The Runaway Reawakens
Note: I Own Nothing
Summary: Italy remembers the events of "The Death of Holy Rome and Italy's Memories" as well as how he gained independence.
Chapter 29: Forgiveness
"The…The Dark Room?" Veneziano asked confusedly, wracking his brain for what that meant. Liechtenstein smiled sadly at him. "The room Austria used to put you in when you misbehaved, remember?" She asked. And suddenly, he did.
He remembered the cold, dark, windowless room with a dirt floor and single door that remained shut for hours and hours on end, leaving him cloaked in darkness as he trembled with fear in a corner. He remembered the leftovers he was given when he was stuck in that room for long periods of time. A guard would come and give him a plate of what Austria, Hungary, and Holy Rome had passed up during their own dinner. He remembered Holy Rome giving him better food behind Austria's back when he was finally released from the room.
Veneziano knew that Austria didn't mean to be cruel to him. At the time, there had been worse ways for nations to punish their underlings for misbehavior, and even human children could be treated worse by their own parents. But…it hurt. It hurt a lot.
To sit there in the dark, wondering when someone would come and let him out. Berating him self for getting himself thrown in the dark room in the first place. Crying because he hated the dark and wished that he at least had a candle or window to give him light.
It was a bitter, bitter memory of his time under Austria…
"I remember…but…what happened in that room to make me regain my memories?" Veneziano asked softly. Liechtenstein reached across the distance of the table to take his hand in hers. He squeezed it back and they shared a sad smile with one another. Tears came to Liechtenstein's eyes. "I…I don't know…" She admitted, her voice cracking. Her tears ran down her cheeks, and her other hand reached for Veneziano's, enclosing his right hand with both her warm, soft ones. She squeezed them tightly. Veneziano felt his heart sink.
"I'm sorry, Italy, I'm sorry. But…all I can say is…" Liechtenstein turned away and squeezed her eyes shut, biting her lip as if her next words would be painful ones. She looked at him again and said, "You came out of that room, that last time, changed…or, or maybe not even that…maybe it was what you truly were like all along…but…you were different." She took a breath, and Veneziano reached across the table to place his other hand over hers, urging her to continue despite the fact they were both crying now. He wasn't even sure why they were crying. Maybe…maybe it was because they were both in so much pain.
"You came out after sixty days…" She began softly. "You had tried running away again, and Austria and his boss were very mad. They had you thrown into the dark room for longer than you ever were before. It was either put you in the dark room…or in a cell under the royal palace. They brought you food everyday, scraps…I brought you your food sometimes…and when I saw you, Italy, you…you were so broken…" Liechtenstein took a breath. "I hated seeing you like that…you were—still are—my friend, Italy, and seeing what that room was doing to you made me crazy. I watched you cry and wither, and you became shell of your former self…or…I don't know what you were while you were in that room, but it was terrible...it broke my heart." A round of sobs wracked the girl's body, and Veneziano couldn't stand it. He stood up and rounded the table to engulf his friend in a hug.
Liechtenstein cried into his shoulder for several moments before continuing, whispering the words into the fabric of his borrowed clothes. "You stopped crying eventually…and smiling…and even looking at me when I came with your food. You mumbled things though…about…your past…" Veneziano pulled back from his friend to look down at her confusedly. "My past?" He whispered and she nodded.
"Terrible, Terrible things," She murmured. "About the last time you saw your grandfather…those first awful years you were on your own…those wars with your own brother…the fights with invaders…I don't think you ever meant to tell anyone. But you whisper about it, would be whispering about it when I came to give you your feelings…reliving those horrible memories. I would have nightmares about the things you told me and cry for you when I woke up screaming." Liechtenstein leant back into him and wrapped her arms around his middle. "I'm sorry, Italy. I'm sorry for all you endured." She said, and Veneziano hugged her back thankfully.
When the two of them separated, they sat themselves down on the floor in front of the fireplace rather than at the table. They sat cross-legged and facing one another, hands in their laps, and faces damp with tears. "Tell me more, please?" Veneziano eventually asked in a whisper, and Liechtenstein nodded. She took a deep breath and began again. "In the last few days of your confinement, that's when I noticed a change…you stopped your mumblings, and you were instead…the best way I can put it is to say you were angry and broodish. When I came to give you your meals those last few times, your expression was always angry and your fists were clenched, and you glared at the door as if you hoped to make it burst into flames. You…you frightened me." She admitted. Veneziano felt guilty then. "I'm sorry, Liechten. I'm sure I didn't mean to." He said, taking one of her hands in his. She nodded and smiled at him. "I know, I know. No need to apologize, Italy…it's just…I don't like remembering you that way." She said.
"Then don't," Veneziano said in reply, squeezing her hand and smiling at her. "I will never be that person again. I promise you." He said, putting a hand over his own heart. Liechtenstein frowned, however. "I would rather you promise instead to…" Her green eyes met his with determination, her mouth pressed in a hard line and her posture straighter than an arrow. "I would rather you promise to not bear all this on your own." She said, taking Veneziano by surprise. He stared at the girl who looked at him with such fortitude while still holding his hand comfortingly for a moment. "What do you mean—"
"What I mean is that you should stop bearing all your pain by yourself. Being a nation is a burden in itself, all the pain and suffering we endure, we endure with our people and by ourselves…but not forever. Being a nation, Italy, you have to learn to let go of your past and your pain…to go on with your future. Learn to let others help you, shoulder some of your worry and sadness. Forgetting may hurt a lot, and remembering even worse…but forgiving, Italy," She squeezed his hand so tightly he thought it might break as tears sprang to her eyes. "It makes everything feel a whole lot better." She said, wiping her tears away with her other hand. "So I want you to start forgiving, Italy…starting with yourself."
Veneziano remained quiet for a long time, thinking about what Liechtenstein just said. He thought of all the pain he had endured and all he was sure to feel in the remainder of this war with Germany. He thought of Austria and Germany, Hungary and Prussia, and Holy Rome…he missed them, but could he forgive them someday? Could he forgive himself? At the moment, he thought the answer may have certainly been no. But…he was a nation. Didn't that mean he was made to change with the flow of time, and with it, his opinions and thoughts and feelings? If so…perhaps…Perhaps Liechtenstein could be right.
Perhaps he could forgive those who wronged him…and maybe even his self.
"Liechtenstein," Veneziano whispered, reaching out and curling his fingers in the girl's short hair. He leant forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead. He pulled back a moment later and smiled thankfully. "Grazie, mio dolce amico." He said, and she smiled and nodded. "Sie sid willkommen, mein lierber freund." She replied.
A/N: This chapter, I decided to devote exclusively to Italy/Liechtenstein interaction. Hope you don't mind the shortness...(Laughs nervously)
Wow, I may be as close as two-three chapters to finishing this—wow! It's almost done! Which is kind of sad for me…:'(
Sigh...maybe I'll do a threequel...shoot me some ideas if you'd like for follow up stories after this one is finished. I am now accepting requests for one-shots and kink memes (but at most you'll get a lime...I'm *blushes bright red* not ready for lemons...) So PM me, kay?
Oh, translations for that last bit of dialogue between Veneziano and Liechten…
Grazie, mio dolce amico—Thank you, my sweet friend
Sie sid willkommen, mein lierber freund—You're welcome, my dear friend
Anyways, hope ya enjoyed the chapter! Au revoir, mes chers auteurs!