Chapter 5: In which there are Coconuts of Hate, a spellbook is snarky, the Allies nearly die laughing, and Britain makes a brave sacrifice which finally works.

As the three Allies slumped back to the Beach of FDJ, France saw that Britain was awake, and seemed to be preparing breakfast. Alarmed (think 'Britain' plus 'cooking' and tell me if you wouldn't be), he rushed over.

"Well, hello, France," said Britain, turning around. He had a calm smile on his face. "I was just making myself a pot of tea. You didn't manage to rescue America, did you? No? How unfortunate." He unhooked the teapot from the spit over the fire and set it on the sand. "Well, next time, I suppose. Would you like some?" He held up the kettle.

"No thank you," said France warily, which was exactly as Britain had expected. "I will pass for now."

"All right. Well, I've got to go check up on something," Britain said. "I'll be back in a jiffy."

France nodded distractedly. "Shall I make the food?"

"Yes, why don't you do that?" agreed Britain. "That stew yesterday was quite nice." He wandered away.

China sat down in front of the fire and warmed his hands. "We are going to have to decide what we are going to do about the demands the Axis made. If we cannot retrieve America, then we must face the possibility of-"

"Surrender?" finished France. "I suppose we could manage it..."

"That is not what I was going to say," said China. "I was going to say, leaving him behind."

"At least we should consider some form of diplomacy," France argued. "And I am not so sure l'Angleterre would be willing to..."

"Well, there is still the question open," Russia told them. "We have to decide just how valuable America is to us."

"But it is not just about him as an ally," France explained. "There is the problem of the land and resources he possesses. If he dies, what will become of them?"

"Could I have them?" Russia asked hopefully.

"I think it is more likely that the Axis will take control of at least part of him," China said. "And that is not a good thing at all. But if we do not..."

In the back of France's mind, something struck him as odd.

"Britain complimented me..." he said aloud. "And he was smiling in that creepy way ... and he did not sound upset when he found out the plan had failed... and he took the teapot with him..."

Realization hit like a hammer. "China! Russia! This is terrible! We must return to the cliff immédiatement!" France leaped to his feet. "Britain has had another idea!"

(Cue opening credits)

"This spell can't possibly latch on to America," Britain reassured himself. "It only works if you drink the potion, after all. And besides, even if he did drink it, what's the worst that could happen? He would just start hating everyone for a little while. Who cares?" He stalked through the forest, taking a different route this time, one that would lead him around the cliff and to the forest near the Axis camp.

"Now," he said aloud. "How on Earth am I going to get the Axis to drink my potion? I can't just walk up there and pour it on their food like last time."

He sat down under a tree and thought hard about it. Where would they get drinks from, besides their supplies? Not the ocean - it was too salty. So what...?

The wind stirred the trees, and something hard hit him right on the head.

"Ow! Blast it! What was that?" He jumped up, and then saw the brown object lying on the ground next to him.

It was like he was Isaac Newton, discovering gravity. Britain picked up the coconut and turned it over and over in his hands. Then he looked into the pot and saw the white potion - white because of the melted marshmallows he'd added. Even the smell wasn't too far off...

So Britain got out his pocketknife, found the three holes on the fruit, and set about making a Coconut of Hate.

~0~0~ Hetalia ~0~0~

In the Axis camp, Germany was trying to wake Italy up, Italy was trying to stay asleep, and Japan was off gathering fruit for breakfast.

"Italy! Why do you always need to sleep so late? Get your lazy ass up right now!"

"Don' wannaa..." Italy slurred happily, turning over onto his stomach. "Sleepy..."

"We are fighting a var!" shouted Germany. "You cannot take a siesta!"

The little nation waveringly sat up. "Oh... kay... Ger... many..." he said, swaying a little as he spoke. Germany caught Italy before his head crashed back down to the pillow, and picked him up by his shirt.

"Wake up," he ordered, shaking Italy.

"I am awaaaake..." said Italy, sounding as if he was hypnotized. He did not seem to be concerned by Germany's manhandling of him.

"How can you be awake? Your eyes are not even open!"

Italy tilted his head. "What...?" he asked sleepily.

"Never mind," Germany grumbled, and put the nation down. Italy never had his eyes open. "Go and prepare some food."

"Si... food... I like food..."

Germany watched as Italy tottered away, thinking, I will never understand him.

Within the hour, Japan had returned to the camp, holding an armful of fresh fruit. "Ohayou, Doitsu-san," he said. "Good morning, Germany."

"Guten morgen, Japan. Is there something on your mind?"

Japan frowned. "Yes. How much more time do you think the Allies will take to respond?" he asked, placing the fruit on the sand. "It has been three days since we captured America. So far, they have not shown any sign of surrendering. Do you think we might want to lower the terms?"

"Nein. If they do not surrender, then they will have to fight the war without America. No exceptions."

"In that case," said Japan, "Why don't we extract information from him?"

Germany seemed a bit uneasy. "I would try," he said. "But I do not think he knows much. He is not very clever, and... and the Allies would not tell him anything that would compromise their security. Why waste time with needless, er, brutality?" That last bit had come out sounding slightly defensive, and he shot a glance over at the last member of the trio, busy making breakfast by the firepit.

Japan sighed. "You do not want to torture America because you are afraid of what Italy-san might think."

Germany looked away and muttered, "That is irrelevant to the situation."

If anything, Japan sounded exasperated when he responded, "All right. We will wait and see what happens today."

Italy called them over for breakfast. He'd made some strange-looking omelets out of toucan's eggs. Japan passed out some of the fruit he'd gathered.

After a little while, Germany noticed Italy having some trouble with his coconut. "Italy, you do not open the shell. There are holes that you can drink through if you puncture them..." He held up his own coconut and showed his ally the top of his own fruit.

"Oh! Right, of course!" Italy grinned sheepishly and proceeded to spill the coconut milk all over his shirt as he tried to copy the other's actions.

Germany put a hand over his face in annoyance. "Gott, Italy, why can't you do things without making a mess?" he demanded.

"Sorry, Germany." Italy didn't look sorry. "It tastes good, though!" He gave Germany another huge smile.

As Germany sat and drank the milk and watched Italy, a very strange feeling started to come over him. He wasn't quite sure what it was, but it was making him a little uncomfortable.

~0~0~ Hetalia ~0~0~

Britain was just settling down to watch the action when the other three Allies came leaping into the scene. Immediately he found himself grabbed by the shirt and hoisted to his tiptoes by an hysterical France.

"What were you thinking?" the nation hissed, shaking Britain. "I looked for you everywhere! You could have been captured as well, and what would we do then? What is wrong with you, Angleterre? Haven't you noticed that none of your stupid plans and your stupid magic spells are working?"

And Britain, of course, reacted as he knew best. "Get off me, you baguette-eating bastard! Let me go!" He pummeled France in the head and managed to free himself. "How dare you lay hands on me!"

"Angleterre..." France pleaded.

"I've... I've got every right to try to help my friend! I'm getting America out of there and if it kills me, then so be it!"

"France and Britain!" China exclaimed, looking around nervously. "We are too close to the Axis camp to be shouting like this!"

The arguing nations ignored him. "I think you are still drunk," said France, folding his arms haughtily. "And that is no condition to be working spells!"

"I'm not drunk! And... and I wasn't working spells, either!"

France studied Britain's face as if expecting to see his nose grow longer at this blatantly obvious lie. "Not working spells, hmm? Then what is that? Very strong tea?" He pointed at the tea kettle on the ground, which was whistling as it dissolved.

"Very strong," murmured China, adding, "I invented tea, you know."

"Agh!" Britain shot over to what was left of the kettle and stamped on it, causing steam to rise up from his boots. Then he tried to smile nonchalantly. "Er... that's wasn't anything... ah... magical, France... ahahaha... why would you ever think that, old chap?"

France reached inside his cloak and held out Britain's grimoire. "Then this is what...? A cookbook? What page was this open to? 'A spell to cause discord'... how interesting..."

"Give me that!" Britain shouted, tackling France.

China, in a panic, did something that was not very well-thought-out. He turned to Russia. "Do something!" he begged. "We're going to be spotted!"

The huge nation grinned and patted China on the head. Then he reached over and picked up Britain in one hand and France in the other. "Hey," he said. "Listen to me, you two."

They both froze. "Ulp," said Britain.

Russia wore his usual too-wide smile. "That's better. Quiet like mice is very good. Do you know what else is quiet? Dead people are quiet. Isn't that funny? I do not think you would like me to make you quiet. So no shouting, da?" Still smiling, he put them down.

Both Britain and France were looking at each other as if glad to still be alive after that, and slightly unsure of whether this status would change at all.

Then Britain glanced at the melting tea kettle. "It's a bit stronger than I expected," he murmured. "That's not really supposed to happen."

France cleared his throat and thumbed through the spell book. "Listen to this... 'Emotion Spells... there are some caveats to using spells to cause emotional changes, since one strong emotion can easily turn into another...'"

"I've read all the blasted warnings!" Britain whispered angrily. "It's my damn book, all right?"

"'Never replace one kind of flower with another... never prepare food at the same time as your spell... never mix an emotion spell with coconut milk...' That's random... well, never mind that... And here we have, 'never-'"

"What," said Britain hoarsely, "did it say about coconuts?" He snatched the book away and read the page over again. "I've never seen this warning before! Where did this come from?"

"Well, it is a book of magic," said China. "Does it sometimes rewrite itself, by any chance?"

Britain read aloud, in utter disbelief, "'Never mix an emotion spell with coconut milk, as experimentation with this has shown that it often REVERSES the effect of the spell entirely...'" He looked up. "What?" he exclaimed. "Since when?"

France peeked over his shoulder and pointed at a block of text that Britain seemed to have misread. It now said, '... as recent amateurish experimentation done by Britain with this has shown...'

"Honhonhon... even the book does not like your magic," said France, gloating a little. "You ought to take it's advice, mon ami. So, how exactly did coconuts get involved in this spell?"

"I was trying to get them to drink it so they'd hate one another," growled Britain. "I put it in coconuts and left them out for Japan to find." He kicked a tree. "After all my bloody hard work on this spell! Of course it had to be coconuts!"

"What exactly would be the opposite of a discord spell?" China wondered.

Britain shrugged. "Well, it makes people hate each other, so I suppose the reverse spell would be..." He stopped. "A..." he tried. "It would be a..."

"A what?" asked China.

Britain seemed to be on the verge of either a scream of disgust and horror, or hysterical laughter. "Someone tell me I didn't just spike the Axis's coconuts with a sodding love potion," he said quietly.

No one rose to the challenge. They were all to busy trying to get the best view of the beach, because they couldn't imagine missing what would happen next.

~0~0~ Hetalia ~0~0~

"Japan! Are you sure you don't want one of these?" Italy held up a coconut. "They're really nice!"

"No, I am full, thank you," said Japan, waving off Italy's offer.

Italy shrugged and stuck the coconut in the sand. He was feeling a little bit strange and tipsy, but in a sort of good way. It made him want to wander over to the part of the beach where Germany was sitting.

"Germany looks upset about something," Italy said to himself. "I should try to make him feel better! Ehi, Germany! Are you okay?"

The poor befuddled nation looked up. "Please stay away, Italy," he said weakly. "I think I am coming down with something and I would not want you to get sick as well."

Italy immediately was stricken with uncommon sympathy. "Oh, no! Poor Germany! Your face is so red... It's probably too much sun. Why don't you go sit in the shade and I'll get you some water, okay?" He put his arms around Germany's shoulders and attempted to lift him up, which didn't really work given the disparity of size between the two. In the end, Germany simply stood up by himself and let Italy lead him towards the trees.

He slumped against the trunk of a tall palm. The truth was, it didn't really feel like he was sick. But he didn't feel normal, either. And it was, for some reason, connected to...

"Here you go!" Italy said kindly, handing Germany one of their thermoses. "Nice fresh water, hey?" He sat down next to Germany and watched him drink as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world.

Germany let Italy crawl under his arm and nuzzle into his side - this was fairly normal behavior anyway, and besides, he found himself (guiltily) enjoying it. But then Italy began to stroke the other's chest a little, like he was petting a cat.

"Vot are you doing?" asked Germany uneasily.

"Nothing," said Italy, with a wide (flirtatious?) smile. He snuggled closer, letting out a happy sigh. "Heh... Germany's so nice..."

Eventually the oddness of it all became too much for Germany. "I... er... Italy, why are you acting like this?"

Instead of answering, Italy propped himself up as far as he could and gave Germany a quick kiss on the cheek.

Don't get worked up about it, Germany told himself in a slightly panicky way. It's how they greet each other in his country... it doesn't mean anything... No freaking out there, Deutschland...

"Hey, Germany? You know what?" Italy asked. "I think me and Germany should get married!"

Never mind that! Time to freak out, ja! "Why... er... would you say that kind of thing... Italy...?"

The nation beamed. "Because I love Germany so much and I want to be his wife!"

Germany choked on his own spit. "Mein... wife? But... you are a man!"

"I know! So are you!" said Italy cheerfully, patting Germany on the back. "That's why I'll be the wife! Someone's got to do it, right?"

In the bushes not too far away, the four Allies were writhing on the forest floor in silent mirth. Russia was pounding on the ground with a fist, and China was practically eating his own arm in an attempt to stifle the laughter. France and Britain were completely overcome, clinging to each other through their hysterical soundless fits, all past rivalry and dislike forgotten.

"I think... I'm going... to die..." gasped Britain. "I can't..." He gestured wildly. "Breathe..."

Unhelpfully, France found this funnier than ever. "You look... so red..." he wheezed, tears squeezing out of the corners of his eyes. "Like... a tomato..."

"Have to... stay... quiet..." Britain managed. "Can't be... caught..." He pressed his hands to his head and tried to think somber thoughts. Grey hospital curtains, he told himself frantically. Drizzly London mornings... soggy biscuits... sad puppies...

Think sad puppies, damn it!

~0~0~ Hetalia ~0~0~

It got worse.

Japan was, at first, not aware of what was going on with the other two members of the Axis. He had been standing guard over America. Japan still didn't know how he'd gotten out before, and wasn't going to take any chances.

So, it was actually America who alerted him to what was going on. The Allied nation was slumped against the tree, pouting about not having any video games to play, and then he shot up straight, his eyes going very wide.

"Ew!" he shouted. "Ew! Bleh! Gross! You didn't say they were dating!"

Japan turned around and nearly died of shock and nosebleed.

Ten minutes later he was blushingly informed that Germany and Italy were going to get married, and have ten children (as to how... well, he just couldn't bring himself to ask), and this and that, and true love, and pasta, and on and on...

It was absolutely frightening. But... perhaps Westerners were like that, reflect Japan, in a state of rational shock. He heard that arranged marriages were less common in the West (and that the divorce rate was higher). Maybe they did just fall in love and get married on a whim... unless they were in heat...? Did that happen to nations?

As he sat on the sand in a cold sweat, Japan heard Germany say sternly, "If we are going to be married, the first thing we must do is to conquer all of the lands in between our nations. I will not have that annoying gap in the way like with the Polish Corridor. Too sloppy, ja?"

"Of course, Germany! That's so romantic! You can do that and I'll make a wedding cake out of pasta and put white flags on top!"

At this, Japan heard a muffled sort of choking sound coming from the trees, snapping him out of his daze. A realization hit him like a falling Coconut of Hate/Love.

Slowly he reached back and found his sword hilt, and slid the blade out of its sheath. And then he dove for the bushes. "Show yourself!" said Japan fiercely. "This was your doing, wasn't it? Germany! Italy! The Allies are here!"

Britain and France found themselves being bore down upon by a very angry-looking Japan wielding a long, sharp katana, and suddenly the situation was not very funny anymore.

Especially since they'd forgotten their weapons back at the camp.

And then it just got worse when a furious Germany appeared at Japan's right, holding a pistol, and even more so when China was whacked along the side of the head with the flat of Japan's sword, and also when France was punched in the face by Germany. There was also the part where the Allied nations realized that Russia had vanished like a car from a crime scene, and when Germany caught Britain in a headlock and dragged him struggling out onto the beach, and when France and China reached a tenuous stalemate in their fight with Japan, which meant they were unable to help.

"One would 'ave thought that 'e would not be this violent after the love spell," France murmured, backing away from the point of the katana.

Britain raised himself to his knees and coughed up sand. "He thinks he's protecting Italy," he wheezed. "It's love. You of all people should know about that; you always claim to know everything about love, don't you?"

"Where is Russia?" China asked furiously, holding out a large stick for what defense it gave. "He just ran away like stupid coward! He is going to be very sorry when I see him next!"

"No, he isn't," said Britain. "He'll stare at you creepily and you won't do anything, isn't that right?"

"Very true," agreed France, dodging the blade of Japan's sword.

It looked like the worst possible thing that could have happened, had. But, to Britain, all of that felt like nothing when he looked up and saw Germany pointing his gun in America's ear.

"None of you Allies move!" Germany bellowed. "Or else I will destroy him!"

"You can't do that!" America wept. "I'm the hero! You can't kill the hero!"

"Unless this is one of those tragic genre movies where the hero does die," Japan pointed out. "Like in Titanic."

"Don't remind me!" America wailed. "I cried so bad when I saw that!"

Japan frowned. "How can you have? The actors haven't even been born yet."

"Then how do you know about it?" demanded America.

"Oh. It is because I use an off-the-radar video bootlegging website like Megavideo, only in Japanese."

"Not bad," America admitted. "Good service."

"Indeed," said Japan. He bowed. "It is quite technological..."

Germany stamped his foot. "All right, that's enough," he growled impatiently. "Now, it seems that the Allies are not willing to agree to our terms and surrender, which means that we have no other option but to carry out our threat." He pressed the gun to America's head, who went pasty white.

"I agree," said Japan. "They have been using sorcery against us and breaking the conventions of honorable warfare."

"How is murdering a defenseless, chained-up nation in cold blood honorable?" Britain burst out. "This is only a war! We're not about killing each other here, just redistributing other, less important nations' land and resources!"

"Actually, I was sort of hoping for world domination," Germany told him, shrugging a little.

"Oui, of course he was..." hissed France, who knew firsthand. "Didn't you notice, you stupid... wanc-hair?"

"Hang on. You just used a British swear word on me," Britain said, momentarily distracted. "You just..."

"Your language is the most foul," said France haughtily. "Mine is far too delicate to convey such vulgarity."

Britain spun back around and faced Germany. "You can't just kill America! It's not... it's not fair!" To his horror, his voice cracked.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Italy hiding behind a box of supplies, and just caught the flash of sympathy in his eyes.

They're still under the spell, Britain realized.

"Why is it not fair?" Germany demanded. "Why shouldn't I kill him?"

And Britain, feeling very lightheaded, fell to his knees. What he was about to do, the whole damn world seemed to have been pushing him to do it all along. And somehow it gave him a sense of dizzying relief to give in. He almost wanted to laugh out loud.

Perhaps he was still drunk, he reflected.

"Because..." Britain tried to channel all the best actors in his country. There were so many of them; surely he would have picked up some of their talent. "Because I'm in love with him."

Britain's Rescue Plan Journal!

Plan H!: Be Madly In Love!

"Huh?" said America blankly. He slowly worked it out in his head. "You... love... me... What?"

Britain shot him a look that said, I know what I'm doing, now shut up. America closed his mouth and nodded warily.

"You're...?" Germany said, taken slightly aback.

Now was the time for the acting mode to kick in. Britain found it surprisingly easy. The revelation would have shocked him too, wouldn't it...? He managed a horrified gulp and stared at America as if willing him to have not heard, put a hand over his mouth as if that could keep out what had already been said.

"I..." You're in emotional shock, you're horrified at the thought of losing him... you can't keep yourself under control... let's see... "I love... him..." he said haltingly. "I... you... please..." Supplication... "Please don't take him away..." Oh, that was good, right there. Nice one...

"I will not be coerced by your sniveling!" shouted Germany.

And that means he IS... Britain thought. Perfect... now you'd be pulling your thoughts together, have something more coherent to say...

"All this time... ever since you took him... couldn't eat... couldn't sleep..."

China's brow furrowed and he looked ready to object to this, but France shushed him. Thank god for the frog, Britain thought. He knows what I'm doing...

"It's been hell, utter hell... the thought of losing him..." He made himself look as helpless as possible. "I don't know why I didn't just..."

"Surrender?" asked Germany. "Ja? If you love him so much, then why didn't you surrender?"

God, this is so bloody easy... Britain thought. This really could work!

"Why couldn't I?" he half-shrieked. "Because I'm... Just look at him!" He threw out a hand towards America. "And look at me! I... he would never love me! He's the hero, the future, and I'm.. I'm history! I couldn't just surrender... lose what chance I had... He'd hate me for it!"

"Yeah, and I would, too," said America. "That'd be, like, uber-lame of you. But thanks for the-"

"Not helping," Britain hissed.

"Sorry," America whispered back.

"Seriously, America, you're just like one of those stupid people in the cinema who talk through all the sad bits of a film and absolutely ruin the mood," Britain added, slightly irritated.

"Aw," said America. "But you love me for it."

"Yes, madly," Britain told him, rolling his eyes. "It's your life I'm saving. Do shut up."

"Sure thing."

Meanwhile, Italy came creeping up behind Germany and sniffled a little. "It's so sweet," he said mushily. "They argue so much but they really do care about each other..."

"Just like I always tell them," France said smugly. Britain glared at him.

"Italy, please," muttered Germany, pulling the other nation close. "They are our enemies... remember all the times they captured you and beat you up and fed you disgusting English food...?"

"But... but..." Italy trembled a little.

Now it was time for the coup de grace... (only Britain wasn't going to call it that since that was French). He coughed pitifully and looked up at them, letting tears come to his eyes. "Germany... please... imagine if it were Italy..."

Germany's facial muscles twitched, just a little.

"If it were him... and you were me..." Britain let his voice fade away to a hoarse whisper.

And finally the shell cracks... he thought. Like a bloody, bloody coconut... or a crab... Right, and I'm going to find that crab when I get back...

The gun was being returned to its holster. Germany reached in his pocket for a key. "Fine," he said. "I vill let you go. Just this once." With reluctance, he opened the padlock on America's chains and slowly unwound them.

"What?" said Japan, a little taken aback. "What are you...?"

"Don't argue with this," Germany muttered. His eyes were damp.

It worked... Britain thought. I can't believe it really worked... no, I can. That was some top-notch acting, if I do say so myself...

Then he remembered that it wasn't quite over yet. America was still sitting against the tree like he didn't quite know what to do with his limbs now that they weren't chained up.

Britain took a shaky step forward, and then knelt down and awkwardly put his arms around America and lifted him up.

"I've got a cramp," America muttered under his breath.

"Shut up..."

"Um... do we have to make out or something?" whispered America nervously.

After thinking it over, Britain licked his lips. "Er."

America swallowed. "Oh... then... should I, uh...?" He tipped his head to one side uncertainly.

"No," Britain told him hurriedly. "You don't love me back yet."

"Ah," said America. "Gotcha." Then he grunted. "Friggin' chains."

Britain turned and looked at Germany. The only thought forming in his mind now was, He is going to be so angry when the spell wears off...

He thought of everything he'd sacrificed for this... his physical health... his mental health... and now, his dignity. But somehow it was all right.

And with America draped limply over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes it would seem strange to say it, but right now, as the Allies walked back to the Beach of Freedom, Democracy, and Justice, Britain felt like a colossal weight had lifted off his back. He could have been walking on the moon.

~ THE END ~

(Cue credits and Marukaite Chikyuu)

The Allies were just entering the woods when Russia popped up out of nowhere (as he tended to do).

"You," said China dangerously. "Where the hell were you?"

Well, Britain thought. China actually went and told him off. And now, he's probably going to die.

"Do not worry," said Russia serenely. "I was not running away. I had you covered whole time." He held up the little tranquilizer crossbow.

"Oh," said China. "Well... all right, then. Sorry. Thank you."

"Was that what got me that time I escaped?" asked America curiously. "Dude, that's seriously awesome."

"Da. I know, right?" said Russia. He looked pleased with himself. "I like to use it on Latvia when he isn't looking."

"Yes, we know," said Britain. "It's very nice."

"Quite clever," China agreed. "Did I mention I was sorry?"

AN: And that's all, folks! Sorry for the long wait on this chapter. I hope you enjoyed the story, and I hope you review. Anything at all is nice to hear, even to quote your favorite bits. It's just the kind of thing that makes me happy and productive.

Another story complete! Let the fireworks begin.