Chapter 12: Family, Friends and Lovers Pt. 2

Author's Note: Hello everyone! Here are the next chapters, the one you all have been waiting for. Tee hee! Anyhow, I will not spoil any further, so please continue reading and enjoy the final chapters of Honesty. For after a very long hiatus...I will thank you all who have kept a constant watch on the story. Once again, to those who support the pairing and read my story, Maraming Salamat Po!

Some people asked me if I could add some more scenes with Piri and the ASEAN or more Asian. Especially for someone we know~. And yes, I would so gladly do that, so here's for you guys who asked for it. And if you will feel the same way "he" did right here, then my feels for you too. Enjoy!

There are 3 parts. LONG! I was happened. Sorry! Well, I do agree I had been gone for too long. But this chapter is for someone who asked for a longer one~. You asked for it! XD

Normal POV

"POP! And now we shall celebrate Piri's-proving-herself-and-protecting-her-friends party!" Australia shouted as he opened up the first bottle of soft drinks, "Crikey, that almost made me spill the bottle."

"...that's a pretty made-up title for the party..." his friend and neighbor, New Zealand, remarked as Australia began filling up the empty glasses, "So much drinks and snacks."

"I know, right? Well no matter~! In addition to having this party, we finally have time to spend with our Asian friends!" the Australian nation took a huge sip from his cup and beamed as the cold fluid flowed down his throat, "Ahhhh! That hits the spot! Don't be such a stick in the mud, New Zealand!"

"I'm not..." was the other's reply as he marvelled over the amount of food and drinks the party held. "It's a wonder they were able to get a party this quick, even on short notice. As expected of the ASEAN members, though. It sure is nice that they had invited us in. We are Oceanian, after all."

Australia took another sip from his glass before giving an answer, an answer that shocked his companion, "Even so, we still share ties and a lot of history with them. May we be Asian or Oceanian, it doesn't matter. We all are just the same and at the same time quite different, but there's only little difference among us. So no matter what you are or where you come from, we're all just one big happy family in this world."

"One big, family..." New Zealand gulped as he took in those words, "A-Australia...I never knew you had those kind of thoughts-" he was only interrupted when Australia provided him a glass. "Eh?"

"Here, have a glass! I'd prefer shrimp, but this will have to do~!" he pushed the glass even closer to his face, "Come on Zea, drink!"

"Now this is the Australia I know...oh all right. I'll go with the flow, chap. Anyway, let's bring some of the snacks for the others." As soon as he had neatly placed the drink-filled cups and snacks onto a tray, New Zealand handed them to the Australian before heading to the other group. " Hmm...that was pretty deep, coming from him. But, I don't think I'd take back what I had thought just then. Australia may have his moments, after all. Family. Of course."

"Hey mate! How have you been doing?" Aussie pointed to the tray of goodies he had collected and placed it on Piri's hands. "Here! Have some of these, they're pretty good!"

"Oh, Australia! Thanks for bringing these over." Maria took them and set them on the coffee table for everyone to get, "We could have done that. You are our guests after all."

"Nah~. It's fine, Zea and I are quite flattered you invited us over. As our thanks, come visit us when vacation comes! We'll all have one big barbie and we'll have lots and lots of SHRIMP!"

"S-Shrimp? Oh, that shrimp. Why not...just as soon as I update my health and life insurance before I come visit, that is." Piri's face darkened as she recalled a certain article she read, someone's visit to Australia and how it went or somewhere between those lines...

"Awwww..come on! It's not like anything would go wrong when you come visit me! Sure, I have a lot of friendly "neighbors" and "friends", but I'm sure they won't mind meeting you! They're all the good batch, isn't that right, Koala?" he turned his attention to the animal who had been riding on his shoulder, but the creature just turned its head away. Piri might have been imaging things, but she could have sworn she saw a glint appear on its eyes. "See? Koala agrees with me!"

"H-He didn't even say anything...and I don't want to know who or what he meant by his "friends" and "neighbors"...Uh." she could only stammer out her response, but either Australia could read her mind or her face was completely showing off her thoughts, he sported a pout and glared at her.

"I know that look. Oh, come on~. If England and the others had survived living or staying at my place, I'm sure you can! And- Uh...Piri, you all right?" he asked worriedly, "You're...turning red?"

Piri hurriedly felt her face, and she was heating up indeed. Maria started fanning herself, "Akh! I-I yeah! I'm fine...i-it must have gotten hotter here and there...s-see? I'm you mean, E-E-England had stayed over at your place for that long?"

"Quite a bit. He was able to at least last longer than the others...but I'd suppose he was the most tolerant out of all of them. Don't worry! I'm sure you'll feel right at home at my place! Come on~! Be a sport, mate!" Australia pleaded as he asked her once more.

"W-Wait, let me think. Give me a minute..." she turned around and started to rant inside her head, "W-What? I...did I just blush that fast a while ago? B-But...we were just talking...a-about him! This hasn't happened to me before...oh dear, oh dear. Could he be giving this much effect to me now? And even with just the mention of his name?!" the thought sank deeply that she emitted a soft groan, and luckily Australia didn't hear it.

"This is bad. I have to fix this. Okay, the best thing I can do is not to think about him. For now. Later, not now. Oh, I just hope there won't be much talk or any idea about him tonight. If they catch me blushing, they might have a lead on what my problem is. I'd rather it not be known, yet. Sorry guys, I know you care...but, I must see through this first. Hopefully chatting with everyone will clear my head...I must concentrate on the party. Right...we can do this Maria. Breathe nice and, to answer Australia's question..." she looked up happily but solemnly answered her friend, "Well, I'll think it over. Just, you do know your reputation of-"

"Anything will kill you in his place, right?" Indonesia's voice joined in their conversation just before Philippines could utter those exact words, "The last time I visited, I'd say it is quite the truth."

"R-really, kuya?" the Philippine nation asked, trying her best to imagine what could have happened to her brother during that time, "Did something attack you or did something bad happened?" and she was only surprised when Indonesia started to smile...nervously?

"Eh. W-Well...a lot happened, I'll tell you next time." turning around to face the Australian, "Though, in conclusion, it's really best if there's someone with you who knows the territory quite well. Your place is one deadly trap to step on, Australia."

"Awww. That's nice to hear! But, not at all times, you know~." was the blushing boy's reply.

"So you're saying it is a deadly trap?! And did he take that as a compliment?!" were the thoughts, on the other hand, running through both the South-East Asians' heads as they heard the answer. They were about to ask him another question when he gave a grin and shouted.

"Hey hey hey~! The East Asians have arrived, and it looks like thy have their own assortment of food in tow.", and as he spoke, they turned their heads to see the familiar faces of their higher latitude neighbors who, true to Australia's word, held several packages with them. Most of them stood up to greet the newly arrived and also assist them with their belongings. Taiwan and Macau were the first to enter, explaining to them the others would follow soon.

"Good evening and welcome! Thank you for coming even though it was on short notice," Vietnam and Thailand spoke to the two. "Please enjoy your stay~!"

"You sound like we're in a hotel, Vietnam...but we'll surely enjoy our stay!" Taiwan took several of the packages and handed them to the Vietnamese, "China had prepared some dim sum and many more for the party. We did help prepare them, but I brought bubble tea for everyone!"

"I'll help you with the preparations, Meimei. Where can we put these, Thailand?" Macau asked as he brought several coolers and several sinkers into the room. "It was quite on time too, since she had pre-ordered these."

"Pre-ordered?" New Zealand asked as he arranged the coolers on a table. "So much sinkers! And all with different colors and shapes. What is popping bobba...(1)"

"Try it! You'll love it!" Taiwan explained as she took out a cup and scooped a huge amount of the "popping bobba" and poured in the tea. "It's one of my top sellers as it goes with anything! Yogurts, milk tea, shaved ice, cold drinks, ice cream, you name it~!"

Gingerly, New Zealand took the cup and swirled its contents before giving a sip. He felt something round and soft enter his mouth, "Oh, it's like your tapioca pearls-" and he bit it, "Lychee?! SOUR!"

"That's why it's "Popping Bobba"~! They're soft and like bubbles or pearls, ne? And it contains juice so that it pops when it's in your mouth! It does come with a variety of flavors, so I suppose you got the lychee version. Be careful on swirling your straw, you might pop it." Taiwan explained as she passed several more cups to the rest, "You can still choose any sinkers you want! What about you, Piripi? Oh, and good job this afternoon!"

"I guess it had spread that fast. Thank you, Taiwan. What other flavors you've got here?" Piri looked at the list Taiwan provided her with, "So many to choose from. I'm not quite sure which to pick, Taiwan. I think you can choose randomly for me and I'd go for it."

"Hmmmm...", Piri's answer made the Taiwanese read the list over and over and turn around to browse through her materials, "I suppose you've gotten tired of the Milk Teas I've been bringing you over. So why not try the Earl Grey Tea? It's pretty good, and some do like it!"

(Strike 2!) "E-Earl Grey...Tea?! That's the tea he- T-The blush is coming! Quick! Think! Oh...r-really? I-I didn't notice that on the list..." Maria stammered out her response, but it was good no one took notice of her manner of speaking it.

"Hmm? Perhaps you don't like it? We do have the Jasmine Tea, milk and no milk version, if you'd like. I know you're not much into tea, but would you like that one instead? You do like jasmines a lot..." Taiwan asked her again and started to prepare the ingredients. "They're pretty calming and they're both good, so?"

"E-Ea-Jasmine, jasmine please. No milk, just iced. And, no need to add sinkers. The tea is just fine." As soon as Taiwan had turned her back to prepare the tea, "Ohhh...I'd like to try the Earl Grey...but...I might get more obvious...I'd sneak and ask for a cup next time...I wonder what he does like about it..." Maria couldn't help but think, that that was one of HIS favorites and what his scent almost was... "BLUSH, AWAY!"

"Oh, and by the way, Piri? If you see Hong Kong anywhere, please tell him to come by and help me here. I do need someone to assist with the ingredients. Macau seems to be busy chatting with Thailand and the others. And done!" it only took the girl several minutes to finish and place a straw for her customer, "Here you go, Piri! Enjoy your tea~! Wow, you seem that excited? You're quite red?"

"Not again! Concentrate! Yep, that I am! I'll pass the message to him when I see him. T-Thanks, Taiwan!" and with that she quickly left the bewildered girl but then nearly ran into some old person. "Akh!"

"Aya~! Watch where you're going- oh! Piripi! There you are!" the girl looked up to meet the familiar voice and face as he turned around, "Good to see you well!"

"I'm always well, Kuya..." Maria answered as she sheepishly fixed her drink, which almost spilled when she bumped into him. "Sorry about that, I didn't mean to bump into you. I was just-"

"Oh! But I was hoping to bump into you anyway! Aya! I was going to comment on how very brave you were for protecting your...fratello?, as you say? I was wondering about that, since he's not your brother or anything..."

"Well...I think I've said this story before...we did meet once or twice back during those old times. He did do some chronicles and some observations on my part, perhaps some trade too. He just told me to call him with respect when we met, since he was older than me. He didn't like Mr. Romano so I ended up calling him fratello." Maria explained while trying to recall the few times she had met Romano. Although they were quite vague, she did know that she did meet him before.

"In the end, it sounded more of a big brother and little sister relationship. I would say it's the same way I call you and the others Kuya (big brother) and not Tito (Mister or Uncle, a term you call a quite older person than you) or Lolo (grandfather)-

China interrupted her before she could finish, "I see I see! Well, then just keep calling me Kuya instead of Tito or Lolo, all right? really are a family and friendly nation, Piripi! But really, you'd better watch yourself, aru! What if something bad happened?" the old man gave her a tight squeeze all of a sudden.

Since she was being squeezed up like a doll by Yao, she could hardly give an answer until he loosened his grip on her. Once she had breathed in a bit more, she gently pushed herself off him, "I'll be fine, kuya. Don't worry. I'm a big girl already, and I can handle myself and of course, with everyone's support, I can get through it," she patted him on the shoulder for comfort, "Right?"

"Ahhh~. Mai, you have certainly grown up. It's good that you've become even more mature after all these years." he patted her on the head this time, "It seems like only yesterday, when I was doing trade with a small child, but now, she's almost my height and she thinks maturely too."

Piri could feel a huge sweat-drop appear on her temple. Who wouldn't do so if you notice the person you were talking to had a background of pink, flowers and glitters manifesting behind him or her? Well, it wasn't the first time it happened, after all... "Kuya're beginning to reminisce again..."

And before the Chinese man could give out an unsatisfied remark at Maria's sarcasm, someone beat him to it, "Leave him be, old people always do that..."

"Hey, I heard that Hong Kong, aru~!" Piri turned around to face another familiar face. The boy stood there carrying several stacks of dim sum steamers in his hands, but his face was still composed and that smirk on his face widened as his mentor shouted at him. "I am not old, right, Piri?"

Cupping her chin, Maria's smirk resembled that of her friend, "Well, you're not that old. I believe ancient is the exact term." and China couldn't help but fume and vent angrily at the two laughing nations.

"That's even worse! Aya! I'll leave you two children! I still need to put in more of the dim sum!" and off went the raging Chinese, leaving Piri and Hong Kong giggling and watching their friend "blow off a lot of steam" literally. They noticed, that at the same time, he was also ranting on and on about manners and respect and so forth.

It was Hong Kong who cut off the silence as Piri controlled herself to not giggle anymore, "For an old person, he sure is still lively...good evening, Piripi. Glad to see you are feeling a bit better. I see Taiwan has started handing out the Bubble tea around.", he pointed to the cup she held, "No sinkers?"

"Everyone seems to keep checking on my health today. I am quite fine, and yes, Taiwan was already handing them around and gave me the Jasmine Tea, no milk. It's pretty good, actually. I feel a bit much better now...and calmer too." she noticed she was indeed more at ease. Perhaps, it was because either she had a good laugh or the tea was working wonders on her. "And how about you? Any tea you fancy?"

(STRIKE 3!) "That almost sounded like you had a British accent a while ago. Had England rubbed a bit of his accent on you?" Hong Kong noted when she asked him, and only got bewildered when she nearly dropped her cup, "Hey! Don't just spill the tea! Are you shaky, per chance?"

"O-Oops! S-Sorry, maybe, I suppose. My hands must have gotten numb because it is cold after all...nice excuse, Maria. Would he take it?" she swiftly took back the cup from Hong Kong's hands and gave it another sip, "And I thought I was that calm already..."

"Well, be careful next time. Tea is an exquisite drink and must not be wasted. Even though it's completely different from the tea I know, I may still count it as tea. Jasmine Tea, huh? It's a lovely drink, but I suppose it would have been expected of you to choose that than the Green Tea or Earl Grey Tea, which I prefer more. Of course, I would rather drink the hot versions of them."

"I would have wanted to try that out..." Maria thought so as she continued sipping from her drink, "You're really quite into tea more than I am. I'd prefer coffee, but when it comes to situations where I'd rather be calm and think, tea is the better option. Coffee just makes me alert and energetic, but quite jittery."

"That I agree with. Ahhh~. Maybe I had gotten these thoughts from England and China. Both of them love to sip tea whenever they can. You should try tea more, it's healthier." Hong Kong mumbled, oblivious to Piri starting to blush again. She was really thankful it was quite dark, and it could mask out the red. "Oh but anyway, I just wanted to greet you and say, good job but be more careful next time."

"Is it just me...or have I been getting the same speech from everyone... Why, thank you-"

"Maid." he chuckled and spoke the one word he knew that would get her riled up. Deep inside the mai- girl's head, she was opting to just Pacquiao-combo-punch that nation to the wall to kingdom come, but something seemed to make her stop and not do it. Normally, she would have glared, shouted or reprimanded somebody who called her "maid" or anything worse. Perhaps...could he be testing her?

"..." so, she didn't speak out, and just continued sipping her tea, although it was evident that a vein was pulsing through her forehead. It was only when Hong Kong started to clap his hands that Maria's attention shifted back to reality.

"My my my, that's better. I suppose you had indeed matured, just as he had said. But silence does mean yes, after all."

Deciding to answer back, she just gave him a sly smile, "Don't push it, Hong Kong. But, jokes are half-meant after all and isn't that already getting old? You'll need more than that to get on my nerves, my dear friend." and he chuckled once more.

"Very well. I won't push anymore buttons then. I'm quite glad you had learnt your lesson." So he WAS testing her, "I'm just making sure you're not going to go on rampage mode if things like this happen again. You do learn fast, after all."

Maria just waved off the other sentences he said, because if she started thinking deeply about it, she'd really get all mad at him again. At first, she glared at her friend but smiled, "He isn't much of a bad guy after all...I can handle that any time, Hong Kong...but thanks for your concern."

"I didn't-" and it was her turn to cut him off, much to his chagrin.

"Likewise. Anyway~! Thanks for coming over, it's more fun if there are more people here. And..." she took notice of one of the boxes just behind him, and she couldn't mistake the distinct look, "Are those...fireworks?"

"Well, you do have sharp eyes. And that is correct, I got some shipped from my house this morning." he remarked with enthusiasm and pulled one of them out, "I'm planning to use them at the after-semester party...though, I'd like to try them out first..." a glint appeared on his eyes as he spoke.

Gears started to shift. Click. "Are...Are you going to light them up here?", she asked worriedly.

"And if I say yes?" he answered nonchalantly, and shocked the girl, "Did I get you?" he laughed and explained, "No, I'm not lighting them up here, silly. The school would have my head, if I dared. These are just the simple sparkly sticks. I do have some in stock somewhere, though..."

"T-Thank goodness." Maria mumbled happily as the other returned the sticks back in the box. "I just hope he doesn't try to light up any of them immediately...Oh. By the way, Taiwan told me to tell you that she may need some assistance with the tea. Actually, she's waving her arms at us right now..."

"I noticed. I should head over there and help her. Guess I'll be her assistant for the moment, since Kiku's not here yet." Hong Kong took a few more boxes and balanced them on his hands.

"Isn't Kiku around? And come to think of it, I haven't seen Yong Soo around either..." Maria looked back inside and only noticed that Taiwan and Macau were the only Eastern Asians inside the room.

"He's currently with Yong Soo. They had some things to deal with before they could head over here I'll see you around, Piri. It was nice seeing you again." and with a wave of his hand, he marched inside the ASEAN clubroom with the boxes in tow.

"Well well. I was expecting you two to be fighting, since you two are always like cats and dogs..." Piri turned around to see China bringing some more dim sum bowls in his hands. "But I suppose you two have grown up that much after all."

Maria smiled and turned back to watch Hong Kong and Taiwan who were both busy preparing more tea for the others, "Maybe so...anyway, it just occurred to me...did you prepare for this before? Here, let me help with bringing them in."

"Oh. Thank you! And yes, we were also planning to have a party sometime this month before vacation comes, but why not celebrate it right now with all of you?" China answered as he also brought in more steamed dumplings inside the room, "Aya! You already had some snacks? But I just brought a whole bunch from our Gourmet club!"

"Gourmet club..." she gently placed the plates beside the dumplings and the sauce for them, "That is the club where France and Turkey are in, right?"

"Of course! It is the club that suits my style and purpose! Only a few people can enter this club, and it is an honor that I am one of the leaders of the club~!" China exclaimed with utmost strength and conviction that the others who were listening, looked up with mouths agape, "To cook, eat, and love food! Such the perfect club it is, aru!"

Cue in the flashy background. "I-Is that so, Kuya Yao..."

"Of course! Oh, England is of course barred from our club, as France would say. But, I can see what he meant. That boy would literally make a mess of everything if he enters the kitchen...neh, Maria?"

(STRIKE 4!) "Again?! How many times has it- He's barred? E-even so, that's kind of mean, Kuya Yao. Quite mean." Maria answered quickly as she watched China, explaining and waving his arms in front of her.

"Oh, come on. Admit it Piri! You know what he can do with food and the kitchen! Don't tell me you haven't seen how it looks? It emits the aura of doom and danger! Woe be to the one who dares eat it!"

Yao's words were quite exaggerated, but it was probably much of a truth by itself. Although the scones were pretty good by themselves, she hadn't seen England bring anything or cooked by himself. Of course, she had been hearing similar horror stories from her classmates and friends. Still, he might have been just misunderstood on that part or he just does need some help. She couldn't help but feel sorry for England at that moment. "Probably so..but do give him a chance..."

China scratched the back of his head at her answer, "That may be quite a hard thing to do, dear Mai. But, it all depends on him, after all. Oh, and be wary of he brings. Scones, I think he called them."

"I'd love to tell him I had tried the scones before, but I'm sure he'll cause a ruckus about it...surely saying something about my ruined taste-buds. Sure Kuya Yao, I'll see what I can do about that. But speaking about food, you should probably eat, right? Help yourself~!"

"Ahh. You're quite the mind-reader, Mai! Very well, I shall use my gourmet skills to critique the food you have brought~! If you'd excuse me, Mai?" Maria handed him a plate immediately and moved aside so he could walk to the food table.

"They're just from the Midnight Market, kuya. Go on ahead." as soon as China began browsing through the selections, Maria walked back to her seat just with her South-East Asian neighbors, "Hi guys! The party sure is flowing smoothly, better than I expected. I'd like to ask this but the way the party had gone, I have this gut feeling you had planned it even before?"

"Correct~! It's a nice thing you were late, as we were able to further discuss the plans for this party. Actually, we did have a lot of time to talk about it." Myanmar explained as he bit through the dumplings, "These are good~!

Eye twitch. "You sound like I was so late!"

"I don't know?", Laos slyly asked as she passed a cup to Cambodia, "Perhaps you really were?"

Sighing in defeat, Philippines sat back down and continued fumbling through the snacks bowl, "Never mind...but I'm glad things are going smoothly. Though, of course, it would be more fun if we could liven the party some more..."

"I know what we can do!" Australia opened up a box, which he suddenly whipped out of nowhere, and presented to them the item in his hands, "Behold! A transportable Karaoke machine! And there's no need to put any charges on it! All for free! The songbook is here, so pass it around! (2)"

"Wow. It's pretty up to date too..." Indonesia said as he started flipping through the songbook, "Where did you get this, Australia?" he looked to where Australia pointed his finger, Japan. Taiwan was beside him and he was carefully leaning on her frame as he spoke to them.

"Good evening, everyone. Please be free to try our latest version of ******. It will be in markers around next month, but we may have the first try on it." the Japanese explained as he bowed to them respectfully, "I hope you will enjoy them and please do send me feed backs and comments."

"Welcome, Kiku. Don't be like a salesman in front of your us. But, we're the first triers? Why not! Let's get it set up!" Malaysia remarked and the machine was passed to Brunei and Singapore who began to set the machine for them, "That's very kind of you, Kiku. But why this all of a sudden?"

It was Australia who spoke up to explain to them, "Well, to put it shortly. Japan refused to swim with me during one of my training sessions, so he decided to just give this to me for compensation. Crikey, you should have joined me, Japan! It would have been fun! 5 miles back and forth! I'd go for another round if I ever had the chance!"

"I-I'd rather not, my back would not be able to handle it..." Japan was explaining but suddenly, he erupted in a volley of coughs as Australia gave him a pat on the back. A HARD PAT. "A-Australia-san, not too hard, please.

"Oh, my bad, pal! I was just going to comfort you with a friendly pat... But, anyway! Why don't you sit down, eat and enjoy the show? Time to unwind yourself, dear chap!", they all looked up as a shout came from the others who had finished installing the karaoke machine, "Wow...they got it up? That was quick. Come on Indonesia! Help me pick a song!" he pulled a blushing Indonesia to his side, and Piri began to snicker. She wished she could have taken a picture, at least. Her brother was quite fun to tease with, just at the same time he had fun teasing her a lot. "It ain't no party if there's no karaoke! I'll pick first! And I'll be dedicating this song for Piri's triumph! My Heart Will Go On!"

"T-Thanks, Australia..." she hadn't heard Australia's singing voice, and she wondered if he could reach THAT high. Her thoughts stopped when she spotted two figures approaching her, "Hello, Kiku. You can sit by me. Did something happen to you? You've been quite pale since you first entered the room?" Maria asked as she looked over the complexion of her friend. Truly, he looked paler than usual, and why can't he seem to hold his stature without leaning over to Taiwan? She had already finished passing around the tea for everyone and had joined the others.

"He had an attack of back pains or his osteoporosis this afternoon. So he got sent to the clinic and is now under constant watch on his diet." Taiwan explained as she helped her boyfriend down on the couch, "So no salty foods for him for the next few days...or months.", only a whimper passed through the boy's lips.

Maria sighed sadly, much of pity for him. She knew Kiku loved to eat salty foods, especially fish and anything seafood. "Ehhhh...I hope you'll get better soon, Kiku. I'd advice on more calcium and vitamin D, such as milk, beans and greens. Although, calcium is not good without Vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed so that the calcium would be directed to the sinks, such as the bones. Though, you can still get Vitamin D from wild salmon, sardines and herrings, I'd say soy milk and sunlight is better." she could only chuckle when Kiku's ears perked up when she said those fish.

"You're quite knowledgeable with this Piri. As expected of your nurse abilities." Taiwan looked at her in wonder as she sat besides Kiku, "Well, we'll do what we can and watch over his diet. Boy, it sure was a good thing England came by and helped him~!"

At her comment, Piri didn't blush although it was already almost 5 times that she had encountered the word or thoughts of England for the past few minutes. No, she was more...intrigued and confused. England came by...and helped him? She didn't recall England mentioning about Kiku or the matter when he was with her. And if she remembered clearly, she had seen Kiku running around the campus with his camera, since she was bored and kept looking out of the window. So... "E-England did?"

"Yes, England-san had to look after me for a bit this afternoon." Japan spoke this time, and was about to take a shrimp-flavored chips but his hand was smacked by his girlfriend, "I-I wasn't going to get that..."

This went unnoticed to Piri, though. Her mind was starting to shift the gears again. Back pains do not just happen unless the person had been put through too much stress or work. Kiku looked quite fine before, so...why did the back pains come up? And how did England come into the picture of knowing about these problems?

Wait. But, if Kiku meant by this afternoon, could that be the reason England had left her all of a sudden? So it was indeed a plausible reason why he had not returned to the room. But...what caused him to leave and how did Japan get involved? It was quite confusing. It was as if a missing element was needed to complete the story, but she had no idea of what it could be. "It looks like I won't be able to answer the question, and it's even bad that I can still feel the pang in my chest of being left. ...why did he leave? What could have made Kiku be involved with it, somehow? Maybe I should ask him...Oh, I see..."

"Ah...Piripi, let me expl- GYAAAAHHHH!" Maria jumped more in surprise when Kiku gave a loud scream while speaking to her. It was then that both girls noticed a pair of hands just by Japan's chest and both screamed at the culprit, "Yong-Soo!"

"Japan's breasts are mine, da-ze!" South Korea popped up from behind him and let go of his brother who slumped back down on the couch. "Anneoyunghaseyo (Hello), Piripi!"

"Geez! I told you to not do that to Japan, anymore!" Taiwan cried out loud as she tried hitting the Korean but to no avail. "But seriously, that made Japan stand up straighter..."

"Yong-Soo, good to see you again, anneoyunghaseyo din (Hello, too)!" Maria answered back as she helped Japan sit up straight on the couch, "You should really stop jumping up on people, you know..."

"I completely agree with her..." Japan agreed as Taiwan passed him a glass of water, "You could just casually come up and greet me, not...that." and at the same time pointed to his chest, but the South Korean just raised his hands and smirked at his friends.

"Where's the fun in it? And besides, in that way, you can always know it's me! Manchae~, this dim sum is pretty good~." he had a plate of dim sum in one hand while he spoke with them. The South Korean was indeed that energetic.

"Still..." Japan tried to reason out some more with his brother, "At least be more kind to me because my bones might not handle it next time..."

"Oh, right! Sorry, Japan! Very well very well. I won't do it again until you have completely healed~! Anyway, I just came over to greet you for the wonderful performance you had done this afternoon! So brave of you, Piripi!" the Korean gave the Filipina a big hug, almost like what China gave to her, but he had a looser grip than Yao's.

"Another congratulations...Thanks Yong was really quite an event. But, in the end, I'm really glad you guys are there and you all are supporting me. Thank you." and Yong Soo gave her a huge thumbs up.

"Of course, we're here for you until the end, Piripi! And another reason I came by is because I have some business plans I'd like to talk with you about~! Since it will be vacation soon, would you like a new collection of Koreanovelas I have for you? Or, do you want to collaborate for a new concert I have in plan for the next year? Would you like S**** ******? Or S*** or how about B****? Hey! I can always call in ****** ***** to take another tour!"

"You two really get along..." Hong Kong, who was also done with the tea handing out, noticed as his brother started pumping his fists in the air, for too much excitement. "Quite too well."

With a little spin, South Korea gave a rather awkward pose with his hands like guns pointed at Piri, "Of course! She's my great little waifu! Ain't that right?"

Another eye-twitch. "I'm not little! And I'm not your waifu..."

Maria was only caught by surprise when Yong Soo pulled her into another embrace and started twirling her into a dance, "Same same~! Come on come on! Dance with me, waifu! Let the "Mother Father Gentleman" guide you!"

"G-Gentleman?" at that instant, she could feel the familiar heat on her face as the word rang a certain memory in her head. Even though she knew it meant the new song he had, a different thought came into her mind instead. Knowing how her blush would spread so easily and she was in a quite lit area, she feared it would get noticed and-

"Stop that!" she was saved when Vietnam came by and hit him with her paddle, thus making him let go of the dizzy girl. Luckily, she got her balance back and stared in wonder at her savior, "You're making a mess again, Yong Soo!"

"Owwwiiiiiieeeeeee. Meanie Vietnam!" he clutched over the sore bump on his head, so he took one of the iced cups and placed it on the bump. "Where'd you get that paddle, anyway?!" but he only got another smack as an answer. "HEY!"

Taiwan just face-palmed as she helped the Filipina back to the seat, "Do forgive know how he acts all the time. He does mean well, though."

Maria couldn't help but chuckle, "Of course, Meimei. I know that. We've been good friends for the past few decades, so I pretty much get most of his antics. But still...that was pretty rough..." and point back to South Korea making a duck behind Thailand to save him. That didn't stop Vietnam from still chasing him around the room, though.

"Not really...that was still quite mild...and hey! Don't go behind me! Go somewhere else!" she ran off when South Korea decided to run behind her. And so the ruckus began.

"Waaahhhh! Protect me, China!"

"Don't hide behind me, aru~!"

"I told you to quit it! Hong Kong! Help me here!"

"Ehh? But I'm preparing the fireworks to light up for later..."

"Yey! Fireworks!"

"That is not good! We don't have a permit!

"They're just the simple fireworks!"

"Still not allowed! I'd fine you for that!"

"Don't light them up yet, la!"

"Every night in my dreamssssssssssssssss~!"

"I want to put this up next."

"I'm going next, Thai!"

"Wait your turn, Myanmar...Yolngu's still singing!"

"Do please stop running around!"

"Hold it, right there!"

"Put away the paddle and I'll think about it!"

"Quit messing around!"

"I seeeeee youuuu~! I feeeeeeeeeeeelllll youuuuuuu~!"

Despite all the ruckus that was going on, Piri just sat down on her chair and continued watched everything from her seat. "'s good they're having fun...England...huh..." another sigh. How many times had she been sighing in this party? Or perhaps, how many times had the idea or thought of England entered into all of her conversations in this party? Maybe she was that tired...or maybe she was thinking too much. "I'd better not be a party pooper...and also, perhaps I should clear my head first before I continue mingling with them..."

Cautiously, the Philippine nation walked up to the food table and then slowly sneaked her way to the clubroom door. As soon as she noted no-one would notice her disappearance, she quickly turned around and closed the door. But, one, or two, did take notice of her 'sudden' departure.

"Leaving in the middle of a party. ...I suppose it is better that she have some time to think about everything...but, I think I must..." checking first to see if anyone would notice, he stood up and cautiously walked over to the door, his eyes on the girl who just left.

"...he is going after her..." Indonesia remarked as he watched Brunei leave the room and gently close the door behind him. "But who else to talk to her but her closest friend...", he chuckled and took another sip from his glass.

Brunei carefully slipped through the corridors of the club room building. As much as he was enjoying the party and the company of his friends, his thoughts always went over to his best friend. Even if she had looked like she was in a good mood, he could completely tell that that sigh she gave wasn't just a tired sigh. "Where could she have gone off to..."

As he walked along the silent halls, he noticed a ray of moonlight coming from one side of the corridor at the far end. Following his instincts, Brunei quietly sneaked over to that side where he spotted his target, who was busy staring up at the crescent moon on the dark velvety sky and humming a soft tune to herself. It was only when Piri stopped to breathe and drink from her cup that Brunei decided to make his presence known. "You know, if you had wanted to sing, there's always a chance for you to take the karaoke mike? It is your party after all."

As surprising as it was, Piri would have lunged an attack on the person if she hadn't recognized Brunei's voice immediately, "B-Brunei? H-How long have you...never mind...don't sneak up on me like that. I could have hit you, you know." and Brunei only laughed as he went by her side so they could converse easily, "S-So, what brings you out? Needed some air, as well?"

"That, but more of wanted to check on someone." he put it as he played with the cup of soda in his hand.

The girl beside him turned her gaze slowly towards the moon as she answered back. " that so?"

Brunei continued on, "We were hoping the party would help liven you up. But, it seems even through your smiles and laughs, your mind is still far far away. This, something you've been thinking about, and because of the quick pace of events hurled on you today, you couldn't stop and think it thoroughly, is that right?"

"Seriously...why can you always see right through me..." Maria pouted as she felt Brunei's gaze on her. So here was another one who could read her. Not good. "...was I...that transparent?"

"Transparent or not, it doesn't much matter. Well, the others may have noticed it or maybe not, but that's not something you should worry yourself about..." he explained, but the look on the other girl's face didn't change one bit. It became even more confused. "There is something wrong with wouldn't go off thinking like that all of a sudden."

"I told you, I'm fine. The incident is over and-" Maria snapped at him.

"It's not about the teacher incident." crossing his arms and glaring, he snapped back at her. Just like the way he'd reprimand Timor if she did something wrong. "You were able to get over it, by what means, I am not quite sure. But that's not what you've been thinking of."

"W-What-" she paled when she saw how serious her best friend became, "Seriously, Brunei. If you know about it, just come out with it to me..."

"...well, I am still not completely confident I know what IT is." he straightened himself up and looked back at her carefully, "Come on. I can keep a secret, tell me what's been bugging you...well, not these bugs of course..." he joked as he swatted off some insects buzzing around them. He was quite pleased when his friend laughed at him. "If you've got problems, it's better if you could vent or talk about it to people. You may actually find some answers along the way."

True. He was her close friend. Brunei had always been. He knew her like the back of his hand and he could almost always tell what she had in mind. It had scared her at first. But, from what she had learnt from him when he became the bridge to reconnect her with her family, she knew he cared the most for her. They had been allies before, now that she had a clearer definition of her past. And, although they had drifted apart from each other for too long, Maria knew when she met him again, that he wasn't just an ordinary neighboring nation. He was special to her, just as she was special to him. Even if a lot have happened between them...they were still close, no matter what.

He can keep a secret...and she knew he meant it. Hopefully, he could help her with this problem of hers.

"They're not what's bugging's just...I've been thinking." she looked back up at the moon as she spoke to him slowly, "Oh, I suppose it would help me and also ease the load off my shoulders. It wouldn't hurt to tell him...I suppose... I...Brunei...when you...feel something, like something was off when you're with someone. And I don't mean that bad kind of off...I mean the other type of off, you get what I mean?"

"Hmm...So that's what you've been feeling with England?"

"Oh, so you knew it's England. Now this would be easi-" Maria jumped at the sudden turn of the conversation that she nearly dropped her own cup, "E-England?! W-what? W-What ever gave you t-the idea that it would be England that I would be troubling over? Eh, Brunei?"

The boy didn't flinch at all or take any notice of his flustered friend's appearance and expression, although internally, he was laughing, "No need to lie to me, Piri. You already gave yourself away with your first sentence. And if that's not enough, you do know that I am one of the most observant people you have met. I had been keeping my eye on you, and...well, it was quite easy and obvious to deduce. Not just by your actions tonight, but also before."

"Was I...really that o-obvious?" Maria asked, a scared tone in her voice, "...and did...anyone else notice it?"

Brunei just gave a shrug, "Maybe not. You never talked about it with any one of us. Well, I suppose I am acting quite a bit blunt on my side, but if you keep that problem, you may not be able to solve it just by yourself. I would like to provide you with help. I hate seeing you all like this."

"Oh..." Maria tried to find the right words to say, "I thought...I thought if I told you all, you would hate me or something. Most of you had met him and got along with him before I did, and well- why does he...seem fine with it?"

"How about we concentrate on what the real problem is?" Brunei cut her off, his eyes still focused on the moon, "I meant to say his name to see if I was correct and also, to help you solve the problem. Now that that's out of the bag, you can tell me what's wrong freely. And do not worry, no one's here to judge or anything, if that is what if you're fearing from us."

Maria hung her head low, he caught her again, "Uhhh...slightly. But...yes. I suppose, since you seem to understand and know about this...I guess I can tell you. Will you listen?" he nodded and she began explaining all that had happened and all she had been thinking about. How she felt, how she knew it, and how it was between him and her. Brunei was an excellent listener. He hardly interrupted Piri with her story and would only ask a few questions for clarification. "And...that's about it. It's really kind of weird that I've been getting these thoughts and feelings..."

"It's not really that weird. Feelings always come and change as the season does, it all just depends on those who put their feelings in thought and motion. Hmm, now that I've got a clearer picture of what had been going on with you and him, this is how I see it."

"If it would help clear things up, please do..." she nodded as she took a sip from her glass.

"Why haven't you told him yet? He may like you the same way you do.", only to have her liquid sputtered out with his sentence. She hurriedly wiped the excess liquid off her mouth as she angrily vented on her neighbor. The boy just remained calm despite all that his friend was going through.

"Susmaryosep, Brunei! You keep surprising me with your answers! Please be serious!"

The boy stopped his friend from venting out even more by placing his hands on her shoulders, "I am serious! Calm down, Piri, please. if you keep reacting like this, we won't be able to solve the problem, understand?" as soon as she had nodded, he let go and asked her again, "Very well, I need you to think carefully and answer me truthfully. What's stopping you?"

"It's because...of that feeling. I've been giving it some thought for the past time and..." Maria took a breath before she continued, "Is it better to hide how you feel and what you want to say, for each of our sake? I know I am the type of person who just goes through with anything. ...even through all that I've been through, I just go through it head-on. May it end good or bad, I just smile and accept it for the sake of saying it's all right, I've learnt something...there's always a tomorrow for it. So...even if it were bad...I would go through it...but..."

She looked up to him straight in the eyes as she poured out more of her feelings, "Brunei. Saying it out loud...your honest feelings. I'm not stupid to know that being honest is wrong and right at the same time...but...for this situation, is it better to leave my feelings behind? Then, it's not being me..."

Brunei remained silent as he listened to the girl speak out her mind. She was shaking, her face a deep red, her voice was cracking, and he could tell the tears were slowly starting to poke out. He had to do something, he would have wanted to stop her. It pained him even more to see her like this. But. "I'd rather face her crying in front of me and telling me what is wrong. I don't want to see the fake smile and laugh... So I'll let this flow...and I will listen. Just as I have done before. Continue, Maria...I'm here. I'm listening."

"I don't...I don't know. I believe I could do the right thing, but what if it were a bad thing, after all? Will I be right? Will I be wrong? It confuses me too much, and I don't know if I can make anything out of it. W-What am I supposed to do, Brunei..." she felt a soft hand patting her head again, just like how Indonesia would do for her.

"I...I may understand it. You've grown to be honest and speak out your feelings. But, then all your thoughts and ideas had been suppressed for a long time. You were made to be silent and follow what it is said to be right. And when you finally got to be free and opened your eyes once more, you personally brought it out to be free in what you think and feel, to go for what you believe in. But now..." he rubbed her head softly, "What you know...negates it."

It took a few seconds before Maria nodded, "Yes... I am totally honest with what I believe in, I would stand up for it...because that's who I am...but why...why...why can't I be more honest with my feelings now?! Why?! It's not me! This is not me! Why can't...why can't I do anything?!" and just screamed as she burst out in tears in front of him, "Brunei..."

She was more shocked when nation grabbed her by the waist and gave her a soft but tight hug. His hands circled round her arms and his head nestled among her hair's tresses. Slowly, she wound her arms around his waist and continued crying out on his chest. Brunei then comforted her by gently combing her hair and whispering soft words in his language. Maria may not understand, but she felt they were genuine and caring. His chest began to dampen, but he didn't care. This was Maria, after all.

Soft sobs were gently swayed off with gentle and kind murmurs. Maria listened to these soft murmurs. Slowly, and steadily, it made her calmer, warmer and safer. "Maybe Brunei was was better, it was better to cry it all out to someone, instead of keeping it in."

As soon as she had calmed down and her tears were wiped away by Brunei's gentle hands, he pushed her a few inches off from him. The boy placed both of his hands on her cheeks and spoke to her, "There, a bit better?" and she just nodded to him and gave a weak smile. He wiped another of the tears and bit his lip as he began talking again, for he was trying to find the right words for her, "Honesty, it is...such a fragile hard to use, for it can be a double-edged weapon. It may heal but it can also hurt you or the other, or both."

"I know...honesty hurts." she mumbled out the sentence and her expression darkened, "I know that...that's why I'm scared. I'm scared of this honesty. I'm scared that if I become honest...I might lose everything. I don't...I don't want to lose him, Brunei. He's that important to me...I don't think I could handle it anymore if I was left alone and broken. No...never again..."

Before she began to cry, Brunei tilted her head as he asked her "Maria...let me ask you this...and answer me honestly, why are you being honest to me? Why can you tell me this?"

"Because..." Maria answered without hesitation, "Because you're my friend, my closest friend, Brunei! I can trust you!"

"Then you don't trust him?"

Those words.

Maria couldn't give an immediate reply and only a soft whisper came from her mouth, while she tried to process carefully what he might be saying. Trust? Honesty? Him? " trust him?"

"Yes, don't you? I thought you told me you regarded him as your friend. A special friend. And yet, why don't you trust him?"

"That's not it! I...I do...Brunei...but, I-I'm scared to expect anything from him, so I don't put my entire trust in him. Because, if I trust him more and more, I know I will become even more honest with him. And with that, I'm scared of what may happen. So I had decided to keep them all down...all so that nothing wrong could happen."

"But it is happening. That wall you kept to maintain it is falling apart", he gently turned her face to meet his, "Trust and Honesty go along in the same direction, expectations may come along with it. These three tend to tie up together when we form relationships with people. To expect and fear the future. It is normal to have those kinds of thoughts of what lies ahead. But if we don't step up, nothing will happen right? Although, it is possible to leave this and choose another path that you may believe is the best for everything...but is it really what you wish?"

The girl in his arms trembled as she tried to answer, "It is...I have to follow what is right and what I believe in."

Brunei did not take her sentence at all. Clicking his tongue in a bit of annoyance, he lowered his voice, and gave quite a glare that surprised the girl, "Is it? Is it what you completely believe in? I know you, Maria. You're confused. But, listen...listen to yourself. Can you not hear that small voice? That voice that calls out to you...for you to speak your mind and heart. Don't you hear it?"

"Brunei...what are you saying?" she asked, totally bewildered by her friend's actions. "What...small voice are you talking about?" She squeaked when she felt Brunei's hand as he took her own and guided it to her chest, "My...heart?"

"No. Much deeper than that, Piri. It's your inner consciousness, your own self. It's telling you something, right? Listen, calm yourself and open up your heart and mind. Close your eyes and listen to yourself. It may possibly lead you to an answer."

Following his instructions, Piri closed her eyes and breathed in and out. What could her friend mean? What could her inner consciousness think to say for her to solve her problems? She tried to concentrate, tried to feel and think. What could it be...what was wrong...with...her? Wait, she listened, there was something...Brunei was right. There seemed to be...something. Within the darkness and confusion she was feeling, there seemed to be a voice...and it was saying one word. "T-Trust?" Maria asked as she opened her eyes once more, looking up to her friend's eyes. (3)

At her answer, Brunei's eyes twinkled and he smiled again, like when a child is correct and the teacher is pleased, "Yes, Maria...why don't, you trust yourself more on this?"

"Trust...myself?" A sort of understanding came to her. Everything was starting to fall in place. She spoke slowly again, "Brunei, I think I'm starting to understand. Let me see if I can get this straight. I...I believe I was scared of losing. Losing myself for anything. I was scared of trusting to put forth my foot because I didn't want to be hurt again. From all those times, I learnt that, if I expect or trust too much, I may get hurt in the end." she breathed in and continued.

"But, due to that fear...I had mostly forgotten about trusting myself. I do trust him, but I was scared of what the future would do for both of us. I feared so much that I forgot the small voice inside of me...telling me to trust myself and move on. I could put trust in him...but not myself?" Slowly, she looked up with understanding. "So...that was why. Trust."

"At least you are beginning to understand." Brunei remarked as he gently rubbed her cheeks, "Let me help you some more. To be honest, you need to trust yourself and to whom you will pertain it to. Honesty is a very fragile word, but so is trust. The more you trust a person, the more you tend to be honest to the person. But for this person, you can't be honest because you're scared. You don't trust yourself to bring it out to him and you can't trust him to follow through with what you would wish...of course, it's understandable that you wish to keep it hidden. It is risky, it might not turn to your favor, but, if you're not going to be honest about it, when else will you do it?"

"You taught me to be honest, Piri. Your head-strong attitude is one of your defining features. Sure, you may fall and trip many times, but never was a time did I see you mope around for too long. You were down, but you came up. And now, I will tell you, it's not that bad to use honesty. It only just needs care and thought for it to be used. Yes, it's scary. I know it is. But I was willing to take the chance before, if I didn't become honest and opened up more, I would never be who I am today. And...I would never had been able to I felt before."

Maria watched when he gave a short break from his sentence, and smiled. By the way his mouth moved, she could tell what and who he meant. "Brunei..."

Brunei placed his forehead just by the girl's and gently whispered to her, his eyes closing and his arms holding her tighter, "Please, Piri. You deserve to be happy. Go for it and tell him how you feel."

"But...if it doesn't end good..." she asked, her face starting to darken again, but it cleared away when Brunei smiled at her and patted her on her shoulders. She was only surprised when he smiled, a menacing smile at that. Maybe this was what she looked like when she was with Romano?

"Then I'll be the first to hunt him down. If he dares turn you down, then he doesn't know how lucky he would have been. Because," Brunei took a deep breath, "You are a very special girl, Maria. Don't be scared, just like I told you before. We are here. Your family supports you for who you are and what you wish to do. We may hinder sometimes, but we care. We may not be always around, but we're with you even if you can't see us. We may not show it, but you can feel it. We're here, Maria."

As everything began to clear, Maria could almost feel her chest burst with happiness and gratitude, felt like a heavy load fell off her shoulders. She was about to burst into more tears as she spoke more, "I...thank you, Brunei. Thank you...for understanding and always being here for me. I...I don't know what to say..."

"Shhh...say no more. You go and follow what your heart wishes to decide. I'm always here for you, Piri. We all are. We are you family and we won't just abandon you. Remember that..." he gave her another hug, and Piri immediately responded by hugging him back. It was a very familiar feeling. Like it was deja vu. It was the same feeling she had when Indonesia hugged her before, that warm and glowing feeling that comforted her and made her know she was in safe hands. A familiar feeling that never went away, even after being part for so long. Brunei...everyone. She shouldn't have been scared to tell the truth after all. (4)

Family. They were family, after all. She will never forget that.

For what seemed forever, both nations finally let go and looked at each other, and both were smiling. Piri's expression had altered from what Brunei had seen of her before he arrived. She was glowing, and that was the Piri he knew, mission accomplished. "Brunei, we should be going back. The others may have noticed us gone for a long time."

"Oh, you go on ahead. I'd like to stay here for a bit more. The night air is quite nice, and besides, I'm sure they're having a ruckus at the moment with who's going next on the karaoke machine. I'd avoid that for a bit." Brunei said as he led the girl to the door.

"I might agree with you on that. But, I think a little karaoke will get me pumped up. Come back inside, all right? It's pretty cold out here and the draft sure can give quite the shivers..." and with another tight hug, which quite surprised the boy, but what caught him off guard was when she whispered something in his ear. He was quite stunned, that he could only watch as she waved her hand and stepped back into the building and its hallways until she reached the party room. As soon as he had composed himself, he coughed slightly and shut the veranda door.

Without turning his back, Brunei spoke up loud enough for his "hidden" friend in the background. "Mindanao. You really should stop hiding too much in the trees. Besides, it is not good to spy on your sister." (6)

"I have my reasons for doing such." out of the facade of trees behind Brunei, a figure of a girl appeared and quietly slipped down to stand by his side. "Anyway..."

"Hmm? What is it, Minda?" the boy calmly asked his female companion who was contemplating how to ask her questions.

"I just...don't get it. You let her go? Just like that?" scratching her head gently, she turned to the direction of where her sister had run off to, "I'm quite shocked, Brunei. After all that you two had gone're willing to let her go? And I heard your explanation already. But, your eyes and voice show no signs of lies or hate. Why?"

"It's because..." Brunei gave a sigh and leaned back on the railings of the balcony. His gaze fell to the moonlit nature, the gentle sway of the winds along with the trees as the crickets sounded off during the night, behind him. He felt calm. He felt tranquil. He felt...nostalgic. Those nights and those forgotten times he had been by her side, comforted her and held her, just like how they had tonight, it all started playing back in his head like a film. He would never forget them, never throw them away.

Because he would treasure those memories. Treasure her. His "Tawalisi".


"I don't wish to see her smile and warmth disappear. I may not be the one who would be by her side in the end, but...if I know she is happy and content with the one she holds dear...then, it will be enough." Brunei continued from where he left off.

"How very noble of you." Mindanao half-heartedly waved her hand at him with her eyes half-lidded. Clearly, she was hardly impressed.

"Not noble..." Brunei smiled, and corrected her, "It's love. And...I have trust in both of them. It will end for the best of everyone. I believe in it. And I always stay true to my word. One wrong move from him, and he knows what he has to face."

"Ohhh...that's so scary. Makes me want to hide under my bed. But, you'd better if he dares hurt my sister."

"Of course. And besides..." was his reply, but he paused as he thought over the few seconds when she had hugged him...for she had whispered a few more words in his ear that he was too stunned to move.

"Please take good care of Minda for me." was what Piri had whispered to his ear. Groaning, he placed his hand over his forehead and caused the other girl in front of him to jolt in surprise. (5)

"Brunei? What-What's wrong? Are you all right?"

The boy turned to look up at the worried expression of his companion. To ease her worry, he gave a soft smile. "You're worried about me. That's nice of you, Minda."

"Eh? Of course I'd care for you, neighbor. But do so as she said. It's quite cold up here. I think I might as well join the party since Viz told me to grab him something." the young Mindanao told the boy as she walked back inside the building, leaving Brunei alone on the balcony.

As she closed the veranda door, the boy turned to look back at the crescent moon in the sky. Out of the silence of the night, he could picture her again, as she got back to the noisy room of her friends and company, and she smiled. But she smiled genuinely now, for she is now at ease. Quite so, he could hear Australia's voice somewhere, "Youu areeeee safffeeeeee in my heartt heart willll go oonnnnnn andddd oooonnnnnnnnn!"

"That is Maria for you. I surprise her. She surprises me back. She really is amazing, that neighbor of mine. And that was why she is special to me. And until now, I do care for her that much. So much... But, I do believe it is all for the best. Indeed, I had found my happiness after all. And now, I hope and pray she can find her happiness soon...Insha'Allah."

Author's Note: End of Part 2. Next chapter please! And a lot of explanations...

1) I had this fascination for Milk Tea for the past year. Blame that my subdivision has 3-4 Tea Places close by! I practically love Jasmine Milk Tea or Jasmine Tea (the cold ones). During times I had to work on my thesis or during examinations, this drink was what kept me calm and steady! I did try Earl Grey Tea as an iced cold drink, and it worked the same way. And...well, I couldn't help but think of the two. :D.

Popping bobba was one of the weird sinkers I had tried. And I reacted the same way New Zealand did. LYCHEE?! But it's really good. They just do pop too much when I swirl my tea.

2) The portable Karaoke machine was inspired because of my Mt. Makiling field trip where my classmates brought one. Filipino weakness~. So we all sang and drank until we were all tired (2 AM). Also, while we were on the van on the way, we had a karaoke CD and TV on. ROAD TRIP GALORE! Random song for "My Heart Will Go On"? It so happened to be the karaoke song my neighbors are singing, coincidence! But I suppose it does have a message with the story. :D.

3) I do believe in the inner voice that helps you during situations where you are confused and lost. It may be the soul or the inner self, but I do believe that this exists.

4) Some may be confused about Piri, Brunei, Indonesia and the family thing. This would be based off from Yang Tersayang, Dinosaurusgede's work. You may check her out on DeviantArt. Her works are WONDERFUL. She is the artist of Maaf, Yang Tersayang and many more. Yang Tersayang is quite IndoPiri, but it reflects a certain Piri that I have thought in another fan fiction I made, "My Name is...". I haven't posted it here, but I have loosely based it off there. Soon to be posted!

5) I do support BruPh, and their relationship is indeed very interesting and full of mystery and life. For me, I see their relationship as the childhood friends relationship and special friends. If you may interpret something, I will leave it up to you. Nothing against anything. This is just a simple UKPH story.

Moreover, at the end part, I do support more of MinBru...I find them more compatible~!

6) As you can see, I still play with the personification of the 3 Philippine Siblings, Luzon (presently Piri), Vizayas (haven't shown him around much) and Mindanao (presently Minda). It gives it a more...aesthetic feel and also makes it more interesting. Well, they do call South Italy more of Romano and North Italy as Get my point?

7) Long chapter? Someone asked for it! You know who you are~! Nyahaha~!