The last chapter is always the hardest. ;~;
Disclaimer: Oh, I definitely own hetalia. I also have three wives, a gold plated toilet, and a talking armadillo named Ronaldo.
I felt proud, well, proud and anxious.
The night before, he'd read through the files. His face had been blank throughout the papers, impassive as he flipped each one. I watched him carefully, gauging him. He didn't even look surprised. Then, Antonio set the papers on his nightstand, flicked off his light, and went to sleep. I blinked. Was he fucking serious?
The nations filed into the meeting room one after the other. It seemed calmer. Everyone was talking civilly, the tension from the last meeting gone. There were even a few good tempered laughs. Maybe the war was winding down. Italy had never been very good at warfare, and with the Italian army dwindling, and German soldiers losing moral, other countries had recalled their positions, breaking ties swiftly. Belgium had finally gained its neutrality.
Antonio was tense, ignoring Francis's attempts to get a reaction out of him. His mouth was set in a hard line, eyebrows furrowed. Belgium noticed the change but brushed it off, attributing it to my death, no doubt.
The meeting went on, nations rising, giving their reports and sitting down. Hungary and Potato bastard number two argued about something for the duration of Prussia's report. Switzerland had to shoot at them to get them to shut up. Luckily, Liechtenstein had been there to convince her brother not to shoot the albino bastard. He blushed as she patted his arm. He'd realize why in a few years when she filled out.
I hovered behind Antonio, standing sentry with my arms crossed. I had an idea as to what he was going to do, and I was worried for him. I couldn't be sure of the reactions he would invoke.
Finally, it was Antonio's turn. He stood, the chair squealing as it slid against the mahogany floor. He stood there silently for a solid minute, his face unreadable. I thought for a moment he might just sit back down. Antonio reached into the opened the folder in front of him, pulling out the bound papers before throwing them on the meeting table decisively.
It was silent, a few nations glancing to each other. There was a quiet murmur amongst them, Antonio fuming silently, fists clenched. He picked up his chair and threw it across the room, the wood splintering on impact.
Finally, England reached across the table with a shaking hand. He slid the rubber band off, glancing to Antonio apprehensively. He read the first paper, thick brows drawn together. He flipped through the rest swiftly, barely glancing over them. He threw each paper onto the table as he finished it. America, with his insatiable curiosity picked them up as England set them down, reading a step behind Eyebrows.
England set the last paper on the table, looking back up at Antonio. "Anthony, would you like to explain to me why you brought the files for Italy's agreement to align with Germany in its recent campaign?"
Antonio's chest heaved as he attempted to keep his calm, trembling with pent up rage. "Read the signature."
Feliciano's eyes widened and snapped from Antonio, to Germany, then England. He chewed his bottom lip, leg bouncing under the table. England reread the signature; America read it over his shoulder. The American froze, his face draining of color. He stumbled away from the table to lean against the wall, a few eyes following him. He was visibly shaken, shoulders sagging. He pressed his forehead into the wall, hitting it repeatedly with his fist, his teeth grinding together. They'd never seen America cry, and they wouldn't today.
England looked worried, but kept his gaze on Antonio, raising an eyebrow condescendingly. "It's Italy's signature."
I waited for hell to break loose, but nothing happened. There was general confusion amongst the nations, a few whispers of Antonio having lost his mind surfacing.
"Well?" Antonio's voice was anxious, his eyes narrowed and searching.
"Vell vhat?" Germany's voice broke in as he stood, walking around the table to place a steadying hand on Antonio's shoulder, voicing the shared confusion. He looked concerned for Antonio's mental health. "Of course Italy signed the papers." The words registered slowly, then the hell I'd been expecting surfaced from the most unexpected place. Antonio rounded on the German, and before I knew it Germany was a few paces back, hand to his split lip.
Antonio had punched him.
"You bastard!" I almost thought I had accidentally possessed him. Confusion turned to shock, and then anger as the German nursed his lip. Feliciano had shot out of his seat and was at the German's side, fretting over him.
"What has gotten into you?!" England demanded, standing.
"You blamed him! You blamed him you filthy hijo de puta!" Antonio shot across the table to get at England, but Francis held him back, wrapping his arms around Antonio's middle to restrain him. England took a step back at the outburst, eyes wide. "Me?"
"Everyone!" Antonio was out of control. There was no stopping him at this point; I could only watch as every wall came crumbling. "You ridiculed him! You crushed him piece by piece until there was nothing left for me to love! He hated himself, did you know that?! Did you?!"
"Antoine, calm down! You're going to hurt yourself!" Francis shouted over his curses, struggling with the fighting Spaniard. Antonio's eyes were hollow, pupils nothing but specks.
"Let me go!" Antonio's broke free, that herculean strength rising to the surface. Francis was shocked, falling backwards onto his ass. I thought he'd go for England, but he didn't.
Feliciano never stood a chance.
Antonio's hand wrapped around his neck, mio fratello's back slamming into the wall. He kicked his feet, clawing at Antonio's hand. His eyes were open, wide in fear and trepidation.
"Why didn't you defend him? Why didn't you take the blame for your mistake?" Feliciano was silent, his eyes pleading. "Answer me you selfish prick!" Antonio shook him, Feliciano's head slapping against the wall. Frightened tears gathered in his eyes and beaded down his flushed cheeks.
"Th-they already hated him, s-so it didn't m-matter! I-I didn't want to be, to be h-hated! Mi d-dispiace!" He was sobbing by this point. Finally, Francis was knocked from his shocked stupor. He, along with Lars, pulled Antonio off of my crying fratello.
America hadn't said a word. He'd stared at the floor shamefully throughout the experience, blocking everyone out, but when he looked up he glared at Feliciano with enough malice to kill a man.
Feliciano slid down the wall, rubbing at his eyes as sobs racked his form. "Mi-i dispiace!" There was no pity in Antonio's gaze as he shrugged the two off of him.
"Tell that to your brother."
A hush had fallen over the meeting. No one met anyone else's eyes, no one spoke. Germany was forced to call it to an end; everyone was glad to get away. Antonio left slowly, walking out with his head held high.
He sat on the couch, his head in his hands as he contemplated his next course of action. He'd asked me if he'd done well, if he'd made me happy. I told him he had, but I don't know if he heard me. I took a seat by his side, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. He shuddered.
"I always knew you'd drive me crazy." I smiled into his back.
We all make choices that we have to live with. I wasn't strong enough to live with mine. If I had been, I would have seen that not every action had consequences. My life wasn't so terrible. The only thing wrong with me was me, but not in the way I thought.
So what if I wasn't good at cooking, or painting? Who cared if I was an untalented, clumsy mess? Why should I give a damn what anyone thought of me?! No one was perfect… It was my choice, my fault. I was the one who didn't believe in myself. I was the one so desperate to fail, to anger, to ruin.
I was the one so desperate to falter, and Antonio... to catch me.