Title: Not a God
Characters: Japan, England, USA
Rating: K+ for mentions of violence
Warnings: angst. This is just an idea of the point of view Honda Kiku/Japan, the Hetalia character, and not Japan, the real country, could have had about some events.
Summary: the war ended. Japan realizes what he had done.
"Cheer up, Kiku! Your emperor," and America was beaming as he said the words, "is not a god."
"Alfred…" England sighed tiredly, a hand raking his hair in exasperation, "this is not the proper time…"
"Why?" the younger nation honestly did not understand. Malice was not in his list of flaws. "Now that he knows, he's free! He'll be able to accept democracy and learn how to be civilized…"
"Shut the bloody up!" Arthur grabbed Alfred's arm and dragged him out of the hospital room. For once, Alfred was too surprised by the other's sudden action to protest.
When England returned, having left a gaping America in the corridor with a stern "stay here", he found Kiku Honda still sitting on the bed, his bandaged hands struggling with a small square of red paper. He didn't seem to have listened to anything that was said before. Looking so thin and frail, so badly wounded and sick now, Kiku was but a shadow of the nation Arthur had befriended – and loved – centuries ago.
The first time they met, Arthur thought it was an illusion: a small, youthful man with soft but unreadable eyes and a gentle voice, his skin as flawless as a woman's. Japan was shy and earnest and polite; he appreciated beauty, delicacy and harmony above all things.
The first time Arthur saw Kiku in the battlefield, bathed in blood, barking orders in a voice devoided of any human feelings, he knew what desperation was.
Sweet Kiku, who treated animals and plants with reverence and shed tears for Romeo and Juliet… how could he accept that his soldiers tortured, raped, massacred thousands?
I read the Bible, England-san. There was a part in it that really moved me… It was about the man who was asked by God to sacrifice his own son. That man… I was him. For my Emperor is God, and when he orders me so I, too, have to sacrifice my friends, my family, my life, my everything.
And now he knows that his Emperor is not God. There was no way of denying it. Even if he could convince himself that America was lying, he couldn't ignore that voice on the radio, few weeks ago, announcing that they should endure the unendurable and suffer what's insufferable.
A God wouldn't need a radio transmission to address his people, would he?
Shaky hands finally managed to fold the paper into a triangle.
It was all wrong, then. I was not a servant of God.
Korea howling in pain and fury, crawling in the mud with broken legs and arms and looking, looking, those beautiful smiling eyes were now dark and dead and looking, they would never stop looking, and close and let him rest.
China's face strangely blank, a hand patting the bleeding cut on his back as if he couldn't believe what had just happened. Why? Wasn't I a good older brother? Why? Why, why, why, the question was always there, the hurt, and the terror of defying one who was thousands of years older.
And Japan had done all of it with his own hands, never hesitating, steeling himself against the guilt revolving in the deepest corner of his mind, because compassion was not allowed, God had given him orders and he couldn't disobey God, could he?
But the emperor is not a God. He never was.
I was an assassin. A rapist. A torturer. A monster.
Another fold. Another triangle. Then, two squares.
I am a monster.
The tiny red paper fell from Kiku's hands.
Insanity was lurking in those soft, dark eyes. Arthur knew it all too well. He had seen brief glimpses of it in the harshest moments of war. And, although he doubted it was the right thing to do, he did it anyway, for he couldn't stand seeing Japan like that.
"It was war, Kiku," Arthur gently embraced the other nation, "let's just not think about it for now, right? We should focus in recovering. You need to recover, for your people. For us."
England was sea and rocks and warm tea and gardens. His arms were solid and comforting, yes, yes, this is real, this calm, this faint scent of lavender, not the blood, not the rotting bodies, not the accusing dead eyes, no. Japan slowly relaxed into the warm arms and closed his eyes. He fell asleep.
He slept deeply and for a long, long time.
Until the end of World War II the Japanese (at least the great majority of them) really believed that the Emperor was a descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Decades later, when the Emperor got sick and needed a surgery there was some discussion if doctors should be allowed to cut his body open, they still feared it could be a sacrilege.