She turns up once again on his doorstep, standing before him as an equal and fellow nation.
He's the first to look away.
"I confess, I am not sure what to say," he murmurs, and she is silent for a long moment.
"...I think 'hello' might be a good start."
He raises his head once again to find her gaze remains icy cold. Nonetheless, he forces himself to smile. "Indeed. Forgive my impoliteness. Greetings, Ethiopia-san; I have not seen you for awhile."
She, once again is silent. "I haven't forgiven you," she says.
Japan sighs. "I expected as much," he says. "I am truly sorry for... what I did to you."
"You abandoned me!"
He cringes. "I... I had no choice. You were too far away, and..." she looks unconvinced. "I am sorry."
She swallows deeply. "Was it worth it?" she asks.
Japan blinks. He thinks of everything; of the war, of the defeat, of the shame; of what happened to his colonies, of what happened to him. Of the things he did, the horrible things he will never be forgiven for and how ultimately, none of it meant anything.
He knows the answer but, being himself, cannot give it.
"I apologise for that."
She wishes to keep this formal, business-like. She doesn't want to be overwhelmed with emotion. She certainly doesn't want him to treat her with unnecessary sympathy.
"...It is fine..." And he is, as ever, lost as to what to do with her. No matter. She has nothing to do with him anymore; she supposes that is why they are here. Even his investments are gone, and of course he isn't happy about it. She is not happy with the revolution either, but the war is over and there is nothing to do now. It's unusual how she finds herself in that situation.
She sighs and places her hands on the table. "I will reimburse you for any losses you have made," because you cannot afford to make losses, oh no, and I must pay for your suffering. Japan continues to walk into the modern world and leave her behind, and there is no reason for her still to be affected by that but she is. While her people starve and are shot and flee from her land for the first time ever, not even under Italy did they do this, she can't help but be affected by it. You said you would help me.
It is just like an ancient to be so preoccupied with ancient history.
"Thank you," he says and she can tell he wants to say more. "Ethiopia-san–"
"If that is all, I will be on my way," she says. "I have other business to deal with."
Of course she does. Because she is still here, still alive, still a nation. No matter what she suffers. No thanks to you.
He nods. "Very well then. Good day, Ethiopia-san." And he bows to her before walking out.
It has been a long time since he's come to her land, stood on the wide plains, in the hot wind. It's strange to find himself on African soil once again.
She sneaks up behind him. "Hello," she says. He smiles.
"Greetings, Ethiopia-san," and he turns to face her. They have come far enough she's willing to smile back at him.
"It's been awhile since I went and saw you," she says.
"Not too long," he says. "It has been longer since I came to see you."
She blinks, confused. "You know, I really do not understand you sometimes."
"I have been told I'm incomprehensible," and she chuckles at that. "It's just... I am sorry. But I want you to know, I shall not abandon you."
He winces. He casts his eyes over the open plains, seeming so much like his own land. Yet they had so much in common. How did they end up here?
"We could have been good for one another," he murmurs.
She sighs. "But we weren't."
Historical Notes: After the end of WWII (and after Ethiopia's independence was restored), Japan and Ethiopia reestablished diplomatic relations in 1955. Exchange of ambassadors followed three years later in 1958. Prior to the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974, Japanese investors were a major part of the Ethiopian textiles industry, after which those holdings were nationalised; the Ethiopian government settled claims by investors over losses in 1982 and 1983. The Ethiopian "Derg" government was known for their brutality, including deportations, violence and the use of hunger as a weapon; the situation wasn't helped by horrific famine in the mid 80's (caused by a combination of government actions and drought). Japanese aid to Ethiopia was restored after the fall of the Derg, and in 2002 the Japanese foreign minister visited Ethiopia.