Some idiots at school were having a go at me being German today and hi, here's a letting-off-steam fic. Not a Nazi, srsly. Stop railing on me; it's not cool. D:
-hetalia belongs to hidekaz himuruya
The sky was bleeding.
The sky was bleeding and the world was cracking.
Ludwig Weillschmidt knew this.
He knew this, and he knew that their cause, their fight, was almost over. He knew that they had already lost.
And yet he continued to fire round after round into the American lines, he continued to follow his orders to the letter, he continued to hack away at his heart until there was hardly any left.
He continued this endless cycle of despair and cruelty.
Perhaps he had already given up long ago. Perhaps he had already realized the tremendous horror of what he was doing, even as he did it. Maybe he was screaming to stop, run away, retreat, curl up and cry for a while.
But there was fire that had burned its way through his mind, poisoning his sanity and his reason. The fire that a man had lit with speeches of greatness and valour. With lies of honour and righteousness, lies that so many people –more people than should have- believed.
And Ludwig believed it himself. And it made him sick.
As hundreds, thousands, millions of people were killed by his orders, killed for no reason other than a foolish prejudice, he locked more and more of himself away, away in a box, a box of lies and small, meaningless comforts that were long gone.
Where was the honour, where was the right; in this?
The sky was bleeding and the world was cracking. And it was screaming. And he was screaming.
There was no light here, anymore. He had shut himself away from the light for so long, there was only blood and dark now. The vision that had poisoned his mind was snaking its way around him, pulling the trigger with his finger, speaking the order with his lips, telling him, whispering things to him. Things that he knew were untrue, but believed all the same.
And he continued to fight. To fight for something that repulsed his instincts and his natural senses, but that gripped him in its icy, burning fingers.
Something that was going to crush him.
They were going to lose.
They were deciding what to do with him, he knew. They were going to annex his house and wall away his brother and give his lands to Poland and ostracize his people and never ever, forgive him.
He knew this.
But he didn't care.
He deserved it.
The poison that had seeped into his bones was slowly fading, and the horror, the immensity of everything was washing over him, breaking over his skull like waves. Waves of shock, pain, hatred…
They were yelling, they weren't doing anything. He heard 'Nazi' and 'evil' and 'dangerous' and he smiled bitterly. He would have to live with this forever, he knew. He would have to stand up at some point, though. Stand up and walk, walk to some destination where maybe he could find an answer, an answer to that much asked question why? A question oft asked but rarely answered.
Feliciano Vargas looked into the taller man's eyes, so dulled with pain and self-disgust. Feliciano's own eyes sparkled with tears, like tiny memories, that fell in shattered pieces to the floor, taking with them happier times.
"Why?" he asked, in a soft voice.
Ludwig gave a harsh, barking laugh. "That is indeed the question, Italy."
"Don't." the other said, in a pained voice. "You don't want to." He gripped the shorter Italian's shoulders and looked him in the eye. "Italy. Please; go home. Live. Be happy. Forget everything that's happened here. I don't want you to have to remember."
Feliciano's face twisted in consternation. "No! Lu- Germany…I want to stay with you!" he flung his arms around the man's waist and burrowed his face into his chest.
Ludwig almost broke down right there. He nearly cried into Feliciano's hair and told him sorry, I love you, sorry.
But he didn't.
Instead, he gently –as gently as he remembered how, he felt dead inside- nudged Feliciano away, and rested his hands on his shoulders again. "Italy…" he said, feeling his chest seize up as he thought of what he had to say, "You should go home. You should forget…forget me."
There. He had said it.
Feliciano looked up at him, wide eyed. "Germany…why?"
"I…I'm not good for you. I got you into this mess." He waved his arm halfheartedly. "I got you into a war and couldn't even win it. Not even for you." He felt a prickling at his eyes but ploughed on, knowing that if he stopped now he could never go on. "This is my burden to bear. I should never have involved you. Never." He said, fiercely. "My burden, and I can never let it go. Feliciano-" his voice broke and he went on softly, "I care about you far too much to let you stay with me."
Feliciano was silent, then whispered, "But I care about you too much to ever leave." He pressed his face back to the German's chest, thinking of all the times that he had curled up beside him and felt his steady breathing.
This time Ludwig couldn't push him away. He wrapped his arms around the Italian and pulled him close, closer than he would have ever allowed during the war, when he always kept his enemies and allies at a distance.
He had gotten through Ludwig's wall, somehow. He had broken down the barrier that had stood for so long, and showed him just how he could be. He had revealed some part of Ludwig that had wanted to fly, to fly and leave this silly war and world behind and just be. Just be with Feliciano and never, ever leave.
"But…it'll be bad if you keep coming back to me…" he whispered hoarsely into the Italian's ear. "Because whatever disease that's eating away at me will get to you, and I couldn't bear to see you become like me." He choked a little, thinking of the empty shell, and the death inside him. "And because I've already proved that I'm not good enough…I can't always protect you. I told you, a long time ago, that someday I wouldn't be able to be there for you. Feliciano…I can't be there for you. I've lost that privilege."
There was an empty space on the bed.
An empty space that should have been occupied by a wriggling, humming Italian.
Ludwig felt that emptiness as he would feel a knife in his chest. It hurt. It hurt so badly.
He turned over, and felt the emptiness.
The Iron Cross that hug at his neck felt like it was choking him. It was dragging him under, drowning him, and no matter how hard he kicked to come up to the surface, it kept weighing him down, pulling him down with a thousand arms towards the screaming, the screaming of the thousand souls that he had taken and cast into the darkness.
Ludwig wrapped his fingers around the Cross and gripped it so hard it almost broke.
But it never would.
Feliciano was there. That was all that mattered. He was looking at Ludwig, eyes so full of some emotion that bordered on joy, fear, and misery.
Ludwig walked, almost trembling, over to where Feliciano stood. He was allowed to talk to him at meetings, at least, even while everyone watched him, warily.
"Italy." He said, his voice coming out curt and terse from habit. Feliciano watched him silently, almost…scared.
He hated that.
He hated it, he hated it, but he knew he deserved it.
He took a deep breath and began again. "Italy…what you said…before…if that still applies…" he hardly dared hope anything. He had been too cruel, too hasty. He had pushed away Feliciano, thinking it was for the best. But things had begun to brighten faster than he had imagined. His people were resilient, and though they still cried and wondered they were fixing, pulling themselves up and trying to make amends.
And he had realized that he needed something. Someone.
He had needed…
Feliciano was looking up at Ludwig out of wide, brown, melting chocolate eyes and he was shining, shining because he knew exactly what Ludwig was talking about, and he knew exactly what he wanted to –had to- say.
He flung his arms around the German's neck, dragging him down to his knees, where he stayed, clutching at the smaller Italian so tightly as to get as close as possible.
"I'll always want to be with Ludwig," Feliciano mumbled. "I'll never want to leave. No matter what you say or do."
"That's a bit much," Ludwig murmured back. "But I'll never say or do anything that would make you want to leave, so I suppose it's alright."
Feliciano smiled. "I know."
Elizaveta wiped tears of joy from her eyes. "T-that was the s-sweetest thing I have ever seen!" she blubbered. "Thank god I g-got it all on camera!"
Roderich patted her comfortingly on the back, all the while somewhat disconcerted by Ludwig's uncharacteristic display of affection.