A/N: Alexander Rybak is a fiddling GOD. oAo He's not THE Fiddling God, but he is A god. . the "the" title is reserved for someone in particular. I'd type his name out if my mind wasn't having a massive brainfart on it. -.o Also… the old Dune soundtrack is LOVE. 3
Alfred was having a far better time in California than he had in Washington. Mia Brown, California, a beautiful young woman with long, straight blonde hair, golden tanned skin, gold eyes and a beautiful smile, had greeted him with open arms and a warm kiss to his lips. She fed him some of his favorite hamburgers, which she grilled herself, and watched him eat heartily the delicious burgers until there was nothing left of them. He always did have a very big appetite, but doubly so when he was stressed and trying not to worry her. It was a futile task since he constantly worried her be it him going to the Middle East to fight with his fellow Marines, his favorite of the military, flying jets, another favorite activity of his, or just simply being in Washington with all those congress men and women who seemed constantly to say one thing or other that continually upset Alfred's already paranoid nature.
Bjorn, Mia's stunted pet grizzly bear, growled happily as he played with Alfred after dinner, tugging on a rope generally used for dogs to play with while Alfred chuckled and enjoyed himself. Mia watched, smiling gently, at the happy grin on Alfred's face as he tugged and pulled on Bjorn's rope, pulled him close and rolled around with him with ease. Alfred's physical strength was legendary practically. According to one story England had told to the other girls was that when he took Alfred as his charge Alfred had gone right up to a buffalo and swung it around by the front hooves as though the animal weighed nothing; this of course, this was when Alfred was little more than a very small boy. Come to think of it, that was probably one of the reasons Alfred ate so much. Mia shook her head and continued putting dishes into the dishwasher and turned it on.
Alfred looked up at her from the floor as he lay on his back with Bjorn sitting triumphantly on top of him, his glasses askew a bit on his face. He smiled at Mia with that bright smile of his and those bright blue eyes of his. His eyes were the color of the sky; they were the sky. "What?" he asked her, chuckling.
"Nothing, Alfred. I'm enjoying watching you play with Bjorn, of course. Bjorn loves it when you come to visit," said Mia, smiling gently at him.
Alfred started to say something when his secondary, private, cellphone rang out loudly with "Let freedom ring! Let the white doves sing! Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning!" Alfred picked it up and flipped it open, grinning. "Yeah? Who is this?" His face changed slightly, frowning more and more as he pulled the phone away from his face and looked to the number, then put it back to his ear. Mia blinked at him, frowning herself. "Virginia, calm down… what's going on?" So it was Virginia? "What do you mean?" he asked.
"Alfred, what's wrong?" asked Mia. He held up a hand to keep her silent as he tried to talk to what Mia could hear was a rather distressed Virginia.
"I'm on vacation, Virg. I'm sorry. Relay what you just told me so the other girls can get the heads up. Okay? Go elsewhere afterward and use your private cell phone. I don't think this is isolated," said Alfred quickly. Then, he hung up and put the phone into his jacket before sitting up and placing Bjorn on the floor. "Virginia's had a break in. None of the old relics were taken, nothing expensive, just her address book."
"Alfred, what is going on?" asked Mia softly, looking at him in concern.
"I've… I've got an idea, but nothing to back it up," said Alfred as he stroked his lip, thinking, his young face hardened into one a bit older.
"What sort of an idea? Alfred, what's going on?" asked Mia softly, putting her hands on his arm gently.
"I think the president is trying to get the girls to agree with him on that ridiculous healthcare bill, to get them to help quell the protesting," said Alfred, "He was… very insistent when I spoke to him last. He… he wanted to talk to you first, but I refused to give him any numbers." Mia blinked those big gold eyes of hers in confusion. She knew Alfred could be quite paranoid, but why on Earth would a U.S. president make Alfred so nervous? Alfred shook his head at her and pulled her hands to him, wrapping her arms around his neck as he leaned down and kissed her soundly on her lips. He leaned his forehead against hers and sighed.
"Don't think on it right now, okay? Just… help me keep my mind off of things for a little while. I don't think I can take much more of this without cracking a bit," he said, smiling at her a bit to show he was trying to joke with her. It was failing, though. Even still, she smiled gently at him and took his phone away and turned it off, putting it aside. Then, she kissed him warmly, deepening the kiss gently. Alfred groaned softly into her mouth as he responded in kind and held her closer. In no time his muscles were relaxing a bit more and he was holding her tightly against him, panting gently against her mouth. With little effort, he picked Mia up into his arms and walked to her room with her where he enjoyed forgetting the stresses of the government in her loving arms.
"Arthur, why did you ask me to come down here?" asked Matthew Williams, Canada, looking curiously at his older brother Britain. Matt was almost totally identical to Alfred except in his demeanor and his hair was longer and wavy like Francis' hair. Unlike Francis, the personification of France, however, he tended to not pull it back into a ponytail. Besides, Aga liked to play with his hair a lot.
Arthur looked up from his Walther PPK and put the pistol away, picking up the address book that kept most of the contacts still inside of it that he had rescued from the intruders and handed the book to Matt. "This address book contains all the contacts Alfred keeps, including yours, mine, and all his states. Look to 'V' section." Matt did as he was bid and found it missing. He looked at Arthur with a rather puzzled expression. Arthur fixed his unnaturally green gaze at Matt for a long moment before looking away. "I stopped a pair of intruders from stealing the whole thing, but they had managed to take a few sections out."
"Why would anyone steal numbers out of Alfred's address book?" asked Matt as he looked through it. He noticed that it was fairly old with black leather binding. Some of the pages had yellowed slightly and some of the named and numbers had been crossed out. One name was of a woman named Dr. Magaret "Maggie" Peterson. There, under her name, were several addresses and several numbers, all of which were crossed out as well as her name with a "D" beside the name. There were several women, in fact, with the "D" put next to their crossed out names. Matt figured out that the "D" must mean that the people were dead and the multiple numbers and addresses meant he kept in close contact with the person. Matt closed the book quickly and put it down. This was Alfred's private life he was looking at. Damn him! He always managed to get all the girls!
"I think you can very well figure out why someone would want the addresses and numbers of some of Alfred's contacts," said Arthur stiffly, eyeing Matt from under his thick eyebrows. "The States he is in constant contact with, he also knows several people in the government and out of the government, he has our names and such-like inside those address books as well. That sort of information would be very valuable to a person or group of persons if they want to control Alfred or control those people."
"What are you suggesting; that the American president is a dictator or something?" asked Matt in his usually very soft voice. An accusation of that sort was never something to be tossed around lightly.
"I have no proof other than what Alfred has told me, albeit in a scatter-brained fashion, or what I've seen evidenced in videos online and what's in the news. People are protesting at these so-called 'town halls' and showing up with signs protesting the president, congress and the healthcare bill, meanwhile the president and the congress men and women, a goodly number of them, have been berating the protesters, or they have these thugs with them all wearing purple shirts with the letters S.E.I.U. emblazoned across their chests." He put his Walther PPK back into its holster under his jacket and looked to Matt carefully. "I need you to stay here and make sure someone doesn't break in again. Keep a gun on you."
"But I don't own a gun—"
"Then, use this." Arthur took the Walther PPK out of its holster and handed it to Matt with the safety on. "Take the safety off when you need to use it. Otherwise, be careful with it. It's my favorite."
"Big brother, I," began Matt, but Arthur shook his head, "Why are you asking me to do this? I… I can't sh-shoot someone… um…"
"Yes, you can and you have," snapped Arthur, forcing shy Matt to stiffen slightly, "You've been in wars, fought bravely and shot many people. This is no different." Arthur then ruffled his messy hair and grumbled. "This mess is mad. I can't believe I'm actually siding with Alfred's ridiculous paranoia on this."
"Where are you going?" asked Matt.
"I have been invited to the White House for a personal interview with the American president. When I come back I'll tell you what transpired, meanwhile, I'll need you here to protect the house," said Arthur. With that, Arthur made his way to the door and walked out, snapping the door shut quickly, leaving Matt holding his Walther PPK rather awkwardly and looking more than a little bewildered.
There was a knock on the door of the oval office. The 44th President of the United States of America lifted his dark head and looked to the hidden panel door built into the side of the room with his dark eyes. "Yes?" In walked one of his aids and she nodded to him. He smiled, though the smile didn't reach those dark eyes of his. "Yes?" he asked again.
"Your three o'clock appointment is here, Mr. President," said she with a bright smile, "The British Prime Minister's assistant, is what I believe he referred to himself as? Sir Arthur Kirkland is his name."
"Yes, I asked for him to come see me this afternoon. Please let him in, miss," said the president. With that, she walked out and in walked, in an almost James Bond fashion, a relatively short young man in his twenties with unruly, wild blonde hair, sharp, unnaturally colored green eyes that peered out through the wild hair from under thick eyebrows, and a stud in each ear that reflected the light in front of him from the window behind the president. He wore a finely tailored suit that, while he was clearly quite thin and wiry, seemed to compliment him quite well. The door snapped shut after the embodiment of Britain walked in and stood before the president with his hands casually in his pockets. "Sir Arthur?" asked the president, putting emphasis on "sir" with a little humor showing up.
"Is there a problem with my being knighted?" asked Arthur.
"No, I just don't hear it often," said the president.
"Well, you called me here to talk to you directly, so get on with it," said Arthur in a rather cold tone, eyeing the president coolly from under those thick eyebrows of his.
"Well," said the president, "I've never actually had an opportunity to speak with you, as I recall, and, well, I think it would be a good way to get to know the others of your kind. You are, after all, the embodiment of the United Kingdom, right?"
"In a way, I suppose. I take that name, but originally I was England. I have three older brothers: Scotland, Ireland and Wales. We also had a mother that I don't remember that well who was called 'Britannia'," said Arthur as he continued to stand away from the desk. "Are you not going to ask me to sit?"
"Ah! Forgive me; please sit, Mr. Kirkland," said the president as he gestured to a seat in front of the desk. Arthur took one two seats in front of the desk and crossed his legs as he leaned back a bit in the chair, folding his hands as his elbows rested on the arms of the chair. "What are your brothers like, then?"
"They're drunkards, but Scotland and Ireland both are mean drunkards," said Arthur.
"I notice you have pierced ears," said the president, gesturing to his own ears, "I would've expected a proper Englishman like you to not go for something like that." Arthur shrugged, but didn't answer him much further than that. In truth, Arthur had been drunk when he had them pierced and he suspected the reason they were both pierced was because he couldn't remember which one was, most commonly called, the "gay ear". It wasn't as though he had never had pierced ears before.
"Well, what about things you enjoy doing?" asked the president, smiling, though, again, it didn't reach his dark eyes, though he leaned back and smiled casually at Arthur as though he were just enjoying a nice, laid-back conversation with the nation before him.
Arthur leaned back a bit more casually and held a small smile on his face, though he kept his expressions to a minimum. "Well, I enjoy many things, most of them being cooking, drinking, and every now and then getting a group of lads together in a band and show the rest of the world how proper rock-and-roll is played."
"Oh? You have a band?" asked the president.
"Occasionally," answered Arthur. "I most often sing, though I have been known to take out my guitar and play."
"That's nice," said the president. "I enjoy many things myself, of course." He went silent a moment, as though thinking about what he wanted to say next and then smiled that unconvincing smile of his toward Arthur. "What about Alfred? Alfred, unfortunately, never told me much about himself. I only know that he likes hamburgers, really likes them, likes playing baseball and the Yankees, and likes to talk about his fellow nations a lot."
"Alfred is hyperactive, likes thinking himself a great hero of the world and has a fascination with all sorts of gadgetry. He doesn't like to drink a lot, doesn't swear a great deal, and likes to butt into everyone's business," said Arthur.
"Yes, well, I'm afraid that's how we've always ended up being perceived," said the president, "I'm here to change that view for the better. You see, I want the world to know that we're not the arrogant nation that holds such derisive, dismissive feelings toward the others. We're a good, solid nation with, admittedly, many flaws. Your universal healthcare is something I think would be a great addition to our country, but, unfortunately, all of the people seem to have a misunderstanding of it and think it'll kill our economy as well as the people."
"And you think I'll somehow manage to convince them?" asked Arthur calmly.
"Actually, I'm simply explaining what problems we have right now. I'm—admittedly, I'm at a loss as to how to approach Alfred with trying to convince everyone else. You have universal healthcare, Canada has universal healthcare, many nations around the world have the same thing and you are so much better for it!" said the president. Arthur would have laughed if he thought the man was simply an idiot. Instead, Arthur stayed silent to let the man continue speaking.
The president folded his hands in front of him on the desk and looked imploringly at Arthur. "Please, understand that what I'm trying to do is simply help make America better, make it like the other nations, like you. You're a great nation. Perhaps you could talk to Mr. Jones and help him understand that I'm not trying to hurt him."
"He's not taking calls?" asked Arthur.
"Oh, he is, he just doesn't listen to me," said the president. That was a lie, the president didn't have Alfred's private cellphone number as far as Arthur could tell and the other one still had the battery out of it sitting on the hall table. He leaned back again and smiled that unconvincing smile once more. "I've heard from Alfred that there are meetings with the other nations. Is it like the U.N.?"
"In a sense, I suppose. We gather more often than the United Nations does," said Arthur, "Only nations are allowed, no states or protectorates, colonies or what-have-you. Only recognized nations can be in the meeting."
"That sounds like it must be very hectic," said the president.
"It is a lot of the time; especially when Turkey and Greece come to one, or Israel and Palestine join in. Neither one of them gets along with the one another," said Arthur, "Other times it just gets loud as America tries to come up with some ridiculous solution to a matter that means very little to anyone else, strictly speaking, and when it gets loud you'll have Germany shouting above the mess or Switzerland cutting people off."
"Ridiculous solutions to problems no one cares about? Such as?" asked the president.
"Global warming," said Arthur, "He tried to convince us once that we could build a giant robot to save us from global warming. In the grander scheme of things that hardly matters to anyone, honestly. We've all seen cold times and hotter times. Reduction of pollution, yes, that is a very good idea, but in all honesty, Alfred is simply trying to be the 'hero of the world' again."
For once Arthur was pleased to see a look of confusion cross the American president's face. "I… see," said the president as he attempted to regain his composure. "Well, in truth, it isn't just a small problem. There is evidence out there that proves there is a growing warming trend that we can't ignore."
"Either way, more pressing issues are at hand," said Arthur.
"Such as keeping—eh—Israel and Palestine from killing each other, right?" asked the president.
"In a sense, I suppose. That's usually taken care of by Switzerland and Germany cutting them off or throwing them out when they get too rowdy," said Arthur. "And it does get very rowdy sometimes."
"Perhaps you could talk to Alfred and help him… understand my point of view," said the president. "I need him to talk to the other girls, who seem to not want to talk to me at all. It makes me very sad to have this happen."
"He controls his own women, or rather they control him. You have no say, honestly." Arthur then stood up and straightened his tie. "If that's all we're going to talk about I might as well leave."
There was a knock and the air leaned in again, smiling at the president. "Mr. President, there is a Miss Aashiyana Singh on line four. Would you like me to hold her a while longer or ask her to call back?"
Arthur stopped in his tracks and his mind suddenly reeled at the name, the same feeling he always had when he heard her name sweeping over him like electricity. India. That's right; America and India had really good relations now. India had good relations with practically everyone. The thought nauseated him of just how "good" those "relations" were and he had to lean on the chair he stood up from to keep from falling over or vomiting in that wretched office. The president seemed to pick up on Arthur's distress and said calmly to the aid, "Go ahead and tell her to call back, please. Tell her I'm sorry, but I must postpone speaking with her a while longer."
The aid nodded and walked out, closing the door seamlessly into the rest of the wall. Arthur sat down again and rubbed his face a bit. "Is there something matter, Mr. Kirkland?" asked the president, "You look a little ill."
"It's nothing. Mild nausea, is all," said Arthur absently.
"Perhaps it was something you ate?" asked the president, his voice a bit more calculating than previously. "India is a really nice country, isn't it? Very nice and warm and Miss Singh is a very lovely woman."
"What business would America have with India, anyway?" asked Arthur a bit more tersely than he meant.
"Actually, I just wanted to talk with her about the businesses going overseas. I know she doesn't have much of a hand in that, but I'm sure it would help our relationship with India if we knew the driving reasons for that. Speaking of which, I should schedule a time to speak with the Chinese." He went silent and eyed Arthur a moment and smiled oddly, "Is there a problem with me talking to Miss Singh? She is, after all, India, correct? It's a little hard to keep all these people straight sometimes. I feel I should have as close a contact with them all as much as I can since, as president of The United States of America and the duly elected representative of the American people, I should get to know all of these interesting nations as well as I can."
"India can bloody well do what she wants. I don't fucking care," snapped Arthur, eyeing the president coldly.
"Bad relations still with India?" asked the president.
"What does it matter to you?" Arthur grunted and stood up again, albeit, he wobbled slightly from his nausea earlier, but he managed to straighten himself up again and glare at the president. "If you want so badly to get to know Alfred, then by God do so. Talk to him and treat him like you would your best friend. He's thick in the head and eager to please."
"But, perhaps you could tell him I'm trying to do just that, since you clearly aren't being screened," said the president.
"Fucking hell—do you have no shame? He's busy right now and doesn't want to be bothered. Leave him the fuck alone, you fucking twat! And for fuck's sake, look out the fucking window once in a while and actually listen to people!" With that, Arthur walked to the door and opened the door quickly and slammed the door behind him as he left. As he walked away from the white house, he pulled out his cell phone and rang Matt's phone, putting his sunglasses on. "Canada," said Arthur tersely into the phone, "You're staying there. I need to get home. I'll loan you my other pistol and take back my Walther PPK, thank you. No, don't argue with me on this. You're Alfred's bloody twin, so fucking act like it for a while until he comes back. Ask Quebec and the others to keep an eye on things back home for you. I don't have the fucking luxury." Then, he snapped the phone shut and made his way back to Alfred's D.C. home and took out his bags quickly while Matt stood off looking extremely annoyed, but also very worried. He then left very quickly without another word to Matt after gathering his Walther PPK and handing over his back-up pistol to the shy nation.