Disclaimer: I don't own anything whatsoever in Hetalia.

White Flags

Phase 1: The Truth

"Italy!" Germany bellowed, "Get up on your feet!" It was just another start of the day for the Northern half of Italy and Germany. The weather was lovely and blue with a gentle breeze, but, this time…

"Veee~ Germany," Italy whined looking up at the German, "Do I have to?" The annoyed look on Germany's face told Italy enough that he had to get up and start running again. He knew he should've come up with an excuse earlier to miss training. Germany smacked his forehead just as Italy fell flat on his face just before he finished.

"How do you expect to be stronger if you keep failing like this?" Germany asked harshly, "You're at the same place you've stayed 40 years ago!"

Italy weakly picked himself up and stared at the German tiredly, but he wasn't completely terrified. No, he was used to this very well by now! It had been 40 years, yes and it didn't seem like he learned very much, but if he learned one thing, it was that Germany was getting even more irritable and impatient as time went on and if possibly a second-he was still… hetalia, hopeless Italy, whatever was similar to the title! He still loved pasta, gelato, pizza and siestas and didn't like to fight, but…he was more…bored.

"Can we have pasta now?" Germany sighed with a nod and Italy made a small smile, leading him back to his own house.

Their usual meal this time was in complete silence other than the noises of forks clashing against plates. Italy took a bite and took a peek at Germany, who was concentrating on eating his own dinner and looking down-away from Italy. It made him entirely uncomfortable, feeling that he wasn't going to start up any sort of conversation.

And that was when the German cleared his throat and Italy had all his attention set, ready to listen and anticipating for what he had been waiting for…

"You know, you really have to start improving." Now Italy took back his desire as his face fell. "You can't depend on me forever, you know."

Italy had started to think over the meaning of being "dependant". Sure, he was dependant for Germany's protection, but that was really it. But then again, wasn't he supposed to? After all they were friends-so it seemed.

"I know you dislike fighting more than training," Germany continued, "But I do know what's best for you." This made Italy feel somewhat like a child-not that he ever really grew up, but one being lectured by a parent.

"Veee~ Then why is best for me, Germany?"

"Because, you'll be able to defend yourself for once," he answered simply. Ah, yes. Now he remembered why they continued training after all these years even after they allied in World War 2. Didn't he care about the little Italian? He remembered times when Germany would always rush to his rescue from the clutches of perhaps Britain, France, or whoever was hurting him.

"Ne, Germany." A pair of cerulean eyes was locked completely on his dark brown ones.

"What if…someday I can become strong?" he asked. This seemed to confuse the German, who replied, "Well, you'll no longer have to rely on my help for one."

"Then what's two?"

"You…wouldn't need me any longer." Italy's expression began to sadden.

"Third then?"

"You're on your own." The world seemed to have stopped spinning on its axis for a while.

"Fourth"-

"Italy," Germany said sternly, "You will no longer have to bother with me and you are able to"-

"No more Germany?!?"

"It is…for the best, Italy," Germany confessed, folding his hands together. Italy stood up from his chair, speechless and ready to protest.

"Why?!?" He felt his insides shatter and spread across the floor. Germany was the next to stand up from his seat.

"Italy, why would you want to keep someone around like me even after you do become stronger?"

"Because Germany is my friend!" Italy cried out, trying not to choke on his emerging sobs. Germany had sunk back down into his seat.

"A friend, eh?" he muttered in disbelief, which the Italian caught.

"I can prove it! I can prove Germany is my friend!"

"Really?" Germany asked curiously, "You can prove that?" Italy nodded quickly.

"I'll do anything! Anything Germany asks me!"

"Then…" he spoke dramatically, "You will fight me." Italy froze entirely. Even the tears stopped falling down for a while it seemed.

"Okay, I'll do it."

"Very well, then," Germany said, getting up from his chair to walk out of the house, "I'm now your enemy and just so you know-I won't go easy on you." After Germany shut the door behind him, Italy immediately dropped to the floor to continue his pitiful cries-only they were much louder and longer this time.

When Germany had left that afternoon, he felt somewhat guilty, but then put aside the feeling.

'This is for his own good.'

Prussia was the first person he saw when Germany entered inside the house.

"Well, little brother, what's eating at you?" he snickered. Germany ignored him and hung his coat on the rack, only to be evaluated more by his brother.

"You didn't break poor Italy's heart, did ya? The guy's pretty fragile."

"I don't want to talk about it." Prussia merely shrugged and followed his brother.

"What'd you do? Did you give him the same 'I'm a tough ass' bullshit you always plaster onto your face instead of really telling him that"-

"You don't know anything that you're talking about!" he shouted, causing Prussia to automatically roll his eyes.

"Whatever helps you sleep at night, bro." But he knew he wouldn't. Prussia was sure he was most likely going to see a crashed Germany sprawled all over his office desk in the morning. At least this left him an opportunity to try out those new markers he bought on eBay…