A/N: Oh, WOWDAMN. It's been *forever* since I wrote anything.

Well, because I'm not actually a writer anymore. So there's that.

Also because I'm miffed at the Hetalia fandom. So there's that.

But I still love me some Spanish Civil War History, and we watched El Laberinto del Fauno in SpanishIV.


And it's BAD. Este cuento es MUY MALO. Es un poquito estupido. Jajajaja.

Carmen touches the mirror with fingers that don't have as much feeling in them as they once did. She remembers being young, when she had to use thimbles to keep the ends of the needles from hurting her skin, her thumbs specifically. Now, they are callused, well worn, the hands of a seamstress who makes uniforms for the Frente Nacional and are caressing the worn down lines in the mirror where her new husband has been imagining how it would feel to slit his own throat. She has seen him do this when he thinks she's asleep. He pauses, so calculated, presses the blade against the glass and makes sharp, self-assured slashes into his unfeeling doppelganger.

Carmen's old husband was a tailor. This shop is his shop, but this shop is going to be sold soon. They are moving to the mountains in two months, her new husband Captain Vidal and her. And Ofelia and the baby, of course. But those two… One lives inside of her and one lives so far away from her, it is tragic. Carmen doubts the unborn or the unawake will even notice the shift.

"What are you doing, dear?" Vidal appears in the doorway in his shirtsleeves and well worn black trousers, his suspenders at the sides of his legs. Nothing but the gleam of the chain of his pocket watch distinguishes him as a man of power.

"Nothing. Washing my face."

He smiles at her, mocking. He is always mocking her, wordlessly. In this regard, he is very much like the first man she married, the first man who gave her only a daughter. "There's no water in the bowl," Vidal says.

Carmen smiles back. The 'you've-caught-me-oh-dear' smile she has perfected in his honor. It involves a tilt of the head, a forced blush, a downward glance. "No, there isn't."

He moves closer to her, wraps one arm around her waist and puts his other hand on her stomach, just barely beginning to show the son she is creating. It will have his name, like he has his father's. "So what were you doing?"

"Planning to wash my face."


"Yes." She looks back at the mirror. "Are you taking that with you when you go?"

He turns them both. "Yes."

"Are you sure you don't want a new one?"

"Why would I want that?"

"This one just…" She breaks away from his embrace and touches the scratches again. "Is beaten up." She refrains from saying, 'like me.' She wants him to start over up North, so that when she gets there after him, though it may only be a week after, she can pretend that the man she is married to now will be good for her children.

"It's familiar."

"Right." Carmen has become very good at acknowledging what has been said, making the necessary noises to pretend she agrees with whatever the statement is. He looks at her critically, demanding more. "I want you to be comfortable up North, after all," she continues.

He nods, kisses her again. "I will be. We will be. The open air is good for children. You'll see."

She nods in time with him, her motions often as precise as his. She has become good at that since he started courting her. He likes the moving part trinkets in his life to run smoothly, be they given to him by his father or fate. Every night he winds them up and then lets them tick the rest of the 24 hour period under careful observation, held tightly to his side by silver chain or by the strength of his hands.

"Will you stop, when we go North?"

"Stop what?"

"What you do to the mirror."

Vidal looks at the mirror, at his sharp, dark features beside Carmen's smooth face. The lines, slightly below their collars from this distance, suddenly stand out like the scars he can mostly conceal from the War. "Why are you asking me something silly like that?" he whispers, holding onto Carmen's upper arm now, his grip tight.

She squirms slightly, mind racing frantically. "I just want to know. I was hoping they would have mirrors at your station. For us to start over. So that our son might be born in the New Spain." This is one of his favorite phrases, 'the new, clean Spain.' She tries to fit it in where she can to make him happy.

It works, most of the time. It works this time. He lets her go gently and nods. "Good thinking, dear." He lifts the mirror off of the wall and lets it crash to the ground.

She doesn't ask why he didn't just put it out in the street for someone else to take. Why he didn't just leave it at the house for after they move out. She just stares at the broken pieces and tries not to make the whole into an analogy, because that is something that little girls to. Comparing your life to a broken mirror, where you can still see bits of who you are, but in too many little fragments, is not something that a full grown woman having a second child by a wonderfully protective (that must be the word) Captain does.

"I'll clean that up."

"Good." He stands looking at the pieces, hearing his watch in his head, and does a better job of not romanticizing it. He doesn't romanticize anything. "A new, clean Spain. We'll wipe the slate clear."

Carmen goes to get the broom and starts sweeping the glass up, but Vidal takes it from her. "Darling, I thought you wanted…"

"I changed my mind," he says softly. "Go ahead to bed. You should rest for my son."

"Alright." She goes, turns the corner with the practiced precision in his honor, but then stops right outside the door. A small part of her is hoping that he will call her back, that he will force her to clean it up. She doesn't trust her husband with things like shards of glass. What if he mistakes the reflection for himself? What if he finally finds the right direction to put the razor to his own throat?

They exist, then, in stalemate, not but six feet from each other, but both so far.

Vidal is the man who feels things only to the tick of a watch that should have been broken. He does not know the time of his birth anymore (others call it the time of the death of his father) and wonders if he should stop the watch at the time of his death. But it is such a lovely piece of steel and quartz that it would be rude to break it just because of some selfish human whim. He feels more like that watch than himself. Whatever he is supposed to be or feel like.

And Carmen, with her calloused fingers and quiet prayers, cannot feel at all, and certainly cannot feel what her husband does, even if she were to touch his neck in the place where he has been imagining to cut it. Their bodies are an obstacle, trapping them in a world of reservation and emptiness. Though Carmen knows it is wrong, she sometimes wishes for the old, dirty Spain. Perhaps that things have been wiped clean is the problem.

Perhaps if things were dirty again, it would all make sense. Or maybe her husband is right, and all they need is to purify the rest of the country, to rid Spain of the rebel ideals.

At least then everyone would feel the same. If what they would be could be called feeling at all. A nation of tired women and men unsure of the right self to kill.