"Oh God." England sobbed when he saw the remains of the towers. "Oh God."
He slowly sank to his knees. There was no way they were finding America in that. There were probably more people still trapped than countries in the world. One look was all it took for England to convince himself that they would never find him. England, though he would never actually say it to anyone, still cared about America a great deal. The thought that they would never find the American was devestating to the Brit.
"Papa!" a voice cried before France was knocked to the ground by a sobbing Canada. The Canadian was speaking in rapid French but France couldn't understand him because of the fact he was using Canadian French, which contained different slang and a different accent.
"Canada, mon cher, settle down s'il vous plaît." France pleaded with his former little brother. "Mon frére, it will be alright."
"B-But Al... We've been looking and we can't find him." Canada said in a shaky voice.
"¡Quiero encontrar mi hermanito!" Mexico wailed before clinging to Spain. "I'll never break into his house, call him a Gringo, or bring up the Alamo again if we find him!"
"And I'll never- I'll never complain about how I get beat up for the things he does again!" Canada bartered. "I just want him back, eh."
"C-Canada," England said softly, "it's alright lad. I-I'm sure the wanker's around here somewhere. Let's not start bartering yet."
"Why not? They've been through denial and anger. Barting is the next stage of grief, da." Russia pointed out.
"That's for death, my friend." Brazil said. "America's not dead." He checked his watch. "China and Hong Kong should be here soon."
Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Liechenstein landed at the same time as Austria, Hungary, and Germany. Slovenia's eyes lit up when he saw his former guardians. "Matti! Oče!"
He ran to them and wrapped his arms around them. Hungary dropped her suitcase and returned it. Slovenia lived with them from the Holy Roman Empire until 1918, so he considered them his adopted parents as they practically raised him. Austria surprisingly hugged the Slovene. The three of them were just happy that they were all okay. Hungary held out an arm and gestured for Italy to join, which he gladly did. Germany and Switzerland exchanged an awkward look as Liechenstein joined the group hug. Neither of them were the hugging type.
Hungary broke the hug. "Vell, ve have a nation to help. Vhen ve find him, Italy and Germany, you'll stay with him as you are his friends. The rest of us here vill help vherever ve're needed. Sound like a plan."
There was a chorus of "ja"s, with a "sì" added in. "What about us, aru?"
They all turned to the direction of the voice. China and Hong Kong were standing there. Hungary smiled at them. "China, you'll be vith America as you are also his friend. Hong Kong, you can help us."
"I guess that's fine." the teenager replied.
"Why do we have to stay with America, aru?" China asked curiously. Surely the superpower could handle himself when they found him. And knowing the American, he was going to insist he was fine and want to go help.
Hungary's face darkened, causing the Germanic, Italian, and Slavic nations to wisely back up. "You're joking, right? America is most likely seriously hurt. And think of the mental and emotional toll this vill take on him. I lived vith Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Holy Roman Empire, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Croatia, and Romania. Bosnia also lived with us for a few years. We are all human personifications of our nations and America is a teenager. I know how tragedy effects teenagers from vhen Austria and I vere married. Every nation that vas under our control vent through it. America vill be devastated. I'm sure in your long life, you have seen how tragedy effects our kind, especially vhen your younger siblings and you went through it. But it vill be better for America if his friends are vith him. I'm not talking about current allies, I mean nations that he has know personally for years and trusts them as people."
"Zat's a compelling argument." Germany agreed.
"I guess I can see the logic in that, aru." China said. "As long as you promise to keep an eye on Hong Kong for me."
"Of course China." Hungary assured him. "Let's go."
China, Hong Kong, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany, and Italy all met up with the others. Italy immediately hugged Japan and started to cry. For once, the Japanese man did not push the Italian away from him. He understood how upset Italy was as he was equally as upset. Hungary wacked Prussia with her frying pan before hugging him. "Don't you ever make us vorry like that again."
"Ve- I mean Elizaveta thought you vere on one of ze planes. She vouldn't shut up about it." Austria added.
Hungary raised an eyebrow. "Vhat are you talking about, Rodreich? That vas you."
Austria's face went beet red. "Nein! I-I vasn't vorried... Okay, maybe a little but Elizaveta vas ze one freaking out."
"Uh-huh. Sure she was, Oče." Slovenia said. "Admit it, you care about Prusija too." He turned to the Prussian. "I was worried too. Ask Italija."
"You guys vere vorried about me?" Prussia asked.
There was a clang of Hungary's frying pan coming in contact with Prussia's head. "Of course ve vere! Idiot! Ve thought you vere on one of the planes because you veren't answering your phone."
"Ja Bruder... I thought-I thought you vere hurt..." Germany admitted. "I called Hungary again after I realized you veren't answering your phone."
Prussia hugged his brother. "Kesesese West, I didn't think you vould get zat vorked up. Ja, I guess awesome me should have answered my phone, but I vas busy helping to look for America."
"Speaking of," Hungary said, "after we find him, I believe his close friends and family should stay with him while the rest of us help vhere ve're needed."
"Define 'close friends and family.'" Argentina ordered.
"Canada, Mexico, England, France, Japan, Russia, China, Italy, and Germany." she replied. "The rest of us can help vith the rescue effort and vhatever else needs done. That vay America has his friends and family to help him heal mentally and the stress removed by the rest of us handling vhatever needs done."
"That makes sense." Brazil said. "More will be coming, so there will be more to help with recovery and rescue."
"Excuse me." a voice said. They turned around and saw a rescue worker. He turned to Mexico. "You are Alfred's sister?"
"Sí. Soy la hermana de Alfred." she replied. "¿Por qué?"
"My partner and I found him in the wreckage of the South Tower. He's still alive." the man replied.
Reactions were varied. Canada and Mexico cried in relief and hugged France and Spain respectively. England's legs gave out beneath him and he had to grab France's shoulder for support. Italy clung tightly to Japan and bawled his eyes out. Germany and China sighed in relief. And Russia showed no outward reaction, but was relived because it meant he could still fight with his rival.
"Where is he?" Canada demanded.
"My partner sent me the address to give to his family." the man said as he handed the Canadian a napkin with an address scratched onto it.
"¡Gracias!" Mexico cried before kissing the rescue worker on both cheeks. "¡Muchas gracias!"
"Um... De nada." he replied before rushing off.
"Come on. I know where this one is. It's in driving distance." Canada said. "Between Rosa and I, we have enough room for everyone that's going. I'll let Rosa borrow my GPS."
"¿Dondé está?" Mexico asked. "Is it nearby?"
"It's in Pennsylvania. My guess is nearby hospitals are overfilling and they're sending them out of state. It might be a good sign because it indicates his injuries aren't life threatening to a human as it's three hours away." Canada explained.
"How many kilometers?" Germany asked.
"America doesn't use the bloody metric system." England said irritably. "Converting miles to kilometers would require us to know the formula and we don't have time to do bloody math right now."
"Just go, mates." Australia ordered. "We'll handle this."
The nine nations entered the Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Canada and Mexico had gone as fast as they could without breaking the speed limit enough to draw police attention, as being pulled over would waste time. But during that time, the other nations were terrified for their lives. They had driven on I-78 and the five Europeans and two Asians had decided never to drive on an American Interstate again. The two and a half hour car ride had been made up of the news blaring over the radio, construction, the two North Americans swearing colorfully at drivers who cut them off, more construction, and several near crashes. Canada informed them that it normally would've taken them three hours.
Canada approached the reception desk. "Excuse me, eh. We're looking for my brother, Alfred."
The receptionist huffed in annoyance and glared at him. "Look buddy, we're very busy here. We've been getting patients from D.C. and Manhattan, along with our normal patients. In fact we're swamped. If you think I have time to look up your brother's name, then you're mistaken. You'll have to have a seat and wait until things calm down."
England came up, his eyes swimming with the wrath of the empire he once was. "Excuse me, Miss. We understand that you are extremely busy, but that gives you no excuse to be rude to us. Our relative was pulled out of the towers and we were told he was sent here. We are extremely worried and we do not need your bloody attitude telling us that you're too busy to tell us if he's alright or not."
She sighed. "Name?"
"Alfred F. Jones." the Brit replied.
"We have an Alfred brought in earlier via life flight. Blond hair, blue eyes, nineteen. Fit the description?"
"Yes. Yes that's Al." Canada confirmed eagerly before turning to the other nations. "He's here!" He turned back to the receptionist. "Where is he?"
Canada's eagerness and excitement faded. ICU? Life flight? Exactly how bad was his brother hurt? A million questions began running through his mind along with dozens upon dozens of scenarios. He turned to England and noticed the other nation had gone visibly pale. He glanced at the receptionist. "How bad is he hurt, eh?"
"I'm not authorized to tell you, sir. The doctor will have to inform you of his condition." she replied before going back to her work.
England grabbed Canada's wrist and pulled him over to the other nations. Italy cocked his head in curiosity. "Is America okay?"
England cleared his throat after a moment of silence. "S-She wouldn't tell us. S-Said she was unauthorized. But America is- America is in the ICU."
"Ve~ What's that?" Italy questioned.
"It stands for 'Intensive Care Unit,' da?" Russia asked. "That means Amerika's injuries are worse than we thought."
"Not necessarily." France replied. "'E was brought in from an disaster. Perhaps it's just protocol. We 'ave to 'ave 'ope that Amérique is alright."
"Fuck your damn hope." England spat. "If Alfred's in the ICU, then he's seriously hurt."
"Now's not ze time for a fight." Germany growled. "Ve are unware of America's condition. For all ve know, it is protocol here."
"Hai. Germany-san is correct. Ret's just go to the ICU and see what we can find out."
A Little While Later
The ICU was busy. Nurses and doctors were running around, wheeling patients on hospital beds. Most of them were victims of the attacks. Several were covered in bandages and had tubes going in and out of their bodies. STNAs trailed the hospital beds pushing IV lines and oxygen machines. Germany approached the nurses' station.
"Excuse me, ve are looking for our friend, Alfred. He vas brought in from ze towers."
The nurse gave him a look of pity. "I'm sorry, Honey. Yinz'll have to sit in the waiting area until things settle."
The nations sighed and sat down in the uncomfortable chairs. Several wished they had brought something to do because they had a feeling they would be waiting for a long time.
Four hours. That's how long the nine nations waited. They had read and reread the same out dated magazines full of drama and useless things like how to look 'sexy.' As a result, France complained about the lack of nudity and that Americans were too conservative because of that. Italy had entertained himself with the children's toys in the corner to keep himself occupied because he didn't want Germany yelling at him for complaining. China kept texting Hong Kong to make sure he was alright until his brother stopped responding. England was pacing. Germany was writing notes for the next meeting. Japan was sleeping. Russia was doing God knows what on his phone. And Canada and Mexico were repeatedly checking to see if the ICU had settled down.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, a doctor approached them: "I am told you are Alfred's friends?"
"More or less." England replied as China awoke Japan.
"I'm Dr. Smith. Alfred's very lucky. He's in critical condition, but he's stable. He suffered a severe concussion, several broken ribs, one of his lungs collapsed twice, two compound fractures in his left leg, a broken wrist, and several cuts and bruises. He's also suffering from smoke inhalation and he has a first-degree burn on his left leg. As I said, he's very lucky." the doctor informed them. "What we're mainly concerned with is the lung and the concussion. The good news is, we expect him to make a full recovery and he's responsive, which lessens the worry of him slipping into a coma. It was good that he was awake when he was found. We will be moving him in the morning and that will be when you can see him. Any questions?"
"Why can't we see him now?" Mexico demanded.
"We've sedated him and he won't be awake until tomorrow afternoon. Also, visiting hours are over and we only allow family to visit in the ICU." Dr. Smith explained. He handed England some paperwork. "If you could please fill this out, it would be greatly appreciated and I will have his personal items released to you. Just hand it over to the nurses' station."
"Thank you, Doctor." Canada said.
The doctor nodded and left them. England quickly filled out the paperwork that was handed to him, occasionally asking Canada for some information he didn't know. He took it to the nurses' station when he was finished and was given a plastic bag full of America's personal items. The nation's went through them together. A charred wallet, a destroyed cell phone, a set of dog tags which Canada took, the tattered clothes America was wearing, his shoes, and house keys. Canada and Mexico both frowned.
"Throw everything but the wallet, shoes, keys, and dog tags away." Mexico instructed. "I can't help but feel something is missing."
"I know, eh." Canada agreed. "Don't throw the phone away; that can be recycled."
"What do you mean something is missing, aru?" China asked.
"Da, they're right. Amerika normally carries a hand gun on him." Russia informed them.
"Hai. I remember America-san using it once." Japan said. "He said he never went anywhere without it."
"They probably confiscated it." England told them. "God knows where we have to go to get that bloody thing back."
"Security probably has it." Germany said in response. "Or it might not even be here. He may have had to hand it over to security vhen he had to enter ze building he vas in."
"I'll check his house later to see if he left it there, but it won't hurt to check here." Mexico said. "We might as well get some sleep."
I didn't quite make three thousand words with this chapter. Oh well. The receptionist, the nurse, and Dr. Smith are purely fictional and not based off of real people. Again, you can imagine them however you want. And the Hershey Hospital was the only one I could think of that wasn't too far away from New York City. I do not know if victims of the 9/11 Attack were actually sent here or not. It's about halfway between New York City and D.C. and about four hours away from Shanksville, PA where the fourth plane went down (I know because I've been to both Hershey and Somerset County PA). And I wrote motherly Hungary because it's my head canon that Hungary was very motherly towards most of the nations that lived with her and Austria.
This work is purely fictional and any references to real people are unintentional unless I say otherwise (ex: politicians). I do not own Hetalia. And I own Slovenia, Argentina, and Brazil.
¡Quiero encontrar mi hermanito! is Spanish for "I want to find my baby brother!"
Matti and Oče are Slovenian for "Mother" and "Father" respectively.
Sí. Soy la hermana de Alfred. is Spanish for "Yes. I am Alfred's sister."
"¿Dondé está? is Spanish for "Where is it at?"
I apologize for any language or historical errors.