Now that that intro is over, let's move on to Chapter 2 and let the real depressing stuff begin! No, seriously. I tried to insert some humor with Italy's part but lol nope and just went full angst-mode for Ludwig's.

Disclaimer: This chapter deals with religious angst on Ludwig's part. If you are really sensitive about religion stuff, I would stop reading now. I'm not bashing anything, and personally as a pseudo-Catholic I don't find it particularly offensive, but just trying to be safe here. I don't mean to offend anyone, but you have been warned.

I still don't own Hetalia, duh.

Anyway, if you haven't been scared off by these garish author notes, enjoy! Please review and let me know what you guys think! I loves da feedback!

Italy wiped the tears from his face and began churning out white flags by the dozen. Who knew how many he would need, it being the end of the world and all. It had to be some kind of 8th sign of the apocalypse, the way Germany had been behaving lately. He had been so nice… he hadn't even really yelled at him for months, ve~ (with the exception of tonight). And then, the German just seemed to go crazy. He yelled at Italy for things that had never really bothered him before, or at least, not in a while, and was way, way, way, angrier at Italy than he had in a long time. Italy had no idea what he had done wrong, (or rather, which thing he had done wrong) and Germany didn't explain, or at least not in any way that made sense.

Then there were the gifts. Ludwig almost never gave him gifts (stingy and serious as he was), and it certainly didn't fit the mood he was in tonight. For him to give Italy that kind of a gift too… Flowers? A- a ring? Maybe that's why Germany got so flustered, because he- no, no, that had to have been because of the horrified looks the waiter was giving them. Ve~ Germany always hated attention like that; that's why he got so angry. That had to be it. And that ring, may- maybe it was just some German custom between friends. Yeah, it was a "best friends" ring. After all, Germany had it shaped like a tomato, ve~ There was no way something so silly could be meant for a lover or anything. Italy laughed. Germany had always had the strangest sense of humor…

But if that was the case, then why was Germany getting so freaked out? The way he had raged at him, and then crushed him in a bear hug.. and then he had really begun to scare Italy. Ludwig had just sort of… held him and stared at him with, with this expression on his face like he was breaking in half… Italy shuddered. He prayed that he wasn't responsible for that look, although he had a nagging suspicion that he was. Guilt and shame washed over him in a dark wave. W- what if Germany had begun to hate him?

"Italy! I want to talk to you. Got a minute?"

Italy jerked around from the rock he was sitting on, nervously spluttering. "G- Germany!"

The German talked over Italy's stammered greeting. "I won't forget about you just because I'm becoming friends with Russia." Germany looked up at him, his eyebrow twitching.

Italy felt a flood of relief wash over him. Germany was so smart and kind, ve~ It was pretty embarrassing, though. He wondered if Germany knew other things he had been thinking about (if so, he was going to be in a lot of trouble) "Whoa! You can tell what I'm thinking?!"

"Well, something like that," Germany muttered. "Anyway, just give me your pinky finger." Italy did, and Germany linked it with his own pinky finger.

"It symbolizes a pledge. I was told it's how the Japanese make a promise," he explained. "Italy, you'll probably experience dangers more often from now on. Let's make an agreement between us. When you're in danger, I'll cover you without fail. So don't worry about things like that anymore. Oh, but when I'm in danger, you come rescue me, okay? Though I won't get my hopes up." Italy stared at his pinky finger, grinning. A pact with Germany, huh? He liked that. He also liked the bag of wurst that Germany gave him afterwards. He munched on it quite happily.

"How is it?" Germany asked.

"It tastes good when I eat it on a sunny day," Italy replied. Although, Italy wasn't quite sure whether it was the weather or the warm feeling he got from Germany's friendship that made the sausage edible.

Sure, that day Germany had reassured him that he wouldn't ever forget about him or hate him, but… Feliciano didn't know much, but he knew that he had never seen Germany so hurt, and maybe this time he had done something to push the German over the edge… Italy bit his lip nervously. He would do anything for his friend not to hate him. Germany could be kind of strict and mean, but that didn't change the fact that he had rescued him every time Italy was in trouble. Ever since the beginning of their alliance, Germany had protected him more fiercely than nearly any other country ever had. Italy wanted to show the same kindness to Germany, too. He tried every way he could think of to show Ludwig that he cared about him. He made him pasta and paintings and tried to be a good soldier in training (even though he was failing miserably.) Italy just wanted his friend to loosen up, to enjoy himself, to be happy, ve~

Italy slumped back into his chair and sipped a glass of water. All this guilt and confusion was giving him a headache. He had somehow upset Germany enough that he did the one thing Feliciano never thought he would live to see: a German running away. (That was his job, after all.) And something about it had seemed so awfully, bitterly… familiar.

Italy winced. His headache had become a jackhammering pain from worrying so much. Quickly, he gulped down the last of his water and strode out of the restaurant, ignoring all the stares he was still getting from its patrons. Italy took a deep breath. He didn't know what was wrong with Germany, but he was determined to find out. He would apologize again for whatever it was he did, and they would be okay. Maybe then, he could keep Germany from looking broken like that again. Italy laughed. He liked that maybe he could protect Ludwig in some way, too. Although, Feliciano had never thought that your heart was something you needed protection from, ve~ Silly Germany, he would think something like that.

Ludwig finally stopped running. Ach, it was no good. He had reached his house and the memories were still there, he was still there. The child who had been touched by God and then tried to play-act as Him down on earth. Memories of the proud empire he used to be, could have been stung the German and he gritted his teeth against the pain. He let out a short, humorless bark of laughter. His name wasn't Germany, it was a name far more powerful and ancient than that. He was the Holy Roman Empire and he was damned sure that he was going to kill those Protestant bastards for reducing him to this shell of his former glory… for, oh merciful God, for somehow making him turn his back on the one true faith and into one of them...

Ludwig slammed his palm into the wall. Cheeky little schwein, always managing to twist things around to religion. Religion hadn't ever really mattered much to Germany… maybe that was just another way to close off his past, he didn't know. He didn't know how Italy had managed to break through his sealed walls, how his walls had stood so long, gottverdammt, he didn't know why. He tried to slow his ragged breathing, but it was no use. Memory after memory assaulted him: the war, the ruin and destruction, 30 years of it, merciful God. H- his people dying, the disease, the famine, that terrible, terrible plague; being bedridden for years, the never-ending pain of feeling like being torn from limb to limb, as his states began to drift apart and the once proud unity of his Empire crumbled… he crumbled… that ficker, that saftsack, France he, he dissolved him he killed him he killed him why wasn't he dead? God save him and his people, God save his Italy~

Italy. Somehow, it always came back to her, didn't it? The girl who taught him to paint, to love, to be happy, she was always the one- no, he. Ludwig frowned. Two very different images clashed and dueled in his mind: the soft-spoken maid from his youth and the annoying, hyper man he knew today. How- how could they both be Italy? She… she, oh, no. He. The pain in Ludwig's gut intensified. How many times had that needy country snuck into his bed over the years (and before he had even wanted it, too)? More often times than not, Italy liked to sleep… naked. There was no way he was anything but a man.

Ludwig had to fight the urge to throw up. All those beautiful memories, the only thing he had, the only thing he had to hope for during the Thirty Years War… were they tainted now? All his daydreams about Italy becoming his blushing bride… they could never come true. He had loved a boy. Oh, merciful God, he still loved the boy. He had fallen in love with Feli all over again, knowing he was a man… no. No, he could not do this, this violation of God's law, this violation to his faith, no. Man shall not lie with another man, it is an abomination.

But, Ludwig thought a little madly, neither of us are really men, are we? We're countries. Just countries. It's ridiculous to think of ourselves so human as to commit an abomination by having a union-


We may be countries, but we are more than land. We have hearts and souls and dreams and can love and feel.

So what? So what if they were both men? He loved Italy. Ludwig thought that God could forgive him if that was such a terrible sin. God seemed to overlook a lot of monstrous things the countries had done to each other over the years. Surely, love was a lot less offensive than all the war and hatred sown over the world. Surely, God would overlook this too? But… he had been touched by God, chosen to lead Europe to the true faith… surely, he had to live to a standard higher than "God might overlook it". Ludwig nervously yanked at his hair, his carefully combed-back fringe starting to fall in front of his face.

Maybe he was chosen by God; that was one of the only explanations he had for how he had managed to survive his dissolution. But this was a different world than the one he had grown up in. This was one where he had learned to think critically, to evaluate all of his options logically. And logic told him that maybe, if after becoming a new man he had still fallen in love with Feliciano, that maybe that was God's plan for him after all. Ludwig refused to let his love for Italy be tainted, as another memory washed over him.

He extended his hand to her, coming up the grassy slope. His heart pounded in his ears. This was it. This time, she had to join his empire. If he went off to war without her at his side… he didn't know if he could win. He didn't know if he wanted to win.

"Italy, seriously, will you become the Holy Roman Empire with me? Let's create the strongest country in the world together."

She stared at him for a long moment, then looked down at her sweeping. "No," she whispered.

For a second, his heart broke, but then anger set in. How could she still say no? "Why? You don't want to spend your life in a place like this forever, right?! I'm sure you want to return to the once strong Roman Empire!" he shouted, shaking her.

"B- but, but Grandpa Rome fell because he became too big. Grandpa's body was covered with scars and it looked very painful. I don't want to see you become like that. Don't become Rome. I like you the way you are right now, Holy Rome. So, please..." she trailed off, taking his hand, her eyes overflowing with tears.

He stared at her, feeling his heart break into a million tiny pieces. She didn't understand. She was just too naïve. He had to become great, he had to. He had to fulfill God's plan for him. He had to grow big and strong so he could marry her one day. Even if she couldn't understand a man's ambition, maybe when she was older she could understand that. This was killing him, but he had to do it.

He yanked his hand back, turned around, and ran away, ran, ran, ran, as far and fast as he could, a few tears escaping along the way. He could hear her sobs echoing behind him, but he kept going. He knew if he stopped now, then he would give in and not go to war. The tears fell fast and plentiful now. The only thing left to do was to pray, pray that one day she would forgive him, even if he wasn't sure if he could forgive himself.

Ludwig gasped as another painful bolt of realization struck him in the chest, and almost became sick again. Oh God, oh merciful God, he had done it again. He had sworn to himself; sworn to God that he would never, ever do something like that again, but here he was. He had left Italy, left him in tears; he had run away from the one he loved when he had made them cry. Again. Whether it was in a café or on a hill, what did it matter? He had committed the same damn crime. What kind of a coward, what sort of monster was he to hurt his Italy so blindly like that again? How could he be forgiven now?

Ludwig fell back against his back door and slumped to the ground with a loud thump. He put his head in his hands as sobs racked his body. The final shreds of his walls fell as he surrendered himself to the endless storm of tears that he had held back for centuries.


Yay! Depressing ending! (I promise the next chapter will be a bit more light-hearted.) Again, please review. It motivates them updates!