Work Hard

Jul. 16th, 2011 11:40 am
historize: (hetalia--america--eyes to the skies)
[personal profile] historize
Title: Work Hard
Author/Artist: [livejournal.com profile] historyblitz, kept track of at [livejournal.com profile] historize
Character(s) or Pairing(s): America and Japan
Rating: PG
Warnings: Just discussion about past World War Two events and perceptions of the now





Japan worked very hard.

He had come an incredible way in the last fifty years. His country had almost collapsed in the horrors of World War Two and making up for everything he had done had been a horrible and agonizing process. Some had still not forgiven him.

China and South Korea (North Korea, too, probably), though understanding of history, it was still too soon to forgive the indiscriminate violence that had happened only two or three generations ago.

Japan could not blame them for this. He had brutalized them, civilians and soldiers alike. And he did it without regret--at the time, anyway. He had learned that this was simply the way of the world. His long history had dictated such. All of them had done horrific things to each other. Over thousands of years, these things faded away and were forgotten. Or glorified. The achievements of Ghengis Khan were looked upon as incredible feats.

Japan could guarantee that nations from Korea to Poland thought differently--at the time.

So what was forgiveness?

Subjective?

Perspective?

Time, probably. The simplest answer and likely the most correct one.

It seemed that the nation who never should have forgiven him, had forgiven him the easiest (though it had taken his people a generation or two). America, who was proud and young and strong. The surprise attack the Pearl Harbor--though not intended to be a surprise, and he himself had felt ugly about the circumstances that took away even the very short warning America was supposed to receive--had wounded America's pride. It had enraged him, fired his people into action. Reluctant as they had been to join Europe's war--and prepared to downright ignore all the hate they got from that decision--America would never take such a direct insult lying down.

Japan, of course, had had his own agenda. There was no other reason for him to bother joining up with a European nation. But Japan, like other old nations, were entrenched in the past. America would begin the new--and it would dictate world politics forever afterwards.

After World War One, old nations had been insulted and disgusted by the young nation, telling them they ought to help Germany--for who was America to say such a thing. Joining the war only after direct provocation from Germany, and late too. Who was this boy-nation to say anything to those with far more experience and wisdom.

But barely a generation later, Austrian-born Adolf Hitler came to Germany and took office, legally. Promising a better future to a desperate nation.

Austria joined Germany. Prussia was suspicious--but when Hitler abolished him, he still stayed loyal, attempting to advise his young brother, mostly for naught. Japan had been at those meetings. He could see it when Prussia looked at the plans. He didn't like them. But Prussia would not abandon him.

It was bitter and sweet. Prussia would stay at his brother's side until it was over. Prussia watched his brother descend into madness, like his boss. And there was nothing he could do.

But after the war, America propped up Europe with his economy and he, France, and England rebuilt Germany, while Russia razed East Germany for everything it was worth.

Prussia had gone with Russia willingly. He would represent the Eastern state. He could take Russia. Germany could not.

And America rebuilt Japan too. After he dropped the atomic weapons. And now Japan stood with the modern European nations. A technology giant.


He--

"Japan."

Japan startled a little. He had dozed up. He blinked quickly, sitting up. "America."

America smiled gently and put a mug down by his hand. "You're falling asleep, man. Here, have some coffee. There was no tea left. England drank it all."

Japan sat up straight and wrapped his chilled fingers around the warm mug. "Thank you, America." He looked around. "The rest are gone?"

America nodded. He went back to his spot at the table (inbetween Canada and England), where his work was spread out. "I let you nap a little bit. You work so hard, Japan. England and the rest left shortly after France and Germany did."

Japan nodded. He looked at his mug and then up at America. "Have you slept?"

"Not yet," America replied. He removed his glasses, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Gotta get the rest of this proposal written."

Japan looked at him a moment. Statistically, the hardest working nations in the world. Both of them. Japan politely sipped the coffee and then blew on it to cool it.

"Are you gonna watch the Women's World Cup final? It's our teams this year," America said idly, putting his glasses back on and switching sheets of paper.

Japan looked at him thoughtfully. "I would like to."

America smiled at his paper. "I think we could afford a few hours off to watch the game together tomorrow, eh?"

A ghostly smile flitted across Japan's features. "That would be nice."

There were a few moments of silence, only the marking of America's pen being heard.

America broke the silence gently, like the little pop of a sugar cube in hot liquid. "We work pretty hard, don't we."

Japan put the mug aside and was opening a folder. "Yes. As different as our people are, there are similarities."

"We're all human in the end, I guess." America smiled. "Sort of."

Japan smiled and looked up at America.

America grinned back. "I miss you, you know?"

Japan blinked and looked a little embarrassed. "We work hard."

America chuckled. "Yeah. I hardly have time to see anyone, I think. I mean, I see people, but I don't see people. You know?"

Japan nodded. "I do. It is the same for me. I work with our colleagues and then I go."

"For honor, for country," America smiled, "For money," he admitted, with a chuckle.

Japan nodded, rather seriously. "That is the same for all of us, some just do not want to admit it. They say it insultingly to you because they want to hurt you."

America's eyes snapped up. The smile gone. He looked down. "Yeah. I know..." Quiet for a beat. "But it's hard for you too. In Asia, you know...."

Japan closed his eyes and nodded. "It is...the stigma I carry in Asia is sometimes like the one Germany carries in Europe."

"I wonder about Germany sometimes," America said quietly. He looked down at his paperwork again. "He seems okay but...you know? He's a tough guy. He never admits anything."

"Germany has many old nations around him and Prussia watches him more than he will admit to anyone. I would not worry too much about Germany, though I believe he would like friends as much as anyone would. Italy is still there at his side for that."

America smiled and nodded. "Romano and Italy are good guys. Well, Italy is crazy and Romano is...sort of like--" he chuckled, "--if England and Italy were gene spliced into one person."

Japan fought a smile. "You know, your scientists could probably do that now."

America snorted and burst out laughing. He took his glasses off and leaned back in his chair. "He'd be the best. I'd do all the genetic and biological work, you could make him shoot lasers from his eyes and Germany would install a state-of-the-art engineered super-efficient motor into his brain. So that way he could still be grouchy, romantic and be able to cook--all at once."

Japan couldn't fight the smile. He laughed quietly. Really, they must have been working too long. "With an apparently super-advanced operating system to allow maximum multi-tasking at such a heavy and exerting level."

America laughed. "Oh, I need a break." America got up, grabbed his mug around the rim with his fingertips and went to Japan's side of the table. He sat in Hong Kong's chair and put his feet on the table. "What makes you sad about the world today, Japan?"

Japan leaned back. He relaxed a bit. "I'd say that we are all so old that sometimes we forget what it is like to live short lives and so we sometimes do not appreciate what we have in the now."

America grinned. "Oh, man, I was gonna say, like, it makes me sad that I can't find Cream Soda in as many places anymore." He chuckled. "But you know, yours was good too."

Finally, that made Japan really laugh.

Comfortable silence. America found the remote and turned on the television. They sipped coffee. The Germany-Japan match was playing again on the sports channel. The France-America game was being shown next.

They left the reruns on, America moved his work next to Japan and they wrote quietly together, only occasionally commenting on the various plays (and changing to a B sci-fi film when the games were over).

But they both resolved to put their work up to watch the Women's World Cup final match. America removed his tie and jacket, uncoupling the first two buttons of his shirt and took off his dress shoes so he could relax with more coffee.

Japan did not remove anything but he did sit back a little.

Five minutes into the game, America fell asleep. His head drifted down onto Japan's shoulder. Japan did not want to be rude and he did not want to wake his friend. He stayed still.


Canada entered about five hours later, trying to find the two of them. He paused in the doorway. Surrounded by stacks of work, the television playing on some sports channel. Both America and Japan leaning on each other, dead asleep.

Canada sighed and entered. He turned the television off. "Maybe one day you two will learn not to work so hard." But he left them there to sleep.

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