A/N: The idea for this story is based on Kenney Chesney's "Don't Happen Twice," but none of the individual stories are based on it. But when you live for centuries, how many once-in-a-lifetime moments do you have? Well, here are a few. Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think!
We sang Bobby McGhee on the hood of my car
Made a wish on every star
In that clear September sky
One bottle of wine and two Dixie cups
3 a.m. I fell in love
For the first time in my life
Oh that's something that just don't happen twice
"Damn it Elizabeth!" Arthur shouts, hands going to his hair. "I swear to God, you're just like your father sometimes!" Elizabeth frowns.
"But nothing!" Arthur cuts her off. "What part of 'he's already married' do you not understand?" Elizabeth just glares at the wall, determined not to acknowledge the fact that he is right.
Arthur sighs and leaves her alone, cursing the day Robert Dudley was born.
When his wife is found dead, Elizabeth knows she cannot be with him, under such suspicion. And that night, Arthur hears his bedroom door creak open, and is unsurprised to see her there. And though their love is – on one side – a form of extreme patriotism; and on the other highly elevated reverence for a monarch, they do not care.
She is physically ten years his senior, but still he welcomes her with open arms, knows she needs the comfort. She does not need a man to rule her kingdom for her, but she does need one to love her. And when the one truly she wants is an eternal impossibility, Arthur will take his place.
In a small villa in a southern corner of France, two teenagers lie tangled together beneath the thin sheets. The younger one, only fifteen, rests against the other's chest, feeling his heart beat beneath his cheek. The room is still and quiet but for the sound of their soft, even breathing.
Francis wraps and arm around Antonio's shoulders and kisses his head.
"I think…we may be the first of our kind to do this since Rome disappeared," he murmurs, interrupting the silence. Antonio is quiet for a moment, thinking.
"I guess we are… I wonder what he would say."
Francis does not answer, but gazes out the window at the night sky. "Do you get the feeling…that everything is about to change?"
Antonio frowns slightly. "What do you mean?"
"I don't know," Francis shrugs. "It's just…we're finally growing up." The other boy hums in agreement, but when he says no more, Francis realizes he is asleep.
That night, trembling and uncertain, they'd made love, held each other tightly, and whispered "I love you". Was this really love that they felt? Francis honestly didn't know. Antonio was sleeping soundly in his arms, but next week he would go home, where Francis knew his boss was considering marrying him to Roderich. And what was in store for him, Francis had no idea. He would simply take life as it came to him, hoping that his people and Rome – wherever he was – were proud of him.
"Well," he whispers to the silence around him, "here goes nothing."
Arthur shivers slightly in the late January air, though it surprisingly warm for January. He is on a dead-end dirt road that cuts through an overgrown field in...Mississippi, he thinks Alfred said.
A century previously, he would never have believed – as he left Francis or Gilbert's bed, with no goodbye, no farewell kiss, no hint of emotion attached to the previous night – that he would be here, lying on his back in the bed of Alfred's truck, staring up at more stars than he'd seen in centuries, holding the hand of the most frustrating, beautiful, obnoxious, wonderfully perfect person he'd ever known.
In less than two months, they will have been together sixty-nine years. Arthur closes his eyes at this thought. Sixty-nine years. He hardly dares to believe it, but it's true. After centuries of being tossed around, practically Europe's plaything, here he lies, looking at the stars in silence with the man he loves.
Alfred begins singing quietly, and Arthur tightens his grip on the American's hand and turns to look at him. Alfred is lying on his side, gazing at Arthur with so much tenderness it nearly brings tears to his eyes.
Arthur doesn't know what he ever did to deserve so much happiness, but finally he decides he doesn't care, and thanks God that he has it. He moves closer to Alfred and continues looking at the sky, listening to soft sound of Alfred's voice, and feeling happier than he can ever remember.
Rome smiles at the boy before him, kneeling down to his eye level, watching his face, which is completely absorbed in staring at the baby in his arms.
"His name is Lovino," Rome says quietly, as the child reaches up and yanks roughly on the older boy's ear. "I think he likes you."
Antonio giggles, cuddling the baby. "Hi Lovi~" he coos, allowing the small hand to grasp his finger tightly. "I'm your big brother Antonio."
He beams up at Rome in childish confidence. "There's something special about this baby, Uncle Rome, I can tell," he says. "And I'm going to protect him, and teach him how to be a country, and make sure he's always happy."
Rome smiles softly as Antonio returns his attention to Lovino.
"You hear that Lovi?" he whispers. "You don't ever have to worry, because I'm going to take really good care of you forever." Antonio presses his lips gently to the baby's forehead, and cuddles him closer.
Rome feels his heart nearly burst as he looks at the two of them. He cannot be sure of his safety these days, but at least he could be sure, if anything ever happened to him, his grandson would be loved and looked after.
Elizabeta was a virgin on her wedding night. And for several months following it.
After the wedding, Roderich walks her to her bedroom door, squeezes her left hand, and kisses her cheek before retreating to his own bed. The next morning, she places a cup of coffee beside him as he makes breakfast and presses a kiss to his cheek in thanks for not pressuring her the previous night.
Little by little, one day at a time, they learn their way around each other. He learns to tell her mood by the color of her dress and the styling of her hair. She stands in the doorway of the piano room, watching him play and lose himself in the music.
Then one day, he catches her in the hallway and takes her hand, saying he has something to show her, looking more excited than she can remember seeing him. He sits her on the piano bench beside him, and blushes a bit.
"I, um…I wrote this…for you." He begins to play – a light, airy melody at first, slowly building, becoming stronger and powerful, but never losing the sweetness of the first notes.
Elizabeta stares at her husband as he plays the most beautiful piece of music she's ever heard. The two of them were forced into this marriage for political convenience, and she knows that once that convenience is gone, they will divorce. But right now, in this moment, while Hungary has been married to Austria for months, for the first time, Elizabeta decides that she is married to Roderich Edelstein, and no matter what the treaties and laws say, she will be his wife for as long as she lives.
This is their wedding song. Tonight will be their true wedding night.
When she comes to his room that night, nervously playing with her hair and the fabric of her nightgown, he brings her to him gently, lovingly. Sometime later, as she feels herself drifting to sleep in his arms, she feels perfectly at peace, in love with her husband, and thankful to finally, truly be his wife.
Francis kneels in the greatest cathedral in the world. St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is decorated beautifully. Thousands of people have gathered. The whole world is watching.
But Francis has eyes only for the Holy Father and the woman's image before him. The image of the bravest, most spectacular woman he's ever known. The only woman – and a human one at that – that he ever loved.
Francis bows his head as his eyes fill up with tears. It's been nearly six hundred years, but finally, finally, his girl has been recognized…as a saint.
He supposes it is a bit ironic; him of all people in love with a saint. But he couldn't have helped loving her if he'd tried. Losing her had nearly killed him, and he had been terrible company until she was declared innocent.
He closes his eyes and loses himself in the prayers, the rolling Latin that he and few others gathered can understand, the pure relief he feels in knowing that others will recognize, venerate, and appeal to the girl he always knew had a special connection with God.
His precious Saint Jeanne d' Arc.
"My mother used to bring me up here," Heracles says softly. "When it was still intact, colorful. It was beautiful."
Kiku leans back on his hands and turns to look at Heracles, who is lying on the ground with his hands behind his head, looking at the clouds, a faraway expression on his face.
"It still is," he replies, not looking away from his companion. Sure, the Acropolis is beautiful on days like this, when it's closed to tourists and just the two of them can spend the day up here. But the true beauty is in the tan skin, dark hair, and green eyes of the boy beside him.
Heracles allows his head to loll to the side and gives Kiku a lazy grin that leaves the latter blushing.
He averts his eyes and looks down the hill at the incredible view of Athens, sprawling beneath them. It was one of those few cities in the world that managed to be a full modern city while preserving a little snapshot of the ancient world, mixing the two in perfect harmony.
"I wonder what my mother would say, if she could be here with us now…" Heracles muses idly.
From her place watching high above them, Ancient Greece huffs impatiently. "Honestly Heracles," she mutters to herself, "when are you going to do something about that nice Japanese boy…"
Elizabeta decided that it was high time the female nations came together for a girls' sleepover. And now all the girls sit in her living room, and Laura has managed to procure a washable marker from somewhere.
She stands before the mirror and draws a clean line along her jaw, filling it in a bit more where necessary. The next moment she swipes a rose out of the vase on the table and spins dramatically, sweeping Elizabeta into her arms and placing one hand firmly on her chest.
"I am Francis Bonnefoy!" She cries in a dramatized French accent. "So I'm allowed to grope whoever I want!"
Elizabeta cannot stop laughing long enough to form an appropriate response, so Laura merely sends a flirty wink toward Lilli and Chelles. The latter rolls her eyes but can't suppress a laugh, and Lilli giggles behind her hand.
With a sweep of the rose Laura continues. "As the country of amour I must extend my expressions of love to all of you exquisitely beautiful ladies."
This earns a shy delicate giggle from Katyusha and a small hint of a smile from Natalia. When the rose is finally extended to her with a bow and Laura's best impression of Francis's charming smile, Mei takes it and swoons dramatically, falling across Lilli's lap before all of them collapse into laughter and Laura goes to wash the fake beard from her face.
With so few female nations, it's nice to get away from the boys for a night sometimes.
When Germania opens his eyes, he knows he is no longer on the battlefield. His injuries do not hurt, or for that matter, even exist. Above him is a clear blue sky, and below, a field of soft grass.
He sits up slowly, and when he raises his eyes, there are two beautiful women watching him, smiling knowingly at each other. Germania sees them but does not truly see them. All he can look at is the man standing between them.
Rome smiles at him – young, beautiful, perfect as the day they met – and extends his hand. And Germania, the strong ruthless warrior, breaks. Staring straight into Rome's eyes as he helps him to his feet, all Germania can manage is, "I am so sorry…"
Rome pulls him into a tight embrace and then moves back to place a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"It is forgotten," he says softly. "We've been waiting for you. And you're here now."
The hand on his shoulder slides gently up his neck to rest against his cheek.
And with that, Rome leans forward and captures his lips. The single kiss is all Germania needs to know that he is indeed home at last.
-Arthur and Elizabeth: He's 17, she's 27. I don't imagine anything between them lasted more than two years. Her behavior is based heavily on The Virgin's Lover, by Phillippa Gregory, which I encourage you to read.
-The song Alfred sings to Arthur (youtube extension): /watch?v=L27KqRVZPwA
~this one may be extended into a full story or a chapter of "Hello World" if anyone's interested. And that location is a real place. My grandparents own the land.
-Joan of Arc was executed on May 30, 1431; declared innocent on July 7, 1456; beatified in 1909; and finally canonized on May 16, 1920. Her feast day is May 30.
-All of the white stone statues of the ancient world were painted and colorful when they were made. To remove the paint would have been to strip them. Look up some painted imitations online. It's wild.
-Laura=Belgium; Chelles = Seychelles; Mei = Taiwan.
I think this is one of my favorite things I've written. Please let me know what you thought!