Stupidly Simplified Story Summary: Not everything is as it seems, and in a world of male dominated countries a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
Pairings: fem!Italy X Germany, fem!America X Japan, Some other pairings might be mentioned/alluded to, unsure at this point.
IMPORTANT: I want to make a point of it now to say that there will be no yaoi/yuri/same sex relationships of a romantic nature in my story. Sorry to all the fangirls, but it makes me personally uncomfortable to both read and write and this is my story so I'm not writing it. Any moments between two male characters normally paired together (ex. Spain and Romano) will be written as platonic but you are welcome to make your own interpretations and use your own imagination.
Author's Note: Hey all, this is my first FanFiction, EVER. So yeah, just read and enjoy. I would appreciate a review or two, and if anyone is super awesome and wants to point out any grammatical errors please do. I don't have anyone to review beforehand and so it would be nice to know if someone could look it over.
Also, all flamers and jerks will be ignored. If you don't like the story/want me to edit my plot or change my head canons/think I suck I want to let you know that you don't have to read this. You're reading it on your own free will so seriously, if you don't like then don't read.
If anyone was awesome enough to read the whole author's note then you have received a super special, limited edition, extra awesome, once in a lifetime Awesome Sticker of Awesomeness! from the awesome Prussia in all his awesome glory! *this sticker is only available virtually and was made in China-aru!*
Thank you and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia or the characters of the manga/anime.
Chapter 1: Under Wraps
It was probably the best prank she had ever pulled.
None of them knew, not even England. Well, Canada knew, but she couldn't hide it from him. Oh, and Mexico too, but he wouldn't tell if he valued his life. No, her secret was well hidden. She knew that they wouldn't tell, wouldn't give up the game. That was sometimes how Alfred thought about it; a super risky, super secret game that nobody knew they were playing. She always got a thrill whenever she walked into a room and knew that she was fooling them all, that none of them was the wiser. She really was a spectacular actress.
However, that didn't make the game any less serious. To keep the game going no one could know; it was a game she couldn't lose. She just couldn't. She was in too deep, had gotten too far. She had fooled the world for too long. No, it was better this way. There was too much at risk. After all, she had started the game to protect herself and her people, and she didn't want to lose that protection. She actually had a lot to lose if (and when) she lost the game. Respect, trust, independence. Alfred knew that it was something she couldn't give up, although she had come close to breaking and just telling someone on more than one occasion. However, she would always remember the risks and would either change the subject abruptly to something trivial or simply run away yelling out some random excuse or some such gibberish.
If the others knew everything would change. For whatever reasons others would feel that it changed things, that it just couldn't be the same. She would lose their respect as a nation. Heck, she still had to struggle to keep respect even when she was one of the world's top superpowers! She would lose the trust she had gained, especially in her already rocky relationship with her 'brother,' England. The more curious nations would also begin to wonder what other secrets she had been keeping, would begin to pry into matters they shouldn't.
However, the one thing she feared losing the most, was her independence, her blessed freedom. She knew some countries wouldn't mind or just simply wouldn't care if they ever found out; they weren't the ones who scared her. It was the countries that would try to change her that she feared. Countries like England, who she knew would try and make amends for not 'raising her properly'. It was the countries were women, even in today's world, still received little to no respect at all. Heck, even female nations were still expected to be submissive to their usually more powerful, male allies. They wouldn't approve of her actions, would criticize her even more than they already do. Some would try to control her, which would not be taken very well by the fiercely independent Alfred. But the thought that someone might try, and even worse succeed, terrified her more than she would ever admit. No, she would never tell her secret, not unless absolutely necessary.
Her only confidant was her dear brother, Matthew. He had been there when she had started the game, and had promised he would always be there to watch her back and cover for her. He had kept that promise, even during the War of 1812. They shared a much deeper bond many of the other countries could never understand. Although they had not been raised together as colonies it had been the time before that had created their bond. Their mother, Native America, Gaho as her people had known her, had been caring for and nurturing them long before that Spanish sailor stumbled upon the shores of the "New World". It had in fact been her mother's idea to hide her daughter's true identity from the powerful foreigners.
It was only with her mother's help that she was able to fool the strange people who flocked to her lands; it was because of her mother that she knew she needed to keep fooling them. Of course, she hadn't fully understood the rationale behind the plan at the time, nor did she know how long she would have to pretend. However, the reasons soon became apparent to the rapidly growing colony. Women were not given the same respect and treatment as men; they had less independence, had fewer rights, and were limited in their freedom. It was a simple fact of society; men dominated over women. This only fueled the young colony's resolve even further. If she wanted to be taken seriously in a male dominated world she needed to be one of them. Alfred often thought fondly of her mother, and would always give a silent thank you for her foresight and intelligence. She didn't know where she might be had things been different.
Alfred often tried to avoid those thoughts. She tried not to dwell on the, "what if's," and pondering over, "what could have been". Not wanting to linger in uncertainty she would launch herself head-on into whatever lay immediately in front of her, refusing to reside in the past or agonize over the unclear future. She simply lived in the now, only planning for the future when she was forced to while locked up in those boring meeting with government officials, trying, and often times failing, to pay attention to the old geezers 'debate' as they called it. In most cases one would be more inclined to call it bickering. She liked to enjoy each new day as it was. It just so happened to be that each day started with her binding up her chest to hide her true gender.
Of course, she did other little things as well to help hide her feminine qualities and accentuate the more masculine ones. For one, she kept her hair short and had it styled in such a way that it gave her face a more masculine look. Doing this also kept her hair out of the way, which she preferred. She was lucky in that she was naturally tall and had what would be broad shoulders for a female; her height was accentuated by the fact that she was actually taller than quite a few of the male nations (including England, which she found very satisfying). Also, it didn't hurt that she was unnaturally strong and easily had probably the most raw physical power and strength out of all the nations (really her only rivals were probably Russia, Germany, and very few other nations). She always wore men's clothing and owned a grand total of three nice, feminine blouses that she never wore and wouldn't anymore simply because they were so out of fashion (seriously, even hipsters would reject them).
However, if she was going to be the Alfred the world thought she was she needed to do more than just look the part. The only time she ever spoke in her normal voice was when she was with Mattie, all other times she used what she referred to as her "man voice." She was so well practiced she could slip into the other voice with ease, and sometimes had trouble switching back to her natural pitch and tone for lack of use.
But no matter how good she looked or manly she sounded it really was her attitude that brought the whole thing together. Most of it was her natural personality, however, she did tend to play it up quite a bit. To the world America was cocky, ignorant, and hyper, most likely had ADHD (or whatever it was they called it these days), was loud beyond belief, could be incredibly brash, often failed to read the atmosphere, and was often times over-enthusiastic.
Constantly bouncing off the walls spewing out random and totally irrelevant information, simply talking for talking's sake, she was what many other countries would call ignorant, obnoxious, and idiotic. Many also took these qualities as proof of how young the nation was in comparison to some of them (China never hesitated to rub in the fact that he was the oldest there to any nation present, especially to America). None of them realized that part of her "over-the-top" personality might actually be just that, exaggerated. Alfred found that by creating what could be considered a second, much crazier and exuberant, personality she was able to focus on her "role" more easily; she also found it much more entertaining. It never failed to amuse her just how much she could irritate England.
There were times when her true underlying personality showed through, though. During those times it almost seemed as if the American was somewhat subdued. These personality shifts, although the other nations never fully understood them, where viewed by the other nations as moments of maturity and almost seriousness, almost like a second, less stupid and loud Alfred. However, none of them, well maybe a few but not many, thought that maybe this was a more true America coming through. That maybe there was some unseen (or untapped) intelligence hidden behind all the hero talk and hamburgers. Surely there had to be, how else could the young nation have risen to the top so quickly? If they suspected anything they never voiced their suspicions, and Alfred certainly never prompted them to. Because for her, questioning was bad, very, very bad. It meant someone was closer to the truth, and she was not ready for anyone to know the truth, to know one of her most closely guarded secrets.
It was one of the best-kept secrets of North America, it being the fact that Alfred F. Jones, the personification of the United States of America, was in fact a female.
It was probably the bravest (and most terrifying) thing she had ever done.
Brave was a adjective very few nations would even think about using to describe either North or South Italy, North Italy especially. More often the first word that came to mind when describing the Italian was cowardly. Feliciano knew she was a coward, she just couldn't help it, the other nations were just so scary sometimes! How could she not be scared knowing what countries and nations could do to each other, what they had done to each other in the past? Especially her being what she was, that being a female nation, which were few and far between.
Despite her cowardly nature and strange attraction to white flags Italy still demonstrated bravery everyday. Feli (as her closest friends would affectionately call her) would get up in the morning and using binding she got from Hungary she bound her chest, hiding her feminine figure, and then continued the rest of her day as a boy. She had been doing so ever since she had hit puberty under the care of Austria. Oh, how confused he had been! Italy still wasn't entirely sure how they had managed to fool Austria into thinking she was a boy, especially after being treated as a girl for so long, which she actually was. Thankfully, Feli had never been especially prideful and didn't mind letting others think she was a boy who had spent his youth dressed as a girl. It helped explain away some of her more feminine personality traits.
It had originally been Hungary's idea to hide her true gender. Feli was never entirely sure of the reasons at first, but did understand that it was for her own safety and protection. Sure, she was weak and other countries knew it, she couldn't deny that fact. As a boy they just saw her as pathetic and cowardly, someone they can easily manipulate. However, as a girl she was more vulnerable, and other nations would use the knowledge to take advantage of her and some might try to 'claim' her. It just wasn't safe, especially in the time she had been growing up. She really had been lucky to be under the care of Austria and Hungary at the time.
She had sometimes wondered why. Why were their so few female nations? Why was she herself female? She didn't often have these thoughts, but when she did it was usually when she was with Hungary, the only nation, other than her brother Romano, who knew her secret. Hungary would simply sigh and tell her it was just the way the world was and not to think about it too much. She would then point out that without her there to balance out her brother's bad tempers Italy wouldn't be as full of life as it is. These conversations always left Feli slightly confused and more than a little hungry, and her near constant craving for pasta would come to the forefront of her mind.
Feli loved pasta. She loved it! The only thing that could rival her love for pasta was her love for her best friend, Ludwig Beilschmidt. This was also a major problem. It had taken the Italian a little while to figure out why she had felt so, well, strange around the German man. Once she figured out that what she was feeling was in fact the beginnings of love she had nearly burst into tears at that very moment; it had been an unnatural display of willpower that had kept her from bawling right there in the middle of the World Meeting. Because no matter how airheaded or oblivious the Italian could be she was not unaware of the fact that in order to keep her secret she could never express nor act upon her feelings, and would never have them returned.
Something not many nations knew was that Feli was actually very observant, she just didn't always understand the implications behind her observations or really bother to think about them. Germany, however, was the exception to all rules. Whenever she observed something new about her dear friend Germany she would ponder over it for hours just thinking. She would wonder about why he had done or said something, why he had done so a certain way, what was the meaning behind the action. One of her observations was that of all the things Germany was not, he certainly was not attracted to men. She knew this simply because he clearly was attracted to women.
(AN- Ok, I know this is going to upset a some of the fan girls. However, I just cannot see Germany being gay. I don't doubt he cares a lot for Italy more than he shows, but I just don't see him being romantically attracted to him as a guy. This is just my own interpretation of their relationship and if you don't agree you certainly don't have to keep reading. If you prefer normal GerIta then you are welcome to leave and go find a fic about that. Also, all flames will be ignored, as I honestly don't have time or energy (nor do I care enough) to worry about them. Thank you and sorry for the interruption, you may now return to your currently scheduled program featuring sad Italy.)
This had always left the Italian very sad, because to the rest of the world, including her best friends, she was a guy. No one had ever questioned otherwise (at least not aloud). So whenever Feli caught the German looking at women discreetly while walking down the street it again took a lot of willpower (which she didn't always achieve in mustering) for her not to start crying. Most women would become jealous, would start doing something to demand attention. Not Feli though. Whenever this happened it just reminded her of the fact that she would never be the one to get that attention from Ludwig. He was unobtainable and that alone just broke the little Italian's heart.
There had been quite a few times when Feli had decided she was just going to go over and tell him the truth, reveal her secret to him, give him the one thing that could possibly destroy her. But every time she would chicken out, would remember what she had to lose, would realize that just because she revealed the truth, didn't mean he would actually love her. That was something that always scared her and in the end stopped her from telling him everything. Not having her love returned. What if he rejected her? What if he told her she was crazy to think he would love her? What if he didn't trust her anymore?
Fear incapacitated Feli, it doesn't help that she truly is very much so a coward. She runs from danger, she hides from enemies, she pleads when captured. But Germany, he had always been the exception to everything; the one dangerous thing in her life that she could just never find herself afraid of. He did honestly scare her sometimes, actually a lot of the time, but something would always attract her back to him, like a delicate moth to a burning flame. The Italian was hooked, and no matter how much it hurt to be constantly reminded she could never truly have him, she just couldn't stay away.
This, of coarse, drove her brother insane. Feli knew how much Lovino hated the 'potato bastard' and how much he hated the fact that she would spend so much time with him. He would rant and yell and curse about how he was corrupting her, or brainwashing her with false science, or putting wrong ideas in her head. It always made Feli sad whenever he insulted Germany, but at the same time it comforted her. Lovino had trouble expressing his feelings outside of anger and irritation, he just wasn't very touchy-feely or really in tune with his affectionate side. She understood that he badmouthed her best friend all the time simply because he was worried.
Lovino loved his sister dearly and thinking about how much time she spent with the scary German horrified the bad-tempered Italian. He also knew how much she cared for him, and this scared him even more. He hated the thought of losing his baby sister to Germany of all nations. So whenever he ranted and raved about the German, Feli understood that it was just his way of showing how much he cared, and that reassured her. She needed her brother's help if she was going to keep up the charade, and the longer it went on the harder it seemed to get.
Why couldn't things just be simple, such as loving pasta and fine art? But Feli had learned early that the world wasn't fair, just look at what had happened to her first love. She still didn't know what had happened to him. She was too afraid to ask. No matter how much it hurt sometimes she needed to keep her true gender hidden. It was a secret between her, Romano, and Hungary, and it was going to stay that way.
It was one of the best-kept secrets of Italy, it being the fact that Feliciano Vargas, the personification of North Italy, was in fact a female.
Author's Note: Whew, that was a long one. Although, knowing me I'll probably write long chapters for everything. I tend to do that. Anyways, glad to have the first chapter done. This was mostly just a summary of the story and general insight into the characters.
Notes about the chapter:
* The title of the chapter actually has a double meaning. The first meaning is metaphorical, which basically means hidden. The second meaning is literal, referring to the fact that they have to hide their breasts under wraps to keep up the act. I almost named the story itself "Under Wraps" but thought it didn't really fit, so instead it gets the honor of being the first chapter title.
* During the War of 1812 America fought against Britain and Canada, which was still a British colony at the time.
* The 'false science' comment is meant to refer to the inhumane experiments Nazi Germany performed in the concentration camps and such during WWII. This is not meant to offend; it is merely a reference and Romano being ill tempered and rude and trying to hold something against Germany.
I hope I have America and Italy 'in character' still. I mean they are going to be a little different, considering they have had slightly different lives in comparison to their normal characters (I mean, this is technically an AU with gender flips). Hopefully I explained myself well enough. Leave a review or not, it's just awesome that you read this far!