This is it! The final chapter! Hopefully things get resolved… of course they will! Not to mention that this is the longest chapter I've ever written…

Ah… my first truly finished fanfiction… I hope you had just as much fun reading this as I did writing it!

Chapter 40 (Tashigi POV)

The first thing I saw when I woke up was the darkness. THEN I saw the glowing circle underneath. The third and forth things were the two robed figures, chanting…

Soon enough, the chanting stopped, and the glow faded. The figure on the left stood up. "Phew… that took way too long for me…" he said. "You okay, Norway?"

"I'm fine," said the other- Norway, I reminded myself. "How are you?"

It took me a while before I realized that his question was directed towards me. "Yes, you," he said.

"Who are you?" I asked automatically. I reached for my sword, but it was gone!

"Your sword is over there," said Norway. "I thought that one of you might attack us, so we put your weapons in the corner."

"By the way, I'm Romania, and this is Norway," said Romania. "We… weren't actually trying to teleport you, but you were so close together that…"

"Teleport?" I repeated.

"Interdimensional teleportation," said Norway. "I got the exact coordinates from Finland, who I'm sure you already met. He gave you sword polish, didn't he?"

Finland? "You mean that guy with the flying sleigh?" I asked.

"That's the one," said Romania.

"You have some strange friends," I said.

"Wait til you meet Poland," said Romania.

"Does he wear a dress?" I asked. "Sealand said something about that… Wait, where is everyone?!"

Norway hit a switch, and light flooded the chamber. Which was, in fact, someone's basement. Thank goodness… everyone was there! But something was wrong…

"Ugh…" groaned Luffy. He sat up with difficulty. "Hey… where's Sanji and Hungary? And why is everyone a different age?"

I looked down. "Whoops," said Norway. "Not my fault."

"Not mine either," said Romania.

Everyone from my dimension was normal, but the others… were different. England looked about five, while Prussia, Spain, Italy, Romano, and Belarus were in their teens. Russia was now in his twenties, along with France, Austria, and Germany. Sealand looked exactly the same, and so did Canada and China. America was now the same age as Canada, so I guessed that he was back at his normal age… Japan seemed to be normal as well.

"Is that… normal?" I asked.

"For some of them, yes. For the others, no," said Norway.

Romania sighed. "Why did England do this, again?"

"Let's make him clean up his mess this time," said Norway. "We did more than our share; he should put everything back to normal."

"Should we wake him up first, though?"

"Probably not."

"Let's send them back, then," said Norway.

"Wait!" I said. The duo stared at me. "England promised us an explanation!"

"And Sanji's gone!" Luffy shouted.

"When everyone wakes up, then," said Norway.

"Where are we…?" Nami woke up.

"You're in my house," said Norway. "I don't want to explain more than once, so I want to wait until everyone wakes up."

John yawned. "Hey… what did I… Hey, Tashigi!"

"…Don't have to shout, John…" said Smith.

"You're right, but we don't have to talk either," said Mark.

"Ugh…" groaned Smoker. "Hey… where's Hungary?"

Romania bristled. "Don't talk to me about that-"

"Shut it," said Norway. "He asked a legitimate question. Hungary is… here!"

"Where?"

Norway pointed to a map. "Here. Sanji should be there, too."

"They're on a piece of paper?" asked Luffy.

"No, they're in Sicily," said Romania.

Norway stood up. "I'm going there right now. You guys can follow me if you want."

"Of course we're following you!" Smoker shouted.

"I'm coming too!" said Luffy.

Norway opened a door that I didn't see before. "Come in, and be careful not to get shot at."

He led us through an ornate hallway, which seemed out of place compared to the Spartan basement we walked out of. "This isn't my house, so don't mess anything up," said Norway.

"Excuse me, Switzerland," he said as he passed a kid folding up clothes.

Switzerland spun around, rifle in hand. "Norway! How did you get into my house-"

"Switzerland, your house is based on a space-time distorter," said Norway. "It connects to every house in the world. I needed to borrow it to get to Sicily."

"Fine then," said Switzerland, and he put his gun down. "But you have to leave your weapons here!"

Norway produced a large axe from nowhere and put it on a table. "You'd better do as he says," he said.

Reluctantly, I laid my katana down. The others followed suit.

"I'll look after them, just BE QUICK!" Switzerland yelled. "You have ten minutes!"

Norway opened a cabinet door, which revealed a crowded city street. "Three blocks down, one left…" he murmured as he walked. "Here we are."

It was a warehouse. Norway opened the door, where we saw a very pretty young woman in a dress fretting over Sanji. She seemed to be bandaging him. "Ugh…" Sanji groaned as he awoke. "Who… who are you…?"

"Don't talk!" she said sharply.

"You're… You're the most beautiful girl I EVER MET~~!" Sanji leapt up, and tried to hug her.

CRACK! The woman tackled Sanji head on and pinned him down. "Ze hell!? Vot is going on vis you?! I sought you hated me! All I did vas bandage you…"

She looked up and saw us. "Szia, Smoker, Tashigi, John, Mark, Smith!" she called. "I vas vondering vhere you vere!" (Hello)

I stared at her. "Do I… know you…?" I asked.

The woman gaped, but Norway interrupted. "Oh, right," he said. "I sent her through to your world, and she was de-aged in the process. To the age of twelve."

He put his hand on the woman's shoulder. "This is Hungary. At her actual age of twenty-four," he said.

Now it was our turn to gape. "You're…" I began.

"I can't believe it…" said John.

"Ah…ahahahaha… this is when you say April fools, right?" said Smith.

"How did you hide it for so long…?" Mark managed to sputter.

"What a change…" said Luffy.

"You…? A girl…? Hungary…?" Nami stuttered.

"I… I yelled at a woman…" said Sanji. "I will never forgive myself!"

"Calm down, Sanji!" said Hungary cheerfully. "It does not matter if I am a voman or not!"

"It does… to me…" said Sanji.

"Sanji is a true man who sticks to his values," explained Luffy. "So finding out that you were a girl this whole time hit him really hard."

Hungary shrugged, and went straight up to Sanji. "Listen, Sanji!" she yelled. "Vy should it matter zat I am a voman ven it did not matter before?! SINK OF ME AS ZE EXCEPTION!"

"Yeah, sink of her as a transvestite," said… Prussia?! He was in his late teens now, and I now that I saw him awake I could fully see how much of a change it was. Besides being taller, he was dressed normally and didn't look like a hyper-aggressive kid. Even so, he didn't look the same as he was in the picture that Hungary showed us… "Ven ve vere children, I vas ze first to find out. Not even she knew."

Hungary turned a bright shade of red. "Poroszország…" she warned.

"It's true!" said Prussia. "Everyone grows a penis, eh?"

WHAM! CRASH! BANG! BANG!

"By the way, what is Austria to you?" John asked. "You aren't family, are you girlfriend and boyfriend?"

"He's my…" Hungary paused, and blushed. "He's my ex-husband."

"…eh?"

"Hold on," said Nami. "I saw a picture of Austria's ex-wife before… How many times has he-"

"Vait. Vitch picture are you talking about?"

"This one," Nami took out a photo album and opened it.

Hungary stared at it. "Zat's Maria Theresa, his ex-boss. But vy do you have his-"

Norway looked at his watch. "It's been more than ten minutes. How did Switzerland let you got though?" he asked Prussia.

"I asked Liechtenstein," said Prussia despite the massive head injuries. "She is my cousin, after all."

"She is?" repeated Norway.

"But she is only a distant relation compared to me und Vest," said Prussia. "Come on, ze ozzers haf vaken up."

He led us back though the streets of Sicily, until we arrived at the same door that we came in through. Prussia opened it, and the hallway was still there. A young girl who looked like Switzerland was standing there, next to the table with our weapons. "Grüezi, Preußen," she said.

"Hallo, Liechtenstein," he said back. "Danke for letting me pass," he said.

"You are velcome," she said. "You had better go though before Bruder notices."

"She's also Switzerland's little sister ever since he took her in, but zey are distantly related at the same time… You know vot? I vill explain everysing ven ve get back."

"Fine," I said. Each of us grabbed our weapons quickly.

Liechtenstein looked around. "Be ze vay… you vill get a lot of visitors," she told Norway. "Make sure zat you haf plenty of food!"

"Okay," he said. "Which way-"

"Zat vay," she pointed.

"Thanks."

After a tense moment of walking, we finally got back to Norway's basement. Everyone was already awake, and all were staring at England intently. Romano seemed to be especially annoyed.

Prussia plopped himself next to the man who I could only call Germany. As I anticipated, judging by his character, he looked like a buff drill sergeant. Russia was on the other side of the room, and he appeared to be fully at ease with his body unlike the others who changed. America and Japan were also moving around normally, so I assumed that the four of them were at their normal ages.

The others, Spain, Belarus, Italy, Romano, and England seemed to be unbalanced with their bodies. I knew for sure that Romano wasn't normal since I saw him at his regular age… Were they not normal either?

"Hello, everyone," said Norway. "We're back. And this is Hungary. Yes, she is a woman."

I watched as everyone gaped.

"Is everyone here? Fine," said England. Since he was turned into a kid, England had to stand on one of Norway's chairs. "Remember how I said that we were nations?"

"What's a nation?" asked Luffy.

"It's another word for country, but what do you mean by… you're a nation…?" asked Nami, confused.

England thought for a moment. "To put it simply, we're the anthropomorphic personifications of the nation."

"That's simply?" Ussop made a disgusted face.

"Cap'n means… you're the spirit of the nation given human form…?" asked Robin. "No way…"

England nodded. "We are. You see that map?" he pointed to the map. "You can't read Norwegian, but here's my… body, for lack of a better word. We refer to the land as our house so that we don't get confused."

Compared to all the other countries, he was pretty darn small. "Ooh…" said Luffy.

"That's Germany, that's France, Spain's over there, America's on that other continent, Canada's north of him; there's Belarus, Hungary and Austria border one another… Italy's the one shaped like a boot. Plus, Italy is north Italy, and Romano is south Italy, so they share halves."

"Where's Japan?" asked Zoro.

"Over here. China's this one… And Russia's that huge one."

"Where's Prussia? And Sealand?" asked Chopper.

Prussia looked annoyed. "All right, rub it in, vill you?!" he shouted. "I stopped existing as a nation more zan fifty years ago! So now I am East Germany!"

"I'm… not officially recognized as a nation…" said Sealand.

"Remember that boat we came on?" said Canada. "That was Sealand. All of his land."

"That's tiny…" said Nami.

"Exactly," said Prussia. "You vant to see how big I vas? Look!"

He took out a map, with the same continent but with different borders. "I'm zat big vone," he bragged.

"Oh, if we're showing off, then take a look at this!" England shouted, and got out another map of the world. "All extents of the British Empire, not necessarily at the same time."

"Wait, 'British'?" said Nami.

"Er… I also go by the name of Britain…" said England. "I'll explain off-screen."

"Fine then."

"Wow, that's huge!" said Luffy.

"Hey!" shouted Spain. "I had the name of 'The Empire Where the Sun Never Sets' first!" (It's true!)

"I had Jeanne D'Arc and Napoleon!" shouted France.

"Napoleon could not invade Russia, da?" said Russia. "I am still biggest."

"I invented the compass! And paper! And the printing press!" China shouted. (Also true.)

"Ve~ I had Leonardo Da Vinci!" said Italy. "And fratello has…"

"THE FREAKING MAFIA!" shouted Romano. "You guys get glory, I get the mafia!"

"I HAVE THE BEST ECONOMY!" bragged America. [1]

"HOCKY!" Canada shouted.

"Oh yeah? Vell, I vas in charge of ze Holy Roman Empire," said Austria. "Zat is, until…"

"Yeah…" agreed Prussia. I wasn't sure about what went between them, but it was definitely important.

"What about you, Belarus?" asked Ussop.

"I am going to marry Big Brother!" she declared.

There was a pause. And then England spoke up.

"It's not as bad as you might think," he said. "Austria used to be married to Spain even though they're both male. Also, Austria's vital regions are an actual region, so when Prussia invaded, it was a literal invasion of Silesia."

"Oh… so when Austria forced Spain to marry him, it was a union of both countries," said Robin. "Nothing too crazy…"

"And the reason why we never told you the name of the languages that we speak is because they are derived from the name of the country," said Canada. "For example, France speaks French, China speaks Chinese, Belarus speaks Belarusian…"

"So you speak Canada-ese?" asked Luffy.

"No… I speak English and French," said Canada. "And all of our relationships I told you are paraphrases of what actually happened. England adopting America was him taking him in as a colony. And that happened when we were children."

"Hold on," I interrupted. "How old are you, exactly? Do you not age at the same rate and stop after you hit a certain point?"

"No," said England. "We age depending on how developed we are as nations. Even though I am older than Hungary, she still appears to be older. Of course, America and Canada developed very quickly over a small space of time, so they are a little different."

"Younger, you mean," I said.

"Exactly," said England.

Robin seemed to notice something. "But does time pass differently between dimensions?" she asked. "Did a shorter period of time pass here compared to twenty years?"

"No…" said England guiltily. "Longer, actually… Something like four hundred years."

There was a long, hard silence. I broke it.

"… How… old are you…?"

"Almost two thousand," said England. "France is a little older, and both Italy brothers are older than him. Prussia is almost eight hundred, Austria is more than a thousand, and Germany's among the youngest of the Europeans even though we haven't been able to pinpoint his age. Russia and Belarus are around the same age, and Spain is… about two thousand seven hundred…"

"We're about four hundred," said America. "Me and Canada, that is. Sealand is around fifty."

"And China is the eldest, at five thousand," said Sealand. "Japan doesn't like to tell people his age."

I watched the other's reactions. "You're not surprised?" asked Canada.

"Not really," said Nami. "It actually makes more sense now. All the arguments you had were settled with time. Plus, it's hard to be surprised when you live in a place where eating a magical fruits can give you super powers."

America looked at England. "Why does that remind me of psychedelic drugs…?"

England turned a bright shade of scarlet. "L-look! That was only a stage! And don't forget what you did, too!"

"So you left me for four hundred years…?" asked Robin.

England hung his head. "Yes… I'm sorry, Robin."

Robin was silent for a moment. And then she smiled. "Ah… Cap'n, I did feel horrible at first, but… you leaving the Jacks ended up leaving me with my nakama," she said. "It was fate."

England looked up. "So… you forgive me?" he asked.

SLAP! "Now I do," she said.

Creak… "Um… is this the right place?" asked a tiny, nervous voice. A kid who looked about nine peeked through.

"Priviet, Latviya," said Russia.

"GYAAAAHAHH!" the kid screamed. "K-Krievija!" (Russia)

America stood up. "Don't even think about it!" he yelled at Russia.

"Um… I was told that there was going to be a drinking contest here…" said the kid. "I'm Latvia, by the way."

"Who told you that?" asked Norway.

"Denmark did."

There was a knock at the door, and the sound of something big moving… "Come in, Ukraine," said Norway.

An extremely buxom woman stepped in, crying. "Russia!" she cried, hugging him. "Belarus!" she hugged her. "I was so worried about the two of you!"

"That's Ukraine, their older sister," Canada said. "Unlike her siblings, she's really nice…"

"Unless you get invaded by her," said a tall person who entered from the back door. "I'm Lithuania."

Russia stepped up to him. "Are you insulting my sister?" he asked with an intimidating aura.

Lithuania glared at him. "No, I am stating a fact," he said coldly. "Your sister and I fought several times in the past."

"But that is the past, da?" said Russia. "Will you join the Commonwealth of In-"

"No!" Lithuania shouted. "And neither will Estonia or Latvia! We are not going to join you ever again!" [2]

"OI! It's me, Norge!" shouted a new voice. This guy… he looked like some kind of action hero.

"Denmark? What are you doing here?" asked Norway.

"What do you think?! Everyone's come here to welcome you guys back!" he roared. "We're celebrating with a drinking contest!"

And then he slapped England on the back. "I don't think I deserved that one," said England.

And then Nami slapped him. "How could you leave Robin!?" she shouted, and sat down next to Denmark. Zoro followed her.

"I might have deserved that one," said England.

And then a dark-skinned woman entered, and bashed him on the head with a coconut. "I reckon you don't think you deserved that one?" asked Sealand.

"Nope, I definitely deserved that one."

"Jamaica!" Spain shouted, and he hugged the dark-skinned woman.

She threw him over her shoulder and stalked off, muttering.

"All right, we're waiting for a few more people!" shouted Denmark. "For the drinking contest, that is. Even though we've got the best drinker in the world right here!"

"Is that a challenge?" Nami asked chillily.

"No, it's a fact," said Denmark.

"Hey, you can't haf a drinking contest visout Vest und I!" shouted Prussia, and he dragged his brother to the table next to Nami.

"By the way, this whole thing is your mess now," Norway said to England.

"Wait, what?!"

"Not the party, it's my basement. But now you're going to have to send everyone back and turned them back to normal."

"… Darn."

I glanced at Hungary. "You know, now it all makes sense, you being a girl and all," I said.

"How so?" she asked.

"Remember when you showed us that picture of you? I thought that you were the man on the left," I said.

"Bulgaria? I can see zat…"

"And it also explains why you use a frying pan. It is acceptable for anyone to use a frying pan, but it's mostly women who use it as a weapon."

"Ah. So that's why you're called England and Britain," said Nami.

"Yes. It is rather complicated, isn't it?" said England.

I saw Robin walk upstairs. Chopper seemed to notice, and he scurried after her. "Excuse me," I said to Hungary, and I followed them up the stairs.

The stairs led to what appeared to be a living room, furnished with couches and bookshelves. Robin plopped herself onto one.

"How are you feeling?" Chopper asked. "I saw you come up here…"

Robin gazed out the window. "I… why did I forgive Cap'n?" she mused. "I never believed in fate, but… he didn't seem to have a reason not to leave me…"

Chopper sat down next to her. "Robin… you know, I used to live with a man called Dr. Hiluluk. He took me in when no one else would…"

Robin looked at him in awe. "I understand what happened to you," Chopper continued. "Dr. Hiluluk ended up abandoning me… but I still forgave him, even before I found out that he did it so that I wouldn't have to see him die."

He turned to Robin. "You forgave him in the end, even though you made an excuse. But don't we always make excuses for the ones we love?"

Robin was astounded. Chopper realized what he said, and blushed. "I-I mean…"

"Chopper," said Robin. "It's okay."

"Oh. Phew…"

The two of them left. Before I could emerge from my hiding place, two others replaced them. America and England…

England settled himself onto the couch. "America…" he said sadly, "Robin is right. I all but abandoned her… I left her there, and forgot about her."

America sat down next to him, completely somber. "England…" he said softly. He didn't say 'Iggy', I noticed. He said his real name. "I remember, a long time ago… It was so long ago that I can't even think of it as real…"

"Spit it out, will you," said England. He acted crabby, but I knew that that was the only way he knew to react. England definitely wasn't going to be sappy in front of America.

"England… you were the one who raised me," America said quietly. "Remember when you left me? I cried that day… but you know what? I got stronger. I thought that if only I was stronger, then you would be proud of me. Back then… I thought that you wanted me to grow up."

"I didn't," England said. "If only you had stayed small… then you wouldn't have rebelled."

"Back then…" America kept going. "After I had finished crying, I thought… I thought that you trusted me to be an adult. Don't feel guilty, England. That was a sign that you trusted her to be strong."

England looked at the ground. "That's the thing. She wasn't ready. She had to run… and run… everywhere she went, someone died. America… what I did to you I did to Robin. But Robin never had anyone else. You had your people."

America shifted. "Would it have made a difference if you came back?" he asked. "Believe me, England. I know what it's like to fight a war of independence from both sides. Remember my Civil War? North against South? I had to fight against my own people… my states… my South thought that the war was a new war of independence."

"And here I thought you were getting yourself into a bloody mess," said England. "Why did you try to get your South back, anyway? It was just another Independence war. YOU did it to me without a second thought."

"If I didn't get my South back right after they left, then I'd never be whole again," America said bluntly. "England… if I lost the war with you and never became independent, I would have grumbled about it forever, but I would still have stayed with you. But that boat has sailed. Think of it this way: right now, would you even think of annexing me?"

England seemed taken aback at this question. "Wh-what?! N- Of course not!"

"It's like that with Robin. It's not that she spread her wings. It's because she would remember those cracks. I mean… It's a bit of national pride how I beat you when I declared independence—not to me, but to my people, I mean—There's just no way that I can become part of your territory again."

"I see…" England said. "Right now, the two of us are allies, but that's all we are. Close, but at arm's length."

"Robin's the same way. You two are close, but you're not the same as you were before. Not only that, she considers Luffy her captain. She calls you Cap'n out of habit more than anything else."

England nodded. "I probably should have noticed…"

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see someone who looked at lot like Romano… "Ciao, bella!" he said.

I stared at him blankly. He sighed. "Ah, it just doesn't work on someone who doesn't know any Italian…" he said. "I'm Seborga, Veneziano and Romano's little brother."

"I'm Tashigi- wait, Veneziano?" I repeated. "I don't know-"

"Italy," he said. "Veneziano and Romano are both actually two halves of Italy, but Veneziano is known as Italy as a whole."

"And what about you?" I asked. "If you're not a half, then who are you?"

"I'm a micronation. Basically, I declared independence from Italy, but I'm not officially a nation," Seborga explained. "There isn't really a rule, but I'm not acknowledged."

"Ah," I said, not really understanding. [3]

"By the way, do you want to watch the other's drinking contest? I mean, we all know the outcome…"

"I don't," I said. "But since there's nothing better to do, fine."

We descended down the stairs, and emerged into the crowded basement. The amount of people seemed to multiply, but all had one thing in common. Everyone except Sanji seemed to be either drinking or watching the others drink, and were having a great time. Even Smith was enjoying himself.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Hello."

AAAHHHH! I didn't scream, but I almost did.

"Oh, c-ciao, Sweden," said Seborga shyly.

"'nd wh' 'r' you?" Sweden asked. (And who are you?)

"He's asking who you are," Seborga whispered to me.

"Oh. Er… I'm Tashigi…"

"'m Sw'd'n," he said. (I'm Sweden.) He looked around. "'m I l't'?" (Am I late?)

"Kind of…" Seborga admitted.

Sweden looked around. "W'll, n't th't l't'. 'm g'ng t' l'k f'r 'm w'fe." (Well, not that late. I'm going to look for my wife.) He walked through the crowd.

"Ooh, is she pretty?" Sanji appeared from behind us.

Sweden emerged, holding onto someone's hand. I couldn't see who it was behind all those people.

"Hel~lo, Miss-" Sanji cried, but he stopped.

"Th's 's m' w'fe," said Sweden. (This is my wife.)

Sweden's 'wife' was a man. A young, baby-faced man. The same one who flew on the sleigh and gave us presents, for that matter. "H-hei…" he said shyly.

Sanji staggered, but recovered soon enough. He then left the scene and tried to hit on a woman who was clearly a woman.

I saw him a little while later, and he was hitting on another woman, who slapped him. Spain slid over next to him. "Ah, Sanji, I really don't want you to hit on Argentina. Or Venezuela. Or-"

"Why not?" asked Sanji.

"Because they really mean a lot to me, and-"

"You tackled them from behind! And tried to hug them!" Sanji protested.

Spain turned bright red. "Th-that's because—I-" he paused. "Now that the bomb has been dropped, there's nothing to say but the truth."

"The truth? What, are they your ex- girl-"

"I'm their father."

Sanji stared at Spain for a full minute before opening his mouth. "…"

"Yeah… You see, I colonized the present day lands of their countries, so…"

"…You look nothing alike."

Spain sighed. "That's lack of genetics for you… It's complicated, and I have no intention of finding out."

"But didn't you…" Sanji made a strange gesture involving what appeared to be a hole and a stick.

"No," said Spain. "It doesn't work that way. You see how few girls there are around here?"

"Oh. Can't you-"

"No."

England had apparently had taken one sip of rum and got drunk, which wasn't that surprising. At least, that's what Robin had said.

"But why can't I drink!?" America whined to France.

"You are underage," he said firmly.

"I'm over three hundred!" America protested.

"Physically nineteen," France added.

"It's legal at eighteen everywhere else…Why did they make the legal drinking age twenty-one, anyway?" America asked.

"Your laws," said France in a final tone.

"Let him," said Norway. "He's not going to grow up any time soon. You might as well."

"Can I-"

"No, Sealand."

Zoro had stopped, but the others were still going strong. Russia and a bunch of others had joined them, and the stack of empty bottles was slowly increasing.

Japan had set up a strange box in the corner. "It is a karaoke machine," he said. "You sing into se microphone. Now, who wants to try?"

The first to come was Jamaica, who sang a song about how she shot the sheriff.

Austria and Liechtenstein were talking civilly, until a talking skeleton showed up.

"Yoohoohooo! Even though I've got no guts, let's play a duet!" it said to Austria.

"Ja," said Austria. "Piano?"

"Sure!"

Liechtenstein nodded uncertainly.

There was a knock at the door. Norway opened it, and a man holding a gigantic stack of short boxes was revealed. He said something in another language, and Norway glared at Denmark. The drunken Denmark shrugged. With a sigh, Norway took the boxes and laid them on a table. He then handed the man a wad of what looked like paper money. "Pizza's here," he called.

"Great!" shouted America; and he opened one of the boxes and took a slice of pizza.

Out of sheer determination, Nami somehow managed to beat out Germany, who left to eat sausage.

England took one bite of the pizza and retched. "Wh-who put sugar on the pizza!? AMERICA!"

America turned around. "What? It wasn't me…"

I saw Canada blush, and edge away. There was a gallon-sized container of maple syrup in his hand, half-empty.

Spain tried to push his way to the drinks table, but Norway blocked him. "Not even Sve can take you when you're drunk. I'm not letting you near alcohol when you're in my house."

"In your house or your… house?" Spain asked uncertainly.

"Nowhere within my borders," said Norway with an icy aura. I could have sworn that I could see the silhouette of a troll behind him…

Prussia was drinking beer like water, but Russia was drinking vodka like water. A pretty blonde girl was saying something about how vodka was actually wodka, and kept on drinking said 'wodka'.

Sanji instantly singled her out as his next target. "Hello, you're-"

She turned around. "Oh, cześć," she said with a clear slur (Hello). "I'm P-P-Polska… Or Poland…"

"Well, Miss Polska, you're looking-"

Lithuania sighed, and got off of his chair. "Your name is Sanji, right?" he asked levelly.

Sanji saw this as defiance, strangely enough. "What, are you neglecting your girlfr-"

"Sanji. Poland is a guy."

Sanji stared at him. "Hah… no way…"

Lithuania sighed. "It's true," he said. "I see him without a shirt all the time."

To prove it, Lithuania grabbed the bottom of Poland's shirt and revealed his completely flat chest to Sanji. Sanji stared for a while. "…Not again…"

The vodka ran out soon enough, and Russia lost interest in anything that wasn't vodka. Poland had drunk his fill and left.

"Hello, miss!" Sanji said to Ukraine, a definitely feminine woman with a chest as large as…

"Oh, hi…" she said shyly. "Er… would you like some borsht?"

"Sure~! You know, you're a very attractive wo-"

"Hello, Sanji," said Russia from behind him. "I would really appreciate it if you would stop hitting on my older sister."

Sanji gulped. "You're… his sister?" he asked.

"Yes. I am Ukraine," she said.

"So please leave her alone, or else…" Russia threatened. "Kolkolkol…"

At last, Prussia couldn't take it anymore and fell asleep. Denmark and Nami were neck-and-neck, drinking like crazy.

"Guh…" Denmark groaned.

"Hah… so you're done?" asked Nami.

"Not… yet…"

Nami and Denmark both took one final sip of beer and slumped to the ground.

"Ehe…" Nami laughed. "Eheheheheh… So, Denmark…" she said quietly. "You really are the… best drinker in the world…"

Denmark looked puzzled. "D-did I say that?"

"Yeah… you said that the best drinker in the world was right here…"

"I was talking about Latvia." Denmark pointed to the table.

"…Oh." Nami tossed a brief glance at the table, and promptly fainted.

I stared at the short kid. Sure enough, he was the last one at the table, and still going for another Samanė.

"Is he old enough to drink?" I asked out loud.

"He is about seven hundred years old," said a mild voice. A kid with glasses was sitting next to me, smiling. "Physically, he is fifteen, however."

I stared at Latvia. At first sight he did look like a little boy… until I cut his body out of my line of sight with my fingers and looked at his face. NOW he looked fifteen.

"You see? I am Estonia, by the way."

"Tashigi," I said.

Estonia glanced around at the party. "You know, I wonder where we're going to sleep tonight. There's no way all of us can go home this late in time to sleep…"

I looked around. "Do you think Norway will let us stay here?"

Estonia shrugged. "He'll let you stay, but he will probably send most of us to motel or something. There are about two hundred of us here, after all."

"Two hundred…?" I repeated. "There are that many countries in this world?"

"More or less."

"Back in our world, there are only a handful of what we can call countries," I said.

"Really? But who are you counting? Tribes, ethnic groups, people who share a common language, micronations… I existed before I was a country."

I shrugged. "By the way, who's Lukas Bondevik?"

"Norway," said Estonia. "Are you wondering why he calls himself that?"

"Kind of," I admitted.

"I was wondering that, too," Robin appeared next to us. "Why did the others hide their real names for so long?"

Estonia looked up. "That's to avoid suspicion. Not that many people would wonder if someone is personified nation, but it is so that we are not memorable."

"Why?" asked Robin.

"We just want to blend in," said Estonia. "I mean, it would be suspicious if someone called himself… what's a major geographical feature in your world?"

"The Grand line," Robin put up. "But why?"

"Who would have a name like that? Someone who is worth turning into the police, or at least remembering," said Estonia. "We don't want to be remembered. I mean, we can't die under normal circumstances and we age at different rate, so most people would think that we're immortal. And then people would think that we know the secret of immortality… and then all gets messy."

"I think I read a book about something like that…" I said.

"But not all of us keep it that secret. We're obligated to tell the leaders of our countries, but we also tell people who we really trust. Germany and Prussia told their squadron during one of our wars, and France…"

He gave us a sad look. "For a long time, our governments were monarchies, or something along those lines. It was like that for centuries, and somewhere along the line we began to tell the royal family about us… And then the French Revolution came."

"It was understandable why France's people rioted. Famine spread like wildfire, and it did not help that half their taxes used by monarchy to pay for luxurious lifestyles. But then… they killed the king and his wife. Executed. France became republic, and lost the few people he could truly confide in."

"What about you guys?" I asked. "You seem to get along-"

Estonia shook his head. "Not back then. War was not uncommon, and it wasn't unusual for the world map to change every few years. France not very well liked… And once his new boss, Napoleon, began to conquer the rest of Europe…"

"But that's another story. After that, France began to really live among his people. He never bothered to disguise his identity, ever."

I was shocked.

"Oh, and England can see the future when he's drunk," said a voice behind me. I spun around. Romania! He was eating some kind of fried food off of a paper plate. "Want some calamari?"

"How did you sneak up on us like that?!" I shouted. I could easily sense people, but he…

"I don't have a shadow," he said.

"YOU DON'T HAVE A SHADOW?!" screamed Brooke. "DID GEKKO MORIAH STEAL-"

"Or a reflection," Romania added. "You see, I'm a partial vampire."

"Don't worry, he doesn't suck blood," said Estonia. "But since he's a nation, he's not immortal either but at the same time can't possibly have the weaknesses. So he gets only the weird stuff…"

"Ah," I said. "And why is it relevant that England sees the future when drunk?"

"It only happens occasionally," protested Romania. "But when he does, he speaks of events that haven't happened yet, or at least babbles about them. He predicted the death of John Lennon long before it actually happened. Heck, it was before John Lennon was born!"

"Who's John Lennon?" I asked.

"He's… a musician…" said Estonia. "But saying that is like saying that your sword is an instrument of murder."

"It's not!" I protested.

"That's the point. He was that good."

"And who were the seven that Sealand was born to fight?" asked Robin.

"The Axis. Germany, Japan, both Italy brothers, Hungary, Bulgaria and I," said Romania. "Technically, Prussia should be added to that list, but I guess that he just didn't acknowledge him… Basically, there was a gigantic war… Sealand was built by England as a fort to guard him."

"And what of Romano's debt to Spain?"

"Spain took Romano in for centuries, although I can't imagine why he would feel indebted to him… Then again, who knows what those two think."

"Why is Sealand made of metal?" Zoro interrupted.

"He's a special case. The fort he personifies is made of metal… I don't know how it works either."

"Wait… what happened to his… er… body?" Robin asked. "You know; the boat we came on…"

"We teleported his land along with the rest of us. It's right where it's supposed to be right now: off the coast of Britain."

"Why are all of you gathered here, anyway?" I asked.

"Poland called a meeting a while back, just to take attendance. We decided to stick around for a while so that we didn't waste our time coming there."

"Why did it take you so long to teleport everyone back to this world?" asked Robin.

"We needed someone who knew magic to help create a portal from the other side. England lost his magical knowledge when he lost his memory, so we had to wait until he got it back before we could actually start the spell up. It doesn't matter if the person is willingly helping; only that he knows how."

"But how did he get here in the first place?" she countered. "No one here knew any-"

"You don't need someone on the other side if you're teleporting yourself," explained Romania. "So you can't banish someone to an alternate dimension unless someone on the other end is there to receive that person, but you can transport them if you're going too. That rule is probably so that no one gets stranded. If you are teleported, then there is someone who can get you back."

"But in that case, how are we going to get back? We don't have a magic user…"

Romania paused. "You'll have to ask England for that."

"How did Hungary and Belarus get here?" Robin asked. "Maybe you can use the same method."

Romania thought for a minute. Then he got out a large, blank sheet of paper, and answered with drawings. "Think of the portals as doors… or gates. Once a gate is opened, anyone can pass through until someone shuts it. But it takes a lot of effort to build a working gate in the middle of a wall; the wall being the barrier between worlds."

"That's a good analogy," said Norway from the other side of the room. "I'll be sure to use that one again."

"The gates that England made were still 'open'," Romania continued, "so Norway set the spells up so that the others went through those 'open' gates. Our method required us to create a new gate to get all of you at the same time, so it took longer. Oh, and since the same 'open' gates were used again for Belarus and Hungary, both of them were teleported to the exact same places where the others were. Unfortunately, Norway could not pinpoint which gate each person went through, so Belarus went through Prussia's instead of Russia's. Hungary went through Austria's, but I guess he just wasn't there at the time."

"So England could just use the same one you two made to get us back?" Robin asked.

Romania thought on this. "Well… yeah, I guess…"

"Great! I'll tell him when he's sober."

"But how did he teleport all of us so easily?" Canada asked.

"Who said it was easy?" Romania snorted. "Magic on that scale takes a lot of mental strain, so that's why he lost his memory. He made gates for each of you: that's thirteen gates."

"But if the gates are open, then can people just… fall into other dimensions?" I found myself asking.

Romania thought. "When I say 'open', I mean as in 'not locked', not… wide open. Anyone who knows enough magic can go through an open gate."

"Hey, I haf anozzer question," said Germany. "Vy did Italy gain such strength on-"

"Italy is stronger whenever he's on a boat," said Romania. "You didn't know it, but you were on a giant boat."

"What happened to the squid cat?" I asked.

"What do you think I'm eating right now?"

I looked down at Romania's plate. "Fried… squid?"

"It's not bad…"

"Especially with a lot of maple syrup," Canada said, bottle in hand.

Romania stared at him, even though he appeared to have trouble seeing him. "You were the one who dumped all that syrup on the pizza, weren't you?"

"M-maple…" Canada faded away.

I turned to Estonia. "Hungary's human name is Héderváry, right? So what's her last-"

"That is her last name," he explained. "Her first name is Elizabeta."

"So that's why she never gave her first name…" said John. "That explains a lot."

"What is the fastest land animal?" Luffy asked Romania

"The cheetah." [4]

Norway got out a loudspeaker, and shouted, "Okay, everyone has to get out of here in one hour! That is, except for those of you from the alternate dimension, and England."

"What about the law of hospitality!?" shouted a kid with a puffin.

"Iceland, I can force you out if you overstep your boundaries. Besides, I can kill you, and that's still legal under said laws."

For some reason, everyone cleared out rather quickly. That is, except for three people— Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. They hid behind the couch, and Norway glanced at them. "You three can stay. I know you want to avoid Russia, and I'm not about to let him get you."

All three sighed in relief. "Thank you," said Lithuania.

"You're welcome." Norway said. He turned to us. "You all can stay in the rooms upstairs. I probably have enough rooms to fit all of you, but it'll be packed."

"We'll sleep down here," said Lithuania. "Are you two okay with that?"

"Jā," said Latvia.

"Jah," said Estonia.

"Then it's settled," said Norway. "England, I'll let you sleep here for the time being. That way you can use my notes. I will give you the coordinates to their dimension that Finland found, but only because Romania and I already know that as of right now. We're not going to help you any more than that."

England nodded groggily. "Still my fault?"

"Still your fault."

I looked at Smoker. "Are we… still under truce?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "Norway brought us in, and I'm not about to start a fight in his house."

"This Norway fellow… he seems to be a nice guy," said John.

"He did feed us, and give us a place to stay," said Mark.

"But he did say that he's not helping England get us back," Smith muttered.

"He did help!" I shouted. "Well… partially…"

"I know Norway," said Estonia. "At least, better than most…Anyway, it's not to spite us or England, it's because he just doesn't want to work any harder after such a huge project."

John yawned. "Well, I'm going to bed. Let's all sleep together; except for you, Tashigi."

"I'm fine with that," I said. As much as I trusted my shipmates, that didn't change the fact that I was a girl and they were guys.

"I'll take Nami to our room," volunteered Robin.

"There are only four rooms that I can spare," said Norway. "And since there are so many guys compared to girls, you three girls are going to have to share a room."

"Eh!?" I said. "B-but they're pirates!"

"Doesn't matter," said Norway. "Oh, and since you're a reindeer, it doesn't matter if you're in the same room as a human of the opposite gender, so you share too," he said to Chopper.

"That's fine…" said Chopper nervously.

"The rooms are upstairs, and they're all identical. You all figure the rest out," Norway finished. "I'm going to bed."

He opened another door, and left.

"Well… I'm tired," said John.

"Let's see… there are four male Marines, and… Luffy, Zoro, Ussop, Sanji, Franky, Brooke… six of you," said Robin. We can all even it out if you six split into three."

"That works surprisingly well…" said Mark.

"So they're outnumbered, divide and conquer…" said Smith.

"Shut up," I said.

"Fine."

I looked at Robin. So she's the Devil's child… and I have to sleep next to her?

"You can always sleep with the guys," Robin suggested as if she read my mind. "And I can read your expression, not your mind."

"Don't worry, it'll be fine if you sleep with Mark and Smith," said Smoker. "After all, they are ga-"

"Shut up!" said Mark and Smith in unison.

Estonia patted them on the back. "It is okay, you don't have to hide it…"

"Besides, we all know what happened between Lithuania and Poland," said Latvia.

Lithuania blushed. "I-it vas not like zat!" he said, but they laughed.

"We were only joking," said Estonia.

"We were there, after all," added Latvia.

"The whole time."

"All the time."

England stood up. "I don't care if you're gay or not," he said, slightly annoyed. "It doesn't matter. Either way, you can't share a room with a woman. Think of the woman, too!"

"Back in my day, there were only three instances in which a man could share a room with a woman!" said John. "If you're family, if married, or if one of you is in the hospital and you're visiting or you're the doctor or the nurse!"

He paused. "But… since you're a reindeer, it's okay for you," he said to Chopper.

I looked at both of them. "All right… I'll sleep with them."

Robin and Chopper picked Nami up, and up to the room Norway told us about. There were two bunk beds, each with heavy blankets and sheets. On the door was a sign that I couldn't read. Less than a second later, I was suddenly able to identify the words as, "It gets cold here. Use the blankets. Stay warm! Brush your teeth." The thing is; I didn't detect the letters changing or moving at all.

Robin tucked Nami in on one of the bottom bunks, presumably because it was much easier than placing her on top. "So, Tashigi, Chopper," said Robin.

"Yes…?" I said.

"Top or bottom?"

"Either," I said.

"Bottom," said Chopper.

"I'll go on top, then," she said. "I'll brush my teeth last, you two go rock-paper-scissors…"

"Robin, I have hooves," said Chopper.

"You got before me, then," I said.

"The bathroom is on the right," said Robin.

I settled onto the top bunk above Nami. Norway did have warm blankets… he really did think of everything. You know what…? I needed a bath. "I'm going to go bathe," I said.

Robin looked at the sign. "Now it says that there is a bath on the left."

"That is strange," I said.

Robin shrugged. "How about rock-paper-scissors?"

I lost, and Robin went to take that bath before me. I lay on the bed until Chopper finished brushing his teeth, where I took over. When Robin came back, she told me that it was my turn. It was a nice bath…

I saw movement out the door. Was it… an enemy? I forgot that I was in Norway's house, and grabbed my katana and slipped into a bathrobe. I cracked opened the door, and saw Nami sneaking along in the hallway. What was she up to? Why is she out this long?

Nami was a professional thief. I was sure I knew what she was after…

Norway's treasure.

Nami didn't detect my presence at all. Not even when she came to the room marked 'DO NOT ENTER'. And especially after she opened the door, revealing—

A vat. Labeled 'Oil'.

"Oh. So you've found my emergency oil supply?"

Nami and I spun around. Norway was standing there. "What? It's my house," he said.

"H-how…?" Nami asked.

"Were you planning on stealing my treasure?" Norway asked coldly.

"Wh-what? N- Of cou-"

"Go ahead," he said.

Did I… "Did I hear you right?" Nami asked uncertainly.

"I said, go ahead. It's all in that room over there. But you'll have to get it out of the bag first."

"You put all your treasure in one bag?" Nami asked suspiciously.

"Just try to get it out," he said.

He turned around and looked straight at me. "You can come too."

Nami spun around. "T-Tashigi!? How long have you-"

"Ever since you woke up and got out," said Norway. He didn't even look at us, which made me wonder if that was really his body he was in. Then again, he is the personification of a nation… I guess that it was because he had two bodies. And maybe he could see everything since I was on top of his body… that sounded wrong.

Norway led us to a door that I didn't see before, and opened it. Inside was a giant ship with a plaque labeled 'Skidbladnir' next to it. A small bag lay on top of the ship, containing something that appeared to be valuable. The opening was sealed with some kind of knot…

"If you can open the bag, then the treasure is yours," urged Norway.

Nami pointed up. "Why is there a hammer dangling from the mast?"

"That's Miölnir, Thor's hammer, or at least a copy of it," said Norway. "I positioned it so that it would drop on anyone who went under."

Nami set off the trap, and dodged out of the way. She then looked at the knot for five seconds. Then she took out a knife and tried to saw at the knot. "You're trying to trick me, aren't you," she said. "This knot can't be untied, can it?"

Norway smiled faintly. "It's a Troll Knot. And you're right. Neither the Thunder God Thor nor the Trickster God Loki could untie one when Utgardsloki used it to tie their bag of food. They couldn't eat for the rest of the day."

Okaaay. Now we've got a guy who talks about gods as if they're real people…

Nami stopped trying to cut the knot with her knife. "And I can't cut this rope, either…"

"That's because it's made of Sif's hair. Sif is a goddess, and the hair of a woman is her most prized possession. Loki cut it off and replaced it with hair made of real gold. She accepted it graciously, and I took her old hair."

Nami examined the bag. Then she cut a hole in the side of it. "The bag isn't anything special, is it?" she asked. "So then I can cut it like anything else."

Norway nodded. "Now you just have to get the treasure out. The bag is superglued to the floor, after all."

Magical knots and superglue. Okay. This was officially strange.

Nami tried to yank the treasure in the bag, but it was too heavy. "Seriously? The one thing that's in here; and it's too heavy?" she said. "It's a bracelet!"

"It is charmed to multiply itself every so often," said Norway. "Every ninth night, eight golden rings will spring from it. Wonder why I keep it locked up? It's made of gold. It's the Draupnir, which the dwarf Sindri made to prove that he was better than-"

Nami stared at him. "Then why would you want to give away something that good? At least, you're not actively trying to trip me up…"

Norway waved his hand in the direction of the gold. "Let's say that I sold the gold. Then the value of gold would drop drastically, and then the amount of money I get for a given amount of gold will decrease drastically. And that's not even counting what would happen to other people… and those on the gold standard."

He sat down on a chair that suddenly appeared. "But you, Nami… you're a pirate. You're a wanderer, and from what I've heard your economy isn't stable enough for this thing to cause any trouble. Whatever you spend on some islands won't necessarily impact the economy of other islands. So if you manage to get that thing out, you can take it. Of course, Odin would be angry at both of us, but I'm willing to take that risk. If you are also willing to take that risk, remember that Odin's lance, Gungnir, never misses and he can impale you without a-"

"Fine!" Nami threw her hands up in the air. "I'm not going to steal that thing! I'm going to bed!"

She stormed off. I looked at Norway. "Are you trying that hard to stop her from getting that thing?" I asked. Then I paused. "But then again, you did tell her about the gold thing, and that she could if she wanted to…"

Norway shrugged. "She could, but she didn't want to enough. I was only stating facts."

This guy… he's so confusing and contradictory… But at least he's harmless.

"But if Nami HAD tried to steal it without me knowing, I would probably have ripped her to pieces," he said.

Scratch that.

"Not to mention the fact that she would have to get past Golden Bristles."

"Wh-"

"The boar."

"What boar?"

"The one that just bashed its head against yours." [5]

X

I woke up the next morning with my head throbbing… and there wasn't any light. I only knew that it was morning by the glowing numbers that said '7:34 AM'. A clock, was it?

Nami, Robin, and Chopper weren't here. Seeing this, I got out of bed and groped for a light switch. Sure enough, there was one right where I thought there was. I flipped it, and found my uniform sitting on the table next to me. Quickly, I changed and rushed out the door to the kitchen.

Sure enough, the others were already awake. All of the nations that we came with had come back to cook and eat, with mixed results. I was glad to see that France was distracted by his own frying pan, but Luffy was eating everything that was being cooked so that no one else got to eat. Not for lack of trying, however. I saw Germany trying to fend his arms off with a cheese grater, and Prussia actually tackled him to the ground. When he tried to eat off of Austria's plate, Hungary bashed his with her frying pan. I still had trouble thinking of her as a girl…

Sealand was having a lot of French toast, and a lot of sausages. Well, fifty years old or not, he's still a child on the inside.

Italy was cooking, but Germany was cleaning up obsessively after him. Nami and Canada were drinking some sort of syrupy drink… was that maple syrup? America was pouring it all over a gigantic stack of pancakes, which he took from an even bigger stack.

Robin somehow managed to use her power to put a copy of her mouth onto the table and another arm with eyes on it. The arm seemed to be putting food into the mouth. Robin was reading in the meantime.

Spain and Romano were eating tomatoes, while Italy grabbed a few to make whatever he was cooking. Romano glared at him, but Spain reassured him by saying that there were enough tomatoes to go around.

Sanji was cooking for all he was worth, but his stockpile of ingredients was slowly being depleted.

For some odd reason, America abandoned his pancakes in favor of wrestling with England. "He's trying to stop him from cooking," Canada whispered to me.

Russia was drinking a glass of water along with some kind of bacon. He turned to me, and offered me a glass. Not one to be rude, I drank it—and almost choked. Alcohol?! At this hour?! Belarus, still in the body of teenager, drank a glass with her brother.0

China and Japan were eating rice, and a lot of it. Eventually, they switched to a kind of rice porridge they called juk.

Nami and Zoro were hung over, and Austria gave them some kind of hangover remedy. "You haf no idea how many times I needed zis," he told them. He rattled off the ingredients, and I jotted them down.

"Hey! Tashigi!" called John. He and the others were sitting at their own part of the table. John was eating sausages with Smoker, while Mark and Smith were nibbling at French toast as discreetly as they could.

"Morning," I said. "Where's Norway? And why's it so dark?"

"It's winter," said Norway from behind. I spun around. When did he get there?! "The sun won't be up completely until spring. Polar Twilight, that's what it's called. Perfect for what you're planning." He directed this last comment to England.

England shrugged. "It would have been better if it were the solstice, but it's a little late for that."

"There's always the Spring Equinox," suggested Canada.

England shook his head. "Not dark enough."

"But it is occult, right?" said America. "That was the time when you turned us all into- mmph!"

England had slapped his hand against America's mouth. "That was an accident, and you bloody well know it!" he shouted.

"But America is right," said Sealand. "You've done plenty of non-accidental magic on those days. You said it yourself; it's the difference between a door that's been oiled and one that's gone rusty."

"How do you know all this?" asked Nami.

"It's the sort of thing you pick up with a crazy black magic using brother who actually managed to summon demons," said Sealand. "Emphasis on black magic."

"Dude, you won't believe what he put us through whenever it was Halloween!" said America.

"Or any day that was even remotely occultly significant…" said Canada.

"Who would have thought that April nineteenth was a day of human sacrifice…" said America. [6]

"With fire, no less," said Canada.

"Good thing we had a fire poker with us, right?" said Sealand.

"And a bottle of castor oil," added Canada.

England waved it off. "You can't die through conventional means, you were perfectly safe."

America stared at him. "Dude. They had a flamethrower."

"Still conventional."

"They were trying to sacrifice our souls to their god!"

"No, they were trying to sacrifice your souls to the spirits of the land. That, by the way, is impossible when you ARE the spirits of the land. Technically speaking."

"I thought we were civilization spirits!" said Sealand.

"Both, actually. I mean, there are actual spirits, but… it's complicated."

Right… "So you don't actually know, do you," I said.

England turned a bright red. "Well… no, not exactly. You see, we sustain damage if our land is attacked, and each part of our bodies corresponds to part of the land."

"Ve~ My right nipple is Corsica!" shouted Italy. "It belongs to France!"

"Too…much…information," Romano said, and he smacked the back of his brother's head.

"V- That hurt!" Italy whined.

"That explains why I saw you hurt twenty years ago, even though I never saw you get that way," Robin mused.

"But then again, there is the fact that we also are hurt by bad economy," England added. "Or anything like that."

"Which is why I'm always coughing blood…" Spain groaned.

France put his arm around Spain. "Your unemployment rate is twenty percent," he said. "Take it easy, oui?"

"Si…" Spain collapsed in his arms. "And… no… groping…"

To my surprise, France relented to Spain's wishes and didn't touch him at all. Well, he did keep him upright, and he did lay him on the couch—you know what I mean!

"Anyway," Smoker waved a hand irritably. "What was it about dimensional work?"

England looked at the ground. "I'm going to have to send you back to your dimension," he said.

"Will we be turned into kids?" asked Luffy.

"No. Those were side effects of dimensional transport that shifted the epicenter of the de-aging spell I previously cast," said England. "The side effect was the re-targeting of the spell, which bypassed normal laws, so Russia, who is normally immune to my magic, had the de-ageing spell cast upon him effectively-"

"Simpler explanation, da?" Russia asked with a pickaxe in one hand, pipe in the other.

"No, you won't," said England simply.

"He meant the other one," said Belarus. She had her knife back in her hand.

England looked up for a moment. "Ah. Let's see… you, Russia, are immune to all forms of magic. Almost. All nations have immunity to magic to an extent, but you're special."

"Thank you."

"That's not a complement, that's a statement of fact," said England irritably. "Now—where were we? Oh, yes. Unless you want them to work, spells don't work on you at all. That's the case with all nations to a lesser extent. But dimensional work is tricky. When crossing dimensions, spells previously cast are removed and transferred to others alongside you. The shifting made it so that you, who are normally immune-"

"Simpler."

"I cast spell on you, no work?" England said. "I cast spell on me, take you with me to other world, spell move to you?"

Russia seemed satisfied.

"But if you send us back…" Robin said.

England nodded gravely. "Who knows when we're going to see you again," he said.

There was a long, hard pause. "Maybe… we should say goodbye?" I suggested awkwardly.

There was a murmur of agreement. "I'll break out the liquor," said Norway.

"Not now," groaned Nami.

"Not after that party…" said Zoro.

"God, I will never drink again," said England.

Norway shrugged. "Have it your way."

John put his arm around Hungary. "No matter what, Hungary, I will always think of you as the one who cleaned out the entire fleet."

Hungary grinned. "Igen, János!" she said.

"Ve, János is how you say John in Hungarian," Italy whispered to him.

"Hey! What about us?!" Mark said indignantly.

Hungary turned to him and Smith. "May you two have a long relationship!" she said happily.

Smith turned a bright red. "Y-it's nothing like that!"

"Suuuure…" said John.

"Do not get down just because Prussia beat you, Smoker!" she said. "You're definitely not veak!"

"I never said I was upset, but thanks for the vote of confidence," he replied.

"As for you, Tashigi…" Hungary trailed off. "Even if everyvone around you seems to be stronger, do not give up! Your strength is incredible! And you have not even reached your full potential! Train more, and you vill be stronger! Ze more you train, ze stronger you vill become!"

"Yes!" I said.

"No time to lose!" Sanji shouted to France. "We've got to start cooking! We've got to share all our recipes!"

"We do not know when we will meet again," said France. "Is it okay if I-"

"NO!"

"I was going to ask you for your watercress!" France protested.

Sanji paused. "Oh. That's fine, then."

"In zat case… I would like to look at your…"

"So you two are cooking meat?" Luffy asked.

"Probably," said Zoro.

"Ve, keep in mind that France has over eight thousand recipes…" said Italy.

"Hey! What about my food!" China shouted.

"Great!" said Sanji. "Let's share ALL of them!"

"Chinese food traditionally doesn't have very much meat," said Romano. "It's more of a sustenance food."

"But it's good!" said America. He paused. "REAL Chinese food, that is. Hey, I AM America, you know! I don't just eat that fake stuff!"

"And when you say real Chinese food, you mean…?" England said testily.

"Pig intestine, whole lizards…"

"Time to write all the recipes down~!"

"Can you teach me how to play the piano like you did?" Brooke asked Austria.

"I can give you ze sheet music," he said. "How much?"

"All of it!"

Needless to say, the whole episode ended with a lot of ink all over the place, everyone being hit hard on the head with Hungary's frying pan, some trouble with chloroform, and a lot of meat being consumed.

Eventually, the only ones left standing were me, Robin, and England. 'Standing' being a broad term… I was actually lying on Norway's couch, but I was still conscious.

Robin and England were sitting on the same couch, since there wasn't any room anywhere else. The silence between there was heavy and awkward, until England spoke.

"R-Robin… if I did come back before you met Luffy and the others… would you still have forgiven me…?" he asked.

Robin was silent for a moment. "I… no. Probably not," she confessed. "I was looking for someone, Cap'n. Someone who wouldn't abandon me."

England looked at the ground. "That's exactly what I did…"

"But the reason why I never hated you was because you never actually tried to betray me," said Robin. "Everyone at that time tried to use me. If you had come back for me and me only, then I would have thought that you really were trying to use me all along."

"But you still don't forgive me," he said.

Robin shifted. "I never said that."

I didn't know how I knew, but I just… knew. Without any more words, England and Robin had completely reconciled. They had reached a quiet understanding.

At last, England stood up. "I'll use the already open gates to send the rest of you back. But to send such a large group on purpose… it'll have to be done at midnight."

"I… have a few questions about that…" I managed to squeeze those words out of my mouth. England and Robin turned to me, startled. "First… is it harder to do it on purpose…? Didn't you… transport yourself…?"

"H-how long were you awake?!" England blushed.

"Just… answer…" I said.

"Very well then. Magic made by accident is not actually easier: it goes unchecked. Sending us to your world was an accident, but the lack of control left my magical reserves unchecked, and the teleportation spell consumed all I had and… wasted it by creating and opening multiple portals in different places. The fact that I was teleported to where you were was a completely random event. But for this, I have to use one particular gate, squish you through it all at once, and leave myself with reserves so that I don't lose my memory like last time."

"Why… midnight?"

"Incredible occult significance," said England. "Plus, it's cooler."

"Ah."

There was another pause.

"Do we just stay here until midnight?" Robin asked.

"Or at least until everyone wakes up…" I said.

Sssss… Something sizzled. "Is something… burning?" I asked. "I smell burnt paper."

Robin turned her head to the source of the sound. "It's coming from Luffy's pocket…"

England slid off of the couch and rustled through Luffy's pockets. "Oh no…" he murmured. "This is bad. I don't know who gave this to him, but… At this point, style can take the back seat. I have to do this right away…"

"What's bad?" I asked. "Is it too late? Can I do anything to help?"

"It's a Vivre card," England shows us a half-burnt piece of paper. "I have no idea how gave it to him."

"But what is a Vivre card?" I asked.

"It is something given to someone you care about," said England. "You tear a piece off, and the two pieces will be attracted to one another. But it also has another function. When the life of the person of whom the card was created for begins to run out, then the paper begins to burn…"

I looked at the paper. "So that means that…"

"Someone who cares about Luffy is dying!" Robin shouted.

Luffy twitched. "Dying…?" he murmured. He sat up. "Who's dying!?"

"Calm down!" Robin said. She took the card. "Who gave this to you?"

"My brother did!" Luffy shouted. "Ace did!"

"He's in trouble! We've got to help him!"

Luffy spun around. "Wake up, everyone! Ace needs help!"

The Straw Hats shuffled around drowsily for a while, but Robin slapped them awake. "England!" Luffy shouted. "Get us back!"

England scrabbled over his book. "Okay, but I can't teleport you all where he is," he said.

"Why not?! Ace's life is in danger!" Luffy shouted.

"There would be insane consequences," said England. "First, I would have to actually find out where he is. Then, I'd have to create a gate, and do you know how long it took for Norway and Romania to create one!? Not to mention that… you'd leave your ship behind."

"I say we don't!" said Franky. "We are NOT going to leave the Thousand Sunny behind!"

"We won't be able to go anywhere without it!" said Sanji. "We'll never reach any of our goals without a ship!"

"All of my treasure is in there!" said Nami. "If we go, then you'll have to pay me back!"

"The Mini Going Merry is on there!" Ussop shouted. "We are not going to leave Going Merry behind again!"

Nami turned around. "How did you know about the Mini Going Merry? We never used it…" [7]

"I… had a look around?" Ussop said uncertainly.

"I-if we get into an emergency, then I can't treat you without my equipment!" Chopper panicked.

Luffy thought for a moment. "Fine. England, how long will it take for you to send us through the gate?"

"Shouldn't take that long. I just need to draw this…" He sketched a few circles onto a large piece of paper… the same on that Romania used to explain magic. "Done."

"That was… a little too fast…" I said. "I thought that there would be something more… elaborate."

England shrugged. "You'd be surprised how simple magic can be once you get past the first hurdles."

"That's not what I meant…"

"You all will have to stand on this circle," said England. "Whoever's unconscious you'll have to carry."

Luffy picked up the rest of us, and shouted, "All right then, LET'S GO!"

England began to chant, and the circles began to glow in response. "Any second now…"

There was a flash of light, and my body began to feel light…

BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.

The next thing I knew, John was shaking me awake. "Tashigi!" he said sharply.

"John…?" I mumbled.

"We're back!"

I looked around. Thriller Bark… "Ah… England's spell did work after all," I said. "There's the ship- Wait a minute…"

"What is it?" Mark asked. "Don't tell me you left something behind…"

"No, that's not it," I said. "Come to think of it… Romano forced Gekko Moriah to release all of the shadows, right?"

"Right…?" Smith said testily.

"Did anyone actually beat that guy?"

There was an awkward silence. "Don't tell me…" groaned Smoker.

X (Nami POV)

We found the Thousand Sunny right where we left it. "Now that Brooke has his shadow back, he can join the crew, right!?" Luffy shouted. He appeared to have forgotten all about Ace…

"Yoohooohooo!" Brooke shouted. "Time to play that song! Just let me bring my instruments on board!"

Brooke ran off to his ship, leaving us waiting. Robin got up from her seat and walked towards the starboard side of the ship, where the sun was rising. I could barely hear what she said, but I heard these words. "So… I'll see you again… Cap'n."

X (Sealand POV)

Jerk-England was exhausted for the rest of the day. Once I woke up, I saw him sleeping on the ground, next to a sheet of paper covered in runes. I picked him up and laid him onto Norway's sofa.

"S-Sealand…?" England murmured.

"Yes, Jerk-England?" I said.

"I-Is… did they g-get back all right?" he asked.

"Well, they don't appear to be here right now, so… yes?"

"G-good…"

I looked at the sheet of paper. Hey… I saw this paper before, back at the party. Romania used it to explain how dimensional travelling works… Did England draw this on the back? I turned it over. Sure enough, Romania's explanation was there. I turned it back, and looked at the elaborate runes. "Did you draw all this?" I asked.

Jerk-England looked at me. "You can… see them?"

"Why shouldn't I?" I asked. "They're right here…"

England gave me a serious look. "So… you can see magical runes that most people can't… Sealand."

"Yes?"

"I think your magical ability is awakening."

THE END… kind of. There will be a sequel!

[1] America having the best economy- I think. Remember that this takes place in the 90's… 1995 to be exact.

[2] Commonwealth of Independent States- After the Soviet Union fell; Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine formed that organization. It invited all former Soviet states into it. By 1995, all Soviet states joined: Except for the Baltics. To this day, the Baltics were the only ones that haven't joined. Interesting…

[3] Tashigi and micronations- Remember that Tashigi lives in a world where there are no countries, so she can't quite grasp the concept of a micronation.

[4] Romania, fastest land animal- I used Romania to explain all unanswered questions, or at least the ones I found. The cheetah was a reference to Airplane, where the Information Desk actually provided any information, made clear when a man asked what the fastest land animal was.

[5] The armlet, all the items Norway referred to- All from Norse mythology. Just look up the story of Sif's hair, and all the items are somehow related to that.

[6] April 19, human sacrifice- I looked up a date for occult celebrations, and I found a website saying that the Illuminati preformed human sacrifices on several days. This one involved fire…

[7] Mini Going Merry, never using it- In the original One Piece, they used the Mini Going Merry to get to Thriller Bark. But since I cut to the chase with an earthquake, it never got used. I used Nami to refer to that fact.

TIME FOR THE THANKS!

Thank you, all of you who took the time to read! Thank you, all who took their precious time to review! And thank you, all of you for staying with me for forty chapters!

So… the sequel! It will be a Harry PotterxHetalia x-over!

Look out for… drumroll, please…

RECIPE FOR DISASTER AND HILARITY!

Okay, I admit it. Even though it does take place right after this fic, I'm not going to be annoying and make it a DIRECT sequel. Some events will be used as a springboard, but I'm not going to make it totally confusing for people who haven't read this. Although, if you ARE this far, it probably wouldn't matter as much…

Soooo~…

See you next time! Zantersuken Reverse, signing out.