Sorry. This took forever for many reasons but now it is done... maybe?
I still don't own Hetalia.
Chapter 19: Europe Calling
"Guten tag," said the personification of Liechtenstein distractedly into the phone. Lilli Zwingli was busy looking over looking over paper work dealing with an upcoming festival in her small land. There wasn't usually much to administer since her people were very efficient and, admittedly, she relied heavily on her adoptive big brother, Vash. However, she was trying to take a more active role in her country, even if it just meant reading up on the happenings of the towns. While being the nation itself allowed Lilli to get the bigger picture of events, she found that the small details are what really mattered in understanding humans. So she read and often got engrossed in otherwise boring government permits and contracts for what the language revealed about her citizens. As such, she didn't bother to look at caller ID and was quite surprised to hear a rather enthusiastic reply.
"Lilli, dear! How are you? It's been such a long time since we talked!"
Lilli smiled and dropped the document she was reading instantly. "Elizabeta? Well, hello there, stranger! I'm quite fine, and how about you and your lovely vampire?"
Lilli chuckled as she could almost see her long time friend rolling her eyes. "Don't encourage him, Lilli! If I didn't love him so much then I just wouldn't tolerate the amount of red wine he drinks and his instance for meat that is just a step up from still moving."
"Oh, trust me; I know how much his quirks get under your skin. Why do you think I keep bringing it up?"
Elizabeta huffed into the phone. "Some friend you are!"
The two women shared a laugh at the long time running joke between them. It had been at least a year since they last chatted, but their conversations were never forced or awkward. After being friends for as many years as they had been, time became irrelevant. It helped that they lacked the life span of humans, of course, but that is neither here nor there.
After several minutes of catching up on the past year that they both failed to pick up the phone and call the other (*cough* 30 *cough*), Lilli said, "Now that we've caught up, what's happened?"
"Whatever do you mean?" Hungary asked innocently.
"Oh, come now, Eliza! This is me you're talking to. What are you planning?"
"Well… you know I haven't done this for a while so…"
Lilli sighed. "Are you attempting to match-make again?"
"Really? Eliza, I thought we talked about this the last time you attempted to do so. If I remember correctly, it did not exactly go well."
"I blame that on bad information. Italy and Romano never hinted that their brother was straight. I'm making sure to be better at reconnaissance this time around. This is where you come in my dear, dear friend!"
"Do I even… oh, goodness, Eliza, surely you don't mean- I mean you're not talking about…"
"So, is Vash dating anyone?"
Lilli let out a noise that voiced her utter disbelief of the situation and banged her head on her desk a few times for good measure. Of all the people in the world she was most conflicted about setting up, it was her adoptive brother, Vash. On one hand, she knew him the better than anyone in the world and would like to see him with someone. At times when he doesn't realize she is looking, Lilli can see the abject loneliness in his eyes and it pains her. Years of neutrality left him without the strong bonds of friendship and romance formed over the centuries among his European neighbors. While they enjoyed a strong sibling bond, it didn't keep Vash (or Lilli) warm at night.
On the other hand, it was only a decade back or so that Lilli finally gave up her crush on Vash. Switzerland only ever saw her as a sister, despite the fact that they were not related at all in the traditional sense. While Lilli had managed to shake off the feelings, there was still reluctance to imagine him with anyone else yet alone actively assist in Elizabeta's plans. Yet, she knew she could not deny her friend if it meant that maybe her almost-brother could be happy. He deserved it after all these years.
"Lilli?" Elizabeta's voice was soft as she asked after her friend. She, of course, knew of Liechtenstein's past feelings towards Switzerland. She would have thought that ten years would have been enough to erase any lingering romantic feelings towards Vash, but a lot could change in a year, even for nations. "Lilli, if you feel uncomfortable doing this, I-"
"No, he's not dating anyone," Lilli said with her voice resigned. It was time for her to move on.
"Don't worry about it, Eliza. It's just…I didn't expect to feel this way about this. Just…forget it. Now, what do you want to know?"
Elizabeta was silent for a moment on the phone and Lilli could imagine her old friend biting her lip and looking uncomfortable. The silence stretched as Lilli just waited for her friend's matchmaking urges to override her guilt.
It took longer than Lilli expected, but soon enough Elizabeta said, "Do you know if Vash likes anyone?"
Lilli let out a breath she didn't know she was holding and frowned. "Not that I'm aware of, since Vash pretty much keeps to himself and- oh."
"Oh my, I had forgotten that…"
"Forgotten what, Lilli?"
"Well it happened so long ago that I may be mistaken-"
"Oh for goodness sakes, girl, SPIT IT OUT!"
"I think my brother likes Austria."
Elizabeta asked very carefully, "How do you know?"
"Well, it's a little bit embarrassing…"
Liechtenstein's cheeks heated at the memory that she had attempted to suppress. Her voice came out strained as she began, "Many years ago, while I was still living in Vash's house, I was walking around the house late one night. I couldn't sleep and decided to explore a bit. It was around two in the morning when I finally came to my brother's room. I was intending to pass by the room, assuming that he would be asleep and not wanting to disturb him. But then I heard a… sound."
"A low, pained moan. I panicked and quickly burst into his room only to find…"
"Find…?" Elizabeta's voice was going more and more curious as well as excited.
"You're really going to make me say it."
"Say what, my friend?" Elizabeta had an idea as to where this little tale was going and a bit of mischievousness had sneaked its way into her voice. "What did you find when you looked at your dear brother?"
"Don't be an ass."
Elizabeta reeled herself in. "I'm sorry, Lilli. It's a habit of mine when I'm sense that I'm about to discover something. Forgive me?"
"… What did you see?"
Lilli took a deep breath and said in a rush, "Isawhimtouchinghimselfwhilestillasleep."
"What? I sorry, I really didn't catch that."
Mortified and through gritted teeth, Lilli said, "I. Saw. Him. Touching. Himself. While. Still. Asleep."
"Oh, ok. What about that made you think he likes Austria?"
"As I rushed out of the room I heard him moan Austria's human name." Lilli flinched at the suddenly vivid memory of the moment she realized her brother was not in any pain or danger. She knew he was male and, no matter how well he his self restraint, he was bound to the urges that almost everyone shared. The difference between that vauge knowledge and having the evidence displayed quite by accident in front of her eyes was… startling to say the least.
Elizabeta's voice brought her mind back to the present. "Yes, that was it."
"… I see. Were there any other…indications?"
"Hmmm. There was this one time when we ran into Austria at the grocery store and had lunch with him. Before Prussia came from, well, a bush, there was a sort of tension between them. I thought it was just hate but it could have been something more, I guess. Then there were all the times I saw Vash punching himself in the head over his own thoughts…"
"This just might work then!"
"Thank you so much, Lilli! You have no idea how helpful you have been! Let me know if you need anything from me, ok? Anything at all!"
"Actually, yes I have a question for you."
Elizabeta was about a second away from hanging up when the word's her friend said registered in her brain. "Ask me anything."
"Y-you and P-Prussia were… together once, right?"
"A VERY long time ago. What was I even thinking…"
"Umm, er, well what was he like when you were dating?"
"Ugh! He was so annoying! He would constantly try to hold my attention which just made me more inclined to ignore him. Gilbert was loud, brutish and obnoxious. I can't believe I even dated him for as long as I did. I mean, sure the sex was amazing, but there's a point where great sex doesn't outweigh the negatives."
Lilli's face heated at the mention of sex so soon after talking about her brother (she couldn't change tracks mentally fast enough to not feel suddenly awkward) but pushed the conversation along. "Surely there were times when he wasn't awful."
"Well, there were small… moments when he would do something very sweet that would take my breath away. And he would sometimes fail at doing something while proclaiming his awesomeness which, while annoying, was very cute. He would love to laugh and a couple of times I would just catch him smiling at me. Not smirking, just smiling softly. Gilbert would hold me as we slept and always make sure that I was never bothered by someone else, despite the fact that he bothered me the most…"
Lilli listened as Elizabeta's voice took a more wistful tone. "I think I know why you stayed with him so long."
"Of course, he's still an ass and I hate him. But that's beside the point. What happened between us was centuries ago. His… tastes have certainly changed since then. Pfft," a decidedly ungraceful snort sounded through the phone, "my goodness is that an understatement. Why do you ask?"
"…What does he like now?"
"Oh, Lilli you can't be serious. Please tell me you're not serious."
"Hey, don't judge me. Did I judge you when you started having some serious hate-sex with Romania while still technically married to Austria? No, I didn't because to each her own. So on what grounds do you-"
"No, Lil, no you misunderstand. I really hope that Gilbert isn't the one you are after because he also seems to want Roderich."
"Yes, after we broke up, Gilbert's tastes changed from me to my then-husband."
Silence stretched until Elizabeta asked, "Are you alright?"
Lilli ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just getting sick of the men I'm interested in liking your ex-husband."
Elizabeta chuckled lightly. "It does seem to be a problem you keep having. I can't really fault your choice of Gilbert considering how much more attractive he's grown over the centuries. It helps that he is one of the few single men left."
"Ha, that's true."
"Try Seborga, Lilli. You might get lucky."
"I don't know—"
"Who knows, you might get at the very least a friend out of it. He's a nice guy if a little mischievous. Seborga would be fun to have around."
"If you say so, Eliza. I'll let you go, though. I know you most likely have plans you want to put into motion. Don't be a stranger."
"Alright, Lilli. Take care of yourself, my friend. Bye."
Lilli heard the other line click a second before she pushed the correct button to end the call. She leaned back in her chair and looked at the ceiling. The day had turned out more informative than she expected. Lilli looked down at the paperwork and reports still strewn across her desk and sighed, standing. A walk would be nice, she decided. She left her office and cell phone behind, wanting just a moment to herself so she could think.
Two hours later, Lilli would return to her office to look up Seborga's number. She wouldn't call him, not today, but the possibility would linger in her mind until she would pick up the phone and see what the Italian was up to.
Meanwhile, Eilzabeta was nearly bubbling over with excitement. Vash (most likely) liked Roderich! Yes, the fact that she had to shoot down Lilli's love interest was upsetting, but at least she redirected her to a more probable relationship. The thought had crossed her mind briefly to use Lilli to get Gilbert out of the way but it was just as quickly dismissed. She could never use her friend like that. Of course, that left her with the ever annoying problem of Gilbert. Elizabeta decided to call her partner in crime for an update.
A groggy voice answered, "Ve~ ciao."
"Wakey, wakey, sleepy head. There's been new developments!"
"Yes, yes, dear. Now I just got off the phone with Lilli and she said that Vash likes Roderich!"
Elizabeta heard rustling of sheets in the background as she presumed Feliciano sat up. "What?"
"I know, right! It's so exciting! Oooh, this is going to work, I can just feel it. I love it when a plan comes together, don't you?"
"Oh, wake up, Feli! Anyway I was calling to share this great news with you and to check if Gilbert would be suitably distracted so as to not interfere with my-our plans! Well?"
"Uh, Gilbert is on vacation somewhere."
"Oh, where is he?"
"I don't know."
Elizabeta paused for a moment. "Feli, are you alright? Do don't sound like yourself."
Instantly, Feliciano responded with, "Ve~ sorry, Ms. Hungary. I'm just reeeeeally tired. Luddy kept me up last night, hehe."
"Oh ho ho, did he now?" Hungary laughed. "Alright, I was just checking. I have to make sure my friends are ok! Anyway, with Gilbert effectively out of the way, I'm going to pop on over to Roderich's house tomorrow. I hear Dmitri stirring earlier than usual and I have some work to get done but I have to strike while the iron is hot!"
"Oh, ok, Ms. Hungary. Imma go back to sleep now. Good luck!"
"Sleep well, Feli."
Elizabeta hung up the phone and grabbed her purse. Checking her watch, she estimated that she could get to the market be back before Dmitri got up good for the day then finish the work that needed her immediate attention. Tomorrow, she would go to Roderich's house and fandangle information out of him, learning how best to manipu- encourage Switzerland and Austria to get over themselves and do something! She was a woman on a mission and nothing was going to stand in the way of this match. Nothing.
Feliciano rubbed his eyes and groaned at the information he had just received. All of his plans went up in smoke the minute Hungary told him that Switzerland returned Austria's feelings. Stretching and rolling himself out of bed, Feliciano headed downstairs to find Ludwig taking a rare moment for himself.
The German was relaxed comfortably in a chair, reading a book. His face lacked any of the lines that were visible when Ludwig was working and Feliciano stopped for a moment to stare at him. Germany's mouth quirked in amusement from something on the page, then gave a short burst of laughter a few seconds later. The laugh wasn't elegant in anyway, it was short, surprised and harsh, but Feliciano cherished it. Germany so rarely laughed that this book must be truly amusing. Not wanting the ruin the moment, Feliciano tried to sneak away, only to run into a small table by the stairs almost immediately. Germany's eyes snapped up to find Italy struggling to keep the small lamp on the table from falling over.
After a moment of desperate movements, Italy froze and looked at his spouse with wide eyes and hands wrapped around the now stable lamp. "Ve~ good morning?"
The statement came out as almost a question and Italy winced at how uncomfortable it sounded. He immediately straightened himself and looked at the floor in embarrassment. After a moment, he heard Germany clear his throat and Italy looked up to find the other's eyes sparkling in amusement, the corners crinkled with a smile that his mouth did not show. Ludwig set down the book and spread his arms in a welcoming gesture that Feliciano took advantage of immediately. Climbing into the German's lap, Feliciano gave him a quick peck on the cheek before snuggling into his embrace which then tightened around him. "Ve, you're certainly in a good mood this morning…"
"I am trying to be better."
Germany looked down at the man in his lap and said, with a slight frown that was more emotional than his usual expressions, "I'm trying to show that I love you more, that I can be expressive. After last night I… thought it would be best."
Italy sat up, ready to be upset, "Hey, I thought I told you that you didn't need to change 'cause you are perfect just the way you are! Ve, what's with the changing business?"
"Well I thought that I might lose you last night-"
"Luddy, I thought that we came to an understanding…" After the drama following his phone call to Hungary, Italy and Germany had not spent the night pleasuring each other as Elizabeta thought, but had lain in each other's arms and talked about the things they never said, the fears they never faced and the hopes they always kept close to their hearts, without walls or restrictions. Germany was determined to learn everything about Italy and Italy was trying to make sure his love would not turn away at the well hidden aspects of his personality. He feared that if everything was not put on the table now, if Ludwig discovered something later it would truly end them and that was unacceptable. Both were seemingly reassured and slept soundly after, but apparently Germany still had some misgivings.
Germany just pressed his lips to Italy's temple. "Just let me love you, ja?"
Italy frowned to himself but didn't really see any downside to Germany kissing him more. "Ve, okay."
They sat there, content with each other's presence for a bit before Germany said, "You're fidgeting."
"… My plans fell through." When Ludwig made a small, questioning noise, Feliciano explained, "To get back at Mr. Austria, I mean." Ludwig tensed and was quiet for a moment. Then, he calmly asked,
"Does this mean that I can-"
Feliciano shot up. "No! Luddy, you can't! You can't just attack Austria without-"
"Feliciano, it would just be Roderich and I as our human selves, not as Austria and Germany. I'm offended and feel awful and completely powerless to make Gilbert feel better. As his brother, I must at least confront Roderich. I want the whole story, not just what little Francis told me. I want to know what exactly he said to give my older, jaded brother that stricken look in his eyes. I want to understand why he's not here, drowning his heartbreak in pint after pint of beer." I want to know why he left me, why I can't help him.
Feliciano looked and saw Ludwig's eyes cloud over with the things he couldn't bring himself to say and was only left with, "Please don't take your gun."
Ludwig sighed and said, "Gilbert asked me not to hurt Roderich, so I will leave it here." Then, Germany recalled another phone call and his mouth moved in what would have been a smile if it were not so menacing. "However, I will follow Antonio's advice. I have to make a phone call."
Feliciano clung to his lover in fear of that expression, terrified what it might mean. Spain was usually very cheerful but he was known to have his… moments. If some advice put that look on Ludwig's face then… "Who are you going to call?"
"Scotland. He may want to join us on our trip." Germany paused for a moment before unlocking his cell phone and looked at little uncertain. "You...would you like to come with me."
"Of course," Italy smiled at Germany. "This is family."
Germany nodded and proceeded to dial the phone as Italy thought, And I am the only one in the world who could possibly stop you from killing him.
As a nation, Germany had given up war long ago, but Ludwig had a consciousness that was separate from the country he represented and was a military man at heart. If he truly found it necessary for Gilbert's honor, he would harm the musician. The only problem was that if what Roderich said was enough to make even Ludwig lose control, then it would be a toss-up between Feliciano stopping him and offering to hold Roderich down.
The phone was ringing. The man, looking over some paperwork while he waited for his baking to be finished absentmindedly answered the call after taking a sip of tea. "Hello?"
The personification of England hung up.
Arthur Kirkland returned to his readings, a bit more irritated than he was before. Hanging up the phone without saying a word was not the gentlemanly thing to do, but Francis had used up all his good manners centuries ago. Arthur felt no remorse as he went to sip his tea again. He supposed he would just have to check the caller ID next time.
The timer beeped and he shot out of his seat in excitement. His scones were done! They were white chocolate -raspberry today and smelled divine. He had a sweet tooth this morning and-
The phone rang again.
Good mood immediately soured at the thought of it being Francis again, Arthur pulled his scones out the oven and debated answering, so that he wouldn't be bothered again, or simply putting his phone on silent and ignoring the calls. Being the person that he was, Arthur chose to rip off the band aid instead of pulling it slowly.
"What the bloody hell do you want, frog?"
He was answered with a very distinctive laugh.
"Fusososo, do you answer all of Francis' calls that way?"
Arthur pulled his phone from his ear and checked the name on the screen. Yep, it said 'Frog.' "Oh, Antonio, I'm sorry. I was expecting France."
"Clearly," Antonio said with amusement plain in his voice. "We aren't- okay, I'm not- trying to bother you. We were just looking for your brother."
England sighed. "Which one and what did he do now?"
Spain laughed again. "Oh, come on, Arthur. Tus hermanos are not so bad. And we are looking for Alistair."
England knew full well that his brothers were not as troublesome as they were in the decades and centuries past, but he always expected that to change at any moment and felt no qualms in griping about them. It was his job as the youngest to complain about his siblings, right?
"Can you not just call him? I'm sure Francis has his number. Is Gilbert with you? He always seems to know where his partner in crime is." England shook his head at the memory of the last time he bailed them out of jail, the idiots. What worried him is that they rarely got caught, so goodness only knows what they got up to or how often.
"We called him only to get a busy tone then his voicemail. And we are actually looking for Gilbert. Since Alistair was the one to hide him, we thought we should at least try to ask him where he put our friend!"
"Wait, what do you mean, hide Gilbert?"
"Well you see-"
"Oh, give me zat-"
"But he'll hang up on-"
"Mon ami, you say too-"
There were several scuffling noises as the phone was transferred to Francis who promptly said, "Don't hang up!"
"Put Spain back on, France."
"Non- no, I will not. Do you know where your brozah is?"
"No, I do not know where my brother is. I'm not his-"
"Can you please ask him to call us?"
Francis said 'please' in a non-condescending way. Arthur was taken aback and began to understand that this was serious. "What's going on, Francis?"
"Gilbert is missing and you're brother is ze one zat helped him disappear. Antonio and I are trying to find him."
Francis was not interjecting French into his sentences and was actually getting to the point. Arthur could note the undertone of worry in his voice and was confused. It didn't sound like Gilbert had finally…faded. But clearly something happened to Prussia to make France and Spain worried about not finding him. Then he had another thought. "And if Gilbert does not want to be found? You and I both know that Alistair won't help you find him if that's the case."
"We know zat zis is a long shot but it is still a shot, Arzah."
England flinched at the sound of his name with a French accent. It sounded… wrong. "…I still hate you."
"But you will make ze call, anyway. Zank you, Arzah."
Arthur stared at the phone as he ended the most civil conversation in years with France. As he dialed his brother's number, only to get a voice mail prompt, he sighed and left a message. He always hated it when his brothers (okay, Alistair) never answered the phone. It made him worry.
Turning towards his fast cooling scones, Arthur tried to regain the feeling of peace that settled over him earlier. After a while, the silence of the flat and the echoes from life on the streets of London echoed below caused loneliness to creep in. Hating himself a little, England picked up the phone to call the person he hated to love but couldn't live without and tried to forget the cold feeling in his gut.
Alistair Kirkland walked through the door of his house and immediately stalked up the stairs in a beeline to his shower, discarding clothes as he went. He had spent the last day and a half outside, just walking. He didn't count the kilometers he walked or the hills he passed and didn't bother to pay attention to his direction. Of course, it was not like he could get lost in Scotland because that would be the same as getting lost while mapping out his own body and be completely absurd but that is beside the point.
Sometimes he would think and sometimes his mind would be peacefully blank when he went on those walks. He never took his cell phone or any technology. It was his time and Alistair hated for it to be interrupted.
Of course, when he was a great distance from his home, clouds began to gather in the once clear night sky and he turned around to begin the trek back. He watched as the stars became obscured and waited for the first drops of rain. They came not ten minutes later. It was a light but constant rain that kept the hills green and lush but also made Alistair soaking wet. When Alistair was finally in sight of his house, the rain stopped and he looked up in disgust at the sky. Then he entered his house with the intention of a hot shower to warm himself.
Under the spray, a tension in his shoulders, set in from the cold, began to ease and his mind began to wander between work, friends and love. He really should read that one report. How was Gilbert doing? Was Matthew handling the change to his schedule? God, it had been so long since he was a colony yet it seemed like yesterday. Alistair felt old and the loneliness that almost always existed at the periphery of his conscious became more prominent. And, as is common in these moments, his mind turned to his brother.
How families worked when it came to the nations was not exactly clear. There were not families in the human sense of the word, per se. Yes, Ancient Rome was the grandfather of Italy and Romano and the descendants certainly looked like their ancestor but who were their parents? They had none and simply appeared in the hills of the Italian peninsula one day, just like every single nation. Were they conjured by human understanding or where there other machinations that he couldn't guess at? Why were they born and when would they die? Or did they die? Prussia didn't with the loss of his nation as a separate entity yet it seemed the Rome was indeed gone. Prussia had a 'brother' but they appeared in their homelands separately and alone, not to meet each other for many years.
The situation with the Kirklands was different. They appeared to have a mother but no father. They were not always known to each other but met each other not long after their making. While the birth of the twins (Ireland and Northern Ireland) is a mystery*, there was always Charles (Wales), Arthur and Alistair. When they were younger, he inexplicably enjoyed pestering Arthur, enjoying how he would turn red with embarrassment and furrow his comically large eyebrows. Something…changed after they went through invasion after invasion during the Dark Ages and he began to feel affection that was clearly not normal for humans. He didn't understand it and the confusion made him lash out at Arthur. It wasn't until Charles sat him down and explained his observations. The part of Alistair that was not his government or his population, the part that was just a not-quite human man, had somehow fallen in love with someone he called brother. Arthur was thankfully oblivious and Charles' understanding helped Alistair from doing something he would regret. For a long time, he wasn't comfortable with his urges, despite the fact that he was not ruled by human morality, and ended up avoiding dealing with England until he decided to incorporate Scotland into his realms. That became a problem.
Alistair sighed and willed the memories away. It was moot point now. Some things were never meant to be and he had finally come to terms with that. It didn't mean moving on was easy but he was trying. It meant that he was in a special position to understand what Gilbert was going through.
Alistair slicked his hair back and shifted his thoughts from his brother by blood to his brother in arms. He would need time. Arthur had rejected him with little gestures over time, clearly unaware of the situation but still rejecting the unspoken opportunity that Alistair represented. It was little but constant pain that was its own kind of torture but it conditioned him to a certain kind of living. Gilbert, though, had had hope until his feelings were knowingly thrown in his face and he watched his heart be ripped out and stomped on. After everything his friend had lost, Roderich was one final piece that, had Alistair been in the same situation, would have made him go over the edge. He would have made the world burn just so it would feel his pain. Yet Gilbert chose to hide it and retreat despite the fact that it was against his very nature to do such a thing.
Alistair would never admit it out loud, but he was in a state of near panic over his friend when Gilbird first arrived at this house nearly a week ago. Roderich was one less thing Gilbert had to live for and his thoughts immediately flew to whether his friend would survive it. Alistair could rarely hide his emotions from Gilbert but he knew he needed to be a strong, steady presence by the time the Prussian arrived. The fact that the act worked with Gilbert spoke to how bad the situation was.
Turning off the water, Alistair reached for the towel and set about going through the motions of getting dressed. Gilbert going to Canada was a good idea, Alistair admitted to himself. Matthew was a neutral party who was kind and, God bless him, a little forgettable, especially in large social settings. How Gilbert even thought of the idea was a mystery to him, considering the two had never met and really seemed like an odd pairing. Alistair frowned, thinking he would have to call to check in with them.
Now fully dressed and with his hair still damp, Alistair reached for his phone. It would be a little past 7 am in Toronto, but Matthew was always an early riser. It was immediately apparent that he had missed several calls. Few bothered leaving messages for him until it was important so he pursed his lips, put the phone on speaker and went about finishing getting ready. His phone went on without him as a disembodied, somewhat stilted voice began to speak.
"You have—five—unheard messages." Oh, fer goodness sake, Alistair thought. I jus' wanted one dae! "First unheard message sent—yesterday—at – twelve twenty-six P. M." A familiar German accent began to boom though the speakers. "'Gut morgen, Alistair. This is Ger-Ludwig and, before you delete this message'"—which Alistair in all honesty was reaching to do so he could hurry this along— "';I am not going to ask you where my brother is. He called me and informed me that he is safe and I suppose that will be enough for now. Besides, I know it would be pointless. I am calling to see if you would like to accompany Feliciano and I to talk'" –read: confront—"'Roderich. It has come to my attention that I do not have the whole story and that what Roderich did was excessive. It was suggested that you did not either. I…I just want to help him, Alistair. I owe him so—It is my duty as his brother to do what I can for him. Either way, we are going but I thought I should at least extend the invitation.'"
The message ended and his phone gave him options as to what to do with the message. For a moment he did nothing. It was the most Ludwig had ever said to him at once. There were actual emotions in his voice. As a whole the message was a bit alarming. Alistair didn't particularly care what Roderich said exactly. Oh, he would make him pay because no one hurt his people and walked away unscathed and Gilbert was decidedly one of his people. Ludwig, though, he would care. Alistair hoped there was something left of Roderich for him to deal with if Ludwig didn't like what he heard.
Nae me problem righ' now, he thought, shrugging as he deleted the German's message and moved on. His hair was combed and he just put the tiniest bit of product in his hair as an amusedly familiar voice began to speak.
"'Mon ami! I hope zat you are well! I know that are quite adamant about not sharing the whereabouts of nous petit Prus-' Message—erased. Next message sent—yesterday at—four thirty-two P. M. 'Scotland, I know that Francis can come off a little…flamboyant,'" Spain's voice stated rather diplomatically, lacking the cheer that was almost always a pleasant undertone in his voice, "'but please understand that we are just worried about Gilbert. Give one of us a call back, por favor. Please.' End of message."Alistair sighed and deleted the message. He knew that others would be worried but—
"'Alistair, this is Arthur.'" Alistair's body betrayed him as he froze for a second, eyes wide and shocked. Then shame immediately flooded him. He was supposed to be getting better, dammit. The message continued, "'Er, I just received a phone call from that Fro- from Francis and Antonio. They were looking for you. Something about Gilbert? Of course, I told them I had absolutely no idea where you are. I will have you know that I am not your secretary and you should damn well learn to pick up your bloody phone. It's not like I haven't spoken to you in nearly a year! But-'" Arthur cleared his throat, clear to anyone who knew him that he had not meant to say that last part. "'-erm, the point is that you need to pick up your phone once and a while. Right. Goodbye.' End of message." Alistair smiled wryly and chuckled to himself. Arthur never did learn how to end a message naturally. He saved that one.
"Next message. Sent—today at—one fifteen A. M. 'Ah, hi! Hi, Alistair, this is Matthew. Um, I just thought that you should know that everything over here is going fine. We have actually become friends! I'm sorry if this woke you but I know that you sometimes have…problems sleeping and thought you would not mind. Feel free to call me back whenever you like. I'm sure that G-he will like to hear from you. He doesn't have his cell phone and so just call my number and I'll find him to hand you off. I must be boring him on some level by now.'" With a self-depreciating laugh which made Alistair frown, Matthew finished with a quick 'bye' before hanging up.
Alistair didn't know whether Gilbert's boredom with Matthew was true or just the product of Matthew's lack of interaction with people outside of his brother who in all honesty had the attention span of a gnat and worse manners than wolves at times. It would just be something he had to talk to them about. Matthew would be up but Gilbert…it was fine. There was someone he wanted to talk to first.
Steeling himself, Alistair smirked as he dialed the phone which was picked up after the first two rings. "I hea' ye miss me, brother."
A/N and *:
Okay, so that's not really the end of the chapter but what happens next works more with the next one than anything so I'm just posting this now. It's been long enough.
I feel incredibly guilty about disappearing (for 7 months what even was that?!) and, yes, all of the requests will be written when they can. I actually have that Dark!SpainxSpamano fiction I promised outlined and ready to write. I just now found the time but I am about to leave the country and updates will be sporadic but ongoming.
I apologize and am so grateful that you all stuck with this story. This is a thing and will continue to be a thing until it is finished.
Special shout outs to those who PMed me directly to get me off my behind.
Further, thank you all for the support in the reviews in the past months. I learned a lot about myself and life in the interim and hopefully it will make my story better.
Thank you and happy new year.
PS Title is reference to "London Calling" by The Clash
*Because Ireland was not partitioned until 1921 yet it would make sense for there to be the twins, the origin of the characters confuses me a bit and I don't quite know how to adapt the history to the universe. I could ignore this but once it occurred to me I could not just forget it. Perhaps, before the divide over religion occurred, there was one Ireland. However, as the people divided, the personification adapted and became two separate people, effectively splitting one into two in the way Germany was divided but without the godsend of a pre-existing brother.
Song: "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy. Fits the tone for Alistair who is awesome.