Memoirs of a Not-Child
Disclaimer: The AWESOME Hetalia belongs to Himaruya Hidekaz!
Readers of this fic should read Worth and A Love Forgotten first before proceeding. Those two stories can be found on my profile.
The Spanish-Austrian Years
The first time I realized the world was unfair was the day my grandfather told me I was to be raised to protect Feliciano. I, who had Greek origins and was firstborn, was to grandfather the stronger one. I would be the one to bear the suffering as he took Feliciano away from the dangers the others around us posed. I didn't blame my fratello for not knowing who I was. I was not allowed to develop our brotherhood; it would make me vulnerable if anyone used Feliciano as a bait. My fratello was un innocente angel...He was pure and talented and better in many ways than I was. I knew that. I knew countries that had a painful childhood, forced into premature adult thinking. But I may have been the one who had the most shortlived childhood, even if my physical appearance didn't grow until a few hundred years later.
I was a not-child. My thoughts became too twisted and cynical as a child, but my body remained small and useless. The change was gradual, but it became more apparent when Feliciano was taken away and I was left to fend for myself. They either treat me as a complete baby that was a bully's target practice or an asset they could make use of. They tried to take advantage of me,but I fought back secretly. I would not give my conquerors an easy reign over me. I had to learn not to care. There was no one I could trust. Solace within the sanctuaries of nature was the only peace I was allowed to have. I was alone, without anyone who would help. But I would be damned if I gave in without a fight.
When Feliciano returned, I was unhappy. My fratello should not have come back. It would only be hard on him, especially with a brother who could not even protect himself. How would I be able protect Feliciano? There was a way...I taught him to run. Escape is an art that would prove useful should Feliciano ever want to run from clutches of these bastards; the whole lot of them. In fact, the bloody Holy Roman Empire skulked around demanding that my fratello returned to form the old Roman Empire. Before I could become strong and protect mio fratello, he should at least know how to escape from danger.
Grandfather was gone, and he certainly had reason to take Feliciano away then. It was to avoid getting involved again with the lot that clung to former glory. But regardless...Our efforts were useless. Roderich struck us down and took my fratello away. I was presented to that feckless idiot named Antonio.
My life changed that day.
"Lovino, you broke the plates again?!"
I pretended not to care, but inside, secretly...I was shameful. Being that I had to live on my own for some time, since when was I incapable of simple household chores? It made me blush from embarrassment, something I would have never done. The injuries that I received in the years of being in abuse from other conquerors did not allow me full control of my body. That was why I kept messing everything, destroying everything in sight.
Had I been a true Roman soldier under Grandfather's rule then, I would have made him proud with my knack of destruction.
Antonio was a strange conquistador. He evoked such unusual feelings within me that confused me. It wasn't long before I realised that he made me feel...like a child. In the beginning, he too simply wanted to boss me around, not that I let him. But gradually, he began treating me with such kindness, allowing me the leeway for my physical age. Could I believe in him? Antonio made me hope again, that there would still be dredges of childhood that I could have in quiet peace living under his protection.
That was when I fell in love with him.
This person who returned my childhood to me...Even if he was not aware of it, his doting was something I treasured. I have never known another's affections apart from Feliciano's kindness. Yet like anyone else, he broke my heart. Because of my utter uselessness within the household, he preferred Feliciano's dainty and efficient manners as a maid. It made me feel so insulted and outraged but the strongest emotion that trembled in my heart had been...sorrow. If...Feliciano could come here, I would be happy. Roderich was a slave-driver, in cahoots with those potato-loving bastards, and I only prayed he never harmed my caro fratello. Antonio was sure to treat my brother well, and tomatoes grew in abundance here.
It was my duty not to be weak, and it was my mission to protect my fratello. But...for the first time, I felt threatened by Feliciano's existence. If he were to come, I would lose everything to him. My dense fratello was never aware that his presence alone was enough to snatch away all that I own. I didn't mind. I would gladly give him whatever I owned for my inability to shield him from the cruel world. For this one instance...It was different. I did not want any other to take Antonio away from me. This selfishness of mine frightened me. Even as Antonio returned without a familiar boy, I was relieved and ashamed. Relieved that Antonio didn't bring Feliciano back and ashamed of these thoughts. I took my frustrations out by hitting Antonio.
Even after having my heart broken by Antonio's preference for my fratello, I still love him. Inwardly I cursed myself for the foolishness of it all, but as they say, l'amore e cieco. Blind love is dangerous, but I know my heart is with the right person, though I would never have his. He was although a kind person, like the rest he only wanted the lands I was left with. That was what my mind told me, though my heart begged to my way home once, I looked into a lake.
What I saw reflected was a tired man within a child's face. That was the only value I had to myself...The lands my grandfather left me with. The sudden thought brought on an onslaught of self-depreciation. I could not fight yet because I was too weak from all my wounds, and my hands were not so talented as Feliciano, who did everything better, be it the arts or trading. Even when I tried to help out, regardless of the miserable condition that I was in, I only made a mess of Antonio's home. Tears filled my eyes when I reminded myself of my uselessness. It was then a stranger whom I would learn was named Sadiq suddenly attacked me. It frightened me so much, and my half-healed wounds shot spasms of pain throughout my body. In the end, I feverishly whisper for Antonio to save me.
When I woke up to see Antonio, I completely fell in love with him again. For he had risked his life to save me. But from that moment on, I swore to stop trying to live a childhood I had given up. I had become a burden, something that I had loathed to be. This one moment of weakness, my almost yielding to Sadiq had brought tremendous consequence to Antonio. During the latter part of living with him, I noticed that he often came home in injuries. Only after eavesdropping did I find out that the country he had fended off that day was warring with him. And Antonio, despite the protests that I should just be thrown away, fought to keep me, even to the extent of becoming poor. It made me so happy that he treasured me so.
Not even long after that incident, something else happened. I did not expect the horror of seeing German soldiers at Antonio's doorstep later. The floodgates of my mind broke open, the screams of people, the ruthless efficiency of those soldiers of the Germanic blood, robbing my precious things away, separating me from my fratello...And now they were here before Antonio. The sudden fear of losing Antonio seized me and before I knew it, I had blindly rushed in to defend il mio amore from those bastards. Who knew it to be just a misunderstanding?
I didn't care if Antonio thought me rude, as long as he was safe. I was angry that he accused me and scolded me...but if he was still there, it didn't matter. For I would gladly offer my life up for your protection. It did not mean I appreciated his idiocy. He dared laugh when I tried to explain the situation, the rude man! And these days of simplicity passed between us. There had been few bumps in our lives, when the damned bastard Arthur bullied Antonio in the sea where Antonio had most power, and the many days when I had to see Antonio leave and bring under his protection so many other countries. Never would any one of them know how jealous I had been; Antonio would never know how lonely I'd have felt on the many days, months, years he'd be found out about the injuries I hid from him with help of the doctor, after he defeated Sadiq.
Antonio told me, "Te quiero." That had been another bitter realization. But I had not even the courage to say 'Bugiardo' right in his face. It was all I could do to write it down. They say ignorance is bliss; perhaps I should have been born as ignorant as Antonio. Otherwise my heart would not hurt so much. I've fought off the loneliness when Grandfather and Feliciano left. But just envisioning Antonio leaving forever brought bitter, angry tears to my eyes. When Antonio comes to mind, I become hopelessly weak.
It wasn't long before Roderich came, and I was given back to him again. Antonio was correct then, I was a gift to him. A gift that Roderich saw fit to take back when it was convenient for him. For a few decades I lived with my fratello under the flag of Roderich. Antonio had tried to retrieve me a few times, but Roderich used force to turn him away. Though I was glad to be able to be with Feliciano, my heart longed for Spain's warm home and the vast fields. I was at home with the earth and plants and nature, not in Roderich's home of aesthetic, yet coldly impersonal style.
After that, Roderich returned me to Antonio. Even that small happiness of mine was short-lived. Times were changing. Countries around us were roused into war. I was prepared for war a long time ago. A cripple in the past, I was now physically able to fight. I cried out for independence. I screamed for unity. I killed to protect Feliciano. Roderich put up a bitter fight, and succeeded in pushing me back a few times. He was experienced, we were not. But the human leader of the unification, Garibaldi, was an honourable man. I admired him, and supported his efforts.
To my pleasant surprise, each time I was pushed back by Roderich, Feliciano was silently supporting my back, not letting me fall further. He was always afraid of war...But since the 'death' of Holy Roman Empire, he stood firm beside me in my decision to fight for our freedom, for our right to live together under the same roof of our own home. Austria may have taken my brother's home, but he did not have my brother. Three wars were waged before we were finally united, although in the midst of it Gilbert betrayed me for Roderich, the bastard.
However, Roderich had returned that which was once ours to us, and I understood that Gilbert used some means to persuade Roderich. I loathe to admit, but Gilbert's distraction of Francis during the Franco-Prussian War had given the perfect opportunity for us to seize Rome back from the pervert. However much I disliked it, I was indebted to Gilbert.
The war robbed us again of many things, but what caused me the most pain was Antonio's reaction to my decision of independence. We would no longer be able to live together. The moment I declared my intentions to him, he seemed to lose the brightness he uniquely possessed. The pain in his beautiful green eyes were palpable, and it made me ache more. But I couldn't live under his wing any longer. I was old enough to leave his protection. I wanted him to see me as an equal country, no longer his underling. I wanted so much to prove that I was worthy.
But worthy of what? I wondered myself.
Unification of our Italy, and gaining our independence had not been easy, but it was accomplished. Antonio was miserably trying to keep up his smile as he watched me pack my things to move back to my house. The fact that he still tried to smile when he could not, irritated me to no ends. "I'm no longer a child, you idiot. It's about time I moved back to my own home," I snapped at him. A cloudy screen settled over Antonio's normally calm eyes.
"I understand...It's not like I can keep you forever."
It was a stinging memory. I wonder if he ever realized that I heard the darkness in his voice.
The conquistador in him was howling at the loss of a colony, I was sure.
It was not as if he truly missed my company, for my behaviour made me a bad companion.
"Shut up, stupid Antonio. I'm generous enough to allow visits."
World War Years
I always wondered what happened during World War One at the side where my fratello fought and lost. He came home with a bruise on his cheek, but a smile on his face. I had not seen such a smile on Feliciano since...that boy's 'death'. He started babbling all sorts of things about the country he had recently met named Ludwig, Germany. I never met that country myself since I was busy on the western coasts, while Germany lived somewhere above us.
Only during World War Two...When I actually met the man Feliciano recklessly allied himself with.
The distinctive features of Germanic blood, icy blue eyes, short strands of blonde hair swept back in a militaristic style. My memory did not fail me. Whatever his name was now, the man who stood before me used to be a child named Holy Roman Empire, of that I was sure. Well FUCK him.
"Stay away from that potato bastard, Feliciano. He's no good."
"Ve? But he's a nice person~"
I wondered if my fratello ever noticed the similarities. At any rate, I would not remind him. I will not allow Holy Roman Empire, Germany, whatever he was to be close to Feliciano. I would not let him hurt Feliciano again. Never do I want to see my brother cry as he once did for a loss that was caused by its own folly. More likely, I was surprised that others like Roderich and Elizaveta never noticed. During these turbulent years, Antonio was too busy handling troubles in his home to join the war.
War was upon his land, brought by his own people, the Spanish Civil War. Still, he gave me silent support despite being unable to participate openly in the war.
It didn't stop the tears from coming.
World War Two ended in flames for us, the Axis. Ludwig and Kiku suffered the worst injuries and damages to their homes. We were spared from the worst. But perhaps that was the most hurtful reality for the both of us. Feliciano couldn't bear the image of that bastard in bandages. I could have cared less, but I hurt when my
fratello is hurt. I had let that bastard hurt Feliciano again.
But it was also my fault that Feliciano is in pain. I never expected the Allies to invade my home. To make matters worse, my superior forced me to join the Allies. Feliciano however, followed our old superior and went to Ludwig's side. This was one of the worst moments of my life. I was forced to fight against my own fratello, even though Feliciano had been unwilling to raise a hand against me. Ludwig defended Feliciano from the Allies, or rather, protected him from having to fight me. Brothers could never truly turn against each other.
"Help the Allies?! That means I have to...fight...Feliciano...?" My superior sighed. "We are no longer given a choice, Lovino. Feliciano is on the ex-superior's side. We are completely at the Allies' mercy. We have to do as they say unless we want them to destroy us." "I will not ever raise a hand against Feliciano!" I was furious. I'd rather die than hurt mio fratello. "You won't. Lovino, think of it as arresting your ex-superior for taking Feliciano away and prolonging this conflict instead. This war is at its brink. The end is near, and for the best of Italy, we should not be there to see it." My superior was right. It was all Mussolini's fault that Feliciano is still involved in the war. I will get my brother back.
My superior sighed. "We are no longer given a choice, Lovino. Feliciano is on the ex-superior's side. We are completely at the Allies' mercy. We have to do as they say unless we want them to destroy us."
"I will not ever raise a hand against Feliciano!" I was furious. I'd rather die than hurt mio fratello.
"You won't. Lovino, think of it as arresting your ex-superior for taking Feliciano away and prolonging this conflict instead. This war is at its brink. The end is near, and for the best of Italy, we should not be there to see it."
My superior was right. It was all Mussolini's fault that Feliciano is still involved in the war. I will get my brother back.
When I finally was able to wrench Feliciano away from Ludwig, he did not stop crying for days. During those days, the war came to an end with victory to the Allies. All because they used us to weaken the Axis by turning us against them.
"Fratello, let go! Ludwig needs me!" Feliciano was struggling with all his might. "No, I won't! I won't let you be hurt in this!" I was using all my strength to hold onto him. "But Ludwig will be hurt!" "I don't care!"
"No, I won't! I won't let you be hurt in this!" I was using all my strength to hold onto him.
"But Ludwig will be hurt!" "I don't care!"
Even now I still remember his eyes, staring at me hopelessly, like I was the one who condemned him to death instead. Was it truly right of me to take him away from the physical pain, just to cast him into an emotional hell?
No more shall be written on the days of World War Two. In many ways, these few years were as dark as the years centuries ago when war was common like bread and water.
"We'll be late for the meeting if we don't hurry."
Lovino grumbled, tugging on his suit as Feliciano bustled about with breakfast. Feliciano smiled brightly at his brother, knowing that the both of them would sit down to enjoy their breakfast before doing anything else.
His caro fratello was often in a bad mood, but he had a soft spot for Feliciano. He knew that deep inside, Lovino was someone with a beautiful personality, only marred by his scarred heart and distrust. The Lovino he knew was an adult nearly almost since he was born, an adult who did not cry upon learning the news that their grandfather passed away, a man who learned to build up walls around himself to avoid from being hurt, but all this was not his true fratello.
Feliciano knew his caro fratello was a sweet child blessed with the talents of the land, who only wanted to have someone give him the attention and care he had been deprived of as a child. For that time with Antonio, he was grateful as Antonio had been just that for Lovino. Only, he wondered why Lovino refused to be honest with Antonio.
Feliciano had seen Lovino's longing glances, but Lovino never spoke directly to Antonio, unless Antonio spoke to him first. Even during the meeting, Lovino's eyes were glued onto the Spaniard. "Fratello, why don't you go speak to him~?" Feliciano whispered. Lovino jumped, not expecting Feliciano to speak out of the blue.
"D-Don't be stupid! I wasn't staring at Antonio, alright?!" Lovino whispered back fiercely.
"I didn't mention his name~" Feliciano teased.
"GAH!! S-Shut up, idiota!" Lovino got up, furious and blushing. Thankfully, it was break hour and nobody took notice of his outburst. "Wait for me, fratello~! Let's go have some pizza at the new shop at the street corner!" Feliciano called out, trailing after Lovino who had stormed out the meeting room. Neither noticed the little book that fell out of Lovino's pocket, but someone picked it up.
"Lovino's book...I wondered what's written inside?"
Antonio flipped open the book out of curiosity; if Lovino didn't know he peeked, nothing would go wrong, right? Immediately, his eyes fell upon an entry dated on a memorable year.
"Dio, I thought he was dying. It terrified me to see him so helpless. I didn't even know what to do, but to channel funds to his country. Feliciano warned me against it because I already caught a cold, but my cold was nothing compared to his illness. He was on his literal deathbed. As long as I could save Antonio in any way, it didn't matter what happened to me. I just wanted him safe. "Somehow the damned mafias caught wind of what I was doing, and tried to force me to transfer the funds to them instead of Antonio's home. Well FUCK them. Today I got to beat the shit out of those freeloading bastards. The weird thing was, Antonio was in perfect condition when I went back to check on him. He said he's never been better, since he changed to Euro. I wondered if my efforts did help him or not, or if I just wasted my time. "Even so, no matter what happened, I was glad that Antonio was now fine. Though I did feel I got beaten up by the mafias for nothing."
"Somehow the damned mafias caught wind of what I was doing, and tried to force me to transfer the funds to them instead of Antonio's home. Well FUCK them. Today I got to beat the shit out of those freeloading bastards. The weird thing was, Antonio was in perfect condition when I went back to check on him. He said he's never been better, since he changed to Euro. I wondered if my efforts did help him or not, or if I just wasted my time.
"Even so, no matter what happened, I was glad that Antonio was now fine. Though I did feel I got beaten up by the mafias for nothing."
Antonio's curiosity grew stronger. 'Is this Lovino's diary?'
Unable to resist, he started reading from the very first page.
Lovino had been restless ever since they left the restaurant. Feliciano wondered why, but Lovino refused to speak and seemed to be looking at the ground as they walked back to the meeting room. As they arrived, the southern Italian searched the stack of papers at his seat and seemed enormously relieved when he found a small notebook. "Is there something embarrassing written inside?" Feliciano murmured with a silly grin.
Lovino glared at his fratello half-heartedly. "None of your business, Feliciano." The notebook was an important memoir, a record of his memories and his thoughts, something intensely private for Lovino. Unfortunately, many of the records concerned Antonio, and to him, it would be shameful if anyone found out. It was not as if Lovino had been generous with hints, but the Italian was quite sure he gave a very clear indication to Antonio that he was in love with the Spaniard.
That the Spaniard never noticed was expected. Antonio after all, was famous for being unable to read the atmosphere, which led to him being unable to understand signals and pick up hints. Sometimes, it made Lovino pity Arthur as well for the English gentleman was very much, hopelessly in love with Alfred, who was unfortunately cut from the same cloth as Antonio when it came to reading the atmosphere.
Lovino had decided to give up on dropping hints after the proposal fiasco of 2005. It became one of his biggest rants in his memoir, something that made him so furious each time he re-read the entry. When Antonio had asked him then to re-affirm his desire to wed the Spaniard, he had very well answered with clear-cut rules. As long as Antonio provided him with three meals a day, naps and pasta, Lovino would be a perfectly content spouse.
Yet somehow, Antonio took that as a rejection. Lovino had never cursed so much before that incident. He was willing to marry the man whom he loved even though he might not be loved in return, and Antonio scorned him like that?! Sometimes Lovino wondered why he fell in love with an idiot like Antonio.
"Oh, this is magnifique!" Francis was laughing aloud, tears falling generously at the expense of an embarrassed and annoyed Antonio. He was honestly taken aback at the sheer devotion Lovino seemed to possess for him when he read through the memoir, careful to discreetly place it back at Lovino's seat before the Italian noticed that it was missing.
Antonio, God bless his soul, was baffled at certain entries that contained memories of them together, where Lovino stated he had tried to hint his love, but Antonio was unable to recall that Lovino did such a thing. From young, Lovino always seemed to exhibit a strong dislike for him, even though there were cute moments as well. Antonio could not see from where and when Lovino started to, as was written in the memoir he read, love the Spaniard. It was almost unbelievable.
To solve his confusion, he went to consult Francis. After all, Francis was the country of love. So he pulled Francis aside into a private study to discuss this private matter. Francis listened to his description, and the French was particularly amused when Antonio recalled the failed proposal, or so he thought had failed.
"Mon Dieu, my dear Antonio! I fail to see how Lovino's words were in any way a rejection of your proposal. After all, you did not describe to me how he answered you last time. But now, you quote that the petite beau said, 'At least three meals with naps and pasta.' My good friend, it sounds to me he was all ready to be married to you!"
"...Does it?" Antonio had the grace to blush from shame. If it was true, he had left his 'theoretical fiance' hanging for the past four years!
Francis shook his head. His friend was good-natured without the intention to ever hurt someone, but at times his inability to read the atmosphere could bring disastrous results. It amazed the French that Lovino could still love Antonio after the various letdowns he experienced from Antonio's dismal inability to read his intentions.
"Antonio, let me ask you this. For the long time he has been with you, have you not given him three meals? Naps? Pasta?"
"Of course I did! I am a good boss!" Antonio replied hotly, sulking at the fact that Francis might think that he was a horrible superior to his colonies.
Francis grinned brightly. "l'Espagne, does that not make it obvious to you now? When you proposed, your dear petite beau only wished that you provide for him as you did before, and voila! He would willingly become yours!" Antonio looked vaguely embarrassed, quite ashamed, and slightly hopeful.
"Do you think it's too late for me to prepare for the wedding?"
"Typically, moi would say yes, but from what I heard about that little black book, your petite beau is still very much in love with you, so I am quite sure he is prepared to marry you. Mon Dieu, you are a very fortunate man! Please, I would love to be the wedding co-ordinator!" Francis gushed like an excited girl.
Lovino would never know how this day would change his life.
This is not entirely historically accurate, but I try to be.
1. Prussia allied itself with Italy to fight Austria. At the end, Prussia allied itself with Austria instead! But as a result, Austria returned the lands of Italy back to the Italians and they could finally unite, except for some areas like Rome (and Venetia if I'm not mistaken.)
2. During the Franco-Prussian war, France had to pull their troops out of Rome to deal with Prussia, giving Italians the opportunity to retrieve Rome.
3. The Allies invaded Italy from the south and Mussolini who refused to give up during WW2 was fired and replaced. However, even though he was removed from his status Mussolini ran to North Italy which still had strong relations with Germany. The newly appointed Italian prime minister had surrendered to the Allies and they were used as an entry point for the Allies to fight the Northern Italians and Germany. In the end, Mussolini was caught and executed.
4. Though not invovled in WW2, some consider the Spanish Civil War as the 'opening war' for WW2.