Guess who's back ladies and gentlemen? Yup, no more hiatus. I'm back in the saddle and couldn't be happier! ^^ Here's a brief one-shot I've been thinking of to kick-start me back into posting.
Warnings for character death and swearing. USUK and GerIta.
Also, I got a tumblr! :D Oh my! Come follow me for USUK, some Supernatural, and other stuff. My writings will be going up there as well! ^^
hellieace . tumblr . com (remove that spaces)
"No one ever said the war would be easy. No one ever said the war wouldn't have terrible casualties. But no one ever told us that he would be one of them…." France murmured softly, kneeling at the very edge of the white fencing that surrounded the graveyard.
"It was his own fault!" China retorted, unable to muster up any spite. It had been empty words, just a means to cope with the sudden loss. He could feel England's glare from his left, however. The island nation was being, or rather, trying to be careful not to show how much this was destroying him, but to the other nations, it was painfully obvious.
"It's sad, but at least he went out on his own terms. Not many are given that chance." Germany added thoughtfully, gently rubbing Italy's arm as the smaller nation clung to his lapels, sniffling into his coat.
"I wish this war was over," Italy closed his eyes, leaning his weight against Germany. "I wish I hadn't asked America for help, so maybe he could have protected himself."
France nodded, wishing the same thing. China looked away, crossing his arms before his slender chest.
"It's still his fault. He should have known better than to spread his troops so thin," China growled, trying to hide the fact that his eyes were moistening with tears. "Even if he was protecting us."
It had been an unexpected casualty of the brutal third World War. The enemy had been far reaching, striking multiple fronts across the globe. America had sent fleets of naval reinforcement, air support, supplies and troops across the world to his allies. No one had expected a massive assault on American shores though. The attack had been two-pronged. One side crippling major bases along the West coat, and another simultaneous assault on the East, driving a powerful attack straight through Norfolk. The overwhelming amount of bombings and siege had laid the city to waste and obliterated a large portion of America's remaining Navy.
Oceans away, and still struggling with their own fronts, America's allies had been unable to stop the massive attack. It had been too swift, too strong, too unexpected.
But in the end, it would save them, England knew. Their enemies had wasted countless resources and troops trying to topple America. The superpower hadn't spared a single bullet, and fought back with every ounce of ferocity he could muster. But it just hadn't been enough. America had fallen after six years of war.
England hated to think about it: America, the sweet, cheerful nation he had raised, savagely fighting for his life. He hadn't been there to comfort him as he died. It would have been impossible to leave his home to go find his lover among the bodies and blood. No, America had been alone as he finally felt his knees buckle and he collapsed to the bloodstained concrete.
England stepped forward to stand by France's side. With a soft sigh he focused his attention on the large crowd of people at the end of the road leading into the graveyard.
"He died a hero. It's exactly the way he wanted it. He's given us a chance at victory with his sacrifice. Let's at least honor him as his people are before we have to return to the battlefield." England said somberly, fighting back tears.
The sound of a rumbling engine directed the crowd's attention down the gently sloping road. Afternoon sunlight beamed through breaks in the foliage of the trees overhead, gleaming on the sleek black body of the long hearse as it rolled into view. It drove slowly, followed by a variety of government cars, all black, shiny and proudly hoisting American flags attached to thin poles on the grill plates. Just behind them drove combat vehicles, all armed and the gunners carefully watching the funeral goers.
Italy pulled away from Germany for a moment to look upon the combat vehicles sadly. His deep, golden eyes scanned around, quickly spotting more of the enemy soldiers all throughout the graveyard, trampling the resting places of soldiers. Of course they were armed, guns trained on the Honor Guards mostly, but a few on the prominent American generals attending as well.
"Couldn't they leave him alone after they killed him? Can't America have a quiet funeral with his people in peace?" He whispered against Germany's chest. He doubted anyone but the nation he clung to had heard him.
As the hearse coasted to a stop, it passed by fifty-one Honor Guards flanking either side. There was one for each state, and one for the District of Columbia. But there were no other formal guards or showy displays. Exactly the way America had wanted it. It was a personal request that England had carried out when he heard the news of America's death.
Months before his untimely fall, America had been discussing battle plans with England in the island nation's bunker.
As plans were laid out, little snippets of casual conversation had slipped in. How are you? Has the weather been good? I've missed you. I love you.
England sighed, remembering some of the last words Alfred had spoken to him.
"Artie, when I die-"
"You're not going to die, America. We're going to win this war." England had asserted, glaring at his former colony from under his thick, furrowed eyebrows.
America had laughed boisterously, as if he were without a care in the world, but the usual glimmering joy in his eyes was gone.
"I know that! Please, this Hero's gonna kick some serious ass and save you guys!"
"Then why bring up your death?"
"Well, I mean, everyone dies eventually. Even us, right?"
"I suppose we can theoretically die at any time, yes."
"So when I die, I've decided somethin'. I don't want a big funeral. I don't want my body to get paraded around or anything. Artie," He had looked into England's eyes with such a desperate sadness that England thought he just might cry as his heart nearly tore in two. "Promise me that when I die, you won't let them do that to me, okay? Just put me down in the ground with my soldiers and let me be."
It had been a hard promise to make, thinking of America, Alfred, ever dying, but he had.
"I promise, Alfred."
The conversation seemed like ages ago, but England remembered it all too clearly. It was almost as if America had sensed his impending death that day, had felt the cold claws reaching out for him, ready choke the life from his body.
Dread filled England's heart as he heard the hearse's engine die down.
As the driver exited the vehicle, he walked behind the hearse, opening up the single, huge door to the back. It was entirely silent as the man stepped back, revealing the edge of the gleaming silver coffin with Old Glory draped over the smooth top.
Seeing the coffin snapped something in England. He fell to his knees beside France, suddenly shaking and unable to form coherent words. But the older nation didn't need to hear England's words to understand. The pain was clear in his eyes and the way he had blanched upon seeing the coffin was enough. He gently put an arm around the emerald-eyed nation's shoulders, thoughtfully patting his arm. England didn't object, as he usually would have, to France's arm around him. It was a comfort from an old rival that he now called a friend. He needed a little comfort right now.
Six of the Guards dressed in black stepped forward simultaneously. It was hard to distinguish from which states they were from, as their patches were hard to see from this angle and distance, but it didn't matter to the observing nations. The Guards marched forward, three on either side of the coffin. One lifted the front end of the coffin from the hearse, and each of the Guards rested their hands on the coffin to lift it from the vehicle.
They pivoted on their heels all together, an elegant display as they marched forward with the casket. The crowd of mourners followed after them, keeping a respectful distance from their fallen nation.
England watched with moistening eyes. He leaned against France, who kept his blue eyes trained forward, knowing that if he saw England's tears he would start crying as well. Feeling Arthur's body shudder, he pulled him closer, offering a shoulder to cry on as England's breathing hitched.
"That fucking stupid git! Why'd he have to die? Why couldn't he have just been smart and not played the hero, huh? He'd still be alive if he'd just listened to me! Fucking wanker! I hate him! I hate him for dying!" He practically screamed as he buried against France's shoulder, sobbing into the black suit he wore.
"Mon ami," France cooed gently, rubbing England's back. "You don't mean that. You loved little Amerique."
"No! Shut up, frog! He's dead and I hate him!" The emerald-eyed nation snarled back, clutching France's suit in his trembling fingers. "And why the fuck do they have to be here? Can't these fucks leave him alone?" He snarled out, looking up, bleary-eyed, and scowled darkly at the guards surrounding the funeral.
"There's nothing we can do about that, England. They're here to prove they're in charge now…"
"I know," England resigned, detaching himself from France. "But I still want them gone." He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, sniffling slightly. He hadn't meant to burst out like that, but couldn't help himself. He already missed America, already hated himself for letting him die.
France patted his shoulder before turning his attention back to the funeral.
Seven more of the Honor Guards were assembled before the casket, each with a beautifully polished rifle in hand. The original six had laid the coffin down on a marble pedestal set on the green, and stood in position with Old Glory spread out taught between them.
Another Honor Guard called for the seven assembled to raise their rifles.
As they did, something changed in the air.
England blinked in confusion as a warm breeze drifted through, rustling the foliage on the tall trees. Spring-green leaves danced in the air as the breeze dusted them off their branches to float down to the mourners. And England could have sworn he heard brilliant laughter on the wind, music to his ears, familiarity that warmed his heart.
"Alfred…" He breathed the name with a soft exhale, complete calm overcoming his body. He bowed his head, the beginnings of a smile tugging at his lips before he whispered into the wind: "I love you."
"FIRE!" The Honor Guard ordered above the wind. The seven soldiers, with their rifles aimed to the sky, suddenly brought them down to level and shot. Screams erupted from the crowd as the enemy guards suddenly dropped dead from the unexpected shots from the rifling squad.
France gasped, watching as some of the funeral-goers started to flee, but most seemed to be reaching into their coats or on their belts. Flashes of metal under the sunlight glinted across his vision, and the explosive bangs of gunshot sang in the air.
A large group of the funeral goers near the back had turned and started firing their sidearm pistols at the armored guard vehicles. The bullets deflected off the hull, but cracked the windshield beyond visibility. One began to retreat as the gunner on top was shot between the eyes by a Secret Service woman.
All around, enemy guards surged forward, their guns blazing as they fired into the crowd of generals, special forces, Secret Service, FBI, CIA and Department of Defense civilians. The firefight exploded all around the graveyard as people ducked behind tress or crouched behind another buddy to reload.
England didn't bother to look up as the chaos raged around. The enemy guards were slowly being driven away, he could hear them barking orders to retreat. Whooping cheers and gunshot filled the air, nearly deafening, but England could still hear the faint laugh on the breeze.
"What's going on?" China furrowed his brows, looking nervous as bullets flew over their heads.
Germany simply shook his head, but Italy smiled against his chest. England couldn't help but grin as well when he heard Italy begin to laugh. Italy knew. He understood.
France glanced to the emerald-eyed nation by his side.
"Angleterre, what is this? What's happening?" He blinked in confusion. England had to know something with that grin on his lips.
"A Revolution, France." He looked up to America's now deserted coffin. The shinning metal was still covered by Old Glory where the six Honor Guards had left it when the fight broke out. The warm breeze made the flag ripple, her stripes waving in the sunlight.
"It's just like you, America, to go out with a bang. This is your humble funeral: your citizens still fighting despite your death. I know you're out there somewhere, watching them. You should be proud that they carry on your spirit…"
The breeze picked up again, and England could have sworn he felt the ghost of warm lips against his own as it floated past, carrying away the boisterous laughter and the sound of the ending firefight.
Rising to his feet, England smiled triumphantly. He pivoted on his heel, facing Germany, Italy and China. He glanced sidelong as France came up to his side for a moment.
"Come along, gentlemen. This war isn't over yet. America's sacrifice won't go to waste, so let's end this war." He declared, brushing past them with a calm smile on his face.
He heard Italy cheer and then dash after him. China grumbled something but followed beside Germany.
France paused, glancing back at America's casket on last time. The corner of Old Glory's blue field waggled in the breeze, as if waving goodbye at the nations leaving. With a smile, France turned away to follow after his allies, his last goodbye to America on his lips:
"Thank you, Alfred. Rest in peace, and be assured that you will never be forgotten as our Hero."
Because I can, that's why. Like it, love it, hate it? Welcome me back. ;) Shatter will be update Wednesday and go back to it's usual schedule.
Also, for those of you that read American Trains... the sequel, Fooling You, will be starting this summer. ;) Hope to see you all there! or here: hellieace . tumblr . com ;)