You know that ridiculously complicated topic you had to write all those essays on for history class? Well, I did some asking around and realised that no-one really understood what led up to World War One. I don't blame them - it's twisted, difficult and, at times, utterly stupid. But I like to think that I kind of understand it a bit, so I did what any sensible and well-adjusted teenager would do at a time like this: I wrote a fanfiction. It's a simplified version, of course, but it has the main facts in there and it's a lot more entertaining than a textbook XD. I also had no idea what genre it was, so sorry about that. But without further ado, please enjoy The War to End All Wars!
Please leave a review if you like it! They really do make my day.
If I owned Hetalia then a) I would draw a comic strip instead of writing a fanfic and b) I would be speaking Japanese. I also don't own World War One... just in case anyone was bothered about that...
Usually, thought Austria, life gives you a sign when something terrible is about to happen. A black cat crossing your path, a broken mirror, a ladder that you didn't notice was looming ahead until it was too late. Whenever he ran into one of those things, he knew to expect the worst. But there was nothing about that morning that marked it as anything out of the ordinary. It was cool but blue-skied with the sun already starting to warm the streets of Sarajevo. He and Hungary were sitting in the back of an expensive black car, watching the city pass them by as they listened idly to the conversation of their Archduke and his wife in the seats in front of them. No, he decided. There was definitely nothing that morning to suggest what was to come.
That was, until the bomb landed in the Duchess's lap.
That, he thought, is when he should've realised that this wouldn't be an ordinary visit.
The crisis had been averted that time. The Archduke had grabbed the bomb before Austria and Hungary had even realised what it was and hurled it from the car. No-one had been killed and the day was saved. For now. They were all on edge after that; he could feel the tension in Hungary as she sat next to him and the Archduke was brisker and snappier than usual. When Bosnia had welcomed them, he had complained loudly about the bombing attempt. Bosnia had been shocked; he apologised profusely and assured them that it was nothing to do with him. He'd invited them inside and done his best to calm them down while Herzegovina served tea, her face pale and worried.
"I swear, it was nothing to do with us," Bosnia had said, wringing his hands. "Please don't assume that, just because it happened here..."
"We won't," said Austria quickly. "It wasn't your fault. Just make sure it doesn't happen again, okay?"
Bosnia nodded, his shoulders sagging in relief. He knew that he was well under the control of Austria and Hungary; if they took offence to him or Herzegovina, they were in major trouble.
All, seemingly, was well. The Archduke and his wife decided to change their planned schedule and visit the citizens hurt by the bomb meant for them. Leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina behind, they climbed into the car and drove off down the Sarajevo streets towards the hospital.
It was lucky, Austria thought as he watched the city pass by, that the bomb hadn't killed the Archduke. Not so lucky for the citizens it had hit instead, but lucky for the state of world affairs. If the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne had been killed, who knew what actions he and Hungary would've been forced to take? Austria didn't like the idea of punishing Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially since he was sure they were innocent, but would Hungary share his opinions? Well, there was no use worrying about it now. The crisis had been averted.
"Hey," Hungary whispered in his ear. He jolted from his reverie and turned to listen to her. "Isn't the hospital the other way?"
The driver, it seemed, had realised this as well. Before Austria could speak, he braked and put the car into reverse. And, in one of the more unlucky events that day - and that was saying something - the car stalled.
Since everyone's attention was turned to the driver fighting with his gearstick and accelerator, it was only Austria who noticed the man come out of the bakery at the side of the road. He looked unassuming - normal clothes, average height, not particularly threatening in any way - but there was something about the look in his eyes, the determined way that he walked, that set Austria's internal alarm off. It was particularly sensitive that day thanks to the bombing attempt, but he had a feeling that man would've caught his attention on the best of days.
"Hungary," he said, nudging her as she leant over the seats to watch the driver.
"Not now, Austria."
The man was only fifteen feet away from them now and striding closer. Austria watched, helpless, as the man stopped about five feet away and drew something metallic from his coat pocket.
It all happened so fast he could barely remember it. On instinct, he grabbed Hungary and threw her back against the seat, shielding her with his own body. She screamed, but the noise couldn't mask the distinctive sound of two bullets being fired from a pistol.
At first he thought they'd missed. When the noise died down and Austria looked up from his awkward position sprawled across the seats, nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. Then the differences clicked; the man with the gun was making a run for it, pursued by police. There was screaming - lots of screaming. And two pools of red were slowly growing on the Duchess's dress and the Archduke's collar.
Hungary recovered before he did. She vaulted the back of the seats and crouched in front of the royal couple, eyes wide and face white. "Are you okay?" she asked urgently, shaking them gently. "No. You're not okay. Just hang in there. Just hold on."
"Hospital!" shouted Austria once his voice had started to work again. "Driver, take us to the hospital now!"
"It is nothing," said the Archduke quietly. "It is nothing..."
It was not nothing. Austria had seen wounds like that before on the battlefield and they never ended well. A shout from the street caught his attention; one of the police officers had tackled the assassin. He teetered on the edge of a decision for a moment, then made up his mind. "Stay with them," he told Hungary, then jumped out of the car and ran over to the crowd of policemen now surrounding the assassin.
"Who are you?" asked one of the police officers, once the man was safely handcuffed and restrained. "What is your name?"
The man was still breathing hard from running and doubled over what looked like pain - one of the policemen had probably hurt him in the chase. "Princip..." he gasped. "Gavrilo... Princip..."
The name was foreign, and so was his accent. "Where are you from, Princip?" demanded the officer. "Tell me!"
He seemed to be having trouble forcing words out through gulps and pants of fatigue and fear. "...S-Serbia..."
So this was his doing, was it?
Austria turned on his heel and strode away. He'd heard all he needed to. He wove his way through the horrified and excited crowd, heading resolutely towards the hospital. This time he ignored the beautiful Sarajevo scenery; his mind was completely focused on the matter at hand. He should've known they couldn't trust that country. He was a shady one at the best of times, always letting his emotions get in the way of reason. He'd probably felt threatened by their Empire right on his borders and decided to try and weaken them by killing the heir to their throne. But his assassin had been caught and now he knew who was behind this whole thing. Serbia was not going to get away with this.
He found Hungary standing outside the hospital.
"They're dead," she said, her voice flat and her face set.
Austria was not shocked - somehow his mind had said its goodbyes as soon as he'd seen their wounds. He only felt numb as he said, "It was Serbia."
"What? How do you know?"
"The police were interrogating the assassin. He was Serbian."
She balled her fists by her sides as if wishing she had frying pans clutched in them. "We should've known."
They stood there for a while in the shade of the hospital building, allowing their minds time to process this news. Austria's mind was having trouble processing anything, let alone this. It had gone into lockdown mode, as it always did when it couldn't take what was happening, and all that drifted through his head was Chopin's Nocturne. He became vaguely aware of Hungary slipping her hand into his and looked over to see her staring at the street and biting her lip.
"What now?" she asked, as though she thought he might have an answer.
"We go home," he said slowly. He had to say something, didn't he? One of them had to. "We go home and then decide what to do. We'll work something out, but we can't stay here."
She nodded and, hand in hand, they both began to walk towards their car parked outside the hospital. Despite what he'd told Hungary, Austria had no idea what they'd do next. His mind was still numb; any thoughts that raised their head were drowned out by the music.
But, he thought as they climbed into the car and asked the driver to take them home, they would get past this. They'd choose a new successor and take care of Serbia somehow. At the end of the day, it wasn't the biggest crisis they'd ever faced. A couple of political manoeuvres and it'd all be taken care of.
It was strange, he would always think afterwards, how long he believed that.