Somewhere in the lovely green English countryside, England was busy sorting through an old shelf full of mechanical bits that had probably first seen the light of day somewhere in the nineteenth century. He was still cleaning out his barn to make it suitable for use as a sewing and crafting area. But, unlike a certain lazy sentimental prat, it was taking him a very long time because he had an incredibly rich and ancient history, not because he spent half an hour crying over his first loom or anything.
So far he had spent the better part of a month cleaning out the nondescript (but cute) little stone barn, and no one had bothered him there. No annoying Francis interrupting him, no sneaky ghosty Canada lurking (so far as England could tell...) and no bigmouthed American talking about hamburgers and telling him his scones tasted like shit while he was trying to ruminate on more important things. He was a very busy man after all. Very important things to do. That he'd rather hide in a barn from his Prime Minister and not have to deal with those Very Important Things at all was completely irrelevant. Completely.
He had to get rid of that loom though. England stared at it, but regardless of how fiercely those green eyes burned at it, it wasn't going anywhere. It was just too damned heavy for him to move. He sighed and looked away. Damn it, it was in the perfect little alcove for fabric shelves. He could just see them now: happy little white wire shelves with yards and yards of gorgeous colours and sensually delightful textures... Stupid. Massive. Old. Wood. Loom. He couldn't just hack it up and destroy it; apparently his old junk was worth quite a bit to some humans. As one had explained to him a century or two ago (after nearly having a heart attack when seeing him about to throw out a 16th century amethyst pendant) they had not just monetary value, but emotional value, as pieces of a past that was far beyond what they had ever seen, or even what their grandparents had seen. It wasn't his fault. Live for a couple centuries; let alone millennia, and you accumulated a lot of stuff. Objects ceased to be very important after all that experience. Couple that with an ill-tempered nation's tendency to throw out or destroy all the sweet gifts given by enemies in better, more peaceful times, as well as a tendency to get into fights and wars and the property damage that ensued... and maybe England hadn't taken very cautious care of his personal accumulations. But he was damned well going to do a better job from now on.
And that meant not finding an axe and chopping the troublesome loom into firewood. That meant either giving up on the alcove or getting someone to help him move the loom. It wasn't that he didn't have friends that would help him and that he could trust to keep their lips zipped about the secret barn location. It was more like those friends were Japan and Sealand (a friend in need is a friend indeed, and England was in need) and they weren't very physically strong and that loom was old and solid and he wasn't sure if the three of them together could move it. He hated to say it, but he needed a hero. He needed America.
Unfortunately America was a very large blabbermouth who would probably tell every nation he came across about the barn, and before he knew it, England would be fending off that stinking frog's sweaty hands while he was trying to embroider. There was one advantage to turning to the American, however. There was no way America knew who his Prime Minister was, or any of his politicians whatsoever. For once his ignorance was actually useful.
But then there was the question of whether America was even up to snuff.
England was worried about America. Not like, worried because he cared about America or anything, it was just that if America looked sloppy or weak or flawed it reflected poorly on England himself, since he'd raised America and been responsible for much of his development. (Not the gluttony or arrogance or poor choice in cuisine parts he had developed of course)
America had looked... less than well (and certainly less than attractive, not that England noticed such things, of course) when he had last come over to England's house. Kind of flabby and... fat. America had gone centuries eating the most fattening foods available, and never seemed to look anything less than slim and strong and trim. He had also had dark circles under his eyes and pasty skin. And England knew pasty skin. He was English. How very not handsome. England did not think he'd like to see him with his shirt off, casually wiping off a light bit of sweat from his forehead, whilst moving England's loom at all. Now old America, that was a different story. A less-than-slight line of drool certainly did not appear on England's chin. Nor did his eyes glaze over. Certainly not.
Snapping out of it, he dug his cellphone out of the pocket of his trousers and started skimming his way down the contact list. He'd deleted America's number in a fit of pique last week, but he'd already re-entered it. Couldn't hurt to give him a call and get him to move the loom. It wasn't like all physical changes and disfigurements lasted forever for nations. He himself had once had some truly disgusting smallpox scars that had made it very difficult to get laid for a quarter of a century. He'd regret it if he snubbed America for his current unattractiveness only to have him later regain his healthy, vigorous appearance.
England had done it. He'd lured America his house. He'd done so by telling a small tiny fib, that he had seen the error of his ways and was now eager to try a Big Mac. No he could not just buy one in his own country.
"Don't you remember what British cooking is like?"
British cooking, of course, was fucking delicious, but if it took playing up that absolutely ridiculous myth to get into America's pants—er, to get America to move England's loom for him, then why not take advantage of the hideous slander some nations had seen fit to spread about him?
Now he had to deal with one gross, sweaty, pasty overweight American in his kitchen who was trying to get him to eat one of his nasty burgers. Really, how could anyone diss even the worst scone when they would gladly eat something called a Big Mac? Even the name was disgusting.
"Iggy, wa'sh your prob'em?"
Yes, he'd brought plenty of burgers for him self as well it seemed. He had a paper sack full of them that was truly astonishing in size; England knew American restaurants served disgustingly huge amounts of food out but surely that bag's original purpose could not have been as a food container?
"Stop spewing food and spittle everywhere, I heard you."
When you loved someone, you weren't supposed to want to hit them all the time, were you? The phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" must surely have been written about America. He seemed so energetic and refreshing and lovable when you were parted from him, but in person...
America licked some of the grease off his thumb. England couldn't help but be entranced.
"Are you finally gonna try some of my super awesome grub Iggy? You did call me out here because you saw the light..." he asked, frowning.
England had assumed he'd nibble one of the hamburgers and pronounce it tolerable, and then get America to move the loom. But now he was having his doubts.
For one thing, they were cold from a flight and drive that had taken hours. The grease was congealing and the buns all looked soggy. An oak leaf would be better than that wilted lettuce and the sauce dripping off of the one America held out to him made his stomach flip over. Now really, he was being ridiculous. There was no way this pathetic, cheap, and admittedly unappealing food could be worse than the maggoty meat, weevily moldy bread, and rats that had made up his diet on many a voyage. Surely he had not grown so soft in this increasingly soft age?
He tentatively reached his hand out for the burger. His large eyebrows were drawn up in a pensive expression, and his eyes looked slightly fearful. The burger went into his hand. It was... soft, and oddly comforting. Although he could have sworn they were dead cold, the Big Mac seemed to pulsate with a deep, inner warmth. He slowly raised it towards his mouth, his green eyes locked with America's blue ones, encouraged on by America's intense, expectant look...
He bit down. Took the bite into mouth. Chewed. Made a face. Swallowed. Walked over to the bin and threw the rest of the burger in it.
"Hey! Don't throw a perfectly delicious Big Mac in the trash!" America yelped, running over to rescue the precious Big Mac.
England rolled his eyes, sighing smugly.
"Delicious? That tasted like grease. Grease on stale bread."
He crossed his arms and smirked.
America did not respond. He was unconcernedly munching on the thrown-away burger.
"What? You are eating that? Ugh. You are truly incomprehensible ."
America swallowed. "Grease on stale bread?" he asked, grinning.
"I bet you couldn't cook that and make it safe for human consumption.
England went off. "THAT is a myth and a particularly vile, jealous one. Have you been talking to France again?"
America ignored his rants and carefully placed the sack of burgers in England's fridge.
"Clearly you were lying about wanting to try my awesome food! Which is awesome, and if you hadn't burned your tastebuds off with those shitty scones, you'd realize." he said, laughing loudly and obnoxiously.
"So why did you really invite me out here?"
England was silent for a moment, thinking up a good excuse that would lead America to his loom.
"I'm renovating a barn, and it's going to have a huge sewing room. I know how obsessed you are with size and all-"
"Uh-huh. A sewing room. Sounds gay."
England put his hands on his hips. "It is not gay, not that there's anything wrong with that—come see it." he said, linking one of his arms through America's and bodily dragging him out the kitchen door and down the pathway to the barn. America allowed himself to be dragged along. He'd already come all this way, he might as well see England's big gay sewing room and try to crash at his place. He really didn't feel like being alone right now at all.
At least England's place was serene and soothing and not too much like home. He did not want to be reminded of certain things he had seen in Canada, too similar to his own fair and beautiful land. All he wanted was to be far away from anything that could remind him of that until his wonderfully cheerful brain casually deleted or repressed the memory... the images. He shuddered.
"Iggy, I'm tiiiiired." he whined after a while. "How far is it?"
He was huffing a bit.
"The barn's only a quarter of a mile from the house. Quit complaining you dolt, we're almost there. Maybe if you spent less time shoveling hamburgers into your face and more time moving about and..."
America tuned him out. Finally, they reached the barn. England beamed.
"Well, what do you think?"
America frowned. "It's kind of plain... and little."
England fumed. "It's all one sewing room. It's huge for a sewing area. I bet your sewing area is tiny."
America, for once, decided to be an adult and not get into a my-whatever-is-bigger than yours. Though to be honest, he hoped England's sewing area didn't represent certain anatomical bits of his. Because really, this barn was not very big. It was actually very cozy looking. It was kind of cute and plain and little like England was. He beamed England his Hero Grin.
"Don't worry England, I Like It. Even if it is tiny."
England scowled (was that a bit of blush on his cheeks?) and pushed open the door.