Thanks to ScandinavianTrash, Time Turner, Adelheid, ToolboxHDR, AmazingPrussia, Olivia Kirkland, Zaaze, BTT, Mehloveshorror, Atzuyi, Adorable Reader, EllaAwkward, CosmicDucks, PorcelenaRota and an anon for reviewing.

Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia.

Chapter 44

"I love you."

Vlad's eyes widened. Those were not the three words that he had been expecting, and instead of dragging him down into the deepest pits of despair, it made his heart soar. Lovino gave him a small smile.

"I bet you didn't expect that, did you?" Lovino said.

Before Vlad could answer, there was a roar of rage. Vlad stared with wide eyes at Ivan. It was rare to see him this angry, that he didn't even bother putting on a mask to hide his emotions. That only made the severity of the situation more obvious. Vlad quickly grabbed Lovino and pushed him behind his back, shielding him from Ivan.

"You were supposed to break his heart," Ivan said. "Shatter his soul. And yet you dare defy me?! You… You lied to me!"

"I didn't," Lovino said. "The person responsible for the bastards that ruined my life… It was you. Just like how you ruined Vlad's life."

Vlad could sense that something bad was about to happen. Ivan wouldn't let this one slide. And if he couldn't get Lovino to break his heart, he'd settle for the next best thing.

Killing Lovino.

Before Vlad could do anything, the two of them were separated by an invisible force. Telekinesis. Vlad moved as quickly as possible, only to see Ivan standing over Lovino. Vlad used his own telekinetic ability to throw Ivan away from Lovino before running over to the Italian.

"W-what happened?" Lovino asked.

"Remember back when we first met and Alfred thought he'd open the curtains?" Vlad asked. "I used telekinesis. I don't normally, but…"

Vlad knew that he didn't have a lot of time left. He bit into his wrist, basically tearing the flesh away before he stuffed the wound into Lovino's mouth.

"Drink," Vlad instructed. "The blood of life lingers a lot longer than the others. If Ivan attacks you, you'd be able to heal, even from fatal wounds."

There was a crash that made Vlad flinch, followed by a roar. Vlad turned to see Ivan, and if it was possible, he looked even more enraged than before.

"So, you think your blood can save his life?" Ivan asked. "That may be true. But how about his soul?"

Vlad growled in warning, before he pulled away from Lovino, satisfied that the Italian had drunk enough of his blood.

"Don't you dare touch him," Vlad said.

"I need not touch him," Ivan said. "Simply… break him."

Vlad could feel his blood run cold as he heard Lovino cry out behind him, and he turned to see Lovino almost completely encased in ice.

That moment of distraction was all that it took for Ivan to summon his wings and rush at Vlad, punching him away. Vlad cried out in pain before he hit a nearby pillar, collapsing it on top of him. Ivan then turned to Lovino with a dark smile on his face.

"I'll deal with you later," Ivan said.

There was a roar of rage, and Vlad stood from the rubble, silver blood streaming from his temple.

"Stay away from him!" Vlad roared, before he summoned his own wings.

Ivan's eyes widened, just as Vlad also summoned a sword made from fire. Ivan quickly summoned a sword of ice when Vlad launched himself towards him, but it had sent Ivan into the air.

Ivan glared down at Lovino, a look of hatred on his face.

"This is your fault," Ivan said, before he blocked the next attack from Vlad.

Fletcher's group was running along the hallways, hoping to find the missing Nephilim, and hoping to find them safe and sound. But Fletcher couldn't help but feel that something had happened to Matthew.

They stopped when they saw someone standing ahead of them, and Fletcher and Alexandru immediately took defensive positions.

"Eduard," Fletcher snarled. "Get out of our way."

"Why?" Eduard asked nonchalantly. "I'm just standing here. With no intention of doing anything."

Alexandru narrowed his eyes.

"Where are Hans and the others?" he demanded.

"I have no obligation to tell you," Eduard said. "I also have no obligation to stop you."

Fletcher sighed, before he gestured to the others to resume. However, just as they were passing him, Eduard spoke again.

"I can't guarantee that they're in a good place right now," Eduard said. "After all, the best way to make sure a Nephilim becomes a demon is if they're disheartened. And… Natalia played with one of them."

Fletcher felt his heart sink.

"Which one?" he asked.

Eduard shook his head, before suddenly disappearing. All four of them grew nervous.

"I don't like the sound of this," Henri said.

"You're right," Jason said. "Come on. We've got to be close by now."

Elizabeta and Feliks had managed to break away from the battle with the vampires and chased after Vlad. They each had a bad feeling about how things would go.

They followed the sounds of battle, Feliks not liking those sounds and Elizabeta instinctively drawn towards them. Rarely had Vlad and Ivan fought, but every time, Vlad was the one that returned worse-off.

They had found the throne room with little difficulty, and they had to pause to survey the situation.

Vlad and Ivan were having an aerial swordfight. Both seemed to be fuelled by rage, which was unusual for both of them. Not even when fighting her did Elizabeta see Vlad in such a state. Her jaw dropped. She was actually impressed by how well he could hold his ground.

Lovino was off to the side, his body almost completely encased in ice. And so the two ran over towards him, knowing that he wouldn't be able to survive the ice for too long.

"What exactly happened here?" Elizabeta asked.

"I-I told Vlad s-something, which set the winter bastard off," Lovino said. "And because he was trying to hurt me, Vlad got really mad."

"I can also imagine what else would have made him mad," Elizabeta remarked, staring at Vlad.

Feliks had opted for wrapping his wings around the frozen Lovino, and his heat started to melt the ice. He also allowed more of his heat to escape, desperate to get the Italian out of the ice.

"I don't think Ivan is going to let this one go," Elizabeta said. "Does Vlad know?"

"I don't think he noticed," Lovino said.

With only a few black feathers here and there, Vlad's wings had become almost completely white.

The Nephilim all tensed when they heard footsteps approaching. They feared that it might be the demon. But when they realised that there was more than one set of footsteps, their fear grew, thinking that the demon had brought his friends along.

They held their breaths, and when the owners of the footsteps came into view, their eyes all bulged at the sight.

"Henri!" Bella called out in joy.

"Jay!" Alfred called out.

"Alex!" Hans called out.

The three mentioned smiled happily when they saw the others. Fletcher, however, had his eyes focused on Matthew, a frown on his face.

"What happened?" Fletcher asked.

"They got to him," Alfred said, glaring at Fletcher. "What took you so long? We've been waiting forever. If you'd arrived sooner…"

"We've been in here for days," Vash said.

"That's impossible," Henri said. "It's only been two hours at most."

"Remember what Vlad said," Alexandru said. "In Hell, demons manipulate the perception of time. Making it seem longer than it actually is."

"So," Gupta said, "we haven't been here that long?"

"No," Jason said.

Fletcher glared at the lock on the cell.

"It's a magic lock," Fletcher said. "It seals the magic of all those trapped inside."

"You don't say," Alfred said sarcastically.

"It can only be opened by telekinesis," Fletcher said. "Which I don't have."

"I do," Henri said. "Vlad's been showing me how to use it. I can lift light objects, but…"

"That would be enough."

Henri nodded, taking a deep breath. He turned his attention to the lock, a frown on his face.

"Could you hurry up?" Vash asked.

"Shush," Fletcher shushed. "He needs to concentrate."

The others were silent as Henri examined the lock. His eyes narrowed, and they could see some strain on his face. Finally they heard a click, and the cell door swung open.

Bella cheered, leaping up to embrace her brother. Lars followed slowly, but he also embraced the younger two. Alexandru rushed inside and gave Hans a hug, and Alfred slowly stood, carrying an unconscious Matthew.

Fletcher had his eyes trained on Matthew, which didn't go unnoticed by Alfred. He continued to glare at the angel.

"Stay away from him," Alfred said.

"What?" Fletcher asked.

"If you think I'm just going to let you…"

"I take it you know that he's my heartwing?"

Alfred glared, but said nothing. Now, it was Fletcher's turn to glare.

"The only one that can tell me to stay away from him is Matthew himself," Fletcher said. "And if he says it, then I will gladly do so. However, since that's not the case, you can only consider yourself lucky that you're his brother, otherwise I would pry him from your arms and keep him safe from you."

Alfred looked taken aback, and Fletcher continued.

"Do you even realise how far an angel would go for their heartwing?" Fletcher asked. "We would literally descend into the depths of Hell for them. And while this isn't the depths, we are in Hell. I would sacrifice everything, including my own brothers, just to make sure that he's safe." Fletcher sighed. "Which is why you would have to forgive Jack."

"Jack?" Lili repeated. "Why?"

"Jack let the demons and vampires in in the first place," Jason explained. "It's because the demons were threatening to hurt Marcello."

"Speaking of which," Henri said. "Where is Marcello?"

"Isn't he with you?" Alfred asked.

They were all silent for a moment.

"We're going to have to look for him, aren't we?" Vash asked.

"If he's in the castle, then it's important to find him," Fletcher said. "I just wished that Vlad was with us. He's the only one capable of tracking him."

Kasem was bored. Michelle and Raj were playing go-fish, completely ignoring him. This was certainly getting on his nerves.

"If you're just going to ignore me, then why don't you let me go already?" Kasem asked.

"Did you hear something?" Raj asked.

"Nope," Michelle said, picking up a card.

"Me neither."

Kasem narrowed his eyes.

"How old are you two?" Kasem asked. "Because you're acting really immature."

"Does he expect us to play nice with the enemy?" Michelle asked Raj.

"You'd think he would know by now how to spend time in solitude," Raj added.

Kasem was really starting to get annoyed by the two of them, but was powerless to do anything. This wasn't fair.

Vlad and Ivan fought, neither of them willing to yield to the other. When Ivan had threatened his heartwing, Vlad had snapped, thousands of years of torture finally reaching the boiling point.

Ivan was also furious. He had noticed the state of Vlad's wings, but he wasn't sure if Vlad was aware of them yet. If he was, then it made things worse.

The atmosphere of Hell was supposed to be able to taint angels, and especially fallen angels were susceptible. It also got worse with anger. And yet… Vlad wasn't being affected. In fact, for the first time in nine thousand years, he was much closer to being an angel than a demon.

Ivan knew who was to blame. Vlad's heartwing, Lovino. He should have killed him a lot sooner. Drive Vlad truly beyond the point of despair. But he couldn't do that now. Lovino had consumed the blood of life, which would ensure that he wouldn't be able to die for a few more days at least.


Ivan was enraged by the fact that all of his hard work for the last nine thousand years, and even for the thousands of years before that, had been completely wasted. He knew that even if he tried, Vlad wouldn't be able to become a demon. Not even if his heartwing was killed. It would only fuel the fire.

And what's worse, not even the curse he had placed upon Vlad that would force his heartwing to reject him had taken effect. How was that even possible?

Everything that Ivan had done was a waste, and he had never felt so angry before in his entire existence. He didn't even care about it anymore. And he didn't care if Lucifer became angry about it either.

He needed justice.

Katyusha was fighting alongside the rest of Vlad's allies against the vampires. She only hoped that Ivan didn't do something terrible to Vlad this time.

She felt extremely responsible for everything Ivan had done to Vlad. And yet… She couldn't stop her brother. Both he and Natalia had no qualms about attacking her. Did they really hate her so much?

She shuddered, and the vampire she was fighting widened his eyes, before he was thrown away by an invisible force. She turned her attention to the side, where she saw Natalia, glaring at her hatefully.

"Hello, sister," Natalia said. "Tonight, you shall fall."

Marcello could hear the sounds of battle, but he could do nothing. Raivis glanced towards the door, sighing in annoyance.

"Vlad and Mr Ivan are really going at it," Raivis said. "It's weird. Vlad was an angel of life. They're not fighters."

Marcello narrowed his eyes thoughtfully.

"Say, why do you work for him?" Marcello asked.

"Because I have no choice," Raivis said. "He's the demon that dragged me down. And he demands my loyalty."

"Doesn't mean that you should give it to him."

"Actually, it does. If a demon drags down an angel, but make no move to make the fallen angel or new demon their servants, then they don't have an obligation. But if they do, then you're stuck. It's the same with you. If you become a demon while under Mr Ivan's control, then you'll be forced to serve him. Forever."

"That won't happen."

Raivis's face twisted slightly.

"Your optimism is disgusting," Raivis said. "Face it. You're not getting out of here."

"Maybe not," Marcello said, "but I know that whatever he has planned for Lovi, it won't work."

"And what makes you say that?"

"Because, my fratellone is incredibly stubborn."

Raivis actually cracked a smile.

"Mr Ivan likes stubbornness," he said. "It makes it more fun for him to break their spirits."

Toris and Eduard were in the castle's dining room, which was rarely used. The two of them were calmly eating while the sounds of battle could be heard from all around the castle.

"I've never seen or felt Mr Ivan so mad," Toris said.

"Do you think that this time Vlad would be able to win?" Eduard asked.

"Who knows? If he can, well… Remember, Mr Ivan is one of those that can kill him."

"Just like how he can kill us. I hope that Vlad would be able to get away from him. If he can…"

"Then maybe we can."

Gupta was the one leading the way, an arrow of light in front of him. He had mentioned that he had learned how to perform tracking spells, and the others decided to use it to their advantage in order to find Marcello, and then join the battle.

Alfred and Lars in particular wanted to join the fight.

"I hope everyone's okay," Lili said.

"I hope so too," Bella said. "Is Michelle alright?"

"She stayed back because she's not much of a fighter out of the water," Fletcher explained. "Raj stayed behind as well."

"Huh?" Vash asked. "Why?"

"It's too cold in Ivan's domain. The naga wouldn't have been able to handle it."

"But… Feliks is here?" Alfred asked.


"Now that you mention it," Hans said, "it is pretty cold here."

"We need to find Marcello as fast as possible," Jason said. "The sooner we get everyone out, the sooner we can leave."

"Whoa…" Lovino breathed out, seeing Vlad block each of Ivan's swings beautifully, and counterattacking with an intense ferocity.

"I've never seen him fight like that before," Elizabeta said. "Not even against me."

"Well, you didn't like make the mistake of messing with his heartwing," Feliks said.

The ice imprisoning Lovino had almost completely melted, but the Italian was too focused on the battle. He wanted Vlad to win, as soon as possible. He wanted this nightmare to be over, both for Vlad's sake and his own.

He also wanted to find his brothers. He knew that Marcello had been captured, but he didn't know whether or not he was still alive. And he had no idea what had happened to Feliciano. If that bastard did anything to hurt them…

Lovino almost stumbled, and he saw that he had been completely freed from the ice. But now he was cold and wet. He didn't really like that feeling.

"Like, I'll get you dry now," Feliks said.

"I still can't believe that Vlad would do this for me," Lovino said.

"Believe it," Elizabeta said. "When it comes to the heartwings, an angel would even go against their very nature in favour of protecting their most precious thing."

Lovino blushed at the description, and continued to watch the battle.

Vlad launched an attack towards Ivan, and the other parried it before kicking him away. Lovino's eyes widened when Ivan turned his attention towards him, his cold purple ice striking fear all the way through Lovino's body.

Vlad roared in rage again, rushing towards Ivan.

"Don't you dare!" Vlad shouted.

Lovino shuddered when he saw Ivan smiling. That smile promised everyone in the room that something bad was about to happen.

Lovino suddenly felt a jolt running through his body and he inadvertently screamed in pain. Vlad instinctively turned his attention towards him.

Lovino's eyes grew wide, and Elizabeta gasped as Feliks cried out in fury. Vlad only stared at him with wide eyes.

Ivan's sword had pierced through Vlad's heart.

I'm working on as many of my fics as possible. I'll start publishing Enough next week, and hopefully another one will be published soon. I'm the type of person that can't focus on one project at a time without getting bored.