Magazine Articles And Other False Facts
A/N: Cultural Notes will now be posted in the A/N's at the end of each chapter starting with this one.
Chapter Three: Whine-ing and Dining
"This…is your car?" asked Britain, a feeling of unease settling over himself, France and Italy. There wasn't anything…wrong with the car, per se. It was a fairly new model, it was clean and well maintained, and it wasn't painted any weird colors nor did it have any ridiculous attachments on it. Nothing was wrong with it except…it was…American made.
"Yup!" said America proudly, giving the hood a sound pat, "it's my baby! Now get in, I'm hungry."
With a running start, she hopped up, slid across the vehicle's hood, and plopped down on the driver's side. She got in the car, buckled her seatbelt, and put the key in the ignition. Once she was comfortable, she looked to the others expectantly.
The three men looked at each other as if saying goodbye for the last time. Then, saying their prayers, they climbed into the car, Italy taking the front passenger seat, and Britain and France sliding into the back. They were surprised to see that the inside of the car was neat and organized, and the smell of fast food was nowhere to be found.
As soon as they were all settled in and buckled up, America tossed them a smile, "okay, let's go!"
She started the car, and they were immediately blasted by unbelievably loud rap music coming from the stereo. Their hands flew to their ears as America lunged forward and turned the stereo off, turning to them with a sheepish look on her face.
"Sorry," she said with a grimace, "too gangsta?"
"What the bloody hell was that?" asked Britain as soon as he could hear himself think. From beside him, France elbowed him in the side and gave him a warning look.
"Jay Z," said America, then added with a cheeky grin, "you need to get with the times, dude! All the cool kids are listening to this!"
She winked cheekily at him from her view in the rear-view mirror, and he immediately bristled. He was about to bark out a particularly scathing remark about just what he thought of rap music and what hole it could go die in when he was elbowed in the side yet again by France.
Unaware of the activity going on in the back seat, America pulled out of her parking space and began to drive them to their destination. After a few minutes, she spoke up, "y'know that reminds me, I wanna go dancing while I'm here… whaddya think, Feli? I could teach you how to Dougie!" she said with a giggle.
"Ve? Dougie? What's that?" Italy asked with a confused frown.
As America cheerfully explained to Italy the finer points of "the Dougie" which evolved into a discussion about various dance crazes, Britain and France had their own hushed conversation in the back.
"Are you completely hopeless?" hissed France.
"Oh, sod off!" snapped Britain, struggling to keep his voice down, "you saw those two earlier! They were all over each other! How am I supposed to compete with that?"
The other man rolled his eyes, "try being nice to her for a change! Compliment her. Engage her in a conversation that does not end in a screaming match. On that note, engage her in a conversation that does not start with a screaming match!"
"Well she started it!" Britain huffed.
"What are you, a new born territory now?" France raised a manicured brow.
The Briton scowled, and was about to snap out a retort when he was interrupted by America's chipper voice.
"'kay, boys! We're here!"
After a couple of tries, America successfully parallel parked on the side of the street without taking out any pedestrians or other cars. The girl jumped out of the car as soon as her seatbelt was unbuckled, with the others filing out at a much more lax pace. They took in their surroundings; the street was made up of older buildings with small shops that held even smaller businesses. While neon signs hung in several windows, there was nothing as attention grabbing as the areas that New York was more famous for. It was definitely an area that only locals would be familiar with.
Well, locals, and a certain personified nation.
"It's just across the street and a few shops down, let's go," taking a hold of Italy's hand and making sure that France and Britain stuck close to her, she rushed them across the street before a large group of cars drove through. Leading the way, she began gushing about how good the pizza place was. It was obvious that the girl was very excited about where she was taking them.
The place in question, when they approached it, seemed to be nothing special. With a title such as "New York's Best Pizza" which many other restaurants called themselves in this city, a simple sign and a white paint job, there was nothing on the outside that stood out. Yet America approached it as if she was going to see the world's greatest attraction.
"You guys are in for a real treat!" she exclaimed with a broad grin, she grabbed the door handle and pulling the door open for them.
Italy passed through the door, as did France, but Britain paused at the door and looked America in the eye.
Complement her, France had said. 'Well, it couldn't hurt…'
America frowned, "yeah?"
"Er…you…you look nice tonight," he said stiffly, breaking eye contact and looking anywhere but at her.
With a confused smile, she rubbed at the back of her neck, "oh? Well, um, thanks…" then after a beat, "ummm…you look nice, too."
Clearing his throat, he nodded, "thank you…"
They stood there looking at each other, America gave him a crooked smile, "a gay baby was just born," she mumbled.
He blinked, "what?"
She started; it seemed that she hadn't meant to say that out loud, "huh? O-oh, nothing! Why don't we go inside? Yeah? Yeah!"
With that she ushered him inside.
In a different part of the city, another group of nations were eating dinner. Though their meal was much more unpleasant and uncomfortable.
At least for three of them.
After beating the hell out of Germany, Romano, and Prussia, Canada had immediately reverted back to his old, gentle self. Feeling immensely bad for the damage he'd caused to their faces and other essential body parts, he'd offered to take them out for pancakes to make up for it.
The people in the diner hadn't even batted an eyelash when three grown men nursing serious bruises walked in with a teenage boy carrying a small polar bear, and the battered trio had to wonder what that said for the area that they'd been lead into. Canada had assured them that the place was alright and that he'd been there before with America.
That statement did nothing to put them at ease.
The four of them took a seat in a booth. Not wanting to sit next to the cause of their pain, Germany, Romano, and Prussia had squeezed in together on one side as Canada and his bear settled in on the other and ordered them all pancakes. Romano currently had his head on the table, muttering to himself about "stupid maple-hockey-bastards and their psycho midget bears", Germany sat looking uncomfortable, and Prussia was trying to make Canada feel as bad as possible.
"Dammit, Birdie, that hurt like a bitch!" grumbled Prussia, holding an ice pack to his swelled up eye.
Canada tossed him an apologetic glance, "I said I was sorry…" he mumbled, holding his bear tighter in his grip. In his hair sat Gilbird, whose survival instincts told him that this was currently the safest place to perch. Prussia had never felt more betrayed in his life.
"Yeah? Well sorry won't fix my face, you crazy bastard!" Romano growled, lifting his head to toss the Canadian a scowl. Out of the three of them, he'd taken the least damage, having gone into fetal position the second he was struck. Only one bruise marred his face, one bruise too many if he had anything to say about it.
"And where the hell did all that ass kicking come from?" asked Prussia, "since when are you so protective of America?"
Canada sighed, playing with his bear's ear, "well, I know America can take care of herself, but Ally is my sister, and I'll help her out if I can, which means that if someone breaks into her room and steals her underwear while she's not there to stop it, I will."
His glasses glinted dangerously and the others cringed. Their waitress came by and put pancakes down in front of them. Canada immediately brightened up, handing the top cake to his bear and reaching for the syrup. The trio relaxed.
Scratching at the back of his neck, Prussia stated cautiously, "well, in our defense, we weren't stealing her underwear…"
Canada lifted up the container of the diner's syrup and frowned, whether it was at the syrup or Prussia, they couldn't tell, "then…what were you doing?"
Germany coughed into his hand and shifted uncomfortably, "we were…looking for America's diary," he looked more than a little guilty.
Canada gave them a disbelieving look, "and you thought that you'd find her diary in her bra."
"Don't look at me!" hissed Romano, "blame that perverted beer-bastard!"
The Italian pointed towards the other man who raised his hands in a placating gesture, "hey, come on! They were starred and striped! You don't see West over here wearing his flag on his junk!"
That comment earned him a harsh elbow in the side.
The boy still didn't look too happy with them, he looked even more unhappy when he gave the diner's syrup a sniff. Setting it to the side, he pulled a flask out of one of his pockets, unscrewed the cap, and poured its contents onto his pancakes.
"You…" Prussia squinted to make sure he was seeing things correctly, "you carry around maple syrup in a flask?"
Looking up, Canada smiled sheepishly, "I, um, never leave home without it, eh?"
Shifting uncomfortably, Canada steered the conversation back on track, "why do you need her diary?"
"Aha!" exclaimed Prussia, "I knew it! She does have a diary!" and with that, he began to do a seated victory dance.
Germany cut in before they could be taken off track again, "we were trying to determine what her…erm, intentions were concerning Italy."
Looking away from Prussia elbowing an extremely irritated Romano in the shoulder repeatedly as he did the Cabbage Patch, Canada nodded slowly, "I see...and why is this so important?"
Germany remained silent.
Realizing that they were talking to the girl in question's brother, Prussia paused in his dance and leaned forward, "you wouldn't happen to know anything about what's going on between those two, would you?"
Pausing to think for a minute, the blond shook his head and the other three sighed, disappointed.
"Now we'll never know why that hotdog hag suddenly decided to corrupt my brother's good taste!" growled Romano.
Canada frowned at the obvious insult towards his sister, "well…what makes you think I like your brother hanging around her?"
There was a pause.
Forgetting that the boy in front of him was the same boy that kicked their collective asses a mere hour ago, the Italian man attempted to launch himself over the table at him, only to be held back by Germany, "why you little maple-bastard! How dare you- LET GO OF ME YOU POTATO-BASTARD!"
They were eventually able to get Romano to calm down, but they were kicked out of the diner in the process. Now in the dark, but still busy, streets of New York, they continued their discussion.
"Say, Birdie…" Prussia began, slinging an arm around the boy, "you should help us."
Canada attempted to lean out of the man's grasp, "what makes you say that?"
"For one, I'm awesome, and honestly that should be the only reason you need. Two, seeing as you beat the living hell out of us earlier, I think you owe us. Three," he leaned in close, Canada going cross-eyed looking at him, "you can't tell me that you're not at all curious what your sister's up to and why she wouldn't tell you."
"W-well, it's not like she tells me everything, anyways…" he reasoned, again trying to get out of the man's grasp, but finding it impossible to do so.
"Come on, Birdie!" Prussia didn't whine, for he was too awesome to do so, "what happened to all that Canadian kindness and shit? We're in need of your help here!"
That seemed to have struck a chord. Canada looked to the side, thinking. They'd stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, Prussia, Germany, and Romano waiting with bated breaths. Canada had already confirmed the existence of America's diary, and being her brother, he'd be their best bet of getting their hands on it. If, that is, he was willing to help them.
He looked up, "Ally does have a diary, but she never takes it to things like conferences, she says they're too boring to write about. It's at her house… I'll try to help you get it."
Prussia let out a loud whoop of triumph as Romano and Germany released the breaths they'd been holding.
"But," he continued, "you have to go tell Ally that you broke into her room first."
"What!" shouted Prussia, "oh, come on!"
"That's bullshit!" cried Romano.
"For once, I agree with them," said Germany. Though he did feel rather guilty about breaking into the girl's room and did wish to apologize for it, it would defeat the purpose of recruiting Canada to find her diary if she already knew that they were looking for it. There was also a small part of him that didn't want to see Italy's reaction when he found out about what they'd done.
Canada just shook his head, "just tell her you were chasing down a ghost. She'll understand."
They all stared. Canada burst into random bouts of warrior-level ass-kicking and carried around maple syrup in a flask. America wore her flag on her underwear and thought ghost-hunting to be a reasonable excuse to break into a room and ransack it. Just what the hell was in the drinking water in North America?
He shifted under their stares, hugging his bear closer, "the important thing is that you apologize."
Reluctantly, they agreed.
Canada smiled softly, readjusting his hold on his animal friend, "great! We'd better head back then, eh?"
The others shifted nervously. Canada had beaten the crap out of them when he'd caught them breaking into his sister's room. What would America do when they confessed to the crime?
The inside of the restaurant was very homey. Its walls were covered in pictures documenting the establishment's history, the tables were spaced out rather nicely and decorated tastefully, the overall atmosphere of the place was warm and welcoming.
The four were seated, America and Italy on one side and France and Britain on the other, by a young waitress with a big smile.
"Here're your menus, can I start you off with something to drink?"
They placed their orders and the waitress set off to fetch them their drinks.
As soon as they were left to their own devices, Italy stood, "I'm going to go look at the pictures on the wall!" he chirped as he bounded off.
"I think I shall, too," France said, rising from his seat. As he walked away from the table he cast Britain a meaningful look, and gestured discretely to America who remained completely oblivious.
Once they were alone, the Briton cleared his throat, "so…"
America looked at him and after he didn't say anything, she nodded stiffly, "yup…"
Britain played with the sleeve of his shirt, trying to think of something to say, "er, this place seems…nice."
She brightened, "yeah, I love it here. I had my first slice of pizza here when it opened in the 20's, and the business is still in the family."
Britain gave a soft smile that quickly turned into a frown once he caught sight of France trying to cop a feel on Italy, "hopefully that bloody frog won't ruin the nice atmosphere."
America turned around in her seat to look at the Frenchman who had turned his attention to a much more interested table full of giggling teenage girls. He was now in the process of handing each of them a red rose. She turned back to Britain, "well, hopefully he'll be able to contain himself. It'd be a bummer if he got me kicked out of here when I've been this joint's most loyal customer."
The two shared a laugh at that.
Britain, feeling more at ease, was now looking directly at America with more focus than he had the entire night. She really did look good in that dress, as narcissistic as it was, but quite honestly, she just looked good in general to him. How her eyes lit up when she smiled... The dimple that only made its appearance when she laughed really hard... The cute little mole on her collar bone…
"Artie? Helloooo! Artie are you there? Earth to Arthur Kirkland, do you copy?"
Shaking himself out of his daze and blushing furiously once he realized his eyes had been travelling downwards with purpose towards the girl's chest, he looked up to meet America's concerned gaze, "huh? What?"
"I asked if you were feeling alright…" she stated cautiously, giving him a rather odd look.
Paling slightly and eyes shifting around, he barked out a nervous laugh, "o-of course I am! Why wouldn't I be?"
America raised an eyebrow, "well, for one thing, you totally spaced out on me there, dude. And another, you've been acting all weird this entire night. I mean, you've been totally nice to me! I called you Artie, like, two times a second ago and you didn't bite my head off for it!"
Now it was Britain's turn to raise an eyebrow, "you would rather I wasn't nice to you?"
She let out a laugh and shook her head, "no, I guess not… It's just…I worry about you sometimes, me being the hero and all..."
She smiled at him. Not one of her super confident, full of energy smiles, but a serious one, with warmth and affection and maybe just a hint of shyness.
Britain felt his heart melt.
He looked down at America's hand resting on the table, just within reach or his own. He gulped and looked up into the girl's eyes as he reached over, "Allison, I-"
"Here're your drinks!" exclaimed their waitress as she approached their table.
Britain's hands retreated from the table and onto his lap so fast he was certain that he almost broke a wrist in the process.
America thanked the waitress and requested some more time to look over their menus. The girl nodded and left.
"So…" said America, turning back to Britain, "you were saying?"
Judging by the wide, yet blank, grin on the girl's face, it was obvious to the Briton that whatever moment the two of them shared a mere minute ago, the American had been completely oblivious to her part in it.
Whatever confidence he'd had then, it was gone now and Britain attempted to blow it off, "oh nothing! I was just wondering what was taking the frog and Italy so long…"
"Huh, I dunno…" America twisted around in her seat to look for their companions.
Britain noted that France was still working his charms on the girls who by this point were practically melting in puddles of goo under his attention. It then reminded him that he still had the rose that the Frenchman had given to him earlier. Fishing it out of the pocket of his slacks, he noted with a bit of a frown that the stem was bent and some of the petals were crumpled. Just how on Earth was France able to carry around multiple flowers on his person without damaging a single one of them? Some form of dark magic, he was sure of it…
He looked to America and then back to the rose. It wasn't in too bad of a condition…
"A-allison," he said, calling her attention back to him. He presented the rose to her before he lost his nerve, "here."
America looked at the flower with wide eyes and gently plucked it from his grasp. She stared at it in awe, a light blush forming on her cheeks. She turned her bright blue eyes to him, "this is for me?"
Fidgeting in his seat and unsure of what to say under her starry-eyed stare, Britain immediately turned to his greatest defense mechanism: irritability.
"W-well," he started, looking off to the side with a huff, "that stupid Francis gave it to me, and it's not like I had any use for it…"
"So Francis gave this to you…"
At her tone, he looked back at her. She looked…disappointed, maybe? Or was he just being hopeful? "Well…"
"Thanks, man!" and suddenly her typical megawatt smile was back on her face as if nothing had happened, "you know I wish I was closer to my house right now so I could get this thing in a vase, but I guess a paper cup of water at the hotel room will have to do for now!"
She giggled and he blinked, having nothing to say to the sudden burst of energy.
"I'm gonna go get the guys so that they have some time to order! Be right back!"
With that, she left the table, leaving Britain to wonder what the hell just happened.
"Big Brother?" said Liechtenstein.
"Hmm?" murmured Switzerland as he stared off into space.
The two nations were seated at a small café near the hotel. At the moment they were the only customers there. It was quiet and calm, just how they liked it.
"What is it like to be in a relationship?" the girl asked.
The man was quiet for a moment, then answered, "tiring and uncomfortable. You could also get a disease."
"Oh, okay. I was just wondering," she said and turned back to her soup.
And all was good.
As Italy and France returned to the table, America did her best to hide her crushing disappointment.
'Francis gave it to him, of course he did…' she sighed inwardly, though she kept a smile on her face the entire time. She couldn't believe she'd let her hopes get up like that. Of course France would be the one to supply Britain with a rose, probably as a gift to represent their affections for each other, and Britain, needlework and imaginary friends aside, wasn't camp enough to be down with that, so he decided to give it to her because, hey, boobs equals "OMG! I luv flowerz!" right?
It seemed that she'd found herself some competition in the Nation of Love. She watched over the top of her menu as France pulled Britain aside to have a hushed discussion away from their table. She felt her chest tighten as Britain's face flushed in reaction to something the other man said. She pulled her menu up closer to her face and frowned. She was positive that she could take the Frenchman in a fight. Hell, if she so much as raised a fist in his general direction, she was sure the man would steal one of Italy's white flags and run for cover. But in a fight for someone's heart? What with his natural charm and admittedly sweet ass, she wasn't so sure.
America took a deep breath and allowed a cheerful smile to return to her face. She was getting upset, but she wasn't about to let anyone in on it, if Italy saw that her hopes were down, then his hopes would go down, and what kind of heroine would that make her? A crappy one. Just like Batman from All Star Batman and Robin, or Superman in the 70's…
'No,' she thought, 'I just have to step my game up, just like I told Feli earlier. Later tonight, we'll look through that magazine, find the key to getting our men, and then we'll all ride off into the sunset on majestic steeds and live happily ever after! Actually, on second thought, horses are kinda lame…make that majestic motorcycles! With an explosion going off in background all in slow-mo! Oh hells yeah this is gonna be awesome! If I can pull it off…I hope I can pull it off…'
While America was busy with her own thoughts, and Italy was looking through the menu choices, France took it upon himself to interrogate Britain about what had happened while he was absent from the table.
"I see you gave her the rose," the Frenchman observed in a whisper once they were away from the others, "how did that go?"
"Er…" Britain frowned. Honestly, he didn't know.
France groaned, "of course you would be the one to mess up the simplest display of l'amour…"
"Oi!" his face turned red and he struggled to keep his voice down.
"Look, monami," said France, leaning in closer and looking the Briton dead in the eye, "you love her, oui?"
He nodded, blushing even harder.
"And you want to be with her."
"Then you must find a way to break through these barriers you have placed around your emotions and express them!" then, after a quick survey of his person, "and perhaps a trim to the eyebrows as well…"
That earned him a kick in the shin.
"You brute!" the Frenchman hissed, but composed herself, "but do you understand what I am saying?"
Britain sighed, "yes…"
"Good," he smiled, and gave the other man a pat on the back, "now let us return to our dining companions and order some disgusting American food…"
They both shuddered at the thought.
Seconds after the two men took their seats, their waitress came to take their orders.
"Okay, so are you guys ready to order?"
"Ah, yes," said America, closing her menu, "two pepperoni pizzas! Oh! And a side order of mozzarella sticks!"
Italy pouted while Britain and France downright scowled. They felt offended that America would order for all of them without asking what they wanted first.
Then she turned to them with a bright smile as the waitress wrote down the order, "so, what are you guys having?"
They all just stared.
Eventually, Italy, France and Britain settled on sharing a cheese pizza, and when the food arrived, they had to admit it did smell kind of good.
America looked as if Christmas had come early as she dug into her own meal.
The three men looked at each other, silently praying that someone else would take the first bite so that they could gauge their reaction before doing so themselves.
Surprisingly, it was Italy who reached for the pizza first, for he had missed out on lunch earlier and was hungry enough to eat anything…well, maybe not anything, he definitely wasn't hungry enough to take on British food, though he wasn't about to say that in the presence of the other nation.
The Italian reached forward and picked up a slice. He examined it carefully. Well, it looked like the stuff he made at home, and he was hungry… With Britain and France watching with bated breaths, he leaned forward, opened his mouth, and-
"Feli, no!" America exclaimed, and suddenly, Italy found himself lacking slice of pizza.
Three pairs of stunned eyes turned towards the America who held Italy's slice of pizza almost protectively, an utterly scandalized look on her face.
"What?" the man asked.
The girl leaned forward, "are you trying to get shanked?" she whispered, horrified.
"Um…I-I don't understand," he said, frowning and terribly afraid that he'd just broken a law with how serious the girl was acting.
"You have to fold it in half first," she said gesturing to the pizza in her hand.
"Oh," he said, nodding, "I'm sorry, Allison, I didn't know."
Her eyes softened, "that's okay, Feli. Just don't do it again, okay?"
Italy nodded, "okay, I promise!"
She smiled, then folded the slice of pizza in half for him, "here, say ahhhhh!"
He did as he was told and America fed him his first slice of American made pizza. He chewed thoughtfully and swallowed, "not bad…actually, it's kind of good!" It definitely wasn't as good as true, Italian pizza, but it wasn't as bad as the hotdog he'd tried to stomach earlier, either.
America smiled wider, and deeming Italy capable of eating the food correctly, handed him his slice and returned to her own food. Britain and France, seeing that Italy hadn't keeled over, picked up slices of their own and, making sure they folded them in half, began to eat as well.
They ate in silence for a while, the men trying not to openly stare at the impressive speed in which America was consuming her food. They didn't know what surprised them more, the fact that she wasn't choking or the fact that she wasn't making a mess of herself.
After a while, France spoke up, "you know, Amérique, I still fail to understand why you do not find enjoyment in fancier dining establishments and instead chose the service of fast food restaurants."
America paused in her eating. She then chewed and swallowed before shrugging, "I dunno…I guess I'm too boorish for boujy joints like that…"
"Boorish?" France repeated with a raised brow.
"Yes, boorish," at the Frenchman's amused look, America sighed, "yeah, surprising as it is, I do know what that word means. I've been called it since I was a little girl, so it's kinda hard not to…"
Everyone was stunned into silence at the seriousness in the girl's tone. America sat there quietly, looking off to the side, lost in her own thoughts and obviously upset.
France frowned, he'd only meant to tease the girl a bit, he didn't think that he would hurt her feelings, "Amérique, I apologize. I did not mean to offend-"
"No, it's alright, Francis," she said flatly, not looking at him, "really, don't worry about it…"
She returned to her food, obviously not interested in continuing the conversation, the others reluctantly did the same.
All except for Britain. He too was lost in his own thoughts.
"There, Allison. Now you look like a proper English lady, instead of-"
"Instead of what, Arthur? One of those boorish colonials? Well too bad, because I am one!"
"Now, see here, young lady-"
"Just leave me alone, Arthur!"
"You hear America's dating Italy?"
"Yeah! I heard Romano's raising hell about it…"
"Hahah! Yeah, that guy's a little firecracker!"
"Speaking of Romano…did you see him hanging around with that kid, earlier?"
"The tall, lanky one. America's twin brother. I saw them leaving the hotel together to get dinner, they were with Germany and Prussia, too, but I don't know…"
"Her brother? Wow, looks like Italy's not the only one in the family robbing the cradle! And from the same cradle at that!"
"Yeah, it seems that everyone's hooking up today."
"I know what you mean. You know, a little while ago I saw Britain and France come out of the same room together! And France was looking pretty happy with himself!"
"Hey! What are you guys talking about?"
"Oh, you have to hear this…"
And the rumor mill continued on and on…
This wasn't good.
Italy had sensed that something was wrong with Allison once he'd returned to the table. His concern only increased after her brief exchange with France. Now that they'd finished eating and were on the road once again, America had returned to her normal self.
Or so it seemed.
Now he may not have been the best at reading the atmosphere, but with someone as open with their emotions as America, he didn't have to be. Italy knew that his friend was upset. He had no idea what had happened while they were eating, and made sure to remember to ask her about it later, but judging by the looks she'd been sending Britain and France the entire evening, he had a feeling he knew at least part of the reason why she was so unhappy.
'Big Brother France has been getting really close with Britain lately…' he mused, 'poor Allison…'
It made him think of his own situation with Germany. He cared for the blond man so much, and now that he was mad at him, he didn't know what to do. He could only hope that the magazine would give them proper guidance.
'It'll be okay, Allison,' Italy thought and with his heart, he tried to will those words to the girl sitting behind the wheel.
Once they reached a red light, he looked over and sent her the brightest smile he could muster. America looked over and smiled back.
But it didn't reach her eyes.
"And you are sure that that excuse will work on her," Prussia clarified for what had to be the tenth time in just as many minutes. It wasn't that he didn't think he could take America should she be angry with what they'd done. He was just…worried for the girl's safety should he have to defend himself from her angry attack. He wasn't sure if he could hold back all of his awesome strength, yeah, that was it. Totally…
"Yes, I'm sure," said Canada with a hint of exasperation as the four of them made their way through the halls of the hotel to America's room.
"…but just how sure is that-?"
"Would you shut the fuck up, you beer bastard!" hissed Romano, "now I'm not sure if I want to go through with this!"
"Well, we don't have much of a choice," said Germany, pointing ahead of them, "there's her room and there's America."
The quartet paused. Sure enough, America, joined by Italy, France and Britain, was walking up to her room, fishing through her purse for her key card.
Canada tensed, "oh no…"
"What? What do you mean oh no?" asked Romano, clinging to the boy's sleeve. He tried to sound irritated, but came off more as scared.
"She's in a bad mood…" stated Canada, tightening his grip on his bear.
"No she's not," said Prussia, "look, she's smiling."
"No, trust me, she's in a bad mood," he turned to the three of them with a nervous look in his eyes, and they couldn't help but become nervous themselves. He let out a small, shaky laugh, "maybe this apologizing thing isn't such a good idea, eh? We should go…"
"Canada," Germany frowned. The boy had been dead set on having them apologize, and now he wanted them to just leave? "I'm afraid I don't understand…"
But he soon would.
"So!" said America with a smile as she approached her hotel room, key in hand, "that was fun, wasn't it?"
Her companions voiced their agreement. Italy, trying to cheer the girl up, began gushing about how delicious the food had been and how nice the waitress was and how wonderful the restaurant was.
He stopped short when he heard America's surprised gasp.
America had just put her key card in the lock when she noticed that her door was already slightly open. Immediately on guard, she pushed the door the rest of the way open and stood completely shocked at the sight before her.
"Oh my God!" she exclaimed, her hand coming up to cover her mouth.
"A-allison! Your room!"
Ignoring the other's exclamations of surprise, America slowly walked into the room, her eyes taking in the clothes strewn haphazardly on the floor, the drawers pulled out of the dresser, their contents dumped out, the curtains torn down…
What a complete mess.
Hands at her sides, shoulders slumped, her head constantly shaking in disbelief, she stood there in the middle of the wreckage and just took in the scene.
Italy, France and Britain stood there, watching America with concern. They barely acknowledged it when Germany, Prussia, Romano and Canada hesitantly joined them at their spot in the doorway.
Britain took in America's crushed posture and felt the sudden urge to take her in his arms and comfort her. France had told him that he needed remove his barriers when it concerned his feelings for America, and now was as good a time as any.
He took a step into the room and spoke softly, "Allison…"
"Are you fucking kidding me!"
The girl's sudden angered shout caused the group at the door to jump slightly, the Italies cowering in fear. Britain unconsciously backed up.
"Motherfucker…" America practically growled as she marched into the bathroom to check to see if the criminals who'd ransacked her room were still there, "any other day… any other day someone coulda pulled this shit, but no… it had to be today… some bullshit… what the fuck!"
She stalked back and forth in the middle of the room like a caged animal before turning sharply and charging out of the door, the others giving her wide berth.
America caught sight of Canada and turned to him, "Matt!"
The boy flinched. Kumajirou wiggled his way out of his master's arms and ran for cover, "cover" being anywhere but there. Gilbird flew off of Canada's head and took off after the polar bear as he made his escape. Without the comfort of his animal friend, the northern nation shook with such tremors he rivaled Latvia, "u-uh, Ally! W-what-"
"Some bitch ass mother fucker decided they could bust all up into my room and fuck with my shit," she was now speaking in a urban accent, her face was hardened with her anger, and though her voice was raised, she wasn't shouting, which was much more unsettling for everyone who was used to America yelling whenever she got worked up. "You see anything?"
Unable to find his voice, Canada shook his head.
For a moment, America entire frame trembled like a volcano ready to erupt, "motherfucker," she growled and then began to angrily pace the hallway outside of her room, ranting to herself.
"…think they can come into my place, fuck with my shit… no one fucks with America, especially not in her own damn house… Lord help me, I will cut somebody… the fuck do they think they are?"
The rest of the group stood frozen in fear. They'd never, ever seen the girl this angry outside of war. The girl continued to pace, muttering curses and promises of vengeance under her breath. The angry vibes that were coming off of her were starting to form an aura around her person.
Germany, Prussia, and Romano exchanged nervous glances. Maybe Canada was right, now probably wasn't the best time to confess to the crime.
Attempting to restore some order, Germany took a deep breath and stepped forward, "now, America, if you would just calm down, I'm sure we could-"
"Excuse me?" America rounded on the tall blond, her voice rising in volume, "calm down? Boy, don't you never tell a woman to calm down!" she advanced on him and it took all he had in him not to be backed into the wall under her furious gaze, "keep frontin' and I swear I will pop the trunk on your bitch ass!"
"Nooooo! Don't pop the trunk!" Canada shouted desperately as he flung himself in between America and her intended victim. His Canadian kindness wouldn't allow anyone to get hurt if he had the power to stop it, "please don't pop the trunk!"
No one but Canada and America knew what popping the trunk meant, but judging by Canada's horrified expression, it wasn't anything good.
Reaching behind him, Canada gently pushed Germany back a few steps until he was a suitable distance away. He then raised both of his hands cautiously in front of him and reached out to his sister, "Ally-"
"Touch me, Matt…" said America, her tone dangerously level, "and I will make us sisters. Do you understand?"
The boy pulled his hands back as if burned, and was about to say something else when a shout caused the two of them to turn.
Italy, who'd been hiding behind France and Britain the entire time, couldn't take it anymore. Scary as she was being at the moment, America was his friend, and he knew that under all of that rage she was upset and was just having an off day, made worse by the fact that someone had just violated her personal space and sense of security.
So he did what he knew had to be done.
Before anyone could react, Italy rushed forward, pushing Britain and France aside, threw his arms around America's waist and buried his face into the crook of her neck, holding on for dear life.
"Oh God, my dumbass little brother is going to die…" whimpered Romano.
Germany tensed, fearing for the Italian's safety, and got ready to come to the man's aid.
Britain and Prussia watched on in slack-jawed horror.
Canada and France covered their eyes, though France peeked through a crack between his fingers.
America stood completely still, her body tense and her eyes still burning.
Trembling a bit, Italy began to speak in a hurried ramble, "p-please Allison I know you're upset and that whoever did this is really horrible and I don't really know much about popping trunks but you're being really scary and not yourself and it's not very heroic to act like this so please please please stop and also I know you don't want to be touched right now but I didn't know what to do so please don't hurt meeeeee!"
What seemed like hours in silence passed.
Finally, America's eyes softened and slowly, her body began to relax. She wrapped her arms around Italy's neck and rested her head on his shoulder.
Everyone else breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'm sorry, Feli…" she murmered, "I didn't mean to scare you…"
They stood like that for a moment before she pulled away from the other nation and he slowly released her. She turned to the others, looking completely ashamed of herself. She looked at Germany, "I'm sorry I threatened to pop the trunk on you, that was really uncalled for."
The blond nation nodded curtly, accepting her apology. In all honesty he had no idea what half the words she'd said meant, so there truly was no harm done.
"And Matt," she turned to her brother, "I'm sorry I threatened to rip your dick off…"
The boy simply shrugged with a small, nervous smile, "don't worry about it."
America smiled, before becoming serious once again. Slowly, she walked back into her room, picking up a lamp that had been knocked over. She stared at it, "this place is completely trashed…"
"What kind of horrible person would do this?" Italy wondered.
Said horrible people shifted uncomfortably, especially Germany.
"I can't tell if they took anything…" the girl mused, picking up some things off of the floor in an attempt to tidy things up, "but I hope they did, it'll give me a reason to- ohh!" America had to cut herself short before she became angry again.
For the first time since her explosion, Britain spoke up, "Allison, I don't think you should stay here tonight, they might come back."
She looked at him with a look that said she hoped that they did come back so she could give them a piece of her mind, but sighed and relented, "I guess so…"
"Ohh! I know!" chirped Italy, "you can stay in my room tonight! My bed's plenty big enough for the both of us! And we can do what we talked about earlier!" he sing-songed enticingly.
And only Italy and America could be so unaware of how suggestive that sounded and how everyone else seemed to be choking on air.
"Aw, thanks, Feli!" America's trademark grin was back, and this time it was genuine, "just lemme grab a few things…"
Picking up a duffel bag off of the floor, America set about packing things. Some clothes, a magazine, her toiletries, and soon she was all set.
"Oh! I almost forgot!" America said as she closed her door. Reaching into her purse, she produced a chocolate bar which she handed to Germany, "here!"
He took the completely random gift with a puzzled expression on his face, "ah…thank you?"
She clapped him on the shoulder, "don't mention it," she then frowned, "dude, were you in a fight?"
Germany froze, "um…"
"Come to think of it, you two look worse for wear as well," observed France, looking at Prussia and Romano.
"Oh no!" exclaimed Italy, "Ludwig! Lovino! What happened to you?"
Under the curious stares of the other nations, the trio fidgeted. They couldn't think of a convincing answer.
"They, uh…fell?" Canada lied. Horribly. Right through his teeth. He felt so guilty, lying to America and everyone else so much. He just wanted the day to be over.
Surprisingly the others bought his excuse, which did nothing to make him feel better.
"Well, be careful, okay guys?" said America and the trio nodded. She then turned to Italy, "c'mon Feli, we have a long night ahead of us!"
The two linked hands, said their goodbyes, and left, practically skipping down the hallway.
The others stood there, unsure of what to do.
"What were you four doing around here, anyways?" asked France with a hint of suspicion in his tone.
"W-what? Oh nothing, Papa!" stuttered Canada, "you know, we should really get going now, so I'll see you later, eh?"
With that, the boy ushered Germany, Prussia and Romano off in the other direction.
"I think they are up to something…" mused France as he turned to Britain, but he found that the other man wasn't listening for he was lost in his own thoughts.
The Frenchman sighed, "you need a drink…shall we?"
And off to the bar they went.
"Your sister is fucking crazy," said Romano after the four nations made their escape. They were now sitting in a corner of the hotels spacious lobby, hoping to stay away from any eyes and ears.
Canada sent him a harsh glare, but it came off as more of an irritated pout since he was still shaken by the earlier incident. The fact that he was holding onto the recently returned Kumajirou and Gilbird was back in his hair didn't help either, "don't talk about her like that. You shouldn't have broken into her room in the first place!"
"Well, what other fucking choice did I have? Just sit on my ass while she takes advantage of my stupid little brother?"
"This again? Well your brother is the one that's coaxing her into his bed tonight-"
"Okay, that's enough!" Prussia cut in, "for the hundredth time, those two aren't a couple! Now quit upsetting West with your complete unawesomeness!"
They all cast a glance in Germany's direction. The blond was looking off to the side with an irritated scowl. He didn't know why, but the idea of Italy and America sharing a bed upset him, even if he did believe that they were in a relationship, regardless of what Prussia had to say about it. The pair were their own independent nations, they were free to do what they wanted, and if they were a couple and wanted to sleep in the same bed, then it was none of his concern, right?
Prussia turned from his unawesome brother and focused his attention on the even more unawesome pair in front of him, "you guys need to cut this shit out! The entire world is spreading rumors about your siblings! You need to act as a team if you ever want to see an end to all of this bullshit!" honestly Prussia never thought he'd find himself acting as the peacekeeper of any group ever. But the incredibly satisfying looks of swallowed pride that surfaced when they realized he was right made him not question his newfound awesome ability.
"You're right…" said Canada looking sheepish and thoroughly chastised.
"Whatever…" grumbled Romano.
"That's the spirit!" Prussia grinned wolfishly, "now, it's time to plan our next move… and dammit, Mattie, I want my bird back!"
"Thanks for letting me stay here," said America as she dumped her belongings onto Italy's bed.
"Don't mention it!" beamed Italy, "besides, it'll be fun! Like a slumber party!"
Honestly, he was happy that America was going to be staying with him for the night. With Germany still mad at him, he wasn't sure if he'd still be welcome in the man's bed, and the thought of sleeping on his own depressed him.
"So…" started America as she rooted through her bag and pulled out the magazine, "shall we start?"
Italy nodded cheerfully and the two of them sat on the bed together, side-by-side. America flipped to their desired page and they began to read.
"…that's a lot of tips…" said America.
"…yeah…" Italy agreed, "where do we start?"
America thought for a moment, "oh! I know! I'll close my eyes and I'll point to a random one and that's the one we'll use first!"
The man bounced in his seat, "that's a wonderful idea, Allison!"
"Okay, here goes nothing!"
Closing her eyes, America lifted her hand, index finger extended, then brought it down on the page. She opened her eyes and read:
"34: The next time you encounter your future man, wear a sexy pair of underwear underneath your clothing, it'll make you feel sexy and daring and give you that extra boost of confidence you need!"
They looked at each other.
"Well…" said Italy hesitantly, "the magazine knows best…"
America nodded and the two of them smiled.
"I guess we're going shopping."
A/N: Great balls of fire, what the eff is this chapter orz
Sorry for the long wait, but I was busy with my first term of college, so yeah… but hey, this chapter is the longest chapter I've ever written, even for one-shots, so at least it's worth it? Right? Please?
FYI: When I can (and if I remember) I update the status of the progress of upcoming chapters and stories on my profile page, so check there if you want to know what I'm up to.
I want to know: should I feature more pairings in this? They won't be as focused on as the two main pairings and probably won't get a resolution (in this story, anyways), but still? Also, as you've seen, I've been putting in random scenes occasionally as little breaks in the main storylines, what would you guys like to see?
And while I'm at it (since this thing wasn't nearly long enough), here's some interesting cultural notes and other interesting tidbits relating to this chapter and the story as a whole. But don't worry, you don't really need to know these things to enjoy the story, so you can skip over it if you want and go straight to reviewing (or just going on to your next fic, since I, as a reader myself, know that not all of you will review XD) If you do read this, tell me if it's interesting/useful/helpful and if I should do so from now on:
American Cars: American cars have a reputation of being gas-guzzling, short life-span, rickety death traps on wheels. Most Americans I talk to (including my dad) prefer to buy cars from foreign car manufacturers to ensure their getting the most for their money.
Jay Z: Rap music is way more popular here than in the UK. With music in general, us Americans enjoy blasting it out of our stereos at high volumes.
The Dougie: The Dougie is a dance craze in the United States based around the song "Teach Me How To Dougie." Sort of dying out now (as all fads do), but it can still be seen in clubs and high school dances all across the nation.
New York's Best Pizza: I didn't have an actual location in mind, but this is based on the fact that a lot of the pizza places in New York share the same name, such as New York's First Pizza and other generic titles. When asking locals for recommendations, it's best to just get the address and not worry about the title.
Gay Babies: Not a real superstition here, but sort of a nation-wide inside joke for high-schoolers. Every time there's an awkward silence, a gay baby is born.
Bro!Canada: If America was a girl, I picture her and Mattie's relationship as being a bit different. As a girl, she'd be much more aware of her brother, and he'd be protective of her (even though she doesn't need it). The sibling friendship would be beautiful.
America vs Allison: I envision how the nations deal with each other as countries (America) is different than how they deal with each other as people (Allison).
Polite Canadians: The American stereotype of a Canadian is a super polite to the point that they put others before themselves and take that mindset to an extreme.
Liechtenstein and Switzerland: I've recently watched the Paint It! White movie. Could the conversations between these two be any more awkward? "Big Brother, I'm very happy right now, I just thought I'd let you know." "…" Fuck's sake, man… they are hilarious to write XD.
France: From the American viewpoint, France should be Italy. The joke Japan made in the anime about Italian tanks moving slow in attack, but fast in retreat? We have millions of jokes like that about France. That's why America's so confident she can take him in a fight. I also have him speak the most of his own language out of the ESL nations because I think it fits his character. Americans find the French language to be very seductive, and that works for him!
Bad Heroes: The references America made are of comic books that are notorious for acts of superdickery. Batman in All Star Batman and Robin is the complete psycho from which we get the internet meme "I'm the Goddamn Batman" and Superman in the 70's…well, check out the site to see what I mean.
Pizza: Brooklyn style pizza (which is what they are eating in this chapter) is famous for being thin of crust with very large slices. It's custom to fold it in half before eating it, mainly because that's the only way to really eat something that big, but also because it helps to keep the toppings from falling off or for all the cheese to come off with the first bite.
Boorish Colonials: Boorish means rude, clumsy, oafish, and pretty much uncivilized. Back in the colony days, this is what some of the higher class British folk thought of the people in the American colonies, even of some of the higher class colonials, mostly as a result of the already diverging "personalities" of the two. Even back then, America was seen as somewhat of a classless buffoon.
Rumors: I didn't really have any nations in mind for the rumor bit, so I left it up to speculation.
Angry Fem!America: Now this one bugs me a bit. Lots of other ficthors write Angry!Fem!America with a southern accent, but I believe that an angry Fem!America is a ghetto Fem!America. Yes, southern girls don't take crap from anybody, but if you really want to get yourself into trouble, piss off a ghetto girl, I promise you, you will bleed before it's all said and done, because they fight dirty. I think why most writers don't write her like this is because they're afraid people might think they're being racist. I don't see it that way, maybe because all the ghetto girls I know are of different ethnicities (including white) and I've been called ghetto myself (and I'm half white, half Asian). And to be honest, in an anime like this where national stereotypes are the anchors of a character's characterization? Why all this walking on eggshells bull all of a sudden?
American Slang: Here are some definitions for you:
Pop the trunk: To threaten to get your weapon out with the intention of using it on somebody. Referring to opening the trunk of your car to retrieve the gun you're keeping there.
Shanked: To be stabbed with a shank (a homemade knife).
Boujy: High class.
Panties: I actually got that tip (almost word-for-word) out of a teen magazine.
Well that's all I have for now! Next chapter: flashbacks, underwear shopping, and some GerIta moments!