/= "Grace" by Kate Havnevik =/

There was a body in front of him, and it was obviously dead. Italy didn't want to go toward it, but he knew that he had to. As he walked toward it, he could smell the stench of death all over it. His fingers trembled as he touched the side of the body, seeing it flip onto its back to reveal who it was. Italy's eyes widened.

"…g-grandpa?"

Another body appeared a few feet away, and Italy froze. He was already on his back, so he didn't have to see who it was. He started crying openly as he ran to the body of Holy Rome, shaking him to make sure that he wasn't a fake, seeing that he wasn't just sleeping or something.

"…Holy Rome…"

A third body appeared next to him; this time he didn't want to look. Unfortunately, his curiosity got the better of him. He turned his head and saw that there was a familiar figure facing away from him, a slash across his back and a knife bearing the Italian symbol right in the middle of his spine. The Italian's eyes started to shiver as he headed closer to him and grabbed his shoulder, the body moving and revealing a familiar face.

"G-G-G…Germany…?"

He started sobbing openly over his body, surrounded by those that he had openly loved and had died because of that. Was he always this useless? Was he just hiding behind everyone while people got hurt to protect him? It wasn't even his brother with this pain as well, it was only him…

"Well well well…looks like poor little Italy finally realized the truth."

"V-ve~?" He looked up. "W-who's there?"

"The sad truth, the unglorified truth…the truth that will turn this little boy into a pile of what he used to be…"

"…w-what do you mean?"

"You killed all of them, didn't you?"

"W-what? What do you mean by that?" He stood up. "I-I killed them? But I never raised a hand against them!"

"Your grandfather did all the protecting for you, and died because of that. Holy Rome went to do the exact same thing that Rome did just for your sake, just because you couldn't protect yourself…"

"…I killed…grandpa…?"

"And Germany…ah, Germany…you had so much fun massacring his body, didn't you?"

"W-what does that mean? I never laid a hand on Germany!"

"You failed him so many times. He had to save you from each problem you landed in, just so you can turn around and join his enemies just to take him down. The second time around, you failed to protect yourself and as such Germany had to save you…and because of that he hurt himself."

"Germany…?"

"You had so much fun hurting him, didn't you? You did it for much longer than the others…"

"But…"

"No more. Now you get to learn how much pain you inflicted him."

Italy was about to say something when he felt the body next to him move and rise to his feet. He froze as he saw Germany rise to his level, grinning a psychotic smile that made the Italian shiver. Around him, he could hear the broken laughter of Rome and Holy Rome as the zombie started moving toward him.

"Germany…Germany, what are you…?"

His wrists were grabbed and he was thrown to the ground, feeling his head bump into the solid metal floor. Just as he was about to roll away, he was pinned by Germany held against his will. Italy started flailing and sobbing, begging for someone to help him. But the more he called for help, the louder the laughter around him became.

"Don't try to resist me."

"Germany…G-Germany…!" Italy flailed. "Please, stop! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

The German would hear nothing about it, instead getting closer and closer to the shivering body of the Italian as he began to try to get out of there. No matter how hard he tried, his body was just too weak compared to the muscles of the other man. There was nothing he could do…he was going to have to take it all in…

"…a…"

He was going to have to endure the pain…

"…lia…"

But…he didn't want to admit it…

"…Italia…"

He wanted this…he wanted this for so long…

"ITALY!"

He yelped and blinked, looking up and realizing that Germany was still holding onto him. Instead, he noticed that there was a light coming from the north and that he was inside a room. He realized that Germany was still holding his wrists, and fear ran through him again. This time, Germany noticed it.

"…Italy?"

His body was shaking again, and this time Germany decided to let him go. He watched as the Italian crawled away in a panic in his bed, but not making a move to actually start running, making the German look down and sigh, oddly enough out of relief.

"…it's just a nightmare, Italy." He stated.

"…I know…" Italy mumbled. "I…I know…"

He started mumbling something to himself as Germany looked away with a blush. He himself had a strange dream when he was waiting for Italy to wake up again (after the incident with England, he couldn't help but feel worried), telling him to tell Italy the truth.

But he won't accept the truth, even if it is from me.

He will.His mind assured him. You have everything at your disposal to tell him the truth.

"…Italy. C-can I ask you a question?"

"Ve~? S-sure…"

"W-whose house did you grow up in? Next to your grandfather."

"H-huh? Uh…" Italy covered himself. After the nightmare he felt oddly naked (even though he wasn't…must've been Germany's doing). "A-Austria."

Austria…yes, definitely him. "He made you a servant in his house, right?"

"Yes, but-" He blinked. "H-how'd you know?"

"…ulp." Apparently, Italy didn't tell anyone. "I-I just made an assumption, based off Romano's life with Spain."

"Oh…" Italy chuckled. "Well…I had fun with Austria."

"How so?"

"Well…Austria taught me how to sing and play instruments, while Hungary basically taught me how to cook Hungarian dishes and dress me up all the time." Italy laughed. "We all had so much fun, just the three of us."

Germany blinked in confusion.

"…three?"

"Yes, three of us." Italy smiled. "It was the best days of my childhood…"

He couldn't help but rub his forehead. Did his decision to hide his past from Italy really made him reject all the memories they had together? He wasn't surprised, but…it still hurt him nonetheless.

"Were you annexed by an empire by any chance?"

"Ve? I-I think it was the Austrian Empire." Italy smiled. "Yeah, that's right. Until the 1860s."

The 1860s. The day the Holy Rome part of himself gave up his will to live.

"W-was there anything else?"

"N-no." Italy looked worried about his pushing.

"Italy."

"I-I haven't, really! I was only under Austria's rule…"

"Don't LIE to me, Italy!"

"V-ve!" He whimpered and hid underneath the blanket. "I-I'm not…"

"Did all those years force you to forget all about me…?" Germany held his head. "After I broke that one promise, you decided that I was going to be buried in the closet…"

"…G-Germany…?"

"I promised you that day…I told you that I was going to come back to you, no matter what happened to me." Germany was shaking. "Did our kiss really mean nothing to you…?"

"W-wait, what are you talking…?"

"Italia…" He looked up. "I'm…I'm so sorry."

They stared at each other for what felt like eternity before he finally realized what Germany was talking about. Italy tried his hardest to back up and instead hit his back on the wall. He knew that Holy Rome and Germany looked so similar to each other, but…there was no way they could be the same…no way…

"Y-you're lying." Italy stated. "You can't be telling the truth…H-Holy Rome…he's dead…he died during the Hundred Year's War."

"No, he didn't. He…he died when you gained independence and allied yourself with his brother to fight the man who was trying to save me."

"…The Austro-Prussian War…?" Italy froze. "I…I killed…?"

"Only temporary…" Germany turned away. "I came back as Germany, but a fragment of what I really was. It was only after my people decided to look into our history in great detail that I remembered everything…"

"…you're…you're still lying…"

"You taught me how to paint rabbits, remember? I was so horrible at it that when you took my hand and showed me that way, I panicked and left in a hurry."

Italy froze.

"Hungary decided to dress you up one day in this beautiful dress and you wanted to show me how you looked. It made me so embarrassed, seeing you all beautiful like that, but I knew I couldn't leave you so I had to see how cute you were."

"…Germany…"

"At least…remember that I kissed you. That was the only thing I could possibly give you…"

"…I…"

"You…don't remember."

"N-no, I do…but…"

Germany leaned forward and lightly brushed his lips on the other, making Italy gasp and shiver in response. They were so close, and yet there weren't actually kissing each other. Italy's nerves started to burn; he wanted to kiss him so badly, but before he could move the German moved away and looked at him.

"…do you remember now…?"

"…yes…yes, I remember." Italy started shivering. "You were so scared of me…you almost missed…"

"That's exactly how I remembered it…that and you were scared too. If you weren't you would've closed the gap…"

"Like…like this…?"

Italy let the blanket drop as he leaned in to finally close the gap between the both of them. Finally having those lips on his after so long of a wait made all the nerves in Germany tingle and come to life, all of them so happy that he could feel his past self taking over his mind. But at this rate, he wouldn't care. This is what he wanted.

"…Germany…"

"Italy…"

He caressed his face, and suddenly he felt the boy's body tense and back away. Germany didn't have to question it, he sort of knew why.

"…it's the nightmare, isn't it?"

"…" Italy looked away.

"…do…do you want me to leave?"

"N-no! No, no no no no no no…" Italy shivered. "I…I want you to stay…"

"Stay?"

"Stay with me…but don't do anything…" He leaned toward him. "Please?"

"…as you wish."

He kissed Italy on the forehead as he crawled into the bed with him, feeling the bed shift with his weight. The minute he got himself settled he felt Italy's hands move toward him until the Italian was completely next to him, holding the German like he was a large pillow.

"I-Italia…?"

"…don't leave me ever again…" He whimpered. "Germany…"

"…I won't…" He held him. "I'll never do it again…I promise."

/=+=/

And…that's the end of it, I guess. Hope you liked it, and I'll see you when I see you.