Rain pounded against the building, thunder clashing outside as lightning shone through the windows. The countries all heard the storm that raged on, but none of them paid it any mind. Their thoughts were already occupied at the moment, and the sound of the storm only reminded them of bad memories.

The doors of the church opened as a tanned woman came inside, her black hair straight and soaking from the rain. She slowly moved towards the front of the church before yelling something in a different language as she cried, dropping to her knees in front of a large wooden box. Most of the countries that knew her were shocked, since it had been hundreds of years from the last time anyone had seen her.

Canada walked into the room and went to sit beside France and England, not meeting either of their gazes as he stared at his mother. "He wanted her to be here."

The cries of Native America broke the hearts of even the German countries, the tears starting to flow freely in the building as the priest walked in. He looked around at all of them before making his way to the front of the church, placing his hand on Native America's shoulder as he went to the platform.

"Doing a service like this is never easy for me... But it touches my heart to see all the people that cared for this young man gathered around. Alfred F. Jones died with honor, protecting his country. Alfred is a hero, and this church is honored to have him here today."

Arthur looked from Aiyana to the casket she was draped over, he was just barely able to see the face of America laying on the pillow. His face was peaceful but pale compared to the red and blue flowers that were mixed in with the traditional whites.

It wasn't supposed to be like this... This wasn't how it was supposed to end... Alfred was supposed to live forever, his life had just barely begun, but now he was lying in a coffin. This wasn't right on so many levels.

The priest's words swept over the crowd in a haze, echoing in the halls of the Trinity Church. Most of the people there were lost in their own thoughts, some mirroring England's, others wondering who the human woman sitting next to the FACE Family was, and some were just reminiscing of how they had just spoken to America last week.

When it was time for the countries to speak, everyone went quiet as Canada stood. For once, everyone was looking right at him with the clear knowledge that he was Canada. They could all see him, they all knew who he was... Canada's hands shook slightly at that thought. He stood in front of the podium and spread out a crumpled piece of paper, taking a few deep breaths as his eyes tried not to look at his mother and brother so near him.

"How do you begin to write a final goodbye to someone like my brother? How can a simple person write a speech that properly fits someone like Alfred?" He looked down at the paper, tears pricking his eyes. "I couldn't think of what would fit, so instead I brought a letter that Alfred wrote to me while he was overseas.

"If you're reading this, then it looks like I only got a one way ticket over here. War was just a game we played when we were kids. I'm sorry to have left you behind, Mattie. But I don't regret any of what I did, I hope you can understand that. If given the choice of protecting my land and dying, or sitting by while my people die and I do nothing, I'll choose the former every time."

A soft cry broke Canada's concentration, drawing his eyes to his mother, who was now sitting next to the human girl on the front row. The two women cried, wrapped in each other's arms as they comforted and took comfort from the other.

Canada watched the two of them, his eyes blurring as well as a knot formed in his throat, the words no longer able to form. Why did America have to be the hero? Why did he have to risk his life? Why couldn't he just come home safely? Didn't he understand that Canada wasn't himself without his twin, he wasn't complete? Canada didn't care if people kept mistaking him for his brother, he would rather be called America for the rest of his life if it would bring his brother back.

He shoved down his tears and emotions as he continued the letter, knowing this might be the hardest part.

"Mattie, I need you to take care of Elizabeth for me. Make sure her and our daughter are okay," Canada ignored the gasps that sounded through the room, "and that one day, they'll find a good replacement for me. Protect them for me, Matthew. Don't let anyone hurt them."

Matthew read the rest of the letter in a haze, like he was standing off to the side of his own body and watching it happen. His body had gone numb from his pain, his mind buzzing. He hoped more than anything that this was all just a bad dream.

As he neared the end of the letter, a blue glow seemed to fall on him. Canada blinked as he looked around, seeing the sunlight stream through the stain glass window behind him. He felt a warmth surround his body for a second, the feeling of being loved filling his chest instead of the pain of loneliness. A smile spread across his face as he turned back to the people, feeling confident in knowing that at this moment, he wasn't alone.

"Alfred was a difficult man to describe, but he was loved. He was a mix of the whole world and friend of all; he'd do anything for the ones he cared for. It was Alfred's self-proclaimed job to make everyone happy, to be everyone's hero. And while we all miss him dearly, I don't think we should mourn him. Alfred wouldn't want that. Instead, we should celebrate his life, celebrate that we were able to know him for whatever time we had him." Matthew closed his eyes, almost able to see his twin's grin and feel his hair ruffled. "To Alfred, the best brother, son, husband, and friend anyone could ask for. May he find peace in the afterlife, listening to the angels singing."

Tears started to fill his eyes as the warmth around Canada left, but he tried to keep his smile on for the crowd as they all clapped. As he went to sit down, he glanced at his brother's coffin. Matthew sworn he almost saw a smile on Alfred's face.

A/N: Little reminder than Memorial Day isn't just a four day weekend with the excuse for BBQ. It's to remember those we lost in service to our country.

This was meant to be a chapter story, based off of the song "If You're Reading This," but I didn't have enough time to work it into one. So this is kind of an AU where the countries can be killed if wounded in the right place, and America fell in love with a human and got married. It's all really rushed… Sorry.

Anyway, I hope you all have a safe day, and take a minute to think about the reason that we Americans have this holiday.