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The (Sometimes) United States of America

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1739
It's been a week since Alfred had found the twin representations of Virginia.

They bounce around the study as he drafts a letter to England.

He was looking it over for errors when Wesley knocked over a jar of quills.

Both Virginias skitter out of reach, still wary.

Alfred smiles, picking up the jar. "It's alright. Look, it isn't broken or anything. No harm done."

He sits back down, watching out of the corner of his eye as the twins go back to playing, less rowdy than before.

Alfred smiles as he remembers his own childhood, with all things he'd broken.

He glances back towards the letter and feels uneasiness creeping in.

Well, it was only right that he should find the other colonies before he told Arthur, right?

------------------

He finds Delaware next, and he realization chokes him.

She isn't one of Arthur's. Delaware slips into Swedish or Finnish or a mixture of both when she's angry or tired or upset.

Alfred recalls the way Arthur had reacted when Francis had started teaching him and Matt French.

------------------

The next six colonies aren't issues. There are touches of other nations in them, but they're Arthur's. Maine is something else Alfred decides to worry about later.

And then there is New York.

Arthur would have had a fit over New York.

Already, Alfred can tell her skin isn't just tanned, it's a shade darker than his. She refuses to wear dresses because they're too restricting. Sometimes she refuses shoes. Her first language was Dutch and her second was Iroquois.

Arthur would have given her hell for just being Netherlands' child, not to mention the other things.

Alfred can see a future full of his children being forced into suffocating propriety. East and Massachusetts fawned over while Delaware and New York are always second-class. Georgia's formation would be used against her- a colony that began as a place to send criminals. West would always be the lesser twin. The Carolinas and their fondness of pranks would be regarded with smothering suspicion.

------------------

He finds New Jersey and then New Hampshire and Vermont, and Alfred can see a future full of his children used as pawns in Europe's game of Empires.

Alfred burns the letter.

 

2017

Sera crossed her arms as she looked at the calendar. Namely, the double-booked meetings occurring in DC. 

Alfred buried his head in his hands with a groan. 

"Couldn't you reschedule the nations?"

"This is the reschedule, from last time when Prussia and Denmark had that prank. Everything's already booked. Germany would murder me if I canceled it."

Sera nodded. "...You end the meeting at two, right?"

"If we don't go into overtime, then yes."

"We could move the states meeting down and start it at three, end at seven, add an extra day. I'm sure they'll all be fine with it. I'll tell them to be more alert and avoid the nations. Easy."

Alfred scrubbed his hands over his face. Forget easy. It would be a miracle if they could pull this off. 

Chapter Text

America, Meeting Room, Washington DC
He'd said text if there was an emergency, and Callie apparently decided that meant she could snapchat him about non-emergencies.

He subtly unlocked his phone under the table and reevaluated his opinion of non-emergencies.

Callie: so we invented a new sport

Callie: we've named it death lacrosse

Callie: i'm pretty sure theo threw the ball at tex so hard he has a concussion

Callie: Del's goalie and she hit the ball so hard it scored a goal on the other side

Alfred: what

Alfred: is Austin alright???

Alfred: Callie

Callie: yeah i mean he's still playing so

"America! Pay attention! France, leave England alone!" Germany shouts, stopping his presentation.

Alfred slips his phone into his pocket and sighs.

Hawaii (Lani), Bundy Field, Washington DC
"Why can't we play death lacrosse?" Alexander's arms were crossed as he frowned up at Sera.

Sera glanced over the soccer field turned lacrosse court and winced as the ball hit Sol in the face.

"Um... sorry, but I think you're a bit young for this one."

Lani frowned as Sera shrugged and walked away to sit with Leo.

"This is boring." Sasha complained, flopping back into the grass.

Lani nodded in agreement, rifling through her bag for her tablet.

"Want to find something fun to do?"

Sealand, Outside the Meeting Room, Washington DC
The micronations have been kicked out of the meeting room again. 

It's definitely unfair. 

Ladonia is content to put on his headphones and websurf, but Sealand refuses!

Switzerland locks the door after Sealand attempts to invade the meeting room. 

Well, if they're going to be locked out of the meeting, they might as well go explore. 

Maybe they can find ice cream. 

Sealand perks up. 

"Hey, hey, Wy, hey-"

She huffs and sets down her magazine (about art, boring). "What?"

"Let's go get ice cream!"

Wy considers it for a moment, eventually nodding. 

She kicks her brother lightly. "Hutt, me and Sea are going to get ice cream."

Hutt nods absent-mindedly, focused on reading his book. 

Both micronations are already gone by the time he looks up, finally registering the words. "Wait, what?" 

Hutt River pales. Australia's going to kill him.

Alaska (Sasha), Washington DC
They eventually decide to go to zoo. It's a compromise. Lani wanted to go to the Natural Science Museum because of the butterflies, and Sasha wanted to go to the Air and Space Museum to see the Cold War exhibits, but the zoo had animals and they could agree on that. 

(They both agreed that most zoos paled in comparison to David's, but Sasha supposed you couldn't fit five miles of habitat in every city.)

The good thing about the Smithsonian Museums are that admittance is free. The zoo is no different, thankfully. 

Sasha probably should have told Sera that they were leaving, but she won't be too mad. Hopefully. 

They're halfway to Connecticut Avenue where the zoo is when Lani stops in her tracks. 

"Do you feel that?"

Sasha frowns at his sister. "What? The Nations?"

Lani frowns back. "No, it's like Mol, but different. Come on."

Like Molossia probably meant another micronation. 

Sasha shakes his head and darts across the road after his sister. 

----------

"That's Sealand, right?" Sasha asked. 

Lani nodded. She made a point of knowing other islands, even if only by name. She edged closer to hear what the ice cream truck man was saying that made Wy cross her arms. 

"I don't think they have enough money for their ice cream." She hummed, and dug through her bag. 

Sasha began digging through his pockets. Alfred was big on random acts of kindness. He said they were everyday heroic acts. 

Between them, they scrounged up nineteen dollars and thirty-three cents, a marker, three sticks of bubblegum, and a linty skittle. 

Lani smiled and ran up, slipping between the two micronations and dropping the money on the countertop. "I'd like to finish paying for their ice cream, sir."

The micronations stared. The man shook his head and handed over two ice cream bars, and the change. 

Lani looked over at him, and Sasha studied the ice cream menu for something they had enough for two of. "Two firecrackers, please."

The man shrugged and got them out of the freezer, passing them over the counter. 

Lani tossed Sasha his, and he unwrapped it as they walked over to join the micronations. 

Lani smiled. "Are you lost?"

"No," Sealand said. 

"Yes," Wy answered. "We were looking for an ice cream truck and now we don't remember how to get back."

Lani looked over at Sasha and shrugged. There went the zoo. They couldn't just leave two micronations lost in DC. It would make Alfred look bad. 

Delaware (Del), Bundy Field, Washington DC
Del's having fun being goalie. Her and Cam are making a game of trying to hit the balls into each other's goals, which causes some others to complain about ball-hogging, but whatever. 

It's when she hits the ball out of bounds that she notices the absence of two states that should have been sitting on the grass right there.

She glances around. 

Sera and Leo are lying on a blanket in the shade, Brooke is painting her nails on the sidewalk a little way away with Cal beside her, and Addison and Mindy are talking beneath a tree. 

She looks around again. States are scattered around her, but no Lani and no Sasha. 

"TIMEOUT!"

The game freezes. 

"Where's Sasha and Lani?"

America, Meeting Room, Washington DC
Australia gets a text in the middle of Lithuania's presentation and immediately gets up and leaves. 

It isn't until a moment later that he comes back and announces that Wy and Sealand have wandered off that America starts to feel uneasy. 

----------

Finland organizes the nations into search parties with intimidating ferocity, and America subtly sends off a text to Sera to see if she can sense them. 

They're in the lobby, ready to split up, when America feels two of his states approaching.

Molossia, Lobby, Washington DC
Molossia knows, of course. He's got the last name Jones and his nation is within the Nevada boundary. It'd be hard not to know.

They're sort of like cousins. Nate's awkward around him, but Emily comes by with cookies because she's that sort of nice you can't dislike. Callie once visited his province in SoCal and told him it was cool. 

Sometimes he comes to Thanksgiving and that's sort of nice. (Except for Prussia.)

But they are a very separate part of his existence than the nations. A handful of nations are in the know, but the majority are not.

They don't mix. 

Which is why when he sees the youngest states escorting the micronations back into the building, he speaks without thinking. 

"Alaska? Hawaii?"

Molossia claps a hand over his mouth, but the damage is done. 

Chapter Text

America (Alfred), Lobby, DC 
Alfred's first thought is a series of curse words.

Germany unfreezes first. "Wait, Alaska? Isn't that a state?"

Lani grimaces. "Uh oh," she mutters.

Sasha seems to have the same opinion. "Um, well, it's been fun, but we're gonna go now-"

He spins on his heel, and- smacks straight into Belarus, who leans over to study his features, likely noting his similarities to Russia.

Lani sends him an apologetic look that says she won't leave without Sasha.

Sasha takes a step away from Belarus, putting him closer to the other nations. Lani moves in front of him to protect his back and levels a glare at the closest nations.

Alfred isn't sure whether he should be proud or mortified as a few nations take a step back.

"America?" England questions, staring at the two pre-teens.

Alfred bites his cheek.

"Even if they did find out, what could they do?" Sera asked. "We can take care of ourselves, and the risks are too high anyway. It's a different world than it once was."

He closes his eyes.

"They're my states."

Chaos.

"You told me there was no Vermont!" (France)

"You're states? Cool!" (Sealand)

"There are fifty of them?!" (Various Nations, multiple times)

A small hand grips his. Alfred squeezes Lani's fingers reassuringly and tunes out the nations. Sasha leans into his sister.

He offers up a megawatt Hollywood smile. "Well, meeting dismissed!"

DC (Sera), White House, DC 
Sera thumps her head against the table once before scrubbing her face with her hands. "So, let me get this right. You revealed the existence of the states, and then ran."

Alfred frowns. "Tactical retreat."

Ginny snorts. Alfred shoots her a look that says I-don't-care-how-old-you-are-I-will-ground-you-so-fast.

Prussia, Meeting Room, DC 
"How did no one know?" England wonders aloud.

Prussia rolls his eyes. It's the fifth time he's asked that.

On the other hand, everyone else knew now, so... "I knew."

England turns his head slowly. "What."

Germany raises his eyebrows. "Why would America tell you of all people?"

Prussia smirked at England. "Who do you think trained them at Valley Forge?"

It took France and Japan to restrain England from lunging across the table.

France frowns at him. "And you didn't think this was important?"

Prussia shrugs. "You're acting as if I'm the only one who knew." He leans forward on the table to look at Russia. "Isn't that right?"

England looks between them with a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look.

"Are there really fifty?" Hungary questions.

Prussia rolls his eyes. "No."

England sighs in relief.

"There are fifty-six." Prussia continues.

New York (Brooke), White House, DC 
Brooke leans against her brother in a comforting gesture of solidarity leftover from their childhood.

They had both met their so-called 'other-father' before. Brooke remembers being drawn to him, and she remembers Mika being angry with her.

It had been the first and only time Mika had raised a hand to her after she found out that Brooke had run off to see the country she was named for.

Nicky's memories were vaguer, but he'd once told her about Netherlands and the giant black Friesian stallion.

They'd both begged Matt to let them assist in the liberation of the Netherlands during the second war. It had been the closest they had ever been to him.

And now he knew.

Mika had once told Alfred that Netherlands had come looking for her. Mika had told him there was no New Netherlands, and Brooke thought that was the start of the secret.

"Do you think he'll like us?" Nicky whispers.

Brooke huffs, tilting her chin up. "What's not to like?"

Nicky snorts, the effect she was going for.

She ruffles his hair. "And if he doesn't like us, then fuck him."

Nicky laughs, and Adam glances toward them with a raised eyebrow. Brooke shrugs.

Adam comes over after a quick word to Sam. "Well, I'm pretty sure Sam's only okay with this because now she can physically fight England."

Nicky laughed again, and Brooke smiled. "As opposed to passively-aggressively stealing all of the Earl Grey from the snack tables before meetings?"

"Remember the time he called Al an idiot so Michael and Cordelia mailed an envelope of glitter to his hotel room?" Nicky chipped in.

"Oh my god, he had blue glitter in his hair for the rest of the meeting."

Alfred whistled to get everyone's attention. "Alright, so I'll go to the meeting tomorrow and we can go from there. All in favor?"

There were forty-nine ayes and one yelp that came from Caden as Annalise stepped on his foot. Brooke winced in sympathy. Anna's boots had heels.

Alfred nodded. "Alright."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

England, Meeting Room, DC 
The next morning finds them all sitting at a table, staring at the only vacant seat.

The place card reads The United States of America.

Thirty minutes before the meeting, the door opens.

----------

It's a teenage girl.

Mexico groans and hits her head against the table.

The girl just smiles as she flops down into America's seat, everything about her- from her careless pose to her artfully tousled hair- echoing with a sort of lazy, relaxed poise.

She sets an elbow on the table, propping her head on her fist like a millennial version of The Thinker. "You have fifteen minutes before America gets here. Maybe thirty if he procrastinates."

Romano is the first to speak, surprisingly. "Che cazzo?"

The girl gives a bemused smile. "That's pleasant. Do you curse at everyone or only strangers?"

Spain is frowning as he scrutinizes the girl.

"You're a state, then?" France asks, ignoring Prussia's barely suppressed laughter and Mexico thumping her head against the table again.

"Number thirty-one."

England doesn't bother trying to figure out which one that is. All he knows is that Alaska is forty-ninth and Delaware is first, and that Washington DC isn't a state at all.

She's a mix of features that point to different heritages- bronzed skin, full eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes, full lips, a heart-shaped face. Her hair is layered with multiple colors- bleach blonde strands mixing with dark brown ones, and then every shade in between. It's highlighted or lowlighted or whatever with a pale blue. She's dressed casually but fashionably- ripped skinny jeans tucked into brown boots, a yellow knit sweater slipping down one shoulder, a pair of sunglasses perched in her hair. Something about her is reminiscent of an old Hollywood starlet, all Monroe and Taylor and Hepburn.

The state ignores the confused looks being thrown her way in order to scrutinize Netherlands.

His neutral expression is replaced with wide eyes when the state speaks. "I always wondered where the height and messy hair came from."

The state grins. Mexico groans. "Callie."

Oh, England thinks. California.

Well, probably. America seems like the type to make his state's human names similar to their state ones.

California gives Mexico a disinterested look. "Lora." She leans back in her chair, quirking an eyebrow. "You know, I thought there would be less staring and more questions."

Germany clears his throat. "Is there really one for every state?"

California grins. "Finally. Someone speaks. And of course."

China gives the teenaged state an appraising look. "And America just kept you all hidden away for centuries?"

None of the sarcasm is lost on California, and her grin becomes something a touch sharper. "Oh, not exactly. If any of you decided to use basic observational skills this whole secret business could have been over with before the Revolution. We weren't particularly subtle. Some of you have seen one of us before, sometimes even spoken with one. For example, Spain." She rested her elbows on the table. "Me and you have met before. I was much younger then, of course."

Spain's eyebrows furrowed. "When?"

California waves her hand dismissively. "If you want a specific year, you'll have to ask Mexico. It was mid-eighteenth century, though, I believe." She fished a pendant out of her shirt, and held it so Spain could see. "I was named for Saint Valentine, before."

Spain frownes for a long moment, before turning an accusing look on Mexico. "You knew! Even back then. You said they were left on the mission steps!"

Before Mexico could defend herself, the doors opened again. 

"Hey, guys- Cal?" America pauses halfway to his seat. 

He sighs, like states crashing meetings was an everyday occurrence. "Cal, I thought we all agreed on the course of action yesterday."

She shrugs. "It was never stated that we had to stay home."

"I didn't realize I had to list the terms and conditions."

"No one reads the terms and conditions anyway."

America smiled. "Just go, Cal."

California shrugged and stood in a fluid motion. 

She gave America a fistbump as she passed, and then she was out the door. 

America cleared his throat. "So... the states."