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To Drive the Cold Winter Away

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America knew it wasn’t entirely rational, how much he hated cold weather. He was hardly a tropical country, his land running the gamut from the Arctic temperatures of Alaska to the sun soaked paradise of Hawaii. And it’s not as if he hated everything associated with winter. He loved skiing and ice skating and… Christmas was the best thing ever, of course. He was also, he proudly thought, a champion snowball fighter. But all of these things were fun. They distracted him from the bitterness that crept into his bones and the malaise that would seep into his mind on freezing, gray winter days.

Today was one of those days. It was January, so that meant that the Christmas lights were gone, and the strains of Christmas carols had been replaced with the sounds of cars sloshing and feet pattering across the dirty slush that lined the roads and sidewalks. And it was downright glacial out. Okay, that may have been a slight exaggeration, but almost his entire nation was suffering a cold snap and he could feel it throughout every inch of his body. He sniffled and wiped his hand under his nose. How miserable.

Right now he was at the airport, and if you’d asked him this morning if today were going to be a good day, he’d have said yes instantaneously. After all, England was visiting for a week and he was picking him up that afternoon!  But now he’d been at the airport for six hours, because the all too cold weather had delayed England’s flight. He was bored out of his mind, and he’d probably purchased about seven drinks from the Starbucks already so he was also downright jittery. His phone had run out of battery a few hours before, and although there were charging stations he’d forgotten to bring his charger, so he couldn’t even distract himself by surfing the internet or playing games. Driving home and coming back later was an option, but considering rush hour traffic, he’d decided that it would just be more inconvenient.

Plus he didn’t want to go back out in the cold until he had to. He sighed dramatically and ran a hand down his face, causing a business man next to him to cock an eyebrow and shoot him a stare. The man whipped a newspaper, a specific publication that America was decidedly not a fan of, back up to cover his face and let out a low grumble. He had a feeling that the man didn’t think very highly of him. They’d been next to each other for hours, and the business of the airport at current, due to all the delayed flights, had prevented either of them from finding another chair. There was a dismissive article on the millennial generation on the cover of the man’s paper, which America wrinkled his nose at when he saw. America of course, with his youthful appearance, casual red baggy sweatshirt, and smartphone with its colorful case, looked to be every bit part of that generation to the businessman, and America knew this.  If only he knew, America chuckled.

He shook his head in the negative. He loved the youth of his nation and always had. He didn’t mind being mistaken for one of them.

America did mind this delay though, and the awful weather that had caused it. He’d been looking forward to England’s visit for weeks. He’d spent Christmas in London, which had been a month before, and now England’s boss was attending a conference that he wasn’t needed at, so he’d planned a trip to Washington DC for that week. But America had never been patient, and he’d been getting antsy for England’s visit since long before the flight had been delayed.  He was so bored, and he was also starved, but he had promised England reservations to a specific restaurant they’d been eyeing, and if his flight got in soon, he knew they’d still be able to make it. There was a call for a flight to Toronto and the businessman left, leaving his paper behind on the chair. America let out a sigh of relief and hoped for better company for the rest of the delay. Several minutes passed and despite being hyped up on caffeine, he was almost dozing off…

“British Airways flight 262 has arrived. Please proceed to gate---“

America didn’t even need to hear the rest of the statement before he’d leapt out of his chair, his long legs making quick work of the terminal and entering the concourse. He’d arrived at the gate in what he was sure was a ridiculous speed (an employee may have had to tell him to slow down), but he really didn’t care. England was on this flight, and his gray day was about to get that much brighter.

And as he looked around as the plane disembarked, he spotted him, waving wildly as he did so. England noticed and his eyes widened, but then narrowed a bit, no doubt due to America’s antics. He could practically hear England huff and let out a chuckle, despite the fact that he wasn’t in range to do so yet.

England trotted over to him at a brisk pace, and before he’d even had a chance to say anything, America had wrapped his arms around his shoulders, causing England to drop his carry-on so he could return the embrace.

“A bit excited are we?” England smiled into the embrace.

“Today has been so boring and cold and…” America whined. England cut him off with a tender, but brief kiss.

“As if I haven’t been bored out of my mind as well, Love.”

America scratched the back of his head. “Well yeah of course it’s just…” he grinned, no beamed, “I’m just really glad you’re here.”

“Me too.” He took America’s hand and led him forward. “Right, let’s go get my luggage. If we hurry surely we’ll have time to make that reservation.”

“Y-yeah of course.” America squeezed back and swung their arms between them, the cold in his body melting away to be replaced by an indelible warmth.