"Come back before dark!"

"I will, Rome!" Francis picked up the pace, sheathing his glittering rapier and adjusting his hair, which had blown into his eyes. He'd been growing it out for a while and it finally reached his shoulders, which was what he'd been going for. He felt a lot more mature with longer hair, and even Rome had agreed that he looked closer to fifteen now. Of course, being almost fourteen, that wasn't much of a difference, but it was enough for now.

His pace slowed a while down the road as he entered the town down the way. He smiled at the villagers, who in turn smiled at him as they passed by. Francis paused at a small shop, peering inside and seeing many kinds of pasta and such, as he was currently in Italy.

He smiled and handed over some money, then took a bag full of three kinds of pasta. This would make a good souvenier for the two little Italies back at Rome's house, he thought. Both seemed to absolutely love pasta, though the older one, Lovino, seemed to try and deny it every chance he got.

Francis nodded to the shopkeeper and thanked him, then turned and continued walking down the roadway. He placed the bag of pasta noodles into his spacious coat, then buttoned it up so it wouldn't fall out. He smiled a little, imagining the faces the two Italies would make when he pulled the bag out of his coat and, with a flourish of course, presented it to them. Although it wouldn't have been for any purpose other than to get them to like him so he could eventually take over their regions, of course. He wasn't that nice.

Francis froze. He heard distinct, loud footfalls behind him. Spinning around, he drew his rapier, his senses alert and his eyes darting about, looking for the stalker. He saw nothing but a couple villagers, all of whom seemed to be preoccupied with other things. Hesitantly, he sheathed the blade and turned away, keeping his eyes and ears alert. He didn't hear anything for a while, so he finally relaxed.

Strong arms wrapped around Francis's waist and a strong-smelling rag was shoved in his face. He yelled and managed to struggle a little, but his eyelids drooped as he inhaled through the rag and his strength waned. Within a couple seconds, the young nation went limp in his captor's arms. He barely felt the man tossing him over his shoulder before everything went dark.


Francis opened his eyes to blinding sunlight that hurt his eyes. He winced and closed his eyes again, then noticed that he was no longer in any village. He couldn't hear the normal chatter of the Romans that regularly occupied town, nor could he hear the ocean that was only a couple feet from where he'd been walking before he'd-

He sat up fast. "Before I was attacked!" He quickly looked all around him, taking in the grassy plain that he knew didn't exist anywhere around Rome. And who was that?

He leapt up and hid behind the nearest object large enough, which was a big metallic box with wheels. He peered around, just in time to catch the name, "France." He froze. That was his name. How did they know him? He pulled his head back behind the car as one of the people turned to look at him, his green eyes flashing in the sunlight. He heard a sharp gasp from that direction and internally groaned. Great, they'd seen him.

Francis shrunk down as footsteps approached the strange thing he hid behind, holding his breath. He heard them pause close, so close to him, then call for the other people he'd seen them talking to. He cursed under his breath, thanking the gods that the wind picked up then to cover for him. He then froze again, hearing more footsteps.

"What is it?"

"I thought I saw something... looked a lot like you, France."

"Really? Mon dieu.... over here?"

"Either here, or close."

"You're sure you're not hallucinating, England-san?"


Francis couldn't understand what they were saying, but he did understand "France" and "England", as well as "Mon dieu", though that didn't help much. He still didn't know what they were talking about, which wasn't comforting in the least.

"Mon dieu! England, Japan, look!"

Francis yelped, his hand shooting for his rapier. A strong hand (He thought of his captor and wriggled) grasped his wrist, pulling him away from his rapier. He gave a soft cry of dismay before the same person grabbed him under his arms and lifted him to his feet. He looked up, curious as to why he wasn't currently writhing on the ground with a blade impaled through his chest.

His breath caught in his throat. He was looking at someone who almost exactly resembled himself: the same bright blue eyes; the same long, wavy blond hair that brushed his shoulders; the same blue uniform, for some reason. He stared up at the man, who stared down at him with the same surprised expression he was sure was on his face too. They stared for a minute, then two other people arrived around the corner of the object.

"Bloody hell! Who is that?!"

"F-France-san! He looks like you!"

The man glanced over at the others, a grin gracing his handsome face. "I do believe he is little me!" He patted Francis on the head. "He looks just like me back when I lived with Grandfather Rome." He then smiled at Francis. "Are you France?"

Francis blinked. "I don't understand you." He regretted saying anything when he saw the older man's face fall. The other two, one with short and messy blond hair with bright green eyes, the other with short but uniform-looking black hair and dark eyes, looked genuinely confused.

"What did he say?"

The older man looked at the other two and shrugged. "I think he is speaking either Latin or Greek." He sighed. "I think I can translate..." The man turned to Francis and, after concentrating for a moment, said, "My name is France. What is yours?"

Francis blinked. And blinked. "M-my name is France... but I go by Francis..."

France's face lit up. "Ah? Your name is France? Mon dieu, so you are little me!" He laughed and picked Francis up, swinging him around in a bear hug.

The blond rolled his eyes. "France, we don't even know if he is who he says he is. How did he get here if he is you?"

"I don't..." France set the boy down and looked at him, suspicious playing across his features. "Are you really France? How did you get here?"

Francis shrugged. "I don't know. One minute, I was walking through the village and the next, I was here." He sighed and fumbled around for the pockets he'd sewn into the uniform. "I remember someone grabbing me, that's it. Oh, and a really strong, sweet smell."

"A strong smell?" France's face didn't betray his thoughts to his younger self. "He says he was walking in town when, I'm assuming, someone drugged him and knocked him out for a while. He says he woke up here."

"Is that right? Can he speak English?"

"Or Japanese?"

"I'll ask." France turned back to Francis. "Can you speak English or Japanese?"

"What are those?" Francis asked, cocking his head a little and wrinkling his brow. "Are they languages?"

"Yes..." France looked defeated. "He doesn't even know what I'm talking about when I say English and Japanese. And he's speaking such an old dialect of Latin that I'm having trouble translating... I'll see if I can get him to speak something that we can understand."

"I can speak French."

France spun around, eyes wide. "Really?"

Francis switched to French and nodded. "Oui, I can."

"That's great!" France grinned. "I believe the others can understand us now?" He flashed a look at the others, who nodded. "This is England," he said, pointing to the blond, "and this is Japan," he pointed at the dark-haired man, "and you know I am France. Why don't you introduce yourself to them?"

Francis felt unsure, speaking in the only just-created tongue, but he did as he was told. "I am Francis, embodiment of France. I am pleased to meet you..." he tried to mimic the words that France had said, "England and... Japan."

England nodded and Japan replied with a polite "Good to meet you." Then, England got down to business.

"Is it only you who came here?"