2009 ended with 21 USUK fan fictions posted to AO3. As of July 21st 2021, there are 6,282 USUK fics, with 406 being posted (or updated) in 2021 so far. (While the title says fics posted, it also counts multichapter fics that were posted or updated that year, meaning if a single fic was updated each year over three years, it would be counted each year instead of just once in the year it was posted.)
AO3 and fanfiction.net have similar percentages of USUK fics out of all Hetalia fics, with 14.8% and 16.8% USUK respectively. On Wattpad, surprisingly half of all fan fictions posted are USUK. (Note: I counted ‘ukus’ as usuk one in the same. So usuk is really usukus, but I just went with the default ship name most commonly used.) Left out sites were LiveJournal and Dreamwidth bc the forum/blog like posting format is hard to get numbers on, but should be considered as fanfic posting sites.)
Here’s the same data, as a side by side comparison.
Note: As you can see while the percentages of USUK are similar for AO3 and fantiction.net, fanfiction.net dominates all other sites in the number of Hetalia fics in general, with ~118,000 total Hetalia fics as of July 2021. Archive of Our Own has 42,341 Hetalia fics total and Wattpad has ~43,100.
And that’s all for this mini analysis. I didn’t check with any other ships to compare which ships are the most popular, but the most surprising thing I learned was that Wattpad has the most USUK fics out of any site.
Final note: If you are a Hetalia fanfic writer (esp usuk) you rock! Thanks for being the heart and soul of the fandom, seriously.
If it hasn't been asked already, do you have any headcanons about France and England's relationship? 👀
Ah, and now we end where I always seem to end. These two cannot get rid of each other, and I cannot get rid of them.
*cracks knuckles* ok idk what you want to hear so I’m just gonna ramble here goes
So before I got my soul stolen by engport, fruk had been, like. Everything. Then I went through a crisis period where I was like 😱 how do I choose 😱 and now I’m like, ok, but why do I have to choose? I think Port and France fill very different roles in Arthur’s life, both of which are essential. Not only that, thinking about engport has helped me better understand Francis and Arthur’s dynamic, so I’ll be comparing a little throughout these hcs.
For me, fruk is a very — latent? — relationship. It’s ironic, bc engport are the ones who actually call themselves best friends and fruk prefer to be known as enemies/occasional lovers, but if you saw them on the street, you’d think France and England were close friends and England and Portugal, are, well, clearly gay for each other. They’re far more openly affectionate, whereas even for those who know them like Spain or Prussia, it can sometimes be hard to believe France and England are dating, let alone head over heels in love.
But they are. It’s just that they’ve been by each other’s side for so long, had those feelings for so long, that they’ve become a part of the background hum, a basic part of their lives. So usually the feelings Arthur or Francis actively feel for each other are mild, everyday things: annoyance, impatience, curiosity, worry. Especially in public/around other nations, they're not touchy or affectionate at all.
But if you know where and how to look, you'll see the signs. A napkin with scribbled math equations, something they argued over at a cafe. A cufflink here, a watch there, all gifts from each other from the hundreds of birthdays they've spent together. Arthur's number listed as an emergency contact on some inane government form. Francis' handwriting on the margins of Arthur's meeting minutes: remember to discuss this with Denmark, the address for a restaurant they're meeting at that night. Francis rereading various titles of english literature, trying to understand him better. Arthur paying for Francis' clothes with his own card without thinking about it. Their lives are intimately, mundanely intertwined in a way that's remarkably rare among nations.
This is actually a rather recent development in their relationship. In my hc Francis and England only started seriously seeing each other right before World War II, and began an "official" (or what passes for official) relationship right after. Then they broke it off for a while again when de Gaulle became president, then got back together shortly after he left office and have more or less gone pretty steady ever since. So that's like, what, a couple decades? A drop in the ocean for a nation. But this easy familiarity they've found doesn't feel new, to them or to anyone else, because in reality they've been building it up for centuries, albeit in unconventional ways. It's almost like through killing, conning, and tearing each other apart, they've lost their fear of each other. Nations have with their own kind a wariness, a constant stumbling block in the back of their mind reminding them no matter how deep their feelings, their interests can never truly align -- and this results in small awkwardnesses like pointedly locked office cabinets and walking away to take phone calls. But such things don't apply to Francis and Arthur. Part of it is the luxury of being allies now, but most of it is the fact that they've seen every side of each other, told every possible lie. Even if Francis did find some shit in Arthur's office, political secrets or otherwise -- what of it? They've planned enough conspiracies with and against each other that short of "I'm plotting a second invasion of Paris with Germany," there's really nothing they can't just scream at each other a little about and then brush off.
Basically what I'm saying is I like my fruk super domestic. But I also like my fruk highkey dramatic. One of the periods in their relationship I think about a lot is right before the American and French Revolutions (Louis XIV era), when I hc that they were in a nearly-entirely-committed, almost-honeymoon-like relationship. This comes from one fic i read that I can no longer find or remember, but where Arthur stays at Versailles for a couple years as the official English Ambassador and they begin a *clandestine* romance that's only half clandestine. This is a time when they were well and truly in love and not afraid to say it -- it was a time when they almost believed they could work out, fairy-tale style. But then the American revolution begins and Arthur is devastated, furious, accusing, betrayed -- they have an explosive fight and their relationship slides right back to hundred years war level hatred for the next century, culminating with Napoleon. The only difference from before is that now Arthur's anger is tinged with a desperate grief ("how could you do this again when you know i love you") and Francis' resentment now has a hint of despair ("I knew we couldn't last, the world is proving me right and i hate it.")
Their relationship slowly, glacially recovers after europe boots Napoleon. In fact, besides a couple proxy wars and shouting matches, the Napoleonic Wars was England and France's last major conflict to date. This coincides with the gradual worsening of Gabriel and Arthur's relationship in the 1900s. At this point Arthur wasn't actually trying to replace Gabriel, and in fact was still deep in denial about his feelings for Francis, but it certainly seemed to Gabriel as if he was being pushed out of Arthur's life and that Did Not Help Anything Whatsoever. Francis, for his part, was incredibly hesitant to push in part because of his lingering fear that they just weren't meant to be, and in part because he actually felt guilty that he was worsening Arthur's relationship with Gabriel, the loss of whom he knew would kill Arthur inside.
I realize I'm going on again so I'll end by saying that now, Francis and Arthur still sometimes have their dramatic moments of "oh shit I'm in love with him, the fuck?" even though the set-piece battles are over. When Francis delivers a particularly elegant speech, for example, or actually puts that mind and sharp tongue of his to work in a pitched negotiation. When Arthur surprises Francis with a weekend getaway, complete with a boat, flowers, and lots of cute blushing and blustering. Or when one of them is seriously ill, overworked, or hurt; when something just snaps one day and all their nightmares catch up to them -- the cold fear and sleepless worry are all reminders of how deep their feelings run, even if they don't constantly make themselves known.
I don’t give Arthur enough love, so here’s a list of random headcanons I have of him lol.
Like Wales, he’s a huge fan of LOTR and has read the books many times. He binge-watches the movies at least once every three months and has conversation entirely in Elvish with Wales.
Even though he would complain if America drags him to a Comic-con, England would secretly have a blast cosplaying one of his favourite characters. He’ll deny he had a fun, but America got pictures to prove otherwise.
Arthur is great at storytelling from taking care of many colonies back in the day. He has a way of giving life to the characters from the stories and do amazing voices for them. He takes joy at the reactions his audience gets and it’s one of his way to show his affection to others. He may not be great at expressing his emotions, but let him tell you a story and you’ll feel the passion and care he has for you.
Like his brothers, he expresses his love through action rather than words. They’re all emotionally constipated tbh lol.
Whenever he gets overwhelmed, either by his brothers or life in general, he goes to Portugal’s home for a few days. They’ve been each other’s confidant for centuries and are always ready to help the other. Portugal is the person England has the least difficulty on asking for comfort or talking about his feelings.
From all of his brothers, he has the best relationship with the Faeries from having spent most of his childhood with them. But that doesn’t stop the Faes to cause chaos in his house.
Has a tea set with cups that say ‘kindly fuck off’ at the bottom of it. He uses them specially for France or his brothers.
He’s a great swimmer, but he’s afraid of deep waters. The fear comes from the day he was dragged into a lake by a kelpie when he was a child. Fortunately, Scotland found him just in time and fished him out before he drowned.
England takes pride in his collection of tea towels. He has a whole ensemble of them for specific occasions: Christmas, the seasons, new year, rugby season, etc.
Has a talent on using make-up, and France is secretly jealous about it. He had a lot of practice when going to rock concerts and during his pirate days.
England is the one that spread anti ginger propaganda because most of his brothers are redheads. He invented the term "gingers have no souls" and everyone believed him. His brothers beat him up for this.
Are you still working on your Commonwealth study? Do you have any thoughts on Arthur's relationships with his colonies apart from Canzuk + US?
Not properly, unfortunately with exams and then work I haven’t had mental/emotional capacity to do real research (and probably won’t for a while 😔). But I have continued to think about and develop certain relationships, and I think I also have old hcs I’ve never shared, so I’ll put those down!
Born into the Empire
@oumaheroes has already done such great hcs on him idk what I can add, but basically he was a little bit of a rowdy child, always breaking windows and shattering fancy pots, never able to sit still. I think rainbow once mentioned that Ken (short for Kenneth, my name for Aus) was a lot like England as a child in his curiosity and energy, and I wholeheartedly agree. But I think Arthur’s intensity was more inwardly directed, pushing him to pursue and master new talents and learn whatever he could, while Australia is a little more carefree in his love for the outdoors, exploring, jumping around and off things, little wild animals. Unfortunately for him, he was born in a period of the empire when Arthur was very serious about his kids education, and therefore often praised those who studied hard and learned fast, which really just wasn’t Australia’s cup of tea. Australia took this kinda hard and thought he was the “dumb” one in the family that Arthur was always scolding, but in reality Arthur knew and appreciated that Australias interests lay elsewhere — he was just a frustrated, tired, parent who really wanted to give his kids the best while also holding his empire together, two goals that were never going to fit well in the end and would completely exhaust him.
As Australia’s grown older he’s realized a bit of this (not entirely, though) and also that 1) he really did break a lot expensive things and cause general mayhem 2) scolding us Arthur’s way of showing he cares, if he didn’t he wouldn’t have payed attention to him at all 3) despite being a penal colony, he was still one of Arthur’s more “legitimate” children (being white and a boy) and was therefore still incredibly privileged — never having to question, for example, why it was that Arthur was his dad, if it should be this way, or if he had a seat at the family table at all (more on this later).
Zee, from birth, was a clear favourite. Obedient, calm, quietly intelligent, he would also later develop a blistering sense of humour which combined with his appearance made it overwhelmingly clear who’s child he was. If Ken questioned his place in the family because of his poor academic record and others did because of their appearance/race/other complications, Kaelan never had such problems; his siblings called him the “prince.” Zee, however, also had a charm that, like Matthew, endeared him to his siblings and mostly protected him from jealousy, though he certainly still had issues with being called a try hard, daddy’s boy, bossy, arrogant. Certainly as a child Zee was a little prideful and, under that unperturbed demeanour, willful, but he grew out of it by the 20th century and became one of those most trusted by Arthur, second only to Matthew. He’s also always been inseparable from his brother Australia despite their differences, and today they both have one of the healthiest and most amicable relationships with Arthur of any nation, let alone former colonies (family road trips, every summer).
I absolute fell in love with this girl after reading about here, once, in this fic by @shachaai, and after that my mind just ran away with me. For me, her human name given to her by Arthur just has to be Ariel — for the little mermaid reference, yes, symbolizing her connection to the sea and stunning good looks, but also because:
1. Ariel is a biblical name, meaning lion of God. This makes sense to me, because Bermuda began as a Portuguese trade post, so Arthur definitely consulted our resident bad catholic Port before naming her.
2. Ariel used to be boys name. This also makes sense, because I hc Bermuda was and still is a tomboy. Bitch is fierce, takes no prisoners, and has zero filter. Her letters to Arthur, which all the colonies sent so Arthur could keep an eye on things, were full of shit like “I swear to god if the Spanish don’t get out of my waters I might eat one of them,” and “father, I asked you for destroyers two months ago, and yet you sent them to Hong Kong — could you explain this most unusual occurrence, surely it’s not that you forgot”, and “thank you for the harpoon on my birthday, I caught a small shark a couple days ago and have sent you some of its teeth for your collection.” Arthur tolerates this attitude because he’s weak when it comes to girls; he absolutely spoils his daughters (and flushes like a 16 year old when a woman so much as bats her eyelashes at him). Yes, p*ssywhipped Arthur is a hill I will die on.
3. It also suits her because? Ariel? Shakespeare? The Tempest? Bermuda Triangle? Shipwrecks? Daughter-like figure of powerful and vengeful sorcerer? Yeah. And this girl is a fire spirit — she is so lively, snarky, clever. As she’s grown older she’s mellowed out a little, but still: a no shit taken, no fucks given type of gal.
4. Speaking of growing up, she’s also become quite the beauty. Shacha, if I’m remembering correctly, described her as dark skinned, wavy-haired, and green eyed and that image has been burned onto the back of my eyelids ever since. Those Iberian genetics really be pulling through for her, that’s for sure. Engport love child if I’ve ever seen one. Definitely one of the prettiest in her family.
I’ve already mentioned this to needcake, but I’m not too big a fan of canon Singapore, so this is my oc version. Singapore is fascinating to me because it had only a very small local population before it became a colony (The original settlement had actually been destroyed by the Portuguese about two centuries before the British started building a port there.) So nation-tans like Singapore and Bermuda really are Arthur’s children in the most direct sense of the word. And yet, Singapore is mostly ethnically Chinese, with Malays being the second largest group. Growing up Asian in a white, Victorian era family surely cannot have been easy and more than once Singapore probably wondered if there hadn’t been some mistake. To make up for the constant fear that he wasn’t “really” British, Singapore studied ferociously and had a truly terrifying work ethic. I’m not sure if this is common knowledge outside Asian circles, so I’ll mention that this hc comes from the fact Singapore is well known for having truly exceptional students and some of the most prestigious schools. Singaporeans score highly in literally everything and they have an advantage with good English learning environments, a highly desirable trait in Asia, but these results come from brutally long hours — and its really saying something that they’re known for working hard, considering the studying ethic of students in Korea, Japan, and China aint nothing to sneeze at, either. To me this actually fits really well with Singapore’s upbringing in Arthur’s household, because Arthur himself prizes intelligence and hard work above all else, being a workaholic himself.
As for their relationship, it was probably the best when Singapore was young and peaked in the 1930s with the massive naval base the British built at Singapore, at the time the largest dry dock in the world. Singapore was a well-behaved child, not necessarily introverted but not rowdy either, and all the way into his teenage years he truly admired Arthur and was proud to be a part of the British Empire, despite his lingering unease and insecurities. The British defeat in World War II, however, was a massive turning point. He had worked his ass off to be a good son, a good brother, to contribute to the only family and system he had ever known, and he had thought by the 30s he was finally on his way to becoming a fine adult. And suddenly, the British surrender brings his entire world crashing down. He had followed the rules faithfully thinking it was his destiny, but suddenly it was clear that all rules were made up. Of course, his insecurities exploded. If the empire was a ruse, what the hell was he? A part of the illusion? He couldn’t have a truly Asian identity, because many of the old East Asian nations shunned him for his Western upbringing, and he could not entirely understand their values either. So he was a kid who kinda had to figure out late and very very suddenly who the fuck he was and wanted to be.
And, well, he’s done pretty well for himself, hasn’t he. After having a total crisis and questioning everything, I think Singapore slowly started to realize that just because the British Empire as a political entity didn’t last forever, that didn’t mean that his entire childhood and identity weren’t real. The love he gave to his siblings and the love he got back, the hard work he put in, his bond with Arthur and the safe, happy childhood he had — those memories and feelings didnt have to be diminished by what came after. Essentially, he learned the lesson all nations have to learn, which is that one needs to be able to discern between duties as a nation and feelings as a human being, and to some extent keep them separate to protect both.
Whoooooo ok I’ll stop there because this turned into a dissertation, sorry. Let me know if there are any specifics u want me to elaborate on or anything I missed, but I’ll leave this here for today :)