Author's Notes: De-anoning from the Hetalia Kink Meme. While combing through the prompts, I came across this request- Chibitalia can't sleep and wants HRE to tell him a story, but HRE can't figure out a good one so they ask Austria and Hungary to tell them a story, using the children as the characters.

I love me some HunAus, HREChibitalia, and fluffy stuff, so I gave it a shot. It turned out a bit HRE-centric, which is why Italy is referred to as "she" in this story.

I don't own Hetalia or the bedtime story. It was origianally called "Brookdancer", I just tweaked it a bit to flow with the prompt.

Rolling thunder sounded in the distance as a steady rain beat against the windows. Holy Roman Empire opened a sleepy eye and shuffled uncomfortably in his bed. The storm had woken him, but in a matter of minutes, he'd be a sleep again.

"Holy Rome...?"

A voice, so small that it would have been swept away by the storm had Holy Roman Empire not trained his ears to hear it, called out to him. The boy bolted up in his bed, his eyes wide as they scanned the darkness for the voice's source.

"I-Italy?" Holy Roman Empire called out. He heard the girl shuffle into the room and expected Italy to stop at the foot of his bed. Italy, however, hopped right into Holy Roman Empire's bed as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do so.

S-SHE'S IN MY BED! The boy's mind reeled as he instinctively jumped back, landing hard against the wall. He was thankful that this was taking place at night. At the very least Italy couldn't possibly see how much he was blushing.

"Holy Rome..." Italy began, her voice shaky.

His heart rate jumped. W-w-what could she be asking...?

A bolt of forked lightning split the sky, followed by a sharp crack of thunder. Italy cried out and jumped forward, pressing herself close to Holy Roman Empire. "I'm scared!" She wailed.

Holy Roman Empire's heartbeat slowed and his facial expression softened. "Italy..." He murmured softly, managing to get an arm around the frightened girl.

"Please," Italy sniffled. "I can't get to sleep. So could you please... read me a bedtime story?"

The question was so innocent, but at the same time, so complex. Holy Roman Empire would have done ANYTHING to soothe Italy's fears, but in a twist of irony, he knew no bedtime stories suitable to present to her (not that he could manage to recite them to her, either). He sat there for a moment, pondering what to do, when suddenly he had an idea.

Swinging his legs off the side of his bed, Holy Roman Empire took Italy by the hand. "Come with me." He said as he led Italy out of his room. Lightning crackled and Italy stuck close by as the two managed their way through the hall and into another room down the corridor.

The two children approached the bed inside the room, and Holy Roman Empire peaked over the side on which Hungary slept on. "Hungary..." He whispered, gently prodding her shoulder.

The brown haired nation blinked her eyes a couple of times, rolled over, and looked down on the two children that stood beside her bed. Her eyes went from tired to warm understanding when she realized what she was looking at.

"Italy can't sleep because of the storm." Holy Roman Empire explained as Italy shied herself behind him. "And I was wondering..." He paused, a bit embarrassed himself to be asking such a thing. But knowing he was doing this for Italy's comfort urged him on. "Could you tell us a bedtime story?"

Hungary smiled softly and pulled herself into a sitting position on her side of the bed. "Of course." She gently patted the spot in front of her, welcoming the two children to join her on the bed. As the two clambered in, Hungary moved over, knocking into the person sleeping next to her. "Budge over, Austria. Italy and Holy Roman Empire can't sleep."

Austria gave a disgruntled sound and blearily sat up, rubbing his eyes. Both Italy and Holy Roman Empire hid giggles behind their hands as they saw how disheveled the normally tidy nation looked.

"So. A bed time story..." Hungary wondered aloud. "I've got it. Austria, hand me my book from the bedside table."

Austria sleepily did what he was told, but not before knocking something over in his search. Both of the children could tell he was slightly embarassed when he sat back in the bed and handed the book over to Hungary without another word, though he didn't go back to sleep.

"Thank you." Hungary said with a smile. She reached over and clicked a lamp on, flooding the room with light. Hungary settled herself closer to Austria, and noticing out of the corner of her eye as Holy Roman Empire mimicked her mannerisms with Italy, began to read aloud.

"Once upon a time there was a child named-" Hungary paused briefly, and after looking at the two children sitting before her, resumed. "-Holy Roman Empire who lived in a small village. Holy Roman Empire was very shy and didn't play with the other village children, even when asked.

'But why don't you go play with the other children?' His mother asked.

'I'm afraid I'll do something strange and they won't like me...'

Holy Roman Empire's mother simply smiled. 'Perhaps you will, but it's something you can't help. We're all learning and we all make mistakes. You just need to remember to learn from them and try again.' With that said, she shooed Holy Roman Empire outside to play with the other children."

Hungary paused and nudged Austria. "You're turn, Papa."

Austria's face reddened. "P-Papa...?"

"Of course!" Hungary passed the book over to him. "In a situation like this, the mother and father take turns reading the story to their children, right?"

Austria made a sound like he was about to object, but as he looked at the eager faces of Holy Roman Empire and Italy, he couldn't bring himself to argue. Clearing his throat, he opened the book and picked up from where Hungary left off.

"Holy Roman Empire was later approached by one of the neighborhood children named Italy.

'Come play with us!' Italy invited, excitedly.

Holy Roman Empire shied back. 'I can't. I don't know how to play.'

'I'll show you!' Italy offered, but still Holy Roman Empire shied away. He watched sadly as Italy rejoined the village children in their game.

After a while, the village children stopped asking Holy Roman Empire to play, as he would always say no in fear of making a mistake or looking foolish.

One day, Holy Roman Empire's mother found her child crying in the back yard. 'What's the matter, Holy Rome?' She asked.

'Mother!' Holy Roman Empire exclaimed, rubbing the tears away in frustration. 'Italy and the other village children went off to the strawberry patch!'

'Well, why didn't you go with them?'

'B-because you have to jump a stream to get to the strawberry patch and I'm... afraid.' Holy Roman Empire fidgeted. 'Mother, would you go get some strawberries for me?'

But his mother only shook her head. 'No, Holy Rome. I can't do this for you. You have to learn how to jump the stream and not be afraid. And if you do make a mistake, learn from it, and try again.'

With that said, Holy Roman Empire's mother left him to his thoughts."

Austria passed the book over to Hungary. "Your turn... Mama."

Hungary's voice was especially cheerful as she continued on with the story.

"Holy Roman Empire found himself at the edge of the stream separating him from the strawberry patch. He could hear the excited chatter of the village children and inched cautiously to the water's edge.

'Holy Rome!' A voice called out. Looking across the stream, he spotted Italy waving excitedly at him. 'I'm so glad, you decided to come after all!'

Holy Roman Empire scuffled his feet nervously. 'I... don't think I can do this, Italy.' He murmured.

'It's okay, Holy Rome!' The warmth of Italy's voice filled him with courage. 'I'm right here!' Italy reached out a hand.

Holy Roman Empire gulped and took a step back. After backing up, he ran and took the jump at the water's edge. For a second, Holy Roman Empire thought he was going to land in the water, when a warm hand slipped into his and pulled him safely to the other shore.

'You did it, Holy Rome!' Italy cheered, still holding his hand. 'Come on, let's go see the others and pick some strawberries!'

As Holy Roman Empire was led by the hand to the strawberry patch and introduced to Italy's friends who welcomed him warmly, he realized that it was better to try something and make a mistake, than never try at all."

Hungary closed the book, the story concluded. She was unsurprised to see that Italy and Holy Roman Empire had fallen asleep near the end. "If only they could stay like this forever." She murmured, looking to Austria, who turned out to be asleep too.

Laughing softly to herself, Hungary placed the book on her bedside table and clicked the lamp off. Just before pulling the covers over herself and letting sleep take her, she leaned over and kissed Austria lightly on the cheek.

"Goodnight, Papa."