Arthur wasn't sure when it all had really happened, he really wasn't. He recalled the wheezing coughs that had started to fall from his lover's lips, the violent evening of constant vomiting and runs to the hospital. In the very dark corners of his mind, he knew, he knew that something was happening to Antonio. But time and time again, he and the Spanish were sent away after a few days with some simple medication. 'Nothing to worry about' They told them. But they were wrong. Not long after, Antonio was bed ridden and terribly ill. He had a sick, weak, and had a raspy cough. It slipped out of his through like coarse snakes, making him wheeze and ask for water after each spasm. His once beautiful, bronze skin had fallen in color, now only a pale, shameful light beige. His eyes that once shown with deep, dark emerald passion were then foggy and glassy with a dulled color. Arthur stayed by his lover's side as much as possible then, holding him in the night and stroking his sweaty forehead while he had uneven sleep patterns. He did his best to cook for the sickened Spaniard, but it often turned out terribly and eventually he called the Spaniard's old French friend, Francis, to come cook foods for Antonio. The optimistic and obnoxious Gilbert even dulled his outbursts and visited often. The Italian twins, Lovino and Feliciano, came and brought fresh flowers, tell him to get well soon and reassuring him his precious tomato gardens were well taken care of. The Belgian girl and her Dutch brother came, even the younger nations such as Alfred, the Canadian boy whom Arthur could not recall the name of. The one who came most often, was a long friend of Antonio's. One whom Arthur was never too found of, but he made no complaints then. It was Ivan, the tall representation of Russia. They would talk for long hours, discussing books, singing songs. Antonio had managed to teach the Russian basic Spanish over time.
Though Arthur was still worried, Antonio had not made much progress. For a while the Englishman had allowed himself the comfort of thinking everything would be okay when he showed possible improvement. Though it died back down quickly, almost over night. His skin was paler and slicker, his eyes were a foggy, grayish-green, and his smile had long since been gone. Doctors were now seeing him regularly, trying to help him. Though nothing was working, nothing was fixing the problem. Though no one knew what it was. The medical men had eventually restricted visitation, Antonio had become so ill. There were no more visitors, only the occasional Francis who came to cook for the pair of countries.
It was hard to believe when it actually happened, Arthur had honestly refused to accept it then. Antonio had another one of his sleepless nights, propped up against Arthur's sides as the blonde was stroking the back of his skinny palm. "Arthur…" his voice was but a hoarse whisper, sounding like scrapping glass against a door when he spoke "I… I know I'm dying. It's okay.. Just, promise me something, vale? Bury me by the rose garden, por favor.." he whispered, trying to force a smile onto his face but only resulted in causing a hacking cough to spit out of his mouth. "No, shush now. You need rest.. You'll be better, everything'll be okay. You'll be better…" he whispered, more or less comforting himself rather then Antonio. "You'll be able to see your blasted tomatoes again, and I'll let Ivan come visit. And.. Even those Italian gits." he said, squeezing the Spaniard's hands and holding his shoulder tightly while his pale thumbs moved in small circles, stroking Antonio's dry skin. "Sleep now.. " "Ah, t-that'd be nice…" he mumbled, a hint of a smile on his tired face as his eyes slowly started to close. "I love you Arthur, goodnight." he whispered, with a smile on his face Arthur had not seen in a long time. The Brit returned the grin with hints of crystal tears in his eyes, shakily kissing the sickened nation's temple as he felt the other drift into sleep.
When Arthur woke the next morning, he found that the Spaniard was oddly cold in his grasp. "A-Antonio.. Wake up, this isn't funny. Wake up.. D-damn it wake up-" he pleaded, shaking the cold body beside him while his slowly rose in volume in vain attempts to wake the corpse up. After a while of shaking his shoulder, the English nation came to terms with his lover was now laying beside him, dead. It was shocking, and he found it hard to believe, and he sat there for some time quietly staring at his body. When suddenly the shock broke, he felt tears starting to stain his cheeks and he mindlessly tried another shake, whimpering and croaking in between silent sobs.
Several days later, the dead Spanish nation was laid in a coffin. There was a special ceremony held, all of the nations gathered in black velvet and silk. Both of the Italians were silently crying, Feliciano and Lovino holding each other's shoulder while the German brothers stood not too far away. Gilber was silent for a long time, his chin occasionally quivering while Ludwig held his older brother's shoulder and whispered to him in gentle German. Eventually, the albino Prussia turned and hid his face, silent weeping cries emitting from his shaking shoulders. He could see the young Belgian girl not too far away crying as well, wiping her eyes while the tall Dutchman tried to comfort her. Ivan was looming over the casket, laying a bundle of freshly picked flowers on Antonio's body. Arthur, shoveling his pride and tears, he shakily came to stand beside the Russian and lifted Antonio's hands, allowing for the other to press the sweet flowers beneath the once gentle, tanned fingers. Ivan's pale face turned to the other's his dull violet eyes holding dried tears as he smiled and nodded in silent thank you. There were several long speeches passed, talking about the happy nation and how much he blessed us with. The morals he taught us, and the strength he had taught the other nations to hold. The smiles, the laughs, the happy times. Even Alfred, someone Arthur was sure could not give a decent speech of any sorts, gave a beautiful farewell. Then, juts like Antonio had wished, Arthur had his old lover laid into the ground by the roses he had cared for him.
It was long ago when he and Antonio had planted, back when they were first starting a relationship. They were strange flowers, they were. It was like they grew with the lover's mood. One days they fought, the buds seemed to hide themselves, sinking back behind the olive colored leaves. And on days Antonio was exceptionally happy, they were bright and full, almost like they held a glimpse of sunshine themselves. After many had gone, Arthur was still sitting in his black outfit, the vest still tightly wrapped around his body as he stared aimlessly at the closed roses. So much had happened, and there wasn't enough time. Not enough time for him to enjoy, not enough time for him to share with his precious Antonio, not enough time to love. It had been snatched away from him, his joy. His life. He felt like a hollow figure then, emotionless and lost. Then it suddenly tumbled down and hit him, hit him hard. He sat shaking and sobbing, holding his face while tears soaked his skinny, pale fingers. Why did this happen to him? Why did it have to be Antonio? Why did it have to be the one person he loved? Why? None of it was fair. Arthur stat in the garden for a long while, crying and whimpering, uttering words and blaming himself while the sky started to die from a deep navy blue, to the ominous black.
It took some time, but Arthur got over his lover's death. It still hurt, but it was easier to live with. Sometimes, when the wind was blowing ever so softly, and it was just Arthur inside the old home, he could hear the soft ringing of the old piano upstairs. Usually it was the same song, but other nights it would change. The first few times it had happened, Arthur blamed his magical friends, but they knew nothing of the occurrence. It was the same melodies Antonio use to play, and it was like a painful comfort to hear late at night. Sometimes, he'd hear the ghostly remainder of laughter in the hallways. He'd catch a glimpse of the same old tattered brown shirt, a hint of a smile in the mirror that didn't belong to his own face. It confused Arthur for a long time, but eventually he puzzled the pieces together. The occurred regularly now, but Arthur found it strange he could not ever see the 'spirit' of Antonio. Though he came ot belief it was his real spirit, just his love still lingering in the home. Though the most evident thing was the same rose bush. It was always bright in bloom, even in the hardest rain. When it was snowing, the English nation could still catch shy glimpses of the buds poking out at him, as of to welcome him home with a smile. It was weird, it was like the were alive, with a special type of sunshine.
And Arthur came to believe, it was his own special sunshine from his lost sun, still silently loving him.