Another One of Us (Part Two)
"Oh~ tres bien!"
We surrounded Francis as he held up a tattered sketchbook. Roughly etched in pencil was a gorgeous flower field that spread across a temple ruin. Scatters of compliments flew in our guest's way from left and right.
After all of our shifts at the fair ended, we had decided to have Kara stay over for the night. Her full name was Kara Maribelle and she was two years older than me, nineteen. She shared to us about her three jobs and ambitions in college- to study art. She was also a beta tester so she's received a lot of different units that weren't openly available for regular customers like me. A Belarus unit had recently joined her, but she was causing a ton of trouble for her and everyone else in the household. Ivan felt sorry for his 'other self'.
By the time we went through the entirety of her book, it was time for dinner. Tonight was a classic, but authentic, Chinese dinner. Midway through the meal though, the alcohol came out; not the usual light ones but the big guns. I didn't particularly know why there was a drinkfest tonight but it was a warning flag for me and Kara. We retreated to my room to finish our dinner. Alfred decided to join us as well.
"Hey, I got your drinks." He placed the cups down on my desk to avoid any spills. We thanked him and he placed himself on Elizabeta's bed while Kara was on mine.
I cast a glance at the American, who had prompted to stuff his mouth. "Don't you dare drop those dumplings on her blanket." Kara giggled and continued eating her orange chicken. I stared at the sketchbook and wiped my mouth with a napkin. "You're a really great artist, Kara."
She swallowed whatever food that was in her mouth. "Thanks, although I'm not as good as Feli or even Francis."
"Still really awesome though, entering in art contests and all," said Alfred as his mouth was full. Some pieces of rice flew out but they luckily landed on his plate.
She blushed and looked over at me for some support. I just smiled. "I can't wait to see your completed work."
She set her empty plate aside. "Aww come on, it's not that great."
I shook my head. "I basically have zero talent so I can't help but to truly admire your work." What I just said made her face turn another shade of red
Alfred pulled his phone out and scrolled through something before tossing it over to Kara. "This is pretty much the only contest she's entered."
I scooted my chair over to where Kara was and blushed just as red as she was seconds ago. She showed me the picture of the time I entered the beauty pageant. "Aww, you look so cute!" In a hushed tone, she added, "I feel sorry for you."
I grabbed the phone and placed in under my thigh. "I am confiscating this…"
After an hour or so, the conversations had started to die out. Kara rolled over on her stomach. "So, the day after tomorrow is the art show."
Alfred tossed my pillow up in the air. "What are you planning to do in the mean time?"
"I don't know."
I finished the last of my water. "It's not like there's much to do around here besides the fair." Though… maybe there was more stuff to do in California than Washington.
She shrugged. "Well, I'll just hang out with you guys."
I exchanged looks with Alfred and then turned back to her. "Are your guys going to be okay?" She suddenly froze, probably at the realization that she'd completely neglected them since they parted ways at the fair. And that was six hours ago.
Alfred leaned back against the headboard. "Where are they anyway?"
She sat up. "At the hotel closest to the fair."
I rubbed the back of my neck. "Let's just hope they don't cause too much trouble…"
A dark gloom was slowly looming over her. "I have a bad feeling…"
When I glanced over at my phone, the sounds of dishes breaking sounded from down the hall. I peeked up and saw the stress on her face grow. I laughed nervously. "You should give them a call at least…"
"Yeah… Can I use your phone?" I tossed it to her.
Alfred got up and yawned. "Might as well see what broke this time." He picked up our empty cups and dishes and left the room.
After a quick conversation, Kara slammed her fist against the wall. "What do you mean by that?!" A frantic murmur piped through the speaker. "What do you mean by that?!" I just blinked and watched from where I was sitting.
Alfred returned to the room with a chocolate bar. "It apparently there was an," he held up his fingers for air quotes, "'accident'."
Kara pinched the bridge of her nose. "I am going to drown you in pure grease when I get my hands on you three!"
The unit joined me in my corner. "Dude, what's going?"
I shrugged. "…Something really, really bad…"
She tapped her fingers on the wall impatiently. "Well duh, we have to pay for it! But just so you guys know… You're going to compensate with your paychecks!" She hit the wall again.
Alfred sat on my bed. "Who do you think those 'three' are?"
I brought a leg up against my chest. "If she has a Spain model then I can only guess who the other two are…"
She sighed heavily and closed the phone. "Those idiots."
Alfred seated himself at the edge of the bed closest to her. "Dude, what happened?"
She rubbed her temples. "The Bad Touch Trio decided to have their own party and completely destroyed the barstools at the local bar… Then they got arrested."
"What?!" Alfred and I shouted in unison.
Kara growled. "Arthur had to bail them out… He's not going to be pleased at all."
"They're so going to have to owe him for that." Elizabeta leaned against the doorway. We were startled from her sudden presence.
"Yep..." A yawn escaped Kara.
The yawn was contagious and spread around to everyone else. I rubbed my eye. "I guess we should get to bed."
"Yeah we should." She stretched and rested her chin on her palm. "'Been having trouble sleeping though."
Elizabeta tilted her head. "Why's that?"
She yawned again. "I have no clue."
"Oh!" Alfred got up. "Maybe I should count sheep for you!"
She gave off a hesitant expression. "Count sheep..?"
The Hungarian unit giggled. "Feli's been doing that lately so I guess he wanted to give it a try."
"But…" Kara looked skeptic. "Does it work?"
At that, Elizabeta turned to me with a smile. I quickly looked away. "Y-yes… I don't know about Alfred, but yes. It does." With some reluctance and Alfred's plea, she decided to give it a go. He left the room so that we could get ready.
Kara walked out of the bathroom. "That reminds me, where do I sleep?" I pointed at my bed. "And you?" I moved my finger to where the living room was. She made a face. "Uhh… How about I sleep on the couch?"
"No it's fi—" A pillow came flying my way, knocking me off my chair.
Elizabeta gathered some of her things off her nightstand. "I'll take the couch tonight. Kara can sleep on my bed."
I got up and smiled at her apologetically. "Alright. Thank you."
"I'll make sure the boys keep it down over there~." She casually picked up her frying pan and left the room.
Kara sprawled out on my bed. "Man, it must be nice having a character like her."
I sat on my bed. "Yeah…" It really was nice having another girl in the house.
Alfred entered the room with his pajamas on. "Ready for the sheep counting?"
Kara tucked herself in. "I wonder if it will actually work…"
As Alfred dimmed the room light, I went under the covers as well. The American pulled a chair up by Kara's bed and sat comfortably on it. When we were all settled down, he took a deep breath. "One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep, five sheep, whoo hoo!"
I raised my head. Are you kidding me..?
Kara groaned and stared at him. "Please tell me you are not being serious."
Alfred's jaw dropped. "What?"
She threw her head back. "We are trying to sleep, not celebrate a football game."
He pouted. "Oh fine. It's not really my thing but I'll try." He started counting from where he left off, a little quieter than before but it was still a bit loud.
I rolled over to face away from him. Naturally loud people… I don't know whether to love them or hate them…
"That was still a bit loud, you know," Kara muttered.
"Seriously?" Alfred spun in the chair and stopped in my direction. "She's doing fine."
"I rolled over to move farther away from your voice."
"Fine…" Alfred cleared his voice and let the moment of silence bring the tension back down. He told us to snuggle in our blankets so that we wouldn't catch a cold.
I prepared for the worst but the storm never came. He began counting again, but it was in a much more gentle and sincere way. Satisfied, I allowed myself to close my eyes and relax.
"Getting sleepy?" Alfred chuckled softly. I supposed that Kara was relieved as I was. "I guess it's more effective when I count like this, huh?" He continued counting up to thirty-five. I wasn't sure of how long he went on but the exhaustion from work drifted me right to sleep.
The American unit looked over at the two girls, who to him seemed to be asleep. He did a fist pump. "Looks like the hero did his job!"
Alfred dropped his arm as he noticed that Kara was still awake. "Whoops." Nana muttered something but she was well on her way down sleepville. The American settled down in his chair and began counting again for their guest. It took a while but she finally fell asleep by the time he counted fifty sheep. Feeling accomplished, he did a silent fist-pump and attempted to make a quiet exit. Rather than the expected creaking that came with opening doors, laughter erupted from down the hall.
"That's why you get!"
Kara woke up, startled. She looked around the room to see what the issue was. Nana on the other hand groaned and placed a pillow over her head.
"Gil, keep it down!"
Alfred facepalmed. He peered out and saw that Elizabeta was chasing Gilbert around the house. She was covered in flour and eggs.
Kara hung her head. "Now you see why I can't sleep…"
Alfred smiled at her apologetically. He didn't blame her. Though, Nana fell right back to sleep. He scratched his head and planted himself back on the chair again.
The guest frowned. "I wonder if I should handle it."
Ivan then walked in, with splotches of flour on his shirt. "That woke you up, da?"
"Yeah…" Kara groaned and sunk back down into the pillows. "Man, I was just going to sleep too…" She looked up at the Russian. "What's going on out there?"
He put on a smile that somehow reflected both resentment and amusement. "Silly Gilbert set up a trick for Elizabeta."
Kara sighed. She got out of bed and grabbed a pillow. "I'll be back."
As Alfred went to leave the room with her, Ivan sat on the desk chair. "Have fun, comrade~."
The girl found Gilbert and Elizabeta running around in the dining room. Right as he was a foot away from her, she threw the pillow at his head, causing him to fall backwards.
Elizabeta skid to a stop and stomped on his stomach. "That's what you get!"
Kara sighed in relief. "We are trying to sleep here." She gave the Prussian a dark glare. "Wake me up again and you are dead."
Gilbert, whose head was spinning in circles and insides were being crushed, weakly lifted a hand to salute her. "Y-yes ma'am…"
"Good," Kara huffed. She picked up the pillow and dragged herself back into Nana's room.
Ivan was poking Nana's cheek when the girl returned. "She's deep asleep, da?"
"Yeah. If only I could be like that." Kara threw herself on the bed.
"How long have you had units for?" he asked.
"Uhh… about two years now."
He looked up at her in question. "You should be used to the silliness by now, da?"
She sighed. "Well I guess it's because I've been stressed out recently with the new house."
"That is a lot to handle. But you have a family to help you out with that, yes?"
She stared at the floor. "Yeah I know. But most of the time, I handle a lot of the billing. I really don't want to stress out my family so I… try to handle everything by myself." She noticed that Ivan shook his head in disapproval. "I know." Another sigh escaped her. "Sorry to spill things like this to you."
"Comrade, we were created to make you laugh at the silliness, make you cry in frustration, and make you feel better when you're down." The Russian petted her head. "We're also here to carry your burdens with you. So open up and relax a little?"
Ivan knelt onto the ground to meet her eyes. "They live with you so they need to pick up their slacks too, da?"
She wasn't completely sold. "I guess? They're family so I don't expect anything."
He smiled as he got up and messed with her hair. "At least give it a try. Otherwise, tell the 'other me' to enforce it~."
A sense of sadness reflected in her smile. "He's preoccupied."
"We recently got Natalya as a housemate."
Ivan shuddered. "Oh yes, you mentioned that earlier." He glanced over at his sleeping owner and then back at Kara. "Anyway, think about it, da? You should get back to sleep."
She groaned. "I don't know if I can."
"Hmm…" He saw the time to be almost two. He wasn't that tired yet. "Should I count sheep for you?"
He giggled. "It seems like a lot of fun."
The girl thought about Alfred's counting and how it took a while. "Are you sure?"
"Well, okay then…" She made herself comfortable and waited for him to start.
Ivan took a deep breath. "One sheep… two sheep… three sheep… four sheep… five sheep…" He continued up to ten but the girl didn't seem sleepy at all. He stopped and the two engaged in a small conversation about the different breeds of sheep found in his country. Kara got some chuckles or two out of that. The Russian decided to pick up from where he left off.
Ten more sheep later, Kara was getting sleepier. Ivan noticed her curling up in a ball some more. "Oh? You look like you're getting sleepy already and I've only counted twenty sheep… Is my counting that good?"
"Yeah… it's relaxing."
"Really?" Ivan smiled in relief. "Do you wish you could listen to me count sheep forever?"
Kara blushed a little and partially hid her face under the blanket. "Maybe…"
"Aw, I'm glad~." Ivan shifted in his seat. "I'll start counting again and try a bit harder this time."
About twenty sheep later, their new friend had fallen happily asleep. The house was quiet as well. The Russian chuckled. "You look so cozy…" He quietly got up from the chair and slowly opened the door. "Spokoynoy nochi [Good night]~."
He closed the door behind him and sighed in content. "I wonder if I can somehow contact 'other me'…"
Elizabeta walked out of the bathroom in sleep gear. "Are they asleep?"
Ivan smiled. "Da. They looked very comfortable."
"Good." She grinned and looked over at Gilbert, who was tied up and had duct tape over his mouth. "I got him to shut up."
"Duct tape, nice touch, comrade." The Russian crouched down and poked at the Prussian's cheek.
She joined in the poke fest, which further irritated the loud soul. "Why thank you."
Ivan yawned and stood up. "Sheep counting made me tired too. Good night~." He made his way upstairs.
"Good night." Elizabeta waved him off. She yawned as well and headed toward the living room to get to her makeshift bed, leaving the Prussian alone in the dark, cold hallway.
Aaand collab omake end.
This was a cute chapter although it required so so much cutting and condensing. We decided that we wanted the main part to be about the sheep counting (inspired by Hetalia's counting sheep drama CDs). It didn't occur to me until I started writing that Nana fell asleep after Alfred counted... Don't see the problem you say? Well, this story is first-person! If the main girl's perspective is gone then what? Sure, I could have used Kara but I decided to stick with third-person POV instead.
…I learned that the plural of sheep is still sheep. English is weird. Deer, deer. Sheep, sheep. Fish, fish. Moose, moose…
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this bit. There might be more omake chapters in the future if I come up with any (or if you would like to request something). Otherwise, go check out Bittersweet's sequel- "With A Dash of Melancholy"!
Kara Maribelle belongs to EliteKessu ("Why Me?" and "Why Not?")