Of Gods and Mortals
A/N: My second story in the Hetalia Archives! Thank you so much for those who read Part of the Band and enjoyed it! I hope this one is half as enjoyable as the former!
Summary: "We are Gods, git! We are bloody immortal! They're not! They are nothing more than a bunch of soap bubbles! You are not mortal and you never will be! Accept it!" When a God falls down to earth, only time will tell if he will ever forgive and forget. USUK and others.
Warnings: France (who must always get a warning of his own), yaoi (although really, you're in this archive. It's kind of impossible to avoid yaoi), mentions of diarrhea by scone, blood, mentions of the atomic bomb, lightly implied sex.
Pairings: USUK, mentioned GerIta, RoChu, GiriPan, Spamano, PruCan, AusHun, and Franchelles
Cast List (in order of appearance):
England/Arthur- God of the Seas. Cranky and stubborn, yet genuinely cares about his fellow Gods. Strange relationship with America.
France/Francis- God of Love and Beauty. Loves roses, yet flighty when it comes to commitment. Close friend of the God of Agriculture and God of War.
Spain/Antonio- God of Agriculture. Once played a game against England, which resulted in the loss of an "armada" of ships made from food. Cheerful and carefree, unless said game is mentioned. Special relationship with the God of Travelers.
China/Yao- God of Wisdom. Said to be one of the eldest of the Gods. Though he is wise, he cannot figure out why everyone seems to think he steals ideas from the other Gods.
Japan/Kiku- God of the Sun. Easily the calmest of the Gods. Prefers rising over setting.
Hungary/Elizabeta- Goddess of the Moon. Wife of Austria and yaoi fangirl before the term yaoi existed. The only one who can match the God of War in combat.
Austria/Roderich- God of Music. When he is not composing something beautiful, he is inventing a new instrument. Husband of Hungary.
Russia/Ivan- God of Death. Wishes all to become one with him. Obsessively stalks China when he isn't formulating ways to slowly kill and tor- I mean... give the Gods hugs. Chased around by the Goddess of Fire, and (secretly) by the Goddess of Fertility.
Belarus/Naytala - Goddess of Fire. A truly terrifying woman that most Gods, especially Russia, fear. Openly chases her brother and declares her intention to marry him.
Ukraine/Katsuya- Goddess of Fertility. Often sought out for her rather large chest. Secretly in love with her brother, the God of Death, though holds back due to the fact that she brings life whereas he ends it.
Prussia/Gibert- God of War. Loves beer, harassing the other Gods, and of course, himself. Has a pet bird named Gilbird.
Greece/Herakles- God of Sleep. Likes cats and sleeping. Will only really wake up to talk briefly to Japan.
Germany/Ludwig- God of Balance. Likes cleaning, orderliness, and the sound of his own voice shouting orders. Special relationship with the God of the Hearth.
Italy/Feliciano- God of the Hearth. The most cheerful of the Gods, but a bit of a crybaby. Loves pasta, wine, and naps. Special relationship with the God of Balance.
Romano/Lovino- God of Travelers. Has a nasty mouth, developed from spending too much time with the Bad Gods Trio. Special relationship with the God of Agriculture.
Ancient Rome/Grandpa Rome- God of the Skies and Ruler of the Heavens. Relationship to Italy and Romano is unknown, but he does care for them as his grandchildren. Despite his seemingly child-like mannerisms, is a wise and revered ruler.
Canada/Matthew- A young God who appeared under the Sacred Tree one morning. Quiet and often unnoticed, but nonetheless kind and reserved. Ward of France and twin of America.
America/Alfred- A young God who appeared under the Sacred Tree one morning. Loud and rambunctious, he believes in fighting for noble causes and seeks to be a Hero of the Gods. Ward of England and twin of Canada.
Seychelles/Michelle- Goddess of Spring. A free-spirited young woman who gets along with just about everybody.
What the bloody Hell am I missing teatime for?
That was the first thought of the young God of the Seas when he first walked in, his light blue robes billowing around him. He carried his ever-present trident in his hand. A soft, refreshing ocean breeze danced around him. His messy blonde locks were caught in a simple headdress of perfect round pearls. His emerald green eyes, set below rather large eyebrows, flashed expectantly.
"It's about time you showed up, England, mon ami," an airy voice greeted him, causing the large eyebrows to furrow down into a scowl. The God of Love and Beauty, whose soft purple robes and rose-red headpiece showcased his sapphire blue eyes and flowing gold hair, only laughed in response. "And here I thought you actually cared for something more than your foolish teas and seas!"
"Shut it, France," the Sea God growled, green eyes stormy. "We wouldn't want say... a giant tsunami crushing your precious temples now, would we?" his grin became near feral. "Wouldn't want that stupid thing on top of the hill to go the same way as that armada in the game Spain and I played earlier, eh?"
Said God of Agriculture let out a loud, anguished wail. "My armada! MY BEAUTIFUL ARMADA!" he tore at his brown locks in anguish, green eyes clouded over in terror.
England let out a dark chuckle as the khaki-robed God crawled into a corner, mewling frantically. "That never gets old."
"Is everyone here yet, aru?" China, the ebony-haired God of Wisdom asked. "I have much history to sort through, aru! And my rock garden, which I invented, will not plant itself, aru!"
"If I may, China," a slim, brown-eyed God spoke. His white and gold robes sparkled with his every movement. "I cannot see how you could have possibly invented the rock garden when I was the one explain to you how rocks gardens made my job easier."
"Aiya! Do not attempt to discredit me, Japan! Just because you are God of Sun doesn't mean you can back-talk me, aru!"
England rolled his eyes at the quarrel (or rather, China trying to quarrel with Japan while the Sun God simply sat there and stared). He was ever so glad that he had managed to outgrow his childish years. After all, it would never do to have the dignified God of the Sea squabbling with his fellow Gods like they were children.
France chose that moment to loudly start whispering to Hungary, the Goddess of the Moon. England was not fully aware what Francis said, but from the way Hungary squealed, then fainted into Austria's arms with blood gushing out of her nose, he had a pretty good idea of what it was. The God of Music and the Arts' shocked expression and France wriggling his eyebrows in England's direction didn't help things.
England charged and tackled the God of Love and Beauty, powerful hands wrapping around the offending God's slim throat. "YOU STUPID GIT! WHAT DID YOU TELL HER!? I DON'T CARE HOW IMMORTAL YOU ARE, I'LL BLOODY KILL YOU TO DEATH!"
"You know, I think we would do better if we just agree that we all must become one with Mother Russia, da?" the God of Death asked. "If we all become one with Russia, there will be no fighting!"
"No fighting!? We'd fight to our deaths, aru!" China shouted, turning his attention from where he was trying to choke Japan (and being subsequently blinded) to whirl on the tall God. "And do not think I am not aware of your sneaking around my library! Stay away! It off limits, aru!"
"But China, you know you want to become one with-"
"Oh Brother~!" a silver-haired woman stalked into the room, her flaming eyes alight with intent. The God of Death shivered at her approach, purple eyes widening as he shrunk back from her. "I'm ready to marry you~! There is no stopping the burning flame of my love!"
"Run, Brother Russia!" a well-endowed woman shouted as she grabbed the Goddess of Fire from behind, trying to keep her back. "I will keep Naytala at bay as best I can!"
The God of Death was gone before the Goddess of Fertility was finished talking.
"You know, the Awesome Me don't even remember what we're doing here," Prussia remarked, examining his reflection in his shield. The silver-haired God turned his red eyes to the brunette who "sat" beside him. "Say Greece, do you remember why we're here?"
The God of Sleep just kept sleeping.
"Ohonhonhon! Do not deny it, Angleterre! You and I both know that night that you were oh so very-"
"SHUT UP AND DIE ALREADY, YOU STUPID FROG!"
"And stop accusing me of stealing idea, aru! I make good cute things! You just jealous of original ancient God of Wisdom ideas!"
"MY BEAUTIFUL ARMADA!"
"BROTHER! Where are you, brother!? I am ready to marry you!"
"Hello? Greece? It's totally not awesome to sleep in my awesome presence! Do I have to get Gilbird the Awesome to-"
"I WILL TEAR OFF YOUR BLOODY ROSES AND SHOVE THEM UP YOUR BLOODY ARSE, YOU WANKER!"
"Ohonhonhon, Angleterre~! You wish to shove things up my a-"
"WILL ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!?"
All Gods froze at once upon hearing this new, authoritative voice. Gulping collectively (except for Russia), they all turned slowly towards the new arrival, most of them trying not to look the extremely ticked off God of Balance in the eye directly. If any of them had bothered not looking at the floor, however, they would have come face to face with a tall God with slicked-back blonde hair and icy blue eyes. Clad in a robe of dark green, Germany simply radiated authority.
"Now, all of us shall stand tall and erect and give the proper respect to our King, Lord Rome!" Germany ordered, glaring at the Gods with each word. "I will expect no more fighting, squabbling, or general stupidity until this meeting is done! You are all to listen to everything Lord Rome says and if there are questions, you are to raise your hand and be acknowledged before you may speak! You may speak for no more than eight minutes each, and-"
"Ve~! Make way, make way!" an auburn-haired God happily skipped in, holding a gently burning torch. Completely oblivious to the way that Germany was (trying and failing) to glare at him, Italy, God of the Hearth, spun around and bowed low to the assembled Gods. He was followed by another God that looked insanely similar to him, save for the darker hair and the even darker scowl. "Grandpa Rome is coming, everybody! And he's got a big surprise!"
England raised an eyebrow, having finished with choking the immortal life out of France. A surprise? It was quite rare that the Gods would receive surprises. The mortals down below had long ago settled into a life that they seemed to enjoy: one of farming over hunting and gathering, where everyone owned everything and food was plentiful. The God of the Seas leaned forward and listened with renewed interest, tuning out the excited whispers of the other Gods.
"Ve~! I hope this meeting is over soon, don't you, Germany?" Italy asked, swinging from the God of Strength and Courage's arm. "I wanna go out and make some more pasta! You like pasta, don't you, Germany?"
"Kesesese! A surprise? Awesome! Maybe it's a new way to make beer!"
"Si, mi amigo! Or tomates! Me gusta tomates!" Spain wrapped an arm around the scowling God of Travelers. "Don't you agree, Romano?"
"Chigi! Get your arm off of me, bastardo!"
"Oh, but Lovi~!"
"Brother, maybe it's our wedding all set up and ready to go~!"
"Or new library, aru!"
All whispering ceased as a tall figure entered the room. He was taller than everyone in the room, including Russia, with deep brown hair and eyes. Clad in glittering gold armor, with a sword at his side and a red cape at his back, he looked every inch the part of warrior king. His smile, however, was wide and kind. As he walked to the center of the room, England's eyes fell upon the white bundles he held in each arm.
They were obviously children; there was no mistaking the golden shine of hair. One of them had his face buried into Lord Rome's chest, hiding all of his features from the assembled Gods. The only thing that they could glimpse of him was the curly ahoge jutting out from the top of his head. From the boy's shy, brief glimpses of the assembled Gods, England was able to identify light violet eyes.
The other was something else entirely. He squirmed in Lord Rome's grasp, not at all cowed by the sight of grown Gods and Goddesses. His hair was wheat-blonde, unlike the golden and wavy tresses of his brother, with a single cowlick stubbornly defying gravity at the very top of his head. His eyes, colored a beautiful sky blue, swept excitedly around the room. There was no mistaking the grin at his lips.
Lord Rome stopped in the middle of the room and placed the boys down. The violet-eyed one immediately ran and hid behind Rome's cape, peeking out at the assembly with a trembling form. The other simply stood there and looked around, taking in every sight and sound. Briefly, sky met emerald as England locked eyes with this child. A strange tingling passed through the God of the Seas, one that he had never felt before. In spite of himself, England found himself smiling at the child, his hands twitching slightly, as if they longed to pick him up and spin him around.
"The Sacred Tree has blessed us yet again," Rome said softly, smiling down at the boys. "It has given us the gift of two new Gods. Everyone, I would like you to meet Canada..." he lightly moved his leg to show that this name belonged to the violet-eyed one. "And America." he gestured to the one with the cowlick. "As you all can clearly see, they are not of age yet and therefore are not yet ready to name the thing they are to be given reign over. Therefore, until their Commencement, one of us Gods must raise them and teach them our ways." brown eyes swept over the assembly. "Who will step forward?"
There was a slight lull as the Gods digested their King's words. Yes, there was no doubt that the two boys before them would have to be reared properly and taught their ways before they came of age. Raising a new God was a great honor; after all, the caretaker God would be essentially raising a child of his or her own. They would teach the traditional ways, yes, but would also nurture and raise the child to act how they wanted said child to act. They would be the ones to introduce their own interests, their own hopes, their own dreams...
But it was a curse as well. God children were unpredictable. They were born with many wondrous abilities, those that every God possessed and those that were unique only to them. If handled improperly, they would grow to become downright dangerous. If they became dangerous, they would immediately be banished to the Underworld, where they would be Russia's prisoner for the rest of eternity.
England studied the blue-eyed child, his twin brother already almost forgotten. There was no doubt that the boy would possess the basics: immortality, eternal youth, beauty, and the ability to change his form. From the way the boy seemed to be nearly jumping up and down with excitement, he could probably add excitability to the list. The real mystery of the boy, America, was his unique ability. It would help him and whoever his caretaker was decide how to rear him in preparation for his Commencement.
England's unique ability had been the ability to not only feel at home in any body of water, but also to shape and bend said water to his will. The power made him a suitable God of the Seas. Prussia easily snagged the title of God of War after demonstrating the fact that, if he wanted to, he could start anything from a minor squabble to a full-scale war with only a few whispered words and maybe some poop flung from Gilbird. China, able to memorize anything and look into the future, had been an obvious choice for God of Wisdom. Germany, with his uncanny ability to sense the balance of anything- nature, the universe, Lord Rome's weight- around him made him the perfect God of Balance.
Everyone else had their own unique ability as well, but a certain Love God's trademark laugh snapped England from his thoughts. England blinked and snapped his head around, just in time to see France approaching America with an out-stretched hand. The younger God, for his part, furrowed his brow curiously at the finely-shaped hand. Sensing his intentions, England stepped out in front of France, effectively blocking the God of Love and Beauty from America's view.
"Don't even think about it, Frog," he hissed, green eyes flashing acidly. "I will not allow you to corrupt him!"
France raised a single elegant eyebrow. "Ohonhonhon~! Silly Angleterre! You know that I, as the most honorable God of Love, can be the only one to take care of him! After all, he is in need of lots and lots of love showered upon him. Besides, what are you going to do, mon cher? Feed him those disgusting seaweed scones?"
"Ve! Don't talk about them!" Italy whined, jumping into Ludwig's arms. The blonde God stumbled a bit from the sudden weight, but soon righted himself, as a God of Balance should. A light flush crossed his features. "I'm still getting diarrhea from the last batch!"
"Stay. Away. From. America," England hissed, the deep glare in his eyes never wavering. "I don't bloody care if you're the bloody God of Wanking, git! I won't have another one of you running around!"
"If anything, if you raise him, you will simply show him how to smooth out his eyebrows and burn his food," France sniffed. "At least under my care, he will learn to be a loving member of God-ciety."
"Why you little-"
"Here's an idea," Rome said, speaking for the first time since the argument started. "Why don't we let America and Canada decide, hm?" he smiled down at America. "What do you think, America?"
"Sure, okay," America answered, a smile crossing his tiny features. His voice was rather loud for one so small; it seemed to crash against the boy's throat, like waves against a cliff. Somehow, it suited the young God. He seemed strong, despite his small and rather chubby body. "I don't care, as long as I can get a big brother to play with!"
Big brother. Those words were music to England's ears. He had never had a sibling before; Sealand, that idiotic nymph, didn't count at all. If he were to become America's caretaker, his "big brother", he would always be there for him. He would teach America the ways of the Gods and in turn, America would grow to become a fine gentleman of a God. He would watch America grow from this small, chubby boy into the strong God the boy was obviously destined to be. And England would be there as his big brother, prouder than any God in the heavens.
Plus, he would be able to go tell that Frog to suck it.
"Ohonhonhon~!" France said, wriggling his eyebrows at America. "Come here, little Amerique! Come let Big Brother France raise you and teach you in the ways of l'amour!"
England sensed it right away; that cheating bastard was using his unique ability. It was obvious, from the way the scent of roses hung in the air, the way France seemed to stand up straighter, taller, and all the more magnificent, and the way the other Gods suddenly turned their attention to the God of Love and Beauty. Yes, France was definitely using his ability to make himself irresistible to anyone, God or mortal. For a moment, England was tempted to simply step aside and give the God of Love and Beauty what he wanted. After all, wasn't it important that he and the other Gods kept France happy?
Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
America deserved a future, one where there was no "l'amour" to tie him down or get in his way. America deserved to be trained by the strongest, where he would one day be given a role in the Pantheon of Gods that would reflect both his obvious strength and his bright future. He deserved something other than the disgusting swine before him and England would be damned if he simply stepped aside and allowed that stupid Frog to continue ruining the boy's future.
To his great surprise, America wrinkled his nose. "Ew. You smell funny."
France froze, blue eyes widened in surprise. The other Gods seemed to be taken aback as well, as most of them managed to rip their gaze away from the God long enough to stare at America. Said God, meanwhile, simply stood there and stared defiantly at France, blue eyes never wavering.
"I don't want a big brother that smells funny," America continued. England felt a tiny hand enter his, which hung loosely at his side. He felt an electric jolt go through him as his face began to warm up. "I want a big brother who can play with me!" England felt all eyes in the room on him and wondered vaguely if there was something on his face. "I want one who will help me be a great hero!"
England looked down at America, whose sky-blue eyes smiled back at him. There was a quiet beauty in the child that he had not noticed before, one that radiated a free spirit, great strength, and immense kindness. In spite of his wishing to keep up his usual cold demeanor, the older God found himself smiling back.
"Will you be my big brother, Mr. Engwand?"
Engwand. Big Brother Engwand. That very nickname made his ears tingle. His voice caught in his throat. Twice he opened his mouth to speak, only to close it again for fear of saying something undignified. In the end, just as America was beginning to wilt, England managed a small nod. The smile that crossed the God's face thereafter rivaled the shine of Japan's Sun Chariot.
"Ah, so you have chosen, America. Very good," Rome said gently as he turned around. "And you, Cana- wait, what?"
Where before a little violet-eyed boy had been standing, there stood nothing but empty space. The Gods gasped and began whispering amongst themselves again, wondering where the little boy went. They looked everywhere: behind curtains, under tables, between cracks in the floor, and even under their own shoes. But Canada was nowhere to be found.
"I'm right here," an airy voice breathed from somewhere in front of France. The Gods all whirled in that direction, just in time to catch the rather unattractive expression of a shock God of Love and Beauty staring at the thin air in front of him. Before any of them could comment on anything, the air shimmered and a familiar curly ahoge appeared. Slowly, the form of a slight boy with violet eyes appeared in front of them, smiling softly up at France. For the first time, England noticed that he clutched a small white teddybear to his chest.
"I-I... mon dieu!" France exclaimed, staring down at the young God. "H-How-"
The small God shrugged. "I... you guys were paying more attention to America. So I thought it was better that I disappeared, so that there wouldn't be anymore fighting, eh?" he shifted uncomfortably. "Still... I feel sad that you don't get a little brother of your own, so..."
France leaned down and scooped Canada up, causing the latter to let out a soft squeak. "Canada, Canada, Canada! Mon cheri! Mon petit frère! Oh, how glorious our time together shall be!"
The surrounding Gods watched the sight: a boyish God of Love spinning his new charge around and a flushing God of the Seas with a new little boy swinging on his arm. Many of them chuckled. A few voiced their congratulations. Prussia gave a loud whoop of "AWESOME!". Happy that everything worked out, Lord Rome called an end to the meeting. The Gods began slowly trickling out, happily chatting about a myriad of things before parting to go their own ways. France walked out, cheerfully leading the violet-eyed God by the hand.
Now it was just China and England left, the latter already formulating all the ways he would help America become a strong God. The child in question had managed to find a stuffed rabbit of all things behind a curtain and was playing with it. China, for his part, stared at England, a vacant expression on his face. The Sea God stood there and stared back at China, knowing that this vacant expression meant that he was looking into the future.
The God of Wisdom blinked and fixed England's green-eyed stare with his own brown ones. "... He will bring you great joy, but also great pain, aru."
England frowned. "What do you mean, China?"
"I mean exactly what I said, aru. He will bring you great joy in the centuries to come. Your happiness will know no bounds. But later, there will be a time when there is great strife between you two, aru. And he will bring you great pain."
"Is there a way to avoid the pain, China?" England asked desperately, sparing a glance over to where America was playing with the toy. "Perhaps a way to divert whatever the event leading to the strife is?"
"I only see glimpses of future, aru. And as far as I can tell, the wisest thing for you to do is to not be his big brother, aru," China sadly shook his head. "Back when I raised Japan... I was foolish, aru... so foolish..."
"It'll be different, China," England said firmly. "America is not Japan. He is his own God. He is-"
"A young God, aru," China said softly. "And one who is destined to surpass us all."
England shook his head, messy locks flying. "No... I can't just abandon him, China. He chose me to be his big brother. Me. Brothers must look out for each other..."
China sighed. "No amount of wisdom will sway your opinion, aru. I already know that you are stubborn, like sea. I can only wish you luck, Opium." the corners of his lips twitched. "I also see that he shall be hard to raise, aru. Consider investing in less costly things."
England frowned. "What is that supposed to-"
America looked up from the large pile of rubble where a marble pillar once stood. "S-Sorry. I threw my bunny against it because he was being mean."
"And this is called a wheel, America," England said, smiling softly as the large, round stone disk was rolled over to the young God. "We Gods use it for many things. But we mostly use it to attach to our carts to help us when we must transport things." he laughed. "Of course, with your strength, you wouldn't have much use for a cart, would you?"
The young God said nothing, only staring some more at the wheel. He carefully rolled the stone disk between each of his hands, sky blue eyes following it back and forth. England's smiled widened a little as America stopped the wheel briefly and spun it around, carefully observing each side of it.
It had been quite a few centuries since the day England and America became "brothers". America had grown considerably. No longer did he reach England's knee; now he was roughly chest-height. He walked around nowadays wearing robes of dark blue, with a few pearls sewn in at his collar to show his allegiance to the Sea God. The boy was truly a lovely little thing, eager and brimming with curiosity.
The older God had taken the child under his wing, teaching him about everything subject from the tactics of war to the art of cooking. In spite of what that Frog said, his cooking was perfectly fine. It just occasionally burned... and undercooked... and set on fire... all at the same time. But other than those infrequent instances, he cooked perfectly fine foods!
America's unique gift had developed quickly as well. He had great strength; he could outmatch anyone, even Prussia himself. It was both a powerful tool and a great curse for the Gods. More often than not, they would return from their usual activities to find that America had managed to break one of their thrones or something of the like. At least he gave the Gods something to work on other than sending down divine blessings and punishments to mortals. As a result, he received special instruction on combat from Prussia, England, and even Lord Rome himself. The lad was quickly on his way to becoming a strong warrior.
Aside from combat, the subject America seemed to love most was the topic of mortals. The younger God soaked up everything England had taught him about mortals, asking numerous questions and sometimes having to run to China to get answers. It got to the point where, once China and England ran out of things to tell him about the mortals, America had taken to wandering near the edge of the clouds and laying there, watching as mortal lives whirled around beneath him.
He was doing that now, England noticed, hesitating for a moment before he thought better of himself and decided not to interfere. After all, it was important for growing Gods to gain their own interests. This strange obsession with mortals... he would grow out of it eventually. Mortals were soap bubbles, after all. If you got too attached to one, he'd be gone in an instant. America had yet to fully grasp that, but England didn't doubt that one day, the young God would.
What he didn't expect was for America to roll the wheel right off the clouds and down to the earth below.
"A-America!" England shouted, reaching out his hand as if to grab the offending wheel. Of course, he was much too late and the wheel spun off the clouds as a result, well on its way to the mortal plane. The Sea God gaped at the contraption, wondering how in the world he was to explain to Lord Rome how one of the Gods' precious inventions managed to land in the hands of mortals. Enraged, he turned on America. "Y-You... you foolish child! Are you fully aware of what you have just done!?"
America met emerald with calm blue eyes. "I gave the mortals something they needed, England."
"Something they needed!? They were doing quite well on their own before you decided to interfere, and-"
"They were hurt, England! Don't you ever watch them? They have to carry heavy loads all on their own and they're all hunched over and getting hurt!" tears formed in the young boy's face. "Don't you care about them at all?"
The Sea God froze as he took in his charge's words. Yes, it was true that he never really watched the mortals down below. They were all rather pathetic beings whose sacrifices were the only thing keeping them from being slaughtered by Gods such as Prussia, who got bored easily and enjoyed a slaughter-fest as much as the next God. Their lives were tiny compared to the eternity of a God's life, so what did it matter if they were briefly hurt? Still, the sight of his little brother's tears struck a chord in him, a chord that, had it been any other God, would never have been struck before.
"... I'm sorry, America," England said quietly, stepping forward and ruffling the boy's hair. I understand that you care for these... mortals an awful lot, don't you, lad?"
America let out a sniffle. "Their lives are short, England... the best thing we can do is make them better so they aren't so sad when they..." he trailed off, not wishing to say the horrible word.
England nodded. "O-Of course. Of course, you're right. If the wheel will really provide a small comfort to them, then I suppose that it is a good thing. Who knows, it might help them out enough so that they sacrifice more often, and all of that."
Tiny arms wrapped around him as he spoke, pulling him close to the smaller boy. A nose rubbed against his back as America nuzzled his guardian. England's cheeks warmed up slightly, but nonetheless, he awkwardly reached behind him and returned the hug.
"You're the best big brother ever, England," America whispered.
England smiled. "And I could never have asked for a better little brother, America."
More things fell from the heavens as the centuries passed.
At first, England paid no heed. After all, with America's dropping of the wheel, the mortals were now much healthier and often sacrificed much better bits of their food to the Gods. England would never admit it, but there was nothing like waking up in the morning to the sweet scent of the finest parts of the day's hunt.
Sacrifices were like incenses to the Gods. They would float up to the heavens via smoke and fragrant the Hall of the Gods with smoky meats and sweet fruits. If France, Romano, or Italy were up to it that day, they would catch the fragrant smoke and turn it into fine foods. With just a sprinkling of ambrosia, the food of the Gods, the sacrifices would be made into meals that fitted them greatly. They would often eat this food and drink nectar, the divine drink, whilst sitting around Italy's hearth, which he kept going so that the Hall was always warm.
America dropped things often over the centuries. At first, they were only little tools, like knives and sickles and the like to help the mortals with the harvest. Then came academic items, like ink and papers for mortals to write on. Eventually, small items of pleasure made their way down, including numerous sweets and cloth to spin clothes. As time moved on, England saw the mortals slowly advancing, with small villages turning into towns and cities into kingdoms.
It terrified him.
Meanwhile, the young boy God had grown to become a man. In mortal years, his appearance was no more than 25. America was now tall- a head taller than England- and lean, with a wide and boyish face and a strong jaw. There was always a smile on his lips and, when he wasn't too busy watching mortals, his loud and rather obnoxious laughter often rang through the Hall. He had developed a liking for a strange meat sandwich thing he invented and, in spite of how greasy it was, often consumed it in large quantities. He was fresh, fit, and lovely, just like all of the other Gods.
But what really set him apart from the others was not his unique strength, but his eyes. The years that passed between his introduction and now had only served to beautify his eyes. They were always alight with excitement and seemed to see everything beyond the great cloud separating the Gods from the mortals. These eyes smiled at the world around them and whenever they turned to England, the Sea God would find himself unable to look at them too long without reddening.
Yes, America had grown big, strong, and beautiful. Yes, he was among the most powerful of the Gods, having been trained by the God of Seas as well as the God of War. Yes, he was a favorite amongst the Gods, for unlike some of the older Gods, he was young and fresh and forever inventing new ways to brighten up the Hall with his youth and vigor.
But it was always the mortals that came first. Those short-lived soap bubbles always came before his Godly friends. England had caught him more than once trying to sneak more things to them than he should have. Gold and precious gems rained down from the heavens often. Though such precious objects were plentiful in the Hall of the Gods, some whispered that, if America continued to interfere with mortal lives, the mortals would eventually think themselves Gods.
He couldn't allow that to happen. Now, whenever America was watching the mortals, he would be there as well to watch over the foolish young God. He had already managed to stop him from sending down their precious Faeries and Flying Mint Bunnies. And there was no telling what would have happened if he had not prevented America from sending down their unicorns.
They fought often now. England, in his age, had grown hot-headed and stubborn. America, for his part, had been granted a sense of independence and some sort of foolish hero complex that his brother thankfully lacked. America was always dancing at the edge of the clouds, spewing things about being a hero for the mortals down below. America was always trying to sneak things like magical scrolls away from Yao to try to get the mortals to learn magic. America was always getting into trouble with Germany for temporarily throwing off the balance of the universe by throwing down creatures like lions and tigers and bears.
England endured this behavior for centuries, trying to tell himself that it was only a phase. Eventually, America would get tired of these little mortals and their short mortal lives. Eventually, America would see that his place was among the Gods, not the mortals. Eventually, America would take his place as one of the Gods, never to interfere with mortal lives again.
Eventually, Commencement Day arrived.
England dressed himself in his newest robe: a scarlet one with white and gold trimming. He picked up his ceremonial trident and placed a headpiece of pink pearls and spindly gold in his hair. He stood before the other Gods to Lord Rome's right at the base of the Sacred Tree.
Canada had finished his Commencement only a few hours before. The boy had gone through all the proper ceremonies: kneeling at the tree, waiting for Rome to speak, gaining a blessing from each God, and finally drinking a cup of Sap before declaring his role in the Pantheon. If his role was accepted, he would be able to swallow. If not, he would have to attempt choosing a new role.
The boy had chosen to be the God of Healing. He had chosen this because, in addition to his powers of invisibility, he was also extremely adept in healing another. Canada managed to swallow the Sap without a hitch. And, once it was all over, stood with great dignity to receive the congratulations of all the Gods. Amazingly, it was the God of War, not France, who ran up to the boy and congratulated him first. Prussia had even thrown his arms around Canada and given him a hug! Such a thing was surely unheard of!
America had not been there, for he was to go next. And once the congratulations were done with, Lord Rome offered Canada his Symbol of Office: a golden staff with snakes intertwined with it. Once that was all done, the King of the Gods had called for silence and the preparation of the second Commencement of the day. England now stood beside him, green eyes focused on the twin doors before him.
America stepped out dressed in his favorite robe: a navy blue toga with red and white trimmings. The outfit was rather simple, but it brought out the sky blue of his eyes. Never before had the young God looked handsomer and, in spite of himself, England found that he could not tear his gaze away from the boy who had once been his charge. America's bottom lip trembled slightly as he walked into the silent courtyard, an indication that- in spite of his earlier objections- showed he was nervous. England's grip tightened slightly on his golden trident, green eyes silently begging the young God to relax before he did anything foolish.
Eventually, America reached Lord Rome and knelt before the King of the Gods. Rome smiled and pulled out his sword, touching teach of America's shoulders with the flat of his blade. England's heart hammered in his chest as America lifted his eyes and met Rome's own.
That was not supposed to happen.
"My Lord, may I say something before we begin?"
The assembled Gods began whispering. England felt the sting of their words. What was this foolish boy doing? Did the Sea God not raise him properly? Surely Lord Rome wouldn't stand for this.
"Speak then, America," Rome said, seemingly unfazed by the unorthodoxy of the situation.
America stood up, causing yet another wave of whisperings to rush through the crowd. "If I may be so bold... As you all know, I have been helping the mortals down on earth. I have been blessing them with numerous tools in order to help make their lives easier." he looked at the assembled crowd. "But as you also know, these mortals still live harsh lives, despite everything I have tried to do for them. I believe the reason they are living such harsh lives is because they still lack a universal way to communicate. Therefore, I wholly suggest that in order to help the mortals..." here, he paused. "We teach them the Tongue of Gods."
A pregnant pause followed his words. Numerous pairs of eyes widened, including the emerald green eyes of the Sea God. Teach mortals their divine language? Give them a universal way to communicate? Was the boy going mad?
"This Tongue of the Gods will be taught to them... and they can manipulate it how they like," America continued. "Perhaps new Tongues will spring up as a result of me teaching the Tongue of the Gods to the mortals, but at the very least, there will be a way to communicate. And I will not be having it called the Tongue of the Gods. It makes our language sound pretentious and exclusive. I have chosen to give this tongue a new name, one that is derived from the God that I care for the most." here, sky blue eyes flickered towards him. "I shall call this tongue English, after my caretaker, friend, and-"
"No!" England found himself saying before he was fully aware that he was talking. "Absolutely not! I forbid it!"
America's jaw dropped in surprise. "W-Wha-? What do you mean, England!? What do you mean by absolutely not?"
"I-I mean... I mean that you can't just go down there and teach those soap bubbles our Godly Tongue!" England said hotly, too stubborn and embarrassed to stop. "This isn't some form of heroism now! Now you're just inflating their bloody egos! Next thing you know, those wankers will think that they are like us Gods, and-"
"And what makes them so different from us, huh?" America demanded. "They look like us! They use tools like us! They act like us in many ways!"
"They only use those stupid tools because you bloody throw them down to those gits, idiot!" England snarled. "They are nothing like us, America! Nothing!"
"You don't know that!" America shouted back. The Gods around him were beginning to shrink back now, many of them having been on the wrong side of the boy's superior strength at least once. "You aren't ever there watching them! You're always sitting in your sea palace or your throne waiting for the next sacrifice! You're always playing that stupid little game of yours with all of your waves and storms and whatever the fuck else there is there! You don't see the way they suffer to please us, knowing that in just a short time, they would all end up in Russialand! They're so much like us, England, you won't even begin-"
"THEY ARE NOT LIKE US!" England roared, slamming his trident on the ground. A large fissure opened up, nearly splitting the courtyard in two. "We are Gods, git! We are bloody immortal! They're not! They are nothing more than a bunch of soap bubbles! You are not mortal and you never will be! Accept it!"
"We can help them improve their lives! They're short! Ours are eternal! All we need to do is teach them our ways and show them that-"
"I won't allow it!" the Sea God snarled. "Once your Commencement is done, you are to go to your room this instant, shut yourself in, and never bloody attempt to help these soap bubbles again! YOU ARE A BLOODY GOD AND YOU WILL ACCEPT IT!"
His tirade done, England settled into silence, panting from a combination of anger and exhaustion. He had allowed his young ward to watch the mortals for too long. That stupid hero complex... he had allowed that to fester as well. This God's foolish behavior was all his fault. And there was little he could do to change it. But still, hero complex or no, he was still a God. And there was better ways to utilize the ample amount of a God's time than trying to help a bunch of soap bubbles that would pop away in an instant.
America was silent as well, a rather becoming flush upon his cheeks as he glared at England. His eyes, usually sparkling with delight, were ice-cold. One look in those eyes was enough to make even Russia shiver in fear. The perfect mouth was warped into an extremely uncharacteristic snarl.
"I'm going to help them, England," America whispered dangerously, stepping towards the fissure. "Whether you like it or not, I'm going to help them."
"S-Stay where you are!" England growled. Weakened though he was, he held up a trembling hand to stop him. "I don't know what you are up to, but if you don't step away from that fissure right now, I'll-"
"You'll do what, England?" America snapped, taking another step towards the fissure. "Ground me? I'm not a kid anymore, old man." another step. "You aren't my guardian anymore." another step. "I need to make my own way now."
"You're behaving like a child," England hissed. "And misbehaving children ought to be punished."
Another step. "Mortals deserve better than this."
"They're soap bubbles, you twat!"
He was at the edge of the fissure now. "... Those soap bubbles deserve better than this."
"America, step away from that bloody fissure now!" England's voice quavered as he said this. He was on the verge of cracking completely.
"Goodbye, everyone. Goodbye, Canada," sky blue eyes, darkened with anger, turned towards the Sea God. "Seeya around, limey bastard."
He took the plunge.
England charged forward to catch him.
Two pairs of strong arms grabbed onto him.
France and Spain held him back.
He struggled and cursed.
A golden cowlick disappeared.
For the first time in centuries, the God of the Seas fell to his knees and sobbed.
"The mortals seem to have adapted to the Gods' To- English well, aru," China commented as he walked into the Sea God's room.
Even more centuries had passed since the Commencement that Never Was. That whole time, England had stayed locked up in his room, sitting at the edge of the clouds, watching the world below move past. Occasionally, visitors would show themselves in, but they would always leave when they found that the Sea God had nothing to say.
There was nothing he could say.
China was a frequent vistor. He came in every day to feed England the nectar and ambrosia he needed to keep from fading to nothingness. The Sea God ate mutely, eyes never wavering from the mortal world down below. It had grown so much since America's leaving, advancing to the point where nearly the whole mortal plane was populated now.
He saw America's hand in all of these events.
"I overheard the mortals speaking about something called countries, aru," China went on, carefully lightning the candles dotted all around the room. "You watch often. Do you know something about those, aru?"
England said nothing, only watching as a strange vessel- what the mortals called a ship in English- pulled out of a harbor. It held many people in it, most of the women dressed in some strange attire resembling robes whereas the men were dressed in tunics and what England assumed were pants. The name on the side of the ship read Mayflower.
"Well... I heard a rumor that the countries are named after us Gods, aru," China went on. The faint dripping of water told England that the God of Wisdom was cleaning something behind him. "Do you think that he had a hand in that?"
England said nothing again. China sighed and walked over to him, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder. England could feel the roughness from handling too many pens and paper.
"I must go search for Russia now, aru. He promised to show me something beautiful," China said sadly. "Please, do not rot away here, aru. You are the God of the Seas. You must remember to help your mortals more than you curse them."
As China's footsteps faded away, England lifted an arm and, with a wave of his hand, stilled the storm that was just beginning to move across the sea. The Mayflower was a rather adorable little thing and he wanted to know where the ship would land. And so he sat, watching as it made its away across the sea.
It landed at a piece of land that England did not watch over often. He heard whisperings about a "New World". As the people- the Pilgrims, he believed they were called- walked off the ship, he found himself focusing on one young man in particular. He was a tall lad, with golden hair and an easy smile. Obviously the leader of the troupe, he walked off the land and gazed at it, sky blue eyes sparkling in wonder.
The "New World" was given a name: The English Colonies. The golden-haired pilgrim eventually disappeared, but the other pilgrims found that they were able to survive off this new land. They built small settlements, which grew into towns, which grew into bustling cities.
Ships passed over England's seas often, bringing goods from the Colonies to the Empire and vice versa. In spite of this seemingly good relation, the God was able to sense a sort of tension in the air. There was definitely something going to happen, and there was no doubt that that something would very much please the God of War.
Eventually, the strange little war that the Gods called The Revolution broke out between the Kingdom and the Colonies. This so excited the Gods that some of them, especially France, Spain, and Prussia, descended to earth to help the Colonists. Insisting on keeping the balance of things, Germany had descended to help the Empire.
Towards the end of the Revolution, Prussia came looking for him. The God of War grabbed onto the Sea God's shoulders, despite his protests, and began dragging him out of the room. Despite England's great strength, Prussia was a million times stronger. There was little he could do to resist.
"You are going to come down to the awesome mortal plane and participate in this awesome war, or my name isn't awesome!" Prussia snapped as he dragged England over to the still-not-repaired crack in the courtyard.
"Why should I?" the Sea God demanded, struggling to break free from the powerful God's hold. "I have no business fighting here! This isn't a bloody sea war, you prat!"
"No, it ain't," Prussia agreed. "But it's an awesome land war and it's totally un-awesome of you to just be all holed up in your room all the time. Besides, even Birdie is participating in this and all he and Italy are doing are running around both sides, healing soldiers and making them pasta!"
"I don't care!" England snapped. "I don't bloody want to go down there and that's final!"
"Yeah, yeah, shut it, Eyebrows," the God of War said lightly, leaping down into the chasm.
England blinked and found himself at the center of a field. He was clad in a uniform of red with gold trim. His stomach twisted into a thousand knots as he was suddenly forcibly reminded of that day.
Prussia slapped a hand on his shoulder, clad in a uniform of dark blue. "Thought you would like to pose as a soldier from the not-as-awesome country named after you!"
England sputtered. "W-What!? What are you talking about, git?"
"Geez, and I thought you were the one always staring down at the mortal world. The unawesome Empire everyone's talking about? It's called the British Empire or the Empire of England, whatever the name of awesomeness is!"
Something fluttered in England's chest. "I-I... I never-"
"Kesesese! You never knew! Ha! That's so awesome, it's hilarious!" Prussia snickered. "Now, the awesome me has to go and kill random mortals now! If you see Birdie anywhere, tell him that I'm still awesome and that I'll be awesomely killing people if he needs me! And if you see France or Spain, tell them that the Bad Gods Trio shall reign victorious over the un-awesome Empire! Seeya, Eyebrows!" with that, the War God sped off to who knows where.
This left England alone, in the middle of a battlefield, armed with only a gun and a small dagger. For a moment, he considered just turning into a bird right now and flying back up to the heavens. But it would never do for anyone to catch him turning into a bird. It might make him tremble in fear to know that a God was amongst them.
Green eyes scanned the battlefield, taking in the sights and disgusting stench of blood. Mortals were dropping left in right, some in blue uniforms and others in red ones. Numerous tongues floated across the battlefield as friends and foes fought amongst each other. England paused, unsure of where to go or strike. After all, he was made to roam the seas, not fight on land.
Then he saw him: a tall young man clad in a red, white, and blue uniform. His golden hair shone brightly in the sunlight. The hands that held his gun were well-formed and strong. His voice was loud and commanding.
Sky blue eyes met emerald ones.
"A-America!" England shouted over the din, rushing towards his former charge. The young man's eyes widened in surprise, his jaw dropping slightly to form a perfect O. It was a rather adorable expression and, despite the blood all around them, England found himself smiling bigger than he had ever smiled before. His dear old friend was here, reunited with him in the midst of war. There was no describing how much he wanted to wrap his arms around the young man's slim frame, raining kisses all down his cheeks and neck and-
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Okay, stopping there now, old chap.
Sky blue eyes hardened. England froze in his tracks, heart fluttering as he gazed into them. Gone was the happiness he had come to love and miss over the centuries. Gone was the seemingly irrevocable love the young God had felt for his guardian. Gone was the innocence and laughter that England had always loved about him.
"My name is not 'America'," he said quietly, aiming his gun at the frozen Sea God. "It's Alfred. Alfred F. Jones!"
"He's hurting," England whispered. "He's hurting so much..."
"Hai," Japan agreed, looking up from where he was painting the image of a rising sun. "This war cannot be good for him, England-san." Greece, fast asleep on the Sun God's lap, turned over to signify his agreement.
"It's like he's tied his very soul to the land," England continued, watching as America, as Alfred, wrenched in pain. "With the splitting of the land comes the splitting of his very soul..."
"Surely there is something you can do to help him?" Japan asked, adding a few lines from his brush onto the page. "A few words to speak to him with? It has been about four years or so."
"Has it?" England asked. "Are you sure?"
Japan nodded. "Hai. I have risen and set many times, England-san. I do not forget to count the number of times I have risen and set. He has been suffering greatly since Bull Run. I have seen it as I pass over him."
"I watch him almost every night, you know," England said. "He's hurting... so much..."
"Not... sleeping... well..." Herakles mumbled. "Nothing... can do..."
"Herakles-san has already tried everything," Japan shook his head. "But whenever America-san finally begins to fall asleep, he suddenly attacks in his sleep. Hungary watches him then. She calls this other America-san... Jefferson."
"Jefferson?" England asked, frowning. "Like the Declaration writer?"
"Iie. Like the Confederate President, I believe," Japan answered. He put down his brush and turned dark eyes on England. "... Would you like to come with me to see him? It is almost time for me to rise."
England hesitated. "I-I... I don't know, Japan... he may still hate me, after all."
"Don't know... until... try..." Greece muttered. Japan smiled down at the God of Sleep and nodded. It was obvious that the two held some kind of agreement there.
"Come with me, England-san," Japan said, standing up. "I promise you, at this moment, America-san needs you the most right now."
After a rather smooth Sun Chariot ride, England found himself knocking on the door to a house that, in the mortal world, belonged to a man named Alfred F. Jones III. Rumor had it that the boy was a spitting image of his grandfather and father and, like the two before him, seemed to have no mother.
He let himself in when no one answered.
"America?" he called quietly as he entered the darkened house. "America? America, it's me. Are you here, America?"
Silence greeted him. Silence and darkness. It was abnormally cold in the house, as if all life had been sucked away from it. England shivered as he walked, his robe slithering on the ground like a snake.
He found himself being pulled towards a door at the end of a hallway. There were numerous scrape marks and scratches upon its wood. The white paint had faded to yellow long ago and peeled. One hinge was rusted over completely.
He gingerly turned the rusty knob and opened the door, bracing himself for what he was about to see. In spite of the fact that he had witnessed this sight nearly ever night, he found himself ready to hurl. Nothing in the world could have prepared him for what was he was about to see.
America laid curled up on the hard wood floor, his body wracked with sobs. His golden hair was messy and faded, so pale that it rivaled Prussia's silverly locks. He was dressed in a uniform of both blue and gray, the colors clashing horribly, as if they sensed the torment within the young God's soul. Sky blue eyes were open but empty, blind to everything around them.
"America..." England whispered, kneeling down and gently picking up the young God. America let out a great cry of anguish at his touch, clawing desperately at air, as if to somehow get away. But soon, he settled down, leaning into the Sea God's chest, tears flowing anew.
"I-It hurts..." he stammered. "H-Hurts me... Hurts s-s-so m-much..."
"I know, America," England buried his face into the young God's neck, inhaling the stench of freshly spilt blood and dust. "It's alright now. I'm here. Big Brother England is here."
For a moment, the young God stilled. England removed his face from the boy's neck, fearing the worst. Much to his relief, America now buried his face in England's neck, wetting the collar of his robe with tears.
"No... n-not Big Brother... n-no more... n-no more B-Big B-Brother... n-never... Big Brother..."
England frowned. The boy was obviously delusional. Had the Civil War really made him this sick? What was this he was spewing about now?
Suddenly, America wrenched backwards, sky blue eyes flashing red. England let out a shout, almost dropping the boy as convulsions overtook him. There was something happening. Something horrible was happening to the land. It was causing America even greater pain than what he was already in.
"America!" England shouted, tightening his hold on the God's slim form. He was so thin, so frail. When was the last time he had ambrosia and nectar?
Just as suddenly as they had begun, America's convulsions stopped. The boy slumped over, shivering in fear and relief. His sobs began anew. England noticed that his uniform was now much more blue than gray. For some odd reason, the Sea God felt relief wash over him like a calming wave.
Without warning, America leaned forward, not in convulsion, but of his own accord. Sky blue eyes closed slightly as well-formed lips brushed England's own. The Sea God felt the tip of his ears tingle slightly as their lips touched, feeling a new kind of electricity now. This electricity was addictive, much more addicting than the electricity he had felt when he first met America. This one seemed to soar within him in leaps and bounds, never once stopping to rest. Lips trembling, England found himself leaning in for more, brushing his lips against America's as the God trembled some more.
Neither of them noticed when the gray leaked out of the uniform completely.
The celebration was beautiful. In spite of the terrible events that had taken place just before this celebration, even England had to admit that America had gone all out with his introduction of fireworks. The way the beautiful flowers of light illuminated the sky, emphasizing the beauty of Hungary's Moon Chariot, was beyond anything England had seen before.
"He should be down there," Hungary said, lifting her head from Austria's shoulder. "It's so romantic that you hope to watch these fireworks with him!"
England felt his cheeks grow warm, his heart rate speeding up at the thought of romance. "I-I... I simply wished to come visit him. He's recovered significantly since the Civil War and now that we're on civil terms again, I feel that-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep on telling yourself that," Hungary said with a wave of her lovely hand. "Just remember that if anything happens, Austria and I will be here taking pictures, right Austria?"
The elegant God of Music bristled slightly. "I-I... I suppose?" it was obvious that Austria was slightly scared of his wife's crazy plans.
England rolled his eyes and stood up, taking the form of a swallow. He winged his way down to earth, sharp eyes searching the crowds down below for a flash of golden hair or a glimpse of sky blue eyes. Of course, when an obnoxiously loud laugh pierced the air, he made do with that as well.
He landed behind a large building and transformed, taking the shape of a man dressed in a plain t-shirt and slacks. He stepped out into the street, where he found his old charge, laughing happily at some joke one of his fellow soldiers made. His pilot's helmet and goggles sat atop his forehead.
Blue met green as England stepped forward, hesitatingly glancing over to the soldiers. A firework lit up the night sky, illuminating "Alfred F. Jones VIII" in a beautiful red, white, and blue glow. England felt himself stopping in his tracks, too stunned by the sudden beauty of the God before him to take another step.
America laughed and excused himself from his friends, walking over and pulling England over. "Everyone! I'd like you to meet a childhood friend of mine!" here, he turned to England and winked. "This is... Arthur! Arthur Kirkland! He comes from jolly old England!"
There were roars of approval and numerous toasts. England felt his mouth beginning to water as the sweet smell of ale, beer, whiskey, and assorted other drinks reached his nose. Prussia had brought many samples of what he called "AWESOME DRINKS OF AWESOME!" home to the Hall of Gods centuries ago, and they were extremely well-recieved. England had discovered that he was what the mortals called a "light-weight" after having only a few sips of gin.
America laughed and leaned down to whisper in the Sea God's ear. "Like the party? President Wilson seriously went all-out. The giant war of doom is over and done with and, if I play my godly cards right, it will be the war to end all wars."
England smiled up at America, appreciating the light from the fireworks. "You've... I hate to admit it, but for all your bloody idiotic hero complexes and stubbornness and obnoxiousness, you have really done something great. The sacrifices are coming non-stop, even though the mortals don't whisper prayers to us anymore... though China is pretty good at predicting what they want."
America laughed. "Yeah, I know. I'm awesome, right?"
England lightly slapped him. "That's Prussia's word, you git."
America laughed again. "He's Gilbert down here, Iggy. Gilbert Beilschmidt IX."
"What kind of bloody idiotic name is that?"
"The one half-shared by Ludwig Beilschmidt II!" America said cheerfully. Then, without warning, he leaned down and placed a gentle kiss upon the Sea God's forehead, smirking as England flushed pink in response.
"G-Git! Not in public!"
America didn't answer, only turning back to the fireworks with a wide smile. In spite of himself, England leaned against the taller God and stared up as well, the beautiful blasts of light reflected in his emerald eyes. All around him, mortals cheered the end to "the war that would end all wars".
And he smiled.
"Mein gott..." Germany whispered, freezing at the sight before him. "H-How... how powerful..." the Balance God's senses were going haywire, knowing that with the introduction of this new ability, the universe was extremely unbalanced.
Italy clutched onto his lover's arm, trembling in fear. "E-England... did you... know...?"
England shook his head, unable to speak. The three stood in the middle of a once bustling and highly populated city, now reduced to little more than a smoking ruin of a place. The damage was widespread, with buildings literally melted and rubble everywhere. Where there wasn't rubble or melted buildings, there were bodies, fried beyond recognition, many of them still with wide open mouths, as if they were still screaming in pain. The sky above him was gray, as if Lord Rome himself was grieving.
They found him in the middle of this once alive city, still wearing that bomber jacket England had brought to him at the very start of his horrible war. Germany, Italy, and Japan had tried their best to stop it, but it was as if the mortals had become deaf to the pleas of the Gods. The war had evolved from the mass slaying of a race of people to a full-scale bloodbath, where the Gods did not know which side to take. Eventually, Lord Rome gave a stern "no interference" order, and the Gods were forced to watch as mortals turned on each other and families were ripped apart.
He was unhurt, but shaking. Whole, but broken. England felt a stabbing pain in his chest as he was once again wrenched back in time, to a small dark room where sky blue eyes saw nothing. America, his beautiful eyes framed with spectacles now, stared off into the distance, sobbing an endless waterfall of tears. He didn't not react when his voice was whispered, when England's arms circled around his neck and chest. He only seemed to sob harder when the Sea God buried his face into the fleece lining of the coat.
"I'm sorry..." Alfred F. Jones X said. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
"It's alright, love," England whispered, running slim fingers through the messy golden tresses. "It's alright... they're in a much, much, much better place now..."
"I wanted it all to end, England," America whispered. "It wouldn't end... they wouldn't stop... people were getting hurt... THEY WOULDN'T STOP!" America's voice cracked as he screamed, seeming to pierce the skies with every bit of pain he felt. England could do nothing as America collapsed into him and sobbed, desperately clutching at the Sea God's olive green uniform for comfort. "I hurt them, Artie! I hurt them, I hurt them, I KILLED THEM! I FUCKING KILLED THEM! IT'S ALL MY FAULT!"
He let out a new wail and clutched on to England tighter, his great strength threatening to grind the Sea God's bones to powder. England swallowed, unable to think of anything to say or do that would ease the trauma of the young God. He settled for light, brief pecks, raining kisses down America's cheeks, trying to kiss away all the tears, all the pain.
Germany closed his eyes. "I-I... there is nothing that I can say that will-" he stopped, eyes widening. England recognized the blank look of someone speaking to Romano, whose unique abilities included an abnormal amount of speed and- since he was Messenger of the Gods- telepathy. When Germany returned to his senses, the horrified look on his face caused Italy to let out a fearful cry.
"I-It's... Romano and Spain..." Germany whispered in response to the unasked question. "T-They... they went together to Nagasaki, where Prussia and Canada went to investigate something... s-something horrible happened there, and Canada lost control, and..." the tall God trembled. "N-Nagasaki... is no more..."
In the state of California, there was a small town with a small, but well-revered coffee shop. The shop was always crowded, modest though it was, and was often the spot for gossip. The biggest news at the moment was the fact that Justin Bieber could possibly be playing Robin in the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie and how Miley Cyrus' behavior had changed so much since she was a child of Disney. Because of the bubbling excitement, no one really noticed when the door to the coffee shop opened. However, people did notice when the door opened again, and again, and again, allowing in a rather unusual number of couples into the shop.
First to come was a tall man with long golden locks and sapphire blue eyes, dressed in a purple top and red pants. He had his arm around the shoulders of a young woman clad in a dress of sea blue, with ribbons in her long brown hair. He whispered something to her, then followed up with a loud exclamation in French that she giggled at. They found a table near the window.
Next came a tall blonde man, clad in a black tank-top and camouflage pants with combat boots on his feet. Trailing behind him was a shorter, auburn-haired young man whose boyish face was lit up with a smile. The auburn-haired one spoke animatedly to his companion, switching between Italian, English, and German. The tall blonde stayed stoic, but occasionally cracked a smile. The two found a table in the corner.
The third couple to come in was rather unusual looking: a tall man dressed in a long beige coat, despite the hot day, and a slightly shorter fema- oh wait, that was a man. The Oriental man was talking in rather broken English to the one in the long coat, who only smiled and nodded along. They took a seat in the middle of the room, but those who sat near the coated one shivered in fear.
The whole room seemed to brighten up upon the entrance of a slim, Japanese male with dark eyes, who held the hand of a sleepy looking man with brunette tresses. The two ordered their tea calmly and went to sit down with the Oriental and the man in the beige coat, though the brunette one fell asleep almost immediately when they reached their table. In spite of this, the Japanese man smiled and stroked the sleeping one's head, as if he were a cat.
Next came a man and a woman, the woman clad in a fashionable yellow summer dress whereas the bespectacled man wore a simple ensemble of a jeans and t-shirt. The woman was chatting eagerly with the man and, from the few words that escaped the man's mouth, the people in the cafe heard a voice that was sweeter than any music they had heard before. The couple sat with the Italian and the silent German, with the man with glasses pulling out an iPhone and placing earbuds in his ears.
Loud was the couple that came next. Or at least, loud was the albino man of the couple, who for some strange reason had a yellow chick sitting atop his head. The quiet, golden-haired man on his arm wore a hockey jersey and occasionally laughed quietly at his companion's extremely loud jokes. The cafe-goers thought they would go deaf, if not for the fact that the albino and his companion sat with the Italian, German, woman, and iPod-listening man way back in the corner of the cafe.
When the next couple came, many parents covered their children's ears. The shorter male of the two, who looked almost identical to the Italian from before, was cursing like a sailor at his companion who, despite the insults, continued to laugh and smile. The other male, green eyes shining with mirth, whispered something in Spanish to the Italian next to him, causing the boy to become as red as a tomato. When they took their seat, two tables away from the Frenchman and his girl at the window, they were thankfully quite far away from the children.
The bell over the door rang one last time, but this time only welcoming a single person. This young man was young and obviously full of vigor, with eyes the color of the brightest blue sky and a smile that rivaled the sun. His golden hair was slightly messy, with a single cowlick sticking straight up, as if daring itself to defy the laws of physics. His spectacles shown in the light of the cafe as blue eyes scanned the crowd, searching.
They alighted upon a man sitting in the back corner of the cafe, on the opposite side from the rather loud table with the Germans and the Italian and the Canadian and the other couple. This man was dressed neatly in a green sweater vest, white undershirt, and slacks, sipping a delicate cup of tea whilst reading a book. His emerald eyes and rather large eyebrows were set against a weary-looking face and messy blonde hair. The younger man's almost manic grin widened as he approached the older gentleman, calling a loud greeting as he went.
"Dude! Artie! There ya are!"
"Quiet down, you git!" a British accent slipped out of the tea-drinking man, causing many girls to swoon. "Sit down before you make a fool of us!"
Yes, the cafe-goers all thought to themselves as they turned back and started minding their own businesses, it was certainly an interesting day in the cafe indeed.
America sat down across from him and placed down his meal: a large pile of hamburgers. Whilst the young God ate, England could not help but wrinkle his nose in disgust. Centuries had passed and still, the boy would not stop eating that disgusting dish. His cooking- scones especially- was much better than this.
"Want one?" America asked, pushing the tray towards him.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, idiot," England said bluntly, putting his book aside. It could wait until later.
They sat in silence for a long while, with America stuffing his face and England occasionally taking sips of his tea. The Sea God shifted uncomfortably in his seat; things were beginning to get awkward. He cleared his throat to say something, but America beat him to it, having already polished off the enormous pile.
"So... what do ya think, Iggy?" America asked, grinning as England scowled at the nickname. "The mortals sure have advanced, haven't they?"
"I'm not sure if this country's obesity rate really reflects 'advanced', but I will admit, things seem to be really looking up for these mortals," England admitted, looking downwards.
More silence settled between them. Once again, England felt himself shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He had a question at the very tip of his tongue, one that had bothered him since the day he found out what the Empire was really called.
"These... countries... named after us," England said. "Are they your doing?"
America smiled sadly, briefly closing his blue eyes. "Yeah... you'd be amazed how a whisper in one mortal's ear can influence a million more."
"But why?" England asked before he could stop himself. "Why after us?"
Another sad smile. "I-I guess... well, after I jumped down from the Hall, I was still pretty angry. And I just... kinda held onto that anger for centuries on end, even when I was teaching the mortals how to speak English... but you know what? I think that, deep down, I missed you guys. I missed the Sacred Tree and the throne room and the game room and the gardens and... I just freaking missed everything." he took a deep breath. "But above all... I missed you guys, you know? So I guess... when it came down to how we would name these new lands, I just kinda... whispered the names of you guys. And the people reacted accordingly and eventually..."
"Eventually you created a world for us," England finished quietly, staring down into his tea. "Heaven on earth."
America's smile widened. "You can say that..."
"We missed you too, you know," England remarked, not really caring about what he said at this moment. "All of us would always check on you... Cana- Matthew would ask about you every day and I've heard it from Gilbert that he sometimes popped into your home, invisible so that you wouldn't get mad at him, just to check up on you."
America laughed. "Good ol' Mattie. Sometimes, he's too concerned for others for his own good. No wonder he's... God of Healing, right?"
England nodded absently. "Right, right..."
There was another pause. There was another question. There was another breath.
"A-Are... have you... Have you ever considered perhaps... c-coming home?" England stammered, not meeting the other God's eye. He felt America hitch his breath at the question and could almost picture the trembling bottom lip with his mind's eye. He instantly regretted asking such a touchy question.
"... I wasn't sure if I would be welcome back," America said quietly.
England looked up, meeting blue eyes with his own green ones. "Alfred F. Jones, are you telling me that you were scared?"
America blushed and looked away. "N-No! Of course not! A hero is never scared!" then, in a much quieter voice, he added, "I was just... unsure if you would accept me a-as-"
Now it was England's turn to blush. "N-Not accept you!? Of course I would accept you! You're my-"
"Not as your little brother, Arthur," America said seriously, looking back at the Sea God. "I don't want to be your little brother anymore, I want to be your husband!"
"W-Wha... little brother!?" England sputtered. "What did you think all of those bloody kisses were for, idiot!? Brothers don't kiss each other on the lips o-or... other things!"
"I-I thought you were just having fun with me!" America squeaked. Every eye in the cafe was turned on them now. France scratched the side of his nose, winking at England in the process. "I-I didn't know that-"
"I-Idiot! I've been waiting all of this time for you to... I don't know, do something and you're telling me that you've been too scared!?" England asked, turning redder than a tomato. Somewhere in the background, he heard Prussia snicker.
"W-Well... I-I..." America stammered. "W-What about you!? Why do I have to be the one to call the shots, huh!? Why didn't you do anything instead of waiting around like some kind of sissy princess!?"
"I did not wait around like some sissy princess!" England said hotly. "I was just... I was just... oh, dash it all!" he leaned forward across the table and grabbed the open flaps of America's bomber jacket, pressing his lips against the younger God.
The kiss was beautiful, passionate, and full of longing. It sparked with an electricity that neither had ever felt for anyone else before. This was the kind of kiss shared between the two on their first night of passion and every night thereafter, filled with the kind of promise that only two people in love could keep. Their breath, their tongues, and their godly powers mingled in this kiss and, when they broke apart for air, every God sitting in the cafe broke out into applause.
"G-Git..." England sputtered as he let go of the bomber jacket, his heart threatening to burst out of his chest. "Y-You and I... we need to make all of this bloody official alread-"
America stood up suddenly and scooped up the smaller God in his strong arms, grinning when England's slim legs began kicking frantically. "What're we waiting for then, Iggy? TO VEGAS!"
The Sacred Tree was beautiful today. Kiku had set his Sun Chariot just right, so that sunlight streamed through the numerous boughs and leaves. Caught in the faint glow of the sun, Lord Rome's golden armor seemed to glitter, his brown eyes alight with happiness. Next to him, England- dressed in his finest robes- caught the contagious happiness and smiled, illuminating a face often darkened with a scowl.
America was kneeling down on the ground and bowing his head, swathed in a glorious whirl of red, white, and blue. Atop his head sat a simple headdress made of eagle feathers woven together to make some sort of lovely crown. A simple gold band set with tiny emeralds was nestled lovingly on his left ring finger. He had forgone his glasses today and, with the sunlight catching his hair and brightening up his sky-blue eyes, England thought that he had never looked handsomer.
"Choose now, America, what virtue, idea, item, or thought you shall reign over," Lord Rome intoned, smiling as he said so. "Choose now and drink the Sap, so that you may at last join the Pantheon of Gods."
America reached forward and took the goblet laid at his feet, standing up to face the assembly of Gods. For a brief moment, he turned his head in England's direction and once again, blue met green. These blue eyes were smiling, though, and full of hope and happiness. These blue eyes were perfect in every sense of the word.
"My fellow Gods and Goddesses, as you know, long ago, I descended to the mortal realm so that I would act as hero to them all," America said, his grin widening, "And as you know, I have helped them numerous times, advancing them into what they have become today. My purpose was simple: I wanted to show the mortals that they were capable of advancing all on their own, that they did not need to rely on the Gods to do their work for them. Many of you began helping me in that endeavor and my thanks cannot be expressed enough."
"You're awesomely welcome!" Prussia shouted somewhere in the back. Canada lightly smacked his lover on the back of the head before gesturing at his brother to continue.
"And yet, my mission is still not done. Though I have shown the mortals that they can be without Gods, there are some still suffering because of evil cast upon them," America continued. "There is still poverty, famine, death, and disease in the world, and if the mortals are to truly advance, then it is up to us to help them realize that they can overcome all of this and break free of what they perceive to be their own limits." here, he paused. "The idea I choose to reign over represents the heroism of the warriors of mortal history, the nobility of the heroes that live today, the compassion of the leaders that strive to make a better world, and the determination of all mortals to live out their lives to the fullest. It represents the surpassing of limits, the conquering of fears, and the overcoming of evil. In the name of heroism, nobility, compassion, and determination, I choose to take my place amongst you as not America, but Alfred F. Jones. I choose to be the God of Victory."
He raised the goblet to his lips and sipped. England saw the young God swallow. Pride welled up within the God of the Seas as the newly named God of Victory turned back to Rome and knelt, once again bowing his head. Rome pulled out his sword once again.
Once both shoulders were touched with the flat of the blade, Rome held it aloft, allowing it to reflect the faces of the assembled Gods. "Gaze upon yourselves, O Gods over Men, and know the name of your new brother. Welcome to our ranks Alfred F. Jones, the newest God, and support him as you support each other. Immortal, beautiful, and strong. Brave, loyal, and compassionate. Welcome to our ranks Alfred F. Jones, God of Victory."
There was a tremendous roar as Gods and Goddesses alike surged forward to congratulate the newly named God. England was among them, the first to reach America- no, Alfred- and wrap his arms around his neck. He rained kisses down on his husband, not caring who was watching or where they landed. All that mattered was that at last, at long, long last, Alfred was home. Alfred was his to love forever. Alfred was his to work with to strive for a better world for the mortals. As he pulled away and gazed into the sky blue of his husband's eyes, England- or Arthur, as he was slowly but surely being called- couldn't help but wonder what the future would hold. He would ask China- or Yao- but at the same time, he didn't want spoilers.
After all, they had all the time in the world to figure things out.