Hello there readers! It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry, school and such got in the way…

Without further ado, I present my newest fic, written for the lj community "hetalia_contest" week 019 prompt, "youth". Enjoy!!

Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia.


Feliciano was in love, once. It was so many decades ago that he almost expects he'll start to forget things; the way his heart would race whenever he caught sight of the little black coat that accompanied strong pitter-pattering footsteps in the halls of Austria's home, the way he'd be caught in a momentary trance at the sound of his voice when his cheeks were puffed out in masked confusion, or maybe how warm and fluttery his empty tummy would feel whenever he spotted the little blond of his dreams trying to anonymously give up his dinner to feed the mini-glutton.

"Holy Roman!! Holy Roman, come play with me!! Come on, we can pick flowers for big sister, for Hungary!!"

"Italy! Slow down, slow down!"

A light, airy laugh filled the field, but the petit Italian heeded Holy Roman's cries, waiting for him on the edge of the flowery grass.

"You're usually so fast, Holy Roman, what's wrong?" Italy was giggling, but when he heard the blond's stomach grumble, he understood, face falling quickly. Holy Roman Empire hadn't eaten dinner the previous night, had he? And it was too early in the morning for breakfast; dawn was only just breaking…

"I-It's nothing." The tiny Empire lied, a flush already gracing his cheeks; Italy could not tell if it was from being tired, or from being embarrassed, but it hardly mattered anymore as he wrapped his stubby, short arms around the body all cloaked in black, nuzzling his nose into his shoulder and breathing in the smell of war and sweat and blood and tears that was so Holy Roman Empire, so lost and confused and much too much for someone who was a child, Italy realized.

Italy held onto him tightly, and it wasn't until Holy Roman Empire squeezed back that he let his shoulders relax.

So Feliciano was surprised when he did not forget, but somehow he was not at all surprised when he found he could not forget. Because how does one forget their first kiss, their first butterflies, the charming boy with a big dreams and a bigger heart, the one who he gave his little panties to so that they would be together, even when they were not.


"Hm? Holy Roman?" The brunet blinked, looking up from his dusting to catch sight of a bloody, battered blond, holding himself up with a fencing sword. His heart dropped into his stomach instantly. "Holy Roman Empire!!"

The blond shook his head, coughing. "It was nothing- just practice."

"Practice? But you're hurt! Who did this to you?"

"Prussia was training me; an empire has to be big and strong."

Suddenly reminded of his grandfather, the wounds marring pale skin now a flashback to those on a rougher, tanner one, Italy wrapped an arm around Holy Roman's waist, slinging the blond's arm over his shoulder. Slowly they walked together, Holy Roman too surprised and too tired to protest (not to mention that Italy suspected his blush betrayed cute, happy thoughts), until they reached Hungary. Even then, the dress-clad little boy refused to leave, assisting Hungary as best he could (but more often wincing when Holy Roman was too stubborn to), until he was certain he was fixed.

Italy can still remember the moment when he heard the news; it had been years later. Holy Roman Empire had left to wage war, and Italy grew up, out of his dresses, into a deeper voice and tailored pants; his heart grew too, but only with more and more love (separation makes the heat grow fonder, no?). France, he was all bandaged up, sitting in his tired chair, voice more factual than honestly sympathetic:

"The Holy Roman Empire is no more." W-What? "You should forget about him." E-Eh?

"You've already suffered enough, haven't you?"

Italy had tightened his lips (but his mouth was already so dry it was not as if he could have spoken anyways), and closed his eyes, trying to fend off the tears until the numbness that overtook his heart make them freeze.

When he opened his eyes again, he wondered briefly if Francis, his big brother Francis, could see the hurt in them. The loss, the hurt, the suffering that was not over, but was only just beginning.

Wordlessly he tried to convey something he later realized Francis would never understand, and then left the room.

It was only 6 seconds later when he was on his knees outside, sobbing.

"No matter how many hundreds of years go by, I'll always love you more than anyone in the world!"

"I-Italy?" The brunet sat up at the sound of that oh-so familiar voice coming into his office. For a moment, he closed his eyes and wanted to pretend it was the voice of the Holy Roman Empire, but as quickly as the thought occurred to him he made himself squash it. It would be unfair to all three of them for him to pretend.

Taking a deep, deep breath, the Italian turned, tears still lingering full on his face.

"Why are you crying; did you get hurt?" Italy figured that Germany was probably talking about a paper cut, but nonetheless he nodded. Germany frowned, and Italy did his best once more to ignore how familiar that face looked (if only it was younger, smaller, rounder, softer…).

Crossing the room in only four awkwardly long strides, Germany pressed his hand to the crown of Italy's head, an attempt at comforting that was both distant and close.

"What happened? Where are you hurt?"

Tapping a finger to his left ribcage, Italy managed his smile, which was made both beautiful and tragic paired with red cheeks and leaky eyes.

"I was just remembering my childhood."


France's lines and HRE's last spoken line come directly from the comics, so I do not claim those. Everything else here was written by me, of course!

I know, it's really sad; I'm sorry. I hope that you still all enjoyed, and I'd love it if you left a review to let me know you're out there, reading what I put out~