Author's note: kink meme request involving a winged!Canada. I opened up my giant saved kink meme saved links file, looked around at random and this was what jumped out at me. Was this your request, alliterations? I think I recognized a request or two as yours...
He found the tufts after sixteen-thirty two, when L'Angleterre had occupied lovely Quebec until he had taken it back again. The first thing after the greetings (filled with embraces and hair ruffling) was to scrub away any insidious lingering English influence that might have slipped through. L'Angleterre was just dying to bring the spare, dour Protestantism to his little colony.
Mon petit, what is this? he had said, teasing, as he fingered the tufts of feathers at his back. Are you playing with costumes?
Matthieu had blushed and turned away, and he had not pressed the matter. He had instead, focused on ensuring the boy remembered his saints, marking a gruesome death given for God and the Blessed Virgin with each scrub. The time had not been that much impact, and France even related the time when England had taken over his country. It was not his finest hour, but little Canada never would mock him for it. He had simply reached up and touched his face, looking so sad, and compassionate until France assured him that it had been a long time ago.
One hundred and thirty-one years later, he would hand over Matthieu to exact who he had been taught to despise. And soon that cacophonous English with its borrowed words and lack of grace, the insidious Protestantism would become a norm. There were pockets of French, the Québécois, the Métis and Acadian, but more English influence showed. His reserve, his quiet – these were all English, until only his silky French hair showed of the influence that had been.
It would be many more years before he saw Canada again, let alone in any state of undress. The relations, made by the determined actions of Fabre were intruded on by England – as if he were chaperoning a date. They sat in the salon and spoke of insignificant things while England stared them down, his face drawn in a scowl.
It wasn't until the world was wracked by wars, and Matthieu had become a man in his own right that he saw him unclothed again. The battlefield had been strewn with bloody feathers. Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge had enough to make one think that the Germans had slaughtered birds by the hundreds. Swans, from the look of the feathers. Once, after Vimy Ridge, he had come across Matthieu bandaging himself. There was a trail of blooded feathers, fallen like a winter night. He had a string of bandages about his chest, and from them came what appeared to be wings. Canada's eyes had widened, and he had dashed away, ignoring Francis' calls through the mists. He had written it off then as a tinge of madness of war, of wine, or lack of sleep. The next time he saw Canada, there was no hint of wings, and he filed it away as symptoms of the delirium and mirages that came with wars. And so it went, until the world had turned into a new century, and that century had almost been a decade old.
He went looking after the conference, which Matthieu had left early from. This in itself was not suspicious, but his actions prior to that certainly were. He had been itching at his back in an almost maniac way throughout the meeting, not that most of them had noticed. America had seemed nonplussed at it, so perhaps the itching was not a new occurrence. Not even America was obtuse enough to completely miss his brother's situation. There was a certain paranoia to his actions, how he would dig at his back, only to look up guilty, as if he were being watched.
He had checked the adjoining rooms, to find nothing. When that failed, he went to the hotel. Despite knocking, he'd gotten a definite identification from the receptionist (and how happy Matthieu would be to know that he'd been remembered). A charming smile, a few French sweet nothings on how he must care for little Matthieu, and he was in the room. (It was a secret between them. She winked at him. He wondered idly what it would take to get her room key as well).
At first surveying of the hotel room, he thought it to be empty. It was also quite tacky, filled with midgrade, clearinghouse furniture. He couldn't blame Matthieu for this, he supposed. Still, it filled with a kind of horror that Matthieu was spending any sort of time in a room this poorly furnished. No wonder he was so upset! The room itself had a calming, but ultimately dull brown and beige color scheme. The couch was unsalvageable, a leather piece which seemed to be attempting greatness by impersonating a brand with actual class. At least the carpet (the ever so stain prone white) was soft. At second look, when he had managed to stop himself from clicking his tongue over the tackiness, he saw a little curl spiraling up from the side of the bed.
Canada was huddled in a corner, wedged between the bed and the wall. His bland, distinctly English brown jacket and shirt lay on the floor. His knees were too his chest, as he rocked himself from side to side. From his back sprung two white, gossamer wings, turned slightly a pinkish hue from dried blood. He came closer to Canada as one would a wild animal, on tiptoe, to not startle him. He bent down a short distance away.
So now you know, Matthieu said.
Do you have his 'sight' as well?
No... I didn't gain anything else. No magic – I can't even fly that well with these, he said with a mirthless laugh.
I'm sure you'll learn, France said consolingly.
Canada wiped his eyes, and tried to force a smile. It really hurts.
He leaned forward, and took a tentative feel of Matthieu's wings. They were sleek and downy, yet with jutting edges of new feathers bursting through beneath his fingers.
Could you...? Just a little further down, I can't reach it and it itches like crazy.
Francis chuckled. You're molting.
It's not that funny when it's happening to you, Canada said with a slight pout.
Francis scratched absently and Matthieu arched his back, pressing his wings into his hands.
Have patience, mon cher.
Canada grumbled. It really, really itches.
To think, an influence of L'Angleterre I don't oppose, France mused. Who would have ever thought such a thing could be?
Canada looked back, shyly. There were the beginnings of a blush at the corners of his cheeks. You really don't mind?
Of course I don't mind. Have I ever minded beautiful things?
Matthieu's eyes closed to half-slits. I'm glad....
Francis smiled. You should know me by now. I would not think you a freak even if you had scaley bat wings. Though then, I would have yet more reason to wish to strangle L'Angleterre.
Matthieu chuckled. He removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. I couldn't sleep much last night, they itched and hurt so badly. They're growing, I think, Canada said sleepily. He tilted to the side, yawning slightly. Francis felt a surge of warm feelings for the boy.
Then maybe you will be able to fly yet.
Maybe.... I hope so. I want to feel the wind in my face.
Matthieu lay down over Francis' lap. Francis pulled down a pillow from the bed, for him to rest upon.
Could you do that forever?
France chuckled. For a while.
Good enough, I guess, eh.
He nestled down, relaxing under Francis' touches. Those poorly cut suits (picked out by L'Angleterre at first, no doubt) did not do his the graceful lines of his shoulders justice. France noticed many things now: the softness of his skin, the dainty feel of feathers, and soft breaths as he drifted off to sleep. There were muscles he had not known under his skin, that had grown there sometime after Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele, or perhaps some time before.
He had always noticed Canada in faint, indistinct lines. There was silky French hair (his finest influence yet) and a soft-spoken voice who reminded him all too well of the adoring child that his colony had been. But these did not tell the whole story, of Canada the country, and no longer mere colony. Canada, who had at some point, become a man. And a very alluring one at that.
I think you have been keeping many secrets from me, Matthieu. I will have to find them out, each and every one of them, Francis murmured.
But Matthieu was already fast asleep, and thus did not reply. Francis hummed low, an old French love song which he had once used as a lullaby (for he had been one so accustomed to the things of a child.). He felt the exquisite plumage beneath his touch and reveled quietly at the finding of this one secret. It would be the first of many.
I'm personally a fan of the idea that his wings grew larger because he fell in love (or at least, his love finally was free from all the impediments – you know, of being an English colony, and then the October Crisis to boot.) There's a Merlin fic with that premise. I didn't want to gack the idea, but it's totally my headcanon as to why this happened.