England doesn’t know how to feel about Australia anymore. Once, when he was his youngest child, his biggest embarrassment and worst-kept secret, England wanted nothing more than to drown the hyperactive thief in a barrel. It was easy to think such thoughts when well away from the child, but when faced with earnest green eyes and evil red ones, one kept ones thoughts to oneself. Especially after one had experienced the sharp claws belonging to said evil red eyes. England wasn’t sure what exactly was in the water of Australia, but when he found out what it was (which he would, god willing), he was going to congratulate it on managing to squeeze enough pure evil into a koala-shaped form, and then he was going to destroy it. And then he was going to destroy that evil bear, even though he wasn’t sure that it could actually die. Australia had carried the bear since England had first met him, and that was well over two hundred years ago, and the bear didn’t appear to have aged in any way. Perhaps he should throw it into a volcano, see if that worked, it usually worked when looking to destroy ancient, ageless evils.
At any rate, Australia was far too cute to kill in cold blood.
Australia is just a baby is barely big enough to crawl is staring up at him with huge green eyes in a face that is skull-like from starvation and all he sees in those eyes is pure adoration and he lowers his rifle without meaning to because he knows what it’s like to feel that feeling and then be betrayed and so he picks up the far too light form and takes him back to the ship and tries to feed him and feels his heart break when the baby can barely manage half a bottle of milk before he’s full his stomach has shrunk that much and why did England not come sooner why didn’t he think this through why?
So England is stuck with another child that will inevitably grow up to break his heart, because that is what colonies do. So he tries to protect his heart, tries to reinforce the walls that America laid the foundation of, but can’t because apparently no one’s ever told Australia that certain things are impossible. His lad is the land of the impossible (the first time that England sees a platypus he laughs until he’s on the ground crying and then the little shit takes a swipe at him and the next month passes in a blur of pain and a child’s voice cracking with tears as it begs forgiveness and begs him not to die).
So Australia grows. So England awaits the inevitable. The world had been thought flat once, go far enough and you would sail off into nothingness, off a giant waterfall into death, and he feels like he can see the horizon approaching. It approaches, but it never comes. When the time comes for Australia to make himself a country (England has taught him all he can and his lad is so big now but he’s still so young where did all the time go?) Australia takes his hand and asks for permission with green-green eyes that hold not one speck of betrayal. Independence is never mentioned.
And then World War 1 happens, and England repays his faithful lad with fire and blood and a never ending slow death.
His boy, broken and bleeding on the cargo floor of a ship, all because he fucked up.
Still, he does not ask for independence.
The wars come and go; fragile, false peace reigns as one of his eldest boys looks annihilation in the eye and laughs hysterically. The century turns, the world still hasn’t ended, and suddenly it is Australia’s centenary as a nation.
The celebrations in Canberra are fantastic; England gets utterly shitfaced in about half the time that it usually takes. Fireworks are amazing when the colours all kind of blur and shift together. (He sees the others throughout the night the rest of his Commonwealth and France and Japan and America and Canada and anyone who has the slightest to do with Australia because they’ve all been invited but even though his lad goes off to talk with others all throughout the night it’s England that he comes to last with a smile and a beer and offers to take him home if he’s had enough to which England replies of course that he hasn’t and the next thing he knows it’s morning and he’s got a absolute fucker of a headache and when he opens his eyes there’s a packet of Panadol on the bedside table and a glass of ice water next to it and England blesses Australia's soul and then that fucking demon koala somehow manages to open the door and of course it makes a horror movie creak and then England’s bleeding and Australia’s yelling and the koala is fucking smirking at him from his vantage point atop Australia’s head and this would probably be funny if his pulse wasn’t attempting to escape via his forehead he can literally feel it as he gets more pissed off and it hurts so he swallows the pills and listens to Australia berate first the koala and then England himself and it’s been so long since he’s had someone worried about him.)
“Why?” He asks, a few years later, standing at the sink while Australia dries and places everything just so.
“Why what?” Is the absent minded reply as Australia tries to fit some kind of S&M brush back into his utensil cupboard.
“Why aren’t you independent yet?”
Australia flinches slightly and England pretends that he didn’t see it. It’s better that way. “Don’t want to be.” Australia saws after a pause, voice just slightly too casual.
“Isn’t not worth it. Besides, you can’t really make me do anything now days. We’re both too tied up in treaties.” Australia mutters the last bit, and England has to stifle the urge to smile. His lad likes a fight, almost as much as Denmark. But still.
“I’ve hurt you, bad.”
Australia jams the … thing somewhere into the depths of the cupboard, shoves a piece of wood into the door so it will stay closed, and turns around the face him. “Notice the past tense you’re using there England.”
“I took your government away. I killed the best of three of your generations.” He takes a deep breath. “I didn’t let you go home when you needed to.” Because of everything that he’s done to his lad, that’s what keeps him up the most at night. (Australia comes to him directly to him not just governments talking to governments and begs him to let him go home because Japan is threatening him and he can feel the creepy crawlies of submarines under his skin but he doesn’t know where and England refuses him he doesn’t let Australia return to the land that gave birth to him and green-green eyes stare up at him with the first signs of heartbreak in them and then he runs away and then he turns to America who is so much bigger and can protect him so much better and England waits for a clump of his flesh to tear itself away as Australia leaves him but he never does and it never happens and however close the horizon had gotten he thinks that it’s retreating a bit now and he’s so terrified.)
Australia smiles, sad and sweet, and the pure adoration is back in his eyes, as strong as it was when he was a baby and England saved him from starvation. “But you did. You let me make treaties with people that didn’t include you, you let my shift my focus to me and mine, you let me go home as soon as you could.”
“So why?!” England’s voice cracks on the last word and he swallows past a knot in his throat. “Nearly everyone else – why not you?!”
“Oh England.” Australia’s voice is soft and slow and so very loving that it cuts England to the quick. “You stupid Pom, come here,” and he’s dragged forward into a hug that he can no more fight than he can make the rains go away. He relaxes, slow increment by slow increment, like continents steadily drifting away from each other.
He’s warm, and may all the heathen gods damn him, but even if Australia is one of his youngest children, he feels safe.
“I’m here.” Australia says.
And that is the heart of the matter, isn’t it. Even after all these years, Australia is still here.
The first British settlers of Australia nearly ended up starving to death when they failed to take reversed seasons into account whilst planting stuff. A ship arrived just in the nick of time (hence the reference to starving!Australia).
Platypi. They don't kill, but they nearly drive you insane with pain. For three weeks or so. Australia is fucking awesome.
Technically, we had the Eureka Stockade (?) rebellion, but that was over mining and our flag and shit and stuff. Like, a baby rebellion.
S&M brush = BBQ scrubber brush. That's the technical term.
The Australian constitution is technically (I must love that word, use it that often) an act of British parliment, so they can rescind it and can force our government to retire, which they've done before.
YOU'RE STILL OUR DAD ENGLAND!