Over the Horizon
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia, or anything else I may reference in the story. I really only own any OC's and the ideas/what-ifs. Please enjoy :)
Alfred awoke as the sun began to first peek overs the horizon. Already he could hear the sounds of people up and about. He had forgotten how early one had to get up just to get everything ready and prepared for the day. Biting back a groan he rolled over till he was facing the roof and sighed. Well, now was as good a time as any to start moving himself. Maybe he could help?
He of course hadn't forgotten his worried thoughts from the night before and had tossed and turned throughout the night. But, now in the morning light he knew it would be useless to panic, and from the looks of things these people had no clue what a gun was, let alone what a phone could be. Hell, they'd been fascinated by his gortex sleeping bag of all things!
America looked up from his contemplation to see Running-Wolf peering in at him. Managing a smile he sat up, running a hand through his hair.
"[The morning meal will be soon...]"
"[Be out soon.]"
The warrior nodded, dropping the thick hide door letting Al get ready alone. Pushing back the furs he grabbed his pack, and got ready. Thankfully he had a few pairs of jeans, comfortable shirts, underwear and socks to choose from. It didn't take him long to dress. As soon as he tied his shoes he headed out to greet his hosts.
Al found himself falling into a routine, easily forgetting the loneliness he'd felt for so long. It was comforting to have something to focus on and even if it seemed a little odd, helping out around the tribe kept his mind from wandering. He knew he'd missed his mark by a lot more than a century from the looks of things. And yet he couldn't bring himself to really care, especially when the children would crowd in around him whenever he sat down, or stood still for too long. They would follow him around, curious of his cloths and other things he carried. Their antics making him smile and laugh along with the other adults.
The nation found he didn't mind the constant barrage of questions from the little ones, and in fact liked it. It had been so long since he'd seen other humans, let alone children. During the war children were scarce, as many died from poisoning, or radiation. And then there was the fact more and more people were becoming sterile. Alfred smiled, shaking his head from the terrible memories and watched one of the kids as they looked curiously at the lighter. Giggling when they opened it, only to shut it once more.
The women on the other hands were more interested in his exotic looks. Blue eyes and yellow hair was something no one had ever seen before. Though, there were legends of spirits that took the form of humans, but thier looks would make them stand out. The chief wondered if Alfred was one of them, his wife the tribe's shaman whispered last night that she had felt the man's power and strength. However, no one would ever see this in action until a few weeks later.
It was a week later that had the chief pausing and looking at the tall nation smiling down at one of the children, easily carrying his heavy pack, which had taken three men to carry with one arm. His wife, Morning-Light standing next to him looking as serene as ever.
"[Do you think?]"
"[Yes. I believe he is a great spirit in human form. Perhaps a guardian from the spirit world sent to help us.]"
Red-thunder swallowed, feeling worry for the second time since he'd seen the stranger. He feared what would happen should anyone say anything to offend the powerful being.
"[Do not worry my love.] Ah-l-fr-ae-d [is as kind as his face shows. He means us no harm. I believe he has much to teach us.]"
"[I hope you are right my dear.]"
Morning-Light only smiled before going over to help with the evening's cooking. Alfred had shown his prowress with hunting and using a spear, though there'd been a few mishaps, much to the amusement of the tribe.
The next day was a hunting day, one which Alfred was invited to go, him throwing skills having improved, thankfully. And while he still carried his favorite weapon, America was afraid to use his gun - worried he might get someone hurt. Al had gotten used to living simple. it was nice, nothing to distract him.
Though he still missed burgers. And music. And his video games, but still. The quiet was nice, as was the company. They alone were worth all the comforts of the future.
It was time to go hunting and it was the first time Alfred would accompany the warriors on thier outing. He was excited and nervous. It had been so long since he'd used anything other than a gun to kill anything. Even when he first arrived and had been lost, he'd used his shot gun to take down a few bison and rabbits.
"[Come on] Ah-l! [We're leaving now.]"
Al grabbed his spear, feeling the pride he'd felt when he'd managed to actually throw it correctly running through him. He was borrowing the weapon from the chief's eldest son, Cry-of-Thunder, as he would only be allowed to make his own when he was considered a member of the tribe and a 'man'.
Soon the group of hunted headed out, with Alfred in the middle of them. His faithful gun in a harness on his back and spear in hand.
The group tracked a herd of bison, wanting to get ahead of them, so they wouldn't be scented. Al peered over the boulder he was currently crouching behind, taking in the sight of the large hoofed animals. They didn't look like any bison he'd ever come across. Now come to think of it, the ones who'd almost run him over also were larger with larger horns than the bison he'd known as a child.
'...so I guess I either went further back than I'd planned...or this is an entirely different dimension..doesn't matter either way. Though I'd like to know if there are any other nations...'
Al bit his lip thinking before Little-Bear bumped his shoulders, letting him know they were about to charge. Nodding his understand, Alfred gripped his weapon a little tighter, feeling the wood creak under the pressure.
The hunt was on.
Alfred grinned widely as he started down at the large bison he'd managed to take down. The hunting party had bagged at least three of the large herbivores, along with his.
"[Good job] Ah-l. [You didn't stab your foot!]"
Al rolled his eyes as Running-Wolf grinned mischieviously at the taller man. Looking over at the other hunters America noticed how they worked together to begin skinning the animal, but knew there was no way for them to do the same before predators come, having scented the kills - not unless he got it over to them, less groun to cover. Reluctant to leave behind his kill, Al glances over at the busy hunters before he grabs the bison's huge horns and begins to drag it behind him towards the others, easily moving to massive carcus.
Red-Thunder looks up when he hears something dragging and couldn't believe his eyes. Ah-l was dragging the buge bison bull behind him with one hand, carrying his pear in the other. Knowing if he reacted badly, it would make his own men nervous, he quickly schooled his features and greeted the tall blonde.
The other hunters shook off thier own shock and quickly got to work on the large animal once Al came to a stop next to them. He told the chief he could carry all the meat from his kill, so they would only have to worry about thier own two kills. Red-Thunder nodded and smiled. He had made a good decision in welcoming Ah-l inder the tribe.
And, by the looks of things - Ah-l-fr-ae-d was a spirit in human form, just like Morning-Light believed. For no normal human was that strong.
That night the tribe celebrated the successful hunt as well as Al's first hunt. America got his first chance to dance amongst them, though most of the moves he knew weren't exactly something that they knew. If anything, many giggled and laughed before trying to mimic him. Al snorted before showing Running wolf how to do it properly.
Alfred had been living with the tribe for almost a whole year when the chief decided it was time to fully induct the tribe. He'd already survived his first mamoth hunt alone (and wasn't that a shocker to the nation to see giant furry 'elephants' roaming the plains just as the snow began to fall), protected the tribe against rampaging bison and more. Red-Thunder knew it was time.
"[He needs a name now my love.]"
The chief smiled warmly at Alfred who looked confused at the conversation. The former Super-power was dressed as a native, hides covering his legs and chest, with fur lining them. The scars from his long life, while faded helped make a striking appearance with his tanned skin and light hair. Standing, Red-thunder clapped his hands to her to the tribe's attention.
"[It is time to fully welcome you into the tribe] Ah-l. [Time for you to pick a name by which the spirits will know you by, a name that is sacred. Come, Morning-light will help you get ready.]"
Morning-light appeared by Al's elbow and led him off, chatting away of what was going to happen, the celebration, his recognition as a full-fledged member of the triber as an adult and a hunter/warrior.
"[Now] Ah-l [Part of the ritual you are put into a trance, one where you find your true name, a sacred name by which the spirits know you by.]"
Al nodded, remembering similar ceremonies among his own natives, one he went through when he was just a child before England and the otehr european countries and come and taken him and Mattie away. Kumajirou had been Matthew's spiritual guide/guardian. His own guardian had been a eagle, one that had slowly shown itself less and less the more he changed, taking on the pilgrams. He still his old friend and wondered what he would see now.
"[Now] Ah-l [hold still while I put the paint on.]"
Al forced himself to hold still as Morning-light reached over, her hands deep in deep red clay-like paint and carefully drew ceremonic symbols on his skin. He shivered slightly from the cold substance. He was only dressed in his hide leggings, his old scars in full view.
As she drew, Morning-light kept herself from tracing the strange scars and burns that littered Al's body. It looked like something had once tried to take a chunk out of him, but it looked like no animal she knew. Or here, something had seered his side, but she knew of nothing that could get that hot other than perhaps lightning. Had he survived getting struck by it? When she had first seen his bare back she'd been shocked and horrified, as had other members of her tribe. Everyone wondered how he'd gotten them.
"[Tell me] Ah-l, [how did you get so many scars?]"
"[I survived...many battles.]" Al glanced to the side, remembering all the horrors he'd lived through. The pain, the death, the wars. Some scars were from first hand experience from the front line, others were the remnant of terrible acts that had happened to his lands and people.
"[I see. Thank you for telling me my friend. Come, the paint has dried, it is time for the ritual to start...]"
Al sat near the fire, the flames flaring higher and higher. The tribe surrounded him, hmming, the drums beating
"I-li-s-go-l-ta-nuh hi-a a-do-nuh-doe-s ah day se-he-dae ni-hi! Ah-duh-gi-s-guh o-gi-nu-dah, Ah-dv-gi-s-ge e-tsi! Se-t-na-uah, co-vu-na nuh, sen-ne-guh, Vi-ki-ka-nuh, moa-ehuga-ge-go-ih-iv eh nuh-bi-ki-kee!"
The smoke swirled around the bonfire, the herbs that Morning-Light through in created a haze. That combined with the music, the primitive beats and song created an atmosphere that was perfect for any ritual. While he wasn't so sure about the whole 'Trance' thing it seemed so familiar...as it was he'd give it a try.
closing his eyes, Al let everything wash over him, the chanting, the drums, the smoke...then he focused inward, listening to the beating of his heart, feeling his pulse mimicing the drumbeats. Soon he found himself slipping away, the world forgotten as the trance took hold.
Soft whispers echoed around the prone form lying on the grey ground. Strange shapes, some animal, other's human-like seemed to crowd around, looking at their visitor.
"doesn't look like much - "
"Oh hush you old mutt. Just 'cause he got two legs 'stead a four. Don't-"
"Ayiana, he's so handsome -"
"-Golden hair! Never seen anything like-"
"Are you sure he's yours?"
"Of course I am! Can't you feel-?"
"-not whole is he?"
"_Oh my child, what have you done to yourself?_"
Blue eyes snapped open as Alfred took a gasping breath. His head felt fuzzy as he blinked rapidly, trying to get rid of the haze that surrounded him. Jerking, the blonde tried to spot who had been talking. He'd heard the whispers as, though he'd barely been concious. But all he could see was the cloudy white-grey mist.
"Hello? Whose there?"
"_I am, my son._"
Al whirled around, stumbling when he realized he was kneeling on the ground. Everything seemed so strange, and he felt numb, like he was dreaming - but not at the same time.
He stared at the figure standing in front of him. She was beautiful, truly the loveliest person he'd ever seen. Her hair was long, a deep black like the night-sky, with rich brown skin like freshly dug earth and vibrant green eyes that were warm as they stared back into his own blue ones.
She was dressed in what looked like green grass and blooming flowers...in fact, if you were to look closer you could see actually the intricate details of small animals that were walking or flying about. Who was she? And why did she see so familiar?
"_Greetings my son. It has been a long time has it not?_"
"What...what are you talking about?"
"_You seem to have forgotten me. And while I have not birthed you yet, I can recognize my own anywhere._"
She walked closer, and gently brushed an errantic lock away from his face, gently tracing the curve of his face and smiled. He felt himself blushing.
"_How did you find yourself here my child? So far from your time?_"
"I...I came here because nothing was left. Every...everything was gone, dead...and I...I was..."
The horrible memories flooded his mind. Alfred could feel tears threatening to fall and pulled back, his shoulders hunching in shame. He didn't want to show weakness, but couldn't help remembering the horror and fear he'd felt. The dawning terror of being alone for all of eternity. The grief of losing his people, his brother...Mattie!
"_Oh my son..._"
He felt arms encircling him, and collapsed into the comforting embrace. He hadn't fully grieved and he couldn't even talk about it to anyone in the tribe...they wouldn't understand.
"_Do not hold back, it is alright to grieve. Whom did you lose?"
"Everyone! Even...even Mattie..."
"My brother...my twin..."
Her eyes widened in understanding. Ah, her beloved son had lost his bonded, his other half. Losing half your soul would have broken others, driving them insane. And yet her son had been strong enough to keep going, to come back.
"_My heart cries with you my child..._"
Al knew she meant it and he could feel her compassion surrounding him. As he took a deep breath he remembered the familiar scent. The unending love, warmth...
"M-m-mother...I feel so lost, what do I do?"
"_You follow your heart Kohana-Antinanco._"
Al looked up, that name seemed familiar, he knew it before...he'd known it, been called that many times...
"_My son, you are strong. Strong enough to accomplish that which you yearn too_" the spirit smiled crookedly, pulling back so she could get a better look at the son she had not raised. "_Do not fear, for I will be with you, in spirit. As will your own guardian spirit._"
Al couldn't find the words to express his love and thanks, instead just turned and hugged her tight, knwoing he had done something so similar so long ago before England had come. He could feel her smile before they seperated.
"_However, my time here as well as your own, is short. Soon you must return to the mortal realm..._"
"Can...will you be there? Will I see you?_"
"_I cannot. Forming a physical form is too much for me. When you came it tore a hole between the spirit and human worlds. I followed it to it's source and found you...barely alive. Your soul was torn, shredded, it_" here she paused, remembering the shock of finding a child of hers lying between the two worlds, his soul wounded, almost beyond repair..."_it was a miracle you were still alive. I did what I could, but you were too far gone..._"
"_Your soul wasn't whole my son._" She looked away and it was then that Al noticed how fuzzy she was. Like she could barely keep herself together. His stomach twisted as he connected the dots.
"_I mended what was broken._"
Al stared at her, his hand going to his chest. He remembered the pain and agony after leaping into the light of Horizon. He'd felt like he was being pulled, ripped apart at the seams. And then he remembered the warmth, the soothing coolness that held him.
"That was you?"
His 'mother' smiled, form flickering slightly. and he knew her strength was waning.
"_You are almost whole. It will be up to you to...put yourself back together. It will be hard, but I believe you will do it._"
"But what about myself? I mean...me and Mattie? We're not born yet, you even said so. Did I...?"
"_No. They will be born. I can feel the truth of this as clearly as I see you. I will not be able to care for them. Not physically at least. I am too weak to even take shape in the human world in any form._"
Suddenly, Al shivered, and the mist swirled faster. He could hear the faint beating of drums, a strange chant that both pulled and pushed him, making him sway on his feet, head dizzy from the condradicting motions. He groaned.
"_Do not worry, my heart follows you. Trust in yourself, my son. Search out those who might help you._"
"_You will know when the time comes. Now go.._"
He could hear the chanting getting louder and louder, and the form of his mother wavering. The sharp cry of an eagle caught his attention, making him look up as the largest bird he'd ever seen dove straight towards him. His eyes widened in shock, but not fear as if some part of him knew and understood what was happening. The eagle came closer and closer, it's talons opened before the two of them collided.
"_I love you my son. Farewell..._"
Alfred jerked up, gasping for air, blinking rapidly from the thick smoke. He could feel his heart beat rining in his ears, his muscles shaking and exhuasted as if he'd been running. He glanced around trying to spot his mother, but couldn't see her.
It was then he realized he was back.
Morning-Light approached him, smiling warmly.
"[Have you found your name?]"
"[Yes...Kohana-Antinanco...Swift-Eagle of the Sun...I...]"
He trailed off, unsure of how to describe what had happened, but he knew it had been real. Real as any dream, and yet more...
As the tribe cheered and crowded around him to congratulate him, to greet him as one of them, Alfr-...Kohana-Antinanco, felt far away, his thoughts on the mother he'd never knew who saved him. Who helped him, gave him another chance to change everything.
And paid the ultimate price. He knew she would never walk among her earthly children again, and had somehow given him her strength, her life, exiling herself in the process to the spirit world. Forced to watch as the world went on without her. He swore he would not waste her gift, this second chance.
He watched the smoke rise into the air, remembering and knowing that the world, that history would not be the same.
A/N: R&R! Don't be afraid to point out any mistakes, please do. It helps make a story better. Anyways, hope you enjoyed it. 'Mother' was revealed - Ayiana, means ever blooming. I debated a lot about Alfred's name, but something told me it would be best if had something to do with eagles, flight and maybe freedom. Seeing as America is represented by those. Along with bravery, but 'Brave Eagle' just doesn't sound as nice...
I am using history, though twisting it to suit my own needs. Like right now, Al's right at the cusp of pre-history. Where the people are hunter/gathers, rather than agriculture. Thus, the reason why some of the animals will be so big, and the weather (hint) will be brutal. (did you know mammoths were actually around till the 1700's?) There will be mentions of Nephites, Jaredites, Lamenites, etc. in the next chapter. If you don't know who they are, look 'em up. It's very interesting.
Till next time. -Wollfe :)