Genre: Drama/Angst/Romance/Humour(in places)
Pairing/s: (in this chapter) USxUK, GreecexJapan (hints of PolandxLithuania, Hong KongxTaiwan)
Characters: (in this chapter) US, UK, Greece, Japan, Canada, Switzerland.
Rating/Warnings: Overall NC-17. This chapter, PG-13 for Vash's mouth.
Summary: The year is 2438. A little over one hundred years ago, Russia finally cracked and nuclear warheads were sent flying to every corner of the world. No one had time to react. Some countries were wounded, some lost forever. The smaller nations suffered the most. Russia disappeared, never to be heard of again. Finally, the world is beginning to piece itself back together, and there is movement in the irradiated lands of Old Russia. Something is stirring, and only the rag-tag group of remaining nations can discover what it is. Ivan Braginski, or something far worse...
~ There is nothing good in war, except its ending. ~
“Toris? What the hell?”
“He’s finally lost it! Make yourself safe, Feliks, we can’t stop him for long!”
“Oh my God. Toris, get out of there!”
“It’s too late. Feliks, I lov-”
“... Toris? Toris?!”
‘In 2314, Russia finally lost his tenuous grip on reality. We had all expected it. His mental health had been deteriorating for decades, his level of paranoia so unreasonable that even Natalia had become wary of him. Most nations had measures in place, trying to protect their people – fallout shelters, supplies – but for some, it wasn’t enough.
Feliks never really recovered from Toris’ death.
We are all so different now, hardened by the one-sided war that we never believed would, or even could happen. The Baltics had been the first to fall. Toris, Eduard, and Raivis... if it had not been for them, then the warheads flying over us would have gone entirely unnoticed. They had struggled with Russia – with Ivan (and how it pains me to write that name now) – for so long, but at the end of it all, it hadn’t been enough. Nothing we had done was enough.’
Arthur sighed and put down his pen, closing his eyes and pushing one hand through his hair. He glanced across to where Alfred lay on a bunk nearby, his gaze flicking over the drawn, pale face and the fingers curled beside his head that twitched as he dreamed. A faint smile drifted over the older nation’s features, and he picked up his pen once more.
‘At least,’ he wrote, with a pang of regret. ‘Some of us were lucky enough not to lose the ones we love.’
Rising from his chair, he moved across the room and knelt beside the bed, slipping his fingers into Alfred’s hand and squeezing gently. Blue eyes opened, and Alfred smiled, and Arthur thanked Providence or Fate or God that Alfred could still smile like that. He leaned close and hugged him, hating how thin Alfred felt, but there was strength in the slim arms that returned his embrace. It was a strength that had been slowly growing over the past few decades, and it gave them all hope.
“What were you writing?” the American asked, and Arthur gave a small shrug, glancing over to the table. He was about to reply, when the door was pushed open and Matthew poked his head inside. Canada had fared better than many, mostly forgotten in Ivan’s madness, but he still looked a little worse for wear as he cast a tired smile Alfred’s way before turning his attention to Arthur.
“Kiku’s asking for you,” he said, opening the door fully as the older man pressed a soft kiss to Alfred’s forehead, then stood and walked over.
“He’s awake?” the Englishman asked as he set off at a brisk walk beside Matthew, who nodded. That Kiku had managed to wake up was a good sign. That he could speak was even better. It gave a small spring to his normally weary stride as he made his way through the winding corridors, finally stopping before a closed door. Arthur pushed his hair out of his face, unconsciously smoothing the creases out of his scruffy clothes before he walked in, his eyes instantly finding Kiku cradled in Heracles’ lap.
“Arthur...” The word was cracked as it left dry lips, spoken with a voice made harsh from lack of use. Kiku looked terrible, far too thin and far too pale, his strong ties with Greece and the small, mercifully untouched territories that he held in China the only reason that he had survived at all. For a moment, Arthur just stared, then he cleared the room in three strides and sat, grasping Kiku’s hand carefully and brushing the lightest of kisses over the paper-white skin of his wrist. He felt the smaller man’s fingers brush lightly against his hair, and looked up to meet his warm brown eyes.
“Kiku... how do you feel?” he murmured, releasing his hand to Heracles’ gentle grip. The Greek looked happier than he had done in a long time.
“I feel... like a bomb fell on me,” Kiku responded dryly. He shifted, and winced, and didn’t show the slightest hint of embarrassment when Heracles kissed his temple. There was no longer reason or necessity in such things anymore. “How long has it been?”
“Six months, maybe a little more,” Arthur told him, spying the faint shadow that briefly lingered behind the Japanese man’s gaze. “Do you think this will be the last time?”
“I hope so...” He relaxed back against Heracles and sighed. “Have you had any word...?”
Arthur lowered his eyes. Communication was hard, with no electricity and no other way to send messages aside from physically taking them. A few nations were able to take advantage of the magical beings that surrounded Arthur, when they were able to suspend their disbelief and finally see them (and oh, it had been a small victory to finally prove that he was not crazy), but so many were cut off. Over the years they had been able to confirm the deaths of most, but Ivan and Natalia were still missing.
“Yao contacted us a few months ago,” he said, and Kiku sat up a little straighter. “He’s getting back on his feet, finally, with Hong Kong... the poor kid’s still in mourning over Taiwan. He blames himself.”
The door banged open, and a wild-haired young man stood there, a smirk that didn’t suit his boyish features twisting his expression as he met Kiku’s calm gaze.
“So, sleeping beauty has finally arisen,” he spat. “Are you going to stay awake this time or are we going to be taking care of you for another year before you finally decide that it’s worth sticking around?”
Despite Heracles’ soft protest, Kiku moved, and swung his slender legs from the bed. Watching him stand up was painful, the effort shown in every trembling limb, but he did it, and even managed to take a step. He held his head up proudly and met the other’s green eyes unwaveringly.
“What is it,” he said. “That you have against all of us, Zwingli-san?” No sooner had those words left him than a gun was being aimed at his head. Heracles let out a shout, but Arthur held him back, eyes wide as he watched the confrontation. If anything, Kiku seemed entirely unaware that there was a weapon pointing at him, he simply kept his attention on Vash’s face, and the Swiss let out several vehement curses before he pulled the safety pin back. His hand was shaking.
“You,” the younger man said. “All of you. Just sitting here, biding your time. People are dying, everywhere, and you’re just sitting here!”
“None of us could have prevented your sister’s death,” Kiku told him, shutting his eyes briefly as the gun barrel pressed against his forehead.
“Fuck you,” Vash hissed.
“If you believe that killing me will make you any happier, then do it.” The small man’s voice was soft, but he didn’t close his eyes this time, almost defiant as he watched the other man. Vash’s finger slipped over the trigger, and the blonde gritted his teeth, before swearing loudly, blowing a hole in one of the walls and storming out, slamming the door shut behind him. Kiku stood, shaking, for a moment and then promptly collapsed into Heracles’ waiting arms. The Greek shot a fiery look at Arthur as he picked Kiku up and put him back on the bed, and Arthur held one hand up peaceably.
“He could have killed him,” Heracles snapped, suddenly calming as Kiku put a hand on his arm. “You’re still conscious...” he murmured then, placing his hand over Kiku’s fingers. The Japanese man smiled a little, and shut his eyes, but every so often he would squeeze the Greek’s arm, letting him know he was still there.
“He wouldn’t have shot, we both know it,” the Englishman said, not even looking up as the door opened this time, feeling warm arms slip around him moments later. He leaned back against Alfred and looked at the hole that had been blasted in the wall. They needed to think about taking that gun away from Vash. Turning a little in Alfred’s arms he looked at him, and Alfred met his eyes for a heartbeat before he spoke.
“The Nordics are here.”
Hello, me again! I hope you enjoyed this. It's somewhat more ambitious than anything I've planned before, and this is just a taster, so if you're confused... good, because things will be explained X3
| Chapter Two |>