disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to tumblr, for being an endless source of happiness & love.
notes: Alberta is kind of a diva—well, she's the Princess Province for a reason. & i write from her perspective because it's the province in which i live & therefore know the best. …& because she's a diva. it's fun.

title: (adventures in) pseudo-international politics
summary: In which Texas hits on Alberta, and neither BC nor Quebec is at all amused.

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No one was really sure why Matthew Williams allowed Alfred F. Jones within five hundred kilometres of the border between Canadian territory and American land. It would always be a mystery to most, but to the provinces, it was the longest unsolved whodunit ever.

Alberta was ensconced in Matthew's room in Ottawa, curled on the bed between BC and Saskatchewan. The provinces had gone on strike and usurped the room in protest of the forthcoming visit, intent on refusing to leave until the Yank was gone, gone, gone.

Alberta found this highly offensive and had spent a good portion of the first half hour attempting a daring-if-slightly-stupid escape routine.

None of the other provinces were very impressed, but that was nothing new.

(Alberta was a diva by default, and mostly, everyone just ignored her when she started whining.)

"How long are we staying in here?" Alberta demanded, green eyes flashing in annoyance.

Saskatchewan was perfectly calm, and studied her nails with calm eyes. "We will remain here until Father decides to kick that man to the curb."

"I dunno why you guys dislike him so much, he's nice—!"

The snort that cut Alberta's rant off was inelegant and derisive. "'Ou are you kidding, chéri?"

Alberta had to restrain herself from causing Quebec severe physical harm. He was sprawled in the window seat, grace wasted in his face, sneering at her. Alli had never wanted to punch someone so much in her life. She would have pushed herself off the bed and flown at him had BC not sighed. He wrapped his arms around her and tugged her back against his chest.

"Shut up, Alli," he advised, breathing against her ear to calm her down.

Alberta huffed, glared, but didn't move.

The smirk that marred Quebec's face would have infuriated even the most level-headed among them, and the squabble that would likely have broken out was interrupted by the knock on the oak door. The thirteen of them—ten provinces, three territories—all jerked to attention, sitting up and watching the door warily.

"I'm coming in," came Matthew's voice, muffled through wood.

Before any one of them could move, he swept in, looking unruffled and unrepentant. There was something dark in his eyes, and the provinces and territories all resolutely avoided his gaze.

There were very few things that angered Matthew Williams.

Rudeness, however, was one of them.

"I am very, very disappointed in all of you," he said, frowning. "I expect better of you. I expect politeness. Do I ask for very much?"

Their father never had to yell to get his point across. Matthew rarely raised his voice; the quiet disappointment was enough to make them all wince. Alberta glanced around the room, and saw that all of them—every last one of them—were wincing, apparently shamed.

She wondered if it would be enough to get them to let her out.

"Now," Matthew said. "I'm going back downstairs to greet our guests."

And with that, he turned and left, closing the door quietly behind him. It clicked shut behind him, and it was Manitoba who spoke, one eye closed. "I hate it when he does that guilt trip shit, man."

Ontario, Manitoba's near twin only taller, reached over and ruffled the younger man's auburn-brown hair. "Idiot, that's what Dad does."

Nova Scotia (sometimes they called her Evangeline) was the one to tilt her head, red-gold bangs falling into her eyes in wisps of movement, and she shook them away. "So who else is feelin' like they're worse'n dirt?"

Jacques stood, eyes blue and blazing and so very French, la révolution still coursing in his blood despite four hundred years and two generations between them. Alberta wasn't surprised when it was fast and furious French that fell from his lips.

"Vous imbéciles! Comment pouvez-vous permettre ce Yank ici? Comment pouvez-vous dire que vous aimez ce pays? Je ne peux pas respecter cette! Je ne vais pas respecter cette! Fous!" he snarled, expletives dripping from his lips.

Alberta yawned. "Shut up, Jacques," she said, and clawed her way off the bed. She stood in the center of the room with her hands on her hips, and glared around at them all.

"Are you coming, then?" she demanded. "Or am I going to be the only good child, like always?"

The snort that went around the room was both immediate and from every single other occupant. Alberta huffed, but stood her ground—she'd learned that the only way she'd ever get her way was to do exactly as she liked, and to guilt the rest of them into following. Her daddy had already done a fair job; they just needed that last little push.

And so Alberta stood at the door and glared around at them, until one by one, they all stood and filed out. The territories were last to leave and Yukon's gaze was annoyed, but Anana and Miki smiled a little at her.

That was good. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut made up such a large part of Alli's life that she wasn't sure if she could really live without them.

Alberta slipped between them, and danced down the stairs.

She always got what she wanted.

/ / /

Matthew looked neither surprised nor pleased when the entirety of his household came trudging down the stairs. He smiled at them and nodded towards their seats, and perhaps only looked a wee bit smug.

(Alberta thought she saw England smirking in her father's face. It only freaked her out a little bit.)

Alfred F. Jones was sitting at the head of the table, snivelling. "I can't believe they didn't invite me to the wedding! Why wasn't I invited to the wedding, Mattie? You were invited and half the time, Arthur forgets you exist!"

Alberta watched her father roll his eyes heavenward as his voice took on the deceptively innocent tone he always used when it came to Alfred. He was patting the other man gently on the back, determined to lighten Alfred's dark, unhappy spirits.

"Alfred, you know what the Queen Mum thinks of you. I'm sure Arthur had no say in it anyway."

(And everyone thought her daddy was so spineless. They knew nothing. Alberta caught Nova Scotia's eye, and both girls had to stuff their fists into their mouths to stop the giggles.)

"But you were invited!" Alfred insisted with a wail worthy of a Hollywood movie star.

"And you know that I didn't manage to get there, either. There's an election in two days here, remember?"

"Oh." Alfred stopped blubbering abruptly. He crowed "Then we can be mad at Artie together!"

"But I'm not—" Matt sighed, already caught up Alfred's enthusiasm.

"Daddy, are we going to eat, now?" Alberta asked, tired of the display of overt affection. She did like Alfred, but watching her father get felt up was not something Alberta had ever wanted to see.

Alfred whipped around, blue eyes widening. He boomed "Alli! How are ya, kid?"

He bounded over, swept her up in a hug (Alberta caught sight of her father, caught between horrified that his daughter was being manhandled and relieved that he was no longer being molested), and squeezed her until she let out a squeak in protest. "I—can't breath, Uncle!"

It took a minute or eight, but Alfred did eventually put her down. Most of Alberta's siblings were staring at the tall blonde man stonily. He squinted at them all for a minute, and then appeared to give up trying to remember their names.

(Not one of them was surprised.)

"Pa, what's—?" came a voice from outside.

Alberta stiffened, and watched her siblings do the same—Jacques' hackles were already up, ready for a fight, because that deep Southern twang was something both known and hated.

The door slammed open, and it was leather cowboy boots and a white Stetson that walked through the door, blonde hair curling out from underneath and sky-blue eyes that might have looked happy had they not been shadowy and smirking.

Alberta pushed her hair over her shoulder, cocked her hip, and sauntered past him. She murmured "Look who decided to come back."

He nearly snagged her around the waist, close enough to start a war and it felt like disgust or something close to it. But Alli could hear BC grinding his teeth and Jacques looked like he was going to break a mirror over the boy's head.

It was so perfect, she could have framed it.

And Alberta had always been a tease.

"Paws off, Texas," she told him, and stepped out of his reach. She grabbed Saskatchewan by the hand, and together the two girls left the room, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland guffawing in the background.

The supper table was set for twenty; Alberta counted up the table in two-four-six-ten-fourteen-twenty and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "Fancy. We even have seating tags. Ten bucks says Daddy put me right in the middle."

Saskatchewan sighed like a dry breath of wind over the prairies. "You're always in the middle. Shut up and sit down, Alli."

"You're so pleasant, sister mine," Alberta quipped, nose in the air.

"Mmm," Saskatchewan hummed, indifferent.

(Sometimes Alberta thought the lack of time change made Saskatchewan complacent. Sometimes she thought a lot of things about her siblings. Sometimes.)

Alberta sat in the center and waited for the rest of her family to sit down. Mixed among them came some of the states, chatting with her family and looking far less awkward than they'd been on previous visits. From across the table, Colorado (what was his name, again?) winked at her and Alberta smiled because sometimes smiling was easier than admitting she was ever wrong.

(She was never wrong.)

The clink of cutlery and china and the chatter roared around her. Alberta immersed herself in it like sinking into cotton candy from the Stampede, dug her teeth into the whole thing like deep-fried Oreos and took it all in stride. Like life and Chinese lanterns up on strings in Edmonton's Chinatown, she breathed, loved and laughed; shared dreams like bus change and burning houses.

And eventually, they all calmed; until the talk was nothing more than the sound of wind through wheat under open sky. It was a sound Alberta knew all too well.

She quietly excused herself from the table.

/ / /

"Would you leave me alone, already?"

And Alberta had thought that Jacques was bad.

Maxwell Jones was a hundred times worse than Jacques ever managed to be. That stupid hat (it was incredibly douchey to wear outside of actual riding or Klondike or Stampede) and those stupid boots (also incredibly douchey—hello, cowboy boots were meant for actual cowboys) and ugh, just ugh.

How she'd ever found him attractive, Alberta would never know.

(A shiver of memory trailed over her skin—black gold, sky-scrapers in Calgary, banks, cha-ching, the acrid scent of gasoline and that smile—!)

He'd followed her when she'd left the dining hall, still with that infernal smirk across his lips and his hands stuffed in his pockets.

"Don't ya love me anymore?" he asked, laughter in his eyes.

Alberta looked at him for a long minute. "Max, have you ever heard the expression 'It's too much car for you'?"

He raised an eyebrow.

Alberta waggled her fingers, and headed upstairs. Over her shoulder, she threw him a glance and an almost-smile.

"You're already in my rear-view mirror. Ta!"

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notes2: this is so canon, yo.
notes3: & has become an anthology. i guess i'll update it as more weird political shit happens.
notes4
: please leave a review if you liked it, because reviews are beautiful and fantastic and make me write! :)

Translations:
chéri
darling
la révolution
the revolution
Vous imbéciles! Comment pouvez-vous permettre ce Yank ici? Comment pouvez-vous dire que vous aimez ce pays? Je ne peux pas respecter cette! Je ne vais pas respecter cette! Fous!
You imbeciles! How can you allow that Yank here? How can you say you love this country? I cannot respect this! I will not respect this! Fools!