April 10, 1912
America pulled out his pocket watch and glanced at the time as the car pulled up to the port. It was 9:30. He was two and half hours early, though he wasn't really surprised. Knowing England, the older country was probably thrilled to get rid of him.
He glanced at his former caretaker, who sat across from him. Today was a big day for the other country. Not only was he finally getting rid of America, but it was also the beginning of the maiden voyage of the largest, grandest passenger ship in the world (not for long, of course, America would see to that), the supposedly unsinkable RMS Titanic.
"Now, I booked you a First Class ticket." England informed him. "Of course, it's my ticket since I get a ticket for the maiden voyage of every ship the White Star Line sends out. I, however, have business to attend to in Scotland, so I have graciously decided to give it to you, not that you know anything about being grateful."
Of course he found a way to take a jab at America's independence. England was still bitter about it, even after almost 136 years. America had to surpress the urge to roll his eyes. He had thought they had moved past that, which is why America had been in London in the first place. Though, he wasn't really surprised. They hadn't brought that whole situation up the entire time they had been in together, and it was America's first official visit to the United Kingdom since Queen Victoria's funeral, so he figured England needed to get it out of his system before the younger country went home.
"So you said." America replied mindlessly. He really wasn't going to give his former caretaker the pleasure of knowing he got under the younger country's skin. "Will France be getting on in Cherbourg?"
"No. Thank God. I don't think I could stand the thought of that perverted old frog stinking up my beautiful new liner." the older country replied. He then added as an afterthought, "And Ireland won't be getting on in Queenstown."
Well no duh, America thought to himself, I figured that much out myself.
He wasn't as stupid as England and the other nations thought. He knew the older nation had been having problems with his brother, Ireland. America knew there was no way in Hell that England would let Ireland leave the British Isles, especially when the other nation was pushing for independence.
"So I'll be the only nation on board?" America asked. He was genuinely surprised. He thought with all the hype, more European nations would want to at least get on, even if they got on in Southampton or Cherbourg and off in Queenstown.
"Yes, unless Bulgaria or Croatia decides to get on in Cherbourg, so don't mess this up, git." England replied as he straightened his overcoat. He had to look his best for this, even if he was only seeing both America and the ship off instead of boarding the Titanic himself. "I fully expect you to be on your best behavior. I will not have the statute of secrecy blown on my ship just because you want to act like a bloody fool."
America pulled out a silver flask full of moonshine and took a swig. He knew how much England hated when he drank, especially when it was good old Mountain Dew. He suspected it was only because the Brit was jealous that America could hold his liquor. And because moonshine was also illegal. But America really didn't care what the other thought of him.
He gave his former caretaker a cocky grin as he put the cap back on his flask. It was still mostly full and was more than enough to last him the entire voyage. America wasn't much of a drinker. He only did it to piss England off. "Don't act like a fool. Got it."
England huffed with annoyance. "I swear if you embarrass me in front of the entire British and American upper class-"
America rolled his eyes and cut the other off. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it. 'I'm so bloody dead.' Jeeze old man, live a little."
America opened the door to the car and grabbed his trunk. He was a light packer. He didn't see the point of bringing frivolous things like paintings, safes, vehicles, furniture, and whatnot. His philosophy was if it didn't fit in his trunk, it stayed at home.
"Now, are you sure you have everything?" England asked, following him out of the car.
"Positive." America replied as he studied his surroundings. Despite the fact that the ship didn't leave until noon, there were a lot of people already at the port. There was a line of poor looking men, women, and children, most likely immigrants, going through inspection. Servants were carrying luggage to where it needed to go. Men were attaching a car to crane to store it beneath the ship. Sharply dressed men were walking up one of the gangplanks, escorting women with large, extravant hats, the type America only saw on Derby Day. People were crying and bidding their loved ones goodbye. "This really is a big deal, huh?"
"Of course it is. They've built a bloody unsinkable ship, at least that's what the newspapers claim." England replied, extreme amounts of pride filling his voice. The younger country didn't believe for one minute that England, who had sailed on many vessels and experienced many sinkings, actually believed the Titanic was unsinkable. It was virtually impossible to build a ship that couldn't sink. Still, he had heard that many of Titanic's features made it harder for her to sink. That still didn't make him feel any safer than he had on literally every other ship he had ever been on.
America shrugged. He wasn't going to rain on England's parade by pointing out the physics that argued against the Titanic's supposed unsinkability. It was against his character to be so pessimistic and he had a reputation to maintain. He also understood the pride nations felt when their people made something impressive, something he felt every time he saw an airplane take off (now there was a way to travel). And Titanic was most definitely impressive, even to someone who had never been a huge fan of ships like America.
It was the largest ship he had ever seen, even bigger than her sister, Olympic. He could see why people were amazed. They probably couldn't imagine this thing floating, let alone sailing across the Atlantic. Combine that with the rumors that had been circulating in the press and her grandeur, and it was no wonder that people were in awe. He had heard that the White Star Line was building another even bigger sister, Gigantic.
"It's okay." America said indifferently. "I'm more of a plane kind of guy."
England scoffed and mumbled something about "bloody Americans and their infernal new age contraptions." The older country adjusted America's tie, collar, jacket, and hat in order to make him more presentable. America tried, and failed, to push him away. "Remember what I said, git. You're going to be around the wealthy, so it is imperative that you look and act your best, if that's even possible."
America rolled his eyes. The frivolity of the Old World was exactly why he avoided Europe at all costs. All their formalities were so suffocating. He'd rather be out herding cattle on the plains or literally anything else besides worrying about how to properly behave in front of royalty. He wouldn't even be visiting England if it weren't for the fact his boss made him. Something about keeping an eye on Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, or something. America didn't even see the point. It's not like Germany was doing anything that was bothering America. Why did he care what some cranky old monarch was up to if it wasn't affecting him?
"You sure I can't change that ticket?" America muttered under his breath. He really didn't want to be around prudish humans who think the world revolved around them because they had money. Besides, it's not like America needed to be in First Class. He'd travelled in steerage before and was perfectly fine with it.
"What was that?" England asked with a piercing look in his emerald eyes.
"Nothing." America replied. "Am I good?"
The older nation looked him over once more before nodding in approval. "I suppose this will do. Though I do wish you'd do something with that infernal cowlick of yours."
America subconsciously reached for Nantucket, only to touch his hat. He had forgotten he was wearing it, but England had insisted. A gentleman never leaves without a hat, he said. America tried to play the moment of forgetfulness of by adjusting Texas.
"Can't you put those blasted things away?" England asked with a scowl. "They're so... so..."
"So what?" America challenged.
"American!" the older nation spat. "You look like a bloody Yank."
The younger nation smirked. "Are you going senile in your old age? In case you've forgetten, I am the United States of America. Besides, I can't get rid of them! Texas herself gave them to me! The Republic, that is."
"I'm sure she would understand if you didn't wear the bloody things for a few days."
America's lip twitched in anger and annoyance. He had to bite down a snappy comeback. Obviously England didn't see the sentimental value behind the glasses. They were one of the few things he had to remember the late Republic of Texas.
America snatched up his trunk and started off to the gangplank where the passengers were boarding. He had half a mind to switch the class on his ticket or just to switch ships altogether, but he decided against it. England was being generous. This was the one of the few gestures of goodwill he received from the other country in a long time. They were making progress in healing their relationship, and America was not about to destroy that by throwing England's generosity back in his face. America could be cruel, but he wasn't that cruel.
England followed him to the ramp. "Well... I guess this is goodbye..."
"Yeah..." America replied awkwardly. What should he say to the guy that had hardly spoken to him in over a century, especially after everything that had happened between them?
England half held out his arms as if he were contemplating a hug, but decided against it. They weren't quite there yet. He finally chose to extend his hand to America.
The younger nation gasped it and shook it. "Thanks for having me... and thanks for arranging this. Um... I'll see you around?"
"Yes, of course." England replied. His voice was calm and collected, but his eyes betrayed the truth. "It was my pleasure. I look forward to working with you in the future."
"Yeah, same." America said. He broke their handshake. "Well, see you!"
"Yes, I'll see you." England mirrored as America gathered his things and started up the gangplank. America was about a quarter of the way up, when he heard the other nation call, "Alfred!"
The younger country turned around. He was taken aback by the usage of his human name. "Yes, Arthur?"
The Brit hesitated. "Do write, please. I'd rather not go another century without hearing from you. And make sure you write when you land in New York so I know you arrived safely.
America flashed him his thousand watt smile. It was entirely genuine for once. "Will do, old man. Bye!"
And with that, America waved at England one last time before bounding up the gangplank and onto the Unsinkable Titanic.
I am a major Titanic nerd. I saw the movie in third grade and it inspired me to learn absolutely everything I could about Titanic. It was my obsession before geography. I think I still have the Magic Tree House book Tonight on the Titanic and its companion (which is very beat up from so much usage). I am fact checking myself before I post these chapters though. It's been a while since I've read in depth on the Titanic.
You'd think there would be a lot more Titanic fics in the Hetalia archive considering it's only the most famous non-war maritime disaster to happen in modern history. I am not including this under Titanic crossover because this is based off the actual historical disaster and not the movie (though I will admit some inspiration on how the ship looks since there aren't many pictures that are easily accessible of the interior of the ship and one line of dialogue in a later chapter was inspired by something said in the movie, but that's it). Jack and Rose do not appear and there is no romance in this story. I will only be referencing famous passengers that everybody knows (i.e. Captain E.J. Smith, the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Thomas Andrews, etc.).
Passengers started arriving in Southampton, England around 9:30 a.m. on April 10, 1912 for the Titanic's maiden voyage.
The Titanic was officially know as the RMS Titanic, RMS standing for Royal Mail Ship, and was owned by the White Star Line.
After leaving Southampton, the Titanic made two stops before heading out to sea. The first stop was Cherbourg, France and the second was Queenstown, Ireland.
Ireland was still part of the U.K. and would be until 1921.
I was going through a list of passengers and I found that there were a lot of Bulgarians and Croats in Third Class (I believe most of the Bulgarians died and most of the Croats did too, I have to double check that). Bulgaria and/or Croatia will not be making an appearance in this story because then I'd have to kill them off (temporarily) since that was the fate of the majority of Third Class men, and men on Titanic in general.
Mountain Dew is slang for moonshine. There's a whole song dedicated to it called "Good Old Mountain Dew." It's a really fun song. I was listening to the Charlie Walker version when I wrote that paragraph (because old country is my jam). The pop, Mountain Dew, was actually invented to be paired with whiskey, which is how it got its name.
One notable piece of Titanic's cargo was a brand new automobile belonging to one of the First Class passengers. The rich brought anything and everything with them. So yes, there is officially a car at the bottom of the ocean. There is also rumors that there was a cursed mummy in Titanic's cargo.
The Titanic had two sister ships; they were all Olympic class luxury liners. The first was the RMS Olympic, who had been in service for a year before Titanic. The other was being built during Titanic's maiden voyage. She was originally christened the RMS Gigantic, but her name was changed to the RMS/HMHS Britannic after the Titanic's sinking. The Olympic is the only one of the three sisters that didn't sink, but she had two run-ins with other ships. She was eventually retired and disassembled. The Britannic was converted into a hospital ship and sank during WWI after a run-in with a mine not even a year after her maiden voyage. There was one person that survived sinking of Titanic, the sinking of Britannic, and Olympic's first collision in 1911. This passenger's name was Violet Jessop, who was a stewardess on all three ships and later a nurse on Britannic.
At the time Titanic sank, Germany was ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Kaiser Wilhelm II is part of the reason WWI ended up the way it did because he thought it was a good idea to use Austria's beef with Serbia to attack France because Triple Alliance (even though Italy betrayed that) and other reasons, which drew in the U.K. and Russia (though Russia was already kind of involved because of Serbia).
"Steerage" is what Third Class was referred to. It was made up of mainly immigrants, which is why they had to go through inspection before they were allowed on the Titanic. If they didn't pass Ellis Island's standards, the White Star Line had to take them back to Europe on the Titanic, which was something they didn't want to do. Not all Third Class were immigrants though.