"Color me impressed with my impressiveness."
Oh, England. How you speak the truth.
So! I thought I'd try something different this time! A story that doesn't evolve around Prussia? Le gasp! But I had to. I was going through picture for a new video I'm working on, and came across some Pirate Iggy and Spain. I LOVE Spain, so much, and Pirate Iggy is kickass, so I got really distracted, and then this popped into my mind! I'm so excited, because it's not like any of my other stories. I suck at writing blood and gore and torture, so I'm pretty proud of how this came out.
So, on that note...
Warnings! This contains lots of blood, torture, and some implied mature themes. If you do not like that sort of thing, please STOP! now and turn back.
Disclaimer: "Hetalia" isn't mine...
Arthur hated him.
He hated everything about him. His deep green eyes, a shade so much darker than his own. His brown, wavy locks, and the way that they framed his perfect face. His bronze skin, so much richer than his own lighter shade that burned every time he went out into the sun. His gentle, yet calloused hands. The way that his language simply rolled off his tongue in a way that made even men stop and stare, a shiver racking their bodies that had absolutely nothing to do with being cold.
But the thing that he probably hated the most was his goddamn smile.
The stupid idiot was always smiling. Always laughing, always sunny, the bastard was mocking him. He could see it in those pools of green every time the other looked at him; laughing at him. Laughing at his misery. Laughing at his failures.
When he finally had him in his clutches, Arthur promised himself that the other wouldn't get away. Never again would he look at him and laugh.
Arthur Kirkland was going to destroy the life of Antonio Fernandez Carriedo.
The first thing that he took was his skin.
He didn't actually skin the man, though he had toyed with the idea for some time. No, he wanted to cause as much pain as possible without actually committing any physical harm.
Well, not much anyways.
After sinking the ship that the Spaniard was on, Arthur had him stuffed away in the brig in the hull of his ship. He allowed some of the Armada soldiers that hadn't perished to keep him company; they would come into play later.
For weeks, the golden-skinned man was held in that cell. No light was able to reach him from the corner that he was chained up to, and he was left to darkness. His beautiful bronze skin had lost its luster, and the man was beginning to pale.
After Arthur had deemed it appropriate, he made his appearance.
He heard the sailors whisper and scurry away as he descended the stairs. His gaze immediately fell on the object of his hatred.
Antonio was sitting in the corner, arms chained above his head, stripped of his captain's garments and clad only in a dirty brown shirt and pants. A metal collar was around his neck, the chain connecting it meeting the ones his hands were bound to above his head. He looked up, stoic face turning into a feral glare when he spotted his enemy on the other side of the bars.
"¡Cabrón!" he growled, green eyes blazing.
The Englishman merely smirked at him.
The two pirates stared at each other, neither saying anything for what seemed to be hours, but was really only a few minutes.
"So," Arthur began, never taking his eyes off the other. Antonio watched him with a scowl etched onto his perfect face. "How do you like your new home?"
Antonio didn't speak, but his scowl deepened and bordered on another glare.
"Tsk," the blonde scolded lightly. He leaned against the cell door. "That's no way to treat your host."
"¡Que te den!" Antonio spat.
Arthur frowned. "That's not very nice…" he said.
The brunette's eyes widened. "¿Hablá español?" he asked.
And that was the perfect opening. "Actually, no," he told his captive. The Spaniard blinked in confusion. "You see," Arthur drawled, leaning away from the bars and fiddling with the keys around his waist. He slowly went through each one, taking his time. "I know enough of your idiotic language to be able to understand the basics." He didn't miss the frown and the narrow of Antonio's eyes as his language was insulted. "A few swears here, a common phrase there. I'm not foreign to the saying 'Feliz Navidad' either." He grinned as he found the key he was searching for, green eyes rising to meet the ones of his enemy as he slipped it into the lock and turned, the cell door opening with a slight creak. Arthur stepped into the cell, letting the door swing shut behind him. He strode up to the bound Spaniard, smirking as he knelt to the man's height, sitting on his heels in a crouch. Antonio's face was defiant and angry, but Arthur could read the confusion in his green eyes.
"How's life in the dark treating you?" the Englishman asked, cocking his head to the side, eyes running over the other's once beautiful skin.
"Que te pires," Antonio said, eyes drifting to the small window.
Arthur frowned. "So rude," he tisked. He reached into his boot and withdrew his dagger, noticing how Antonio's gaze quickly switched back to him, more confusion entering his eyes. The blonde ran a finger along the blade, checking its sharpness. Antonio's eyes watched him warily. "You know," Arthur mused. "I've always found it amazing how something so small could cause so much damage." He twirled the knife around by the handle, allowing the sunlight to catch it briefly before bringing it back to the dark. He looked up. "Why do you suppose that is, Anthony?"
The use of his English name grated on his nerves, Arthur could tell; if the way the brunette's body tensed was any indication. And the glaring returned, of course.
Arthur hummed thoughtfully, balancing the dagger on one finger. "Maybe it's because no one is suspecting it… After all, something as small and insignificant, like an island, let's say, is often simply overlooked."
There was no way that he could have missed that, and Antonio blinked, brows furrowing, before his eyes narrowed. He fired off some rapid Spanish, most of what Arthur was sure was cursing the island nation. He merely waited until the tirade ended.
"Are you quite finished now?" the blonde asked, rather bored. Antonio simply glared at him. He brought the dagger up and delicately traced the side of the Spaniard's face with it, dragging it gently down the darker neck. "Such a waste," he murmured. He let the knife wander lower, stopping just below the clavicle. "I wonder how much damage this can cause before…" he trailed off as he gently pricked the other man's skin, a bead of red blood forming and dribbling down Antonio's chest, disappearing under his clothes.
Arthur brought the tip of the knife away from his chest and inspected it closely before snaking a tongue out and licking the small amount of blood off the tip. He thoughtfully smacked his lips together. His green eyes found Antonio's own, who was glaring at him.
"Not what I was expecting," he said. He smirked. "Maybe… I need another taste…"
Antonio's eyes widened as the dagger descended once more. Both of them knew that he wouldn't die; nations were immortal to the physical limitations of humans, after all. But that didn't stop the fact that he was human, at least to a point. He could still feel pain.
Arthur had to give the man credit; the Spanish man didn't scream once, only cursing in that stupid language the very existence of England as his skin was cut and carved and drawn upon by the sharp blade, blood seeping through his thin clothes.
But that only made Arthur hate him more.
The next thing to go was his hair.
Those beautiful brown locks. Antonio's hair was perfect. It was the perfect shade of brown, and never bleached from staying in the sun too long. It fell over his forehead with precision, and it was always just the right length.
Who would love him once his hair was gone?
It wasn't long after their first meeting that Arthur descended the steps into the brig once more. The Spanish sailors watched him with disdain; they were skinny, but that was probably because they thought the food they were being served was poisoned. As if Arthur would do something like that; he had other plans for these men.
He made his way to the far corner where Antonio was sitting, head hung. He did glanced up when the door to his cell was pushed open, and smirked at his captor.
Naturally, Arthur didn't find much amusement in that.
"And what are you so happy about?" he asked, eyes traveling over the multiple scars and still open wounds, caused by Arthur's dagger, all over his body, save for his face. A tiny pool of blood had dried on the wooden floor beside the man, and the Englishman looked at it with sick humor.
Antonio shrugged, the chains around his hands jingling as he did so. Arthur noticed the chaffing around his wrists and neck, satisfaction burning in him. He frowned at the response.
"You know that you are completely under my mercy, right?" he asked, standing over the Spaniard and looking down at him.
"¿Qué pasa?" the brunette asked, grinning slightly.
Taken aback, Arthur blinked. That… wasn't the reaction he was expecting. He quickly recovered, however, and brought back a booted foot, kicking the bound man in the side. Satisfied as the man's face quickly melded into a pained expression, the wind effectively knocked out of him, he crouched down.
"Now," he purred. "What fun shall we have today?"
Antonio glared at him. "Come miera," he gasped. His head flew back as Arthur's hand connected with the side of his face.
"You will speak in English while on my ship," he commanded in a hiss. "I will have none of your foul language."
The Spaniard glared at him some more, rolling his tongue over his teeth to make sure that they were all still there; Arthur had a powerful swing.
"Now then, where were we before you so rudely interrupted…?" the blonde thought aloud, tapping a finger against his chin. He snapped his fingers as if the thought suddenly came to him. "Ah, yes. Our fun little activity for this evening." He took out his dagger once more, grinning at the way Antonio's face morphed into a tiny grimace; it seemed that he was still in pain from their last "play date."
Apparently, he thought that the same thing would be happening tonight as Arthur studied his reflection in the shiny blade, testing the sharpness.
"¡Va a infierno!" he shouted, startling the blonde slightly.
Heavily browed green eyes narrowed, and Antonio felt another sting in his cheek as Arthur struck him a second time. Then the pain vanished and moved to his scalp as the pirate captain grabbed a handful of his hair, bringing the two of them nose to nose.
"What did I just get telling you about speaking that stupid language?" Arthur snapped.
The taste of blood in his mouth – he must have bit his tongue – made his answer a little gargled. "Que te den," he gasped, vision a little blurry from the pain in his head.
A growl escaped Arthur, and he searched the defiant man's eyes with his own before his gaze traveled north. He pulled their faces away, keeping a tight grip on the hair in his grasp as he stood. He hummed.
"You're hair is so rough," he mused. Antonio's glare increased. "I was under the impression that it would be softer… Hmm, how disappointing." His free hand reached up to grab his captive's face, holding it tightly in one hand as his other moved from the top of Antonio's head to the base of his neck, where he felt the silk ribbon that held the short ponytail in place. He absently picked at the knot. "I don't think I've ever seen you with long hair before. Though I suppose that it does give one that 'pirate look' that seems to be in fashion these days. Or maybe Francis is a more powerful influence than I thought…"
He tugged on the hair, pulling Antonio's head back sharply. "What do you think, Anthony?" he smirked.
An angry howl left his lips as his captive spat in his eye. He let go of the hair, clawing at his face with his hands, tripping backwards and landing with a cry on his bottom. When he could finally open his eyes, Arthur set a murderous look on a very triumphant looking Spaniard. He angrily stood, brushing himself off before bending to grab his knife, which had flown from his hand in his rage-induced fall. He stomped over to his prisoner, once more grabbing a hold of his brown head.
Antonio hissed in pain as his neck was roughly yanked back once more, his eyes meeting the other's.
"You stupid bastard!" Arthur screeched, dagger coming to rest against Antonio's neck. "Do you have any idea what you've just done?"
"¿Qué?" he wheezed, the angle at which his neck was having a negative effect on his breathing. He felt the prickle of his skin being sliced and warm liquid ran down his chest and resisted the urge to swallow.
"I thought I told you to speak English," Arthur hissed. He brought his mouth to the other man's ear. "And to think that I was going to be gentle…"
An involuntary shiver made it's way down Antonio's spine, and Arthur gave him a feral grin. "Don't worry, Anthony," he purred softly. He took the dagger away from his neck and shoved the Spaniard up against the wall of the cell, pinning him with his body so that there was no room for him to struggle. "This won't hurt… at least not physically…"
He brought the knife up and easily sliced through the ponytail, letting the long hair, still held together by the ribbon, fall to the floor. Antonio's eyes closed, unable to watch as his wavy brown locks were effectively shaved from his scalp.
Arthur smirked as the ground acquired a pile of brown hair. As soon as he was finished, he let the man away from the wall. Antonio's eyes snapped open as he suddenly fell forward, coming face to face with his beautiful hair on the floor. Arthur turned on his heel, slipping his dagger back into his boot and heading out of the cell. When he got to the door, Antonio's voice called out to him.
Scowling at the translation of his name, he whipped around, intending to tell off the other man. Instead, he felt his face become red with rage.
Antonio was sitting on the ground again, legs spread out in front of him, head completely shaven save for his eyebrows.
And he was grinning.
Letting out an angry huff, Arthur let the cell door bang shut, stomping up the steps and slamming the brig door.
If there was one thing that Arthur knew about Antonio, it was the love the man had for his friends and family.
So, Arthur devised a plan so sinister, it would have to work.
A week after the shaving, Arthur gave Antonio a choice.
He was going to give up that stupid language of his. A country was nothing without language, and while under Arthur's rule, Antonio would speak English – the superior language, as far as he was concerned.
Once his language was gone, then he would surely fall…
So Arthur dragged the three men left from the Spanish Armada into Antonio's cell, making them kneel in front of their nation, their captain. Arthur didn't miss the confused look that the Spaniard shot him.
"We're going to play a little game today, Anthony," he said, walking behind the bound men on the ground. "One that I hope you find entertaining."
"¿Qué es eso?" Antonio asked hotly, gaze flickering to his men, who were looking at him in horror. His head was no longer shiny bald, but a fine peach fuzz now adorned his scalp. He did look quite odd.
Arthur sent him a glare, making Antonio smirk.
"I'm going to tell you again. Speak English!"
The smirk only grew.
Arthur growled, then forced himself to calm down. "Very well. Since you seem so eager, let's begin, shall we?" He unsheathed the sword at his side. "Either you speak English now, or I will go after… hmm… Francis and you are quite close, are you not? Perhaps a trip to visit him is in order. I know you know French, so you can tell him yourself why he's being invaded. I'm sure he'll love that."
"¡Gilipollas!" Antonio spat, tugging at his chains. They rattled against themselves.
"Oh?" Arthur feigned surprise. "You don't like that idea? Well, I'll give you another choice then. I won't invade Francis if you don't stop speaking that child's excuse for a language."
The relief that came over Antonio's face was quickly replaced by suspicion. The Englishman smirked.
"I'll just kill one of your men, here."
Green eyes went wide. The men kneeling between them looked confused. None of them spoke English; they had no idea what was going on.
"¡No se puede hacer que!" Antonio cried, expression a mix of anger and despair. He tugged at his chains again.
"English!" Arthur snapped, eyes blazing. He swung his sword back and forth in front of his face. "Now, what shall it be?"
He didn't look at his adversary, choosing instead to look at his own reflection from the weapon in his hand.
Which to choose? He mused to himself, giving the Spaniard time to think. The men from his ship, the ones who he had commanded and were a part of his people? Or his friends and family, the people who he had grown up with, played and fought alongside, and shared centuries of history with?
If Arthur was being true to himself, he knew which he would take. His people were a part of him; if they died, he would feel it. Every nation knew how important it was to protect their people. Even the ones who died natural deaths caused headaches and cramps. But the relationship with fellow countries… well, that was something that was more fickle than the weather. They all knew that if they weren't fighting today, they could very well be in a battle to the death the next. All of the marriages he had endured, he had gotten quite close to many other nations.
But still, if the choice was his, he'd rather that his friends be the one to take the downfall. Sure, they may hate him for it, and they may fall under another country's rule, but that could change in a heartbeat. It wasn't like they could die. And they forgave each other… well, eventually.
After waiting for quite some time, Arthur turned his attention to the other man. Antonio was kneeling in front of his men, head hung low and eyes clenched shut.
"So which do you choose?" he asked. Antonio's head shot up, and he glared at Arthur.
"Que te den," he said, though there was the hint of a quiver in his voice.
"Very well," Arthur smirked, and brought up his arm, sword in hand. The first man had no idea what hit him; suddenly, there was a sword skewering him, the tip protruding right through the heart. He looked down, surprised to see it, before Arthur drew it out. The poor man pitched forward, red flowing from his mouth, shocked eyes locked on Antonio's devastated face. He was dead before he hit the ground, blood pooling around him.
The other two men stared at him, horror etched upon their faces, watching as the blood puddle slowly grew. Arthur examined his dirtied sword. "So France is saved," he drawled. "Perhaps, though, Gilbert would like a visit from me… I heard his little brother is staying at Roderich's, so maybe I'll stop by to greet them…"
"Que te den," the other man said, a little louder with an edge of hysteria to his voice.
"As you wish."
The second man was expecting the blow, and he screamed, blood gurgling in his throat as he scrambled, only serving to make the sword cause more damage. Arthur yanked his sword out, disgusted, and the man let out a pained moan, muttering in Spanish before toppling to the side, gasping for breath for a few seconds before his heart finally stopped.
Antonio was looking more and more pathetic, gazing at his sailors with horrified eyes. He locked eyes with the last man, who was trembling something terrible. The poor man had tears running down his cheeks, and kept saying a Spanish prayer under his breath.
"Oh, poor soul," Arthur tutted. "Looks like we're down to one. But who is left?"
Antonio was watching him, almost pleading with him through his eyes. "Por favor," he whispered.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" Arthur asked, though he knew very well what he was saying. "Maybe… maybe Lovino can help translate that for me… I hear that his English is quite good."
The reaction was instantaneous. Antonio screamed and thrashed, curses flowing from his mouth. Arthur watched, amused, before he quickly grew tired and pointed the tip of the already bloody sword to the final man's throat. Antonio, red in the face, stilled, the man's trembling increasing.
"I grow tired of this game," the Englishman said. "Which will it be? This man, or your precious little Italian? All of this can end the second you decided to speak English."
The former pirate captain glared at him, his mouth a firm, tight line. Arthur sighed. "I had hoped that you would see reason but it looks like I was wrong." He raised his arm, prepared to end the final man's life and hopefully, finally destroy Antonio's.
Arthur stopped mid-strike, a smirk playing on his lips. Antonio was looking at him, a mixture of pain, grief, and anger etched onto his face. He softened his eyes. "Wait…"
The two pirates stared at each other before Antonio let out a shuddering breath. "Don't… don't hurt him," he begged. "Do whatever you want to me, just don't hurt anymore of my men…"
Arthur said nothing, simply watching… waiting.
"And Lovi… don't hurt Lovi…" he whispered, thinking of his tiny charge back home. "He's not big enough to fight back…"
"See, now that wasn't so hard," the blonde applauded, lowering his sword. "All you had to do was talk in a civilized language, and all of this could have been prevented. But, instead, people had to die because you were too stubborn."
The Spaniard bowed his shaved head, arms trembling. Arthur clicked his tongue, though he was silently cheering.
"Well, now that you've seen reason, I'll just take my leave," he said, making to turn around. "Oh, and one more thing," he added, stopping. He twisted his arm around, effectively swinging his sword down. Antonio cried out in protest, but it was useless. The metal slashed through the air, cutting through it before there was a choking sound and a gasp.
The final man fell backwards, body twitching slightly before falling still. Across from Arthur, the man's head rolled to a stop directly in front of Antonio, lifeless eyes wide open and staring at the Spaniard.
As Arthur ascended the steps, glaring at the blood covering his weapon, Antonio's anguished screams following him.
It was three weeks before they reached England that Arthur went back to the brig since he had killed the sailors. He had made his deck hands handle the clean up, and had not gone back down since.
But he wasn't finished with the other nation just yet. No, there was so much more that he wanted to do, but was having trouble deciding.
He had thought of breaking those hands, but threw the idea out the window. That wouldn't give him the satisfaction of destroying him. Those green eyes were grating on his nerves, and he briefly entertained the idea of gouging them out. But they would grow back by the time they reached England. Knocking out his teeth, sewing his lips shut, all of it would be remedied after a few months on land.
Physical mutilation wasn't going to work. Even after the cuts and the hair, the happy nation had still been smiling. It wasn't until the last episode that any progress had been made. Which got Arthur thinking.
He wasn't going to break Antonio with physical abuse. Mental abuse was the way to go.
And that was why he was now walking down the stairs, boots clinking loudly on the wood. He reached the bottom and strode over to the only occupant in the darkness.
Antonio was limply hanging from his wrists. His clothes were splattered with blood, both his and not; it seems the crew had gotten physical with him during their captain's brief absence. Dirt and grime covered his entire body, some getting into the cuts and getting infected, the areas an ugly red color. His hair was growing back, his head covered in odd clumps of brown spots.
Arthur shoved the key into the lock and kicked the door open, making the metal clang loudly. The other man made no move to acknowledge his presence; if he was human, Arthur would have thought him dead. But as it was, he could see the shallow rise and fall of his chest.
The blonde pirate sighed and crossed across the small space in two strides, coming to stand before his prisoner.
"Look at you," he said, running an approving eye over the poor man's broken body. "You're pathetic." He kicked out a foot, his heavy leather coming into contact with Antonio's ribs. The man grunted in pain, chains rattling as he flinched, before becoming still once more.
"You know," Arthur told him. "I've always wondered what the best way to break a man was. I've tried to break Francis for decades, centuries even, but that man simply won't back down. My brothers are too weak to consider it; they've always been content with only having their little countries to themselves. I've never understood that."
He saw Antonio's muscles shift slightly, and he knew that his audience was attentive. He continued.
"But people like you and me, we're never satisfied. We always want more, more more. We try to expand, not truly caring what the other feels as they are crushed beneath our firm grip. We're so alike, Anthony. So very much alike. We both strive to be more; to prove to the world that their images of us aren't just that. That every thing horrible they ever said about us was wrong, and for that, they will be punished. We're strict, refusing to allow any disorder to occur under us."
"I am nothing like you," Antonio muttered quietly. He raised his head slightly to glare half-heartedly at his captor.
Arthur merely raised an eyebrow. "Oh, but you are. You despise the way the rest of the world treats you. You know what they say behind your back, and it makes you mad, because you are so much than that. You hate them for always assuming that you'll just do what they want."
The other man stared at him, eyes narrowed.
"But there is one thing that differs between you and I," Arthur continued, beginning to pace back and forth in front of the Spaniard, who followed his movements warily. "Where I get angry and lash out, often succeeding in my endeavors, you simply sit back and continue to allow the others to walk all over you."
"Maybe because I don't want to become a monster," the other man spat.
The Englishman turned sharply on his heel, slapping Antonio harshly across the cheek. His head snapped to the side with much force, his teeth biting down on his tongue. His lip split open, and he glared at the other.
"You forget your place," Arthur snarled.
Antonio spat the irony blood to the side, trying to rid his mouth of the nasty taste.
"Why?" the blonde captain asked him, face angered, but frustration in his voice. "Why do you allow them to step on you as if you're nothing but dirt? It goes against everything that you should be!"
The former captain smirked. "Because I know that if I do not treat them with kindness, then they will live to resent me, and that I cannot bear."
"Who cares what they think!" Arthur exclaimed, eyes furious. "If you're in charge of them, they're going to feel resentment towards you anyways! Why, why, why?"
This was going nowhere. How was he supposed to crush this fool if he had no idea why he was so god damn cheerful all the time? What was he to do to completely break him?
Antonio grinned. "Unlike you, it seems as if I do not care what others think of me." His head snapped back, hitting the hard wood behind with enough force to cause stars in his vision and his ears to ring. He blinked, surprised at the force.
"And the entire time you simply smile!" Arthur was yelling now, completely losing control of the situation. "You laugh and you joke and you go on without a care in the world! That infuriating smile!"
He looked at Antonio, who was trying to clear his head. Reaching forward, he roughly grabbed his chin, forcing the Spaniard to make eye contact with him. Deep green met Arthur's angered own gaze.
"I don't understand," he whispered, desperately searching his enemy's eyes. "Why must you always believe in the good, where there is so much bad in the world?"
"Everyone has good in them," Antonio whispered back. "You just have to be willing to look in the right place long enough."
Arthur held Antonio's gaze for a few more minutes before shoving his head away, disgusted.
"That is complete and utter bullshit," he said.
Antonio shrugged. "Believe what you want. I don't really care."
The blonde rounded around, up for another go. "And that's the problem, isn't it? You don't care, yet if your precious little Lovi were to suddenly hate you, you would do anything to know how to get him to love you again."
A flash of fear entered Antonio's face briefly. "Lovi has nothing to do with this," he said.
Thick eyebrows rose. "Oh? So you do care what people think?"
The silence that followed was answer enough.
Arthur crouched down in front of him. "Let me get this straight. You claim that you don't care what other's think, yet would grovel for Lovino's affection? That seems a little counterproductive to me."
Antonio glared at him.
"I don't really know why you put up with that stupid little Italian," he mused. "Honestly, all he does is fuck up and swear and is just generally rude to the world at large. Nothing like cute little Feliciano, even if he is quite dense."
"Lovi has his good points," Antonio defended through clenched teeth. "Not that you'd be able to see them, since you hardly even care about your own charge."
Another slap across the face. A bruise was quickly forming.
"I will not accept being talked to in that manner," the blonde growled, fingers curling into a tight fist. "You know nothing of Alfred and mine's relationship."
The glares continued.
"I wonder what Lovino sees in you?" Arthur wondered. "Your personalities clash together so much that I can hear them all the way over in England. He probably hates that infuriating smile as much as I do…"
A pale hand reached out, gently caressing the Spaniard's face. "Such beauty," he murmured. "What a shame that it is wasted on someone such as yourself." Antonio tried to jerk his head out of the hold the other man had on him, but Arthur only held on tighter. "Your eyes, your skin, your hair, your language… Why must you abuse them so? You could use them for far better matters…"
He was staring at Antonio in a clear, predatory way, sending shivers down the other man's spine. There was no mistaking what the Englishman was insinuating.
"I am not a whore," Antonio snarled. "I know you enjoy sleeping around with others, but not everyone is as easy as you are."
The growl that Arthur issued was ferocious. His hands turned to fists and he swung, catching Antonio on the side of the head, dazing him something terrible. Using the opportunity, he stood, harshly turning the man around so that he was facing the wall of the ship.
"I'll show you easy," he hissed, leaning over the fragile body beneath him to whisper in the man's ear. He pulled back, Antonio glaring at him, eyes seeming to have difficulty settling on Arthur. He grabbed a fistful of one of the new clumps of brown hair, yanking the brunette's head back hard as he pushed against him from behind.
"Let's see how much your little Italian likes you after he knows that you'll never be truly his."
The Spaniard's dizzy eyes widened and he began thrashing, but it was futile. He was weak from months of malnutrition and torture. His skinny arms were tightly bound, and the collar around his neck was pulled roughly, rubbing painfully against the already irritated skin under it. The cloth around his waist was pulled down; immense pain blossomed from behind him, tears springing from the corner of his eyes in both agony and shame. They rolled down his cheeks, splattering to the ground under him. Arthur bit into the side of his neck, pulling away after drawing blood.
"You are mine," he muttered.
Blood dripped down Antonio's quivering legs, breathing coming out in gasping sobs.
After what seemed like hours, Arthur roughly pushed him away, where he fell to the floor, supported only by his shackles, almost hanging from them uselessly, throat raw from screaming. The Englishman scoffed.
"Pathetic," he snarled, kicking him once in the stomach before leaving the cell, locking the door behind him, and stomping up the steps.
As the door slammed shut, he could hear the broken man's sobs echoing off the lonely walls.
It took them sixteen days to reach the shores of England.
But it was only fifteen days since Arthur had completely broken Antonio into scattered pieces left all over the floor of the tiny cell he was kept in.
Every night, just to satisfy himself that the Spaniard was never going to heal, he walked down to the brig. He would mark his territory as his, and then take his leave, only to repeat it again the next day.
And now, as he stood at the wheel of his giant ship, gently guiding it to the lonely dock on the private beach that he owned, Arthur made out the tiny forms of people waiting for him. After bringing the vessel to a halt, deckhands running around to anchor the ship down, he peered down to see a surprising sight.
Gilbert, Francis, Sophie, and Lovino were waiting on the dock, gazing up at the huge ship. He scowled, disappearing down the brig steps for the last time. When he arrive back at the top, he was trailing Antonio behind, hair now looking buzzed, a leather collar around his neck instead of the metal one, the end of the leash in Arthur's fist. His shackles were replaced by ropes, hands tied tightly and securely behind him. He stumbled, clenching his eyes tightly as the bright sun invaded his light-deprived eyes. He followed with weak steps as Arthur led him down the main ramp to the other nations.
"I wasn't expecting to see you here," the pirate said smoothly, glancing at the small Italian held in the Belgian girl's arms. His wide green eyes were fixed on Antonio in shock.
Gilbert scoffed. "We're not here for you, arschloch," he growled. Arthur's eyes narrowed at the insult.
"We came to get Antonio," Francis added, running a worried eye over his dear friend. He turned an angry face back to the pirate. "What did you do to him?"
The Englishman shrugged. "Price of losing a battle. You, Francis, should know that better than anybody."
"Doesn't mean you gotta treat him like a fucking dog," the Prussian man snapped.
"Each country deals with victory in his own way," Arthur shrugged. He turned a calculating eye to Sophie and Lovino. "Though I am quite surprised that the two of you are here."
"Lovi wanted to greet Antonio," Sophie said, normally cheerful expression a hostile glare. "If I had known that you were treating him as an animal, I would never have allowed him to come with us."
"Stop talking like he's not standing right fucking in front of you," Gilbert suddenly exclaimed, red eyes blazing. He strode up to Arthur, leaning down to come nose to nose with the man. "I left Caesar at home with Feli to come here for my friend. I suggest that you let him go before I start to get violent."
Eyes narrowed. "Is that a threat, Prussia?"
"Mon ami," Francis warned quietly, gently tugging on the taller man's arm. The albino easily shrugged him off.
"That depends," he growled. "Am I going to have to start making threats to get Antonio back?"
"I don't know," Arthur replied. "Are you?"
"Now is not the time for fighting," Sophie hissed, glaring at the two of them.
"I'll decide when to fight," Gilbert snarled, glaring at her before focusing back on the smaller man in front of him.
"Actually," Arthur said, refusing to break away from the intense stare down he was having. "I will be the one to decide. Antonio is still in my possession, and since he lost his 'Invincible Armada,' I'm the one currently in charge of him. Considering the normal routine of battle, he will be coming to London with me to stand before the Queen. After that, we'll see what the decision is on the matter, our governments will collaborate, and-"
"I don't really give a fuck!" the Prussian cried, a wild and feral look in his eyes. "I want my friend back… NOW!"
Irritated at being interrupted, Arthur planted the seed, the one that he knew would sprout chaos all around him. "Why would you want the shell of a broken man?"
Gilbert blinked angrily before his red eyes turned to his friend, actually looking at him for the first time since they had stepped foot on the warm sand. He took in the battered and bloody clothes, the gaunt cheeks and pallid skin, the short hair, the defeated posture, the trembling legs…
Arthur barely had time to duck before a first came soaring at his head. He growled, whipping out his sword, holding it at the Prussian's neck. Francis had drawn his own sword, shouting in rapid French, and Sophie was yelling insults at the pirate, face livid.
All attention turned to the small Italian – who had been set on the ground by Sophie a long time ago – helplessly tugging on Antonio's ragged and ripped pant leg. Antonio was looking away from him, head turned, eyes unseeing, mouth set in a quivering line.
"Damn it, Antonio!" the little tot cried again, tears forming in his eyes. "Why won't you look at me?"
Antonio's eyes slipped close, his entire frame shaking.
"Antonio, you stupid bastard!" Lovino tugged sharply on the pants, making one side fall slightly off his waist. "Say something!"
Arthur watched on, feeling an unknown sensation rise in his chest, He lowered his sword, keeping a watchful eye on Gilbert and Francis, but it was not needed. The two of them were watching as Lovino began punching the Spaniard's thigh harshly, tears spilling from his eyes, leaving ugly blotches on his face as they fell into the sand.
"Bastard, look at me! Call me your 'little tomato'! Hug me so tightly that I can't breath! Tug on my hair curl! Tell me how cute I am!" The little country was sobbing now, forehead resting on Antonio's upper leg, small hands clenched in fists at his sides. "Just… stop looking like you'll break…" he whispered, loud enough for the older countries to hear.
Through the entire tirade, the feeling in Arthur's chest grew. He had no idea what it could be, but it was making it difficult to breath.
With a disgusted snort, he threw the leash on the sandy ground. "I suppose we can forgo procedure this time," he told his small audience. Sophie slowly made her way to the Italian boy's side, gently picking him up. He buried his face in her shoulder. "You may take Antonio. I will have my government contact his in the future."
Ignoring the angry looks he got from Francis and Gilbert, Arthur turned with a swish of his coattail and hurried back up the ramp to his ship. When he reached the top, he spared one last glance down at the small group below.
Sophie was trying to calm a hysterical Lovino, who's pained wails only rose in anguish. Francis had removed the collar and the ropes around Antonio's hands, and was muttering to him soothingly; the Spaniard looked as if he wasn't listening to anything, gaze fixed firmly on the horizon. Gilbert was running a calculating eye over his friend.
When his gaze landed on Antonio's backside, his eyes narrowed. He lifted his head, and Arthur caught his furious gaze.
"Ich werde sie am ende," he heard the Prussian shout.
Arthur flinched, backing up so that the group was out of his vision. He didn't know German, but that sounded like a threat if he had ever heard one. And Gilbert was not one to make empty threats. He'd have to be careful about Prussia for a long time.
That unfamiliar feeling in his chest rose again, and the blonde hurried to his quarters, shutting the door quickly behind him. His crew had left, finished anchoring the ship and done with their journey until the next time their captain called on them.
He slid down to the floor, back pressed against the door, hands clutching at his chest, right above his heart. He took a calming breath, feeling the beating of his immortal heart under his hands.
What on earth was this feeling? It wasn't from his country; that was a different pain, one that he felt down to his boned. But this, it was as if his heart was on fire, like it was being ripped out of his body and stomped on.
But that was impossible! He was perfectly fine! His heart was fine, he was fine!
So why was this feeling so persistent? He had just defeated the Spanish Armada, and broken the one man he hated most in this world! (Besides Francis, that is; but that was an entirely different type of hate). He was at the peak of his Empire, and in the prime of his years! He was victorious on everything he set his mind to!
Arthur rewound his memories back, starting at the first moment he had defeated Antonio. He combed through every moment, trying to figure out if there was something he had done wrong; maybe this feeling was a sense of failure. Maybe he had missed a step. Maybe he had done something wrong in his methods.
Maybe this… maybe that…
He sighed, leaning his head back against the door, shutting his eyes.
Everything was perfect. Except for the brief moment that he lost control, his plan was a success. Antonio was nothing like the man he had been before, which was exactly what Arthur had set out to do. It had all gone according to plan…
Until just now.
The presence of Antonio's friends and family had been a surprise, one he was not expecting. They had thrown a monkey wrench in the final part of his idea. He had been under the impression that Antonio would sit in a cold dungeon in the basement of his castle until the head of his country came to collect the pitiful nation.
And maybe… maybe that was the problem…
While the people in Antonio's life eagerly awaited his return and even met the man who had defeated him the moment they arrived home, Arthur couldn't deny the conspicuous absence of his own family. There was no tiny Alfred waiting in the sand, happily running up to him and jumping into his arms in greeting. None of his brothers stood on the shore, ready to fling insults at him, but the small pats on the back showing their pride in their baby brother.
That's when Arthur realized that he didn't hate Antonio. The man was a good man, a good nation. He was loved and cared about, had a good home, and a happy life. He would go back to Spain a broken mess, but with all the support and encouragement from those around him, he was sure to be back to his happy and cheerful self in no time at all.
If he was being completely honest with himself, the pirate captain knew that if their roles had been reversed, Antonio would have never treated him the way the Englishman had treated him. He would have kept him locked in the brig, as was the price of defeat, but good food would have been given to him. He would probably have been allowed a pen and paper to write letters home, if he had actually had someone to write to. His men would have returned safe and sound, released when Spain's government was finished processing all the necessary procedures. There would have been no torture, no demoralizing…
So no, Arthur didn't hate Antonio. If anything, he was jealous of the life that he could never have, always just a dream.
Arthur clenched his burning eyes tighter, squeezing the hot tears out. They rolled silently down his face.
He didn't hate Antonio. He hated himself.
I actually proof-read this too! O.O
Too lazy to put Spain's Spanish translations... You good people can look them up yourselves if you so wish. :)
Anyways, as I was saying earlier, I'm pretty proud of this. I don't think it's my best work, but it's pretty high up there. I was so excited when I was writing this, too, 'cause I never actually the courage to write these things out and usually leave it to the professionals.
In that case, reviews are highly appreciated! Flames will be used to help cook food for starving college students.