Crystal's Notes: I am aliiiiiiiiiiive… (does the "Thriller" dance for a second)
Wah~ I'm so glad to finally be continuing this. xD YAY FOR GETTING OFF MY LAZY BUT AND PUTTING ASIDE SOME FREE TIME TO WRITE. YAY.
So for my lovely six reviewers of my last chapter…I heart you all.
And for ThE-faInTinG-faNGirl…this chapter, and its scenes, are dedicated to you, because without your kind words and encouragement, I think I rather would have given up on this. xD Thank you. I owe you so much. (heart heart)
And now, after almost 4 months of waiting, without further ado. xD Chapter 14. Ladies and gentlemen.
Angle-land, having a particular and distinct current dislike for the Angles and Saxons (forget what his nation-name was during this era), had decided to live in the Kingdom of Kent with the Jutes—another outside tribe that had invaded with the Angles and Saxons, but not as notably as the others did—during the last few years of the 6th century. They had a tiny portion of his land—just the foot—and a tiny island on the south side—yet also they were considered the center point of all the divided kingdoms of his land; they were also considerably more lenient than their Saxon neighbors, making them much easier to live with than those murderers.
But that didn't necessarily mean he was social with the Jutes and their king, King Ethelbert, who he lived with and who knew what he was. Not even the man's kind wife, Queen Bertha, could get much more out of him than civil, small talk.
So today, it wasn't unusual for Angle-land to go to the nearby river in the forest alone to wash himself (although he sorely missed those bath-houses the Romans used to have…he reminded himself he would have to make do with what he did have—rivers and all).
The thing that was unusual, however…was when the 8-year-old looking boy pulled off his white robe while midcalf-deep within the river, and found a white feathertucked somehow within the folds of the old linen.
He frowned, reaching for the white delicacy. It seemed so foreign; so small and uncertain of itself in the unfamiliar surroundings. That is, if it had a personality.
And for some reason as he fiddled with it in between his fingers, Arthur liked to think that it did.
Then, he shrugged, throwing the feather into the wind.
Must have been from one of the fairies…
Of course he couldn't see the two little scars growing on the shoulder blades of his back, where other little, messy white feathers still clung to skin as if they were still connected.
He wouldn't notice them until next morning, when, gasping from a recent dream about this stranger named Pope Gregory the Great seeing Angle children being sold as slaves in Rome and hearing what they were ('Angles') and renaming them 'angelis,' or 'angels,' he saw that he just so happened to have two small, extra appendages just beginning to peek out from his back.
Talk about a problem.
For the first few days, while not quite sure what to do with his baby wings, he tried to hide them. Stuff them under his white robe and dark green cloak. Tried to walk as normally as possible—but people in the kingdom still noticed. He had a lump in his back that was kind of hard to ignore.
The Queen began to get concerned at his more-shy-and-unsociable-than-normal behavior.
But after about a week, with his wings just becoming full grown, Arthur couldn't help but fancy the idea that maybe…maybe he could try to test them out. See if they worked.
He tried to fly in his little room in the tower—but that wouldn't work. There wasn't nearly enough room for his wingspan and for all the flapping. His items, papers, belongings and bedsheets flew everywhere the moment his new feathery appendages took a great heave.
So, little Angle-land was resorted to the only other place he could try them out without anyone spying.
But…to say it simply, things didn't turn out the way they were supposed to in Angle-land's head.
For one, he hadn't meant to fall off the edge of the cliff he had been looking out over while idly watching the waves collide with the rocky wall. Really. It had all been that strange Amicus' fault—him and his two lackeys, one of which who still looked like an older Gaul so much it stirred an instinctive hatred of him.
But old sentiments aside.
He really, truly hadn't meant to fall off. It was just that the sudden appearance of the three behind him, the tallest, Amicus, calling out worriedly in that ancient Latin language he had almost forgotten, "Angle-land, don't – !" had honestly startled him. Startled him so much that he whipped around and lost footing on the cliff.
And nearly had a heart-attack.
Not that he was the only one suffering from such a thing. As soon as he disappeared from over the cliff's edge, France, America and Japan ran quickly to the side, peering over and into the channel's depths.
Unfortunately, their little England was nowhere to be found.
"Où est-il? Où est-il?" France asked desperately, out of fear—first towards the deep blue water (as if it could somehow give him a response), and then towards America, grabbing his shoulders tightly (as if America had an equally likely chance of giving him the answer he was looking for).
For a moment more, the peril, fear and despair plagued the atmosphere as America uncertainly, numbly, shook his head in response. He wasn't quite sure what to think or what to say. After all, he had a glimmer of hope—he could've sworn those were two giant wings that he had seen on Iggy's back… But the likelihood that it was just a trick of the mind? Very likely.
But yet somehow, he didn't think—
—it was a gleeful, excited laugh that put to rest any doubts.
In slow shock, the trio froze, and then watched with shock as a small figure—distant at first, and then zooming closer, flew by them and then up, up, into the blue sky high above, spinning.
Angle-land, on the other hand, could hardly believe it. His wings actually did work! Expanding to their full length, England could feel the snap in his bones courtesy of the air current, as it was suddenly caught underneath the new appendages, and lured him out of danger.
He opened his eyes with a huge wide gasp, watching mesmerized as he could feel himself continuously lifted into the air. Instinctively, somehow, he knew what to do in response to this. Spreading his wings out as far as they could go—every feather expanded as if he were reaching for the clouds to his left and right—he could feel himself finally level out and become parallel with the ground—and felt another laugh tumble out of him, free and unrestrained.
Rare, as well.
It baffled the three left behind on the cliff-side, to say the least. England was flying.
"He's like a freakin' bird!" America couldn't help but shout in surprise, tilting his head back and shading his eyes with his hand.
Japan and France were as startled as well, staring up with wide eyes.
But they both were thinking the same thing—something along the startling lines of realizing that Britannia Angel was indeed, real. And flying right before their eyes. As unbelievable as that, in itself, was.
England was flying.
"Well I'll be…" France could only murmur as they watched him soar about. He flew to the right, to the left, and clearly—clearly—perhaps this was the most unusual thing—so gleefully excited about this new ability of his. Not that they could blame the young country; if they had grown freakin' wings over time, they would be happy about flying, too…
…which, brought up an interesting question.
America turned to the other two expectantly, crossing his arms over his chest. "Hey…why does Iggy have wings?"
Both shrugged, although France seemed the more agitated one, firing back, "How do you expect us to know, hm? Despite what you may think, I didn't and don't watch Angleterre every second of every day. In fact, I can't even remember him ever having wings; not that I saw while growing up…"
"Huh…" Deciding not to comment on the 'watching England every second of every day,' America frowns softly, crossing his arms over his chest. "Then…" But when the young adult turned back around, he jumped in surprise when he saw Angle-land there, hovering just off the cliff edge and on thin air, looking at him with unrestrainedly curious eyes and his hands folded behind his back.
There was a startled pause for a moment—one in which green and blue simply stared at one another.
Then, America couldn't help but smile softly.
"Everything I thought wasn't true about you is being proven right before my eyes, isn't it?"
It was a random comment, perhaps. And Britannia Angel—or at least, Arthur—didn't even seem to understand it, but that all was fine by America. At the moment, he didn't even really care.
A guy could spontaneously reminisce, couldn't he?
First it was the magic, now it's his angel form—what next, would the fairies soon prove to be real?
…he kinda hoped not, considering that would just be odd and awkward because that meant he had been insulting them to their face without ever quite realizing it…
But for the sake of changing the subject…America actually found that challenge thankfully (or actually, in reality, unfortunately for him) taken out of his hands. While he had been thinking, Angle-land had inched closer and closer, hands reaching towards his own.
Which, in and of itself, was a sort of a surprise. The wheat-blonde found himself chuckling, and chose not to resist against the young one who, once he had hold of either wrist began leading him gently forward, closer and closer to the cliff's edge—but not that he was completely aware of it. "W-what are you up to, Arthur? You don't usually do this, I hope you know—"
—although that smirk the other wore at that moment was definitely a mischievous one that he had seen before.
The smile from his own face drained away as he began to get nervous, especially in response to that look. "…seriously, Arthur, what are you doing—?"
The next thing America could remember doing was screaming as he felt his feet leave the rocky edge and his entire body and weight become suspended in air. For a few minutes, it was a pure free-fall—and that was the most terrifying thing, pulling the screams continuously from his chest as if it was a magician unveiling a rabbit. But then—miraculously—Angle-land regained whatever air beneath his wings he needed, and in two almighty heaves of his white appendages, they had gained altitude.
America's scream was lost to him—as well as the cries of surprise of his other two companions—as they shot upward, the wind zooming past their faces. The blonde squinted his eyes shut, not able to keep them open; he could feel his hair whip around his face at an almost painful, reckless speed that he was half-certain would have gouged his eyes out if he wasn't keeping them so fiercely closed.
Then, they leveled out. He could feel it in the same motion as Arthur straightened his wings and simply let them glide. The younger one's arms had switched from his wrists to around his chest and just under his arms, his chin resting on top of Alfred's head.
It was during that short moment of calm that America's mind finally caught up with him, and he let his eyes hesitantly open.
His breath hitched in his throat, and before he could think in awe how majestically beautiful everything looked from this point—so this is what flying and freedom truly feels like from a bird's point of view—Alfred did the only perfectly natural thing anyone in his position (which was practically being kidnapped by a winged nation) would do.
He began to panic. Again.
"Ohcrapohcrapohcrap—Arthur, what the heck are you doing? I'm gonna fall, goshdangit—!" His arms tried to twist themselves as he reached for a better way to grip his only safety from falling to a painful death (because you could die by hitting water at such a high speed, he reminded himself). "Arthurrrrr! Let me down! You are going to kill meeeee!" he tried again in Latin.
But for some reason—and this freaked out the poor American again, although he couldn't decide if it was because of what he had said or not—Angle-land faltered just slightly in his flying, scaring the crap out of everyone present—flyers and spectators alike.
"They're dead." France said it quite plainly, bluntly, not able to keep still as he paced back and forth, sometimes side to side on the edge of the cliff, hands not being able to decide whether they wanted to stay by his head or remain at his sides. Sometimes, they figured being crossed over the chest was the better idea, but whatever. The position didn't last for long. "They're dead. Any minute now, they will both fall, and we will both have to witness a serious detriment to English heritage—the idiots!"
Japan couldn't bring himself to say anything. He watched numbly as the two continued to fly around, Alfred still freaking out for the longest time, curling his knees up towards his chest as if there was an alligator right under him, jaws snapping vainly at air to try and get to him.
But finally, Angle-land spoke back, in what seemed to be very broken Latin, his breath most obviously strained. "I…sorry. I have not…not spoken this language…in a while…"
The screaming stopped, replaced with a growing sense of ease and curiosity. They still hadn't fallen yet, after all. Maybe he wouldn't die…? America let his legs expand to the point that they were simply dangling while he asked hesitantly, "What do you mean? Do your people not speak Latin anymore?"
"My people…" Arthur's face winced. Clearly that was not the first thing he wanted to say. "…I mean, the Angles and Saxons…and the Jutes…they speak their own language. They do not know…the tongue of the Romans anymore. I, myself, am beginning to forget it. So, I apologize if I…do not sound…completely correct…while talking to you."
America shook his head, which felt weird with the younger one's chin on top of him. "No, you sound fine…"
And for a moment, after that, all was peaceful (partly because after that, America forgot his panic). The sun was just beginning to set on that day, inching back towards the horizon—and suddenly, once more, America found he was getting tired. When was the last time he had slept? It had been a while, right? They had been time-hopping without stopping for what seemed like so long…
…the last time he could remember lying down for blissful rest was with Queen Boudicca and her army. That had been five chapters ago (I'm such an awful author)!
But I digress. America found himself, after yawning once, taking in the view. It was gorgeous. The sunset off of England's coast—the reds, yellow and purples that dusted the sky and countryside, turning it all into a glowing amber hue. It was glorious, wonderful…and lullabying. Before Alfred could stop himself, he started yawning again. He couldn't help it, but he also couldn't help himself from asking, "But how about you? You have been carrying my dead weight around for a while. Are you getting tired?"
There was a pant, and then an amused and exhausted, "I apologize…but yes. You…are way heavier than you seem."
"Yeah, I get that a lot…"
Angle-land smirked, waiting. Somehow, as if they had been playing this sort of game their entire lives, he knew just what the older one was going to spout next within the following minute.
And sure enough. A spluttered, defiant, "W-what?" soon sounded from the dangling youth. His transport merely laughed.
Which…made America decide he could probably let that comment slide in favor of enjoying the silence and the ambiance. Just this once.
"So, how did those wings come to be?"
The question was asked late at night, as Angle-land and his three guests lay on the floor of his tower-room (the same one America, Japan and France and transported themselves to unknowingly earlier), blankets spread among them (a very old version of a sleep-over, some people might go so far as to call it). The young blonde thought for a minute, frowning at the small lamp lit in the center of their circle as he tried to translate his thoughts.
"I am not…sure. But I think…I owe it to a man named….Gregory."
America blinked. "Gregory? Who is that?"
"He is a pope in Rome. He is a great man...but I cannot be certain, at least. All I know I know from dreams. He has commented…on how my people remind him of angels…since their names…closely resemble the word."
This was a new piece of information. America scratched his chin as he considered it—considered the fact that just an idea, or a perception, could change something about the country's entity. And then came Japan's words ringing through his mind—something about the power of the human will over a country.
But then, the growing England crossed his arms over his chest, scrutinizing his quests as he said, "But now…it is…my turn to demand…a question."
America was pretty sure the gentler term was 'ask,' but he decided to let the poor translation slip by, considering it was the first one he had heard. Arthur then took the three's silence to mean that they would allow him to ask it.
So he did.
"Will you stay with me a while? For…tomorrow, at least?"
Japan, secretly looking at the conversation on his blackberry that he hid in his lap, glanced up at that question, looking at France with slight alarm. But France did not seem deterred. "It is only one day," he mouthed to the black-haired country. "We have idled for longer than that with no damage done."
"That is not the point, Francis-san," Japan mouthed back. "The longer we stay in contact with him the more we affect him and England's future—"
"—sure!" came Alfred's enthusiastic response, apparently decided without counsel from his other two (older, wiser) friends. He grinned broadly as he added, "Why not? Is something happening tomorrow?"
Apparently delighted, as his green eyes shone a bit brighter at the question, Arthur replied, "Yes, actually. I am to be meeting with strange wizards tomorrow. They just arrived on our soil early this morning, and when they came, they were bearing strange symbols and items. King Ethelbert, my king of the Jutes, had thought of them as magicians—so tomorrow he wants me to test them to see who and what they really are."
Magicians! Wizards! America shared an excited glance that was not returned by his two comrades. Not one to be faltered, he said to them, "Come on, guys. It'll be fun! We'll see Iggy do magic and stuff!"
"Fun for you," France pointed out. "But Kiku brought up a good point. We have to be careful not to do anything stupid tomorrow that would change anything."
Oh yeah. There was that, wasn't there? Besides the fact that they themselves had a history of doing stupid things. America shook his head. "Nah. This is probably one of those non-important parts of history. I mean, have you ever heard of King Ethelbert before? Or these…people who he thought were wizards?"
"Someone no doubt has, Alfred," Japan murmured. "We have to be careful."
America nodded, shrugging it off and turning back around to confer with his young friend more. "I will," he muttered with a brief wave at the two others. "Don't worry so much."
France waited a moment, staring at the younger one's back, before he turned to Japan again. "I think—"
"—I know." Japan sighed. He looked at his blackberry, scrolling through all of their recorded conversations in Latin with England. "I know what you are thinking, and I've already talked with the others about it. Yao is working on it. It should be done soon."
France cast a quick glance at the enthusiastic America and the calm, complacent Angle-land he was chatting with. "Alfred won't like it."
"But he'll understand. It has to be done. If it isn't…his entire history will change, too."
France nodded. "Yao better hurry up then, too. I'd like to have it done before another…important date. Else, I'm afraid my history will change as well."
History Notes: Not much to say. xD Pope Gregory the Great's story is pretty much true. But more about him and his influence on English heritage will be explained next chapter, because he's still around. Indirectly. Because he remains in Rome while all this happens…but he's the reason everything happens.
So yay for Pope Gregory! (heart)
Oh, and the reason Angle-land is with the Jutes in Kent is because…historically, it's important to be there right now. 8D Yeah. Details you'll understand next chapter.
Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone who is still reading this! God bless you all!