The first and most general definition of 'of' was 'from; in specific'. Derived from, resulting from, separated from, proceeding as a product from, made from, at a distance apart from, the most important from...
Of. Of. Of.
From. From. From.
The Basic Law stipulated Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of 'autonomy' in all matters except foreign relations and military defense. Basically, from the 'Basics', Hong Kong was only able to do what he wanted when it came to himself. When it came to anyone else, it went thru China. He was only allowed to see people, talk to people, do anything with anyone if China agreed that it was all right first of all. Because Hong Kong derived of China. He was a result of China. He was notseparated of China. He was a product of China. He was made of China.
A distance apart from the rest of the world.
The most important of... well, nothing. Which he was okay with. Because what would be the point in not being okay with it?
The meeting was windy, horribly so. Hong Kong found himself sitting between China and Japan this time, which would be a horribly uncomfortable place to be for anyone else, let alone someone who was used lately by the both of them. Hong Kong was not the type of person to show that he was bothered by it. Nor was he really the type of person to be bothered by it. He was simply bored. He was always bored. Because he was a people person who was not allowed to have any contact with people (except when giving permission) because that was against the Law.
So he would sit there, imagining what it was he would like to do, giving random Nations milk mustaches in his mind, and overall pretending that he was not bored. Which he was. And he always looked like he was.
Hong Kong was the master of DEADPAN.
He would admit that he was quite good at it. He had lots of practice. Plus the deadening of his nerves when he was little with the drugs that China and England had given him could have helped with that. Actually, there were plenty of things that probably helped with that. Hong Kong liked to think it was pure talent.
Not that he had too many people to say it to.
Still, when the lights went out because of the storm and someone said they would go and reset the breaker, Hong Kong turned his attention toward China. "Maybe someone should go with him?" He did not actually know who it was who had gone (it was dark after all), but then again it did not really matter. China was in the middle of an argument with Korea and India and was not paying too much attention.
"Do it yourself, Maddox, aru," China waved him off so he would not be distracted from his own point.
Hong Kong had expected this reaction. Which was why he had timed it, had made the comment to China which had India affronted and Korea irritated (though he was trying not to be). So he rose to his feet and easily made his way out of the room toward his temporary foray of freedom.
The hallway was so much bigger when China was not in it with him. Not that he was the only one there, he saw the light coming from the torch the Nation he was following was carrying. So he made his way up right behind the other to have a gun suddenly in his face.
Hong Kong blinked.
So did Switzerland. He also lowered his gun and put it away. Hong Kong wondered what exactly Switzerland thought he would have to defend himself from here, but decided not to question it.
"I thought you could use the company. Unless you would rather shoot me in the face first. Though I don't think I'd be much company after that."
Switzerland put it away. "My apologies," he said, though it did not sound very apologetic. Not sarcastic, not like a lie, just not as much feeling as he was used to hearing from Europeans when they apologized for something. "If you feel like accompanying me, then by all means do so."
"I feel like the floor is under my feet, but since I see you are there I will see like accompanying you."
He rather liked twisting English about. Especially around those of whom English was none of their first languages. It always gave them this very odd look on their faces. But Switzerland did not do that. He simply looked at him for another moment, nodded, and turned the torch forward so as to continue walking.
The first definition of 'amusement' was 'to keep pleasantly or enjoyably occupied or interested'. And despite common knowledge it was something Switzerland was quite comfortable in. Being occupied, being interested. Surely it did not always seem as if it were pleasant (at least, to other people it probably did not seem so), but as long as it was important, as long as he was accomplishing, then Switzerland could very well say he was amused.
He was not, however, amused when they lost power. It was difficult enough getting anything accomplished during a meeting. America being stupid, Japan agreeing with him, France and England bickering, North Italy deciding that pasta should be made while at the table, Austria just being there... Really, the only thing that kept him at all calm was the fact that Germany had blown a gasket a few times already.
And he had Lichtenstein with him, keeping him calm, if just barely. At least, until the storm outside decided that light was really too good of a commodity for the Nations and so took it away. As it did not seem to stop the current argument, or really take too much notice from the current situation, Switzerland realized that no one was going to fix the problem. Even the ones he usually expected to notice and care were currently occupied by the ones who did not care.
"I will go and reset the breaker," Switzerland announced, though it was mostly for Lichtenstein's benefit. She smiled at him, asking if he wanted her to come with him. He declined, allowing her to resume her conversation with Belgium as he pulled out his torch and headed out down the hall.
This was a large building, but he had always known there would be a reason for memorizing the layouts. And America said he was wasting time. America should be an expert on that.
He was only halfway down the first hall when he barely heard the footsteps trailing after him. Instantaneous reaction – he turned around, handgun out at the person who had dared to try and sneak up behind him. Who it was was someone he did not expect.
It took the span of time it took for the both of them to blink before Switzerland could put a name to the face. Hong Kong. The Nation always either not seen or at China's side.
Switzerland lowered his gun away as Hong Kong spoke. "I thought you could use the company. Unless you would rather shoot me in the face first. Though I don't think I'd be much company after that."
Holstering his weapon (rather glad it was Hong Kong as opposed to another Nation who would have made a big deal out of Switzerland's carrying of weapons to such a meeting) he apologized. "My apologies. If you feel like accompanying me, then by all means do so."
"I feel like the floor is under my feet, but since I see you are there I will see like accompanying you."
Switzerland had no idea what that meant and figured Hong Kong had slipped up on his English. Also, they had wasted enough time, Switzerland had put fresh batteries in his torch, but he did not want to use up all of the power for this one emergency. So he turned and continued down the hall. Hong Kong caught up with him.
It was a very comfortable silence, one Switzerland could not actually recall having with most other Nations. With other Nations speaking seemed necessary, for whatever reason.
"There is a shortcut to the first basement if we cut thru meeting room D," Hong Kong mentioned, stopping in front of the door. Switzerland considered his mental map to confirm it. It seemed true enough. "Do not get shocked," Hong Kong said suddenly as Switzerland reached for the door. Stopping, he looked over at the other Nation.
Hong Kong's face was shaded, the light barely giving him a good look. Just as when he had first shown up, despite the step back from the gun, there was no emotion there. It was rather confusing. Switzerland was used to there being at least one, if not more, emotion on someone's face. But nothing? Nothing at all?
Unless disinterest was an emotion. Switzerland grabbed the doorknob, no shock accompanying it. Then he remembered he was wearing gloves. That had never been a threat.
His eyes landed on Hong Kong once more, who appeared not to notice.
A second definition of 'of' was 'what was done, expressed'. Hong Kong was rather amused by how he had caught Switzerland off guard, despite the fact that the man was dressed head to toe, his face the only skin uncovered. It was the same with Hong Kong, but instead of gloves he simply had very long sleeves. It was practically the same thing.
Just not as tightly fitting.
Switzerland was interesting. When he spoke he turned his head so that his eyes met his, unless they were currently distracted by something of some greater importance. Which at the moment was where they were going, but he seemed to be in charge of it enough that he could continue his habit of complete attention when Hong Kong spoke.
Actually, it was slightly unnerving.
Complete attention? To Hong Kong? No one paid attention to him. That was not how it worked. He was simply China's property. Hong Kong spoke of nothing important, simply something to pass the time. Switzerland responded likewise.
Hong Kong watched him, laying a hand on top of his head and trying to match it up to Switzerland. He had tried to do that a few times before Switzerland stopped moving.
"What are you doing?"
"Confirming height differences," Hong Kong responded honestly. He was used to saying the truth and the lies and have them responded to in the exact way. Switzerland did not respond in anyway new.
Hong Kong did it once more, now that neither of them were walking. His hand ended up hovering above Switzerland's head. Hong Kong was taller by a bit. "It is funny that I am smaller than you."
Switzerland did not respond immediately. "There are many things which don't make sense," he agreed, before turning back to the task at hand. The words were not rushed, he was not putting Hong Kong's words aside, he was simply responding to them and moving on. If Hong Kong continued to speak, Switzerland would listen.
Why was this?
As keeping the topic on the Meeting had seemed safe, that was what they had discussed in short yet meaningful sentences. This was presumptuous of him (to change the subject to this), but that had never stopped him before. China had. "Why is it you let Lichtenstein on her own?"
Switzerland's sharp eyes stared at him.
Hong Kong did not return the gaze. Such eye contact was uncomfortable, it was against what China taught him. England had said differently, but England was such a small part of his life now. Important in history, not important now. No, that was not right.
"What do you mean?"
"You take care of her," Hong Kong stated. Switzerland nodded. "She is under your direct care. Yet you let her go."
"I do not understand the question," Switzerland responded. His voice sounded slightly tight and Hong Kong considered that the other Nation considered such personal questioning rude.
"Next time I will learn German and translate it for you," he finally said.
Switzerland made a strange sound, like a small snort, but did not respond.
"Unless you prefer such things spoken in French. I always considered learning French. I have always wanted to annoy everybody." China and England would be furious with him.
"You have a long way to go," Switzerland commented. "Everybody is a lot of people."
"I am patient. I also have a lot of firecrackers."
Switzerland stopped again. "Firecrackers."
Hong Kong nodded. "Firecrackers."
"What – dare I ask – do you do with firecrackers?"
"The question is what don't I do with firecrackers." If Hong Kong was the type of person to make any facial expression, he would have raised his eyebrows at that. As it was, he simply stared back at Switzerland, managing to stare at the shorter man's eyebrows. They were not thick. Of course.
Even though he was staring at his eyebrows, Hong Kong caught the quirk in Switzerland's lips. "You... are very strange," he said forthright, before they continued to move on.
His way of expressing himself was much different than anyone else Hong Kong knew. So unique.
It was no question that he continued to find himself interested.
A second definition of 'amusement' was 'to cause to laugh or smile by giving pleasure'. While Switzerland tried to tell himself he was not amused by antics which were so calm and methodical that 'antics' did not seem like the right word, he found that was a lie.
He was amused by the Nation he had never bothered paying attention to before.
He was not certain what to make of that.
Switzerland had come to the conclusion that this building was way too big for anything good. He knew that in case of an emergency, or weather being bad enough that they were trapped here, that there had to be enough space to house all of the Nations of the world without crowding them enough that some might start to try and kill each other more than they already did. He understood that.
On the other hand, it should not be taking more than a half of an hour to get into the basement, let alone to find where the circuit breaker was.
"I keep expecting to find a door behind another door."
The only reason Switzerland knew that so much time had passed was because of his watch. For some reason it did not seem as long.
"Then again, if I opened the door inward and there was another door, it would hit that door and no one could get in. Unless they were two dimensional. Japan must be hiding an army of two dimensional women behind doors like that, just to amuse himself."
Japan would never do any such thing, but Switzerland had heard Japan's rants on two dimensions and women for long enough that he knew he was smiling. Thankfully, his flashlight was aimed elsewhere.
"What would you do against an invasion of two dimensional women?" Hong Kong asked him.
"Invest in a flamethrower," Switzerland responded. "And you?"
"Invest in a fire hose. Both ways seem rather effective, but mine is less lethal to passer byers. I will add piranhas to mine."
"You... want to shoot fish out of a fire hose."
"We are talking about an invasion." Hong Kong sounded almost as if it were important, but he had not put enough emotion in his voice to pull it off. "Surely piranhas are a good idea."
"This is ridiculous."
"It was ridiculous when we started," Hong Kong pointed out, which Switzerland had to agree to. The conversation started out ridiculous. He just was not certain whether to admire the other's ability to make things sound more and more so while talking about them as if he was talking about anything else.
Then again, did he ever talk about anything else? Thirty minutes was not a good representation of time to be able to judge that. Maybe today was just a different sort of day for him.
Switzerland doubted it.
However, they finally had reached the door to the basement. Switzerland opened it, shinning his flashlight downward. "Watch your step."
"I think I will watch the steps the light is on instead."
Switzerland sighed instead of retorting. What Hong Kong did, it did not make any sense. As a person, as a Nation. Switzerland did not want to be amused, he wanted to be annoyed. Sometimes he was. For a short moment.
Instead, the consistent factor was that he continued to be interested.
A third definition of 'of' was 'belonging or connected to'. Each step of the staircase was made of concrete and with the light ahead the both of them managed to make it all the way down without incident. Next was to find the circuit breaker.
Hong Kong found it a shame they were here already. After all, once they were done here it was back to the meeting room. Back to China. Who knew when China would be distracted enough to once more allow him out of his confines?
"I say we start hitting the walls. When one of us says 'ow', we will have found something. Probably sharp."
"How about we use light and the process of visual elimination?" Switzerland suggested.
"I suppose that works too," Hong Kong shrugged. "My way is more exciting."
"Yes it is," Switzerland agreed, still shining the light around on the wall. "But mine is more efficient."
Hong Kong decided that if he was exciting and Switzerland was efficient, it would take a very short amount of time to drive each other up the wall. Efficiency was boring, to Hong Kong. That was what China tried to do. Tried and failed, of course, but it always meant that things were less than exciting.
Across the room, the beam of light finally alighted on the electrical work for the entire building. Switzerland took a step and stumbled. Hong Kong's first reaction was that there was something there in the dark, but Switzerland did not strike him as the clumsy type, but he could not quite tell what it was. Because it was dark. That was a no-brainer.
His second reaction was to catch Switzerland around the waist. It had not been necessary, as Switzerland had caught himself with his other foot and was stable by the time Hong Kong had actually made contact.
"Want me to hold you tight and tell you it is all right?" Hong Kong asked, saving himself from his own awkwardness, if not Switzerland's.
"No." Switzerland's one syllable was stiff, but Hong Kong let him go as soon as he had finished his own sentence. Switzerland brushed himself off and Hong Kong went over to the circuit box, leading his way the with flashlight he had taken from Switzerland's hand.
The noise coming from Switzerland told Hong Kong he had just realized the movement of his belonging. Shortly thereafter, he was joined at the switch.
Hong Kong stared at the switch of the electrical box. "May I flip it?"
Switzerland looked at him oddly. No doubt he thought this was a joke, or that Hong Kong was going to make some comment about it. Which he would, of course, Hong Kong was just that type of person. But the truth was Hong Kong wanted to be the one to return light to the building. He wanted to have done something. Who knew what this would mean on the world stage. No one else would know.
But it will have meant something.
"Be my guest," Switzerland said.
"Once I go home I will be awaiting your invitation," Hong Kong responded as he reached out and pulled down the switch.
Of course the breaker would be broken when Hong Kong touched it. The one time he wanted something to work.
He let go of the switch and looked at Switzerland. "That was fun. Do you want to go next?"
Switzerland just made him turn the light back on the wall as he removed the front panel.
A third definition of 'amusement' was the archaic 'to delude or deceive'. Probably from the time where amusing someone was to distract them from the truth. As that still happened, it was nowhere as archaic as people believed.
And Switzerland was irritated by the breaker being broken. Embarrassed by tripping and being caught when he had not needed help. None of this stopped him from realizing that despite his previous thoughts, this appeared to be all what Hong Kong was. If this was an off day, then he would not have kept up the facade so well.
It was a facade. No one could be disinterested and want to spend time or talk to someone like Hong Kong was. While Switzerland did not know why, nor was it his business, he would continue to be curious.
Out of everything, now he found himself thinking of every single joke Hong Kong had given, every single antic, and stripping it down for reason. Switzerland was not to be deluded or deceived, whether Hong Kong was doing it on purpose to him or not.
"Do not get shocked."
"It is funny that I am smaller than you."
"Unless you prefer such things spoken in French. I always considered learning French. I have always wanted to annoy everybody."
"I am patient. I also have a lot of firecrackers."
"What would you do against an invasion of two dimensional women?"
"Want me to hold you tight and tell you it is all right?"
"May I flip it?"
The last had actually been a genuine question. The last had been a question and the rest of it was simply nothing. Simply amusement. Switzerland had Hong Kong change the direction of the light. Hong Kong offered him a rubber grip screwdriver from who knew where. He continued to work to look for where the shortage was, or if there was any other sort of problem that he could fix.
Just to make certain that they had either come all of this way for nothing, or if not, then not leave when there was something to have been done.
Hong Kong occasionally made shadow puppets in the beam of light. When Switzerland turned to look at him, his hands had returned to concealment.
"Once I go home I will be awaiting your invitation."
Forty five minutes and Switzerland found himself wondering about the mindset of a Nation he would never likely interact with again, for a long time.
"That was fun. Do you want to go next?"
It occurred to him he was not being deceived. Hong Kong simply deceived everyone. And why not? Switzerland was not the only country that assumed that he would never see Hong Kong, or want to. Because he belonged to China.
And Hong Kong's question about Lichtenstein made sense.
"I want what is best for her."
"So do I," Hong Kong responded.
The fact he did not say anything after that was Switzerland's prompt that Hong Kong had no idea what he was talking about and wanted him to clarify. "I let Lichtenstein go because I want what is best for her. Making sure she has all she needs, that she is protected, is one aspect of that. The other is social interaction, which is something she adores."
Switzerland did not understand that. He could not stand most social interaction unless it had something to do with work.
"She is lucky to have you," Hong Kong finally said.
The power turned on.
'Of': 'specified as; named or called.'
They headed back to the meeting room, wherein Estonia appeared to be trying to give some presentation on ice. Hong Kong was not quite certain. They definitely had not been waited upon. Which was fine with him. The longer people did not expect him back the more fun he could have out here.
Switzerland, however, seemed ready to return inside. "Are you coming in?"
"I think I will wait outside, to drop down on unsuspecting people going to the restroom," Hong Kong decided. He could do it too, until China came out. What would he gain from the meeting anyway? Other than an addition to China, to show the power the other Nation had. He would learn of all of this again once he had gone home. Otherwise... well, he had no say. "It was nice walking with you, Switzerland."
Hong Kong blinked. Switzerland's hand was extended. "What?"
"Call me Vash." He did not retract his hand. Eventually, Hong Kong took it. A firm handshake. Vash of Switzerland.
"Maddox." Maddox of Hong Kong of China. Maddox of Hong Kong. Maddox.
"Expect that invitation sometime next weekend," Vash said before he returned into the room. Leaving Maddox outside, feeling somewhat detached.
What had happened?
Vash of Switzerland.
Friend of mine.
And Maddox was happy with this.
For everyone who reads my Hearth series, this was the story with these two I promised you all I was working on. Thank you all for reading a story about two Nations returning power to a building, becoming friends in the meanwhile. So exciting.
Dedicated to Canadino, who actually wrote a SwitzKong story and made my week. It is titled 'Mountains'. Go read it.