Matthew silenced the rest of his troops as he took a glance out of the window. The afternoon sun was shining over the northern French Port town of Dieppe, and if it wasn't for the sound of gunfire and the smell of burning fuel lingering in the air, it would have been a beautiful place to visit. But now, the Canadian could only look over to the beach, the bodies of his fellow soldier's scattered over the shingle beach, tanks abandoned and burning along the promenade.
"What now, Canada?" murmured one of the soldiers, as he trod carefully towards him. The nation sighed and turned to face the small squad that was left, focusing on the Corporal that had spoken. The rest of them were kneeling down between the slot machines and gambling tables of the casino they had held themselves in.
"I don't know," he whispered back, ensuring the rest didn't hear him. "There's too many Germans." He turned back to the window, as the Corporal returned to the troops, helping those more injured then the rest.
Matthew watched and waited, hoping for one opportunity that the Axis soldiers would move on, it was already past midday and the majority of the Canadians that had survived had already retreated on the boats back to England, and the remaining were being rounded up by the Germans as prisoners of war. There was a pain in his chest as he saw the prisoners lead away roughly away from the town, leaving only a few soldier's left.
"Okay. We need to get out of here. If we can find a French brigade they should be able to ensure our safe passage back to England," he told the troops, "We'll have to fight our way out." They all stared at him, not reacting or responding to what he said. They just stared, the looks on their faces somewhat vague.
The Corporal spoke again. "No. We are staying until all of the German's have left," there was a stubborn look on his bloodied face, and a determination in brown eyes.
Matthew shook his head, "We are going to be spotted! They are going to make sure they've checked every single building in this town!"
"Then we'll fight to protect you." The whole squad nodded in agreement to their Corporal, every single one of them willing to die to protect him, and nothing Matthew could say would ever change their minds.
"You can't be serious!?" But the looks on their faces answered that question. The Nation turned away eyes barely able to focus on anything as his fingers wrapped tightly around the Sten gun in his hands. "The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry... the most idiotic regiment in the world."
The Corporal smirked, "I think even the German's out there would agree that the safety of their Nation is the most important mission they could ever receive and it will outweigh any other orders."
Matthew turned away, thinking of the other nations. Things had always been tense since World War One especially with Germany, and his invasion of Poland had done nothing to help, in fact it just made things worse. Now they were in the thick of World War Two and fighting the Axis Powers on many fronts. Russia had all but demanded another war front on Germany to ease the pressure on his own army. The raid on Dieppe had been hastly planned, and too many information leaks to the germans had ensured that of the 5000 Canadians sent to the French coast line, just short of 3000 were laying dead, wounded or taken as prisoner. The rest already retreated.
It tore at Matthew as he saw his people fall defeated before him. But now, he knew that everyone left was going to do everything they could to ensure his safety, and if that meant sacrifice themselves they would. "Idiots...." he muttered again.
The Squad sat in almost silence, listening to the harsh German accents outside, and the footfalls of heavy boots. Matthew was still below the window, the rest watching him.
"Prüfen Sie, ob Gebäude." They heard the German say, Matthew's breath hitched in his throat. He had been ableto understand German ever since we was growing up with Francis. He looked to his squad who seemed oblivious to what was said.
Staying silent he lifted his gun and getured to the men, thankfully they seemed to understand and readied themselves. But what Matthew didn't expect was one of the men grabbing his arm and pulling him deeper into the casino and into a small office. He nearly threw him into the room and shut the door quickly, clicking the outside latch.
Matthew went back to the door and tried the handle, but it was locked, he was stuck. "What are you doing?" he hissed only just loud enough for the man on the other side to hear.
"Sorry Sir. Please stay here..." He saw through the frosted glass as the soldier leaving him trapped. He was about to smash the glass, but stayed his hand incase it drew unwanted attention. Instead he could only wait insilence as the shooting started, and the screaming.
"Tötet sie!" he heard one shout angrily. It was the same voice that spoke before, but this time it was ordering his men to kill them.
Now desperate, he tried the door again, trying to open it without making too much noise, but it was locked. Tears streamed down his face as he heard the shouting get quieter and quieter, each Canadian falling to German bullets. Then deathly silence. He couldn't hear anything, not the sound of his squad or Germans.
He was close to smashing the frosted glass when he saw shilloettes once again on the other side. He took a few steps back holding his gun tightly, as the door clicked open. He immediatly saw a dark blue uniform, not one of his own. He fired a couple of shots. Both missed.
The man was fast, very fast. He barely had time to react to him run into the room and kick the gun from his hand and pin him to the wall.
"Wer bist du?" The german hissed, looking at the unusual uniform Matthew was wearing. His hand wrapping a hand around his neck and holding him tightly, but not tight enough to stop him from speaking.
Matthew glared, he couldn't see the man's face hidden under the lip of his hat, "Matthew Williams. Captain. Nine four..." He didn't manage to finish what he was sayign before the hand pulled away in a hurry, the man stumbling backwards.
"B-Birdie..." he muttered, pulling the cap off his head to show his face.
Matthew froze in fear when he heard the name. He hadn't been called that since he was a child, and even then it was only one person. Tear stained eyes shot up to see the German take off his hat, and sure enough he saw shock white hair, pale skin and deep red eyes he could never forget.
"Prussia..." he stared at him in disbelieve. It was his voice. His voice ordered the men to search the building. His voice ordered the death of good men who swore their lives to protect him. The warrior nation that young Canada admired, and loved hearing stories about from his Papa.
Now he was stood facing him, opposite sides of the room, opposite sides of a war.
"You killed by men!" Matthew hissed taking a dive for his gun. Prussia followed after him. Pinning him again, he held his shoulders to the ground, his legs ensuring there was no chance of escape.
"I'm sorry..." Gilbert looked away from him, "I truely am. If... If I knew you were here Birdie I..."
Matthew tried to fight against him, tears still flowing, "Don't call me that! I'm not a child anymore!"
The Prussian fell silent, just watching the blond try and fight against him, but he didn't have the same strength as him and wasn't able to push him away. The look on the younger nation's face was harsh, eyes filled with a mix of anger and hurt, all of it directed to him. He looked far from that cute young face of France's little boy. He'd grown up and now he was fighting in the same war as him, only on the other side. He wanted to leave and lock the door again, maybe he'd be able to get his men out of the town and leave him an oppertunity to escape, but that look in his eyes kept him fixed in place. "Birdie..." He couldn't take that face anymore, he released him and took a step back.
Matthew stood up and glared, eyes fixed on each other for a few minutes before he could no longer stand the sight and made his way to the door. He heard Prussia's voice, "If you leave this room. I won't be able to stop my men from killing you. Please Birdie... don't leave."
"What do you want me to do?" Matthew choked, wiping his tear stained cheeks, "They were my men! My friends! And you...." He couldn't finish his sentence, instead he ran through the door, back into the main casino hall. Gilbert cursed inwardly, and chased after him. He wasn't going to be the one responsible for the death of a nation, especially when that nation was Canada.
Matthew saw ahead as German's were picking up the bodies of the dead. A refreshed anger now burning in his eyes as he fired at one, hitting him in the chest. Now alerted, the shooting rang out again.
"STO..." Gilbert had ran ahead of Matthew to stop his men, but the firing didn't stop until his voice hitched and he couldn't finish his order. A bullet that was directly on target, now obstructed by the Prussian stayed true to it's path, piercing through the top of his chest. Red eyes went wide as pain shot through his whole body. Both sides ceased fire when they saw Prussia drop to his knees.
"Nicht schießen," he choked out, gritting his teeth to somehow make him foget the pain. Once the German's realised what happened they dropped their guns, but none of them took a step closer, in shock over what they had done.
Matthew, however, ran straight to him, "You idiot!" he yelled, his hand smacking the side of his face. "We are enemies... You're not supposed to protect me." This left a room full of confused German's especially when the Canadian tore at his coat and used the cloth to cover the wound, immediatly applying pressure.
"Lass uns in Frieden." Red eyes shot up to the other men, who quickly turned to leave. Then he looked back at Canada. "What was I supposed to do? Let you get shot? No chance, America would kill me, England would kill me and hell France would probably torture me endlessly just to make sure that I suffered as much as you would have." He wiped his brow as he gave a sharp intake of breath, "I'm personally going to make sure you get back safely."
"Why.... Why would you do that?" The blond stopped tending to the wound to watch his face.
"Because you're my little birdie." He replied with a trademark smirk. Canada scoffed and went back to the wound, but he was quickly pushed away as Prussia sat up straight and tried to stand. He wobbled a little and grit his teeth just a little more. "Let's get you home."
"No," was the simple and stern reply. "There's no way you can do that without putting yourself in harm's way."
Prussia's and Canada's eyes met for a long moment, as they both tried to understand the other's actions. They were very different, and they did things in very different ways, but there was one thing that Prussia could always be sure of, Canada would always put others before himself.
"Fine. I won't get you home." He replied as he pulled Canada's arm and pulled him towards him. "You'll be my prisoner. "
Canada shifted slightly his eyes flickering open as the sun peaked it's way into the room through the crack in the curtains. He rubbed his forehead and his cheeks, both of them drenched with sweat and tears. It had been a long time since he dreamt about world war 2, and of all the battles Dieppe was the worst and the best, but when he glanced at the calendar he realised exactly why he had, August 19th. Today was the 70th Anniversery.
He rolled himself over to face the sleeping albino beside him, it wasn't easy as he had a tight grip around his waist. He slowly and delicately pulled himself away from him and placed a kiss on his forehead.
At the first opportunity he was dressed and out of the house. He had somewhere very important to be on this day. He purchased some flowers and made his way to the nearest Memorial, a stone spire with a plaque underneath filled with names.
There was already a regiment gathered at the memorial laying flowers by the stone. They were stood in formation paying their respects to their fallen comerades. They were the newest regiment of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, and every year they paid their respects to those that died during the Dieppe Raid.
The General in charge of the Regiment saluted to Canada when he approached, the only person there who knew the truth of who he was and why he joined them in their respects each year.
"Sir." The general muttered, "We thought you'd already came. There were already flowers when we arrived. He gestured to a small bouquet that was left at the centre of the memorial by the names of those lost.
Canada shook his head, "Those are not from me General." He couldn't help but smile though, as he laid his own flowers down staring at the names. Bugle men sounded their horns, the anthem's song washing over them before the regiment moved on, leaving Canada still stood there.
"Do not linger too long sir," the General told him once the men were out of earshot, "They maybe gone, but what they did means that you are still here today. There are many people in this world that would miss you if you weren't here."
When the general turned to follow after the soldiers he saw a lone figure stood watching them. The two met eyes before the General finally left.
Once Canada was left alone, or so he thought, he fell to his knees beside the stone plaque. The lone watcher's red eyes softened as he approached and put his arms on the nation's shoulders.
"I'm sorry Birdie," he muttered.
Canada shook his head and placed a hand on top of his, "It's not your fault. Besides, if it wasn't for them. I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be here with you." Prussia smiled and pulled the Canadian up an into his arms pressing his lips against his in a deep kiss.
"Thank you for leaving them the flowers Prussia."