Author's Note: Yes I know I shouldn't be starting a new project because of my one…two…three — my many unfinished projects but I really couldn't resist with this one. Normally I would welcome flames, but please be nice to this one. I've been working on this one for a little bit over half a year with the whole plot line and history background and then writing the first chapter several times. So with that said, I hope you enjoy the beginning of this story, and feel free to correct me on something whether it's a grammatical or historical error.
Warning: There will be some touchy subjects since this is a WW2 based fic so if you're not interested in the time period and read anyway, don't flame me. I warned you. I'm not sure if there will be character death to the main characters, but I guess we'll both find out along the way. Pairings will be PruAus and FrUK and maybe hints of Ameripan but I'm not sure yet. Rating may go up in the future. Again, I don't know but we'll see.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia and therefore none of the characters from Hetalia are mine. OCs and the plotline are mine, but I think you already knew that. Now onwards to the story my friends.
The hand froze, uncertain if it should continue.
'This is stupid. I shouldn't do this.' the Prussian thought, crimson eyes stared down at the blank crisp page of the small notebook. 'Dummkopf…'
His eyes fluttered closed as the dreaded memory of stumbling upon such a thing replayed in his mind, haunting his every waking thought. The man was scrawny, fear evident in his dark eyes as he was surrounded by German soldiers. The commander pulled the man by the scruff of his tattered shirt, dragging him to his feet. He was hiding in some attic of a friend's. It was the sound of the cat that had alerted them to check the attic. Once up there, it was not long until they had found what they were looking for, a Jew.
He was huddled in the corner, cowering from the loaded guns, knowing death was soon to come. He was pulled outside on the streets along with the family that had sheltered him as onlookers were forced to watch the horrific scene. The scarlet eyes had blinked, if only for a second, when the fire of a gun resounded through the streets, echoing and rebounding the sides of his skull to leave a mental scar. He would never get over the sound of the gun shot. The sound of human thunder able to take away life in a single metal bullet was unsettling. It was not right he thought; it was not right.
He was ordered to take the bodies away, and that was when the leather bound notebook had fallen from the dead man's person. He knew he should have not touched it, picked it up, held it. He should have not taken it. It belonged to a damned man as he would now be cursed for holding such a thing, but he did. Still the Prussian did not know what had driven him to take it, but it was done. Time could not rewind itself. If it could, he would have rewound it a long time ago: a time where the National Socialist Party never existed, a time where he was happy once more, a time where he and Roder—
Crimson eyes fluttered open, not being able to bring himself to say the name, even in his own thoughts. The young man was another object that plagued his every waking moment. Even in his dreams he still saw the young Austrian. Whenever his crimson eyes closed he could see those fiery amethysts eyes shining back at him.
Rugged hands, bloodied by the beginning of war, trailed in his inner pocket. Fingertips brushed over the small picture he had taken of the Austrian before he was conscripted into the Wehrmacht. His crimson eyes closed once more, going back to that day.
The violet-eyed man had just told him he was preparing to return to Austria with his family. Tension had grown in Germany between the Aryans and Jews as time gone on. Gilbert saw the filthy propaganda slashed across windows, written vile words politically saturated in books, and even the radio wasn't safe anymore. The media painted unscrupulous animals out of nothing but humans to corrupt the minds of society, his society. Some took to it, including his younger brother but he could not bring himself to think such things. Not when he had Roderich to prove Jews were not parasites draining and killing the venerated Fatherland.
He remembered the way the violet eyes flickered at him. An unquestionable sorrow held in those amethyst orbs. Gilbert stood silently for quite some time, not knowing what to make of the news. He knew Roderich could not stay in Germany any longer. Jobs were becoming scarce now that the Nuremburg Laws had been passed. Roderich's father headed a well-respected commercial bank until he was let go because of his religion though because he was well liked by the owner, he was able to be transferred to another bank in Austria where they originally were from. If they did not leave now, they may never have the chance again.
Gilbert himself was from a well-respected family due to his father's accomplishments in World War One. Even if they had lost the war, his father was still a decorated general and it was because of his rank in society that had saved Gilbert's neck. It was not only Jews that the NSADP were after, but anyone that had looked different as well. Silver-white hair and unearthly red eyes didn't exactly scream out Aryan. Instead he was allowed to be conscripted into the army seeing that Germany desired soldiers at the time, and the fact that if he had stayed he would have put not only his life but his family's life in danger as well. The National Socialists went to extremes to keep the German race pure if it was to be number one in the world.
Unnerving silence had settled between them. Crimson eyes glared at the Austrian, not because he was angered by the said young man but the situation that was thrust upon them. The Austrian, on the other hand, thought the floor was more fascinating at the moment, not being able to meet his friend's gaze. Friend…was that all they were? Gilbert wasn't sure. He cared more for Roderich than maybe a friend should. There had been stolen glances, light meaningless teasing, and sometimes small touch that meant nothing to everyone but everything to them. Yet neither members of the party could bring themselves to even think of a certain four lettered word, let alone say the three lettered phrase that is said too often but never enough. No, they were too frightened at the moment of the unknown, of society, of themselves. They wanted nothing but everything from the other but neither knew how to give nor receive what they both desired.
"G-good bye…Gilbert." Roderich's voice trembled, violet eyes stilled trained on the ground. With a sharp intake of breath, as if the movement caused him pain, he went to take his leave, no longer being able to be the object of such scrutiny. He took no more than two steps before a sudden hand clamped around his wrist to draw him backwards. Another hand grabbed his chin roughly, drawing it up as lips clashed, bodies molding together to form one. Even now, thinking back on the distant memory, Gilbert was not able to say what had driven him to kiss the man, but he did not regret his actions.
Lips pressed together hungrily, trying to desperately get closer to one another. Deft fingers bunched in the fabric of the Prussian's shirt, holding on as if it were his life line while pale fingers entangled themselves in the silky chestnut locks. They tugged and pulled, trying to get as close as physically possible. An unsure tongue pried the other lips apart. Even if they were not experienced, pure adrenaline, desire, and maybe even love filled in the voids. A sweet taste had filled the Prussian's senses. There were restrictions of many things for Jews including sweets, but yet there was a trace of something. Gilbert figured it must of have been some saved hard candy Roderich had eaten before meeting him, something sweet to quell his fears. The sweet flavor was soon mixed with the tangy taste of tears. It was then that Gilbert had parted for much needed air before lightly kissing the salty tears that had ran down the alabaster skin. Even Gilbert had silently shed tears of his own, silencing Roderich's small sobs with a chaste kiss.
He did not know how long they had held on to each other. At the time, nothing else existed. All his troubles were paused so he may be able to bask in the pure bliss of being held by someone he had cared more deeply for than he had thought. Of course he had to realize it before their inevitable separation. Gilbert feared this would be the last time they would see each other. Just when he had finally come to terms with his feelings for Roderich he would never be able to hold him like this, feel him, kiss him. When would he be able to hear the musical voice again, or feel those artisan fingers brush over his? The question couldn't be answered, and because of this Gilbert was never able to sleep well after that day. All he was left with was an old photograph and bittersweet memories.
Crimson eyes opened once more, staring down at the unmarked page of the journal. With new determination fueled in him, he began to write once more on the page. Completing the name he dared not voice aloud in the last few years since they had been apart. He may never be able to send Roderich the letter, but the ability to confide in someone, something, was what he desperately needed. He needed something to clear the convoluted mess in which was called his mind. He needed to clear the blood that stained his hands, and to silence the thunder that racked his skull. He needed closure, forgiveness, security…he needed him.
The morning, spring air was heavy and moist from the endless days of rain which only seemed to grate upon the nerves of the allied soldiers. They were ready to invade and had been for quite some time. The water level was high, reaching the British soldier's chest as he waded through the hazy sea water to the beach. Emerald eyes scrutinized the rippling surface as if he could depict the outcome of the invasion. When he had reached the sandy shores, there was nothing but eerie silence. He had expected to hear the incessant thundering of bullets whizzing through the air, but there were none so far. Had they missed their mark?
Boom! The man beside him collapsed, dropping to the sandy surface beneath his feet. With aberrant speed, the soldiers ran for cover from nearby dunes that lined the shore. The rattling of a machine gun continued to wrack the land as cries from wounded soldiers filled the air.
A large cemented fort was fixed on top of a large bluff, surrounded by extensive barbwire and possible hidden mines. Even with the precarious obstacles ahead, the troops pushed forward. The earth quaked as the ground erupted from lethal explosives, leaving open wounds in the sandy expanse. She shook and rumbled in protest to such treatment as her children fought, threatening to tear her apart.
The British soldier pushed through, keeping a sharp ear for any shells. His strides were long as he weaved through the wire, trying to avoid any opposing impediments. He slammed his back against the ridge. The crevices of the surface dug into his back as he pressed himself against it as if he could become one with it to escape the madness which surrounded him. Thunder quaked in his ears while excess fragments of the ground showered over him. Still the soldiers pressed on.
There were fewer German soldiers than allied, but yet they still did not surrender. They took down as many allied soldiers as they could. They were trained well, having precise aim when firing from far away, but they were not so skilled when it came to closer parameters. The allied forces were reaching enemy lines, cutting through them as they breached their walls.
The Brit continued on, unexpectedly losing his balance from a nearby explosion. His body was forcefully slammed against a wall with a solid thud. The wind was knocked from his lungs and his vision fading in and out. An onslaught of raging bullets flew past him, causing him to take cover. He rounded a corner of the cemented foundation, colliding into another body. Instinctively he quickly grabbed the hilt of his dagger and drove it into the figure before him. Emerald eyes flickered up briefly, catching a glimpse of unusual crimson eyes staring back at him in utter shock.
A trembling hand clutched his shoulder. It held on tightly; its fingernails digging into the dark olive green of the Brit's tunic. Its powerful hold lessened in a few seconds before the body fell limp against the nonplussed man, who did not know what to do. He had never killed a man in hand to hand combat. He had shot men down, but to kill a man with his own hands was a foreign, unwelcomed feeling. It was something that training could never prepare him for.
Befuddled with his heavy thoughts, he had forgotten about the battle around him. A sudden grasp around his arm, pulled him out of the convoluted haze. The soldier dragged him forward, and out of harm's way. The savior briefly glimpsed back at the British man who stumbled to keep up. His crystal blue eyes caught the shimmering emerald and the British soldier knew exactly who the man was: Francis.
The Frenchman suddenly pulled the soldier to him, bringing them down as a shell fell near them. Fragments of the earth rained down over them as Francis used his body as a shield to protect the British man from harm's way.
"Arthur?" Francis called out to the sheltered man beneath him over the roar of the dying battle around them. The Frenchman knew Arthur did not understand French as they were both estranged to each other's native language, but the single utterance of the other's name could be understood clearly. It was the only way Francis could ask if Arthur was fine.
The British soldier clung to the earth, still shaken by those haunting crimson eyes. He did not hear his French comrade nor was he able to comprehend his surroundings as Francis lifted him to his feet once more to run for cover. His back was pushed up against a wall before a strong hand clenched his shoulder to push him down.
Arthur remained in the sitting position, emerald eyes following the deft movements of the French soldier. The man stood stoically, with his rifle aimed and ready to fire. The power from the shot kicked the man's shoulder, forcing it back slightly, but still the lithe frame never wavered. He stood resilient against the Germans, and did not look back at his comrade until the sounds of war died down to only a faint mummer.
Blue eyes scanned the scene to make sure they were safe before he bent down to inspect the Britain. He only spoke with his actions. After a few years of knowing the certain man, he knew words were useless. Arthur understood that Francis was looking for wounds, but he brusquely battered the caring hands away from him. He did not need the French's help.
A rough hand gripped his upper arm, stilling his small revolt. Arthur looked up at Francis's hard expression, knowing well that the man before him would help him whether he desired it or not. Francis reached inside his military pack and pulled out some gauze. It was damp from wading in the water, but it would have to do for now. Francis wrapped it securely around Arthur's forearm where blood flowed freely from a clean downward cut. He wrapped it securely to stop the bleeding.
All the while, emerald eyes watched the other's movements as he was tended to. Arthur wondered why the man even cared for him. He never had anything nice to say to him. Maybe it was the fact that the man did not know what he was saying and therefore did not understand how annoyed he made the Briton feel. Even so, Arthur thought the Frenchman would be able to tell his discomfort and aggravation through his body language. Apparently not, or he just decided to ignore them.
Again, Francis spoke to him in French, offering him a hand to pull himself up to his feet. Arthur, out of spite for reasons unknown or maybe just to show he could take care of himself, stood up without the help of Francis and started to walk off to find his fellow British comrades now that the fighting had ceased.
The army spared little time as they quickly counted the dead and wrapped up the wounded before they headed off. They had a long journey a head of them if they were to reach Paris. There was no moment to spare; France was counting on them. The group met little resistance if none at all from the people. The tanks rolled in as they followed road ways. When the day was coming to a close, they finally set up camp.
When Arthur sat down with his ration of dinner, he was unpleasantly surprised when someone sat beside him. Arthur wasn't a very social person. He didn't think he was a hard man to get along with, he just didn't feel the need to get close to anyone who could very well die the next day. Emerald eyes glared at the Frenchman who came to sit beside him. He took Arthur's arm, despite the Briton's protests and proceeded to remove the bandages. With a damp cloth, he cleaned the wound once more before wrapping it up in fresh, dry gauze.
Arthur muttered a quiet 'merci' to Francis who only grinned at his comrade's effort at trying to be civil. He then reached into the folds of his uniform to pull out a black leather-bound book. He held it out for Arthur to take only for the British man to give him a quizzical look.
"That's not mine." Arthur corrected which only served to confuse Francis as well.
"Y-you drop it."
Arthur's head whirled around to stare at Francis wide eyed, "What did you say?"
"You drop it…this." Francis held up the notebook once again to Arthur to emphasize his point. "When you kill him, you drop it."
Even though the Frenchman's English was poor, it was the first time Arthur had ever heard him utter a word of his language. "I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. That is not mine."
"Yours now." Francis left the book on Arthur's lap before standing up to take his leave. Arthur tried to call out to him to take the blasted book back where he found it, but his words fell upon deaf ears. He watched as Francis went to rejoin his own group of friends. They were fellow free French solders as Arthur recognized a few of the faces since they fought together in Africa as well.
There was a slight look of envy in those emerald eyes of the Briton. He did not understand how Francis could always surround himself with friends. He could not fathom how they could tolerate his obnoxious accent, his cheesy laugh, and even his over exaggerated movements that belonged more to a woman than to a man. At least, that's what Arthur thought.
A small scowl marred Arthur's features as he averted his gaze back down to his lap. The very thought of Francis infuriated him as he wondered why he even bothered thinking about him at all. As a last attempt to save his day, he looked back at the book at hand. Curious emerald eyes scrutinized the leather cover. The spine of the book looked a bit worn from much use, but everything still looked intact. He opened to a random page, finding out that it was not a story book at all but a notebook. Scrawled over the pages were incomprehensible words with little dots over some of the letters and he figured it was in another language.
"I heard you were hurt. Are you alright, bro?" the sudden inquiring voice derailed Arthur's train of thought as he looked up at someone he also did not wish to see.
'Why aren't I popular tonight?' Arthur thought to himself before answering indifferently, "I'm fine."
The American shrugged, used to this kind of treatment from his half-brother. Arthur's Grandmother from his father's side once said that their kind does not divorce but simply take long breaks. Alfred did not blame their mother for not wanting to remain in England and so she went back to America where the rest of her family resided only to have Alfred and Matthew born out of wedlock. For this reason, both Alfred and his brother, Matthew, are looked down upon Arthur's side of the family and were never accepted. Even Arthur held some resentment over his two younger brothers, often referring to them as mere acquaintances instead of family.
"What do you have there?" Alfred, even with the knowledge that Arthur didn't very much care for him, still tried to be amicable.
"Nothing," Arthur replied, remaining withdrawn, "I was planning on throwing it out. I have little use for it."
"Don't do that!" Alfred went to grab the notebook before Arthur could burn it. "That's good paper. We could use something nice to write on to send letters back home."
"Fine then, you keep it." Arthur insisted, handing it over to Alfred. The American took it, flipping through the pages as blue eyes scanned the format.
"I think these are letters, Arthur. It's too bad he was never able to send them." Arthur remained indifferent on the matter. "I wonder what it says."
"I don't." Arthur replied strongly. It belonged to a dead German soldier he figured, and he did not want to know his thoughts before he died. He thought of it as an omen if they read it as he eyed it precariously. If Francis had picked it up from the man he killed, he most certainly did not want to read it.
"Hey, there're two different handwritings in here. What if it's like a chain thing?" Alfred continued to look through the notebook animatedly even though he couldn't read it. "One is addressed to…Eliza, and the other to a guy named…Roderich. Hm…I should address mine to…"
"You're not addressing anything to anyone." Arthur had snatched the notebook from Alfred's clutches. "The previous owners of this book are most likely dead, and you want to write in it?"
"I see no harm in it. Hey, I wonder who speaks German around this camp." Alfred looked around him. He wouldn't ask a general, who probably could speak German, for he didn't want them to laugh and throw it in his face. 'Who would be a nonjudgmental person?'
"Mattie!" Alfred waved his hands so the Canadian could see him. The man called over sighed when he heard his brother calling him. Arthur caught sight of Matthew as well, cursing when he saw he was with Francis. They soon both made their way towards the fire Alfred and Arthur were by, causing the Brit to mumble his annoyance to the situation at hand. 'Oh brilliant...'
"Yes, Alfred?" Matthew inquired when he reached them, wondering what on Earth his brother would want from him this time. In truth, Matthew might have been the most judgmental person between the four, it was just that he never voice out his opinions.
"Do you know how to read German by any chance?"
"German?" Matthew repeated as his brows slightly furrowed out of confusion. "No, why did you think I would know German?"
"Because you know French and stuff."
Matthew sighed before explaining, "I know French because I'm French Canadian, but that does not mean I know German."
"Allemand?"Francis looked over at Matthew for clarification. Matthew nodded before elucidating in French. As the two began to converse, neither Arthur nor Alfred knew what they were saying. They shot each other annoyed looks on the matter. For all they knew, they could be talking about them without their knowledge, like how Arthur would do sometimes to Francis because the Frenchman had no idea what he was saying.
Matthew nodded before looking back over to Alfred and his hand out for the book, "Francis has offered to read the book since he can read German. I can translate what he is reading."
"Really?" Alfred snatched the book back from Arthur who was too surprised at the moment to have even noticed Alfred had taken the book back.
'He can read German?' Arthur could not wrap his mind around the new information. 'Since when?'
"Cool, so you can read this?" Alfred handed the book over to his brother who then gave it to Francis. Francis looked over the pages. His blonde eyes furrowing slightly at the first few pages before a slow smile crossed his features when he read the familiar words.
He spoke to Matthew once more before the Canadian translated. "He said the first writer was Polish, not German. The second writer, on the other hand, is German."
"So you can read it?"
"Yes, he can read it."
"Then come sit down." Alfred patted the spot beside him. "I want to hear this." Alfred grinned excitedly, scooting over to allow the other's room. Arthur on the other hand adorned a small scowl as his signature thick eyebrows creased together in exasperation. He did not want to know what was written but at the same time he was not about to move. He was here first damn it! If anyone should move, it should be them he thought bitterly.
Francis thanked Alfred for moving over before sitting down by the fire with Matthew beside him. He opened to the first page of the notebook where the German words were scrawled across the page. Blue eyes scanned the page before he began to read.
A/N: Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the beginning. I don't know when I'll update because school is really busy and then my summer is really busy as well except for August but I'll find time to update this somehow. Thanks again and take care.