The Cold Expedition
1. The ones who depart
"I said: you're coming too."
Germany had hard time believing his sleepy ears. He frowned and shook his head. "Why should I?"
"Because your big brother says so," Prussia answered and snapped Germany's forehead with his fingers. "Isn't this awesome invitation good enough for you?"
"Prussia, if someone woke you up early in the morning and say that you will have to leave your warm sleeping bag and depart for some ice hiking in a temperature of twenty-below-zero-and-some-more degrees Celsius after only four hours of sleep, would you agree right away?"
"Of course. It's awesome. What about it?" Prussia shrugged.
Germany sighed and sat up. "Nothing. Just forget it."
Just then the tent door opened and Iceland came in letting some little cold air inside before pulling the fabric back to cover the entrance.
Germany shivered. "I can't believe I'm doing this."
"So you're going too?" Iceland asked and raised his eyebrows. "Looks like I'm losing my bet."
"What bet?" Prussia asked, sitting down on his brother's sleeping bag.
"I told Denmark no more than three would be willing to go this early," Iceland answered and searched something from one bag. "One more and I lose."
Germany looked at Prussia while dressing up for the freezing cold air outside. "So this wasn't your idea then. Exactly who is crazy enough to come with us?"
"Denmark and Finland," answered Prussia trying to hurry him up. He was very eager to leave. "Come on, Denmark said that it's gonna be awesome!"
Iceland turned around. "Did he use that word?" When Prussia nodded he turned around, shaking his head, and mumbled, "Brainwashing complete...I have to warn Norway about this..."
Germany heard this mumbling, but Prussia seemingly didn't. Germany just smiled and pulled his boots up. It was going to be a refreshing hike, he told himself. The Nordics' invitation for some camping and hiking on a glacier hadn't sounded so bad, at least after Iceland had told them about the final destination, which had sounded very tempting: a – luxurious, Germany had heard – holiday resort house Denmark had bought a while back. It was a good change from politics and all the economy arguments recently. And Greenland wasn't that bad a place that you couldn't have spent your vacation there with your friends and acquaintances. No, it was definitely worth it.
.*** *** ***
But it is cold, Germany added to himself while standing on the white snow that was the only colour the landscape had except for the dark blue sky that was slowly getting brighter. The wind made the snow fly in circles in the air and throw some snowflakes to one's face. Germany couldn't remember the last time he had worn so many clothes at the same time. But he could also understand that it wasn't as cold now as it had been on the day they had left. Or else he had gotten used to it so well during the last few days that it just didn't feel as cold as it had before.
Sweden and Iceland were sitting a little behind him and making breakfast for the others, who were mostly still sleeping. Germany felt ease from knowing Italy hadn't yet woken up. He would have definitely wanted to come with them and Germany wasn't sure would that have been a good idea.
"Come back by noon," he heard Norway say to Finland. "We'll leave after eatin'."
"Got it." Finland smiled. "I'll drag Denmark back for lunch. Don't worry, Norway, he won't miss any food you make for him, I'll guarantee that."
Norway blushed. "Didn' mean that."
"Then what?" Finland looked nervous. "Did I say something wrong?"
"No," France said smiling and patted Finland's shoulder. "You're being absolutely right here, dear friend. Norway is just denying it."
Sweden glared at France suspiciously and France noticed it. "Oh, worry not, dear Sweden. It's too early and cold for me to be romantic."
"I didn't know you had any restrictions," England mumbled coming out of the tent. He didn't look like he had actually woken up yet and his hair was even messier than usual.
At the same time Sweden turned to face the other direction mumbling. "Didn' mean that..." but no one noticed.
"Why is everybody up so early?" Germany asked Iceland who was digging through someone else's bag again.
"Because everyone´s noisy," Iceland answered quietly, head almost inside the bag.
"Don't worry there, ay!" Denmark said cheerfully and slapped Germany on the back. "Ya can trust America and Italy to sleep!"
"If I were ye, Den, I'd keep it down or Russia will wake up," Norway said, passing by. "I'm not sure he wants to wake up this early."
Denmark gulped and shut his mouth.
Germany smiled. "What if we go before that, so he won't bother to follow?"
"He won't follow, brother, we have Finland," Prussia assured.
"That's exactly why he would follow, Prussia," Finland noted back.
"Then we leave before he sees us and afterwards Austria tells him which way to go."
"Prussia..." A woman said behind him, spreading a murderous aura.
"Morning Hungary!" Prussia greeted too happily. "Slept well again, what?"
"You know, if Sweden wasn't using my frying pan for our food, it would be flying towards you right now," Hungary answered poking Prussia's cheek not so friendly.
"What did I say about Russia?" Norway reminded, passing by again.
"Hah!" Prussia snorted loudly. "If he has trouble with it, he can say it right here before the awesome me and then li–"
"Sweden, my frying pan. Now."
"The potatoes will make a good addition, just give it to me."
"Don't, Svi," Iceland warned, taking quickly his head out of the back bag. After ensuring Sweden obeyed him, he turned to Finland. "Why don't you guys go so you can get somewhere before returning?"
"Ay ay, Ice!" answered Finland happily and grabbed Denmark. "Let's go already, guys. The time is against us, we need to hike for our lives."
"Wasn't this a peaceful morning walk?" asked Germany, grabbing Prussia with him.
Norway, who had been passing by again, stopped in front of him and turned to face Germany, looking more dangerous than Russia in his dark mode. "Or perhaps you are misunderstanding something."
.*** *** ***
"Oh, don't worry about Norway, he's like that when he wakes up too early," Finland reassured Germany who was acting paranoid after facing the demon-Norway.
Prussia was still laughing his ass off. "I've got to admit you Nordics got your balls in the right place! That really made my morning!"
"Neh, Norway isn't always like that," Denmark grinned and led the group forward on the ice. "Sorry about that, Germany."
Germany sighed. "You are overreacting, guys. I wasn't that uneasy, as you all claim. But I have to admit I didn't expect that from a guy like Norway."
Denmark laughed and his breath danced in the cold air. "Hah, so many things ya don't until ya see 'im drunk."
"No, well, preferably I never will."
The four continued their hike. The camp was already far behind them although it was still visible. Ahead of them waited a clean snowy landscape for their (about) five hour hike.
Germany had made sure that they had everything important with them many times. All the ropes, awls, ice axes, first aid and signaling devices were checked and divided up among the nations. Prussia had shaken his head at his little brother when Germany had started counting and checking the equipment for the third time. Of course it was healthy to be careful with these things, but like Prussia not so kindly reminded, it was useless if it took all the time they had to hike. Nevertheless, Germany had counted the equipment two times more. Now he was walking energetically behind the other three carrying one of the ropes. Denmark was in the lead carrying the other rope. It was his Greenland after all, so Denmark had all the required knowledge of their route and he also knew some pitfalls they should avoid.
While they advanced over the piles of light snow and ice, Finland kept the conversation alive. Germany wasn't sure how the Finn came up with the subjects, but Denmark was participating in the conversation naturally and cheerfully and so was Prussia. Most of the time Germany just listened, sometimes smiling or adding something. Of course sometimes there were moments nobody said a thing. But when one of those times came, no one forced the conversation to continue or was bothered by the silence. Afterwards, those quiet moments were the thing Germany missed the most.
The snow all around them was light and breathtakingly beautiful with its million different sparkles when the sun hit the surface. Sometimes they took their sunglasses off just to enjoy the view, but Finland insisted they kept them on while hiking to prevent against snow blindness. Because out of the four he was the most knowledgeable about snow they didn't resist, although Germany noted that it was waste of landscape.
In some places they could also see ice. For example, in that steep wall Denmark insisted they should climb up. And climb they did. It took almost a half an hour before everyone had reached the top, but as Denmark said later when they were catching their breath after climbing: it was totally worth it. At this point he had started to mimic Poland's valley-girl accent and Prussia had had a hard time not choking while laughing at this attempt. After he stopped choking on the cold air he announced that ice climbing was his new number one hobby.
"It's challenging, requires physical strength, which I by the way have quite a bit of in my awesome muscles, there's always something different from the last time and it's – freaking – fun," Prussia gushed to everyone when Germany doubted his choice. "It just... is for me don't you think?"
"Don't you think it requires too much patience?" Germany raised his eyebrows.
"No," his brother answered and then explained to his dumb little brother. "Every second is worth it, you see. It's a game, West! Concentrate or fall. Simple."
"Simple enough for you to understand, for sure," Germany answered dryly, looking at their compass. "How many icebergs do you want us to drag back home?"
"West! I'm being serious here, hey!"
"Sorry." Germany sighed and put the compass away. "It's so rare I forgot how to take your hobbies seriously. Last time you chose cooking and ended up almost destroying my kitchen with some yellow thread that was a memory of your hobby before that, which might have been sewing, although to be honest, it didn't look like it. Before sewing it was skateboarding and I'd be happier to forget about that. Have you apologized to Austria already, by the way?"
"No," said Prussia bluntly. "He doesn't want to talk about it and Hungary is always ready with her frying pan if I even try. Not that I fear her or anything, I'm just being the gentleman I am. But that's beside point now." He caught up with Denmark who was walking ahead of them. "Say, can I borrow Greenland for some climbing?"
"Do you need the whole island?" asked Finland behind him.
"I don't think he has anything against it," answered Denmark and then changed the subject by stopping and pointing ahead of them. "Look there! Isn't it gorgeous? I told ya it was worth climbin', right?"
He was pointing at the scenery ahead of them. Below them began a white and smooth field of snow and ice. On their sides it continued behind the horizon but far ahead of them they could see mountains that were all colored in light blue against the bright blue sky. The sun made the whole clean field sparkle and glimmer. All in all, it looked like it was straightly ripped off from the pages of a book. And the silence and peace on the field was perfect. It was truly, breathtakingly beautiful, no denying that.
Denmark sighed and crouched down, leaning to his knees with his elbows. "Wanted someone to see it. I like this place the most in here. I really wanted to come at sunrise, but Greenland always scolds me that it's dangerous." He smiled and then petted the snow under his feet. "My 'lil Greenland."
"What in here is little?" asked Germany turning his gaze from the scenery to Denmark.
"Well," it was Finland who answered and smiled to Germany, "population?"
"Look who's talking," Prussia noted and crouched down beside Denmark. "Mister population of Berlin."
Finland chuckled. "It's not that small, Prussia. And besides, Denmark has as much people as I have so it'd be closer to call him that. Right, Den?"
"Shut up," answered Denmark, sulking and hugging his knees. "I wanna go back to being a Viking..."
Germany smiled. "Shall we return? It would be about time."
"What?" Prussia resisted. "Already?"
"We should," said Finland too and turned around to return. "Or Norway gets mad. Don't want that, do we, Den?"
Denmark rose up and pulled Prussia with him. "Ay, getting the point. Come Prussia, we can come another time. And it isn't the last place where we can hike anyway, ye know."
"Guess so," answered Prussia admitting his defeat for once and they began their return. "But I'm definitely going to borrow Greenland."
"Jes return him in one piece, okay," Denmark answered moving to the front again.
Prussia smiled. "We'll see about that."
A/N: Hello. I hope you'd enjoy one of my earlier works that I was requested to publish by one of my readers. No one requested for this story in particular, but I hope TheNinjaOfEpic will accept this as my gratitude for the PM.
I'm suffering a writers block and this story is published in hopes of overcoming it. Please forgive me the wait with my other stories.
Thank you, Wings of Avalon, for beta reading.