Genre: Drama/Angst/Romance/Humour(in places)
Pairing/s: (in this chapter) USxUK (implied France->Spain)
Characters: (in this chapter) UK, Sealand, Spain, US, Canada, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland.
Rating/Warnings: Overall NC-17. This chapter PG-13 for cussing.
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. ~
‘Out of all of us, the luckiest was Peter. Rising sea levels had already forced him from his own land, but Berwald was quick to step in and offer to take care of him. It was a good thing too, because I already had enough on my hands. Britain had its first force five hurricane in 2158. I can’t even describe how it felt, and a lot of East Anglia was under water for years afterwards. The entire world was suffering from the effects of climate change, realising too late that we had left it too long, but (as Alfred said at the time), better late than never, right?
Plans were set in place that every country agreed to, and slowly, we began to rebuild our world. We knew that it would take us longer to fix things than it had taken us to cause the damage. But it worked. Scientific investigation showed us that the average temperature year by year was finally beginning to drop. The ‘Great Ocean Conveyor’ stabilised, and Greenland reported that the ice cap was beginning to recover.
We thought we had it. We thought we’d figured it all out... We didn’t realise that Ivan was becoming more and more unhinged until it was too late, and all we could do was prepare, and pray.’
Arthur had only just left the garage after waving Ludwig off when a shriek rang through the air, and a small blonde shot around the corner. Behind him, footsteps pounded, an irate voice yelling after the fleeing boy.
“Get back here you little-!”
“Oof!” The Englishman nearly doubled over as the boy crashed into him, instinctively wrapping his arms around his little brother’s shoulders and looking up in time to see Antonio skid around the corner, coming to a sudden halt as soon as he laid eyes on Arthur.
“Save me!” Peter cried, looking pleadingly up at his brother. Arthur glanced at Antonio, then back to Peter, and sighed, moving the boy so he was shielded behind the taller nation.
“What did you do this time,” he hissed.
“I didn’t do anything!” the small nation protested, squeaking and ducking behind Arthur as Antonio took a step forwards. Arthur frowned, knowing that while Peter was a little scamp and created far too much trouble, he wasn’t a liar. Still, he couldn’t stop the smirk of amusement as Antonio yanked down the neck of his shirt and revealed the writing on his chest.
“Pro... priét... é... de la... France. Propriété de la France? Oh, Lord, and you’re blaming this on Peter?” He held one arm out to keep the boy safely behind him while Antonio fumed. “I think you should be looking for Francis.”
“That... that damned brat was stood over me holding a pen in his filthy little-”
“Hey!” Arthur had fire in his eyes as he clenched his fists. “I may not be as young as I used to be but I can still kick your arse from here to Santiago, you sodding git, so I’ll thank you to show my family some respect, got it?”
That took the metaphorical wind out of the Spaniard’s sails. Arthur looked down, fixing his younger brother with a firm look that the boy immediately recoiled from with a squeak of ‘I didn’t do it!’. Thick eyebrows drew together and Arthur lifted his chin imperiously, fixing Antonio with a steely glare.
“I believe him,” he said. “Peter doesn’t even speak French.”
“Yeah!” Peter piped up, poking his tongue out then yelping as Arthur landed a backhanded smack over his forehead.
Peter whined and complained, clutching his head as if Arthur had inflicted some grievous wound. The older nation grabbed the front of his shirt and shook him, drawing a yelp of alarm as the boy was almost lifted from his feet. He batted at Arthur’s wrist, squirming as Antonio took another step forwards, though he calmed quickly as Arthur shot the Spaniard another hard glare.
“Santiago, Antonio, I swear to God,” he warned, only shifting his gaze when the man retreated. “Now, Peter, tell me what happened.” His tone softened, and he moved down onto one knee, smoothing the front of his brother’s shirt. Peter shot a wary glance at Antonio, and Arthur snapped his fingers. “Don’t mind him. Talk to me.”
“I was looking for something to write with...” the boy said. “And Mister Carriedo’s door was open, so I went i- I know it was wrong, Arthur!” Peter interrupted himself as Arthur seemed about to scold him, and the Englishman sighed, making a small motion for his brother to continue. “There was a pen on the floor next to Mister Carriedo’s bed, so I went and picked it up, and then he woke up and rolled over and there was writing on him and he started screaming and chasing me!”
The last was blurted out in a rush, but Arthur caught enough for it to make sense and looked to Antonio with a frown.
“Satisfied?” he asked, smirking faintly as the Spaniard made a frustrated sound and turned around, marching off no doubt in search of a certain Frenchman. Though their relationship was fairly amicable these days, Arthur couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of satisfaction at the thought of what Antonio would do to Francis when he found him. He looked at Peter, who shot him a sufficiently embarrassed look before wriggling out of his grip and darting away too quickly for Arthur to catch him.
“Brat...” Arthur murmured fondly, shaking his head. He really did owe Berwald for keeping his little brother safe.
Ludwig and Feliciano returned that night after a successful scavenge, looking a little worse for wear but happy enough as they pulled in. Finding anything of use was difficult nowadays and they did have humans to compete with. They had quickly found that in this kind of scenario, humans would either better themselves, or become no better than animals. It was fortunate for them that Canada had remained mostly unaffected, and the people were friendly and willing to aid anybody who needed help.
When Ludwig had thrown a tin filled with teabags in Arthur’s direction, the short blonde nation had almost burst into grateful tears right there and then before running off clutching the tin to his chest.
That cup of tea had to be the best he’d ever tasted.
The next two days were taken up with preparation, loading up the one working plane that they had. It was difficult to take as little as possible but still have everything that they needed but the work seemed to give them energy, even lifting Feliks out of his usual lethargy and keeping Vash’s temper at bay. It was strange that everybody was so cheered by the current events, but it gave them all something to do other than just exist.
Alfred would be flying the plane, claiming Vash as co-pilot, which the Swiss seemed to be quite satisfied by. Óskar had to be ‘rescued’ from a somewhat tearful Tino as the Nordics said their farewells to their brother, and despite his proclamations that Arthur was a jerk, Peter had to be pried from his brother by Berwald. The last to arrive was Matthew, his hair a little wilder than usual and his cheeks a little flushed, with Gilbert made conspicuous by his absence. The Prussian had never been one for tearful goodbyes.
Flashing his brother an awkward smile, Matthew was stopped by a friendly hand on his shoulder. He looked up to Alfred in surprise, blinking behind his glasses, frowning as he noticed that the American wasn’t wearing his. Dropping his head he took his own glasses off, and with a small smile, carefully slid them over Alfred’s ears and pushed them gently up the bridge of his nose.
“That’s better,” he said softly, lifting his hand to briefly clasp Alfred’s fingers before pushing them from his shoulder and moving past him, leaving him stunned.
Three hours later, all checks done and redone, and they were ready to go.
“Do you remember how to fly this thing?” Arthur called into the cockpit as the plane began to move. Alfred broke from bickering with Vash to look over his shoulder and grin, giving a thumbs up to the older nation.
“I sure hope so, or we’re a bit fucked, aren’t we?”
“Ah, sodding hell...”
Big brother Arthur kicks ass. y/y?
Also, Matthew just breaks my heart sometimes, he really does.
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