A/N: My thanks go to Wenchpixie for Scotting-up my Scotland.
England's eyes drifted open. It was morning, and England felt surprisingly well-rested. He'd been up late the previous night; reading facts and figures, preparing for a world meeting about global warming. England was strangely optimistic about the meeting, he felt good about the measures he was taking to cut down emissions and was sure that, working together, they could stop the ice caps disappearing and put a stop to the environmental disasters. But England didn't want to think about all that just yet, he was warm, wrapped in his duvet, and content to let the radio drone on in the background.
He snuggled further down, just a little longer before he had to get up and start the day. He drifted for a while, half listening to Stephen Fry gently telling him about the origins of the English language. Eventually, he decided that he should probably find out how long he had before he needed to get up, so he rolled over and looked at his clock. The bright red numbers clearly displayed ten past nine. Ten past nine?
England shot out of bed in a panic. The meeting started at ten and it took half an hour to get there, and that was only if traffic was good. He couldn't bear to get there late, France and America would be completely insufferable and Germany would give him such a look, being late just wasn't an option.
England dashed into the bathroom and washed, shaved and dressed in record time. He came back out simultaneously fixing his tie and combing his hair and optimistic that he might still have time for breakfast. He hurried downstairs into the kitchen, paying no attention to the two occupants of the room and headed straight for where the cereal was. Or at least where it should have been.
"We're out of cereal," said Wales. That was weird because England was sure they'd had plenty the day before.
"We are?" said England, searching the depths of the cupboard just to be sure.
"We are," replied Wales, "Good morning, by the way."
"What?" England finally turned and faced the rest of the room. "Oh, yes, good morning." Wales was sat at the table looking a little dreary, eating what looked and smelled like a magnificent fried breakfast. It was just the kind of thing England needed to get him through the meeting, but, he glanced at the clock, there was nowhere near enough time for him to cook one himself.
"Morning, England," said Scotland from where he was at the stove, cooking what was likely going to be his own breakfast. "You're a wee bit late, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I overslept, I was working late last night." England neglected to mention that he might've got to bed a little earlier had Scotland not chosen last night to practice playing the bagpipes right outside his window. That would be just the reaction Scotland was looking for and England wasn't going to give it to him. Instead, England headed to the bread bin, it would have to be toast for breakfast.
"Sit yourself down," said Scotland over his shoulder, "I thought you might like something to eat, so I kept some for you."
"You... did?" England stared at Scotland's back, completely nonplussed.
"It's what brothers do, right?"
"Maybe, but it's not what you do."
Scotland shot him a look.
"Do you want breakfast or not?"
England sat himself down at the table.
"Good, because we're out of bread as well."
"Where has all our food gone?"
"There was a new fairy ring in the garden this morning," said Wales just before he placed another piece of juicy-looking bacon in his mouth.
"The fairies wouldn--"
"They would if Ireland sent them," interrupted Scotland. England sighed and sat back, recognising the truth of Scotland's words. Scotland got out a plate and began dishing up the food, England waited in anticipation. If the rest of the day continued like this, England could easily foresee himself going to bed in the same good mood that he'd woken up in. It was perhaps a little sad that he was actually excited by this prospect.
England's hopes faded when Scotland set his breakfast down in front of him. It was hardly recognisable as food. The meat was so blackened, England suspected it might just crumble to dust if he tried to eat it, the mushrooms were pitiful-looking things and was that really an egg?
"What happened?" he asked, poking at the dubious egg with a fork.
"You got up later than I expected," said Scotland innocently, "You wouldn't want a cold breakfast, would you?" England looked pointedly at Wales' distinctly hot breakfast. Scotland either didn't notice or decided to ignore it. "I made you tea as well." Scotland put the tea down in front of England, who eyed it suspiciously. It looked about the right colour, surely Scotland wasn't barbaric enough to mess with a man's tea? He tentatively took a sip. He immediately spat it straight back out.
"This is stone cold!" he declared in disgust.
"Like I said, you got up later than I expected." Scotland perched on the sideboard, watching England with a grin.
"Like hell I did." England pushed his food around the plate, wondering if, out of all the food ever placed before him, this was actually the worst. "You're such a git, Scotland."
"I don't even know why you fell for it. I've never been nice to you."
"I told you he would," said Wales, waving a forkful of sausage at Scotland, "You owe me twenty quid now."
"Oh yes," said England, glaring at both of them, "Heaven forbid that I ever believe my own brothers could be civilised." He looked back down at his plate and decided to brave it; there had to be some nutritional value left in there somewhere. He cut off a piece of sausage and put it in his mouth. Well aware that all eyes were on him, he chewed and swallowed the abomination with nary a flicker of emotion on his face. But it was plain to the other two how awful it had been when he was forced to take a swig of his tea. God, it was like eating charcoal. Anger rose up inside him that they'd chosen today of all days to be such arseholes. "God dammit, you two! You know I have a meeting today!" England glanced towards the clock, but he still had time. It had taken a surprisingly – or, if you considered the countries, unsurprisingly – short time for the mood to deteriorate to such a degree.
"Aye, but you know what?" Scotland didn't wait for an answer, "I'm not too bothered about global warming."
"What?" asked England tersely before he could stop himself. Scotland smiled.
"If the Earth gets warmer and the seas rise," England already regretted asking. "Then I'll finally get to enjoy some good weather and, on top of that, I can watch the English drown. I'm no' seeing a downside here."
"Well, Scotland, I'll be sure to let everyone know how you feel."
"The day you care enough to tell anyone how we feel," said Scotland with a bitter laugh, "I'll give up alcohol."
"Oh for goodness' sake," said England, throwing his fork down with a clatter, "Don't be so dramatic. You tell everyone if it matters so much to you." England stood up and took his tea over to the microwave. It wasn't the perfect solution, but if he was going to be denied breakfast (because, contrary to France's claims, he did have standards), then by god, he was going to have his tea.
"We can't!" said Wales in a rare outburst, "They all think we're you!"
"That's hardly my fault!"
"That never happened before I moved in here!" said Scotland over the top of England.
"You chose to move in!" England's voice was slowly getting louder and louder. "It's nothing to do with me if you regret the decision."
"I never had a choice. I'm your oldest colony, England," said Wales, quieter, but with no less feeling. England refrained from rolling his eyes, knowing that would do nothing but aggravate an already very aggravating situation.
"Fine. You want your independence? I'm a dab-hand at giving it by now." England put his tea in the microwave.
"I didn't say I wanted independence," Wales quickly corrected, "I'm just pointing it out." England really couldn't hold back his eye roll at that. "Mochyn Saesneg," Wales added quietly.
"And the same to you!" said England as he started fiddling with the microwave.
"You have no idea what I said, do you?" Wales asked, blank-faced as he carried on eating his breakfast.
"Of course I don't!" said England, still trying to work out the microwave, "But you never say anything nice to me."
"Aww," said Scotland, jumping back into the fray, "Poor, wee England, always being bullied by his nasty older brothers. My heart bleeds."
"Oh, piss off," said England, far more interested in trying to get the microwave working than anything Scotland could say. He slammed his hand down on top of it, in the hope that it would help. "Work, you sodding thing!"
"It's broken," Wales helpfully informed him. England whirled around to face him.
"Oh," said Scotland, hopping off the sideboard, "Last Thursday, I think it was."
"Why the hell haven't you fixed the bloody thing?" England's patience was reaching the end of its tether, no matter how hard he was trying to keep himself under control.
"We wanted to see how long it would take you to notice." Wales mopped up the last of his laverbread. "You owe me another tenner," he said to Scotland.
"For God's sake, England, stop losing me all my money!" cried Scotland.
"Stop making bets based on your twattish behaviour!" England snapped back. "Did you really leave this unfixed just to hack me off?"
"Aye." Scotland sidled up alongside England. "Think of it as payback for being a domineering bastard your whole life."
"Because I was always the one who started it, is that right?" England asked sarcastically.
"It was usually something you did," Scotland replied.
"Maybe if you'd sat down and shut u--" England was very rudely interrupted by Scotland's fist. He staggered back before quickly surging forward again, all thoughts of meetings and punctuality completely lost to him.
Wales sighed and finished his breakfast.
The door slammed open and England stormed in – Germany checked his watch – twenty-two minutes late. He looked flustered but neat enough, except for the swollen lip and the light bruise coming up on his chin. He hurried to his seat between America and France.
"Sorry I'm late," said England, "There were a few… issues at home. It won't happen again." Germany nodded, it wasn't like they'd got very far anyway. Perhaps now America was more likely to pay attention than loudly wonder where England was. England sat down and Germany almost cringed to see the way America and France leaned towards him. It was like two vultures hovering over a dying beast. England straightened and looked at the both of them, most likely sensing the predatory looks he was getting.
"If either of you say even one word, I swear I will make you regret it." England's voice was lowered, but it still easily carried around the whole room. England should've known better, saying something like that. Now it was pretty much going to be a race to see who could rise to the challenge faster.
"Un mot?" said France.
"Right, that's it." England leapt on France, toppling both their chairs over backwards. All that could be heard after that were the familiar sounds of an Anglo-French brawl. Austria leaned in towards Germany.
"Why do we let them sit together?" he said quietly. Germany shook his head and rubbed his temples. It was going to be one of those meetings.