The sun was shining brightly through the window as Austria sat at his piano practicing the new song that he composed the other week. He was enjoying the solitude, as he did every weekend since that fateful day in 1918 when his whole world fell apart.
"Yes," the nation murmured as he made notes on his copy of the music, "that works nicely."
He replayed the same section to make sure he had it the way he wanted it, listening carefully to each note and imagining how they would sound when the piece was all put together. He was so busy working, he didn't notice his front door creaking open.
"Oče!" an eager voice called out. It belonged to his neighbor and former charge, Slovenia.
Austria accidentally slammed his fingers down on the keys in surprise. He hadn't been expecting company. He sighed and carefully shut his grand piano. Turning around, he saw the Slavic nation standing in his parlor, beaming. His bright, youthful blue-green eyes were filled with excitement. His brunette hair was messier than usual and his cheeks were bright red from having walked to Austria's house in the wind.
"I thought I told you not to call me that." Austria huffed. It wasn't that he minded the younger nation calling him "Father," he actually found it kind of endearing and flattering; he just didn't think it was appropriate after so long, especially when he did it around Serbia, who could be very jealous when it came to things like that.
"Žal mi je." Slovenia replied, apologizing, with an eye roll. "I always thought that's what you called the man who raised you. Besides, 'Austria' is too formal, too indifferent. Anyway, I came by to chat. Catch you up on the gossip, you know?"
Of course that's why Slovenia decided to drop by. He loved nothing more than to gossip. Actually, the only thing he loved more were his horses, two Lipizzaners that Austria had allowed him to get back when the Lipizzaner breed was first being developed.
"And I thought I'd make sure you were okay too, with Mati finding a new man and everything."
He was talking about Hungary, Austria's ex-wife. She was the only person the Slav would ever refer to as his mother.
"You mean you didn't know?" Slovenia asked in confusion. "But that's all everybody in Europe has been talking about."
"Nein, I hadn't heard anything." Austria replied.
The Slavic nation looked at him absolutely dumbfounded. "But Oče, even America knows, and he's...he's America! You know he doesn't even pay attention to these kind of things."
Slovenia honestly couldn't believe this was Austria's first time hearing about Hungary's boyfriend. He thought the Germanic nation still kept tabs on his ex-wife's personal life. After all, despite their divorce, Austria still loved her. At least that's what Slovenia- and the entire rest of the world- had been under the impression.
"Oče?" Slovenia asked, waving his hand in front of Austria's face. The older nation had been standing at the window and silently staring off in the distance for several minutes, and the younger nation was starting to worry. Maybe he shouldn't have told Austria. "Earth to Österreich. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Austria muttered in response.
"I was worried that you were upset with the news."
"Hungary is perfectly capable of making her own decisions." Austria stated stiffly. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting to get to."
Austria walked over to his closet to grab his coat and shoes. Slovenia took that as his cue to leave. "Okay then... I'll be going. Um... don't hesitate to call if you need anything. Čao!"
The younger nation showed himself out, determined to return later with some of his famous potica. Austria loved a good old fashioned, homemade nut roll. That was bound to cheer him up.
Austria, meanwhile, paid no mind to the other country. He was a man on a mission. He was going to see Hungary and find out just what the heck was going on. It was better to get the truth from the source rather than jump to conclusions based on rumors. Though, in the back of his mind, he knew that Slovenia's information had come from the source herself.
Austria ventured out and made his way to Budapest in virtually no time at all thanks to his abilities as a nation. He started strolling the streets of Hungary's capital. Unfortunately, he didn't have to go very far before he saw them.
Sitting a café across from each other, holding hands, was two people he never thought he'd see together: his ex-wife and his arch rival, Hungary and Prussia.
Several emotions flooded Austria's mind as he watched the scene before him: anger, hurt, betrayal, disbelief, and many, many more. He watched with horror as she laughed at a joke Prussia told her. He felt like he was going to faint seeing the albino brush a stray strand of her luscious brunette hair away from her lovely face. He felt his heart shatter when they went in for the kiss.
Hot tears stung his eyes as he turned around and headed him. He couldn't believe it. After everything they'd been through, she had the audacity to act like nothing happened, like it was okay to move on.
She didn't even tell him before she did it.
All he could see, the entire way back to Vienna, was the image of the two of them kissing, completely in love and oblivious to the man watching them. He knew he should stop thinking about it because it was only breaking his heart more, but he just couldn't help himself. It was literally impossible for him to think of anything else.
Austria slammed his glass down. "Another, bitte."
The bartender obliged, taking the nation's glass and filling it with another round of beer. Austria was on another mission, this time to drown his sorrows in alcohol. And if the barkeep refused to serve him, he'd just simply go to another bar. Besides, he wasn't a lightweight like England. It took more than a few glasses for him to get blackout drunk.
Alcohol wasn't the best coping mechanism, he knew. It never worked out for anyone, especially musicians like him. But at the moment, it was all he had.
He was determined to move on. He was determined to forget her. He was determined to accept that the past is the past. And by God, he was going to do it even if it killed him (even though he couldn't actually die).
Eliza- No, Hungary- was a grown woman and nation. She was perfectly capable and entitled to make her own decisions. After all, there was nothing holding her back. She and Austria had been divorced since 1918. Prussia wasn't actually a nation anymore, so there was no politics involved in their relationship.
But then why did he still hurt so much? He just couldn't believe how foolish he'd been to think that she'd never move on. When did she stop loving him? Or better yet, did she ever love him?
"How did I know you'd be a here?" a man asked from behind him. The newcomer grabbed the stool next to him and sat down. He waved down the barkeep. "Some rakia please."
"What do you want, Croatia?" Austria asked, obviously extremely thrilled to see the nation. "Here to gloat, are we?"
"Ne. Slovenia was worried about you and you know how he gets. Didn't want my baby brother up all night worrying about you." the Slav replied, a mischievous glint in his warm brown eyes. Something told Austria the Balkan wasn't there because of brotherly concern or out of the goodness of his heart.
Croatia was more rugged looking than Slovenia, with his messy brunette hair and scruffy beard to match, yet somehow he pulled it off. He was also louder, more assertive, more rebellious, and overall more Balkan than the younger nation, who preferred to be thought of as more Alpine. Then again, Croatia was under Austria's influence a lot less than Slovenia was. Where Austria had Slovenia for most of his life, Croatia was an independent kingdom at one time who later fell under Hungary's influence. Maybe Slovenia was right to call Austria his father...
"So I hear you heard about Hungary." Croatia commented as the bartender returned with his rakia. "At least that's was Slovenia told me. So unless he was lying, and God help him if he was, that is why you're here."
"Mein Gott," Austria groaned, "was I really the last to know?"
"Da. It's been the talk of Europe for weeks. Even Russia knows, and you know how much Ivan cares about gossip. He seemed to take pleasure in knowing though, which is weird. Anyway, she told me like four months ago."
Austria nearly spit his beer out. "Vier Monate?!"
Croatia looked at him in confusion. "At least. You mean you really didn't know? I thought you would've been the first person she told."
Austria had nothing to say to that. Austria had always thought he and Hungary were close, even after their divorce. They had spoken several times over the past four months and not once did she even bring up anything that indicated she was seeing someone. Maybe they really weren't as close as he thought...
Croatia put a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. Though Austria wasn't his favorite person, he couldn't help but feel bad for the former empire. Talk about déjà vu. Losing the love of your life once was bad enough, but to lose her twice within a century? That was brutal.
Austria waved the barkeep down. "Another, bitte."
"That's your sixth one." the man replied, hesitant to give him more alcohol.
"Get him another." Croatia ordered, flashing the human a several Euros, indicating that it would be worth his while to do what he was told. "The man just found out his ex-wife is fucking his nemesis."
The bartender shrugged and got Austria another beer. Who was he to argue with money? If the nation drank himself stupid, the man would't care as long as he got paid.
"Humans." Croatia hissed in distaste after the bartender turned his back. "Give them a few bucks and they'll do anything."
"Ich bin ein Dummkopf." Austria mumbled into his drink. "She played me for a fool. How could I have been so stupid?"
He thought they were close. He thought she had respect for him. He thought she trusted him. He thought she still loved him.
It was amazing how completely wrong he had been.
Slovakia studied the former empire with worry. Croatia said he was bad, but the Western Slav wasn't expecting this. "Are you sure you're alright?"
"Ja, Slovakia. How many times do I have to tell you? Honestly, I'm not a child. I don't need Czechia to come and clean my house, I don't need Slovenia to cook for me, I don't need Croatia to pick up my tab at the bar, I don't need Bosnia to call every two hours, and I don't need you to constantly check in on me. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
At least that's what he told himself. Though it was nice to know that somebody cared about him, unlike a certain former wife that he refused to think about. It was amazing to have relationships that weren't based on lies.
"Okay..." Slovakia replied hesitantly. He wasn't quite sure how to reply to that.
Everyone who was part of Austria's empire knew exactly how well he had been handling the whole Hungary-Prussia situation. Even though he claimed he was perfectly fine, they all knew he was an absolute mess. He neglected his work, stayed out late to drink, hardly wrote or performed any music, and stayed to himself during meetings. Meetings were the worst since that was when he had to see Hungary and Prussia.
Austria didn't envy Prussia, at least that's what he told himself and everyone else. No, Austria felt sympathy for the ex-nation. How could he not?
Hungary had no qualms about taking Austria's heart and running it over with a bulldozer. After everything that they had been through. After all the long days and nights raising and guiding young nations together, after every war and economic crisis, she had no problem acting like nothing happened.
Sooner or later, Prussia would be standing in Austria's shoes. After all, if she had no qualms doing kicking her ex-husband to the curb, then she had no qualms doing it to her new lover. After the first time, it only got easier for her.
One day, it would be Prussia to stay out all night drinking himself into a stupor. One day, it would be Prussia awake all night, afraid to sleep because sleep meant reliving the memories through dreams. One day, it would be Prussia who would sit in a world meeting, wearing a mask and pretending to smile as he watched the one he loved in love with another. One day, it would be Prussia to suffer. Austria couldn't wait for that day.
Of course, it might not seem like that is what will happen. Right now, Prussia and Hungary were in love. Nobody could possibly believe otherwise.
Austria knew better. He knew exactly how it would play out. Prussia would give everything to her. His love, his life, his money, his world, you name it and he would give it. And for a while, that would be good enough.
Of course she would be grateful and loving in return. She would idolize him. She would look forward to his calls and his visits. Her heart would skip a beat every time she saw him or heard his voice. It would be heaven for a while.
Then everything would fall apart. Fighting, blaming, yelling, and bitterness would invade their little paradise. Slowly but surely she would grow distant from him. It might start out simple enough: a missed call here and there, an excuse of being out of the country, ghosting his text messages occasionally, and more.
And before long, Prussia would find himself standing on the streets of Budapest watching the women he loved holding hands with a handsome young stranger across the table in a small, romantic café. Or maybe it would be someone he never thought he'd see her with. Then he would hear, everywhere he went, that everyone knew.
"You mean you didn't know?" they would say. Maybe it would be Germany, the nation he raised and cared for, to tell him four months after the fact.
Yes, Austria knew exactly how Hungary's relationship with Prussia would pan out. After all, Austria himself was living proof of what she was capable of.
I don't see why this is such a big deal for you!" Hungary yelled. "I'm allowed to live my own life!"
"Yes, I know that!" Austria shouted back. "But I want to know why you felt you had to keep it a secret from me!"
"I didn't know I needed your permission to make personal decisions! And for your information, I did not keep it a secret from you!"
"Then why didn't you tell me about it?" he roared. "Tell me why I had to hear it from Slovenia instead of you? Were you afraid to tell me?"
Austria had finally gathered the courage to confront his ex-wife about her relationship with Prussia. He felt he was entitled to know the reason she didn't tell him about it herself. He wanted- No, he needed to know why she told everybody else but couldn't tell him.
Suddenly, she kissed him. For a moment everything was okay. All his heart break, all his worry, all his anger his evaporated. Austria felt himself melt in her embrace. He allowed her sweet scent to overcome him. He allowed himself to fall to pieces.
Then he woke up.
He quickly broke away and pushed her away from him. "What. The. Fuck. Was stimmt mit dir?"
"What's wrong with me? What the Hell is wrong with you?" she screamed before slapping him across the cheek. "You came here just to cause problems between me and Prussia, didn't you?"
"Was? Nein! You're the one who kissed me! You're the one who started all of this!"
"No, Austria." Hungary said turning away from him. "I did no such thing. You only came here to cause a contention."
Austria stared at her dumbfounded. He couldn't believe it. It was bad enough she lied to him, now she was accusing him of causing problems. He couldn't believe it. What happened to the women he married so long ago?
"Was... was any of it ever real?"
She regarded him out of the corner of her eye, but she didn't turn to face him. Austria's heart clenched. He wanted to reach out and hold her. He wanted to stroke her long, luscious brunette hair. He wanted to gaze lovingly into her beautiful, dazzling green eyes. He wanted it to be just like it used to be.
"Oh Rodreich... Foolish, foolish Rodreich... How naïve can you be?"
Austria felt his heart tear in two. He wanted to fall to his knees and scream. "Elizabeta, what-"
She quickly cut him off. "Marriage is only for political reasons. I never loved you."
Austria felt his knees buckle and pull him down to the ground. Time stopped and the world went silent. Everything around him seemed like it was collapsing in on itself. Hungary walked out the door, leaving Austria in stunned disbelief.
How could she? How could she say that? After everything they'd been through, how could she say that? How could she act like it was okay?
Austria cried out. The sound that escaped his mouth was feral, raw, and hopeless. The Germanic nation kneeled on all fours and sobbed as his world came crashing down.
He had no one to blame but himself. He was the one foolish enough to believe she actually cared. He was the one foolish enough to dare to care about her. He was the one foolish enough to fall in love with her. He was the one foolish enough to keep loving her.
He was one foolish enough to still love her, despite the fact he knew she never loved him and never would.
The song this was based on is "You Win Again" by the legendary Hank Williams Sr. I know Hungary seems (and probably is) OOC. Slovenia and Croatia are my OCs.
*Update part three: So I decided to delete the lyrics after reading the fanfiction guidelines myself. I decided that I'd rather avoid losing my account/having my story deleted than keeping them in the story. This was a major oversight on my part; however, if you see a violation of the guidelines, don't copy and paste them into a review. As authors, I would hope everybody who posts on this site can read for themselves. Instead, actually provide information in a non-condescending way and provide ways the author can fix the story so it's okay with the guidelines. Prove that you actually read the story. And always make sure your reviews are unique and genuine.
I would strongly recommend listening to "You Win Again" by Hank Williams in order to see the parallels between Austria's situation and the lyrics. It might not be your cup of tea (I mean who, besides me, actually likes country music from the '40s?), but it will help you see where this came from.