I know, it's been a year since the last chapter. I won't go into details, but I have had an awful year between school, internet, health, and mental illness problems. Let it suffice to say that for a while, I was as risk of seeing JUST how inaccurate my portrayal of an asylum is, firsthand.
I really love this story though. I am not ready to give up on it, although I can't tell you for certain when I can find time to write. It might be somewhat like a hiatus, but I will update whenever I can, I promise.
Folie à Plusiers
The day after America's 'visit' found the Nations in sombre spirits; America himself couldn't keep up a smile for long. Seeming to understand the mood, the sky was accordingly overcast, threatening rain and cold weather approaching as October made its way into its second week.
Greece himself didn't feel much different than he did normally; tired, and just the slightest bit frustrated with everyone around him. Thankfully, Turkey was leaving him alone for the time being; the masked freak had decided to play a game of poker with a few of the others.
Yawning, he stretched himself out along the couch, staring out the window at the grey sky. Corporal Cat jumped up on top of him, purring and curling up into a ball on his stomach.
"Comfortable?" he whispered, scratching the brown and white cat behind its ears, smiling as the purrs deepened in reply.
Over the back of the couch, Greece heard someone, probably Romano, let loose a loud string of expletives. He almost wished that he had the willpower to look over the back of the couch to see what had happened. Instead he sighed, leaning his head back along the armrest.
Romano hadn't spoken to him much ever since his major incident the night Germany had arrived. Not that that was saying much; for the few weeks that followed, Romano didn't speak much to anyone, let alone Greece, but he was still disappointed that he had been forgotten. He had grown to like plotting against Turkey with the vile-tempered Italian.
And since Romano had forgotten all about Greece once Spain had come back, Greece really had no one to talk to at all. He wasn't anti-social amongst the others, he was just more reserved that most of them, which meant that he was often dismissed when it came to games or conversations. A pity; he really would like someone to talk philosophy with.
If he were perfectly honest, there was only one Nation that he actually sought out for company; Japan.
Japan was the only person who would actually sit down and enjoy a slow, insightful conversation with him. The only downside to the quiet Asian Nation was his unfortunate friendship with Turkey, but Greece knew that really, he was Japan's favourite (he affirmed this thought with a small frown and a nod).
"This is… kind of depressing," Greece sighed, letting his head fall to the side so that he could look out the window again. The wind had picked up, blowing leaves and twigs against the windowpane.
He chuckled dryly at his earlier statement; after all, what was really depressing was that a good portion of the world was currently in a mental asylum. Depressing was the fact that something had happened that none of them could remember, and that they all seemed to be human for a time. Depressing was the fact that, despite everything, Greece was having trouble finding a flaw in what had happened.
But that was just his own opinion, and he knew, at least for now, that no one would bother asking him for it.
"I-I win again…" Latvia stuttered as he set his cards on the table, causing the other Nations around him to curse.
"Fuck, kid!" Prussia hissed, throwing his cards and standing up. Latvia flinched, thinking that the bigger Nation was going to hit him, "I can't believe we keep losing! You've gotta be cheating!"
Latvia wisely kept his mouth shut, not wanting to correct Prussia by telling him that no, he had not cheated. Even if he was, they had no real money to bet, so they weren't losing anything to him. Poker had always been a hidden talent of his; if he played well enough, and amused Russia, sometimes he was even able to get free alcohol out of it.
"Whatever, I'm done anyways," Turkey grumbled, standing as well, "Don' fancy gettin' beaten by this li'l brat again."
The other Nations; England and Romano, nodded and stood as well. As the four left, Latvia gathered up the cards with trembling hands, putting them back into the box with no small amount of effort.
He was a little disappointed that the game was over so quickly; it had been a great distraction from where he was. Just the idea of being stuck in this hospital made his trembling worsen; he almost wanted to cry.
He didn't feel safe here. To be perfectly honest, safe was the last thing he was feeling; constantly surrounded by bigger, stronger countries. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that they probably wouldn't hurt him, but after spending so many centuries being tossed back between world powers, he still couldn't shake his feeling of vulnerability.
The nurses and doctors scared him, too. When he, Estonia and Lithuania were first given over to doctors, back in his home, they weren't exactly accommodating. All five days that they had spent at the hospital in Riga were spent getting poked, prodded, x-rayed, blood-tested, and all matter of procedures.
Wincing at the thought, Latvia tenderly covered the flesh on the crook of his elbow, massaging the faded yellow bruise there from where the doctors had held him down and drawn vials of blood until he felt faint. They told him that the bruise was because he was so tense when the needle went in, but Latvia still wasn't sure why the bruise was there in the first place. Mundane things like that shouldn't have left marks on a Nation, no matter how small.
He felt a hand press down on his shoulder and jumped, almost falling out of his chair. The hand withdrew immediately, and Estonia peered down at his apologetically.
"Sorry…" the bespectacled blonde said, pulling out the chair next to Latvia and taking a seat, "I should have announced myself."
"N-no, it's a-alright," Latvia stammered, trying to calm his fluttering heart. He had thought for certain that it would have been another doctor coming to do more tests on him.
"Is everything okay, Latvia?" Estonia asked, narrowing his eyes in concern, "You seem jumpy. And I mean more so than usual; you're even worse than when we first got here."
"I've just had m-more time alone to think," Latvia said the first thing on his mind, "I'm w-wondering when the doctors are gonna experiment on us."
"Latvia!" Estonia shook his head, "Don't you ever think before you speak? They could hear you!" typical Estonia, telling him to shut his mouth in case anyone got angry.
"W-well, why aren't you more afraid?" Latvia asked, crossing his arms in front of himself on the table, "Or weren't you there when we were having all those tests done?"
Estonia sighed, leaning in to speak quieter, "Of course I was there, and I know that they didn't do anything too horrible. A lot of that was completely basic, especially since the humans think that we're insane."
"Maybe we are," Latvia pouted, looking away from Estonia, annoyed that older Nation was acting so nonchalant.
"Hey," Estonia's eyes narrowed behind his glasses, "Now you're just being ridiculous. If I were you, I'd be more worried about what's going on with us than what the doctors are doing. You can't honestly tell me that you don't feel it."
"Feel w-what?" Latvia returned to looking at the other blonde, his trembles diminishing as he became more focused.
"The hole right here," Estonia touched his sternum, "Where our people should be. I can't feel them at all; it's like I'm disconnected from them."
Latvia looked down at his chest. He knew what Estonia was talking about, after all, he'd been trying to ignore the feeling of loneliness and discomfort for the past few weeks. When a Nation couldn't feel their people, it was like they were walking around with a piece of them missing. It was disconcerting, to say the least.
"Yeah…I know," he replied.
"I went and spoke to Finland about it earlier," Estonia said, "He said that when he first 'woke up', or whatever happened, that he felt the same way. He had no connection to his people or his economy, but after time the feeling just faded away."
"They came b-back to him?"
Estonia nodded, "But that still doesn't mean that it still isn't wrong," he chuckled humourlessly, "Or you know, any more wrong than this whole situation is."
Latvia nodded his head silently, agreeing wholeheartedly with Estonia's statement. He hoped to hell that whatever happened to Finland would happen to him too; he just wanted that feeling of incompleteness gone.
Spain draped himself over the back of the couch that Romano was sitting on, watching as the Italian hastily flipped through the few channels that the television actually received. The Italian was nearly breaking the buttons with the amount of force he used; he was probably still upset over Latvia trumping him at poker.
"Fuck, this place is absolute shit!" Romano seethed, throwing the remote aside and leaning back into the couch, "There is nothing, I repeat, not a fucking thing to do!"
"That's not too bad," Spain shrugged, placing a hand on Romano's head, "It's nice to just relax, isn't it?"
"Che, maybe for a lazy ass like you," Romano rolled his eyes, "But I'm fucking bored."
Spain chuckled in amusement and jumped over the back of the couch, taking the spot beside Romano, "Aww, at least you won't have to be bored for long," he poked at the cast on Romano's foot.
The reason that he and Romano had gone to a separate room in the first place was because, after two months, it was finally time for the cast on Romano's foot to come off. Spain wasn't allowed to accompany Romano to the medical wing, but there was no way that he could leave his little Lovino all by his lonesome until then. Besides, he was still trying to figure out how Romano had broken his foot in the first place; try as he might, Romano had been unrelenting.
Romano closed his eyes and took a deep breath before sighing, "The damn cast should've come off weeks ago; Nations like us don't take as long to heal as humans."
Spain frowned, "That's right," he murmured vaguely.
"We heal faster than humans," Spain reiterated, holding his hand up in front of Romano's face, "But look, I nicked my hand on a piece of paper this morning, and it still hasn't healed."
Taking his hand back, Spain stared at the cut between his thumb and forefinger. He didn't understand why it was still there, although he hadn't given it much thought until Romano spoke about his foot. He felt fine; nothing like that weird sensation he'd had when he first arrived—or, well, 'woke up'—at the hospital.
"Probably because you haven't been yourself for long," Romano said, tapping his feet on the floor impatiently, "All of us were weak like humans then."
Spain mulled the thought over, somewhat understanding it. It was probably why Romano's foot hadn't healed within a week too. Letting an easy smile stretch his mouth, he pulled Romano close to him, "Aw, Lovi, you're so smart!"
"L-let go of me, stupid bastard!" Romano's face flushed bright red as he tried to push the Spaniard away.
"Why?" Spain asked as though it was the most absurd thing he had ever heard, "I love you so much Lovi; I don't want to let you go!"
Like magic, Romano's hands stopped pushing Spain away and moved to cover the embarrassed Italian's face, "…bastard."
"But, Lovi…" Spain trailed off, pretty sure that his next question was going to ruin the moment, "…why won't you tell me how you hurt your foot?"
He felt Romano tense in his arms and braced himself for an angry outburst. Surprisingly, none came.
Romano sighed and looked up at Spain, "I told you, it was nothing. You don't need to know."
"But I want to know," Spain pouted, "I've been asking for weeks, Lovi, but you just get mad or change the subject. It's better now though, so why won't you tell me?"
"Just drop it, will you?" Romano shouted, trying to push away from Spain harder this time. Spain frowned and tightened his grip around Romano's waist.
"Ssshh, Lovi. The nurses will hear you," he warned, his face only a foot away from Romano's. In the back of his mind, he expected to be headbutted, but he didn't back off, "I'm not going to let you go until you tell me."
Romano struggled, and Spain found himself actually having a hard time keeping the smaller Nation subdued, "What the hell, Spain, just let me go!"
"Please, Lovi?" Spain pleaded, his green eyes boring into Romano's, "I really worry about you, querido."
"Well then don—" Romano's voice broke at Spain's heartbreaking expression and sighed harshly, "Fine, dammit."
Spain pulled Romano closer, and the Italian rested his head against his chest. Romano's face was flushed red, and the tiny tremors in his shoulders told Spain that he was either suppressing rage, or trying not to cry.
"It was hard for me, you know…" Romano's voice was barely a whisper, "I missed you so fucking much; none of those other bastards cared. I felt a little better knowing that Feliciano couldn't have his stupid bastard either…I can't believe I was happy that he was suffering as much as I was. I-I'm such a pathetic fuck!"
Spain opened his mouth to say something; to deny Romano's accusation, but before he could form any words, Romano tugged on his shirt, silencing him.
"Don't say it. Let me finish," he warned, never once looking at Spain, "When Germany showed up, Feliciano was so happy; everything was alright for him. But where did that leave me? I…I don't even know what I was thinking. They were touching and laughing and smiling…I just saw red and I ran. I felt worthless and alone; like the scum of the earth on everyone's shoe. I kicked some stuff. Hard. It's all just a blur to me now, but that's how it happened."
"What—" Antonio tried to speak.
"—And you know what the real kicker was?" Romano cut him off, "After it was done, Feliciano tried so hard to get me to tell him what was wrong. I was selfish and jealous, yet all he wanted to do was make it all better…"
"Oh, Lovi…" Antonio sighed, leaning down to Romano and kissing him lightly on the cheek, "All of that's over now, I promise you. I know how hard it is for you to believe this, but everyone was worried for you. I know they were. And I swear, as long as I'm here, that will never happen again. You're the light of my life, Lovino."
Romano inhaled deeply, failing at keeping his tears at bay. He would never figure out how Spain always knew exactly what he needed to hear. Somehow, that sunny bastard could always make him forget how pathetic he felt.
"Antonio…" in a sudden fit of relief and impulse, Romano surged forward, throwing his arms around Spain's shoulders and kissing him full on the mouth. In the back of his mind, panic flared, telling him that Spain wouldn't like it, since he didn't usually instigate things like this, but he promptly told that little voice to shut up.
Spain's eyes widened in shock as Romano kissed him, but quickly slid shut as he allowed himself to enjoy the moment. Since he had awoken in MacFarlane's, this was the first real kiss he and Romano had had. It was all the more surprising that Romano was the one to start it. It felt amazing.
"Romano, are you ready to head to the—oh," Nurse Wilson jolted to a stop just inside the door, frozen to the spot. Romano practically flung himself off of Spain, backing up to the opposite end of the couch and wiping his mouth with an embarrassed glare. Spain laughed, turning around to look at Nurse Wilson, apparently not at all disturbed by that fact that she had seen them.
"Hola," Spain waved merrily.
"U-uhhm…" Nurse Wilson was at a loss for words. She had known that Romano and Spain were close; after all, who wouldn't have figured that out after the fiasco with Romano—but she didn't think that they were that close.
"Stop staring at me like that, dammit!" Romano sputtered, his voice coming out like a squeak. His face burned even hotter at this, "C-chigi!"
Nurse Wilson blinked and turned her head, not having noticed that she was staring at Romano at all, "I'm so sorry. Are…are you ready to come with me down to the medical wing now?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Ready. Whatever, why the hell wouldn't I be ready?" Romano jumped to his feet in a huff, pointedly ignoring Spain as he brushed past Nurse Wilson and out into the hallway, "You coming or not?"
She rolled her eyes as the façade that Romano put up. He was the same as ever. She bid a quick farewell to Spain, who smiled brilliantly at her and waved her off, "Bye Lovi!" he called loudly, as the Italian had already left in his haste.
Spain laughed as Nurse Wilson hurried out of the room to catch up with Romano. Lovi was just so adorable when he was flustered!
"Romano, please, slow down!" Nurse Wilson called, heels clacking noisily as she tried to keep up with the Italian that was storming down the hall.
"I just want this damn cast off," Romano didn't even look back, "The sooner the better."
Nurse Wilson sighed, rolling her eyes. She knew that Romano wasn't walking so fast because he was in a hurry to get the cast off of his foot, he was avoiding her because she had seen him being intimate with Spain. She couldn't blame him; after spending so much time around him, it was obvious that he didn't like anyone seeing him with his guard down, he was too afraid of being hurt.
Coming to the turn in the hall that they were to take, Nurse Wilson wasn't the least bit surprised when Romano walked right past it, not knowing where he was going. She stopped by the turn and placed a hand on her hip.
"Romano, you're going the wrong way."
With a handful of half-muttered curses, Romano spun around, eyes glued to the floor and face an embarrassed red, "I fucking knew that," he whispered, half to himself and half out of childish spite.
"Sure," Nurse Wilson returned, placing a hand on his elbow once he returned to her side, just to make sure he wouldn't speed away again. He winced when she touched him, and she saw it, "You're okay, you know. What's the matter?"
"Fuck…" Romano hissed under his breath, "Don't give me that, you saw."
"You and Spain?" she hazarded, not at all surprised that this was the cause.
He turned his head away, "Yeah."
"I don't care," she sighed, moving her hand from his elbow to his shoulder, a gesture that was a little bit awkward because Romano was fairly taller than her, "What are you so worried about?"
"I hate it when people see shit like that. Makes my skin crawl for whatever reason," Romano scuffed his shoes as they walked, "Just…I don't know. I'm not ashamed; countries don't really have gender-orientation issues, but I'd rather keep it discreet."
"So it's not that I saw you, it's just that you were seen in general."
"Yeah, something like that," Romano finally turned his head to look at her, "I just like my damn privacy, unlike some Nations. Like my stupid little brother…if I ever see him and that Kraut again…"
"Kraut..?" Nurse Wilson drew a blank for a second before comprehension dawned, "Italy and Germany are..?"
"Unfortunately since the Great War," Romano nodded, "Some Nations don't believe it simply because they think my brother is too 'innocent', but those are the ones who haven't lived with him. We have thin walls."
"U-uhmm…" Nurse Wilson blushed. That was certainly more than she needed to know; she was all too happy to assume that Italy was overly affectionate towards Germany because it was his nature, but…well, now she wasn't going to be able to get Romano's words out of her head whenever she saw them.
Shaking her head, she pressed the down arrow on the elevator pad on the wall.
The rest of the trip was spent in awkward silence.
England peered around yet another corner, frowning deeply when he saw nothing but an orderly keeping his post. The blonde sighed, leaning against the wall as he swept his messy hair out of his eyes; he'd need to speak to one of the nurses about getting it cut soon. He was in no great hurry to look like France again.
A sound like bells tinkered through the air as one of his faerie friends flew down the hall, looping to a stop just above his head.
"Have you or your friends found him yet, Mab?" he asked, holding out a hand for the creature to rest on.
"Indeed we have," Mab's voice was like glass; high and inhuman, "Follow me."
She took off down the hall, becoming nothing more than a ball of ethereal light when her wings began to flap. England jogged to keep up, his shoes echoing dully down the empty hall.
Mab flitted around a corner that England hadn't thought to check; the lights were off, so he hadn't assumed that anyone would be down there. However, he was clearly mistaken as the faerie led him to a doorway, as dark as the rest of the hall.
"He is within," she told him as she hovered, her light bouncing off the walls like an aurora, "My ladies have left him. Although he cannot see us as you do, it would be most rude of us to intrude."
"Thank you, my lady," England offered the faerie a sweeping bow, which she seemed delighted to receive, "Will you be taking your leave as well?"
All he got as an answer was her chiming laughter as she disappeared down the hall.
The door to the room was closed, but not locked, and the handle turned without a sound. England stepped into the room cautiously. It was dark, with only the barest outlines of the furniture registering to his eyes. He wanted to turn the lights on, but curbed the urge. If the lights weren't already on, then it was not his place to touch them.
"America?" England called, his voice just above a whisper, "America, I know you're in here. Do me a favour and answer me, won't you?"
There was a shuffling of material, and England could make out the faint silhouette of a figure crouched in the corner of the room. Unfortunately, America made no more to answer him. Sighing, England stepped fully into the room, closing the door gently behind him.
Walking towards America, he stopped a few feet in front of him, "Alfred."
America's face turned up towards him. His eyes looked red, even in the dim light, "What do you want, England?" his voice was weak.
"Don't give me that," England retorted with an astounding lack of bite in his voice, "You just up and disappeared. You've been so quiet all day that I don't think anyone else even noticed you were gone."
England frowned, crouching down in front of the younger Nation, "Alfred, what's all this about? You're not still on about that woman from yesterday, are you?"
"I can't get it out of my head, man," America whispered, tugging at his hair with one hand, "I was so angry but now… now I just don't fucking get it. She knew me. She looked just like me, Arthur, and not even in the normal Nation-to-citizen way. And we all know that we weren't ourselves before we woke up, especially after Spain…"
"…Where are you going with this?" England asked warily. It wasn't like America to be so resigned. It was an awful sight to behold.
"What if we're really just crazy?" the tone of America's voice just about broke England's heart.
"Alfred F. Jones!" England barked, placing a hand on America's shoulder, "Am I really hearing this from you, of all Nations? Wasn't it you who got on Canada's case about thinking the same thing?"
"And what if Mattie was right?" America demanded, shoving England's hand away, "What if this is all wrong, and I'm just Alfred Jones and he's just Matthew Williams and you're just Arthur Kirkland?"
"Bollocks! I can't believe this is coming out of your mouth!" England moved closer, staring straight into America's eyes. Even in the dark, they were the bluest he's ever seen, "You. Are. America. Think about everyone else; how is this just in all of our heads? How can you be the hero if you can't even be sure in your convictions?"
Those words seemed to strike America hard. The younger blonde winced, burying his head in his hands. England fell silent, watching the young Nation that he had known for so long struggle to keep himself together.
"A-Arthur..?" America choked, the hitch in his voice the only sign that he had started to cry, "I'm so fucking confused right now."
"I know. We all are. If we are patient, I'm positive that everything will sort itself out."
"I don't want to be patient!" America groaned, kicking out with one of his legs and striking the back of a couch that was leant up against the wall. The offending piece of furniture flew violently from its perch, flipping midair before crashing against the opposite wall.
"Alfred, stop that," England whispered, leaning forward to press his hands into America's shoulders, keeping him pinned to the wall. He knew that if America really wanted to, he could throw England across the room without breaking a sweat, but England held to the belief that it wouldn't come to that.
"How can you doubt yourself?" England asked once America's breathing had slowed, "Could a human have done that? Bloody hell, Alfred, could you even have done that when you first got here? Even if you were human—if we all used to be human—we sure as hell aren't any longer."
America took a shuddering breath, "…Okay. Fuck, I'm sorry, I was being stupid."
"No, you were just thinking too much," England chuckled, "I keep telling you that your brain can't handle intelligence, you great oaf."
"Haha…thanks, man," America grinned. The next thing England knew, large arms were wrapping around his petite frame, pulling him in close while America hugged him, "Who'd have thought that you could talk some sense into me?"
"Y-yes, quite," England stumbled over his words, whether from shock or the force of America's grip, he wasn't sure, "It is astounding that any sense could get in there at all."
America pulled back slightly, staring England in the eyes, "I owe you one, Arthur," he whispered before he stood up, cracking his back and offering a hand to help England to his feet as well, "We should probably get back before they send the orderlies out after us."
"Right," England nodded, taking the offered hand.
He didn't understand why his face felt so hot.
France was tossing cards back and forth between himself and Prussia, doing his best to hit the albino with every one he flicked that way. They had decided, after much quarrelling, to play a simple game of war.
"Hey, fuck off with that," Prussia scowled, slapping the next card out of midair before it could make contact with his forehead.
"Such violence," France teased, but relented to passing the cards over normally.
"Ay, amigos, this war is but a card game," Spain smiled, lifting his head (he had been sleeping on the table) and holding up his hands in a show of non-violence.
"Oh, go play with your spicy Italian, why don't you?" Prussia sighed, shuffling his half of the deck.
"Gilbert, you know Lovi went to get his cast off!" Antonio rested his head back on the table. France made sure that the next card he threw hit the Spaniard square in the ear.
"Phyeah, you're talking like I'm not the all-knowing King of Awesome," Prussia scoffed.
"Zat would be exactly right," France interjected without missing a beat.
"Shove it, Francis," Prussia flipped France the bird, "Anyway, I can hear Romano's prissy-ass stomping from a mile away. He should be here riiiiiight aboooouuutt—"
Romano stomped his way through the threshold.
"Lovi!" Antonio cheered, jumping up and bounding over to the Italian in a flurry of smiled and laughter, "I've missed you so much!"
"Bastard, I was only gone for twenty minutes," Romano snorted, crossing his arms.
"How is your foot, querido?" Antonio asked, "It must feel much better mow that the cast is gone."
"Great, look," Romano turned with a wicked smirk and used his previously bound foot to kick Spain hard in the shin. Spain hissed out a few curses as he jumped on his uninjured leg, "See? I told you it's been fine for a while."
"Lovi, what was that for?" Spain pouted, baring his green eyes at the shorter man. Romano flushed red, averting his gaze.
"I-idiot! Why do you even have to ask?" He barked, grabbing Spain by the wrist and dragging him over to the empty couch. Romano's voice lowered, "Sorry, I guess."
"Aww, Loviiii!" Spain squealed, hugging his lover to his chest, "You're so adorable, mi amor!"
Romano cut his retort short when he saw Nurse Wilson enter the room. She had gone a separate way from him after leaving the sick wing, having been paged by her boss.
Nurse Wilson stepped into the middle of the Commons Room, clapping her hands loudly to get the attention of all the Nations in the room, including America and England, who were just passing by the door.
"I'll bet by now that you know what I have to say?" she asked the Nations, a small smile on her face.
"Like, totally!" Poland flipped his hair.
"Ooohh, this is what they do when someone else turns up, isn't it?" Hungary asked loudly, clapping her hands together.
"It sure is," Nurse Wilson nodded, "I want to see if you can give me this next patient's name, because sadly I'm not sure how well I can even pronounce it…" she smiled sheepishly after glancing down at the sheet she held in her hand.
"Go for it, da ze!" Korea cried, bouncing on his toes.
"Alright then," Nurse Wilson looked back to the paper, "He's coming to us from Cairo."
"Gupta Muhammad Hassan," Turkey and Greece said in unison, throwing dirty scowls at each other once they realised that they were the only ones who had spoken.
The rest of the Nations looked at each other in confusion.
"…Ve…I didn't even know that Egypt had a name," Italy mused in wonder.
I don't deserve anything after making you all wait like this. I'm so sorry.
If anyone is interested, you can find me on Tumblr under the name dethronedHierophant
And on AO3 under the same name (my AO3 account won't be of much interest unless you like Homestuck). You can get on my ass on Tumblr about updates and the like, but I'm not even on the internet much these days.