England frowned, his pillow over his head, as he tried to ignore America's snoring. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that what's-his-name and Ireland were likewise finding it difficult to sleep. He rolled over, to look at the bed above him. England was kind of relieved that Germany had given everyone bunkbeds. Now England could easily kick America in the back, whenever he felt like it.
"Oi, git. Stop snoring!" He whispered, kicking the bed above him. There was some mumbled complaint, but the snoring resumed. England groaned, and let his face rest in his pillow.
"Don't worry England. I can ask if we could get moved somewhere else tomorrow."
"Who are you?" England asked tiredly, not even bothering to look up.
"Eh? I'm Canada!"
"Oh England, how could you forget a nation you practically raised?"
"It's two in the morning git. I can't help it if my brain's a bit fuzzy." England muttered back. He dared a glance at the bunkbed opposite him, only to instantly regret it. Ireland didn't seem to mind the fact that he was unable to sleep. Seeing England suffer made him happy again. In a really sadistic way.
England scowled, then turned his back on him, in order to hopefully successfully ignore him. He closed his eyes, in a desperate try to ignore America's snoring and let darkness enclose him, slowly slipping away into sweet oblivion... Yeah... sweet... oblivion... zzzz...
"!" A scream suddenly echoed from downstairs, making everyone jump. A really loud, high-pitched scream. England, still fuzzy from lack of sleep, threw himself out of bed, only to lose his balance and footing momentarily. He knew Ireland would have laughed at him, if it weren't for them all being just being a bit worried about whoever screamed.
In the blink of an eye, everyone had left the room, even America, who had actually woken up, despite being a heavy sleeper.
As they ran down the hall, some other nations joined them, while others stood tiredly and confused at their bedroom doors, wondering where everyone was going. America slid down the banister by the stairs, in order to get to the ground floor faster. Several other nations followed his lead, as they raced to see what was going on.
Once they got to the bottom, they soon realised they had no idea from where the scream had actually come. All they knew, was that it was from downstairs somewhere. Germany cleared his throat and got everyone's attention.
"Split up into groups and search! No groups bigger than five, none smaller than two!" He ordered, Italy then immediately latching onto him, crying about how scared he was, despite having experienced much worse. England found that America had grabbed both him, Japan and... Uh... Candania? forcing the three to go with him.
Well, at least England didn't have to bother looking for a group now... Although, originally, he had wanted to join his brothers, specifically Northern Ireland, who was now left alone with Ireland. Ugh, he couldn't leave his younger brother alone by himself with Ireland and Sealand! But it looked like he'd have to.
He sighed, as America lead the small group down a hall, the three behind him moving more like zombies than humans. England noticed this and glanced over to Japan.
"Hey, Japan. You were in a better room than me and Canaska-"
"Sorry. Still tired. Japan, you got a better room than me and Canada. You didn't have to share it with America-"
"I heard that!"
"- so why are you still tired?"
"Korea snores. Loudly. I think it almost rivals America-sans." Japan replied.
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that." America called back, pouting annoyed at the two older nations. England glared in reply, Japan looking uncomfortably at his feet. Canada frowned, once again being forgotten and ignored.
"Hey, where are we heading anyway?" Canada asked, pushing past the two non-north-American nations, to reach his brother. America looked at him blankly, making Canada wish he had continued walking behind England and Japan.
"I'm Canada. Your brother. The other kid England brought up and fought over with France." America then grinned, recognition glinting in his eyes. Canada just rolled his eyes in reply and repeated his question. At least America was paying attention long enough to reply to his question.
"We're heading to the basement. The others are probably going to check this floor, so we should check downstairs, in case any bad guys are hiding there."
"Or Ghosts. Especially in such bad weather, in such an old house." England muttered from the back. America paled.
"Uh... Actually, now that I think about it, I think we should go and check upstairs instead-"
"America-san, that would be pointless. We already know the scream can only have come from downstairs, right England-san?"
"Yes. Actually, now that I think about it, the scream probably originated from a ghost..."
"England-san, please stop teasing America. He doesn't appreciate it."
"Fine. But it's what he gets for snoring so loudly."
"I do not snore Iggy! Hero's don't snore, only old men like you-"
"DON'T CALL ME OLD OR IGGY! PHYSICALLY, I'M ONLY 23, GIT!"
"Still older than me."
"America-san, please do not tease England back." Japan intervened, frowning.
"But I'm not! I can't help it if Iggy can't handle the truth." America replied, once again pouting. England twitched, then backed away, to stand next to Candyland. Er... No wait, he's called Canada... and to talk to said nation, about anything that distracted from America.
America pouted at this, but soon striked up conversation with Japan instead, although the Japanese nation looked more like he was about to drop to the floor asleep, than to listen to America.
They reached the basement, discovering that the door to it and the door to the dead were both open. The four countries entered the chamber with the dead nervously, looking around with worry. The lights were on in the room. Something had happened down here.
The first thing they saw after the lights, was Liechtenstein, who was holding the ends of her nightie, in an attempt to keep her pyjamas dry, while looking absolutely terrified down at the water surrounding her. So, the person to have screamed had been located.
That was relieving. Now, if only they knew why she had screamed.
"Liechtenstein? What's wrong?" England asked. Liechtenstein didn't reply, still staring at the water in shock.
"Liechtenstein? Come here, there's nothing to be scared of..." England repeated, this time trying to beckon the yonug girl away from the water. The others then noticed that the pods were empty. Every single one. And they were offline. None of them were emitting any light.
They were empty.
Liechtenstein wimpered and England sighed. He rolled up his pyjamas, to make sure they didn't get wet and entered after Liechtenstein, holding out a hand to her. He shivered, realising how cold the water was.
"Come on Liechtenstein, you'll get ill standing in this water." He beckoned again. Liechtenstein still didn't react, so England gently took her hand and tugged it lightly. She followed him, fear evident in her eyes, as she continued staring at the water.
He wrapped an arm around her, giving her a half-hug and offering her some comfort. She gripped him tightly in a hug, as she continued to stare blankly into space.
"I'll go tell the others." Canada spoke up, only for Japan to repeat the same thing. Great, being ignored again. Still, Canada accompanied Japan, as both wandered back upstairs to get the others.
America gave a nod, as he stared at the scene before him, trying to figure out why Liechtenstein had seen a ghost.
He focused his attention on the water, remembering how Liechtenstein had been staring at it, like it had become a demon or something. And then he noticed it. The thinned-down red. America gulped. There was no need to jump to conclusions, right? There was a reason for the thinned-down red that was completely unrelated with blood, right?
England successfully got Liechtenstein out of the water and helped her up the stairs. Her bottom lip quivered, as she stared back into the room. The others had finally also reached the basement, just in time to see the two leave the room of the dead.
"Liechtenstein?" Hungary asked, gaining the young girl's attention. In a moment, Liechtenstein burst into tears and wrapped her arms around the Hungarian, crying uncontrollably.
Hungary stared in alarm at Liechtenstein, before looking up, just in time to see England's reaction to the water, the Brit having finally noticed what was wrong with it.
The others burst forward, past England and America, to see what was going on. Several gasps emitted from the crowd, as realisation dawned on them.
They all stood there, in morbid shock, the only sound being Liechtenstein's crying.
It was quite clear what was causing the water to be red. Melted ice water, mixed with blood.
But... But where are the bodies?
... Now, it was one thing to wake up in a grass field, the sun shining down on you, on a lovely Sunday, surrounded by curious kids.
But it was an entirely different thing, to wake up in a grass field, without a clue of who or where you were and that, according to the curious kids, you had "magically appeared from nowhere".
France blinked at the kids, before stretching out, as if he hadn't moved in years, slowly recalling what and who he was. He still didn't know where he was though, so he asked the kids.
"Nous sommes en France!" One of their children replied, smiling at the strange man.
"Merci, petit." France replied, patting the child on his head. The children all giggled, turning when they heard their mothers calling for them.
"Au revoir monsieur!" All the children called out, before running off to meet their mothers.
"Au revoir." France replied, waving them goodbye. What a nice wake-up call. Nations were very fond of children, particularly children of their nationality, so they enjoyed spending time with the newest generation. They were so sweet, cute and innocent (well, they should be anyway), how could anyone hate them?
He frowned, recalling world war two, before shaking his head lightly. He got to his feet and walked around, soon realising the grass field was actually a large park. He sat down on a bench, getting grass strands out of his hair, while wondering where he actually was.
He didn't really remember what happened to him; it was all foggy. Sighing, he assumed it would come back to him later. For now, he should go and find something more fun to do. Maybe he should get himself cleaned up. He looked at himself, noticing his clothes. They were bland and white, similar to the clothes he had worn when he was a very young nation.
France smiled, recalling his early days. Despite usually having been born in a time of wars and battles, young nations had a tendency to be blissfully unaware of them and spent their first few years (usually decades or even centuries) being completely unaware, innocent and sweet, before slowly developing their extra abilities, such as feeling the pain and anger of their people and the nearly irresistable urge to help their people, no matter what the cost.
Sometimes, France wished he could have those early days back. He knew he couldn't, but still. He looked at the clothes, smiling lightly. OK, so they were the most boring clothes he had ever seen, but at least they reminded him of something pleasant.
Now... How had he ended up in his home again, in strange clothing and alone? He was pretty sure he hadn't drunk excessively recently, and there were no fine women (or men) around, with whom he would have done it, so he wondered what had happened.
He then remembered. He remembered the large part of the 22nd century, which he spent confined within a cell, wishing day in and day out to see the sun again. He looked up, to see the sun smiling down at him. He felt so cold inside, but smiled back at the sun anyway, simply because of the warmth the sun was giving him.
He then frowned. The HCS. They had done that to him. The cold feeling. The last thing he remembered, before waking up in France, was the heavy beating he had gotten from the HCS, the two injections he was given and that he was then stuck in a pod and was frozen up.
And then, as said, he woke up in France again. At home.
Did he have a gap in his memory? But this had all been recent, hadn't it? Recent history was a hard thing to forget... So... No, it wasn't a memory gap... What actually happened, was that he... He... He died? But... But... But nations couldn't die and come back to life again, could they?
Isn't the point in being dead, that you can't come back to life again?
France had never thought of that before. He fiddled with the rim of his strange clothes, deep in thought. Maybe it was possible? It would explain quite a few things... For example, that time with the Titannic. Both England and Ireland had been aboard it and were supposed to have drowned that night. But the very next day, after the Titannic sank, both nations were found back at home, well and alive.
He remembered England trying, and failing, to hide the clothes he'd woken up in. They were the same things France had woken up in. Was that how the two supposedly survived the Titannic? They hadn't survived? They had actually drowned, before being revived and waking up in their respective Homes again?
It... It also explained how England hadn't died, despite France having seen, from a distance, how England got his... Head... chopped off, during the hundred-year war. He had always assumed it must have been a regular human, seeing as, the next day, he saw England absolutely fine, with nothing hinting that something had... chopped his head off.
France shuddered, a bit disgusted at the thought of a beheaded England. So... he... He really had died? He frowned again, now glaring at the ground. No human should ever kill them. Nations killed each other, but that was usually in the heat of battle! Humans should never kill a nation. The end-result was usually bloody.
Look at Hitler, who tried getting rid of the Jews for example. He had ended up committing suicide and causing Germany to fall. France frowned. Oh, what he would do to get back at the HCS...
"Frantsiya?" Someone asked from behind him. France jumped and looked behind himself, to come face to face with Russia. Russia had been frozen too.
"Bonjour Russie." France greeted him, slightly confused. "What are you doing here-?"
"I've been up and about for a few days now. I've been looking for everyone who was given the "death" treatment." Russia replied, not actually explaining what he was doing in France. France stared blankly at him, before getting off the bench.
"Oui? Why are you looking for everyone?"
"Before I died, I found a list of every person who was a member of the HCS. I still have it here, see?" Russia replied, holding up several papers. They were crinkled and blood-stained, but still readable. France glanced at them, before focusing his attention on Russia again.
"I can see that. But what do you plan on doing with this information?"
"What do you think Frantsiya?" Russia replied, hiding his irritation by smiling at France childishly.
"Je n'ai aucune idée." France replied, his mind still a bit foggy from being alive again. Russia paused, and thought about what he should say next carefully.
"... We don't want children who can't play nice, right?" Russia eventually said, referencing what he had said back in 1905. And then France understood what Russia wanted to do. He grinned and his face darkened.
"Count me in Russie. Count me in."
Everyone stood silently in front of the memorial, placed in Switzerland. Most thought it was a good idea, seeing as Switzerland, being rich and neutral, was probably the only country in the world, which would keep the memorial clean and respectful (this being relative of course).
Switzerland would make sure no war destroyed it; that no vandals came in the night and that no one would ever let it gather dust and get dirty, simply because that wasn't how Swiss worked.
America mused silently how they, the nations, must look incredibly normal right now. Rain was falling down on them from the skies, hitting the black umbrellas everyone was standing underneath. Everyone was in black formal wear, a deep frown etched on their faces.
They just looked like an ordinary group of people who had gathered to pay respects to the dead, having even put flowers at the memorial's feet.
The way they solemnly stood next to each other, hands by their sides or clasped together, while their eyes emptily looked at either the large statue or the wet ground. There was no tenseness between anyone, no sneers or jabs, no bites or scratches, no fighting and no brawling. Just shared and silent mourning.
Even Ireland and England, who were toe to toe with eachother right now, were capable of silently standing next to each other. It was more amazing for Ireland really, seeing as he had to silently acknowledge how his younger Brother Northern Ireland, clung to England's hand and rested his head on England's shoulder, instead of Ireland's. Of course, Ireland also had Sealand standing next to him, so he probably saw no problem.
As the day wore on, nations slowly left. Finally, no one was left, but America and Germany, who were still standing there, late in the night, with the rain still pouring down on them mercilessly.
"Fitting weather." Germany suddenly said, making America jump and let out a small (unmanly) yelp.
"Er... I guess." America admitted, staring at Germany confused.
"... The 22nd century was an interesting time for us, wasn't it?" He asked calmly, his gaze now resting on America, instead of the memorial.
"Yeah... I... I'm going to miss them. Mexico, Sweden, Lithuania, Switzerland, France, Russia..."
"There's no need to list them all Amerika."
"... I will miss them too."
"... At least it's all over now. And I'm sure they're... They're in a better place now..." America nodded, rubbing his eyes and looking away from Germany.
The water on his face most certainly weren't tears. It was from the rain. His umbrella must be letting the rainwater in.
"Come on Amerika, let's go."
"OK." America agreed. Germany nodded and started walking towards the park's exit. America was about to follow, before he paused and took something out of his pocket. He knew it would probably get stolen sooner or later, but then again, some of their dead friend's ghost could go and haunt whatever bastard dared to steal from the dead.
He brought out a small heart made of diamond and placed it amongst the flowers, before sighing and running away, after Germany.
Lithuania poked out his head from behind the statue. He stared after the two nations, as they both finally left. He smiled softly, then left too.
Yay! The First installment of the One-Shot collection!
This happens during the first epilogue of Human Curiosity. I hope you enjoyed it. :)