Characters: America, England, Russia, China, Japan, Canada, France, eventual others, and OCs. (In this chapter: England, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, and a few OCs.)
Rating: This chapter: PG13 for language. Eventually M.
Warnings: OCs. Human names. Eventual country deaths
Summary: It's a troubling time, where just being an everyday citizen is rough, but it's even harder for the nations who carry the burdens of all of their people. But what if they couldn't get better? What if the nations themselves begin to change as their people's fears into madness?
This chapter: Escape can't always be futile, can it?
WHOO! Rushing to get this up on the community before class. I hope you guys enjoy the new little terror of AJ.
To tell a country they were going to be killed wasn't the smartest idea. In the past, wars had started because of these words. Invasions, religious wars, world wars. But the five nations standing before the small nation had all gone through these before and lived.
Within seconds, however, the room was filled with aggressive agents, all wielding guns and blocking the exits. The nations flared up in defense, ready to protect themselves. Ivan reached out, breaking a piece off of a very expensive scientific machine. He twirled his new pipe around, begging the humans to take him on.
"Aiyah!" Yao exclaimed. His fists came to his face at the ready. "China will stay China, aru!"
AJ's eyes flashed and the agents were on the nations. The men easily overpowered Kiku and Matthew, both too sick and emotionally stressed to fight back. Ivan and Yao stood back to back, defending each other. Yao kicked high up past his head, knocking a gun free from an agent and turning it on the others. Ivan finally got his release as he would snap guns with his bare hands and use his new pipe in the other. He laughed all the while.
Arthur, however, was alone. But he could take it. He always fought alone. It was during these times he found more strength. He pushed the agents away, protecting Alfred's dead body. He pulled his gun, always at the ready by his side, but forgot that it had been confiscated upon his arrival. Cursing, he slipped one away from an agent, shooting the man dead, and turning his attention to those coming for him.
The hands reached at his arms, legs, neck, and face. They scratched and clawed for him, trying to pull him down. But he refused to fall. A nation did not fall simply because a human made told it to do so. And yet, Arthur caught sight of AJ. That child that had murdered his dear ally, claiming he was the new face of America. He stood by that traitor of an American, Tom, and watched. Watched as these other traitors tried to attack such proud and strong countries. He had been born from such humans.
Matthew went kicking and screaming, but his own body was falling victim to the virus. This virus that apparently was the birth of another child. Was that why Kiku wasn't fighting back? Arthur saw as the Asian left almost voluntarily. He didn't want to find out where he was going, but he had to protect the others. The more "old" nations, the better.
"I have survived rebellions and plague, famine and opium, oppression and invasion. I am the last remaining original nation. I WILL not go quietly! I REFUSE!" Yao cried out as he used his ancient techniques always so famous to his culture. Something he created with his people. People that were now possibly turning on him.
In that instant, Arthur found himself lying on his back, ten agents on his chest. He struggled to be free, but AJ was above him, a knife in his hand. The sadistic smile spread across his face, reaching to those menacing red eyes.
AJ lifted the knife above his head, ready to strike. "The world doesn't want you anymore. No one here loves you. Why else did you get sick? People are starting to forget you. They want to overthrow you and start with someone new. Someone...better!"
Arthur stopped for a minute, letting the words sink in. The truth hit him that lately, so many of his own people had begun rioting, yelling at how the government, the culture, his society had changed and their intolerance. It had spread so fast, he didn't have time to grasp it. But now, those words AJ had said hit him harder than anything.
Except for one truth.
"You're...right. You're...absolutely right...I have nothing to live for anymore. I have no one to keep me…" He grit his teeth, starting to push the men away, his strength returning. "But I don't want to die! I'm too afraid to leave my people! Not after all we've been through together! Hate or not I cannot give up on them yet!"
It was then the ground shook. Arthur wasn't sure if that was because the world really had shifted or if it was because the wall on the left side of the room had been blown clear off. AJ dropped the knife and backed away, looking up in confusion and anger. The agents turned their attention to a more pressing matter as their attempts to apprehend Yao and Ivan proved futile.
Arthur freed himself from the mass of bodies on top of him and joined the other three nations. "We have to get Canada and Japan!"
"Shi," Yao replied. He kept snapping his head back and forth warily, watching the men. "We need all the manpower we can get, aru."
Ivan watched the hole. It looked to be a way out, hence why all the agents ran to block it. But he noticed that they had also left the door that was still wide open to their advantage. "Nyet. They're on their own. We have no time."
He dashed to the door, leaving the other two nations to themselves. They wasted no time in following Ivan down the hallway, keeping an eye at the agents now following them. Ivan stopped as a metal door came down, blocking their way. He swore in Russian as he slammed into the door, hoping to dislodge it. Yao and Arthur waited, their hands at the ready to defend themselves, when a flash of gold caught their eyes. For the briefest of moments, the nations thought it was Alfred, back from the dead. But it was, in fact, the lady from earlier.
"Abigail?" Arthur exclaimed.
She was holding a rather large shotgun in her hands, her glasses gone and her long blonde hair in disarray around her. She shot off a few rounds at her approaching ex-comrades. After she was satisfied they were far enough, she turned, kicked in the door to their right, and told them to run. It was the room they had convened in daily.
"Wait, why are you helping us?" Arthur called.
Abigail moved to the window, kicking it out. "No time, hurry! I managed to free Sir Canada, but we have to go!"
Canada only? Yao thought. He stopped, stepping back. "No, we have to get Japan too!"
Abigail grabbed Yao by his wrist. "No, sir! He gave himself up! There are things even worse going on than what you think! Hurry!"
With that, she pulled Yao and herself out the window, jumping five stories straight down on top of a van. She rolled, Yao landing perfectly. Arthur and Ivan followed, but when Ivan landed, he made a rather large dent in the van. Abigail rushed to the driver's side of the car and flung open the side door for the nations to get in.
"Matthew!" Arthur cried in joy. He went right to his former colony, hugging him. "Don't scare me like that again. I lost one of my boys, I didn't wanna lose the other" he mumbled.
Matthew chuckled, patting Arthur's arm. "I'm sorry to have scared you, Arthur."
Ivan barely had time to get in the van when Abigail peeled away from the establishment. He slammed the door close with a grunt and turned to the driver. He pulled a gun on her.
"Who are you and what do you think you're doing?" he hissed in her ear.
She paid him no mind, much different than before when she cowered in his presence. Instead, she merely spun her hair up in a messy bun and focused on driving. She glanced Ivan's way, uninterested in his threat.
"Hang on or you'll be flung out of this van."
Abigail turned sharply just then as if to prove a point. Gunshots from cars following them echoed in the distance. Ivan sputtered out hurried curses before he took the passenger seat. Sticking his head out the window, he fired off a few rounds. He then looked back at Abigail.
"Tell me who you are, American," he demanded.
"Sorry for not getting you all out sooner. I was going to earlier, but Tom caught on to what I was up to. I'm Sir Jones' number one special agent that is sworn to protect him at all costs and do what I can to fulfill his wishes. We're a very secret agency so I couldn't let on about myself while inside," Abigail explained quickly.
"Special agent, aru?" Yao repeated from his seat on the floor in the back. He slide to the side as Abigail turned sharply again.
Arthur watched her suspiciously, his hold on Matthew tightening with every violent turn. "This is ridiculous. You mean to tell me that YOUR people came up with the idea of THAT monster child as your new nation? I know America and I know THAT thing back there was not it."
"No, that was NOT my idea!" Abigail reached down under her seat for something while she continued to drive. They were heading out of the capital and further into the rural side of Virginia. "I was trying to get in deeper to stop such an experiment. I had been trying to get in for months. That child was born months ago and they had been trying to develop ways to lure Sir Jones in. They waited for weeks for him to get sick enough that he'd fall into their hands."
Matthew, coughing, managed a question. "But how come they're after us?"
Abigail sat up as she held in her hand what looked like a grenade. Ivan stared at it uneasily. "If you're infected, there's a chance that a child, much like Alfred Jr., has been born in your country as well; a new version of you that goes against who you are. Because of that, they want to take all the older nations and kill them off to bring life to the new nations. I'm not quite sure what Alfred Jr.'s plans are, but he is definitely not a country I would want to live in."
"Wait!" Matthew tried to sit up, but a sudden swerve had him back in Arthur's hold. "But Al's body! We need to go back and get it!"
"And we will. His body is very important to retrieve," Abigail replied.
Ivan's eyes widened in realization. "So...he's not...dead..."
"Because people like me still exist and believe in him, I have reason to think that he's still alive," Abigail chanced another look at Ivan, her tone serious. "But by all accounts, he could also be dead. People are rallying to overthrow the government as we speak."
There it was; that one truth. Arthur knew it in his heart. If he was so unloved, then how was he still alive? Arthur shook his head, trying to think back to the matter at hand. "So would it really be all that worth it to go back and get his body? At this point what exactly can you do with it? His whole 'self' has been taken out of him. He's nothing but a doll now."
"But, how else are we going to bring America back?" Yao asked. "Don't we need the body so that there is something for him to return to, aru?"
Abigail looked in her review mirror and sped up. She narrowed her eyes in concentration, but continued talking. "Did you not hear Agent Tom? He said that only the new part in Sir Jones was removed. The part that's making you all sick is the new ideas of the people that go against the very core of what makes you. You were all founded to be a certain way and uphold certain ideas and ideals of the people. Because the people no longer want this, it's making you ill. Those guys took all of that out of Sir Jones and it was most of what made him. I don't believe-I REFUSE to believe that was all that made him up. There's still a chance he can come back."
Just then, the sound of a helicopter overhead filled their ears. Abigail leaned forward in the wheel as the helicopter flew over them. She watched as it turned around in the air and came right for them.
"Hold on!" she yelled.
Matthew's nerves were not up to Abigail's game of chicken with the helicopter. He shuddered in Arthur's arm, trying to hide in his chest. Just then, she quickly spun the car out of the way. She slammed on the accelerator, just missing the helicopter by inches as she flung the van off road. Ivan's hand slammed into the dashboard with a thud. He gripped it tightly as the van bounced up and down on the road, falling down a slight hill. Abigail's knuckles turned white as she tried to keep the van under control, but it wasn't meant to rough it like a truck would. To refute this, the van flew up into the air a few inches as they bounced up, hitting the ground with a much less than gentle landing.
For a few moments, the nations in the back of the van slid and slammed into the walls with an unforgiving type of treatment, but they welcomed it as long as they put more and more distance between them and those red eyes. Abigail looked in her review mirror again, biting her lower lip. She slammed on the break, throwing the nations forward. Ivan whiplashed and then fell back with a grunt.
Arthur sighed, aggravated and tired of running. "This is ridiculous. I knew that nothing good would come from that damned FBI the moment he decided to create it."
Abigail was already halfway out the door when she stopped to look at Arthur. "That wasn't the FBI. Whatever gave you that idea they were?"
Abigail wasted no time. She pulled out the trigger from the tip of the weapon and threw it up in the air. A smoke soon covered their entire field of vision. Abigail ran to the back, pulling out a massive bazooka the nations didn't notice was there before. She squatted, waiting for the helicopter to come back.
A small smile betrayed Ivan's lips. I think I'm starting to like her, Ivan thought. Once the helicopter appeared, Abigail fired at it. Once she was certain it was hit, she jumped back in the car.
"Hold on," she said, driving just as fast as before. "We've got quite a drive ahead of us."
"Where are we going, aru?"
"To Sir Jones' special house," Abigail replied. She looked back, catching Arthur's eyes. "It's a house I think you knew once quite well."
Arthur looked to her in shock at the mention of the house. Of course he remembered it. He wondered why Alfred still had it. "But...are you sure that's a safe place for us to hide? I mean...would they find us? Or would this buy us a little more time?"
Abigail had slowed in speed, but was still cautiously watching everything around her. "Either one of those choices will give us more than enough time to figure out a plan for getting everything right again. Now please, call your bosses and alert them of the situation. Also, I think it would be best to not let anyone else know as in the people or any other non-infected countries... The people, unfortunately, are the cause of all of this. And certain countries and groups would LOVE to hear that Sir Jones has, possibly, passed away."
"You can say that again," Ivan mumbled, remembering his little frolic with the terrorist group a few days prior to his arrival in America.
Abigail was still driving as it grew darker. It remained quiet for a long time until she turned on the radio, setting it to a world news station, keeping an ear out for any information that pertains to them or other infected countries. The nations were unable to get a hold of any of their government officials. The further into the countryside they drove, the worse their reception became. Eventually, they gave up.
Matthew started another one of his intense coughing fits. Arthur held him during these trials, his own coughs coming up now and then. Yao watched, wondering how long it would be before he joined in these painful coughs. Eventually, Matthew passed out from exhaustion at the day's events. He preferred to be asleep where Al was still himself and not some other creature with red eyes. Worried for his condition, Abigail started to speed up again.
"We're almost there," she said. "We should arrive sometime around nightfall."
True to her word, the group had arrived at a small log cabin. It was the first house Alfred had lived in when he was a small child, before Arthur and Alfred had officially become brothers. But once they had become acquainted with one another, Alfred continued to visit his first house. Arthur lavished him in gifts and helped pick up the small cabin.
Abigail told the others to wait while she went inside to secure its safety. Her gun drawn, she vanished inside the dark house. Ivan got out of the van, his back cracking. He looked around at the lush flora surrounding them. He thought of Alfred's innocent childhood, growing up here protected from all the foul hands that had ravaged him. He sneered at how lucky the boy had been, so selfish to want it all to himself. But, Ivan was not one for jealousy.
He turned as Abigail reappeared at the door. "For the time being, I'm going to have to keep all the lights off. We'll do it the old fashioned way and use candles."
She moved to help Arthur with Matthew. "We should bring Sir Williams into the guest bedroom. Do you remember where it is, Sir England?"
Arthur ignored Abigail for a moment. He stared at the cabin, his chest pounding in pain. He willed himself to break back into the present. There was no point in swimming among the sea of memories. Pushing the sound of mirthful children's laughter from his ears, he replied to Abigail, "Of course I know where it is."
He easily led the way through the house and into the back room where the shared bedroom was. This was the same room that Matthew and Alfred had used when young. Sometimes, Alfred had dragged Arthur into this room to sleep together when he was too scared to sleep. How could he forget it?
"So...shall we just leave him here? Will he be okay? Or do we need to get him something?"
Abigail had followed Arthur. She nodded. "I think it's best we let him rest here. Now that he's away from those machines and the experiments he should be able to regain some of his energy."
"Should we give him green tea, aru?" Everyone stared in disbelief. "Aiya! It helps with everything else...in China."
Abigail giggled, rolling her shoulders a bit. "Would you like me to prepare you something Sir China or Sir England? Sir Jones left some food here in case of emergency. Is there anything anyone else would li-"
Her walkie-talkie suddenly went off causing her to rush out of the room. Ivan cocked an eyebrow and followed behind her. Voices from over the walkie-talkie spoke in a different language. Ivan was suspicious as to who these voices were and what they were saying, especially when Abigail replied in the same language.
Arthur came out into the hallway, stifling a yawn. Now that his adrenaline had calmed down, he found that he was growing extremely tired. He saw Abigail rush down the hallway talking quickly and saw the suspicious look Ivan was giving her.
"It's okay, Russia. She's speaking one of Native America's tongues," Arthur explained. "I'm not sure which one, but you remember how America would use it during the war?"
Ivan looked a little more relieved, but he would've felt better if he had known what Abigail was saying. Secret agent speaking a secret code after they had just had their very lives threatened left a country a little rattled. He looked after Abigail with paranoia in his eyes, obviously not ready to be as calm as Arthur was about the situation.
That's when he noticed the large stash of old radios, computers, and televisions. Some were new and others looked well into the eighties, almost too big to fit into the house-type of model. Abigail had stopped shortly before a rather old oversized television screen and turned it on. The machine was so obsolete it took moments to turn on and the brown picture slowly faded into view, the image flickering a few times. Then the machines whirred to life, a few making odd rumbles and others barely puttering any sound.
Ivan and Arthur, intrigued by the machines, inched over in hopes of seeing what Abigail was doing. She was still talking on her walkie-talkie and paid them no attention. Yao soon entered and came up near them.
"What's going on, aru?"
Abigail suddenly clipped her walkie-talkie off. She looked over at the trio of countries obviously extremely frustrated. "We have a problem…"
"More?" Arthur asked, aghast.
"I've received word from the other members that word has leaked about Sir Jones' condition and it's going to be broadcasted on the news and the radio." She turned to regard the television that was just now showing a clear enough image of CNN.
Arthur and Ivan stepped forward, demanding answers.
"What? Is there a way to stop this from happening? Or better yet...what will happen once it gets out?"
"And who let THIS leak?"
Abigail turned to the countries, her arms crossed. She looked more aggravated than she had ever seemed. "I believe they did this on purpose and it wasn't a leak at all... This will get the rebels to storm the capital. There had been numerous rumors and anonymous tips saying that rebels are soon going to rush the capital if they think Sir Jones isn't capable of stopping them. Because, normally, he would just by the sheer fact he was still alive and enforcing the ideals we all believe."
Abigail became quiet when the news reporter's voice filled the small cabin.
"And we've received word that the current state of America, Sir Alfred Jones, has reached the worst possible state. We're going to break this news to you all very carefully, but it seems that he has passed away just a few hours ago. The doctors who worked so diligently on him have stated that they tried their best to help him in his time of need, but regretfully, were not successful. Other nations are being alerted at this time, but those closest to Sir Jones have yet to be reached for statements. As for the condition of our country, we're not sure what will become of it. This is the first time that a nation has passed away. At this time, we'd like to ask that you all give Sir Jones a moment of-"
"TRIED THEIR BEST MY ASS! WHAT A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT! And that was NOT gentle you fucking douches!" Abigail screamed. She almost kicked the television, but Arthur was quick to restrain her. "They should have been more respectful than that! IT'S OUR NATION FOR GOD'S SAKE! And he was so important to all of us! He went out of his way to be with everyone!"
Abigail began to weep as she continued to yell. "Did those assholes have to state it that way? IT HAD NO FEELING! No emotion! No remorse! How could they? How could anyone in the first place want Alfred dead? He was so gentle and sweet and…"
She trailed off as she turned and cried into Arthur's arms. He held her as he thought how her words echoed that of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who probably shared the same views of her. But by now, those people were probably not of the same mind anymore and didn't carry the same ideals. They now had rebellious ideas.
It was odd how history seemed to repeat itself whenever he was around. According to Abigail, there shouldn't be that many Americans who were against the revolution, just as was the same back in the 1700s. Then how was it so few took over so many?
"Please...," Arthur started, his voice soft. "I know exactly how you feel but...you have to stay strong. You are the only one who can really help us..."
Ivan strode up to her, putting a hand on his shoulder. However, he wasn't as gentle as Arthur was. "If it makes you so angry then get up and DO something about it. This isn't the time or the place to cry."
Yao stepped forward quickly as Abigail had spun on her heel, ready to attack Ivan for his rather cold words. He held up his hands and cleared his throat. "Um, excuse me, but could you tell me why you humans call America by his name so casually, aru?"
Abigail looked at Yao, quite caught off guard by his question. But it had worked. She had calmed down enough and Arthur had released her. Ivan stepped back even though he was unphased by her interrupted outburst.
"All the agents have been raised by Sir Jones personally. We're all orphans. Many of us regard him as our own father," Abigail replied. She sighed as she collected herself more and more. "The people all feel, or rather, should feel, so close to Sir Jones that we call him by his human name. Isn't that why you call Sir Jones his human name?"
"I'm afraid you're a little wrong," Arthur said. "We originally gave each other human names to blend in with the humans, but over time, it became a symbol to call another country by their first name depending on how close they are to that country."
"America, however, just calls everyone by their first name," Ivan mumbled. "It's disrespectful."
Abigail thought for a moment. "But do you enjoy being called by these names? I mean…does it make you feel more…human?"
The broadcaster's faint voices mumbled in the background as the countries were forced to confront such a startling question. But before they could reply, there was a noise outside. Abigail was at the door with her gun at the ready in a flash, the other countries following suit.
For a moment there was a deafening silence. In her haste, Abigail had even turned down the television so silence even the voices bringing only bad news. But suddenly, a strange voice speaking a strange language broke the reserve. Abigail replied and instantly relaxed.
The door opened. A boy in his early twenties with messy blond hair and dull blue eyes entered the cabin. His smile turned from one country to the next until it landed on Yao.
"Nihao!" the boy exclaimed.
Yao blinked in surprise and confusion, but automatically responded. "Nihao. You speak Mandarin?"
"Shi!" the boy's enthusiasm only grew.
"This is Jeff." Abigail nodded to the blonde. "He's third in command of the agency."
"What happened to the second?" Arthur asked.
Abigail and Jeff's expression grew dark. "He betrayed us…"
"You mean Tom was an agent?" Ivan snarled. He gripped his water pipe at the memory of Tom.
"He was," Jeff started, crossing his arms. He turned the television up a bit in volume. "But that's old news. I have some new news from the capital."
The countries turned in anticipation. A capital may not have physically been a country's heart, but it may as well have been. It was where the country spent the majority of his time and Alfred was no exception. Almost every nation took the greatest of pride in their capital, lavishing a lot of their free time and tender loving care on the city.
"The rebels have taken the entire city." Jeff moved aside so the television was in full view. The images depicted a dark scene with cars on fire and buildings destroyed. The camera spanned over to the White House and then to Capitol Hill. "The politicians didn't stand a chance… The city's fallen and with it so has America."
Flying freely before the White House was the unmistakable symbol of everything America hated. A black flag waved in the wind.
Hoshiko2's cents: Hope you enjoy this week's update. Tatemae will soon be ending, but there will be another side story. This time, it'll be from Russia's point of view.
I also hope you all understand why I use human names or, at least, are starting to be able to understand.
See you next week!