America was late.
Now that wasn't unusual. Alfred was almost always late to world meetings. As a matter of fact, if he was early then you needed to worry. He was never early.
But he was also never two hours late.
Five minutes, sure. Fifteen minutes, pushing his limit. But two hours? Never.
The other nations shifted restlessly in their seats. Without Alfred there, the meeting felt... off. Germany sighed and was about to admit defeat and call for a break when the conference room doors opened.
All the nations reflexively turned to the door. Belarus walked in and paused, surveying the seated nations. Russia pushed his chair back a little.
"W-what are you doing here, Belarus?"
She smirked and walked toward the table. "I'm only taking my seat, brother. Alfred is indisposed at the moment." She sat directly across from Ivan – in Alfred's seat.
Russia's face transformed instantly into a blank mask, all traces of fear gone.
"Where is he?"
His cold voice and purple aura made the other nations start to back away from the conference table.
Belarus slouched comfortably in her seat. "Oh, just hanging around the basement, Vanya."
The purple aura grew noticeably as he stood up, chair sliding back with a screech. Russia growled – actually growled – and his eyes flashed dangerously as he said, "What have you done to him?!"
Belarus flew out of her seat, facing him from across the table. "Why do you care?! You don't love him!"
"Yes, I do!"
Her face contorted as she screeched, "No, you can't! You're mine!"
The other nations remained in their seats, shocked by what was unraveling before them. England whispered, "You mean Alfred and Ivan have been seeing each other and this crazy wench locked Alfred up?"
France nodded, eyes trained on the scene. "Oui, it would seem so. This can't end well..."
"Belarus, I won't ask again. What. Did. You. Do?"
He rounded the table and stalked toward her. She laughed as she backed away from him, her twisted smile terrifying. "Fine! If you want to know so badly, I'll tell you."
Her back hit the wall, but her smile only grew as Ivan came closer. "I left him hanging from the ceiling on one of the large hooks. The really strong ones, you know which."
Russia shivered and halted his pursuit, eyes trained on her as she divulged what she had done.
"I used the really strong chains too. He'll have a hard time with those alone. Of course, just in case he managed to break free from his restraints, I made sure to set the place up with plenty of little toys that will be quite painful should he try to escape."
She laughed, and the cold sound of it sent shivers down the nations' spines. "He'll be very busy staying alive. I'm torn between hoping he'll still be there hanging for me to deal with or splattered across the walls when I get back."
Ivan snarled and lunged forward, pinning her to the wall by her neck. "How dare you lay a hand on him!" Belarus only smirked as the hand closed around her neck.
Suddenly the doors burst open, and Alfred stood framed by the doorway. His shirt was in tatters, bloody scraps barely clinging to his shoulders. His pants were also very ripped – not enough to threaten his modesty, but enough to show they had been through hell and back. Through the tears in his clothes they could see many freshly-healed pink lines – and several cuts that were still red and oozing slightly.
The other nations shivered. Alfred was a very fast healer. For the cuts to still be healing, they would have to have been deep and recent.
Alfred nodded at Ivan, and the man released his grip on his sister's neck. She gasped against the wall as Russia backed up a few feet, angling himself to be between Belarus and the seated nations. The look he gave them clearly told them to stay in their seats or else.
Alfred moved forward and faced Belarus. "Damn Belarus, you sure know how to booby-trap a place. I took more hits down there than I did during the wars."
He walked up next to Russia with all of the grace of a predator closing in on his prey. "Did you honestly think those chains and traps would stop me? Note for future reference, Bela: never give your plan away to your enemy."
He lunged forward and grabbed her hands – which had darted under her skirt – and pinned them above her head with one hand. Using his free hand he lifted her skirt, revealing a holster on each leg. One had a Beretta and the other a dagger. He quickly removed them and tossed them to Russia, who put them in an inside coat pocket.
"Why, Natalia?" Ivan asked sadly.
She snarled and bucked against Alfred's grip. "You are mine, not his! I won't let you be sullied by him!"
She shifted sideways and her leg shot up, her foot smashing into Alfred's face. His grip loosened and she ripped herself from him, running sideways as she reached far up her skirt, pulling out another knife.
Her smiled was twisted as she said, "Did you really think I only had one, Alfred?"
Alfred smirked and replied, "Of course not, I just wasn't sure where to look."
She ran forward, brandishing her knife. He dodged and caught the one Ivan threw at him. Belarus snarled as she saw her original – and favorite – dagger in Alfred's hand. "Why do you insist on claiming what belongs to me?"
He twirled the Fairbairn and chuckled. "Because I want to. And because it's just so damn easy."
Belarus screeched and lunged forward. The two came together in a flash of steel, parrying and thrusting at each other with deadly intent. A few of the nations made to get out of their seats, but were stopped by Russia's glare. "Don't move, and don't call anyone. This has to be settled between them, and them alone."
England looked at him like he'd grown a second head. "What?! Why the bloody hell not?!"
Russia turned his gaze back to the knife fight. "Because this bad blood has been between them for too long, and it is time it was finally settled."
France leaned forward. "Oui? And just how long has this been going on?"
Ivan winced as America was nicked in the arm. "Since a few months after the end of World War II."
"But what about the Cold War? I would've thought that would prevent any romantic entanglements between you two," Austria said.
Russia glared. "The Cold War was between our people, not between us."
The others nodded as he turned back to the fight. Alfred and Belarus were blurs, the bright flash of metal dominant between them. Suddenly there was a scream of pain, and everyone's heart stopped. None of the nations wanted either of them to be hurt, but if they had to choose...
Belarus fell to the ground, clutching her side. Alfred stood over her, bloody dagger glinting in the light. She smiled crookedly at him. "Hmm, maybe you're good for him after all."
Alfred smiled sadly down at her. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry."
She snorted. "Just do it, America."
Alfred pulled his foot back and kicked her in the head. She fell to the ground, unconscious. He bent down and cleaned the knife on her skirt before looking at the other nations.
Russia walked up to him, wrapping an arm around Alfred's waist. Alfred sighed. "I really hate hitting a woman – even if she is a crazy bitch."
He handed Russia the knife before removing himself from his grip. Walking toward the door he said, "Someone call security. She'll be healed by the time they show up. I need to go clean up."
He smiled reassuringly and left the room, leaving Ivan to deal with the other nations.
Ivan gently ran his lips over the faint marks on his lover's wrist. Alfred must have rubbed them completely clean of skin and a fair bit of muscle for the thick lines to still be visible. Alfred snuggled closer to him, burying his face in Ivan's chest.
"Don't worry about it, Vanya. There's nothing you could have done. You and I both knew something had to happen with her."
Ivan's grip around Alfred's waist tightened as he drew the covers up a bit higher. Nights in Moscow were chilled this time of year.
"Just because we both knew, doesn't mean something couldn't have been done, podsolnechnik."
Alfred caught his lover's tone and rolled them over, angry. "Ivan, there is nothing we could have done differently. Neither of us thought she would go this far, but it worked out. She accepts us now, and while I would have preferred it coming about differently, that's really all that matters."
He ran a finger over the still-fading marks on his wrist. "These were worth it, love. They'll always be worth it."
Ivan drew him close, letting Alfred bury his face in his bare neck. "I hate seeing you hurt, Alfred. Ja ljublju tebja."
"I love you too, ya big lug."
They lay in a comfortable silence for a few minutes. Alfred couldn't help but break it. He grinned mischievously and said, "So... how did your Q & A session go?"
Russia lightly slapped his bottom in reprimand. "Go to sleep, Alfred. I'll get you back for that in the morning."
Alfred giggled and settled down, quickly falling asleep. Ivan kissed his forehead and soon followed him into oblivion.