It was the next day when Romano saw the Brit again, not due to Arthur being out late, but more to do with Romano still being angry at the suggestion that Antonio was a brother to him.
He was still half asleep as he entered the kitchen, Arthur quietly sipping his tea while reading the newspaper only to look up at him;
“Ciao,” Romano muttered as he rifled through the cupboard and found the one with tea and hot chocolate, after much searching her let out a shriek when he found that Arthur had no coffee.
“There are plenty of café’s around,” Arthur tried to placate the coffee addict, while he took the last dregs of his own tea.
Romano turned to glare at him; “How can you not have coffee?! You have a million different types of tea and hot chocolate but no god damn coffee!”
“Why the hell would I buy any coffee? I don’t drink it and had you asked me last night I would have got some for you, instead you just crept around in your room and trying to avoid me like I’m the bloody mafia!” He snapped back, glaring at the other nation.
“Italian’s like their coffee,” Romano growled; “You’ve met my brother enough times to know that,”
“Actually I never really saw him drink any coffee at all,”
“What! Stop lying bastardo….” Although he trailed off, thinking; I’ve never seen Veneziano drink as much as I do.
Arthur appeared to have calmed himself down; “Since you’re already dressed, I have an idea for today, aside from getting you some coffee; I was thinking that maybe you want to have a tour of London,”
The Italian just looked at him, Arthur wasn’t being oblivious like Spain, he argued with him, though he hadn’t been surprised, but he never expected Britain to be so calm after a war of words.
“A tour of London?”
“Yes, there’s a tour bus…”
“Ha! Because you don’t know your own city that well!”
Arthur glared at him; “Actually it’s because the views from the bus are always spectacular, better than from walking around,”
“So, coffee…” Romano couldn’t argue with him on that point, although he had never been on a double decked bus before, he had seen on the news that the people in Britain travelled that way.
“Come along, there must be a café in this area that does your kind of coffee,” Arthur folded his newspaper and took his cup to the sink; “If we go now the bus won’t be busy either,”
Romano walked back upstairs to put his shoes on as Arthur got his from the cupboard by the door, the blonde was ready to go as he waited for the Italian to slowly descend from the stairs, looking completely exhausted.
Perhaps he doesn’t need a cup of coffee; he needs to have it pumped into him. Arthur thought, noticing that although tired, the Italian still looked well dressed.
As they left the house, they walked by a few café’s, the most notable was a Starbucks.
“God damn American,” Romano muttered loudly and Arthur stopped himself from laughing.
He didn’t realise that Romano didn’t really like America, but then the Southern Italian didn’t really seem to like anyone.
“I don’t think that quiet sums him up,” He commented as they stopped in front of another coffee shop.
“Ah, coffee…” Romano ran in and bought himself two cups, drinking them both quickly.
As he came back out, Arthur just stared at him; the Italian looked more lively already.
That’s freaky. He thought to himself before he spoke; “All right?”
“Ci,” He said as they begun to walk to the station; “So, a tour bus…”
“Yes,” Arthur nodded; “I have never been on one, so I don’t trust what the recordings tell you,”
“Tch, it’s your country… Your city, you should know about its history,” Romano pointed out and the Brit nodded; “Then tell me yourself,” He walked off in the wrong direction and looked at the other nation; “What?!”
“You idiot, you’ve never been to London before! What makes you think you know your way around?!”
“Well excuse me Mr former God damn Empire, but you’re not giving me any directions!”
“Lovino we’re going this way,”
“Who said you could call me that?!” Romano snapped, forgetting the conversation that they had less than twenty-four hours ago.
Arthur just looked at him, how could he forget something like that?
He coughed before he replied; “Yesterday you asked me to just call you Lovino, but I can just stick to Romano,”
The brown haired Italian blushed in embarrassment; “Yea, well, you can just call me that then,” He whispered as he followed Arthur round another corner to the bus stop.
The two waited in silence, Romano trying to get over his embarrassment, while Arthur worried over the tour.
What if I forget something? Of course how would he know? But suppose he decides to… His thoughts were silenced, as the other nation spoke to him and pointed to a bus that was coming towards the stop.
“That’s the one,” Arthur said and Romano rolled his eyes.
“Ci, the words ‘Tour Bus’ give the game away,”
He choose to ignore that comment; “They’ll give you headphones and a rainmate,”
“Rainmate?” He raised an eyebrow, not understanding what the word meant.
“Waterproofs, in case it rains,”
“The sky is clear…”
“Well, we can have all four sessions in the one day,”
He blinked before shaking his head and getting on the bus as Arthur paid, muttering; “You Brits are crazy,” in Italian.
The Brit chuckled as he made his way on the bus and they went to the top deck; “Where?”
“Front,” Romano said, moving quickly as he could although he almost fell over a few times.
“They won’t be moving just yet,” Arthur tried to calm him as they sat down; “Oh I forgot to say…”
The bus began to move, given that they had no shelter above them and that they were in London, the wind was rather breezy, causing the Italian curl to hit Arthur in the face who kept pushing it away.
“”S… Stop that!” Romano shouted, shaking.
“Get it away,” The other nation said with another swat.
“D…Don’t t… Touch…” He spluttered.
“Tch,” Arthur carefully stood up and sat behind him.
“Pervert,” He snapped, now that no one was touching his hair curl.
“Excuse me?” Arthur just looked at him in surprise as he turned to glare at the Brit.
“You heard you god damn tea lover,” He spat out glaring at him.
Arthur had no idea what he did… Oh, right. The hair curl, it’s sensitive to the Italian brothers. How did I forget that?
“Ah, well, sorry about that,” He said and looked around him; “We’re coming to Wellingtons Arch,”
Romano was about to yelled at him, but stopped when he saw the arch. It was huge, then there was the bronze statue’s on top of it, a chariot with an angel.
Arthur never said anything, letting the other nation just look at the arch in wonder.
“It’s almost like the ones in Rome,” Romano said quietly.
“Next is Marble Arch, which was based on the arch of Constantine,” Arthur informed him, as the bus stopped to pick up other tourists; “Romano, perhaps we should move to that side,” He gestured to the right side, so that the other’s hair curl wouldn’t hit anything.
As they sat down, he carried on; “It was in place on The Mall, as a gateway to Buckingham palace, back in 1828 the palace didn’t have its flat east front, so the inner courtyard, flanked by two wings, were still open on one-side, so the Marble Arch was placed there. Later the Arch was moved here,” Arthur gestured to the large traffic island and Romano just stared at it; “It was during the building of the east front of the palace back in… 1855, although there is a popular story which says the Arch was moved because the Queen’s state coach couldn’t pass through,” He chuckled, not realising that although there was only another few tourist’s on the top deck, they were all listening to him; “However that’s not true, since the same state coach passed under is during Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation back in 1953.”
“Are you a tour guide?” One tourist asked, Arthur looked at the lady in surprise, the accent obviously Australian… His former colony.
He felt heat rise up his neck as he shook his head; “Err, no…It’s just easier to hear for my Italian friend,”
“Oh, well you are doing such a good job, I usually come on here every time I come, which is usually every few years,” The lady smiled; although her big sunglasses hid her eyes, so Arthur wasn’t sure if it was a true smile or not; “But you’ve given me enough information to process without getting lost,”
Romano just watched the Brit with a smirk, seeing that Arthur hadn’t a clue how to take such a compliment. You flirt with the lady and then move on, like an Italian.
“Well…” Arthur coughed and saw the others looked at him, Oh what the hell! ; “There is Hyde park,” He pointed to the green grounds, there was a large pathway; “That is Speakers Corner, as the name suggests the speakers can speak on any subject that they wish, so long as the police consider the speeches to be lawful. Of course this isn’t restricted to Hyde Park; the freedom of speech applies to anywhere in Britain, the police are tolerant, since no subject is proscribed, therefore they only intervene when they have received a complaint or if they hear profanity. The corner used to be visited by the likes of George Orwell, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Kwame Nkrumah and it’s exsistence is frequently upheld as a demonstration of free speech,” Arthur said with a slight nod as they began to drive away from the park; “Anyone can turn up unannounced and talk on nearly any subject, although there is a risk of being heckled,”
“So, why is London the only place that has one?” A young man asked him, everyone had moved to be closer to the two nations, Romano hadn’t noticed, he was so busy looking at what was around him, while Arthur was hoping the ‘audience’ wouldn’t be picky on his knowledge of the past.
“It’s not; I know that in city centres on certain days of the week, mainly the weekend, there are people who do the same thing. As for a Speakers Corner, well aside from London, Leeds, Nottingham and Worthington have places in parks; nations, such as Canada, Australia, Thailand and Singapore all have an area where people can have free speech without risk of the law getting involved,”
Arthur took a breath; he could see where they were going as he looked behind himself, towards Baker Street Tube Station.
“Ah, on the left, the road parallel to us is the well-known Baker Street, home to that fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.” He looked over to Romano who was busy admiring the houses; probably doesn’t have a clue who Holmes is anyway; “It’s also home to Baker Street Underground, which is one of the world’s oldest surviving underground stations,”
A few people got off, some to see the Sherlock Museum and other’s for Madame Tussauds wax works.
“So, what about Madame Tussauds?” Romano spoke, pointing to the odd shape building; “Eyesore,”
“Tourists can’t miss it,”
“What can you tell us about Tussauds?” Another woman asked him.
“Well… the museum used to be on Baker Street, but due to the rising costs and restricted space, it was moved to where it is now. However back when Madame Tussades was alive; the main attraction was the Chamber of Horrors, and that section included many of the victims of the French Revolution and newer figures of murders and other criminals. Later still other famous people were added, including Horatio Nelson and Sir Walter Scott. In fact there are still some sculptures that were done by Madame Tussauds herself that still exist,” Arthur paused for a moment, more people had joined to top deck and all were listening, he had to admit, he was nervous, even if everything he was saying was true; “Ehm, so, the oldest figure on display is that of Madame du Barry, it’s called The Sleeping Beauty, other faces include King George III and Benjamin Franklin,”
“Who is Madame du Barry?” An American man asked.
Arthur supressed a groan, Alfred’s people did have a right to visit this country too, he supposed, but did it have to be the annoying ones?; “She was the official mistress of Louis XV, later, when the French Revolution happened she was arrested and executed,”
The rest of the tour was much the same, not that Romano had a problem, he could easily listen in to what the Brit was saying, or let himself be taken away by that around him.
“Oh, we’re coming up to Berkeley Square,” Arthur grinned, he looked back and saw most of the tourists had gone, only a few remained; “The most famous mansion here is 50 Berkeley Square, due to it being the most haunted house in London,”
That perked everyone up, Arthur wasn’t surprised, history was all well and good, but people liked the unknown, ghosts and the like which could make their minds work.
“It was the late nineteenth century that 50 Berkeley Square was known as the most haunted house in London, this was thanks to the amount of press coverage. Years before a Mr Myer’s had rented the place, having it done over for his wife to be, however just before his wedding his bride ran off which resulted in him becoming a recluse, as well as being rather eccentric. He took to wandering about the house each evening by candlelight, the strange behaviour of Mr Myers attracted the press and so the tale of the haunted house in Berkeley Square began…”
Arthur gazed at them, most were puzzled, probably wonder how this was meant to be a scary haunted house when it was just the press.
“The room that he locked himself away in was said to have a chilling atmosphere, although the business that now rents the house states that there has been nothing untoward happening. However there is that room,” He pointed to the top room of the building; “After Mr Myers had died, the house was rented out again to a new family, one of the maids who went up to clean the room for a ladies fiancé was found rigid with fright, constantly repeating the words ‘don’t let it touch me’. She was taken to hospital and died the next day,”
“After the scandal of Myers?” The American man had sadly not left them yet.
“Yes. I know, it could easily have just been the papers messing with people’s heads,” He conceded; “Of course, there is always a skeptic in a group and Berkeley Square was no exception, he took up the challenge to prove there was nothing in the room, so he told his friends that he would ring the bell once if he was comfortable and twice if he should become scared,” Arthur paused for a moment and looked at all the faces, eager to hear the result of this little ‘test’; “That night the bell rang once, then after a few seconds it began to ring franticly, the friends ran up to assist to find that he had died,”
“That’s so sad,” One woman said and he nodded.
“These days no one is allowed in that room, out of fear that what happened back then could happen again. The fear is still so strong that the book shop that now owns the house does not allow one employee to be alone in the house. If you wander around the shop, you would see a notice in a frame, it was written out by the police back in the 1950’s stating that the top floor of the building was not to be used at all, not even for storage. The premises were declared ‘unsafe’ although the building is perfectly sound. The notice remains on the wall as it had never been revoked,”
“That’s freaky,” Romano stated and other’s agreed with him.
“Well, this is where we get off,” Arthur told the Italian who nodded and when the bus stopped they got off.
Once they had stepped onto the pavement they heard a big cheer from the top deck, Arthur blushed while Romano noticed that the people below just looked confused.
“You’re in the wrong job!” He laughed.
“You know, I need a drink,” He said as they walked off; “And food,” He checked his watched.
Romano looked at the watch and blinked; “We were on that bus for FOUR HOURS?!
“Well it did take you around London and you never complain,” Arthur snapped back.
“Nothing that was worthwhile to know! The gardens were the only interesting bit of the whole tour!”
“You bloody git! If you only wanted to see the gardens we could have gotten off!”
“You were busy!”
“What? I could easily have left the bus if you asked me to. You’re as annoying as your brother,” Arthur huffed and walked ahead, he stopped and turned to Lovino; “Come along, we don’t have all day,”
“Yea, most of it was spent on that god damn bus,”