Author's Note before we begin: This is it. The final installment of 'Their Story'. Thank you, all of my past, present, and future readers for going on this beautifully-feelsy journey with me, and for sticking with it for as long as you have, had, and will. A special thanks to Jim Croce, whose song 'Time in a Bottle' inspired this fanfiction. I highly recommend listening to that song while reading this last chapter.

Sorry if this particular chapter is confusing, depressing, or just terribly written. I've spent several months typing this epilogue out, so I hope you find it enjoyable.

Other than that? Thanks for reading, and stay awesome.

Regular font indicates the present, particularly through Matthew's perspective.

Italic font indicates flashbacking, which may/may not be in Matthew's perspective.

Bold italic font indicates writing. Only in this chapter, though.


Matthew ignored the frost tickling his face as he walked through the streets of East Berlin, hopping over grey snow slushes that crowded the sidewalk edges, his glasses tinted with various shades of red and orange thanks to the setting sun.

The Canadian personification reached the hotel he always stayed on the anniversary of Prussia's dissolution, his line of sight glazing over the engraved sign on the building, the writing hardly legible after years of wear-and-tear.

Thinking of how time had influenced the state of the building, he thought of his ancient Prussian estate he owned for the purpose of visiting Julchen. He assumed the place was decrepit and in desperate need of repair, for the estate hadn't been used since World War One.

He pushed past the revolving doors and lightly stomped his boots against the welcome mat to get rid of any lingering snow, his violet orbs glancing around out of mundane routine, stopping when recognizing another nation in the lobby.

It was the personification of Germany, Ludwig Beilschmidt.

The country caught sight of Canada and approached him, the latter feeling a wave of uneasiness overcome his senses given how rare it was to be recognized by a fellow nation, and by Ludwig of all people. Aside from a few meetings revolving around international affairs, the two of them had never conversed, or at least conversed one-on-one.

An awkward silence overhung the blondes, eventually broken when Matthew asked Ludwig why he wished to visit him.

"It's about…East," Germany admitted, his gaze automatically softening at the mention of his deceased sibling, the bringing up of Julchen immediately catching Matthew's words in his throat. "You know how she had a vast collection of diaries describing her life?"

"Her awesome diaries?" Canada questioned, his stomach repeatedly twisting into knots as he wondered where this conversation was going.

"Ja," Ludwig nodded, carefully removing a battered journal from a bag slung over his shoulder, catching Matthew off-guard when he gave it to him. "Since her dissolution, I've collected all of her diaries in attempt to preserve her memory." He paused there, his face pale and weary given the sensitive topic at hand. "I figured you would want to have this one."

Before Matthew could say anything in response, to ask why this journal in particular, Ludwig cut him off. "Though I have one request," He informed, crossing his muscular arms over his chest. "Do not read it until you return to your home country. Not at the airport or on the flight, but only when you've arrived from where you came."

Canada nodded, his gaze befalling onto the leather-bound artifact held between his gloved fingers. His mind was unable to wrap around the fact that Julchen's warm touch had lingered on the battered cover as his did now, and covered the blue-lined pages with her innermost thoughts at some point in the past.

Regardless of the strange request, he nodded once again. "I promise. Thank you."

Germany gave a small nod of approval towards the nation, shortly leaving the lobby with silence in his wake.

Matthew glanced back down at the book, his stomach tightening once again at the sight of it, eventually heading to his hotel room to get ready for his flight home the next day.

While Canada was a calm and collected man, his pool of patience was steadily decreasing with each second that seemed as long as an hour on his God-forsaken flight.

He was constantly looking up at the clock in a futile attempt to move the hands with his eyes, clenching and unclenching his fists until he feared his palms would bleed.

The reason for his behavior resided in the journal he was given. His mind was unable to stop wondering what resided in the book. Why would Germany go out of his way to give him a piece of Julchen's history if he was deliberately collecting them? And why the particular diary out of her numerous others?

The blonde rushed to a taxi as soon as he got off his plane and went through the various security measures. He put aside his luggage and stepped into the taxi, breathless and pink in the face from the snow falling heavily from the sky.

After giving the driver his address, he sat back in his seat and exhaled a nervous breath, his mind racing at a million miles an hour, unable to stop his hands from shaking.

Matthew ignored the sound of his bear (Kumakitchi? Kumatisa?) asking his usual round of 'who are you' when he arrived home, instead sitting down on the edge of his red and white-themed bed, his blood rushing in his ears as he skimmed his fingertips against the cover of the book. One of Julchen's many diaries pertaining to her existence.

He opened the book.

The first page of the journal was empty. Unusual, considering the first page was commonly used for introducing the reader to who the author was.

His heart twitched within his ribcage when realizing the only evidence to show who the author was, took the form of a familiar black-cross necklace resting against the pages.

The blonde tentatively picked up the cross and turned it over between his fingers, the cold metal bringing back waves of nostalgia for the nation.

Now that he recalled, Julchen hadn't been wearing the necklace on the day of her funeral, meaning that either someone took it off her before the event, or Julchen took it off and put it inside the book by her own hand.

"Why would she do that?" He thought aloud, glancing at the artifact held in the palm of his hand, the dark paint shimmering just as brightly as it did all those years ago. "She wore it all the time and would never part with it! Even Germany had one, but he gave it to Italy-"

Canada's train of thought derailed there, his violet eyes growing wide behind his glasses as he slowly looked down and stared at the cross.

After a moment, he broke out of his trance with a shake of his head. "Am I really as arrogant to assume she gave it to me on purpose as a sign of affection? While we were close, I doubt she thought of me as that close…"

He turned back to look at the first journal page, blank as a slate save for the indent the necklace had left, being pressed between the papers for so long and all.

"Regardless, giving someone a memento is one thing, but giving someone a diary is an entirely different field. Should I violate her privacy like this?" The Canadian questioned himself, mentally torn given the circumstance. A part of him was dying to know what went on inside Julchen's head that made Ludwig so determined to give the journal to him, but his conscience was reluctant. If she was alive, would she have wanted him to read it anyway?

"YOU CAN HELP ME BY STAYING AWAY, MATTHEW!"

"Dammit, Matthew, I'm a nation, not a child! Just leave me alone for once in your life, will you?!"

"I HATE YOU!"

The remembrance of her words never failed to send goose bumps up his skin.

Matthew had tried to remove her grasp on his heart. He had tried to for years. But every time he tried to forget about her, tried to let her go, there was always that guilty feeling in the back of his mind.

In her entire lifetime, Julchen went out of her way to ensure people remembered her, even going as far as to seem as the most arrogant and self-centered person in the universe!

If he forgot about her, wouldn't that make him just as bad as those who constantly forgot him?

There was also the fact that…bizarrely, he found himself not wanting to let go of her just yet.

Whenever Matthew thought of that, he found himself at a crossroad, not to mention a weird, warm feeling would always erupt in his chest.

Did he not want to forget her because she didn't forget him? Because he'd be nagged by lingering guilt if he did, since she wanted nothing more than to be remembered? Because, in spite of how badly she hurt him (and how badly he probably hurt her), he still cared?

Then why did his care for her seem to extend far beyond the reaches of friendship?

A soft sigh escaped from his lips, for once wishing he was as skilled with detecting feelings of the heart as his father, Francis.

"…I still deserve to know," He decided, his grip on the cross tightening ever so slightly. He gently took the book in his hands, hating how selfish he probably sounded. "After all these years, I want to know."

So, with a turn of the page, he began to read.

November 13th, 1710

The Great Prussia's Diary

I was so awesome, today! Luddy and I arrived in Canada to check in on German immigrants after their time spent fighting with Eyebrows' army against Francy-Pants. The place is HUGE, and practically COVERED in snow! I bet I could replicate all of my awesome Prussian castles using only the snow covering the ship docks!

We met Canada in the flesh, too. Well, I met him. Luddy had a hard time seeing him until I pointed him out. The kid's pretty damn quiet, that's for sure. Though his hair looks soft and downy, like baby bird feathers, plus he's got this wicked curl that just dangles from his head. I tried touching it but he turned bright red and started stuttering like Luddy when I question his 'books'. Heh.

Anyway, we're staying at his house at the moment. Aside from the tundra-y weather, this place is really awesome (not as awesome as me, of course). Though I nearly screamed when seeing this hulking mass of white fur trying to eat Canada's sofa cushions, though the kid treated it like it was normal! What the hell!? In Prussia, if you see something like that hanging around in your house, you put it six feet underground instead of in the kitchen, like blondie did.

Apparently it's his pet polar bear, Kumajiro. Though he can't remember the thing's name for shit, though the feeling is mutual since the thing (which can apparently TALK) can't remember his name for shit, either.

Speaking of names, I've gotta come up with a nickname for that kid. His human name, 'Matthew', doesn't sound nearly as cool as it should be! I've got a whole list running through my head right now, from 'Pancakanator' to 'Mattikins'. Eh. I'm the awesome Prussia, I'll figure something out…

Matthew felt his heart tug a miniscule amount at the sight of the familiar neat handwriting, unable to stop a small smile from forming on his face.

Whatever doubt he had that this diary was a fake immediately vanished after reading the first entry (granted, if it could get past Ludwig, then its authenticity was practically guaranteed). It all sounded so Julchen. He could completely imagine her writing something along those lines.

"She did end up coming back," He said, his hand supporting his cheek as he re-read the entry. "And she came up with my nickname."

"This place is totally awesome, Canada! I'd like to come back again soon, but preferably during the warmer weather. Seriously, would it kill you to turn up the heat around here?" Julchen teased, wrapping her scarf firmly around her neck, an impish grin (one he had a feeling would become extremely familiar soon) residing amongst her angular cheekbones.

Matthew's eyes grew wide at her statement. "C-come back?" He stammered out of surprise instead of the dropping temperature, almost slipping on a thick patch of ice as the two made their way onto the ship docks for Prussia's return home.

"Yeah, why wouldn't I come back?" She asked, handing her luggage to a servant to place onto the boat, her hands rubbing at her arms to preserve some body heat.

Canada cascaded his line-of-sight onto some snow residing on his shoe to avoid looking at her, given how pathetic he'd probably sound. "T-to be honest…n-not many countries remember me, much less come back to visit." He admitted, a furious blush rising on his face.

A 'kesesese' (again, something he had a feeling would become familiar) broke through his thoughts, as he looked back up to see Prussia grinning, hair strands whiter than the snow surrounding them poking out from beneath her feathered hat. "I guess I'll have to be the first then," She declared, fist pumping the air. "Typical of the awesome me!"

The Canadian's surprised look was replaced by a happy one, knowing (with luck) someone would come back to visit him. "I'll make sure to prepare pancakes!" He attempted to shout to the albino climbing aboard the ship bound for Germany and Prussia, failing due to his whispery voice.

Assuming she didn't hear him, the blonde turned his back and began his walk for his home, stopping when hearing a sentence that would change his life:

"Birdie! That's your nickname, since you remind me of an awesome bird!"

He turned around, his cheeks hurting from how badly he was smiling. "Okay!" He managed to shout in a semi-normal voice, his hand high in the air as he waved goodbye to her, still waving even when her ship became a faint dot on the horizon of the sun.

While many assume that being a country would be wonderful, what with immortality and money from the government, there were many downsides known only to those select few individuals who represented the world, one of them being the inability to forget even the most miniscule of details.

Matthew could remember everything from that day in particular. He remembered the way the sunset hit the trees and cast shadows behind them, he remembered the soft texture of snow beneath his feet, and he remembered the gentle splosh of ocean water against the ship docks. Just like all those things, Julchen's happy and victorious expression was permanently burned into his mind.

…Along with her closed eyes and hands folded limply over her chest as she slept for all eternity in a box.

No matter how many times the Canadian shook his head to get rid of the horrendous images that prickled in his brain, he couldn't get them out. They stood out in agonizing detail now as they did then.

Seeing nothing but her lying deceased in a box, Matthew turned the page.

May 27th, 1740

The Great Prussia's Diary

I am awesome! Today, I met with Francis to discuss Roddy's situation involving his beloved Maria Theresa. He seemed up with the thought of us forming an alliance against sissy Austria, and if he's willing to cooperate, Antonio will be too! The Piano-Pansy will rue the day he ever tried claiming the Habsburg Throne! Now if Hungary could keep her nose (and preferably her frying pan) out of this, it'll go accordingly to Freddy-the-Second and I's plan!

Birdie was also at the meeting today, since he's a colony of Francis' and all. He's a sneaky little bastard for managing to get past my attention for so long, I'll give him that. Apparently, he's also a sneaky little bastard for managing to get past Eyebrows' attention. Now that I find stupid. Come on, he's the second largest land mass in the world! But I guess that adds to my awesomeness if I'm one of the few people that notices him. It also means I get special pancakes, too. I swear, Canadian pancakes are what dreams are made of.

Aaaand now I'm craving Heavenly-goodness, again. No matter, I'll simply convince him to make me more with my awesomeness. Seriously, my awesomeness is a renewable resource.

The Canadian laughed a bit at the last statement, nodding in agreement since she did go off and demand more pancakes even though she finished an entire stack, beforehand.

"Seriously, Julchen?" He responded in an exasperated tone, his spatula in one hand and his other residing on his hip in a house-wife mannerism. "I just made you some!"

Prussia 'kesesese'd, turning on the iron stove and grabbing a white apron (forcing Canada to accept the frilly pink one) to wrap around her waist. "Don't worry about it, Birdie! The awesome me will help!" She exclaimed with a spatula-holding fist to the ceiling.

Despite her enthusiasm, Julchen was not the best at making the specified dish. She and Matthew decided to make separate batters to 'test her awesome cooking skills' after he taught her the basics of making pancakes.

In all his years of cooking, Canada had never known of someone who could set their batter on fire after trying to cook for less than two minutes.

And Matthew hung around Arthur Kirkland.

"Here you go, Birdie," The Prussian proclaimed to the Canadian when she set the stack of pancakes in front of him. "Eat the golden-brown pancakes," She grinned, curious to see the ultimate pancake-master's response to her creation.

But the pancakes are purple, He remembered thinking as he shakily stabbed a piece with his fork, and mentally prepared himself to meet his maker as he put it in his mouth.

"How is it?" She asked, all but jumping up and down given her excitement.

He somehow managed a smile. "Y-y-you can t-taste the a-awesome," He lied, not having the heart to tell her how mind-numbingly horrible they were.

Julchen's screech of joy made the unspeakable stomach pain that followed, bearable.

Matthew grimaced when remembering how wretched he felt the rest of the evening, yet smiled when remembering how happy and proud Julchen was for the next week (the entire time politely declining when she offered to make more of her abomination).

Still dwelling on the thought of how often she smiled during that week, he turned the page.

His dream-like daze vanished as he lightly touched various places in the paper where signs of water droplets were visible, blurring the (unusually) messy handwriting together and making it difficult to read.

"Oh no," He breathed, his stomach knotting up at the question of what could have made her cry. "What happened?"

August 18th, 1786

I was…not so awesome, yesterday. Old Fritz died yesterday in his study in Sanssouci. I just- I still can't believe he's gone!

He was really amazing, you know? To the point where not even 'awesome' can describe him! He was the best boss I've ever had, and I'll never get to see him again!

I went to Birdie's temporary estate in my country. I figured that since I went to visit him so much at France's place, he might as well have a place in Prussia (not to mention that it would be easier for him to make pancakes for me). I practically broke his door in my fit of tears. TEARS! Awesome people don't cry, certainly not me! Yet I, much like his door, broke down right in front of him…

Being a sweetie, he made my usual Canadian fix to cheer me up, and then lent an ear as I went off on a rant regarding my memories with Freddy. While I'm better than before, I'm still unable to believe that he's…dead. It's so surreal, like I expect to hear him playing his flute, or see him reading in his study until the early hours of the morning.

His burial will be taking place soon. He requested in his will to be placed next to his beloved pet dogs when his time was up. I only hope I'll be strong enough to attend without shedding a tear.

Rest in Peace, Old Fritz. I knew you would be great, someday.

Matthew reread the paragraphs of the entry, the sunlight making the words appear like droplets of obsidian on the pale pages, his violet orbs as glassy as the spectacles threatening to slip off his face.

He couldn't help but be surprised after reading Julchen's description regarding the death of a loved one. It was disturbing how accurate it was. Always expecting to hear the deceased's voice or see them doing things they usually did, only to be reminded that they were gone…

Living in an illusion, even if it was a momentary, cruel one.

As cliché as it sounded, he forgot how long it was before he stopped expecting to see or hear her as if she was still alive.

"It is bound to happen if you knew them for several hundred years, Matthieu," The French personification informed, giving the Canadian a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder, the latter still staring after the white-haired female, who was briskly walking away from the two considering Matthew did grab her wrist out of nowhere.

"I could have sworn it was her," Matthew mumbled embarrassedly, his hands in the pockets of his winter jacket, the wind making his face feel numb with cold. "She had her hair, her eyes-"

"Yet it was not her, mon cher," Francis reminded, forcing the younger blonde to look at him. "You need to accept that."

Canada averted his father's sapphire gaze out of self-pity. "I know, papa," He sighed, his eyelashes catching snowflakes falling from the sky. "It's just a hard habit to break."

France sighed as well, wrapping his arms around Canada and pulling him into a comforting hug. "Trust me, Matthieu," He breathed, his head resting on top of his son's blonde curls, not even realizing he was crying. "I've experienced what you're feeling. And, while it's hard, you'll manage eventually."

It took a long time before he accepted the fact that she was dead. That she would never barge into his house demanding pancakes. That she would never celebrate his birthday with him. That she would never break out of her coffin as part of an elaborate prank.

It was a harsh and difficult time before he accepted it, and, while he did eventually give in to reality, it didn't mean he was happy.

"Even reading this is an example of how I'm still living in the past," He murmured in a quieter tone than his usual whisper, brushing back his blonde curls with the palm of his hand. "In a way, I'm still not accepting it even though it's unhealthy."

Would Julchen be happy if she knew he was like this? He was still remembering her, something she wanted more than anything else.

It was food for his thoughts, he decided, turning the next page. Something he planned to elaborate on later.

April 18th, 1792

The Great Prussia's Diary

I was so awesome, today! I warned Birdie about the upcoming French Revolutions so that he could get back to his country while he still could. While I've heard rumors that he's a beast on the ice, I don't want to risk him getting caught up in nasty French business that he isn't even involved in. What kind of an awesome nation would I be if I couldn't even warn him about a war? I probably wouldn't be worth my salt.

That should be a quote. I don't know how, but it should. Seriously.

With luck, he'll be packing and on a ship back home before tomorrow evening. Knowing Eyebrows, the French naval route will be blocked to make it harder on him getting much-needed materials during the revolution, again. While I know France can make do, I'm more worried about Birdie getting out without any hassle. The minute things get ugly in Paris, they'll shut off their ports from everyone going in and out of France (God, please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that sounds wrong), with the exception of supply ships.

While Birdie isn't entirely under Francis's control, he still deals with him financially. I only hope that, however long this crazy stuff goes on, he ends up okay.

Damn, I sound like I'm going soft. What happened to the awesome, badass, shit-beating nation I used to be? Well, I'm still awesome, but help me out here, Old Frtiz?

Matthew's head tilted in confusion when reading the last few paragraphs. He read them twice, three times before sitting up, the notebook still on his lap.

He readjusted his glasses, staring at the page littered with Julchen's thoughts and opinions. It was unusual to hear Julchen speak so fondly of him even though, in comparison to other countries she had known, she barely knew him!

"If it was anyone else, she would have probably left them on their own, depending on their relationship with her." The Canadian personification thought aloud, fingering the edge of the page mindlessly, still staring at the paper. "Was she only looking out for me because of what I could do for her, or because she genuinely cared?"

He mock-gasped in a manner found in Japan's anime. "What if she only loved me for my pancakes?"

He shook his head after that, dismissing the idea after a moment of consideration. "She wasn't one to open up or care for others easily, so why would she go out of her way to warn me if she didn't know me too well in comparison to others?"

Canada felt a strange, warm feeling bloom in his chest at the thought of her possibly caring for him, in spite of how long they knew each other. He couldn't put his finger on what it was, making him wish once again that he possess a wide range of emotional knowledge like his father, France.

Whatever it was, he could remember this same sensation sprout around the personification of Prussia, the first time being when he visited her estate to warn her of France's upcoming attack, yet it had been so long since he felt it, he had no idea what to think.

He turned the page in order to get his mind off the bizarre feeling continuing to spread like poison through the bloodstream.

July 1st, 1868

The Great Prussia's diary

I was so awesome, today! Today was Birdie's birthday, so I graced him with my awesome presence by spending the day with him! I took him out and had a picnic with him, and then afterwards, when it started raining, we danced in the rain! Though I wasn't planning on that, it was a nice touch to the end of his birthday!

Granted, now I feel like I'll probably get a cold, at least it was done for the sake of awesomeness.

Gah. Now I really wish my awesomeness could be used to cure stuffy noses. I sound like my tongue got stung by a bee. BUT I'M STILL AWESOME!

The Canadian laughed a bit when recalling the day after his birthday, which featured the two of them suffering colds together.

"Happy birthday, Birdie," Julchen sniffled in a lisp-like manner, pressing a handkerchief to her runny nose, her cheeks awash with various shades of red. "Consider me gracing you with my awesome presence a second birthday gift."

She then proceeded to sneeze into her handkerchief several times in a row.

Matthew rolled his eyes in mock-annoyance at her statement, handing her another fabric tissue when she finished her fit. Between the two of them, Matthew's throat was raw from mucus, Julchen's nose was runny with the same stuff, and both of them were sick of it (no pun intended).

"What do you want to do?" He coughed out, wincing as he rubbed his throat. "We're not going to go dancing in the rain again, Julchen." The blonde firmly stated, causing the albino to shrink with disappointment.

A pregnant silence overtook the two, broken by the occasional coughing/sneezing fit.

"…Let's make sock puppets." She said in a completely serious tone.

"Ok." He replied without hesitation, standing up from where they sat amongst used-up handkerchiefs and medicine bottles, before going upstairs and coming down with an arm's-worth of socks.

Julchen reached over and grabbed a black sock, slipping it onto her hand and stretching it until it reached a little above her elbow. "Guten tag, Birdie," She began in a low, heavily accented German accent. "Have you seen the awesome Julchen?"

"Her hand is currently inside you. She can't be that far, Mr. Puppet." Matthew managed to say, doubling over and breaking into a fit of laughter/ coughing from said laughter, eventually joined by Julchen with her hiss-like/nasally-at-the-moment laughter.

When they stopped, Matthew grabbed a white sock and covered his hand with it. "Hello Mr. Puppet," He began, his throat feeling less scratchy. "How does it feel to have a hand up your ass?"

"Much better than a foot, which is what Birdie will be getting if he keeps not taking my puppet skills seriously." Julchen responded before bursting into a fit of laughter yet again, Matthew joining her.

Because of how long they kept talking and playing with the sock puppets, the two of them didn't get better for another two days. But it was worth it, if the amount of inside jokes and bouts of laughter that emerged from those puppets meant anything.

He didn't realize he had turned the page until he blinked and noticed a new entry. So, he began reading.

August 4th, 1914

Today wasn't so awesome. England decided to fight against Ludwig since he refused to withdraw his forces from Belgium. While fighting against England won't be much of a hassle, it'll be more difficult to fight against the Allies knowing that Birdie's on their side. Granted, he was forced into it by Eyebrows, but the point still remains that he and I are enemies.

Though Ludwig and I are on the same side, we're both fighting for different reasons; he's fighting to become a global dominant power while I'm fighting to not only protect him, but to help make him happy. If he finds happiness in accomplishing his goal, then I'll help him win. England and Birdie, though…

England's fighting as a result of Ludwig violation of the 1839 Treaty of London, as well as to protect Belgium. Yet Birdie's fighting all because he's forced to! What's the point of fighting if you don't have something to fight for?

Regardless of the fact we're now enemies, Birdie used his sneaky-bastard powers to get under Eyerbrows' radar again so he could visit me. I was surprised since he came to wish me luck with keeping Ludwig safe, as well as check in on me. Why is it that he always goes out of his way to make sure I'm alright? Whether making pancakes when I'm upset, or visiting me to inform me of a war, he's always tried to help me even if he gains nothing from it!

Again, just when I think I have him all figured out, he pulls something that makes me reconsider him as a whole. I don't understand him, sometimes.

"'What's the point in fighting if you don't have something to fight for'." He quoted, his hand resting on his cheek, his amethyst orbs half-lidded in memories. After a moment, he rubbed his temples and reread the last few sentences of her journal entry.

This was beginning to become painful since it was around that time when everything started falling apart for the two of them. The World War ended up starting shortly after that last encounter in Belgium's territory, followed by Julchen's increasing distance away from him, followed by…everything else falling like a house of cards.

"'Oh Julchen," He murmured, tucking some stray strands of blonde hair behind his ear. "You always had a tendency to make things seem more complicated than they actually were."

Ignoring the monotonous thump of his heart in his chest, he turned the page to continue reading.

The warm feeling still spread through his body, circulating like adrenaline, acting like a unique form of adrenaline on his psyche and propelling him to keep reading. When giving it consideration, Matthew had a hypothesis on what the sensation's name was, yet he was unwilling to say its name aloud out of fear he'd never be able to take it back again.

September 2nd, 1914

I'm scared. So very, very, unawesomely scared. Russia took me and the rest of my country captive. I can't write so much today because he might catch me and punish me. His punishments are sadistic and inhumane to the point where I can't even describe how horrid it is.

It's so dark and cold here, I can't feel my fingers as I write this. What I'd give for some pancakes, my stomach would probably eat itself if it could. Birdie hasn't visited me since the war began, since he's with the Allies against his will. I miss him a lot.

I hear footsteps coming towards my room. I have to stop writing now or else Russia might come and hurt me again.

The blonde's face turned pale as the writing for that particular entry stopped there, his wide eyes taking in the amount of damage on the page, noticing how shaky her handwriting appeared this time. In spite of her seemingly lazy and careless aura, she was surprisingly punctual and diligent given her many years in the military, the same punctuality and diligence reflecting even in her handwriting!

For even her handwriting to be almost incomprehensible, combined with the numerous red blotches making the writing even more difficult to read, she must have been genuinely afraid.

A different feeling, another one he hadn't experienced in a long time, brewed within his chest. Still warm, not as warm yet somehow just as deadly as the first: Rage.

The Canadian could still see the Prussian sitting in her seat, her hair and clothes grey with the aftershocks of the Great War, quiet with her regret and overwhelming fear, in the Palace of Versailles. He could still feel her trembling even when he hugged her, tears spilling down her bloodless cheeks, her voice somehow more whispery than his own.

He reluctantly turned the page.

December 24th, 1918

Although the war finished in November, the scars are taking much longer to heal for Ludwig and I. Even though it was his goal to become a global dominant power, he's ended up even worse than when he started. He's under a lot of stress given the immense debt from the war, and many of the countries refuse to even look at him, now. It hurts me to see him so unhappy.

The only motivation I really had to fight against so many of my fellow countries, like Francis, Feliciano, Kiku, and Birdie, was to protect and make Ludwig happy. Yet my efforts were futile.

Birdie hasn't talked to me since the time in Belgium in 1914. England apparently wasn't kidding when he ordered Birdie to not see me again. I think that's for the best though, knowing how-God, I killed his soldiers! His own citizens! I heard their screams and watched the light fade from their eyes!

Once, I was walking through a battlefield to get a count of how many German soldiers were dead, and came across a Canadian soldier who was barely alive. He had his legs blown off by a bomb and was hanging on by a thread. He reached out to me and begged for my help, yet I pulled out my gun and shot him through the head!

I keep dreaming of that time, only instead of the soldier, I see Birdie with his legs blown off and asking for help. I see the fear enter his eyes as I press a gun to his forehead.

I don't know if I can look him in the eye after all that happened. After all I've done. Even if he tries to contact me again, I'll keep him away even if I have to run and scream at him. I don't want him to feel like he has to protect me even though I've killed his people.

"So that's why you told me to stay away from you," He mumbled, unconsciously turning the black cross necklace over and over in his palm. "You tried pushing me away, not only for your sake, but for mine as well."

He continued to stare at the page for a moment, the silence deafening to his ears. Matthew could remember the months following the end of the Great War. How badly she had been influenced by the Great War. How she was close to tears when they made eye contact. How it had rendered her physically wounded and psychologically destroyed.

A heavy sigh escaped his slightly-chapped lips at the thought of what journal entry would undoubtedly arise soon.

He turned the page before he could question whether or not he could finish reading, again.

June 28th, 1919

Today wasn't awesome at all. Today was the fifth anniversary of the assassination of the Austrian/sissy Archduke Franz Ferdinand, not to mention today Ludwig was practically forced by the Allies to sign the Treaty of Versailles. As penance for 'causing all the loss and damage', he was forced to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparation costs to certain countries!

Birdie finally broke through to Eyebrows about the not-seeing-me thing. I overheard him talking to Eyebrows, saying how it's would be in his best interests to be in Ludwig and I's best interests since Germany could be an important trading partner in the future. I'm grateful for the fact that Ludwig might not be as screwed over as I initially thought.

I'm not as grateful for what Birdie did, though.

Those nightmares I mentioned before still haunt me. Only they're much worse as the months have passed. Birdie hugged me as soon as we were alone, asking about what's happened to me. I eventually snapped and shoved him away since I keep seeing the numerous corpses of his soldiers I slaughtered without hesitation.

I don't want him to come any closer to me, not while I'm like this. For both of our sakes.

I don't want him to somehow get hurt by me.

"YOU CAN HELP ME BY STAYING AWAY, MATTHEW!"

He turned the page.

September 9th, 1939

I swear to God, Birdie is so infuriating!

Birdie tried convincing me to join the Allies before it was 'too late' as he put it, and we ended up getting in a huge fight over it.

Why can't he just leave me alone?! I'm fully capable of making my own decisions; I'm the awesome Prussia for God's sake!

Besides, I need to support Ludwig. Even though he isn't nearly as bad as he was when World War One ended, it's good for him to have as much help as possible!

I think he might have a chance at winning this one, though. I mean, he has Hitler at his side! He's been able to bring Ludwig out of the financial trouble established after the Great War, and can probably make Germany a global power!

And yet Birdie thinks Hitler's bad news?! He thinks the man who's actually been able to bring hope into my brother's life is evil?! He has no idea how many sacrifices Ludwig and I have made to stay alive, how much blood, sweat, and tears we've shed to make West's dream a reality!

Why can't he understand that I'm not a baby and that I don't need his help?! He's just like America, always convinced he has to protect me even when I don't need protecting, even though I'm fully capable of standing on my own two feet! I've been able to thrive as a nation much longer than he has, hell, I think I'm older than him!

I don't need him! I'm perfectly fine being alone, since clustering is for the weak anyway!

I wish we had never even met!

Matthew didn't realize he was crying until he saw tear drops dot the last line.

"No, n-no," He hiccupped, quickly wiping his cheeks to get rid of the saltwater stains, eventually removing his glasses and feverishly rubbing his eyes.

"Stop crying!" He exclaimed, the tears running down the sides of his hands, his throat closing up and making it difficult to swallow, his shoulders beginning to shake with unvoiced sobs.

"Time is supposed to heal all wounds," He spoke in a hoarse whisper as the tears kept on coming, pressing his palms to his eyes in a futile effort to stop crying. "Yet it only gets worse as the years go by."

"I need to do this to protect myself and my kingdom."

"I only want to protect my brother, and to make him happy. And if he finds happiness in winning the war and accomplishing his goal, I will help him win."

"YOU CAN HELP ME BY STAYING AWAY, MATTHEW! JUST STAY AWAY FROM ME!"

"Though West has been getting better. Much better than before, all thanks to Adolf."

"Join me in this war, Birdie. Arthur forced you to join the Great War, and I don't want to possibly fight against you again. We can fight together and win. We can have everything be as it used to, and much more."

"Dammit, Matthew, I'm a nation, not a child! Just leave me alone for once in your life, will you?!"

"Just when I think I have you all figured out, Matthew, you go off and pull something that makes me reconsider you as a whole!"

"Because of your stupid hero complex, Julchen's dead, and she's never coming back!"

"All she wanted was to make her brother happy. That's all she really wanted. She wasn't a monster."

"The sooner you understand that we're all stained in blood, the better off you'll be."

"Yet it was not her, mon cher. You need to accept that."

"Trust me, Matthieu, I've experienced what you're feeling. And, while it's hard, you'll manage eventually."

'I wish Julchen and I could always be together like this.'

"Birdie! That's your nickname, since you remind me of an awesome bird!"

"I HATE YOU!"

"Julchen," He croaked out, removing his hands from his eyes and retrieving the black iron cross, holding it to his chest. "I'm so sorry for what I said. I'm so sorry for all the pain I must have caused you. I wish I could have been strong enough to cross the borders and scale the walls established by World War Two, just to apologize to you."

The warm feeling from before felt like it was burning every fiber of his being, overwhelming all the emotions slipping through his cracking mask built upon calm and patience. He felt like he knew the name of the sensation, something he hadn't experienced in decades given Prussia's passing, and felt like he had to say it out loud before he lost the chance.

"I love you, Julchen," Matthew admitted, putting on his glasses again and looking up through the skylights of his ceiling, tears still streaming down his cheeks. He smiled sadly when seeing what a beautiful, bright shade of blue the sky was. "I always loved you."

Yes, the four-letter word felt so nice to say, and it made sense. Before, he never questioned his sudden urges to hug or visit her, to protect her and be by her side always. It seemed strange, but he never thought twice about it, almost as if it was natural.

For a child of France, he was quite horrible at recognizing love. Yet he never got the chance to say it to her.

Though now that he had a good idea of what he felt, he decided to say everything.

"I loved how you never failed to notice me. I loved how you always visited me when you got the chance to. I loved how you thought my pancakes were Heavenly-goodness. I loved how you treated every day like the end of the world was tomorrow. I loved how brilliant, kind-hearted, and awesome you were (and still are). I loved your laugh, your brain, your smile, your heart, and the mischievous light in your eye that was always present." Matthew stopped there only to brush away the remnants of tears from his face, before smiling a genuine smile.

"Though I was too oblivious and unable to tell you any of that, I treasured the times we spent together. I was happy to be by your side as a fellow nation, a 'Pancakanator', a friend. And I love you."

He turned back to Julchen's journal, still left on the entry regarding their fight, and turned the page so he could read the next entry, only to find it blank.

He turned the page after that, and found no entry. He turned the next couple of pages and found nothing but blank pieces of paper.

"I guess that's the end of it," Matthew sighed, finally closing the diary.

"And, on February 25th, 1947, the Allied Control Council would call for the official dissolution of Prussia, and of Julchen Beilschmidt." He reminded himself as he set the book on his bedside table. The personification of Canada glanced back at the black cross and slipped it around his neck, the metal cold against his skin. He sighed.

"I only wish she had felt the same about me as well."

The Canadian known as Matthew Williams stood up and left his bedroom, leaving the diary beside his bed, assuming that was the end of her diary dedicated to her thoughts and opinions of him.

He was oblivious to the final journal entry of Julchen Beilschmidt which resided in the back of the diary.

February 24th, 1947

I know I won't be alive for much longer. That much is obvious.

The Axis lost the Second World War. Feli, Kiku, Luddy, and I all lost.

Luddy's taking it the hardest, what with being divided up between Alfred, Arthur, Francis, and Ivan, not to mention his reputation was demolished entirely.

I thought Hitler would be a positive influence on Ludwig. I thought he was a good man. But then he started going crazy…killing off innocent people because of who they were. Carting them off to concentration camps to be tortured and slaughtered off like pigs! Like they weren't even human! And he defended his actions by using Old Frtiz!? How dare the bastard use the greatest ruler Prussia had ever known to excuse himself?! I'm glad the sick man put a bullet into his head, I'm only sorry I wasn't the one to do it!

Birdie tried to warn me. He tried to tell me that Adolf was bad news, that he was a bad man. He tried to protect me from this, but I didn't listen to him. I didn't listen to him at all!

During the war, I drove all the anger I felt towards him into what I do best: killing.

All my life, I've been alone because of the stereotype I made for myself, what with how often I fought in battles. That I'm a horrid country notorious for bloodshed and ruthless, animalistic tendencies. So I went about declaring how awesome I was in order to create a shield. I figured that if I could lie to myself all the time, I would eventually believe it. How wrong I was.

But Matthew saw through it all. Saw through the facades I established onto myself, and cared for me regardless of my faults and imperfections. He loved me in spite of it.

And yet, as Hitler grew stronger and the war raged on, I became what I feared the most:

I became what my stereotype depicted me as until it was no longer a stereotype, but who I truly was. A horrid country notorious for bloodshed and ruthless, animalistic tendencies. A monster.

And I'll never get a chance to tell Matthew how sorry I am for what I said. How, in the heat of our fight before World War Two started, I told him I hated him.

These few years, not a day had passed when I didn't think of our argument. When my heart didn't ache with depression, the organ feeling like it was made out of lead. When I didn't feel like trespassing enemy lines just to apologize and beg for forgiveness. When I didn't miss him.

I feel like I'm already dead, right now as I write this. As I think of everything between us.

I'd go off and apologize to him myself if I could walk. I'm bedridden, what with my country falling apart at the seams. I overheard rumors that the Allied Control Council is going to make me officially dissolve soon, that probably explaining my weakness.

I can't remember the last time I felt the sunshine. Nor can I remember the feel of the grass beneath my feet, or the sensation of water spilling through my fingers.

Oh God. I'm going to die.

Is this how it felt for you, Freddy, when you realized you were going to die?

I'm going to die without ever doing the things I want to do. Without proving to the world that Prussia is a force to be reckoned with. Without making fun of Roderich for his piano playing or getting hit by Elizabeta's frying pan (kind of glad for that one, actually) or telling Birdie how sorry I am.

I can't really see if my writing is good or not because of how much I'm crying right now. I don't care at this point. I just hope whoever is reading this in the future can tell everyone how much I love them all and I'll miss them so much. That I'm sorry for being a monster. For everything that I've done to deserve the hate.

Whoever is reading this, please do me a favor and give this journal to Birdie. Please.

Tell him to wait until he gets back to Canada, his home country, to read it. Not on a plane or at an airport, but when he's home.

Birdie, if you're reading this, thank you for everything that you've done for me. How you always made the awesomest pancakes for me when I asked. How you always went out of your way to make sure I was safe. How you tried protecting me even though I was too stubborn to realize how big of a mistake I was making. How, when everyone else saw the bloodthirsty and powerhungry Prussia, you saw Julchen Beilschmidt.

I'm so sorry I caused you so much unnecessary drama, unnecessary hardship, unnecessary pain. I'm sorry I told you I hated you. I wish I could take those words back. I wish we could go back to the days I took for granted, the days filled with sunshine, pancakes, and you. I wish we could make snow forts and have you kick my ass at snow ball fights, I wish we could dance while it's raining, I wish we could just talk. Talk about anything and everything that comes to our minds.

I wish I could see you smile that wonderful smile of yours, one more time. Just one more time.

Matthew Williams, Canada, 'Birdie', I am completely, entirely, and awesomely in love with y