Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia, Marie Antoinette, the French Revolution, or the guillotine (although I wouldn't even want to own those last two).
Author's Note: We're studying the French Revolution in History. I was reminded that Marie Antoinette was an Austrian princess before she married Louis. Thus, this little blot bunny was born.
FYI: Part 1 takes place at a ball in the Austrian court some time before Marie leaves for France. Part 2 takes place at France's house. Part 3 is self explanatory. Also, countries' human names will be used when they are talking with other humans; country names will be used otherwise.
Warning: A lot of angst and general depressingness.
Austria spun his young archduchess around the ballroom in perfect time to the music. Both were excellent dancers and barely concentrated on the steps, instead focusing on their own thoughts. Austria wondered what fate had in store for this girl. She the mark of someone whose name would be remembered for centuries. Whether she would be remembered as good or evil was still unknown, but he hoped people would remember her kindly. Whatever happened, it would soon be out of his hands.
"Roderich, have you ever met him? Louis, I mean. What's he like?" Marie asked.
Austria wondered what he should tell her. She was so young, so beautiful, so full of childish innocence. He didn't dare tell her that he had not been very impressed when he met her fiancé while negotiating the terms of her marriage.
"He seemed nice enough," Austria remarked formally.
"That's good," she replied, not noticing the hesitation be hind the statement.
God! She was so young; so naïve. He couldn't help fearing for her. One day she would wake up and realize that most of the world was not as sweet and gentle as she. He could only hope that, on that day, she would find the strength to rise to the occasion.
"I hope he likes me," she was saying. "I'm so worried. What if I'm not pretty enough for him? I've heard that the French court is so elegant."
"You're beautiful, Marie," he promised. "Any man would have to be blind not to love you."
"You really think so?" she asked.
He knew that she was fishing for compliments, but he was more than happy to oblige.
"Marie Antoinette," he declared. "You are the most beautiful creature to ever walk this Earth. Your eyes are like the summer sky and your hair like spun gold. You dance like an angel and have a voice as sweet as honey. Your country loves you, your people adore you, and your fiancé will doubtlessly worship the ground beneath your feet."
He prided himself on his talent for flattery. Marie laughed, a high, sweet giggle.
"What would your wife do if she heard you say that?" she wondered.
Visions of Hungary wielding a large frying pan sprang into his head. He smiled. His wife didn't know how gorgeous she looked when she was trying to kill someone. Even if that someone was him. All the same, he should probably stop complimenting Marie so eloquently. Hungary was around here somewhere.
"Are you done flirting yet?"
Speak of the devil.
"Hello, Elizaveta," he said with a smile.
He dropped Marie's hand and bowed formally to her.
"Thank you for the dance, Archduchess."
"My pleasure, sir," Marie replied with a curtsy.
She was soon swept away by anther young man.
"You're worried about her." Hungary remarked.
"Yes," he admitted.
"Don't be," she chided gently. "I'm sure she'll be fine."
"You're right," he agreed.
He took her hand and led her onto the dance floor. He let the music wash over him and allowed himself to forget, for a moment, that he was more than just a man.
***Twenty years later***
"France, please," Austria begged. "I'll do anything! You just have to help her."
He hated being reduced to this; begging France, of all people, for help. But he had no other choice.
"I can't," France insisted.
"Can't you do something?" Austria asked. "Anything?"
"This revolution is out of control," France told him. "I have no power over my people."
"You can't have completely lost control," Austria insisted. "We always have power over our people. If the revolution is out of control, it's only because you made it that way."
"Maybe you're right," France sighed. "It was so exciting, at first. I was caught up. There's something intoxicating about a revolution. But now, now it's all bloodshed and violence and pain. There are so many different factions at war with each other, I can't even keep track of all of them, much less control them. It's a mess; a violent bloody mess. I can't stop it."
"Then get her away from there," Austria pleaded. "Bring her to me. I'll care for her; I'll protect her. Bring me the entire royal family. I'll offer them shelter."
"What if she is caught? That would only make the people hate her more," France warned him. "As it is, they loathe her, but she is tolerated. But one small mistake could kill her."
"You know escape routes long forgotten by any living person," Austria reminded him.
"Austria," France reprimanded him. "You can't just interfere like this in my country's affairs. I know you care for her, but you must let events take their course. You only have control over your own country."
"I know," Austria whispered. "But I had to try."
"I understand," France replied.
There was a faraway look in his eyes.
"Joan," Austria guessed.
France nodded slowly.
"I wanted to save her so badly," he said quietly. "I begged England to spare her. I offered him everything I had. It wasn't enough."
***Three years later***
October 16, 1793. Marie Antoinette, once Queen of France, was now being paraded through the streets like a common peasant as she was taken to her execution. She tried to close her ears to the yells of the people, who hated her. Yet she could not stop her eyes roving desperately over the crowd. She wasn't sure what she was looking for. Maybe a rescue, maybe a sympathetic face, maybe nothing at all. Maybe her eyes were simply trying to see as much as they could before the end. Finally, she found what she had been unconsciously seeking the whole time. A familiar figure stood near the back of the crowd. He hadn't changed a bit since the last time she had seen him, so many years ago. Having met Francis after her coronation, she finally understood who he truly was.
"Roderich," she whispered. "Austria."
He seemed to hear.
"I'm sorry, Marie," He mouthed.
October 16, 1793. The blade of the guillotine fell, severing the head of the former Queen of France. The people celebrated their victory over the hated monarchy. Two people did not join in the rejoicing. Near the back of the crowd of celebrating peasants, a single tear was shed by the man sometimes known as Roderich Edelstein. It rolled down his handsome face and fell to the ground with a silent splash. It was soon absorbed into the bloodstained French ground as he turned and left.
Another person cried for Marie Antoinette that day. Watching the execution from the window of a tall building nearby, the man commonly known as Francis Bonnefoy allowed tears to flow freely down his face. Unlike the raucous peasants below him, he had known her personally. She was naïve and had none of the skills necessary for ruling a country, that was undeniable, but it wasn't her fault. She was a good person, kind and beautiful. Even now, she was undeniably beautiful. The revolution had aged her beyond her years, but she still possessed a natural grace and elegance that nothing could take from her. Nothing but the terrible killing machine below him.
October 16, 1793. The blade fell. The Queen was dead.