This being a product of a mind too eager to tell something, ultimately resulting to something that isn't really as coherent as hoped.
I feel like my English is deteriorating badly... this will probably deserve a re-write. (Although to be honest, this is already my second attempt at this! Meh.)
Anyway, this story is based on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, specifically about how Austria handled the influx of refugees from Hungary. Historical notes are at the bottom.
I made liberties with the information I got, so I apologize in advance if my changes ended up insulting the reader in any way. Although the changes are mostly related to time lines. I think.
Hetalia does not belong to me.
They Were Once His
Roderich's house was in chaos.
Not that it had never been an absolute mess before, especially after two great wars. But he had just barely managed to set things right after he was finally left alone again when the crisis struck. Now it seemed as if he had not made any progress at all.
People were everywhere. His once carefully kept gardens were filled with haphazardly set tents that ruined the manicured lawn. The hallways of his once seemingly empty house were filled to the brim with arms and limbs trying to find heat and comfort from the November cold. He was hardly able to play his piano anymore, as the music room was crowded. Even his own bedroom offered him no solace.
His original tenants were beginning to complain. Yet despite the fact that he was no longer capable of supporting any more people, still they flocked into his home seeking freedom and comfort. And he was not in any position to deny them what they sought.
After all, he had made a promise.
Just a little over a year prior, Roderich was released from his house arrest by Alfred, Arthur, Francis, and Ivan. Immediately afterwards, Roderich had declared himself neutral forever. He would never participate in another argument between his neighbors again.
Let others wage their wars. That was part of a creed that surrounded the governance of his house for years, so his decision wasn't too difficult. If he had his way, though, he would rather have kept the entirety of that creed, but the part about him being happy and married just not seemed to have stricken a chord with his powerful neighbors, and so that had to be abandoned in favor of being left alone.
Still, the news about his new-found freedom and his embrace of neutrality was well accepted. Especially by his ex-wife, who was still under Ivan's control.
There had been many factors that led to their divorce, and it had been an incredibly bitter affair for both parties. However, Roderich knew that he was still in love with Erzsébet. He was quite grateful that he was still able to maintain a friendship with her despite their separation, even though she had not seemed to reciprocate his feelings.
"You're lucky they've finally let you go," Erzsébet had told him during one of their small private get-togethers. "That makes me a little hopeful that Ivan is planning on releasing me soon, too. And when that happens, I think I'm going neutral like you. I'm done with all the fighting, Roderich. I just want to settle down peacefully."
But that never happened. The more Erzsébet took steps to escape Ivan's clutches, the more he tightened his hold. Roderich knew Ivan was setting himself up for trouble; perhaps more than anything else, Erzsébet loved being free, and voraciously defended it from any threats. It had not helped that her best friend Feliks - who shared the same situation as her - was being rather difficult with Ivan as well. Roderich could only watch, unable to do anything, as the two friends gossiped and plotted against their captor together.
The last time Roderich saw Erzsébet was when they had managed to open a section of the fence that lay between their two properties. A small river passed through this area east of his land, and they spoke on top of the bridge that connected their estates together.
"I'm going to kick Ivan out of my house," she told him confidently. "Feliks was unsuccessful, but I think I have a better chance at it."
"I thought you were tired of all this conflict?"
"I am. But this is a fight on my own land," she reasoned, her clenched fists shaking in anger. "He killed my young, Roderich! They just wanted to ask Ivan if he could give me just a little bit of space to breathe, and he killed them for it! I will not just simply stand around and do nothing!"
She had been beyond reason at that point, but he had not really bothered to talk her out of it. In truth, Roderich had thought that Erzsébet's chances of success were indeed better than Feliks'. After all, their entire neighborhood was once afraid of her incredible fighting prowess, and she had been able to defend both him and herself countless of times when they were still together.
"Don't underestimate Ivan," he still cautioned. "We both know he can be pretty ruthless."
Erzsébet frowned. "I'm just worried about the tenants who might get caught up in all the fighting," she confessed.
"Send them to me. I will take good care of them," Roderich said immediately without blinking.
"Are you sure? You've just managed to get back up on your feet again. Besides, you're no longer supposed to interfere."
He nodded his head firmly. "If I just simply keep this piece of land open, and let them come to me at their own accord, that's hardly what you'd call interfering, right? Besides...
"...they're my people, too."
Her eyes widened at his statement.
Roderich then realized that that was probably the wrong thing to say.
He was never able to tell if she had ever relished their married life in the not-too-distant past. She was the one who had opted to separate from him, after all. Perhaps those memories of them being together were not at all as pleasant for her as they were to him - Roderich felt a pang in his heart as he thought of this. That was why discussing their former union was an unspoken taboo between them.
"I'm sorry." he apologized softly.
"...no, it's okay."
Her reply was unexpected, but Roderich was more surprised to see a look of nostalgia crossing Erzsébet's face. "You're right. They were yours too, weren't they?"
Roderich could only nod once again.
Erzsébet sighed, smiled, and stretched her arms above her head. "Well. That's decided, then. I'll just come and pick them up once I've gotten rid of him."
"I'm really sorry I'll have to burden you with them. I promise, there wouldn't be too much, and this really shouldn't take too long..."
At the end of that day, she took out her flag, furiously ripped out the standard Ivan had placed on it, and marched off to confront her enemy.
In the meantime, he had gone back to his house to prepare for his expected "guests", feeling quite proud of himself.
After all, it wasn't every day a man was still able to please his ex-wife.
At first they arrived by the trickle. It seemed that Erzsébet managed to keep her promise and minimized the amount of people flowing in. Roderich helped them settle down, but had not really made the effort to get to know them. He expected that they would not be there long, and patiently waited for the time when the conflict was settled so that their lives would return to normalcy.
He had not heard about anything from her directly, so Roderich tried to gather whatever information he could get about the property that was just next to his. When he heard of the truce that was finally arranged between Erzsébet and Ivan, he breathed a sigh of relief.
Then the retaliation came.
There was little Roderich could do as he watched Ivan march into Erzsébet's house and destroy as much of it as he could. Caught completely off guard, she never even had the chance to defend herself.
"Segítség! Segítség! Segítség!"
"Help! Help! Help!"
Those were the last words anyone heard directly from her house that day.
Soon, her tenants were passing over the small bridge in droves, fleeing the wrath of Ivan's anger.
Roderich was desperately ill-prepared for this event. He had counted on a quick resolution to the conflict, and had not thought of any contingencies should this fail. He still continued to accept all of Erzsébet's refugees, but he had to improvise so that he could provide them with decent living conditions for a longer haul. It had not quite helped that winter was just around the corner.
He could have simply refused any more entry into his property, but he couldn't do it. It wasn't Erzsébet's fault she couldn't keep her promise, after all. Surely, after everything has settled down, she would appreciate his efforts. That would make everything worthwhile.
It had to. Because Roderich had to cling to this belief so that he could continue to keep his promise to her.
He hated seeing his once clean and orderly house - just recently restored - ruined in the span of just a few days. He hated having to give up more and more of his personal time trying to find ways to accommodate her people - he had allowed them into his land; couldn't they properly manage the rest on their own without irking his own tenants?
One would think that Roderich's connection to them as their landlady's ex-husband would have eased him into his role better - he himself had said that they were once his. But the years of separation had taken its toll. He wasn't even sure if he had anything in common with them anymore.
At least, until he caught one of them running a hand over the shiny black polish of his beloved piano. He was furious - could they not read his house rules, one of which clearly stated that they were not allowed to touch his instruments without his permission? Roderich scolded the young man in German, but the intruder just stared at him cluelessly. Sighing, the house master switched to a language that he had long since stopped using regularly within his household ever since he had his divorce.
"Did you not read?" Roderich asked sternly in Hungarian. "You were not supposed to touch the piano without my permission."
The young man's face turned red. "I'm really sorry, sir. I could not read the language you use."
Roderich closed his eyes in annoyance. He could have slapped himself on his forehead. Of course Erzsébet would have had new tenants after they've separated. Of course they wouldn't have known his language. For what reason would she have taught them that anyway?
"I apologize for my lack of foresight. I'll have that fixed immediately," Roderich replied.
He expected the refugee to leave, but he was hesitantly approached instead. "Sir...?" the young man said. "Since you're here, and given what you've told me, can I ask... can I play, sir?"
Roderich looked up. "You can play?"
"I had a piano back at home, sir."
Roderich nearly smiled in spite of himself. He now understood the refugee better. After all, if he had been in the same place, touching the piano would have been an irresistible temptation. "Go ahead."
He was even more pleasantly surprised when he heard the music piece the young man played. "Haydn?" Roderich asked.
"Yes, sir. He once played for Lady Erzsébet all the time."
"...yes. He was also my tenant."
"I've been told, sir."
Roderich looked away. "Do you... play for her?"
The refugee shook his head. "No... I don't think I'm good enough, sir. She's never shown it outward, but its' been said that she's very hard to please. But I do love Hadyn and try to play his pieces, even if I don't do him justice."
That afternoon, Roderich willingly sacrificed even more of his personal time with this young man, trying to improve his skills on the instrument. He didn't ask for his name, but at least he knew they shared a common passion, and that was enough for him.
He still had some things in common with her people after all.
It just took a while for him to decide to see them again.
In the succeeding days, Roderich had his publishers print out various reading materials in Hungarian for the refugees to read, including the house rules. He also had his house governors come up with various forms of entertainment for them to pass away the time as they waited for better news.
The orders brought back so many memories.
As people continued to pour in, his land - which had shrunk over the years - could no longer accommodate the growing number of refugees. Roderich knew that much as he walked through his hallways. His finances were dwindling, hygiene and living conditions were deteriorating, and despite his and his house governors' best efforts, morale was decreasing and tensions were rising.
Yet he did not dare to forcibly bring these people back to Erzsébet's, where he knew Ivan would be waiting.
So he decided to call upon the only people whom he thought could help. Those western neighbors who claimed to carry the torch of liberty and freedom. He did not really want to do it - he still had his aristocrat pride, after all. But this was all for her.
He knew his feelings were certainly conflicting with his supposed neutrality. And yet, also thanks to those feelings, he did not care.
Besides, as Roderich soon realized, his supposed non-neutral allies were more adamant in keeping themselves out of the conflict more than he did.
"We'll send you some money to help with the finances," Alfred told him over the phone. "But we really can't get ourselves involved in this. Not with Ivan. Not with the way things are now. You understand, don't you?"
"Quite frankly, I don't," Roderich replied coldly, bringing the telephone receiver down before waiting for Alfred to reply.
Left with no choice, he bore with his problems just a while longer.
Perhaps it would have been better for him if his dilemma had prevented him from thinking about Erzsébet.
But the more the people crossed over the bridge - all going to his property, never the other way around - the more he worried about her.
Every time another tenant of hers asked for his assistance, his eyes asked a silent question, and all they could do was look back at him with anguished looks on their faces at the thought of their landlady.
There were times when he wanted to weep, but he couldn't. Wouldn't.
He really did not have to anyway.
There were enough people weeping in his house at night.
It was quite late one evening when a knock forced Roderich off his bed. Not that it disturbed him or anything. Sleep had been very hard to reach as of late.
Upon opening his door, he found two young, eager looking little girls standing in front of him. "Can I help you?" he asked, wondering what was so urgent that they found the need to approach him at that hour.
The girl at his right smiled. "Young master, sir," she said in fluent German - she was obviously one of his tenants. "Babi and I were just wondering about the party."
Roderich blinked. They wished to speak to him in the middle of the night just to ask about a party? "What party?"
"The Christmas party, sir. It's only a few weeks away. I was telling Babi how beautiful the lights we set up around the house are, but then I kind of noticed that nobody had been talking much about it when they usually do around this time."
Roderich knelt down so that his face was directly in front of the girl. "What is your name?"
"Elfi, I'm afraid its' not possible for us to hold our celebrations this year."
"But that's just awful!" Elfi cried. "We've always had a Christmas party! Why can't we have one this December?"
"Is it because Babi and many of her friends are here?"
Roderich was not sure how to reply to that question to a preschooler.
"I heard from Mama and Papa. They said you've been having problems, sir."
"Well... yes, I have."
"Can't we help?" Elfi asked.
"We can do the party on our own this year, so that you don't have to worry about it!"
"I'm not sure how much you can do..."
A movement down the hallway to his left caught Roderich's attention. Standing around a corner were who appeared to be Elfi's parents, along with his head house governor. They were smiling.
"Please, sir. This would really, really cheer Babi up. It's the first time she spent the holidays away from home, you see."
Roderich looked at Babi, who seemed even younger than Elfi. She stared back at him with huge, brown eyes.
He sighed and stood up. "I'll speak with my house governor tomorrow, okay?"
"Yay!" Elfi joyfully exclaimed, as if Roderich had already agreed.
He then felt small hands grasping his left one, and he turned once more to face Babi. She had a huge, toothless grin on her face.
"Vielen, herzlichen Dank!" the little girl thanked him in broken German.
I suppose setting up even just the lights won't hurt... Roderich thought.
Besides. If he made Babi happy, maybe that would make her happy as well.
Eventually, Roderich finally got his western neighbors to accept some of the refugees.
But that had hardly been of any comfort to him.
One day while making his rounds, he found a woman trying to lift a heavy box. Ever the gentleman, Roderich approached her.
"Jó reggelt," he greeted. "Good morning. Is there anything I can assist you with?"
"Ah, young master," the woman said. "You're a god-send. Would you be so kind as to help me move this to the kitchen?"
By that time, Roderich had already grown quite familiar with some of the refugees in his house. That woman was one of them. "Why had you not sought your husband's help?" he asked, grunting as he lifted the heavy load.
"Miklós was accepted and was taken to Belgium. He left just yesterday."
"Belgium? Shouldn't you have gone with him along with the children?"
The women stared at the ground. "Sadly, the landlady only accepts males that are capable of working for her. The children and I don't count."
"What? Then why choose Belgium? Why not seek help from Alfred? Surely he'll accept the whole lot of you."
"He did offer to take most of us in, but little Péter did not pass Sir Alfred's medical examinations, so he wanted us to leave him behind. Between sending only Miklós off to work nearby, or the family leaving Péter behind, I'd say the former is a better option, don't you think?"
It was a sound argument, but that had still not stopped Roderich from being completely livid towards his western neighbors.
"These people are refugees, not immigrants!" he roared at his supposed allies when the opportunity arose.
"Calm down, Roderich. You seem to be losing your temper over this for quite some time now... it's not like you at all," Francis commented in his carefree way. "We're already giving you generous aid to support them at your place. By us going further and taking some of them off your hands, be glad that we're taking some of the pressure off your back, at the very least."
"By selecting only those you feel are useful to you? By separating children from their parents, wives from their husbands?" You haven't changed at all!
"You have to understand that not everyone you accepted even counts as a refugee under existing terms," Alfred defended. "So we have a right to deny entry to those whom we think violates this understanding."
"Ah, yes. So according to your screening process, only those that do not have any missing toes or fingers count as refugees," Roderich mocked.
Alfred squirmed in his seat.
Arthur, however, was a little bit more concerned than his companions were over Roderich's behavior. "For someone who is supposed to be neutral, you seem to be too anxious over this," Arthur said.
"Wouldn't you be, if it was Alfred that was in trouble?" Roderich asked grimly. Surely, Arthur understood his situation. Surely, Arthur would still have some feelings for the man he once considered his brother.
Arthur cleared his throat uncomfortably. "We've just been receiving reports that some of Erzsébet's tenants are plotting to bring her over to your property, perhaps permanently. We'd just like to remind you that by our previous agreement, you can no longer be with her."
As if he would ever forget that they were the ones who offered - or perhaps coerced, as he desperately believed - Erzsébet the chance to separate from him.
"I have not heard of this, but I will have this looked into," Roderich replied in a deadpan voice.
"Yes, please make sure you do. We wouldn't want you to do the same contract violation as you did with Ludwig the last time..."
Roderich clenched his fists. Ludwig, who was seated nearby, openly frowned, but did not offer any comment.
Alfred grinned. "Well, back to the refugee problem, I think we can work some sort of agreement out," he said cheerfully.
"Well... things had been really tight, and it's been difficult to go to our eastern neighbors recently. It would really be beneficial if we could get some information about them so we could be better prepared for any future conflicts. If we could perhaps get some of Erzsébet's tenants settling at your place to help us with this...?"
Roderich had not bothered to stay around and hear what agreeing to that proposal would mean for him.
He had just returned home from what he deemed was a disastrous meeting when one of his house governors hailed him.
"Young master, you have a visitor," the messenger said.
His hopes rising a little, Roderich briskly made his way to the entrance of his house. Unfortunately, whom he saw there was someone he had least expected - or even wanted - to see.
"You've gotten yourself into trouble again," Vash said unsympathetically.
Roderich glared at him. He was still not in the mood to respond to any discussions in his characteristic aloofness.
"I've always told you not to associate yourself with Erzsébet. All your problems seem to heap whenever she's involved."
"Are you done making fun of me? Because I still have mouths to feed. Our friendly neighbors took away many of those who had once been capable of this task, after all."
"Why do you insist on doing this? You can always close off your property from hers, stop the flow, and make things manageable again. And yet you still keep it open!"
"They need help. It's as simple as that. Why can't any of you understand that?"
"Because we know that you're not doing this for that simple reason alone. Roderich, can't you see? She's no longer your wife. She has left you a long time ago. Her people are no longer yours."
Roderich furiously grabbed Vash's arm and dragged him to his backyard, where many of Erzsébet's former tenants dwelled. "See that man over there?" he said, pointing towards an old man helping to repair a shelter torn by the previous war; Roderich could not find any other place to settle him and his family in. "His name is László. He came from Mosonmagyaróvár. László fought at Drina, proudly carrying mine and Erzsébet's name. This man," Roderich pointed to another individual. "Gyula, from Debrecen. He was at Isonzo, also carrying our banner. That woman over there. Katalin. Her mother is a tenant of mine; her father Erzsébet's. They were forcibly separated after we did."
One by one, he pointed out all of the refugees within a few yards of them and stated their connections with him, direct or otherwise. "Don't you see?" he argued in the end. "Erzsébet and I are no longer together. But our people are still connected! I'm still connected to them! Just because her people were once mine... it does not mean that I should no longer care for them!"
Roderich calmed somewhat after his outburst.
"Alfred and the others... they once gave Erzsébet and her people a brief glimpse of freedom before Ivan had decided to take over completely," he continued in a quieter voice. "I'm sure they've also heard their last cries for help. They didn't do anything then. They're still not doing anything now. Everyone has abandoned them. But I won't."
For a moment, Vash stared at him with an unreadable expression on his face. Then he snorted.
"Tomorrow. 0800 hours. Get all of those who are tired of this dump and want to move out to get ready. I don't care how many, or if they're missing any toes or something. I'll pick them up at that gate we share."
Roderich was speechless.
"I'd also be careful if I were you. Ivan hasn't been very happy with what you're doing. He's going to find a way to strike you next."
Vash smirked. "No, I'm neutral. You're not. Deny it all you want, but you're still doing this for her, and that's hardly neutral. We just didn't expect you'd be doing it for your people as well."
That night, Roderich played his piano to those who were willing to move to Vash's property and were spending their last evening there.
His back was facing towards them, but they just needed to hear his music to know that tears were freely flowing down his cheeks.
For the next few days, things became easier for Roderich. He did not know if Alfred and the others were embarrassed by the fact that it was two supposedly neutral people who were making efforts to help Erzsébet's beleaguered tenants instead of them who called themselves harbingers of freedom. But somehow, public opinion among the tenants of his western neighbors had swung to his favor, and they were now accepting more refugees than they used to.
Roderich saw off many of Erzsébet's people at his western gates. Each time, he felt a little depressed - deep inside he had hoped that they would be able to walk back to Erzsébet. But that hardly seemed possible anytime soon, and his neighbors should be able to take better care of them than he ever could.
Besides, the flow had yet to stop from his eastern gate.
One day, as he was greeting yet another family who had crossed over, he suddenly saw a glimpse of Ivan at the other side.
Ivan was staring at him maliciously. Behind him were dead bodies; most likely those who had also tried to cross, but were caught before they had reached his property.
Roderich's blood ran cold.
"You're killing her, did you know that?" Ivan said. There wasn't any malice in his voice - it was just his normal, cheerful tone that somehow sounded more dreadful than any voice Roderich has ever heard. "Every day, she grows weak each time she loses just even one of them to you."
"She wouldn't be losing them if they weren't trying to flee from you," Roderich replied defiantly.
"Strong words from such a weak person, Roderich. Now, would you do us a favor? We want you to stop kidnapping her people and selling them as slaves to those western dogs. In return, we might just leave you alone."
"S-selling them as...? I'm doing no such thing!"
"Erzsébet is very important to me, Roderich. I do so wish not to see her die. And unlike certain people, I have the power to protect her."
Roderich gritted his teeth.
"So be a good neighbor and leave us alone. You're supposed to be neutral, right? Step over the line once more, and I will see to it that you won't ever be able to bother us again."
Ivan turned around to leave, but appeared to have forgotten something. "Oh, one more thing," he said, looking back at Roderich, his disarming smile still present on his face. "I don't really think you'll need this anymore."
The next thing Roderich knew was darkness.
It was only after he woke up when he learned that he had blacked out due to being thrown off his feet by a blast that destroyed the bridge connecting his property to Erzsébet's.
Without one of his vital connections to Erzsébet, the flow of people ebbed. There were other methods to sneak into his property, but at least the mass migration had come to an end.
Roderich did not know if he should be grateful or not.
He was still busy trying to manage those who were able to escape over to his side. The absence of new faces made things even much easier, as Vash had told him once. But the fact that hardly anyone was passing through their gates anymore meant that what little news he was receiving about Erzsébet's condition had all but disappeared, since the source was cut off.
Despite that, he lived for both his and her people. Until the time came when she was finally able to open her arms and her people would willingly return to her, without Ivan ominously hovering behind their backs.
A few weeks later, he suddenly received a request from Erzsébet to meet up.
Wondering how she was able to escape Ivan, Roderich rushed to the meeting point located at one of the (closed) fences they shared. He did not know what to expect, but he was quite elated that he was finally, finally going to see her again. He would finally get to tell her that her former tenants were doing fine, and that he had kept them safe, and would continue to keep them safe. He was sure she would have been very happy to hear that; she would have had some form of silver lining to hold on to as she continued to endure her suffering.
When they had met at last, however, whatever feelings of excitement he had immediately disappeared.
The fire that was once in Erzsébet's eyes was so dimly lit, one could consider them gone. Her once lively face was completely blank; Roderich found that he could no longer read her as easily as he once did just a few months prior.
"My people," she said, going straight to the point. Roderich winced at the coldness of her voice. "Give them back. Now."
"G-give them back? Are you sure? Isn't Iv-"
She didn't even allow him to complete his sentence. "Give them back, Roderich. All of them." she firmly repeated.
Roderich stared at her. Wasn't she still under Ivan's control? Had she really wished to subject them to whatever cruelties she was facing? "I don't understand," he replied. "They're safe, Erzsébet. We still have many difficulties, but we're overcoming them. To give them back to you now, of all times... do you even realize what you're saying?"
Erzsébet steeled her jaw and said nothing in reply.
He was confused. He was hurt. All his efforts, all he had done... all for her... was it all going to waste?
No... Roderich thought. That's no longer true.
The sacrifices he had made were not really all for her anymore.
They were also for the nameless piano man, who shared his passion, who had grown in skill enough for Roderich to believe he was now worthy of Erzsébet's ears.
They were also for those who shared his pain and cried for him in the middle of the night.
They were also for the little girl named Babi who had laughed in delight upon seeing the Christmas lights opened for the first time that year.
Those many, many people he had shared his last few weeks with, those people that were once hers... who were now his...
"No..." Roderich said shakily.
Erzsébet gasped softly.
Roderich shook his head. "You once gave them the choice to come to me. I will give them that same choice. If they wish to return to you, I will not stop them. However, I will also not force them to go back."
"Roderich..." she whispered, her voice finally sounding familiar to him.
"I'm sorry, Erzsébet."
He turned around and walked away, nearly missing the tears that were forming in her eyes.
Roderich had not known what those tears meant, but one thing was for certain - he would not be hearing from her again for a long, long while.
Again, it began as a trickle. Then it became a waterfall that filled Roderich's study.
Hundreds of mails arrived daily from Erzsébet's former tenants, who were now living in different places - some had even settled down permanently with him. All the messages were addressed to him and his house governors. All of them were grateful for the assistance they were provided, despite not having the most satisfactory of living spaces during their initial stay.
Roderich found himself smiling a little more in private. Messages of thanks and praise from them were very rare indeed, especially considering how they used to argue and beat up his tenants in the past, and how he often found himself asking for their help instead of the other way around.
But perhaps what truly made him happy was a simple letter that Roderich found buried between all the "thank you" letters sent by a scattered population that shared the same origin:
For keeping your promise and more...
Thank you so much.
I love you.
There were no names, and nobody could figure out how it got there, or from whom it came from.
But Roderich knew.
That was enough.
- The entire fic was inspired by an essay entitled "Deconstruction of a Myth? Austria and the Hungarian Refugees of 1956-57". It gives a bit of modern history about Austria and Hungary leading up to the 1956 revolution, although its main topic is about the difficulties the Austrian authorities had with the Hungarian refugees, in that it wasn't at all as positive as how it's spun up to be today. There were lots of problems, both internally and externally. Look it up. It's a very interesting read. You'll learn more there than I could ever insert here in this footnote...
- The Revolution Flag - the flag of Hungary with a hole in the middle where the Communist Rákosi coat of arms was torn off - became the symbol of the 1956 Revolution. There is a picture at the Wikipedia article where the flag is still flying proudly in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building.
- These were the last words broadcast over the Hungarian radio before they were overwhelmed by the advancing Red army.
- The characters of Babi and Elfi were ever so slightly based from a non-fiction children's book named "Refugee Child". (Their names were also taken there as well...)
- The Hungarians had expected that the UN would help them in their plight. They were very wrong.
- The Bridge at Andau was one of the major escape routes used by the Hungarians to cross over to Austria. This was blown up by the Red Army on November 21, 1956, 17 days after they had infiltrated Budapest.