SEK: Wolf, I thought you were never going to touch HETA again.
MW: But it's the one year birthday of me starting it!
BFTL: It is? HAPPY BIRTHDAY HETA!
MW: Actually it's on the 8th of August, but I just pasted my permit test (after three gosh darn tries) and I feel the need to celebrate.
SEK: Right, but what is this?
MW: See here, for the longest time, I was going to celebrate by writing a reader insert version of the first chapter. But then the FF admins took "Love Sucks" off because it was one, so I had to think of a different thing.
Eventually, I decided that instead of writing what you guys want to see (*cough*cough*The nation's reaction to the epilogue*cough*cough*), I was going to write an alternate version of the first chapter. Thus, this was born (I find it funny how this version makes more sense than the original).
So everyone, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the nostalgia!
Chapter (Story?) Summary: In the mist of World War II, not everyone supports the people they call "countries". Annie Henson is just one of them. So what happens when she finds herself unknowingly working as the Axis's maid?
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence, Suggestive Themes
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia. I do, however own Annie and the HETA concept.
Humans are creatures that only desire; it is in their nature. They desire knowledge, love, peace, and life. These desires have started wars and ended them. And it is these desires that create the order of their society. Masses of people living in the same plot of land, led by a single force- that is a country.
For every country, there is a single being that represents them. They grow, they live, and they die like them. It is their sacred duty to do so. But not every human desires their presence.
There are humans who only desire their rights.
And then there are countries, who only desire their freedom.
August 19, 1928
13 Years Ago
"What's this, Papa?" I asked, holding a small rectangular package in my hands. My eyes gazed over the birthday gift, wondering what laid beneath the brown paper.
Papa, sitting next to Mama on love seat in the living room, only smiled softly. It was my ninth birthday and it had been a long day. Being oddly warm outside, Mama undid the sails of the family boat, The Arsenius, and we sailed through the azure seas until supper. It seemed almost relaxing when the four of us, Mama, Papa, my older brother David, and I were sitting in the living room unwrapping my gifts.
I watched in awe as he pressed his finger to his lips. "You'll have to open it yourself," Papa told me, winking. In our little town on the tip of the boot, Papa was the only foreigner. His British blond hair was always neatly combed on his head and his sparkling blue eyes calmly observed the world around him. The blue eyes he gave David and I made us different from the other kids- most brunettes with green or brown eyes -but neither of us cared. We were always fascinated with this place he called England, so different from the warm coasts of southern Italy.
Gently, I peeled away the brown paper. David brushed his brown locks from his face to get a better look. In my hands was a small, leather bound book. It's black cover was smooth under my fingers. "What is it?" I breathed, gazing at it in awe.
"It's a journal," he explained, skillfully ignoring the questioning looks of my mother. "You write in it."
I immediately brightened. "Like my English."
David rolled his eyes and huffed, "Annie, you stink at English."
Scowling, I shot the elder an annoyed glare. "I'm better at it than you," I returned, knitting my eyebrows together.
"Well at least I know what the difference between 'their', 'there,' and 'they're' are." I frowned. Both of us knew how to speak it fluently, but to my dismay, he was better at the writing and grammar than I was.
Mama clapped her hands together. "That is enough," she ordered firmly, rising to her feet. As my other parent smiled humouredly, the brunette took David's hand and pulled him to his feet. "Let's go, David, it's past your bedtime."
He pouted, digging his feet into the carpet. Being the overly dramatic person he was, he moaned, "But I'm not even tired! And it's Annie's bed time too!"
"She's the birthday girl; she gets to stay up for another hour." When he refused to budge, she threw away her gentleness and decided to simply pick him up and throw him over her shoulders. I giggled as he pounded on Mama's back, saying something along the lines of him being two years older than me.
Papa smirked, chuckling lightly. "How does she get the strength to do that?" he muttered, running his hand through his hair. "She makes a chap like me feel old."
I looked down at the leather book in my hands. The inside pages were white and crisp to the touch. My small fingers trailed down them, imagining the English words across the page. But David's comment tickled the back of my mind. "Papa?" I held the gift up to him, childishly asking, "What do I write in this?"
He pressed his lips together, thinking of the appropriate answer. After a minute of silence, save for Mama struggling to bring David to bed, he beckoned for me to join him. My small frame fit perfectly on his lap as he wrapped his comforting arms around my waist. "You write what's important to you," he said, taking the book him me. His large finger jabbed the gloss cover. "Annabel, as you get older, your memory will sway and important details will start to disappear. You can practice your English in it, but I hope that you will do more. I hope that whenever an important detail, big or small, comes into your life, you write it down and study it so that you may never forget."
I nodded, my young brain trying to decipher what he told me. A question- an answer I so selfishly desired -drifted into my mind. At the time, David and I believed him to be the smartest man in the world. Surely, he could be the one to answer my question. Curling closer to my father's chest, I looked up at him and asked, "Papa, can I ask you something?" He nodded. "Why are there countries?"
"Well Annie, without countries, there would be no order," he easily explained. "People would always be fighting with each other-"
I shook my head. "I mean the other kind of countries."
He gave me a curious gaze, raising a thick eyebrow. "What is the 'other kind?'"
I paused, thinking of a way to explain it. Visions of the morning newspaper drifted into my mind. Official statements and meetings from our country's, Itay's, personifications. "I mean like Signor Veneziano and Signor Romano." My father's face fell. "They are countries, right?"
For a long moment, he was silent. His somber look pierced through me as he tried to find a way to explain their existence. "Yes, they are the country Italy," he explained, grinding his teeth together in an unspoken grudge. "Every time a government is officially formed, a human-like being is born to represent it. Not a lot is known about them except that they are the country and control the government."
I tilted my head to the side. "Control?"
He nodded. "Yes, control. What happens to in our government politically is because of their word."
"But Papa, isn't that a good thing?" I asked. "You always complain about the idiots who run our country."
A small smirk stretched on his face. Such was the simplicity of children, not always obeying but constantly listening. "No, it isn't," he said. "Annie, if they control our government, they control our rights. As their civilians, they may even control our free will."
Control. That word was suddenly gaining a new meaning for me. In school, the teacher would always talk about how great Signor Veneziano and Romano were. He would stand in the front and read to us the latest statements they released to the press. They were our country and we had to be proud of them. This idea of them being evil was strange.
Strange, but fascinating.
I slowly processed his words, trying to find the conclusion that would make him most proud. "So . . . they're bad people?"
That was the right answer. "Yes, they are."
"Why are they with the king then?" I asked. "If they're bad, then is King Victor Emmanuel also bad?"
That was the wrong thing to ask. Papa shook his head, sighing in that parent-ly way of frustration. He told me too much and now, as a child, I was not going to rest until he gave me all of his answers. "Not many people realize that they are bad." With hesitance, he added, "But there are many people who do. They seek to destroy the HETA."
That was a new, English word I have never heard before. Engrossed with the information before me, I asked him what it meant. "HETA is what we call a personification's connection to his homeland." I stared at him blankly. "If we destroy, let's say Signor Veneziano's HETA, then he would no longer be a country. He would just simply be a normal human like us."
Apparently, my brother's complaining had won my mother over. Mama's voice came down the stairs, calling me for bed. Sadly, I slipped off Papa's lap. I wanted to stay up, to learn about the bad people and their "HETA".
Kissing the top of my head, Papa handed me back the leather bound book. "Listen to your mother and go to bed now," he ordered lovingly.
I started to do so. My feet danced across the carpet until I reached the doorway. There was one more question I had to ask before turning in for the night. Turning back to him, I looked at him with my large blue eyes. "Papa, do you know how to get rid of a HETA?"
He pressed his lips together. His blue eyes gleamed with the struggle of telling me or not. When Mama called for me again, he made his choice. "I do not," he told me. "A country is practically an immortal and I can only presume that a HETA is the same." My shoulders hunched with disappointment. "But I know many people who feel the same way an are trying to figure out how."
"Annabel!" Mama was growing impatient. She did sound cross, but it was in her eternal gentleness that never made me feel scared. It seemed as though every time I heard her voice, I was left with an idyllic ease. "I said bed!"
I rushed into the hall and announced my arrival as my feet pounded up the stairs. Hugging the leather book tightly to my chest, I knew exactly what I was going to write. During the late evening hours of my birthday night, I kept my light on low and secretly wrote the tale of the evil countries and their HETAs.
Perhaps, if I was older, I would have thought of one last question:
Besides a HETA, what is the difference between a man and his country?
November 15, 1942
Brest, German Occupied France
"Une heure avant couvre-feu!" I glanced up from my work and looked at the bar's single clock. Sure enough, it was an hour before dark. Once the sun was gone from the horizon, the Germans would make sure that no one was on the streets. Sighing, I took another sip of my beer and returned to what I was writing.
"Mademoiselle Henson, it's one hour until curfew," the bartender informed, one of the few French people who could actually speak decent English. A few of them knew Italian like I did, but I never liked speaking it anymore. The only times I did was when David was being his anti-British self and refused to talk to me in any other language. The very thought of him had me rolling my blue eyes. 'He's so immature,' I thought grimly, taking another drink. 'He's been living in England for how long and he still hates it?'
But I was not the one to talk. I usually hated the island nation for its scarce warmth and constant raining. Italy was never like that (unless you went to the north, but that was only in the winter).
Smiling at the bartender, I thanked him and reminded him that I lived in one of the rooms he rented above. "I know that," he laughed, automatically refilling my glass with more Belgian beer. "I just want to make sure that you didn't have anywhere to go for the night."
"What makes you think that I can afford to?" I asked, rolling my eyes. "I barely have enough money to pay rent, remember?"
The man smiled and pointed to my left hand. "Why don't you just sell that belle ring?" he suggested, eyeing the diamond jewel. Immediately, I protectively placed my other hand over it. "I am quite sure that an allemand would pay a hefty price for it."
"It's not for sale," I growled. "Now go before I conveniently forget to pay rent." He only shrugged, reminding me that he would just kick me onto the streets. Then I would be stuck in France without food and shelter.
Watching him go, I sighed and felt the heartache. I've been stuck here for the past two years. I have not seen any of my family since; not David, not Papa, not even my fiancé. What's worse, it was my own bloody fault.
When Papa told me all those years ago that there were people who did not trust the countries, he did not lie. By the time I was ten, what was left of my family moved back to Britain and I was thrown into upper British society. Luckily, I had my Aunt Abigail and her daughter Rosa to teach me the British manners and 'proper' way of speaking.
But David and I could never be prepared for the underground of it. There, we the Henson family, owners of Society Oil Works, we not a family of rich businessmen. We were a family seeking to destroy the HETAs.
I had thought that Papa and I were on the same page, that we shared every piece of information we learned about them. But I was only being naive. He kept a very important piece of information from me with the poor excuse that if I knew I would "act rashly".
"And besides," he added, ignoring the angry looks I had given him. "You are settling down and practically married. It's about time you put this business behind you and focus on a future."
"But I can't put this aside," I thought, turning to the center of my black leather book. Between the Italian words describing everything I knew about the countries and their HETAs was a necklace. The silver chain was broken- as it had been for thirteen years -with a rusty iron cross dangling from it. Gently, I took it from the pages and pressed it to my lips. Memories of Mama flooded into my head. "I have to do this."
Before any annoying frog could notice the relic, I placed it back inside and flipped back to the page I was working on. This was not a page about the countries or their HETAs. This was something more . . . personal.
It had been two years since I last seen Dr. Walter Alwin, the man I promised to marry. I never told him that I was leaving. Knowing him, he was probably trying to focus on training nurses for the war instead of worrying over me. He knew that I could take care of myself. But I was afraid that with each passing day, I would start to forget the precious moments we had together. So, as my father wished, I was writing down everything and anything about him that came to me.
It was when I was recording one of our many walks through the streets of London was I interrupted. "Monsieur, you do realize that it is nearly curfew," a silky voice said as an equally slick man slid onto the stood next to me. I stopped my writing when he added, "It would be a shame if les allemands arrested you for something like that."
I looked at the man and grinned at him. The stranger was a tall, lean man. He had wavy blond hair that brushed his shoulders. His stylish civilian clothes matched his bright blue eyes. His beauty calmed the irritation in my veins to the point where I no longer found the need to hit him. Grinding my teeth together, I growled, "I believe the term you are looking for is mademoiselle."
He laughed that obnoxious French 'ohonhon' and rubbed his stubble. "My apologies, mademoiselle, but you do not have the appearance of one," he explained, looking over my frame. He noted every article of clothing I wore: black slacks and an oversized white shirt. It was the only clothes I had, even if they did not compliment my already slight figure. But that was no excuse- I had shoulder length brown hair. How many men (besides himself) had locks like that?
Twirling said locks around his finger, he said, "But for a British lady, I find you tres belle."
"I bet you say that to every girl you meet," I deadpanned. Confidently, I held up the hand with the engagement ring. "And besides, I'm already taken."
The stranger sighed and looked up to the heavens. "Such is the fate of every woman," he mourned, seemingly sparkling in his own light. I resisted the strong urge to smack his melodramatic face.
"Don't you have better things to do?" I asked, trying to return to my work. It was rather ironic, Walter always did have some private joke about the French and their flirting techniques. Just thinking about it made a wry smile stretched across my face.
However, the blond was not yet finished with me. "Ah oui, the main reason for me coming to talk to you." Leaning into the counter, he propped his chin on his hand. "You are British, non? What is someone like you doing in a place like this?"
For a second, I wondered how he knew. Then I realized that I was talking to him in English with the accent Aunt Abigail drilled into my head. I frowned at the very thought of her. "If I tell you, will you go away?"
I placed my pen down and looked at him. "I came here for a small 'vacation'," I explained, giving him the censored version of the truth. "Unfortunately, the war breached the borders and I gave a Jewish family my boat in order to escape. Someone later robbed me of the rest of my money and by the time I had earned enough to sail across the English Channel, the Germans had taken over and closed the borders."
"That is truly fascinating," he said, smiling slyly. Suddenly, he jumped and extended a hand towards me. "You may call me Francis Bonnefoy," he introduced. "May I ask who you might be?"
I glared at his large hand, silently refusing to take it. It seemed slimy to the touch. I replied, "You can ask me, but I can't guarantee an answer."
He laughed, sliding a strong arm around my shoulder. "Why not?" he asked. "I told you, so you now have to tell me."
"Leave her alone, Francis." Immediately, said man snapped his arm away from me. Turning, I saw another blond standing behind him. He spoke perfect English, mimicking the perfect British accent I had. His eyes were a piercing green, framed by the largest pair of eyebrows I have ever seen. Papa didn't even have them that big.
Francis pouted, trying to play the large puppy eyes. "Arthur, we were just having a friendly conversation," he whined. He looked at me, asked, "Am I wrong, mademoiselle?"
The man, Arthur, looked at me and raised an eyebrow. He also wore civilian clothes, but his was a dirtied suit with a brown bag slung over his shoulders. His condescending look combined with his crossed arms did not make me hesitate to say, "He was sexually harassing me."
"I was not!"
Arthur rolled his eyes, shooting the insulted blond a glare. "I apologize if he offended you," he said, drowning his voice in a gentlemen-like politeness. "The frog tends to get carried away sometimes-"
"Only if they want me to," Francis interjected, giving me another wink. I twisted the ring on my finger. I did not need that disgusting image in my head.
"-But I am Arthur Kirkland. Who might you be?"
This time, I extended my hand to him. "Annabel Henson. You can call me Annie."
As Francis complained in the change of manners, Arthur raised a thick eyebrow. "Henson," he repeated. "Like Patrick Henson, owner-"
"-of Society Oil Works," I finished for him, rolling my eyes. "Yes, the one and only. I'm his daughter. I can't begin to describe the number of times people have told me that."
"Well his business is vital to the war effort," he noted thoughtfully. "If memory serves me correctly, Mr. Britain himself gave him his personal thanks."
A sour breath escaped my nose as I muttered, "Yes, that worthless man . . ."
"Worthless?" I cursed when I realized that I said that a little too loudly. Arthur was giving me the world's most horrified look. Francis, meanwhile, was looking at me with curiosity and him with humor. "How can you say something like that?" the man with green eyes demanded. "Mr. Britain is trying the best he can to end the war."
I shrugged. I could not explain my actual reasons for hating him, but I was not just about to take back my comment. "The last I checked, bombs were falling over London," I said smoothly.
Arthur placed a thoughtful hand on his breast, rubbing the area over his heart. "That was over a year ago," he snapped, growing angrier by the second. "And you have no right to say anything like that so pompously."
"Well if you ask me, it'll be the Americans that will end this war," I continued, reaching for my glass. "That is, if they can get their minds off the Japs long enough-"
The Brit roughly grabbed my arm. Pressing his lips together, his face was red with simmering anger. Painfully, his short nails dug through my sleeve and into my skin. "You both need to calm down," Francis said, carefully placing his hand on his friend's. A sharp glare made him stop.
I met his green eyes easily, saying, "Actually Francis, Arthur is the one here who's over reacting. He's the one that needs to calm down."
"Stupid munter," he growled darkly, gripping my arm tighter. "You really have no idea what you're saying."
"Arrêtez!" Francis demanded, oddly aware that most of the bar was either preparing to leave or engross the fight. Glancing at them, he leaned in and hissed sharply, "Mon Angleterre, we need to get out of here now. We barely have ten minutes until curfew. If Ludwig finds either of us here-"
"I will once Miss Henson here admits that she is wrong."
Grimacing, I was sure that if he didn't peel his hand away soon, his nails were going to break skin. "How about we settle this the quick way then," I suggested. "A brawl. First one down has to admit that they are wrong."
Arthur's upper lip curled and he snapped his hand away. "I don't hit girls," he said. I resisted the urge to point out that he was, just moments ago, pretty much causing me physical pain.
Rubbing the sore spot, I smiled cockily. "Most likely because you know that you'll lose."
By now Francis was trying to drag the man away, reminding him of their tight schedule, but he was not about to back off. "You really don't know when to shut-up," he said before sliding him bag off his shoulders. "If it's a fight you want, I'll give it to you. However-" suit jacket half off, he shot me a smirk. "-I will not go easy on you."
I mimicked his visage, tying my hair away from my face. "Well don't you sound like the cocky one." I jumped off the stool. Feeling ready, I slid my feet into position. "If I were you I wouldn't be so confident."
"Arthur," the only neutral one hissed. We both shot him a glare. "It's not that I do not appreciate your pride, but we have eight minutes until curfew. We have to leave now."
We both ignored him. Taking his stance, Arthur pressed his lips into a tight frown and beckoned me to make the first move. Without a second thought, I swung the first fist. For a woman, I had a pretty good arm. When one was going after the countries, you had to know how to defend yourself.
Papa had not wanted me to learn ("You're a girl and you should not be taught such things,") but I had my own ways. Any teenager- even a rich one at a boarding school -could go into the streets and find boys brawling with each other. They would gather in the alley ways and bet on the winner. For the whole seven years I spent living at dorm schools, I attended these fights and started fighting in them myself. I did not win my first one until I was seventeen- each fight leading till then left me with an improvement in my makeshift skill.
So you could imagine the confidence I started to feel when my fist was about to make contact with Arthur's face. This was going to be an easy fight. Everything started going downhill when he ducked at the last possible second.
I had a split second to note the empty air in front of me before being jabbed hard to the gut. Yelping, I clasped my abdomen and stumbled backwards. The Brit, however, was not yet through. Already low, he wasted no time in swiping his leg under mine. I jumped over it, trying to find a clear opening.
The second my feet touched the ground again, I found it. Arthur was starting to straighten himself out. I took a step forward and placed all my weight into my fist. This time, I made sharp contact with his jaw. The blonde yelled in pain before lashing his arm out randomly.
His fist scrapped the side of my face, distracting me long enough for him to grab my arm and throw me into Francis. As if expecting it, the Frenchman readily grabbed my shoulders and ordered in a sweet voice for me to stay down. "I believe you just lost," Arthur taunted, smiling at his cheated victory. "I believe you owe me an apology."
Grimacing, I glared between the hands that held me and the bastard that thought he won. "Well if I ever meet Mr. Britain, I'll be sure to tell him that he's not worthless," I snarled. I silently added, 'That is, if I'm not too busy beating him and the rest of his kind to a pulp first.'
Arthur looked ready to object, but decided to keep his mouth shut. "Let's get going Francis," he said, grabbing his jacket and swinging his bag back over his shoulder. "I'd hate to run into any more trouble."
The clicking of a loaded pistol made him pause. Both of the blond's faces turned a dead white when they saw the man standing behind them. Backed by a small squad of black uniformed men, the newcomer spoke in a low rumble of German. His crisped blue eyes and light blond hair both seemed washed of any warmth it may contain. Plus, the hair that showed from beneath a black peaked cap was obviously slicked back by a bucket load of grease. 'Wouldn't the chemicals from that amount cause brain damage or something?' I wondered, looking at his black coat quizzically.
The German finished whatever speech he was making, glaring between the three of us. "It just figures that a wanker like you would do something like that," Arthur snarled, apparently understanding him. "Unfortunately for you, Ludwig, you have nothing to back your claim."
The man, Ludwig (wasn't that just stereotypical), held his gun higher and pointed to Francis. What he said next made every German soldier standing behind him raise an eyebrow. At that moment, I really wished that I understood that language. God, why did Italian have to be such a worthless language?
Francis perfectly understood him. His blue eyes glanced at the French civilians huddled in the corners of the bar. Hesitantly, he looked down at me and back at Ludwig. "Unfortunately for you, I take on the feelings of the people," he said hotly. "And the people hate you . . ." He looked down at me, realized that there were people in here who did know English, and changed his wording. "We hate the Germans and I refuse to be taken under your government's control."
I gave the three blondes confused looks. The third of this conversation I was missing was making it impossible for me to understand what the hell they were talking about. The Frenchman was so wrapped up in his conversation that he didn't bother to hold me back as I struggled from his grasp. It did not matter either way; I was content with just getting my ass out of there.
I started a slow crawl to the door to the upstairs apartments when I remembered my book. It was still on the table, laying open for anyone to see. Twisting the ring on my finger, I cursed myself. Why didn't I put that in my pocket before the fight? I gave a silent groan and inched back to the counter.
I was reaching up to grab it when I heard the clicking of the pistol again. "What are you doing?" A thickly accented man asked. The reason he sounded so much like Ludwig was probably because he was him. Before I could answer, he poked my back with the gun. "I want you to stand with your hands where I can see them."
Reluctantly, I did as I was told: standing slowly with my hands up like a bloody idiot. Another order had me turning to face the man straight on. Up close, I noticed how incredibly young he looked. His perfect complexion was almost enough for me not to notice two soldiers binding Francis's and Arthur's hands behind their backs.
"What are you doing?" Ludwig barked, glaring at me suspiciously.
Opening my mouth, I was just about to reply in English when logic occurred to me. I knew German brutes and if I spoke English to him, he was going to accuse me of espionage and kill me painfully. Suddenly grateful for my heritage, I replied in quick Italian. "Please don't kill me- I was just grabbing my book there." I glanced back at it. "Please don't kill me! I promise that I'll never cause any more trouble again!"
Ludwig stared at me before speaking decent Italian. It would have been better if he didn't have the German accent but who was I to complain? "I see, Italian. And you know English as well?"
"My father was a foreigner."
Ludwig evidently decided that I was safe. "Grab your book and get out of here," he ordered before turning back to his new hostages. He had returned back to his German, but I didn't need to know it to understand what was being ordered. With a snap of the fingers, Francis and Arthur were being dragged away, probably to some prison where they'll either be jailed or executed. Most likely the latter.
'Please don't get a conscience now!' I begged, placing my book in my back pocket. 'It's not as though this was your fault.' But it was. I started the fight and an onlooker probably got scared and reported it to the German soldiers outside.
I looked at my abandoned glass of beer and sighed. I was going to regret this doing this later. "Hey Ludwig!" The second the man turned to me, he was met with a face full of alcohol. Eyes burning, he gasped and closed them shut.
I took advantage of his moment of distraction and rammed my elbow into his hard gut. Never mind the fact that it freaking hurt, I snatched the pistol from his holster and shoved him away. He stumbled to the ground, groaning as he tried to wipe the pain away. Without a second thought, I shot Ludwig in the shin, causing him to yell in more pain. I better pray that I don't get arrested or else he was sure to pay me back for that.
I pointed the barrel at the other Germans just to see that Francis and Arthur had also taken advantage of the situation. They were fighting away the last of the soldiers, preparing themselves for an escape. "Allons!" Francis motioned for Arthur and I to make a run for it. I stole one last glance at the bar and quickly ran after them. As I left, I noticed Arthur's bag was lying discarded on the ground. Being the nice person I was, slung it over my shoulder and ran out into the open. The cool, night air immediately met my face. It was early evening, most of the stars not even out. But all of the lights were out. It was curfew, the time where the Germans stalked for their nightly prey.
Arthur and Francis had the courtesy to wait for me. "I can't believe you just did that," the Brit said dryly, motioning for us to continue running. Our feet tapped the cobble stone ground harshly, creating echoes that bounces around the narrow alleys.
"A simple thank you would suffice," I huffed, scowling darkly. "But why is that guy so keen on arresting you two anyways? Are you two spies or something?"
Wavy hair looking perfect in the night, Francis could only force a grin. "You can say that . . ." Well that was just dandy.
"Halt!" We scampered to stop. At the end of our street were two more soldiers. They both looked ready to fire our heads off.
"There's only two of them," Arthur said quickly, glancing at the possible escape routes. "And there's three of us."
"They can't chase all three of us," Francis growled, already taking a few steps back.
I gave them both a look and rolled my eyes. "We don't have to run" I hissed. "We can just fight them o-"
"Au revoir!" Like the pansy he was, the gorgeous blond ran into the nearest alley. And to think he seemed brave in front of Ludwig.
"Git!" I yelled before Arthur and I took our chance to dash for it. Together, we ran into the alley across the way. Wordlessly, we pushed trashcans and whatever else we could find on to the path behind us. Our panting mixed with my pounding heart nearly deafened me. Still, I was able to hear the soldier behind us when he yelled for reinforcements.
A tight grimace stretched on my face when I saw the alley breach into another street. "I'll see you around!" I called out before making a sharp right. Kirkland responded with a similar reply and turned left.
The soldier chasing us had decided that Arthur was the better prize and left me in favor for him. Still, I was afraid of being caught. It felt as though I had been running forever. My chest had long started to ache and my legs were yearning for a rest. It was shortly after one of my many detours (aka: avoiding other guards) when I decided I had enough.
Ducking into another dark alley, I leaned against the wall and released a long breath. 'Way to go, Annie. Now you're a fugitive.' The very thought made me want to groan. France was no longer safe. Anywhere with the Germans was no longer 'safe'. I had three options: go to Switzerland, go to Spain, or find a new way home. Number three wasn't going to happen anytime soon and Spain was closer than the land of cheese. 'Spain it is.'
I was about to start moving when I noticed that I never gave Arthur his bag back. 'I should dump this thing.' I carefully held it up. It really didn't feel all that heavy. Kneeling on the ground, I threw the flap open. 'What's in this thing anyways?'
There were many things I expected him to be lugging around. A full British military uniform was not one of them. 'I guess they aren't spies,' I thought, holding the green military jacket out in front of me. Amazingly, it looked as though it might fit me. Reaching past the other clothes in the bag, I found a small knife, military standard. Any feelings of guilt I might have had vanished with the thought of freezing on my way to Spain.
With as much precision someone could have in the unlit night, I located each army patch and cut the stitching away. One by one, the medals and rank identifications were removed till the point where I could rightfully call it a normal jacket. 'Arthur won't mind,' I reasoned as I slipped my arms through the sleeves. 'It's just a jacket.'
Still, I felt the need to double check. I patted the pockets, making sure he didn't leave anything precious behind. Slipping my hand into the inner breast pocket, my fingers found a slip of paper. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I pulled it out. It was a folded picture.
It was of Arthur with two other men. They were both light haired and wearing glasses. One, however, resembled a meek version of Francis. The other looked to be boisterously laughing, causing Arthur to smack his forehead. I trailed my finger over their young faces. Who were they? His brothers?
I hadn't even realized that I was no longer alone until I felt a blunt pain in my head. Dropping the photo, I yelled and grasped at my skull. Warm blood seeped through my fingers. I could easily feel the large dent in my skull. "What the hell . . ."
"So you really aren't Italian." Ludwig knelt to my height, glaring at me with blue eyes. How did he get here? This is the reason I shot him in the shin- so that he wouldn't follow me here! Yet, here he was, prancing about as if I hadn't even scratched him. "I knew I shouldn't have let you go," he growled as he cleaned the blood of the butt of his gun.
I returned his glare. I was screwed to the point that I no longer cared if my actions caused my death. I was, after all, going to die anyways. Curling my upper lip, I painfully sneered, "Yet, you did it anyways."
The German's frown deepened. His gloved hand reached out and gripped the area below my chin. Choking me, he rose and dragged me up onto my shaking feet. "Where are your 'friends?'" he demanded, shoving me painfully against the wall. What little air I hate was spent on my yell of pain. "Where did they go?"
"I . . . d-don. . . know . . ."
He only pushed me harder. "Ja, you do! Tell me!"
The edges of my vision started to grow fuzzy. I could not tell whether it was from the lack of air or the blood loss. "I-I don't . . . know!" I gasped, trying and failing to get more of that precious oxygen. I spent the last of it calling him a "Bastard!"
Out of all of my stupid decisions that day, that one had to be the best. Ludwig's grip suddenly loosened and air rushed into my lungs. The euphoric feeling of the air in my chest made me the happiest person on the planet. My terrible vision returned just enough to see that my attacker was staring at me with raised eyebrows. My blood loss, however, was taking its final toll on me just as he dragged me by my neck out of the alley and into the moonlight.
The last thing I saw before losing consciousness was Ludwig observing my face carefully.
For the millionth time that day, I kicked the trunk door. "Let me out of here!" I yelled hoarsely, struggling in my bounds. Whoever was driving the car either did not hear me or did not care. I woke up some time ago to find myself tied up with a nicely bandaged head. Whoever had put me in here obviously did not want me to die. 'That's a comforting thought,' I sulked grimly. 'Just keep me alive so that you can kill me later.'
This was probably Ludwig's doing. I bet he was sending me to some Gestapo headquarters to be interrogated as a British spy. Oh the joy they'll find when they realize that I have no information of use.
Then they'll be really excited for the hanging!
Giving my throat a rest, I closed my eyes and concentrated on the steady hum of the engine. A long time passed. Multiple times, I resumed my earlier mission of kicking the trunk open, but I would always have to stop before I killed my vocal cords and legs. An eternity and a day passed before the vehicle finally stopped.
I was about to start my ruckus when I noticed that someone on the outside was talking in a sing-song Italian. "Vee, what took you so long?" A guy (he had a really high pitched, but lazy voice) asked in Italian. Someone, another man, said something in a language I did not understand. "Si!" The first guy said again. "We're supposed to be taking our vacation!"
Ludwig's low rumble of a voice finally met my ears. I didn't know whether to be relieved or worried. If he was here, then I guess that this was very important. "Do I have to call you that?" The Italian whined, making me wince. He sounded as though he was on the verge of tears. What was he, a five year old?
I caught a quick 'ja' before hearing the trunk door being unlocked. I tensed, bracing myself for a hoard of scary looking men ready to beat me to a pulp.
What I actually saw was less than intimidating.
After my eyes adjusted to the sudden light, I saw that we were far from Brest. Tall evergreens stretched into the air, framing Ludwig's face as he looked down at me. Before I could comment, he roughly grabbed my shirt collar and lifted me out of the car.
I was able to fully take in my surroundings. I was in a forest on some mountain side. It was late afternoon and the sky was a vivid orange. The robust German placed me in the ground in front of his two companions.
The first one- presuming the Italian -looked to be about my height. He had fair skin and large brown eyes that shone in the fading light. His short auburn hair was perfect, save for the random curl bobbing from the side. Dressed in a loose shirt, he peered at me with curiosity, drinking every detail of my face.
The second was an Asian man, a few inches shorter than the Italian. His jet black hair was combed neatly on his head. His dull blue clothes looked to be traditional garments of whatever Eastern country he's from. His dark eyes also looked at me, but they were just as neutral as his face.
Both of them stared at me for a few moments, saying nothing. I gave them crazy looks, wondering what the hell was going on. A few times, I looked up at Ludwig, just to see him looking at his companions with anticipation. All three of them were so wrapped up in their looking that I was left to break the ice.
"What are you people doing?" I asked, giving them suspicious glares.
The Italian was the first to react. He bounced over to me side, swooping in for a better look of my face. "Ludwig," he sang, ignoring my question. "I don't see what you mean."
"Mean about what?"
Ludwig calmly sighed. "Here, this might help," he said, reaching into his pocket. His voice sounded so different. Maybe it was the fact that he was not angry as shit. In fact, he sounded rather tired, exhausted by the world around hi-
I hissed as he took a fist full of my hair. A small fear that he was going to hurt me appeared, but it went away soon enough. The blond flicked out a knife and cut off most of my locks. The fell onto the ground around me, leaving me with a boy style cut.
First my lack of figure, now this. I was practically giving the world no excuse not to think I was a man. Growling, I snapped my head at him, demanding, "What the hell are you doing?"
Ludwig nonchalantly slapped the back of my head. "Be quiet," he ordered as his friend took a new look at me.
His cute face brightened instantly. "Vee, you're right! She does look like fratello!" He exclaimed happily, dancing over to the Asian. I look like his brother? What? "What do you think, Kiku?"
Kiku looked at me for a second longer. "I do believe you're right, Feli-san," he replied evenly. His voice was so stiff and polite, I found it almost painful to listen to. "But her eye color is wrong. Lovino-san has brown eyes, not blue ones." Again, what are they talking about?
"Well apparently this girl here is also British," Ludwig added.
It reached the point where I finally had enough. "What the hell are you gits talking about?" I demanded, shooting them all glares. The three stared at me, as if they weren't expecting me to speak. I rolled my eyes and looked up at Ludwig, saying, "You were the asshole who brought me here. Aren't you going to tell me why?"
The German made a 'tsk' sound as he shook his head. "You're a loud one. I thought that after all that yelling you did you wouldn't be able to talk."
Have you ever had those moments where you have a comment that you just have to make even if it kills you? "I only yell like that for 'good' men," I said slyly, grinning in satisfaction. That visage did not go away when Ludwig kicked me in the face. The painful breaking of my nose, however, made me pressed my lips together in a vain attempts to hold back a yell. I fell onto the ground, tasting my metallic blood in my mouth.
"Be quiet!" my attacker demanded, furrowing his pale eyebrows. He did his best to ignore Feli-san as he started asking what had happened between us, but each personal- perverted -question make his face turn a deeper shade of red. "Feli, don't listen to her, she lying."
I pretended to act offended. "Lying? Why would I lie about something like that?" I demanded. "He wasn't very good at it anyways-"
Ludwig promptly stomped on my face, pounding the broken bones in my face to dust. It hurt so much, that I could not resist screaming out in pain. It was probably best if I shut my mouth. Feli bent down at me curiously, seemingly unaware of my pain. "What was Luddy not good at?" he asked innocently.
Even I had to admit that it was so cute and childish that just wanted to hug him. But my hands were still handcuffed behind my back, so the most I could do was keep him innocent. "Chess."
"Vee, I thought you were talking about sex!"
As I tried to deal with a hyperactive Feli, Kiku timidly tapped on the single German's shoulder. "Ludwig-san, may I talk to you for a minute?" he asked, giving us Italians side glances.
He nodded. "Ja. Feli, make sure our prisoner doesn't do anything stupid."
The brunette saluted him. "Aye, aye captain!" Feli and I watched Kiku and Ludwig as they walked out of earshot. What in the world were they talking about? Like a worm, I tried inching closer to hear. But my attempts were in vain.
The garrulous one sat down in front of me, blocking my path to them. "What part of Italy are you from?" He asked happily and loudly, covering whatever noise the other two might make. "Are you from Venice? Rome? Milan?"
I sighed. Might as well just humor him. "None of them. I come from a small town by Heraclea . . ."
"Is something wrong, Japan?" Germany asked, the moment they were clear from ear shot. For once, the blond was almost thankful for how loud Italy could be. His chirping would shield their conversation from the human.
The Asian nation pressed his lips together, trying to find a way to phrase his question politely. "Germany-san, do you remember what we talked about a few months ago?"
He sighed, saying, "Japan, we haven't gone a day without talking to each other since this war started. You are going to have to be more specific."
Japan looked down, silently scolding himself. He should have known that his partner was going to say that. Ever since the war started, they have been working hand in hand with military details and plans. But there was one conversation that should have stuck in his mind. Carefully, he said, "It was the one about free will-" Blue eyes went wide. "-do you remember that one?"
How could he forget? It had been on of those days when the ache in his chest had been especially painful. Prussia had just laughed and told him that it was part of the pains of war, but the German had never felt so terrible before. It was not the pain of his soldiers, but the pain of his own citizens. Germans whom he persecuted. Somehow, he started talking to Japan about it and let a little secret slip. "Sometimes I wish I was a human," he had told him, taking a long drink of beer. "That way, I might actually have a free will."
A small debate followed, the older nation trying to quell his worries, but it ended with a stalemate. The blond just refused to believe that beneath their sacred duties and compulsive needs and wants, they had a say in their own lives.
Germany frowned, remembering it clearly. "Why are you bringing that back up?" he demanded, bitterness entwined with his shame. It was never a country's place to question the world like that.
"Because, Germany-san, I believe I have a way to help you realize your 'free will," The black haired man told him patiently.
"You can't 'realize' something that you never had in the first place."
Japan sighed. "Please, just hear me out. You said that you wish to be human because then you can make decisions not having to involve your government. Perhaps, we should bring in someone who is not part of any of our country's politics."
Germany folded his arms over his chest. So far, he was not agreeing with anything his ally said, but the persistent look in his dark eyes called for the nation to humor him. "And who do you think will fit the part?" he asked.
"Perhaps the girl you brought-"
"Hold it, Japan!" Germany quickly looked back at the Italians. Surprisingly, they were engaged in a vivid discussion about the southern coast. Reassured, he leaned in and harshly whispered, "I only brought her because she looked a lot like Romano. If that arsch ever bothered to show up when I asked him to, we could easily know whether that girl is a half breed."
"And what do you intend to do with her now?"
"Keep her locked up until he does listen to me. If she's not one, then I'll just leave her in the jail until-"
"Until they execute her," Japan snapped, sounding rather angry. He continued his frustrated look for a moment longer before realizing what he just said. "Forgive me, Germany-san," he said, bowing deeply with respect. "That was out of place."
Said man shook his head. "Nein, you're right. That is the most likely outcome. But Japan, this is a war. I found her helping France and Britain evade my men. She attacked me. She's wearing Britain's jacket. It would be foolish to bring her in."
"Those are the perfect reasons to bring her in," Japan replied coolly. "There is no reason for 'Germany' to want this girl around."
The blonde rolled his eyes. "That's because it's suicide."
"That is your nation side talking."
"Nein, it's my sane side."
Japan gently grabbed his arm, forcing him to look straight into his eyes. "Germany-san, the only way for you to have a free will is for you to just forget about the war," he sternly told him. "Please, just take a risk a human would."
For a long moment, Germany was silent. His blue eyes observed the ground in deep thought. At last he slowly nodded. "Fine, but she is not to find out about us. For all she knows, we're just a group of war commanders forced to live with one another."
". . . and he likes to eat tomatoes all the time because he helps Big Brother Antonio out with his tomato garden," Feli rambled as he pinched a white cloth over my still bleeding nose. It hurt like hell, but when the man offered to help me I had to agree. The taste of blood was starting to make me sick to my stomach.
"Lovino seems like an interesting guy," I replied dryly, noticing that Kiku and Ludwig were finishing their hushed discussion. I could only pray that it was not about how to hide my body.
The brunette adjusted his hold on my nose and smiled even wider. "Fratello was actually supposed to be here," he chirped happily. "But he doesn't like Luddy so he probably just pretended to be sick again."
"I wonder why . . ."
Ludwig and Kiku returned to us, the former looking agitated while the other looked nonchalant. These people were so weird . . . The blond nudged a happy Feli away from me, allowing him adequate space to kneel in front of me. "Alright girl, today is your lucky day," Ludwig announced, sounding not very happy about it. "After much discussion, I have decided to give you two options."
"Are they my forms of execution?" I deadpanned. "Because if a quick bullet to the head is one of them, then-"
"If you would let me finish, then you would know," he snapped irritably. A quiet cough from Kiku reminded him not to lash out. "As I was saying, you can either go to jail for suspicion of espionage or be my maid."
For a long moment, I could only stare at him. What game was this guy playing? "Did you really just ask me that?" I asked, obviously confused. "Why would I want to be your maid? Scratch that- why would you want me to be one?"
Ludwig grimaced. "You see, we are military commanders of a different sort. Our jobs are to know exactly all the politics in the country we represent and make on-the-spot decisions that benefit our respective country the most. Because of our jobs, we don't have much time to clean, cook food, and do other forms of housework."
I sighed. "Look, I really appreciate the offer, but why don't you just hire a cleaning lady?"
"I see an opportunity to have someone clean for free."
I frowned. In the long run, it was better than dying. But none of this added up. Why would an important military leader want to have his enemy as a maid? In what logic does that make sense? "I'm going to have to say no to that," I said.
Before Ludwig could find it in him to lash out, Feli bounced back over to us. "Why? We're nice people and I make really good pasta. And Kiku also makes really good rice balls!"
It was much harder to put Feli down than his German counterpart. "Tempting, but I frankly don't trust any one of you not to make me a maid by day and a prostitute by night."
Ludwig laughed a cruel laughed. "Don't flatter yourself. You're not even pretty enough to be married to a shit filled-"
"I'm engaged!" I yelled, trying to jerk my hands free from my bounds. I didn't mind that he was insulting me so much as he was insulting Walter. And he didn't even know the guy! "I swear to God, I am going to personally rip your liver out and crush it-"
"We do not need to revert to such graphic language," Kiku said hastily. The stressed look in his eyes had my mouth seal shut. Now that I thought about it, Ludwig made no mention of this until he talked to him.
'Did Kiku convince him to do this?' I wondered, gazing at him curiously. The Asian appeared not to have a single mean bone in his body. If I agreed to this plan, I would owe him a big favor.
Ludwig grinded his teeth together, determined to remain the bigger person. "If you want, I'll sign a contract," he growled. It sounded so painful, as if he had to force the words from his mouth.
I gave him a you've-gotta-be-kidding look. "And what makes you think that I would trust you to keep it?"
At this point, I shouldn't have been surprised to have his large hand wrap around my neck. Gasping, I struggled under his hold, making sure I had air to breathe. But even though he held it, he did not add pressure. Instead, he only forced me to look him straight in the eye.
They were cold, like ice.
"A contract is a powerful thing," he said darkly, glaring into what felt like my soul. "It's a force that can make a nation and end one. When I make a contract, I can guarantee you that I will not break it. So, do we have a deal?"
I bit my lip, determined to glare back at him. But it was only half hearted. His look was so dark that I could not help but to quiver in his grasp. What was up with this guy? It was as if he was suffering from a major case of bipolarity. Still, the hopeful look in his companion's' eyes brought me to ease. Something told me that if he did break his promise, Kiku would at least be there to help me. "What's your names?" I asked.
He smirked, knowing he won. "Those two are Feliciano Vargas and Kiku Honda," he introduced, motioning to each. "You may call me Ludwig."
"What? No last name?"
He frowned. "Just call me Ludwig. What is your name?"
"Annie. Annabel Henson."
-The End (?)-
SEK: (Wow, the grammar is so much better. . .)
MW: I was having such an nostalgia attack when I was writing this. I miss writing this version of Annie with the Hetalia characters (and having to do hours of research). And I was getting so excite I was- planning out the rest of the rewriting when I remembered that I'm not going to continue this.
BFTL: If you love this so much, then why not?
MW: Well "The Fangirl" is now a series and I have to continue that. I'm still continuing "Love Sucks" on deviantArt and all these people on youtube want me to do a Hetalia version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I simply just don't have the time.
SEK: So this is just a one shot?
MW: Most likely. The only way I'll continue this depends of the people on dA. See here, I have this also posted there, but as a reader insert (and a lame one at that). If they like this so much that it gets onto the front page, I promise to continue this. But that is so unlikely that I wouldn't get my hopes up.
But people, there are ways to celebrate HETA's birthday.
-draw me fanart
-write a Hetalia OC story of your own and send it to me
-draw me fanart for one of my other stories (Fangirl, Fluorescent Leaves, and Love Sucks)
-read the original HETA(I still like getting reviews for it!)
-draw me fanart
Please note that both mine and SEK's birthday is this month (I'll be sixteen on the 19th), so drawing us (me) fanart would be awesome.
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm joking about the fanart (it would still be awesome though).
SEK: *facedesk* not the fanart thing again. In a more realistic version of celebration, invite all of your Hetalia and HETA loving friends over for a movie party. Cook up "Annie's Organic Macaronie and Cheese" (the box kind at the supermarket with the bunny on it) and buy a few packs of Pepperidge Farm "Milano"s. Rent one of Jim Henson's "Muppets" movies and enjoy. (Get it? Annie Milano Henson?)
BFTL: And remember to review!
Funfacts and Translations
"It's a journal" In the original, the book was a children's story about a HETA and their friend.
"Both of us knew how to speak it fluently…" She's not a Mary Sue. She's just like SEK: one of those people who has been speaking two languages their whole life (in this case, redneck Spanish and English). She may not be able to write it, but she can speak it pretty gosh darn well.
"Signor Veneziano" Big difference here. One of the major themes in the original was the fact that no one knew that the countries existed. So here I am, changing that! Every personification is formally recognized as "Mr" or "Miss". They did this in the English dub, so I'm copying it here. We really see it with Annie and Arthur talking about "Mr. Britain". By the way, "Signor" means "Mr." in Italian.
"King Victor Emmanuel" The King of Italy at the time.
"the HETA." Another big difference. HETA no longer means 'country' but the connection between the personification and it. I had to do this because of the 'Mr.' thing above.
"Une heure avant couvre-feu!" One hour before curfew! French.
"Allemande" German. French.
"Aunt Abigail" This was one thing that always bugged me about the original: the over complication of how everyone is related to each other. Yeah, so now they're related by Henson blood. I don't think I mentioned this, but Rodger—in this version –is Rosa's little brother and Annie's first cousin.
"Dr. Walter Alwin" Another relationship change. In the original, Annie and Walter were in an arranged marriage, with their relationship teased, but not out rightly shipped. Or at least it should have been. By the end, every reader decided that the love of Annie's life was Walter, so here I am confirming it.
"Tresbelle." Very beautiful. French.
"Arrêtez" Stop! French.
"Unfortunately for you, I take on the feelings of the people" In my version of the Hetalia universe, the country's portray their citizen's feelings more than their governments. Because of this (this would have been explained later if I continued this, but I'm most likely not) Francis is portraying the French resistance here. The FR worked hand in hand with the Allies, hence why Arthur was in France in the first place as well. Ludwig, meanwhile, is working with his force to try and capture Francis (like the German police with the FR).
"Allons!" Let's go! French.
"It's just a jacket." Well, since the POW camp scenario wasn't happening anymore, I had to come up with another reason for her to have the military jacket, because, I freaking love that part of her outfit.
"Leaving me with a boy style cut." Ditto. The hair is just awesome.
"I might actually have a free will." One thing that always bugged me about the original was that I never fully took advantage of this subplot.
"We could easily know whether that girl is a half breed." Ohh, new early foreshadowing.
"A contract is a powerful thing." I feel like a genius for figuring this one out. I really wished I had the brains to create this speech in the original.
**REMEMBER TO REVIEW!**