Gilbert held the small little girl in his arms. He cooed down to her, "Who's the most awesome uncle in the world? I am! Yes I am!" The little baby, Fiore, reached a chubby arm up to him and grasped his pale finger. She giggled happily and soon the laugh became infectious. By the time her parents, Feliciano and Ludwig returned from their night out, the Prussian was throwing the baby up in the air and catching her, their laughs echoing through the house.
"Don't drop her!" Ludwig's eyes widened as he saw his brother almost carelessly throwing his four month old around like a rag doll.
Gilbert gave one of his megawatt grins, and threw the girl one last time, "Chill out. She's fine, see?" As if trained, Fiore let out a big giggle.
Feliciano's heart melted, "Ve, Ludwig~ She is quite happy!"
"Uncle Gil knows what he's doing!" Gilbert agreed and passed the girl to her 'mother'.
"Hm," Ludwig narrowed his eyes, unbelieving. He glanced over at Fiore. She wasn't crying, which was better than her father had anticipated. That's when he realized, "Where's Markus?"
Gilbert at the time was raiding his brother's beer stash, hidden in a cabinet above the fridge, "He's been upstairs the whole time, reading or something." He shrugged and popped the cap open off of a lager.
"Markus!" Ludwig stood at the bottom of the stairs and called up.
His son jogged down quickly, "Yes?" The three year old sat on the bottom step and looked up at the German and blue eyes met even bluer ones.
"You were upstairs reading, ja?" He confirmed with a nod from Markus, "Good."
Markus smiled from his father's approval and hurried back upstairs. After all, his bedtime was an hour and a half ago.
Gilbert took his cue to leave, and waved goodbye, trying hard to hid the six pack he had under his arm. His brother sighed but let him go.
Fiore wailed as Feliciano took her pacifier away. Yes, tonight would be another long night.
A week later, Ludwig called some other countries over. Something had to be taken care of, one way or another. Something serious.
A small blonde girl ran into the house, her curls bouncing as she did so. Her foot got caught on the hem of the rug, leading her to a full on faceplant.
"Oh god, Liz! I told you to slow down! You alright?" Alfred laughed and bent down to his daughter's level. He held out a hand which she took to get up.
"The floor smells good. Better than ours," Liz grinned and brushed a bit of 'floor fluff' as she called it off of her dark green sundress. It wasn't the first time Elizabeth had a close encounter with the floor. She had learned early on not to bother crying about it, after all she'd always fall again.
"Lord, just look at you," Arthur pursed his lips, an glanced over from his daughter to their husband, silently implying it was his fault.
Alfred rolled his eyes, "All I know is our floor needs to smell better." Liz laughed loudly as she saw confusion show on Arthur's face.
"Go on upstairs," Vash said to his son, Raimund, who just responded with a sigh. His father, Roderich stood next to Vash, a light smile tugging on his lips. Raimund dragged his feet up slowly.
"Move it!" Liz demanded sternly, as she was currently stuck behind the Austrian-Swiss. She crossed her arms irritably, hoping his pace would quicken.
Raimund, just to spite her, started to walk even slower.
Liz growled and pushed him to the side, running up. Raimund tripped down a step and narrowed his eyes. It was on. He followed her up.
"Well Kiku now has his work cut out for him," Alfred chuckled. Both being six, Raimund and Liz were just beginning starting to get physical during Japanese man was babysitting, in a sense, while the other six discussed something. Only Ludwig knew what of.
Once all the children, Fiore, Markus, Raimund and Liz were upstairs and out of earshot, Vash asked, "Now why the hell did you call us here?"
"My boss has given me some...news," Ludwig spoke solemnly, as though delivering a speech at a beloved's funeral. He might as well
"What is it?" Arthur asked softly, knowing whatever it was, it wasn't something their children needed to hear.
"My boss has told me that...that I will need to give Fiore and Markus up. I'm becoming to human, and less...nation. This rule applies to all of you as well," the German pinched the bridge of his nose and clenched his eyes shut. He didn't want to see the reactions of the others. He felt the soft hand of Feli touch his shoulder gently. It was reassuring, but at the same time, Ludwig knew his husband was crying.
There was a long wait of silence. None of them knew what to say as they had all no idea on what to say.
"Wh-where would we leave them?" Vash asked in hesitant but still stern tone. He tried to keep his composure, but the thought of Raimund being raised by someone else just made his heart ache.
Alfred's voice was ragged, as though someone had sucked all the life out of him. It felt like someone had, "There's New York if we have to, since we all know it pretty well, but I am not going down without a fight."
"Even I we were able to hide her, I mean them, the whole world would be out to find them," Arthur held the American's hand, his eyes, though, we're fogged with sadness.
A lump formed in Alfred's throat, "We...we really have no option, do we?"
Ludwig shook his head, "I have tried everything. Alles." It was somewhat surprising. The German could be quite persuasive when he got passionate about something. And they could only imagine how angry he got when they told him he needed to give his children up, "It was an ultimatum. Either we willfully give them up and we can see them when they are all adults, or they are forced away and we never see them again."
This only made the Italian wail louder into the pillow he had clutched to his face. At the moment it's edge was streamed with tears.
Roderich and Vash did their best to remain stoic. They held each other's hands. Neither of them bothered to get emotional. Feliciano was the crier. Ludwig was the messenger of bad news. Alfred was the hopelessly optimistic one. Arthur was the comforter, surprisingly. And they? They were the settlers. After all, it was a better option to give Raimund up willfully instead of having him stolen.
"C-Can I leave them something...? Prego..." Feliciano sniffled and slowly put the pillow back to its former resting spot. The Italian was finally coming to terms with what had to be done.
"I agree with Italia," Roderich interjected.
"Then it is settled. We will all leave something for our children." Ludwig nodded. The meeting was over and all of the parents took their children home sadly.
That night, Feliciano stayed up all night writing out two letters for his children, only to be read once Fiore was eighteen. He poured his heart to them out, telling them about how guilty he felt, how he hoped they would grow up to be a strong despite it all. Ludwig chose to leave Markus an iron cross. It was quite old, dating back many decades, as a reminder of the German's past. A reminder of how even in the toughest times, you can become better.
Vash was lost. He was never a sentimental man, rarely keeping things from his past. What to give his son troubled him greatly because of that. There was nothing he could give that would be all that heartfelt, so he decided to go with something useful: a mint condition first edition Swiss army knife. Roderich, on the other hand, put a lot of thought into his gift. The Austrian ran through his files of music he had composed over the years, trying to find a piece to leave. None of them quite fit, so he did what he deemed most logical: wrote a new piece. Granted, it was only a page and a half, but Roderich thought it was the best piano piece he had written.
Finally, Arthur pulled out a few of his old records. He gave her an original Abbey Road, Exile on Main St., My Generation, and her personal favorite, London Calling. Alfred on the other hand, clasped around her neck all of his dogtags, from World War I on. The names were faded, so he didn't think that she would ever be able to read it. The tags were rusted, orange in some parts, while still silver on the others.
On August 5th, a decision was made by three pairs of parents. On August 10th, they were no longer parents.