Thank you for all the kind reviews, story alerts and favorites that this story got. They completely made my day; I really do appreciate them!
Beta-Reader Begging Rant:
I really want a beta-reader. I'm willing to beta-reader your story in exchange for it!
Long version: I'm a newbie-fanfiction writer that's facing some problems with writing, and I think having a beta-reader to read over my chapters once or twice before I post would help out a lot. When I am editing I often re-write nearly the entire story, because I am very bad at recognizing what is actually good or bad writing. Three quarters of my writing time is spent editing I believe.. But if I had somebody to spot the actual flaws, I would only re-write what actually is bad, and hopefully learn to recognize good and bad sentences by myself.
Having a beta-reader who checks my chapters once a month would let finish my stories much, much, much faster!
I'm mostly just begging for a beta-reader for this story, but if you are interested in beta-reading my other stories, I would really appreciate it! However, you would probably want to be a Russia/Canada fan, since that's pretty much all that I write.
Begging Rant Over.
After talking to a few reviewers, I realized that I did not make the date of the fan fiction very clear in the last chapter. This fan fiction is an alternate history based around 1975, and not in the future. I probably should have specifically stated that.
Also, I do not own Hetalia in any way, shape or form.
Throughout the day, Arthur had pressed his ear against the living room wall multiple times as he worked on Ivan's assigned chores. All that he could hear from the living room was gun fire, screams, yelling and occasionally Ivan's voice as he explained what was happening to Matthew. The Canadian was apparently silent.
That evening was the next time that Arthur saw Matthew. Each night Ivan and all those considered trustworthy enough were allowed to sit at the table and eat dinner. It was like a sad, terrified family held together by the mad-man sitting on the far end of the table.
Arthur had been there since roughly the beginning of The Soviet Union's conquering spree, and as a result had seen the dinner room, and Ivan's mansion be flooded with nations from rebellious, newly conquered regions.
However, other than the Canadian, only Arthur remained now. Most personifications had been sent back to their homes once all rebellion in their nation was quelled, mainly through the USSR's use of severe punishment towards any resistance. Hercules had been sent back two days ago, and the Australian Christopher was returned four days previous to Hercules.
Even though Ivan had a very large home; he preferred not to let the "nations" stay at his house for any longer than necessary. He instead would bring those who he felt still needed to be broken down, usually ones from aggressive nations that fought against the USSR before they were conquered or ones where rebellion had recently occurred, lock them up the basement and "correct" them until they submitted to him. Once they were broken down and cooperative he would often allow them to walk freely in the mansion, to keep an eye on and test them for a short while, before he sent them back to their homes. Most nations avoided 'misbehaving' severally when they were allowed to wander Ivan's mansion, as they understood that Ivan could easily bring them back to the basement and punish them even more.
In short, it was a very effective routine.
Once they returned home, the nations representatives would find themselves assigned a new home that was under constant monitor by Soviet agents. If the nation's personification did anything suspicious or bad, the agents would contact Ivan immediately, where the Russian would then decide their punishments accordingly. Being brought back to Ivan's house was considered the worst punishment by far.
It took awhile for Arthur to understand why Ivan was keeping Arthur behind in the mansion, long after all rebellions in the United Kingdom had been quelled.
He concluded that Ivan wanted Arthur to be present to see the capture of Alfred and Matthew, and their subsequent downfalls. Arthur was strangely thankful for this decision; as he could be there to comfort and protect Matthew, and when the day came, (he preyed that he would not, but such hopes became bleaker and bleaker by the day) Alfred as well.
Nonetheless, at the dinner table on that evening, the table consisted of Ivan, Toris, Eduard, Raivis, Natalia, the Ukrainian Halyna, Matthew and himself. Matthew and Arthur sat facing each other, two seats away from Ivan at the table end.
At the dinner table that day, Matthew was ab-normally quiet.
Normally after bearing the blunt of Ivan's abuse and tortures, he would smile weakly at Arthur, or on very bad days, glance tearfully at him before focusing on his food. His face was always filled with emotion and feelings.
But now there was nothing. He simply focused on his food, nodded politely and ate quickly. It was almost inhuman.
Matthew pardoned himself from the table early.
Concerned, Arthur quickened his eating pace, hoping to speak to the Canadian as soon as possible. However, the Russian's voice broke over the polite table chatter before he could finish. "Oh did you know? It is Matthews National Holiday today!" He tapped his metal spoon on the bowl. "We spent the entire day together watching videos of his country being fixed since the invasion…I got to know him very well."
He smiled towards Toris. "He acts and looks a lot like you, you know~ but then his bothered face looks a lot like Alfred!" He looked towards Arthur and sighed fondly, adjusting his scarf. "I must confess Arthur; he is becoming one of my favorites."
The hand holding Arthur's spoon to his mouth froze, Toris paled significantly and the other table members fidgeted and looked around nervously. They all knew what "favorite" meant in Ivan's vocabulary.
"No." Arthur suddenly dropped the spoon and glared at Ivan. "If you…care for Matthew, you will stop this right now, and send him home!" Arthur wanted to use much more threatening vocabulary, but even he had become far too afraid of angering Ivan.
"Oh…" Ivan sighed. "But…Matthew doesn't belong to you anymore Arthur! You have no right to decide how I care for him." The Englishman stiffened while Ivan calmly sipped another spoonful of soup. "It is for the best~ Despite the English and French that he speaks; you clearly do not know Matthew well enough to know what is best for him."
"In you're delusional world." Arthur nearly regretted opening his mouth when Ivan swiftly walked behind his chair. Annoyed, he stood up and turned around to face the Russian but immediately found himself cornered to the edge of the table by the Russian's large body. Arthur could only hiss angrily into Ivan's face, as the Russian smiled and patted his head gently.
"You lived so very, very far away from Matthew, and you both have such different interests…." He grinned sweetly, running a finger through Arthur's soft blond hair. "As if you weren't distant from one another at the beginning…you are both growing farther apart by the day. Meanwhile, I have always been next to him, and despite all the English and French that he developed, we share very similar thoughts and concerns…I will be a much better leader than you, and with some work, Canada will make one of our best colonies." An unusually thoughtful expression crossed Ivan's face. "Matthew has always been so stupidly attached to you~ As though he lacks a secure identity that would allow him to un attach from others safely. So if I were to remove all of your influence on his identity, and bring all of his attention onto me…"
"You won't. We have our memories of each other, and our history, and how iI/i raised him!" Arthur's green eyes glared confidently up into Ivan's cold violet ones. "Our governments are still very similar, and we've been trading with each other often."
"Yes, yes, yes…but that is all in the past, da?" The Russian put his hands onto Arthur's back and sides, gently touching and massaging, but the entire time his fingers hovered close to Arthur's neck: It was a detail that the Englishman did not fail to notice. "What if I were to make all the traits that I dislike disappear…change him as I see fit…as though he has an entirely different history…until he meets the potential I see in him? It would be interesting, yeah?"
"…No! You sick bastard." Arthur snapped, realizing how serious Ivan was, and how much misery he could easily bring onto Matthew. "You will leave him alone this instant, if you don't-"His hands clenched angrily. "Matthew hates you! He despises you! Everyone here despises y-"
Within moments Arthur found himself beaten and pinned on the table, soup splattered across his side, and Ivan's face hovering inches from his. "…Changing an entire country would be somewhat difficult…so starting with Matthew would be simpler…you agree, da?" He smiled against Arthur's mouth. "Matthew really liked me quiet a bit before~ that feeling would not be difficult to find again."
Arthur's fingers tightened around the butter knife, only to have Ivan's hand catch his wrist painfully and pin the hand to the table. "I like speaking to you about this…but you did not need to ruin dinner over this! That was so selfish of you, Arthur~" The Russian muttered darkly.
"Your existence ruins all of our dinners." The Englishman dryly retorted. Ivan grinned innocently in response, before his fist suddenly connected with Arthur's face, and Arthur found himself reeling into unconsciousness.
When Arthur awoke, he found himself locked in one of the cells of Ivan's gigantic, maze like basement. His cell was illuminated by several cheap light bulbs, and the only furnishing was a small cot, a cheaply installed toilet and a twenty-four hour clock.
The cell was very familiar to Arthur; Ivan always locked him in that one whenever he needed "re-correcting" and he spent the first day watching the door anxiously, waiting to for Ivan to appear carrying a whip or whatever else the Russian decided to use for that day.
However, much to Arthur's surprise, it was Belarus with a plate of food that appeared at the days end. She simply set the plate down into his cell, and left without any making eye contact with Arthur, despite his attempts to communicate to her. This routine with Belarus continued for five days, and the isolation quickly got to the Englishman. He found himself pacing the cell anxiously, ruminating in anger over whatever Ivan intended to do with Matthew, and with just how utterly pitifully…bad he felt at protecting the Canadian.
By the midnight of the sixth day, he concluded angrily that he would do whatever it took to convince Ivan to leave Matthew alone.
To Arthur's grateful surprise, it was Toris rather than Natalia that walked down the staircase on the morning of the seventh day. He freed Arthur almost immediately, before he explained nervously that the United States had recently surrendered, and Ivan had left for the day to 'pick up' Alfred. Before Ivan had left that morning he had told Toris to free Arthur from the cell.
A lump swelled in Arthur's throat at the news of The United States surrender, but he quickly shook it off as pure irrationality. It was clear that the Americans would lose for weeks now; looking at them as a source of hope was futile the entire time.
"What about Matthew?!" Arthur suddenly remembered, trying and failing at keeping his voice calm.
Much to Arthur's alarm, Toris' face suddenly dimmed significantly. "…I promise that I've been taking care of him as much as I possibly can." The Lithuanian fidgeted with the ends of his uniform nervously. "He's really hurt…there's no way I will leave him alone."
As Toris spoke, Arthur anxiously walked towards the basements exit. "Where is he now?"
"H-He's sleeping in your bedroom. He wanted to get washed before he saw you."
Before the Lithuanian finished Arthur immediately broke into a dash towards the bedroom. The rooms of Ivan's corporative captives were condensed inside of two different hallways, with a single washroom on each floor. The Baltic brothers, Ivan's sisters and Arthur and Matthew all shared the same hallway, while leaving the second hallway completely empty. Arthur could remember early on in his capture when the second hallway was completely filled.
Arthur found Matthew sitting on his bed when he opened the door to their room. Although it was nicely lit, the room was simply furnished, with two beds, a bookshelf containing Russian novels and a cupboard. Although Matthew could have easily had a room to himself, he had dragged his bed into Arthur's room as soon as his room was assigned. Fortunately, Ivan did not say anything about it.
Arthur tip-toed inside and shut the door quietly behind him, before he looked towards Matthew. The Canadian was huddled on his bed asleep, dressed in Toris's clothes and looking pale and sleep deprived. Arthur could tell that his hair was damp from a recent bath, and as he stepped closer he realized that Matthew's skin was covered with bandages and dark bruises.
Deep rage and horror began to build within Arthur's stomach as he walked forward and took in Matthew's appearance. However, without warning a floorboard creaked beneath Arthur's foot, and Matthew stirred and blinked at him tiredly. His violet eyes appeared blank and empty.
"Arthur…?" Matthew whispered harshly. He throat sounded rough and painful, but his voice was clear in the silent room. "You're back…Are you okay? Are you safe? I-I'm sorry…I tried to keep him from-"
Matthew's anxious tone broke Arthur's stunned silence, and Arthur quickly tried to calm him down. "Matthew, I'm fine. You don't need to worry about me at all." He placed his hands gently onto Matthew's shoulders, but he felt Matthew tense nervously at the touch. Arthur removed his hands as the Canadian shifted away reactively, apparently trying to keep his own space.
"B-But He…" Matthew whispered as tears began to form in his eyes against his will, and his body shuttered weakly. "Please don't lie…he kept on telling me all-"
"I'm not lying, Matthew!" Arthur paused when Matthew winced at his tone. "He never came to my cell once, Matt. I was fine. What…did he tell you?"
Arthur would not ask what happened to Matthew. He did not need to at all. He had seen how Ivan treated Toris for too long to not understand what the Russian had done to Matthew. More importantly, he did not want to force Matthew to speak of what happened before he felt like he could, and possibly traumatize the Canadian even more.
"H-He kept threatening….that e-every time I didn't listen or act how he liked…he'd take it out on you." The calm mask that Matthew was trying to wear in front of Arthur shattered more and more as he spoke, and he sobbed and shuttered at the memory. ""I really thought he did them….you were being hurt because I didn't make him happy…Oh god…I was so scared…" Matthew covered his face with his hands, apparently trying to hide his tearful face. "T-Thank god nothing happened to you…."
"…You don't need to think of my sake at all in those situations Matthew." Arthur said sternly. It ripped his heart so much, to see somebody as gentle and young as Matthew to be hurt and break down so much. He was sup post to be protective and take care of Matthew; not to just sit there as Matthew sobbed hopelessly after the worst of events happened to him. He could not even hold Matthew without scaring and sending bad memories to him. He quickly tried to rationalize his emotions, and concluded that it was his duty as the leader of the British Empire to do all he could, to protect his colonies from harm at all times!
"Don't worry Matthew…I'll make sure that…that monster leaves you alone and sends you home to safety." He grinned in confidence, as Matthew lifted his face and stared at him wearily. "I'll do whatever it takes to convince him."
Please remember to leave a review if you liked it so far!
Yet again, if anyone wants to be my beta-reader for this story, you would be a gigantic help for me! I will beta-read your stories in exchange.
I'm mostly hoping for somebody who would be willing to read over a chapter and edit it once or twice a month before I finalize it. If somebody did that, I would seriously finish my writing so much faster than before, and like I said before, I would enthusiastically beta-read their stories.