A lone fighter flew through the air. It was night, and flying above the clouds as it was, it gave the pilot a splendid view of the stars. America leaned back, taking in the vastness of the universe. The stars shimmered as America watched, taking it all in. Space was a vast and wonderful place, and America was proud to be one of the few nations to visit it. Only Russia had beaten him there, but he preferred not to think about that. He just wanted to appreciate the beauty of the stars for now.

America gazed at the moon. He knew for a fact that he was the only nation to set foot there. Russia had never made it, and he was too busy recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union to try again for a while. Japan and China were trying, but they had a ways to go yet. It had been fun, bouncing around, planting his flag, and collecting moon rocks as proof that he had been there.

As he watched, America noticed something odd. Black shadows were appearing, moving around, blocking his view of the moon. He rubbed his eyes and sat up.

"You're falling asleep; that's not good," he muttered to himself. He snapped his seat into the upright position, strapped back in, and switched back over to manual control. A few aerial stunts always woke him up.

After a complex, adrenaline-pumping series of stunts, America's proximity alarm went off. He was approaching something. This something was very large, very airborne, and unlike all the clouds he had passed on this mostly clear night, very solid.

America's plane punched through the next cloud to reveal the Valiant. The Valiant was one of the marvels of modern engineering. She was unique among aircraft carriers in that she not only carried aircraft, but also was an aircraft. More than twice the size of a seagoing carrier, she also carried the distinction of being America's destination.

America brought the fighter in for a smooth landing, slowing at the end of the runway and taxiing out of the way. He unfastened his safety harness and popped the latch of his cockpit. As it hissed up on its hydraulics, America stood up.

"Put your hands in the air and identify yourself!" a voice yelled. America looked down and spotted a man in a UNIT military uniform pointing a shotgun at him with unwavering aim. America winced as a floodlight shone in his face.

"What kind of reception is that for a hero?" he yelled back, a big mischievous grin on his face.

Another man approached. Like the gunman, he wore the black fatigues of a UNIT soldier, but he lacked the red beret the other man wore, instead showing his untidy sandy-blond hair. A notably bushy pair of eyebrows was clearly visible even from where America was standing. "Relax, Switzerland, it's only America," the man said in a crisp, clear accent, placing a hand on the other man's shoulder. The gunman lowered his shotgun almost regretfully, revealing a pair of beady teal eyes from behind the scope.

"I'll refrain from shooting, but don't ask me to relax, England," he grumbled.

England rolled his eyes. "Go put that thing away," he ordered. Switzerland, though clearly annoyed, complied with the order.

"England!" America said, his grin growing even bigger. He clambered out of his cockpit and slid to the ground. "What's up, British dude?"

"America," England replied stiffly, "what do you want?"

America shrugged. "I was getting bored at home, so I decided to come and see if you guys could use some help from a hero!"

"It's not like anything is happening right now."

"Well, then, maybe if something comes up. Nothing's happening at my house right now except an election, and to be honest, it's giving me a headache," America said, running a hand through his hair sheepishly. From how England always talked about it, the Unified Intelligence Taskforce was one of the most action-packed jobs in the world.

England winced in sympathy. He knew how bad elections could get, and he knew that in America, they tended to be even worse. Hell, for eight of the past eleven years, due to a major screw-up by the judiciary, America's boss was an even bigger idiot than America himself!

"Well, I guess you can stay, then…" England was cut off by a huge bear hug.

"Thanks, England," America said.

"Mmf," England replied.

"Hey, Romano, whatcha doin'?" Spain asked, walking up to the dark-haired man sitting at the desk.

"I'm-a working, dammit. Leave-a me alone," Romano growled.

"Okay, I'll just sit down here and keep you company."

"There's-a no other chairs, you bastard."

"I'll sit on the floor." And so he did.

Presently, Spain got bored just sitting there and watching his boyfriend work, so he decided to crawl around and find something to do.

A few minutes later, Romano slammed down his pen and pulled his chair out, glaring under the desk. "I told you to knock it off-a!"

Italy poked his head in the door. "Hey-a, nii-chan, who are you yelling at?"

Romano felt the heat rising to his cheeks. He didn't want his innocent little brother to know what was going on. Veneziano was an idiot, but he was still Romano's brother, dammit!

"I wasn't-a yelling at anybody, dammit!" Romano winced inwardly at the transparent lie and hastily tried to cover for it. "I, ah, just got off-a the phone with, uh, America. Now get out of my office, you little bastard!"

Italy shrugged. He was used to that kind of language from his brother, so he didn't really mind.

"All right-a. I just-a wanted to tell you that I'm-a going over to Germany's house," Italy said cheerfully.

"Not that potato bastard again, Veneziano," Romano groaned.

"He's-a my friend, Romano!" Italy said, indignant.

"Right, whatever, go away, you bastard," Romano said, somewhat distracted.

"Ciao!" Italy said, leaving.

Romano grunted in reply.

After Italy had left, Romano returned his attention to the nation under his desk. "Now what were you-a fucking trying to pull, bastard?"

"Si," replied Spain.

"THAT-A DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!" Romano yelled angrily.

Spain crawled out from under the desk and got up onto his knees. In this position, he was just a bit shorter than the man in the chair was. Spain reached up and stroked the unruly curl that stuck straight out from the front of Romano's otherwise rather organized hair. When he did so, something began happening in the general vicinity of the zipper that Spain had surreptitiously unzipped.

"Chigiii," Romano moaned in pleasure. "What…the hell…are you doing…you bastard?" he asked between deep, labored breaths.

"Shh," Spain said, holding his finger to Romano's lips. "You're so cute when you're like this." He stood up and, with the hair, gently pulled Romano up with him. Spain's face was mere inches from Romano's, and it drew closer until…

Their lips met, and Romano's eyes slammed shut. His head pounded as he attempted to reconcile how something so wrong could feel so good, dammit!

Spain's tongue now tickled Romano's lip. Romano gave it an opening, and fairly soon, their tongues were mingling closely.

Romano felt something happening and pulled away before it was too late.

"What was that about, dammit?" he grumbled.

"You're so cute when you're angry," Spain replied, giving Romano that annoying smile that was essentially Spain's default expression.

Romano glared at him, but behind his angry expression, conflict raged in his mind. Had he actually enjoyed that? How could something so wrong feel so good? How could something so wrong feel so right?

"Leave-a me alone."

"Por que? We were just getting started," Spain said.

"Leave-a me alone, you bastard!" Romano yelled, shoving Spain away. Spain, seeing that it was no use talking to him, turned and left.

Romano sat back down at his desk, but found himself too distracted to do any work. He laid his head on his desk and started to think.

Italy walked into Germany's house to find Germany in a frilly apron, going at the mantelpiece with a dust-buster.

"Germany, Germany!" Italy called over the noise. Germany jumped at the appearance of two arms hugging him around the waist.

"Italy, please don't sneak up on me like that," Germany requested.

"Ve." Germany didn't know whether to interpret Italy's little verbal tic as an affirmative or a negative.

Germany turned and looked down at the little redhead. Italy's eyes were shut, like they almost always were. The one strange little curl stuck out from the right side of his head—Germany's right, Italy's left. Germany had learned long ago that by grabbing this curl, Italy would stop doing whatever weird, inexplicable thing he was doing, but the effect seemed to have a strange other effect, so Germany had decided that it was probably best not to mess with it. His face radiated this innocent, childlike quality. Germany couldn't explain the feeling he got whenever he saw that look on Italy's face. His best theory so far was that it might be that sensation that, in his house, they call "Liebe." At Italy's house, they called it "Amore." At France's house, they called it "Amour." At the houses of England and America and that other guy whose name he could never remember, they called it "Love."

Germany remembered, not without some embarrassment, one Valentine's Day when he had first realized his feelings for Italy. After several cultural misunderstandings, (for instance, Italy giving him red roses as a gift. In Germany's house, you only give red roses to someone you are seriously in love with, but in Italy's house, apparently it was something you do all the time) Germany had decided to propose to Italy. Italy had gone along with all Germany's courting with no idea what Germany was actually doing, so it took him as a complete shock. Naturally, he turned him down. It hadn't helped that the manual on relationship advice, which Germany had followed to the letter, was absolutely bogus, and the only friend Germany had asked for help was Austria, who was just as clueless about such matters as Germany was.

Germany had since come to terms with his rejection, and was able to tolerate Italy's stranger behaviors. Still, he wondered…if he had handled that differently, maybe, just maybe…

Germany's musings were interrupted by a hand waving in front of his face. He looked down. Italy was there, looking as cute as ever.

"Hey, Germany, you wanna play-a some football?" Italy asked. By football, he of course didn't mean American football, but rather real football, what Americans would call "soccer."

Germany looked down at him. How could he refuse Italy? He was almost done cleaning anyway.

"Certainly, I'll come," he said calmly.

"Molto bene!" Italy cried happily.

"Hey, West, what's going…" Prussia's voice trailed off as he walked into the room and spotted Italy there. "Ah, Italy…I'll just leave you two alone, then." He turned to leave.

"Nein, Bruder, you're not intruding," Germany sighed.

"Hey-a, Prussia, do you want-a to play football with us?" Italy asked.

The albino turned back to them and flashed them his infamous grin. "You really think you stand a chance against the awesome me?" he laughed derisively.

"Please?"

Prussia's grin grew even bigger. "All right, but you don't stand a chance against me and my awesomeness."

"Vee~" Italy said, joyfully skipping out of the room with the football under his arm.

"We'll need another person so the teams can be equal," Germany said, his voice trailing away as he walked out of the room after Italy.

Prussia lingered for a moment, a shadow of concern crossing his grinning face. Something was happening there, he could tell. Prussia wondered if it was about time…

No. His little brother would figure it out soon enough.