Weight of the World
Summary: America and Canada awaken in a dangerous, monster-filled world. With strange new powers and suspicious blanks in their memories, they seek answers while keeping out of the spotlight. They can't afford to interfere. Not when they need to get home. So they don't. That is, until a city called Vale is breached by the Grimm and America's hero complex kicks in.
Main characters: America, Canada, RWBY, JNPR Prominent characters: Others. Many are spoilers so I'm not listing them here. There will be NO OC's except maybe a few extremely minor characters for plot's sake. They most likely won't even get names. The full list will be shown at the top of Chapter Fifteen so once it's available you can look ahead and see if your fav is there if you so desire. ;)
Pairings: Pretty much none. Don't expect romance except for the plot-required norm (aka Pyrrha likes Jaune, etc.). I can't write romance and I'm not going to try. Expect family relationships and friendships abound. (Seriously, whenever I try to intentionally write a pairing it's horrible. :P )
Genres: Adventure, angst, hurt/comfort, friendship, family, some humor, mystery, suspense.
Timeline: Starts in RWBY volume 2.
Warnings: Some cursing. Violence and blood. Potential angst/hurt/comfort. Potential spoilers for RWBY. There will also be some major AU elements for RWBY in particular. You'll see what I mean later.
Disclaimer: I do not own RWBY or Hetalia: Axis Powers.
Chapter One: In the Rain
The first thing he felt was cold.
As oblivion receded and consciousness crept back to the representation of the United States of America, an icy chill came with it. It seeped through his clothes and his skin like it was trying to encase his very bones in its freezing grasp. America shuddered and attempted to shrink away from the cold but it refused to secede, dripping over his body but focusing on his right side.
America gradually comprehended that he was lying in a major source of the coldness. He tried to open his eyes to see what it was but his eyelids felt too heavy and remained stubbornly shut. Giving up, the nation groaned and pushed himself up, resolving to at least get out of the thick, chilly substance he was sprawled in. He immediately regretted the movement when it caused hammers to pound against his skull. He opened his eyes and winced, the light that stabbed into his retinas only made more painful by the water that stung them.
No wonder he was wet. It was raining. Of course. America let his eyelids fall into their previous position and strained the muscles there in the hopes that doing so would stop his awful headache. The pain creeping up his forehead refused to cease and he gave a whine of complaint, shifting on the wet ground so he could lay on his side, one hand pressed against the area above his eyes
A soft, rasping sound startled him out of his misery and he looked around sharply, squinting through the heavy downpour that allowed for just enough light to make his throbbing eyes burn. His gaze rested on a familiar shape just to his right and his self-pity vanished in an instant, replaced by alarm.
America scrambled to his feet and fell as fast as he rose, legs giving out from under him. Irritated by his shaking body's incompetence, the nation brushed mud from his eyes and crawled over to Canada, rolling his limp frame onto his back.
Beneath the mud and grime that covered his clothes and skin, Canada was ashen, the paleness of his skin accentuated by the dark shadows under his eyes. The northern nation looked sickly and almost frail, and if America were not mistaken his clothes seemed too large for his shivering frame.
For a single second the American wondered if his brother had shrunk but he dismissed that theory when he was checking Canada for a pulse and spotted his own emancipated hand. The blue-eyed nation swallowed and wiggled his fingers, taking in the slight boniness of his limb.
What happened to us? Was there another economic crash? A natural disaster? An attack?
Fearing for his people's well-being, America searched within himself for his connection with them. It took longer than normal— like he was extremely far away— but eventually he found his citizens' presences. Uneasiness twisted in his gut as he sensed them. It was only the normal amount of tension though so there was no need to worry. If there had been an attack or disaster, his people would be much more distressed.
America went deeper just to be certain and relaxed as their cheerfulness and hope washed over him. Things were normal. They were fine. America was perfectly—
Something inside him jolted like someone had grabbed hold of his insides and tugged. Panic washed over America, terror ripping through his chest, but before he could feel more the emotions vanished. The American returned to consciousness and found himself lying beside his brother, cold mud covering his cheek.
Wheezing harshly, he checked on his people again, only to find they were in the same emotional state they had been just minutes before. He concluded that the fear had not been from them. That meant it must have been from himself. America did not know why but he also did not like where that thought process was headed so he ended it, focusing on Canada once more.
The Canadian was breathing and his pulse was steady. He did not appear to be injured either, even on his head. He was just unconscious… for some reason.
America sat back on his heels and gave an exaggerated sigh. "Wonderful. Now I'll have to carry you around until we find shelter. At least that means I get to be the hero!"
He puffed out his chest and ignored the sharp pain in his head. If Canada were conscious he would probably respond with a quiet, polite remark— or maybe a snide one considering their wet and cold situation— but he was not awake to sigh at America. He could not hear the American at all. But that was okay. America would talk to him anyway. It was either that or stand around in silence. Silence was not cool. Neither was rain. Stupid rain.
"Okay." America said aloud. "I have no idea where we are right now. We definitely aren't in my country or yours though. My people are…" He could not name the direction of his citizens and frowned. "…really far away."
Now that he thought about it, that itself was weird. Normally he could tell exactly which way his country and people were, but now it was like they were nowhere and everywhere. It felt like he was in his own borders yet everything felt distant and unfamiliar.
It's like I'm not on Earth, America thought. He chuckled and pushed the ridiculous thought away. "Last I remember we were at our hotel during the World Meeting in London." He informed the unconscious Canada. "And now we're here." An idea struck him and he scowled. "Do you think England did some weird magic thingy and transported us somewhere? I bet he did!"
The Canadian remained unresponsive, unaware of everything from his brother's voice to the rain trickling over his face. America forced his concern away with a tight smile and crouched next to Canada again.
"Are you awake yet, bro?" he asked hopefully.
Canada did not so much as twitch.
"Okay. You keep sleeping. And people call me lazy!" America released a shaky laugh.
He wasn't worried.
Not at all.
He stood up and began pacing, scowling as the rain clung to his glasses. He took them off and rubbed them on his muddy shirt, glad he was not wearing his bomber jacket. Getting stains out of that again would be awful. In fact, the plain white t-shirt he wore looked more brown than white and was probably beyond saving. Canada was wearing a similar shirt. His had splotches of red among the brown. Now that America looked more closely, his did too. Oh.
Canada's fine. I already checked him for wounds.
America kept pacing. "Okay. First thing we need to do is get out of this rain. No problem. Know that I'm totally going to mock you for having to be carried once we— OW!"
The American yelped as his foot hit a hard object. He tripped with the grace of a golden retriever puppy on ice and fell face-first into the mud. America lifted himself up, spitting out globs of dirt, and wiped at his face irritably.
"What the Hell…?"
Turning on the offending object, America picked it up and turned it over in his hands. It was fairly long and thin, about three and a half feet in length, and appeared to be made of blue-painted metal. The nation studied it curiously, running his hand along the object in an attempt to clear away the grime. The water helped in his efforts and soon he adjusted his grim, brightening in recognition.
"Cool! A bat!"
The American gave the baseball bat a few experimental swings, grinning foolishly. Even though it was heavier than the normal slugger he could wield it with ease. Baseball was the American pastime so of course he was amazing at it. Maybe he and Canada had gone out to play or something. Pleased with that explanation, America scanned the muddy ground for a ball. Instead he spotted another thin, long shape. He picked it up and pouted.
"Ugh. Now I get it." Rolling his eyes, America placed the red hockey stick next to his brother. "So that's what we were doing. Trying to beat each other at our best sport, huh? Well, I'll let you know that baseball is a thousand times better than dumb hockey. Where's the stupid ball…?"
Unable to find either a baseball or puck after a few minutes of searching, America huffed and picked up Canada and his hockey stick. "We'll have to do a reign check on our games, dude. Its really pouring."
As if the weather wanted to prove a point, a menacing rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. America grumbled under his breath and ran through the thick mud. "You really picked an awful day to go outside, bro. Seriously, I know it was your idea. Not mine. Nuh uh." He cringed as sludge sank into his boots with every step. "Ew. That feels gross. I hope we find a town soon."
A half-hour passed and they did not find a town. Instead America stumbled upon a forest and eventually a cave under the trees. Sending a silent thanks to whatever entities were out there, the American gently laid his brother down.
"I wish you had your coat so I could give you a pillow." He muttered, eyeing the thin white shirt his brother was clothed in with distaste. "That won't cushion your head at all." He straightened his back and looked at the dreary weather outside. "So what are the chances that I can find dry wood?"
Canada said nothing.
"Damn it." America whispered, dragging his fingers through his hair. "You're the one who's supposed to be fretting over me when I do something stupid and get hurt, not the other way around."
The northern nation did not stir to defend himself.
America shook his head angrily, pretending that there was not ice settling in his stomach, and walked back outside into the rain. He wouldn't go far— not when the other nation was so helpless— but he couldn't wait around either. He had to get wood to warm himself and Canada up.
Nations could not die to something like hypothermia but extended exposure to things that were bad for the health could put even the healthiest personification into a coma. It was almost like that was their substitute for dying while their countries still stood. Some woke up, others didn't. Either way, America was not about to let Canada face something like that.
The American picked up a few pathetically wet sticks and threw them away in disgust. They wouldn't light even if he could start fires with his mind. He scanned the area, squinting through the ever-present rain, and focused on a cracked branch that came level with his chest. Even in the gloom caused by the grey skies he could tell the branch was dead. It looked thick enough that it might not be wet throughout as well.
It's a start, America thought optimistically. Now, how to get it…
He considered ripping it off with his bare hands but acknowledged that method would more likely have him uproot the entire tree in the process. He would take the whole tree if he had something to chop it up with so he supposed finding smaller logs was a better course of action.
America studied the branch and hefted his metal bat thoughtfully. It didn't feel cheap and it certainly was not a light material, so maybe it could help him. Plus smacking trees to pieces sounded kind of fun. It was better than methodically working in the rain and cold and worrying about why his brother was unconscious.
America closed his eyes and imagined he was in a stadium of adoring fans. The sun was shining, it was nicely warm, and everyone was waiting for the final homerun that would result in his country winning the World Baseball Classic.
"Batter up!" America crowed, giving a sharp swing.
The bat slammed into something that was definitely not wood, resulting in a meaty thud. America opened his eyes and watched in horror as a dog-like shape went flying, back, smacking into a tree.
The nation gave a heartbroken wail. "Doggie, no!"
He ran to the poor canine's side, reaching out to console the innocent animal he had ruthlessly attacked. A red eye stared at him blankly before the wolf faded into ashes, dissolving before America's stunned eyes. The nation gave another shriek— this time filled with terror.
"What the Hell? Where did its body go?!" he yelped.
The hair on his nape rose and he turned, a chill washing through him.
Three more wolves stood before America, snarling with hackles raised. But unlike the first wolf, they could not be mistaken for dogs. Their eyes were red as blood and glowed demonically, surrounded by what appeared to be bone masks. They were also too large to be mundane wolves, not to mention they stood on their hind legs. America's every instinct told him that these were not normal animals. They were not innocent. They were demonic monsters.
America's eyes narrowed. He flicked the bat so it was upright in both hands and swung, decapitating the first wolf that dove for him. He stepped to the side, avoiding the second wolf's pounce and hit it in the back of the head, sending it sprawling into the mud. A third wolf swiped at him with a large, clawed hand and he raced backwards, sliding slightly in the mud. He hit the wolf beneath the jaw, snapping its neck, and it collapsed, dissolving.
America barely had time to celebrate his victory before he heard more growls. He squinted through his water-covered glasses, meeting dozens of glowing red eyes. A quick turn of his head showed he was surrounded by black wolves.
Great. It's like Little Red Riding Hood: Apocalypse Version out here! Did some mad scientist finally create weaponized demon-rabies for dogs?! I bet Russia did it. Or England. Or some crackpot in a basement somewhere. They always mess with stupid stuff like this!
The monsters swarmed him. Trusting instincts from years of war and training, America swung his bat in a large arc, taking out a good chunk of them in a single blow. When the stragglers hesitated he did not wait for them, charging head on like a berserker falling in their midst. The smaller ones fell easily, unable to withstand his strength while the bigger wolves proved to be more of a challenge.
As a bone-covered wolf drew the ire of his bat, another one managed to grab him by his wielding wrist, lifting him off the ground and roaring in his face. Rather than feeling the icy rush of fear, America glared coldly at the Grimm. He kicked it in the crook of its leg, snapping the bone and making it howl. He grabbed the Beowolf's arm after it dropped him, hoisting it upward with ease, and slammed it into the ground.
Teeth bared in a grin, America raised his bat above his head and twisted the handle as he stabbed down. A blade extended from the tip of the bat, impaling the wolf through the throat. America ripped the weapon free, barely taking a millisecond to stare at the dagger-like addition in bewilderment.
"That's so cool." He muttered, and ran at another Grimm.
He slid beneath its strike and stabbed it in the throat, jabbing his bat back and smacking the Beowolf behind him in the eye. He spun to face his reeling foe, slashing it in half and pursued the remainders with an elated shout. The Beowolves slashed at him, roared at him, hit him, but it seemed like none of their blows mattered. America swore that a few of their strikes connected but he felt neither pain nor the warm stickiness of blood on his skin. The thought made America's joyful smile widen.
That's right. You can't kill me, bastards.
As if they heard his thoughts, the Grimm rushed past him, retreating in droves. America may have believed they were fleeing in terror if not for the direction they were headed.
To say America tore through the Beowolves would be an understatement. The Grimm that stood between him and Canada might as well have not existed; he passed through them so unflinchingly. He reached the cave before the first creature could step foot inside it, brutally slashing it in half before it could even sniff his brother. The other Grimm paused, hesitating a hundred yards from the cave. America could feel their glowing red eyes on him.
Turning back outside with a flourish, America stood boldly between Canada and the Grimm, rage radiating off him in waves.
"Back off." he snarled.
The Beowolves lunged.
America let his instincts take over and twisted the section of bat again, pushing it counter-clockwise. The bat collapsed in his hand, bending as it changed shape, and he felt a trigger beneath his fingers. He raised the barrel of his bat-turned-gun, aimed, and fired. The bullet hit the closest Beowolf right in the center of its forehead. America jerked the shotgun, forcing the next bullet into the chamber, aimed, and fired, taking out two more.
It was then that the leaders in their charge got close, swiping at the nation. America jumped out of the way, twisting clockwise, and slammed his reformed bat into the Beowolf's head. Another turn of the mechanism and he sliced through a Grimm's arm, making black smoke waft into the air.
It was even easier dealing with the Beowolves from the cave, the thin entrance much easier to defend than the dark, rainy area outside. Or perhaps it was the fact that he was protecting someone that made America fight so effectively, mowing down his foes in droves until only a few more remained.
The Grimm hesitated as though they were debating whether to continue their assault or not, and a few backed away, fleeing. Two decided America's death would be worth it, however, and stood just out of range of his bat, snarling. The nation thought about simply shooting them but dismissed the idea, instead waving his bat mockingly.
"Come and get it!"
The first Beowolf sprang at him, claws outstretched. America sidestepped, avoiding its attack, and hit it hard enough that it exploded into smoke in midair. He smirked and turned to his final foe… only to step oddly on a protruding rock on the floor of the cave. His foot slipped, ankle twisting at an odd angle, and America swayed, caught off balance.
The Beowolf tackled him, pinning him to the ground with his weapon uselessly pressed between their bodies. The American struggled, trying to get his other arm free from behind his back, but it was like the Grimm knew about and could counteract his strength, keeping him trapped like a caught rabbit. The Beowolf held him down for a moment, testing if he could break free, and when he failed to it howled in triumph and lunged for his throat with teeth bared.
A gunshot hit the Grimm in its ugly mug, leaving a gaping hole in its skull. It slumped off of America and to the ground, dissolving into black smoke that was visible even in the rain. America turned to Canada, who was holding what appeared to be a sniper rifle, scope and all. His pounding heartbeat slowed to a steadier rate and he nodded in thanks.
Note to self: Don't get cocky.
After a cautious scan showed the area was clear of glowing crimson eyes, the American raced to his brother's side, practically vibrating in excitement.
"Bro! Is that your hockey stick? So cool! My bat's a gun too. And a sword! Look!" America told him excitedly, waving the weapon in his brother's face.
Canada grimaced and pushed the slugger aside with his hockey stick. "I saw. Though I think that's actually a club and bayonet."
Was it America's imagination or was his brother's voice even fainter than usual?
The American laughed his worry away. "Okay, I agree with the bayonet but it's definitely a baseball bat. It's like a weapon from my dreams and it's awesome. See?"
He wagged the bayonet in his brother's face once more. Again, Canada pushed it to a safer distance, not keen on getting stabbed in the eye. America noted the stiffness of the movement and did not tease his brother for his caution, instead furrowing his brow.
Canada twitched as though startled by the question. "I'm uninjured. Just a little tired. It's… I feel like I'm recovering from an attack on my nation. It'll pass."
As he spoke his voice grew stronger but that did not lessen America's unease. If Canada was admitting that he did not feel well, he really felt off. Nations may be cautious about sharing their status with others, but they would with allies when it proved necessary. There were few things more aggravating and alarming than to have a nation collapse at random, which America knew full well from being on both sides of that type of incident.
Canada would not mention it unless he felt it might affect his physical performance and that was more than a little concerning. A part of America wanted to grill his brother for more details but the stubborn line of Canada's jaw told him the demands would be met with mulish— and polite— resistance.
"Well, you missed out on an awesome fight when you were asleep." The American said instead. "A horde of those monsters attacked me when I went to get wood. I fought them all off though. It was super easy." He began to reenact the battle— complete with sound effects— by swinging his bat wildly. "First I decapitated one like whack! Then I smacked another one like kapow! And then a third Beowolf tried to slash me but I—"
"'Beowolf'?" Canada questioned, violet eyes brightening in comprehension. "Oh, you mean the wolf Grimm?" He froze, an odd expression crossing his face.
America nodded happily. "Yeah. That's what they're call…" He trailed off.
Canada mirrored his befuddled expression. "How did you know that? How did I know that?"
"I… uh…" He hesitated before grinning widely. "We're the heroes! The heroes always know this stuff. Especially me since I'm the boss-hero."
Canada smiled thinly. "Does the 'boss-hero' know where the closest civilization is?"
America pretended not to notice the dryness of his tone. "Yeah. It's that way." He pointed confidently to their left. "Why? Do you need a hospital?"
"No. Of course not." Canada said firmly. "I just don't want to stay in a cave. And it's stopped raining so we can leave."
America looked outside and noted his brother was right. The rain had stopped and small beams of sunlight were breaking through the clouds.
"Cool. Civilization, here we come!" He strolled out of the cave but immediately came back. "Want me to carry you?"
"That would be appreciated. Thank you." Canada said.
America watched his brother expertly transform the rifle back into a hockey-stick form and put it in its holster. He noticed a convenient strap on his own back— how did he miss that earlier?— and put his weapon away as well.
Canada eyed the bat warily. "Is that going to fire in my face?"
"Nah. It was made better than that." America said dismissively.
Violet eyes studied him. "Who made it? When?"
"…Haven't the slightest clue." America crouched. "Come on."
Canada climbed onto his back, hooking his arms around America's shoulders. The blue-eyed nation stood carefully and began walking in the direction of the village. A heavy silence fell over the two brothers and America considered breaking it to ward off the questions that crept into his mind. But Canada was resting his head on his shoulder like he had a headache, and he didn't want to disturb him.
His resolve was quick to crumble, only lasting a few peaceful minutes.
"So… Do you know how we got here or what country we're in?" America asked.
"No idea." His brother mumbled. "The last thing I remember is being at the hotel after the meeting."
America sighed. "Same. I don't remember going out either."
Canada shot him a sharp look. "Why do you believe we left the hotel?"
"Well, we had these with us." America said, pointing at the baseball bat and hockey stick. "I thought we might have gone to play a game."
"These aren't for sports. They're weapons." His brother said pointedly.
"I guess." America mumbled, humming. "It would be pretty awesome to play sports with these though."
"More like deadly." Canada muttered.
America snorted. "Like that bloodbath you call hockey isn't already deadly."
"We don't use weapons!" the Canadian protested.
"No, you just try to bludgeon your enemies to death with hockey sticks." America said, only half-teasing.
Canada did not respond to the jab. "I can walk now."
America delayed in granting his implied request to be released, wondering if he had upset his brother. He hoped not. Canada had this habit of gaining puppy-dog eyes if America upset him, making the southern nation feel all guilty. Then he would get blue sad-puppy eyes, thus making Canada feel guilty in turn, and they'd be stuck in a cycle until America burst out laughing from the ridiculousness of it.
"I'm not mad at you." Canada clarified like he could read his mind. "I really can walk now. I feel better."
Indeed, some of the color had returned to his skin, making him look much less ready to keel over at any minute. America reluctantly let his brother off his back, hands hovering in case he fell. Canada kept his footing and brushed his hair out of his face. He looked at his legs, then at America, and raised an eyebrow.
"Why are we wearing the same thing?"
America took in their muddy appearances, struggling to see the resemblance. Eventually he spotted the clothes beneath the muck, spotting similar white shirts and cargo pants. "Maybe we wanted to pull the old identical-twin-switch gag? Who cares? I don't think our outfits are important right now, bro."
Canada's violet gaze darkened. "No. It is important!Something's wrong. Something's missing. Memories are missing. I know you feel it, too!"
America took a step back as the Canadian began to shake with frustrated rage.
"We woke up in the middle of the woods. I can still feel my people but the connection feels wrong. We've both lost weight, we're in weird clothes, and we have weird weapons like I've never seen before. We knew how to use those weapons. We knew what those creatures were and how to fight them efficiently. How? Why? What happened to us?"
Unease stirred in America's chest as his brother put his vague fears into words. "I don't know." he said honestly. "I'm sure we'll figure it out. Don't stress about it, dude. You haven't even been up for an hour."
Canada looked torn between glaring at him and staring vacantly into the distance in shock. He settled for putting his head in his hands. "I know. I just don't like this." He paused like he was weighing his words, then continued speaking. "You've seen movies. When has someone waking up in a situation like this ever ended well?"
"You mean waking up with partial amnesia and demonic monsters everywhere?" America questioned. "We'll be fine, dude. The hero always survives apocalypses like this and civilization seems to be okay so the world isn't going to end any time soon. Now come on. The town is over here."
He grabbed his brother's arm and started dragging him through the woods. Canada let himself be led, though not without a small, amused snort.
"How would you know that…?"
He stopped speaking when they came over the hill. Before them was a small town, tiny when compared to most in their respective countries but still large enough to be commendable. But that was not what made both brothers pause, uncertainty overcoming the confidence they once exuded. America was quick to overcome his surprise and released an excited gasp, while Canada continued to stare at the obvious, out-of-place object that caught their attention.
"…Is that an airship or some kind?" Canada whispered.
"I think it is." America breathed, eyes shining. "Can we ride it?"
"No." his brother said sharply. "We need to figure out some things first. Besides, we probably need money to get a ticket. Native money."
The realization that had been creeping up on America dawned on him then and his good mood faded. The tiny pieces came together to form a disjointed, if decipherable picture, one which made his stomach sink into his shoes.
The strange weapons. The unfamiliar landscapes. The distant and distorted connection with their people. The airships. The odd architecture. The Grimm.
"Hey, Canada…" America gave his brother a small, strained grin. "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. Or on Earth."
A/N: So. Here I am with my first RWBY or Hetalia fic ever. And it's a crossover.
I've had a bunch of ideas for both RWBY and Hetalia before but I didn't feel like posting any of them, but some new ideas just came to me recently and I really wanted to write them. So I did start writing them…
…Now every single chapter of this story is completely written as of the uploading of this first chapter. WTF, brain? I have other stories to work on!
Just so you know, I'm not a baseball fan. Or a sports fan in general. If any of the terms I used were wrong, please tell me.
I hope you liked this first chapter. I'm kind of just throwing it out here to see if people want more. How quickly I update also depends on interest so please review! Tell me what you think and feel free to ask questions. Thanks.