Warning(s): OCs contained within.
Diclaimer(s): I don't own Hetalia. If I did, I'd be very rich indeed. The OCs are mine, though.
Note(s): More family time, guys! Well, you get another flashback, too. I'm getting better at being on time lately, so enjoy.
Credits: To my lovely beta who will hopefully return to help for the next chapter, scrambled-eggs-at-midnight, who is here to stop me from truly messing up.
"Brother!" he calls out to the empty whiteness. "Where are you?" Everywhere is cold, and the boy can barely keep his eyes open in the biting winds. And now, he is lost, despite knowing exactly where he is.
"Brother!" a different voice shouts back, and the boy feels a surge of hope at the sound of it. "Where are you?"
"I'm over here! Brother, I'm here!" the boy calls back, desperate, hopeful, scared. He opens his eyes as wide as he dares into the howling winds and the unforgiving cold. He is searching franticly for a glimpse of golden hair, or violet eyes, colors never seen on a person in their mother's lands before. "Where are you?" he shouts. "I'll come and find you!"
"Brother!" the voice answers, now behind him. The first boy whirls around in the strong winds, still looking, tears streaming down his face, freezing cold and stinging.
"Just stay where you are!" the boy shouts back into the snows. "I- I'll come and find you!"
"I'm over here!" the voice shouts back, now almost inaudible, and from a different direction.
"I'm coming!" he screams into the wind, trying to be brave the way he always was in the games he used to play with his twin. "Just stay where you are!" he cries out desperately, pushing against the winds. "Please, you just have to stay where you are!"
"I'm over here!" The voice is so faint now that he almost thinks that he's imagining it. The direction has changed once again, and the boy cries as he turns about. It's almost if the blizzard is taunting him with his brother's voice, tearing the two of them apart more effectively than they could ever do themselves. "Brother!" The boy's heart begins to crack as he puts his shoulder to the wind and opens his eyes as wide as he can, not caring anymore that he's openly crying, not only from the biting winds and snow. He is losing his twin, and he can feel it with every step he takes in vain.
The boy pushes hard against the almost solid force of the gale, and now it picks up against him, nearly lifting his small frame off the ground and he swears that he hears laughter in it. Struggling forward, the boy puts a foot into the snow only to find himself now pushed backward. The boy calls out for the brother he is losing and weeps, desperate and frightened beneath the bravado he displays for no one. "Please, brother, just stay where you are! I- I'm going to find you!" he swears into the wind. "It's a Promise, brother! You can't leave— I won't leave you! We Promised!"
But it's of no use. Every step is now taken backwards, pushed away from the target he can't even locate in the blinding whiteness of the snows. The boy tries anyway to reach the twin he has already lost but he cannot make progress; he is too young and too small. He is not strong enough. "We Promised!" he screams hoarsely to the wind as his knees give out beneath him, his entire body numb from the cold. As the little boy sobs into his hands, trying to wipe away his freezing tears, his heart begins to break.
America wakes up slowly, blinking in the early morning sunlight, visions of an evil snowfall still fading from his mind. The sound of birds chirping outside in the fall air filter through the window he must have left open last night. The Nation blinks a few times, still lying down before he fumbles along the side table for his glasses. Putting them on, the world comes into focus as America sits up, still blinking, to find that his sheets are tangled, and at some point in the night, he kicked off all of his blankets. America sighs, feeling heavy as he disentangles himself from the twisted sheets. He stands, bending over to touch his toes, his back cracking loudly.
For the first time, he looks over at the grandfather clock in the room. '9:14.' He thinks. 'They let me sleep. That was nice of them.' While getting dressed for the day, America notices something else; the house is quiet. 'Too quiet.' With that thought, America scrambles out of the room, only wearing his pants, his shirt only halfway pulled over one shoulder. Dashing through the hall, he finds that every bedroom is empty, causing his stomach to sink in what in a normal person would be panic. But, of course; 'Heroes don't panic!'
Pulling his shirt all the way on, America sharply turns a corner, his bare feet squeaking on the wood floor. This time, he makes sure not to trip himself on the strip rug this time around. The kitchen is also empty, though it shows the traces of a meal; cold food on some of the plates, crumbs on another few, and one licked entirely clean. 'Texas.' America thinks to himself, smiling a little. At the center of the table is a plate of food that's now gotten cold, as if left waiting for him. A few eggs, some toast, and a cup of coffee. Grabbing a piece of toast and shoving it in his mouth, America runs out of the room, and out through the kitchen, which also shows signs that the States are already awake, since the kitchen seems recently used, what with the eggshells still lying on the counter, leftover yolk pooling in a slightly sticky mess. That's most certainly going to be a pain to clean up later. 'Maybe I'll get Iowa to do it for me.'
Continuing out through the kitchen into the backyard at a breakneck pace, America finds that the backyard is also -unsurprisingly- unoccupied. The Nation keeps up the pace as he sprints around the large yard, looking out over the city of Washington D.C. America's house sits on a hill, lending his property an amazing view from the back of a good portion of the District. From his study, America can see Capitol Hill and the incomplete Washington Monument to the north, and to the east, White House. The Monument has lain incomplete and untouched for ten years now, much to America's annoyance. Everyone had been donating stones to the monument after Alabama had suggested it. And it really was everyone; even Japan had given him a block. The fact that the stone had gotten lost on the way home was unimportant, Japan had still given him a gift.
But four years ago, the Know-Nothings had taken the block that the Pope had sent. America had been a little flustered when he was told that the block was from the Pope, since the whole "separation of church and state" stuff, but, hey, America isn't the kind of person to turn down gifts. Then the Know-Nothings stole the stone and tossed it in the Potomac, and everything got all sorts of complicated. They'd hosted an election and taken control of the monument, and the States had worked with their Congressmen to take away funding, but the Know-Nothings had been in control until very recently. Just looking at the poor construction work annoys America now, since he knows he's going to have to replace the thirteen layers they added in the last few years. The project started as a good tribute for Washington, and now just looking at it gets America frustrated. Unfortunately, he has a great view of the incomplete Monument from his house, one which he's not really going to take a moment to appreciate since America is still missing a conspicuous number of "children" at the moment.
The Nation quickly looks around the back yard, then dashes out to the front walk, jumping up over the flowerbeds that New Jersey wrangled everyone into planting a few years ago for Thanksgiving that are lining the pathway up to the house from the front gate in one ungainly movement. He's found Florida up in its branches several times before, and once or twice Arizona, since the girl seems to like high places. America's just hoping at this point that neither of them will take a page out of Michigan's book and find a way out onto the roof. 'That was a nightmare.' America thinks with a shudder, remembering how he had had to try coaxing Michigan off the roof before Arkansas had "solved" the problem by finding his own way onto the roof and just pushed Michigan off. 'Thank god that we all heal fast.' America thinks, remembering the bruises, wailing and the fights that had ensued.
America shakes off the unpleasant memory and continues his circuit around the property. The Nation looks in all directions, searching for the various States and Territories, scanning everywhere for his missing "children." This was probably not a good idea, because one of the first things he manages to do as he circles back around to the side yard to check under the large oak tree is trip over some sort of plant, possibly a shrub. "Oof." America groans as he plants his face in the dirt.
"Nice to see that you're up." Iowa says sarcastically from somewhere above him, and America groans again, eyes screwed shut.
"Did you get the toast I made?" Arizona asks, poking the prone Nation in the back.
"Yes, I did." America replies as he pushes up to sit in the grass, fixing his skewed glasses on the bridge of his nose. The various States and territories are crowded in the morning sunlight under the base of the tree, sitting in a clump around California. "Thanks for that. That was very awesome of you, Arizona."
America dusts of his rumpled shirt and makes a move to stand when a rough-looking hand is shoved in his face. "Need some help there, old man?" Texas says with a pointed grin.
America bristles. "I'm good, thanks." He responds, standing up, brushing himself off further.
"Suit yourself." Texas says with a shrug, still grinning under his hat. "It was priceless just to see you fall flat on your face, old man."
"I ain't old." America says touchily, a bit of a Southern accent shining through in his annoyance. He doesn't know why, but whenever he gets ticked off, his accent tends to shift. Normally it sounds rather neutral, as far as America's accents go, but when he gets annoyed, it changes on him. Maryland used to provoke America specifically to see what accents would appear. '"For science" my butt.' America thinks, disgruntled. "Quit callin' me that."
"Not on your life, old man." Texas says with a smirk.
America twitches in irritation, getting ready to start shouting. He takes a step forward to Texas to give the rebel a what-for, when California interrupts. "If you two are going to stop posturing, I've got a promise to collect on." She says, looking pointedly at America. "You have to go in to the capitol to work tomorrow, so that means that we need to get the story out of you before then. So we're going to finish this, today."
America blinks. "What?" He says incredulously. "You seriously want to me to tell the story to everyone here? In one day?"
"Well, we only have so much time before lunch. The rest of the story can't take that long, right?" California says as if it's the natural conclusion. For the first time, America bothers to take a glimpse at the others who are sitting around her. The teenaged State has Nevada sitting next to her on one side and Florida on the other. Iowa is leaning against the tree, looking slightly annoyed, but then again, he always looks like that. 'Must be 'cause he's moving out soon, and he just want to get it over with.' All the States tend to get restless once they're around physically old enough to live on their own, but Iowa's made it a passive-aggressive art form. Wisconsin sits next to the black-haired State, smiling and looking expectantly at America, while New Mexico sits by his side. "I already told these guys last night's part, so they're all caught up." California explains.
"Geez, you're impatient." America groans, then chuckles at California's glare. "Kidding." He chuckles, hands in the universal surrender position. "Just kidding." America sits down in among the roots of the tree, and Arizona immediately jumps into his lap. Texas goes to sit over by New Mexico, and America looks at Iowa. "You might want to sit, kid. The story's not anywhere close to short." Ignoring the way Iowa cringes at the title of "kid" America continues. "We're going to be here a while."
"How long?" Florida asks from her spot sandwiched between California and Texas. The girl is fiddling with Nevada's hair, braiding the girl's straw colored hair deftly as she watches America, not even paying attention to what she's doing to the Territory's hair.
"Long." America answers. "Real long. This is a big story, you know. I don't want to rush it." America tells the auburn-haired State. "I might get it wrong." America pauses as Texas opens his mouth to say something and America cuts him off. "And we're going to have to set some ground rules, too."
"Name your terms." California says formally and America chokes back a snort of laughter. The teen is way too serious for her own good sometimes. '"Name your terms."' He thinks to himself. 'Where does she get that stuff?'
"All right." America starts. "First off; No interrupting me when I'm talking. Seriously." He says. "I'm sick of it." This is almost entirely a lie. America doesn't mind being interrupted during the nighttime versions of the storytelling process, since it means that he gets to talk less, and the kids wear out quicker. However, now that it's daylight, America does not want to get interrupted, especially by Texas. "Second;" he continues "When I say it's time for lunch, we're going to go eat lunch. I plan on eating well today, since it's Sunday and all, so we're going to have a good meal." There are a few nods at this, mostly from Texas and Florida, since the two of them can pack away food like it's nobody's business.
"Third; siesta. When it's three o' clock, we're going to take naps. All of us." Seeing the disgruntled look on Iowa's face, America continues; "Even if you don't sleep, we're all going to go to our rooms. I was up late, and I know that you three" America looks pointedly at the three southwestern sisters "were too. So we're going to nap, no exceptions." America takes a pause, then he looks every State in the eyes in turn, a little unnerved by the amount of blue staring back. "All right?" He asks, waiting for a response.
An awkward silence hangs in the air for a moment, no one talking until California looks at him impatiently. "Well, get started then." She says, and America laughs. This is going to be an interesting Sunday, to say the least.
Author's Note(s): I'm trying to be better about updating in a timely fashion. Also, unattatched writer seeks good beta! Searching for a steady relationship in the realm of editing, and is open to not being exclusive!
Historical Notes(s): Okay, so I'm evil. I snuck in some legitmate history. But it's the Washington Monument! Totally awesome, a pain to build, and has an interesting history. So sue me for including it. I am forcing you to learn.