A/N: Well, this is the first story I've decided to put up on here in the last six years I've been on this site, and I spent an awful long time just trying to plan it out properly in my head before I even decided to write a word. This story is going to explore the psychological phenomenon, known as Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages or victims begin to develop feelings of sympathy, empathy, or love towards their captors. I always found this "syndrome" so fascinating, and I've wanted to write something on the topic for a long time, so I thought it might as well be Hetalia, because feel comfortable enough with attempting to write these characters. And I like the idea of a psychotic Spain. And this is my favorite pairing, so yeah. Excuse the shortness of this chapter, but it is the prologue so it's not supposed to be long. And it's also not where the story begins.

Please, read and enjoy, and if you have constructive criticism feel free to let me know.

Disclaimer: Hetalia and all characters are not mine.

Pairings: Spain/S. Italy, possible other pairings will be in the background

Warnings: Language, mature content, violence, hazardous drug abuse, psychological/sociopathic tendencies and manipulation.

Chapter Warning: None


And the Birds Sing No More
I. Prologue

Flames danced to life beneath the black coils atop the stove, and Lovino stands there and watches as tiny tendrils of smoke curl up from a previous spill on the burner. A slight violet tinge appears, nestled there in the black rings, and then the element assumes some reddish-purple tones, like unripe blackberries. It shifts from a burning sunset orange until, finally, settling on an intense, heated red. He stares distantly, a tea kettle snug in his grip, as he vaguely recalls in his thoughts that the violent hues remind him of Dante's nine rings of Hell. Eyebrows pinch together as he banishes the thought from his mind, and places the kettle haphazardly on the searing metal, listening for a moment as the water sloshes inside. His lip curls in distaste before his gaze, from the kitchen, searches the living room; the place where linoleum met carpet and where the flashing lights from the television set illuminated the couch. The back wall. Antonio's passive, sleepy countenance. Lovino absentmindedly fiddles with the handle of the kettle, pulling it forward to center it over the heat.

Antonio slipped the tip of his thumbnail between his lips, biting at it as he stares vacantly at the television. Despite the neutrality of his face, a smile hides at the corner of hi lips, inconspicuous and lingering. His silhouette visible through the large, wooden walk way betwixt the living room and kitchen. He was leaning forward, elbows placed securely on his knees, the epitome of interest towards the glaring television set. Lovino says nothing. He watched condensation gather on the kettle's metallic surface, beginning around the middle and dripping down and hissing in the hellish coils below. Like tears or sweat. Sighing in agitation, he lifts the kettle by its black handle, gritting his teeth together and listening to the SSSS of the water against metal. He rearranges the kettle and sets it back down and crosses his arms, leaning against the counter. He silently sulks and wishes there was something better to drink than just tea. He was getting so sick of tea.

"Hey...Lovi."

Lovino's lip twitches and his insides squirm, rising and falling in a movement that reminded him of the sensation when on a swing set. Or when falling in a dream, only to awake in a cold sweat.

"Hm?"

Antonio doesn't look away from the television, seemingly enraptured with whatever asinine pictures appeared across the screen. Soft blue and clinical white flashed on his face, casting dark shadows with every flicker of movement, and his voice was a low hum, like a slow song that was playing just a little too slowly. His fingers were clenched, intertwined and folded beneath his lips. A mimicry of what one looks like when praying. The half of the smile that Lovino could see seemed frozen, and his eyes were flat, but Lovino felt like Antonio was watching him even if his eyes weren't moving.

"What're you thinking about?"

Hot little spiders erupted across Lovino's skin, raising the hairs along his arms and the back of his neck. Heat followed the goosebumps and they eventually transformed into the slimy eel of anxiety which wriggled in his stomach. He was aware of the marble counter top digging into his lower back, the handles from the array of drawers pressed lightly into his skin and he knew that Antonio had most of them locked because they were full of knives, bottle openers, roasting tools. He licked his lips once, then sunk his top teeth into the bottom lip before shuddering. Steam had begun to rise from the perspiring tea kettle and for an abrupt moment Lovino wanted to take it and smash it across Antonio's skull.

"Nothing," He pressed his hands hesitantly to the closest drawer's handle and discretely tried to curl the tips of his fingers quietly around it. He pulled gently, carefully, trying to withhold any sounds that may erupt from the slight movements, but the drawer was jammed, stopped undoubtedly by a lock, and the silverware inside rustled and clanked and made loud, metallic sounds.

Antonio blinked owlishly, forehead crinkling as his grin widened, and Lovino could feel the heavy pressure of Antonio's imaginary stare. He pulled his twined fingers apart, flexing the fingers almost unconsciously. His eyebrows suddenly rise, disappearing behind dark curls of hair, and his face became stoic and calm. The man on the couch said sharply, abruptly, but in a soft tone, "Don't ever leave me."

Lovino said nothing. He allowed the tense heaviness settle among his shoulders, tighten his lungs, and spread between the space from where he stood to where Antonio was seated lethargically. Antonio's gaze sharpened. Lovino, inclining his head slightly, whispered, "I won't."

The tea kettle screamed.