Bilateral: Stronger

Even during the Cold War America and England usually found time for banter that was as petty as it was a lightheartedly sarcastic. Today was different, though.

A tired England sat hunched over in his bar stool, empty glass in his hand for the third time that night. America was also on his third, but his alcohol was actually doing wonders for his nerves.

“I’m not gonna say I told you so, but–” America stopped, partly because he realized how much of an ass he was close to being. Instead, he held the other’s shoulder (as if that was supposed to comfort him). England didn’t look at him, just kept staring idly at the glasses on shelf display behind the counter.

“Stiff upper lip, right?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“If it means anything, you’re taking this a lot better than France is.”

England cracked the smallest smile. “Yeah, I suppose that is something.”

Silence washed over them as America watched the last bit of beer swish around in the bottom of the glass. Then he looked over.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?” Then he paused. “People say that, but… actually, what doesn’t kill you just comes back to finish the job.”

A/N: The Suez Crisis of 1956 is believed by many scholars to signify the end of Britain’s status as a superpower.


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