Author/Artist: Ad_Idem (Left & Right)
Characters: Wy, Australia, America, OC!States
Warnings: Language, future violence, terrible stereotyping (particularly between American states), internet terrorism
Summary: When a nuclear explosion nearly destroys the Outback, the world’s nations are sent reeling. Little do any of them realize that this is only the beginning of the game.
Previous: The Man at the End of the Tunnel
Notes from Right: It's your friendly, neighborhood fanfic author, Right! And I apologize ahead of time because this is going to be a ... very long ride with me. I took on the first "arc" of the story which involves (for now) mostly Australia, Wy, America, some of Canada, some of England, and some introductions to OC!American states. I know a lot of people have "states" or prefer not to have the states or OCs inserted into stories, but these states will NOT be taking the place of the established series nations. They're also not in for kicks, but telling you what they have to do with the game will spoil too much, yes? Please just give us the benefit of the doubt, is all I'm asking.
The Element: Part One of Three
The arid land rolled out before the herd as it cautiously crossed the oceanic mainland. Timidly, they brought themselves forward in search of food and water, as was the daily routine. The red kangaroos moved with little commotion throughout the mainland until their ears detected a rumble from far off. Alerted by the large female at the forefront of the troop, they came to a hasty stop and glanced in the direction of the noise.
By the time the earth began to shake beneath their feet, they had taken off, scattering across the dry earth as a cry of pure delight broke into the air followed by the loud growling of a sputtering engine.
The yellow Forrester glowed in the heavy summer light as it barreled over the dunes, leaving the driver and passenger near airborne for a few thrilling moments.
"ACE!" the darkly tanned Aussie in control of the wheel laughed as his bum met with the seat yet again. He grinned wildly at the paint splattered girl beside him. "Would ya look at that boomer over there? Leaving all these ladies behind! His blood's worth bottling."
"You almost hit him," the girl reasoned, turning her own grinning face back to her older brother. "You trying to Out-Aussie yourself today, Cody?"
The brother smirked at his little sister with a rather crooked smile and shook his head before looking forward yet again. "I'll tell ya, Sheila, there's not a soul in Australia that can Out-Aussie me!"
He was right, of course. They both knew it.
Cody Walters was so much more than the thick skinned man of the Outback that he appeared to be to so many others. He was a country within a man, the living representation of the entire country which consumed the continent of Australia. However, just because he wasn't a man did not mean he didn't enjoy life as one.
Beside him, the young Principality of Wy herself was attempting to not be quite as enthused about their high speed rampages over the driest area of her older brother's continent. In her young mind, she was only there for one thing.
"So, before we test out your newest roo bar, let's talk about that driveway."
"Crikey, Sheila!" Australia released in a harsh laugh, not even bothering to glance sideways at the young girl. "I made you your own nation, why would I have to do that?"
"Because I wouldn't have asked to be recognized as my own nation if you had just stopped being so lazy and gave me a driveway from the beginning you bludger!" she cried out, earning a gasp from the driver of the vehicle. She groaned and knew it would probably be best if she gave up on the subject for the day.
Shifting shoulders, the seemingly demon possessed koala on the man's back gave her a devilish glare until its owner reached up and patted it on the head. "Bludger, now, there's no worries! She didn't mean anything by it, did you, Wy?"
Frowning, the girl looked back to the stretch of land ahead. "Are we far enough into the Never Never for your taste, Cody?"
"Wy, you're just going to 'ave to learn to appreciate every inch of the continent," he retorted. "Nothing's going to happen to two nations in the middle of the Outback. Nothing I can't handle, mind you. We can nut out the driveway thing later. In an office or something of the sorts."
"You're never in your office."
"I know, bloody waste that I have one," he grinned before narrowing his eyes.
On Cody's shoulder, the koala let out a strange heave and dug its nails into his shirt, bringing Cody to tilt up his long nose and take in the air himself. He scowled and turned an accusing eye to his younger sister, a sly smile on his face as he took a hand off the wheel and wiggled a finger.
"Well now, who opened their lunch?"
"I didn't blow wind," she hissed in return.
"Well, what's that smell?"
The two looked from each other back to the land in front of them just in time for a collective gasp as a large clump of furry matter rather suddenly came into view. In unison, they released a high pitched cry as Australia uselessly attempted to swerve away from the large conglomerate.
The wheels of the Subaru rotated in the air as the two nations found themselves careening into a tight, uncontrolled circle. Wy felt her heart leap into her throat and remained lodge there, keeping her from breathing as the world spun and spun and spun around them.
All sound around the principality was muffled, although she knew that her bigger brother was screaming something out at her in the midst of a long slew of profanities, particularly short clipped four-lettered ones.
Finally, by some miracle, Australia regained control and slammed his foot so hard on the break that it threatened to break. He hissed with the screeching engine and began to recall that something wet was running down his cheek.
He touched the side of his face and scowled as he looked to the fingers to see blood. Bludger had came insanely close to digging his little koala claws into the driver's eyes.
Wy suddenly smacked her brother over the head, knocking off his hat and earning a growl from Bludger. "You just about killed us!" she proclaimed.
"Aye," he chuckled. "I did!"
Before the girl could respond or smack him again, Cody opened the door and stepped out of the vehicle, ignoring her cries as he walked over the shifted earth and started toward the furry mass which had knocked them off course. His thick brows wedged together in concern as he worried that he was about to come across signs of poaching again. Damn bastards didn't know when to say enough was enough.
"Don't walk away from me just because I'm right!" Sheila cried before tumbling out of the window of her passenger door. "And why haven't you gotten the damn door fixed yet?"
"Because I figured there wasn't much use for paying for a little bingle," he responded casually as the tan girl reached his side. He pointed to the earth, a frown disturbingly growing on his features as he identified the strange alignment of the ground. "You see that?"
Wy made a face before looking at the earth. Her golden eyes flickered with curiosity as she noticed how the rocks had seemed to raise up in circular arrangements, like huge permanent ripples in a pond. She turned around, realizing that for miles and miles, as far as they could see, they weren't even looking at half of the Aussie had pointed out.
"What in heaven is that?" she asked curiously before looking over to see that her brother was crossing the unsettled ground rather dangerously. "'Ey! Answer one of my questions for once!"
"I always answer your questions, Little Sister," Cody responded as he made his way to the mass of what he could now see were dead roos. "You just never like the answers."
Removing his hat and sitting on his haunches, Australia thoroughly examined the massacred bodies, laid out and flung across each other in a morbid pile. It made his heart ache to see his native species so devastated. Still, Cody had been there first hand for hundreds of discoveries of human brutality.
This … this was something different.
Shifting his green eyes over to his side, Cody saw that his young sibling was already by his side. He smirked to himself before standing up and shaking his head. "If these are among my life's greatest disasters, Wy, I am a fortunate bastard," he laughed. "Still, it's odd."
Before Wy could question the statement, he reached forward and touched the masses, his eyes narrowing as the skin beneath the torn fur seemed almost elastic to the touch. And little to nothing was preventing him from stroking the bones within the bodies as he allowed his fingers to investigate further.
"They're …. Literally skin and bones, Sheila!" he proclaimed, receiving a high pitched chatter in his ear from a surprised Bludger. "It's like they're … e-something. Doovalacky."
"That be right," he responded before turning to his little sister. Australia frowned at young Wy. "I have a feeling in my bones, Wy. It's not supposed to be like this. It's … this seems very wrong."
For once, the younger nation did not scoff or satirize her older brother. The Aussie was dead serious and she knew that for him to react with not so much as a flicker from his carefree disposition it had to be worse than bad. The feeling it left Sheila with was not a good feeling by any stretch of the imagination.
Suddenly, he looked forward, over past Wy's head and his green eyes widened horrifically. "What the hell?"
The young girl spun on her heels just in time to see in the horizon a black, spinning cloud, tremendous in size, rotating with frightening might. Within its clouds flashes of light—blue, white, red, green, almost every color imaginable it seemed—eerily tore into the distant skyline. The once hot, placid Aussie day suddenly seemed like something out of a Wizard of Oz retelling from Hell.
Suddenly, the ground shook so violently that the Forrester began rocking from wheel to wheel.
They glanced to it for only a moment it seemed before a long screech, like the bellow of a frightened beast, drew their attentions back to the unnatural storm.
Cody gasped as he watched the earth in the distance buckling, ripples of rock jutting up into the air at frightening speed, the thick sandstorm flooding their way, and the unusual hiss of what sounded like steam.
Bludger let out an unnatural cry and crawled down into the back of his owner's shirt to hide.
"Sheila!" Australia cried out before scooping up the immobile girl and running away from the approaching rolls of steam, sand, and 'explosive' rock.
In utter shock, Wy curled up into her brother's chest as he took off, her eyes shutting almost instinctively as the raging sandstorm caught up with them first. Her fingers curled into her brother's shirt, her heart once more lodged in her throat when something even more unusual began to happen.
The heat got to her first as she felt it radiating from her brother's chest. She reached up and felt his skin in the V of his shirt just as her brother's pace slowed and began to stumble. What she felt shocked her, as Cody's body began to feel like a furnace and she could have sworn that his skin was boiling.
Despite knowing the risks of doing so in a sandstorm, she tipped her chin up and dared to open her eyes, looking at her brother's face. Her heart skipped.
The nation's face was a horrible, twisted combination of shock and pain as his green eyes, dilated into tiny emerald dots, rolled into the back of his head and he suddenly dropped, flinging both her and Bludger forward as he did so.
"CODY! AUSTRALIA!" Wy screamed as she immediately stood up, immediately regretting the cry as a mouthful of sand and dirt flew down her windpipe. She choked, covering her face with the long pink sleeve of her smock.
Bending over, she scooped up the frightened Bludger who, in an unusual manner, cried out and desperately clung to the arm of someone outside of his own owner. Wy bit her lip and forced herself through the intense gusts of loose earth until she felt her foot hit against a soft, hot form.
Releasing a small cry from her throat, she fell to her knees and tightened the fabric over her face to better see through it. It was indeed Australia's form she had kicked, but the man was face down in the ground and not moving.
He sat back in the office chair with an uncomfortable frown. The leather was cold and, while most people could appreciate that no one had been sitting in his chair, Alfred F. Jones had always preferred warmth. He left that silly cold nonsense to more Northern people, even if people could easily point out that Al had some rather cold territory of his own.
Mr. America was none too pleased with the pile of paper work which had accumulated on his desk. Then again, he supposed that is what happens when a nation decided that he should only have to fill out Domestic Policy papers once a month, leaving the rest of each month dedicated either to International Affairs or, more likely, personal time.
No, no. The seventh of the month was the most dreaded time of each month.
"Why did you choose the seventh?" his twin once asked in complete puzzlement.
"So it'd never land on Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, Mattie. Duh," had been the retort.
There was a cautious knock and Al looked up to see the old maid at his door. He grinned cheekily and stood up.
"Sylvia! Do you want some help? I know how hard it is for you to reach the tops of these old shelves," the nation said quickly, preparing to bolt out of his chair as soon as possible to help the petite, graying woman.
She looked at him with a bit of a timid smile and shook her head. "No, no, Mr. Jones. You really shouldn't."
"I would love to! It's the least I can do!" he said before releasing his signature laugh.
"No, I mean you shouldn't, Mr. Jones," she said a little harsher, but in that grandmother sort of chiding. "Young Mr. Jones told me today to make sure that you didn't," she coughed before doing her best to repeat, "'Attempt to excuse yourself from your national priorities.'"
"Young Mr. Jones?" Al said, his face twisting into a small pout. "Which one?"
Like he had to ask.
"Samuel," a lofty voice answer before a young man, looking no more than seventeen even behind his thick lensed bifocals, entered the room with a scowl on his face. To anyone else, the young man would have looked like the younger brother to Alfred Jones, sharing his wheat colored hair and peculiar, deep blue eyes.
He crossed his arms as he got to the rug in the center of the room, ignoring Sylvia as she scurried out. Sam tilted his head to the side, his mouth twitching as he locked eyes with Alfred.
"Have you even looked at the papers?"
"I've seen them."
"That's impossible," Al groaned as he waved his hand over the desk. "It's piled almost up to my eyes, Penns! I mean, hell's bells! It's never been this high!"
"Oh, that's the smallest it's been in six months, Dad," the statesman retorted. "I told you to get started last night."
"I still have all day."
"It's already noon."
Alfred's nose twitched like a nervous rabbit before a sly smile came to his face. "Oh, is it? I think that calls for a lunch break then. What do you say? You and me head over to the mall and we'll test the foods in the food court? Besides, Cali told me that the newest Saw is being released and—"
With a groan, Al waved his hands dramatically. "Sammy!"
"Don't you 'Sammy' me!" the boy said with a glare in his eyes directed at his father. "You do this every month, Dad. For Christ's sake! Sign the papers! I've looked over every last one of them twice, and then had Connecticut look over them. You just have to sign!"
"Don't you 'Penns' me either!"
Slamming his hands down on the desk, Al looked like he was about to get up however, as his son's eyes bore into him, he looked around on the desk instead and smirked as he saw the navy cup with carved stars. He grabbed a pen out of its collection and held it toward the young man. "Fine, you're helping me sign."
"Hell, no," Pennsylvania scowled before looking at his father expectantly. "Maybe you should reconsider asking the family lawyer about doing something highly illegal."
"Oh, it's not illegal," Alfred said with a roll of his eyes. "When your sister, Illinois, racketeered in the nineteen-thirties: that was illegal. You signing some papers in my name isn't illegal. Beside, you're just a representative of me, it's not like I'm asking Sylvia to do it."
"It's illegal," the boy responded with a hint of anger behind his voice. He was not happy.
Al was not happy either.
"There's no way I can fill out these papers, Penns," he said flatly. "It is impossible. Not just humanly impossible, but just plain impossible. It's too much. And I don't even know what the hell I'm signing."
"You would if you glanced over them," Pennsylvania sighed before walking over to the side of his father's chair and harshly taking the first page off of a stack and whipping it down in front of him. "This is over the reinstatement of the California border patrol."
"Some border patrol," Al snorted. "I got through it with a basket of avocados in my backseat two months ago. They didn't even ask me about it."
"Yes, well, that would be why you're reinstating your support to decrease the patrol," Penns responded before grabbing his father's hand holding the pen and directing it to the dotted line. "All you have to do is put your John Hancock there."
Al snorted. "Y'know, he was such a funny guy—"
"Yes, I know. Sign it."
They glared at each other.
Finally, with a defeated groan, Alfred lowered his head and muttered under his breath before signing away on the little piece of paper. The pressure of Samuel's eyes never left the back of his neck, even as he finished and placed the paper in the empty tray for finished work.
"Feel better?" Pennsylvania asked.
The statesman stared at his father before shaking his head and grabbing the next piece of paper and slapping it on the desk. He had the sickening feeling that he might have to do this with all seven of the stacks. He could only be thankful that so many of them were just thick packets this time around.
"Now, this one happens to be over the federal budget's, how to put it, trimmings going to Florida," Pennsylvania said with a bit of cynicism attached to his voice. "Arkansas pointed it out to us and filed up this report. Basically you're signing to prove that we're not letting so much tax money go to the habitat of a single turtle in the Silver Springs Zoo."
"Oh, wait, no, I approved this one," Al said with a tap of his pen on his lips.
"Yeah, I definitely approved that one. Florida took me to see the turtle," he smirked. "Cute thing. You know it's endangered?"
Pennsylvania stared at his father for a moment before letting an inaudible noise escape his throat. When he caught the look in his father's eyes, he recognized this game immediately and scowled. "No, you're not tricking me into signing your paperwork again!" he hissed. "Try a new game."
The two were interrupted as a knocking on the door frame brought the two to look up.
In the doorway was a familiar face, another boy appearing no more than seventeen, only the likeness was not so uncanny. His face, more rounded it seem, was drawn into a knowing smirk and his eyes, more icy than either Pennsylvania or America's, were half closed lazily. He laughed at them as he trotted in, his boots clicking against the old hard wood floors.
"I thought you'd still be in here!" he laughed. He then paused and became stiff as a pole before saluting the nation.
Al grinned from ear to ear. "York!" he got up and reached over the desk, pulling his other son into a bear hug, causing Pennsylvania to release an irritated noise yet again.
"Hey, Pops," New York responded before shoving off of him and rubbing his new buzz cut.
"What are you doing here?" the father asked with an encouraging smile. "You on leave for the week?"
"Yeah, I told you I'd be coming down in my last letter," he responded before looking over the mess of the desk. "Which, I'm guessing, is somewhere in this mess. Have you two even started yet?"
"Yes," Al responded defensively, picking up the single sheet in the tray and waving it in front of York.
"Hardly," Penns seethed, rubbing his temples.
"Well, we can't do anything fun until you finish, Pops," York said with a sigh, his stomach interrupting the mood as it suddenly growled. "Oh, shit. I'm starved. Do you know if George is cooking anything big?"
"Georgia isn't in this weekend," Pennsylvania muttered before adding something almost incoherent about how no one came in until Dad was done with his paperwork.
His mouth curling into a frown, York shook his head and then looked to his father who was reluctantly settling back into the leather chair. "Well, Pops, the only thing I can tell you is that no one can help you out until you finish this," he said before looking to Pennsylvania with an icy eye and nodding for him to head out the door. "So, let's see if I can inspire any work ethic straight out of West Point."
Knowing, but deciding he no longer cared, about what was going to happen, Pennsylvania threw up his arms and took out the door.
"What a team, Alfred and Millard at it again!" he growled before disappearing down the hall.
Al was quiet for a moment before he finally locked eyes with York. They stared at each other before throwing their heads back and laughing.
Right: Okay, I know! I know! I write MONSTERS. I can't apologize enough. But this is the biggest of the three parts to this particular arc, I promise! Then it gets easier. Just ... important stuff.
I cannot tell you ENOUGH how much it would mean to get some feedback! So ... Please spread some love X3