Hello, hello everyone, the next chapter is here~! With the whole new season happening, I felt re-inspired to continue writing this! Wasn't it a great start to a new season? Anyways, not a lot happens in this chapter, or does it? Again, sorry for all the grammar and any spelling errors it may have and sorry if it's a boring chapter, but still trying to make the story lengthy and not too rushed. Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia or any of the characters created by Hima-papa.
EDIT: So as I was writing the next chapter, I realized that the beginning should probably be the ending to this chapter, so yeah... Just adding more onto the ending.
Patient: Feliciano Vargas
Time: 08:42:13 am
Notes: Feliciano seems to be calmer around Dr. Jones despite having made an outburst at first. Still spaces out and continues to make a racket at night. Also hallucinates about a blonde man in a grey coat. Will speak to Jones about side effects of medicine.
Though autumn was still weeks away, a cold wind had brought stray clouds, blocking out the warm summer sun. The lack of sun greyed the white walls of the room, making tiny scuffs and small stains visible at first glance. The fluorescent lights buzzed above Arthur's head, giving him a small headache. He removed his reading glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose as he listened to the person on the other side of the phone call.
"...I told you I have to work that day. What? ... No, Peter, stop being such a pest! ...We'll –"
"Mr. Kirkland, I have some forms here for you."
Arthur looked up and saw a timid young man standing at the door. There was nothing memorable or different Arthur could say about him. The man was lanky and about his height. His wavy light brown was tied back into a ponytail, his pale face cleared of loose strands. His green eyes glanced down every once in a while, unable to maintain an eye-level gaze for long. He was a calm soul, polite and hardworking. If it wasn't for the lad being his assistant, Arthur would have never noticed him. He was fond of his assistant though, much better than the last one.
"Oh, thank you Toris, I'll take them in just a moment," he politely said and muttered into the phone, "We will speak about this when I'm finished working." He hung up and returned his attention at Toris. "Sorry about that, I'll take those forms from you now." Toris smiled politely at Arthur as he handed the stack of papers over.
"Here you go... Ummm, also... Eduard informed me that there's an early visitor waiting for a Mr. Feliciano Vargas... Isn't that one of your patients?" Toris asked.
Arthur looked up from his reading, surprised. "Is that so? Must be his brother, though he knows when visiting hours start... I'm not even sure if he's even awake."
"Should I tell Eduard to let the visitor pass? He's been waiting there since 8..."
"Since 8...?" Arthur furrowed his brows and frowned. He couldn't help but worry about who the visitor was. "Can't be his brother...," he murmured under his breath.
"...Is there something wrong?"
"...No, it's nothing," Arthur finally answered and stood from his desk, "...Thank you, Toris. If there isn't anything else, I'll begin my duties for the day." He glanced down at his notes as he picked them up. "Oh, and Toris?"
Toris stopped halfway out the door and turned to Arthur. "Yes, sir?"
"Get me a complete list of side effects for Mr. Vargas' medication. It'll save me the time and energy to ask Dr. Jones myself. I'll leave his folder with you, but this is between you and I, understood?" He held the file out to Toris.
Toris silently took the manila folder, glancing up to meet Arthur's eyes for a moment before looking back down quickly. "Understood... sir."
Time: 09:05:23 am
Feliciano sighed heavily, relieved at the bright light suddenly illuminating his small room. Another sleepless night, haunted by the accursed eyes. "It can't hurt me anymore... the light is here... it never comes when it's day... it can't hurt me, until the night comes," Feliciano muttered. Once calm, he looked around. The cold metal chair was on its side, acting as a barrier in front of the door. Black scratches had appeared overnight by the desk. A blurred flashback came to him, reminding him of a failed attempt to move the desk. Seeing nothing else of interest, he stood up but instantly regretted doing so as he felt a sharp pain on his knee.
He reached down to roll up the legs of his pants, wincing at the pain. A cluster of purple and green bruises had formed on his knee and was beginning to spread towards his lower leg. "W-what...?" He noticed large scarlet scratches deeply etched into his lightly tanned arms. His eyes travelled down his arms and stopped at his fingernails. Even though his nails were carefully kept to the nub, they were stained crimson.
Feliciano whimpered, knowing what would happen if Lovino decided to visit and see the marks. "If Lovi or Arthur sees me like this, I'll never be able to go home..." He quickly rolled down the white pant legs and stretched the sleeves of his white long-sleeved shirt as far as he could. He hurried on and returned everything to its rightful place, hoping that the marks on the walls go unnoticed. A far-fetched thought, but one could dream, couldn't they?
Feliciano turned violently towards the door, a look of fear crossing his face. He readjusted his sleeves nervously and waited for the door to open.
"Feliciano? Oh, good, you're awake," Arthur said, entering the room. His sharp emerald eyes immediately darted towards the marks behind the desk.
"B-buon giorno, Arthur!" Feliciano stepped in his line of sight nervously, "Is it time for breakfast yet?" He saw Arthur's lips tighten into a frown.
"Good morning... and yes, breakfast is starting, but that's not why I came here for... Feliciano, did you try to move your desk? And don't try to lie to me; I can see the marks on the wall."
"V-ve...," tears formed at the corners of the Italian's eyes and he began to splutter, "I-I did, but but I couldn't! I can't remember what I w-wanted to do with it – and it wouldn't b-budge! It was so dark in here, and, and I was so scared...! Please don't tell my brother." Feliciano stopped, eyes widening with fear. He grabbed onto Arthur's sleeves tightly, startling the Brit. "Dio mio, h-he's not here, is he? PLEASE DON'T TELL HIM! I'LL BEHAVE, I SWEAR! I WON'T HAVE NIGHTMARES ANYMORE. I'LL BE GOOD FROM NOW ON!"
"Feliciano! Calm yourself and let go of me!" Arthur exclaimed, completely confounded, "I don't know if Lovino is here or not... I say, get a hold of yourself!"
The Italian released Arthur and retreated back to the corner where he had spent the night, sobbing silently. Arthur sighed, a thought of pity crossing his mind before his eyes caught sight of the marks on Feliciano's wrists.
Feliciano's breath hitched as Arthur took hold of his thin hands and held them up, his sleeves no longer covering his wrists. He couldn't read the expression on the Brit's face. It wasn't anger, it wasn't pity, and it wasn't disgust. To Feliciano, it was a combination of the three.
Arthur couldn't find the right word to describe the look on the Italian's face. It was fear and shock, perhaps distraught. He held on tightly to the shaking hands and assessed the damage. Arthur's first thought was if this had happened before without Lovino's knowledge. Then his motherly instincts kicked in and he thought, what could be haunting Feliciano so much that he hurts himself to this degree.
"Shush," Arthur said soothingly, "Now, go sit on the bed. I'll be back."
Feliciano blinked as Arthur released him but did as was told. He hiccupped and sniffed, tears no longer streaming. He hung his head in shame, awaiting for a punishment. Minutes passed before he felt a damp, cold cloth on his left arm. He looked up, realizing Arthur was cleaning the wounds.
"You have a visitor..." Arthur finally said calmly, "We mustn't let them see you in this mess, now can we?"
Arthur glanced at him, offering a rare smile at him. The Brit took some bandages and began to dress the scratches. "Might be your brother, you know. As long as you promise to try not to harm yourself again, I will promise to not tell. But if this happens again, I'm afraid I'll have no other choice but inform both Lovino and Dr. Jones. But for now...," he stood up, having finished tending to Feliciano's arms, "this will be between you and me, understood?"
Feliciano sat there, stunned. Arthur stopped halfway out the door and turned back. "Understood, Feliciano?" He staggered back as a sudden weight thrown around his body.
"Grazie! Thank you!" Feliciano continued to keep him in a tight bear hug for a long time. Arthur waved off some guards who thought the Italian was attacking him and patted Feliciano in the back.
"Err, yes well... Shall we go?"
Time: 09:35:04 am
Lovino glared at the bandages on Feliciano's arms. He didn't believe his brother's story of accidentally walking into poison ivy, not in the slightest. 'How stupid does he think I am? Wipe that stupid smile off your face, dumbass', he thought as his anger rapidly rose to dangerous levels. Feliciano continued smiling, his cheeks slowly getting tired.
"So, let me get this straight. They let you go outside, and the first shit you do is walk straight into poison ivy," Lovino growled in annoyance.
"Yup! Well, it mostly got on my arms and to stop me from scratching and hurting myself, they put these on!" Feliciano cheerfully added, ignorant of his brother's suspicion.
"Well you're a dumb ass!" Lovino angrily shouted, raising his voice, "either you're really fucking stupid or you think I am! I know you're lying to me, bastard!"
"Veh?! No! It's the truth! Really Lovi! Why would I lie to you?" Feliciano asked, trying to hide his guilt. He nervously looked around, noticing people staring at the enraged Italian. "L-Lovi, calm down please," he tried, changing his tactics, "You know I get scared when someone yells at me..." He forced out a few tears as an added touch and bowed his head. He felt relieved when he heard his brother grumbled an apology.
"Fine, fine... but you better not be lying to me."
Lovino scoffed but didn't press the matter any further. Feliciano smiled again, knowing he had convinced his brother for now.
"So, how is everyone?" he asked quietly, "have you told Antonio where I'm at? He should come and visit me... I haven't seen him in a long time. Have you seen Elizaveta or Roderich at all? I heard they were fighting again before I... left." He stifled a giggle when he saw his brother turn red at the mention of their Spanish friend.
"S-Stupid... Of course I told Antonio about this... He kept bugging the shit out of me and wouldn't stop until I told him where you were...," Lovino's blush faded away and continued, "As for the others, Elizaveta left Roderich. I walked past their apartment and she was taking her stuff to the pink bastard's place. Dunno why."
"Is that so?" Feliciano gasped, "But they love each other a lot..."
"By the sounds of it, Elizaveta didn't love him enough," Lovino waved it off, "Roderich hasn't left his apartment since she left. Must have been pretty bad."
"Eliza told me that he was getting jealous of an old friend of hers just because she had gone to visit him alone. That's as much as I can remember," Feliciano sighed sadly, "why would they break up? Eliza loves Roddy, even if he doesn't see it..." He looked over to Lovino and stared before adding bluntly, "Have you and Antonio started dating yet?"
"Haha, Antonio was right, your face does turn into a tomato when you're embarrassed."
"S-Shut up! If you weren't in here, I would beat the shit out of you, bastard! I'm gonna kill that tomato bastard! Talking shit about me with my little brother, that asshole!"
Feliciano laughed loudly, amused by Lovino's reaction. He had missed his brother's antics very much, and it was good to see his brother hadn't changed. "No, Antonio was just saying how cute you were. I think he really reeeeeally likes you, Lovi!"
"S-Shut up... idiot."
Lovino crossed his arms and frowned. "Wipe that stupid smile off your face," he grumbled, causing Feliciano's smile to grow bigger.
"But I missed having fun with you, Lovi~!"
"Then do us both a favour and take better care of yourself! I...," the older Italian mumbled the last part.
"What was that? Didn't hear you~!"
"I'm not saying it!"
"Say it, pleeeeeeease!"
"No! You heard me!"
Lovino's phone beeped loudly in his pocket. He angrily took it out and looked at it. "Fuck... Those dumbasses are calling me back to work..." Feliciano's eyes gazed down in disappointment.
"Hey...," Lovino reached over and grabbed his hand gently, "I told you why I had come here earlier than usual. I'll be back next weekend, ok?" He gave a rare smile when he felt Feliciano squeeze his hand. "Take better care of yourself ok? Don't go running into poison ivy, you hear?"
Feliciano said his goodbyes but remained seated long after Lovino had left. He didn't exactly hate this place, but he missed his brother and his friends greatly. Arthur was making his stay bearable, the only one who showed his compassion so far, but God, how he hated the nights when the Brit wasn't around. The cold dark room was too small and the walls closed in on him at night. He heard the heavy footsteps coming closer and closer until they stopped right in front of his room. The low demonic chuckle rumbled against the marred walls. "Go away!" Feliciano hissed in pain, "Nonno, Lovi..."
His eyes shot open, momentarily confused. "Did you hear me? I asked if your brother had left," Arthur asked. He furrowed in brows when he saw a flicker of fear run through Feliciano's amber eyes.
"Oh, Arthur! Yes, he had to leave early today..."
"Ah, well, one of the nurses just informed me that you have a phone call."
Feliciano blinked. "A phone call?" he echoed, "Who?"
"Not sure, but perhaps one of your friends? Were you close to anyone other than your brother?"
"Oh! I have a ton of friends! There's Antonio, Roderich, Elizaveta, Feliks – "
"Then it must be one of them. Come on then."
Feliciano's dark thoughts flew out the window and now excitement flourished. He wondered who could be on the other line. He had lied a bit about having a ton of friends. Even before that happened, Feliciano was sociable but most people found him annoying and some took advantage of his friendly demeanour.
"Try to keep it less than two hours, but there hasn't been many people calling, so I don't think time would be a problem," Arthur said, handing the black phone to Feliciano.
"Ok~! Ciao~ this is Feliciano."
After a few seconds of silence, the person on the other line spoke.
"Hello, you are Feliciano Vargas, ja?"
"V-Veh? Who's this...?" Feliciano asked nervously. He didn't recognise the deep voice coming from the other line. It was too deep to be Roderich, though he could hear a similar, subtle accent the Austrian had.
"Erm, Mr. Vargas, you don't have to sound so alarmed. My name is Ludwig Beilschmidt. I'm a... detective, investigating your case. I would like to ask a few questions, if you don't mind?" It was probably all in his mind, but the man sounded rehearsed to the Italian.
"A detective...? I didn't know I was being... investigated," Feliciano responded hesitantly. Who was this Ludwig? Was this man hired by Lovino? It was unsettling that someone was actually investigating him, when all he wanted to do was to forget.
"Your case could be related to several homicides and kidnappings, and you are the only person is known to have survived. Any information that may link to your kidnapper can help prevent another person from suffering the same fate," the man explained. Again, rehearsed.
"...I-I already told the police I don't know anything... Did my brother hire you?" Feliciano asked, a rare feeling of anger suddenly rising.
"No," the man answered finally, "Like I said, there are other cases similar to yours. Mr. Vargas, if you know anything at all... even the smallest detail can be the key to find the culprit."
"I already told you," Feliciano said firmly, " I don't know anything..." He heard the man sigh in frustration.
"You must remember something -"
"I don't!" he shouted angrily, "Even if I do, I just want to forget, so don't call again and leave me alone!" He slammed the phone down on the receiver. His throat felt tight and he could not find his breath. Feliciano gasped for air like a fish out of water, clawed at his arms, but cursed loudly when he felt the tightly wrapped bandages guarding the skin. His arms felt heavy, the weight of invisible chains bounded his wrists. Feliciano knew this feeling; he made sure of it – that man with those demon blue eyes who watched the Italian, always.
The next thing he knew, a bright light was being shined in his eyes as different voices yelled at him. "W-What happened...?"
"Feliciano! Good God man, you scared the living hell out of me!" Arthur turned off the small flashlight he was using, un-blinding Feliciano. Alfred and another nurse were standing next to Arthur, checking the Italian's vitals.
"Pulse seems to be returning to normal, skin still feels clammy. Toris, dude, bring Mr. Vargas' medicine. It should help." Toris nodded, and left. Alfred sighed and relief and spoke again, "How do you feel, Feliciano?"
"What...? My head hurts..."
"He still seems to be out of it..." Arthur said worriedly.
"Don't worry about it, Artie, he'll be fine."
"Don't bloody call me Artie, and I will worry if I bloody want to!" Arthur felt a chill run down his spine as a flicker of anger crossed Alfred's usually cheerful eyes. The uneasiness didn't fade away even after the American laughs and waves him off.
"Whatever you say Artie!" Toris rushes into the room with a small paper cup.
"Here's the medication, doctor."
'What... what was that just now...?' Arthur shuddered. He returned to tending Feliciano, and his mind wandered back to his patient.
...I think you can guess who is making their grand appearance, ja? More coming soon, things are gonna get more interesting from here (hopefully).