A/N: Well, this is the last chapter. It took me longer than I'd like to get it out, especially with its shortness, but I'm just glad I got it out before school started. I'd just like to thank everyone whose taken the time to read, review, fave or follow. I'm extremely grateful because I never thought this story would have done as well as it has.
Please, read and enjoy, and if you have any constructive criticism feel free to let me know.
Disclaimer: Hetalia and all characters are not mine.
Chapter Warning: Language
And the Birds Sing No More
Lovino's brother sat next to him on the couch in the living room of his mother's home, where it was decided that he would be staying until his treatments were done, holding his rough hand in his daintier one, his nails cleaned, filed and immaculate. He smelled like an expensive cologne Lovino couldn't name and it was giving him a headache. He could have said something about it, but he didn't. It just wasn't worth it.
Six months after his abduction he was seeing two therapists, detailing to the both of them about how he lived with Antonio. He kept his promise to himself and didn't tell them about kissing Antonio and his odd desire for a relationship with him, but he divulged to them about Antonio kissing him only to change the subject quickly. It felt too personal.
His father came in the living room and ruffled Lovino's hair playfully, just like he used to do when Lovino was a kid, and they both attempted to smile at each other. The week before he'd gotten his hair cut back to the length it had been back before he started living with Antonio. He'd even got his teeth checked out. The dentist said they could get him a false tooth to fill the place of the one that had been knocked out but Lovino didn't want it. Running his tongue along the gum he realized that he kind of liked the space.
A few of his closer friends sipped alcohol in various corners of the room, glancing awkwardly at the decorations; banners that read, WELCOME HOME, LOVINO! hung from doorways and balloons of every color bounced along the ceiling. It felt like a bit much to him, a little too impersonal, and maybe even just a little inappropriate since he wasn't exactly thrilled about returning home. His brother leaned over to him.
"How're you doing?" he asked with a weak smile and he shrugged back at his question, saying he didn't know. He was lying.
"How're you feeling about being home?" one of his friends asked, a plastic cup of beer in his hand. "…I mean, it must have been…" He seemed to want to say awful but had enough sense not to. "…It must have been hard, man."
Lovino paused, then said, "I'm glad to be safe." That wasn't a lie. Continuing, he said, "After a while it wasn't…it got better, somehow. I'm not sure why." He bit down on the tip of his thumb and his father, on the other side of the room, turned to the friend who had asked the question.
"One of the therapists said it might have been Stockholm Syndrome," he explained and Lovino wished he wouldn't. He didn't like how it sounded or what it made him remember. It made anger boil in his veins and it felt too foreign beneath his skin. The friend furrowed his eyebrows slightly and opened his mouth but Lovino interrupted him and said almost bitingly, not looking at him,
"It's when you fall in love with your fucking captor."
The friend closed his mouth and didn't ask any more questions. A balloon popped in the corner of the room and everybody jumped except for Lovino.
It was about nine o'clock when all of the guests left. He grinned weakly at them and tried acting like there wasn't anything remotely wrong with him, grateful for the fact that they cared enough to want to find him and want to make him comfortable again, but it only made him feel uncomfortable and tired and lonely. He waved at them as they left and told his mother that he was going to bed. He had to keep the door to his bedroom open in case he tried to kill himself. That was something they warned her about.
He went to the bedroom upstairs and closed the door anyway. Everything felt grey and blue and he wanted to bring back the color. He paused by the bed and reached for his pant pocket where a rosary used to lay. Blankly, he tried to think about where Antonio might have hidden it because all the police had recovered was his wallet, phone, and keys. It made him think of his mother and when she used to pray with him as a child. The clearest memory was still a little fuzzy as he recalled it.
Beside the bed was where it was best to pray. His mother always said to kneel but sometimes he'd stand to make getting into bed easier. That night she was with him though, kneeling obediently beside him as they'd placed their hands together and bowed their heads. "Repeat after me," she whispered as if God would get angry she hadn't started the prayer yet.
"Our father which art in Heaven..." And he did. Every word he repeated and memorized, for it was a bedtime prayer different from the easy-to-remember 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep'. He was mesmerized. What did all of it mean anyway?
His mother tucked Lovino in, and his brother perched gracefully on the space that remained on the twin-sized mattress that was not taken up by his slight form. "Do evil people go to Heaven, too, Mom?" he had asked, and she gave him a puzzled look. Perhaps the prayer had been too grown-up for him. She tapped her chin thoughtfully before answering.
"I don't believe that there is pure evil in this world, Lovino. All those bad people out there just have monsters inside of them. Monsters that tell them to do terrible things. Sometimes they can conquer those monsters on their own, but sometimes they need someone to help fight them. And in the end, if they ask God for forgiveness for what they've done, they will be let into Heaven, too." She said, leaning down and placing a soft kiss on his forehead. From that night on, that was the only prayer he spoke.
It took Lovino a moment to realize he hadn't prayed in a long time.
He blinked the memory away lethargically and walked over to the wall opposite of the bed and stood in front of the closet there. Quietly, he opened it, pulling on the metal chord that brought the light bulb above his head to life. The small space filled with yellow light. He stepped inside and smelled dust. He closed the door. In his head he smelled art supplies and musk. In his head he saw color.
Lovino sat down in the closet and clicked off the light.