America answered the door to find China and Japan standing awkwardly on the doorstep, shuffling their feet like naughty children, two policemen flanking them. He blinked at them. "Uh, what's going on?"

"Nothing that could not be cleared up with a call to my boss," Japan said in careful, heavily-accented English, evidently not wanting to use the nation-tongue in front of unsuspecting humans. He sounded embarrassed, understandably enough.

"Geez, you guys just went shopping!" America looked worriedly at China. "I know you wanted me to stay home, but I didn't figure it was so bad you could be arrested for being foreign!"

"No, we actually did break the law. We called Japan's boss, we got off with him yelling at us on the phone," China explained, also in English. "Long story, can we come in?"

"Oh, uh, yeah." America moved out of the doorway, allowing them in. Japan turned and conversed with the policemen in Japanese, bowing and sounding contrite. Eventually they left. America closed the door and followed Japan and China into the living room, where they were slumped against a wall support and looking thoroughly embarrassed.

"Well, that was fun," sighed China.

"What happened?" America asked again, sitting down. "You only went grocery shopping! What did you do?"

"Well, the plan was I'd lead Japan around and stay quiet so nobody noticed my accent," China started. America nodded; a passing glance on the street would likely not be enough to see that China wasn't Japanese, whereas a blond blue-eyed man would be instantly noticeable, so America had stayed in the house. "Things were going fine until we got to the fish shop. I forgot I shouldn't speak, and the guy there noticed I'm Chinese."

"Oh." Alfred winced. "Not good."

"And didn't notice I'm male."

"Oh, ow."

"He asked Japan how he sneaked a 'prize' like me home from the war and why he put me in men's clothing, said that it was a shame Japan couldn't fully appreciate me, and that he'd do the looking for both of them."

"I'm guessing you explained the mistake with emphasis, huh?" America made a punching gesture to illustrate the point.

"Actually, I started it. I feel the abuse of women by my people degrades us all, especially if the woman is actually my brother," Japan said, a slight smile gracing his lips. "I'm better at working by sound now, and you can get a good swing with a cane."

"Let's say he won't be able to look at anything until the bruises go down."

"And he won't have much reason to until the other bruises go down."

"And I made sure he noticed I'm not a woman."

"Yes, the police told me you managed to leave urine stains on the ceiling. Pity, I liked that fish shop, but I don't think I'll be welcome in future."

"Yeah, I'm dreading the call from my boss too. Code Serenity's probably a good thing, otherwise we'd be in jail, but it's not going to make for a fun conversation."

"What was that?" America interrupted.

"Code Serenity," Japan explained. "Obviously I can't tell everyone who I am, so we have the code. If I mention it to the police, they know I'm important to the government and they call someone who works for my boss so he knows what's happening. Useful thing, even if it means I do have to tell the Emperor directly why I knocked out one of my own citizens."

China grinned wickedly. "We do make a good team, don't we?"