- Flags of Empire -
"We built up empires. We stole countries! That's what you do, that's how you build empires. We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail 'round the world and stick a flag in.
'I claim India for Britain!'
And they go, 'You can't claim us, we live here. Five hundred million of us.'
'...Do you have a flag?'
'We don't need a bloody flag. It's our country, you bastard!'
'No flag, no country; you can't have one!'"
-Eddie Izzard (a British stand-up comedian)
"Help!" Italy shrieked as he ran through the meeting room, pushing Nations out of his way as he went, "Help~a me! Help~a me! Someone! This is not a drill~!"
France sighed as he leaned back in his chair. "Where's Germany?" he asked the room at large, "He's used to dealing with this—"
"It's already too late for him," Italy wailed from his spot clinging to Sweden's chest. "And fratello! P-poor fratello..." And then he collapsed into sobs.
A dumbfounded silence hung over the room for a long moment.
"Too...late for Germany?" Japan asked weakly.
"Someone took out that guy?" Austria demanded with wide eyes, standing from his chair.
America looked back and forth between the panicking Nations and demanded, "What's happened? Are the aliens back?"
"Worse!" Italy sobbed, clinging to Spain's neck (and how had he gotten there?). "The Empire has returned!"
Around the room, Nations gasped in horror. Spain fainted and hit the floor with a dull thud (Fortunately, Italy was now hiding behind Hungary and so wasn't hurt in the collision).
America, seemingly alone in his confusion, opened his mouth then closed it again. Finally he tried, "Star Wars...defeated Germany?"
"No, votre enfant stupide!*" France scolded angrily as he grabbed the young Nation by the wrist and tried to drag him along in his mad dash for safety. Unfortunately, the Superpower would not be moved. "Now is not the time for your stubbornness!"
With a frown, the younger Nation crossed his arms and demanded, "What the hell is going on?"
France gave the boy's arm one last desperate tug before giving up and joining the crowd fighting their way through the room's only door.
But then a lone shriek went up from outside the door and the Nations went quiet. They moved back as one, faces pale and eyes wide and terrified.
America stepped forward, trying to see whatever it was they were so scared of.
"'Ello poppets," England's silky voice cooed.
And with another shout from the gathered Nations, Prussia's body came sailing through the doorway to land heavily at America's feet. The young Nation yelped and stared down at the silver haired man's unconscious face. A closer inspection revealed a small Union Jack mounted on a toothpick stuck behind his bruised ear.
America blinked. "Is...that a cheese-cube decoration?"
"I've claimed that land in the name of Britain!" The Empire declared as he sauntered farther into the gathering, his cutlass ringing on his hip with every step he took.
...Wait, cutlass? Actually... America had never seen the older Nation dressed the way he was at that moment. He was wearing a long red coat (which wasn't that weird), a ruffled white tunic, a large, gaudy hat with bright plumage, and...an eye-patch.
"...Britain?" America asked weakly.
The Empire looked at America neutrally for a long moment before narrowing his visible eye and flipping up his eye-patch to stare America down with both eyes. Then he cocked his head to one side. He stared for a long moment before speaking softly, "Colony?"
Then, with a mad grin blooming on his face, he sauntered nearer.
"Stop!" America declared loudly, arm out and palm even with England's face. He had finally figured out what was going on. Britain had reverted to his glory days—basically, a nation's mid-life crisis.
The crazed, newly recreated Empire paused. Slowly, his eyes traveled up from the palm to focus on America's bright, determined blue eyes. Voice brimming with mad glee, he demanded, "Do you have a flag?"
"Yep," the younger Nation assured.
The Empire blinked in surprise. No one carried flags on them anymore.
Ever helpful, America pointed to the star-spangled flag-pin attached to his lapel. The pins were worn almost universally by his politicians and, when he had finally told his boss how much he liked them, he'd be presented with one on the spot.
Good thing too. But then a hero always came prepared!
The Empire stared at the small, damning broach, quite put out. But with a sudden burst of insight, he reached out and—rather cunningly—plucked the pin from America's coat.
America froze before slowly looking down at his now flagless chest and then—slowly—looking back up at the Empire's glowing, gimlet eyes.
The shorter Nation let the pin fall from his fingers to land on the marble floor with a sad, abandoned clink.
"Oh," America said slowly before biting his lower lip. He nodded once... then turned tail and fled.
The Empire hefted his own flag (toothpick and all) and gave chase with a savage grin.
A/N: Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed reading this nearly as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I have an idea for a second chapter/continuation, but I'm also alright with leaving this story here. Do you think I should continue or leave it as is?
*votre enfant stupide!= you stupid child!