January 17th, 1531
"It's not healthy, you know."
"Like that helps," Alfred F. Jones sighed. The cigarette he was holding was nearly used up and he handed it over to the woman next to him. Blonde hair with violet eyes, she was his twin.
"Good Lord," Amelia Jones chuckled after taking a deep drag, "how'd you managed to get this quality of tobacco?"
"Made it myself," Alfred replied. It was a cold, snowy day. The two siblings were standing next to a cherry tree near what would later be known the Potomac River. The snow drifted softly towards the ground, but the two siblings were only wearing thin sweaters.
"How long as it been?" Amelia asked softly as she touched the tree. Alfred visibly frowned.
"390 years..." Alfred muttered, "I miss her, I really do. Mornings are dreary without her."
"You know, Skaði would want you to move on and find happiness," Amelia sighed, "you have her memory, don't you? It's not like you're going to forget her."
"She was my wife, how could I move on when it was my fault?" Alfred asked.
"It wasn't your fault, how many times do I have to tell you that?" Amelia said dryly.
"Because it's the truth," Alfred replied, his tone of voice left with no room of discussion. His sister sighed at his stubbornness.
"Are you going to plan those flowers?" Amelia asked and he nodded.
It may seem foolish to plant flowers in the middle of winter to many, however. He placed flowers that resembled roses, but white in color, on the ground next to the tree. Suddenly, the snow began to slowly dissipate around the tree and flowers just like the ones he had placed began to grow all around the tree. The cold breeze suddenly turned warm, and he sighed deeply.
"Skaði would've liked living here on this continent, don't you think?" Amelia chuckled, "the Europeans have begun calling this place 'America', of all things."
"Hoh? You reckon one of us will have to represent this place if it ever becomes a country?" Alfred asked.
"Can't be too hard," Amelia shrugged, "we did the same for Judea and Kievan Rus."
"Yeah, and looked what happened," Alfred deadpanned.
"For fuck's sake brother, it's not like we can go against divine law without causing a war," Amelia stated.
"I suppose you're right," Alfred soon sighed, "if this place was a country, I want the entire northern part of the continent."
"We split it then?" Amelia chortled.
"Deal." The two laughed as the snow started to return and the flowers disappeared until there was only two on the ground next to the tree. The cold returned and Alfred sighed deeply, then breathing in the cold winter air.
"Come on, let's go," Alfred said, "I've had enough depression for today."
"We really need to get you a hobby, Freyr," Amelia laughed.
"So do you, Freyja," Alfred only replied. That was before he was assaulted by a snowball.
"Oops," Amelia giggled.
"Oh, it's on!" Alfred yelled cheerfully and launched his own snowball. From a distance, a redheaded woman and a blonde man looked on from afar, the latter of which only sighed at his siblings' antics.
"Oh! Oh! Should we join, big brother?" The redhead asked. The blonde frowned.
"Mother wants us home for dinner soon," The blonde stated.
"Oh, don't be a downer, Tyr!" The redhead said giddily. The blonde frowned even deeper. One day he would adopt the name Sigurd and his sister would adopt the name, Audrey. But for now, they were just siblings with no real responsibilities.
"Alright, sure," Sigurd sighed.
"See? You're the best!" Audrey said triumphantly and ran down the hill. Sigurd had to stifle his laughter when she tripped and rolled down the hill like a log.
The two siblings were looking for Christmas presents to hand out. Sure, Christmas wasn't coming until December (since it was snowing in October of all times), but the two wanted to be prepared for the holidays. They didn't celebrate Halloween, as un-American as that sounds, nor did they celebrate Thanksgiving since both felt guilty for causing mayhem amongst the Native Americans.
"You think Verka would like this?" Alfred asked while they were at a Target.
"Alfred, we have enough cast iron pans already," Amelia deadpanned.
"Yeah...but it's the newest version," Alfred replied.
"You just want her to make you a steak, is that it?" Amelia asked and her twin nodded, "come on, let's look for something else."
"Perhaps this would be good for Arthur?" Alfred asked. He pointed at a recipe book while they were going down the reading aisle.
"Oh, he would burn it," Amelia chuckled, "his stubborn head would still proclaim his cooking his greater than everyone else's." Seeing the distant look in his eyes, Amelia sighed. "Come on, that war is a distant memory. Let's go look for something else, yeah?"
"Easy for you to say," Alfred muttered, "you didn't have to erase and then plant false memories in someone's head..."
"You make our lives sound so depressing," Amelia shrugged, "oh! We could get Audrey a PS4! Lord knows she has been dying to play that new Uncharted game."
"I suppose so," Alfred chuckled. His eyes suddenly widened and he dragged his sister behind an aisle and out of sight. Peeking from their cover, Alfred spotted the reason he hid.
"Alfred, I thought we agreed never to-"
"Shhh!" Alfred hushed. She looked as well, her eyes narrowing slightly.
"What the hell is the Canadian and perverted French frog doing here?" Amelia asked. Suddenly, the two nations they were trying to hide from started walking in their direction.
"If they ask who you are, just say you're my assistant," Alfred sighed.
"I thought we were hiding?" Amelia questioned. Alfred pointed behind her, where she glanced to see Arthur, their lovable British bastard, walking from the other direction. They both scowled and stood up, acting like they were minding their own business.
"Alfred? Is that you?" Matthew walked up to him.
"Oh, hey, Mattie! How ya doing?" Alfred said cheerfully, "wonderful afternoon ain't it?" Amelia nearly snorted in laughter from Alfred's fake tone.
"Well, if you count a cloudy day 'wonderful' then sure," Matthew nodded, "I'm doing fine for the most part."
"Hon, hon! Ah, I must introduce-" Francis didn't expect a solid hook across the face, causing him to collapse. Amelia facepalmed. She didn't expect Alfred to be overprotective now all of a sudden. Then again, she probably would've punched him too if he saw those lecherous eyes.
"Sorry, Francis!" Alfred hurriedly picked the Frenchman up and dusted him off, "my hand kinda...uh...slipped."
"What the bloody hell are you blokes doing?" Arthur questioned as he walked towards them.
"Well-HEY! I could be asking you the same question? Shouldn't you be somewhere in London or something dude?" Alfred retorted.
"I'm on vacation," Arthur frowned.
"So am I," Matthew stated. Perhaps they wanted to get in on the Halloween festivities, Amelia presumed. "Oh, hello, my name is Matthew. Pleased to meet you."
"Amelia," The blonde smiled and nodded, "I am pleased to meet you too. I'm Alfred's assistant for the time being."
"Oh! Is Amerique finally getting it-" Arthur thought Francis should be quiet. The Frenchman got punched again by Alfred, this time it really knocked him out.
"Dude! I'm so, so sorry!" Alfred exclaimed as he reached down to pick Francis up.
"You're not sorry at all..." Matthew sighed. Amelia laughed at the scene and Arthur's eyes suddenly narrowed. Glancing at the woman, she looked uncomfortably similar to Alfred. He then glanced at Matthew and an odd thought struck him. Those violet eyes of hers were the exact same shade as-
"Yo! Arthur!" Alfred yelled, "you awake there bud?"
"Christ, Alfred, must you be so loud?" Arthur scolded.
"Well then, we must be going," Amelia sighed, "Alfred has a really busy schedule today."
"Ah, yes, of course, I do!" Alfred nodded, "see ya later guys!" The two left, leaving a dazed Francis, a chuckling Matthew, and a disturbed Arthur. The latter of the three frowned slightly as he saw Alfred turn the corner.
"No...just must be a stupid thought," Arthur sighed and shook his head, before slapping Francis to wake him up.
"Yes, mother, they're all doing fine," Alfred sighed over the phone, "yes, I'm not in a state of clinical depression. Amelia? No! Why would you think that? Sweet mother of sin, yes, I'll come to visit! No! Why would you think I had forgotten my own mother!?"
This was a weekly thing now. Where Alfred would just be relaxing near his fireplace in his living room and suddenly his mother would call and ask him why he was so ungrateful and not willing to come home. His eyebrows furrowed in slight annoyance as he stared at the fireplace, its hazy glow illuminating the room.
"Who are ya talking to?" A shorthaired brunette asked.
"My mother, Verka," Alfred chuckled. Verka, also known as Czechia, was a frequent resident in Alfred's household, especially when she's usually the one taking care of him when he's sick or wounded. Their friendship was centuries old, and Verka found herself spending more time in America than her own country. Hell, she even had citizenship here.
"Oh no, good luck buddy," Verka laughed as she went back to her room, "I'll pray for you." Alfred just gave her a sheepish smile as she walked away.
"Good lord, is Ma berating you again?" Amelia asked as she jumped over and landed on a seat of the couch.
"Yes, verily so," Alfred deadpanned, "mother! I live in West Virginia! Not Connecticut! Well, yeah, Illinois is my other home...I've been busy lately!"
"Here, let me take it," Amelia snatched the phone away, "hey! Ma! How ya doing? Yeah...oh, I know we haven't visited in a few years-"
"IT HAS BEEN THREE DECADES!" Their mother's voice screeched through the phone.
"We've been busy!" Amelia argued, "life is hard for us you know! Alright, alright! We'll visit as soon as we can! Okay, goodbye Ma!" She hung up the phone and handed it back to Alfred. "Jesus H. Christ, my ears are ringing." She handed him a beer bottle that was already opened. "Goose Island. Your favorite."
"Thanks," Alfred sighed as he took the bottle. Amelia went ahead to open her own. "How long do you think we have to be like this? Hiding away from the rest of the world. I'm sick of lying to everyone."
"As long as it takes..." Amelia replied sadly, "our family is the only thing ensuring world peace right now...or well, more like the survival of the planet."
"I guess you're right," Alfred nodded, "it's a lot better than the past few centuries have been."
"I'm tired of fighting," Amelia muttered, "if this means the safety and peace of the world and for our family, so be it." Alfred couldn't argue against that. He's had enough pain.
"And the lies?" Alfred pondered.
"It burns both of our souls, I know," Amelia grimaced, "but what choice do we have?"
"I'm tired of lying," Alfred lamented, "especially to Matthew. Maybe one day...maybe one day we should tell him the truth? That's he's not my brother but my..." Alfred faltered and he took a shaky breath.
"Perhaps..." Amelia frowned deeply, "perhaps..."
"The Commission is running out of time, Sigurd," Nora stated. The Norwegian nation sighed at his little sister. Nora, also known as Croatia, had been keeping tabs on the major parts of the criminal underworld and she always relayed the news to Sigurd. They were sitting in his house in Oslo, where he frowned at the information.
"Does Alfred know about this?" Sigurd asked. He expected his brother to know more than him.
"Obviously," Nora scoffed, "but the compromise between the Russians and the Italian mafias is waning. And when that happens they'll be able to move their people into America and the rest of Western Europe."
"We've kept them out for the last four decades, why now of all times?" Sigurd muttered.
"I don't know," Nora admitted, "but the moment that happens...global contracts can be reopened again."
"You're saying someone could just put a bounty on us?" Sigurd realized.
"Undoubtedly," Nora sighed, "and whatever the mortals do reflects what the supernatural world does. Let's say the Irish mob decided to put a bounty on you. That gives an incentive for anyone ranging from vampires and gods to put their own bounties and hunt you down too."
"So we're at major risk now," Sigurd said dryly, "one fuck-up and we'll be hunted down." He wondered how many more centuries would he and his siblings have to put on this false facade in order to protect themselves and the world.
"Not good for the world at all," Nora sighed, "by the way...Alfred hasn't returned any of my calls. Or emails. Or texts. Or letters." Sigurd had trouble stifling his laughter.
"I'm sure he still remembers you," Sigurd stated, "you're just being-" What he didn't expect was a solid punch in the face, sending him flying into the wall. Suddenly, he was getting pummeled by his little sister. Go figure.
"Do not belittle a sister's feelings like that! You don't I understand a thing!" Nora lamented, "you ungrateful deadbeat brother!"
"S-Stop it Morana! You're just like mother!" Sigurd begged for mercy. Suddenly, he was pulled up by the collar to face Nora's face of fury.
"YOU NEVER VISIT EITHER, TYR!" Nora cried, still pummeling her brother. "YOU'RE ALWAYS STUCK WITH THOSE SCANDINAVIAN BRUTES! I'M THE ONE WHO ALWAYS HAS TO VISIT YOU, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!"
"We're in the same region-ow!-no shit I have-agh!-stop it!" Sigurd shouted. Outside of his home, their other sister Dafina had been planning on visiting Sigurd. However, hearing the screams and cries for mercy, she decided against it.
A/N: Well, that was hectic. Should this be considered a prologue? I'll call it a prologue. Not meant to give too much information, just an introduction to some of our main characters. Well then, see you next time.