A/N: Wow, I am so surprised and incredibly thankful for the turn-out for 'In the Darkness'. So thankful that I just decided to go ahead and write this sequel. I'm just going to warn you now… Wait, what the hell am I doing? I never give warnings for my horror stories! You're just going to have to stay put for the ride.
However, if you have not read 'In the Darkness, There was a Ragged Cough', go read it now. This story is a direct sequel to that story and you will not get the gist of what happened or what is going on unless you do.
Disclaimer – I don't own Hetalia.
The winds whipped across a dry, cracking desert. Hot gales of sand blew through the air, the sun beating down on the earth below.
A single, ragged coughing echoed out from the dry, lifeless earth. A body, once youthful, strong, vibrant, now struggled to drag itself through the cracking earth and rock.
Alfred F. Jones, once the personification of a long-forgotten nation, now the last example of life for miles around… Maybe even…
The entire world.
The blonde coughed again, his whole body lurching towards the ground as he vomited up a splash of crimson blood thick with the pulp of former organs. The blonde let out a pitiful sob, collapsing onto his back.
Though a small part of his mind echoed out for him to try and crawl on, his body knew all too well what was happening.
He was going to die.
He was going to die alone, in agonizing pain. No one around to comfort him. No one left alive to even taunt the fall of a once great power. America panted, blood caking onto his chin with every harsh breath.
His blue eyes looked up at the golden sky: clouds too thin to even give the illusion of bearing rain over-head. But they were still white: a glorious shade of white that held the very spirit of innocence within.
"Mattie…" He rasped, a tear sliding down his cheek. God, why did Canada have to die? He hadn't been infected, he hadn't done anything wrong. But… He remembered almost losing his mind then and there when he found out who had let out that deadly cough.
Prussia's eyes went wide; his hands still dripping red pulp that had been born from the corpse that now lay on the floor in front of him. But that sound… That horrible sound caused the albino's already tormented spirit to shatter.
A howl of unadulterated anguish tore through Gilbert's body, quaking down to his very soul, as he collapsed to the floor: pulling at his hair, staining it red.
Canada hadn't coughed…
He died for no reason…
Matthew was innocent…
Gilbert killed him in vain…
Prussia's screams and shouts were still filling the shelter when America forced the lights back on, screaming: tears in his eyes, "WHICH ONE OF YOU BASTARDS COUGHED?" Germany rushed to his hysterical brother's side: the albino shaking his head and yelling gibberish at this point.
England could hardly believe what had just happened: occasionally having to glance over at his younger son's corpse to make sure that this was really happening.
France was inconsolable. He had lost his son for what? The romantic nation sobbed out his grief, immediately chastising himself for not offering himself up in Canada's place.
Russia punched his fist into the corner he was standing at: his rage was so great.
Closing his eyes, covering them up with his palms, China shook his head, whispering, "This can't be happening! This can't be happening! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!"
"Yao," Japan tried to calm his father-figure down, "Please calm yourself—"
"YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH, ARU!" China shouted, backing away from Japan, "You can push that 'inner-peace' crap all the way to the grave! I want to LIVE!"
And throughout all the chaos, Italy… was silent.
Alfred looked around, stating, "I'm not hearing any answers you rat-faced sons of bitches!" He picked up the gun and asked again, "Who… Coughed?"
No one answered. Everything was still.
For a complete hour, the only sound in the room was Prussia's sobs over Canada's body. Everyone else was busy glaring at the other, as if waiting for anyone to slip up: to let out the tell-tale cough.
Finally, Yao was the first to speak: his aged voice creaking out, "We should eat." America nearly choked, sputtering out,
"How the hell can you think of food at a time like this?"
"No…" England held up a hand, slowly nodding his head, "He's right, we should sit down for a bit. Get something into our stomachs."
Whatever was going on, it seemed as if only England and China were on the same page about it.
The only food readily available when they were forced into this shelter was a few sacks of rice and some bottles of water.
Hence, they only ate once a day to try and conserve as much as possible.
After the rice had been boiled in a small, rusted pot, Japan dished out small, simple bowls of the artless starch to the room's inhabitants.
Arthur watched as everyone slowly ate:
He himself took a few bites.
France stomached down what he could: his eyes occasionally flicking over to the corpse in the room. After a moment, he couldn't eat anymore: the presence of death too much.
Russia slowly ate; his mind trying to pace out the possibilities this small test would take.
America quickly swallowed his portion so he could keep a wary eye on everyone else.
China calmly ate, looking around the room.
Japan tried to enjoy the meager sustenance: desperately trying to block out the current atmosphere.
After forcing Prussia away from Canada's body so he could eat, Germany made quick work of his food.
Finally… All eyes were on Italy.
Feliciano had been silent during the whole ordeal of Canada's death and all of the accusations. But now, with the room's attention focused on him and him alone, it was made all the clearer that Italy just may have been…
China waited a minute, noticing that the Italian's food had yet to be touched before he acted.
"What's the matter?" He sneered at Italy, "Not hungry, aru?" Yao abruptly picked up the bowl that had been fixed for the auburn-haired nation, trying to force it into his face. "You usually have pig's appetite! Disgusting, over-indulgent… EAT!"
Italy quietly pushed the bowl away, still silently looking to the floor. Arthur silently backed away a few steps, having a bad feeling about how things were going. And Germany… The blonde grabbed a discarded tin cup from the ground and filled it with water.
"Drink this." He calmly offered. Italy only shook his head. Ludwig flinched before seizing the auburn-haired male's throat and demanding, "Drink this, God damn you!"
Feliciano struggled in vain to pull his head away. And with his throat being clenched tight by the German's fierce grip, his breathing was stifled to a painful degree.
Then… The dam broke.
Italy finally opened his mouth: choking before he vomited up a splash of dark red, remnants of the nation's inner-flesh swimming in it.
"Bastard!" America screamed, England having to hold him back from doing something stupid…
Like getting near an infected body.
Germany… Needless to say, was shocked. He had barely moved out of the way of the assault and now his heart had run cold.
And when Italy looked up and around, his eyes a sickly gold and red dribbling down his lips, Ludwig's heart might as well have stopped.
"Why..?" That line hadn't fallen from Germany's lips but rather Prussia's: the albino's eyes wide, tears falling to the floor as his body trembled. "Why? What did Matthew ever do to you, you little shit?"
"Shut up!" Italy screamed, slowly standing on shaky legs. He let out a hiss of pain before he added, "Did you ever think that maybe he wanted to die? Maybe the idiota was suicidal!"
Prussia shook his head, "You take that back… Gott verdammt, YOU TAKE THAT BACK!"
But Italy only shook his head, laughing a bit: more blood flowing past his lips. Even though his body was on fire and even the slightest movement of breathing caused a ripple of pain to wash through his senses, Feliciano spoke on. "He may have wanted to die… But I don't. And like hell I'm letting one of you bastardos lay a finger on me!"
Golden eyes flickered around, pupils widening and contracting sporadically. The fear in the room was obvious; thick to the point of tasting its ash-like essence. Feliciano braced himself against the wall, nearly coughing out his lungs before he snapped, "Ve… I'm the grandson of the Roman Empire. I am not going to go out like that!"
The room's inhabitants found themselves at an impasse. If they left Italy inside now, it wouldn't be long before all of their bodies began falling apart. But if they got near him, either to kill him or force him out, they would be taking the chance of becoming infected.
"And France…" Italy frowned, glaring to the nation of love, "Some big brother you are!"
"You killed my son!" Francis forced himself up, using the wall for leverage, "Blood runs thicker than water!" Italy vomited again, crimson dripping down his chin.
"Not if you're me…" He chuckled, wiping his chin and wiping the mess onto the wall.
"Fucking…" Alfred gritted his teeth, eyes flicking back and forth between his brother's corpse and the sick Italian.
That cry got everyone's attention. It seemed while everyone was in shock, Gilbert had decided to take action.
"The fuck are you doing?" Italy ranted and raved as Prussia dragged him towards the room's only door. "Let go of me! LET GO!"
The albino remained silent, even as he felt the bite of nails in his skin. Gilbert stopped as he reached the door: using his free hand to unlock the five different locks.
"Bruder, stop!" Germany commanded from his safe distance. But Prussia went on. The sound of the fifth lock unlatching echoed through the air. Then, something that hadn't been felt for such uncountable expanses of time…
Feliciano yelped as he was tossed outside: the door locking behind him. The air, still tense, relaxed just that much when Prussia finished setting the locks: slumping to the floor, scratching at his red-stained scalp.
"Mattie, I'm so sorry. Mattie, I'm so sorry. Mattie, I'm so sorry. VOGELCHEN..!" He bawled, still unbelieving that he had killed Canada for no reason except to cover up Italy's cowardice.
However, his sobs weren't the only sound filling the room.
"Germany!" Italy screamed, banging his fists against the door from the outside, "Let me in! Let me in, it's scary out here!" Everyone in the shelter stayed still, quiet: trying to pretend as if Italy wasn't there.
Suddenly, the banging increased ten-fold: the final Mediterranean nation screaming, ranting, raving, "LUDWIG, YOU FUCKING BASTARDO! LET ME IN! LET ME IN!"
A large sound of impact echoed out from the door: a sickening crack mixing in with it.
"HOW DARE YOU?"
"Make him stop!" China pleaded, clasping his hands over his ears, "Someone please make him stop it, aru-yo!"
With the passing of time, the shouts got worse and more jumbled together: Italian and English fusing together into gibberish as the assault on the door only increased.
"You all think you're so smart. If you really had any sense, would we even be in this mess?" A kick nearly sent the door down. "GERMANY!"
No one moved. This was the last stage of the disease: the fever and dehydration would start to literally cook the victim's brain. It usually had one of two side-effects:
One would be of the body simply shutting down…
Or the mind would trigger a hyper-violent state through the body. Russia had experienced it when he went to visit Belarus: resulting in the scars on his cheek…
And now Italy was almost through the door, his speech garbled down into growls and pants. America reached for the gun, narrowing his eyes on the thought that he might have to use that one bullet for this…
Japan stood, unsheathing the katana that he had carried in here on his back. Silent but quick, he forced the blade through the door.
There was a gasp.
Then a whine, animal-like.
Then the tell-tale thud of the body falling to the ground outside.
Prussia's sobs filled the stale, dusty air.
"We have to get rid of the body."
Those were England's first words one morning when everyone was up and about. He didn't need to specify what he was talking about; the smell of rotten flesh clung to every corner and fixture of the shelter.
However, Prussia, who was sitting next to the corpse in the room, shook his head, "No…"
"Be reasonable man!" Arthur grimaced, "It's been days! Let him rest in peace!" Prussia immediately stood to his feet, screaming,
"DON'T GIVE ME THAT BULL-SHIT! 'Rest in peace'?" He shook his head, eyes wide, "Mein ass!"
France sat himself up on the bed, exhausted blue eyes looking over to the albino in the room. "My friend… Please. Allow me to remember my child in his better days. Please."
Gilbert sat back down, facing away from the others. "I can't do that…" He forced a smile, a grimace really, onto his face, tears washing down his cheeks. "I've done so much to him already… someone who I insisted that I loved." He took the cold, stiff hand into his own. His lips touched the clammy flesh in his grasp, "I can't just throw him out there. He would be so lonely…"
Germany raised an eyebrow at his brother's actions. He was exhausted, physically and mentally, due to the events with Italy a few weeks prior. But Prussia's behavior was border-lining on disturbing.
"Bruder," He cleared his throat as Prussia took the corpse into his laps and arms in a gruesome parody of Michelangelo's Pietà, rocking back and forth slowly. "Bruder, put it down so we can get rid of it."
"I can't leave him. My vogelchen would be so lonely…"
America shook his head, whispering, "He's lost it. Just fucking great…"
The room was silent for a moment.
"Do you all really want him gone?" Prussia's voice was calm, resolute. America nodded, looking away as England explained,
"We don't want him gone. We never wanted Matthew taken from us, but at the time…" He trailed off, not knowing how to finish that sentence.
Gilbert nodded. Then, he struggled to his feet: the rigor-mortis induced body in his arms making it a bit difficult. However, he managed to stand up with the corpse in his hands. Then, looking across from himself towards the one and only entry and exit, he said three simple words:
"Open the door."
China silently went to un-do the looks. But Germany had to ask, "You are going to lay the body down and come back in, ja?"
Prussia was silent. So Russia answered for him. "You do not see it, do you?" When Ludwig shook his head, the Slavic nation huffed, "He has lost the will to live."
Before anyone could say anything, China had undone the door's final lock: a blistering zephyr rushing in.
The albino walked forth, turning towards everyone one last time and smiled, "If I die… Then I want to suffer at least a fraction of the pain I put this angel through."
And then… He was gone.
Six left of the original nine. That was the main thought that raced through China's mind as he looked around the room at the others. His body was jittery, though he hid it quite well as boiled the water for that day's rice.
England was reading out Greater Expectations to France, America was half-way between listening in and falling asleep, Russia was staring at his corner, Germany was still trying to come to terms with the loss of his brother, and Japan was meditating.
Yao looked from all of them to the pot of boiling water. He would have to add the rice soon.
A glance to the room's occupants. Then the boiling water. That rice should be added soon.
He should add the rice.
Quick as a bolt of lightning, China seized the bubbling water and began to pour it down his throat: whatever that wasn't left washing down and scalding his skin.
"YAO!" Japan screamed, rushing towards his father-figure to try and save him from himself. But China used the last of his strength to push the other away.
Finally, choking on his burnt, seared esophagus, China collapsed to the floor: his brown eyes wide and lifeless, holding no response to Japan's tears and Russia's screams.
Sleep. It seemed that the only way to try and estimate the passing of time was in accordance with how much they slept.
Two individuals sat in the dark, back to back as they whispered to one another.
"Ja?" Germany hummed back. A dry breath crawled out of Kiku's chest before he began again,
"What do you think are our chances of getting out of here?"
"It depends." Ludwig straightened up, his back hurting from its slouched position. "Would you like a truthful answer or the answer that people would want to hear?"
"I would prefer the truth Germany-san," The black-haired man removed his medicine mask. Germany nodded,
"Then… I highly doubt it."
"I see." Was Japan's simple response. Then, "Do you miss Italy?" At first, it seemed as if Germany didn't want to answer. He reached for the tin cup of water he had saved during the day and drank from it, wetting his throat before he finally spoke.
"That person… was not the Italy that I once knew." He took another drink from his cup, "Yes, he was a coward, but never to the extent of the monster we witnessed here today."
As Germany took another drink from the cup, Japan only nodded.
Kiku took his sword in hand before he gently stated, "It hurts…"
"What was that?"
Kiku sighed, beginning once again, "When the disease takes a hold of your body… The pain you feel… It is unimaginable. Incomprehensible."
Realization struck Ludwig like a lightning-bolt. He tried to get to his feet and as far away from Japan as possible when the dark-haired male stated,
"Please sit back down Germany. You'll die sooner from the cyanide in that water than the illness in my body."
Germany went through three emotions in rapid succession after that:
Fury at the fact that Japan had been able to act so quickly and quietly.
Despair at the fact that his life was now reduced to mere seconds.
And, finally… relief. That, at least for him, it would all soon be over: the paranoia, the suffering…
He sat back down, Japan looking up to the ceiling. "It was all a matter of time, I suppose."
"Hai." Japan agreed, "I hope that you are not too mad."
"Furious," Ludwig huffed, "But I am also curious."
"If I may be so bold," Kiku cleared his throat, "About what?"
"Why would you go through so much trouble? Why not simply admit that you were infected?"
Silence was his first answer, Kiku slowly stating, "Fear. Mostly of pain. But there is that small piece of me that fears the unknown. I suppose that was what Italy was feeling. In a sense… Canada was the only one of us who was ready to die. Even though he did not need to."
A heavy thud behind Japan signaled that the poison had finally taken effect. The slim island-nation stood to his feet, katana in hand, "It was a pleasure working with you… Ludwig."
He managed to open the door's locks without anyone rousing from their exhausted sleep, but he was only able to lock one of them as he left.
Immediately, he almost felt his body go into shock from being exposed to the fresh, cool air of the desert night: it had been so long.
Passing the decaying carcass of Italy, Japan walked on through the whipping desert winds to try and find a suitable spot for what he needed to do. It took a while before he found a large, flat stone protruding from the sands.
Kiku climbed on top of it: spasming slightly as the first signs of coughing began to rack his frame. He was running out of time…
When he made it to the top of the stone, the black-haired male sat on his knees, facing the golden full moon. The tick of the sword being drawn from its sheath echoed through the still landscape. Brown eyes, tinged with flecks of gold regarded the reflection in the sword's surface.
The blade was raised into the air, Japan allowing himself one last chance to remember his brothers, sisters, and father…
The brown eyes expanded from the sharp pain of the katana piercing his abdomen: there was a sanguine spray in the darkness, accompanied by a strangled gag…
And then silence reigned once more.
"We are going to die here…"
"Cram it Ivan."
"At zis point, I would welcome it."
"Come on now… I know you love to surrender, bloody frog that you are, but now isn't the time for—"
"Arthur… I am tired. So very tired. I just want to go to sleep and not wake up."
"At least I would be with my son! At least I would be with Matthieu…"
The following evening when Russia and America were sleeping, England slunk through the darkness, the tattered remains of his coat and over to the sleeping France and decided to play the role of the angel of mercy.
May God have mercy on his soul.
Though it was hardly quick, before they knew it, only three bodies inhabited the shelter. England sat up in the far corner of the room away from the sleeping America.
Russia stood next to the door, face firm and resolute.
"You should wake him." Ivan spoke, rubbing his scars. Arthur shook his head, not turning,
"Let the lad sleep as much as he can. He'll need it."
Muteness hung over the room like the thick London smog of old.
"He has slept enough." Ivan insisted. That time, however, rather than disagreeing, Arthur snapped out,
"Alfred, wake up ya lazy git!"
It took a moment before the younger blonde slowly roused from slumber, reaching for his glasses and yawning out, "Wha? What's going on?" Not moving from his obscured position, England stated,
"You and Russia need to go." Arthur held out a hand towards where the remainder of the food and water had been set aside. "That's the last of the rations. Obviously not enough for all three of us…"
"The hell are you talking about?" Alfred shook his head, not understanding where his father was coming from. England shook his head again,
"I'm telling you to leave!" He sighed, "Russia, talk to him…"
"Please to be thinking about it this way," Ivan hefted one of the rice-bags onto his back, "Your dear father here is giving you a new lease on what remains of your life. Would you really refuse it in favor of staying here in what could potentially become a grave?"
"But…" Alfred gaped, like a fish ripped from its home onto dry, baking land, "But…"
"Go on boy." Arthur huffed, waving the two off. He felt the warm winds at his back: Russia opening the door.
Then, he was being hugged from behind. "Damn it Alfred…"
"Don't worry…" America choked out through his tears, "Once this is all over… I'll come back for you. And then everything will go back to normal."
England only shook his head, gently pushing his son away, "Now, now… You know that this isn't the time for fairy tales."
America's warmth left him, the sound of rice and water containers being lifted resounded in his ears and then…
He sat in that darkened room for a long while: head still held down to the ground.
Finally, England turned around and looked towards the door with cloying jaundiced eyes. He hadn't known when the sickness had taken a hold of him, maybe it had been deep inside his bowels waiting to strike: to take hold.
But nonetheless, here he was: a dead man sitting up with the last bit of energy stored in his body. He staggered forward when he abruptly heaved up a flood of viscous red: the mess holding fast to the floor in front of him.
"Damn…" He hissed, crawling to get to the door. He wasn't leaving this place, he knew that all too well. But he pulled and pushed at the latches on the door until one of them, due mostly to the door's weakened state, broke off into his hands. "There we are…" He wheezed, falling back into a seated position at the door.
Then… He went to work.
"Come on then…" England whispered to himself, scratching the rusted metal against his wrist. He winced as he felt his skin beginning to give, "Just a little more and – Shit!"
Red slowly began to drip to the dusty floor. The blonde coughed and hacked, a smile still on his face as he sat down. Looking up to the ceiling, he laughed, "I'll beat this yet, ya hear me?" He dug his nails into the cut, trying to make the wound larger, "If I'm going to die, it'll be on my terms!"
Walking through the desert was no easy feat. The distance was one element, the heat another, and there was also the ever-present element of death whenever they would pass one matter of corpse or the other.
They rested when they could: not coherent enough to set up a firm schedule. But every time they would begin their journey anew, Russia would state, "You realize, of course, that this is all your fault."
"I swear to God, Ivan, if you do not shut the fuck up!"
And a fight, with no barriers to diffuse it, would inevitably begin again.
"Oh, what will you do?" Russia snapped back, "Shoot me like you did Nigeria? You only have one bullet in that pitiful weapon, for the first thing! And then, is that your only solution to things? To be emptying enough bullets into things until the problem magically goes away?"
At this point in time, Ivan began to circle the blonde, his voice taking on a taunting lilt. "Da, I suppose that it is the only thing a feeble mind such as your own can figure out."
"Ain't it hard to talk so much," Alfred narrowed his eyes towards the other, "When it's so hot here and you're used to being so damn cold?"
"So little Amerika thinks that he has the jokes!" Russia laughed, stopping his tracks, "Good. I shall stand right here and take them all in."
The wind whistled about them.
"Come along," Ivan smirked, "I am waiting."
Cerulean glowered into violet.
Suddenly, with a shout, Alfred charged towards Ivan: swinging a fist towards the larger nations face. Rather than return the gesture, however, Russia simply seized the youth's hand and used his own strength to force him to be still.
"Shit!" The blonde shouted, "Let go!"
"Quit acting like a child."
"Freaking!" America gritted out, still trying to force the other away. "You bastard, let go!" He pulled, he pushed, he screamed.
But finally, he only slumped to the ground: quietly sobbing at how useless he had become.
The winds picked up, Russia and America struggling to walk through the desert landscape a few days later. While they walked, Alfred couldn't help but calculate the hopelessness of this situation. When his boss had sent them all to this shelter, they made sure to place it in an area completely cut off from civilization.
Who knew if there was anything remotely resembling life in these badlands?
The whipping winds couldn't obscure the sound of a body collapsing to the floor besides him. America looked over, seeing Russia face down in the sand.
"Ivan." Alfred was too tired to scream. The winds would have drowned him out either way. He padded his way over, pushing the other with one hand, "Come on, get up."
Russia was still.
America could only let out a pitiful sob as the situation sunk in, "Fuck! Come on man!" Once it was clear that Russia wasn't going to respond, the blonde leaned over and slowly removed the rice and water from cream-haired male's grip.
He stood with his heavy load and looked at Russia's body once more. This was the nation that infuriated him, the nation that, at one point, he had wanted to wipe clean from the face of the Earth…
This was the man who told the truth, the man whom he had loved.
Alfred trudged on.
All of that had found him here: lying on his back in the middle of hell, puking up blood and what remained of his entrails at random intervals. America whined when he tried to move his fingers and hands.
He knew what he needed to do.
Alfred used his feeble, remaining strength to reach into his pocket for the gun that he had saved for this exact situation. As his trembling, quaking hand moved the gun to his head, America let his mind think back to what had become of his fellow nations and family:
Canada's face beaten to a pulp.
Italy's corpse rotting in the sun.
Prussia's body sitting in the desert sands, his love's corpse in his arms.
China had been haphazardly buried in what dry, harsh earth could be dug up.
Germany's carcass wrapped up in the bed's only sheet and tossed outside of the shelter.
Japan's cadaver hunched over on that rock: sword embedded in its stomach.
France… They tried to bury him but the work was too much for the three exhausted men to try and complete.
He had no idea of what had become of England.
Russia collapsed in the desert somewhere.
The cold steel of the gun's barrel finally touched America's temple: the blonde sighing, "I'm on my way guys."
A rapid upsurge of agony and heat ripped through Alfred's frame: the gun falling to the ground as the youth lost control of his muscles.
Golden eyes widened in horror, a wail rising up into the desert air. "NO! God, no!" He groaned as he realized that there truly was no way out of his suffering. "Help me…" He choked out as another splash of sanguine vomit covered his chest, "Dad… Mattie… Anybody… Please…"
Though every nerve and synapse in his body was carrying the message of pain, America couldn't help but feel as though he had somehow brought himself into this hell.
Yes. He felt it as it lashed through his bones: punishment for all the crimes he had committed throughout the centuries.
The Native woman being forced from her family's homeland…
The black man torn limb from limb by four wild horses…
The blistering heat of Hiroshima…
"I'm sorry…" He rasped out, lips being baked by the desert heat. "I'm so sorry… But please," Tears dripped past his cheeks, "Please…"
He heard a grunt from a while's away. Then a ragged cough other than his own. He opened eyes that he hadn't even know had been closed and saw a sight that made his heart skip a beat.
Russia crawled across the landscape, coughing and vomiting up his insides every few moments, before he made it to where America lay.
"You…" Ivan rasped out, "Are knocking on Death's door." Alfred gave a single nod, tears still falling from his eyes, "But you are not…"
Russia picked up the gun and pressed it right in between America's eyes, "Knocking quite hard enough."
Blue and gold eyes widened and America gasped, a grateful smile on his lips, "God bless you Ivan…" Russia shook his head, smiling,
"There is no God here. Now, go to sleep dorogoy."
A single gun-shot pierced the desert sky.
Russia frowned as he leaned down to kiss the recently deceased forehead… and then his lips, not even registering the presence of blood.
Then… Russia keeled over: violet eyes dull and mouth dripping crimson.
The humans… their kingdoms… their nations… their ways of life had ended. At that moment, the very Earth seemed to heave a great sigh as a torrential storm of rain fell to the ground.
And, through the quickly softening ground, a sprout broke through to reach the cool moisture. A moment later, it grew a simple bud. And, finally… beautiful, all the colors of the conceivable spectrum…
A flower bloomed from the Earth.
A/N: And thus the story comes to a close. Because, scientifically speaking, outbreaks of disease are Nature's way of keeping the world in balance. In this story it just decided to go a bit further. Meep.
Oh well, if people could please review that would tell me that this work wasn't in vain. Please? Please? Oh God, look at me, I'm begging again.
Who cares? Review damn it!