Summary: [Ficlet] The story of how Canada did not fall in love with America, told in glimpses and not-truths and the inevitable.
Love in Seasons
He did not fall in love in the winter, when the cold drove a grousing America from his house. Canada stood in the doorway as America bundled up to his ears, his hair askew from the earmuffs, and only felt relief that the living room could be kept clean once more and that quiet would return to his home. When America cupped his hands with mittens and kissed his cheek, something new, something sweet, Canada didn’t spare a thought that he’d miss him. It was their way.
He watched his brother trudge through the snow and smiled.
He did not fall in love on his birthday, which Canada gradually assumed everyone had forgotten. That wasn’t unusual, but neither was the hurt. He baked a cake for himself and fretted over how many candles he was meant to put on it, and in the end he had to go out shopping to get the frosting because he’d nearly forgotten himself.
Two days later, he got a package from America that was battered and well-loved. Inside it was the following: a polar bear plush toy, gratuitous American paraphernalia, a handmade card that rained glitter, exactly eleven chocolates in a box of twelve, and an old record of romantic classics that Canada put on at night. He curled up in a flannel sheet, clutching a cup of cider, and imagined people waltzing through the open window and up into the stars.
He did not fall in love when America snooped and found out Canada’s cell phone number, and the parade of pointless text messages filled his inbox. Sometimes they were silly, sometimes they were upset. Sometimes America wrote: I wish I was in your kitchen~ :D
Most of the time, Canada didn’t text back (it seemed rude, but then again, it was America, and so often there was nothing to reply to that was worth the 10-cent payment). He didn’t delete the messages, though, until his inbox was too full to hold more, and even then he sat down and wrote his favorites on a bit of paper for no reason other than he felt like it.
He did not fall in love in August, when America threw an arm around his neck and pressed their cheeks together, his laughter like a bell or something young. They were at a conference, the weather was warm, and America didn’t let him go for the entire walk from the parking lot to the pavilion. America walked too fast.
America always touched Canada like they belonged to each other – the byproduct of sharing a border, hip to hip, states and provinces tangled together like fingers. Canada didn’t always like it, but if you asked on a particular day, he’d admit he wasn’t sure how to live without that closeness. There was so little else to hold onto.
He did not fall in love when America was the one holding onto him. His heart hurt, and his breath shook, and America was so, so heavy. They couldn’t stay afloat even with their combined strength. Instead, Canada sagged to the floor with him, gripping fistfuls of America’s jacket, and something in him broke into splinters when America buried his face in Canada’s pullover and cried. The night fell. Canada stayed. You’re so selfish, he wanted to say, feeling the tremors that took America’s spine. You’re never here like this for me. And you act like you’re the only one having a hard time, but you’re not.
Please be all right, he wanted to say. The floor was so cold.
He did not fall in love come the end of the war, though it brought an end to their difference of opinions (at least, the ones related to said war). They toasted to peace and for once, Canada felt like they were on the same page, following the same story, and that America had stopped skipping chapters to get to the exciting climax. They drank all night and talked about boyhood. Twilight succumbed to the dark, and Canada slumped against America, head tipped to shoulder; he was warmer than the blanket over their knees.
“I wish it was always like this,” he mused. America’s heart thumped under his ear. Canada put a hand over it, like he might keep it still.
He did not fall in love when bi-annual visits became monthly, when monthly turned into every other week. America brought chaos and clutter into his home. But there was also a lot more fun.
At some point, Canada was watching his brother consume an inhuman amount of sugar cookies when he realized that this was probably what brothers were supposed to be like. They had their squabbles; more than once, America stomped out the door. But inevitably, like life, Canada’s cell would ping later that night and the text would have a sad face.
He did not fall in love when America kissed him.
But it was a little shocking he didn’t.
He did not fall in love with the flowers that America sent, or the pretty and cheerful words he spoke to Canada, or the demonstrations that were a combination of stupid and endearing, like a little boy that vandalized a house to get your attention. Canada didn’t think much of any of it. He felt a little uncomfortable, considering what they were, but it was also because of what they were that he did feel comfortable.
America said “I love you” like it was going out of sale. But each time, he made it sound real. Made it mean something more.
He did not fall in love when they met up for coffee at a little café overlooking Niagara Falls, and America said, “Remember when we had Honeymoon Bridge? It’s kind of funny.” Then, he added, “I miss it.”
Canada wondered why it was funny and why he would miss it, because the joke was in poor taste. But then, America wasn’t really joking anymore. The thought made something in his stomach shift as though it were on hot coals. When America tangled their fingers together, Canada didn’t move away.
He did not fall in love with America’s face when Canada first pushed inside, that unexpected expression of shock and wonderment, the way his mouth fell open and said Canada’s name just once, like a prayer. Like he didn’t know what was happening at all. Like it was getting a present.
But Canada did kiss him then, sloppily and wanting, strong muscles shifting under his hands. He asked America to say his name over and over. America did.
He did not fall in love with the sunshine morning sex or the slow growth of dependability. The affection came to him in droves, and Canada felt awkward with it, but time was kinder to his awkwardness than it normally had been. Touch became commonplace. Every inch remembered. The seasons passed. The weather changed. The winter drove America into his arms.
It was a Tuesday, and it was April, and Canada looked over the living room to see America sprawled on his sofa with his bare feet tucked over the arm. America looked back, blue eyes sleepy like skies were when they got up too early. And he smiled, slow and perfect and sure.
And Canada felt his heart thump.