Notes: Hey guys! I'm back! Sorry for the long wait but I was having a difficult time writing anything remotely good. On top of that, I'm a slacker and I don't want my chapters to be painful to read for you guys so I wanted to make it good! So, I took a hiatus but now I have returned! Will you be rejoicing? So, here's a late gift from me to you, my dear readers! Happy reading!

England reacted far more swiftly than he would have under other circumstances. It really was just a hop, jump and skip* inside to rummage like a mad man through Arcady's bag like the world was ending. Really, that wasn't such an inconceivable notion at the time because, well, this was Russia's child. As in, the child was the fruit of Russia's loins and England was sure, quite sure actually, that the sudden death of Alaska wouldn't sit well with the Cossack, even if England did use the bee sting as an excuse. Still, that hop, skip, and jump wasn't executed as quickly and efficiently as England would have liked.

England hadn't ever thought that he would be tearing around corners like a complete scoundrel in his own home**. Admittedly, England was a tad nervous. Just a tad, really. So, racing like a completely undignified gentleman around his own house, Brave Sir Kirkland careened over antique rugs and passed priceless portraits. Really, it was just his bloody luck that there would be a damned bee. Because, well, it just seemed that life rather liked to laugh at his expense***.

Finally, after careening down a horridly long hallway, Brave Sir Kirkland managed to reach the god-forsaken bag that would not only preserve Alaska's life but would keep England from having a mouthful of lead pipe and broken teeth. England violently rummaged through the damned blue bag, groping desperately for any fleeting feel of that blasted syringe. Good God****, where the hell was it? Oh, God, no! Alaska was going to die and then England would be found dead in his bed with a sickle through his throat and Braginski's silver hammer in his head. Suddenly, and thank God and anyone else who listened to him, England's hand came into contact with cool surface of the syringe. Praise God and all his damned angels!

Yanking the syringe from the bag (and throwing the bag to the ground in the process, along with everything else that was in the general vicinity), England raced toward the patio, feeling pressured and still quite nervous. Nearly breaking the glass on the sliding glass door as he threw it open, England managed to uncap the syringe and, at the same time, gave his ankle quite the twist as he flew back outside and practically skidding to a halt when he noticed that Alaska was on the front porch, turning a rather unattractive shade of red that was verging on the same color of maroon that England used to decorate his study. Oh, bother, this hadn't been in the job description. Needless to say, England just didn't know what to do at all—not that he would ever admit to that, of course. Still, the matter stood that England didn't even have an iota of knowledge about how to deal with this.

Damn bees and their sense of bloody horrid timing. He had half a mind to curse the pissing things for the rest of eternity.

England, as best as he could, struggled to uncap the syringe and yanked up Alaska's sleeve to jam it into his arm when a shriek for New Mexico stopped him.

"No, no! Put it in his thigh, between his knee and his hip! Do it before he dies, Mr. K!"

England, now a tad more enlightened than he had been a few seconds prior, feverishly tore the cotton of Alaska's pants up and jammed the syringe into the fleshy leg.

"Well, don't just fucking stand there, call a damn ambulance!" England howled over his shoulder and, bleeding holy hell, if all this stress wasn't crowing him the king of bloody Migraine town.

Behind him, although they were both seemingly as frantic as their current guardian was, New Mexico and Arizona noticed something that was rather astounding and came across as some sort of far-fetched revelation to teenagers that just didn't seem plausible: Mr. Kirkland was a pretty cool guy*****.

*Actually, it was more of a throw, clatter, scramble, and crash sort of movement because, well, England had quite forgotten about that sliding glass door that was there. Four hours later, England was sporting a bruise every color of the negative rainbow and a rather nasty headache.

**Then again, it wasn't very often that England was faced with taking care of highly allergic children with former communists built like tanks as their father.

***It was true, actually. Life did rather like to laugh at him. Life also sounded and acted peculiarly like Cary Grant. England knew this because he had met Life, once. They got along quite nicely, actually. He was a very pleasant fellow. A tad sadistic and fickle, though.

****Who wasn't being as sweet or good as England would have liked at the time.

*****Except, y'know, for the undeniable fact that he wore sweater vests. 'Cause that just wasn't cool even if you were Brad Pitt.

Because England was a well-read, well-to-do, and responsible substitute parental unit, the first thing he did was frantically transport Arcady Fyodor Jones* to the emergency room. The nurse hadn't harassed them at all which, England was happy to say, didn't sit badly with anyone involved. He was all in all quite happy that the child was now being fussed over by a proper medical staff. Amazingly though, England had had to admit something to himself that was rather embarrassing.

It had actually worried him that Alaska had been in such danger and, quite frankly, England had a nagging suspicion that he had somehow managed to develop somewhat of an attachment to the small band of ruffians that he had been given temporary charge of. This seemed rather odd to England because none of them were his children and, well, the entire situation only served to puzzle him. There really was no reason that England could think of that would manage to endear the four states to him. Then again, England had always rather liked children and America** so, really, it shouldn't have affronted England so much that he felt close to them all.

Now, England noticed something else. As he leaned in the doorway of Alaska's room in the hospital, England felt that he would have been able to return to his normal manner if something hadn't been bothering him. While he had been almost blindingly distressed by Alaska's bee sting—and England was quite sure that the psyches of all personifications involved would be haunted for an indeterminate amount of time–there was an inkling of something sticking to the back of England's mind. It was something that hadn't ever, in the several centuries and eras that England had survived, been even a vague notion. England noticed, with an increasing sense dismay, that the pleasant little tingling on his frontal lobe was being caused by the fact that he felt heroic.

Of all the damned things England could have felt—from being worried to being bloody damned paranoid—the only damn thing England felt was heroic. Amazingly, England did not perceive it to be a particularly unsavory feeling. Actually, it felt rather like into a warm room after having been in the cold for far too long a while. His nose and fingertips were tingling quite pleasantly and, well, now he understood why America was always trying to play the bloody damned hero. It was—and England would be damned if he ever said this aloud—quite a thrilling emotion and, really, England wouldn't have minded being exposed to it again. Then again, it wasn't as if England was going to become addicted to the feeling. He hadn't ever been one to have pointless obsessions***.

Unknown to England, an extremely awkward smile had managed to come up on his face while he had been musing this entirely newfound feeling. To one of the young nurses who was patting another child's back to relieve quite the hacking fit, it seemed a little less like an awkward smile and a little more like a salacious leer****. It suddenly seemed a little fishy to her that this man was standing in the doorway of Pediatrics and seemingly making eyes at the children inside. England noticed her stare and cleared his throat awkwardly, reaching into his pocket and crooking his finger toward New Mexico.

"Look here, Mimi, I'm going to call your father and alert him of this dreadful bee-related incident. I'm leaving you in charge, are we understood?"

"Sweet! I mean, yeah, sure, no problem!" New Mexico responded, smiling widely and, once again, momentarily blinding England.

"I certainly hope there won't be a problem. Or I'll be putting you all back into line." England said, looking back at her and waiting for his eyes to adjust to the light of the room after having been blinded so suddenly by her teeth.

New Mexico laughed for a second before England gave her an extremely straight face that seemed to make her second guess herself.

"I really don't see what is so funny about that." England said clearly in response to her laughing.

Her laughter wavered immensely, going to something that sounded vaguely desperate and threatened and then finally dissolving to an awkward coughing that England knew had nothing to do with any immediate need of New Mexico's to clear her throat.

Good, it seemed that he was still able to intimidate teenagers. At least he was doing something correctly.

*The receptionist had looked amazingly puzzled by the infant's full name. England had done nothing except give her a very stern glare when she opened her mouth to talk about. England wasn't about to comment on the fact that America and Alaska both had the same damn initials and if that wasn't bloody egocentric, he didn't know what was. Then again, Alaska's moniker simply may have been America's way of sticking his tongue out at Russia.

**Actually, England had been extremely fond of America as a child. That particular America had always been far easier to persuade and instruct in basic things.

***Needlepoint and tea were not pointless. They were truly basic and central things to the survival of the English race as a whole.

****And looking even more like a creepy pedophile to the nurse, whose name was Shannon.

The second thing England did because he was a well-read, well-to-do, and responsible parental unit was call America to inform of the whole horridly traumatizing event that was directly correlated to Alaska's well-being. So, standing outside of the hospital near a tall man with red hair who was puffing on a cigarette like it was going out of style, England quickly tapped out America's number on his phone*.

It rang several times and just when England was becoming frustrating, someone answered. Thank God someone had finally picked up, because England simply detested being ignored when it came to important phone calls. Sadly, the voice that he happened to hear did nothing to put him at ease.


Really? Oh, wasn't this simply fantastic. Of course, this would happen to him! It only made sense that England's day would become far worse than it had already been. Yes, yes. He had completely forgotten that Life wasn't extremely fond of him. Bloody fan-fucking-tastic, this entire day had been.

"France, you wine bastard. Where's Alfred?" England asked, feeling another pulsing migraine tickling at his frontal lobe like it was an extremely profitable occupation.

"He—oh, well, he ran off to the bathroom. How rude of you, Angleterre, not even asking me how I a—" France began, sounding more and more like a complete idiot to England the more his damned French mouth jabbered on.

"Is he drunk?" England pressed, rubbing at one of his temples in a frail attempt to alleviate the pain that was pulsing there. Oh, God, it felt like he was going to vomit at any time. Now, whether it was because he had an actual migraine or if it was because he was talking to France, or, perhaps, because it was the dreadful combination of the two, England wasn't quite sure.

"Non, mon chère, why would he be?" France asked in a manner that England could only describe as trying to be far too coy. It was extremely unbecoming.

"Are you being quite serious? Did you just ask me why he would be drunk? I'm sorry but, really. Francis, have you seen yourself lately? You're always pumping wine into people." England commented wryly, squeezing his eyes closed and taking a deep breath in an effort to calm himself and the Hellcat Migraine he was being subjected to.

"Ah! You wound me, Angleterre! I have no desire for your petit garçon . He does, after all, only have eyes for you. Besides, I am only interested in one person at the moment." France returned, voice tinged slightly with static. If it were at all possible—and good heavens, it seemed it was,—England's headache seemed to worsen.

"That poor soul." England responded, heart reaching out to whoever that poor dear was. Secretly, he hoped it wasn't Canada because that would simply be too odd and England would be forced to hear "keeping it in the family" jokes from quite a few crass and tasteless people.

"No, no, no! Antonio is lucky that I am bestowing such love and affection on him—" France responded, sounded mildly irritated that England thought Spain to be another victim.

"Is it consensual?" England pressed, inspecting his fingernails and deciding whether it would be dreadfully and terribly impolite to gnaw off a damned stubborn hangnail in public. The horrid thing had been bothering him for quite some time.

"But of course it is consensual!" France blustered over the phone, sounding rather defensive. Good, the French bastard deserved to feel as if he was being badgered. Not that England was badgering him, mind you. Gentlemen never badgered under any circumstances.

"Yes, well, one can never tell with you." England said, finally deciding that maybe gnawing on it would be the best course of action but that it shouldn't have been pursued in the view of the general public but that it should have waited until he was alone and in the privacy of his own room, hidden behind a wardrobe and bothered by only a lion and a frosty witch.

"Oh, Angleterre, you wound me!" France cried, sounding more humorous than genuinely hurt and England wasn't quite sure if there really was a point to annoying France and vice versa anymore. It was dreadfully immature of both of them to be acting like such children, what with running around and being so terribly rude to each other. Then again, it was great sport and England wasn't about to give it up because it was immature. Besides, one always needed an activity that would keep their inner child alive and happily satisfied. For some it was playing video games or drinking lemonade, England's simply happened to be arguing with France.

"Shut up, you frog. I don't really care when it comes to your feelings. Now, where is America?"

There was an odd silence that was saturated with a mild static that may have been France breathing into the phone or may have been France rubbing the phone all over his chest with no real reason except for the fact that he was French.

Or, perhaps, it was France deciding whether he wanted to answer the question that had already been asked of him and to which he had already provided an answer to. England was quite sure that the odd static was because of the second option.

"I already told you, rosbif. He is in the bathroom. I'm expecting him back shortly. Were you aware that he had such a pushy bladder?" France asked. England found that this random bit of information didn't interest him and that, well, he had better things to do than to listen to France, whose main purpose in life was simply to filter air for the rest of the world.

"Frog, listen to me: I don't care about your commentary that I'm sure you perceive as incredibly intelligent and entertaining. It's not, I assure you. Where is Alfred? I'm not going to ask you again, you twat." England growled into the phone, feeling a rather impressive vein on the side of his head begin to throb with the force of his rising ire. God save the Queen, England could nearly feel his blood pressure begin to rise.

"That sounded mildly threatening, rosbif. Did you just threaten me because votre vache is in the bathroom?" France questioned, once again sounding very relaxed and very French, if there was such a thing as sounding extremely French.

"You just called him something horribly perverted in French, didn't you? Didn't you, you French bastard?"

"Peut-être, peut-être non."

"I'm convinced you've raped him, you damned pervert!" England snapped accusingly, hoping to sound intimidating, which England knew fully that he was. Apparently though, he wasn't very frightening to France. Which was mildly disheartening because England was damned sure that he was so much more than intimidating when he put his mind to it.

"Yes, mon chèr, and then I cut up his body and threw him into La Seine. His death mask will be massively popular, do you not think? He will be the most kissed face in the world!" France joked, morbid humor making England a tad uncomfortable because the mental image of that was simply ghastly. And, yet, strangely fascinating.

"You're a fucking pervert, you French freak. Once again, where is Alfred?" England pressed once more, this time sounding far more calm and sedated than he felt, what with his pulse thundering around in his head in that horrid manner it took to when England's blood pressure happened to get a might too high.

"I thought you said you weren't going to ask me again, mon chéri."

"Oh, sod off, you bastard faggot—"

"Is this not the pot calling the kettle black?"

"No you damn noodle headed dandy! It's the Englishman calling the idiotic Frenchman a goddamned faggot. That's what it is! Where. Is. Alfred?" England all but bellowed into the phone. In all damn honesty, England was about two seconds and a quarter from hurling his phone against the nearest wall and then banging his head up against the aforementioned wall. Really, truly, what was so difficult about answering a question? A single question that warranted a very simple answer.

"Well because you are so desperately insecure in your abilities as a suitable lover—"

"I am most certainly not!"

"Oui, you are! I shall tell him when he reemerges from the bathroom to call you. I don't know what he's doing in there—"

"He's trying to get away from you, you idiot." England said, finally placated enough that the dreadful cacophony of his rocketing blood had quieted down to a dull roar that he could live with. Still though, he wasn't satisfied with the state of affairs, not quite.

"Mais non! He loves me! He calls me the 'cool dad'! Is that not charming?" France asked and England could practically see him flipping his hair over his shoulder and batting his eyelashes in a futile attempt to appear childishly coy. Sadly, England wouldn't ever be fooled by that because France was nothing more than a washed-up whore. It was rather depressing really, if you thought about, which England didn't.

"No." England grumped curtly, massaging at his temple slowly. Good Lord, England needed an aspirin and he needed one now.

"You are far too uptight, mon chaton."

"Would you kindly shut up? Stop harassing me, please and thank you."

"I am not the one doing the harassment here. If I recall correctly, you were harassing me! Now, as I was saying, when your little boy emerges from the bathroom—he may be building a pyramid of soap bars, simple thing that he is—I shall instruct him to call you. Now, if you would be so kind to all us to finish our dinner, mon chéri." France cooed into the phone. England's patience—or, well, what was left of it, anyway— was quickly starting to disappear into some sort of dark and unknown oblivion that North Italy's mind seemed to exist in as well.

"Why the bloody fuck are you two having dinner? It's not a date is it?" Once again, there went England's blood pressure, rushing skywards for the umpteenth time in a single day. No, England was not insecure in his abilities as a lover at all. What the bloody hell did France know about love? Nothing, that's what. That bloody "Country of Love" business was all a damned fabrication.

"No, it is a dinner between two friends. I insisted it be a date but ton petit Amerique pushed for it to be a dinner. He mentioned something about it not being fair to you. Or some other mindless jargon like that. You know his tendency to talk and never shut up." France mumbled over the line, static tainting the conversation again. By this point in time, England was damned convinced that France was rubbing the phone over his chest for no reason that was readily apparent to anybody in the history of ever.

"You mean that you stopped paying attention after the pursuit of sleeping with him was made futile."

"Peut-être, peut-être non."

"Well, when he does get out—if he's really in there and you haven't violated him mercilessly, as I'm absolutely that's what you've done,— tell him to call me. It's very important." England replied curtly, rubbing at the small space between his eyebrows, hoping for some small relief from the ache behind his eyes.

"Oui, mon chéri."

"Thank you. Now, fuck off."

"What? You called me!"

"By the way, you're going to fuck up with Antonio, like you always do! Good day, whore!" England said quickly, hanging up the phone before France could respond to his comment. Damn, it felt glorious to have the last word, even if it wasn't all that polite.

*England's phone wasn't so much a phone as much as it was a heavy brick died black with buttons scribbled on it. America and Japan affectionately called it "The Dinosaur". England called it his phone.

Hours passed and finally, England and his small band of nomadic American states were allowed to go out. They had been home for a good portion of the evening and England had just succeeded in calming Alaska enough to get him to sleep because God knew the poor little thing was tired.

At last, everything seemed to be going divinely! The older children were upstairs, playing their seventh round of Monopoly that evening. Hawaii had been put to sleep earlier with the aid of some odd American thing known as Baby Einstein, which managed to confuse the hell out of England but lulled her straight to sleep. Only about fifteen minutes prior had England finally, finally, managed to get Alaska tucked into the safety of his substitute basinet*, suckling away on his chubby little thumb and looking generally angelic.

Blessed, blessed peace.

England finished pouring himself his tea and was nearly about to sit down on the couch to enjoy his stories when suddenly and without warning, the antique door to his house was very rudely kicked in. The poor door was nearly ripped off of it hinges, to chagrin of England.

At the loud noise, England startled and dropped his teacup and it shattered on the ground into a million small fragments. Oh, goodness no! Alexander McQueen had designed that teacup and now, well, it was in nothing but several shards littering his floors. As if the shattering of his favorite teacup wasn't enough, the noise had managed to startle not only Hawaii but Alaska as well, who immediately started wailing.

Standing in the doorjamb with France lurking behind him and smoking a cigarette, was America. The big oaf was brandishing some sort of ticket, grinning like an utter buffoon, and generally making England want to go over and kick him in the mouth. Then, perhaps, kiss him until they were both out of breath.

"Guess who's going to Euro Disney!" America shouted, winking and making an utter git out of himself.

And, perhaps, England wanted to kiss him. Only because America was finally here to reclaim his damned children. England simply couldn't have lived another couple hours with the annoying children.

*America insisted it was a bloody "play pen", whatever that was. No, that's not what it was at all. It was a basinet with mesh walls. Not a "play pen".

Notes: Hope you had a good read! Promise I'll get cracking on the next chapters right now!