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Bloodletting: Chapter One: Crossroads

Title: Bloodletting
Author(s): yours truly
Genre: Drama, mystery
Characters/Pairing(s): America, England, Canada, human!OCs (more to be announced)
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Dark themes
Summary: In an unknown future, the United States has collapsed, and Alfred F. Jones disappears in the resulting turmoil. Years later, a young doctor with an uncanny resemblance to the lost Nation appears in the midst of a country in ruin. (re-write of “No Known Cure” from the kink_meme.)

~
Prologue: Death

Chapter One: Crossroads

Following the attacks on a Nation, four men (or what looked like men) stood at a crossroads. Now that was not something special, as people face crossroads all the time, everyday. But crossroads are important, as are the paths that are chosen. The world changes on crossroads, on the turning points of history, for better or worse.

~

France was beautiful this time of year. But then again, according to one Louis Deville, his home country was beautiful all the time. He was glad he had convinced his American friend, Dr. Philip Evans, to take some time off and visit him in lovely Paris. At the moment, the two of them were sitting at a small cafe. They were a mismatched pair, with their over decade age difference (Louis was 22, but his fair features made him look a bit younger) and contrastingly different looks. Louis was a handsome man, with wavy hair the color of dark honey and striking blue eyes. Philip's features, on the other hand, were more humble. He had premature wrinkles around his thin mouth from his habit of frowning. His clothing was in noticeable disrepair, especially next to the prim Louis. The pair had met at a lecture at Louis' university, and somehow had developed a strong friendship, despite their different tastes and the distance between their two homes. Their shared passion for science more than made up for their differentiating social lives.

“So tell me, Philippe, what have you been doing lately?” Louis asked politely, trying to make small talk. Philip ignored the question, instead fishing in his breast pocket for a cigarette.

“Your English has gotten better,” Philip finally commented gruffly, his voice sounding much like sandpaper over sharp gravel. To anyone else, he would have sounded sickly, but Louis knew better, so the Frenchman smiled warmly.

“Merci,” the younger man laughed, pouring wine into their empty cups as Philip lit his smoke. There was a lull in their conversation as Louis looked at the older man expectantly. Philip simply rolled his eyes and took a swig from his glass.

“Lou,” Philip stared at the Frenchman over the cup's rim with steely gray eyes, hoping his words would get across clearly enough, “You know I can't talk about my job. Security reasons.”

“Of course, of course,” Louis laughed easily, a long fingered hand waving aside Philip's skepticism, “Even so, mon ami, do you think that my skills would be useful to your team?”

Philip merely took a drag from his cigarette, letting the smoke slide from his lips inelegantly. He was polite enough to blow the smoke away from his friend though.

“I will take that as a yes,” Louis smiled smugly, leaning back in his chair.

“Cocky brat,” Philip snorted as he tapped off the ashes on his cigarette, “You're smart, I'll give you that, and in a few years...Never mind. You're a good kid. The world ain't always nice to good kids.”

“Phili—” Louis' protest was suddenly cut off when Philip's phone rang. Unperturbed, Louis waved at the American to answer the call. The older man fished the device out of his pocket and put it to his ear, scowling all the while.

“Evans here,” he snapped out in greeting, sounding a touch hostile as always. Louis sighed, and drank leisurely from his glass. Hopefully his friend would deal with the matter quick enough, and they could get back to the fine food.

“D-Dr. Evans?” a shaky voice on the other line gasped. That only made Philip scowl deepen as he recognized the voice of one of the lab assistants from back home.

“Damn it, I'm on vacation,” Philip snapped at the device, imagining the cringe of the assistant in his mind's eye, “What the hell—”

“Dr. Evans, I can't talk for long. Please, listen to me!” the assistant babbled, fear obviously evident. Suddenly, with eye-opening realization, Philip knew the fear wasn't directed at him.

“What's wrong?” Philip asked, his voice a touch less harsh as he leaned forward in his chair. But if the brat was making him worry for nothing, there would be hell to pay.

“The prototype was stolen yesterday,” the assistant said in a rush, his breath becoming more and more ragged over the phone. It was then that Philip realized the boy must be running, “You have to turn on the news...someone released the disease today! America has been attacked!”

Philip felt the blood drain from his face as new found horror slammed into his gut. The prototype...it was let loose? But it wasn't even—No...

“Philippe?” Louis questioned worriedly, rising partially out of his seat. Philip ignored him.

“Dr. Evans, you have to run,” the assistant insisted, his breath coming in gasps over the phone now, “Your notes, they're—Oh God, the...the other doctors! They're all dead! We—”

BANG!

Philip dropped his phone when he heard the gunshot over the phone.

“Philippe!” Louis shouted, his face betraying his alarm. He grabbed his friend by the shoulders, shaking the American slightly, “Are you well?”

Philip didn't answer him, instead scooping up his fallen phone and putting it to his ear again. The line was dead.

~

On the other side of the ocean, someone woke up, and the first thing he heard was a voice.

“Dear God, someone get a stretcher! We have a live one!”

His head was full of fog and shattered points of light, but he was able to tilt his head up to the voice. A middle aged man, dressed in a white coat (a doctor, his mind supplied) was kneeling before him. For a moment, the white coat snapped out in the wind, giving the illusion of wings. The wounded man saw an angel (a white tunic and a wish-granting, star-tipped wand) then, before earth crashed back down, and the angel was only a man, a doctor. Dark eyes skimmed over the wounded man's battered flesh, evaluating injuries.

“Young man, can you hear me?” the doctor’s voice sounded distant, as if it was coming from miles upon miles away. Reality seemed more fragile than a dream, barely substantial. But he could hear.

“Ugh…” the injured party was able to mumble out. Part of him distantly informed the rest that he was injured badly, and pinned underneath a pile of rubble. He couldn't feel his legs, and when he breathed the very air felt like knives in his lungs. Darkness was threatening to overtake his vision again, and he almost allowed it, had it not been for the voice calling to him.

“We’re going to get you out, you hear me?” the doctor stated clearly, trying to get the wounded man to focus, to live, “Now I need you to stay with me, okay?”

“O-Okay,” the injured party croaked out, his throat thick with dust. A little blood dripped down his chin to splash against the dirty concrete. The red liquid splattered like a flower opening its petals. It was so beautiful, it hurt. His whole body hurt, oh so badly.

Especially his heart…His heart felt like it was breaking clean in two. It was not just his broken bones and bleeding body—something was wrong, something important, but he cannot remember...

The world was burning, burning, burning...New York, Chicago, LA...attacks everywhere, deaths everywhere. All that he was, was rubble and ruin.

“Good,” the doctor nodded, unaware of the other man's internal thoughts, “My name is Dr. John Tracy. I’m part of a rescue team. What is your name, son?”

The injured man opened his mouth to reply then promptly shut it. His head was spinning with thoughts, so much so that it clogged his throat.

‘No no no no…It’s not supposed to end this way! It’s not! I’m, I’m Ame—‘

Static filled his ears, and suddenly, his mind fell silent.

“Hey!” the doctor shouted in panic, after not receiving a response. His patient's eyes were growing glassy, and the doctor has seen enough death before him today to stand another, “Stay with me, okay? What’s your name?”

Startled blue eyes looked up, bewildered and confused. The wounded man felt as if he had lost something...everything. His mind was a void, and it remained that way.

“My name?” he parroted back, the words sounding odd on his lips. His name, it was, it was...

“I-I’m not sure…”

~

The best secrets are the ones left out in the open, which was why the US government never had a real problem with letting the populous know about the Contingency of Operations Plan. Originally drafted in the dawn of the nuclear age, the plan detailed the government's reactions to a hypothetical attack on the country. Everything from secure bunkers, to a skeletal government was planned out in case of emergency. The plan has only been put into action once, on September 11, 2001.

And, to sorrow of a wounded nation, it's being activated for the second time right...now.

Somewhere in the United States (the exact location is only known to a handful of people with the highest of clearances) the remains of the American government lay huddled together in a concrete room. Many were still confused and shell-shocked from the attacks. Others were shouting orders and demands. Some were missing.

Someone had turned on the television. Surprisingly (or perhaps, not so surprisingly) there were plenty of news reports airing pictures of the devastation. Cities were crumbled. A few straggling missiles fell to the earth causing more havoc. Dust spewed into the air, turning everything gray and hazy. People lay on the streets dying. It looked like Armageddon out there. But, no one ever realized that all this destruction was only the start of their problems. They would find out about the disease in a few days...

As all the people (all these high ranking bureaucrats and officials who were screaming, shouting, demanding, and crying) milled around that little concrete room, a single man by the name of Stephen Preston sat down quietly in a fold-up chair and watched the reports come in, his eyes burning the images of it all into his brain. For the most part, everyone ignored him. He had always been a rather passive fellow (well, as passive as a politician could be) having no truly great contributions or controversies to offer. It was a wonder that he had ever made it as the Vice President, but perhaps his lack of scandals helped him earn the job. Besides, everyone knew it was his running mate, the President, that had really been the star of the show. After all, what did the VP do nowadays besides break ties in the Senate? And Stephen was perfectly fine with letting the President catch all the spotlight. In fact, he hoped that the President would show up soon (or at least send a message from another secure bunker). As the day wore on, and more information seeped in, Stephen slumped down further into his seat, his lips moving in an invisible prayer.

“Please, God, let it be alright. Let it be alright...Oh God.”

Somewhere, several miles from there, the first person got sick.

“Mr. Preston!”

The sudden sound of his name jerked Stephen out of his chair, sending the flimsy thing clattering to the floor. His eyes quickly locked on to a tall dark-skinned man in a crisp black suit, who was approaching him quickly. Judging by the earpiece and the way he held himself, the man was Secret Service. As soon as he had Stephen's attention, the agent got straight to the point.

“The President is dead.”

The world crumbled beneath Stephen's feet. Dead? Impossible, that would mean...Distantly, he felt the agent grab his shoulder (when had Stephen's legs fall out from under him?) worriedly as he asked Stephen something in a rapid tone. Stephen couldn't hear the agent, could barely register the words being said. Everything slowed, and stopped. All the noise around him faded away into mist, except for the sounds of the television, unnaturally loud and cruel.

“—This just in! We've just confirmed that among the casualties is President—”

Stephen wished it would all just fade away.

~

When he looked back on this moment, England realized that there was never any question to the decision he made. His path was clear to him, for he promised another that he would walk it if it ever came before him. And he wanted to keep his word, not only because of honor, but because of his own will.

Unsurprisingly, it was Canada who called England to tell the news. But even as England set the phone to his ear, he already knew. He just knew, he could sense it. Canada never even had to speak the words, but he did anyway.

“There was an attack,” the younger Nation breathed, distress evident in his voice, “Alfred.”

“I know,” England growled, already making a list of what he should do first (call his PM, then call America, then...), “Do you know which hospital he is at? Are there any—”

“Arthur,” Canada interrupted, his tone firm beneath its politeness, “They haven't found him.”

“Haven't found him?” the Briton hissed, disbelief coloring his tone, “He's their—” Quickly, he cut himself off before he could say anything incriminating over the phone. You never knew who was listening.

“They haven't found him!” Canada repeated, this time a little more panicked and high pitched, “I-I got the call. And this is yours.”

That caused England to pause, his breath getting caught in his throat. Suddenly, memories surged up in his mind. They were so vivid that England could see it spread out before him. He remembered that day, not so long ago as far as Nations measured things, when America slid a sheet of paper over to him with a hopeful smile on his face.

“We're more than just politics and borders, right? That's why I'm trusting you with this. Promise me you'll come if you get the call?”

It was a simple concept, similar to the arrangements humans made with their families. America had made England and Canada (and perhaps a few others, but England wasn't sure) his emergency contacts. If anything happened to him, he was trusting other Nations to aid his lands, and he would do the same. A naïve idea. It was in a Nation's nature to think of themselves and their ambitions first. A wounded Nation simply meant more territory to conquer or exploit. And America was such a tempting prize. Putting your trust so completely in another...the boy had been so naïve to think they could act as humans did. England should have said no. He should say no right now.

“Will you come?” Canada asked quietly, suddenly sounding far too much like his brother for comfort. England bit his lip. Were they more than just politics and borders? He hesitated, but in the end, the words he uttered were inevitable.

“Of course.”

Author's note:

Eh, sorry for all the OCs. Some of you might recognize Dr. John Tracy and Dr. Louis Deville (though at this moment, he hasn't earned his doctorate) from “No Known Cure” this time appearing much earlier than before. Stephen and Philip are new (they would have eventually been introduced in NKC, but I thought it much more prudent to introduce them earlier). Here's hoping that I can juggle my cast!

The Contingency of Government Plan (COG), also known as the Contingency of Operations Plan (COO), is real. You can find out more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity_of_Operations_Plan

Obviously, I'm not going to follow the plan word for word (most of it is still top secret, anyway) but a lot of the elements of the Plan will be featured in the story. The only reason why I'm calling it COG instead of COO, is because COG sounds cooler. :P BTW, just because I'm talking about COG in my story, does not mean I'm taking a political stance, so please don't read it that way. I'm just here to tell a story. :)

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
peachfloss
Mar. 5th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
fajskldfljajsdkf you have no idea how much I'm freaking out over this fic. I just had to read the original fill over at the Kink Meme and even though I didn't know of this fic until now, I'm happy you're continuing it and (better yet) revising it! If I had a cent for every time a multi-chaptered fill wasn't finished... well, you know how it goes. ;___;

Gah I just love the whole Dr. America idea. Alfred in a doctor's coat = ♥. The whole emergency contact thing between Canada and England... I wonder if he'll still have the same naivety as a human... mortal... non-nation person orz And are you still planning to keep his name the same :O?

I hope you can update soon! ^^
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Hehe, glad you're enjoying it!

As for your questions, well, you'll have to wait an see.
seebearrun
Mar. 5th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
Wow, this is just so awesome! I love the backstory/exposition you're providing, the connection Evans and Deville have to the disease, Alfred's rescue and meeting of John, Preston in the bunker, the scene between Canada and England EVERYTHING is just so awesome and I love how you're adding so much to a story that's already good
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! XD
sppandaaa
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
I'm loving the way you're setting this up compared to No Known Cure~
Keep up the work~ <3 <3 <3
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Glad you approve of the changes!
dauphkantus
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
*gives you a hug and curls back up to battle her own little sickness*

I hate colds. I hate coughing. But I love stories, especially when I have so much else to deal with. <3
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Being sick sucks, hope you feel better!
dauphkantus
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
At least I get all the insanity!dream-filled sleep I can manage.

Oddly enough, it's easier to be by myself when I'm sick, than to be home and ill.
Mother doesn't believe in nursing a cold. She believes in extra vitamins and carrying on as normal.

Thanks. *hug*
windy_lea
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
Hells yes, I am looking forward to more of this~!

It's definitely got a different feel to the original, but seems to still have the spirit of it. Plus! Added depth. Bring it on, Not-so-anon!
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)
Glad you approve XD
jienyap
Mar. 5th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
i really like this story~~!

looking forward to your update..
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Thank you very much XD
hetalia17
Mar. 5th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOD.

THIS....THIS IS EVEN MORE AMAZING THAN WHEN I FIRST READ IT ON THE KINK MEME.

...I love you. Seriously. <3
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks <3
amouisrafel
Mar. 5th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
I-I-I *dies*

I got hooked on this with just the PROLOGUE. And then THIS. And It's just so heart-wrenching and frightening. Alfred's thoughts and then Canada trying to sound calm only to start panicking and Arthur going against what it seems he would do if it were anybody else. I also have a feeling I'm gonna love the OCs because you give them actual personalities! They're so human, I love it. I'm so tempted to go and read the fill on the kink meme but at the same time, knowing you're revising it, I want to be COMPLETELY surprised as each revised chapter comes out...so I'll wait and stay for what promises to be a crazy ride. <3
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 5th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed~ I'll be sure to mention when I leave the section that I already covered in the kink_meme, so you can read it without fear of spoilers.
sephydark
Mar. 12th, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
I come late again...
Oh wow, this is shaping up to be even better than the kink_meme version. And I thought that was amazing. I'm really excited to see what you change, and how it continues after you stopped there.

Also, do you mind if I friend you?
dreamslikeglass
Mar. 12th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
Re: I come late again...
Feel free to friend me! I like having friends XD
jazzchyk
Aug. 16th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
please continue... I was enjoying the fill on the Meme when it ended, and was heartbroken...
Took me a couple of hours to find this version, and now I need more.:)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )