Magazine Articles and Other False Facts
Chapter 1: Lipstick On The Collar
Allison F. Jones, known to the world as America, hid a large yawn behind her hand.
The World Conference was the same as it was every year.
Britain and France argued until it came to hair-pulling.
Russia intimidated all those forced to sit around him.
Someone sat on Canada (she wasn't sure who was sitting on him this time, though Spain did look a little taller today…).
Everyone rejected her epic ideas.
Germany tried (in vain) to keep order.
Blah, blah…Same old, same old…The only thing that changed each year was its location, with it being held this year in her beloved New York.
The blond attempted to look interested in what Switzerland was saying in his presentation, but by the time he'd cleared his throat to get everyone's attention, she'd already tuned him out. Her eyes wandered over to the other nations. They all looked just about as bored as she felt. An argument hadn't taken place in the past 10 minutes, and she could tell that they were all just waiting for one to start to banish their boredom. Britain and France looked about ready to start another one. They seemed to be kicking each other underneath the table, and Britain's glare was so poisonous that his huge eyebrows had joined forces to make one giant, monster-brow.
Britain…The American's blue eyes lingered on him. The man in question looked her way and they locked gazes. Caught staring, but too cool to admit it, America pulled a rather un-ladylike face at the nation. He immediately bristled, and looked as if he were about to snap at her when France unceremoniously stomped on his foot from underneath the table.
"BLOODY-! YOU SNAIL EATING WANKER!"
The fight was on, and the meeting returned to its lather, rinse, and repeat cycle. A small blush tinting her cheeks, America's gaze wandered once again.
As America's eyes wandered, she spotted something odd.
Now, this oddity was nothing like the fairies and flying mint…whatever's that her former caregiver claimed to see (honestly, someone needed to get that old geezer to a mental hospital). It was something not as fantastical, but definitely worth noticing.
It was Italy, and he was upset.
Granted, Italy wasn't cheerful all of the time (just most of the time), could be reduced to tears over the littlest things, and could be caught squealing like a little girl and brandishing white flags at (sometimes literally) the drop of a hat. But right now, he was sitting in his seat with a completely serious expression on his face. Allison would call it brooding, but the Italian's cutesy face was too Robin and not enough Batman to pull it off, so it could more appropriately be called pouting. He looked to be very deep in thought. Whatever he was thinking about was troubling him and making him upset.
America frowned, her curiosity piqued. It wasn't like Italy to be so serious about something. What could have made him so upset? No one had done anything today to scare him, and Germany didn't seem to be irritated with him seeing as he was too busy being irritated with everyone else, namely Britain and France, who'd at the moment begun a shoving match.
"EVERYONE SETTLE DOWN!" shouted Germany, red in the face.
The room froze. Britain, who'd had his fist raised and ready to punch France in the face, looked away from his target, giving the Frenchman the opportunity to kick him in the shin.
Before the fight could continue, Germany spoke again, this time in irritated, but quieter tones, "since it seems that we cannot all act like professionals…" he made sure to send a pointed glare in Britain and France's direction, "we are now going to take an hour break for lunch. Do not be late coming back."
But half of the nations had already left by the time he'd said "lunch."
America lagged behind, searching for Italy in the sea of departing nations. Finding his familiar auburn curl bouncing among the crowd, the blond made a bee-line for him, accidentally knocking into her brother Canada on the way.
"Sorry Matt!" she called over her shoulder.
His quiet voice responded, "that's alri-"
"Cool!" she said, not really paying attention.
Italy didn't notice the other nation approaching him. When he felt a hand on his shoulder, he let out a sharp cry and stuck a white flag in the offender's face, "please don't hurt me! I've done nothing wrong! I wouldn't hurt a fly, I swear!"
"Italy it's me!" America said quickly, tilting the flag out of the way of her face with the tip of her finger.
"Ve? Oh, America! You scared me!" now seeing who it was, he smiled, just a little bit confused. America normally didn't talk to him all that much, preferring the company of Britain and sometimes that other person he didn't know the name of, "did you need something?"
"Well, I noticed that you were down in the dumps during the meeting today…is anything wrong?"
"Eh…" Italy's smile faltered. Had his mood been that easy to pick up on?
The girl slung a strong arm around his shoulders, "c'mon, I know this epic hotdog stand a few blocks away."
Fifteen minutes of walking later, and Italy was starting to think that "a few blocks away" was American slang for "so far away that it's going to be an uphill trip there and back."
"Ehhh, America!" he whined, not used to such "strenuous" exercise as walking for more than ten minutes at an even pace, "I thought you said this place was close…"
"I thought so, too!" America cried, suffering as well from the brand new heels she was wearing, "but the last time I went, I wasn't wearing torture devices on my feet!"
They eventually found the hotdog stand in a nearby park and ordered two foot-long hot dogs, plopping down exhaustedly on a nearby park bench with their lunches.
Italy eyed the hotdog in his hand warily, unsure if the non-gourmet food would sit well with his stomach, "America…are you sure this is edible?"
"Of course!" the girl said, already half-way through hers. She smiled encouragingly, "go on! Take a bite!"
Italy grimaced as his stomach did a flip of indignation as the poor quality, American food made its way down his throat.
"Good, huh?" America didn't seem to notice that his smile came out as more of a grimace. Finishing off her hotdog, she gave a content sigh, leaning back on the bench and lightly patting her stomach, "ah! That hit the spot. Nothing like good food to go with a good view," she commented, looking out at the beautiful park, "now if only I could get out of this stupid suit…"
The blond then unbuttoned the top two buttons of the undershirt of her skirted business suit, pulling the collar away from her neck. It could be seen that a red mark had formed on the skin. The American sighed irritably, "stupid collar…irritating my skin…" she looked over at her companion, "aren't you going to finish your food?"
Italy squirmed, "eh...I'm n-not hungry!" he lied horribly. He was actually starving, but he couldn't take the vile taste.
"Oh, well, I'll finish it if you don't want it," she smiled wide as he eagerly handed it over as if it burned to have it in his grasp any longer, making quick work of it, "hotdogs are so amazing! Hey! I bet if we made one gigantic one, we could end world hunger!"
Not sure of what to say, Italy simply smiled politely.
"So…" she started, once she'd finished off the last bite, "what's got ya down, lately?"
Italy frowned, "well…"
"You can tell me, I won't say a word if you don't want me to," she winked, "I am, after all, a hero!"
She struck a pose, making him giggle, as loud as she could be sometimes (okay, most of the time), America was quite cute. Sobering, he looked down at his hands in his lap, "it's Ludwig…"
"Germany?" America said curiously. Her tone then became suspicious, "what, did he try to punk you or something? Because if he did…"
"Ve? No!" Italy said in his friend's defense, waving his hands frantically in front of him, "he didn't- I don't even know what that means! Please don't hurt him!"
"Okay! I won't! I won't!" she promised, then prompted, "so…what about Germany?"
He was silent for a moment. Then, taking a deep breath, he turned to the nation beside him, "I like him as more than a friend likes a friend but he can be so scary sometimes and I don't think he likes me back and I don't know what to dooooo-!"
All the words came rushing out of his mouth in an almost incomprehensible babble, tears springing from his eyes. He felt America's arms around him and he clung to her, soaking the material on her shoulder as she patted his back a little too roughly.
"Awww, Sweetheart! Don't cry!" said America, her voice adopting a barely-there Southern accent. She sounded a little panicked as well, as if she wasn't used to dealing with other people's tears. She began to rock the two of them, and hummed a soft tune under her breath. The sound and motions, though off-key and a little jerky respectively, were soothing to Italy, and soon, the tears slowed to a stop.
"There we go…" America stop rocking them and gave him a hearty pat on the pack, "it'll be alright. Tell ya what, I'll help you!"
Sniffing, Italy looked up, hope shining in his eyes, "…you will?"
"Promise!" she beamed at him, her voice returning to its general, Midwestern American accent. Her shoulders squared proudly. The "I'm the Hero!" though unspoken, was made very clear.
Italy beamed, letting out a cry of joy and clapping excitedly, "oh, thank you, America!"
"It's no big deal," she said, shrugging it off, "and plus, I kinda know how you feel…"
"Ve?" Italy blinked, "you do?"
America smiled slyly before tucking her feet under her on the bench, leaning forward and looking for all the world like a teenage girl at a slumber party spreading rumors, "it's a secret so no telling!"
"I promise! You can tell me! I won't tell a soul, I swear!" clasping his hands together, he leaned forward, too.
She looked away for a moment, as if deciding whether or not she actually wanted to tell him, "well…" she bit her lip, looking back at him, "I kinda-sorta-maybe-possibly…like-like Arthur."
Italy gasped, "Britain? Really?" at her nod, "have you told him?"
"Of course not!" she looked aghast at the mere suggestion that she do it, "I mean…the guy used to bathe me…you can't get past stuff like that! You just can't!"
The two stared at each other.
America scratched the back of her neck, "okay, so maybe I'm not all that experienced in romance, either…"
Italy smiled gently, "oh, well, that's okay! We can get through this together!"
Another beat of silence.
"So…" Italy looked uncertain, "what do we do now?"
America looked away for a moment, deep in thought. Suddenly, as if a light bulb turned on above her head, she looked back at him, a spark in her eyes, "we consult the experts. C'mon!"
She stood and began walking away quickly, wobbling a little in her uncomfortable heels. Not wanting to be left behind, but dreading the idea of another long walk, Italy reluctantly hurried after her.
"Don't you have anything better to do than to bother me?" Britain asked, glaring at the blond walking beside him.
"Oh, Arthur! You wound me!" France cried, placing a hand over his heart, feigning hurt, "is it such a crime to try and keep another person company?"
"You're version of 'keeping another person company' could be a crime in and of itself…" grumbled the Briton.
The two were currently travelling down a street, looking for something edible. Seeing as they were in an American city, they highly doubted that they'd find anything suitable.
France wrinkled his nose in disdain, "good heavens! Does this girl serve anything not covered in grease?" he paused and looked around, "speaking of which, where is the little loudmouth? She usually lunches with you, does she not?"
"How should I know? I'm not her bloody keeper…" said Britain with a hint of bitterness, "last I saw of her, she was talking to that Italian, Veneziano..."
"Oh?" France perked at the mention of his baby brother, and then smirked, "perhaps they are becoming an item?" It wasn't likely, but he couldn't resist the chance to rile the Briton up.
"Don't be ridiculous!" snapped Britain, his large eyebrows furrowing in a scowl.
The smirk grew wider; this was just the reaction he'd hoped for, "is that jealousy I detect?"
"Are you out of your bloody mind?" he yelled indignantly, but a blush was already beginning to form on his face, "I-I just think the idea of them together is utterly preposterous."
"Oh, come now, Arthur," said France, waving away the explanation with a flick of his wrist, "everyone knows that there's been sexual tension between the two of you since the Second World War. It is no secret."
Britain said nothing, and that was enough to confirm France's words.
"Ohoho! So you do have feelings for her," he said snidely, wrapping an arm around the other man's shoulders.
"Oh sod off!" snapped Britain, shaking the arm off, "so what if I do? It's not bloody likely that she'll return them."
It wasn't that he found France easy to confide in, or trusted him or even liked him all that much; it was that he didn't really have anyone else to talk to.
With no hint of teasing towards him, France said, "oh I wouldn't say that, Arthur. There have been many a time that I have caught the girl staring at your bottom when she thought no one was looking."
Face coloring, he couldn't think of anything to say to that.
The two approached what was supposedly a high class restaurant.
France sighed in resignation, "this will have to do…"
"Bruder, have you seen Feliciano?"
"Italy?" asked Prussia, looking up from the television of his and Germany's hotel room, his bird bouncing a bit on his head before settling down once more, "can't say I have, West…" he then paused to think, "oh yeah! I think I saw him leave with that hottie America earlier."
Germany frowned, why was Italy talking to America?
"What's the matter? Worried she's going to steal your boyfriend away from you?" smiling wolfishly, Prussia leaned forward, trying to get a reaction out of the other nation.
"Feliciano is not my boyfriend," Germany said sternly, avoiding eye contact.
"But you'd like him to be!" Prussia sing-songed. "I mean, honestly, the two of you are on a first name basis and you sleep in the same bed most of the time. I'm just waiting for you guys to announce the engagement."
"Don't be stupid!" growled the blond, but his blush said enough.
"Whatever you say, Ludwig…" said Prussia with a triumphant grin on his face. He turned back to the television.
The conversation was over, but both nations were now wondering what business America had with their little Italian friend.
Italy stared at the magazine stand. Dozens of various models and actresses smiled back at him. He turned to his companion.
"Eh…" he began, a little unsure, "how will these help us?"
"Are you kidding?" America held up a random magazine, "these girly magazines are like secondary Bibles to me! I can't live without my monthly issue of Cosmo!"
Italy once again looked at the rack, reading the claims of "Perfect make up tips inside!" and "Find the right heels to compliment your butt!" he frowned, "but, I'm not a girl…"
The blond shrugged, "we can just replace the she's with he's…I'm sure it'll work out." She began to flip through the issue in her hand, "plus, these things offer great advice for everything. I mean everything. Including love advice! There's bound to be something in here that will help us with our love problems."
She began searching with such enthusiasm that it encouraged him as well. They began to look through each issue the stand had to offer, trying to find an article that would give them the key to romantic success.
Finally, Italy found something, "Look at this!" he handed her the magazine he was looking at, "101 Ways To Get Your Man!"
America looked at the article in question, scratching at the spot on her neck that her collar had been bothering as she did. As she read through a little bit of the article, her face seemed to light up. She beamed at Italy, "Italy! This thing is genius! There's no way we can fail if we follow this!"
The two of them began to jump together, squealing with excitement, oblivious to the odd stares they were getting from the passing New Yorkers.
"Say, America…" Italy started, "we're friends now, so you can call me Feliciano if you like."
America smiled, "alright, Feli," she said, shortening his name affectionately. She stuck out her hand, "and you can call me Allison!"
They shook hands, the girl's grip nearly breaking poor Italy's hand. He glanced down, and seeing the time on America's watch, let out a panicked squeak, "oh no! We're going to be late!"
America checked the time herself, "crap! I didn't realize how late it was!"
"Germany hates it when people are late! He'll be mad at me for sure!" Italy cried. How could he win Germany's heart if the man was mad at him?
"Then we'll just have to run the way back!" said America, tossing a ten dollar bill in the direction of the stand peddler with a shout of "keep the change!" and taking off in the direction of the hotel that their conference was being held in, the magazine tucked under her arm.
With her heels on, her wobbly pace wasn't much faster than a slow jog, but it was still too much for Italy.
"Allison! Why can't we take a taxi?" whined Italy.
"This is New York, Feli, if we take a cab we'll get there tomorrow!" was the girl's reply.
The two nations ran through the streets of New York, drawing the attention of everyone they passed.
"Tourists…" one man grumbled as the unlikely pair stumbled past.
Various nations stared at the clock impatiently. The break had ended ten minutes ago and all nations were seated.
All except two.
"Can't we just get on with it?" asked Switzerland impatiently.
"We're still missing two nations."
"Italy and America."
"Hey, didn't those two leave together?"
"Oh! I saw them!"
"Yeah, me, too! They looked pretty cozy with each other…"
"Really? You don't think…"
And so the rumor mill began running, the room abuzz with speculation. Each nation having their own opinion on the absent pair, some even offering so-called "evidence" that the two were, in fact, a couple.
Germany and Britain remained silent. They were too mature for petty gossip, but a part of them couldn't help but think that Prussia and France's earlier teasing had some validity to it. Were America and Italy really going out? Could that even be a possibility?
The doors to the meeting room swung open. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared.
America and Italy stumbled in, both looking disheveled and a little red in the face. Several nations gawked. Could they have been…? No… It wasn't possible… They looked at America, who was walking on wobbly legs and leaning on Italy for support. Said nation had an arm wrapped around the blond for extra support. What had they been up to during the break?
Then they saw it.
On America's neck, partially obscured by a suspiciously unbuttoned collar, was a red mark.
By now, jaws had hit the floor.
"S-sorry we're late!" panted Italy.
"Yeah," said America, straightening and moving out of Italy's grasp to stand on her own. Running a shaky hand through her short, disheveled hair, she laughed, "must've lost track of time…"
The pair shared secretive smiles before taking their seats. If they hadn't been two of the most oblivious nations in the world, they would've noticed that they still held the complete attention of everyone else in the room.
There was no doubt in anyone's mind now that there was something of a romance going on between the two nations. A very… heated romance.
Britain watched quietly as America took a seat, slipped something into her briefcase, and began straightening herself out. She buttoned up her shirt, sorted out her hair, and smoothed down her clothing, all the while oblivious to the looks she was getting. She looked up, glancing in Britain's direction. He tore his gaze away, feeling as if his chest was tightening. He immediately scolded himself. It wasn't as if he hadn't expected some other, more outgoing nation to catch her attention. The girl had always had a go-getter attitude, why would she waste her time on someone as old and stuffy as he was?
"I'm just as surprised as you, mon ami."
He looked at France, who was alternating between giving Italy and America odd looks, and looking at Britain sympathetically. He also looked a bit shaken; the so-called "Expert on L'amour" had not seen this coming.
Prussia looked over at his brother. Germany was careful to keep his face indifferent, but Prussia knew that the man must have been crushed. The silverette frowned; he was pretty damn sure that Italy was…how did the Americans say it? Gay as a three dollar bill. And on top of that (or bottom, if he was feeling particularly lewd about it all), gay for his brother. He narrowed his eyes, this wasn't what it seemed, and he was determined to prove it.
Suddenly, Germany cleared his throat. Some of the more dignified nations, realizing that they were staring, now focused their attention on Germany while others just continued to stare, "now that we are all here, we can continue with the meeting. America…" the name came out a little strained, he cleared his throat, "it's your turn to speak."
"Okay!" said America cheerfully. She stood, making her way to the front of the room. She faced the other nations, and with a bright smile, began speaking, "so, I've recently been thinking about what we can do to solve world hunger, and after getting a little inspiration during our break," she sent what was probably supposed to be a subtle wink to Italy if not for the whole world watching her every move, "I have come up with a solution! We will all put our resources together to make one gigantic hotdog!"
Everyone exchanged confused glances. What during her time with Italy could have inspired America to make a giant-oh…
Those who'd chosen that inopportune moment to take a sip of water immediately spit it back out.
No one could focus for the rest of the meeting, and America and Italy had no idea that they were the cause of it all.
A/N: What can I say about this little brain child of mine? Well, it's for me, so if y'all wanna tag along on this adventure, that's cool, if not, that's cool, too.
I've made America a girl because I'd like to explore the feminine side of the country (which is just a quirky/spectacular/ annoying as the masculine side in its own unique way) as well as American female stereotypes, and I like the pairing Fem!USxUK. Like I said, this one's for me.
Thanks for reading! Bonus points for sticking around to read the Author's Note. I usually post some important things in here so look out for it!