Disclaimer: The only thing I own is the story idea and only some of the witty remarks. I own so little; so please don't steal.
Background music: Track 18 – See the Light – Green Day
Eighteen – See the Light
Well, I just wanna see the light and I need to know what's worth the fight.
Vietnam had made America look like an idiot. Likewise, Afghanistan made Russia look like a fool. As this rivalry went on, things were thrown into space, nuclear weapons were created, and the world moved forward as the two nations bickered. While movies ridiculing Russia were created, America also noticed a bunch of his youth protesting.
He remembered when California was a place where gold resided, but now it appeared that people sifted for peace as well. He watched the Berkeley kids form the Free Speech Movement. Protesting was something people did well; as of course he knew. Nations were built upon these sort of things.
Speaking of which, nations under Russia weren't taking his business anymore (as America had already foreseen, he thought smugly) and were becoming independent. As he lost control of so many under him, the part of the Russia who dyed his hair red and called himself the USSR eventually withered away, almost done in by its last boss Gorbachev. Gorbachev, apparently having a change of heart, attempted to soothe the rivalry between America and Russia.
Poland benefited from this. As he loudly proclaimed, "Like, I totally had this coming! Ya'll don't know how I, like, totally went through yucky hell to get to this point, ya'll owe me!" Bulgaria and Hungary followed suit, shaking themselves free of Russia's house and staring on bits and pieces of their own.
Prussia found himself irritatedly bothered by his own boss, still. "Stalin was awesome," Honecker insisted.
"No, man. He wasn't. At all." Prussia grumbled, staring out the window at the enormous wall that was still a source of all his annoyances. It was bothersome that his people would prefer to be with his brother, but in all circumstances, he supposed he would too.
So when Honecker yelled for him when his own friends pulled him from power, Prussia pretended he couldn't hear anything and decided to go for a stroll.
Things dominoed from there; seized by the awesome that Prussia radiated, his people tore the wall apart and swarmed into both sectors, greeting long lost loved ones and seeing family. Prussia had eagerly leapt over the stone wall and was trying to find Germany. When he'd finally spotted his blonde brother, he started toward him, only to notice that Italy was next to him, looking up at him with an intimate smile on his face.
Well, Italy was okay, but this wasn't so awesome.
"It's so fun to celebrate alone!" Prussia griped, following a bunch of people into a bar and pretending he hadn't just suffered through decades of abuse; he was just another guy downing a few beers, singing intoxicated songs, and talking loudly of lost (vital regions) loves.
Russia was sitting alone. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia had taken all their belongings and went their separate ways. His boss was losing control of his house. Things were changing. Sighing heavily, he tried to remember when he only dreamed of sunflowers. This whole war thing was such a bother.
"Hey, commie." Russia looked up, a skeptical expression crossing his face as America walked up. "Well, I can't really call you on that, I guess. China's cool. So it's Russia again? No more 'Soviet Union' business?"
"No," Russia said, absentmindedly pulling at a few strands of his hair that were growing out of the red it used to be.
"Hey, no big. These sort of things happen all the time." America took a seat next to him on the doorstep. "Rebellions and crazy people. It's completely normal."
"I don't want to be your friend yet, America."
"Jumping to conclusions! What made you think I wanted us to be chums in the first place? I still can't stand you. But I was thinking. Now that Germany's finally got his act together. And your underlings are leaving you. It's not fair to just trudge on alone, huh? So, me, being the hero, will offer my helping hand to you. Let's just be people on the same sphere. We've coexisted for ages before this." America grinned, cordially with only a slight sense of genuineness.
Russia stared at America's outstretched hand. "You mean a truce?"
"Yeah, I guess. For the time being. If you'll stop being annoying."
"If you'll stop being capitalist."
"If you won't nuke me."
"If you realize that you're just an egotistical child that deserves no one's love."
"If you finally know that your house is only so big because no one wants to live in this wasteland." America shrugged. "Truce?"
Russia stared at him, then at his own hand, then back to America. "Do you have sunflowers at your place?"
"I'm sure we can arrange for that."
"Alright then." Russia reached over and grabbed America's hand; the latter being the only one who could truly return his strong handshake. "Truce."
It had been a difficult century. So many bothersome events and desires to crush certain vital regions. So when the millennium and the promise of a new age dawned, Italy decided to be best friends and threw a whole new year party at his house. No one was excluded, not newly independent regions like Hong Kong, nor previous rabble-rousers. Just the world was invited to have some fun and make enough memories to make sure the twentieth century wasn't a complete failure.
Italy was there to greet everyone at the door, while Romano stood in the background, watching them come in, making sure they wiped their feet on the doormat (and making sure perverted France didn't grope his brother). The early guests, Austria and Hungary, made themselves quite at home and the rest of the nations trickled in.
"It's great you've having this thing!" America yelled as he tromped in, ignoring Romano's order for him to leave his shoes at the door. "Seriously, I'm looking forward to everything!" England followed, shoving a neatly wrapped box of scones (which Italy chucked out the door when England wasn't looking) into their hands and grumbling at America as they walked deeper into the foyer.
Portugal came next, her dark eyes sparkling as she turned and pulled her brother into the house. Spain looked awkward as he greeted Italy briefly before catching Romano's eyes. They hadn't talked much since the end of the War. Pushing him forward, Portugal giggled. "Go on, brother. Go talk to him!"
Spain stumbled forward, catching himself and grinning sheepishly. "So they say we should talk…"
"Oh, come with me you stupid idiot." Grabbing his hand, Romano led the older nation away as Portugal and Italy exchanged knowing looks before Italy turned to greet France, who had taken that lapse of Romano's watch to arrive. Romano pulled Spain upstairs, where it was still quiet and no one had gone to throw their goddamn coats on the bed yet.
Without his sister or Italy watching, Spain quickly got bolder, sliding his arms around Romano's waist so they rested there comfortably in the hallway. "I haven't seen you in a long time, Romano…"
"Do you still…" Spain faltered. "Do you still love me like you said you did during the War?"
Romano puffed out his cheeks in the way he knew Spain liked. "No. In fact, while I was thinking about it, I think I've fallen out of love with you. It was all just nerves, you know. Just fighting the whole thing, I realized it was completely wrong the way I felt about you, it wasn't what I thought…" Smirking as he watched Spain's face fall, he reached forward and guided Spain's mouth to his. Again, he found that to be something that surprised Spain all the time.
"Wow…that was…you…" Spain found his voice again and cleared his throat. "So…I take you you've fallen back in love with me?"
"Well, I figure if I'm going to hell anyway with all this War business, I may as well milk it for all its worth."
Meanwhile, Italy was still at the door, wondering how on earth every nation could have planned it so they would arrive at the same time. He hoped England wasn't going to make food; he was there just for that purpose. "Oh, Australia, don't let the marsupials climb on the pillars; they might fall!"
"Italy! It's been too long!" As Italy turned, Prussia came at him from the night, collapsing into him with a bear hug. "You need your awesome to be regenerated. Thankfully, I'm here."
"Prussia!" Prussia had been given the 'dead nation' status, but that only implied that he had no more responsibilities. Since he hadn't been completely destroyed from the current modern world, he was still lurking around and creating useless blogs. "It's nice to see you again!" Just as Prussia loosened his hold on him, he glanced at the door to see Germany watching him.
"Germany." Prussia slinked away, leering at them before disappearing into the kitchen. He smiled a lot, but there was one, special, aged-to-perfection smile he gave Germany whenever they met again. "It's been ten years; how are you?"
"Hmm." Germany left the doorway and leaned toward Italy. "I was planning…since it was so rushed and forced the first time…perhaps today…" He held out a little velvet box and Italy didn't need to open it to see the carefully cut tomato-shaped jewel to know what it was before quickly muffling his mouth to stop any sound from coming out. "I've had plenty of time to decide. Don't say anything yet; I was planning on asking later."
Italy nodded feverishly, his hands still clamped firmly over his mouth. He would have utterly glomped him, if India didn't show up at the door at that moment bearing curry. Germany had definitely changed; he was still the stickler to rules (he was currently telling Prussia off for messing with the various artifacts in the den), but only someone who really knew him could tell. India noticed; she cocked her head, her frown shifting the bindi on her forehead slightly. "Are you that excited about curry, Italy?"
They probably should have held the party at America's house, Italy noted later that night when everyone had arrived. It would have more room; but it was more fun when everyone was cramped into one place! The Nordics had gathered outside to watch Denmark and Sweden fight over some useless thing; Japan had fully healed and was now painfully listening to Korea tell anyone who would listen that he'd created millenniums. Cuba was having a row with America, but it was all in good fun as America threw his hands in the air and reached for a cigar. There was a peace agreement in the house, effective for one night; they could all be cordial to each other for one tiny moment in time.
Italy walked in to get some cannoli and found Romano sighing happily to himself. "What's up, brother?"
"None of your business." But he was smiling and Italy hoped this good mood would last when Germany popped the question. "It will be torture to clean up this place tomorrow."
"I know." There was the sound of Turkey loudly exclaiming something explosive and Greece mumbling some sort of irksome reply. Egypt drifted into the kitchen before drifting out again. "It's like a World Conference without any problems to distract them all."
"Remind me never to let you throw parties again."
"It's the end of an era, Romano. We've got to celebrate!" Italy dumped a load of dirty dishes into the sink. "I think we should all go outside when the new year starts." Nations, being nations, were completely in tune with the real time; no watch or other time-telling device was more accurate than their instinct. So when twelve midnight started inching closer, the house slowly emptied as they all wandered into the courtyard. Denmark and Sweden were slumped next to each other, although all sort of fight was gone; Denmark was clutching at an empty glass and singing. Norway had led Iceland and Finland to the other side, although he kept glancing back.
"Y2K!" America suddenly burst out, babbling incoherently about some nonsense until England pushed him into the fountain. Their water fight continued and some nations shied away to avoid getting wet.
"It's time," Italy breathed, grabbing Romano's hand. There was suddenly a hushed silence, when even fountain's splashes were quiet. Three, two, one.
Fireworks exploded, but that was hardly enough to drown out the noise in the courtyard. France had seized Canada and kissed him with enough luck to last a couple decades. England did an obligatory kiss, to which America made a big fuss about much to other's chagrin. Austria and Hungary were the typical married couple, exchanging a quick peck before watching other commotion, like Denmark tackling Norway. There was just so much activity that Italy turned to see Spain lead Romano into a quieter corner then to see Japan flush with Greece suspiciously next to him. There was so much happening at once, like this was a normal party and it really was a new year.
It was a new year. And it was a new beginning, a chance for all of them to get things right this time around.
And Germany was making his way carefully toward him and Italy let him, holding back excitement that would make him part the crowd. Romano didn't have time (or put forth a lot of effort, admittedly) to free himself from Spain's arms to intercept when Germany reached Italy, and knelt down, and pulled out the box, the ring gleaming in the light of the fireworks.
Never too late, where the ever-after is in the hands of fate.
Note: Um, all hail the queen of cliché endings. I wanted to end on a happy note. I don't know if I could make current events into an adequate ending. I wanted it to seem like good things would happen since that's the gist of the song. Anyway, I hoped you liked reading this! It's been a long journey since the first chapter and I've definitely become a wiser person (factwise). I've still got loads to learn! For all that history talk, I hope this chapter of mostly fluff makes you smile. Thank you ALL for reading and reviewing! I for one enjoyed writing this super condensed version of WW2.