Fiona (blood_winged) wrote in usxuk,
Fiona
blood_winged
usxuk

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At The End Of All Things [4/?]

Title: At The End Of All Things
Genre: Drama/Angst/Romance/Humour(in places)
Pairing/s: (in this chapter) USxUK, PrussiaxCanada, GermanyxN.Italy, SwedenxFinland, GreecexJapan
Characters: (in this chapter) US, UK, Prussia, Canada, Germany, N. Italy, France, Spain, Poland. Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Greece, Japan, Czech Republic.
Rating/Warnings: Overall NC-17. This chapter, PG-13 just to be safe.
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. ~

****
 
‘We thought that Kiku was dead when we found him. It was like a miracle when we realised that he was still breathing, and found the faint pulse fluttering at his throat. Heracles fell to his knees and sobbed, inconsolable as we picked Kiku’s broken body up and took him somewhere safe, his home practically collapsing around us as we left it. We wouldn’t have searched at all; certain that we wouldn’t find him alive, but Heracles had been so insistent and we couldn’t allow him to go alone.

He spent the first thirty years in a coma, the wounds inflicted on his body simply too much for his mind to handle while conscious. When he finally woke, he was barely coherent, but he knew us, and that was reassuring. Heracles took as much looking after as Kiku did, making himself sick with worry, but slowly, Kiku began to mend, and his periods of consciousness began to draw closer together. The last time he woke up, it was almost seven months ago, and he was awake only long enough to tell us that he felt ‘just fine’ before he passed out again. This time is different.

Vash never liked the fact that we used our sparse resources caring for somebody who was of no use to us. He tried to kill Kiku multiple times, but he could never go through with it. Sometimes, I think that Vash would rather be dead. Francis worries about him, knowing that he resents him, but still, Vash wouldn’t be alive now if it hadn’t been for Francis’ help.’

0-0-0-0-0

“Do you know what I really miss?” Arthur was saying as Alfred and Feliks walked in. “Tea. It’s been so bloody long since I’ve had a cup of tea.”

He was crouched beside a waifish, fragile-looking young man sat in a chair. The boy was gazing blankly ahead, his gaze oddly alert but obviously seeing nothing, his legs drawn up and his arms wrapped around them, an oversized t-shirt hanging off one bony shoulder. His curly, chestnut hair framed a pale, bruised face with large brown eyes, and his chin rested on his knees as he remained completely unresponsive to Arthur’s voice. The Englishman continued to talk to him, though, until Alfred walked over and touched his shoulder.

“Alright, Zdislav, if you need anything, let me know,” Arthur said before moving away. Alfred frowned a little, keeping his voice low as he spoke to the smaller blonde.

“Are you sure he’s alright to be here?” he asked, glancing at the Czech Republic. Arthur nodded slightly, and placed one hand on his lover’s arm, casting him a reassuring smile.

“I’m sure. He asked if he could be here.”

“He asked?” Alfred looked at Zdislav again, giving the catatonic nation a long, hard look. “He spoke to you?”

“I was as surprised as you are...” They sat down beside each other, waiting for everybody else to find their seats. Vash had moved himself as far away from everyone as he could, his gun on the table and his fingers clasped around it. He was glaring daggers at Kiku, who was sitting across and a little way down the table from him, smiling and even quietly laughing as Heracles talked to him. Tino appeared to be sleeping on Berwald’s shoulder while the other three Nordics spoke quietly amongst themselves, and beside them, Francis and Antonio seemed to be arguing about something while Matthew watched, bemused. Gilbert was gazing at the ceiling, clearly bored, ignoring the occasional jostling from beside him as his brother and Feliciano conversed.

A few minutes later, when Mirari and Yan – the Portuguese and Bulgarian nations respectively – had joined them, Alfred got to his feet and picked up a wooden ruler, smacking it sharply against the top of the table. Everyone flinched, even Feliks snapped out of his thoughts, and Alfred clapped his hands together.

“I’m sure you all know by now,” he began, his eyes travelling from one weary face to the next. “Of the news that the Nordic nations have brought. Something is stirring in Russia, and I think you’ll all agree with me when I say that we can’t just sit here and wait.”

“Why not? It’s not as if we’ve ever done anything else,” Vash muttered, absently fingering the safety pin on his gun. Alfred chose to ignore that remark, and cleared his throat, leaning on the table.

“We need to investigate,” the American went on. “Tino has been sensing the Russian Empire, and Feliks has been feeling the same, though he wasn’t able to put a name to it before now.” He paused, and looked to Feliks for confirmation. The Pole nodded, and shared a look with Tino, an understanding passing between the two of them. “The last thing that we need now, in our current states, is the return of an empire – any empire – and least of all Ivan’s.”

“I agree with Alfred-san,” Kiku said softly. “Something needs to be done.”

“Damnit, Japan, you haven’t changed, have you?”

“Back off, Zwingli,” Heracles growled, his green eyes narrowed darkly on the Swiss nation, who gritted his teeth and dropped back in his chair, grasping his gun tightly. Placing a hand lightly on his arm, Kiku smiled gently and shook his head to silence any further protests from the Greek. With the brief uproar settled, Alfred went on, keeping an eye on Vash in the meantime.

“Obviously, some of us will be unable to make the journey.” His gaze fell on Tino, who had fallen asleep again, and slid across to the statue-still Czech Republic (who, he realised with a jolt, was actually looking back at him), and then to Kiku, who frowned very slightly and shifted forwards a fraction. Alfred anticipated his words before he could even draw breath to speak, and shook his head.

“No, Kiku, you’re not coming with us,” he said. He didn’t need to say more, as Heracles took up his side of the argument in low Japanese.

Zettai chigau yo,” the Greek man said firmly. “Mo ii.”

“Demo..!”
Kiku protested, cut off by Heracles’ arms around him, a faint blush flaring on his pale cheeks.

“Iie!”

“... Wakatta...”
Kiku tried to move out of the man’s grip, but Heracles wasn’t willing to let him go, and it was only a few moments before he gave up and settled against the Greek. Smiling a little, Alfred sat down, and drew in a slow breath.

“First of all, we need to know who would be willing to make the journey. It isn’t going to be easy, and we’re going to be doing a lot of walking.”

“I’m coming with you,” Matthew said, his tone giving no room for argument, determination in his violet eyes as they met his brother’s surprised blue gaze. The two brothers stared each other down for a long, tense moment, then Alfred’s shoulders dropped.

“Fine,” he replied stiffly, glancing at Gilbert, whose gaze moved from Alfred, to Matthew, and back, indecision in his eyes until Matthew made his choice for him.

“Gilbert, I want you to stay here,” he murmured.

“What?”

“I need you to stay here... If something happens to me... I want you to have everything.” The Canadian’s gaze was tender, and for a change Gilbert didn’t turn away in embarrassment from the earnest devotion that he saw in Matthew’s eyes, his own slightly widened. He swallowed, bit his lower lip, then looked away and nodded, grunting quietly as Matthew hugged him and kissed his cheek.

Eventually, it was decided. Alfred, Arthur, Matthew, Vash, Francis, Óskar and Feliks would be the ones to investigate the disturbances. Ludwig had expressed an interest, but it only took a near-hysterical objection from a highly-strung Italian to change his mind. The Nordics had protested Óskar’s wish to go, but Iceland’s long-term uneasiness about Russia’s intentions made the temptation too great to ignore, and eventually his brothers grew weary of trying to argue with somebody who could keep their expression so impassive. Nobody else volunteered, either out of fear or simple weariness, or a need to protect a loved one. The meeting ended quickly after that, and Arthur stood along with Mirari to take Zdislav back to his room. The Czech Republic stood as he was touched and spoken to quietly, and silently followed the English and Portuguese nations, with Alfred trailing behind thoughtfully.

“Are you sure that it’s a good idea to have Vash with us?” he asked Arthur as soon as he was sure that they were out of the Swiss nation’s earshot. Arthur glanced over his shoulder at the younger man, and gave a grim smile.

“Ideally, no,” he replied. “But if we get into any kind of gunfight, we’re going to need him. He’s the best shot of any of us.” Arthur couldn't keep the reluctance out of that admittance, and smiled faintly, looking over to Mirari who returned his gaze fondly.

“I know that you will do well, Arthur,” she said. “You have always been a fighter.” The woman laughed at the sudden blush that raced across Arthur’s cheeks, and he grumbled as he struggled to get it under control. They took Zdislav into his room and sat him down, and as Arthur turned to leave, he felt something tug at his sleeve.

All three nations stared, half in shock and half in alarm, at the bony fingers that had a surprisingly firm grip on Arthur’s jacket. Haunted brown eyes met Arthur’s, and the Czech nation spoke in a low, dry voice.

“Be careful,” he whispered. Mirari dropped to her knees beside him and brushed one hand over his shoulder. His hand dropped, the awareness in his eyes dimmed, and she sighed.

“At least it’s something, right?” Alfred quipped cheerfully.

“It is something...” Mirari said, stroking her fingers over the young man’s dark hair. “But I am not sure what it means. I hope that it is a good something.”

“Come on, Arthur,” the American said after a few silent minutes. “We have some things to do before this kicks off.” He placed a hand on Arthur’s shoulder and drew him gently away, pausing for Mirari to kiss each of their cheeks before she wished them luck and waved them off. The taller nation slipped his hand into Arthur’s and squeezed his fingers, and Arthur let out a long, slow breath, resting his head on Alfred’s shoulder.

“Do we have enough fuel to make it?” he murmured.

“I think so,” Alfred told him, sounding distant. “It’s supplemented with solar power if we get really desperate, so we should be alright. Ludwig’s going to take that car out and see if he can find anything.”

“Your words fill me with so much confidence, Alfred,” Arthur replied cynically.

“I’ll get us there, Arthur,” the younger nation replied, managing to inject some certainty into his voice. “Trust me.”

--------------

Do you trust him? 8D (and thanks to phoenixdown7 for the help with the Japanese vocab =D)

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<| Chapter Three | Chapter Five |>
Tags: fanfiction
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