Thanks to hannafechik98, Eternal Nexus Warrior and an anon for reviewing.
And to the guest: Sure, I don't mind.
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia.
Belarus whispered the words, before she groaned. The weakening spell had been annoying, but the sealing spell even more so. And she didn't get specific instructions from Romania, other than the fact that she had to distribute them among the prisoners, which she had already done. None of them were particularly happy about the arrangement.
North slipped in behind her, calmly starting to massage her back and shoulders, and she instinctively leaned into his touch.
"Is it giving you trouble?" he asked.
"It's filled with tongue-twisters and horrible pronunciation," she said. "This is annoying. Considering how important it is to stop Panarus, you'd think that they would have made it less annoying."
"But is it difficult?"
"It… It's hard to wrap my tongue around it. Not technically difficult, but…"
North chuckled, before he kissed her cheek.
"Perhaps you'd like to do something else with that tongue?" he suggested.
She smirked, before turning to meet him in a kiss. But before they could get into it, there was a knock on their door. They both immediately pulled away from each other, turning to the door with matching glares.
"Who is it and what do you want?" North snarled.
"It's Romania. I have good news and bad news. Are you decent?"
"Yes," she snapped.
Romania opened the door, glancing between the two and sighed.
"I interrupted, didn't I?" he asked. "Well, at least it was just foreplay."
The two narrowed their eyes.
"News, now," Belarus hissed.
"Right," Romania said, "so, the good news is that Panarus is free from his host. Which means that he would need to find a new host before he does anything."
"How did that happen?" North asked. "And how do you know?"
"A certain development that required me to get in contact with America's group. I don't know the details, but they said that I should just read a fairy tale or something."
North and Belarus exchanged a look, before turning back to Romania.
"Alright, so we know the good news," Belarus said. "What's the bad news?"
"Canada's deal," Romania said, sighing. "They agreed that Panarus wouldn't be able to harm any Amodi nation while in Quebec's body. But now that he's not in Quebec's body…"
"He's free to come after us. But, that didn't exactly stop him…"
"But if he does things personally, it would be worse for us. He not only kills you, but wipes you from existence. That is a fate far worse than death."
Belarus and North shuddered.
"Alright," she said. "But about the sealing spell… How often do we have to cast it?"
"As often as you like," Romania said. "Panarus is already weak, and without a host, now is the perfect time. We can't afford to waste any more of it."
Belarus winced, before looking at the spell in distaste. Romania smiled sympathetically.
"I know it's hard," he said, "but the harder the spell, the greater its effects."
She was silent for a moment.
"I hate you right now," she said.
"Sorry for interrupting," he said, turning around. "Feel free to continue."
And he closed the door, North narrowing his eyes.
"As though we could," he growled. "The idiot ruined the mood."
Belarus sighed, before looking at the spell again. This would be fun…
Panarus reached the archives' door, before stepping out. He could see the three former micronations gathered outside, and he suppressed a smirk. They were supposed to look after Malta, but they had failed. They should have left the door open.
"What's up?" Sealand asked.
Panarus had made sure that she kept her regular appearance. It wouldn't help him to reveal himself. And there was another reason why he wanted to keep Malta's face intact.
"I just need to use the bathroom," Panarus easily lied.
The three nodded, and Panarus moved past them. He could have simply killed them, but it would attract too much attention at this point. He needed to do this with as much subtlety as he could afford.
He noticed that they were following him, and he repressed a groan. Now they were taking their duties as bodyguards seriously.
The magic of the nations had weakened him, but he still had his own magic. His reserves were just a bit depleted. He needed to be careful with it.
But considering how close he was… it wouldn't hurt to use his magic on the three nuisances. He focused for a moment, and then he heard three thumps. They would be asleep for a while.
He shook off the dizziness, sensing that someone was performing the sealing spell. He needed to move quickly.
Panarus stopped and listened for a while. He could hear Italy pacing, as he was wont to do the last few days. Panarus felt gleeful. He was the reason why Italy was so nervous lately. But it wasn't Italy that he was focused on. He wanted Amodi's other leader.
And Poland was in their bedroom, speaking to someone on the phone. Most likely listening to a report from either the east or west. Not that it mattered. Panarus chuckled as he made his way towards the bedroom.
Poland didn't spare him a glance, unaware of his presence. Italy was still in the study, and it didn't seem as though he would be joining them any time soon. Now, he just needed to wait until Poland finished the call.
In the meantime, Panarus looked down at his temporary body. It had been a while since he'd been inside a female. He'd almost forgotten the sensation. It was certainly different. He wondered if his next host should be a woman as well.
Just as the thought crossed his mind, he heard Poland finish with his call, and Panarus had to hold in his smirk. Quietly, he opened the door, seeing Poland pinch the bridge of his nose.
"Is something wrong?" Panarus asked in Malta's voice.
Poland jumped in surprise, before he spun to face 'Malta'. His posture relaxed once he saw – or thought he saw – who it was.
"Malta," he greeted. "What are you doing here?"
"I was looking for you."
Panarus allowed his eyes to flash from Malta's colour to his true colour. Poland gasped, taking a step back.
"Panarus…" he whispered.
Panarus chuckled, before he flashed straight in front of Poland, clamping a hand on his mouth and slamming him down on the bed.
"I think in your case," Panarus said, summoning a knife to his hand, "it would be best to do it a more… ordinary way."
Russia had decided that the meeting had gone on long enough. There was still something else that was bothering him. He made his way towards Baltia, the others watching him in confusion.
When Baltia saw him approach, she shrank back behind Vilnius, and in that moment he could definitely see Latvia in her. He pushed the feeling of longing for his Baltics aside and focused on her.
"We need to know if you know anything about Panarus's plans," Russia said. "We got him out of Quebec's body, but he's not going to stay down."
The other children heard Russia, and they carefully approached. Baltia continued to hide behind Vilnius, and Russia remembered that they had the memories of their predecessors. He also remembered how Baltia had tried to kill him a few days ago, and that his treatment of the Baltics was the reason for it.
In hindsight, he realised that he should have treated them better than he did.
"We don't know exactly what he's planning," Slavyu said. "We do know that he was working on awakening the Bond of despair."
"Romania told me about it," White said.
Russia nodded. They had all noticed when Liechtenstein's phone rang, and America's confusion when asked to give the phone to White. She hadn't really had time to pass on the information that Romania had given her, other than the fact that the Bonds were sentient and keeping Portugal unconscious. China was not happy to hear that.
"And what is he planning with this bond?" Russia asked.
"It's different from the others," Nivadura said. "It's the only one with a direct negative effect on those connected to it. It's based on the feelings that the rest of the Bonds are useless, or that nothing they do would help."
"Panarus wanted to trigger it in Slovenia too," Slavyu said, glancing towards his brother. "That's why he told me to lie."
"Hold up," America said. "He would just tell you about it?"
"No," Arabia said. "Not directly. He gave us the ability to gather knowledge if we need to, except if it's something that he doesn't want us to know. That's how we knew how we can break free."
"Wait," Vietnam said. "Why would he allow you to know about it?"
"Because he could use it to his advantage," Quebec said weakly. "He… he was planning on hopping bodies anyway. Because… the spell…"
"Do you know anything?" America rounded on Quebec.
The Canadian province whimpered and shrank back at the sudden attention, but Madeira and Catalonia placed calming hands on his shoulders.
"Oui," he whispered. "Panarus briefly took hold of Portugal, but it was difficult for him to be in two bodies at once. He… I don't think he realised it, but… I got access to his thoughts. And I know… He wants to spread despair through everyone."
"How is he planning on getting to everyone?" Thailand asked.
"Camaraderie… He wanted Slovenia to succumb to despair because… Slovenia is here. With you. And…"
"And I'm still connected to everyone here," Slovenia said in realisation.
"Portugal is the same… to the prisoners. And… There's also China and Netherlands…"
"An extra boost," China muttered. "So, only the ones not in either group will be unaffected?"
"Amodi themselves are victims of despair," he continued. "Everyone they lost. The lovers especially. It would just take one more death to send a huge wave of despair through Amodi, and depending on the death, it can affect us too. A death which we were once hoping for."
Before anyone could ask, Slovenia and Albania started to scream. They turned to them in alarm, seeing grey ribbons appear around both their arms. Russia could feel a cold chill settling in his chest, and he felt his hope fade away.
"What's going on?" China demanded, looking around. "Who died?"
"P-Poland," Slovenia stuttered, growing pale.
Upon hearing that, the others started to panic. Quebec turned to America.
"Do you have a bunker somewhere?" he asked. "We need to get out of here."
Italy slumped in the chair, too tired of pacing. He knew that the stress was getting to him. But he needed to figure out how to stop Panarus. And then he needed to continue with the war.
There weren't many nations left. If they could only kill or capture those that remained… but then again, there weren't many nations on their own side left either. Unless they could figure out where to get new recruits…
Not to mention, he was feeling guilty. He had been neglecting Poland the last few days. His lover was patient, but everyone's patience had their limits. Italy needed to make up for it.
But then an intense pain ripped through his body. It was as though his very soul was being yanked out, and that his heart was being crushed. It was like the pain from when one of them died, but so much worse.
And that's when realisation hit. His eyes widened, and he leapt out of the chair.
"Feliks…" he whispered.
He ran to their bedroom, and he saw someone sitting on the bed, looming over someone else. A crushed heart was in her hand, and it didn't take a lot of imagination to figure out whose it was.
He growled in rage, grabbing a dagger he kept on his belt, and launched himself at Poland's murderer. He heard a yelp, and he pinned her to the bed, raising his dagger.
"Wait, Feliciano! I'm sorry! I wasn't in control! I…!"
Italy saw nothing but red, and he could hear nothing but the blood pumping in his ears. He didn't see the face. Didn't hear the voice. The only thing he was aware of was the desire to kill the one that had killed his beloved.
There was a scream as he plunged the knife in her chest, carving the heart out. He wasted no time in crushing the heart, and he could see the light leave her eyes.
Vengeance achieved, some of the anger faded, and he realised that it was his sister. His eyes widened in shock.
"What?" he whispered.
There was a cold chuckle – a male voice – and it seemed to echo around him. Italy jumped, eyes flitting around him.
"It was fun, killing everyone you loved. Your family, and your lover. I can't wait to play with you again."
Italy grimaced when he realised who it was. Panarus. He was the one responsible for Poland's death. And he used his sister to accomplish that.
He looked down at Malta, before focusing all of his attention on Poland. He closed Poland's eyes, pushing the jaw closed as well. He used his fingers to wipe the stray tears away, before he leaned down to kiss him.
He heard footsteps, and soon enough, the others arrived.
"What happened?" Mexico asked. "Oh god…"
Italy kept staring at Poland, his earlier thoughts forgotten. He couldn't – wouldn't – continue this war without Poland. And he regretted neglecting Poland more than ever. He couldn't fix it anymore. He couldn't fix anything anymore. Not without Poland.
He didn't want to do anything anymore. He just wanted it all to end. He didn't want to be in this broken world anymore.
And as for everyone else… Perhaps it was a good idea for the world to start over. It was the best solution.
"Just outside of Rome," Italy said, reaching for his cell phone, "there's a bunker. I'm sending you the GPS coordinates. You have ten minutes to get there."
"What are you talking about?" Confederacy asked.
"Ten minutes," Italy said.
There was movement, and he could sense that the others had left. Except for one.
Italy turned to see South approaching, before settling on the bed.
"You're going to make use of the arsenal, aren't you?" South asked.
"Si," Italy said. "It's for the best. This world… I don't want to go on anymore. And I don't want to go down without a fight."
"I'm staying too," he said. "This is probably the best chance for me to reunite with Vash."
Italy nodded. He could finally understand the pain of losing a lover. And just how selfish it was to keep them from willingly joining them.
Italy opened the app, and instead of choosing a specific location, he chose the special bombs. The nuclear bombs. The ones only available to him and Poland. And he didn't care where they hit. As long as one of them hit there.
He had warned the others for their own safety. He needed to reward their loyalty somehow. But he didn't guarantee that they would survive. He had little control of where the nukes went at this point. There was only one that he needed to hit their location.
And North's base was equipped to survive a nuclear strike.
North watched as Belarus once again recited the spell, before their phones chimed. He removed his, and paled.
"We need to go underground," he said, grabbing Belarus's hand and dragging her out of the room.
"Wait," she said. "What is it?"
"Italy released the nukes."
He had gone to the office, and using the intercom, informed everyone to head to the basement. Once everyone arrived, he informed them of the situation, and the first tremors started. And the first screams.
"Why is Italy doing this?" Sealand asked.
They were found unconscious and woken. Immediately afterwards, they were informed that they only had a few minutes to leave, and using the remaining power from when they were micronations, they managed to get them all to the bunker, just in time.
"Hard to tell," Mexico said, wincing in slight pain. "Let's just hope that we can survive."
"Shouldn't we be safe here?" Kugelmugel asked.
"We're safe from the ones in this vicinity. The ones that hit our countries, on the other hand…"
America groaned, opening his eyes. He was staring up at a clear blue sky. It looked a little strange.
"Finally, you're awake. I was wondering when you'd finally come around."
That voice. He recognised it. He turned his attention to see…
"England?" he croaked.
England gave a small smile, though it looked sad.
"Hello, Alfred," he greeted. "I have to say, I'm surprised."
"I think I'm more surprised than you," America said, sitting up. "You're dead."
England nodded, and it took America a moment to realise what was going on.
"I… I'm dead, aren't I?" he asked.
"I'm afraid so," England sighed. "Italy unleashed Amodi's entire nuclear arsenal. One of them hit Yellowstone. You were in a coma for a week before finally dying."
"A week?!" America repeated. "What… what about the others?"
"Some nations died instantly. Others, like you, took a little longer. Some are severely injured, and it's unclear whether or not they would survive. And through some miracle, there are a few nations that are completely unharmed."
"But… what about Panarus?"
"There are a few nations that were performing the sealing spell. Interestingly, there was only one incantation left before he would have been sealed away. Romania has been casting it a few more times, and Panarus is finally sealed. Hopefully, he stays sealed. He's growing stronger due to all this destruction he caused."
America pursed his lips.
"What happens now?" he asked.
"Now, you get to enjoy your afterlife," England said.
"So, why are you the one meeting me here?"
"Well, I'm surprised too. So, I'm the one you missed the most?"
America blushed, before looking around.
"I recognise this place," he muttered.
"This is the place where you were born," England explained. "When entering the afterlife, it only makes sense to return to the place where you started your original life."
England held out his hand, and America reached out to take it. England pulled him up without issue, and led him towards a light. America was disappointed that he had to die, but there was nothing else that he could do. He wondered what the afterlife was like. So he followed England, waiting to see what was coming.
I'm sorry if anything seems rushed near the end. And, yeah… There's going to be an epilogue, and I think it would be easier to just list the ones that survived in the epilogue instead of everyone that died.
I've been thinking of having America dying at the end, only to arrive in the afterlife. And I also had a review asking me to have a bonus chapter of the characters in the afterlife. So… This is what you get.
And once again, no USUK. I've hinted a few times in the past that America feels guilty about not properly mending his relationship with England. This is purely platonic. The only time I tolerate USUK is if it's accompanied by Franada.