For anyone wondering, the new chapter I just uploaded is number sixteen.

2000 - New York, USA

Prussia chews the end of his pencil, ignoring the taste of graphite on his tongue, and wonders why he tries so hard to convince Germany to let him come to world meetings. They're so dull. All anyone ever does is drone on about finance and industry and politics and, whenever anything vaguely interesting wobbles along and raises its head, they pounce on it and argue it pointlessly into the ground until all courses of action have been ruled out. He knows he isn't the only one who feels this way; across the room, America is doodling absentmindedly in his notebook, Spain is staring vacantly out of the window and Italy appears to have dozed off, his head in his arms, drooling all over his notes.

But he comes, even though it bores the hell out of him. He likes to know what's going on, even if most of it is stupid and he can't do anything about it even if it isn't. It's something to get him out of the house, to keep him entertained, give him something to think about. And, by sitting and watching his brother make a speech to the assembled nations, he's keeping an eye on him. He's keeping his promise to Brandenburg.

And, as Germany drones on about nothing of interest - at least, not to Prussia - he is keeping himself well entertained. He found a packet of elastic bands in Germany's bag at the beginning of the meeting and has been happily playing with them for the last half an hour. He holds one up, pulls it back, takes aim... a muffled twang, and the elastic band flies across the room to hit Austria squarely on the back of the head.

When the other nation turns around, looking frustratedly for the source of all these sudden blows to the head, Prussia is writing in his notebook, his face a picture of concentration.

"In conclusion," says Germany, consulting his notes, "the decade following the political reunification of East and West Germany has been an overwhelming success for both the German people and Europe as a whole. The collapse of the Eastern Bloc has seen steadily rising living standards, growing industries and strengthening economies in Central and Eastern Europe and, if current trends continue, we have every reason to believe that this continent might turn out alright after all."

The assembled nations applaud - Italy jerks back into consciousness with a surprised "ve!" - and Germany takes his seat next to Prussia, who claps him on the back.

"Awesome speech, West."

"Thanks," says Germany, tucking his palm cards back into his bag. "My analysts really went all out on... hey, have you seen my elastic bands?"

"Nope," he says, but his attention is drawn elsewhere before he can hide them. Hungary is sitting across the room from them and trying hard to catch his eye. He raises an eyebrow in silent question, but she only smiles and goes back to drawing in her notebook.

"We have every reason to believe that this continent might turn out alright after all."

Inspiration strikes. Prussia tears a piece of paper from his book and scribbles 'meet me in the hallway in five minutes', then folds it three times and writes 'to Hungary - read and you die' on the front. "Oi, West," he says, elbowing Germany and handing him the paper. "Pass this on, would you?"

He watches the note as it makes its way down the row, heading across the room to where Hungary is sitting, her pen still scribbling away. Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Greece, and finally Japan, who taps Hungary on the shoulder and passes her the note. She unfolds it and scans the message, squinting to make out his handwriting, then meets his waiting eye. As he watches, she smiles and nods once.

Five minutes later, Prussia stands in the hallway as Hungary slips through the meeting room door, trying not to let it slam shut behind her. They don't need to draw attention to themselves. She steps across the corridor towards him and Prussia's heart attempts to jump ship. He doesn't know what to say. What was he thinking, asking her to meet him alone like this? It was an impulse, a spur of the moment decision, and, he decides, a stupid one at that.

Hungary smoothes her skirt and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, still smiling nervously. "I liked Germany's speech," she says. "Very well-researched. It's good to know we're on the right track."

He nods. "It's amazing that Europe can pick itself up like this after everything that went down last century." He takes a deep breath. Lord, give me strength. As much as you can spare. I need a metric crapton of it right now. "And I was thinking... maybe..."

"Maybe then is now," she finishes.

"We're back on our feet."

"There's nothing stopping us."

"Nothing ever stopped us," he grins. "Not us."

"No," she smiles back. "Not us."

He's at a loss to explain how it happened, but somehow they seemed to have drifted closer and closer as they spoke until their faces were inches apart. It only takes him a fraction of a second to close the gap and kiss her. For a moment, the world seems to melt away. It's harmony, unity, two becoming one, and their own personal dividing wall collapses as she overwhelms every sense he has, filling his blank mind with a sense of bliss, pure and complete.

She breaks away, arms still around his neck, and places a finger on his lips. "On one condition."

He's not disappointed. Nothing could disappoint him right now. His happiness is unshakable, undefeatable. "Oh yeah?"

There's a slightly mischievous element to her grin as she says, "Tell me you love me."

A memory almost a hundred years old swims to the forefront of his mind. A memory made in far grimmer times, when they were on the brink of ruin and neither of them were entirely sane. Back then, they had been kissing to forget. To lock away their troubles, if only for a little while, and drown in each other until they could think of nothing else. But now it's different. There's nothing to hide from now, nothing to lock away. The world is doing alright, as far as these things go, and he knows that if he says it now, he'd better mean it.

So Prussia looks her straight in the eye and says, with as much solemnity as he can muster, "Hungary, I love you. Always have, always will."

"Same to you," she says, and kisses him.

Dear God,

I don't know what I've done to deserve this. I've tried my best to do your will over the centuries, but I know that hasn't always worked out how either of us intended it to. But if I haven't been your best subject, I've at least been your most entertaining, right? That has to count for something.

I don't know what made you decide to give me someone like her, but all I can say is thank you. I don't intend to leave this earth for a long time yet, so perhaps we can start over, you and I? I can't promise to be perfect, but I can promise to try. And in the meantime, I'll treat her like an angel. Okay, not an angel - she'd probably punch me in the face - but maybe a seraphim. They're pretty ass-kicking, right? I'll treat her like a seraphim, because losing my country, my house, my title... none of that matters to me any more. As long as I have her, I have everything I want.

I don't know what I did to deserve her, God, but thank you.

Thank you so much.

From Prussia with love.

P.S. I'm awesome!

And that, my dear readers, is the end.

If you've read all of this then THANK YOU! I can't hug you in person so please just take a moment to imagine it for me. Go ahead and get yourself a biscuit or something. You deserve it. You are a wonderful person and I love you.

This is technically the last chapter but I might still slot extras in here and there when I think the story's missing something, so don't tune out yet. (Also because I'm way too invested in this fic and I just can't quite seem to detach myself yet.)

So yeah. Thank you, and please leave a review if you haven't already. I'd really appreciate it. Bye!