It wasn't that Natalia hated biology. Oh, no, learning about the reproductive cycle of mosses was quite fascinating, thank you very much. And despite mispronouncing her name a lot ( - "It's Natalia Braginskaya, thank you), the teacher was actually quite nice. It was just – this particular biology class was just particularly annoying. And on the day before a test, too!

No, really, the day had started off normally enough. She'd gotten to class relatively on time - Bio was their first class of the day - and her classmates were having their usual chatter. Then the teacher arrived in a bad mood. And it all went downhill from there. She'd called the roll - stumbling on "Braginskaya," "Hedervary," and "Lucasiewicz," as usual - and then her coffee spilled and Yong Soo cracked a horrible joke and everything exploded with nearly everyone in a bad mood by the end.

And - and there was that thing on her desk.

So Natalia leaned back and did what she did particularly well.

She glared.

She focused all her frustrations – the English essay she wasn't able to finish last night, how her brother seemed like he was going to turn down today's marriage proposal, the fact that she'd woken up late and had had only a banana for breakfast, the fact that her sister was in loveeverything – on that little piece of paper on her desk.

Upon deciding that glaring at the paper wouldn't accomplish anything, she instead turned to glower at its sender. Of course, said sender happened to be seated to the right of the seat behind her.

Alfred, she hissed.

What? He mouthed back. The least you could do is reply.

Behind her and beside Alfred, Vash glared at the both of them. Alfred looked away innocently and Natalia resumed frowning at the paper.

Confound you, Alfred Jones.

Finally deciding this wasn't going anywhere, she scribbled 'What the hell do you want?' and handed it to Vash. He rolled his eyes, but evidently decided to pass it to his seatmate.

Alfred grinned.

Confound you, Alfred Jones' nice teeth.

The paper was back on her desk.

'Nothing, Nat. I'm just bored.'

She frowned.

'Instead of being bored and pretending we don't have a test tomorrow, why don't you actually listen?'

Alfred's face lit up. Confound you, Alfred Jones' pretty eyes.

'I would, only I'm too busy staring at this really beautiful girl I like.'

Natalia snorted. Immediately the teacher turned on her. "Miss Braginskaya – " of course, pronounce it right when I'm actually in trouble – "Is there something you wish to share with the rest of us?" Natalia flushed. Alfred snickered.

"No, ma'am. Sorry."

The teacher gave her a curt nod and resumed writing on the board again. Natalia spun around and glowered at Alfred, who wouldn't meet her eyes.

Two can play at that game, Jones.

'And who do you suppose is the unlucky lady?' was hurriedly scribbled, and in three seconds the paper was back on Alfred's desk.

'Well, she has the nicest long hair, for one.'

Natalia made a quick glance around the classroom. Long hair ruled out Bella – Liesel was one year junior – but there was always Lien. Natalia wasn't the greatest when it came to other people's relationships, but she'd heard enough gossip to know that Lien was quite touchy about Alfred's past infatuation – and there was no denying it, she was pretty, if modestly so.

'Oh, seriously? Poor Lien.'

She swore she heard Alfred laugh. Of course, the teacher didn't turn on him.

'Nah, that's over and done with. A man can only take so many hits to the head with a paddle.'

Yeah, right.

'If not a paddle, how about a frying pan? Elizaveta?' Of course, the Hungarian girl was extremely good-looking, hard-to-pronounce surnames aside.

'Natalia, really, I don't want to get on Roderich's bad side.' Natalia could have sworn she head Vash scoff at the last one. Perhaps he was following along on their little exchange.

'Angelique?'

This time she turned to look at him – a blond eyebrow was raised and he was giving her his signature smirk. Immediately she turned back around, her face flushed.

"Miss Natalia!"

She looked into the teacher's angry face. "Are you sure there isn't anything you would like to share?" she threatened.

Natalia shook her head hurriedly. "No, ma'am."

'Oh, poor Nat. Oh, well. And if I tried that, Fran and Artie would beat the shit out of me. For another thing, she has gorgeous blue eyes. Like mine, of course.'

Natalia wanted to tear the paper in half – and there was no denying that, Alfred's eyes were rather pretty. Natalia's own darted around the classroom one more time, eyes finally settling on the Monacan native sitting in the front row. As Francis' biological little sister, she had her brother's bright blue eyes and long blond hair that curled in a braid over her shoulder.

'Charlotte, then.'

'Natalia, I told you. Francis would beat me up. Even more now that we're actually talking about his actual sister. It's a rule of guys. Bros' sisters are off-limits.'

'And this poor unlucky woman isn't a sister of one of your "bros?"' Natalia rolled her eyes. Honestly, boys could be so stupid.

'No, her brother and I are the best of friends! Really!...Funny how sarcasm doesn't show on paper.' Her respect points for Alfred dipped a little. Not that they were particularly high to begin with.

Her next message consisted of a frown and a 'That's it. Screw this, I don't want to keep guessing anymore.'

His next message sent her eyebrows skyrocketing. Unfortunately, the teacher again noticed. "Miss Natalia, one more and you are on your way to the principal's office!"

"O-of course, Ma'am, it won't happen again," she squeaked out. Ugh. Squeaking was so unlike her.

But once the teacher's back was turned her attention returned to the slip of paper.

'You really have no idea, beautiful?'

She turned to look at him. And with that mischievous grin on his face, he winked at her.


One of the shorter oneshots I'll upload. No, really. And this is the second America/Belarus I've actually submitted and I think it's not that great, so I'll probably be taking it down and sticking it back into the Rewriting Oven for a while. But for now, it's staying up.