Chapter 2: Send Him Victorious

"Send him victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us:

God save the King!"

-Lyrics from God Save the King (alternatively titled as God Save the Queen)

Germany felt empty.

He felt as if nothing was worth it in the world anymore. Everything was just so... monochrome now. He felt so numb, he felt so empty, he felt so incomplete. His bruder's death felt like someone had ran a cold blade down his chest and just stabbed it in his heart to rot. His own heart was beating at a sonic rate and it blared his own eardrums. He can barely differentiate what is black from white as they all turn into a murky grey.

As he and the other nations watched the burning buildings from afar (along the somewhat vain attempts of the firemen to extinguish the flames), Ludwig found himself walking away from the cluster of nations.

He mechanically pushed his way through a cluster of trees and found a plain for him to recollect his thoughts. Shielding himself behind a large monument, he leaned on the marble pedestal. The European breathed heavily, feeling tiredness wash over him. Try as he must, he can no longer produce tears; they've all dried up in midst of his mourning. Sliding down to sit on the grass, he hugged himself whilst attempting to ease his unstable breathing.

Relax, try to remember vhat has happened so far, he thought to himself, rekall vhat brought you here.

The rhythm of his own thumping heart was echoing through his head. Slowly, his in-shock mind began to leave its period of hysteria. Images of the flames raged his mind, and his corpse and—

Nausea soared through his body, and a burning sensation fixated itself in his throat. It happened so fast, too fast, he thought forlornly, feeling his chest ache in longing. Ludwig gently touched his messy hair, recalling how his brother ruffled it for one final time. Burying his face onto his folded knees, he sniffled. Nations don't die, but his bruder isn't a nation anymore.

How many times has the names he represented dissolved?

The Order of the Teutonic Knights, the Kingdom of Prussia, and so much more. But why didn't he die sooner? Bekause he always found something to represent after a dissolution, a voice nagged Germany. That isn't true, that isn't true, that isn't true


Oh mein Gott, I'm going insane, he thought, I kan even hear his voice kalling me. He hugged his knees, curling into a foetal position.

"West, notice me."

Wincing slightly, Ludwig did, in fact, notice the lack of German accent that tainted Gilbert's voice. His mind was playing tricks on him, his mind was accepting that his bruder was dead. He was supposed to be happy, right? He was accepting the death of someone so close to him, or he was going insane, or both. The latter options did not appear to please the German and—

"West, if you continue moping, I swear, you'll never live up to my awesomeness."

He said it! He said it! He said his signature vord... vithout... his accent... Germany internally screamed, an internal war waging within him. Perhaps, the Prussian was sent to drag him into the farthest depths of hell (whether to drop him off or join him was unknown to Ludwig) or was an angel sent to cleanse his soul from guilt.

Perhaps he was given one last chance to speak with his brother.

Slowly tilting his head, Ludwig's slightly bloodshot blue eyes made its way to meet familiar red ones. No... it kan't be, he thought hopefully, but is he really—?

A sincere smile plastering his face, Gilbert had a serene and peaceful expression. "West, it's me." The German words stoically rolled off his tongue. Nostalgia hit the blond nation like a truck and all he could do was stare at the spirit of his brother. His back ached to stretch and retain its former formality, but move in place was Germany all but able to do. The Prussian was still wearing his clothes from the meeting, with his hoodie and other multiple layers of clothing remaining untouched... unburnt.

"Her—pardon me—Bruder, whatever happens, happens." Was he about to call Ludwig the German honorary of Herr? Prussia paused, as if processing his words. Ludwig hugged his knees closer at the sight of catching his bruder's subtle shaking.

"I—we—can't do anything about... anything that happens." The albino shook his head.

"My destiny has already been written, even if I don't know what will happen to me," he continued, "I'm sure you're destined to represent a great nation; so don't let yourself fall like the unawesome empires behind you." Prussia tucked his hands within his pockets, the wind prompting his loose clothing to billow. "I was too awesome for life, it seems." His eyelids fluttered close.

"West, I know you're going to be one of the most affected by my death," No denying that, bruder, Germany thought in a bittersweet manner, "but... just smile, okay?"

"You know, I'm almost always smiling," the reminder made the blond's stomach sink in longing, "I smile because you're my brother. I laugh because you can't do anything about it." Gilbert spread his arms wide and faced the sky.

"I'll be here, okay, West? No matter what," he said whilst spinning around, "treasure the people around you, mein awesome-but-not-as-awesome-as-me bruder. You'll lose some of them, gain some more, and get betrayed; but, in the end, its worth it." He paused his mock-pirouetting to open his eyes and gaze at Ludwig. "I'm proud of you, you know?"

"A storm is on its way," Prussia stated as he lowered his arms, "so you have to be strong, West."

The albino used his left hand to gesture at his body. "This awesome and sexy beast here doesn't have much time to stay." As if on cue, his body flickered in the light; appearing to have been all but there for a fracture of a second. "I died in such an unawesome way, I know. Take care of the Gilbird Army's corpses for me, will ya?" A small chick poked its head out of the Prussian's hair. The small body and rosary within Germany's breast pocket felt heavier against his clothes.

It chirped in a seemingly-approving manner. "See? Gilbird agrees with me." The owner shrugged.

"You were brave at the fire, West. Don't dwell—oh, an awesome-but-not-as-awesome-as-me word!—too much on my death. It was inevitable for me." Prussia held his left hand our towards the blond, beckoning him. "Ich liebe dich, West. I love you." He flashed Ludwig a gentle smile, his image flickering once again.

Reaching out, the blond's shaking left hand stretched towards the Prussian's. And as his fingers were close to making contact—

His hand went through.

By instinct, Germany recoiled his hand. He could only watch in shock as his bruder began turning translucent, his whole being dissipating into mist. Gilbert retained eye contact and the genuine smile on his face. Soon, a flash of light temporarily blinded Ludwig as his bruder disappeared; returning back to the afterlife. He shielded his eyes as, in silence, the light began fading.

"Kesesesesesesese..." The words were let out as the albino claimed his last laugh. Then, silence began overtaking the atmosphere once again.

And, so, his bruder was gone once again.

"Ich liebe dich auch, mein bruder," he murmured. The feeling of loneliness appeared to have been pacified by his bruder's visit. He lowered his aching arm, defeat consuming him. The spirit of his brother moved on, he should too... right? His brother got his 'inner peace'. His brother held no hatred for the very person who burnt his corpse, and the other people who despised him.

His bruder...

The blond gripped his left wrist, curling his hand into a ball.

...told him to move on.

Germany blinked rapidly, feeling like a snail exiting its shell. Move on, move on, a voice chanted in his head, for your bruder, for your bruder. Slowly, a newfound vigour began rising within him. The pounding of his heart beat through his ears in rhythmic motions. He couldn't give up now.

Honour the dead, Ludwig was taught.

It only sprinkled dirt onto his bruder's figurative grave if he were to turn into... a mindless and robotic nation. He represents what Gilbert used to. The moment was cinematic, one may say.

Germany is a nation. He and his kin do not follow the normal life span of humans despite sharing their traits. Post-death shock and grief do not heave a heavy weight to them as it would to a human. They were supposed to be used to it. Many have nations and empires fallen, died, and faded from existence to remain only in History books and Wikipedia articles, their territories split along with their variety of people and diverse culture; all passed down from nation to nation.

Using his hands as support, he pushed himself up into a standing position.

The blond's posture wavered slightly as exhaustion was felt through his wobbly legs. His body began to relax from his previous and uncomfortable hook sitting position. The suit he was wearing felt slightly looser from the strain. As a force of habit, he dusted his suit and the dirt that tainted his pants before touching his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross whilst forming a plan.

I should meet up with my fellov nations, he decided, and talk to China and pray that vhat he did does not reflekt harshly on his vhole nation and Amerika—

"China! Are you sure you're alright, dude?"

The boisterous voice of the aforementioned nation prompted Germany to press himself against the statue pedestal, feeling cautious. If China shot the only world superpower...

Only war could follow.

Whatever the personifications did to each other mostly reflected on their people. Or, to put it in a more factual manner, what their people did always reflected what they did. No matter how uncanny, their freedom would be dropped behind obliging with their bosses' orders and majority of their people.

And there is nothing they could do about it.

Peaking slightly from behind the monument, Ludwig fiddled with his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross whilst putting up his serious façade. With his free hand, he reached into his suit and pulled out his HK45 and clicked off the safety. He held the gun in an anticipative position with its muzzle facing towards the ground.

", right? Yao—I'll call you that, m'kay?—I suggest you apologise to the others for, well, that." He watched Alfred gesture in the direction of the burning buildings and the growing fire. "They won't get you off the hook easily, I'm sure; but, hey, it's better than them raging w—fights, right?" America let out his signature carefree laugh. Germany stiffened when he noted his avoidance of the word 'war'.

Was he, too, nervous of a war brewing ahead?

"A storm is on its way, so you have to be strong, West." The European felt his throat hitch when realisation washed through him. His bruder proba—definitely knew a war was looming above them. Had Yao's act of accidentally setting his own capital on fire and his warning shot directed towards the only Gott-verdammt superpower reflected the ignition of war by his people?

A failed invasion? Or a foiled conspiracy to send nuclear warheads the opposing country? Perhaps it was an attempt to assassinate the President— Stop those pessimistik thoughts at once! Ludwig mentally berated himself, this is just a misunderstanding.

"I guess I agree, Alfred." Warning bells shot through the eavesdropping German's ears. He detected the hidden malice laced beneath those spoken words; and the Chinese nation typically called the superpower by either his Chinese or English name.

He dropped the human name basis years prior.

"The Hero saves once again with his awesome advice!" America spun around so his back was facing towards the Asian as he pointed to the sky. "The sky is the limit! Well, unless you're a member of NASA or something; then, there is no limit!" He ecstatically proclaimed at the sky.

From Ludwig's view, he caught Yao's silent and humourless chuckle. The dark-haired man slipped his hand through a hidden pocket in his suit. China brandished a sleek object, its body glinting brightly within the light of day.

The same gun that triggered the whole flaming ordeal.

Germany's eyes widened in horror as the safety was removed from the firearm. Yao, not one to waste time, aimed the gun towards the American's heart. I kan't let this happen! Ludwig instinctively burst forward from his hiding spot, his gun aimed at the Chinese man. I'm too far, the German thought in horror.

"Alfred! Vatch out!" He called out.

"Stay out of this, aru!" China snapped.

It happened in slow motion in the European's eyes. It all happened in a flash when his finger pushed against the trigger of his own German-made gun. He couldn't let America—Alfred—get injured. The said American turned around at his direction, his eyes widening in surprise. Adrenaline combusted through Ludwig's veins whilst he watched his pistol recoil at his shot.


The shot that rang around the world.

Line Break

Many have deduced America to overly-trusting and extremely (and blissfully) oblivious to the world. Sure, he couldn't, and, at times, doesn't want to, read the atmosphere, but he did have his moments. He won the Cold War against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for crying out loud!

He knew Yao had brought his gun with him. He knew the Chinese man had intended to shoot him. He knew the dangerous thin ice he's caught himself in by agreeing to 'take a walk' with China.

Alfred wasn't stupid enough to go anywhere without a weapon; especially with the risk of assassinations and due to his title of being the personification of the United States of America. His Desert Eagle 50 Caliber Pistol was tucked in the waistband of his pants (partially hidden underneath his bomber jacket) along with a few small PM9's concealed in multiple areas around his clothing. Despite the discomfort the firearms provided him, nothing could overthrow the paranoia of his Boss and the Secret Service.

"I guess I agree, Alfred."

He bit his lip in anticipation, the dark-haired man was sure to shoot him soon. Perhaps the fire in Beijing reflected a failed attempt to send warning to his country?

Whatever did happen, he couldn't let it grow any worse.

"The Hero saves once again with his awesome advice!" Turning about, Alfred raised his index finger towards the sky. "The sky is the limit! Well, unless you're a member of NASA or something; then, there is no limit!" I'm open, any time now. Perhaps if I deflect his attack, I could get him to listen, he thought.

In the future, some nations might ask him: "Why did you follow China in the first place?"

The blond knew that Yao had pent-up frustration towards him. If he declined the dark-haired man's offer, other nations may get roped up into the war the superpower knew that was coming. After all, it was a poor example and hero of him to allow others to get burdened due to vented tensions between him and the Asian.

Any moment now, he would hear a gun shot that was aimed, most likely, towards his heart. The American held his breath, bracing himself to side-step a (possible) onslaught of bullets—

"Alfred! Vatch out!"

"Stay out of this, aru!"

Germany? he thought incredulously. Instinctively, his head spun in that direction. No, he thought in horror, he shouldn't be here! Please, leave—!


America's eyes widened as a bullet was shot straight out of Ludwig's gun. The German's reaction time was flawless; as Yao was a second too late, his revolver was knocked out off his hands and flung towards the ground. Shock registered itself on the Asian's face. A scowl immediately replaced it as, in a flash, a second gun was whipped out. Germany protectively stood in front of the American with his firearm aimed at China.

"Some hero you are," the dark-haired man mocked before his lips curled into a sneer. "You even need to ask for help from others, aru. Could you even call yourself a superpower?"

"China—" Ludwig tried before he was cut off by the angered and furious Asian.

"Stay out of this, I said!" Yao hissed before fixating his eyes on the silent Alfred. "Where is your debt, aru?" Debt. The word struck the blond like lightning as he winced. Another reminder of the American's incompetency.

The blond tensed up. "I'm still in the process of repaying it—"

"I know that, aru! Your previous allies have debt to you, do they not? The United Kingdom and France! Your economy is good! My people are dying because of you!" Lies, America wanted to tell himself, those are just lies. I'm a hero, I'm a hero, I'm a hero. The string of thoughts began turning into mockery that sounded awfully true to the American, It's my fault, it's my fault, it's my fault.

"Amerika," Germany sharply ordered, "go and find the others. I shall talk to China." He heavily emphasised the final word. "Be the hero and—"

"Him? A hero, aru?" The dark-haired man let out a vocal humourless laugh. "Don't make me laugh! Wait, you did! At least I do what is best for my people! You both are traitors!" He paused, as if considering a thought.

"If you both believe you're all powerful and mighty, how about a war?" Alfred watched as Ludwig flinched, possibly recalling the cruel actions and operations he was forced to do a century ago. "It's starting, don't you feel it, aru? Alliances are forming!" The American watched as a maniacal grin found its way onto the Chinese man's face.

"Ah!" The exclamation prompted the German to take a step forward. "Stand down, European, let the adult handle this."

Ludwig inhaled sharply. "China, please. Let us talk about this—"

"There's no time for talk, Déguó." There was another pause as Yao fumbled around his suit with one hand whilst retaining eye contact to his two fellow nations. "Well, I'll be merciful. I'll give you a decision." The sound of an object being unsheathed made Alfred's breath hitch. Oh, God, no

"Cat got your tongue, hero?" The knife glistened as China swung it around whilst keeping his gun aimed at them. "How brave are you? Do you dare..." The Asian pointed the knife towards his stomach, its blade lightly grazing his clothing. " come near me?"

If Germany and I came close, China could easily shoot us; sparking a conflict and, possibly, a war that may drag our allies with us. If we remain, then China could stab himself in mock-suicide; and spark a civil war within him and, possibly, the collapse of the Republic, economic strain, his own stock market crash, or all of the above, America bit his lip, some hero I am. I dragged Ludwig into this!

"Alfred, rabbits don't speak ute nor eat nuts."

No, please, no. The German looked at him with a desperate expression. Alfred's mind automatically deciphered the code.


Immediately, Ludwig spun his head back to Yao and surged forward. "You're not in your right mind, China!"

"I'm glad you agree, aru!" A gunshot immediately followed.

"Ludwig—!" America could only watch with his mouth agape and arm outstretched as the other blond expertly sidestepped away from the bullet. The projectile whizzed by the American and imbedded itself on a tree trunk far behind him. Dumbfounded among other words is all that could describe Alfred as more gunshots were heard.

"If you're so mighty, how would your economy handle?"

As the fight began to unfold, he felt his body grow constricted. Voices began making America's vision blur and spin. Gritting his teeth, he covered his ears with his palms, vainly attempting to block out the words.

"—the People's Republic of China officially declares war on the United States of America and its allies—"

A knot buried itself into the superpower's stomach. Yao wasn't kidding. China wasn't kidding. His government turned batshit crazy and its taking its toll on him. Then, another thought hit him. What happened to my people? What happened to Alfred's own nation that reflected the Asian's actions?

"—its first act of political treason began with the foiled assassination of the President—"

He could barely hear the laughter of China as he struggled to keep himself upright. His knees wobbled as nausea began rising up to his throat. You heard the declaration of war, this isn't a joke, you wannabe hero. He could feel his people panicking, his people torn between begging for neutrality and avenging their leader, his people thirsty for spilt blood.

"—suicidal bombers' attempts were stopped with SWAT team and, yet again, German intervention helped—"

So Ludwig helping me was a nod to how his people intervened with two acts against my country. America's body swayed involuntarily, his feet twitching to run. His body refused to obey him as his feet began turning around. No, no, no! What're you doin'? he screamed inwardly at himself, I should be helping Ludwig detain Yao!

"—lost signal of a shipment that was intended for Europe—"

A bullet passed by his ear at sonic speed. The blond's body forced his palms off his ears as his body broke off into a mad dash into the trees, unwillingly being forced to abandon his comrade. A rush of adrenaline pumped through his veins, redolent of the vigour within his people. His body went mechanical as it appeared to retrace the steps and paths he took with Y— China.

"—conspiracy theories of a rising 'better red than dead' propaganda movement in China—"

Shut up, please! the American begged the voice in his head. His shoes scraped against the rocky ground as he felt directions lure him to wherever his body forced him to. Straight ahead, then a 45 degrees turn to the left before continuing on, his body manoeuvred him.

He was sure other nations felt it. And they know it's my fault.

The superpower felt himself regain control of his body once again as he nearly tripped over a loose root on the ground. He found himself back at where the nations evacuated to. A few notable ones were missing, which made America worry at what might've happened whilst he was busy being useless.

Inhaling sharply, he put on the brightest smile he could.

Alfred jumped out of the bushed and opened his mouth, ready to announce his return and reassure everyone that he is the goddamn hero. Ludwig is strong, he told himself, and if my body tells me to go here, that means my people are doing something.

His voice box couldn't help but falter when he noticed the grim mood in the atmosphere.

No one appeared to have noticed (or acknowledge) his entrance. They probably know what happened, he thought, and they blame me. His carefree smile immediately wiped itself off his face and was replaced by a forlorn one.

"Could you even call yourself a superpower?"

America cringed at the words that rang through his head, numbness weighing down his heart. He hung his head low and faced the ground, a bitter wish within him to bury himself and forget about the world around him as he leaned against a tree. He was only trying to help. He was the hero, wasn't he?

Turning away from the crowd of nations, he furiously wiped the moist developing within his eyes. Prussia was alive. Gilbert was alive. He was just in a horrible dream, he probably passed out from fate-knows-what, and England is going to—


Horror suddenly overthrew his numbness as America ripped his gaze from the dull grass to look for his best friend. Prussia used to be close allies with him and, despite the pranks and jokes, they were close friends in private! Heck, they even pranked people together! Alfred was supposed to be a hero, and he was being an awful and (dare he say) atrocious one. It was his fault for the whole mess, he might as well not let others be burdened by him even more.

The superpower sighed in relief when he found the familiar thin outline of Arthur Kirkland. He stood isolated from the cluster of nations and gazed at the fires raging the Chinese capital. Approaching the 'gentleman', America put on the most reassuring smile he could and tapped his shoulder.


The former pirate's head wiped around and glared at him, his green orbs gazing directly at him. America felt naked and exposed, like those eyes were piercing and dismantling his soul piece by piece. They studied him. They held such hatred and disgust; as if it were a time bomb waiting for its trigger to explode.

"How could you be so happy at a time like this?!" England brought his hand up and, as fast as lightning, his palm collided with America's cheek, sending the surprised superpower sprawled onto the pavement.

"Prussia is dead and you're just smiling like a dimwit! Look around you, you idiotic personification of incompetence! Read the damn atmosphere for once! Nothing can bring him back, nothing! You aren't a hero! You caused this mess! You're just a selfish, blind—!"

"Mon ami, Angleterre, zat is enoug'!" France's voice cut off his rant.

"Enough? That is pure and utter bollocks! Nothing is enough until this poor excuse of a superpower gets his act together and shuts his bleeding mouth that he claims to be so-called 'eloquent'!"

America merely watched, the world shattering around him. Finally, someone said it to his face. They didn't dare pent up their frustrations and give themselves more handicaps. He needed to be better. He needed to save everyone. He should stop being such a burden. The reminder weighed down heavily on his heart, leaving a sole scar that may never heal.

Francis glared at England as he helped Alfred up, slinging the American's right arm over his shoulder. In a flash, two were engaged in a heated argument; with the Frenchman failing at pacifying the Englishman. America just wished that everything could be over, that China would jump out from the trees and say that everything was a prank, and that Prussia would descend from parting clouds in a bright light in all his awesome and living glory.

Arthur screamed, "It was his people who started this! When there was a declaration of war, his people sunk my battleship. My people died because this hamburger-eating glutton couldn't keep his people in check!"

France had an expression of being taken aback. "I am sure it was just a misunder—"

"No," the deadly calm tone sharply cut off the Frenchman, "I felt it. I heard it. The voices of my people were pretty bloody clear. An American siege caused my ship to sink." He spat out the word of nationality with scorn written all over his posture and face.

"Ally or enemy, friend or foe, my people want war." The former pirate smiled cruelly, an eerie aura emitting itself from him. "As much as I want to play around and have tea, a treaty has been signed; The Empire Agreement. You lot have earned a grave enemy. Soon, you'll regret messing with the legacy of the British Empire."

America should've disagreed, he should've snapped at England, he should've stopped him. But all the feelings bubbling inside him contradicted that. His hero complex wasn't allowing this. It was an internal battle; his people, his Americans were torn and conflicted.

So, he did the only thing he could and smiled in defeat. "Okay."

And with that one word, Arthur flicked his head in the opposite direction and sauntered away. As he left, America forced himself to revert his attention away from the Englishman's retreating figure.

He could practically feel the concerned gaze France had. He had managed to continue keeping up a dainty smile, but he knew, deep down, that the glistening of his blue eyes gave away what truly happened inside of him. This is the life of a nation; what our people say is what we do, the blond bowed his head, and we have no choice but to continue living.

"Amérique..." the Frenchman murmured, "do not fret, we s'all fix zis... If you want, we can go home... I am sure Angleterre was merely j-joking on war..." The stutter did not go missed by the superpower as Francis held out his own right hand— a silent offer for a hug.

No, I don't want to go home, America thought, I'll just make everything worse. After all, he was a poor excuse for a national superpower and a hero, right? He caused war to start and spread among other nations, so why stay? Why continue forcing his own problems onto others?

With an internally unanimous decision, Alfred pushed away from France, causing his ally to stumble back in shock. America walked the opposite direction England did. Denying and denying and denying the tears in his eyes, he forced himself to speed up. His walking quickly escalated to full-blown running, to the point where the Frenchman's shouts and panicked screams turned into nothing but incoherence. All he could hear was the same statement over and over again, words he himself uttered centuries ago; a resurfaced memory of his... recklessness.

"You used to be so great."

Line Break

Russia just wanted to have more friends. Why are people so repulsed by me? He frowned. Is it because there is a war? The Slavic nation knew his boss was currently busy forming up alliances. A doctrine arose vithin the country of China, Ivan recalled, about the search for nev land, da?

Something told the purple-eyed nation that he should look for Yao. Perhaps his boss was looking for an alliance? Russia shrugged and followed his instincts; as long as he gets more friends, he'll be happy.

He heard the voices of his people when they reacted to the declaration of war.

" shall rise! REVOLUTION."

"—Ve are the emerging povers, da?"

"United ve stand as a nation!"

Ivan, as a person, did not know where to side. He settled with following whatever his boss tells him. After all, the personification was heavily influenced by his people and leaders like his fellow nations.

Gripping his pipe, he swatted a branch away from his face. Maybe Yao would be my friend, he's probably misunderstood for the accident, the thought brought hope for the tall nation as his boots crunched against the fallen leaves and twigs on the forest floor. A sensation of—what do Germans call it again?—waldeinsamkeit washed over him, a feeling of peaceful woodland solitude.

He hummed as he broke another tree branch.

"I vill follow my boss, da? Sudar vill help me make more friends! Kolkolkol..." Russia smiled as he emerged out of a different side of the forest. He spotted a familiar dark-haired man and began to walk towards him.

China was standing within a plain, pacing around with a troubled expression on his face. Maybe I should give him a hug, da? Ivan thought, it might make him feel better. After all, the Slavic nation could relate to the actions performed by the Asian; he too has been forced to do actions of the wicked, yet he is used to it.

"—seek out an alliance with the People's Republic of China—"

The voice of his people made him smile wider in excitement. Maybe Yao would willingly become his friend! Need not there to be any orders from his boss to torture or kill to have friendly relations with other nations...

...for now.

As the Asian spun his heel, he stopped abruptly when his eyes trailed its way towards Russia's face. "Comrade!" He smiled as he gained the attention of the dark-haired man. This is my chance! Ivan thought excitedly.

"Go away, aru!"

The Slavic nation carried on walking, nonetheless. "Comrade, I'm here for you!" He kept a wide smile despite the raised knife that was pointed at him. He stretched out his arms, ignoring the dangerous atmosphere. Sudar vould vant me to make allies, ecstasy began to fuel Russia further, and I'll be doing good vhile making friends!

"No!" China took a step back, his two hands that were gripping the blade shook. "Y-you'll get hurt—!"

The knife was dropped.

Ivan embraced the shorter man, wrapping his arms around the Asian's waist. The European was vaguely aware of the blood stained hands that attempted to push him away. "Ve could be friends, da?"

The question had been harmless, of course. It had not the dark intention his boss would've made him use.

Which would explain his surprise when the dark-haired man roughly pushed him. "I'm not your friend!" Yao spat him, "I never was, aru!" Russia looked down onto his coat, sadness weighing him down. Red palm marks stained his outerwear, a reminder of the Asian's words.

"So do me a favour and leave me alone."

Those words made the European wince as China seized the opportunity to storm off. The blond did not miss the few drops of tears that fell down Yao's face. The Asian wiped his face on his blazer sleeve with his back to Ivan. I should follov him, the thought of abandoning his comrade broke his heart.

Vhy are people alvays running avay from me?

Despite the gaping hole in his heart, he followed the dark-haired man. The latter had gained a running start as his figure was beginning to shrink into the darkness. Ivan trailed behind China silently, gripping his forgotten pipe. Other nations might call Ivan a 'stalker' for doing so, but 'desperate times called for desperate measures', as some people say.

He pouted, friends are nice, aren't they, da? If only I had more...

Russia would treasure whoever accepted his friendship, he, as a person, was never one to betray or double-cross anyone. This revelation, sadly, resulted in him getting backstabbed. There were only a handful of people he could consider as his friends. The blond used his time to reflect as he followed the dark-haired nation.

Alfred was his friend, right? So was Toris! And Eduard and Raivis! Especially his elder sestra, Katyusha! They all said they were—are his friends! Even if their nations hate Russia, the personifications didn't hate Ivan, right?

"Kolkolkol..." he muttered.

Maybe if I keep telling it to myself, it vould come true, da? The Slavic nation pouted before sighing soundlessly. He's tried and attempted all he could to get other people to like him, but they always seem to push him away...

"The child I found that day within the bamboo..." What was his comrade singing? A lullaby, maybe? Russia shielded his body behind an unfamiliar pillar. "...I raised him to be sturdy and strong, aru!" Ah, so he is referring to Yaponiya, or Japan, the blond frowned, Japan vasn't so nice to me before, da?

"D-do you remember the moon we gazed at t-together...?" Ivan glanced past his cover, finding the Chinese man sobbing and kneeling on the concrete. The European's first instinct was to go comfort the Asian, but he stopped advancing when he noticed a second figure near Yao.

"W-wǎnshàng hǎo!" the greeting came out in a strangled tone, "the rabbit is p-pounding medicine... aru..."

As if summoned by the melody, Japan stepped out of the darkness in all his glory. "This sky extends to the ends of the e... earth..." China's voice wavered. Kiku's face notably softened at the sight of fellow Asian.

"The wind runs through this vast land!" Yao pounded his fist on the ground, tears streaming down his face. His voice was hoarse and cracked, nonetheless was the song forced out of his lips. "Proudly, like a dragon!" The nation's head was dipped close to the floor as his bangs lightly grazed the concrete.

"Chugoku-san," Japan softly spoke, "prease—"

"The star that is suspended on the red is flown high!" China cried out. Oh, so comrade is performing the kowtow, Ivan realised, as if he is boving to Japan for, ah, forgiveness? "And shines on us, aru!"

The Japanese man walked closer to the other Asian and knelt down beside him. The island nation rubbed soothing circles on Yao's back as reassuring words were traded between the two. Vhy did Yao accept him but reject me...? the question popped itself up into the Russian's head.

He was intruding a private moment, but the Slavic nation could not help but remain rooted on spot.

"Ai yaa yaa…" At that very moment, the Chinese man stopped bowing and performed an action that surprised both the eavesdropper and Japan.

"In the grief of this unending world—" Arms wrapped around the kneeling Kiku and pulled him close. "Why is it that people fight, aru?" Those words struck a blow on Russia as China stroked the other Asian's hair. It was a gesture of affection that made Ivan's heart ache, how long had it been since someone had done that to him?

"Regardless of the injury, the day it will he... heal will come, aru. L-leave everything to me!" Sobs wracked the Chinese man's body as his song reached its final conclusion. "Ai yaa yaa..."

The sound of hiccuping resonated.

"Even if our countries are different." Japan pulled away from the embrace. "If our worrds are different," he murmured, "if our characters are different..." He stared intently at the other man's eyes.

"I arways want to..." Kiku ripped his gaze away before staring at the moon. "...gaze at the same moon as you."

Nostalgia overwhelmed Russia as he leaned against the pillar. He was jealous, he was envious. Most of all, he was disappointed at himself. He had failed his comrades, he was supposed to be there for them and all he did was watch!

Even more, he felt envious of their close relationship. It hurt watching the two siblings reconcile when people flee from only one glance at the European. What does he have to do just to make friends? Liquid blurred his vision. I'll try harder, and Sudar vill help me make more friends! Ivan brought a gloved hand to his cheek, feeling watery matter trickle down slowly.

They vill become one vith Mother Russia.


PRUSSIA'S VISIT: So, you all know how, in canon, Grandpa Rome could visit Italy as a spirit? Think of that as how Prussia did it.

"...The words were let out as the albino claimed his last laugh..." Wordplay, woo! 'Last laugh' is a figure of speech referring to victory after one's apparent defeat, but this may also be taken literally as Prussia's final laugh before his spirit moved on. /piano falls on me/

""Stay out of this, aru!" China snapped." 'Snapped' may refer to the act of speaking irritably or you could take it as China losing his self-control.

"Many have deduced America to overly-trusting and extremely (blissfully) oblivious to the world." The 'world' may be taken as the personifications or as the planet. I'm so punny, hah. /hit by brick/

""Alfred, rabbits don't speak ute nor eat nuts."" In the World Wars, there were military codes based off of the Native American languages. Hitler sent thirty Nazis to learn 'em before WW2 started, but the languages were too complicated ['MURICA]. I used the English version of the Navajo words. I tweaked the system a tad bit too.

"...'better red than dead'..." I just felt like adding a reference to a Cold War slogan. Red means communism. 'Better dead than red', the opposite of the reference, was used in 'Murica against communism in the country.