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Healing Old Wounds

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Voices could be heard echoing faintly from the main lobby, indistinguishable from one another except for the occasional burst of laughter from France. Every now and then someone could be heard calling the names of other nations, though it was difficult to tell who exactly was doing the calling. The main lobby was chaos, the noise and excitement from the many nations and their advisors almost deafening, but down the hall, it was much quieter. America, actually tired of the excitement for once, had wandered down the hall in search of some peace and quiet.

Once he was away from the worst of the noise, he ducked into a small side room and closed the door behind him, hoping to get away long enough to breathe for a moment. Looking around, he appeared to have stepped into a small meeting room. There was a table in the middle with a few chairs around, probably only enough to seat five or six. Though there was a window, the blinds were down, and the walls were painted a rather dreary shade of grayish-blue. A typical office water dispenser had been placed in the corner, and next to it, a table with a coffee pot and some containers of creamer and sugar. Figuring it couldn't hurt if he had a little, America began brewing himself a pot of coffee.

He stretched for a moment as he waited, then paced, then stretched again, then paced a little more, and finally just stood watching the coffee brewer. This was taking forever! Sighing impatiently, he finally just went over to one of the chairs and flopped down in it, sprawling himself out and throwing his legs up onto the table as if he owned the place. He slipped his jacket off and draped it over the back of the chair, then proceeded to stare at one of the framed pictures on the wall, which, unsurprisingly, was about as boring as the rest of the room—a black and white picture of the city of London 50 years ago.

London had been the city chosen to host the World Conference this year. England, America was sure, would kill him if he walked in and saw him with his feet up on the table. He would probably be forced to endure some rant about him being a "disrespectful American," and "oh, I raised you better" and a variety of other bad insults. It wasn't like the American cared though. The chances of England walking in right now were very slim. The Englishman would be busy tending to all the tasks that came with hosting the World Conference, so for now, he was alo—

The door to the little meeting room swung open and another man stared at him from the doorway. For a moment the man seemed surprised, but as soon as he realized who he was looking at, his features darkened. His expression was not friendly, his dark eyes narrowed and the corners of his mouth drawn into a stiff frown. His dark hair was drawn neatly back into a short ponytail, his bangs brushed to the sides of his face. The man's shoulders seemed to tense under his olive green uniform upon seeing America lounging in the chair across the room. America smiled back at him anyway, if only to be annoying.

North Korea, also tired of the constant shenanigans going on in the main lobby, had also been seeking some peace and quiet. America knew he was probably the last person North Korea wanted to see, and he wasn't about to pass up a chance to try and piss the communist off.

"Hey, commie," America grinned, crossing one foot over the other and leaning back in the chair a bit more, watching the communist from his spot across the room. From the way he was positioning himself, he thought, maybe to North Korea it would look like he had been waiting here for him the whole time, as some kind of "evil capitalist trick."

"…Capitalist," the Korean hissed as if on cue, glaring at him for a moment before stalking over to the little water cooler in the corner. America watched as he pulled a paper cup from the holder and filled it with water, his eyes narrowed even as he directed his gaze away from the American. A moment later, the Korean turned back to face him, his expression unchanged. He took a sip from the cup and leaned against the wall, staring him down. "What do you want?"

"Oh, I don't want anything," America responded, still smiling over at him. "I'm just waiting on my coffee." He motioned to the coffeemaker near to where the Korean was standing. "Why? Does my commie friend want something?"

"I'm not your friend," the Korean growled, taking another sip from the paper cup. "I want nothing but for you to fall off the face of the earth."

America simply grinned back at him, chuckling. North Korea seemed to tense even more at his laughter.

"You really can't let anything go, can you?" he said, taking his feet off the table. Sixty years ago he had sided with North Korea's brother, South Korea, in the Korean War. North Korea seemed to be under the impression that the whole ordeal was America's fault, and that he'd somehow poisoned South's mind with capitalist ideals, when in reality, most of the things South held against him were all his own doing.

His coffee looked like it was almost done, and he wondered what the Korean would do if he went so close to where he was standing to get it. North still leaned against the wall near the water cooler—which was right next to the table with the coffee stuff on it—staring at him, daring him to come over.

Of course, America wasn't about to be deterred by someone who reminded him of a little mean chihuahua. Stretching once more, he pulled himself to his feet and strolled right past the North Korean to the coffee brewer. North glared at him darkly, and America raised an eyebrow at him curiously, waiting to see what he would do. Though the Korean seemed to be trying to stare him down, he didn't look like he was going to physically stop America from getting to his coffee. When it became apparent that North Korea wasn't going to do anything worse than stare holes into the back of his head, America began humming his national anthem while he poured himself a cup. Slowly. So he could milk the Korean's anger for all it was worth.

"Shut. Up." North growled, finishing off what was left in his cup and promptly crushing the thing in his fist afterwards.

"And the rockets' red glaaaare!" America sang, looking over his shoulder to grin at the Korean once more. That quickly earned him a crumpled paper cup being thrown at his face, which hit him squarely in the forehead. America just laughed.

"Are you not understanding me? I'm speaking English. Or are you just not smart enough to understand your own language?" North sneered, grabbing another cup out of the dispenser and preparing to throw it at America.

"No, I understand you!" America assured him cheerily, spooning some sugar from the container into his coffee. Boy, messing with North never failed to entertain him. "I just don't take orders from commies." His voice took on a bit of an edge as he smirked at the Korean haughtily.

The next crumpled cup was instantly soaring towards his face, this time glancing harmlessly off his glasses. He slipped his glasses of his face for a moment to clean the lens with his sleeve before sliding them back on, smiling at the Korean as if it didn't even bother him, before going back to dumping spoonfuls of sugar into his coffee.

"If you'd stop dumping so much sugar in your coffee, maybe you wouldn't be so fat," the Korean replied, suddenly changing the subject. He reached for another cup but seemed to decide against throwing another as he allowed his hand to go back to his side, empty.

America stopped midway to dumping in another spoonful. "No I'm not! I—"

"You are. Look at yourself," North said, motioning to the spoonful of sugar in America's hand.

"There's nothing wrong with putting sugar in it!" the American responded, dumping it in and stirring it around before moving to look for a plastic lid. "Plus, I exercise! I play baseball with Mattie on the weekends!" Once he'd found a lid, he pressed it onto the top of the styrofoam cup and took a loud, slurping swig. He paused for a moment, then reached for the coffee pot and held it up, swishing what remained in it around. "You want some?"

"I—…No! No, I don't!" North said, his frustration showing on his face. America grinned once more, knowing his goal of pissing off the communist had most certainly been achieved. He thought that, maybe if he could track down North later during their time in London, he would have to find some other way to get on his nerves. This was too much fun to leave as a one time deal.

"Stupid American…" North continued. "I wouldn't even touch something you've contaminated."

"Oh, you wouldn't?" America asked, smiling mischievously. "Then what would you do if I did this?" He took a step closer, smiling wider as he took in the confused look on the Korean's face. It was so much different than the glare he usually wore. It was strange. It reminded him a bit of South Korea. What would North look like if he actually smiled?

Feeling especially childish, America brought a hand up and poked the Korean quickly in the shoulder, continuing to smile down at him. "Now that you're contaminated, what do you plan to do?" He laughed obnoxiously, proceeding to poke the Korean a few more times, nearly gasping in surprise when his hand was suddenly grabbed and he found himself being jerked down to the shorter Korean's level.

North gave him a sinister smile, his eyes gleaming. "I could always break your hand," he said coldy, tightening his grip on America's hand.

With a frown, America set his coffee aside on the meeting table, and, keeping eye contact with the North Korean, brought up his other hand and began to pry North's off. He smirked at him once more. "I'd like to see you try," he said, managing to peel North's hand off and taking his own hand back. He had to admit, he found the Korean's anger to be funny, even if he'd surprised him a bit by actually yanking him closer and threatening to break his hand.

Walking briskly past the Korean before he could do anything else, America retrieved his jacket and slung it over one shoulder, then reached again for his coffee. "Actually, I'd like to see you try a lot of things. Like maybe opening your eyes and realizing your 'Dear Leader' is nuts, huh?" he sneered, once again enjoying the death glare he was getting from North Korea. He chuckled again softly.

"Anyway, see you later, commie. We should do it again sometime! It's been fun." He took another sip from his coffee victoriously, grinned at the communist one last time, and reached out to ruffle his hair for good measure as he walked out the door, leaving the North Korean to quietly seethe in his wake. America wondered, as he left, how things might have turned out if he'd stayed and messed with the communist further. The Korean was always so cranky when the American saw him. Was he even capable of smiling? America tried to imagine it in his head, but decided it was too weird for him to reasonably think about for long. In fact, it bordered on creepy. As America walked back towards the main lobby, he decided that he liked North better when he was threatening to kill him, and started brainstorming ideas on how to get on the communist's nerves the next time he saw him.