'Magic boosters... Tyson... Christmas... So much to think about all at once' Finland commented to himself that night as he lay on the floor of the dirty shack. Not only that, but something strange had occurred during his and Alice's walk back earlier that day.

There they had been, strolling along rather silently. The most recent events held at Costco were perplexing and enough to discourage any chatter, so only the sounds of the rain and their booted footsteps broke the reticence.

All of a sudden, though, a strong gust of wind came along out of nowhere and threatened to rip the umbrella out of his hand. To a strong nation like Finland, keeping his grip on the handle proved to not be too difficult, but the need to be careful with holding the umbrella was prominent. Alice, walking at his side, leaped up and tapped her hand on the shaft of the tool and shouted, "Hey!"

The wind instantly died away.

It took Tino a second to process what had happened, but his eyes were wide when he turned them to look at her. "Uh... What did you just do, Alice?"

"I dunno... I just do that whenever the wind picks up, and then it leaves me alone," she explained simply. Her blue eyes were suddenly wider with worry, as if it had never occurred to her that maybe that was a bad thing.

He glanced up at the underside of the umbrella's silver canopy, then returned his gaze to his niece. "You said the umbrella has your magic in it, right?" Alice nodded, using a dirt-streaked hand to sweep her ragged bangs out of her eyes. "Hmm... Maybe, then... I think that your element could be air, Alice."

"My element?" Oregon repeated curiously.

"Yeah! Well-- okay, how do I explain this...?-- You know how Willow can control water better than anything, right?" Finland inquired, hoping that she would understand what he was trying to say.

The question made her face light up. "Oh, yeah! She's really good at that!"

"I'm willing to bet that you could control air like she controls water." 'Of course, that's just an assumption. Norway or England would know more about this than I do.'

"Ohh... I'm like an airbender!" Alice said excitedly, pulling her clenched fists close to her chest in a determined pose. "I'm Aang!"

"... I don't think I'm familiar with that," Tino admitted.

Now, back in the present, he pondered that idea more while lying on the ground and covered in a couple of thin blankets. It became far too cold at night to sleep without his boots and jacket, so he was more or less fully dressed.

'Less than nine days from now, we'll be back on our way to Norway. I can definitely protect everyone from harm for at least that long.' Butterflies fluttered in his stomach despite his best attempts to quell their excitement. 'It's almost Christmas...! I wonder if I should plan what to get for the other nations. Oh, of course I should; what am I thinking? Okay, for Denmark, I should definitely bring beer...'


Cough. Cough-cough, cough!

"Are you okay, Yao?" Alice asked her best friend curiously as he coughed into his elbow and sat up straight to get more air.

"I-I'm fine," he answered when the bout was over. His voice was quieter, even raspy.

"... Are you getting sick?" she pressed, peering into his eyes with suspicion written across her face. "Are you warm?"

"No, I'm fine," Yao insisted, frowning as he peered right back at her fearlessly. "Are you getting sick?"

"No, of course not," Alice boasted confidently. "I don't get sick."

Silver UmbrellasRead this story for FREE!