(A/n: I wrote this for a Secret Santa exchange on LJ. As always, please enjoy and review!)
England turned from his previous conversation with America. They had just left the World Summit and it was, quite frankly, a refreshing reprieve from what was turning into a veritable circus act before Germany suggested they begin their lunch break an hour early. "What is it now, Sealand? "
Sealand brandished a pair of Union Jack boxers. "I see London, I see France, I see jerk England's underpants!"
"Where did you get those, Sealand?" England sighed before someone clapped a hand on his shoulder.
"Did someone mention moi?" France smirked into England's ear. England ignored him, but America turned with a disconcerted expression on his face.
"Hm... I've seen those before. Weren't those the one you tried to hide from me, Iggy?" he asked, sliding Texas up the bridge of his nose.
Sealand beamed, soaking up the attention. "I found them in your box of fun things, jerk brother!"
America blinked. "Fun things..?" he said, turning to England.
"I don't have any such box," the other replied with more than a splash of acidity.
Sealand pouted. "Yeah you do, its full of little balloons, and Vaseline, and these things that vibrate like my PS3 controller does— "
"Sealand," England gritted his teeth and ignored France trembling with laughter against his shoulder.
To make matters worse, America, it seemed, had miraculously caught on. "Is this true, Iggy?" he snorted.
"What were you doing with my personal things?!" he yelled, grabbing Sealand by the shirt.
"So it is true. Never knew you shopped for things like that," America snickered.
France predictably smirked. "But, of course, l'Amerique! England has – how you say – 'kinks' abound?"
"I - I don't... those are very old!" England protested, a blush creeping up his cheeks.
Sealand grinned, jumping at the opportunity. "I was looking for the camera I hid in your closet, so I could catch you dancing in those stockings I found." He brandished the camera from his shoulderbag quickly, fumbling with it and losing it to gravity, the roll of film popping out. "Damn."
"Don't swear, young man," England interjected, swiftly capturing and unraveling the roll of tape. He examined the Polaroid filmstrip inside.
Sealand tried his best to get the tape. "Give it back, jerk England! I was going to sell it to America!"
"You dolt!" England snapped, "This is France, not me!!"
France suddenly stopped laughing.
"Come on, Iggy," America sighed, "Leave the kid alone. Besides, I'm hungry."
England opted to ignore him. "Why on earth do you want negatives of France in drag?" he asked with a note of concern in his voice.
Sealand blinked and snatched the negatives back. "But I set that camera up in your room!"
"Wait, Iggy, why was France in drag, in your room?" America inquired, frowning.
Before England could reply, Sealand exclaimed, "Hey, what's this?"
It was difficult to tell who jumped for the negatives first, England or France. In any case, France ended up with the roll of film, emerging from a tangle of cloth and limbs, an aloof expression on his face. "Mais, c'est trés interessant."
America peered over his shoulder and studied the negatives. "Oh. Wait, what in the hell?"
"I'm intrigued," France chuckled, "By how that particular bet ended in the sex between you and l'Angleterre."
England brushed himself off and frowned, prominent eyebrows furrowed. "What bet are you talking about, you wino?"
Sealand jumped up and down, straining to get a look at the negatives.
"This bet, mon ami," France rolled the last two words off his tongue languidly, smirk widening as England and America both grew steadily redder.
"Which bet?" Sealand whined, climbing up England's back.
France pried the boy from his apparently unaffected elder brother and knelt down, on eye level with Sealand. "Mon garçon," he began, "Back in the days of his teenage years, l'Angleterre –"
"I did nothing."
"—he was the rebel, you see—"
" You'll stop talking if you know what's good for you, frog."
"All right, guys, break it up!" America announced as if he was intervening in a high school gang brawl. "Sealand, if you want to know what really happened, I'll tell you."
"You will?" Sealand and England asked at the same time. Sealand's eyes gleamed with the knowledge he was going to get blackmail material. England looked rather horrified.
"Alfred F. Jones, I swear, if you so much as –"
"Oh, shut up, l'Angleterre," France cuffed him upside the head and held him around the mouth, silencing England.
America nodded. "Of course I'll tell you, Sealand! It started with a bet England lost when he was drinking with France. And then, at the meeting the next day…"
Germany frowned. "Is that really proper attire, England?"
England's expression was that of utter disinterest in Germany's point. America grinned when he noticed the prominent fury in England's eyes that he had learnt to recognize both as a colony and as a friend. From the garbled gossip he had picked up from a few other countries (mostly Poland, though) England had lost another drinking bet with France.
Apparently this was the consequence.
"It be upsettin' ye?" England shot back in a polished accent. America snickered loudly to spite him. He knew about England's pirate days. He probably looked the same back then, maybe a little less world-weary. But the clothes definitely fit. A loose white blouse, regal red jacket with lion cufflinks. A belt just a little too big for England's hips, with a gold buckle shiny as the day it was made. Striped pants half-covered by leather boots, with little cuffed flairs at the top. Atop England's head was a wide-brimmed hat, cut at a slant. He looked like the pirates in America's childhood books, except for the peg-legs and hooks and eyepatches.
Other nations had noticed the change in clothing and behavior. Egypt looked like he might vomit. Sweden was giving England a thumbs-up from across the table, Finland laughing nervously by his side.
"Ve," said Veneziano, leaning forward in his seat with a silly grin, "England looks fierce, doesn't he, Germany?"
Before Germany could pacify Veneziano, Spain, smiling as always, gave his two cents. "That hat isn't very fashionable, no? It wasn't back then, either."
Ah, yes. Spain was still sore about his Armada thing, America remembered. Was it 'armada'? A part of his brain proposed 'armadillo' instead, but America wasn't sure that was correct.
"I'll be honest, it makes me want to hurt you," Netherlands groaned before being jabbed in the ribs by his sister.
"That's not polite," she hissed.
Luxembourg yawned, "Shut up, Belgium."
Poland giggled into his hand. "This is, like, the funniest effing thing I've seen since that one party where Liet got, like, so totally smashed, and –"
"Please be quiet," Lithuania sighed, shooting an embarrassed glance at Belarus through his fingers
England did look silly, really. Especially with the ridiculous accent… he sounded like Johnny Depp, for Christ's sake. Only France could come up with such a perfect end to a bet he knew he would win, pirate outfit and the mannerisms to match. England even now had his boots resting on the table, daring anyone to object.
Wait, America thought, he sounds like Johnny Depp…
That was kind of hot.
America found himself slipping into a stupor as soon as Germany roared for the meeting to commence. His sight floated from Germany reciting the agenda, to Romano proposing a solution to his corruption problems, to Denmark announcing the plans for his climate conference, back to… England, leaning back against his chair, taking a swig of water and wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve.
America's gaze stayed locked there until he felt something on his shoulder.
"Oy, America? Mate? China's asking you a question."
He shook his head as Australia retracted his finger. "Ah, thank you," he said, turning his attention to China, "What is it now?"
China quaked. "How do you expect to pay all this back, aru?! You owe me more than anyone can count on their fingers and toes in this room – by the thousands!"
"I told you," America replied through gritted teeth, "My economy's not a-okay right now, China, for the sixteenth time."
"Hey, neither is mine!"
"I agree with Türkiye-san."
"Again, Japan?! Say what you really mean!"
"I get it, I get it!" America groaned, sinking back into his chair. Soon everyone would be jumping on him, blaming him for the entire goddamn global economic crisis. At least this time around they weren't all feverish and sneezing.
"Shut up, all o' ye," came an accented voice from across the room.
America started. "England?"
England coughed into one gloved hand. "T'appears to me t'at all ye morons are jumpin' to conclusions here." He stood.
"As far as I can see, an' believe me, 'tis pretty far, indeed – all ye bastards need to get a grip. America here, if ye pardon me sayin' so, is havin' worse troubles then the rest of us, so calm the fuck down."
Most of the other nations seemed utterly in shock, frozen to the spot. Austria had even dropped his paper in a disorderly array. America…
Well. Ah. America had never noticed how husky England's voice could get or how that hat cast one eye in shadow, leaving the other emerald-bright and unique. How good belts looked on England.
Belts looked really fucking good on England.
The rest of the meeting went without much event, except for Israel and Palestine's predictable shouting match nearing the end. America mostly ignored whatever came up because England refused to speak up thereafter. By vote, the meeting was curtailed on the grounds that Denmark needed to work harder on his climate summit planning before final decisions could be made. America leapt from his chair and raced out the room, trying to catch England before anyone else could.
Fortunately, he didn't have to catch England. England caught him.
"I'm just letting you know," he said, accent dropped, "That by no means did I stand up for you for your sake. France told me I needed to make an official statement during the meeting as part of the bet, and it… seemed like the best time."
America grinned. "Say that again. But in your pirate-voice."
"I will not say that in my 'pirate voice'!"
"Mm, are those authentic cufflinks? They look it."
"Y-Yes they are, this stuff is all mine from the seventeenth cen— get your hand out of my trousers!"
America swiftly shoved England into the nearest broom closet with unbridled enthusiasm.
"What is the meaning of this?" England demanded once they were both shut in, America blocking England's escape route.
"I'm not letting you get back to your hotel without saying something else in the pirate-voice."
"What is your obsession with my bloody teenage accent?" England asked crossly. America felt the blood rush and beat down his body at the thought of a teenage England, rebellious, drinking rum pillaged from trade ships and smoking long dark cigarettes, having wild, passionate sex every damn night, and wearing those clothes…
He couldn't help himself, and when he kissed England he could almost taste the rum and tobacco and perfume on his lips, in his mouth and teeth and tongue.
"Oh…" England smirked after America pulled away, "I never knew you fancied pirates."
"Well… neither did I, uh, until today, I guess. Hey, don't laugh!" America almost crossed his arms before England leaned up, against his neck, his laughs turning into rippling vibrations, pleasant humming. A tongue flitting out to caress his skin.
"My place or yours, matey?" England breathed in his ear.
"… and that's how it happened," America finished.
France and Sealand stared at America with something like wonder. England appeared to have fainted.
Just as France roared, "Ah, mon frère, I congratulate you!", Sealand shrieked, "This is what I'm missing?"
"Now hold on!" England seemed to have revived himself and was now standing face to face with America. "You didn't have to tell them every sodding detail of that day!"
"It's nothing they don't already know," America pointed out.
France flipped through the film, decidedly more interested now than before. "Ah," he said, pausing for a minute, "I suppose that pirate fetish explains the handcuffs in this one—"
England snatched the film away as Sealand turned to America.
"Doesn't England taste at all stale?" he asked, wrinkling his nose.
"Well, I mean, he is older than money –"
"Shut it," England growled. He handed the tape back to Sealand.
Sealand's eyes widened. "Wait… I can keep this?" When England nodded, Sealand began to pout. "But that's not fair! I can't use this as blackmail material if you're letting me have it back! It just… it doesn't work!"
"Precisely," England replied with a smirk before checking his watch. "We should be getting back."
America grinned. "You just want to get back to your dirty magazine."
"I am the land of truth and justice. I cannot tell a lie."
"I have no idea why I even bother with you sometimes…"
As the conversation between the two trailed off behind its participants, France turned to a downtrodden Sealand.
"So… how much do you want for twenty-five reproductions of that?"