Chapter 1

Kirkland

There have always been dark legends surrounding the earth and her wonder. Man, in fear, makes up such things to scare others… and to also scare themselves. By why does man crave fear so deeply? What makes the sight of a horror movie so intoxicating? Why can't we let it go?

The answers probably cannot be told. In fact, one would have to analyze the human brain, starting with the first sign of man. It truly is a mystery. Maybe there was something that sprung these fears and created the monsters we know of today. In the times of early civilization and peasantry, there were multiple things to be afraid of, many things to fear. A farmer could lose a part of his livestock to a pack of hungry wolves or maybe someone's child might be devoured by a predator in the woods. It was a battle for survival and no one could guarantee the outcome.

Based off such things, man must have created fearful monsters that were humanoid and man-like that then transformed into horrid beasts before one's eyes. These creatures are known as vampires and werewolves. Feeding off of human flesh and blood, these imaginary beasts threaten more than just a farmer's livestock but threaten his life as well. Sometimes, their victims do not die but simply join in with the curse that their attacker gave them. A truly horrid thought to lose all wit and wish to feed off he who was once your fellow man.

Luckily for the human race, these things do not exist. If they did, we would all be, for lack of a better termed, screwed. Of course in such forms of horror humans usually come out the victors in the battle for survival. So these things are nothing more than a myth.

But what I am writing is not reality, so that kind of thing can fly.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, let us turn our attention to a small fictional town in a world not unlike our own but… different. Older, you might say. There are no cars but, instead, horse-drawn carriages. The only weapons are swords, bows, and muskets; not as advanced as the firearms of the 21st century, I may add. You farm to eat, you fight to survive; it's as simple as that.

This small town, dear reader, is a small village by the name of Sima or ЗИМА in Cyrillic. Its name in English, Winter, fit very well in the cold season. Sima might as well have been an ice-berg in the winter or the equivalent to Russia in our world. Sima was a perfect little town complete with a couple of inns, a scattered array of houses, a spacious market, a few taverns, a stable here and there, and a cathedral.

Over-looking the town was a beautiful mansion, sitting atop a hill. Separating it from the town below was a vast array of foliage that had grown between the two areas in a matter of years. Trees and bushes offered shelter to the old, uninhabited building. The road to the mansion could barely even be seen among the dense foliage, only a cut between the green leaves. This mansion, dear reader, is a very important part of this story, despite how ignored it seems.

Early in the town's history, something had arisen from the depths of the mountains. At first, it was thought to be some sort of wild animal since it seemed to feed off of cows, sheep, chickens, and the odd horse. So, the disturbance was ignored though precautions were made to protect the livestock. Then people began to disappear. A young man would suddenly go missing and a few months later, his body would be found, drained of all blood. It was then that the people decided that murder was upon them all.

But by whom? Who could have done such a thing?

It was an unusual thing, really. A person drained of their blood and the only marks on their bodies were two small holes in their necks. In that time, it was impossible to do such a thing. To kill someone back then would require quite a mess. It didn't make sense. Then the people came up with a solution-

What if the killer wasn't human?

The townspeople were struck with fear at the thought of a monster that looked like they did wandering amongst them and soon enough, rumors sprung forth that such a monster took refuge in the mansion. The people began to distance themselves from the mansion but it never helped. Killings still occurred, people disappeared.

Many brave people came to the town of Sima to stop whatever lived in the Kyūketsuki Mansion. Many went to the mansion, none returned. Most of the time, their bodies would be found, also drained of all blood. Sometimes, they wouldn't even be seen again… even in death. Whatever housed itself in the mansion wasn't willing to come out and die anytime soon…

It would take more than a miracle to evict the long-time resident of the Kyūketsuki Mansion…

"Lovino! Wait up!" Feliciano Vargas called to his older brother.

Feliciano Vargas and his brother Lovino were residents of the small town of Sima. They were twins, Lovino being the oldest by a minute or so and the tallest by a head. They both had slightly messy brown hair with curls that stuck out; Lovino's to the right and Feliciano's to the left. Their eyes were both hazel, Feliciano's being a shade lighter, and they were almost completely the same… aside from their personalities.

Lovino was usually grumpy and cursed like a sailor while Feliciano was happy and energetic, pure as a nun. Despite the obvious difference in personality, the two were almost inseparable and were joined at the hip. They were widely known as cowards but tonight, they were going to do something that would most likely get rid of such a speculation.

They were going to find and kill the creature of the Kyūketsuki Mansion.

"Dammit, Feliciano…" Lovino grumbled, turning around to wait for his brother. "You seriously need to hurry up. The Professor won't wait around for us forever…"

"I'm sorry, Fratello…" Feliciano sniffed, catching up to his brother. "B-but… I'm so scared… What if, what if we don't come back?"

"We'll be fine," Lovino sighed, touching his brother's head reassuringly. "With Professor Kirkland with us, we'll be perfectly safe. He knows all about this stuff, remember?"

Feliciano nodded with a sniff and hugged his older brother. "Promise?"

"I promise, Feli…" Lovino smiled, ruffling his brother's hair. "Look, there's the Professor now."

"Good evening, gentlemen," a man that was about twenty-three greeted with a British accented voice.

He was slightly taller than Feliciano and about the same height as Lovino. He had messy blonde hair and shining emerald eyes that lit up when he smiled. He had thick eyebrows and a very fair complexion that made him look like he had never been in the sun for his entire life. He wore a simple dark grey overcoat that reached down to his calves and a scarf of oranges and browns was wrapped around his neck. Underneath the coat, he wore a white dress shirt with a green sweater-vest over it. Completing the outfit were a pair of black slacks and some fancy, shiny black boots.

"Good evening, Professor," the twins answered simultaneously.

"I've told you boys before," the Professor chuckled, "please, call me Arthur. I am close to your age, you know."

"Sorry, sir," Feliciano apologized. "It's a habit."

"Understandable," Arthur smiled. "Are you two ready?"

"Yes, sir," Lovino answered respectfully. "We have stakes, flasks of holy water, garlic…"

"We are very grateful that you let us know what to bring," Feliciano said with a smile. "What did you say the creature was again?"

"A vampire," Arthur answered seriously, gesturing them to follow him to the path in the dark woods. "As I've warned you two before, this will be very dangerous. You two do know the risks, right?"

The Italian twins nodded viciously. "This menace is a threat to us, our families, and the entire town," Lovino stated with a determined expression. "We must do all we can to help our community, no matter the risk."

Feliciano nodded simply in agreement.

"I see," Arthur said thoughtfully. "We should head off then. We only have five more hours until morning so we need to be quick about this… extermination, if you will."

"Yes sir," the two answered and followed the Professor into the dark forest.

The dark forest wasn't as scary as it seemed, Feliciano had decided. It looked menacing from his little cottage in Sima but on the road itself, the forest was very peaceful, soothing even.

I wish I could have taken a walk through here with Ludwig… he thought. It would have been very nice. He would've liked it…

Ludwig Beilschmidt was Feliciano's long-time boyfriend, now fiancé. The German man was slightly older than him and definitely stronger and more muscular. Ludwig had always been there for him and was constantly there to protect him. In addition to that, he was good-looking and intelligent to boot. Truly, there was nobody that Feliciano could love more.

And that reminded him…

"Professor Kirkland! Professor Kirkland!" he called, running up to the Professor.

"Yes?" Arthur asked politely and instantly, his view was filled with Feliciano's fingers.

"Look! Look! Look!" Feliciano gushed, making his ring finger especially present. "Look, Arthur!"

"A ring…?" Arthur asked, looking at the small gold band that was wrapped around the Italian's finger. "Feli, did you get engaged?"

"Yes!" Feliciano squeaked in joy as he bounced up and down. "Ludwig proposed! We're going to get married!"

"When?" Arthur asked with a smile.

"A few months from now," Feliciano grinned. "We're going to be so happy…"

"You guys seem to be the perfect pair…"

"I wouldn't say that," the young Italian blushed. "But we're pretty close. I mean, I've never felt so close to anyone before. I truly believe that this is as close to love that anyone can get."

Arthur smiled softly and turned away, his expression turning thoughtful.

"Damn, Feli, you're lucky…" Lovino snorted. "That damn tomato bastard hasn't said a thing to me yet…"

"It's okay, Lovi," Feliciano reassured him. "I'm sure Antonio will take you out for dinner and he'll have a pretty little ring with him after all of this."

"Hmph…" Lovino grunted. "Stupid jackass…"

Feliciano smiled because he knew that even though Lovino constantly said things against his boyfriend Antonio Fernandez Carriedo, he truly cared for the goofy Spaniard.

"Hey, Lovi…" the younger twin said, grasping his brother's sleeve. "When we get back home, we're having pasta, okay?"

Lovino smiled at his brother's optimism and ruffled his hair. "Sure, Feli. We will."

Somehow, someway, the oldest Vargas boy could tell that they weren't going to come back.

"Okay, boys," Arthur sighed as the trio stood outside of the mansion door. "We stand on the threshold of terror. We can choose to go inside and face something that can very well tear us to pieces and kill us or we can turn around, running to mommy. What do you say?"

"Let's take this blood-sucking bastard," Lovino said, pulling a stake out of his pocket. "Feli?" The younger twin nodded slowly, choking back fear.

"Are you sure?" Arthur asked. "You know the consequences, right?"

The two nodded vigorously, trying to ignore their fear and the possibility that they too, like the others before them, would vanish.

"Okay," the Professor sighed and slowly opened the front door of the mansion.

Professor Kirkland walked in first, armed and cautious. Once he saw that there were no imminent threats, he waved to the two other men outside and they hurried in.

"I'll search the bottom floor," Arthur whispered to them. "You two go upstairs and see if you can find it."

"B-but… You'll be by yourself…" Feliciano said in a shaky voice. "Are you sure you'll be alright?"

"I will, Feliciano," Arthur smiled, patting the Italian on the head. "You two should be together. After all, there is strength in numbers."

"O-okay…"

"Go on," the British man told them. "Head upstairs before it notices we're here."

Lovino nodded and took his brother's arm, hauling him up the stairs. The twins quickly made their way through the dark, their eyes slowly adjusting to the shadow.

"Where should we go first?" Feliciano asked meekly.

"Dunno…" Lovino sighed, looking at the hall. "There's a lot of doors…"

"Try that first one…" Feliciano suggested, pointing to a door to their right.

"Kay…" the older man said, grasping the doorknob. "I'll open it slowly and quietly and then we'll go in but with caution. Got it?" His brother nodded. "Good. Now, one… two…" Lovino slowly twisted the knob and let the door open by a crack. "Three!"

The door swung open and the twins ran in, weapons at the ready. They then lowered their weapons, seeing that they had their stakes pointed at a piano.

"It's a music room…" Lovino gasped.

"Bello…" Feliciano gasped, wandering over to the piano. "Ah! Lovino! This is just like the one Roderich plays!"

"That's nice, Feli," Lovino muttered, letting his eyes move across the room. His eyes fell upon many things; guitars, an old record player, and a few beautiful paintings. What caught his eye especially was a colorful piece of fabric the size of a bed sheet that was draped over an old wicker chair. The Italian walked over and picked it up, finding that it was not a sheet but a flag. "Feli, look at this…"

Lovino held the Union Jack flag in his hands as Feliciano leaned over to look at it.

"Fratello, that's the British flag…" Feliciano gasped.

"Feli, I know…"

"Ah," the younger twin said. "But… what's it doing here?"

"Good question," Lovino grunted, narrowing his eyes. "Maybe we should ask a certain Professor."

"Lovi!" Feliciano gasped. "What would he know?"

"A hell of a lot!" Lovino snapped, turning around to face his brother. "Think about it, Feli! He led us here, knew exactly what to expect, and he let us go off alone. And who else do you know that is British?"

"B-but… Professor Kirkland wouldn't do anything to harm anybody…" the younger Italian sniffed.

"Maybe, maybe not…" Lovino sighed. "But it's really suspicious, Feli. I don't think-"

Suddenly, there was a giant clatter on the stairs. The two Italians froze, traded glances, and dove for a hiding place. The two crowded behind the piano just as the door was flung open. The two held their breaths as they heard the ominous noise of boots squeaking against floorboards.

Lovino squeezed Feliciano's hand as he adjusted himself to look beneath the piano and get a view of at least the vampire's feet. All he saw were shiny black boots and the bottoms of black slacks. Lovino cursed his limited vision but kept watch. The vampire moved to Lovino's left, stopping at the wicker chair. Then he picked up the flag, judging by the corner of fabric Lovino was able to see.

What Lovino heard next chilled him and his brother to the bone.

Sniffing noises. The vampire was smelling the flag and, oh happy day, Lovino's scent was all over it.

Feliciano looked over at Lovino desperately, gripping his hand tightly and leaning his head against his brother's chest. Lovino squeezed his younger brother's hand in comfort and readied a stake in his other.

The vampire set down the flag and began to move towards the piano, floorboards creaking all the while. Feliciano started to squeeze Lovino's hand so hard that his brother started to worry about losing blood circulation. However, that was one of the last things on his mind at the moment.

The vampire got closer. Lovino got ready to jump once its face peered over the piano. Feliciano was trying very hard not to cry.

The footsteps stopped and then the vampire began to back up. It turned around and left the room, allowing the Vargas twins to breathe again.

"Is he gone…?" Feliciano whispered.

"Shhh…" Lovino whispered and quietly climbed out from behind the piano, helping his brother out as well. He crossed the room and headed to the door, motioning to Feliciano to stay where he was. He peered around both corners and decided that the hall was vampire free. "Come on…" he said to Feliciano, leading him outside of the room.

The twins walked out and began to make their way down the hall when suddenly, Lovino was on his back with a vampire on top of him.

"Lovi!" Feliciano shrieked as his brother wrestled with the blood-sucking beast.

"Feli, run!" Lovino grunted as he tried to keep the fangs a good distance away from his neck. "I'll hold him off! Find Arthur and run!"

"B-but-!"

"Don't argue with me! Just run! Get out of here!"

Feliciano turned and ran as fast as he could to the stairwell. Lovino fought the vampire, holding the beast's neck with one hand as he searched for his weapon with the other. Frantically grabbing for the wooden item, he glanced at his opponent's face while looking for his weapon. He did a double-take and stared into the face of the vampire, shocked out of his mind.

"Wh-wha…?" he gasped. "It's… it's you…!"

The vampire chuckled, the sound turning to a hiss. Using his victim's surprise as leverage, the vampire leaned down and sunk his teeth into Lovino's neck.

Feliciano was half-way down the stairs when he heard the horrid scream that emitted from his brother's throat. "Lovi!" he cried, turning around. He had to do something, he had to help. But in his hasty turn, his foot slipped and he tumbled down the wooden steps and into the foyer.

He landed with a squeak and a groan, holding his arm as he got up. He stumbled to his feet; he had to find Arthur. Feliciano glanced around frantically; which way had the Professor gone again? A hiss from upstairs hurried his thought process. He ran to the right, entering a room that appeared to be a kitchen.

"Professor…?" he whispered in a panicked tone. "P-professor? Wh-where are you? P-please… Professor?"

Feliciano stumbled around the kitchen, knees knocking together. He was sobbing hysterically as he wandered the kitchen, looking for someone who wasn't there. A hand grabbed his shoulder.

Feliciano shrieked, turning around to see the face of…

Professor Arthur Kirkland.

"Feli, what happened?" he gasped. "Why are you crying?"

Feliciano let out a sob and embraced the man, crying into his chest. "L-Lovi… H-h-he…"

"Feliciano, what happened?" Arthur asked soothingly, stroking the man's hair. "Come on, you can tell me."

"The vampire!" Feliciano sniffed. "He found us! H-he attacked Lovi and… a-and…" He broke down again, sobbing into Arthur's chest.

"Shhhh… It's okay," Arthur murmured in comfort. "It's okay."

"B-but… Lovi!" Feliciano gasped, looking up at the older man. "What about Lovino?"

"Feliciano, you have to understand that there's nothing we can do," the Professor said seriously. "There's a high chance that he's already dead." The young Italian whimpered into Arthur's sweater-vest. "But we can't stop trying. We'll see if we can find him, okay?"

Feliciano nodded, wiping his eyes, and Arthur took him by the hand, leading him out of the kitchen slowly but cautiously. He scanned the shadows with his emerald eyes and pulled Feliciano along, hastily going up the stairwell.

"Professor Kirkland, I don't see anyone…" Feliciano gulped, staring at the space where his brother had been just a few minutes before.

"Me neither…" the Englishman said suspiciously. "I don't like this…" He looked down the hall and began to move on cautiously, bringing the frightened Italian man with him.

The moved further and further down the hall, turning right at the end. As they moved down the hall, Arthur was mumbling to himself about this possibly being the right way to… something. Feliciano stared at him, eyebrows lifted, until he decided that it would be better if he kept an eye out for anything that could be a threat. The sound of door hinges creaking open caught his attention.

"In here," Arthur whispered to him, holding a polished oak door open. "If I'm correct, this is the master bedroom. This may be where the vampire takes roost… and where your brother might be as well."

The Professor led Feliciano into the dark room, which was eerily lit by the dim light of the moon. The small Italian looked around. The room was very stylish and had a Victorian feel to it, complete with silk drapes and polished furniture. The bed was a four-post canopy with beautiful white sheets dancing in the breeze like ghosts. But there was something in the room that didn't belong there.

Lovino's body.

"Lovi!" Feliciano gasped, running towards his fallen brother. "Mio fratello! Perché, Dio, perché? Mio fratello!" He began to sob, holding his brother's bleeding and broken body. "Perché?"

"Feli, there's nothing we can do now," Arthur whispered, placing a hand on Feliciano's shoulder. "He's already gone."

"No!" the Italian gasped. "W-we have to help him! We have to save him! Salvarlo, Dio! Per favore, salvarlo!"

Arthur leaned over Feliciano's shoulder to examine Lovino's neck. It was bleeding profusely from two holes that had been perforated in his flesh. Arthur reached down and tried to find a pulse through the red blood but it was faint. Lovino wasn't going to make it.

"He won't make it, Feli," he sighed. "But we have to make due and find the beast… or at least leave so we don't suffer the same fate."

"M-mio… fratello…" Feliciano sobbed, holding Lovino's head close to his chest. "Caro Dio, ti invitiamo a guardare oltre il mio caro fratello… Per favore, caro Signore…"

"Feli, we have to go," Arthur said softly, touching the Italian's arm. "I'm sorry but we need to. His sacrifice should not be in vain."

"B-bene…" Feliciano sniffed, rubbing his eyes. His kissed his brother's forehead and set the body down, slowly rising. "Addio, mio fratello…" He walked reluctantly over to Arthur, who immediately pulled him into an embrace.

"A-Arthur…?" he gasped in surprise.

"You've been through a rough day," Arthur whispered, stroking his hair. "You need comforting."

"I'm alright but… Grazie…" Feliciano stuttered nervously, trying to push out of the embrace. "We should be going."

"Not now," the Professor murmured, keeping his hold strong. "You need this." Feliciano let his head rest against the other man's chest, attempting to feel better. "Your brother was very brave, you know."

"More than I was…" the Italian sniffled. "If I ever got into trouble, he'd always get me out of it. Me, I can't do anything right… I'm always scared and cowardly… He was at least brave enough to do things. I'm not… I'm useless."

"No, you're not," Arthur said soothingly. "Ludwig doesn't think you're useless, does he?"

Feliciano paused and thought for a second. Hesitantly, he answered, "N-no…"

"Then you must not be useless," Arthur smiled. "I don't think you're useless either. You're helping me with this so you showed that you are indeed helpful, right?"

"Sì!" Feliciano squeaked, smiling just a little.

"That's the spirit!" Arthur chuckled and tightened his embrace, making Feliciano's chin rest on his shoulder. "Don't let anyone tell you any different."

"I won't!" Feliciano said, wrapping his arms around Arthur's back. "Grazie, Professor."

"You're welcome…" Arthur muttered, his chin on Feliciano's shoulder and his right hand on the back of the Italian's head. He closed his eyes and then opened them again, the green replaced by a blood-red hue. A devious smile was plastered on his face as he turned his head ever so slightly to sniff Feliciano's neck.

The Italian squirmed slightly, feeling hot breath against his neck. "Professor… Sir… You do remember that I am engaged, corretto?"

"Hmmm?" Arthur murmured and then quickly snapped back into his caring Professor character. "Ah yes! Yes, I do! Why are you reminding me of that?"

"Well, it feels like your mouth is really close to my neck," the Italian stuttered. "It's making me uncomfortable. Are you trying to hit on me?"

"No, Feli!" Arthur chuckled. "I'm not! I'm just admiring how much you and your brother are alike. That's all!" He then added in a low voice, "I wonder…"

"Wonder what?"

"Oh, nothing…" Arthur said innocently, leaning his mouth closer to Feliciano's neck. "Just…" He smelled the Italian's neck again, letting out a breath of pleasure. The prey was in the trap. "Just wondering if you two taste the same…"

Feliciano's hazel eyes widened as he felt Arthur's fingers tighten in his hair. "Arthur, wh-what are you-?" He head was quickly yanked to his left, Arthur's right, and he yelped in pain.

Looking to his right, Feliciano saw the Professor with his mouth open and eyes blood-red. Fangs quickly revealed themselves and Arthur quickly plunged them into Feliciano's soft skin. The Italian let out a horrid shriek of pain and, in desperation, tried to shove the vampire away from him. The attempt worked to no avail; Arthur was too strong. All he could do was struggle uselessly as his blood was drained from his body.

Feliciano's left arm stopped pushing against Arthur's right shoulder and fell uselessly to his side. With a small groan, he passed out from blood loss and Arthur slowly removed his mouth from Feliciano's neck. He lowered the young man to the ground and the Vargas twins were together again, bleeding on the same cold floor.

"I apologize, dear friends," Arthur murmured, kneeling down beside Feliciano's body. "But I haven't eaten in months. Mi dispiace, Feliciano e Lovino." He reached down and plucked a Knight's Cross necklace from around Feliciano's neck, a gift from Ludwig. He made sure to break the chain to convey the appearance of forced removal. The British vampire got to his feet and began to leave, turning one last time to look at the bodies.

"Addio, Feliciano e Lovino…"

"Ludwig, I'm bored…" Antonio sighed, hanging all over the couch.

"Go do something," the German answered.

"I caaaaaan't!" the Spaniard whined, his green eyes showing his "inner pain". "Things got really, really boring after Lovi and Feli left and… and…!"

"Antonio," Ludwig sighed, taking his reading glasses off and setting them on the end table next to his chair. "I know you're worried, I am too, but you need to relax." And pray… he thought to himself. Pray that they'll be alright and that they'll come back home safely.

"Vale…" Antonio sighed, his green eyes weary. "I will…"

"Good…" Ludwig sighed and decided to look out the window to his right, gazing at the dark night sky.

The moon was full and bright, lighting up the land as well as it could. He moved his blue eyes to the Kyūketsuki mansion, which caught the moonlight eerily. Feliciano, his fiancée, was somewhere in there, running around and looking for a man-eating terror. He could die.

Ludwig brushed away the thought instantly. No. He couldn't think like that. Feliciano would be alright. He would come back, ask for pasta, be the little goofball he always was, and then he and Ludwig could get married and live out their days… Happy…

He was suddenly snapped out of his thoughts by the sound of sniffling coming from the couch.

"Antonio, stop crying!" he commanded, turning to look at the man. Antonio looked at him, green eyes blood-shot. "They'll be alright, okay? They'll be just fine."

Antonio sniffed, wiping his nose with his sleeve. "O-okay…" he hiccupped.

"They'll be fine…" Ludwig muttered to himself, turning to look out the window again. He swallowed hard, fighting against the lump caught in his throat. "Just fine…"

There was the sound of someone rapping against a wooden door and Antonio was at the door before someone could say, "Who's there?" With a giant smile on his face, he threw open the door and cried "Lovino! Mi amor!"

"Sorry to break it to you, Tony, but I'm not tu amor…" a British voice answered.

"Professor Kirkland?" Ludwig asked, getting up and walking to the door. "What are you doing here? Where are the others?"

"Where's my Lovi?" Antonio asked, peering outside of the door. "Lovviiiiii! Yoo-hoo~! Where are you, mi amor?"

"Antonio…" Arthur muttered.

"Wait one second," Antonio said, blowing Arthur off. "Loviiiiii! Feliiii! Where are my two favorite little Italians? Hello?" He turned back to Arthur. "They're hiding, aren't they? Good show, Arthur!"

"Antonio!" Ludwig snapped.

"Ludwig, I'm just looking for them! Where's the harm… in… that…?" he slowed down, looking at Ludwig's and Arthur's concerned faces. "Wh-what… what are those looks for…? D-don't tell me…"

"Antonio…" Arthur said apologetically. "I'm sorry…"

Antonio stumbled backwards, a look of shock on his face. "N-no…" He muttered, shaking his head slowly. "It can't be… They can't- Lovi can't…" He looked desperately at Arthur and then Ludwig, both their faces pale, shocked, and apologetic. "Dios mío…" His green eyes grew teary and one tear slid down his tan cheek. "Excuse me…" he choked, rushing back inside.

"P-please… Come in…" Ludwig murmured, motioning Arthur inside.

"Thank you," Arthur said, heading inside. "I'm so sor-"

Ludwig lifted up a hand to silence him. "Don't worry about it. Sit." He motioned to the couch and sat across from Arthur once the Englishman settled down. "What happened?"

"We went in the mansion and split up to cover more ground," Arthur started. "I took the downstairs while Lovino and Feliciano searched the upstairs. I was searching the kitchen and the dining room when Feliciano came downstairs, already in tears. According to him, the vampire had attacked him and Lovino and Lovino had sacrificed himself so Feli could get away…"

There was a choking sound and the two turned around to see Antonio trying to hold back tears. He wiped his eyes and tried to face away from them, embarrassed. "You can keep going…" he whimpered. "D-don't…" He inhaled deeply. "Don't mind me…"

"I'm sorry," Arthur frowned. "I should probably leave…"

"No, no…" Ludwig insisted. "Stay. We need to hear this."

"Very well," Arthur sighed. "So, we went looking for him and we eventually wandered into the master bedroom and we found…" He stopped suddenly, wiping his eyes and inhaling deeply. "We found him there but we were too late. He was already gone." Antonio let out a sudden sob.

"Wh-what-" Ludwig then cleared his throat, realizing his voice was higher than he had intended it to be. "What about Feliciano?"

"I'm sorry, Ludwig but... I couldn't help him…" Arthur sighed, producing the Knight's Cross necklace from his pocket.

Ludwig took the necklace from him gently and turned it over in his hands, rubbing a finger over the engraving in the back that read "Ti amo." His face had turned deathly pale and he could feel himself shaking.

"Did you give that to him?" the Professor asked apathetically.

"Yes, I did…" Ludwig whispered. "It was for his birthday last year…"

"I'm so sor-"

"Just keep going," Ludwig cut in. "How did this happen?"

"We were separated," Arthur continued. "We decided to leave but before we could, we were attacked. It attacked me, probably because it thought that taking out the strongest would be advantageous. I tried to fight it off and get Feliciano to run but he stayed. Instead of running, he tackled the beast right off me and struggled with it, that time telling me to run… I-I didn't know what to do. I mean, I didn't want to leave him fighting it alone but… He told me I had to… And I did. I felt that necklace collide with my head once I turned my back. I suppose that it tore it off him to get a better shot at his neck…" The Englishman paused frantically rubbing at his eyes and sniffing. "I grabbed it and ran back here but… I'm sorry I couldn't save him… That I couldn't save any of them…"

"It's okay…" Ludwig choked. "We can't help these things; there was nothing more you could've done. But thank you for coming and letting us know."

"Y-you're welcome…" Arthur stuttered, dabbing at his eyes with his scarf.

"You should be going home now, Professor Kirkland," Ludwig said comfortingly. "It's been a long day for you. Go home and get some rest."

Arthur nodded and got up, still dabbing at his eyes. Ludwig led him out the door, exchanging goodbyes, and closed the door behind the Englishman. The German man turned around to see Antonio pressed against the wall, shoulders shaking as he sobbed violently. Ludwig wandered back to his couch, his brain feeling hazy. It didn't feel real… but it was. Reality was excruciatingly painful.

He sat down heavily on the couch, placing his head in his hands. Soon enough, his shoulders started to shake and Antonio wasn't the only one who was crying. He had just lost something that was very special to him that could never be replaced.

Feliciano was gone… and Ludwig's spirit with him.

A/N: So this is my first Hetalia fanfiction and I'm really proud of it. I hope all you readers will like it too. I believe translations are in order: "Mio fratello! Perche, Dio, perche?" - "My brother! Why, God, why?
Salvaro- save him Caro Dio, ti invitiamo a guardare oltre il mio caro fratello... Per favore, caro Signore- Dear God, please take care of my dear brother... Please, dear Lord. Addio- goodbye