AN: Inspired by a separation from my babies, I wrote this. Set around WWII but I suppose it could be anywhere? It's meant to be the Blitz but t'isn't specified heheh
NAMES: Human names, Lachlann is Scotland
WARNINGS: Blood and a few naughty words
DISCLAIMER: Not my Hetalia
Arthur is dead. He has to be, he reasons, to be in such a horrible place. He is in Hell, where the fires are biting at his feet and the white hot pain burns his head. He has to be in Hell, if he can hear all the voices, the screams and yells of his dying people. Everyone who dies is passing by him, moving on and upwards, but as they pass, the catch him. They pull at him, making him look into their eyes as they plead with him to save them, or they hurl abuse as he lets them slip away. He can't help it, he can't fight it! If he could speak he would beg them to take him with them, he would give up too. But he is chained to this Hell, this Hell that really, is Earth. Arthur is not dead, and he is not yet dying either.
War is raging, and his men are dying, and every night only brings them into the light. Each life that is torn from him burns, it hurts as they cling onto life, onto him. Their hands scratch at his chest, his neck, his face. They close around him, suffocating him. He can't breath, he can't think, he just wants it to stop. The pain to go away.
He finds his voice suddenly, and blots upright.
He's in bed. He's not in Hell. He's pretty sure that Lachlann wouldn't be staring at him with worry in his eyes if he was. His redheaded brother is halfway out of his seat, hands reaching out. The Scot's eyebrows furrow.
"Artie? You alright?" He asks, probably because Arthur looks very confused - he can't move his right arm. Arthur nods though, trying to work out why his arm is strapped to his chest. It's in a sling, he realises.
"What did I do?" He asks, sitting up properly. Seemingly more relaxed, Lachlann leans back into his chair, a smirk tugging at his lips. "That was your boyfriends idea, strapping it up - you broke it," he said, trying to keep his voice light. Arthur was more concerned about the boyfriend part really. He knew he'd been passing out, and there were missing pieces but would he really have forgotten a boyfriend?
He flicks off the covers, swinging his legs around so his toes brush the cool wooden floorboards. "Boyfriend?" He asks, giving his fingers an experimental wriggle. Yes, broken - the shooting pain in his arm is proof enough of that. Lachlann sighs, rolling his eyes.
"That Bonnefoy? You two need to hurry up and do it all ready, God," he say, allowing his smirk to return. Arthur raises his free hand and waves a few particular fingers his brother, making him chuckle. "Ah, well he was all over you earlier, making sure you weren't snapping any other limbs," he added, tilting his head back on his seat.
"What are you doing in here anyway," Arthur asks, wondering if he could still lob a pillow at Lachlann. His brother looks over his nose at him, his lips quirking down again into what Arthur knows is his version of concern. "Had to watch you, Artie, you've been thrashing around in your sleep," he says, bringing a hand to his face and rubbing his eyes. "This war…" He shakes his head, swallowing suddenly.
"It's gonna kill someone. And I don't want it to be you," he says. And then, as though to balance out his kind words, he adds. "Brat."
Arthur laughs, though it turns into a cough and he glances around in search of a drink. Lachlann seems to understand, and leans back to pluck a glass of water from the desk behind him. "You almost knocked it off, so I moved it," he says, handing it to his choking brother. Arthur swallows the whole glass almost instantly, wanting to rid himself of the nasty ache at the back of his throat. It soothes it somewhat so he places it back on the bedside table. "Thanks," he says as he makes to stand up. Lachlann frowns
"You haven't slept much, sure you aren't tired?" He asks. Arthur shakes his head. "No, I want to go sit downstairs," he lies, knowing full well he's exhausted. But he can't sleep, because when he does, he only sees them. The dying. He'd rather not.
As he stands though, another cough shakes him, and he clears his throat quickly. Lachlann's looking at him funny, his eyes wide.
"Artie?" He says, his voice unusually… Flat. Arthur's eyes flick up to him. "What?"
"You're bleeding," he says, pointing at Arthur's chin. The blonde presses a hand to his chin, and sure enough, his fingers meet warmth. Another cough rises, and this time he brings a hand up.
His knuckles are splattered with blood.
"Oh. So I am," he croaks, before the next trickle of blood slips from his lips. Then another. His knees give out, as the trickle becomes a full on flood. Hs whole body trembles with fhe force on the sudden onslaught of pain. He can't breathe. He can't breathe and he can't speak and now he can't see.
Now he can't hear Lachlann yelling, he only barely realises he's being lowered onto the floor. All he can do is burn, as suddenly, the whole country is torn to shreds. People are dying, and now it's not just the soldiers. It's the children, the women at home, it's everyone. This is it. This is the last battle, this will decide it all. It has too, because Arthur's never known pain like this, not the Great Fire, never in another war… This is the finale.
"Arthur? Arthur, listen to me!" Lachlann says, holding his little brother's head as gentle as he would a new-born's. Then he takes in a deep breath and yells.
"Francis! Get your arse up here!"
The pounding of feet is faint in Arthur's ears, but then there's a whisper in his ear and if he can stand the pain silently, he hears the words Lachlann is mumbling.
For God's sake Art, listen to me! I know it hurts, but you've gotta listen! Fight it, fight it already. Listen to me, come on Arthur!
He tries. He pushes the voices away, he has to pretend he's human, because in these few moments, he's good as. His life hangs precariously on the edge of a long drop. He has to fight it. He doesn't want to fall. He isn't ready to die. He's going to fight this, he's going to get through.
It's with a sudden yell, he's back in reality. He wishes he wasn't. This hurts more, it aches in his chest and it burns his throat and he can't breathe.
He's going to drown, choke, suffocate. He's going to die.
Something jerks, something inside his. He's suddenly aware his heart has stopped beating. He feels a last wave of blood tumble from his lips, soaking him. Then nothing. There's no more air to pass his lips.
Is he dead?
He isn't sure. He can't see, or hear, or even feel anything, but he isn't quite gone yet.
He isn't sure how long the feeling lasts but he comes to realise he can feel. He can feel something on his face, there's something pressing down on him, something soft. It's the same something that's making his chest rise and fall, he reasons, though he can't remember what it's called. There's something else, something harder, and it hurts a bit, he realises. It's faster, it's…hands? Pressing down, a steady beat.
One, two, three, four
One, two, three, four
He comes to realise the pressure on his face is in time too, it fits in with the thudding.
On, two, three, four
Then it's gone.
One, two, three, flour
The it's gone.
Then he remembers the name of where the pressure is - his lips, and that means these are someone else's and that must mean they're the one pushing air into his lungs. He likes the feeling. Those lips are gentle, and even if they are at an odd angle, it's like being kissed. Soft, warm and he's pretty sure he can taste coffee. Something metallic too.
He know these lips. He tries to command his eyes to open, so he can be sure. They stubbornly refuse to do so, until he realises they are open. Instead he blinks, a clumsy blink that does nothing, so he forces himself to do it again, and once more.
Light pours down, illuminating the world. Still, the world is blurry, swimming in and out of focus; but he can see Francis. Those bright blue eyes pierce the haze, and he can make out the soft glow of his long blonde hair. Those lips, so pretty, are stained red, with his blood. It almost looks like he was a three hear old who got ahold of his mothers lipstick.
Then Arthur sees a hand pinch down on his nose as those eyes move closer, and Francis helps him take another breath. He likes it. This is nice. Normally they fight, but this feels so nice and warm, why don't they do this more often? He wonders if he'll be able to ask for more later.
As Francis moves back though, he can see something else. The red. That hair.
Lachlann. He's bent over him, Arthur realises and is the source of the quick pounding of his chest. Pumping his heart for him. That's nice, he thinks, that Lachlann is being kind like that. They're usually fighting too, or at least insulting each other. He's glad they aren't fighting now, though he can hear harsh words spilling from the Scotsman.
He can hear.
If he knew which muscles to move, he'd smile, because surely this means he's not dying, he's coming back. Now that he thinks about it, he can't feel the burning of his people now. The pain has dulled, now he just aches for the loss. That means he'll heal. Right?
"Come on Arthur, don't you fucking dare… Don't you dare…. Come on you prat, just wake up," comes the voice of his brother. He sounds far away, but that doesn't make sense because he's right there. As he wonders why that is, Arthur notices that Francis' rhythm has stopped. Then his voice, soft and quiet.
"You don't think he's-"
"Shut up!" Lachlann cuts him off with a snarl. "He's going to make it! He isn't- he's not going to die, okay?!" He says, and though the pounding continues, the light kisses do not. Arthur panics.
They have to continue, they have to, he isn't ready yet! They just have to keep going, he's almost there, he can feel it, he just can't make his lungs work. The colours above him swirl faster, black creeping up around the edges and stealing back the pretty eyes of Francis Bonnefoy. No!
"Francis, if you're giving up on my brother, then go! Piss off!"
Arthur tries to shout out, he wills himself to sit up, to do something, not lay there paralysed. He doesn't want to be given up on. He prays for Francis to continue, he doesn't want him to go, because everything's turning grey again and then-
Light. Light and air, and Francis.
Then a shuddering gasp, and there's a burst somewhere in his chest as his heart gets the message and kicks into overdrive. Everything is so clear, and he can see, and he can breathe.
He takes another breath, and another, hungry for more. He sees Francis, his mouth hung open, those pretty lips parted in surprise. He sees Lachlann too, his head turned to face his and his face is wild and- are those tears? There are droplets splattering his face, so yes, they are tears, both of the men above him… Are crying.
The world goes blurry again and for a terrible second, Arthur's heart jumps because he's fallen back into that darkness, but no, he's just welling up. He tries to push himself upwards, but there's a shooting pain through his arm, the arm that's no longer strapped to his chest. Of course, he thinks, that one's broken, but he doesn't need it because Francis has pulled him up, and into one of the nicest kisses ever. It doesn't matter that they're both covered in blood, or that there are tears cascading down their cheeks,
He's being cradled in the Frenchman's arms, and their lips are joined and this time Arthur can move too, he can kiss back, as his hand finds the Frenchman's face.
They break apart and with a broken laugh, he smiles. Then he's yanked from Francis' arms and pulled into Lachlann's. His brother's arms are stronger, they always have been, but he feels safe in them.
"Don't you ever do that again, Arthur," he growls, but it's halfhearted. Arthur raises a hand to ruffle his hair.
"Have you… Worried, huh?" He replies, a faint smirk appearing. Lachlann holds him at arm's length and regards him for a few seconds.
"Ah, I knew you'd make it," he says, and his grin is back. "You wouldn't go without screwing Francis first."