Author's Note: Hi, Everyone! Did you miss me? I missed you. Life hasn't been the same since my Hetalia/Gaga series ended. I miss it terribly. That was why I was super excited when Gaga released this special track on Twitter! For those of you who don't know, this track was supposed to be on Born This Way but was scrapped. She released it as a Christmas present to Little Monsters on Twitter. So...why did it take me so long to write something? Well, life got in the way, for starters. Additionally, I couldn't really decide on what I wanted to write about until recently. The Christmas event on LiveJournal was definitely inspiring, along with some research I did on my own part, both for school and for fun. So I hope that you enjoy this extra track here. Consider it a late present from me. :)
Title: Born This Hetalian Way
Extra: Stuck on F***in' You
I was born to stick with you.
They had made a promise, and, even though he was terrified of the crumbling castle before him, there was no way Bulgaria was going back on his word. Romania meant too much to him as a friend, even though they had had their fair share of differences in the past. But who hadn't, especially by this point? The world was closing in on the end of the 20th century. There was far too much in the past for even the nations to keep straight anymore.
But now there was also so much in the future. So much more than any of the countries behind the Iron Curtain could have ever anticipated a mere few years ago. Not terribly long ago, all hope had seemed lost. Bulgaria remembered his own pain quite clearly as he climbed the first of Poenari Castle's 1,480 steps. He was still facing a terrible food shortage, courtesy of his ex-boss's failed Communist policies. But other Eastern Bloc nations, Romania included, were facing the same thing. If it wasn't a food shortage, it was some other kind of crisis, something just as dire that would need to be fixed right away. But how? Good question. Not through more failed Communist policies, that was for sure. Democracy sounded good.
That was what was making this Christmas Day in particular so special. Finland must truly have been a miracle worker, because the greatest miracle for the Soviet nations had finally occurred. Russia, the nation that had started this whole Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc thing, was turning his back on Communism. It wouldn't be long now until the newly former Soviet nations would be running around like crazy, celebrating their newfound freedom. Who would have thought this day would ever come? Bulgaria almost laughed at the idea of it as he began to pant despite the cold, continuing to make his way up those stairs. He made a mental note to remember that having over a thousand steps outside a building was good for delaying invaders but not so good for innocent tourists.
Speaking of the innocent, he suddenly wondered if Prussia was on his way to return to Ukraine. Any idiot could see the bond between them. Bulgaria suddenly wondered if Russia truly hadn't known about them the whole time or if he had been letting them go on purpose. Perhaps no one would ever know. After all, no one, not even those closest to Russia, understood the way his mind worked. Perhaps even Russia didn't know.
Keeping his mind off the stairs had actually made Bulgaria climb them faster. Before he knew it, he was standing in front of the castle's entrance. Staring up at it, he gulped audibly. He had never been to Poenari Castle before, but he had heard Romania share stories about it. This was supposed to be the place where Vlad the Impaler had stayed and carried out his...business...torture. Bulgaria shivered and not because of the cold. What remained in this castle? Anything...?
His mind wandered to his friend, his dear friend Romania. They had made a quiet promise one night in the pitch blackness of the small, cramped room where all the Eastern Bloc countries had stayed whenever they had had to visit Russia's Soviet Union mansion. With the rest of the nations sound asleep, Bulgaria and Romania had grasped the ends of their fingers together and promised to meet at Poenari Castle only after they had won their freedom. At the time, back in the 1950s, it had been a silly promise. The Soviets escaping and celebrating freedom? No time soon. Wait almost fifty years and then see.
But, of course, there Bulgaria was, standing outside the castle where he was to meet his friend. Swallowing the last of his fear, he walked through the open-air entrance and headed higher, daring to venture inside to see what kind of Romanian horrors awaited him.
What he first heard did not disappoint. Someone was clapping and laughing, the sounds echoing eerily throughout the rest of the empty castle. Or he hoped it was empty at least. Did any of Romania's vampire friends hang out here? Bulgaria shook his head, feeling crazy that he had to remind himself that vampires didn't exist. Still, he couldn't help but be afraid of what waited for him. That insane laughter was creepy, but it at least sounded a touch familiar. Bulgaria's heart began to beat wildly. That was Romania laughing, no doubt about it. His friend was waiting for him, just like he had promised.
Without another thought, Bulgaria ran up the remaining stairs, up to the top floor. There, he spotted his friend, who was standing close to the edge of the castle, where he had the most amazing view of the Romanian countryside. Romania's laughter had died down, but he was still clapping. Bulgaria could hear the echoes down in the lower parts of the castle.
Suddenly, Romania turned and grinned wildly, gleaming fangs out for his friend to see. "Isn't it beautiful?" he asked, clasping his hands together.
Bulgaria almost forgot to breathe. What was he talking about? He decided to take a chance and nodded. "Yeah, it's gorgeous."
Romania just laughed again, this time louder and more like he was actually amused by something. "Not the countryside! Pfft, of course THAT'S beautiful. I'm talking about my country...now. In the moment." His smile softened but Bulgaria could still easily see his fangs. "Your country, too. All our countries."
Bulgaria smiled back. "Oh." Now he understood. He nodded. "Yeah, this is the most gorgeous our countries have ever looked. I never did think that Communism looked good on any of us. It feels wonderful to be free." His smiled suddenly faded. "But...what about all the other countries who are still Communist? What about them?"
Romania shrugged. "One step at a time," he suggested. "They won't last forever, just like ours didn't. Watch. One day, the whole world will be...purged..." He started to snicker and then burst out in uncontrollable, diabolical laughter again.
The sudden change of mood made Bulgaria take a step back. "Romania?"
"Ah haaaaa..." his friend sighed, calming down. "Sorry. I just had a great flashback. It was oddly appropriate for today." His apology did nothing to soothe Bulgaria's fears, for he still had a bloodthirsty (in more ways that one) grin on his face, his fangs catching the low light of the evening. "I was just thinking about Vlad."
"The Impaler. Remember? I told you about him."
Bulgaria began to shake. Yes, Romania had told him about his national hero, about how he had saved him from invaders (usually Turkey) and punished anyone who had ever dared to cross him. The punishments had usually been quite...harsh, to put it lightly. In fact, his nickname had come from his favorite torture method. That had later been the inspiration for the fiction vampire Dracula. What a way to be remembered.
Romania chuckled lightly. "You obviously don't know what happened today. What, did you spend so much time and effort getting here that you didn't stop to find out what happened? Weird, I thought no one could miss it."
The Balkan started to get nervous again. There was a mischievous glint in Romania's eyes, almost like he was excited to share news that would shock his friend to the point of horror. Somewhere in the back of Bulgaria's mind, he was pretty sure that that was what Romania was going for. He had always been tricky like that, being the perky little goth he was. Bulgaria also randomly wondered if his friend would turn into a bat at sundown and fly off the castle. He certainly looked like he could, what with his fangs and orange-red eyes and dark, somewhat baggy coat. He had lost weight due to the food shortage, no doubt.
Bulgaria shook his head to erase his mind of these weird thoughts. "I've kind of been having my own problems," he admitted. "We all have, all of us on the East. It started with Poland, back over the summer. When he elected his non-Communist leader, he inspired Hungary. Once she fixed herself up, she was able to help save East Ger...Prussia, excuse me." He smirked a bit at the thought of the ex-nation but then frowned again. "My people were inspired by the Berlin Wall finally coming down. They've been rioting in the streets for democratic reforms, but nothing's happened yet. Then I remembered that we had made a promise to meet once the Soviet Union had fallen, and-!"
Romania stopped him, holding his hand up. "I'll read about all that crap in the history books later," he insisted. "Heh, I guess I can't blame you for not knowing what happened today, what with everything else going on. Besides, the execution was only broadcast here in my country."
Bulgaria suddenly felt like he was going to be sick. "'Execution'?" he repeated. All of a sudden, he knew why his friend had been thinking about Vlad the Impaler. Images of merciless, horrifying torture flashed in his mind, and he somehow knew he wasn't going to be able to sleep that night. He mentally, bitterly, thanked Romania for the nightmare fuel.
That didn't seem to bother the vampire before him. "We finally got our hands on him," Romania said casually, slipping his gloves off. "Check it out." He held a bare hand up for his friend to see and found great amusement in the terrified look Bulgaria gave him.
Blood. Romania's hand was covered in blood. Bulgaria suddenly wanted to run out of the castle, down the steps, all 1,480 of them, out towards Bucharest, hoping he'd be able to find some safety. That was a silly thought though, because, even without Romania telling him, he knew that the execution had taken place in Bucharest. He knew whom had died as well. Chances were good people were still celebrating.
"Kinda takes me back to my old days with Vlad, ya know?" Romania sighed as he observed his bloody hand in the fading light of dusk. "We used to take out the invaders together. I guess I got to take out the invader on my own this time, even if I was a little late. Whatever. Ceauşescu had had it coming. Bastard. I never liked him. I had wanted to kill him from Day 1, but I couldn't because of the damn Soviet Union watching everything we did, waiting to punish us. Yeah, I wanted to save my people, but there was a little something...Hmm, what's the name of that all-knowing figure in that one novel? Big Brother? Yeah, it was a little like that. Kinda hard to break Rule 1 for the sake of Rule 2 when you'd be breaking Rule 2 at the same time. What's that other term...a Catch 22? Yeah, that's what I'm thinking of."
As if Bulgaria had needed any more proof that Romania was a country of dark literature.
Shrugging, Romania slipped his glove back on. "Whatever, I don't care anymore," he grunted, turning his back away from the Balkan. He stared out at the empty countryside and grinned. "I don't even know what I'm going to do next. I have no plans for my future right now. But I don't care about that either because I finally got my country back. I'm in my own country, and the Soviet Union has fallen! We're free once again!" He let out another crazed laugh, this one short and sudden, turning around again. "And you?"
Bulgaria stiffened. "It's not like I've got anything left," he reminded his friend.
"Aw, what does that matter?" Romania shot back. "You'll build yourself back up. We all will."
The words of encouragement were quite welcome to Bulgaria. While he was certainly not the worst off of all the Eastern Bloc countries, things were still bad. His mind kept wandering back to his food shortage, and he suddenly remembered that he, too, had lost weight. He and Romania were more alike than he had originally thought. Minus the vampire thing.
That led to another thought, another consequence of Soviet rule. "The borders are going to go back up," he said just loudly enough for Romania to hear. "It was so easy for us to travel back and forth between our countries because we were all Russia's territories, even if we weren't all part of the Soviet Union. Since we're all going to be free and independent with less connections, it'll be harder for us to go back and forth between our countries." He frowned sadly. "I'll miss you."
Romania shrugged again. "Not like we're located on opposite ends of the world. You'll still be my neighbor." He then smirked again and started to walk towards his friend. "Besides, your life would be way boring without me, and my life would be boring without you. It wouldn't be...satisfying." In a flash, he disappeared and reappeared behind Bulgaria, hanging onto his friend and pushing the fabric of his uniform off his shoulder, reveling in the shiver that went down his spine as he did. "You smell good, way better than that bitch Hungary," he whispered. "I guess you could say that a nation that smells good to me is like liquor, addicting." He opened his mouth to reveal his fangs in all their glory and quickly scrapped them against Bulgaria's skin, just hard enough to make Bulgaria feel the action but not hard enough to break the skin. He laughed at the terrified look on his friend's face and the way his body froze with horrific anticipation. "What, you thought I'd suck your blood?" he asked, still laughing lightly. "I'm not an actual vampire, Bulgaria. Vlad just had, hmm, a long-lasting impression on me." He finally pulled away and let the Balkan pull his uniform back into place, still grinning.
"Forgive me for freaking out a bit," Bulgaria snapped back. "Vlad wasn't exactly the friendliest of people. And, to be honest, the stories that come out of your country scare me. You're the only person I know who isn't fazed by the grotesque." He paused to bite his lip, eyes shifting down to Romania's hand. "And...could you wash your hand please? The fact that it's covered in dried blood underneath that glove is pretty disturbing."
Romania sighed. "Yes, I suppose I can, if it would make you feel better. I sort of like it though. Feels cool." But then he smiled, gently this time. It actually put Bulgaria at ease. "Just tell me something," he murmured. "Are you happy? Because I am."
And then, Bulgaria smiled back. "Yeah," he admitted, "I am happy."
"Even though I almost just sucked all the blood right out of you?"
The Balkan cried out and took a step back. "So you WERE planning on sucking my blood!"
Romania laughed out loud. "I'm kidding, I swear! Sorry, I just love messing with you!"
Bulgaria rolled his eyes.
"C'mon, I tease because I love," the wannabe vampire joked, walking past Bulgaria and making his way towards the stairs leading down to the lower level of the castle. "Let's go, we should be celebrating. Look, you'll get what you want soon, I promise. If the Communists aren't out of your country within the next two months or so, I'll help you out. I'll bring a little Vlad action to Sofia!"
"Please don't!" Bulgaria groaned. He rubbed his temples out of frustration. "You scare me," he sighed, "yet I can't live without you in my life. Why..."
"Victory!" Romania giggled. "That's what I've always wanted out of my friendships." He walked back to his friend and gave him a genuine smile. "But, in all seriousness, I promise to stick with you. I know that we fought a lot during World War I and whatever, but that's over, and we've been through too much together. What do you say?"
Bulgaria smiled back. The thought of living the rest of his life as a nation without Romania by his side saddened him. Yes, Romania terrified him at times. He wasn't crazy about the idea of him reliving his days with Vlad the Impaler whenever an execution happened, but, with any luck, there wouldn't be many more of those in the future. Besides, this was Ceauşescu's execution that had triggered the episode. Totally legit.
The Balkan nodded. "I promise to stick with you, too."
The sun had finally set, but Bulgaria could still see the gleam in Romania's eyes and on his fangs. "Perfect," the Romanian said seductively, grasping his friend's arm. "Well? Shall we go?"
He lifted his arm and guided Bulgaria down the stairs. For a moment, Bulgaria could have sworn that Romania's arm had been a bat wing, quick and graceful, allowing them to fly down those first few stairs. No, there was no way that could have been possible. Romania had said that he wasn't a vampire; he had just been heavily influenced by the man who had inspired the world's most famous vampire character. No big deal. It was just his imagination.
Romania just licked his fangs and smiled.
I don't ever want just another boy or a girl.
Baby, you and I,
Baby, you and I could change the world.
I don't ever want just another boy or a girl to love.
I'm stuck, stuck, stuck,
Stuck on you.
Historical/Cultural Notes: Poenari Castle was one of Vlad the Impaler's most used fortresses during the 15th century. Because of its location near the Făgăraș Mountains in Romania, it was the perfect place to spot invaders. It was used after Vlad's death, but it was abandoned by the 16th century. During the Communist era, it was a tourist attraction where foreign visitors could spend the night. Today, it's mostly in ruins, but the walls still stand for the most part. You can't sleep there anymore, but you do indeed have to climb 1,480 steps to reach it. It seemed like a good place for Romania and Bulgaria to meet in private to me.
Vlad the Impaler (Vlad III) was the inspiration for the character Dracula from the Bram Stoker novel of the same name.
Romania and Bulgaria were sworn enemies during World War I. Each one was the other one's target for the most part. Bulgaria was an ally of Austria-Hungary on the side of the Central Powers, and Romania was ready to declare independence from the once-great empire, so it joined the Allies about two years into the war. Even though many of Romania's battles against these two allies ended in disaster, it was still able to take much of its territory back from Austria-Hungary, since the empire dissolved at the end of the war.
Nicolae Ceaușescu was the leader during Romania's Communist era from 1967 to 1989. He was known for being especially cruel and oppressive, and his ideals were extremely Stalinist. Under his reign, relations with all Western powers deteriorated, and even Romania's relationship with the Soviet Union was strained. In December of 1989, the people of Romania rioted and revolutionized their country. Ceaușescu and his wife were captured and executed on Christmas Day in a hasty trial that was televised across the country.
My headcanon dictates that Romania has all the instincts of a vampire without actually being one. To me, he loves blood. Thus, the execution of an enemy would drive him crazy to the point that he would revert back to his old self during his days with Vlad. I don't think that he particularly enjoys torture, but he probably loves seeing his enemies suffer. I think that, since Vlad the Impaler is considered a national hero in Romania, he would have a great influence on the Hetalia character's personality. Also, I just love Romania's fangs. In general, he sort of reminds me of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I grew up on that show. Thanks, Mom, for letting me watch it as a kid!
I really hope you guys enjoyed this. I sincerely hope that I'll see you all again sometime in the future. (Release more songs this year, Mother Monster!)