5: Complications

It was one of those awkward situations that Russia was completely unaware of how he was supposed to get out of them. All others seemed to have decided he was the enemy and the cause of Italy’s disappearance.

“Explain yourself, Russia,” America announced. “What have you done with Italy?”

“I haven’t done anything with him,” Russia held his hands up defensively. “He’s gotten himself lost, I guarantee you.”

“That’s it – I’ve had enough,” America started patting down his jacket.

“Both of you be quiet for a moment,” Germany roared. “I know Italy. He would be too scared to go outside. He is either in this house, or Russia has done something to him.”

“I’ve done nothing,” Russia protested.

“And there I thought things were going so well,” France sighed. “It seems someone has to go and ruin things as usual…”

“We need to handle this matter securely,” Germany gave Russia a withering glance. “For some reason, our host seems unaware of his own guests’ locations…”

“He went to the bathroom,” Russia sounded irritated. “Stop blaming me for things I haven’t done. If I had decided to pick you all off one by one I would’ve done it whilst you were in your planes.”

He received plenty of odd stares after saying that and ran a hand through his hair awkwardly.

“But I clearly didn’t do that, did I, da?” he stated. “Lithuania, did you check the bathroom Italy went to?”

“No?” Lithuania looked puzzled. “I hadn’t realised he went to the bathroom. I tried to check every door, but I may have missed one.”

“Alright, rather than aim your anger at me, let’s make sure he hasn’t tripped and knocked himself out,” Russia declared impatiently. “All stay as a group.”

“Why the Hell are we gonna take orders from you?” America folded his arms. “We can’t even trust you.”

Russia sighed impatiently. “Fine. I can go without you.”

“Wait,” Germany held up his hands. “We need to trust each other. It may be hard, but if Lithuania really hasn’t checked the bathroom Italy was in, and we really do find something we don’t want to see, it may at least confirm to us whether we can or can’t trust one another.”

“He’s sensible, aru,” China jerked a thumb in Germany’s direction. “I’m sticking with him tonight.”

“Can everyone agree with me?” Germany tried desperately.

“Look, I ain’t gonna let my guard down,” America stated. “I’ve never been able to trust this guy. As soon as he invited me to this party of his, I’ve been suspicious.”

“What?” Russia glanced at America. “I didn’t have to invite you, but I felt obliged to, for some reason…”

“At the beginning of that party you had that gun at the ready, and it was only from the general negative reception that you put it down,” America countered. “Face it, Russia. You’re outnumbered. Your schemes are done.”

“Schemes, huh?” Russia’s face darkened. “Is that what you think this is?”

“Exactly that,” America’s expression was grave. “Now, hold your hands high where I can see them.”

Russia chuckled. “Lithuania, step outside.”

Lithuania looked alarmed. “Mr Russia?”

“Do it.”

He complied, and withdrew from the room. Without another word, Russia gave the group a warm smile and stepped out of the room, slamming the door shut. They listened to the click of the lock. All stood stunned in their confinement.

“Hey, what’s the deal?” America yelled and charged at the door.

His shoulder crashed against the hefty wood, but it barely rattled.

“It’s for your own good,” Russia said ominously from the other side. “Come on, Lithuania. Let’s go.”

They listened to the receding footsteps. Then they were, once more, plunged into eerie silence. No one was entirely sure of what to say, until Germany swept open the curtains and stared at the full-scale blizzard outside.

“Lithuania and Latvia went outside in that?” Japan looked amazed.

“I’m starting to wonder if they did, or whether that was a ploy Russia set up,” America scowled. “We should’ve stopped him before he got away.”

“It’s too late to be thinking like that,” Germany admitted. “We have no means of escape. Whether we exit this room or not, we won’t be leaving Russia’s house. In all honesty, we’re defenceless. It’s a miracle he hasn’t attempted to kill us already.”

“Isn’t that the point, though?” France appeared sceptical. “Something doesn’t add up…”

“Then, why did he lock us in this room?” America questioned.

“He said it was for our own good, aru,” China’s mouth twisted into a frown. “This isn’t what I call good. I call this bad, aru. Stuck in this room and there isn’t a fireplace that’s lit. He’s gonna freeze us to death, aru.”

“Just as I thought,” America muttered under his breath.

“Hold it!” Germany called over the indignant countries' banter. “France is right. Something isn’t quite right, but I still don’t think Russia is acting correctly. I don’t know what he’s planning, but I can’t say for sure that it was him who dispatched of Italy.”

“You don’t think he’s dead, do you?” China glanced uneasily at the door. “I might be old, but I’m still too young to die, aru. Especially by the hands of Russia.”

“I considered not coming, but Italy and Germany were going and I thought why not…” Japan sighed. “Now look. Russia’s betrayed us.”

“Is it really a betrayal if we barely trusted him in the first place?” America demanded. “I don’t think so. He’s a dirty liar and a cheat. We need to take him down.”

“Are you saying someone is helping Russia?” France asked Germany.

“It’s probably one of his three lackeys,” America clenched a fist. "I thought I knew them! Those three will pay the price of their crimes because of this. But first, we need to get out of this room and take Russia down.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Germany scowled. “We need to open this door gently, not by crashing it down. I'm not here to commit vandalism.”

“Anyone know how to pick locks?” China glanced around. “I can’t. I don’t want to hurt my hands trying, either, aru.”

“I doubt we have connection with a blizzard like this,” Japan added, holding his phone out and then shaking his head. “No luck. Internet is down and inaccessible. You could almost say we’re completely stranded.”

America’s eyes widened and he slapped a palm to his forehead. “How could I have been so stupid! If I’d handled this the same way heroes handle enemies in horror films, we’d be OK.”

“This isn't a horror film, though, aru,” China rolled his eyes. “It’s real.”

“Yeah, but it mirrors a horror film,” America replied. “We, the protagonists, are stuck in a creepy, isolated building with a psychopath who is killing us one by one. We have no connection with the outside world, and the random supporting character has already been picked off, which alerts the rest of us to a wrong situation.”

“Italy was not a supporting character,” Japan commented.

“He seems like one,” America said. “Either way, if you let me blast the lock off this door, we can rampage the place and conquer it just like the hero does.”

“Or we miserably die,” Japan worried. “Just like how they would in my films. Or we’ll be forever haunted by our actions and suffer as the result.”

“That’s never going to happen,” America waved a dismissive hand. “I can’t stay trapped in this room when I could be out there being the hero! I honestly don’t know how Russia’s sisters can handle him if he’s always been this way.”

“Because one of them is obsessed with him and the other sees him as her endearing little brother,” France panicked. “Russia’s sisters aren't in danger because they’re on Russia’s side. We’re the ones who are enemies in this household.”

“First of all, we need to determine if Russia really is guilty,” Germany rubbed his temples. “Let’s weigh the facts.”

“Russia’s guilty whether we weigh the facts or not,” America responded. “Everything he just did indicated he was the one who attacked and hid Italy’s body. This has become an offence against all nations and if I had internet connection and phone signal, I would alert all nations to commence an attack against Russia in order to aid us.”

“You haven’t considered any other facts,” France scowled. “Stop putting everything on Russia just because you hate him.”

“Whose side are you on, dude?” America looked exasperated. “He’s so suspicious. Who else could it be? Do you even have proof to show his innocence?”

“I have no clear clarity of his innocence,” France stated. “But the evidence is right beside me.”

He gestured towards England, who lay sleeping soundly beside the sofa. He was still oblivious to the surrounding word, and still didn't seem likely to awaken any time soon.

America looked confused. “England? Evidence? How?”

“If Russia aimed to pick us off one by one, he would've targeted England,” France explained. “England is still here. Whilst Russia is not acting ordinary, I don’t think he’s the one who took Italy.”

“Are you saying there’s some murderer in Russia’s house?” China looked dubious. “I don’t know, aru. This place is like a fortress.”

“I don’t know, either,” France shrugged. “I just don’t think it can be Russia.”

“Could Italy be playing a trick on us?” Japan suggested.

“Italy wouldn't be able to think of this,” Germany shook his head. “He also wouldn't be able to play it this far.”

“We can’t just stand around here all night,” America announced. “We either go to sleep, or we bust the Hell out!”

“If we do the latter, what do we do with England?” China gestured towards the sleeping Brit. “Leave him?”

“We can’t leave him,” France objected.

“That’s true,” America looked doubtful. “And he’d be a liability if we chose to carry him around with us.”

“We can’t leave him,” France repeated.

“I suppose we could stay here,” Germany shrugged. “It’s not like Russia has pulled any weapons against us thus far.”

“I'm not willing to wait until he does, aru,” China said. “I want to leave.”

“I’ll admit; I'm worried about Italy,” Japan looked nervous. “If England was fine before, what’s to say he won’t be fine now?”

“If we leave, we break Russia’s house rules,” France looked stricken. “Then he’ll be really pissed off.”

“He’s already pissed off, aru,” China said. “Nice job by the way, America. He’ll kill you first, at least, aru.”

“Not if I don’t get there before him,” America announced.

“You can’t possibly be thinking of actually killing him despite not having enough evidence?” France reasoned.

“There’s enough evidence,” America scowled.

“We need to stick together,” Germany grit his teeth. “We can’t afford to leave England. The less of us there are, the greater advantage our enemy has.”

“You mean Russia,” America corrected.

“Not necessarily,” Germany folded his arms stubbornly. “I agree with France.”

“If we stay in this room, our enemy will know where we are,” Japan frowned. “Do we really want that?”

“But if our enemy knows where we are, then England is only in more danger,” France said.

“Our enemy knows where we are because our enemy is Russia,” America sighed impatiently.

“How many times must I tell you that that is not necessarily true?” France groaned.

England moaned and stirred, lifting a hand to his head. He pulled himself into a sitting position and looked at all the ashen faces staring at him. He squinted past the insistent headache and still blurred vision until he saw, in the darkness, all eyes upon him. He yawned and rubbed at his aching head.

“What on Earth is going on?” he grumbled, pulling himself into a standing position; he wobbled a little, but caught himself on the sofa before he did something like toppling over.

“England, you’re awake,” America grabbed him by the shoulders and shook his dazed friend. “You need to get us out of this room.”

“Don’t shake him,” France pried America away from his European ally. “He’s still recovering from the drink.”

“My head bloody hurts,” England complained. “What happened? I'm absolutely starving… What time is it?”

“You missed dinner,” Germany stated.

“Get us out of here, England,” America pleaded. “Russia’s locked us in.”

“What?” England glanced around at all the concerned faces. He wasn't sure why they were so anxious.

“Russia has gone insane, aru,” China said flatly. “He has kidnapped and possibly murdered Italy, and he has now locked us in this room in order to stop us escaping or finding Italy or anything that could prove him guilty. Pick the lock and that would be really good, aru. I want to make it home alive, aru.”

England rubbed his forehead again. “I feel terrible.”

“England, you gotta snap out of this,” America waved his fingers in his face. “There’s no time for hangovers. We’re in a crisis here!”

“It’s “you've got to”; not “you gotta” – I thought I was the one who taught you to speak…” England muttered, and his allies breathed sighs of relief; he was acting normal.

“Can you pick the lock?” America asked.

“A crisis you say?” England approached the door clumsily and peered into it. “I can pick this.”

“Y-you can?” Germany looked quizzical.

“England’s secret service isn't the best for no reason,” he announced, producing a paper-clip from his pocket and bending its shape. “Our spies are resourceful and understand how to escape deadly situations.”

He fit the paper-clip into the lock and they heard the clicks as the lock slid loose. England pulled the paper-clip out and opened the door.

“What do you say?” he said pretentiously, aware that he was rubbing it in, but greatly enjoying it, since all had been obstructed by a door earlier on.

“Thank you,” they all muttered in reply.

“Time to save Italy,” America announced in a loud whisper, and charged out of the room.

He was followed by the rest – the team were prepared. But who, exactly, were they facing?

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