Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away…
There lived a handsome, but cruel prince. The prince's kingdom was icy, cursed with a never-ending winter. Many passersby would stop by the castle, begging for shelter from the wicked gales and vicious hail. However, the prince would not take any of them in. Instead, he made a game out of opening the large, oaken double doors whenever someone should knock, just so he could refuse them and giggle at their miserable faces.
Sadly for all these rundown travelers, the prince's massive kingdom was directly in the middle of the continent. If one country wanted to trade with another, the merchants had to pass through the unforgiving territory of the cruel prince. So, this continued on for some years, the hapless merchants forced to find a place to rest elsewhere.
One day, during a particularly bad blizzard, a knock was heard on those large, oaken double doors. The noise was so soft that it would have been missed, if the prince, who was on his daily sunflower-tending routine, hadn't been watering the potted sunflowers framing the doors. Hearing the knock, the prince snapped his head up, his sickeningly sweet smile widening in malicious glee. He immediately set down his watering can and skipped up to the doors.
Wrenching them open, he looked down on the short and nearly frozen young man before him. The young man was blond with blue eyes that were colder than the surrounding snow and his clothes were merely rags. He was shivering violently, but despite that, his expression was neutral. Pasting on a sympathetic expression, the prince said, "Well, hello. What may I do for you?"
The young man looked up and answered, "Please, Prince, I am cold and hungry, and all I ask is to stay one night in your warm castle and for a bite of bread."
The prince pretended to think about it, and then shook his head at the blond. "Нет. "
The young man frowned (the first expression the prince saw since the start of the conversation) and tried to ask again. "But my Prince, surely you have room—" He was cut off by the other's giggles.
"I am sorry, but we do not have room for insufferable peasants like you. Leave now or I will have you forcibly removed. You wouldn't want that, дa?"
The blond narrowed his eyes a little. "Very well," he murmured quietly. The prince was about to shut the door in the man's face when a huge gust of wind suddenly pushed him back and blew open the doors of his palace. When he had recovered, the prince turned wide eyes to the entrance.
The young man was still there, but he didn't look like a dirty peasant any longer. He was dressed in the finest of clothes, with a royal blue cloak draped on his shoulders. He was also hovering slightly above the ground and his eyes shone with an ethereal light. The young man had become inhumanly beautiful, the snow seeming to caress him, and the prince's eyes widened as he realized that he had just offended an ice spirit.
The ice spirit lifted his arm and pointed one finger condemningly at the prince. "I came here to see if the rumors about you were true. Did you know, Prince, that hundreds upon hundreds of men die in the snowy wastelands that surround this castle? I thought it was suspicious that so many met this fate, but I never suspected it was your cruelty that did them in. Had it not been for that merchant who died cursing your name, I would never have known about your actions. This was a test, and I am sure that you are aware that you failed it miserably."
The prince swallowed the rising lump in his throat in order to defend himself. "O Spirit, why do you care what happens to those people? They are not even of this land."
The spirit became even more incensed at these words. "I am the ice spirit of these lands. Those people die by my hands; citizens or not, I will not be made a mass murderer."
The prince opened his mouth to continue his argument, but the spirit cut him off. "Prince, your words mean nothing. I came to you dressed as a peasant; I could have been a farmer of this land and not just some foreigner. But still you chose to shun me. As punishment for your wickedness, I place a curse upon you. Your outside shall now reflect the ugliness on the inside."
Reaching into his cloak, the ice spirit withdrew a sunflower. "If you do not find someone who will love you despite your faults before the last petal on this sunflower falls, you and your household will be thrown into the deepest pits of Hell." As he said this, the castle began to shake, as if an earthquake was taking place. The shaking stopped as soon as the spirit finished speaking, and the spirit himself vanished in a burst of white light.
The prince shakily got up, and ignoring the alarmed cries of his servants and family, he lurched towards the nearest mirror he could find. Looking into it, he screeched, covering his face with one arm and violently throwing the mirror across the room with the other. A servant came running towards his master, intent on receiving orders on what to do about the after effects of the mini-quake, and screamed when he saw the thing wearing his master's clothes, sobbing on the floor in the fetal position.
The servant dashed back towards the servant's quarters, yelling about the prince's transformation to all he came across. Soon, the large castle was vacated of all but the prince's family and those who were too loyal (or too afraid) to leave.
Afterwards, the prince holed himself up in his castle. He shut the large wrought- iron gates and closed off all roads leading to his castle. He did this because he despaired, knowing that no one would love him now. He had nothing to offer anyone now that his good looks were gone. And so, he cut all means of communication with the world. He didn't want some person stumbling upon his castle and seeing not only his ugliness, but giving him false hope as well.
To this day, the prince waits in his dark, cursed castle for the love which will lift the curse from him and his lands.
"The end!" a teenaged boy proudly proclaimed. He shut the book with a decisive snap and beamed at the small twin boys who were tucked snugly into the beds opposite him. The younger, quieter one had already fallen asleep, but the older twin was still very much awake. And he was furious.
"What? Iggy, there's no happy ending! What happened to the hero who's supposed to come and save that prince?"
The bushy-browed boy sighed. "It's Arthur, Alfred. And I guess this story doesn't have a happy ending. It stops there, with the cruel prince waiting in his castle. This story was meant to teach children a lesson about being cruel, I think."
The little boy frowned as he processed this. "But that's not right! A hero's supposed to come in the end and defeat all the monsters and make everyone happy! It's not fair that this prince didn't get a happy ending!"
The elder boy snorted. "If you ask me, he got what he deserved. He did leave all those people to die in the snow."
Alfred frowned even more. "Maybe the prince didn't really know right from wrong. The ice spirit shouldn't have judged him so quickly! He didn't even get to know him. If the hero was there, he could have taught the prince that what he was doing was bad, and then none of this would have happened."
Arthur shook his head and smiled. Alfred was very young, but he already had a high set of morals. Standing, he kissed the boy's forehead, effectively ending the debate ("Ew! Iggy! I don't want your cooties!"). "Yes, yes, the hero would have solved everything. Luckily, this is just a story, so none of this actually happened. Go to bed now, Alfred. I'll see you in the morning. Good night."
Alfred grumbled a quick, "Night." before turning over in his bed. Arthur blew out the candle on the small table between the two beds, before walking out of the room. He didn't close the door completely, leaving it a bit ajar so that Alfred could be comforted by the light from the lanterns in the hallway.
The little boy in question twisted and turned in his bed, reflecting on that night's bedtime story. Then and there he promised to be a hero. Forgetting Arthur's words claiming that the story was merely fiction, he decided that if he ever met this prince, he would become his friend and help him find his true love. He smiled. With Alfred on the job, there would never be any sad endings for anyone!
Hey everybody~! Ok, so I've been drooling over all the awesome RussiaxAmerica fanfics on this site and decided I might as well contribute =W=
This is my first Hetalia fanfic in the world ever, so don't be too harsh, please? OTL
I've been researching fairy tales for my English class, and you won't believe how many variations to this fairy tale there are O.O I hope no one else has done this yet XD So, yeah, basically this will be a mash up of different versions of Beauty and the Beast with a little Hetalia twist.