Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia. I don't own any countries, I am no world leader or president, etc. etc.


Chapter One

You May Hide

"The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms"

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


The Insanity.

Us countries don't talk about it much. It's sort of a taboo subject. Everyone enters the Insanity at one point or another. The humans that inhabit us; they change with the flow of time and sometimes that change changes us. Changes us into something different for a time. Sometimes it's for the best and we become strong and better for it. Sometimes we turn inward and focus on ourselves. And sometimes... outwardly or inwardly, we lash out. Lash out on our selves in a civil war, lash out on others in battle, conquer, destroy, take take take. Imperialism, Colonialism, World War, names for what we just call the Insanity. It usually happens to the older, bigger countries; I've never had it myself; I'm just a tiny little island nation. But someday I will...

Germany went through it during World War II; millions died. Infected Japan with it too. He recovered rather quickly. Our people called it the Holocaust.

Russia went through it later on; millions of his own people died. Russia has gone into Insanity many times... he still hasn't completely recovered.

England went into a smaller kind of Insanity when he tried to hold onto America. America and France managed to snap him out of it though... but not before a lot of fighting was done and lives lost.

France... Francis...

It usually takes one or more other countries to break us out of the Insanity. I guess it's how we atone for not being able to stop it sooner. The Insanity comes slowly, very, very slowly. Most of us don't notice... or don't care. It can take decades sometime, centuries even. Once in a while it only takes a few years. Sometimes the Insane attacks another country, sometimes they infect others first. It takes so long to realize one of the countries has been infected with the Insanity of their own people that it is usually too late. Sometimes the country is so Insane they can't see reason anymore. Sometimes that have to be destroyed. And sometimes they destroy themselves; like Yugoslavia.

Heavy breathing. Run. Run. Run. Have to get away, have to escape. Cannot get caught. Not again, not again. Running through the dark, dank corridors of our latest shelter I found a door. I ripped it open, threw my self through and slammed it shut. Sliding down the rotten wood I tried to catch my breath. I hurt all over; bones aching, cuts bleeding, bruises in all colors of the rainbow. Someone banged on the door and I screamed. Looking around, eyes frantic and shaking with pure fear, I found shelter. Throwing myself at the closet door I managed to get it open and closed just as the rotten door swung open and I caught a glimpse of something blue.

"Francis-nii..." I mouthed, curling up with my head buried in my knees. A soundless sob escaped me as I backed up further in the closet. The world was at war again; I had to run. Had to hide. Hide from the one's who have entered Insanity. Hide from the ones infected with it. Infected by him.

I got separated just a bit ago from my friends. A few other African nations and myself had managed to run and hide in a small abandoned town on the mainland. We thought we were far enough from the front lines. We thought we were safe from the fighting, the bloodshed. Safe from the nuclear contamination from the bombing of Europe and Africa. But we were wrong.

There's no such thing as safe anymore.

We were found and flushed out, not an hour ago. He found us, along with the others who had entered Insanity. Most of them used to be my friends, people I loved and shard my feelings with. People I missed.

We all scattered and hid, too afraid to come out and too weak to face them. They wanted to possess us all, make us all Insane. Feed the growing Empire. Thank goodness most of us were still too small, too young of a nation, to become Insane. We were lucky; fast, quick, good at what we do – hiding - and most of all immune. But many of us were getting sick, our lands and people taken away from us. A country without land and people is not a country and will fade away.

"Sesel..." My head shot up and my eyes widened. Cold slithered down my back and I started to shiver. A new sheen of sweat broke out as I fought to control my breathing. The voice that had once made me feel love and hope now injected my veins with nothing but cold fear and dread. "Mon chéri d'amour... why are you hiding?"

'Because you've gone Insane, nii-chan' I wanted to say. But my throat was sore from all the running, all the screaming. And I had to stay quiet; had to hide. Run and hide, run and hide, run and hide little rabbit. I wanted to go to him, to jump out and snap him out of it like he and America has done to England. I wanted to get my Francis back, the perverted old man France. The one who raised me, was always there for me... by my side when I needed him.

"Sesel, come out and play," He cooed in that far too familiar tenor from somewhere outside my sanctuary, "You know I would never hurt you."

No, he wouldn't. Not intentionally. Not physically. He wouldn't; others would. I tried to scoot back as far and as silently as I could. I wouldn't let him catch me; I had been running for so long, I couldn't give up now. Not until this was all over. Not until he was himself again.

"Sesel..." I used to love when he used that nickname for me. Now I couldn't stand it. It brought up feelings I didn't want. Memories I'd rather forget. I could feel the stinging of tears threatening to spill from my eyes, so I curled up and buried myself further. Maybe he would go away, maybe he would leave me be. Maybe I could run away and never look back, run to find any of the others. America, England, Italy, Germany... anyone. Run away and leave him behind.

A small part of me didn't want to.

A door closed somewhere outside. I loosed the breath I hadn't realized I was holding and dared to lift my head. Everything was dark as pitch but through the small bits of light filtering through the slits in the door I could see my dirty feet, torn dress – once teal but now an ashen grey – and scratched up, blood-caked skin. Slowly, ever so slowly, I lifted myself up to my knees and inched towards the closet door. Beads of cold sweat rolled down the back of my neck as my fingertips grazed the doorknob. I couldn't see much outside it; my eyes hadn't adjusted yet. Something told me not to open it, to just stay here forever. Safe in the darkness. Stay out of the light, Seychelles! Stay out of the light; they'll find you there! But I had to escape... had to run. So I grasped the doorknob with renewed determination. It turned.

I wasn't the one turning it.

I was bathed in light and screamed, launching myself backwards and curling up amongst the discarded and decrepit coats. In a futile attempt to hide I covered myself with some of them, burying my head between my knees in the mound.

"Sesel?" I squeezed my eyes shut, unwilling to open them and look at the man, my brother, my father, the country I love. That beautiful accented voice, singing my name and tearing me in half. I wanted to cry. A warm hand gently pulled the coat away, "Mon chéri, you're hurt."

I opened up eyes but kept them trained on the gash on my left arm. 'Don't touch me...' I got it running from the French Empire. Despite my fear I felt a bubble of pure rage born within me; I wanted to yell at him, scream, kick, fight, and tear everything to pieces. I was hurt running from him, running from the carnage HE caused! But no... no... I had to remind myself that this wasn't him. Not really. It was the Insanity; the people that lived in France that changed him so much. The people wanted an Empire; they wanted to unite the world under the banner of France. We change to want what our people, our leadership, want.

"Come on, Sesel," he gripped my arms and helped me to stand. I looked away, down at my feet, as he led me to a moth-eaten couch in the dilapidated, run-down building we had been hiding in. "That's it..." He sat me down gently and knelt next to me. I tossed my head to the side. I didn't want to look at him. I didn't want to see the difference. Or maybe I was afraid to see how little had actually changed.

"Sesel..." He grabbed my injured arm and slipped a roll of gauze out of his military jacket pocket. I closed my eyes, wishing he would leave, wishing he wouldn't make me feel so torn, so weak, so utterly useless. I felt him begin to clean and bandage my arm. It stung a little, but nothing I wasn't used to lately. He was always so gentle with me, even before all this happened. So kind, so free... I missed it. Even his perverted nature. The way he kept trying to see how my body had developed, how he comforted me when England was mean, even how he used to try to teach me how to cook. I missed it all.

A sob escaped me and I squeezed my eyes shut again, rubbing them with my free hand. I was caught now; there was nothing I could do. Once again under him, his maid to dress and play with. I wouldn't mind so much, I wouldn't even care to be his again... if he was the same man I knew.

"Sesel, are you alright?" A hand took mine away from my face while the other caressed my cheek, "Mon chéri, look at me."

I didn't want to; I wanted to stay in my world where he was a nice and gentle romantic pervert, not a war-mongering imperialist. I didn't want to see how he had changed. I wanted to run, run like the frightened rabbit I am. But when I felt his grip tighten I knew I had no choice. I had to live; I didn't know what he would do if I made him angry. He said he wouldn't hurt me but his people had grown even more passionate than before, passion only matched by a new-found ruthlessness inherent in a religious imperialist agenda. But I couldn't curse his people for doing this. If I cursed them, hated them, then I hated him.

I could never hate my Francis.

Turning to face him I opened my eyes a little bit at a time. My heart felt wrenched from my chest, stomped on, and eaten all at once. It was terrifying, horrifying, and oh-so familiar. He had the same wavy blonde hair with bits gathered into a small messy ponytail. Almost. The same compassionate blue eyes. Almost. The same smile, tweak of the eyebrow, blonde stubble, strong but gentle body... almost.

Almost, but not quite.

He wasn't Francis Bonnefoy, the country of France, anymore. He was the French Empire. The passionate, ruthless, terrible, beautiful French Empire.

"Mon chéri Sesel, what's the matter?" France tilted his head like he used to when worried about me. Like when I had fallen out of a tree when I was still a girl...

Another sob escaped me. He caressed my face with his hand and I looked into his beautiful ocean-blue eyes. The eyes of a powerful country, with all the emotions and feelings of it's people held within. The eyes of a man who taught me everything, of the love I wanted back. Something in me broke then and I threw myself at him, wrapping my arms around his neck and holding him tight. Sobs racked my tired form as France held me to his strong body. A little too tightly. A little too familiar.

"French Empire!" The door was thrown open and a few men walked in. I didn't know most of them, save for the two in the center of the group. Once my friends from World Academy W and now afflicted with the same Insanity as France. I remember when we all used to laugh together...

"Yes?" France's eyes grew cold and distant as he let go of me and turned to the others.

Japan sheathed his sword and gave a slight bow of respect, "We have gathered up most of the African nations that took refuge here, Bonnefoy-san."

"How many? Which ones?" Why did they call him that? He wasn't my Francis anymore.

"Seven," Greece answered from next to Japan, "Ghana, Niger, Eritrea, Mauritania, Chad, Sudan, and Uganda. The soldiers have rounded them all up and are awaiting your orders."

"Take them back to Paris," France ordered, "See if we can get any of them to join us willingly. The others will need to be... persuaded."

My eyes widened as the two saluted him and the three left, France ordering the others to take me to the rest of them. This wasn't France; this wasn't the man I knew. I wanted him back so much... so much it hurt. I wanted everything to go back to the way it was. Swimming with France, bickering with England, watching anime with Japan, Germany, and Italy. I wanted it all back. I wanted him back.

But there was no going back. He was gone. Francis Bonnefoy was dead; the French Empire killed him.

"Get up," One of the men lifted me up roughly. Pain erupted in my arm with his vice grip on my bandages. All that would come out was a weak whimper. They led me from the room and through the crumbling, dark walls to outside. It was dark now and in the center of the tiny huts in this shadow of a town were my comrades.

"Uganda!" I yelled out. The man who held me gripped my arm tighter and I yelped. He threw me towards the others and the dark-skinned African nation caught me when I stumbled. Uganda straightened me up and smiled weakly. A metallic glint told me he was handcuffed, and a quick sweep of the others revealed them all to be as well. Not only handcuffed but shackled; chained like animals waiting to escape. Which was true.

We were animals now. Hunted and fighting to survive.

I jumped when someone tapped my shoulder and swerved around to have a soldier clamp the same handcuffs on me.

"You the island Seychelles?" Another soldier next to him asked. I nodded numbly, my entire body screaming at me to run. I wanted away from here, I wanted out of this horrid place. The soldiers walked in front of me and thrust his arms behind my neck. I jumped and squeezed my eyes shut, the feeling of something metallic being snapped around my neck. When he was done I opened my eyes and reached up to touch it. I paled.

A collar. A colonies collar.

It was like the collar England had made me wear back at the Academy but all silvery metal and more like a choker. My body felt icy as I fingered the ornately carved fleur de lis at it's center.

"SeySey..." I looked down to see the little Eritrea tugging at my torn dress. She didn't have a collar. Neither did any of the others... what did that mean?

"What's wrong Eri?" I knelt down and ruffled her long scraggly hair. She wore a dress that was once white but now had the color of the sick tuna back home. Home...

"Where are we going?" Her voice was so childlike and so innocent it made me want to cry all over again. She reminded me of myself, running through the sandy beaches of home with France trying to chase me down for my lessons. He never caught me. Didn't really try to, either. He was always so kind and playful...

"Away for a while," I choked out, "We... we're going to Paris, Eri."

Eritrea's eyes brightened, "That pretty city you always talk about, SeySey?"

"Y... yeah," I nodded and stood back up, looking around as the soldiers continued looking for the others countries that had hidden with us. They wouldn't find them if they hadn't yet; we hadn't survived this long for nothing. Eritrea grabbed my hand and squeezed it with all the might in her tiny body. I wanted to scream.

A military truck came to a stop in front of us, close enough to make all eight of us flinch. But the Empire soldiers stood strong and, one by one, thrust forward and jerked us into the truck. When we were all in two of them pulled themselves, holding assault rifles in their hands. They sat on either end of the truck's opening and I held Eritrea tighter to me. Another threw the gate of the back of the truck closed and I heard the distinct click of a lock. Eritrea whimpered and held onto me with her little fists, her body shivering. It wasn't even cold out.

In the distance, coming out of one of the buildings, I saw him again. Dressed in his military finest as before – almost as fancy as during the War of Austrian Succession – France scanned the grounds as if looking for something. All blues, reds, frills and lace. Fashionable, as he always has been. I remember when he showed up on my island like that, a bright smile on his face and the wind flowing through his golden hair. A choked sob ripped from my throat at the memory. A soldier hit me with the butt of his gun.

The truck kicked to life again and started away from what was once our sanctuary, and in the last moments the two of us locked eyes. He mouthed something to me and my face paled.

"J'ai finalement vous avez trouvé, mon chéri Sesel," He smiled that sweet, kind smile from my childhood. Almost, "Tu es à moi à nouveau, une partie de moi."


Author's Note: I had a dream last night that started this one off. It's weird because, while I am a Hetalia fan, I'm not the kind who'd go off an write fanfic or be... overzealous about it like others. But I had a dream about this and haven't been able to get it out of my head, so here you go. Tell me what you think of it... it's kind of my take on the wars in human history with a Hetalia twist. Kind. Sorta. Yeah. .

Translations:

French:

Mon chéri d'amour - My darling love

Mon chéri - My darling

J'ai finalement vous avez trouvé, mon chéri Sesel - I have finally found you my darling Sesel

Tu es à moi à nouveau, une partie de moi - you are mine again; a part of me