You hold back what would be a terribly loud and obnoxious laugh, closing the manga quickly. Tears stream down your face a little and you cover your mouth desperately. And once you calm down, you open the manga to that page again and nearly die of laughter once more. You hold it back, not wanting to wake up the rest of the house that was asleep at 12:07 AM.
Your eyes absorb the face of your favourite character of the whole manga series; America, from the infamous Axis Powers Hetalia. He wears the most ridiculous face ever in the panel that you can't help but stare at. And England disapprovingly pokes his head out from behind him in the form of a chibi.
Slowly, you peel your eyes away from that panel and move on to the next one, which is to the left. Reading the next text boxes, you hold back the threatening laughter again. Your eyes greedily move downward, onto the next panel, until you've reached the end of that chapter and are greeted by an adorable chibi Italy.
You close the manga again, burying your face into the pillow not too far away, and laugh into that; hoping the sound will be muffled. It was, of course, and once you finish, you sit up and reach for the manga.
There was nothing better for you to do with your time anyway on this dull Saturday night: so reading manga was normally a good thing to keep you occupied until about 3 AM when you finally would feel sleepy. But you've got less than three hours until then, so you open the manga back up.
And after reading the second-to-the-last chapter, you sigh heavily and lay back on your pillow, staring up at the ceiling.
"I wish these guys were real," You say dreamily for the umpteenth time. Daydreaming of the moment when the characters will peel themselves off of the manga page isn't foreign to you at all. Not by a long shot.
You open the manga yet again and read a text box before groaning loudly, wanting for your hopeless yearning to go away. It seems like with every word you read, the more you wish they were real; knowing this is probably extremely unhealthy, you try to push that from your mind and try to just enjoy the manga again.
While reading, you can always hear their voices from the anime: America's loud laugh, England's posh accent, France's perverted laugh, the lack of the letter S coming from China, Japan's L-less vocaburary.
On the page, England and France are back at it again while America just sits by and cosigns.
'You want to start another 100 Year's War, Frog Face?!'
'You'll just lose again! Let Big Brother France show you how to rumble!'
Their voices are clear. And as your eyes move from panel to panel, you see everything in vivid colour, along with their fluent motions: but you stop reading and close the manga, setting in down beside you.
"Completely unhealthy," you mumble to yourself and roll onto your side away from the manga. You close your eyes, trying to get their voices away from your dream-dipped mind. Any more of the fantasy world and you just might become a cosplayer that lives in her costume, believing that you're a character from some fictional realm.
That's the last thing you want at the moment.
'England, look at what you've done!'
'Me?! You're the one who went overboard! Just shut up, she's trying to go to sleep!'
'She isn't trying to go to sleep, she wants you two idiots to shut up!'
'What do you know? What do either of you gits know?'
You sit up quickly and look back over at the manga: Had the manga just said something? Or was it just your imagination?
You slowly lay back down, staring at the book, waiting for it to speak again…And to your surprise, its America's voice who speaks first.
'Too late. She's already onto us.'
'Shut your trap! She'll hear us!'
'America's right, she already knows. I think you two over did it.'
'Who are you to blame us?! You wouldn't just be quiet when she was finished reading!'
'Guys, I'm gonna go say hi, all right?'
'Are you daft?! We can't just walk out of here whenever we please!'
'Sure. I'm gonna go say hi.'
You sit up again and get off of the bed, glaring at the manga, unsure of what you just heard. After a second, you decide that you truly are obsessed or even something more than that. You walk back over to your bed and pick up the manga, and you open it up, not sure of what to expect.
The pages are blank.
You slowly set the manga down onto the bed and calmly walk over to a mirror; you look at yourself, making sure you don't appear to be a lunatic at the least. You decide at that moment when your family wakes up, you are going to tell them to get you to a psychologist or a therapist or something. Anything; but then you feel the slightest poke at your foot.
Just as slowly as you'd set down the manga, you look down at your feet; after spotting what was there, you shriek and stumble away in a panic. Your feet tangle up and you fall onto your rear end, forcing you to stare at the little thing standing in the middle of the room.
"Dude, are you alright?!" asks the paperchild. It looks just like America…it sounds just like him, too. You don't reply to the thing, sure that it is your imagination.
Yet it walks over to you on its tiny little feet and looks up at you with huge blue eyes behind its wire-rimmed glasses. "Sorry if I scared you. I just wanted to say hi."
You get a closer look at the chibi paperchild, unsure of what to do exactly.
"That tickles!" America snorts and laughs.
You pull back your finger, not taking your eyes off of him. "Am I crazy or something?" You ask it.
"Nope, I came out of the manga." America says casually. You nod slowly, agreeing to yourself that you really have lost your mind.
"You look different in person," America continues with a small smile. "You look a lot…bigger…than I imagined."
"Speak for yourself," you sigh, then cover your mouth quickly. The last thing you really want now is to start talking to yourself. Imagine how weird that is!
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." America crosses his tiny arms and puffs out his cheeks. "You've got a nice bedroom."
You just stare at him.
"Wh—what? Is there something on my face?"
You give it no reply, but stand and walk over to your manga. Picking it up and flipping through it, you see that the pages are still blank.
"You aren't crazy, you know that, right? I kinda thought that you would be happy to see me, the hero!"
"I clearly am crazy, because manga characters don't just walk out of their manga."
"You sound like England," America groans and trudges over to you. "But it happens every now and then. Not too often, though. How freaky would that be?"
"Oh, it's pretty freaky all right." You pick up America by the jacket collar and set him down on top of the manga. "You can go back now."
"I thought we were friends!" America cries and latches onto your finger. "I like you a lot! That's why I came out here!"
"Is that so?"
"It is, [Name]! I'm the real-deal! There ain't nothing artificial about me! I'm all natural!"
"Is that so?"
"Don't go all monotone on me! I just wanna hang out for a while! It's been so long since I've been able to get out of that stuffy book!"
"How do I know that you're not some wild hallucination of mine? How do I know I'm not crazy?"
"If you want, I can show you! Anything! Just let me stay!" America looks up at you with his large eyes again.
"How would you do that?" you ask with a face of confusion.
"You can show me to someone you know or something! Anyone can see me!...Well, unless they're blind, of course."
"That's rude, Alfred!" you cry.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa...whoa…I didn't know we were on a first-name-basis."
"And I didn't know that characters can walk out of a manga!"
"Not all of them, only the hero!"
"But you said—"
"I'm just pullin' your finger, [Name]! So can I stay for a little while? Pleeeeease?"
"No. Go back into the manga," you say in monotone.
"But I love you! And you love me! So why can't we just get it on!?"
"Because you're my imagination."
"You didn't have a problem with me being your imagination the other night~!"
"Wh—WHAT'S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN!?"
America laughs his famous laugh and hugs your hand. "I'm just kidding~"
"You've got a lot of jokes, don't you, wise guy?"
"I do! And I have plenty more if you let me stay!"
You sigh and look into his eyes, which is kind of hard to do since he's closed them and is spazzing around while hugging your hand. "Alright, you can stay…"
"Really?! DUDE THAT'S SO COOL! BRITAIN'S GONNA BE SO JEALOUS!"
"So they're real, too?"
"Yeah, dude. We're all real, but they can't come out until they're your favorite character, which, by the way, isn't going to ever happen." America rubs his cheek against your hand while he still grips it tightly. "Man, I just wanna kiss you right now! I'm so damn happy!"
"Yeah, sure…" You look over at the clock. "It's almost one. I'm going to sleep now, so you're just going to have to find something to occupy yourself."
"Can I sleep with you?"
You sigh yet again, feeling defeated due to his cuteness. "Maybe."
"Goodnight, Alfred," you say, turning off the light.
"Goodnight, [Name]. We're gonna party in the morning, right?"
You laugh a little. "Sure, why not?"
"You're the best," America sighs in content from his shoebox stuffed with various soft things for him to rest on.
"Sure." You lay your head on the pillow and close your eyes and hope that when you wake up, he'll still be here. And slowly, you drift off to that fantasy land that waits in your dreams.