And so we begin the endgame, one more chapter and the epilogue. I do not own Hetalia.
Glass, shattered and lying on the carpet. Each was its own piece, independent of the whole and reflecting Sadiq's face back at him from a thousand frames. How poetic he thought bitterly.
Sadiq stared at the shattered glass for a moment longer before turning his gaze back upward to regard what was once a glass case. The case had once held the cross taken from the Hagia Sophia, now it lay broken and empty, the cross missing. His study seemed somehow emptier without the cold cross, as though the item had somehow made the room feel whole, made Turkey feel whole. Now it was gone, its flimsy shield shattered beneath the blunt force of hatred.
He didn't need to look for the one who did it, he knew he would never find him. Greece was gone, he had left a short while ago. The specifics eluded the now quiet empire as he had fled his estate shortly after the... incident. Was that what he was calling it now? It somehow felt less guilty, but it did not change the truth.
His hand drifted to the fez perched on his head, idly adjusting the headpiece though he knew that nothing was wrong with it. It was but another thing that he had changed about himself. Where once regal white robes draped over his form, a green military uniform sat instead as it tightly hugged his muscular form. The only thing that had not changed was his mask. It sat astride his face as ever, no matter his age the mask had been there in one form or other. Sadiq brought his hand up to the blank visage, tracing the contours of the mask though he refused to break his gaze from the case before him.
He looked back down to the glass shards scattered on the carpet. Examining them closely, he noticed several small red stains interlaced between them, the scarlet liquid having settled into the Persian carpet after the act of the frames destruction.
He used his own fists to break the glass, Sadiq thought idly as he brought his gaze back up to the empty frame. He felt as empty as the case, once Greece had left he barely felt like rising in the morning. He still owned the young nation, he knew that, Greece had merely fled from him for the time being. Normally he would have gone out searching for the boy, just as he had with Bulgaria or whenever the Greek had run away before. Riding him down and lashing him with a cane until he felt the lesson learned to his satisfaction.
But he had not, he knew that any punishment he unleashed now would pale in comparison to what he had done during the incident. He felt a shiver crawl up his spine and didn't even bother to repress it as it crawled throughout his form, the chill of his shame coursing through him like the blood in his veins. The shiver soon faded, but the memories, though fragmented, remained in the forefront of his mind.
He tried to distract himself with other thoughts. Where was Gupta? Likely in his room, he didn't think Greece had told the other boy about what had happened. A vicious circle, Sadiq supposed.
He wasn't sure why this act bothered him so much, he thought as his mind drifted back to the topic he would rather bury. It had hardly been the first time he had taken advantage of another nation in such a way, maybe because it seemed like it would be the last time he would be able to. No, there was always Egypt though he balked at the mere thought, he saw the young Egyptian as more of a son than anything though no doubt the other nation would scorn such a thought.
Ah Byzantine, did you ever have...this... problem...
It hit him then. No, Byzantine had not had this problem, because Turkey had been Greece in their situation. Though he would hardly call the deceased empire warm and cheerful, he had only mind fucked him, not physically. Odd, that was almost comforting. Acclimation, he believed such a situation could be termed.
Were all the tortures he had forced upon the Greek some sort of misplaced anger at his previous guardian?
Turkey looked back to the shattered glass. What he had done was inexcusable, mainly because his reason had been revenge, not punishment. Then again, perhaps what the Greek was planning to do would justify it, even though it likely would cause it.
The only question was, would Sadiq be able to fight back when it came to it, or would guilt stay his hand.
Heracles sat hunched over on the beach, his head buried in his knees and his emerald eyes staring unblinkingly at the metallic cross across his lap. The seas waves gently lapped at his feet as though they could soothe his troubled soul and scarred psyche.
It was futile however; nothing so simple could take away his pain. He clutched the cross even closer, his knuckles turning white at his grip on the lifeline in his hands. He had taken the cross from the Turks study; he hadn't deserved any items of such significance to Greece's culture on display like that.
He felt his grip loosen on the cross, he couldn't do anything, and he was weak. Sadiq had shown him that without a doubt, forced him to face his own frailty. He was far too aware of where that weakness stemmed from; it was ironically what gave him the most security as well.
She made him weak, for as long as the Turk occupied his nation, he was at his mercy. He knew his running had been childish, it was futile for the empire would eventually come for him with whip and chain and take him back to his 'home', if such a term could describe the cold palace he was forced to reside in. It didn't make it any easier.
"What's this? What are you doing out here all alone?" Heracles lifted his head to see who had spoken, curiosity momentarily overwhelming his self pity. Standing before him was a somewhat short man, messy blonde hair sat atop his head while a pair of almost obscenely large eyebrows lay on his forehead. Brilliant emerald eyes stared back at Heracles curiously while a somewhat elaborate military uniform draped his form, naval by the appearance of medals and the loose blue and white fabric adorned with sashes and the ilk.
"Well lad, who are you and what are you doing out here alone?" The voice held power and the strength to back it up, a voice that led the world and expected to be obeyed. It was like Sadiq's from long ago, before all the mess began with the losses and the fruitless wars. However, while Sadiq's voice held power and used force to be obeyed, the man's had a softer undercurrent as though he would prefer mutual co-operation rather than force to get his way.
"Wait a tic, you look familiar." The blonde man said in a far way voice as though trying to recall some distant memory as he stared at the fish tail curl that sprouted from the Greeks head. "... Crusades..." he said idly as though the memory was present, but fractured by time.
The blonde shook his head before flashing a smile to him. "Sorry about that, happens sometimes. Any way lad, tell me what your name is? Don't you have any manners?" He said the last part jokingly, causing Heracles to give a slight smile. It wasn't much, but it was a start.
"My name is Heracles." The Greek mumbled. The man gave him an intent stare at that, his eyes piercing Heracles' own.
"I knew it, I do know you, you're Greece right?" The man said carefully. Greece blinked twice as he stared back, the man knew he was a nation, which meant...
"Who are you?" It was now Heracles' turn to ask that question. The blonde gave a confidant smile and his eyes glinted in pride.
"I, my dear boy, am England, the empire where the sun never sets." He declared proudly before glancing around. "Where is Turkey, surely he didn't leave you alone." Greece blinked again before returning to his knees and staring at the cross in depression.
"I ran away." He mumbled into his arms. England said nothing for a minute before approaching and sitting next to him in the sand, leaning back onto his hand sand basking in the sun.
"Did he go that far?" He asked after a short silence, his tone comforting. Heracles stiffened, answering the question clearer than his words ever could. England nodded to himself before reaching across and placing a comforting hand on the Greeks shoulder, a flicker of cold calculation jumping across his face before disappearing soon after to be replaced by friendliness and warmth.
"It wasn't your fault." England said soothingly, rubbing his hand on the boys shoulder, continuing until Heracles relaxed, slowly but doing so nevertheless. "You are not to blame." He reiterated, comforting the boy some more. Greece slowly looked up at him, a pained look on his face, but hope radiating from his expression. So innocent, so honest, so vulnerable.
"Do you want to be free?" England asked, putting on an expression of genuine concern. Heracles watched the expression before nodding slowly, careful to trust again.
"I do." He said simply before looking away. "But, I can't, I don't know how to get away for good." Heracles muttered, tears stinging the corner of his eyes. England slowly let a smile cross his features before standing and walking before the boy. He stood in front of Heracles before extending his hand.
"I'll help." England said, radiating power and compassion, he may as well be crying crocodile tears as well for the poor boys plight. The hopeful look the Greek gave him was almost enough to melt his heart, almost.
"Of course," England said as he held his hand forward, "you can be free." Heracles stared with wide eyes before suspicion cast itself over his face.
"What do you want in return?" He asked cautiously. England merely smiled as though the price was nothing of note.
"Only what the Turk wanted, but given freely should you succeed." He said casually, but with a soothing tone. Greece nearly snatched his hand that had been slowly reaching forward, nearly. He considered the offer; he would be free from Turkey, but was the price too much?
Perhaps it was, but Greece was still young, he was at his most vulnerable and all that he wanted was but a handshake away and to be given freely instead of taken with tears and the stench of alcohol was tempting.
Greece took the hand and was pulled to his feet, helped to stand on his own by the empire before him.
"Where were you?" Turkey said harshly, though his tone was more directed to the man who had come with his charge than Greece himself. Greece flinched all the same and England merely placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder, the corner of the oceanic empires lip turning into a twisted parody of a smile.
"Go on, tell him. I'm right here for you." The Englishman whispered to the Greek. Sadiq felt himself suddenly grow very cold at those words, and the likely implications. They were standing at the gate of Turkey's palace, him at the gatehouse and the pair before him. Heracles said nothing for a moment, gathering his courage but when he did; his eyes were aflame with hatred and his voice venomous.
"I'm declaring my independence." He declared spitefully, his shoulders set with resolve and the metal cross in his hand held tightly.
No no no no! Sadiq couldn't let this happen, not when Heracles was so vulnerable that he would have agreed to anything, but what could he do? Turkey wanted to grab the younger nation and drag him inside, hide him away from the terrors of the world once again but the Englishman forestalled him, his presence a fearsome shield for the Greek to use. He knew however that he would never be able to anyway, the bond that he had shared with the Greek was broken, severed by him much to his chagrin.
"He's only using you." Sadiq bit out, never straying from the gatehouse while he spoke as though rooted in place. "He won't help if you start to fail, he'll let you fall without a look back." He said with fury at the boy's foolishness at trusting the other empire. But then again, who had pushed him there?
"Then I'll have to succeed." Heracles shouted, all timidity gone from him as he railed at his former jailor. "I'll become my own nation, try and stop me! You can't do anything worse than you have already done." Sadiq said nothing, the words cutting deeper than swords that would soon be bared and cooling his fury like a bucket of ice water over a flame. He had no defence against the accusations, so instead turned to the smirking maritime empire.
"And what do you get out of this?" He spat, his rage returning tenfold at the knowledge that Greece would be at the mercy of this man. He would be beyond any protection he could give, and that thought frightened him more than anything.
"I will gain an ally of course," England said warmly before his tone became chillier than ice, "and weaken an enemy." He finished with a glare. And lose nothing in doing so, Sadiq finished for the other empire silently.
"There's always more of a price with these deals." Turkey declared bitterly. A slow lewd smile spread over Englands face as he glanced to Greece, who still stared bitterly at the Turk. Sadiq felt his blood suddenly run cold at the meaning behind the look.
He was about to shout again, warn Greece, threaten him again until he understood when the Englishman turned around, Greece following suit. Sadiq stood there, frozen and silent, and watched as they walked away, helpless to stop them with words or actions till they were out of sight.
"Of course, it took a great deal of effort to conquer your former empire, but then, no empire reigns forever," he pointed at the bleeding man, "Byzantium." Sadiq grinned widely, relishing how the former empire flinched at his words.
"A lesson you would *Cough hack* do well to remember as well."
It appeared that it was not Byzantine who had failed as the teacher; rather Turkey had failed as the student. He had failed to learn, and Greece was going to pay the price.
The irony made him fall to his knees and cry before the setting sun.
When the time finally came for him to try and stop the Greek from leaving, he found he didn't have the strength or will to make him stay.
Ah sucky ending, oh well.