Mr. Kirkland

Originally this was posted under my fanfiction.net account, Cardcaptor Ryoko, under the title "A Hetalian Christmas Carol." It is six chapters in length - about four to five pages in Word each - and, as implied by its original title, is a parody of Charles Dickens' classic tale, A Christmas Carol - featuring characters from the webcomic-gone-anime series, Axis Powers Hetalia.

Now I know what you're thinking: a Christmas Carol parody? Really? Well... *shrug* perhaps I write too many parodies in general. And it is a bit late, true, but circumstances prevented me from submitting it sooner. I hope that those who read this story will be entertained, despite whatever flaws it may have.
And if you notice any resemblance to the recent Jim Carey version (apologies for any misspelling), well, that version did influence this piece the most since it was the most recent version of the story I have experienced.

...I need to actually write a multi-chapter fanfic that isn’t a parody one of these days.

Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia, nor do I own A Christmas Carol. Nor do I own Sherlock Holmes or Caramel Dansen - the song or the dance that has become associated with it.

OOC/SCREWUP WARNING: The characters' human names will be used when applicable, and there may be a risk of out-of-character instances. Breaking the fourth wall, improper Sherlock Holmes cameos and overall crack is also a possibility, but not nearly as prevalent as in my first successful Fan Word here, "Wild Wild West?" And I also have modified the ending of the last chapter slightly from my version on ff.net, but only by a few sentences.
Finally, I don't want to hear any Weillschmidt vs. Beilschmidt comments - it's just... I don't know, I see Weillschmidt used more often, so for this fic, that's what I'll use.

Each chapter will be divided in pages.

Chapter One: Christmas Eve

It was yet another snowy Christmas Eve in London. Smoke rose from chilled chimney stacks as people in their homes lit their fireplaces or furnaces, carolers in their warmest winter coats sang their merry tunes of yuletide cheer, and young boys held on to the back of horse-drawn carriages as they let their feet slide along the ice, laughing and joking all the while. Yes, it was a merry sight indeed. But not everyone was so… “into” the Christmas spirit.

While others were bidding one another a happy Christmas in the streets of London town, Arthur Kirkland sat at his desk, in his office, working as he did every other day of the year. In another part of the room, at a much smaller desk and sitting upon a high stool, sat his rather disagreeable assistant, a Swiss man named Vash Zwingli. Both worked in silence, Vash occasionally glaring bloody daggers at his employer when said employer’s eyes were directed elsewhere. Now and again the sound of coins coming in contact with the hard wood of Arthur’s desk could be heard as he counted the profits of the past month, but aside from that and the scratching of feather-pens on paper and some background noise leaking in from outside, not another sound was heard. Every day in the seven years since Gilbert had passed on, the same silence usually reigned except in the presence of a client. Back when Gilbert was alive, there was almost never silence. Oh, that’s right! I forgot to introduce him.

Gilbert was dead. He was dead from the beginning. That is, if you count seven years before our story takes place as “the beginning.” Seven years the Prussian had been dead, yet his and his business partner’s firm was still called “Kirkland and Weillschmidt.” Why mention this? Well, there has to be some explanation for – never mind, that would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it? You’ll see later.

“Merry Christmas, Arthur!” A rambunctious, bespectacled blond declared as he burst through the door, shattering the silence between the miser and his assistant.

“Humbug,” Arthur replied briefly after taking one short look at his younger brother and returning to work.

“Come on, Arthur,” the brother persisted. “When are you going to stop being such a stick in the mud?”

“When you stop acting like a bloody American, Alfred.” Arthur retorted. Alfred looked quizzically at his elder brother for a moment longer, and then turned his puzzled look to Vash…. To which Vash shrugged, and continued to glare at his paper, then at Arthur, then at his paper, then at Arthur, and so on. Alfred took the hint and turned away from the angry Swiss.

“This isn’t about that,” Alfred stated. “I just wanted to come here to wish you a merry Christmas.”

“Is that all?”

“Well, no,” he admitted. “I also wanted to invite you to come to my place for Christmas dinner tomorrow evening. Half the town’s going to be there, and I didn’t invite Francis this time! I promise!” Arthur released a frustrated sigh at his brother’s outrageous proposal.

“What’s to be so merry about on Christmas anyway?” he questioned him, hoping to throw Alfred off of his happy train for just a moment.

“Say what?”

“Another day older, none the richer. What’s there to be merry about if you haven’t anything?”

“But that doesn’t matter!” Alfred pointed out. “Christmas is a time of year when you can look beyond yourself and your possessions – or lack thereof,” he added quickly, “And appreciate what you do have and what matters most! And it’s about sharing that joy with others!”

“I still don’t want any part of it,” came Arthur’s cold reply.

“But –“

“You keep Christmas your way, and I’ll keep mine,” Arthur sharply cut his brother off, now deliberately looking down at his paperwork to avoid eye contact. “Good afternoon.”

“Just listen to me –“

“I SAID, good afternoon!”

“Arthur…” Alfred’s countenance fell as his voice dropped with it. Giving one more forlorn glance at his brother, he walked back to the door. “I don’t know what’s happened to you,” he said as he opened the door to leave. “But you weren’t always like this. I know you weren’t.”

And with that, he was gone. The silence that was there before enveloped the room again as though nothing had happened to shake it. Vash glanced at the door, let out a short “hmph” and returned to his normal routine – write something down, glare at Arthur, write something down, glare at Arthur. This, however, only lasted for a space of fifteen minutes before another visitor came barging in. If Arthur believed in prayer, he would have been praying that it was a client and not another merry-maker.

That unspoken prayer was far from answered.

“Happy Christmas, kind sir!” A tall Danish man with blond, disheveled hair came in, a somewhat shorter, apathetic ash-blond teen tailing behind him. The taller one took out a notepad, and still wearing a grin possibly even wider and brighter than Alfred’s, turned to address Arthur again. “This Christmas season, there are many of London’s needy families who haven’t a home to go to. If you would be so generous as to give of your wealth to these poor, we would most sincerely appreciate it!” Before Arthur could even reply, the Dane took out a pen to write something upon the notepad. “How much should we put you down for, Mister… Are you Kirkland or Weillschmidt?”

“What are you doing, you git?!” Arthur growled at him. “I didn’t even give you an answer yet!”

“… So you wish to remain anonymous?”

“No, I wish to not give anything at all!” The Dane was dumbfounded.

“Why not?” He asked. The boy behind him looked in Vash’s direction, returning the Swiss’ cold stare with one of his own.

“Are there no prisons?” Arthur answered coldly. Vash rolled his eyes, not even bothering to make sure Arthur wouldn’t see him – he had heard this speech far too many times already, and he hated it every single time.

“Well, uh…” the Dane began to respond hesitantly. “Yeah, there are.”

“Are there no workhouses?” He asked.

“If only there weren’t,” the Dane replied. “But, unfortunately, there are.”

“Can the poor you speak of then not find shelter there?” Arthur inquired.

Dude, this guy must be completely heartless, the Dane thought before responding.

“I suppose they could,” he finally said. “But… many would rather die than go there.” The man’s companion nodded, his facial expression however never changing.

“Then let them die,” Arthur said, “And reduce the surplus population.”

By this time, the do-gooder had put away his notepad and stood speechless before the miserly Englishman. The boy just continued to stare off into space, his expression still as blank and aloof as ever.

“W… We’re sorry for bugging you, sir,” the Dane replied, his bright attitude replaced with gloom just as Alfred’s was minutes before. “Happy Christmas –“

“Good afternoon!” Arthur corrected him.

“Let’s go Norway,” the Dane whispered to his companion, who nodded again as they both hurried out the door. The ever-present silence returned again, despite the confusion of both parties still present at the visitor’s final statement.

“Christmas…” Arthur muttered. “Bah, humbug.”

As it would turn out, the time soon came for both he and Vash to close up shop. He looked at his stern assistant as he hurriedly put his work materials away and hopped off of his stool, while Arthur opened the door as he grabbed his own coat and hat.

“I presume you want the whole day off tomorrow?” Arthur asked Vash as the latter approached the coat rack as well.

“Of course. There are important matters I need to attend to.”

“Matters more important than your duty as my employee?” Arthur questioned. Little did he know….

That’s IT!” The Swiss blew up in his face. “I’m sick and tired of you always pushing me around and treating me like my priority should be solely to you – I have a life outside of this establishment, I’ll have you know, and it won’t be ruled by some selfish miser blinded to anyone else’s concerns or needs by his own selfishness!” He threw his coat on faster than one could blink and yanked the door handle from Arthur’s hand. The icy look he directed at his soon-to-be-ex-employer carried far more intensity than any of the prior glares ever had.

“Don’t bother firing me,” he spoke grimly before Arthur could even speak. “I quit.” And he slammed the door in his face with such force that not only the door frame, but the whole wall that surrounded the door, shook. Arthur stood there at the door, a little surprised, but soon regained his composure.

“I had a feeling he’d do that eventually,” Arthur muttered. “If nothing else, I can visit Toris tomorrow and see if he wants the job still.” Toris, he knew, would be much more loyal than Vash in the first place - that is, provided there wasn’t the risk of assault at the hands of a certain Russian competitor.

Eventually, Arthur did leave the doorway of his office and walked down the sidewalk to his home, emanating his foul aura everywhere he went. The carolers on the street corner lowered their joyous psalms to soft, muffled, and suspiciously in-tune whispers as he passed by, returning to their normal dynamic level as soon as he left their sight. Most children either snickered and jeered at him as he walked past them, though such were often thrown cold stares to shut them up and send them running. Those who were too timid to insult him stopped what they were doing and gawked at him, the younger ones clinging even tighter to their mothers’ skirts as said mothers hurried them along.

“Peter, what are you doing?!” one boy whispered to another, who took a clump of wet snow and began forming it into a ball as Arthur came around the corner opposite them.

“Trust me Raivis, this is going to be hysterical!” Peter reassured his shaking blond friend, lifting the mushy snow in one hand, carefully aiming it for Arthur’s head (while hiding behind a wooden barrel that oh-so-conveniently happened to be there), and despite the freezing weather, stuck his tongue out against a corner of his mouth. Arthur was getting closer now. Ever so closer.

“Ready…” Peter mused.

“This can’t be good,” Raivis muttered, now hiding behind the barrel as well. “This can’t be good at all. If he’s anything like Mr. Braginski–“

“It’s alright; he’s not nearly as scary! Aim…”

“I can’t look!”

“Nothing’s gonna happen, you big sissy! And…”

Arthur was directly parallel to the two boys now.

FIRE!

THWACK!

Yes, you read that right, “thwack.” It’s an onomatopoeia.

Before Arthur could see what was coming, the left side of his face impacted with a clump of partially melted snow. The Englishman stopped and snapped his head in the direction from which the slushy projectile came.

“WHO DID THAT?!”

“I’m really sorry Peter!” Poor Raivis, too frightened to think sensibly, darted out from behind the barrel and ran like a baby rabbit being pursued by a ravenous wolf. Arthur stormed in the direction from which the boy ran, ignoring him altogether. He leaned over the barrel to see, sure enough, his brother’s knave of an apprentice.

“Peter…” Arthur muttered in a voice capable of chasing the vilest of demons from his sight. The boy merely stared at him with his blue eyes, stood up, and threw another snowball point-blank into Arthur’s face. The Englishman’s face was not red from the cold now, necessarily, but from his utter fury.

“WHAT’RE YOU DOING, UNCLE ARTHUR?!” Peter cried in defiance as his elder pulled at one of his cheeks. “This is bloody child abuse!”

“This is the nineteenth century!” Arthur replied. “There is no concept of child abuse yet! And don’t call me Uncle!”

“Still doesn’t make it right!”

“I’ll show you what’s right, you little – “ Peter somehow managed to pry Arthur’s hand off and was now running in the same direction that Raivis had gone earlier, stopping only once to stick his tongue out at “sir Arthur the Jerk” in his flight.

“The boy has no respect for his elders,” Arthur remarked. “Just like his idiot of a master.”

Several blocks and down the lane later, Arthur arrived at the front gate of his mansion. On the exterior, the mansion seemed as cold and uninviting as its sole resident – but by no means was it run-down. Arthur saw to it that his housekeeper, Kiku, kept both the outside and the inside of the house in superior condition. The only cruel thing of this was that whatever expenses had to go toward this end were taken out of the poor man’s already scanty paycheck. And since Kiku wasn’t Christian, Arthur could work him twice as hard as usual on Christmas Day and he wouldn’t utter a complaint. Although, that was changing, and he still requested New Year’s Day off, but for one who worked like Kiku did, he didn’t quite entirely mind giving him that pleasure. … And if push came to shove, he supposed he would grant him Christmas Day off.

He began to fish through his pockets for the key to his gate before he remembered that the lock to that thing had been broken for years – and, just his luck, it turned out when he sent Kiku to fix it that every locksmith in England declared it irreplaceable and beyond repair. Arthur was too cheap, and Kiku not paid enough, to buy a new one. He pushed them open, and shut them again. What’s the point of shutting gates that wouldn’t lock? Everything in the world if all of the town’s thieves assumed it was locked and weren’t agile enough to attempt jumping it. Gilbert taught him that one.

The miser walked up the stairway to the large double doors, taking his key to both doors and unlocking them. He reached for the ring of one of the door knobs, normally shaped like a lion’s head, to see something rather different – and far more startling - altogether.

“Boo.”

“AACK!” Arthur, taken aback, staggered backwards and nearly fell down the stairs again. He could have sworn that replacing the lion’s head on the doorknob...

Was Gilbert’s.