Genre: Drama/Angst/Romance/Humour(in places)
Pairing/s: (in this chapter) USxUK
Characters: (in this chapter) UK, US, Poland, France, Iceland, Switzerland, Canada.
Rating/Warnings: Overall NC-17. This chapter PG-13. Drunk!Feliks.
Summary: The year is 2438. A little over one hundred years ago, Russia finally cracked and nuclear warheads were sent flying to every corner of the world. No one had time to react. Some countries were wounded, some lost forever. The smaller nations suffered the most. Russia disappeared, never to be heard of again. Finally, the world is beginning to piece itself back together, and there is movement in the irradiated lands of Old Russia. Something is stirring, and only the rag-tag group of remaining nations can discover what it is. Ivan Braginski, or something far worse...
~ There is nothing good in war, except its ending. ~
I had always respected Ivan more than I feared him. Like me, he had built a powerful nation up from nothing, and it forced me to consider that I could have so easily suffered the same fate. I was lucky. The British Empire was only an extension of myself and its slow dissolution affected me very little. I can only imagine what it felt like for Ivan when the USSR collapsed, and so many new nations broke off from Russia.
We had been mending relations, though... in the early 2000’s, though we had been on rather chilly terms since the Cold War and that unfortunate incident with a Russian ex-spy, we did start to patch things up between our nations and for a while it was good for the both of us, especially with Alfred doing the same. Ivan, who had been alone for so long, actually had a group of people that he could, perhaps, one day come to call friends. I had almost begun to consider him one. An ally, if not a friend.
I would have liked to have been able to call him a friend.’
When they went to look for Feliks for his help in getting permission to take a closer look at the truck, they didn’t expect to find him stood on top of a half-broken table, leading a group of people in a loud and merry Polish folk song. He appeared to have procured a very feminine-looking blouse from somewhere, and was wearing it over his usual white shirt and green jacket, along with a multi-coloured hat that clashed horribly with everything it could possibly clash with. None of this seemed to faze him, however, as he waved the hand not occupied with holding a bottle of something that would no doubt take the skull-cap off a lesser drinker.
As he spotted Alfred, Arthur, Matthew and Óskar enter the room, he shouted something in Polish and jumped off the table, stumbling, immediately steadied by a somewhat weary-looking Francis. Feliks stared at the Frenchman as if he had only just become aware of his existence, and then he made a happy sound and hugged the startled nation, before dropping into a nearby chair. He attempted several times to put the bottle of alcohol down on a table before he realised that he was reaching for the wrong side, and when he finally managed to put the bottle down, Arthur picked it up, and sniffed it, jerking his head away with a disgusted noise.
“Feliks, what the bloody hell is this?” he asked. “Ethanol? How the hell did you get so drunk so fast? And you!” The Englishman turned to prod his older brother in the chest, and Francis blinked. “Why did you let him get drunk?”
“You think that I could actually stop him?” Francis protested, taking the bottle away as Feliks reached for it.
“Omaigawd!” Feliks whined. “That’s totally unfair! Give it back, you meanie!”
“What is that stuff?” Matthew asked, blinking in confusion as he watched the Pole groping across the table for the bottle that Francis was holding away from him. “It isn’t actually ethanol, is it?” He looked to Francis for an answer, and before anyone could stop him, the Frenchman tipped the bottle back and swallowed a mouthful of the contents. He grimaced, coughed, and blinked several times before he spoke.
“Well, I haven’t gone blind,” he said, waving one hand in front of his face. “Tastes like rum. Bad rum.”
“Great... our translator is smashed,” Arthur muttered, sitting down beside the now giggling Pole. Alfred bit his lip, ducking his head to hide his smirk.
“You have to admit,” he said quietly. “It is sort of funny.”
“... and, like, omaigawd,” the Pole was saying to Matthew, one hand on the alarmed Canadian’s arm. “You should have seen it. He was like, totally wasted and it was so awesome, ‘cause he was backchatting Russia, right? But then he had to pee so bad and there was this epic queue for the bathroom, and I told him...” Feliks broke off to giggle. “I said, ‘make that stupid faucet useful for a change’... and you should have seen the look on his face... Aaah...” Another giggle. “Good times...” His expression turned morose, then, and for a moment he looked about to cry. “I totally miss Toris...” he said. “He’d do this funny thing, you know, when he woke up, with his nose...”
Arthur looked up at Alfred, and then gave a small, slightly helpless smile, standing up to allow the American to sit, and then perching comfortably on his lap. It was sort of funny, if a little pathetic.
“You two, you’re totally lucky, right?” Feliks slurred, half collapsing over the table and pointing at them with a wavering finger. It took a moment for Alfred and Arthur to realise that he was trying to talk to them. “’Cause, like, you still have each other, and I don’t... I don’t have anyone, you know?”
“Feliks, you need to sober up,” Arthur told him sternly. “We need your help.”
“Ah, gag me with a spoon,” the Pole retorted, bursting into another fit of giggles.
He didn’t have the chance to continue. Óskar grabbed him by the collar of that ridiculous blouse and dragged him outside, followed closely by the rest of the group, who watched with varying degrees of amusement and concern as the Icelandic calmly dunked the Pole’s head in a barrel of rainwater that stood just outside the door. The Pole gasped and spluttered, only needing to be plunged twice into the freezing liquid before he was batting against Óskar’s arm and pulling away from him, choking once before he leaned over and violently emptied his stomach next to the barrel. He stood up clinging to the rim, looking as if he had suddenly realised that he wasn’t alone.
“Ugh... I feel like I’ve been drinking surgical spirit,” the Pole groaned, and Matthew smiled sympathetically, slipping one arm around him to hold him up as Francis emerged from the building with a chair for him to sit on.
“Close enough,” Alfred told him, and Feliks managed a weak smile.
“I guess I said some pretty stupid things, huh,” he mumbled, leaning forwards and running his hands through his damp hair. “Wasn’t I wearing a hat?”
“You were, I think it’s in the barrel,” Arthur said. “And... no, you didn’t say anything stupid, but listen, Feliks.” He moved closer and crouched beside the chair, and Feliks looked at him tiredly. “You’re not alone, okay? You have us.”
“I do..?” Feliks looked from Arthur’s soft smile to Alfred’s wide grin, the worried look on Matthew’s face and the expression of brotherly concern on Francis’. His eyes met Óskar’s, and the Icelandic nodded slightly. “Yeah... I guess I do.”
“I know it doesn’t make everything better,” Arthur went on, patting the younger man on the shoulder. “But it’s something, isn’t it?”
“It’s, like, totally awesome,” the Pole replied with a grin, grasping Arthur’s hand and standing up, wobbling a little and leaning on the Englishman for support. “What do you need me for?”
“Hey, it can wait, right? We can’t do anything until it’s light anyway.” Alfred took the Pole’s other arm, and helped Arthur take the small blonde to bed. He was asleep before he hit the mattress, and Arthur couldn’t help but sigh as he crouched and stroked his fingers lightly over Feliks’ hair.
“You alright, Artie?” Alfred murmured quietly.
“He’s like a kid...” Arthur replied softly, shrugging off his jacket and putting it over the man’s small body. Feliks puffed out a short breath and curled up, tugging the fabric to his chin, though he didn’t wake. “Francis, Gilbert and I... in all our lives we never thought we’d see something like this. I never wanted this kind of world for you, Alfred.”
“Hey...” The American sat down, carefully so as not to wake the sleeping Polish nation, and he took Arthur’s hand, lifting it to his lips to press a gentle kiss to his fingers. “This isn’t your fault... it isn’t anyone’s fault. I can’t even blame Ivan for this – he didn’t know what he was doing.”
Arthur smiled at him, and allowed the younger man to draw him to his feet. They left the room quietly, hands clasped as they made their way back to where the others were waiting. Vash had joined them now, and he seemed more cheerful than he had been in years, with his hair scraped back, his jacket tied around his waist and his shirt sleeves pushed up to his elbows, oil and grease smeared over his fingers.
“How goes the repair work?” Arthur asked as they arrived, sitting down and noting that Francis was now drinking from the same bottle that Feliks had been swinging around. The Swiss man grinned, and rubbed his jaw, leaving a black smudge on his pale skin.
“I think I can do it,” he said. “I had to stop because the light went out. My eyes were hurting anyway, but I’ll get to it again in the morning! Most of those guns aren’t broken, they’re just rusted up. A few of them have bits missing but I can salvage those from the ones that are broken.”
“Good job, Vash,” Francis said, lifting the bottle in a toast as the Swiss cleared his throat and blushed. “Things are beginning to work in our favour after all.”
Oh, poor Feliks...
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