Hetalia Time Travel AU Submission for the Naka-Kon 2017
I didn't win anything - there were tons of entries! But I wanted to share my submission with you all. And please support my bookfunding on Plumfund! Just type in Loading: Life to see it! Fund enough and you can get a signed book of my newest video game novel Loading: Life!
I want to go back.
I want to change it all.
Matthew stood there.
In front of him were the graves of his family.
Arthur, his uncle.
Francis, his father.
If he knew his actions would lead to their de-
To this . . .
He would have never done what he did.
Is that why you're sulking now? I thought you wanted this?
What was that? I couldn't hear quite well.
"I didn't want this. I didn't want any of this."
But this is what you wished for?
"It's not. I only wanted to-"
The demon's voice kept taunting him with its sugar-sweet voice.
Make them all pay for ignoring you?
"No! Not that! Not-"
Matthew raised his eyes to meet Alfred's. His brother's face a bloodied dripping candle. He turned away, not ready to face this demon of his.
What's wrong? Feeling guilty?
He said nothing.
Sins crawling on your back?
He turned away.
There is a way to repent. But only if you're interested.
"There is no way. Not for me."
Oh. But there is. All I need in return is something precious to you.
"All that's precious to me is gone."
He could feel the demon stare go right through him, peering at his beating heart.
Give me what I desire and they go free from death. All you have to do is convince them you're alive.
Matthew's fists clenched. "And is that all you want?"
Nothing more. Nothing less. As long as they know you exist, I'll set them free.
"Why that, though? They already know I exist-"
Is that so? I thought that's the reason you called me here in the first place.
Matthew whipped around. "I didn't call you to kill them! I called you to help me!"
The demon's face was now his uncle's, lips curling into tight rolls at both ends, a row of shark teeth bared.
They did notice you then. The fear in their eyes as I ripped them apart. They were all facing you, begging you to save them. They noticed you were alive.
"But why have me go back! Why have me see that again!"
Everyone deserves a second chance, right?
His breath grew ragged, coming out in cloudy puffs in the winter air.
If you can get them to notice you without my help, I'll set them free.
"And all you want is me?"
Nothing more. Nothing less.
It's a deal, then.
The demon morphed into his father, reddened eyes staring at him. It offered its hand. Without another thought, Matthew shook it.
Volcanic heat seared into his hand, shooting up into his arm and right to his heart. His screams were drowned out by the demon's laughter. His muscles crumbled. His bones shook. His eyes watered to the point of blindness.
Then it stopped.
Matthew opened his eyes to see a blue sky and bright sun smiling back at him. Not a demon to taunt him. He looked around, noticing the small farm house in the distance. The giant star-spangled flag nailed to the side told him it was his brother's get-away-home.
"Hey bro!" He staggered, catching the weight that was thrown on him. "Ready to eat some of Arthur's cooking?"
"Ya' know? The Brit's nasty food. Heard he's been cooking all day. With your dad complaining every step." Alfred's smile shone just like the sun above.
"Oh . . . yes. I'm ready . . ."
"Good. 'Cause you're gonna need an iron stomach for this one. Come on!"
Alfred grabbed him by the hand, leading him all the way to the house. Matthew let a smile out, trying to figure out how he became so mad at his brother in the first place. But as his brother pulled him, his sleeve rose up – a black scar imprinted on his skin. His smile fell as he saw the red numbers ticking away on it.
Twelve hours until his time was up. At least he assumed. The demon didn't mention a time limit . . . But how is he supposed to trust a demon?
As the two mad it to the house, he could smell the burnt gooseberry pie in the oven and hear the bickering of two men.
"What the hell are you doing?!"
"Trying to cook dinner!"
"Well, I would be able to if a frog like you didn't get in the way!"
"A frog like me could cook better than you!"
"Zip it, twit!"
"Shut it, shrimp!"
Alfred and Matthew came into the kitchen, only to be met with a mess splattered on top of every surface and their fathers in a yelling match. Alfred just started laughing and joined in the fight. Matthew, a lump growing in his throat, huddled in a corner. It was starting again.
"Two old men fighting! Should I get your canes out?"
"Old! Mon dieu! I am not old!"
"Come to eat the mess your uncle's made, you fat-"
"I'm not fat!"
"I didn't make it!"
The yelling and insulting always started like this. One would mess up and the other two would gang up on him. But even though they were fighting, Matthew always felt jealous. At least they had each other. But he . . . he was always left out. Ignored.
Veins heated inside of him. Matthew surpressed his thoughts, leaving the room and the yelling match behind.
He rolled up his sleeve, finding the black scar had grown.
Was it going to eat him alive?
You better hurry. You only have seven minutes left.
"Seven minutes? But I had twelve hours-"
Matthew looked down at the time clicking away on the scar. He had read them wrong. Minutes! Not hours! He could hear the demon laugh in his head, the cackling jumbling around in his brain.
If you can't fix your mistake here, you can't fix anything.
"You tricked me-"
A demon's job. What do you expect?
Matthew raced back in the kitchen, his family still bickering.
"Hey, you guys-" Matthew try to say.
"I'm not short!"
"Dude! You're like half my height!"
He moved to his father. "Papa-"
"You two are truly idiots!"
"Idiots! Maybe you, but not me!"
"You're the moron!"
He moved between Arthur and Alfred. "Excuse me-"
"I'm the only genius around here!"
"You couldn't think yourself out of a paper bag!"
"You two are just filled with sexual tension! Just get laid already."
Matthew stood back, knots twisting in his stomach. They were doing it again! Again! Was he really not here! Was he really that invisible to them!
No! He couldn't be!
Matthew stood back, cupped his hands on both sides of his mouth, and yelled, "HEY YOU GUYS! LISTEN TO ME!"
The three stopped. Matthew let out a sigh of relief.
"Dudes . . . did you hear that?"
"What was it?"
Matthew could feel his whole body clench up. He looked at his family, trying desperately to find any recognition in their faces.
But they only stared through him.
Like always, they had forgotten he was here.
He had morphed into air once more. Invisible. Like always.
As the three kept looking around, trying to figure out what had made that noise, Matthew shrunk to the ground. A shivering fervor washed over him, covering his entire body. Images flipped through his mind's eye – a picture show of the horrors of his family dying.
Arthur gasping for air as a black tentacle wrapped around his through.
Francis eyes bulging from their sockets as monstrous black hands squeezed his face.
Alfred falling to the ground, acid pouring over him.
Matthew could only cower in the corner at the demon's work. He tried to hide from it, but the demon had kept his eyes open and his face turned, wanting him to see its handy work so badly.
The shivers increased.
How was he supposed to stop that from happening again?
How could he make them see that he was here?
He saw the black scar creep further and further up his arm. Almost to his heart. The red numbers ticked away.
Two minutes left.
"No." He cried, holding himself tightly. "I don't want you to die."
He could hear the demon's laughter.
"I don't want you to die!" He shouted.
Tears ran down his face like tiny waterfalls.
"I don't want you all to die! I don't care if you see me or not! I don't care if you know I exist! I don't want you to die! I don't! I DON'T!"
Strong arms closed around him. He tried to fight back but was brought into the hold even tighter.
"Mattie? Are you okay?"
"My boy, are you okay?"
He opened his eyes to see that his brother was holding him. His uncle and father were above him, looking down with worry written all over their faces.
"You . . . you see me?"
"Of course we can see you, my dear boy."
"Child, are you okay? Why are you crying like that?"
Matthew pulled away from his brother, meeting with a sad smile.
"You're fine, bro. I'm here for ya."
Matthew looked down at his arm, the black scar disappearing. The red numbers dissolving.
"You . . . see me?"
Alfred pulled him back in a hug, whispering in his ear. "I could never unsee you."
The time limit expired. But that was a few hours beforehand. Now Matthew was sitting out on the porch, looking at the night sky.
After he had calmed down, Arthur and Francis cleaned the kitchen and made a semi-decent meal together. Alfred took him and watched hockey games until dinner. And when the four sat down to eat, the other three talked directly to him all night, no bickering at all. Matthew had felt loved right then.
But not, seeing the stars shine above, he could only wonder what had happened to the demon's curse.
Oh, don't worry.
Matthew jumped, looking around. He saw a glint past the tree line. A dark figure floated in midair. A face seeming to smile at him.
Good job. I'll come back for my payment later.
Matthew's eyes darkened. "When exactly?"
A long life from now. Just enjoy it while you can.