To those not familiar with my work, if you think this story is the worse thing ever, don't stop yourself from telling me! As long as you explain why, I don't mind! I want this story to feel bittersweet and confusing, in reflection of earthquake survivors. This is my third rewriting of this story, and I'll keep doing it until it works. Italy means a lot to me, as a character, a country, family and friends (Hell, a lot of countries mean a lot to me, I'm a mutt!). Hetalia belongs to Hidekaz Himaruya.
Good luck, Italy.
April 6, 2009
It was a sharp cry. Not a wail, nor a whine. Almost an echo. Germany turned, expecting a surprise tackle from Italy. But as he braced himself, he noticed he was alone in the hallway. With that fact established, a strange feeling began creeping into Germany. Uneasiness, fear. But why?
Hearing footsteps running at him, he thought, maybe his pasta-awareness had gone up a few levels. Bracing himself again, he realized it was just false alarm as one of his men entered the room. Annoyance and anger began replacing the fear.
"What is it?" He barked at the gasping man.
"Sir!" He pushed himself up for a salute. "There's been an earthquake in Italy!"
"What's new?" Grunted Germany. "He gets earthquakes all the time. I think he's trying to set a record with Japan."
"It was a 6.3 earthquake!" Germany froze as he felt the blood drain from his face.
Italy has two major fault lines, the North-South and the East-West. The North-South is pulling apart, and it goes right through the middle of Italy.
He hadn't been running. He had been driving and taking planes. And yet, with the adrenaline pulsing through he felt like he had been sprinting. The nausea setting in told him he wasn't fast enough.
"Italy, please be alright. Please, please, please..."
"Sir, we're here."
Arriving in L'Aquila, Germany nearly kicked the door off of his car. Looking around, he noticed he no longer recognized the place. All the great old churches and buildings were completely destroyed. Fallen into large and unstable hills. As he gazed in awe he recognized that the feeling was back. Fear. Trying to put the thought in the back of his head, he walked forward.
"I-I told him..." He whispered to himself as he walked past several rescue workers. He stopped to see if any of them were familiar. None of the faces jumping out to him, he continued forward. "I told him to refurnish these buildings." Feeling his eyes water up, he blinked rapidly, hoping none would dare fall on his cheeks. The next words he wished to say fell mute. His mouth formed the words but no sound came out. "I-id..." In the background, he could hear people crying, screaming, cursing.
"Idiot!" He shouted. "You stupid idiot!"
'Why is it so hard to say now? It's true... isn't it?'
It's only true if he's still alive.
"Why... Italy?" He gasped, he couldn't stop the tears, dammit. Why? He kicked a rock and watched it skip across the street.
"Whoah, hey now."
Realizing that attention had been brought to him, Germany attempted to regain composer. Looking around, he was surprised to see America and England with arms full of rubble. America, who noticed him first, tossed the remains he had into the street and jabbed UK on the side with an elbow.
"Guess who's here late?" UK, who looked like he was about to jam a piece of ceiling down America's throat, stopped in mid action when Germany walked forward.
"What are you doing here?" Germany stared.
"What does it look like?" UK rose an eyebrow. "We're helping out and-"
"And getting the latest news coverage!" America grunted as UK shoved the chunk of ceiling into his arms. "Ow! Careful with that!"
"Bloody imbecile!" Hissed UK.
"Where's Italy?" Interrupted Germany.
"Which one?" Mumbled America, rubbing his chest. Germany glared at him.
"South Italy is in Poggio di Roio." UK quickly relaid the information. "But the one you are looking for is in..." But not fast enough, Germany's finger's twitched into a fist. Can't he just spit it out? "Where is he?" UK asked America.
"I don't know, I haven't seen him." He shrugged.
"He's probably in one of the smaller villages that doesn't have much help." UK shrugged. As much as Germany wanted to punch either of those countries for stalling his time, he shouted a thank you before running off to find someone, anyone who knew where Italy was.
'Why wasn't he answering? He always answers!'
For some unknown reason, he never had to worry about Italy during the wars. Like he knew he was always going to pop back up, asking about pasta and tomatoes. But now surrounded by broken towns and cities, why was he so unsure now? Does everything change when it's the planet that's against you? Even he had no idea where he was anymore. Without his assistance and maps, all he knew where he was now was somewhere north of L'Aquila, a small town that has now become smaller. It was torn and ripped to the ground like all the others he was running through.
"Do not worry! We are coming for your sweetie!" To his left, there was a couple who were digging through what looked like a clasped apartment building. Inside, a muffled cry could be heard.
"Do not worry! I'll help!" He found himself calling to the natives. Stepping in, he helped establish the people in the area to create an organized search and rescue party. It was difficult at first, but soon enough more pairs of hands came helping. As broken brick and splintered wood was removed, they managed to rescue the person inside.
"Oh, my baby!" The woman cried in happiness, now snuggling up to her terrified Cane Corso.
A dog. He saved a dog.
"You're kidding." Germany groaned as he brushed the dust off of his pants. 'Could this day get anymore-'
"Oh! Hello, Germany!"
He froze. 'It can't be, can it?' He looked up. 'Yes!'
"Italy!" He gasped. Italy himself stumbled off the debris hill to give Germany a shaky wave. His clothes were ripped and dirty, from dirt and blood alike. As Italy caught his breath, he walked over to Germany. Not run, not skip. Just walked.
'My Italy is broken, and I have no one to blame.'
"What are you doing h-" Italy was interrupted as Germany made the first move, tossing the glass aside and leaping to him. Once in arms reach, Germany grabbed Italy and held him firmly against him.
"You have to ask?" Germany gasped, shutting his eyes so he wouldn't have to see his Italy covered in cuts and bruises. "What happened?"
"Just an earthquake." Germany couldn't believe how cheerful Italy still sounded when exhausted. He bit his lower lip when he noticed Italy's shivering body slack in his hug. Germany held tighter, as if Italy was about to break. Like if he were a fragile thing. "We get them all the time." He sighed. "You said so yourself-"
"...why didn't you say anything?"
"This isn't a war." Italy gave a giggle, but it was quiet. Germany gritted his teeth, why did he have to look so pale? "It's okay, because this is something I can handle." He closed his eyes and gave Germany another smile. But in doing so, it reminded Italy how tired he was. His legs giving out underneath him, Germany quickly swung his arms underneath him and picked him up.
"Handle? Where are your machines? The rescue-" Germany felt himself cut off as Italy began to stroke his hair.
"The machines threaten to collapse other damaged buildings, it's best not to use them until we know there is no one in the rubble."
"It's alright Germany," Italy gave a light kiss on his chin. "I've done this before." To Germany's horror, he went limp. Bitting back many words of insults, he sat down on a collapsed bench. No words where needed now, especially when the listener is comatose.
"I will be your bed until you awake again." Germany laid his forehead on Italy's. "How dare you take this on yourself-" He began to criticize until he noticed how close their lips where. Feeling his head began to heat up, he looked up at the sky instead. No cloud in the sky.
Today could not be a good day, but it could be a better day.
'You're such an idiot.'
The earthquake itself hit somewhere north east of Rome. By this update there have been over 200 deaths. The wounded and homeless strike over thousands. Among the dead was a student from the Czech Republic. Those that don't have families are living in their cars or have been pitching up tents at parks.
What makes this more nasty, is there was a scientist that predicted it. But because Italy lives on two major fault lines (which are the reasons Venice is sinking) and the government didn't want him to panic the public (sound familiar?) they ignored him. If anyone knows the man's name, please tell me, I wish to give him proper credit.