It is cold in the cell. The walls are grey and unfeeling, the iron bars a stark reminder of his imprisonment in his own country. The irony is not lost on Lars, cold and half-starved and wasted though he is.
Outside, he can hear the sounds of fighting. He doesn't know who it is this time; he only hopes that it his people aren't getting hurt too badly. This battle is simply one of many to be imprinted on his flesh, another focal point of pain that is drowned out by everything else. Rotterdam has yet to scab over; the burns that stripe Lars' back are open and oozing. Middelburg too is a livid welt on his lower abdomen. Everywhere, he feels the pain and suffering of his people like small needles boring into his skin, but over it all rules the merciless, never ending hunger.
A small part of him, the very, very small part that has retreated from the anguish, is slightly surprised that he is still sane. Yet Lars knows that it would take more than this to break him- to break his people.
Mijn Schilt ende betrouwen Sijt ghy, o Godt mijn Heer, Op u soo wil ick bouwen Verlaet mij nimmermeer:
Because they are Dutch, he is the Kingdom of Netherlands, and they will fight and pray and never give up.
Dat ick doch vroom mach blijven V dienaer taller stondt, Die Tyranny verdrijven, Die my mijn hert doorwondt.
From where he sits in the corner of the cell, Lars hears shouting and the sharp rapport of guns at the end of the long corridor, out of sight. It takes too much of the energy he has too little of to begin with to raise his head, so he merely pricks his ears for the signs of someone approaching. Finally, there is one last cry before there silence reigns. Lars curls his hands into loose fists where they rest on his drawn-up knees; waiting, listening, hoping.
Hurried footsteps echo on stone and then someone is at the door to his cell, keys jangling quietly.
The quiet, horrified voice makes Lars want to lift his head; he wants to but his head is too heavy and he cannot. The Hunger Winter has taken much out of him as well. No matter how much of that horrible prison glop he eats (which isn't much in the first place), his belly remains empty- an echo of the starvation endured by so many in the Northern reaches of his country.
There is the sound of the door opening, and then someone is kneeling in front of him and there are gentle hands on his cheeks. His muscles tense in reflex at being touched, but he says nothing as the hands lift his face and brush dirty blonde hair away from his battered face.
Lars recognises his rescuer. His voice is hoarse from disuse, but his lips tilt upwards slightly as he whispers in the other man's ear.
And then, relieved, Lars closes his eyes and drifts out, safe within the protective circle of Canada's arms.
Author's Notes: Since I'm not one for long author's notes, we're going to keep this short and sweet. The whole bunch of Dutch there is part of Het Wilhelmus, the Dutch national anthem and one of the oldest anthems in the world. This was written for this year's Valentines Exchange, so yes, I'm very very late in uploading this on here. But hey, better than never at all, right? Anyway, this will be a threeshot. Stay tuned for the next bit~