A/N - This is another fic I wrote for the hetaliasunshine fandom exchange on LJ as a pinch-hitting request (and I think the quality of this one is better than the other since I was actually inspired for this). The prompt was 'anything involving motorcycles' and for some reason my brain made a connection between that and punk!England - perhaps because they're both badass and sexy.
Never Mind the Economy, Here's a Motorbike
It was ten minutes after the meeting was supposed to have begun and Alfred was starting to grow restless. He glanced at his watch for the third time in as many minutes and sighed theatrically. Usually he wouldn't have minded having more time to slack off before having to listen to boring speeches and discussions, but today he was brimming with awesome ideas – many involving giant robots – that just needed to be shared with the rest of the world. And on this one day when he was actually looking forward to the meeting, one single nation was holding everyone up. Typical.
What wasn't typical was the identity of the nation who was ten minutes late and seemed to have switched his phone off for the first time since the technology was invented. Alfred frowned and wondered what could possibly have held up Arthur of all people. He couldn't remember a single time when the Englishman hadn't shown up ten minutes early to doodle on the blackboard – or whiteboard, as the case generally was these days. Really, him being late was just downright weird.
Hearing Arthur's name mentioned in a conversation to his left, Alfred idly tuned into what was being said about his former mentor, expecting to hear some good old-fashioned bitching and moaning about his lateness, especially as the conversation was taking place between Francis and Antonio.
"-on the news last night that there was another riot in London," Francis was saying, and Alfred started, turning to stare at the blond man, who looked uncharacteristically worried as he spoke about the capital of his long-time rival.
"Maybe something happened today too," Antonio added thoughtfully. "Though when he has to take care of something at home, he usually sends one of his brothers to sit in at meetings for him." He frowned. "Maybe this is more serious than-"
"Hey," Alfred interrupted, and both nations turned to him, startled, not having realised that he was listening. "What's going on? Has something happened in England?" The European nations looked surprised that he didn't already know.
"I know you sometimes have trouble remembering that other countries aside from yourself exist, Alfred," Francis started snidely, "but surely you can't be completely ignorant of others' affairs. It has been all over the news in Europe these past few weeks and I'd have thought that even the United States would be interested in the political affairs of the United Kingdom."
"Are you talking about the election?" Alfred asked. "Because I totally knew about that. Everyone got kinda pissed off about it, right? Like, the wrong guy won or something? Which is stupid since they voted for him so they must have wanted him in charge. What?" he added defensively as Francis shook his head pityingly.
"Is that all you know?" he asked disbelievingly. "You haven't heard the rumours that the election was rigged? Personally, I think that's utter nonsense, but there's a lot of dissent among the British people. They've been frustrated with their politicians for a long time, and this seems to be an excuse to complain about how there isn't any real choice in their elections – that the two main parties are merely passing leadership between themselves. There are a lot of conspiracy theories about. To put it bluntly, it is a mess." Alfred cocked his head to one side.
"So what?" he asked. "Arthur's people are always complaining about stuff. Hell, Arthur's always complaining about stuff. It's just what the British do, isn't it?"
"Yes, except they don't usually wreak havoc in the streets and assault authority figures while they're at it," Francis deadpanned. "If I didn't know any better, I would say that a revolution is in the works. Arthur doesn't look it, but he is very definitely the rebellious type." The dark look that clouded Francis' face at those words made Alfred wonder if he was referring to something specific, but before he could ask, a shadow fell over them as someone approached to stand behind their chairs. Looking up, Alfred gritted his teeth as he saw Ivan looming as only he could loom.
"You are talking about Arthur and his troubles, yes?" the Russian asked, smiling as if he couldn't see Alfred glaring at him. "I am thinking that perhaps he should try a different type of government. Maybe a system that would be fairer to his people..."
"The UK isn't going to turn Communist, Ivan," Alfred snapped.
"Do you think so?" Ivan asked, looking thoughtful and completely ignoring Alfred's tone. "But it used to be such a popular system in Europe! Maybe it is time for it to come back into fashion." Alfred slammed his hands down on the table, attracting a couple of stares.
"I won't let you corrupt any more innocent democracies-" he cut himself off suddenly and paused. "Wait, why do you care? You're not Communist anymore." Ivan looked surprised for a moment, as if he had forgotten this fact. Then, to Alfred's horror, he looked rather disappointed.
"This is true," he admitted. "But maybe Arthur can still become one with-"
"The Soviet Union fell twenty years ago, Ivan," Alfred said with strained patience, drumming his fingers on the table irritably. Ivan looked surprised again, and Alfred wondered if nations could get Alzheimer's, but then the taller man's face brightened into a childish smile.
"No, no," he said. "It is merely sleeping. It-" He stopped and cocked a head to one side. "Did you hear something?"
And that was when Arthur arrived at the meeting in a rather unconventional manner.
Alfred whipped his head around to face the door as it was flung open, almost torn off its hinges as it was knocked out of the way like a splinter by the huge motorcycle that burst into the room on its back wheel, the front one spinning above head height and the engine revving furiously. Then the front wheel smacked back onto the ground and the bike turned sharply, skidding sideways towards the meeting table before its rider tilted it and slammed his foot down onto the ground, stopping it just before it collided with Lovino. The Italian stared at the bike with eyes as wide as they could go, too terrified even to swear. There was a heartbeat of shocked silence. Then Arthur sighed, brushed a hand through his bright pink hair and got off the bike.
"Sorry I'm late," he said as if there was nothing abnormal about his entrance. "Actually, you're lucky I'm even here at all. These meetings are a fucking waste of time and I was going to go down to the pub and get bladdered instead, but, well, then I remembered how flammable alcohol was, so I put it to better use. And since I needed to leave the country quickly and I already had the flight ticket, I figured I might as well waste a few hours with you lot until that sorry excuse for a prime minister buys a new car and stops wondering who destroyed his last one." There was another horrified pause that Arthur seemed oblivious to as he lounged against his bike. His words seemed to take a few seconds to click together in Alfred's brain, but once he had processed what Arthur had said, he was the first to respond.
"You set your prime minister's car on fire?" he practically shrieked, aware that his eyes were bugging out of his head and not quite managing to care. Arthur looked downright offended at the suggestion.
"Of course not," he snapped. "What do you take me for, a petty arsonist?" Alfred relaxed slightly. "I blew the damn thing up!" Alfred's jaw dropped open, as much at the satisfaction in Arthur's voice as at what he had said. He tried to form words, but no sound came out and he only succeeded in silently opening and closing his mouth like a fish. Arthur watched him disinterestedly.
It was around this point that Alfred's eyes finally managed to patch a line through to his brain, and it suddenly hit him like several thousand tonnes of bricks that Arthur was wearing...was wearing... Alfred's brain screeched to a halt, and oh God, was that a piercing?
Instead of the usual suit and tie combination that every other nation was wearing and that Arthur himself usually donned for work, he was decked out in a black t-shirt emblazoned with the name of the Sex Pistols. Clearly it still hadn't met Arthur's standards, because he had ripped off the sleeves and stuck safety pins artistically through the fabric. His faded jeans were tighter than anything Alfred had seen him wear for thirty years, and a pair of big, black laced boots covered the ends of them, adding perhaps two inches to Arthur's height through the thickness of the soles alone. Alfred eyed the studded belt and the leather band around Arthur's wrist; the chipped black polish on his nails, the chain around his neck and oh God, Arthur had his tongue pierced...
Really, the bright pink hair was barely even a shock by the time Alfred had given Arthur a complete once-over. It was merely the minor heart attack after the paralysing stroke.
Surprisingly, it was Ludwig who regained his wits enough to speak next.
"Arthur," he said as tersely as he could while still looking completely shell-shocked. "Didn't your punk phase end several decades ago? I thought we had established that this isn't an appropriate movement to channel during meetings." Arthur snorted.
"You say that as if I can help it," he said. "Haven't you been watching the news? There's fucking anarchy in the UK!" Francis, the only nation who had been merely mildly surprised by Arthur's entrance, rolled his eyes.
"Then everything will be back to normal in a week or so," he said dryly. "You have never been very good at anarchy, Arthur. Beheading one king and then changing your mind and bringing the monarchy back five minutes later hardly qualifies as a proper rebellion." Arthur glared at him irritably.
"Who asked your opinion?" he growled, and Alfred realised belatedly that his accent was thicker than usual – less Queen's English and more Cockney. It was...kind of nice, although Alfred couldn't for the life of him figure out why.
"Since when did you own a motorbike?" he asked weakly before a fight could erupt between Arthur and Francis. Arthur looked down at the bike as if he'd forgotten it was there.
"Well, it was just sitting in the airport carpark and I wasn't going to pay for a taxi – those things are a fucking rip-off! And it didn't look that hard to drive so I sort of borrowed it and figured it out on the way." Arthur shrugged as if this was no big deal. Alfred stared at him in a sort of horrified respect.
"I don't remember you being this badass in the seventies," he blurted out, and, just for a moment, Arthur's usual personality seemed to win out against the voices of thousands of political protestors and he flushed slightly and turned his head away.
"You're clearly not remembering the punk era correctly then," he mumbled, and Alfred found himself distracted by the way the light flashed off the metal in Arthur's tongue as he spoke.
"Hey, hey!" Yong Soo was suddenly waving his arms on the other side of the meeting table, and Alfred's attention snapped away from the glittering safety pins in Arthur's shirt (which was a size too big and hung baggily on his slight torso in a way that wasn't unattractive). The blush faded from Arthur's face and his expression snapped back into vaguely irritated apathy.
"Did you know," Yong Soo carried on happily, "that punk originated in-" He almost choked as a huge pistol was suddenly pointed at his face. Arthur ignored the shocked expressions of those around him and lazily rested his finger on the trigger. "In you!" Yong Soo finished hastily, face pale. "Punk definitely originated in you!" He sighed in relief as the gun was returned to its place in the back of Arthur's jeans. Alfred felt a vague urge to protest that, actually, punk had originated in him, because this had always been an argument between him and Arthur, but he decided that he would be generous today and let Arthur think what he liked. It had nothing to do with the unnecessarily large gun in Arthur's possession. Nothing at all.
"That's what I thought," Arthur said as Yong Soo trembled in his seat. Alfred stood up abruptly and pointed at Arthur with a finger that definitely wasn't shaking.
"I thought you didn't have the right to bear arms!" he protested. Arthur looked at him without emotion.
"I don't," he said. But then Lovino was also on his feet, and Alfred was sure that the only reason he hadn't fled yet was because Arthur was blocking the way out of the door.
"Never mind your fucking arms laws – how did you get a fucking gun into the building?" he demanded somewhat hysterically.
"Hm, good question," Arthur said, voice dripping with sarcasm. "I suspect that everyone I met on my way up was too distracted by the motorbike to search me for weapons." Alfred was about to complain to Antonio about the security in his country, but then something Arthur had said registered in his brain. 'On my way up', he had said. Alfred frowned.
"Wait a minute, aren't we on the fourth floor?" he asked.
"Yes," Arthur confirmed. "I took the lift," he added before the question of how he had managed to drive a motorbike all the way up through the building could even leave Alfred's lips. "The woman already in there didn't seem very pleased about it. I don't know why – it's a bloody brilliant bike." It was, Alfred silently agreed.
It was the kind of motorbike, in fact, that looked as if its sole purpose was to be huge and impressive and to make anyone who rode it look half the size they actually were compared to its beautiful, shiny body. Arthur already had a fairly slim frame, but standing beside the bike and leaning on it as he was, he looked even smaller than usual. Alfred would have mentioned this, but he didn't particularly want a gun pointed at his face when he wasn't allowed his own to fight back with. Although there was something about Arthur holding a gun that was somehow...suggestive, perhaps? Alfred frowned as he tried to figure out exactly what it was suggesting and why his subconscious seemed to find the image appealing, but he drew a blank, not quite understanding how Arthur firing a gun could be anything other than bad news for the person on the receiving end of his assault.
Meanwhile, the conversation around him had moved on to focus on the bike, and Francis was currently staring at it critically.
"Are you sure you're not just compensating for something, dear?" he asked in a softly malicious tone. Alfred expected the gun to make another appearance, and for some reason didn't fear this as much as he should, but instead, Arthur reached for his...fly?
"How about I prove that I'm not?" he asked, and managed to undo the button on his jeans before several of the nations closest to him dived on him to prevent any indecent exposure. The other nations all looked deeply disturbed at the prospect, and Alfred vaguely noticed that Francis was also looking horrified, but he suspected that this was because Arthur had been stopped from exposing himself. Alfred himself wasn't sure what he felt towards the situation and this was worrying him slightly. So was the fact that he didn't seem particularly opposed to the idea of Arthur removing his gun from his pants. Really, what had got into him today?
"Fine, fine!" Arthur finally said, giving in. "I'll keep my trousers on, just let me go!" As the other nations cautiously complied, he scowled and grabbed his gun as Vash tried to inconspicuously take it away from him. Alfred was fairly sure that this attempted confiscation was more about Vash wanting a weapon for himself than a bid for the safety of everyone else in the room. Somehow, Alfred didn't like the prospect of Vash being in possession of Arthur's gun, perhaps because he knew that in Vash's hands, it was more likely to go off. Damnit, he was the one with the infamous right to bear arms! If anyone was going to fire Arthur's gun in this meeting, it should rightfully be him!
"Arthur," Ludwig was now saying wearily, "I think it's probably best if you don't attend the meeting today. In your current state, I fear that you will not truly represent the interests of your country. We'll get one of your brothers on video call instead." Arthur sniffed and folded his arms.
"Fine then," he said. "You guys can keep on pandering to your governments' whims. I'll go do something productive before I go home." Ludwig looked alarmed, clearly understanding that what Arthur in this state thought of as 'productive' was what the rest of the world would call 'destructive'. "Maybe I'll go see your brother and get him to help me," Arthur added, and then, before Ludwig could properly express his utter horror at the suggestion, he had flung a leg over the motorbike and Ludwig's words were drowned out by the revving of the engine.
Alfred watched in awe as Arthur sped out of the room. He ran to the doorway in time to see that Arthur had apparently decided to take the stairs to vacate the premises. A woman shrieked in the stairwell and then appeared, looking shaken, in the corridor. Alfred was impressed that she had survived with only minor trauma. He wondered if Arthur would make it out of the building or if security had finally got itself sorted out and organised some sort of defence force on the ground floor. He wished that he could go down and watch the epic battle that he was pretty sure would commence if they had, but unfortunately Ludwig was calling him back into the room and trying to calm down the now very overexcited nations.
Once order – or something close to order – had been restored, Ludwig motioned for Alfred to stand and talk first as the meeting agenda dictated. Alfred looked down at his notes on the economy and couldn't make sense of them; his mind was still racing from what had just happened. He rattled off a brief summary of what he was going to talk about – which may or may not have made sense – but his heart wasn't in it. He couldn't seem to tear his mind away from thoughts of whether Arthur had got out of the building yet, of how he had got such an impressively large gun into the country, and, oddly enough, of how tight Arthur's pants had been and how he'd actually suited bright pink hair...
He trailed off from talking about the economy and stared at his notes for a moment as if he didn't quite understand why they were in front of him. Then he looked up, barely registering the impatient looks he was getting from some of the others, and heard the faint roar of a motorbike drift up from the street below. He grinned and let his notes fall onto the table.
"So that sums up whatever I was just talking about," he said cheerfully. "And now I'm going to briefly explain why the UK government is totally screwed..."
Notes I'm sure everyone already knows this, but The Sex Pistols were pretty much the English punk band, famous for their songs 'God Save the Queen' and 'Anarchy in the UK', among others The political situation and prime minister referred to in this are fictional – this doesn't refer to the current government in any way. Though the British really do moan about their politicians a lot, and a lot of people are sceptical of the system since only two parties have held power for the last hundred years (unless you count the Coalition government now – before this, the Lib Dems hadn't held power since the Liberal Reforms in 1906) Francis' reference to the English beheading one king and then bringing the monarchy back is referring to Charles I, who was beheaded after he made the mistake of thinking he could run the country without Parliament. There was a civil war, which Charles lost, and then Oliver Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector for a while until he died and Britain decided it wanted its monarchy back and put Charles II (son of Charles I) on the throne only eleven years after they'd decided they didn't want a monarchy anymore. There are arguments between American, British and Australian punks about which country the punk movement originated in. All we know for sure is that it was big in all three countries and began in the mid-seventies
The title of the fic is based on the title of the Sex Pistols' album 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'. Yes, I know it is made of fail. Hush.
I'm sure everyone already knows this, but The Sex Pistols were pretty much the English punk band, famous for their songs 'God Save the Queen' and 'Anarchy in the UK', among others
The political situation and prime minister referred to in this are fictional – this doesn't refer to the current government in any way. Though the British really do moan about their politicians a lot, and a lot of people are sceptical of the system since only two parties have held power for the last hundred years (unless you count the Coalition government now – before this, the Lib Dems hadn't held power since the Liberal Reforms in 1906)
Francis' reference to the English beheading one king and then bringing the monarchy back is referring to Charles I, who was beheaded after he made the mistake of thinking he could run the country without Parliament. There was a civil war, which Charles lost, and then Oliver Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector for a while until he died and Britain decided it wanted its monarchy back and put Charles II (son of Charles I) on the throne only eleven years after they'd decided they didn't want a monarchy anymore.
There are arguments between American, British and Australian punks about which country the punk movement originated in. All we know for sure is that it was big in all three countries and began in the mid-seventies