Hands Not Meant To Shed Blood;

Please note: I do not own Hetalia. Oh but things would be fun if I did. This is a surprisingly serious story for me, then again it's late and I've been a real insomniac recently. All reviews welcome, even flames, just tell me what you don't or do like! Thanks for reading! Now I shall digress and let you get on to what you came here for:

Pale blue eyes peeked out behind loose strands of blonde hair and sweat droplets ran down the German's face as he took on his innumerable opponents. Damn! How many were there? Germany had no clue, but he did know that he didn't have a chance. In his mind though, it was better to die standing than live in surrender. So he fought. And prepared for death. The only thing about death that saddened the blonde was the thought of the Italian ally he would have to leave behind. No doubt Italy would be heart broken. And who on earth would tie his shoe laces or protect his vital regions from France and Prussia. With that last thought in mind, Germany began fighting with increased vigor. He was more determined than ever that he would live.

The fight had seemed to rage on forever, but the bruised German was surprised it hadn't lasted longer. There had seemed to be more soldiers than this. Whatever. He strode across the battlefield towards home, hoping to God that Italy wouldn't find him covered in the blood of all the soldiers he'd killed. It had been a surprise attack, and Germany didn't even know who was attacking him or why. Not that it mattered to him. He was indifferent to it all as he trudged home, through muck stained red with blood. The rain had started just before the attack, and hadn't made anything easier.

Finally reaching the woods and the secluded path back to his house, Germany found out exactly why the battle had seemed shorter than it should have been. Bodies lay strewn about the forest floor, shot dead by someone else's hands. Searching the surrounding areas for his unknown ally, he soon caught sight of a man leaning back against a tall pine. Growing closer the the figure he soon recognized the auburn hair, blue uniform and singular flyaway curl. Oh God, no. Germany's eyes widened. Italy. The small nations left shoulder was bleeding profusely, his hair drooping (all except for the curl, of course) his uniform dirty, and his eyes. Oh God his eyes. Those beautiful light filled orbs that Germany secretly admired had gone dark, the light and laughter in them had been replaced by a dull, dead look. Had he seen what had happened? Germany's eyes strayed downward as he approached his comrade, and that's when he saw it. The silver lined black pistol resting in Italy's right hand, and at his feet countless empty shells. Italy had...killed these men.

"Ita..lia?" Germany inquired softly, and the weaker nation's listless eyes snapped up to meet the German's icy blue ones.

"Germany..." The boys eyes did not change, but the corners of his mouth twitched into the ghost of a smile. "Did I do good?"

"Oh Italy," The little Italian looked so lifeless, so broken, it nearly brought tears to Germany's eyes. But he had to be strong. "You...you did very well. Good... work." If you wanted the truth, the brunette had most likely saved Germany's life. If he'd been met full on by these soldiers too, he'd have been killed. At his friend's praise, Italy's half smile twitched a bit wider. Still though, his eyes remained impossibly dark and void. Then the Italian started shaking. He shook so hard Germany worried that he'd fall to pieces, literally. He dropped the pistol, sliding to the ground and curling into himself, covering his eyes with his blood stained hands, trying to block out the carnage in front of him. Germany stepped carefully over the bodies until he reached where Italy lay. He wound his arms around the trembling nation and hefted him up easily, taking them both back to his house. Italy neither wrapped his arms around the German nor snuggled into his chest as he normally would of tried doing. He just lay still as death, staring at nothing and shaking uncontrollably.

Since they had gotten back, Germany had tried desperately to bring Italy back to reality. Calling his name, offering him pasta, even pulling on that damned curl of his. Nothing had even gotten so much as a strangled "Ve~" out of him though. Sighing in resignation, he scooped the Italian up again and carried him into the bathroom. He drew a nice bath and stripped Italy quickly, blushing redder than a tomato. Setting the small body in the warm water, he went to fetch some first aid supplies. The wound in Italy's shoulder was fairly minor and had finally stopped bleeding, but he'd give it a couple of stitches anyway. Just to be safe. He returned to find Italy just as he had left him, facing straight forward, and still shaking.

"Italy..." Germany said, kneeling next to the tub.

Silence.

"I'm going to wash your shoulder now, OK?"

No response.

Germany took a washcloth and bathed the wound as gently as he could. He asked the Italian if he was being too rough, but again he didn't get a response. So he continued washing until he thought the washcloth had done all it could.

"I'm going to disinfect the wound now, alright?"

More silence.

"It might sting."

He didn't get so much as a wayward glance from his ally. So he took some rubbing alcohol to the wound as tenderly as he could. Italy, who normally burst into tears at this point, remained silent. Eerily silent. Germany didn't even bother letting the Italian know when he was going to start stitching him up. Not that Italy cared anyway. After the boy was well patched up, Germany finished washing him, somehow got him into pajamas and laid him down in bed.

"Italia, I'm going to go wash off too. I'll be right back." He really wished the Italian would speak. He hated this deathly silence.

"Italia..." Germany nudged his friend gently.

"Fe...Feliciano..." He called the boy by his real name for the first time ever, hoping beyond hope the boy would respond. Nothing. He bit back bitter tears and went to take his shower.

Returning the bedroom, Germany was not surprised to find Italy just as he had left him. Rolled stiffly onto his side, tucked underneath the covers, and yet trembling all the same. He crawled into bed with his ally after having turned of the lights, rolling the shivering man over into his arms holding him to his heart.

"Let's get some sleep Italia." Germany said. "I know I'm tired, you must be too." Still no response.

"Italia..."

"Italia?"

"Felici-feliciano?"

Germany gave up and let himself drift into a fitful slumber.

He woke only a few hours later to the sound of strangled sobbing. Somewhere in the night Italy had returned to earth, and had wiggled out of Germany's arms to make his way into the bathroom it seemed. The light was on and Germany could hear the water running. What on earth was he doing?

"Italy?" Germany said, approaching his distraught ally. A tear stained face turned suddenly, to meet Germany's eyes.

"G-g-ge-Germany!" Italy whimpered miserably. "Germany...I...I killed them."

"It's alright Italy." Germany said, unable to take his eyes away from Italy's. These were not Italy's eyes. There was a blatant insanity to them that Italy did not posses.

"Help me, Germany." Italy begged. "Help me get the blood off my hands..." At this Germany finally glanced down the sink.

"Mein Gott, Italy! What have you done?" The small man's hands were red and raw, bleeding in some places. Steam was rising from the sink, the water turned on as hot as it would go. He had a wire brush in one hand; one Germany kept in his shop for scraping rust off of old tanks and other vehicles, and was scrubbing furiously at the other hand. He reached out to take the brush and Italy cried in protest.

"Nooooo!" He pulled against Germany's hands. "I have to...I have to get the blood off...my hands...they won't come clean...I have to..." Italy continued to pull desperately at the brush. The burly German won that battle easily though, prying the brush from Italy's hands and turning off the scalding hot water in the sink. Italy shook and cried as his friend wrapped the angry wounds on his hands, refusing to meet his eyes, looking instead at the blandly colored carpet. Once the bandaging was done, large, gentle hands wiped the tears from Italy's face. Finally the little nation looked up to meet Germany's eyes.

"Germany...I killed them." Italy wailed again, "I-I actually killed them..." Tears streamed down his face faster than Germany's hands could catch them. Germany twined his strong arms protectively around Italy's body, pulling the boy against his chest, resting the nation's head over his heart once again. One hand buried itself in thick auburn tresses, the other running up and down the length of Italy's back. His lips brushed against the Italian's forehead. Italy wrapped his arms around his best friend's middle, twisting his aching, bandaged fingers into the soft material of a black tank top. He burrowed as far into the embrace as he could, his entire body wracking with hysterical sobs.

"Italy..." Germany said into the crying nation's hair, "...my little Italy...I'm so sorry. You...you did all this to protect me. I'm sorry. So, so sorry, Italia. You'll never have to kill again. I'll make sure of it. You're hands...they're gentle hands...never again will I let them be stained with blood...your hands were not meant to kill Italy...not meant to kill at all. You...you were meant for peace..." Germany broke off his uncharacteristically touchy-feely speech and just continued to hold the boy safe in his arms. Eventually the crying stopped, but neither Italy nor Germany released their grasps on the other.

"Feliciano..." Germany murmured eventually. Shocked to hear his name from his usually harsh commander, Italy looked up into two soft, miserable blue orbs.

"Ge-Germany...?" Italy stammered as his friend lowered his head, kissing away the remaining tears. "Ludwig?" The name slipped out before Italy could stop it, and he shrunk back just a bit, eyes wide, hoping he wouldn't be scolded. Germany didn't like it very much when Italy called him by his human name. But this time, the stronger nation just smiled. He dropped his lips to Italy's and a fire burned it's way through both of them, warming them to the core and eliminating the tension and aura of pain surrounding the two.

"It's OK." Germany soothed, his lips releasing Feliciano's. "It's OK to call me that, Feliciano." So saying he swung Italy up into his arms once more, taking him back to bed. Once under the covers, Italy buried his head against Germany's chest again.

"It's OK." The German soothed again. "It's OK, my little Italy, I'm here." Italy smiled at the unexpected, and out of character tenderness, relishing the thought that no one else got to see this side of Germany.

"Ti amo." Feliciano muttered against Germany's chest. "Ti amo Ludwig."