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Sep. 30th, 2011

hetalia, america, england

Fantastic Four: Rewind, Replay

Title: Rewind, Replay
Author: Kapiichii
Fandom: Fantastic Four
Pairing/Characters:  Johnny Storm, Susan Storm, Franklin Richards, Franklin Storm
Rated: PG
Warnings: Slight reference to character death
Disclaimer: The Fantastic Four and their 'verse belongs to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Published by Marvel Comics
Summary: Year after year, he falls back to the same pattern of recovery. Johnny needs someone to catch him.

               “I’m going to kill you.”
 
               “Is that a fact?”
 
                What he rolls into, he cannot be sure of. The material has repeated and changed over the days, the twisted sheets and years fall into a tune he is hardly aware of, but he has always come back to one very familiar body set. He falls back against the cool air in the night sky, burning out, pretending he’s a falling star about to crash to its demise. For a moment, for several long moments, he considers crashing into the Hudson River and letting the water over take his vision. For how he would allow himself, he cannot be sure. What he can be sure of is that each and every time, he pulls up at the last second with such a jerking force, his body might have confused the sudden motion with either falling asleep or near death. What he could always be sure of was a waiting warmth he was utterly numb to. A chill not cold and completely undeserving of battering away – quite the opposite in fact.
 
                So Johnny falls. As always. He crashes with no chance to soar and his the tremors that shake his body, too, have changed. He is unable to judge what causes them now, unable to pull a set emotion out of the kaleidoscope of his mind and give it a definitive word. (For that, he has always been jealous of.)
 
                “Fact,” he murmured. He squirmed, stared up at the ceiling as always. He could pretend not to feel the curl of arms around him, pretend that he was man enough not to fall into the same lap as he did, year after it. (Likewise, he could pretend that there weren’t years and moments where he was denied access to his safe haven.) Instead, they both chose to pretend that he actually needed the blanket wrapped snuggly around the both of them. “But not you. God, don’t – don’t even talk like that.”
 
                A hand curled in his hair and somewhere behind the twist and kick it gave his stomach, Johnny allowed himself to recall it was comforting gesture learnt from a women with thin glasses and mousy brown hair. A woman with thin wrists, easy to cling to, a cold stare and smile, if that at all, but a woman who allowed countless forts and wrestling matches in her living room nevertheless. As the hand twisted his hair into little piglet tail curls, he finally earned that tsk and a disappointed sigh. “Don’t talk about him like that. He… you can’t, Johnny, he was wonderful.”
 
                “He was a coward. He – “
 
                “He saved us. He saved you.”
 
                Johnny rolled over. The couch provided limited space with the two of them like this but it was better than what the years had given them – cold floors, empty boardwalks, arguments over beds and zeroes that burned deeper and hotter than his flame – and Johnny hardly had it in him to fight the gentle hold. So he curled tighter, like he had year after year. Hands laced, lights off, television covered with a sheet. Telephone unplugged. It was an uncanny ritual but neither of them bothered to explain. (He wasn’t the one bothered by the fact that hardly anyone bothered to ask why.)  A messed up game of make believe but now a simply decorated carrier sat within an arm’s reach of them. Its cargo, precious and soft, and small, Johnny hadn’t been able to take his eyes off of since they came back from the Church.
 
                “That man,” he began, a small tremble in his voice. He pushed it aside and corrected himself. There was a difference – there would be difference. There was no connection between their not-father and the bundle sleeping beside the couch. “Susie, I swear to God, if I ever see that boy with a drink or a deck of cards in his hands, I’m punching his lights out.”


Sep. 6th, 2011

hetalia, america, england

Fantastic Four (oneshot): Miracle


Title: Miracle
Author: Kapiichii
Fandom: Fantastic Four
Pairing/Characters: Franklin Richards, Johnny Storm, Professor Xavier
Rated: PG
Warnings: Curses. Spoilers. Bending with canonverse some.
Disclaimer: The Fantastic Four and their 'verse belongs to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Spider-Man belongs to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Both are published by
Marvel Comics.
Summary: Franklin Richards narrates his relationship with his uncle. Kind of as per the 'Reed Richards is Useless' trope, just on a more intimate level I suppose, I don't see Reed as a very good father nor do I see Susan as a very mother. Loving, yes. But as capable as a parent should be? Oh no. They're much more tutors and babysitters than parents who provide life lessons.
 



"When I was little, he would tell me stories."

"And they all lived happily ever after?"

"More or less, yeah."

Franklin couldn't say quite what it was in his uncle's eyes that made him doubt the ending, doubt that entire bedtime story, but he knew better than to accuse anyone in his family of being a liar. "You're a terrible story-teller, Uncle Johnny."

"Hey!" The man settled beside him huffed and shoved him playfully. "Back down under the covers with you. Head on the pillows. See if I let you stay up and pretend I didn't see you sneak one of your dad's gadgets to play with under your pillow." Franklin  Richards, after all, was, his mother and father's son. That made him inquisitive as anything but most importantly, he was his uncle's nephew and with his parents' shouting, his father in the lab, his father always failing to remember him until something particularly shiny or valuable (or dangerous) had already been busted…. Well, he  was  his uncle's nephew, which made mischievous as anything. Mercy on the Baxter Building when he hit puberty and his mutations really came into fruition.

"Ah!" Franklin caught himself before his hand slid back to make sure the tinkering robot was still there. "How did you know? Mom didn't notice when came in to say goodnight…."

"Your mother," Uncle Johnny began, looking ready for a rant. His eyes had fallen back into a darker place, that place they go to when adults talk about things they don't like where much. Somehow, he caught himself and took a small breath before ruffling Franklin's mop of messy curls. "How's about another story, kiddo?"

"Okay! Tell me – "

"Woah, now. Who said you get to pick it?"

"Please, Uncle Johnny? Please, please?" Franklin can't be older than four years old and even as the son of Reed Richards, it shows in his speech. Uncle still  comes out more like 'unca', but at least he only occasionally slips up and says 'pwease'. Regardless, he knew his uncle well enough for proper manipulation and rolled over onto the young man's chest. As he snuggled into his uncle, he couldn't help but let out a happy giggle, "You're  warm!"

"Heh. Yeah? No kidding."

"I like it~." Another giggle, followed by a squeal when Johnny Storm wrapped an arm around his nephew, all to pull him closer.  "I don't need my blankie when I'm with you!"

"His smile… something no one could ever ignore. It – isn't that right, Uncle Peter?"

Franklin is young, so he doesn't notice it, but Uncle Johnny had a special kind of smile reserved just for people like him. In fact, Uncle Johnny had different smiles for everyone and every kind of occasion. That  young Franklin did notice when his uncle made it to the front page of The Bugle,   beating their usual Spider-Man bashing because of saving a driver from a race he had attended. The smile his uncle had in the paper was calculated – that's one of Daddy's words – and his uncle had his face tilted down slightly, eyes open and trustworthy.

"Are you a movie star?" Franklin gasped foolishly, recognizing that kind of smile from Mommy's magazines of people on a silly looking red carpet.

"I sort of was."  Uncle Johnny scooped him up, threw him over one shoulder and snatched up the newspaper.  There was nothing threatening about the gesture, except the fact that the world had suddenly been flipped upside down for poor Franklin, but he still squirmed and flailed. Uncle Johnny ignored him and held him in place with one hand while he flipped through the headlines in the other.

"Put me down, put me down – down, down!"

"What do you think you're doing?"

"D-Daddy!"

"Jonathan Storm!"

"Sue, I – "

"…people like that don't need to grow up to be perfect…"

"Hee, hee. I didn't know grown-ups could get grounded…"

"…always there to catch me, like he had a sixth sense."

Noise in New York City is something Uncle Ben says he'll eventually learn to ignore in not to hear at all. Until then, the thunder storm jerked him not only out of his sleep but straight up as well. His little heart pounded and he couldn't remember if was in the middle of a good dream or a bad. At the next crack of thunder, unaccompanied by lightning, Franklin realized that it echoes like a Titan sized garbage truck plowing through the streets even all the way up here.  "M-Mommy?"

Someone was walking around the hallway. Someone whose footsteps he did not recognize. Clickety, clickety, tap, clickety, tap, tap. He froze, the footsteps froze. Oh goodness… a burglar? Was that even possible? "S-shit…" A man's voice then, followed by a woman's and some … whining sound, whispers that Franklin couldn't understand. The blonde boy slipped back under his covers and held his breath.

Go away, go away.

He could get something to defend himself with. He was little but a baseball bat would do. He saw it in a movie once. … No, no. He should scream. If he screamed, his whole family would hear, wouldn't they? Uncle Johnny, Uncle Ben, Mommy and Daddy… they would all be here and rescue him because that was what families –

"Frankie?"

"Uncle Johnny?" He peeked out from under the sheet. "Is – is that you?"

"Sure thing, Tattletale. What are you doing up so late?" The bedroom door creaked open, lightless. Still no lightning either, just buckets and buckets of rain and thunder. "I – argh!" Something crashed and what Franklin guessed was supposed to be a graceful slip into his bed ended in his uncle on his back, on the floor. "Jesus Christ!" Uncle Johnny hissed. "Didn't your mom have you pick up your floor with her today?"

"Y-yes? You're not hurt, are you? Uncle Johnny?"

"Fine, fine. I just… tripped." In the dark, Franklin couldn't make out on what his uncle propped against the closet before he crawled in beside him and held out his arms. Quick to accept the invitation, the boy scrambled into the familiar heated embrace. "On your baseball ba - … since when do you own a baseball bat?"

"Oh. Since a minute ago. I made it. … I think." A silent smile. Uncle Johnny never sucked his teeth in disapproval or scowled like his parents did. Instead, Uncle Johnny just chuckled. "Those restraints Reed made didn't do too well, huh?"

"Nope," Franklin sighed happily. "Tell me a story so I can fall back asleep?"
"If I'm a brat, blame him, ha. He spoiled me rotten."

Every Saturday, they would go out for ice cream. Mommy scolded Uncle Johnny and warned that they'd each get fat but Uncle Johnny insisted they'd take the stairs on the way back. (They never do.) Every Saturday, they walked their way to the ice cream parlor. They walked through Central Park, to the West Side, they got their ice cream and then they ate in the empty stretch by the concert hall where the activities during the annual Easter Egg Hunt are held.

(Uncle Johnny takes him to those too.)

But today, when they reached the park, Uncle Johnny jerked back on his hand suddenly. "What's wrong?"

"Forgot my wallet. Let's head back home."

No child his age was well behaved enough to keep from starting up a temper tantrum. Ordinarily, Uncle Johnny would have just ignored him and gave him the cold shoulder until decided to behave but today his grip on Franklin's wrist tightened. "S-stop it!"   Uncle Johnny wasn't even looking at him, but rather over his shoulder, toward the people they never passed and the papers stapled to the trees Franklin never got close enough to look at. "Frankie! Be quiet or I'll never take you out for ice cream ever again!"

They turned. "How could you have forgotten," he wailed, sniffling. Tug, tug, tugging on Uncle Johnny who in turn pull, pull, pulled him along, faster than his little legs could keep up. As if he wants to run but couldn't. As if he wants to run but forgot how. As if he needed to run but couldn't pick up his nephew. Uncle Johnny hailed them a cab quick as he can and practically throws Franklin in.

"He always looked out for me, even when I didn't know I needed him too."

By the time they got home again, Uncle Johnny's hand was almost too hot to touch but he looked so mad, Franklin said nothing. No one else is home so Uncle Johnny tells him to turn on the TV and watch whatever he wants. "But keep it quiet. I need to make a phone call." With a turn, Franklin had the first piece of evidence to ever believe his uncle is a liar.

Johnny Storm's wallet sat in the back pocket of his slacks, just like always as he dialed the phone. "Bobby? Bobby? Put on that Professor of yours…."

"…but I don't think I realized…"

The first time Franklin saw a fight, a real fight, that the Four are involved in, it made him sick to his stomach. He always knew what his family was doing, for the most part, even if he didn't understand why Uncle Johnny came home with red smears on his lips or clothes at odd hours of the night or why Daddy locked himself in the lab for hours upon hours, but he didn't understand just how bad it got. "You're hurt." There is blood. "H-he – it – it broke you…" Buildings lay in shambles. "P-Please don't die!"

His family huddled around him. Mommy scooped him up in her arms and kissed his forehead.  "Shh, don't cry. It's alright, it's alright. We're all okay."

"You're bleeding!"   But Daddy assured that he could patch Mommy right up.

His father, behind Uncle Johnny, easily slipped his way into a family hug – Franklin, Susan and Reed Richards. They all missed the hurt look on Johnny's face when he's denied contact with his nephew, even as Ben is allowed to ruffle the boy's hair. "Don't talk like that," Uncle Ben shushed from beside his mother. Uncle Johnny inched closer, reached a hand that may as well have been invisible but dropped it with a sigh when he realized entry to the sobbing child was impossible.

"Don't worry, Frankie, we're not going anywhere." He says the words Franklin really wants to hears, the promise that the rest of his family should have made. "None of us are going to die."

"…just how much that meant or just what the significance of any of that was."

More papers were sprouting over the city. "Sorry kiddo." Uncle Johnny did not smell like soot, he did not smell like cigarettes and he didn't smell like campfires burning either. Franklin could never pin the smell but he thought it had something to do with all the girly things Uncle Johnny put into his hair to style it that must burn off when he flies. "Not until things cool down."

"But you burn! You don't ever cool down! That's not fair!" But it's a family decision, he is informed, one that 'your mother and father agree with'. "Liar." He wouldn't believe that. Not when his uncle was constantly bending the rules just a little for him, when his uncle was the one always hoisting him high onto his shoulders or taking him out flying and not his father. Not when his uncle was the one who promise to take him to the Yankees game as soon as he could sit still long enough without trying to use his powers to make a snack appear in his lap out of nowhere. ("You used to think it was cool….")  That will apparently be that in the matter. Uncle Johnny left quietly for once, instead of murmuring softly on the phone to someone on the phone, head dropped low with eyes that had refused to meet Franklin's as he spoke. At first his gaze skirted around the mess on the floor but then it drifted back outside, toward the window and just below the skyline. He was too far away to see the sidewalk but Franklin was Franklin Richards  after all, he could tell what his uncle was doing.

When Uncle Johnny had closed the door and left, Franklin made his way to the window. He shoved it upon and leaned out, careful to grip onto the edges so he wouldn't fall. Cars could still be heard honking, people looked like miniature Barbies and Kens, Central Park stretched out like a green cloud while the reflection of the Baxter Building was caught in the windows of a neighbor. Long white papers littered the streets. He had never seen these papers, these posters that first turned Uncle Johnny away from getting him ice cream. He is no longer allowed to watch TV without someone sitting beside him – usually Uncle Ben – and the adults hastily changed the channel from the news whenever he walked into the roomed. Something is wrong.

The adults were liars.

"…went south. Kids always notice that kind of stuff. Don't think that they don't."

Uncle Johnny tucked him into bed every night but leaves long before Franklin could ever hope to fall asleep. He ran to the phone and in a hushed voice, Franklin can make nothing out other than his tone; desperate, worried and angry. Sometimes he forgot not shout. ("I know you've been going through this for longer but – god damn it, will you just listen to me? I need - … you know what? Fuck that. Fuck you, you sonuva –")   Franklin would ask him the next day if everything was okay. "A-Okay, Frankie. Why?"

Uncle Johnny was a horrible story-teller.

He didn't know why, but the adults were lying to him and it all had something to do with that stupid white poster. With his left hand outstretched as far as it can go, Franklin closed his eyes and he wished. He wanted and he demanded. Sure enough when his eyes opened again, the white poster was sitting on his bed, tattered but still legible.

"Uncle Johnny, you wanted to make sure my block stayed only one block wide…"

Soon enough, he understood why Uncle Johnny had always burned down those awful white posters whenever he saw them.  They had his picture on them, you see… his picture and it said…

"I'm sorry I let you down."

"They didn't live happily ever after, did they?"

"What makes you say that? Just because I didn't say it, doesn't mean they didn't."

"You're lying, Uncle Johnny." Franklin hugged his knees. Slumped against his uncle, he tried to ignore the shouts from the common room. His parents again, only this time, he thought it was his uncle's fault. Something about an institute set them both off. Before Uncle Johnny could protest, he dropped a quick and troubled question on him. "Promise not to tell Mommy? Promise not to hate me?"

"…Why would I ever hate you? Frankie… what's wrong?"

"I – I don't know…." Breathe in and … "What does  M – U – T – I – E spell?"

"…so, he had these two numbskull friends of his that would come over and he'd sucker them into babysitting duty with him. Lord only knows how the Baxter Building made it out in one piece…"

"How did you get that one?" Franklin hung in the doorway of his uncle's room, half noticing a bruise in the mirror as his uncle changed shirts. It wasn't one of the bruises or lip stick marks over Uncle Johnny's neck or wrists that left Mom  or Dad telling him off, but a bruise over Uncle Johnny's ribs.

"This? Ah. I … Nothing. Felt like reliving the early days with that Webhead of mine."

"Kingpin?"

"Can you tell?"

"Couldn't you have just torched the jerk?"

Uncle Johnny shook his head. "Long story short, Arachnerd got in the way. He still  can't keep his mouth shut for the life of him. For either of our lives. Jesus."   Despite the bruise, he laughed. It isn't a wonder to Franklin, who was starting to pay more attention to the world and starting to notice all the things his family tried to hide, why his uncle his such a charmer. (He calls him a charmer because that's the nicer version of the words he's heard whispered about his uncle, words he won't use or believe. Uncle Johnny is much more of a parent to him than his actual father is – not that he doesn't love Dad – so he has to believe the best in the man.) "That friggin' dummy." By now, he hardly noticed the way his nephew laughed at him when he talked like this, when he toned himself down.

"You can curse, you know. I'm not a baby anymore. It isn't like I haven't heard it before."

"Not from me you won't ever."

"…my hero. So much more of a father to me than – ah, sorry Dad…"

The first time Franklin runs away is after the separation. It is also after his father has kicked Uncle Johnny out of housing complex. For what reason, Franklin cannot say. All he knows is that his parents gave him a very specific new set of rules. "Stay away from Johnny for awhile. He's… sick." Mom looked down. Sick? Why would you leave someone who was sick all alone to themselves? "Not… like that. Just…"

"We can take care of you fine by ourselves," his father cut in. Reed Richards had never been a loud man – except for when he was shouting at Uncle Johnny for something he had caught on the video tapes of the lab, something that made Uncle Johnny's friend, Mr. Parker stay away for a fairly long time – but now his voice had rang out with clear authority. Naturally, Franklin had one choice now. In the pouring rain on the roof of the Baxter Building, blonde hair longer and slicked to his skin by the icy cold, he focused on his favorite safe haven. He focused on the scent opposite to Uncle Ben's leftover cigars. His chest heaved, desperate for air. All he could focus on was the tearing sound as a portal tore open; not on where it was, not that it was just over the ledge.

He fell.

"My entire life, I've been protected, so maybe I don't have a right to ask for this..."

"Senator Kelly? Darling…" Mrs. Powers shifted her weight back and forth. It was a simple question. All he wanted to know was a little more about the man. It only seemed fair. "Why don't the three of you go play outside again? I'm sure – "

"I want to go home."

His friends pull at either of his arms. "I thought you liked sleepovers, Tattletale."

"I'm not stupid! I – I'm sick and tired of hiding!"

"..but if we could all, and I mean all of us, just for once, care for someone else…"

"It was an accident! I swear!"

When Alice tripped and tumbled down the rabbit hole, Franklin imagined she must have felt a lot like this. In fact, he was certain she must have. Especially now. Blood running cold in the humid, hostile invested room. No pleas worth anything. Nothing to save him – not even his family but they promised, they promised. They promised!

Adults are liars.   

"Please… I – I didn't mean to hurt her! It was an accident! I was trying to save her, I didn't mean to crush – no! Stop, don't come any closer!" Hands darted out, grabbed, grabbed and god, how did it get so cold? Why was it so cold? "Uncle Johnny! Help me! Please! I – I was just trying to be more like you! I don't want to die. Don't let them take me away!" But the front row to the court room was shifting. The tallest of the blonde refused to meet his gaze, no matter how loud the scream, no matter how many tears, Johnny Storm still turned his back and walked way. "No… M-Mom, Mom! Don't let them take me! Dad? Dad! I'm sorry I broke into your lab for Val without your – don't go! Don't go! I'll be a better son!"

He promises, he swears but they are gone, gone, gone. "Uncle Ben!"

"… I don't like nightmares... Bad things happen. I don't expect them to stop anytime soon, but then I think to myself that I have this – this fantastic angel to keep me safe and his friends…"

"E-Easy! Frankie, watch it!"

Blinded and tangled, the young blonde boy panted softly. "Wha…what?" Even after an entire minute, nothing was familiar. Not the wide screen television, not the couch he had fallen asleep on and not the covers soaked in a cold sweat. Certainly the inter-dimensional portals with their violent whirling roars are just as terrifying. He couldn't help but scream when a hand suddenly touched his shoulder. "Get away from me!"   Metal crashes, a little girl screams. "Valerie?" Blankets tossed off and it's only then that he sees the bodies; massive, metal, flesh obscured. Not Skrulls, maybe some. He doesn't even know what but they're scattered across the floor and he slowly realized the tallest of them all.

In the dim moonlight, a lean body covered in blue and red fabric. A summoned helmet and shield over the man's back and a quivering, tiny girl shielded by his body. "You were having a nightmare."

Franklin has little concept of faith. Any more and such an act from him might constitute a sentence to hell."Spider-Man?"

"I do believe I have been changed for the better, because I knew you… because no matter what the tabloids – the gossip… my uncle … a good man, you believe me. You have to believe me."

Someday, he'll be as tall as Uncle Johnny. He won't fuss with his hair so much but he'll be as successful enough to sleep in until almost the afternoon like his uncle. He'll workout, he'll have cool cars and he'll know just what to say in front of the press. Someday, the press will even like him. That will be important. They won't hate him and they won't scrawl his picture and slurs across the city in anti-mutant propaganda. He'll show them. One day, everyone will know that when he's grown up, he's the good guy. Until then, he just has to take it one step at a time, take notes, have fun and keep his eyes open. Naturally, he had the best tutor.

"Even if you're not interested, always hold doors open for them, everyone really, but make a point for them. Give them a nice, smile, like this. Make a point of reminding her she's beautiful – not pretty. That's an important one and no, those jeans never make her look fat."

Weekly Sunday ice cream trips had been traded in for weekly Sunday joyrides around Manhattan. Or at least, that was what Uncle Johnny told his mother. If Valerie tagged along and Uncle Johnny did happen to be in possession of a car – imported, leather seats, Italian or other European namesakes – than they usually would keep within their borough. If it was just 'the men', however, Uncle Johnny would crossover to Queens. They would swing through the Asian neighborhoods where Uncle Johnny and Mr. Parker (now turned Uncle Peter, although out of awkward politeness, Franklin still sometimes made the mistake) would hang after school. On occasion, they would pass through Long Island but once, just once, the site of a new house made the youngest living Storm floor it so far, even he was shaking by the time he remembered where the brake was.

"… ashes to ashes. Nothing dusty about Johnny Storm."

"Fly safely!" His sister fit snuggly in his arms, whimpering worriedly as their family climbed into the jet.

"Yeah, yeah," Uncle Ben murmured. "We'll be fine. Uncle Johnny was dismissive as ever.

Franklin glared. "Don't die or we'll kill you!"

"I decided when I was seven years old, I knew just who I wanted as my best man."

Franklin Richards was blonde. When he was little, his hair was curly. Now it stuck and clung, a little straighter, to his neck. It wasn't nearly as straight as his mother's. It was messy. He had permanent bed-head. His hair wasn't black. It was yellow, it was gold, it shined, and it was blonde.

He was a Storm.   Not a Richards.

"…He saw me at my best and my worst. I don't know if I am honored…"

Franklin remembered Christmas when he was seven years old. He had snuck into Uncle Johnny's room, looking for his Christmas presents – what else. Knowing Uncle Johnny – he searched for something large and shiny. When that proved fruitless, he searched in every nook and cranny. What he found instead was a golden band. Script initials he could hardly make out were engraved on the inside.

A.M. & J.S.

"You're not gonna find it, kiddo. Besides, the rule is, if you do find it, you don't get to keep… it." From behind, his uncle's voice quavered. "Where did you find that?"

"In a box, under your stuff," Franklin answered. He looked up. Uncle Johnny's usual grin, lazy, proud and cheerful, held a tremble across his lips instead. Holding the tiny ring in his hand, cold against his palm, he flipped it back and forth, watching his uncle's unblinking gaze. "Uncle Johnny?"

"You shouldn't be playing with that." Jagged. Stiff. Clipped. Like an old man telling him to stay away, only Uncle Johnny wasn't shouting. Whispered. Quiet. Broken. Everything Uncle Johnny wasn't and should never be. Franklin didn't need to be told twice to hand it over when his uncle approached and knelt beside him with an outstretched hand. For a moment, his uncle's arm twitched as if he might throw the ring across the room or clear out the window. His lips twitched and Franklin thought he heard a half chuckle, "Forever hold your fucking peace." His arm cocks back, aimed at the window, but Franklin throws himself over the feverish limb. It's enough to make his uncle snap out of it.

He tried to distract the man. "You don't' wear rings." Silent, Uncle Johnny lowered his arm and stared down at the little band. It is if he is staring off into a far off land, a promised or lost land Franklin is too young to know the truth of yet but not young enough to know he cannot yet belong. Uncle Johnny slipped the ring onto one of his fingers, earned a gasped from his nephew. Gears clicked. A gold band rested on each of his parents' hands, a gold band that matched too. He stared up at his uncle, confused. "But… you're not married…"

"… or cursed to have seen him at some of the points same as well."

"Alright~, I need drinks and names, ladies." Uncle Johnny wasn't always  a ladies man. Franklin learnt the names that made his uncle drift off into that far off place. He learnt the places never to mention, the events that pushed his uncle into something… he didn't know what. It was an accident. He didn't mean to. He always knew his uncle drank – he had seen everyone in his family or extended family with alcohol at some point – but he had never seen anything quite this bad before. A path of bottle, alcohol and a different stench hung in the air and fire. Not the comforted burning, no warmth perfect to replace a blankie but terror. Torched grass and burnt tar, smoke wisps, gray haze – someone shouted, cackled and another shouted for them to get a hold of himself. Creeping closer, it takes a long time to realize that something has happened to Uncle Johnny. He doesn't understand why, he probably never will, but somehow, somewhere, his uncle broke.

His best friend, Uncle Peter, chased and shouted but nothing could keep his uncle from stumbling onward and, from the looks of it, trying to set himself ablaze in some awful way. When nothing worked, Uncle Peter's last shout made no sense. "Franklin! Franklin Storm, look at what you're doing to yourself!"   Uncle Johnny stops instantly.

"I – I don't know…"

His safe haven holds him close, kisses his temple and rocks the nightmares away
like any real father would. "They're wrong," he whispered, "Jesus, don't you dare believe them, Frankie, don't you dare. You're amazing, you hear? The best – the…" He was shaking around the sobbing child, terrified by old nightmares of the civil war. "We were pardoned. We're safe and you… If  I could have a son, I wouldn't want him to come out like you – I would want him to be you. Sue makes me so jealous sometimes, her and Reed."

Superheroes weren't supposed to have voices that shook.

"I love you. I love you so damn much. Please don't ever give into their bullshit, please don't ever let them hurt you or think you have to do anything you don't want to. Fuck them. Fuck the world. You don't need anyone but yourself and you'll always have me. Okay? I've got your back, just like you had mine every time I ran."

"I'm sorry!"

Black suits. Black dresses.

("That's quite enough, Franklin.")

"Oh god…" A hand lifted to cover his eyes. He isn't even remotely aware of what drops. He doesn't care. The tears he suspects have been present for quite some time, half way between the guilt of calling his uncle a liar and old snuggle times he could have sworn he promised himself never to remember.

"Why would you do something like that?"

"What?" He doesn't understand but he dares not look up. He only scrubs at the tears and pinches his eyes tightly shut. He hasn't cried since then. He doesn't intend to start now.

"You shouldn't deny your heart so much, Franklin. A good cry now and again can be very … beneficial for the healing process."

It isn't until he catches a sniffle that isn't his that Franklin looks up. "Pro…fessor?"  Embarrassed to be caught crying in front of a man he respects so much, a man he owes so much to, that he is so grateful to, he hastily blinks the last of the tears away. "Are you – why are…" Like himself, just a moment ago, Professor Xavier has a matching stream of tears sliding down his cheeks. Instead of matching embarrassment, Franklin finds a reassuring smile.

("My gift," the professor echoes in his mind, just as another reminder to what that truly means.)

"Those words you spoke them at his funeral, did you not? They were the same ones you told me when we first arrived here years ago..."

"Yes sir."

"You were very close to your uncle. Why deny yourself such wonderful memories?"

Lying to the man he has eaten breakfast beside so many times would leave a sour taste in his mouth. Not to mention, Professor Xavier would likely know in an instant. "It hurts." Franklin's voice cracked, tears swelling up again while the professor's stopped and the older man was able to wipe his own away. "I… I can't, I just…" The air in his throat spoils. He can't breathe, he can't see. He is at the top of the Baxter Building, mentally screaming for his uncle while his parents below scream back and forth over things he cannot begin to comprehend at all. A gateway opens and he leaps, his feet hit the ledge and he is falling, falling to his death. Life steals the breath from his lungs and he screams louder for his uncle, he prays and begs and pleas but Uncle Johnny is gone. It won't be like then. He won't find Uncle Johnny in a mass of flashing lights, surrounded by women…

"You miss him, of course you do." Franklin nods and tries to keep himself with the professor. He tries to remember he's a teenager, he tries to remember where and when  he is. He tries to forget his least favorite number is three and he tries to remember what it's like to be so warm, he doesn't have to sleep with a blanket. The professor is telling him something about life, no doubt about how people come and go and that age old talk about how precious life is, how this is the reason why they must help to fight to protect life and –

"Never forget," Franklin interrupts. The phrase shuts his mentor up and draws a slow breath. With his eyes closed, Franklin misses Charles Xavier shift and run his fingers over his left forearm, tracing numbers that aren't really there. "I… want to thank you, Professor," came a whisper, as if afraid to admit it. "I didn't … I thought… I thought I had forgotten all of that." He keeps his gaze down, not that it's hard. Some time in his little breakdown, he sunk to his knees. He collapsed into a little mess and he wouldn't know how to pick up the pieces for many years to come. He knows this. Xavier knows this. So they sit in silence for the better part of the next hour.

Franklin is unsure if his mind is being read or not but if it is, he wouldn't be bother. He finds the act to be a familiar gesture and a comfort, like a safety net. Nothing needs to be explained or hidden. Everything is laid out, bare and raw and he can curl up and hide from it all while someone else dealt with it. "That's a coward's route," Xavier clucks. At some point, humming with a nostalgic and pained smile, "You remind me of an old friend of mine," but the two thoughts are disconnected. Looking up, Franklin finds his mentor lost in that far off place of despair and wonder his uncle found when he stared at his old wedding band. Xavier must have taken notice too because he suddenly cleared his throat.  "You're late for Calculus, Franklin."

He grimaced. "With all due respect, sir, I'm skipping. I'd rather tell that to your face than have you find out the… other way. I'd – I just…" He stopped to composed himself, pushed himself off the ground and pulled his sweat soaked shirt up to wipe his face clean. "Besides the fact that Kitty will pitch a fit if she sees me sweating like a pig like this while I'm on my way… Mr. Drake… isn't someone I think I can handle so soon."

"I see." Maybe Kurt would provide some sort of stress relief. The older mutant was always good for a laugh. "Because that's worth the loss of an education for a day?" Telepaths. Damn. He grinned at Professor Xavier.

Or more training,   he thought, particularly loud. It wasn't quite a lie. Avoiding mental breakdowns was good training. One thing is for certain. When Franklin goes to bed tonight, he thinks he will understand the world a little more like his mother did when that awful word  stillborn  came into reality.

"And that's it."

Trying to be normal, of course, never last for long with them, not even when they were snowed-in. Stuck in the middle of Connecticut, in an old house Franklin remembered from when they had been in hiding – which was not the first time for him at all – he was surprised at the lack of Cabin Fever. No one complained about the cold, no one had a reason to with Uncle Johnny around. Even Uncle Ben smiled about that. (At least, he thought  it was a smile. You could never really tell with those chunky lips.) Valerie was busy climbing over their uncle, while alternatively getting thrown up into their air and caught, just a toddler and all giggles. Their mother watched from a few feet away from over the pages of a book and Dad was stretched out over the couch, exhausted from trying to dig them out when even Uncle Ben insisted it was a lost cause. Uncle Ben sat by the open window, down to his last cigar and Franklin looked up from the expensive building set that he brought along (an old birthday present).

"Hey… Uncle Johnny?"

"Mhm?"

"What do you want for Christmas?"

He expected a laugh. He expected to be told that a gift was impossible at this rate if it hadn't been purchased already because at this rate, they would be stuck here for a long, long while. Instead, his uncle made sure his sister was safely caught and set her down careful. "C'mere." He beckoned, fingers making a playful show of a blaze while his eyes shone so brightly, so happily, Franklin was terrified of not being able to find such a gift. He teetered towards his uncle, settled on his lap even though he wasn't the one asking for a gift and Uncle Johnny looked around. "What do I want for Christmas?" He leaned in to whisper, all smiles.

(Uncle Johnny had a special smile, many kinds of smiles. One of Franklin, one for when he was in trouble, one for girls, one for cameras, one for when he looked at a golden ring that now made even Franklin want to cry, one for Uncle Peter, a smirk and a different kind for his friend Bobby that usually came with a wink or nudge. This smile was closer to the Franklin smile, but better. This smile made his heart swell.)

"Nothing. I have everything I could possibly want."
hetalia, america, england

Johnny/Peter (oneshot): Equations

Title: Equations
Author: Kapiichii
Fandom: Fantastic Four
Pairing/Characters: Johnny Storm x Peter Parker, Susan Storm

Rated: PG13
Warnings: Curses, mild slash
Disclaimer:
The Fantastic Four and their 'verse belongs to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Spider-Man belongs to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Both are published by
Marvel Comics.

Summary: "A real mother acted like Aunt May. She baked you treats for lunch or dinner and she fussed over you and reminded you to floss despite having a guest over. Susan will never be a   real   mother and she most certainly will never be a good  one."


I.          

The first time Johnny Storm chokes, it is in the eighth grade. Should anyone ever dare to mention the horrifying event to him, he would glare and call them a liar, only for them to in return, start rattling of details about the event. By the time they reach the point when his face started to change colors, or how he stammered and gasped, Johnny would slap a hand over their mouth. "It was a peanut MnM, alright? Let it go… asshole...." But, of course, Johnny knew otherwise. He was not so incompetent as to choke on food but he would rather earn laughs and teasing over that than the truth.

The first time Johnny Storm chokes is in the eighth grade and he is standing before one Elizabeth Baker, a stammering, red-faced fool. Summer vacation starts soon, which means he'll have some actual time to spend with Susan. Summer vacation starts soon, which means he won't have to worry about getting dressed in the morning or spilling any sort of a mess over his nice clothes, or worry about ripping them. Better yet, summer vacation means no more struggling to keep his head floating in the forming popularity contest so they'll be no reason to freak out when the pocket to his jeans completely gets ripped off because Susan will be right there to fix it. True, he'll literally have to drop to his knees and beg her, swear that she isn't conforming to any dominant social practice and then get in a shouting match with her about maybe if she helped  him for once in her life, they'd be better off than they were. To which, a nice, "You selfish brat,   how dare   you?" would be spat out at him and she would spend the next ten minutes ranting about how she does nothing   but   take care of him.  Someone's door would slam and for one reason or the next, he'd awake with the pair of jeans patched up the next day.

Summer vacation was a gift not because of the lack of classes – god, no, he   thrived   off of those, fed off of the distraction they provided – but because he could wake up as early as he wanted and go to bed whenever he wanted as well. The vast majority of his classmates would take every opportunity to sleep in until noon. As for Johnny, he would wake up, bright and early, half past seven. He would not bitch and moan and he certainly wouldn't complain about it because Johnny Storm is in the eighth grade the first time he chokes in front of a girl. He can hardly push out the question and, in hindsight, he doesn't consider himself successful of even accomplishing that. "W-would… so, um, on the … me and I thought…"   Then no words come out. Nothing at all because his throat must be closing on him and his heart is pounding hard and fast, up in his ears. His face burns a dark red, starting from his ears and then spreading across his cheeks until he's worried about going light headed from it. He thinks he managed to push out a small, barely there whisper of, "… you a-an' me…",   but he could just be making it up.

            He chokes because Elizabeth Baker is, to date, the prettiest girl (his age) that he has ever seen in his young life. She is a quiet girl, one whose mother clearly must be concerned about her getting dragged off in some dark alley because even though they're both almost high schoolers, Elizabeth still   has days in which she comes to school with her hair in a braid and wearing paint stained overalls. She takes ballet, she wants to be a teacher and she's in several painting programs a year hosted by the Museum of Modern Art; so Johnny thinks to himself that surely she must be the kindest girl in the world. (So he thinks he definitely   has a shot.) But it is Elizabeth Baker who is the first of Johnny's grade to notice that secret that has him stopping at the windows of countless shops with a jealous gaze so strong it makes him sick. After his first and worst rejection, Elizabeth Baker unknowingly goes for the jugular.

            She finished her cruel laugh and then tilted her head as soon as the recollection hit her. Then she pulled back in disgust, without any apparent reason why. Her voice held no special power, her voice wasn't particularly different from that of a different girl their age, but it was loud enough to carry across the entire auditorium. It isn't the squeal of "Ew!"    that haunts Johnny, even to this day, and it's only partially the fact that at least half of his class turned their heads because of it. It is the words that followed that start to push Johnny into the conceited whore he is today.   "Didn't you wear that shirt the day before yesterday?"

II.         

            Summer vacation will be a total blessing because he has had his working papers filled out, ordered and submitted since the Friday after his fourteenth birthday. He wakes up hours before his classmates but he will never dare   to complain about it. Instead, Johnny and his ever brilliant genius tells him just how to get through the day and he slowly but surely becomes the amazing liar he is today. He gets to sleep in two whole hours   later than on a school day. He would get to spend the whole day talking   to people, without any numbers or math teachers telling him off for being in danger of flunking the class with their threats of, "You can't stay on the team with less than a C+ in all of your classes, Storm."    Which isn't fair at all; not when numbers just make no sense to him and he could rattle off the entire history of the ever expanding Ford motor empire, but his head just shuts off the minute you drop a list of trinomials in front of him with orders to factor them all and then multiply them. Summer vacation is amazing because two days out of the week – Saturdays and Sundays – he can surround himself with the objects of his jealousy and aspirations. All his friends would be out in the park playing ball or bumming the shopping districts of Long Island, but he could stammer out that he needed to build a decent resume before football season started up.

            He would bullshit and brown nose his way into convincing customers that the costlier versions of clothing were, in fact, what looked best on them. He worked on commission and god help him, if there wasn't a single moment he could spend at work when he wasn't   on the brinks of a panic attack because of how many zeros came attached to that horrible word debt.   So Johnny Storm spent every summer the same way – slaving away with the other servants of Banana Republic for that fifteen percent employee discount. He eyed Lord and Taylor and Saks from a distance, if for nothing else than the sheer status of it.   Maybe Ralph Lauren would be hiring soon.

            Any day other than a weekend spent working from eight in the morning until two-thirty in the afternoon was also a blessing. Without the strain of impressing his classmates and avoiding their scorn or mockery, a day spent in his pajamas, cutting out coupons for Susan while she started early on her summer reading was oddly satisfying. After all, if he wore plain pajamas whenever possible, at least then he wouldn't have to worry about the fear of not being able to afford to replace them when they got trashed. He could always sleep in just his boxers. In fact, summers like that weren't uncommon either. Susan and Johnny had a mutual agreement that comments like, "Sue walks around the house half naked,"    and "Johnny hasn't changed his clothes in a week,"   were strictly off limits. It was too hot to walk around in anything more than their underwear and on more than one occasion, Susan grumbled about being jealous that she couldn't take off her top too.

            "Well, you could,   but I'd kinda be scarred for the rest of my life," Johnny joked. "And then I'd need a lifetime of therapy and we really can't afford that right now." More often than not, he wouldn't guess in time that there was a pillow hurtling towards his face but he'd be all too willing to take up his sister's declaration at war. They were only kids. You couldn't grow up when the one person left to show you how was cracking worse and worse each day. Maybe half an hour into an intense pillow fight and Franklin Storm would stomp down from upstairs, eyes red and a dying scream on his lips.

            "Can't you two behave for five minutes?   I'm trying to work!" Work of course, had something to do with figures for the gambling games happening upstairs. "What's wrong with you both? Go get dressed!" That was an old argument. It must have been a year or two (or five? He tries not to count) since they had someone to yell at them to behave. Instead, they naturally stopped at that same thirty-minute mark, chests heaving with laughter when Susan would roll over and remark that she was all sweaty now. Or that she smelled like a pig.

III.         

            "God, you stink,   Johnny. When was the last time you actually bathed?"  Johnny isn't sure of anything other than the fact it was at least   last Saturday morning. "Go shower! You're turning into a Petri dish."

Susan is doing her best to raise both herself and her younger brother but she lacks the refined traits of the practiced mother they lost to a car crash years ago. Still, she tries and does devote as much time as she can to Johnny during the summer to make up for all the times she blew him off unintentionally during the school year. By the time she leaves to study in college, across the country on scholarship, Johnny is lost. He can take care of himself just fine but there is an aching, disturbing hurt in his head and chest that something is wrong, something will go wrong.  At worst, the best he can do to soothe this ache is remember to turn the shower water to cold. Hot water comes at a price tag, one that they haven't had the luxury of since their father's drinking and gambling sent them spiraling into debts so heavy, they've had the house nearly taken away twice by now. At best, Johnny finds himself dropping to his knees night after night with his head pressed into the rough edge of his mattress.

            "Please god, please," he begs, hands clasped firmly together with that awful feeling suffocating him. He hasn't turned the lights on today. In fact, he's thinking that at the rate the electricity bill goes up, he'd best only use electricity to cook (wait, no, gas was a separate bill) and have one light on so he can finish any homework he's forgotten. The TV and VCR are long gone, pawned off to a store he finds himself visiting frequently. To think that he and Susan are still living in Long Island, of all boroughs, is absolutely ridiculously. Johnny's never been able to completely understand how they can afford the house's bills (thank god his parents had already started paying it off before the crash).

            "Not Susan. Please don't take her away from me."

IV.         

            Johnny is terrible with numbers. To him, none of the equations have ever made sense.

            Dad's debt plus ½ of his income plus ½ of Susan's, plus any extras they got from doing favors, minus living expenses, minus train and bus expenses for when school was out of session, plus pawned off money from cashed in birthday presents from friends… How the hell he managed to keep up the illusion that him and Susan were rich was completely beyond him. He supposed it had something to do with getting better at rotating clothes and managing to keep their address. Johnny is terrible at numbers but he can cut corners just as well as he can speed cut coupons by now for he is nothing if not a skilled liar and king of bullshitting.

            "I already ate," he informs Susan, glancing back down at a car mechanic's journal. When she questions it, he looks up and grins. "Yeah. I ate lunch real late at Devin's house and his mom cooked. I might have a stomachache later tonight but, no, I'm fine. Just make enough for yourself, alright?"

V.         

            Johnny is terrible with numbers. Peter Parker is not. Not counting the beach party in which Parker, or Four Eyes as Johnny had taken to calling him since entering high school, witnessed Johnny accidentally scorching a classmate's face, it has been two weeks since they've known each other. "It's not that hard," Peter assures. "Look, I'll explain it again. Look at the trinomials, you want to be able to multiply them in the end, right?"

            "But there's two sets of them and they're set up like fractions."

              "Hush."   Johnny suspected it was the first time Puny Parker has ever been able to tell a jock that without getting slugged. The twitch of an almost smile on Parker's lips make that all too obvious. "We'll get to that but first we have to factor them. Know what that means? We have to simplify all the terms. Let's start with, ah, okay, so 12xy – pay attention   – squared and we have a 3x on the bottom…" Three hours later marks the end of his fourth tutoring session with the older teenager and Johnny still feels none the wiser about factoring. In fact, he still remembers the look on Parker's face when the other realized that Johnny was failing Algebra II two for the second time in a row. Given, he dropped the classes not even a month in the first time around but still…. ("You flunked Algebra II? That class is so easy, a baby could pass – I mean..."   Peter Parker doesn't catch himself in time to stop Johnny from shoving him into the wall.)

            The end of this particular tutoring session was also the first time he met Parker's Aunt May. Aunt May was a sweet, old woman who insisted that if Johnny felt comfortable with it, he was welcome to call her Aunt May as well. The Human Torch nodded and gave her a polite smile, "Yes ma'am." His manners (and maybe his popularity in school, if Aunt May can sense it) earn him an invitation to dinner. When Johnny goes to bed tonight, he will tell himself it is because he didn't want to be rude, however, deep inside he knows the real reason is because he'll never be one to turn down a free   meal.

             (Debt, debt, utilities, mortgage, debt.)

            At some point, he offered a golden nugget that he too lived with an aunt. In truth, she moved in with him and Susan when a neighbor found out the siblings had lived together alone since their father's incarceration. By sheer dumb luck, they managed to kidnap their aunt before child services ended up on their doorsteps to haul Johnny off into foster care. His own aunt is nothing more than a babysitter, someone to make sure both he and Susan are alive at the end of the day but at least it's another income to add to the equation.

VI.         

Mrs. Storm died long ago but it didn't take long for Johnny to realize what a real mother acted like.

            A real mother acted like Aunt May. She baked you treats for lunch or dinner and she fussed over you and reminded you to floss despite having a guest over. She came in to check on study sessions to offer you water or lemonade. Jealousy flares. Jealousy burns Johnny's core hotter than any flame could. Susan will never be a   real   mother and she most certainly will never be a good   one.

            How could she when she wasn't even aware that her pseudo-son had no friend named Devin?

VII.         

            Johnny likes Peter, he really does. Maybe not like   that   but the older boy is definitely interesting to be around. With the first stages of friendship tucked under their belt, Peter knew by now not to flinch when Johnny called him Four Eyes and Johnny knew…never to expect to like anything that Peter enjoyed. "You spend   how   long playing this?" Face hidden behind a stack of collectable cards, not of baseball players or football players or a normal deck of card but of made up   creatures that weren't real at all, any faith in his reputation being able to survive his new friend left him.

            "Hours, really, if you get into a good game and the other guy knows how to play well."

            "… Right." He minded his manners for a moment more, a skill he had earnestly tired to improve on. "And you think you stand chance with Mary Jane why?"    A shove informs him it's time to shut up. His attention drifts across the room. "Hey, that your camera? Do you have any shots of Spider-Man that never made it into  The Bugle?"

VIII.         

"I still can't believe it…."

"You've known for a whole year."

"Yeah but…. You're Spider-Man."

"And you're the Human Torch. Point?"

"You're Spider-Man!"

"I thought we established that already, Johnny."

"….Can I get your autograph?"

IX.         

            "Merry Christmas!" Scrawny hands, nubby and slender fingers shove a brightly covered box into his face. Little Rudolphs dance beneath a light blue bow tied around the box, which is small, but the smile on the other's face tells him it will be worth it. A little tag threatens he can't keep it unless he waits for December twenty-fifth to open it. His own grin from moments ago fades as soon as he sees the gift, his face falls and his heart sinks to his stomach. Christmas is ruined, has been ruined, despite the holiday still being a week off. "What's the matter?" the sudden dread and hesitation in the other's voice makes him cringe further.

            "I…"

            "Shit, did I fuck it up? You're not Jewish, are you? Er, happy Hanukah?" There was no grabbing for the gift, just a head dropped low, a face dotted with guilt and shame to match the snow stained gray-black that decorated the streets. "…Kwanza…? D-damn it, what other holidays are there? Um… agnostic, maybe? Happy holidays then?" It was a valiant effort coming from the older man, especially considering how he kept trying despite his friend's obvious increasing depression. "Shit, shit, I'm sorry.   I'm sorry, I don't know what you celebrate…."

            "I…" Fucked up, he fucked up so badly. Thought he was helping, thought he was making it better and thought he was saving them all troubles and money when he's just gone and done the complete opposite. "N-no. It's fine, Petey. It's great." He looked up, attempted a reassuring smile.

            "Oh, good." No more awkward fidgeting or stammering, just a pair of glasses getting pushed back up the bridge of a wind burned pink nose. "You, ah, had me going there for a minute. I thought that I had offended you somehow, or that you were mad, or – "

            "It's great."    If he wasn't careful, Johnny would end up acting on how sick he felt. He knew Reed promised him illness was impossible by now, thanks to his abnormally high body temperature, but he certainly felt like he had a killer bug. He just knew better. He knew the crackle of hell firing and the initial explosion and he knew the way he screamed   loud enough to get Susan running downstairs…. He knew she had gone to the hospital   because of it, he knew she got hurt (not bad, smoke inhalation mainly) and he knew it was his fault.

            "Johnny?"

            "What'd you get Harry?"

            "…Something different. Why?"

            "N-no reason." Somehow the gift ended up in his hands. It sat unopened, with nothing more than him nervously strumming his fingers against the sides of the box.

            "You're supposed to open it." A possible 'No shit, Sherlock'   came to mind but he let the thought die there. Worn hands that had been skinned multiple times, too many to count, pushed the gift back at Peter's chest. "Johnny…?"

            (Johnny Storm would end up just like his father.)

            "I don't have a gift for you." When Peter didn't recoil, the box was shoved harder against his chest. "I-it… it's gon – I mean – I didn't and shit, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Petey…" He braced and waited for the inevitable turn that would relieve the two of them from best friend duties. He stiffened when Peter sat next to him on the bench and slung an arm over his shoulder.

            "I think that there's more to this story. Don't hide one from a reporter, Johnny."

            "You're their photographer, not a journalist." Was he worried? Concerned? Johnny doesn't deserve that, doesn't deserve any of the kind-hearted traits Peter possesses at all, so Johnny is nothing but confused when his present is dropped into his lap. He shoves it back but Peter will have none of that.

            "Same diff. Now, spill. What happened?"

            "Don't you read the newspapers?"

X.         
            "Jesus Christ.   What happened here? Johnny!"

            Snow falls in big, lazy flakes that cling to eyelashes and hair, freezing the youngest member of the Fantastic Four. Gray and black ash is spotted with a white flurry. A roll of caution tape makes Johnny worry who is more dangerous – himself or the officers? From across the street, he can still make out the vague outside of what used to be his house. Johnny bites his lip and tries returning his present again. "Yours was in there." The more he fidgets, the more he squirms and the more he curses, the harder he pinches himself and begs god to take it back, to make it a dream, the tighter Peter holds him. "I didn't mean to."

            "I know you didn't."

            "It was an accident."

            "I know."

XI.         

            "I've got it!"

            "Got what?"

            "The answer to your passing grade for the quiz tomorrow." Peter shoves a pad of graph paper in his face. "Spider-Man starts on a lamp post, two meters off of the ground. He shoots a web at the Lipstick Building to hoist himself up and into a window that the Green Goblin has just climbed in. Assuming the wind is going at a steady rate of 2 miles per hour, and give him an average mass of two hundred kilograms. His acceleration – "

            "Petey, you're making no sense at all. What?"

            Peter sighs and set the pad down. Sitting on the table in front of where Johnny has his chair pulled up to the desk. "Your favorite racecar driver has – … you know, this would probably be a lot easier if you could actually see the numbers in your textbook. Why don't you turn the lamp on?"

            "Don't!"    Johnny and Susan have nothing to do with their father aside from the occasional visits Johnny makes to visit the first man he's certain he's learned to hate. The Fantastic Four have made enough of a name for themselves so that everything should be fine. Reed's worked something out with the mayor, or maybe the mayor just likes them, but for the strangest of reasons, there's an actual income. Susan might be moving in with that bastard and even Reed has suggested leaving Long Island when he's finished with high school.

            Johnny and Susan have nothing to do with their father.

Johnny and Susan have nothing to do with their father.

Johnny and Susan have nothing   to do with their father.

Johnny accidentally burned down the house he had grown up in to a stack of ashes. There was insurance money. They moved into their aunt's old house. He took the train into Queens for school every day despite every bone in his body screaming to turn their superhero work into a full time gig. Johnny turned eighteen three weeks ago. Johnny found himself stumbling to Peter's doors on nights when he couldn't stand to go home to an empty house because they weren't there, they weren't there and they would never be there!

(Johnny refused to end up like his father.)

"Why not? It's already dark out."

It isn't even his house and the blonde slowly realizes he's slammed a hand over the ON   switch to block it.

(Johnny ended up at Peter's doorstep with the light gone from his eyes. Johnny ended up at Peter's doorstep in the middle of the night with eyes stained red, a broken shell of the obnoxious hothead he surely was. Johnny spent the night choking out apologies to people Peter had never met, people who weren't even there.)

Johnny licked his lips and retracted his hand. "Sorry. Old habits die hard, I guess."

("S-Sue will never be anything like you, oh god, I'm sorry…! I promised I wouldn't and I did and I'm sorry, I'm sorry!")

Peter leaned in and butted foreheads gently. "Girls don't like penny pinchers," he teased.

(Johnny refused  to end up like his father.)

"Screw you. I'm sick and tired of studying."

"Need a distraction?"

(Johnny was cracking, burning up the last shreds of whatever wick he had. He was a fool, he was losing it and he didn't know how to stop, didn't know how not to hurt himself and didn't know how to not hurt others in return at this point.)

Bare hands, too warm to be anything but pleasant in the middle of a cold spring, darted up, snagged Peter belt loops and tugged the brunette closer to the edge of the table. "Is that a threat or a promise?" The first time Johnny Storm chokes is in the eighth grade and he is standing before one Elizabeth Baker, a stammering, red-faced fool. But sitting before his best friend, letting his palms settle on Peter's upper thighs, he's not the red-faced fool anymore. He's gained himself quite a collection right now. If Peter suspected he had been around every block by now, heartbreaker that he was, he would have to inform his friend he hasn't reached out to other neighborhoods just yet.

"Depends on if you plan on making anything of it."

For a moment, Johnny runs through his mental schedule of the week to see if he has any reason to be awake tomorrow morning before ten. As far as he could remember, his morning was empty. Susan didn't live with him to expect him back early or back at all. In short, there's nothing to keep him from sitting up taller in his seat to press his lips against his best friend's. After one of Peter's hands move to settle on either of his shoulders, Johnny cares for nothing other than the kiss, notices nothing but how they feel together, how Peter is always cooler and seems to be addicted to the warmth of the Human Torch. ("So, our heater is shot again and it's kind of in the middle of the coldest day of the year…")   Nothing mattered until Peter's hands finally pushed him away.

"Aunt May is downstairs," Peter warned.

"You're already panting," was the counter.

"My door doesn't lock.   The lock is still busted."

His building reputation should have preceded him but his friend seemed to need a reminder. "Tomorrow's Saturday. Your shift doesn't start until eleven." When the once king of the nerds started to protest, voice a suddenly low whisper, the current all-star quarterback laughed. "Hey, Four Eyes, I've got an equation for you. Aunt May checked in on us," he had to glance at the clock off on the nightstand, "twenty minutes ago. The door is closed and she's folding laundry. We've already eaten dinner and I'll die if I have to look at a textbook one more time tonight, but I have one incredible   distraction within my ask. Assuming friction here isn't dissipative, but rather, grows exponentially, how much can we get done before narrowly avoiding getting caught?"

XII.         

            Johnny Storm does not play by the rules. Not by the rules of social standards that state no member of a clique may wander and associate with lesser mortals. Not by the rules of society that state a good guy, a   hero   was never to cause harm to others. (He and Susan really did apologize profusely about totaling that one truck.)    Not by the rules of any standard dating book which praised going steady, having strong with relationships. (With every time he was dumped, the next romance lasted shorter, the crash was even harder and he'd need more flings between or even during.)   Johnny Storm didn't even follow the rules of bribery and low class cheating. He never kept his hands from wandering, never kept them from settling and rubbing and he most certainly did not keep his lips very far from Peter's skin as he spoke.

            "N-not enough," Peter answered before he caved and pulled Johnny in for another kiss.

XIII.         

            Johnny Storm will end up just like his father.

            "Knock it off, man! Don't be stupid!" If it weren't for the whole concept of keeping a secret identity, Peter would have been holding back with a web lasso by now. Johnny demands nothing other than his release, jerks forward and oh, the look he gives into the camera…. "Damn it, Johnny! Cool it!"   A humid rain coats Flushing, Queens, which may fully well be why Johnny is in such a poor mood to begin with, but it'll take more than kind words to pull him from this slump.

            Johnny refused   to end up just like his father.

            (Which meant that by the time the reporter, an avid support of Senator Kelly and both the superhero and mutant registration acts, leaves their sight, Johnny has crumbled himself to his knees.)

XIV.         

            The same asshole reporter finds them again. This time, he strikes the Fantastic Four as they limp their way back into the Baxter Building. He repeats the same taunt, but now if the presence of Susan as well. Susan who unlike Johnny, has the blasted ability to disappear then and there.

             ("How are we supposed to trust the Storm siblings as heroes when they are the children of a convicted  murderer?")

hetalia, america, england

That's right, I'm back

Gonna start abusing this thing again because the marvel community is bigger here than on DA and FF.
hetalia, america, england

Fantastic Four (oneshot): The Dissipated

Title: The Dissipated
Author: Kapiichii
Fandom: Fantastic Four
Pairing/Characters: Johnny Storm, Susan Storm

Rated: G
Warnings: none.
Disclaimer: Marvel related characters does not belong to me.
Summary:  He would never put his sister in any danger. At nine years old, he already felt the need to fill the shoes of an older brother.


Jonathan Storm is eight years old when he decides his father's most powerful person in the world.

In all honesty, he tells the graying man short curls back by gel that he is, "the most horriblest and worest man in all of the Lord's creation." The insult earned some little more than a soft sign a sympathetic smile, a gentle ruffle of the hair.

"Horriblest and worsest aren't real words," Franklin Storm informs him softly. A twelve-year-old Susan with her hair pulled into pigtail braids corrected her baby brother with the proper form of the words he was searching for. In the snottiest tone possible. Naturally. Their father shot her a warning look.

"I don't want to go," Johnny wailed. He wrapped his arms around his mother's narrow waist. "I hate you! You-you can't do this. Don't you love us?"

"Johnny!" Mama manages to wriggle out of his grasp and pushes him towards the sister, towards the door. Several suitcases and backpacks line the wall of the opulent living room, each storage device a different color. "It's only for two weeks," Mama assured.

"That's fourteen whole days!" He is distraught at the very thought of being away for so long. No amount of goodbye hugs and kisses will make this better or easier for the family; the Storms have been trying to escort their children to the cost of the better part of the past hour.


Susan muttered, "Mama's boy," under her breath, picked up two bags and made for the car.

"I'll shut up!"

"Jonathan, apologize."

"No way. She started it!"

"And you can be the one mature enough to end it."

He doesn't. Instead, the youngest family member crossed his arms and turned his back. "I'll miss all my practices!"

"Aunt Jewel will drive you to soccer and baseball practice."

"Aunt Jewel is an old fart. Everyone will laugh." His mother insisted everyone would be jealous to see such a wonderful, caring "elderly" woman "escort" her nephew to and from practice. What a load of bologna. It was bad enough that Dad's hair was already steadily fading away from it's shiny black to salt and pepper gray. Johnny didn't know anyone on the team with a daddy so old or a mama so young like his. Neither did the other boys so he was always getting picked on.

With his mother's perfectly manicured fingers buckling him in, her gold bracelets clinking together from the movement, and the latest ring daddy bought her shining in the light, Mama because the second "most horriblest, worsest person in all of the Lord's creation."

XXXXXXX

Aunt Jewel owns a boarding house of some kind in Manhattan. It wasn't often that Johnny and Susan got to leave the safety of their long Island suburbs to venture into the city. Dad worked in Manhattan as a surgeon, branching out to private clients so long as they could afford his fee. Johnny knew of at least one family upstate that contracted him as a private family doctor and he knew his father didn't like re-entering Manhattan much because it reminded him too much of work. So Aunt Jewel became the siblings' all access pass to Broadway shows, Lincoln Theater, the Waldorf-Astoria and new galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Which meant that he was stuck here. With Susan. And Aunt Jewel. Squealing over girl things. Getting dragged through every floor of Bloomingdale's, Abercrombie and Fitch. And Aunt Jewel woke up for morning, not afternoon mass. And her lipstick clung to his cheek when she dropped him off at school and his uniform reeked like her old lady perfume now.

Aunt Jewel became the third most horriblest, worsest person in all of the Lord's creation.

XXXXXXX
It wasn't his fault.

It was like he was aiming at the bedroom window with his soccer ball.

"I - I - "

He should run. He should lie if he was caught but every day, whenever possible, he moved to the back "yard" (it was cemented and small with a barbecue grill, nothing at all like the lush insides of his Aunt's building) and kicked his ball at the wall. Today, he aimed too high and it went crashing through one of the windows. He should run but Johnny was a good, honest boy. He should run because he already knew how perfectly shy and sheltered he was, already blushing and stuttering before a man stuck his head out of the window.

He braced for the worst and for a moment, the man looked ready to yell. "I - I'm sorry! It was an accident!" Eyes pinched shut and he clasped his hands together. "I swear, I didn't mean to. I can pay for it, really, I - I..." Of course, between daring to peek out, he meant that his parents could and would pay for it. Not that the stranger knew that.

Silence.

"So you're the little terror that's been causing all the earthquakes," the stranger mused.

Johnny pulled at the he, of his Giants jersey. "Yes, sir," he squeaked. Honesty could be the death of him one day.

"Am I to take it, then, that this - " The man ducked back inside his room and pulled out the grass stained soccer ball, "is yours as well?" Another squeaky reply of the same answer and he saw the stranger smile. He had dark brown hair and warm eyes, like hot chocolate, to match. Over all, a friendly looking fellow, reassuring to the core. "What are you doing?"

"...P-practicing. Duh."

"You're on a team? Johnny nodded. The brunette rubbed a clean shaven chin. "Where were you aiming?"

"T-the wall," he choked out. When he was instructed to point out just where, his arm began to tremble long before he made it to the brownstone wall and drew a large X with his fingers.

"Yet you hit my window on the second floor."

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir!"

"...Fascinating." His soccer ball disappeared from sight. Maybe it bounced in the stranger's room. "Wait there, will you? I'm coming down."

But Johnny didn't wait.

As soon as the stranger was gone from sight, he turned and ran as fast as his legs would carry him.

XXXXXXX

Naturally, he was grounded. What Aunt Jewel didn't know was how much of a relief that was. Not being allowed to leave his room meant no risk of experiencing The Stranger's wrath. He grins because the nickname sounds like one of the names for the antagonist - that was one of Mama's words - of a western flick.

His heart twisted.

Eleven and a half days until he and Susan returned home to their parents.

XXXXXXX

What Johnny doesn't know is that for  child who can't keep still, the confines of just his room instead of having television, the radio, his N64 and his Gameboys taken away is absolutely maddening.

Aunt Jewel ordered him to stop pacing. "So help me God," she concluded. She threatened to take away his rights to baseball practice tomorrow; she had already banned any mention or whine about soccer from her walls.

... Eleven and a quarter days until he and Susan returned home to their parents.

XXXXXXX

With nine days left, The Stranger finally caught him. Literally, by the arm and everything. It was Sunday and rather than loiter in the halls of basements of their church on the Upper East Side to converse, catch up with neighbors and show off her precious niece and nephew, Aunt Jewel brought back 'home' instead.

As it would turn out, she catered and held a late lunch for all of the residents of her boarding house. Susan had put off a book report until the last minute and was lucky enough to escape. Johnny, being grounded, however, was not.

So he was captured instead.

He almost screamed for his sister but he was so terrified, all he could do was gasp and gape as he was turned around. He noticed all the wrong things about The Stranger - how his tie wasn't straight, his white collared shirt looked cheap, his brown dress shoes had been shined with black polish and looked too worn in for The Stranger to make anywhere near the kind of money Franklin Storm did.

"So I suppose you fancy yourself like the future David Beckham?"

"W-what?"

The Stranger's brown coat was slung over one arm, something lumpy in it. From inside, he pulled out Johnny's soccer ball. "Yours, isn't it? I was going to give it back to you but you were gone by the time I came down. Why did you run off?"

Johnny reached up for the ball but it was pulled just out of his reach. "I was scared you were gonna yell," he admitted. The small truth earned him the right back to his toy. "Are ya mad?"

"... No," the Stranger admitted after a moment of thinking.

"... Does that mean I'm not in trouble?"

"That depends. You said you were willing to pay for it. If you are... well, I would never accept at child's money, but I have a report due for physics class coming up. If you'd be willing to help me... "

The boy crinkled his nose. "I don't know nothing like that and I hate writing book reports."

"It may improve your aim when you kick." If Johnny had ears that could, they would have perked and twitched at the idea. The Stranger grinned and continued, "We could go out to the park to work on it."

"But I'm grounded."

"I could change that."

XXXXXXX

It didn't take much more to convince the eight year old. At the very prospect of being able to go out and play again, Johnny nearly missed The Stranger introducing himself. It wasn't until a hand extended outward that his caught on. All he got out of it was "Richard."

Shoot.

Blushing out of his own stupidity, Johnny could have sworn there was a 'ree' sound - a lot like Greene - in there somewhere. ... Richard Greene. How boring. Wasn't that the name of the professor from Clue? Still, because he was unsure, he went with what he knew. "Johnny." He gave Richard a dimpled smile. "Nice to meet you, Richard.

He didn't understand why he was laughed at.

XXXXXXX

With eight days to go, Johnny is un-grounded. He ran, knocked from door to door so he could find Richard's and thank him personally. When he arrived at the right one, the young man nearly plowed him down he was in such a hurry. "Sorry, Johnny!" He was pulled off the floor and the adult broke out into a full out run.

"Wait! It's almost dinner time! Where are you going?"

"Class!"

"But school ends at three."

A shout of, "College!" hardly offers an explanation.

XXXXXXX

They start the project on the next day. As promised, the sun shined brightly on them in Sheep's Meadow. Johnny hoped to mooch the money he needed for a carousel ride off of Richard when they were done. He bounced his soccer ball from knee to knee while Richard set up two video cameras on tripods.

"So... what we we doing?"

"You're helping me with a science experiment."

"And you need cameras?"

Richard tapped on a Canon strapped around his neck. "This is to collect photographs to decorate my presentation board. This is a regular camcorder to help record everything so I can write about it later and this last one is an instrument to help me measure the angle of things."

"Angle?"

"Ah, yes. Angles are measured in degrees. When you get enough of them, 360 to be precise, you make a circle. Now, what I'm interested is the projectile motion of an object, specifically it's range. See, within a certain amount of degrees that an object is propelled at, be it a bullet, a basketball, baseball, you name it, it's range will increase. But extend that angle of launch too high and you actually lose your capability for a longer range. It's the same principle they were using with catapults, believe it or not. So I want to find out - well, no, I already know - I want to prove what the optimized angle an object should be launched at to maximize it's range."

One blink, then two. "Hey, Richard?"

He looked hopeful, as if the boy was about to contribute something thought provoking. The red light to the camera indicated it was turned on. "Yes, Johnny?"

"Do you know who Charlie Brown is?"

"Of course."

"You know his teacher? How there's a voice and you know they're supposed to be talking and you hear them but it's not actual words? It's just, like, human static and white noise?"

"Yes...?"

"That's what you sound like, Richard."

"... Just smile and kick the ball."

XXXXXXX

"He's in college? And he talks to you?" Johnny beamed over his toaster strudel. He knew Susan was just teasing him; it's the same was when she knew he didn't mean it when he told her he hated her as they wrestled. "You big dummy! Don't call him by his first name! That's rude."

"But I dunno his last name. I get embarrassed whenever I try an' ask."

"Well, ask anyway."

XXXXXXX

He was 97% sure Greene was Richard's last name. Richard doubled over laughing when he called him Mr. Greene. "I was o-only trying to be polite."

Richard ruffled his hair. "Mr. Richard works. Mr. Greene is my scary older cousin by marriage."

XXXXXXX

"Why are you doing a science fair project to something you know the answer to? That's dumb."

Richard scowled over his pina colada. As a reward for the hard work, he walked Johnny over to the West Side and 72nd street, to Papaya King, for the best and cheapest hot dogs in all of New York City. "It's not a science fair. I told you, it's a class and I'm in several of them."

"Gross."

"It's not gross, it's - "

"Fascinating? You think everything is."

Richard smiled and nudged Johnny out of the small, crowded shop, back onto the street corner. "I do," he agreed fondly.

"That's dumb." That, apparently, was the last straw.

"Well, what about you? Hm? Why do you waste money on making model cars and planes when you could be saving for college? Why do you slave over re-creating things when the chances that you'll ever climb into one is so minuscule? That's dumb." Richard opened his mouth to continue but seemed to remember he was speaking to a mere child. "Don't - don't listen to me."

XXXXXXX

With just one day until their homecoming, when Richard found him curled up crying, he was sure the older man blamed himself. It in fact had nothing to do with their conversation yesterday. As soon as he felt a hand on his shoulder, Johnny was quick to clarify his devastating troubles. "Dad got called away to work. There was an emergency - with the - Mr. Warren's son - again! They want him to stay in a hotel on stand-by in case the son needs surgery. S-Susie gets to stay with Larissa b-but I'm stuck here another two weeks!" It wasn't fair. Not at all.

"That's not so bad, is it?"

"I - I have a game next Wednesday. They've never missed one yet and Mama says she can't come."

XXXXXXX

His aunt came, of course. Susan had already left for Larissa's house. He'd like to say he scored the winning kick but he felt sick the entire game. In fact, he'd like to say they won at all. But they lost and they lost miserably. Johnny decided to make his parents absolutely miserable to spite them for this. That is, until he looked up at the crowd and saw Richard beside his aunt with a smile on his face.

"Better luck next time, kid."

XXXXXXX

It took all of thirty seconds worth of snuggling on the couch as a family for his parents to be forgiven.

XXXXXXX

When Christmas came around and their father decided to spend it with Aunt Jewel, Johnny didn't mind so much. "Hiya, Mr. Richard," he greeted, just as shyly during one of his aunt's Sunday lunches.

Richard was in the middle of talking to a red haired man with freckles. If Johnny remembered correctly, the older (but still young) man was the son of a professor at Columbia or Barnard. "See? I told you he did that." Yet again, a laugh was shared that he didn't understand.

XXXXXXX

Johnny never will understand the laughter. He will have forgotten the connection long before he is old enough to make sense of it.

XXXXXXX

When Susan is thirteen, she thinks she is Queen of the Universe. She is always bossing around her baby brother. Sibling rivalry is through the roof. She wanted to know every detail of his life. "Mind your own beeswax," he snapped. At nine years old, he still hates visiting Aunt Jewel. Tonight, they were due to see South Pacific at the Lincoln Theater. Some guy in a suit with brown hair commented on how sharp he looked.

"What did he tell you?" Suddenly, Susan was interested. "How do you know him?"

"I don't." But as he dug around for food he actually liked in the refrigerator, he was glad the Stranger Danger bells went off in his sister's head too. "He knew my name and age and school and everything."

"H-How did he know that?"

"Beats me. What a creep."

"He - he can't be. Didn't you say he was in a suit? Creeps can't afford those and he - Aunt Jewel background checks everyone."

"You think I should call the cops? He had photos of me - in the park. I - really freaky."

"Did he ask about me?"

"Yeah. How you were doing." He pushed the milk aside, peeked past the jar of grape preserves.

"What did you say?"

Susan sounded terrified. Johnny closed the door to the refrigerator. "Nothing." He would never put his sister in any danger. At nine years old, he already felt the need to fill in the shoes of an older brother. Outside, there was shouting. He moved to the window to investigate and climbed the counter. "There's the creep now." Susan scrambled to join him.

"Oh my god, oh my god."

On the streets below stood two young men in suits. The creep from earlier with brown eyes and hair and a red haired boy with freckles Johnny knew because his father was a professor at either Columbia or Barnard and died recently. Susan grabbed for his arm. "Stay away from him."

"What?"

"You heard me."

The shouting grew loud enough for that the two children could hear it. The Stranger-Creep had spilled papers all across the sidewalk and scrambled to pick them up before they blew away. In the car beside him, the red haired boy honked the horn and looked ready to drive off without him. "Reed, for the love of God, hurry up! I'm not about to miss my finals because of your butterfingers!"

Dec. 4th, 2010

hetalia, america, england

aph: Bless the Child

Title: Bless the Child
Author: Kapiichii
Fandom: APH
Pairing/Characters: Colonial!Canada/Canada, France, Vermont

Rated: T
Warnings: Cursing, slight violence, overall angst
Disclaimer: Hetalia does not belong to me.
Summary: 
“He’s coming back, you know,” Matthew said, pulling out the necklace that held his cross and a ring he had long since outgrown. “He promised.”


Cold

The cross around Mattieu's neck was heavy and cold against his bare skin. Bright eyes gazed forward, going in and out of focus as he inched away from the blurred figure in front of him, only getting the general light blues of a wool coat. He knew the way the fabric itched on the outside and he knew how smooth the fabric on the inside of the coat was just like he the annoyed expression on the man creeping in front of him.

 

"Mattieu," he heard someone he had only just stopped calling 'monsieur' sigh out.

 

"But Maman -" he began with a pout.

 

"Out of the water, Mattieu. It's too cold to be swimming and it will be dark soon. I don't want you to get lost in the waters. You aren't a ship - you wouldn't be able to stand it."

 

He of course wasn't scared. His body was sore and ached from treading water with his tiny, toddler frame. Had he not been what he was - what Maman called him (New France) - he would have drowned by now. "I can't feel my legs."

 

"Then use your arms, darling. God gave them to you for a reason."

 

He shook his head and forced a chatter. "I'm stuck. M-maman! Come save me!" It was a half hearted lie but all the same, Francis started to shed the necessary clothes away from the water's edge of Lake Champlain all the same and made his way into waist deep water to gather his cold bundle into his arms. Looks like he could get another round of cuddling in before bedtime and story time after all.

 

---------

 

Body

 

It was the warm laughs he could draw from his Maman that made Mattieu's face light up with as shy smile. "What?" he asked, slowing down to stop chasing the butterfly he was running after with the little polar bear cub he had found dying in the snow last winter. "What?" he asked again, stepping closer to his French caretaker.

 

"Nothing, my angel." Francis smile at him and crouched down to his eye level. "You mean a lot to me, did you know that?" The eventual Canadian grinned and shook his head quickly, just to hear that again. "Well, you do. You are a very, very special young boy. And you will make a very talented young man - I only hope that I could be graced with some product of whatever trade or skill you pick up on life."

 

"I'll give it to you for free, Maman," the child murmured. He climbed his way onto Francis' lap and nudged him gently with hands as big as Francis' palms until Francis faked a very dramatic show of toppling over, complete with flailing limbs and sound effects. With his guardian down, he laid himself over the man's chest, pressing an ear to the heart of France. 

 

"Oh? And why would you do such a thing when you know I could pay you so much for such a prized possession?" Francis had been his Maman for more years that Mattieu could on his fingers but he had yet to pick up on the European attachment to funny scraps of colored paper or coins, mostly coins, as money instead of trading a blanket for perhaps a very nice, warm winter coat.

 

"Because," the little one declared softly, pushing himself up on his hands to kiss his Maman's cheek in that sloppy fashion only babies could really get away with - before they could pucker their lips - as his iron cross bounced against Francis' chin. "I love you." 

 

------

 

Ring

 

"Maman?" 

 

He was scared, Mattieu could tell. Something was wrong, something was so horribly wrong he could hardly understand the rushed words that tumbled out from his Maman's lips. "Maman?" he repeated, grabbing a hold of Francis' clothes to pull the nearly shaking man into a hug. "What's wrong? Are you hurt? Did the Natives get you? Did England start another war?" He noticed Maman grew very quiet and all the color had drained from his face.

 

"Do you trust me, my little angel?"

 

"Yes," Mattieu answered without a moment's hesitation. He was older now; he could hug Francis around his middle if he stood on his tip-toes. "W-with my life."

 

Francis flinched.

 

"Then... you know I would never hurt you? Never lie to you?"

 

"O-of course." Something must have been wrong; this wasn't the way a parent was supposed to act at all.

 

"No matter what?"

 

"Yes! Now what's going on - .... Maman? Maman!" What happened next, he didn't like to remember. Maman pulled away, there was a ring slid on one of his fingers and a kiss to his forehead.

 

"I promise to come back for you, Mattieu. I swear to God, if you wait for me, I will come. I love you."

 

Never before had the cross around his neck felt so suffocating.

 

------

 

Promise

 

"He's dying, Papa!"

 

"He can do just that. Serves him right.... Going off, kidnapping you, doing God knows what to you in darkened rooms or alleyways. ... Serves him right... the lives, should have given the crown to me too...." In all of the grumblings and curses, Arthur never noticed how Matthew had suddenly placed himself between the English man and his Maman whose high collar could only do so much to protect him from bad images and memories. "I'll send him right back. Write to whoever it is that's taken charge -"

 

"Papa! It's a blood bath over there! They'd make him kneel before her!"

 

"-and they'll see to it. He'll be out of my hair for good. Come now, lad, step away from that God forsaken mess." That was yet another mistake that Arthur had made. He tried to lead Matthew away by his shoulder; the boy whipped his head around and sunk his teeth as hard as he could into Arthur's hand. When the British Empire reeled back, eyes looking absolutely murderous, he scrambled backwards and wrapped his arms protectively around his Maman who was slumped in the corner of a room asleep - for once, thank God. "How - how dare you! You insufferable little -"

 

"I'll kill Alfred." The words tumbled out faster and quieter than he meant to.

 

"You - what?"

 

Matthew raised his eyes to stare into his Empire's. For a boy so passive and simple, the act of defiance was enough to make Arthur sick with memories of a different blonde haired boy. "If you touch him - if you hurt him, if you have him killed," Matthew began, reaching with one hand to pull out his cross her always wore.  A precious ring that once sat on his ring finger now decorated his pinky since he was likely to outgrow it. "I swear to god I'll do it. I've burned him already. I can do worse, more. If you kill Maman.... I'll take Alfred away from you forever."

 

-------

 

Overwhelmed

 

Matthew had always assumed that when time stopped, the world would follow. All the little babies in the world would freeze up mid-cry, all the children laughing - the ones who still knew how - would forever be fixed in place with bright, wide smiles on their faces and to all the countless people dying like the men all around him, they would live forever. He was horribly mistaken.

 

When time stopped, he found that the world was ending. It was going up in flames and hails of bullets. It was being eaten alive by the screams of dying men and their comrades shouting over the gunfire for them to stay with him, screaming for a medic. It was being washed away by the sounds of loud orders being given from booming British or American accents, getting echoed in familiar French that stung his heart to hear. He had completely banned all words from that language from his vocabulary. All but two words.

 

Maman.

 

It wasn't until his arm was suddenly ablaze with pain did he realize that time didn't stop. The wasn't ending. Someone shoved him to the ground, screamed at him for having a cold barrel on his gun, and before he knew it, he had a mouth filled with sand that tasted like his own blood.

 

"Oh...." He was bleeding. He must have been shot.

 

"God damn it, Williams!" he heard that voice scream.

 

Dieu. That was a word he would never abandon from his vocabulary.

 

He recognized the accent. It was one of the French soldiers he had befriended last year. His name was Jean. Even with the sudden sound of Jean letting a spray of bullets forward ("Short, controlled bursts," he remembered telling the human when they first had met) Matthew knew the world was not ending. Not for everyone, at least. It had ended years ago for him but he was praying harder than ever that he could revive it.

 

He wondered if the world would start to end again in Normandy.

 

------

 

Dream


Matthew sometimes liked to think that he was better than Alfred. It was a hard claim to make when it came down to anything aside from ice hockey but he still liked to think it could be true from time to time. Unlike his younger brother, he didn’t need to win independence from Arthur. Not really. It had been immeasurably less violent and in his head, everyone should have been proud of him. Maman was clapping him on the back, beaming at him and welcoming him to the world of real men.  Russia nodded in acknowledgment, as well as the rest of the Soviet Union. Arthur scowled but got over it quickly, eventually patting him on the head with a sigh. “I guess I couldn’t be your papa forever.” Alfred grinned and teased him for taking so long to break away and asked if this meant he would finally stop wearing diapers to bed.

Which, for the record, was an absolute lie so gave his baby brother a nice thump in the shoulder.

There was a party.

With a cake.

And a candle just for him.

Naturally, the sting of loneliness when he woke up from his little dream was something he wasn’t unfamiliar with. There were not pats on the back, no smiles or congratulations; just a curt and cold glare from Arthur who was at an absolute loss with all his colonies slipping away from him one by one. And, of course, there was no Maman.

It was July 1st, 2010 and the only person in his house besides himself and Kumajiro was a young woman with honey brown eyes, hair that stole its color from the ground and tree bark. Her skin had a darker tanned color than it usually had during the rest of the year and she wrapped her arms around him, standing on the balls of her bare feet to kiss his cheek. “Happy birthday, Mattieu,” she whispered softly, pulling him back into a hug. With a sad sigh, Matthew tore his eyes away from the phone he had been staring at for hours, catching sight of their reflection in the mirror.

“Thank you, Marie,” he murmured back. From where he stood, it almost looked like Marie was trying hold him like a mother would to a child that had outgrown their arms. It would take him at least an eternity more to realize just how accurate of description that was.

“Shall we cut the cake, little one?”

He had always wondered why she called him that when they didn’t meet until Maman already gave him to Arthur. He had been little then, yes, but she always said it the same way Maman did. “N-no…. Maman–”Marie looked up at the French word, almost hopeful for the recognition she had lost centuries ago when the little boy ran past her, straight into the arms of a certain Frenchman instead. “ –isn’t here yet.”

“Mattieu…”

“He’s coming back, you know,” Matthew said, pulling out the necklace that held his cross and a ring he had long since outgrown. “He promised.”


Nov. 21st, 2010

hetalia, america, england

[APH] Liar, Liar


Title: Liar, Liar
Author: Kapiichii
Fandom: APH
Pairing/Characters: Not exactly one. Implied beginning steps towards Franada.
Rated: PG
Warnings: Implied child abuse
Disclaimer: Hetalia does not belong to me.
Summary: Post Revolutionary war. Colonial!Canada reminiscing on being a French colony while watching England drink himself into a rage filled stupor in attempts to forget about his bright eyed once-ward.


There were few things in life more precious than a parent cradling their child in their arms. For Matthew, this was something he had experience many times before. He knew all the ways a light beard could tickle his cheek until his sides grew sore from being snuggled so much by someone who loved him more than there were stars in the sky. He knew all the different songs that could be sung to him, from stunning ballads to drunken limericks made up on the spot. He knew the songs that were sung to a child when a parent was so immeasurably proud or in awe of their little one and he knew how to catch the crack or slip in their voice when something awful had happened and they needed a little angel to cheer them up again. He was good at that; at least, he thought he was.

                He knew what it was like to hold a soft face stained with tears with tiny, chubby hands and he knew what the startled gasp sounded like when a parent murmured an apology for crying in front of them. “I thought you were asleep, my angel.” He knew how to wipe the tears away with the sleeves of a cotton or silk shirt he had been gifted with –  “It’s itchy! It’s scratchy! You can’t make me wear any more wool!”   and how to kiss someone’s forehead until their tummy felt all warm and bubbly again. He was small but he liked to think that for one day, far, far away, he was learning how to be a parent. Matthew had always been observant, after all. He picked up French twice as fast as his little brother did and while Alfred certainly beat him in how fast he learned to speak English, Matthew learned the importance of that language too.

                He knew the way Alfred always put such an effort into speaking English perfectly, no matter what, and he knew the scowl on his brother’s face when he’d say something wrong. While Matthew would mutter an all too quiet apology, Alfred would squeeze his hand and promise that he’d get it right eventually. “You’ll get it right eventually.” There would be a hug after that. “Until then,” Alfred would murmur softly for he too had been a shy little thing until days spent waiting for a certain furry browed guardian to return, “we can speak the way that grand frère  taught us to.” It was moments like that that Matthew missed the most – when Alfred and he could laugh and race through wide fields of grasses taller than they were and roll until their clothes were positively filthy and they would have to part ways so that they could each be scolded at by their respective guardian. That was something else Matthew knew – how to be a good older brother. He was good at that. Making someone you love smile – that was another thing he knew was absolutely precious.

                Every day, every night he could, he would do his hardest to draw smiles to replace the ones that he had lost and he would never see again. Sometimes he tried so hard, tears fell from the bright eyes that the most important person in his life had always adored. When this happened, if he was lucky, he would gain an apology and a pat to his head, perhaps a ruffle to his hair. Never a kiss to his cheek or forehead like he used to have.  “I can do better, I promise!”  he would wail. His head would drop, so low his spectacles threatened to fall off, and no matter what he cried out, what promises he would make, every so often, he would face another night where he’d have to press a cool wet rag against his cheek to keep the sting away.

                “I – I …”

                Matthew wasn’t exactly sure what it meant to be a parent. He had been learning but then he stopped. He knew he had something better to do than learn – he had someone who needed to tuck him in at night. He knew that the sour smelling drinks in corked glasses and mugs that he was never allowed to touch were bad and awful things because they turned someone who should be a parent into someone who was utterly frightening. Someone with a voice loud as the wrath of Dieu  he had always been warned about by the Jesuits, someone who cursed and threw breakable things against walls until they shattered into thousands of pieces, someone who would whirl around and glare at him so suddenly if he dared to breathe too loudly. In moments like this, he would flinch and pick up his tiny bear from the ground, holding him protectively.  “I didn’t say a-anything about … t-taxes,”  he would whisper. He was never heard. If he was lucky, he would have enough sense not to go up and hug his sometimes-monster-sometimes-father. Otherwise, he would be shoved away and he would curl up when he fell so his polar bear wasn’t harmed.

                “I gave you everything!” the fake monster, real person, screamed at him. He would whimper and flinch.

                 “I know.”   More screaming. He didn’t dare look up when he heard the cracks in that loud voice which meant that his parent was back and his parent was crying.  “I’m sorry, I can be better,” he would whisper. He would set his friend down, tell them to go hide and edge closer to his Papa. A not so chubby anymore hand would tug at his shirt cautiously.

                “I gave you everything! The broken man would scream. Matthew didn’t have to look up to see the drunken rage and depression in his Papa’s eyes. He could only murmur a continuous stream of apologies and hope that he wouldn’t get struck in the face like he had been last time. “Everything…. Why did you leave me…?”

                 “I did something wrong…. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I promise I’ll be better. I’ll make you smile tomorrow, I promise, Papa – ”

                “Don’t lie to me, Alfred.”

                 “… I – I’m sorry. … I won’t do it again…”

                Pretending to be someone else… Matthew was good at that too.

 

 


Aug. 3rd, 2010

hetalia, america, england

OTP Pairings Meme

Stolen from compos-dementis

Pick up to 10 OTPs.
Describe them in less than 15 words.
Have your people guess the OTP.
First eight are Hetalia. Second two are not.

 

1.     Locked rooms, Macbeth, sailing under false colors, scars, a pirate and a pathetic uke.

2.     It’s awesome. Squared. Plus two cowboys and fluffy animals.

3.     “Best friends, ex-friends to the end. Better off as lovers.” Scarves, scars & fluff.

4.     “Obviously you remind him of a lamb – that’s all he’ll ever see. A pet.”

5.     Broken promises, naïve boys, manipulative older men. “Shhh. Lie back and think of Angleterre.”

6.     The mooch & warrior. Burnt rye fields, forgotten loves, paranoia, PTSD and Stockholm syndrome.

7.     1600s. “You don’t have to have nightmares anymore, jefe. I’ll protect you.” / “Gracias, querida.”

8.     (Not one of my pairings) “I’ve got you, you little fucker.”

9.      “How many helpings of arsenic would the young master like in his tea tonight?”

10. Red and Black. "I really wanna do some vigorous exercise with you."

Jul. 7th, 2010

hetalia, america, england

God Bless America pt. I (ukXus)


Title: God Bless America part I
Genre: Romance, slight fluff.
Pairing: colonial!america x England, America x England, blink and you miss it France x America
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Slight shota, near kisses and disappointment.
Summary: Colonial America feigns being unable to read so that England will stand over him in order to soothe his mounting crush on his guardian.
Author's Note: By popular demand and well received notes from “Trickery” – a piece of this drabble series.
 Note that yes, some numbers are skipped because I don't have prompts filled for those.  There are a hundred prompts total.

 

1] Beginnings

There is nothing but the plains, the sky--bright, clear blue like his eyes--and the both seem to go on forever. He doesn't know where he is, who is, but that's alright with him. As soon as his tiny eyes opened, he knew it was all his. From the mountains, to the prairies, and to the ocean, white with foam. It was his. It was his home and it was entirely perfect.

3] Drama

He peaks over his elder's shoulder, resting his soft palms carefully against the cotton of the other's shirt. "England?" he asks softly, nudging the sleeping gentleman carefully. He gets an inquisitive grunt in response. "Are you awake?"

The British Empire blinks his green eyes open. We match, America thinks to himself. Mine are the sky and ocean and his are the grass, trees and Earth. As his guardian mutters that if he wasn't awake earlier, he is now, the little colony watches as he rubs a hand against his sleepy eyes. A stifled yawn follows.

"Did you need something, America?"

For you to stay longer, the tiny boy silently answers. He was going to ask the taller nation to go outside and play tag with him before it gets dark out but now his blue eyes have already found something to focus his attention on. A leather bound book in England's lap that must have slipped from his grip when he fell asleep. He points to the book. "You haven't read that one to me yet."

"I'm not quite sure it's appropriate for a child like yourself."

"What's it about?"

"It's about a man by the name of Macbeth, a Thane who would become King of his country through lies, murder and deceit." Before the blonde haired angel can ask, he adds, "It might scare you."

"I'm not scared," America huffs. "I'm brave enough to stay all alone while you leave me and go back home." It's half a lie; oft times when his guardian is gone young Alfred spends his time amongst his Native American neighbors (the Abenaki in particular). As far as he is concerned, their stories of bears that kill entire villages and underwater serpents that flood the Earth are by far scarier because they are so much nearer to him than whatever horrors might await for him in the book he's pointing it to. "Read it to me? Please?" He throws in that smile he knows England won't be able to resist. 

Sighing, the elder picks up his book. "From the start or my place?"

"Wherever you left off," the tiny nation chirps, climbing onto England's lap and snuggling himself against the other's warm skin. (He doesn't notice the blush creeping across his guardian's face, just listens to the gentle beat of his heart instead.)

" 'Methought I heard a voice cry, Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep;
Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.' " 

4] Scary

I'm dying. America chokes back a strangled sob. It hurts so bad; worse than anything he had ever experience. His throat is covered in bruises --strangled from his own hands-- and his lips are covered in scabs and blood from biting so hard into them. His can't tell left from right, up from down or night from day. All he sees is the cannon fire, the bayonets and two God forsaken colors--gray and blue. Make it stop, he begs, shaking from the pain and strange urge to throw himself into his fireplace. Make it stop. Make it stop. Please, please, pleasepleasepleaseplease!

5] Light

When the rain clears, the clouds linger for some time after. When at last they disappear, it is blinding. He shrinks away from the sun, covering his eyes and pinching them shut until he can adjust. There's a gentle and warm breeze nudging his arm down. Slowly, but surely, he blinks his eyes open and it is nothing like he has ever seen before. His plains are so much greener, his sky terrifies him and looks like it's ready to swallow him whole.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he whispers to the red clad figure he knows will never stand behind him again. "Why did you never let me see this for myself?"

6] Dark

He pretended to have a night terror. ("The ghosts are coming to kill me! Please don't leave me, Arthur. They'll get me if you do!") He forced tears from his eyes and shook as uncontrollably as he could when he was embraced. ("Oh God, oh God, I don't want to die.")  In the end, it works perfectly. He's pulled into the other's lap and he is gently pushed against the man's chest and the very heart of the British Empire (where he rightfully belongs!).

"Alfred? Are you asleep yet?"

He forces a sniffle. "N-no. Please don't leave me. I'm so scared." It is all an act but England falls for it perfectly. Soon the sea dog is tucking himself into bed with his ward quickly sliding over to make room. He keeps an arm around America even after he has fallen asleep and begun to snore. In moments like this, the harshness of his face fade away and he is nothing more than a gentle soul.

It's moments like these that America wishes would last forever because in times like these, his heart can't help but swell and throb. Arthur has never looked more beautiful

7] Happiness

It's the sudden light and hope that fills those icy blue eyes that make him choke up.

"You came." The other looks like he's going to cry. In fact, the bloodshot rings around France's eyes indicate that he already has. "Mon dieu, I thought you'd never come. Thank-"

8] Sadness

 "Don't say thank you," he interrupts. America feels dizzy and shakes his head. "I didn't come here to save you. I came here to remind you that the money you owe from my last shipment was due three months ago. I'm going to have to raise your interest rates.

France's face deadpans. It's hard for America to look at it now; the face that was once flawless and angelic is now marred with cuts and bruises. It doesn't suit him just like the harsh words that just tumbled out of America's mouth don't suit him either. To France, they make no sense at all. "W-what?"

America stiffens. He's going to hell. He's going straight down to hell one day. "You heard me," he whispers, voice cracking slightly. He looks down and pretends to ignore the metal chains around France's ankles and wrists. He has to look away before he lets his emotions get carried away, before they make him act on a whim and put the lives of every American in danger.

"You can't be serious!"

9] Balance

It was so hard to walk softly and carry a big stick when he knew his stick was hard enough to crack the skull of the bastard who was slowly killing his family.

10] Anger

"You only see 'America'! Why can't you just pretend to see 'Alfred' for once like you used to?!"

When the back of Arthur's hand collides with his face, it hurts worse than he can imagine. "Don't you dare speak to me like that, you ungrateful brat."

Historic notes for this part:

"Drama" - Not many for this chapter. Macbeth was written in the early 17th century by William Shakespeare. England reading this to America is completely one of my headcannons for the series for... numerous reasons besides the fact that the story fits them so perfectly. Since I was asked, yes I actually do roleplay and LARP as America. Quite often, actually, he's one of my favorites to do besides Lithuania (usually as the LSSR and in the '90s as the Iron Curtain is beginning to collaspe). To answer another question, yes, in my head, Alfred did name those soldiers Arthur made for him and they're all named after characters from Othello and Macbeth (Cassio, Duncan, Fleance,) except for one named George which was named after a fisherman who would always find Alfred and tell him when Arthur's ship was coming into port.

"Scary" - The American Civil War was fought during 1861-1865. At this point in time, the United States of America primairly 'split' itself into two groups- the northern states and the southern states that declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, eventually electing Jefferson Davis as their president. The nothern states made up the Union while the southern slave states made up the Confederacy.

At this point in time for America, the war hasn't officially started yet. He's just feeling the pain of the states seperating themselves for him.

"Light" - In 1783, Britain signed a treaty with the freshly formed United States of America to end the war. At this point, the independent colonies had already been recognized as such by the Dutch and French (whom assisted the Patriots during the war). From here on out, the Britain began to accept the new boundries of the States. The US was left to run itself, make up it's debts owed to the French and Dutch from the war, try to make up from trade exports lost by ostracizing themselves from the British and attempt to hit the ground running in learning how to run a country.

"Happiness" - During World War II, in 1940, Germany invaded France on May 10th, 1940 in a series of campaigns that would later be known as the Battle of France (also known as the Fall of France). By June 14th, German forces had occupied the city of Paris and by June 17th it was announced that France would ask to sign an armistice with Germany. The armistice was signed on June 22nd and put in effect three days later. France wasn't officially consider liberated until 1944, via the Allied Forces' invasion.

"Sadness" - The America Neutrality Acts were a series of acts passed to ensure, especially during the World Wars, that The United States of America would remain neutral. Essentially, these acts made it so that the USA would be unable to declare war on another country based on the wars going on in other countries unless the USA was attacked first. In WWII, the act was amendended so that supplies could be sent to Great Britain and France on loan, troops to China and though it wasn't a part of the Act, some American volunteers went to fight in Europe before 1941.

I honestly don't know the situation involving interest rates on the loans, and I also don't if the USA ever 'went after' France for money during the war. So there are probably some intended historic inaccuracies in this; I just wanted to write Alfred as a guilty jerk.

"Balance" - "Walk speak softly and carry a big stick." - President Theodore Roosevelt

The idea behind this quote in a nutshell essentially states that a country, or at least oft times the United States, should act as peaceful as possible while still flaunting their miltary power. Though this quote came into existence when Roosevelt added to the Monroe Doctrine to keep European out of Latin America, I thought that just slightly altered would fit American Neutrality during WWII better. It's mainly just my headcannon that Alfred absolutely wanted to join the war efforts to protect and save his old family (England, France and Canada) but England in particular and Roosevelt wouldn't allow him to put American lives at risk. The 'bastard' in this chapter refers to Germany.


May. 20th, 2010

hetalia, america, england

Hetalia Character Meme

 
Stolen, completely stolen from
[info]compos_dementis Go read her fics.

1. Write down the names of 10 characters.
2. Write a fic of fifteen words or less for every prompt, using the characters determined by the numbers. Do NOT read the prompts before you do step 1.



The Lucky Ten: (Randomized on the internet)
1 – England
2 – France
3 – Canada
4 - Holy Roman Empire
5 - Vatican City
6 –Lietuva
7 – Italy
8 - America
9 – Latvija
10 - Greece


First Time, 4 and 6: (Holy Roman Empire & Lithuania/Lietuva)

He closed his eyes and pushed back, trying to pretend to see his Italia instead.

Angst, 7: (Italy) ((Yes, I really have two versions of this one))

“Vittoria…” They buried her with their flag. “Ciao, sorella,” Feliciano whispered.

Lovino sobbed for Constantina.

OR

They buried her with the Italian flag. “Ciao, sorella,” Feliciano whispered.

Lovino sobbed for Constantina.


AU, 1 and 8: (England and America)

He stared at Avery’s tramp-stamp tattoo. “Sexual revolution?”

“Only if you want it to be.” 


Threesome, 3, 6 and 9: (Canada, Lietuva, Latvija)

It hurt to think that they were each wondering who Ivan was watching the closest.

Hurt/Comfort, 5 and 10: (Vatican City and Greece)

“H-he cut m-my ha-air,” she sobbed.

“…You look… fine.”

“…I look like a slave….”

Crack fic, 1: (England)

It was infuriating to sneak into Alfred’s house in skin-tight leather and find him sleeping.

Horror, 10: (Greece)

Heracules hated Alfred the most. Heroes didn’t smile – they were impaled for fighting back.


Baby fic, 5 and 9: (Vatican City and Latvija)

“Catholic.”

Evangelical Lutheran.”

…. Now was a bad time to tell his parents about being atheistic. 

Dark, 2 and 8: (France and America)

How disgusting that Alfred’s brothers thought of procuring him a redcoat(ing) in his own blood.

Death fic, 2 and 3: (France and Canada)

 “Don’t you dare – Mattieu! … I’m supposed to be the one who never comes home.”

Minor Notes:

Avery is my version of fem!America. She has a tramp-stamp reading, “Come and take it," which was a slogan from the Texas Revolution.

Alfred’s brothers referred to this are colonies of New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire. My Alfred was a Loyalist during his revolution and his ‘siblings’ were the Patriots and quite… radical compared to him. NJ, CT & NH (George Jones, Ryan Jones and Robert Jones respectively) all gang up on Alfred and beat him bloody and senseless several times during the America revolution, all for him being a Loyalist. Alfred… promptly stopped calling the thirteen colonies his brothers and is actually quite terrified of those three.

Greece was referring to one of his national heroes during the Greek war for Independence, Athanasios Diakos.


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