games instead of getting a good night's sleep before the meeting. He kicked his brother until the American turned over and was on his side of the bed again. Matthew briefly thought about kicking him out entirely so that he could have his bed back but it seemed way too much effort at the moment. The problem solved itself however, a loud thump signaled that America had just rolled off the bed, the impact not even stirring him into passing consciousness.

Now that he had a moment's peace again, Canada wondered if he had dreamed that old nightmare because France was so close to him right now, just a few rooms away. So close and yet so far.

Not that it mattered. France wouldn't talk to him tomorrow at the meeting.

He never did.

Matthew curled up tighter around his bear, wiping forming tears into the cub's fur. He refused to cry anymore over France and his betrayal. His former keeper obviously didn't care about him so why should he in return.

It didn't make it hurt any less though