15: FSB and MI5
The little alarm clock in Russia’s study began to beep, signalling the arrival of midnight. It had been a collaborated decision that, after the disappearance of the ladder, England and Russia would retreat to the latter’s study in the west wing, and hide out there for a period of time. England couldn't believe he’d stayed a full five hours at Russia’s house and was still alive and sober. However, he hadn't anticipated the night to get as dark and deadly as it now had.
“We need to find Belarus,” Russia was saying, and England glanced towards him. “Wherever she is, she’s got what we want. That ladder is our only chance of survival.”
“It’s like he’s bloody possessed,” England sighed. “Happy Halloween, by the way.”
“You too,” Russia murmured, as he drew a quick sketch.
“What’s that you’re drawing?” England walked over and looked over his shoulder.
“The levels of my house,” Russia said. “Ground and top. I'm trying to theorise where Belarus may be… She won’t be in the loft, because I have the key for that.”
So, even if we had got the ladder there, our efforts would have been futile, England thought, reflecting on how proud he and America had been when carrying the ladder down the east wing hallway.
Russia drew a circle in one room. “That’s where America was when we left him. There are some possible places where Belarus would've gone, but I think the most obvious is her room.”
“Her room?” England glanced at him, unsettled.
“Yes,” Russia’s face was grave. “If she’s in there, we’re going to have to be very careful about we go about these things.”
“What should the plan be?” England asked.
“How tall are you?” Russia asked, and turned in his chair to assess England.
“Oh, about five nine,” England shrugged. “Why?”
“It means you can fit through windows,” Russia said casually.
“You’re really going to need to describe this plan to me before we pull it off,” England frowned, worrying about where this was going.
“OK… it begins like this…” Russia tapped Belarus’s room with his pencil.
England found himself in an armoury not too long later. Russia was picking out pieces of equipment, but the fantastic amount of weapons kept in one room made him anxious. Russia suddenly came out of nowhere and held what looked like bungee jumping equipment in front of him. He shrugged and then nodded.
“Put that on,” he instructed, and England did as told, strapping the suit to himself.
“Will I need a helmet?” he joked.
“Yes,” Russia threw one on his head, and he adjusted it swiftly.
“Am I sky diving or something?” he frowned. “Will I really need this?”
“You’re climbing across a building,” Russia handed him rope. “You’ll need all of this.”
“What’s the rope for?” England asked uncertainly.
“Attach it to the hooks of the bungee belt, and make sure it’s securely tied on,” Russia said.
England did exactly as told.
“You’ll be using it to scale the side of the building,” Russia explained. “It’s old, so the architects made it really elaborate. There are all sorts of stone hooks and holds you can use to attach the rope to. Remember, though, that you only need to travel to Belarus’s window. If you fall, it’s not the end of the world – the snow below will cushion your fall.”
“I'm not sure that’s how it works…” England muttered, but kept the rest of the rope coiled around his arm.
Swiftly, Russia checked his equipment, and then nodded, satisfied. “I think you’re good to go.”
“What are you doing, again?” he replied moodily.
“The only reason you’re doing that part is because you can fit through windows whereas I'm too big,” Russia said. “Also, because this is my sister we’re dealing with. I can talk to her, distract her, and you’ll get the ladder out of her room. Remember to tie it to yourself to make sure it doesn't fall.”
“Yes, yes,” England rolled his eyes. “I'm also doing this because you've injured your arm and have a bullet in your leg…”
“Sorry, didn't catch that?” Russia glanced at him.
You weren't meant to, England thought.
“I'm anxious as a lark and frightened to death,” he said instead.
“You English use some really strange metaphors,” he commented. “No matter. Let’s do this plan of ours.”
Russia nodded, and they left the armoury. England noted how careful Russia was with locking it and didn't blame him. There were enough guns in that room alone to equip a small army.
They retraced their steps down the west wing hallway. There seemed to be no signs of America, thankfully, and instead they made their way upstairs. Rather than barrel straight into Belarus’s room, they headed into the room next door. Russia locked the door quietly shut behind him.
“That’s a precaution for your safety,” he added. “OK – lock the door when I leave, da? I’ll unlock the window in Belarus’s room if it’s locked. If she and the ladder aren't in there, I’ll come back and get you.”
England nodded and watched Russia leave the room. He did just as told and locked the door behind him.
Russia paused in front of Belarus’s bedroom. He took a deep breath, and then knocked.
“Big brother Russia?” Belarus opened the door and looked amazed to see him. “You ran from me earlier.”
“Yes, and I'm very sorry,” he lied, spying the ladder leaning against the wall. “I just came to apologise.”
“You fell on your arm,” she commented. “May I take a look?”
Russia casually swept into the room, stretching both arms. “They feel fine to me.”
He turned and saw her looking at him suspiciously.
“Is everything OK?” he swallowed nervously.
“Um, yeah, it’s just… you never come into my room through choice,” she shrugged and closed the door.
Russia nodded, noting his immediate escape disappear and looked out the window. He noticed a lock at the bottom and the top and started picking at the one of the bottom.
“Russia, what are you doing?” she walked over. “I want to see your arm.”
He spun round and smiled at her. “Sure.”
He flung his arm out in front of her and instantly regretted it. He sucked in a loud breath, and leant his other hand on the lock. Belarus rolled up his sleeve and studied his arm carefully. The window seemed impossible to open. Russia left her to it and glanced over his shoulder to see it was old and seemingly unusable. He curled his fist around and tugged at the lock.
“I think you've broken your arm, big brother,” Belarus commented.
“Oh, really?” he replied, distracted, as he focused on the window lock – England depended on him getting the window open.
“Big brother, you also look like you've taken a bullet wound,” Belarus sounded suddenly more eerie. “Does that mean you can’t be running around all the time…?”
Russia swallowed and paused. “I can still run.”
“How I about I inspect your leg as well, Russia?” she said. “I can be a good doctor for – what are you doing?”
“I'm hot,” Russia lied. “I want fresh air.”
“Take off that coat and scarf then,” she took a step back and put her hands on her hips. “No wonder you’re boiling.”
Russia didn't like that idea one bit. “No – I like them both too much to let go.”
“It’s always Ukraine’s stuff that you like so much, big brother!” she suddenly ranted and he looked at her in alarm, then continued with the window. “Why don’t you ever notice me? You always say how you want friends and company to get rid of your loneliness – I can read it in your eyes – but I'm right here, big brother. I've always been right here, just wanting you to notice me, and when you came in here I really thought-”
Suddenly, the window lock snapped out of place and Russia flung the windows open. A gust of window heaved its way into the room accompanied by a loud, sickening thud.
“Bollocks!” England snapped, and Russia peered out to see him swinging precariously from the rope, a red mark on his forehead where the window hit.
“Russia, what was that?” Belarus asked.
“I hit a bird,” he turned to her.
She glowered at him. “And birds say ‘bollocks’ in an English accent?”
“Oh, no, that was me,” Russia lied through his teeth. “Now that England is gone, I want to… um… copy the way he swore. Because it was funny.”
He swallowed and her gaze bore into his soul. He could feel the sweat on his forehead as the situation became worse.
“As in… eh, bollocks! Ought to… get myself a… err, cup of rosy now.”
“That didn't sound English at all, wanker,” England hissed from outside.
Belarus, fortunately, didn't hear that remark from the wind; however, she started walked towards the window.
“Where are you going?” Russia asked, nervous.
“I want to see where the bird landed,” she replied. “And if it died.”
Russia knew that, as soon as Belarus looked outside, she would see England, and they would both be dead or tortured. He racked his brains and then closed his eyes and blew out a breath.
As she walked past him with a furrowed brow, Russia pulled his younger sister into a hug.
“What?” she blinked, surprised.
“I'm just so glad to have such wonderful sisters, da?” Russia forced a bright smile. “Say, the dress your wearing is the one I got you, right?”
A disturbing blush crept across her face. “Y-yes. It is.”
“So…” Russia tried to think. “Do you remember those gloves I gave you to accompany it?”
“G-gloves?” she frowned. “I… can find them.”
No you can’t, Russia thought. They don’t exist.
“Just… come,” she panicked, clearly not wanting to upset him from not using his gifts. “It should be in my wardrobe somewhere.”
Russia followed Belarus and she opened a large wardrobe with shelves and drawers and lots of places where a small pair of gloves could be hiding, and therefore a lot of time for England to grab the ladder and go.
England had had a hard time adjusting the rope, and had slipped several times due to the thin icy layer that covered the roofs of Russia’s house. The wind didn't help, buffeting him and threatening to whip the rope away from the building. However, England tied efficient knots as well as using his general abilities as a spy to sneak into the room. He was the best of the best when it came to this. It only made sense now that he should do the sneaking and Russia do the talking.
England, head sore from the window bash and offended from Russia’s poor display of his accent, lifted himself quietly onto the window ledge and sat there in a gentle crouch. He saw the ladder propped against the wall just a little way from the window. He slipped into the room, quiet as a mouse, the very James Bond of the real world.
England smiled to himself in triumph as he stood in Belarus’s room.
“I really can’t find these gloves,” Belarus was saying.
“Oh, that’s such a shame,” Russia milked it. “I really thought they suited you… Do you remember what they looked like?”
“Um, of course I do!” she gasped.
“Oh good – then I'm sure you remember the fur on the cuffs?” Russia said, and England wondered if they were being cruel to Belarus just to get a ladder.
Then again, he was always cruel to his younger sibling, Sealand.
“They were as white as snow,” Russia reminisced just as England neared the ladder.
He closed his hands around both sides, lifting it with care, and hearing Belarus’s desperate searching in the wardrobe. Russia took one step back and smiled at England’s progress before turning his attention back to Belarus.
Suddenly the ladder, which hadn't been properly buckled when America handled it earlier, slipped out and knocked everything from Belarus’s desk, sending everything crashing to the floor.