WARNINGS: YOU MUST READ THIS BECAUSE I WILL NOT BE POSTING IT IN THE NEXT CHAPTERS. If you're too lazy to read all of it, the general ideas are in bold.
Gender-bender: fem!Poland, fem!Japan, fem!Canada, and fem!Norway. Mainly because I want to balance the yaoi pairings with het pairings.
Lots of poking at pairings: USUK, GerIta, NiChu, Spamano, RusCan, PoLiet, Austria/Hungary, Denmark/Norway, Hong Kong/Taiwan, Estonia/Latvia, Sweden/Finland, and any other pairings that might come to mind.
If you have suggestions for any pairings that I missed, feel free to mention it in a review. Except for France. I am a firm believer that his one and only love was Jean d'Arc. He's still going to be his lecherous self though.
Looking for someone who wants to make a better cover for this story. PM me if you're interested.
Note: Any italics you see are either thoughts, the person on the other side of a phone, or a person speaking in another language at length. I'm sure you're all smart enough to figure out which is which.
Lots of thanks to my beta, memoranda :)
Disclaimer: Hetalia isn't mine.
Chapter 1: The Jig's Up
(or the Nine Nations and the Zombified Chinese Mob)
"Here it is, aru," China announced proudly.
The G8 and Mexico stared at China's current pride and joy – and wow, was it awesome.
The pride and joy in discussion was a huge, five-star restaurant standing pompously in an artificial hill deep in the richest parts of Beijing. It was painted a royal red with gold linings and silver Chinese dragons decorated the pillars holding up the building. Clear glass gave four floors of diners an amazing view of Beijing from all four sides. They could see fancy dining tables with gold and silver chopsticks being used by China's wealthiest people inside the restaurant, as well as sophisticatedly-clad servers weaving gracefully in between tables. They could all smell the delicious aroma of the finest Chinese food the nation can offer.
America's stomach rumbled.
Several hours ago, they had all been in a G8 meeting being hosted in Japan. Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China were invited. It was long, dull, boring and basically the same as the world conferences they had every year – except with less people. England and France were trying to strangle each other, America was glaring daggers at Russia and vice versa, Italy was bothering Germany, Japan and Canada were being quiet, and the five invited nations were doodling on their papers with bored looks on their faces.
Somehow, during a non-existent discussion about their economies, China had managed to get most of the nations present to eat with him in a new five-star restaurant in Beijing. Brazil, South Africa, and India were the only ones who managed to evade his request by giving him a good reason: their bosses were pissed at them. Apparently, they were responsible for a particularly wild party in Brazil that ended up with the three nations arrested by the local police. Their bosses had to bail them out. All three were trying to get back on their bosses' good sides by doing extra work.
Now, one super-fast Japanese private jet later, they were all standing in front of a glamorous Chinese restaurant feeling hungry and underdressed – except for France.
"China," America exclaimed, "this is awesome! It smells even better than the food you usually bring during the meetings!"
China wasn't sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult.
"Let's just go in," Mexico mumbled. "I'm starving here."
"Yes, aru!" China practically shoved his fellow nations inside the restaurant. He told the little Chinese woman in front of his reservation and they were all led to a round table in the fourth floor overlooking the amazing city of Beijing lit by twinkling lights. It was like a sea of stars had crashed down on the area... along with thousands of people.
Beijing was very noisy.
Luckily, the restaurant had somewhat noise proof walls.
"Mm!" France took a deep breath. "The aromas rival even my finest restaurants!"
China called for a waiter, who greeted them in Chinese and promptly gave each of them menus consisting of several pages of Chinese characters. America stared at the weird bunches of lines scattered all over the menu. He could not for the life of him understand how he was supposed to read it. Is this Martian or something?
"China," Canada asked timidly, "we don't know how to read these..." Her bear mumbled something under its breath. America wondered how the hell she managed to sneak in a bear into a five-star Chinese restaurant. Maybe it was her natural invisibility...
America looked back at China, who appeared dismayed. "Right..." He brightened. "I will order for you then, aru!" He spoke to the waiter in rapid Chinese, looking like Chinese New Year came around again. The waiter responded with equal vigour and walked off smartly.
"What did you order for us?" asked England.
"I want pasta, ve~" Italy chanted.
"No pasta," China chided. "We have noodles, aru."
"No!" he wailed. "Noodles! Evil pasta!"
The five minutes it took to receive their orders were spent Germany and Japan trying to calm down Italy, China trying to preach to Italy about noodles, Russia being creepy, Canada being invisible, and Mexico grumbling about rather eating tacos. America just sat there, staring out the window with an uncharacteristically serious look on his face. His gut was telling him that something was going to happen... Something bad...
"Noodles were here before pasta, aru."
"No! Pasta is God's food, and God has been here since forever, ve~!"
"Shut up, you two," Mexico barked. "Tacos rule above all, end of discussion!"
China and Italy were about to object, but just then their waiter returned carrying the food China had ordered for them. The waiter set down identical plates of noodles in front of each nation before asking politely if they needed anything else. He walked away when China shook his head.
America held one silver chopstick in each hand, a puzzled look on his face. "Hey China... What're these stick thingies?"
The Chinese nation sighed and proceeded to show him how "the two stick thingies" were supposed to be used.
"No, you put the thumb here, aru... You're doing it the improper way, aru..."
Sealand came flying out of nowhere and tugged on England's sleeve. "Oi! Listen to me!"
England looked down at the micronation in surprise. "Sealand! When... How did you get here?"
"I stowed away." The boy waved a hand. "Anyway, I want to get invited to a meeting!"
"The meeting ended."
"Get back to me when your economy shoots up – a lot."
Sealand started whining even more, causing other diners to look over in curiosity.
The other nations tried to ignore the upstart nation but Sealand had that weird ability that America used to have when he was still a colony –
"Callate!*" Mexico exploded. "Callate!" He pointed a quivering tanned finger at Sealand. "England, if the little mocoso** says one more word, I swear I will shove a burrito down his throat and make him swim in a vat of salsa!"
Mexico sure had a temper...
Sealand looked offended. "Hey!"
The Mexican stood up. "I warned you." He snatched the little nation by the ear and dragged him away kicking and screaming.
Russia stared at England, who kept eating nonchalantly. "Are you not going to rescue your comrade?"
America, who had just ignored everything around him in favour of his food, managed to clutch some noodles into his chopsticks and was slowly bringing it up to his mouth... when it slipped back out. He resisted the urge to slam his hand on the table. He had a feeling China wouldn't appreciate that. Stupid sticks, now he was going to starve! "Dude! I want a fork!"
"No forks, aru," came the reply.
He let out a stream of curses, which prompted a certain former British pirate to glare at him disapprovingly.
"I can't eat like this," America whined.
"Well, you'll just have to make do," England snapped.
Their conversation was drawing looks from the other tables...
Japan daintily drank from a glass of water, caught sight of the reflective window beside her, and proceeded to choke.
"You okay, Japan?" America asked. This was probably the first time he had ever seen the always-composed Japan choke on something.
The Japanese nation was, for some reason, staring at the window in shock. Her face had gone white and her brown eyes - usually so hard to read - were showing clear signs of shock, horror and nausea.
"Hey?" America waved a hand in front of her. He was getting kind of worried; Japan looked like she just had a heart attack – and considering how old she was... "Japan? You okay? Not having a stroke or anything?"
"America-san," she managed, "look at the television."
"Hm? What about it?" He turned his head and immediately rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't hallucinating (hey, it happened before – stupid England).
There, plastered all over the television screen, were the faces (and the hat) of ten nations seemingly taken from a distance – hey, that looked like it was taken in front of the restaurant...
"China!" he yelped. "TV. Now."
"What, aru?" China glanced at America, irritated. Then he glimpsed at the television from the corner of his eye and dropped his chopsticks as his head made a full one-eighty to its direction. "Aiya!"
"What is it?" France looked at where the three nations were staring and gasped in dismay. "Mon Dieu!"
The rest of the table swivelled their heads and watched the news reporters chatter excitedly as more and more restaurant patrons turned their attentions to the televisions scattered around the room. The nations couldn't understand what was being said, but the implications were there as a close-up of their group was revealed to the entire population of China.
"Translation, please," urged Japan.
"'Are you sure about this, Ling?'" China translated. "'Yes, the proof is undeniable and it is recently confirmed that these are ten of the personifications of nations who attended the recent G8 meeting in Japan. It is unclear what personifications exactly are, or even what their purpose is, but the general idea is that each country has a being that represents the entire nation literally...'" China trailed off.
"Keep going," England whispered.
"'The sources claim that the blond one in a tweed suit is said to be the England – " A zoomed-in picture of England was shown. " – and the one walking beside him is France." France replaced England. "The silver-haired man is said to be Russia. The stocky blond and the brown-haired man walking beside him are Germany and Italy respectively...'"
As the accurate descriptions continued, Germany plotted a way to get out of the restaurant without drawing attention.
Unfortunately for him, it was definitely impossible with every single person in the room gawking unashamedly at their table.
Finally, Russia grabbed an empty seat and effortlessly threw it at the offending piece of technology, startling many of the patrons. He then drew his ever-trusty pipe from his person, shattered the entire wall of glass and barked, "Move, comrades!"
And they all jumped through the window, cameras flashing behind them.
"Go, go, go!" China shrieked. He held the gates open as his fellow nations sprinted through the iron gates. A huge throng of Chinese people were right on their tails – and boy, there was nothing scarier than a screeching Chinese mob holding cameras and video recorders (to them, at least).
China, with help of Russia and America, managed to close the gates long enough for Germany to bolt it shut and wrap several meters of what looked to be silver chains with a big, black padlock around the columns of iron.
They backed away and observed the mob crowded outside China's gates.
"I didn't think they'd be like that if they found out," America commented.
"This is not good," China muttered. "Not good, aru."
"We should go inside," Italy said with fake cheeriness from behind Japan. "There might be pasta." He peeked at the crowd with fear-filled eyes and hid behind his friend again.
"Er, yes," England agreed. "We should go inside. It would be safer – um, safer to cook pasta in..." He looked bewildered for a moment. "Did I just say that...?"
As they all rapidly went inside to hide – um, make pasta, Italy sang about how great pasta was feebly. It was like he was being forced to sing it with a gun pointed at his head.
After what seemed like forever (but actually thirty seconds), they entered China's rather large house and barred themselves in the living room. They could still hear the crowd outside quite clearly.
"Where's the remote?" America asked. He turned over one of the couch cushions.
"I have it." France pressed the big green button (obviously the power button) and stared blankly at the screen of Chinese characters slowly moving up.
"Switch to an English channel," England ordered. "We all know English."
"Give it, aru." China stole the remote and switched to channel eight hundred. The dull blue was replaced with two British reporters talking animatedly to each other."
"Oh yes, Frank," said the woman. "We already have one of our reporters stationed in Asia standing outside China's residence. It doesn't look like the nations are going to come out anytime soon. Their way of exiting the restaurant was rather impressive – jumping through a four-story window... Here is a clip of their escape recently posted on Youtube..."
"Bollocks." He caught sight of Canada (surprisingly) calling someone on her phone. "Who are you calling?"
"My boss," she mumbled. She only needed to wait three seconds before someone picked up. "Hi... You heard? Why isn't anyone trying to cover this up? ... What do you – Why are they at my house? How did they know? ... Okay, okay... Thanks." She hung up, sighing. "The media knows where we live."
"What?!" That was the general response.
"We cannot go back home even if we get out of here," Japan muttered to herself.
China was already dialing his boss's number. "This is China... We need to get out of here – immediately... How the hell should I know? They all followed us here and somehow their addresses were leaked to the media! ... Yes, the private jet... I still have that secret passageway in case of an invasion... Yes. Thank you." He turned to the others. "I have a plane ready to take all of you to your countries."
"The media knows where we live," Germany reminded him. "And all the government buildings will undoubtedly have more reporters outside too."
"Our bosses are already making arrangements for hideouts." China strode to his kitchen. "Come, I have a way to get us out."
He led them to his refrigerator and asked America to help push it aside. America was confused (and hungry, but that wasn't important), but he obliged.
America easily moved the fridge away from the wall. There, underneath where the fridge used to be, was a small, square door that looked like it hadn't been opened for decades.
"I had this built during World War II," China explained. "But before we leave, we need disguises."
France clapped his hands and grinned.
France glared at his gloved hands and scowled. "Ugly. Hideous. Simply unfashionable. Do you know how gaudy these gloves are?"
"Deal with it," China snapped. He was trying to get Japan to wear a wig. "You'd look good with longer hair, aru..."
"I am fine," she replied stiffly. She looked uncomfortable in the tight business suit he forced her to wear. "Ah..."
America fidgeted with his backpack, which was filled with random Chinese newspapers to make it look like it actually had something inside. He was all for filling it with hamburgers but apparently China didn't have any burger meat. "C'mon, you guys! The zombies are almost here!"
"There aren't any zombies." Canada was the only one who didn't need a disguise. She was, for once, thankful for her invisibility.
"They might as well be!" He pointed outside, where they could still make out the shouts. "They're like those zombies from Resident Evil: mean, hungry and badly dressed."
"I'm going to ignore that, aru..."
Russia tugged down the fedora that was supposed to hide his hair. "Are we quite ready yet?"
"Ve~ China has a great fashion sense!" Easy for Italy to say – he was wearing normal clothes: a white shirt, jeans, and jacket.
"Let's go," Germany said gruffly. He opened the little door and started to climb down the ladder. It was a tight fit, and the heavy parka he was wearing didn't help. He had no idea why China even gave him a parka; it was summer and he was going to stick out like a thumb with the stupid parka. He knew he should've chosen the trench coat Russia was wearing; it was lighter, even if it did look like something that came straight out of a mafia movie.
Next was France. He refused to walk in public wearing what he was wearing. It took China telling him it was necessary, Canada persuading him that he didn't look too bad and England threatening to start another war to make him go down the hatch – and even then, they had to push him down.
Eventually they all entered the secret passageway. To put it bluntly, it was wet, drippy and smelled like the average Chinese sewer.
"This leads to one of the underground sewers near my house, aru," China explained. "It can be very confusing to anyone who doesn't know the layout, but it can get you to all sorts of places. We should reach the airport in an hour."
France almost died right then and there. "One hour... in the sewers... wearing this." He almost wished he was facing the media. At least he'd look and smell good.
"Belt up, frog," England grumbled. "We're all miserable enough without having to listen to you talk."
The rest of their sewer journey was mostly spent in silence, mainly because they were each lost in their own thoughts. (It had nothing to do with the pipe Russia raised every time one of them (mainly France) opened their mouths to complain. Nope, not at all.) Every now and then, Canada's polar bear (Kuma-something) would blare out random comments, but Russia let it slide, perhaps because he didn't notice.
At last, they came upon a manhole that was supposedly positioned near the back of the airport. Since the metal ladder was not only broken, but wet, America had to lift China up so he can twist off the cover. He pushed it aside and poked his head out of the opening. Not a single person was in sight.
"Let's go," he whispered.
"Why are you whispering?" America jumped and caught the edge of the manhole. He dragged himself up and held out a hand to England. "There's no one here."
When everyone was safely (and cleanly) at ground level, they blatantly broke down the back door and let themselves into what looked like a storage area. Why a storage area would need a door outside, they had no idea but they weren't about to question it.
Italy spotted a crate labeled "Damian's Pasta House" and was about to open it when Germany clamped a hand on his shoulder and shook his head disapprovingly.
"But Germany – "
China's phone rang. He listened to the voice for a minute before nodding and hanging up. "There is a plane ready for take-off, aru. Hangar thirteen."
Japan stared out at the clouds.
The private jet was very plush – maybe it was the Chinese government's way of apologizing for their predicament. The interior was like a sophisticated office lounge. There were several leather chairs bolted to the floor, each with their own mini television. A large plasma screen television was screwed in place to the walls and surrounded by three cream couches. A mini refrigerator sat in the corner, right under a screen showing their position above Asia.
The airport they had been in was empty. Not even a single security guard roamed the premises. They later found out that the airport workers had been trying to keep the media from entering the building. All the flights had been cancelled and the civilians that had a flight booked were swiftly ushered into their appropriate flights. The people who had been there to meet with the arrivals were promptly kicked out. Any and all planes scheduled for landing were forced to find another airport.
The Chinese government wasn't taking chances. How nice of them.
Now that they had taken off though, the flights were returning back to normal and people were allowed back into the building.
"Hey Japan!" She saw America waving her over. "Wanna play poker?" England, France, Russia, China and Canada were sitting with him on the couches. Germany and Italy were off... somewhere. (She shooed away her perverse thoughts; this was not the time.)
... Well, she didn't have anything better to do. Even if it was illegal (to some extent), no one would breathe a word to this to the human police.
Japan unbuckled her seat belt and went to sit beside only space available: beside Russia. She tried not to think about it. A pile of poker chips were already set up in her place. She threw her ante in the pot and waited.
"M'kay." America set up the table and dealt the cards. They were playing Texas hold 'em. Figures.
She peeked at her cards – an ace of hearts and a three of diamonds – and then at the three community cards – an ace of spades, a king of spades, and a queen of hearts.
The game continued like that for the rest of their flight to Japan (their first stop). Everyone seemed to be quite good at poker. When Germany and Italy appeared from the back of the plane, only Japan and America were playing, with the Westerner in the lead.
"What are you playing, ve~?"
"Texas hold 'em!" America replied happily.
"Ooh! Can I play?"
"Sure. We were just finishing up this game, anyway." America pushed all his chips in the pot. "All in."
Japan glanced at her cards, shrugged and called him on his probable bluff.
And that was how America managed to lower his debt to Japan.
America showed his four of a kind, which had beaten Japan's full house.
Germany and Italy sat beside America as he reshuffled the cards and Russia split the poker chips between nine nations.
Five minutes into their second game (because there was nothing else to do in the goddamn jet and none of them wanted to watch the news or be reminded of their current situation), it was clear Italy cannot keep a poker face.
"Oh," he said disappointedly while China hoarded the pot to his side.
Germany patted his friend's back. "You did... well."
"Ve..." He brightened. "I will be your cheerleader!"
And that was how Italy deepened Germany's debt to France.
"I'm sorry Germany," Italy mumbled.
"It's alright," he sighed. "France still owes me around a hundred billion anyway."
*Callate - Shut up
** Mocoso - Brat
So anyway, this story actually has a plot, even if it seems like the usual secret-of-nations-revealed-fic. Reviews make me write faster~ (I'm not kidding; the stories that get the most reviews are usually at the top of my priority list.)