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Good friends

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"Ve~ it's the reunited Axis!" Felicia chirped and gave a laugh as she plopped into the seat between Luise and Sakura.

They had nice seats in a block where Japanese and German fans mingled. Luise had put a lot of thought into the choice of seats; she hadn't wanted Sakura to feel uncomfortable. Felicia for her part thought that was all fine and dandy, but she still wished there could have been two of her tonight. Careful neutrality or not, there was only so much fan regalia a single petite nation could wear. Julchen had said that she looked like a clown with half of her face painted in the Japanese colors and the other half in the German ones.

To her right, Luise winced. "Don't say that!" she snapped.

"I also wish you wouldn't say that," Sakura added mildly.

Julchen gave a snort. "You two wouldn't know a joke if it bit you in the ass!"

Luise scowled and opened her mouth to utter what was undoubtedly a sharp retort – which would just as undoubtedly kick off another argument between the sisters.

"Don't!" Felicia interjected. She gripped Luise's wrist firmly and leant forward so she could look past Luise to shoot Julchen a warning look. "If your bickering ruins the game for Sakura and me, I won't let you have any pasta! For a week!" She gazed expectantly at the sisters, waiting for the outcry of horror that was sure to follow such an inhumane threat.

The sisters stared back, Julchen looking amused and Luise annoyed.

Sakura cleared her throat to catch Felicia's attention. When that failed, she placed her hand on her shoulder. "Felicia-san, please don't get into any trouble on my account."

"Ve! I'm doing it because these two are idiots!"

Felicia was distracted by the football teams walking onto the field then.

Besides her, her friends tensed in anticipation of the World Cup's quarterfinals.

"They look tense, don't they?" Luise asked anxiously.

"These are the quarterfinals, after all" Sakura noted, her voice just as anxious. "It's very important to my nadeshiko to do well. They wish to make me proud after all the catastrophes I suffered this year."

"My team is under pressure as well. My people have never paid so much attention to women's football before and everyone expects them to win the World Cup."

Felicia grabbed Luise and Sakura's hands in her own and brought them together in her lap. "Let's make a promise," she said, looking from one friend to the other. "No matter who wins, there will be no hard feelings and no gloating, alright?"

"Oi!" Julchen protested. "Gloating's awesome!"

Felicia ignored her. "…and we'll still be friends at the end of the night!" Her voice was firm, but it held an undertone of worry.

Luise and Sakura's eyes met. They smiled, Luise's smile a bit awkward, Sakura's shy.

There was little need for words as they humored Felicia and made their promise. No football game would sunder a friendship that had survived war and peace.

Momentarily forgotten by the trio, Julchen smirked. She hadn't promised anything and she fully intended to gloat.

Felicia gave their hands a squeeze as the first anthem was played.

She didn't let go of their hands for the entire game.

The end